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Skycoastin' Steve's 2011 Season Extravaganza!!


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This may be one of my favorite stops on the trip when I consider the night before at Uno and the hotel (with the drinking and video show) and the day in the park. There was so much I enjoyed about this day at Great Escape. Comet was a fun little wake up that morning, the park itself was a pleasant surprise, the pictures of Piers looking like he wants to vomit on Comet still make me laugh, they had a S&S tower themed to Sasquatch, which Steve and I are, and the horribly bad skycoaster which hurt like hell for me....the day was just perfect.

 

Oh, and they had a cat with a fish on the carousel!

 

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Fun way to end the trip with some of my new favorite people.....Kim, Neil, Phillip and Ian!

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It's great to see so many of you guys enjoy my old home park of 21 years, before I moved to the land where Wizards and anti-semetic mice rule the theme parks.

 

The Great Escape has always been a pretty classic, charming park, and they actually restored some of their old charm this year that they had lost for a while, by dumping most of the Six Flags corporate branding and going back to their old roots by bringing back some of the Storytown USA characters and houses to the park.

 

A few years back, I think you guys would have enjoyed it even more, as there used to be a Huss Rainbow where the Sasquatch S&S towers now sit, the Blizzard Scrambler used to be inside a dome with strobe lights, the Flying Elephants from The Golden Kingdom at SFGAdv sat where the Blizzard is now, there was a Schwarzkopf Jet Star in the now-storage Nightmare building, and the park also had a Trabant in front of the Skillet building in Fest Area.

 

The Comet has always been a great old classic woodie, and I'm really glad to see Alpine Bobsled spared from the scrap yard despite having a few rough runs into the brakes. The waterpark is also great for a park of it's size, and they're adding a proslide KrakenRacer and Trapdoor slide tower next year. They have been throwing around the idea with getting something new into the Nightmare building for a few years, but the park definitely has some funding issues with corporate Six Flags.

 

Did you guys get a Q&A session with anyone from the park's management at all? Don McCoy, the Park President, is a super nice and knowledgeable guy to talk to.

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More great shots of a park I had so many chances to visit and never did... serious fail on my part.

 

The Comet looks great and it's so awesome all that storybook weirdness is there. And Sasquatch has to be the most original name for a freefall ride ever.

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This may be one of my favorite stops on the trip when I consider the night before at Uno and the hotel (with the drinking and video show) and the day in the park. There was so much I enjoyed about this day at Great Escape. Comet was a fun little wake up that morning, the park itself was a pleasant surprise, the pictures of Piers looking like he wants to vomit on Comet still make me laugh, they had a S&S tower themed to Sasquatch, which Steve and I are, and the horribly bad skycoaster which hurt like hell for me....the day was just perfect.

 

Fun way to end the trip with some of my new favorite people.....Kim, Neil, Phillip and Ian!

 

 

Hahaha! This was probably my favorite overall day too (not to be confused with a day that I wear overalls...that's different). It was nice and non-hectic and I got to hang out with my new favorite people too.

 

That day (and the night before) was so much fun! It was one of my favorite days of the trip. I had a blast hanging out with my favorite people as well! I miss you guys so much.

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So we have reached the end of the 2011 TPR Northeast USA Trip. I think I've said it in other threads, but it really was everything it was hyped up to be, especially since it was my first TPR trip and I've heard so many good things about them. I met some of the finest people I've ever known during that week, and hopefully some friends I'll keep for life! A few special shout outs to Jen (you know how awesome you are), Neil and Kim (best Q-Bot group ever!), Brian and John (thanks for the leg room seats!), Philip and Ian (it took too long for us to start hanging out during the trip!), Gary and Kerry (awesome Carolinians!), David and JP (always good for some comic relief!), and then others like Shawn, Piers, Garbels, TPDave, Canadian Nick, KCSteve, Roxy, Caesar, and so many others who provided countless memorable moments during the trip. Not to mention Robb and Elissa who put together one kickass trip for us! If I forgot your name, it's not on purpose, I had a blast with you all! Even if I don't do a trip next year, I'll be back doing them again in 2013.

 

 

Now that I've gotten the mushy stuff out of the way, Jen and I still had some traveling to do on our own. We made a quick stop by Great Adventure to finish off Jen's credit collection and ride El Toro a few times. I didn't take any pictures of note there since I already did a report on the park back in May. After we got Jen the rest of her credits at SFGAd, we made the quick drive to Sesame Place to pick up the junior Vekoma credit there. The nice thing about Sesame Place is that it's a Busch property, and we have Busch platinum passes, so we saved quite a few bucks on that credit run! We really didn't explore the park too much, considering it was very crowded, very hot, and very.......strange. I'm not sure if it was the fatigue or what, but we were both rather creeped out by the place. Thankfully the credit was in the front of the park and we didn't have to venture too far to get to it. We did have to wait half an hour (yeah, did I mention it was crowded?), but we pretty much left immediately after we got off the ride. I only took a few pictures, as well, but I'll share them.

 

Next report will be Dutch Wonderland and Dorney Park, thanks for reading! As always, comments are appreciated!

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I loved Sesame Street when I was a kid, but I wasn't prepared for what lie ahead......

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People like to call me Big Bird, but my feet are bigger than his. You know what they say about big feet.......

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Entrance and stuff.

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Big Bird in his nest and Mr. Snuffleupagus pole dancing?

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Elmo waving and Cookie Monster looking at two people at once.

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Kiddie coasters themed to Grover immediately get the Skycoastin Steve Stamp of Approval.

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Artsy lift hill shot.

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I will say, this coaster had some decent forces for being tiny.

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In fact, I'd take it over most other Vekoma offerings.

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I think the joke is obvious.

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We have discovered the 10th planet, named Thesun.

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Grover flying away.

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We decided to ride in the "un-planet," Pluto.

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Super Grover!

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Kiddie helix of death!

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Another eclipse. The world must be ending!

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The cars looked like little spaceships. How cute.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah. "Twisty."

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"Yeah, Oscar, you're a grouch!"

 

".....Bitch, I live in a f***ing trash can!"

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Elmo can't wait for Christmas, and I can't wait to get out of here........

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  • 2 weeks later...

So after reaching the end of the TPR NE Trip, Jen and I still had a little bit of traveling to do. We had tons of credits left for her to get in Pennsylvania, and I was happy to be her tour guide throughout the state! On Friday, we woke up early in Allentown and headed down to Lancaster for Dutch Wonderland (which was actually new for me, as well).

 

Dutch Wonderland was our third kiddie park in as many days (Magic Forest and Sesame Place were the others), but this one was a little different than the other two. The park itself has been around for a while, and has a real "rural" feel to it (obviously, being in Dutch country). It's home to CCI's first ever coaster, a first-generation simulator ride, a kiddie coaster, a monorail, and a host of other children's attractions. I'm sure the place has decent food, but I don't think we tried any of it (at least I don't remember trying any of it). Kingdom Coaster, CCI's first creation, is actually a really good family woodie. It had some surprising moments of airtime in various parts of the ride, and was still pretty smooth despite being almost 20 years old. They just need to do something about the color scheme. The only other notable attraction was the first-generation simulator, which basically consisted of hilariously bad 70s animations and rocking VERY slowly back and forth. We still got a huge kick out of "riding" it. Not too much else to report on, it was a pretty park and we enjoyed our brief stay there.

 

Once we got back to Allentown, it was time to hit up Dorney Park for Jen's further credit stockpiling. I've been to Dorney several times now, and I always end up enjoying myself there. There's not a ton of atmosphere to speak of in the park, but the staff is always friendly, and the operators always keep the lines moving quickly (which was nice after going to four Six Flags parks and Morey's Piers on this trip). As many of you know, Dorney has sort of been the Cedar Fair dumping grounds as of lately, and it's a shame. It's in a populated enough area where it could sustain big crowds on a regular basis if it got brand new attractions, rather than used ones. I know its water park is a big draw, but we didn't go in there this time.

 

As far as coasters go, Dorney is all about its three "biggest" rides, which are Talon, Steel Force, and Hydra. You could include Possessed in there, but since it's relocated, I don't really count that as one of its big rides. After those four, the selection is pretty weak, with a wild mouse, kiddie coaster, and one of the worst woodies in the country. If there's anything Dorney needs BIG time, it's a high-quality woodie. Thunderhawk is awful, and I know Hercules wasn't much better (although I never rode it). Talon remains one of the best B&M inverts in the country, Steel Force is a tamer version of Magnum, and Hydra is not as good as I remember it. I think Hydra is a unique and quirky coaster, it just seems to have gotten more lackluster as time has gone on. Still love the jo-jo roll though. Possessed is what it is, a single-twist Intamin impulse with a holding brake (and actually pretty fun).

 

All in all, Dorney is still an enjoyable park going experience for me, but it'll never be a place I go out of my way to visit until they get a MAJOR new attraction. Until then, it's a "stop by when I'm in the area since I have a platinum pass" kinda park.

 

Pictures on the way, thanks for reading and please comment!

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The day began at Dutch Wonderland.

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Quaint little castle entrance to the park.

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"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures..........and the Dutch!"

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Kingdom Coaster, who picked the color scheme?

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Not big, but fun anyway. That's what she said.

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Everybody's having a fun time.

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As I said before, this ride had some good moments of airtime. Nothing like Wooden Warrior, but still good.

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Take the tun--oh wait, tunnel's over.

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I was disappointed to find out that this pretzel was not edible.

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This coaster looks like it belongs at Funtown Splashtown next to Excalibur.

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For those of you who don't know, this coaster opened as "Sky Princess," but too many little boys refused to ride it because of the name, so the park went with something a little more gender neutral.

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Obligatory lift hill shot.

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The park had a monorail that offered some nice views.

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I've seen the statue of liberty in NYC, Magic Forest, and now Dutch Wonderland. It's everywhere!

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The monorail weaves through parts of Kingdom Coaster.

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Anybody think this castle is bigger than the one at Disneyland?

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The park mascot is some Barney wannabe.

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I did love the method they used for height measurement, right up there with the Hersheypark candy bar measurements!

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One word: epic.

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This kinda made me nauseous.

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Jen using the "Princess" bathroom.

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Time for Dorney Park!

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And one of my favorite inverts, Talon!

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This helix is probably the best part of the ride. I think I may have grazed a bush with my finger at one point. That's what he said.

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Ten years old and still a fantastic ride.

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First-generation Leviathan logo.

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Jo-jo roll!

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This kiddie was a tad rough.

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And even though I already had the credit, I rode it like a good sport.

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First-generation Banshee logo. Dorney even got a hand-me-down logo!

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They've repainted the ride recently, and it was looking sharp.

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We also met up with Neil and Shawn at the park, and for those of you with good eyes, you can spot them in the 3rd row (look for Shawn's hair!).

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So far this ride is has had four names, two color schemes, two locations, and a partridge in a pear tree.

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Do we have to??

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This ride just does..........nothing. It's boring and rough. I'd rather sit through four straight episodes of Jersey Shore.

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It's not even nice to look at. Blech.

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At least Steel Force is photogenic.

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The similarities to Magnum are apparent.

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New location, same old mechanical problems. It never opened that day.

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Steel Force is also in a perfect location for sunset photos, and I just happen to love taking sunset photos!

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I had to give myself a pat on the back for this one.

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Yet another S&S tower, didn't ride this one.

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Another ride that looks good at sunset.

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Weirdest looking cobra roll ever?

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Another Sunset Force pic for ya.

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I also patted myself on the back for this one.

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I always love when these turn out well.

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The final credit was the Wild Mouse, which oddly enough, had the longest line.

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Crazy eyed cat.

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The end!

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I've only been to Dorney once...years and years ago when Hercules was new (I guess I was in 7th or 8th grade). I remember enjoying Thunderhawk more than Hercules. Maybe Thunderhawk hasn't aged well (even though it was old when I rode it) but I guess that doesn't say much for Hercules.

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Ah Dorney... It's one of those "corporate" parks that still has some charm. It's certainly not a thrill park, but maybe that's why I enjoyed my stay. It's just relaxed. I didn't feel like I had to haul ass to get all my creds before the park closed. IMO, some shady spots, another woodie (GCI, I'm on my knees. Hear my call.) and this park would really blossom.

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And now for (finally) the final trip report from the MONDO vacation this summer, it's time for East Coast Bash!

 

Jen and I were at Knoebels the same day the Road to CP trip was there, but since it was raining, neither of us brought our cameras in. It was a fairly brief stay, anyway, as we just got a few rides in on the woodies, got the kiddie credit, then rode other notable rides like the Flyer, Haunted Mansion, Skooters, Whip, etc. to use up our ride tickets. We were exhausted, so we just dipped out early and got some extra sleep down in Hershey.

 

East Coast Bash was a wonderful way to end our trip, and was one of the best days period of the whole vacation. We began with ERT on Fahrenheit (still kinda meh) and Storm Runner (still OMFG good and just outside my top 5). After ERT was over, we bolted for Comet Hollow to beat the GP there, and we were able to knock out Comet and SooperDooperLooper without any wait. Neither ride is anything special, I really wish Comet wasn't trimmed up the way it is now. We also got Great Bear out of the way, and it was a little better than I remembered, but still nothing spectacular. At some point we rode Trailblazer (whatever), and soon after that it was lunch time, where Cliff and I tied (yes, it was a tie!) in the beer chugging contest. Jen also won a concept drawing of Fahrenheit for being the first person to check into the event on facebook (wonder dorks FTW!).

 

I don't think we rode Wildcat, Lightning Racer, Sidewinder, or the Wild Mouse until after lunch, but I can't remember exactly. Wildcat has continued to regress, it just gets rougher every time I come back to the park. Lightning Racer is still amazing, the best racing woodie I've been on for sure, and it's not even close. Sidewinder and Wild Mouse were typical offerings, and the new Vekoma trains on Sidewinder helped somewhat, but it's still a Boomerang.

 

We also had a backstage tour of the park, walking by the support columns that had already arrived for SkyRush (which is always cool), and getting some good "not normal" shots of Lightning Racer in the process. The rest of the day was spent re-riding Storm Runner, and getting a delicious Gyro from the food place right under the top hat. We also grabbed another lap each on Fahrenheit and Great Bear to confirm how mediocre they are. And we also rode the INSANE log flume, as well. That night, we were part of the tour groups that got to look at the hydraulic room of Storm Runner, which was REALLY cool to see. The scope and size of the engine that drives that ride is incredible, I can only imagine what TTD or KK's look like, seeing how they have two of them! We finished our night with a few night rides on Lightning Racer during ERT, which was a perfect way to end a great day at Hersheypark. That ride gets transformed into one hell of an experience when the sun goes down!

 

Alrighty, picture time. The whole album is on facebook here. As always, thanks for reading and please comment!!

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I see dancing candy bars, that must mean we are at the sweetest place on Earth!

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Chocolate river!

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I'll be back in 293 days.

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SooperDooperLooper is sooperdooperlooping.

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I love the smell of Great Bear in the morning, smells like mediocrity.

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Look at all the excited faces!

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Not one of Arrow's best offerings.

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Aw, do we have to? I do like that it's sponsored by my employers, though.

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It does boomerang-ish things.

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Brittney looks "excited." David, not so much.

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I would love to live on this corner.

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Is it just me, or should the mouse me going after a giant chocolate? Only seems fitting.

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SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!

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So THAT'S what that smell is. I thought some ACErs had snuck into lunch with us.

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I love the lack of clearance here.

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The lunch pavilion provided tons of great photo ops of Storm Runner.

283538_526475842134_110300559_30459211_4707387_n.jpg.ed36cd4d1545d5e8a25eb5e6a3844dea.jpg

Do these supports remind anyone else of empty paper towel rolls?

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A very fun portion of the ride.

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Maybe my favorite part, the airtime hill that jumps into a barrel roll. Intamin rocks.

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Goose butt!

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The man, the myth, the chocolate legend.

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This picture is brought to you by the country of Norway (nerds should get it).

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Backstage tour!

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I wasn't too excited.

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What it looks like when you peer through a bolt hole.

262453_526476156504_110300559_30459234_341791_n.jpg.60588d885adc9f6d486872093ed1d17b.jpg

Intamin offers some rather odd looking supports.

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Some weird Intamin code.

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More weird Intamin code.

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INTAMIN WATER! YUM!

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Jen is looking fabulous with her choice of Intamin supports.

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The tour also provided a great backstage look at Lightning Racer.

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Wonderfully engineered ride!

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Dorks of the world, assume the position!

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Trains!

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Weeeeeee!!

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If Lightning Racer was true to physics, lightning would always win, because lightning always comes before thunder. [/nerd]

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Is there any way to convey "meh-ness" in a picture? I've never been that impressed with this ride.

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But this picture is kinda cool.

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It also rained on and off at parts during the day. And by rain, I mean it POURED.

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This kid was having fun splashing around though.

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And I just like this one.

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Storm Runner's employee of the year!!

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We rode the Kissing Tower. Awwwww.......

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Go America!

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We went by Great Bear, winner of worst crew of the day award, and their height stick had fallen into the water. I think their sense of urgency fell into the water, as well.

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But the ride still looks great at sunset!

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But then again, most rides look great at sunset.

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I am particularly proud of this shot. We were walking under the ride when I noticed you could see the track in a puddle. So I just waited for a train to roll by, and this was the result!

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Even the most uneventful rides look great at sunset!

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Love how the park looks at night!

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I think Hersheypark gets my vote for "best night park."

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While tracer lights wouldn't work on every woodie on Earth, they work REALLY well on the Hershey woodies.

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Storm Runner also looks great at night.

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Here is the concept drawing of Fahrenheit that Jen won.

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Info in the bottom right corner, awesome stuff!

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