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Julie's Vacation on a Stick Photo TR - Day 4

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All the photos from this day can be found on my website at:



July 13th

Kennywood and Idlewild were on the plan for the 13th, and I was very excited about both of them.


I woke up around 6:30 so I could get an early start on my drive to Pittsburgh. I had the free continental breakfast again, showered, and was checked out of the hotel by about 7:30. I was going to meet my friend Kim at her house in Pittsburgh, then we were gonna drive to Idlewild together. I'd gotten door-to-door directions to her house from Mapquest, and do you believe that they were absolutely perfect, right down to the last 1/10th of a mile! I've never had this perfect of directions before from Mapquest! She was ready to go when I got there around 9:30, and we started the drive to Idlewild.


It was actually farther out from the city than I'd assumed, but it wasn't terribly far. We pulled up at about 11:00 or a little after, and saw that the person in the parking booth is a combo parking attendant and front gate ticket taker. I'd never seen a drive up ticket counter before! Our first stop was Rollo Coaster, which was the first coaster I'd ever ridden with a fixed position lap bar. I was wondering if I'd feel safe with the restraint so far away from me, but the coaster wasn't very wild, so it was fine. It was a really fun coaster...not the biggest or the longest, but it was great fun, and seemed very well cared for. Credit #114.


The Wild Mouse was our next stop, and it was so much fun! It weaves in and out of the trees, and had a couple of great headchoppers where you just know a branch is gonna take off your head! The cars are cute too...the only ones I've ever seen that actually look like little gray mice. Credit #115.


Next was the one attraction that I'd honestly been looking forward to more than anything else on the entire trip...the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood of Make Believe trolley ride! I absolutely loved Mr. Rogers as a kid, then started watching him again in college, and got a whole new respect for his show. I don't think I have ever been so sad to hear about a celebrity's death as when Mr. Rogers died. So needless to say, this was an E-Ticket attraction to me!


We boarded our Neighborhood Trolley (SO ADORABLE!!!!) and the ride takes you up to the castle first where you meet King Friday! He tells you that he is having a Hug-N-Song party and that he needs you to invite all his friends in the Neighborhood of Make Believe! The characters actually use Mr. Rogers' real voice, which made me feel like I was 5 years old again and watching the show!


First you see Cornflake S. Pecially in his Rock-it factory, so you invite him to the Hug-N-Song. The guide has everyone say "Come along, come along, to the castle Hug-N-Song." How cute is that?!?! Next you pass X and Henrietta in the treehouse and invite both of them also. You see Lady Elaine Fairchild in the Museum-Go-Round next, and she demonstrates some how she can play instruments hands-free with her Boomerang Toomerang Zoomerang. Once you invite her, you meet the Platypuses and invite them as well. Next is Daniel Tiger who lives in the clock. He was always my favorite character, and his animatronic was absolutely adorable!! After you invite him, you find Prince Tuesday and Anna Platypus playing together, so you invite them also.


The Hug-N-Song is the final scene, where King Friday and Queen Sara lead all the other characters in singing the "It's such a good feeling to know you're alive" song. All the characters turn to each other and appear to hug, then all the people in the trolley are asked to hug each other. Seriously...I was such a fan when I was a kid that as soon as the ride was over, I knew that nothing else on the trip would top it! It was truly the highlight of my trip! Forget Top Thrill Dragster! Give me the Hug-N-Song!


Being pretty much on top of the world after the ride, I went into the Mr. Rodgers gift shop and promptly spent $30 on a bunch of Daniel and X merchandise. We both had some apples with caramel dip for $1 to tide us over until lunch. Since we were there, and I'd been so over the top about loving the trolley ride, Kim asked if I wanted to do it again while we were in the area, so I said yes. I got a great picture of me sitting in the trolley acting 5 years old too. Right at the end of the second ride, they must have spotted some lightning because our guide had to suddenly shut down the ride and go back to the station. We got through every scene except for the Hug-N-Song, so I was glad I'd at least seen it one time completely through.


The flat rides near the front of the park weren't closed yet, so we jumped on the Caterpillar. There aren't too many of these left, and I always like taking in the unique attractions. We rode the carousel next, and once we got off, it was thundering and everything else had been shut down. We hadn't planned on spending too much more time there anyway, so we just took a couple of more pictures then headed out for lunch.


We stopped for lunch at an Eat'N Park in Latrobe on the way back to Kennywood. I've been to one before but we don't have them in Nashville, and knew that I had to get a smiley cookie for dessert! I had crab stuffed cod with home fries and applesauce and man, it was fantastic. And I had a yellow smiley fish cookie for dessert. I really pondered getting a dozen cookies to go, but they would either have to sit in the hot car for a couple of days while I ate them, or I'd have to eat them all in one day! As nice as that sounded, I opted against them.


When we arrived at Kennywood, we decided to take advantage of the free parking instead of the closer paid parking, since we both agreed that we're cheaper than we are lazy! The entrance to the park was very nice, and once we emerged from the tunnel, the park just looked so cute! It was old and historic, yet extremely well taken care of and respected. It was a very pretty park, and looks very different than the big name parks.


Garfield's Nightmare was our first ride, and it was pretty cute. Obviously I never rode the Old Mill version, but the new version is pretty cute. I thought it was funny that they didn't even try to be discrete about the onride photo! Neither of us thought that the 3D glasses were necessary, but they did lend a great depth effect to the splatter paint on the walls.


After Garfield, Kim took me back to her favorite coaster, the Jackrabbit. I'd mentioned ahead of time that I prefer my woodies to not shake the life out of me, and she guessed that I probably wouldn't like any of Kennywood's woodies since they were rough. Well, once we were on Jackrabbit, I didn't really find it rough at all. It felt like an old, classic woodie, and it was great! There is this one pop of airtime...omg, it's insane. As we went up the lift hill, she pointed to it and nonchalantly said "That's the best part of the ride." It looked like an ordinary little hill, but holy cow, I probably came 6 inches off my seat! It was a great ride, and credit #116!


Next we hopped next door and rode the Racer. We rode the ride that loads on the left first, saying we'd come back and ride the right loading side later, just to say I'd ridden both "sides." It was another really fun, unique woodie. Not rough at all, and it had that added interest of seeing if you can touch the people in the next train, and seeing which train will get back to the station first. Another great, fun ride to become my credit #117.


After Racer, we were on our way to walk through the kiddie area when I spotted fried Oreos! I'd almost bought some at Lake Compounce last year, but they were closed by the time I got there. So I got some here. My first thought was "I only get three of them?" but once I started eating them, they are super rich, and I couldn't have eaten more than three anyway. Just as I finished up, we passed Lil' Phantom. We'd both assumed that we needed a kid to ride it, but we were surprised to find "No maximum height limit" or somesuch on the entrance sign! Kim had never even ridden it, so it was a new credit for her too! We went around twice, and were both a little shocked at how forceful it was to be a kiddie coaster! We then got a stranger to take our picture with the Lil' Phantom sign...I think she thought we were crazy! Credit #118.


Thunderbolt was next, and Kennywood is three for three with fantastic woodies. I particularly love how both Thunderbolt and Jackrabbit begin with drops out of the station...never ridden a coaster like that before! And on both of them, the lift hill is a considerable way into the coaster. One thing I loved about Thunderbolt is that there is a headchopper with the Phantom's Revenge track, and again, you'd swear you are not gonna clear that track without injury! If you timed it just perfectly, you could actually have a headchopper with Thunderbolt going under a Phantom's Revenge train! That would be one scary headchopper! Credit #119.


We jumped over to The Exterminator next so we could knock out the coasters before hitting any of the flat rides. It's not a bad mouse, though I've ridden at least one clone of it before. It *is* definitely the most themed mouse I've been on, and one of the more themed coasters period. We had maybe a 10 minute wait for Exterminator...just about the longest wait we had all day. Credit #120.


Since the Whip was right there, we rode it, and it was a lot of run. I'd never ridden one since I'd never been to a park that had one. Kim said that some people count Whips as coasters...huh? Really? Nothing at all about that ride says "coaster" to me. It was starting to rain lightly at this point, so we headed for Noah's Ark since it was indoors.


We had about a 10 minute wait for Noah's Ark, but at least we were under a tree to keep us dry. I had no clue what to expect out of this attraction. I looked at the outside and assumed it was gonna be cutesy and Biblical...but that is not at all what I got! I am absolutely NOT a fan of fun houses, haunted houses and the like. If it pops out at me, or scares me, I don't want to have anything to do with it. Needless to say, I hated Noah's Ark. Kim tried to get me to walk through before her, but I refused. Half of it is in the dark....then there are some extremely creepy dioramas of Noah and some ugly, dirty animals...then some gorillas in a box with a strobe light that just about scared the poop out of me! It was not cute, it was not fun, and it was not something I ever care to do again. I'm all about saving the historic stuff in parks, y'know, but they could tear that thing down and I'd never shed a tear.


It had stopped raining when we came out, so we decided to get snag the last credit in the park...Phantoms Revenge. I didn't give this coaster much thought before hand since it was an Arrow that had been reprofiled significantly. I figured it would be average. But this coaster absolutely blew my socks off! It's got a great first drop, but what's even better is that when you hit the second, bigger drop, you are already going pretty fast, so you hit this huge drop and it just snatches you down into the ravine. It had some tremendous airtime...I could have absolutely ridden this coaster all day long! It is truly a "top ten" coaster! It's at least in my top 7. It felt like this coaster just came out of nowhere since I was completely not expecting it to be anywhere near as good as it was. Funny thing is that Kim is so used to the woodies that this is her next-to-least favorite coaster in the park (Exterminator being last place).


The Turtle was right there near the exit of Old Kennywood, so we both jumped on for a spin. I'd never ridden one of these either, and it was fun. We wandered back towards the center of the park, and rode Gold Rusher along the way. This wasn't as bad as Noah's Ark, but still had a few gags I didn't care for. I'm just such a wimp when it comes to stuff scaring me.


As we walked, we passed a large indoor restaurant and decided to get a snack. I got a big glass of pink lemonade, and Kim got a square ice cream cone a few shops down. We both sat down to enjoy our snacks, and did some people watching. We both marveled at the footwear that some people think is appropriate to wear to a theme park. Someone once said a good judge of what shoes to wear is to ask yourself "Would I get on a treadmill with these on?" Obviously some people don't ask themselves that question!


Once we were up and moving again, we went on The Auto Race, which is the last of it's kind in the world. It looked sort of like regular little raceway cars, but they are electric powered in a wooden track, and they go pretty fast! It was an interesting little ride. I just knew I was gonna make a fool of myself trying to squish my butt into a child sized drivers seat, but I managed with minimal embarrassment!


Next we rode the Olde Kennywood Railroad, where I got my first glimpse of a Laffin' Sal. She was creepy...yet captivating. Like a car wreck, I wanted to look away, but I couldn't. Out of all my pictures, hers is the one that people react to the most..."Ack! She's creepy!!!" hahaha The railroad was pretty interesting, and you can really get a feel for just how high up over the city you actually are.


Since we were in the area, we rode the Racer again, this time loading on the right hand side. The ride is the same no matter which side you load on, and it was just as enjoyable the second time around. As we started walking back towards the front of the park, we jumped on the Jackrabbit again. I sat on the right side of the car this time, and the airtime on "that hill" was even more insane because of having extra room because of the way the lap bar is made. Totally, insanely fun ride.


As we neared the front, Kim suggested that I ride the Kangaroo, another historic "only one like it in the world" ride. I watched it, and it looked like fun, so I jumped on. Well, the restraint was *very* tight on my stomach, and every time it jumped off the little hill on the ride, I caught airtime that slammed my stomach into the restraint. Ow ow ow! The ride might have been fun had I not been fearing for the safety of my pancreas the whole time. We also spotted another young girl in an interesting outfit...she couldn't have been more than about 15, and she had huge boobs absolutely bursting out of a pink halter top. I'm not the world's most conservative person by any means, but why would you let your 15 year old daughter out looking like an absolute whore? She was bouncing around, making a spectacle of herself, with her boobs just flying in the faces of everyone there! I feel so old sometimes, but 15 year olds shouldn't be wearing something like that. So her outfit prompted Kim and I to start pointing out trashy looking outfits and saying "I wouldn't let *my* 15 year old whore wear that!" hahaha


I was a bit hungry at that point, so I stopped and grabbed a burger and fries and Kim got some sort of pastry thingie that was only 75 cents! The burger and fries were ordinary, and the employees did not seem attentive at all. I stood at the window for probably 30 seconds while the cashier finished her personal conversation before she took my order.


Next we walked over and rode Garfield's Nightmare again, this time forgoing the glasses. Kim wanted to ride the carousel next, so we headed back over that way. As we watched it, she told me about coming there as a kid and always racing to get the patriotic horse, and how she named it Susan, after Susan B. Anthony. So once we started loading, I casually walked my way around and jumped up on the horse next to the patriotic one. She seemed very happy that I'd let her ride her favorite horse! It was a very pretty carousel, with a very cool music box whateveryoucallit in it.


It was nearing time for the park to close, so I wanted to make sure to get in one more ride on both the Thunderbolt and Phantom's Revenge since I hadn't reridden those. We passed Thunderbolt first, so we hopped on for another fantastic ride. We went over to Phantom's Revenge next, and again, it was a knock your socks off ride. After the ride, we had about 10 minutes until the park closed, and Kim asked if there was anything else I wanted to ride again. Knowing she didn't care for Phantom's Revenge that much, I said no, that we could leave. But she says "You wanna ride Phantom's Revenge again?" So I say "Ok, you twisted my arm!" and we ran off to get one last ride on it. I'm gonna miss this ride so much! I wish every park had a ride this fantastic!


When we left, I figured I'd stop in a gift shop and see about picking up a Kennywood t-shirt since I'd really enjoyed the park. But right at the stroke of 10:00, all the lights went off, the music went off, the metal doors to the shops were closed and all the employees left! It was absolutely deserted by the time we were halfway out of the park. Kennywood doesn't mess around about their closing time! It was like "Hope you had a nice day! Now get out!"


We headed back to Kim's house, where we perused the photos from Cedar Point and Geauga Lake, and pretty soon it was bedtime since we were both pooped.


Me with..uh...I forget his name. He's been in the park since it opened in 1898.


Laffin' Sal. Captivating like a car wreck.


We couldn't decide which was worse...the skirt or the sombrero.


Julie and Kim are stoked about their Lil' Phantom credit!


Julie eats fried Oreos with Leo, the sucky bear.


Kim gives the Racer two thumbs up!


Julie is proud to present...Kennywood!


Julie loves Idlewild!


Julie is way more stoked about this ride than anyone should ever be!


Me with all the Mr. Rogers plush I couldn't afford to buy.


The Hug-N-Song finale of the Neighborhood of Make Believe trolley ride. Absolutely, the highlight of my trip!


The Idle-Wild Mouse weaving through the tees.


Shh...don't tell Idlewild I stood on a park bench to get this photo!

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