The Ups and Downs of May 2005 (Part 3) (IJ Media Day and Other Fun Stuff)

Associated parks:

“Don’t leave just yet. We may need you”

May continues….

The next upcoming week was going to be a fairly packed one. It wouldn’t consist of a lot of parks, but it would require more travel than originally thought. I would also have the chance to really get to know PKI’s Italian Job: Stunt Track more than I did with my initial 20 rides.

-May 15th-

This has been a kind of strange year for me in regards to traveling with non-coaster enthusiasts. I usually travel with at least one enthusiast, or alone. Traveling with someone that isn’t into this lifestyle as some of the rest of us can be good or bad depending on the individual. There were a group of folks at my workplace that got a hold of the fact that I travel to go to amusement parks. They didn’t understand it and actually asked if they could tag along for a couple of trips. I had no problem with that as I sometimes like to be at a park with someone that isn’t into rides as I feel off their energy at times. Three times during this season I traveled with three of my co-workers. Nick, Gary, and Jim all decided to join me one day at PKI. I had gone to Cedar Point with Gary and Jim before, and Gary owns a PKI pass now, but it would still be cool to see the park from someone that doesn’t go often. Hell, Jim is so new at this that his first ever ride was Top Thrill Dragster last year. Yes, his first ride EVER. Not even a carousel. He wanted to start from the top and he did just that.

We arrived at PKI at around 9:00AM and met up with fellow enthusiasts Phillip Reuss, Chris Trotter, and Neil Rupp. They weren’t planning on staying long but they came for one reason. They wanted to ride IJ. I had no problem with that as I really do enjoy the ride.

The park was gracious enough to offer IJ for the ACE walk-back ride. We ended up getting in 5 rides before we went on to other rides. Chris, Neil, and Phillip soon left as we continued to ride. I had a great day hanging out with my co-workers. Jim had never been upside down before and wanted to try Tomb Raider: The Ride. I thought for sure he would dislike the ride as it tends to stick you upside down for more than a few seconds. I was really surprised to find out he liked it. He didn’t want to go on Vortex as it looked to “loopy” for him so we went to Flight of Fear. We kind of forgot to tell him about the inversions so he had no idea what it did. He ended up enjoying this one as well.

We didn’t stay at the park all day but we got in some good rides. I had to be back at the park the next morning for a video/photo shoot so it was good to get back to Columbus at a decent time. The next morning Neil Rupp, Rich Genthner (TCKR), my mother Phyllis, and I headed back down to PKI for the shoot.

Originally we were told that there wasn’t going to be a lot of riding this day. This was no problem as I was aware how video and photo shoots go. I was there to help out the park in any way I could. There were about 20 folks from the entertainment area and 20 enthusiasts who were all going to ride IJ for the camera. We had to dress in summer looking clothes even though it was in the 50’s. Once again, I am used to this as it seems anytime there is a photo shoot, its damn cold. Despite the cool temperatures, the warmth of the company of Jeff, Maureen, and Steve was enough to brighten up the day.

We spent from 8:00AM to 7:00PM riding the coaster. While we knew in advance there would be long waits because of camera changes, we also were fed a great lunch and able to take another break. The park, as usual, really went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. If the producers of the shoot needed us to re-ride immediately for another quick shot, they always asked everyone on board the trains if they were good to go again. This didn’t seem like a problem for the enthusiasts, but we did see a few people from the entertainment department leave after a few rides.

Some of us got a good laugh at the expense of one of the entertainment people. Those folks went out on a ride and as the train was coming back into the station, a girl sitting in the back row made the comment of, “How did that train get in front of us? We are supposed to be the first train and now we are the second.” She had a very confused look on her face and was dead serious. I kid you not.

Everyone seemed to have a great time even though that wasn’t the reason why we were there. It seemed that only a few of us rode for most of the day. That’s understandable as the strong helix seemed to be getting to some people as the day went on. Those folks that stopped riding were then asked to walk across the queue bridge “on que” for various shots. During the last few hours the park asked people that were processing their passes if they would like to ride as well. They had to fill out a release like everyone else did but there were quite a few people that were ready to ride.

Before the day ended I ended up with 52 rides for the day. I honestly thought I would be getting one, maybe two rides, due to the nature of the video shoot. I am very glad I took advantage of it as I was not only allowed to help out the park, but I was able to really get to know the coaster experience inside out.

The evening ended with a dinner with enthusiasts, Lisa Brodrick and her son Jake (who ended up with over 60 rides I believe) Derek Clayton, Brian Neil, and May Heck. We talked about upcoming trips and had a great time at dinner.


Jeff Johnson was to fly out to Ohio to attend the media preview for IJ. Yes, I would be going back again to the park. Three times in one week when it was all said and done. Jeff called me when he was booking his flight. Usually when I hear back from Jeff once plans are made it’s usually something totally off the wall and insane in nature, but it always works out. This was the case for this upcoming trip. The original plan was to go to the media day at PKI, go to Cedar Point the next day, then back to PKI on Sunday before taking Jeff back to the airport that evening. Jeff had an idea of doing PKI, Cedar Point, then flying down to Busch Garden’s Tampa to ride Sheikra. Yes, it sounded like a typical Jeff influenced trip, but I was into it.

Great friend Robert Ulrich from Atlanta was to drive up to Columbus the night before. Jeff’s flight landed around 5:30PM and my mother was to pick him up as I was at work. I was able to get out of work early so I met up with everyone and we soon went to dinner. While we were eating, it was brought to our attention from my mother that she passed a carnival near downtown Columbus and she thought she had seen a coaster. We were all ready to check it out.

Robert, Jeff, and I made our way to the Central Point area in Columbus and were welcomed by the view of a small carnival sitting in the middle of an old Big Bear parking lot. There were a few rides there that looked cool but most importantly there was a coaster. It was a pretty standard non-powered Wisdom Dragon Wagon but it was a coaster none-the-less. We purchases tickets and all three of us were soon riding the rails of the incredible…

----Dragon Wagon---(#605)

There really isn’t much to discuss about this coaster other than it was a portable kiddie coaster. Portable indeed. Portable as in “coaster structure sliding around on ground as adults ride” portable. It was actually pretty creepy. We also noticed the coaster sitting in some water where some electrical cables were also residing. Robert found a cotter pin on the steps of the coaster. Hopefully this was just a spare. Add that to profane words coming out of the ride operator’s mouth before we rode and you have a very surreal experience. The strange nature of this urban carnival wasn’t over just yet.

We decided to try a very shady looking walk-through. The operator, if you can call him that, claimed the attraction took 3 tickets even though there was sign stating it took 4. When we handed him the tickets he became confused and handed us back 3 tickets. It seems he wasn’t totally sure what to take from us so we got to do this thing for 2 tickets each.

The walk-through contained a couple of left and right turns, a horn, and that was pretty much it. No kidding. It took all of about 20 seconds to walk through the thing. We couldn’t help but laugh. Had we paid 4 tickets to try it out, we would have probably been laughing even more as the joke would have really been on us.

Robert and I decided to ride a spinning ride named Hurricane. I don’t know who manufactures the ride or what the generic term for the ride is, but just imagine cars that spin rapidly around a center. The cars then are thrust up with a large, loud blast of air, then are dropped, then shot again, over and over. Jeff was done riding for the night so he watched as Robert and I spun on the lower level for about 5 minutes before the ride started shooting up. Seeing things being held together by duct tape made me pretty nervous. It wasn’t just that. The whole ride seemed to want to tip over. I actually had visions of us being headlines in the paper. The ride cycle must have lasted almost 10 minutes.

I still had some tickets left over so I did a quick ride on a Ring of Fire. I ended up getting 11 complete revolutions. Looking to the left I was able to get a nice upside view of downtown Columbus with every revolution. I was pretty buzzed from the last two rides and walking was a bit of a chore. I was fine by the time we reached my car. We left the carnival and made the short drive back to my place. Good friend Bill Berkey showed up soon after we got back home. He was going to crash at my place as well and ride down with us to PKI the next morning.

-May 19th-

We woke up fairly early and got ready for our short 1 hour and 15 minute journey to PKI. Today was the media day for IJ. I knew in advance that this was going to be a rather explosive day, but didn’t know what fireworks were in store for us. As we arrived at the park and checked in, we were taken by limos and dropped off near the ride entrance. The park did this for the Tomb Raider: The Ride media day as well. Each limo had a CD that played as soon as we left the front gate area. On the CD was a “director” telling us the plan for the day. The CD ended as soon as we arrived at our stop. What a nice touch.

It was great seeing a lot of enthusiasts there. A lot of people had already ridden the ride during the technical rehearsals but it was cool hearing comments from people who had not ridden it yet. Bill, Robert, and Jeff were all excited once they saw the ride up close.

In typical PKI fashion the media day started with exciting music playing. A small plane flew overhead. At first I thought it might have been a plane taking the media around the park or something. Those thoughts were soon distinguished as it was announced to look up at the place. Three skydivers exited the plane and made their way down to the ground. Each skydiver had a banner. One was a PKI logo. The next was an American flag; the third was the Italian Job logo. This was very impressive.

The tricks continued as a Brinks truck zoomed up past the crowd and stopped at the entrance. Two Mini Coopers pull up and skid into place next to the truck. The drivers got out and open the back hatch. Out pops the ever energetic Jeff Siebert as fake cash flew all over the place.

Jeff welcomed the crowd and introduced the two people who were in the Minis. These were two of the folks that drove the cars in the movie. The mayor of Mason also made an appearance and proclaimed May 19th 2005 as Italian Job Day. What followed was a series of explosions and fireworks before everyone was allowed to ride.

I got in line with the folks I came to the park with. We ended up waiting about 15 minutes for our first ride. The sky quickly grew dark and we had hoped it wouldn’t rain on this special day. Our first ride came and went. Robert, Jeff, and Bill all said they enjoyed the ride. Jeff thought it was much stronger than he originally had thought. We got in one more ride before it started to rain a bit. The park handed out ponchos for everyone that wanted one.

As I was exiting the ride after our second ride, I ran into Dave Cobb, who is the creative director for the ride. He ended up joining us in line for our third ride. We learned a lot about the ride and how much it has changed from concept to where it is now. It was also cool to find out that Dave does the voice for the onboard audio during the ride.

Just as we were about to board for our third time, the skies really opened and it started to pour. The ride was soon shut down and we took shelter in the new Happy Days Diner area. The park had an amazing feast set up for everyone but the rain was preventing people from getting to it as they didn’t want to stand in a long line while getting drenched. Luckily the park came up with a system that allowed everyone to get to the covered food area. The food was fantastic with many options to choose from.

As we continued to eat, it continued to storm. There were some pretty close lightning strikes that woke everyone up. We decided to leave as soon as were finished eating. We took a limo back to the front gate (you don’t get to do that very often) and left the park. Despite the nasty weather, I had a great time as usual. Bill, Robert, and Jeff weren’t disappointed in the least. Special thanks goes out to the PKI staff for once again opening things with a bang.

Jeff had never ridden the Boa Squeeze at the Cincinnati Mills mall so we headed there. Lisa Broadrick and her son Jake followed us there. I had already ridden the coaster so I passed on riding. Robert and I ended up watching the group riding. .

We continued to look around the mall before leaving and heading back to Columbus. Bill left to go back home to Akron once we arrived. The rest of us just kind of hung out until evening. Jeff wanted to go to Best Buy to purchase a portable photo printer. I had been checking out new digital cameras and thought about purchasing a new one.

As we were at Best Buy, Jeff found the printer he was looking for and I ended up picking up a new camera. As I was getting ready to purchase it, Jeff pointed out the same camera was in an “open box” section. That ended saving me $60. Thanks Jeff. The new camera works like a charm.

The rest of the evening was pretty bland. We didn’t do much. It was still raining like mad and we didn’t feel like going out anywhere. We just kind of hung out at my place watching things on DVD before crashing out. Robert was to head back to Atlanta the next morning. Jeff and I were to head to Cedar Point to get in a few rides before starting the slightly mad portion of the trip that Jeff suggested we do.

Next up…..

Dropping in to say hello to the Sunshine State.

Thanks for reading,


john peck's avatar
So thats your secret.. you count portibles! Ah, thats something I don't do since they are hard to tell apart unless you know what show it's at.

Sounds like it was a J&J Carnival that was set up. Did they have a big Ferris Wheel with roundish tubs? Since they have a Ring of Fire, that almost sounds like them.

The Hurricane is a Hrubitz product, (they make the paratrooper and round-up) the new version of the Hurricane is the Downdraft, which is made by Dartron, which is essentially Hrubitz. (Knoebles has a Downdraft)

coasterqueenTRN's avatar
Sean, I am beginning to think Jeff is more of a credit-whore than you and Bill put together. ;-)

It was great seeing you guys again!

That was my first media day and I had an absolute blast, despite the rain. It was more than worth the 3 1/2 hour drive just for those couple of hours.

The limo thing was nuts! I loved it, as well as that amazing Italian buffet they had.

Jeff, Maureen, and the PKI staff went all out for that event and I wouldn't have expected anything less.

Oh, IJST (both of them) aren't too shabby either. ;-)


605 coasters, holy cow Sean, that is a crap load of fun. I will finally hit 100 in October after heading back out to SFMM.

Tina, no coasters yet in Iowa or Minnesota, shame on you, just kidding but if you're ever going to Adventureland here in Des Moines, you'll have to let me know.

Same with you Sean but you may have already conquered these.

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!


I didn't start counting portable coasters until I REALLY started getting into this hobby. There are a lot I rode when I was younger that I never did count. I agree that they are diffcult to keep track of. I try and do at least some research to see if I have ridden the ride before. If I question if I had ridden it before, I won't count it. I believe I have ridden about 15 portable coasters if that. I don't go to many carnival or fairs but the ones I do usually have a ride package that I can tell if I have been on or not.

The J&J thing sounds like you are correct as I believe we did see that logo on a bench that was around the area. Thanks for the info on the Hurricane.


Jeff is indeed the credit whore. I don't count relocated coasters or racing coasters as two. Jeff on the other hand..


This year should be my best year or riding, as far as my coaster count goes. If everything goes as planned I should be able to ride well over 100 more before the end of the year. Not that this hobby/ lifestyle is compulsive or anything. =:^)


coasterqueenTRN's avatar
Crazyforcoasters, we are actually planning a trip (IA/WI/MN) for August sometime. Those will all be new-to-me parks.


*** Edited 6/23/2005 6:52:20 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Well Tina, if you make it to Des Moines, let me know, I could show you around Adventureland.

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!

coasterqueenTRN's avatar
Sweet! I will keep in touch! We will most likely hit Adventureland.

Sean, your trips? Compulsive? Naaa. ;-)

One of these days I will break down and do a trip with you guys!


Sean, do you ever sleep?

The Hurrican is really a fun ride if you ride one in great condition. I used to ride the one at the WV state fair, and it is really a lot of fun.


Do I ever sleep?

Yes I do. As soon as I see the sun come up, I know it's time to rest.

-Sean (who actually knows someone that has a coffin and wonders if he sleeps in it)

coasterqueenTRN's avatar
Now we know Sean's a vampire. ;-)


"Sleep all day, party all's fun to be a vampire" (Lost Boys).


Nope. Not a vampire, but I really dig Type-O-Negative.

....the band that is.=:^)

-Sean (who is always pale by nature)

Never knew about Type O Negative, till I got the Mortal Kombat soundtrack. I also got an introduction to KMFDM.

Then the second soundtrack came out, and was miles better than watching the movie.


I almost purchased the Mortal Kombat soundtrack because I knew Type O was on it. Once I figured the song they did was already on the Bloody Kisses CD, I passed on getting it. It is listed on the MK disc as a different mix but from what I have been told, it doesn't sound much different than the original.

I used to go to Type O shows every time they were in town or in Cincy. They still are one of my favorite bands but they didn't tour much during the last Life Is Killing Me album due to Pete's (single/writer/bass player) health.

I was confused when I went to and saw the main page. It ended up being a joke. The band does have a wicked sense of humor.

Back to coasters...

Riddler's Revenge and Phantom's Revenge remind me of Type O. I wonder why? =:^)


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