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Photo TR: Waldameer Opening Day 5/8/2010


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My mother-in-law wanted to go to a baby shower in Erie, Pa. on Sat. May 8th but since she is disabled from a stroke in 2001 she depends on others to get her around. Since I am a selfless soul I volunteered to drive 5+ hours so she could attend said baby shower. But hey, isn't there an amusement park in the area with a highly regarded roller coaster on the premises? Well that should give me something to do in the interim.

 

Arrived at the park to traffic lights being out and wind driving the rain across the roadway. By the time I parked the rain had pretty much stopped for the day but that wind had staying power. Speaking of power the park had none from the time I arrived just before 1 pm until about 45 minutes later.

 

I got about 10 rides on the Ravine Flyer II which of course was the reason for visiting the park. I actually wanted to try some flats but didn't relish the idea of riding the Tilt-a-Whirl by myself. I don't mean just alone in my car, I mean no one else on the ride. Or any ride. Pretty much people rode RFII.

 

Saw two groups of 3 teens each whom I believe were locals, the rest appeared to be people who made the trek as coaster _________s. Use any description you like.

 

As someone who loves Knoebels I will be looking for an excuse to get back to Waldameer. When I was in my 20's I would've frowned upon parks like these, poo-pooing the somewhat local Williams Grove in favor of Hersheypark but I now appreciate the value these parks have. I even took a detour off the interstate on Sunday just to drive over to Conneaut Lake to lament it's present state. Support these smaller parks while you can, they offer a better family experience than most larger parks could even dream of.

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Yeah, I'm at the right place.

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Get used to the crowds, I had to.

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Never been on a ride of this nature and I still haven't been. It never opened.

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Got one ride, wanted another but it was a really long walk. Oh wait, nothing is a long walk in this park.

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I really enjoyed this little wood coaster. What a great first coaster it would be for the youth of America.

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As a fourth grader I busted a front tooth when my brother slid into me on this ride and my mouth met the side. As someone in my mid 20's reaching out to touch a friends hand in a passing car we caught our arms so hard mine whipped back so hard I've had arthritis ever since. This is my ride of death...it's been awhile since we've danced together.

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There were more statues in the park of patrons than there were patrons.

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Honestly I don't believe there were more than 30 people in the park.

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Come out, come out, where ever you are!

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This is about 4 in the afternoon. The park was going to be open till 8 but shut down at 5. I was impressed they stayed open that long. I've read reports of bigger parks packing it in earlier than that with low crowds.

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I would've been interested in this ride but no power when I took this photo and never got back there again.

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Take notice of the flags on top of the lift hill, awfully stiff. Just brutal winds once you cleared the trees to the left of the lift hill.

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Lake Erie was a bit choppy. On my second ride which was my first in the back seat I was admiring the lake when I practically got ripped out of my seat as the rear of the train got pulled over the hill.

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This was the next to last ride of the day. Trains didn't go out much fuller than this all day. Got off, walked around, got back on. Oddly they only ran one train all day.

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I was so hoping they would send us out like this but about 3 more folks showed up.

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I got the wristband which has a SKU that you scan at each ride. Here is where you can get the new Wally cards that can be reloaded with points ($1 a point) that you also scan at each ride. Each ride has a point value that will be deducted from your card. If you buy certain benchmark amounts when you reload they give you bonus points. Like 100 points bought at once gives you 115 total. I don't know if this will be faster at each ride or not but missing the fumbling for tickets like I'm sure you did previously must be helpful.

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The parking lot when I got back about 4:15 after picking up my mother-in-law, dropping her off at the hotel and racing back to brave the crowds.

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Wearing shoes and shirts was not a tough decision for me this day.

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I chose layers of clothing.

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Stopped at a TA truck stop where the sign hanging on the Buckhorn restaurant stated that 'it's not homestyle if you can't have seconds'. So if I wanted another sandwich after this two pattie, 14 ounce beast I could've gotten one, no charge. But you couldn't take any of your seconds with you, had to be eaten there.

Edited by gisco
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Such a selfless soul. It just goes to show that if you are nice to others good things will happen to you.

 

I couldn't agree with you more about the allure of these older traditional amusement parks.

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I couldn't agree more about Waldameer. I absolutely loved this place when I visited last year. Ravine Flyer II and Steel Dragon made for a great one-two punch, and Comet was one of the best junior woodies I've been on.

 

I'm glad you had a good time and thanks for the trip report.

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^ From Pittsburgh it's probably a good 2 1/2 hours; assuming you don't get lost which happens to me even though I've been going up to Erie all my life. Just make sure you turn at the second to last right at the end of I-79. I only say this because it's easy to take the wrong ramp and it will send you in the opposite direction of the park. The biggest piece of advice you can get is to look for "Presque Isle;" not Waldameer because if you find Presque Isle you'll definitely find Waldameer,

 

Great trip report; by the way, and I am surprised that they would run the coaster with the wind being like that, but then again they did run the coaster during a thunderstorm on Robb's video, so what the hell, right?

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The infamous ending of I-79. "don't get lost"

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Wow, seemed like a common theme at parks over the past few days. Love Waldameer. It's amazing with crowds and has that true traditional feel and hey, Ravine Flyer II isn't too shabby!

 

I remember stopping by on the way to CP, but you could easily spend a day there.

 

Thanks for sharing.

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I so want to ride RFII, and to check out another classic park like Waldameer.

 

Someday soon I will.

 

How far of a drive from Kennywood or Cleveland is it?

 

If memory serves me correct from last year, it was about 2 hours from the airport in Cleveland and 2 1/2 hours from Kennywood. It's really not that bad, but I would have a GPS or a mapquest printout handy.

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Add one more to the list of people who are a fan of these smaller traditional parks. I agree they offer a great family experience above what you get at many larger parks. I loved Waldameer when I was there in 2006 even before they had their signature coaster. Great report!

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Waldameer is such a great little park! I'll admit that I didn't even know the park existed until 2007, and the first time I actually visited the place was when Ravine Flyer II opened up. I am so jealous that you basically had ERT on RVII... there seems to always be a 20 or 30 minute wait when I go!

 

The Tom Ridge Environmental Center across the street is pretty cool as well and should definitely be checked out if you are into nature or history of Erie/Great Lakes.

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I fully agree with you on all acounts, except for the fact that I haven't been up to Waldameer yet. I want to though...maybe I can make a weekend out of CP-Waldameer or something.

 

Anyways, first things first, I <3 Knoebels! Awesome atmosphere, great service, sweet rides, and of course if you'd seen my avatar or sig, you would know that Phoenix is hands down my favorite coaster ever! I fully support small parks though. I've been working Coney Island Cincinnati for what will be my 5th year now, while I could have just as easily worked at Kings Island or something. Just because a park has new fantastic rollercoasters, or has some fancy dark ride doesn't make it better than small parks. Its a case of quality vs quantity. I love Cedar Point as much as the next guy, and am fortunate enough to live a few hours away so I can go a few times a year, but I'd say one of my favorite local parks has to be Strickers Grove. It doesn't matter how tall and fast Dragster is, it can't beat the epic airtime of Tornado.

 

That being said, Waldameer looks really cool from the pics you posted. Its a shame it was so baren that day.... I hope I can make it up there sometime.

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Nice trip report!

 

It's too bad that the weather in Western New York and Pennsylvania was so cold and windy for the park openers. Especially after March and April were so nice! The wind has been particularly strong almost every day for the last couple of weeks - I am sure that would make for some interesting rides on RFII though!

 

I know the Buckhorn restaurant/travel plaza where you ate...I stop there just about every time I go to Erie to fill my gas tank. Better to pay $2.89 for gas than the $3+ in NY!

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Quick question to any Waldameer locals/fans. About how long does it take to get through everything on a friday? I'm going to see if I can convince my parents to let me have an extra travel day this week to go up there. (CP on thursday then drive up to Waldameer for some motel, hit the park friday and try to make the 4 hour drive to Bowling Green OH). Any suggestions?

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I have fond memories of my 2008 visit to Waldmeer, there is definitely a place in my heart for these traditional amusement parks, and RFII is a near death experience - just the way I like my coasters. Those quirky old school rides like Whacky Shack and Pirate's Cove are too much fun as well.

 

I wonder if that dictionary definition of entertainment - Trevor, is still there doing Retro-active?

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^^ You should be able to hit up everything on a Friday and still be able to get in plenty of rides on RFII. The park is open from 10:30-7:30, with the water park opening later and closing earlier (if you're interested in that).

 

Luckily, the weather is supposed to warm up...75 and cloudy for Friday.

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^Do you have any recomendations for lodgings for a poor college student thats starting up another season of being a ride operater in a few weeks? I can go this friday as long as I find a place to stay thursday night.

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^ The website has a listing of all nearby hotels...being that I only live 45 minutes from the park, I have never stayed at any of them. There is one almost right next to the park that looks like it might be reasonable, but it might be a little on the ghetto side.

 

Lodging

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Yeah I saw those, but none of the sites actually list pricing for anything! I kind of think the Riviera would work, but I dont really understand the room and Waldameer combo, since Waldameer runs a pay-per-ride, or wristband deal.

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Hmmmm...unless they just give you a voucher for a wristband?

 

Too bad you don't have camping equipment, you could just pitch a tent down on the beach at Sara's Campground (right below Waldameer on Lake Erie). We did this a couple of years ago and had a blast, plus it was very cheap. You would definitely need to get there early though on Friday though as spots fill up fast and I believe they only let so many tenters set up on the beach.

 

Anywho...hope you enjoy your day and find a nice place to stay! If you're looking for a decent place to eat neaby, Joe Roots is a pretty nice place on Peninsula Drive, but if you are into an awesome selection of draft beer and decent food, try the Sandbar across the street.

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I'm not that big of a drinker, but might be something to check out thursday night. Of course, unless I leave CP early I'd be getting to Erie around 10:30ish...

 

Housing wise, I'm looking at a few places around Presque Isle. I think the key right now is that I'll be arriving in the dark, so it would be nice to find the place easily...

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