Northeast Coaster Trip (Park 1: Marineland, Ontari

Associated parks:
None

Monday, August 25, 2003 12:57 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2003 (Day 1, Park 1)

Weather: HOT!!!!!

Because of a problem at our hotel in Niagara Falls (the AC was down) we decided to stay around the Niagara area this day instead of venturing north to Paramount Canada’s Wonderland… figuring, correctly, that we may have to be switching hotels later in the day. So, instead of PCW, we headed out to Marineland in Niagara Falls instead.

Marineland is a unique “little” park. Little is not exactly the best word used to describe it… geographically it is very large, but most of it is undeveloped and what is developed is rather spread out. It is divided into 3 distinct areas… Animals, kiddie rides, and bigger, adult rides. If you go here, take along your walking shoes! This was actually my second visit to this park. The first came in either 1972 or 1973 while on a family vacation. While the front part of the park has stayed pretty much like I remembered it, the rest has dramatically changed.

The structure that dominates the park and is visible from the surrounding area… including Niagara Falls itself and even Martins Fantasy Island in Grand Island NY is Marineland’s new drop tower. Not sure of the name of it. It is still in the process of being installed and should be ready for the 2004 season. It sits kind of ghostly on top of a “man made” hill. Right now it looks a little rough, but judging on the rest of Marineland’s landscaping, this should be looking good for its opening.

The real attraction for coaster types is Dragon Mountain. Sitting at the back of the park, this is listed as one of the longest steel coasters in existence. Considering its size, it is probably the best hidden coaster in existence as well, with only a bow tie element and a straight piece of track visible at ground level, and some more track visible high up on the “man made” mountain.

It was hellishly hot the day we were there so by the time we reached the back of the park we were ready for a rest. Since Dragon Mountain had yet to open and there was a line of about 12 people at the entrance, my wife Michele and I sat down for a brief rest in the shade at some picnic benches and watched the bears (American Black and at least a few Brown) lounging in their area across the wide walk way from us.

Soon the attendant at the entrance dropped the chain and I ventured forth. Walking a winding path to the base of the mountain and through a menacing “dragon’s mouth”, I found a very dark and eerie queue (with sunglasses on it was even worse). Feeling my way through, I finally found the coaster and got in line for a front seat ride.

The lift is very long and feels very steep, but it doesn’t seem very high since it is built on the side of the “mountain”. Once at the top, I was surprised by the speed it got off of its small little drop. Immediately the train is thrown into two intense loops and around a sharp curve at high speeds and then enters into a helix that is built inside of some strange looking steel structure. I wonder if this was originally supposed to be an enclosed helix (like Loch Ness Monster’s helix at BGW) that was never enclosed. Anyway, after this it is through a dark tunnel and through a steel support structure that looks again like it was originally supposed to be enclosed but never was. Its then into a block break that nearly stops the train, only to have it enter a dark tunnel. Still in the tunnel the train drops down a hill, into the light, and immediately into a bow tie element and out the other side. The first inversion and drop of the bowtie is a real stomach dropper. After this it is down a section of straight track and back into the station.

After my first ride, I radioed Michele using our now mandatory Motorola walkie-talkies, and told her that there was a little head banging, but nothing bad. She joined me for a second ride. This time we tried the back seat. It seemed faster back here and the elements seemed more intense. To my surprise, the bumpiness seemed less.

Her equilibrium not being able to take what mine can, Michele said one ride was enough. She made her way back to the entrance of the “Deer Forrest” (a nice shaded castle like structure) while I grabbed 3 more rides on the Mountain.

On the way back I hopped a quick ride on a strange looking flat. It moved similar to a scrambler, but it rose off the ground and the “seats” spun on their mountings. Not sure what it was called… it was adorned with these large fiber glass “circus bears”.

Joining Michele in the shade of the “Deer Forrest” entrance, we sat there and gathered our strength for the walk to the main entrance of the park. In that heat, we felt like we had spent the entire day at the park instead of only an hour or two.

All in all, Marineland is not great park, but it is not a bad park either. There is room for improvements, but for what it is (an animal park with a few rides), it is not bad.

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Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 8/25/2003 4:59:48 PM ***
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 8/25/2003 5:00:37 PM ***

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Monday, August 25, 2003 1:02 PM
Paragraphs PLEASE! MY EYES BURN!

/sarcastic ass comments lol.

I felt about the same as you did for Marineland. I got a kick out of how HUGE the front of the Dragon train was...I'm talkin inside the front row, underneath the top. Major room in there.

Joe "can't believe they missed their '03 opening for the S&S" C.
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You suck big time.

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Monday, August 25, 2003 1:04 PM
Didn't you read my original disclaimer saying that I cut and pasted from Word which eliminates paragaraphs and I was doing an edit to add them? Guess I gotta make it more obvious for the next reports.

Anyway... any idea if I was right about that steel work surrounding the helix? Was that originally supposed to be an enclosed section too?

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Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.

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Monday, August 25, 2003 1:07 PM
Glad to see someone else liked this ride.

As for the helix, it was originally supposed to be a volcano that you go inside of and teh second structure, which looks like it could have been a loading station, was supposed to be a waterfall that went over the train.

There have been several stories about why the themeing never got completed but the one that seems to stick is cost and the amount of money the park was making at the time that it was made. Not a good time for any countries economy.

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June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82

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Monday, August 25, 2003 1:41 PM
The Scrambler-like flat ride in question was a Huss Magic. As far as I know it is the only one in North America.

Adam

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Monday, August 25, 2003 7:18 PM

SLFAKE said:
Didn't you read my original disclaimer saying that I cut and pasted from Word which eliminates paragaraphs and I was doing an edit to add them? Guess I gotta make it more obvious for the next reports.

Yes, I read it. Didn't you read my sarcastic disclaimer?

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You suck big time.

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Monday, August 25, 2003 8:25 PM
If you guys didn't know, the S&S Towers, Sky Screamer as it is called, are 450 feet tall. NOT BAD! ;)

So much for it being scheduled to open this year. That park never has things opened on time.

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http://sfdlmania.thrillnetwork.net

Six Flags Darien Lake Mania! Your #1 source for DL and other parks!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 6:05 AM

Legendary said:
Yes, I read it. Didn't you read my sarcastic disclaimer?

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You suck big time.


Sorry, it didn't sink in. I'm doing this all on the sly at work (after a week and a half away, I don't think they would like me typing trip reports on company time) so I am typing with one eye on the screen and one eye on my supervisors office door... so my brain is not exactly 100% on what is going on on this forum.
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Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 10:49 AM
Ride of Steel, it's really not 450' tall, unless you also count Big Shot as 907' tall (or whatever it really is). It sits on top of a large man made hil like was previously stated, the towers I *believe* are "only" 300ft tall.

SLFAKE,

It's cool man, I just thought I'd be a funny guy and say that because people ALWAYS freak out when you don't have paragraphs...I wanted to beat them to it. ;)

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You suck big time.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 11:07 AM
Its a case of acual height VS height compared to the surrounding land... relief I believe is the term. I wasn't sure of the specs about Sky Screamer, but I see the point. Elsewhere in Niagara Falls they do the same thing with the Skylon Tower. Some places say "700 feet above the falls" (or something like that). The actual tower is around 500 feet, but is built on higher ground than that surrounding the falls, putting the top actually 700 or so feet above the falls.

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Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.

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