Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Playland's Castaway Cove, Ocean City, NJ: GaleForce Epicness & More

I have heard nothing but praise over the years for Playland's Castaway Cove. Galeforce looked like an odd and eccentric creation. We got our first chance to visit the park this past week and were amazed at just how great the park is. I am pleased to say that Galeforce is an absolutely incredible ride that moved into my personal top tier of steel coasters in an unbreakable tie with Magnum, Phantom's Revenge, Superman at SFNE, Fury 325, Alpengeist, and Nitro. 
Nothing about this coaster looks like it should work. It has a minimal footprint, strange and wild looking transitions, and a generally short layout. Joe Draves hit it out of the park with this eccentric creation, like he did with Lightning Run. It is about as intense of an experience I have ever had on a coaster and its footprint is so small. This is the kind of addition that is perfect for a landlocked seaside amusement park. I enjoy Sky Rocket II coasters, but this unique creation has maximum thrill factor.

On that note, is incredible how many rides they have managed to add into what is probably one of the smallest overall spaces that an amusement park has to work with. The entire footprint of the park, give or take, is about the size of a midsized seaside resort. For places that are challenged for space, Playland's Castaway Cove should be the gold standard to follow when it comes to space management. GaleForce and Wild Waves were both built in the small footprint of two old off-the-shelf and non serviceable, run-of-the-mill coaster clones, a Flitzer and an old Pinfari Zyklon. In that space they were able to build two giant, unique, and ridiculously great rides, with room to spare for a little SBF spinner clone (and I love SBF spinners, especially because they feel like a coaster version of a tilt-a-whirl). Three coasters in the footprint of two small coasters. For how shockingly great GaleForce was, I was even more surprised with how awesome Wild Waves is, a custom Miler "family coaster" that packs a ton of fun and ridiculously great airtime. 
It loops around GaleForce twice with seemingly endless airtime hills. It also seemed to be just as popular as its neighbor as well, to the point that we heard people playfully argue about which coaster they wanted to ride next. There is something different about the energy of this park. Not only does the park have four coasters, they have a series of excellent flat rides, including several state-of-the-art rides including a Zamperla Air Race and a Technical Park Aerobat (which looks like a high speed version of a paratrooper ride, with the size and speed of an Enterprise) in addition to a small Hopkins log flume. A Ferris Wheel stands at the entrance of the park and gives stunning views of the park, the classic architecture filled boardwalk, and the beach. The park dealt with adversity this past winter with the loss of an entry building at the front of the park that housed an arcade, offices, and more. They are right back at it, building something new in that spot already. 

We had a wonderful evening at Playland's Castaway Cove and highly recommend going out of your way to visit it. This little park has soul and is a pretty magical place. Both GaleForce and Wild Waves are ridiculously awesome and the park is just down the boardwalk from Jenkinson's Boardwalk, another boardwalk amusement park, within 30 minutes of Morey's Piers in Wildwood, 20 minutes of Steel Pier in Atlantic City, just over an hour from Great Adventure (Jersey Devil review at this link), and an hour from Casino Pier. There is no reason to miss this park, Morey's Piers (Newly revamped Great White coaster review at this link), and Casino Pier if you are in the Jersey Shore or anywhere in the vicinity of South Jersey and Great Adventure. Our next installment on our Jersey trip will take us to Casino Pier.

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