Kennywood 2016

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May 30, 2016
Pittsburgh PA | Kennywood | Photo Album


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We woke up Monday morning to head, not to Idlewild as originally planned, but to Kennywood. And I wasn’t a bit mad. I wish I’d been able to go to Idlewild, and Kennywood is magical at nite, but any time spent at Kennywood is enjoyable. We headed to the Giant Eagle near our hotel to get discount tickets and drove the 2 more miles to the park, parking near the escalator, and headed down to the entrance. I was extremely excited as I love Kennywood. And even though we wouldn’t be there at nite, I was going a little nuts inside.

I don’t really remember what the entrance looked like on my first visit which, I believe, was just before they renovated the entire thing, but what they had now is really nice. And I’m glad they painted the concrete walls that take you down to the tunnel. It was much nicer looking.

Once in the park we got a locker near the front and headed back to a fairly empty Kennywood where we quickly ran into the first stop, a newly renovated Noah’s Ark. I was glad that I got to ride the previous year and on this visit in order to compare. First, the whale and it’s tongue were great to see. The ride was a lot of fun, the animatronics very well done, and the whole thing a classic return to form. I’m glad the current owners are putting money in to areas of the park that need it while maintaining Kennywood’s classic charm.

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This trip to Kennywood was more about getting to do the things I didn’t get to cram in to the previous year, and just enjoying the park for the day. There was one ride that I hadn’t had the opportunity to ride at either Kennywood nor Conneaut, and that was the Turtle. I’d seen it, heard it was fun, but never ridden it, so that was our next stop and it was super fun.

Next up was my former #1 coaster and one that is still ranks high on my list, Phantom’s Revenge. I absolutely love Phantom. And it was running very well. We rode a couple of times in the front but mostly in the back. It has that amazing aggressive airtime that you don’t get on many rides.

I believe that next we rode Thunderbolt. Man, does Kennywood have amazing wooden coasters. It was a great ride as usual. Aggressive but fun, with airtime and laterals. Then we walked across the park to Exterminator. Its the only wild mouse that doesn’t scare me since it is inside and ‘feels’ less like its going to go over the side of the rails, and we got a really fun, spinny ride on it.

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While over by Exterminator we rode The Whip. I wish they’d put the roof back on as being in direct sun in the hot summer is a bit uncomfortable, but The Whip is a truly classic ride that would still fit in at any park, new or old, and still be popular. And it’s capacity eats people up. Too bad most newer versions of the ride have been relegated to slightly themed kids rides in kids sections.

After having a great time on MaxAir earlier in the trip and Delirium at Kings Dominion earlier in the season, we got in line for Black Widow next. What should have been a 2 cycle wait turned in to about a 40 minute wait. Some kid vomited red slush all over himself and the 2 female ride ops responsible for cleaning it up dragged it out for over 30 minutes. They spent a good 15 minutes standing and looking at it and arguing about having it clean it up. People in line (myself included) got rather vocal because they just stood there.

Then they took another 15 minutes to clean it up when it wasn’t more than a 10 minute job total, before standing around another few minutes complaining until another ride op came over and whipped them in to shape and made them hustle. It was ridiculous. I get not wanting to clean it up, but c’mon. It would have been a 10 minute job that they spent more than a half an hour complaining about when they could easily have been done with it.

Having said that, Black Widow is the best spinning pendulum ride I’d ever been on. It slowly spins clockwise and then counterclockwise, has a large and high arch, and gives a long ride cycle. If my local park were to get one of these types of rides, I’d want this model from Zamperla. It was seriously amazing.

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Next up we went over to Log Jammer for my first (and last) ride. It was a fun flume ride, and while it thankfully didn’t drench us, it cooled us off in the hot, hot sun. Then we went to Racer. We only rode one side because of the queue being largely in the sun and it being the hottest part of the day. Racer is a fun family friendly wooden coaster that I appreciate more as I’m older. Next was Jack Rabbit, one of the best old coasters with an amazing double down that still throws you out of your seat.

It had been over 10 years since I’d ridden the Auto Race, so we rode that as well, but again, some shade over the queue would be nice. Hand slapping ensued and Auto Race, while not only a classic ride, is a lot of fun. Too bad theres only 2 left in the world.

I’d wanted to ride the the newest dark ride, Ghostwood Estates, for some time. I’d ridden it as Gold Rusher on a previous visit. Ghostwood Estates was really well done. I hadn’t realized it was trackless. It had a fun preshow, and it seemed that all of the attractions’s theming and effects worked. I really enjoyed it. I wish more parks would make trackless dark rides.

We rode the Bayern Kurve next, which is one of my all time favorite rides, then we heading back to Phantom for a few more rides, and then headed to our last ride of the day, Sky Rocket. I loved it. I wish more parks would build medium to larger sized coasters from Premier. Isaac didn’t enjoy it because his restraint was in a bad spot and he wasn’t able to be comfortable, but I really liked Sky Rocket. So with that our day was over. We headed over to the car and back to NC by way of WV, VA, and SC. I love Kennywood, and even though this wasn’t the way we’d planned it I’m glad we had a decent amount of time at the park during the day.

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Kennywood 2015

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May 24, 2015
Pittsburgh PA

So we left Conneaut and headed towards our next stop, which, unfortunately it seemed to take longer than anticipated to get to and get started. This was the first time I’d not gotten lost on the way (and the first time I didn’t see any of those darn yellow arrows) to…Kennywood!  It had been ten years since my last visit and the park has changed in many good ways. It was a nice evening, and this was my first time getting the ‘true’ night time Kennywood experience (my only other nite experience at Kennywood was during Fright Nights, so that was much different).

After getting into what I’d forgotten was a beautiful park (and this was I believe my first time seeing the new gate), we headed first to purchase Kennywood’s version of pay to cut. It’s a little different, and I really just wish you could go at whatever time and ride everything without waiting once, because the times really kind of set us back. Then we headed to the Bayern Kurve. Unfortunately it broke down just as we arrived, and both of us were really looking forward to riding the ride, so we knew we’d check back later. Since that was a bust, we went to what was for a very long time my favorite coaster ever, Phantom’s Revenge.

Phantom’s RevengeI was blown away by this ride every other tim I rode it. The only thing I didn’t care for was the first drop, actually. I know they’ve replaced all of the track on the first drop, did some tweaks, undid some tweaks, and added a trim. Would it still be amazing? Our first ride was in the front of the ride, a first for me. That first drop was actually better, and the straight track after had some positive forces I didn’t remember. Then you head up and into roller coaster bliss. That first hop up and into the ravine is magical, as is the rest of the ride. Aggressive, powerful, and chock full of airtime. It’s still as amazing and insane as ever. Phantom still holds up after a ten year absence. It’s just that good.

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Kennywood 2005

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Kennywood | Photos | Videos


June 22, 2005
Pittsburg PA

Kennywood is one of my favorite parks. It has one of my favorite coasters, good food, and was reasonably close to where I lived in West Virginia in 2005. But my only prior visit had been in October of 2003 and only for 3 hours, meaning I only had a chance to ride the coasters once and nothing else. I’d been wanting to get back ever since. Because of West Virginia Day, I would be off for 4 days in a row, so I took the chance to head to Kennywood.

I worked Sunday nite, got home just after 7 AM, and tried to take a nap. My brother and sister had sent their kids to stay with us for the week, which was another bonus reason for me to leave. Since they were coming down here, I went up to where they live to visit.  So I left that evening and headed to my grandmother’s home in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, where I’d lived for quite some time. I arrived around 10 PM, tired and ready to settle in.

The next morning I woke up early, went for breakfast and to visit some friends, then to visit more friends at a restaurant where I used to work, then back for a nap. That evening, among other things, we met up with friends of ours for basketball and tennis. I wanted to sleep till 7 AM the next morning but because my sleeping schedule was out of whack I was up at 6 AM instead, so I decided to go ahead and leave, getting out of town around 7. The trip to Kennywood was around 3 hours. My morning didn’t go so well.  There were some issues with my ATM card and I had only limited cash on me. Then it stormed the entire way to Morgantown. I almost had an accident at an intersection as well.

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Kennywood 2003

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Kennywood | Photos | Videos


For a 6 month period in 2003 I picked up a new home park. But alas, due to work and cash restraints I wasn’t able to visit during the regular season. That is why I’m glad Kennywood had Phantom Fright Nights as an option in October or I wouldn’t have had a chance to go to the park for the first time, and have a final coaster trip for 2003. I’d had a rough day. Prior to Kennywood, I had spent a few days with my parents, but got a late start from their house to where I was living, a 3 hour trip. Then I got stuck in traffic because of Bridge Day, a large festival in WV.  It took an extra hour to get home, so I was really late picking my roommate Jon up.

I had to get directions to Kennywood from their web site, because I hadn’t been to Pittsburgh in over 20 years and don’t remember a thing about it as I was a toddler. But the trip from Fairmont, WV to Kennywood was an easy and fairly quick drive . Though we got a bit lost between Pittsburgh and West Mifflin, we stopped for directions, and easily found the park once we were pointed in the right direction.

After parking we paid for our ticket and headed in. The park (what I could see of it in such darkness) looked really nice. I do wish it had been light up a bit more, though, as I didn’t know my way around. The first thing we headed to was Phantom’s Revenge.

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