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Everything posted by wildcatroc

  1. I really feel that a large number of amusement parks miss the boat completely when it comes to food. I always think back to when I was a teenager and my grandparents would regularly take me and my sisters to Riverside and The Great Escape each year. Riverside had terrible food that was grossly overpriced; we seldom ate anything at the park. When we visited Great Escape, however, we always ate both lunch and dinner there--all 6 of us. There was a good balance of quality and price and we'd also end up eating ice cream or some other treats along the way. We very rarely ate at Riverside, although there is no doubt that they sold a fair amount of food. These days I seldom eat at parks unless I know better and it is largely due to an imbalance of quality and price. Another consideration is the amount of faith that I have in the food preparation areas being at least remotely sanitary. As I walked around Magic Mountain a couple of weeks ago and saw the disgusting trash cans, the filthy midways and the dirty rides I found myself thinking "if you can't keep your park even remotely close to clean why should I think that the food preparation areas would be any different?" They could have the cleanest food service facilities in the world but the general cleanliness of the park just left me with no confidence whatsoever. With all that said, if the food is decent I can accept paying a higher (but not outrageous) price for a lunch and some snacks for the sake of convenience... but it just doesn't seem to be the way that a large number of amusement parks work.
  2. Wild River Falls consisted of Riptide (the slide you speak of), Blue Lightning, and Pipeline.
  3. I was at Darien Lake a couple of weeks ago. Single train operation on all coasters with no second train to be found anywhere. I don't know where they are putting them, but it's not on the storage track. I kept track of loading time for the 52 minutes that I was in line and dispatches on Ride of Steel ranged from 1:30 to 3:30 with most of them in the 2-3 minute interval. For what it's worth, Darien Lake did (reluctantly) keep their promise of exit passes if you wait in like for longer than 45 minutes.
  4. Seabreeze has confirmed on their Facebook page that the wave swinger and balloon ride from Hard Rocck Park will be moved to Rochester and installed in their park for the 2014 season.
  5. It sounds like a neat concept! My chief concern would be capacity. Not only is 7500 a ridiculously low number for a park of this size, the reality is that the park seems to struggle with throughput in general. I wonder how close to that number they would actually come.
  6. Banshee looks like it will be a fun ride. I also love the logo.
  7. What are the qualities or parts of the ride that you most enjoy? I may not be a huge fan of the ride, but the one thing that I do love about Predator is its beauty. It's an incredibly beautiful ride to look at.
  8. I visited Great Escape at the end of June and the park was great as always. I've never stepped off of a Condor feeling sick before but this one did it! I never knew that they could be run with such intensity. I also really loved Blizzard... they ran that scrambler with a lot of intensity as well. The only thing that was disappointing was the Musik Express... without any music.
  9. I agree with your comment on the one train operations completely. I don't visit Darien Lake often -- perhaps once per year, maybe twice -- but I haven't seen a second train on Mind Eraser or Motocoaster for at least a couple of seasons. This year I noticed there was no second train for Predator or Ride of Steel, either. Fortunately (for me) the park was not all that busy when I was there but it makes me wonder whether they are spending their time working on infrastructure projects that can be done during the summer or if there is something else to it. Predator and Ride of Steel seemed to have technical issues throughout the day, the Log Flume ran a total of four boats which made for a very slow moving line on a very warm day, and most of the cars on the Antique Car ride sat off the track. The list goes on and on. With that said, I'm very happy that Hershend seems to be investing time and money into some of the neglected aspects of the park and that they are continuing to add attractions. I noticed that there was new wood on the platforms and queues at the Giant Wheel, for instance, and it appears that they have been doing a lot of things here and there. If they are going to make this a major destination and draw huge crowds -- which I would assume is the idea behind Lake Monster -- they will need to majorly overhaul the operations of their rides. A new attraction such as the coaster has the potential to draw back thousands of guests who haven't been to Darien Lake in years. The worst thing that they could do is let these folks walk away with a bad taste in their mouth from standing in lines that simply don't move. I'm very excited about the upcoming coaster... it looks like a fantastic addition to Darien Lake and will give it a huge boost to put it back on the map for the first time in many years. Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal is with one train Operations this year. Really unacceptable IMO. They need to get someone on staff who can handle their social media (I'd take the job), as it really is lackluster.
  10. I rode Hades 360 during the first week of July and it was absolutely spectacular. The ride is relentless... and it was running beautifully,.
  11. Is there any word on why it closed so abruptly? I had thought it would be a much larger scale construction project than a first drop and turn given that one day it was open and then, suddenly, it just closed.
  12. I have no idea what happened to Riverside's... but given that most of the existing attractions were ripped out in the first couple of years that Premier Parks was there I would venture to guess it was scrapped.
  13. My favorite ride was always the Tri-Star. I was sad the day it was removed from Riverside and they seem to have gone into a near extinct state over the years. A real bummer!
  14. Thanks for posting about your adventures! I live in Western NY and it has been fun following your trip around the parks in the area! I especially have enjoyed your comments and ratings (although some would disagree with me). I think they are heartfelt and honest. I like that. We live in a world where everything is sugarcoated and everyone gets a trophy... but sometimes it's the stuff that's right from the heart that is the best. I've never been to the carousel museum and I found that one of the most fascinating parts of your journey. I'm going to have to check that out sometime. I have heard that they are refurbishing the gondolas on the Darien Lake ferris wheel in groups of ten and are swapping them out as they go. I have to admit that it looks a bit funny with the missing cars. Also I'm glad to hear that they got Shipwreck up and running; it had been closed all season as of my last visit in early July! Thanks again for sharing!
  15. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I absolutely adore Seabreeze. In fact, it's by far my favorite of the parks in Western New York. Perhaps it's the charm of the park, or the certain degree of classiness that the park has. It just has a feel to it, a feel that the others around don't have. The Jack Rabbit is a fun old ride, the Flying Scooters-while not the best in the industry-are always fun to me. I love the Musik Express... and the waterpark is a blast. Sure, Seabreeze doesn't have huge rides like Darien Lake... but I can honestly say that I've never had a very spectacular time at Darien. Fantasy Island, while not dreadful, lacks the feeling that you are somewhere really special. Don't get me wrong--I'll never turn down a visit to any of the other parks--but when it comes to special, Seabreeze has it nailed. In fact, it makes me wonder why I haven't made the 20 minute drive up there yet this year. Hmmm...
  16. I'm really surprised about that too, to be honest... in fact, I have been for the past 14 years, ever since the accident that halted two train operation. The manual restraints seem odd to me. Perhaps the plan is to upgrade the restraint release system and brake system at the same time, somewhere in the near future. Yet for some reason, it wouldn't surprise me to see it stay the way it is, either.
  17. Cyclone's entrance ramp was one giant gum wall many years back at Riverside!
  18. A few years back, I passed out just a week before PPP and wound up with a concussion of sorts. I survived PPP with a few head pains, but made the mistake of trying to ride Hercules on the way back home. In pain the whole ride, I had never hoped so hard that brakes would pop up around every corner. I can't begin to tell you how happy I was when the ride finally ended.
  19. My partner Mark and I took a day-trip from Rochester to Erie, PA in order to visit Waldameer Park. Waldameer is really just a hole in the walk kind of amusement park that happened to build a giant new roller coaster this year, and that in itself was the big draw. Sure, I'd seen pictures of the park before, and they have in their possession a classic old wood roller coaster that I had figured I would love as well. Ravine Flyer II was just the item that sealed the deal and gave me reason enough to travel down. Anyway, after driving through a few rain showers, we arrived at Waldameer three hours later, with little idea of what to expect. We parked in a grassy parking lot, overshadowed by a few older water slides, and wandered in through some picnic groves. It was now 1:15 and the park had just opened for the day. Many folks had already been picnicking, with burgers, cakes, brownies, and every other delicious smelling food around us. We continued in and glanced at the old rickety-looking coaster (Comet) that rode along the back border of the picnic area. Certainly not the largest roller coaster in creation, it had a neat look to it which was occasionally enhanced by the rattling and rolling of a train of screaming kids. We continued to walk in and I saw a beautiful old carousel building on the left, which now housed another picnic area. On the right was a new carousel, with band organ music rolling away through a speaker system. Because Waldameer is one of the few parks that allows you to buy either individual tickets, or unlimited wristbands, we had already entered the park and saw ahead of us the ticketing area. We purchased unlimited wristbands, had our hand stamped with the most thick ink that I have ever seen, and wandered over to Comet. My first observation was that the coaster itself was really neat. The station itself is curved, and growing through the inner edge is a giant tree. I'm willing to bet that it was growing back when the coaster was built years and years ago. The spare train was missing a car, but the other train rolled in and out of the station relatively quickly. Being a Junior-sized coaster, the trains are much smaller than you would like them to be. With that, I plunked myself in the front seat, and Mark sat behind me in the second. We were off. As we climbed the hill, I noticed how nicely the coaster was sitting among a mature patch of trees. Drops of red paint on freshly painted hand rails speckled the white lights that must flicker in the dark hours. We reached the top, and then clunked and rattled through the ride. While a classic, I have to admit that Comet is a real clunker. It rattles and shakes around as if it could fall apart any moment, and reminded me a lot of my first rides on the Williams Grove Cyclone and Whalom Park Comet. Both were rides that I had hoped to enjoy, but they just didn't deliver. We later returned to ride further back in the train, and my sentiments didn't change a whole lot. We decided to take a stroll through the park and see what else they had to offer. With the intention of later visiting the Water Park, we moved through the ride area first. Waldameer is a relatively crowded park; not in terms of guests, but in terms of attractions being cramped in. It's definitely an old park! We made our journey back to Ravine Flyer II -- the main reason for our visit. The line itself was relatively short, although I was surprised at how high the station was from the ground. After walking through a few switchbacks, we climbed the ramp up to the station. The coaster looked to have impressive speed. It's hard to see much of the ride from the park itself, as it crosses the road during it's journey, but it certainly did fly the couple of times it came near the queue, and it hit the brakes with a lot of force. Thanks to a two-train operation, the line moved quickly, but not as quickly as it could have. Call me demanding, but my idea of a great operation is along the lines of how the Riverside Park Thunderbolt operated with two trains, at least until the crash of 1995, or The Knoebel's Phoenix. Still, they did a pretty decent job with it, and I'd give them 4.5 flags out of 6. The wait itself was never really bad, with the longest perhaps at 20-25 minutes or so. The ride itself is simply amazing. The climb to the top is deceiving. You reach the top, with the most amazing view of Lake Erie... and then you look down and have a drop much larger than you thought you wood staring you in the face. From there, the ride is a blur. You fly--through tunnels and over hills. The thing never lets up. It twists and turns a few times, and rampages through a few more tunnels. Then, before you know it, you're slamming into the brakes. It takes a moment to catch your breath, to even realize what you just experienced. It's simply an amazing ride. From the ride itself, you can see a neighboring campground right along one side of the coaster. I know that the owner of the campground fought the construction of the coaster with vigor--and I can't say that I blame him. I also would be the first to admit that I'd love to have a campsite right along the coaster. How cool would that be? After a trip on Ravine Flyer, we opted to take a whirl on the Wipeout. Big mistake. Sure, Mark who isn't a big amusement park fan did fine. Me, on the other hand, I thought I was going to die. I felt sicker and sicker with each spin, and the icing on the cake was when it came down at the end and started to spin faster and faster! Finally we managed to escape, and I spent about 5 minutes on a bunch getting my guts together. It's a sad day, but I think I'm finally getting old. A few minutes later, after watching the Spider and other surrounding rides twirl for a little bit, we headed over to the Wacky Shack. From the outside, the ride looked corny, perhaps even a little bit ghetto. In essence, it was a ride-through fun house style ride, but the effects were simply great! I dare to say that this is my favorite dark ride, yes, even over Knoebel's famed Haunted Mansion. Were the line shorter, we would have ridden again--but we instead opted to have a bite to eat. Waldameer has no shortage of foods to choose from. Smack dab in the center of the park is a building with your typical array of fair and carnival foods. Pizza, Burgers, Hot Dogs, and the such. I had a Cheeseburger, and Mark had the Chicken Rocks. Now, the first surprise is that while the Gift Shops and Ticketing areas accept credit cards, the food areas do not. This seems silly to me, frankly, but that's another rant for another time. Let's talk about the food. For $14, we had what looked like a decent amount of food for an amusement park... sadly, it was probably the worst food I've had in a long time. The cheeseburger tasted exactly like one from McDonalds, and chicken nuggets were hard as rocks. The fries were okay; they too tasted like McDonalds, and I tend to enjoy theirs on the rare occasion that I go there. So, in the end, the food was probably one of the most disappointing parts of the park. We moved on to the Pirate's Cover, which is a walk-through fun-house style ride. A few really cool effects, the thing goes on forever, and half-way through you just want to get the heck out. We did eventually, but what I noticed most was that the exit doors within the attraction had locks on them. It made me hope to heck that the thing wouldn't catch fire while we were in there! How dangerous! Next up was the Steel Dragon, a spinning coaster that wasn't anything really exceptional as I have ridden the identical ride at Seabreeze a million times. I like how Waldameer hides that their rides have any lines by hiding them down along the side behind a few bushes. The ride was running 3 or 4 cars (out of 8) and the line moved relatively slowly, but at a consistent pace. Still, while the ride was nothing new, I really loved the paint job that the cars had! Really, really cool! Being big fans of log rides, Mark and I headed over to the log-flume. The best part of the ride was probably waiting in line. Waldameer has it set up so that the queue goes right through the middle of the ride. All around you are boats splashing, fountains, tunnels, and the whole effect is very well done. I thoroughly enjoyed waiting to ride this flume, and the ride itself was also very well done. Probably one of the best rides of the day, honestly! We took a couple more spins on Ravine Flyer II, managed to sneak a ride on Ravine Flyer III (the kiddie coaster), and then took a spin on the carousel before heading to the water park. Sadly, it's on the Carousel that tragedy broke loose and I was brutally attacked by the wing of a dragon. My leg in pain, I hobbled around for the rest of the afternoon. The water park was pretty old-school. There are a lot of water slides of various types (body, tube, big drops, lots of twists), a lazy river, and a heated family "relaxing pool." We began with the slides at the furthest point in the park, and I quickly realized how this thing has been pieced together over the years. To get to these slides, you climb a set of stairs up and down over the track of the train ride, walk a mile to get a tube, and then walk back to the stairs you just climbed down to begin the trek to the top. We took a couple of rides on these, and they were quite fun. We rode most of the tube slides, and the lamest body slide in creation that was mostly straight sections with a couple of turns. We then took a ride on the most insane Lazy River that I've ever ridden--not insane for the ride itself, but insane since the patrons are simply out of control. In the course of one ride, I banged my head, banged my elbow, got about 6 hands in my face, and had 3 tidal waves come splashing over me. I made a few comments to scare little kids along the way, and that seemed to help at least temporarily. I was very glad to get off of this thing! We ended the night with a last ride on Comet and another spin on Ravine Flyer II. Just as it started to storm, we headed out and began the journey back to Rochester. We drove through a pretty nasty storm, stopped for dinner just to have the storm move through again, and then had to drive through it yet again. All in all, it was an enjoyable day at Waldameer. I'd definitely recommend a visit to anyone considering heading out that way. We had spent about 6 hours at the park, with 2.5-3 of them at the water park. This was more than enough time to do all that we had wanted to, but there were certainly other attractions that we could have experienced along the way.
  20. My single ride on a Hurricane was one of the worst rides I've ever taken... except instead of a leg into the side of the lap bar, it involved a camera and cell phones in pockets. Ouch.
  21. I think it'd be really neat if there was added functionality to search for other users in a geographic region (at least the ones who wished to be found). It'd be interesting to see who else is out there who doesn't necessarily post very much, but might like to meet up at your local park somewhere along the way.
  22. I like Seabreeze a lot... but there are definitely a few things that I would do: - Add a Matterhorn style ride (preferably a Mack) in the green space across from the Whirlwind entrance. - Help the train! Every time a new attraction is added, it gets shorter and shorter. Before long, the train itself will fill the entire length of the track! - Add a wood coaster worth riding. Jack Rabbit is fun... but it's nothing special. I know that space is a constraint, but I don't think that it'd be impossible to squeeze in a good out and back of some sort along the perimeter, intertwined with the Jack Rabbit, or over some of the back portion of Log Flume (isn't this where the old Widcat once was?) - Jack Rabbit -- find a train that might give the ride just a little bit of glory. I can't imagine it was always as unexciting as it is now with the Morgan.
  23. I don't know if you're referring to me from the other thread (this one), but from what I understand in all of my research, The Giant Dip was located approximately where Thunderbolt is now and Lake Takeadip was next to it in the general direction of the DC section & Scream. One of these days, I'll try to dig up the article that leads me to believe that. According to a 50th anniversary postcard from Riverside that depicts the Greyhound, it stood in the present day location of Thunderbolt. The lake was located in what used to be the parking lot (near the old dome location of Scrambler/kiddie bumper cars, etc.) and the pump sat paved into the middle of the parking lot for years until Island Kingdom was built and expanded. I'm sure it's long gone at this point in time.
  24. Neat stuff; thanks for sharing! I have a small collection of stuff that I picked up from the park in the early 90's... maps, postcards, and a few pictures. You can find what I have scanned here: http://picasaweb.google.com/wildcatroc/Riverside
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