Monday, May 14, 2001 10:10 AM
I didn't bother trying to get to the park in time for the ACE walkback. I probably should have, at least I'd have gotten another coaster in.
As soon as I pulled into the parking lot at PKI, I knew I was in for a bad day. WOW was it full! Yikes. If I didn't have a season pass from PKD I probably wouldn't have bothered, but I was determined to add Reptar to my track record, and check out the new Flight of Fear.
That, as it turns out, would be about all I accomplished.
There were multiple problems with PKI on Sunday:
1. Mother's Day
2. Bring-a-friend-for-free day for Gold Passholders
3. Some minor celebrity (a Survivor contestant?) was signing autographs
4. PKI was doing HORRIBLE crowd control on several of the coasters. Lines were snaking out well onto the midways, while the internal queues weren't being used!
All of this combined to make a day where it was difficult to move around, and I just plain wasn't having much fun.
Flight of Fear (1 lap, 55 minute wait, line was longer when I got off) -- WOW. What a difference from last year. My vote for "most improved ride". This coaster went from one of my least favorite rides to one of my favorite. In spite of the crowds, this ride WAS worth the $7 I paid to get in (parking)
Rugrat's Runaway Reptar (1 lap, 30 minute wait) -- This is a cute fun little coaster, worth adding to the track record. I rode the back seat, and noted that the side guide wheels are nowhere NEAR the track, resulting in a LOT of side-to-side shifting through the turns. I thought the steel manufacturers had figured that out by now, but I guess Vekoma still hasn't ;)
The Beast (1 lap, 20 minute wait) -- when I got in line, it was WAY out onto the midway, and I was figuring I was in for at least an hour's wait. However, NONE of the internal queues were in use. I was on the 2nd row of the back car (non-axle seat ;) ) in a mere 20 minutes, much to my surprise. The Beast just doesn't impress me the way it used to. It's still a fun ride, but there are plenty of other woodies I'd rather be on (including both Grizzly and Hurler at PKD).
At this point I decided to work my way over to Top Gun and Sonny, to check out the lines. Or rather, I TRIED to. The Vortex line was even farther out on the midway than Beast's had been. I got so frustrated just trying to move around the park, that I decided I would rather get in the car and get back to Pittsburgh at a decent hour.
Which is exactly what I did. I was home in time to unload the car, check email, and still catch all of X-Files.
Certainly NOT PKI's best day. If they'd just handled the crowds a bit better, it would have been a MUCH more enjoyable experience. After the high point of SRM, this was the low point of the weekend...
Monday, May 14, 2001 11:57 AM
I wasnt really going to make a whole TR out of this, but contrary to my original plans, I ended up at PKI on Sunday as well. After visiting with fam & friends in central Illinois, I was going to be hitting the road a little earlier than expected, I estimated that I could either make it to Louisville (where I needed to be for my flight back to B-more early today -monday) by 6pm or I could be in Cincy at the same time. A quick visit to websites said that SFKK closed @ 7pm but PKI would be open til 9pm, so I decided to get to PKI.
About 5:45pm (yes I was speeding ;)) I was in line for my recently demoted 2nd Favorite woodie, Son of Beast. I went for the second row, but there was a kid riding alone in the front so I jumped in with him after an hour wait. I dont like the new floorboard thingys, but they didnt bother *me* too much (though I can see others having a problem with them). Anyway, the lift is still ferocious and the first drop is the 2nd best woodie 1st drop (behind American Eagle, but ahead of Legend). There were even more noticible pops of air on the crests of the hills. However, after the ravaging of Legend, the helicies just werent as good as I remembered.
I went over to add Reptar to the count. Like Greg said above I thought Vekoma had learned about the side wheel gap thing (they *did* for the invertigoes, what happened here). Still it's a cool little coaster. Too bad I scraped my foot while ascending the lift hill.
Even though by now it was like 7:30pm there was still some light so I just *had* to try the Thornberries Flume. I mean, it was a walk on and all. I thought it was cute. It moved pretty fast and it was weird to see a trough of galvanized steel instead of the usual green fiberglass. Fortuneately, it only gets you a little wet and not soaked.
Next I went to FOF, but the line was estimated to be an hour 20 min (now 7:45pm park closed @ 9pm). I passed, I have the PKD version up the road.
Went to add Racer to my count. I had ridden recaR (racer backward) but never forward. They were doing a good job of racing the trains. Took seat 1.2 with a one train wait. The ride OUT was fun, but BACK just sucked. I think I was spoiled by the great finishes of Legend and Raven. I may just have to stick to steel looping coasters for the rest of the summer :).
Speaking of steel looping, I rode Vortex next. I still dig this ride. They were stacking REAL good today (note displeasure). It was so bad that they really only needed two trains. Anyway, took path of least resistance, somewhere in the middle. Still fun. Note, the dark blue paint job Vortex is getting (1st & 2nd loop mostly painted) looks really good. This coaster deserves a little TLC. Especially if that POS Anaconda (PKD) can look pretty this year.
After that it was getting late so I went to ride Beast. I took a ride in the very back and another ride (2nd from last train of the night) in the very front. I had on my sunglasses for both rides (stupid me left my other glasses in the car), but it still wasnt very dark for either ride. It doesn't matter, I dont think a lack of light would have helped much. Beast just has too much straigh track for me. This was only punctuated by the night rides on Raven. Maybe brakeless Beast would be a little more fierce, but since the best part (the helix) is still run as intended (I think), I'm not going to lament the trim brakes. Good, not nearly great.
Anyway, i ran into some other SRM participants in the Beast Line and again on the way out. 3.5 hours, 6 coaster rides, one flume, not too shabby for a last minute trip. So basically Greg, if you had stayed around a little longer, it would have gotten better. BTW: it was Richard from Survior signing autographs in the "Emporium" store (I saw a sign as I bought a $10 Sonny shirt on my way out).
-- DONT LOOK BACK!