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TR: Elitch Gardens

LoneStar LoneStar Profile

Posted:
8/17/11 at
11:42:30 PM

Last weekend I was working with Cutco in the Denver area and was able to spend Monday at Elitch Gardens. Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to visit Lakeside, but I heard nothing but good things about it from locals. I wasn't thrilled about visiting Elitch, but here are my perspectives:

THE PARK
Elitch is a pretty generic "theme" park (not sure what that theme is) that shows many resemblances of it Six Flags days. The ride and coaster selection are pretty uninspiring. There really isn't anything you get at Elitch that is unique and can't find anywhere else (other than 2 coasters).

Small crowds, but bigger than I expected on a Monday. I paid $37 for a discount ticket, which I probably wouldn't pay again.

The park was clean, the staff was friendly. Surprisingly there is sufficient shade on a hot day. Lots of fast food chains within the park. The Waterpark was nice but generic.

Worst park trait - very slow ride ops. The park was obviously understaffed due to school opening up (several rides and kiosks were shut down.) But the teenagers working the rides walked along the platforms checking restraints, conversed with each other the entire time. Sometimes they would talk to their friends on the rides. They were in now hurry to launch a ride. Fortunately the crowds were low, so waiting wasn't a huge deal, but it still got very annoying.

I had a fun day, logging 19 rides in about 4 hours, plus good relaxing time in the water park. Elitch just doesn't have much to get excited about.

THE RIDES

Mind Eraser - this is one of the worst SLCs I have ridden. I just hopped on for the credit. Tons of head banging, and the train seemd to lurch and crawl through the elements like the train had slack. Horrible coaster.

Not sure if this was worse than Batman at Six Flags Mexico - that one was horrible. Some SLCs I have ridden aren't too bad - Serial Thriller at Astroworld and Jaguar at Isla Magica in Sevilla. It is a great coaster for pictures, but that is about it.

Half Pipe - The half pipe concept has some potential to be fun. The "surfboard" runs deceptively fast, and shoots you up deceptively high. It speeds through the base of the "half pipe" with some surprising Gs.

Unfortunately, the cars hardly spin. They spin on free motion like most spinning coasters, and with a fill circle of seats, you spin hardly at all. So a huge fun factor is diminished. Plus, the cycle at Elitch is WAY short - only about 2 full shoots up the spikes.

If they ran a longer cycle, and mechanically spun the seats through the entire ride, it would be like a Disc-O on super steriods. Like I said, it has potential to be a really fun ride, but never reaches that re-ride point of desire.

Sidewinder - It's a thrill to ride a rare Arrow launched loop (only 3 left in the world!). The coaster was about what I expected. I rode twice, each time in the back. I knew I would get some great air.

When the train launches, you shoot down a length of straight track before dropping, and the result is awesome air in the back. You slam almost too hard down into the seat, and I was wishing for some more padding there. (Those of yall who know me know I don't have much padding in my seat!)

The loops is very tight, small diameter. In the back, I grayed out each time going forward, almost to the point of being painful.

The backward trip is fun. As you fly backwards along the straight section of track, you never know when the drop is coming, so the anticipation and surprise of the drop are fun.

Overall, its not much to get excited about, but fun and unique. I rode twice, and that was enough. The worst part is climbing 5 flights of stairs to get to the loading station! Ugh!

Twister 2 - This ride grew on my as the day wore on. I logged 6 rides, most of which were re-rides without getting off (one cool policy of Elitch!)

The track layout is unique and very long! Only 2 or 3 big drops, but tons of turns, dives, big downward swooping turns, and laterals.

The ride is very shaky, but not necessarily rough. The 3-bench PTCs don't handle all those curves well, and you can see the trains jostling around the entire trip. But, the shaking is never rough or painful. The coaster isn't very intense, and the seats have good padding. I experienced very little discomfort, but still got tossed around.

Like Elitch, Twister is fun but nothing to get excited about. I can say I have never been on a coaster quite like it - with all its turns and swooping dives. Unique! It's a great starter for young riders.

The coaster has no airtime, and two trim brakes - one of which is on the second drop.

The worst part of the coaster is the queue. It winds its way through the structure of the coaster - which normally would be very cool. BUT, the line is freaking long! I got tired walking through it just to get to the loading station. Plus, the exit walkway is WAY long also. This makes re-rides difficult, because you have to walk so freakin' far just to get back on the ride! The visuals are great, but the queue is tiring.

Boomerang - believe it or not, this may be the best coaster in the park. It is by far the smoothest boomerang I have been on.

Normally when I get off a boomerang, I think to myself, "Hey, that wasn't that bad." This one, I got off and thought, "Hey, that was pretty fun!" I don't know why, but it was a good coaster. I wish I could have ridden it twice, but the line was a good 6-7 trains, and with the slow ride ops, I decided not to. But I never thought I would enjoy a boomerang that much!

OTHER RIDES:
Observation Tower - this might be my favorite attraction in the park. You ride an air conditioned elevator up 250 feet. The deck is totally in the shade, and the breeze makes a summer day very comfortable. You get great views of the park, downtown, and the Rockies. I spent a good amount of time up there.

Tower of Doom - a fun Intamin 2nd generation freefall.

Thunderbolt - really fun and long super himalaya.

Tilt-a-whirl - I got some great spins riding by myself.

Turn of the Century - the absolute WORST swingy chair ride ever, except maybe SFoT's. I love swingy chairs, and I was soooo disappointed.

Sea Dragon - very lame swinging ship.

So, "fun but not exciting" pretty much sums up Elitch Gardens. It may be fun to go back on a slow day and marathon Twister and try to set a record for single day rides, but other than that, I don't see myself returning soon.

I always have fun riding coasters, and yall should go once, then make your own decisions.

Thanks for reading!

- Pat-O

Re: TR: Elitch Gardens by cellocoasterdude cellocoasterdude Profile at 8/18/11 5:33:01 AM

> Last weekend I was working with Cutco in the Denver area
> and was able to spend Monday at Elitch Gardens.
> Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to visit
> Lakeside, but I heard nothing but good things about it from
> locals. I wasn't thrilled about visiting Elitch, but here
> are my perspectives:

> THE PARK
> Elitch is a pretty generic "theme" park (not sure
> what that theme is) that shows many resemblances of it Six
> Flags days. The ride and coaster selection are pretty
> uninspiring. There really isn't anything you get at Elitch
> that is unique and can't find anywhere else (other than 2
> coasters).

Elitch is nothing like what it used to be in its original location. The park that reminds me a lot of the old Elitch Gardens is Knoebels.

> Small crowds, but bigger than I expected on a Monday. I
> paid $37 for a discount ticket, which I probably wouldn't
> pay again.

> The park was clean, the staff was friendly. Surprisingly
> there is sufficient shade on a hot day. Lots of fast food
> chains within the park. The Waterpark was nice but generic.

> Worst park trait - very slow ride ops. The park was
> obviously understaffed due to school opening up (several
> rides and kiosks were shut down.) But the teenagers working
> the rides walked along the platforms checking restraints,
> conversed with each other the entire time. Sometimes they
> would talk to their friends on the rides. They were in now
> hurry to launch a ride. Fortunately the crowds were low, so
> waiting wasn't a huge deal, but it still got very annoying.

Sorry about that, I guess that's what happens when school starts.

> I had a fun day, logging 19 rides in about 4 hours, plus
> good relaxing time in the water park. Elitch just doesn't
> have much to get excited about.

Agreed...

> THE RIDES

> Sidewinder - It's a thrill to ride a rare Arrow launched
> loop (only 3 left in the world!). The coaster was about
> what I expected. I rode twice, each time in the back. I
> knew I would get some great air.

> When the train launches, you shoot down a length of
> straight track before dropping, and the result is awesome
> air in the back. You slam almost too hard down into the
> seat, and I was wishing for some more padding there. (Those
> of yall who know me know I don't have much padding in my
> seat!)

> The loops is very tight, small diameter. In the back, I
> grayed out each time going forward, almost to the point of
> being painful.

> The backward trip is fun. As you fly backwards along the
> straight section of track, you never know when the drop is
> coming, so the anticipation and surprise of the drop are
> fun.

> Overall, its not much to get excited about, but fun and
> unique. I rode twice, and that was enough. The worst part
> is climbing 5 flights of stairs to get to the loading
> station! Ugh!

I enjoyed this one too, but remember how weird it was climbing up all of those stairs to get on.

> Twister 2 - This ride grew on my as the day wore on. I
> logged 6 rides, most of which were re-rides without getting
> off (one cool policy of Elitch!)

> The track layout is unique and very long! Only 2 or 3 big
> drops, but tons of turns, dives, big downward swooping
> turns, and laterals.

> The ride is very shaky, but not necessarily rough. The
> 3-bench PTCs don't handle all those curves well, and you
> can see the trains jostling around the entire trip. But,
> the shaking is never rough or painful. The coaster isn't
> very intense, and the seats have good padding. I
> experienced very little discomfort, but still got tossed
> around.

> Like Elitch, Twister is fun but nothing to get excited
> about. I can say I have never been on a coaster quite like
> it - with all its turns and swooping dives. Unique! It's a
> great starter for young riders.

That's about how I remember it. This coaster is only a bland representation of the original Mr. Twister. Knoebels did a much better job of re-creating the experience with Twister.

> The coaster has no airtime, and two trim brakes - one of
> which is on the second drop.

> The worst part of the coaster is the queue. It winds its
> way through the structure of the coaster - which normally
> would be very cool. BUT, the line is freaking long! I got
> tired walking through it just to get to the loading
> station. Plus, the exit walkway is WAY long also. This
> makes re-rides difficult, because you have to walk so
> freakin' far just to get back on the ride! The visuals are
> great, but the queue is tiring.

> Boomerang - believe it or not, this may be the best coaster
> in the park. It is by far the smoothest boomerang I have
> been on.

> Normally when I get off a boomerang, I think to myself,
> "Hey, that wasn't that bad." This one, I got off
> and thought, "Hey, that was pretty fun!" I don't
> know why, but it was a good coaster. I wish I could have
> ridden it twice, but the line was a good 6-7 trains, and
> with the slow ride ops, I decided not to. But I never
> thought I would enjoy a boomerang that much!

> OTHER RIDES:
> Observation Tower - this might be my favorite attraction in
> the park. You ride an air conditioned elevator up 250 feet.
> The deck is totally in the shade, and the breeze makes a
> summer day very comfortable. You get great views of the
> park, downtown, and the Rockies. I spent a good amount of
> time up there.

> Tower of Doom - a fun Intamin 2nd generation freefall.

> Thunderbolt - really fun and long super himalaya.

> Tilt-a-whirl - I got some great spins riding by myself.

> Turn of the Century - the absolute WORST swingy chair ride
> ever, except maybe SFoT's. I love swingy chairs, and I was
> soooo disappointed.

> Sea Dragon - very lame swinging ship.

> So, "fun but not exciting" pretty much sums up
> Elitch Gardens. It may be fun to go back on a slow day and
> marathon Twister and try to set a record for single day
> rides, but other than that, I don't see myself returning
> soon.

It's interesting to see your report, Pat. I went before most of the rides you mention were put in, but it looks like things haven't gotten any more exciting. It's still a park with coasters, but I wouldn't go out of my way to go there again.

I still need to get to Lakeside, but will not be flying into Denver anytime soon. Well, as far as I know...

> I always have fun riding coasters, and yall should go once,
> then make your own decisions.

Good advice :)

> Thanks for reading!

Thank you Pat, and keep in touch!

> - Pat-O

>

Re: TR: Elitch Gardens by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 8/18/11 9:33:43 AM

Nice report, Pat-O. I'd like to say you brought back some good memories, but I'd be lying, because I really have none. I went to Elitch once in the early-mid 70's..I was probably 8-10 years old. It was pre-Six Flags, but I have no idea what rides remain..I do remember an observation tower, so I'd assume that's the same one. I do know that my Dad's colleague's (we were there for a convention) wife took me on Mr. Twister, which would have been one of my first LARGE coasters. Thanks, Sue! you created a monster (or a Beast, as it were...)

Mike

Re: TR: Elitch Gardens by drachen drachen Profile at 8/18/11 10:49:39 PM

> Last weekend I was working with Cutco in the Denver area
> and was able to spend Monday at Elitch Gardens.
> Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to visit
> Lakeside, but I heard nothing but good things about it from
> locals.

That's a shame. It's such a great little park, and easily better than Elitch.

I wasn't thrilled about visiting Elitch, but here
> are my perspectives:

> THE PARK
> Elitch is a pretty generic "theme" park (not sure
> what that theme is) that shows many resemblances of it Six
> Flags days. The ride and coaster selection are pretty
> uninspiring. There really isn't anything you get at Elitch
> that is unique and can't find anywhere else (other than 2
> coasters).

> Small crowds, but bigger than I expected on a Monday. I
> paid $37 for a discount ticket, which I probably wouldn't
> pay again.

> The park was clean, the staff was friendly. Surprisingly
> there is sufficient shade on a hot day. Lots of fast food
> chains within the park. The Waterpark was nice but generic.

I hate it when parks franchised fast food restaurants in the park. What a cop out. I'm glad Six Flags is getting away from it.

> Worst park trait - very slow ride ops. The park was
> obviously understaffed due to school opening up (several
> rides and kiosks were shut down.) But the teenagers working
> the rides walked along the platforms checking restraints,
> conversed with each other the entire time. Sometimes they
> would talk to their friends on the rides. They were in now
> hurry to launch a ride. Fortunately the crowds were low, so
> waiting wasn't a huge deal, but it still got very annoying.

Nothing is more annoying than ride ops that couldn't care less about dispatching trains quickly. It's so frustrating, especially if you're trying to enjoy an entire park in a single day.

> I had a fun day, logging 19 rides in about 4 hours, plus
> good relaxing time in the water park.

Sounds like you did pretty well.

> THE RIDES

> Mind Eraser - this is one of the worst SLCs I have ridden.
> I just hopped on for the credit. Tons of head banging, and
> the train seemd to lurch and crawl through the elements
> like the train had slack. Horrible coaster.

> Not sure if this was worse than Batman at Six Flags Mexico
> - that one was horrible. Some SLCs I have ridden aren't too
> bad - Serial Thriller at Astroworld and Jaguar at Isla
> Magica in Sevilla. It is a great coaster for pictures, but
> that is about it.

I don't remember this one being this bad. But I'm not surprised. You really need to work to maintain the SLC's. They age terribly.

> Half Pipe - The half pipe concept has some potential to be
> fun. The "surfboard" runs deceptively fast, and
> shoots you up deceptively high. It speeds through the base
> of the "half pipe" with some surprising Gs.

> Unfortunately, the cars hardly spin. They spin on free
> motion like most spinning coasters, and with a fill circle
> of seats, you spin hardly at all. So a huge fun factor is
> diminished. Plus, the cycle at Elitch is WAY short - only
> about 2 full shoots up the spikes.

> If they ran a longer cycle, and mechanically spun the seats
> through the entire ride, it would be like a Disc-O on super
> steriods. Like I said, it has potential to be a really fun
> ride, but never reaches that re-ride point of desire.

This ride wasn't there when I visited in 2002. I thought it looked pretty cool. I guess it makes sense that the cars don't spin much. What lateral forces are there to spin them, right?

> Sidewinder - It's a thrill to ride a rare Arrow launched
> loop (only 3 left in the world!). The coaster was about
> what I expected. I rode twice, each time in the back. I
> knew I would get some great air.

> When the train launches, you shoot down a length of
> straight track before dropping, and the result is awesome
> air in the back. You slam almost too hard down into the
> seat, and I was wishing for some more padding there. (Those
> of yall who know me know I don't have much padding in my
> seat!)

> The loops is very tight, small diameter. In the back, I
> grayed out each time going forward, almost to the point of
> being painful.

> The backward trip is fun. As you fly backwards along the
> straight section of track, you never know when the drop is
> coming, so the anticipation and surprise of the drop are
> fun.

> Overall, its not much to get excited about, but fun and
> unique. I rode twice, and that was enough. The worst part
> is climbing 5 flights of stairs to get to the loading
> station! Ugh!

I really liked this ride, especially in the back seat. The air is awesome (and not very comfortable). But it's a ton of fun. As you said, the backwards run is really fun, as you have no idea when that drop is going to hit.

I was a little surprised by the steps, but I can imagine that back when the ride drew a long line, walking up the steps slowly wasn't a big deal. I think the steps give the ride experience more "old-school" character.

> Twister 2 - This ride grew on my as the day wore on. I
> logged 6 rides, most of which were re-rides without getting
> off (one cool policy of Elitch!)

> The track layout is unique and very long! Only 2 or 3 big
> drops, but tons of turns, dives, big downward swooping
> turns, and laterals.

> The ride is very shaky, but not necessarily rough. The
> 3-bench PTCs don't handle all those curves well, and you
> can see the trains jostling around the entire trip. But,
> the shaking is never rough or painful. The coaster isn't
> very intense, and the seats have good padding. I
> experienced very little discomfort, but still got tossed
> around.

> Like Elitch, Twister is fun but nothing to get excited
> about. I can say I have never been on a coaster quite like
> it - with all its turns and swooping dives. Unique! It's a
> great starter for young riders.

> The coaster has no airtime, and two trim brakes - one of
> which is on the second drop.

> The worst part of the coaster is the queue. It winds its
> way through the structure of the coaster - which normally
> would be very cool. BUT, the line is freaking long! I got
> tired walking through it just to get to the loading
> station. Plus, the exit walkway is WAY long also. This
> makes re-rides difficult, because you have to walk so
> freakin' far just to get back on the ride! The visuals are
> great, but the queue is tiring.

You're right, very long queue, but I loved how you were able to walk through the ride.

I thought the ride itself was pretty fun. It wasn't very fast, nor was it the smoothest. But I thought it was enjoyable.

I'm glad you had time to do some flats. We left the park back in '02 after riding all of the roller coasters. Afterall, we had to get to Lakeside that same day.

> So, "fun but not exciting" pretty much sums up
> Elitch Gardens.

Agreed. I put parks like Elitch and Lagoon in Utah in the same category, though Lagoon is a better park. They have an entire region to themselves, so they don't feel the pressure or need to add any real major attractions. They have no competition for the local dollars.

What you get are just "ok" attractions.

Re: TR: Elitch Gardens by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 8/18/11 11:49:27 PM

> Thank you Pat, and keep in touch!

How's the summer weather in Japan? Miss Houston's humidity?

- Pat-O

> >

Re: TR: Elitch Gardens by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 8/18/11 11:58:17 PM

> I hate it when parks franchised fast food restaurants in
> the park. What a cop out. I'm glad Six Flags is getting
> away from it.

I hate it too, but I understand that it is probably more economical for the park, plus a lot easier. I just say, why pay $37 just so I can eat a $9 Subway meal?

> I really liked this ride, especially in the back seat. The
> air is awesome (and not very comfortable). But it's a ton
> of fun. As you said, the backwards run is really fun, as
> you have no idea when that drop is going to hit.

> I was a little surprised by the steps, but I can imagine
> that back when the ride drew a long line, walking up the
> steps slowly wasn't a big deal. I think the steps give the
> ride experience more "old-school" character.

That's a good observation - steps give it an old school feel. It reminded me of the ramps leading up to Shockwave (SFoT) when I was a kid. What's also unique is that the loading dock is uncovered. Whizzer and Demon at SFGAm are the only coasters I have been on with an uncovered loading dock.

> Agreed. I put parks like Elitch and Lagoon in Utah in the
> same category, though Lagoon is a better park. They have an
> entire region to themselves, so they don't feel the
> pressure or need to add any real major attractions. They
> have no competition for the local dollars.

At least Lagoon's coaster selection is a little more diverse and less generic. Schone spinners aren't as common as boomerangs and SLCs.

- Pat-O

Re: TR: Elitch Gardens by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 8/25/11 12:28:38 AM

Thanks for the TR Pat-O. I went to Elitch way back in 98'. At the time Mind Eraser wasn't bad with headbanging, but I definitely can see 13 years later it being awful. Vekoma SLC's (with the original restraints) age so badly. Sidewinder is the first looping coaster that I've ridden; It seems like the perfect coaster for a first looper.

Re: TR: Elitch Gardens by cellocoasterdude cellocoasterdude Profile at 8/25/11 2:39:17 AM

> Thank you Pat, and keep in touch!

> How's the summer weather in Japan? Miss Houston's humidity?

> - Pat-O

> >

Well, Pat. The weather here is still pretty hot and humid most of the summer, but not quite at the level of Houston.

-Tim