I’ve always considered getting a Funtown season pass considering it’s just an hour away. However, I always stop myself when I remember their generous twilight ticket. If you arrive after 6 pm, it’s just $13 which is an absolute steal to ride a really good wooden coaster and the world’s best scrambler.
World’s best scrambler you might ask? Look no further than the Astrosphere. There are definitely faster scramblers out there, but that’s not what the Astrosphere is about. It’s basically an elaborate lightshow synched up to ELO’s Fire on High. The whole experience is incredible and this 3-4 minute ride even beats some of the night spectaculars out there.
This report covers all my visits in 2018, so it’s interesting to note the light show is completely controlled by the ride operator. So no two rides are guaranteed to be the same. One operator had a fetish for the creepy face (if you’ve ridden the ride, you know what I’m talking about) while another operator went absolutely nuts with the lasers turning it into a rave. 10 out of 10
As awesome as the Astrosphere is, Excalibur is what really put Funtown on the map and keeps me coming back. This coaster epitomizes everything that made CCI great. And the park really knows how to showcase their star since it has an entire themed area dedicated to it. At one point they even sold swords (not the glow swords, but legit metal, medieval replicas).
Excalibur is particularly awesome at night since it’s located in the very back of the park in the woods. Outside of the lights from the nearby station and parking lot, the layout is entirely in darkness. The first half is completely out-of-control and has some good pops of airtime, particularly on the steep first drop, speed hill, and two turnarounds.
I always criticized the ride’s second half, but I finally get the ride. While I personally would have preferred more airtime hills, the second half’s figure 8 finale boasts some really strong laterals, especially towards the back of the train. On many of my rides, I was bent over the center divider into my girlfriend, leaving no room for the Holy Spirit.
Excalibur isn’t perfect though. While I find it tolerable, the ride is pretty bumpy, particularly on the first drop and third hill. The park does stay up to date on their maintenance. The ride never gets any rougher, but the bumpiest spot always seems to shift between seasons depending upon where they retracked. I still think this is my most ridden coaster out there by a good margin. 8 out of 10
I also want to note that one of my visits was inadvertently on Gravy Train Day. A few were comparing dick sizes and seeing how many kiddie coasters they had ridden, but most were pretty cool. One of the ACErs unbeknownst to me was one of my coworkers! We have been working together for 3 years and it never came up, so it was quite a shock seeing him walk into Excalibur’s station wearing a Sea Viper T-shirt instead of wearing a polo working on TPS reports.
Their only other coaster is your standard Maurer Wild Mouse. It’s relatively unbraked so the laterals during the top section are stronger than usual and the final few hills give hints of airtime. I still can’t believe this is the newest attraction on the ride side since it has been here for quite some time now. 6 out of 10
Like Excalibur, Dragon’s Descent also has an elaborate themed area dedicated to it. The dragon archway is a truly impressive sight and it the level of quality is something you’d expect from a Disney park, not a small regional park.
The ride itself is the cream of the crop for S&S turbo drops. The view is absolutely incredible if you’re facing the ocean (ride on the side facing the dragon archway) and the drop seems stronger than most S&S towers. You get a strong burst of air and even a solid stomach drop if you stare at the ground. This is definitely the park’s most intense ride. 8 out of 10
Another notable attraction is Funtown’s Bumper Cars. The 5 minute cycle is awesome enough, but what really seals the deal is how they’re operated. They have something that they can hang over the head of Knoebels- head on collisions are allowed. Name another park that doesn’t outlaw head-ons. I can’t think of one. The cars are pretty fast too, so you can feel like Ray Lewis as you t-bone other vehicles.
The Bumper Cars and Astrosphere really are the two unsung heroes of Funtown. 10 out of 10
Thunder Falls is a solid log flume as well. Despite occupying a large plot of land, it only has one drop. However, it’s advertised as the tallest flume in New England and I believe it. The plunge isn’t the steepest, but the sheer size of it generates a good head of steam. The splashdown isn’t particularly soaking, but any of the 5-6 water cannons sure. 8 out of 10
We also rode a few attractions I hadn’t ridden in almost 10 years.
Antique Cars- I love how the layout wraps around the Tea Cups and underneath pathways. 8 out of 10
Casino- It’s not as good as the newer Wipeouts, but it’s probably the best run Trabant out there. It gives the faintest pops of air and has some decent laterals. 7 out of 10
Flying Trapeze- I love how close the ride gets to the trees, but it wasn’t as fast as I remembered. 6 out of 10
Tilt-a-Whirl- It’s always luck of the draw, but my ride was a dud for spinning. 5 out of 10
It felt criminal to betray Old Orchard Beach’s Pier Fries and buy Funtown’s but I was starving and they actually looked pretty good. Now they weren’t as good as Pier Fries (few places are to Funtown’s defense), but they weren’t far behind the celebrated Potato Patch fries in terms of quality.
Also I just want to note that the park has some really awesome signage. The temporarily closed sign is never something you want to see in front of an attraction, but at least Funtown had some fun with it. They showed what an enthusiast looks like when they get stapled.
Funtown really is the perfect park to spend a few hours at. It almost never has any crowds (on the ride side at least) and while they lack the breadth of other parks, they have a top-heavy lineup in Excalibur, Astrosphere, Dragon’s Descent, and the Bumper Cars.Splashtown U.S.A.
I know water parks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but Funtown’s attached water park is quite nice. Funtown has only added 4 new attractions in the past 15 years and 3 of those were water slide complexes. I suspect it was to exercise dominance over the stagnant Aquaboggan down the road and I’m hopeful Palace Playland’s two new coasters this year provoke Funtown to add something on the ride side, but I digress.
I think it had been almost 10 years since I had last visited Splashtown, so I started with the slide complex bearing the same name as one of the nation’s most terrifying amusement parks, Mt. Olympus. These slides are now 6 years old and the newest attraction at the park. They include two drop pod slides and one of those popular mat racer slides.
We started with the mat racer, Amphitrite’s Challenge. It’s basically a scaled back version of Aquatica’s Taumata Racer. You have a 270 degree twist at the start (instead of a 360 degree twist) and then a single sizable drop at the end. Half the drop was enclosed which sapped some of the thrill, but it was still a fast and smooth slide. 7 out of 10
However, I was more interested in the drop pod slides. The first one was Poseidon’s Plunge and consisted of a single drop the whole way down. The drop did seem less steep than the other drop pods out there, but it was still fast and it’s always a thrill having the floor drop out. Most importantly, it was smooth on my back. That’s the one Achilles heel that can cripple these speed slides. 7 out of 10
Triton’s Twist had that Achilles heel. It was definitely the more intense of the two, as it had the usual steep plunge and was followed by a ridiculously fast, flat turn where you slide a good 150 degrees up the wall. The only downside is that I could feel every single joint between the slide pieces. 5 out of 10
I found out afterwards that Splashtown offers complimentary backboards for these slides. I have never seen any other park do this and it’s absolutely ingenious. I’ll be sure to take advantage of them next time.
Up next was the best slide in the park, Tornado. The dispatches were absolutely glacial (they wouldn’t dispatch the next raft until the tube was loaded back in the elevator), so we ended up waiting almost a half hour.
You wouldn’t think these funnel slides would have much variety between them, but for whatever reason Splashtown’s has a noticeably tamer drop devoid of the usual frightening pop of air. Still the drop is fast and oscillating in the massive funnel is always disorienting. Also this slide was frigid. I’m pretty sure they siphoned the water straight from Old Orchard Beach. 7 out of 10
I also made sure to hit some of the tube slides. Liquid Lightning was the best of the three as it has a cool tunnel through a cave and some really wild turns. We actually flipped over on the final turn as we entered into the pool. 7 out of 10
Splish and Splash are the two enclosed slides and they’re just ok. They have some really tight turns, but they never generate any real speed. Prior to riding, I had a front row view of a woman fiercely arguing with the operator that she should be able to use a double tube despite a giant sign saying “Single Tubes Only” with the justification that Six Flags allows it. I think you can guess how that ended. 5 out of 10