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Pennsylvania: 20 Coasters in 5 Days

By Ethan on July 24, 2008 | No Comments Comments

Finally,

I am back from my first trip to PA with included some theme parks. I went to four parks over five days with my parents. I had a great time and a few cracked my top ten. BTW, my rating system is 1-10 with 1 being a piece of junk and 10 being the most stellar ride on the face of the Earth.

The parks included Kennywood, Lakemont, Hersheypark, and Knoebels (my first trip to each) and highlights include Phantom, Fahrenheit, Storm Runner, and Twister.

This first part is on Kennywood and Lakemont, since they were both small and we had relatively short visits. Part 2 is Hersheypark and three is Chocolate World and Knoebels.

Kennywood...

This was a small but fun park with some real nice rides and good food. I enjoyed my stay and we got parked right next to the gate so that was an added plus.

1. Exterminator:

Since it was suggested to go here first and avoid lines, that exactly what we did, only we ended up on the other side of the park. I got a little too excited and thought the red "22" on the map indicated the ride, but it was the blue. We were on the opposite corner of the park. Luckily it's a small park and we got to scope it out along the way. Best part, NO WAIT!

I was expecting the ride to be some sort of experience or something, or to have some sort of story, but it was just a ride, and I was quite fine with that. It is one of my favorite dark rides certainly and provided oodles of fun. The swinging around turns was a bit unexpected, as was the drops and the spinning (after a while I started thinking the ride didn't spin at all). All in all, a real nice ride certainly worth re-riding... but not til our stomachs settled a bit.

My Rating- 5

2. Phantom's Revenge:

Second of course was the next door Phantom. This ride is basically the majority of what I was looking forward to on the Kennywood leg of the trip. I had fun the entire time, but this was the best part.

Phantom is a really awesome hyper and the second drop looks real impressive from the station, diving into the valley below. It was as scary once the second hill was over though. This ride didn't have a lot of air-time, but definitely used speed wisely and had fun turns. The second drop is one of my favorites I've been on. Though it could have been longer, I loved this ride.

My Rating- 7

After the first two we needed a bit of a break since they were back to back and fairly twisted. It was already about noon so we stopped and have some hot dogs, they were quite good.

We headed to Ghostwood Estate next. This is a nice new attraction and a fine addition. I had more fun with this than the other shooting rides I've been on because it was easier to shoot. On MIB the targets weren't clear, I could never see my lazer, and the scoring system seemed out of whack. But this ride was fun and clear. Plus the ghosts that popped out when you shot their targets were fun to watch. Though since I was focused shooting I couldn't see much of the scenery, it was laid out nicely and had a variety of ghostly themes.

3. Thunderbolt:

Straight from the Estate we went to Thunderbolt. This coaster is a lot of fun, and while I heard some say it was better than Phantom, I don't think it was quite that good. The interesting thing about the rides at Kennywood is that there is usually something before the big drop. PR has the lift and drop before the bigger drop, Jack Rabbit doesn't go to the chain right away, and neither does Thunderbolt.

In the station we needed two per seat, but I was the third wheel. Fortunately, some other kid was alone so I was able to ride. Overall, I nice ride with laterals and cool drops in the valley.

My Rating- 7

We saw a Kangaroo ride that was the same as a flat at a fair near my mom's house growing up, so she wanted to ride. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it was cars going in a circle and then quickly rolling up a small hill followed by a gradual decline. It was a blast.

4. Jack Rabbit:

Across the midway was Jack Rabbit. In line we discussed the possibility of doing the Sky Coaster (Rip Cord) and I declined though my parents thought about it. In the end, we didn't.

Jack Rabbit is an awesome little coaster that is close to beating Big Dipper in my mind of classic coasters. I still feel closer to the recently sold Dipper, but Jack Rabbit has nice hops and tunnels.

My Rating- 6

5. Racer:

We get in line for Racer and see the old-fashioned station... and then realize they were giving out free ice cream at the Turkey Hill truck next door, so we decide to go straight to ice cream when finished with the ride.

My parents got in the red racer, while I went to green. Needless to say, green won. Really nice ride with good airtime and overall layout.

My Rating- 6

After ice cream we took a break and walked around and got some deep-fried Oreo's. Then we were thirsty so we got Icee's. We might have a bit of a self-control problem.

The Auto Race and Kennywood Rail Road were little stops along the way back for a reride on Phantom. Both were fun but nothing special really.

Phantom was great again, and we headed for a couple of swings. First, the Wave Swinger (chain-held chairs in a circle) which left me nervous because I didn't trust the chains (I've ridden similar rides and never felt that way before). Next, was the Swing Shot (Sky Hawk type ride) and it was fantastic. Looking straight down at the pavement is a cool sight.

After another ride on Exterminator (with a wait) we went to the Carousel Food Court for some dinner and left the park when we saw Turnpike was not operational.

My first trip to Kennywood was a fun one, and I'll certainly return someday.

Lakemont...

We spent the next day at Johnstown to see the flood museum and went to Lakemont on our way to Harrisburg.

Lakemont was a disappointment. I didn't even have high hopes. But rickety rides and a park that just seemed dead and uncared for was not what I was expecting. I thought it'd be a little bigger.

Leap-the-Dips wasn't even operating the day we arrived and that was why I wanted to go in the first place. Though we did get in free and we got a free ride on Skyliner (needed riders for weight so operator didn't care) it still was quite a bleak experience. Kinda funny to get a free coaster ride, but after seeing LTD and getting one ride in we were ready to go.

Maybe we hit it on a weekday and that's why it was empty, and it just wasn't in our cards to ride Leap, but jeez, what a bummer.

6. Skyliner:

This ride was actually a lot of fun though it was a bit jerky and shuffled on the turnarounds. But the view of the ballpark was nice and I think a little bit of TLC could make it look a little nicer. I mean, when you can see the chipped paint on the brochure you have a problem.

My Rating- 5

These two parks brought me within three coasters of having 50 coasters ridden in my lifetime.

Great times and okay times to be had at Kennywood and Lakemont.

-Ethan-

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