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Photo TR: Matt Goes on the TPR Northeast Tour


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For quite a while, I've been hanging out on TPR, reading the various trip reports and always being a bit jealous of the people who do the TPR trips every summer. This year, I decided to stop being jealous and join in on the fun. Overall, I had one hell of a time and am extremely glad I decided to do this. I'll probably keep doing TPR trips as long as I can, it was that much fun. But, I'll get to all those final thoughts type things at the end of this report. Let's get this show on the road, shall we?

 

THE DAVE THOMAS DISLAIMER™: I like to write my full park experience the best I can, so prepare for some word reading.

 

Part 1: Quassy/Lake Compounce (you are here)

Part 2: Six Flags New England (Page 1)

Part 3: Palace Playland/Funtown Splashtown (Page 1)

Part 4: Canobie Lake Park (Page 2)

Part 5: La Ronde (Page 2)

Part 6: The Great Escape/Magic Forest (Page 2)

Part 7: Six Flags Great Adventure

Oh god, this is going to take forever...

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Part 1: Quassy/Lake Compounce

 

After an anxious night's sleep at the meet up hotel, the buses arrived at Quassy on a...pretty dreary and "misty" morning. Before going on this trip, I knew absolutely nothing about Quassy, so everything was a bit of a fun surprise. When we got off the bus, the entire group was immediately taken over to their new Gravity Group woodie, Wooden Warrior for a bit of ERT! As an added super awesome funtime bonus, they sent each train around twice so everyone would get multiple rides in! That was an awesome thing for the park to do for us and was definitely much appreciated. Big ups to Quassy for that.

 

Now, Wooden Warrior may not look like much, but oh man. When they say good things come in small packages, they were talking about this ride. It was only 35 feet tall and not all that fast, but it somehow had fantastic airtime all over the ride and pretty wicked laterals in the tunnel. I don't know how Gravity Group did this, but I chalk it up to demonic magic or something similar. It was a kiddie/family coaster that wasn't boring or meandering. It was exciting, fun, felt fast and all that good stuff. It even had working Timberliner trains too. The Timberliners were actually extremely comfortable and will make a great addition to Voyage once they finally get all the kinks worked out. Wooden Warrior was definitely the highlight of the park and the biggest surprise of the entire tour.

 

After our ERT session ended, we were set loose upon the unsuspecting park. My first stop (and tragically a lot of other's too) was to their sad and pathetic credit whore coaster, Little Dipper. Before this trip, I wouldn't have ridden this. But, something inside of me snapped while at Quassy and I lined up and rode. Thus, a credit whore is born. Not else to say about the ride...it's a kiddle coaster.

 

I wandered around for a bit, grabbing a ride on the Yoyo and Paratrooper, which are always fun and met up with the group for lunch. Two good things happened during lunch. The first was that they gave everyone a block of wood (presumably from Wooden Warrior) as a souvenir. It's now a pretty good conversation piece/paperweight at the office. The second was beer! Glorious beer! Sure, it was only Miller...but free beer is better than no beer.

 

After lunch, I kept wandering around, taking pictures, getting on some flats and getting a few more laps in on Wooden Warrior before it was time to leave. I liked Quassy, it was small sure, but small parks always have that charm and sense of fun that the bigger ones by and large don't have.

 

We set back on the road and made our way to beautiful Lake Compounce for our second park of the day!

 

Lake Compounce was one of the reasons I wanted to go on this trip...mainly for Boulder Dash. But, I'll get to that when the time comes. I didn't know too much about this park either, apart from Boulder Dash being good and Wildcat being crappy. But, I guess the exploration and seeing what the park is like is half the fun of going. Once we got into the park, my first stop was to Wildcat, their "ACE approved" woodie.

 

In my recent travels, I've learned a thing or two. One of those things is that if a ride has an ACE plaque, with few exceptions, it's going to suck. Of course, Wildcat was no exception to this rule. The ride threw me around something fierce and gave my back a good adjustment on two or three occasions. I had even tried sitting in a non-wheel seat for minimal beatings, but it was to no avail. I mean...the layout is pretty decent, but it's just so rough you don't even care. This was most certainly a one and done for me. On the plus side, the sign for the ride no longer has the seemingly random picture of Garfield on it anymore. So, it gets a partial redemption. But only partial.

 

As I was making my way to my next credit, I noticed pop fountains with cups lying around. Confused, I took a look at a park map and lo and behold, the park offered free drinks! I was greatly surprised as I had no idea Lake Compounce offered this. I thought it was one of those "only at Holiday World" type of things. The free drinks were extremely useful today. It wasn't too hot, but it was maybe 2000% humidity outside, which made it very oppressive and gross.

 

Anyway, my next stop was the first of four (ugh.) Vekoma Boomerangs on the trip, Zoomerang. Since 99.9% of boomerangs are the same, it's going to be difficult to really describe each one differently or creatively apart from saying "it sucked, moving on". I think I will describe this boomerang in the form of a Haiku.

 

Twisted mass of steel

Forwards backwards headbashing

It sucked moving on

 

Ah. Perfect. Only expect the best from my trip reviews!

 

Moving on from Zoomerang, I made my way to the last credit and one of the reasons I was on the trip, Boulder Dash. For a long time, I had heard nothing but good things about this ride, and I was finally going to get my chance to put it to the test. From the outside, you really can't see much of Boulder Dash, as it's hidden fairly well in the woods. That setting takes what would have been a pretty good coaster and turns into an "OMFGWTF" awesome coaster. As you're zooming through the forest and along the cliffs, it feels like you don't lose any speed until you hit the final brake run. Everything about this ride was excellent...the first drop, airtime hills and turns in the forest and the return trip....oh god the return trip. It was like airtime heaven. After all the hype the ride had, it definitely met my expectations, but there was still night ERT to come!

 

Coming off Boulder Dash, I figured I should get in some rides on the park's collection of various flats. The first one that caught my eye was Thunder and Lightning, their S&S Screaming Swing. Over the last two years, I've developed a real love of the rides and they're only behind Intamin drop towers as my favourite flat. While only one side was operating this day, the lines were non-existent, so it was OK. It ran a pretty standard cycle with only a few full swings. However, later in the evening, there were actually no lines, so we just stayed on the ride and had mini ERT.

 

Moving along, I decided to ride the park's ghost train/dark ride/shooting thing, Ghost Hunt (I will refrain from making the easy dirty joke here). I ended up getting grouped up with some little kids. I really tried not to beat them, I swear to to god. It just...happened that way. The Ghost Hunt was pretty decent, but nothing that blew me away. It would be a good escape from the heat for a little bit during the middle of the day. It was around this time that I realized "hey, it's time for dinner" so I trudged my way all the way back to the picnic pavilion where we were situated. Dinner was fantastic. We had ribs, New England clam chowder and most importantly...beer! Two meals in a row with free beer? This trip was getting better by the second. Little did I know that the beer at meals thing would become a recurring theme across the trip.

 

After the delicious dinner, a group of us decided to ride more of the flats and other miscellaneous rides until it was time for ERT. Our first stop took us to the bumper cars where we spent a very VERY long time. The bumper cars were pretty chaotic in the sense that during every cycle, a massive log jam would inevitably happen, bringing everyone to a halt. At points, I just hung out and drove in circles waiting for it to clear. I think we spent maybe close to an hour just riding the bumper cars. Good times.

 

We also made our way over to the park's Arrow log flume. I ended up sitting in the front of the log, which was a huge mistake. The initial splash wasn't too bad and I only got a bit wet. But, there was a second tsunami like wave that went over the log and onto me. I was completely soaked, to the delight of the people I was riding with. In an effort to dry off, we hit up the surprisingly well themed pirate ship and the park's new for 2011 ride, Revolution, a Zamperla Disk-O. Normally, I don't like spinning rides, but this one was pretty fun. It seemed to run a long cycle, but I've only been on one other Disk-O before, so I really don't have much to compare it to. After that and some more rides on Thunder and Lightning, we made our way to Boulder Dash for our night ERT.

 

When we got to the ride, we were told that the park was going to open their kiddie coaster just for us so the credit whores can be credit whores. Normally, you need a kid to get on the ride, which kind of sucks. But, the park was super cool and a bunch of us flocked over to the coaster and got our sad and pathetic credit in. Then the fun started. If Boulder Dash during the day was "OMGWTF" awesome, at night it goes to 100 times that...whatever that may be. Science has yet to describe the awesomeness that are night rides on Boulder Dash. Everything seemed to kick into high gear at night and some of the drops provided waaaaaaaaaay more airtime. The night rides easily brought Boulder Dash into my top 5. In addition to all that, they were sending each train around twice! Double your pleasure, double the fun...those were great rides on Boulder Dash, son. After quite a few laps, I decided to call it quits for the night and hung out at the entrance with some other people. While there...I somehow got roped into playing duck duck goose with Kidtums. Not sure how that happened, but it did. Such is the madness of a TPR trip.

 

At the end of the first day, I knew I had started something special. I had experienced some great rides and had a blast doing it...and there was still a week to go! Here are some pictures of the parks, which fulfills the photo portion obligation of this part of the report.

 

Up next, Six Flags New England!

 

Arriving at Quassy!

 

New wooden hotness! I swear that isn't meant to be dirty...

 

Small hill, big thrill

 

Fully functioning Timberliners...I like this.

 

Airtime!

 

More airtime!

 

Even more airtime!

 

That kid in the front left is all "pssh...whatever"

 

Just after taking the tunnel

 

Tunnel goodness

 

It may have a small drop, but this was fantastic

 

This character continues to haunt my nightmares

 

Credit whore time!

 

lol

 

No shame for this bunch. I like it.

 

Yo? Yo.

 

Some of the art on the Music Express was...interesting.

 

That's actually pretty decent.

 

They could have picked any Elvis, but they went with "Hawaii Comeback Elvis"? Weird.

 

Well, this just doesn't make any sense

 

Mermaid Fonzie says "ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy"

 

I love it when parks that have stuff like this.

 

*Bah-nah-nah, bah-nah-nah* This is...where Sportscentre is filmed

 

Yay Lake Compounce!

 

The front gate area is really nice

 

Clock

 

Historic and stuff!

 

Definitely better than Garfield

 

Mark of "quality"

 

First drop

 

Ouch ouch ouch

 

Turnaround

 

More first drop

 

S&S drop tower that I unfortunately didn't ride

 

It's called "Down Time". That's a rather unfortunate name.

 

Ghost Hunt backstory

 

Random gargoyle

 

Signage

 

Cool...I won't beware then.

 

Another gargoyle

 

Boomerang 1 of 4

 

*sigh*

 

Vertical loopage

 

Rawr.

 

Spikey spikes

 

Awesome looking pirate ship!

 

Revolution, revolving

 

And again

 

I love these things!

 

That's some good weather forecasting ya got there...

 

More Thunder and Lightning

 

But really...this is what we're here for

 

Disappearing into the woods

 

Just flying after the first drop

 

Holy airtime!

 

Woosh

 

I love that the track is in the middle of the forest

 

Heading back in to the forest

 

Hells yeah!

 

The triple up was out of this world

 

This was like heaven

 

Even near the end, it's still going flat out!

 

Every picture has a blurry train because it's that fast

 

Quaternary geology is the best geology

 

Unfortunately closed today

 

BeERT!

 

The log flume that completely soaked me

 

Mark of quality

 

Fried peanut butter and jelly? Really?

 

OMG yes, night ERT!

 

But first...

 

Need to get that kiddie credit in!

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Part 2: Six Flags New England

 

Early the next morning and after a pretty gross breakfast of "cheese" "omelets", our merry band of misfits made its way to Six Flags New England. Six Flags New England contained the another main reason for my being on this trip, BIzarro. It also had a few other decent rides, but Bizarro totally stole the show, and appropriately so.

 

The group that was doing the Northeast Tour met up with another huge bunch of people that were there for Bizarro Bash and we all made our way to the back of the park for some beautiful morning ERT on Bizarro and Batman...but mainly Bizarro. I threw my bag in a l ocker (take that, wordfilter!) and jumped in line. Because ERT is awesome, there was no wait and the next thing I know, I was on my way up the lift hill.

 

As I said before, one of the reasons for coming on the trip was to experience Bizarro. I had unbelievably high expectations for the ride and after my first lap...I was actually disappointed. The ride had some good airtime, but it wasn't the world shattering experience I was expecting. Even after a few laps during ERT, I felt the same way. My only hope would be that the track would warm up and it would be a different beast during the day and for night ERT. Don't get me wrong, I still really liked it, but it wasn't a top 5 ride...yet.

 

We also had some ERT on *deep breath* GothamCityGauntletEscapeFromArkhamAsylum, their "new" wild mouse coaster. Originally, it was at Kentucky Kingdom as Road Runner Express...hurray for used coasters. The weird part is that it's on the same site as Dark Knight would have been on and is the exact same model (sans box). Very weird, no? Anyway...what can I really say about it? It's a wild mouse. Yay.

 

Afterwards, I made my way back to Batman: Dark Knight, which was actually my first "proper" floorless coaster. The only other one I had been on was Griffon, which is not a "floorless" floorless, if you know what I mean. Anyways, Batman is a nice custom model floorless, which I was actually looking forward to. Since most people were back at Bizarro during ERT, there was absolutely no line for Batman. I immediately jumped in the front row, so I could take advantage of the floorless effect. I like Batman, it was a decent floorless multilooper that didn't pack too much of a punch. It's a good counterpoint to the intensity of Bizarro. Also, it has a zero-g roll. I love zero-g rolls and wish I could marry one. Any coaster with one gets an automatic thumbs up from me.

 

Coming off Batman, I met up with part of my Q-bot group for some water park ERT (notice the ERT trend here?). We had ERT on Typhoon, their proslide water coaster and Tornado, their funnel slide (anyone who knows the real name for that, let me know). Typhoon was a lot like Wildebeest at Holiday World, except with conveyor belts instead of LIMs. There really wasn't too much a difference between the conveyor and LIM version and they both offer similar ride experiences. Much like its Holiday World sibling, this ride kicked a good deal of butt. I'm a firm believer that you should not get airtime on a water slide...but here we are. You also get crazy soaked on the ride, which is always nice in the middle of the summer. The only bad part was that on one of the hills, we came down pretty hard which gave my tailbone a good whack.

 

When we got off Typhoon, the line was pretty much down the tower, so we made our way to the other slide, Tornado. I had never been on one of these slides before, so this was a new and welcome experience. It was a great little ride and we went pretty far up the side because well...we are coaster enthusiasts. Once we got off the ride, the line was still pretty long, so we just decided to call it quits at the water park and get our day started.

 

Three of the four of us needed to get both the kiddie credit and Catwoman's Whip, so we left the Q-Bot with our non-whore friend and did what needed to be done. As we approached the kiddie credit, we were unsure as to whether or not we would be able to ride without a kid. As we got to the front of the line, we bravely got on and lowered the restraint. The ride op had a bit of a chuckle at us and sent us around. Ka-ching. We then went across the park and grabbed our ride on Catwoman's Whip. The only really positive thing I can say about Catwoman's Whip is the queue line statue. Meow.

 

Alright. So, kiddie/family credits safely (and slightly ashamedly) acquired, we met back up with our remaining Q-Bot member who was just riding Bizarro over and over...not that I blame him. We then set out on our mission to conquer the park. Our first stop took us to Mind Eraser, the park's SLC. What can I really say about it? It's an SLC. You know...decent layout that is ruined by crappy engineering. On the plus side (if you can call it that), it wasn't extraordinarily rough. Just ordinarily rough. At least I won't have to ride it again. So, there's that.

 

After our minds had been properly erased, we made our way over to our first woodie of the day, Thunderbolt. I hadn't really heard anything good about Thunderbolt, so I wasn't too optimistic going in. But, you know what? This was a fun little ride! It was way smoother than I was expecting it to be, and it gave some nice little airtime pops that caught me off guard. This would be a great ride to get someone started on coasters or for someone who doesn't like inversions or too much intensity. It's a nice little ride that definitely serves a very useful purpose at the park.

 

Coming off Thunderbolt, we made our way to Pandemonium, a typical "Mr. Tony Hawk's Six Big Spin Pandemonium" Gerstlauer spinner. It was the first of the Gerstlauer spinners I've been on, and I enjoyed it for what it was. It wasn't as intense as some of the Mauer-Sohne spinning coasters I've been on, but that may be due to the weight distribution in our car. We weren't able to really unbalance it very well, so while we did get some spinning...we didn't get as much as we might have under different circumstances. Just as an aside, I think this ride would be way harder to do a water challenge on than the non-spinning variant we did do one on later this day. But, that's still to come.

 

After Pandemonium, we realized that it was time for lunch, so we went to the pub. Oh come on. Like you didn't expect TPR to be at the pub? We had some decent park food and...OMG. Yet another round of BeERT! We finished our lunch and hung around for the Q&A session with the park's big-wigs. We decided to eschew TPR Quest in favour of finishing our credits. Our first post lunch credit was Flashback, the 2nd boomerang of the trip. Here is an artists concept of the boomerang at Six Flags New England

 

 

Keep fighting the good fight, buddy. Anyways, our final credit saw us head over to the park's other woodie, Cyclone. This ride was another one infamous for its shall we say...lack of smoothness (ok, roughness). So, Six Flags put some of that fancy topper track on in a few sections. I can't say what it was like previously, but I guess it helped. I really didn't notice too much roughness in patches where the track was put down. It was a bit weird to be able to see the reprofiled drop/curve. Actually, it was kind of sad because it looked fun. That said, the ride was ok. Nothing really to write home about, but nothing to avoid like the plague.

 

Now that we had cleared the park, it was time for flats and re-rides! Well actually, it was more re-rides than flats to be honest. The only flats that our group did that day were the S&S tower and Catapult (which I didn't ride). Now before you're all "but Matt, Catapult is rare! You should have ridden it", I can't stand rides that hang you upside down. I can't do r ings of fire, inverting starships or any other miscellaneous things like that. I can only barely do top spins that hang upside down. So, whatever.

 

So. Re-rides. Basically the only rides we wanted to do multiple times were Bizarro and Batman. So, that's just what we did. We bounced between Bizarro and Batman for pretty much the rest of the day. Thank god for the gold Flash Pass, otherwise we wouldn't have done half of what we did that day. As the day wore on, Bizarro came more to life. Each ride got progressively better and better and it was quickly rising through my coaster ranks. Then came night ERT.

 

Just like with the night ERT on Boulder Dash, night rides on Bizarro feel like the coaster is turned up to 11. Everything became way more intense and the airtime was out of this world. It had been a long time since I had gotten off a coaster and thought "wow...that JUST happened". I loved every second of night riding on Bizarro and pretty much never wanted it to end. At the end of the night, Bizarro was firmly in my #1 overall spot and justified me coming on this trip.

 

During night ERT, the water challenge was going on at GCGEFAA (pronounced Guhseegeffaaaaaa). For the uninitiated, a water challenge is when the group your riding with is given very full cups of water and are sent around the course. The team with the most water at the end of the challenge wins. The prizes were pretty awesome too...Bizarro road wheels! Suffice to say...we lost. Badly. Our team came off the ride very wet, but we had a blast doing it. I love the idea of doing something a bit crazier at a park and I'm glad the park lets us do stuff like this.

 

So, that's day two. It was a long day, but a great day full of some awesome rides and experiences. And now, because you're probably tired of reading, here are some pictures.

 

Up next: Palace Playland/Funtown Splashtown!

 

Arriving at Six Flags New England!

 

Walking back to Bizarro for morning ERT

 

Lift hill/first drop goodness

 

First drop!

 

A little bit closer now...

 

Signage

 

Bizarro #1!

 

We also had morning ERT here

 

Batmouse!

 

Tim Burton Batmobile > every other Batmobile

 

Well...this IS true.

 

Floorless Batman!

 

I love interlocking corkscrews. They look awesome

 

Divelooping

 

Batman: Dark Knight presented by JJ Abrams

 

Scream...but not the one in a California parking lot

 

Family credit whoring time

 

Layout. Hurray.

 

Why, hello there kitty cat.

 

Meow!

 

Ugh.

 

Ouch.

 

They look good though, it's very deceiving.

 

45 minute wait WITH a gold Flash Pass. Slowest operations ever.

 

LOVE that sign!

 

Looks like some new wood is on there too!

 

This was actually pretty darn fun!

 

Spinning without Mr. Six since 2007

 

Spinning

 

Mousing before spinning!

 

Very scenic

 

Of course TPR is at the pub!

 

Boomerang #2 of the trip

 

I still like vertical loops

 

Lift hills

 

The last credit we needed, Cyclone!

 

It was big and stuff...but didn't really do much

 

More Cyclone funtime

 

Catapult was running...but I sure wasn't going to get on it

 

Nope.

 

Oh, hell no.

 

I hope you like pictures of Bizarro. Because I took a ton on the photo walkback.

 

Bizarro upskirt shot

 

Awesome first drop

 

Exiting the tunnel

 

Coming back

 

Everyone is lining up for the money shot

 

Lots of airtime here. Well, there's lots of airtime everywhere on here, so whatever

 

It looks like only three people on this train are cool

 

Bizarro Metropolis theming

 

lol

 

Is this overbanked? It seems like its only 90 degrees

 

Good job keeping that chest covered, blue shirt!

 

Love the Superman pose on the guy in front

 

This looks like a job for Superman!

 

Have I mentioned how much I loved this ride?

 

I'm starting to run out of captions...

 

This part was awesome at night

 

More intense goodness

 

Wasn't on the walkback, but I liked this picture.

 

We also got pretty close to Batman

 

The first drop looks pretty tiny from this angle

 

Floorless loop!

 

Well...until I write the next part of this TR at least.

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That was an insane day. I have to say I really hated the restraints on Bizarro at the start of the day but by the evening I was just loving the insanity of the ride again.

 

Oh and the water challenge was epic... Those cups looked so tiny until their contents were soaking through your clothing. It was so much fun trying to compensate for the little air pops and those tight turns. A part of me really wanted to just dump my cup on another car below us though.

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  • 1 month later...

Part 3: Palace Playland/Funtown Splashtown

 

The next stop on the tour took us to scenic Maine, where hit two parks, Palace Playland and Funtown Splashtown. After the really REALLY long day before at Six Flags New England, it was actually quite nice to have a slower, more relaxing day. I definitely appreciated the change of pace, and so did my feet. It was also our first Boomerang free day of the trip. There was much rejoicing. So...let's begin!

 

Our day started at Jimmy the Greek's for lunch. For you old people (or young'uns who have watched the excellent 30 for 30 documentary), this place has nothing to do with Jimmy Snyder. According to their menu, it was featured on Man vs. Food for their Calzone challenge or something like that. Anyway, the food was actually REALLY good. I had their lobster ravioli and it was all sorts of delicious. I only wish I could have said the same about our service. We were the last table served and people were leaving to get back on the bus just as our food got to the table. Were it not for that, I would have loved the restaurant.

 

After lunch, we found our way down to Old Orchard Beach and Palace Playland located therein. The park had a "permanent carnival" type feel to it and had a bunch of the usual carnival-esque flat rides in addition to its two credits. The credits that it did have weren't the most amazing rides in the universe, but hey...a credit's a credit, right?

 

My first stop was to the larger of the two coasters, Galaxi. It had been quite a while since I had been on a Pinfari Galaxi and it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Granted, it wasn't a great ride...but taken for what it is, it was pretty fun. It also offered some nice views of the Atlantic Ocean just before the first drop. I always like to look at the ocean.

 

Coming off Galaxi, I made my way over to Orient Express, the park's kiddie coaster. I should mention that the only people in line for this were a bunch of adults...such is life on a TPR trip. To be fair, there is even less to say about this. It's a kiddie coaster. Credit count +1 and moving on, right? After Orient Express, I decided that I wasn't feeling like riding their various flats (though the portable log flume did look enticing) and that I would just wander around the area. Since it had been years since I had been to the ocean, I decided I would take advantage of this opportunity and go for a walk. I really forgot how much I love the ocean and beach towns in general. The atmosphere is just so awesome and inviting. We didn't have long at Palace Playland, and we all got back on the bus fairly quickly to make our next trip at Funtown Splashtown.

 

I really had no idea what to expect at Funtown Splashtown. I knew they had a pretty cool looking CCI woodie and Astrosphere. That was about it. But, I think it's better this way as I really have no pre-conceptions of how good a time I think I'll have. My first stop took me to the park's new wild mouse coaster appropriately named...Wild Mouse.

 

This wild mouse is a mirror image of the one over at SFNE and is a pretty standard stock model. That said, it was still pretty fun. I don't recall the brakes being on too hard, so there were definitely some decent forces to be had going through the turns and there was even a pop or two of airtime. Everyone likes airtime, so it's all good!

 

My next stop took me far across the park, to a magical place called Camelot to ride the one and only Excalibur. Despite what you may have heard, Camelot is not that silly of a place and it should definitely be visited. After seeing some pictures of Excalibur I was really looking forward to riding it. Also, the fact that CCI made it definitely gave it a few extra points in the "yay" category given that all the other CCI coasters I've been on have been awesome.

 

Excalibur is definitely a ride of two halves. The first half is pretty damn awesome with some nice airtime, speed and forces. It has that "crazy" feeling to it and gets you very excited for what's to come. It wasn't even that rough, which came as a bit of a surprise. However, during the second half of the ride, it slows down fairly significantly and basically meanders its way through the course. Don't get me wrong, it was still a fun ride, but it just kind of peters out at the end, which is a bit lame.

 

After Excalibur, I decided to wander around the park for a bit on my own. I went through their arcades and hit up a few of their flat rides like their Flying Trapeze and Pirate boat. I also came across free (free!) go-karts. Wait...really? Free? Yes, free! I was greatly amused about the prospect of the free go-karts so I hopped in line. The only downside was that the line was extraordinarily slow moving. But, once I got on, I had fun. The karts weren't very fast, but hey...beggars can't be choosers, right? Plus, the price was right. I continued to wander and grabbed another few rides on Excalibur before it was time for a TPR takeover of the greatest ride in the history of ever, Astrosphere.

 

Astrosphere is one of those rides that words cannot do justice. Sure, it's just a Scrambler, but everything about the ride is just tons of fun. Even the loading "airlock chamber" was neat. I hopped in, the ride started and the lights went out. Then...magic started. Strobes, lasers, disco lights, Electric Light Orchestra! It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had an amusement park and is hands down my all time favourite flat ride. What made it even better was it being taken over by other TPR members who all had a blast while riding.

 

After Astrosphere, there was another TPR takeover of the tea cups before our ERT session on Excalibur. However, a few of us decided to do a partial takeover of the park's crazy chaotic bumper cars. The bumper cars here have no rules. Head on collision? That's fine. Driving backwards? That's fine (and possible). Ganging up on people? That's fine too. These bumper cars rank among my favourites and are pretty much only behind Knoebels.

 

We finished the night with some awesome ERT on Excalibur. The ride definitely runs better at night and the first half goes a little bit insane. I definitely appreciated being sent around twice each time...another great touch by the park. After closing out Excalibur, I made my way through the almost pitch black park (spooky!) and found my way back to the bus to get us back to our next hotel.

 

And now...pictures!

 

RIP Jimmy Snyder, you lovable gambler, you.

 

Arriving at the quite nice town of Old Orchard Beach, ME!

 

This is the reason we're here

 

Hey Cedar Fair...they didn't have any problems naming it Drop Zone. What's your excuse?

 

Random flat ride

 

Park map! Wow...is this place small.

 

Actually the first time I've seen one of these.

 

Time to get some credits!

 

Helices and helices and helices

 

TPR takeover!

 

Full body shot!

 

Looks like only one person is having fun...

 

Credit #2!

 

Shameful TPR takeover

 

Rawr

 

Cha-ching!

 

No thank you, Power Surge. I'd like to not get sick today.

 

Super happy fun slide

 

Going for a walk on the beach

 

Under the pier

 

The beach was really busy today

 

What...how...why?

 

"Unusual" gifts, eh?

 

Yep...that's unusual alright.

 

...ladies

 

This 10 foot long whip should come in handy.

 

Oh yeah! We also had parade ERT! Another perk of a TPR trip!

 

 

 

*deeleeleeleee*

 

 

 

Meanwhile, at Funtown Splashtown...

 

Not gonna lie, this looks pretty awesome

 

Another S&S tower

 

Grrr...I am a dragon. Gimme some candy!

 

Noted!

 

It's both wild and a mouse!

 

That kid looks decidedly less than impressed.

 

Going up...

 

I decided to avoid the log flume today since it looked like rather wet one.

 

Camelot! It's just a model...

 

On second thought, let's not go there. It is a silly place.

 

However, if you do not go to Camelot, you will miss this decent CCI woodie. Your loss.

 

170 lbs average weight? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

 

We're Knights of the Round Table, we dance whenever we're able. We do routines and chorus scenes with footwork impeccable

 

We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and Spam a lot!

 

Ni!

 

Here's actually a picture of the ride!

 

I recall there being a moment of nasty roughness right about here...

 

Wooden hilly goodness

 

Whoso pulleth out the sword of the stone and anvil, is rightwise King Born of All England

 

Yarr

 

lolwut. They really discouraged running in the park.

 

That face combined with where his other hand appears to be going has me slightly concerned...

 

Yes, yes, yes!

 

*pops out of wall* Sock it to me! *goes back in wall* Hey! Get out of here, Goldie Hawn! This is my TR!

 

Chaos rules!

 

Free go-karts!

 

Ahahahaha...wtf?

 

TPR takeover of Astrosphere. Amazing ride soundtrack found

 

TPR takeover of the Tea Cups!

 

Log flume by night

 

Wakka wakka wakka wakka...

 

Reason #1 why ERT rules: never a wait!

 

Next up...Canobie Lake Park!

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Part 4: Canobie Lake Park

 

Continuing our grand odyssey through the Northeast, we made our way to Canobie Lake Park in Salem, NH where according to their licence plates, we had the choice of either living free, or dying. Most of us chose to live free. We shall mourn the hardy few who chose to die. We arrived early in the morning, slightly hungover from the $2 beer/$4 margarita night at the restaurant across from the hotel and made our way to our two ERT coasters, Yankee Cannonball and Untamed.

 

I decided to hit up Untamed first since it was the parks new hotness for 2011. Untamed is a Eurofighter that's a clone of Rage in the UK. It was my first Eurofighter, and I quite enjoyed it. Well...except for the vertical lift part. More than anything else, very steep lift hills really bother me. I'm not sure why, but I always get really anxious and nervous while going up one. Vertical lifts just make a bad thing worse. But, once we crested the lift hill, it was all happy fun times. I must have had a good seat, because I didn't notice any of the roughness other people were mentioning in their reports. I really liked the inline twist into the helix, it was probably my favourite part of the ride.

 

While the ride itself was fun, what made it even better was the awesome themeing job they did for it. The station was extremely well done with chandeliers made of antlers, bear statues carved with chainsaws, etc. Completely awesome. To cap it off, even the supports were painted to look like birch trees. It's attention to little details like that that I love. So, good on ya, Canobie.

 

Next up was Yankee Cannonball, the park's woodie. This ride was designed by Herbert Schmeck, the same maniac who designed Phoenix at Knoebels. So, this ride has some awesome pedigree behind it. While the ride wasn't as good or intense as Phoenix (but really...not much else is), it was still a lot of fun. It had some nice airtime, especially on the return run and was really smooth for how old of a ride it is. I grabbed quite a few rides on it during ERT and enjoyed all of them quite a lot.

 

Before I continue, I probably should mention one of my favourite parts of Canobie...RCT-style food stalls. You want some popcorn? Just look for the building shaped like a giant box of popcorn! From what I heard around the park (from Guest 4385 and Katie Brayshaw who couldn't stop waving at people), Popcorn Stall 1 is great value. From what Robb told us on the bus, Chris Sawyer drew his inspiration for the RCT food stalls from Canobie. I thought that was pretty cool.

 

After ERT ended and the park opened for the GP, we made our way over to something that would definitely not be as good as Untamed or Yankee Cannonball...Canobie Corkscrew. Canobie Corkscrew is an Arrow corkscrew, which is a model that is slowly becoming more rare. We hopped on and assumed the brace position, preparing for the worst. The ride seems to have seen better days as it was quite rough. Granted, it wasn't the roughest coaster I've been on, but it's not something I'd want to ride more than once.

 

Since the larger coasters had been conquered, we were left with the sad and pathetic kiddie credit, Dragon. To make matters worse, it was a powered kiddie credit. Feel free to debate whether powered coasters count as credits. As had been the case on other kiddie coasters this trip, the train consisted of mainly adults and one or two kids. Even though it was powered, I had a genuine fear that it would valley or stall somewhere along the course. But, to my delight, it didn't. Hurray. With all of our credits obtained, we ventured forth through the rest of the park to see what else was on offer.

 

We made our way over to the park's mine ride, The Mine of Lost Souls. This ride looks like it was designed by committee. A committee that never met and just decided to throw everything they could into a ride. You start out appropriately enough going through a mine. Then...somehow you find your way into an underground crypt...then Egypt for some reason. I don't know how, but we somehow invoked the pharaoh's wrath. I'm pretty sure there was a pirate in there at one point. It wouldn't surprise me. If you haven't seen Robb's POV of this...definitely check it out. Your mind will be blown.

 

Since it was another hot day, we decided to take it easy and check out the train ride. It was actually a pretty nice train ride that took us down by the actual Canobie Lake. The lake itself is really scenic and has a lot of houses that I would never be able to afford. From the train, we got on an incredibly old ride, Caterpillar. Apparently, it is the last of its kind, so we figured we should ride it while we were here. It was...interesting. It really didn't do much and the canopy thing was a bit odd. But, it's not geared to thrill seekers, it's geared to kids. And for that, it fits really well.

 

Following Caterpillar and lunch, we made our way to still yet another S&S tower, Starblaster. This was probably my favourite tower of the trip as it offered crazy airtime at the top. I'm pretty sure I'd be in orbit somewhere were it not for the restraints. S&S towers really grew on me during this trip with me liking them more and more with each new one I've ridden. Oddly...the best towers are the shorter ones. I think my least favourite of the S&S towers is the biggest I've been on, Power Tower at CP.

 

After the tower, we made our way to the skyride. The ride didn't do what I expected it to do (i.e., take me to another part of the park). Instead...it did a complete circuit. Wasn't expecting that, but it was nice and relaxing and allowed me to take some nice pictures. While on the skyride, we noticed something called Psycho Drome. Now, if that doesn't scream "RIDE ME NOW", I don't know what else would. Naturally, that's where we made our next stop. Turns out, Psycho Drome is another indoor Scrambler with a light and music package. While this was a decent ride, it was nowhere near as good as Astrosphere was. I think the big difference is that Canobie leaves the interior lights on during the ride cycle, which really kills the effect. Plus, the music wasn't as good.

 

After Psycho Drome, our day was winding down. We were walking by the theatre where they were having some Michael Jackson tribute concert. Normally, I would never go to a show at a theme park. However, the staff outside the theatre lured us in with promises of air conditioning and that "if we thought it sucked, we could leave". We were sold. The show was actually pretty well done and the crowd we had was crazy enthusiastic. They were jumping and screaming like it was the real Michael Jackson. Also, if the Michael Jackson impersonator wasn't lip synching, he is the greatest Michael Jackson impersonator ever. His voice was dead on. Pretty remarkable, actually.

 

After the show, we slowly made our way out of the park and back to the bus for the looooooooooong bus ride to Canada where I could finally use my cell phone's data plan. All in all, I absolutely loved Canobie. Everything in the park was made to be fun and it definitely succeeded. If I'm ever in the area again, Canobie will be a "must visit" park for me.

 

Anyways, here are some pictures from a fun filled day at Canobie Lake Park.

 

Arriving at Canobie Lake Park (pronounced like canopy)

 

Ferris Wheel that we completely neglected to ride

 

Um...what?

 

lol

 

Popcorn Stall 1 is great value!

 

More RCT inspiring goodness

 

Alright, now this is just getting ridiculous

 

Time for some ERT!

 

I love beyond vertical drops

 

There was some nice hangtime in the loop

 

Vertical lifts suck.

 

This was probably my favourite part of the ride

 

Not quite inverted cutback

 

More inline twist

 

Awesome ride sign

 

Bear statues carved with chainsaws!

 

Ridiculously good looking station

 

I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much!

 

Oh, hey. Stop there. You missed the gift shop. Go over there and buy something or I maul you.

 

That's more like it.

 

Rawr >:3

 

Time for some more ERT

 

Lift hill action

 

Ride information

 

Tragically, this was the last picture I took of it

 

Um...yay?

 

Well, as long as it's just for fun.

 

First drop

 

Yep, they're screwed.

 

Come visit our mine that somehow connects to Egypt.

 

Awesome looking sign though.

 

Let's just get this over with...

 

I'm still very glad it made it all the way around.

 

Hey look...the actual Canobie Lake

 

It was pretty scenic

 

It really reminded me of the Muskoka/Kawartha Lakes area of Ontario (which is a good thing)

 

If I only had a heart (and no copywrite laws)

 

When I grow up, I want to be a principal or a caterpillar.

 

Greatest redemption game idea ever

 

Holy pinball

 

Any arcade worth its weight in salt has a Simpsons cabinet.

 

OMG, and an Afterburner cockpit?! *NERGASM*

 

Pretty awesome little S&S tower

 

Small, but really really good

 

This person didn't enjoy the airtime as much as I did

 

Nope. Definitely not.

 

Ride the friendly skies

 

Looks really nice in the park

 

Sorry Superman, you can't ride.

 

Astrosphere > Psycho Drome

 

Surprisingly good Michael Jackson tribute show

 

Giggity.

 

Next up...La Ronde!

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Part 5: La Ronde

 

After a great day at Canobie Lake, we made the looooooooooong drive from New Hampshire to Canada. Along the way, we were treated to some fine examples of my homeland's culture. Namely, the fantastic movie

When we reached the border crossing from New Hampshire into Quebec, we had to get out of the bus and go through the Customs building to get passports stamped. I was actually really excited to get a Canada stamp in my Canadian passport. Unfortunately, just before the guard was about to stamp mine, he noticed that I was Canadian, said "welcome home" and waved me on. So close...what a tease.

 

When we finally arrived in Montreal, it was apparently after the mother of all storms had blown through. There were downed trees everywhere and power was out all over the place. More importantly, the power was out at the hotel we were going to be staying at. This of course meant finding our way through the extremely dark hotel using cell phones and iPods as flashlights. It was also going to be the night of the trip's alcohol exchange, which was going to happen in their group room. However, since the power was out, the group room was unavailable. However, we decided "to hell with it, let's have it in the parking lot". Surprisingly, the hotel had no problem with this. They just said to come in at 1am since that's when the police drive around. So...that's what we did. We all hung out in the parking lot drinking many different drinks from many different countries until 1am when we were kicked inside. It was definitely the craziest night of the tour, and was a ton of fun.

 

The next morning, we all woke up hungover with the hotel still not having any power. We valiantly made our way to the buses and to La Ronde for the day. I had been to La Ronde last year, so I already had the vast majority of the credits and knew what type of day lay ahead for me. But let's not kid eachother. You didn't read that. So, read on to learn about my day!

 

We entered the park from the super secret hidden back parking lot behind Le Monstre and made our way to Goliath for morning ERT. Last year, I raved about how good Goliath was and how it was my favourite B&M hyper. This year, it seemed to be a bit tamer, especially during ERT. I chalk this up to it not being fully warmed up yet, as it did run better during the afternoon. I still enjoyed myself during ERT, but it definitely wasn't as good as I remember it being. I grabbed a few rides on Goliath and made my way to our other bit of morning ERT, Le Monstre.

 

Le Monstre is a dual tracked woodie that doesn't race. It may have raced at one point, but they don't race it now apparently due to concerns with the ride's structural integrity. I only managed to get one side of Le Monstre in during my 2010 visit, so I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that the side we had ERT on was the side I was missing...bonus! Just like Goliath wasn't as good as I remembered, Le Monstre wasn't as bad as I remembered. It really didn't do too much and it felt "slow" in a lot of places, especially the helix bowl element. But, it wasn't excessively rough, which came as a bit of a surprise to me. After I had grabbed my credit, Robb asked for volunteers to fill the other side's train for filming. Since my Q-bot group was in line for the wild mouse (which I already had), I figured I'd stick around for filming. As we were going up the lift, the camera's battery died. This meant we got another bonus ride! Hurray? Let's go with hurray. Anyways, after filming ended, I met up with my Q-bot group and we set about conquering the park.

 

Our first (tragic) stop was at La Marche du Milles Pattes, the park's kiddie coaster. We were the first ones there when the ride opened and we checked the ride sign and noticed that it didn't say you needed a kid. So, we jumped on and pulled down the restraint. It was at this point that the operator decided to tell us that we in fact did need a kid. So...credit denied. For now at least. We all ended up getting the credit at some point during the day by all borrowing/renting/stealing kids, so it worked out in the end. It was just a bit of a pain in the butt to go through that.

 

Next, we made our way to the park's SLC, Ednor L'Attaque. I already had the credit and considered skipping it. But, knowing what the operations are like, I figured I would at least wait the 45 minutes it took to get on the ride with people than wait by myself. Yeah...that's right. 45 minutes. With a gold Flash Pass. Clearly, not much had changed since my last visit. We got on, got beaten up and got off. It's your standard SLC in that it's not very good, but it's a credit, so whatever.

 

Since we were in the area, we decided to ride the park's Intamin family coaster, Dragon next. I had completely overlooked Dragon on my 2010 visit, so I was getting a new credit. The ride was actually better than I thought it was going to be. For a family coaster, it was actually pretty fun! A lot of the indoor scenery was pretty cool and the dragon itself was neat to see. There was also some French graffiti in line (and well...everywhere else in the park), which is always funny to see.

 

Since Trent and Ryan needed the Flash Pass side of Le Monstre (which Brent and I already had), we decided to temporarily split up. They waited in line (and oh man, did they wait) and we went up in the Spirale to get some pictures. We grabbed our pictures, they grabbed the credit and all of a sudden it was time for lunch. We really didn't get much accomplished during the morning, mainly due to the park's lackluster operations. After lunch, Brent went to hang out with Catherine since he had the credits, leaving the three of us on our own.

 

The three of us made our way over to the B&M corner of the park (ok, so one of them isn't B&M, whatever) to grab rides on Cobra and Vampire. Cobra is the park's Intamin stand up and is one of those "first generation" stand up rides. It was a bit shaky in places, but I actually really enjoyed it. Some of the drops on the ride are like something you'd see on a sit down or invert and are quite bizarre to do standing up. I didn't experience too much nut-squashing, so I guess I was a bit lucky. A major complaint about Cobra is the Flash Pass line. It takes you into this really REALLY decrepit looking area that has broken path tiles, random grass growing in the queue and so forth. It's not something that you would want your guests to see, so it's puzzling why they would keep the area in such disrepair.

 

Next, we made our way just down the path to Vampire, the park's Batman clone. This particular Batman is a mirror image and actually has one less car in the train. I think the one fewer car actually made for a more intense ride, which I loved. Nothing has changed about my opinion of this ride. It still kicks a tremendous amount of butt. It's quite intense, especially the second half of the ride. I still love it and I don't think that will ever change.

 

Following Vampire, Trent and Ryan needed to get the Toboggan Nordiques credit as they left the line earlier as well as Super Manege and Le Boomerang. We decided to split up yet again, leaving me to my own devices for the rest of the day while they finished their credits. Being the good sports they are, they left the Q-bot with me (thanks again, guys) and got in line for the mouse. I spent the rest of my day riding Vampire and Goliath as well as a few flats. The most notable was their S&S shot tower. The car only goes about 3/4 of the way up the tower, which seems like a bit of a waste, but the airtime is unreal. Not quite as good as the one at Canobie, but pretty damn close. Thankfully, Trent and Ryan finished their credits, conquering La Ronde.

 

We met back up at the bus and made the even longer journey back to the US where we would have an epic meal at Pizzeria Uno, mainly for the fun new party game "Guess Who's In My Mouth". I regret not video recording that.

 

All in all, my opinion about La Ronde has not changed. There are two good rides, surrounded by mediocrity on all sides. The operations still rank among the worst I've ever experienced. It feels like they just don't care about the job or about the guest experience. I really wanted to have a good day at La Ronde, but I still left a bit disappointed. At least I know I won't have to go back there (unless they get an Intamin pre-fab woodie or something). But, here are some pictures of the park, fully making this a photo trip report.

 

We arrived in Montreal and received the epic news that there was no power at our hotel

 

My flash actually did a good job lighting up the hall. This was actually almost pitch black.

 

The storm was so intense, it collapsed the deck of the restaurant next door!

 

More deck carnage

 

Nothing can stop the TPR alcohol exchange

 

Dave Thomas made TPDave drink some absolutely horrendous beer. It was tragically funny.

 

Really. It was the worst beer I think I've ever had.

 

Robb poured some epic Jager shots that were more like 1/4 cups

 

Hanging out in the darkness. Some random cyclist came by and took a group picture of us.

 

OK, enough drinking. Time to ride some roller coasters.

 

The back side of Le Montre.

 

Hurray Goliath!

 

More lift hill/first drop

 

Ride sign

 

Happy ERT riders

 

ERT part 2: Le Monstre

 

Clever and pretty awesome graffiti in the Le Monstre line

 

Lift hill

 

This side is a dragon...the other side is a weird Frankenstein jester thing

 

I never forget to hold myself firmly

 

Nope.

 

Still..it does look kind of nice.

 

At first denied, then granted admission sad and pathetic style!

 

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here

 

They know not what they do...

 

It's weird though, SLC's always look really good

 

They just never ride good.

 

Rather large Ferris Wheel

 

It's an indoor coaster, so this is all you get.

 

More Quebecois graffiti

 

Sinner entrance? Whaaa?

 

Good to see the RCT style monorail is still here

 

Mmmm...pizza tower

 

Montreal is definitely the most hockey crazy city out there. I'm surprised they didn't have multiple hockey games.

 

OM NOM NOM

 

Pictures from the Spirale

 

Le Monstre

 

Le Boomerang

 

B&M Corner. If you love the B&M roar (and who doesn't?), you'll love this part of the park.

 

Ednor

 

I still love French Goliath

 

Super Manege...mangeging

 

Nothing like some good old fashioned chick on chick action

 

Hmmm..Fort Edmonton, eh?

 

Fun fact: this is actually what downtown Edmonton currently looks like

 

Cobra

 

For all the lift hill enthusiasts out there

 

From the otherwise decrepit Flash Pass line, you get a nice view of the Jacques Cartier Bridge

 

Standy, twisty bits

 

Standing AND looping!

 

They look happy...I think?

 

Lots of curves

 

Vampire is still amazing

 

I wish I had this in my backyard

 

The mist tunnels felt nice on this day

 

Going through the second loop

 

Crazy awesome forces in the wingovers

 

Diving in the second mist tunnel

 

More looping!

 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, <3 zero-g rolls

 

Coming out of the zero-g roll

 

More happy people

 

Odd...but great tower

 

I am the Eggman. Koo-koo-ka-choo.

 

Ker-sploosh!

 

Le boomerang was closed today...not that I would have ridden it anyway.

 

Train lying in pieces

 

More partially dismantled Boomerang train

 

Corkscrewy goodness

 

None of the Condors on this trip actually operated. Odd.

 

Next up...The Great Escape!

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Dragon ruled! Our group came really close to dueling on Le Monstre. Both trains were going up the lift at the same time with one of them even catching up very much like Dueling Dragons. However, the last twenty feet or so our train lurched foward and went ahead to prevent us from a perfect duel.

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Really. It was the worst beer I think I've ever had.

 

Haha! You got to experience the awesomeness that is National Bohemian, aka Baltimore's Finest Swill. It cost me a whole $3.50 for a six pack of this crap for TPDave. I figured what would be better for TP to finally be able to drink when visiting the US than this alcoholic delight? The photos I have of TP drinking this are highly amusing.

 

For some reason, people in this area still buy this crap. Though I was told it's mainly to steam crabs in. Which I suppose makes a bit of sense, since why use something to steam crabs in that you'd actually drink?

 

dt

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Really. It was the worst beer I think I've ever had.

 

Haha! You got to experience the awesomeness that is National Bohemian, aka Baltimore's Finest Swill. It cost me a whole $3.50 for a six pack of this crap for TPDave. I figured what would be better for TP to finally be able to drink when visiting the US than this alcoholic delight? The photos I have of TP drinking this are highly amusing.

 

For some reason, people in this area still buy this crap. Though I was told it's mainly to steam crabs in. Which I suppose makes a bit of sense, since why use something to steam crabs in that you'd actually drink?

 

dt

 

Definitely is a Maryland thing......Growing up in Western Maryland we learned to drink on 3 things....Busch Light, Milwaukee's Best, and Natty boh....Why? you might ask. Well, they are CHEAP!!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Part 6: The Great Escape

 

After our day at La Ronde, I bade farewell to Canada and my being able to use my cell phone data plan with impunity as our "lovely" group made its way down to Lake George, NY to visit The Great Escape. We arrived in Lake George in the evening and had some important business to attend to before we could head to the park the next day...a fantastic pizza dinner at Pizzeria Uno!

 

I had never been to a Pizzeria Uno before, but since it's pizza...it was most certainly enjoyable. Having beer on tap only helped the situation. I also got to watch the fun new party game "Guess Who's In My Mouth?" starring Piers. I really REALLY regret not recording that. Also, since there was a Wal-Mart across the street...we ventured in there to basically wander around for a bit. Hurray! Wal-Mart!

 

The following morning, we made our way to the park. Great Escape is one of those "Six Flags but not really" Six Flags parks. Originally, it was independently owned, then acquired by the Six Flags chain when they were gobbling up smaller parks during their massive expansion phase. The park still hasn't been "flagged" and that's actually a great thing, because this park still maintained all of its original charm.

 

First things first though...we had some ERT on Comet to attend to. Comet was originally at Crystal Beach, home of the historic (yet insane) Crystal Beach Cyclone. It was relocated to Great Escape in the mid 1990's and enjoys new life at the park. Also, Comet has some of the original steel structure from the Cyclone. Talk about your impressive pedigrees. This ride certainly lived up to its namesake...it was awesome. There was nice airtime all over the ride, it wasn't very rough at all and most importantly...it was damned fun. Our ERT on Comet was my favourite ERT session on the entire trip and I don't think I ever got off the ride for very long between riding.

 

After our fantastic ERT, I made my way over to the park's Intamin bobsled, Alpine Bobsled. We had been given some advance notice to "get a ride in now while you can", making it sound like the ride was on death row. Apparently, it's been given a reprieve, but who knows how long that will last. You know, bobsleds really don't do much for me. The train/sled/whatver was extremely cramped and you got a good jolt every time it would enter a set of brakes. Certainly not something I'd want to ride over and over. But hey...there was a Jamaican bobsled. So at least I got to make a Cool Runnings joke. Timely!

 

Coming off of the Alpine Bobsled, I made my way over to the fourth and final of the Boomerangs on the trip, appropriately named...Boomerang. Here to describe the ride experience of a Boomerang, is 1970's supergroup, Abba!

 

Thanks, Abba! After conquering the last of the trip's boomerangs, we were going to make our way over to the park's Arrow mine train, Canyon Blaster. However, while on the way, we stumbled upon the park's Tiny Town walkthrough attraction. I can say that without a doubt, we had waaaaaaaaaaay too much fun going through the tiny buildings, feeling like titans among mortals. Sometimes, it's the smaller things that are the most fun (no pun intended). When we did get over to Canyon Blaster, it turned into an impromptu TPR takeover of the ride. It seemed as though everyone decided to ride all at once. The entire train was full of TPR members, making a pretty lackluster main train actually somewhat fun.

 

Since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to ride the park's log flume next. The flume isn't really the best and you don't get too wet on it. However, the sprayers are positioned extremely well after the drop to soak any unsuspecting person for only 25 cents. Since most of the TPR people who rode Canyon Blaster made their way to the log flume, we decided to soak some people. Again...this was way too much fun. I must have gone through $5 in quarters on those sprayers. Money well spent, I think.

 

Having drenched a sizable portion of people on the trip, we made our way to the park's Arrow loopscrew, Steamin' Demon. The name of the ride sounds like something you would experience shortly after eating spicy Mexican food. Tragically, it also rides like it too. They should have called the ride "Steamin' Pile of Crap". It was one of the rougher coasters I've been on and gave my jaw a pretty good hit going into the corkscrew. Needless to say...one and done.

 

With all the coasters done at the park, we spent the rest of our day going around and doing the various walkthroughs and flat rides that the park had to offer. The Alice in Wonderland walkthrough had statues that were...interesting. They definitely looked like the last time they were painted was when they were originally constructed.

 

We had a bit of an interesting time on Sasquatch, the last of the S&S towers for the trip. We had got on the shot tower, pulled down the harnesses, got the all clear and moved into the ready position. Instead of launching, we just kind of...sunk to the ground. Yep. We were e-stopped. Turns out, someone (not with our group thankfully) was trying to record the ride. We were told that it would take 20-30 minutes for them to reset the ride, so we grabbed a ride on the drop tower and eventually came back. When we came back for our second attempt at the shot tower...we got e-stopped. Again. I'm not too sure why we got e-stopped the second time, but after that we just gave up trying to ride it. It looked like it would have been fun, though.

 

Probably my favourite thing at the park was their car ride. Why, you ask? These cars had horns. During the ride, all we did was keep the horn pushed down. If you were around when we were on the ride, all you would have been able to hear is a really long honk. It was either a fantastic or terrible idea, depending on how you look at it.

 

We continued around the park, looking at more of their old, worn out storyland statues. But you know...even with the statues showing their wear, it was still fun. Everything at the park is a ton of fun and really well geared towards families. Why Six Flags doesn't copy this formula that really works at Great Escape is beyond me. Comparing La Ronde to Great Escape is like coal to diamonds. Kind of baffling, really. All in all, I actually think this was my favourite park of the trip...and that's something I was not expecting to be saying.

 

Leaving Great Escape, we were surprised with a trip to Magic Forest and a bonus credit! Sure, it was just a kiddie coaster, but this park is something that has to be seen to be believed. It was like they went to "Bob's Discount Statue and Decoration Emporium and Warehouse" and just asked for one of everything. I'm pretty sure I saw three statues of Santa while we were there. The main attraction of course, was the kiddie coaster. If you followed other updates from the trip, you'll know that we broke the kiddie coaster. When it rolled back and the chain started spazzing out, I thought for sure it was going to break. Luckily, we escaped with our lives and credits. Oh yeah...there was also a diving horse show. What I would have given to be able to see that.

 

Our hilarious experience at Magic Forest concluded the "official" part of the Northeast Trip. Most of us would be going to SFGAdv the next day, but for a few, it was time to say our goodbyes, which was definitely sad. For our farewell dinner, we were treated to a TPR staple, Carrabba's. This was my first time going to Carrabba's and OMG was it good. The multiple pitchers of sangria definitely made things better too. It was a great way to end the official part of the tour. It may have been the end of the official part, but I was one of the many who would be going to SFGAdv, so you still have one more update to read through.

 

But first, pictures!

 

Arriving at The Great Escape, the Six Flags park that forgot it was a Six Flags park.

 

Final S&S towers from the parking lot

 

OMG, terrifying.

 

Hey baby, want some wood?

 

Comet ruled during ERT

 

The rare exception to the "ACE plaque = ride sucks" rule

 

Facts!

 

Not a single person with their hands down...awesome.

 

After the first turnaround

 

Another train full of VERY happy riders

 

Definitely far exceeded my expectations

 

Intamin bobsled time

 

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it's bobsled time!

 

Station reminds me of the old Fantasyland Skyway station at WDW

 

Last one of the trip!

 

Ugly train wraps though

 

Lift hills

 

Part of the cobra roll

 

 

They had quite a lot to do for little kids and families

 

Of course I rubbed Porcellino's snout for luck, it would be foolish not to. Porcellino

 

There were no old ladies with an abnormally high amount of children living here...

 

Just a really creepy empty room and small chair

 

This whole thing was way more fun that it probably should have been

 

Half the fun was being way too big for everything

 

In Tiny Town Tiny Jail

 

Oh god, a giant!

 

You can't beat his meat!

 

Time for a random TPR takeover

 

The ride actually had some decent theming

 

Turns and turns

 

More helix goodness

 

Log flume where a lot of TPR members got soaked

 

Ker-sploosh

 

Ugh.

 

Vertical loop "goodness"

 

That turn before the corkscrews is a killer

 

These trains are really...

 

 

...cheesy.

 

 

This is pretty morbid for a theme park

 

Random storyland stuff

 

Google Maps guy! I made some dumb face that will inevitably be on the map of the park

 

Ferris wheel action

 

This was...interesting

 

Hahaha...awesome

 

BAHAHAHAHAHA

 

Hey hey hey...smoke weed everyday.

 

The 8 of Hearts rocks the gangster walk

 

Queen of Hearts being all queenly.

 

Jack and his beanstalk

 

For some reason, I like to picture the Sasquatch with an English accent. Don't ask me why.

 

Hi Swan Boats!

 

Random statues on the train ride

 

Ghost town theming or horrible accident?

 

Fun fact: New York State is home to hundreds of wild elephants

 

Ahh! Let's get out of here!

 

The bridge to nowhere

 

lol, Magic Mountain

 

BONUS PARK PICTURES!

Santa Claus sighting #1

 

Apparently...this is a "muffler man". The more you know, I suppose.

 

Hurr

 

He stands there. Silent. Steady. Watching. Always watching. Always judging.

 

OK, odd...but we're in New York...this kind of makes sense

 

FOUR LEGS GOOD, TWO LEGS BAD

 

If you you were a hot dog, and you were starving, would you eat yourself?

 

Mr. Pete is the only normal thing here

 

He stares into my soul

 

Durr

 

Every statue seems very surprised

 

AWESOME

 

Ok, now this makes absolutely no sense at all

 

Hey look! A roller coaster!

 

That maintenance guy was not pleased with us, I would imagine

 

Saddest statue ever

 

Goats, because of course there are goats here

 

Miss Piggy has fallen on hard times it seems

 

Santa Claus sighting #2

 

Fake person in a fake ticket booth. This booth was also around no rides.

 

Fun facts!

 

Hurr durr

 

That is a rather large Uncle Sam

 

Mighty Mouse...riding an elephant...*head asplode*

 

Wait...diving horse? Oh, what I would have given for an extra hour or so here.

 

Next up, Six Flags Great Adventure!

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Part 7: Six Flags Great Adventure

 

And so we come to the grand finale of the trip, the SFGAdv add-on day. This was the longest, most insane day of the trip, but it was definitely worth it. We set out from the hotel in Newark at around 6:30am or something ridiculous like that and made it to the park just before 8:30. I wish I could tell you the awesome scenery I saw from the bus, but two problems came up. The first was that I was asleep the entire ride there. The second is that it's New Jersey and there is no scenery.

 

When we arrived, it had just stopped raining and the park was still a bit wet. However, this didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm for the day that was to come. After hanging out in the main entrance area for a bit, we were let in for ERT on Nitro, Dark Knight (with lights on too!) and Green Lantern. That's right...THREE coasters for morning ERT. This was definitely a sign of the awesomeness to come.

 

My first stop was Nitro, the park's spectacular B&M hypercoaster. Whenever I think about B&M's hypers, I've always thought of Nitro, so I was extremely excited to be able to finally ride it. I made my way to the station and found that the park was running three trains for our ERT, so there was absolutely zero wait. I immediately took a spot somewhere near the back and got ready for what lay ahead. Nitro is hands down the best of the B&M hypers I've been on, it was fantastic. The ride seemed like it was just non-stop floater airtime with some wicked laterals in the helix thrown in for good measure. Since there were no lines, I just stayed on the ride over and over again without getting off. I think I ended up riding in every row during ERT. To make matters better, the trims were barely on, so it was almost as pure a hypercoaster experience as I could have gotten.

 

Next up on our ERT session was Dark Knight, the park's indoor mouse. But, since we're special and awesome, we got to ride it with the lights on, providing an experience most people don't really get. To be fair, the ride with the lights on kind of ruins the effect, but whatever...it was a special thing that I was glad to take advantage of. I did come back later in the day to get a ride with the lights off. Surprisingly, it really didn't make too much of a difference. I guess once you've ridden one wild mouse, you've ridden them all. Plus, having to watch the pre-show over and over again is pretty trying on your patience.

 

With the mouse out of the way, it was time to ride the park's "new" hotness for 2011, Green Lantern (or the Coaster Formerly Known as Chang). Normally, I'm not a big fan of stand up coasters, and this one really isn't an exception. Not surprisingly, it rides extraordinarily similar to Mantis...being a mirror image tends to do that. I will give Green Lantern the slight edge for an attempt at theming and the extra inversion. But, being a stand up...there's the inevitable nut squashing that occurs. I've always thought that Mantis/Chang/Green Lantern would be a lot better as a sit down or floorless coaster. I will continue to stand by the statement.

 

As I got off Green Lantern, one of the park staff said that they had opened Kingda Ka early, just for us. This day just kept getting better by the minute! I made my way over to Kindga Ka and sure enough, it was TPR only, turning it into a mini-ERT session. I grabbed my first ride in the second row (mainly because I didn't want to wait for the front). While this coaster may be taller and faster than TTD, it's not as good. I found that the launch basically has two gears and is very noticeable when riding. Now, to be fair, it's still balls to the wall fast, but the launch on TTD (and hell, even Storm Runner for that matter) is smoother and more consistent. I did find that the extra 30 or so feet to the tower is quite noticeable and you feel like you are 450' up in the air. I enjoyed it, but much like TTD, it's not something I would want to ride over and over again. I did manage to snag two quick rides in during our little ERT session, so that was definitely a bonus. More thanks to the park for providing that for us.

 

After mini-ERT on Kingda Ka ended, it was time to grab Q-Bots and make our way around the park. My usual Q-Bot group had broken up, but luckily I was adopted by another group. Thanks guys! Our first stop was naturally, El Toro. El Toro was another reason I came on the trip. Ever since it had opened, I had heard how crazy insane and intense this ride was. These stories were not exaggerated. El Toro was hands down the most intense ride I have ever experienced, and almost reaches that point of "too intense". Intamin definitely pushed the envelope on this one and almost tore it to shreds in the process. Quite possibly the greatest moment of ejector airtime I have ever experienced is the "Rolling Thunder hill" just before the s-curves. O...M...F...G. When I was mercilessly stapled into the ride, I thought it was a bit overkill...but those restraints definitely need to be that tight. Once more, I was left with that feeling of "wow...that JUST happened" when we hit the brake run. Needless to say, El Toro is now safely in my number 1 overall spot...and we still had night ERT to come.

 

After El Toro, we decided to grab a ride on the park's other not as good woodie, Rolling Thunder. I'm not sure if it was the El Toro hangover or what, but I really didn't care for Rolling Thunder. It felt slow, was rough and was extremely loud. Like...metal on metal scraping loud. My ears were not too pleased. At least they attempted to race the ride. While there, we only managed to grab one side, but we eventually came back and got the other. Hurray.

 

Next, made our way over to the park's floorless, Bizarro. Naturally, this meant more Bizarro theme to sing along with. Go ahead...you know the words. When Bizarro was still Medusa, it was the world's first floorless coaster, so it was nice to ride a piece of history. To be fair, I actually preferred SFNE's Batman to Bizarro. Not sure what it was, but it just felt...blah. The zero-g roll was still fun, as they always are...but that was really about it. Given the choice, I probably wouldn't do too many re-rides on Bizarro, which is odd feeling to say.

 

Immediately after Bizarro, we made our way over to the park's surprisingly long log flume where unfortunately, Ben was stuck sitting in front and got rather soaked. My condolences. There were spray guns here as well, but they had this weird delay on them that made them shoot maybe 2-3 seconds after the button was pushed. Odd. Next up, we took a quick lap on Runaway Mine Train, a very old Arrow mine train. For what it was, it was surprisingly fun. It won't win any enthusiast polls, but as a family coaster, it's a great ride. Afterwards, we hopped on the skyway and made our way across the park to Skull Mountain, another family coaster. Now, this may be a family coaster, but it has a wicked airtime moment on the first drop that completely caught me by surprise. That one drop made the ride awesome...mainly because it's a short ride...whatever.

 

Afterwards, we made our way past the empty and rather sad looking Chiller station for lunch. During lunch, the park said that they would be offering a photo walkback of Nitro for anyone that was interested. Seeing as we had quite a lot of time to kill, we decided that doing the walkback would be a good idea. And, holy crap was it ever! The walkback took us into the restricted access area of the park, in, around and under Nitro. We got very close to the ride and had the opportunity to take a ton of awesome, extremely hard to get pictures. I was already extremely pleased when they asked if we wanted to do a walkback of another ride since there was only one group of 15 of us who were on the walkback. Naturally, we said yes. They then took us over to Kingda Ka, where we got even more behind the scenes access! We got to walk beside the launch track, standing right next to it as it launched the trains and the crowning moment, standing directly under the massive support tower. These walkbacks were without a doubt, the coolest things I have ever done at a theme park. I really can't thank the park enough for giving us this opportunity. It was an extreme pleasure.

 

After the walkbacks, we still had a few credits to get. We made our way back over to the Gotham City area of the park to get a ride in on Batman. After the Batman at La Ronde had been so awesome, I was really expecting the same type of ride from this park's Batman. However, I wasn't to be so lucky. The ride had a pretty nasty rattle, which gave my back a good re-arranging. It also felt far less intense than the La Ronde version. I suppose that 8th car makes a huge difference.

 

After picking up our sad and pathetic credits on Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train and Road Runner Railway, we made our way to our final credit, Superman: Ultimate Flight, the park's B&M flyer. This completed the flyer trifecta for me...having ridden B&M, Vekoma and Zamperla's take on the flying coaster. Out of the three, I'd (shockingly) pick Vekoma. Yeah, I know! I was just as surprised as you. I found the B&M model was really "meh" and kind of boring. The only really redeeming feature was the comfort of the trains and the pretzel roll. The pretzel roll ruled, but wasn't enough to really make up for an otherwise tame and forceless ride. I think I'm understanding what people say about how modern B&M's have somehow lost their edge. At least 2012's offerings look like they regained that.

 

Now that we had all the credits in the park, we wandered around and grabbed some re-rides on El Toro, Nitro and Kingda Ka. We also made a stop at Houdini's Great Escape, a Vekoma Madhouse. I missed the one at SFNE, so I figured I should go on the one here. WHY AREN'T THESE IN MORE PARKS?! I loved the ride so much. The lengthy pre-show and atttention to detail in the show room were fantastic. Added in the optical illusions that are pulled off fantastically well, this was an amazing ride. It ranks behind Astrosphere as my favourite flat ride of the trip.

 

After we hit up Houdini, it was time for night ERT on El Toro. Much like Boulder Dash and Bizarro before it, El Toro cranks up the insanity factor by about 100 at night. It was like ejector airtime heaven while I was riding. That Rolling Thunder hill? Even crazier! I don't know how Intamin does it, but they really put everything they have into their rides and don't hold anything back. It's going to take one hell of a ride to dethrone El Toro as my number 1.

 

Thus concludes my experience on the 2011 TPR Northeast Tour. As I mentioned in my first post, I had an absolute blast on this trip. All the new friends I've made and new experiences I had will definitely not be forgotten. I know that in the future, I will definitely keep going on TPR trips or attending bashes whenever I can. A HUGE thanks to Robb and Elissa who put together a great tour and had everything planned perfectly. I really couldn't have asked for a better time.

 

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the trip report. Here are the pictures from SFGAdv!

 

OMG, long day ahead

 

This was definitely a pleasant sight to wake up to on the bus

 

Mmmm...pretzel

 

Main entrance

 

Another rather large ferris wheel

 

First stop of the day, ERT on Nitro

 

My favourite B&M hyper

 

Second hill/twisty/dive thing

 

Mmmmm...floater airtime

 

Step 1: Cut a hole in a box. Step 2: Put a mouse in the box. Step 3: Open the box. Mouse in a box!

 

Fun fact: if you go to this website, it's all about crabs.

 

They also have one of the few remaining parachute towers

 

I didn't quite get it. Kind of pointless, really.

 

More ERT, this time on Green Lantern

 

Mirrory goodness

 

Standing diveloop

 

They were running three trains during ERT too. This park rules.

 

The inclined loop: true inversion or not? YOU DECIDE

 

On my way to mini-ERT on Kingda Ka

 

Yay, bonus ERT!

 

Ride signage

 

YES YES YES YES YES

 

What an out of this world experience

 

Airtime buffet!

 

Those people just got their minds blown with ejector airtime

 

Station sign

 

First drop craziness. Intamin should have just gone for broke and made the thing completely vertical. It's close enough as it is.

 

More super happy fun airtime to be found here

 

The cable lift was also surprisingly fast

 

Backside of El Toro

 

Bi-za-rro! Bi-za-rro! Bi-za-rro!

 

Zero-g goodness

 

Bizarro cobra roll

 

I used to live in a region called Conestoga. This amused me.

 

Surprisingly fun mine train

 

Signage

 

I'm pretty sure it's a law that if you go to SFGAdv, you have to take this picture

 

Ker-sploosh

 

On their way down, to not get soaked because I couldn't time it right

 

El Toro/Kingda Ka from the skyway

 

Nitro from the skyway

 

Rawr!

 

Completely unashamed! Well done, sir.

 

Old Chiller building

 

Old Chiller station

 

Ba-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Batman!

 

Woosh!

 

Happy people on Batman

 

I hope you like pictures of Nitro, because I took a TON

 

Lift hill action

 

Last hill before the brakes

 

Super hot upskirt action

 

Airtime galore

 

Just some of the many lost items we saw on our walkback

 

More people having fun

 

First drop and enthusiasts in high visibility jackets

 

We got quite close to the ride

 

Still more first drop funtimes

 

And more!

 

Forest of supports

 

Under the second hill

 

Coming out of the MCBR

 

Heading into more fun

 

I love how this picture turned out

 

It was at this point, people started noticing a bunch of people taking their picture

 

I think this is my favourite picture. The riders' faces are all priceless...especially the confused guy in the back

 

Hey, its those same guys!

 

Turnaround!

 

If I could have had a picnic lunch here, I would have.

 

More second hill

 

Awesome helix

 

More second hill

 

Some random airtime hill, can't remember which

 

Even more happy people

 

While on our way over to Kingda Ka, I saw this. Who would want to lug that around all day?

 

I hope you like pictures of Kingda Ka too, because I took a ton there as well!

 

Backstage exclusivity!

 

We get to go down there!

 

Launching at 128mph!

 

Going up

 

Cresting the tower

 

Falling back to earth

 

And a little bit closer now...

 

Spinny fally goodness

 

Up and over the camelback

 

Even closer now!

 

Twisty!

 

OMG

 

Ultimate coaster nerd picture

 

Wow...

 

Being here really put just how massive it was into perspective

 

Going down!

 

Rocketing up the tower

 

Impossible to get picture of Rolling Thunder!

 

I asked how much it would cost to go up in the elevator. The park's response? "You don't have enough". LOL

 

Inside the tower structure! Have I mentioned how cool this was?

 

Massive tower supports

 

Sadly, we had to come back. But, we did see a large stockpile of Intamin wheels

 

The lucky few of us who did the walkback

 

Our FANTASTIC tour guides. I can't speak highly enough of them.

 

One last picture of Kingda Ka for good measure

 

TIme to fly!

 

Mmmm...pretzel.

 

And...that's it! Thanks for reading!

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