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Gillian's Wonderland Pier- The calm before the Gale Force

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Great report!

 

I really like this park. I happy that I’ll have an excuse to go back next season with this new coaster.

 

Thanks! I've seen a lot of people mocking Kentucky Flyer because of the name and the Planet Coaster rendering, but I have little doubt that coaster will be awesome based on Gravity Group's recent pedigree.

 

Just popping in to say I've been totally into the last couple of updates. KK is very high on my list, and after riding Wacky Taxi and then hearing about the new woodie, I'm even more stoked to visit in the next year or two.

 

Thanks! Kentucky Kingdom's top three will be incredible for anyone who loves airtime.

 

Getting caught up on this report now. Kentucky Kingdom is looking good, and I enjoyed the Columbus Zoo report too. Been meaning to get over there one of these days.

 

Thanks! Columbus Zoo was a place I always had on my radar because of the wooden coaster, but I knew it was dependent when I'd be making the commute between Kings Island and Cedar Point. It just happened to work out this year.

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KK is worth going out of your way for simply due to Lightning Run and Storm Chaser. Add in the water park, the flats, and it's a great park. Storm Chaser is insane and it's even crazier to think that people were complaining about it when it first opened.

 

RMC does a great job with all of their coasters. You could look at Timbers and SC and say they have the same drop, but they feel a bit different.

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Beech Bend

 

Beech Bend is one of those places where you second-guess whether or not you clicked the wrong entry on Google Maps. There are absolutely no signs of an amusement park as you approach Beech Bend, just farmland and (to add variety and distinguish it from Indiana) rolling hills. But eventually I reached the parking lot, which takes inspiration from the state’s geography and consists of a sloped grassy field.

 

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Beech Bend is a very no frills park as evidenced by the entrance.

 

If you ever want to feel like a fried egg, Beech Bend is the park for you. The park is the definition of an asphalt jungle. Simply put, there is very little shade anywhere in the park. With the heat index in triple figures, that made for an uncomfortable visit. Fortunately I needed little more than an hour since most visitors were wisely enjoying the water park.

 

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Here's a tree. There aren't many of those at Beech Bend.

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The saucer slide looked intriguing, but I only had time for the dry side.

 

My first stop was the reason I made the side trip to Bowling Green. And that would be Kentucky Rumbler. Because of the park’s location, it has been a long time since I’ve heard anything about Kentucky Rumbler. I figured the oppressive temperatures and humidity would have the ride running in peak form, so I just hoped it would be on the smoother side since GCIs can become bumpy without the right TLC.

 

I got two rides, one in the front and one in the back and I had a slight preference for the back. Usually the back offers some additional intensity at the expense of smoothness, but oddly Kentucky Rumbler was smoother in the back row. I figured it’d have a curving first drop like many GCI twisters, but it actually straightened out at the last second and delivered some good airtime. That was followed by the highlight of the ride, a large camelback with some uncharacteristically sustained airtime for a GCI.

 

The rest of the ride was characteristic of a GCI. It consisted of a series of tiny hills offering pops of air and overbanks. I thought the first half was well paced, but the second half did lag a bit. Midway through the coaster, there’s a sizable hill passing over the queue line. While this is a nice visual, it saps a good chunk of the ride’s speed. There are undoubtedly better GCIs out there, but Kentucky Rumbler is the perfect star attraction for a park of this size. 7 out of 10

 

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For better or worse, this was an average GCI. It was a lot of tiny hills and turnarounds.

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The drop was surprisingly good for a GCI.

 

Air Race wasn’t one of my priorities, but the operator was anxiously awaiting riders so I climbed aboard. I always enjoy these Zamperla air races as they are a very disorienting flat. Compared to the others I’ve been on, I think this one may have had the longest cycle. I’m guessing the complete lack of crowds this park sees comes into play. 7 out of 10

 

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If you want to go head over heels, Air Race is your only option at Beech Bend. Well unless you want to roll down the parking lot.

 

I was proudly sporting a Phoenix t-shirt during my visit, which solicited an amusing reaction from the operator at Spinning Out.

 

“Pennsylvania has a theme park? I thought it was all football and farm land.”

 

If he thinks Pennsylvania is too rural, then what does that make Kentucky? As for the ride, it was an SBF spinner with a twist…or rather an additional twist since the cars already twist. This one had a bonus helix! However, it rode no differently than the standard layout. Yes it was longer, but I got half as many laps as usual to compensate. 3 out of 10

 

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Check out that bonus helix.

 

Zero-G may actually be the park’s best ride. It’s one of those insane Larson towers. The drop was as awesome as usual, but this one was lacking in the view department. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but there isn’t exactly much to see. What about the park? As luck would have it, the park’s only three trees just happen to be plopped down right in front of the drop tower. But that drop is so intense that I can look past the lackluster view. 9 out of 10

 

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Every park in the world could get one of these and I wouldn't complain one bit.

 

The Haunted House is a must ride if only for the fact that it has air conditioning. It turned what would have been a trainwreck of a haunted house into an invigorating experience. I’m pretty sure my local carnival can top the effects inside this one, but at least the facade was reminiscent of a classic pretzel. 3 out of 10

 

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I was hoping for a breakdown, but I wasn't lucky enough to get trapped in the ice box.

 

One of my most anticipated rides was the incredibly rare Scat II. Basically it looked like two round-ups on a swiveling arm. My local carnival has a similar ride (Hyper Spin); however, you ride sitting down. Scat II is ridden standing up. For that reason, I figured it needed to spin fairly quickly. And it most certainly did. This thing pulled some serious Gs. I had the sustained Gs of a round-up or a rotor while being spun about like a scrambler. There was just one problem. The ride was very uncomfortable.

 

The operator assigned locations (presumably to balance the attraction) and I was assigned an end. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but the end seats must have been designed for smaller riders. The head rests sat a foot lower than the middle seats. This caused my head to be forced against the metal grate during the ride. I felt like I was being bullied all over again. My only option was to slouch, which was also uncomfortable, but it was the lesser of two evils. If you’re over 5 feet, I strongly suggest you hold out for an inside seat. 7 out of 10

 

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Where's Scat 1?

 

Last but not least, I hit the spinning Wild Mouse on the way out. I ended up waiting 15 minutes, which was longer than I waited for every other ride on the dry side combined. As far as spinning mice go, this one was pretty average. It did spin though and that’s something I’ll never take for granted again after riding that abomination at Hirakata Park. 5 out of 10

 

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You know crowds are on your side when this is by far the longest wait in the whole park.

 

Beech Bend really feels more like a permanent carnival rather than an amusement park. The only things breaking that mold are Kentucky Rumbler and the water park. Kentucky Rumbler is a solid wooden coaster, but not one I’d make a special trip for. However, if my future travels brought me directly past Beech Bend, I would definitely pop in for an hour or two.

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nice update from Beech Bend. . .very impressed they have an Air Race, I don't see them that often, and certainly not in Texas parks for the most part.

 

Thanks! I'm not surprised the larger model hasn't spread since it takes up a surprising amount of room, but I've seen the smaller one (like Beech Bend's) popping up more recently at carnivals.

 

Great report! But there's one thing that I really need to know about Beech Bend: Does this park offer any park/guide maps at the front entrance? I collect maps from new parks that I visit and I was just curious.

 

Thanks! They definitely have maps. I believe I got mine at the ticket booth.

 

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I've been to BB once during the Winter event and we accidentally showed up before they were letting cars in. So we asked the lady at the gate if there was anything in the area to kill time and she replied, trying not to brag obviously spilling over with legit excitement, "Well.....we have *TWO* Super Walmarts."

 

That's it, thanks for letting me cameo my TR, Michael!

 

Reading your report also had me thinking:

Kentucky Rumbler is a fun GCI.

The Zero G ride up gave me a lesson on how quickly they could disassemble the ride and rebuild it.

Sounds like Bowling Green, KY hasn't changed much, haha.

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I've been to BB once during the Winter event and we accidentally showed up before they were letting cars in. So we asked the lady at the gate if there was anything in the area to kill time and she replied, trying not to brag obviously spilling over with legit excitement, "Well.....we have *TWO* Super Walmarts."

 

That's it, thanks for letting me cameo my TR, Michael!

 

Reading your report also had me thinking:

Kentucky Rumbler is a fun GCI.

The Zero G ride up gave me a lesson on how quickly they could disassemble the ride and rebuild it.

Sounds like Bowling Green, KY hasn't changed much, haha.

 

She didn't tell you about the fle-market? There's a hell of a flea market. Bowling Green is a great town for what it is, but yeah not much there.

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I've been to BB once during the Winter event and we accidentally showed up before they were letting cars in. So we asked the lady at the gate if there was anything in the area to kill time and she replied, trying not to brag obviously spilling over with legit excitement, "Well.....we have *TWO* Super Walmarts."

 

That's it, thanks for letting me cameo my TR, Michael!

 

Reading your report also had me thinking:

Kentucky Rumbler is a fun GCI.

The Zero G ride up gave me a lesson on how quickly they could disassemble the ride and rebuild it.

Sounds like Bowling Green, KY hasn't changed much, haha.

 

Aw man, I'm more of a Target fan.

 

I think the newest thing at the park is that water slide tower in my report. Judging by the people flocking to it on such a hot day, I think they made a wise investment.

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Holiday World

 

For me Holiday World is unquestionably a full day park. It has an elite wooden coaster collection, an awesome water park, and an all-around great atmosphere. Due to an oversight, I didn’t realize Holiday World was just one hour from Kentucky Kingdom until I saw a billboard driving down the highway. I already had tickets to Kentucky Kingdom and Beech Bend, so it would have been moronic to eat the cost.

 

So I faced with a tough decision. I could either scrap Holiday World entirely or visit knowing I didn’t have enough time to experience everything. Ultimately, I decided some Holiday World time was better than no Holiday World time. After time at Kentucky Kingdom and Beech Bend, I only had 2 hours remaining for Holiday World. I was optimistic that would be enough time to ride all four major coasters. However, I was battling against Labor Day weekend crowds and the park’s policy that they close queues early.

 

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Of course I wasn't going to say no to Holiday World.

 

I prioritized the wood coasters, so my first stop was Raven. The coaster still proudly displays its best wooden coaster Golden Ticket even though it has been outdone by one of the park’s other coasters (and a coaster 50 years older than it in Elysburg, PA that people finally realized is better but that’s an entirely different conversation). There I encountered another obstacle; the park was only running one train. With only time for one ride, there was little doubt where I would sit- back row.

 

I remember thinking my first ride on Raven was really underwhelming last year. But I attributed that to the coaster running slower in the morning as it did get better with each subsequent ride. Now I was riding Raven in peak conditions- late afternoon, 95 degrees, max humidity. So we crested the first drop and I fully expected to be launched into the lap bar. Yet I only got a tiny pop of air. That was followed by another tiny pop on the second hill. Then the third and fourth hills had absolutely no air.

 

The odd thing was that the coaster was absolutely hauling. I was beginning to wonder if the vaunted fifth drop would have airtime and that hill punished the non-believer, launching me straight into the lap bar. Now that’s the type of air I expect on a coaster previously considered the world’s best. Raven then finishes up with a series of out-of-control turns through the woods without losing a slither of speed. It’s incredible how fast this coaster feels despite its 48mph speed.

 

Are night rides on Raven so legendary that they can elevate this into the discussion for the world’s best wooden coaster? I find that hard to believe since the park’s other two wooden coasters are far superior with equally as awesome settings. Don’t get me wrong, Raven is a good wooden coaster. It has a wonderful setting and an incredible finale. But everything leading up to that fifth drop is average at best. 8 out of 10

 

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Raven has everything except a good first half.

 

Up next was Legend. At the entrance, I was greeted with a sign apologizing for one train operations. While it’s admittedly a nice touch to warn guests about an extended wait, it was still a frustrating sight to see on a coaster as long as Legend and on a holiday weekend no less. The queue was spilling out of the station and I believe I waited almost 40 minutes for the front row.

 

I love the big first drop that twists into the tunnel and that’s followed by a brief out-and-back section through the water park. The first few hills are a bit too gradual to offer any hills, but there are some nice headchoppers from the slides above. By the fourth and fifth hill, you start getting some good airtime. Then Legend becomes absolutely orgasmic for fans of laterals.

 

You can fight it all you want, but it’s inevitable that you will end up plastered against the side of the train. That double helix is relentless. Not only are the laterals as intense as any coaster, but this element does not end. It’s crazy that a coaster can hold laterals this strong for as long as Legend does. That’s followed by a nice finale consisting of a few quick turns by the flume and 2-3 pops of air reminiscent of a GCI.

 

At most parks, Legend would be the star wooden coaster. However at Holiday World, it plays second fiddle. But it’s a very good second fiddle. While Voyage focuses on airtime, Legend focuses on laterals. I would have loved to have gotten another ride, but the queue simply didn’t allow it. 9 out of 10

 

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I did look back and the queue was anything but short.

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But it did at least offer some nice views of the coaster.

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I love how Legend goes from weaving through the water park to the woods and the back to weaving around the flume.

 

By this time, Splashin’ Safari had closed and the Thanksgiving area was inundated with people. Voyage’s entire queue was filled. Fortunately it was running two trains and the wait only took a half hour, and that included me waiting extra for the front row. I knew that decision was risky since it could have come at the expense of a Voyage reride or a Thunderbird ride, but there was no way I was leaving Holiday World without a front row ride on this beast of a coaster.

 

The outward leg is a series of camelbacks more akin to what you’d find on a steel hyper coaster. Each hill offers better sustained floater than the last. That leads into the twister section reminiscent of Superman the Ride’s spaghetti bowl finale. It’s impossible to fully recount what happens, but there are several strong pops of air, many quick directional changes, and some 90 degree turns for good measure.

 

Voyage comes to an almost full stop on the MCBR and is the only chance riders have to catch their breath. It seems impossible that Voyage could regain its speed, but the coaster masterfully uses the terrain. On the outward leg, you stealthily climb a sizable hill. This is unbeknownst to riders since the coaster is traveling so fast and the elevation changes are obscured by the ride’s many tunnels.

 

This clever use of elevation leads to Voyage getting progressively faster on the return leg. As the coaster weaves underneath the lift hill, riders are treated to several pops of air. That leads to a second twister section by the station with the ride’s final few pops of air. In many ways, Voyage feels like an endurance test and I mean that in the absolute best way possible.

 

I hit the brake run speechless and out-of-breath. Voyage truly is one of the craziest coasters out there. I can definitely see some calling this coaster rough, but the only rough patch I noticed was in the final tunnel adjacent to the station. Voyage is one of the most ambitious wooden coasters ever constructed and it’s truly a testament to the park’s maintenance staff that this thing doesn’t turn riders into mashed potatoes. 10 out of 10

 

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This is the coaster equivalent of running a marathon. This is one incredibly long and intense coaster.

 

My ride was so breathtaking that I decided to forgo Thunderbird and finish off with a Voyage reride. But I was thwarted by a “Please…no more riders before closing” sign at the entrance. The most shocking thing was that the park was using the honor system to enforce this rule. There were no employees even monitoring the queue so I saw several people hop back in line. Either people didn’t read (entirely a possibility based on the comments on any of Robb’s videos) or they simply didn’t care to follow the park’s rule.

 

Admittedly, it was tempting to hop back in the queue. One of the world’s best coasters was right in front of me and it was definitely frustrating seeing others still joining the queue. But I listened to the angel on my right shoulder and sought out a different attraction to end the night.

 

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The sign is polite at least. And the park has a ton of faith in humanity that they'll respect the sign. Usually there's an employee standing guard when the star attraction closes its queue early but not at Holiday World.

 

My thought was to ride Legend one last time. I was skeptical the queue would even be open, but Frightful Falls was next door and I was confident that ride’s obscure location would keep that queue open. But something else caught my attention and that was Raging Rapids. That may seem like an odd ride to end the night on, but I had my reasons. For one, it was hot as heck. Second, this was closed in my only other visit to the park. Sure enough, the queue was still open and it was a complete walk-on.

 

I think Raging Rapids is a misnomer. The rapids on this one are incredibly weak. I can’t recall a single one splashing anyone. But Raging Rapids excelled in other areas. For one, the ride was well landscaped and had some solid theming, passing through a western town and through a cave. Second, there were plenty of other ways to get wet such as an unavoidable waterfall and geysers.

 

I want to talk about those geysers. They are pure evil. Anyone who has ridden log flumes with water cannons know how much guests love nailing unsuspecting riders. Holiday World takes this to the next level by letting observers control geysers. I was hit by at least 5 geysers during my ride. So this river rapids ride doesn’t really have any rapids, but it isn’t lacking in the fun department. 6 out of 10

 

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Those rapids don't look very raging.

 

It was an abbreviated visit, but I still had a blast at Holiday World. I still cannot believe how early Holiday World closed (7 pm) on a holiday weekend, but that’s pretty typical for them. This visit confirmed one thing; I need to do everything in my power to make it to HoliWood Nights next year. I am craving night rides on those wooden coasters. I suspect Voyage in particular could enter into my personal top 5. And having ERT on those water slides certainly wouldn’t hurt either.

 

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Hopefully I'll be back next year.

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I really need to get to Holiday World at some point... I appreciate how much emphasis the park has placed on their wooden coasters (save for Thunderbird) and I'm itching to experience The Voyage at some point. Thanks for reminding me that needs to get back on my list of places to go!

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I really need to get to Holiday World at some point... I appreciate how much emphasis the park has placed on their wooden coasters (save for Thunderbird) and I'm itching to experience The Voyage at some point. Thanks for reminding me that needs to get back on my list of places to go!

 

It was always a bucket list park for me and the park hasn't disappointed in my two visits.

 

Just getting caught up here. Awesome report, as always. I've heard mixed reviews on Holiday World but would love to get there at some point.

 

Thanks! Their 3 woodies aren't glass smooth, but I've never had any issues riding them. It's also not a full day park unless you are willing to reride things and/or spend time in the water park, but those are two things I have no problem doing.

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Voyage truly is one of the craziest coasters out there. I can definitely see some calling this coaster rough, but the only rough patch I noticed was in the final tunnel adjacent to the station. Voyage is one of the most ambitious wooden coasters ever constructed and it’s truly a testament to the park’s maintenance staff that this thing doesn’t turn riders into mashed potatoes. 10 out of 10

 

The park's maintenance staff does not save 5 out of every 6 riders who ride outside of the first car. You did the right thing taking the time to ride all three coasters in the first row to save your body.

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Coney Island

 

When you hear Coney Island, what comes to mind? The Cyclone? The Wonder Wheel? The beach? Joey Chestnut wolfing down 70 hot dogs? The atmosphere? How about a small park in Ohio? Wait, what? Outside of locals to Cincinnati and hardcore enthusiasts I doubt many people have heard of Ohio’s Coney Island. While it’s not as famous as the New York City staple, Ohio’s Coney Island is a charming park in its own way.

 

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99.9% of people will not think of this place when you say Coney Island.

 

I arrived a half hour after opening expecting a prime parking space. Instead I was parked in the back of the lot. This place appeared packed! Fortunately few people were riding things on the dry side. Most people were jamming themselves into the small water park or enjoying the picnic grounds.

 

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The water park's two slide towers were at capacity on such a hot day.

 

Coney Island is a really beautiful park. Almost the entire midway is draped underneath tree canopies. It may have been 100 degrees outside, but it felt considerably cooler thanks to the tree coverage. But its not just trees. There are also several gardens scattered throughout the park, including the impressive Moonlite Gardens. Plus you had a lake at the far end of the park. It’s never going to be mentioned in the same breadth as a Busch Gardens, but Coney Island’s landscaping is quite impressive.

 

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For a park with an unimpressive ride collection, they take landscaping seriously.

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Just look at these gardens.

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I'm a sucker for waterside locations. Technically that's something this place shares with its New York namesake.

 

Oddly enough, the ride collection is the park’s weakness. More specifically, it’s the park’s coaster collection. Coney Island only has one coaster in the Python. At first glance, it may appear to be you garden variety galaxy/zyklon, but it has some quirks. To start, there are the trains. They’re 2 car trains, but the oddity is that the front car has 2 rows while the back car only has 1 row. I’ve seen this done on lead or rear cars on mine trains, but never on a coaster with trains as small as this.

 

Python’s first two drops actually packed a surprising punch. I rode in the back and I was shot out of my seat. The rest of the ride was uneventful outside of one other tiny pop of air on the final drop and an extremely abrupt brake run. Definitely hold on for that one! 5 out of 10

 

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Note the missing row in the back car.

 

I was also fully able to appreciate the brilliance of the Rock-O-Plane during my visit. I had previously ridden two at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Sandy Lake Amusement Park and recalled it being one heck of a workout. I remember violently flinging myself forwards and backwards, desperately trying to get at least one flip. It was more exhausting than a game of ultimate frisbee.

 

But I learned I have been doing it all wrong. You see, I thought that lever was only for the operator to lock and unlock the cars at the beginning and end of the ride. I didn’t realize the rider could use the lever to control their rides. Now we were talking. That lever was an absolute game changer. I alternated between hanging upside down and releasing the car at the apex to get a wild flip on the way down. 8 out of 10

 

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Learning what that lever did was like getting the training wheels taken off my bicycle. I was suddenly a lot more dangerous.

 

The ride I was most anticipating was Wipeout. No it’s not a Chance Wipeout. The only way I’d be excited for one of those is if it were enclosed in a building and called the Cloudpoofer. This is one of those rare Moser flipping arms. I saw one at Gillian’s last year, but it either hadn’t opened or was down for maintenance. There was no way to tell with that ride. Fortunately Wipeout was operating.

 

I had never seen one run, so I had no clue what to expect. My experience is being judged off just one ride, but it didn’t invert as often as I had expected. However, because of the ride’s small diameter, all of the movements felt very abrupt and snappy. I actually found the spinning near ground level to be more intense than the main portion of the ride. I definitely enjoyed this flat, but it couldn’t quite measure up to the Top Scans, Tangos, and Zippers of the world for crazy inverting flats. 8 out of 10

 

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Honestly this was the most intense part of the ride.

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It looks like the park index is missing the official ride sign, so this one is for you Larry.

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There was no way I was going to ride this thing after the same model at Fun Spot made me very queasy, but I had a strong enough stomach to get a picture for the park index. Naming this ride Top Spin is the perfect way to troll enthusiasts if you ask me.

 

And on the way out, I climbed aboard their Moser drop tower. This one was much larger than usual and probably in the neighborhood of 40-50 feet in height. I don’t know what it is about these Moser towers, but I find the drops to pack far more of a punch than they have any right to. But I’m not going crazy; I’ll still take the S&S or Intamin behemoths of the world. 6 out of 10

 

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It seemed like a park mandate that every attraction was either underneath or surrounded by trees.

 

Coney Island was a very pleasant park. Like its namesake in Brooklyn, Coney Island’s strength is the atmosphere. This one is a beautiful, well-landscaped family park which is a complete contrast to the rambunctious and rowdy boardwalk atmosphere of New York’s. I’m not sure if I’d be willing to sacrifice time at Kings Island considering it’s just a half hour away, but this park would become a no brainer for me if they added another coaster. One of those mini Gravity Group woodies would be a perfect fit if you asked me.

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