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Waldameer 6/15

CenturyFlyer

New Member
*Never posted on this forum before, but I hope you enjoy the report!

Date of Visit: 6/15/2019
Rides Closed: None

Two days ago, I was able to visit Waldameer for the fourth time. After earlier visits in 2014, 2016, and 2018, I certainly hope that this park becomes an annual tradition for me. The main purpose of this visit was to enjoy some ERT and fun during a Great Ohio Coaster Club event. Waldameer rocks, and I find myself enjoying it so much more than my home park, Kennywood. Like Kennywood, Waldameer - opened in 1896 - is rooted in tradition but does have some modern thrills and a huge water park. I enjoy going there, though, because unlike Kennywood, Waldameer is still family-owned, which somehow always improves the feel of an amusement park. It's probably because there aren't tons of levels of management that have to approve a simple change. Also, Waldameer’s workers are somehow much kinder than Kennywood’s. What is with that?? The operator on the Scrambler was waving his hands in the air trying to get people excited, and the Ravine Flyer II operator gives a live spiel to every train. Maybe it had to do with crowds being light, but employees seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Of note is the fact that Waldameer is a free admission park.
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The weather was spotty with rain, but that's honestly my preferred weather for a park since it keeps the crowds away, and as long as it doesn’t thunderstorm, that means that all the rides will still be operational. I guess you could say the crowds “evaporated” after the afternoon rainstorm! Anyway, my mom and I got to the park around 10 to check in for the event. Park staff graciously provided donuts and coffee. After this, there was an hour of ERT on Comet - Waldameer’s 1951 Herbert Schmeck junior wooden coaster – as well as Chaos, the park’s new-for-2019 Zamperla Discovery, which is a pendulum ride. Chaos was more intense than I thought it would be! It does go completely upside down, which lends itself to some hangtime. One ride on this was enough for me. After a solid 5 or so rides on Comet, my mom and I walked over to Pirate’s Cove for a “lights-on” tour. The lights weren’t really noticeable a whole lot, in my opinion. We weren’t sure if it would pour rain later, so we decided to take a ride on Waldameer’s Sky Ride. The wind coming off of Lake Erie resulted in our car swaying a bit! This Sky Ride is very long due to its slow pace.
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Ravine Flyer II had quite a line, but we figured we might as well take a ride on this hybrid coaster. My mom had never been on it before, so I convinced her to queue up with me for the front row. What a fun ride! Some track work had been done over the off-season. When in the front row, you just hang over the first drop – which only accentuates the amazing view of Lake Erie. A very well-known fact is RF2’s feature of crossing the highway that runs adjacent to the park, as well as a 90 degree banked turn.
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I set off on my own for a bit, riding the park’s fun drop tower, taking another walk through Pirate’s Cove, and “going for a spin” on Waldameer’s 2004 spinning steel coaster, Steel Dragon. Based on the car’s balance, this ride provides a different experience every time. Also, it’s fun to ride a spinning coaster that has a good layout, as opposed to a Wild Mouse. I chanced a ride on the park’s Log Flume, Thunder River, despite the cloudy skies. I sat in the back, which was probably a good choice for not getting too wet. This flume has a mist-filled tunnel and two drops.
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Throughout the day, I was fortunate to ride Whacky Shack several times. This ride is one of the main reasons I enjoy Waldameer so much. Built in 1970 by Bill Tracy, Waldameer’s Pirate’s Cove is another example of his work. Vintage darkrides like this are some of my favorite things - everything about them just feels like another era. All the stunts inside are all in fun, no gore, right down to the little roller coaster-like dip on the second level balcony. It's a shame that parks get rid of these rides, often because of updated building codes and dwindling attendance. Hopefully Waldameer will keep theirs around.
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During the picnic dinner (which had some cool door prizes), the park president talked about Waldameer’s progress over the past years and answered questions. While waiting for the rain to clear, he said how they had to struggle to get Ravine Flyer off the ground, especially on gaining permission to construct the ride’s bridge. In the document that stated the conditions for the bridge, he told us that one of the conditions was for “no coaster car to ever hit the roadway.” Okay. Anyway, after this, club members met up at RF2 for a “behind the scenes” tour. This was really fun! After walking underneath the station, we were able to take pictures in the ride’s “infield” in the middle of its incredible twister ending.
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By this time, the park had been left mostly empty due to the mid-day washout. My mom and I took a relaxing ride on the Giant Wheel, which offers astounding views of both the park and Lake Erie. Another relaxing ride, the park’s train is surprisingly long and journeys underneath a section of Ravine Flyer for a bit. I told my mom that she needed to experience the back row of RF2, so we got in line for the last regular ride before the park closed. It wasn’t until the gates were closing that I realized we were the only people on the train! It seriously is an experience like no other to see a train twisting its way along the tracks in front of you – with no other riders! The light rain only added to the effect.
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Evening ERT was scheduled for 10:00 on Ravine Flyer, but it was moved to 8:30 once the park announced that it would be closing at that time. I’d never ridden the ride at night before, so it was a ton of fun. I got around 10-15 rides and never sat a train out.
Overall, Waldameer is a really fun park chock full of unique rides that I hope to visit again next year. It’s relatively small park but evokes tons of charm. If you find yourself anywhere close to northwestern PA, be sure to check it out!

Andrew M.
 

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Hutch

Active Member
Thanks for the report, enjoyed reading your thoughts on the rides. Surprised how you ended up staying basically the whole day! I know it was during an event but to me it never seemed like one would need more than a few hours at Waldy. Nice to know that there's other decent stuff to do outside of the coasters.

I'm hitting the park for this first time next month, just for an evening. Looking forward to some Ravine Flyer II action but it also seems like a pleasant place to just chill out for a bit. Nice to hear that they did some work on RFII, I've heard it's gotten rougher over the years so I'm hoping it rides okay.
 

CenturyFlyer

New Member
Hutch - You don't need more than a few hours, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it! The park has a really cool old-school atmosphere. And yes, I stayed for the nighttime ERT. Cool you're going for the first time; have fun!
 
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