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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Palace Playland at Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Now onto the next stop on our honeymoon. Palace Playland at Old Orchard Beach in Maine is a nice little seaside amusement park. The park offers a great variety of flat rides, in addition to an S.D.C. Galaxi coaster. The park follows a similar historical timeline to other major east coast seaside amusement parks, having opened in 1902. Unlike many of the other older parks that are around today, you can still take the train to the park, with Amtrak's Downeaster still servicing the area.

It was a pleasant surprise to see a Huss Troika in operation. Generally these do not operate in smaller parks due to the enormous size and weight of these rides. Troikas are one of my favorite styles of flat rides. There are many other different flat rides at the park that range from small family rides, to fun thrill rides, including a Zamperla Power Surge.
 The park has this Ferris Wheel that is directly adjacent to the beach.
The creations from the former Italian coaster company S.D.C. have become increasingly rare, with only 16 of the original 63 coasters remaining in operation.
Brit did not end up riding the coaster, but ended up getting a shot of me riding this fun Italian steel coaster. I believe that this was my first S.D.C. coaster, and I really enjoyed it. It had some fun moments of airtime, and the seemingly endless helix elements were really fun. S.D.C. really had a winner in this design. The newer family coasters of this size do not compare to the wild ride that this offers. This is a great ride for the whole family.
Here is a view of the old pier and beach area. Old Orchard Beach is a very charming beach town area that I highly recommend checking out sometime.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Funtown Splashtown USA, Saco, Maine

On July 3rd we got married at Wagner Vineyards in the Finger Lakes region near Ithaca, New York, near where Brit grew up. We set off for our honeymoon in Maine and made a stopover at Funtown Splashtown USA in Saco, Maine for the first coaster rides of our married life.
Funtown is a nice amusement park and water park complex with a great selection of rides, including the great Excalibur wooden roller coaster. which we will talk more about later. The park traces its roots back to the 1960s, when the Dellaire family opened up a miniature golf course, and the Cormier family opened up a drive-in restaurant. Eventually the two families worked in unison to create Funtown, a Family Entertainment Center that would eventually expand into a full fledged amusement park with the addition of some rides and attractions. Over the years, more rides were added, and the complex eventually grew into Maine's largest amusement park attraction. 

 Now onto our visit!
The first stop was the park's Dragon's Descent S&S Turbo Drop Tower. At 220 feet, this is the tallest drop tower in New England. The view of the Maine coastline is stunning from the top. 
 The park has a decent selection of rides, with many different classics.
The biggest surprise though was this creation. The Astrosphere is an enclosed Eli Bridge Scrambler. That seems simple enough. 
Add in a laser light show, a spinning disco ball at the top of the ride, and a ride set to the Electric Light Orchestra's "Fire on High," and you have one of the most disorienting experiences out there. This thing is flat out awesome and I would love to see more rides get this sort of treatment. Astrosphere is simply great.
 More midway! It was a hot day, so most of the people were at the waterpark. The crowds grew as the day went on though/
 The park also has this neat Hopkins Log Flume. It meanders throughout the park and was pretty popular on this hot day.
 Now off to cross the Camelot Bridge!
 Off for our first wooden roller coaster ride as a married couple!
 The Arthurian decor is a nice touch to the ride
 The station is even set up to look like a castle.
 Rode this thing at least ten times. Had to get the front seat in, but this is definitely a backseat ejector airtime thriller. The first and second hills have some serious ejector airtime. 
 The rows are even named after King Arthur and his Court
 Ok, we got these guys, what about Sir Paul and Sir Elton?
 I love how many of the CCI coasters have a full listing of specs and statistics of their coasters. It saves a trip to RCDB to find out statistics.
 There's Brit!
This CCI beast is all around awesome, with a great mix of ejector airtime, heavy laterals, and swooping hills. The Philadelphia Toboggan Company train that this coaster uses really helps this coaster shine. Additionally, the recent track work has the coaster feeling like it is brand new.
 It feels like the natural progression in design between Holiday World's two CCI coasters, Raven (1996) and Legend (2000) with Excalibur having been built between the two in 1998. I feel that the design is an improvement from Raven's, and that the swooping drop and quick direction changes in the heavily banked sections on Excalibur would get built on a larger scale when the Legend was built two years later.
 This is one twisted coaster.
 Brit returning to the station in the King Arthur car
 Great ride all around!
The drivers need to keep an eye out..... 
Gotta watch out for the wildlife!
 Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby
 Some more Excalibur love!
Funtown was a great place to stop to help kick off our honeymoon! I highly recommend checking out this park for it has a nice variety of attractions. The park is worth a visit for rides on Excalibur alone, with it being one awesome wooden roller coaster. While you are up in Maine, be sure to spend some time sightseeing and relaxing as well for it is such a beautiful state.