SoCal Trip: OC Fair, Disneyland, DCA & Knott’s

Associated parks:
None

Monday, July 28, 2008 12:34 PM
Everywhere we went was the family of 4. Myself, my wife Adrian and 2 daughters, Colleen (3) and Molly (3 months) as well as additional family members from my wife’s side.

7-20, Orange County Fair. Well, not much to report here as I didn’t actually ride anything. They (RCS) had their standard 2 “big” coasters, the Hi-Miler and a Spinning Mouse and a few kiddie coasters, none of which looked like they would be worth shelling out for the pay per ride. I always hope that RCS would get a bigger, Euro-style traveling coaster, but it never happens. The endless rows and rows of junk food is the real draw for me here. I tried the frog legs, as they say, it tastes like chicken. We didn’t stay long, only about 3 hours. It looked like there were a few different food vendors this year.

7-22, Disneyland & DCA. The in-laws had made reservations for “Breakfast in the Park, Minnie’s Kitchen” character breakfast. $30 per adult and $14 for Colleen seemed a bit steep for breakfast, but I wasn’t paying, thanks Poppy! The food was pretty good, but even with an all-you-can-eat buffet, it’s tough to justify that price. Colleen was scared of most of the costumed characters (Beyer Fox, Cap. Hook, Max) with the exception of Dale and Minnie. Plus we had to wait for 30 minutes after we ate before Minnie finally made it to our table. Meh.

There is no such thing as an off-day anymore at Disney, and the lines were long pretty much everywhere. Non-coaster rides ridden were: Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, Casey Jr., King Arthur’s Carousel and the Teacups. We got a fastpass for Space Mountain somewhere in there and headed off to DCA.

First up was Tower of Terror, slightly less than an hour wait for standby. Good ride, but seems way too short after that long of a wait.

Next we hit California Screamin’, standby line was only about 20 minutes. This ride never disappoints, it has a little bit of everything, good pacing and its smooth as butter.

I could ride it all day (especially with a single rider line) but we moved on to Toy Story Mania. You gotta love the giant Mr. Potato Head heckling the people waiting in line. 45 minute wait. Interesting dark ride, as it simply travels in front of several 3-D screens and is over. It’s a great use of space to have a rather good dark ride in a small space. It’s all about the shooting games, and points. I won with 175,100. Next was the Golden Zephyr, looks lame, but Colleen loved it. I actually liked it better than I thought I would.

Next we split up, and I went back to Disneyland with Adrian’s dad and we used the Space Mountain fastpasses. Minimum wait thanks to the fastpass (standby line was over an hour). Here is another ride that outperforms its stats. Every turn seems to be faster than the last, and I like the fact that is is darker than it used to be. Super smooth and excellent pacing. It was about 7:00 and I could tell that Adrian’s dad was getting tired so we left. I wanted to hit Matterhorn or Big Thunder, but it wasn’t in the cards.

7-24, Knott’s Berry Farm. Ah... my former home-park. By this time in the trip we had done so much that people were willing to drop Knott’s off their “must do” list and just relax by the pool for the day. Not me! That just means I get to head off on my own without kids or in-laws slowing me down. Actually, my cousin and his daughter (6) were going to meet me at some point in the day, but I was there for the chain dropping, and they weren’t.

I headed off to Pony Express first, as it is the newest ride there and I hoped to get it done early. Nope, delayed opening. OK, how about Silver Bullet? Nope, delayed opening... so much for the “ride early, ride often” theory. Fortunately, KBF is a rather small park as far as acreage goes, so getting from one side of the park to the other doesn’t take long. How about the other new-to-me coaster, Sierra Sidewinder? Yep, its open. 20 minute wait. This is a fun little coaster and I think the spinning cars are cool. Of course, my car ended up not spinning too much, so the effect was lessened. I went on it again later and got a better ride. During the helix, we were facing straight down looking at the rocks below wizz by, very cool. I’d give it a 6 of 10 if you get a lazy spinning car, 8 of 10 if you get a good spin. Anyone know where the heavy person needs to sit to make this spin well?

Next Up, Montezooma’s Revenge, no wait. What’s not to love about this ride, it’s a fantastically maintained flywheel shuttle loop. I always love hearing the hoots and hollers of riders when the ride is over, still a crowd pleaser 30 years after it opened.

As I was on MR, I noticed Silver Bullet was open. 10 minute wait. I really like the layout and pacing of this coaster, and I’m a sucker for B&M inverts. I hear reports of this being a “shaky” coaster. Not true. OK, so there is a bit of a rattle, but it doesn’t detract from the ride whatsoever. If that ruined your ride on SB, you need to lighten up.

Xcellerator was next, it was a walk-on except for the front car so I opted for 2nd car. As usual, the tophat was insane followed by 2 somewhat boring overbanks. I really wish this had more going on after the tophat ala Storm Runner, but it’s still a great ride.

Boomerang was next, another walk-on. It’s a Boomerang, nuff said.

I hit Wipeout next, and got a solo ride. Wow, what an aggressive program on this! It’s a good replacement for whatever was there before it (can’t remember the name).

Next was Pony Express, 25 minute wait with no shade whatsoever. This would be my first moto-coaster. The seats and restraints were surprisingly comfortable and accommodate riders of all sizes, jut don’t exhale too much as the restraint will continue to click down on you automatically until they are unlocked. Sadly, the launch is weak and the ride is even weaker. This is one SHORT coaster, it’s over as soon as it begins. I didn’t time it, but I’d guess from launch to brakes it’s even shorter than Montezooma’s Revenge. The final turn in the tunnel is good, but that’s about it. There seemed to be plenty of momentum left for an additional element or two, but nope. Fun, but way, Way, WAY too short. I realize that it’s actually longer than the other 2 Zamperella motocoasters, but still too short.

I met up with my cousin and hit Ghostrider. This would be the longest wait of the day, almost an hour. This is the coaster that I know the best, as I stopped counting laps after 150. I was disappointed last year to see that it had gotten considerably rougher over the years. The roughness is still there, but on the good side there are still no trims anywhere, nor is the midcourse on. Still a great, wild, air-filled ride, but way rougher than other CCI’s from the same time frame that I have ridden.

We hit Pony Express & Sierra Sidewinder again, then the Log ride. KBF’s log ride is a must do if you are there, easily the best one around.

It was about 3:00 and I had done everything I wanted to do, and I was in charge of the family BBQ later that night so I called a day. Fun trip and I got in some good coasting.

Edit: forgot Tower of Terror
*** Edited 7/28/2008 7:04:07 PM UTC by Soggy***

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Monday, July 28, 2008 12:47 PM
Great TR. I've always heard Knott's is a nice park, and I really really wanna do California Screamin. I saw a video of it and thought it looked like a nice long, somewhat thrilling ride. And the loop isn't directly after the first big hill, which is always kind of a shocker for me.

What is your favorite park that you have been to and does your home park still FEEL like your home park? I mean, do you still love it best for some odd reason? I bash Dorney constantly, but I still love it more than any other park. :)

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008 10:18 AM
I don't know if I have a favorite park. Maybe I can say that my favorite park is "the one I am at."

Knott's is pretty good with one glaring exception, that being poor dispatch times on pretty much every coaster. I didn't feel the need to complain about in the TR because I would have sounded like a broken record. I still love the park, and most of the time I'd be there when there were no lines, so it didn't matter. Now I had no choice but to grin and bear it.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008 11:45 AM
Of course Pony Express' launch is weak...its a family coaster. It's not geared towards the same crowd that prefers Monty or Xcelerator.

I rode it with seven family members back in early June: my 70-yr-old parents, my sister and her husband (40s) and their two sons (8 & 10) and my neice (19). Everyone loved it...and what's not to love about a coaster the entire family -- THREE GENERATIONS! -- can ride together?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008 11:58 AM
I can forgive the weak launch... as you are correct about it being a family coaster. My 6 year old niece LOVED it.

But my biggest complaint was the shortness of the ride. It just seems like a missed opportunity. As long as you have that much space cleared away (especially in a land-locked park like KBF), why not have a longer ride? Even the 6 year old mentioned that it was really short.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:51 PM
I think that's the biggest problem with launch coasters. Just because you have that thrill at the beginning (even with a weak launch) doesn't mean you can skip out on providing a lengthier, more enjoyable ride. I understand how costly that can be for something like a Kingda Ka or a TTD, but too many of these launch coasters that are much shorter in terms of height and speed also lack the extra elements of a great coaster.
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