Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Christmas at Dollywood & finally riding Lightning Rod!
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:22 am

Foxwoods & Cape Cod Dachshund Day

I had planned to visit the Haunted Graveyard and get my last Boulder Dash rides of the year in on Sunday. Unfortunately Mother Nature would have none of that. Knowing that Lake Compounce can be a big trigger happy when it comes to closing for weather, I had a very strong feeling the park wouldn't be opening on Sunday when I saw a 100% chance of rain. I was right and to the park's defense, the storm was actually pretty brutal with high winds knocking out power in several towns across New England. Generally when I try to avoid a park on Saturday it's due to the crowds, but this time I actually had something planned on Saturday.

Judge me all you want, but that event was Cape Cod Dachshund Day. Yes it's a thing. If you want rides, just skip the next few paragraphs and photos of adorable weenie dogs. The festival was having its 10th anniversary and because of my unhealthy obsession for wiener dogs, I just had to attend once I found out it was a thing. The only word to describe the festival was interesting. The impact of attending would be that there was no way I could make it to Lake Compounce for opening. Thankfully they let you reserve a time for the Graveyard, which was critical since with how crowded the park was that evening, I don't think they had any standby tickets left.

But back to the dachshunds. This festival put everything in perspective. I love dachshunds, but it's all relative. With any hobby/obsession, there are the people who love their hobby but are perfectly capable of functioning otherwise. Many of us had a shared love of dachsunds, but we could also talk about baseball, movies, etc. But then there were the diehards whose wieners got longer than their dogs as they talked about the breed. I think coaster enthusiasts are a perfect parallel. You know those ones that can recite off every stat and have heated debates whether or not a ride is a coaster or not, I basically saw the same thing as a few people passionately tried to disqualify a dog from the fashion show because he wasn't a purebred. He was a hybrid of a Scottish terrier and a dachshund.

Dachshund Children.jpg
The patch wearing ACER vest equivalent in the dachshund world. He had 10-12 dachshunds in his two carriages.

The festival began with a rousing rendition of the Dachs Song. Everyone was wildly out of pitch, but it was so laughably bad that you couldn't help but enjoy it. Think of the wonderfully off-key drinking songs you hear at bars or college parties. That was followed by a fashion show/parade where owners showed off their wieners. The dogs that is. Many were dressed up and looking back, only a few of them walked. Many owners carried their dogs or pushed them around in a baby stroller for the entirety of the fair.

Dachshund Song.jpg
This isn't even the best dachshund song I know, which is a pretty sad statement.

Hot Dog.jpg
That's one hot dog!

The highlight for me was the Dachshund Fun Run, aka the wiener dog race. I've always wanted to see these wiener dog races because it's hysterical watching a dog so awkwardly shaped run. While greyhound races are competitive and cruel for the breeds, the wiener dog races are completely tongue-in-cheek. Of the 5 heats, there were only 2 close finishes since the race was often determined by which dog decided to run forwards. Most of the dogs confusedly didn't run when the gate opened and others quickly became distracted by the other dachshunds tunneling their way underneath the side of the racetrack.

Dachshund Fun Run.PNG
This captures dachshund racing perfectly. Note the ones confused and in the gate, the rare two that knew to run forwards, and then the random weenies tunneling their way into the racetrack.

The festival wrapped up at 3 so it was a little over a three hour drive to Lake Compounce from Falmouth. On the way, I decided to make a pit stop at Foxwoods Casino. Did I want to gamble away my last week's paycheck? No. Earlier this year, they announced a surprise addition, the Thrill Tower. One of those Stan Checketts/Soaring Eagles towers, it included a drop tower and sky sling. Foxwoods had been rumored to be interested in adding a theme park for quite some time now, so the addition of this thrill ride wasn't shocking. What was shocking was how quickly they installed it. I was probably the one rare nut who showed up to Foxwoods not to gamble, but the rides looked very intriguing.

To save you time if you decide to make your way to Foxwoods, the rides are located behind the Fox Tower. I figured it wouldn't be hard to find a 120ft drop tower, but it's almost entirely blocked by the skyscraper which stands almost 350ft tall. I didn't realize the tower was that tall until it dwarfed a drop tower. After parking in the wrong garage and walking around confused (people probably thought I was drunk), I eventually found a lovely little sign that led me to the rides.

Fox Tower.jpg
I never thought it'd be this hard to ever find a drop tower. The Thrill Tower looks so puny next to Fox Tower.

Sign.jpg
Finally I found it!

The prices for the attraction were pretty steep, but as a thrill seeker I could justify the price as a one-time treat. It cost $25 for the Sky Launch, $15 for the Sky Drop, or $35 for the combo ticket according to their website. Not sure if the website was out-of-date or I just got lucky, but I was only charged $30 for the combo ticket. As an added bonus, I was allowed to take 2 rides on each as long as they were taken back-to-back. That made the cost more palatable for sure.

I started with the Sky Launch since that was by far the more popular of the two attractions. I didn't see anyone else ride the drop tower while I was there, but I saw 5 other people try the Sky Launch. The ride is a smaller version of the tower at Branson's Bigfoot Tower. This was my first time riding one of these nutty Soaring Eagle creations, so I was immediately taken back by how minimalistic the restraint system was. The ride only had a few seatbelts holding me in and combined with how open the ride vehicles are, it's a pretty terrifying experience. Before launching you have the option to select whether or not you flip. Of course I picked the flipping option. I wasn't going to pony up $20 to ride a neutered version of the ride. I wanted it to give me everything it had!

The launch didn't have much oomph to it, but it was sudden and the ascent up the tower was pretty freaky. I've done one of those slingshots before, but being enclosed in the ball took away the sensation of height somewhat. Not here. While much smaller than the adjacent skyscraper, it felt much higher than 120 feet during the ride. Once I reached the top of the tower, the vehicle shuffled slightly to the side and then I received two very wild flips that were accompanied by a stomach dropping sensation. I remember the flips on the slingshot being fluid and graceful. The Sky Launch's flips were aggressive and had some serious punch to them. The ride is a major rush. The only downside is how ridiculously short it is. I figured the first launch would be the best, but I didn't realize you only went up and down once. Thankfully they did give that second ride to make up for it. 9 out of 10

Sky Launch 1.jpg
I loved the lighting package on the Thrill Tower.

Sky Launch 2.jpg
The open cars, minimalistic restraints, and flipping made this a pretty terrifying and thrilling experience.

It felt only right to follow-up one terrifying ride with another, so I immediately rode the Sky Drop. While a 120 foot drop tower may not sound too special, this is a pretty freaky ride since the only restraint is a seatbelt. Yes Tower of Terror has seatbelts too, but you aren't in an open air gondola like on the Sky Drop. I was fortunate enough to have timed my ride right around sunset, so the views over the Connecticut forest were pretty nice. The one aspect of the ride that surprised me was the audio. There was some nice music during the ascent and it morphed into the sounds of a ticking clock at the top. I couldn't help put think of Compounce's nearby Down Time tower when I heard the audio, but I didn't mind them ripping it off since it's such an intimidating and effective sound atop a drop tower.

And then the drop came. I wasn't sure what to expect from it. I hadn't heard much about these Soaring Eagle towers other than the restraints. Since I saw Stan Checketts's involvement, I was worried the drop would be weaker like the S&S turbo drops. The second the gondola released, my fears had been squashed. The descent had a very powerful stomach dropping sensation and felt some great air the whole way down. The drop felt like one on those Larson drop towers. Without having a chance to catch my breath, I was sent right back up for my second lap and it again took my breath away. I think I slightly prefer the Larson towers for the restraints. That sounds kind of odd with how minimalistic the restraints are on this one, but the seat belt rests firmly on your lap. On the Larson ones, the OSTR leaves you plenty of room to come out of your seat and experience the air. Still it's just a minor nuance and just being listed in the same breath is a very good sign. 10 out of 10

Sky Drop 1.jpg
No one else wanted to try the Sky Drop while I was there.

I loved the ride. Since Foxwoods is only 10 minutes off I-95, I'd consider stopping there whenever I pass by. The ride is scheduled to operate 365 days a year (weather permitting), so it may be a rare thrill ride fix for coaster enthusiasts in the cold New England winters. I personally preferred the Sky Drop, but I also admit that I am much higher on drop towers than most. I'd recommend stopping in to try both sides since they truly are wild and terrifying experiences.

After spending a half hour riding and grabbing some food, I left the casino without giving them a single penny. I had a reservation with the Haunted Graveyard and some nighttime Boulder Dash rides.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:01 am

Lake Compounce Haunted Graveyard

Lake Compounce's Haunted Graveyard is hands down my favorite Halloween event (theme park or any) that I've been to. Before anyone raises any pitchforks, I have only been to haunts in New England so I'm not comparing this to Knott's Scary Farm, Universal's event, etc. But compared to Fright Fest, Screeemfest, the haunted corn mazes, and overpriced houses, the Haunted Graveyard obliterates all of them in terms of quality and value. And it also helps being able to get night rides on one of the world's best wooden roller coasters as well.

Park Entrance.jpg
Easily the best haunt I've been to.

Two of my biggest pet peeves with haunts are the cost and the lines. Six Flags suffers from both of those while Canobie only suffered from the latter. Lake Compounce suffers from neither. For only an extra $8-10, you can add a timed reservation for this spectacular hour long walkthrough. Sure there may be a 20-30 minute wait after you check-in for your designated time, but once you enter into the Graveyard, you have a full hour of haunts. I don't know of any other Halloween haunt that is nearly this long.

I had 15 minutes before my reservation, so I decided to ride the park's Wave Swinger. Usually swing rides are a relatively relaxing and mundane ride, but not so much at Lake Compounce. Ever since the park rehabed the swings a few years back, they have run the ride ridiculously fast. Usually on these swing rides, you can feel the swing slow a bit at the peak of the wave, but on this one the ride whips you through it. I don't know of any other swing ride with Gs comparable to this one. This was the perfect ride to stall before the Graveyard. 8 out of 10

Wave Swinger.jpg
Usually I'll skip these swings, but not when you run it like a bat-out-of-hell.

I didn't get any photos of the Haunted Graveyard since it was mobbed in the queue line and you aren't allowed to take photos on the inside. I've been going to Lake Compounce for 20 years, but last Saturday was the most crowded I had ever seen it. Because of this, the line for the Graveyard stretched through the park's kids area. Fortunately, the line was just because people were either late or early for their reservation depass a good chunk of them and only had an additional half hour to wait.

For the Graveyard, it's not just the length, but it's also the quality. There are hundreds of scare actors inside the Graveyard and they cover every single phobia someone could have- spiders, zombies, hospitals, chainsaws, and priests. The latter is particularly terrifying for boys in the Boston area. While the Graveyard is relatively similar year-after-year, that's fine by me since it's always a spectacular experience and the scare actors keep it fresh.

After leaving the Graveyard, I had 2.5 hours left to explore the park. On my way to Boulder Dash, I figured I'd hit Phobia. Remember how I said I had never seen the park this crowded? Phobia's queue was into the lower switchbacks. Unsure how long that line would take, I decided to skip it for the time being to ensure I made it to Boulder Dash. I was a little scared how long that queue would be considering I knew it'd be running one train. I'd say they were only running one train due to the accident, but let's be honest, the park probably wouldn't have had the second train running anyway based on their track record this year.

I reached Boulder Dash's queue and it was just beyond the pagoda, almost at the main entrance. I had a bad feeling the queue may take an hour, but it only took about 40 minutes, and that included me waiting for the front. The front is my go-to seat on Boulder Dash. The back is fantastic too, but nothing beats the beats the rush of wind on a pitch-black night ride through the mountain. The combination of the setting, relentless speed, strong laterals, and fantastic airtime makes it a top 5 coaster for me. It's not exactly a glass smooth ride, but it's not meant to be and (for me at least) it's not what I'd consider rough. It's a wild and aggressive ride from start to finish, but I find it very reridable.

Despite the cooler temperatures, I thought the ride was running as great as it was during the summer. The return leg in particular felt extremely fast and I'm happy to say the double up has fully broken in after it had a vibration to it on my early season rides. I immediately got back in line and again waited about 40 minutes for the front row. The Beast is often considered one of the best night rides in the coaster community, but I give my nomination to Boulder Dash. It's already a world-class ride during the day, but it becomes absolutely insane once the sun sets. There's no light whatsoever on the mountain. 10 out of 10

Boulder Dash Entrance.jpg
Boulder Dash is my favorite coaster for night rides.

Boulder Dash Station.jpg
I'm willing to bet the second train is off for rehab somewhere.

Boulder Dash Turn.jpg
This is about as much light as there is during the entire course. It's absolutely insane.

I saw Down Time was a walk-on, so I decided to give the park's drop tower a whirl. I was a bit worried that the drop would feel dull after riding the insane version at Foxwoods, but I still enjoyed it. The drop has some good air at the start of the drop and I really love the clock effects at the top. The effects are particularly effective since they vary ride to ride. Sometimes the alarm goes off after the ticking, sometimes it doesn't. I don't know if that's intentional or not, but it makes the drop more suspenseful. 8 out of 10

Down Time Base.jpg
One of the better S&S towers out there.

I decided to check back on Phobia and the line was quite a bit shorter. It was just past the station, but thanks to the speedy dispatches, I was on the back row in about 10 minutes. The ride is a nice compliment to Boulder Dash. It's smooth, has some solid launches, a freaky inline twist, and a really intense drop. The more I ride these Sky Rocket II's, the more I have grown to dislike the shin guards. On the other coasters I've been on, the shin guard cups around the shins. On the Sky Rocket II's, it rams against my shins pretty tightly and it gets a tad uncomfortable. Since it's a short ride, I can look past it though and enjoy it. 8 out of 10

Phobia 1.jpg
It's still odd for me to see Phobia here after being used to the Enterprise, but I definitely prefer it.

Phobia 2.jpg
I had plenty of time to watch it from the Boulder Dash line.

I had 25 minutes left. I considered riding the Sky Coaster since they usually have a $10 haunt special, but I passed on it. The price was $15 (which is still cheap for these), but the big reason was the queue. There looked to be 5 groups and I didn't want to risk missing a final ride on Boulder Dash. The park doesn't close the line until closing, so I debated going on Phobia again. Instead I decided to start queuing for Boulder Dash so I could ensure my last ride was again in the front. I don't regret my plan one bit.

Boulder Dash Woods.jpg
The ride is challenging to photograph during the day. At night, it's nearly impossible.

On the way out, I took a look at Wildcat. It's no secret the ride's rehab took much longer than expected. The ride was essentially closed all year with the exception of one or two weekends at the end of the summer. I figured it'd be open for the Graveyard, but the park decided to start painting it at the beginning of October. The new color scheme looks odd with the black track and orange rails, but it definitely is vibrant and stands out. I'm looking forward to finally trying the retracked version next year since the few people who rode it said it was running much faster. Still rough, but at least it had some air to go with the rattling.

Wildcat Track.jpg
It's hard to tell from this photo, but the ride has an interesting paint scheme. I'm still bummed they decided to start painting it before the season ended though.

Wildcat Sign.jpg
Lol...temporarily closed.

If you've never been to the Haunted Graveyard, don't hesitate and go next year. The haunt alone is worth it. Getting night rides on Boulder Dash is worth it, particularly since the park usually closes before sunset in the summer. And when you combine those two things together, you have a truly exceptional event that is my bonafide Halloween tradition.
Last edited by Canobie Coaster on Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:51 am.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby BoulderDash » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:21 pm

I saw someone waiting for the front row on BD around 9pm with TPR out on their phone, I'm guessing that might have been you. :)

Totally agree about the Swings, they are totally awesome. Same with Downtime, probably the best drop tower I've been on.

I haven't heard anything official about the other BD cars, but I'm willing to bet they might be in coaster heaven instead of the maintenance shop. The last two cars of the train running now are from the green train and I think the rest of the cars are either totaled or in need of serious work. Also the enterprise they had was Huss, I do miss it but Phobia is easily better.

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:50 am

^ That very well could have been me. You should have said hi; I don't bite haha.

I thought they were able to salvage the blue one without having to make Frankentrain but maybe I misheard. Regardless the ride was running really well. Having the second train would have definitely helped for capacity but realistically I doubt they would have used it anyway.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby BoulderDash » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:50 pm

I was right where the line splits so I wasn't really close enough to say hi, but I do like talking with fellow enthusiasts while in line.

If you sit in the back, you can see a lot of green on the freshly painted cars. Thankfully they were able to get it running for October. I really hope they get a second train going for next year even if they have to buy a new one. I did also see a stack of older looking train chassis next to the station that appeared two weeks ago, I think they might be from the old red train because there were some solid grey seat dividers on top. Maybe they had old car pieces under the station and will try to make another train with the parts from those trains and the messed up cars.

Glad you enjoyed the graveyard too. I went through 3 times this season and it is always a great time. I would recommend going earlier in the season because there are less people that go through so it is less of a congested mess in the haunt. I saw the line in kiddie land at one point and that usually means they will be letting through giant groups of people as fast as possible which leads to some congestion and loss of some scares.

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:16 pm

In the past I've gone towards early-mid October, but I had family obligations the first few weekends in October. The only available day was the end of October. I had one of the early reservations so the line wasn't too bad yet.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:15 am

Sea World Orlando

I have been to Orlando four different times, most recently in 2015. All of those visits were family vacations to Walt Disney World. While the mouse wants you to think otherwise, Orlando (and the surrounding area) has so much more other than just Walt Disney World. In my past trips, we’ve made day trips to Universal, but that’s it outside of Disney.

My office was looking for someone to visit some sites down in Orlando. While many groaned at the idea, I took one for the team. I guess I could take free airfare down to the theme park capital of the world. After business concluded, I had four days to explore the parks. My first instinct was Disney World, but I developed a different plan.

Since I was on my own, I decided to hit everything other than Disney- SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Legoland, and Fun Spot. I had one extra day left. I debated going to Disney. After all, they had opened Frozen and Pandora since my last visit. But I decided to visit Universal instead, just narrowly over the Holy Land ;) .

It felt criminal going to Orlando and not visiting Disney World, but that’s what I did. While Pandora and Frozen have been added since my last visit, it’s likely that we’ll go down for another family vacation sometime in the next year or two. I also couldn’t begin to cram Disney World into a single day. However, it is possible to condense Universal down into one day.

My first stop was SeaWorld. While Orlando’s is often considered the best of the three, it was the only one I had yet to visit.

Entrance.jpg
SeaWorld. The home of Shamu, 3 great B&Ms, and the bane of PETA's existence.

Snowman.jpg
Olaf isn't the only snowman immune to melting apparently.

I arrived about a half hour before opening and was one of the first people in line. Usually I like to arrive early at parks anyway, but I was extra vigilant for SeaWorld due to Kraken. What should be a high capacity people eater sending trains out every 3 minutes is now closer to 3 dispatches per hour (I wish I were kidding).

They let us in the park about 15 minutes before opening and then staged us by Manta. Once the rope dropped, I expected a stampede. But I was stunned. Everyone was walking. Most walked at a leisurely pace and a few power walked, but at no point did I feel I’d be trampled like Mufasa.

I was the third person back at Kraken. The grouper seemed to be funneling VR users towards the center of the train. They seemed stunned I didn’t want to use VR (because a 150 foot coaster isn’t exciting enough), but they were happy to grant me the front row as long as I pinky swore that I wouldn’t use VR. The two experiences I have with coaster VR have been unpleasant. From it not working to falling off to being blurry, I’ll take the coaster experience au natural.

Kraken is often considered one of the better floorless coasters and it delivered. I loved seeing (literally in my case) the large straight drop like SFDK’s Medusa. I wish more B&M loopers had straight drops. The first half was pretty typical B&M inversions with the zero-G roll predictably being the star. I think it’s a shame when any B&M looper lacks one of these (looking at you Dominator).

What really stood out for me was the second half. I loved the whip of the subterranean dive after the MCBR (even if it was just a concrete pit) and the subsequent vertical loop. This second loop was considerably more forceful than the first. I also loved how the final corkscrew, which is really snappy too, occurs immediately after a tunnel.

Since the masses had yet to reach Kraken yet, I immediately grabbed a second ride in the back. Again I went no VR and was treated to another great ride. Despite Kraken’s massive elements, they’re all still decently forceful. It’s also mostly smooth. There’s a bit of a rattle to it (more-so in the back), but nothing that detracts from the ride. It’s a shame VR has crippled this ride’s capacity since it’s one of the better floorless coasters out there. 9 out of 10

Kraken Dive Loop.jpg
Why does a coaster this imposing need VR?

Kraken Dive.jpg
The subterranean dives were easily the best part of Kraken.

Kraken Corkscrew.jpg
I wasn't going to wait 15 minutes for a train. Just imagine one there.

The one other ride that I heard can command long waits is Antarctica Empire of the Penguin, so I made my way there next. The park boasts that the ride reaches temperatures of 32 degrees. To that I say BS. It’s cool. But nowhere near freezing. As a New Englander, I think I have appropriate authority on that topic.

The trackless ride system was extremely cool. But beyond that, the ride didn’t really have much to offer. I honestly think all of the ride’s budget went towards the trackless ride system (which was admittedly very cool) and the ride’s air conditioning. That left almost nothing for the rest of the ride. There were just some half-baked screens and a lack of practical sets.

My biggest grip with the ride system was how forced it felt. I chose the “wild” side and I felt like the vehicle was shaking and spinning just for the sake of it. The movement didn’t feel coordinated with the film at all. So I’m really torn on the ride. This ride system should create an impressive ride and while it was fun, I think it was a squandered opportunity. 6 out of 10

I honestly think the penguin exhibit after the ride was superior. I’ve never seen that many penguins in one room before. I spent a few minutes watching them awkwardly waddle and swim about.

Antarctica Entrance.jpg
"That trackless ride system looks amazing. Hopefully it will distract guests from the rest of the ride."

Antarctica Penguins.jpg
The penguin exhibit at the end was amazing though.

I made my way over to Journey to Atlantis next. Recent reports of the ride said the ride was gutted and a shell of its former self.

If there was a story, I couldn’t tell you what was going on. But the outside building and interior scenes looked really nice. It made the bits in-between drops much more enjoyable. Speaking of the drops, the first one was spectacular. It was larger than expected and provided some surprisingly good airtime.

I made sure to avoid riding in the front row. A few reviews noted those in the front got drenched and not in the way you’d expect. After riding, I can see how. There’s a sneaky drop outside after the first drop. It can’t be more than 5 feet tall, but the splash ricochets off the rockwork and floods the front of the boat. I’m sure glad I wasn’t sitting up there!

As someone who never previously rode it, I was thoroughly impressed. It was eons better than the theming on the San Diego or San Antonio versions. Honestly, I thought it was better themed than Ripsaw Falls while I’m at it. I know it’s technically a coaster, but it feels more like a flume. As far as flumes go, this one is just behind Splash Mountain and Chiapas. 9 out of 10

JtA Drop.jpg
I found the lost city.

I backtracked towards the front of the park to hit Manta next. I was hopeful crowds hadn’t flooded the flying coaster since it was right by the entrance. I was greeted with by far my longest wait of the day. It was a whopping 15 minutes. I think that’s all you need to know about lines at this park.

I absolutely love the ride’s placement and how well it interacts with its surroundings. Soaring over the midway on the first drop is exciting, but it’s particularly awesome soaring past waterfalls, rockwork, trees, and ponds in the second half. I’ll take that over the parking lot and grass you soar by on Superman any day of the week.

I got several rides on Manta, including the very front and very back. My favorite row was by far the back. The inversions, particularly the pretzel loop, were amazing in any seat. But only the back had an extra kick between these inversions. It’s most noticeable on the first drop and MCBR drop when you’re riding in the back. I honestly think the latter gave some air which is an unnatural feeling on a flyer.

I personally prefer Tatsu simply because of how high in the air all of its inversions take place, but Manta isn’t far behind thanks to its wonderful layout and landscaping. 9.5 out of 10

Manta Drop.jpg
Manta's interaction with pathways, trees, rocks, and the water is truly special.

Manta Pretzel Loop.jpg
And it still has all the forces you could dream of in this pretzel loop.

Manta Water Turn.jpg
Obligatory Manta water shot.

Manta.jpg
And there were real mantas too.

I then made my way to Mako. Normally I’d make a beeline for the park’s newest coaster at opening, but for whatever reason Mako had the shortest wait of any coaster in the park. And that includes the kiddie coaster. Every single seat was a walk-on and that included the front row. That is unheard of for a hyper coaster.

After being blown away by Shambhala, one of the newer hypers, I was hopeful Mako would be equally as impressive. Unfortunately it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a very good coaster. It just rode like Apollo’s Chariot, Nitro, or Silver Star. What that means is that every single hill had copious floater air.

The first half was pretty typical of a B&M hyper, but the second half differed. Instead of the returning bunny hills, Mako ditches those in favor of an oddly twisty return. The banked turns weren’t taken overly fast, but they provided some nice laterals.

I got many rides on Mako over the course of the day. While I probably think Manta was a better ride (I’m splitting hairs there), I got more rides on Mako because of the line. 9 out of 10

Mako Entrance.jpg
I probably could have waited a minute to get a train, but I was too eager to ride.

Mako Dive Drop.jpg
The first half had the air. The second half had a series of funky twists.

It was time to refuel so I stopped at Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen. I love soft pretzels and the ones I had at Busch Gardens are the best I’ve ever had. They soundly beat the mighty Wetzel’s Pretzels and Auntie Anne’s (and don’t get me started on Super Pretzel). SeaWorld has the exact same pretzels. I love how doughy and buttery they are (my doctor probably cringes at that statement).

Of course I had to get the twisted bacon pretzel. Bacon makes everything better and soft pretzels are no exception. The pretzel I got was piping hot and fresh. It was greasy. It was unhealthy. But it was oh so good. This is my version of Cinnamon Bread, aka coaster enthusiast crack.

Bacon Pretzel.jpg
I can't decide if this or Manta's pretzel is better.

After trying to give myself a heart attack, I stopped in to see Shamu. No not the show. That’s right, I went into Shamu’s Happy Harbor to ride the daunting Shamu’s Express. I was actually pretty stunned to see a coaster that large.

I was expecting the mini little oval kiddie coaster. This one actually looked respectable! Unfortunately it was more uncomfortable than most kiddie coasters. The seats were hard plastic with absolutely no padding. 2 out of 10

Shamu Express.jpg
I was expecting a coaster far more embarrassing. This one is at least taller than my house.

I decided to try Wild Arctic next. I had heard Wild Arctic was dated. That assessment is correct. The pre-show video is so 1980s. The video isn’t much better. But I did enjoy the ride. It felt significantly wilder and raw than any of the simulators at Disney or Universal. I actually appreciated that aspect of it. I’ll still take many of Universal’s simulators over this, but it’s a solid ride. 7 out of 10

Like Antarctica, the exhibit afterwards may top the ride experience. I was disappointed that I didn’t see any polar bears, but I saw several seals and manatees.

Wild Arctic.jpg
Wild is an understatement. This was a really violent simulator, in a good way.

I had planned to hit the Sky Tower, but unfortunately it was listed as closed for the day by the time I reached it. That was unfortunate since I figured it’d give some amazing views. No bother, I spent the rest of the day checking out a few of the animal shows and exhibits, as well as reriding all the coasters except Kraken (for obvious reasons).

Sky Tower.jpg
It was open early in the day, but unfortunately it went down by the time I reached it.

I really enjoyed the sea lion show. I thought it was about as good as the one at San Diego. But my favorite animal exhibit was probably feeding the sharks. Call me a murder, but there was something ever so enjoyable about dangling shrimp above a pool of carnivores, throwing them in, and watching the sharks rush to gobble them up.

Shark.jpg
Shark (I think).

Shark Feeding.jpg
There was something rewarding about throwing these innocent little shrimps into a big pool of carnivores.

SeaWorld was a really nice park. It’s really unfortunate that Blackfish has impacted the park’s attendance. It was beautifully landscaped, had some excellent coasters, and all the animal exhibits. It’s easily the best of the SeaWorld parks and I’d honestly take it over Animal Kingdom.

Infinity Falls Construction.jpg
Please be like River Quest.


Aquatica

By late afternoon, I had ridden everything a few times. Since I had a platinum pass, I decided to make the jump over to Aquatica. I was most interested in Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, but I also planned to hit a few other slides if the lines weren’t too bad. Since the 80 degree weather was chilly to Floridians, lines were no problem at all.

I didn’t bring my camera into the water park, so I apologize for the lack of photos. Aquatica reminded me of Dolly’s Splash Country in terms of landscaping. As opposed to the concrete jungle that most water parks are, Aquatica has dense landscaping around every corner. The shade combined with water sprayers on the walkways made it feel as such I wasn’t walking on lava for a change.

I began with Dolphin Plunge since it was right by the main entrance. Without my glasses, I bumbled around for a bit trying to find the entrance. To my defense, I honestly don’t even think the slide had a sign by it. There was just an opening along the pathway that led up to a swinging rope bridge and eventually the slide tower.

I always questioned just how well you’d really be able to see the dolphins. The tube is only clear for one second, if it’s even that. And unfortunately my fears were confirmed. Even though I tried slowing down for the big moment, it was over before I could even register what was going on. The rest of the slide was pretty average. While it’s a cool visual off-ride, it’s too fast to be enjoyed during the ride. 5 out of 10

Many parks have racing mat slides. But Aquatica’s is noteworthy because of how large the final plunge is. Usually these slides consist of several smaller “humps” on the way down, Taumata Racer has one surprisingly large drop. It’s probably 50 feet tall. So when you careen out of the tube and blast down the drop with a full head of steam, it’s pretty exhilarating. There was no air, but it was still a rush. 8 out of 10

I saved the best for last, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls. The tower consists of three drop pod slides and one traditional speed slide. I absolutely love these drop pod slides. The initial plunge is really intense and the rest of the slide usually isn’t too far behind.

Ihu’s was no different. After the initial plunge, the slide is a rush. All of the turns are taken unbelievably fast and I had absolutely no idea which direction I was going. And best of all, the slide is immaculately smooth. That’s important because with this slide’s intensity, it’d be a back breaker.

I actually enjoyed the non-drop pod slide best. The initial plunge had some terrifying water slide air. But what really made it stand-out was a surprise little dip about halfway through that provided some air as well. 10 out of 10

My visit was brief (probably no more than 45 minutes), but it was all that I needed. I appreciate a good water slide every once and a while, but I probably couldn’t spend a full day at a water park. But as far as water parks go, Aquatica is among the best. It has a great collection of slides along with the great landscaping you’d expect from a SeaWorld/Busch park.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby coasterbill » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:20 am

Damn, I'm way behind on this so I'll just comment on these individually.

Lake George
Great report! I love Lake George. Visiting Lake George village is a much better use of your time than going to Great Escape. At this point if we're ever in the area we go in, ride Comet, the log flume and the bobsleds and then leave and go to Lake George Village. All three of the golf courses you mentioned are among the best I've ever played, but it's been awhile since I've played them so I'm glad they stand the test of time. I have a hard time picking a favorite. Does the windmill at Goony Golf still spin at about 8,000 mph? :lol:

Canobie Lake Park
I'm nawt fahkin surprised they used three 3 Es in Screeemfest. They fahkin love vowels up theah. Mainly As byt Es are cool too. They hate cawnsinants though. Pronouncin' ah's is wicked fahkin hahd.

In all seriousness it sounds like a nice event. Why is Mine of Lost Souls closed though? That's a bummer.

Foxwoods & Cape Cod Dachshund Day
:lol: :lmao: :lol: :lmao: :lol: :lmao: :lol: what?

Lake Compounce
As everyone knows I'm totally down on this park right now, but Haunted Graveyard is tremendous and at this point probably the only time the park is worth visiting. Obviously I prefer the Florida haunts, but I love the fact that Lake Compounce features a single, super long, insane house. By default, it's the best singular haunt maze I've ever seen at a park.

As for Boulder Dash, we clearly caught the thing on a sh*t day because everyone else loved it this year. The ride has always been aggressive (I'd never consider it smooth) but it's always been part of it's charm. The day we rode it, it was f*cking miserable everywhere and everyone on the train seemed to hate it. I've ridden it a ton though and never had a bad ride before this year so I'm assuming we just caught it on a bad day. Your review reinforces that theory even more.

Phobia is phenomenal. It makes Tempesto look like pure sh*t and I have no idea why.

Sea World Orlando
... now we're talking

Canobie Coaster wrote:It felt criminal going to Orlando and not visiting Disney World, but that’s what I did.

If going to Orlando and not visiting Disney World is a crime, then I'm Paul Manafort. :lol:

Canobie Coaster wrote:I made sure to avoid riding in the front row. A few reviews noted those in the front got drenched and not in the way you’d expect. After riding, I can see how. There’s a sneaky drop outside after the first drop. It can’t be more than 5 feet tall, but the splash ricochets off the rockwork and floods the front of the boat. I’m sure glad I wasn’t sitting up there!

Yup. Every other drop is fine in the front seat, that stupid little thing is such an a**hole though. :lol: Oh, and nobody knew what the storyline was before the makeover either. It was always a clusterf*ck. Personally I love the ride, and don't care at all about the update.

I totally agree about Manta. It's an elite flying coaster (for America), Tatsu is probably a tiny bit better but both coasters are infinitely better than the Superman clones. Personally I think Manta is easily the best coaster in Orlando unless you want to be a douche and count Gringotts (though I guess you could argue Mummy and I couldn't really argue). :lol:

... the report needs more Shamu though. :lol:

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:44 am

coasterbill wrote:Lake George
Great report! I love Lake George. Visiting Lake George village is a much better use of your time than going to Great Escape. At this point if we're ever in the area we go in, ride Comet, the log flume and the bobsleds and then leave and go to Lake George Village. All three of the golf courses you mentioned are among the best I've ever played, but it's been awhile since I've played them so I'm glad they stand the test of time. I have a hard time picking a favorite. Does the windmill at Goony Golf still spin at about 8,000 mph? :lol:


My girlfriend didn't have a Six Flags season pass (she does for 2018 though) so I didn't want to run in just to ride the Comet. I did that once this year already anyway. :lmao: I do like the Alpine Bobsled, but that line is so painstakingly slow that I only will ride it if it's a walk-on. I know you love flumes. I like flumes too, but I think Great Escape's is among the worst out there.

And yes that windmill still spins absurdly fast. Though the stupid thing about the windmill is that it's so high above the green that it can't even hit your ball.

coasterbill wrote:Canobie Lake Park
I'm nawt fahkin surprised they used three 3 Es in Screeemfest. They fahkin love vowels up theah. Mainly As byt Es are cool too. They hate cawnsinants though. Pronouncin' ah's is wicked fahkin hahd.

In all seriousness it sounds like a nice event. Why is Mine of Lost Souls closed though? That's a bummer.


The Old Canobie area is turned into a haunt known as the Village. Because of that, Mine of Lost Souls is inaccessible. It's a shame since I'd take the dark ride over that haunt.

coasterbill wrote:Foxwoods & Cape Cod Dachshund Day
:lol: :lmao: :lol: :lmao: :lol: :lmao: :lol: what?


I like weenie dogs like you like flumes and sky rides. It's an unhealthy obsession.

coasterbill wrote:Lake Compounce
As everyone knows I'm totally down on this park right now, but Haunted Graveyard is tremendous and at this point probably the only time the park is worth visiting. Obviously I prefer the Florida haunts, but I love the fact that Lake Compounce features a single, super long, insane house. By default, it's the best singular haunt maze I've ever seen at a park.

As for Boulder Dash, we clearly caught the thing on a sh*t day because everyone else loved it this year. The ride has always been aggressive (I'd never consider it smooth) but it's always been part of it's charm. The day we rode it, it was f*cking miserable everywhere and everyone on the train seemed to hate it. I've ridden it a ton though and never had a bad ride before this year so I'm assuming we just caught it on a bad day. Your review reinforces that theory even more.

Phobia is phenomenal. It makes Tempesto look like pure sh*t and I have no idea why.


How bad are the lines at the Florida haunts? Usually that's my reservation with haunts. I would rather wait an hour for a coaster than a 5 minute haunt walkthrough.

Yeah 2017 was far from Lake Compounce's best year, but as long as Boulder Dash is running (though even they butchered that this year at one point), I'll keep coming back.

coasterbill wrote:Sea World Orlando
... now we're talking

Canobie Coaster wrote:I made sure to avoid riding in the front row. A few reviews noted those in the front got drenched and not in the way you’d expect. After riding, I can see how. There’s a sneaky drop outside after the first drop. It can’t be more than 5 feet tall, but the splash ricochets off the rockwork and floods the front of the boat. I’m sure glad I wasn’t sitting up there!

Yup. Every other drop is fine in the front seat, that stupid little thing is such an a**hole though. :lol: Oh, and nobody knew what the storyline was before the makeover either. It was always a clusterf*ck. Personally I love the ride, and don't care at all about the update.

I totally agree about Manta. It's an elite flying coaster (for America), Tatsu is probably a tiny bit better but both coasters are infinitely better than the Superman clones. Personally I think Manta is easily the best coaster in Orlando unless you want to be a douche and count Gringotts (though I guess you could argue Mummy and I couldn't really argue). :lol:

... the report needs more Shamu though. :lol:


I personally think Hulk is the best coaster in Orlando. But Manta and Mako are both really close. Gringotts is fun, but it's not close to those coasters in my opinion.

That's a shame they never were able to get a coherent story in Journey to Atlantis. It has everything else going for it.

I saw the One Ocean show at SeaWorld San Diego and was very underwhelmed by it. Of the shows there, that was easily my least favorite. Sure it had the killer whales, but they never really did much other than drench the victims in the front row. I much preferred the dolphin and sea lions shows. But to each their own.
Top 5 Wood- Lightning Rod, Phoenix, Boulder Dash, Wildfire, Outlaw Run
Top 5 Steel- Steel Vengeance, Expedition GeForce, Iron Rattler, Twisted Colossus, Fury 325
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 US Adventures

Postby boldikus » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:45 am

Thanks for the SWO update! Can't wait to visit so soon!

Liked the Compounce update as well, those swings are nuts!

edit: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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