Giant Dipper at Belmont Park, San Diego Ride Report
As most of you know I was recently in beautiful San Diego for a convention and me and my friends from vet school made a pit stop in Mission Beach at Belmont Park to ride the Giant Dipper one night after the conference let out. Of course we went on the only cloudy night we had there. Mackenzie and I arrived around 6:30 pm. Belmont Park is very deceiving if you look at the website. It appears to be this huge area with rides, restaurants, etc but it’s not. Very small area where the rides are right on top of each other. Some small snack type places and one giant club in the back. Not much else to do there.
When we arrived we had to wait for another friend who was meeting us there so we took a stroll on the beach and got our tickets. They had a carousel that had bunnies that you could ride so I naturally had to take advantage of that one! (For those of you who don’t know I have an unnatural love for the rabbit - LOL!)
Me and my bunny!
Debbie met us around 7:15 pm and we got in line for our coaster. There was a little line forming – only about a one train wait and there’s only one train running (never saw a second so I imagine that’s it). I had been hearing from some of the locals that it was really rough and so on so I decided we were sitting in the front – I wasn’t going to kill myself on an almost 100 year old ride – refurbished or not.
As you can see it's very difficult to get good pics inside the park - too much going on around it
When it was our time to board there were only 2 rear-middle rows (seen below) open and I held my friends back – I wanted the front and I was getting the front. The attendant gave us no trouble and we waited for the next train. Mackenzie and I got in the front row and Debbie in the second. As we were waiting for everyone else to board this little girl, probably about 6 or 7, jumps in the second row next to Debbie. She was hysterical! She weighed about 40 lbs wet with long blonde hair and beautiful – a perfect looking little child and then she starts getting all animated telling us how that sign that says “danger” really means it! She rides this coaster at least once a week but her parents won’t go on it because they’re chickens and she’s the tough one in the family, etc. We were laughing our asses off! Then as the train starts to dispatch she yells “put your hands up everybody!” and I turned back to Deb and yell “grab hold of her shirt and don’t let go!” LOL. She was SO tiny!
Pic of the train - the seating was very comfortable
The ride was simply awesome – smooth as silk for an old woodie! I loved it! Had some decent speed and was a lot of fun. Was longer than it looked. No great hills or great helixes but there’s a tunnel in the beginning, some decent bunny hills and it kept me entertained throughout. Now, it isn’t worth going there if it’s far out of the way to ride but if you’re in the area I’d recommend a visit. Parking and admission is free and it was $6 to ride the coaster.
From outside the park on the street
We also went on their pendulum claw ride which was fun. No other rides interested me in the least – spinning type things and not much more for adults. After that we left for Pacific Beach and went to a Mexican place for some tasty margaritas. Had a great night and I give Belmont Park 2 thumbs up for keeping a coaster that was built in 1925 in such great condition! I wish they would give that treatment to Rolling Thunder. It's sad that a roller coaster from 1925 is smoother and more comfortable than one from 1979!
Sea World TR to come...
I've been waiting for this TR. Belmont has always interested me, because of Giant Dipper. I have never been on a Fred Church coaster. The one at Belmont and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk have had my interest for some time. I looked on Belmont's web site and saw they have a ride called Octotron, it looks like a twin to Brain Surge at Nick Universe. You didn't mention the ride in your TR. Just curious if you rode it and what your opinion of it was. On the web site it looks like there's a lot to do, but from your TR it sounds smaller than what I originally thought. Your photos are spectacular. It makes me want to visit Belmont. Thanks for sharing Jen, can't wait for the Sea World TR.
The Octotron just goes around in a small circle (don't know where they get that it's on a roller coaster track from) and you spin upside down. I don't like rides that spin like that and it was nothing I would have any interest in riding. I checked and I don't even have a pic of it (it was tucked in an obscure part of the park - didn't even see it until we walked in the back a bit and it's a small park). That gold ride next to the kiddie free-fall is the Control Freak ride - very similar to the Octotron except you're going around like a Ferris wheel instead of on a circular track. It is a VERY small park with only a few rides for adults (not much for kids either). Like I said, worth a visit if you're in the area and I really enjoyed the coaster, but nothing I would recommend traveling a far distance to. Even if you rode all 6 adult rides (including the Carousel and Tea Cups) you'd be done in 30 minutes easy and there's not much more near-by within walking distance. Plenty of bars/restaurants if you drive down the same road towards Pacific Beach a few miles, which is where we went.
I thought it was a nice wooden coaster and worth the $6. I had no wait, but sat in the 3rd or 4th row. We also spent a couple of hours walking along the boardwalk there at Mission Beach. There are condos and houses facing the beach and that is the mail route I want. I noticed most of the places were in the $1 million neighborhood for a small condo.
We also ate at a Mexican place, but it was El Indio, a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.