Friday we finally made it to Kennywood, after talking about it pretty much since before the season even started. I haven't been there in years, I think the year Phantom's Revenge opened or something, maybe 2001 or a year or two after. I got the hook up... and it was totally worth the price of the gas.
The first big change I noticed was the whole gate plaza area. I'm pretty sure that was new since the last time I was there. Very nice. They also have the smoking policy thing nailed down. There is a big sign prior to the tunnel that says: "Smokers: Take One," which presumably has the smoking policy and locations for the designated areas. Good thinking.
We started by actually eating, since it was nearly noon. The park wasn't all that crowded. We ate at the Casino building in the middle of the park, where Diana was impressed that her sandwich was actually made, not frozen, on good bread, and on a real plate, and not nine dollars. Such was the case really with everything we consumed. It wasn't a bargain, but it wasn't excessive even for an amusement park, and more importantly, it didn't outright suck.
Our first ride was Ghostwood Estates, which is a pretty nifty shooting dark ride with the trackless vehicles. The pre-show is well done, and the scenes are continuous with interesting stuff to shoot that reacts to your hit. Your scoring ability is limited only by your sense of direction. There are targets everywhere, even behind you. Diana unfortunately had a bum gun, so her score wasn't great.
We didn't hit as many non-coaster rides as I thought we would, in part because the heat and humidity was a bit on the oppressive side. Of course we had to do the Turtle, because it's such a classic. We also did Garfield's Nightmare, which, I dunno, didn't impress me. Why they took a hundred-year-old ride and splattered it with fluorescent paint is beyond me. Cosmic Chaos is a ton of fun! I haven't been on one since IAAPA 2003, or whatever year Zamperla introduced it, but it's a good time.
First coaster was Phantom's Revenge. We waited for the front seat, despite the single train operation. It was Diana's idea, and I'm glad she talked me into it. I forgot just how ridiculous that ride is. It pulls some great G's at the bottom of that second drop. The airtime is nuts. It's also incredibly smooth, which leads me to believe that perhaps it's not the old Arrow looper trains that are an issue, but rather the track most of them run on.
Next coaster was Exterminator. Wow is that an aggressively run Reverchon. For some reason I thought the spinning release was earlier in the ride, but in any case, it just blasted through those hairpins. Well done!
By sheer luck, we got the front seat on Jackrabbit. Love that double down. Does anyone know when they adopted that strange logo?
Thunderbolt ran extremely well. I always seem to recall getting a little beat up on that ride on previous visits, but it really ran extremely well, especially in the bowl. I'm astonished at how well that ride is maintained.
Racer was running pretty well also, even though our train lost. Diana was inspired by the crumbling foundation under the midway and queue area.
Our last ride of the day was Log Jammer, the flume. I love that dip in the middle of the ride. They really need to consider just replacing the trough entirely at some point. I've never seen one so patched and rough before. It has definitely seen better days. Some of the boats are showing extreme wear and tear too.
We were in the park for about six hours, and I think if Diana didn't have shoulder pain from stress and sleeping funny, and I wasn't being a grumpy bastard for other reasons, we might have stayed longer. But we did get to ride most of what we wanted. The only negative encounter we really had was with this chick who had an attitude at the smoothie stand. In the general sense Kennywood did a great job showing us a good time. And I finally got my Potato Patch fries!