Sunday, May 18, 2014

Waldameer Trip Report May 18, 2014

We decided to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon at the wonderful Waldameer Park in Erie, PA. We were quite a bit early, so we opted to go drive by and go into the adjacent Presque Isle State Park. Presque Isle is located on an undeveloped peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie. It is a truly spectacular place! Driving by Waldameer first though made us quite impatient though. Brit took a few  pictures as we went by. The new colors on the water slides look awesome and will really blend in with the brand new wave pool that the park will be getting next season!
This view is a far cry from how the lake looked during the winter when the lake was completely frozen over. Still not quite time to go out for a swim yet though! Presque Isle is a lovely place that you should definitely check out anytime that you visit Waldameer.
 We opted to have lunch at Sally's and Sara's Diner, right between the Presque Isle State Park and Waldameer. It is a really cool place that has some of the best burgers and shakes around. Their prices are also very inexpensive.
The first thing you see as you walk into the park is the Schmeck PTC classic, Comet. This family friendly ride received lots of care this last offseason and is running as well as it ever has in my opinion. It is a very fun little ride. You can see lots of new wood throughout the ride. They were testing it as we walked in.
 The midway changes from last summer look spectacular. They added a new Musik Express, moved the Scrambler, and freshened up the midway. Both rides have spectacular lighting packages now. The new Musik Express is a really popular favorite with a prominent spot in the entry area of the midway.
 The sky ride that runs the length of the main midway has always been one of my favorite things. A sky ride really adds something to a midway.
 The park's Chance carousel is one of the grandest units the company has made. While it is not the original, there is a good chance the park may not have made it if the original had not been sold to create the future expansion in the park decades ago. This decision enabled them to build their waterpark, which will see a major expansion in coming years. I love how they added my favorite kind of chair, adirondack chairs, for folks to sit and relax in while listening to the carousel.
 Here is the park's teaser sign. The new wave pool will reside in the front part of the current parking lot with further waterpark expansions to reside around the new wave pool. 
 No folks on the sky ride quite yet.
 Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3
 In the distance I can see the coaster that ties for my all time favorite, the Ravine Flyer II.
 The midway is quiet, but the bakers were working hard getting cookies all baked for the new day. You could smell them throughout the midway. 
 Spring flowers!
 Breezy day.
 It is the attention the park pays to small detail that brings me back to the park. Somehow the park finds a way to look even nicer every year. The ability of the staff to put together wonderful improvements year after year always impresses me. The first time I visited the park was in 2008 when the Ravine Flyer was first installed. We have visited multiple times every year since. The park has become even nicer every single year. Year after year they make improvements to the park that look just lovely.
 More testing! We were early birds to the park.
 This building is the Lakeview Grove. It was actually the station for a John Miller creation, the original Ravine Flyer, hence the reason for the II and III names of the coasters bearing that name today, but I digress. This coaster was created in 1922 also had a bridge over the road. It was torn down in 1938 after an unfortunate accident in which a rider panicked, stood up, and fell out as the coaster train valleyed. 
 Time to ride!
 Brit sat out because she will be having surgery this week, so she took pictures. I am in the front row of this train. You can see my excitement build, even from this far away.

 I am starting to head down that huge drop now, after having looked out over Presque Isle and Lake Erie. You can even see Canada from up there.
 Third to last row now!
 Getting there! Seeing that stunning view now!
 Between the retrack work this year and last year, the ride is running absolutely phenomenal. 
 We met our friend Randy Skalos working his baby, the Whacky Shack. The wonders that he and his team have done to the ride in recapturing the genius of Mr. Tracy's amazing work on the ride. He has revitalized this darkride into one of the best around. It was always fun, now it is as stunning a haunted house as any. Randy and his team have made this ride absolutely stellar once again. If you see Randy working the ride, be sure to say hi to him. He is a great guy to talk to. He really knows his stuff when it comes to darkrides and amusement parks. He even worked at Idora Park in the last two years it operated. 
 We opted to play a some games since Brit was unable to really do any rides. We played one of our favorite games, the Roll-A-Ball. I love this game, but I never win it. I finally broke the streak though and won granted Brit was the only other player :-)
 Now for a ride on the Comet! It really is a fun little ride.
 The temps in the 60s with lots of sun were perfect for strolling in the amusement park and riding some rides, but not so good for swimming. The waterpark is not open yet anyways, but I am still amazed at how fresh those watersides look now with their bright new colors.
 The roof of the Comet station with the carousel building behind it and the sky ride above it.
 I love these junior PTC trains. Now they can do two train operations with the updates that they made on the ride.
 Lots of new wood on the ride.
 More games! These games are very cool. They are similar to the awesome Fascination game that we discovered at Knoebels last time around.
 Brit with lots of tickets and our pet chameleon 
 Heading out of the park now with candy apples and game loot.
 This view will look very different come next year, with a new wave pool. In the next few years we will be seeing some more watersides as well. The new colors on the older slides look superb as a great step one for the upcoming waterpark improvements.

As usual, we had an awesome time at Waldameer. The great steps the staff takes in caring for and improving the park year after year should be an example for every park to follow. The operation of the park is nothing short of top notch. I have as much fun at Waldameer as I do at any park. The park has so much charm, visiting is always a blast, the food is delicious, the Ravine Flyer II is as good as any coaster out there, the park has many great rides, and the staff and park patrons are so friendly. Every employee was friendly, from the ride ops, to the game hosts, and the other staff members. They made us feel welcome to the park. Additionally, this park is also very affordable. If you have not visited the park or not gone in a while, what are you waiting for?

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