Puyallup Coasters -- 9/13/05

Associated parks:
None

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 3:45 PM
Made my first trip to the Puyallup Fair to ride those four elusive coasters that are only open for three weeks a year. It was a terrific time. The fair is nicely laid out, with a huge collection of flat rides, including some classic gems mixed in with the new super spinners.

Started out the day with a ride across the Skyride. This looks suspiciously like the Skyride from the Seattle Worlds Fair, which was transported after the Worlds Fair closed. I suspect the same is true for many of the older rides in Puyallup. Anyway, it was an entirely enclosed affair, which sat two people side by side facing the same direction. The enclosures made it stifling, but the overhead views of the coasters were amazing.

Speaking of the coasters, my first coaster ride was on the "Super Wildcat," a large Schwarzkopf model with lots of drops and quick turns. It was running very smoothly, although near the end there are two helix sections, and dropping into the first one was quite painful. As the ride was running so smoothly up to that point, I wasn't prepared for it. Otherwise, it was a delightful ride.

Next up on the coaster front was the "Monster Mouse." Unfortunately, this one turned out to be a disappointment. It looked like it needed some major maintenance, the rust on some parts of it seemed to be eating the support beams clear through. They would only run one car at a time on the thing (probably because two cars running at the same time would have caused the whole rusty thing to collapse!), which led for long wait times. The cars also had a strange jerry-rigged safety mechanism, it was like a plunger on a long steel post that the ride operator smashed into your chest . Can't imagine what it was for, as the ride was braked so heavily that it nearly stopped moving entirely on the S-sections of the coaster. I love a good Wild Mouse ride, and I hope this one gets some maintenance instead of ending up in the trash bin.

The big attraction at the Puyallup Fair is "Roller Coaster," an out-and-back woodie with a double dip first hill and a ton of sweet airtime. They've taken a lot of care on this one, and the train cars are the most comfortable coaster cars I've ever sat in. (Sorry, I don't know the manufacturer. But they're the same trains that run on the Cyclone in Coney Island -- only in better shape.) Just a lap bar that came nowhere near your lap, no seat dividers, and cushy, cushy upholstery to land on after the coaster throws you out of your seat (which it does, sitting in the back). Rode the coaster twelve times, in various seats. The front seat remains my favorite.

The fourth coaster is truly special, I've never seen another like it. It's called "Kersplash," and again I suspect it was made for the Worlds' Fair. It uses Schwarzkopf Wildcat-type cars, which are pulled up a chain hill on a steel track. Then there is a (rather large) banked drop, gravity pulls you up the second hill, and then you plunge down a flume chute with water at the bottom. Then it takes you up another chain lift (parallel to the first one), drops you into another banked turn (this one even better), and then another drop down into water. It's the best part of a roller coaster (the drops) combined with the best part of a flume ride (the splashy drops), with nothing else in between. Short? Yes. Sweet? You betcha.

Now, onto the flat rides. I was very excited about a ride on the Rotor, which was my favorite ride at Cedar Point when I was a kid. It had its original Oriental theming, although the front panel of the ride was knocked out so you could see the interior chamber spinning, and they had painted a barber's pole stripe on it. It turned out to be quite a disappointment. I have yet to find a Rotor that runs like the one did at Cedar Point. The one at SFMM is so slow it's downright painful. This one was also spinning slow, and when the bottom dropped (a negligible 1.5 feet, mind you, not the 5 or 6 feet that it should drop), I just slid right down the wall to the floor in 1.5 seconds. Is there a Rotor left in the country that actually drops the floor to the level it should? The quest continues…

On the plus side, there was an Everly Rock-o-Plane in terrific shape, and much to my companion's chagrin, I still have my teenage skills for flipping that sucker around and around, and using the brake to its best advantage. Other classic highlights: Both an Octopus and a Spider, both running well (the Spider especially); a rather brutal Zipper (is there any other kind?); a Ring-of-Fire, and one of those groovy 1960's Ferris Wheels that have cars that look like flower pots (there's one at Rye Playland in New York as well).

Of the new rides, I enjoyed "Zero Gravity," which is the new model Round-Up (spins faster, has smaller diameter so the ride is more intense than on any Round-Up I've ever been on), and the one (sorry, I can't identify it by name) that simulates a hang glider, and you lie on your stomach and spin around in paratrooper fashion. Hurt the knees a bit, but the sensation was fun. On the minus side, there was a torture device called "Jumping," which is one of the new Huss Jump rides. This thing spun so fast and tight that nearly everyone on the ride came close to blacking out. You know, I should have noticed that everyone existing the ride looked ill before getting on it. Or that there was no screaming, because you couldn't even breathe. Oh well, live and learn.

In all, a great trip. The biggest bonus was that nearly every ride was a walk on (including the big coaster), which with a POP bracelet, allowed me to average 8 rides an hour. Highly recommended if you're anywhere near the Pacific Northwest during the month of September.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:01 AM
And Coaster Thrill Ride converts another.
I've been a fan of that ride and all things John Miller since my first ride 5 yrs ago. The ride does indeed throw you out, several times.

Every year the ride ops say it'll be the Monster Mouse's last. Too expensive to get in shape every year. That's why it doesn't open for the Spring Fair. The Fair is set to expand soon, and rumor has it the mouse will definitely go when that happens in favor of another coaster.

Those coaster trains are Prior and Church. Well, the yellow train anyway. The blue and orange are re-creations.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:28 AM
^That, and they are nothing like MOM's trains....

Glad you had a great time, though. I can't wait for the Huss Jump! :):):)

Looking toward next Thursday!

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Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:32 AM
Great TR...looking forward to getting there next week.

Yes, the trains are Prior and Church...the last remaining P&C trains running at that. But they are not the same as what runs on Cyclone. Cyclone's trains are 4-bench and not made by P&C, Puyallup's woodie trains are single bench.

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Friday, September 16, 2005 1:00 AM

Robocoaster said:

Every year the ride ops say it'll be the Monster Mouse's last. Too expensive to get in shape every year. That's why it doesn't open for the Spring Fair. The Fair is set to expand soon, and rumor has it the mouse will definitely go when that happens in favor of another coaster.

Those coaster trains are Prior and Church. Well, the yellow train anyway. The blue and orange are re-creations.


The Monster Mouse was running at the Little Puyallup fair last spring 2004. I think that was the first time I've ever seen it run during April, and I've been to all of the spring fairs since it's conception in 1992.

I was told that the fair expansion is already happening and that by next year more amusement rides will be added. Not sure about when a new coaster will go in. The fair reps told ACE last year they were "thinking" of having S&S build one with loops. Hmm, not sure if they knew what they were talking about. Oh well we'll find out soon enough. Can't wait!

Coaster Thrill Ride rules with its ejection air and giddy inducing drops!

Lisa

Roller Coasters of The Pacific Northwest

http://www.rollercoastersofthepacificnw.com/

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Friday, September 16, 2005 11:25 AM
Well, if they rode TT at Dollwood, I'm sure they got a good impression of what S&S could do with a looping coaster... :)

Puyallooper? ;)

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Friday, September 16, 2005 12:03 PM
Ahh the puyallup, I have always enjoyed the fair when I was younger and lived there. Interesting to hear that they may be adding a looper. Never would have seen that one coming. Havn't ridden the monster mouse before though, I would love to get another chance to go to the Puyallup someday though. Kind of hard when you like in NC though.
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