5.19.2014

Not So Great Adventure: May 18th, 2014


This past Sunday I managed to make it back over to Great Adventure with my old buddy Ed and between some sort of pre-teen Dancefest thing and a Catholic Youth Rally the park was PACKED. We didn't manage to get all that much in and gave up a little after 3pm. Unfortunately I've been spoiled by the lighter crowds of opening day and then basically having the park to ourselves for Coasters After Dark.

Stopping at the Wawa on Monmouth Road outside the park has always been a good gauge of how crowded inside the park is going to be. Today, the Wawa parking lot and store were overflowing with cars and people. Upon navigating the entrance road just after 10am, we could already see how unexpectedly full the parking lot was. We got to the gate at 10:20am and it was a total shitshow. 



Ed had purchased a ticket online (and therefore used a separate line as me) managed to get past the gate in a matter of seconds. I had to wait in the 'Activated Season Pass Holder' line which were horrendous. They honestly must have had the two oldest employees at the park operating the brand new biometric scanners, one of the newest pieces of technology the park has in operation. Slow. As. Molasses. I didn't get into the park for another 20 minutes, at least. This definitely started the day off on the wrong foot, and I was already cranky. Once we finally made it in, we bee-line it through the arcade shortcut to where else?  


El Toro of course. It's really the only thing I've thought about the past few days leading up to this morning so I was determined to get at least one ride in before the lines got too long. And lucky for us, we succeeded. This early in the day it was pretty much a walk on, and we sat in the magic seat (2nd to last row). Ed had never rode the bull before and he was blown away. Without hesitation he agreed for a second spin so we walked around to the ride entrance and back through the empty queue, right up into the station and right onto the next train pulling into the station - this time in car 4, middle seat. 

Needless to say I was in a much better mood. But it was then I made my 2nd mistake of the day which was not going for a third spin since the queue was still a ghost town (my 1st mistake was going to the park at all). However, it was bathroom break and while we're over here - why not a spin on Bizarro

Bizarro POV provided by DeathByIllusion

We then made a fast dash to the Skyway, also a walk-on at this point also, to hop over to the east side of the park to hit up Nitro


 El Toro, Kingda Ka & Zumanjaro from the SkyWay

At this point I was feeling confident that the park wasn't in fact that all that crowded and my experience at the gate gave me the wrong impression. That feeling was quickly squashed as the line for Nitro was through both sets of switchbacks almost to ride sign at the front. 

 Nitro's station and lift

 Under Nitro's carriage

If there was one thing worth waiting for besides El Toro, it is Nitro. Besides, Nitro is a people eater and I was hoping they were running all three trains. Turned out the wait was about 30 minutes total. We sat in the back as you get insane floater airtime over the first drop when in the back of this train. It's insane, but never gets old. 

Nitro POV by FrontSeatCoasters

While we queued for Nitro, we watched Batman next door cycling trains very fast so we gave it a shot. The line was out to the front of the ride and seemed to be wrapping around the Batmobile. Nope. 



 Batman in action

From there we headed to the boardwalk area to check out the lines for Green Lantern and Superman: Ultimate Flight. I knew what was coming. Enormous! These are not rides I felt like waiting an hour or more for, so we were back to check on El Toro. The line was through both sets of switchbacks and almost at the entrance/sign. We'll break for lunch and try back. 

I usually pack a cooler with hoagies from the Wawa, and pop out to the car for lunch but this time we did not, so we wandered around and finally settled on the Main Street Pub. I really wish this park had an actual pub where I could sit and hold a menu and be waited on. The food here was overpriced as expected but was actually really good. Nachos Grande with a Red's Apple Ale that went down really easy. I'm used to living in center city Philly and the food prices here but $20 for one beer and nachos? Robbery! Still, it was good. We got a table outside overlooking the fountain and sat for a while and talked about nothing and enjoyed the weather and people watching. This was one of the highlights of the day, really. 

Superman vs. Green Lantern

After we finished, we headed back through the boardwalk to Superman & Green Lantern. The park midways were noticeably crowded at this point. We gave Superman a shot but the line was almost out into the tent portion of the queue. Skip! Green Lantern? The line is long but Ed wanted to do this one so we decided to see how fast it moved. 


It moved... slowly. We noticed a giant menacing cloud overhead and as we are entering the final area of the queue just before the steps to the station, it starts to drizzle. We had waited at least 45 minutes at that point. This is one of my least favorite rides at the park, so why are we waiting again? Also, line jumpers. Many. Totally cranky at this point. Just get me on this thing already. Surprisingly, this ran great today.   


 
 Green Lantern in action

One of my mottos in life is that everything happens for a reason so after we rode this I decided that the reason I waited so long to ride something I didn't even really want to was so that I could see that it was in fact enjoyable. But I still prefer sitting over standing on a coaster. Ed LOVED this, and said it was his favorite after El Toro


 We were waiting a while so I got a bunch of pics

We decided to give El Toro one last shot for the hell of it, and agreed that if the line was worse than the last time we checked that we would just throw in the towel and head home. And after seeing the line now wrapped around the back of the coaster toward the bridge heading toward Bizarro, we just laughed at each other and started walking toward the main gate. 


Upon leaving, the parking lot seemed to be completely filled. Have to say weather was great. Cloudy/overcast with periods of sun, in the upper 60's/low 70's. The clouds and blue sky made for some nice pictures. Got a little sunburn. Being that I got not one but two rides on El Toro first thing this morning without waiting, I can't complain. That's all I really wanted. I guess I just got a little greedy.

Ride count:


El Toro 2x
Bizarro 1x
Skyway 1x
Nitro 1x
Green Lantern 1x

5.11.2014

Coasters & Classic Cars in Wildwood: May 10th, 2014


Well, here is another brief trip report in honor of my first "summer" weekend at my folks place in Wildwood now that some of Morey's Piers have opened for the season. I got into town late Friday night and sat up with my Mom to catch up, followed by a much needed late night soak in their wonderful hot tub before turning in.


My folks joined me around noon on Saturday for a stroll down to and along the boardwalk and I'd hope to get a few rides in. Also happening this weekend was the annual Classic Car Show, which I got a ton of pictures of. 
 









As far as rides, the weather was very overcast with short periods of drizzle - with the humidity this felt great, but for some reason had me in a don't-feel-like-riding type of mood. 


Their classic hybrid woodie, The Great White, was still closed for a few weeks so I was sorta bummed about that but even in my mellow mood couldn't resist hopping on the Sea Serpent, the piers oldest steel looping coaster, a Vekoma boomerang for a front seat ride.

The author enduring a painful front seat ride

Back on to the main stretch of boardwalk we encounted even more colorful, quirky, classic cars. 









MACKS! First slice of the year



 Step right up to win an awesome prize!





We stopped down Surfside Pier so I could hit up the piers' Vekoma SLC, The Great Nor'easter. I rode in the back as I usually do. After riding the world class machines at Great Adventure over the last month I'm coming to the realization that these old Vekomas are pretty bad.  


 Returning after my back seat ride

I have such nostalgia for these coasters, having ridden them both hundreds of times, but I definitely got punched in the side of the head on the Sea Serpent and the train I rode on the Nor'easter had a serious rattle. I do love the first drop, and I know the coaster well so I can ride defensively. The newer restraints make for a much more comfortable ride. I can boast that both were total walk-ons, mid afternoon with a fairly busy boardwalk thanks to the car show. I wandered back through the pier and snagged some shots of their flat rides and junior coasters.

 Tilt-A-Whirl

 Flitzer / Doo-Wopper
 Zoom Flume / Atmosfear

 Dante's Dungeon

 Rock N Roll

 Dune Buggy

Carousel 

The first summer visit of the year is always nice as my folks live in Wildwood year round so I visit quite a bit off season when it turns into a nice little quiet small town for a few months. To see the tourism machine crank back into action is fun and gives me that occasionally needed reminder of me why I love Wildwood so so much. 


Ride count:

Sea Serpent x1
The Great Nor-easter x1