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Rifleman

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  1. One big difference between this weekend and a busy haunt weekend was the absence of food trucks. Typically during haunt, the park brings in some food trucks to increase food capacity. The park was as busy this weekend as it is on a busy haunt night, and the extra food capacity probably would have made a big difference on the food lines. Hopefully they can make some phone calls and get a few trucks to show up this weekend, couple potentially be an easy way to quickly increase food capacity.
  2. If you can’t fit on Diamondback, you will not be able to fit on Orion either, as the seats are exactly the same. Beyond that, every body type and ride can be different, and the only way to know for sure is to try to fit. I am a bigger guy myself and have been through this many times. The best advice I can give is “make them tell you no”.
  3. Totally agree. Last Saturday was the perfect storm to create the worst possible experience. Literally every possible factor was working against us. Really wish the park has limited capacity even more, as this mess could have been avoided.
  4. Jess and I visited Cedar Point this weekend. To say that Cedar Point was crowded this on this visit simply does not do the situation justice. The park was beyond packed. The midways were so crowded that it was difficult to walk through them, and even the bad rides had multi hour waits. I am not sure what percentage of capacity Cedar Point allowed make reservations, but it was obvious to me that they were simply not conservative enough. While I was at the park, I chatted with quite a few guests. The one thing that stuck with me more than anything else was that nobody was having a great time. Time and time again, I heard people complain that they had been at the park all day, and had only ridden 1 ride. I talked to one person who told me that he has been going to the point 20 times a year for over 20 years, and had never had a day when he has ridden so few rides. Every single person I talked to did nothing but complain about the experience. The most impactful conversation of the day was with a man who was leaving the park at the same time I did. His comment to me was “Cedar Point ripped me off. They said they were taking reservations to make sure that there were not too many people in the park, but they just wanted to take our money. I was here for 8 hours, paid for admission, paid for parking, paid for food, and only rode 2 rides the entire day. This place sucks, and I am never coming back again.” Our day was not as bad as this guys was, but it was still less than ideal. We entered the park at 11 and when to get in line for a Top Thrill Dragster Access pass. Chatting with a ride op, he told us that due to the high winds, Dragster would not likely open for a few hours, and we may be better off trying to get access passes for something else. We ended up snagging passes to board Maverick between 1-2, and passes to board Millennium Force between 2-3. We thought we were off to a great start. After grabbing the passes, we were close to Valraven, and saw that its wait was only listed as 45 minutes, so we entered it queue around 12:15. A little over an hour latter, we were finally done with our ride on Valraven. We jogged through the park to get to Maverick, and make it into the queue around 1:30. From this point, it took us another hour and a half to wait for Maverick, and we got off the ride at 2:58, only having 2 minutes to get to Millennium force before the end of our window. We ran to Millie, but did not make it there before our 2-3 time slot ended. When we got there, the ride opp saw us panting for breath after running across the entire park, and had mercy upon us, allowing us to enter the queue even though our access passes had expired 5 minutes earlier. Every employee we interacted with was awesome on this visit, and a little gesture like this really made a big difference for us. We waited for about an hour and a half for our ride on Millie, getting off right as the 4:30 access pass handout window opened. We resisted the urge to grab another pass for millie, even though we were right there as they started to hand them out, wanting to allow another guest to have a chance to ride her. We made it to the Dragster access pass distribution point at 4:38, but at that point, all the passes were gone. Talking to another guest who was there exactly at 4:30, she told us they were gone before then, and apparently, they had passed out the evening passes earlier that day for Dragster. At this point, we had not had a chance to get a bite to eat or hit the bathroom all day, so we attended to nature and got some food at Chickie and Pete’s. By the time we were done eating, it was 5:45, and there were few rides with wait times short enough to get us on the ride before the park closed at 8. We took a lap of the park to grab some footage, and hit the road around 7pm. We had spent 8 hours in the park, and ridden 3 rides. Based off my conversations with other guests, we did better than most. I hope that Cedar Point further reduces the number of reservations available for the last few weeks of the season, and I really hope that by next season, the capacity killing covid prevention measures will be a thing of the past, and it will not be necessary to limit attendance. That being said, we all know that Saturdays in October are the busiest days of the year at Cedar Point, and while I will certainly visit Cedar Point again next year, I for one will not likely visit the park on one off these days again. I love riding coasters, but there are plenty of parks that provide a better guest experience in October that I could visit. For the TLDR crowd, here is a link to the youtube version of this trip report :
  5. My latest YouTube video compares the stats of the 4 American giga’s, Orion included. It’s stats are comparable to the other gigas in every way. Orion is definitely a giga in my opinion.
  6. I have thought that an indoor wild mouse like exterminator at kennywood would be a great way to use the tomb raider building.
  7. We love going on roller coaster roadtrips, but work and family obligations often don’t allow us to have much time for them as we would like. In August 2020, we had a rare weekend with nothing planned, and we know it was time to hit the road to ride some coasters. We did not have a ton of time, but we knew we could get a few parks in with the time that we had. I was able to schedule a half day off work on Friday, allowing us to hit the road around lunch time, so we did our prep work Thursday night. We packed up the car, loaded some movies onto the kids ipads, and bought way more junk food than we could possibly eat in 3 days. I started work early on Friday, allowing us to hit the road around 11am. We had the kids in the back seat, energy drinks in the cupholders, and the first park programed into the GPS. We were on our way! The drive from Cincinnati to Altoona was slower going than we would have liked. Between traffic jams and our kids constantly asking to stop to go the bathroom, it took us almost 7 hours to arrive at our first destination, Lakemont Park. Lakemont is a small, free to enter park in Altoona Pennsylvania. As much a city park as it is an amusement park, Lakemont provides a mix of basketball courts, mini golf, picnic shelters, and, of course, roller coasters. Lakemont is currently home to three coasters, although in past versions of the park it housed many more. The star attraction at Lakemont is Leap the Dips, the world’s oldest operating roller coaster. Our visit to Lakemont did not start off well, with us driving past the entrance twice before finally making our way into the park. Once we entered the park, we discovered that Leap the Dips was down for maintenance, but would hopefully re-open latter that night. We spent some time exploring the park, taking pictures and video throughout. The maintenance team was hard at work on Leap the Dip, and the staff member in the station welcomed me to explore that station and transfer track area. Leap the dips being down turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I never would have been able to explore these areas if the ride was running. After exploring the park for a bit, it was time to hit some rides. First up was Skyliner, a classic John C. Allen Woodie. Skyliner was fun, and offered a few moments of great airtime. After skyliner, the kids enjoyed rides on the antique cars and the kiddie coaster, little leaper. At that time, we heard that Leap the Dips was open, so we rushed to get our rides on the worlds oldest coaster. We rode leap the dips several times, and then got some food at the C2 trolly house, an outdoor bar in the old bumper car shelter that seemed to be the neighborhood hangout. After a tasty meal as some time enjoying the live music, we headed back to the rides, completing the nights with additional laps on skyliner and the go-carts. We stayed at Lakemont until it closed at 9pm, and then hit the road, heading to the first nights hotel. We choose a hotel between Lakemont and the next park, so we had about an hour drive, and were all in bed by 11. The next morning started with energy drinks an hour drive to Knobles. We arrived at Knobels around 10:30, well before the rides opened. The first thing we did was get some breakfast. That’s right, knobels serves breakfast! I wish all parks did this. Seriously Cedar Fair, get with the program. After we ate, it was time to hit the rides. We snagged a few rides on Phoenix early on, and I want to officially apologize for saying that ride is overrated after our visit last year. I was blown away by how good Phoenix was this time around. I finally get what all the hype is about. After Phoenix, we made our way through the park, riding as many rides as possible, and eating as much of Knobels Golden Ticket winning food as we could. Unfortunately, both impulse and flying turns were down for maintenance all day, but there was still no shortage of things to do, and everyone in our family had a great time. By 6:00, we were out of ride tickets, and knowing that had a 4 hour drive to our next destination, we begrudgingly hit the road. We love knobles, it’s a one of kind park with an atmosphere you will not find anywhere else. If you have never experienced this gem of a park, you owe it to yourself to make the journey someday. We drove the 4 hours to Pittsburgh, backtracking right past Lakemont. We were tempted to stop back in for one for ride on Leap the Dips, but it was already late, and we knew we had another long night ahead of us. We ended the second day of our trip at a hotel 10 minutes from Kennywood. The final day of our weekend road trip started with a brief drive to kennywood, arriving at the park shortly before it opened for the day. We entered the park and started the day with rides on exterminator and the whip, before making out way through the park, trying to get in as many of the parks classic coasters and flats as possible. Kennywood is, in my opinion, the working definition of a hometown park. The locals love this park, and Kennywoods rich history has become a major part of the city of pittsburg’s culture. On the day of our visit to kennywood, the crowds were manageable, and most of the coasters were running multiple trains. We got rides on all the major coasters except for Steel curtain, as that ride was down for maintenance. Its disappointing that this ride has been down for essentially its entire second season, and I really hope this is not a sign of things to come for this model of coaster. The kids had a great time at kennywood, with Madelyn overcoming her fears and earning 5 new credits in one day. Gwen also had a great time, with the visit to Thomastown being her favorite part of the day. I know some people love to hate on kennywood, but we really enjoy this park, and will likely visit again next year. It has a great mix of classic and modern attractions, and has never lost touch with the community that calls it home. We departed kennywood to start the drive home around 5pm. We would have liked to stay a bit longer, but I had to work the next day, and the kids were tired, so it was time to hit the road. After a 5 hour drive, we arrived at home, unpacked the car, and all passed out cold in our beds. We had visited 3 parks in about 60 hours, and we all considered the trip to have been a complete success. As always, for the TLDR crowd, here is this trip report in youtube format :
  8. I would love a gravity group family woodie at KI, its one model of coaster I think every park should look at.
  9. You would think with GG being Cincinnati based they would be in a good position to work with Cedar Fair. Having the team in the same city as a major park, and only a 3 hour drive away from Cedar Point and the corporate offices has the potential to foster a great relationship between the two companies.
  10. On our recent weekend coaster road trip, Kennywood was the final park before the drive home. While Jess and I have visited Kennywood previously, this was Madelyn and Gwen’s first visit, and they were really excited for this park. Madelyn had been talking about riding the indoor spinning wild mouse for weeks, and Gwen was excited to visit Thomas Town. We arrived at the park around 10am on Sunday. Kennywood offers both paid and free parking, although the free parking is a bit of a hike. We were early and had time, so we choose the free option. The free lot is on the top of a big hill, but there is an escalator and a ski lift to help you get down to park level. Unfortunately, both of these options were broken, and have been for quite some time, so we had to walk from the parking lot to the park. The park did not open until 10:30, but people were starting to queue up outside the main gate when we arrived. After a short wait, the park opened up, and after passing the COVID temperature screening we made our way through the front gate. The entry plaza at kennywood is on one side of the road, and then you need to walk through a tunnel to enter the park itself, located on the other side of the park. The tunnel is a unique way to enter the park, and it fits the parks personality well. While the park opened at 10:30, we soon discovered that the rides did not open until 11. It would have been nice if the park was upfront about this when they posted their operating hours on the website, as the kids were not particularly happy to have to wait 30 minutes to get in line for anything, but the delayed opening gave us some time to get a bit of footage of rides testing, so it all worked out pretty well. When the rides opened up, we immediately entered the queue for Exterminator, the parks indoor wild mouse. We knew that this ride has terrible capacity, and wanted to get it in before lines formed. Exterminator has always been my favorite wild mouse coaster, and delivered a great ride. The indoor setting and theming provide a unique twist to a common ride model, and I wish more parks would add attractions like exterminator. After a few laps on exterminator, we took a spin on the whip. Kennywood is all about history, the park has historical markers everywhere, and it really goes out of its way to keep its older classic attractions in operation. In the 1920’s, the whip was a common attraction at parks throughout the country, but today, Kennywood’s whip is the only 16 car version of this ride still in operation. Kennywood commitment to preserving their history has persevered the whip, as well as other classics such as Turtle, Auto Race, and Bayern Kurve. If you a fan of historical flats, kennywood is a park that you really need to experience. After enjoying rides on the whip and turtle, we made our way to Thunderbolt, one of the parks three Ace Landmark Coasters. Thunderbolt first opened in 1924 as Pippin, and was renamed Thunderbolt in 1968 when it received a track expansion. This Woodie features buzz bar restraints, and, since it does not have seat dividers, it is required that two passengers ride in each seat. Before Covid-19, if you were a single rider, a ride op would match you with another single rider, or hop in the seat next to you and take the ride with you. Unfortunately, social distancing means that you need to bring a friend to ride thunderbolt in 2020. Thunderbolt is still a great ride, delivering a smooth ride with nice laterals and a few pops of decent airtime. We took several laps on Thunderbolt before heading to the attraction that kennywood is most famous for! No, I am not talking about phantoms revenge, everyone knows that kennywood is best known for its potato patch fries! These delicious fries are coated in cheese and bacon, and while eating them probably takes a few years off your life, I, for one, and wiling to take that risk. Our visit to the potato patch did introduce us to the first disappointment off the day, that being kennywoods terrible food service operations. Between insufficient staffing, slow food preparation processes, and a general lack of a sense of urgency from the staff, every food and drink experience we had at kennywood this visit was an exercise in frustration. Even though there were only 2 people in front of us in the potato patch line, it was almost 30 minutes from when we entered the line to when we received our food. This trend would repeat itself again latter in the day at the cheese steak shop and the lemonade stand. It was actually very difficult to stay hydrated on a hot day, as every option to purchase drinks had a 20-minute line, and due to covid the water fountains were turned off. Kennywood does a lot of things right, but food service operations is one area where they desperately need to improve. After the potato patch fries, we took a rides on the phantoms revenge and skyrocket. The phantoms revenge is a one of a kind mix of Arrow and Morgan, and deserves every bit of the praise it receives. The ride is smooth and forceful, and delivers some absolutely epic airtime. The dive under thunderbolt is always the highlight of a ride on phantom for me, but the ride is solid from start to finish, and easily earns a spot on my all time favorite coaters list. Skyrocket was a new credit for me, as it was down on my previous visit to kennywood. Much to my delight, Madelyn said she wanted to earn to earn her first vertical drop credit with me today, so we took our first ride together. Skyrocket has a fun launch, great airtime on the top hat, several fun inversions, and is glass smooth throughout. Madelyn and I both loved it, and as soon as we got back into the station, we parent swapped, and Madelyn and Jess took a ride together on skyrocket as well. Skyrocket is a perfect step up coaster for kids who have graduated beyond family coasters, and are ready to experience their first launches and inversions, and I really wish more parks would add coasters of this type to their lineup. Up next after skyrocket was 2 of the parks dark rides, The Old Mill and Ghostwood Estate. The old mill is the oldest operating water based dark ride in the world. It has had many themes over the years, with most recent itineration being Garfields nightmare. This ride was rethemed back to the old Mill for the 2020 season. Ghostwood estates is a standard haunted house attraction. Typically, this ride is a shooting ride, similar to the Boo Blasters rides at many Cedar Fair parks, but for some reason the blasters have been removed, and you simply sit in the car as it drives through the attraction. I may get some hate for this, because I know some people love these rides, but honestly, I was not impressed with either. The scenery was basic by any standard, and neither told a compelling story. Maybe I am a ride snob, but I was really hoping for a more immersive experience out of each of these dark rides. While it was closed on this visit, we have gone through the Noahs ark walkthrough before, and I personally enjoyed it much more than the old mill or Ghostwood Estate. After the dark rides, it was time to move onto Jackrabbit. This classic coaster is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, and is the oldest continuously operating roller coaster in the world. Jackrabbit is just as fun today as it was in 1920, delivering a smooth ride, and a moment of incredible airtime on the rides signature doubledown. Jackrabbit has been very well maintained, and really is the heart of Kennywoods collection of classic coasters. It is obvious to me that the park and the Pittsburgh community as a whole really care about this coaster, and I hope it continues to operate for another 100 years. Our next big disappointment of the day was that steel curtain was not operating. When we visited Kennywood last year, steel curtains delayed opening prevented us from riding it, and on this visit, the ride was down again for unknown reasons. I would be lying if I said I was not upset to miss out on steel curtain yet again, but I suppose that gives me a reason to come back to Kennywood again next year. It was starting to get late in the day, and we had two kids who wanted to do different things, so we decided it was time to split up to make sure everyone left the park happy. Jess and Gwen went off to visit Kiddie Land and Thomas Town, and Madelyn and I went off to ride The Racer. Kennwood has a great kids area. The Kiddieland is the primary kids area, with a great variety of children's rides. Gwen loved going from ride to ride, with her favorite being the mini Farris wheel. The parks kiddie coaster, little phantom, is located in this section, but was not running the day of our visit. The Thomas town section is small, but was very well done. This area is very well themed, and features a roundhouse with all of the kids favorite trains in it. This area is obviously home to the parks train ride, with the engine being themed to look like Thomas himself. A strong children's area is a critical part of a regional park like kennywood, and we were impressed with what Kiddieland and Thomastown had to offer. Gwen really enjoyed it, and was upset when it was time to leave. Madelyn is just now starting to ride larger coasters, and she was nervous when she boarded The Racer. Skyrocket may have been more intense, but the jungle of wood and loose restraints was way more intimidating to her. As the buzz bar restraints locked down, she looked at me and said “Dada, I think I made a mistake getting on this ride”. Before she could chicken out, the train dispatched, and we were on our way. As we rounded the turn and headed to the lift, Madelyn was visibly afraid, but then she saw it – the other train. Immediately her competitive side took over, and she completely forgot that she was afraid. Going up the lift, she demanded that we trash talk the competition. I taunted them with my nerdiest trash talk, telling them that “You are going down! And then back up! And then down again! Because that is how a roller coaster works!”. Madelyn loved it, and as we raced through the course, she completely forgot that she was afraid, and was smiling ear to ear. She laughed and cheered throughout the ride, and when we got off, was riding high on the thrill of concurring coaster that she was previously afraid of. Of course, she immediately wanted to ride again. We had a great time at Kennywood. Make no mistake, Kennywood is not a perfect park, but I truly feel it is one of the better hometown parks I have visited. Kennywood offers a great mix of rides and attractions, with there being plenty to do for all age groups. The park retains its rich history while still providing a modern experience, and has a unique charm that you simply don’t find at the larger chain parks. Kennywood is woven into the fabric of Pittsburgh, and I have never met someone who grew up in this area who does not have fond memories of visiting Kennywood. While other parks certainly do certain things better than Kennywood does, the overall experience of this park is hard to beat. For the TLDR crowd, here is a this trip report in Youtube format.
  11. I have been hoping for something like this for ages! Will provide some varriety in food options, and gives a reason to make it up to the park for dinner. Sounds like I know where I am going for dinner tomorrow night.
  12. My family and I recently visited lakemont park, home of the worlds oldest operating roller coaster, Leap the Dips. Lakemont is about a 6 hour drive from Cincinnati. We were able to hit lakemont, Knobels, and Kennywood in the same weekend, so if you are looking to mix it up a bit from your regular KI visits, its an easy trip to make. Lakemont is a free to enter park, with the option to but tickets or wristbands. We went with the Friday night special four wristbands for $55, so it was not an expensive evening. There are three coasters at this park, although one of them is a kiddie coaster that only allows riders under 12. The largest coaster is Skyliner. This is a John C Allen coaster (the same man who designed The Racer). It still has buzz bars, and is a lot of fun. If you enjoy the Tornado at strickers grove, picture this as an upscaled version with better airtime. The main attraction at Lakemont is Leap the Dips, the worlds oldest roller coaster. Despite being 118 years old, this coaster is still fun, and we all rode it several times. As a history nerd, this coasters has been on my bucket list for a long time, and I was happy to get a chance to finally ride it. After taking several laps on all the coasters, we grabbed a bite to eat. The food at the park was tasty and not to expensive. Definatelly plan on eating here if you visit. Once we were done eating, we spend some time on the antique cars, train, and go carts. We did not play mini-golf, as it it was getting late, and we opted for one last round of coaster rides, but the mini golf looked to be very popular. If you are in the area, or are passing by Altoona on your way to Knobels, definitely check out Lakemont, it was a nice park with a lot of history, and I hope to visit again someday. I created a full video review of Lakemont for my youtube channel, if anyone is interested in checking the park out :
  13. Me too, but I guess we should simply be happy that we are open at all, things could be alot worse.
  14. I totally agree that a RMC in this spot would not necessarily need to outdo steel vengeance, my logic was based around the idea that to have the capacity Kings Island would require, an RMC in this location would need to run three trains, and the only RMC's that do this are their larger scale models like Steel Vengeance. Being in a competing park, outdoing Storm Chaser would be a feature, not a bug, in a larger scale RMC at Kings Island.
  15. I doubt Six Flags would part with it, but I have always thought that Fiesta Texas would be a a great park for Cedar Fair to purchase.
  16. I recently posted a video on my Youtube channel about what factors will influence the replacement, as well as some options I think are being evaluated. I am new to this youtube thing, and would love some feedback on it. Thanks!
  17. I have added significantly to my holdings in FUN during the shutdown. Pre-COVID I always liked the stock as it had a great dividend, but if you are a buy and hold type, there is certainly alot of upside in the price right now. That being said, all investments have risk, so do not invest money in an individual stock that you cannot afford to loose.
  18. I have always viewed darks rides as something that are an essential attraction for a park, but not something that a park needs to be deep on. One decent dark ride per park should be enough, but it is important to have one. They are something that the entire family can do together, give guest a chance to cool off, and add to the overall variety of the park experience. If a park does not have a dark ride (looking at you Cedar Point), it would certainly be a good investment to add in, but I am not sure that adding multiple dark rides would have as much of a ROI as other attractions would be. Family rides like the antique cars cost less, and accomplish many of the same goals dark ride would accomplish.
  19. I hope they do sell some small, plaque mounted pieces of Vortex. That coaster meant a lot to a lot of people, it would be nice to give those people a chance to own a little something to remember her, as well as to help the park generate some much needed revenue.
  20. Looks tasty, will be a good substitute for Chic-Fil-A when visiting the park on sundays
  21. I would not be surprised if differed maintenance on the 3rd train for these rides was more of a cost saving measure than anything else. I have no knowledge about how much it costs to get a train ready for the season, but I imagine Kings Island, like all parks right now, is trying to cut costs wherever possible to make sure they survive the current situation.
  22. Will do! We are planning on arriving around noon or so, I will likely be in either a Beast T-shirt or a Twister (knobels) t-shirt.
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