Myrtle Beach Pavilion |
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September 19, 2004
Myrtle Beach SC
Since the park was closing early today I thought I’d better get there around opening, get my arm band, and ride rides. I woke up a little after 1pm, changed into my swimming trunks so I could do the water rides, and headed down town. It wasn’t very crowded and the park was in its usual post-season state of deadness. Everything was up and running with the exception of the Carousel and the Top Spin. This is the way all parks should be ran, however, when it comes to cleanliness. There were more handymen around sweeping and cleaning than there were park goers! And as far as I can remember it’s always been that way.
I love a nice, relaxing day at a sea side park. There was a strong ocean breeze and some of the ops were running the rides like crazy since it was so dead at the park. My first order of business was that big heap of steel and wood that is known as Hurricane Category 5. There are a lot of people that said this is the worst there was when it came to roughness. Yes it is rough, but not roughest by far.
The Pavilion staff does a good job at keeping their rides up and running at capacity for the time they are open, but this was the park’s first wooden coaster in many years, and I think they just don’t know how to maintain it that well. That, and those trains suck.
Hurricane Category 5-My first ride on Hurricane for the day was in the back seat. My only other prior ride on the coaster was in the front. I like the approach to the lift and it has a rather large first drop. But after the train whipped me over the top (the back was a more forceful ride) you start getting into those rough spots. The first bunny hill provides ample air in the back, but the valley before it shakes a little too much. Then there is the valley before the next big hill which, to me, seems to have the worst rattling on the ride. Still, it isn’t terribly bad and I have no doubts that were they to get better trains and keep the track maintained the ride would be amazing. The first helix is okay if you are sitting on the right side of the car. You get strong laterals and it isn’t rough at all. Then there are a couple more hills before the next helix. Sitting on the right side of the car during this helix, however, is not desirable. This was the roughest part of the ride. It doesn’t so much rattle as it does jackhammer thru the helix.
So next I walked back for a ride on Mad Mouse. Mad Mouse is Arrow’s first wild mouse coaster. I’m glad they got something right the first time. This was a new ride in 1998 and my very first mouse. Though the track does have a few banked moments, it is still very much a mouse.
Mad Mouse-There was no braking or trimming on the course during the entire day. I was in the front of the car and I must say, Wild Mouse coasters are the only coasters that consistently give me that uneasy feeling as they go around the tight corners, feeling as if they’re going to come off the track.
This ride has been painted since the last time I was at the beach, which is good, as it needed a fresh coat of pain. The ride doesn’t even brake hard on the long brake run. Since none of the trims were on during the day the coaster picked up major speed going thru the course, around and up and down the hills. The day was hot and I needed to cool down, so next I headed to Hydro Surge the park’s water rapids ride. There wasn’t any line for the ride, and so I had no wait for a raft all to myself
Hydro Surge-Though compact, the ride lasts for quite a while. You start by going into a cave with quite a bit of rapids in the dark. And just when you think you’re going to get really wet…you only get trickled upon as the waterfall over the cave exit shuts off just as you pass under. After exiting the cave there are quite a few rapids as well as water traps and water falls to bump and splash into. You will not leave this ride dry. It may be compact, but it lasts a long enough time and definitely gets you wet during the dog days of summer.
I walked around to the front of the park some more and had already started drying off due to the sun and ocean breeze. I thought it best to go ahead and ride the other water ride in the park, the log flume, next.
Log Flume-Though not the wettest flume I’ve ever ridden, this one is quite long. Again, as with everything else in the park there was no wait to ride. I got in a log by myself and off I went. Another compact, yet fairly long water ride in down town Myrtle Beach. This ride had changed very little since opening. But the worst change of all happens in the tunnel before the first lift. The tunnel was fairly dark, even during the day time, and there used to be purple lights racing down the ceiling of the tunnel. But these had since been removed. It’s a shame, as they were really cool. The first smaller hill actually gets you wetter than the larger hill. But the larger hill definitely gets you wet.
After a bit more splashing around I felt it was time for something more exciting. It was time to ride my first flat ride of the day, and my favorite flat at the park, The Rainbow. Again, there wasn’t a line, and little did I know before boarding how insanely fun (sadistic?) the lone ride op on Rainbow really was…
Rainbow-I can still remember when they added this ride. They’ve recently painted it, but the rays around the sun in the middle of the ride are gone as well as some other theming. All this aside I was, unbeknownst to me, getting ready to have the best ride on this thing ever. The original program that the Pavilion runs swings you 3 ½ or so times each way; left, then right. You get some amazing views of the beach and Ocean Boulevard when you get to the top. After the gondola was raised to the top, however, the ride was rather different than what I was used to. I’m so used to wanting more after 3 rotations, since that is when it seems to get good, that I wasn’t prepared for the 8-10 rotations to the left that the ride op gave us! I say 8-10 because I literally lost count! This was amazing, and when we finally slowed down I figured the ride was over. Not quite. We then started going around to the right! We did this about 6 times, and when it was all over, the older gentleman running the ride said we could ride again. I was very tempted, but was getting hungry, so I left the ride.
I was looking for food when I walked by the Haunted Hotel. I’ve been riding this since I was very young, and though I liked it before, Sally did a good job with their re-theme a few years back. There wasn’t anybody on the ride and no one in line, so I got on for a spin by myself.
Haunted Hotel-Some of the effects and theming weren’t working, but nothing that was terribly noticeable. This ride still kinda creeped me out. It’s fairly long, and I could tell that they’ve changed some things, probably to make it less scared for the kiddies. This is, after all, the only haunted house in Myrtle not aimed at teens or adults. One thing I noticed was the butcher that is chopping up someone’s bloody leg. That used to have a light right on the leg, but it was re-positioned so you can barely see what the butcher is cutting up now.
It was time for another flat ride so I headed to the area that used to house my favorite and the best flat ride in the whole park. But now there was only a smaller, slightly neutered version of the previous ride, Wipeout. What used to be an indoor, air-conditioned Trabant called the Sky Tracker, with a killer light show and loud music had been replaced with a smaller version of the ride by another company. This ride had seats that face each other as well.
Wipeout-I went to get on, but the op said I couldn’t ride by myself. I was kinda bummed and got out of line when a woman stopped me and said she wanted to ride because her kids were getting on as well, but didn’t have anybody to ride with. We rode together and while the ride is still fun (we were on a forwards facing seat), I miss Sky Tracker. It gave a rather long cycle, and I felt bad for crushing the poor lady, but all in all I enjoyed it.
I felt I might as well go back and take another trip on Hurricane, this time in the middle, so that was where I traipsed off to next.
I had a headache by this point, but the ginger pills I popped before the park were helping me with the nausea from Wipeout. I decided to ride in a middle seat on Hurricane. This was the worst seat I had on the train. I sat on the left since I knew the second helix was worse, and sitting on the left helped that a bit. But this was such a jarring ride, that it actually shook my headache away.
I needed a quick break from the park so I walked down Ocean Boulevard and looked in some of the stores. I then walked over to the best Burger joint in Myrtle Beach, Peach’s Corner, for a Peach’s Burger Basket. After my burger and fries I headed back over to the park for another spin on Hurricane first.
I took another back seat ride with almost a full train. I loved the station on Hurricane. Its up really high with great views of the ocean. Plus there was a great breeze. Back is definitely the place to be for air. It was rougher than the front, but still a fun ride.
Next I took another spin on Mad Mouse. Again, no trims, but I had 2 annoying kids behind me on this trip. I never knew a mouse could be this fun! You rip thru the course without any brakes and by the time you get to the brake run you had to be going fairly fast for a mouse.
I was completely dry by this point so I figured I’d have another go at Hydro Surge. After a quick bathroom break I got in line. This time I was in the raft with 3 little kids who proved to be as much entertainment as the ride. I got soaked again, but I was in my swimming trunks. The kids were in their cloths. One little boy in the group got splashed by a huge dip in the rapids, and then started giggling and yelling “Oh! My underwear!” I thought I’d die laughing. Good fun, cute kids, but I was over the water rides for the day.
I decided it was time for a bigger break from the Pavilion. I rode by the Family Kingdom which was in full swing, and almost went in for a ride on Swamp Fox but I would be going to the park the next day. I went back to the hotel room, checked in with the family, and then walked down to the beach, which was fairly desolate. There were a few people on the beach, some with dogs. I walked to the nearest pier, which was maybe a mile away, walking in the surf most of the time. I pet some dogs, looked at some shells, and just enjoyed the waves, birds, breeze, and sights. I went back to the room for a while to rest up and change clothes.
I really wanted some nite rides at the Pavilion and since I was going out anyhow, figured I’d stop back by before the park closed at 8:00 pm. I jumped back thru the gates about an hour before closing to get another spin on the coasters. I walked around a bit, and then headed once again to Hurricane.
This time I sat in the front. It wasn’t as exciting as a back seat ride, but still fun. My only problem with riding in front of a coaster is that the wind dries out my eyes. This would be my last ride on this trip. With my 4 rides on Hurricane I knew I needed at least one more ride on one of the best mice ever built. I headed back to Mad Mouse just a few minuets before park closing for one more ride by myself. Did I mention that there was no trimming on this ride? So my day at the Pavilion had come to a close. I rode around a bit before I settled into a small local bar for a drink and some time playing one of those bar trivia games. I didn’t stay out nearly as late, though, since I knew I wouldn’t sleep well with my nightly sore throats.