Monday, September 7, 2009

'Making A New Memory' - Part 4

This is the last section of NPN's review of Kennywood Park. If you missed the earlier sections, here are links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The last of the coasters at Kennywood for me to review is also one of the best: the Jack Rabbit. The wooden coaster opened in 1921 and was designed by John Miller. It also happens to feature some of the most insane air time on any ride I've ever been on!

It's location makes it tough to photograph as it's station sits directly on the midway but most of the ride takes place in the back of the park in yet another ravine. (Kennywood + Ravines = Fun) It's known for it's famous double-down drop which is the point of no return for airtime lovers!

Jeff noted that it's often a child's first roller coaster, and that can lead to mixed results! It's unassuming in height, length, and speed, but the ride itself could be considered quite wild. I knew about the double dip and expected it, but really had no idea to expect that amount of floating!

Makes me hungry just looking at it.

The park's Potato Patch french fries have a cult following of their own. The lines seen in this photo never went down the entire time we were at the park - they're just that popular!

Kennywood's Dentzel Carousel is a real beauty. It's yet another well preserved classic ride at the park, one of many featuring that distinction at Kennywood.

We inquired how things have been since Parques Reunidos purchased Kennywood Entertainment in late 2007, and Jeff explained that for guests at the park things are business as usual. Kennywood was seen by Parques Reunidos as a “well run amusement park. We know who we are, we’re comfortable with that, and they like that and they don’t have any interest in changing that. Buy and large they like what we’re doing and want us to keep doing it.”

Music to my ears because what Kennywood does is run an amazing park!

Being fans of log flumes in general, we had to take a trip on the park's first Million Dollar ride. The Log Jammer takes up one corner of the property, and the park recently cut down a small line of trees that once separated the views of the Racer from the flume. Now you can get pretty shots of both rides like the one above!

You don't get soaked, just nicely sprayed.

The flume is an Arrow Dynamics ride that was added in 1975, and was a very important investment for the park. It's addition ushered in the next era for Kennywood, gaining the park a lot of attention with the ride's debut. Passengers are treated to a wonderful journey among the tree tops before plunging down into the lagoon below.

That log in going uphill after the first drop!

The ride also features a fun uphill section after the first, smaller drop on the ride. We counted it as a coaster credit! (Just kidding...)

The park's central lagoon has always been a popular spot in the park. Home to the park's famous circus acts for a long time, it now features the popular Skycoaster attraction.

It's not the spider that Garfield and Odie are afraid of...

The park's Old Mill attraction, currently known as Garfield's Nightmare really is quite a nightmare at this point in it's long life. And I really mean long, the popular date for the ride's initial opening, although debated, is 1901, making it about 108 years old at this point.

The ride is basically a boat going through a trough past different scenes in the dark, very basic in premise, but offers a look past at the history of amusement park rides that is very rare at this point. And it smells great! Really, it has that wonderful 'old-ride' distinct smell that tells you the attraction you are on outdates you but quite a bit.

It's gone by many different names in it's history, including Old Mill, A Trip Around The World, Hardheaded Harold's Horrendously Humorous Haunted Hideaway, and Garfield's Nightmare.

As the ride currently stands, well, sometimes even the best of intentions fall short. I'll leave my opinion of Garfield's Nightmare at that. But good news! When I asked Jeff if the long term future of the ride might hold yet another retheme he replied “Yes and I wouldn’t say in the long term, definitely a short term project. Can’t promise next year but in the next two years you’ll have a different experience."

Sweet! I also inquired if they'll stick with something for the kiddies or go back to the spooky realm, to which he replied "it’ll probably go back to something more on par with the Old Mill.”

It seems the lease on the use of Garfield at the park runs out next year, prompting the change sooner than later. Whatever the reason I'm sure all Kennywood fans will be rejoicing at the ride returning to it's roots! There you have it, the Garfield retheme is rumor no more!

I've saved the Turnpike for last on purpose, as we visited the park just days before the ride was set to close. Either word got out or the ride just has a massive family appeal, but either way it had an extremely long line while we were at the park.

We all know the attraction is being removed for Kennywood's yet unnamed 2010 new roller coaster, but the park has promised that it will return at some point. As for where, well it's not set in stone yet but Jeff said “the final decision will come after the coaster is installed. The preliminary thought is that there’s a good chance that we can put the turnpike under the supports of the coaster.”

Sadly our time restraints did not allow us to take a spin on the Turnpike, but that's okay because we'll just wait to ride it when it reopens in the future! Personally I think the new coaster is worth the waiting.

As the rabbit at a different chain of parks says, "that's all, folks!" Kennywood really is a beautiful and unique park and now firmly sits as one of my favorite ones anywhere. I'd like to once again thank Jeff Filicko for taking time out of his busy day to spend with us, it is much appreciated.

Stay tuned for Sabrina's review of the next park on our trip, the very old and just recently reopened Conneaut Lake Park.