I'm a huge CP fan and my home park is SFGAm. I knew PKI would fall somewhere between the two on the amusement park scale of greatness, the closer to CP the better, but then again, I'm no Great America hater either. I was fairly sure I'd like PKI and was ready to ride the legendary Beast.
The day began with a short drive to the park and a short wait for the parking lot to open at 9. How did all those other cars get in early? We got a decent spot directly in front of the main gate. It was already miserably hot and humid. We slathered on sunscreen until 9:30 then made our way to the gate and through security. After getting a park map and still unsure how crowds would be that day, we decided to hit Face/Off first as it was testing. By 10 a considerable crowd had gathered in front of the Paramount Theatre. Once in we followed a group off the main midway down a little short-cut to F/O and got first train of the day. Great ride. Comfortable seats. I liked this ride better than the somewhat similar Deja Vu at SFGAm. Maybe it was just because it was a walk-on. Next we waited 2 cycles for the drop. Never been on a drop ride with a passenger car like this one. I like that it rotates as it takes you up. Next up was Delirium for another 2 cycle wait. I was glad it was up and running as MaXair is usually down when I'm at CP and I've only ridden it once. I loved my second frisbee ride on Delirium. If it's smaller in size than MaXair, I didn't notice. We then did Top Gun and waited 4 cycles for the front as I only like Iron Dragon in the front. I missed Dragon's 2nd lift hill, helix and mist and I had counted on liking Top Gun better. At least it's a bit more intense and gets quite a swing at the end. Adventure Express was next and a walk on. Far better than CCMR and rougher but the heavily themed final lift left me expecting a little more than the final brakes just past it. Then we waited a few cycles for front seat of Racer forward. Some nice pops of air I thought. By this time it was sweltering but the crowds seemed to be cooperating as it was only 11:30. We headed to Flight of Fear next and didn't mind the half-hour wait because of the great A/C inside the building. It was perfect timing as the heat was really starting to get to me. I had no idea what to expect from this ride but I was not disappointed! I loved this one. I don't think all the effects were being utilized though. But it was a great ride. I bet the lines for this one can get brutally long on hot Saturdays. Next we headed for Vortex. I did not expect it to be a walk-on but it was. We sat next to last row and loved this ride. I'd heard mixed things already about Italian Job but was not going to miss a chance to ride it. The line looked longer than the 15 minutes we waited. We were assigned the front which was great. But the ride was lackluster at best and the heat of the fire was not welcome on this scorching day. Also, the whole ride station area smelled of skunk spray at the time. After IJ we decided that a soda and a pretzel were needed before we carried on. The pretzel was possibly the worst I've ever had and the cheese sauce was bad too. Usually these pretzels don't have enough salt for my taste, this one had way too much and it was almost impossible to knock the excess off. Pretzel=bad but light crowds=good so we were certainly not going to let a lousy pretzel ruin our day. Even though the Italian Job literally stank, we were coming up on the Beast. I was a little intimidated by the tales I've heard of it's roughness as I don't have the strongest back in the world anymore, but nothing was going to keep me from taking a back seat walk-on. Wow. I was a bit shook up at the end but it was an awesome ride! My back is fine by the way. No question in my mind now why this coaster is so highly regarded. The line for Tomb Raider looked worse than the 30 minutes we waited. Another air-conditioned wait was not a problem. I didn't realize until the doors opened for loading that this ride was actually just an indoor Top Spin. I like Top Spins so I enjoyed the ride. FINALLY, a Top Spin with working water jets! Although, I got the feeling just as I had with Flight of Fear that not all of the effect elements were operating. Then again, maybe it's just me. Even though TR cooled us off a bit, the heat was still intense, so we decided we would just get soaked on White Water Canyon. At around 40 minutes, it was the longest wait of the day, we did get soaked thanks to the guest-operated water cannons near the end and that was fine. Since we were still wet, we hit the log flume in Nick Universe. Wanted to ride Reptar but the line looked a little long. We got re-soaked on the flume thanks only to the elephant trunk hose-down at the end. I'd never seen anything quite like Avatar before so we waited a cycle and took a spin. This thing was a blast! I loved it. We then realized that we had ridden all of the major rides and it was only 2:30. We decided to go to the water park even though we knew it would probably be crowded since it was so hot. We stopped by Scooby's Haunted Mansion on the way to the car to get our swim wear. I scored a 760 I think. After re-entry to the park, I got a frozen lemonade and we headed to Boomerang Bay. There was a line for locker rental at the entrance and it looked very packed. So we headed to the wave pool and found no wait to rent a locker there. The wave pool was pretty crowded and also very tame I thought. Next we waited about 30 min total for Coolangatta Racer. I always win. Then waited about 15 minutes for Aussie Twister only to find that my swim trunks have two small metal grommets on the pocket and they wouldn't let me on any of the body slides wearing them. I'd never even noticed these before and still don't see what the big deal is. Since the body slides were out and there was a long line for tubes at Crocodile Run, we waited about 20 minutes for the Sydney Sidewinder then we walked over to Kookaburra Bay and had a blast there standing under the tipping bucket and exploring all the water features. I snuck in one of the slides here. After hanging out there a bit went to put on more sunscreen and take a float down Crocodile Run since now there was no line for tubes. Next we waited about 10 minutes for another slide on Sidewinder. Then about 10 minutes for Coolangatta again. After that it was about 6:50 and the line for Typhoon didn't look too bad so we got in line for it just in time to get one trip down the funnel. Even though it was a bit crowded at first, I really enjoyed the water park, especially Kookaburra Bay and Crocodile Run. The best part was I managed not to get a sunburn. We changed and hung out by the tower and had a Lemon Chill. We wanted to get a few more rides in but Delirium and Top Gun were now closed, and F/O had a line. We decided to call it a day and headed for the car at about 8:15. We had a great day at PKI and the Bay. The employees were all very polite and all the rides and coasters seemed to operate very efficiently-many having a 3 train operation where possible-even though crowds were pretty light. The park is clean and beautifully landscaped with lots of trees everywhere. I'll never forget my first ride on The Beast or my first visit to this wonderful park. Can't wait to go back.
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