Park Reviews: Kennywood

This was my second trip to Kennywood, but the last one was in May 2005, so it had been a while, to say the very least. They’ve only added one new coaster, Sky Rocket, in the meantime, so that was my top priority.

It’s funny. That 2005 trip included a couple of days at Cedar Point and a day at Kennywood. When I went back to Cedar Point last year, it felt like coming home; the layout of the park seemed deeply familiar. I knew the park. I didn’t need a map. That’s not how Kennywood was at all. The coasters were familiar, Phantom’s Revenge in particular, but I remembered nothing about the park itself. (You’d think I’d remember walking through the tunnel under the road, but nope.)

If I were to go back again, I think I would remember it better now, but I still don’t think it’s a place that’s every going to give me the feeling that Cedar Point does, that feeling of slipping into my right and natural place. That’s not a negative to Kennywood, but it’s an interesting contrast.

On to the rides!

Sky Rocket: Not particularly intense, but incredibly smooth, which I appreciate. The launch is relatively slow, but the top hat, with that pause right over the edge, is fantastic. This is one of the rare steel coasters that manages to make me feel like it’s faster than it is (not the launch, but later). I loved the inversions. The banked turns at the end are too small to be worth much, and the bunny hills are also rather small. But still, this is a fun and quick ride.

Phantom’s Revenge: This is the Kennywood coaster to which my heart belongs. There’s nothing about this ride that I don’t love. (Okay, fine, the lift takes forever. AFTER THAT.) That first drop, the banked turns, the use of terrain. The bunny hills are things of my dreams. (Look, I love Morgan coasters, and their bunny hills are always fantastic.) This has all the intensity and ejector airtime that Sky Rocket lacks.

Thunderbolt: This was fun because I hung around the entrance to the queue until I saw a group with an odd number of people go through. (You can’t ride alone because this will toss you all around.) They realized a bit into the line that you needed a partner to ride, and I awkwardly said, “Umm, I’m alone,” and never remarked on the fact that this was not a coincidence. But anyway, Thunderbolt is fun, and it really is all about the banking, shakiness, and feel of speed. It’s the most intense of the woodies, despite not being high on airtime. (That drop right out of the station is great, though.)

Jack Rabbit: I think this is my favorite woodie of the bunch. A+ for use of terrain on the two main drops, everything about that double dip, and lots of airtime throughout. Small but super mighty.

Racer: Pretty mild; I’d actually forgotten how mild. Still obsessed with it being a mobius track, though. Relatively smooth, even when sitting in the back for extra ricketyness.

And let’s pretend Exterminator doesn’t exist, shall we? (I didn’t ride it yesterday. I did, however, ride it 12 years ago. It was unpleasant, and I hold a grudge.) I did go to Lego Movie 4D, though!

Lego Movie 4D: As I texted to my mother right after, there’s nothing like going to a 4D movie at a park that isn’t Disney or Universal to appreciate the efficiency of those two. Here, they had us in an outdoor queue and then let us into a pre-show room; so far so good. There wasn’t actually a preshow, but there was stuff going on the screens, so fine. But once they opened the door to the theater, it’s really inefficient for people in some parts of the room to get through the door. To make the flow of people even worse, there was only a bin of 3D glasses to one side of the door, not both. Once we got into the theater, the operators let people disperse — no organization, no “all the way in.” (“All the way in” makes this loading process so. much. easier.) And then they didn’t start the movie for another five minutes at least? This was confusing and awkward.

Okay, so what about the movie itself? It was fine, didn’t require too much knowledge of the characters or movie, though it seemed to have been made for Legoland. Kind of awkward. The storyline was pretty straightforward, but it did a nice Chehkov’s gun thing. There were lots of water effects, which were done fine. The other main effect was a poke in the back, which was never really clear and which I never liked. (This is becoming a pattern: don’t push things into my mid/lower back. Seriously.)

Crepes: I ate at a non-permanent-looking crepe stand by Racer. I had one mushroom crepe and one Nutella crepe. These were yummy; I approve.

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