well it's the first trip report of my vacation to Niagara Falls, this vacation wasn't as big as the last three years of Amusement Park onsloughts, 2002 was my big Six Flags Great America, Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, and Six Flags America trip. Then 2003 was my Paramount trip to Kings Island, Kings Dominion, and Carowinds. Then it was Universal Studios, IOA, Sea World, and Busch Gardens Tampa last year in 2004.
2005 brought a different kind of trip, a shorter one (9 days) and 4 parks, 1 that i've visited before but had a new coaster to ride, but no where near as many coasters, i think it was a total of 13 new ones for me bringing my coaster total from 130 to 143 without KK and Hydra. So the first stop was to Pittsburgh, and the only park in the area happens to be America's favorite traditional park: Kennywood. I was very excited to hit this park because of how different this place sounded, the traditional rides, but of course the 3 oldie, but goodie woodies and the mammoth Phantom's Revenge, so i was quite excited for this.
We arrived at 10:00 AM, the park opens at 10:30, but the rides don't open at 11:00. We decided to spend a pretty full day because it would be the only day to visit this place on our tight vacation schedule. The ticket prices were a very good price and they let people wonder into the lifeless park waiting on the other side of the road, yes on the other side of the road. The walkpath takes you under the street to the park on the other side: pretty neat!
This is my 10th season riding coasters, and man it's been the most fun and the most amazing time, so to kick off my tenth season we HAD to start off with the big, green giant lurking on the west side of the park: Phantom's Revenge. So we looked around on our way and saw the beautiful gardens, nice landscaping, and traditional features this park had to offer, it's very very nice! We had to walk by Thunderbolt to get to PR, and what we saw was something i haven't seen before walking into a park. All of the ride ops were in the train giving it a test run and the mechanic was leaning over the front of the train oiling it down for the day, never seen that before, freaking cool!
So finally we get to Phantom and wait on the line outside the entrance, they open it up and we all file into the station, my dad and myself decide to get a front row ride on this beast of a Morgan coaster. We waited 10 minutes and hopped into the train.
PHANTOM'S REVENGE:- We pulled down the unique lapbars that connected to the side of the train, so you just pull it down and put it in the most comfortable position for you. We were all clear and off, the fun or irritating if you will was the relatively slow lift hill, this train climbs very slow haha. The chain let us go and the entire ride had no letup what so ever, the curved drop, the straight piece of track for like 50 feet you felt the speed, but then climbing the second hill told you there was even more to come, the 232 foot drop through the T-Bolt was one of the best drops ever, a completely straight drop and you hit the peak of the 85mph. The 80 degree bank just kept the train cooking and you dove right back through the T-Bolt again, over the turtle (classic ride) and then you felt this airtime machine go to work. Still going fast you hit 2 bunny hops right next to the station and a vicious double dip that tosses you up and down like no tomorrow and then a curve right on the ground, 2 more bunny hops and you hit the breaks, no doubt one of the best steel coasters in the country. The speed, the drops, the smoothness, the massive airtime, and just the punch it packed, Morgan did an amazing job re-designing this from Steel Phantom and created a winner, who would've thought a 3200 foot Morgan would deliver such a ride, incredible guys 10/10.
Next after the rush we decided to go on Thunderbolt and see what this once #1 wooden coaster and ACE Coaster Classic had for us. Another 10 minute wait and another front row ride.
THUNDERBOLT- Old style PTC trains already told you this was a classic, and the lever to bring the train to a hault and to a release were very cool. The drop out of the station is fun, you do a flat turn, and drop again to the lift. I remember watching top 10 coasters from like 1999 or something that said this is a great date coaster because the people on the left side of the train get squished in the middle part of the ride when you keep turning right, sorry dad! After 2 complete turns, you hit a straight piece of track and dive again down after the station, turn, and do the biggest drop of 90 feet into the breaks. It sure is a classic, but no way a #1 coaster or even a top 10 coaster for me, it was fun and the seats were comfortable, but it didn't do too much for me, still though i liked it 6/10.
Next we decided to hit another classic ride called the Gold Rusher which is a mine car ride that takes you through a haunted mine, of course lamely haunted for it's age, but it was fun i thought, pitch black at times and cool skulls, spiders, and bats, truly a cool traditional ride!
We decided to get a bite to eat at the French Fry capital of Amusement Parks (won award for best French Fries in an AP for 8 years straight) at THE PATCH. We got regular fries and the fries with melted cheese and bacon bits on it, oh darn were these godly, definitely the best out there. We also got sauce, Honey Mustard, that really brought out more taste, so tasty!!
Next up was probably the most unique ride or walk through attraction Kennywood has to offer: Noah's Ark.. It's pitch black at times, the floor either moves side to side or up and down, you see human sized models of Noah and the animals, and water pours out of the walls at end, giving you a chance to get wet, so cool, nothing like it ANYWHERE!
Next was the Grand Prix bumpber cars with a 10 minute wait, go my bro good a couple of times haha
After that was the Turnpike antique cars, this was probably the best car ride we've been on, it was very very long, and the landscaping was excellant, it was very relaxing and enjoyable, the other cool thing was there was no foot pedal to control the speed of your car, it was automatically run by the ops running the ride so you went at the same speed and didn't have to worry about any bumping, which was great!
Next was back to coasters, the 3rd of the day and the 2nd classic woodie know as the Jack Rabbit! Another minimum wait of 15 minutes, but a second row ride this time around.
JACK RABBIT:- This is the shortest woodie here but it was great. You come out of the station, round a big left bend and drop into a ravine just like T-Bolt across the way into a tunnel and come out to the lift. Around 40 feet high, but the best part is the drop, it's not an ordinary drop, it was a double dip that gave killer airtime, around another big bend and drop into the breaks. Very basic and short, but the double dip definitely made me happy with this ride, the drops were great too, it's just the length was the only flaw, but hey it's an older woodie so it's ok, liked it better then T-Bolt 7/10.
Right after we hopped in line for the last big coaster at Kennywood, the 3rd classic woodie know as The Racer! 15 minutes again in the middle of the train.
RACER-- A 72 foot high lift and 2200 feet of track, another shorty but i think i liked this one best. You separate with the other side of the coaster turn left or right and head up the lift. A 40 foot drop was rather disappointing, but then the ride provided lots of fun. You can touch the people in the other train, and it had great, pretty speedy hills, another curve and more and more hills, and a final turn into the station. I liked it better then the other 2 because it didn't have as much letup as the other 2 coasters, making it my favorite woodie at Kennywood 7/10.
So we continued with other rides like the Log Jammer log flume which was decent, just like all other log flumes. I then went on Aero360 (just like Meteor at Dorney) by myself because my dad hates them, this is one of my favorite flat rides because you just go head over heels, forwards and backwards, so much fun and it was a walk on! We then snacked on Fried Oreos, always a good and yummy treat.
Next was AutoRace, yet another classic car ride that didn't have a steel track to keep the car in place, instead you were in a small car, yet again no foot peddle, and you were inside a track with 2 walls to the side of you, definitely my favorite car ride, it's the only one of it's kind left anywhere. Then we did the Kennywood Train which allowed you to see the mill and the river from the top of the cliff, very cool view and it gave the history of the spot Kennywood was on, neat.
Next up was our last coaster, The Exterminator indoor wild mouse coaster and gave us the longest wait of the day so far, 30 minutes.
EXTERMINATOR-- This was crazy, it was cool for a while, but this is a spinner, and boy it didn't stop spinning the last 1000 feet of track, i loved it at first but i couldn't walk straight afterwards, for being unique it was fun 6/10.
Next up as i got out of my dizy state from freakin Exterminator, i yet again had to go on a flat ride by myself, the Pit Fall! This was one of the earlier Drop Towers before Intamin perfected it with the circular gondola, this one was around 200 feet tall, but it was on the top of the hill overlooking the river and the factories across, so it was basically doubled to 400, it was nuts, the drop on these are awesome, the ejector air is crazy, definitely an awesome ride.
After that mom actually brought out some daredevil in her and wanted to go on Thunderbolt, so since we were over there, we hopped on, since they don't allow single riders, i had to ride with someone else, he was cool though. My mom ended up hating it because of leaning on dad and the rough spots, but i told her it was a classic and once a #1 wooden coaster, so she was happy.
We felt our stomachs rumble so we had dinner at the Parkside Cafe, had chicken tenders with fries, the prices here are very cheap compared to the larger parks, it was very nice, and the food was pretty good. The fries obviously weren't as good as The Patch, but they had the honey mustard, so it made the fries awesome!
It was around 6:00 when we rode the new ride of last year Garfield's Nightmare. It is the oldest ride at the park, 1901, and it has been renamed and modified many times, so Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield was asked to theme this ride and call it their new one, you sat in a boat and it floated along, but you had 3D glasses and floressent lights and sets of Garfield, it was neat!
The parents were getting tired, so instead of waiting until late to get on Phantom again, we got on at 6:55 and waited the longest of the day 40 minutes for the front again. The reason is was so long is because of the 1 train operation since the breaks are right in front of the station and the train roars into them, 2 train is a little iffy, but i think they are capable aren't they? Well this ride seemed to be better then the first, just completely amazing, this is the only coaster where the back of my shirt came up to my shoulders, it was so bizarre and i felt the wind all through my back and chest, it was nuts!
We got LifeSaver Smoothies which proved to be tasty, haven't seen those anywhere before, i got sour apple, very tasy, and only for $2.50, plus you got a cool cup!
We decided to take off at 8:00 sadly, this park is top notch, the classic/traditional feel of the park is abundant, the rides are well operated, well kept, the employees were very friendly, the food was delicious and prices were very fair, it was clean and just so enjoyable. The only thing is if they had another steel coaster to take pressure off of Phantom it would've been nice, it looks like they have room to put that rumored flyer in, and with the terrain, they could make it the best one out there, who knows though. All i know is, if you're driving through PA to go to Ohio for parks there, or any park in the midwest, i suggest you hit Kennywood, it will no doubt be your surprise visit, it certainly was mine, it was just awesome!
Top 10 Steel After Kennywood:
1. Millennium Force
2. Superman: Ride of Steel (SFNE)
3. Incredible Hulk
4. Phantom's Revenge*
5. Storm Runner
6. Medusa (GAdv)
8. Volcano: The Blast Coaster
Woodie list did not change