Trip Planning & Photo TR: NW PA/Western NY- Labor Day

Conneaut, Waldameer, Martin's, Seabreeze, NYS Fair
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Re: Help me plan a NW PA / Western NY trip for Labor Day wee

Postby ejot » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:49 am

Wow, such great feedback, everyone! Thanks again. I kind of thought three people would say, "Go to Darien Lake" and then the thread would fizzle. :lmao:

wildcatroc:
I rode Blue Streak 22 times my only other visit, so I totally know that "just one more time" feeling, hahaha! In a very different (and good) kind of way, I think the outbound half of a back car ride rivals I305 and Skyrush in intensity. It's going to be a terrible shame on so many levels when this glorious machine inevitably bites the dust.
All your thoughts are so helpful... stuff like the Music Express tip and good views from Seabreeze's waterpark ... exactly why this forum is so valuable!

cal1br3tto:
I couldn't leave out Martin's, we've only got four "big boy" CCI's up in the Northeast. Instant must-do park. And I think I will get to the Herschell museum after all. I mean, Niagara Falls probably looks very much like it did the last time I was there.

So my revised plan is:
Fri - drive out late
Sat - Conneaut, Waldameer
Sun - Herschell, Martin's, Seabreeze
Mon - State Fair & drive home

Took some rearranging of other plans as this trip wasn't supposed to go into Monday, but it's worth it. I'd rather give the fair a full day than try to fit in Sylvan Beach as well, so I now don't need any advice for there. It is still a park I want to check out someday if just for the dark ride.
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Re: Help me plan a NW PA / Western NY trip for Labor Day wee

Postby coasterkid124 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:58 am

Martin's and Seabreeze seem like kind of a stretch for the same day. How long are you planning on staying at Martins? I would suggest getting there at opening and staying about 2- 2 1/2 hours max. Seabreeze is the bigger park and has more to do/experience.
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Re: Help me plan a NW PA / Western NY trip for Labor Day wee

Postby ejot » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:03 am

That's exactly the plan ... 2-2.5h @ Martin's right at opening and then hit the road. I think it will actually be a pretty relaxed day with plenty of time at the parks. I put the pedal to the metal. :oops:
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Re: Help me plan a NW PA / Western NY trip for Labor Day wee

Postby wildcatroc » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:01 am

ejot wrote:That's exactly the plan ... 2-2.5h @ Martin's right at opening and then hit the road. I think it will actually be a pretty relaxed day with plenty of time at the parks. I put the pedal to the metal. :oops:


You should have plenty of time to do both Fantasy Island and Seabreeze, just watch the time as was mentioned earlier. If your goal at Seabreeze is to simply do the rides you can do everything you want to do in 3 hours. If you want to spend some time strolling through the water park or reading some of the displays in the Carousel building or the historical signs throughout the park, then a little more time is appropriate. If you arrive at Seabreeze after 5pm there is a discount admission. With the park open until 10 there is plenty of time to do everything that you could possibly want to do, even if you arrived at 6 or so. The nights are lovely at Seabreeze and so you're definitely in for a treat. Have fun!

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Re: Help me plan a NW PA / Western NY trip for Labor Day wee

Postby Philrad71 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:43 pm

A little late to the party here, but your plan sounds fairly solid. Being that I only live about 10 miles from Midway, I can tell you that it's probably not worth your time unless you are a history buff or credit whore.

The revamped carousel is gorgeous, the arcade classic, the kiddie coaster clunky, but other than that it would cost you a couple of hours out of your way to visit.

I have some foodie spots listed for the Buffalo area in the 'Good Eating Outside of Theme Parks' & Philrad's Phoodie Thread' if you're interested!

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Re: Help me plan a NW PA / Western NY trip for Labor Day wee

Postby ejot » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:21 am

Thanks Philrad! I had planned on a stop at Duff's but (716) is making it a tough choice. Lagerhaus95 would have won out over both of them, but they're closed Sundays when I'll be passing through.

A stop at Midway only seems to add about 1/2hour to the drive between Waldameer and the Buffalo area. I like the history and would have checked out the carousel, arcade and train... but not losing any sleep over missing out.


wildcatroc wrote:The nights are lovely at Seabreeze and so you're definitely in for a treat. Have fun!

I definitely will... already way excited for this trip!
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The current plan. I'm an OCD engineer so I do things like this, but I also stay flexible as I travel and don't always stick to it 100%. I'm not opposed to nicer hotels here and there but these are just places to sleep a few hours so I went to ultra-budget route.
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Re: Help me plan a NW PA / Western NY trip for Labor Day wee

Postby Philrad71 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:28 am

^Love your OCD schedule there...as would my partner as he does similar itineraries for trips! ;)

I will be interested to hear what you think of Duffs. I find their wings to be a bit better than Anchor Bar...and a bit cheaper as well.

I will save you any anguish that you may feel by posting a Midway trip report. Been meaning to do it for some time now, but just haven't had the time. Well yesterday, I think that I either developed Achilles Tendonitis or I blew it out playing golf - not sure what really happened. Can't do much walking today, so why not do a trip report? :)

Hope you have a great time on your trip!
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Re: Trip Planning & Photo TR: NW PA/Western NY- Labor Day

Postby ejot » Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:22 am

So I just found out that CLP is having their first (and perhaps only) annual "Park after Dark" event where you can ride from 10pm to 2am for $20. And it's tomorrow!

I've done a night ride on Blue Streak. It is incredible. I will be rearranging my plans slightly. This cannot be missed.

Anyway, I'm heading out tonight and will re-purpose this thread as a photo TR .... eventually. For now, any last-minute tips are of course welcome.
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Re: Trip Planning & Photo TR: NW PA/Western NY- Labor Day

Postby ejot » Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:33 pm

Back from my trip, it was great weekend. All three days were very hot and humid, each hitting 90°F before noon and highs of 94°-96°.

These links will activate as the reports are posted:
Day I Part I: Conneaut (YOU ARE HERE)
Day I Part II: Waldameer
Day II Part I: Herschell
Day II Part II: Martin's
Day II Part III: Seabreeze
Day III: NYS Fair

With the future of CLP perennially up in the air, and with my great love for Blue Streak, I was resolved to get back to the park this year. Interestingly, this park has a long history of battling through bleak outlooks, all the way back to the 1930's, mirroring many of today's difficulties. Granted, many parks struggled in the 30's, but among those that survived, perhaps none were as unlikely to as CLP. It's been the "park that won't die" for much more than the last ~15 years. In Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania, Jim Futrell writes:

In 1927, trolley service to Conneaut Lake Park ended. The loss of patronage, combined with an increasing competition from other amusement park as well as from movies, forced the park into receivership on September 27, 1929. For the next three seasons, Conneaut Lake Park struggled in the face of absentee owners and the Depression. By October 1932, it looked as though the park was headed for liquidation. But because of the Depression, it was concluded that no one would have the resources to purchase any of ...(the) Park's assets, and that it would have to be sold as a going concern. As a result, one of two banks controlling the park, the Crawford County Trust Company, was permitted by the court to foreclose on the park, but the other bank, the People's Pittsburg Trust, appealed, and Conneaut Lake Park was allowed to remain open for one more year. In November 1933, Conneaut Lake Park was auctioned off, and People's Pittsburgh Trust purchased the park for $35,000.


The bank then installed new management and made significant investments (including Blue Streak in 1938), allowing for a successful recovery.

Fast forward the better part of a century. The park is, naturally, looking very much like it did last year. There is work being done on the coaster - retracking and reroofing of the tunnel. The gift shop was downsized - the Slapchops and Geauga gear were gone, but some nice shirts and hoodies were stocked. All that was missing was someone to sell me one. Devil's Den was back open; I'd missed it because it is used as a haunt during the Halloween season. I'm really starting to dig these classic dark rides. Witches Brew ran slower than I remember, sadly. A volleyball event was using the hotel grounds and the beach was quite busy. The park itself, of course, was not.

Blue Streak was down for repairs when I arrived at noon but was running within the hour. The front car was out of service; they may have been rehabbing lap bars because the rest of them were working much smoother than last year. I marathoned for about a half hour, made it on every dispatch, and hit most of the open seats; the trains were generally a bit over half full. Even with the new-looking track sections, the ride seemed even rougher than I remember it last season and you could really see the cars in front of you bouncing up and slamming back into the track repeatedly. The first drop in the back row still delivers some of the fiercest airtime and one of the most intense coaster experiences out there.

We'll be heading up the road to Waldameer next - which was incredible - but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Picture time!
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Upon arrival the parking lot was completely full... of grass, and dirt.
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There really IS a coaster in this pic!
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The midway was bustling with its typical crowds.
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These folks were bumping, setting, and spiking and having an all-around grand time on the lakefront.
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The world really needs more Harry Traver.
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This is where you fall out if you don't hold on.
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Nerd shot. And no, I didn't crawl under the Bug to get this, silly.
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Pretty in a kind of UrbEx way.
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Dilapidated vibrancy hints an ebullient yore. Did I really just write that?
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And Great Adventure fans complain about their tower.... By the way, this was installed by the People's Pittsburgh Trust (bank) in their 1930's redevelopment of the park.
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There were four more letters on this sign than there were functioning bumper cars. A three-fold improvement from last year.
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Still wanna ride?
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Of course you do!
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Reconstruction of the tunnel roof is underway.
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Blue Streak has a curved skid brake. How many coasters have this? I can think of at least one other, and it's in PA, too. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
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The Fedora-sporting operator was very friendly and didn't waste time getting the train out each lap.
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I may have bought a shirt ... if anyone had been manning the gift shop.
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At Conneaut Lake Park, you can do park-like things like rent fluffy bunnies and buy gumballs. Just kidding, you can't really do either of those things.
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If you don't like pictures of an old woodie nestled deep in the woods, this is probably a good place for you to turn back.
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Let's finish off with a few more views of the Streak from the Bessemer Train (which finally opened, woohoo!)
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I'll stop yapping now and just let you enjoy them. ;)
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Ok, one more thing. Look how the track braces between the bents are nestled within the stack. Is this design unique to Vettel?
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Last comment, really. The stack was 12 boards tall at the bottom of this hill!!
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Re: Trip Planning & Photo TR: NW PA/Western NY- Labor Day

Postby n1ch0las » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:35 am

Nice shots of the Blue Streak. Did you end up riding it at night until 2AM? That would've been an experience for sure. I was at CLP back in August and was pleasantly shocked with the shape the rides were in. Started on the Tumblebug and was really concerned for my safety, but that eventually wore off.

I'd bet that they are rehabbing the benches and buzzbars in the first car. On my first ride the bench detached from the train at the bottom of the first drop, slamming me into the front of the car. Definitely the first time that's ever happened to me on a coaster! Also noticed that the first brake run didn't function at all and they had to completely rely on the curved brakes to stop the train - was it still like that on your visit?

You could definitely tell they are rehabbing the ride slowly but surely as time and funds become available, I do hope it sticks around because some of those rides in the back row were full of terrifying airtime. Can't imagine what that'd be like on the original Vettel train without restraints!
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