To La Ronde or Not

Sunday, April 28, 2019 1:03 PM

My wife and I will be visiting Montreal at the end of May for the first time. I work in the restaurant industry and some places up there are on my bucket list.

Naturally, we have the opportunity to visit La Ronde but I’m struggling with the age old “is it worth it” question. From all I’ve seen and read, it’s operations are weaker than the coaster lineup.

Has anyone been to the park recently? To me, there’s nothing in their coaster line up that’s particularly motivating. Add on top that I’m finding the rides and operations are poorly maintained.

Should I be convinced otherwise?

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Sunday, April 28, 2019 1:12 PM

Do you have a Six Flags membership? If so, it would be worth going. The location on the river is nice. Otherwise, you would need to ask yourself how much do you want to see a six flag's park for the money it's going to cost, especially considering Montreal is an amazing city with more than a week's worth of things to explore and discover.

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Sunday, April 28, 2019 1:23 PM

Unfortunately, no Six Flags pass. We'd be paying gate prices. Does it compare to SFKK in its heyday? That's kind of the closest comparison I can think of.

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Sunday, April 28, 2019 2:23 PM

I'd play it by ear. It's not like planning in advance will make much difference. See how much fun you are having in the city itself. If you get bored, go for it.

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Sunday, April 28, 2019 5:04 PM

It has been a number of years since I visited La Ronde, but here is my take:

Mostly I agree with the comment above, play it by ear. La Ronde is located next to a city park that is well worth exploring by itself (although, IIRC, not especially easy to get to from within that park). In other words, it might almost be on your itinerary, and not require you to knock out a whole day to visit the way a suburban park would.

Which is good, because there's not a full day's worth of stuff to do there, unless you end up spending the whole day in line, which would not be enjoyable. Goliath is rated #44 on the CBuzz list, which puts it in pretty good company. I also thought Le Monstre was a terrific ride, but you should note I seem to be the only person in the world with that opinion. Apart from those two (or maybe one), there aren't any roller coasters worth going out of your way for.

I was there at night, but I don't remember thinking the park was especially charming.

So to some extent, it comes down to whether you want to spend $100 or so for an afternoon or evening at a fairly ordinary park, which I guess is a question of your budget or whether you'd prefer to spend that money going to better restaurants.

There happens to be a good deal on Six Flags season passes right now, if you live near a Six Flags park and/or would be going to another one this year.

(And, off topic, if you're in the food business, be sure to check out one of the city's food markets. Jean Talon on the north side is huge and amazing; Atwater has some really nice stalls.)

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Sunday, April 28, 2019 5:36 PM

Thanks for all the advice! It sounds like playing it by ear is the way to go. Budget wise, we're totally capable of going on a whim. We certainly appreciate the market suggestions, too!

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Monday, April 29, 2019 12:50 AM

Seconding on the play it by ear since it's in your budget. I've not been in a couple of years but generally enjoy a day at the park. Also seconding Hambone that Le Monstre is a great ride since they got the weird looking PTC trains on there. The rest of the park is fun, nothing spectacular, but worth checking out. I love spaghetti bowl woodies and would visit the park just for Le Monstre, but there's many that find it a bore.

The operations are piss poor and it is frustrating waiting in a not very long line and feeling it move slow as molasses because the staff are looking at their phones or talking to each other. I personally wouldn't go to the park in the summer without splurging for the fast pass.

We've been able to get deeply discounted tickets through the concierge at our hotel. Depending on where you're staying it's worth giving them a call to see if they offer them.

Also, there's no need to drive there if you're staying downtown. The Metro goes to the island then there's a bus that takes you right to the gate. The Metro passes are one of the best values when visiting Montreal and we always get one. They even have an express bus to the airport if you're flying.

The poutine in the park is also pretty good, they take that stuff seriously there.

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Monday, April 29, 2019 6:48 PM

I seldom miss a visit to a new park if I happen to be in the area. I like credits and I love seeing new-to-me parks, so why not? And if it turns out to be a place I’d rather not go back to, that’s fine. Having said that... I’ve been to La Ronde twice, each some years apart, and both visits count as some of the most disappointing I’ve ever had. It has a few redeeming qualities in terms of rides, but on my last visit Le Monstre was down so there wasn’t even that saving grace. If as enthusiasts you prefer to go into a park and just bang out coaster rides then (poor operations aside) you may not mind it. If you really value ambience, beautiful atmosphere, good food, and decent flats then you will have gone to the wrong place. I guess I’d say don’t cut yourself short a day in the city just for it, but if time permits you should go. Especially if your chance for future trips to Montreal I’d slim. It is easy transportation from downtown, the surrounding area is nice, there’s a casino, stuff like that. LaRonde can get very busy, too.

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Monday, April 29, 2019 10:15 PM

I enjoyed my visit to La Ronde last year. Granted, I went in with very low expectations and really lucked out in terms of crowds. I'm sure a moderately busy day there could be annoying with the park's less than stellar operations, but on an empty day that wasn't a problem. I also thought the ride collection was pretty good, with Goliath being one of the better B&M megacoasters and Le Monstre being different from your typical wood coaster layout. There is also a very good flat ride collection, including a well-run Huss Breakdance, a very fast Huss Condor, a rare Mondial Top Spin, and a Zamperla Giant Discovery, to name a few.

The only real problem with the place is the poor operations. The ride operators seem to show up for work at the same time the park opens, which means the rides don't open on time. The park also closed more than an hour before the scheduled closing time for no apparent reason (maybe they didn't think it was crowded enough to stay open?). And several coasters only have one train, which could make for long lines on a day with decent crowds. I will also note that they seemed to close Le Monstre for the rest of the day after a couple raindrops fell, so ride that early if any rain is in the forecast.

All that is to say, I encourage you to visit, but do so having reasonable expectations. Don't expect the best park in the world, because it certainly is not. But it's also not the worst park, and it's somewhat unique with its location and history (Expo 86).

Last edited by Mr. Six, Monday, April 29, 2019 10:15 PM
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Tuesday, April 30, 2019 12:09 PM

Having never been there, I can only imagine La Ronde's operations would be like if you wrote an Onion article about horrible Six Flags park operations.

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Thursday, May 2, 2019 9:25 AM

That's my biggest fear, BrettV. Maybe I'll go so that all other parks operations seem redeemable. Ya know, perspective...

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Friday, May 3, 2019 10:52 AM

I will chime in as well. The park does have enjoyable rides but, like others said, operations suck! Also, the last time we were there, the park was so dirty.

I am another rare soul that likes Le Monster. No, it's not the best. But it is fun. Goliath ranks up there with the best B&M hypers (even though it isn't technically a hyper). If you love air-time, it is loaded. The kiddie coaster is hard credit since it requires a child to ride. We couldn't get any when we were there to agree to ride with us. Ended up talking with ride-op and was told to come back at closing. We did and was allowed on the last train. So glad, as it is one of the best kiddie coasters around. It was a lot of fun!

Like RCMAC said, new park, new credits...if you like it, great. If not, you know never to go back.

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Saturday, May 4, 2019 11:06 AM

Go for 90 minutes in the evening. Just ride Le Monstre. The B&M hyper cause it is decent, and the Monorail because it is one of the original World's Fair rides and will give you a nice overview of the area. That's what I did and it was enough.

Spend any extra time you have over there exploring the rest of island outside the park. Lots of nicely designed public spaces, city views. Get up close to Bucky Fueller sphere. It is awesome.

Last edited by Kstr 737, Saturday, May 4, 2019 11:09 AM
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