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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit

Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit

drachen drachen Profile

Posted:
6/8/12 at
11:03:57 AM

I'm on a quest this summer. Last year, I conquered Pennsylvania, finally getting to all of the state's parks, and riding all of the state's wooden roller coasters.

This year, it's New York. I went to Rye and Coney Island last year. This year, it's Great Escape, Seabreeze, Darien Lake, and Martin's Fantasy Island.

This is all part of two greater goals. The first is to finally get to some regional parks that have eluded me over the years. The second, most important goal, is to ride every wooden roller coaster in North America.

Getting to Lake George

This was all part of an anniversary trip with my wife. She's not a park goer, but has wanted to stay at a Bed & Breakfast for a number of years. We are "between babies" right now, so this seemed like as good a year as any, to travel a distance on our own.

We found the Boathouse Bed and Breakfast in Bolton Landing, NY, right on Lake George. It was STUNNING, and provided the perfect get-away.

Great Escape was closed Monday and Tuesday, so Wednesday (our return home day) was the only opportunity to go to the park. Armed with my Six Flags season pass, my kind wife offered to drop me off at the park as she went shopping. Sounds like a plan to me!

The Park

Great Escape has a ton of curb appeal. It looks great from Route 9, on which it sits. It has a very rustic, mountain theme in the front of the park.

A few rides are visible from the road, only two of which are roller coasters. Steamin' Demon has a very nice color scheme that really pops. Boomerang is also right there, as well as the best looking S&S tower I've seen in Sasquatch - a twin tower that was relocated from Six Flags New Orleans. Great Escape is home to a lot of relocated rides.

The front of the park is very nice, with lots of shops and other buildings. As a first time visitor, I found the layout to be a little confusing. There are quite a few dead ends, and I found myself getting turned around.

As a general statement, all of the coasters could use a fresh coat of paint. It was peeling off on every single ride, with the exception of Boomerang.

The weather was perfect from 11-12pm. Then the clouds rolled in with some rain. All of the rides that I saw continued to operate in the rain, which was good to see. But, I was done by that point.

I spent a little less than two hours total in the park. Crowds were minimal, and every roller coaster that was open was a walk on.

The Roller Coasters

I only rode three of the six "operating" roller coasters at Great Escape. I don't ride kiddie coasters, and I didn't even see theirs.

Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon's building is still standing for some reason. I don't know if the coaster is still inside, but it seems odd because you can't miss it. It's been closed for a number of seasons now. I wonder what they're waiting for.

Boomerang: Coast to Coaster was closed. I guess I would have ridden it, if it was open - only due to the fact that there would have been no wait. I do like to ride a boomerang that I've never ridden before, if only to see how it operates. But, if there was a line, I would have passed. The ride was testing all morning, but there were no ride operators in site. I wasn't going to wait.

Alpine Bobsled looked like it wasn't even ready for the season. The stations is faded, and the ride's trough is losing its design. I was actually disappointed that the ride wasn't open. I never rode it at Great Adventure, and I wanted to nab a ride before it goes away for good, which may be as soon as this off season.

The three that I did ride, I can rank in the order I liked them.

3) Steamin' Demon - 1 ride, back row

These first two are really a wash, as I like them about the same. Both are classic Arrow coasters, for which I have a real soft spot.

Steamin' Demon is a real eye-catcher in the front of the park. It's got a great paint scheme, with rails that are a different color than the track and supports - including the old lattice inversion supports . I love Arrow track too, and I still find it the most visually appealing of all the tracks out there.

The ride is a simple Arrow loop and screw. It's got a small lift and drop into a vertical loop, followed by a turn into a double corkscrew. Not much to the ride, but it's certainly fun for nostalgic reasons.

I rode in the back, and I thought the train vibrated a little more than other Arrow corkscrew rides I've experienced. Usually you find the the corkscrew portion of these ride to be pretty darn smooth. I wouldn't call Demon's corkscrew smooth.

2) Canyon Blaster - 1 ride, back car

This ride was relocated from Opryland, and it looks to have some track replaced. Some of the typical Arrow "box" track supports have been replaced with track with the later curved supports.

The ride is simple enough, but it's good for some classic Arrow helices. There are two lifts and no real drops. The ride's infield is filled with western theming - including an old Arrow train engine.

1) Comet - 4 rides

It's a long walk back to the Comet - the grand-daddy of the steel framed wooden coasters. I think it's very admirable when a park saves a threatened roller coaster. Comet's demise would have been a huge loss for the coaster community.

It's been one of those "holy grail" coasters for me. I've heard so much about it ever since I got into roller coasters. I'm so very happy to finally say that I've ridden it.

Despite the minimal crowds, Comet ran two trains, which was great. Not a lot of parks would do that. I rode three times without leaving the station, having to re-enter the line for my last ride.

My first ride was in the very first row. As that ride ended, my thoughts were that it was fun, but not quite what I thought it would be. Maybe it was because the train was pretty much empty.

My second ride was in the second row, and I felt the same way. Third ride was in the back row, and I thought it was better there.

Last ride was in the second to back row, and that ride was GREAT! The train was full by that point, and that may have had something to do with it. But that seat was very smooth. The ride seemed faster, and I was being tossed around much more effectively on every single hill. It was great.

You leave the station and engage the lift. As many of you know, the lift has three speeds that, unlike other rides, gets faster as you climb. That creates a great effect as you reach the top.

The first drop is very good, especially in the back. You hit a medium sized hill with good air, and climb into the first, recently re-built turn. You get a good yank in the back on the way down, and then up and down you go as you approach the second recently re-built turn.

That turn is followed by a drop and climb into a double down - again great in the back. You get another small hill and hit the third recently re-built turn, and make your way back to the station over a few small hills.

I prefer older wooden coasters, and I prefer them to have lots of hills. Comet fits that to a T. There are also two hills along the course that turn slightly at the apex. That creates a great mid-air feel - with a little toss up and to the side.

Comet will probably rank just outside my top 10 wooden coasters. I would rate it as an upper echelon wooden coaster.

I don't like going to parks and missing out on rides. But I also understood that it was early in Great Escape's season. It looks like the water park is a big draw for this park too.

I'm sure we'll return one day. Lake George is beautiful and the bed and breakfast was just spectacular. When in town, I'm sure I'll drop by Great Escape again.

* This post was modified at 6/8/12 7:01:42 PM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 6/8/12 11:21:42 AM
drachen said:


Last ride was in the second to back row, and that ride was GREAT! The train was full by that point, and that may have had something to do with it. But that seat was very smooth. The ride seemed faster, and I was being tossed around much more effectively on every single hill. It was great.

I noted the same in my TR from June 2011. I'm most often a back seat guy, but not on that baby!!!

Mike

Oooops..sory for ruining the format. Eyes are bothering me and I missed a quote mark.

* This post was modified at 6/8/12 1:23:44 PM *

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit by ray_p ray_p Profile at 6/8/12 12:17:15 PM
Nice TR drachen of a park I have yet to visit. Great Escape has always intrigued me as it looks like the park is in a gorgeous area, and the rides are sort of a throwback to the old days. If I'm not mistaken, doesn't the park have a Storybook Forest-type attraction too?

I have the Comet credit from when it was at Crystal Beach. I always thought the ride looked more intimidating there on the shores of Lake Erie than it does in lake George, but regardless, it's still a very visually appealing ride. I don't remember much of my rides on it (it was way back in 1984, I'm barely able to remember what happened at 12:04 today!), so perhaps I need to make a visit to eastern NY. I believe I have the Alpine Bobsled credit too when it ran as Rolling Thunder at SFGAm.

Again, thanks for sharing the pics and TR. Good stuff!

Re: Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit by sparky sparky Profile at 6/8/12 12:36:46 PM
Great TR.

Comet is second only to El Toro in my book for best overall SF wooden coaster. It has classic lines, is infinitely re-rideable, and despite being in a corporate park is run in a very relaxed, almost Knoebels-like fashion. The rest of the park's coasters leave a lot to be desired. Great Escape's two custom water rides (Arrow Flume and Intamin Rapids) are notable and very neat installations for a park of this size. The small waterpark has grown in recent years and has acted nicely to aid in season pass sales.

Ray, the park does still have many of the original storybook miniature buildings scattered about and a small mini Ghost Town near the Ghost Town cave shortcut. The old Jungle Land walk-through (complete with swinging rope bridges) is hidden in the back of the kiddieland and the Alice in Wonderland walk-through is still a featured attraction in the Fest Area on the way towards Comet.

Also in Lake George is Magic Forest- a wonderfully maintained 1950s storybook forest kiddie park. It's immaculately maintained collection of kiddie and family rides are buried under a dense forest. Water Slide World is a small, old school waterpark complete with their originally concrete mat slides and other diversions.

About 2 hours to the west in Old Forge, NY is a real hidden gem of a park- Enchanted Forest Water Safari. It's 2/3 waterpark and 1/3 storybook land/traditional amusement park. Some of my favorite old school waterslides are here. No coasters at all to speak of, which many "enthusiasts" will write the place off their list for, but I'd far and away prefer to spend a day here than at SFGAd.
Love the Bolton Landing B&B. I once attended a wedding at the Sagamore and stayed at some dive along that stretch (on a college student budget). The entire area is worth visiting even if Great Escape is not part of the itinerary.

Re: Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit by drachen drachen Profile at 6/8/12 1:11:44 PM
sparky said:

Great TR.

Comet is second only to El Toro in my book for best overall SF wooden coaster. It has classic lines, is infinitely re-rideable, and despite being in a corporate park is run in a very relaxed, almost Knoebels-like fashion. The rest of the park's coasters leave a lot to be desired.

Thanks, and I agree with you completely here. Other Six Flags wooden coasters that I would rate with Comet are Wild One at Six Flags America, and maybe even Viper at Six Flags Great America.

And you're right about a Knoebels feel. I couldn't help but think of the Phoenix when I was riding Comet. I like Phoenix much more, but there is a similar feel.

sparky said:

Love the Bolton Landing B&B. I once attended a wedding at the Sagamore and stayed at some dive along that stretch (on a college student budget). The entire area is worth visiting even if Great Escape is not part of the itinerary.

Yeah, I was prepared to miss out on Great Escape. The Lake George area is gorgeous, and there is plenty to do, even if it's sit on the porch and look at the lake.

Because we stayed at that particular B&B, we had access to the Sagamore's amenities. The place is incredible, particularly the terraced pools in the back. We'll be back soon.

If we brought the kids, perhaps the other parks would be on the agenda.

Thanks for the insight.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit by drachen drachen Profile at 6/8/12 1:46:52 PM
ray_p said:

Nice TR drachen of a park I have yet to visit. Great Escape has always intrigued me as it looks like the park is in a gorgeous area, and the rides are sort of a throwback to the old days. If I'm not mistaken, doesn't the park have a Storybook Forest-type attraction too?


I have the Comet credit from when it was at Crystal Beach. I always thought the ride looked more intimidating there on the shores of Lake Erie than it does in lake George, but regardless, it's still a very visually appealing ride. I don't remember much of my rides on it (it was way back in 1984, I'm barely able to remember what happened at 12:04 today!), so perhaps I need to make a visit to eastern NY. I believe I have the Alpine Bobsled credit too when it ran as Rolling Thunder at SFGAm.

Again, thanks for sharing the pics and TR. Good stuff!

Thanks Ray and Mike. (I'd try to quote Mike's post but I wouldn't know where to start... :)

Next time I head to Great Escape, I'm heading right to Comet and it's second to last row. Fantastic.

That's pretty cool Ray, that you were able to ride Comet at Crystal Beach. You're right, rides always look better along the water.

And you are correct. Alpine Bobsled did once exist at Six Flags Great America.

There are storybook features all over Great Escape, including Alice in Wonderland. I saw it, but I walked right past it. Time was a factor, and well, Comet was calling my name.

I loved the way the park looked, it was just a little confusing to navigate initially.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit by sparky sparky Profile at 6/8/12 1:49:03 PM
Agree. I am a total Wild One/Viper slut. But Comet has some kind of intangible "special-ness". It has soul. For that reason, I think it may be my favorite SF wood coaster. Maybe not a better ride than El Toro, but one that I like better (if that makes sense). Something about how it carries on Crystal Beach's spirit in a park that gets crapped on (or little capital) from its current mothership.

I should say you only got a taste of Comet. Try to plan your next visit on a July/August Saturday. By 6:00-7:00 the park empties out and the Comet takes on a new personality towards sundown/night rides.

* This post was modified at 6/8/12 1:52:51 PM *

Re: Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit by drachen drachen Profile at 6/8/12 2:20:04 PM
sparky said:

Agree. I am a total Wild One/Viper slut. But Comet has some kind of intangible "special-ness". It has soul. For that reason, I think it may be my favorite SF wood coaster. Maybe not a better ride than El Toro, but one that I like better (if that makes sense). Something about how it carries on Crystal Beach's spirit in a park that gets crapped on (or little capital) from its current mothership.


I should say you only got a taste of Comet. Try to plan your next visit on a July/August Saturday. By 6:00-7:00 the park empties out and the Comet takes on a new personality towards sundown/night rides.

Yeah, you can definitely tell that Great Escape is kind of the "step child" of the chain (no offense to step children).

I totally get what you mean by 'favorite' and 'best'. Many/most enthusiasts don't distinguish between the two, but there is a distinction.

Magnum is my favorite steel coaster, but it's not the best I've ridden - Bizarro (SFNE) is. Phoenix is my favorite wooden coaster, but it's not the best - El Toro is.

I'll try to take you advice on a late summer, evening Comet ride. I can only imagine it's better when it's warmer. I don't get around like I used to - only a few times a year now. But perhaps the next trip to Lake George will be later in the calendar year.

* This post was modified at 6/8/12 7:07:54 PM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Great Escape TR & Review, First Time Visit by drachen drachen Profile at 6/8/12 6:55:31 PM
drachen said:

sparky said:

Great TR.

Comet is second only to El Toro in my book for best overall SF wooden coaster. It has classic lines, is infinitely re-rideable, and despite being in a corporate park is run in a very relaxed, almost Knoebels-like fashion. The rest of the park's coasters leave a lot to be desired.

Thanks, and I agree with you completely here. Other Six Flags wooden coasters that I would rate with Comet are Wild One at Six Flags America, and maybe even Viper at Six Flags Great America.

I lied. I completely forgot about Six Flags St. Louis, and my beloved Screamin' Eagle. That is a top 10 wooden coaster for me. I think Comet would be just behind it.

The Boss isn't bad either, and I've only heard good things about American Thunder.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur