Purchasing of Our Book "Great Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Road Trip"

Purchase Options for our Book

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Focus: Lakemont's Christmas Event

In the midst of our 6 hour drive between Ithaca and Pittsburgh last year, we could not help but be drawn into the brightness of lights at Lakemont's wonderful Christmas display. The rides, including the Skyliner, train and Skydiver highlight the display in addition to the masterful placement of lights. I highly recommend going to check it out.

The entrance plaza looks beautiful as always, but even more beautiful all decked out like this


Here you can see the Chance Skydiver sitting all lonely without cars. It looks like it is just sad because the ride's brother Bruce in Florida got married instead. If you have no idea what I am talking about, check this out :-) 
I highly recommend going and checking out Lakemont's cool Christmas event!

Available now is our 2015 Roller Coaster Calendar. It is available through

Monday, December 8, 2014

A postcard look back at Marineland of the Pacific, Los Angeles, CA Circa 1960s

In 1954, a year before Disneyland opened, Marineland of the Pacific was opened to the public. It was located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles. The park was the largest oceanarium at the time.

In 1961 the park was the first to capture an Orca, which promptly died only three days later. In 1969 the park was successful in capturing another Orca, named Corky, and then in 1970 captured a female named Orky, who would go on to have six calves that died shortly after birth. Both would be moved to Sea World San Diego in 1987. Orky died upon transit to Sea World San Diego. She was involved in multiple incidents in which trainers were nearly killed.

The company that owned Sea World at the time, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, promptly closed Marineland of the Pacific after promising to keep it open. They transported all remaining captive animals to Sea World San Diego.

Based upon the location of the park in Los Angeles, the park was often used for television and movies. The Lucy Show, The Munsters, Emergency!, Wonder Woman, the A-Team, and more. Additionally, upon abandonment, many movies have utilized the vacant space for filming. Movies such as Pearl Harbor and Pirates of the Caribbean, were filmed at the site.

The inspiration for this research rant came from finding this foldout set of postcards the other day. The dating appears to be from the 1960s. If someone can cue me in on an exact date, please let me know.

 "Porpoise feeding"
 "Aerial of the Mainland of the Pacific"
"Oceanarium at Marineland of the Pacific"
 "Bottlenosed Porpoises"
 "Wilmington-Redondo Beach area"
 "Weyfarers' Chapel" 
This world famous church was designed by Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright's son, and completed in 1951. It is a world famous venue for weddings and was even used The O.C. for weddings and funerals. It is famously known as "The Glass Church."
 "Glass Church" - Aerial view of the Wayfarers' Chapel
 "View from Palos Verdes Estates"

Marineland was located in a very beautiful area of coastline in Los Angeles. Surprisingly the property sat completely abandoned for several decades, and now it is in the process of being redeveloped.

Available now is our 2015 Roller Coaster Calendar. It is available through

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November "Favorite New for 2014 Coaster" Poll Results + December Poll

We had a stacked field for last month's poll asking for everyone's favorite new coaster for 2014. 

The top vote getter was the Knoebels Flying Turns. It garnered 22 percent of the vote out of 152 votes. This coaster experienced its first full season this year, even though it technically opened last fall. This vote falls in line with the Golden Ticket results, which gathered some grumbles among the enthusiast geekosphere. As you will see with the other results, many of the other additions for 2014, which also happened to not be covered by the poll, scored fairly evenly. This vote could have gone in a bunch of ways considering how close the voting was.

Flying Turns is a phenomenal ride that gives an unparalleled experience to anything else in existence. This wooden bobsled coaster only achieves a top speed of 24 MPH, yet it feels like it goes way faster with the out of control feeling the cart provides as it maneuvers through the trough. It feels even faster at night once the lights are turned on.

In second place with 20 percent came Kings Island's Banshee, the world's longest inverted coaster. 
This coaster has a layout that ingeniously utilizes the terrain to the point that the coaster does not achieve top speed until halfway through the ride. As opposed to most B&M inverts that have a turn before the first drop to ease tension upon the lift chain, this coaster offers a spiraling first drop. It also offers a plethora of high speed and altitude maneuvers that make this one of the company's finest creations. 
Tied for third place with 17 percent of the vote are Luna Park at Coney Island's Thunderbolt and Kentucky Kingdom's Lightning Run.
Luna's Thunderbolt is a great Zamperla creation. It offers a vertical lift, vertical drop, and four airtime filled inversions. The ride is very smooth and easily one of my favorite loopers. I personally cannot decide between this, Banshee, and Flying Turns as to which one I like the most for they all offer unique ride experiences. Thunderbolt seems so different than the other loopers out there because it offers an out-and-back ride that has both inversions and airtime. Seldom do you find this combination. To top it all off, the ride has a Stengel Dive that offers terrific airtime. In the video below, based upon the camera movements, you can see the moments of airtime. Additionally, there is only a lapbar holding you in, with some small straps that go over the shoulders.
It is nice to see that this coaster saw some love in our poll. I think this addition was one of the most overlooked for this season, every bit as good as the other additions. I hope to see Zamperla build more of these.  

Kentucky Kingdom's Lightning Run is the centerpiece for the rebirth of this once closed park. It also signifies the rebirth of the coaster building division at Chance. The coaster is said to offer some of the strongest airtime out there within a very compact layout. 


Six Flags Great America's Goliath also did formidably with the 16 percent of the vote. This latest completed RMC creation utilizes the company's style of wooden track and offers two inversions. It was very popular in its first season of operation.

The remainder of the votes went to two very popular family coaster additions, Dollywood's Firechaser Express and Story Land's Roar-O-Saurus.

Be sure to vote in our December poll on the right side of the page.

Available now is our 2015 Roller Coaster Calendar. It is available through