Whirlwind '04 - 19 parks in 7 days (Day 3 - Playland, Magic Forest, and Great Escape)

Associated parks:
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Thursday, September 16, 2004 11:04 PM
The Whirlwind Tour ’04 (Day 3 of 7)

Saturday, August 7th

Rye Playland, Magic Forest, and Great Escape


“Well, at least the lift was fun”

Jeff Johnson and I had a more laid back day ahead of us for our third day of travel. We would be staying in New York for the entire day, but would be driving a lot. We left our hotel near Allentown pretty early to be at our first park of the day at opening. We had to drive to Rye, New York. The route we chose would take us through New Jersey and partially into the north area of New York City.

Everything seemed to be going as planned until we decided to cross the George Washington Bridge to get to New York. We ran into a very large traffic jam. Stupid people played a big part in the jam as they weren’t paying attention to what lane they should be in. We saw at least 15 cars trying to merge into the correct lanes while stopping those that wanted to use the EZ Pass lane. It was a mess. It took us well over an hour to make it over to New York. This wasn’t a good start to the day.

We drove north to Rye to arrive at our first park at opening.

===Playland===

As we were walking up to the front of the park, the gates opened. I am not sure of the policy of how the park operates but there were no ticket booths open. This resulted in long lines sticking back into the main midway. All we could do was be patient. After about a half hour, the ticket booths opened. We counted out how many tickets we would need for each coaster. We weren’t sure if the new coaster was going to be running but we turned around and saw it testing so we purchased some tickets for it and soon headed off to ride it.

----Super Flight----(#561)

Having ridden the Zamperla flying coaster prototype at Six Flags Over Georgia last year, I didn’t have high expectations for Super Flight. The first thing we noticed is that the park loads the cars differently than the other version I rode. All cars are parked in the station and then loaded and dispatched. There is no on-the-fly loading. Another thing that was strange as virtually no one listened to a ride operator’s instructions to leave the cars as they were still moving. Most everyone stayed put until the ride came to a stop. Before we knew it, it was our turn to ride. We didn’t have much confidence as the reaction of a lot of the riders wasn’t all that pleasant.

The ride begins with a very cool rotating lift. While we were going up, I tried my best to get comfortable which was pretty difficult. Once we got to the top of the lift, I braced myself. Perhaps Zamperla found out a way to make the ride more enjoyable. Perhaps there were some modifications not found on the prototype?

Perhaps I shouldn’t have gotten in line for this ride?


I won’t give a play by play of the ride because, well, I honestly don’t remember what happened. The ride threw us around in every way. The inline twists threw me into the back of the cage as the other version did but I was prepared for that to happen so it didn’t catch me off guard. The tight turns of the ride bounced us from side to side very violently. I hate to say it, but I was not having any fun on this ride. I just wanted it to end as soon as possible. I wasn’t the only one thinking that as Jeff was cussing up a storm.

Once the ride came to an end, we quickly climbed down off the car and headed for the exit. We were handed our own Super Flight wing pin as we exited. I had a nasty headache from our first ride of the day. We knew it would be difficult to enjoy our day but we were going to try. I don’t blame Playland for our bad experience. I just can’t believe Zamperla hasn’t made any modifications to the ride as this was easily one of the worst rides I have ever gotten on any coaster.

Our plan was to ride the other coasters then leave as soon as possible. Luckily, our next rides weren’t all that bad so we tried to make the best out of it.

---Family Flyer---

I decided to ride this small coaster with Jeff as I had been avoiding the kiddie coasters I have already ridden. The lift for this coaster starts pretty sudden so be prepared. The coaster’s layout is identical to Howler at Holiday World.

After our ride I showed Jeff where the movie Big was filmed. Jeff was under the impression the movie was filmed at Seabreeze but when he saw the area I pointed out to him, he new Playland was the location of the ending of the film.

---Dragon---

There was a pretty long line greeting us when we arrived. I didn’t remember much about this ride other than it had a tunnel and was pretty long. I think we rode somewhere near the middle of the train. The coaster itself was pretty tame but I did get a surprise. The whole tunnel portion has a new look with a brand new dragon facade. There was some mist blowing down at us when we entered the tunnel. I thought this added a nice touch.

---Crazy Mouse---

With a name like Crazy Mouse, you would expect the ride to be a Reverchon spinner. This isn’t the case. This coaster is a Zamperla mouse. The lift is surrounded with strange rings. Perhaps they light up at night or something. We didn’t stay long enough to find out. The laterals on the ride are pretty strong so hold on!

Since we were not allowed to ride the junior wooden coaster, we decided to leave the park. I still had a nasty headache and wasn’t in the best mood. I just wanted to get to our next park as quick as possible. I took over driving. This was a big mistake as I somehow turned into an aggressive New York driver. I know Jeff told me to calm down more than once. At one point, we got into another traffic jam while heading north. Some woman cut in front of me so I decided to pull up next to her to express my feelings. She wasn’t very happy to hear what I had to say but I was not in the mood.

We continued north to upstate New York. It was amazing how much the scenery changed as we made our way out of the city. Everything was so green. I got a call from Donna Harrison who would be meeting up with us later in the evening. I was really impressed with the scenery the more and more we drove. Once we arrived in the Lake George area, we decided to drive past the large park in the area to find a smaller park right up the street.

===Magic Forest Park===

After parking our car, we walked up and were greeted by a rather large, rather creeping looking figure of Paul Bunyan motioning us to come inside. Already Jeff and I were having second thoughts. This park looked scary.

We walked into a building where you can purchase admission tickets. We knew the park had a coaster but didn’t know how much it would cost to get inside. We asked the man behind the counter how much admission was. I don’t remember the amount, but Jeff and I both decided it was too much to spend for one coaster credit. We also asked the man if there was a coaster in the park because we couldn’t see it from the road. He assured us there was but warned us it was a small one. We told him it didn’t matter. When asked if the coaster was the only thing we wanted to ride, we told him it was. He got on the phone with his manager and arranged us a deal. We paid him $5 and we could get inside to ride it. No biggie.

----Roller Coaster----(#562)

This original Herchell coaster had an oval layout like most kiddie coasters. There really isn’t much to mention about this ride other than we rode it with no problem. After we left the ride, we walked back to the front of the park. We couldn’t help but notice how strange this park was. The entire park is in a forest like the name says, and looked to be quite popular with families, but it just felt very strange to us.

Oh well, time for another park.

We thanked the man behind the counter and continued down the street to our next park,

===Great Escape===

We pulled into the parking area and got a quick look at the Steamin’ Demon coaster. The Arrow looper was down for the count as there was a small crane underneath it with no activity going on. Oh well, we missed a coaster. Not a problem.

I didn’t buy a Six Flags season pass this year as I knew the parks I was going to were parts of events with admission included. There were only two Six Flags parks that I had to pay to get into and this was one of them.

We walked into the park and noticed the nice walkway leading up into the main heart of the park. This sure didn’t look and feel like any Six Flags park I have been to. I called Donna to see where she was in the park. She had just finished watching the dive show with her kids, Billy and Jen, when we met up with them. Donna was part of the ACE ECO trip. We have kept in touch since and spent some time at Cedar Point last June.

We told Donna we wanted to ride as much as we could given the limited time we had in the park. We knew there was one coaster in particular we wanted to ride more than once but decided to ride something in the front of the park first.

----Boomerang----(#563)

As we were standing in line, the ride went down. We chose to wait it out for a few minutes to see if it would run again. Within a few minutes, it was back in business. However, it started raining as we were boarding. Donna decided not to ride as she is not a fan of Boomerangs, plus, she visits all the time. The ride itself wasn’t too bad. Even in the rain.

As we continued our walk through the park, we couldn’t help but notice the Alpine Bobsled coaster was down due to rain. I had ridden it when it used to operate at Six Flags Great America but it looked like Jeff was going to miss another coaster. We continued our walk into the back of the park where the coaster Jeff and I wanted to really ride was appearing through the trees.

----Comet----(#564)

I have heard nothing but good reviews of this ride. This year, I have heard a few people complain about a section being reprofiled and “ruined’ but as far as I could tell, the coaster was running. As long as a ride is running with riders, it doesn’t classify as being ruined in my eyes, but I know not everyone will agree with me on that one.

For our first ride, Jeff and I waited for the front. The first thing that surprised me about the ride was how fast the lift hill is. It kept up speeding up the higher we went. As we went over the top I could tell we were in for a treat. The out section was very fast and provided some airtime. The turnaround that followed was taken very fast. For some reason I thought it would be slow but we really tore through that curve.

The next drop threw us into a small hill that curved at the same time. This is what was reprofiled. I don’t have a reference of how it felt before, but it caught us off guard as there were laterals and airtime at the same time. We continued up to another turnaround, this one taken just as fast as the last, before beginning the second half of the ride. It seemed the coaster picked up a lot of speed as we were hopping over many bunny hills. The airtime increased with each hill. We couldn’t stop laughing. We hit the brakes with plenty of energy to spare.

Finally, I got to ride Comet!

It was even better than I expected it to be, and most of all, made us forget about the rough start to our day.

While another ride would have been in store, we decided to walk elsewhere to ride the other coasters before coming back. It was a tough choice but we were willing to give up a few more rides to sample the rest of the park.

----Canyon Blaster----(#565)


Now here is something that doesn’t happen to me very often. I had no idea that this coaster even existed. I usually am pretty good about keeping up to date on coaster installations and knowing where things are, but this one caught me off guard. No, it’s not a big coaster but it was a big surprise.

According to rcdb.com, Great Escape is the third location for this ride. The ride has two lift hills and travels through some theming. The last part of the ride includes a nice double helix before hitting the brakes. It was also apparent that Arrow or another manufacture made some changes to the track as the track ties were different in some areas of the ride.

---Nightmare at Crack Axel Canyon---

As with Canyon Blaster, this coaster used to operate at other parks. In this case, four. I first rode it at Kentucky Kingdom where it used to be called Starchaser. I knew this ride had very low capacity but we were all willing to wait it out. It was still raining out so it was nice to dry out a bit while standing in line. We waited over 45 minutes for our ride. It operated just like it did when I last rode it. The main ride building was completely dark which provided many surprises as the turns were pretty tight like most Schwarzkopf coasters of this size.

We still had some time to spend in the park before closing. Jeff went back to the car for something while Billy and I played a couple of games of Dance Dance Revolution while Jen and Donna watched. During our second game, a group of kids came up and tried to taunt us and beg for us to buy them some token so they would play. We pretty much ignored them and told them to leave. They were pests but ended up getting bored and leaving.

Once Jeff met back up with us, we finished playing then walked back for more Comet rides. I think we rode at least 3 or 4 more times. Jeff bailed out the last couple of rides as he wasn’t feeling too good. Jeff had a pretty nasty cold. I was getting over one but I was well enough to continue riding.

Those last few rides were something I won’t forget anytime soon. It was dark and the coaster was flying. I was really going to miss riding this thing. It made a perfect end to a day that started out bad. We were riding with good friends and having a great time. Sad to say, the park started to close and we made our way out to the front. We stood by our car talking for a while before taking a group photo before we said our goodbyes.

Donna, Jen, and Billy were the perfect guides to us. I always enjoy hanging out with them even though I don’t see them very often. It’s too bad we didn’t get to spend more time with them but time didn’t permit it. I do hope to visit the park again in the future.

We parted ways with the Harrison family and began our 2 hour drive to Plattsburgh where we would be spending the night. I was more than ready for some rest by the time we reached our hotel. It wasn’t the best looking place but I could have cared less. Tomorrow would take us into another country and I was looking forward to it.

Time for sleep.


Next up…

A beautiful city with a strange park.


Thanks for reading,

-Sean

. *** Edited 9/17/2004 3:12:50 AM UTC by Sean Flaharty***

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Friday, September 17, 2004 6:22 PM
Uh oh, you must be going to La Ronde next. I hope you had a better time than some of the reports that I've read on here. Too bad it seems that all of the Zamperla flyers stink. I recently rode the one at SFEG and thought that it was aweful. It just abused the heck out of my shoulders. What's the best way to grab a ride on the junior woodie at Playland? Ride it when they have a ACE event there? I've heard from people that you can supposedly "tip" the operator and they will let you ride, although I'm not too sure of the realiability of that. The Great Escape looks like one those parks that's slipped through the cracks for you, cool you were able to make it and finally experience the Comet. I have yet too myself but it's on my fast track for next year. And what is up with that creepy Paul Bunyan? It looks like he is winking at you. *** Edited 9/18/2004 12:22:40 AM UTC by Pale Rider***
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Saturday, September 18, 2004 1:06 AM
Glad you were there, and had a chance to prove that this terrible reprofile wasn't necessarily so terribly after all. Granted, I've never ridden it, but it sounds like I won't really miss the changes. :)
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Monday, September 20, 2004 7:03 PM
Pale Rider,

Yep. La Ronde was next.

The only way I know of riding the junior woodie at Playland is at the regional ACE event they have there. I usually miss the event by a day or so. As far as tipping the ride operator, I have no idea. I haven't heard of that tactic before.

That creepy Paul Bunyan made us stop in our tracks and wonder why we were at the park. Jeff couldn't decide if the figure looked more like Paul, or enthusiast Todd Long. Both are creepy looking (I am kidding Todd).

Nasai,

All I know is the coaster was incredible! Too bad for those few jaded folks who say they can't enjoy the ride anymore because of the reprofile. =:^)

-Sean

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