Bye Bye 2015 Operating Season – By Jason Slone

Well coaster friends….. The end of the 2015 season is upon us.  Unless you are lucky enough to live in warmer climate areas with parks they stay open longer, right now you are trying to figure out how to make it through the next 5 or 6 months till your favorite park opens back up for business for the 2016 season.  To make matters worse the parks continue to torment us with photos of rides being taken apart for their off season overhauls.  Why must they do this to us?

 

 

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So after you have seen the 50 pictures that show up daily in your feed that you try so hard to ignore,  you bring yourself for the reality it is indeed the end of the season and YOU are going to need to find something to do constructively for the next several months.  Maybe you reintroduce yourself to your family, because you were on the road so much during the summer going from park to park they forgot who you were and what you looked like? Maybe you take up a new hobby? Knitting?  Board Games?  Card Games?  Maybe catch up on those sitcom reruns that have been on the DVR that you have not bothered to watch because you were never home, and your wife is nagging you because the DVR is almost full because of it?!  (Not that I am speaking from experience or anything 😉).

So what do I do in the off season?????  I lace these bad boys up and RUN!!!!  I participate in several spring races and use the winter off season to train for them.  It’s something that makes the off season go much faster and I really enjoy it.  It’s also great exercise and after a season of amusement park food we all know we could use all that we can get, if you know what I mean 😱😳.

 

So what do you do till your favorite park opens in the spring other than mark your calendar with the number of days to opening day and cross them off with each passing day.   Let us know how you cope with the winter park blues.  

 

Photos via Cedar Point and Kings Island Facebook Pages.

 

 

To visit a smaller park, or not to visit a smaller park? That is the question. By Jason Slone

We all hear about the large corporate parks such as Six Flags and Cedar Fair. But there is a whole another group off smaller parks that don’t get all the hype like the big boys do.  These are the family owned independent parks.

 

I’m used to going to King Island and Six Flags parks for most of my life.  This year the family and I decided to try something  different and visit a very small park in Northeast Cincinnati Ohio called Stricker’s Grove.  This park is owned by the Stricker’s family and could be considered as non-traveling carnival rather than an amusement park.  They have 2 wooden coasters and about 10-15 other flat rides.

One of the park’s main attraction is the Tornado Wooden Roller Coaster that can be seen when driving up to the park.  It is not the biggest tallest or fastest but it’s a nice coaster.

Their other coaster was the Teddy Bear, a kiddie coaster was down on the date of our visit.

The park had a modest admission price of $12.00.  With that you got all you can eat popcorn, snow cones, cotton candy and free soft drinks.  One of the more interesting things about how the park is run,  rides all stop for 1 hour while all the operators take their dinner break.  That is something you don’t see everyday!

Now let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the smaller parks versus the larger parks.  The larger parks have the more expensive admission prices I think we can all agree with that, but most of them offer season passes and if you visit the park enough it will pay for itself.  They offer the larger rides and have more of them to offer.  Several are offering dinner plans as up charge options to season passes, again using it enough will pay for itself.  Some of the disadvantages,  larger crowds, longer wait times, higher priced merchandise and food.

The smaller parks don’t typically have the larger crowds,  although the date of our visit to Stricker’s the park was crazy busy.  The parks generally have smaller amounts of rides and generally don’t take a whole day to go through, so have another place in mind to visit just in case.  Prices are lower for food and merchandise.  Most don’t offer season passes, but I know there are some that do.  One of the disadvantages for this trip for us was the drive length.

Over the years several of the small independent parks have really grown and continue to do so.  Holiday World for example has grown by leaps and bounds from what it once was.  It all started with the Raven roller coaster.  Once the park built it the sky was the limit.  Kentucky Kingdom is still growing after its 2nd year after reopening.  Next year the RMC coaster Storm Chaser they are adding is going to put the park on the map as a major Midwest amusement destination.

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So when you are planning your trips for summer vacation and you are looking at stopping at some amusement parks, don’t forget the little guys. They don’t get the notoriety but they may surprise you with the hospitality you just don’t see everyday in their big brother parks.

*Editor’s Note: My favorite independent park by far is Knoebels. The rides, food, free admission, and awesome employees make this small park one of my favorite on the planet

The selfie stick debate. By Jason Slone

Over the past year a rather vocal debate about the use of selfie sticks in Amusement Parks and if they should be allowed.  Not only were folks taking them to the park to use taking photos while just walking around the park, but they also have been used to take photos and POVs on rides more specifically roller coasters (YES ROLLER COASTERS, THERE IS PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE).  This causes a great safety hazard for other park patrons that are in the immediate vicinity.  The social media out cry has been in full force to start having parks ban them.  Lately parks have started to ban the sticks, Disney Parks became the first chain to ban them from all their parks, with Six Flags parks quickly following.  Will this start a trend however? We can only hope, if not something very bad is going to happen and someone is going to be seriously injured.

I took this photo at Kings Island while waiting to get on Adventure Express and low and behold look what we have…… Someone getting ready to get on a roller coaster with a selfie stick.  IT SHOULD NOT BE OUT!!!!!

 

The Cedar Fair chain has even decided to sell them in all their parks.  This photo was taken at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City.  First thing is first…… If we are trying to get them out of parks we do not need to be selling them in the parks and give folks the opportunity to abuse the use of them.  I understand that they are another way for parks to make money, but I think there are plently of other revenue sources that we don’t need these for sale in parks.  Those $15.00 bottles of water should cover it just fine.

 

So the next time you head to an amusement park, think again before you pack up the old selfie stick.  Leave it at home and remember you have a better selfie stick that you carry around with you all the time.  Your arm! Heck,  maybe ask someone passing by if they will take your photo with whatever you are wanting to take a photo with, there’s something that hardly never happens anymore.

*Editor’s note: Join in the conversation here https://www.facebook.com/coasterinsanity/posts/934389606633023 *

Here a cup, there a cup, everywhere a drink cup! – By:Jason Slone

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Is this what your kitchen looks like after several years of going to Amusement Park after Amusement Park year after year?  Mine does……… and this is it!  Believe me there are several more I have that are not pictured , but you get my point.  These days most parks want you to purchase the cup and either get refills for that day and return trips for free or deeply discounted rates.  But, what do we do with these cups after the season is over?  Do you use them as pencil holders?  Maybe flower planters in your garden?  Or get a matching set and when the family sits down for dinner drink out of them?  Well, if your my family you throw them in the back of a cabinet and forget about them until you start looking for that long lost pot or pan and find 30 refillable drink cups that you have accumulated over the years.  Most of them end up sticking around for a few years and as the newer years cup makes it home and you have to make room for it you need to get rid of the oldest.

 

 

Luckily this year some parks have started experimenting with different levels of refill status in their parks.  Cedar Fair parks, for example, have cups that you purchase for $15.00 and get unlimited refills for that day for free.  If you were to bring that cup back and use it for refills it would only cost .99 cents to fill.  They are able to track the cup usage with the barcode on the side.   These cups are actually usable at other cedar fair parks as well.  We took or Kings Island cup to Worlds of Fun and used the .99 refills.  We had also hear that Carowinds was doing a test on an all season refillable cup for somewhere in the $25.00 range.  So, it sounds like the parks are tring to help us out so we don’t have to get 5 cups a year, right?  Ideally the industry will hear our cries for a cup that you purchase 1 year and then you have the capability to return the following year and (using the same cup) pay a said price to renew the refills on that cup and eliminate the need for another cup.  Sounds good to me.  Well…… One can only hope.  If this doesn’t happen soon you might find them hanging in our yard as decorations.  Then you would say ” They need to come up with a new use for those drink cups” 😉

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Yes, yes they do!!!!!!

Kentucky Kingdom’s New Coaster In 2016 -By Jason Slone

What does Kentucky Kingdom have have up its sleeve for the 2016 operating season?  Time will tell and from what we found out recently it will tell soon.  Since the park reopened last year after being closed for the 5 previous years, the word from the park was the former Roller Coaster “Twisted Twins” would reopen.  However, at that time we didn’t know much more than that.  Now I think we can shine a little more light on that subject.  During a recent event at the park we were given a “behind the scenes” tour of the site where the former coaster resided.  The park officials would not go into many details about what they were doing yet, but did say that a official park announcement would be coming within the next couple of weeks.  As you can tell from the photos we took during our tour, construction (or should we say deconstruction) is well under way.  It also looks as if a lot of the existing structure is planned on being reused.

 

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We will keep you posted as soon as the park makes the official announcement we will post it here.  I think this is going to be a very intriguing one for sure.