May 27 & 28 Trip Report

Trip Notes

Saturday, May 27, 2017

After seeing Soaring Timbers out of service last weekend, I was hoping to see it open or at least some progress on it. There was lots going on at the ride as they try to get it back in proper order. I spotted the motor sitting behind the ride.

I was told last weekend that they were waiting on a part that had broken. I suspect the part on the forklift is the one they were replacing because it was wrapped in plastic earlier in the day in the first picture.

Throughout the day, they were up and down, tending to the motor area.

Splashworks opened for the season and it looks very nice! There are some nice landscaping additions and this new seating area that looks out at Muskoka Plunge. I don’t think Muskoka Plunge actually opened this weekend though.

There’s a new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream truck at the new patio area near Minebuster where the basketball game used to be.

I noticed these small no smoking signs at a lot of the patios around the park.

Flowers are starting to be planted around the park.

The floral flag is back with “150” written in the middle of the maple leaf to celebrate Canada 150.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

There was Leviathan ERT this morning. I was in line a few minutes before the park opened so I was able to walk on.

Over at Timbers, I was happy to see the motor back in place!

By the afternoon, they got it slowly going around. I hope everything works out so that we’ll be riding Soaring Timbers again next week!

While I was hanging around the ride, there were a lot of people pointing at it and saying it looks like fun. I’m excited to ride it again but also for other people to ride it for the first time!

By the time Saturday comes around, I’m desperate to get to the park so I actually go. Those visits are hectic, waiting in lines and dodging people and the lines that spill out into the midway. Sometimes, I forget how nice Sundays can be. The weather was great today and the crowds were still very manageable.

As I was leaving, Snoopy’s Symphony of Water was going on. I personally like watching the show from the sides but it takes better pictures from the front like above.

Lunch / Diner

I decided to try something from Alpen Cheesery, the mac and cheese place that was new last year. Everything is already prepared ahead of time but the macaroni is reheated in individual pans for each order. I got the chilli mac and cheese and added cheddar on top. You have the option to add mozzarella and parmasan too. It was delicious but I think it was responsible for messing up my stomach because of how rich it is with all the cheese, cream, and oils. I still want to give the other mac and cheese varieties a try though. I really wish they would do these varieties with fries instead at Hot Potato, and add it to the dining plan of course!

For dinner, I had nuggets and fries from Riverside Snacks because everywhere else was so busy.

On Sunday, I decided to try the cheeseburger from Thrill Burger this time. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the beef patty, which was far superior to the ones at Coasters. My only issue was that it was sitting under a heat lamp for a bit too long that the bottom bun got stiff and the lettuce turned mushy. Still better than the Coasters burger.

With the good experience with the cheeseburger earlier at Thrill Burger, I went back again and had the crispy chicken burger. It’s a good sized piece of chicken with good toppings. I hope these two things at Thrill Burger stay consistent because I’ll be back for more later!

May 20 & 22 Trip Report

Trip Notes

Saturday, May 20, 2017

It was a gorgeous day to start off the Victoria Day long weekend! The air was still cool so sweaters and jackets were still on, but it was great to finally sport the sunglasses.

I headed to Soaring Timbers first. To my surprise, it was actually closed. The hatch was open, which was a bit strange since they never had it open during its testing phase.

Later in the day, I saw that the gondola was rotated and chained down. I thought that was interesting…. This story continues later on in this post.

A nice alternative to Soaring Timbers is Shockwave, which is not too far away and has been under our noses since 2001. It’s a very fun ride running a nice forceful cycle, even in the inside seats.

When I got in line, the grouper/preload attendant was clearly new. Shockwave has two pre-loading areas so it makes people load onto the ride platform in different directions. This attendant was loading a full cycle’s worth of people into each preload queue, instead of half and half. As we stood watching everyone in the other preload queue board, we saw the operator tell her to stop loading so many people.

Snoopy’s Symphony of Water debuted on Friday. The fountains that move weren’t on so there were parts of the show where nothing was happening. Kudos to Snoopy for still staying in the spirit even when the fountains weren’t listening!

I’ll save my opinion on Wonder Mountain’s Guardian for another day but I found it interesting seeing the 3D glasses on the ground a few times already this season. When I rode it the one time last season, they collected the glasses before we were out of our seats.

I saw some work being done on the Freestyle refill station near Behemoth over the last visits. It was open this weekend and it was great to see the new configuration. Before, it was just two Freestyle machines behind the cashier so it was a mess with people trying to move in and out from behind the register. I’m glad that it has a better flow to it now, along with more capacity with two sets of regular fountains.

The park map lists a new International Street “Craft Chippery & Pretzel”. I haven’t seen any signage for it but I did spot this menu this weekend that includes pretzels. I assume some more work on the new location will be done swiftly like Timbers BBQ and La Cantina.

On the topic of food, Backlot Cafe finally added the burgers in the American station to the dining plan, except they all have a $2 upgrade fee except for the veggie. It’s a bit of a bummer but, since I’ve already made up the value of the dining plan I feel a little more inclined to start upgrading. I love those bison burgers.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Soaring Timbers looked even worse when I showed up on Monday. It was covered with a tarp, probably hastily put on for the rain that came the day before (which cancelled the Victoria Day fireworks).

They removed the main arm motor and it’s likely been sent off for repairs (if not, some other part that the motor must be removed to get to). It was really sad to see wires hanging out and in disarray. I hope it makes a speedy recovery because I’m craving another ride on it.

They added graphics to that mystery machine on International Street I spotted on opening day. It’s a FunPix station that lets you pose up in front of Wonder Mountain. Personally, I don’t really get the point since everyone’s carrying around a smartphone these days.

Wonderland was celebrating it’s 36th anniversary on Victoria Day (though it’s birthday is actually the next day on May 23). They had street performers, including this woman with a glass ball.

Also, a super tall Mountie.

They had free cake for guests like they did last year.

The Peanuts Dance Party was pretty fun! It had the same soundtrack as last year but I found people really got into it this time around. Check out the trip video below for some scenes from the party!

Lunch / Diner

On Saturday, I had the curry beef from Backlot. It’s 2/2 for this meal — It’s great! Next time I get it, though, I’ll have to ask for some extra gravy over the rice. The first person who served this meal to me did that without me asking.

Later on, I had the meat lasagna, again at Backlot. (Sometimes, when other food places are in a rush, Backlot can be quick. Sometimes.) I don’t like to be too picky but I’ll say that it was a bit on the salty side and it could use some more meat… but it’s still something I’d get again as it was well cooked (that cheese crisp!), cheesy, and that full layer of ricotta cheese was excellent.

On Sunday, I had a chicken nugget basket from Chicken Shack. Perfect as always. I didn’t bother taking a picture since it’s the sort of thing that looks exactly the same every time… and I’d rather accumulate pictures of Sledgehammer than pictures of chicken nuggets.

Trip Video

May 13 & 14 Trip Report

Trip Notes

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I had heard that Soaring Timbers opened on Thursday, May 11 so I was excited to get to the park this weekend to try it out myself. It was ready for guests when the park opened!

The ride experience is probably my favorite at the park. It’s sort of a combination of sensations from Riptide and Shockwave. You get that smooth forceful thrust upward and sideways like Shockwave but also the feeling of being thrown face first toward the ground like Riptide. I rode it about 15 times over the weekend. There were really wild cycles with the gondola constantly swaying and stalling upside down but also a few rather boring cycles where the gondola almost felt like it was level most of the time. It can really vary depending on the seat you’re in (end rows are best!) and the balance of guests on the ride.

The loading of Soaring Timbers is really unique. I’m still trying to figure out what the experience can be compared to… The onslaught of instructions given to you as soon as you get into the pre-load area feels like you’re being trained for something.

While you’re waiting in your pre-load lane, the attendants explain the order in which each lane will enter the ride platform. For the most part, this was very orderly. On the platform, it did get a bit chaotic with unloading guests scrambling around to get their stuff from the bins, while loading guests clashed with each other trying to get to their assigned row.

Once seated, the restraints are lowered automatically by the attendants, like you see on other Mondial Rides. These restraints are an older style that look slimmer, but the tight seating arrangement has it feeling significantly more cramped than other Mondial Rides, which I occasionally have problems with if I’m next to another guest with large arms. If you have any problems with claustrophobia or being tightly constrained, you might want to skip this one. I felt a bit anxious when I ended up with the restraint poorly positioned with my hands clamped to my thighs and not being able to move at all.

The rows are too narrow for attendants to come by and physically check your restraint as they do on other rides. Instead, two attendants on either side of the row watch as they have each guest tug on their belt and then their shoulder restraint.

Being so close to other guests, I could hear their reactions. During the ride, you could hear the excitement in everyone’s voices. However, the reviews were mostly negative as the ride ended, with a lot of people commenting on the short cycle and uncomfortable seating. One cycle I was on actually boo’ed when the ride ended.

I’d give the ride a numerical rating of 8.5/10. I’d give it a perfect score if the seating situation was better. I can speculate as to why the seating is so tight… Perhaps a combination of engineering reasons (keeping the load tight and close to the center of the ride) and physical dimension limitations since this ride was original designed to travel by truck. I can’t imagine there’s much they can do now.

More wooden sculptures were added, like these bears (which are part of a wooden bench) and the raccoon in the background. The area is very well done.

Elsewhere in the park, Muskoka Plunge is coming along. I found it ironic that the Splashworks slide gets the shingled roof while the flat ride themed to trees gets a tent. Anyways, the slides still need to be completed near the bottom. Only a couple weekends before it opens!

I caught the last 10 minutes of the Woof Jocks show because of a thunderstorm that rolled in and this was my closest shelter. I meant to catch the show anyway so it was a blessing in disguise.

Some dining news to share from this weekend…. The new Timbers BBQ next to Soaring Timbers is now open! This used to be just a regular hot dog stall but now includes other items like turkey legs.

The International Street Ristorante Pizza Pizza has a new mural…

The new La Cantina took over the corner Italian Sandwich stall next to the Pizza Pizza. I’m glad they decided to open up another Mexican place because the one in Backlot is always quite busy.

There’s a new candy store called Dulce (“sweet” in Spanish) which used to be a store that sold girls clothing and accessories.

 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Whenever I do these back-to-back weekends, my Sunday visits are usually only a few hours. I spent most of it at Soaring Timbers.

A new Refresh Centre has opened on International Street next to True North Gifts which replaces the Skyflyer Refresh Centre that was nearby. This stall used to sell drinks and candy.

It’s become a guessing game when it comes to the size of cup I’m going to get on the drink plan. I’ve gotten Coke-branded regular and large sized cups, as well as a generic smaller beige cup. I wish it would consistently be the regular sized cup… The smaller beige one makes me feel like I’m being cheated.

The metal parts on the Arthur’s Baye structure was painted red. It was previously blue. I’m still trying to figure out how they’re going to set up that ski jump thing as part of the Canada-themed events in July.

 

Lunch / Diner

I went with the fish and chips, which prove that looks can be deceiving. It was nice that it was fresh but there was way too much batter. It had a thick gross gooey batter layer in between the outer crisp and the fish itself.

The worst part was that this meal took 45 minutes to make. I know it’s still early in the season but it always feels like some food locations at the park so easily turn to chaos when it has any sort of line. I’m not one to give them a hard time (it doesn’t really help the situation anyway) but I get uncomfortable being around other people who are willing to vent on front-line staff.

Before I left, I had a quick meal at the Ristorante Pizza Pizza. I asked one of the cashiers what was on the season meal plan because I had saw that they changed it from two slices to one over the off-season on the website… so of course she told me it was still two slices. Inconsistencies with these programs are starting to get frustrating.

On Sunday, I went with my favorite classic meal at the park: The chicken nugget basket from Chicken Shack. The quality of this meal usually doesn’t disappoint. I like that the chicken is crispy but not over-breaded. The only thing I could say is they could advertise the different sauces better, maybe even let the guest choose the ones they want as they place their order.

Trip Video