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PTR: larrygator Takes Off to The Great White North

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I just got back from a 4 day weekend in Calgary and Edmonton. I recently acquired a $600 airfare voucher from United Airlines and wanted to spend it on visiting parks that I haven't been to. I had to choose between a 4 day trip to Calgary-Edmonton or Salt Lake City-Denver. Since I knew I would have to skip places if I did SLC-Denver I choose the path less taken.


The two parks I planned to visit were Calaway Park and Galaxyland, but I also wanted the squeeze in a visit to Olympic Park in Calgary. However, when I was at Galaxyland one of the ride operators mentioned that the annual Capital Ex Festival was in town, so even though I still won't ride coasters at American Fairs, I trusted the Canadian carnies and picked up four extra and overpriced credits.


This first part of the PTR will cover Olympic Park. There is something about Ski Jump towers that I find so picturesque. I expected to spend an hour walking around and then hitting up the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Well the Hall of Fame was closed but they had the Bobsled course open for guests. Since it is summer the Olympians train on wheels not blades.


July 22nd, 2012 - Calgary Olympic Park and Bobsled Run - see below

July 22nd, 2012 - Calaway Park

July 23rd, 2012 - Galaxyland at West Edmonton Mall

Other stuff at the West Edmonton Mall

July 23rd, 2012 - Capital Ex Fair (in Edmonton)

July 27th, 2012 - Quebec credit whoring

July 28th, 2012 - Ontario credit whoring


I don't know who Frank King is. I didn't read the plaque.


A nice mural that every visitor is obligated to photograph.


I really just wanted to see the Ski Jump ramps and as I got close I saw cables running down the slope.


Then I noticed people zip lining from the top of the Ski Jump. So I went inside to check out the price.


And saw this sign, it was also $59 for the zipline and they offered a package deal for both the bobsled and zip line. I choose just the bobsled.


They will also be offering street luge next summer.


No one was using the ropes course but there were plenty of people mountain biking.


When the bus took my group up the mountain they was a 30 minute backlog, so I walked over to the ski jump to get a view from the top.


I don't know why I think these towers are so cool looking.


As you know, I like taking pictures of ride signs.


I think this last turn was designed by Ron Toomer.


There is our sled being pulled off the truck by Olympian Chris Spring.


I wonder if Joe Schwartz Performance Camp could help with my picture taking abilities (inside coaster dork joke)


I'm convinced this gap in the wall will eventually chunk the wheels of the bobsled.


The bobsled run was fun and forceful but I preferred the bobsled run I did at Lake Placid back in December.

Edited by larrygator
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That SkyLine Luge is incredible!!!


That's the one we did in Singapore and was tons of fun, we did it three times on two different courses and I could have easily done it more. Should be a great addition to the park.

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Lesson learned, trust the GPS if you are not certain. Going to Calaway Park I decided to ignore the GPS because I thought a knew a shorter way. It might have been shorter distance wise, but my route took me through areas with much lower speed limits than I anticipated. It only cost me ten minutes, but I got to see more of Calgary with my route.


I went to Calaway Park with no expectations. I contacted the park ahead of time, because I wanted to understand if adults could ride the kiddie coaster (they can't) and wanted to let the park know I would be taking a lot of pictures to make Calaway Park's portion of TPR's Park Index more robust. The Marketing Department let me know that the Province of Alberta has strict laws about use photographing on websites, the law states you need to get written permission from each person in the picture, so many of these photos will not feature park guest's faces.


The park arranged for the Guest Services lead (Kate) and a rides lead (Jon) to walk me through the park and tell me about the park and answer questions.


The entrance area of the park looked very Flinstones-esque, it turns out the park originally signed a short-lived licensing agreement with Hanna Barbera. The park is all about Family Fun, and they state that "Your Smile is Our Mission". The park certainly delivers for families, and I saw plenty of smiling faces.


The park has a rounded selection of flat rides along with Vortex, an Arrow coaster. On Vortex, each rider gets an instant re-ride. The park had a few quirky attractions that I'll address in the photos. Food is standard amusement park fare and pricing, but with good quality.


If you do visit the park from out-of-town, try to find discount coupons. Calaway Park heavily promotes the park in this manner. At my hotel in Edmonton I checked the brochure rack and found a coupon for 50% off (Monday - Thursday).


Fuji-Q might have Mt. Fuji in the background, but Calaway has got the Rockies.


Here are the prices.


The park has this sign in front of the ticket booths, so you know exactly how many rides your kids can ride.


Let's get a Vortex picture out of the way.


With a little coercing Kate (the Park's Guest Service Lead) rode Vortex with me, she said it was only the second time she had ridden it.


Here's Storm! I love Enterprises


Mindblaster is the park's newest ride. The cars are very tight, leaving little leg room for adults, also the back of the seats are hard and could probably use some padding for your head.


Here's the kiddie coaster. The park strongly enforces the maximum height restriction.


A still operating Chaos.




The train ride around some of the park's undeveloped land.


The park has a walk through haunted house with backlit scenes behind cages.


Yo Gabba Gabba prizes for one of their games.


Here you can see some of the old Flintstone's theming.


and here


and here


A got a turkey sausage at the BBQ Choo Choo.


That's a Blueberry Chessecake ice cream cone. I tasted the blueberry flavor, but not the cheesecake flavor.


The bumper boats had a platform that you could shoot the boaters from.


Or you could save $1 and just got soaked by sitting in the front of the log flume.


How is this for quirky. Pay $4 for a fishing licensing and try to catch a trout for dinner.



I have never seem one of these before, it's a Children's Enterprise from Bradley and Kaye


If real fishing is not your game you can try this.


More flats




Mini Golf upcharge


The gift shop moose hopes that if Robb and Elissa ever do a Pacific Northwest Trip and offer an add-on to Galaxyland, that Calaway Park can be included.

Edited by larrygator
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The Olympic Park and Calaway both look like neat, off the beaten path places to visit for theme park enthusiasts - love these kinds of TR's. The bobsled thing sounds like so much fun...I'm glad to see more of these popping up as well as the zip lines & mountain coasters. I want to try them all!


Thanks for sharing, Larry!

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My apologies for all those grammar typos in the Calaway Park update, I was rushing to get it done before catching a train. I just made a bunch of corrections so it now reads more like the English language should.


So was the ride bumpy with the gaps in the track?


I didn't even notice while riding.


Larry, I agree with you 100 percent on how Lake Placids bobsled is more intense!


I don't think the Lake Placid bobsled is more intense, just a better experience on ice in freezing temperatures. Summer bobsleds have only one professional driver and he rides in the back on serves as the brakeman also. The Winter experience has a driver in the front and the brakeman in the back.


Now if you want intense, the Skeleton at Lake Placid was intense.


Is Calaway sort of the "Lake Winnie of Canada"?

Lake Winnie is a fair comparison, but not exactly.


The Olympic Park and Calaway both look like neat, off the beaten path places to visit for theme park enthusiasts - love these kinds of TR's. The bobsled thing sounds like so much fun...I'm glad to see more of these popping up as well as the zip lines & mountain coasters. I want to try them all!


I think it is great that many of the Winter Olympic sites have kept there Bobsled runs open for the public to experience


Thanks for sharing, Larry!

Edited by larrygator
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That platform for shooting the bumper boats riders actually looks like it may have been one of those 'water whip' type rides like the Aquazone ones at Legoland. Anyone know?


Initially I thought it was an uncompleted water whip, but the amount of water between the platform and the land appears to be too narrow for the vehicles. Not sure if this next picture will help convey that better. Maybe the channel was enclosed I little after the bumper boats were added. I did not even notice the second possible water whip structure in the background until just now.




Here are some more interesting aspects of Calaway Park that I neglected to include in my last update.



I'm surprised kids are not terrified of the Freddie the Fireboat play structure.


An interactive maze.


A suspended pedestrian bridge that moved and shook quite a bit.


and this "Spin the Wheel" game.


I'll try to get Galaxyland posted today before I leave for my Eastern Canada long weekend, including Leviathon Bash.

Edited by larrygator
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My apologies ahead of time, as I'm going to half-ass the Galaxyland portion by going light on the captions. I have to wake up in 6 hours to drive the Montreal in the morning. Galaxyland is all about Mindbender, which I rode about 10 times. Being in a mall, the park rightly draws comparisons to Nickelodeon Universe. My take: Mindbender beats everything at Nick Universe, but Nick Universe has a superior flat ride package.


I got to the West Edmonton Mall at opening and it took me 20 minutes to find and walk to the park. I left the park for three hours to drive 15 miles to the Capital Ex Fair in North Edmonton and then returned to the mall until 9PM close. I was going to drive back to Capital Ex at 9PM, but there was a tornado watch in the area.


Mindbender is now my favorite Schwarzkopf. I'll admit I don't get all gaga over Schwarzkopf. Mindbender has those accordian shoulder restraint like Olympia Looping, but on Mindbender they stay in place and don't continually ratchet down during the ride.


It took me a while to find the entrance as I entered the mall on the 2nd and you can only see the park from the ground floor.


My camera is inadequate to capture Mindbender in action.


Missed it again


Damn it! Again.


Then I remembered the words of the immortal Bob Uecker on how to catch a knuckleball. Wait until it stops moving then pick it up.


I really like shooting dark rides, so 5 rides on Quirks in the Works kept me happy.


Space Shot had out of your seat air, very good.


Galaxy Orbiter didn't spin much on my three rides.


Hmm! I can't find a picture of Autosled, but here's the kiddie coaster with a 56 inch maximum height. Credit denied!


Solar Flare is one of the more intense flats.


Upcharge $4 for the 3D Funhouse, $6 for the Haunted Castle or $8 for both. I did both. The funhouse was lame, the haunted house was good. At one point rubber heads on strings dropped from the ceiling, plunked me on the head and scared the crap out of me.


Cosmic Spinner


Cosmic Revolution


Swing of the Century


The park offers a $10 discount if you get your wristband during the last three hours of the day, but the park was much more crowded. And there is so much to do at the mall, so you might as well spend the day.


If any schizos with a talking pillow have an urge to complain about there favorite ride not being included, please go to TPR's Park Index, all the rides are there.

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^Your last caption is the Post of the Week!


There's more to Galaxyland than I'd originally thought--thanks for the look. Definitely looks worth a visit for Mindbender, the shooter, and the haunted house.

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Excellent pics of Mindbender... not that I appreciate that sort of thing myself. I've found in my visits there it is difficult to get decent shots of Mindbender in action; the layout and speeds are so dynamic that to do it justice is hard to do without uber-high technology stuff. Oh well, I don't go for picturetaking anyway...



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Here are some of the other cool things at the West Edmonton Mall.


For the record, outside of food I only bought one thing. At the "As Seen on TV" Store I bought the Grout Bully, it works well so far, but a little messy if you are not careful.


Ice Skating Rink


A casino. Yes of course I went in. I played Three Card Poker, won about $200 on my 5th or 6th hand with three nines and left the casino after two hours $120 to the positive. Score!


There were 3 or four hobby shops in the mall, this one had some awesome collectibles.


One of two food courts, Joey Ray never would have made it to Galaxyland. I drank two large Strawberry Julius' during the day.


In case you need to "pump it up" at the mall.


If you see one of these in your travels, STOP! Best creampuffs in the world.


The take those pastry shells on the right, and poke it with that silver machine and stuff it filled with cream. Calm down Guy!


Some place for the Brit Crew.


The mall was raffling off a Lambo. I have no place to park it so I didn't buy a ticket.


Ropes Quest


World Waterpark


Sea Lion show


Random Pirate ship. $1 to enter, but can be rented out for receptions.


Bumper Boats


This is Europa Boulevard, no Mack rides


Mini Golf




Liquor Store


OK, this place freaked me out. I have no problem with the right to bear arms, but I do have a problem automatic weapons. I think this was my first time in a gun shop with automatic weapons, and it made me very uncomfortable.




Another Food Court




Bowling Alley


One of two video arcades, this one in the Movie Theater


Back lit mini golf


Lastly a Chinese supermarket in the Chinatown wing of the mall. I picked up a small contained of Spicy Szechuan Beef for about $5, it was huge (would hate to see the large size) and very spicy. I could barely eat half of it but it was good. The supermarket also had a Dumpling/Dim Sum takeout area.


A radio station is located in the mall, also.

Edited by larrygator
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OK, screw the sleep. Here are the pictures from the Capital Ex Festival. I think this was formerly known as the Klondike Days Fair.


It was $14 to get in and another $22 to get the 4 credits. I was in and out of the place in 90 minutes and spent most of the time taking photos when not waiting in line.


Forget about half-assing this PTR, it will be full-assed to maximize sleep time. It's a fair, do you really need witty captions?





Wacky Worm credit




Orient Express, credit #2

















Credit #3


Credit #4




Waffle Dog????



Yes, Waffle Dogs? No, I did not try them.

Edited by larrygator
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Great TR! I've been to WEM a couple times, the last being 2010. Mindbender is my #1 coaster! I hope you got to enjoy a backwards ride on it! Galaxy Land has a few good rides, but the real gem in the mall is the waterpark. The waves in the wave pool are MASSIVE and it has a great variety of slides (many are hidden behind the structure).

I hope you have up here in Canada!!

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Great TR! I've been to WEM a couple times, the last being 2010. Mindbender is my #1 coaster! I hope you got to enjoy a backwards ride on it!


Ah, thanks for mentioning. Sadly Mindbender is not currently operating with a backwards car. The ride op said it would be returning in about one month.

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Ugh, I MUST get to the West Edmonton Mall! I've always been fascinated with that place. Though you noted the spinner didn't spin very much, what did you think of the layout? Any good?


Great collection of reports. I had no idea that Calaway is such a well-developed park. It looks like a great place to spend a few fun hours.

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