Warning: The following TR is extremely long, It may be longer than MAX-POST-SIZE. I advise you to not try to read it one sitting, I advise you not try try to read it at work or if you have commitments within the next hour. You may want to make sure you have food, water and facilites handy.
The weekend started Saturday morning, when I was dropped off at PKI shortly before 0900. Visions of National Lampoon's Vacation play in my head as I make the hike from the drop off area to the main gate. After a quick hike I make it to the front gate plaza to learn that Ghoster Coaster is not expected to operate, a bit further along I find the line for BeastBuzz registration. (Thats the third window from the right in the Group Sales building)
I joined the queue to sign in for BeastBuzz, and while we are waiting, Jeff and Steve from the parks PR department are working the line, chatting it up and welcoming each person to the park. The line for BeastBuzz moves fairly rapidly, and soon enough I am handed my FUNvelope, Itinerary, and lanyard.
Each attendee was given a lanyard equipped with break-away feature for added safety, along with an ID card holder which held a card with the BeastBuzz logo. Inside the FUNvelope were any tickets you may have ordered, meal tickets, a personalized ID card to put in your lanyard, and some brief directions about following park rules and such. The schedule of events came out really professionally done on brochure stock and in full color.
Having gathered up my BeastBuzz materials, I porceeded through the metal detector, through the gate, and met up with the large group assembling at the traditional Beast walk-back meeting spot. (The ACE logo paver embedded into the brick walkway in front of the flagpoles at the head of International Street)
Much mingling and introductions esued asd we waited for Jeff. Around 0935 Jeff jumped up on a seatwall located behind the flagpoles, the group all crushed in as to best hear Jeff, and Jeff told us several things.
Jeff officially welcomed us to BeastBuzz and declared the event started, he went over the schedule of events and advised us that we were free to do as much or as little of the pre planned activities as we so chose, he told us to be sure to meet in the Paramount Theater as instructed by park close to facilitate clearing the park for ERT, he made clear the safety warnings related to the behind-the-scenes tours and stressed that free ice water is available from any food stand, and the mentioned what the prizes would be for the scavenger hunt.
Formal opening speech out of the way we were escorted to the Beast. As usual we took the shortcut behind Oscar's (Associate Cafeteria) as this also allowed for the lanyard check and got us around the ropes that normally keep guests confined to International Street ntil 1000.
We walked through Rivertown, and filed into the queue for Beast. At the start of the queue and in the station Beast was decorated with white and blue baloons as well as several banners with assorted birthday sayings. "Happy 25th Birthday Beast", "Happy Birthday Big Guy", "It's my birthday I can roar if I want to". Closer observation of these banners would reveal that they were trimmed with tiny Coasterbuzz logos.
Unlike prior Beast walkback experiences which usually only involve one Beast ride, right around 1000, they had the Beast ready for us upon our arrival, and they had opened the Emergency Exit to allow quick access for re-rides without walking all the way around. I managed to score 2 Beast rides during the morning ERT session, and found that Beast semmed to be running better than usual.
After the park opened, I consulted my schedule, and learned that I had about 20 minutes until the Tomb Raider behind the scenes tour. Sounds like enough time for a ride on the Flying Eagles. I made my way to the Flying Eagles, and received a short ride cycle ride on the Eagles. At first I thought it way beacuse of me because the cycle ended right after I had managed a particularly hard snap, but later rides this weekened would prove that the ride cycle on the Flyers has been drastically shortened from the normal cycle time.
All in all, I returned to the plaza in front of Tomb Raider around 1025 and waited. I started to get worried because my friend and more importantly my ride home, herin known as Rideman had not yeat arrived. As Zazu would say he had impecable timing showing up at Tomb Raider just as the tour was beginning.
Jeff and assorted PR types met us at the Tomb Raider plaza, and without saying a word, escorted us down a path between Tomb Raider and Beast, through the gate (with a lanyard check) down a service road until finally we met up in a paved lot behind the Tomb Raider building.
Jeff went up to the first landing on the service stairs, and from there addressed the audience. He went over the house rules for backstage tours, that is to stay with the group, stay on the designated paths, stay away from ride machinery, and for the Tomb Raider tour, please NO photography of any kind inside the building. He stressed to us that the reason that they are able to offer exclusive tours is that all the groups ahead of us have followed the rules.
Jeff then explained Tomb Raider the ride to us, I don't remember everything he said, but he did stress that the ride contains two arms whose motions MUST be synchronized at all times. In order to do this the ride employes two large computers one for each arm. Both computers have to 'talk' to each other, and any disagreement between the two computers on the stte of their respective arm will halt the ride. He explained that each arm has several motors and several brakes to allow for all the various positions the ride assumes. At about this time a loud whine emmitted from a bank of electrical equipment mounted outside the buidling. Jeff explained that those components are instrumental in draining off exxcess energy caused by the braking action of the ride. Speaking of draining off excess energy there is also a pipeline for draining off excessive steam.
We were then told that we were to take self guided tours of three areas of the Tomb Raider buidling, and no pictures, please.
Behind the nearest set of doors was the Computer Room. People were admitted into hear in small groups, and the room contained the rides power supply cabinets along one wall, and the rides computer cabinets along the other wall. All but one of the cabinets were closed, so there really wasn't that much to see. The room also had a table with two desktop computers. These computers were either off, or they turned the monitors off as no information could be gained by looking at them.
The one cabinet that was open, did have a counter that told where in the cycle the ride was. This leads to the most interesting part of this room, becuase when the counter started moving, Jeff opened up a doorway that let us gaze into the actual ride chamber and see the ride from a view rarely seen by guests. We got to see the Giant Top Spin move from a position to the front of and to the right of the ride. If the ride looked massive from the ride chamber, it looks really massive from down below. An interesting note is where the lava pit sequence takes place. It's against the back wall of the chamber, not the bottom as one may expect.
We exited back to the outside, and went into Door #2, which was the special effects rooms. In this room there were all sorts of electronic devices housed inside bland looking cabinets. Thie high point of this room was the monitor on the front of one of the cabinets which told were in the cycle the attraction is, what special effects just fired, which special effects are currently firing, and what effects are about to fire. It seems everything you see from the Monkey Room clear to the end of the ride is controlled by the components in this room.
The last room was the boiler room. Yes the steam in the lava pit sequence is live real steam, not artifficial steam. The steam is heated by a real boiler sitting in a boiler room, but is run through s super-chill process before it is emmited into the ride chamber for guest comfort.
We hung around out back after touring all three rooms, and upon learning that we did not need an escort, headed back to the midway, after thanking the PR representatives manning the gate.
After leaving Tomb Raider, we reconsulted our schedule and learned that we had about half an hour or so before our next scheduled event. This left time for another Flyer ride. By now the Flyer line had gotten a bit longer, so after our Flyer ride, it was time to head up to the Bandstand.
Upon our arrival at the Bandstand, we were treated not to Jeff and Co. but isntead to performances by clogging teams. Shortyl after 1200 we were escorted to the International Showplace. (The ampitheatre next to Eiffel Tower)
Upon finding seats in the outdoor theater, we prepared to start the Scavneger Hunt. We were first instructed to arrange ourselved in teams of 4. Rideman and I joined a couple whose names I forgot (I am bad with names). Each team was issued a free inkpen courtesy of the park, we were then told the prize packages. To make the game interesting, the first place team was to receive 2005 Gold Season Passes, a Beast throw (valued at $60 I heard), a freezer mug, gold meal, and a Boomerang Bay totebag to carry it all home in. (That was for EACH person on the team) 2nd place got the freezer mug and silver medal, third place got the bronze medal.
Jeff then introduced Sadistic Steve who is PKI's Official Scavenger Hunt Designer, when he isn't busy with his PR duties, We were reassured that none of the questions from the PKI Coaster Camp a few years ago would be recycled, which was good as there were some Coaster Camp attendees in the group.
While Jeff was explaining the rules, each attendee was handed a free Son of Beast patch, and a free Son of Beast pin. Rules are basically, READ the entire form before leaving the theatre. (Which is good advice), all park rules must be obeyed, and forms cannot be turned in before 1730 or after 1800. The location to drop off your forms will be revealed to you in the Scavenger Hunt task list.
Each team had to come up with a team name, then list the team members of the cover of their packet. Team captains were appointed, team cpatains went to the stage to get their packets, team captains returned to their seat to share the EIGHT page long packet with their team. (I got appointed based solely on the fact I was sitting on the aisle)
To paraphrase Rideman "Ambiguous, misleading or poorly written questions are par for the course" It was worthwhile to read the entire packet before starting as it was clear that the 40 tasks did not appear on the document in the order they would appear on a trip around the park. No rule said you had to do the tasks in order, so it was good to group things where you THOUGHT they may be.
To help foster conversation, as I am sure some would like to discuss the scavenger hunt, I will try to list the basic idea behind each task. Be aware the original Hunt was phrased in poetic style, which I am not prepared to recite.
These questions are not in the order they appeard in the hunt, instead they are in a logical order for me to remember them all.
1. What are the section names in the parking lot, and while you are at it tell me the row numbers each section contains.
2. You see the park logo as you enter the park, how many stars does it contain?
3. In the Making of the Movies show, one of the acotrs holds up a megaphone, what is the school name written on the megaphone?
4. In the International Showplace there is a show that pays tribute to television. What TV show is featured that includes a captain and feathers? (Or something like that)
5. The Eiffel Tower offers a telescopic view, use magnification to determine the phone number of the Tennis Complex accross the freeway.
6. There is a car loacted in a part of the park that pays tribute to Paramount movies, whose was it?
7. Use the Beverly Hills III movie poster located somewhere in the park to tell me the film's release date.
8. In the park there is a water tower, tell me how many black sections there are in the pattern that surrounds the tower.
9. What is the serial number of Delirium?
10. A coaster has a picture in ts station that resembles a playing card, What is written on the sign?
11. What song plays on the Glockenspiel in front of the Festhaus?
12. What number is written on the red thing that floats in front of Bubba Gumps?
13. Do you know what coaster has a memorial plaque at its entrance?
14. I Coney there is an arcade where you can play an arm wrestling game, tell me what the games high score is?
15. In this ride it is okay to hit other cars, what is written on the backs of the cars?
16. In this ride you go with alliens through outer space, what is the name of the military base where you board this ride?
17. On this coaster you go upside down six times, how many light bulbs are in its sign?
18. In this 50's themed eatry, what is the slogan on the can of Tucker Oil.
19. What is the price of a gallon of Gilmore Gas
20. There is a man who lives in a pineapple under the sea who works at the Krusty Krab, what is the price of a combo meal there?
21. How many Beast pawprints are there?
22. Who has ridden the Beast the most, and where does he work?
23. In 1999 it was a video game, in 2001 it was a movie, what was the cost of Laura Crofts car?
24. In the Basket Case gmae, how many baskets are sitting on top of the game
25. Ride the train and look left and look right, tell me what animal is hiding in the woods?
26. This ride starts by a Telegraph office, look on the March calendar and tell me how many days it has?
27. At this old Inn food is cheap, how much would one spend for a meal and a whiskey?
28. In this aviation themed eatery, how many planes are hanging?
29. Paramount's first Oscar winner is also a place you can eat, what role did George Irving play?
30. Was is the patent number on the river rapids ride?
31. There is place where you can shoot water at the riders, tell me what is the cost of 20 shots?
32. In this ride you go with a family in a hollowed out tree, what symbol of dnager appears to the right of the rides first lift?
33. In this ride a dinosaur is destroying a drive in movie, take a ride and tell me what warning appears on the back of the seat?
34. In this children's eatery not inspired by Hanna Barbera or Nickelodeon, what character has lost his hat?
35. Go for a ride on Scooby Doo and tell me how many boxes of Scooby Snacks are inside?
36. In this original park ride, pause and note the name on the cracked tombstone?
37. Whats the Aussie word for "Slob"
38. How many boomerangs appear on this place where guests get their supplies?
39. In the park there is a ship where little kids can take a dip, what is the name of the ship?
40. Blue Ice cream is a favorite tream, its not even that much for a regular size. But what I really want is a Shrimp Kabob. Add the cost of the two together, don't worry about the tax.
If anybody got different interpretations on thsoe quaetions it may help me figure out where we goofed up.
Our team started the Hunt at the base of the Eiffel Tower. We counted the Beast prints, all 4 of us together, stoppin on every 10th print to ensure group consensus. We counted 226. It must be noted that I have heard two rumors of alleged severe unsportsmanlike conduct. One involving a trash can by a print near the Chippery, another involving a "No alcoholic beverages beyond this point" sign by Rivertown Pizza. If alledged suspects were to be caught, I would propose a punishment of peer group humiliation, say have then dance the Macarena, on stage, during the awards show.
Having counted our 226 Beast prints, and man doesn't 225 just have a much more satisfying ring to it...... we read the signs along the pathway to the Beast and saw the Beat Tamer sign which had the information about the record holder, having copied down the needed information, we headed over to Tomb Raider, where we spotted an informational sign next to the Lamd Rover claiming that it cost $175,000.
We then headed to the Basket Case game, and after taking a few seconds to get it through that we were counting the baskets on TOP of the game, we stood back by Potato Works, and eventually hit on a group consensus answer of 45.
From there we entered the train station, whereupon I took a photograph of the calendar in the Telegraph office. Using the camera build in zoon-in feautres, we saw the 32nd of March clear as day, though written in a much smaller size.
Jockeying for position at the boarding gates, we noted several teams boarding the train. We had our eyes peeled looking for that animal hiding in the woods. We didn't have to look hard as the train conductor announced that we should look to the left just before arriving at Boomerang Bay to see the bear hiding in the woods behind an electrical box.
We exited the train at Boomerang Bay, and toured the water park. First we spotted the Swimwear shop whose roof line was trimmed out in boomerangs where the gingerbread should have been. We counted ans aggreed on a group answer of 80.
Further back in the waterpark, we spotted the Aussie - Yankee poster on the wall next to the bar. Noted Yobbo = Slob, and moved on.
Still further back, we found the kids ship activity area, and upon closer look saw "Islander" written on the front of the ship.
We turned aorund to leave Boomerang Bay, but not before stopping off to price a Shrimp Kabob fresh off the barbie. ($7.49)
WE had great timing and arrived at the train station just in time, to board the return train. Handy since they only had one train running on a busy Saturday (the other could be seen in the Car Barn). The way back to the park includes a trip past an old West town, I took a photograph of the Inn's menu as we rolled past. A Meal is 20 cents, and a Whiskey is 10 Cents, leaving an answer of 30 cents for that query.
Soon enough we were back at Rivertown, and started our walking tour again. We walked up the exit ramp of White Water Canyon, and spotted several things, Just before crossing the railroad tracks, there is a view of the first lift of Wild Thronberries and the Skull and Crossbones attached thereto.
Further back the exit we got the patent number of a rapids ride raft, and noted that the geysers are "5 Shots 2 Quarters" applying high end math (Hey they didn't say math skills were required!) we noted that 5S=2Q, therefore 20S = 4*2Q = 8 Q = $2.00
We took our long hike back out the White Water Canyon exit, and toured the Wings Diner like a group of goofballs staring at the ceiling, where we counted 9 miniature aircraft.
On our first visit to Wings Diner we drew a blnak on George Irving and decided we would have to look in the Paramount Story later on.
We proceeded to walk over to Reptar and after watching several trains from the midway we detrmined that the warning on the back of the seats was something about keeping your feet down and off of the seat in front of you.
Walking into Nickelodeon Central, we walked up to the Krusy Krab, where we learned GASP they do not sell any combo meals (nor do they sell Krabby Patties or anyting else that could constiture meal food) We got the satisfaction of watching a few other teams come to the same sickening reavelation. We detect a ride on Spongebob Squarepants may be in order. (It's like the 250lb. Man Eating Chicken gag, after you get burned, you want to watch somebody else....)
We checked our watched and determined we had about 45 minutes until the group photo, so we walked around the food stands, and saw the poster with Dingo Dog's hat coming off, and next door saw the $2.34 posted for a regular blue Ice Cream. We did some higher math on the food prices, and noted down an answer before walking to Scooby Doo.
Upon arriving at the Haunted Castle, we noted about a 45 minute wait. OH well, gotta bite the bullet. We noted some other teams used the tactic of obtaining Walk On Weekends passes.
Speaking of those Walk on Weekends Passes, we got to observe a man and child who saw people getting on the ride much faster using the other lane, so they switched to the other lane, were of course denied a ride, and the man did not look very happy, in fact he looked quite upset. Just another flaw with priority queue systems, they tend to upset your park guests. The irony of course was that he was almost to the merge point.
As we were borading the ride the grouped told us there were 10 boxes of Scooby Snacks, we decided to ride the ride anyway. While we didn't totally abstain from using our Fright Lights, we did shoot at a slower pace (and got lower scores to prove it) as we were busy confirming that yes there are 10 bozes of Scooby Snacks.
Speaking of Scooby Snacks, its time to head and get some Buzzer Bites. A quick stop by Beastie to read the cracked tombstone of Imma Piggy, and it was off to the picnic grove.
We arrive at the Picnic Grove at 1434, and are met at the entrance to the shelter by Jeff S. and had no sooner gotten some free soft drinks and sat down then it was time for the group photo. I can barely see myself in the group ohoto, but I was there.
After the photo Jeff Putz did some thanks yous, did some introductions of the Coaster Buzz staff, (including but not limited to Jeff, Stephanie, Scott Short (Coaster Census), Dave Althoff (Roller Coaster Rollback), Lord Gonchar. It was nice putting names and faces together, but if you have been reading this TR you know I am bad with names and faces :) Jeff came out and thanked us for coming and said a few words, ending with "Its Chow Time"
I stopped to get a photograph of the unsliced Beast cake before joining the line for the buffet. The food spread included: dinner rolls, pasta salad, potato chips, hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, soft drinks, Beast cake and cookies.
I overloaded a plate (hey I'm a coaster enthusiast, what do you expect), then procceded to clear everything off the plate. The picnic food at PKI is pretty decent, and the cake was awesome.
After dining Jeff S. took a moment to thank the catering staff, before saying a few more words, repeating the nights activities, stressting the neat to stay in the theater at park close, then he introduced the keynote speaker: Tom Rebbie of PTC.
Tom told his stories of the building of the beast, how he was in his first year at PTC when he got transferred to the coaster division, and not much longer than that he was working on the Beast, which was the first time he had gone on-site at a park.
He told about the original Beast trains in their fire engine red, tuck-and-roll upholsetered seats (You can thank vandals for their removal), and lanterns on the fronts of the cars. HE also mentioned the lanterns were originally supposed to come on when you entered a tunnel. This was the train displayed at the IAAPA show of the time, but the train to appear on the ride had the multi-colored blended paint job. It was also one of only a few rare PTC 4 bench cars that are about 50% longer than normal PTC cars. (Approz 144 in, as opposed to 101 in.) he told how they had to beef up all the components, and how the beefed up anti rollbacks were put to the ttest an succeeded. He told of having the job of installing all 80 original lapbars, BY HIMSELF. The funniest moment of his story is about a certain ride the ride crew took on the ride before it opened up. They had boarded the car and were headed to lift 1, when the parks foreman told Tom "Cover your eyes, close your mouth" Tom asked "Why?" "Just do it" right before the train slammed into a 100lb. bag of cement, which totally covered both men.
Tom ended his presentation with an admonishment to ride safely, and to stress that we do have a voice in the amusement industry, for good or for bad.
After his speech the formal activities in the picnic grove concluded, and it was back on the Hunt.
We grabbed some chocolate chip cookies on the way out, and a couple more soft drinks. We decided to delegte the remaing tasks, by splitting up into two teams. Dave and I, and the oter couple. The other couple decided to take on the Coney Mall and Oktoberfet questions, while Dave and I would take on the Parking Lot and Action Zone questions, with a 1700 meet up time at the Paramount Story.
(While Dave and I continue, the other pair are getting the price off the Gilmore Gas pump (.219), the slogan off the oil can "No finer lubricant available at any price", the number of lights in the Vortex sign, the price of a combo meal on SpongeBob 3D, the high score on the arm wrestling game (which, rumour has it, changed during the Hunt), the text on the back of the Dodgem cars, the owner of the car in the Paramount Story (W.C. Fields), and the number on the red buoy at Bubba Gumps (8). I didn't ask them if they had any interesint tactics or stories to tell about getting there answers, sorry)
So Dave and I decide to head out the Boomernag Bay Season Pass Gate, and so start our parking lot tour. I forget the answers but we dutifully walked around the parking lot, down both the center aisle, and the aisle nearest the park to note down area namea and signs, including the associate lot, VIP, Preffeed, BUS/RV, Gold Pass, Boomerang Bay, as well as the other sections which are named after key rides (Adventure Express, Face/OFf, Drop Zone, Son of Beast, Vortex, Beast)
Ah, I always wanted to do a walking tour of a 100 acre parking lot.....
We re-entered the park and looks at the logo in front of the fountain, 22 stars. (Though the logo on the sign right before you go throught he admission gate only has 11 stars)
We went to the Paramount Theater where a show was just ending, and found a crew that claims they are under a gag order not to reveal the megaphone answer, looking in the theater exit, revealed no megaphone in sight. We feared we may have to skip that one.
Continuing on into Action Zone, I counted black cement sections (24) , looked at the Beverly Hills III release date on its poster (May 25), and got the Delirum serial number. Rideman hiked the long hike back the Top Gun Exit to look at the Black Aces 41 sign.
Continueing into Oktoberfest, hearing the clokc play the Chicken Dance we moved on. The red floating thing at Bubba Gumps was tricky as it is not in the lake, and there is an (unnumbered) red buoy in the lake, and the remote control boats have two red boats (2 and 12).
The red buoy with the number 8 is not floating and is sitting in a gravel bed in front of the eatery. We met in the Paramount Story and compared notes.
We had an issue with the Dodgem question, as the Coney Dodgems say "Azzura" and the Hanna Barbera Land Dodgems say "Boulder Bumper"
Anyway, we compared notes, looked and saw that WIngs was the first Paramount movie with an Academy award, so that sent our partners to Wings to scour wings for a clue, and it sent Rideman and I up Eiffel Tower to get the tennis complex phone number. Fair is fair as we did have to wait in line twice (one to go up, one to go down) On the first season of The Amazing Race there was a task where one team member had to go up the real Eiffel Tower in Paris, France and use the telescope to find something in the distance, gee this sounds familiar, I wonder if Sadistic Steve watches The Amazing Race. We used camera zoon lenses, a little guestimation, and my cell phone to confirm our answer. We got our answer, and our partners came back at 1745 with the Wings answer.
We took about 10 minutes to tidy up our paperwork and penmanship, and met at the Floral Clock (wich is near Eiffel Tower) to turn in our paperwork and pen to Sadistic Steve around 1750.
We noted had about a half hour until our next scheduled appearance, we also noted a scary looking line for Flying Eagles. We wound up spending some time on the par benches in front of the Potato Works relaxing. I tried a Dippin Dots Float (Not at all worth $5) Somehow the Dippin Dots all stay up at the top and just never seem to mix in well.
Soon enough it was time for the Beast Behind the Scenes Tour. We met at the Beast Entrance, and were led down the path next to the BEast entrance. We met up by Tomb Raider, hugged in around Jeff rediculously closely, and Jeff said "Welcome to the Tomb Raider Behind the Scenes Tour" "Just Kidding"
Jeff reiterated all the safety warnings, to stay on the paths, stay away from the ride, obey all directions, and oh, if you should hurt yourself you'll be in an area where it may take quite a while to get emergency medical personell to the area.
We started off walking alongside the brake run, then crossed under the break run, final hill of the beast, and soon found ourselves at a key photo spot to get trains coming off both lifts, and going into tunnel 1. We spent some time here before moving on to a spot near the ravine (Dip 2), then came accross lift motor house 2. There were a few people who did not seem to understand "Do not lean on the doors" We sw lift 2, and eventually took a path of increasingly more rugged terrain past tunnel 2, then down to that low ground hugging section right before lift 2. (The part with real steep walkways and gravel and cement chuncks of dubious nature) Then we turned around and did the tour in reverse finall ending up by lift motor house 1. It was a time to take lots ph photos and videos and wave to riders, and take in the awe of the Beast from rare view points. We thene exited back to the midway by the Beast Entrance.
We again started to walk towards Coney where we stopped to chat with Tom Rebbie and Jeff S. for awhile outside the Beast arcade. In the process of the chat we larned about The Team That Must Not Be Named who looked at the question about the cracked tombstone, did not see the key word RIDE and headed out to a cemetary that is adjacent to the parks parking lot.
What happened is that we had just enough time to make our way to Flight of Fear and grab our breath before the Son of Beast phoro tour started. Jeff repeated the ground rules, and soon we were walking down the service road that runs to the parks haunted trail during their halloween event.
We went along the road even further past the parks sewer system, and first stopped off to take photos of the Rose Bowl Helix, then walked further down the road to get in a good vantage spot that included the fist drop, the Loop, and pretty much the entire ride after the Loop. A generous time period was given for photos and videos, including some of Adventure Express
After a while, we were led back to Flight of Fear the way we came, and found ourselves back on the midway. At the entrance to Ft. Cooper there are two flagpoles. I noticed that not only was one of the two American flags missing, but its halyard had been mishandled in such a way that it had come completely off the pulley at the top of the pole. (Which will mean somebody has to restring that pole before it gets used again) I know PKI does not use vandal-proof flag guards on all its poles, but geez, did somebody want an American flag that bad, that they damaged the flagpole in the process of getting it, as they must not have known what they were doing. I'm assuming the worst as the halyard was laying on the ground, had it been an honest mistake by the park they would have at leat had the decency to pick it up. We headed out to the parking lot to return camera equipment to the car, and to get a parking upgrade to a closer parking space, and re-entered the park.
We wound up taking rides on Racer and Adventure Express before realizing it was now 2200.
We hurried up to the theatre, where the park understandably did not start the show on time anyway. However, a really cool touch was that they had the Paramount Theater set up like it was the Academy Awards, Red Carpet out front all the way from the midway to the lobby,, lined with ropes, a bouncer checking credentials, iw as just so special. Now where did I leave my limo. (To complete the scene, all the park would ahve had to do was have the Keyhole Photo people lining the sides of the red carpet snapping pictures of you as you entered the theatre)
We entered the theater and I looked at the murals of Paramount Studios that have been added to the theater lobby.
We entered the theater and Jeff Putz thanked us all for coming, told us the theater ushers counted 180 (0f 225) had made it the the Theatre. Big thanks to the park, the PKI PR crew got a much deserved standing ovation, more thanks.
Then it was on to business - the Scavenger Hunt Awards Ceremony
First some build up questions, like "Who thinks they won>", "Who dropped out?", "Who thought there were 225 Beast Prints?" (226 was given as the correct answer)
It seems there was a three way tie for 2nd place. I happened to be one of the three team captains called on stage to compete in a Beast Trivia Game Show to determine final ranking. I regret to admit that I lost the Beast Trivia Game Show for my team, but hey No Worries Mate!, its all in good fun.
Game show questions:
How many bolts to build the beast, bid Price is Right style. I overbid, and Mike Darling overbid way more than I did, so the third team got it with a bid of 35,000 (actual 85,000 I think)
Who was the main designer of the Beast (I answwered correctly "Al Collins")
How many acres is the Beast (Mike Darling answered correctly 35)
How long is the beast, - I slightly overbid this one, and Mike slightly underbid but Jeff S. was needing an EXACT answer, so the question was a push, and we went on.
How many people have ridden the Beast - I guessed 4,000,000, Mike pretty much said 4,000,001 (okay he had a bit more class and said 5,000,000) and took third place) They way Jeff S. ran that question with "Without Going Over" I was pretty much screwed, all Mike had to do was say 1 more than my guess. My only hope was a dead on guess, cause if I guessed too low, his would guess of 1 more than me covered all answeres higher than the one I gave, and if I guessed too high we'd have to "Erase the bids and go lower than...."
But it was a game, I had fun, it killed time, and it was challenging. Somewhere I have heard a sportsman's creed "Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt" (Followed by "Theres always next time") Taking the loss gracefully I shook Mike's hand, and disappeared back into coaster fan obscurity.
WE then got intorduced to "The ACErs" winners of the 2004 Scavenger Hunt with a score of 39/40. (they missed the Vortex question my quite a lot, we figured we missed the Vortex question by one stupid light bulb) (Jeff even thanked the teams that told him how many bulbs were burned out)
Now, the part of the day that I thought was wrong. They never revealed the Scavenger Hunt answers. I mean how would you like to particiapte in a game that took 6 hours of your day, and not even learn your score, much less get the satisfaction of learning the answers. I mean how hard would it have been to go through the answers or to even make 200 or so copies of the answers and have them available for pickup in the theatre. (Or just make copies for team captains to share with their teams)
After the awards presentation ended, Jeff aksed "Would you like to see a video of our 2005 attraction?" "Well, its not going to happen"
Jeff then proceeded to show the Beast 25th anniversary video on the big screen, and gave permission to those who wanted to make bootleg copies of the movie as it was playing. The video was very good, and I'm glad I got to see it uninterupted at last once, a ton of historical photos in there. (Note to PKI: this would make a wonderful DVD for your gift shops!)
After the movie, we were allowed out of the theatre for a restroom break and to watch the Fireworks. Note, there is a big tree that blocks the view of the fireworks so the Paramount Theatre Plaza is a BAD fireworks viewing location.
We mingled and talked, and compared scanger hunt stories while we waited for ERT to begin. Soon enough we were being let to the Action Zone. We were told that Coasterbuzz style ERT involved touring the park and riding rides as a group. If you fall behind the group, your ERT session is over. You must present your lanyard to the greeters at the ride entrances in order to ride the rides.
Our ERT started with a ride on Delirium. There is very little that beats a Delirium night ride. The spin, the power, the unqiue feel, looking 'down' at the stars. Its' marvelous.
After Delirium ride 1, we were offered a choice of Drop Zone of Delirium. We took a second ride on Delirium, where I was only two seats over from Jeff Siebert!
After Delirum Spin Ride #2, we were told that only Drop Zone was open so we headed over for a ride on Drop Zone. It took operator assitance, and me assuming the Wicked Twister position, but I was able to cram myself into a Drop Zone seat. Kudos to the Drop Zone operator who offered to loan her coat to one rider who said she was feeling a bit chilled.
Drop Zone just isn't doing it for me anymore, I want Space Shots, I want Double Shots, just a drop is blah.
After our ride on Drop Zone, it was time to head over to FLight of Fear. I managed to get one ride on Flight of Fear. Flight of Fear is still one of the parks best coasters.
Then we headed back on around to Beast, I got three rides on Beast, and they had the shortcu t through the emergency exit open.
Wow, Beast at 1:30 in the morning!!!!! Can you think of a better way to end your park evening? We were thene scorted to the parking lot, many thank yous were shared with the PR staff and rides staffs, and sooner than later we were heading to Coasterville (aka Dave's Dominion) for a night of rest.
We woke up Sunday morning, watched a slideshow of the Beastbuzz photos, watched some segments off a Disney promotional DVD, and in general stalled until we left for the park around 1030. We stopped at Frischs for lunch on the way to the park, and probbly arrived at the park right around noon or a little after.
We entered the parking lot, and after realizing how far from the gate we would have to park, we deicded to go to the Boomerang Bay waterpark, were we got a handy parking spot two rows from the admission gate.
We passed through the metal detectors and had our passes scanned by a real cool wireless device, no turnstiles here, its a rather simple affair.
Upon entering the park, we headed directly under the new path under the Coolangata Racers, past the bathhouse to the train station, where a train arrived within mere seconds of our arrival. Promptly we were trasnprted to Rivertown where we started on a short tour of the park.
Upon entering the main park we headed firtst to the Flying Eagles where we had a decent ride, and determined that they were still running the short cycle.
We next headed for a ride on Vortex, as we had skipped this one the day before. I was astonished when I learned the Vortex sign had well over 200 lights, and while I did not count all the lights today, I did count 50+ in the V alone. Vortex was running about as it usually does. WE did observe that you can't leave purses on the loose articles shelves at rides. SO if you bring a large purse, (or any size purse) its going on the ride with you. Vortex line was backed up to the top of the staircase up.
We next headed clear cross park to Action Zone, but first we sort of lounged our way through the arcades. It would be a slow paced day.
Upon reaching Action Zone, we noted a full house for Delirium, so we headed to Top Gun, where the line was backed up to about the re-ride gate. Top Gun is a fun coaster, but its just too short, particularly with a line.
WE looked around Action Zone, and decided to continue our tour of coasters we did not get to ride Saturday. We skipped Face/Off due to the line, and headed to Beastie. Beastie was through one of the switchbacks, but the line moved fairly steadily. A bit later we were in the back car on this fun peppy little junior coaster.
Backing up a bit as we croseed the front gate area we noted the first aid truck in the plaza, this is important becuase we saw the KEyhole Photo people posing people with the first aid truck behind them. IF you are a guest, do you really want the first aid truck in a souvienir photo, if you are the park, do you really want guests with souvenir photos in front of your first aid truck, if you are the victim needing first aid, do you want photos of you in the background of someones souvenir photos. Is a bit of human decency too much to ask?
We noted that Ghoster Coaster was still closed, and the Reptar line looked a bit long, so we headed to Boomerang Bay via the walkway.
Upon reaching Boomerang Bay, we cut through the waterpark, got hand stamps, went to the car, got swim bags, re-entered the park and headed to the bathouse.
Boomerang Bay- its a vast improvement over Waterworks. For starters its got better landscaping, its got better theming, its got more vibrant fun paint jobs (gone are the institutional blue/grey/white color schemes)
The area outside the water activity area (by the bathouses) is still functionally the same as its always been, it just has a more vibrant colorful look to it. The snack bar there is now a Subway, First Aid looks to have expanded (now that Guest Relations has moved to a mobile unit by the back admission gate.) The beach shop is still there, as is locker rental and the bathhouses.
One of the things I had read about the new Boomerang Bay was improvements to the bathhouse. As a male, I can state quite vehmently that for me the worst part of any waterpark experience is the bathhouse. I HATE, I DETEST, I'm horrified of changing in a public bathhouse. As I understand it, female bathhouses have nice individual changing roomss for each person in private. Male bathhouses on the other hand are just like gym class, one big common room full of guys trying to change.
Let's check out this new bathhouse. Well the bathroom section is the same as it was, the large common room is the same as it was, about the only change is private shower stalls. Its an improvement. A minor one, but an improvement just the same. Please be advised, not to attempt to use a shower stall to change in. The shower stalls do not have shelves for your stuff, and the drainage situation in the shower room has not changed, which means when you turn on your shower, the person in the stall next to you gets a floor full of water.
So I got changed as stealthy as I could, took a shower (make that a COLD shower, can't we have warmer shower water?), then $10 later was stuffing my swim bag in a miniature locker. Seriously these things are sized so that thy must plan on every person needing to rent their own.
Stuff in shower, we headed to the Great Barrier Reef (Wave Pool) by the pathway that runs under Coolangata Racers.
On the way there we noted the redesigned swimwear shop (with 80 boomerangs in its design), the drink stand is now a Smoothie stand, and the Larosas Pizza is now a really interesting stand selling Aussie favorites. It also has a full service bar and a live band. Really cool improvements.
Flanking the Great Barrier Reef on either side are the luxury cabanas, they are a bit pricey, and access to the cabana area is restriced to cabana users so that should make it nice and private. We did note usage of the cabana units, so they may be on to something there.
The great Barrier Reef is a 'wave' pool. Its the same pool they had before just rethemed, and a nice Aussie flag at the deep end of the pool. The water still only gets to about 5'9", and the waves can be charitably described as gentle rolling waves. But with all that, I had not been in a swimming pool in about 4 years, so to me it was just so nice and relaxing just to be in a pool again. There is something special about being in a pool, even a crowded pool. Great Barrier Reef is one of these pools where there are no steps to get into it, instead the ool slowly slants up to zero depth, and there is an overflow drain along the esge. Just past the drain are all the deck chairs.
We lounged in the pool for quite a while, then decided to hit Tazmanian Typhoon. I took a look over at the body boarding attration which looks to have received real minor cosmetic changes, before heading to Taz.
Taz is positioned so that the wide end of the funnel faces the rest of the waterpark, and there is a special observation deck accesible by a flight of stairs. (Taz is one of those giant funnel slides that are popping up all over) It took about 30 minutes to get to the top of the tower for Taz, and could we please reduce the frequency of the rides autospiel?
Eventually we make it to the top, and Rideman and I get our own raft. Watch that step getting into the raft, and put your feet in the pocket in the middle of the raft. (BTW: It is so nice having a nice lift to hoist that unweildy raft to the top for you). Rideman and I darn near got all the way up to the water jets on the side of the funnel with just the two of us, I can imagine what would have happened if they paired us up with other riders. The ride is a lot shorter than I thought it would be, but its still very fun, very unique. I can see why these became popular all of a sudden. We stopped ans watched a few other people come down the slide, then headed up the exit path, moving slower than some other riders.
That point is important as at the end of the exit path, we were handed a card and told our photo had been taken. How the person distributing the cards knew whose photo was whose, wiht no visible electronic equipment is beyond me, espeically since we effectively totally messed up the exiting order. The other problem is they gave us a paper card and we were headed abck to the Wave Pool.
The card got trashed which meant that it did not wind up as a piece of litter in the park (in both wet and dry states) I really question the wisdom (and logistics) of that on-ride photo operation.
WE spent a bit more time in the Great Barrier Reef. (We had looked at the mostly unchanged kiddie areas as part of the Hunt on Saturday), and then headed over to Kookabura Bay, which seems to be either a kiddie pool or a real shallow relaxation pool. This is the pool with deck chairs just along its edges, perhaps even technically in the pool, and I supose drink service. But where am I supposed to stash my money to pay for this drink service, and where am I to stash the ID I am going to need to order these drinks. Its a pretty pool nonetheles. We took an exterior tour of JAckaroo Landing which also came out looking really good. Is one of those 'spraygrounds' where the idea seems to be to get your fellow park guests wet. It also has some small slides, and other activiteis including the dumping barrel.
WE continued on around, and the fountain at the entrance is now diggeridoo themed, and we noted another nice Aussie Flag at the water activity entrance. I tell you the theming, the vivid use of color, the landscaping, this area really did turn out looking great. All execpt for the old oringinal 1989 era water slide area which recivied onl;y very minor cosmetic improvements and name changes.
We did a lap on the Lazy River, and it seemed to have about the same stunts it always did, maybe a bit more crowded than I remember it though.
After the Lazy River we looked at Coolangata Racers, which is very colorful, looks very interesting, and fun, however the line just to get the mat, then the line to slide, it looked a bit long for what it was, so we sipped it. (American and Aussie Flags top the slide tower). You may remember that the old Fast Tracks speed slides were the only casualty from the Waterworks days in the tranisition to Boomerang Bay. I'd say it was a definite upgrade.
We then headed back to bathhouses, showers, emptied out locker, got $5 deposit back, etc. then I stopped by the Smoothie stand for a Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie. This was worth the $5, and it may even be somewhat healthy!
We then exited the park throught the Boomerang Bay Gate, put swim bags in trunk, drove do the main lot, got a decent parking space, and re-entered through the main gate.
We took a look at Delirium which still had a long line, and decided to ride Congo Falls instead. Congo Falls is an Intamin with a wonderful restraint system, two nice airtime pops in the backseat, and we didn't get overly drenched on it, mostly due to us not getting hit by the water geysers.
WE continued on into Rivertown, and took a ride on Wild Thornberries. The line was through one switchback, but did not seem to take that long. As we rode we acted like it was the Strongbadia Riverquest Safariventure Ride, and using the same monotone voices, came up with an appropriate narration to match the theme. You can act goofy when you have a log to yourselves. We almost escaped this one dry until that Evil Elephant got us.
We then headed next door to White Water Canyon. It was a real long wait for Canyon as the line was nearly back to the soft drink machines. We must have tempted the water gods too much, cause Dave and I came off of Canyon positively absolutely DRECNHED. We also almost had a completely flooded out raft. It was not a pretty picture. We did have visions of trying to sneak in some of those super high power super soaker water guns so that we could have a two way battle witht he people mannin the control boxes for the coin op geysers. "Let's see how you like it!"
I mean drenched.
We then started the spin dry cycle with rides on Flying Eagles, Troike, Wave Swinger, Racer.
The Wave Swinger op gets the best laughs, as she was doing "If your happy and you know it" over the PA system while the ride was running, and got to that verse about "Stomp your feet" Hmm, on a floorless swing ride, LOL!.
We finsihed up on Racer where we learned the BLUE train runs a lot better than the red train, then we headed out to start to brng healing to our poor abused feet.
...and you forgot the part where you and Dave (Rideman) introduced yourselves to me in front of the restrooms before the Beast walkback ;)
Gonch, before or after they had washed their hands? ;)
We were just happy to get all rides that we did. Being our first visit to the park we wanted to make sure that we rode all the coasters.
It was a great event.
1. Seeing the looks of my crew's faces as I show up at Beast in the morning with the Beast Buzz lanyard around my neck (I work at the Beast).
2. The scavenger hunt. I had fun, even though I missed the Basket Case one. I never noticed there were baskets all the way up there! Also, I knew the Beast Tamer question right away (As I said before, I work on Beast and hear that movie playing all the time. I know the opening by heart).
3. Learning about "He-who-must-not-be-named"'s team going into the cemetary.
4. Here's a funny story about the Crabby Combo question. I was sitting in motionless seats with 2 other BeastBuzzers. As soon as the menu came on, we all whip out our cell phones and type it in. "Can I leave now?" I think to myself.
5. I beat "He-who-must-not-be-named" at DDR. Anyone from CoasterBuzz wanna challenge me?
6. Seeing the KC track on our way to SoB. God I miss that ride...
7. Chatting with Jeff Siebert (see, I can spell his name right) on the way out. He really is a great guy and even gave us the name of the new ride for 05, "Puke in Rivertown!"
Well, I guess this could be counted as my TR for BeastBuzz. I had fun, and can't wait until next year (That is, if I get scheduled off for it and can get out of work that day).
And Coasterville Dave, were you the guy with the B&M shirt on? I was the guy in the Legend shirt who also rode Eagles after the Beast walkback.
On Sunday, I had on a HW Legend t-shirt (the ride logo).
Oh, and yes we did introduce ourselves to Lord Gonchar outside the restroom building by Rivertown Pizza. And yes, we wahsed our hands before leaving the restroom building, and therefore before introducing ourselves.
I had forogtten to mention that some parts of King Cobra were visible during the Son of Beast behind the scenes tour.
Another note I wanted to add to the above trip report is that it seems there is another case of Intamin Short Seat Belt Syndrome. On White Water Canyon, we had to pair large riders with small riders in order to get the seatbelts fastened. *** Edited 6/30/2004 3:17:47 PM UTC by Coasterville Dave***
I'm sorry if I misled or confused anybody, but the answers I gave during my long narrative about BeastBuzz were merely our teams answers. That means if you distinctly disagree with one of our answers I'd like to hear your answer and how you arrived at it (Again to see where we might have goofed up).
The official answers were not shared, so I can't help with the official answers, I can only tell you wht we thought the answers were.
Don't ask me where they are, I just counted them.
My team also rode and counted 10. Rumor has it that another team went up the exit and got the correct answer without riding, but then told the ride operators to tell the other teams a wrong number if they were asked.
Nice TR by the way.
(OH, i think it was the SIGN for Tucker Auto Oil OUTSIDE by the eating table by the front gas pumps that they wanted, slogan was "Keeps-Your-Motor-Young")
Dave - We counted 85 boomerangs around the roof of the seaside supplies place. Do you know the two that you all missed?
I feel shakiest on the questions about the Oscar winning character, and the Top Gun sign. Was the answer supposed to be the text of the sign "Black Aces 41" or the name of the ride it appears on "Top Gun"?
I also wonder about the Arm wrestling game as I hear somebody set a new high score in the middle of the contest.
Idea: Should I start a new topic to discuss the scavenger hunt Q&A?
85 Boomerangs, hmm, we counted the rangs on three sides of the building, were there any around the rear? We even had 4 people count them independently and all 4 of us came up with 80.
Don't feel bad. I only counted 80 boomerangs on the roof, and I counted twice. Where were the other 5?
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