We got to the park around 10:10 am, and after parking and going through security, we made our way over to Nickelodeon Central to wait for the rope drop and the walk back to Volcano. When the time came, we began the long walk, but while everyone else went to Volcano, we separated from the group and headed over to the new Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion. We figured it was probably best to do this as it would probably have the longest, slowest moving lines the rest of the day. We got to the entrance with only 3 people ahead of us, but unfortunately the ride wasn’t finished testing yet. Around 10:45 the ride finally opened and we entered the queue.
Seeing as how this was my first trip to PKD of the year, this was my first ride on Scooby Doo. For starters, let me say I thought the themeing outside the ride was exceptional. They really went the extra mile to make the ride look amazing outside the building. All the effects and things to say really make the queue quite enjoyable to walk through, well, at least the part over the swamp. As for the ride itself, I enjoyed it. It’s nothing spectacular, but it was fun. I loved how nearly every target you hit made something happen, though often I was so distracted trying to rack up points that I didn’t see what happened when the target was hit. I also found their scheme of getting you all to look right into the camera by putting targets all around where the camera is completely ingenious. My score the first time: a respectable 990.
From there, we were off to Avalanche. We were with a friend who had never been to the park so we really wanted to ride everything. Unfortunately the ride was still closed, so we skipped to Volcano. After about a 45-minute wait we were on the ride. The line really wasn’t that long; we just waited the extra time to get the front seat. Volcano never disappoints and this time was no exception. The crew was working quickly and efficiently, the ride was as smooth and exciting as always, and launch was as awesome as the first time. I love this ride so much. Do they ever run the third train on this ride anymore? For that matter, do they ever run the third train on FOF?
Speaking of which, FOF was our next ride. Maybe a fifteen-minute wait and we were in the front seat. I still give this ride props over Joker’s Jinx at SFA simply because I think that being inside increases the excitement considerably, I just wish the MCBR wouldn’t slow the train down so much. You just seem to be hanging out the side of the car until the train begins to pick up some speed again.
After that it was over to Anaconda. No wait at all for the back seat so we took it. It’s still running pretty good for an Arrow megalooper with the only part borderline uncomfortable being the butterfly element before the corkscrews.
From there we decided to head to Drop Zone. It was a little after noon, but the ride still hadn’t opened for the day. We had seen it test once or twice earlier in the day, but we still had to wait until about 12:30 before it finally opened. With the super high capacity of the ride, we were o by the second cycle. The wait is always worth it. Drop Zone at PKD remains one of my all tine favorite freefalls up with TOT at MGM and Power Tower at CP.
From there it was over to Rebel Yell, we decided to stray away from Shockwave for the day. We hoped to ride Rebel Yell backwards first, but it was closed leaving us no choice but to go on the forward side. The line barely spilled out of the station, but with only one train running, the line moved VERY slowly. After about 15-20 minutes we were finally on. By this time it was raining lightly, though that really didn’t add much to the ride. By the time we came back to the station, they had opened the backwards side so we decided to take a spin on that while we had the chance. Neither side was amazing. Fun, but not amazing. In fact the ride seems to slam you down much more than it used to really hitting hard on your back. With only two people staffing each side of the station (one at the control booth and one checking restraints) and the increased violence of the Rebel Yell, today’s ride was just so so.
We proceeded over to Ricochet after seeing the long line over at Hypersonic, however, right when we got in line they shut down the ride because of the oncoming thunderstorm. We made the most of our time by heading over to the Action FX Theater; one of the few rides that remained open during the storm. Oddly, the ride was a walk-on despite everything else being closed, but who were we to complain? I have to say that I think Sponge Bob is one of the best films they’ve played in that theater in a long time, though I’d still love to see a return of the James Bond film they had. By the time we got off Sponge Bob, it was pouring down rain so we ran around to ride Days of Thunder. Nothing spectacular, but I had been on it the first time it was in the theater so I wasn’t expecting much. It was still raining really hard when we got off that so we made our way towards the entrance of the park to do a little shopping. The rain soon subsided to a sprinkle so we headed out to the car for a quick picnic lunch.
By the time we got back into the park, it was nearly 2 pm, but all the major attractions were still closed. We tried for a ride on Scooby Doo again, but with a full queue, we passed up the ride. We meandered over towards Hypersonic looking for anything worthwhile to ride. The Scrambler by Volcano (I forget what they call theirs) was open, so that was fun, but pretty much nothing else on the way was worth riding. We considered waiting at Hypersonic until it opened, but past it up in favor of going to the 3:45 Magic of the Movies show.
Lets just say this is a MUCH improved show over what they’ve had in that theater in years past. I remember several years ago when they had a laser show in that theater that we went to see during another thunderstorm. Lets just say we walked out of the theater halfway through the show in favor of being in the rain than watching the show. Well, this Magic of the Movies show IS worth spending the time to see. Before the show they have movie questions running on the screen to keep your interest. Many of the later questions have some funny little twists like how they ask, “In what year was the film Gilgi released into theaters?” Then instead of giving the answer, it just says something along the lines of “Who really cares? That was a stupid question anyways, let’s just forget that and move onto the next.” They also seem to bust on Brittney Spears a lot in the questions, which is pretty funny.
Anyways, onto the show, in the first segment, four preselected audience members do sound effects for the movie Sleepy Hollow: one person on the thunder board, one person on the wind machine, one person doing the horse steps using coconuts, and one person doing a voice over…the audience even gets to do sheep sounds at one part. There are a few comic twists, but most are only funny when you’re there to see it for yourself. During the set change, they show a preview for an upcoming Paramount movie…we saw a preview for “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” the new Jim Carry movie based on the books by Lemony Snicket. After that, the next segment is using a green screen to do a scene from “Titanic, ” you know, the one where Rose and Jack are on the front of the boat. Before that, they do a little gag and hand the guy a sketchpad and the girl a robe and say they’re going to do one of the most memorable moments of the movie. They begin to the clip of the segment in the movie and just before you see anything “non PG rated” the other host stops the clip. I’m sure there were a lot of parents getting nervous and covering their children’s eyes just in case. The whole thing is done well and they do “Titanic 2: Still Cruising” after that putting a Caribbean beach on the green screen. Unfortunately, after a short montage of Paramount Movie clips, the show is over. Overall, it’s a GREAT show and I highly recommend you go and see it, but I do think it could have used at least one, if not two more segments. It was a half an hour, but it could have been 45 minutes and been better.
By this time, the rain had completely stopped, so we headed down to Hypersonic. The line wasn’t too long, but it seemed to move pretty slowly. We waited for the front seat so ended up waiting about an hour or so. Still love the launch, but the ride is getting a little jittery after the main drop. I like how they removed the brakes from the downward slope of the bunny hop at the end, but it just slams you into the brake that much harder in the end. This is another one of those rides that could have so much higher capacity but doesn’t. It has (or at least had) 4 trains, yet I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it run three. Still one of the most amazing launches out there.
After that, we made a quick run on Ricochet, nothing to interesting to say about that, then headed past Drop Zone again, which was still closed on our way to Avalanche. About 3 cycles later and we were on the front seat. It’s got a little bit of shake to it, but it’s still an enjoyable ride and a great ride if you’re there with your significant other.
From there, we headed to Scooby Doo again. Literally no line at all, we walked right up and got directly on the ride. Sat in the front seat this time and scored a much better 1680 for a personal best for the day.
Next was dinner at the Wild Thornberry’s Café. Glad they finally did something smart and are selling Chickfilla food there now. It’s actually a reasonably price for the amount and quantity of food you get, I paid a little over 8 bucks for a 12 piece nugget meal with a large size waffle fry and a refill on my souvenir cup. All the food seemed fairly fresh, so I was happy.
We then headed up the Eiffel Tower. Such a nice view though it was pretty cold and windy up there. Drop Zone was STILL closed…We had avoided the other woodies fearing the recent reports of them getting too violent, but decided to spend the remaining time hitting what we had missed. First up was Grizzly, which was a walk on, and not nearly as bad as people say it’s been. It’s just as smooth/rough as it has been in the past few years. Worse than ROAR at SFA, but no worse than Wildcat at Hershey. The same could be said about Hurler, which was also a walk-on. Both were enjoyable dusk/night rides even with only one train running on each.
With one last hope of Drop Zone being open, we headed past it with no luck on our way back to Scooby Doo again. Again, no line at all, a complete walk on. Personally, the queue would be a little better at night if it was a little darker with possibly some thunder and lightning effects or wolf howls ala the Haunted Mansion at WDW. Still pretty good though I only scored a 1310 this ride, I blame it on sitting in the back seat. Seems this ride would always be a good one to hit at night. It’s out of the way of other major attractions, it’s not on any main paths, pretty much the entire rest of Kidzville is dormant at night, and the only real place you can see it outside of Kidzville is from Avalanche which doesn’t get the lines either. Seems all those factors would all contribute to shorter lines at night.
Anyways, after that was a night ride on Volcano in the back seat. Gotta love when the flames go off before your launch and you can feel the heat and smell the fumes when you exit out of the mountain. The line was only about 25 minutes so it was more than worth the wait.
We ended the day with one more ride on Avalanche while we were in the area simply because it was a walk-on.
All in all, it was a pretty good day despite the rain. Crowds fluctuated between light and moderate throughout the day with the longest waits being for Hypersonic and Volcano. I think Scooby Doo was a wonderful addition to the park and a much needed dark ride (I’m hoping SFA will eventually take the cue and build a few dark rides of their own). The park could still use one or two more goo0d steel coasters though. A nice hyper/giga NONLAUNCHED coaster and a floorless or flyer would really complete the parks collection of coasters nicely. Other than that, my only negative comment was the single train operations on Rebel Yell and the fact that Drop Zone was only open for about 2 or 3 hours the entire day. Would have been really nice to get at least one more ride in on DZ before the end of the day. The new show is fantastic, the park was clean and well kept and overall, though not very talkative or enthusiastic, the staff was quick and efficient. Thanks PKD for another great day.
I'm heading to PKD tomorrow & hopefully it won't be anywhere near as crowded as my visit there last year so I can hit the rides I missed.....namely Anaconda,Avalanche(for some reason it always breaks when I go near it)as well as the flats I missed out on,namely triple spin.
Grizzly is running on the rough side you say? I hope it's not as bad as Roar has become,perhaps you just hit it on a bad day because I've never had bad rides on the grizz,now Hurler(aka firewood:the ride) on the other hand isn't even worth the long walk through the queue just to get to the station.
That ride is just so darn rough it isn't even funny,or worth riding even if it's a walk on & I had a major headache after riding it(marathoning Grizzly near closing time didn't help)& your best bet for getting short lines on HS:XLC is to get there as soon as the park opens....the lines will be much more bearable as opposed to later in the day.
Scooby doo & the haunted mansion is definitely worth the wait,the queue theming is great especially the fact that you're treated to cartoon clips in the exterior queue area,I managed to score a somewhat decent 360 points....more like 390 if you add the 30 points from the other zapper I was using at the start of the ride.
I only rode Hurler yesterday because I had made a deal with my friend in order to get him on the carousel,which he doesn't like but how can you go to a park like PKD & not ride the carousel at least once? it'd be like going only for the flats & deciding against riding any of the coasters.
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