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Photo TR: Six Flags America Shenanigans


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Sidewinder, the launched Arrow shuttle, was a major draw for me. The park is compact and very easy to navigate, so I was able to quickly make my way over there.

 

Snakes on a Train! Sidewinder met my expectations: a deceptively simple yet exciting ride with decent pops of airtime and some strong positive forces.

 

If I had a coaster bucket list, an Arrow Shuttle Loop would be on there. It's a bummer, because Fun Spot in Indiana is about a 2.5 hours drive from Chicago. Well, at least it was- 4 years ago...

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I am always a bit bummed when people post about Elitch Gardens. First because usually I had no idea they were there and second because usually it is just a trip for credits.

 

Honestly the park has had a lot of problems since the early Premier days. The last 2 coasters added (flying coaster and half pipe) both had incredible problems (maintenance used to have someone sitting under half pipe almost non-stop because the thing faulted so much). Plus the flat package leaves a lot to be desired. Dragonwing has been a problem for several years at least, the Huss rides have all had significant downtime in past years, never mind that no new flats have been added for a decade. Please don't say anything about Disaster Canyon which has run with so few boats you might as well pack a picnic for the time waiting in line.

 

Don't get me wrong the current owners have very little to do with the problems but PARC did little to rectify them. I'm really hoping that Herschend can give Elitch Gardens the spark that it needs to not be an also ran in modern parks.

 

Also please don't think I dislike the park. I just want something in Colorado that truly impresses. It doesn't need to be big to do that as those that rode Wooden Warrior at Quassy no doubt discovered. I just want something that makes me say wow again. Maybe I'm being unfair but it seems like all the forum members that visit the park come away with the feeling that it is just generic and ok. That seems like a very sad thing to say about any entertainment venue.

 

(Also Laura apologies for the rant on your thread )

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I think this is the largest park in the US that I have not visited yet. Nice to see a fastpass-style system there!

dt

 

Those Mountain time zone parks are difficult to plan for us East Coasters. My one and only trip to Denver for business was during the off-season.

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I am always a bit bummed when people post about Elitch Gardens. First because usually I had no idea they were there and second because usually it is just a trip for credits.

Looking at the trip date and the weather in the pictures, this was actually the day we were there. Mind Eraser was running great due to the cold and rainy weather, even in the back of the blue train which is usually beyond painful.

 

A little-publicized (even on TPR!) benefit available at Elitch Gardens is Rapid Ride, a skip-the-line system that is probably closest in practice to Cedar Fair's Fast Lane, The Great Escape's Go Fast Pass, and SeaWorld's Quick Queue. The unlimited version, VIP Rapid Ride, costs a reasonable $29.99 plus a few sneaky dollars' tax, and the basic (one lap per ride) version boasts a base price of only $14.99. All coasters except Sidewinder are available, plus Ghost Blasters, Tower of Doom, Shake Rattle and Roll, and a couple water rides. Unfortunately, I discovered that Half Pipe and Tower of Doom also offer a single rider queue, which of course decreases the value per ride of the paid system.

 

Overall, I was impressed with the VIP Rapid Ride experience. Guest service was average to very good, rider response was not harsh or intimidating, and I consistently rode within one to three trains of arriving. Seating choice varied, and I'm not sure if the differences were due to crowd levels, individual ride policies, or operator discretion. On Boomerang, a third row seat was always assigned (after a short wait); on Twister II I always had free choice; and on Mind Eraser I was assigned toward the front once and once specifically told I could ride any seat, including front or back. Time saved varied, but overall worked out to make this a cost-effective and convenient choice.

 

A major problem with Rapid Ride is signage. I only noticed a few signs with specific, accurate instructions. Generally, you board through the exit, but in many cases there were Rapid Ride signs or painted instructions that lead "nowhere," but no signage on or pointing towards the actual exit path. At Ghost Blasters, the Rapid Ride queue was chained off even when open for business (and clearly warranted based on the main queue).

It's always fun to read trip reports from here, especially ones with a positive outlook on the park. To clear things up about the Rapid Ride/VIP, seating choice when I worked there was usually guests' choice. It caused the most problems at Mind Eraser when they would always choose the front, which already had a long line and often angered guests in line. At Half Pipe, VIP was supposedly through the exit and Rapid Ride through the single rider line (I have never seen it actually used for single riders), but most often both would just come through the exit. Seats are also assigned here to ensure no groups get separated on either side of the ride. Ghost Blasters' Rapid Ride line is usually chained off to avoid confusion since its often mistaken for the ride entrance. Rapid Ride/VIP signs do not seem to cause as many problems as the labeling on the actual passes does. You would be surprised how often people came up to Sidewinder to use their pass, only to be shocked to see it's not listed on there, or they think its a different ride (one time someone was convinced it was Disaster Canyon).

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Nice job, Laura. I never been to Elitch Gardens; if I happened to find myself in Denver one day, I'd probably check it out, but I've no burning desire to visit the park.

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Mile High Flea Market (Henderson, CO) and Heritage Square Amusement Park (Golden, CO)

 

Let's take some time to recover from the latest and greatest thrill machines (that's you, Vekoma SLC and Boomerang) with some Colorado fun a little closer to the ground, which is no major downgrade considering that said ground is one mile above sea level!

 

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We'll start out by hitting Mile High Flea Market in time for the 10:00 rides opening. (The market opens at 7:00 in the morning Friday through Sunday, so keep that in mind if you're a shopper.) Pay the -per-person fee at one of these booths, and you're set! Or get in for FREE because you're cool and scored extra tickets the day before.

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All the skateboarding bulldogs wept, and slowly rolled away on wheels lubricated with tears.

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Stuff gets sold here. Bought, too. Can't very well do one without the other, right? Just be careful, or you might catch some bugs from your mile high endeavors.

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No, I don't know what is up with Colorado and this style of tent. But I'm sure someone here does.

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Mile High Flea Market is offering an online BOGO coupon for ride tickets, which are 75 cents each. The Dragon Coaster costs 2 tickets per rider. If Billy wants to ride the Dragon Coaster one time and he has one free ticket, how much did Billy pay for his other ticket?

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If your answer was NOT "75 cents," then I will be very, very concerned, unless there are special circumstances involved.

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The dragon fancies himself a VERY attractive fellow. He imagines that one glance at him could aggravate a heart condition (all that fluttering isn't good for some people) or cause one to faint. He's convinced you might even want to take your shirt off right then and there!

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What do you think? A bit grandiose, right? Or did you too collapse in a passionate swoon?

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Of course, I am most interested in, um, another body part. (Relax, I'm talking about tails here. Dragon tails are cute, all right?)

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This is my absolute FAVORITE kind of Dragon Wagon: Double Spiral (1 climb, 1 down). What's yours? Hello? Anybody?

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Dragon Wagon Double Spiral is also my favorite yoga position. I like to meditate on all the kiddie coasters I will be able to fit on if I exercise regularly.

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Say it with me: EXCITEMENT!

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And exciting it was. Not the most airtime a Dragon Wagon has ever proffered, but plenty of intense laterals. GREAT views of the flea market, too!

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This is a mini-Himalaya of some sort. Or should I say Mini-Rockies?

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That looks like a giant tongue. But a Super Happy Fun Tongue, so it's all good...I think?

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Mini-Sizzler for Sizzler-riders in training. Although, assuming it's significantly tamer than the big version, those kids are going to be in for a real shock when they ride a real Sizzler for the first time.

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Your standard car-ousel. It's named Umbrella, since that is, after all, the basic theme of the ride.

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Does this count as a dark ride, or is it just an outdoor ride with dark ride elements?

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Don't worry, I jumped out of the way at the last possible second. If only I had just read the "TUNNEL" sign so I'd have known there was a tunnel there.

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Moving on. There was live entertainment, or at least an attempt at something of that nature.

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There was fair fare, or as some might call it, scare fare, since it could very well end up killing you.

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Some of the storefronts had funky facades like this.

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I don't have anything else to say about this place, so here is a picture of a horse.

Since you won't find this anywhere on the Internet outside of Big Mike's thread, here are the ride hours at Mile High Flea Market: 10-4, Saturday and Sunday only. I'm assuming a traditional amusement park season such as May-September, though the market itself is open year-round.

 

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Let's head to Heritage Square for their 11:00 opening. The park is nestled in this lush location just a little ways past the town proper (if you think you missed it, you probably didn't).

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That's kind of an ugly building, which doesn't bode well for theming in the rest of the park...

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Ever wonder what it's like on the other side? Well, here is a photo from somebody who saw the light and crossed over.

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Just off the entrance is this quaint events center, where, shockingly enough, an event was occurring today.

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Oh my goodness, it's a Victorian oasis!

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I seriously had no idea what Heritage Square looked like before visiting. Or, if I did, I forgot.

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But now I know that it looks...like this. And now you know too!

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Let's check out some rides! You know there is something wrong with you when you can hum along with the carousel music. So, for your sake, I hope you can't.

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Some kind of fancy walk-through...with prizes?

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The maze. Oh, and heritage and stuff. Gotta have heritage.

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Where you go first if you want to ride rides, or if someone special you love very much wants to ride rides.

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It's also an arcade. But not a Fascination parlor (darn!).

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Scrambler. This park is a bit more "grown-up" than the flea market, but even so, you'll probably only want the credit(s) if you're alone.

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I think this was closed? If not, it did a GREAT job fooling me.

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Romantic swan boats for you and your date. But you're a coaster enthusiast, so of course you don't have one. ;)

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Good old-fashioned Tilt-A-Whirl!

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Kiddie banana-planes? Wait a minute, that IS what they are?! I was just joking...did not notice this at the park!

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Kiddie swings. No, really, you won't fit. Don't even bother asking (or asking why I know this).

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Up, up and away, in my beautiful, my beautiful imitation of a hot air balloon.

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"Does this really go all the way to Mt. Kilimanjaro?"

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What's this? Cook and eat your very own roller coaster???

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Did you know that this here is Indiana Jones' favorite ride?

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Stuff you should know. Because there WILL be a quiz later.

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Overview. Also, there is a Ferris wheel.

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Empty planters equal theming. Fire hydrants equal even better theming.

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Meet Mr. Pit. Sorry, folks, but that's "Python," not "Brad."

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READY?

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SET?

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GO!

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That was fun. Here's the mini-golf. Well, not the whole thing.

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Even going to the bathroom is fun at Heritage Square! (Not in a creepy way.)

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For older thrill-seekers, there is an alpine slide as part of Heritage Square. And if you've ever wanted to get some action a mile high, it looks like you can do that here too.

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But the younger folks don't have to miss out on the alpine fun.

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At Heritage Square, simply drag the nearest ride op to the ride you want (even if it's something lame like this). No waiting around hoping someone notices you, or waiting for a switch (hi Keansburg and Scandia). Pa rum pum pum pum!

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And now, what I REALLY came here for.

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Isn't he ADORABLE?

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Rough overview. You best believe I count powered. Two ACErs (or parents...of kids, not ACErs) are allowed per ride.

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Cute Innocent Mike, meet your cousin, Stoner Sally.

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Big red barns are, of course, an iconic hallmark of the Victorian era.

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Anyone else hungry for some gingerbread?

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These make me so very, very happy. It isn't nice to talk about how they make me happy, though.

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But this one is held up only by stilts! What if there's a beaver infestation? Hurry, run for open ground!

And now you know that credit whoring in Colorado is easy as can be!

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I have yet to go to the Mile High Flea Market...considering I'm a Colorado resident that's a sucker for that kind of stuff, means I will go eventually (especially if credits are involved!)

 

As for Heritage Square, I never really went to the amusement section (except for my credits and one or two flats); it was always the alpine slide that made me want to go.

 

Great TR, that coming from a resident. Any other Colorado adventures?

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Woo Hoo!!! A Big Mike shout out!! Love when that happens!

 

Tell me you didn't go all the way there and not find the 2 Mikestery Cards that were never claimed at those two parks!!

 

 

Peace, Big Mike

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Any other Colorado adventures?

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Yup! Here was my itinerary:

May 19th: Elitch Gardens (page 2)

May 20th: Mile High Flea Market and Heritage Square (duh)

May 20th AGAIN!: Lakeside Amusement Park (TR coming soon)

 

Also, I'll be back in Denver in a couple months.

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Romantic swan boats for you and your date. But you're a coaster enthusiast, so of course you don't have one.

Let me tell you what, I may be a lanky roller coaster enthusiast with a little too much red hair, but I most certainly have...yeah, I don't have one. Thanks for showing me how great my life is.

 

Did you do the Alpine Slide? They're a ton of fun.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On Sunday, May 20, I headed to Lakeside Amusement Park to complete my run of all (erm, both) "major" Denver parks.

 

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In case you didn't read what I JUST SAID. And hopefully PTSA doesn't stand for Post Traumatic Stress Amelioration, 'cause that won't happen here. Try "Aggravation."

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The park immediately started giving off a VERY strong Indiana Beach vibe (though, admittedly, I don't even remember if any part of Indiana Beach actually looks like this photo). Also, to help set the scene of this park, I must inform you there was a dead bird lying on the entryway.

Besides its Midwest cousin Indiana Beach, the park shows similarities to several other traditional amusement parks. Knoebels, without the overwhelmingly lovable, tucked-in-the-woods atmosphere. Kennywood, with fewer major rides and no hint of a corporate feel. And it's closely comparable to Rye Playland, though that park might have the edge in ride selection. Anybody know how it compares to Conneaut Lake Park?

 

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"Daaamn gurl, you lookin' FIERCE!"

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Meet the infamous Tower of Jewels (what jewels?). This stunning, um, structure, is visible throughout much of the park.

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I was surprised to see a sign this iconic in such poor shape, and partly blocked. Give me an axe and a can of pink paint, stat.

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As you can see, the park has fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with the Disney Corporation, securing the rights to use likenesses of such beloved characters as Chip 'n' Dale.

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Lakeside has the admirable policy of opening a few sucky rides first and then gradually starting to open the good ones an hour later, or something like that. But today they were nice and opened Wild Chipmunk early.

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If you enjoy moderate physical discomfort, THIS IS THE RIDE FOR YOU. My fourth and final old-school Miler Mouse (thank goodness), this seemed heavier on the lats than those at Adventure City, Texas Wonderland, and Snooki-Land.

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Let's ride the Scrambler! Because it's there.

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It was good, but not amazing. Yes, there is absolutely a such thing as an amazing Scrambler.

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Fact: if you stare at this long enough, it begins to look misspelled. Wait, on second thought, that's probably just me.

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I got a slightly short cycle and an extra-long cycle on this, because somebody made a boo-boo. Sadly, my second ride was WORSE (people were trying to get the "good" cars, and I failed very badly at this, as I thought finding a seat not covered in dirt was a slightly higher priority).

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Lakeside even has a big pretend spider to go with all their real ones! Or at least, this strikes me as the kind of place that WOULD have a lot of creepy-crawlies. It sure gave me some!

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The Spider was closed for repairs. SULK!!!

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Here is a theater-style sign that reads "CYCLONE," in case you can't read...err...can't read photographs?

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And over there is a roller coaster train with fixed position lappy-things. <3

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I about spit out my gravy when I read this (okay, it isn't funny...but I had to make a gravy joke somehow and that seemed to fit).

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As you may have noticed, the park has a massive white toothpick sculpture near the entrance. Not sure what that's all about, to be honest.

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There is an early Parker carousel (that doesn't look ANYTHING like your typical Parker machine, as you no doubt will notice) right by the main ride ticket booth. I took exactly FIFTY merry-go-round pictures, but narrowed that down to a much more appropriate number.

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Warning: this ride will deliver an a$$-kicking...TO YOUR SANITY. But it's the TPR-approved kind, so it's okay. Or is it? Am I really okay after all this? I don't know anymore.

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The most beautiful figure on the world's finest carousel. A genuine and moving masterpiece.

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I developed a crush on this hauntingly alluring young lady. I know you think I'm joking.

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I...I truly have no words. But I wouldn't be surprised if this chariot does. I'm pretty sure every night at the strike of midnight all of these...things...party it up for exactly one hour.

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Looking at these pictures makes me at least as uneasy as actually riding the thing. Which I did. Twice. I was simply unable to resist The Force...or would that be The Horce?

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I don't know what this is, but I'm pretty sure it's NOT a band organ. The music was recorded, but still infiltrated my addled mind and swirled around as part of The Horce.

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HA, HA, that says "wagon." Tee-hee!

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Cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born, you're never gonna see no...actually, at Lakeside, I don't doubt that you'd find ALL of those animals. And, excepting the unicorn, I don't mean on the carousel.

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I wasn't even drunk yet at this point and I already believed I was riding around in circles on the back of a giant purple rabbit. Thank goodness there is photographic proof that this REALLY happened.

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The park had each carousel figure write down a little about itself and its favorite activities, so we could get to know them better. Oh, and again with the TPR approval.

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I KNEW IT. The carousel is possessed by the spawn of Lucifer Himself. Yeah, I don't really get the whole "Satan is goats" thing, either, but I always assumed it's because they're pernicious little devils who eat EVERYTHING, including your soul.

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I am honestly surprised I have never read anything bad about this Terrousel. Please note: I am NOT paying for your therapy.

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QUICK, LET'S RUN TO THE OPPOSITE END OF THE PARK. Oh, and tragically, these are NOT, in any way, shape, or form, Lusse Auto Skooters.

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Ummm...(So many questions. What is that? Why the hell does he look like a Popeye character to me? And what on earth is he is wearing, a DRESS???)

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The BumperCarena Dance Floor. Which, I would hope, does NOT double as a Macarena Dance Floor.

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I adore the beautiful and artful sign on the Dragon at Lakeside Amusement Park.

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He looks pretty chipper for being unemployed long-term.

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Choo-choo tracks. And a "LAKES DIE" sign...wait, no, that just says "LAKESIDE." But somehow "LAKES DIE" seems equally fitting to me.

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This must be Lakeside's "Bad Tower."

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There was a Hurricane. Thankfully, everyone survived.

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These were sadly unsnappable, but I did manage to get some funky noises and angles during my ride.

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I still maintain that this ride has legs, though.

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Cute!

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That is a Ferris wheel. Now you know.

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It's a good old-fashioned Eli Wheel with a bonus bird's nest (that's a literal statement, not carnie slang).

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ZOOM (away from the park, as fast as you can).

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Not surprisingly, this was a really fun tower, with superb junkyard-esque views.

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Fact: every year they open up this ride (and no others) for Valentine's Day. It funds their entire operating budget for the rest of the year. Okay, I made that up.

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Just what many TPR members LOVE. Maybe this is what should be open on Valentine's Day? ;)

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This was pretty wild (and pretty pretty, too). Worse than: Rye Playland. On a level with: Dorney and Kennywood. Better than: Knoebels and stupid Hershey.

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Here is a picture of the Sensational Round-Up.

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Just kidding, but here's the real thing. Explain to me how Round-Ups defy gravity?

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I seriously mistook this for a Roll-O-Plane and was terrified to ride. Thankfully, it's just a harmless ol' Loop-O-Plane. BIG difference in ride experience.

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Another example of the thriving Disney partnership.

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Matterhorns are typically charming as all get-out, and this was only a partial exception. The cycle was decent, but not excellent (common Lakeside theme).

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It was, however, DISGUSTING. Believe me, I spared you the worst. This photo looks sparkling and spotless in comparison (well, partly because there ARE sparkles, but whatever).

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Here you can catch a glimpse of the affluent neighbors who use their clout to shut down any and all expansion proposals.

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This charming dining space showed off a bit of the park's history.

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During last century's clean-up and maintenance day (next one TBA), the park uncovered all this junk and put it on display. How thoughtful.

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Yes...I imagine that playing with your "wacky duck" here would get you a ticket.

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I got lost in the mirror maze and had to follow little kids, who came in long after me, in order to get out. But more importantly, A RANDOM CREEPY MAN ASKED TO GO IN HERE WITH ME. That's Lakeside for you.

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These will get you wet. At least, if you're into that sort of bumping, they will.

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Yes, prepare for unacceptable amounts of wetness here.

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"They say it takes two to tango. If that's the case, then would you like to be my tango partner?" --actual Lakeside resident.

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I think they got jealous of Deja Vu at Six Flags and had to get their own version.

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It's just like at Grandma's house!

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Obligatory picture of the lake you are on the side of. And a lighthouse. Note the picturesque mountain background.

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Unsurprisingly, the boats here are powered by speed.

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Because we all know cars can climb stairs.

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Mini Go-Karts, anyone? Yeah, me neither.

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Lakeside is a very accepting place and won't judge you if you're interested in doing both. AS LONG AS THEY CAN WATCH.

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I know many of you are quite proficient at operating your own controls, so this should be no trouble for you.

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Sadly, this ride is not allowed on the New Texas Giant.

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I got myself stuck upside down on this TWICE. Completely intentional, and completely terrifying. When will I ever learn?

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Also, I got my car stuck in continuous-slow-flip-mode. Not my worst ride ever (a flip is still a flip), but very annoying.

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A fire happened at an undisclosed location near the park.

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The infamous "REDIT" sign (I prefer MetaFilter). If you studied Latin, you already know what this means. And before you say "YOUR MOM studied Latin," well, my mom minored in Latin. So there. And goodbye.

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I love those photo TR's of parks off the beaten track. They might NOT be home to the newest thrill machines, but are often filled with a (sometimes smelly) atmosphere, and when the pics are great and the report funny, not self based and most of all BALANCED, one can just find them amazing...

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Awesome report...this park would need to shut down for a couple of mile high seasons & have an arsonsist set it on fire a couple of times for it to look as cool as Conneaut Lake. Maybe even a Pepsi project or two?

 

I do LOVE the old school ride signs and would love to visit this park someday, especially at night. I remember going by it when I was a kid and always begging Mom and Dad to stop (we never did). Maybe I'll get there someday...

 

 

PS: Do they sell beer and if they do, is it not Coors?

 

PSS: Love that they still have the Star Ride still sitting there idle as that is without a doubt the coolest SBNO ride in the world & probably holds some type of record. I remember seeing it in a Lakeside brochure when I was a kid and wondering how you would ever ride such a thing with no cars? I thought maybe they whirled you around on the cables somehow!

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