A secret to getting good rides on the Bobsled is to ride in the 2nd or 3rd row. I find that the front and back rows take the brunt of the impact when the car gets banged around entering into a brake run.
I do enjoy Great Escape quite a bit. I know it's out of the way for most people, but Lake George is a good weekend trip for people up north. After the Comet, I think the Around the World/US mini golf is the second best thing in the town. Lake George is the sleeper mini golf capital since I hear everyone rave about Myrtle Beach or Pigeon Forge, but rarely hear about Lake George.
Ahh, that makes sense then. Ride ops were looking for two riders, and after Rikki and I volunteered, we realized it was for the front row. Here I was thinking that was actually an awesome thing! Still was a great view, and I'm glad to have experienced a little piece of my home park's (SFGAdv) history.
With this report I bring you a park that's new to TPR, Huck Finn's Playland!
Hoffman's Playland has reincarnated as Huck Finn's Playland.
After 62 years of operation, Hoffman's Playland closed its doors at the end of the 2014 season. Home to a credit, the bigger loss was the park's classic Lusse bumper cars (as fast as Knoebels, but with no center divider so you could absolutely crush people). It was sad to see another park bite the dust, even if it was more of a kiddie park, but from the ashes rose Huck Finn's Playland.
In one of the weirder relocation stories ever, a local furniture store purchased all of Hoffman's Playland's rides and relocated them adjacent to their warehouse. Almost all of the rides were saved and the park is in the midst of its third year of operation. Unfortunately the one ride that didn't make it was the Bumper Cars. However, the coaster lived on and was the main reason for my visit.
The park's location is odd and I thought I was going to a construction site. When you get off the highway, you drive down a barely paved road lined with chain-link fences and deserted buildings. This is one of those times that I thought my GPS was trying to kill me. I knew the park had a Ferris Wheel, yet I couldn't see it. But at the end of the road, I was greeted with Huck Finn's Playland.
There's the cute Ferris Wheel. It's somewhere in between a kiddie one and an adult one.
My visit was the definition of credit whoring and a pit stop. I spent less than 10 minutes at the park and that was enough time to take pictures of all the park's rides and ride the coaster. The park is extremely small like Hoffman's was, but Huck Finn's Playland was decently crowded. The ride lines were minimal, but the midways were pretty crowded, probably because for every kid riding something there were 2 parents and a stroller on the midway.
The park is mostly made up of classic kiddie rides.
But there are some classic flats like the Paratrooper.
And the Scrambler.
And this Train that runs around the perimeter of the park.
I paid $2 for my coaster ticket. On the way over, I was snapping photos of the Roller Coaster (yes that's its name) and the Ferris Wheel. The ride operator watched me do this and when I went up the ride ramp, he asked if I was a roller coaster enthusiast. I guess an adult riding a kiddie coaster all alone is a tell-tale sign nowadays. I proudly said yes and grabbed the best seat in the house, the front. I have been on a few of the Herschell kiddie coasters, but this one has a unique "high-speed turn" after the lift instead of the slow, flat turn. This turn did give some laterals thanks to the minimal banking, but it was bumpy. The rest of the ride was fairly smooth and I got 3 laps.
The operator was staring me down as I photographed the park. He could tell I was a coaster enthusiast.
See I wasn't the only adult riding it...except I think he had a kid next to him.
Check out that high speed turn.
Huck Finn's Playland is the perfect pit stop if you're in the Albany area.
I'm glad to see Hoffman's Playland reincarnated as Huck Finn's Playland. I hope the park can find a way to add the Bumper Cars back since they were true gems, but in the meantime it looks to be bringing in the families on the weekends. If any of you credit whores are passing by Albany, I recommend popping in for a few minutes since it's free admission and just 1-2 minutes off the highway.
Story Land is, as one of my coworker's says, the "Disneyland for poor people." For kids, that's a very fair point. Instead of Mickey Mouse, they have Duke the Dragon. Instead of Cinderella, they have, well they actually have Cinderella. And each ride in the park has great attention to detail that makes a standard tilt-a-whirl or tea cup ride just a bit more special and memorable for kids.
For a single adult, Story Land can be a little awkward, but Roar-o-saurus is such a good roller coaster that it's worth waiting in line with dozens of kids half your size as parents confusedly look at you wondering where your kid is. Also while the theming is meant for the younger audience, I can still appreciate just how well themed the entire park is.
Welcome to, as my coworker calls it, "Disneyland for Poor People."
This may not be Disneyland, but you can still meet Cinderella.
No really, the park actually has their own Cinderella.
Lake Compounce advertises Story Land. Story Land advertises Lake Compounce. Now that's a good business relationship.
Being a Story Land veteran, I knew how to tour the park. The key is to not run towards Roar-o-saurus. Not only would a single adult running through a children's park draw unwanted attention, but Roar-o-saurus opens a half hour after the rest of the park. So what did I do instead? I rode Story Land's coolest coaster, the Polar Coaster. By taking the shortcut up and over the hill (Six Flags Magic Mountain make all other hills seem puny), I was on the second train of the day.
What would otherwise be an uneventful junior coaster is actually a decent ride thanks to its location on the hillside. The first half is a series of slow turns, but the second half has a decent little helix and a small little hill over the water. It's not a very thrilling ride, but it's a coaster I grew up on and better than a few of the mine trains I've been on. 5 out of 10
This is without a doubt the park's coolest ride.
The Polar Coaster has a really nice setting on the hill.
Helix of death!
After that, I made my way over to a ride that's certainly a mouth full to say, Dr. Geyser's Remarkable Raft Ride. On hot summer days, this ride can actually start to pull half hour waits, but I entered an entirely empty queue building and was able to get two solo rides back-to-back on the river rapids ride. Actually I lied, Dr. Geyser's isn't really a "river rapids" ride. It's more of a gentle stream with sprinklers, misters, and geysers around every corners.
While most rapids rides can get you uncomfortably wet for the rest of the day, Dr. Geyser's actually provides the perfect amount of wetness in most cases unless you hit the jackpot and get absolutely nailed by every single one of the geysers. The latter happened on my second ride but I didn't mind since it was 90 degrees and I had my belongings safely tucked away in zip lock bags. 8 out of 10
Not the distinct lack of rapids on the "river rapids" ride.
But there are geysers!
And a mist filled tunnel that smells as dank as a pair of used rain boots.
Dr. Geyser's blows his load.
It was 9:50, so I had 10 minutes until I could board the park's innocent-looking but incredibly awesome Gravity Group wooden coaster. No better way to spend it than riding the park's adorable log flume, the Bamboo Chutes. If you don't look at those boats and go "aw", there's something seriously wrong with you. It's a pretty short layout for a flume, but the park has some great landscaping around the flume, a giant dragon that is a squirter instead of a screamer, and a good final plunge built on a hillside. 7 out of 10
Bamboo Chutes is the cutest flume around. Just look at those panda logs!
Bamboo Chutes is good; Pablo Sandoval is not. What a waste of $100 million dollars.
The clock struck 10. The rope dropped and the dinosaur section was open to park guests. Quite a few kids and parents had the same idea as me, but the weak dropped out as they were distracted by the Magic Submarine sprayground, cotton candy, or their own light-up sneakers. I made my way to Roar-o-saurus and saw an employee standing out front. Closed...
I did not just drive 3 hours to visit a park whose star wooden coaster would be closed all day. Thank goodness I didn't. That would be Dollywood. The employee assured me Roar-o-saurus would be up and running sometime in the next hour. Phew. That was a crisis averted.
My faith and justification for visiting a children's park rested in their hands.
With an extra hour to explore the park, I sampled a few of the park's other rides. I tried the park's Splash Battle and got much wetter than I anticipated. While at Dollywood, the older guests barely used the off-ride water sprayers since they were afraid of getting wet themselves, the younger guests at Story Land had absolutely no reservations getting soaked to the bone since they didn't have to worry about leaving with non-functional cell phones or soggy wallets. They stood in there like a major leaguer taking a retaliation fastball and made sure I left the ride dripping wet.
The pharaoh reigns down on his subjects.
Their flat collection looks amazing. Honestly, I think they theme their flat rides better than the flat rides at Disney or Universal. Their Alice in Wonderland tea cups ride has a well-themed queue with the Cheshire Cat. The tubs of fun is located in an elaborately themed cuckoo clock. And the park built an entire Dutch Village just to go with their little roto jets ride where you ride in Dutch Shoes. I'm really not kidding, just look at the photos how well they theme all their flats.
The tea cups ride theming is on par with Disney.
But then the queue blows Disney out of the water. Now you see me.
Now you don't.
I honestly think the theming must have cost more than the ride here. Just look at that theming!
There's an entire village around the little Dutch Shoes ride.
Still the only park I've ever seen this flat at.
These were the best themed tubs I had ever seen on a Tilt-a-Whirl until I saw Holiday World's turkeys. I mean you can't beat a turkey. Unless it's on Thanksgiving.
Slow and unsnappable, but they look pretty good. Not quite good as Canobie's cocks though.
After riding Flying Fish, I heard the clickity clack of a lift hill and saw Roar-o-saurus cycling trains. I made my way back to the dino area and 5-10 minutes later, the ride reopened. My first few rides on Wooden Warrior absolutely blew me away (like everyone else) and I was amazed a ride that small could provide that much air. When Story Land built a similarly sized Gravity Group wooden coaster, I hoped it would be equally as amazing but was afraid Story Land would tame the ride down due to the park's clientele. Much to my pleasant, Roar-o-saurus is actually wilder and a more aggressive ride.
Woohoo, the maintenance guys did it!
Every single hill give a very brief but abrupt pop of airtime. The ride feels very much like a buckling bronco. While most coasters have some downtime between elements, Roar-o-saurus doesn't let up and has some of the tightest transitions I've seen on any coaster between elements. This keeps the intensity up, but unfortunately it adds some shuffling. Nothing too rough, but it was definitely noticeable. I got 5 rides on Roar-o-saurus. It wasn't quite as good as I remembered last year, but it was still a great coaster and by far the best ride in the park. 8.5 out of 10
After my last ride, I saw a teenager complaining to the operator about his lost phone. Despite the park having free storage bins and warning riders the coaster is much wilder than it looks (both verbally and with a detailed whiteboard listing how many riders in the day and season have lost keys, wallets, and phones), the guy lost his shiny iPhone 7 and it landed face-up in the middle of the ride. I'm honestly impressed the screen didn't shatter, but the teen wasn't impressed that the park refused to stop operations to retrieve his phone.
It may only be 35ish feet tall, but the ride is aggressive. Air on every single hill.
Just look at that guy's face in row 2.
One other particularly unique attraction is the Antique Carousel. Instead of going up-and-down like 99% of the other carousels out there, Story Land's classic carousel allows riders to rock back and forth. I think the intent is for parents to rock their kids gently back and forth, but this can easily turn into one heck of a workout violently rocking the horse back and forth on your own.
It's like the Derby Racer except normal speed.
I had also planned to hit Attitash and Whale's Tale in the same day, so I called it a day after 5 rides on Roar-o-saurus. On my way out, I passed through the park's older area. I used to spend hours in this section as a kid since they have some animals acting out childhood classics as well as playgrounds galore.
Where's the wolf?
Goat big or goat home.
I know it's primarily a children's park, but if you are in the area, I definitely recommend checking out Story Land. Roar-o-saurus is a really good wooden coaster. I know I seem to be in the minority as I like it over Wooden Warrior, but the ride has more to it at the expense of being slightly rougher.
After leaving I stopped at my favorite restaurant in the area for lunch, Glen Junction. It's a really good breakfast place and they have model trains running around the restaurant which is a definite plus from me.
I think the park takes pretty good care of Roar-o-saurus, but there's just nothing they can do on some of those transitions. Mine Blower sounds similar from the reviews that I have heard.
I did meet Cinderella...back when I was 5. I haven't walked up the hill to that castle in like 15-20 years. There is the pumpkin coach that takes you to the top, but it only seats 4ish people so the line is painfully slow.
Jesus, that's an adorable little park. I'm kind of kicking myself for not adding it into my New England/Northeast road trip last month, but as it stands that was already jam-packed (eight parks in the span of two days) -- I'll definitely have to make an appointment to stop in sometime! Maybe next year... if my daughter manages to keep up her growth as well as her brother, she should be over the 42" mark at some point during next summer.
I really can't get over the theming. Those pandas! *squee*
That coaster dad  and that coaster kiddo .Road trip buddies for life. Dad's faves: Fury 325. Phantom's Revenge. Twisted Timbers. Intimidator 305. El Toro. Kiddo's faves: Storm Runner. Banshee. Top Thrill Dragster. Valravn. Superman: Ultimate Flight.
Love this trip report so much! It's so much fun to see all these pictures from parks that I know close to nothing about. Storyland looks particularly impressive, with it's scenic location and great theming!
Canobie Coaster wrote:
That has to be some of the coolest theming I've ever seen on a flat ride!!
Canobie Coaster wrote:After leaving I stopped at my favorite restaurant in the area for lunch, Glen Junction. It's a really good breakfast place and they have model trains running around the restaurant which is a definite plus from me.
Food and model trains, sounds like heaven to me! (although I don't think anything can beat the bar in Prague where they have model trains bring the beers to your table)
^ The other impressive thing is that the food is actually good. A lot of those gimmick restaurants are weak in that area. The Alton Towers Roller Coaster restaurant sounded like an amazing concept having coasters bring you food, but the reviews didn't really mention the food.
coneyislandchris wrote:Jesus, that's an adorable little park. I'm kind of kicking myself for not adding it into my New England/Northeast road trip last month, but as it stands that was already jam-packed (eight parks in the span of two days) -- I'll definitely have to make an appointment to stop in sometime! Maybe next year... if my daughter manages to keep up her growth as well as her brother, she should be over the 42" mark at some point during next summer.
I really can't get over the theming. Those pandas! *squee*
If I weren't local, I probably would never have made it to Story Land. It's pretty far north from Boston, but it's in a very scenic area.
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