Waldameer, 17 Aug 08

Associated parks:
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Sunday, August 17, 2008 4:58 PM
So anyhow, I was in Erie for a family reunion for my dad’s side of the family. It was the first one since he died, so I wanted to make a point to get up there since I don’t see them too much.

I mapped it, and my family lives 15 minutes from Waldameer. I was only there once before, and it was about 25 years ago.

I heard that even on busy days that the line for Ravine Flyer only gets to about the 15 or 20 minute range, I was being persuaded by our webmaster to try to get to this coaster, and I haven’t been on a coaster that’s not at Kennywood all year. All of this combined convinced me to try to make a quick stop over at the end of the day. (Actually, I wanted to go beforehand, but the park doesn’t open until 1pm. WTH?)

So we got to Erie around 1:30. It was me, my mom, my wife, and my 2-year old. After some damn good corn on the cob, Lord Chesterfield Ale, volleyball, some game with PVC pipe and golf balls on ropes, and aunts commenting on how big my son is, we got to the park about 6:30pm. I figured on leaving by 8 to be home by 10:15.

Bought $28 worth of tickets, and we were given another 7 by a family on their way out. Holy crap, this place was busy. I mean, wall-to-wall busy. Next I see a disproportionate number of people with Holiday World and Knoebel’s shirts on. Damn. It’s an ACE convention. There would be no short lines tonight. Seriously, every line for the dark rides, coasters, and flats was significantly out in to the midways.

Was LoriU there? I think I may have seen her, but I haven’t seen her in about 6 years, so I wasn’t sure.

Went on the spinning mouse first. 25 minutes. I really liked this ride. It doesn’t spin so fast that it’s disorienting, just enough to make it fun. I like it much better than the Reverchon/Zamperla model.

Next, we went over to kiddieland. Fairly small, but some nice, unique rides. Son went on the horses, and the hand cars. Asked him if he wanted to do Ravine Flyer 3, he didn’t. Then we got 10 feet away, and “But I want to go on the pink coaster!” so back we go. No line here. Two laps. Fun little coaster. Cha-ching. He’s now at a grand total of 3 on the coaster count. (This, along with Jack Rabbit and the Lil Phantom, although he's probably had a couple hundred Lil Phantom rides and gets mad when he has to get off.)

My son played a few games. $2 and crappy prizes.

Went up the exit of Ravine Flyer and asked about a baby exchange. It was fine with them. Ravine Flyer 2: 35 minute wait. Son informed me of the color of each train as it went by. Got on red train, 3rd seat. Wow. What a climax to that hill. The view of the lake is amazing, especially at sunset. Just enough time to take it in, and then off on to an unrelenting amount of speed and air. Don’t know what to say. It was just a great, great ride. It never lets up, and right when I thought it was over, you do the flyby and you swing around at 90 degrees and barrel down the hill again. My mom and I get back, and my wife and son are in our queue. Handed over the son to the mom, and my wife hops in next to me. He’s mad because he wants to ride. Wave goodbye, and off we go again. Second ride was just as good. (Although I wish they would have let us switch seats so I could get in back.)

Went back over towards kiddieland, and my son shouts “PARATROOPER!” so, yeah, that was next. He didn’t want to go on the Comet because it was "too dark back there," so he and my wife went on the 'trooper while my mom and I did the Comet. 20 minutes. A fun little coaster with some minor air hills. Nice, solid ride.

Got a refreshing Diet Pepsi. $2.

Counted our tickets, and went back to kiddieland for the horsies and race car. I was going to go on the Wacky Shack, but the line was still out in the midway and we only had 2 tickets left, so my son and wife did the Frog Hopper instead. What a great ride. Much better than the Jumpin’ Star/Pounce Bounce version, but much less capacity.

On a final note, I really don’t get the ticket system here. The tickets are $1.50 each. It’s 3 tickets for RF2, the ferris wheel, and the spinning coaster. Everything else is 2 except for the kiddie flats, which are 1. Seems they need more levels. Charge 75 cents and have some rides in the middle. RFII could get away with more, but some of the flats really aren't worth it IMO.

Did I mention the lines were all long? It was now almost 10pm, and I have to be at work at 7am tomorrow. It took us 3½ hours to go on 4 coasters and a few flats. Yikes.

One more game, and then drove home to the sounds of Shiny Toy Guns, Venus Hum, Alison Moyet, and Ladytron. I was in a girly new wave type of mood.

Roll in to Pittsburgh at around midnight. Got 32.2 MPG. The end.

*** Edited 8/17/2008 9:04:23 PM UTC by kpjb***

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 8:17 PM
The enthusiasts might have been theme park review, because i was on their site and they did some east coast trip, and i was praying they werent there when i went this week.

It was pretty busy this week too, busiest i have ever seen it in my 4 trips there. It might have to do with a family outing before the school sessions start too, with alot of families.

Sorry to hear things were not moving along too well there. Its got to be pretty hard for them since its a smaller park to keep people moving there, because first they probably arent used to it, and secondly they dont have as many rides as a larger amusement park to keep people occupied.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:29 PM
If you were there Saturday then there was an event co-hosted by the Great Ohio Coaster Club and ACE. The official registration for the event was over 270 people!

I'm glad to hear people still raving about RFII. I was there the week after it opened and can't wait to get back and see how it's breaking in. Unfortunately Waldameer is a 4 hour drive for me.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:54 PM
I was there early Saturday with my fiance. Saw the ACE folks get a walk back into the infield of the coaster while we were on the ride. The park really was slammed. We had a little family party on Sunday and the over flow parking lot was full again which tells me they were just as slammed on Sunday as they were on Saturday. RFII line was all the way out into the midway!

Good for them. The coaster has really broken in since when I rode it in the spring, before it would slow down quite a bit after you get back out of the ravine and now it is just relentless. Awesome, aggressive ride.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 8:10 AM

MagnunBarrel said:

Sorry to hear things were not moving along too well there. Its got to be pretty hard for them since its a smaller park to keep people moving there...


No, that wasn't it at all. The lines were actually moving quite fast... we barely stood still. They were just really really long. I think the park did a great job of handling the crowds. They were very efficient.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 8:17 AM
We were there Saturday afternoon on our way home from a Canadian trip. I had found out about the event prior so was not surprised to see the enthusiast crowd. Actually saw some folks we knew. We were hoping to get in, ride RF2 twice, and get out in about an hour, but it was closer to 2 hours. The waits for the coaster were about 35 minutes each time, but the crew was hustling. The wait to buy tickets was over 10 minutes. The best laid plans....

The coaster was well worth the wait. We liked it the best of everything we rode that week including Behemoth.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 8:39 AM
I was there yesterday as well, and although it was busy, it was nothing compared to Memorial Day!

I did notice the ACE tickets when I bought my wristband and wondered if there was an event going on. I was only in the park for 4.5 hours and I got 3 rides on RFII, Comet, Steel Dragon, Thunder River, X-Scream, and Wipeout.

I was definitely impressed again with RFII. It has broken in quite a bit since Memorial Day, and it holds it's speed in the second half much better. The crew was doing a pretty good job with 2 train operation as well.

Overall it was a good day!

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Monday, August 18, 2008 10:25 AM
Yes Loriu was there! Dang I missed you again. Waldameer did a pretty good job considering it was the first time they held an enthusiast event.

It was our 3rd visit this year and the crowds have gotten increasingly larger each time, but the park handles them well. Ravine Flyer II is exactly what the park needed and is a fantastic ride. We ended the night with a double ride in the front seat of the blue train. Heaven.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 3:17 PM
I thought I saw you in the back of the queue for RFII as we were about to load. Never saw you again that night, though.
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Monday, August 18, 2008 7:50 PM
They had a event Over Memorial Day weekend put on by the Western New York Club. It was a great Event and the food was really good. If you go to this park, don't miss going to the Erie Brewing Company 10 mins away. Great Beers!!!
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Monday, August 25, 2008 12:29 PM
Waldameer might be on the fast track to future expansion with all these huge crowds. I hope they don't take down any of the older structures to revamp especially the old carousel pavilion that is used as a picnic shelter now. Another grave sin in my opinion would be to change the Wacky Shack.

IB revamped the old Mystery Mansion into the Den of Lost Thieves which I didn't mind at first, now that I've found an appreciation for such rides, I find myself regretting their decision to change a classic dark ride.

As far as the event, I actually wish they would have extended the ERT a little during the summer-scream event. It was supposed to go from 10pm to 11pm and they promptly ended it at 10:50 with a hundred people wanted to keep riding. Oh well, it was great.

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Monday, August 25, 2008 2:59 PM
Future Expansion? Yes Indeed. We can see it probably in 2009. If you access the blog off the main park website, you will find entries of a surprise announcement. I'm thinking about the waterpark which may include a wavepool. However, the author of the blog says that it's such a surpise that no hints can be released, so I think that it might be more than a wavepool that has been talked about. If the surprise involves the amusement park (which I don't think it is), I would be excited for the park to go upsidedown. A vekoma boomerang with lapbars (I saw it on RCDB) or even a eurofighter would be great for a park of this size .

After all that, here are my predictions for the surprise. First and most likely, a wavepool. Second, a revamped childrens play area (waterpark). Third, a waterslide that is either a bowl or family raft. Finally, I would be happy to see the first coaster for Waldameer that goes upsidedown, but this seems unlikely for the park at this moment.

We will know September 4 according to the official park blog.

Almost forgot! The historic Merry-Go-Round Pavillion is going nowhere. I just saw them repainting it a few days ago. That's a lot of paint to be wasted if the Pavillion is gong to be removed. *** Edited 8/25/2008 7:02:05 PM UTC by AJFelice***

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Monday, August 25, 2008 4:07 PM
Where will their expansion go you think?

They have a lot of issues to deal with since their parking lots are split and both fill up on busy weekends. I am pretty sure they own the plot of houses behind the secondary lot behind Spinning Dragons and the log flume. Future park expansion can go there, but future water park expansion has to go into the main lot.

Should be interesting.

Oh, when I was there during the event most of the license plates were from out of state, and not just New York and Ohio.

*** Edited 8/25/2008 8:08:14 PM UTC by eightdotthree***

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Monday, August 25, 2008 4:22 PM
I am incredibly excited for Waldameer's success. It's like the Little Park that Could. "I think I can build it, I think I can build it, I KNOW I can build it, I KNOW I can build it . . ."

Clearly, after the level of investment that went into RFII this year, next year should by rights be an "off" year. A new waterpark attraction might be just the level of cap ex for 2009.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:50 AM
The general manager of the park has stated publicly that they want to focus on the waterpark for a year or two. I asked him at the WNYCC event over Memorial Day weekend how they would go about expanding the waterpark and he told me that they would build out into the parking lot and shift the parking lot. They apparently own the mobile home parks next to each parking lot and are just waiting for some of the long term leases to run out. They have said that they want to add a wave pool, beyond that I don't know
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