Trip Report: Coney Island
California, State of Ohio
Ah, Independence Day, the 228th Birthday of the USA, what better way to celebrate than by visiting a traditional amusement park. Accordingly at around 4pm, Mom and I made the drive to Coney Island, or as it was originally called Ohio Grove: Coney Island of the West. The drive to the park took about 15 minutes on uncongested Kellog Ave., and soon thereafter I was saying the magic word that got us into the parking lot without handing money to the parking attendant. That comes as a benefit if you are going to Riverbend, Coney's concert venue.
We decided to park next to RIverbend, and then walk back to Coney. Leave the car where you are going to end your day, I always say. After a quick tour of Coney's grounds I made my way to the ride ticket booth.
Upon reaching the ride ticket booth, I noticed that Coney has made a significant change in operating policies. You can no longer purchase single ride tickets, no matter if you want to ride one ride or 100 rides you must purchase a ride pass. However that isn't too much of a problem since ride passes are very reasonable. The all day wristband retails for $9.50, and the After 4 wristband retails for $6.50.
So $6.50 later and I was being patriotically decorated with a tyvek American Flag wristband. I headed first to the Tempest. The Temepst is one of those older Watkins rides thats becoming rare. However, Coney takes good care of their Temepst as evidenced by the new paint job it got this year. I could tell it was a new paint job as it is painted in a green and yellow paint job instead of the teal/pink paint job it got when it joined the Americana livery.
I recieved a double ride on the Temepst, one of those rides where at the end you get asked "Do you want to stay on?" By the end of the second ride however the ride had built up a line, in fact on my second ride they had totally filled all 4 tubs. The seating on a Temepst makes it a great group interaction ride, and it got my afternoon off to a spinningly good start.
Wile I was riding Temepest, my Mom had gotten into a lively conversation with a fellow park guest that involved comparing notes on trips to Germany. That fellow park guest claims not to be a ride enthusiast, but he then proceeded to ask me if I had the pleasure of riding the coasters in Santa Claus, IN. I assured him I had, and noted its nice to meet someone who both claims not to be a ride enthusiast and still knows about the magic of Holiday World.
Anyway I left them to their chat, and I took a spin on the Scrmabler. Nothing much to report here except that I was able to ride with the inner lap bar in the fully lowered position, that's usually not a viable option.
Mom and I made our way around the park where I noted a lot of new paint on the Games building, and a lot of other surfaces, so evidentlly Coney Island received a significant round of general improvements this year. That and all the novel and decorative planters lining the park, remnants of a former Cincnnati public works art project. Of special note is the tree outside the Adminsitration building. Trust me it is a work of art.
In the arcade I noted no real pinball games, but I did note a pinball variant called Nudge It. Nudge It reminds me of gambling pinball. Here is how the game works, you insert a quarter, press start, you fire one ball, there are no flippers. You get paid off (in redemption tickets) based on which lane the ball rolls down, and which light in that lane happens to be lit at the time. That's it, end of game, thank you for playing. Coney has this game carefully wedged between two larger arcade machines, so if you are thinking of putting English on the table, forget it.
WE then continued our tour of the park, passing by the little kids play town, then the carousel. Coney really should call up PKI and tell them they want their Carousel back, and their Monster, and their Flying Skooters, and their Log Flume, and their kiddie whip, ok, I guess you get the idea. Without riding the carousel, I passed by the Frog Hopper whch I am not eligible to ride, and instead took a ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl.
I managed to get an insanely spinney ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl, and headed further down the midway where I took a ride on the Super Round Up.
"Hey, I didn't know it could DO that"
Coney, has for the most part, idiot proofed their rides. As one operator was exlapining their ride console to a curious child: "This button starts it, this button stops it, I can't control how fast it goes or how long it lasts." Then explain to me how this happened. I boarded the Super Round Up, the ride started, the ride got up to speed, the ride went to the elevated position, the ride spun for a while, the ride lowered, the ride did NOT go into slow-down mode, instead the ride spun at ground level for a few moments, then lifted back up again, spun for a while, then lowered again, finally comming to a stop. Did the PLC have attention deficit disorder, or did the operator interfere with its programming in some way.
After that nice long and interesting Super Round Up ride, I took a ride on the Trabant. I could tell I was on a Chance ride becuase my seat had no fewer than three big yellow WARNING decals. One of those involves one of the most hideous lapbar locking mechanisms known to man. That asside it was a fun Trabant ride, and one of the rare times I have seen every seat used.
You see Coney wasn't overcrowded today, instead riders seemed to get to the rides at just the right pace to fill the rides, but not overcrowd them.
After the Trabant ride, I headed over to the Dogems. The Dodgems ride must be popular as it was a 3 cycle wait I learned something about Dodgems. The backstory is is that a child on a prior ride had lost their eyeglasses on the ride, and they only knew they were in a green car. I was in a green car, so I reached under the seat to see if they slipped under the seat. BIG MISTAKE, as their seems to be a nice grease or oil well right under the seat. (BTW: the glasses were not in my car but they did get succesfully recovered)
So while keeping my hands off of my clothers, I took a ride on the slow but still more fun thatn PKI's Dodgems ride, and I noted that there still aren't very many skilled Dodgems riders at Coney.
After the Dodgems ride, I made my way clear cross park to the Administration building, not to complain, but if you go into the back door of the administration building you come to one of the parks public restrooms. Ahh, scrub scrub and wash this grease/oil shit off my hands before it has time to dry. Mission accomplished, and I got to experience Exclerator, the dryer that scares the water off your hands.
Besides this puts me closer to my next ride, the Flying Bobs (Donikers). I really wish Coney would rework the controls on both the Trabant and Flying Bobs to allow both forwards and backwards in the same ride. As it stands the operator can select one or the other, not both. Its really annoying, and since it is now a POP park, lets dismiss with this foolishness.
After the Flying Bobs, I took a ride on the Pepsi Python, the parks Zyklon roller coaster. Their Zyklon runs two trains of two cars each, but they do not use the back seat in either train. I decided to ask about this, and was told "The back seat is way too rough" I took a front seat ride on the Pepsi Python. Its got dips, its got a helix, its loads more fun than Son of Beast.
After the Pepsi Python, I decided it was only fitting, since we were at Coney Island to eat at Nathan's No, seriously! Cincinnati's Coney Island now has a Nathans. I had a hot dawg with kraut and mustard (they were out of relish) Again, 4th of July, and the All-American Hot Dog Classic, Nathan's.
Coney Island got a real cute new ride this year. Its a Fire Truck ride. The ride consisits of a miniature firetruck with two passenger
compartments, each seating several kiddiess. They drive the kids around the park on the firetruck, with the lights going and
everything. It is well themed down to starting at a miniature firehouse, and each rider is loaned a toy firemen's helmet for the ride. Too cute to live!
After Nathan's it was about time to go to Riverbend for the Cincinnati Pop's "Red, White and BOOM!" concert. I'm sure I dont have to tell you that BOOM! reffers to the extended length fireworks show after the concert. The concert itself was a tribute to famous American composers. They did a Ray Charles tribute, they did a Stevie Wonder tribute, the did some of John Williams famous movie soungs (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, ET, etc) I don't see how Beatles fit, but they worked them into the programme as well. Of course that was the first act, it would not be a 4th of July concert of the second act didn't include all the patriotic standards. This venue, though, also chose to declare their independence from Lee Greenwood.
So after the concert, and after Rossi's Famous Fireworks, it was time to head home. Also of note, is that Riverbend had its first concert July 4, 1984. Happy 20th Riverbend! For its 20th, it recieved more restrooms and more concession areas.
And so reflections from the drive back home, home from what was once called "America's Finest Amusement Park", I so happen to have the
Jacques book sitting out as I was using it today to look something up for a well respected RRC correspondent. Looking at the front cover picute, I could cry and moan for the Coney Island in iits Golden Ages that I never got to experience, or I can celebrate what is there, the fact that this park, only 118 years young. is the traditional amusement park that refused to die. Oh, they tried to take a bulldozer to it, the bulldover failed for mysterious reasons when they tried to rip up the ballroom floor. What;s left of that ballroom still stands today, and more importantly is still USED today. They may have torn down the coasters, moved the flat rides up to Mason, OH, but like a phoenix, they could not kill the park. Coney is proud of this heritage, now on every ride entrance sign (all replaced this season), the park logo proudly proclaims "Coney Island - Since 1886!"
Live shows are back, the pool never did close, the picnic grounds are still popular, and as they have done for the last several years, amusement rides are making their way back to Coney. What is really cool is that with a few exceptions, most of the rides are rides that fit the time period of the 1960's The park seems to be magically gathering back all its rides. I sometimes look to the big field behind the Dodgems and Mini Golf Course and think "Please, let Gravity Group in here and tell them to go crazy"
I know I give my "The park that refused to die" speeach in some form or another in ever Coney Island TR I write. For preservation sake, let's be glad there is still a Coney Island in Ohio for me to write TR's about!
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