East Coast-ering Trip:
6/18: Morey’s Piers (Wildwood) 6/19: Six Flags Great Adventure 6/21: Clementon Amusement Park & Wyandot Lake
WARNING: Epic-length Trip Report ahead (this is what happens when I try to talk about first-time visits to four parks in one TR).
Well, mid-June came around, and this usually means that I splurge and take a vacation somewhere. Last summer, a group of friends and I hit Chicago, so this summer, I thought I’d try New York. Unlike last summer, I traveled alone to visit a college friend who lives in New Jersey. In all honesty, my main motivation for this trip was really not so much to visit parks, but to make a visit to the World Trade Center site in NYC and hopefully make some sense of the jumble in my understanding of just exactly how something like 9/11 could have happened (for the record, a visit only confused me more as to how this could have taken place). However, whenever I go anywhere, I can’t stay away from the parks, and thanks to a VERY understanding friend who must have thought I was nuts for asking him to take me to a place like Clementon Park, I was able to add coasters 71-87 to my track record.
All around, this was a very busy and extremely fun week! After flying into Philadelphia on 6/18, I met up with my friend, his girlfriend, and one of his best friends from home. After seeing the sights of Philadelphia and eating a REAL cheese steak sandwich (Steak-ums will never be the same again), we were off to the Jersey Shore for a night at the 3 Wildwood piers. I was a bit shocked that a ride all day wristband costs $36, but I bought it anyway because I hate the fuss of dealing with ride tickets…besides, the big coasters there take 8 tickets anyways. However expensive a day at Wildwood is, the awesome atmosphere more than makes up for it. The three piers (Wild Wheels, Mariner’s Landing, and Morey’s) are quite a distance away from each other but connected with a boardwalk littered with shops, games, and even hotels. The piers themselves contain a total of seven coasters and a smattering of really interesting flat rides. And then there’s the ocean…I have never seen it up close before, so a walk along the beach was the first thing we did after grabbing supper at Mack’s Pizza Place on the boardwalk. Then we decided to hit the rides:
THE GREAT WHITE: I am now convinced that CCI can do no wrong (I believed it before and now I am sure of it). While this ride is certainly no Cornball or Timbers, it definitely delivers a fun and fast-paced ride with surprise pops of airtime throughout the course and lotsa laterals on the turnarounds. It sort of reminded me of a mini-Villain. I wasn’t expecting much since no one on the boards ever talks about this ride, but I was VERY pleasantly surprised by this one. A backseat ride gives some great air on the CCI-esque steep first drop, while the front gives better air on the return camelbacks. The drop out of the station under the boardwalk was a fun surprise too (wasn’t expecting those laterals). Grabbed 4 rides on this one.
DOO-WHOPPER: This was my first Zamperla Wild Mouse coaster, and I was impressed. Some of the turns are very potent. Definitely better than the Arrow Mouse I rode at MiA, but nowhere near the Exterminator, of course.
SEA SERPENT: Vekoma Boomerang…DING!
ROLLIE’S COASTER: I believe this is an O.D. Hopkins coaster. Take a Schwarzkopf Wildcat, tame it down a lot, add annoying OTSR’s, and you’ve got Rollie’s Coaster. DING!
THE FLITZER: I believe this is supposed to be a kiddy coaster, but even Anton’s kiddy coasters still are a lot of fun. I can’t believe he was able to design such a long ride that seems to go so fast from such a short lift hill (can’t be any more than 30 feet tall). The cheesy space-like props that surround the ride are a nice touch.
RC-48: This is a Pinfari carnival-type coaster with OTSR’s (although at least they are very softly padded). I think it has them because there are a few moments where it looks you could reach up and smack your hand on the track above you (there is even a warning before dispatching telling you specifically not to raise your arms). As for the ride itself, it has a few very intense and violent moments, especially in the back seat, but something about it just left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it was my reddened ears telling me not to ride again…
THE GREAT NOR’EASTER (or “The Little SLC That Could”): This was a big surprise! I was expecting a simple SLC, and I got a very insane little ride with footchoppers galore! This was also the smoothest SLC I’ve ever ridden (which is not to say that it was entirely smooth). I enjoyed my first ride so much, I dragged my friend back on for a front-seat ride, which was definitely worth it. The visuals were amazing! The trick is that the ride is built around waterslides, buildings, and other rides. This increases the sensation of speed and causes several “there goes my legs” moments.
While my friend took a helicopter ride over the ocean (I didn’t feel like blowing the $25), I also hopped aboard the Chance Inverter on the Wild Wheels pier, which was my first experience on this type of ride. It was very cool, and I have discovered that I actually like hanging upside down.
Even though we were only at Wildwood for a few hours, I feel like I could go back there and spend the whole day and not get bored. Between the coasters, the flats, the beach, and the numerous sights and shops, there is plenty to do, and the atmosphere is unbeatable. No wonder the Jersey Shore is so popular…what a great first day!
Day 2 brought us to SFGAdv. I was really excited about this park, first of all since I enjoyed my time at SFGAm last year and I figured this pre-Premier SF park would be similar, and second of all because some of my C-buzzer friends (Rob, Kristin, Kara, etc.) had nothing but great things to say about this park. I must say that I was very impressed with the park, although I feel like I caught it on an off-day. First of all, the park was only open until 8:00 (in mid-June); turns out the reason why is because many NJ schools were still in session that week. Since a lot of the park’s workforce is still in school, this resulted in a lot of closed rides, especially the crazy flat rides that I was looking forward to riding like the Huss Frisbee (although I doubt any of my friends would have wanted to ride these rides anyway). The park is definitely built to handle crowds with high-capacity rides like the double Sky Ride and three-train coasters, but it was not being run at capacity the day I was there. First of all, we got to the park around 11 AM to find huge ticket lines (my friends needed to buy tickets). Turns out about 5 of the 20 ticket booths were open. After a 45 minute wait to buy tickets, we got in the park to find a whole slew of rides closed (including the cable cars). Nitro was the only coaster running three trains…Medusa and GASM were both running 2, while Rolling Thunder was only running one side with one train op. Not like I should really complain, because crowds were not THAT bad, and the longest we waited for anything was a half-hour (Medusa and Nitro). I found the park to be clean and the theming very well-done. My only complaint is that I really wish there was a major coaster in the middle of the park…it’s quite a hike from Medusa to Nitro, and I wish there was something else to hit along the way. Yes, the park is very overpriced, but I was expecting that, and besides, everything costs more in that area of the country to begin with. Parking is $10 (we got in for free because my friend’s brother has a parking pass, which is surprisingly transferable between cars), and admission is a whopping $48.75 (my friends were happy they got in for half-price with my SFWoA pass coupon booklet). Food was also very expensive ($5.00 for a chicken sandwich), but I did see some soda machines on the midway selling 20 oz. pop for $2.50 (take that CP ). Overall, I was very impressed both with the park itself and its ride selection…I really want to go back sometime just to marathon Nitro and hit the flats. On to my thoughts about the coasters:
GREAT AMERICAN SCREAM MACHINE: I actually like Arrow mega-loopers. I really enjoyed Shockwave at SFGAm, which I rode in the back. I tried towards the front (second seat) on this one and really enjoyed it. I managed to get through the infamous “turn” to the midcourse without any pain or banging whatsoever, and I even enjoyed the nice pop of air that turn produced (am I the only one out there who thinks that “bad” Arrow transitions are actually really fun?). GASM has a set of trims after the first loop that Shockwave doesn’t, and it also comes to a full stop on the midcourse (which Shockwave does not). Surprisingly, I remember Shockwave being smoother, so if I have to compare, I would say Shockwave is the better ride. GASM is still a great ride, though, and it seems to hide the fact that it was plopped in the parking lot a lot better than it’s cousin in Chicago.
MEDUSA: Wow…take Batman Knight Flight, give it a square kick in the rear to make it mad, and then you’ve got Medusa. This is a superb ride from start to finish. The zero-G roll rocked my world, and I also enjoyed the quick changes of direction and the surprise pops of air in the second half of the ride. Some people have stated that this ride is forceless, but the loop made me grey out on both rides!
RUNAWAY TRAIN: Very cool little Arrow mine train with some surprise drops and a neat little helix at the start. I must say though that I didn’t think I was going to fit in the trains at first!
SKULL MOUNTAIN: This ride was the surprise of the park for me. I was expecting a small indoor family coaster; guess my surprise when I got up to the platform and saw the Intamin box track! I sat in the very back, and the first drop in that seat produced my favorite moment on any ride in the park: forceful, and wow, do I mean FORCEFUL ejector airtime into the darkness. The rest of the ride has a bunch of sudden changes of direction that you can’t prepare for because of the complete darkness…very cool. This one also got a second ride from us.
NITRO: This could just very well be THE perfect roller coaster…no kidding. I can’t even begin to put into words how much I enjoyed it. B&M has really done it with this one. Perfect hyper layout that is perfectly executed! After my first ride, I thought I had a new favorite steel (although after much thought I have decided that my Maggie is still # 1), but this is definitely my favorite Beemer out there. Raging Bull was sort of a disappointment for me, so I really wasn’t expecting Nitro to be that good…well trust me, IT IS! Unfortunately, we only got two rides, one in row 9 and one in row 2. Row 2 provides some nice floater air, but the “Thank God the Ride-Op Stapled Me” air in row 9 really sold this ride to me. Awesome first drop, perfect camelbacks, neat twisting drops that tickle your stomach, and intense-as-hell helix, and a perfect rapid-fire-succession of bunny hops finale make me wish I could have gotten more rides…I shall return though!
BATMAN: THE RIDE. My second Bat-clone…why on Earth is this one so loud…seriously, this thing has the B&M roar X 10. I rode in row 2 for a mega-intense ride that I grew to love at the Batman at SFGAm. It seems like these are more intense in the front than the back, though, which is interesting. I must say I liked Great America’s version better, because it goes over trees and a river, while this one was just plopped above some gravel. Also, Great Adventure’s Gotham Garden looks pretty sorry, whereas SFGAm’s is beautifully landscaped.Still, I love the intensity, the graying-out in the loops, and the helix that feels like it’s going to rip your legs off!
BATMAN: THE CHILLER (Robin closed). Premier is fast becoming one of my favorite ride manufacturers…they produce some really insane rides. The top hat is perhaps the most disorienting inversion ever, and the backwards twist was beyond words…I’m just glad the OTSR’s are gone because that would have probably hurt!
BLACKBEARD’S TREASURE TRAIN: It didn’t have a line, and my one friend and I sort of rode it as a joke (which for me was a disguise to add another coaster to my track record). My first Zierer junior coaster, nothing special.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get on Viper (closed) or Rolling Thunder (got in line twice, once it broke down, the other time, lightning struck so all rides shut down for about a half-hour). We did do Houdini’s Escape (Vekoma Mad House) which was very awesome, and Escape from Dino-Island (Iwerks 3D sim), which I enjoyed more than 7th Portal at PKI. Overall, I really enjoyed my day at this park…heck, Nitro alone is reason enough for me to go back in the future!
Day 3 brought us to New York City. I really wanted to get to Coney Island, but seeing that we only had one day in the city, that there is plenty enough to do in Manhattan alone, and that I was with non-enthusiasts who would not have understood why I wanted to go all the way out to the tip of Brooklyn for a roller coaster, I decided just not to push it….another reason to go back to the city, which I really loved, also!
Before I flew home on Friday, my friend took me to Clementon Amusement park near his home in NJ because I expressed interest in its 1917 John Miller coaster, the Jack Rabbit. The coaster is nothing special. It’s only about 50 feet tall and is sort of like a John Allen kiddie coaster with the Miller-esque camel humps. No real airtime, but a fun little ride that has a lot of historical value. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to see that Clementon modernized it with the squeeze brakes and ratcheting lapbars…I was hoping it would be running vintage equipment, but oh well. It also has an annoying, slow, Gwazi-esque loading procedure (seatbelts first, then lapbars), which it probably needs due to the number of kids who go the park and don’t know how to fasten their seatbelts. Other than that, the park has an old Arrow log flume, a Chance Inverter, a neat Tilt-a-Whirl (the cars look like turtles), and a Zamperla kite ride (which I did not ride). Clementon is mostly a kid park, but it was worth a once-in-a-lifetime visit from me just for the Jack Rabbit.
After flying back to Columbus I was driving home up SR 315 and noticed a sign that pointed to the Columbus Zoo 4 miles down the road. I thought why not, I’ll got to Wyandot! I only stayed there for about 20 minutes (I’m not really the type who can do amusement parks alone for very long without getting bored). I rode the Sea Dragon in the back, and was very impressed…this kiddie coaster has some decent airtime! I also rode a flat ride called the Monsoon, which could possibly be the craziest flat ride ever (if you choose to make it that way!).
All in all, the little detour was very much worth it. I got more worth out of my SF pass, got to see another park, and also was able to add coaster number 87 to my track record. All in all, this was a VERY busy week, but a very fulfilling one nonetheless. I was able to hit 2 major cities and 4 amusement parks in 3 and a half days…not too bad, I must say! If you made it this far, thanks for reading!
The Writing's On the Wall!
"Cedar Point is building for the future! More news later this season!"
*** This post was edited by MooreOn on 6/23/2002. ***
Ouch, you need to seperate your TP into paragraphs. Its very hard to read.
Edit: man that was fast! :)
*** This post was edited by Photonix on 6/23/2002. ***
The Writing's On the Wall!
"Cedar Point is building for the future! More news later this season!"
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