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Photo TR: Megan's Maine Adventures


Pirouettes907
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EDIT again: Never mind, now it appears like it should!

 

EDIT: I believe I did something wrong in submitting this and ordering text and pictures! Is anyone else getting all the [attachment] text? Can someone tell me what I did wrong? Thanks!

 

Originally, I had it in mind to do a TR from each of the parks I visited in 2010, but at this point I've decided against it because most of the places I visited have already been covered pretty extensively (SFStL, Holiday World, Beech Bend, SFGAm, to name a few). Instead, I'm going to share my experiences on places that are covered a bit less, so without further ado, let's get things started and head up to Maine.

 

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Welcome to Maine! Home of blissful dogs...

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Amazing sunsets...

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A 1700 lb. chocolate moose named Lenny...

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Former governors who are immortalized sporting Maybelline's newest eye shadow and Falsies products...

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The other B&M factory...

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And the easternmost credit in the U.S.!

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Welcome to Palace Playland, featuring REAL clams!

Old Orchard Beach in the summer is the quintessential touristy beach town: bustling, crowded streets full of bathing suit and flip flop-clad pedestrians on their way to and from the beach, tacky souvenir and bathing suit shops lining the streets and hotels/motels everywhere you turn. All of it is permeated with the smell of deep-fried deliciousness wafting over from open-air hot dog and pizza stands.

 

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Palace Playland itself is located at the end of the road. It's essentially a cluster of portable rides on blacktop directly adjoining the beach.

Parking was a bit tricky, with both outrageously priced metered spots (25 cents for seven minutes. I don't think so) and lots. Most of what we saw of the latter were flat-rate $10 lots, but we kept looking and managed to find a quiet lot on 1st Street (about a block behind the park) whose "office" was the hatchback trunk of an SUV that charged $2 per hour. We paid for two hours, which was ample time to do what we wanted.

 

Palace Playland is a pay-as-you-go deal. You can buy all-day passes ($29.95), ticket books (20 for $22; 50 for $51) and individual tickets ($1.20 each). Rides usually cost between 2 and 4 tickets each. We opted for tickets since we weren't planning on staying very long.

 

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First stop: Super Star. This is one of my favorite flats and this version seriously ran a five-minute cycle (is this a genuine Huss Troika or not?). It came with the added thrill of the cars shuddering and swaying at various points (and by "thrill," I of course mean, "Ummm...I don't remember a TroikaTroikaTroika doing that before...hmmmm...").

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Then we began collecting the credits. First up was the Galaxi.

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After my experience on Funtown/Splashtown's...hmmm...let's call it a..."rustic" Galaxi, I wasn't expecting much from this. I was pleasantly surprised, though.

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First of all, the view ain't too shabby. (For the record, I did ask if I could take pictures during the ride. I don't have much experience in this area, so I apologize for this one being crooked.)

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Then, at the crest of this hill came this tiny, surprise pop of airtime, the kind that sneaks under your rear when you least expect it.

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Finally, the helix sections were decent on laterals without being irritating about it. Overall, a smooth, enjoyable ride!

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"DO NOT force your child to ride if he or she is frightened..."

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Orient Express, you may have the distinction of being the easternmost credit in the U.S....

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...but when my on-ride photos of you feature my 6'3" boyfriend HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE, you may be one of two things: 1) You are awesome in a Knoebel's High Speed Thrill Coaster kind of way or 2) You fall under the heading "Reasons Why Chiropractors Are Richer Than I Will Ever Be." Let's investigate.

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As the train rumbles around the lift, you can actually see (and hear) each individual car thudding from side to side. As you can imagine, this simulation of a staggering drunkard really builds up the suspense and anticipation to experience what lies ahead.

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I quickly gave up taking on-ride photos.

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Instead, I focused on the budding relationship between my ribs and that black lining in the car that's harder than it looks.

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Who needs airtime when you can have internal bleeding instead?

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Bruised and battered, our faces haggard shadows of the horror we had witnessed on our express trip to the Orient, we walked down onto the beach afterward. Palace Playland has a few pathways that connect directly to the beach.

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Seeing as it was one of the two days of the decade when the temperature in Maine nudges the 80-degree mark, it was quite crowded. Lots of people were in the water, which didn't really make a lot of sense to me since I was pretty sure hypothermia was setting in when the surf merely washed over my feet. Then again, I bet a lot of these people are Patriots fans, so that explains a lot :)

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After about a half mile down the beach, we turned around and walked back into the park. I woefully opted to pass up Power Surge...

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Convoy Race (and I'd look so cool in one of those trucks, too. I'd wear a trucker hat and sing the Convoy song and...wait, what do you mean, 50" maximum height restriction and...WHAT DO YOU MEAN, people might look at me funny?!?)...

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...for this fiendish thing. What I remember most about this is considerable time in which my rear was nowhere close to touching the seat and seeing my pink-painted toenails pointed up vertically against the blue sky. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

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Does anyone know why it says "Hornes"? Do they not know how to spell or am I missing something? A Google search brings up Hornes Restaurant and Gift Shop in Port Royal, VA; the Joseph Horne department store company in Pittsburgh and cocker spaniel breeders based in Texas...which I guess could perfectly explain why the word appears on this ride, provided you were drugged up enough and explained the meaning after sucking in the helium from a balloon.

 

After that, we were off. Overall, I liked Palace Playland, even if it is a bunch of portable rides on blacktop. The Galaxi was definitely a nice surprise. It probably helped that there was hardly anyone there during the day. If the hoards of beach traffic are any indication, I can imagine this place might get nastily crowded at night. I don't know for sure, though.

 

What I did know is that we were both getting mighty hungry. I, for one, was really craving some chicken noodle soup, and I had been since I'd seen a Friendly's along Rte. 1 the day before.

 

Next will be Funtown/Splashtown as my trip through Maine continues. Will we be blown away by Excalibur? Will we experience the legendary Astrosphere? Will I get my chicken noodle soup?

 

Tune in next time!

Edited by Pirouettes907
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Megan!!!

 

Loved the trip report!

 

You have some good comedy lines in there Thoroughly enjoyed it!

 

Most importantly, was that Hampton in the 1st picture???

 

I am lucky enough to know how adorable you are, but the readers deserve at least one picture of you in your report!

 

 

Can't wait for the next episode to see if you got your chicken noodle soup or if you have a picture of the Montville sign on your way back home!

 

 

Mrs. Big Mike rules!!!!

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larrygator: Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the bumper cars since my brilliant mind never thought to check the park index thread before I went

 

signaltwo: Of course. The manufacturer. And here I was thinking this ride had something to do with horns, the musical instrument. Logic prevails yet again. (On the plus side, I had been wondering who manufactured the ride in the first place, so thank you!)

 

Big Mike: It sure was Hampton! That dog had never been happier than when he jumped out of the car after driving all the way from Missouri--and then discovered there was an ocean and a yard. Appropriate rewards for two days of hard napping in the back seat, indeed. The smile never left his face all week! Thank you for the compliments!

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  • 5 months later...

Let’s resurrect this, shall we? And just in time to get all you NE trip participants pumped up!

 

This time we’re going to Funtown/Splashtown USA in Saco, Maine (well, just Funtown, since “Maine” and “I need to pack my bathing suit” don’t really go together in my book, even if this was August).

 

As I left off, we (guess I should specify that "we" denotes my now-ex-boyfriend and I, as these were the pre-Mrs. Big Mike days ) had just left Palace Playland and a big case of the munchies was setting in. Since we were planning on taking advantage of Funtown's after 3:00 p.m. rate (for an adult it's $21.00; $15.00 for kids and seniors), we intended to find a sit-down restaurant along Route 1 to pass the time before heading to the park. I was especially hankering for some chicken noodle soup and had been ever since I’d seen a Friendly’s along the same road the day before (yeah, yeah, I know, Friendly’s is one of those places where it’s truly best not to see the state of the kitchen in which your food is being prepared, but goodness do I love that soup).

 

Here’s the thing. There is pretty much nothing along that stretch of Route 1. We couldn’t find the Friendly’s (later we figured out it was actually closer to South Portland) and by the time we gave up, we couldn’t really find anything we both agreed on. I would be lying if I said we were still in jolly spirits by the time we arrived at Funtown/Splashtown. No, instead we were cranky at having wasted something like 45 minutes of our time and only being starved and irked at each other to show for it. We were pretty much both silently fuming as we pulled into the park.

 

This is going to be swell, I thought.

 

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Wait, what was that about being in a bad mood again?

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Welcome to Funtown U.S.A. Super Saver Bracelets!!

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Home of Dippin Dots, Funtoberfest and random shirtless boys!

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That’s not really being fair, though. I’ve heard some people call this place ghetto, but I couldn’t disagree more. It's one of those quaint family parks with a decent collection of rides, actual landscaping and in some cases, better theming than you'll find at places that actually bill themselves as theme parks.

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Like here.

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Dragon's Descent is themed to a Chinese dragon, and not only is there plenty of detail on the dragon…

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…but all around the ride plaza are these little signs explaining the meaning behind various written Chinese characters. It’s little touches like these that really go a long way in showing the park cares and is willing to put forth the effort to make an attraction more than just the ride, and I just love that.

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Done and done! Dragon’s Descent has some of the strongest floater air I’ve ever experienced on an S&S drop tower. Combine that with the views (if it weren’t so hazy, I’m sure I could have seen out to the coast on one side; on the opposite side, Excalibur’s structure against the reds, oranges and yellows of the sunset is breathtaking) and you have yourself one stellar ride.

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Somewhere over the rainbow, neon glows…

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"Wild Mouse" is actually wrong. What they really meant to call it was “Trim Brakes Which Will Send Your Ribs Whumping Hard Into The Lap Bar And Making You Wish That Rusty Thirty-Year-Old Galaxi That Made Your Life Flash Before Your Eyes That Used To Be Here Still Was: The Ride.”

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By that time, we really couldn’t hold off imminent starvation any longer, so we opted to give this place a go (located right next to the Wild Mouse)…

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…and wound up with one of the best theme park meals I ever had. As in, the chicken was actually juicy and had more meat than overfried, crunchy breading that would lose to sand in a tasting contest (are you listening, Six Flags?). The potato wedges were huge, plus you also got cole slaw and a roll with butter. All of it only cost .99. What you see here isn’t even all of it. We were just so hungry we each gulped down a piece of chicken before I took the picture.

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And it was while eating that I really took notice of the ambiance of this place: quiet, shady—definitely one of the nicer looking midways out there.

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On the way to Excalibur we rode the log flume, which gives a decent soaking that induces some of us coughcoughyeahthatwasmecoughcough to walk like we’ve pooped ourselves while we wait for our a$$ to dry.

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And then we arrived at the place where executive power derives from a farcical aquatic ceremony.

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And as I crossed the bridge to Camelot and contemplated the air speed velocity of unladen swallows, the considerable economic stress in which shrubbers find themselves in this period in history, whether I would soon be eating ham and jam and spam a lot and how a movie so perfectly quotable as this one came into being, I came to Excalibur.

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Once again, this small park surprised me with their level of theming, going all out in designing a castle for the coaster’s station.

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They even named each row on the train for a knight of the round table. Cute, huh?

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“NONE SHALL PASS.” (Okay, I’m sorry, I’ll stop now, promise)

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Excalibur is one of those coasters whose first half is strong enough to vault it into top five status, heck, top three even.

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It’s right about here that massive ejector air (which almost literally knocked my flip flop off because I came up so high my foot whacked into and just about stuck out of the car's opening) makes a mockery of the “Remain Seated At All Times” sign bolted inside each car.

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This is my dog Hampton modeling the hairtime, foot-in-the-air epicness and facial expressions this part of the ride will induce :)

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It’s built in the woods, so night rides are deliciously dark (and the camera flashing at the bottom of the first drop creates some awesome temporary blindness to make things even more interesting). The first half is wickedly furious, and that airtime is especially strong in the front of the train.

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But it conks out on the second half. It kind of aimlessly wanders and loses that laugh-out-loud, nearly religious coaster experience of the first half. But it's still a solid ride, especially for its out-of-the-way location, and it's an absolute hoot seeing how excited and happy the kids are to be riding what is probably their first big roller coaster. Excalibur is the perfect fit for Funtown.

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Other rides we tried included the Flying Trapeze (nice, long ride cycle on this one!)…

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…Tempest in the Teacups (although as far as tempests go, this one was on the “Gentle Spring Rain” level)…

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…the Classic Carousel, where I picked the white rabbit you see in the front to ride…

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…and which also features this working organ…

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…my first ever bumper boats, where I got engine spooged…

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…and finally, The Greatest Ride In The History Of Amusement Parks Ever.

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This is the Astrosphere. Do not be fooled! It is more than just a Scrambler in the dark. It is a Scrambler with a seizure-inducing light show and bizarre images like a bunny wiggling its tush at you projected onto the walls all flashing in rhythm to ELO’s “Fire on High,” which itself thumps through the room from speakers that blasted out long ago. Does it make sense? It doesn’t have to because the ride ops talk about penguins before leading you to the ride. Is it amazing? It is, without question, the Greatest Attraction Ever and NE trip participants, you would be foolish to miss this.

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Finishing off the night was some awesome in the form of soft serve chocolate flavor burst ice cream…

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...and performing horrendously at Skeeball, which I gladly did multiple times because here, it costs Corkscrew.jpg.57819b2048b57d1568de0afd549b00a3.jpg

Who knew that PTC made Skeeball games?

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And then, finally, parking myself here the rest of the night.

 

I had visited Funtown once before, in 2008, but I really fell in love with it this time around. It seems to attract much more in the way of families than the larger chain parks out there, and the result is a quaint little park and a pleasant place to spend a few hours. It may be off the beaten path, but with a decent collection of rides and a fairly decent wooden coaster, it’s well worth a visit.

 

Oh, and on the way back to Harpswell (home base for this trip), I was still determined to get that chicken noodle soup. Traffic dictated otherwise, and I wound up pulling into the Freeport Friendly’s parking lot exactly ten minutes after it closed.

 

This wasn’t over.

 

But the Maine parks and this TR are over because at the time, I didn't know York's Wild Kingdom existed (and there I was, thinking I'd ridden every coaster in Maine. What a jokester I am!)

 

Thanks for reading!

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Great trip report once again Megan!!

 

Always so detailed, love it!

 

I still think we have different concepts on trip report styles as I put my big face in my trip reports about 30 times, but we still can't get one picture of your adorable face in yours!

 

Hope to see a LOT more trip reports from you in the future, especially since you are the future Mrs. Big Mike, and my wife would always be by my side on all my adventures!!

 

 

Peace, Big Mike

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