I didn't really know I was going to Geauga Lake until about midnight on September 1st. (Notice you won't see Six Flags Ohio anymore in this article, In honor of the parks history) We had originally planned on going to Idlewild, but I must agree with Eric that the choice to go to Geauga Lake instead was a good one, besides it would be my first visit to Geauga. So I awoke and left Cincinnati around 5:45AM, and with my travel size RandMcNally in hand set off for Geauga Lake, which after one stop at Cracker Barrel for breakfast (I had the Sampler, Eric had Country Fried Steak for breakfast) we arrived at the park around 10:30 AM Getting to the park is easy from I-271, with the aid of signs that simply read "Six Flags Amusement Park" As if it were the only one. Like so many older parks it isn't right off the highway, and requires going down a 2 lane road for a while to get to the park, but evidence can be seen of a road widening project. We arrive and pay the uncalled for $7 to park. (And Eric commentd it was only $6 when he was here earlier this season) But the lot was not bad and we were soon crossing a street (complete with crossing guard) that seperates the parking area from the park. I also noticed that local public transit company runs bus service to the park.
Admission ticket? I think not, I'm sure Bugs Bunny will let me in for Free, we're on a first name basis you know. So I pull out the little light blue card with both Bugs picture and my picture, and sure enough, the carrot orange carpet is rolled out for free admission. As John Peck would say "Thank you Season Pass" And it isn't even a SP for this park :) The new front gate plaza looks wonderful, and according to the signs the following will not operate today "Big Dipper, Lazy River, Silver Bullet, Haybaler, and Sky Scraper" But through the front gate turnstiles, where I note that many of the parks turnstiles have Plain Dealer adverts on the crossbars. Into the front gate, area with the required gift shops, we hang a right and head right for Superman's Ultimate Escape.
SUEsits in what appears to be a 50's area under development, there is a near 50's style 'drive in' restaurant area complete with booths that look like old cars out front, and a false counter. You can't order food from the counter but you can sit there, and what looks like it might be a flying carpet style ride themed to a 1950's car. The area looks sweet. But on to SUE, my initial reaction looking at it it that it just doesn't look right. The one vertical spike has an interesting twist to it. We enter the line and find that it is only a 2 train wait. We opt for seat 1.2 and a couple cycles later I am jumping up into my seat, and trying to fasten a side seatbelt that is in my 'blind spot'. The ride is in the Superman paint scheme, and there is a neat audio effect/music in the station while the ride is in operation. So I sit down, and after "Recheck All" we were ready to go. A short sudden blast shot us forwards, where we barely make it halfway up the forwards spike, that was a practice run though, as we come glying backwards through the station up the straight 90degree spike, and are released to come flying back through the sation without pause, where we darn near make it to the very top of the spike, yes the one that tiwsts its way up, it a very unique feeling element, but wait we;re not done yet, time to fly back dowsn through the station , up the rear spike again where Superman holds the train suspended in mid air pointing straight down for a brief second or two. Feel the power of magnetism! Then all of a sudden back down through the station, about 3/4 up the forwards spike where when you come down you stop on a dime in the brake area, before being brought back into the station where the train is spotted electonically in front fo the gates. SUE's line was so short we decided a re-ride was in order, opting for the same seat On this ride I saw something that would make Althoff cringe, the driver actually stepped out of the control booth for a few seconds while the ride was in operation. Mind you he couldn't step too far, or the light curtain would have been broken. Yes there is a light curtain on eitherside of the track. That and it semeed every other ride consisted of at leat one "Recheck All" (bars). Seems this train has an all or nothing policy, you can't let one cold-footed rider out without opening up the whole trian. I also noticed that instead of a moving floor, the seats sit high up off of a fixed floor.
But hey I still have this big theme park to see, heading around we opt to pass on the Music Express, and head for Mind Eraser. Mind Eraser has an interesting queue area, first it has reguar fixed queues, that then feed into a large free for all area, before going up the ramp. Same mistake Great Escape made. But that wouldn't matter as we head up the ramp into a near empty loading area, and claim the back row. It looks like they have the new Vekoma train on this one. And the station and ride seem very much to be the stock design, even ddown to the style of queue gates. It giave a pretty standard Boomerang experience except that it is placed to provide a good view of the park on lift 1.
We exited Mind Eraer, noticed the Jetsons stytle train on the Bel Air Express (Monorial) this year, and a line clear down to the bottom of the steps. We went in search of more thrills. We walked down by the Big Dipper, and confirmed it was closed. Not even a staff member there to say "Sorry this ride is closed" Ya know Big Dipper has been closed for awhile now, and nothing looks to be out of place with the ride. If something broke, I wonder if they are opting to not repair it and remove it in the off season. But then they have so much stuff crammed under it and around it they wouldn't gain that much space. It just distrubs me to see a rollercoaster sitting SBNO in an otherwise active themepark. Speaking of stuff crammed around it, we saw the new Shipwreak Falls, but opted to not ride, though seeing the boats go up from a distance made us think we saw a BD train going up.
From there we moved around to Serial Thriller. I expected to find Serial Thrller in the 50's area, but instead it seems to have a Northern Exposure theme to it. It has the same teal and red paint shceme as the one at Darien Lake, and the same stationhouse quue layout. ST sits down in a valley requiring a nice long ramp down to it. ST had a wait, the station queues were about half full, but it didn't seem too bad, and pretty soon we in row 1 for a Vekoma SLC. But first the queue gates, it seems queue gates have been retrofitted onto all of Geaguga's coasters, but they are unlike anything I have seen before. They are MANUALLY operated. The control booth person presses a button, then a loader pulls open one of the gates, since they are all linked they all open, after everyone is ine, the loader pushes the gates closed. Interesting system, and the can only be pushed open when the button is pressed. Now why didn't they automate these? Onto the ride, and for some reason we thought it was the smoothest SLC ride we had had, if this is how an SLC is suppoded to operate?
But then we headed onwards and backwards to Batman's Knight Flight. We walked right up into the station, the longest the line would reach would be halfway down the stairs. We took our first ride in the back row, where the floorless efect wou dbe minimized, and the ride has to stand on its merits as a multi element. For a B&M it has a rather neat lift apporach, then the powerful twisting first drop, and its all paced so well, and in the backrow you get an airtime moment off the mid course brake run. The final section near Raging Wolf Bobs looks especially evil.
From Batman we moved back to Raging Wolf Bobs. A total walk on, and here I notice a special rider policy even worse than PKI's! It seems that the mere use of a cane is enough for speical rider access to the rides. I'm sorry but if you can walk up the exit ramp, you can walk up the entrance ramp. At least they do identify who is eligible with wristbands.
Raging Wolf Bobs runs those mistake trains by PTC, the awful trailer trash trains. They were running the black one today, and hey at least it still has skid brakes and traditional lap bars. Its so sad, you can visually see the cars shuffle back and forth as they attempt to navigate the twisty course thrown at them. Who needs a chiroparacter in Cleveland? This ride will do a number on your back. This riide belongs up there in the "Taer it Down" category. Shame too, I wonder if a shiny new Gerstaluer train would bring this woodie back to life.
We then paused for cold beverages, and headed over to Road Runner Express. A 1 cycle wait here. Now that Geuaga has queue gates, they are running them as conservatively as posible, allowing the staion platform to clear before opening them up for oncoming riders. Maybe since this is a kiddie coaster (or family coaster) they run this ride downright anal-retentively. The unload the train and allow all riders to exit the platform, then they walk over to an empty load platform and admit riders to the load platform. They can't board the train, instead you stand behind closed queue gates looking at a train just sitting there waiting. Then after they have people behind every gate, then they put the chian up closing off the station from the line, then open the queue gates.. This zierer ride isn't that bad however, and we noticed a booster wheel mid course in case it just doesn't make it. We noticed a spot along the exit ramp where you can cup your hand around the track rails. Then again with as anal as this ride is run, there won't be a train there at the same time as a person on the ramp.
We then headed back to find the Double Loop. Doulble Loop, I don't understand it but it seems popular, the line was down the stairs, and halfway back the path. May have been our longest coaster wait of the day Double loop still uses pedal pushers. (Or pedal jumper, in thic case) The ride starts off with a tunel, a drop a turnaround, two loops a helix like turn and back into the station. Purely a 70's novelty ride. Why is it stilll drawing that much attention, Especially sitting right next to a walk on Villian.
Walked right onto the back seat. Okay, I CAN"T keep my arm up on the Villain. Vilain is true CCI, its got airtime, laterals, surprises, good visuals, and a solid performace. A clear winner, and I did not find the Gerstlauers to detract from the experience, even eitht he newly beefed up, heavy lapbars. Mind you there are bars on Villian that will drop right into you lap. but they did not seems to detract from the massive airtime. Again a winning performance. We then headed out to the car, to get camera and drop off loose articles I had taken into the park by mistake. Geauga went all out on those readmission handstamps, a basic"Paid" stamp you can buy in any office supply store.
Back into the park, time for Lap #2
First up was Mr. Hydes *NASTY* Fall. The keyword here is nasty. The entranceway looks cute, the ride looks cute, the loading is smooth. The elevator ride up is smooth, then you are pushed over, and you hang there for,<WHAM> ???!!!!???? What happened to the climax building pause?, and then the sudden braking, like stop on a dime braking and this ride was a bit too Nasty for me. Then a spin on the YoYo, then back for another SUE ride. Thsi time we headed for the back row, and noticed a strange airtime sensation on the rear spike. Odd. Then we headed for the Time Warp, a Double Inverter running only one side. Not much here.
Then we walked around to Serial Head Killer. What happened to the nice SLC that was here a couple hours ago? We sat in the same seats and proceeded to get the crap beat out of us. It must have warmed up. We proceeded to Batman, and got another high quality back row ride. Man this really is a great ride., then we headed for the Texas Twister (Top Spin) and got a rather aggresive program but not as good as we;d get later on tonight, buy you'll have to keep reading. Then on over to get a Villian ride in Row 2, The line was to the bottom of the stairs now. Villian front, back both perform their job excellently.
Then we noticed a Carousel running at hyperspeed, an Enterpirse with ia few tubs on pallets sitting alongide the ride, and some 55 gallon drums present. and hey they got the Haybaler up an running. But enough of thatwe decided to watch the stunt show. Forger formal seating here, you cane either sit on a hillside which probaably was grass but is now dirt, or alongside a fence. We chose the fence. The stunt show was good if a bit corny, "the rehabilitator", but was cut short due to technical difficulties. Darnit! We headed for Batman's Knight Flight, and tried row 2, still a solid performer. About this time we decided to exit the park and get something to eat. We chose Rockney's and they ofer a large menu and huge portions at reasonable prices. Our parking ticket was good for reentry and we had handstamps so back in and on the warpath.
Except that we kinda ate too much, and our stomachs were saying "I'm not going on anything with an Intensity rating over 3" So first we did the Skyscraper, no not the Gravity Works ride, the Intamin Space Needle type ride. Fast up spin you around fast down. Not much to it, The line for the monorail was kinda long, so we took a walking tour of the new waterpark, the access path to the waterpark has turnstiles along 3/4 of itm and nothing for the other 1/4. Why bother with the turnstiles? Then we toured the news Looney Tunes area and commented that water plays a key role here, then toured the Facination building, but did not play, then the gift shops, then the video arcade. What is noteworthy is that the video games operate on tokens. The tokens still bear the inscription "GEAUGA LAKE" I kept some tokens for souvinners.Then I did well at redemtion to get some candy and PEZ dispensers with my tickets. The plastic bag they gave me to carry everything was a GEAUGA LAKE bag. Could the arcade be back in time?
We headed over to Batman and saw the stunt show right where it was cut short, so we saw the end of it finally. Then we went ahead and rode Knight Flight. Then we decided to ditch this bag and camera etc in a locker. Maybe there are some byt he Rapids ride, Nope. We trucked it to the front gate, found the locker rental place. An Outragueous $8!!!!!!! I can carry the stuff to the car for $8! So thats what we did, renetered and headed for Villian. But Villian was DDM, so we went to Batman, Batman was DDM. Hmm, back to Raging Wolf Bobs. My last ride on Raging Wolf Bobs. We sat in row 2. Not fun at all, and I felt strange back sensations, but i saw the Rocket Ships! Then back to Texas Twister. Now I understand the FULL Power of Top Spin. We got a program where the carriage rolled over 6 TIMES in quick susccesion. not to metnion other demented goodness.
We then went and snagged another backseat on a now open Villain, man these new coasters are great, I can;t even imagine going to this park without this years new ride package! Then we headed towards Superman, where we decided to stop off and ride the Log Flume, after a bit of a wait, we told the loader our party size was 2. She told us to board, then demanded that we both sit in the front half of the log. Log Jammer, I thought I was going to Kennywood tommorow!!??!!! A rather tight painful fit. And the log didnt like it either,we moved up to where the ride system alternares between the two loading areas, the mechanism dropped, and our boat went down to the bottom of the trough and just sat there, and sat there, and the boat behind us was loaded, and we sat there, and sat there. The operator was getting people positioned for the log after the one in the loading area, which couldn't move because we were jammed. So we did something which when we think back was kinds stupid, we grabbed hold to the sides of the trough and pushed our log out of the platform area. In retrospect we should have just sat there until the operator would have gotten her ass off of sitting atop a garbage can, barking orders and not offering anykind of help to the riders. So our log dragged its way throught the course, listing water, I mean we had water in the log up to ankles.Then when we hit unload our boat didn't even make it to the unload area, and we got to climb out without aid of railings. Ugh, remind me never to ride that Log FLume again. That ride almost sent me to Guest Relations. But then it has beene stablished that Six Flags doens't care what we think, so. Then we finsihed out our day on Superman. Row #2, where I got to notice one more oddity. The handsign for a wheelchair rider at exit ramp is both arms held in an X" that means "STOP RIDE" where I come from. Not wheechair rider.
Back to Trip Reports