Photo TR: Derek and Nicole's Northern Excursion

The Great Escape and La Ronde
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Photo TR: Derek and Nicole's Northern Excursion

Postby DerekRx » Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:04 pm

Originally I had a day off of work set up to go to Valleyfair, but with insane airline prices, I opted not to go. Instead my aunt was having a graduation party for my cousin on Sunday up in Albany, so I'd be in that area anyway for the weekend. Perfect time to use that vacation day, grab the girlfriend, and take her to finally ride her precious Comet that she grew up too short to ride for 8 years of her life, and get us both some much needed credits up in Montreal.

Part 1: The Great Escape
I haven't been to TGE since 1999 when Nightmare opened up there. A lot has changed since then, but there's definitely a whole lot more I hope to see altered if they're ever going to "Flag" the park. Pathways are narrow, the layout is odd and incomplete, and the manual release on some of the coasters has to go.

The Great Escape was the brainchild of Charlie Wood, who also built the other park in Lake George, as well as Fantasy Island on Grand Island, Nicole's homepark, so lots of the older stuff was very similar for her. More and more stuff was expanded upon, and then Premier took over and carbon copied things.

The park would be very easy to credit whore in under 2 hours, assuming things actually opened with the park. At 10am when the park opened on Friday for us, the only coaster that was running was Comet, located at the very back of the park, beyond the waterpark. By 11, Steamin' Demon at the front was opened, and Alpine Bobsled was completing its final tests. Boomerang opened around 11:30, but with difficulties and didn't actually run frequently until 12. Canyon Blaster, the only credit there I needed (can't ride the kiddie coaster unless you've got a child) never opened in the 4 hours we were there, nor were ride ops present. Despite this slow to open operations scheduling like the old Six Flags, we still managed to have a good time. Onto pics:
Back at The Great Escape in Lake George, NY. I haven't been here since Premier called it "the Thrill Park"
Newly added was the Great Escape Lodge, much like the Great Wolf Lodges, it's got an indoor waterpark. And you have to stay at least 2 nights and pay way too much money.
Ragin' Cajun...errr Steamin' Demon still welcomes guests to the park, and can be seen from the Interstate
Lots of the front of the park is very "storybook" like and untouched from Charles Wood's time
They even managed to add a castle that towers over Disneyland's with horse-drawn carriage rides around it
Canyon Blaster, moved from Opryland, would not be operating while we were there. Missed credit, but at least it was only the crappy minetrain we missed
(Capacity) Nightmare is SBNO for the season, good thing I got the credit on its opening day, and Nicole rode it when it was at Darien Lake
Venturing to the very back of the park we find the only real reason to want to continue to come back here for coaster rides after you've gotten every credit, The Comet
Nicole seems to be in heaven, finally able to ride the coaster she saw for so many years, but was unable to ride
While it may have had some reprofiling over the past couple of seasons, it still delivers one fantastic and fun ride on its double out-n-back run
It may not be Lake Erie, but the Comet still has some water around it
Walking back thru the park we heard the rumble of the bobsled. We didn't think Nicole would get this credit, but we're glad she did.
The Canaba car, for Jerrki and Paul, our Canabian friends
They may all be the same, and they may all be not running when it rains, but these things still are lots of fun. Yay Intamin!
Missed credit #2, because boosting my count is not a good reason alone to have kids outside of wedlock
The park is still very kid friendly, with several walk-thrus, storybook scenes, and rides for the youngins. Definitely a place the whole family can enjoy
Steamin' Demon still manages to get a line, but that's probably because it has only one train and manual release and lock restraints
Ah yes, Vekoma Loop Screw goodness. Glad I showed Nicole how to ride with minimal damage (here you can see the new pedestrian bridge connecting the parking lots to the park)
Woohoo, waterfall! and you can still walk up thru the cave inside it to get to Western Town
Of course I need a vertical loop shot. Here's one of the boomerang...yay :\
Neither of us is too thrilled about riding this. And this one was very ghetto, with the lamest lift cable motor ever
At least here the Vekoma Troll has a cart to drive around
Credits achieved, it's time to try to kill some time hoping for the mine train to open (which it never did). The carousel was very nice
and Nicole was all excited about the Alice in Wonderland walkthru
The Cheshire Cat hiding in the tree is all like "yo, I'm a" as the train goes by
Tweedledee and Tweedledum apparently miss their younger brother Tweedleduh, aka Ryan, and are pounding it until he returns
"Watch your speed!"
Nicole is very much a kid again, but that one flowery face is creeping me out!
Finally, we'll check out a walk-thru that was here before Premier bought it, and Six Flags not only kept it, but spruced it up a bit! It used to be mostly a boardwalk-like nature walk, but they Bugs and Daffy themed it
and Nicole has some fun bouncing on the suspension bridge before we call it a day and head out for some food
All clear....

Dispatch, enjoy your ride.


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Postby BarryH » Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:33 pm

Great photos! It looks like the only coaster worth doing is the Comet.

What, no beer photos?

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Postby kennywood!007 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:04 pm

Great photos! Comet does look pretty good.

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Postby DerekRx » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:07 pm

Part 2: La Ronde

La Ronde was a park we were both dreading after seeing earlier reports on TPR that it was the worst park in the Six Flags chain. But we needed to get here eventually, and those 10 credits were calling my name.

The biggest pain was crossing the border, and that's not the US's fault, I blame French Canadia. 1 hour to cross from the 1/4 mile from border mark (yet only 5 min to return to the States.) I don't know if they enjoy grilling people, or they're really scared that people want to blow up their country, or those crossing in front of us were just deedeedees, but it was ridiculous. We arrived on Friday around 8 to find the park abandoned, much as I expected, due to the rain hitting Montreal the entire day.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that the park was closed because of the cold weather and rain on Friday, and very hot and crowded on Saturday, we had a pretty good time. It certainly wasn't the worst Six Flags experience of the year; that title still remains with SFNE. We had no problems using my SF parking pass to get into the park, no problems at the turnstyles with my SF pass and Nicole's Darien Lake pass, and everything that could was running multiple trains. We didn't see any garbage laying around. Garbage cans did stink, but it was hot outside, that could explain it. Only 1 smoker in linewas encountered, and he was downwind from us, and were only linejumped once, and those people were yelled at for it by the ops. The language barrier wasn't a problem either, as almost everyone we had to talk to spoke both English and French.

Best of all, despite being there for longer than expected (partially because we missed out on Friday) going on a crowded Saturday paid off for us because we managed to get every credit there, as all the coasters were running, including BOTH sides of Le Monstre! Now next time we go back, we can focus on the good coasters and some of the weird flatrides. We certainly didn't think it wasn't the worst SF park in the chain, maybe the worst in Canada, but it's also the best in Canada...because it's the ONLY one in Canada ;)

Onto the pics:
Our hotel was a really nice Holiday Inn just a few minutes from the park
and we definitely approved of it with a black and white photo of the park on the wall above the bed
La Ronde is located on an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River right next to Montreal
It's a Saturday, and the park doesn't open for another 30 minutes, and this is the line to get in. Yeah, it's gonna be crowded. Time to assume "credit whore" mode
Really nice entrance plaza to La Ronde, located on an island with lots of other recreational things, like a park, bio-sphere, museum, etc
Again....CROWDED. Only 6 turnstyles to get into the park, but we'll manage. It can't be worse than the border crossing!
First rule of credit whore instinct, hit the newest ride first as it's the most popular. Off to Goliath we go, way in the back of the park.
B&Ms most unoriginal layout, just lots of ups and downs with a turnaround. But definitely fun, and with plenty of airtime pops. In my book it's an A ranked coaster
And somewhat themed to the medieval area of the park it's located in. Check out the cute transfer shed
Next up, more Intamin goodness, the indoor coaster, Dragon, located not too far away from Goliath
We heard this was really lame, but I've heard that about Skull Mountain too. Truth is, don't expect a Disney ride and it turns out to be lots of fun. Plus you get eaten by a dragon and they play hard rock music inside, nothing wrong with that!
Second rule of whoring, after riding the newest, ride the lowest capacity. That said, Toboggan Nordique, the Zamperla wild mouse was next on the agenda.
Nothing out of the ordinary here, just a wild mouse themed to bobsledding, though there was very little braking, big plus
Ultra-rare credit here? La Marche du Mille-pattes is the oldest coaster in the park, going back to when it opened, and was built by Arrow. It's like 40 years old! Whatcha think about that, Jahan?
It's only a kiddie coaster, and though all signs point to adults being allowed to ride, you're only allowed on if you have a kid in your party
With my quick thinking, I claimed the little French Canadian kids behind us were part of our party, and we were granted entry and a ride. Cha-ching! Turns out it was more fun than a lot of today's kiddie coasters, and still chock full of Arrow coat hanger transitions
And now for the "le ride" portion of our trip. First up, Le Splash
Le Boomerang, with its very le bulby entrance
and its very Le Ouch boomerang element
Le Sharktums, with its very pointy teeth
Le Monstre with its very pretty layout that does next to nothing
and its very Le Morgan wood coaster cars for extra Le Joy and Le Comfort
But holy le crap! It's running both le sides!
and even more le wow, at times it even almost le raced
It wasn't a le amazing ride by any means, but it wasn't le horrible either, it just seemed to le wander around. How interesting is it that 1 side opened a year before le other!?
Next up, Le Cobra, an Intamin standup, much like Batman: The Escape that now sits in Darien Lake. Third rule of whoring, ride the better capacity last. And this crew was awesome, NEVER stacking trains when we were there.
Nicole wasn't too fond of this ride and said "I wouldn't be sad if Darien Lake never built theirs!" but I didn't mind it too much
At least it didn't try to do too many inversions, it was content with one, followed by lots of turns. Though I was really freaked out when we got to the bunny hill. Bunny hills on standups is just plain evil for guys
On Le Cobra, you aren't allowed any 35mm cameras or 1980s camcorders
Finally on our Le Tour, Le Vampire, a mirror image Batman-clone, and my first version of the mirror!
The line sucked, but the ride was really intense, even though the train is missing a row compared to the other Batmen
Everyone loves a Batman, except when Joel Schumacher adds nipples to the suit
mmmmm, under the loop
Wow, old school Nintendo! I was sad that it was only a dolphin show. I was hoping for like Super Mario: The Musical or The Legend of Zelda: A Link to Quebec
They did have smartcars and Wiis though
One of many of La Ronde's cool flats we didn't have time to ride
Wow, the line for the automated tampon machine sure is long!
Chick n Chick n Chick
Such a cool location, with the bridge into the city and downtown right behind the coasters, I thought you might like it.
Final credit of the trip, Super Manege, a wonderful Vekoma corkscrew that is older than my girlfriend. Oh joy!
Good thing it was running 2 trains by the time we got back to it, it was running 1 earlier, as we passed it to ride Le Cobra and Le Vampire. If only these things ended after the corkscrews instead of going around for more hills and helices afterwards much like the Arrows. Ouch!
My biggest regret, not having time to ride the tower to get some more shots of the park and especially Goliath. Hopefully next time
The Condor, or the La Rondor? :)
Yay for RCT monorails!
and yes, Elissa, the kiddie land has a spinny raft ride, just for you and KidTums. Actually, the Kiddie area looked really cool and nicely themed
Giant fountain of doom! Don't know what this was, looked like some sort of statue with a bidet, as water was shooting up the middle but nowhere else!
All I can say is Le Cha-ching, this park has been destroyed! But we shall return sometime for more quality rides on Goliath, Le Vampire, and to obliterate all the flats.
All clear....

Dispatch, enjoy your ride.


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Postby Homer » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:34 pm

Great TR Derek. No wonder why Shapiro thinks TGE is his personal favorite park in the SF chain, it looks like a beautiful park with a retro charm and pretty areas.

Also, glad you totally owned La Ronde for credits and actually make me think the park is beautiful after that other La Ronde TR that was posted a few weeks ago. Glad to hear that the park isn't a total mess with cleanliness and operations.
-My butt has touched 112 roller coasters, how unfortunate.

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Postby kennywood!007 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:47 pm

La Ronde is in such a cool place.

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Postby coastermaniac123 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:18 pm

I always liked the way La Ronde looked, however as you stated, it is know to have some rough crowds. I always though Shapiro's favorite was SFNE? He is after all dumping 50 million into next year.

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Postby Canobie Fan » Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:44 pm



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Postby downunder » Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:59 pm

Glad you had a good day at La Ronde, I didn't.

I got only one side of Le Monstre, I got burned at the kiddie ride lining up only to be told I couldn't ride when I was just about to get on, I missed the Dragon credit because I didn't know it was there (my fault), and worst of all Goliath would not come until the next year.

Love the location, I really liked Parc Jean Drapeau.

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Postby Scaparri » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:38 pm

Awesome TR! Judging by the pics, "worst park in the SF chain" seems like a pretty bold statement.

I still can't get over the pics of TGE though. A walk-thru at a SF park? Who know!? And yeah, Canyon Blaster is obviously nothing more than a "missed credit." Rode it at Opryland. Should have been called The Lift Hill Experience.


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