Canobie Lake Park- Screeemfest
I made my third and final visit of the year for their Halloween event, Screeemfest. Yes they spell it that way with 3 Es in a row. No that is not some weird New England thing. It's just some weird Canobie thing. As often as I've gone to Canobie, I have actually never been for their Halloween event so I was intrigued to check it out.
I had a loose idea what I wanted to hit during the visit. I wanted yo get a few Yankee Cannonball and Untamed rides, try out the new Ice Jet flat, and do the two haunts I heard good reviews on (Carnivus and Culling). When I arrived at the park, there was still some daylight. But about 15 minutes later, the sun succumbed to the darkness. It was nice to get 5 hours at Canobie in the dark. Usually I only have an hour after the sun sets and I ride the same 3 rides at that time (Flume, Mine of Lost Souls, & Yankee Cannonball).
I started with the Yankee Cannonball. I figured I could hopefully get a few rides in before the crowds arrived. 9 out of 10 times, it has a full queue, which is a 30 minute wait. I beat the rush so I got two quick rides in about 20 minutes. As mentioned in my first Canobie review, you can't wait for a seat. So it's a bit of luck what you get. I got the 3rd from the front and 2nd from the back, so two nice seats. It's the star of the park and is a perfect fit for the traditional park. It's impeccably smooth and has 3-4 pops of air. And they're good pops thanks to the buzz bars. 7.5 out of 10[b]
The crowds had doubled Cannonball's wait so I moseyed on over to Star Blaster. A one cycle wait, it was fun. I used to be much higher on Star Blaster. It was my first drop tower, but then I rode others that went much higher and more importantly, weren't S&S versions. The ride isn't the least bit intense but it does have two nice pops of air. [B]7 out of 10
Next was Untamed. With the single rider line, I was on in 5 minutes. After riding Hydrus at Casino Pier, I can't help but wish this one had those amazing lap bars as well. I actually got a mostly smooth ride on it this visit, which was great since the ride was still its normal intense self. The drop has some powerful ejector air and I really like the first and third inversions. I thought about going again but the single rider line was 5x longer than usual (aka there were 5 people there). 7.5 out of 10
I did the Cullen next, my first haunt. Overall the park was quite busy but the ride lines never went beyond 20 minutes. The haunts meanwhile got busier and busier as the night went on. I waited about 20 minutes for the Culling but the line doubled in length by the time I got off. Guess I got lucky.
For those unfamiliar with Canobie, the park has a corn field behind Untamed. The Culling takes place in that corn field. The setting alone could make the haunt creepy, but the park pumped in a boatload of fog and animal noises. The premise of the haunt is that there's a creepy cult (that from my experience only speaks gibberish). It's a pretty long and dark haunt. There were a decent amount of scare actors. I didn't find any particularly scary but they used their surroundings well. They bounced in and out of the fog, dressed like their environment, and hid behind laser projections. And there were plenty of lasers. 8 out of 10
Realizing the haunts were going to have the longest waits, I made a beeline to Carnivus. The queue was a little confusing. The map made it seem like the entrance was by the ballroom, so I stupidly pulled on the door with no luck. After looking like an idiot, I followed the crowd and realized the entrance was by the Boston Tea Party (which looked creepy being drained for once). The other confusing bit was that the queue for the Hotel Canobie haunt was right next to the one for Carnivus. I got in the right queue and ended up waiting 35-40 minutes.
I loved the premise of Carnivus and the execution was superb. It's themed as a haunted, abandoned carnival. Having been to my fair share of carnivals, it was definitely an ominious feeling walking down a lifeless midway without having carnies aggressively trying to rip you off. The detail was impressive and because I was so in love with the environments, I repeatedly let my guard down unlike when I'm walking through a spooky castle, dungeon, or something else of that ilk. Several of the actors popped out of well-hidden corners to make me jump. The second half also had some cool fun house effects such as a mirror maze (so that's where Tiki Maze went
) complete with scare actors and one of those vortex tunnels. It was a short haunt, but extremely well done. 9 out of 10
I tried riding the Turkish Twist, but right before I boarded the ride went down. Actually I shouldn't say the ride itself broke down. The latch on the door hiding the drum from the queue wouldn't lock, so they had to shut it down until maintenance could pull out their handy dandy screwdrivers. It was a bummer since it's the fastest rotor out there, but I ride it enough. I thought about hitting the Frisbee since it had just reopened after being down for a year (the closure was so long it was removed from park maps and the website lists it as "Now Open" almost as if it's a new ride), but I skipped it in favor of Ice Jet.
Ice Jet is in a cursed spot, but I'm excited to finally see a ride there again. Most recently it was home to Equinox, which ran less than a 500 pound man, so it was removed. Before that, it used to be home to the Matterhorn, the world's fastest and best run flying bobs ride (though the one at Oktoberfest was just as good). They ran that thing so fast that it tore itself apart, but it resulted in swinging nearing 120-130 degrees!
I was hopeful the new one would run as fast, but realistically I figured it'd be tamer and I was right. It ran about as fast as the typical one you'd see at a fair but it ran in both directions. It also had a weird cycle where it would speed up, start to slow down, and then accelerate to its top speed. I've never seen a himalaya do that before and it caught me off-guard. One other thing that I was excited about was that the ride didn't have music. Usually that's a negative for these rides, but not when you're mere feet from a classic carousel pumping the midway with its glorious band organ. I don't see myself riding it every visit, but it's nice to have another option. 6 out of 10
I made my way back towards the far end of the park. I noticed the Cannonball now had an almost full queue so I decided to pass a little time before returning for my last rides on the year. I decided to ride Wave Blaster. I hadn't ridden the ride in a few years since it has an odd location in Kiddieland. It's one of those bouncing rides. From my observations, it seems that the heavier the car is, the higher and wilder the bounces will be. I got 2-3 bounces with small, abrupt pops of air, but the two offensive linemen in front of me had a ride so wild the ops actually asked if they were ok. 6 out of 10
I was in the mood to spin, so I went with Over the Rainbow. It's one of those Zamperla balloon towers and they're one of my guilty pleasure rides. Since their primary audience is kids, they are exceptionally easy to spin. I treated myself to a ride that spun so fast my balloon started to bounce. 8 out of 10
One of the other unique attractions at Canobie is their pinball parlor. Pinball is hands down my favorite arcade game so it's amazing to see a room with 25 or so pinball machines from multiple eras just waiting to be played. I gave $5 worth of quarters to several machines (Star Trek, Spiderman, Star Wars, AC/DC, Monopoly, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Shrek). I could have easily spent more time and money in there, but it was an hour before closing and it was time to hit Cannonball again.
I finished off with 2 rides on the Cannonball. I got extremely lucky in that I got both the very back and the very front. As many times as I've ridden it, this was probably only my 3rd ride there due to the seat selection process. It was a great way to end the year.
Overall I really liked Screeemfest. All of the park's rides were running outside of the water ones and the Mine of Lost Souls. While the other haunts in New England have the haunts as upcharges, Canobie includes them with admission. I prefer Lake Compounce's haunt simply because of how long it is, but Canobie's is nice in its own right and I see myself making it an annual visit now.