My day started out very early from Pittsburgh. I was up and on the road at about 6:30am headed for Rochester, New York. It was going to be a long drive, but should be worth it, I had a lot of things planned for today, just hoped it wouldn't be an anticipointment-filled trip. After an uneventful drive, I arrived at Seabreeze to be pleasantly surprised.
Seabreeze is located in what looks to be a very nice area. Lots of lakeside campsites and grassy areas that looked like a really nice place for a quick weekend trip. Unfortunately I was by myself so really didn't have an opportunity to take advantage. I pulled into Seabreeze's free parking lot, unknowningly on their waterpark "side". There weren't many cars in the lot, which was a nice surprise, I was expecting a decent crowd for a Saturday on a holiday weekend. I got my tickets (was hoping to avoid the full $20 charge, but for just two ride tickets ended up spending $12 anyway ... maybe should have just splurged the $20) and was off into the park. The waterpark here is small, but quiant and looks pretty good for it's size. It's no Wildwater Kingdom, but it'd keep ya cool, and there are some pretty tall slides. Heading over to the park side, the place has the same feel as the rest of the area - quaint. They have a one-sided Hawk 48 that was operating, and the Jack Rabbit coaster was the only other thing going at 11:30am. Unfortunately, the bulk of the park's rides weren't scheduled to open until 12:00 so I had some time to kill. I only had two ride tickets for specific purposes so I took a spin on Jack Rabbit.
Jack Rabbit - this thing had some interesting trains. Almost looked like refurbed Schwartzkopf steel trains made to run on wooden track. Comfortable, but didn't really help the ride much. I rode in the back seat, and this coaster just didn't impress. Decent sized drop, couple of hills, couple of turnarounds, a tunnel, not a whole lot to speak about. I'll give it a 3/5.
After Jack Rabbit I had about 25 minutes until Whirlwind was opening. I walked around looking at the park, taking in the sights. Their kiddie coaster looked pretty well done, with a tunnel and everything. There were nice plantings everywhere, all the rides looked to be in great shape. A trend I noticed here, and which continued through the day is there is something in Western NY with putting rides smack-dab in the middle of the midway. Seabreeze actually has an adult-sized frog-hopper which I'd been saying would be a good idea for a long time - little did I know it actually exists! But, the thing was just right in the middle of a wide concrete midway, just seemed kind of odd to me. Ohio and PA parks are generally midways with rides to the side. Maybe a regional thing left over from when these parks were trolley parks and such. Finally at noon, Whirlwind, the reason for my trip to Seabreeze, opened up. I hopped in line and was on in about 5 minutes.
Whirlwind - woot for Maurer-Sohne spinners! The whole reason for this trip, and this one didn't disappoint! What great little rides. Intense first drop, lots of laterals, and once that spinning lets go, it's just crazyness, gotta love it! Every park should have one of these things. I left after only one ride though, again, disappointed I didn't have someone else in tow. Rating: 5/5.
I wish I would have brought someone with me, as I would have stayed in Rochester much longer than I did, but since I was flying solo for the time being, I headed out after only 45 minutes, satisfied with my two rides, but also figuring it was time to move on. I will be back to the area, if not this summer, than next for a nice long weekend by the shore and a little more riding on Whirlwind!
Another uneventful drive brought me to my larger park for the day, and the one I was most afraid of crowds at, Six Flags Darien Lake. Now, for something I was hoping I would be able to say, and I now know for sure that I can:
SFDL WHINERS, PLEASE SHUT YOUR FREAKIN' PIE HOLES!!!
This was a great little park, and a place that I would gladly have as a local park. Perhaps if you whiners wouldn't visit every other day and ride SRoS 30 times per visit you wouldn't be bored, hmm? Nah, couldn't possibly be a case of overexposure.
Ok, bitterness over, time for the real report. I entered a parking lot that was pretty much full, I was parked on the outskirts, so I feared the worst for lines, but only $7 to park? Sweet! I got a little turned around trying to locate the entrance gate, but after finally finding someone else just heading in for the day, I found my way. Immediately after entering the gates, I can already tell you SFDL whiners why you don't get a new coaster year after year, and it's something you've been told time and again, so I'll repeat it here.
This park does not exist for coasters and rides, it lives and dies off the waterpark.
A good 98% of the people in the park had bathing suits on and at some point looked to have been either in the water park or on water rides, and it wasn't even that hot of a day! The water is the real attraction here, the rides just keep it interesting and give you something to do in between being soaked to the core. I had some extra time since I got through Seabreeze quicker than I thought so I did a little wandering. The park is real spread out, there's lots of room on the midways, and from what I hear about crowds on concert days, that's a good thing. Today though, was surprisingly light. Would the lines actually work out in my favor? I decided to save the best for last, so I headed for the second most anticipated coaster at this park, Viper. I walked towards what I thought would be the station, instead ending up in a dead-end cul-de-sac with the exit for Viper and a couple of flat rides. So, after again being turned around (like a true male, I didn't need no stinkin' map) I found Viper's entrance.
Viper - what a great job SFDL's done with this coaster's infield! Grassy areas, mature trees, nice planting, and to top it all off, a mini-golf course through the structure! Such a better use of the infield of an old Arrow than any other SF park (ahem SFGAdv). The line proved to be non-existant, just a quick station wait and I was on towards the back of the train. Up the great old clack-clack lift hill, reminded me of the old Phantom. After the little dip off the chain, a turn to the right lead to some absolutely wicked and unexpected airtime down the first hill! We're talkin' CP Corkscrew type air here folks! Out of the seat all the way to the bottom before slamming into the seat for a powerful vertical loop. Already grinning like an idiot, I braced for the "butterfly" which actually wasn't too rough and a great inversion which you don't see much of any more. A slightly rough ascent into the brake run lead to a hard mid-course stop, followed by a plunge through the! trees into some slow hang-time laden corkscrews, and a fun ending helix through a tunnel. What a great old ride, and another successful Arrow entry into the "Viper" lineage! I love these old Arrow loopers, they can be really painful, but they also have so much unexpected airtime (well most, ahem SFGAdv). Fun fact to know and hopefully not tell: anyone ever noticed that the ride manufacturer plate for this ride says "Arrow/Huss"? Rating: 5/5.
From the top of Viper I had scoped out the rest of the park, getting my bearings and decided to head for the SLC next (no idea what it's called). On my way there, I noticed SFDL has an amazing collection of odd flat rides, all of which were running! There were your basics, but also some weird ones, like a standing enterprise, a RCT-style inverter ship, and others. Again, what the heck are you locals complaining about?!? I didn't have time for the flats, I was on a coasters-only trip due to my tight schedule, so after again getting slightly turned around, I was in line for the SLC.
"SLC" - as usual, these things have longer lines, but I was surprised at how fast the dispatches were here. Folks were moving through pretty quickly, with minimal stacking. Pretty impressive. After about a 20 minute wait I was on ... and ... ouch. Not the worst SLC I've been on, but certainly once was enough and never again. I hate B&M for ruining what has a chance to be an amazing layout. Damn you patent laws! Rating: 2/5.
Past some more odd flats, again, with some located smack dab in the middle of the midway, and again noticing the amazing number of folks in the waterpark compared to the rides park, I headed for the next in the lineup, Predator.
Predator - had some high hopes for this twisting wooden coaster. From appearances, it should be a pretty good ride, but wow was I wrong. The sad part is, it's completely a maintenance issue. The trains ran like they had rectangular wheels, the track felt like it was pitted all through the run. I can't even tell you what the ride was like cause I was in panic-brace mode through the whole ride after getting my gut slammed at the bottom of the first hill when the train tried to grind to a stop from 50 some odd MPH. Great layout, horrid maintenance making for a horrid ride. If SF would spend a little money to maintain the thing, it'd get much higher, but in it's current state, 1/5.
Boomerang - Same as usual, but still fun. Updated trains. 4/5
Now for the kicker, and the best in the lineup...
Superman: Ride of Steel - Conversely to Predator, I didn't have very high hopes for this coaster. I had already ridden SFNE's SRoS earlier this year, and figured THAT was the coaster-god and this was just the warmup to that. I wasn't by any means expecting a ho-hum ride, just nothing spectacular. I was kind of thrown looking at the ride that there were only 3 major hills I could see. I figured there'd be three large hills, a single helix turnaround which I'd seen pictures of, and a final bunny hill into the brakes. Again, WOW was I ever wrong! I decided to wait out the front seat for my first ride, since I learned at SFNE that all Intamins have the airtime in the front instead of the back (who knows why, crazy Swiss). After only about 30 minutes wait for the front seat, we pulled around to the chain lift and started on up. I was just checking out the sights from that height when we crested the top ... and the surprises began! What a drop! It's no Millennium Force, but it's damn close, and right at the lake no less! Right off the drop into a powerful turn and over a great floating airtime hill. Off this hill, a quick run to a little ejector pop followed by another great surprise. Those helicies are in-freakin-tense! A double-helix taken at huge speed, crushing you into your seat while tears stream from your eyes from the speed. Through a great chopper support and into an incredibly cool, straight, uncluttered SPEED run! Who ever thought that a simple stretch of unmodified straight track could be so much fun?! Over an insane ejector hill, and into crushing helix number two! Out of the second helix and into SFNE land with a curving ejector and two straight bunny ejectors, followed by the shortest, scariest brake run ever! The thing's barely longer than the train, you're hitting it at a good 30+ MPH and the other train is RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU! What an end to an amazing ride! Now I can't figure out for the life of me how some idiot managed to fall out on the brake run of this thing, and more than that, how he managed to injure himself to the point that I believe he did (didn't he die?) It's like a 6 foot drop onto gravel, I've fallen further off of monkey bars before onto gravel and I'm still here. Seems like a Darwin Award to me. This ride was simply incredible. Took the best parts of Millennium Force and the best parts of SFNE and tossed 'em all together while adding it's own little flair to the mix! Millennium has reigned supreme on my "list" for a few years, but in a couple of short months, has fallen hard to 3rd place, replaced by a couple of Supermen! Best. Ride. Ever. 6/5!
I did a couple more rides on Viper, just missed seeing the Batman show, and got two more front seat rides on Superman before peacing out of a surprisingly lightly-populted SFDL. Another park I'll definitely be back to, and an amazing surprise! A great little park, and with a little maintenance, home to 3 great coasters! Another uneventful drive took me to Erie, PA, home of Gannon University and Waldameer Park. A good friend of mine goes to Gannon, so she and I had dinner in Erie and she showed me her school and all the "sights" of Erie and we caught up on what's been happening in the 2 years since we saw each other last. After our trip down memory lane, she came with me to Waldameer to give Spinning Dragons, my second Maurer-Sohne of the day, a try. She wasn't expecting much as she had a very low opinion of Waldameer. I tried to keep an open mind, but ... as far as the park goes, she was right.
Waldameer's a little run down. It's no Erieview Park (very little could be!) but it's no Seabreeze or Kennywood. There's a collection of typical flats and some games and such, but nothing to really write home about. In stark contrast is Spinning Dragons, a shiny, well-lit, moderately landscaped ride sitting in the back of the park. We purchased enough tickets for two rides and headed for what I knew would be a good ride.
Spinning Dragons - We hopped in backwards and after a jerky start, the ride was underway. After the first completely unexpected drop, my friend was hooked! And I was laughing uncontrollably as was expected! Such a fun ride! We had a ton of spinning on this time through as there was a larger dad and a real small kid on the other side of the car. My friend was completely surprised and practically pulled me back around for our second ride! Again, sat backwards and just as good as the first time! Love these Maurers! Rating: 5/5
The day ended with me driving to meet up with my fiancee in Geneva-on-the-Lake Ohio for a little drinking, which turned into a lot of drinking and some DDR, always a lovely combination. I fell off the machine trying to do B4U and almost died when my fiancee said "let's do Break Down!" cause of course, drunk or not, I HAD to play it on Heavy! Damn those 1/8" metal pads not letting your feet slide!
So all told, 8 new coasters, 3 new parks, one new #1 overall coaster, 5 beers, 6 DDR songs and one giant ache from trying to do a 9-footer as the last thing in my marathon of a day ... *** Edited 7/5/2005 4:38:02 PM UTC by Impulse-ive***
SFDL WHINERS, PLEASE SHUT YOUR FREAKIN' PIE HOLES!!!
This was a great little park, and a place that I would gladly have as a local park. Perhaps if you whiners wouldn't visit every other day and ride SRoS 30 times per visit you wouldn't be bored, hmm? Nah, couldn't possibly be a case of overexposure
I had to laugh at that comment. I Couldn't have said it better myself.
Can anyone tell me if Texas Giant is any better? It looks awesome, but so did Mean Streak. :)
You may like the collection of flats... but ya know what? They've been the SAME COLLECTION of flats for the past 20+ years! That's part of the problem. Twister is really the only new/recent flat we've recieved, and that one seemed to slip by Six Flags eyes (rarely ever mentioned on the web site). Silver Bullet has been down WAYY more than it's been up the past two years, and that's always been one of the more thrilling & popular flats in the park.
The waterpark HAD a lot more slides. It had 4 body slides, 2 drop (w/ a heavy yellow plastic thing) and 4 half-inflated wet/dry boat slides. That's a reduction of 10 slides...
...not to mention the lighting packages on the Giant Wheel is horrible & has never been fixed to its glory days (how many Six Flags employees does it take to change a lightbulb? The world will never know!).
Oh, BTW: It's called "Steel Dragon" at Waldameer (just think of the SBNO monster coaster in Japan).
...and just a final note to defend the SFDL whiners... from many of the trip reports reported this year so far... it has been reported that attendance has been way down even during weekends. Only time it has been up-to-par was during concert events & 4th of July.
...and one thing I will give the park props for is a kick-ass laser show that still beats Cedar Point's hands down.
Shame on you, Get back to Seabreeze. The most underated small park on the planet.
Chuck, Thanking you for your TR.
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