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.
When did you become a shrink? Reading into people's emotions. ;)
Good trip report, though.
Sucks that Shapiro backed out of nearly every improvement he made, but still nice to know you can have a good time without them. :)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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";)
I heard you are going to CP Sunday. True? Are you heading back to GL anytime so we can actually meet up?
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.
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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