Thursday, August 2, 2012

Road Trip! Maine's Palace Playland

After our visit to Funtown Splashtown it was just a short drive down the road to the sunny beachside town known as Old Orchard Beach, home to Palace Playland.

These folks are getting their tan on.
What a beautiful beach they have there!   The town of Old Orchard Beach is an adorable little place, as true a beach town as they come.  There's hotels, plenty of little inns, lots of shopping and dining, and even an amusement park - Palace Playland - which is of course why we dropped by.

Sure, not the biggest, but still fun!
Palace Playland has operated in the same located since 1902, making it far older than I had imagined before we arrived.  Granted it started as mainly roller-skating and a Carousel, but still thriving today it is called New England's only beachfront amusement park.  The beachfront aspect is certainly no lie, as some of the rides jut right up against the sand.

The Grand Orient Fun House
Palace Playland has a surprisingly large selection of rides packed into a small space.  There's some interesting attractions to be found here as well, such as Le Tapis Volant, also known as the Grand Orient Fun House.  There's plenty of traditional gags in there, shaking floors, rotating barrels and the like, you have to keep your wits about you.

Crash 'em, smash 'em!
As a seaside amusement park, there's certain attractions that one would expect to find, and Palace Playland delivers on those.  Here are the Dodgems, classic bumper cars, but there's also a Ferris Wheel with a great LED light display, a Tilt-a-Whirl, Drop Zone, a small freefall, and a Wave Swinger among other rides aimed at the whole family.

Those are brave riders on the Power Surge.
For the number of family rides at the park, there's an equal number of thrillers to be found.  The Power Surge turns riders upside down in multiple ways during its cycle.  There's also Adrenalin, a swinging and rotating pendulum attraction and the Matterhorn, which still features a backwards cycle in addition to the forward facing rotations.  The Orient Express is a small coaster that packs a surprising punch.

The boat on the right is about to make quite a splash.
The adjacent beach may provide plenty of ways to cool off, but Palace Playland even has a log flume, named Cascade Falls, to keep riders drenched.

The park has added several new rides this year, two of which are kiddie rides.  The Dizzy Dragons allows kids to spin their dragon at the rate they choose, and the Frog Hopper is a perennial favorite at parks across the globe.  The Moby Dick ride has also been replaced with a newer model, called Riptide.

Take a spin on (into?) the Galaxi.
The park's larger offering on the roller coaster side of things is the Galaxi.  Designed by S.D.C., the ride came to Palace Playland from Nebraska's Peony Park when it closed in 1993.  Opening in Maine the following year, the Galaxi has been thrilling passengers since.

Yes, that's Galaxi, not Galaxy.  Proofreaders need not apply.
The ride is certainly not the biggest or the baddest, but just judging from the number of similar rides in existence around the world it is certainly a popular one.  After the ride's lift the cars start to navigate a series of drops and helices, traveling from end to end between each maneuver.

Heading into one of the ride's larger drops.
The ride's trains consists of two connected four seater cars, which equates to eight riders per trip.  This Summer has proved quite successful for me to add new traveling coaster models to my list, but there's still plenty out there to find.  Still, the Galaxi was a nice find.

Palace Playland in all her glory.
We really only spent a short amount of time at Palace Playland, but if I'm ever looking for a beach side getaway I have a feeling that I'll quickly remember Old Orchard Beach by name.  The park, town, and beach are all really nice, and if you're in the neighborhood it's definitely worth checking out.

Up next on our trip is New Hampshire's place that's 'just for fun!'