PCW Season Pass Sneak Preview Night (old)

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*** Note: This is an old trip report that I am re-posting. I recently was trying to search for this report, and noticed that somehow, comments and all, it got sucked into the black hole of the Internet.

On May 2nd I attended the 'Season Pass Sneak Preview Night' at Paramount Canada's Wonderland. This was my second year in attendance, and I had high hopes after having such a blast at the previous year's event. Unfortunately, in a comedic turn of events, I ended up with a night of disappointments and letdowns. In the past, Wonderland has always had average operations, usually with minimal downtime. However, on this trip I must have had the worst timing ever - everywhere I went the rides didn't seem to want to co-operate. While most people would leave the park ultimately disappointed, I managed to put on a smile and have a good time.

Approaching the park, I felt an urge of excitement as I first witnessed SledgeHammer cycle. Upon entering the park, I headed to place my bag in one of the lockers near the entrance gate. Here, I was met with what could have been my first slight letdown (a theme that would re-occur throughout the evening.) The lockers have been replaced with a new system that allows you to enter your locker as many times as you wish during the day (a big plus in my books.) However, the problem is that this luxury comes at a price. Instead of the regular two bucks it costs to get a locker, these ones cost a 5 dollars - which is personally disappointing because I normal only spend 4-5 hours in the park. However, since I didn't *really* need a locker, I didn't let something as minor as carrying a bag around ruin my evening.

Next, I excitedly made my way towards the new ride for the season - SledgeHammer (a Huss Jump^2). Disappointment #2: Technical Difficulties. This was one of two disappointments that actually bugged me. It turns out the cycle that I saw earlier was simply a test run (one of many that I would see throughout the night.) I must admit the ride does *look* amazing, but *looking* at a ride test is almost like a kick in the proverbial pants.

After a quick spin on Psyclone, I decided that the off-season had gone on long enough and that I needed a quick coaster fix. Heading over to Minebuster, I grazed right onto the platform and boarded the incoming train (sitting in 5-1.) As we clanked up the hill, I looked off to the right and noticed the stark white colour of new wood. The last two bunny hops have been re-profiled into a single double down. In past years, re-profiles have castrated this ride from its former glory - and this one in no exception. A couple of years back, two hills on the outbound trip were converted into one 'rampy' monstrosity. Now, the two hills with the most powerful ejector air of the ride have been eliminated into a forceless double down. These hills used to have such sudden airtime that they caused the up-stops to ram against the underside of the rails. Now, they are simply a huge disappointment (#3 if you are counting; and the second one to actually annoy me.) Since PCW allows you to re-ride as long as there is no one waiting in line, I decided to take another ride near the front to see if the experience was any better (but of course it wasn't.)

After that, I got in line for SkyRider (which of course had to go down for a lost article search as soon as I got there.) I left line and decided to come back later. Once again slightly disappointed (#4), I made my way to the Action FX Theater to ride Sponge Bob Square Pants, and Warrior of the Dawn. This, of course, lead up to letdown #5: midway through Sponge Bob the ride broke down. Seeing only the first half, I decided to simply return later rather than wait around for who knows how long. However, once again I put a smile on my face, and continued to have fun.

In the children's section, The old Bedrock area has been converted into the new Nick Central. I took a quick stroll through and everything looked very impressive (albeit quite crowded.) Wonderland had a world-class children's section before this addition, and this has really filled out that section nicely.

Besides this, nothing out the ordinary happened. Dragon Fire either had the fiberglass on its trains refinished or had it replaced all together. Reliability wise, it was not a good night for me. I say 'me' because it must have been just poor timing, as I only saw rides breakdown when I was in line. Throughout the evening I left 4 queues because of breakdowns: SkyRider stopped on the lift twice (disappointment #6), the above Sponge Bob breakdown, Shockwave went down temporarily (disappointment #7), and of course SledgeHammer never opened.

Overall, while I managed to find myself a good time, I must admit that this was one of the poorer experiences I have had with PCW. If I were to base my judgement of the park on this trip alone, I would declare the operation of the rides as sub-standard, the atmosphere as lacking, and that for a park of so much potential, it is just... well... disappointing. But of course, I know otherwise from past experiences. And since I am a strong believer that you can only have as much fun as you want to, I really put forth to not let a few technical difficulties get in my way of having a good time. While in this trip report I over emphasized the negatives, it was only to point out that this was an extremely rare case and that we as enthusiasts tend to find the negative aspects of events. Of all the things that went wrong on this trip, only two actually bugged me (SledgeHammer being down and Minebuster's re-profile). The important thing is that, yes, they annoyed me, but I did not let them spoil my time. While I haven't yet said that I had an "amazing time", truth be told, I really did.

The Other Siebert

BullGuy's avatar
Has the experiance gotten better since then? I assumed that with it being a sneak peak, operatations wouldn't be at their best. Hopefully now that the season is in full swing, things are better... Sorry to hear about the Minebuster re-profile. :(

Never Has Gravity Been So Uplifting.

I am glad to report that I took a visit just one week after the one mentioned and everything was running 200 percent better. Ride-ops smiling, rides running great and just the overall atmosphere of the park vastly improved. While my first trip might have started out as a whimper, the park is now running at full roar.

The Other Siebert

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