I arrived at the park at around 6:50am as registration for ACE’s Rollercoasters, eh? event was set for 7am. After a short while, we received our lanyards and a nice goodie bag, and then took a group photo in front of the entrance.
I wanted to make a joke that I can’t wait to ruin everyone’s photos by awkwardly standing in the background… but I ended up right up front for this one.
We were split into two groups and were escorted into Action Zone. Our first tour for our group was at Backlot Stunt Coaster.
This ride has great sentimental value to me because of the enthusiast mini-event I held at the ride in 2005. (Paul, who played a big role in putting together this amazing ACE event, was one of my forum moderators when we had that 2005 event. I was glad he recognized me today!)
We also got a peek inside of the tunnel right by the billboard.
It was really cool to see that “third launch” up close as you never really get a good look at it in the dark as you ride through the tunnel.
After Backlot, we gathered at Sledge Hammer for a quick intro before heading down into the pit.
It was amazing to finally see just how much equipment is down there to power the hydraulic system.
Everyone had a chance to poke their head underneath the ride and look up the tower.
A lot of my pictures from down there are blurred messes because we were short on time. Great experience anyway!
I always thought that it was just one big room down here so it was interesting to see the three different rooms. It was actually larger than what I was expecting.
Late in the day, I asked Peter Switzer, director of construction and maintenance, if there was ever a discussion about removing this ride because of its reputation. He seemed taken aback by the question and so I don’t think that has ever occurred for this particular ride. I felt stupid about asking it afterward… It came up in my mind since everyone’s always on it for being down (Have you seen the comments section on the Yukon Striker animation video?), and we’ve seen things like Orbiter on the cusp of being removed several times back in the 2000’s and the supposed last chance Riptide at Knott’s got, but I realized that it was a question I shouldn’t have bothered asking. Sorry, Peter.
At the same time, it’s nice to know that they’re dedicated to keeping this ride around for a long time.
After Sledge Hammer, we went over to the Yukon Striker construction site.
We took a stroll down the path that’s been closed to guests since last week.
We got up close to the next section of the lift hill that is being prepared for installation.
Afterward, we all headed over to the other side of the tunnel near Skyhawk where the fence was opened to allow us an unobstructed view of the tunnel track.
Once the tours were over, it was time for morning ERT! I took a ride on Skyhawk first, then met up with Toronto Ty as I headed deeper into Action Zone with rides on Behemoth and Minebuster.
After breakfast at Marketplace concluded, we were given the challenge of “Sign Me Up” (aka “Hell on Paper”), a game where you must find signs around the park from a cropped image. Tyler and I wandered around for a bit and started filling in our sheet. He had something to attend so we split ways and met back at lunch when we would have to submit it.
After focusing deeply on each snippet and getting frustrated that they all somehow look familiar but I couldn’t tell you where they were, I gave up and decided to head into Celebration Plaza to check out a bit of Oktoberfest.
The area looked great with the crowds rolling through and the live entertainment performing! I loved it!
The pricing for the menu items I wanted to try are too steep so I think I’m going to pass on them this year…
We reconvened at Marketplace for lunch where there was a Q&A session with the park’s director of construction and maintenance, Peter Switzer. There was also the draw for the charity raffle and some door prizes.
As they were setting up to announce the first door prize winner, all I could think was that I’m probably not going to get picked. Guess who’s name was called first.
There was a selection of coaster parts to choose from or you could go with Beagle Bucks that can be spent in the park. I decided on a brake piece from Wild Beast.
Tyler and I continued to venture around the park. He brought up wanting to go check out the other side of Yukon Striker’s construction site so we made our way over there to find something new.
Upon some searching, I found out these are “sheet piles” that are used to create walls for a trench. I take it that it won’t be too long before we start to see some digging going on here.
Flying Canoes was down. I don’t know how long ago they added the blue cover to the beams that are anchored to the concrete.
Admiring a HUSS from another HUSS.
Eventually the first part of nighttime ERT came on Guardian, Thunder Run, and Lumberjack. As a bonus, they opened up Vortex too!
On Wonder Mountain’s Guardian, they actually switched it over to the Zombies version of the ride for us. I prefer that version of the ride, though I still don’t particularly care for the video game aspect of the ride. My gun didn’t work for the first set of screens and I couldn’t figure out where it was aiming for most of the time it was working. (I felt like I had to point it at a sharper angle to the sides to get it to aim where I wanted it.)
On Thunder Run, it was lights on which was very cool!
Later on in the night, we had Leviathan all to ourselves. Back row night time rides makes me question my ranking of Leviathan and Millennium Force…
First and foremost, I must thank Canada’s Wonderland and American Coaster Enthusiasts for putting together this amazing event. It was my first and, from what I’ve been told, it was the best to date. I enjoyed every moment of it and I can’t wait to see everyone back again next year.
I want to thank the organizers in particular: Ken, Paul, and Jordan, who really put their heart and soul into providing the best experience for everyone. They were all ears for any suggestions and feedback, and were always available to help us out if we needed anything. This event exceeded my expectations (which were high because of how highly everyone spoke of this event). I loved all of the tours. I loved seeing all of the familiar faces from the internet. I loved how much everyone got along with each other.
Thank you to Peter and his maintenance team for providing interesting information during the tours (and, of course, for maintaining our favourite attractions!). Thank you to Grace and all of the other Wonderland staff on hand for the tours as well.
Thank you to everyone who put up with my awkwardness and chatted with me: Tyler, Luke, Jeff and Nick, Hanna, Surya, and everyone else who I apologize to for my terrible skills at reading nametags.
This has been the best summer ever.
The breakfast buffet at Marketplace was really nice, with fresh fruit, pancakes, and BACON.
I didn’t really take advantage of the lunch buffet at Marketplace but it was good enough.
A nighttime Beavertail was included with the event so I got the Oreo one because they still don’t have the exclusive Cotton Tail. I thought this one from Action Zone came out nicer than the one I got in Medieval Faire last weekend.