Little JD's first trip to Kennywood

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 4:34 AM
I took a little buddy of mine to Kennywood last Monday. JD is the son of a family friend and had told me about this mysterious park in Pittsburgh that his friends call Kennywood. He wanted to go, but the Mom and Dad don't like amusement parks, so I decided to take him.

Before I begin, I need to say two things. 1) I'll give away the ending now and tell you that we didn't ride Phantom's Revenge. If this info disappoints you, and/or if you dislike kids, you may not like the rest of this TR and may want to stop here. 2) I need to let you know who JD is. He is 10 years old. He has a speach impediment which makes people who don't know him think that he's not very smart, when in fact he is a super genious and is smarter that a lot of adults I know. He charms everyone who he talks to, and has more friends than Chaney at a business convention. He loves to talk to people he doesn't know and it seems that they love talking to him as well.

We arrived at KW at 10:35. The first ride was going to be Noah's Ark, but Byron's Curve looked to good to pass up. We rode it Three times in a row with no line each time. This is still one of my favorite flat rides in the park simply due to it's speed. JD would agree.

while walking to NA, we passed Volcano. JD looked at it and asked me if it REALLY went up-side-down. I said yes, he got a repulsed expression on his face, and we moved on.

I thought Noah's Ark would be excellent for a 10 year old. We had talked about the attraction and JD was very excited to try it. I warned him of the dark passageways and loud sounds, but it proved to be to intense for the small boy. He squeezed my arm tightly 90% of the time we were in Noah's Ark. As we exited, he told me he is never going in there again, and then his expression changed from terror to bliss as soon as he looked up and discovered Thunderbolt while the train traversed the drop and turn from the lift.

As we approached Thunderbolt's station, I realized that we were not really going to have to share the park with to many people. TB was a walk-on, and was waiting to fill the train before dispatch. The spieler said, "Thunderbolt will not be dispatched untill every seat is filled."

We rode TB four times, each time in the first or second car (JD got to pick were we sat on all of the rides). Each time I asked him if he wanted to try the middle of back of the train, he got a little scared because SOMEONE (me) told him that coasters seem a little faster in the back (oops).

Durring the few times we stood in the station for TB, JD looked in amazement at Phantom's Revenge. I told him about the ride and it's history; loops and no loops. I told him the story about the "ghost" that haunts Kennywood, and the story that goes with the ride. He asked me all day about Kennywood's "ghost". Later in the day he blurted out from no where, "Ohhh, I get it. The Phantom is Kennywoods Mascott!"

After our encounter with TB, we headed to lost Kennywood. Exterminater was next on the list. It took a good 15 minuts of JD asking exiting riders if it was scary, how dark was it, and how fast did it go. It took some convencing (and I ALWAYS told him that he didn't have to ride anything that he didn't want to; It was all HIS CHOICE), but he finally syced himself into beating his fear of the ride, and with determination, marched his way through the empty queue. Four encounters with the sewer rats and their destroyers later, it was time to move on.

It was already noon (where did the time go?) and I decided it was time for famous fries. As I ordered, JD rode the Wave Swinger, and he waved at me from the ride. We shared a huge order of fries and chicken with plenty of cheese sauce. While eating, we talked about the theme of Exterminater.

It was then that JD got in trouble for not minding me and running off to ride Exterminater again. When he got back I had vanished from our table. I followed him the entire time without his knoledge. I revealed myself just before the shock of being lost hit him. His punishment was very light, but boy I made it sound really bad. He would have to wait in the only (non-Phantom's Revenge) long line in the park, Garfield's Nightmare.

As we walked to GN, JD pointed at Volcano and said, "I'm thinking about trying that ride", But couldn't yet because of his "punishment" and he wasn't sure about Volcano yet anyway. We both found the ride to be very uneventful. Do we really have to dry the wet 3-D glasses with our sweaty T-shirts? That was my only complaint of the day.

One arcade and 10$ later JD paid for a ride on the Paddle Boats. He liked Jack Rabbit enough for two rides and Racer for just one. Swing Around was next, followed by the train.

After Three more trips on Thunderbolt, we decided it was time for some water rides. We went to the lockers to get our clothes. I just needed to change into my sandles, but JD needed to change into his trunks. I planned on going into a restroom for his changing needs, but I turned around and he had already changed in front of the whole crowd. He handed me his shorts and to my surprise, his underwear, and we were off.

Once on the Log Jammer, Three on Raging Rapids, and some more Thunderbolt between his one ride on Pittsburgh Plunge, and it was time to eat again.

How can anyone, even a 10 year old, eat in one sitting a salted pretzel, a chocolate chip cookie, and a mixed green salad?

We stared at Pittfall for a while. I said, We should ride that, JD. It's just like freefall at DelGrosso's." JD said, "It IS just like Freefall except that it like 30 times taller." We didn't ride it.

On the way back to the locker to get my REAL shoes, JD once again pointed at Volcano with an intrest in riding it. When we came back from the lockers we did in fact chalange the ferocious Volcano. We "Wooed" and we Hooed". He rode a few more times by himself, and next wanted to try King Kahuna. I have never seen JD cry, but I almost did when he was told that he was "not tall enough, yet".

I reminded the disapointed kid that there are a lot of rides he hasn't been on yet. He rode Flying Carpet, Pirate, and Music Express multiple times.

After a lot of re-rides and some comtimplating about Phantom's Revenge, it started getting late. I informed him that we were going to have to go soon and he could pick three more rides. First was Jack Rabbit. Second was a suprise to me...

When I jokingly asked him if he wanted to ride Areo 360 JD laughed and said, "You read my mind. I've been thinking about riding that one all day."

When our ride was over he asked if a re-ride would count as our third ride and I said yes. He decided that the last ride of the night would be Exterminater instead.

Remember I said earlier in this TR that JD was super-smart. While walking to Exterminater, he asked me a really deep and thought provoking question that I didn't have an answer for. "Why is it called Areo 360? They should call it Areo 2160 because it goes around in a circle 6 times." It took me a few minuts of silent math in my head before I said, "My goodness JD, You are sooo smart."

Exterminater was the perfect last ride. Walking back to the lockers one final time, I started to hear the sleepy music Kennywood plays just before closing.

While walking to the car, little JD told me "Thank You at least ten times. It took him about twenty seconds, but he finally managed to slide his little hand and arm between my back and my overstuffed backpack, and it didn't leave that spot until we reached the car.

He fell asleep about halfway home. He had to be carried to his bed from the car. He had the best time of his life, and that is what was importiant on this trip.

I usuially go to parks with no kids; with peers or alone. This trip wasn't for me; it was for my little buddy JD who seeks friendship and guidance from me. I thought that I would be disappointed that I didn't ride Phantom's Revenge or Pittfall. His little hand on my back durring our walk to the car more than made up it. Makeing JD as happy as I did made me realize that life isn't always about me, me, me.

Edit: Fixed some little mistakes. Also an update.

I dopped off JD's sunglasses this evening. JD told me that he wished that he had rode Phantom's Revenge and Pittfall. He said that those would be the first rides he will ride the next time we go. He was also expressing an intrest in looping rollercoasters.

It looks like HersheyPark is in our near future... *** Edited 7/22/2004 4:57:27 AM UTC by ***

EDIT 2-spelling *** Edited 7/24/2004 5:51:55 AM UTC by dexter***

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 8:46 AM
Kennywood is a great place to do this kind of thing. We have taken nieces,nephews and our kid's friends with us for the last four trips. Usually just one each time. Our kids are 15 and ten and we screen all potential guests for their ride level. Some love coasters and don't like spinning flats. One was scared of dark rides but rode aero 360. She was nine. A friend of my older daughter loved flats but was kind of scared of the coasters. She finally rode all the coasters but only once and went on flats with our youngest while we took rerides on the coasters. She rode lil phantom as my oldest watched and rolled here eyes when I commented on her choice of a riding partner. Who ened up ride more rides with her little sister than her.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 8:25 PM
So the kid is not afraid of Aero 360, or Thunderbolt, but is scared to death of Noah's Ark? I'll admit, a few scenes in the old arc scared me a little bit (anyone remember that shark that popped up?), but I always rode it because it was still so much fun...and I was only 7 or 8 back then, before the redesign. Kids these days.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 11:20 PM
My 10 year old daughter has ridden every coaster east of the Mississippi and loves them all but she won't go back in Noah's Ark or The Exterminator after one ride each.
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Thursday, July 22, 2004 1:12 AM
Hey everyone, I'm a new to the posts but a long time reader, since working at Kennywood this year I figured it was about time I got off my lazy butt and join in....

Glad you guys had a blast on the Baryern Kurve and the Flying Carpet, those are 2 of our rides including the Pirate Ship and of course the Gran Prix that we run. Hopefully we'll get the Kurve's horn back on of these days for you guys.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004 5:28 AM
I missed the Kurve Sunday. I absolutely LOVED Garfield's Nightmare! :-D More on that in a TR.....

Dexter, glad to hear JD had so much fun. Hanging with kids at amusement parks can be quite fun (when they behave that is). My friend's son is already an enthusiast although he isn't tall enough (yet) to get on most of the rides he wants to. lol.

We took him to Carowinds last year and the first thing he wanted to do was Top Gun. He had never, ever seen a coaster like it. He didn't care about anything other than getting on that ride. Unfortunately he was about 3 inches too short.

-Tina

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Thursday, July 22, 2004 10:03 AM
Kennywood is one of the parks that I don't mind going to with our daughter and not getting to ride everything. I still haven't ridden Thunderbolt, Racer or Exterminator this year but I know that we'll eventually get one trip without her and get to ride them so it's not a big deal.

My daughter is strange when it comes to Noah Ark. It scares her but she still wants to go on it every time we are at the park.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004 11:27 AM
Aero 2160 doesn't quite roll off the tongue as well. It sounds like some ride in the future. Did the kid really undress in front of a whole crowd? That's pretty funny. Not for you, of course.
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Thursday, July 22, 2004 9:49 PM
Yes he did undress in front of everyone. What made that SOOOO funny was that I didn't want him to but I wasn't too concerned because I didn't even think for a second that he would change his underwear in public. He was between the lockers and I was on the other side near the attendant's desk. I got a huge humorous shock when he handed them to me. I said, "Did you just...", and he interrupted, "So what. I'm just a kid." I've known ever since he was 7 that he isn't shy.

GPrix, There was a very nice ride opp at Baryern Kerve (I spelled it right this time). He spieled, "Thank you for rideing Baryern Kerve, and for MORE excitment be sure to ride Flying Carpet." Flying Carpet was one of JD's favorite flat rides, by the way. He must have rode that one at least ten times in a row. I really missed the horn on the Kerve. It makes the ride a little more exciting.

CoasterQueenTRN, He behaved like an angel. I think that he ran off that one time because he is getting to the stage in life where he needs a little independence. He balances being an affectionate kid just right with being his individual self. JD is tall enough for all of those big rides, but I just wish that he was brave enough. He'll be ready soon enough, and I won't rush him. I am creating a little coaster enthusiast.

Thank's everyone for reading my TR. It isn't like most other TR's. I wrote another one like this one a few years back about another buddy of mine who was 12 at the time, "Little Johnny goes to HersheyPark", I think it was called. Little Johnny moved and I haven't seen him in a while, but like JD, 50 years from now they will have fond memories of me and our adventures.

JD and I are much closer than I was with LJ. I pick JD up once or twice a month and spend an evening with him. He really looks up to me as a big bro. I met him three or four years ago when my Mom babysat him for a day. He called me the next day and once a week after that. His Mom says that JD "adopted" me. He loves amusement parks like any kid does. We have gone to DelGrosso's and Lakemont quite a lot, but those are getting a little redundant. I am very happy he is showing intrest in the big rides because soon we will be enjoying them together.

I'm thinking a year from now I will be writing a TR in which JD and I ride a B&M. *** Edited 7/24/2004 5:54:41 AM UTC by dexter***

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Friday, July 23, 2004 9:58 AM
Just one spelling correction for you--it's spelled "underwear".
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Saturday, July 24, 2004 12:09 AM
Ha Ha, Thanks.
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Sunday, July 25, 2004 10:00 PM
WhooHOo! Another Flying Carpet fan!:)

Yes, some of the Bayern Kurve employee's as well as the Grand Prix, Flying Carpet, and the PIRATE; REALLY get into the speeches! I'm sure it was Chris who did the Kurve speech, heh!

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