The Great Northern Tour 2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:54 PM

[u]I'm a bit late on these, mostly because I'v been focusing on my website where I post all of my trip reports (and more!). Check it out at http://www.cebeavers.com

Part 1 Fantasy Island
May 4, 2019
Grand Island NY

Over the last several years many people, for many different reasons, have talked up Toronto as being an amazing city to visit. I’d never been to Canada, and Canada’s Wonderland had finally started to add some better coasters to go along with their great collection of flat rides in the last few years. I’d wanted to go to Toronto in 2018 but unfortunately some issues with my old car prevented that. In the meantime, I’d gotten a new car and taken care of some finances so I decided to finally visit the country up north.

I should have planned my trip a couple of weeks later because Canada’s Wonderland & Fantasy Island, 2 of the parks I would be hitting, didn’t start daily operations until a few weeks later. And sadly, Marineland wouldn’t be open at all during this trip. I wasn’t used to this living in the south, where parks open in March. But the dates were set and, ultimately, this wasn’t a coaster-centric trip. I needed some vacation time off with some sleeping in every morning and not having to worry about stuff. On Friday, May 3 I headed north after work to Pittsburg where I’d be staying for the evening.

Then Saturday morning I woke up early and headed in to New York towards the Niagara Falls area to Martin’s. The day was gloomy but after parking I noticed that the main reason I was there was definitely up and running so, after paying to get in, I made my way the long way around to Silver Comet. Fantasy Island was quaint. It was definitely a family park with a few decent flat rides and 3 coasters. The first ride for me was the park’s signature wooden coaster, a 1999 Custom Coasters International installation.

[u]Silver Comet (384)-[/u]Surprisingly comfy, the PTC train quickly dispatched towards the lift hill. You can see the skylines for Niagara Falls and Buffalo from the top of the lift, which was neat. The first drop is really good, then you hop up into the turnaround, then down the ramp before turning and dropping back down. There are a couple of hills and 3 more turn around that follows, with some bunny hops back to the final brake run. Silver comet was running so well. This ride wasn’t ever on my radar prior, but I’m glad I stopped to ride it.

I walked towards the park’s other adult coaster, a spinning Wild Mouse, but it had yet to open so I walked towards the front of the park instead and waited for the park’s train, which was a fun diversion. After my ride I headed back to Silver Comet for a couple of more rides. It got better every time and I was able to get rides in the front, back, and nearly back. I’d heard that they had the mouse open so I headed back, but sadly it was still being prepped. This was their first opening weekend for the year, after all. At this point I decided I would head on to Toronto and hopefully avoid any evening rush hour. I was staying about 30 minutes north west of the city.

I had never crossed international borders on land before. Several friends & acquaintances gave different experiences both coaster enthusiasts and not, of crossing at Niagara and other areas in NY State. I arrived at the Rainbow Bridge, paid my toll, and headed over to Canada’s border. After handing over my passport and answering a few questions I was on my way to Toronto. The drive from Niagara to Toronto was just over 90 minutes. I stopped in Niagara Falls, ON to grab a bite to eat, and stopped once again to use a restroom before arriving at the hotel just after 5 PM. I’d Hotwired a nice place in the suburbs that was convenient and about a 30 minute ride into downtown Toronto.

After I checked in and got comfortable at the hotel I chilled for a bit before changing clothes and heading out to dinner. I’d searched for the best sushi in Toronto, and a small place almost around the corner came up, Aoyama Shushi. So I headed there. After I arrived I was asked if I had a reservation, which I didn’t. I offered to come back the next evening with a reservation, but they were very accommodating and sat me in the middle of the tiny dining room. There were mostly other Japanese and Korean people there eating sushi. I ordered a Chef’s Choice Sashimi Plate and a bowl of cold soba with dipping sauce. It was legit and very, very good. In fact, it was better than the sashimi (and sushi) I’d had in Tokyo, and the noodles were comparable. Thank you google for the recommendation.

I’d had some intermittent issues with connectivity on my main phone since I’d arrived in Canada, so I ended up spending the next 90 minutes on the phone with Verizon to get a fix. Thankfully I had my backup phone that I use for work to call as the calls kept dropping out on my iPhone. They were able to get me switched to a network for the duration of my stay.

On recommendation from several people, I headed into Toronto for the evening to a couple of spots for a couple of drinks. At this point I really dug Canada, and Toronto especially. The people were fun and friendly, and the exchange rate was super if you had U$D. I knew immediately that I would be back to Toronto sooner rather than later. I’d talked to a friend of mine that lives in Toronto that I met through one of my other major hobbies (I met him on a Janet Jackson fan board about 15 years ago, and in person a couple times since), but he wasn’t able to make it out Saturday nite, which was fine because I’m very accustomed to making my own fun, and I did. He planned to meet up with me at Canada’s Wonderland the next day to hang out. It was a late nite, and I knew I’d be having an earlier than I’d wanted morning, but Sunday was the first full day in Canada and I had plans.

Martin’s Fantasy Island 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Martin’s Fantasy Island 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Martin’s Fantasy Island 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Martin’s Fantasy Island 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Last edited by Tekwardo, Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:55 PM
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Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:56 PM

[u][u][u][u][u][u][u][u][u][u][u][u][u][u]Part 2 Canada's Wonderland
May 5, 2019
Vaughn ON

Instead of getting to Canada’s Wonderland early on Sunday morning, which just happened to be the first open operating day of the year, I decided that I’d sleep a bit and then head out. I was already planning on getting a Fast Lane+, so I wasn’t that worried. I could have gotten there an hour early and gotten ERT for passholders, but, again, late nite, vacation, and Fast Lane+. So I arrived in the area around noon instead, and headed to a McDonald’s for a quick bite before heading in.

Canada’s Wonderland is a great park. Beautiful once you’re through the gate. But very obviously packed. I’d purchased Fast Lane online so after a quick restroom (sorry, washroom, because we’re in Canada) stop I traded in my digital voucher and got my wristband. Then it was off to my first destination for the morning, the country’s tallest, fastest coaster, and cousin to a really fun ride just down the road from me. I was excited to see the plaza for the ride because I’d seen pictures of how awesome the sign looked since it was installed. I got in line for the front row and ended up riding with 2 local enthusiasts.

[u][u]Leviathan (384)-[/u]The first drop is very much what Fury’s first drop was inspired by, and very similar. I liked the tunnel at the bottom. Then you hit the first turn, and a couple of great floater airtime hills, then the far turn around, before you hit the next couple of airtime hills, then the over-banked turn before you hop up into the brakes. The ride is fast, with a lot of floating airtime and some flojector air as well. Fury is definitely the next evolution of the ride, and I’m excited to see what the next incarnation of a B&M giga coaster is like.[/u]

I walked over towards the mountain to see about riding Wonder Mountain Guardian, but the line was too long and it didn’t take Fast Lane of any kind. So I headed, instead, to the park’s newest steel member of the family, which had a 2.5 hour wait. Unless you had Fast Lane+ like I did, in which case it was maybe a 10 minute wait.

[u]Yukon Striker (385)-[/u]I sat in the second row. I’m not a super fan of dive coasters. They’re okay, and the first drop is usually great, but otherwise they’re usually just several inversions strung together. You drop then hit the first inversion, turn then hit the next inversion, inversion, mid course break, drop off that, couple more maneuvers, then you’re done.

So another large steel coaster down, up next was the park’s first B&M coaster, the hyper coaster Behemoth. I headed over and got in the Fast Lane line. There were some local obvious coaster enthusiasts in front, and eventually some non-local obnoxious enthusiasts behind me in line. They really kind of killed the vibe, so I was glad I didn’t have to stand in line very long with them.

[u]Behemoth (386)-[/u]After a great first drop you hop up into the first airtime hill. The airtime was pretty decent, then you speed off and head up and around the far turn around. The next set of three airtime hills before the mid-course brakes all had trim brakes, but none of them were on or hitting at this point. There was decent airtime over every hill. And then you pop up into the brake run before dropping down into the helixes. Then you finish off with a final airtime hill and pop up into the final brake. For a more recent B&M hyper coaster, there’s more of an ending here than many of the more recent ones have after the MCBR.

One ride at Canada’s Wonderland that I really wanted to ride was Sledgehammer, a Huss Jump 2. I’ve heard it was fun, if not as impressive as it looks, but it’s unique and I’ve always wanted to ride. Sadly, I walk over and it wasn’t running. It tested a little during the day, but never ran. Bummer. So I walked over towards Time Warp instead, stopping by the Poutinerie food truck on the way. Sadly, though, they took cash only, and I didn’t have enough in CAD to pay in cash. Still no poutine for me and I’ve been in Canada for 2 days. After arriving at the entrance to Time Warp, it was down because someone on the ride dropped some stuff and it was being searched for. Really? This can’t be done after park closing like normal rides? I needed the credit. So I decided to come back later.

I really wanted something sweet so I headed to the front plaza. I walked in to Tim Hortons for my first Tim Hortons experience, but the line was long and I could tell they had a limited selection and did not want my first Tim Hortons experience to be less than regular. After taking some pictures and video near Wonder Mountain, I headed back around the park, hitting up the next closest coaster.

[u]Thunder Run (387)-[/u]This ride doesn’t accept Fast Lane, sadly, and the line was pretty long for what it was, but I felt I should get it out of the way while I was here. Once I did board the ride, you’re propelled (not really launched) out of the station on this powered coaster and into the mountain. The ride was super fun. There are lights and you circle around the guardian monster of the mountain. It was more fun than I expected it to be, and you get to go around twice. Though the line for it was too long, the ride was really a lot of fun.

Around the back of Wonder Mountain is Vortex, the park’s suspended Arrow coaster, and one of the few left of this dwindling type of ride. I took a peek at Soaring Timbers as it cycled, and Lumberjack before getting in the Fast Lane line.

[u]Vortex (388)-[/u]Though this is the ‘original’ of the 2, I’d ridden Flight Deck at Kings Island several times, which is a clone of this ride. This one is a little more fun as it interacts with the mountain and the lake behind. The first drop is really fun, and the lateral turns and drops, all causing the cars to swing out, make for a fun experience, especially as this is becoming a more rare experience.

Still on a sweet kick that had yet to be satisfied, I headed back to the front plaza for a Canadian treat (even if it is available in the states now), and got a cheesecake Beavertail, which was really very good. It was a shame that Guardian didn’t take Fast Lane because it was one of the longest lines in the park, but since I wanted to ride it I decided to get in line and tough it out. I’m not sure why they had the line outside of the indoor queue in direct sunlight, with the indoor switchbacks closed off. It would have been nice to be out of the sun for the hour or so I was outside.

[u]Wonder Mountain’s Guardian (389)-[/u]I’d ridden the dark ride at Knott’s by the same company and really enjoyed it. I don’t know if my glasses were having issues or the projectors weren’t working correctly, but I couldn’t see what was on the screens very well. I like the concept of an open shooter like this, but I feel like it could have been a better ride. As far as the coaster itself goes, the first drop and turn into the mountain was fun enough, and the surprise drop at the end, which I wasn’t aware of or had forgotten about, was really good. Especially since I didn’t anticipate it.

Having never heard much about Wonderland’s wooden coasters meant that I was going in kind of blind. I knew what they were, but no one seemed to talk about them. My first stop was Wilde Beast.

[u]Wilde Beast (390)-[/u]I road near the back of the 2 bench train. The first drop was really good. I expected the train to jackhammer at the bottom, but it didn’t. The layout is nearly a clone of the Grizzly coasters at other former KECO/Paramount Parks. This was just as good as Grizzly in Virginia. You hop up into the turn around, then drop down into a sort of double down. Pop up and down a few times, turn, hills, turn, then eventually hit the final brake run. I really enjoyed it, the ride was running well.

Don had texted me saying he was on the way to the park and would be there in a while. I decided to try and get several of the rides that I still really wanted to ride in before he got there on my Fast Lane so that we wouldn’t be tied to shorter lines once he got there, as he wouldn’t have Fast Lane, so I headed over to the park’s other wooden coaster.

[u]Mighty Canadian Minebuster (391)-[/u]This is a classic out and back wooden coaster with 3 bench trains. I sat near the back again for this one. The first drop was a lot of fun. That was followed up by several hills as you head to the turnaround and then up, around, and down again. As you pass back towards the lift hill the ride goes through a helix that, surprisingly, was fairly smooth and fun. Then you roll into the final brake run. Mindbuster was seriously a lot of fun, and I’m glad that I had no expectations of the 2 wooden coasters at the park, because they were both super enjoyable.

At some point I walked through the kids sections of the park, looking at the line for the Jr. Invert and Jr. Wooden coaster, neither of which I was willing to wait in at the moment. But the kid’s sections are very nice and very well done. I walked back through the medieval area and stopped for a cup of the Yukon Striker peach cider. It was good.

Thinking through a list of what other coasters I still needed to ride, which was quite a lot at 17, I realized I still had several coasters left. Canada’s Wonderland is tied with Cedar Point as the 2 parks with the second most roller coasters in the world, behind Magic Mountain. As I was close to Stunt Track, and it had a Fast Lane line, I decided to hit it up and get it over with.

[u]Back-Lot Stunt Coaster (392)-[/u]The third and final one of these I needed to ride. I really wish Cedar Fair would completely re-theme these rides into something a little better than shipping crates. But anyways. You start with the launch into the upward helix and the rest of the ride I’ve done plenty of times at Kings Island and Dominion. Except they weren’t even pretending there would be any type of show during the mid-course brakes as you rolled on passed and into the tunnel. Then it’s over. Bam. Another credit down.

I walked over by Time Warp to see if it was back up, got in line, walked to the station and…It was down AGAIN to look for someone’s lost article in the infield of the track. Seriously. Make them wait till the end of the day. At this point Don had entered the park so I was heading up to meet him. We ran into each other by the globe statue. I needed a bathroom break before any more riding. Then we headed over to see if Time Warp had reopened and, thankfully, it had.

[u]Time Warp (393)-[/u]The line wasn’t terribly long and moving at a good pace. Once it was our turn we climbed into the car and were locked in, ready to go. I like the lift mechanism on the spiral lift. Then the ‘fun’ begins. These rides are notorious for being rough. And this one was. You drop, turn, go through several inline twists, turns, drops, and more twists. Once it was over I was glad I’d finally ridden one, but happier I didn’t have to ride this one again.

Don wanted a drink so he headed into a restaurant selling beer as I headed over to [u]Flight Deck’s (394)[/u] Fast Lane line. Don wasn’t too interested in riding, and I just needed the quick credit. The theming wasn’t too shabby. I was asked to sit in the second row of the train as only one of the restraints was working, and was right on in no time. While I don’t intentionally skip riding SLCs, they’re nothing special and I’ve ridden several. This was another mark on the list. Not bad. Nothing special.

When I got off of the ride, Don had gotten 2 of the peach ciders as it was only $3 more for 2 than one, so we walked around drinking our cider and talking Janet, coasters, Toronto, fans, and more. Then we headed over to [u]The Bat (395)[/u], the park’s boomerang. Again, these are a dime a dozen and I’ve ridden more of these than I can remember. Since it had Fast Lane and Don didn’t need to ride, I took a quick spin to get the credit and get it over with. On a positive note, it wasn’t super rough. So we finished our ciders and headed over to Dragon Fyre, which Don hadn’t ridden in several years.

[u]Dragon Fyre (396)-[/u]Dragon Fyre has the same sequence of elements as Carolina Cyclone, but instead of turning at the top of the lift, you drop straight away, then there is a straight section of track before the 2 vertical loops. After the turn and 2 corkscrews there is a mid-course brake run that drops into the helix before the ride ends. It was fun and I’d definitely ride it again.

We walked over by The Fly, but the line was long and there was no Fast Lane line for the ride, so we decided to skip it. Don wanted to ride Vortex as it’s one of his favorites, so I gladly obliged as I liked it a lot as well. Then our day at Canada’s Wonderland had come to a close. We headed to my car and made dinner plans, with Don suggesting Milestones, which was a great choice. I had a cheese plate as an app, a blackberry whisky drink, and steak. And it was good. That evening Don took me to some of his favorite spots in Toronto. We had some drinks, watched some shows, and hung out, it was a lot of fun. Then I dropped him off before heading back to my hotel room for the evening.

Canada's Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada's Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

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Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:57 PM

Part 3 Toronto
May 6, 2019
Toronto ON

Feel free to read about my non coaster days here: https://cebeavers.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/canada-2019-day-3/

In the mean time, here are some photos of Toronto.

Toronto 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Toronto 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Toronto 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Toronto 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Toronto 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Toronto 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Toronto 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Toronto 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Untitled by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Such a lovely city. Maybe a little better than Chicagoland. Definitely way better than NYC (sorry Jonathan :mrgreen: ).

Last edited by Tekwardo, Thursday, October 3, 2019 4:01 PM
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Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:58 PM

Part 4 Niagara Falls
May 7, 2019
Niagara Falls ON

Again, you can read about my time at Niagara Falls Here: https://cebeavers.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/canada-2019-day-4/

Niagara Falls Canada 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls Canada 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Niagara Falls 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

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Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:59 PM

[u][u]Part 5 Canada's Wonderland Revisited
May 9, 2019
Vaughn ON

I’d decided a couple days earlier that since the drive to Toronto was easy and not very long, and since I’d gotten to Niagara early enough to accomplish a lot of what I’d wanted to do on Tuesday, I would go back and finish riding the coasters I’d missed and get some re-rides at Canada’s Wonderland. So on Wednesday morning I woke up fairly early and had breakfast again at Tim Hortons before heading back to Wonderland.

It was around 11:30 when I arrived at Wonderland. As I entered the parking lot, I knew it would be a good day to visit because, even though it was much cooler than Sunday, the parking lot was nearly empty. So I headed in and toyed with riding The Fly first, but instead headed to Leviathan for a front row ride, which ended up being with some local enthusiasts. Leviathan is a solid, fun coaster, but I’m glad we have Fury at Carowinds, because it’s a much better version.

I walked over to [u]The Fly (397)[/u] next for my credit. This is the third of the larger Mack Wild Mouse coasters I’ve ridden. I enjoy them, but mice still scare me after all of these years. The top scan wasn’t running, but there were some staff there working on it. I wasn’t upset as we have one at Carowinds, but had this been a few years ago I wouldn’t have been happy to not have ridden as these are fairly rare in the US. So I walked over towards Behemoth and got super excited when I saw that Sledgehammer was up and running! I detoured to the line for it instead.

This Huss Jump 2 was the only one I’m aware of that has ever been built. I’ve heard very mixed reviews, but mostly I had heard that it is a fun ride, though more impressive than it looks, and not nearly as scary as it looks. My only problem with Huss rides are the restraints. The OTSRs are weirdly different and part of the upper restraint has a sort of half crescent that digs into my collar bone because of my height. I have no problems fitting, but even when I ride a Giant Frisbee, the restraints aren’t very comfortable until the ride starts and I can shift around. Still, I was excited to ride.

Sledgehammer-You start off with the small gondola holding your seats spinning slowly, then the large superstructure starts to spin. After the superstructure starts to spin the ride’s arms, which your gondola is attached to, quickly thrusts upward, all the while with both the gondola and superstructure spinning. Then after a couple of rotations, you’re thrust back down. It does this several times, and is a lot of fun. I’m happy that I finally did get to ride.

So after that I headed over and got a ride on Behemoth in the back. That ride is really a lot of fun, and on the higher end of the B&M speed coasters for me. Then I went over and took another spin on Yukon Striker, this time with literally no wait, so I walked on to the front row. Another fun ride, and this time the wait was even less than with Fast Lane. So I headed back around and in to the kid’s section of the park to see if I could ride on the Jr. Inverted coaster. There was no one riding so I went over to see if I could fit. I probably could have had them push it down, but it would have been uncomfortable. These are a mixed bag, sometimes I fit, sometimes I don’t. I had no issues with the one at Wild Adventures, which still uses the older style of train like this one does. Not a huge loss, and I’m glad I hit it up when there was no line.

So I did what any other self-respecting coaster enthusiast does and headed over to the [u]Ghoster Coaster (398)[/u] Jr. Woody coaster. I have to say, this was the best themed Jr. Wooden coaster I’ve ever seen from any of the former Paramount Parks. It had a cute haunted house in the middle of the queue, which was up on a small hill, and it had tombstones to go with the theme. It was very well done. The ride was fun as well, as I sat in the very front of a train full of adults. And since I was already in the area, I decided to get in line for Boo Blasters. It’s basically the same as all of the rest, but the guns in my car weren’t working and there was no music in the building, with many effects not working.

I toyed with riding Leviathan one final time but instead I decided to head out of the park, grab a bite to eat, and drive back to Niagara Falls. It had turned into a beautiful, if cool, day. I had thought about going to the indoor waterpark at Niagara Falls, but it was later than it would be worth to pay $40 for 2 hours. So I went to the room and organized my stuff for the trip home the next morning and watched some TV. Then I decided to drive around and find dinner. I hadn’t driven through the other half of Niagara, ON, which was less touristy and far less campy than Clifton Hill. In fact, it was fairly nice.

It was rainy and I was getting hungry. Eventually I decided on a BBQ restaurant. Little did I know it was a buffet. It was a Canadian approximation of a BBQ buffet, but the food was actually good, even if it didn’t know whether it wanted to be Texas, southern, southwest, Memphis, or whatever.

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The Famous Flying Personal Item bins.

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Canada’s Wonderland 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

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Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:59 PM

[u][u][u][u][u]Part 6 Six Flags Darien Lake
May 10, 2019
Darien Lake NY

Okay, so this one doesn’t have much Canada in it, but thats where I started out for the day. Friday morning I woke up, packed up, checked out, and headed to the Rainbow Bridge to cross the border back into the US for good on this trip. Crossing the border into the US was always quicker than crossing over in to Canada. I was on my way pretty quick, with a couple of quick stops for pictures, and off through Buffalo and on to Darien Lake for my first visit. The day was cold and rainy, which was fine as I only wanted to spend a short amount of time at SFDL to ride the coasters. This being the first year back fully under the Six Flags Umbrella, my Diamond Elite Membership got me in, with free parking, and lots of other perks I ended up not using or needing on this visit.

The drive to SFDL was quick and easy. I stopped at yet another (the last of the trip) Tim Hortons for breakfast, and before long, I was pulling in, showing my pass, and parking near the gate at Darien Lake. Apparently there was some band competition there, but the park was still very dead. And as I’d never been before, that made me very happy. I had seen Superman running as I drove by the park to the parking lot, so I knew it was up and running, and it would be a milestone coaster for me. So I headed in with my pass and made my way over to the left, walking to my first coaster of the day.

[u]Ride of Steel (399)-[/u]I’ve ridden the sister clone at Six Flags America, which was my 2nd hyper coaster ever. I’ve loved it for many years. I was glad to see that this ride had updated their trains to the newer restraints. For my first ride I sat in the last row. Before long we were speeding on our way up the lift hill. Getting pulled over the top, the first drop I was very used to from it’s sister in MD. The rest of the ride, though, was very mediocre. It’s cold, early in the season (opening day), and early in the morning. So even though there was airtime, the ride had not warmed up. It was good, mind you. The turn into the first hill, up and over had major floater air. The last 3 hills gave airtime as well. But it wasn’t what this ride is capable of, and that’s okay.

Walking over to Ride of Steel, I noticed that Predator wasn’t open, which was disappointing. The layout looks really fun. But they were retracking the lower turn on the far end. That was a bummer, but I realized that SFDL is only about 2 hours from Waldameer, so the next time I’m in the area, I’ll pop up for that.

When I arrived at the park, the reason I rode ROS first was because I had miscounted, and thought it would be my 400th coaster (with obligatory Instagram post proclaiming as such). But I was wrong. My 400th coaster was actually Tantrum. And, honestly, thats great! It was much better than I expected it to be.

I walked across the fairly empty park, heading to the newest coaster addition to the park. I noticed the very well done kid’s section, Rowdy Ridge. More Six Flags should take a look at this and add something similar. Tantrum was a walk on to the front row.

T[u]antrum (400 :clap: :!: :D )-[/u]While I enjoy Eurofighter coasters from Gerstlauer, they’re kind of hit and miss, especially if they have over the shoulder restraints. Tantrum had a 2 row train with only lap bars. This thing is smooth and a lot of fun. The first beyond vertical drop was good, followed by the super cool and disorienting sea-serpent like first set of maneuvers. Then you drop down, twist a bit on the straight away, and back up into an over-banked turn, then an inclined loop, and then head into the final brake run. Short, simple, but super effective, it was a great ride.

I noticed that the SLC, Serial Thriller, wasn’t operating which, while disappointing that I wouldn’t get the credit, wasn’t a huge loss. I headed through the new kid’s area and wanted to ride the Moose on the Loose ride, but it’s meant for kids, and the weight limit meant I couldn’t ride, even though there was no line and barely any kids there. The riders that were on seemed to enjoy it though. But next up I planned to ride the park’s classic Arrow looper. It just took a while to find the entrance, since the exit is on the opposite midway.

[u]Viper (401)-[/u]For an older Arrow looper, it was actually fun. I sat in the front row of the back of the train as it had more leg room. The first drop is fun, then you speed into a series of loops of different kinds, topped off with a helix and back into the station. Surprisingly, I wasn’t ill from the positive Gs, nor did I have any headbanging, so that was a win/win for me on this classic Arrow coaster.

Darien Lake is a very charming park. I walked around the back of the lake to more rides and, even though there are some areas that could be updated, it was fairly charming. I just wish they had concrete walkways instead of asphalt because, even though I wasn’t there on a hot day, asphalt makes heat and humidity worse. The park’s newest addition, a Star Flyer, was up, but not open yet. They seemed to still be working on getting it ready. It looked nice. The next stop was a first, a Zamperla moto-coaster.

[u]Moto Coaster (402)-[/u]I have to say, the first launch was way more powerful than I expected. I ride in the last row, and the ride was fun. You launch into an upward curving hill, then across a straight away, then another curved drop that goes into a mess of twists, turns, and helices. It was a lot of fun. I do wish they’d do a little better at keeping the area around the ride looking better, but it was a lot of fun.

I was hoping that the credits I needed that would typically make my head hurt or make me feel slightly ill, and at this point I was 1/1 (with the SLC closed). The next one up was the park’s boomerang, so I headed there to queue up next. [u]Boomerang Coast to Coaster (403)[/u] wasn’t bad. I road in the front of the car, and there wasn’t any head banging. As I was close to RoS, I went back over for a front seat ride and, though it was a little better, the ride was still sluggish. Not bad, just sluggish. Then I walked back over for another ride on Tantrom which, again, was super fun, before heading out of the park and heading south.

So that was it. No more parks, no more coasters for the week. I left Darien Lake and headed south, through NY, PA, and then into WV, where I stayed with my very close friends, the Klein’s, for a nite in Morgantown, WV where we ate great pizza and had beer and chilled and talked. Saturday morning I headed even further south, through WV, VA, and NC. Once I arrived at home, I quickly had to shower, shave, and get dressed, as I had a wedding in SC that evening to attend.

So I really enjoyed my trip to Canada and NY. Toronto was a great city, and the exchange rate really helped out. All of the parks were a lot of fun, and I’m excited to head back north in the future to continue to explore them.

Darien Lake 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Darien Lake 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Darien Lake 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Darien Lake 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Darien Lake 2019 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

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Thursday, October 3, 2019 4:00 PM

The Great Northern Tour Video

Not sure what all of those [u] symbols at each beginning are, I tried to delete them, but can't.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Thursday, October 3, 2019 7:33 PM
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Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:43 PM

What’s the weight limit on Moose on the Loose? I’ve ridden it a bunch of times, and I’m guessing I’m over the weight limit. Never knew there was one...

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Friday, October 4, 2019 12:47 PM

I don’t remember. I saw people riding the I remember thinking “I know they’re over the limit” and I probably could have ridden, but I didn’t. It was a super low number though, and I could tell it was meant to deter adults.

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Friday, October 4, 2019 2:56 PM

I just got back from a fantastic day at Dollywood. And because I have an affinity for unusual rides, and there was no one in line, and because I feel no shame whatsoever, I climbed right aboard their Black Bear Trail. At first I wasn’t sure they’d let me on, but the little bear horsies seemed sturdy with places for two riders. And even though I’m 65 and weigh in at 220, the seatbelt fit fine and the young lady had nothing to say but “Y’all have a nice ride!”
It was a fun little ride (if not just a touch too bouncy), and even though onlookers pointed and chuckled? No shame. And I can see how it has to be a hit with kids and families. My only complaint was not all the bears are black.

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Friday, October 4, 2019 6:24 PM

I just found the Six Flags Darien Lake Accessibility Guide online. It says “The total combined weight per moose must not exceed 220 pounds”...

I can tell you I’ve ridden Moose on the Loose a bunch of times, sometimes with my kid on the same Moose, and I haven’t weighed anywhere near 220lbs since it opened... My apologies to Kevin, George, Michael, and Robert; aka the mooses on the loose.

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