It's rare that my parents experience anything other than Walt Disney World with me as far as park visits go. I understand as I'm the only one in my immediate family who will ride any coaster (unless you count my sister-in-law), but even so, I do enjoy it when my family gets to experience my hobby, even if it's in a small way.
So it was that we decided to take a quick overnight trip to the Hartford, Connecticut area. Three parks were on the agenda, although I would be alone at two.
The first was Six Flags New England. My mom flew up with me that afternoon, and she dropped me off at the park (there wasn't much point in her paying admission for a brief two-hour visit). The only reasons SFNE was included were its convenient location as well as the only ride I rode while there - Bizarro.
Bizarro is as it has always been. It's not the hyper-agressive ride that later Intamin megacoasters became, but it is still arguably one of their greatest designs. It's got two very distinct sections with the airtime-laden out-and-back portion followed by the numerous direction changes of the twisted backcourse (with an outstanding airtime encore to close out the ride). It's still one of my all time favorite rides and probably the coaster I would choose if I could only ride one for the rest of my life. It's such an outstanding ride.
My mom picked me up after my pair of laps (one-train operation and a breakdown prior to my first lap limited my ability to rack up some ride time) and we set off for Quassy. After a rather scenic drive, we arrived at the park.
It was a Friday night, so all ride tickets were fifty cents. We picked up twenty and headed right for the Wooden Warrior.
Its modest size put it within the limits of what my mom could handle, which meant a lot because, again, it's so rare that she gets to experience these rides with me, and I appreciate any opportunity for her to see what I see and enjoy my hobby alongside me.
Of course, I had carefully avoided pointing out that its statistics in all likelihood belied the true nature of the coaster. As I expected, the ride was a nasty little devil with airtime galore and a layout that lacked any moment of respite until the brakes at the very end. We'd ridden in the back row as well, so the madness started from the moment we rolled over the top of the first drop.
Honestly, the ride is incredible. The Gravity Group can clearly make even the smallest coasters amazing attractions. I gave it five stars for outstanding design and a punchy intensity that shames rides four times its size. The Timberliners that run along its course aren't bad trains, either, even if they're ugly as sin.
We rode the train a few times before an encore lap on the Wooden Warrior. Not at all pleased with the nasty surprise that was our first lap, my mom took some coaxing before giving in to what became a front-row lap.
Now, I had expected the front to be worse. To be honest, I still think it was, but she absolutely loved it. She couldn't stop saying how glad she was that I talked her in to riding once more.
As the night drew to a close, we picked my dad, who had to take a later flight, up from the airport and had a late dinner before turning in for the night. The next morning, we checked out and headed off for Lake Compounce.
My parents dropped me off before heading back in the direction of SFNE to go to the mall. I made my way into the park and headed off to Zoomerang to start the day.
Zoomerang was what it was. I enjoy the concept and do try to take an obligatory spin on each one I come across for the first time. Zoomerang at least benefited from the best-painted trains of any Boomerang with some color-changing metallic scheme that actually looked pretty slick.
Next up was at first going to be the Wildcat, but with an entrance located right near the not-yet-open waterpark attractions, it had a line long enough to drive me a little further up the midway to THE ride I came to the park to experience: Boulder Dash.
Ladies and gentlemen, I entered the presence of greatness and it deemed me unworthy. I rode in the back on the first lap. The first half was quite good, but it wasn't until the return leg along the shore of the lake that showed me why that ride is so highly rated. The relentless series of airtime speed bumps taken at excessive speed had me bouncing all over the place.
I got off the ride and decided to try the Wildcat again, and my suspicion that the opening of the waterpark would eat through the line proved true. The wait had gotten much shorter. I jumped in the back for my lap and looked forward to experiencing such a classic ride.
With the exception of one exceptionally nasty jolt out of one of the ride's fan turns, the Wildcat is absolutely incredible. Honestly, I like that the fan turns yank the back around with a vengeance, and the airtime on the small hills in between them was ludicrous. It was clear that the ride was partway through a re-tracking process, and it will only get that much better once the work is complete.
I left the Wildcat and went back for an encore Boulder Dash lap, this one in the second row of the front car (I wanted to experience both extremes). Folks, let me tell you, if the back was great, the front was the stuff of legends. The full brunt of the first half really made itself apparent, and you could really sense just how insane the ride was. It ran through the woods with unbridled fury the likes of which I'm not sure I've ever experienced. It became my favorite stand-up roller coaster! The lap bar and I became as one entirely too often. What an outstanding design and an exceptional coaster. It's arguably my favorite wooden coaster.
What a closure it was to the trip as well. My parents picked me back up and we began our journey back to the airport. It had been a quick trip, and the time actually spent with family was limited, but it was a nice break. Work's been a bit rough lately, so getting out and doing something fun somewhere other than home was great. Thanks for reading, and I implore you to fly to Hartford and check out the area's incredible parks and rides.
Boulder Dash is great. I'm excited to eventually get back, and stop for Wooden Warrior. Quassy was a nice park but it was under construction.
Boulder Dash is great. Boulder Dash in front at night (much like the beast or Voyage) is one of the greatest coasting experiences I've had. It is such a great ride.Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, July 22, 2013 7:13 AM
^ Yessssss. Front at night is absolutely where it's at. I had some truly awesome rides during Oc-Boulder-Fest last year. The 2nd to last row was also good, but any minor gripes I had about the track were rendered moot by row 1. Good times.
Great report. Brings back memories of my trip there just a month ago. Bizarro and Boulder Dash are both amazing coasters. I would love to go back just to ride them again.
I've never understood these trip reports where people go to a park and ride one ride. I go to parks to enjoy them for at least a day trip. Is it because I'm young? huh....
^ I have also limited my visits to one park per day. I don't mean to disparage those that choose the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am method, I just can't wrap my head around it. A quick trip to a park that you've been to in the past makes a little bit of sense. But I really don't understand how someone would want to do this at a new-to-you park.
Having said that, I did have to make one exception. Out of necessity, I hit three parks in one day last August. Quassy, Lake Compounce and Dorney Park. I had been to Dorney before and I stopped by simply to pick up new credits for Possessed and Stinger.
I'm going to Beech Bend for the first time on the way home from a conference Louisville (to Fort Worth) and I don't plan on spending more than an hour there. Partly because of the need to get on the road, partly because the rest of the family will be in tow and has no interest in the park, but honestly, mostly because I have no interest in anything at the park that doesn't rhyme with Kentucky Rumbler. There are very few non coaster rides that I enjoy in general and as far as atmosphere goes, I've been to dozen of parks that have "local amusement park" flavor.
I could easily spend a day at SFNE and Lake Compounce. Not open to close, per se, but certainly long enough to qualify as a day at the park.
In this case, though, Quassy (which I couldn't spend a whole day at because there simply isn't that much to do) and Lake Compounce were the reasons for the trip. Bizarro was only meant to be a bonus.
To be fair, I would have enjoyed a full day at SFNE, but it wasn't worth it since I was there by myself and getting up at 0200 or something like that for an 0600 departure is massively unappealing. ;)
Yeah, when I went to Quassy in '11, I was only there for about 3.5 hours, most of that spent waiting for the wonderful Wooden Warrior (WWW?) I rode a few flats and enjoyed the Yo-Yo, but it was just a stopover on the way to New Hampshire and Canobie.
We actually did Quassy as a mid-afternoon break during a day at Lake Compounce (since we knew we'd have Boulder Dash ERT later). Wooden Warrior is a blast, and it's a shame the park doesn't have much else to offer... not even any rare/unique flats, that I recall.
Quassy is a nice little park, reminded me of a nicer Camden. But it isn't a park I feel the need to be at more than 2, possibly 3 hours. Granted, I've yet to ride Wooden Warrior, but I don't see that making much of a difference. It's just a small family fun park.
And if you're an enthusiast in the area, it's more likely you're going to stop by for a quick trip on the way somewhere else. Like Lake Compounce or SFNE.
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