So I have badly wanted to visit Kennywood for a couple years but it's just outside of my daytrip range, and has eluded me on two tightly scheduled Cedar Point trips. Finally I got the chance to take a Monday off work and spend a long weekend hitting up Idlewild and Kennywood, with a stop at Knoebels on the way back for good measure. I even spent the 11 minutes at Lakemont on the way out that it took to get a ride on Leap-the-Dips. (Actually I also did a few laps on Skyliner because, frankly, it rocks.) Hopefully you won't mind a few non-Kennywood pics to open.
Made it to Idlewild just before 4pm on Saturday for their discounted evening ticket. The guy at the ticket booth seemed genuinely torn whether to grant me the cheaper ticket three minutes before 4:00, but did. I headed right for the Storybook Forest since it closes early and did a brisk walk through, attempting to be as minimally creepy as possible. Checked out the waterpark next and did one slide, but the lines were pretty long, and nothing seemed outstanding, so headed back into the park.
Main objectives here were their Flyers ("Flying Aces") and Rollo Coaster. Flying Aces is an interesting ride. Apparently it was manufactured by Premier (what?!), new for the park in 2007. However - to appearances at least - it is a near exact clone of the old Bisch-Rocco design. Unfortunately, the ride experience itself was marginal - virtually un-snappable and a very short cycle. But the ride does look great in it's simple, rugged military fighter pilot theme. Attractive rides is a common motif at Idlewild - they keep their equipment beautifully maintained.
Onto Rollo Coaster, right across from the Flyers. The wait appeared fairly substatial, filling up the small queue and spilling deep into the walkways.
But it's a very short ride, and with good ops running one train, I was boarding in maybe 20-25 minutes.
The trains were completely awesome! Spotless, classic, and incredibly comfortable with big, soft, immaculately upholstered cushions.
So how is this tiny little coaster? It is GREAT! I rode backseat. There isn't any wild airtime or big forces, or stomach-churning drops, but it put a HUGE smile on my face. It's totally a baby Boulder Dash, and while it doesn't offer that kind of thrill, it is a completely adorable little gem of a ride in a quaint, charming setting. 8/10.
Next I headed over to Wild Mouse, expecting to see a standard-issue wild mouse-type coaster. What a surprise I was in for upon seeing this wacky 1985 Vekoma ride that first ran at Prater! It has some mouse elements to it, but it's definitely an interesting ride with some bigger drops. The setting is also great, tucked into the woods, with a great rustic paint scheme that blends right in.
I waited about 15 minutes and was about halfway through the line when, unfortunately, the operators got the call on the radio to shut 'er down due to an incoming storm. So .... ended up missing out on the first mouse I was actually excited to ride. I also now regret somehow not knowing about the handcars and missing those too. But no matter, bigger and better thing ahead for the next day!
After rolling into the Pittsburgh area, I checked into my hotel and made a beeline for the (unfortunately not original) Primanti Bros conveniently just down the road. With a 24oz Yuengling and an incredibly tall sandwich full of fries and slaw in front of me, I took a deep breath and dug in....
Holy. Crap. I really did not expect to enjoy this so much - more of a "just have to do it" thing... .but, no! It was delish
! The craziest part is how absolutely impossible it appears to eat, but once you get your mitts around it, totally works! I absolutely devoured the sandwich, headed back, and somehow got some sleep amid my excitement for the day to come.
I was excited beyond words and up for a day of heavy
riding. So my first stop was the skip-the-line booth where I waited first in line for it to open up at 11:00. I wanted to ensure getting one of the 26 unlimited passes they sell each day. As long as you get into the park by 11:00 I can't imagine having any trouble snagging one of these. The booth is across from Sky Rocket.
Let's jump right into the rides. I had no plan of attack and took a wildly inefficient course through the attractions, doubling back all over the place and walking from one end of the park to another on a whim. It was great! Didn't take all that many pictures, but I'll mix in a few as we go.Gran Prix
(bumper cars), x1 - This was a rather modern bumper cars ride, so not too special. But they let you drive wherever you wanted, instead of in unidirectional laps, which made for a few good hits and laughs. Drove with a fun group. 6/10.Bayern Kurve
, x2 - Awesome, wild ride. Rode in the front and back, both were excellent. The greatest part is how the pitch of the drive tires hitting the train gets higher and higher as the ride speeds up. After the first few laps, I was all "that's it?" when suddenly the drive tires start HOWLING and I'm all "holy &^%$% this is fun!" Also, I had no idea about that little... er... "surprise" halfway through the cycle. Just an awesome overall experience! 9/10. Swingshot
, x2 - This was a complete walk-on all day long which was perplexing. Screamin' Swings are great, and with a fantastic view of Phantom right in front of you, this did not disappoint at all. 8/10. Whip
, x1 - A very whippy Whip. I like the lack of a roof. Whiptastic. 8/10. Kangaroo
, x1 - Ba-hahahahaha. This still has me giggling. Boing....boing....boing.....lol. The line got long quick and stayed long all day, so I didn't snag any rerides, which I'd have totally been up for. Goofy as it looks, DO NOT MISS Kangaroo! 9/10.
My coaster tour wristband was really tight, and at this point started to bother me enough to go get one put on more loosely. Since this brought me right next to Sky Rocket, I hit this up next, and had really
bad first experience with my pass. Line was pretty significant, maybe 30-40min. Walked up the exit ramp and ride op was very attentive, immediately gave me choice of any seat except back or front on the next train. I chose row 4, hopped on, pulled the restraint down ... and then the girl whose ride I intruded on started tearing into me, loudly
. I had broken up her group of four so that half would be on my ride and half on the next. She was seriously pissed, I was embarrassed, and if she hadn't been so rude, would have asked to get back up and let them on.
Luckily, this was my only bad experience with the pass all day. It worked out amazingly
and drama-free in every other case. I highly recommend it!Sky Rocket
, x2 - Great launch, great first few elements. Kind of peters out after the mid-course brake, although I actually loved the slo-mo trick-track section. 7/10.Noah's Ark
, x2 - Best walkthru I've done. Don't miss this one either. 9/10. Potato Patch Bacon/Cheese Fries
, x1 - No line! And, meh, they were good-ish, at least the cheesy, bacon-ey part. Fries toward the bottom were pretty soggy and got tossed. 5/10. Phantom's Revenge
, x9 - I had incredibly high expectations for this coaster and could not imagine it exceeding them. But it ..... BLEW. THEM. AWAY. The combination of huge drops, insane ejector airtime, magnificent terrain usage, interactions with other rides, head choppers, and overall relentless intensity makes for a ride simply beyond description. I also managed three magical night rides. Still figuring out where it will fit in my top-10. Strangely, the line for this was basically nil most all day, and I was often better off using the regular queue than the fast entry bracelet. 11/10.Black Widow
, x3 - Yes, this eats up maXair and, figuratively speaking, craps it all over CP. Has got to be the greatest frisbee-style ride out there by far. The queue line was very long for this and being able to ride it at will felt a little wrong. 10/10.Exterminator
, x1 - No idea why I didn't get back for any rerides on this, the themeing made it tons of fun. 7/10. Turtle
, x1 - Nicely maintained but Conneaut's Bug runs better, so this didin't meet expectations. 5/10. Racer
, x5 -
, x5 - Fantastic vintage trains, and a quintessential John Miller design. The double dip fell short of my very steep expectations but the whole experience was a real winner. 8.5/10.Thunderbolt
, x2 - First ride worked out great as there was another single rider to pair up with. I ended up as the squishee. My second ride was a bit embarrassing as they had to call out for someone to ride with me, and a girl queued for front row got to ride twice. Thankfully I was again the squishee. Great ride, very intense for its era. Love how the station is set up with the ops working from a lower level. NAD FTW. 9/10.Aero360
, x1 - Eh, these rides are alright. The arrows are cool. 5/10. Volcano
, x1 - Enterprises are great and this one ran very nicely. I was talking to Waldameer ride op who was visiting the park and he mentioned that Kennywood actually swapped out Enterprises over the off season with the one they got from Lake Compounce, since they were having so much trouble with their old one. He claimed to have helped get the ex-LC ride set up and running. 7/10. Cosmic Chaos
, x1 - Big fan of Disk-O's, and this one didn't crush my man parts too badly. 7/10. Beer Garden
, x1 - Took me forever to find this, and just made it in for last call. Beer guy was pretty funny.Carousel
, x1 - Great, authentic "survivor" Carousel. Needs ring dispenser. 7.125/10
Then I had this crazy looking ice cream and rode Phantom, Racer, and JR deep into the night.
Afterwards, another Primanti sandwich and Yuengling finished off an incredible journey to Kennywood & Idlewild.