We left Manhattan around 10:30 and headed down to our first destination Seaside Heights. We hit some nasty traffic on the way down and finally arrived at the piers around 12:30. It was sunny with blue skies and beautiful cumulus clouds and the temperature was a balmy 68 degrees which seemed to have little or no affect on the very busy water park. After a quick and much needed bathroom break we walked over to the Casino Pier ticket booth and decided that the POP for 29.99 was our best bet noting that there were non-existent crowds on pier - the price is a little steep but for those interested in multiple rides and/or the water park (which is included) it is definitely a nice option to have. (Previously Casino Pier only offered POP one day a week otherwise it was strictly by tickets).
First up was the "Hot Tamale" which neither of us realized was there - it's a very small L&T kiddie coaster with a lift into a double helix - that's it - cute but I've definitely been on better kiddie coasters. Next up was Stillwalk Manor, Casino Pier's new(ish) dark ride - I had the oportunity to ride it late last year and was really impressed; unfortunately this year not all the stunts were working and there was obviously some vandalism to some of the displays (a lot of duct tape). There were a few live actors who jumped out to provide a good scare, but I was somewhat saddened to see it in this state after only one year. Dave on the other hand was thoroughly impressed as it was first time. Stillwalk is definitely one of the better dark rides out there and I hope that the Pier can spend the time to keep it in good shape.
Now on to what I was really looking forward to, the Star Jet, and better yet Dave's first ride on the maniacal Miler. I am a big fan of this coaster especially it's setting on the edge of the boardwalk. All three trains were running and as always I found it to be a great hoot - I wish that I could ride it brakeless, but non-the-less I think this is a great ride and would welcome more of these instead of the great multitude of overbraked 'new' mice. Dave took a spin on their Tilt-A-Whirl (a new passion for him since his insane Astroland ride) and got some good spinning. I took a solo ride on the Miler Mouse and enjoyed myself thoroughly and was actually grateful for a few of the trims.
At this point, we decided we head over to Funtown pier so that Dave could get his Interpark/Pinfari Looping coaster credit where we suddenly realized that we had forgotten that they had added a new Miler family coaster - the Funtown Family Coaster. We got our tickets and after being nicely taunted by the Eastern European ride op that this was a kiddie ride we were off. This is probably the largest kiddie Miler I've been on and while not being overly thrilling it's an ideal addition to the park and definitely more thrilling than the Hot Tamale. After our 2 laps, Dave took a spin on the looper which he thankfully let me sit out and I decided to finish our tickets off with a spin on their Spongebob dark ride. Up to this point, I had chosen Wildwood's Jersey Junkyard as the worst darkride ever, but Spongebob easily outdid that - essentially it's the same ride as Jersey Junkyard (portable trailered darkride) and consists of dayglo paintings of Spongebob with black lights - that's all it is (yikes).
We headed back to Casino pier talk another spin on Stillwalk, 2 more rides on Star Jet, 1 ride on their flume, and 1 more ride on the mouse - we had hoped to try out Moby Dick (which Mark Rosensweig had spoken highly of), but it was unfortunately DDM. If I did my math correctly we would have spent close to $40 if we had used tickets at Casino pier so we definitely made the right choice with the POP. All in all it was a good albeit short visit to Seaside and we were on the road by 2pm hoping to beat traffic to Ocean City.
Beating traffic on a Friday afternoon in August on the Jersey Shore is simply an impossibility. There were several accidents and huge back ups all the way from Seaside to the exit for the Long Beach islands. By the time we finally got to Atlantic city is was nearing 5! and we decided to skip Ocean City and go straight to Wildwood and figure out our accomodations. Wildwood, like many resort communities, requires a 2 night stay at most hotels during it's prime season on weekends and despite vacancies signs we were turned away at our first try. Our next try seemed a little more promising, the clerk said that they had just bought a hotel around the corner and could give us a room for one night, but he warned us that it was not renovated at all. I asked if it had 2 beds and an air conditioner (not that it was really needed with the cool temps) and he said yes - so we took it. Upon parking the car, we entered the 'lovely' Key West motel - it was a small hotel with head chopping ceiling fans lining the hallways, we came up to our door which opened into one of the smallest hotel rooms I've ever seen (and I live in NYC). The room was lined with aging dark paneling and industrial carpeting - it was decorated by a lovely stain covered painting and the small air conditioner in the wind was making a loud grinding noise (but it was working). I desperately had to goto the bathroom which I did, and upon flushing water started gushing out of top of tank everywhere; while I was able to quickly remedy the problem, we left the top of the toilet tank off for the rest of our stay as the problem occured during every flushing. Needless to say - you most likely will want to stay clear of the Key West at least until it's remodeled, and even then I can't say that there's a whole lot of remodeling that could be done to salvage this old building.
After settling in, it was time to hit the boardwalk - Wildwood is by far my favorite amusement spot on the Shore and it was already crowded. We got our wristbands and took our first ride of the night on Great White. I want to love Great White, but it lacks the uumph that I think it could've had - some of the hills are too rampy and some bottom out before they have the possibility to deliver - I like Great White a lot - it has some great elements: the tunnel to the lift, the first drop, the drop out of the third turnaround and the drop before the brake run, but I always walk away wishing that it could be more potent.
We made a quick stop at Flipper's Fascination and then moved on to the Schellenger ave pier where I was really looking forward to riding the revamped Pirates of Wildwood. It was redone by the same firm that had done Wildwood's Curse of the Mummy in 3d and Kennywood's Garfield's Nightmare - I was really impressed with the revamp. You don 3d glasses now and there's a lot of day-glo 3-d paintings and some very effective stunts - I can see why I wouldn't like this on Kennywood's Old Mill but this is a very effective and well done rehab/addition to Wildwood and by far their best dark ride.
We then worked our way over to the 25ave pier and took a quick spin on the Dante's Inferno which had also been completely rehabbed. Dante's Inferno is a portable Schwartzkopf dark ride almost identical in layout to the one at Astroland in Coney Island. Unfortunately, I found little redeeming in the rehab - the stunts were lame, the ride moved very slowly, and there were much less stunts then used to be there - I think Coney's definitely wins out now. We took a spin on the always great Zoom Plume (I'm not sure what happened to the theming to the under-the-boardwalk section) and a quick spin to dry off on the Great Nor'Easter which is by far my favorite SLC. It was then time for the dreaded RC-48. I had the misfortune of already riding this last year, but Dave was anxious to get the credit and I had promised that I would ride it with him. EGADS! It was worse than I remembered - and Dave hated it! I honestly think that this could be a fun ride with a lap bar restraint, but with it's current crushing OTSRs it's pretty unbearable and there's no defensive riding position that can save you. SIGH.
We spent the rest of the night working our way back and forth between the piers and grabbed a quick and yummy dinner of Fried Clams and Calamari at Jumbos (mmmm mmm good!) and great service with our very attentive Irish waitress Aine. We also got a ride in on Morey's Moby Dick which I quite enjoyed although I bet that Casino Pier's runs theirs a bit more wild (as the ride is manually controlled). We hit a very busy Flipper's Fascination around 11 and got our tokens and were told that the tournament was about to begin (evidently at 11pm every weekend night - not sure about weekdays). The tournament starts with 2 ball coverall and then works it way up to 8 ball coverall - in the dark! All I can say is that it was complete insanity and mayhem and we exited dazed and confused with just enough time to get one last ride on Great White.
After as good a nights sleep as one could have at the Key West Motel - loud and uncomfortable for me - plus I snore so Dave had to put up with that - We woke to yet another lovely morning. Originally we had thoughts of going over to Clementon if Tsunami was to open, but we had gotten word that it was not to be. We also pondered hitting Williams Grove to hook up with some friends, but the amount driving time and the desire to get back to the city that day nixed that idea as well. We decided that we would hit Ocean City and pray that we would finally get our chance on the soon-to-be-defunct Miler Mouse at Castaway Cove. After a quick drive to Ocean City and a little time spent trying to find parking we were on the boardwalk and had some breakfast. The rides at Castaway Cove don't open til 1 so we had a couple of hours to kill so we played 2 rounds of mini-golf on two different courses. The first course looked quite difficult but didn't prove to be so plus it had a terrible backup so we spent quite of time waiting for the greens to free up - the second course looked quite simple, but proved to be far more challenging and unique. (I don't remember the names of either - sorry).
It was finally 1 and much to our relief we saw the mouse in operation (whew) - this was my third visit to the park and first time I'd seen the ride operational. We bought enough tickets for a couple of rides on the Mouse, the double shot, and the new Sartori Tekno Jump. The mouse was great - I'd love to see how it would operate with a little grease. This was my second 'old school' Miler mouse (the other being Adventure City's) and while it was great fun I think that I'm partial to the Herschell models and I've yet to ride a Schiff mouse. We got two very enjoyable rides on it.
We did the double shot which was good, but I still think IBs is the best I've been on - one nice thing is that Castaway give's you two rides instead of one. We then decided to try out the new Sartori Tekno jump - when this ride was first introduced a lot of people including myself thought it was going to be a new take on the flying coaster (ie Kangaroo at Kennywood) - well it's definitely not that. It reminded me much more of the Tampico Tumbler without the tumbling. The ride is manually controlled and the operator only operates the cars that are full. It essentially jolts you up and down rather violent in a stationary mode - than does the same spinning forward then backwards and then stationary again. It's a very odd ride, but I liked it - Dave did not. Dave took a quick spin on their tilt-a-whirl and then we hit the road again.
We decided that we had just enough time to hit Jenkinson's on the way home and after a little map confusion and some nasty traffic we pulled into a parking space right at the entrance to the park. We knocked out their Flitzer - so I now have all three Jersey Shore Flitzer credits (are there any other Flitzers in the US?) and hit the boardwalk in search of the Fun House. I had heard many people speak highly of this attraction and was really pleased on how much it delivered. It had some great stunts and scares and the farting floor was a hoot - the slide at the end was a little painful for the full-sized adult, but hey it's a walk-through fun house and there are very few of them left and this is an exemplary example of modern take on a classic attraction.
All in all it was a great trip and honestly I can't wait to get back to Wildwood!
Thanks for reading,
Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell
Still to come my long awaited compendium TR of my multiple Coney visits *** Edited 8/11/2004 1:32:13 PM UTC by jimvid***
Fun report Jim...do you (or anyone) know which small parks might be open on weekends in mid-September? I'll be in the area for a wedding and would love to pick up some of the many(!!!) credits I missed due to "illness" last summer. :)
Most of the Jersey Shore parks are open on the weekends during September, but if there's bad weather they will often not open. I would definitely try to get to Seaside, Ocean City and Wildwood - if you're limited on time I would do Ocean City and Wildwood as they are relatively close to each other.
Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell
Dawn, if you're up there and can do only ONE park, do go to Wildwood. There's god reason it's been nicked *IB East*...the rides are PACKED in there, and they're FUN! I will warn ya in advance you might leave there *addicted* to dark rides...:)
edit: Might be a good idea to WARN Dave that I'm planning on PPP this year...;)
*** Edited 8/11/2004 9:02:16 PM UTC by rollergator***
Dawn, if you're up there and can do only ONE park, do go to Wildwood. There's god reason it's been nicked *IB East*...the rides are PACKED in there, and they're FUN!
God reason, eh? IB is a spiritual experience. I'll let you know if I run into any deities at Wildwood next month. ;)
I love my Freudian typos! :)
Jim, as usual a great TR!
BTW, those are the only three *operating* Flitzers in the States.
Reithoffer Shows had two Flitzers (I believe). I rode one of them at the Great Frederick Fair in MD in 2001. I'm not sure if they have either anymore, as they didn't have it at the Great Frederick Fair last year. I also didn't have a chance to visit the other unit at the York Fair last year. *** Edited 8/16/2004 1:56:42 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***
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