After the failed trip last weekend, I decided to go to Atlantic City to Steel Pier to get the credits before it closes at the end of this year. I started out at 5:18, clear skies, and calling before I left work, they're open.
Drive down was ok, and traffic wasn't too bad, considering it IS a Saturday. That changed about 10 miles from AC on the Atlantic City Expressway. Once I passed under the Welcome To Atlantic City sign at 7:52, I made a couple "wrong" turns (I didn't want to make the turns, but I figured it was better than causing an accident) and managed to find myself in the Trump Taj Mahal parking garage by somewhere around 8:15. Only $5 to park! No complimentary park maps, but hey -- it wasn't $15! ;)
I was pleasantly surprised to see a two-level carousel right there in the front of the pier. So sad it won't be around next year. :(
After walking up and down the pier a few times to get a feel for the park, I finally went and bought tickets -- sheet of 35 for $25. Yeah I know it would have been cheaper to just buy the tickets for the 2 coasters and be done with it, but I figured I'd likely want a second ride on the Crazy Mouse, and I could go for a spin on the carousel -- I'd never actually been on a two-level carousel before.
I debated whether to go on the Crazy Mouse first, or the Kiddie -- since my TR was at 163, I opted for the Kiddie first. In line, there's a cadre of little ones running about, and begging me "Can you please let my cousin and my little sister on with us?" (They're all about 5 or 6) I figure, sure. I'm an adult just waiting for my credit, I can wait an extra ride cycle. Then this lady comes up yelling at the poor ride op about letting them cut in line! (Note: the "line" consisted of about 8 people altogether.. the ride could seat 10.. 9 if you consider me riding alone) I figured I'm just going to stay out of it. The ride op handled it well by politely telling the little kids that they can't just go past other people waiting, but if they wanted to let the other people in front of them so they were together that was ok. After all said and done, everyone's on the ride anyway. Then the ride starts... a surprising kick for a kiddie, and the best part (to my delight!) was that they sent it around -7- times! I couldn't believe it. Most kiddie coasters are like 3 maybe 4. So, that was coaster #164.
Right across from the kiddie coaster was the Crazy Mouse. I hand over my tickets and get in to a purple mouse car. After securing the restraints, I'm on my way. Up the lift and into the mouse back-and-forth. Another wonderful surprise from the pier -- since it's on a pier, even at night you have a great view of the ocean surf from the coaster. The ride even had an on-ride photo which surprised me, and then it did the little crazy mouse dip and triple-up into the part that spins. I had been on a Crazy Mouse before, but this one was fantastic! It really was the combination of the ocean surf and night that really made it so enjoyable for me. Coaster #165. It's a shame this won't be around next year :(
Then I went further up the pier and took another look at the Rocket. For those who don't know what the rocket is, it's basically a 2-person hamster-wheel looking ball attached to a couple cables. I'll always try extreme attractions at least once, plus I can get a souvenir T-shirt for only $10 from Steel Pier. Won't be able to get those next year. I pulled out the $2 off coupon that was attached to my ticket sheet, took a deep breath, and went in to buy the ticket. $28 to my credit card later, and leaving all my loose articles with the cashier in the bag with my shirt, I find myself sitting down in the "ball" which was a little more open than I thought. A seatbelt around my waist, and then a seatbelt connecting to the shoulder harness, and the operator steps back. My heart is pumping. There's a slight, barely audible 'click' and the ball tilts back. At this point, all I can see is the pitch-black night sky and the one structural cross-bar of the ride carriage. Then I hear the beginning of a siren and in under 1.5 seconds I'm launched 225 feet into the cold night air with nothing but 4 thin steel cables keeping me from taking an unexpected plunge into the cold ocean surf. As soon as I hit the apex, the momentum from my body suddenly spins the carriage head-over-heels about 3 or 4 times (I'm not sure exactly, the adrenaline was pumping too much to count). It stopped spinning long enough to see myself plunging face-first back to earth, only to get whisked back into the air and a few more somersaults. This was the best extreme ride I've been on so far, and I wish I knew the manufacturer, and more importantly if there were any others built nearby. As much as I have a softspot for the Skyscraper, this was a lot better. It would be nice if Dorney got one, but I don't see that happening any time soon.
After that, I decided to stop for a ride on the double decker carousel on my way out, and walked up and down the pier once more, saddened by the knowledge that though this was my first visit, I will never be able to come back to such a nice, enjoyable park. My only solace lies in the fact that I was able to get down here at all before it closed.
Farewell, Steel Pier. You WILL be missed. :(
The view of the ocean and "World Famous" Boardwalk is incredible! I will really miss The Steel Pier and I have been visiting Atlantic City since 1964, in the old days of the Diving Horse!
You must be logged in to post