Ocean City NJ Playland and Gillians (8/17/2004)

Associated parks:
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Monday, August 23, 2004 3:18 PM
Having had not the best experience at Six Flags Great Adventure in the morning, I headed down to Ocean City to hop quick rides on the coasters at Playland and Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.

I got lucky and found a parking spot fairly close to Playland. Seeing the larger Ferris Wheel of Gillians to the north, I deiced that it was not all that far off so I would walk there after visiting Playland.

There is not much to say about these two “parks”. Actually, they seem smaller than the other sea side amusement areas that I have visited (Palace Playland in Old Orchard Beach ME, Morey’s little empire in Wildwood, Myrtle Beach Pavilion, Myrtle Beach’s Family Kingdom and Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City FL) … seeming more like kiddie areas with a few “thrill” rides thrown in. I didn’t go in expecting much, so I was not disappointed. Not much to tell about the visits either… bought tickets, rode the coasters and moved on.

So… here goes…

Playland:

Flitzer: 2 Rides: This I found to be slower than the other Flitzer’s I have ridden (at Morey’s and the York Fair in York PA… the traveling one with Reithoffer’s Shows… no longer making an appearance at the fair because of a Sept 2001 fatality) . The odd seat belts seem to be an after thought… a mesh type of belt with a cheap plastic buckle. Not good for holding much in… basically there I think to keep little kids from standing up.

Wild Mouse (aka Mighty Mouse): 2 rides: I looked at this strange contraption and my geeky-ness emerge. I could hear the one line from the movie Star Wars… where Luke sees the Falcon for the first time… “What a piece of junk!” Anyway… I climbed aboard and strapped myself in with those heavy weight belts as described above for the Flitzer. Unique little wild mouse… kind of slow, but it did have some hops at the end and a strange little Helix (if you wish to call it that) right before the breaks. On my second ride, I was a little worried. The car seemed to rock side to side. I wasn’t sure if it was lose on its chasse or if thw wheels were lose on the track. When I got out of the car at the end, I shook it and found that in fact there was about an inch or two of space between the up stops and the track. Another odd thing… there were two ops “loading” (actually just standing there and waiting for you to load and then pressing the button) but none at the exit. No problem… I know what to do… but it just seemed… Odd… not to have someone there.

Python: 1 ride: My first portable looper (Okay.. Technically Dorney’s Lazer is portable… but Python seemed a heck of a lot more portable). It was fast and intense for its size and the loop, being smaller, seemed to be very forceful. The funny thing is… I had to wait about 10 minutes to ride… not because it was lined up, but rather because it wasn’t. The op said that he needed at least 4 people on the train to run it. Not sure if this was to keep down on the wear and tear, or if it was for the added weight (I suspect it was for the latter). I waited, and sure enough some folks eventually wandered up to the gate.

Gillians Wonderland:

City Jet: 2 Rides: Last time I rode something like this was the Jumbo Jet at Ocean City MD back in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. Same bobsled style seats, but this one had belts. (I understand that these are relatively new trains). Nothing much to write home about… but in the true tradition of Swarzkopf’s, the banked curves (half helices) on this thing were very intense. Unfortunately, there were only two of them.

What struck me at both Playland and Gillian’s was that the operators did not speak to the riders… you boarded and buckled and they dispatched all with out a word. Kind of odd. Oh well, I was there to get the credits and not to chat.

That about sums up Ocean City NJ. Walking to and from Gillians from my car near Playland, I noticed all sorts of sights walking the boards… and also the sea of umbrellas covering the beach. It’s August… last minute vacationers before the summer ends. On a food related note… Jilly’s French Fries are very good… especially with lots of salt and vinegar.

One last “stop”….

On the way home, driving up Rt 42 toward Philly, I made a little detour to Clementon Amusement Park. The lot was full and the people were pouring in (and this was at around 5pm on a Tuesday). I knew it was not running yet, but I wanted to see what I could see of Tsunami. From the parking lot I could see what looked like a steeper than normal lift and a VERY steep drop. If Tsunami opens before the end of the season, looks like I will be making another trip to NJ. *** Edited 8/23/2004 7:22:35 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

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Monday, August 23, 2004 3:23 PM
Here's a tip for the formatting. When you’re typing in (insert favourite word processor here), if you leave a full line in between paragraphs then the formatting stays intact when coping into CB.

Edit: Good TR. Glad to see you went in with an open mind. Usually the people who seem to be disappointed by the smaller parks are those who go in expecting too much. *** Edited 8/23/2004 7:29:54 PM UTC by Canadas Coaster Drew***

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Monday, August 23, 2004 3:27 PM
Then I must be doing something wrong...

I just did that with this post and it still put everything together on one line.

*** Edited 8/23/2004 7:29:21 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

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Monday, August 23, 2004 3:37 PM
Sorry... I guess it doesn't work for everyone.
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Monday, August 23, 2004 4:02 PM
That happens to me all the time. I have to post the entire file and go back and "Edit" to create paragraphs.

I went to Playland last month while en route to Wildwood. Shame on me for living in NJ all my life and never making it to Playland. My comments pretty much mirror yours, so aside from thinking alike we can also assume that operations at Playland are pretty much consistent on a day-to-day basis.

The Flitzer seemed very slow. I am familiar with the one on Morey's Pier and this one was NOT like that ride. There were actually times when I was worried about the car cresting the next hill or curve. I have never ridden the Point Pleasant ride but I would hope that it is better than this one. The Playland ride LOOKED nice though, freshly plainted and all. Those seatbelts remind me of the straps that grocery stores use on their shopping carts for little kids.

The Mouse sounded like it was ready to fall apart. Kinda sad, although I can understand the lack of TLC if this is the last year for the ride. It was good but not as good as the Tree Top Racers that we rode in California in June. That ride was in pristine condition and gave one hell of a ride. The Playland Mouse was good but could have been so much more. It will be interesting to see what (if anything) replaces this ride.

Python was a surprise. Nothing to write home about but definitely not as terrible as I had expected it to be. The cars were a little tight for me (6'3" tall) but I managed to squeeze my legs into the footwell. There was no line for the coaster when we went but we waited- this time because the ride op was b.s.-ing with another op and took forever to stroll back to the station.

I have not been to Gillian's in a decade or so but plan on going en route to Wildwood in two weeks. I remember the City Jet being less intense than Jet Stars and Jumbo Jets but still fun in typical Schwarzkopf style. I do remember the flume being pretty good- I think that's the one that wraps around the base of that big ferris wheel?

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Monday, August 23, 2004 4:08 PM
Wouldn't know about the flume. Both the flumes at Playland and Gillians were closed the day I was there.

I didn't realize that this is reportedly the last year fo the mouse at Playland. You said you were interested to see what if anything replaced it. Perhaps I am just in a cynical mood, but why do I think it will be the "if anything" category. To me, these two little parks seem as if they could eventually just dwindle away to nothing.

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Monday, August 23, 2004 4:54 PM
I am fairly certain that the Mouse is on its way out. I think it has been up for sale for the past two years and was supposed to go away for the '04 season but never did. I'm not sure if its leaving for '05 but that seems to be what everyone is assuming.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Mouse replaced with nothing. I know that the Gillian family is (or at least WAS) interested in constantly upgrading their park with new equipment but I'm not so sure about Playland. I'd like to think that the ride will be replaced with something new but I'm not going to hold my breath. And if it is replaced, I'd bet on some kind of kiddy ride and not a REAL replacement for the Mouse.

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Monday, August 23, 2004 4:57 PM
Checking RCDB, I couldn't get any concrete dates on the City Jet at Gillians. It's year is 1976, but it also said it had a previous owner. Was City Jet there in 1999 when they had the fatal accident on Wild Wonder (closed and removed after the accident). Wild Wonder lasted less than an entire season... Was City Jet there at the same time (actually pre dating Wild Wonder) or did City Jet replace Wild Wonder? And if it did pre date Wild Wonder... What, if anything, replaced Wild Wonder (obviously not a coaster)?
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Monday, August 23, 2004 5:12 PM
I'm not sure what year the City Jet got there but I remember ACE's first Guide to Ride saying the same thing. I want to say it came from a park in Brazil but I'm not certain. The coaster was definitely there when Wild Wonder was installed. I'm not sure why the park didn't replace it with another coaster, although maybe they felt that ANY coaster in that spot would conjure up images of the coaster that killed two people. I do remember Morey's Doo Wopper being closed that summer because of the accident (same design- Zamperla Zig-Zag).
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