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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

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14 hours ago, CaptainUnknown said:

How is that tower able to do that? The S&S towers I operated couldn't even do that in maintenance mode.

And the most bizarre part was that it wasn't maintenance that did that.  It was the regular operator from the panel.  I have a short video of the end of the cycle.  I was too in shock to start recording it at first.

9 hours ago, grsupercity said:

Another great report. Thanks for sharing


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Sesame Place

I made way more visits than I expected in 2020 to Sesame Place.  Most of these visits were because the park is just a half hour from Six Flags Great Adventure and Sesame Place tended to open earlier.  Therefore, it was a no brainer to pop in to get some more rides on Oscar's Wacky Taxi with my SeaWorld Platinum Pass.

However, I often left this park frustrated for a few reasons I'll get into.  And it had nothing to do with the park's small size (it's just 14 acres) or the fact that I was not the target demographic.  The issues were related to customer service and operations.



One thing I do have to praise the park for is how they handled the character meet & greets.  These are a major component of Sesame Place and really make the experience magical for kids.  What the park did (and I later saw at SeaWorld San Diego) is have the characters on floats, so it was physically impossible to get within 6 feet of them.  But you could still get close enough to them for some great photos and the floats were decorated as well.



The main reason I visit Sesame Place as a single adult is Oscar's Wacky Taxi.  This ride is great!  The ride's airtime doesn't have the same power of the other junior Gravity Group wood coasters, but the pacing on this one is top-notch.  It just keeps throwing one airtime hill after another at you, constantly bouncing you out of your seat.  7.5 out of 10




However, it was exceedingly difficult to ride Oscar's Wacky Taxi this year.

I originally went to Sesame Place in 2018 shortly after Oscar's Wacky Taxi opened and after a few rides, I was evacuated from the ride.  This visit was the ride's second week, so I chalked the issue up to the ride's newness.  Flash forward to 2020 and the ride opened late on three of my four visits.  Oddly enough, the only time it opened on-time with the park was a day when it was raining.

In my two visits to the park's Halloween event, The Count's Halloween Spooktacular, Oscar's Wacky Taxi opened late.  Both times, it appeared to be due to mechanical issues as I saw maintenance workers walking the track and checking the trains.  Both times when Oscar's Wacky Taxi opened, the ride opened with just one train.

My most recent visit appears to have been a deliberate staggered opening an hour after park opening, but two of the other times the ride was closed due to technical issues.  Have I just gotten unlucky with Oscar's Wacky Taxi or does this ride have its fair share of issues?  Roar-O-Saurus and Wooden Warrior are very reliable in my experience.

The other issue with Oscar's Wacky Taxi was capacity.  With only one train in use, the ride only had 3 rows available.  That alone was bad, but there were three other issues.  One, those with the Abby's Magic Queue skip-the-line pass were routed up the exit.  They had top priority.  The issue was that those using the Magic Pass would ride, get back in the exit, and then be allowed back on the same train.  If they got on every other train, that would have been understandable since they paid for the skip-the-line pass.  But allowing the same people to keep riding back-to-back was a capacity killer.

Two, this prevented some larger groups from riding since they wanted to stick together.  That was understandable.  The problem was that the staff wasn't calling for smaller groups, so Oscar's Wacky Taxi would go out with 1-2 empty rows.

Three, the normal merge point was completely unmanned, so both kids and adults were line-jumping.  In one of my visits, I joined the queue at the start of the covered section and it took about an hour to board.  And the queue only grew by the time I got off.

Also, the normal merge point still had the height stick there so kids were picking it up and swinging it like a baseball bat.  Below is an example of someone wielding the height stick, albeit peacefully.  The employees saw people picking up the stick, but never said anything (something I'll get to later).


Vapor Trail's operations were better- sometimes even running two trains- but that coaster seems to be the more popular of the two coasters with the average Sesame Place guest.  It wasn't uncommon to see it with a 30-45 minute wait.  When I was able to beat the crowds to Vapor Trail, I did enjoy my rides on this Vekoma junior coaster.

The ride is three straight helixes, but the first one comes darn close to causing me to greyout, which I find comical at a park like Sesame Place.  The other thing I find funny is the ride's placement on a hillside.  The ride doesn't use the terrain at all, so the supports are awkwardly tall due to the ride's placement.  5 out of 10




Most of the flat rides were walk-ons, which was good to see considering the lengthy waits for the coasters.  I rode a few here and there when I was waiting for Oscar's Wacky Taxi, but most of them are toned down (understandably) for kids.  The one notable flat is Honker Dinger Derby, which is quite the dizzying ride.


The last odd thing with Sesame Place that I've found is that the employees are oddly quiet for a children's park.  When I go to a place like Story Land or Santa's Village, the employees are usually really energetic to get the kids excited.  At Sesame Place, the employees don't seem to speak to guests unless you specifically ask them a question.  They also won't say anything if you're breaking the rules.  Mask compliance was thankfully good the days I visited, but the employees weren't saying anything if masks were below noses or missing.

You also had the height stick thing I saw at Oscar's wacky Taxi.

And later I saw people pulling phones and selfie sticks out in front of the employees while on the coasters.  When I asked if I could use my chest mounted Go Pro (like you can at the other Busch/SeaWorld parks), they said I could not per park policy.  It seemed like the employees were trying to avoid all guest interactions of all types.  I'm thinking this may be the fallout of the incident this past summer when an employee was punched by a guest telling them to wear a mask (Link).

This combined with glacial operations made Sesame Place a frustrating pit stop in 2020.  I'm hoping the operations improve in future years because Oscar's Wacky Taxi is a legitimately good ride and the park should be a wonderful place for young kids.

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On 12/22/2020 at 3:53 AM, CaptainUnknown said:

:omg: :|

How is that tower able to do that? The S&S towers I operated couldn't even do that in maintenance mode.


The S&S tower I use to operate could. Originally you had to push down and pull up on locked harnesses to get the computer to read that the restraint was locked. However if the restraint was all the way up you could just push up on it again and the computer would read it as locked.

One year they did a big overhaul to it which included re-programing it's control system to where the computer would read if seats were locked only if they were down to a certain position. I *think* once that happened you could no longer run it with a restraint wide a** open.

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Dorney Park

Covid caused something extraordinarily rare at Dorney Park.  For the first time in 15 years, I actually had to wait in line for a dry ride at this park.

That being said, even with the park loading one party every other row on the B&Ms, they were never more than a 5 minute wait.  However, I did have to wait a whopping 10-15 minutes for Steel Force and Thunderhawk because the park was oddly skipping two rows between guests.  I am really confused why they spaced guests out that far on those rides, but it absolutely neutered their capacity.  Thankfully, Dorney never gets that busy.


Speaking of Steel Force, I got some great rides on it in 2020.  This is by far the best of the three Cedar Fair Morgan hypers.  All of them have solid first halves with solid floater airtime.  But unlike Wild Thing and Mamba, Steel Force doesn't come to a grinding halt on the mid-course.  This results in a wild return run with some really great airtime.  8.5 out of 10


Thunderhawk ran far better than I remembered.  It was still a bit bumpy in the valleys, but it had some strong pops of airtime and laterals on the turnaround section.  And then there were 1 or 2 smaller pops on the bunny hills.  6 out of 10


Hydra the Revenge was running really badly in 2020.  It was rattling terribly for a majority of the ride.  I still love the nice floater airtime on the rare straight drop for a floorless coaster.  And the hangtime filled zero-G roll and jojo roll were great, but I came off with a headache.  That has never been an issue for me with Hydra in the past.  5 out of 10


Talon was running smoothly thankfully.  It has a solid start and unique second half with an airtime filled drop, a snappy corkscrew, and some wild turns.  8 out of 10


Unfortunately, Possessed was closed for the entire 2020 season and there are rumors it may be removed.  When I walked by the park's Intamin impulse coaster, it had just a shortened train on the track.  I have no clue if they were in the process of adding or removing cars.


I also made sure to ride Demon Drop, the rare 1st generation Intamin freefall.  While it is certainly cruder than newer drop towers, that's what makes Demon Drop so thrilling.  The suspense before the drop is fantastic and that drop gives a great stomach dropping sensation that few of the new towers can match.  Just make sure to lean forward when you transition from lying on your back to sitting up again otherwise you will bang your head.  8 out of 10


Thunder Creek Mountain is an underrated log flume.  I love the ride's location atop the hill and the drop at the end is really funky with how long and shallow it is.  8 out of 10


Dorney Park's operations usually deserve a lot of credit.  Even when the park is dead, they usually run their rides at maximum capacity.  That's why lines are usually non-existent.  Sure lines were a *bit* longer in 2020 than in the past, but they were still reasonable and it's what the park decided was best to open.

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Yeah, I love Dorney.  Never any lines (for the dry park anyway), probably my #3 invert, a great collection of flats (some rare, like Enterprise, Demon Drop, and Apollo), an AWESOME log flume, and probably the second best water park I've ever been to (second solely since they don't have a swim-up bar).  It even still has some of its charm left over from the pre-Cedar Fair days.  There's nothing "amazing" about it, but its a nice little park, and perfect for swinging by Philly for steaks and drinks on the way home from (at least for me LOL).

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Kennywood often receives a lot of flack.  Quite a bit of it is warranted, but I do genuinely enjoy this park.  It has one of the most unique ride lineups in the world, blending rare classics with modern thrillers.  And it is a beautiful looking park with all the trees and location on the ravine.

I'll start by burying the hatchet.  The park has bad operations.  I think that's where a lot of the criticisms originate.  A lot of it is warranted.  Rides often run just one train.  Rides are often closed, sometimes for an entire season (Steel Curtain being the biggest offender in 2020).  And the park will close ride lines and/or the park early.  However, more often than not, the staff is friendly and they dispatch trains quickly.  They're just dealt a poor hand when the coasters are only running one train.




It stung to miss out on Steel Curtain.  I purposefully delayed my trip to Kennywood towards the end of the 2020 season hoping their newest coaster would open.  The most action I saw was a test run one morning about an hour before the park opened, but that was it.  Not only was Steel Curtain closed, but the entire Steelers Country area was closed.  I guess the park didn't want to get the hopes of Steelers fans up before their blowout playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.




Let's talk about covid-19 precautions for a minute.  This had a pretty big impact on Kennywood for several reasons.  One, several rides were closed for 2020.  I already mentioned Steel Curtain, but several flat rides like Black Widow and Kangaroo were closed for the year as well.  I'm not sure if that was due to maintenance, staffing, or distancing concerns.  The one that was closed due to distancing concerns was Noah's Ark.  I completely understand the park's reasoning, but just know that if you want to distance, Kennywood probably isn't the best park.  Several rides had narrow switchbacks that were still packed in with people.  Thunderbolt and Old Mill were the two biggest offenders.



The lack of distancing in the queue lines was one of the reasons I kept reriding Phantom's Revenge.  Not only is that coaster one of my favorites anywhere, but the queue line is a straight shot so it's very easy to distance there.  Plus, this was the first time I ever saw the ride running two trains so the line absolutely flew.

One of the biggest things that makes Phantom's Revenge special are the trains.  I can't think of a hypercoaster with looser restraints.  The lap bar rests a few inches above my lap, which is shocking considering how powerful this coaster's airtime is.

The ride begins with a painstakingly slow Arrow lift hill that gives great views of the park.  That's followed by a twisting first drop that gives some great laterals and the pullout piles on the Gs.  That then leads into the signature second drop.  This drop is ever bit as good as its reputation suggests.  If you're in the back (best place to ride), you get ejected at the start of the drop.  But the drop seemingly never ends.  So the second half of the drop caused my stomach to drop like a drop tower.  I think it's the fact the same angle is maintained for such a long time and because Thunderbolt obscures the bottom.  And speaking of that, the headchopper with Thunderbolt has to be one of the best in the world.  At the bottom of the drop, you are pummeled with positive Gs and you are hauling.  And it makes sense, I think the elevation change on this ride is in the ballpark of 260-270 feet (160 foot lift, 120-130 foot tall second hill, 220 foot second drop).

The following overbank often caused me to greyout from the positive Gs and then Phantom flies out of the ravine into an airtime filled finale.  Most hypercoasters have giant camelbacks.  Phantom forgoes all that and immediately jumps to tiny bunny hills.  So you take these hills far faster than you probably should and they all offer powerful ejector airtime no matter where you're sitting.  Combine that airtime with the ride's unique setting, open restraints, and a glass smoot ride, and it's not hard to see why this is one of my favorite coasters.  10 out of 10








Phantom's Revenge isn't the only coaster to use the ravine.  You also have the aforementioned Thunderbolt.  I prefer coasters that focus on airtime.  Thunderbolt offers a few moments in both the front and back, particularly on the final two drops, but where this coaster excels is in the lateral department.  You are pinned to the side on the completely unbanked bowl section in the middle of the ride.  This is why the park forces a two rider requirement on Thunderbolt.  7.5 out of 10




Jack Rabbit is the other coaster that also uses the ravine.  And this coaster is a true one trick pony.  Thankfully that one trick happens to be one of the best elements on any coaster, the double down.  This coaster has a fixed lap bar and relatively loose seatbelts, so you are launched into orbit on the double down.  7 out of 10





Racer is the weakest of the park's three wood coasters, but it's still a solid coaster.  The racing element is excellent and if you ride in the back, you have a few pops of airtime and then a surprising ejector moment on the final drop.  7 out of 10



The trickiest ride to experience in 2020 was Sky Rocket.  While the other coasters were pretty good about running two trains, Sky Rocket only had one available.  And that was a major issue with the park skipping rows due to social distancing.  I made sure to hit this ride first in two of my three visits.  Because of its location at the front of the park, the line would form immediately after opening and never subside.

And that was a shame because Sky Rocket is a fun coaster.  The launch is decent, but I love the elements that follow, particularly in the back.  The top hat offers two distinct moments of airtime- floater going up and then ejector airtime on the way down.  That's followed by a forceful overbank and a hangtime filled zero-G roll.  The second half is slower, but it starts with a steep drop off the MCBR and another awesome zero-G roll.  The slalom section is pretty dumb, but the final bunny hills gave a few pops of airtime since the MCBR wasn't biting too hard.  8 out of 10




Honestly, Sky Rocket was a bigger pain to ride than Exterminator.  Because Exterminator is in the back corner of the park, it was possible to ride that a few times early in the day before the queue built up.  The spinning seemed to have a lot more resistance than usual (the cars really groaned when they tried to spin), but if you had an off-balanced car and got it going, the spinning wouldn't stop.  Combine that with the sensory deprived darkness and you have a solid ride.  6 out of 10

Also, I both chuckled and cried when I saw Exterminator had a weather delay sign at one point during my visit.  I have so many questions.



One of the other rides most impacted by covid was Ghostwood Estate, the park's shooting dark ride.  For this reason, the park disabled all the guns and targets in 2020.  I found this a bit weird.  Their sister park in Connecticut, Lake Compounce, had much stricter covid precautions yet they allowed the guns on Ghost Hunt.  And it wasn't a state thing since parks like Hersheypark had the guns active on their shooter.

Regardless, the ride still works as a standard dark ride because of the detailed sets.  This ride doesn't have the usual cardboard cutouts.  These are robust, 3D sets with lots of props.  The one critique I have was that the audio was low and borderline inaudible at many points.  8 out of 10


2020 brought us a lot of disappointment.  But we need to take a moment to relish in one of the few victories.


I never rode the original Old Mill, but I knew it had to be better than Garfield's Nightmare.  That ride was an acid trip gone wrong.

The reimagined Old Mill is definitely tacky at points, but it's decent.  This one allows the classic ride system to shine with mostly tasteful sets.  6 out of 10


A few months ago, Kennywood announced they'd be removing four of their classic flats.  I already mentioned that Kangaroo was unfortunately closed, but I did unknowingly get my last rides on Bayern Kurve and Volcano.  The latter two are fun, but the one I'll miss most is Kangaroo.  The lateral and airtime combo was magical.

Hopefully the park either reintroduces these rides at a later time (as they have with some of their other flats in the past) or fills their pads with new rides in the future.




And I imagine Kennywood will replace these rides sooner rather than later since the park doesn't have much space to work with and the park has been good about replacing removed rides in the past.




One classic flat that has survived is the Turtle tumble bug.  This is an awkward ride that will have you sliding about due to the lack of restraints, but that brings a smile to my face.  Plus, the ride hilariously has the turtle audio from the not-so-hilarious Master of Disguise movie.  6 out of 10


If Steel Curtain is open in 2021, I likely will make a return trip to Kennywood since that ride does look neat.  And the park still has those classic woodies and Phantom's Revenge waiting for me.

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RIP Garfield's Nightmare. I'm glad I got to experience it on my last visit to Kennywood. Garfield is an underrated cartoon character and deserves a much better theme park ride. I was bummed Kennywood didn't have any Garfield merchandise as I would have bought a Kennywood t shirt if it had Garfield on it. I suspected Garfield's Nightmare was on its way out when no Garfield merchandise was present on my last visit in 2018. I wish another theme park chain would adopt Garfield and use him as one of their primary characters and in merchandise and a good dark ride. 


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2 hours ago, 805Andrew said:

RIP Garfield's Nightmare. I'm glad I got to experience it on my last visit to Kennywood. Garfield is an underrated cartoon character and deserves a much better theme park ride. I was bummed Kennywood didn't have any Garfield merchandise as I would have bought a Kennywood t shirt if it had Garfield on it. I suspected Garfield's Nightmare was on its way out when no Garfield merchandise was present on my last visit in 2018. I wish another theme park chain would adopt Garfield and use him as one of their primary characters and in merchandise and a good dark ride. 


Lake Compounce used to have Garfield as a mascot, which isn't too surprising considering they're owned by the same parent company as Kennywood.  He used to be incorporated into the logo of Wildcat, so outside of a coaster t-shirt for that ride, I don't recall there being any Garfield merchandise.  Another park with Garfield as a mascot is Silverwood, but I wasn't looking for merchandise related to him.

51 minutes ago, bert425 said:

^ it smelled SO bad in there tho. . .   I still have flashbacks to it, years after we went!


great report, and pics!

Thanks!  I don't recall Old Mill smelling that bad when I rode it.

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Kings Island

I made three different visits to Kings Island in 2020 with the primary goal of riding Orion.  Each visit was radically different.

The first was July 4.  This was Orion's third public operating day, so I was limited to just three rides due to FastLane sales being suspended and the access pass system (the standby queue reopened towards the end of the day).


The second was later in the summer.  I was able to get FastLane, but an annoying thunderstorm in the area kept the rides closed half the day.

The third was a quick pit stop on my way back to the Pittsburgh airport for one last ride on Orion.


So how was Orion?  When the ride was announced, it received a lot of flack.  Kings Island fans had been clamoring for their own giga for years and when it was finally announced, they were underwhelmed.  Some called it not a real giga.  Others called it short.  But Orion started to quiet people once it opened, especially as people got more rides on it.

I should begin by saying I absolutely love Fury 325.  And I also think Leviathan is great, even though that ride feels a bit short.  Orion is somewhere in between these two rides.  It has larger elements like Leviathan, but I think it feels like a more complete ride.  As you'd expect from a B&M giga, the ride is immaculately smooth.  And one thing I wasn't expecting was the theming.  The park has a lot of Easter eggs in the queue line and the IMAScore sound track is amazing.


The first drop is as incredible as the other B&M gigas.  The sustained floater airtime is pure bliss.  One thing that surprised me was that I started to greyout on the pullout, which I don't recall happening on the other B&M gigas.  That's followed by a giant wave turn.  This element got better as the season went on.  You get sustained, weak floater airtime, but it's a really cool sensation being held sideways in those open B&M trains.  Then comes a giant turnaround.  This is probably the weakest element on the ride.  Up front, you get a meek pop of airtime, but it does nothing in the back.  I wish this was a treble clef like Fury 325.

The return run picks things up with an incredible speed hill.  It offered very strong and sustained fl-jector airtime combined with that blistering speed.  Then came a trim.  While you could definitely feel it, the floater airtime on the resulting camelback was still strong and sustained.  Then came the helix.  This is another element that improved as the season went on and it's much better than the helix on Fury.  Afterwards is a surprising off-axis hill with another dose of strong fl-jector airtime.  Last but not least, you get another good moment of airtime entering the brake run if you're up front, ending the ride.

Orion grew on me with each ride.  It definitely feels like a giga and the sequence of elements flows nicely in my opinion.  It's extremely reridable and I always came off with a smile on my face.  It also had a soft spot with me since I managed to make it my 1000th coaster.  9.5 out of 10





Orion surpassed Mystic Timbers as my favorite in the park.  But I still love that GCI.  Despite having an out-and-back layout, Mystic Timbers takes an erratic path.  I consider it a drunken out-and-back coaster since you stumble side to side.  Every hill gives airtime- alternating between sustained floater and abrupt pops.  The ride is still running perfectly smooth and it offers the best night ride of all of Kings Island's wood coasters.  9 out of 10



Yes, I prefer Mystic Timbers at night to Beast.  While Beast has an incredible setting in the woods, it's a flawed coaster.  It has length.  But outside of the double helix finale, the ride doesn't really have any elements.  You mostly meander through the woods.  I consider Beast a fun experience, but just an ok coaster.  Also be sure to avoid a wheel seat or else you'll get a back adjustment.  6 out of 10


It was rare to see so much of Beast's lift in 2020, but we can thank the demolition of Vortex for that.  I know enthusiasts have been gushing praise for this Arrow looper since it's demise, but I found it ok during its life.  It had some good drops, but it was jerky.


One of the biggest shocks for me in 2020 was Banshee.  It was doing its best Jekyll & Hyde impersonation.  I got some shaky rides on this coaster in 2019, so I expected the worst.  But it was running fairly smoothly on July 4, so I was able to enjoy this invert yet again.  It has a great sense of speed and solid forces.

However, my rides later in the summer were shakier than ever.  I'm not sure what happened, but it made it tricky to enjoy the ride.  When it runs like this, it's easily my least favorite invert.  So I'll average it out.  6 out of 10




Flight of Fear was another coaster running shakier than I remembered.  I still enjoyed the coaster, especially since it operated while the other coasters were closed during the thunderstorm, but it runs rougher than the outdoor ones at the Six Flags parks.  I think the first half is more disorienting on this one because of the darkness and forces, but the second half is neutered by the mid-course brake.  7 out of 10


Racer has been getting a lot of trackwork recently and it ran better than I remembered in 2020.  It was fairly smooth up front and the bunny hills gave some solid airtime.  6 out of 10


Diamondback is still probably the best coaster in the park if you want a vast quantity of airtime.  The first three hills give some of the best floater airtime out there, especially if you're in the back.  However, the trim after the far turnaround saps the ride of its speed for the return run.  You still get airtime, but the ride looses all its teeth from this point.  8 out of 10



Between the coasters, I also hit a few of the parks flats.  I rode Delirium for the first time and it was just as good as the newer Zamperla giant discoveries.  I also thoroughly enjoyed reriding Drop Tower because of the ride's sheer size, incredible views, and gut-wrenching drop.



I also tried White Water Canyon.  I was mostly interested in getting shots on Mystic Timbers, but I took the advantage to cool off on a hot day.  It was a decent rapids ride.  It felt really secluded in the woods and it had a nice mix of rapids and geysers.


Kings Island had a shorter season than usual, but they did a great job all things considered.  Rides were dispatching trains fairly quickly (outside of Diamondback) and park guests seemed to follow the social distancing markers better than other parks.  It probably helped the park had staff patrolling the queue lines for this.



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I am very torn between Mystic Timbers or Orion as my favorite in the park. I would prly lean towards Mystic Timbers. I did my first trip to this park this summer and I was impressed by it. Very solid line up of coasters. 

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Great report, it was definitely a weird year. I think I missed you by a day 2x haha. 

Banshee's Jekyll and Hyde impression for me was it was running the best I have ever thought! I have been a harsh critic of it in the past for the vests + vibrating bumpyness but I didn't experience it this year.

Orion definitely got better as the year went on/as you got more rides. While I still feel like it is missing one more element, it's absolutely just as fun as the other big B&Ms and smooth/rerideable. 

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1 hour ago, PKI Jizzman said:

Great report, it was definitely a weird year. I think I missed you by a day 2x haha. 

Banshee's Jekyll and Hyde impression for me was it was running the best I have ever thought! I have been a harsh critic of it in the past for the vests + vibrating bumpyness but I didn't experience it this year.

Orion definitely got better as the year went on/as you got more rides. While I still feel like it is missing one more element, it's absolutely just as fun as the other big B&Ms and smooth/rerideable. 

Did you ride Banshee in late August?  That was when the ride was rough.  And I was nerdy enough to note which train I rode back in July and it was the same color.

42 minutes ago, Charles Wagor III said:

Great report!  Haven't had a chance to visit this park yet but definitely want to.  Seems to have a really solid mix of coasters.

It really is a strong, diverse lineup.

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