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Okay! Here's Part 1 of the La Ronde Report. Buckle up...DISCLAIMER: I usually like to be positive in my trip reports because I usually enjoy every park we go to, but this is going to be difficult with La Ronde. If you like this park for some reason (lol then again does anybody?) and get upset when people bash it, DO NOT READ THIS REPORT. You've been warned.
Over Memorial Day weekend we decided to make our first trip up to Montreal. We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t speak the language, we didn’t know too much about the city and even though we were only 5 hours from home it felt like we were planning a trip to an entirely different world. Some may laugh at this but we’d never ventured anywhere where English wasn’t the primary language and we really weren’t sure how the experience would be.
I’m happy to say though that the city is amazing. The culture is wonderful. People are friendly and unlike in America they’re always welcoming of foreigners even if they can’t speak the language (though we tried but our attempts were piss poor to say the least). Montreal is an amazing place. The cobblestone streets are filled with history. Everywhere you look there are small French eateries, some of the best food in the world, amazing architecture, cute little shops and tons of great people watching.
The city as a whole has an incredible vibe to it. It’s very welcoming, a cultural melting pot and even though everyone can’t always understand one another everyone was incredibly friendly, helpful and generally very happy.
That being said, every city has it’s scars. Away from the carnival atmosphere, the happiness, the fun and the incredible culture there’s a depressed part of town. They tried to hide it… they even put it out on an island away from the city so people wouldn’t notice it. It stands in stark contrast to the fun, festive and unique nature of the city. It’s cold, it’s generic and it’s miserable. Some say the sun never shines there. A mysterious sh*thole on an island out in the abyss. What’s the name of this sh*thole you ask? The locals call it, “La Ronde”.
At “La Ronde” everything is generic and lifeless. Soulless clone after soulless clone is separated only by decrepit walkways and mostly crumbling buildings. Anything that breaks goes unrepaired. Trains sit un-dispatched for what seems like ages and ages. Urban legend says that once a train goes into the transfer area on one of their rides it sits there forever to rust… never to be seen again until all rides are left with just a single, lonely train.
… okay, okay I’ll stop. But god damn this park sucks. Like what the hell? Six Flags really outdid themselves this time. Generally speaking with any park we visit we can find some positives. Sure, there’s no such thing as a perfect park and every park has it’s flaws (well… unless you happen to be in Elysburg, PA) but this park is an absolute dumpster fire.
We arrived on a Satuday around noon and planned to spend the remainder of the day there and then return the next morning for passholder ERT on Goliath and finish riding whatever we didn’t get to ride earlier before spending the rest of the day in the city.
Upon arrival we were directed to the back parking lot so it was apparent that the park was pretty busy. We entered the park planning to get the bad rides (aka just about every ride in the park) out of the way first and then hit Vampire and Goliath last. It quickly became apparent that those rides might have to wait until the next day since the Vampire crew was stacking trains and taking names and the ride had a 2 hour wait and thanks to VR, Goliath had a 3 hour wait and was averaging 10-12 minute dispatches.
That being said we wanted to start our La Ronde adventure off with a bang so we decided to seek out a real winner to start off our day. Scanning the park map we came across "Super Manège". According to Google this means “Super Horsemanship” but it’s the ugliest horse I’ve ever seen so we went with RCDB’s translation of “Super Ride”.
Well okay, La Ronde! You’re feeling confident today. In America we name our amazing rides things like “Maverick” and “El Toro”, but I guess in Canada when you have a coaster that’s this wonderful and amazing you proudly announce it to the world by declaring it “Super Ride”. Obviously our expectations were through the roof as we approached this piece of Vekoma greatness.
We strapped ourselves in for our super-riding-horsemanship adventure and prepared to embrace the greatness and um… yeah
Good thing this isn’t America or someone would sue them for false advertising. To be fair the ride wasn’t that bad, but it was far from good and it’s name had us convinced that French Canadians had a pretty sick sense of humor.
After the super horsemanship ride we decided to continue the greatness and make out way over to Cobra. An Intamin stand-up coaster. Besides the Carowinds Vortex I despise all stand-up coasters but I was particularly worried about this one since I’ve never heard a single good thing about Intamin standups. The queue line is a joke, the paint is chipping off of everything and the ride sounds like death every time the train (notice how “train” is singular… that’s a recurring theme) pulls into the “station” (if you could call it that). Let’s forget about the ride experience for a second, this is the ugliest god damn ride ever. Somebody please paint the thing and go to Home Depot and buy some mulch. Sorry I mean go to "Home Depot: L'Entrepot de la Renovation du Quebec" and buy some “le mulch” for “le sh*tty montagnes russe Manège le painful dumpster fire piece of sh*t ” (my French is really good, and to anyone who lives in Quebec… yes, Americans are all as dumb as you’ve heard, I’m living proof of that).
I didn’t really take any pictures of this ride (you’re welcome for that), but it was terrible. Not quite as terrible as I expected (I think Riddler’s Revenge and Green Lantern are worse) but it was pretty terrible.
Determined to keep the mojo going our next stop was Le Monstre. We honestly didn’t know what to expect going into this one but figured the ride had potential to be pretty good (Spoiler Alert: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and we needed a break from the crap.
This ride has 2 tracks (that don't race) but as far as I’m concerned the ride is one credit because neither of us had the patience to ride this crap twice so we got in line and were pleased to see that they were running both sides so the ride was probably running efficiently and the line would probably move fast (Spoiler Alert: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA). As the line dragged (and dragged) on we realized that both sides were running 1 ridiculously short train and taking forever to dispatch it so actually while the line was on the ramp the entire time we ended up waiting an hour. Somehow we got a front seat ride and I have to say, while pretty good for La Ronde, this ride sucks. Some of it had topper track on it which obviously rode nicely, but the rest of the ride was a jackhammering nightmare with no airtime, interesting moments or redeeming qualities.
After Le Monstre we were honestly getting exhausted with the crap rides. We thought of riding Goliath but the 3 hour wait and atrocious dispatch times deterred us so we bit the bullet and decided to go for the SLC.
Let me take a break for a second and point out that this ride actually looks really nice. The entrance area is themed, the location is great, the paint looks like it was applied this century and it was (brace yourselves) running TWO TRAINS!!!!!!!. Seriously though the queue area was impressive. I mean, it’s not Disney. But after suffering through the queue for Cobra and Monstre a “Loch Ness Monster” level queue line seems like Tokyo Disney Sea.
Wow, I just realized I spent a few seconds praising the park, but don’t worry because now it’s time to talk about how the thing actually rode. Yeah… this ride sucks. Don’t get me wrong, for an SLC it’s one of the better ones. It’s better than Mind Eraser at SFA and SFNE, Fly the Great Nor Easter and it’s horrific Canadian cousin at Wonderland but even a good SLC is still a terrible ride. I don’t really have much more to say, so let’s move on… even talking about this park is exhausting.
After that we had over an hour before park close, so we figured we’d go ride Dragon and then finally hit Goliath and end the day on a high note. Dragon is an indoor coaster that we purposely did no research on. I have to say, this thing is easily the third best coaster in the park. The theming was cheesy and dumb but at least it was there. This is a fun little coaster and I actually have nothing bad to say about it. Kudos La Ronde! Things were looking up and we still had 30 minutes to get in line for Goliah!
Just kidding. And as soon as we started liking the place they had to go and “La Ronde” it up. Apparently the park closes all coaster lines 30 minutes before closing as one final reminder of the pure sucktitude of the park on your way out. We were almost defeated, ready to leave but then we learned that there was still one coaster operating. We still had a chance to end the day on a high note! What great news. Excited we ran over to the coaster to get one last credit for the day...
Ugh... it's the f**king Boomerang. Sorry "le" f**king Boomerang.
Now I have to say that Brit and I were still optimistic. We don’t share in everyone’s hatred of Boomerangs and while some suck, we enjoy a lot of them like Flashback at SFNE, Sea Serpant at Morey’s and Carolina Cobra. We both decided that as bad as the park was, we’d both be happy with a nice boomerang ride to end the day as long as it rode like one of the better ones. Some of them were a little rough but dammit we had reason for optimism. (Spoiler Alert: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
Okay this is the worst boomerang possibly ever. Not only does it do that typical boomerang thing where it slams to a stop 500 times in the station when it parks, but the entire thing is a headbanging nightmare. How is this thing allowed to operate? Seriously how????
So that put an end to our first day at La Ronde. We were pretty exhausted at that point (because this park is exhausting) so we headed back to the hotel for a few drinks and to get a good night sleep so we could get up early for ERT and then spend the rest of the day in Montreal.
That concludes part 1 of the La Ronde trip report, but first let’s play a game. The game is called…
Is this a backstage area at La Ronde that we snuck into in order to bury a dead hooker or is this seriously a major midway that’s one of the first things you see when you enter the park?
The answer to that question (and more) in part 2. Get hyped!!And for any locals who are offended, while I hate the park, I'm going to gush all over the greatness of your city in part 2. Please don't hate me yet.