TR: Rye Playland (7/11); Coney Island (7/12)

Associated parks:

Needing an amusement park fix badly, and not knowing when the next visit to Knoebels woud take place - Dave "Flare" Frasier and Martha A. and myself headed out to Rye Playland late Friday afternoon. We took advantage of the Metro North package deal from Grand Central ($28 round trip train/shuttle bus/ 1-24 book of tickets saving about $12). It was a warm and humid day with the threat of a passing storm which presented us with a VERY empty park. My only requirements for the day had been for some clam strips and a beer (which we'll get to later). I had been to Rye earlier in June before ACE Con, but this would be Dave and Martha's first times on all the revamped dark rides so I was excited for them to see them.

We hit the Dragon first. I really hate Morgan trains. Fun ride but no thrills. Rye has had the gall to place an original Dragon P&C car in front of the station to take your picture in. I truely wish I had the chance to ride this coaster once with that rolling stock....sigh.

Unfortunately the Mouse was down for the day (as were the log flume and later the Hurricane) - no reason given - so we took a ride on the Derby Racer. For those of you who have not ridden Rye's Derby Racer - this is one of the stars of Rye's ride line up. There are only 3 Prior and Church derby racers left in the world (Blackpool and Cedar Point having the others), this is probably the best run one. It still gets close to 25 mph (but I think it's actually closer to 20). We were treated to an extra long ride cycle (close to 6 minutes). I'm happy to report that the back and forth and up and down mechanisms are all operational at Rye. Make sure you watch the ride ops on the Derby Racer - they are extraordinarily gifted.

Next up the Family Flyer coaster which is a nice addition to the park as adults can't ride the kiddie wood (sigh), and my first (and probably last) ride on the Sky Skater. What a strange contraption that is - silly comes to mind. I don't think I'll be riding the one at the Strasophere in Vegas (whenever that opens) and can't figure out why Knott's would buy such a capacity nightmare.

We took a ride on the auto skooters. As has been pointed out in other posts, Rye has all new cars for the Auto Skooter. While they still run at full speed, the new cars are fiberglass and don't have the same 'whompf' that the metal ones did. Still an exceptional bumper car ride, but Knoebels wins hands down now.

We ran into Adam Revesz and Ellen who were enjoying some ice cream and we all went to ride the dark rides. The Flying Witch was up first - I felt that there were more stunts working than my last visit. Stellar. Zombie Castle was next - Rye considers themselves a family park, but this is definitely not a family dark ride. This is truely a gory ride with great effects and some weird trick track. A real hoot. Finally, the old mill. I'm undecided about all the new animatronic theming and not all the effects were operational on this visit, but Sally did an amazing job on this ride. It's amazingly deceiving on how long it is and the lightning storm straight away is pure genious. I thankfully remembered to remove my glasses during this sequence so I could see the rest of the ride (lots of mist). Rye deserves major kudos for keeping up these three classic dark rides.

We split from Adam and Ellen to grab a bite to eat and set up a meeting time for some mini-golf. Food at Rye. Rye has franchised most of their food stands to outside vendors (Blimpie, Caliente Cab, Nathans, Burger King, and Ranch 1). The only non-chain food offered is pizza, a candy stand, and a fish and chips stand. As I mentioned earlier, my only requirements were for a beer and clam strips on this visit. The fish and chips stand is located at the back of the ice skating rink pavillion. I had eaten there once before and not been totally impressed, but I had hoped that had gotten better - they hadn't. Food was mediocre at best, beer was flat, corn on the cob was just gross. The service was beyond bad. They had a VERY BAD rock band playing on part of their patio which you could pay $5 extra to sit closer to (no thanks). I'll try the pizza next time and let you know. We wolfed down our bad food and headed to minigolf to rejoin Adam and Ellen.

At this point dark clouds started to rolling quickly. We started our minigolf game and about half way through the skies opened up and monsooned for about 15 minutes and then it was all over. The humidity and warm weather came back and so did the mosquitos - I so wanted some Off at that point (Westchester County is where West Nile Virus was first discovered in the US). Needless to say I have quite a few misquito bites. Dave won our little mini golf tourney -scoring 2 under par. Rye has a pretty challenging but simple 18 hole mini golf course, and it's a fun way to kill some time with friends.

After our game, we took a quick Double Shot ride - still a lot of fun and my favorite type of tower ride. Adam and Ellen took off for the night to go get some real food and we had a little time to kill before the fireworks so we opted for a quick spin on the whip.

The Whip is my second favorite flat ride after Flyers and they are getting harder and harder to find. I've been on numerous ones, but none have lived up to memories of the rides of my youth. I am under the impression that most parks don't run them at full tilt as it's a good family ride. Well something has drastically changed at Rye since a month ago. It was running a full tilt. I can't even begin to tell you my shock of the overwhelming laterals and violence this ride was offering that night. It was all giggles on our end. I hope that they keep running it like this!!!! Car ten (which is red) was really where it was at - it was jumping 3 to 4 inches of the ground as it entered the turns - pure insanity and I loved every second of it. Amazingly good side to side violence on the straight aways as well.

We headed over to the boardwalk for the fireworks which was a great display as always (free fireworks every Wed and Fri at 9:15 prompt). The finale was a little anti-climatic as some of their timings were off, but still good fun. Grabbed another amazing ride on the Whip and headed for the bus for the ride home. Rye is an excellent amusement park - I still feel they need a signature coaster and better food, but they've got all the other bases covered (and covered well). Plus throw in the beautiful art deco architecture, great landscaping, the boardwalk, night time lighting that is only beat by Lakeside - it offers the true classic amusement park experience (heck the entire park was designed by Prior and Church - plus Harry Traver worked there in the 50's till his death). If you haven't been - I strongly recommend. I look forward to returning for more Whip rides and scoring the Mouse credit.

Saturday was ACE day at Coney so I thought I'd take the trek and get on a 'real' coaster and have some 'good' clam strips and beer. Got to the Astroland ticket booth with my friend Kelly around 12:30, got our wrist bands and took a couple of spins on mom. She was running very good, but not great. Scored about 7 rides throughout the day, and would've ridden more but the Cyclone can really take it out on one's body.

It was Unity day and Circus day at Coney on Saturday and they offered an arm wrestling contest, sand castle contest, trapeze and high-wire artists, clowns, and a lot of mimes. As it was a beautiful sunny day the crowds grew more and more as the day grew on.

Got some AMAZING fried clam strips on the boardwalk - fresh clams, battered and fried to order - mmm mmm good- also had some amazing corn on the cob. Kelly got some oysters on the half shell, corn on the cob, and a couple of carmel apples.

Everything appeared to be operational at Coney (even the Saturn 6) with the exception of the new ride called Spin out which I'm not sure where it came from. I wanted to ride the new top spin, but didn't feel like shelling out $5 for the ride. The Top Spin is located at the very front of the Jumbo Jet site which has been completely cleared. The ride is actually a Top Spin 2 - which is slightly smaller than the standard model, but it appears to be able to do more flips. Rumour is that something will be occupying the Jumbo Jet space in the future (something good ;-))

It was a short Coney visit, but a very good one. I'm glad that our weather has finally turned around as is giving the Coney vendors some business.

Thanks for reading,

Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell
*** This post was edited by jimvid 7/13/2003 7:07:25 PM ***

Paragraphs... please!

-Shy One

Hi Jim!

Thanks for the great TR(s).

Well I have some great news. I have a friend at Rye, and he is currently pushing for the old trains to be restored. They are still there, just in storage, as are the bleuprints for the Airplane coaster. I am going to Rye on thursday, and I get to see the Airplane blueprints! (insert smiley here) Well I will tell you if there is any progress on that.
I hate it when "cooaster enthusiasts" put down coasters. Why can't we just have fun on all of them?
I didn't even know they still had the original trains for Dragon Coaster. I thought they had been damaged from when they filmed Fatal Attraction. That coaster would run better with the old trains back on it. Those Morgans trains are too light, and don't carry speed well through the end of that layout.

Anybody remember when PKI supposedly bought the plans for the Airplane, and were going to rebuild it?

Wood - anything else is an imitation

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