Waldameer - 6/21/08

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 10:22 PM
I've been meaning to go to Waldameer for years, but was never serious enough about it until they opened the Spinning Dragons. Even then I didn't run right out and do it. But having a friend who designs wood coasters makes me inclined to get out and ride them, and Ravine Flyer II has certainly been a long time in the making.

The park definitely has that old charm to it. Granted, we didn't do any of the truly charming oldies like the dark ride, but we did get on some other great rides. They have a Paratrooper! What a great ride. I can't remember the last time I saw one other than at Kennywood (and I haven't been on that one).

We also did the drop tower, which was surprisingly great for its height. I still like free falls better than S&S towers. The Gondola Wheel was really, really fast. I think it's the same model as the one at Michigan's Adventure. Good times.

The Comet is a surprisingly good little ride. Loved it. The growth of the trees around the ride really make it special, especially with the sun peaking through. We were lucky enough to get a front seat ride. I love the good old giant brake handles. The one ride op I concluded could be me and Diana's offspring given her red hair and nose ring, and overall style (assuming she also plays volleyball). How funny is it that we would even have that kind of conversation?

The Spinning Dragons are quite fabulous. I wasn't really expecting the ride to be as aggressive as it was, though it obviously depends on just which direction the car is facing, and what your weight distribution is. Going down the first drop backward is a surprising sensation, and going back up even more so. The back-to-back seating is in some ways better than Gerstlauer's facing seats, but if you were in a group of three or four obviously facing would be better.

We witnessed a total safety no-no too. A mechanic was actually walking through the low zone from the transfer area over to the back of the station. There was one point on his walk where he would absolutely be struck by a car if it were sailing by. That made me extremely uncomfortable, especially as our first ride, but generally speaking they did a good job running rides efficiently and safely.

Of course, the thing that ultimately got us out to the park was Ravine Flyer II. I love the smell of all that lumber when you walk into a queue on a new ride like that. The queue is not a long one, and moves pretty quickly. I think for both laps we waited around 15 minutes at most. Seemed like a really great crew, and the girl at controls was particularly perky and friendly.

The ride has been pretty well documented, so I won't go into a lot of specifics. There's no doubt that the passes over the bridge do floater airtime that you'd sooner expect on a steel coaster. And what's really great is that coming off the bridge in both directions you have those crazy and sudden direction changes like those on The Voyage. The part across the road in particular is the first non-straight rise that I've been on that never lets up. I thought the ending part was kind of mediocre, but they squeezed every bit of energy out of that layout. When you park in the brakes, you can hear the upstop wheels still spinning. That's awesome.

I haven't been on all of the Gravity Group rides yet, but this one is not nearly as aggressive as The Voyage. Our ride toward the front was a little more crazy than the one in the back too. Didn't expect that. Overall it's an incredibly solid ride, especially for a park that size.

As I said, Waldameer has a lot of charm with a combination of old and new rides. At twenty bucks, the POP wristbands are a really great value. The food is cosmically average commercial service stuff mostly, and a little overpriced at that. If you want a place to see a lot of bad tattoos, apparently Erie is it. The family picnic park with rides is certainly a dying breed, but it really suits this particular place. We were there for a little more than three and a half hours, and pretty much did everything we wanted except for the Sky Ride, which moves at a glacial pace. I'm not sure we'll visit again any time soon, because while nice, we spent more time driving there than we did in the park. But by all means, if you get the chance Ravine Flyer II and Spinning Dragons are totally worth it!

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 11:03 PM
Great trip report as usual and glad to hear that you had a good time. My wife and I will be making the trip for from Loarin county this week. We too have been looking forward to going to the park for some time but have been waiting, but now that Flyer has opened we have decided that it's time to go.
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Sunday, June 22, 2008 12:28 AM
Glad to hear you had a good trip to my home park, although kind of disappointed that you didn't go on the Whacky Shack. It's always good for some laughs and for fun, plus it's distinct smell.

The sky ride at Waldameer really serves no purpose except being a relaxing overview of the park as it goes down, turns around, and comes back. I still look back to days when my parents had their work picnics in the pavilions near the turn around and we thought about jumping off or wishing there was a station down there.

As for Steel Dragon ( ;) ), it along with the other Maurer Sohne spinners are harder to distribute weight to make spin more, as riders are more centralized towards the middle of the train unlike Gerstlauer models.

Glad you liked the park and the Ravine Flyer.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 1:16 AM
Nice "page not found" home page. :)
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Sunday, June 22, 2008 8:40 AM

Rctycoon2k said:
I still look back to days when my parents had their work picnics in the pavilions near the turn around and we thought about jumping off or wishing there was a station down there.

Ha ha, I used to think the same thing.


Jeff, surprised to hear you passed on the Wacky Shack and Pirates Cove.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:31 AM
Meh, those kinds of rides have limited interest to me, regardless of age. We really wanted to get back to Cleveland around dinner time and screw around doing a few other things in the evening.
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Sunday, June 22, 2008 11:53 AM
Thanks Jeff ;). The DNS for the site just came back up after a server change so I haven't transfered everything over yet. :)
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Sunday, June 22, 2008 2:27 PM

Jeff said:


The Comet is a surprisingly good little ride. Loved it. The growth of the trees around the ride really make it special, especially with the sun peaking through.


Sounds like this place really gives Charmland a run for its money!!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 3:51 PM
I was there also, but I may have arrived around the time you were leaving.

While Ravine Flyer II is really fun, I am not 100% impressed with the park, and I might only come back one or two more times this year, if that.

The one thing the REALLY ANNOYS ME (I feel I need to yell here) is all the smoking. It seems like it would be difficult to find fresh air anywhere in the park. I presume smoking is still legal in PA (and I have no problem with smokers' rights), but why do people feel the need to smoke in line?

Jeff, safety wise, I too saw at least two things (that I payed attention to) that I would think are very unsafe. In fact, if I felt like injuring people and being arrested, while I was talking to a super nice employee at a ride I will not name (as this guy was very nice to me) I noticed I could have easily started the ride while he was loading or unloading passengers!

Both my visits were cut short due to storms, so I didn't get any night rides on RFII. I think I had four total yesterday, along with two on Comet, one on Steel Dragon, one on the drop tower, and went on some other rides.

Considering I live almost half way between Waldameer and Cedar Point, Waldameer is a nice alternative when I want to ride a decent wooden coaster, and I don't feel like visiting Cedar Point.

-Sam

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 4:33 PM
Sam the night ride I experienced on RF2 was spectacular (not as spectacular as the Beast at night, but still good nonetheless).
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Sunday, June 22, 2008 9:00 PM
I thought about the smoking while I was there. Yeah, it's pretty bad, and the place is a little cramped for that kind of thing. There's no escaping it. I guess I'm so used to having parks with designated smoking areas.
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Sunday, June 22, 2008 9:06 PM
Our trip to Waldameer was interesting, to say the least. Our night rides on Ravine Flyer were ridiculous (in a good way). The first ride in the day time was OK, the next in the afternoon was better, the two at night made me happy that I only live about an hour from an awesome coaster.

We also noticed the overwhelming tattooed people - mainly due to the fact that tattooing in PA isn't regulated like it is in most other states. I felt like the ones with the bad ink were going to judge my ink that looked better than theirs did.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 9:22 PM
So confused by your comment about tatooing regulation.

I can't wait for some evening rides later this summer on Ravine Flyer II.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:02 PM
Jeff...I only disagree with your comments on the food, but then I have yet to make it there this year so far (and only 1/2 the drive you had to make).

The Potato Patch fries IMO are superior to the ones at Kennywood, if you don't add all the extras to it.

$7.50 for a char-grilled cheeseburger combo meal with a large fry and large drink is a great bargain...did something change?

The Fried Apples dipped in Whipped Cream and Raspberry sauce is the best treat they have to offer!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:24 PM

eightdotthree said:
So confused by your comment about tatooing regulation.

What's there to be confused about? There is no regulation about who gives a tattoo in the state of PA. Other states require you to have at least a state issued certificate with so many hours of apprenticeship before giving a tattoo. PA has no regulations about who can open a tattoo shop or give a tattoo.

I can go buy a machine and some ink, open a shop up and drill away here in PA. All without a single ounce of experience.

Oklahoma just made tattoos legal last year, talk about living in the past.

*** Edited 6/23/2008 2:25:52 AM UTC by Super Loopy***

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:37 PM
That's what was to be confused. I had no idea about the regulation. Odd that a state with such a strict liquor control board would allow it. :)

Regardless of the amount of regulation a state has, it still doesn't give someone with no talent the ability to give a good tattoo.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:39 PM
It seems weird to me that lax tattoo regulations would lead to an increase in the percentage of tattooed people, or enough of an increase that would be noticeable through casual observation, but this is the first I've ever heard about it so what do I know.

Shouldn't the same thing be observable at all other PA parks if that were the case?

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:51 PM
Yes. I think it would have to do more with the culture of Erie than anything else. *** Edited 6/23/2008 2:52:07 AM UTC by eightdotthree***
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Sunday, June 22, 2008 11:05 PM
I love the way the whole station roof on Comet creaks when the train passes overhead. I especially enjoy the nervous looks on the faces of some of the folks in the queue when they notice it. And I dig the old-fashioned curved station; those are getting harder and harder to find anymore.

I have to agree that a good bit of the food selections are mediocre in quality, but the prices are definitely better than at the big parks.

For me, Waldameer is very nearly a perfect park for its size. All it needs is one decent, refurbished Vekoma Boomerang to round out the selection. (Anybody know where they can get one? ;) )

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 11:49 PM
The creeky ceiling on Comet was something that Diana immediately noticed. I love that.

Interesting about the tattoo thing. It wasn't the quantity that surprised me, but rather the incredible lack of quality. I think with the TV shows in particular, the bar is a lot higher for what a good artist can do, and there was no artistry to be seen. Funny that I should be so critical not having any myself (to date I'm more of a piercing guy), but I can really appreciate quality given my circle of friends and such. I just don't understand how anyone would skimp on price or experience for something that's going to be with you the rest of your life.

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