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East Coast Photo TR - Updated Page 6

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Hi all, thought I would share my pics from a trip that I have wanted to take for at least 10 years and finally decided to go for it. Appx 10 East cost parks in 16 days (weather permitting, it's rained all day today). First on the list was Kings Dominion (5/15/10). Flew into BWI (yes, a bit far off, but there is a method to my madness) and took a grueling 3 hour drive on a Saturday to Doswell. Traffic scared me far worse than anything KD could put together for Halloween, lol.


Got to the park at 6:30 and this is what we got



You know you are at a "Kings" park when you have fountains!


The new Planet Snoopy sign


Repainted water works or whatever it's called. Too bad it wasn't in operation, it was certainly hot enough, around 85 at the high. Not sure I can dig the colors.


Hmm, what do we have here....could it be what I flew 1k miles to hop onto??


Sure is! I305 - but look at that line!!! Think I'll come back later. After asking around, I got wait time responses of 1.5 to 2 hours.


A better shot of the line.


The line for the volcano was equally as long. I can wait until tomorrow to ride it. For now, I'll head to the back of the park and work my way to the front.


The wheel at sunset. Didn't Americana have a logo last year on the spindel? I could be mistaken.


There's this flying contraption, old school yes, fun, sort of.


hmmmmm how was it you get to grizzly??


over here?


or over here?


ahhh over here


no waiting!! everytime i have come to KD, the back of the park is always empty, good for me.


hmmmmm, what do we have here, a re-ride access point perhaps? I don't know for sure, but that's what I made it. Wish I hadn't, rode the front car, hands in air at tunnel, hand slapped entrance to tunnel, couldn't feel fingertips for 8 hours, bruised badly, still hurts, but not broken. The yellow train if I remember correctly was feshly painted tho, looked great.


the diner.


after hurting my hand, i went to the huler at sunset, and I felt let hurling even before I got on the ride, but a coaster ride made some of the pain go away...


Richochet, one ride I don't like, too jerky for me, and I like most rides. Drop tower ready to let loose.


Speaking of Drop Tower, got stuck at the top of that dude last June for about 20 minutes before they started to winch us down, was cool at first, but when you are up there you are thinking, what if they have to attach a harness to us and, and, and....but they did a great job of keeping us all calm (someone shook a gate too much and the ride went into e-stop, special thanks fo whoever that was)


everybody say OH YEAH!!!!


This side is getting some TLC, but no worries, the other side is up and running with little lines.


and now up to the Dominator


decieded to see what my cheap don't care if I loose or damage it camera will do. I'm trained professionally as a photog and would normall use multi flash points for this stuff


zooming by in a blur




and again, not bad for an el-cheapo camera!!


I got in line for I305 at 9:45. The line was still long, but shorter than in the pic above. The line started at the entrance to the ride queue and took 45 minutes to ride. The crew was hoping and didn't skip a beat, so if you come to ride and see the line that long, you will know about how long it will take. They didn't have a single rider line and the front row line was non existent until you got in the station. It doesn't seem like they did a lot of pre-planning on the queue side on this ride, or in what is becomming typical CF fashion, they are not spending much money on ride stations anymore at their non "flagship" parks. they had all the front row riders stand against the rail while those who didn't want to wait had to squeeze by them, literally. No attendant at the entrance to the station directing traffic was also casuing some confusion. But, despite killing my hand, it was a good, quick, 3.5 hours with a friendly staff.


Anyway, enough of my soap box, I have a real treat in store for day two. Went to Busch Gardens and have some pictures that will blow your minds. Stay tuned. Hope to have that out by Wed. of this week.

Edited by chadster
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Ok, I promised something big, and here I will start. My journey has next taken me to Busch Gardens Europe (Williamsburg) 5.16.10. And led me to arrive at the park at 7:30 AM, the toll takers had not even arrived at the parking lot. So, why did I show up so early? A behind the scenes coaster tour! So, lets get started.



Way early in the morning


Here we are in the maintenace bay of the lock ness, an arrow inter-locking coatser.


A wheel that was perviously found during testing, no park guests were on the ride I'm told


Born on date? Nope, this is the date that the wheel can be used. The material the "tire" is made of must cure. The wheels on the lock ness are cured in the sun for many days.


The dogs and sample of chain.


These are parts from a former BG coaster, the python I think they said. The mechanics said you could build an entire train from the parts here which will ensure the lock ness runs for a good while longer.


The train from under beneath the station


Here is one of the mechanics, Willie, showing us how the block brakes work. He also told us that the trains would not see the maintenance shed again until the end of season unless a major problem occurs. All maintenance will occur while on the storage tracks.


The control panel. On this ride, my tour guides tell me the operator can send the train whenever, a computer won't prevent them from sending the train if the one ahead has not cleared the second lift hill/breaks.


Trains awaiting us to ride them.


And a close up of the 1st lift hill motor.


Thats me on the left, our tour guide, Bill, is in the center giving us the history behind the loop and installation. He tells me they had a six foot tollerance on where the footers for the ride portion over the water. Arrow said they could "make it work." All of the steal was welded onsite.


That's it for the Lock Ness. Next we moved on to Griffon....

Edited by chadster
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I was half way thru updating the Griffon portion of the tour when my internet connection dropped, not to mention, Tornado's are in my home town with one spotted less than a mile from my house, hope it's still there when I get back....Anyway, here is Griffon.


Here is a shot of the lift hill that you won't get everyday, it's from a ride restricted area.


going up


and up


Ding Ding, Mezzanine Level! And a shot of the chain. The chain extends over for multiple reasons, one of which is to push the train around to the blocks right before the drop.


The train sitting in the blocks. Did you know the train wasn't orginally designed to be floorless?


It was made floorless to remove weight as the design BG requested made it to heavy to fly.


Proof I was there, taken by our personal photographer


Train sitting in storage. Here's an interesting fact. The wheels on these trains are similar to those on lock ness in that they too must be cured, only they are more or less placed in hot water for a period of time.


Trains are also stored each night on a rail on a set of wheels that are located on the edges of the trains The mechanics tell me that B&M procedure is to take the train off the track when not in use. This is to prevent the equiv of a flat spot in your passenger vehicle that sits to long. It places uneeded wear and tear on the ride and helps it keep it's smooth feel.


We got to watch them add a train to the track. A last minute call was made to run all three after attendance projections went up.


Sliding into place


Time to test, another shot you can only get from the ride restricted area.


Here are the dogs on the train. Cars 1 & 3 are of a normal setup, train 2 is place backwards. This backwards mounting allows the train to be caught by the chain before the drop thus giving you the feeling of hanging out before the drop.


The control panel. Complete with touchscreen. This setup uses a double pressure switch method by the operator to dispatch as well as the button the loaders have to use. The screen tells the operator what gates are open and who is pressing their respective dispatch buttons. Also, all of the restricted gate entries have sensors as do the air gates, and if they are tripped the ride goes into e-stop.


One thing I did not know, the scoops on the back end of the coaster weren't designed on purpose to get people wet and was an unintended feature that was become what the dive coasters are most famous for. They were put in as a method of slowing the train down. So...it has a very mechanic purpose. The original scoopes sprayed water so far that they had to be redesigned. Currently they have three different angles to choose from.


Next, we are going over there, to take a look at another B&M coaster...

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Next we moved on to Alpengeist.


Sparkling clean maintenance bay. The mechanic has been responsible for this ride for over 10 years and worked for BG over 20 years and believes to keeping things neat and in it's place. Two thumbs up Bill! (yes, two Bill's)


motors used to push and pull the cars to and from maintenance


The wheel used. Bill tells me to have the wheels refurbished costs 500.00 and is sent out to the B&M authorized remanufacturer in california. A new one I am told costs around 2700.00. They refurb many many many of these throughout the season.


You might not be able to tell from the picture, but like Griffon, these trains are stored at night to reduce wear on the wheels and stored in the special side rails and not on a piece of track.


time to ride all by our selves, I love getting in the park early!!!


But first, here is mechanic Bill explaining about the rails the trains sit on when not in use and how easy they are to work on as a result.


Here we are coming back from a lap. That's Rachel in the middle, she was the photogrpaher that the park provided. To bad I'm not 21 again, because she's a sweatheart.

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Last was Appolo's Charriott. Unfortunatley, that part of the park had already opened and we weren't able to see the maintenance section as part of it is in a restricted area and once the ride is turned over, no one is allowed in besides the mechanics unless the ride is locked out. They open the park in stages to allow the gardeners to do their thing, and as you can see below, they kept the area blocked off until we went through (at least I like to think that, beacause the second we crossed, they allowed the gates to be opened.



Look!! Empty!! I'm told that only happens when the park is closed, it's a straight shot to the back of the park, well, sort of a straight shot.


Double Trains in view!!


Griffon and Alpengeist in the same pic




The Chariot's control pannel


Notice the Green, Red, and Yellow sections. The Yellow is for the mechanics, lets them know what the issue is along with an error code on a display next to the monitors. The Red section is for stopage, and the green section is for the operator. The ride lets the operator know that each row is secure.


Becuase Apollos Chariot was in operation, we didn't get many good pics, that, and our guides were able to ride with us if they chose. I talked Rachel into riding this with me, which wasn't too hard. It's a great ride, the turn is a nice twist.


Our tour guide, Bill, was training to operate the Chariot and Rachel was training to operate Griffon while not giving tours which added to their knowledge. Both were fantastic and I can't thank them enough for their hospitality. I plan on writing to BGE(W) to express my grattitude to them for giving the best service possible. Sure, we paid for it, but they made the expeience even better and deserve to be recognized. We also recieved reserved parking less than 500 feet from the gate, which was a huge plus because after all the walking, I was beat. The tour was only scheduled for 3 hours, but lasted almost 4, something they didn't have to do.


Riding these rides empty versus full makes a huge difference, Alpengeist was much smoother empty than full and Griffon was much faster (which by the way I am told when they put on all new wheels, a Griffon train picks up mucho speed)


After 7 hours at the park, time to make the short drive back to Kings Dominion and take care of some unfinished business there.

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I drove back to KD and rode a few more things...


With only one ride in on I305, and 1k miles travled, I was riding again darn it.


Rode once, then the ride went down. The Silver train was draging something up the lift hill making a gosh awful noise, sounded like a rollback was broke and dragging.


so...they took it off the track


backing up


and up


and done, the mechanics then started giving it a once over.


time for the volcano, it was down too, so....


I decided to ride this bobsled thingy, actually, I think it's a better ride than the single pod ride at SFoT. If it were only longer.


ooooo scarey. NOT, but it does whip you around.


back to 305 where they were still working on the silver train


I never one blacked out or greyed out on this ride, vision blurred a little when coming back up the top of the first hill, but other than that, A-OK. did hear a little people say they were blacking out, but think it was more of a grey out.

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Nice photos. I love looking at other b&m control panels compared to hulk where i work. I was so confused when i saw the yellow console on apollos chariot. Also was wondering how can loch ness monster send a train without it clearing a block section. Does the lift hill slow it down?

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Great question. The lockness is a 20+ year old coaster, built during a period when computerized controls didn't do much, but of course it has been modernized somewhat. The lift hill does vary it's speed, however, I'm told if the op doesn't pay attention to when he/she sends the train, it could stop at any break point during the ride making for some unhappy riders. So in other words, there isn't any signal that it's safe to send the next train to ensure an uninterrupted ride

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Tbcoasterfan: No problem, writing it down also helps me relive the experience!! Raptor eh? Another fine product by B&M.


Yep Raptor didn't have any touch screens or seperate controls for maintenance. IT was all on the one panel, however maintenance had a special override key they could stick in where they could operate the ride in "manual mode." And then of course under Raptors station there is the computer control room, a bunch of lockers for ride ops, and a garage area where they store the big water tank on the trailer that they use to pressure wash the midways.

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man it would be so awesome to check our a behind the stage tour of a park. How do you do that?


The best way is to become a member of TPR or ACE and travel with them on pre-planned outings as the parks often take the clubs on tours. As far as I have come up with only Busch Gardens (Tampa and Williamsburg-Eurpoe) offer a paid tour.

Edited by chadster
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Okie Dokie, it's off to Hershey (5/19/10) for chocolate and coasters, what a combination!! I just hope they have the water hose standing by



So after 15.00 in turnpike fees from Atlantic City inlcuding 4.00 to cross a bridge, WTF???? I happily paid my 10 bucks to park and started my journey.




I know which way I'm headed :)


Nice, reminds me of Univeral Stuidos before you enter their park.


Enough looking around, time to go in.


Hey look, they have healthy foods, so, does that mean if you eat a mushroom burger and a chocolate bar it neutralizes the weight gain?


They have a nice carousel


and crustations.


and of course fudge.


but enough of that, it's time for the comet.


up up and away.


The station sort of reminds me of ZINGO, RIP


Come on Blitzen you can do it! (If you don't remember what Christmas movie that's from, I'm sorry)


The Super's station, love the chain instead of drive wheels to move it along.


Look! A natural waterfall!


Time for me some bear.


This is waaayyy better in my opinion than that contraption at universal, the hollywood rip ride and it's always brokedown when i'm there rokit. No breakruns in the course, nice airtime, and even nicer first drop.


the cat i thought was mighty rough for GCI trains.


if you look close, you can see them testing the pumps out on the giant water slide.


i needed the credit....


I love these rides when they play music, and this one does, the thump of the bass and the energy of the music is what makes these rides rock.


one lightening train, no waiting.


I picked the first weekday opening of the season to come because of the light crowds, the forecast for rain helped keep even more people away, and thus, many outlets were smartly closed. And to be honest, they could have closed more things.


Probably the best looking boomerang I have seen, the train looks emaculate.


hey look, a mini top thrill dragster!


and it has a catwalk already attached....maybe something Knott's shoulda had in place....


I needed the credit....not the best mine train ride ever built, but it counts, and I was the only one riding it

Edited by chadster
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Hershey was a cool park, disappointed that the make your own candy bar wasn't open, had something special in mind for my boss. Other than that, they have a really nice selection of rides from thrillers to whimpy. I had never been on a whip before and that was quite interesting. Also got to hear Bon Jovi warming up for the concert held at the arena Wed. night, so that was a bonus. I found the great bear to be a fun ride, but a little boring too, nothing compares to my Patriott!!!!


Would highly recommend that anyone who has not been, to put it on the bucket list. Just be sure to have a twenty spot for the toll roads.

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I really liked the photo's of the behind the scenes coaster tour. I recently visited BGE for my first time and I never knew about the tour until I was at the park and by that time it was too late. I'm hoping to return there next year and do it.

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Nice pictures, it's rare to see Hershey that empty. I can't believe they were running 1 train on each side of Lightning Racers and on top of that they had rows closed off. The station looked empty but based on past trips, they are hesitant to open empty rows even if crowds pick up a little.

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I think that Americana always had a logo in the center, just on the other side. I really need to hit both KD and Busch again and get my I305, Dominator and Griffon credits in (it's been since 2004/05 since I've been to both). Nice pics by the way. I'll be at HP in two weeks myself, can't wait!

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Great report...thanks for sharing the behind the scenes at BGE. I would LOVE to do that sometime...and of course, take a TPR trip with behind the scenes awesomeness as well!


Interesting that the Turkey Hill ice cream parlour by Lightning Racer was also closed on Labor Day weekend when we were there last year. It was 80 freakin' degrees and sunny on a holiday weekend! Not sure why this place wouldn't be open...


Also, I fully agree with your assessment on Fahrenheit and HRRR. While they are two different coasters from two different manufacturers, Fahrenheit is by far the better coaster. I can see HRRR getting very rough in the next few years...maybe even like the epic fail coaster at New York, NY in Vegas!

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