Six Flags Darien Lake 8/19 - First and probably last time

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 12:13 PM
So, I took a special trip out to Darien Lake because of the strong possibility that the park will be sold by Six Flags. Current scuttlebutt has it that the original owners are looking to buy the place back, but I don't know if that will really happen or not.

Anyways, with a Superman coaster out there that I might not have a chance to ever ride again, I booked airfare and a hotel and went out to give the park a shot.

I ended up stopping out at Niagara Falls the day I flew in and I was glad I did. Never seen it before and it was well worth it. Drove past Martin's Fantasy Island, but didnt stop there. Saw Marineland from the American side, but decided not to bother with customs during a time of such heightened alert. (I was hearing rumors of a several hour wait to get back into the US) Anyways, the falls themselves were worth the drive out alone minus the roller coasters. The ride on the Maid of the Mist was a thrill ride in itself (nothing like high winds and water pelting you in the face!) Same thing for the hurricane deck at the Cave of the Winds.

The next day I headed out to the park. On driving in I was kind of surprised at the size of Superman. I guess I was expecting it to be bigger. The entire park looked pretty small.

I ended up getting the season pass for the price of admission and quickly got it processed. The entry way to the park was all shops. In a way it was kind of disappointing. It's nice to have an attraction as you come into the park (think Columbia Carousel at SFGAm). The layout of the park was a bit goofy. It was somewhat of a spoke design with a few loops thrown in. Overall, however, the park was very clean and dare I say, pretty. The lake was really nice and it was cool to see that they had opened up a path around the lake for people to take a break from the park and walk around. This park does not skimp on picnic spots, either.

If you go to this park just to ride coasters, you might leave the park pretty disappointed. With only four of the five coasters running, there wasnt much riding to be done. Superman was definately the highlight for me. While it wasn't my favorite coaster in the world, it was definately up there. I love the monster airtime on the hills of this coaster. Getting dragged over the first drop sitting in the back was quite an experience as well. The crew also seemed pretty efficient at running the ride.

The two clones, the Boomerang and Mind Eraser (an SLC) were actually pretty good specimens of each. The Boomerang didnt really bounce my head around like normal and the SLC wasn't all that rough (I am one of the few that actually LOVES SLCs).

The other coaster running was Viper. Viper is an old Arrow (or Vekoma?) steel looper. It wasn't really all that rough, but the seating really sucked. The pads that you lean against actually dig into your back and seem to be in the worst position for anyone over 5 feet tall. It was a pretty neat layout but I found myself trying to brace against permanent back damage because of the sucky Arrow seats.

Because of the lack of coasters, many true coaster enthusiasts may not like the park. I actually loved the park. It had a nice collection of flats (UFO, some kind of Mixer ride, and a Top Spin that ran three cycles per set of riders. The program was a bit weak, but they made up for it by doing it over three times in a row). The park has a PARK like atmosphere with a lot of green space and trees all over the place. Of course, one can never underestimate the value of being able to feed ducks when you are at an amusement park. :)

A few things were lacking from the park. First of all, I didn't see any of those promised Looney Tunes/ DC comics characters anywhere in the park. Not a single one and I looked really hard for them. I guess they already got their pink slips. The employees were actually pretty friendly, but they all seemed on edge. Many of them seemed upset with the early closing this season. Many were upset with the uncertainty of next season.

In the end, though, it was nice to go into Guest Relations when the day was over and not complain. I told them what a wonderful day I had at the park and told them I was glad I made the flight out. Originally I was just flying out for Superman, but I got a nice park in return.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 12:17 PM
How did the employees seem on edge?

When did you become a shrink? Reading into people's emotions. ;)

Good trip report, though.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 12:19 PM
I thought the same thing about SFDL - it's a cool little park. Not sure where the bad tidings from many enthusiasts come from.

Sucks that Shapiro backed out of nearly every improvement he made, but still nice to know you can have a good time without them. :)

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 4:17 PM
It seems kinda wierd that six flags has been pushing this park in the Cleveland Plain dealer, although i believe it is a coupon for like ten dollars off admission for one person. If they were to sell it, they havent at least stopped trying to market it.

My mom has truly considered going before it closes this year because she saved both coupons we had over the last weeks and who knows if money provides ill give it a whirl.

It seems KTS that you enjoyed yourself, but then you would never go back, just not your type of park or just saying you been there, and its not something to go back to.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 5:17 PM
I would go back to the park in a heartbeat. The title refers to the fact that there may not be a park to revisit next year...
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Thursday, August 24, 2006 6:27 PM
Are were the lines for the coasters? Was Superman running 2 trains still?
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Thursday, August 24, 2006 7:13 PM
Regardless of who owns it, it's highly unlikely that Darien Lake will get plowed under. The park is quite profitable thanks largely to the concert business that they do.
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Thursday, August 24, 2006 7:48 PM
Thanks to Superman being so close to Rte.77 you would probably miss the park.

I've always liked Darien Lake - it's a bit more laid back than most parks are and with nothing around the park perimeter it really feels like you're out in the country.

MagnunBarrel, I haven't seen ads for the park in the Plain Dealer. Where were they?

X Factor

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 8:28 PM
Hey Kick The Sky I went up to Niagra in 99 myself & we passed right by SFDL to get there!Too bad I didn't think to bring my pass because I certainly would've loved to stop in for a ride on supes.

The falls are nice & the Maid of the mist is certainly something nobody should miss out on....now if SFDL goes under there's always supes at SFA<same layout but mirrored> & the one at SFNE.BTW SFDL's topspin was actually SFA's but they traded it in 99 for octopus instead....good thing too because from what I hear their topspin is down quite frequently.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 9:31 PM
X i think my mom found in in with sunday coupons and such, i dont think that it was in there last week. It was a few weeks back and it was a week after the first one, so it was about three weeks ago or so. I dont know if we will make it there though even though its less of a drive to most places we have been this year.
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Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:37 PM
Ride of Steel : There werent a lot of lines for anything except for Superman at about a half hour. It was in fact running 2 trains and most of the time they werent really even stacking!


TCKR said:
Regardless of who owns it, it's highly unlikely that Darien Lake will get plowed under. The park is quite profitable thanks largely to the concert business that they do.

Funny you should mention the concert business. Forgot to mention that Toby Keith and Joe Nichols (sp?) where there for a concert that evening and they were riding everything in the park escorted by their security guys. I got to ride Boomerang with Joe Nichols and Toby Keith and some of his band members were on the Tin Lizzies (which they kept referring to as the "Old Timey Cars") hehe.

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Friday, August 25, 2006 2:13 AM
Good to hear S:ROS still has an awesome crew. I actually gave them a compliment at GR on my visit because they were freindly and never stacked once! It was somewhat funny, I went in and said I wanted to give a compliment and the girl was like "really? we never get these" :).

I rode S:ROS at SFNE the day before, and of course I coudln't resist slamming that horrible crew in my compliment. It read something like "SNFE's Ride of Steel crew could take a lesson from your Ride of Steels crew";)

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Friday, August 25, 2006 8:34 AM
I went to Darien Lake once in 02, I wanna go back!

~Rob Willi

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Friday, August 25, 2006 9:22 AM
Hey Rob, you know, I could go with you and Cindy and hold Jacob while you two ride. :D:D:D:D

I heard you are going to CP Sunday. True? Are you heading back to GL anytime so we can actually meet up?

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Friday, August 25, 2006 9:49 AM
As much as there are problems with the park, I am so happy they have been running S:ROS efficiently this summer. Memorial day? that's another story,
but I have pictures of the completely empty station with both trains running, which they rarely stacked.

I haven't been since June, but that's great if they've been on the whole 2 train thing all summer, because generally there is only one train unless the queue is 1/2 to 3/4 full.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006 8:13 PM
Just got back from SFDL on an 8/26 trip. Man what a difference from the other six flags I've been to!!! The employees were all friendly and helpful.The park was unbelievably clean. Ride crews were very good at getting the trains loaded and dispatched. Overall it was a great experience. The only thing that bothered me a little was the fact the park was completely dead. I know that they are no longer going to be a Six Flags park as of next year but I hope that they didn't scare away all of the potential guests such as they did at SFWOA/GL. This was a great little park and it would be a shame to see it go under due to poor attendance. The best part about the trip was that all of the gift shops were UNLOADING all of the Darien Lake "tagged" merchandise for 50% off. My fiancee and I walked out with 2 Tshirtss each, a hat, coffee mug, and Beer glass for under $40.
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Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:27 PM
Oh I hate Viper's seats too. It's actually a good ride, I say it's the second best coaster in the park, but you'd think they could just slap some more padding on the trains. It would make the experience so much better. And yes it is an Arrow. *** Edited 8/28/2006 1:29:00 AM UTC by Starchaser***
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Sunday, August 27, 2006 10:27 PM
^You know that was my chief complaint with anaconda at PKD this year the padding<or lack thereof> on arrow looping trains is far more painful on the body than the layout itself.

If SFDL is sold next year & goes private one thing SFI should do is retain the supes crew & send them down to MD. as our crew on supes has been less than enthusiastic & efficient this season.

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