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Photo TR: Darien Lake Opening Day 2010


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First, a very Happy Mothers Day to all the hard working moms out there! Definitely hope you all had an amazing and well deserved day of rest and appreciation for all that you do! It is Mothers Day, combined with my mom's actual birthday that led to this TR. My mom's mother's day/ birthday gift that the family decided to buy her is only available in the US at this time. Being close the border it was delivered to a US postal box to take advantage of some free delivery goodness! It arrived this past week making yesterday the perfect day to hop over to Niagara Falls and pick it up. Since Darien Lake was only a short drive further, I thought I'd check it out for the first time. Also, the Club TPR (online only) benefit was a huge help!

 

Now, the weather in the morning was windy but the sun was coming in and out and it was starting to look promising. Unfortunately, the weather turned out to be less than ideal. Some major rides (Ride of Steel, Boomerang and Motocoaster) were closed. After entering and walking around, the forecast that anyone would hope was wrong (since the weather people always seems to be wrong these days) wouldn't come true, came true. Wind gusts up to 53 mph and relentless rain, turning into snow in the evening.

 

Regardless, it still turned out to be a fun day for any hardcore theme park fan. It was also really cool of Nick (odene497) to drive out to his home park and hang out also hoping with all hopes of hopes that the weather would take a break. I have to say, the weather was so bad and the amount of people in the park nearing the afternoon totally didn't seem to justify keeping the park open. I counted six to ten cars in the parking lot by 3pm. Kudos to Darien Lake for keeping the park open as long as they did in honor of the first day of the season! You definitely had a memorable first day that's for sure! It certainly gave quite a few of us in the park a day to remember for quite some time. The park closed only two hours early, which was remarkable given the weather.

 

Despite being not too far from Darien, this was my first trip there. The park is actually in quite a nice setting. The first thing you see from a distance is Ride of Steel It does look really impressive over the water and through the trees. It was a bummer that it was down, which only means I'll have to get back there at some point. Not sure if it rides different from Superman at SFA but would love to find out.

 

Construction of the water park expansion was moving along quickly. Water slide parts were out in the parking lot. Planters and concrete pads were being worked on.

 

Upon entering, you notice Viper – back in black baby! The ride was a lot of fun. Oh, it was also smooth as glass. Seriously. The train sounded like a European Eurostar train flying by. It was almost as smooth as Tennessee Tornado, which is quite impressive. TT is still my favourite Arrow though, along with Dragon Mountain (pure nostalgia).

 

What else was open? Well, in terms of coasters, there was The Mind Eraser and The Predator! Skipped Mind Eraser and headed for The Preditor. I've heard so many horrible things said about this ride. Yet, I rode it four times in a row and then again later in the day. My first ride was in the back seat. I figured, might was well get it over with but it was actually a lot of fun. Re-tracked? Yep. New Trains? Check. Smooth? Very. Airtime? Indeed. Fun? Oh, yes, that too. All and all, it was great after going in anticipating some serious pain and suffering. The Voyage train was giving a bit of growing pains with the lap bars not always releasing on queue but they fixed those issues up quickly. The trains looked amazing and rode very well! I wish Canada's Wonderland had a good wooden coaster, aside from the Ghoster Coaster. Yes, in it’s current form I’d welcome Predator there for sure. Oh, it was the only ride with a consistent lineup all day.

 

Darien also has a great collection of flat rides, most of which were thankfully open.

 

So, a good day all and all but will definitely have to make it back again soon when the weather is better to try out the closed attractions and maybe even to try out the water park and water rides. Oh, and yes, I think I saw two people actually ride a water ride. Insane? Perhaps. But then we were all already there wet from the rain in 53 mph winds.

 

Darien Lake: Thanks for staying open for some truly devoted fans!

 

On to some pics!

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Yes, people are on it! Here's hoping that the weather will clear but at least they run some coasters in the rain.

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Water park expansion work.

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It actually looks like a pretty substantial area.

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Oh look! Another TPR member came to hang out on this lovely day. In the meantime, Nick is trying to figure out where his arm goes.

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Oooh. A period of no rain. Yah, that lasted.

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Hey, that's normally Robb's job! The first day of the season brought out a few interviews.

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Hey fans, meet rain.

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....oh and it brought along wind.

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53 mph wind :)

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This thing is huge. I thought the one at Pigeon Forge was big until seeing this sling shot.

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The newly painted Viper. Apparently, it was originally all black to begin with back in the day?

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Loop!

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Everyone enjoying the paint job so far?

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Viper in action

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Pretzel goodness.

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Hmm? Different by design? Well I'm going to go out on a limb here but I'm thinking it used to be painted a shade of green up to the end of last season?

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As you can see, by mid afternoon, we were some of the only people at the park. It was fairly busy earlier in the morning. A great ride op training session going on here while they were waiting for people.

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Something about this ride looks quite majestic.

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A very smooth corkscrew section. Seriously.

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Viper and Ranger hangin' out. So if you're in love with these types of objects like that girl that went to Knoebels, it was quiet enough in this section to have complete privacy to you know...do your thing with the rides.

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A picture. A picture for Larry.

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Not surprisingly, Grizzly Run was closed so I couldn't get any pics of the ride itself but it seemed to be a typical water rapids ride.

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A few minds being erased.

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Love Love Huss UFOs!

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So glad we have one at Wonderland.

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Definitely a quiet day all around.

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Big fan of OCC. A bit of a bummer that the branding is gone. It's just called Motocoaster now.

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Hmm, they weren't kidding at the gate, definitely closed.

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Also closed for the day. Nick said that this has been given a new coat of paint as well. The rides all looked good.

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The scary thing is that this ride was closed all day, but the wheel was spinning. Slowly but spinning nevertheless. Yes, it was that windy.

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Ooooh, some good stuff in the background!

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Another picture! Another picture for Larry! :)

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For obvious reasons, this was closed for the day.

 

More to come in a few!

Edited by rollin_n_coastin
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Moving on to the other side of the park, we have the two big attractions - Ride of Steel and The Predator.

 

After riding and grabbing a bite to eat, the rain seemed to actually stop! Oh and it didn't rain again all night, unless you count snow.

 

In between, it was the antique cars and bumper cars (we were the only two on each of those) to keep the staff company. Then, a final ride on Viper as they announced the park would close a bit early.

 

A very unique but fun day. Definitely looking forward to going back soon to really experience it when it's a bit warmer out. Hope to update this with missed rides at that point.

 

Enjoy the rest of the pics. Thanks for checking this out.

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Oh, why do you taunt us so.

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A bit of a different perspective. Ah, still closed though.

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Now this. This was open.

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One of two PTC trains from Voyage that has found a new home in Darien Center.

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Let's get a better look at this predator shall we?

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Happy Happy Joy Joy!

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This thing was flying pretty quick.

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Screaming already? What'll happen at the top?

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Definitely a lot of fun. Not sure how to pinpoint the smoothness. Probably a combination of the trains and re-tracking.

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So this is where all the beavers went. An indoor restaurant -- very much welcomed. It might as well have been a ski lodge since the first thing we ordered was hot chocolate.

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Good food, reasonably priced and a wobbly table. Well, at least the fake sugar stuff is good for somethin'.

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We were on the hunt for gloves. This is the closest we could find and we were seriously considering buying a pair to wrap along our recently defrosted hands. It was these or a large selection of religious items mixed in with Darien Lake t-shirts.

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Ah, we just sucked it up. No gloves. Easier to control the car. This one was having some serious issues but she managed to get her started. Just had to play with the choke a bit.

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Nick got the perfectly running car.

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Miracle of miracles. Mine only stalled once at the start then managed to warm up and keep going for the entire length of the track.

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I didn't know my uncle Tony had a garage here....

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See, we made it back.

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After the park closed, we each had a bit of a drive back home so what better fuel than coffee from that friendly Canadian export, Tim Hortons? But wait, snow? In May? You bet!

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Yes, that is definitely snow. With that began the drive home. Thanks again for hanging out Nick.

Edited by rollin_n_coastin
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Gahhh, the northeast SUCKS. Excellent TR nonetheless! I NEED to ride Predator and the other Superman. Jason, with all your bad weather experiences...I'm surprised you haven't given up on us. (This TR reminds me of the time Jay drove up from Jersey just to ADMIRE S:RoS while riding Catwoman's Whip. Hahah!)

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I really wish they would change Ride Of Steel's name. It's so boring.

Agreed.

 

To me, Darian Lake has never been a park that seemed to be a good place to stop. I've only seen 2 or 3 of its 'major' rides, and I personally thought those were the only reasons to visit. However, this TR shows that it has a lot of other decent rides; Aside from RoS, Sling Shot, that huge ferris wheel, and Viper, there are a lot of other good attractions. I think I just might want to visit now.

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Jason - much appreciated.

 

Looks like a lot of Northeast parks got hit with bad weather. Rides ended up shutting down at SFGAdv and Dorney Park due to high winds on Saturday. Luckily, no snow for us.

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Thanks for the great TR - sounds like a fun day even with the crappy weather.

 

SFA is my home park and I ride Superman - ROS frequently. My son and I made a weeklong roadtrip last summer through NY, Conn and Mass hitting about 11 parks including Darien Lake.

 

Ride of Steel really freaked us out. It is almost an exact replica of our ride except it's a mirror image. After coming down the first hill, the SFA version turns to the right, Darien Lakes' turns to the left.

 

It was really creepy for us riding it. Almost like a ride out of the bizarro universe - but enough of that or SF will re-paint, add fire effects and call it a new ride!

 

I liked the Darien Lake ride just a bit better because if I recall, most of the track rode above the water. That was kind of cool.

 

Thanks again for the TR and allowing me to relive memories of a great trip to some decent coasters!

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It is really good to finally hear a positive review for Predator. While I've never been on it, its layout always made it one of the prettier looking woodies out there--and now, hopefully, an improved riding experience can go along with its appearances.

 

Thanks for sharing this. I think I'll just shut up now after thinking it was chilly here this weekend for being in the sixties with a strong breeze.

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Thanks for doing this TR Jason! That was for sure the craziest day I've had at a park, I'm glad you came over! Despite the crappy weather, the park definitely seems to be inline for a good season full of improvements. Next time we'll have to go when there's sun.

 

 

-Nick

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I enjoyed this trip report for some reason... I think it was the moistness.

 

Actually the worst conditions make for pretty memorable days. We were at Wonderland toward the end of the season last year. Super cold and super windy. I remember eating Pizza Pizza outside shivering, and it tasted sooo good. Also white water rafting in incredibly cold rains. The highlight has to be finally getting inside someplace warm or finally getting some hot chocolate to warm up. Looks like you did just that with your Timmy's stop!

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YES now it doesn't just look nice, it rides nice. Can't wait to ride it this year, last year was horrible. Was thinking about it myself of going opening day but weather and other plans came up. Also I would have been disappointed to see half the coasters closed, especially RoS. While most likely I'll just get out to the park once this summer (ever when I'm a hour away) I am really excited about it. Will be interesting to ride Viper in Black. The ride has always been a favorite of mine.

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Wait! Are you saying that they have finally fixed Predator?! It doesn't beat the crap out of you and call you naughty words anymore? Damn, I need a new least favorite wooden coaster now...

 

I would like to nominate GASM at SFOG. ...Talk about jack hammering you at the bottom of every single hill, my ride yesterday did just that.

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Oh man, I'm glad I was inside that day. It looked horrible out.

I'm really happy about Predator's new trains. Did they add the headrests themselves? They weren't on the Voyage. Doesn't matter though, I'm happy the management is following through with fixing it up.

NIce report!

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Hey everybody, thanks for the comments, really appreciate it and glad you're all liking this particular take on ' the Lake.

 

Herblackwings raises a fantastic point. Despite not having the best luck with weather during multiple visits to the Northeast, I'm determined as ever to keep trying until I have at least one visit without a drop of rain. In all fairness, these wet adventures mostly happened nearing the offseason on both ends. I don't think I would have been as happy if Predator was Catwoman's Whip though. I do remember that story about SFNE...I could feel the disappointment all the way up here!

 

Needless to say, despite the unacceptable amount of moisture, the hot chocolate and Timmy's coffee sure hit the spot.

 

As far as I remember, Superman at SFA is a mirror copy of Ride of Steel. Medic, I can totally understand how that could phase you out if you're not expecting it. I liked that Superman but I think the version at Darien looks better given that the helix is over the water. Nick has ridden both, maybe he can be so nice as to offer his take on it? haha

 

Can't wait to try RoS to compare one day soon.

 

About the headrests on the Predator trains, not really sure as I've never been on Voyage or knew what the trains looked like on it. Curious to find out though! Egads, what if they aren't trains from the Voyage after all?

 

Cheers,

J

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