TR: Waldameer Park Opening Day (5/10/2014)
Place: Waldameer Park (Erie, PA)
After a rather cold and snowy winter here in Northeast Ohio, it was about time that the weather cooperated and allowed my parents and I to have a great time on Opening Day at Erie's Waldameer Park. With relatively small crowds and beautiful temperatures, it made for a great way to start the 2014 Amusement Park Season.
My first stop as always was the Whacky Shack, which surprisingly had only about 10 people in line. The Shack was once again in fine working order as all of the stunts and sound effects were working and looking bright and well-kept. Props to Waldameer for keeping this classic dark ride in such great shape.
Since there was no line at Pirate's Cove, I opted to make a quick walk through one of the last remaining walk-through Bill Tracey funhouses in the country. Like the Whacky Shack, everything looked good and all the stunts appeared to be working.
Took a ride on the Steel Dragon spinning coaster, which only had 2 cars running (that seems to be standard on Opening Day). I hate to say it, but unless you get a good car and some serious unbalancing going on, Steel Dragon is pretty average at best. My car hardly spun, which makes me look forward to visiting Seabreeze next month for a ride on their awesome WhirlWind.
My dad and I rode the Giant Wheel (the "No Single Riders" sign is posted clearly at the ride's entrance) and got what seemed to be a much shorter ride cycle than usual. And considering there were only 7 people on the whole ride, that seemed kind of unusual. Regardless, Waldameer's wheel is still one of the best in the business with its beautiful views of Lake Erie.
With my dad's favorite ride, the L. Ruth Express, down due to some construction near the Peninsula Drive parking area, I took him for a ride aboard the park's Sky Ride. From the cable cars one gets a great view of the park's main midway and can see just how well the park is kept up. Mr. Nelson (who I didn't notice roaming the midways this year) and his staff takes great pride in this park and it definitely shows.
I rode the Comet, which seemed to have quite a bit of new wood on it, and was running great as usual. For a junior-sized wooden coaster, Comet is still a blast and even offers a small pop of airtime or two along the course.
My parents spent a lot of time in the Game Room winning tickets off the Deal or No Deal game and ended up walking out with a stuffed animal to add to their growing collection while I strolled around the park filming my 2014 video that I call "A Walk Through Waldameer". I basically just held the camera up and walked around the park and tried giving a "first-person" look at this wonderful amusement park. Not sure if I will continue this, but when you've filmed everything at this park multiple times, it gets tough to try something new!
And of course, I rode Ravine Flyer II twice, both times in seat 2.1. More trackwork was done this past off-season and the result is the same smooth, airtime-filled ride that remain my #1 overall coaster. The speed through the turnaround across Peninsula Drive was crazy and the airtime on the bridge run back towards the park was insane. I feel very lucky to live relatively close to this coaster masterpiece and look forward to doing some night rides later this summer.
Overall it was a fun few hours at Waldameer and it was definitely awesome to be having some summertime fun after a winter full of the most snow and sub-zero temperatures since the 70's.
My video is included for your "enjoyment". As usual, thanks for reading!
As for Conneaut, you shouldn't encounter any crowds at all. :)
Have fun on your trip!
Thanks for the usual entertaining read!
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Great stuff as always, Ray.
Waldameer is one of those non-destination small park gems for me. Needs to part of a trip with other park(s) included, like say, Kennywood (which I am way overdue to visit for only my second time). Can't say when I will be back in that neck of the woods.
Have fun at Seabreeze. I'll probably go through some Seabreeze withdrawal this year, as I made it there each of the last two seasons. This year won't be an option, unfortunately.
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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What, no RFII POV?
Maybe one day I'll get the nerve to ask the fine folks at Waldameer if I could do just that. After all, I do have a growing YouTube channel (300+ subscribers for someone who doesn't really shill his videos anywhere other than here isn't bad) and if you look at my Top 5 viewed videos, one of those is a Waldameer video. :) That being said, I'd never do anything without getting permission from the park. I don't ever want to be on the park's bad side as I like the place too much!
Can't say when I will be back in that neck of the woods.
If you ever are in the area, let me know. I'd say I'm long overdue for some park time with Mike B!
And drachen, thanks as always for the compliments. I used a new video camera this year for this and while the video quality is average to me, the image stabilization is 100 times better than any of the point and shoots I was using before. I also feel the Whacky Shack and Pirate's Cove footage were worlds better at picking up the details even if it was a bit grainy. I'll be sure to do a nice Seabreeze video when we visit next month for you! :)