The weather was perfect, my boss gave me a half day off as compensation for working this past weekend, and I had an urge to ride some old favorites, so I ventured out to Conneaut Lake Park and made a side stop at Erieview Park (Geneva-On-The-Lake, OH) on the way back. I'll try to do this in a "Good, Bad, and Ugly" format... something new for me since I tend to ramble quite a bit in my reports!
Conneaut Lake Park
* Prices. Conneaut Lake certainly doesn't "gouge" its guests. Ride all day admission on weekdays is just $8.95 (lower than parking fees at some SF parks), bottled soda from the vending machines was $1.00, and an order of fresh-cut french fries and a small 16 oz. Coke was just $3.95. You definitely won't go broke here.
* Park Appearance. CLP looked the best I've seen it in quite some time. Several rides got new coats of paint (Musik Express operator booth, Roll-O-Plane, Round Up, and the Blue Streak station), Kiddieland received a new entrance gate, and the midways were generally clean. And in my opinion, the Lakeside setting is absolutely gorgeous. I could spend an hour or so just sitting on the beach watching the world go by.
* Flying Scooters. While they aren't considered by the experts as a good set of Flyers, I personally enjoy them immensely. The ride runs at a decent enough speed, but doesn't have that scary out of control feeling that Knoebels does. I'm still trying to get over my terrifying cable snapping experience at Knoebels 3 weeks ago and this was just the ride to do it. Since there were no lines, I was able to stay on a few times and just enjoyed a classic park favorite.
* The Devil's Den. For the first time in a long time, the Den actually had a line into the second set of rails in the queue! This classic dark ride (coaster?) got an exterior face lift last season and this year they threw in a new stunt and a few other new scenes just to keep riders on the edge of their seats. I am amazed at how fast the car travels through the winding course, and would love to see what it's like to ride through with the lights on.... that's probably scarier than with them off! A quirky little ride that is a must ride on any visit.
* The Blue Streak. I hate to put this here, but this classic 1938 (?) Vettell coaster just didn't seem itself this time. I rode in the front seat first and enjoyed airtime on the first three hills, but the return run seemed sort of uneventful. My second ride was in seat 1.3. This was a very painful experience as the train had a lot of "shuffle" to it and the turnaround was just plain brutal. My final ride of the day was in seat 4.1. Awesome standing air on the first three hills and a hint of air on the return run.... but still not as good as I remembered. The Streak is a true classic in every sense of the word.... I guess I may have hit it on an off day. Either that or I'm getting old! ;)
* Some Employees. I don't want to say all of the employees are bad as that is not the case. The woman who sold me my wristband for instance was extremely friendly. But there were a few that were, well, rather scary. The Blue Streak crew consisted of a younger fellow and a scary older gentleman who did nothing but yell at the kids. I realize that yelling may be warranted in some situations (running down the exit ramp for instance), but he was yelling so loud, people on the other side of the midway were looking up to see what the problem was. Then, the guy in the Fry Stand next to the Beach Club was talking about how the next person that "screws up" (though he didn't use that polite terminology) while working is going to get punched in the mouth. Glad I don't work there! And finally, the Ultimate Trip (indoor Eli Scrambler) operator was combing and fixing her hair and not paying attention to the ride while it was operating. I know Conneaut has "Ride at your own risk" signs posted, but this was the kind of behavior I'd expect at Six Fla.... I mean..... you hate to see that happen!
* YoYo. Last year, I got the scariest YoYo ride I have ever had on this Chance swing ride as the op was tilting the top of the ride manually, which caused the chains to buckle and our seats to suddenly tip back from the level position. This year, the top barely tilts. A shame really as the YoYo is one of the best swing rides ever made.
* Toboggan. Unfortunately, the "new" Chance Toboggan is still closed as they are waiting for a lift chain. The sign posted on the ride said it should arrive "in six weeks". This looks like a rather creepy ride with its enclosed ride vehicles. Claustrophobics (like myself) need not apply!
* The abandoned zoo area. At one time, the area behind the Blue Streak housed a walk-through animal exhibit and a "Jungle Cruise" ride. Today, the area sits rotting away and the waterway looks like a breeding ground for the West Nile virus. A little clean-up job would do wonders here.
* The Witches' Stew. The newly re-named Tempest ("new" last season") was moved to the former Chance Twister site between the Devil's Den and the Trabant. The ride sports a bizarre "Hansel And Gretel" theme.... and what really creeps me out is that the door of each ride vehicle is themed as an oven. I guess it's not that "ugly", but it's kind of disturbing when you think about it!
* Friendly Employees. Perhaps it was because the park was empty, but the employees were very talkative and friendly here. I still had my Conneaut wristband on and the Flyers ride op asked where I got my wristband. I told him Conneaut and he said "Whew... I thought I missed something!" He gave me a nice cycle time as well.
* Flying Scooters. I guess I'm really starting to enjoy this ride more and more.... and for some reason, I guess I DO want to snap the cables.... but not too severely where I'm taking out trees like at Knoebels. Unfortunately, the Erieview Flyers have restrictor cables on the rudders and my rudder was rather tight and was a bit hard to steer. Still, I caught a few moments of serious air and felt a little bumping action... but no true snap action. As a newbie to the art of snapping, I guess I'm still learning.
* Times Square Fries. This is without question the best french fry deal in the amusement industry. For $4.25, you get an ENORMOUS plastic tray covered in thin, greasy, fresh-cut french fries. There has got to be a pound of potatoes here and I defy any one person to eat them all in one sitting. I barely got through half of them.... but man were they delicious. This little stand is located next to the Fright Zone dark ride.... don't miss it!
* Fascination still open. While not technically in Erieview Park, a full-fledged Fascination Parlor is located directly across the street from the park and is still drawing in droves of guests to test their skill and win valuable prizes like Def Leppard buttons, solar-powered calculators, and perhaps a chrome toaster! Whoo hoo!!!
* Fright Zone. As Northeast Ohio's only remaining dark ride, you would think the ride would actually receive a little TLC every now and then. Unfortunately, the Fright Zone is more like the "Dull Zone". Your small car creeps along the dark passageways as stunts light up as you pass them. The sad part is only one of the stunts has any animation, and any of the surprising bells or buzzers have been turned off. There's one scene where a figure is at the top of a set of stairs. A cable hangs above his head.... so I assume at one time the figure used to come towards the vehicles. Now, a recorded scream clicks on and all you do is see the figure standing still. The graveyard finale also has ghosts attached to what must have been rotating wheels. Today, the ghosts sit motionless. All this ride needs is a little work and it could be a great ride. For the $1.75 it costs to go through, I guess I expected better.
* After dark some scary folks show up in Geneva On The Lake, but it's great for people watching.
* My stomach wasn't exactly too kind to me after eating three orders of fries (one on the way to Conneaut, one at Conneaut, and half a tray at Erieview).... but that's all I'll share!
In any case, it was a great day at two classic parks. Thanks for reading-
Drive It Like You Stole It!
Ride It Like You Own It!
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