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It's definitely worth going, especially since it's located next to Golden Corral. What could be better than an all-you-can-eat buffet and a kiddie coaster?

 

I haven't gotten a chance to ride one of the mountain coasters in cold weather yet. The "worst" weather I've had was 50 F with some rain drops and that was at Berkshire. I can't imagine how cold that lift would be because of how long it is, but at least the ride down probably took your mind off of it.

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It would be a great idea if every Golden Corral guest were "corraled" through a Party Zone where they are forced to go up and down the inflatable slides ten times and then walk through a lengthy haunted maze before leaving the premises - in order to work off some of the insane amount of crappy food that they just ate.

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Canada's Wonderland

 

After an early September trip to La Ronde, I decided it was time to return to Canada in early October. This time I visited Ontario's top park, Canada's Wonderland. I had been to the park once before back in 2010 and really enjoyed it. Behemoth was outstanding and became my favorite coaster at the time. Since then, I've added more than 200 other coasters under my belt and Behemoth has fallen down my ranks, as a certain B&M giga at Carowinds has the top spot. As much as I loved Behemoth, the real reason for my visit was to ride B&M's giga coaster that preceded Fury in Leviathan.

 

Canada's Wonderland operates their haunt differently than any other park I've seen. The park is open during the day 10-5. At 5, they clear out the park and then reopen at 7 for the haunt. I decided to visit during the day since I figured the park would be less crowded. I ended up visiting on an overcast/rainy day, so the park was mostly empty. Almost everything was a walk-on, including the two shiny B&Ms.

 

Let's start with Leviathan. I really liked the coaster. Leviathan looks amazing and absolutely dominates the skyline. The first drop is tied with Fury for my favorite drop on any coaster, as it seemingly lasts forever and sustains major floater air the entire way down. While Fury 325's subsequent hills were significantly more intense than any other B&M hyper that I've been on (the air was ejector instead of floater), Leviathan's subsequent hills felt more like their hyper coaster's hills with good floater air. Having said that, I still do love floater air. The ride felt like it ended a little prematurely, but Leviathan was definitely one of the best steel coasters I've been on (ended up at 6 just outside my top 5). It's glass smooth, fast, and has that epic first drop.

 

I remember when Leviathan was built, it seemed puzzling since the park already had Behemoth. However, Behemoth feels like an entirely different ride. Behemoth is still the airtime machine I remember. The airtime felt stronger than the average B&M hyper, especially in the back on the first drop when you can really feel the yank from the long train. The ride did have some rattle to it, but Behemoth is still one of the best B&Ms (falls behind the 2 gigas and SFOG's Goliath).

 

Two other rides were new for me and highly anticipated- Skyhawk and Wonder Mountain's Guardian. I got two rides on Skyhawk. The first ride was balls to the wall insane. Once I got the first flip going, my car probably made about 20 flips in 20 seconds and it goes down as one of the most disorienting and intense experiences I've ever had on a ride. Unfortunately, I couldn't even get one flip on my second ride. I came close, but the cycle wasn't long enough for me to go all the way around. Guardian was excellent. I thought the dark ride scenes had plenty of targets on the screen and the guns were easy to control. And I'm glad I didn't spoil the ride for myself since the final scene was totally unexpected and well done.

 

Outside of that, I rerode several coasters from my last visit. Vortex is still my favorite Arrow suspended since it maintains its speed from start to finish. Wild Beast and Mighty Canadian Minebuster are two solid and underrated woodies that are relatively smooth with good air. Backlot Stunt Coaster is an enjoyable launch coaster. I skipped the Vekomas that were terrible on my last visit, but did reride the Volare. While rougher than I remember, I still did enjoy Time Warp. The same can't be said for my girlfriend, so I think I just have a magical way to ride these things.

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It's an airtime buffet.

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The first drop packs a serious punch thanks to the long train.

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Leviathan's baby brother is still one of the top B&M hypers.

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Drop Tower delivered though. Intamin towers are so much better than S&S ones.

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It's a headbanging buffet. Thank god I already had the credit.

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The hills after the first drop felt like the average B&M hyper. That's not a bad thing, but the airtime felt like the usual floater instead of the ejector air on Fury.

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Not quite as good as Fury, but better than all of B&M's hyper coasters. The first drop is tied with Fury for my favorite on any coaster and the ride maintains is speed well.

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The beast absolutely dominates the park's skyline.

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Leviathan was the primary reason for my visit and it did not disappoint.

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Canada's Wonderland seems like a nice home park to have when I move there once Trump is inaugurated.

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The giant frisbee that looks more impressive than it really is. This one didn't give me any air unfortunately.

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Ride 1- Insane, Ride 2- Boring, It's all about the technique (which I think I got lucky with on ride 1).

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The claw!

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Still the best Arrow suspended. The way Vortex maintains its speed is impressive and results in major swinging.

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I have never been more cold on a ride than I was on Windseeker. I was wearing shorts and it was cold, windy, and rainy. Not my smartest moment.

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Niagara Falls Fun

 

While the highlight of the trip for me was Canada's Wonderland, I also spent time around Niagara Falls with my girlfriend (Canadian side only. I don't go to the dark place known as the American side). I had previously been there in the middle of summer back in 2010 and it was hot and packed. In early October, the weather was comfortable and crowds were extremely light, which made it easy to see the falls without having families pushing and shoving you out of the way.

 

Niagara Falls is beautiful. Both Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls remind me how beautiful nature can be as I look out my window now writing this TR seeing a mountain of snow. During the day, the falls are awe-inspiring and at night, they come even more alive thanks for the multicolored lights shining on them. I also took the opportunity to try the Journey Behind Niagara Falls walkthrough to get up close and personal. Walking through the caverns was pretty disappointing (think of dark, constricted, concrete walkways that smell like a garage with almost no windows) but the photo area at the base of the falls was outstanding. I think the only other way to get those shots would be to board one of the boats.

 

Along with nature's beauty, there's also an endless array of tourist trap items. I made sure to experience a few of them, so I'll give my highlights below:

 

Louis Tussaud's Wax Museum- This is an amazing wax museum with a wide range of figures covering sports, movies, politics, Harry Potter, and so much more. 95% of the figures are extremely accurate representations, 4% are so bad that they're funny, and 1% just look terrible.

 

Movieland Wax Museum- This is not an amazing wax museum. 95% of the figures just look terrible, 4% look amazing and lifelike (the ones in the front window displays), and 1% is the Taylor Swift out front that pumps her music on the street 24/7. Skip this one in favor of Tussaud's. Don't be lured in by the front window display or T Swizzle's music.

 

Great Canadian Midway- Amazing arcade. They have a nice mix of app-based games like Dave & Buster's, lots of sports games (really impressed with the baseball one), a huge test-of-strength game, racing games, shooting games, and a back room with all of the old games my local arcade used to have until it went out of business (the basketball skeeball game, Arctic Thunder, air cannons, etc). The prizes aren't all that great, but I was there to just have fun. They also had a 4D theater and a Sally shooter dark ride. I did both of these on my 2010 trip, but skipped them this time. The Sally shooter was pretty good in 2010, but not sure if the targets have been maintained well or not over the years.

 

Adventure City- Lackluster arcade. This is the Movieland of arcades. I knew I was in trouble when the first four doors I tried to get in were locked at 8 pm when their hours said they were open. Eventually I got in through a partially hidden side door. Inside I saw a large collection of games, but a good chunk of them were out of order. They also had some amusement rides that were of course all closed. The highlight was the Pink Panther Balloon Ride on top of the building, closed of course, since you pay $8 to be blocked by buildings on 3 of 4 sides.

 

Skylon Tower- This is the best option to see Niagara Falls from up above. Relatively cheap elevator ride and you can stay at the top as long as you like. Just make sure it's a clear day when you go up.

 

Greg Frewin Magic Show- Excellent show. I couldn't believe some of the tricks and anyone in the area should see his show.

 

Smoke's Poutinerie- This is the best Poutine I've ever had (only other time was at La Ronde, so I know that doesn't sound like much) but my girlfriend who is a food connoisseur agreed with me as well. They had an extensive menu and had some interesting flavors. We went with the Thanksgiving poutine and loved every bite. Smoke's is about a 10 minute walk from the main stretch but well worth it.

 

Marineland- Don't go there unless you want to spend $50 to get 30,000 steps on your Fitbit, climb a 150 foot hill, see employees race by you on golf carts, find about a quarter of the rides closed, and see non-marine animals like bears. Marineland was absolutely terrible during my 2010 visit so I made sure to avoid it like the plague. They would have to add something truly special (I'm talking a RMC, B&M, or Intamin) for me to consider returning.

 

Onto the photos!

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Adventure City was an arcade/family entertainment center but it seemed pretty run down and odd.

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And of course there's Niagara Falls. And that dark shadowy place beyond the American Falls known as the American side.

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Is that a black squirrel? Yes it is.

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Even squirrels are friendlier in Canada.

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There she is.

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You could also look down dank hallways like this.

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Tourist trap overload on the great Canadian side.

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Elvis putting on a concert for no one.

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Fun fun fun. Ruby Tuesday's that is.

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I forgot to take photos of the good arcade (Great Canadian Midway), but I have a photo of the Sally dark ride inside it. Didn't ride it this time, but it was good back in 2010.

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Last but not least is the awesome magic show, Greg Frewin. Go see it and I guarantee you'll be amazed.

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Time to see nature's beauty.

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I would like to buy a vowel and a shirt.

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I tried Journey Behind the Falls to get close to the water.

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And that I did.

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There are touristy things everywhere! PS- Louis Tussaud's is so much better than Movieland (that's where Catwoman is from).

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You can see Marineland's drop tower in the distance. No I did not go there again. That place is hell.

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The falls are lit up very nicely at night.

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Oh yeah they also have a pretty cool Ferris Wheel.

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Along with the arcade, they have a balloon ride that provides no views thanks to the building next to it.

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Let me in! Trump is about to be elected.

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Didn't do either of these. Looked too mainstream touristy.

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A haunted house, guns, and paint ball? Now that's more like it.

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And a great observation tower. This is my recommendation for aerial views.

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But really I sampled the local cuisine. This poutinerie was off the main road and was outstanding!

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Upside down house or upside down photo? You decide.

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I had to go to Canadian Wendy's solely because of that leaf.

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Great update! I really enjoyed Wonderland and look forward to getting back there.

 

As for Niagara Falls, I love a good tourist trap so I love Niagara Falls, especially the Clifton Hill area near the ferris wheel. We thought of trying the journey behind the falls but ran out of time. We did the hornblower and loved it and the cable car over the rapids which was pretty awesome, what did you think of it compared to the similar offerings in the area?

 

Oh, and regarding the Skylon tower, I totally agree that the view is great but I'd like to urge everyone to avoid the urge to eat up there... especially in the buffet style restaurant. The food is horrendous and they have 3 rows of tables with only 1 of them offering any type of view. Honestly the entire Skylon tower is dated and awful but the view more than makes up for it.

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Awesome update. I *LOVE* Niagara Falls. Went twice as a kid, first time is foggy but again as a teen and just loved the place. Been dying to get back especially since my other half has never been there.

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Great update! I really enjoyed Wonderland and look forward to getting back there.

 

As for Niagara Falls, I love a good tourist trap so I love Niagara Falls, especially the Clifton Hill area near the ferris wheel. We thought of trying the journey behind the falls but ran out of time. We did the hornblower and loved it and the cable car over the rapids which was pretty awesome, what did you think of it compared to the similar offerings in the area?

 

Oh, and regarding the Skylon tower, I totally agree that the view is great but I'd like to urge everyone to avoid the urge to eat up there... especially in the buffet style restaurant. The food is horrendous and they have 3 rows of tables with only 1 of them offering any type of view. Honestly the entire Skylon tower is dated and awful but the view more than makes up for it.

 

The part where you go behind the falls and through the caves was very underwhelming. As I hinted in my photo update, the passageways really don't let you see much of the falls at all. There are just two openings and you see nothing but mist. However, the lower viewing deck offers amazing photos that I think is worth it alone. These shots would only also be possible on one of the boats like the Hornblower that you did. While the boat has only limited time, you can spend as long as you like on the viewing deck.

 

I've never eaten at the Skylon since I heard the food was terrible. I find a lot of times food atop a tower is a tourist trap and frankly not that good.

 

Awesome update. I *LOVE* Niagara Falls. Went twice as a kid, first time is foggy but again as a teen and just loved the place. Been dying to get back especially since my other half has never been there.

 

It's an absolutely amazing place with a beautiful setting, endless amounts of tourist trap things, and a great amusement park that's about an 1-1.5 hour drive away. I assume you always went to the Canada side?

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I was with you all the way until I read this...

 

Wild Beast and Mighty Canadian Minebuster are two solid and underrated woodies that are relatively smooth with good air.

 

But no worry, I won't hold that against you!

 

I also think that Leviathan is what I might consider a slightly underrated coaster...definitely the most underrated giga (not that there are a ton to choose from). I really enjoyed my 14+ night rides in a row on it during the TPR event a few years ago. Most of those rides I didn't even have to get out of my seat in the station so I was able to enjoy ride after ride of floaty-air bliss. Leviathan & Behemoth are the two best things in the park & they arguably have the best collection of flat rides of any major theme park in the world. The rest of their coasters however...just don't do anything for me (even Vortex).

 

While the American side of the Falls is still pretty much a crime-ridden sh%t-hole, they really are trying to revive the area (like the Buffalo waterfront) and make it more family-friendly. I like what they are doing with the revamp and road work through Niagara Falls State Park. And I believe that they have some pretty good plans for the old Rainbow Center just outside of the park. Hopefully that might help draw more folks to the American side as I have always said that NY state has done nothing but severely neglect one of the more beautiful areas of our country/state for like...ever.

 

FYI...Canada has also recently added new LED lighting on the Falls at night. I haven't seen it in person, but it looked quite impressive on the local news - much brighter than the old, dated spotlights.

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Canada's Wonderland seems like a nice home park to have when I move there once Trump is inaugurated.

 

I laughed way to hard at this.

 

But. . . Now that you mention it, Canada's Wonderland does really look like a nice future home park!

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I was with you all the way until I read this...

 

Wild Beast and Mighty Canadian Minebuster are two solid and underrated woodies that are relatively smooth with good air.

 

But no worry, I won't hold that against you!

 

I also think that Leviathan is what I might consider a slightly underrated coaster...definitely the most underrated giga (not that there are a ton to choose from). I really enjoyed my 14+ night rides in a row on it during the TPR event a few years ago. Most of those rides I didn't even have to get out of my seat in the station so I was able to enjoy ride after ride of floaty-air bliss. Leviathan & Behemoth are the two best things in the park & they arguably have the best collection of flat rides of any major theme park in the world. The rest of their coasters however...just don't do anything for me (even Vortex).

 

While the American side of the Falls is still pretty much a crime-ridden sh%t-hole, they really are trying to revive the area (like the Buffalo waterfront) and make it more family-friendly. I like what they are doing with the revamp and road work through Niagara Falls State Park. And I believe that they have some pretty good plans for the old Rainbow Center just outside of the park. Hopefully that might help draw more folks to the American side as I have always said that NY state has done nothing but severely neglect one of the more beautiful areas of our country/state for like...ever.

 

FYI...Canada has also recently added new LED lighting on the Falls at night. I haven't seen it in person, but it looked quite impressive on the local news - much brighter than the old, dated spotlights.

 

I rode both those woodies in the front only but my rides were really good on them. My ride on Minebuster back in 2010 was very rough when I was in the back so I made sure not to repeat that. Leviathan was an awesome ride; I just wish it had one or two more hills since it feels like it ended prematurely. Though the ride is a capacity monster so I can just keep getting back on to mitigate that.

 

When were the new lights added by Niagara? The ones I saw in October were nice, so if they made them even better that is truly impressive.

Canada's Wonderland seems like a nice home park to have when I move there once Trump is inaugurated.

 

I laughed way to hard at this.

 

But. . . Now that you mention it, Canada's Wonderland does really look like a nice future home park!

 

It sure does, eh.

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I can confirm that the front row of Wild Beast is fine. We figured it would suck so we used the Mean Streak trick and it worked really well. It sounds like the same trick works on Minebuster but the grouper put us in a wheel seat and we had a really rough ride on that one.

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I have distant family on my dads side who lives in this area,so I been to the Niagara Falls/Buffalo area a few times. I also been on the Canadian side too. Clifton Hill was a pretty awesome tourist area. On the Buffalo side one of my favorite attractions is Cave of the Winds. Not sure they still have that. I haven't been there since the summer of 2005. But it was awesome you could stand right under the fall! It was a lot more fun than the behind the falls attraction on the Canadian side. I also been to Darien Lake twice and once too Fantasy Island. I would like to visit there again one day though. Its been so long! Also if I was to go again i would like to go to Canada's Wonderland(even though its a little way off from the area) and also try one of those speed boats that rides the rapids. I wouldnt mind going to Cave of the Winds again that was so much fun.

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^ I hit both Darien Lake and Martin's Fantasy Island during my 2010 trip. I thought both parks were decent and had one star attraction I wanted to spend most of my time at.

 

Despite being de-flagged, Darien Lake felt like a Six Flags park. The operations were relatively slow, the wooden coaster wasn't in the best of shape, and there was an awful SLC known as Mind Eraser. Ride of Steel was excellent though, as was the water park. Viper was actually pretty good as well, but they could use another big coaster to compliment Ride of Steel.

 

Martin's Fantasy Island felt like Funtown U.S.A. Silver Comet is actually ranked right next to Excalibur for me and was a great wooden coaster with a mix of air and laterals. Lines were non-existent and they had a pretty good lineup of flat rides. The water park was small, but the mat slides were fast and very good.

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I actually didnt go on the SLC. The lines were long as far as theme parks usually go and i wanted to get the most thrilling coasters in. Nothing against the SLC but it just didnt look as fun as many of the others. I did go on the Boomerang though. I actually enjoyed it a lot. Not as fun as Ride of Steel but still fun. Also as for the SLC before I knew much about coasters even looking just looking at it,it looked kind of painful. Still if i ever go back to a park with one I might try it out to see if its as bad as others say it is. However of course it wouldnt be on top of my list.

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When were the new lights added by Niagara? The ones I saw in October were nice, so if they made them even better that is truly impressive.

 

I believe that the new LED lights were added in early December. I would like to see for myself as well as the old lights were pretty decent (just outdated).

 

If a ride is rough in the front, it truly is a sucky ride like Darien's Predator.

 

I pulled the coasterbill trick on the front seat of Predator and had a pretty fun ride this past August! We were also grouped on Wild Beast so could not do the front seat. We ended up in like row 4 and it was bad....like Hurler at KD bad!

 

On the Buffalo side one of my favorite attractions is Cave of the Winds. Not sure they still have that.

 

Yep, it's still there and also one of my favorite NF attractions besides Maid of the Mist.

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I actually didnt go on the SLC. The lines were long as far as theme parks usually go and i wanted to get the most thrilling coasters in. Nothing against the SLC but it just didnt look as fun as many of the others. I did go on the Boomerang though. I actually enjoyed it a lot. Not as fun as Ride of Steel but still fun. Also as for the SLC before I knew much about coasters even looking just looking at it,it looked kind of painful. Still if i ever go back to a park with one I might try it out to see if its as bad as others say it is. However of course it wouldnt be on top of my list.

 

Unless the SLC has the new trains with the vests, the SLC will beat your head around every day of the week. They pack so much pain into such a compact layout.

 

When were the new lights added by Niagara? The ones I saw in October were nice, so if they made them even better that is truly impressive.

 

I believe that the new LED lights were added in early December. I would like to see for myself as well as the old lights were pretty decent (just outdated).

 

 

I guess a return visit is in order then!

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Sky High Adventure Park

 

I apologize, but this is going to be an incredibly short update, even for one of the mountain resorts. Immediately after we got on the mountain coaster, the heavens opened up and did its best Niagara Falls impersonation. My phone isn't waterproof and I didn't bring any zip lock bags for the short trip.

 

After leaving Niagara, we were visiting a friend at Cornell on the way home so we made a pit stop in Endicottville, NY to try the mountain coaster at Holiday Valley. Compared to other mountain coasters, the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster was considerably cheaper. Usually these coasters cost about $15 per ride, but this one was only $8. As far as mountain coasters go, this one was pretty average. The entire layout was well concealed in the woods, the turns were fast, and there were a few bumps on the way down that almost gave air time.

 

It's kind of out of the way, but if you're ever in the area, Holiday Valley is in a quaint town and the mountain coaster is worth a ride. The resort also had what looked to be a really good ropes course as well.

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There she is. Well this update was easy.

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Berkshire East Mountain Resort

 

Berkshire was my last mountain resort of the year and it was one of the best. I made the pit stop on the way to Six Flags (it's about an hour away) since I had heard good things about the Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster and it delivered.

 

The resort was 90% dead when I visited. I didn't see anyone else by the coaster, ropes course, or playground. Everyone at the resort was waiting for the ski lift since there was a bike race. That worked out for me since I could hop right on the coaster and make my way down south to ride Wicked Cyclone and Superman for the last times in 2016.

 

Thunderbolt is one of the longest mountain coasters in the world and the ride takes full advantage of it. The ride immediately builds up speed and flies down the hill. There are several small hills on the way down that give strong pops of air and the turns give pretty nice laterals as well. It's a toss-up between this one and Attitash's for the best mountain coaster, but I'll ultimately give it to Attitash's since I wasn't expecting that one to be as good as it was and it blew me away. I ultimately got three rides on the Thunderbolt, each time better than the last. I'd highly recommend stopping in the next time you're at Six Flags New England since it's not that far away and one of the best mountain coasters out there.

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Except for the chairlift since they were having a biking race.

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I was greeted with this lovely white van when I arrived at the park.

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The white van must have been disappointed to see an empty playground.

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Actually most of the place was pretty empty.

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The Thunderbolt is one of the best mountain coasters out there. This one has several strong pops of air and a really long layout.

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After leaving Niagara, we were visiting a friend at Cornell on the way home so we made a pit stop in Ellicottville, NY to try the mountain coaster at Holiday Valley. Compared to other mountain coasters, the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster was considerably cheaper. Usually these coasters cost about $15 per ride, but this one was only $8. As far as mountain coasters go, this one was pretty average. The entire layout was well concealed in the woods, the turns were fast, and there were a few bumps on the way down that almost gave air time.

 

Fixed that for you!

 

Holiday Valley/Ellicottville is about 40 minutes from our house. We have done the mountain coaster about four times although it is the only one we have ever been on - we'd like to do more. You're right in that it's difficult to get photos of the coaster and they seemed quite strict (understandably enough) about about the no camera policy before boarding.

 

Not sure if you had time, but they do have a very nice brewery and restaurant in downtown called Ellicottville Brewing Company - good food and tasty draft beers.

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I pulled the coasterbill trick on the front seat of Predator and had a pretty fun ride this past August!

 

Same. We heard about how awful it was and finally visited this year for the first (and probably last) time and the ride wasn't rough at all with that trick. I was pleasantly surprised.

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After leaving Niagara, we were visiting a friend at Cornell on the way home so we made a pit stop in Ellicottville, NY to try the mountain coaster at Holiday Valley. Compared to other mountain coasters, the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster was considerably cheaper. Usually these coasters cost about $15 per ride, but this one was only $8. As far as mountain coasters go, this one was pretty average. The entire layout was well concealed in the woods, the turns were fast, and there were a few bumps on the way down that almost gave air time.

 

Fixed that for you!

 

Holiday Valley/Ellicottville is about 40 minutes from our house. We have done the mountain coaster about four times although it is the only one we have ever been on - we'd like to do more. You're right in that it's difficult to get photos of the coaster and they seemed quite strict (understandably enough) about about the no camera policy before boarding.

 

Not sure if you had time, but they do have a very nice brewery and restaurant in downtown called Ellicottville Brewing Company - good food and tasty draft beers.

 

Unfortunately I missed out on the brewery. I had to make it to Ithaca's Apple Festival which was a weird and cool event.

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