Waldameer Park, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
Having missed opening weekend, I was very starved of a good roller coaster all of winter. The weather finally allowed for a nice day. I redeemed my season pass, and it was off to Ravine Flyer II.
Seeing the added track supports, I was anxious to see if the ride was any different on RFII. The first ride, as expected, was good but lacking. There was a subtle difference in the s-curve after the bridge in which less vibration was experienced. I attribute the lackluster performance to many factors. They include a 1/4 full train, early morning ride, and this was the third day of the season the park was open, so I wasn't discouraged. Interesting to note, the previously removed anti-rollbacks have returned on the camelback next to the station for the first time since 2008 (maybe early season precaution). Later laps, however, gave way to original form. Fast, intense, and even more airtime!
As for the other rides, there was a mixed bag of satisfaction. First, I'll cover the dark rides. Whacky Shack has added more sound effects which resembled a murder taking place in which I thought added a scary aspect. Pirates Cove is a work in progress at the moment. The maintenance lights were on the first trip through with a couple of scenes unlit. The second time had the lights out and more effect lighting. Many other flats saw some needed repainting and cleaning which is aleays nice to see. Although its amazing how many squeeks and creeks can be heard as the rides warm up from the cold Erie winter.
The most disappointing part of the visit were Thunder River and Steel Dragon being closed. Thunder River was only open for about an hour until it shut down. All day workers were banging around and climbing all over it. Steel Dragon was constanly being worked on as well. Only one car was on the course and periodically it would make a run. Later the ride was tested and prepared to be opened until a final snap and silence of the entire coaster sealed its doom. Additionally, Spider's operations were inconsistent throughout the day. It was kind of scary to see the mechanics under the ride as it was moving and oscillating at full speed.
Onto the new cashless system. My opinion is indifferent, but understanding of the new concept. First, every wristband was a giant barcode which is scanned upon each rider boarding an attraction, or the pay per ride is scanned with a card. Then, the turnstiles are unlocked, but wait a moment, because I often jumped the gun and ran into a locked turnstile. The system initially seemed slow, but sped up once the operators got more comfortable. Most importantly, no free rides can be given.
In conclusion, I give Waldameer a pass on some of their maintenance problems because it was only their third day of operation after a weekend filled with rain and hail. Besides, these rides hadn't operated in eight months, so problems were inevitable. Discouragement will not come unless my visit in a few weeks has the same problems. I know from operating machinery at a bowling alley that problems are more prone the longer a machine is idle despite the best mechanics.
I was there Friday evening for the last three hours of the day. RF2 was running about "usual", still with a lackluster ending after the sensation beginning. Those last two bunny hills are just so slow. I really wish they would lower them a few feet (still plenty of clearance for the railroad underneath) to give the ending some punch. I too found it odd that the anti-rollbacks had returned. Weird.
FYI, Dragon was running one car when I was there Friday evening.
I had work in the evening, so with the nasty snap on Steel Dragon I decided to head back across town opposed to possibly waiting for nothing. Especially when I can go back any day with a season pass.
What exactly do you mean by a nasty snap?
The new wristband system, really slowed things down. We had an all you can ride band, and we had to run around and get back in line everytime to reride rf. There was no line.
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