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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long)

Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long)

ray_p ray_p Profile

Posted:
6/2/12 at
5:07:33 PM

Place: Canada's Wonderland (Vaughan, Ontario, Canada)
Date: Thursday May 31, 2012
Weather: some clouds, some sun, and a whole lot of awesome at 68 degrees
Crowds: Minimal but there were several school buses
Closed Rides: Sledge Hammer
Time Spent at Park: 10:00 am to 2:45 pm.

My last visit to Canada's Wonderland was way back in 1992, which is far too long between visits for a park that is really only 5 hours away from where I live. So, I opted to change that by leaving my place at 4:30 am on Thursday. Border crossing was a breeze. After battling traffic from Hamilton to the 427, it took me a hair over 5 and a half hours to arrive. And after my great visit this past Thursday, I REALLY need to not let 20 years pass again.

My overall impression of Canada’s Wonderland is that it is a true gem in the Cedar Fair chain. The park is immaculately landscaped and maintained, the employees were genuinely friendly and courteous, and the ride selection is pretty diverse. Walking into the park, you really can't help but be impressed by the beauty of the entrance plaza. International Street's fountain is familiar to those who have visited Kings Island and Kings Dominion, but instead of an Eiffel Tower, Wonderland has a big fake mountain as its centerpiece. It truly makes for a dramatic and beautiful entrance. After having my picture taken with Charlie Brown (my cartoon-world counterpart), I purchased a FastLane pass and headed out to begin riding. Since everyone in the park had the same idea of going to Leviathan first (which wasn't yet running), I decided to start my day with a trip on Thunder Run.

Thunder Run (Mack Blauer Enzian, walk-on) has always been one of my favorite rides at Canada’s Wonderland. Guests board a long train that is themed to a mine train and take two trips around the relatively brief powered coaster track that is partially housed inside Wonder Mountain. On the first lap, you can sort of make out a creature of some sort, but it’s hard to fully see what it is. On your second lap, you can see full well that it’s a large dragon head. Sure it’s cheesy, but it makes for a fun ride that families can enjoy as well.

I have no idea in what order I rode the rest of the rides I went on, so I’ll just review them in a clockwise-around-the-park fashion, leaving Wonderland’s new-for-2012 coaster for last. :)

Flight Deck (Vekoma SLC, walk-on w/o FastLane) was new since my last visit and would surprisingly be only the third SLC I have ridden. After walking for what seemed to be a mile through the empty and Top Gun-esque queue, I finally reached the ugly boarding station and climbed aboard a seat near the back of the train. Flight Deck was rough, which is not uncommon for a SLC, but I didn’t find it anywhere near as bad as Darien Lake’s. I basically rode this for the credit and moved on.

Time Warp (Zamperla Volare, 15 minute wait) is a ride that I had heard many things about, most of them being very bad. But as everyone knows, I enjoy a good train wreck, so I hopped aboard this torture machine to see if all the hype was true. The first thing that stood out about Time Warp was the loading procedure. You climb a small step ladder as the car slowly moves forward through the station. Once you feel you are “comfortable”, the attendant locks you in, the car tips you forward into a flying position, and you begin your adventure. The next thing that stood out about Time Warp was the unique lift system. A rotating arm pushes your car up a spiral lift and it is a very smooth process. That would prove to be the best part of the ride though as once the car left the lift, all hell broke loose. All I remember was getting sucker punched in the jaw several times as the car flung around turns and a few inline twist-style inversions, all while “experiencing the sensation of flight”. If this is what flying is like, I think I’ll stick to walking. This ride seems very out of place at Wonderland, but it is also quite popular. I think Time Warp opened at 11 and there was a mass rush of kids that wanted to ride.

Behemoth (B&M hyper coaster, walk-on first ride w/o FastLane, walk-on second ride w/FastLane) was one of the 2 main coasters I was looking forward to riding most. Towering high above the Action Zone area of the park, Behemoth delivers airtime in spades. Utilizing B&M’s bizarre “split seating” trains, Behemoth reminded me a bit of Diamondback at Kings Island, but it seemed like the airtime was more pronounced. The first drop is a doozie, the second hill features a nice few seconds of floater air, the far turnaround whips riders into three more airtime hills (one of which was trimmed, but it didn’t really detract from the ride experience in my opinion), then a rather forceful helix sets riders up for two more airtime hills before hitting the brakes. Behemoth was a big hit with me as it was smooth, offered great air, and had amazing views of the surrounding area (I see you CN Tower!)

Unfortunately my coaster high didn’t last long as I recall riding Backlot Stunt Coaster (Premier Rides launched coaster, walk-on with FastLane) next. This would be my third encounter with one of these rides and CW’s ranks just as highly as Kings Island’s and Kings Dominion’s versions- i.e., it sucks. I don’t get these Italian Job coasters. They are absolutely hideous with their corrugated intermodal containers stacked up, the cop cars and helicopter just sit there, and the final tunnel had holes of light coming into it. It was like Wonderland’s version of Disaster Transport, except this was even worse if that’s possible. Like Flight Deck, I got the credit and moved on.

Speaking of bad, what in the holy hell happened to the Mighty Canadian Minebuster (PTC wooden coaster, walk-on with FastLane)? This out and back woodie reminded me a lot of Predator and the late Raging Wolf Bobs in terms of roughness as the train just bounced helplessly along the course, rearranging the spines of each rider brave enough to experience it. The lone good points were a neat head chopper effect underneath one of the park’s waterslides, and a wicked helix finale that pours on the laterals until you tap out. The rest of the ride was simply awful in my opinion.

Windseeker (Mondial Windseeker, walk-on w/o FastLane) wasn’t originally on my must-see list as Cedar Point has one, however I was curious to see the sights from 300 feet up and climbed aboard. I’m starting to like these Windseeker rides. They aren’t terribly thrilling, but the view from up top is spectacular. The ride is placed very well within the park and affords nice views of the park and the urban sprawl surrounding it. One thing I noticed here was that they were simply playing in-park music on the ride unlike CP’s model that was playing different movie-themed songs last season on each ride. Still a fun ride that I wouldn’t be surprised to find more CF parks install down the road.

Vortex (Arrow suspended coaster, walk-on w/FastLane) was the newest ride on my last visit to Wonderland and with the loss of Big Bad Wolf, there’s very few suspended coasters left, so I felt I owed it to myself to take a ride. The entire lower queue was full, but with FastLane, I skipped right to the station where no one was checking FL wristbands. Hmmm... Anyhow, the ride itself is awesome as you climb up the back of Wonder Mountain (where at the top a lone pine tree grows), plunge right back down the opposite side, then swing and sway around a series of turns at a very high rate of speed. It seemed a bit rough along part of the track, yet not enough to stop me from really enjoying this great ride. It may be a short ride, but it sure packs a punch.

The Fly (Mack custom Wild Mouse, walk-on) was another new-to-me coaster, so I grabbed this credit and moved on as well. I believe this ride is a clone of Ricochet at Kings Dominion. It’s an average wild mouse-type ride at best and is another rather low-capacity ride for a highly attended park like Wonderland. I did ride this right after Thunder Run which is why the line was so short.

Klockwerks (Huss Swing Around, walk-on) has always been a favorite of mine. Wonderland’s version REALLY hauls, swinging riders out to their fullest and spinning at a swift speed. After my rather disappointing ride on Darien Lake’s Swing Around last summer, this one made me realize why I love these rare flat rides so much. It’s always a fun ride without being nauseating. One thing I found amusing here was that the ride op kept saying “The louder you scream, the faster you’ll go...” and “The louder you scream, the higher you’ll go...” and “If you’re having fun, let me here you scream!” It was very unusual to see this at a major theme park, but it really enhanced the park’s already friendly vibe. I also heard ride ops on the Swings of the Century and Spinovator flat rides doing the same shtick.

Wild Beast (PTC wooden coaster, walk-on) was yet another experience in chiropractic fun. I found my old notebooks where I used to keep my TR’s pre-Internet days and on my 1992 visit to Wonderland I voted Wild Beast as one of my favorite wooden coasters. Now, it’s just as bad as its Action Zone counterpart. The trains just shuffle horribly through the course and it results in a painful and unenjoyable experience. The end though held a big surprise as we sat in the brake run waiting for the second train to dispatch. Once it was on its way, I swear the track dropped vertically a good foot as the brakes let us go and we rolled into the station. Who said Verbolten was North America’s first coaster with a vertical drop? ;)

And finally, that leads us to Leviathan (B&M giga coaster, 4 walk-on rides w/FastLane). You really can’t miss this ride from anywhere in the park. Its teal and aqua track beckons you to come take a ride on Canada’s tallest roller coaster. And ride I did. The queue was completely full on my first three rides and yet with FastLane, I walked on each time. As for the ride itself, Leviathan uses standard B&M hyper trains with their comfy lapbar and nothing else to hold you in. Once the train is dispatched, it makes a 180-degree turn to the right and begins its rather quick climb up the massive 306-foot tall lift hill. Like Behemoth, the visuals here are incredible. You don’t have much time to admire the view though as the train suddenly plummets down the 80-degree drop into a corrugated metal tunnel (which I swear I didn’t even notice on my first ride) at speeds of 92 mph. An overbanked turn leads to what I felt was the best element on the ride- a small airtime hill that sort of twists to the left. The train is moving so fast over this hill it seems you’ll be thrown sideways out of it. Good stuff! Another large hill leads into a hammerhead-style turn that looks slightly misshapen from the ground, but while on the ride it is as smooth as can be. The rest of the ride consists of some amazing floating airtime hills where it feels like you are hovering above the train for a few seconds each time before finally hitting the world’s tallest brake run. Leviathan is a short ride to be sure, but in my opinion, it delivers the thrills and is one of the best steel coasters I have been on. I know some coaster enthusiasts prefer Intamin’s “so severe you might die” style of airtime (and I do as well), but the floating sensation that Leviathan delivers is something truly awesome. Wonderland has a bona fide hit on its hands with Leviathan, as well as a genuine capacity monster. The three trains were pushing people through with minimal to no stacking.

Overall, I really enjoyed Canada’s Wonderland. There were a few other things I noticed that I wanted to comment on. First, CW stamps your hand as you enter and many of the ride hosts will check to see if you have one. I assume people were sneaking in? This seemed rather odd to me. Another unusual thing was that at many rides, you only had a limited amount of time to get yourself seated and situated or else you wouldn’t ride. At Windseeker, they gave you 20 seconds to place any loose items in the bins before they locked the seats. Not fast enough, then you wait for the next ride. I actually like this concept as it allows the park to keep moving people through without delays. Another thing I liked was that if you were a season pass holder, you got 15% off your gift shop and food purchases. I’m not sure if it was all locations, but at the Backlot Cafe and the Emporium on International Street, I was given a 15% discount for showing my Cedar Point Platinum Pass. In Canada, that simply pays the HST, but hey, it’s still a nice gesture! The park was spotless, I still can’t say enough good things about the staff, and their implementation of FastLane was pretty unobtrusive to those too poor to afford the luxury of cutting in line (that was sarcasm, though I’m sure someone will flame me for saying it). I also got 6 new coaster credits out my visit!

Thanks for reading this novel. Pics can be found here at the link below and of course, my ShakyVision video is here for your enjoyment.

Ray's Wonderland Pics

* This post was modified at 6/2/12 5:15:49 PM *

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by MABrider MABrider Profile at 6/2/12 5:42:04 PM
Great stuff, Ray (I believe I have said that a couple/three times over the years)!
And I haven't yet viewed the vid and photos!

I love what you wrote re the B&M goodness there...not so thrilled about the woodies, but of course I am not really surprised as enthusiasts have come to know over the years that the corporate giants don't "do" wood well.
* sigh*

Anyway, you have me more enthused for the ACE "Rollercoasters, Eh" event in Sept.

So why not keep your next "wait" to visit CW a short 3.5 months?
:-)

Mike B.
Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by frontrow frontrow Profile at 6/2/12 8:54:10 PM
Great TR Ray, I've been looking forward to it. I'm glad Leviathan is as good as I hoped. From reading your TR, Leviathan is better than Behemoth, and Behemoth is my 2nd favorite steel coaster. My first visit to CW was September I'd 2010, and I was impressed with the park also. I can't wait to get back up there at the end of summer and ride Leviathan. Glad you had a good time.
Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 6/2/12 9:14:15 PM
Great TR Ray! It's good to hear that Leviathan has some good floater air, and that they added a tunnel. Your hunch was right, the tunnel wasn't there during the grand opening-esque early POVs that I saw; Coasterforce has a POV w/tunnel in mid-May, so it was added around that timeframe.

It's funny to think that TimeWarp used to be Tomb Raider, with a nice sign in front of the que and everything; All of that for only a Zamperla Volare (I saw it on rcdb); Talk about a theme that was too big for the coaster!

I love how Klockwerks looks. It's like a larger version of the Huss BeeBee, like Hard Rock Park used to have. I gotta get to CW one of these days, the flats there are so unique, with the Huss Jump2, and UFO etc. CW suddenly seems like a 'must do' park for North American coaster enthusiasts.

Thanks for the TR!

* This post was modified at 6/2/12 9:32:48 PM *

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 6/2/12 9:51:39 PM
As always, thanks for the compliments. I forgot to mention I did ride Shockwave as well. The Mondial Top Scan looked a lot more exciting than it ended up being. Not sure if it was just the way the ride was programmed, but all it feels like is that you are being randomly tossed around. I think I counted one flip during my ride. The rest was simply hanging against the shoulder harness, which was rather uncomfortable. Still, it was neat to try out a new flat ride that I hadn't done before.

Mike, I will definitely consider a return visit in September. I'll have to check my schedule. Frontrow, I enjoyed Behemoth and thought it was a great ride, but I am a sucker for speed and Leviathan has lots of that! And overbanked, Klockwerks is exactly that- a larger BeeBee. SFGAm has one, Darien Lake has one, and Dorney Park has a Soriani and Moser model. It is one of my favorite flat rides, so whenever I see one, image sure to give it a spin.

Thanks for reading!

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 6/3/12 10:28:59 AM
Nice TR, Ray. Thanks for sharing. Having only been to Wonderland once back when Psyclone was new it's good to hear that the park still looks great.

You didn't mention if you rode Skyrider or Dragon Fyre.

Did you get to ride Sledgehammer?

G-Dog

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 6/3/12 11:03:55 AM
^ No, I did not ride SkyRider or Dragon Fyre. I was tempted to ride DF on the way out as there was no line, but I decided against it. SkyRider's line wasn't bad, but the stacking was insane and it wasn't part of FastLane, so I opted out of that as well.

SledgeHammer was down. If it would have been open, I definitely would have ridden it. It's a massive piece of machinery.

I guess that's just more incentive for me to get back to CW soon!

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 6/3/12 12:57:08 PM
Great read and a great watch! awesome stuff. I have a passport so I don't see why I don't take a trip up there to hit up some B&M awesomeness. That park looks pretty standard, but the rides look great!

Where does Leviathan rank on your all time steel list? I can't imagine that ride not breaking my top 3.

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by Aldo at 6/3/12 10:23:37 PM
Nice TR to read Ray :o) I was wondering if you have any photos from your last visit in 1992? Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of the park at that time and I would love to see older photos of Wonderland (especially of their former Intamin Looping Starship, Jet Scream).
Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by drachen drachen Profile at 6/3/12 10:29:04 PM
Always a pleasure to read a ray_p trip report. I enjoyed the read - and the video. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

It's time to renew my passport...

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by sparky sparky Profile at 6/3/12 10:47:44 PM
Great TR, Ray (I type this from Vaughan, ON after spending my first of two days certifying Site Controllers at Skycoaster).

Prior to the two B&M "giants", many called this park the land of clones, which is not 100% fair. Vortex and the Fly were custom designed for Wonderland before being cloned elsewhere. As was Wild Beast.

As far as large regional theme parks, I have a hard time coming up with a park with such diversity within its gates as Wonderland. You want a waterpark? You want to ride a Giga Coaster? You want to waste time chatting with animatronic dinos? You want to ride a vintage PTC Carousel? You want to simply play a round of Mini Golf? And this doesn't even mention what I consider to be far and away the best complex of family/kiddie sections in North America. Hopefully Leviathan will bring more much-deserved attention to this jewel of a park. Many don't even know that Wonderland not only outdraws all seasonal parks in North America (including Sandusky), but it outdraws all other CF properties including the one that is operated year-round!

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by NotSo NotSo Profile at 6/5/12 3:08:16 AM
boy, talk about motivation to get a passport... thanks ray, geez.. nice trip report.

last time we were there Top Gun was new..

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 6/5/12 3:20:55 AM
sparky said:

Great TR, Ray (I type this from Vaughan, ON after spending my first of two days certifying Site Controllers at Skycoaster).


Prior to the two B&M "giants", many called this park the land of clones, which is not 100% fair. Vortex and the Fly were custom designed for Wonderland before being cloned elsewhere. As was Wild Beast.

As far as large regional theme parks, I have a hard time coming up with a park with such diversity within its gates as Wonderland. You want a waterpark? You want to ride a Giga Coaster? You want to waste time chatting with animatronic dinos? You want to ride a vintage PTC Carousel? You want to simply play a round of Mini Golf? And this doesn't even mention what I consider to be far and away the best complex of family/kiddie sections in North America. Hopefully Leviathan will bring more much-deserved attention to this jewel of a park. Many don't even know that Wonderland not only outdraws all seasonal parks in North America (including Sandusky), but it outdraws all other CF properties including the one that is operated year-round!


But being in Canada, there aren't as many parks there compared to the US. So wouldn't that mean most people in Canada are heading there compared to how spread out the US CF parks are?

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by sparky sparky Profile at 6/5/12 9:34:10 AM
Cyclone_Phil said:

sparky said:

Great TR, Ray (I type this from Vaughan, ON after spending my first of two days certifying Site Controllers at Skycoaster).


Prior to the two B&M "giants", many called this park the land of clones, which is not 100% fair. Vortex and the Fly were custom designed for Wonderland before being cloned elsewhere. As was Wild Beast.

As far as large regional theme parks, I have a hard time coming up with a park with such diversity within its gates as Wonderland. You want a waterpark? You want to ride a Giga Coaster? You want to waste time chatting with animatronic dinos? You want to ride a vintage PTC Carousel? You want to simply play a round of Mini Golf? And this doesn't even mention what I consider to be far and away the best complex of family/kiddie sections in North America. Hopefully Leviathan will bring more much-deserved attention to this jewel of a park. Many don't even know that Wonderland not only outdraws all seasonal parks in North America (including Sandusky), but it outdraws all other CF properties including the one that is operated year-round!


But being in Canada, there aren't as many parks there compared to the US. So wouldn't that mean most people in Canada are heading there compared to how spread out the US CF parks are?

No. CW does so well attendance-wise because is the only major park option in a market of almost 8 million. Toronto very much mirrors Chicago, and CW very much mirrors SFGAm in this regard. (Both lakefront cities with sprawl pushed in 3 directions and both parks draw the highest average daily attendance of any regional park in North America during July and August). People in Calgary don't go to CW. They fly to Orlando or Southern California for theme park vacations.

Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 6/5/12 2:44:49 PM
Ah ok, thanks for clearing it up then.
Re: Trip Report: Canada's Wonderland 05/31/12 (very long) by KevinReid KevinReid Profile at 6/6/12 11:37:52 AM

No. CW does so well attendance-wise because is the only major park option in a market of almost 8 million. Toronto very much mirrors Chicago, and CW very much mirrors SFGAm in this regard. (Both lakefront cities with sprawl pushed in 3 directions and both parks draw the highest average daily attendance of any regional park in North America during July and August). People in Calgary don't go to CW. They fly to Orlando or Southern California for theme park vacations.

Boy! Sparky does knows his stuff! It was probably nearly ten years ago that PCW finally beat PKI,CP,SFGAdv for the seasonal a attendance record. Canada's Wonderland is situated in a very large populated metropolitian North American city unlike Sandusky. Canada's Wonderland competition is not from other parks but, the many other attractions that Toronto has to offer.

Regards,
Kevin "CW Fan Boy" Reid