- March 12, 2005
- Buena Park CA
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- Winter Coaster Solace
- Photo Album
Today I would attend my first ever theme park event. Knott’s Winter Coaster Solace 2005 begat at 7 AM with 3 hours of Exclusive Ride Time (ERT), a full 3 hours before the park opened to the public. During this time a substantial amount of coasters and a few thrill rides were running.
I had wanted to arrive at the park around 7 or 8 but after our concert the nite before, neither Jamaal nor myself was able nor willing to walk up so early. Plus, Tim had fallen ill at the Pre-Solace Radisson event, so he was okay with a later arrival. Eventually, we made it to the park around 9am. The first thing we needed to do was get registered for the event. Apparently, Robb and Elissa Alvey (of Theme Park Review fame) snagged the last lanyards for the event, so no lanyard for us.
Tim ended up paying for our registration fees with his credit card so that we could hand over some cash, which he didn’t have. This proved to be useful for us because Tim had a Cedar Fair season pass as he worked at Dorney Park, which meant that we were able to purchase our registration packets at a reduced rate. Because of our steep discount, Tim was covered for gas for the weekend, as he had planned to ride with us to the weekend’s events.
Once inside the park I wanted to ride Montezooma’s Revenge. Many people had told me that the flywheel launch version of the shuttle loop was better and I wanted to see for myself. The park was fairly empty at this point. There was basically no wait for the ride. We decided to ride in the front row.
Montezooma’s Revenge–I couldn’t tell a difference in the launching, but you do go a bit further up the back spike on the flywheel versions. Very nice. I liked it just as good as Greezed Lightnin’. There is an announcement pre-launch, then you’re thrust forward, into the loop and up the front spike. After the stall near the top, you traverse the course in reverse, then up the back spike, before braking and stopping in the station. I love these rides because the launch is a lot of fun, and the positive G forces are intense, but not too intense.
I remember telling Jamaal that someone had died on this ride, to which he replied “Why are you taking me on all these rides that people died on?” as we had ridden BTMR earlier at Disneyland. I then explained that this one wasn’t the fault of the park or the ride. I really wish there were more shuttle loopers around. It pulls some major forces as you go backwards thru the loop.
We were close to Jaguar! so that was our next destination. There had been a discussion on a website that Tim and I frequented mentioning the price tag for Jaguar! being around $20 million at the time, which was high for the type of roller coaster that was built. Tim mentioned what I had posted about the actual ride being so cheap compared to the cost. The queue and station are highly themed, but the price tag seemed too high to me.
Jaguar!-This was a fun family coaster. We all rode in seats by ourselves. They were running one train full and the other empty for ERT. I was amazed at how long this coaster was. Its not a very thrilling coaster, but it was a lot of fun. It speeds overhead, going around Montezooma’s Revenge, through the loop, and over the midways. While swift, and fun, though, the ride doesn’t offer much else.
We got a turned around near Silver Bullet, but eventually made it back to Xcelerator where we found a small wait to ride. Jamaal and Tim were taking tons of pictures, but I just wanted to ride it. Once in the station, we could have waited for the front but since I knew I could ride again later we opted for second car. The station is nicely themed, as are the cars.
Xcelerator–I didn’t know was that you launched from inside the station. I didn’t even realize until I saw my first launch. I’m used to seeing the train roll out to the launch area and then go. The launch on Xcelerator was one of the most intense launches, possibly the most intense launch I’d experienced, ever. I liked it even better than Top Thrill Dragster by far! I couldn’t believe how fast we were going, and then you get that wonderful pop of airtime over the top hat. The rest of the ride is fun, with over banked turns going every which way.
I am not a huge fan of drop towers since they really scare me. It isn’t the drop, but I’m afraid of heights, and I’m used to Intamin drop towers holding you at the top for a while. I did like both the S&S and Chance shot/drop towers I’d ridden though. This would be the first time I’d been on a drop version of an S&S tower. Supreme Scream was right near us, so I guess it was time.
Supreme Scream-I was scared. There wasn’t really a line, so after one cycle we were on and going up, facing away from the park. But Supreme Scream is no Intamin. As soon as you get to the top down you go. This was one of the best drops I’d ever experienced. My new favorite drop tower with Maliboomer & Big Shot tied for favorite shot tower. This was my 3rd S&S tower that week.
After that we headed over to Boomerang. This would be my second one. I liked the new color scheme. This was our last coaster for ERT, before the park opened.
Boomerang–I had no headbanging this time. This was a standard boomerang, but it didn’t seem to go up the second spike quite as fast. We sat in the back of the train for this one. I still get that feeling in my stomach when dropped on a Boomerang or Invertigo. It isn’t that steep, and really isn’t that tall, but I like it.
At this point the park was opening up and getting packed. Knott’s was offering 2 for 1 rides on their other new attraction, the Screamin’ Swing, which is an up charge flat ride.
Screamin’ Swing-I hoped I wouldn’t get sick on this with the swinging Since it was 2 for 1, I gave Jamaal my ‘free’ ride. It was really good. You get a lot of airtime on each swing, and it reaches the apex of the swing very quickly.
I still hadn’t met up with else at the park. We walked over to the entrance when my phone rang. Beth called, her and Mike had just gotten to the park and noone else had called them yet either. I figured they were with the rest of the group who was leaving to go to Adventure City. I told her to meet up with us when we were getting on the Calico Mine Ride and we would meet them at the entrance.
Calico Mine Ride-This was an interesting dark ride. It starts out on a tour of a ‘mine’ and is rather well themed. One thing that can be said about Knott’s is that they have good themeing and dark rides. I only wish I would have gotten to see Kingdom of the Dinosaurs. But this was a nifty little ride that has some excitement at the end. It reminded me of a less thrilling version of Blazin’ Fury at Dollywood.
As we exited we saw Mike and Beth on the midway. The first thing we had to do was take a spin on Silver Bullet, the previous year’s new attraction. The line looked deceptively longer than it was. The crew was very fast and efficient, dispatching trains very quickly. The guy on the mic doing the spiel was really funny. At one point he said something about “Enjoy your day at Magic Mountain”, so when I got on I asked if this was ‘That Batman Ride?’ We waited for the front row, with Tim getting on the train just before us. Then Jamaal, Mike, Beth, and I were sitting in the front.
Silver Bullet–The first drop is rampy, but I really enjoyed it. Then you hit the loop, a cobra roll, and various twists and turns. There had been quite a bit of chatter after the coaster opened about the ride experience. Not intense enough? Whatever. That helix was almost as intense as Goliath. I loved this ride. The over bank turn was great, with a pop of air once you’re inverted. I really can’t say enough about this ride. I could have ridden much much more.
A couple of us were hungry so we decided to get some pizza. The price wasn’t too bad for a whole personal pizza. This was my first experience with Boysenberry juice. Yum. Yum Yum Yum! More please! I should have brought some home. Next, we headed over towards Ghostrider, but the line was way too long and it was available for ERT after the park closed. We did walk around the park and took pics of the Topspin. Then we got on the Timber Mountain Log Ride, another fun dark ride with a splash.
Timber Mountain Log Ride-This was probably the longest line we waited in up to this point, and it wasn’t that long. Have you ever seen 5 geeks in one log? I was in the very back, with Tim in front of me and Jamaal in front of him. After the seat divider was Mike then Beth. We rode with our hands up for the whole ride. The theming was very well done. Mike pointed out some of the animatronics that came over from Kingdom of the Dinosaurs as well. Five slightly misted thumb way up.
Eventually we saw where they were taking the group photos, which we declined. Instead, we took another spin on Silver Bullet. The five of us headed across the street to lunch, which was catered by Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken restaurant. As soon as we get to the line we ran in to Ed and part of the group. I don’t remember every one I met, but I do remember meeting Eric, the URC webmaster, Rob Ackerman, Kyle Schick, Frank Corneiller and his dates, Craig and Gage Knor, and many others. We were let in to lunch as they gave us little bags with Silver Bullet keychain/pens shaped like a bullet. We were later told not to have that with our carry ons on the plane as Airports don’t seem to like them.
First things first, we all got tables near each other and waited for the other members of the gang. Then it was time for drinks, so I got in line and got Sprite. Little did I know they had Boysenberry punch at lunch too! Then it was time for food. Knott’s provided rolls, BBQ ribs, some type of sausage/wiener with BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy (I had to laugh at a gravy, inside coaster joke to those that don’t get it), and of course, Fried Chicken.
Earlier we had met Jack Falfas, the GM of West Coast Operations for Cedar Fair as he was wandering around with a photographer that took our pictures for the newspaper. Every time we saw him he was making some quip about West Virginia (he went to college in the state). Very nice, funny guy.
After lunch, everyone was going to Scandia, but Jamaal and I had plans for a nap. We were going to go to the park on our own later but decided to nap for a bit longer. I think I slept for about 3 hours, waking up at 7 PM. At that point Jamaal decided to call it a nite, as I headed back to Knott’s for some nite rides and more ERT. I got back over to Knott’s just before every one else, who were on their way back from Scandia. After getting in I went straight for another ride Xcelerator from the front of the train. The line was just slightly longer, so I opted to get in the second car.
Fortunately just as I was about to board the train before me needed a single rider for the front. Yay! I really loved this ride. It definitely has the most intense launch I’d ever been on. After that I headed for a back of the train ride on Montezooma, which had a fairly long line at this point. As we arrived back in the station, I could hear my phone ringing over in the loose articles bin. I knew this was Tim telling me he was at the exit to meet me. We met up at the exit and headed to Xcelerator, which had shut down for a maintenance issue. We were told it would be open in an hour, but I figured that it wouldn’t open back up so late. It did, but I didn’t get any more rides.
I saw that Perilous Plunge was cycling and I wanted to ride. I might get drenched, so I had to switch shirts. Once I got in line, they told me the ride couldn’t launch without 6 people so I waited for a while till we eventually got enough to ride.
Perilous Plunge-I got completely soaked. Thankfully I didn’t wear jeans on this ride. The drop on this thing was amazing. What an angle to drop on a water ride. Such a shame about its history. You head up the super tall lift hill, then swing around over the lift and drop at about 80° into a massive splash.
After changing into the dry shirt, Tim and I went to ride the Top Spin. I like them, but they often make me sick. So far this week I hadn’t gotten sick on any ride, and hadn’t even needed any Ginger pills. This was the newer type of Top Spin, and it had fountains on it as well. As we were in line, we saw Mike, Beth, and Frank.
Rip Tide-Another vomitless flat for me, yay! The riders before us got five consecutive flips, but our most was 2 ½. Oh well, it was still a fun ride. Not quite as good as Tomb Raider at but I did enjoy it.
The park was almost starting to close, but I needed the kiddie credit so we headed to that with Mike and Beth. I waited in line, just to be told I couldn’t ride since I was too tall. Tim got on, however, and got the credit. I should have hit it during ERT that morning since they weren’t enforcing the rule. Oh well. The last ride of the nite during park hours was on La Revolucion, a KMG Afterburner. I had been on one at a fair and knew I loved them.
La Revolucion-There was one ride op that had been there all day and wanted to go home. I could sympathize. As we were talking about rude and uncooperative people, 2 rude and uncooperative girls gave him some trouble. I really felt for this guy, he was so nice. You really get some air, and it seemed that every time we would swing, our arm was at the top of the swing, save for the last revolution. After our ride was over I asked the ride op “So, do you want to go home and go to bed, or do you just want to get off work and go out on a Saturday Nite?” He responded by saying that he was honestly going home to smoke some weed because it would be the last time before his next drug test. (face palm)
The park was now closed. We had gotten our Lanyards during lunch to allow us to participate in late nite ERT which was offered on Silver Bullet and Ghostrider. The first thing we rode was Silver Bullet near the middle of the train.
The park cleared out quick as we headed over to Ghostrider, whose line was dying out. The infamous ‘Stapler’, an employee that pushed every lap bar down as painfully low as it would go was no longer employed by Knott’s as of the nite before, so thankfully I missed her.
Ghostrider-I don’t remember when I rode in the front, this may have been it. Regardless, I really liked this ride. They turned off the runner lights for ERT, so it was slightly darker. The first drop in the half tunnel was very good and there was ample airtime, with the ride just having completed its winter rehab. It definitely has great laterals. This was a really great ride. The drops were good, air was plentiful, and I’m glad this was saved for last.
After the first ride, we went for the late nite snack provided by Knott’s. Another thing they had to drink there that most places don’t was Sarsaparilla, and it was good. We had chips, cookies, Oreos some Ice Cream bars. Maybe it was an Ice Cream Sandwich, I don’t recall. We sat with Craig, who spent the time goofing around, and eventually headed back for more Ghostrider. This time I know I rode near the back with Matthew. Finally, I got to see what all the fuss was about. Yeah, I got Mooshed. Was I supposed to have enjoyed it like that? Maybe I’m a masochist?
We rode a few other times as well, but eventually we got on the last train going out. I think I stayed on the Silver train most of the time, but did get a ride on Gold at one point. Somewhere along the line, I lost the T-Shirt that we had just gotten a few minutes earlier. I really wanted it, but oh well. During one of our rides we played ‘Pass the Cheetos’ where we were passing loose Cheetos from the front to the the back of the train during the ride as many times as we could.
Solace was over and Tim and I had to walk back to Days Inn. What was left of the group took a picture in front of Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken Restaurant. We had to wake up early the next day and head to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Would we have a repeat of this morning and sleep late/show up late? Or would we leave on time that morning. Would we even find our way to Valencia at all?