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Chadster's Vacation Adventures: Final Edition!


chadster
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With floods, tornado warnings, and damaging winds surrounding me I think, hey, maybe I can share some photos. Problem is, of what?

 

Holliwood Nights

Pleasureless Pier

Random Zoo

Sea World San Antonio

Random Orlando/Tampa Stuff

Ghetto Fairs

 

If you act quick and let me know what you are hungry for(my bed time is early tonight as I travel early tomorrow) I might just post something up tonight...

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Back on Sept 27th I embarked on a crazy multi city by air tour that started in Houston. Arriving early in the morning I visited the Houston Zoo, stopped by It'z only to find out they recently(two weeks prior) removed their kiddie mouse coaster in lieu of about a dozen bowling lanes, and made my way to Galveston. Staying at the Holiday Inn Resort (25th and Seawall, not the one nearest the Pier) I had a nice view of the ocean (and pool, yay!) and a decent view of the Pier.

 

Armed with my $2 discounted tickets purchased at the hotel I drove the short 2.5 miles and parked along the sea wall. Getting out I discovered the nice stench in the air that smelt like an indoor Alligator exhibit that had not had it's water changed in weeks. Later I would find that the smell is caused by seaweed and was told that it's much much worse during the middle of summer. Even though I had brought my swimsuit with me, I elected not to go for a swim as I didn't want to smell like bath water.

 

Despite the foul odor I pushed on arriving to the ticket counter only to be met by a ticket agent who had no idea what to do with the pre-purchased ticket that is basically a gift card. After playing 20 questions on where I got the card a friendly girl stepped in and provided me with my wristband.

 

The pier itself was dead with less than 30 paying customers peaking at what seemed to be 50 customers. Food and beverage prices were extremely high with only one location open (afterall, it's all they needed!) Talking with staff, who were incidentally very friendly and begging people to get on their respective rides, I found that the summer didn't yield the large crowds they were expecting. And while they tried being open Thur-Sun, this would be the final Thursday they were going to try to be open as they were losing money. A quick check of the calendar shows they are now closed mid month on Thursday's but open the 1st and last weeks of the month. Gotta give them credit for continuing to try!

 

Overall the Pier is small, we all know that, and they crammed a ton of rides into a small space. So one can't complain that they don't have much to ride, for adults, maybe 10 rides. The price is rather steep and I feel they would fare better at a 22.95 or 21.95 admission price. Hotel staff suggested the Pier perhaps wasn't listening to patrons and hoped they would eventually adjust their pricing to attract more visitors as business for the hotel that I was in hadn't really seen much impact with the Pier's opening.

 

I give them an A for effort, but overall the Pier gets a C+, and I love seaside parks, I just can't get much behind this one.

 

So I'm sure you are tired of reading, so onward with foto's!

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The Pier was open on this day 4-10pm. Arriving just before sunset I found the pictures to be rather stunning.

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Bird and Shark collide!

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The beach is really nothing to write home about, though the surfers seemed to like it.

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It certainly wouldn't be a proper trip report without getting a view from the other side.

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A bar and restaurant a block up had more business than Bubba Gumps. Perhaps word got out about their 'fresh' fish.

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The Pier is colorful and has a warm welcoming entry.

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Tickets are sold separately for the wave swinger for those not wanting Pier admission and could be purchased from the restaurant.

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Walk under the grand entry and you are immediately greeted with the double horses in circles.

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On of the 4 food outlets on the pier...this one was closed.

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Pricing. I found most of the food items were available at each of the food outlets (judging by the signage of course)

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Another food outlet. Personally I would have not put in one of the outlets in place of additional rides, but that's just me.

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Don't quote me, but I believe they have around 8 kiddie rides. This, would be one of them.

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This gives you an idea of how crammed in everything is.

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And an idea of how dead it is.

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A Huss knock off, it looks small but packs a punch. Revolution sits to the right and I have to admit, is one of the best rides on the pier running a really nice and varying ride program.

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And then we come to the Shark. Good things come in small packages.

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The ride has just about every element you would want.

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The 'beyond 90 degree drop' was OMFG amazing.

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But much like the one at Canobie Lake, I found the front row to be rather rough.

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The back, middle two seats is where it's at.

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How did I come to this conclusion you ask?

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Well, let's just say I had the chance to ride in each seat. Multiple times over.

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NERD SHOT!

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The person manning the photo booth kept track of my rides but then lost count after 50. They are pretty sure that's the record as most people can't ride more than 3 or 4 times. The main reason is this section of track.

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Right about here the car shimmies and shakes and in the transition rattles. It really isn't a pleasurable point. Alas how I found out the back row is much better. The ride ops agree.

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Don't get me wrong, the ride grew on me but the transitions were not near as smooth as they look they should be.

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The LED light package is also quite nice.

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NOTED!

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No waiting.

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The ride towers 230 feet into the air. Winds were hitting 25mph at the top.

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The Pier shuts the ride at 30, the ride shuts itself at 35mph. Sitting one to a seat the chairs whip around quite a lot but does provide for a nice odor free view.

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Wheel of fortune.

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Not my favorite ride type, but it was ok.

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Oh yeah, not an acceptable amount of wetness. Again, standard model.

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I think I snapped about 200 fotos to get the color schemes in sync.

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The Rock n Roll gets an A

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Why? Because it runs both directions! And they weren't afraid to run it full speed either!

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So I spent about 3 hours there, which, was, well, 2 hours longer than necessary, hence all of the rides on Iron Shark which resulted in a nasty headache.

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The Pier has a long way to go in marketing and pricing in order for it to be successful. They've spent a ton of money on it to not be successful.

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But overall, save for Iron Shark, it was open up the Chance ride catalog and pick and choose standard rides and themes. Would I go out of my way to hit the place, probably not. It's just lacking that Pier feel and atmosphere that you find elsewhere.

 

Could they create that feel, sure, but the pricing is preventing that. If they cut pricing across the board by 20% it will still be too high, but it would be closer to what it should be. The target market of this pier certainly isn't the tourist, it's the locals, and the sooner they realize this, the sooner they will be better off.

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Great TR! Awesome pictures! Those nighttime shots are fantastic! And I have to say, Iron Shark looks pretty cool with that lighting package. It was interesting hearing about how IS was a little rough, I hear that about quite a few of Eurofighters. It seems like the park has potential, so hopefully they lower their prices, and, like you said, acknowledge that their clientele is the locals.

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Chad, I pretty much agree with you on everything. I decided to hit up Kemah Boardwalk and Pleasure Pier on the same day, and I felt like going from Kemah to Pleasure Pier was like tripping down the stairs. I went in July, so the beach had a fair amount of people and the water was warm like soup. I felt that the pier was super expensive and feel like they would have more business with free admission but offering a ticket system / ride wristband like they have now. That is what Kemah Boardwalk has and it works a lot better (And that place had a much better atmosphere as well!)

 

Weird how you found Iron Shark rough though. It's not my favorite Euro-Fighter, but I liked it more than Untamed. I felt that Iron Shark was so fast, that it whipped you around the seats and I bumped shoulders with the people next to me nearly every turn. I didn't ride anything else on the pier as the Star Flyer wasn't open yet and the other rides were just the same rides from other parks.

 

I probably won't go to back unless they lower their prices or something. I'd rather try Schlitterbahn Galveston a chance... I just feel like, outside of the beach and the pier, there isn't much else to do in that area of Galveston. And I doubt many people that live in Galveston visit the pier, because they built the pier for tourists instead of the locals. And a lot of people that own homes in Galveston are vacation homes of some sort, which they are in during the summer, so it makes sense that not many are visiting the pier. Oh well...

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Yeah, I'm not really sure why Shark was acting up, the drop was smooth but after the immelmann it started to skid and bounce. Our resident Gerstlauer/Schwarz expert suggests salt buildup on the rails as possible reasoning as the entire ride isn't like that. I kinda wish I had ridden it when it was newer but I was waiting for the entire Pier opened up before visiting.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting the ride is bad in the least, it's exciting from start to end, and the lap bars added to the experience, especially on the drop, just something was running afoul.

 

Being as they currently offer a Fri-Sun pass for three attractions (Aquarium, Kemah, and PP) for $40, it shows they are trying to get the local crowd in, but IMHO even that price model is geared towards tourists. If they want to be open on Thursday evenings, which they could, perhaps a 17.95 entry fee couple with a local band or activity geared towards the tween market would bring them in. And by local I mean Galveston and Southern Houston area locals as coming from Northern Houston one would need to plan on an hour plus drive, even coming from Hobby took 50 minutes, and I was not exactly driving under the speed limit.

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Great TR! Awesome pictures! Those nighttime shots are fantastic! And I have to say, Iron Shark looks pretty cool with that lighting package. It was interesting hearing about how IS was a little rough, I hear that about quite a few of Eurofighters. It seems like the park has potential, so hopefully they lower their prices, and, like you said, acknowledge that their clientele is the locals.

 

There is a bit of "Jeckyl and Hyde" in the Eurofighters--you never know if the good doctor or his evil alter ego is going to show up. Looks like nighttime is when one should visit the Pier.

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I felt that the pier was super expensive and feel like they would have more business with free admission but offering a ticket system / ride wristband like they have now.

 

I can't understand why they don't do this already. To me that's just common sense.

 

I know you aren't a fan, but your photos make me feel like this place is loaded with potential if it had crowds and atmosphere. That and the LED lighting package on iron shark and the star flyer is just sick.

 

Definitely agreed. Looks like it could do well if the price was right.

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