PKD Opening Day Some Problems, some surprises, and one big shock

Associated parks:
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Saturday, March 19, 2005 11:22 PM
Quick TR:

Weather: Absolutely beautiful

People: Very Light

Tomb Raider Firefall (one word according to my t-shirt, to be abbreviated TRF from now on)-Waited with other folks to be first on ride (I don't recall how long we waited, but it was fairly long). So then they opened the ride and both sides were loaded. All the restraints were locked, and we thought it was a go, and then the restraints popped open unexpectedly. Leaving the ride, one of the managers was nice enough to give us exit passes that we could use throughout the season, with I think only two ride excemptions.

Neither one of us would ever give up, so we hovered around the Volcano area. Then it was back for round two. Again, we sat down in the seats and the harnesses were locked. This time the platform went down but that's as far as we got. We were keeping an eye on TRF from the Volcano queue. After riding the blast coaster, we walked over and you know what they say; the third time's the charm. My nerves were completely on edge, not only because we had seen it test several times, but because I just wanted it to work so bad! And then it started to move!:) If the anticipation doesn't work on your nerves, then the music that runs with the ride certaintly does. Lots of boulder sounds, creaks, and ethnic drones.

I can't give you the exact program order, but all I can tell you is that there is one sequence that produces three flips near the beginning, and then a later one that hangs you upside down and then raises up, releases and produces five to five 1/2 flips (now here's the thing, Go With Gravity and I argued on what counts as a revolution, so subtract one from my count if going by his method). Needless to say, it was very cool. Taking the first ride reminded very much of the media day for Batwing. You have all these people watching you because they've never seen anything like it before, and it probably scares them more than a bit. And the area in front of the ride is very conducive for people to just spectate and chill, that is unless your standing right behind the fence that gets you oh so close to the pyro and exploding water jets.

Once the kinks were worked out, everything seemed to run fairly smoothly. It's not the quickest loading ride, but give everyone who runs it time and more practice, and it'll get better. It takes a lot of coordination between the three attendants and the booth to start everything. The queue is fairly simple, and you have your choice at the top of the ramp between the front or the back. We tried both, and like the front better because of the fire effects which were more pronounced because of the direction your facing. The water effects weren't obnoxious (yet) either. We only managed to get slightly wet, but I still prepared by putting everything in my jacket and putting my cell phone in a plastic bag. If you do put anything down on the platform, it will get fairly wet. The seats are awesome, and the harnesses are very comfortable. The detailing on the underside of the carriage is amazing also, which really stands out at night.

So for the rest of wrapup in no particular order, with some comments here and there:
Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Mansion (2x)- about a 3-minute wait each time. Compare that to last years opening day.
Avalanche Bobsled
Volcano
Flight of Fear
Anaconda
Shockwave
Ricochet
Rebel Yell Forwards-the big surprise. Rode it in the front and the out leg was like a bat out of hell. I can't remember the last time it ran so well. It got an immediate re-ride. The back of the train wasn't quite as good, as it seemed to stutter over the tops of the hills on the back leg.
Flying Eagles-First time riding PKD's flyers. It was interesting, but I still don't get the appeal.
Shenendoah Log Flume-There was nobody in line and it wasn't that chilly (even though the sun was going down), so why not?
Hypersonic XLC
Hurler
Drop Zone-managed 2 rides. Was having some on and off problems
Ghoster Coaster
Cave walk-through

Bezerker-Closed, and it didn't look like it was anywhere ready to run judging by the covers over each row.

And now the big shock (for me anyway): If there's an end of the night tradition that a lot of people keep, it's to make sure that you ride Grizzly at least once at night. There was just one problem today. The guy at the entrance said that it won't open until May at the earliest due to wood replacement. I can't ever remember going to PKD and not riding Grizzly at least once during the day.

Pleasant surprise: TRF t-shirts (and other t-shirts) for $10!

The Nickolodean Parade: Very colourful (read, very bright). As a sound guy, I was very impressed that the audio was time aligned every where we would walk. The only problem I had was that the entire midway from in front of Shockwave just needed to be turned down a bit. Between the parade music, and the game people, it was overkill.

Bottom Line: Great Day, great friendly staff, clean bathrooms, clean park, and I'm tired as hell and I have to get up at 6:30a.m., but it was so worth it!


*** Edited 3/20/2005 4:42:39 AM UTC by Intamin Fan*** *** Edited 3/20/2005 5:14:12 AM UTC by ***

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 6:27 AM
I know you have been to other parks that have a top spin. How does the ride sequence compare?
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 7:00 AM
I give the ride sequence a big thumb up. It's not quite as crazy as Kennywood's which produced seven flips in a row, paused, and flipped again, but I give Paramount respect for letting the program be fairly hardcore (by the way, Sam says it's the same program used on Riptide at Knott's Berry Farm). It's been a while, but I remember Dorney Park's Hangtime to run a fairly good program. It's definitely an improvement over the program at Great Adventure, which is fairly short, and doesn't flip a whole lot.

You know, usually PKD is a once a season visit, but I would love to go back and see the finished product, since there is more detailing to do, and yet more fire to be added! Another thing I thought was really cool, was when you were watching the ride with your back to V:BC, the volcano blast would light up the whole area, making it look even crazier at night.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 7:48 AM
I noticed the same thing. That happened a couple of times. In fact, I over exposed a couple of pictures I was taking because of that.
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 10:27 AM
So they haven't renamed the Ghoster Coaster to Fairlyodd**** or whatever?
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 12:16 PM
^Nope...that honor went to Carowinds this year thank god.

At least the Grizz should be back up & running by the time I get down there in july.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 1:21 PM
We made the 5 1/2 hour drive down to PKD for opening as well, and I was really excited to ride TR:F. I was very dissapointed that once again there were issues with a top spin (big surprise), but that was made up by getting to finally ride Hypersonic. Dare I say there is now a launched coaster that I like more that Storm Runner? I did see that it is rather jerky of a ride, but that launch was intense.

I as well was dissapointed to find out that Grizzly was closed, as well as Beserker. I asked at the office, and they did confirm that there is some track work being done on Grizzly, and that Beserker did not open due to the light crowds, and not enough staff, but it will be open in the next week or two. Also a great highligh of my day was getting a pic on my new digicam of myself with the Huss reps on sight for the opening of TR:F. As dissapointed as I was that this was another Top Spin the ride really redeemed itself come nightfall. The fire and water effects blew me away, and the ride is that much more intense. All in all I am looking forward to returning to PKD in April on my vacation.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 1:49 PM
I made it to the park for PKD opening day. I didn't do Firefall cause I wanted to ride it with family on pass day for the first time.

But I must say that Hurler ran the best it's ever been in a long time. I was very surprised by it. Also Hypersonic seemed a lot smoother then before and the launch still blows the rocket coasters away. But I'm sure as the season goes on, the ride won't be a good as it was yesterday.

A quick note for people who attended yesterday, all the theming and effects for Firefall weren't even complete yet. So the effects and everything will be even better then it was yesterday. Expect the ride to be 100% complete by Media Day on April 5th. *** Edited 3/20/2005 6:51:38 PM UTC by Hurricane Holder***

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 3:52 PM
phoenixphan, I hear you about being disappointed with the technical issues, but any ride that is complicated is sure to have bugs to work out, especially one that involves synchronization to a soundtrack. I'll admit I was upset at first too, especially when I sat in Germany on Avalanche Bobsled:) I don't know how many people noticed, but there were a lot of higher-ups watching, probably thinking the same thing we all were--WORK DAMN IT! When the restraints popped open, that was up there in scariness with the Batwing media day where we heard one of the Vekoma guys using a power drill behind us on one of the rows. I did notice on the three rides that we took, that after the restraints are all locked, there is a secondary lock that engages right as the ride starts (it's kind of quiet).

Things I left out last night:
Anaconda went down for quite a while. We ate in the pizza place that looks over the waterpark, and we didn't see a train pass for the 1/2 hour we were there. That's pretty rare.

Triple Spin: I actually heard some screaming, make that multiple people screaming on a Troika. It boggles my mind how anyone could be scared on that ride.

Shockwave: GoWithGravity commented that it "could" be the last year for it (which has been said every year since they removed King Cobra at PKI), to which I commented "I doubt they'd remove it", but then I noticed how badly the wooden handrails were leading to the platform. They look like they hadn't been painted in years. It seemed inconsistent with everything else in the park (like it was intentional neglect).

White Water Canyon: While we didn't ride, I found out that you can get really close to parts of the ride not visible from the queue or loading station. I never knew that you could cross over top of the loading station down the other side and up to a fence. It was kind of erie seeing so many empty boats go by, and occassionally you'd see an idiot or two riding.

The large slides over by the former Diamond Falls site are gone. Let the speculation begin.

There was a new midway game that involved bowling (I think it was duckpin) over in the arcade nearest Shockwaves entrance.

There's a Chick-Fil-A right near the Nickolodean Theatre (the restaurant that sits right under Shockwave's turnaround at the top of the lift). I don't remember seeing a "Closed on Sunday" sign, not that I stayed around long to look for one.

Lastly, some additional comments about the parade. While not the Electric Light Parade, it was nevertheless fun. Personally, I think it takes a lot of (well, you know) to stand out in the street wearing neon colors and dancing in a group of 40 people (or so) singing a song that was probably drilled into their head in rehearsals (and will probably cause them nightmares:). There were lots of very strange looking creatures from some of the shows too that are fun to look at. I kept saying "What the hell is that?" It was funny to me that prior to the parade I said "You know, I'd watch the parade if I came here 40 times during the summer and had gotten tired of everything else", and then we wound up watching the whole thing to the side of Hypersonic XLC.

*** Edited 3/20/2005 9:04:01 PM UTC by Intamin Fan*** *** Edited 3/20/2005 9:12:47 PM UTC by Intamin Fan*** *** Edited 3/20/2005 9:16:05 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 6:37 PM
Just take a nightime ride on hurler.
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 7:18 PM

Intamin Fan said:There was a new midway game that involved bowling (I think it was duckpin) over by Shockwave.

Actually the duckpin bowling game has been at the park for many years. Back in the good old days of two years ago when they gave us season pass holders a coupon book, we had coupons in there for free balls..or throws, whatever seems less dirty.

Also those giant slides were removed last year.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 9:38 PM
I've added a few more pictures of Tomb Raider if anyone is interested.
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 9:38 PM
Since I hadn't visited since last opening day, I forgot about the slide removal. That area presents some interesting possibilities, as was evidenced when I finally got a ride on the non-Richmond facing side of Drop Zone. If I were a betting man though, I think they're keeping it available for a possible Boomerang Bay expansion as mentioned in the survey. Even though it was lowest on my list, I'm sure other people would like that judging by the popularity of Water Works. In my opinion, the waterpark is fine the way it is, in size and variety of things to do. Of course, the other way it could swing would be for one of the other survey options--the expansion of the Nickolodean area, which again in my opinion, is big enough as it is.
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 9:40 PM
But I-Fan, Screamscape says they are going to put a B&M Flyer in there. ;)
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 9:56 PM

Intamin Fan said:


And now the big shock (for me anyway): If there's an end of the night tradition that a lot of people keep, it's to make sure that you ride Grizzly at least once at night. There was just one problem today. The guy at the entrance said that it won't open until May at the earliest due to wood replacement. I can't ever remember going to PKD and not riding Grizzly at least once during the day.


The attendant outside of the queue today told me the ride is suppose to reopen on May 14th. FWIW and no I wasn't talking to the Dippin' Dots guy.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 10:51 PM
I added the "at the earliest" part, because I don't trust commitment dates. Although Paramount is fairly solid, with Tomb Raider not being completely finished for opening day, I wouldn't bank on it. I mean I'm glad that the guy gave you a solid date, but I think as a general practice, leave things fairly vague. We're still not out of the woods when it comes to snow (although it looks good this week), and with April comes rain (and sometimes a lot of it). I guess it's nice to have someone at the ride entrance telling you that the ride is closed, but wouldn't it have been a lot easier to post a sign (like they did with Joker's Jinx when the lapbars were still being added) and putting the guy to work somewhere else?

I looked at some more of your pictures. Pretty cool, since I'm old school and need to get mine developed. If anything thing comes out decent of TRF (especially the nightime shots), could I possibly get you to post them? By the way, does PKD serve Dippin Dots? I don't remember seeing any carts.

One last thought on PKD for tonight. Did you see the sign in front of Ricochet that warned that in the fall that there might be bee's and hornet's nests at higher elevations? I probably have one of the bugs (or both) wrong, but it was definitely two insects that you don't want to mess with. *** Edited 3/21/2005 3:59:15 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***

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Sunday, March 20, 2005 11:09 PM
^I saw those signs last season too....they're also posted over at drop zone as well.

Got my PKD trip date set for july 9th this year & TR will be the first thing on my list followed by Grizzly if it's running of course.

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Monday, March 21, 2005 7:24 AM
I-Fan is completely correct. FWIW, for those that don't know, stands for "For What It's Worth" . I want to be crystal clear on this. The guy said SUPPOSE to open on May 14th. Please don't run to the park on May 14th and tell them some guy on Coasterbuzz said Grizzly is suppose to be open.
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Monday, March 21, 2005 8:51 AM
I-Fan check your private messages for how to get those pictures to me. I'll be happy to host them.

Yes, PKD does serve Dippin' Dots. My wife said she wanted some when she saw them at the park yesterday. I believe we were somewhere around the Paramount Theater (ironically) when she said it.

BTW, Was the statue of the Grizzly Bear outside the entrance of Grizzly always there or is that new this year? Perhaps it just been cleaned up or something and it looks new.

I keep forget to mention. I spoke with the HUSS rep yesterday. He said this particular version of the ride should give you 3-5 spins. *** Edited 3/21/2005 2:09:23 PM UTC by coasterguts***

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Monday, March 21, 2005 11:25 AM
Yes the bear has always been there.....funny thing is I never can find it myself while in Grizzly's queue so where exactly is it?

Don't forget the infamous gum tree as well,or have they finally cleaned it up this year? I'll look for both on my trip in july & hit TR:F as well.

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