Playland (Vancouver) April 28

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 3:56 PM
Playland, in the heart of Vancouver, is my new home park. I visited it with my wife last Saturday, and left with mixed feelings.

Coaster (or Wooden Coaster or Roller Coaster -- Playland's own signs and maps are inconsistent) is a great woodie. Excellent (almost violent) airtime in both the front and back rows. The turns are slightly banked and very smooth. Overall, it's not as good as The Phoenix, but just as good as The Comet (Great Escape) and other classic woodies. Coaster has no seat dividers, no head-rest, only a single-position lap bar to grip onto. Solo riders really get tossed around -- there are signs all over saying everyone must pair up, but ride-ops were not enforcing this last Saturday.

Corkscrew is a typical Vekoma Corkscrew, although it was surprisingly smooth, and the post-corkscrew elements are very long and lack intensity.

Wild Mouse is a very old model, with manual controls and apparently with no mid-course block brakes. Ride ops push cars onto the lift hill at a time when the car on course should reach the brake run slightly before the recently launched car crests the lift hill. Capacity is very limited.

Kettle Creek Mine is the only themed coaster in the park. It's just a kiddie coaster, but there are mine-like elements and a bit of greenery around the track.

Hellevator is a tower ride (S&S Combo Ride) with great views of the city. A nice addition to the flats.

Flats: a modest collection of typical flats. All of them look like the carnies forgot them after the PNE exhibition last August.

Park impressions:
* Ride ops are not empowered to enforce safety rules. Several times we saw ride ops allow under-height riders on thrill rides including the S&S tower. Line jumping was witnessed and never addressed.
* With the notable exception of Kettle Creek Mine, none of the attractions have any theming -- they are just scattered around the perfectly flat black-top. No trees. No grass.
* Playland is a babysitter park. Season passes are cheap, and the inner city park offers easy access. Teens and tweens swarm the place. Playland offers 'Guardian discounts' (50% off regular admission for adults visiting with kids), but the only parents we saw were with kids under 10. I think Playland should consider eliminating season passes or pricing them in line with local ski areas to minimize babysitter park issues. (Season passes: $275 for a winter at Grouse Mountain vs. $75 for a summer at Playland).

Summary
Overall, the park reminded me a lot of my first visit to La Ronde nine years ago. It's a black-top park full of kids. There is not a lot of family appeal, but it's worth stopping just to ride the coasters. *** Edited 5/1/2007 7:58:25 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 4:06 PM
It's amazing how smooth "God" is....oh yeah, there's another name to add to your list. Seriously though, Coaster is about as smooth as they come and it's quite old. Great ride. And that Corcscrew is the smoothest Vekoma I've ever encountered.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 8:26 PM

greatwithnorth said

typical Vekoma Corkscrew


Vekoma made corkscrew coasters.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 9:24 PM
I visited Playland when I went to the World's Fair in 1986. COASTER is one of the best Wooden Coasters on the Planet. (Only Holiday World's LEGEND and Dollywood's THUNDERHEAD rank Higher on my Wood Twister List. Their CORKSCREW used to operate at Boblo Island Park outside of Detroit.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2007 9:17 PM
God....

*sigh*

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007 10:14 PM
Carl Phare was an evil genius....in the good way. Texas Cyclone meets Avalanche.... :)

The mouse was cool, but God RULES you...

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Saturday, May 5, 2007 3:57 PM
That mouse IS hella scary, though....
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Saturday, May 5, 2007 5:35 PM
With the notable exception of Kettle Creek Mine, none of the attractions have any theming

Why should there be any theming? It's an amusement park not a theme park.

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