I finally broke the ice for the 2006 season. I basically got tired of reading everyone else's trip reports and had a need to create my own, despite my insane schedule.
Weather on Sunday- Sunny, Bordering between warm and hot. In the 80s.
Traffic - Not bad at all from Long Island to Rye - with the only traffic (both directions) at the Throggs Neck Bridge Toll Plaza. [Stupid name for a bridge] "Hey I got a great name for this bridge...let's call it...Throggs Neck."
Conditions - Only about 2.5 hours to spend once the parked opened.
Got to the park way too early. The cars in the lot were only for die hards who were interested in staking a claim at a picnic table and bar-be-que pit. I decided to go to the pool. Bad idea. The Pool doesn't open until mid June. THe Beach? Low tide, and predictably frigid water temps - I'll pass.
I did stop by the boardwalk museum. There were some nice ride parts and photos and memories of summers gone by. Admission is free, but it will only cost you about ten minutes.
On to the fishing pier. Hard to beleive that even though the entire pier was open, not a soul was fisihing.
Back to the line...
Note: usually a single rider has an advantage...not here. The deal with pricing is that you have to buy either a "Fun Card" with points that you deduct as you ride or a "Fun Bad" which gives you 6 hours of ride time. There are 4 lines at the two ticket booths. 3 lines are for purchases, 1 line is for "fun band service" What this means is that even if you buy a fun band, you only get a recipt and then you have to wait with your party on the Fun Band line to get process. Here is where I met the biggest and slowest line of the day. The park just opened and everyone headed to get their tickets. A few people made the mistake of waiting on the Fun Band Service line first without paying for it on the other lines. BIG MISTAKE.
If you go with 2 or more, have one stand on each line. This way you can save a ton of time. I swear it took me 45 minutes to get what I needed to start my day.
I knew I had a limited time, so here's what I went on and some general thoughts...
In order to pay tribute to the kid who died last year on "Ye Old Mill" I headed there first. I usually don't like dark rides, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but the story acted out in small diaramas was quite weak and hard to follow. Also, there was a lot of "dead time" (Very Bad Pun) between the scenes. It got boring quickly. I did notice a few vent fans in the ceiling. (This might be a good place to try a first kiss with a potential significant other though)
Dragon Coaster. I thought It ran a bit faster than last year, but there was no air and only one train operation. The minimuim height is 48 inches. I'm only saying this because Rye PLayland is not really a coaster park. They have Dragon, Superflight, A Wild Mouse and 2 kiddie coasters, but it's bascially a transitional park. A great place to take kids who can ride withtheir parents. In my opinion, They excell in their flats. I find Dragon Coaster a bit lame, but that's me. They do get a lot of mileage from it's lift though.
Whip: Insane today. The turnarounds were fun, but it was the side slamming that was most intense. That ride was pounding on Sunday.
Mind Scrambler - (This one also claimed a life a few years ago) Still my favorite scrambler I've ever been on. It's in a tennis court style bubble and they blare music over a decent sound system with strobes and interesting lighting patterns. Awesome, but too short. (There's a sign that says "No Requests" by the operator's booth.) It's a good thing I didn't lug my Merle Haggard or Ricky Skaggs CDs. They say that if you listen closely on the last ride of the night you still hear....
Do you people think that when a ride claims a life, it's looked at differently? Am I sitting in the same car? Was the same song playing? Might make a good TV movie.
(Sorry - I digress)
Round Bumber Cars - I've never ridden a doughnut before, it was fun, a bit hard to control and I tended to over-steer.
Log FLume - Not too big, not too hidden, cute, mild, relaxing, ahhh.
Playland Plunge - Since the flume didn't wet me too well I got in a boat. You know the drill...you wait, you watch, you load, you go up, you say "hey, there's no water in the upper part of the trough," you turn, you smile and wave at the folks on the bridge, you drop, you make a big wave, you soak the people you just waved at, you soak the people you didn't wave to, you soak yourself....ahhh....
Spin dry on the Swings - Moser Style, good ride, but too short.
Thunderbolt - Going backwards started to get me, other than that it was a good ride.
FOOD: MOstly franchises here (Nathan's - Burger king - Ranch 1 and Carvel) Expect to pay more than usual. I had the Ranch 1 Chicken strips. With fries and a soda it set me back $7.50. Tasted good though.
PARKING: 7 Bucks - you get a map and a bumper sticker for your effort. If you come early you can park where you want.
Atmosphere: Lots of families! The Kiddie Rides were hopping all day. I wonder if the park atmosphere changes at night. I haven't been there past 5 PM in at least a decade. The lines Sunday were surprisingly ok, except for the initial ticket rush. The music played from the rides is LOUD...and most of it was Rap and Latin. (I think I heard "My Hips Don't Lie" at least 5 times from different rides. Look, no offense to Shikera, but I am approaching my mid 40s. I don't have hips, I have bumper guards.
Entertainment: not sure if anything was happening on the stage. I didn't stay too long. There also is a sea food place on the boardwalk that had a flyer (paper not the ride) giving the names of the local entertainers who were playing there and when. I tried to get some seafood before I went to the park, but they couldn't change a hundred dollar bill first thing in the day. No shrimp, no fish stix, no entertainment.
News: I noticed that last year - Playland had a twister ride (a topspin clone) that had an intense program. This year...all that remains is the concret hexoganal footing and part of a fence. I asked about it at guest relations (because I'm a nosy weasel). They told me the ride was sold. "Why?" "I don't know." "Is anything coming in to replace it?" "Catch-A Wave." "Catch a what?" "Catch a wave." "What's that?" "I don't know."
Another manager told me it's going to be a platform ride. It's coming in July. That's all I could get out of him.
The Derby Racer is STILL not undulating back and forth.
Ride Ops: There were many of them out and about. They weren't bad, but not great. I was thining about the poor guy at Great Adventure's carousel last year, who had to load, check, run and clear the entire ride by himself.
CLeanliness: The park, especially the main prominade has newly planted seasonal plants, with a few (too few) benches in shady areas. Garbage was picked up and not an issue. THe bathrooms were fair. (No hot water) The food stands were walk-a-way counters which were adequate.
Security - Happily, they were everywhere. The best kind (Friendly and Firm) Police were there too.
Prices - RYe Playland is not cheap. For 35 bucks you get 6 hours of rides. (Thankfully the 6 hours starts when you scan your first ride and not when you buy the ticket). Still - that means you have to spend 70 bucks per person for a full day. That's VERY steep. AT MOrey's that same day costs 47 bucks and I can add on a waterpark option. (Unfortunately, it means I would have to drive about 4.5 hours.) The fun cards offer points at 1$ per point - making the Dragon Coaster 4 bucks a ride. That's too much (IMHO) Yes, there is a deal where you get a few extra points if you buy two different levels, but it's not really that much. There are mechanical kiosks where you can add points to your card instead of hauling it back to the ticket stands.
Yes -I know there were many other rides I missed. I just ran out of time.
OVERALL: IF you want to go to a place where you can ride a few quality flats and a few classics with your kids, this is a still a nice park to visit. I hope to return with a more detailed report (This time with the family) about Rye later in the summer.
Thanks for reading this and have a great night / morning / or day.
Playland is listed as a National Historic Landmark, an honor that it shares with Kennywood.
I didn't want to start a new topic for a trip report, but I just came home from another mini-trip (1.5 hours) at Rye Playland today (June 18) and this is the update:
Wow did they work fast. The new ride "catch a wave" is installed and running well already. So the guy who told me it would be here in July was off in the better direction. It is basically like the Moby Dick Ride. A flat platform, held away from the backdrop by two pump arms that lift the platform back and forth at a nice clip, unitl the ride can make it in a complete 360 for a few turns then it slows and reverses direction. (Also similar to Knobles' Magic Carpet). From the looks of it, it seems as if it's a permanently mounted a traveling ride. I didn't ride it as the height requirement was 48 inches and since I dragged the family today...I wasn't going solo.
The coolest part about today was that even though we only did a few rides, my son, now 8, was tall enough for what I chose.
Swings: Most swing rides require a larger height than 44 inches. We rode in a tandem swing and he loved it. (You always wonder how a kid is going to react to his first experiences and he loved it, but just like his old man, he thought it was too short and he wanted more)
Wipeout - Very intense program. (Since it was Jacob's first time, I chose a foward facing seat). I swear I counted two pops of air. Since Trabants are harder and harder to find, this one upgrades it and replaces it nicely.
Playland Plunge: Not only did we enjoy the reprieve from the 90 degree day, we waited for 4 other boats to douse us on the way out.
Kite Flyer (Or as Jacob calls it: Belly Ride): Again not knowin how a kid will react to the first ride is tough, especially when caged in. Very sucessful, but could have been a bit longer.
Thunderbolt: He always loved Music Express, this was a no brainer. (The dj changed hte songs 3 time sinto the ride).
Whip: Still going and slamming hard. As we were moving, Jacob kept sitting closer and closer to me. He was smiling nad laughing. Might be the best ride there. (Perfect father's day moment).
Crowd: Large again, but hte ride lines weren't bad at all. The line for the Dragon Coaster was about 15 - 20 minutes, but I didn't ride. Flats were one cycles waits.
Security: Not as noticable as the last time, but no security issues to mention.
Ride Ops: PLentiful, Helpful, inobtrusive. ONe ride op - a guy on the Wipeout scored a few points. Some people allowed us to walk up to the marker to make sure Jacob was tall enough. I thought he was. When we entered the platform, he stopped us and took out the stick. He said, "OK" and proceded to let us board. I stopped to thank him for doing his job very well and for caring about safetey.
Food: After an hour and a half we ate some chicken strips from Ranch 1 (A tad spicey, expensive, but good)
Restrooms, Not so good. One guy was using soap and washing a towell in the sink with it.
Parking: 7 bucks and you still get a bumper sticker on Weekends.
Happy Fathers day everyone!
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