Six years ago I made a flying visit to Quassy Amusement Park as a side trip on the way to another park, and I remember being largely unimpressed with it. Since that time, however, significant investment has been made in the place; new rides have been added, old rides have been repainted, and clean-up work has been done where needed. The end result is a park that is a worthwhile destination in its own right.
The single most visible change has been the replacement of the antique Mad Mouse with a brand new wooden coaster. Wooden Warrior (#1778) was built by the Gravity Group and has a maximum height of just thirty-five feet. Despite this, however, it is loaded with airtime and strong forces that really shouldn't be possible on such a small ride. The back seat on the single Timberliner train had a slight edge over the front for me, but there wasn't a lot in it either way; both locations gave a superb experience. I'd go as far as to say that this is probably the best wood coaster under fifty feet tall anywhere in the world, and one which could easily be adapted for other parks. Hopefully that will happen in the not too distant future.
Six Flags New England
21st July 2012
Our twenty dollar parking space was over ten minutes walk from the park entrance at Six Flags New England, which is arguably expected when you arrive at any major park in early afternoon. Less palatable however was the fact that there was still a fifteen minute wait to get through the metal detectors at the gate, which seemed more than a little bizarre given that the park had been open for several hours. As it was, something on my person set off the alarm, but the officer let me through anyway despite the fact that whatever it was couldn't be identified, completely negating any value from these security checks.
Vekoma introduced the Giant Inverted Boomerang ride at the turn of the millennium, an enhanced version of their standard model with vertical towers and inverted trains. Six Flags took a chance on the new design and bought three, all of which were plagued by reliability issues. Two ofthem have since been sold outside the chain, but the third has just begun its new life at Six Flags New England. The newly renamed Goliath broke down three times in the course of the ninety minutes we waited to ride, with a fourth breakdown after I'd gotten my lap in, but despite the issues the experience was extremely thrilling, not least because I managed to land a front seat via the single rider queue.
Another coaster added to the park recently is Gotham City Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum, a ride that originally operated at the now defunct Kentucky Kingdom. Though a production model mouse coaster, the ride cars on this model have been decorated with elaborate decals relating to the Batman series, and look great. I'd also like to note that the convoluted name is still one character shorter than the current record holder...
Canobie Lake Park
21st July 2012
Canobie Lake Park is one of a number of parks in the United States to have a lower admission price in the evenings, making it an ideal place to stop for a few hours towards the end of our day. The car park was still busy, but some of the early patrons had left, allowing us to get a space very near the entrance.
Last year the park added Untamed (#1779), the third installation of the Gerstlauer Eurofighter 320+, and the first of this model in the United States. I'd previously ridden both other versions; the mediocre Rage and the rather good Falcon, and I'm sorry to report that this model was closer to the former than the latter. There were several whiplash inducing moments on the course that left me with no desire to ride a second time. The only positive I'd note was that the operating crew were dispatching cars at the maximum possible rate, so at least we didn't have to wait too long.
This impressive efficiency was nowhere to be seen on the Yankee Cannonball, where the single functional train was being dispatched no more than once every six or seven minutes. We decided to abandon the queue after working out that we'd need to wait at least ninety minutes to board.
Funworld Game Center
21st July 2012
I'd planned our overnight hotel to be next to Funworld Game Center, a medium sized amusement arcade with a family roller coaster on its top floor. The Orient Express (#1780) is a customised version of the single spiral design from Wisdom Rides, tweaked to fit into the available space, and while it is definitely a family coaster it's still big enough to be worth riding once or twice. I don't think I'd advise enthusiasts to make a special trip to ride it, but it's definitely worth a brief diversion if you're driving past.