The park is slowly but surely making their Winterfest lineup less terrible even though the park up the road is fully open year round so I don't get this at all and never will.
Railblazer will be open and they've added the Wild Mouse and Berserker so most areas are open now except the area from Demon to the Sky Ride. The Sky Ride is still closed for some reason (they know that these are almost always one of the most popular outdoor rides during Christmas events since people want to see the lights from the air right?) as is Mass Effect... the indoor ride with heat in an area of the park that's open anyway.
Here is a trip report for yesterday. I did RailBlazer for the first time and found it intense, with a strong amount of g-forces. I really enjoyed the airtime aspects. The two times I wanted to ride Drop Tower it wasn't operating. The lines all moved fast.
I went to the park today. It was my second time this year but the last time I went in May, Railblazer was not open yet. My main goals were to get on Railblazer for the first time and to process my gold pass. I got four rides total on Railblazer. It did not disappoint, especially my first ride on it. Non-stop intensity and positive/negative g's. The second and fourth times I rode it, I got a really bad Charley Horse in my leg. I am not sure if it was from putting my hands up, or slouching in the seats to accommodate the restraints. I am just above average height-wise, yet I still felt uncomfortable in the trains. I was in agony from the cramp from the cutback element until I exited the train in the station. The pain was to the point that it spoiled both of those rides. I am going to make sure I watch my posture on future rides on it.
Another unfortunate occurrence was that the ride was only running one train mid-afternoon. The line moved excruciatingly slow which is understandable since only eight people can ride at a time. Honestly, I think they should just close the ride if only one train is available instead of making people wait in the baking sun. To give you an idea (if you are familiar with the queue), I timed with my phone stopwatch and it was an hour wait from the stairs descending below the brake run to when I got on the train. Ugh.
Other than that, I did enjoy my rides on Railblazer and the rest of the coasters. Goldstriker was just as exhilarating as I remember it and Flight Deck is still its awesome intense, old-school B&M invert self. Those three coasters make the 2019 gold pass I just bought worth it. I also got some rides on Patriot, Demon, and Grizzly. Those three are good for what they are, supporting coasters to the top three mentioned above. It was a beautiful, warm, fall day in Silicon Valley. The park was pretty slow in the morning but got busier as the day went along in anticipation of Haunt. I didn't wait longer than 10 minutes for anything else besides Railblazer.
Overall, I had fun today at the park. I am going to try to return two weekends from now in its last weekend of normal day operation. I hope to get some more good rides on Railblazer without any Charley horses or getting caught in a slow moving line due to one-train operation.
This last weekend (Sunday to be specific) seemed like a good time to head out to the Haunt. Unlike previous year’s had heard next to nothing about what was going on there. And, in this instance, wound up going with a rather large group of family and friends (13 in all, including my 17 month old and my friend’s 8 year old). While I plan to always be in the main place well ahead of opening, the large group and much more of a crowd than I expected on a Sunday meant it was just after the 7pm opening when we got in.
Neither Goldstriker nor Railblazer were operating when the Haunt started… though the later worked out well with our delayed entry. We had planned to head there first, since even if crowds were light, the low capacity would probably make this problematic. Just after being told it was closed, but would open at some point, they started cycling trains… and waiting it out turned out to the be the right thing, as 10 minutes later everyone in our group that wanted to was able to try it out. It was the first time I had rode it after dark, and I can’t say the experience seemed that different. Still a wild ride, and one that was enthusiastically received by those riding it for the first time.
By the end of the night we’d make it on Goldstriker a couple times (I think the darkness definitely adds something here), Flight Deck, and a few others. Given the heavier than expected attendance, and just sticking with picking out lines when they weren’t too bad, this was pretty good. Took a similar approach to the mazes… though ultimately wasn’t able to make it through Corn Stalkers or the Wax Museum (both of which have been enjoyable in previous years).
The only all-new maze was the Tooth Fairy, which had some creepily cool costumes and similar atmosphere. It replaces Toy Factory, although I think I may still have the Toy Factory song stuck in my head from last year (though surprisingly missed it when I approached that area of the park).
Masacre Manor returned in slightly different form this year… it is still running “backwards” as it did last year (likely to accommodate Railblazer’s construction), but was done without any lights other than small flashlights that are handed out as you enter the maze. Was a nice way to change things up, though a shame as this maze has always been one with lots of nice details to see.
Zombie High is still fun. I don’t get scared, and rarely am even started by the performers, but the mascot character here did give me my first startle of any kind in years! It is always fun to see the character on the bungie scare people too (similar set up appeared in a few of the other mazes where I hadn’t seen them in previous editions).
Chaos House was a new edition last year, and was more disorienting that I recalled (or maybe just that I did it at the very end of the night?)… nothing that I would think is even remotely scary here (if you find these things scary), but quite trippy!
Roadkill Roadhouse was much as it was last year, though a little better lit (still among the darker mazes), and Backwoods was back as well (and some great sets, though personally wind up a bit sad when I think of Pictorium being gone).
Jester Town and the Fairy Tale themed scare zones returned, with the one near the Demon having a Londish/Jack The Ripper sort of theme. All in all, Cedar Fair seems to put a lot in to getting their special events together and the effort shows.
And while this event certainly wasn’t one designed for kids, my tiny one seemed to have much fun wandering around and not knowing things were supposed to be scary (although, it is not like anyone tried to scare him, even if he was oblivious to any such attempts). My friend got his 8 year old a “no Boo” necklace (a light up necklace that signals to performers not to try and scare you), and she took in her first real roller coasters (a couple rides on Grizzly and Pyscho Mouse).
All in all, a pretty fun evening, and likely my only visit to the Haunt this year (though will be back for Winterfest before too long).
Just a clarification, does Railblazer for sure have a single rider line? I am going to the park by myself tomorrow and I would like to take advantage of that. I heard you just go through the Fast Lane, is that correct?
Thanks! I used it for one of my three rides on Railblazer today, but the last time I was going to ride it, the CGA employee at the front told me “we don’t do that” and turned me away. The line must have been two hours long at that point. Do they shut down single rider line when the standby line gets too long? It was pretty disappointing to say the least since I did single rider earlier that day when the standby was lengthy. CGA needs to stick with one policy or another.
Besides that, I had a great day of riding coasters. Got on everything except for Grizzly and Psycho Mouse, which are just not worth the wait for me. The park was pretty crowded today. Maybe because this is the last day of full day operation of the season. I ended the day at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with two sunset rides on Giant Dipper. What a great day!
^I’d say you just encountered an uninformed employee. When I was there, some of the Fast Lane employees let me right through when I said I was a single rider, while others looked like they had no idea what I was talking about.
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