Ravine Flyer Rules! - Waldameer Thoughts
Just thought I’d throw out some thoughts from myvisit to Waldameer this past Saturday. Enjoy the pictures!
The weather was mostly overcast and spotty with rain (no WaterWorld for me!), but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Waldameer Park in Erie, Pennsylvania for about 12 hours, during which the majority of the time crowds were virtually nonexistent. Visiting for the Great Ohio Coaster Club’s “Spring Fling” event, I was able to enjoy lots of rides on the park’s attractions and soak in its old-time atmosphere.
Ravine Flyer II – The ride that put Waldameer on the map back in 2008 - this wooden coaster remains stellar! From the amazing view overlooking Lake Erie at the top of the lift hill, to the incredible road crossing, this ride sure packs a punch with its numerous twists and turns. Definitely in my Top 5 of all time. (I haven’t been on a ton!) As mentioned earlier, while crowds were stronger earlier in the day, in the late afternoon they pretty much disappeared due to a strong rain shower. Luckily, this was the time that the picnic lunch was held for the event, so everything worked out. This left my mom and I finding ourselves as the only ones on the entire train, in the back row! What an experience seeing the whole train twisting in front of you, and in the rain nonetheless! Even though it was just a drizzle, it felt like tiny rocks constantly hitting you! Evening ERT was scheduled to start at 10:00, but the park announced they would be closing at 8:30 due to the weather, so ERT started at that time. I’d never been on RF2 at night! It really makes it all the better. I was able to get 10-15 rides in an hour, and I never sat out a train.
Chaos – Waldameer’s new-for-2019 Zamperla Discovery - is a mini-pendulum ride that goes all the way upside down. I took a ride, and it was a ton of fun and surprisingly intense. The hang time that it provides is really awesome! One ride on this was enough for me. This attraction fills a very good gap for thrill-seekers at Waldameer.
Whacky Shack, Pirate’s Cove – My other favorite Waldameer attraction, Whacky Shack is one of the last few darkrides designed by amusement legend Bill Tracy. It’s a ride that’s all in fun, lacking the gore found in most modern haunt rides. Don’t not expect some good jump scares, though! The roller-coaster like dip on the second-floor is always fun. Waldameer has TWO Bill Tracy attractions, the other being a walk through called Pirate’s Cove. Perhaps my favorite amusement park funhouse, it has a nice mix of floor “stunts” and decorative tableaus.
Steel Dragon – Waldameer’s other big coaster - is a spinning ride. I only rode it twice this time, but it’s a ride that can always be unique based on the weight balance of the cars. The layout is really fun, too, unlike those spinning Wild Mice that you see everywhere.
Comet – The other coaster that the club had ERT on was the park’s junior wooden ride. Opened in 1951 and designed by Herb Schmeck, it’s crazy to think that this ride was the park’s biggest roller coaster until 2004, when Steel Dragon came along. This ride is always a ton of fun, and the little bunny hills have some nice pops of air.
Sky Ride, Train, Giant Wheel – Waldameer has a Sky Ride that runs up and down the midway. Why don’t all parks have these? They take up barely any room, are perfect for people-watching, and allow you to plan out your next adventure, all while cruising through the air at a leisurely pace. Another people-watching ride, Waldameer’s train is a very nice loop that includes a tunnel and a turn under Ravine Flyer. One of the rides it passes by is the Giant Wheel, a nice observation wheel that again uses the park’s location on Lake Erie to its advantage.
Thunder River – Now that my home park, Kennywood, has lost their flume, this is the best log ride close to me. It really packs quite a punch in not a lot of space, with two drops and mist-filled tunnel.
That was pretty much it for Waldameer. Coaster events are really fun, and I hope to go to more in the future. One thing that’s funny… during the lunch (which had amazing food), the Park President told us about the regulations the park had to agree to construct Ravine Flyer’s bridge across the highway bordering the park. Some of the rules: no coaster car could every hit the road below, and the park could never open a gas station under the bridge. Ha!
Anyway, if you every get a chance to go to Waldameer, I highly urge you to check it out – the atmosphere is quaint but still relevant, there’s an amazing collection of old (and new) rides, and everything is kept up and freshly painted. If you want to see more, check out posts on my blog filtered for "Waldameer" here: https://bayernkurveblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Waldameer Thanks for reading!
* This post was modified at 6/19/19 8:55:31 PM *
Oh man, I drove past yesterday. It was my first time in the area. I made a point to drive by but with no extra time, I didn't stop. Now I'm wishing I did. Great pics!
I hate that feeling... you know it's there, but it's just out of reach. Especially if it's an older park and you're not sure when you'll be back; hopefully it doesn't close for good!
I have been to Waldameer three times in the last eight years. It is still one of my favorite small independent parks. (It is way better than at least eight others of a similar size that I have been to.)
I agree - it just always seems so clean, and you always can tell that the people that work there (ride ops and otherwise) care about what they do.