Let’s resurrect this, shall we? And just in time to get all you NE trip participants pumped up!
This time we’re going to Funtown/Splashtown USA in Saco, Maine (well, just Funtown, since “Maine” and “I need to pack my bathing suit” don’t really go together in my book, even if this was August).
As I left off, we (guess I should specify that "we" denotes my now-ex-boyfriend and I, as these were the pre-Mrs. Big Mike days ) had just left Palace Playland and a big case of the munchies was setting in. Since we were planning on taking advantage of Funtown's after 3:00 p.m. rate (for an adult it's $21.00; $15.00 for kids and seniors), we intended to find a sit-down restaurant along Route 1 to pass the time before heading to the park. I was especially hankering for some chicken noodle soup and had been ever since I’d seen a Friendly’s along the same road the day before (yeah, yeah, I know, Friendly’s is one of those places where it’s truly best not to see the state of the kitchen in which your food is being prepared, but goodness do I love that soup).
Here’s the thing. There is pretty much nothing along that stretch of Route 1. We couldn’t find the Friendly’s (later we figured out it was actually closer to South Portland) and by the time we gave up, we couldn’t really find anything we both agreed on. I would be lying if I said we were still in jolly spirits by the time we arrived at Funtown/Splashtown. No, instead we were cranky at having wasted something like 45 minutes of our time and only being starved and irked at each other to show for it. We were pretty much both silently fuming as we pulled into the park.
This is going to be swell, I thought.
Wait, what was that about being in a bad mood again?
Welcome to Funtown U.S.A. Super Saver Bracelets!!
Home of Dippin Dots, Funtoberfest and random shirtless boys!
That’s not really being fair, though. I’ve heard some people call this place ghetto, but I couldn’t disagree more. It's one of those quaint family parks with a decent collection of rides, actual landscaping and in some cases, better theming than you'll find at places that actually bill themselves as theme parks.
Dragon's Descent is themed to a Chinese dragon, and not only is there plenty of detail on the dragon…
…but all around the ride plaza are these little signs explaining the meaning behind various written Chinese characters. It’s little touches like these that really go a long way in showing the park cares and is willing to put forth the effort to make an attraction more than just the ride, and I just love that.
Done and done! Dragon’s Descent has some of the strongest floater air I’ve ever experienced on an S&S drop tower. Combine that with the views (if it weren’t so hazy, I’m sure I could have seen out to the coast on one side; on the opposite side, Excalibur’s structure against the reds, oranges and yellows of the sunset is breathtaking) and you have yourself one stellar ride.
Somewhere over the rainbow, neon glows…
"Wild Mouse" is actually wrong. What they really meant to call it was “Trim Brakes Which Will Send Your Ribs Whumping Hard Into The Lap Bar And Making You Wish That Rusty Thirty-Year-Old Galaxi That Made Your Life Flash Before Your Eyes That Used To Be Here Still Was: The Ride.”
By that time, we really couldn’t hold off imminent starvation any longer, so we opted to give this place a go (located right next to the Wild Mouse)…
…and wound up with one of the best theme park meals I ever had. As in, the chicken was actually juicy and had more meat than overfried, crunchy breading that would lose to sand in a tasting contest (are you listening, Six Flags?). The potato wedges were huge, plus you also got cole slaw and a roll with butter. All of it only cost .99. What you see here isn’t even all of it. We were just so hungry we each gulped down a piece of chicken before I took the picture.
And it was while eating that I really took notice of the ambiance of this place: quiet, shady—definitely one of the nicer looking midways out there.
On the way to Excalibur we rode the log flume, which gives a decent soaking that induces some of us coughcoughyeahthatwasmecoughcough to walk like we’ve pooped ourselves while we wait for our a$$ to dry.
And then we arrived at the place where executive power derives from a farcical aquatic ceremony.
And as I crossed the bridge to Camelot and contemplated the air speed velocity of unladen swallows, the considerable economic stress in which shrubbers find themselves in this period in history, whether I would soon be eating ham and jam and spam a lot and how a movie so perfectly quotable as this one came into being, I came to Excalibur.
Once again, this small park surprised me with their level of theming, going all out in designing a castle for the coaster’s station.
They even named each row on the train for a knight of the round table. Cute, huh?
“NONE SHALL PASS.” (Okay, I’m sorry, I’ll stop now, promise)
Excalibur is one of those coasters whose first half is strong enough to vault it into top five status, heck, top three even.
It’s right about here that massive ejector air (which almost literally knocked my flip flop off because I came up so high my foot whacked into and just about stuck out of the car's opening) makes a mockery of the “Remain Seated At All Times” sign bolted inside each car.
This is my dog Hampton modeling the hairtime, foot-in-the-air epicness and facial expressions this part of the ride will induce
It’s built in the woods, so night rides are deliciously dark (and the camera flashing at the bottom of the first drop creates some awesome temporary blindness to make things even more interesting). The first half is wickedly furious, and that airtime is especially strong in the front of the train.
But it conks out on the second half. It kind of aimlessly wanders and loses that laugh-out-loud, nearly religious coaster experience of the first half. But it's still a solid ride, especially for its out-of-the-way location, and it's an absolute hoot seeing how excited and happy the kids are to be riding what is probably their first big roller coaster. Excalibur is the perfect fit for Funtown.
Other rides we tried included the Flying Trapeze (nice, long ride cycle on this one!)…
…Tempest in the Teacups (although as far as tempests go, this one was on the “Gentle Spring Rain” level)…
…the Classic Carousel, where I picked the white rabbit you see in the front to ride…
…and which also features this working organ…
…my first ever bumper boats, where I got engine spooged…
…and finally, The Greatest Ride In The History Of Amusement Parks Ever.
This is the Astrosphere. Do not be fooled! It is more than just a Scrambler in the dark. It is a Scrambler with a seizure-inducing light show and bizarre images like a bunny wiggling its tush at you projected onto the walls all flashing in rhythm to ELO’s “Fire on High,” which itself thumps through the room from speakers that blasted out long ago. Does it make sense? It doesn’t have to because the ride ops talk about penguins before leading you to the ride. Is it amazing? It is, without question, the Greatest Attraction Ever and NE trip participants, you would be foolish to miss this.
Finishing off the night was some awesome in the form of soft serve chocolate flavor burst ice cream…
...and performing horrendously at Skeeball, which I gladly did multiple times because here, it costs
Who knew that PTC made Skeeball games?
And then, finally, parking myself here the rest of the night.
I had visited Funtown once before, in 2008, but I really fell in love with it this time around. It seems to attract much more in the way of families than the larger chain parks out there, and the result is a quaint little park and a pleasant place to spend a few hours. It may be off the beaten path, but with a decent collection of rides and a fairly decent wooden coaster, it’s well worth a visit.
Oh, and on the way back to Harpswell (home base for this trip), I was still determined to get that chicken noodle soup. Traffic dictated otherwise, and I wound up pulling into the Freeport Friendly’s parking lot exactly ten minutes after it closed.
This wasn’t over.
But the Maine parks and this TR are over because at the time, I didn't know York's Wild Kingdom existed (and there I was, thinking I'd ridden every coaster in Maine. What a jokester I am!)
Thanks for reading!