WIldwood NJ/Morey's Piers - 2011 Review/TR
Wildwood, NJ has been a yearly vacation spot for me and my family for my entire life. We make it down a number of times every season – for Easter weekend, a few days in June, and most Labor Day weekends. We love the place, and on a personal level, I love Morey’s Piers. I have not been to Belmont or Santa Cruz in California, but I can’t imagine that either place can match the Wildwood piers – the kings of the seaside amusement parks.
I love the Wildwoods. We always stay in the Crest, the most laid-back, nostalgic, and quiet of the three Wildwood boroughs. If you want nostalgia, take a drive or walk down Ocean Ave, starting at Cresse (where the boardwalk starts) and head south. The old neon signs are a trip to the 50’s and 60’s. It’s reminiscent of old Vegas, I would imagine.
The beaches are the widest I’ve ever seen in Wildwood and the Crest. The North Wildwood beaches are more narrow. The sand is powder smooth it seems, and the descent into the water is very gradual. There is room for anyone to enjoy the beach and ocean. The bay is just a few blocks away if boating is your thing. You can navigate the entire area – ocean included – in a small boat.
The boardwalk is just great. 2 miles of lights, games, shops, rides, and cool ocean air. It smells like food the entire way. The boardwalk is a treat for all of the senses. One of my favorite boardwalk activities is riding the tramcar at night, slicing through the crowd. There’s no better way to enjoy the sites.
There’s a lot to do on the island, besides the boardwalk. Check out Maui’s Dawg House for a LOADED hot dog (featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins, and Dives). Just awesome stuff there. A drive up scenic Ocean Drive through Stone Harbor and Avalon is fun if you have some time. Take some change for the bridges that cross the oceans inlets.
I can credit Morey’s Piers for a large portion of my park fandom. I feel like I grew up on those rides. It’s the flat-ride capital of the country. And no park in the country lights up their rides like Morey’s does. It’s magical at night time. I’d like to highlight some of the non-coaster rides.
Sky Ride – My favorite sky ride of all time. It goes so stinkin’ high, and it’s so stinkin’ long. The view is awesome of the ocean on the way out and of the boardwalk on the way back. It’s at its best at night. Oh, and did I mention that it’s built right on top of the Great White? Lot’s of fun.
Atmosfear – This Larson drop tower is very effective. It succeeds in making me nervous every time I ride it. I am always left wondering when the brakes will kick in. It seems too late every time. The lighting package is really nice too.
Zoom Phoom – I love flumes almost as much as I love roller coasters. So, I don’t ever miss one. Morey’s is the best I’ve ridden. It’s a very long ride, and it has two large, steep drops, one of which goes under the boardwalk. The second portion of the ride is very fast, almost rapids-ish. You don’t get drenched either – just a splash on the arms.
Giant Wheel – The famous, and unfortunately, now infamous Giant Wheel. It’s been the landmark ride at Morey’s for as long as I can remember. It’s always had a nice lighting package. Now it rocks LED’s. The view from top is breathtaking with the ocean on one side and the rides/boardwalk on the other.
Sky Ships – A monorail reminiscent of the Peter Pan rides at Disney, these ships hang from an overhead track and encircle the Raging Waters water park behind the Giant Wheel. Very relaxing, and again, the view is very nice. Nice during the day, even better at night.
The Ghost Ship – This thing is incredible. It takes about 15 minutes to walk through. The details are incredible. There are gags and stunts, but there are also live actors. There is one gag that I’ve never seen before, and it made me nervous to pass it. It doesn’t open until 4pm, but wait until night to do it. It’s really well done.
The dark rides – Dante’s Dungeon and Pirates of the Wildwoods. Dante’s is your classic electric-tracked dark ride. There are some neat gags, and there is even a drop in the middle of the ride. ‘Pirates’ is an indoor boat ride with neon and blacklights all over. It comes complete with gags too. They give you special 3-D glasses to wear, but you don’t need them to enjoy the ride.
“it” – the new ride for 2011. Wow. What a light package! It is so bright. The ride itself is really fun, not your typical KMG Fireball. It’s got new lap-bar restraints, never-before-seen on this ride. The ride cycle is different than others too. It rotates for a few swings and then stops. Then it reaches full swing, which is high. Then it slows down, starts rotating again, and again reaches full swing. It’s like they’re messing with you while you ride. Lots of fun.
Admittedly, I’m not a huge waterpark fan, but Morey’s has two really good ones. Raging Waters on Mariner’s Landing has the Sky Pond, which is truly an original attraction. I don’t know of another one anywhere. They also have the rope swing, which is a lot of fun for me.
Ocean Oasis, on the original Morey’s Pier, has the best mat slides I’ve ever done. They are so fast, and you just skip across the top of the splash-down pool. It also has the large Cliff Dive vertical slide. Both parks have the Shot Gun Falls – short slides with about a 10 foot drop into the pool. Both parks have extensive activity areas and large kiddie sections. Of the two parks, Ocean Oasis is my preference, but both are very good.
The Raging Waters park has a nice food outlet on the beach side of the park – Wrecker’s Grill. The menu is pretty extensive. I had a buffalo chicken wrap, and it was really good. Good fries, and everything is decently priced. The stand is very clean too. I was impressed.
For me, Morey’s isn’t about the coasters. They have some nice ones, but nothing that really stands out anymore.
6) Doo Whopper
This is just a simple Zamperla wild mouse, themed to a 50’s drive-in diner. It is a very tight fit for my 6’ frame. There is a brutal trim in the middle of the ride that I was not prepared for. If you ride it, be prepared. I believe it is after the first bigger drop.
5) Sea Serpent
I give this ride credit for being the first Vekoma boomerang in the country. A seaside park is a good fit for one, as it delivers high thrills in a tight footprint. The first drop is still good. I just don’t like the new Vekoma train. I liked the old Arrow one better. I still give it a ride every year. The ride has a lot nostalgia to it for me. It was my first major coaster.
4) Fly the Great Nor’ Easter
This ride was the bomb back in 1995. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world when it opened, probably because I didn’t know any better. Here it was just a Vekoma SLC all along. I give Morey’s a lot of credit for squeezing it in like they did. There are foot choppers everywhere. The new trains are very comfortable, and you don’t bang your head anymore. But it’s still not a very gentle ride. Like the Serpent, I give it a ride every year for nostalgia’s sake and to see how it’s running. Very impressive light package at night too.
3) Rollie’s Coaster
I’m a sucker for these little steel coasters. This one has some great drops and turns. I just don’t get the over the shoulder restraints. Seems so odd on such a small coaster.
I probably rank this one so high because it was my favorite as a kid. Plus, now my 3 year-old absolutely loves it, so we have a lot of fun together on it. It’s not a bad little ride, as many of you know.
1) Great White
This ride is really hit and miss with me. I thought it was awesome when it opened. It seemed to grow rough over the years. Then they added those “Cedar Fair” gauge controllers and it rode a lot more smoothly. Then in recent years it grew rough again. I’m sure a wooden coaster at the shore is a real finicky thing.
I do like the layout a lot. The drop out of the station is really good in the back seat, as is the first drop, which is steeper than most. The tunnel under the boardwalk is a nice touch. The return run is full of bunny hops and air. The train really flies through the course. It’s a lot of fun.
I can’t wait for the next wooden coaster, which seems to be on track for 2012. I love GCI’s, and having seen the layout, it looks really good. A new coaster has been a long time coming for the piers. I will be there early next year to ride it.
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Wow, what a great post!
You don't do PR work for the place...?
I have never been, and have been saying for years that "next year" I will get to the Coastin' by the Ocean event as my way of experiencing it all.
Which is this coming weekend, and nope, I will not be there.
But people that attend say it is one great event at a great venue (and I believe them, of course).
A review/description of the area and of what the piers have to offer like this one sure makes me want to get there even more.
> I can’t wait for the next wooden coaster, which seems to
> be on track for 2012. I love GCI’s, and having seen the
> layout, it looks really good. A new coaster has been a long
> time coming for the piers. I will be there early next year
> to ride it.
I got a hunch we're looking at 2013. But I "shore" hope I'm wrong.
As someone who went to Wildwood pretty much every summer as a child...and several times as an "adult" :)...I loved reading this report. You really captured the feel of a wonderful place I don't get to often, despite living in Jersey (it's about a 2:45 ride for me) When I went as a kid my family always stayed in the Crest..the Crusader Motel, to be exact. Thanks.
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Great TR! You brought back so many memories. I used to go there a lot with my friends (went there prom weekend) and the Sea Serpent was my favorite! So glad to here it's still up and running. I always loved the sand there - it's so soft, like walking on a cloud and never gets hot. I may have to make a trip down there now, even if just an overnight visit. Sometimes you forget what's right in your backyard. Thanks for the reminder....
> Wow, what a great post!
> You don't do PR work for the place...?
Thanks. It did come across a little PR-ish, didn't it?
> A review/description of the area and of what the piers have
> to offer like this one sure makes me want to get there even
> Next year...
> Mike B.
Thanks again. You really should make it down there. It doesn't need to be for a coaster event. Like I said, the place really isn't about coasters to me. There's so much more to do. Just make sure you experience it at night.
I got a hunch we're looking at 2013. But I
> "shore" hope I'm wrong.
I read an article just recently quoting one of the Morey's as saying that they placed "it" (new ride) where they did to save room for their 2012 roller coaster. From the looks of the pier, it really does seem like they are preparing for construction. Fingers crossed for next year.
> As someone who went to Wildwood pretty much every summer as
> a child...and several times as an "adult" :)...I
> loved reading this report. You really captured the feel of
> a wonderful place I don't get to often, despite living in
> Jersey (it's about a 2:45 ride for me) When I went as a kid
> my family always stayed in the Crest..the Crusader Motel,
> to be exact. Thanks.
The Crusader is still there, and is part of "Neon Row" as I like to call it.
Thanks to all for reading, and for the kind responses.
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Although Morey's is preparing to build their second wooden coaster, I feel that Morey's Piers are long overdue for a new steel (sit-down) coaster. The last steel coaster Morey's installed was Rollie's Coaster in 1998 (or 1999?), which replaced the aging Zyklon (Z47). I would like to see a major full-circuit sit-down steel coaster, with or without inversions, built on one of the piers!
Great TR! It's been so many years since I last went there. Pity it was before I really embraced riding the big coasters. I'd love to ride those coasters there [especially the boomerang - never rode on one].
I was there a few weeks ago and this report caught the magic of the place just perfectly.
I feel like for some people who haven't been there yet though the place may not be as great to them as us, since we grew up going there.
I will be htere during the 22nd-24th to see my ol' pal The Sea Serpent again. Got two rides last time, 3 on Great White, and one on Nor Easter.
The one thing that sucks for me is I can't ride the mini coasters because I am 6'5", and the Nor Easter makes me way too nervous now because they have a 6'7" height limit. When I got on it a few weeks ago one of the ride operators was like, "how tall are you" that may seem like an obvious question to ask but he asked it as we were ABOUT TO EAVE THE STATION!! So he had it in my head that I will be 2 inches away from losing my legs!
It's just hard to enjoy a ride when you have that in your mind. I still love the way up on the NOr Easter though, you get to see the ocean and then, down you go!
Awesome review of the place!
here is a pic I took while I was there earlier this summer.
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What are the new trains like? Any pics or links?
> What are the new trains like? Any pics or links?
The change wasn't a cheap investment. I'd love to see other loopers follow suit.
> What are the new trains like? Any pics or links?
Here's another from the Morey's site.
> Sky Ride – My favorite sky ride of all time. It goes so
> stinkin’ high, and it’s so stinkin’ long. The view is
> awesome of the ocean on the way out and of the boardwalk on
> the way back. It’s at its best at night. Oh, and did I
> mention that it’s built right on top of the Great White?
> Lot’s of fun.
I found out about this about a week or so ago, and I thought I'd mention it here.
According to IRM's (International Rides Management) Facebook page, Morey's has decided to try and sell this ride. I'm very saddened by this news, for the reasons listed above.
Even more sad is that in preparation for Hurricane Irene, Morey's decided to pull the carriages off the ride early this year, and didn't put them back on for the rest of the season. So, I was unable to ride it, for what could have been the last time, when I was there over Labor Day weekend.
That stinks, I've never ridden that one. I'm looking forward to visiting Morey's next year since I'll only be living about 1 1/2 hours away from there now.
They are having a Halloween thing there this year too called Terror Boardwalk - wish I had the time to get down there and check it out.