Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kennywood Offseason Wintry Update February 26th, 2014

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I was in no particular rush to get home and I love taking pictures, so I figured I would make a little stop at Kennywood since I was passing by. Of the literally thousands of times I have passed by or seen the park in my life, the way in which the coasters are built into the dramatic landscape never ceases to amaze me. I started from a unique vantage point that you can add to the "used to be a Pizza Hut" category. A family practice may be the most unique re-use of one of these distinctively styled retail buildings. Other former Huts that come to mind are a pawn shop and a Mexican restaurant in my immediate region, but I digress.
Below you can see the view of the skyline from this vantage point. 
You can see that just over a third of the Racer's lift hill support structure has been replaced between work this and last offseason. The park's aggressive care plans for their three wooden coasters led towards them riding better than ever last season. I am proud to say that we rode the Racer for the first public ride of last season with GOCC on opening day last season after we had the chance to walk through the ride's infield. A terrific memory. Opening Day Visit 2013
Here you can see the scope of the skyline from this view. This area also has a world of potential for future expansion. All of this land is now under Kennywood ownership. The former steel buildings down below would be awesome for some attractions. I would love to see another giant steel coaster utilize this ravine. The park has the potential to see another homerun coaster like the Phantom with this giant ravine. A terrain wood coaster would be neat as well. It would be pretty neat if they could integrate these old steel buildings into the plan as possible tunnels for a ride or have them integrated into a brand new midway with a ski-lift or incline down the cliff and a possible midway expansion off of to the right of the main entrance with a tunnel under the road way and then a path under the highway bridge. This would take a ton of infrastructure and I am not sure how feasible this would be, but I can dream. With all of the land they have at their disposal they could possibly double the current midway space. 
A view you cannot get once the summer comes around and everything is grown in. The angles and sheer beauty of looking at the immensity of this ride always amaze me. 
This is a fuzzy shot but you can see some of the retracking work that the Thunderbolt has undergone. 
Black Widow in the foreground with the dominating second drop of Phantom looming in the background. I love the view through the old Arrow style supports. 
Sadly Sky Rocket is not in flight........
A shot of the giant overbanked turn thing. I love this element. My favorite part is the giant and twisting drop it provides back into the ravine and under the Thunderbolt. The scope of this element is huge as you can see with how far the Thunderbolt is from this spot. 
Another shot through the weeds with this one featuring the sawhorse Morgan supports for the giant overbank element and a better view of the Thunderbolt. 
I love this view! This features the super-powerful airtime hills at the end of the Phantom. The park is eerie and quiet midwinter with a dusting of snow, but the views are breathtaking nonetheless. You can see the great work the park has continued in their multi-year revamping of the wood coasters and the potential the park has with all of the recently acquired land. I look forward to seeing the rides running even more awesome next season. The Phantom will also be getting brand new fiberglass toppers to the trains, making one fully green train and one fully purple train. The trains will be heavier, making this wild ride likely even more wild. The new trains will also make maintenance more easy with side openings. All in all, between these infrastructure changes, plus the opening of a Johnny Rocket's sit-down restaurant in the historic carousel building, 2014 should be a decent season. The wood coasters alone will be even better than they were last season.  

Don't forget to check out our book "Great Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Road Trip" available through the drop down menu at the top of the page, all of the shops shown at the top of the page and Amazon. A portion of the proceeds have been going to help out Conneaut Lake and Lakemont. Purchase through the drop down menu at the top of the page and you will get your choice of either a Conneaut Blue Streak or Lakemont Leap the Dips ride ticket. 

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