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Photo TR: Andy's Visit to Ocean City, Maryland


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So, for a long time, 2020 was looking like it was going to be the year without a coaster for me -- for largely obvious reasons.

And then I rode a looping Pinfari and a Vekoma boomerang. Which is actually quite a 2020 way to end the drought.

In September, I planned out a road trip through the mid-Atlantic. A largely keep-to-myself adventure just so I could get out, do some photography, visit some places I'd never been, and so on. Theme parks weren't even really a consideration, so it's not like Ocean City MD was some big destination. Just another stop on the way.

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Hey, did you know that Ocean City, MD is 3,073 miles from Sacramento, CA on US-50? Now you do.

But as I put together the itinerary, I realized it made sense to spend an evening in Maryland's biggest beachside resort town. So I got myself a hotel a block from the ocean -- for under $100 on a Sunday night, when the same place was over twice that the night before. Good timing.

For a few reasons, this wasn't a typical beach visit.
1) I'd only be there at night.
2) It was 45 degrees with wind gusts of about 35 mph.
3) We're still in a pandemic.

Nonetheless, I decided to check out Ocean City's two small amusement parks -- Jolly Roger at the Pier, and Trimper's Rides. Three coasters between the two parks. Could I pull a few credits out of this otherwise pathetic year? Yep. 

And was it safe? Employees outnumbered guests at Jolly Roger. Trimper's was only slightly busier. Two of my coaster rides were completely solo. I think there were two other people at the back of the train on the boomerang. Very easy to keep my distance.

Both parks also have Ferris wheels, a bunch of flats, and Jolly Roger's even got a dark ride. I didn't ride anything else, so this is no comprehensive review of the two parks. Got in, got three credits, got out -- but took a bunch of pictures on the way.

Let's get to it. A trip report from September 20, 2020.

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A stop at Homer Gudelsky Park on the way into Ocean City for some views.

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A look over the water.

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This is just the south end of Ocean City -- it's a miles-long stretch of hotels.

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A bridge across the intracoastal waterway.

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Beach ball water tower!

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Faux-pirate ships and boat cruises, probably not running on a crummy-weather day in the offseason.

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Behind the boats and marinas, that's the hotel where I stayed.

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The ocean is out that way behind the breakwater.

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Catch some fish.

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And now for a look at the two parks, just across the water.

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This is all that's visible from Jolly Roger at the Pier. An older Ferris wheel with un-enclosed cars.

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You can also see the top of the Pinfari.

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This is an overview of Trimper's Rides. It's about the same size as Jolly Roger, but has some larger attractions.

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The Inlet Eye is a newer wheel with enclosed cars.

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Color-coordinated cabins.

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After waiting about 10 minutes, the boomerang (Tidal Wave) finally operated.

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This is 2020. Driving three states over to take pictures of a boomerang.

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There's also a drop tower. I'm not sure that I ever saw it run.

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First-ever Vekoma Boomerang / US Coast Guard combo photo?

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Vertical loop!

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Wider view of the business end of the boomerang.

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Ker-chunk.

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Yep, it's a boomerang.

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And that's about it from this spot. Now, heading to the beach.

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Outside my hotel, which was not quite a ghost town, but close to it.

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View from my balcony.

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Nobody using the pool on this chilly day.

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Looking west from the hotel (this picture was taken the next morning).

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Sunset over Ocean City.

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An additional view of the sunset.

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Sunset and birds.

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The drawbridge over the bay at sunset.

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Cleaner photo of the above from the next morning.

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Trimper's Rides, visible about a half mile to the south.

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Wheel colors.

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More wheel colors.

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A wheel and a boomerang.

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Now it's green.

Alright, down to the beach.

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Actually not my first time in Ocean City MD -- went there once for a couple hours in 2016 on a similar trip. Weather was much better then, and it was quite busy. On this day? Not empty, but not a lot of people around.

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Your typical boardwalk shops with their supply of edgy-sloganed t-shirts.

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Just past sunset.

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Two wheels -- and a moon.

To the left is Jolly Roger at the Pier, which is on a platform that extends out over the beach.

To the right is Trimper's, which is set back from the beach at the far south end of Ocean City.

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Jolly Roger's two main attractions -- the Ferris wheel (sponsored by Pepsi) and Looping Star, a looping pinfari.

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Meanwhile, past a Ripley's Believe It Or Not location and a bunch more cheesy shops, Trimper's is visible.

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Notice how smooth the sand looks in the foreground. These are long-exposure shots, and the sand was blowing and drifting like crazy due to the wind.

I guess what I'm saying is that I got sandblasted to get these pictures.

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Another view of Jolly Roger.

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There are lots of other rides, including one of those 360-degree pendulum things.

Pretty sure they don't allow single riders on the Ferris wheel, though.

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My first credit of the day -- and of the year! -- was Looping Star.

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Over 450 coasters on my list and this is my first-ever looping Pinfari.

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According to RCDB, Looping Star is a Zyklon ZL42, and it has been operating since 1996.

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So, how was Looping Star?

Surprisingly not bad. Reasonably smooth. The loop was actually kind of fun. Overall, better than expected.

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The back side of Looping Star.

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Getting ready for a dispatch. It ran every 5-10 minutes or so, usually with just one party on board.

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Another dusk scene at Jolly Roger.

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(sponsored by Pepsi)

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Flags in the (rather stiff) wind.

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Long exposure of a train at the top of the lift.

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Looping Star train on the first drop.

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Both Ocean City wheels had really good lighting packages.

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Another lift hill view of Looping Star.

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I think that's a skycoaster or something also.

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Parking lot long-exposure view.

Long exposure shots were tough due to the wind.

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A view of Jolly Roger from the boardwalk.

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This is the pier that Jolly Roger is "at." It had closed for the night, but I wouldn't have wanted to go all the way out there with the wind anyway.

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Still a pretty good view from the open section of the pier.

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A dark, windswept Ocean City.

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Jolly Roger from the pier.

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I did not need a "night time arm band" -- both parks sold single rides on their coasters, and that was all I needed.

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A view of both parks from the pier. The wheels are pretty bright.

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Still some color in the sky as night continues to fall.

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A wheel and a boomerang.

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I remember this parking lot being packed full of cars when I visited in 2016.

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Trying to make a Vekoma boomerang look good with long-exposure photography.

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One great travesty from this trip -- was too busy taking pictures to get some Kohr Bros. Bad decision on my part.

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Didn't get very many of these long-exposure wheel shots to turn out due to the wind, but I tried.

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Wheel and moon.

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(yeah this one's wobbly but it's still kind of cool anyway)

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Adjacent to Trimper's is the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum.

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There is a large anchor.

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There's a watch-tower -- lit up by the lights of the Ferris wheel.

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Also, a really big fish.

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A view north from the end of the Ocean City boardwalk. There were actually a few people around here.

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The Inlet Eye -- the large, modern, indoor-cabin wheel at Trimper's.

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The Inlet Eye and a few mostly-empty flat rides.

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Live music and a long-exposure round-up!

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Definitely kind of a unique picture.

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Obviously, we're talking about huge crowds here. Maybe 15 people in attendance for the concert.

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I'll watch from a distance.

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Alright, getting to the two coasters at Trimper's.

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This is a spinning coaster called ... Spinning Coaster.

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Very creative.

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Long-exposure Spinning Coaster!

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Spinning Coaster is one of those SBF Visa spinners that are appearing absolutely everywhere. It was installed in 2015.

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Tidal Wave is up next.

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The entrance to Tidal Wave -- 12 points on your Trimper's card.

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Tidal Wave has been here since 1986. So it's an older Boomerang. That gave me some concern.

(also, thumbs up to the ride op)

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Long-exposure Tidal Wave!

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The verdict?

Not completely terrible, I guess?

I do not like Vekoma Boomerangs, their uninspired layout, or the fact that most of them are just old and bad and rough.

But I'm struggling to think of a Boomerang that rode better than this one. Maybe Speed of Sound at Walibi Holland?

So yeah, ending the night without a Boomerang headache was a pleasant surprise!

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It's still a one-and-done coaster, but in 2020, I'll take what I can get.

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A final view on the way out of Trimper's.

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Back on the boardwalk, the arcades were open, and well lit, but mostly empty.

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Boardwalk ghosts at the end of the night.

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That wraps things up from Ocean City -- and my only trip report from 2020.

(updates to my Europe 2019 TR are coming soon)

Thanks for reading!

 

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So, for a long time, 2020 was looking like it was going to be the year without a coaster for me -- for largely obvious reasons. And then I rode a looping Pinfari and a Vekoma boomerang. Which is

Great report. The fact that there are now two ferris wheels aligned the exact same way at the end of the boardwalk is so weird to me. Also, this report needs more Seacrets.

^Glad I could be predictable for you!

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Great report!  I've never made it down to Ocean City, Maryland, so it was cool seeing these two parks.  I'm surprised they opened on a day like that and remained open.  So many of these boardwalk parks seem to have rolling closing times.

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These are some top-notch pictures. Great job! I'm disappointed that even though you mentioned the lame Jolly Rogers darkride, you didn't take a shot of the Trimper's Haunted House.

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Pinfari and a Boomerang...yup, pretty much the best 2020 Coaster Season description. 

 

Great photos, except of the Pepsi wheel. =)

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Great report. The fact that there are now two ferris wheels aligned the exact same way at the end of the boardwalk is so weird to me. Also, this report needs more Seacrets.

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Great Pics Andy!

it's been a really long time since I've been to Ocean City (any family I had in the area has long since passed, or moved to Florida - hey it's in the rulebook:  "Old Jews in NY/NJ MUST go to Florida").

But maybe in 2021, or 2022, if I can get the Spouse to agree to a NY trip for Broadway, we can spend a day going to visit graves in NJ and swing by the Boardwalk in Maryland.

your pics certainly make me want to go back.

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1 hour ago, coasterbill said:

 Also, this report needs more Seacrets.

Agreed, but if you've not been there this year, it is nowhere near the normal environment.  Even if MD is lacking in its COVID rules, they still managed to sop the fun out of that place.

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7 hours ago, Canobie Coaster said:

Great report!  I've never made it down to Ocean City, Maryland, so it was cool seeing these two parks.  I'm surprised they opened on a day like that and remained open.  So many of these boardwalk parks seem to have rolling closing times.

Thanks! And that last point was very much not assured. In the few days before I went, I was checking the websites for both parks and they were not being consistent about updating their hours. I remember at one point thinking one of the two (can't remember which) wasn't going to be open. But as it turned out, despite the low crowds and lousy weather, both parks were open until 10 or 11.

5 hours ago, CenturyFlyer said:

These are some top-notch pictures. Great job! I'm disappointed that even though you mentioned the lame Jolly Rogers darkride, you didn't take a shot of the Trimper's Haunted House.

Thank you. And yeah, I really sorta skipped over all the other stuff. Now that you mention it I remember seeing the Haunted House and I wish I would have remembered to at least get a picture of the front of it, but I did not.

4 hours ago, SharkTums said:

Great photos, except of the Pepsi wheel. =)

:lmao:  When I was taking those pictures, I thought to myself "somebody's going to comment about the sponsor and it's probably going to be an Alvey."

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23 hours ago, bert425 said:

maybe in 2021, or 2022, if I can get the Spouse to agree to a NY trip for Broadway, we can spend a day going to visit graves in NJ and swing by the Boardwalk in Maryland

Manhattan to Ocean City, MD isn't exactly around the corner.  It's do-able but I would highly recommend an overnight.

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1 hour ago, KBrylczyk said:

Manhattan to Ocean City, MD isn't exactly around the corner.  It's do-able but I would highly recommend an overnight.

ah. .but you forget, I live in Texas.

3 1/2 hours (which is how long it would be from the Cemetery in NJ (which is only ~30 minutes from Manhattan) is really nothing.  
It's like a drive to Houston, or the Galveston Pleasure Pier.

And I / We've done that plenty of times.   Heck, my Spouse used to go to every Texans Home Game in Houston. . drive down in morning, spend 6 hours at game (including tailgating), and then drive back.

so it's not that big a deal for us.

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