Hello Coaster Fans Who Are Now Trying To Figure Out How To Hit 8 Parks In One Day At The Start Of Coaster Season,
FINALLY, opening day!! Usually, Shawna goes with me to every park known to man, but unfortunately, she wasn’t able to get off this coaster-opening weekend. Fortunately, my older sister happened to have her 26th birthday on SFWoA opening day, so what better thing to do than to get her sick on some roller coasters!
She got her AAA ticket for a mere $15 and I already had my season pass, and NEW parking pass. SFWoA gets two BIG thumbs up for their parking passes this year. They are a sticker that goes on you car and a season pass holder must be in the car for it to work. You also get your own pass lane on both parking lots. We arrived before the main gate went up, which it did around 9:50am. As many people know, SFWoA “holds” people in areas until the National Anthem plays. I usually head first thing to SUE, but due to Intamin not getting it’s parts to SFWoA on time it would not be running for awhile. So we headed to BKF. The chains dropped and we were first on BKF. At this time there were running one train, but as the lines grew in the day they added train 2. We rode the front seat (something my sister never has done). GREAT ride; love the wind and the tears in my eyes. This is still my favorite floorless coaster out of them all (the ONLY one I have not ridden is Scream at SFMM.) Oh, one thing to not NEW this year, ALL rides have measuring “sticks” that are permanent and all the same type (also can be found on the loading platforms). And the major rides have an employee at the front of the line checking people and answering questions about the ride, or wait time.
By this time, the sun was really starting to come out (it was actually predicted to be somewhat cool, but it quickly grew up 70’ and sunny.) We had to shed a few clothes. Villain was up and running, which we knew it would be. By the way, the WESTERN AREA of the park will always open right up at 11am, which it did. We headed to Raging Wolf Bobs (RWB). WOW talk about NIGHT & DAY!! I can tell you it was REALLY strange seeing Villains extra train on RWB. There is a HUGE difference in look of the new track and old track. I’d say there is about 3, maybe 4 more layers of wood for the actual track; the track is a lot more thick. Anyway, on to the ride…I wouldn’t say I was stapled, but I wasn’t going anywhere. The drop produces some good airtime, and the second drop is always awesome, as it drops and dives left. But…OUCH!!! These trains are JUST as BAD as the old ones on this old track (keep reading)...The first half, I got beat up…BAD!! Then after the first fan turn around the station the new track started. What in the world? Am on the same ride? I have NEVER, EVER experienced such two TOTALLY different rides on the same ride on the same trip!! This second half is GLASS, maybe even smoother, almost too smooth. After that ride, I am all in favor of shutting that ride down and redoing the first half, even if it takes all summer. It would be SOOOoo worth it. Also, the brake run “shed” is not there anymore, just a frame.
We both decided to head over to the Wild Life side, and come back to rides side later. The Wild Life side actually looks pretty darn good for opening day. It’s pretty weird though, since I’m so used to seeing 1000’s of flowers and they haven’t been all planted yet (not to mention it still can frost in Ohio this time of year.) We climbed the nets, which I recommend to EVERYONE (talk about a work out.) After that we took around on the Bounty. This area is a nice collection of great looking flat rides, landscaping and atmosphere. The entire flat ride collection fits in nicely here. Shark Attack was next. They have added 2 more “saw tooth” sharks, and I’m guessing 3, maybe 4 more “brown” sharks. It’s amazing how little kids love this attraction.
Amy, and I then went all the way over to see Shouka’s first performance. On the way there we noted, Aaron Tippn’ wristbands for his concert tonight, and that he was also practicing playing Enter Sandman…interesting since he’s a country person. Any way, the Dolphin Harbor area now has LOTS of bleachers, and can actually hold a lot of people, unlike last year. Finally, we made it over to Shouka’s stadium. The place was packed!! We climbed up to the center top. They added some special effects to the camera, that goes around and films people at the beginning. They are actually pretty funny. You can definitely see the bound in between Shouka and her trainer more than ever now. And she has learned to splash the crowd even more with here trained behaviors. For a first show, it wasn’t bad at all. After the show we went back and watched the sea lions (not the show) and ate some BBQ Chicken at Shorty Pete’s BBQ Smokehouse….YUM! We both noted how packed the Wild Life side is getting quite busy (talk about a change from two years ago). Amy and I checked out Reptile Wild where the lizards were quite active today and moving around, they have also added 4 new chameleons (for those keeping track.) Next up was the Penguin Encounter…LOTS of people in here; we opted for the upper level viewing area. It’s amazing also, how entertaining penguins are! These animals are great to watch and seem to be having a lot of fun. Some were having too much fun, and I’ll leave it at that.
The two new rides are right by the aquarium, the Starfish, and Killer Bees. Both rides DO have lighting packages in use and look great. The Starfish fits in great with it’s surroundings, almost too good, it’s hard to see through the trees until you walk around the corner. A LOT of people riding both these rides, and WOW that Starfish can really due a number on your stomach. Adults can also ride the Killer bees if you are wondering. Both rides are nicely landscaped and have nice fences and surroundings. Good choice for SFWoA.
We snapped some great shots of the Wild Rides side from over hear and then headed across the floating boardwalk, which was really bobbing up and down today with the wind. The water park is going to be GREAT with those new slide complexes (Shark Attack is almost done.) We went on El Dorado since they have it up and running this year. This is a great flat ride, and I’m very happy SFWoA was able to rehab it. Big Dipper and Villain where both running great for opening day, and Villain was running two trains all day (with GREAT dispatch times.) Besides the new slides, it also looks like there is going to be a MAJOR landscaping effort due to all the NICE bricks they have stacked up and wood (not just going to be asphalt put down.) SFWoA had all water rides even running today, and there were even people riding them…so of course we had to drop a few quarters on those water shooter things that soak them!!
By the time we got done riding and seeing a lot of things it was around 7pm and we had to meet some friends for my sister’s party. In all it was a GREAT day, friendly staff, entertaining staff, clean park, and rides running. I can say I and, the park (after talking to management) was VERY surprised at how many people there was for opening day. It’s the largest I remember for opening day in a long time. Longest wait was for X-Flight at one hour. Train 2 hasn’t been put on due to they are replacing something with wheels that got damaged in the move from their winter home. It’s supposed to be put on for next weekend though. We had a lot of fun at opening day and can’t wait for the park to be open up daily. In all this park is making a lot of great moves forward and improving on mistakes they have made in the past, I can’t wait for 2004!!!!
"The Future of Roller Coasters"
The employees were great. The greeter at the main gate was super friendly and helpful. Ditto the attendant on the ferry boat.
The season pass line moved very fast. There were about 20-25 ahead of us and we got through in less than 20 Min.
The net climb area needs some fresh paint and landscaping. Otherwise the park looked great. The Happy Harbor rides area looks super. I'm so glad that they didn't just pour a big slab of concrete and plop the rides down in a checkerboard pattern.
RWB's name should be changed to Jeckyl and Hyde. The difference between the first and second half is incredible.
Keep up the good work WOA!
I play in a really awful garage band, but it's still fun.
Thanks for the report, I really can't wait to get back to this park in a few weeks! I never got to visit the Wild Life side last year so that will be fun.
Also, when do they plan on having the new waterslides open? I read somewhere they wanted it done by Memorial Day, but does that look like a realistic target as of now? I really want to try them out when I'm up there.
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As for the waterslides:
Shark Attack's structure is almost done (they have really put that thing up fast.) They almost have to have that done first because of it's location, if that thing isn't done, than half the waterpark can't get up and running, due to it being all around the wave pool, and other things. That should be open by Memorial Day.
I do not think Hurricane Mountain will be open by then (I could be wrong though). The footers are in place, steel is there, and all the MANY slide pieces are in the rides side parking lot. This structure might take a little longer to put up due to it's sheer size. Not to mention, I believe there will be a lot of lanscaping done once these two structures are done.
They both might be physically up by Memorial Day, but I don't know if they be fully operational by then. If anything, I would say Shark Attack will be (which does look pretty cool, 1 totally dark slide and two tobbaggan slides.)
I don't think Villain is ANYTHING near as bad as last year, I took a few beatings after the trick track last year. This year, I though it was pretty smooth...especially for a wooden coaster on opening day! It kept up the speed all the way through and the brakes have been adjusted this year at the end, so they don't slam you to a stop.
Definetly make a trip over to the Wild Life side, it's SOooo much different and a great way to relax. I hope this helps, and let me know if you need to know anything else!
"The Future of Roller Coasters"
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