York's Wild Kingdom proudly promotes itself as Maine's Largest Zoo and Amusement Park, with some two dozen rides aimed primarily at a younger audience. Admission to the zoo area is not required for use of the amusement rides, which are available on a pay-per-ride basis or via a flat rate wristband. The main car park was full for our visit, presumably due to the glorious weather, but staff members wearing high visibility clothing were on hand to direct cars, in our case to a small grassy area less than fifty metres from the credit.
Wacky Mouse (#2077) looks at first glance like an off-the-shelf Big Apple design, but for whatever reason this model felt much faster than the norm, with the undulations in the top section having a good kick to them. We were in the back car which might have helped, but I've ridden similar coasters from that location on many occasions and don't recall being impressed before.
The park is home to two different fun houses, both of which look like the sort of thing one might find at a travelling carnival. We skipped the rather plain looking Fun Haus in favour of the slightly more imaginative Jungle Fun House, a walkthrough anchored by a rather poor looking model gorilla that rocked gently from side to side. This was, to be honest, a waste of time; most of the attraction was made up of empty rooms that might once have had special effects in them but now just featured peeling paint and rust. The only bit of the attraction that was worthwhile was a small haunted house section at the end; I took the opportunity to scare the group following me!
The park also has a permanently installed Haunted House with some narrow walkways to explore in almost complete darkness. While the interior didn't have much by scenery, it did have some atmospheric sound effects and a few nice tricks, including a loud buzzer triggered by a pressure switch on the floor. It was interesting to note that the operator was returning ride tokens to groups that decided not to go all the way through the attraction; we saw several children abort while we waited.
It would be remiss of me not to mention at least in passing the presence of a Computerised Sex Tester in the park arcade, a fairly odd machine to find in a family park. I'm a relatively liberal person, but I'm not sure I'd want children under my care to be randomly allocated labels such as flirt, corrupt, unfaithful, voluptuous, and cheater.
Funtown Splashtown USA
21st July 2014
My first visit to Funtown Splashtown USA was made a little under eight years ago during a marathon day that featured six parks and several hours of driving. Since that time my priorities as an enthusiast have shifted somewhat, to the point that I prefer to take the time to explore each park in full to make sure that I don't miss any interesting attractions. The word interesting is barely adequate to describe the Astrosphere, an enclosed scrambler ride accompanied by a crazy light show and a dramatic soundtrack. There are many different videos of the ride available, but none of them do the experience justice. It is impossible not to feel a little sorry for the operators, mind; the soundtrack, though cool, would likely lose some of its appeal by the fiftieth listening.
The park retired their classic Galaxi at the end of the 2008 season, and replaced it with a second hand Wild Mouse purchased from Jolly Roger Amusement Park. Today the top section of the new coaster was being run without trim brakes, making it a lot of fun, and the rest of the course wasn't being trimmed much. While queueing I noticed that this ride has some extra (removable) padding that can be fitted to each lap bar to allow smaller riders to be secured safely.
There was a small shop at the back of the park selling assorted novelty items and gifts. I found my eye drawn to a collection of bumper stickers, several of which were quite entertaining. However, there was also one that I found extremely offensive and inappropriate, which read If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you're reading it in English, thank a soldier. I don't even know where to begin with this; do the owners of Funtown Splashtown USA want to encourage xenophobia? Are foreign tourists welcome at the park?
My first lap on Excalibur today was in the right hand seat of the third row, and it was marred by several awful slams at various points on the course. However, this seems to have been bad luck; I tried three other seats and those were comfortable enough, apart from a pothole next to the on-ride camera. The back seat was particularly memorable for having fantastic airtime on the first drop. Having said that, my previous comments hold; this ride really does run out of steam half way around the course, making the final portion quite dull.
We were seated on Dragon's Descent drop ride when the young boy sitting next to us asked if we played Minecraft. Megan answered in the negative, and got an emphatic I wasn't talking to you for her trouble. She tried to educate the brat by pointing out that some girls do play computer games, though she might as well have spoken to a brick wall. Sexist children aside, the ride had a nice pop of airtime on the descent. I'd have liked to have ridden with a camera in hand, as there was an excellent overhead view of Excalibur.