Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday the 13th at Canada’s Wonderland!

So yesterday I took the day off work to visit Canada’s Wonderland with the Boy and two of his coworkers. The forecast looked amazing (for the first time I didn’t bring a just-in-case jacket, so liberating) — so we looked forward to long long lines…

The Boy and I got to the park at about 9:55am, they open the gates earlier than that but the rides don’t open until 10am (unless you’re a season’s pass holder, you get to ride other stuff an hour earlier). We considered getting the new Fast Lane pass — which basically means you get to be a douche to everyone waiting in line and just get right to the front, and itself costs more than your admission ticket — but in the end we decided not to give them so much more of our money and just risk it (great idea, though, if the park is absolutely packed and you have money to burn).

And, as it turned out, that was the right decision. After trying to figure out all day why the park was so relatively deserted, one of our group finally hit upon the answer: it was Friday the 13th, and there are some VERY superstitious people out there. That had to be it, couldn’t think of another reason. Even after 6pm, it was still so easy to get on rides!

Generally on one of these super sunny, super hot, gorgeous summer days you might expect to get on three big rides and a couple of small ones for the whole day, with every line being 40-90 minutes. Well, let me tell you, in the first hour we rode four major rides (including Leviathan, the brand new, OMG-gotta-get-on-it ride). Seriously, like no line up. Here’s what we did:

  • Leviathan — Super long, almost 3-1/2 minutes, 306 feet tall, 80 degree initial drop, totally worth it. Four across, with that scary lap-hugger restraint that leaves the rest of you totally free. Opened this year.
  • Wild Beast — Used to be the Wilde Beast when it opened with the park in 1981, which makes sense being in the Medieval Faire section of the park. Wooden. Shakes the hell out of you. Really long, almost 4 minutes, which just adds to the headache at the end.
  • Vortex — One of my faves since it opened in 1991, cars hang below the track and you climb to the top of the mountain (98 feet) before coming down over the water and swinging wildly. Pretty long too, over 3 minutes. Nice view!
  • Wind Seeker — Opened last year I think, a super tame ride, you just go in a circle for 3 minutes, no swinging or anything — thrill comes from being 300 feet up I suppose. Beautiful view from up there, and a very welcome breeze, but sort of boring.
Stopped for a bite, for maybe 15 or 20 minutes
  • Back Lot Stunt Coaster — One of my favourites. No big drop; instead, it launches you from the start to super fast. Over 2 minutes long. Used to be “The Italian Job” under Paramount.
  • Behemoth — Opened in 2008, over 3 minutes long, same restraint system as Leviathan. Staggered seats make it seem like you’re in the front no matter where you are. Initial drop is 75 degrees, 230 feet tall.
At this point we took another break as our cohorts were meant to be arriving soon, the Boy thought we should go to the gates to wait for them. Also, I might recommend not having a sub right before doing two coasters, as he then was kinda unsettled, so the break was probably a really good idea. Eventually they called to tell us they were in the park, so we met up with them and continued the fun!
  • Behemoth (again)
  • Back Lot Stunt Coaster (again)
Yet another break for our friends to also eat something, maybe 15 minutes.
  • Leviathan (again) (the Boy sat this one out while his stomach continued settling)
  • The Fly — Another of my favourites, it’s very misleading — looks like a screensaver built by Ikea, you’re in cars of 4 so there’s no train to drag you back. Wild-Mouse style, I giggle for the entire ride, which is about 2 minutes long. Only 50 feet up but who cares when you’re having so much fun? Bit longer wait for this one, maybe 15 minutes? There was a great photo of us all from this one, and we really should have bought it.
Walked a bit and bought Strawberry Lemonade, sooooo good.
  • Flight Deck — Was the “Top Gun” under Paramount, opened in 1995, close to the front (where the “Zumba Flume” used to be, remember that one?), almost 2 minutes long. You hang under the track with your feet dangling.
Our friends had to leave at this point, it was around 3:30 — but at this point they had done 5 major rides, which is more than we usually get to do in a whole day! I felt good about that for them.

From this point on we took things pretty slowly, as the Boy was still a bit woozy.
  • White Water Canyon — The longest ride in the park (even longer than the Lazy River in Splash Works) at almost 8 minutes, it’s a fun white-water rafting type of ride, with no track so no predictions as to who will get soaked the worst! This was the first time I’d been on this for years and years, as I really don’t like walking around in wet underwear, but it was fine — also the longest lineup of the day, bit over a half hour, understandable because it was sooo hot! I had considered wearing my bathing suit to the park so we could go to the Splash Works, but decided against it, and was now wishing I hadn’t made that decision!
  • Sledgehammer — Possibly my favourite ride in the park! A bit awkward to get into, it’s got those seats that men should be VERY careful getting in and out of. The stats say it’s not quite 2 minutes long, but it seems like it goes on for a long time to me. Unpredictable, 80 feet up and shaking around and dropping. Nothing else like it. Opened in 2003.
  • Dragon Fire — Opened with the park in 1981 (it was “Dragon Fyre then), seemed like the coolest thing ever at the time but now seems so tame. 78 feet tall, 2 minutes of corkscrews and loops. Now I remember why I haven’t rode it in a while, it gave me a headache.
One of the game booths had little Minions from Despicable Me and I wanted one, so we sat down and played a game and I got it, yay! (Briefly considered letting a little boy win. Briefly.)
  • The Bat — I remember when this was new in 1987, when we came on a school outing. They pull you up to 121 feet and drop you, and you roll and loop around and then do it again but backwards. Pretty cool but I can take it or leave it. Under 2 minutes.
  • Thunder Run — This one goes through the mountain for almost 2 minutes. Not very fast, and it’s quite narrow (I’m more comfortable riding in a car alone), but it’s cute. They put it there in 1986 but apparently it was elsewhere in the park in 1981.
  • Silver Streak — It’s in Kidzville, so you’d expect it to be super tame, but it’s a pretty good thrill for its size. I’d never been on this one, it’s kind of like Flight Deck but a bit smaller and tamer — we got our photo from that one. Shorter one, not quite 1-1/2 minutes. Opened in 2001.
At this point we decided that was enough, we got our funnel cake to share (for which we waited longer than for most of the rides), took some photos of the lights and came home.

So there we go, I made it through the whole day without injuring myself! …aaah, spoke too soon. Got home and promptly stubbed my toe so badly I thought it was broken. And it’s a shocking colour this afternoon, so I’m not totally unscathed.

Overall, best Wonderland day ever!

So what did we pass up? Another 18 rides, including Drop Tower, Mighty Canadian Minebuster, Night Mares, Orbiter, Psyclone, Riptide, Shockwave, Skyrider, Time Warp, Xtreme Skyflyer, Antique Carousel, Klockwerks, Krachenwagon, Speed City Raceway, Spinovator, Swing of the Century, The Rage, Timberwolf Falls, Ghoster Coaster and of course all the kiddie rides.

And I’ve been thinking about the rides that used to be there and are now gone. Remember walking up the mountain and behind the falls? I miss that. Remember hanging upside-down on the Jet Scream? Or Bayern’s Curve? Always fast, with ‘Crazy Train’ playing! You get that one at the CNE all the time as well though.

When was the last time you went to Canada’s Wonderland?

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