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Monday, May 13, 2002 1:07 PM
Saturday May 11 was a BAD day to decide to go to PKD, but since the 12th is our anniversary &
we were prepared to deal with some crowds at least on SAT, we went for it.

After driving through thick traffic up I40 from Wilmington, NC FRI afternoon, there was very little traffic heading up the I95N towards Richmond, especially the FRI before Mother's Day. This is where things went very downhill quick. After about 20 minutes in our room & experiencing strange Taco Bell, our hotel turned into party central. Every twenty minutes, either the cops or the front desk had to be called, or I had to be brave & stick my head out the window to see if the madness could cease. I'm one to like a party, LOL, but not in the parking lot ALL NIGHT, with no shame.
So SAT in PKD w/33,000 plus people, mostly what looked like 8th graders on spring trip, it was a
bad recipe from the start, I think. No real sleep, plus a line of traffic EARLY up I95, all heading to where we were. Weather in consideration, it was mild compared to our beach climate, & from what we could decipher, it had been raining the week before. The weekend's weather was indeed, perfect park weather.

SAT(since the days were SO different):
There's only so early we can arrive at the park, usually twenty minutes before gates. WHY?
Because PKD does not open their kennel until the park gates open. 10:30, 10:30. We were trying
to be a little earlier than that even, since we were processing our passes that day. No luck, they wouldn't open the kennel even a few minutes earlier. Parking at the kennel, it's a short walk to the pass office, where we decided to go ahead & process, as the line had been predicted to be long ALL DAY for processing. Why use vouchers to go in & wait two hours for most rides when it's going to
be that way all day, right? Back to the kennel, we were actually informed basically, AFTER our
weekend, & purchasing those passes, that we would be unable to participate in any ERT as long as
we were in need of kennel service. That SUCKS, our dog is part of our family & she loves going to
the parks with my wife & I. Too bad, maybe PC has a better facility convenience factor. But
nobody @PKD would even let us know ANYTHING about ERT, not that we'll drive from Wilmington, NC to Richmond JUST for ERT, but when you're there, & they've pretended it's part of the package, then they have NO IDEA when it even happens.......ERRRRRRRR! The only thing we
found out about it, well, WE don't get it.

Finally getting in the park, we ran straight to Grizzly as quickly as possible. Where we ended up
waiting about 45 minutes for a back seat, our shortest wait of the day.
THE RIDE: Insane.
PKD has 'done something' to their restraints. All black lap bars, which I do not remember from last
season(my 1st PKD visit), but the punch line: the ops come around to check the restraints, I'm very
slim, LOL, I ALWAYS get stapled, so I leave my bar up real high, so when they push it down, it
usually doesn't get pushed too far down on me. Any ways, the ops come, pushes the bar down all
the way to where I could feel it touch me, & it pops right back to where it had started! It was a
beautiful ride. Not being impressed w/ Grizzly last season, the train DID NOT feel like it was going to make it up to the turnaround, much less through those trims, but them it turned into classic fun, LOL. Hands up all the way, it's furious. I can close my eyes & wonder what buzz bars would feel like on that ride. TLC is indeed needed for Grizzly, but it still was delivering.

Best part of the day, we're standing in the middle of Hypersonic, admiring the nice new blue paint on
the outside of the rail thingy, thinking how I didn't take any pictures of it close up on it's big curve return, when all of a sudden, WHOOSH, here comes one of those modified trains, BARELY
making it over. BTW, there was still 8 seats. It made it's roar back around & onto the brakes.
Wow, the added pain of a huge crowd & having to watch H:XLC testing, nothing could be more
fun, except two plus hour Volcano & FOF waits, which we were avoiding.
So, onto......
which had never impressed me, while about half way through the hour wait, WHOOSH, another
Hyper train, this one, doing it's just like last year, rolling back down business. Just like last season. I took a picture of the train from a distance after an INCREDIBLE ride on a Hurler, which also had black springy back up lap bars. I now see why people love some Hurler. With a little room in the lap bar, it's a grand sensation. The ride NEEDS work still, the signs are felt & visible. After taking the Hyper train pic, it looked like it had a fin across the back of it. Strange. Maybe part of testing?
It looked like one of those strut support bars, like under the hood of the rice rockets, across the next to last row possibly attached to the body. That got my mind thinking, maybe the train bodies flexed, & needed that kind of tie to keep them rigid, you know? Any ways, more on that in a few.

Black lap bars, lots of generous but safe room, plus the first drop off the return is SCARY. This is definitely one of our favorites. SAT skipped forwards. Backwards was about a 20 minute wait,
including downtime when the red train got somebody stuck in their seat.

Scooby Doo was a must, since it had been skipped last year, & a little birdie reminded me it had
buzz bars. The parents over there said the wait was at just over an hour. Onto Volcano, maybe?
No, the line was way out, around, & through this makeshift thing. Before we got through the gates
that morning, the guy in line at the pass office said he had already been in there, & somebody he was with said the line was at an hour & a half already. They were telling us about 2 & a half at that point. Avalanche had a menacing looking line, too. So onto FOF, where we decided if it was going to be a close to two hour wait, we wanted to do part of it in some AC. One hour, fifty minutes later:

Which was, just like last season(our first flight), AMAZING. We were ready for launch with our hands up screaming, everybody else seemed scared. One of my 'desert island' picks, lol. The new on-ride photos this season not only print up the date, but they use a new system(?) that makes the passengers behind you aliens, holding tightly onto those awesome lap bars.
Out of FOF, we noticed Anaconda & Shockwave had CRAZY lines going! What's up?

From there it was back to Grizzly, because the best coupon in our silly passholder book was this
Wayside Grill coupon, so Grizzly, then pseudo-lunch.

After waiting for over an hour this time for Grizzly, we saw a dude with a bunch of bars & stuff at Hypersonic. I thought it was those 'strut bars', my wife wouldn't let me take pictures of them, "her film" was "too expensive for obsessing", as she put it. Any ways, the train launched, with the cage & very much unlike last year, the train raced over at a very steady pace, no hesitation at all. He launched the train about four times, it was beautiful, then got in his truck & left.
Grizzly ran like a beast. We decided to go ahead & wait a little over an hour for Hurler again before "lunch/diner", which got moved to the Congo grill.

Onto Volcano, at a one hour & forty minute wait, watching the trains sit in the station & dispatching slowly, on top of a huge crowd, it seems like we were over there the rest of the night, LOL. Black restraints this year....
Seemed more intense than the ten or so rides I took the day we were there last year. That launch
over the top gets more & more intense. By the time we hit the last twists, I was actually feeling quite nervous, LOL, it's that good of a ride. To all who think it's short & not much to it, Volcano gives/gave me every bit the same sensation as MF & its' first drop. Only downside, I scream, I throw my arms up, you should see my bruises & hear me try to talk, LOL! And those last twists make me nervous more & more, I love that.

About 7 rides on not even all their rides, & we tried to get in there ASAP, it was just that crowded, LOL.
We exited after Volcano at about a few minutes after 9, & lines were STILL long, & about to close
from what we could tell, but enough was enough. There were too many groups, trains were loading
funny, it was a mostly young crowd. Too many backpacks. Too many basketballs, so many "loose
articles", lots of 13 year old dressed like not so appealing, people crawling on handrails, climbing on stuff, the place was trashed ALL DAY. No employees IN LINE enforcing any kind of what I like to call 'efficiency rules'. Impossible to walk, insanity. The prizes have continued to become larger & larger. The $8 soda cup is a real winner, too! I call it the bee magnet, not only is it possessed & sprays your soda out when you least expect it, it's impossible to really drink out of. So what if it only costs a dollar to fill. Employee Job Fair was happening outside the gate(?), not being mean or anything, but the park needs more good help! Things operated VERY poorly SAT. We were eager for Mother's Day after the day we had.

The trip back to our hotel(which is a commute, lol, that's my travel style, we stay a little away from 'the place'), these Richmond drivers swerved to miss a row of CONES & gave me that nice life
flashing before my eyes sensation, luckily, there was no one in the lane that was blind to us, &
control of the vehicle was regained. I just hope those people were drunk, you just CAN'T drive like
that. Feeling euphoric from being alive, we pulled up to our hotel, which looked MUCHdifferent
tonight! The first thing noticed was a beautifully painted truck, the Toonami Mobile Game Unit with trailer. Being a huge animation freak, pictures were a must. The trucks 'guy' was checking in, & didn't seem to mind my admiration. A nice little suprise indeed. Across to Friendly's, back to the
hotel, Cowboy Bebop, bed.

No traffic in or around Richmond. My wife's driving to the park should become PKD's newest
attraction, LOL!
The parking lot doesn't have credit card machines, we ALWAYS manage to forget. Didn't matter
much, their lot wasn't just as full of buses as cars, so that's always good.

From the kennel, straight to the locker, straight for.....
VOLCANO. 40 minute wait, it were even more intense. Ride again, same wait, more intense than
ever again.

FOF, 15-20 minutes, once again, the only screaming in the station, hand up, ready for launch fools
around. Can't wait to get up there, get on FOF with some people that are READY, LOL! Doesn't
take away from the ride, but I like CRAZY TRAINS.

I say, "what's that dip!" I love that dip. I hate chute the shoots or whatever they are, but DF rocks. No lap bar, once again, we were the only hand up people:(. This changed me, I'll ALWAYS ride
On the way back to the wood, looked at the Flying Eagles, thought about it, got afraid it would freak me out, & went straight for Grizzly.

Walked on to the back seat, had a massive ride experience, even touched the tunnel but it didn't
hurt, I kinda palmed it in the middle much unexpectedly. Not something intentional in any fashion. The train makes it back to the station, there's NO people waiting, everybody scrambles, a few of us move seats, we moved up to the fourth row real quick & somebody else hopped in back. It was very natural & unplanned, we didn't realize they allowed rerides;), so it was a suprise, suprise. This time, though, the train gets stuck on the lift. During this time, we see two wonderful test runs of the
Hypersonic, LOL! FLYING over that hill. Every time it went, I threw my arms out & yelled in
honor of her beauty. After the girl walked up there, they yelled for her to come back down. We
MAY have been up there ten minutes, maybe. We were talking with the father & son behind us
having a NICE time, LOL. The lift of Grizzly was very relaxing. Once the lift started back up & we
rolled over the top, it not only did its' nice first drop, it ACTUALLY raced up to the trims, & after we regained speed, it was sheer bliss. I had too much room in my lap bar, & it was an old school ride. Then they give us exit passes, good for the whole season, for any ride(except Hyper). Wow,
they thought they'd inconvenienced us!

Mad, rough, fun beast today. We did three trains, musical chairs, I like the back two seats best,
although I had heard the front was better for air. Hurler upset three of us last year! It was rough & slow. Rough & fast is much better.

Lines had been nonstop on SAT, but after a few Hurler runs, we walked onto the new mouse. The
mice are nice, the fast lift, drop, then "up top" setup is a winner. You MUST sit on the side without the bar, keep your hands up! There's one turn, I fail to spoil it for you, but I felt like I was going to be ejected sideways with a great force.

Rebel Yell backwards only had the blue train for Sunday, we had one good ride on it...
RY BACKWARDS, I'm glad for that lap bar, felt even more so Like I was going to fall out on that
one drop. That's not even with "rude room", like lap bar up foot or something.
The only rough ride we took all weekend. That thing going forward, not good today;(.

Was a walk-on today. We rode in the front last year, & though that was it, NO MORE. SO!
Straight to the back to feel the pain. Strange. It gets to the top of the lift & you're flying! It makes it through that first drop & inversion in amazing fashion. Even the inversion after the MCBR was enjoyable. We ended up riding three more times! All in the back. I did notice, however, heads really seemed to shake at the front. Anaconda WILL be ridden again.

Because we had too. Not to add to the count, but because, especially after riding it, it's very classic & happy;). I don't appreciate the Scooby theme, he's my least fave animation characters. But, that's just me. Nick area, I loved, I know I'm a "freak", but any excuse to go through there I will always take. We couldn't enjoy this area on SAT, so SUN just kept giving & giving.

Lunch was at the Wayside Grill, where they have VEGGIE BURGERS. The Chicken sandwich was
a strange one, I guess you CAN make BBQ sauce out of Coke & catsup. Pepsi would've worked
better, but there's not telling what that sauce was. It tasted, strangely good, though. That, some crackers, anything else we had. My wife was thrilled to get a veggie burg', though.

I don't ride these, but somebody said they weren't working the house or something(?), so it wasn't
that wet today. Nice, relaxing ride. Seat belts, bungees, whatever those things are, kept springing
me to the side! Those aren't cool belts, no more rides on that thing.
Skipped the log flume, actually we forgot about it.

After visiting the dog, it was back to Grizzly, two more rides, two more rides on Hurler, & then back to FOF & Volcano to finish the evening. ALL at a leisurely pace. Thw entire day was at leisure.

As for Hypersonic on Sunday, this 'strut bar' I was seeing, upon watching testing on Sunday, IT IS A
CAGE, possibly to go around the seats? I've got 35 mm film of it, but as many people as were
there, I'm sure there are pictures of it somewhere. This cage was behind the passenger side, next to last seat. I thought from a distance it had looked like the bar reached across the train, not the case. There was only one of these on the train that was testing. While looking at the train up close, my
favorite mod is indeed you look like you can see the launch mechanism open right in front of you,
where as it was 'covered' by that old lead car thing. There are gaps where they've removed the
windshield, lots of duct tape & electrical tape on the train. That cage thing looked very strange up
close. All tests that day with the cage on it went crazy smooth, over in a fine, fast, smooth solid motion. The train launched many times Sunday. But looking at the train up close, some employees were walking into Hyper's exit gate, the girl said something about the cage, & how that was how they were going to prevent people's arms from being able to be up on the ride(?). All I can say is I hope she was saying that JUST because there was someone standing there & it was funny at the
time, you know? The thought of a device to keep my hands down, AAGGGHH!!!!!

Then was the part of the day the wife got to play in the Water park. I had to sit there, surrounded
by, people in bathing suits, some very hot looking women, while I wait for my wife to float around
for a while. At first, I was ill, but HEY! I didn't see many girls over the age of 18 on SAT, so I'll
gladly wait around the Water Works, ANY DAY!

One awesome ride on Avalanche before doin FOF, Volcano a couple more times, & then HOME,
down the 95 back to the I40, back to the beach;(..

Hope this wasn't boring, long, or dull, or lame:), it's my first, possibly only TR......
PKD was two different parks this weekend.
There were some bad employees, one girl at the office that was making faces at us when I turned
around after we had asked her a question. She looked embarrassed, though, so I didn't say
Main lesson, even on less crowded days, Volcano commands a line. Can't wait for Hypersonic to come back!
~FIN! Phillip.......

Monday, May 13, 2002 4:48 PM
Nice trip report. Volcano has new black restraints? and how does the park look this year?

*** This post was edited by GhettoCoaster on 5/13/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by GhettoCoaster on 5/13/2002. ***

Monday, May 13, 2002 6:14 PM
From what I heard at many sites Hypersonic will be ready on Memorial Day.
Tuesday, May 14, 2002 2:49 AM
PKD has always had those springy black lapbars on their woodies.
Tuesday, May 14, 2002 8:42 AM
Volcano has black restraints this year, I double checked my pics from last season. Other than the color, which may just be a cover(?), they look the same. The yellow restraint in my on-ride from last season was looking real nasty around the insides, LOL, black at least won't look dirty.

I was hoping somebody would say something about the lapbars on the woodies. I didn't remember if they were like that last year or not. The wood didn't get much attention last season, so I couldn't remember. I love the way they sprung back, I wish all woodies without buzzbars had lapbars with that action. I've NEVER had many good rides with ILBs, sans backseat GACyclone, until this weekend.

As for the general appearance of PKD, by mid SAT, the place was littered beyond belief, IT WAS TRASHED!!!!!!! The basic scenery of the park, like the landscaping, I was blown away by that stuff last season, because all I had ever heard from people was that it was below par. The overall niceness of the park continued with this visit. I just wish more of the "other" visitors would respect the place enough to use a garbage can every once in a while. Poor Volcano just got mistaken for file13 this weekend.

By SUN morning, though, the place was CLEAN again, & by clean, it didn't look like they had just washed the trash away with a hose, LOL. Except Volcano, I'm sure there's only so much they can do with clean-up around there, with all the rocks & that water.

Hypersonic MAY be ready for Memorial Day, I've been reading that, too. The official sorta phrase they've taught the employees seems to be "they'd like for it to be ready for Memorial Day", which sounds like it may or may not, they cannot go wrong saying that. While we were there, the train was testing way pretty for SUN, it hurt not being able to ride the tests were looking so good. If all they need to do is bolt on those cages & cosmetically finish them up a bit, it looked like it was to be no time before they are "GO". It could be this weekend, it's very much a mystery, though, but that's how it was looking. They have evrything there & you can see it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 10:50 AM
No Flying Eagles?! What's WRONG with you? That's one of the MOST fun rides there! :) And, damn....aint putting your hands up on EVERY ride a pain in the rear? I just like to sit back and enjoy the ride, but I digress....

-Rob Vaccaro


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