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Everything posted by zburns999

  1. Welp, haven’t posted here in six years (lurking only), so I wanted to share a brief review of my most recent visit to Hersheypark for anyone who might be interested. I’ve done seven parks this summer (Kings Dominion, Kennywood, Cedar Point, Kings Island, Canada’s Wonderland, Castaway Cove, and Hersheypark), which is far more than my average, and I’ll go out on a limb and say that Hershey—albeit my “home” park—was my most complete and enjoyable park visit of the summer. So for this reason, Hershey gets the honor of having a little trip-report written up (also, I couldn’t be arsed to write seven trip reports…I haven’t posted in six years: gotta take it easy). Got to the park around 10:30 after first meeting a classmate of mine at the local Giant in order to take advantage of the discount tickets (if you can do this, do it). We even pulled some money-saving gymnastics by throwing his car in the park-and-ride off of Chocolate Ave before heading into the park’s $15 lot. That’s like, two more chicken strips for lunch. Plus, we could see his Chrysler Town and Country minivan from the top of Great Bear, so that was pretty cool I guess. Anyway, onto the park. As you can probably guess from my unrelenting desire to keep my credit card in my pocket, I opted out of the fast pass system, which from what I remember kind of sucks in comparison to the Cedar Fair setup with which I’ve become familiar this summer (and by familiar I mean I’ve watched thousands of people pass me in line while trudging through the normie queue). Crowds were manageable, anyway, so no real loss there. Is it just me, or does Hershey’s waterpark seem to suck up the gp more than that of any other park (save maybe Dorney, but that’s because the dry park only has two coasters more exciting than the drive to get to the park)? At about 5:30 there was an exodus of Biblical Proportions coming away from the Boardwalk and through the-part-of-the-park-formerly-known-as-MusicBox-Way. Was pleased with this. I can only hope the new water “coaster” and mat racer augment this effect. A few general thoughts: Hersheypark has always been and will always be my favorite park. I must admit, I’m one of those deplorables who vowed undying opposition to the park after it killed-off my long lost friend, Canyon River Rapids. But hey, I’m older and decidedly less of a child these days so I’m willing to let bygones be bygones. Regardless of how much I hate to see the Boardwalk encroach upon the regular park, I still can’t get over how darn cool this whole place is. Coasters over paths over log flumes over restuarants over hillsides…and some great rides and friendly staff to boot. It’s clean, well-operated, and perhaps best of all, manages not to attract the hordes of line jumpers that seem to find their way to Great Adventure each summer. As for the rides, I must say that this was one of those rare park visits where everything I rode seemed to be running at its absolute best. I will make no attempt to recount an order of attack for the day, but will say that my classmate and I pulled off the oft-utilized back-of-the-park first approach, which seemed to work remarkably well. By the time we made it back to the Hollow at the front of the park, the place was more-or-less a ghost town. If you haven’t tried this strategy at Hershey, I highly recommend it. Rides from best to worst… Skyrush Honestly, Skyrush is my main reason for wanting to write this TR. Look, I get that coaster enthusiasts are a fickle bunch. Whether it’s wood or steel, Intamin or B&M, etc. or etc. we seem not to be able to agree on anything. I accept that…but with one exception: How Skyrush is not at or near the top of every enthusiasts “favorite” rides list is beyond me. I may not be the most seasoned coaster veteran out there—my count is only about 150—but to this day, I have not yet ridden another coaster that I feel is actively trying to kill me. The back left wing seat of Skyrush (or really any wing seat, for that matter) offers the kind of out-of-control ride I really ever thought was possible in my dreams. Keeping your hands up from beginning to end seems less like a fun little thing to do and more like a death-defying stunt. It’s hard for me to even imagine a pre-Skyrush world—one where I thought that Phoenix and El Toro had intense airtime. Ha! For me, Skyrush redefines what a coaster can be when a park has the cajones not to neuter it one little bit, despite the cries of “Thigh Crush” or whatever else. Now, of course I’m being somewhat facetious: I know people have different opinions and all that good stuff. But perhaps someone can answer an honest inquiry: with an INSANE drop, nuts airtime, and unrelenting directional changes, why do more people not consider Skyrush a top-tier ride? Storm Runner Got three front-seat rides in on Storm Runner and each seemed better than the last. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or what, but I really do not remember that launch feeling as intense as it did during this visit. My on-ride picture each time captured the face I can only assume I made 20 something years ago when I rode my first roller coaster (note: riding my first roller coaster was not by any means a pleasant experience, as I spent most of it planning to disown my father for tricking me into thinking it would be fun). Triple Tower When my first ride on the Reese’s Tower ended, I yelled across to my classmate: “That was the most pleasantly surprised I’ve ever been by a ride.” And I maintain this to be true. When Hershey first announced Triple Tower, I, like most, kind of scratched my head and wondered why Hershey would willingly lay down to Dorney and build an inferior S&S tower complex. I am happy to report that this is totally not the case whatsoever. I generally find the S&S towers to be super lame compared to Arm towers and Intamin 1st and 2nd gen drop towers, but this one avoided that pitfall (no pun intended, Kennywood fans) by simply not trying to beat those drop towers at their own game. Rather than focusing on the drop, per se, the main trick of the Triple Towers is the air-time. I know, I know. Air time on an S&S tower? I wouldn’t have believed it either, but if not for those (super comfy) restraints, I’d still be flying somewhere in the atmosphere above Derry Township. I kept being that annoying guy who doesn’t notice that the line is moving because he’s too preoccupied watching people’s reactions to seeing their legs fly above their heads 150 feet in the air. Good stuff. Hershey tower was fun, too, but didn’t have the same gut-wrenching airtime of the Reese’s Tower. Didn’t ride the Kiss Tower, but let’s just say that, based off of the six inches between the ride’s seats and the rider’s butts at the ride vehicle’s apex, it did not look kid-friendly by any stretch. Great Bear Still my favorite invert, if I had to pick one. So fast, so snappy. And that little floaty hill into the Spring Creek stretch brings joy to my little heart every time. Also loved how they (recently?) moved the on-ride photo section out of the break run. I assume they did an in-depth revenue analysis before ultimately realizing nobody wanted to buy a picture where their expression is saying: "That’s it?" On a sadder note, Great Bear was the occasion for my only real complaint of the day. What on earth is up with the checking and re-checking and re-rechecking of the restraints on the ride? The gp hysteric inside of me was wondering “OMGEE somebody must have fallen out and now they need all this extra security!” But seriously, did someone fall off this ride or something while I’ve been under a rock? Because I’ve never seen this practice on any invert anywhere. My classmate and I were timing dispatches at like 3:30 at some points, which is absurd. Does anyone have any information regarding this? Anyway, awesome ride. Fahrenheit First drop is awesome in the back seat and the inversions are certainly unique. A bit rattly (ugh, I promised myself I would never be that guy), but still super fun. Love that little roll-off to the wrong side before descending into the Norwegian loop. One ride was enough, if only because I didn’t want to melt in that queue from hell. I’m beginning to think that the naming of this ride was contingent on the fact that the line would contain absolutely no shade, and would be akin to queuing on the surface of the sun. Lightning Racer It’s totally necessary for me to point out that, in a string of bad luck that cannot be explained by any field of mathematics or science, I have not won a race on Lightning Racer in about 15 years. Every visit to Hershey I usually give it about two chances before giving up. This time, lighting struck on my second ride and I finally reclaimed my spot upon the podium inside my mind. I mean, let’s be real, it was getting embarrassing. I reached a point where I would do a quick weight estimate of the guests in line for both trains and throw in my lot with the hopefully-fatter group. My classmate, who is on the larger side, happily took credit for our victory post-race. Thanks bud, you made me a winner again. Comet Woah woah woah. What on earth did they do to this ride? I remember it being slow and uneventful. Now it is smooth, fast, and has freakin’ crazy laterals all over the place. Who are you and what did you do with Comet? sooper doper Looper! Absolutely loved the fact that virtually half of the park was walking around with an “I survived the sooper doper Looper!” t-shirt. Loved it so much, in fact, that I bought one for myself when I left the park. It’s the first coaster shirt I’ve bought since 2004, and I am sitting here wondering where it has been all my life. Anyway, the looper is the same looper it’s always been. It’s like an old friend to me. When they (inevitably) remove it, I will cry. This much I know. Sidewinder This is a legitimately fun boomerang. Ghasp. Even my gp/potential-future-enthusiast classmate was hesitant to ride it because of his experience on Knott’s version. We were both pleasantly surprised by this offering. The vest restraints are miraculous. Wildcat In 1996, I waited about three hours to ride this and thought it was the best thing going. Now I just can’t wait for them to RMC it into a real winner. In its defense, I rode in the front seat and it certainly wasn’t unenjoyable. It has just fallen so far from the insane I’m-gonna-kill-you rides of 15-20 years ago. The best part of the ride for me was hearing the voice of my late buddy Nick Pantalone give the pre-ride spiel: Ready to have some fun? It’s Wildcat time in 3,2,1.. Also did Coal Cracker and Tidal Force, which are two of my all-time favorite water rides. And as a burgeoning bumper car enthusiast, I couldn’t pass up a ride on (Geico) Fender Bender, which seemed to receive patronage from more than your standard amount of incompetent drivers, making for a hilarious but frustrating time. Lafftrack was a no-go due to the absurd line (I’ve done it before and it’s what you’d expect), and I opted to skip Trailblazer, which hurt a little bit inside. Wild Mouse was down all day. Chocolate World was different from what I remembered. The whole thing seemed very social-media-ized, which sucked. Almost all the cool props I remember from when I was a kid have been replaced by gimmicky screens and singing cows and whatnot. But as long as they keep giving me that free fun-sized candy bar, I’ll keep coming back. So yeah, awesome day at Hershey, especially with night rides on Skyrush, Great Bear, and Storm Runner to wrap it up. I really do believe that Hersheypark is an RMC conversion of Wildcat away from having one of the deepest coaster lineups in the world. It’s already fantastic as it stands, and can only get better.
  2. Yeah, I'm definitely going to call BS on that one. Do you realize how long fifteen minutes actually is? That would make the line from the bottom of the steps about three plus hours. If you're going to attempt to tear the park a new one, at least say something that isn't a blatant lie.
  3. Haven't posted here in a while, but I visited Hersheypark for the first time in a few years yesterday, and figured I'd share my two cents... I arrived with a group of friends around 10:30, after stopping at a local Giant Market to take advantage of the discounted tickets (fantastic deal, btw). We decided as a group that we would hold off the urge to hit Skyrush first, and instead make our way to the back of the park before the crowds got there. This plan, as I've seen outlined countless times in this thread, worked much better than I anticipated. We were able to hit Fahrenheit, Storm Runner (with one train operation), Tidal Force, Wild Mouse, Wildcat, and Lightning Racer x3 in about two hours. I'll sum up the rest of the day in a series of positives and negatives... Positives: -Skyrush is every bit as incredible as I expected. Was able to get on twice, once in the back-left wing, and once in the front-right center. I'm not sure which I preferred, as both experiences were very different. The back-left wing was just total insanity, unlike anything I've ever really experienced. I've never white-knuckled a ride like that before. The front, in my opinion, offered a bit more air-time with a more traditional coaster feel. I didn't have a single problem with the restraints. I actually found them to be super comfortable. The key is really to make sure you're slouched in your seat a bit so that the contact point between the restraint and your body is at your waist, rather than your thigh. Overall, this was an incredible ride. Not sure how to rate it among my favorites, though, as it just seemed so different than anything I had ever been on. It's really in a league of its own. -I had never been on Fahrenheit. It was a ton of fun. Much better than I expected after so many mediocre reviews. Don't skip this one! -Storm Runner is still kicking ass. -The East Coast Water Works may be the best thing in the whole park. -The Skyrush crew was fantastic. They were dispatching the train quickly and efficiently, making one-train operation seem bearable. Also, during an instance of technical difficulty, they were calm, informative, and got things going again smoothly. Kudos! Negatives: -Fahrenheit didn't open until well after 11:00. The crew seemed very nonchalant, and never showed any real determination to get the thing running. -The Sidewinder crew was easily the worst I've ever experienced. We sat for 5-10 minutes waiting to dispatch because there was some argument/confusion about fast track guests not being allowed on the ride without a shirt. Ridiculous. Actually, that leads me to my last point... -The execution of the Fast Track system is completely pathetic. Never in my life have I seen a park rope off entire sections of a train for fast track users. And for good reason; it didn't work! It slowed dispatch times immensely, and continuously sparked confusion when regular guests were being made to leave their groups/preferred rows to load into the middle of the train. I really hope that the park gets their act together with this and find a better means of execution. Overall, it was a fantastic day at Hershey. While operations weren't the best I've seen, it was evident that most of the staff was trying/enjoyed what they were doing. For the select few that obviously wanted to be anywhere but at Hersheypark, well, I didn't let it ruin my day. And oh yeah, Skyrush is awesome.
  4. Turbulence at HersheyPark. Thing looked pretty pointless, anyway.
  5. I haven't been to Busch Gardens since 2002 (maybe?), so I can't say too much concerning Big Bad Wolf. From what I remember it was a really fun ride. Deffinitely not "wowing" by any means, but a great alternative to the much more intimidating Loch Ness Monster, Alpengeist, and Apollo's Chariot. What I do remember most about the ride, however, was how cool it was to watch from that bridge over the river. I can remember crowds of people stopping to watch that final descent out from the trees to the water below. Just a really neat element. As a ride though, I can't say much more than that it was a lot of fun for all of the same reasons everyone has mentioned a million times over. I would deffinitely say Vortex at Canada's Wonderland is the superior ride. Both are leagues better than Iron Dragon, however. Now, I understand that the general consensus is that this wasn't that great of a ride, and just because some people may have a personal attachment for it doesn't mean it should be held to such high regard. Yeah, I can see that point of view, but I think I'll miss the BBW for a slightly different reason--the same reason I'll miss Canyon River Rapids at Hersheypark way more than most "enthusiasts." As somebody who visits most of my parks with family, it's always nice when a park has one or two rides I can get excited about with my family. Sure, when I visited Busch Gardens eight years ago, I was pretty pumped for the two B&M's and Loch Ness Monster, but what I remember most was sitting around in the hotel room trying to convince my mom and sister to try out Big Bad Wolf when we were at the park the next day. My sister ended up riding, and that was a big deal for her. By far her highlight of the trip. Now, if Big Bad Wolf had been dismantled prior to our visit, there would have been a huge void; it would have been a dissappointment for me as an enthusiast, but for my sister it might have really ruined the trip. So yeah, it really comes down to the concept that if you're gonna get rid of a fantastic family thrill ride, you better build something nice to replace it. Not a damn lazy river (thanks, Hersheypark).
  6. Behind El Toro, Nitro, and possibly Kingda Ka, this was my favorite ride at Great Adventure; no lie. What a disappointment to hear of its closing. I hate to see all the remnants of Arrow's once dominant hold on the amusement park industry slowly fade into extinction, but I guess it's life. Being 6'5", I never had any trouble with this coaster, as my head would simply stay above the restraints. It had an incredible first drop, and was just one of those rides that was snappy, disorienting, and flat out fun. I haven't been on GASM since 2008, so I can only hope that I can get one more ride in within these next to weeks. And I like B&M standups more than most people, but I'd really love to see something better than Chang put in the place of what I believe was a legendary ride. Out of my four favorite Arrows (GASM, Big Bad Wolf, Vortex at Canada's Wonderland, and Magnum XL200), it's crazy to think that two are gone already. At least it wasn't Magnum, or else I'd probably be losing sleep tonight haha.
  7. @ Invertalon: I see. Thanks for the reply. I'd fall into the "once a year" crowd, so as you mentioned, I don't really have the luxury of skipping out on rides with more than a 15 minute wait haha. Also, being a poor college student, staying onsite probably isn't much of an option. Guess you just have to be lucky to get a day like you had. My past visits to Cedar Point have all included two full days in the park, so I have never been too worried about the place being crowded as I have a lot of time to spend. But I'll have to keep your advice in mind. Where I go to school is just a short drive from Cedar Point, so I think I'm gonna have to press my luck on a rainy day, because well, going to Cedar Point on a day where it is that empty just looks sick.
  8. First off, incredible pictures! I do have a question, though. Is the park normally this empty on late-May/early-June weekdays? Because I passed up on an opportunity to go to Cedar Point last Thursday, as I feared that with only six or seven hours to spend, it wouldn't be worth the drive. However, your photo TR as well as PKIjizzman's photo TR seem to suggest otherwise. A two train wait for Millennium Force?! I don't think I've ever waited less than two hours--nevermind two trains! But yeah, great photos man.
  9. I definitely agree with you, and as I said, I have nothing but respect for SCBB. What a great choice of ride to put in, and it is very obvious that this ride was built with the utmost care. It will be very popular with families, and as long as it is advertised as such, I'm sure it will be a success. And as you said, I of course miss a lot by living 3,000 miles away and not having the opportunity to ride this. A POV cannot do the ride justice, and there is a lot I miss because of that. I still do wish that something just a little more unique could have been done to elevate this ride to the next level (not more expensive or technologically advanced--just unique). However, it is a great fit for this park. It looks fantastic and will surely be a success with families.
  10. Hmmm, although my insight on this ride is based solely on a pov (and a dark one at that!), I can't say that I'm overly impressed. Now, all the respect in the world to SCBB for trying out a new twist on an old favorite, but from what I can see, it doesn't work as well as it could have. It almost reminds me of Ghostwood Estate at Kennywood. It's fun, but nothing really worth re-riding more than once or twice. I was actually at Waldameer last week and tried out the Whacky Shack. I had no prior knowledge that this was such a classic, so my opinion is not at all biased. By far, that was the coolest dark ride I've been on (outside of Busch Gardens or the like). While this new Haunted Castle ride seems to be based around anamatronics and elaborate set-pieces, the Whacky Shack was more about creating an atmosphere. The "Twighlight Zone" style descent after the outdoor section was incredibly unnerving, especially with the surrounding sound of an increasing heart-beat. So cool. Then of course the strobe light room and the oncoming bus at the end were also memorable. Altogether, that was an awesome dark ride that anybody can love--not just a dark ride enthusiast. I got off feeling all weird and disoriented--like, "what just happened?" and I deffinitely witnessed other riders reacting in the same manner. This Haunted Castle ride seems to lack tricks, suspense, or any sense of claustrophobia/paranoia. The set pieces are awesome, no doubt, but who are they really going to scare? I don't know, I just can't see a bunch of teen-agers waiting thirty mins for this, getting off, and being pleased with the experience. However, for all I know I'm entirely wrong in my assumptions, and this is, in fact, an awesome and award winning dark ride (I hope this is the case!). Anybody who has ridden this care to make a case for this ride? As amusement park enthusiasts, I think we are sometimes more likely to enjoy "classic" rides like these more than the average park-goer. How does the general public react to this ride? Oh, and awesome TR and pics, by the way. God bless you for driving that far haha!
  11. Thanks for the replies guys. Much appreciated! Glad everyone enjoyed the ride, and yeah, I certainly hope it does inspire some good Arrow designs in the future. As I'm sure is made evident by my avatar, I'm really pretty fascinated by Arrow Dynamics, so I would be pumped to see more RCT players show Arrow some love haha. And dmaxsba, I suppose you are right about that transfer area, but to be honest, brutal pacing and transitions are really what I was aiming for here haha. Thanks again for the comments. Oh, and mightbeawannabe, just google it or check my readme. You'll find all you need to know Basically just a Canadian Loch Ness Monster, in short.
  12. *not my picture Rode Ravine Flyer II on Thursday afternoon. Actually chose a trip to Waldameer over Cedar Point based on iffy weather predictions. I was honestly blown away by this ride. Just an incredible experience. One of those coasters that had me laughing from the time I was yanked over the first drop to the time we hit the brakes. Anybody else as impressed by this thing as I am? I see it rated very highly on Mitch Hawker's poll, but in all the photo TR's I've viewed of Waldameer, nobody ever seems to elaborate on its awesomeness.
  13. Hey guys, haven't checked in here in a while, but I wanted to stop by to post my newest RCT2 design, an Arrow Dynamics custom looper called Ogopogo. Featuring a quick helix drop, two enormous vertical loops (much in the style of Tennessee Tornado), and a pair of back to back corkscrews high above the waters of "Lake Okanogan," below, Ogopogo is sure to deliver the thrills. Also featured on the Canadian themed map is Niagara (an Intamin drop tower), Bear Attack (a Zamperla Mixer), Algonquin (a Huss Top Spin), and Over the Falls (a motion simulator). Download by following this link: http://www.nedesigns.com/design/ogopogo/ Please note that the logo and park overview were made courtesy of the New Element release staff. Oh, and some additional pics... The park is completely peep friendly, too! The above pics were from earlier in the construction process. Enjoy! Please feel free to comment and criticize. Thanks guys.
  14. Phantom's Revenge, front row of the fifth car. Totally kicked ass compared to the back. I have no clue why, though. That ride is altogether awesome.
  15. I'm a go-kart and bumper boat op at a family fun park near my house. Please feel free to discuss my awesomeness.
  16. Raptors on Raptor is pretty epic. That and Twisted Sister on Wicked Twister are probably my favorites.
  17. When I was little, I used to watch Bob Ross re-runs on PBS before I went to school. Most kids watched cartoons. I watched Bob Ross.
  18. I had been trying to start up a new solo on and off the entire summer, but failed miserably each time. But now, I've really been inspired to get back into the game and go for a full scale park again. My goal has always been to create a park that will be looked back upon in the future as one of the better realistic RCT2 parks. Hope I can finish this one. This is as much of a Talon ripoff you can possibly build without making it a re-creation. Here's Hammerhead, a Zamperla Rotoshake. Actually, this is my first custom flat. And this one's new. Your typical Thunder Canyon, as can be found at Cedar Point, Dorney Park, and probably some other Cedar Fair parks that I'm not aware of. Please feel free to comment and critisize as always. Thanks guys.
  19. 1) Alpengeist: front seat ride was an incredible experience, and that drop is something else 2) Raptor: By far the most intense invert I've been on. I'd even go as far as saying it's the most intense B&M I've been on. 3) Batman the Ride: Quick, smooth, and wild. Can't ask for much more 4) Great Bear: helix drop rocks mass amounts of socks 5) Talon: I just needed a number five. I actually think Talon is pretty lame
  20. Maverick, front seat, with the bugs that only come out at night. Oh, and just to mention something random, one of the Weather Channel meteorologists just mentioned something about "getting wet riding the coasters at Cedar Point" as I typed this post. Usually only Disney and Universal get shout outs.
  21. I wouldn't describe the sensation created by Maverick's first drop "air time." You basically fall out of your seat and get swooped up by the train as it pulls out of the drop. An awesome feeling, but I wouldn't call it air-time--at least in the traditional sense.
  22. El Toro. That drop that comes after the curving rise behind the station has the most ungodly ejector air ever. Really, I can't even explain.
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