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Friday, January 31, 2014

"Favorite Existing Schmeck Not Named Phoenix" Poll Results! And the new poll, "Favorite Pennsylvania Terrain Coaster"

So the idea of this poll was that if I included the Knoebels Phoenix, one of the few unanimous wooden coaster favorites, that none of the others would get a vote. Schmeck was a pure genius, an American master. He was the Van Gogh or Monet of roller coaster building. You could even say he was the MacGyver of roller coaster building, having pieced together the Idlewild Rollo Coaster during the Great Depression using lumber taken right from the site and utilizing the hilly terrain to make a great ride at minimal cost. The following are the results:

1: The Hersheypark Comet. I really love this ride. This poll is tough for me because Schmeck's designs are so good. The drop is wonderful along with the elevated turnarounds and airtime hills. Schmeck really mastered the art in the 40s between this and the Knoebels Phoenix or as Schmeck knew it, the Playland Rocket. 

One of the really cool character things about this ride is the neat bend in the lifthill chain. You can see it towards the top of this picture. 
The Comet is my favorite coaster to close out a day at Hersheypark, although our last ride is always the Chocolate Ride. Comet really comes alive with the tracer lights. 

Tie for Second: The Dorney Park Thunderhawk and the Great Escape Comet
Thunderhawk
This was a relatively early design for Schmeck and one in which he worked to perfect his skill. Initially this ride was an out and back coaster when it was built in 1923, but due to stiff regional competition Schmeck had a chance to rework the ride in 1930 to add the wild figure eight twister section with amazing ejector airtime. 
This pathway was initially right-of-way for a troley. At one point, the cut out for this path where a trolley passed through.
I really love this ride and the great airtime it provides. There is a trim brake in the middle of the bunny hop airtime hills returning to the station that cuts away some of the airtime, but it is still a wonderful ride.

Tied for 2nd with Thunderhawk is the Great Escape Comet. This is one ride I really would like to get to at some point. This classic Schmeck design was originally built for Crystal Beach in Ontario, Canada. When the park closed, the ride was moved to Great Escape at Lake George in New York and it still lives on as a favorite today.

Photo credit to our friend Bob

The coaster that comes in fourth is the masterful Rollo Coaster at Idlewild. We talked earlier about how this ride was built during the Great Depression with wood cut down on site and into the hilly terrain of the park, making a great ride at minimal cost during that tough economic time. This is an excellent ride that you need to get to. It packs a mean punch, even with an only 27 foot tall drop and 900 foot long length. 

The Waldameer Comet, Lake Compounce Wildcat and Yankee Cannonball round out the rest of the votes.

Be sure to vote in our new poll "What is your favorite Pennsylvania Terrain Coaster?" on the right hand side of the page. Some of them may not be considered terrain coasters, but I believe that they have elements that hug their terrain. 

Also don't forget to check out our book, "Great Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Road Trip," through ordering one using the dropdown menu at the top of the page.

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