Arrival and First Ride of the Season on…
I arrived at the park at around 4:45pm. The parking gates were wide open and the lot was clear so I got parked up really quickly. I headed to guest services first to sort out my season pass issue from the end of last year when I ended up with four cards… The issue was resolved in a couple of minutes and now I’ve got a working Platinum card!
I met up with John (check out his blog here) at the front gate and we made our way over to the rope drop closest to Yukon Striker, positioned at Windseeker. They had moved the rope drop that’s typically near Backlot Cafe right up to the entrance to The Grande World Exposition of 1890, essentially forcing people who want to go to Yukon Striker to head in the same direction.
The teens in the crowd were getting rowdy and ended up starting a loud booming countdown to 5:30pm when the park would open. We were told not to run (though security should really invest in some megaphones) but, naturally, we had people shoving and running through the hedges.
As we huddled up to the entrance of the ride, the words “high winds” started to circulate through the crowd. Eventually staff came down to speak to everyone directly to suggest looking for something else to do and wait for the wind to die down.
We used the new Orbiter path to head over to Sledge Hammer where we met up with Tyler (check out his YouTube channel here).
I had seen Sledge Hammer doing test cycles as we were waiting for the rope drop but unfortunately it had e-stopped at some point. We waited around for a bit after the usual tests and hopped on the first cycle once it reopened.
Gondola 5 is still not operational but the ride sounded great and it was very smooth. I hope it has a great season!
We decided to head over to the other side of the park to see what else is new. That’s when we saw the long snaking line for Yukon Striker that had built up… From what I heard, the line got up to 4 hours long last night.
New Signs in Medieval Faire
With the exception of Dragon Fyre, the other attractions that were renamed this off-season in Medieval Faire received new signs!
Wonderland Theatre is now the Canterbury Theatre which will house “Tundra”, a refreshed Cirque show. This theatre is one of the nicest themed things in the park so I’m glad that it has an interesting name to suit.
The Rage is now the Viking’s Rage. This is my favourite sign out of all of the new ones.
Nightmares is now Wilde Knight Mares.
Wild Beast is now Wilde Beast. (It’s still pronounced the same.)
And finally, Thrill Burger is now Kings Feast. Out of all of the name changes, this one was the most needed!
Other Small Changes in the Park
There’s a new events building up by Kingswood. There used to be a tent structure here before.
The All Star Shootout hockey game has been relocated in front of Krachenwagen to replace the ring toss game that was previously there. The game always draws a crowd so it makes sense that they would bring it out in the open like this.
The former location of the hockey game is now enclosed. This is probably where the new Grab & Go Market will be.
Skyhawk has a new maintenance platform with railings on top of the the gondola carriage.
Windseeker is in the process of receiving new yellow restraint covers.
Drop Tower also received yellow restraint coverings as well.
Heading Back into Frontier Canada
On both entrances to Frontier Canada by Vortex and Minebuster, there are large sign archways to pass under. They look great!
Vortex’s new sign is something to get used to but does blend in better with the area now.
The old Jacob’s Ladder game is now Lumberjack Climb.
It was really fun to see Yukon Striker flying around the track. Once the pathway fully opens, even better views will be available!
Dispatches were really slow in between so I assumed they were only running one train. At that point, I had completely given up hope on riding it on this visit.
As we were watching the ride from here, they started cycling empty trains so it looked like they were adding trains back on.
The teaser sign from early on last year has been modified to say “Open Now!”.
We headed back to the Yukon Striker area to check out the little details, though it was too crowded for me to really see everything.
I love the station, especially since I was expecting it to be small inside like Valravn’s. As you’ll see in a moment, it’s not at all like Valravn’s…
Time to Ride the Yukon Striker!
Apparently the ride has a single rider line which I should make great use of this season since I’m usually here on my own. My wait was very minimal, although I saw the single rider line lengthen quite a bit later on in the evening.
There are so many positives going for this ride, I feel like you have to be really picky to not enjoy it.
The view from the top of the lift hill is incredible, even though I was sitting in the back row. I loved the release from the holding chain on Valravn, and it’s the same thing here… but…
THE VESTS DON’T LOCK.
I was checking it at the end of the ride and noticed that they don’t lock up but rather hold a moderate tension down on your shoulders. You’re able to shrug your shoulders and move them, which means your body can move about during the ride. There was a great pop of airtime on the initial dive, as well as the drop out of the mid-course brake, which the strength of it was a bit surprising.
Even sitting in the middle of the row, the inversions were fun and twisty. I especially love the quick succession of the last three inversions. It’s a tad disorienting. I know people hate on the helix but it’s fine. It’s definitely fun to watch from the path below.
I haven’t ridden any other coasters yet for the season so I don’t really want to make a judgement on my favourite coaster at the park… but Yukon Striker is definitely an amazing ride that I’m grateful to have here at home.
The Flying Bins!
The bin system turned a lot of heads when it was revealed on media day a few days ago. There’s a lot of people who came out pessimistic about it (I was not one of them). I’m happy to report that the system works very well, especially considering it was installed a couple days ago. I think it’s very well thought out with the way it is integrated into the station.
There are two people on the load side who are assigning rows as well as taking your bags and other loose articles to put into the bins. It’s also a good time to note here that glasses without a strap are not permitted on the ride so be prepared to put them in a bin if you don’t have a strap with you.
Each coaster train has two sets of bins. In each set, two of the bins have spaces large enough to hold several backpacks, while the last bin has many small compartments which is better suited for small items like glasses.
As the next train is in the station loading and once everyone exiting that train clears out their set of bins, the bins move along the track for the next train waiting on the brake run to come in. There are operators for the bin system on both ends.
The main pro here is that there isn’t a huge crowd around the bins where both the people loading and exiting are trying to do things at the same time. I’m impressed by how carefully thought out the whole thing appeared to be, and how it was executed so well. Two big thumbs up from me!
Closing out the Evening
Yukon Striker and Sledge Hammer were the only two rides I rode but those were the only ones I was really set on doing this evening.
The Klondike Outfitters had some merch out but the building still needs some more work done. It smells really nice inside!
The designs of the shirts go from simple to the usual in-your-face design. Something for everyone, I suppose. I found it strange that the t-shirt that I bought last year wasn’t on the shelves.
I’m still getting used to my new camera but I had a lot of fun with it. I’m looking forward to playing with it in the park in brighter conditions.
Before grabbing dinner, we looped around through Action Zone to find Sledge closed. I already like using the Orbiter path, as depressing as the area currently is.
So with an evening that started off with very low expectations because of the weather, I ended up getting my rides on Sledge Hammer and Yukon Striker in the end which were the two I really wanted to begin the season with. I left feeling so satisfied!
Thanks for reading!
I had the butter chicken at Backlot Cafe. It was an excellent meal with fresh naan and papadum. It remains my favourite go-to meal but I’m happy that there are more items at Backlot available on the meal plan.
What I’m not happy about is that Backlot Cafe no longer has drink fountains so I couldn’t redeem my drink plan there. I also couldn’t find the new Expo Refresh Centre and the one by Behemoth was removed. I was already on the fence about getting the drink plan next season but this is making my decision a lot easier. I hope this is just one of those early season hiccups and that things will get better…