Weather: Hot in direct sun, but otherwise comfortable
Funtown USA (Park 6)
We arrived at Funtown in time for its 10 am opening. It seems like most other people had the same idea because the lines at the gates were kind of long. However, the line we chose moved quickly and it was also shaded so we did not mind. Once inside the gates we found that most of the crowd headed toward Splashtown USA water park, while only a few, like us, made their way toward the rides in Funtown.
At first I was going to pass on Dragon’s Descent tower, but seeing that it was a walk on, I decided to give it a try. Not sure of the manufacturer of this ride, but one difference between this and other towers I have been on: the OTSR’s did not fit as closely to my shoulders and I had more than enough room. The ascent to the top is relatively quick. Then came those agonizing moments when you just hang at the top. I do not like heights and I curse myself every time I get on one of these towers. That didn’t last long though because in a split second I felt myself being hurled toward the ground. Because of the looser fit of the OTSR’s, this was one of the first towers where I was out of my seat (and my stomach was in my throat) for the drop. It was one of the better drop rides I have been on.
We then made our way to the Galaxy coaster. Showing plenty of rust through a paint job that has seen its better days, this is your standard Galaxy model coaster… nothing more, nothing less.
Thunder Falls Log Flume was next. The height and steepness of the drop made up for the fact that it is only a 1 drop flume. The trough of the flume ran along at ground level before the drop and its course was fast and winding. There is an area called “Snake Canyon” that runs very fast and has some very sharp turns. It was a fun ride through this area. Climbing the lift, it really seems like you are going high. As I crested the lift, I noticed the group of people standing on the bridge at the bottom. One of these people was Michele and I saw her hands at the controls the water the cannons mounted at the bottom. I knew I was in trouble. The splash at the bottom of the fast drop got me wet enough, and the blasts of water that she let lose soaked me even more. Not a bad flume ride at all.
The main thing that attracted us to Funtown was Excalibur. I have heard this wooden CCI coaster maligned quite a bit. Well, maybe not “maligned”, but being described as “think ‘family’ and nothing more.” Because of this, I was expecting an average coaster. I was totally surprised by what I found. Possibly because of its location (being in Maine, it doesn’t get the attention that Midwest, Florida, or California coasters get) or for some other reason, this is really an underestimated coaster. After a good first drop the train goes through a series of drops and turns that deliver air. The best two pops of air that I got were in the little hop between the second hill and the turn around that followed and also at the crest of that turn around. Like the Silver Comet at Martin’s Fantasy Island a few days earlier, Excalibur here at Funtown really surprised me. I tried my second ride in the back seat, but then opted for the 2nd seat (just as good as the first but with no waiting) for rides 3, 4 and 5 for the air.
For its size, Funtown is a good little park. Some of the areas that appear to be newer show signs of good design. For Excalibur alone it is worth a visit. If our next trip to Maine is during “the season”, we will make it a point to stop here again.
Palace Playland (Park 7)
Five or so miles from Saco ME and Funtown is Old Orchard Beach and Palace Playland. This little “park” is your typical sea side amusement area. Nothing fancy and no frills. Our stop here was relatively short, basically a credit stop for their Galaxi coaster. As a matter of fact we knew that we would not be here that long so we decided to park in a metered spot and drop a dollar worth of quarters into the meter to give us an hour of time (the first amusement park “parking” we had to pay for on the entire trip).
The plan was get one quick ride on Galaxi and then leave. However I spied a log flume there so we naturally had to try that. It was a portable model with two drops. One of the drops had a bit of a double dip in it. At the bottom of each drop were some sort of plastic guards that partially curved up along side of the trough. I am not sure if these are to save water by keeping it from splashing out of the trough and onto the ground. If that is in fact the purpose, a “consequence” of that is that the splash is directed back onto the trough and the log, literally soaking the riders. For a portable flume it was a fun ride.
Next we climbed aboard the Galaxi coaster. This is your typical steel Galaxy model, but it runs “trains” of two cars connected together. The extra weight of this “train” increases the speed a bit. The hills have a slight hint of air (not bad for a coaster of this type) and the helices are fast. The breaks were on very light giving a fun ride… so much so that I opted for a second ride. Of the three Galaxy models we encountered on this trip (Canobie Laie, Funtown, Palace Playland), this one was the best of the three.
On our way back to the car I decided to hop a ride on Crazy Dancer (similar to a “Break Dance” ride) and Super Star (some sort of three armed spinning flat ride). Neither of these two were that memorable.
For a sea side amusement area, Palace Playland has a good little selection of rides. Can’t comment on much else since our stop was a whirlwind and we were heading back to the car after no more than 30 minutes.
Everyone talks about park food. We didn’t eat at either Funtown or Palace Playland. We saved our appetites for what we knew was waiting 20 some miles down the road in Wells ME… Mike’s Clam Shack.The two items that we went there for were the Lobster Stew (a milk based broth with a lobster claw in every spoon full… at least 10 claws per bowl) and the Lobster Rolls (lobster meat on a toasted roll… have them hold the mayo and bring a side of melted butter). We stopped here in 2000 on our honeymoon and we made it a point to stop here again. I told Michele that one of these days I am going to take orders and then make the 17 hour round trip from PA to ME just to get lobster stew and lobster rolls from Mike’s and bring them back home. Okay, I know this is not really park related, but if you visit Funtown or Palace Playland, the little side trip to Wells ME and Mike’s is well worth it.
Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 8/29/2003 5:06:24 PM ***
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