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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures


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Great report and glad you had as good of a time as you could, haha. My experience on Hades was the same as yours, although I found Zeus to be one of the most painful coasters since vintage SoB and Hurler.

 

RIP to the S&S woodie that lived around the corner.

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Great and in-depth and report on these rides - I didn't even know about Pegasus until now! Man, those coasters look really intertwined.

 

Like you said, four wooden coasters can never be a bad thing!

 

Thanks! Some may call their collection rough but I had no issues.

 

Great report and glad you had as good of a time as you could, haha. My experience on Hades was the same as yours, although I found Zeus to be one of the most painful coasters since vintage SoB and Hurler.

 

RIP to the S&S woodie that lived around the corner.

 

Thanks! Yeah I was bummed to miss Hellcat. I heard it was quite good.

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Funtown U.S.A.

 

Funtown U.S.A. is a park for which I’ve always considered getting a season pass. Technically, it’s the closest park to me that offers one and it does have a few nice rides. So why don’t I?

 

The twilight ticket is simply too great a value to pass up! Funtown sells the last three hours of the day for the low price of $11. That’s a steal. And that’s plenty of time to ride their five best rides multiple times.

 

At this point, I have a set routine at Funtown. I hit Dragon’s Descent, Bumper Cars, Astrosphere, Thunder Falls, and Excalibur in that order. If I’m feeling generous, I’ll hit another random flat or Wild Mouse on the way.

 

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I thought I was at Funtown, not Mount Olympus.

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Is there life after death? Jump this fence and find out!

 

No seriously, that's what the sign says!

 

So naturally, I started with Dragon’s Descent. It’s literally right next to the main entrance. And it’s apparent the park is very proud of their S&S drop tower. It has an entire oriental area themed to it and they make sure you know it’s New England’s tallest thrill ride.

 

Dragon’s Descent is one of the rare S&S towers that can compete with the Larson and Intamin models. It has a fantastic view, some strong air on the drop, and even the bounce at the end gives a pop of air. I’ve never seen that on any other turbo drop. 9 out of 10

 

It’s also worth noting Dragon’s Descent added those seatbelts like many S&S towers. But they seemed to have a really big impact here. They enabled the park to lower the height requirement from 52” to 48”.

 

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If you ride on the side facing the dragon, you can see the Atlantic Ocean and Palace Playland in the distance.

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That dragon looks amazing.

 

Up next was the Bumper Cars. The ones at Funtown have a ridiculously long cycle and a large, wide open arena. But the biggest reason why you need to ride these bumper cars is the policy on head-on collisions. They are allowed! I’ve never seen that at any other park. 8 out of 10

 

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Road rage at its finest.

 

It has been almost 10 years since Funtown added anything to the dry side. I’m pleased to announce in 2019 that they added (drumroll please) a concrete dome around the Astrosphere scrambler.

 

While this isn’t a flashy addition, it drastically improved the Astrosphere experience. The music no longer bleeds out into the midway and the park can now project crisper projections on the ceiling.

 

As far as scramblers go, this one isn’t very fast. But it’s all about the show. If listening to E.L.O. while watching projections of aliens and creepy faces sounds appealing to you, get yourself to Funtown. 10 out of 10

 

Also for anyone wanting to get an Excalibur T-shirt, you are out of luck. The only ride themed apparel I could find at the park this year was for the Astrosphere.

 

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Look at that beautiful concrete dome.

 

Since Wild Mouse had a full queue, I bypassed it in favor of Thunder Falls Log Flume. I knew I was playing with fire on this one. This flume has 6 geysers adjacent to the splashdown. Someone tried to hit me, but they had worse timing than a carnival dark ride.

 

I’m a sucker for Hopkins flumes and this one is quite good. It has a long, windy layout that’s well shaded and it’s the tallest flume in New England. 8 out of 10

 

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That's a lot of water.

 

I then finished the night with an Excalibur marathon. Excalibur is tucked deep in the woods and it’s one of the better night rides out there. Just make sure you pack bug spray or you’ll be in for a world of itch.

 

Excalibur did have one unwanted addition this year- major stapling. I’m not sure if it was just the staff on duty, but they pulled the seatbelts tight with all their might before lowering the lap bars.

 

Fortunately, Excalibur’s airtime in the first half is strong enough to overcome the restraints. The first drop is surprisingly steep and delivers some strong air in the back. And the turnarounds mix abrupt laterals with a quick pop of ejector air. Plus, you also have this speed hill loaded with floater air.

 

I’ve long said this, but Excalibur could have been a top coaster if it had a better second half. There’s absolutely no air and while there are some sustained laterals, the ride simply isn’t traveling very fast. It just lacks that out-of-control feeling of the first half. 7.5 out of 10

 

I would caution you to avoid wheel seats at the moment. Excalibur has always had a bit of a shake to it, but the bottom of the second hill felt like a car wreck. That’s saying a lot coming from me.

 

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You start in a castle.

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Then you go out in the woods.

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And you get some airtime and laterals along the way.

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Excalibur at night is a must. Just look how dark it is.

 

I know Funtown isn’t in an accessible location for most coaster enthusiasts, but it sure is convenient for me. The park isn’t very big, but the park’s premier rides compliment each other well and the twilight ticket gives me just enough time to ride them all.

 

If you are coming from a distance, make sure you visit during the evening so you can experience Excalibur at night. It’s Raven-lite with a much slower finale.

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Palace Playland

 

It always feels like a gamble when I go to Palace Playland. They're one of those seaside parks with no set closing time. If they're busy, they'll happily stay open until midnight. But if they're a ghost town, you're SOL.

 

For that reason, I wasn't even sure if Palace Playland would still be open. After a weeknight evening at Funtown, I decided to take a chance. The weather was beautiful, but it was definitely cooler than your prototypical beach day.

 

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Palace Playland is one of the few beachfront parks remaining in New England.

 

So imagine my shock to find no street parking available and the midway shoulder to shoulder with people. It's not even like that on weekend nights!

 

Turns out it was fireworks night. On one hand, that explained the crowd. People love their fireworks like enthusiasts love their wacky worms. But I was sort of surprised they were taking place on a Thursday.

 

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Credit whores come out for the coasters. The sensible people come out for fireworks.

 

I originally wanted to watch them from atop the Ferris Wheel, but everyone else had the same idea. So instead, I decided to watch them from the park's Power Surge.

 

Sure I missed out on the perfect photo, but it sure was neat to be flipping uncontrollably towards the ground one second and then shooting towards fireworks the next. It is worth noting that the base wasn't rotating. I know that is an issue on a lot of other power surges, but this is the first time I've ever had an issue with it at this one. Hopefully it was just a short term issue since it's my favorite ride in the park. 9 out of 10

 

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Riding this during the fireworks was quite the experience.

 

But I think the crowd favorite ride is undoubtedly Sea Viper, their new-for-2018 coaster. I have been visiting Palace Playland for almost two decades. And never once did I have to wait for anything. That all changed with Sea Viper. It has full queues even on weeknights. Granted, that's only 15-20 minutes but that's like Flight of Passage for this park.

 

In many ways, this coaster looks wrong. The trains are comically oversized (long and bulky) compared to the track gauge. And the transition heavy layout seems like a bad idea for a manufacturer like Preston. But somehow it works. Outside of the final helix, it tracks pretty smoothly.

 

There's no airtime, but this coaster does boast some nice laterals. The third and fourth drops in particular standout, especially towards the park due to the train length. It's not a world-class ride, but it's a perfect fit for the park and clearly quite popular among the clientele. 6 out of 10

 

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Is it just me or does it look weird to see a train that long and beefy on a track that small?

 

After reriding Power Surge and Sea Viper a few times, I was able to squeeze in rides on Adrenalin and Drop Zone before they closed.

 

Adrenalin has a ridiculously short cycle, but this is one of the more powerful frisbees out there. Most frisbees offer floater airtime. Adrenalin launches your shoulders into the OSTR. 8 out of 10

 

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Adrenalin is so intense that it drops the "e" at the end.

 

Drop Zone is more of a family drop tower, albeit one with an oddly high height requirement. Its meager height doesn't offer much in terms of views, but it is bigger than your usual tower with a multi-drop sequence.

 

You won't get any airtime, but you do get this odd ball-tingling sensation since it's not a true freefall. There really is no other way to describe the feeling. I do prefer the airtime and stomach drop sensation of a larger tower, but I do enjoy Drop Zone for what it is. 6 out of 10

 

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Drop Zone doesn't exactly tower over the rest of the park.

 

Even if Palace Playland closed early, the evening wouldn't have been a total bust. Since the park is adjacent to Old Orchard Beach, there's all sorts of greasy, buttery goodness waiting for you. With my 20 years of experience, I've identified two places that rise above the rest. If you read my report from last year, none of this will be new information.

 

For lobster rolls, you must visit the Shack. It's one of the few places in Maine that will serve you a Connecticut lobster roll (aka one drowned in butter rather than mayo). For fries, you must visit Pier French Fries. Those crinkle-cut fries are always piping hot and oh so good.

 

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Connecticut style is the way to go. Lobster + butter.

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So much salt and grease. I love it.

 

Palace Playland essentially is a permanent carnival. And because of its location next to the beach, it does quite well for itself. If you find yourself at Funtown, it's well worth the 15 minute sidetrip for two credits, some nice flats, and delicious food.

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Knoebels

 

My family decided to take a roadtrip down to Washington D.C. The plan was to visit a beagle breeder and a few parks on the way. I did my part and found a top notch eatery on the way.

 

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Check out this TPR approved eatery.

 

Since we hit the road later than anticipated, we only had 3.5 hours at Knoebels. That’s far from ideal. Even with the lightning fast operations of Knoebels, there is a ridiculous amount of must-dos at this park.

 

So while it pained me to skip rides like the Flying Turns, Skooters, Flume, and Haunted Mansion, some Knoebels is better than no Knoebels. And the crown jewel of the park is Phoenix.

 

It’s the world’s best wooden coaster after all according to the Golden Ticket Awards. It seems perfectly logical to me that a ride from 1985 claimed the top spot only after CCI, GCI, Gravity Group, Intamin, and RMC wooden coasters became a thing.

 

The restraints, or rather the lack of restraints, make this ride. I cannot believe a ride with this much airtime can run without seatbelts and just buzz bars. What starts as nice floater air morphs into crazy ejector air from the double down onward. Every hill from that point launches you into the buzz bar.

 

There are definitely more intense coasters out there. But few coasters are funner than Phoenix. After a day at Knoebels, my face physically hurts from how much I smiled while riding Phoenix. And that’s not an exaggeration. 10 out of 10

 

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It's an oldie, but a goodie (Phoenix that is).

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So much airtime.

 

So next I went to a ride that genuinely terrifies me, StratosFear. I don’t know what kind of science-fiction voodoo Larson uses to make their drop towers so intense, but it works.

 

The aerial view of Knoebels is always a treat. It’s just so green. But then that drop happens. S&S towers give a strong jolt of air at the start of the drop, but you quickly slow down. On this tower, you get that jolt of air and never catch back up to the seat. It’s a rush! 10 out of 10

 

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Enjoy this photo from last year.

 

I have gotten some amazing rides on Twister the past two years. However, it wasn’t running too well on this visit. It was still quite smooth, but it just seemed to be running slow.

 

The finale, which usually has some very underrated air, was missing a lot of airtime. The hill after the tunnel still delivered an abrupt pop, but a lot of the other hills had less air than Kozmo’s Kurves.

 

The first drop and wicked pop of air on the turnaround were as great as ever though and I still love the layout. It compliments Phoenix perfectly. 7.5 out of 10

 

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Twister compliments Phoenix perfectly.

 

I think most of us agree the Knoebels Flyer is the best set of flying scooters out there. They’re fast and if you start snapping them, they’re one of the most intense rides on the planet.

 

However, this is one ride that is heavily dependent upon the operator. In the cycles before I boarded, I noticed the op was slowing the ride down if anyone got too wild. Whether or not the riders wanted to snap is up for debate since I’m convinced these things snap on their own.

 

My strategy with an op like this is to not go full tilt. The last thing I want to do is draw unwanted attention or worse, get kicked off. However, I ran into a problem.

 

I snapped once pretty early in the ride and the op requested me to stop. Well I tried. I let go of the rudder, but the darn thing still had enough momentum to snap again on its own.

 

Shortly thereafter, the operator slowed the ride down. When the operator sped the ride back up, I figured he’d be watching me like a hawk. So I definitely took it easy the rest of the ride. Even a relaxed ride on the Flyer kicks the keister of the others out there. 10 out of 10

 

However, it turns out I wasn’t the issue. When the operator sped the ride back up, I noticed a dude in a Steel Vengeance t-shirt almost do a complete 180. It appears he didn’t take the hint. After the ride, the op called him aside. All I overheard was “I wasn’t whipping the sails, I was just snapping.”

 

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Snapping was met with reprimanding on this day.

 

Impulse wasn’t a priority for me. It’s a fine ride, but at a park like Knoebels, it just isn’t a standout for me. But my sister had never ridden it and wanted to give it a whirl.

 

Since the main queue was long, we tried using the single rider line. The attendant said it was only for parties of 1. When we said we knew we wouldn’t ride together, she was still hesitant to break up a family but did let us use it.

 

And I’m ever so thankful since we boarded in less than 5 minutes. Impulse is essentially the Zierer Eurofighter. It has an awesome first drop and some great hangtime in the inversions. But most importantly, it has lap bar only trains. 7 out of 10

 

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It's still sort of weird for me to see a big steel coaster at Knoebels.

 

As night fell on the park, we started making our way back towards Phoenix. On the way, we hopped aboard the Grand Carousel. I went 12 for 12 grabbing the ring, but my sister (whose considerably shorter) really struggled. So when she got one, she was all jazzed up. 10 out of 10

 

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What the heck was I doing to that poor horse?!?

 

We also made sure to play a game of Fascination. And sure enough, I continued my lifelong losing streak at this game. But at least I had fun.

 

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Maybe one day I’ll break through. If the Buffalo Bills can win the Super Bowl…oh wait.

 

For the last half hour of operation, I kept throwing more and more money at Phoenix. I think I spent over half my ride tickets on Phoenix alone and I have no regrets. This is one of the best coasters in the world.

 

I rode Skyrush the next day. And I rode Twisted Timbers and Intimidator 305 the day after. But without question, Phoenix was the superior ride. It truly is one of the best coasters in the world.

 

Outside of Lightning Rod, nighttime Voyage, and Steel Vengeance, there may not be another coaster I’d take over Phoenix. And that’s because of how well Knoebels runs and cares for this coaster.

 

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Is there any other way to end a night at Knoebels?

 

Maybe I’m just a Knoebels novice, but unfortunately I left some rides on the table. While the ticket booths closed at 10 pm, the rides continued running past that time. Something I’ll keep in mind in the future.

 

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Note to self, the 10 pm closing time is when the ticket booths close and not the rides.

 

Knoebels doesn’t have the theme of Disney or the coaster lineup of Cedar Point, but I have just as much fun at this place. It’s a textbook classic amusement park with some really unique attractions and a bonafide star in Phoenix.

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Awesome report! The more I see of Knoebels the more I'm sold on it. And not just the rides, either- the food looks absolutely incredible. Every picture I see of their offerings is just straight up food porn.

However, it turns out I wasn’t the issue. When the operator sped the ride back up, I noticed a dude in a Steel Vengeance t-shirt almost do a complete 180. It appears he didn’t take the hint. After the ride, the op called him aside. All I overheard was “I wasn’t whipping the sails, I was just snapping.”

Most of the time I want to like the enthusiast community but this makes it hard to.

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I got very lucky a few weeks ago on my visit, 3 rides on the Flyers without a snap nazi ride op. First time I've done that in years.

 

And there is a difference between whipping the sails (which can cause the sails to tear) which is prohibited and snapping (which is not prohibited).

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I must've lucked out on my visit this year, as the Flyer op was just sitting back in his chair and eating Chex Mix!

 

Nice Paratrooper shot, as well. Knoebels really does rule.

 

Thanks! I've definitely gotten ops like that in the past, but not on this visit. My favorite was the dude who turned his back to the ride and didn't watch anyone. It's like he didn't want to know if we were snapping.

 

I got very lucky a few weeks ago on my visit, 3 rides on the Flyers without a snap nazi ride op. First time I've done that in years.

 

And there is a difference between whipping the sails (which can cause the sails to tear) which is prohibited and snapping (which is not prohibited).

 

I agree whipping the sails and snapping are two different things, but the fact that whipping the sails can be a way to get snapping sort of blurs the line. I use smooth movements, but I notice others really slam it to the side at the bottom of the arc.

 

I love that turning the speed down on the Flyers is downshifting on the tractor, haha.

 

It's so Knoebels.

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On this tower, you get that jolt of air and never catch back up to the seat.

You absolutely catch back up to the seat. It's when your ass slams back down on the seat with the fury of a thousand suns as soon as reach the ground. This thing has bruised my tailbone more than once. Funny thing is, I never seem to learn my lesson!

 

I must've lucked out on my visit this year, as the Flyer op was just sitting back in his chair and eating Chex Mix!

Mental note: next time I visit Knoebels, bring a bag of Chex Mix for the Flyer op.

 

Great photos and writeup as always, Canobie! Making me more and more anxious to get out there again soon.

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On this tower, you get that jolt of air and never catch back up to the seat.

You absolutely catch back up to the seat. It's when your ass slams back down on the seat with the fury of a thousand suns as soon as reach the ground. This thing has bruised my tailbone more than once. Funny thing is, I never seem to learn my lesson!

 

I must've lucked out on my visit this year, as the Flyer op was just sitting back in his chair and eating Chex Mix!

Mental note: next time I visit Knoebels, bring a bag of Chex Mix for the Flyer op.

 

Great photos and writeup as always, Canobie! Making me more and more anxious to get out there again soon.

 

Thanks! I love that drop tower, but I can see how it could be a rough landing for some. And I'm totally stealing that idea to bring a bag of Chex Mix.

 

God, those pierogies.

 

Oddly my family didn't like them. Something about there being too much butter. More for me.

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Dutch Wonderland

 

When I’m on vacation, I want to pack as much into the trip as possible. One casualty of this mentality is sleep. For me, I can catch up on sleep when I’m back home.

 

My family has a much different mentality. After a late night at Knoebels, they wanted to sleep in. I didn’t want to wake them, so I was considerate and walked across the street to Dutch Wonderland.

 

Since my last visit, Dutch Wonderland had added a shiny new coaster and been purchased by Parques Reunidos. I was especially nervous of the latter, but fortunately the park has still retained its charm much like Story Land.

 

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Are you ready for some fun beyond the castle walls?

 

After the guard (not a security guard, but a knight) announced the park was open, a stampede of kids dashed towards Merlin’s Mayhem. Since I was past puberty, I totally could have beaten them there. But some things (like unwanted attention at a children’s park), just aren’t worth it.

 

Merlin’s Mayhem dominates the center of the park. It soars over the Sky Ride, whizzes past fountains, and dives into a fog-filled tunnel. These visuals make the ride as much a joy to watch as it is to ride.

 

The ride isn’t particularly intense. The first drop does have a bit of whip in back and one helix in the middle of the ride has some force to it. But the coaster really is about those visuals and the feeling of freedom you get thanks to the minimalistic restraints. And it’s quite smooth too.

 

Experienced coaster enthusiasts will like Merlin’s Mayhem. Budding coaster enthusiasts will love Merlin’s Mayhem. This is the perfect marquee attraction for a park like Dutch Wonderland. 6 out of 10

 

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Merlin's Mayhem dominates the center of the park.

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A pre-drop for good luck.

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Merlin's Mayhem is a super photogenic ride.

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Take the tunnel!

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That father looks genuinely terrified.

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The young boy up front is not impressed.

 

Up next was the park’s former marquee attraction, the Kingdom Coaster. CCI’s first coaster is still going strong. It’s smooth, offers the tiniest pops of airtime imaginable, and actually has some decent laterals since most turns are unbanked.

 

From a ride perspective, this is the perfect starter wood coaster for kids. Except there’s one problem- the 46” height requirement. So a kid too short to experience the gentle pops of air on Kingdom Coaster could very well be launched into orbit on Phoenix or Oscar’s Wacky Taxi. 5 out of 10

 

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Kingdom Coaster runs along the perimeter of the park.

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Airtime? Maybe a tiny amount.

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I love the odd blue and purple paint scheme.

 

With the two big coasters out of the way, I made a lap of the park hitting anything else of interest. That included the Double Splash Flume. As you may expect, it’s a log flume with two drops.

 

Now those drops are very small. I think the drops on Pirates of the Caribbean may be larger. But it’s a well landscaped flume and it offers some nice views of the Kingdom Coaster. 5 out of 10

 

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Two splashes = double the fun (or sadness if you're Dan).

 

Would you believe Dutch Wonderland has a set of Lusse Bumper Cars? Surprise, surprise, they do! Just don’t go pitching a tent. Since it’s a children’s park, they’re toned way down.

 

That being said, they still drive faster and hit harder than most bumper cars out there. They just don’t deliver the bone-jarring collisions of the ones at Knoebels. 7 out of 10

 

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There's something special about these cars.

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Yes, these are actually Lusse skooters (albeit toned down).

 

Dutch Wonderland is the transportation capital of the world. You can choose from boats, antique cars, a monorail, a sky ride, or a train. I chose to start with the Gondola Cruise in the back of the park.

 

When I last visited Dutch Wonderland, the Gondola Cruise circled around this beautiful botanical garden with miniaturized replicas of world landmarks. I’m sad to report dinosaurs have now ravaged the area.

 

It was a splitting image of what Parques Reunidos did to the Slipshod Safari at Story Land. They took a ride that was fine as is and forced in dinosaurs. The Gondola Cruise is still relaxing, but it was much better in its previous incarnation. 5 out of 10

 

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Exploration Island has the Turnpike, Gondola Cruise, and dinosaurs.

 

For those into coaster photography, the Sky Ride is a must. Since Merlin’s Mayhem was built around the pre-existing Sky Ride, you get some amazing shots. There’s only one problem- the dispatches on Merlin’s Mayhem are glacial. They almost didn’t get a train out during my ride. 7 out of 10

 

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The Sky Ride moves at a snail's pace. Merlin's Mayhem dispatches at an even slower rate.

 

The Monorail also offers amazing views of Merlin’s Mayhem, but it has the same Achilles heel as the Sky Ride. Fortunately, there’s so much more to look at. It provides a complete tour of Dutch Wonderland.

 

That tour even includes the parking lot. Fun fact, this Monorail was actually an upcharge the last time I visited and it had a second station outside the park. Since the Monorail no longer stops there, they have converted it into a mini dark ride segment. 7 out of 10

 

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The Monorail provides a full tour of the park.

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Here's that old station in the parking lot. It's still used as the transfer track, but the trains no longer stop here during the ride.

 

I then returned to the sea and took a voyage on Dragon’s Lair. This is a cute boat ride that travels past some characters and through a cave. It feels more like one of those boat rides you’d find in Europe. And unlike most boat rides I’ve ridden as of late, this one is very well shaded. 6 out of 10

 

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Can you find the dragon?

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Say hello to Duke.

 

Since I’m fortunate enough to have Houdini at SFNE, I don’t appreciate just how rare mad houses are in this country. Dutch Wonderland is home to a really old version called the Wonder House.

 

It’s a bit of an oven in there, but the compactness of the house makes it very dizzying. I’ll take the grander versions at SFNE and the European parks, but it’s still a cool, little ride. 5 out of 10

 

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I wonder how much this house sells for on the open market.

 

I then finished by visit with multiple voyages into space. Space Shuttle was a miniature Chance swinging ship. And as the Kingdom Coaster’s airtime is to your typical wood coaster airtime, Space Shuttle is to your typical Sea Dragon airtime. It may have some, but it’s barely noticeable. 5 out of 10

 

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What a cute little pirate ship.

 

VR Voyager is an explosive trip through space. Don’t ask me what the plot was on this simulator, all I know is that this thing had more explosions than a Michael Bay film. The movements were well synched at least and the video quality was better than expected for a smaller park. 5 out of 10

 

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Explosions the Ride

 

And then there was the Astroliner. Last time I rode one of these classic rocket simulators, I watched a bootlegged version of Dino Freaking Island (see my La Feria trip report). This one tried to take us to space.

 

It nailed the coldness with the copious amount of air conditioning, but the video and audio quality was poor. At least the movement was so bad it was funny. The ride constantly rocked side to side rather than trying to sync itself with the film. We’ve come a long way with our simulator rides. 3 out of 10

 

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If you like 1970's filmography, this ride is for you.

 

Dutch Wonderland really is the kingdom for kids. As a grown adult who unleashed his inner child, I had an enjoyable morning. There were plenty of rides for adults to enjoy and Dutch Wonderland really is a beautiful park. You can tell they’ve done their homework how to appeal to their target demographic.

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Hersheypark

 

I wasn’t expecting to make a second trip to Hersheypark this year, but that’s exactly what happened when our family vacation passed through the Sweetest Place on Earth en route to Washington DC.

 

We took advantage of the twilight ticket (I love when parks offer these) and had a very focused visit. My priorities were the three Intamins, the renovated dark ride, and the new-for-2018 water coaster.

 

As we walked past the makeshift entrance, I could see Candymonium’s chocolate-brown brake run. I cannot wait for Hersheypark to have a proper entrance again in 2019 anchored by another hyper.

 

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Not a fan of the name, but the ride looks fantastic.

 

But for now, there’s Skyrush. Per usual, the ride had barely any wait. Meanwhile the nearby Sooperdooperlooper, Comet, and Great Bear all had posted waits approaching an hour.

 

No matter how many times I ride Skyrush, it always takes my breath away. Even the freaking lift hill is so fast that it pulls some Gs. But the real lunacy begins with that first drop. I’m still in awe how that thing delivers not one, but two insane pops of ejector air.

 

The rest of the layout alternates between camelbacks with some of the most powerful sustained airtime on the planet and turns that try to flip you into the creek. I know many whine about Skyrush’s restraints, but I love how minimalistic they are. 10 out of 10

 

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This temporary entrance showcases Skyrush quite well.

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Hmmm the weathermen said it was supposed to be a clear day. More on that later.

 

Our next stop was Breakers Edge. It seemed like a smart decision considering the Boardwalk closed two hours early, but it was especially wise with what transpired next.

 

We mentally prepared ourselves to have to wait 1-2 hours to ride Breakers Edge. Much to our shock, the queue was just at the merge point! It still took us 40 minutes from that point due to the ride’s capacity (they have rafts with 4 seats, but they only allow 2-3 riders per raft) and a breakdown.

 

In retrospect, I suspect the ride must have broken down before we entered the queue as well. I can’t think of any reason why it would have been that empty on a 90 degree day.

 

I love water coasters that focus on airtime. For that reason, I was really disappointed by Fiesta Texas’s Thunder Rapids. Breakers Edge looked like the perfect mix of the two.

 

I definitely enjoyed the ride. The first drop had some nice airtime, but that was it. The rest of the ride held its speed well though. It just didn’t have as much air as expected. 7 out of 10

 

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Six Flags calls their Larson Loops coasters. Cedar Fair calls their Diskos coasters. And Hersheypark calls their water coaster a coaster.

 

The other reason why we were lucky to have ridden Breakers Edge when we did was the weather. After we got off, we heard an announcement that the Boardwalk was closing due to inclement weather.

 

We were really confused since there was zero rain in the forecast. Had the weathermen missed something? The answer was a resounding yes. Not even 15 minutes later, the skies opened up and unleashed a flood upon the park.

 

Since all outdoor rides were closed, we figured we might as well enter the queue for Reese’s Cupfusion. It’s not like we had any other options since Laff Trakk was also closed*.

 

* This would have been especially funny if the indoor coaster was closed due to rain, but it was just having a temporary mechanical glitch. It reopened shortly after we entered the queue for Cupfusion.

 

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. The queue for Cupfusion was miserable. We only waited an hour, which was thankfully less than the posted 2 hour wait, but it moved painstakingly slow. And it quickly became apparent why.

 

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Well this may take a while.

 

Each train holds 8 people. The park was filling half the train with Fast Track guests. While it stunk seeing the main queue move at a snail’s pace, I have no problem with it since the Fast Track guests paid a pretty penny for those and I’ve been on the other side many times.

 

At least I had enough time to understand the ride’s story. Basically some reject candies (who will end up in your child’s nightmares) want to steal the heart and soul of the Reese’s factory.

 

As for the ride, Cupfusion is a major upgrade over Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge. The ride added a ton of screens to compliment the physical targets and it felt like a discount Toy Story Mania. The sheer amount of targets was overwhelming and the guns worked flawlessly. 8 out of 10

 

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While I didn't hate Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge, I certainly didn't mind seeing it upgraded.

 

Since the storm had passed, we decided to run after it on Storm Runner. The queue was a very manageable 20 minutes and that included us waiting for the front row. Is there any other place to ride these Intamin accelerator coasters?

 

I always forget just how strong Storm Runner’s launch is. I think it packs more of a punch than that of Dragster or Kingda Ka. And it most certainly offers a more complete ride experience.

 

After that launch, you have an amazing top hat with a boatload of airtime, some greying out in the following valley, a decent Immelmann, a surprise pop of air into the barrel rolls, some insane hangtime on the barrel rolls, and a speedy finish into the brakes.

 

Storm Runner is still short compared to most coasters, but it lasts an eternity compared to most accelerator coasters. And it puts the pedal to the metal until you hit the brakes. 9 out of 10

 

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We fittingly rode Storm Runner after the storm passed.

 

We had about an hour left. Since Fahrenheit still had a lengthy queue, we decided to return for the last ride of the night. Great Bear and Comet also had sizable queues, we decided to return to Skyrush.

 

And I have to be honest, I’ve never seen the queue this long at the end of the night. It was two switchbacks deep! That being said, we still only had to wait 20 minutes, which is more than worth it for one of the most intense coasters in the world.

 

Skyrush hauls anytime of the day, but it feels especially magical at night. Those airtime hills feel like they’re trying to catapult you into orbit.

 

We also ran into a fellow coaster enthusiast in the queue line and we realized we had met each other on opening day while waiting for Storm Runner. Not surprisingly, he’s local to the park. He did warn us that Hershey occasionally will close off Fahrenheit’s queue.

 

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Skyrush sure looks sexy at night.

 

So with some trepidation, we pried ourselves away from Skyrush and made our way towards Fahrenheit. I really wanted to get on this odd Intamin since it was closed on my opening day visit.

 

Fortunately, the queue was still open and it wasn’t too long either. In my past visits, Fahrenheit is the king of stacking. Not on this day. I think we were on the ride in less than 10 minutes.

 

We requested the back and it was well worth it for that drop. It’s some very strong airtime not unlike what you’d find on Maverick or a Eurofighter. And then that leads into the odd Norwegian loop that pulls some serious Gs on the bottom and a surprise pop of air exiting.

 

Admittedly, I do find the cobra roll a rattly throwaway, but the subsequent two corkscrews are insane. They are taken faster than almost any other corkscrew I’ve experienced and they’re super disorienting. That’s followed by a snappy overbank and a powerful airtime hill fit for a hyper. 9 out of 10

 

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I have a lot of pictures of lift hills at night. And I'm ok with that.

 

Hersheypark is undoubtedly a full day park, but I was just thankful to get a half day there as part of a family vacation. For as many coasters as this park has, Hersheypark has an undeniable charm to it.

 

And I know for a fact I will be back next year to ride Candymonium. It’s not like I needed another reason to go back to Hershey, but another hyper certainly helps.

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Kings Dominion

 

During our family trip to Washington DC, our hotel was actually 15 minutes from Six Flags America. Since I had a membership and a meal plan, visiting that park seemed like a no-brainer.

 

Except that meant I'd have to visit Six Flags America.

 

So instead I chose to drive 2.5 hours each way through a sea of construction and traffic to visit a far superior park, Kings Dominion. Since I was flying back to Boston that evening, I only had time to hit my favorites. I probably could have ridden a few more things, but I knew better than to chance DC traffic near rush hour (doing so is like shoving a fork in an electrical socket).

 

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Everyone has the picture of the fountains and Eiffel Tower, so here's one of the ticket booths instead.

 

So my first stop was Twisted Timbers. Thankfully the park wasn't too crowded, so it was only sporting a 15 minute queue. And most of that was due to the glacial dispatches. On average they were taking at least 3-4 minutes.

 

Like Steel Vengeance, Twisted Timbers added pouches for 2019 so guests can keep their precious phones with them in the queue. However, I did run into a slight issue with the pouches. At Cedar Point, my digital camera fit into the pouch. It was a tight fit, but it did fit. The pouches looked identical on Twisted Timbers, but I couldn't get it to close. It was tempting to safely stow it in my zippered cargo shorts pocket instead, but I honored the park's rules and went off to buy a locker before re-entering the queue.

 

When I last rode Twisted Timbers, it was on a cooler April day. In fact, the coaster didn't open until the afternoon due to the temperature. Knowing many coasters run better in warmer temps, I was interested to see if Twisted Timbers would ride even better.

 

Long story short, it didn't. But that's not a problem! I loved it last April and I loved it again. The sheer number of airtime hills on this coaster is astounding. You have your sustained ejector on those 3 camelbacks, ejector pops on most other hills, and some floaty bits on the inversions. For me, I found the airtime considerably stronger in the back.

 

As far as RMCs go, I think Twisted Timbers is towards the middle-of-the-pack right around Twisted Cyclone and Storm Chaser. I miss how it doesn't have a standard first drop, but I do love how the coaster is a continuous airtime buffet from start to finish. 9.5 out of 10

 

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Cedar Point has a Timbers fetish.

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And RMC has an airtime fetish.

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Even the airtime hills are often twisted.

 

My original plan was to only hit Twisted Timbers and Intimidator, but I couldn't pass up Drop Tower. I've had relatively good luck with Intamin coasters over the years, but this Intamin drop tower is never open for me. I think it has only been open in one of my visits over the years.

 

And it's a shame since this is easily one of the better drop towers out there. This one has an unobstructed view for miles, some wonderful floater at the start of the drop, and a drop that never ends. The brakes seem to engage really late on this one and I love it. 9 out of 10

 

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The gyro drop that doesn't gyro was actually open.

 

I've long said Skyrush and Intimidator 305 are two of the most intense coasters in the world. So it was a real treat riding both a few days apart. And per usual, I305 was a complete walk-on for all rows except the front.

 

While I'll still take a B&M giga drop over it, Intimidator 305 has a really sweet first drop with oodles of sustained airtime. But its signature moment is that low-to-the-ground turn. I don't care how many coasters you've ridden. It will cause you to greyout. If you say it doesn't, you're lying.

 

I always forget just how strong the airtime is on the second hill. Maybe it's because I'm still trying to regain my vision, but it's powerful, sustained ejector. Call me crazy, but I actually prefer this element over the insane transitions enthusiasts rave about.

 

And don't get me wrong, those transitions are amazing. They're ridiculously snappy. They're so snappy they somehow manage to cause quick pops of airtime. I'm just more of an airtime guy. That's why I prefer Twisted Timbers. But I still love I305 for its uniqueness. I still can't believe Intamin designed a giga that hugs the ground this much and that someone actually bought it. 9.5 out of 10

 

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This was the only reason for me to enter the water park.

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I305 simply looks massive.

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Saying a giga coaster hauls should be expected, but I305 really hauls.

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Even the trim can't sap all of Intimidator's speed.

 

I think I know the answer, but do most of you know your coaster count off the top of your head? After my first ride on Intimidator, a few fellow enthusiasts noticed my Dollywood shirt and were interested to know how many coasters I had ridden. I sort of froze and could only give a ballpark. There are simply too many super loops and diskos to count. Or maybe it's all the SLCs making it too hard to remember.

 

But we did have a nice conversation and if you guys are reading this, I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

 

I then decided to press my luck and see if Volcano had a queue. Even on the busiest of days, this signature attraction always has a line. Well, it was a bit harder to find than it has been in past years, but eventually I found the station. And it must have been my lucky day since there was no queue.

 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know I wasn't actually planning on riding Volcano. Doing so would have caused me to miss my flight. Why else wouldn't I ride it?

 

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Volcano's camouflage paint job is quite striking.

 

Due to the circumstances of a last second family vacation in a different destination than originally planned, I couldn't fit a whole day at Kings Dominion. This really is a full day park. It has a really strong ride lineup even without Volcano.

 

So do I have any regrets turning down a full day at Six Flags America in exchange for 5 hours of traffic and only 2 hours of park time? Nope. Twisted Timbers and I305 are that good*.

 

*Feel free to interpet what that means about Six Flags America.

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Canobie is a wonderful home park. It really is a charming place that always puts a smile on my face. Most people clamor for new rides. I just dream of the day when Canobie offers a season pass.

Sorry to quote a months-old post in this thread, but you might be interested to hear that the day you're dreaming of is today.

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Haha I totally agree with your decision. Despite living in Northern Delaware, 3-4 hours away from KD, I consider KD my "home park" and I haven't been to SFA since 2009, and that was only at the insistence of some friends.

 

Sounds like you had a great trip.

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Canobie is a wonderful home park. It really is a charming place that always puts a smile on my face. Most people clamor for new rides. I just dream of the day when Canobie offers a season pass.

Sorry to quote a months-old post in this thread, but you might be interested to hear that the day you're dreaming of is today.

 

YES!

 

If only they could have done this before my company announced they were moving to Boston since I currently work just 5 minutes away currently.

 

That being said, I live just a half hour away so my Canobie visits are going to increase big time next year. This is easily the best addition of 2020!

 

Haha I totally agree with your decision. Despite living in Northern Delaware, 3-4 hours away from KD, I consider KD my "home park" and I haven't been to SFA since 2009, and that was only at the insistence of some friends.

 

Sounds like you had a great trip.

 

My friend lives in DC. They knew about Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, and Hersheypark. But they had no clue Six Flags America even existed. So not only do the people who attend have lackluster reviews, but even those who haven't gone don't know about it.

 

I actually don't hate Six Flags America. It is just wildly outperformed by all the region's other parks.

 

Some great recent reports here, planning on hitting both KD and Hershey in the next few weeks/month so thanks for increasing the excitement over here.

 

Thanks! Both those parks are awesome so I know you'll have a great time.

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Gotta say man, your stamina for all these park visits on one trip is impressive. I'm at a point where I get burnt out after just a couple. Glad you had a blast!

 

Also, yay to Canobie getting a pass! I really enjoyed my visit there a few years back. Here's hoping they see positive results from it.

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Sorry for backing up here, but I love the shot of the two (shall we call them?) "old style simulator rides," side by side each other in Dutch Wonderland. Both Voyager and Astroliner are nice, old-tech rides that I think, when still kept in shape, are always fun to go on. And thanks for another great shot of the Dutch Wonder House. I still want to go there and ride that one. One of the best looking, retro mad houses/haunted swings out there, in the World IMhO!

 

Thanks for all of the above in your on going TR!

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Gotta say man, your stamina for all these park visits on one trip is impressive. I'm at a point where I get burnt out after just a couple. Glad you had a blast!

 

Also, yay to Canobie getting a pass! I really enjoyed my visit there a few years back. Here's hoping they see positive results from it.

 

I'm really intrigued to see how many people buy them since they're pricier than the other parks in the area.

 

Sorry for backing up here, but I love the shot of the two (shall we call them?) "old style simulator rides," side by side each other in Dutch Wonderland. Both Voyager and Astroliner are nice, old-tech rides that I think, when still kept in shape, are always fun to go on. And thanks for another great shot of the Dutch Wonder House. I still want to go there and ride that one. One of the best looking, retro mad houses/haunted swings out there, in the World IMhO!

 

Thanks for all of the above in your on going TR!

 

No problem. I usually love it when parks put two versions of a similar ride next to each other. The best example is a kids drop tower being next to an adult drop tower. The exception is when one of your home park installs a second boomerang next to another boomerang.

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