June 24, 2017 Trip Report

Trip Notes

To me, today was the true start of the summer season at Wonderland. There was the first special event with Brew & BBQ, as well as several live entertainment shows starting for the season. With all of that, I decided to do a full open-to-close day at the park which I rarely do.

There are two new Canada 150 signs on either side of the floral flag that make for a great photo spot.

I don’t know how to feel about Soaring Timbers anymore. Every week, it’s something different. After it’s nice comeback last weekend, it’s back to the non-flipping version of itself again.

Loading is still silly sometimes. On one occasion, no one told each pre-load lane to follow one another so as soon as the attendant gestured to the first lane to come in, ALL of the lanes rushed each other onto the platform. There were people standing around confused once we were on the platform as people were mixing up their assigned rows.

After Soaring Timbers, I headed into Action Zone for some rides.

Action Zone is where Brew and BBQ was happening. It’s a lot more lax when it comes to the set up, at least compared to what I saw at the Food Truck Festival last year. There aren’t any barriers and it’s easier to get in and out of the area. It does get a bit tight when the lines for food build up though.

I like that every food item is the same price so you don’t have to go through the options first and then budget for what you want. I got the 8 tokens and beer mug and an additional 5 tokens. While waiting in line for tokens, there are staff checking ID and giving wristbands to those who are going to drink.

The line for tokens was one of those that kept blocking the path. It might have worked better if the token booth was outside of the actual event area, maybe closer to Kingswood or something.

I don’t normally drink since I’m not really a fan of beer, but I decided to go for it anyway. My first drink was the Head Stock from Nickel Brook Brewing.

My second drink was the Original Ironwood Hard Cider. This was my favorite for the day.

My last drink for the day was the Canuck from Great Lakes Brewing.

I’m still not a fan of beer after this but it was a good feeling to get into the spirit of the event!

The dive shows are back for the season with the Victoria Falls High Dive Show at WonderMountain and the Flying Frontenacs at Arthur’s Baye. I really enjoyed the theme of the Flying Frontenacs show, with improvements to the set and their Mountie costumes.

After mostly just hovering around all day, the sun was setting so lights around the park started coming on!

Soaring Timbers looks so strange at night. It definitely shows its carny side with the abundance of multi-colored LEDs. The flood lights on the base of the ride are very bright so it’s a little painful to look at at certain angles.

As I headed out from Medieval Faire to International Street to get a spot for Starlight, I noticed the fountains going off and on a couple times and doing this.

Before the show, it’s set up with a Canada flag set. In previous years, it would have a Starlight Spectacular logo.

The show was great and I’m glad I stayed for it. A few thoughts:

  • It’s obvious that they’ve stuck to the formula that everyone likes, with hints from the original 2011 show that people seemed to like the most… The similar soundtrack. The “scary” lightning scene. The mountain crumbling and building itself up. And then the blatant recycling of the finale. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. I just thought it was a bit humorous being able to see the similarities.
  • I think there’s supposed to be another laser on the other side of the mountain that didn’t go on during the show. I also spotted some fog machines (similar to what’s used during Halloween Haunt) along the Royal Fountains but they weren’t used tonight.
  • All of the elements of the show worked really well together. I thought the new fountains were awkwardly shoe-horned into the show last year but they definitely fit in with the new show.

If I were to rank the different versions of the show, I’d call it a tie with the original 2011 version. I hope to get catch the show again soon!

Lunch/Diner

At Brew and BBQ, I got the ribs and wings which came with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. The corn and potatoes were great. The coleslaw was a bit wet for my liking. The size of the ribs and wings was big, which made it a good value considering this was equivalent to $7 in tokens. They weren’t the best ribs I’ve had before, but they definitely weren’t the worst.

Later in the day, I decided to get the veggie burger again from Backlot Cafe.

I’m not too disappointed but it wasn’t as good as the first one I had. For some reason, it was dressed with lettuce, onions, pickles, and a mayo sauce, instead of garden greens and tomatoes. Quality is never really an issue at Backlot but sometimes consistency is.

The potato wedges were better though!

Trip Video

June 18, 2017 Trip Report

CW Notes

The weather forecast was calling for high temperatures and thunderstorms later in the day so I was a bit pessimistic about how the day would go. Spoiler alert: It was awesome.

I missed the 760 Wonderland bus so it took me slightly longer to get to the park this morning. As I arrived, Snoopy was orchestrating the Royal Fountains.

Leviathan never had more than a staircase wait all day so I got more rides on it than I usually do. It’s a great ride and I’m finding myself graying out at the bottom of the first drop when I sit in the back row.

There are a lot more of these Canada 150 signs all around Medieval Faire.

The Arthur’s Baye structure (does it actually have a name?) looks great! It’s probably the best look it’s had ever had as the boxes that the performers jump in/out/on top of has a texture that works well with the scene.

When I made my way over to Soaring Timbers, they were doing some work on it. It’s such bad luck that it’s missed every Early Ride Time slot its been scheduled for since the season’s started.

I continued my usual routine into Action Zone. The Weird Gondola on Sledgehammer that I talked about in my last trip report was ready for riders when it opened for the day. After seeing it going down a few times, I saw they later took that gondola out of service, including disabling its rotation. I didn’t see the ride go down after that so I wonder what effect it actually has on it…

After having lunch, I took my walk around through the back of the park.

White Water Canyon is set in such a nice area. I don’t know why people want to run a coaster through it.

The Chippery got an updated sign for its new name.

The other graphics around the stall are the same. I quite like the funky weird faces.

As I was walking out of Planet Snoopy toward Shockwave, I noticed Soaring Timbers was running. I rushed over to discover that it had opened up!

I’m happy to report it’s running great again. I don’t think it’s quite how it was but it’s still very satisfying. It can vary between cycles. Gondolas are flipping again. If they don’t, they at least have some crazy side-to-side action. There was one fun cycle I was on where our gondola hung upside down for what seemed like the entire arm rotation downward. I ended up marathoning on it for about an hour and a half. Unlike every other visit, overheard reviews of the ride seemed to be more positive. I think they’ve got the ride in a good spot.

I left Soaring Timbers just because I thought it was about to rain so I wanted to hover around somewhere else where there would be quick escape to shelter. The rain never did come so I ended up back at Behemoth, which was still a walk-on.

I’ll save you from another rant about drink plan cups.

I tried the Purple Splash again and it turns out there is a regular version. It’s still not as sweet as I would have expected a soft drink to be but it’s alright. It’s not my favorite drink out of the Freestyle machines though… That would be lemon Fuze iced tea.

The Funpix station near WonderMountain looks like it’s ready to go.

Stand here to take your selfie… but then you’re not taking the picture so is it really a selfie?

Lunch/Diner

Since I’m a cheapo and not quite ready to start trying the extra charge upgrade meals on the season meal plan, I went for the Black Bean Veggie Burger from Backlot Cafe, the only burger there that doesn’t have the upgrade fee. I was a bit unsure about whether I would like it or not, so I’m very happy to say that this may be another go-to meal because it is awesome!

The patty itself is made up of black beans, corn, and some other stuff I can’t remember. It had a very nice seasoning which went well with the greens, tomato, and the sauce they have on it. It seriously rivals the traditional beef burger at the park (even the very good one I had at Thrill Burger recently) as it’s tasty but doesn’t feel as “heavy” going down since it’s all veggie.

This was also my opportunity to try the new spiral potato wedges at Backlot, which replaces the typical fries everywhere else around the park. They were hot and fresh. It’s not really a complaint but it could have used some more salt, which is surprising since oversalting is usually the problem.

Before I left, I picked up two pizza slices and fries from the International Street Pizza Pizza. Silly me tried balancing everything while getting out my season pass so I ended up spilling the fries everywhere. I managed to salvage about half. Anyways, the slices and fries were well cooked and, I gotta say, it’s a lot of food for one person… That’s definitely NOT a complaint!

Soaring Timbers Video

June 11, 2017 Trip Report

CW Notes

Today was one of the first really hot days of the season. I was happy to finally get back to wearing a t-shirt and shorts to the park after all of those dreadful cold visits!

There was Early Ride Time for season pass holders in the Leviathan area. Since I tend to skip Leviathan most of the time because of long waits, I made my way there quickly as I arrived at the park in the last minutes of ERT. It was a staircase wait for me but the switchbacks were starting to fill up when I was getting off as the park opened to the public.

My next stop was Soaring Timbers. They’ve added some planter boxes around the top of the waterfall with cattails in them. It blocks the view of the platform but I like the amount of effort they’re putting into the theming around the ride.

They added a caged ladder at the back of the ride going up to the arm’s motor compartment. There are some support beams sticking out that I’m guessing will support a catwalk.

I don’t know if it’s luck in the way the gondolas are balanced with people or if the ride is adjusting the way it runs between cycles but there were a few times I was watching where one of the gondolas actually completed a full flip. Most of the day, though, it was still doing its slow non-flipply thing.

I’d like to think that it will eventually get a better cycle but I’ll always take a ride on it every time anyway.

This weird gondola on Sledgehammer was easily the highlight of my visit. The damper that controls the angle of the gondolas took much longer than normal to level out the gondola after each jump. With the last jump and drop so close together, the last drop looked like what’s pictured above. It threw me off the first time I noticed it because it looked so unnatural… so naturally, I had to try it!

It’s gondola #3, the one closest to the exit gate. When it jumps, the gondola is still spinning like in the picture for several rotations. Everyone on the gondola was loving it, taking turns falling into their restraint with their feet hanging out as they spun to face the ground. I loved the last drop because it’s so different to what it normally feels like. It was so much fun that I hope they don’t change it.

You can see it in action at the end of the trip video, linked at the end of this post.

Arthur’s Baye continues to get into the Canada 150 spirit with more red paint and a couple of these Canada 150 signs in the area.

I was recording a cycle at Riptide when it stopped at the top. When I got home and reviewed the footage, you could see the two forks out of sync and the ride trying to get them back aligned. I never looked at it that closely before so it was very interesting to see. In the trip video, you can see it at around 6:00.

I finally got my hands on the Purple Splash drink at the Freestyle machine at the Alpen Refresh Center. This is an exclusive drink that’s only available at Wonderland. I believe it only comes in a no-calorie version. That’s probably why it’s not too sweet, which is good. I’m probably wrong but it’s sort of like mostly grape but maybe with some lemon. I don’t know, I’m bad at this.

While we’re on the topic of drinks, the adventures with the drink plan continues. The Behemoth Freestyle stall didn’t have the small drink plan cups so I was denied a drink from there and was told to go to Coasters. There are still restaurants and Refresh Centers giving out regular-sized and even large cups. I also still have two drink plans on my season pass for some reason.

Thanks for reading!

Lunch/Dinner

I decided to try the chicken tenders and fries from Chicken Shack, instead of my usual chicken nuggets. As expected, it’s an excellent meal with nice pieces of chicken. The seasoning does have a hint of paprika (I think) which gives it a different taste to the nuggets. However, the thinner cuts of chicken and perhaps the way it was cooked makes the tenders really dry so you’ll likely want to dip them in ketchup or whatever sauce they give you (they’re always quick to give you sweet and sour for some reason). Whenever I get the nuggets, I have no problem eating them plain as they’re thicker and usually juicy. All in all, the quality and seasoning makes this a meal I’d get again!

Also, I have to mention that this is one of the most expensive meals at the park, listed at $18.99. I would have never gotten this if I didn’t have the meal plan.

Trip Video