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printersdevil78

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  1. ^^That's what I take the most pride about in my trip reports--they taste great AND they're less filling!
  2. I thought I noticed a resemblance in the Jeff Johnson portrait! I haven't been able to view the videos yet, but when I have the means, they should be a nice reminder of TPR Trips (Recently) Past.
  3. Day Five (and trip) concluded: Lakemont Park, Altoona, PA, and DelGrosso's Amusement Park, Tipton, PA. Finally, it was back to our hotel in Philadelphia, where our arch rivals, TPP, were waiting to rumble! (Photo stolen from Luko since I forgot to take this one.) After about an hour of lobby time, most of us were ready to crash. A few goodbyes that evening and the next morning over breakfast, and most of us went our separate ways. Thank you, TPR, for an unforgettable experience! That was where we learned a very important lesson: Just as you aren't supposed to feed Gremlins after midnight, you absolutely cannot let Tyler drink Red Bull! Back on the bus, he entertained us for the next hour with X-rated puppet show parodies of Idlewild's Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Confusion Hill attractions featuring this formerly stuffed Winnie the Pooh knock-off. Robb got the second half on camera. Look for it on the upcoming "TPR: Too Hot for Television" DVD! Which was just as well because three hours later, we staged a takeover of Sbarro at a Pennsylvania Turnpike rest area. I did hear good things about the pizza, but between Potato Patch French fries at Idlewild, the buffet lunch at Lakemont, Murf's potato salad and Spaghetti Wednesday eggplant Parmesan, I was more than willing to take their word for it and move on. "Must... have... sauce!" The eggplant was... good. Not "I know you came here to ride rides, but screw that and try the sauce instead" good... but OK. Besides, 20 billion Pennsylvanians (my rough estimate of how many people were packed under this pavilion) can't be wrong! I decided to break down and see what all the fuss was about. After all, it was Spaghetti Wednesday, featuring eggplant Parmesan. And more importantly, I had vouchers. Buddy Bear was sad because none of us had tried the sauce yet. DelGrosso's even had a milk machine. I confess, I had never seen one before... nor have I seen one since. I tried some of Murf's world-renowned potato salad... and I was shocked to find out that it tasted just like mine (only mine also has the extra artery-clogging goodness of cheese and bacon mixed in)! All these years I've been making world-famous potato salad, and I had no clue! The park's main restaurant, named in honor of Mrs. DelGrosso ("Murf" was her nickname), has been featured on countless amusement park-related TV shows. I went there because the Food Network told me to. Though we didn't have much time to spend at DelGrosso's, I took a moment to pay my respects to the park's founders, without whom so many tomatoes would have gone uncrushed. Woo-woo! ...and the train. ...the Flying Bobs... ...the bumper cars... ...the Casino... ...the Super Spiral... ...the carousel... ...the fish... With only a Crazy Mouse and a handful of flats and kiddie rides to choose from, I decided I wanted our special Space Odessey ride to be my last of the trip. I spent the next 15 minutes or so taking pictures of most of the rest of what DelGrosso's had to offer--like the Sea Dragon... Once we were all seated, the best ride op EVER began scrolling through a series of songs, trying to find the one she thought we would like best, I guess. Five minutes later, she finally settled on Soft Cell's "Tainted Love." Everyone started singing and clapping along, when the op started the safety spiel. She actually STOPPED in the middle and yelled, "HEY! I need everyone to be quiet NOW!" Once she was able to give the spiel to her satisfaction, our decent into the most awesomely lame multi-senory light show in the history of amusement parks began! For those who were there, note the infamous "Ninja Kitty" black light poster in the upper right-hand corner. One of only three Caterpillars still operating in the world, Space Odessey doesn't have a canopy like Idlewild's Caterpillar. Instead, it's housed in a dome-shaped building. With disco lights. This is where things really got surreal.... So naturally, we all went to Space Odessey instead. Welcome to Shed 7, where the REAL fun began! Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to get a picture of the DelGrosso family member waiting there to give us his presentation, but for those who missed it, it went something like this: "Welcome to DelGrosso's. We bought this amusement park for one reason--to sell our spaghetti sauce. You'll find our sauce on the park's pizza, on spaghetti--even on the funnel cakes. Coincidentally, tonight is spaghetti night, featuring our sauce. I know you roller coaster people came here to ride the rides, but that can wait. Here, take these vouchers. They're good for eggplant Parmesan, which is covered in our sauce. And don't forget to stop by the gift shop and buy some sauce. Some grocery stores also sell our sauce. In fact, here are some brochures in case you want to buy our sauce online. Has anyone here tried our sauce? Isn't it the best sauce you've ever tasted? I'll tell you what--why don't you go get in the spaghetti line over there, and when you get back here, I'll tell you more about our sauce. I have some fun sauce facts that will blow your mind! Anyway, go have some spaghetti and enjoy our sauce. Be sure to try the sauce! SAUUUUUCE!" "Welcome to DelGrosso's. Now turn that bus around in this three-foot-square patch of parking lot and go park at the water park!" Honestly, our bus driver was amazing. I've never seen anyone more gracefully execute a 25-point turn in such a ridiculously small space--with moronic drivers still pulling their cars in alongside him. Robb over the bus PA: "So do we want to go to the park, or do we want to go to the sauce factory?" Entire Bus in Unison: "Sauce factory!" Robb: "I love you guys." Then there was this antique kiddie Ferris wheel. It probably did more than most of the kiddie rides at the park, and it cost only a quarter! From there, we made the ridiculously short drive to DelGrosso's. They also had this funky bowling machine. Not exactly a pinball machine, per se, the goal was to use the flippers to send steel balls, dropped one at a time, into the "pins" at the other end. The arcade, however, had the best collection of coin-operated oddities of the entire trip, including this rare "Hercules" machine. The largest pinball machine ever manufactured, the "ball" is actually a billiard ball! It's only the second one I've ever played. Oh yeah... hi, Cameron! ...and railroad men. ...kiddie flats... The rest of the park was comprised mainly of carnival rides... The Skydiver didn't send anyone hurtling to the ground... but it did send them running for the bus! This was the last credit a number of people got--with seconds to spare! The other Lakemont credit of note was the Toboggan, seen here at the far right. Because I have one in my home park, it wasn't a big deal to me. Rode it once. Moved on with my life. "Hey ladies, I know Matt Damon!" Now those crazy Hollywood people are filming a movie on the Skyliner! For those who were wondering, this is what the turnaround looked like. Yep. Go Curve! From this portion of the ride, you could look down and watch the local minor league baseball team, the Altoona Curve, take practice. Speaking of the Skyliner... there it is! In preparation for my second ride I found myself standing in line behind a woman with a "Go f--- yourself" tattoo on her arm, carrying a 2-year-old. And suddenly I had a craving for chewing tobacco. From this innocuous little sign large rumors grew. It started when I heard the Lakemont security guard telling people that they couldn't ride because "They're filming for a TV show." It reached full tilt when I overheard one guest say to another in line for the Skyliner, "Did you hear there are some people from Hollywood filming a movie on Leap the Dips today?" Had they been cute, I would have offered to introduce them to Matt Damon. This is the burial you get when you spend all your money on TPR trips instead of investing in quality term life insurance. "Please don't make us ride again!" "What just happened?" "Oh, s---!" The ascent into spine-mangling, a$$-busting terror begins! They have no clue what they're in for. It looks so innocent from this angle.... Oddly enough, there was also a plaque like this commemorating the buffet line.... I waited with anticipation for the entirety of this trip to ride this--the oldest still-operating roller coaster in the world! But screw that! This is what we really came here for! This is what the food looked like, more or less. The three exclamation points made me want to enjoy my meal even more!!! Hey! Someone apparently told them we were coming.... From Idlewild, it was on to Lakemont Park. Sadly, we missed the wing-off.
  4. Day Five: Idlewild Park, Ligonier, PA The eggs at the free hotel breakfast the next morning were so fake, their yolks were actually painted on! And the Idlewild piece de resistance: Potato Patch French fries! These things are like little bites of Heaven. From there, we loaded up the bus for Lakemont. Hey, I think we finally figured out where that shoe from the Martin's Fantasy Island Star Flyer landed! Patchwork hill of blankets. Just because. Why? Because it's the only Caterpillar left in the United States with a working canopy (POV shot)! Seriously, these things used to freak people out in the '30s! And then there was the Caterpillar, quite possibly the most historic flat ride still operating in the United States. Some parks had museums dedicated to their old rides. This one had a plaque commemorating all the significant American events that have taken place during the lifetime of its oldest oak tree. Boy, this park spoils all the fun! See? It's an historic landmark. Idlewild had an amazing antique carousel, built in 1931 and operated at Idlewild continuously following a one-year stint in Atlantic City. Word must have spread quickly to the Flyers about these maniacs in the park because they were quick to yell at us about filming. They probably would have yelled at us about snapping, too. If it had been possible in any way, shape or form to snap these things. I wasn't around for the "time trials" later in the day, but I understand there was something about a TPR member-induced collision.... Adult handcar takeover! These things really worked your biceps! ...and experience the sensation of biting into a York Peppermint Pattie. ...sit in a slanty chair nailed to the wall... ...roll marbles, a skeeball and a "returnable" glass Pepsi bottle up a table... ...then we got to see Bett-E-Jo pour water uphill (through a "winder," no less)... We started with some rope tricks... Our tour guides, Willie and Bett-E-Jo, were definitely confused as to why so many people were suddenly in line for their attraction! OK, so maybe "Castle Hug 'n' Song" was a misnomer. It kind of seemed more like a "Picnic Pavilion Hug 'n' Song" to me. So if Prince Tuesday and Anna Platypus were to ever, you know, get together, would that be considered bestiality? "The hands fell off my clock--meow meow meow." Dr. and Mrs. Platypus, on the other hand, were delighted to be invited. And then he charged our HMO $1,200 for a referral. First she's all, "Well, aren't you going to invite me to the Hug 'n' Song?" Then she says she has more important things to do, so she might not make it. Then, when we finally get there, she decides to show up fashionably late and make a scene. So yeah, Lady Elaine is basically the Paris Hilton of the Land of Makebelieve. We invited Cousin Steve Owl and his friend (can't remember what her name is) to "Come along, come along to the castle "Hug 'n' Song!" Cornflake S. Pecially rocks! OK, so the Mr. Rogers ride (Fred Rogers was actually from this part of Pennsylvania, hence the significance) actually had a storyline... kind of. King Friday XIII (get it?) asked the trolly full of TPR members to pass along to everyone in the Land of Makebelieve that he was throwing a "Hug 'n' Song" party at the castle. Apparently he thought we worked for him or something. Thankfully, this was NOT a TPR Trivia question! Next: ERT on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. We Americans were shocked, simply shocked, to learn that "Mr. Rogers" doesn't air in Australia or the U.K., so Robb had to give a quick synopsis of the show for our TPRers from abroad: "It's like Sesame Street for kids on acid." But not as confusing as this one! I rode Ravine Flyer II with lightning bolts flashing all around me, and I didn't fear for my life nearly as much as I did on the Vekoma Mouse! This apparently was a very confusing coaster.... But really, the danishes were just there to distract us from noticing that our ERT on Rollo Coaster was about to begin! Little did we know the REAL breakfast was waiting for us at Idlewild! This park treated us like royalty, handing out freebies like it was their job (which, I guess for at least a couple of them, it was). We each scored a light-up lei, paperweight and drink cozy, along with all the danishes we could carry out of the carousel pavilion.
  5. ^Would you perhaps say that someone in that picture is "batting a thousand"?
  6. Day Four continued: Waldameer Park, Erie, PA. Following a fairly painless border crossing back into the United States, Robb livened up the trip from Marineland to Waldameer by announcing the winners of Elissa Photo Bingo. Matt won a pair of track screws from the Silver Comet (I think it was Silver Comet--we were all running on about four hours' sleep at that point, so I could have been dreaming that part). This lone shot I got during nighttime ERT on Ravine Flyer II doesn't even BEGIN to tell the whole story! Even during the first ride up the lift hill, we could all see lightning in the distance. The thunder grew louder and louder as the storm approached. After eight rides in a row, I headed back over to the picnic pavilion (the original Ravine Flyer I station, you know) to recuperate. That's where the real fun began. A few moments later, Hanno ran in, just barely missing the first drops of rain. It was a downpour! About that same time, we heard the lift chain cranking up. Elissa yelled out, "Dear God, please let Dan be on that train!" And he was! The fiercer the storm got, the more adamant TPR members were about riding this amazing woodie (my current all-time favorite). They stood in the cue and braved the lift hill singing Garbage's "I'm Only Happy When it Rains." Elissa, under the picnic pavilion, was more concerned with getting to the bus--on the other side of the park--dry and safe. As soon as the storm let up slightly, she rallied us to make a run for it. We weren't 10 feet away from the pavilion when it POURED! Niagara Falls didn't have anything on this. We arrived at the bus soaking wet in anticipation of the two-hour ride to our next hotel. Robb got on the PA system and officially thanked us for being part of one of the most insane ERTs in the history of TPR! And then most of us fell asleep. Idlewild Park and our final *sniff* day is next! See? I'll bet you didn't believe me! For those who want to know (you know you do!). Fun fact: We had dinner in the original station of Ravine Flyer I! Much better! ...Rainbow Gardens! Actually, no. But while we're here, did anyone else happen to see the inside of this building? It reminded me of my high school cafeteria. Exactly where do the terms "rainbow" and "gardens" fit into that? Guilty pleasure time. One of my all-time favorite movies is "That Thing You Do!" For those who haven't seen it (or don't want to admit to it), it's about a 1960s garage band from Erie, PA, that hits the semi-big time with a one-hit wonder, appropriately titled "That Thing You Do." The entire time I was in Erie, I was humming that song to myself. And lo and behold, as I was taking this picture, it came blaring out of the speakers on The Spider! God, I loved this trip. And now, the reason we spent half a day at Waldameer Park: ERT on... Isn't it pretty? TPR bench takeover! What goes up.... Robb and Jahan led a mini-takeover of the drop tower. Unlike the Crazy Mouse at Martin's Fantasy Island, the "everyone to the left" methodology didn't work that well on the Frog Hopper.... This photo should go over like a lead balloon.... This park had lots of great statues, including these random bronze children. "I wasn't sure if Terrance would be on this trip, so I brought my emergency safety whistle... just in case." This clown didn't know that in .0000002 seconds, a whole gang of TPR members would come out of nowhere to attack! While some of us spent time enjoying the attractions, others just hung around.... I love that they turned their old carousel building into a picnic pavilion. This miniature boat ride is exactly like the ones at Trimpers Rides--one of my favorites a about a quarter century ago. Mini-me! These Pachinko-like games were awesome! The object was to catch at least two of the steel balls in the little cup at the bottom. I won a six-inch neon green bear! ...and Oasis. We had some fun on the flats like Wipeout... It's never been to a World's Fair, but hey, it's still a Ferris wheel. This coaster was there, too. But I'd had enough of spinning coasters by this point. No love for Steel Dragon. TPR: Behind the scenes. Woooooo! Raise your hand if you're a credit whore! Next up: a whole different Ravine Flyer. And back in the station. Between the trees! Through the trees! Going up! They're kind enough to stage a train from this classic ride in the station for photos. We took over a lot of rides at this little park, starting with the Comet! This was the only clean picture I was able to get inside the ride. To be honest, after the hype I've heard over this particular attraction throughout the years, I was a little disappointed. I still consider Ocean City's Haunted House to be the penultimate Tracy attraction still standing (granted, it IS comprised of two Tracy attractions, including props from a former Ghost Ship, so maybe that's what gives it its edge). A close-up of the outside scenery for my fellow dark ride enthusiasts. Waldameer is home to not one but TWO classic Bill Tracy attractions, the second being the Whacky Shack. I confess that as a huge Tracy fan, I was looking forward to this more than almost anything else on the trip. Nothing says "classic dark ride ending" like a head in a toilet! Quicksand or Astroturf... you decide! Come on in! I was really looking forward to comparing this Bill Tracy classic walk-through dark attraction (one of only three of his left in the United States) with the one in my home park of Trimpers Rides in Ocean City, Maryland. Besides the facade, nearly everything was different, right down to these jaw-motion skulls (the ones in Ocean City are stationary). But we had a LOT more ground to cover before we got to ERT. First up: Pirate's Cove! But once again, Trevor stole the show. We caught his final Retro Active set of the evening, as well. So much better than Ravine Flyer II (OK, maybe not... but it was much closer than it should have been considering how awesome Ravine Flyer II was). These performers were multi-talented, changing up the music to country for their next show about 90 minutes later. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Trevor. Remember his face, for among us, he is a GOD! Especially when certain members of our group got their own personal serenade.... Robb had suggested we all take it easy in preparation for ERT on Ravine Flyer II, so most of us immediately went over to check out this show. It. Was. Awesome! Of all the marquees we received on this trip, this one was by far the most ghetto... yet it had sort of a ghetto charm, so that was OK. Most parks stamped our hands with ink. Waldameer used house paint! Finally, we reached Waldameer! My prize was a three-pack of "Star Wars" flying discs and this painstakingly hand-crafted CD from Dave... which ultimately found its way to a place of honor right next to my Baltimore Orioles hat... which happened to be hung right next to the bus' garbage bag! And this was my Elissa Eats McDonald's Food square. Now, you may notice that it's not exactly a photo. According to Robb's official rules, sketch drawings count. This is what I saw as I was walking into McDonald's in the "barely missed bingo square" I alluded to in the very first part of this marathon TR. More or less. I mean, all the elements are there. It's not to scale. So sue me! This was my Dark Ride square, Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion from Canada's Wonderland. I got the diagonal with two free spaces ("Cora Draws Something" was "free" for the mini-trippers because Cora wasn't signing on until the East Coast Trip). This was my Statue Credit, an emergency workers' memorial outside Seabreeze on the first night. I'm proud to say that I, too, was an Elissa Photo Bingo winner! Check out my card.... He shared the rusty one with James in a difficult tie-breaking decision.
  7. ^^^That's kind of like when the Brits on the trip started extolling the virtues of beetroot, and we Americans were all "Wha.. um.. what?" I wonder if beetroot and chesesteaks would go well together. Allegedly it tastes wonderful on hamburgers. ^Yeah, those fries were pretty awesome, weren't they? Especially dipped in the plum sauce! Thanks to all for the compliments. I hope to have the TR completed by the end of the weekend, so stay tuned!
  8. Next up: Marineland, Ontario, Canada! With the two-hour bus ride to Erie, PA, ahead of us, perhaps the sauce aux prunes wasn't the best lunch decision.... Waldameer is next! With just 10 minutes left before departure time, I checked out the arcade. It seemed like every arcade we went to had at least one quirky game. This coin-operated Coke bottle ring toss didn't disappoint (plus I won 40 tickets from it). It's all about presentation! (That's $8.16 American, by the way--plus tax.) Marineland's PR person told us that this bin is sold out and completely refilled every single day. At $8 a pop, I would expect they're the park's largest profit center! A flat ride! Now how did that get there...? Though to be honest, some of that vast empty space IS quite beautiful. So THIS is what Marineland is planning to do with all that vast empty space! "Beluga, Jamaica, oooh I wanna take ya...." It's Shamu's Canadian cousin... Shampu! "Blood on the saddle...." "Aw geez, it's my day off...." "Perhaps you know my cousin, Teddy Ruxpin?" A lot of us stopped to take photos of the bears in the distance on our way to Dragon Mountain ERT. However, Elissa told us to wait until later in the day because the bears would be so close, it would be almost frightening. She was correct! Yeah, so since I included three shots of the entrance to the deer park, I suppose I should also throw in some actual deer.... Yeah, this is just the BACK of the entryway for the deer park. I'll say this for Marineland: There aren't as many attractions as one might expect, but what's there is extraordinarily well themed. That's good water! In the U.S., both Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella have their own castles. In Canada, they build them exclusively for deer. By the time I got back to Marineland, the rest of the crew was up on this thing for ERT. I found out later that they put it in "elevator mode" for awhile so people could get good aerial shots of the falls. If only I had known, I would have tried to make it back sooner instead of wasting time taking pictures of the Tim Horton's sign! You know, I'm no expert, but looking at Marineland's re-entry hand stamp, I can't help but wonder if Diablo might have the makings of a copyright infringement suit.... Eh? Yep, we're definitely in Canada! Incline railway for all our resident rail fans. ...and Skylon Tower. Of course, I also took the opportunity to photograph a few other landmarks in the area, like Konica Minolta Tower Centre... From this angle, as well. Very pretty. Apparently even Canada has idiots (or maybe this sign was just for the U.S. tourists).... Others of us, however, chose to eschew ERT in exchange for realizing our life-long dream of seeing Niagara Falls (and no, I wasn't the one who asked if we could take the bus there). Is it a house... or a dragon? We had all of ERT to decide. At least, most of us did... We had EWT (Extra Walking Time) to get to Dragon Mountain. Seriously, it would take less time to walk from park to park at Walt Disney World than it does from attraction to attraction at Marineland. I'm not even sure what this building was... but it was cool looking and by the Marineland entrance gates, so here you go. This is how our bus driver knew where to stop. Hi Jahan! One more look at the European statuary at the hotel before we depart for the border. You know, if American hotels had more naked statues, maybe the economy would be a little better. Just saying.
  9. ^Yeah, I figured that out after I got back to work. I have them all numbered at home; I must have skipped one. Consider it fixed as soon as I get back there in a few hours....
  10. Yep, all it needed was a paddlewheeler at the bottom.
  11. Day 3: Canada's Wonderland, Toronto, Canada. Behemoth Bash, baby! This day was great! I got to meet 50 or so TPR members who WEREN'T on the bus and spend Canadian money instead of those boring old U.S. dollars! (Seriously, a two-dollar coin? What will they think of next?) If there was any downside at all, it was that the day wore on a little long. Robbie at the end of the trip: "We spent half a day at Seabreeze, half a day at Darien Lake and Martin's, seven years at Canada's Wonderland...." Anyway, on to the photos! As we rode next door, a maintenance worker on the Mighty Canadian Minebuster diligently walked the track to make sure it was in just the right state of "OMFG" roughness for that evening's ERT. Does anyone else see what I think I see, Rorschach-style, in that peeling paint? The graffiti next to it made it even better! (I blotted out the phone number with my mad Photoshop skills.) This is where I spent the majority of my ERT. The effects weren't turned on until the last 15 minutes or so before the park opened, so when the cars stopped at the "stunt" portion of the ride, they just sat there. Nothing happened for about 10 seconds (Neil called this the "moment of silence"). Then the car rapidly accelerated. Neat! Yay, Psyclone! Due to the Time Warp delay, they also gave us ERT on Psyclone. We were supposed to have ERT on Time Warp, too... and we did for about 10 minutes once they got the mechanical bugs worked out. I rode it. Once. Moving on.... Happy, smiling faces. And a big "MOTH." MUCH better! Um, Robb, when you said we had an ERT coaster, this wasn't exactly what we had in mind.... Elissa: "Canada's Wonderland is different than any other Paramount park you've been to. Instead of the Eiffel Tower, they have the best fake-looking mountain ever." Um, excuse me... you've got a little TPR on your shoe.... The weird thing is, we didn't even coordinate the shirts in advance.... But who cares about that? It's time for Behemoth Bash at Canada's Wonderland! For a Canadian hotel, the decorations in the breakfast room were very European! ...and Spinovator. ...and The Bat. I, on the other hand, spent some time on the flat rides, like Klockwerks (seen in the foreground)... ...Dragon Fire... ...SkyRider and Vortex... Others spent their mornings on Flight Deck... Next up: Thunder Run. Which is a powered coaster. Which Robb says isn't a coaster. Except it is. Credit, please! A sprinkling of cinnamon, powdered sugar, cocoa powder or cinnamon-apple sugar (I chose cinnamon) and voila! Tiny Tom doughnuts. The doughnut artist scoops the doughnuts from the conveyor belt into a little paper bag. Then each fully fried doughnut drops out of this chute onto a conveyor belt. First the doughnuts drop out of the hopper and spiral around in oil for about a minute. This was our doughnut artist. Well, if you insist.... After standing around to see the crappy diving show, I decided it was time for some Tiny Tom doughnuts, a Canadian tradition since 1960. "Since the dawn of civilization, there HAVE. BEEN. DIVERS!" That's how the show started, and it just built up from there, complete with inspirational symphony music and a self-serious spiel that put Spaceship Earth to shame. Then three people jumped off the waterfall. And the show was over. Fifteen minutes of fanfare. Thirty seconds of diving. Another World's Fair remnant, though I don't remember which year this was from. Fish burger! "World Dryer Canada--Made in USA" Much to our chagrin, they don't have bathrooms in Canada! But we found the washroom, which was very similar. Theming! And it was awesome! Through these gates awaited our second breakfast of the day. Is that Shaggy I see in the foreground? So while everyone else was getting in their last rides on Behemoth, I chatted briefly with some of the CW PR staff. My theory is, if I can prove I did enough professional networking, I can write the whole trip off as a business expense! Marineland is next! I spent most of the ERT on Minebuster. We allegedly had ERT on that, Vortex and Behemoth until 10:15. However, at 10 p.m., I was informed Minebuster would be shutting down early. Oh well. This ride was awesome! Even Jahan said so.... Er... THIS Vortex! Finally it was time for ERT on Vortex! I had been waiting the whole trip for this! This is a Canadian delicacy called poutine. Natalie told me about it months before the trip, and I'm not sure I entirely believed her until I saw it for myself: French fries, cheese curds and gravy, together at last! It's the "Three's Company" of heart-attack-inducing junk food! Does anyone really buy the on-ride photos anymore? From the arcade, I ran into Adam, Matt and Matt, and we made our way over to The Fly. I found this great shooting gallery game in the arcade. After firing a light-beam gun at several moving and non-moving targets, you get to shoot the coffee mug in the middle... and it actually blows up! Trampolines are always entertaining! And then there was this. I apologize for the slight blurriness, but it has to be seen to be believed. That would be Yogi Bear. And those would be ice skating s'mores. Yeah. By that time of the day, it started to get a little hot, and I had been walking for awhile, so I decided to cool down at the "Endless Summer" ice skating show. It seemed like a normal community college-level production-- until Scooby Doo came on stage doing the Arsenio Hall fist pump.... Nerds! The CW PR folks took us back in small groups. At one point, a park employee called out to us and asked what we were doing in a restricted area (I guess he thought dozens of us decided to dress alike and go look for a missing hat or something). I told him the PR office was giving us a photo tour, and he apologized for the misunderstanding. The power of TPR! And then came the photo walk-back of Behemoth. This was just... awesome. There's really no other word to describe it. Next up: TPR trivia! That's where we learned that if Behemoth was a teenage subculture, it would be emo. Remember that lunchtime Q&A I mentioned a few photos ago? This would be it! They totally dodged the question, "How do you come up with the names for your rides" (which was the polite way of saying, "Flight Deck? Really? Come on, what were you smoking?"). Their answer: "Market research. And then we called the roller coaster 'Behemoth' because it's big. And 'behemoth' means 'big.'" Did I mention we all got these really cool T-shirts? And those of us on the bus trip got TWO! Moose burger! Another TPR pavilion sign credit! But enough jocularity. Lunch awaited! However, Riptide did have its share of insane TPR riders. And as soon as they got off the Riptide, soaking wet... they ran over and gave Dan a great big hug! Thanks to the black shirt, you can't really see the unacceptable amount of wetness... but trust me, it's there! Elissa warned us early that Riptide was the most insane topspin ever. She was right! People got wetter on this thing than they did at the water park! I'm glad I abstained. I tried to ride this thing three times throughout the day, and the line NEVER MOVED! I stood there for about 20 minutes in the morning when I had to leave to make the TPR lunch on time. Then I tried again in the afternoon and it broke down. Then I tried again in the early evening and the line was up to 90 minutes. I finally got on just before the park closed... and ALMOST set the high score for the day! Yeah, yeah, we know. Scooby Everything. Hi, Rich! Because dead birds on the kiddie coaster sign are ALWAYS fun! When I saw them on the map, I was really hoping Jokey's Jalopies were some random flat ride named after Jokey Smurf, what with the H-B theming. Unfortunately, they were just antique-themed cars. According to the CW officials at the lunchtime Q&A (but I'm getting ahead of myself), this is the most difficult attraction in the park to operate because each car runs independently, and kids have a tendency to like bumping. ...and these very, very odd helicopter things. This place had some nice pedal-powered attractions, including the swan boats... Not to be confused with Redd Rocket's Pizza Port. Snagglepuss credit! With Kings Dominion having de-Hanna-Barbara-ized most of its park (with the exception of Scooby Everything and a few flats), it was nice to see all was still right with the world at Canada's Wonderland. Of course, I did take a flat ride break for Scooby's Gasping Ghoster Coaster.
  12. Day Two: Darien Lake Amusement Resort, Darien Center, NY, and Martin's Fantasy Island, Grand Island, NY. Day Two began at Darien Lake, which has a reputation for being photo-unfriendly. Only today it wasn't. Finally, back at the hotel, Neil needed to soak his foot for medical reasons. Which is why he has his foot in the trash can. I think. Stay tuned for images from Behemoth Bash tomorrow! The ride op and PR guy really got into it, high-fiving each trainful of TPRers as they went through. I spoke briefly with the PR guy afterward about his job with the park. I've worked in PR for five years, and I've never gotten to high-five anyone. As you can see, we were all very excited to be there! The one thing I can't figure out is why it's called the "Silver" Comet. The track and supports are brown wood. The cars are purple. Does brown + purple = silver on the Fantasy Island color wheel? Some gratuitous track shots for those who like that sort of thing (which I imagine is most of you). And then there was the one, the only Silver Comet. Which was my favorite coaster of the trip. For two days. Of course, coasters were really the reason we were here. I braved this spinning mouse and liked it a lot better than the spinning coaster the day before. I heard a lot of people say it didn't spin that much for them. We must have worn it out because, using Natalie's patented "three people on the left" technique, we had our little pink mouse whirling like so many dervishes. The park's currency exchange booth doubled as a beer stand! Some of us enjoyed the star flyer more than others.... Eventually I decided to catch a ride on the star flyer. The views were spectacular, and we could just about make out Niagara Falls. The best part, however, was when the kid in the seat in front of me kicked off his shoe at 100 feet. I have no clue where it landed, but I didn't see anyone walking around with a backwards "Nike" logo on their forehead, so maybe like the Viper incident years before, this ended happily. We all had fun with the balloons Fantasy Island's PR guy gave us at dinner... well, at least most of us did. According to Rich the next morning at breakfast, Jahan emotionally killed the PR guy by leaving his free balloons, postcard and purple Silver Comet fact sheet behind in the pavilion like common garbage. For the record, Jahan didn't seem all that concerned... and maybe even a little proud. Carrot sticks and celery on the buffet? This is one park that clearly knows the difference between TPR and ACE! (Full disclosure: I'm not entirely convinced any of the TPR crew actually touched the carrot sticks or celery, either.) TPR wristband + Darien Lake wristband + Martin's Fantasy Island dinner wristband + Martin's Fantasy Island hand stamp + Darien Lake exit stamp on the other hand = my personal one-day record for wrist-and-hand paraphernalia. Did I mention I never got tired of seeing our name on the picnic pavilions? Having already tried fried dough at Darien Lake, I passed this time in favor of a well-rounded Italian sausage dinner. Personally, I would have gone for the cheese grater. ...a cleaning set! You laugh, but this really came in handy as the funk on the bus started to grow. Eventually, we did a TPR takeover and won... You can see for yourself just how high-tech it really is. "I Got It" is 100 percent ghetto Fascination. Instead of rolling big rubber balls down a board into holes, you throw little rubber balls into a grid that looks something like an empty Christmas ornament box. The first one with five balls in a row yells, "I Got It!" Because "Bingo" apparently is too difficult to remember. Right after the petting zoo, I stumbled onto the "I Got It" building. It was pretty empty when I played my first games. This park apparently has a fetish for sleeping giants. Pinocchio lives in here. As much as a puppet can live without becoming a real boy, that is. I mean, really, what would a TPR trip be without a donkey? For a place called "Fantasy Island," there certainly wasn't much fairy tale theming... or many little people in white tuxes making a big deal about airplanes. The closest to both was Humpty Dumpty, who stood guard in front of the petting zoo. ...some canoeists... and not much else. ...a sleeping giant... First ride I caught was the kiddie train, which led us past... Fantasy Island almost made it seem like we were back in Philly.... After lunch, we found out that in an effort to make up for our late ERT on Ride of Steel, the park would give each TPR participant an exit pass for one more ride. Several people nearly missed the bus getting theirs in! On the short bus ride to Martin's Fantasy Island (seen here), Robb had another surprise announcement: in an effort to further make up for lost ERT, Darien Lake had given us multiple copies of all the on-ride photos taken during ERT! It truly was a generous gesture and one surpassed on this trip only by the amazing treatment we later received at Idlewild Park. You know, anyone can get their "Elissa Skins a Hot Dog" square marked off on Elissa Photo Bingo--but I was the only one artistic (read "slow") enough to capture the moment from behind! I never got tired of seeing TPR's name on pavilions. This one was probably the most ornate. Any park with themed manhole covers is OK in my book! I didn't do too bad at it, either! During the special game, I got two extra tickets just for crowing like a rooster when I won (it wasn't by choice, really--the game host made me do it as a condition for receiving my tickets). Next up: Fascination! I've been intrigued (fascinated, if you will) by this game ever since I saw it in the Midwest Trip reports last year. Intrigued by the fried dough I had seen at Seabreeze the night before, I decided to try some at Darien Lake. It was everything you'd expect fried dough to be: fried and doughy. And the Silver Bullet. As was this slightly different Paratrooper (I think they called it the Haymaker). This park had some really great flat rides. The Lasso was awesome! And speaking of water, here's a nice photo of the water slide. Because I like it. And it's my TR. Any more questions? Good. The flume was fairly well themed. 1964 carousel. Check! This is the observation wheel from the 1959 World's Fair. How cool is that? If you're a World's Fair buff like me, very! OK, story time. My first editor worked at Darien Lake in high school, and one of his favorite stories was about the day he was working at Lost and Found, and received a call from the maintenance department that if anyone brought in a wheel, tell them it came from a stroller. He later found out that Viper had actually thrown a wheel in mid-run, and no one could find it. Park administrators were just praying it hadn't knocked someone unconscious. They found it later that evening in some landscaping, and all was right with the world again. Boomerang. Next. The rear restraints that come up and whack you in the back can be kind of uncomfortable if you're not expecting them. "Cute" was the universal adjective used to describe MotoCoaster. Not really bad, not really good, not really... anything. Had it been about three times larger, it could have been a really great ride. Of course, this is what we all really came to see.... Most people didn't think Predator was running that rough, but I did! So did the ride ops, apparently. When I came back later in the hour to ride with a group, the op checking restraints paused at my car and said, "Oh, you're riding AGAIN!?" I wasn't quite brave enough to try Ride of Steel, so I opted for ERT on Predator... REALLY ERT! I was the only one on the train during its first lap of the day. That's its name... don't wear it out. It was the not-so-little coaster that could! Eventually the mechanics got everything running, which was just, um... Super. The morning allegedly began with ERT on Ride of Steel, but someone must have brought along some Kryptonite because we ended up with some EWT (Extra Wait Time) due to mechanical difficulties before ERT actually began. Thanks for the reminder!
  13. So here it is, the 15th or so Behemoth/Flyer Mini-Trip report to be posted this week. But hopefully there will be a few things in here that aren't in the others--and vice versa. I'm not being anywhere near hyperbolic when I say this trip represented the five and a half absolute best days (and nights and early, early mornings) of my life. For the past two years, TPR has been a lifeline for me. The forums, the TRs... they're what get me through the day. To actually meet a good majority of these people who have been staring back at me so long through the monitor--Jahan, Dan, All About Brian, and of course Robb, Elissa and KidTums--well, I can now imagine how a 3-year-old meeting Big Bird would feel. The whole thing didn't become "real" for me (if it ever became "real" for me) until I happened to glimpse a TPR wristband on the first day's bus ride... and realized it was on MY wrist! I've spent the four days since it ended tugging at imaginary wristbands and laughing spontaneously when I remember a particularly great moment or quote from the trip (and drawing some fairly odd stares in the process, I must say). And for the record, ERT has spoiled me for life. By our last night at the hotel, several of us were seriously discussing personal possessions we could sell to bankroll a full trip in 2009. Anybody need a kidney? And we close with a random Alfred E. Neuman credit! Thanks, Seabreeze! As are the Flyers and kiddie train. And it's still there today. Apparently the log flume has a long history at Seabreeze. ...as well as an actual piece of Seabreeze's old natatorium (AKA saltwater pool), which closed in 1931. The museum also included vintage park tickets and brochures... The museum and carousel were housed in this fantastic-looking carousel building. And for those who want to watch while the kiddies ride... rocking chairs! The centerpiece of the museum was Seabreeze's hand-carved carousel, built in the 1990s but designed to look much, much older. Like the Jack Rabbit, the Bobselds are enshrined in the park's museum. After my first ride, I called the Bobselds, "The Matterhorn if Six Flags had built it instead of Disney." Turns out I wasn't far off. And what bobsled-themed ride would be complete without representation from the mighty Jamaican bobsled team? OK, maybe it's a nerd shot, but on how many coasters are you going to find a brake like this? The car stopped at the end of the conveyor belt, which then carried the vehicle back to the load station for disembarking. A few track images so those who have never been can get an idea of the random layout. Now, the Bobselds (that's the official TPR spelling, according to the checklist we received) were more like it! I loved this unique little ride and rode it eight times throughout the day--six during ERT. Fortunately, I rode Jack Rabbit before Whirlwind or else I still may be forming finger crosses, anti-vampire-style, at the sight of narrow-gauge tracks! This thing was like a Tilt-a-Whirl with random drops. It was one of the only two spinning coasters I tried on the trip. And why wouldn't they? After all, Jack Rabbit has been around long enough to have been photographed in black and white, as this image from the park museum attests. I love that they still used the wooden levers to start and stop most of the old woodies on this trip. OK, confession time. Until this trip, I was assuredly not a coaster enthusiast. Amusement parks, yes. Rickety wood-and-steel death traps plummeting hundreds of feet in mere seconds, no. Had you asked me on the bus ride to Seabreeze if I had any intention of riding a single coaster during this trip, I would have told you, you were crazy. But the Jack Rabbit is... old. And I love old amusement park rides (Caterpillar, anyone?). So after about an hour of internal conflict, I decided to give it a try. And it was awesome! By the time it was all over, I nearly tripled my lifetime coaster count on this trip. First stop: Jack Rabbit! After our six-hour drive, we finally arrived at Seabreeze. After pie and a near miss at getting my "Elissa Eats at McDonald's" square marked off for Elissa Bingo, I ducked into an "Everything's $1.00" store, where I was handsomely rewarded for my adventurousness with this bobble-head Jesus! What didn't make the photo TR was the cardboard display with the sign, "Assorted Medications Half-Price"--in other words, 50 cents for Gas-X. (Photo stolen from Robb--who actually made me look pretty good with his magic camera). Was there anyone who didn't get a picture of one of the "Rob's Meat Sale" signs at the strip mall? Most everyone else went to McDonald's, which had a sign saluting its soon-to-be employees. To be fair, a smattering also drifted over to Subway, Dunkin' Donuts and the Strip Mall Italian Restaurant of Death. Absolutely no one went to Arby's. ...for blueberry pie! On the way from Philly to Rochester, we stopped for sustenance with plenty of options to choose from. Still full from my 10 a.m. cheesesteak breakfast, I risked my life running across the street to this place... Robbie, upon passing another bus on the highway: "Oh, look, they're on a bus, too. What kind of food does their bus have on it? They don't have any food? They suck. We got grapes!" Plus Rocky stood there. How can you not order your cheesesteak where Rocky stood? I mean, Pat's actually has directions on how to order! And even more impressive, they found someone with the unlikely name of "I.M. Hungry" to write them! As if that was a hard decision to make! ...or Geno's? Of course, a morning in Philly just isn't complete without a traditional Philadelphia cheesesteak breakfast. The only question: Pat's... We commenced the goodie exchange at the bar. For my money, the best stuff there (besides the Tim Tams) was this tray of multi-flavored pecans provided by Roxanne. We tried to dine at this Denny's next door the night before. Unfortunately, a power outage left us Moons Over My-Hammy-less. After trying a sandwich shop down the street only to watch its power go out too as the waitress took the second or third drink order, we settled for the hotel bar. They hadn't even bothered to change the parking passes over yet. Day One: Philadelphia to Seabreeze Amusement Park, Rochester, NY. Our hotel in Philly was a Quality Inn, but apparently it hadn't been one for long....
  14. Dang it, Big Mike! The weekend you finally come to Ocean City, Maryland, 30 minutes from my front door, is the weekend I'll be away for a wedding! And since I'm actually in the wedding, they'll most likely notice if I don't show up.... Oh well. I was looking for an excuse to hit Hard Rock Park in September. Now, if the funds and schedule hold out, it looks like I have one!
  15. I won one of his mix CDs in Elissa Bingo. I'm still on my own "extended" trip (writing from a hotel lobby computer), but once I get home on Sunday and listen to it, I'll let you know. He said they were all "local" bands. I'll just say I used to live near Baltimore, and I've never heard any of the ones he had listed on the sleeve....
  16. Nickname of the "Full House" street is Postcard Row. Not sure what the "real" name of the street is (e.g. Elm Street, etc.). What I do know is that we visited San Francisco when I was 12, and I was much more excited to see those houses from the opening of "Full House" than I was to see the Golden Gate Bridge!
  17. That's pretty cool! I used to race RC cars, but the closest thing I've come to RC boats were the coin-operated ones at Walt Disney World.
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