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TR: SoCal trip last week; a few notes.

Bruce Jensen

Posted:
4/17/00 at
6:47:02 PM

The small Jensen clan (my wife, my young son and I) took a five-day junket to SoCal last week, the first and probably lightest week of spring break, to enjoy the parks down thataway. We hit SFMM, KBF, DL and Legoland. Just wanted to toss in a few notes about these parks during this fun and not too crowded week.

(1) SFMM - Monday was light, plenty of time to get in all the rides we could fit from our noon arrival time until 8PM. Goliath had 15 to 25 minute lines all afternoon (running three trains), and the rest were generally much shorter. Since I had my son, we stuck to rides with height limits of 48". Ninja is one of our favorites, fast and fun and exciting, great for kids, but a bit too short. It ran better than last year, very smooth, and a unique ride in a world full of B&M ubiquities. In it's terrain setting, it is a scream! Colossus was running well, smooth and without the raspy scraping I'm used to, with it's fresh coat of lubricant on the track (they've been listening!). I think they've been feeling the Ghostrider pinch, and are trying to make up for lost time. Maybe they'll even get those new PTCs and do a reprofile back to the old double-camelback! Psyclone is incomplete still. Goldrusher, a small terrain mine-train coaster, leaves my family a bit bored, especially upon comparison to the smooth and fast rides at other nearby nearby parks.

Golaith, as I mentioned in other posts, was running about as it had since February, light midcourse block brakes on to allow a barely comfortable helix and three-trains simultaneously. It ran well, the crew was in peak form, and the rider throughput was very high. A wonderful ride and the best steel in California.

(2) Legoland - here's a nice little park tucked away far south of LA, and on Tuesday it had light crowds. This park is designed around legos and the interests of children aged 3 to 12 or so, and my 5.5-year old son loved it. Most rides were walkons, and there were many other attractions including some fun shows and awesome Lego play areas that helped to funnel folks away from rides. The centerpiece of this park is fabulous 5 or so acre area of large lego structures, including New York's skyscrapers, downtown San Francisco, New Orleans and Washington DC, all built to about 100th scale out of (you guessed it) Lego's. There was a spectacular model railroad, a Tour d'Eiffel, a Taj Mahal, a farm scene, large pond , several large bridges and these cool Lego vehicles that seemed to require no track! I could have watched this all day, but I restricted myself to about a half hour.

The one existing coaster, the Dragon, is a very fun partially themed coaster (Vekoma Rollerskater?) that runs smoothly and fast, the first part of which runs inside a castle with theming similar to what one is used to from Disney, except with scenery made of - you guessed it - Legos :-). Thumbs up from my son, and his parents too! There is an interesting pedal-powered ride (actually the pedals seem to run some sort of electronic dynamo or generator, and which in turn drives the vehicle along the track). This Skycoaster is fun, if not thrilling, but for heaven's sake, don't be tempted to try to pedal with your hands as I did - the ride ops will get all bent out of shape (if they want to discourage this, they should put up a sign, since the attraction to try this stunt is obvious). They have a cute Kiddie -drop tower-, which is lifted by keeping pressure on a rope that gives the appearance of pulling oneself up a tower, and then letting go to be lowered gently to the base of the ride on a cushion of air. Nicholas loved this, and did it many times.

Other features include rides that show Legos in the form of wild animals and fairy-tale characters (with a modern twist :-); a huge playground with tunnels and bridges and climbing things and so forth; a nice water play area, and a couple of boat rides that cater to relaxing fun.

The price is a little high for adults, $34 I think, but we had some $5 discounts for it; it's a much better deal for kids, who really benefit from the panoply of activities and fun things to do. The food is excellent, with some outlets serving not only traditional fare but also excellent light and vegetarian offerings that are a welcome change from the grease-laden artery-clogging masses so often found at many parks. Worth a visit fro adults and many happy returns for children. Nick's favorite park.

(3) KBF - My favorite park! Everything was as it should be, light crowds, lots of fun, rides going full blast, and my boy finally tall enough to ride that king of wooden coasters, Ghostrider. He immediately loved the mine tunnel entrance. We got in the first ride at opening time, no line, and sat just aft of the middle. My son is so small that the lapbar does not fully close onto his waist, so he gets automatic airtime no matter what! The train surged out of the station, around the curve and onto the lift, and already Nick had a big smile on his face. At the top of the hill, the train rapidly picked up speed and Nick got his first taste of real airtime - the train swooped down the first hill and sailed over the camelback, and Nick's eyes were popped wide open, his mouth agape. Up and down and and up and down again, shoved right and then left, and then into the mild respite before the drop - for the first time ever, he yelled going down that amazing hill (what a moment! :-). Then the ride moved like a bucking bronco, and Nick's hands held on for dear life as we ripped around the undulating twists of the structure and into the Helix. At the end I held him back with my arm as the brakes slammed us to the stop. I was worried from the wide-eyed but blank expression on his face that he had too much; but when I asked him what he thought, an ear-to-ear grin spread over his face like a rainbow, and he exclaimed with the brightest twinkle in his eyes, "I loved it!" My heart and mind danced the rest of the day :-) :-) :-).

The rest of the day was a breeze, trying out all the fun things, meeting Snoopy and Charlie Brown and the gang, playing in the tunnels and bridges of Camp Snoopy, seeing the Galloping Goose run while the steam train was being refurbished, seeing those old Dinosaurs, riding Jaguar multiple times, and getting yet another short line ride on Ghostrider right after a brief down period, and this time just ahead of the back seat! An even more hell-bent-for-leather ride and another big smile from Nick. No matter what we did, we couldn't get Mom to ride, though - maybe next time ;-)

We managed to get some of those great Carl's Junior 50% discount tickets - fi you go soon, try to grab some - it's a real moneysaver.

I love this park. I can't imagine a park any better (until it gets a hypercoaster, of course!). Long live Knott's Berry Farm and Ghostrider!

That evening, I managed to find a reason to visit a local emergency room for a localized infection in my cuticles - yecch! but, by midnight all that was passed, and then we went to...

(4) Disneyland! Two days in the crowds - hoo, boy. Yet, with a little planning and using the Fast Pass system on Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin and Splash Mountain, we managed to get multiple rides on practically every ride worth riding, plus the Animazement show near It's a Small World! Space Mountain was a hoot as always, with that great Dick Dale music was just a real kick; Thunder Mountain (my favorite ride there) was never more than 15 minutes and sheer joy, Mickey Mouse scaled the Matterhorn to rescue Goofy, and with everything wrapped up by that gorgeous steam railroad, the park is hard to beat. The parade with numerous Disney characters was a little disappointing, i thought, compared to that fantastic Mulan parade last year, but my son loved it, and the teenage ladies all swooned over the hunk playing Tarzan (this moment was hormonally hysterical, to be honest!).

The cast was forever in good humor, and when I was ragged and worn out at the end of the day from carrying Nick on my shoulders, I got automatic sympathy from them to boot! What a kind and classy bunch of people. The food was too expensive, but what the heck...

All in all, a really nice trip. Next, New England in June!

Later, Bruce Jensen

Re: TR: SoCal trip last week; a few notes. by Flare at 4/17/00 9:13:08 PM

Bruce,

Really choice TR! Thanks for sharing. I look VERY much forward to hopefully meetin you when you hit the East Coast in June! We'll have to buy some platform shoes for Jr though... :-) or not?

And the queue for Ghostrider is one of my favorites.

I'll have LOTS of preambles for your trip, as i'll be doing EXTENSIVE photo trips and vido p.o.v. trips to several of the parks you're most likely visiting.

Incidentally, the Cyclone is running like the queen she's ALWAYS been...BRILLIANT ride this season, and an almost too smooth retracking on the tricky double dip into the 2nd surf turn. People forget about this ride...it isn't the biggest, nor the fastest, nor the this or that. But ejector air has no close second, in my opinon...take a backseat and she'll make a believer out of you. :-D

Dave *Who has 2 charlie horses from the backseat lapbar...lol*

> The small Jensen clan (my wife, my young son
> and I) took a five-day junket to SoCal last
> week, the first and probably lightest week
> of spring break, to enjoy the parks down
> thataway. We hit SFMM, KBF, DL and Legoland.
> Just wanted to toss in a few notes about
> these parks during this fun and not too
> crowded week. (1) SFMM - Monday was light,
> plenty of time to get in all the rides we
> could fit from our noon arrival time until
> 8PM. Goliath had 15 to 25 minute lines all
> afternoon (running three trains), and the
> rest were generally much shorter. Since I
> had my son, we stuck to rides with height
> limits of 48". Ninja is one of our
> favorites, fast and fun and exciting, great
> for kids, but a bit too short. It ran better
> than last year, very smooth, and a unique
> ride in a world full of B&M ubiquities. In
> it's terrain setting, it is a scream!
> Colossus was running well, smooth and
> without the raspy scraping I'm used to, with
> it's fresh coat of lubricant on the track
> (they've been listening!). I think they've
> been feeling the Ghostrider pinch, and are
> trying to make up for lost time. Maybe
> they'll even get those new PTCs and do a
> reprofile back to the old double-camelback!
> Psyclone is incomplete still. Goldrusher, a
> small terrain mine-train coaster, leaves my
> family a bit bored, especially upon
> comparison to the smooth and fast rides at
> other nearby nearby parks. Golaith, as I
> mentioned in other posts, was running about
> as it had since February, light midcourse
> block brakes on to allow a barely
> comfortable helix and three-trains
> simultaneously. It ran well, the crew was in
> peak form, and the rider throughput was very
> high. A wonderful ride and the best steel in
> California. (2) Legoland - here's a nice
> little park tucked away far south of LA, and
> on Tuesday it had light crowds. This park is
> designed around legos and the interests of
> children aged 3 to 12 or so, and my 5.5-year
> old son loved it. Most rides were walkons,
> and there were many other attractions
> including some fun shows and awesome Lego
> play areas that helped to funnel folks away
> from rides. The centerpiece of this park is
> fabulous 5 or so acre area of large lego
> structures, including New York's
> skyscrapers, downtown San Francisco, New
> Orleans and Washington DC, all built to
> about 100th scale out of (you guessed it)
> Lego's. There was a spectacular model
> railroad, a Tour d'Eiffel, a Taj Mahal, a
> farm scene, large pond , several large
> bridges and these cool Lego vehicles that
> seemed to require no track! I could have
> watched this all day, but I restricted
> myself to about a half hour. The one
> existing coaster, the Dragon, is a very fun
> partially themed coaster (Vekoma
> Rollerskater?) that runs smoothly and fast,
> the first part of which runs inside a castle
> with theming similar to what one is used to
> from Disney, except with scenery made of -
> you guessed it - Legos :-). Thumbs up from
> my son, and his parents too! There is an
> interesting pedal-powered ride (actually the
> pedals seem to run some sort of electronic
> dynamo or generator, and which in turn
> drives the vehicle along the track). This
> Skycoaster is fun, if not thrilling, but for
> heaven's sake, don't be tempted to try to
> pedal with your hands as I did - the ride
> ops will get all bent out of shape (if they
> want to discourage this, they should put up
> a sign, since the attraction to try this
> stunt is obvious). They have a cute Kiddie
> -drop tower-, which is lifted by keeping
> pressure on a rope that gives the appearance
> of pulling oneself up a tower, and then
> letting go to be lowered gently to the base
> of the ride on a cushion of air. Nicholas
> loved this, and did it many times. Other
> features include rides that show Legos in
> the form of wild animals and fairy-tale
> characters (with a modern twist :-); a huge
> playground with tunnels and bridges and
> climbing things and so forth; a nice water
> play area, and a couple of boat rides that
> cater to relaxing fun. The price is a
> little high for adults, $34 I think, but we
> had some $5 discounts for it; it's a much
> better deal for kids, who really benefit
> from the panoply of activities and fun
> things to do. The food is excellent, with
> some outlets serving not only traditional
> fare but also excellent light and vegetarian
> offerings that are a welcome change from the
> grease-laden artery-clogging masses so often
> found at many parks. Worth a visit fro
> adults and many happy returns for children.
> Nick's favorite park. (3) KBF - My favorite
> park! Everything was as it should be, light
> crowds, lots of fun, rides going full blast,
> and my boy finally tall enough to ride that
> king of wooden coasters, Ghostrider. He
> immediately loved the mine tunnel entrance.
> We got in the first ride at opening time, no
> line, and sat just aft of the middle. My son
> is so small that the lapbar does not fully
> close onto his waist, so he gets automatic
> airtime no matter what! The train surged out
> of the station, around the curve and onto
> the lift, and already Nick had a big smile
> on his face. At the top of the hill, the
> train rapidly picked up speed and Nick got
> his first taste of real airtime - the train
> swooped down the first hill and sailed over
> the camelback, and Nick's eyes were popped
> wide open, his mouth agape. Up and down and
> and up and down again, shoved right and then
> left, and then into the mild respite before
> the drop - for the first time ever, he
> yelled going down that amazing hill (what a
> moment! :-). Then the ride moved like a
> bucking bronco, and Nick's hands held on for
> dear life as we ripped around the undulating
> twists of the structure and into the Helix.
> At the end I held him back with my arm as
> the brakes slammed us to the stop. I was
> worried from the wide-eyed but blank
> expression on his face that he had too much;
> but when I asked him what he thought, an
> ear-to-ear grin spread over his face like a
> rainbow, and he exclaimed with the brightest
> twinkle in his eyes, "I loved it!"
> My heart and mind danced the rest of the day
> :-) :-) :-). The rest of the day was a
> breeze, trying out all the fun things,
> meeting Snoopy and Charlie Brown and the
> gang, playing in the tunnels and bridges of
> Camp Snoopy, seeing the Galloping Goose run
> while the steam train was being refurbished,
> seeing those old Dinosaurs, riding Jaguar
> multiple times, and getting yet another
> short line ride on Ghostrider right after a
> brief down period, and this time just ahead
> of the back seat! An even more
> hell-bent-for-leather ride and another big
> smile from Nick. No matter what we did, we
> couldn't get Mom to ride, though - maybe
> next time ;-) We managed to get some of
> those great Carl's Junior 50% discount
> tickets - fi you go soon, try to grab some -
> it's a real moneysaver. I love this park. I
> can't imagine a park any better (until it
> gets a hypercoaster, of course!). Long live
> Knott's Berry Farm and Ghostrider! That
> evening, I managed to find a reason to visit
> a local emergency room for a localized
> infection in my cuticles - yecch! but, by
> midnight all that was passed, and then we
> went to... (4) Disneyland! Two days in the
> crowds - hoo, boy. Yet, with a little
> planning and using the Fast Pass system on
> Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin and Splash
> Mountain, we managed to get multiple rides
> on practically every ride worth riding, plus
> the Animazement show near It's a Small
> World! Space Mountain was a hoot as always,
> with that great Dick Dale music was just a
> real kick; Thunder Mountain (my favorite
> ride there) was never more than 15 minutes
> and sheer joy, Mickey Mouse scaled the
> Matterhorn to rescue Goofy, and with
> everything wrapped up by that gorgeous steam
> railroad, the park is hard to beat. The
> parade with numerous Disney characters was a
> little disappointing, i thought, compared to
> that fantastic Mulan parade last year, but
> my son loved it, and the teenage ladies all
> swooned over the hunk playing Tarzan (this
> moment was hormonally hysterical, to be
> honest!). The cast was forever in good
> humor, and when I was ragged and worn out at
> the end of the day from carrying Nick on my
> shoulders, I got automatic sympathy from
> them to boot! What a kind and classy bunch
> of people. The food was too expensive, but
> what the heck... All in all, a really nice
> trip. Next, New England in June! Later,
> Bruce Jensen

Re: TR: SoCal trip last week; a few notes. by Bruce Jensen at 4/18/00 12:35:16 PM

Flare wrote:

> Bruce, Really choice TR! Thanks for
> sharing. I look VERY much forward to
> hopefully meetin you when you hit the East
> Coast in June! We'll have to buy some
> platform shoes for Jr though... :-) or not?

Thanks for the kind words. Nick reaches 48" in his current shoes, and in fact most places never bothered to measure him anyway (only Disneyland, where the max ride restriction is 46"). What is the height for the Cyclone and Boulderdash and S:ROS? If experience here in CA holds true (Roar/Ghostrider/Goliath), then they ought to be about 48"...no?

> Incidentally, the Cyclone is running like
> the queen she's ALWAYS been...BRILLIANT ride
> this season, and an almost too smooth
> retracking on the tricky double dip into the
> 2nd surf turn. People forget about this
> ride...it isn't the biggest, nor the
> fastest, nor the this or that. But ejector
> air has no close second, in my opinon...take
> a backseat and she'll make a believer out of
> you. :-D Dave *Who has 2 charlie horses
> from the backseat lapbar...lol*

I can't wait! AAAHHH!

BTW, regarding the Ghostrider retrackng and reprofile of the helix, I believe that precisely the same effect you've noted on the Cyclone has occured on GR - part of the *perception* that some intensity has been lost on that helix owes to the smoothness of the new track. I believe that the intensity is still about 95% or better of it's former value (intensity in my book being purely in terms of forces applied), and that as the track wears, the perceived intensity will rise again.

In any case, thanks for the response!

Mouth a-watering, Bruce Jensen

Re: TR: SoCal trip last week; a few notes. by Masher at 4/18/00 7:09:00 PM

Glad to see you had so much fun and that your son LOVED Ghostrider. I really need to get back to KBF and ride Ghostrider:(

Re: TR: SoCal trip last week; a few notes. by Flare at 4/18/00 8:10:12 PM

What is the height for the Cyclone and
> Boulderdash and S:ROS? If experience here in
> CA holds true (Roar/Ghostrider/Goliath),
> then they ought to be about 48"...no?

I'm not sure, Bruce, but i'll be sure to take notice and write them down... He should be good to go on most of them though! I'll most likely be hitting the NEW SFNE for season passholders' day, even though S:RoS will be *non-operational*...even if they're just dropping trains it'll be amazing to check it out. And the R,W & B PTC's! Can't wait!

> I can't wait! AAAHHH! BTW, regarding the
> Ghostrider retrackng and reprofile of the
> helix, I believe that precisely the same
> effect you've noted on the Cyclone has
> occured on GR - part of the *perception*
> that some intensity has been lost on that
> helix owes to the smoothness of the new
> track.

To be honest, the helix is my least favorite part of Ghostrider, and i STILL totally dig the element...it's a great finish!

I believe that the intensity is still
> about 95% or better of it's former value
> (intensity in my book being purely in terms
> of forces applied), and that as the track
> wears, the perceived intensity will rise
> again.

I agree with you, Bruce, but am not sure whether or not the the raw *force* changes when you have a track that actually has a degree of give that once wasn't there...I'm referring to the newly retracked section on the Cyclone, now so smooth do to the fact that it's essentially floating and gives a couple inches when the train passes on it. It's a total trip. Like a shock absorber...lol. It's also been reprofiled, i believe, banking in, instead of veering out, which i was a tad bummed about. *SMALL complaint*

In any case, thanks for the
> response! Mouth a-watering, Bruce Jensen

Bruce, not to worry, i'll stock up on drool bibs for your arrival! :-)~~~ heh heh

Best Regards, Dave