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Trip Planning & Photo TR: NW PA/Western NY- Labor Day


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'Allo guys n gals. I'm doing a solo trip the weekend before Labor Day. My itinerary is pretty well locked in, but I could still use some help from the locals and park veterans on a variety of topics.

 

Here's the plan (now revised- see 1st post on pg2):

Fri 4th - drive out to Meadville PA late at night.

Sat 5th - visit Conneaut in the early afternoon then drive up to Waldameer and visit until close. Drive up to Hamburg, NY for the night.

Sun 6th - Niagara Falls opens extra early all weekend so up early and spend a couple hours at the Falls. Then drive to Martin's Fantasy Island for a quick visit. Then drive to Seabreeze for a quick visit. Then drive to Sylvan Beach for a quick visit, if there's time. It's right on the way home, so no big deal if it doesn't fit in. I'll be getting back home around 2am Sunday night/Monday morning, assuming a stop @ Sylvan Beach.

 

 

The whole trip, and Sunday in particular, sounds like a real grind, I know ... I'm up for it, promise!

 

I'm aware there are nearby parks that are being passed up, only 24h in the day....

Canada's Wonderland & Marineland: not interested in dealing with a border crossing on short time constraints, and both of these parks I'd rather first visit with friends in a coming year. CW especially... will do a big Platinum Pass summer within the next 2yrs.

Darien Lake: didn't make the cut for this short trip because I'm genuinely interested in the other parks more. I'll get here, and it's an easier "sell" for visiting w/ GP-ish friends.

Midway State Park: I totally wanted to squeeze a quick visit here just to look around and soak in some history. But the park's schedule just made it impossible.

 

My "must ride" list is already pretty stacked, but I'm fine tuning it. Okay, onto my questions. Tackle any or all.

 

>> Any general or specific advise. Fire away if you've got it.

 

>> Waterparks. It won't be my main focus but I am a fan. Any unique must rides? I've done all the standard fare stuff.

 

>> Log Flumes. I know Waldameer's is a must do, and I know you get really wet. This is the one park I'll have time to dry off. But what about Seabreeze? Is their historical flume actually good? How wet? Are you even allowed to ride a flume alone lol?

 

>> Martin's. Do all the rides (esp Silver Comet) open right at advertised park opening hour, or do they stagger ride openings? I'm hoping to arrive right before park opens and knock everything out posthaste.

 

>> Seabreeze. Flyers: Bisch or Larson? Are they old? Do they run fast? Also, I'm afraid this place will be packed - thoughts?

 

>> Single Rider. Are there any marginally-advertised single rider lines or policies I should know about? Other than Flight and Antique Cars at Martin's, are there any rides at any of these parks that are not open to single riders?

 

>> It doesn't appear Sylvan Beach offers pay per ride tickets. This is a little disappointing for a park of its stature and my timeframe. Can anyone confirm or refute?

 

>> Will Sylvan Beach really stay open to the advertised 10pm? If I arrived between 8&9 would I even be able to get in?

 

>> Any must-stop eateries en route?

 

TIA ya'll!

 

{edit1: plan now revised - see 1st post on pg2}

{edit2: changing title - will use thread for TR}

Edited by ejot
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The stuff you could add in:

 

Enchanted Forest And Water Safari: http://www.watersafari.com/ It has some new stuff (I think Proslide), and it has some old crazy concrete slides a la Action Park. Heated water on almost all of them. If that wasn't enough, a well preserved Storybook Land, classic train, skyride, and more.

 

New York State Fair: http://www.nysfair.org/. Wade Shows is providing the midway, and a full ride list is available here: http://www.wadeshows.com/event-details.asp?eventID=222. Notables include Comet II (former Old Indiana Schwarzcopf Wildcat), Mighty Mouse (Mount Olympus' Coma Inducing Wild Mouse), Space Roller (Mondial Top Scan), Delusion (Technical Park Pegasus), Flying Dutchman (Majestic built Flying Scooters attraction), Fabbri Mega Drop, and a whole lot more.

 

Log Flumes. I know Waldameer's is a must do, and I know you get really wet. This is the one park I'll have time to dry off. But what about Seabreeze? Is their historical flume actually good? How wet? Are you even allowed to ride a flume alone lol?

 

Seabreeze's flume is better than Waldameer's. Hands down, no competition.

 

Seabreeze. Flyers: Bisch or Larson? Are they old? Do they run fast? Also, I'm afraid this place will be packed - thoughts?

 

I went on a bright and sunny Saturday last year for Memorial Day weekend, arrived at opening, and banged everything out. Concentrate on capacity lacking rides first if possible. My recollection is one half of the park opens an hour before the other, with the half that opens being the one with the flyers and wood coaster. The flyers are Bisch, they spin fast, but they don't snap. They engineered a shock absorber thing on the end of the cars to allow you to fly however you want without generating all the stress on the ride. It is actually pretty ingenious. Other must do's at the park are the carousel (has a heckuva back story, park also has a small museum in the building and, IMO, the train, which is all sorts of crazy looking.

 

Any must-stop eateries en route?

 

I familiarized myself with the Garbage Plate before heading out last year and ended up at Jimmy Z's in Brockport, NY. Basically, a garbage plate is an enormous thing of food with a bunch of condiment and side dish type items stacked on one another with a red hot and/or a burger patty stuffed in there too. It is a Rochester thing for the rest of us in America to shake our heads at. Mine was really good though.

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>> Any general or specific advise. Fire away if you've got it.

 

As soon as you get to Fantasy Island head straight to Silver Comet. If you want to ride the train, wait until later in the day. Try to get in as many rides as you can on Silver Comet before the line builds up because their loading policy is really irritating. First off, there is assigned seating. Then while loading first they check seat belts, then they push down the lap bars for you. If you pull it down yourself, they restart the process. The process may have changed, as I have not been here in 2 years. I suggest sitting in the front of the train, because the first drop is the only airtime moment in the back car.

 

>> Waterparks. It won't be my main focus but I am a fan. Any unique must rides? I've done all the standard fare stuff.

 

Seabreeze has a nice Lazy River and an Octo-Racer. Also their kids play area is pretty unique.

 

>> Log Flumes. But what about Seabreeze? Is their historical flume actually good? How wet? Are you even allowed to ride a flume alone lol?

 

I really enjoyed their flume ride. It takes you through a tunnel with some rapids inside. I believe the drop is still the record holder for steepest log flume drop. Last time I rode, I had three people in my log and only got a little mist/splash at most. I think I did end up riding once alone.

 

 

>> Martin's. Do all the rides (esp Silver Comet) open right at advertised park opening hour, or do they stagger ride openings? I'm hoping to arrive right before park opens and knock everything out posthaste.

 

No rides officially open late, but sometimes when I go Silver Comet is still testing at opening. I would still bet on it opening on time.

 

>> Seabreeze. Flyers: Bisch or Larson? Are they old? Do they run fast? Also, I'm afraid this place will be packed - thoughts?

 

They are old fashioned Bisch flyers. They run faster than Larsons, but slower than some models like Knoebels. Seabreeze can get a little crowded but not too bad.

 

 

>> Single Rider. Are there any marginally-advertised single rider lines or policies I should know about? Other than Flight and Antique Cars at Martin's, are there any rides at any of these parks that are not open to single riders?

 

I've had a little bit of a hard time before at Martin's getting on the Crazy Mouse with even two people. The operator claimed you need at least three. But don't shy away, because there will always likely be a group needing another person, or an empty seat pops up.

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DirkFunk: That's all great info, thanks! Your trip advice is always top notch.

 

My partner is a huge waterpark fan so I'll save Water Safari for a visit with him. The state fair however, looks like I just can't pass that up.

 

Seabreeze's carousel will definitely be a highlight; the whole trip kind of gelled around needing to check that out upon learning the story. The museum I was not aware of though... cool. And I'll make their flume a must-do.

 

Likewise, coasterkid.... very helpful, thanks!

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>> Log Flumes. I know Waldameer's is a must do, and I know you get really wet. This is the one park I'll have time to dry off. But what about Seabreeze? Is their historical flume actually good? How wet? Are you even allowed to ride a flume alone lol?

 

Every log flume ever is great and 100% worth doing.

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>> Single Rider. Are there any marginally-advertised single rider lines or policies I should know about? Other than Flight and Antique Cars at Martin's, are there any rides at any of these parks that are not open to single riders?

 

Waldameer's Ferris Wheel has a "No Single Riders" policy. If you have a riding partner, it is a must ride especially in the evening.

 

I highly suggest the Night Rider pass at Waldameer for Saturday the 5th if you plan on arriving around 5pm. As the person making the ride operations schedule for that day, I can tell you that it is not projected to be as busy as Sunday (which has fireworks) but the tentative plan is to still operate rides such as Ravine Flyer II at full capacity. I doubt the line going over 15 minutes that evening, so multiple re-rides is definitely something you can achieve particularly after 9:00pm. You will easily get your money's worth buying this pass versus pay-per-ride using Wally Points.

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DirkFunk: That's all great info, thanks! Your trip advice is always top notch.

 

My partner is a huge waterpark fan so I'll save Water Safari for a visit with him. The state fair however, looks like I just can't pass that up.

 

Seabreeze's carousel will definitely be a highlight; the whole trip kind of gelled around needing to check that out upon learning the story. The museum I was not aware of though... cool. And I'll make their flume a must-do.

 

Likewise, coasterkid.... very helpful, thanks!

 

Are you familiar with the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda

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You're right, coasterbill. I won't skip either. It's a bit sad that Martin's is gone now.

 

Thanks for the great outlook, ajfelice. That is exciting news right from the source. By the way, I always look forward to reading whatever you post, it's always perfectly on point. I'll probably be arriving a bit before 5pm and am more than happy to support such a great park with a full day ride band, no question.

 

And thanks for the heads up on the Ferris Wheel. "Wheel" definitely be back to get our night ride one day. Maybe combine it with our first Kennywood/Idlewild visit which I dream about pretty much every day. But we're saving that for a longer, relaxed trip.

 

Are you familiar with the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda

Herschell is always just off my radar, one too many kiddie credit denials I guess. I have heard of this. We are incredibly lucky to have all this history preserved in the northeast, and I will definitely put it on the to do list, if not for now then for ASAP.

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'Allo guys n gals. I'm doing a solo trip the weekend before Labor Day. My itinerary is pretty well locked in, but I could still use some help from the locals and park veterans on a variety of topics.

 

Here's the plan:

Fri 4th - drive out to Meadville PA late at night.

Sat 5th - visit Conneaut in the early afternoon then drive up to Waldameer and visit until close. Drive up to Hamburg, NY for the night.

Sun 6th - Niagara Falls opens extra early all weekend so up early and spend a couple hours at the Falls. Then drive to Martin's Fantasy Island for a quick visit. Then drive to Seabreeze for a quick visit. Then drive to Sylvan Beach for a quick visit, if there's time. It's right on the way home, so no big deal if it doesn't fit in. I'll be getting back home around 2am Sunday night/Monday morning, assuming a stop @ Sylvan Beach.

 

>> Any general or specific advise. Fire away if you've got it.

 

Sounds like a fun trip! I've done the Conneaut/Waldameer adventure a copule of times now and it's quite feasible. I usually go down to Conneaut for opening and then head up to Waldameer as to arrive in time for the after 5:00 admission rates which still gives me plenty of time to do everything that I want to. Be sure to watch the clock as I've found that I always want just one more ride at Conneaut Lake on the Blue Streak or Tumble Bug and before you know it the hours have flown by! Waldameer is a wonderful park and is full of action. Be sure to pause for a few moments to check out their beautiful gardens and statues as you wander around the park. Be sure to go for a spin on the super-fast Musik Express ride; they really know how to run it well! Their log flume is also excellent!

 

Seabreeze does a good job at handling their crowds and so even on a busy day the wait times are minimal, so have no fears about the crowds. Be sure to ride Jack Rabbit in a couple of different seats. The front is a lot of fun with a couple of spots of airtime while the back is a bit wilder. The view from the top of Whirlwind is beautiful if you're riding forward up the lift. Also, the Flying Scooters and Log Flume are rides not to be missed. The carousel is beautiful and I just love its story. Be sure to spend some time checking out the history display in the Carousel building.

 

I haven't been to Martin's Fantasy Island or Sylvan Beach in a number of years and so I'll leave feedback about those parks to others who know them better than I do.

 

>> Waterparks. It won't be my main focus but I am a fan. Any unique must rides? I've done all the standard fare stuff.

 

Waldameer has the largest of the waterparks on your trip and looks to be a lot of fun. I visited once about ten years ago and much has changed since then, but I'm willing to bet that there is a good amount of stuff that is unique in there.

 

Seabreeze has a fun little waterpark that was completely overhauled just a few seasons ago. They some fun slides (octopus racer, cannonbowl, two tube slides), a lazy river, a wave pool and a couple of splash areas. The lines generally move quickly so you can get a good number of rides relatively quickly. The exception to this is the bowl slide (Helix) whose line moves a bit slower. The Vortex (enclosed tube slide) is my favorite of the bunch and the racing slide is also always a blast.

 

Even if you don't visit the waterpark, be sure to take a stroll through it. There are some great views to be had of the park from that area and you can get a view of Jack Rabbit's final helix from the grassy seating area behind the Wave Pool.

 

>> Log Flumes. I know Waldameer's is a must do, and I know you get really wet. This is the one park I'll have time to dry off. But what about Seabreeze? Is their historical flume actually good? How wet? Are you even allowed to ride a flume alone lol?

 

Seabreeze has a neat flume. Be sure to ride twice: once in the front, once in the back. The drop is particularly steep and you'll get a very different experience in each of the seats. Single riders are allowed. You will get, at a minimum, very damp.

 

>> Seabreeze. Flyers: Bisch or Larson? Are they old? Do they run fast? Also, I'm afraid this place will be packed - thoughts?

 

I've had many fantastic rides on these Flying Scooters. They are located at a high point in the park and you can catch the breeze off of Lake Ontario on many days which makes for a great ride! They've been around for a good amount of time, definitely longer than Larson has been in the Flying Scooter business. Was Bisch the only other one who made these rides? If so, then it must be from them.

 

>> Single Rider. Are there any marginally-advertised single rider lines or policies I should know about? Other than Flight and Antique Cars at Martin's, are there any rides at any of these parks that are not open to single riders?

 

Seabreeze doesn't have any restrictions of this type. There also are no single rider lines.

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Seabreeze's carousel will definitely be a highlight; the whole trip kind of gelled around needing to check that out upon learning the story.

I'm glad I'm not alone in the Seabreeze carousel fanhood.

 

I think this region is the biggest unexplored area for me in the US. I have actually seriously considered skipping Martin's Fantasy Island (and I'm someone who wants to ride every wooden coaster), but I'll probably have to make a go of it. I'll definitely try to fit in the Herschell museum, though. Anyway, have fun!

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Wow, such great feedback, everyone! Thanks again. I kind of thought three people would say, "Go to Darien Lake" and then the thread would fizzle.

 

wildcatroc:

I rode Blue Streak 22 times my only other visit, so I totally know that "just one more time" feeling, hahaha! In a very different (and good) kind of way, I think the outbound half of a back car ride rivals I305 and Skyrush in intensity. It's going to be a terrible shame on so many levels when this glorious machine inevitably bites the dust.

All your thoughts are so helpful... stuff like the Music Express tip and good views from Seabreeze's waterpark ... exactly why this forum is so valuable!

 

cal1br3tto:

I couldn't leave out Martin's, we've only got four "big boy" CCI's up in the Northeast. Instant must-do park. And I think I will get to the Herschell museum after all. I mean, Niagara Falls probably looks very much like it did the last time I was there.

 

So my revised plan is:

Fri - drive out late

Sat - Conneaut, Waldameer

Sun - Herschell, Martin's, Seabreeze

Mon - State Fair & drive home

 

Took some rearranging of other plans as this trip wasn't supposed to go into Monday, but it's worth it. I'd rather give the fair a full day than try to fit in Sylvan Beach as well, so I now don't need any advice for there. It is still a park I want to check out someday if just for the dark ride.

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That's exactly the plan ... 2-2.5h @ Martin's right at opening and then hit the road. I think it will actually be a pretty relaxed day with plenty of time at the parks. I put the pedal to the metal.

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That's exactly the plan ... 2-2.5h @ Martin's right at opening and then hit the road. I think it will actually be a pretty relaxed day with plenty of time at the parks. I put the pedal to the metal.

 

You should have plenty of time to do both Fantasy Island and Seabreeze, just watch the time as was mentioned earlier. If your goal at Seabreeze is to simply do the rides you can do everything you want to do in 3 hours. If you want to spend some time strolling through the water park or reading some of the displays in the Carousel building or the historical signs throughout the park, then a little more time is appropriate. If you arrive at Seabreeze after 5pm there is a discount admission. With the park open until 10 there is plenty of time to do everything that you could possibly want to do, even if you arrived at 6 or so. The nights are lovely at Seabreeze and so you're definitely in for a treat. Have fun!

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A little late to the party here, but your plan sounds fairly solid. Being that I only live about 10 miles from Midway, I can tell you that it's probably not worth your time unless you are a history buff or credit whore.

 

The revamped carousel is gorgeous, the arcade classic, the kiddie coaster clunky, but other than that it would cost you a couple of hours out of your way to visit.

 

I have some foodie spots listed for the Buffalo area in the 'Good Eating Outside of Theme Parks' & Philrad's Phoodie Thread' if you're interested!

 

Good Eating

 

716

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Thanks Philrad! I had planned on a stop at Duff's but (716) is making it a tough choice. Lagerhaus95 would have won out over both of them, but they're closed Sundays when I'll be passing through.

 

A stop at Midway only seems to add about 1/2hour to the drive between Waldameer and the Buffalo area. I like the history and would have checked out the carousel, arcade and train... but not losing any sleep over missing out.

 

 

The nights are lovely at Seabreeze and so you're definitely in for a treat. Have fun!

I definitely will... already way excited for this trip!

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The current plan. I'm an OCD engineer so I do things like this, but I also stay flexible as I travel and don't always stick to it 100%. I'm not opposed to nicer hotels here and there but these are just places to sleep a few hours so I went to ultra-budget route.

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^Love your OCD schedule there...as would my partner as he does similar itineraries for trips!

 

I will be interested to hear what you think of Duffs. I find their wings to be a bit better than Anchor Bar...and a bit cheaper as well.

 

I will save you any anguish that you may feel by posting a Midway trip report. Been meaning to do it for some time now, but just haven't had the time. Well yesterday, I think that I either developed Achilles Tendonitis or I blew it out playing golf - not sure what really happened. Can't do much walking today, so why not do a trip report?

 

Hope you have a great time on your trip!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I just found out that CLP is having their first (and perhaps only) annual "Park after Dark" event where you can ride from 10pm to 2am for $20. And it's tomorrow!

 

I've done a night ride on Blue Streak. It is incredible. I will be rearranging my plans slightly. This cannot be missed.

 

Anyway, I'm heading out tonight and will re-purpose this thread as a photo TR .... eventually. For now, any last-minute tips are of course welcome.

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Back from my trip, it was great weekend. All three days were very hot and humid, each hitting 90°F before noon and highs of 94°-96°.

 

These links will activate as the reports are posted:

Day I Part I: Conneaut (YOU ARE HERE)

Day I Part II: Waldameer

Day II Part I: Herschell

Day II Part II: Martin's

Day II Part III: Seabreeze

Day III: NYS Fair

 

With the future of CLP perennially up in the air, and with my great love for Blue Streak, I was resolved to get back to the park this year. Interestingly, this park has a long history of battling through bleak outlooks, all the way back to the 1930's, mirroring many of today's difficulties. Granted, many parks struggled in the 30's, but among those that survived, perhaps none were as unlikely to as CLP. It's been the "park that won't die" for much more than the last ~15 years. In Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania, Jim Futrell writes:

 

In 1927, trolley service to Conneaut Lake Park ended. The loss of patronage, combined with an increasing competition from other amusement park as well as from movies, forced the park into receivership on September 27, 1929. For the next three seasons, Conneaut Lake Park struggled in the face of absentee owners and the Depression. By October 1932, it looked as though the park was headed for liquidation. But because of the Depression, it was concluded that no one would have the resources to purchase any of ...(the) Park's assets, and that it would have to be sold as a going concern. As a result, one of two banks controlling the park, the Crawford County Trust Company, was permitted by the court to foreclose on the park, but the other bank, the People's Pittsburg Trust, appealed, and Conneaut Lake Park was allowed to remain open for one more year. In November 1933, Conneaut Lake Park was auctioned off, and People's Pittsburgh Trust purchased the park for $35,000.

 

The bank then installed new management and made significant investments (including Blue Streak in 1938), allowing for a successful recovery.

 

Fast forward the better part of a century. The park is, naturally, looking very much like it did last year. There is work being done on the coaster - retracking and reroofing of the tunnel. The gift shop was downsized - the Slapchops and Geauga gear were gone, but some nice shirts and hoodies were stocked. All that was missing was someone to sell me one. Devil's Den was back open; I'd missed it because it is used as a haunt during the Halloween season. I'm really starting to dig these classic dark rides. Witches Brew ran slower than I remember, sadly. A volleyball event was using the hotel grounds and the beach was quite busy. The park itself, of course, was not.

 

Blue Streak was down for repairs when I arrived at noon but was running within the hour. The front car was out of service; they may have been rehabbing lap bars because the rest of them were working much smoother than last year. I marathoned for about a half hour, made it on every dispatch, and hit most of the open seats; the trains were generally a bit over half full. Even with the new-looking track sections, the ride seemed even rougher than I remember it last season and you could really see the cars in front of you bouncing up and slamming back into the track repeatedly. The first drop in the back row still delivers some of the fiercest airtime and one of the most intense coaster experiences out there.

 

We'll be heading up the road to Waldameer next - which was incredible - but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Picture time!

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Upon arrival the parking lot was completely full... of grass, and dirt.

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There really IS a coaster in this pic!

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The midway was bustling with its typical crowds.

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These folks were bumping, setting, and spiking and having an all-around grand time on the lakefront.

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Nerd shot. And no, I didn't crawl under the Bug to get this, silly.

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The world really needs more Harry Traver.

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This is where you fall out if you don't hold on.

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Dilapidated vibrancy hints an ebullient yore. Did I really just write that?

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Pretty in a kind of UrbEx way.

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And Great Adventure fans complain about their tower.... By the way, this was installed by the People's Pittsburgh Trust (bank) in their 1930's redevelopment of the park.

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There were four more letters on this sign than there were functioning bumper cars. A three-fold improvement from last year.

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Still wanna ride?

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Of course you do!

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Reconstruction of the tunnel roof is underway.

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Blue Streak has a curved skid brake. How many coasters have this? I can think of at least one other, and it's in PA, too. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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The Fedora-sporting operator was very friendly and didn't waste time getting the train out each lap.

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I may have bought a shirt ... if anyone had been manning the gift shop.

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At Conneaut Lake Park, you can do park-like things like rent fluffy bunnies and buy gumballs. Just kidding, you can't really do either of those things.

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If you don't like pictures of an old woodie nestled deep in the woods, this is probably a good place for you to turn back.

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Let's finish off with a few more views of the Streak from the Bessemer Train (which finally opened, woohoo!)

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I'll stop yapping now and just let you enjoy them. ;)

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Ok, one more thing. Look how the track braces between the bents are nestled within the stack. Is this design unique to Vettel?

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Last comment, really. The stack was 12 boards tall at the bottom of this hill!!

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Nice shots of the Blue Streak. Did you end up riding it at night until 2AM? That would've been an experience for sure. I was at CLP back in August and was pleasantly shocked with the shape the rides were in. Started on the Tumblebug and was really concerned for my safety, but that eventually wore off.

 

I'd bet that they are rehabbing the benches and buzzbars in the first car. On my first ride the bench detached from the train at the bottom of the first drop, slamming me into the front of the car. Definitely the first time that's ever happened to me on a coaster! Also noticed that the first brake run didn't function at all and they had to completely rely on the curved brakes to stop the train - was it still like that on your visit?

 

You could definitely tell they are rehabbing the ride slowly but surely as time and funds become available, I do hope it sticks around because some of those rides in the back row were full of terrifying airtime. Can't imagine what that'd be like on the original Vettel train without restraints!

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Glad you enjoyed the pics. Unfortunately I did not make it back to the park for the night event. I'd had every intention to, but a number of factors piled together to make me scrap the plan. In retrospect, I should have just doubled back and gone, and skipped MFI to get some sleep. Hindsight 20/20, as they say.

 

Agreed on the front car rehab. Crazy that the bench popped off during your ride, that must have been interesting. Wonder if that initiated the work? And they were indeed stopping the train with the curved brake only. I doubt that will change anytime soon since they only run the one remaining NAD train. I've heard the Vettel train is actually quite a bit tamer, even with fixed bars only, on account of much less airtime. I've also heard the Century Flyers don't fit the track quite correctly, and that's part of the reason for how jarring the ride is.

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NAD CF forground, original Vettel background

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UP NEXT! - Waldameer - daytime

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I forgot about my breakfast before CLP. Sheetz is a chain gas station/convenience store/sandwich shop common in PA, especially the western part. Big Sheetz fan here, I actually prefer them to Wawa (runs and hides).

 

Walker Breakfast Ranger!!

 

It was really delicious! (Look at that list, how could it not be?)

 

How about a quick ride count for Conneaut?

Tumble Bug - x2

Blue Streak - x9

Devil's Den - x1

Witch's Stew - x1

Flying Scooters - x1

Paratrooper - x1 (this 'trooper runs really great, very fast, by the way!)

Bessemer Train - x1

 

I bid adieu to CLP around 3pm and headed north to Erie, getting into town a bit before 4:00. First stop was Sandbar Drafthouse which is just down the road from the park. Had a BLT and some sort of regional crafty IPA. Both were fine but not exceptional, and the service was a little slower than I'd hoped. Definitely a good stop to relax after a visit, though.

 

Within half an hour of getting through the gates, I was absolutely in love with Waldameer ... and it just kept getting better from there. The atmosphere was second-to-none here. It had a warm, community feel with respectful guests. It fell into a sweet spot size-wise, not a tiny park where you're bored after a few rides, and not an overwhelming maze of endless filler activities. The layout is simple and smart; you always know where you are and anything you wish to find is a snap. It's clean and appropriately, but not oppressively, monitored by security. And finally - the attention to detail was outstanding. No, it's not mind-blowingly themed like Disney or Phantsialand. But the flowers, landscaping, bronze statues, impeccably maintained signage is consistently topnotch any direction you look and gives the feel of a classic, passionately maintained park that is a center of strong pride for the community. Take away the knowledge of ride manufacture dates, and an evening at Waldameer has a truly timeless feel to it. They way they integrate rides with one another, like how RVIII is nestled adorably right under the big wheel, is next-level among parks of this scale.

 

Now, cleanliness and statues, nice details and park layouts, are all well and good, but of course the rides really have to deliver as well. And here, well...they do.

 

I started with a quick spin on Comet, their junior woodie. It sits smack in the middle of the park, and the level of care bestowed upon it reflects that. This 60+ yr old PTC/Schmeck machine looks like it just opened this year - absolutely immaculate. There are a couple sub-40' woodies I prefer, but it's still a ton of fun. The curved loading station is very cool, and how the ride is mounted to the station roof, also a neat design.

 

It was a simple walk over to the far side of the park for Steel Dragon (a Maurer Spinner) and X-Scream (a Larson/ARM tower). Each were great, as expected. I did just did the lake view side of the tower for now.

 

Next up I spied Spider, an octopus, a mesmerizing flat ride. The mechanical linkage that drives the motion is really cool to watch, and I'd never seen one of these rides, so was excited to give it a go. Loading went pretty slow, and you got one heck of a long cycle, so there was a bit of a wait here. The cars are very neat how they load: They unfold to form the staircase that allows you to step up into them, then fold back up to form your enclosure/restraint. Neat! The ride experience was definitely unique - fun but a bit dizzying.

 

Whacky Shack and Pirates Cove, two 1970's William Tracy dark attractions, were up next and were very much worth the 20 and 10 minute waits. Again, every time I do these dark rides I like them more and more. Without giving them away, some really neat effects here! I managed rides on quite a few other attractions as well.

 

Finally the main event - the primary objective - their pièce de résistance - the magnus opus of the modern Wald am Meer:

 

Ravine Flyer II. It was time.

 

Fifteen minutes later I was seated in the front row. The slow crawl up the beginning of the lift, then speeding up to reveal a majestic view of Lake Erie, the little hold at the apex - awesome! And then the real fun began. This is one wild, out of control ride that is relentlessly smile-inducing through the full course. My second lap was from the backseat, and I preferred that option, and really began entertaining the notion this would break into top-10. My only wish was that it could be a little longer.

 

And yet the best part of a Waldameer visit was still to come. For now let's see some of the daylight views.

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Spider. It was fun for the first 27 minutes of the ride cycle but then I just kinda wanted to end...

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The '78 Hopkins Skyride was seeing perfect supply and demand: no queue, all seats filled. (This style has seats that are always fixed on the line and moving during the ride.)

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Going up or down?

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Simple and wonderful.

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Tacky and wonderful.

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Hopkins went for the "less calculating, more steel" approach to flume construction.

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There were many, many statues and I was strangely compelled to photograph just about each one I saw.

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They add a great charm to the atmosphere.

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"Holy %&^* what did that thing just do to us"

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Comet's "station footer"

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This is an evil Disk-O. Now, I like Disk-O's and I've been on quite a few of them but none have ever crushed my manparts like this ride did. I think maybe it spins a little faster than normal? Thus accelerating the "jewels" into Zamperla's wonderful hard plastic saddles with a bigger v-squared for its r, d'oh!! I'm not sure, but no re-rides on this one!

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Lies! I believe this has actually been a picnic pavilion since the 1920's though? I might be mixed up...

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Waldameer became even more magical as the hours passed.

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How many can you count? Still all full!

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Merry-go-Round roof aka scrunchy guard.

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Bustling, scenic Waldameer as summer winds down... awesome.

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The big wheel really anchors the park's skyline even more than RVII due to it's central location and prominence from all angles.

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Let's go for another ride on RVII! The lines were under 15 minutes all afternoon, and thinned out even more later (to come...)

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They spelled the club wrong.

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A beautiful lifthill that still hides how awesome the first drop is.

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Awwww...

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Oh, you thought you were done seeing statues? Muahahaha....

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"Hey, if it works for coaster track, it should work for the carousel building." -some engineer, a hundred years ago

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It was whacky and shacky!

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I'm really enjoying this TR!

 

I went to Conneaut 3 times last year (I live in Atlanta and I am a crazy person yes) but have not been able to go this year. It's too bad they weren't busy when you were there. They have had some pretty busy days this season and were absolutely slammed on their $5 Sunday in July. I really hope the park can continue to be saved by someone or some method. The park honestly deserves it for its historic value, free public amenities, and just the fact that they have fought so many times for so many years.

 

It's too bad you missed the park after dark event! I was dying to go.

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Good to see a few people are enjoying! ^LOL

It's great to hear Conneaut had some busy days this year. I'm always pulling for them, but do fear the worst.

 

As the sun began to set, I headed back to the car to leave my camera & phone to enjoy a bagless evening ride session, especially with the log flume in mind. But upon re-entering the park, I was stunned how beautifully decorated and lit it was, and was compelled to go back to the car so I could get a few shots.

 

This is the main difference I'm finding in my experiences between big corporate parks and small, typically family-owned, parks. The former somehow tend to lose something as night falls while the latter just come alive and really display their character. An incredible amount of work has gone into the fine details of lighting at Waldameer and it's absolutely my favorite night-time park.

 

The Music Express did indeed run a fast, fun cycle and was great way to get back into the action and mood. Afterwards it was straight to Ravine Flyer for my go on its famous night rides. This was definitely one of my most memorable coaster rides ever, and I'm sure it was running very fast, still well over 80 degrees out. Night-time absolutely magnifies the out-of-control sense. There is no letting up, but it's also a very comfortable ride. I'm still working out where I'll rank it, it'll be up there. By 8pm there was only a station wait and the crowds continued to die down as the night went on, so it was very marathon-able.

 

I also took the chance to reride X-Scream with the view towards the park, and the Skyride, for some neat views of this beautiful place.

 

Finally closing time came and I sadly had to leave Waldameer behind. I will certainly be back. The flume did escape me, a situation I resolved to fix at Seabreeze.

 

My last decision for the night was whether to double back for the night event at Conneaut, which would mean getting into my hotel in NY around 4am in front of a very busy, long day. Completely torn. I'd twice tried calling my upcoming Motel 6 to let them know of my already late arrival and could never get an answer at the desk. Finally I decided: if I could get an answer at the hotel and confirm I'd still have access to a room at 4am, I'd go. Otherwise, I didn't want to risk being stranded. After 5min of calling, calling back, letting the phone ring dozens of time, I finally gave up. I still regret missing out, even though I probably would have ended up with no room for the night.

 

Next Up: Herschell Museum & Martin's Fantasy Island

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Trippy!

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Big wheel and Comet showing off their looks.

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HA! Fiiiinally got the "pride" tower!

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When a Maurer Spinner looks this striking, you're doing it right.

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Quintessential RFII.

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Snuck in one more :p

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Very photogenic wheel.

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Ka-booooom.

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If I get one good picture per trip I'm happy, and this one's does it.

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Even though Waldameer itself wouldn't be doing fireworks until the night after my visit, I still got a taste.

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The tower lighting program was totally mesmerizing. I watched it for a good five minutes, and while patterns would show up again, there was no sense of a loop repetition.

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The patriotic theme would show up quite often, and last awhile. It would also put a rainbow up for just a couple seconds, and I kept trying to get a picture but would miss by a split second each time, like three times in a row haha.

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