Waldameer 2016

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May 29, 2016
Erie PA | Waldameer ParkPhoto Album


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Sunday morning I woke up to breakfast at the Kern’s home in Hudson, OH. And it was really great. I sat and talked to Isaac and his parents for a bit. His mom loves coasters and loved Kennywood so she was excited for our trip. Around 11 AM we headed a couple hours north to Erie, PA for Waldameer which is one of my favorite smaller parks and, surprisingly, one I’ve visited several times in the last few years since my first visit in 2013.

Arriving around 1 PM we were there just after the park finished it’s rolling opening where the rides open in phases about every 30 minutes or so. And our first stop, if I recall correctly, was Ravine Flyer II. I cannot say enough good things about RF2. The line wasn’t long and it was running great. This coaster is near perfection and the reason I keep getting called back to Erie. This coaster is in my top 10 for wooden coasters. The airtime! The view at the top! The first drop! The hills over the road!

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Next we headed over to the Wacky Shack then to Pirate’s Cove. As we were heading over to ride Steel Dragon, my friend Bryan sent a text to let me know that Kennywood, which was to be our second destination for the day, had closed due to weather. Bummer. So we had to discuss what we wanted to do and regroup. Part of this trip was going to be my first trip to Idlewild the next day, which I was really looking forward to, but they closed at 8 PM, and we wouldn’t get there in time to really enjoy the park. We decided, since Isaac hadn’t been to Kennywood in forever and my time the previous year there was cut short, that we would instead stay at Waldameer for most of the day before heading out to Pittsburgh, and then doing Kennywood on Monday before heading home, forgoing Idlewild and not visiting Kennywood at nite.

This was good in that I never get to spend a lot of time at Waldameer, so we headed to Steel Dragon for a spin. Then we rode the drop tower before heading out of the park for lunch. Bryan had recommended Sarah’s, a burger joint just down the road from Waldameer. I’m glad he did. Isaac had eaten there before but forgot about it. The burgers were really good and worth the trip. Then we headed over on to Presque Isle for a bit before returning to the park. We rode Comet again, then Steel Dragon with the second time way better and way spinnier. Then we rode the the Mega Vortex (Disk-O), the Train, the Ferris Wheel, the Sky Ride, the Log flume for my first time, and I REALLY loved the log flume! Finally we headed back to ride Ravine Flyer several more times. I even ate most of a whoopee pie.

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There’s so much to do at the park and we really enjoyed ourselves. I like Waldameer and wish there was a similar park closer to me. In fact, I wish someone would turn Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley, NC in to a park like this, but alas that will likely never happen. We headed out and stopped at some meh ‘pub’ on the way to Pittsburg before checking in to our hotel and out in the city for the night.

Kennywood Park

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Waldameer Park 2015

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May 24, 2015
Erie PA

Sunday morning we woke up, quickly got ready, and left the motel in Sandusky as soon as we could. It was really terrible. So we headed off on a trip I felt I’d just made not long before to Waldameer, thru Cleveland and back up to Lake Erie. Waldameer was going thru a transformation, and had a new front gate and they were also beefing up their already quaint looking (and popular, it would seem) water park. The new front entrance was nice. I wish there was something like Waldameer somewhere in North Carolina. It’s charming, it has lots of quirky stuff. It’s affordable family fun, and it’s just a great little park.

Heading over to see what was already open as the park does a rolling opening we rode the drop tower first. I actually like the fact that you drop as soon as you hit the top, and you don’t know when that will be. Plus you get amazing views, and the last time I was there it was gloomy and overcast. After that we went through the haunted house, Wacky Shack. I had done this last time, so I knew what it was all about, but it was neat to see the look on Doug’s face when it was all over. I wasn’t going to miss doing Pirate’s Cove this time, since it came so highly recommended by EVERYBODY last time. I just thought it was a small kiddy funhouse and didn’t bother; it hadn’t opened yet so we went over to our first coaster of the day, Ravine Flyer II.

Ravine Flyer III absolutely love Ravine Flyer and it was moving faster than the last time I was there. I don’t quite know why they weren’t filling both trains, they most definitely had enough in line to do so, but whatever. We rode near the front of the train for the first ride. I love the first drop, and man, those hills over the road kill it for me. They have amazing airtime and I love them. Hopping around on the other side of the road and back is a lot of fun and this time there was sustained speed even thru to the end. This ride really ranks high for me, and I didn’t expect to be back so soon to ride it, but again, I’m so grateful to have been able to make the trip. Over the course of the day we rode at least 2 or 3 more times.

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Waldameer 2013

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June 7, 2013
Erie PA

I woke up early on Saturday morning. It was still very overcast and misty. I left Cleveland going north east, and after less than 90 minutes I was at Waldameer. That Sirius XM had a Daft Punk special on made the drive go by even faster. I got to the park and it immediately reminded me of a nicer Camden Park. It was very quaint. I got there around 11:00 AM, but the park didn’t actually ‘open’ until noon, and then they do the rolling open where rides open in phases through 1 PM. After buying my wrist band the lady at the gate noticed my nifty Gatekeeper jacket and asked how I liked it. I ran in to some other coaster geeks in the park throughout the morning, all very nice.

The first hour I spent wandering around the park, taking some bad photos since the lighting was terrible, and sat down for a bit. The park was very quaint, and the employees were very friendly. I’d love to have a park this size close to me for convenient evening coaster riding. And right at noon, the National Anthem played and some rides opened. My first ride was the Wacky Shack dark ride. It was really a lot of fun. Again, it reminded me a lot of Camden Park There were some decent flat rides, but I didn’t feel like spinning a lot during the day. I rode the chair lift across the park and took more pictures. I wanted to ride the Mega Disc-O, but decided to skip it. Besides, there was one at my next destination, Kennywood, right? (Insert ominous tone here) So after getting back around to the end of the ride I headed to the Comet, the park’s smaller wooden coaster.

CometThis was a lot of fun. I was in the 2 row. There was nice light floater air over the various hills. You turn and go up the lift hill and the first drop, while not very large, was fun. And there were plenty of hills. Plus the setting is very nice running thru the trees.

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I went and got in line for the drop tower next, which was very good. It drops you as soon as you hit the top, and you don’t stop till very near the bottom. Then, finally, I walked over and waited till Ravine Flyer 2’s queue opened. There was about a train’s worth of people in front of me. When I did finally get in the station, I opted for the front.

Ravine Flyer 2This coaster was really amazing and packed such a punch for a smaller wooden coaster. The first drop had beautiful views of Lake Erie, and then it’s airtime over the bridge, amazing airtime on the turnaround section, more airtime back over the bridge, airtime up and down, then a slower 90 degree turn that was odd, and then you dive back in the ravine, then up and into the brake run. It was non-stop. I immediately got on closer to the back and it was even more insane.

After riding RF2 a couple of times I went over to Steel Dragon. It spins, so I didn’t know how I’d like it. I was in line for a bit, but the park just wasn’t that crowded, so it was ok.

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Steel DragonI set on one side while 2 smaller adult brothers were on the other side. I went up the hill backwards. The first drop was really amazing. We got some decent spinnage when we hit the release for the car. This was my first of this type of spinner, and it was definitely better than the Gerstlauer spinners and the spinning mice I’d ridden. Highly enjoyable. I’m not sure why more parks, big and small, don’t have one of these.

I went back over to Ravine Flyer 2 for some more backseat rides. This was going to rank highly for me. It was smooth, fast, and chock full of airtime. I toyed with another Comet ride, but I wanted to get to Pittsburgh. I was going to stop by Conneaut on the way, but I didn’t have cell service, so I couldn’t call to see if Blue Streak had opened, as they were re-tracking it. I probably should have just stopped. I did get to my hotel near Pittsburgh around 4:30. Craig and kids were at Kennywood and they said it was packed, Phantom was down, and so I decided to wait till Sunday morning to go instead. I went to bed around 5 PM and didn’t wake up till the next morning. Side note, the Sheraton in Coraopolis was very nice for $53 a nite.

On Sunday I wanted to go to Kennywood a couple of hours and the head home, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. When I went to get gas, my debit card wouldn’t allow me to make any purchases. I had moved money from my checking to my savings. Nothing recognized the savings account. No ATM, no store, no nothing. And the stupid number on the card was all automated and there was no one to talk to.

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Eventually, I had to drive all the way to WV, about 70 miles, to a BB&T ATM, as there were none in Pennsylvania, just to get the correct number to call and get it straightened out. Apparently at some point, BB&T didn’t have my savings account attached to my debit card. I toyed with going back to Kennywood, but I was about 90 minutes away at this point, and I was on my way home. And I really needed some quality Phantom time.

So that was that. I arrived home around 7:30 and uploaded my pictures. I missed out on 2 parks during the weekend, but in the end, I still had a great get away.