Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Sunday, October 08, 2006

TR: Kennywood Park - 10/8/06 *Phantom Fright Night*

Trip ReportL Phantom Fright Night at Kennywood

Pittsburgh, PA

October 8, 2006

Notice: I you are here to find out about the haunts at Kennywood, this is not the trip report for you, I view amusement park halloween events as another way to get more coaster rides.

We had left Lakemont Park around 5pm and had decided to make a stop at Kennywood. Consequently we made the drive from Altoona, PA to Pittsburgh, PA and were pulling into Kennywood right around 7:15pm. The park didn't open tonight until 7pm so we're right on time. The upper parking lots were closed, so we snagged a space in the free parking area at the back of Lot 1, and thanks to a well placed sidewalk we had a short walk to the gate, in fact I dare say its shorter than the walk some of the pay lot customers had. We had already purchased tickets at Lakemont for $16 each so we were all set. I could tell thsi would be no ordinary event when a large phantom figure was in the main entryway fountain and the front gate plaza just looked eerie. We made our way through the front gate and the metal detectors and were soon headed down the ramp. Kennywood has one of the greatest entrances with the gate actually being in the parking lot, then you go down a ramp, under the road and come out in the park. The park decided to turn the entrance tunnel into the first scare zone. They had the artifical fog cranked up so high you could harldy see down the ramp, and you almost had to feel for the tunnel entrance April wanted one of us on each side of her to guard her from the monsters, that may not have been the wisest choice as we were all set to help the monsters.

We entered the park and took an immiedate left turn and headed to Phantom's Revenge. It was probably a good idea as when we arrived the line still hadn't even filled the station area. When we boarded the train he line was already started to back up on the bridge. Rideman and April took seat 2, and I took seat 3. No issues with the seatbelts or the lap bars that drop down from the sides. We setart out on a ride that seems like Steel Phnatom with the same lift hill, and we glance into the parking lot and the rumours the park would be dead tonight weren't exactly true. We then go down the twisting first drop, up the second hill, down the second, hill slice through the Thunderbolt, then the sweeping river turn to cut back over the Thunderbolt then the turnarounbd in the rides feature section the bunny hill run from the second pass of Thunderbolt to the end of the ride is filled with ejector airtime hills. Man every hill is better than the last. This just may be one of the greatest hypercoasters ever.

We exited Phantom's Revenge, then headedover to SwingShot. SwingShot had a full queue, so we skipped that for now but noticed they decided to have a local radio personality do the bally tape for the ride. They learned nothing from when Hersheypark did something similar on Lightning Racer. We did wait around SwingShot for a few minutes for the rest of our crew to arrive at the park, then we all headed to Phantom's Revenge. It was close to an hour wait now, did I mention they didn't put the second train on. After a slow crawl we finally arrive at the station and break up into assorted seats. It seems there were several other coaster enthusiasts in the ride line as well. I wound up in seat 2 this time. If I thought seat 3 was great, seat 2 is even better. In fact seat 2 and the back seat are pretty close in terms of insane airtime on every hill.

We exited Phantom's Revenge and we were deciding what to do, eventually rides won out over haunts. The pathway under the Lost Kennywood arch was blocked off so you had to exit the Lost Kennywood section by Swingshot. This area was the Gorky Park scarezone, whose main feature was a heavy duty fog machine and some scareactors making great effect out of just banging some trash can lids. They apparently thought totally littering this part of the park would add to the atmosphere. It's amazing how sometimes its the smallest things. We amde our way around Volcano which had a great light show, noted the Flying Carpet which was broken in August was still down, they even totally roped it off tonight with temproary baricade walls. We passed the Parkside Terrace which is normally a cafeteria but was turned into a haunt. We then passed the carousel which whike the ride was closed it had some errie lights on it and was playing music that sounded like a carousel organ in super slow mode, almost a sick sounding organ

We made our way to Jack Rabbit and were delighted to find a short Jack Rabbit line, the line just down the ramp and halfway around the front of the ride. Didn't stop us from getting rudely line jumped. I wound up in seat 7 and we were soon off on a fun filled Jack Rabbit ride,and how come I always seem to wind up in the green train. I did note they had two trains on tonight so they were able to move people qucikly. I even decided to live large and hold my hands up through the infamous double down. They had added a few lighting effects and stuff to the rides tunnel for Fright Night. The train advanced forward, around past the queue area, down the drop up the hill, where my gaze at the lifthill was interupted by the tunel, through the tunnel turnaround, down the dip, up the lift. The lift has been modified to make accomodations for the newbrake fins, and they took a different tactic than PKI did with the Beast to solve the same issue. Crest the lift, turnaround, the airtime filled double dip, final trurnaound, final dip into the station brakes. The moment of truth, and quite frankly there is no noticable difference to the ride with the installation of the new braking system. Its odd that there are two brake fins per car, but the general effect is the same. The train pulled into unload and we exited down to the midway.

At the bottom of the exit ramp I noted the the game where you usually try to get the ball to land in little illy pad has been transformed so it looks like a toxic ooze pool. Yep even the games get trnasformed. We follow the Kennywood Rules which state a Jack Rabbit ride must be followed by a Racer ride, Its only a 1 cycle wait for Racer, and soon we are taking up the back seats of both trains. I even got a seat that seemed to have a generously long seatbelt. Racer was its dependable self, but there wasn't too much hand slapping going on excpet maybe Rideman and myself. Oh, and I'd almost forgotten about that one good airtime pop on the return run in the back seat. After Racer it was time for a snack, most of us went to get frozen slush drinks. $2.60 later I had a Tangy Tangerine Brain Freze (yep, the items in the consession stands get new names). One member of our group managed to get the last chicken on a stick out of a tent that was setup alongside the lake. We drank our Brain Freezes as we headed back to Thunderbolt. We passes the sick sounding carousel again, then I noted the irnoy that the dark ride wasn't open during the haunt event. The park had several paths closed, and it was hard to see down the open paths due the copious amounts of artifical fog in use. We eventually find our way to Thunderbolt then realize we have 5 people, and there are no singles on Thunderbolt. Many thanks to the two who each decided to take one for the team and sit a ride out. Thunderblt had strobe lighting going on around its station giving the ride a neat effect. The better effect was the line was completely inside the station area. A couple trains later I was getting into the middle seat of the back car. We took off and proceeded to have a much smoother Thunderbolt ride than I remember having in a while. We get back in line, and there is almst nobdy in the station, I see only two people in the front seat queue, so I duck into the front seat queue and Rideman heads in after me. April and Pete take seat 2. It even works out that we are on the same train. We are seated and its out of the station down the drop, up ad around the turnaroundk down the next drop, up and onto the chain lift. Wow I even got some air on the drop before the lift. We then tur into the helix, and all that stuff. That was possiblt the smoothest best Thunderbolt ride I haver ever had, Of all the wood coasters I rode this weekend who would guess Thunderbolt was running the best.

We left Thunderbolt and decided we had time for one more ride, I suggested the SwingShot and so we headed there, but not before a stop at the Round Stand for corn dogs. ($2.50 and they paint the mustard on for you). We make our way and I note the queue for Noah's Ark had been cut, as had the queue for Phantom's Revenge. After a brief incident we head to SwingShot. The line for SwingShot wsn't too bad and we were on in two or three cycles. Tonight they were only running one of their two swings, but I was able to board without the ride going down mechanical first, yes thats an improvement. The attendnat didn't push furher on my lapbar, so I got to ride again wth a fiarly loose bar which allowed me to get that unique feeling a the tops of the swings where you keep going up as the ride starts to go back down. All in all I really like the SwingShot, I hope Cedar Fair buys one of these for Kings Island,

By the time the ride ended the park had closed for the night at 11PM. We made ou way out though the closed park, but did make a restroom stop. Geez, they even changed out the lihgtbulbs in the restrooms. We left the park as there was a lot of hoot and hollering going on in the exit tunnel. We soon made our way back to our cars and the three of us started to make the drive home. We did stop in West Virginia for a late night Eat'N'Park meal and thus we arrived back at Coaster Central around 4AM, wished Rideman a good night, switched cars, then April andI made the drive to Coasterville, where I got in shortly after 6AM, then April made the drive to AprilVille.

Real fun weekend, can't wait to do it all again next year, but with some Flying Turns action!


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