I almost broke my jaw at Tokyo DisneySea. Not from too much popcorn or anything, but from the beauty of the park. The moment I saw Mt. Prometheus, my jaw dropped and I had to be careful not to step on it. Without any hesitation, I can say that Tokyo DisneySea is the most beautiful theme park I have ever visited. I mean this as a compliment, but it was easy to forget we were in a theme park at many points throughout the park. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.
Finally I made it to Tokyo DisneySea!
It's incredible the park built Mt. Prometheus in the center of the park since it meant it needed to look amazing in every direction. And it does!
Heck the volcano even erupts randomly.
As expected, it looked incredible at night too.
Yes this is still Tokyo DisneySea and not the real Venice. Though can you tell the difference?
Cape Cod looked too nice and not touristy enough.
This ship looks even bigger in person. This picture doesn't do it justice.
That’s pretty impressive considering some of the rides at this park. Tokyo DisneySea’s ride lineup may not offer the breadth of the resort’s flagship park; however, it more than compensates with the quality. After Splash Mountain, DisneySea had my three favorite attractions at the resort.
And that was without Journey to the Center of the Earth. From POVs, the ride looks like an absolute masterpiece combining the high speed finale with impressive animatronics. Unfortunately the ride was down for maintenance. Not that I needed any reasons to return, but Journey is a pretty darn good one.
I kept telling myself if I looked hard enough, I'd see a vehicle shoot out of the volcano. Next time!
I'm guessing this was for Journey.
Even with Journey closed, Mysterious Island looked amazing.
Even more so at night.
For the attractions that were open, Indiana Jones Adventure was my favorite. Indiana Jones is my favorite film franchise so I’m admittedly very biased. But this attraction received a budget approaching a major motion picture and it shows. The colossal set-pieces are absolutely awe-inspiring and adding in the exciting motion of the EMVs is icing on the cake.
The layout is the exact same as California’s (and technically Dinosaur). The motions felt a bit tamer than its US brethren (could have been by design or my memory failing me), but it was still plenty exciting and felt like a bucking bronco at points when the vehicle would suddenly jerk from a near stop to its maximum speed. This is most evident during the hairpin turns in the dark and the final drop.
However, instead of being themed to the Forbidden Eye, Tokyo’s is themed to the Crystal Skull. Thankfully it’s unrelated to the fourth film, which is an absolute abomination. There were some new effects such as a blasted smoke ring, but most were similar. Some were dressed differently (i.e. Crystal Skull instead of Mara), but others were identical like the cobra attack.
Indiana Jones Adventure is an absolute delight from start to finish. I’m always in awe how Disney was able to incorporate a thrill ride with such an immersive attraction. How can you not get amped up when you see a 50 foot statue firing lasers or a colossal boulder rolling towards you? I think I slightly prefer California’s, but this is undoubtedly one of the best dark rides in the world. Actually make that one of the best rides in the world. 10 out of 10
In most parks, this would be the most impressive structure. Too bad it has to compete with Prometheus.
Thankfully the movie had no affiliation with the Indiana Jones sequel that I wish never existed.
The whole ride plays like a summer blockbuster and that's fine by me.
Despite the positive reviews Guardians and Tokyo’s Tower of Terror always received, I was leery if I’d enjoy a non-Twilight Zone themed tower as much. That theme works so well. Well, seeing the beautiful tower in person started to quell those doubts and then they disappeared entirely (just like Shiriki) after the pre-show. Disney crafted yet another marvelous story.
Shiriki is not your traditional Disney character. He’s not cute and cuddly (maybe that’s why he didn’t have much merchandise), but rather he’s a seriously vindictive dude with a serious Napoleon complex. Most Disney villains just talk a big game, cast some spells, and want to rule a kingdom. Shiriki is out for blood and the scenes are appropriately dark and ominous.
The drop sequence is the weakest of the three towers I’ve ridden. I knew there was no way it’d match Orlando’s, but I was hopeful it’d at least match California’s former four drop program. Sadly it only had three drops (1 half, 1 rapid ascent, and 1 full drop), but that still surpasses basically every other drop tower on the planet. And the drops pack a punch too. Despite the shoulder belts, I felt plenty of airtime (particularly on the rapid ascent) and got that delightful stomach drop sensation.
One of the drop shafts was down for our visit, so lines were regularly around 2 hours. Thankfully Fastpass was my best friend and allowed me to experience this brilliant attraction 7 or 8 times. The quality of the drops is better than almost every drop tower on the planet, so when you mix in such a captivating story, you have a truly world-class attraction. It can’t beat Orlando’s tower as an attraction, but the theme may. 10 out of 10
At first I wasn't sure how I'd like the non-Hollywood Tower of Terror, but I was a believer when I saw this.
The fog made the tower appear extra ominous in the morning.
Don't piss of Shiriki or else.
One of my favorite little touches is how a bolt of lightning strikes the elevator right before it falls.
Toy Story Mania is appropriately named, as the Japanese go crazy over this attraction. The flood of people heading to Toy Story at opening is overwhelming. If you aren’t at the front of that mob, you’re wait has already reached the 1-2 hour mark. Then the Fastpasses rapidly deplete. It seemed like they ran dry within 1-1.5 hours after park opening.
If you couldn't tell, Toy Story is off to the left.
This is the best looking of the three Toy Story Manias. You have the giant Woody serving as the ride entrance, which on its own looks incredible. But further, the area perfectly captures the feel of a classic boardwalk amusement park and is absolutely mesmerizing when it’s lit up at night. Then the queue is very reminiscent of Florida’s with all the oversized board games and toys.
The ride is identical to the two in the United States and I didn’t mind one bit. This is the best shooter. There is something inherently satisfying about pulling the string to fire plungers, darts, or whatever else it may be and by the end of the ride, your arm is absolutely exhausted and you have to power through it to get a top score. The more I ride Toy Story, the more bonus targets I discover such as the erupting volcano. I just wish the line wasn’t as prohibitively long so I could ride it more! 10 out of 10
This is easily the best looking Toy Story Mania. Just look at Woody's pearly whites.
Woody is really turned on at night.
California's queue is so disappointing after walking through this one and Florida's.
I swear it was just a coincidence that I photographed the Slinky Dog car.
Speaking of Slinky Dog...
Here you can purchase your favorite Slinky Dog merchandise.
Like this beautiful hat and then you can pose with him.
I felt absolutely no shame showing my appreciation of Slinky (or Dale for that matter) considering just how crazy some of Donald’s fans were.
Dale literally bowed down to me when he saw my hat and t-shirt.
I showed restraint. I capped myself at like 4 Chip n Dale souvenirs. This person did not do the same with Donald.
This is probably their favorite store- the Donald gift shop.
There are also two coasters for good measure. Raging Spirits is probably the most intense coaster at the resort and it’s actually surprising how smooth it is. It’s a compact Intamin taking the form of one of those traveling Pinfari loopers. With the oversized restraints and tight transitions, I was amazed that there wasn’t any headbanging. Those who had ridden it on past trips noted the park had smoothed the coaster out, but whatever they did worked wonders.
The coaster bit is decent. There are two drops with pops of air in the back and the vertical loop is odd in that it starts off forceful but then delivers some hangtime. Beyond that, there isn’t much else to the layout. Where Raging Spirits shines is the theming. The coaster weaves in and out of ancient ruins, so the basic layout is actually concealed quite well. Plus the use of fog and fire really heightens the thrill, particularly in the evening when the intensity of the effects seems to be cranked up.
The two major coasters at the adjacent park were superior, but Raging Spirits was an enjoyable and extremely reridable coaster, particularly since it offered a single rider line that was usually a walk-on. It’s also equally as enjoyable to watch as it is to ride thanks to those aforementioned effects. 7 out of 10
First Shiriki and now this. There are a lot of angry spirits at DisneySea.
They're especially angry at night.
What should be a boring boardwalk coaster is elevated by some impressive theming.
These riders are braver than Indiana Jones.
And in case you miss the big freaking loop while waiting, they have this lovely warning that you will in fact go upside down.
Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster was something I said I wouldn’t ride if it had any sort of a wait. However, the allure of the Little Mermaid themed kids coaster was too much for me to pass up. After a half hour, I boarded Togo’s take on a junior coaster.
The coaster doesn’t track quite as well as a Vekoma roller skater, but it never delved into rough territory. The layout wasn’t anything special, but the landscaping around the attraction sure was. The coaster was located in a recessed alcove and packed to the gills with flowers, trees, and plants. 3 out of 10
The adjacent Little Mermaid area looked incredible as well even though I didn't ride anything else.
At least I wasn't the only adult riding.
In retrospect, I probably should have waited for the castle to pass by the castle.
The indoor area looks incredibly cool even if it's just a show and some flat rides.
This looks a whole lot better than California's (if they even still have that ride).
Nemo & Friends SeaRider was the newest attraction at the park and subsequently boasted lengthy queues. Fortunately we were able to Fastpass it since the ride appeared to be limited to one theater on the day we visited. This was one of those motion simulator theaters.
The theater is actually more impressive than most. Beyond the large screen in front, you also had these portholes along the side of the theater. The movement was pretty mild, especially after riding Star Tours, and the plot never expanded beyond a meet and greet of familiar faces from the film, but it was a decent attraction. It seemed to really be a bit hit among younger riders. 6 out of 10
Slowly but surely, Pixar has creeped into Tokyo DisneySea.
Right next door was Aquatopia, one of the oddest attractions out there. It’s essentially a nonsensical joyride in the oddest watercraft you’ll ever board. There were two separate sides, but they give equally as random ride experiences. You’re sure to spin, stop, randomly spin some more, and move about with no particular rhyme or reason. It sounds stupid, but it’s just stupid fun. 7 out of 10
Will they go left or right? Stop and spin? Your guess is as good as mine.
At night, Aquatopia was basically the slowest rave you'll ever witness.
Here's a cool shot in the morning before they filled Aquatopia's pool and you can see the trackless set-up.
Usually I only take park transportation if it’s faster than walking or offers photo opportunities you can’t otherwise get. The DisneySea Electric Railway doesn’t really offer both. However, it’s unique in that it’s an elevated railway much like the subway system running through downtown Chicago. It’s worth a ride if you catch it as a walk-on, but if there’s any sort of wait I’d recommend walking. 5 out of 10
I'm guessing you were focused on the mountain rather than the train.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the lone attraction open in the Mysterious Island area with Journey down for rehab. The attraction offered Fastpass, but it was absolutely unnecessary as I never saw the queue longer than 10 minutes. This is a capacity machine. Part of the reason is the conscientious decision to have the submarine style vehicles designed so they can be boarded like a traditional dark ride to accelerate loading.
The unique part about this attraction was the light. Each rider is given a flashlight they can move around to illuminate the set-pieces. They don’t react like Monsters Inc, but it’s a neat little feature. The highlight though is the kraken animatronic at the end of the attraction. It’s simply massive and the effect to dispose of it is very well executed. 8 out of 10
The other Nemo ride.
Sinbad is the park’s version of It’s a Small World. It’s a slow-moving boat with an undeniably catchy tune that’s sure to be stuck in your head. The attraction is teeming with animatronics. Many are in the doll style of It’s a Small World, but some are larger such as an ogre about halfway through the ride. Then you also have some cool supplemental effects like the rainstorm sequence. It’s not my favorite dark ride at the resort, but it’s always a walk-on like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. 7 out of 10
Just when you get It's a Small World out of your head, Sinbad has another catchy tune to fill the void.
I didn't ride it, but this carousel sure was pretty.
The park’s collection of shows was also exemplary. We started with the live musical performance, Big Band Beat. The show highlighted jazz music and had a high production value, combining great singers with well-choreographed dance routines. The most impressive part was that characters participated. Dancing alone would have been plenty impressive, but Mickey even had a drum solo. I guess Mickey is more than just a conductor. 8 out of 10
I wish I could have shown you Mickey playing the drums, but no cameras were allowed. Guess you'll have to visit and see for yourself.
The Magic Lamp Theater was not what I expected. After picking up a pair of 3D glasses, I expected your typical 3D film. Instead I was treated to a lively magic show and only halfway through the performance did the Genie appear on the big screen and utilize the 3D. The 3D effects were the usual “in your face” variety, but the combination of live action and 3D was something I had only seen previously on T2. 7 out of 10
A live action/3D hybrid was not what I was expecting, but it was well done.
But the top show was without a doubt Fantasmic. The park cautioned that due to wind, there would be a modified version of the show. If the version I saw was modified, than the real one must truly be special. While Florida has the designated arena for Fantasmic, I prefer how DisneySea use the park’s pre-existing body of water like Disneyland. It makes the show feel much more organic. Plus at DisneySea, it’s nice to have Mt. Prometheus in the background, especially since the show incorporates an eruption or two.
The music was as catchy and lively as ever and it was accompanied by several vibrant floats. What really stood out for me was the finale. Because of the lake’s location, I figured they’d have some size restrictions on their floats, so I was interested to see how they’d handle the dragon. They had a very clever reveal where the dragon bursts through the Magical Mirror after it slowly unfolds to its maximum height.
Then the pyrotechnics conclude the performance with a bang. The dragon takes aim at Mickey with her fire breath until Mickey casts Avada Kedavra to terminate the beast. Then that’s followed with a plentiful display of fireworks. None of the fireworks traveled particularly high (presumably due to the wind), but there were more than enough to compensate. This truly is a night spectacular. It’s not quite as good as Disneyland’s, but it’s close. 10 out of 10
Using the existing park features over an arena (like Hollywood Studios) makes the show so much better.
Dragons and fire is a winning recipe.
There was also a day parade on the water that seemed pretty popular. I didn't watch it however.
Tokyo DisneySea is also a culinary wonder. As I mentioned in my Disneyland report, I’m not a fan of sweets so I avoided most flavors. One different flavor I did have was garlic shrimp. It tasted good, but it definitely didn’t taste like shrimp. It tasted more like a pork rind.
This should be called pork rind popcorn, but it's yummy regardless.
Three other snacks I tried were the fried pizza turnover, Yucatan sausage roll, and gyoza roll. The pizza turnover was probably my favorite of the three. It tasted like an empanada, which is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. The Yucatan sausage roll was decent, but the gyoza roll was considerably better. It was more like an elongated dumpling than gyoza, but whatever it was, it was really good.
The pizza turnover was my surprise favorite snack at the park.
The gyoza roll was super long and tasty and as Michael Scott would say, that's what she said.
This looks a bit wrong, but it tasted delicious.
My favorite meal was at Horizon Bay. It was across from Aquatopia and I got a surprisingly cheap three course dinner. Since I’m not a dessert fan, I loaded up on two soups, but the highlight was the salmon. Being from the Northeast, I’m pretty picky on my seafood, but Tokyo DisneySea’s gets my seal of approval.
Just look at this whole spread.
Tokyo DisneySea really is a spectacular theme park. The attention to detail around every corner is stunning and you can have an extremely enjoyable day just walking around not even riding anything. That’s not something you can say about a lot of parks. So when you add in elite rides like Indiana Jones and Tower of Terror, Tokyo DisneySea truly becomes exceptional.
Usually parks try and diversify their offerings. Parks may focus on thrills or kids’ attractions, but they often have a mix appealing to both. Adventure City does no such thing. They go all in on kids’ attractions. For that reason, I can confidently say that I was the only adult without a child in the park unless there was another enthusiast visiting at the same time as me.
Make sure you whip out your coaster membership for a nice discount.
Adventure City is mere minutes down the road from Knott’s Berry Farm and occupies a tiny little strip of land much like Long Island’s Adventureland. It’s honestly impressive they were able to shoehorn a park in here. It’s an easy in and out for coaster enthusiasts and the park offers a generous discount to coaster club card carrying members. I believe I got in for less than $10 with my Club TPR card.
Despite its small size, the park was undeniably charming. A majority of the attractions were themed to one form of transportation or another- firetrucks, balloons, cars, boats, etc. As a kid, I would have fallen in love with the place. Likewise, this is the perfect place to bring your kids and watch their imagination run wild.
Or if you’re a coaster enthusiast, you’ll immediately weave past hordes of people half your height for two credits. The first is one of the more unique Milers out there, the Freeway Coaster. The layout and elements are no different than your usual Miler kiddie coaster, but the placement sure is. The second hill travels over a tree branch (something I’m pretty sure would give a corporate park a heart attack) and then the final helix interacts with a rock cave.
It wasn’t particularly fast and was a bit jerky, but the target audience was satisfied- the kids came off smiling and enthusiasts can add another to their count. 3 out of 10
This coaster's theme is inaccurate. 10mph is far too fast to be traveling during LA rush hour traffic.
Not many parks would have the cajones to go over a tree branch like this.
Freeway Coaster rocks.
Rewind Racers is the park’s signature attraction and it’s Gerstlauer’s answer to the Vekoma junior boomerangs. In a park populated primarily by smaller attractions, Rewind Racers looks pretty darn imposing. I was only able to get one ride due to a flood of camp kids, a painstakingly slow loading process, and a desire not to sacrifice any more of my Knott’s Berry Farm time.
I have to say that the coaster is perfect for the park. The layout is compact, but the helix provides some decent forces, particularly in reverse. There’s no air or anything, but traveling backwards is something you usually don’t find on smaller coasters. It was quite a hit with the younger crowd! And the coaster is nice and smooth so adults won’t object to accompanying their kids. 5 out of 10
Rewind Racers is a perfect fit for Adventure City.
The ride appeared to be an absolute hit with kids.
Are they going forwards or backwards?
I also decided to give Drop Zone a whirl. I’ve always found the mini Moser towers to have far more forceful drops than they have any rite to and this one followed suit. There were 6 drops and each provided a (for a lack of a better term) ball tingling sensation. Honestly I found this more fun than the coasters. 6 out of 10
Take that Cedar Fair, Adventure City can call it Drop Zone.
For coaster enthusiasts, Adventure City is the perfect side trip on the way to Knott’s. It’s a cheap stop offering two unique credits- a Miler with an interesting setting and an interesting family shuttle coaster. Considering they’re even more landlocked than Knott’s, I can’t see them expanding much in the future, but they don’t have to. It’s already the perfect park for the little ones.
With a 12 hour layover in LA between my flight from Tokyo and my flight to Boston, I had enough time squeeze in a park visit the day before the 4th of July. My options were plentiful.
Disneyland- Guardians and Incredicoaster were tempting, but I figured the park would be a madhouse.
Universal Hollywood- I actually have never been there. I considered finally making the trek over, but for the admission price, I couldn’t justify visiting it over the other options.
Scandia- It’s sad I mention this park in the same breath as the others, but the Scandia Screamer has always fascinated me, even more so after experiencing that crazy airtime on Fun Spot’s Screamin’ Eagle.
SeaWorld San Diego- I really enjoyed this park back in 2014 and have a Platinum Pass, but I figured the soul-crushing traffic between LA and San Diego would cause me to miss my flight.
Six Flags Magic Mountain- Free admission with my season pass made it very tempting, but on such a busy day and Flash Pass limiting me to just one ride on Twisted Colossus and X2, it became less appealing.
And the winner is...Knott's Berry Farm!
That made the winner Knott’s Berry Farm. I had a Platinum Pass for the first time, so it made economic sense. Plus they just opened HangTime, a very cool looking Gerstlauer. I was also looking forward to racking up several rides on GhostRider. I decided to forego FastLane in my 2016 visit since the park was empty; however, I only got one ride on GhostRider due to a 2 hour wait.
This time, I unequivocally knew that I needed a FastLane. I figured it would be needed at minimum for GhostRider and HangTime, but it ended up being necessary for almost everything. The park was packed! Also does anyone else have problems finding the parking lot entrance? Maybe I’m just oblivious, but this is the second straight visit where I had to circle the park once or twice before going to the right place.
Considering how far away I parked, I knew FastLane was a must.
I immediately made my way over to GhostRider, only to find it down. So I kept going counterclockwise and got in line for Pony Express. It was down for maintenance in my 2016 visit, so I was looking forward to riding it. But wouldn’t you have it, the ride also broke down. My visit was not off to a good start.
I planned to ride this first, but it was having technical difficulties.
The ponies needed a breather after this lap.
I then skipped a full queue for the Timber Mountain Log Ride, crossed my fingers it also wouldn’t break down, and thankfully dispatched as designed. It’s really impressive to find such a well-themed attraction at a Cedar Fair park. The animatronics aren’t as good as what you’ll find at a Disney park, but it had more theming than Ripsaw Falls.
The ride was perfectly refreshing on such a hot day. The indoor drop is the highlight of the ride. It’s pitch black, sudden, and gives that gut-wrenching sensation. The outdoor drop is just ok as it isn’t overly steep. This really is one of my favorite flumes out there. 9.5 out of 10
Timber Mountain feels way too themed for a Cedar Fair park.
HangTime was a coaster that definitely intrigued me. Despite its compact footprint, HangTime really appeared to pack a lot in- a beyond vertical drop, multiple inversions, and even an airtime hill for good measure. It was a refreshing sight seeing this twisted teal beast towering over the Boardwalk as opposed to the old head-smashing Boomerang.
I absolutely love the lap bar only trains. They eliminated any fears of headbanging (even though the coaster is crazy smooth anyway) and offered unobstructed views. The one wonky thing about the restraints were the seatbelts. I’d say that 75% of the train struggled to release their seatbelt at the conclusion of the ride. You had to push the belt together before it would release. It was definitely odd.
I know Knott’s called it a dive coaster because of the holding brake. However, instead of the sustained floater of a B&M dive machine, I was treated to the usual ejector air of a EuroFighter. And the air is all the more terrifying considering you have just a lap bar. That’s followed by an odd variant of the Norwegian Loop and something that RCDB calls a Negative-G Stall Loop. Basically you start like a Norwegian loop (giving a nice pop of air along the way) and on the ascent you entire into a hangtime filled inversion.
The following corkscrew offers some more hangtime (the coaster’s name is very fitting) and that’s followed by a rapid cutback. Honestly the cutback didn’t do too much for me, but the drop after sure did. It can’t be more than 20-30 feet tall, but it gives some powerful ejector air. The cobra roll was just ok, much like the cutback, and then there’s another pop of air as you enter the brake run.
HangTime is a major win for the park. It’s extremely reridable and has some really awesome moments like the first drop, first inversion, and drop off the cutback. Seats are assigned, but fortunately I was able to secure both a front row and back row ride. Of the two, I slightly preferred the back, though the coaster is fantastic in every seat. HangTime was probably my second favorite ride in the park. 9 out of 10
HangTime really needs a single rider line.
The Norwegian dive loop/stall thing looked odd and had some interesting forces.
Another peek at the ride's oddest inversion.
The inversions give some solid hangtime, hence the name.
This drop offered some surprisingly strong ejector air.
There are a lot of restriants out there that enthusiasts complain about- Skyrush, Coney’s Thunderbolt, etc. Those restraints may cause discomfort, but they don’t cause pain. Coast Rider managed to do the latter. For those unaware, Coast Rider was retrofit with metal shin plates. While the Six Flags Superman coasters received shin plates, there was enough space such that they aren’t panini pressed against the rider.
The same couldn’t be done in a compact wild mouse car. I was in agonizing pain by the end of the ride and couldn’t wait for the restraints to release at the end. I had marks on my shin where the plate had dug into me. And I’m just 5’10”. The mouse coaster itself is fine, but there was no way to enjoy it with those restraints. 1 out of 10
Having just ridden Do-dodonpa the week before, I was interested to compare it to Xcelerator. There may be taller accelerators like Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka, but neither offers the sheer launch power of Xcelerator. While I love the front, the queue for the front row is equal in size to the queue for every other row. I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if waiting for the front added an extra hour to your wait.
As a consolation prize, I chose the back. I didn’t get the rush of wind against my face, but the launch was every bit as incredible as I remembered. My stomach dropped from the sheer power of the launch. One benefit of the back row is the top hat, as it offers some fantastic air for the entirety of the descent. The final few overbanks are filler, but they’re fast and enjoyable filler. Xcelerator is an absolute rush. I prefer its larger brethren, but Xcelerator isn’t far behind. 8.5 out of 10
Where are the supports?
Afterwards I grabbed a ride on Supreme Scream and was able to catch a glimpse of Incredicoaster off in the distance. The view is the best part about Supreme Scream. Meanwhile the teens next to me were busy playing the penis game. The drop itself is solid, but there are definitely more powerful S&S towers out there. 7 out of 10
The supremely annoying teens decided to scream "penis" for the entire ride.
One of my biggest pet-peeves about skip-the-line passes is when they make your enter through the exit. In principle, this is the most rider favorable policy as (often times) you can pick any seat that you want with absolutely no wait. However, I dread this. It’s one thing to be let into the station at a merge point. It’s an entirely different story to deal with the scornful looks of the next group of riders.
Fortunately Knott’s let me wait for a single rider to pair up with so I could calm my conscience. Some parks like Six Flags St. Louis will not let you do this. On a signature coaster, I definitely have a seat preference, but I don’t really have one on a family coaster. I was seated towards the front. For the most part, Jaguar uneventfully meanders around, but it did catch me off-guard with a surprise pop of air after the second drop. 5 out of 10
If you like high speed monorails, Jaguar is for you.
I did want to try Sol Spin because of my affinity for top scans, but unfortunately it had a lengthy queue and wasn’t included on FastLane for some reason. The program definitely didn’t seem as wild as the one I rode at Oktoberfest (really that’s an unfair standard for any ride), but the movement never fails to induce some really wild flips. Maybe next time.
It was a bummer Sol Spin wasn't on FastLane as I really like top scans.
Montezooma also had me enter through the exit. I have a strong preference for the front row on shuttle loops, but after the FastLane group ahead of me picked the front, I didn’t have the heart to take that seat as well. I waited for a single rider and was seated towards the back. Despite its age, Monty still shows that it has some bite to it.
The launch starts off really slow for a split second but then has a strong kick to it once it gets rolling. It’s not quite Xcelerator, but that’s not really a fair comparison for any coaster. The Schwarzkopf loop was forceful as ever, particularly in reverse, and I got a nice tummy tickling sensation on the back spike. 7 out of 10
Xcelerator may be the young buck, but Monty reminds riders it still has some tricks up its sleeve.
Like this incredibly forceful loop.
We always have our guilty pleasure rides at parks. It’s the ride that you love way more than everyone else. For me, that’s Sierra Sidewinder. It may be located in the Camp Snoopy kids area, but it offers some surprising forces. I love the Mack spinners.
The first two drops are drawn out and with the copious amount of spinning, it’s to the ride’s advantage. But the highlight is in the middle of the ride. There are 2-3 low-to-the-ground turns with some seriously prolonged G-forces. It’s not blackout inducing, but it’s extremely disorienting on a spinner. Sierra Sidewinder is a very short coaster, but it packs a serious punch. 8 out of 10
I can only dream what the free spinning cars would have been like on Time Traveler.
Silver Bullet is one of the most maligned B&M inverts out there. Admittedly the ride is a bit of an eyesore and while it lacks the intensity of its older brothers, it is still a very fun coaster. The first drop is pretty easy to poke fun at considering it rides more like an ADA compliant ramp than a drop, but the resulting inversions are nothing to snuff at.
I actually greyed out a bit on the vertical loop and the overbank is a really funky element for an invert. That’s followed by an ok cobra roll. It was quite possibly too smooth as there was zero intensity to it. Usually the highlight of an invert is the zero-G roll and while Silver Bullet has a solid one, that’s not the ride’s strength.
The highlight is the finale. Even those criticizing Silver Bullet can find no flaw in the finale. There’s a very snappy corkscrew reminiscent of the older B&Ms and that’s followed by an intense and leg-numbing helix. I felt all the blood rush to my legs like I do on the turns on a Batman the Ride. There are certainly better inverts out there, but that doesn’t make Silver Bullet bad. 8 out of 10
I wish I could say I stretched out this photo, but Silver Bullet's drop is actually that gradual.
It's a fun ride, but it sort of kills the aesthetics of the pond.
The inversions are as good as ever though.
Even B&M's harshest critics can't deny the power of this helix.
GhostRider was a coaster I was really looking forward to reriding. I remembered my one ride in the back being very good, but I knew I needed more rides to form a more concrete opinion. My front row ride was good, but my back row rides were excellent. This really is the star of Knott’s and one of the best wooden coasters out there. It’s a relentless ride.
GhostRider is one of those coasters that gets progressively wilder. The first drop has decent air and that’s followed by stronger air on the second and third hills. But then there’s the legendary drop off of the former MCBR. It’s as strong as the Raven’s 5th drop and it leads into one of the craziest second halves on any coaster.
It’s a barrage of airtime and laterals. Any of the straight hills provide some fantastic airtime and even the twisted hills provide some nice pops towards the back. But the highlight for me are the turns and final helix. They are almost completely unbanked and offer some of the strongest laterals out there. It was impossible for my upper body not to be forced over the center divider. They were that strong!
As wild as it was running during the day, GhostRider felt like an entirely different animal once the sun started to set. It felt like the tracks were greased with Crisco and the train absolutely hauled, particularly during the second half. The rides booted Ravine Flyer II from my top 10 wood coaster list. FastLane is a must if you want to reride this coaster and I’m sure you will. 9.5 out of 10
HangTime may be new and all with its fancy light package, but GhostRider is still the star of the park.
It felt weird riding in Millennium Flyers on a mostly out-and-back layout.
I returned to Pony Express only to find it down again, so I instead rode Bigfoot Rapids. The rapids on this one are like Russian roulette. The rapids are plentiful, but it’s complete pot luck whether or not it’ll be a total dud or nail you with a soaking splash. Beyond the rapids, there wasn’t much else. There were no waterfalls and just 2 geysers offering just a few splashes.
It’s a pretty average rapids ride, but it’s your best bet to cool off at Knott’s Berry Farm. 6 out of 10
It was completely arbitrary if each rapid would leave you drenched or be a complete dud. Russian roulette at its finest.
Pony Express had reopened, so I got in line hoping to finally snag a ride. A larger rider appeared to have difficulty fitting and after three failed attempts, they announced the ride was having technical difficulties. Does this ride have a penchant for breaking down or was I just unlucky? I guess the Pony Express lacks the reliability of email.
Three breakdowns was enough, so I decided to end the night with some final rides on GhostRider before heading out. GhostRider was the perfect way to end the night and culminate a great trip.
GhostRider was absolutely hauling at night. This is a top 10 wooden coaster for me.
I also made the obligatory stop at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner restaurant. I wasn’t sure how the chicken would compare after having all the southern fried chicken down in Pigeon Forge last year, but my concerns were quickly squashed. The fried chicken is delicious and it’s accompanied by those diet-ruining biscuits that are incredibly addictive. I probably had 6-7 on my own.
Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner is one of the park's best attractions.
My mouth just salivates looking at this picture.
Knott’s Berry Farm has a very odd feel to it. On one hand, you have areas of the park like Ghost Town which look incredible and capture the feel of a Silver Dollar City or a Dollywood. Then right across the park you have the asphalt jungle straight out of any other Cedar Fair park in the Boardwalk. The juxtaposition of the two is shocking as you navigate the park.
But the sum of the parts is an enjoyable park whose coaster collection was bolstered by HangTime and anchored by GhostRider.
Hopefully I'll return soon.
And I'll end the report with a tribute to Deadwood Dick.
It's always nice to see first-timers' reports on my home park. I pretty much share all of your opinions on everything. I love HangTime and Xcelerator, but I agree and still think GhostRider is the star attraction at Knott's. Every year since the refurbishment it gets better and better.
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Nice review of Knott's. It's such a wonderful place, Cedar Fair's best for sure. Sounds like you had a good time!
Thanks! I'll definitely take Cedar Point over Knott's just because of how strong that coaster lineup is, but after that it may be their best all-around park.
coasterbill wrote:Great report!
I really need to get back to this park. It's a shame that the ponies were having none of your sh*t that day, I love that stupid ride.
Thanks! Yeah I enjoy the coaster for what it is. Though I really can't complain considering I was lucky enough that Xcelerator reopened shortly before my visit.
thrillseeker4552 wrote:It's always nice to see first-timers' reports on my home park. I pretty much share all of your opinions on everything. I love HangTime and Xcelerator, but I agree and still think GhostRider is the star attraction at Knott's. Every year since the refurbishment it gets better and better.
Other than that painfully slow moving line, I love everything about GhostRider. Without FastLane, I probably only would have been able to ride it once which would have been an absolute shame.
Hilltopper39 wrote:The seatbelts on those Gerstlauer trains are kinda funky if they're the same as I experienced on Tantrum earlier this summer. I don't know if I ever got those things to open on my own haha.
Great report, Knotts really is on my bucket list one of these days when I make it back out to SoCal, despite the superior coaster lineup I'd probably prefer a day there of SFMM honestly.
Thanks! I think the guy next to me had to help with my seatbelt, but by my second ride I realized the trick. It'd be really helpful if they made an announcement how to do it so people aren't just fumbling around.
You knew it was coming eventually- the annual Canobie Lake Park trip report. Despite it being just 10 minutes from work, I only visit 2-3 times per year because of the unfortunate fact that they never have offered season passes. If they ever start offering season passes, I could hit 2-3 visits per week.
I visited on a rare day where crowds were light.
Despite the beautiful weather, crowds were surprisingly light. Even on weekdays, Canobie usually pulls a strong crowd and the signature attractions can easily have 30 minute waits. But my close parking space told me I wouldn’t have to worry.
So I immediately made my way to the park’s signature attraction, the Yankee Cannonball. Rather than being met by the usual full queue, it was only one switchback deep and I boarded the classic woody in about 10 minutes.
Since seating is done on a first come basis, I strategically tried to enter the line so I’d have the pick of the lot. I believe my math was correct, but unfortunately a younger rider chickened out and they called me through as a single rider. Fortunately the empty seat was in second to back.
The coaster’s height and speed are very modest (63 feet and 35mph), but the buzz bars allow for some nice floater air. GCI’s retracking neutered the ride somewhat from how it ran 5-10 years ago, but it had regained some of its airtime back on the outward leg. Still the most powerful pop of airtime is on the final turnaround which I believe they didn’t touch. Plus for an 80 year old coaster, it’s immaculately smooth. 7 out of 10
Basically every photo of the Yankee Cannonball comes from the parking lot.
Amen for buzz bars.
I always call out Six Flags for parking lot coasters, but turn a blind eye to this. I guess I'm a bit biased towards Canobie, not that my user name is any indication.
After the Yankee Cannonball, the best ride in the park is the Policy Pond Log Flume. Admittedly I’m nostalgic for the attraction since I’d marathon this with my dad before I was tall enough to ride any of the larger coasters, but it’s one of the better flumes out there. The layout is tucked beneath the trees and even includes a tunnel, which now has some evil water curtains that guests can activate for 25 cents.
Along the way there is a modest first drop and some tiny rapids bits, but the highlight (like most flumes) is the final plunge. It’s decently steep and I think the Hopkins drops are far superior to those on Arrow flumes. 9 out of 10
Of course there's a gun shooting game. It's New Hampshire after all.
The water curtain is pure evil. You cannot see it coming until it's too late.
This splash can be seen from a mile away though.
Canobie’s new-for-2018 attraction was a much needed water park. That was the one thing every other New England park could hang over Canobie’s head. Not anymore. It’s modest in size with a lazy river and a single slide tower, but it’s absolutely perfect for the park. As of this writing, it still hasn’t opened so I suspect it’ll just become their new-for-2019 attraction instead.
This was the progress as of mid-July. As of now, the water park has still yet to open.
But they did have the old Timber Splash water slides running. I wonder if the water park will impact the long term future of these slides since they never seem to have a line, but they're enjoyable. The "Wet" side is just ok, but the "Wetter" side has 2-3 nice little drops followed by a wild turn. Definitely take advantage of the free shoe rack at the bottom. 7 out of 10
At least the park's two old wet/dry slides were open.
The Wetter side is aptly named.
I really want to know who storyboarded the Mine of Lost Souls. The first half is a tranquil journey through an old mine and appropriately fits the name. But then you halfway through the adventure you come face to face with the Grim Reaper and are somehow transported from Salem, NH to Egypt. I’ve been riding this for 20 years and still don’t quite understand that transition.
The ride is undeniably cheesy, but there’s a level of quality to it that supersedes your standard carnival dark ride. 8 out of 10
At no point does this offer any warning you'll be traveling to Egypt.
Dancing Bear Canteen sounds like a good idea.
Ever since the park eliminated their delicious twisted crust pizza, my go-to dining option has been the Dancing Bear Canteen. It’s tucked away in the corner of the park adjacent to the Mine of Lost Souls. It doesn’t receive the foot traffic of the Roller Coaster Tycoon style stands along the midway, but that has the benefit of the food being cooked to order.
Dancing Bear Canteen is where you should go if you want good food.
Although I do understand the allure of Roller Coaster Tycoon stands in real life.
Because of its proximity to the water park, I suspect the Canobie Corkscrew will one day be removed. But for now the park is proud of their classic Arrow looper. A new addition in the past year are several signs along the queue line giving fun facts about the coaster in its current location and former home.
I’ve always found this to be the smoothest Arrow corkscrew out there. I’ll openly admit I was probably biased, but my rose-colored glasses fell off and I was treated to some nasty neck chops entering and exiting the corkscrew. The first drop still gives a nice pop of air, but I’d rather ride Untamed. 4 out of 10
I'm finally used to the blue paint scheme after all these years.
Focus on the history and not the warning about the imminent headbanging.
Canobie has one of the best collections of spinning rides out there. The highlight is the Turkish Twist. Being an operating rotor is noteworthy enough considering they’re becoming scarcer than a Cleveland Browns victory. But it’s also the fastest rotor of the ones I’ve ridden.
The Gs plaster you to the wall and the floor drops a solid 2-3 feet. The cycle is ridiculously short, but I don’t blame the park one bit since I often see people hunched over the trash can at the conclusion of the ride. They warn people not to eat beforehand, but people simply don’t listen. 9 out of 10
The Turkish Twist is a delight unless you've recently had Turkish delight.
I made a point to ride the Xtreme Frisbee since it had been down for much of the past two years. I was worried the ride would meet the same fate as Equinox, which would be a shame since it’s one of their signature thrill rides. I much prefer the frisbees that focus on swinging, but this Huss model does spin decently fast. I think my favorite part is how the operator had a soundboard and was blasting random catchphrases by Mario and Austin Powers during the ride. 6 out of 10
I still don't understand why all that scaffolding has always been in front of Frisbee.
Continuing the run on spinning rides, I also rode Zero Gravity for a change. It’s a decently fast round-up, but the padding isn’t as good as a lot of others out there. 7 out of 10
I still prefer the old Round-Up they had, but I'm glad they replaced it rather than forgoing this classic attraction.
I caught Wipeout just as it had reopened; someone apparently had a little too much cotton candy before riding. That’s probably the reason the cycle isn’t as intense as it used to be; it used to run in both directions for a solid 3-4 minutes. Now it only runs in one direction, but it still gives some tiny pops of air and the laterals at the end are insane. They’re almost borderline painful. 8 out of 10
I hope they're ready to get to know their seatmates.
Star Blaster only had one op, but she was incredible. She was grouping and checking restraints incredibly quickly all with a smile on her face. Canobie has the best staff of any New England park and I’m still puzzled to this day how Six Flags New England somehow was in the top 5 for friendliest parks one year, but I digress.
Star Blaster was running better than last year, as the airtime atop the tower was more plentiful. I still prefer to be dropped down than launched up, but Star Blaster is a great double shot tower and probably the best tower Canobie could get considering their height restriction. 7 out of 10
Are we blasting towards the stars or blasting the stars? Since it's New Hampshire, I'll lean towards the latter.
Untamed is probably the park’s most intense coaster. I found it to be rougher than usual on this trip, particularly on one car in particular, but I was able to avoid any pain on the cutback and transitions by leaning forwards. It required a bit of effort, but it was worth it for the incredible ejector air on the beyond vertical drop and copious hangtime on the barrel roll. 7 out of 10
Untamed is such a photogenic coaster.
If you don't get that cozy ski lodge vibe from Untamed's station, you haven't gone skiing enough.
Usually Canobie closes the Yankee Cannonball’s line 30 minutes prior to closing, but they relaxed that policy on such a light day. I was able to snag 3 night rides, including one on the last train of the night. The Yankee Cannonball really does embody the overall feel of Canobie, so it’s the perfect way to end the night.
Since this stage is across from the Yankee Cannonball, I strongly recommend timing your waits with the performance. It sure beats Fun TV or whatever Six Flags uses.
One negative for the 2018 season is that Canobie now closes at 9 pm on Monday-Thursday. They used to be open until 10 through the entire summer. Despite the earlier closing time, their twilight tickets still started at 5 pm and I really felt the lost hour. Usually I spend at least a half hour in their outstanding pinball parlor, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice ride time, especially on a lighter day.
It's a shame I had to miss out on pinball, but with less time I prioritized rides.
If you go to Canobie solely for roller coasters, you’re doing it wrong. Canobie’s strength is its atmosphere. As you walk down the midway, you know you’re at a traditional amusement park as you see classic flats on one side and hear the booming carousel band organ on the other.
Wait, Canobie Lake Park never has offered a season pass? That's so strange. Definitely a shame for you locals.
I loved our trip to Canobie back in 2015. Nothing may significantly stand out like at other parks (though Cannonball and Untamed are both very fun coasters), but the charm of the place is the kicker. I was disappointed when they cancelled that river rapids ride, it looked like it fit the park really well.
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