Wednesday, August 8, 2001 10:35 PM
After a fantastic day at Knott's, which continues to give outstanding rides on Ghostrider and still be my favorite theme park, my east-coast bud Joe and I headed up to Scandia, and the Upland Family Fun Center. We actually hadn't planned on Upland, but when almost at Scandia we noticed how close it really was.
Scandia is a extremely compact arcade/mini golf center. There are a few rides in the far corner of the park, including the 2 coasters Scandia Screamer and the Little Dipper. As there was no website for the park, we guessed it should be open by 11, which it was. If you plan to ride the coasters only once, you can get 2 single ride tickets for $9, but a P-O-P admission is $18, and worth the extra nine bucks.
We met up with well known enthusaists Sean Flaharty and Jeff (King?) at the Screamer, and Jeff told us they were hitting 18 parks in just 6 days, all they way from Legoland up to Silverwood! ...and I thought I was intense when I did 5 in a weekend. Jeff also advised us to ride in a way which would protect our shins, which I later learned was an important tactic. Cross your legs slightly and put your feet on the axle of the lap bar, and you should be fine. I almost cut my leg open on the 3rd drop though, so don't take this as advice, but more so a riding requirement!
Scandia Screamer is insane, and gives a much more dynamic ride than one would think, judging by its smaller stature! Driving to the park, one can see the layout is simple, and basically follows the pattern of drop rise and turn, drop rise and turn, with a few camelbacks when the space permits. The back seats deliver suprisingly severe airtime on many of the steep drops, and merely ejector air on the rest. I prefer the front seat though, as it feels more floaty, and doesnt slam you into the car at the bottom of the drops. Both should be experienced though, as the sudden and RCT-like transitions make the 2 seats very different experiences. I witnessed many un-initiated riders getting caught off guard on the 3rd and 4th drops, which are especially steep in relation to there length, so watch out for those if you ride in the back!
The Little Dipper kiddie coaster was strange, it rolled back slightly entering the lift each of the 3 circuits you stay on for. Not very smooth either, but some fountains in the middle, and a good view of the Screamer above.
Upland Family Fun Center is a mini golf and go kart place, with a few Carnival-quality rides in the entrance of the complex. The Dare Devil miler kiddie coaster was temporarily shut down when we arrived, but when it re-opened, the mechanic let us ride 14 times in the very front without getting off, without paying at all! What a guy, thanks to whoever that "greasy-handed dude" was. Walking back to the parking lot, another rider advised me that the front was the place to be, and looking back at the ride I agree. The back does seem to give you a good slamming on the first 2 drops! "Felt like a hard punch in the ribs every ride." Sounds like fun.
We're hitting DCA on Friday, and then I'm back to Salt Lake City. I'll miss all these coasters out here in California...
Musician, snowboarder, member of ACE and the ECC
Thursday, August 9, 2001 7:45 AM
Ah yes, the very well named Scandia Screamer. I must have passed by it 30+ times going to and from Vegas over the years, and never rode until last year. Easily the scariest "small" steel coaster ever! You have to love the rattle of the structure too!
I liked the back seat better, incredible!
"X" marks the spot in 2001!
Thursday, August 9, 2001 9:05 AM
Yup...I think Soggy and I (and now you, Ed) are die-hard Screamer fans!
It's been a pleasure to discover small rides that deliver a punch (Cornball, Hi-Miler). This means that really great rides are within the grasp of small local parks.