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Photo TR: BigDipper 80 Goes to Kennywood!


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It had been four years since my last trip out to Kennywood, and with a longing desire to hit up Phantom's Revenge again, I managed to convince a few friends to come along for the ride in from Cleveland. Before I get to the pictures, though, I'd like to mention one of the coolest stretches of road anywhere- the Fort Pitt tunnel. Now normally, when I head to Pittsburgh, I take I-76 and I-279, but to avoid the overpriced tolls on the PA Turnpike, we decided to drive in on I-376. It is extremely cool to approach the tunnel surrounded by the rolling hills and forests and rusty railroad bridges of Appalachia, only to drive through the tunnel and burst out of Mount Washington to find the entire city sprawled out in front of you. It's "cinematic" in the way Disney parks could only dream of, and it's the most fantastic "entrance" into a city that I've ever experienced. But! Enough of my rambling. On to some pictures!DSC02754.thumb.JPG.c407abd92cea298771a47613a6b3321a.JPG

Good morning Kennywood!

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The entrance. I love how you have to go under Kennywood Boulevard to enter the park.

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We booked it right to Phantom's Revenge. It was about 10:45 at this point. Rides were supposed to open at 11. Minor rant-ish thing to come shortly.

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Looking up at PR. Why is this ride so photogenic?

 

So- here's that minor rant-ish thing I mentioned two photos ago. Skip it if you don't like pointless venting about strange operations. Perhaps it's just that I'm used to parks opening all of their rides at the same time, but the "gradual opening of rides" seemed very strange here. We waited around for Phantom's Revenge to open up until about 11:30, when we just called it quits. Two trains were sent around at 11, but then nothing happened after that, save for a number of crew members who arrived at 11:15. We figured they were just getting late starting things up, but when no more trains were sent around, we were a bit baffled, and the crew member at the entrance seemed equally as clueless, until she *finally* decided to call up to the station to try and see what the hold up was about. In retrospect, it was a minor thing and PR was up and running with both trains later on, but at the time it was a bit frustrating.I guess I just figured that they would have warmed up the rides before the scheduled opening time so that if something was in fact not working there wouldn't be a bunch of people cramming in front of a closed ride.

 

But other than that, operations were fairly good! Back to some more photos.

 

ADMIN EDIT: I went ahead and added "Photo TR:" to your thread's title. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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After the Phantom Phiasco, we headed over to Lost Kennywood to see if Swing Shot and Exterminator were up and running. They were.

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Sorry about the terrible pun on the word "fiasco" back there. I will attempt to stop myself from making more bad jokes.

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Thunderbolt was the next logical choice of ride. Only one train was run all day, but at least the crew was dispatching trains in 12 milliseconds or some other infinitesimally tiny span of time.

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Phantom's still not running at this point. I think this picture would have been better if I had caught the train, but alas. I do love me some Century Flyers!

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Next up was Aero 360, which is always an outstanding flat, even if it makes my brain feel like exploding while hanging upside down.

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We weren't very efficient in our ride-conquering tactics, sprinting up and down the length of the park all day. At least is isn't as massive as a park as Cedar Point, or we probably would have all dropped dead.

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Hooray! Phantom's Revenge is open!

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Almost there...

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And over the top!

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A wider shot from the parking lot.

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If you're wondering why on earth we walked all the way back up to our car, no, we aren't masochists as some would believe. I'm just really cheap and packed a big cooler of food, which we proceeded to eat while sitting at the top of the hill.

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That last caption was probably the single most unrelated thing I have ever placed under a photograph. Anyway, here is a photo of Skyrocket blasting off.

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Those women in the front row look like they had a blast and a half. I'll bet their heads are still reeling from the intensity of the surf curves.

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The surf curves were so intense that I actually forgot to take a picture of them. Seriously though, Skyrocket is a pretty sold, and very fun, ride.

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Here comes the first in a long line of Phantom Photographs.

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Crap! There I go again with bad "ph" alliterations! I will punish myself by uploading even more photos of the coaster.

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This ride really is too photogenic. No matter how hard you try, it's nearly impossible to get a bad photo.

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Does this count as "through the trees"?

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Phantom's Revenge: Love Never Dies. Now sponsored by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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Whee! This is the last Phantom photo for the moment, I swear!

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Noah's Ark did a fantastic job at making me seasick. A group in front of me was complaining that the "final scene of the ride" wasn't working- anyone know what they were talking about?

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I was pleasantly surprised to see that Kennywood was one of the few remaining parks in the country to run their carousel in warpseed mode.

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If you guess which coaster this is, you win a cookie.

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Do you know yet?

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This thing's double dip is the reason why it sits on top of my (admittedly short) list of wooden coasters.

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A photo you have never, ever seen. I guarantee it.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Part 2:

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Jack Rabbit side shot.

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Kangaroo is actually pretty fun. I'll apologize now for the disproportionate flat ride:coaster ratio. Something about this park makes one forget to take good photos of the flats until you are standing right next to it a second before boarding.

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Turtle and PR, together forever.

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Into the ravine!

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PR plays peek-a-boo.

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At this angle, Noah's Ark looks quite pretty. It's impossible to tell that it could make you throw up!

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My last TR had a beaver in it. The caption read "bbbbbbbbbBEAVER!". This is a groundhog. It is almost a beaver, so I included him. His caption shall read, "gggggggggGROUNDHOG!"

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This ride is, in fact, turtley enough for the Turtle Club. Also, it is very very old.

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Here comes T-Bolt! I sprinted over from Turtle to get the picture everyone has, and I even managed to screw up that photo.

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Auto Race is also very, very old. It's fun to squeeze two 5'7" guys into one of these puppies.

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Carousel shot.

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Paratrooper and its nearly endless cycle.

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T-Bolt's station. Sorry for the lack of entertaining conversation. I was tired by this point of the day, and my captions seem to be reflecting that.

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Darn you, Phantom, you snuck in again!

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Does this count as "through the trees" as well?

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Log Jammer sure is perty. So is Racer.

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Well, Appalachia is about ten miles away from here...

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Yes the architecture is pretty, but the woman in the right hand corner is MAGNIFICENT.

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Never seen this photo before...

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Yep, still sucks.

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I will forever be in the man with the camcorder's video memories.

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A look down a midway.

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This matches that other building, except that it is on the other end of the park.

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Goodnight (almost)!

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The famous Kennywood sign! Why I didn't take this until we left, I don't know.

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Only one more Phantom shot after this one- I PROMISE.

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And that's it. I like how shiny it looks against the slightly gloomy sky. I hope you enjoyed the photos and weren't too fed up with my incessant rambling! Thanks for looking!

Edited by BigDipper 80
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Wow, Kennywood looks fantastic! I've read some TR's where they thought the park was lack-luster, but when I see this, the park just looks fantastic! As old as Kennywood is with their rides and coasters, they do seem to have lots of modern-esque rides with Pitfall, the Aero 360 thing and their S&S Swing, which is great. Phantom's Revenge still looks amazing with all it's crazy airtime, hopefully I'll get to ride it soon!

 

P.S. Sky Rocket's queue looks sooooo bad!

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I was there on Monday (the 27th). It was a beautiful week to be at the park! And I'll agree that Skyrocket's queue is a bit strange in how it was squeezed right above the entrance tunnel and next to the road. Doesn't take away from the great airtime over that first hill, though!

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Wow, Kennywood looks fantastic! I've read some TR's where they thought the park was lack-luster, but when I see this, the park just looks fantastic! As old as Kennywood is with their rides and coasters, they do seem to have lots of modern-esque rides with Pitfall, the Aero 360 thing and their S&S Swing, which is great. Phantom's Revenge still looks amazing with all it's crazy airtime, hopefully I'll get to ride it soon!

 

I'm sure some of the lackluster reviews have come from the fact that a number of the new additions have been less than "charming" and keeping with the old-fashioned feel of the park. As fun as Skyrocket feels, it is the first thing guests see upon entering, and it does clash a bit with other parts of the park. But I understand that every park needs to modernize, and especially nowadays it's even harder for a park to market itself as "local" and still survive as parks did all the way back in the 1920's and 30's. I personally like the place for its change of pace from Cedar Point!

 

And perhaps it has something to do with its possible removal, but for most of the day Pitt Fall was slowly moving up and down the tower. It did eventually open, I believe, but I had never seen a drop tower run like that before. Who knows, it's not a big deal!

 

P.S. If it wasn't evidenced by the photos, I'm a bit of a PR fanboy! Great airtime all around, though the double dip does hurt a bit if you are sitting in the back row.

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^Thanks for the thanks, and thanks to all those who have expresses enjoyment! Everyone else, please feel free to comment if you stumble across this little TR! Feedback is always welcome.

 

Now for a quick Part 3, if you will, where I ramble about some things that I may not have covered well in the rest of the TR.

 

First, some bad things:

 

Ghostwood Estate was something that I had been looking forward to checking out, but I must say that it was quite the letdown. Yes, the ride's vehicles were pretty neat, but they moved too slowly and linearly for the tracklessness to really be effective. And although the props looked nice, the ride was just too bright and it was too easy to attempt to figure out how to accurately aim the blasters to actually look at any of the effects. Shame, as it could have been a cool ride.

 

Garfield's Nightmare was even worse that it was my last visit. Hardly any of the larger effects were working. I can't wait for this to be rethemed.

 

I don't think I will ever understand the load procedure for the flats. Yes, many of them have crazy-long cycles, but it seemed to take forever for crews to get the ride loaded after the ride ended, and not until every single last person had walked through the exit gate and all the way down the exit ramp. Perhaps I'm just really impatient .

 

Although the prerecorded load spiels were always nice and sounded very clear over the PA system, it seemed to lead to the milling about of the ride ops. I suppose I like the live mics because it gives the crew a chance to interact a little with the guests, as well as keeping them from standing around. I'm sort of on the fence and see the good and bad of this, but if it works for the park (it seems to) than it's not a huge deal.

 

And of course, the good:

 

I don't know why, but I always feel that this park really is incredibly "charming". I really do love how homey it is. I just hope that in the future they keep up this "local park" image and not push too hard toward the "corporate" end of things.

 

Unlike the flats, the operations for the coasters were stellar, even though there were a few wonky moments what with the late opening of Phantom's Revenge and the one-train operation of Thunderbolt. No matter, though, as the park did a nice job of pumping guests onto the coasters.

 

As nauseous as it made me, I actually liked Noah's Ark. I do wish that there were a few more effects besides black walls, and it's a shame I missed out on the big finale, but it was still a unique attraction nonetheless.

 

Swing Shot was running FANTASTICALLY. Although it's smaller that CP's, it definitely has a nice positive-g pull at the bottom at the arc that Skyhawk lacks.

 

Of course, all of the old flats are wonderful. Whip was fun, Kangaroo provided some of the "weirdest" airtime pops anywhere, and Bayern Curve took me for surprise at how fast it was. Good old Schwarzkopf! The loud horn blast was a bit unnecessary, though. My ears are still ringing over a week later .

 

Now, a couple more photos I have dug up, in no particular order and just for fun!

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Jack Rabbit and its other, ever-so-slightly-less-photographed logo.

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A dark interior shot of Exterminator.

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Not the best photo, but I like the very 1920's Art Deco decal there.

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I couldn't resist. Please don't hurt me.

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And I'll leave it with Turtle and PR.

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Hey BigDipper80, I hope you didn't walk back and forth all day to your car for the cooler? Did you know that Kennywood is one of the few parks that actually allows you to take your cooler inside the park. They have picnic tables behind Aero360 where you can claim a bench and leave it there while you go ride. In fact I went to KW about a month ago and we took a cooler in. Of course I was with my little cousin with us who is in a stroller, so we kept it on there. But for your next trip, remember, coolers are no problem at Kennywood. Save your steps and take it in with you.

 

Jason

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Noah's Ark did a fantastic job at making me seasick. A group in front of me was complaining that the "final scene of the ride" wasn't working- anyone know what they were talking about?

 

The Final Scene was a room that consisted of a Catwalk some leaky pipes a Metal wall, and a Siren/Speaker...(From what I understand you are in a Submarine). You'd wait a while to go in, and once about 20 or so people were in there the door would shut and a little announcment would play, it said something along the lines of "Thank you for visiting, we are now taking you to the surface." The Siren went off and the pipe gushed out water, the metal wall pushed in a bit (Either the Sub is flooding...or you were in the room where they let in the water) After 45 seconds, doors behind you would open up and you left.

 

Nothing too great, but I liked that they at least tried to give a storyline to a Carnival ride. Noah's Ark will always hold a place for being my first Historical (WTF) walk through ride.

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