Canobie Lake Park
It was one of the hottest days of the year. When I set foot into my car, I thought I was going to melt. I flipped on the radio and heard the familiar jingle:
“When the sun is blazing and the summer gets hot, Water Country’s a very cool spot.”
Except I wouldn’t make it there before they closed. The same could be said about Funtown, Lake Compounce, or Six Flags. But I could make it to Canobie to experience their new for 2018
2019 water park, Castaway Island.
I was stunned Canobie would close their water park so early. They always kept their water play structure open until 6. After consulting the website, it got even more perplexing.
WTF? We aren’t a bunch of Floridians. We are New Englanders. We risk frostbite every year watching the Patriots in the playoffs. If sunny and 81 degrees is inclement weather, I guess global warming is real.
The world wasn’t ending. In actuality, Castaway Island was closed for a private function. Apparently the park’s website had no other way to notify guests the water park would be closed they issued a weather alert “that wasn’t necessarily a weather alert”. No seriously. Reread the text description in the above photo.
So Castaway Island will have to wait another visit. Considering it was delayed all of last year, I think I can wait another month.
As a consolation prize, I took a lap on the Policy Pond Log Flume. This is still one of the best traditional flumes around. It has a good layout, some mini drops, a great final plunge, and the perfect amount of wetness.
Speaking of wetness, that holds true even if a guest drops a quarter. Canobie is too mainstream for water cannons. Instead, they hide sprayers. Last year, I was hit by one in the teepee tunnel. This year, I learned one of the overhead lights was turned into a shower. Well played Canobie.
I had noticed the park chopping down a lot of trees around the flume in recent years. I'm glad to say the park has started to plant new trees along the course. The wooded setting really helps make the ride. 9 out of 10
Up next was my annual ride on the Corkscrew. But this trip was different. For 20 years, I have walked across railroad tracks en route to the main entrance. Not in 2019. No, I walked over your garden variety, asphalt pathway.
Long story short, the park rerouted their train ride to accommodate Castaway Island so the train no longer passes in front of the Corkscrew.
As for the Corkscrew, it was decent. Per usual, I rode in the back to get some air on the drop and the ride was smooth outside of the first turnaround (granted that’s like a quarter of the ride). 5 out of 10
As more parks rip out their rotors, my love of the Turkish Twist increases. Not only is it one of the last examples of a dying breed, but it is also the best rotor I’ve ridden by far.
The Gs on this thing are ridiculous. Yes it’s short, but I totally understand why since it’s already too much for people. If this were Roller Coaster Tycoon, I’d position a handyman by the exit 24/7. 9 out of 10
Up next was the crowd barometer, the Yankee Cannonball. The coaster regularly has a full queue even on a random summer weekday. So I was stunned to see it was only 1-2 switchbacks deep all night.
Luck was truly on my side since I got two front row rides. I still prefer the back, but I won’t shoot a gift horse in the mouth. For those unfamiliar, Canobie counts off exactly 18 riders into a holding area. It is then first-come, first-serve for seats. And you are not allowed to wait an extra cycle.
I’ve ridden the Yankee Cannonball just over a hundred times and I think I can still count on one hand how many front row rides I’ve taken on it. In the front, the coaster has tiny pops of air on most hills except for the start of the return trip. Dang you GCI and your reprofiling!
In the back, the Yankee Cannonball has less instances of airtime, but they’re more powerful. The best parts are on the final turnaround and the first drop. And it’s glass smooth too, a remarkable feat for a 90 year old ride. 7 out of 10
The only thing more disappointing than Castaway Island closing early was Star Blaster. I really hope I caught Star Blaster on a bad day because it made a mini Moser tower look like Zumanjaro.
New for 2019 were seatbelts. And nobody knew they were there. I wish the park went all Cedar Point and announced “seatbelts first, lap bars second” because everyone blindly lowered their restraints. This resulted in the operators constantly having to unlock the restraints. Needless to say, loading was glacial.
But the real disappointment was the ride. The launch audio wasn’t synchronized, the launch was lifeless, and there was absolutely no airtime (the belts weren’t the issue). 2 out of 10
Thankfully I got my airtime fix from Untamed. Like all Eurofighters, that first drop delivers a powerful burst of air. There’s also some decent hangtime in the loop and barrel roll.
Now you do need to lean forwards though. The ride has some rough transitions on the cutback and helix. Failure to prepare for these moments will end in pain. 6.5 out of 10
I had about an hour left, so I scurried across the park to ride Mine of Lost Souls. Canobie veterans know to hit this ride at the end of the night. Midday, it often has a 30-60 minute wait. At night, it’s more dead than the ghosts on the ride.
Outside of backlit text in the opening hallway, the ride was its usual WTF. Somehow this mine in New Hampshire leads to Egypt and a date with the Grim Reaper. If you’re confused, join the club. That’s the Mine of Lost Souls for you. 7 out of 10
After the crazy short cycle on Cyborg, I felt compelled to ride Wipeout. Canobie only runs the ride in one direction (protein spills were common back in the day), but they run it for quite some time. And it’s run fast enough to deliver some tiny pops of air and borderline painful lats at the end. 8 out of 10
It was now 8:20, so I made my way to the Yankee Cannonball. The park diligently closes the queue a half hour before closing on busy days. On slow days, they have a trigger-happy employee by the entrance who closes the queue without any warning.
They closed the queue at 8:45. When the employees realized they only had 2 trains left, they channeled their inner Six Flags and slowed to a crawl. We even heard them laugh and say, “Make sure you really take your time checking restraints.”
It was only funny for me because I was on that last train.
Without a doubt, I’ll be back at Canobie a few more times this summer. Along with rerides on my favorites, I finally want to experience the water park that has been teasing me for a year now.
There’s also another new attraction under construction, a double decker carousel. Canobie must have caught SFNE-itis since this will be their third carousel.
But the rendering sure does look nice!
Canobie is a wonderful home park. It really is a charming place that always puts a smile on my face. Most people clamor for new rides. I just dream of the day when Canobie offers a season pass.