June 8, 2004


Click the links for pictures!

    Get off work at Cedar Point, grab your stuff, meet with your friends, drive to Celina's house, spend the night, wake up, visit Kennywood.

    Sounds simple, right?  Yeah.  All went well until the "drive to Celina's house" part.  Read on ...

    Tim Vines, my brother, Julie, Celina and I headed onto the Ohio Turnpike.  We were listening to Maroon 5 and having the time of our lives.  Kennywood was going to be a blast!  Celina was the only one of us who'd visited the park, and she hadn't been in years.  What was even better was we were meeting Bryan there.  Sweet.

    It was really dark (that's what happens when the sun goes down) as we were driving.  In front of us was a semi truck, so we couldn't really see ahead of us.  We're just driving along, when something decides to get itself run over.  *Ka-chunk*  Julie and I felt it roll underneath the left side of the car.  We don't know what it was, but it wasn't good.  Ten seconds later it sounds like we have a flat tire.  Celina (driving) rolls down her window and checks the tires.  Nope.  Those two look good, and whatever we hit was on the left side of us.

    Then the smoke comes.  Wonderful.  A sign tells us there's an emergency pullover area about 1/4 mile away.  There's also a three- or four-digit number to call for roadside assistance.  We pull over and Celina opens the hood.  Smoke!  Her engine has oil on top of it.  Oh man, this isn't good.  Celina and Julie start dialing numbers on their cell phones.  The rest of us back off and stare at cars driving by.  The minutes tick by.  Celina's parents know the deal, and a state trooper does too.  A tow truck company is called.  All this is going down, and there's a huge oil spill beneath the car.  The smoke has stopped, so we're sitting around complaining about the roadside service Julie is (not) getting, even though her cell phone came with roadside assistance or some fancy stuff.  I didn't think cell phones could fix cars, but technology is increasing at an incredible rate ..

    I know.  I'm not funny.

    To continue, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I tried to catch fireflies and imagine what kind of beasts lived in the forest next to the road.  Maybe the guy in the semi truck parked in front of us knew.  Hey!  There's our tow truck.  Forty-five minutes is what we waited.  I think.  It was around that time.

    The tow truck guy gets out, scopes out the situation and positions his truck do-dads.  The car's pulled out of the way, and we rejoice as he tells us he'll pour some oil dry on the spill.  We rejoice because we're losers.  All of us work in the environmental services division at Cedar Point, and we throw oil dry on liquid spills, i.e. vomit and ice cream.  Seeing oil dry excited us.

   Julie and I hopped in the front of the tow truck, and Celina, Tim Vines and my brother rode in her car.  We pulled into a Perkins restaurant parking lot in Youngstown, Ohio.  We unloaded our stuff, made some phone calls and lay down pretending we were homeless.  We were all hungry and noticed that there was a Taco Bell across the street.  Julie, Celina and I walked to it, bought some grande meal that consisted of about eight tacos, 10 burritos and two enormous Mountain Dews.  The Mountain Dews tasted awful.  Celina called it "sewer water."

   Eventually Celina's parents show up, and we go to her place in Beaver Falls, Penn.  We spent the night.  Celina's car had a hole in its engine, so we had to borrow her mom's car to get to Kennywood.

    In the morning, we called Bryan and told him we were going to be a little late.  We headed out and drove through Pittsburgh.  I love cities, especially cities with tall buildings.  For general stupidity and boredom, we stuck some labels and Jones Soda caps to Tim Vines' back.  He had no idea!

    We parked on the second level of the parking lot.  What a view of Phantom's Revenge!  We walked to the entrance, paid for our tickets (thank you soda-can discount!)

    We ran into Bryan, and were on our way!  This was going to be a blast!  The first coaster of the day was Phantom's Revenge, of course.  Back seat?  You know it.  Under-10-minute wait?  Yes!  Airtime?  My word.  This ride has more than just airtime.  My first ride on Phantom's Revenge placed it in my third-favorite steel coaster position.  Bye, Magnum XL-200.  Phantom's Revenge is amazing.  Absolutely amazing.

    The seat belts are like other Morgan belts.  They retract, so they're nice and snug.  The lap bars are crazy.  Who figured that making them come down from the side would work?  They're extremely comfortable and leave room for airtime.  Ha.  Like we'd need room!  You're getting it either way!

    The lift hill wasn't very slow, but that's because they only had one train on the track.  We get to the top and soar down to ground level.  This twist to the right is really impressive.  It's like other big Arrow coasters, but with these crazy restraints it's incredibly smooth.  The flat section was fun and gave a good sensation of speed.  We climb up the second hill, bank to the right and plummet.  This drop was enormous!  Thunderbolt directly above and below us really added to this amazing drop.  You get a bit of airtime at the top of the drop.  "Sweet," I thought.

    The turn at the bottom of this huge drop pulls some high G forces.  You fly into the turn above you and dive down again.  Another quick burst of airtime.  "Cool."

    We turn under Thunderbolt and enter an underbanked right turn.  The lateral Gs are great in this part.  Lateral Gs on a steel coaster.  How wonderful!  This is one fun ride!

    Then the ride loses it.  There is no relent.  Drop: airtime.  Small bunny hop by the station: WOAH!  You're out of your seat the entire time.  And it's not just airtime.  This is total ejector airtime.  This is "hairtime," in the sense that the long-haired riders gain a foot or two in height.  Totally wild.

    It gets better.  Much better.  I'd never really experienced a double down before Phantom's Revenge.  I think there were a couple coasters I've ridden that have them, but I don't remember them.  This is a double down for the books.  You drop out of the "hairtime" hill and bank to the left.  This is easily the best part of the ride.  Heck, this is the best element in the entire park!  The entrance of the double down is like a bunny hop.  You're thrown out of your seat.  Then the ride levels out, and you're slammed into your seat.  If your hands are up, they're going down.  Celina even scratched a kid's face because he was sitting in front of her!  Another drop follows this quick level-out.  "Holy crap!"  We're out of our seats again!  This time it's the most airtime I've ever experienced.  You can be stapled and have that seat belt locked in the tightest position, and you're completely flying.  It's terrifying, to say the least!

    We enter a ground-hugging turn to the right, soar into another airtime-filled bunny hop, and fly into the brakes.  Crazy.  There are some magnetic brakes in the last bunny hop, but that doesn't matter.  You hardly feel them, and if they weren't there, we'd fly into the station.  Phantom's Revenge easily has the greatest airtime I have ever encountered.  We rode this Arrow/Morgan masterpiece numerous times.  All back seat rides?  Definitely.  10/10.

   Up next was Exterminator, my first spinning wild mouse.  The theming in the line is really cool.  There's a red button that Bryan said used to set off alarms and flashing red lights inside the queue, but they turned that off after it got annoying.  Someone would hit the button every 20 seconds.  I'm sure I'd go insane.  We walk through a queue line on some ramps and end up near the entrance to the loading station.  We waited about 25 minutes.

    This ride is nuts!  Bryan, Tim and my brother sat in one car.  Celina, Julie and I sat in another.  The entire ride is indoors and themed to being inside a Pittsburgh sewer.  It begins like any wild mouse: a dip off the lift and some hairpin turns.  I wasn't too impressed at first.  I wanted to be spinning.  Somewhere along the ride it decided to go insane and start spinning.  Holy crazy everything, this ride is amazing!  We spun totally out of control.  I was holding onto the lap bar for dear life as Celina slammed into me.  I banged around my side of the car, hit my legs on the lap bar, and flew all over the place.  I remember noticing some track through a clear, plastic wall after a brake run.  It made it seem like you'd keep going straight, but you flew around another hairpin curve.

   Spinning, spinning, spinning!  The end of the ride has some bunny hops -- all of which are taken while spinning.  I think we went over one sideways.  How ridiculous.  The ride ended, we got off and exited.  It starts off like a fun wild mouse and ends up going insane.  What a fun ride!  Too bad the capacity's not too great. 7/10.

   Now it was time to get some eats!  We went to Small Fry's to get some famous Kennywood food.  We all pretty much ordered the same thing: french fries and chicken strips.  Bryan wanted gravy on the side, but the guy poured it on his fries.  Bryan's not a fan of this style.  We sat down and chatted as we ate.  These fries were delicious.

   After eating we went to Noah's Ark.  The line snakes around the side of the ride and you enter in an elevator.  It makes it seem like you're going down into the center of the Earth, but we really just went up one floor.  Noah's Ark consists of walking around, looking at animals and some old guy, and the rocking second half of the ride.  The entire boat rocks back and forth.  Going up and down stairs is confusing as you're moving all over the place.  At the end there are some strange lights that show hot dogs and other things on them if you don't stare directly at them.  How weird.  We stepped into a long room with a wet wall in front of us.  Bryan was standing right next to an exposed E-stop button.  He almost pressed it as he leaned back!  The ride host closed the door next to me and our adventure began.  I don't remember the story, but the wall started caving in and water rushed out in front of us.  Pretty cool! 6/10  The doors behind us opened, and we headed to the next ride:

   Turtle.  This Traver Tumble Bug is an extremely rare ride.  Bryan told us to go to the back seat since we'd get airtime on some of the hills, but the ride host loaded us in the next available car.  We ended up in the second car.  All Turtle does is spin around and go over hills.  As it goes faster, you get some airtime on the little hills.  It's a hilariously tame ride, but it's really fun.  Celina wanted to throw up on it just for the sake of hilarity. 6/10

   We walked by a Phantom's Revenge support, and my brother tried to hump it.  And you thought I was crazy.

   Thunderbolt was next.  This coaster looked like a lot of fun.  It's got some crazy terrain going on, but the wackiest part of this ride appeared to be the double helix after the lift hill.  I noticed the helix from Noah's Ark.  Something didn't look right at all.  The bottom-most part of the helix wasn't banked.  Well, maybe there was five-degree banking, but that doesn't matter.  This was going to be madness.

   The front of the station has HUGE lettering with the ride's name.  It's cool.  We hopped in the back car after a wait of about 15 minutes.  The ride starts off wild!  It drops straight into the ravine, rises up and turns to the right just inches above the ground.  This is a terrain coaster!  The lift hill is sort of like a double up.  It engages the lift hill, levels out then rises again.  After the lift hill there's a turn to the right, a nice drop and the craziest helix everEVER.  I thought The Beast had crazy lateral Gs.  Oh no.  The Gs on this are downright insane.  They're so bad, larger people have to sit on the left so they don't crush their partner.  And no one can ride alone because they'd slam into the side of the train if they were on the right.  It's wild!  What's worse is it does it three times!  Drop, turn, rise, drop, turn, rise, drop turn, rise.  Every turn is taken unbanked at ground level.  Who thought this up?  We rise into a quick brake run and drop into the ravine again.  We turn to the right just above the first turn on the ride, and we drop down the largest drop on the ride.  We enter the brakes, turn to the right and exit the ride.  Wild.  Totally insane.  I love it! 9/10.

   Gold Rusher was next.  This was a simple mine ride that reminds me of Calico Mine Ride at Knott's Berry Farm.  It's just a dark ride with turns and lots of animated people and stuff inside.  Bryan told us to expect something scary at the end, but it never came.  I psyched myself up for something to jump out or for an explosion to happen, but it turns out he was just pulling my leg.  Near the end of the ride we travel next to a waterfall.  Celina got the bright idea to stick her hand out and splash water on all of us.  She said that's what they'd always do as kids.  Fun!  5/10.

   Jack Rabbit was the next coaster on the list.  They don't let you wait for the seat on this.  They load it 18 people at a time, back to front.  Tim and Celina got to ride in the front row.  Bryan made it so the rest of us could ride in the back seat.  The restraint consists of a leather strap with a hook.  There are two loops for the hook: a loose setting and a very loose setting.  Because we're stupid, we all set it on the very loose setting.

   It exits the station, turns to the left, drops into a cold and dark ravine, enters a tunnel, swings to the left, drops into that cold ravine and climbs the lift hill.  It's really tame.  I didn't really understand why this ride was so popular among coaster nerds, but I realized that we hadn't hit the double down yet.  After the lift it turns to the left and drops to the ground.  That's where the double down is.  Oh my gosh, it's terrifying.  We went from sitting down to literally standing up.  Bryan told us he "rodeos" this part of the ride: one hand in the air, one hand clinging to the grab bar.  The double down is really the only exciting part of the ride.  The rest is pretty much like a family coaster.  After the double down, we rise above the tunnel, turn to the left, drop into the ravine again and enter the magnetic brakes.  Jack Rabbit's a lot of fun, but it's really only worth riding in the back.  Back there it's terrifying.  8/10.

   We went to Kangaroo next.  Kangaroo is a fun ride that rotates around and jumps off a platform.  It's got some lateral Gs and airtime.  It's really fun, and it's the only ride of its kind in the world.  Every time we hit the ramp, we lifted our arms and legs up.  What a unique concept of a ride.  After launching up the ramp, the arm lowers slowly to the ground and hits the ramp a few seconds later.  We hit the ramp about 10 times. 7/10.

   My first Zierer Flying Carpet was Flying Carpet here.  It looked like a lot of fun.  We boarded the ride after a few cycles.  I was near the outside.  It starts off really wild and doesn't let up.  It spins in one direction four or five times, reverses and spins the other direction four or five times.  I didn't count.  I just know it pulls some good G forces at the bottom and you get a great tickle in your stomach at the top. 7/10.

   We rode Jack Rabbit again.  This time we timed it so we could ride in the back seat.  Wild!

   Racer was the last coaster I needed to ride here.  I'd never ridden a Mobius coaster before, and the concept kind of confused me.  The track never crosses, it just splits at the stations.  Once again, this ride uses the terrain to its advantage.  We started on the left side.  We raced the other train, but no one was really slapping hands.  The bottom of the second drop has a slight turn in it, and there's no banking so it's got a jolt to it.  The ride consists of some drops and turns.  It's got a figure-eight layout.  The last drop is a big drop, and after it we end up in the station on the other side!  How crazy.  We got back in line and rode in the right side.  A very attractive ride host checked our lap bars.  Cool.  No one was really into hand-slapping.  Racer's a fun woodie. 7/10.

   When we were in line for Racer the first time, we noticed there was a pregnant girl in line.  It's insane that someone would put their child in danger just to ride a roller coaster.

   We spent the next 10 minutes wasting money at a shooting gallery.  Too bad the sensors weren't activated by the flash of my camera.  These gadgets had a twist, though.  When you shot the target on some of them, water would squirt out onto the midway and hit people watching or walking by.  Hilarious!  Julie stood around trying to get hit.  I got hit a few times.  Tim got shot in the face.  These things were a lot of fun.

   Bryan, Julie, Celina and I got in line for Aero 360.  Tim and my brother sat this one out because they couldn't fit and didn't want to ride, respectively.  It's a simple Zamperla Hawk with two towers that spin in opposite directions.  We waited about 15 minutes to ride.  Julie and I rode on the left ride and Bryan and Celina rode on the right ride.  Every time we passed I made some stupid noise.  Being held upside-down is really cool.  After a few spins in one direction it flips you the other direction.  Watching the sky appear and have the ground rush up on you is awesome.  I love these things. 8/10.

   After our ride we stopped at a food stand and got some water.  My brother had to buy some deep-fried Oreos.  They sounded pretty good, but I could hear his arteries clogging as he bit into them.

   Swing Around was our next ride.  It's like a YoYo with arms that kick you out every few seconds.  It's really fun.  It's situated on top of a really high platform that gives you some good views of Racer.  The arms alternate as they swing out.  The even arms swing out, and when they return the odd arms swing out.  7/10.

   We were thirsty, so Bryan told us to visit the drinking mushroom.  This was the funniest drinking fountain ever!  Celina and I drank from the lowest fountain because it's stupid.

   Volcano, the Huss Enterprise themed to a volcano was next.  Bryan told us that if you stretch your legs out it feels like you're standing up when it swings up.  He was right!  It's really crazy.  Enterprises are a lot of fun.  Right as the ride started spinning, a guy a few cars in front of me lost his hat.  Ha!  He dropped it on the inside of the spinning area. 7/10.

   King Kahuna, a Huss Top Spin, sits right next to Volcano.  There's also a Huss Pirate Boat in that same area.  It must be a Huss land or something.  King Kahuna didn't really impress me.  I felt that Hang Time at Dorney Park was a better Top Spin.  King Kahuna didn't give very much free-spinning time.  The ending held us upside-down over some water, but the jets never went off. 6/10.

   We went over to Phantom's Revenge again.  It's totally unbelievable!

   We decided to go to Pitt Fall next, but on our way, we ran into a sweep.  Since most of us are or were sweeps at Cedar Point, we had to stop.  Celina walked up to her and asked to borrow her broom and dust pan.  The sweep obliged after some persuading, and Celina ran off!  She swept up all the trash she could find!  She found napkins and a piece of a pretzel before the sweep came up and asked for her things.  What a riot!

   We went to Pitt Fall.  My brother sat it out because he hates drop rides.  This was the first second-generation Intamin drop ride I'd ridden.  I wish we would have gotten the side facing the ravine.  Bryan said it's like being 400 feet above the ground.  Instead we got the side facing the complete opposite way.  It gets to the top fairly quickly and only waits for a few seconds before dropping.  It's fun and provides a good rush, but it's not that great. 7/10.

   Celina and Julie rode Wipeout.  They were not too impressed with it.

   We hopped on Dodgem next.  They were pretty much ordinary bumper cars. 7/10.

   Garfield's Nightmare (previously Old Mill) was the next ride.  It had quite a long line.  We waited about 30 minutes to ride it.  There were TV screens in line telling the history of the ride and its remake into a Garfield-themed ride.  We all hopped in the same boat, since they're pretty long.  We threw on the 3D glasses and started moving.  It's a really slow ride.  It tells the story of a bunch of Garfield's nightmares.  The 3D things were OK.  The coolest part was the splatters of paint on the ground.  The little dots looked like we could reach under them.

   Then it got crazy.  For some reason our boat started tilting!  We tried to correct it by leaning the other way, but it would start leaning really quickly.  The whole ride became a maniacal trip of trying not to tip over the boat.  Everyone started blaming someone else for rocking the boat, but we all tried to keep from being sucked under and drowning.  We held it long enough to pose for a stupid photo.  When we got off the ride, we were pretty glad we weren't dead.  Celina and Julie told us that they were the reason the boat was rocking.  They got a kick out of us guys fearing for our safety.  Thanks, guys. 5/10, regular ride.  8/10 with rocking.

   We stopped at Pizza Pavilion and grabbed some dinner.  Celina ran into some people she knew from a place she worked at a few years ago.  They hung out for a little bit.

   We rode Thunderbolt again.  I am all about those lateral Gs.

   We got ready to call it a day, so we started heading to the front of the park.  There was a Laffin' Sal in a building, so I took a picture of it and its sign.  Those things are kind of frightening.

   It was time for Phantom again.  I cannot get tired of this thing.  I took a picture of Bryan, Celina, Tim and Julie (my brother sat out.  He had a headache), and they all decided to do something stupid.  Fun times.  Phantom's amazing.  What a stellar layout.  You can't beat those hills.

   We headed to the Lost Kennywood section of the park and I took some pictures of a fountain.  I asked someone to take our picture, so here's all of us: Bryan, Tim, Celina, me, Julie and my brother.

   Right before we left, Tim had to buy a T-shirt.  Bryan took him to a shop so the rest of us decided to ride Bench: The Ride.

   Kennywood is a great park.  It's a shame they don't sell season passes.  The rides are outstanding, the atmosphere is great, and it's a really fun place to hang out with a group of friends.  Kennywood Park gets a 9/10.

Photo Trip Report | Trip Reports