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Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review

drachen drachen Profile

Posted:
7/14/12 at
11:42:53 PM

Date: Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Weather: Sunny, mid-80’s
Parks: Darien Lake, Martin’s Fantasy Island, Seabreeze
Total miles logged: 770 (whew!)
Left home: 5:30 AM, Got Back: 11:30 PM

The Plan

This trip has been in the works for some time. The only debate was whether I could do all three the same day or not. I’m in the process of finally getting to all of the regional parks that I would consider within a day-trip radius. Getting to these three parks would complete that task. As it stands, there are no more “major” parks, which I haven’t been to, within a 6 hour radius from home.

So, I decided if I’m going to be in the area, then I need to suck it up and do all three. I hoped crowds would be minimal so that I could experience most of what the parks have to offer without spending a great deal of time there. Riding the roller coasters was a must for me, as well as riding some of the more unique attractions. Any ride that I’ve done elsewhere wasn’t on my radar.

Darien Lake opened first, so that made the order easy for me. With a 10:30 AM opening, I was able to arrive, scan my pre-purchased ticket, and get to the rope by 10:15. Martin’s would have to be second on the list, as Rochester and Seabreeze were somewhat on the way home.

Darien Lake, Eh?

There were a lot of Canadians at Darien Lake. I guess I forgot how close to the border I was. Getting to the park was interesting. The GPS took me off of 390 seemingly early. That took me to some open county roads. The park is seemingly in the middle of nowhere from this direction. Upon heading to Martin’s, I realized it’s just a few miles off of Rt. 90 to the north. From the south/east, it’s an interesting ride through rural New York State. Parking is $8.00.

I know Darien Lake used to be a Six Flags park, and it is still evident. In fact, it still could pass as one. It still looked and felt like a Six Flags park. Perhaps it was the selection of rides, or perhaps it’s how they were laid out. I don’t mean it as a bad thing – there are plenty of Six Flags parks that I like a lot. But, if I didn’t already know it was sold off a few years ago, I wouldn’t have ever known it wasn’t a Six Flags park from walking around.

I found operations to be painfully slow at every coaster, with the exception of Moto Coaster and Viper. The worst was a Predator, where there were literally 5 minutes waits between dispatches – and that was with two trains. Ride of Steel wasn’t much better. That’s a long ride, and they were stacking trains all day.

Darien Lake is colorful and clean. In addition to a decent roller coaster collection, it also has a nice collection of flats – many of which aren’t found in too many places. They have what looks like a Schwarzkopf enterprise ride. It looked much different than the typical Huss model. I wanted to ride it, but it was closed.

Upon rope-drop, I headed straight to Ride of Steel. I figured this was the path that most people take, but I also figured that the rest of the coasters wouldn’t have much of a line throughout my visit. It seemed like most guests had swimwear on, so I wasn’t worried. I made my way around the park clockwise, ending my day with Mind Eraser.

The park is full of ponds, which I really like. Darien Lake itself isn’t much of a lake, but I guess it qualifies. I love the way rides look along, and on the water. The park took advantage of the water with their ride placement. Predator runs along Darien Lake. There is also a pond smack dab in the center of the park and one in the front.

All told, I enjoyed my visit. It wasn’t my favorite park of the day, but I liked it. I spent a little over three hours inside. I rode six roller coasters, and walked around enough to take some photos. You can see some of the differences between old Darien Lake and Six Flags Darien Lake. What seems to be consistent is the quality upkeep and mostly quality ride maintenance.

Martin’s Fantasy Island

Martin’s Fantasy Island is a short, easy 35-40 minute from Darien Lake. Anyone who goes to Darien Lake, and hasn’t been to Martin’s, needs to make this drive. Silver Comet is worth the price of admission alone.

This park names makes it sound like it’s a strip club. In fact, if I told a non-park person where I was going, I’m sure that’s what they’d think. The park couldn’t be further from it in many ways. It’s a small, low-budget family park, aimed at young families. It reminded me a bit of Quassy. Parking is free, and the nice girl at the gate honored my $4 off coupon from their website, even though I presented it to her from my phone.

I got a little turned around as I entered. I didn’t know how to get to the rides. I found out that you had to pass through an archway through a peach colored building. It leads you to a small western themed midway down to a pond with canoes, which you cross via a bridge. That bridge leads you right to Silver Comet. The main midway is to the left.

For being a family oriented park, there are some big rides. There is a Gravitron, Mega-Disko, a swing tower, and a unique inverting/rotating ride called Mind Warp. I’m not sure on the manufacturer, but KMG has something in their catalog that looks similar. I had to take a spin, and it was a lot of fun. It’s like the Fireball model, but it goes the whole way around.

I spent about two hours at the park. There wasn’t a lot for me to do by myself. I don’t think I’d bring my family here with Seabreeze being so relatively close. Perhaps if we all went to Niagara Falls, this would be a quick stop.

Seabreeze

What a great little park! I’m already planning a trip back with my four year old. There’s nothing there that she can’t ride, and I know we’d have a blast together.

The park is a situated in a really nice area. Lake Ontario is visible from many parts of the park. If you could blend two great PA parks, Waldameer and Idlewild, you’d have Seabreeze. Upon entering the park and entering the queue for Jack Rabbit, I already knew that I loved the place. It has a very old, classic feel to it, but has very modern water park slides around the corner. The park is small, and I was able to ride everything multiple times in an hour. I didn’t leave in an hour though. I liked the place too much.

The park has a neat, old covered midway full of games. I’m sure it’s a money maker when it rains. There is also a gorgeous, newer carousel house that hides what looks like a pretty old carousel.

The park’s history is on display around the inside walls, around the ride. There is a carousel horse display (how they are made), and an old carousel lion. Next to that is the organ, with a display case full of different music “cards” (for lack of a better term) that can be used on the organ for different songs. That was a real, unexpected treat.

Upon exploring the park, I saw a sign on a restaurant down below the park that said “World’s Greatest Cheeseburger”. Well, I knew where I was eating dinner. The place is Bill Gray’s, and the burger was pretty darn good. I’ve met a lot of great burger joints along the way, and this was one of them. It also served Abbott’s frozen custard. Bill Gray’s provided a nice sit-down dinner before I began my five hour drive home.

All told, Seabreeze is a real gem of a park, and I’m glad I made the extra effort to get there that day. It was easily my favorite park of the day, and like I said, my daughter and I will be back soon, likely next year. It exceeded every expectation I had for it.

The Coasters

Again, ranked in Geauga Dog’s reverse countdown style. None of the coasters were bad, but there were a few good ones.

11) Crazy Mouse, Martin’s Fantasy Island – 1 ride

This ride, like its brothers, really just didn’t do anything. It’s fun enough as a mouse ride can be, but it didn’t really spin a whole lot. It didn’t help this ride that there was a much more fun spinner on the trip.

10) Boomerang, Darien Lake – 1 ride

Since there was no wait, I took a spin on Darien’s Boomerang, if for no other reason than to see how theirs is operating. I find that there isn’t much variation between parks as I ride these things, not like there is on the SLC’s. I have thoughts on these and old Arrow Loopers that I’ll likely share in another thread soon. Boomerang did have a relatively fresh coat of paint, so it looks really sharp.

9) Mind Eraser, Darien Lake – 1 ride

This ride looks like complete garbage. It sits off by itself, on the other side of a scummy, stagnant pond (ever hear of fountains to circulate the water?) When you approach the ride, you are surrounded by rust and peeling paint. There was only one train on the tracks, and I would imagine that the other has since been stripped for parts. The red train is faded and worn something fierce.

The impression I got was that the park really doesn’t want this ride. In fact, the old Batman stand-up from Astroworld is still rotting in a grass field across from the park. The only visual difference between the two rides is that Mind Eraser is assembled. Either it’s the next ride to get painted, or it’s on its way out.

The ride itself was actually quite tolerable. I rode third car from the back, and it was fast, fun, forceful, and relatively smooth. Considering the visual condition of the ride, I was surprised.

8) Moto-Coaster, Darien Lake – 1 ride

Having already ridden Steeplechase at Coney Island, (and this ride is identical, but with motorcycles) I knew I wanted to ride at least once. With only one train visible, it had the longest wait of the day at about 20 minutes. As luck would have it, they cut the line off just before I entered the station. So, I got the front row, which provides a great visual.

I really do like this ride a lot, just like I liked Steeplechase. These rides are fun, unique and incredibly popular. There should be more of these coasters. I’m a fan.

7) Viper, Darien Lake – 2 rides

I got a front seat and a back seat ride on this old machine. As you may know from other reviews, I’m a sucker for old Arrow Loopers. I haven’t met one I didn’t like, and there is a lot about them that I love aside from the actual ride itself. I love the look, and Viper looks great for its age. It also recently received a sexy black paint job, so it has a real stealth look. And of course, there is some historical significance as well, as it was the first coaster to feature five inversions.

The queue has no switchbacks at all. It just meanders in the infield of the coaster, with a long straight stretch to the station. As a result, you get some great views of the ride. If you want to re-ride Viper, and I don’t think many people do, you have a long walk ahead of you as the ride exits about as far away from the entrance as possible.

The trains needs some TLC, but the track seems to still be rock solid after 30 years of operation. You get your classic Arrow lift noise – another thing I love. There is a medium sized drop into a vertical loop. You immediately head over to the batwing element, which I believe was also a first for Arrow on this ride. This ride was pretty important when it opened.

You exit the batwing and hit the MCBR, which slows you a bit before you hit the obligatory double corkscrew. The second one wraps over what was once a snack bar, I’d imagine. It looks abandoned and decrepit – probably time to remove it.

The highlight of Viper is after all of the inversions. There is a double helix finale, part of which is in an underground tunnel. It is very smooth and tightens toward the end, causing the train to seemingly pick up speed. That was really neat, unexpected and quite impressive. You then hit the brakes and re-enter the old, needs-work station.

6) Whirlwind, Seabreeze – 1 ride

I only rode this once, since I’ve ridden the same model at Lagoon and Waldameer. This is a fantastic ride, and this was the best of the three for some reason. I rode backwards, and I don’t think I did that on the other two. The spinning provided such an out-of-control sensation. It was wild, and smooth. You get tossed in so many different directions. Toward the end of my ride, I got a nice toss up and out toward Lake Ontario.

These rides are a lot of fun, and like the Zamperla Moto Coaster, I would love to see more of them show up in other small parks. Heck , even some large parks could pull them off.

5) Ride of Steel – 2 rides

This was my first ride of the day, as I anticipated that if there was a coaster at Darien Lake to have a line, this would be it. Upon riding Ride of Steel, I have completed my collection of Intamin megacoasters in the U.S., which isn’t terribly hard to do for those of us that live in the Northeast. With Skyrush being new though, I’d imagine that there are only a relative handful of us.

I’ve always heard that this ride wasn’t as good as its brother down in Maryland, and I never understood why. After riding, I totally get it. I rode in the back seat first and the ride had a lot of vibration. I was underwhelmed with everything except the first drop. Superman at Six Flags America is a back seat ride all the way, with some serious negative G’s throughout. Ride of Steel, for some reason didn’t feel like it had the speed Superman does, and therefore it doesn’t have the negative G’s. The front car offered a smoother ride, but it was more of the same.

It was still a fun ride, no doubt. It is a very fun 200 foot coaster. But I wouldn’t rate the experience anywhere near my top 10 – where Superman SFA is firmly placed.

4) Bobleds, Seabreeze – 1 ride

What an experience! Even though I liked Jack Rabbit more, I think Bobsleds is the star of Seabreeze. This ride, as many of you know, was once a small wooden coaster. Now it’s a small, mouse-style steel coaster with a wooden structure. The cars are themed to Olympic bobsleds.

It’s just such a unique experience. It feels like it belongs at Knoebels. The ride seems like it just goes on forever. It got a totally unique layout for these nice, roomy cars. Bobsleds is full of drops, turns, helices, and a long up-hill run to the brakes that just didn’t seem right.

I would have ridden it again and again, but I felt odd getting back in line with a bunch of kids waiting. Plus, by that point, I knew that I’d be back with my daughter sometime soon, and we would surely ride it until we couldn’t ride anymore.

3) Jack Rabbit, Seabreeze – 4 rides

This was my first ride at Seabreeze, and it sits just inside the park gates. The station has a very classic looking façade. The queue and loading platform just scream ‘old school’. I loved the appearance of this ride. The only knock I had was the Morgan train that it sports. I’ve never met a Morgan wooden coaster train that has done its ride justice. They just seem to drag as the travel the course. I wish they could come up with an old-style train that will work with that manual restraint release that this coaster has.

The brakes are manual skid brakes. There was one sole ride attendant. He had to stop the train, release restraints, check heights, open the turnstile for guests in line, and send the train off. And he did it all much more efficiently and quickly than the entire crews at Predator and Silver Comet could even dream of doing. I was impressed.

The ride has a rickety roll to the lift. The first drop is pretty good as it drops below ground level. Up and down you go to the turn-around, which includes a nice pop of air in the front, and a double-down on the return side. Like Dragon at Rye Playland, I feel that with a better train, their double-downs would have been much more effective.

Up and down you go again until you hit a nice helix that seems to be sitting in someone’s yard. You hit an unexpected tunnel with a nice surprise on the inside. You exit the tunnel and skid to a stop. I loved this ride’s ending.

This is one of those rides that isn’t terribly thrilling. It’s just a pleasure to ride it – so I did four times. I think the better ride is in the front, but the back is fun to.

2) Predator, Darien Lake – 2 rides

I was expecting this ride to be a rough train wreck. It was quite the opposite. My first ride was in the front. My second, and best ride was in the back. Predator has a very fun, hilly layout. I was expecting a smaller version of Mean Streak. What I got was something that more closely resemble the Coney Island Cyclone with a turning first drop.

Upon exiting the station, I thought I was in for a brutal experience. The train just shakes the entire way to the lift. I thought it was another poorly maintained wooden roller coaster. I braced myself for the first drop. Once I hit the bottom I quickly realized that I didn’t need to brace, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride.

There are some nice hills on Predator, some of which the train takes too slowly, some of which it takes just right. There are three nice turns, and some dips back to the brakes.

The back seat has quite a yank of the lift and after the first turn. In fact, you feel a lot of yank throughout the ride, which is a sensation that I really like on a roller coaster. Not once on either ride did I feel like the coaster was rough. Darien Lake does a good job maintaining it.

My only negative was the terribly slow operations. Those kids just took their sweet old time checking belts and bars. The other train waited minutes on the brake run every single time. That kind of stuff really frustrates me. At least the ride made up for it.

1) Silver Comet, Martin’s Fantasy Island – 3 rides

This is a great roller coaster. It’s not quite there with my other favorites, but it’s good enough that if you are in the area, Martin’s should be on your agenda. I had a feeling it might be good. It was made by CCI, after all, and I can’t really think of a CCI that I don’t like.

I’ll start with the bad – the ride operators/operations. As a former ride op, there are a few things that really grind my gears when I’m riding a ride. These girls did every single one of them.

One, they were slow. There were only two of them, sometimes three, but they just moseyed around the station. No rush, no sense of urgency.

Two, they were more preoccupied with socializing with each other than operating the ride. Two supervisors came up to the station with Dippin’ Dots, and you would swear the world was about to end for the one ride op. The one girl just stopped checking belts and, trying to be funny, just stood there and stared, saying over and over again, “I cannot believe you just did that. You’re just going to sit there and eat ice cream?” – which they did at the control booth with their feet propped up.

Three, they were rude, and even worse; they were loud while being rude. I don’t know if it was just the girls who operated that day, or if it is park policy, but they do the idiotic ‘Check belts first, go back and check lap bars second’ thing – a total waste of time. Also, you were not allowed to close your own lap bar – they had to do it for you. That was made known every ride cycle by the blonde girl with the knee brace yelling at you. I really got sick of her piercing loud announcement.

Oh, and don’t you dare put the bar down. That results in everyone’s bar coming back up to start the process over. As an added bonus, your are yelled at and belittled as they don’t even start to put them down until everyone in the train has their arms up – like it’s a stick up. If you didn’t listen, the Dippin’ Dots-eating supervisors yelled at you. The Silver Comet station is a miserable place, and it’s such a shame. The sad thing is I didn’t exaggerate one bit. These girls were yelling. What a power trip.

The lift of Silver Comet really sticks with you. As you climb, Buffalo is in front of you, off in the distance. If you look to the right, you can see the city of Niagara Falls, Canada and the huge cloud of mist from the falls that sit right in front of it. You could also clearly see the S&S tower at Marineland to the left of the city. I haven’t seen Niagara Falls since I was 11 years old, so I was tempted to drive over. But time was a factor, and I kept moving.

The ride itself is quite good, as I was saying. The first drop is nice, and it bottoms out very smoothly. You go over a small hill with some nice air, and then climb into the first turn. There are five nice turns on this ride, and they seem to get tighter as you go along. The drop out of each of the first four turns is nice in the back of the train. The drop into the last turn gives it some added oomph. That last turn is pretty wicked.

I rode Silver Comet twice in a row. Then I came back to ride once more before I left. Again, I liked the back seat more, but the front was not slouch either. It’s a real winner.

It’s at a park that most people wouldn’t think to go to. But with my obsession of getting on every wooden coaster in the country, going to Martin’s to ride Silver Comet was an easy decision to make. It was totally worth it.

Wrap It Up

So, I’m now in a weird spot with my amusement park fandom/hobby. As I said before, there isn’t a park within day-trip distance from home that I haven’t been to. It’s a strange feeling. Now, if I want to go somewhere I’ve never been, I need to make a real effort with overnight accommodations and even travel arrangements.

That’s not going to stop me from traveling. I still plan to get to Kings Island this summer. I think this trip up to Buffalo has inspired me to renew my passport, which would make Marineland and Canada’s Wonderland a real destination in 2013.

Thanks for reading, if you made it this far. If you care to see more photos, they are on my Facebook page - link below.

Facebook - Park Connoisseur

* This post was modified at 5/15/13 12:41:41 AM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
Find me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/15/12 11:00:57 AM
Great TR and nice photos. I've never been to Martin's Fantasy Island or Sea Breeze, but they are on my must do list. I was at Darien Lake once, way back in 2000. I'm glad to hear Predator is running well. That's a shame about Ride Of Steel. When I rode it was only a year old. The ride was super smooth, fast, and full of air time. There was even a fog element on the bottom of the first drop, which enhanced the ride experience. At that time it was one of the best coasters in the country. I still have it in my top 10, because I haven't been back since that visit. I rode Superman ROS at Six Flags America that same year, which was that coaster's first year of operation. At that time, I liked the one at Darien Lake much more. I guess the current owners of Darien Lake haven't given that coaster the TLC that Six Flags did. Next week I'll be revisiting Six Flags America for the first time since 2000. Hopefully I'll fit on Superman and see if that coaster has been kept up. I have attended 2 parks in a day on several occasions, but never 3. That sounds like a busy day, but it seems you got to ride every thing you wanted, with multiple rides on some coasters. Maybe next year we'll do a simular trip.
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/15/12 11:27:33 AM
Great stuff, especially the photos.

I'm on record as liking S:ROS at SF America waaaayyy more than it's Darien Lake cousin. I was very disappointed in ROS...felt it wasn't nearly as fast or forceful as I'd hoped.

I thought the Seabreeze Bobsleds was one of the most purely FUN coaster experiences I've had in the last five years.

As far as Seabreeze's carousel, if memory serves, it really isn't that new. Late 1980's-early 90's nmaybe? The history timeline..and a very nice ride op at Bobsleds...seemed to indicate a previous one was destroyed in a fire. I may be mis-remembering.

Mike

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/15/12 4:09:44 PM
One thing I forgot to comment on was your experience with The Silver Comet crew. Something like that just drives me nuts. My home park, Kennywood, is a real gem. I love that park, but I constantly run into situations like that with the employees. Add long lines and single train operations to the experience. That's why I don't buy a season pass. It just makes the whole experience less enjoyable. On the flip side, when ride ops and employees are friendly, energetic, and helpful, it makes the whole park experience better. I noticed in the last few years that most Six Flags parks are realizing this and making an attempt to make your visit more enjoyable. Usually smaller parks have friendly employees. It sounds like Martin's Fantasy Island needs to make some changes with their employee/ customer relations.
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by theRock-steel theRock-steel Profile at 7/16/12 6:30:22 AM
Great trip report! It could not have come at a better time. I have made a last minute change of plans to go to many of these places. I like the fact that you tried multiple parks in one day. That was my idea. Would it matter for me that I will be going to Seabreeze first and then to Darien Lake? You must really like the woodens; I didn't expect the coasters in that order.
I will be on my way from the south. What do any of us know about Kennywood and Waldameer? Even with a longer drive in between, can I split the day with those two and still get a lot done at both?
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by SabreDan17 at 7/16/12 9:41:56 PM
According to your pictures, they have removed every fourth carriage of the giant wheel. That is a little sad looking. I don't recall it being the case last year. Would that be due to poor ridership to keep the wheel balanced, or more simply due to the age of the ride?
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by Eric_Gieszl Eric_Gieszl Profile at 7/16/12 10:07:27 PM
What a great trip report!

I'm glad someone else noticed how bad that Giant Wheel at Darien Lake looks.

I loved Silver Comet at Martin's Fantasy Island. I enjoyed the park more than 10 years ago, but your description really speaks poorly of the park's management. That behavior of the ride operators is disgusting. It shows poor training, lack of proper supervision and a total disregard for the paying guests. It is totally unnecessary for operators to lower the lap bar restraints and if one should do so raising them and rechecking for all is downright mean. I'm really sorry to read this.

--
Eric
Ultimate Rollercoaster Moderator
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by Coaster316 at 7/17/12 8:13:35 AM
beastmaster said:

As far as Seabreeze's carousel, if memory serves, it really isn't that new. Late 1980's-early 90's nmaybe? The history timeline..and a very nice ride op at Bobsleds...seemed to indicate a previous one was destroyed in a fire. I may be mis-remembering.

Mike

Excellent trip report, drachen. Thanks for sharing.

Mike...you are correct on the carousel. The original Seabreeze carousel was destroyed in a fire in 1994. The park bought an old PTC frame and commissioned the carving of new horses to build the unique and amazing carousel that stands there now (a few horses remain from the original). Its quite frankly my favorite amusement park ride.

If my memory serves me correctly, the carousel lion figure that drachen mentions in his report that stands near the carousel is on loan from the old Bushkill Park near Easton, PA.

Seabreeze produced a documentary on the buildng of the carousel and used to sell it at the park on VHS (Circle of Dreams). Its great. I haven't seen it pop up on youtube or anywhere else yet, but hopefully someday somebody will do that.

- Jeff

Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 7/17/12 10:10:33 AM
Holy crap what a report! Those places all look great, I hope to ride a bunch of those rides in the near future. Awesome pictures too!

It's sad to say but I kind of skimmed through a bit, did you do all of this in one day?!

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by ray_p ray_p Profile at 7/17/12 11:58:03 AM
I've wanted to respond to this for a while now but just haven't had the time. This was an outstanding TR. Thanks for sharing.

Darien Lake is one of my favorite parks. I do hate to see some of it in disrepair though, especially considering herschend operates the place now. The Ferris Wheel thing looks ridiculous, although if I'm not mistaken, I believe I have seen pics of the Vekoma wheel at Morey's that is set up the same way. The water in front of Mind Eraser looks awful too. I also seem to recall a lot of grafitti, so hopefully Herschend takes note. The atmosphere of DL is very "Funtime-y", as Six Flags didn't do much to ruin that and with Geauga and Wyandot gone, it's the only place to go to get that atmosphere.

Seabreeze is yet another great NY park. It's been 3 years since my last visit, but I have always had a good time there and enjoyed their selection of rides immensely. As Jeff pointed out, their Carousel is quite possibly the most beautiful machine I have ever seen. The care and effort that went into making it is unparalleled, and the band organ cranks out the tunes better than just about any other. My lone gripe at Seabreeze is their lack of a Giant Wheel or observation type ride to take advantage of their lakefront location. The views would most likely be stunning!

My lone visit to MFI came in 2004 and I remember spending all of an hour there. Silver Comet was great, the rest of the park not so much. I will say that if I was there and those ride ops were acting that way, I'm sure I would have been escorted out of the park. Nobody talks to me like that without some sort of profane response, especially some young punk ride operator. Mind Warp does look awesome though. I believe that is one of only two Technical Park Loop Fighters in the country (the other is a travelling unit with Reithoffer Shows).

Again, thanks for the great TR. Really good stuff there, even if I did cringe when I saw Predator above WhirlWind. ;)

Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by Coaster316 at 7/17/12 12:04:02 PM
ray_p said:

My lone gripe at Seabreeze is their lack of a Giant Wheel or observation type ride to take advantage of their lakefront location.

They could use a dark ride. :)

Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by ray_p ray_p Profile at 7/17/12 12:52:16 PM
Coaster316 said:

They could use a dark ride. :)

How could I have forgotten that? They even have the perfect place for it. Or so we think! :)

Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by MABrider MABrider Profile at 7/18/12 7:44:47 AM
I'll add to the kudos, this was a great trip report all around.

Brings back memories of my only visits to all three parks which occured during one trip I made a number of years ago.

How long ago, which year? Don't ask!
As the years roll along (too fast) memory fades.

But I do remember having a soft serve at Seabreeze while chatting with Jerry Brick after he had just assumed his GM role at Lake Compounce, which was a weird/you-never-know moment; so I guess it was 2004 (as I said, where do the years go?).

And Darien Lake was still Six Flags...

Mike B.
Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/18/12 8:18:56 AM
Great tr and great pics! Viper's line looks wonderful. I would love to get shots like that if they had lines going under the coaster like that. That's disappointing about RoS, I was hoping it was going to be good as that would be the main reason I'd make a stop at that park. Mind eraser, I am surprised they've let it rust like that, hopefully they will eventually fix it up or just sell it to some other park than to let it be an eyesore.

Motocoaster and Whirlwind are both neat and I would love to see more of them than just more wild mouse clones.

Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 7/18/12 9:38:25 PM
Great TR's and I like your countdown. I'm surprised that Predator ranked that high as you must have caught it on a good day. I find the ride decent, especially in the front seat, and I like the compact layout but it sure can beat you up if you're not ready for it.

I'm very glad you liked Silver Comet. While I've never experienced the ride ops like you did I do think that there is a need for an improvement in how they operate that ride, especially since you only have one train. Darien Lake's Predator used to have the check bars then go check belts separately not too long ago but finally got rid of that. For a family park there is no need for attitude.

Mind Warp is, as Ray P. mentioned, a Technical Park Loop Fighter and that thing is insane, in a good way of course. It is one ride they named appropriately. I'd like to see more of these around but I can't see them in large parks.

I've only been to Seabreeze once and I agree with everything you said. Jack Rabbit could be a better ride with better trains but the Morgan train runs decent. Bobsleds is, in a word, quirky but a lot of fun. Too bad the capacity is an issue as that line moves quite slow.

G-Dog

Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:01:00 AM
Geauga_Dog said:

Great TR's and I like your countdown. I'm surprised that Predator ranked that high as you must have caught it on a good day. I find the ride decent, especially in the front seat, and I like the compact layout but it sure can beat you up if you're not ready for it.

Thanks. The countdown format is your's. I just stole it...

I was really impressed with Predator, especially in the back. I was expecting it to be brutal, but it was really quite smooth, and fun.

Geauga_Dog said:

I'm very glad you liked Silver Comet. While I've never experienced the ride ops like you did I do think that there is a need for an improvement in how they operate that ride, especially since you only have one train. Darien Lake's Predator used to have the check bars then go check belts separately not too long ago but finally got rid of that. For a family park there is no need for attitude.

Mind Warp is, as Ray P. mentioned, a Technical Park Loop Fighter and that thing is insane, in a good way of course. It is one ride they named appropriately. I'd like to see more of these around but I can't see them in large parks.

I've only been to Seabreeze once and I agree with everything you said. Jack Rabbit could be a better ride with better trains but the Morgan train runs decent. Bobsleds is, in a word, quirky but a lot of fun. Too bad the capacity is an issue as that line moves quite slow.

G-Dog

Well, the belt-then-bar check isn't a New York thing, since they didn't do it on Predator. It must just be a park thing, or the ride ops just felt like doing it that way. It's such an inefficient way to do it, especially when the girls were in no rush.

Mind Warp was cool, but that size of ride would never work in a large park. It only seats 16 riders. A larger version would have to be created for any big parks to be interested.

There wasn't much of a line for Bobsleds. But if there was, you're right, it would move slow. I just couldn't bring myself to ride it again with all of those kids waiting.

Thanks for reading!

* This post was modified at 7/24/12 12:03:36 AM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:02:58 AM
Cyclone_Phil said:

Great tr and great pics! Viper's line looks wonderful. I would love to get shots like that if they had lines going under the coaster like that. That's disappointing about RoS, I was hoping it was going to be good as that would be the main reason I'd make a stop at that park. Mind eraser, I am surprised they've let it rust like that, hopefully they will eventually fix it up or just sell it to some other park than to let it be an eyesore.


Motocoaster and Whirlwind are both neat and I would love to see more of them than just more wild mouse clones.

Thanks Phil. I was recently informed on Facebook, that Mind Eraser is due for a re-paint soon, and that he second train was getting refurbished. Good to hear.

I agree about the motocoasters over mice. I'd love to see the concept expanded too. Imagine those trains on a big drop or even an inversion. That would be awesome.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:18:11 AM
MABrider said:

I'll add to the kudos, this was a great trip report all around.

Brings back memories of my only visits to all three parks which occured during one trip I made a number of years ago.

Thanks!

Getting to all three parks in one day was actually easier than I expected. They are all pretty close together. Driving 5 hours to and from the area was a little much when you put it all together. But it was totally worth it.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:22:43 AM
Coaster316 said:

ray_p said:

My lone gripe at Seabreeze is their lack of a Giant Wheel or observation type ride to take advantage of their lakefront location.

They could use a dark ride. :)

I forgot to mention that! I was actually walking around, looking for one. I kept thinking, "There's got to be a dark ride here somewhere!"

That was the one "negative" about Seabreeze. It felt like a park that should have a dark ride. I don't know how you remedy it. If they had a dark ride, I feel like it should be an old, Tracy-style one.

Then again, I bet Sally could make a fun, modern, yet tacky one.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:33:50 AM
ray_p said:

I've wanted to respond to this for a while now but just haven't had the time. This was an outstanding TR. Thanks for sharing.

Darien Lake is one of my favorite parks. I do hate to see some of it in disrepair though, especially considering herschend operates the place now. The Ferris Wheel thing looks ridiculous, although if I'm not mistaken, I believe I have seen pics of the Vekoma wheel at Morey's that is set up the same way. The water in front of Mind Eraser looks awful too. I also seem to recall a lot of grafitti, so hopefully Herschend takes note. The atmosphere of DL is very "Funtime-y", as Six Flags didn't do much to ruin that and with Geauga and Wyandot gone, it's the only place to go to get that atmosphere.

Thanks Ray - that means something, coming from one of the best trip reporters on URC.

I didn't see a lot of graffiti at the park. It was actually pretty clean, except for the water. The problem is, there is a lot of water throughout the park.

You're right, Morey's Ferris wheel was also set up that way this year. I don't know if that's because they have yet to add all of the gondolas, or if they decided they never fully load it anyway.

ray_p said:

Seabreeze is yet another great NY park. It's been 3 years since my last visit, but I have always had a good time there and enjoyed their selection of rides immensely. As Jeff pointed out, their Carousel is quite possibly the most beautiful machine I have ever seen. The care and effort that went into making it is unparalleled, and the band organ cranks out the tunes better than just about any other. My lone gripe at Seabreeze is their lack of a Giant Wheel or observation type ride to take advantage of their lakefront location. The views would most likely be stunning!

I would add two rides to Seabreeze. One would be a large Ferris wheel. The second would be the aforementioned dark ride. How does that park not have a dark ride?

ray_p said:

My lone visit to MFI came in 2004 and I remember spending all of an hour there. Silver Comet was great, the rest of the park not so much. I will say that if I was there and those ride ops were acting that way, I'm sure I would have been escorted out of the park. Nobody talks to me like that without some sort of profane response, especially some young punk ride operator. Mind Warp does look awesome though. I believe that is one of only two Technical Park Loop Fighters in the country (the other is a travelling unit with Reithoffer Shows).

Again, thanks for the great TR. Really good stuff there, even if I did cringe when I saw Predator above WhirlWind. ;)

I was ready to say something to these girls (and they were all girls). I hope someone from the park reads this thread. I think I posted similar comments on Facebook, and I tagged Martin's in the photos.

Thanks for the info on Mind Warp. It was a lot of fun, but not nearly as fun as Silver Comet. You're right - there isn't a whole lot to do at MFI, but that wooden coaster is worth the price of admission. They seem like the perfect park for one of these "smedium" GCI or GG wooden coasters.

Predator was running great - I swear! Smooth and filled with air!

* This post was modified at 7/26/12 10:56:52 AM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:36:18 AM
mugen828 said:

Holy crap what a report! Those places all look great, I hope to ride a bunch of those rides in the near future. Awesome pictures too!


It's sad to say but I kind of skimmed through a bit, did you do all of this in one day?!

If you do make it up to ride Leviathan, it would only take you one day on your way up or on the way back to hit all three of these parks. Canada's Wonderland is only 45 minutes (not counting the border crossing delay...) from Martin's.

And yes, that was one day. I spent over 12 hours in the car for about 7 hours in the parks. But it was totally worth it.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:39:51 AM
Coaster316 said:

Excellent trip report, drachen. Thanks for sharing.

Mike...you are correct on the carousel. The original Seabreeze carousel was destroyed in a fire in 1994. The park bought an old PTC frame and commissioned the carving of new horses to build the unique and amazing carousel that stands there now (a few horses remain from the original). Its quite frankly my favorite amusement park ride.

If my memory serves me correctly, the carousel lion figure that drachen mentions in his report that stands near the carousel is on loan from the old Bushkill Park near Easton, PA.

Seabreeze produced a documentary on the buildng of the carousel and used to sell it at the park on VHS (Circle of Dreams). Its great. I haven't seen it pop up on youtube or anywhere else yet, but hopefully someday somebody will do that.

- Jeff

Thanks Jeff. I had no idea that this was the story behind the carousel. It is really quite a sight! I'll have to look up that documentary. I'm surprised they didn't sell it at the park. I was looking for some souvenirs, but I didn't find anything worth purchasing.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:45:22 AM
Eric_Gieszl said:

What a great trip report!

I'm glad someone else noticed how bad that Giant Wheel at Darien Lake looks.

I loved Silver Comet at Martin's Fantasy Island. I enjoyed the park more than 10 years ago, but your description really speaks poorly of the park's management. That behavior of the ride operators is disgusting. It shows poor training, lack of proper supervision and a total disregard for the paying guests. It is totally unnecessary for operators to lower the lap bar restraints and if one should do so raising them and rechecking for all is downright mean. I'm really sorry to read this.

Thanks Eric. Feel free to add any of the photos into your database if you want.

You're 100% right about the operations at MFI. Maybe I should send them an email about it. I usually don't do those sorts of things, but I was really irked by their behavior.

That is the park's premier attraction, and roller coasters are supposed to be fun. Those girls were sucking the life right out of the ride. I could have ridden that thing for hours, but after two rides, I was so sick of the attitude and operations, that I left to check out the rest of the park.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:47:16 AM
SabreDan17 said:

According to your pictures, they have removed every fourth carriage of the giant wheel. That is a little sad looking. I don't recall it being the case last year. Would that be due to poor ridership to keep the wheel balanced, or more simply due to the age of the ride?

I can't say for sure. But I don't think it would be due to balance the wheel. It probably has to do with low ridership. I imagine that on most of these giant wheels, they never fill the whole thing. It does look silly, though.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:50:41 AM
theRock-steel said:

Great trip report! It could not have come at a better time. I have made a last minute change of plans to go to many of these places. I like the fact that you tried multiple parks in one day. That was my idea. Would it matter for me that I will be going to Seabreeze first and then to Darien Lake? You must really like the woodens; I didn't expect the coasters in that order.
I will be on my way from the south. What do any of us know about Kennywood and Waldameer? Even with a longer drive in between, can I split the day with those two and still get a lot done at both?

Well, I don't know if you've made your trip yet or not, but I hope you can make it to all three parks. They are very close together, and very easy to do in one day.

I wish I could have spent a little more time at Darien Lake, but I felt I rode most everything I wanted in three hours. If I had more time in the area, I would have stayed longer there and at Seabreeze. I bet Seabreeze is great at night.

Yes, I'm a fan of wooden coasters in general, but I'm not afraid to rate a steel coaster higher if I liked it more. There just wasn't one I liked more than the three wooden rides.

Regarding splitting up Kennywood and Waldameer... that's tough. I could spend 12 hours at Kennywood and still feel like it's not enough time. But if you just want to ride the coasters and leave, then you could split the day. Waldameer is only 2 hours north of the park.

Hope you have fun on your trip. Let us know what you thought.

* This post was modified at 7/24/12 12:52:28 AM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:56:29 AM
beastmaster said:

Great stuff, especially the photos.

I'm on record as liking S:ROS at SF America waaaayyy more than it's Darien Lake cousin. I was very disappointed in ROS...felt it wasn't nearly as fast or forceful as I'd hoped.

I thought the Seabreeze Bobsleds was one of the most purely FUN coaster experiences I've had in the last five years.

As far as Seabreeze's carousel, if memory serves, it really isn't that new. Late 1980's-early 90's nmaybe? The history timeline..and a very nice ride op at Bobsleds...seemed to indicate a previous one was destroyed in a fire. I may be mis-remembering.

Mike

Thanks Mike. I appreciate the feedback.

You were one of the ones I referred to when I said I know people LOVE SFA's Superman, but think RoS is just 'ok'. It's amazing what a little maintenance does to a ride...

You are right on about Bobsleds... FUN. I can't wait to take my daughter to the park and ride the ride over and over.

I was very interested in finding out that the ride is a re-build of an old carousel. That's a great story, and the finished product is gorgeous.

Thanks for reading.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Darien Lake, Martin's Fantasy Island, Seabreeze TR & Review by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 1:06:59 AM
frontrow said:

Great TR and nice photos. I've never been to Martin's Fantasy Island or Sea Breeze, but they are on my must do list.

I'm glad to hear Predator is running well. That's a shame about Ride Of Steel. When I rode it was only a year old. The ride was super smooth, fast, and full of air time. There was even a fog element on the bottom of the first drop, which enhanced the ride experience. At that time it was one of the best coasters in the country. I still have it in my top 10, because I haven't been back since that visit. I rode Superman ROS at Six Flags America that same year, which was that coaster's first year of operation. At that time, I liked the one at Darien Lake much more.

Maybe next year we'll do a simular trip.

Thanks for reading. You should definitely get to both parks - especially Seabreeze.

It sounds like the Ride of Steel you experienced was a lot better than the one I did two weeks ago. That's a real shame. I'm sure it could be just as good as Superman, which is still one of my favorites. How was Superman running last week?

Predator was running great - I don't care what anybody says! The day was very busy, and long - but it was a lot of fun. You should definitely do a similar trip.

frontrow said:

One thing I forgot to comment on was your experience with The Silver Comet crew. Something like that just drives me nuts. My home park, Kennywood, is a real gem. I love that park, but I constantly run into situations like that with the employees. Add long lines and single train operations to the experience. That's why I don't buy a season pass. It just makes the whole experience less enjoyable. On the flip side, when ride ops and employees are friendly, energetic, and helpful, it makes the whole park experience better. I noticed in the last few years that most Six Flags parks are realizing this and making an attempt to make your visit more enjoyable. Usually smaller parks have friendly employees. It sounds like Martin's Fantasy Island needs to make some changes with their employee/ customer relations.

I haven't been to Kennywood in 10 years. But in 2002, I remember not being terribly impressed with the staff. I remember them being very rude on Thunderbolt.

Back then I foolishly carried a tape recorder with me on almost every roller coaster. It makes for some fun listening today, but I wish I would not have done it.

Anyway, I actually make the comment in the Thunderbolt station that the ride attendants were "punks". It may have something with the pool of employees they can draw from. I'm sorry to hear it's not any better. I hope to see for myself later this summer.

I couldn't agree more - when the ride attendants are happy, energetic, and talkative, it makes the whole experience better... unless they are too talkative - and that usually involves the microphone.

Thanks again for reading.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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