PKD 7/30 TR - Third visit of the season

Associated parks:

Wednesday, August 6, 2003 3:42 PM
The day was overcast and temperature 70 degrees, and I got to the park in the early afternoon. Volcano would be the first ride of the day, so it was down International Street, through the Congo and under the Volcano sign as a scorching blast of fire escaped from the top. The line was stretching as far as the first cavern and filling the better part of the queue house, and I noted that only one train was running, which is unusual for any popular PKD ride. Twenty minutes into the wait, the line ahead started emptying out as people left, declaring "They've shut the ride down." Thankfully, I knew exactly what was going on. After moving up all the way into the mountain, an announcement made it official: "Thank you for your patience. We are now running two trains." *Applause*. Following a short wait for the front, the gates opened and we boarded, then the train rolled around that first turn. Looking through the mountain. Arms and legs straight out. Wham! Volcano simply never gets old, and always has me cheering throughout the ride and clapping when we fly into the brakes.

I headed next door to Avalanche to ride and check out the construction. The pre-Volcano path that used to lead to Avalanche is gone now, and a small strip of land is cleared, with a few small construction vehicles on site now. The neighboring Snagglepuss' Parachute School (kiddie parachute tower) has been taken down now and lies on the ground. I boarded the second row, USA car shortly and started off. Climbing the lift, I glanced into the Smurf Mountain station and noticed that all that remains inside there now are the rows of pre-boarding handrails. Avalanche usually proves a good ride, and I had forgotten that you get moving pretty fast there towards the end.

Flight of Fear came next, and after several minutes of standing still outside, the line moved nonstop through most of the hangar. In my opinion, they should open one or two of the queue rows inside of the building so that you spend most of your time waiting in there. At the station, an attendant was letting people through in groups, but then let the line spill through. In the station room, I was surprised to hear the pre-launch sayings being played again, a little too soon before the train is loaded, but they're back; even the ones with the 'outer limits' in them! Now all we need back are the dimming lights before the launch! Also, a new riding precaution recording is played now. We secure the lap/foot restraints and side belt, and with a "Goodbye" are blasted down the tunnel. I never thought that I would be able to raise my arms on FoF, but with the ride smooth as glass, I can hold them high the entire time now. The only ride in need of lapbars now is Anaconda.

Following the aroma of funnel cakes over to the Grove, I got through the line for Drop Zone in twenty minutes or so, and was stuck with the middle of the purple quarter of the ring (WaterWorks side) for the third consecutive time. Despite sitting next to a terrified woman who swore the entire way to the top, I enjoyed the ride, especially the incredible freefall. You really don't hit the brakes until you abselutely need to, which allows for some exceptional speed.

It was across the brick midway to Shockwave after the drop, and onto the front row after a half-hour wait. I wanted to try for a standup raised ride with my feet off the floor as is possible on B&M standups, but I found that my feet were still flat on the floor at the maximum seat height. The lift, being the slowest of any coaster I've ridden other than Laser, provides a good opportunity to take in a view of the park. But after the top turn, things get moving with a great drop to raise your arms on and good forces in the loop. The standing airtime over SW's four hops I find to be unmatched by any other coaster, and if you aggressively brace yourself for the two banking entries, Shockwave can really be enjoyable. Only a bigger, better coaster would be a worthy replacement for one of the few standup coasters with some exceptional forces.

I wanted to check out Triple Spin, so it was over there and on after a single-cycle wait. Another enjoyable ride and good addition to the park's flat ride lineup. The combined negative and slight lateral g's at the top and positives at the bottom add to the ride, and the lateral spinning at the end is a nice way to finish off. After Triple Spin, I walked around the park a little and finally purchased a Volcano shirt I had been eyeing up, then headed back to Drop Zone.

The line for DZ was just about as long as before, but believe it or not, the attendant was allowing people to choose their side of the ride! So I finally had a chance to get as far away from the darn purple as possible, and got my seat in orange. It was drizzling lightly, and we started up and quickly traveled high above the park to the top, the Eiffel Tower and HyperSonic's full layout in view (train broken down on launch). After a moment at the top, which seemed longer than usual (maybe because there was a new view to take in), we plunge. Everything was fine up until the brakes, when the 3.5 plus g's combined with my OTSR moving downwards an inch or two left my saying ouch the rest of the way down and exiting DZ in pain.

Finally, it was over to Rebel Yell, and onto the Forwards side after a four or five train wait due to single-train operation. I can definitely say that it was a lot smoother in the second row of the forwards side than when I rode in the very back of the Backwards train last time, but still a little rough. I did get enough airtime to be enjoyed though.

Then it was back to the front of PKD and out of the gates to end another great day at the park this year. When you're at a park like PKD, you can really tell that they know what they're doing, unlike parks such as SFA, for example. None of the waits were more than 40 minutes despite average-sized crowds, and even an overcast day doesn't take away from the experience. One thing that I have noticed is that they have tightened up their camera policy (thanks to me ;)) - I was able to bring mine on all rides but one at the beginning of the season, now I can only get permission to take pictures on one or two thrillrides in the park, so I guess that if you want onrides, the best time to try is early spring. I'll be back again.

~ Blast Coaster | |

Wednesday, August 6, 2003 4:38 PM
Great TR,I was there last month myself & found DZ to be an outstanding ride (both times in the blue section) & the addition of triple spin to the grove's main midway really makes the park look complete there,too bad I didn't get to take it for a spin.

An interesting note is what occurred in the Volcano queue,a similar thing happened to me on Grizzly,the ride broke down & everyone was leaving but not me & my friends,we had a much shorter wait in line as a result.

Thursday, August 7, 2003 10:30 AM
YAY! I'm glad they decided to add the pre-launch spiels to FOF. They were so cool.

I agree with you on Volcano...the thing NEVER gets old. I can ride it over and over.

And about DZ. The first day I rode the ride, I always ended up on the side facing Hypersonic. I requested to be on the side facing the parking lot, so the attendant just had me wait off to the side and then let me go first when they started filling that side. I did it twice and one older attendant seemed to have a problem with it. Oh well :)

Glad you had a great time. Nice TR!

Friday, August 8, 2003 2:17 PM
It really pays to be a coaster enthusiast; you know when to stay in line and when to leave :)

Coreo81, I'm glad myself that they were reintroduced... I was upset when they were removed. I think I know which DZ ride op you're talking about... She's usually the more strict one.


~ Blast Coaster | |


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