Park Reviews: Luna Park

It’s summer, which means it’s amusement and theme park season. I spent yesterday at Luna Park on Coney Island!

This is my first park post, so for background, my favorite rides are coasters and dark rides. Not a big fan of other flat rides, though some of them are fine. I have to be dragged onto Ferris wheels. I don’t generally play midway games. I do like shows, and I get really excited over details of theming.

A consequence of the part about rides is that I was mostly at Luna Park for the six roller coasters. Pretty much all I did was ride those six, eat gelato, and walk the boardwalk a bit, but that was a fun afternoon! It was a Wednesday and not a holiday, so it wasn’t crowded at all. The vast majority of my rides were walk-ons.

Tickler: This wasn’t a walk-on, but it’s a wild mouse, so that wasn’t terribly surprising. Tickler’s not anything special, just a spinning wild mouse, but it was relatively smooth and fun. (I was sitting by a young girl and her grandfather, and I’m pretty sure it was her first coaster. That might have increased the feeling of fun, I’ll admit.)

Circus Coaster: It’s a family coaster. Not technically a double figure 8, but that shape with some extra helices is the basic idea. The most exciting part of this was that the man next to me was someone doing an official photo shoot, and he commented on my GateKeeper shirt.

Cyclone: I’ve been on two Cyclone clones, so the layout wasn’t new to me. This was still really special, though, and was the main reason I was at Luna Park. I rode three times, all walk-on, in three different spots. Closer to the back you get more of the ricketyness (not jerkiness, probably due to the retrack?) and airtime (not a surprise, but worth noting), so I was a fan of the back car. This isn’t a coaster that feels particularly fast or intense, but it has a couple of moments of ejector airtime that I appreciated. This is fun and old and incredibly reride-able, y’all.

Steeplechase: I road Pony Express at Knott’s Berry Farm and didn’t like it much, so I was wary of another MotoCoaster. I still think the restraint system is awful; it makes me feel more trapped than almost anything else, and I don’t like the operators pushing the restraint into my mid/lower back. I enjoyed the ride, though! The launch isn’t fast (and doesn’t feel fast, either), but the turns, especially the banked ones, are fun. This felt short, but it seemed to have more substance than Pony Express.

Soarin’ Eagle: I’d been on this before! I don’t just mean I’d been on a Volare before; I rode this physical structure when it was Flying Coaster at Elitch Gardens, back when I was eight. (After all these years, I finally have to invoke my rule about “same physical structure” when counting coasters for my track record.) At the time I was not a fan, but that was mostly because the tipping over scared me. I appreciate the mechanism of this ride a lot more now. (Seriously, that spiral lift is cool.) All the swooping is a lot of fun, especially because you feel really out in the open. I still wish the heartline rolls weren’t there, though; they’re pretty weird in the restraint. It’s unfortunate because as a rule I really like heartline rolls. Most of my complaints really are restraint related. It digs into the front of your legs a bit, and I had a hard time thinking about what to do with my head. I think you keep your chin and neck pressed on the restraint? But that takes thought when the advice on almost any other ride is to keep your head back.

Thunderbolt: No. Very photogenic; also very head-bangy because the restraints are awful. Traditional over-the-shoulder restraints could also hurt, I admit — more ear-banging potential — but I think they’d have helped me keep my head on the headrest a bit more. What I really found myself wanting was the new B&M vest restraint design. The black straps here seemed designed to do something similar, but they were so loose as to be useless. The loop was probably my favorite part, but honestly the rest of the ride was just lost in the ouch.

Coney’s Cones: Yum. Consistent with or better than other gelato prices I’ve seen here, which was a surprise, and pretty good. The big one on the boardwalk had a line but moved pretty quickly. There’s also one in Scream Zone by Steeplechase that didn’t have a line. I tried vanilla, chocolate, mint, and Milano cookies. Chocolate and vanilla were my favorites. The Milano cookie flavor was too mild, and the mint was really strong. If I have to choose only one favorite, it was chocolate, but that surprises approximately no one who knows me.

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