TR: Waterville USA, 04/11/02

Associated parks:

Monday, April 15, 2002 9:53 PM
Well, I thought I'd try out my first TR. I'll start by saying that I definitely enjoy the challenge of ranking coasters, although I realize the inherent difficulties in doing so and see why some don't like doing it. Not only do rides vary a good bit from day to day and even within a given day, but it's also sometimes hard to really remember rides from the past and compare them to the present. Then, since my wife and I share a ranking list, there's the added difficulty of finding a middle ground when we disagree. Oh well. I'm mainly mentioning all of this in case my TR seems a bit over-analyzed!

By the way, I use the Griswold score as a guide, from -3 (serious yuck) to +5 (SRM, etc).

Anyway, on to Waterville. First of all, I was under the impression that the park was a bit closer to Mobile than it really was, so by the time we got down there we didn't have very long. The complex that was Waterville reminded me a LOT of Race World in Pigeon Forge, which is not a compliment. Actually, it was quite a bit nicer than Race World, but the vibe was still similar. Unfortunately, there were not many cars in the lot this Thursday evening, and we certainly didn't get to see the coaster run until we got on it. It was pretty in a way, I guess, but a bit older and rustier than I'd expected for such a (relatively) new ride. So we paid our $5 and hopped in for our double ride in the front seat.

Now, who knows how many times the old Cannonball Run had even left the station that day? And we were of course the only ones on it as it slowly glided toward the lift hill. This had me a bit worried, as I'm one who firmly believes that full coasters that have been running all day give better rides. But even with these factors stacked against it, this undersized and short little ride was quite a pleasant suprise.

Cannonball Run, #46 wooden, ranked #23/46 +2.5

From the top of the lift, we enjoyed the way the drop curved steeply behind the returning track, therefore not permitting any vision ahead. This added a bit to the thrill as we took off down the drop, around the corner and over a nice camel with sustained air. In 2 rides, I couldn't get all the choreography, but the double up (I think) that followed had a nice 'sharp' pop of air. It's always a plus to me when you get some variety in sensation with different types of air back to back (something the ending stretch of Magnum for example does very well in my book, while the ending stretch of Steel Force is not as good...ANYWAY) Then came the turnaround (yes, it is a short ride) that was a bit shuffly and nothing special, and a curving camel or two that were also pretty forceless. Finally the ride ended with a bang, a real up and over hump that was very reminiscent of the ending sequence of the Cornball Express, albeit a bit tamer. Still, I love that airtime/lateral combined feeling, and couldn't help but think again about how this ride might be with full trains at the end of the day! I hope someone will post a report from the Con next week (and maybe correct any details I am mixing up here as well).

All in all, I certainly didn't fall in love with Waterville as had hoped for a bit more of a 'seaside' coaster feel than a video arcade with a coaster butting up against it. But Cannonball Run really was better than expected. I wish we'd had time to grab a backseat ride, as I think it shortchanges a coaster a bit not to at least try the front and the back. As it was, I'd say it has a couple of 'very good' moments but maybe no 'great' moments. So maybe it's not top tier, but its peppy nature and rerideability definitely will bring me back again.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002 7:49 PM
Nice TR I hope to read more in the future!

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