Month: May 2018

May 12, 2018 Trip Report

Trip Notes

The forecast earlier in the week had heavy rain but changed by the time Saturday rolled around. I got to the park at about 12:30pm.

My first stop was to check up on Sledgehammer. There were a three guys around on the platform working on pieces of the gondolas. It was a bit funny to see one of the guys exit through the back and hop over to Psyclone because it had gone down.

By the looks of things, they’re really treating the ride to a full refurbishment. They’re in the process of connecting what I’d guess is new wiring. In addition to pieces of the seats being taken off, they also took off the coverings that cover the teeth that engage with the gondola motors, which I’ve never seen before.

They had a cherry picker and skyjack parked on the platform. I didn’t see them in use as whatever they were working on today was accessible with just a ladder.

Over by Vortex, they laid new sod all over the hill and there are “keep off” signs along the path. Of course, there were a few guests who felt that it didn’t apply to them.

Lumberjack also got some new sod put down. I still can’t get over how pretty the area looks.

The usual places for flowers around the park look like they are prepped to receive plants soon.

I get put off really easily by Leviathan’s queue once it gets any longer than a few of the switchbacks in the back. Today, I didn’t see it get much longer than the first switch so I got a couple of rides in.

The grouper at Leviathan was pretty good but the ones at Behemoth were something else… They didn’t pay any attention to what was happening in the rows as there was train after train with multiple empty seats, sometimes even in rows next to each other.┬áThat’s fine when trains are flying out of the station and there’s not enough time to group people together before they load the next train but they were stacking trains like I have never seen at Behemoth. When I finally got on, the attendant pushed unnecessarily hard on my restraint. I’m disappointed because the crew at Behemoth last year was my favourite and had even won Crew of the Year.

Over at Skyhawk, the scoreboard wasn’t working so I don’t have proof but I heard “63” when the op was calling out my number of flips. That sets my new personal best on this ride, which is one flip more than last year… which was one flip more than the year before that. Maybe I’ll get 64 next year?

The Woofjocks show is back at the tent-less International Showplace. It has a summer camp theme which was kind of cute.

Two new Timberkits structures are going up in Splashworks. I’d guess they’re for lockers but I also want to guess that the one pictured is a new Splashworks entrance because I don’t really see the path between Minebuster and Timberwolf Falls connecting anymore with the construction happening.

Despite the few hiccups and many ill-mannered people I came across (Line-jumping even in food lines? Really?), today was an excellent day! My appetite for riding is back after getting more rides in this time. It’ll be perfect once Sledgehammer opens back up, hopefully for the upcoming long weekend!

Lunch & Dinner

My first meal was the chicken mac and cheese from Alpen Cheesery. I was originally excited to get the butter chicken version (listed on the website) but was told they didn’t have that. The Poutinerie next door has a butter chicken item so I guess that’s where that is.

But anyways, it’s nothing fancy but it was a good meal. My only wish is that it would be served hotter.

For my second meal, I got the vegetarian lasagna from Backlot Cafe. I went in with the intention of getting the meat lasagna but they were sold out of it. The veggie version is still nice, though, because I like the creamy sauce. I sometimes even get it over the meat because it’s a quality dish. (I didn’t snap any pictures of it worth sharing.)

May 5, 2018 Trip Report

Trip Notes

After spending the early morning at work, I got to the park around 12:30pm.

I went to get a ride on Behemoth before getting something to eat. I saw that they installed the slew bearing on Sledgehammer that had been sitting on the platform last week. There are still cables hanging down from the gondolas so, while I’m optimistic that they could have it running by next weekend, I wouldn’t really be surprised if it took them another week longer.

Psyclone, which was down last weekend, is up and running for the season!

Riptide, which was also down last weekend, has opened up for the season and was running wet cycles!

There was a major wind storm that blew through the area the day before and knocked over a bunch of trees around the park. They did a really good job cleaning up. The worst looking part was at International Showplace with caution tape blocking the entrance with a few visible tree stumps and cut up trees just inside.

A short list of rides were down today, possibly due to the heavy winds they experienced. Soaring Timbers was missing the green cover over the cross motor area so I assume its an issue there.

Time Warp was down. No tears were shed.

The Bat, which valleyed between the loop and cobra roll the day before, was down in the morning but began test cycling sometime in the afternoon. I’m not sure if it reopened later in the day.

Windseeker kept going down because of some windy periods.

Not pictured is a closed Skyhawk, which is unfortunate because of how the wind gusts help people flip and I’m sure people would have taken advantage.

Lumberjack is still a lot of fun! I managed to get an end seat again.

Something I noticed were sap buckets they put on a bunch of trees behind Lumberjack. I’m impressed by how well they’re detailing this area. The area is so well developed already at this point that I’m sure it won’t be very long before they give it an official name.

Flying Canoes, which was being worked on last weekend, opened up this week.

There was a constant line for it and everyone looked like they were enjoying the ride. It’s a cute little ride and a great addition to the area and park.

The ride is quite loud while it’s running with all of the pneumatic cylinders going at once. It sounds cool but it would be even cooler if they masked it with a theme song or sound effects.

A few small updates over by the construction site. There’s a new tarp covering this end of the tunnel. The old one was prone to blowing around and was actually punctured by some metal framing inside of the tunnel.

They added some jagged wood planks around the tunnel entrance in the water. I was a little surprised to see details like that added so early.

And that’s it for this one!

Lunch & Dinner

For lunch, I had the Bombay butter chicken from Backlot Cafe, which I was happy to see was still on the dining plan. It was delicious!

For my second meal, I had the new honey garlic chicken tenders from Roadside Chicken opposite Flying Canoes. I liked the sauce but I’m wondering if the way they’re using it ends up cooling the chicken tenders down or if these were just sitting around for a bit. They were borderline room temperature. I still enjoyed the meal enough. I’ll definitely have this again sometime!

They addressed my concerns in my previous trip report about the confusing unmarked windows at this location. It now has those small signs that say “Order here” and “Pick up here”. They also added an express queue for those with prepaid dining.

Flying Canoes Video

Sledgehammer turns 15 tomorrow… What a ride it’s been!

If someone were to ask you when you really became a coaster enthusiast, would you have an answer prepared? I certainly do.

For me, I can tell you that it all started on Wonderland’s opening day 2003. It was the first year my extended family stopped renewing their season passes so I was left to go with just my parents, a friend or two, and then eventually by myself. With visits to the park becoming less of a social thing, I was interested in learning more about the rides and the park by researching and joining online enthusiast communities.

Sledgehammer: Great Ride. Great Timing.

2003 happened to be the year when Wonderland added Sledgehammer. If you follow me on social media, you’d know it’s my favourite ride. Being the new shiny thing at a time when I was deepening my interest with the park made it one of those things I focused a lot on. I think I’d still become obsessed with it if it were a new attraction today, though.

The “Data Sheet” provided by the park in 2002-2003:

SLEDGE HAMMER DATA SHEET

Description

Sledge Hammer is a menacing, mechanical giant, cutting the skyline at an awesome 80-feet in the air. Its massive power will hurl riders through accelerated jumps and freefalls. Sledge Hammer – A monstrous thrill that will leave white-knuckled riders screaming for more!

Technology

Pound for pound, Sledge Hammer is one of the most powerful rides in the world. It is equipped with four 250-horse power hydraulic engines equivalent to 10 top of the line sports cars. Sledge Hammer’s rotation and potent elevation sensations are motorized by sophisticated dual sets of pressure accumulators that expand rapidly to provide smooth, yet surprising jumps.

Sledge Hammer is also equipped with the most sophisticated computer system in the entire Park. This system is responsible for choreographing the complex hydraulic and electrical systems that produce the calculated sensations of this unique thrill experience.

Capacity

Sledge Hammer has a capacity of approximately 1,000 riders per hour.

Ridership

48 (8 riders per 6 gondolas)

Manufacturer

HUSS, Germany

Industry Name

Jump 2

Opening

May 2003.

One of my earliest memories of Sledgehammer was queuing up for the first time. The park had posted a few construction photos on its website (when it still had a hyphen in the URL) but I didn’t quite gauge the scale of the project quite right. I remember looking up at it in awe, trying to take it all in. It’s such an fun ride experience with the added bonus of having all of these technical aspects of it that are so interesting to watch and listen to.

Problems? What problems?

Sledgehammer has a bad reputation among the public for being that ride that’s “always broken”. I, obviously, don’t like it.

There have been seasons where it’s seen some extended downtime but it has improved a lot over the years. With all of the experience the park has had running this ride, they’ve gotten efficient with resetting after a cycle goes bad. Of the 40+ visits I had last season, there was only one where I wasn’t able to ride due to downtime. There are other rides that had their bouts of downtime so I don’t think this ride deserves to be singled out as much.

This year, the ride wasn’t ready for opening day and I think it has to do with both the recent ice storm delaying things as well as some extra work that’s being done that isn’t typically performed every year. That’s just speculation but it’s rare to see the ride in the state that it’s in with the park open, with the slew ring sitting on the platform (pictured below) and wires dangling from the gondolas.

The ride did end off last season on a low note (a cycle went bad mid-day and it never reopened for the day or the Haunt nights following) so that may have encouraged some extra looks at the ride this off-season.

… So this downtime already in the season isn’t really helping my case for the ride… But at the same time, what happens to it when it’s down is fascinating to watch.

I love Sledgehammer because of its unpredictability and being able to see some of the ways they go about servicing the ride. It comes up with some new sound seemingly every year that sometimes become the norm. Then there’s the odd ride stop or e-stop that I enjoy seeing while simultaneously getting frightened by because of the unexpected loud noises. There’s also been times when I’ve been around to see them running unique test sequences.

This sequence is actually not uncommon to see throughout the season. I don’t really know what it does for the ride but I still like watching it.

My point is, the next time you want to bash Sledgehammer for being broken, at least take a moment to consider what a grand piece of engineering it is. It’s got a lot going on.

The Obsession is Real.

Social media has made it easy to let the world know how much I love this ride but I didn’t have social media back when I was a kid. (THANKFULLY.) Instead, I just let everyone around me know.

I drew this piece of… “art” back in elementary school sometime in the off-season before Sledgehammer actually opened. I was hooked before I’d even ridden it.

A couple years ago, I did something again. This model was made completely out of dollar store foam-core board, some wooden dowels, and paint. I originally wanted to be able to move it up and down by hand to pose it in different ways but that didn’t work out. Still, even with its flaws, I’m proud of it. I haven’t been able to make other rides that I thought would have been easier. I spend an unhealthy amount of time staring at this ride, I guess.

Happy Birthday Sledgehammer!

Sledgehammer opened to the public on May 4, 2003, which makes it 15 years old tomorrow.

It’s encouraging to see the park continually putting so much effort into keeping this ride alive, and I couldn’t thank them enough! Here’s to another 15 years!