Lunch TR: Geauga Lake 5/30/06

Associated parks:

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 9:56 AM
I'm working all of 12 minutes now from Geauga Lake, so I decided to take a lunch break there on the first weekday it was open to the public.

My intention was just to bang out rides on Villain and Batinator, but I added Wolf Kabobs when I realized it had more retracking work.

Batinator is such a cool ride in terms of layout and such. But why is it uncharacteristically rough for a B&M? I can't imagine it's just the track because, well, it all comes from the same place. On this particular case, it seemed to be only in the turns, which meant nasty guide wheels. There wasn't a lot of lateral shifting, so I assume the springs were in good shape. I could see the guide wheel on the car ahead, and it was pretty nasty, but obviously I couldn't see the one I was sitting on. Still, fun ride!

Unfortunately, I wasn't really impressed with the crew, stacking two trains. One guy was moving in slow motion, while his supervisor working the other side was quick. I hope that first kids wakes up before things get busy.

I still feel a little dirty riding a former Legend train on Wolf Kabobs. :) They've now retracked through most of the ride, save for the last two or three turns. While the trains still shuffle a bit through the turns, the track gauge is a lot less sloppy and, that makes the ride a lot faster. I actually felt significant air time on the ride's hops! The particularly painful turn closest to Batinator feels far more rigid, and you can see the handy work of the Canadians. More rigid and frequent supports under the track mean less washboarding and wear over time. Make no mistake, this ride is suddenly a great wood coaster again!

Encouraged by this, I was anxious to get on The Villain. My anxiety was made worse by the fact that there was a 20-minute wait with one train, the line down the stairs. I was not pleased about this (not that I was anxious to get back to work). I won't hold smaller crews against the park, but making you wait is bad. Why is it bad? Ask the vandals who were molesting the walls under the station.

So there's good news and bad news about The Villain. The good news is that the bottoms of the drop are very smooth. The bad news is that I think they stopped at the pull-outs, which hurt like hell. And there's one spot coming off the last turn that absolutely hurt my back. Grrrrr. I love this ride, but it's still not to its opening year glory. Crossing my fingers that next year will be the year!

I didn't get over to the water park, but overall, I'm still amazed every time I enter the park how, well, un-Six Flags it is. It's so clean and painted. It just "feels" like the Geauga Lake of the 80's again. My only issue, on a 90 degree day, is that I hope they'll consider replacing all of that black top with concrete going forward, they way they have at Cedar Point the last ten years or so. Not only is it super hot, but it stinks in the hot sun as well. Judging by an area by Texas Twister, and the water park, I suspect concrete will be the surface of choice going forward.

Can't wait to get over to the water park soon!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 10:20 AM
I remember loosing my glasses from my shirt pocket on the second hill of Villain a few years ago, that kind of weightlessness never happens anymore.

Too bad they don't have any really good food, that could make a really great lunch break. I know if Kennywood had a season pass I would be eating a lot of potato patch fries during the summer and probably adding a few pounds in the process. :)

Thanks for the report.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11:02 AM
Bummer on the 20-minute Villian line Jeff. My wife Cindy and I went to the park Memorial day and everything was a walk-on.

I'm really glad that this park is shaping up after I had visited the park twice while under Six Flags control. The park is much, much nicer now. I really hope that they spend this off season working on the Villain especially that kink that you complained about on that final turnaround. Cindy felt at one point as if the train was going to shred itself apart on the tracks (this was her first ride on Villain and in a Gerstlauer train).

Yeah, Batinator stacked for us a few times, only because they had to hurry up and buckle all the seatbelts if a full train had emptied prior to a nearly empty train loading.

~Rob Willi

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:16 PM
Nice report, Jeff.
Wow, lunch at an amusement park during a work day. Truly, a hard life. :) (wish i could do that!)

From what I've been reading and hearing about GL, i might give season passes another go.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:31 PM
Hey, the last two summers I didn't work at all, so I'm still trying to get used to going to a day job! If the opportunities weren't there, trust me, I'd be not working at all.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:47 PM
"It just 'feels' like the Geauga Lake of the 80's again."

As much as I keep trying to just fade gracefully into oblivion, it's lines like the one above that make me want to type a few responses. Jeff's statement there may be the best thing I've read on Coasterbuzz all year. I think that line should find its way into a GL commercial somewhere... and I'm not just trying to play a "yes man" role either. I sincerely hope that other locals that grew up with Geauga Lake start to feel that way too and respond by flocking to the park again. It's still going to take some time to un-do the bad feelings SF left with many locals, but I do believe that they are on the right track. I heard crowds this past weekend were rather healthy, especially in the water park, so that is good news early in the season.

Despite a few "rough spots" (the former wave pool/Shark Attack/Turtle Beach area for instance), GL is starting to come around again. If they would have replaced Mr. Hyde's Nasty Fall with a Musik Express and a Tilt-A-Whirl, that classic GL feel would have really been out in full force. As a lifelong fanboy of GL/SFO/SFWoA/GL/GL&WWK, it's a good feeling to know that the park is in the best hands it could possibly be in.

Thanks for the report Jeff.

Ray P.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:56 PM
^Progray: you might be on to something with the commerical idea. 80's music is HUGE. My 15 yr old daughter says that's all her and her friends listen to.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 1:43 PM
Jeff i was also at the park yesterday and i have to agree with just about every thing you said, but i disagree with your comment about dominator, i didnt have any problem with the crew being slow there.

I went to X-Flight and even though the line was short they were slow to load and diapatch the train, along with the confusion in the stataion because no one knew what line they were in, if they had been running both trains on both stations it wouldnt have been so bad.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 1:55 PM
Dang Jeff, commuting from Brunswick to Aurora-ish? Must be a good job! Anyway, great TR. Good to see Cedar Fair is doing it's best to get the park back on track.

Although truth be told I recall the old Geauga Lake being fairly shabby. Coasters only running one train, clueless employees, etc. A fun place to spend the day, but from what I remember the park wasn't exactly a palace.

And to think I somehow thought it would be a good idea to work the "NBA Jam" attraction one summer for minimum wage. -shudder- Oh the things you'll do in your early teens...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 1:59 PM

rider85 said:
Jeff i was also at the park yesterday and i have to agree with just about every thing you said, but i disagree with your comment about dominator, i didnt have any problem with the crew being slow there.

I went to X-Flight and even though the line was short they were slow to load and diapatch the train, along with the confusion in the stataion because no one knew what line they were in, if they had been running both trains on both stations it wouldnt have been so bad.

When I visited the park back in 2003 when it was SFWoA, this station seemed to be a problem. SFA actually seems to have it right by placing an employee there at the top of the stairs to let a certain amount of people in at a time. With the way those row/car queues are spaced (far apart), a crowded station can be a mess trying to get into a row with so many other people there wanting to ride as well. I hope GL will fix this. It wasn't fixed when I went to GL last year, though it wasn't crowded, so there wasn't really a need for an employee monitoring the queue at X-Flight.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 2:18 PM
It'll take a while to undo what Premier/Six Flags did to GL. From what I recall (and I was by no means a coaster geek at age 13 when Funtime sold) immediately after Premier Parks picked up Geauga Lake they went in, ripped out Corkscrew for Mind Eraser and slowly each season we saw the flat rides disappear. The classic feel of Geauga Lake was lost and started to see a park that abandoned what it had been successful for so many years and instead try to out do Cedar Point when it became a SF park.

Now the park is on the right track. There is absolutely no reason for the park to add any new coasters, they should focus on the waterpark across the lake, work on the park infrastructure so that the park's layout makes more sense, and get some flat rides back into that park.

~Rob Willi

EDIT: What was I thinking in that first paragraph? *** Edited 5/31/2006 6:21:38 PM UTC by HeyIsntThatRob?***

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 2:38 PM
They did the same thing to Darien Lake, it used to be a great place.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:24 PM
They could use a few more flats there.

Does anyone remember the wooden kid coaster they use to have? When i was little, i loved that thing. I think it was a small PTC.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 5:46 PM
Jeff, I definitely agree with your assessment with Geauga Lake and also with Villain. I had really hoped that the "pothole" on the last turn would have been fixed over the winter but maybe next year. It's the worst spot on the ride.

As for Dominator, I've had a few bad rides in the back seat this year; a bit of a vibration around the turns (not necessarily the final turns after the flatspins that have always resulted in vibration) but overall it's still one of GL's best rides.

Now that Wildwater Kingdom is now deemed 'complete' (and I don't think it is just yet), now's the time to get the rides side up to par. It's sad to see the midways around Big Dipper, Head Spin, and Skyscraper so open and empty. Mr. Spehn, bring on the flats!

BTW, 80's music - one of the reasons I love Kennywood.

X Factor *** Edited 5/31/2006 9:48:41 PM UTC by X Factor***


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