Castle Park in Riverside is arguably the biggest and best of the "smaller" parks in Southern California. It is a rare occasion that this park even gets one new ride, so imagine my surprise when they quietly announced that they would be adding two rides this year.
The Dragon Flyers opened in the summer, and the Screamin' Demon opened in the fall (a little later than anticipated, I think). A trip to Castle Park was definitely in order, so I paid a visit during the Thanksgiving weekend.
EDIT: It appears as though I posted all the pictures backwards. Sorry, I'm just learning how to do this. Please read from the bottom up. Thanks!
One last ride on the way out. The Ghost Blasters is a shoot-em-up dark ride that is actually housed within the arcade. For this reason, it is not included in the all-day ride wristband, and you have to pay an extra $2 for it. It was not running, so it didn't matter, but I do remember it being pretty fun from the one time I did ride it previously. Anyway, thanks for a fun day Castle Park, and thanks for reading.
...the Riverside Express, the very miniature train ride that travels the same route as the Castle Park Railroad. This was baby Aiden's very first amusement park ride.
The Castle Park Railroad is a scaled-down locomotive that travels around about half of the park. It is therefore not incredibly long, but it is fun for the kids. However, it was also not operating, so instead we rode...
The Antique Car Ride is very nicely landscaped.
A standard Ferris Wheel, which was not operating.
There are also the gentle rides meant to be enjoyed by the entire family. The Merry-Go-Round looked great and provided, to me, an appropriate merry-go-round ride. I'm not by any means a carousel / merry-go-round aficionado, so I can't compare how this one stacks up to all the rest.
There's also the Log Ride, without a doubt one of the park's most popular attractions. It is a compact log ride, but it still has a lengthy duration, features two drops (a small one and a large one, which is pictured), and it actually gets riders quite wet.
Dragon's Tower is a reasonably small but still very effective double shot tower. This ride and Fireball get my vote as the most thrilling at Castle Park.
Fireball is a very intimidating looping ride for a park of this caliber. It ended up being my favorite ride of the day, though.
The thing I like about Castle Park is that they have more than just the standard collection of flat rides. For example, there's also the Falling Star, a very entertaining ride.
The Flying Saucer, a gravitron that was also not operating.
The Thunderbolt is a matterhorn / flying bobs type of flat ride. I really like these, but this one wasn't operating during my visit, so I couldn't tell you if it is better or worse than average.
A pretty poor example of bumper cars. The arena is not very large, the cars don't move very fast, and they have a tendency to get stuck to each other when they bump!
A typical Spider, the type of flat ride that, in my opinion, is the most sickening of all. This one did run a lengthy cycle, but I think by halfway through everybody was ready for it to stop.
The Tilt-A-Whirl is probably just average. These rides are always fun, but there was nothing special of note to set this one apart from all the others.
The Sea Dragon, also above average. It swung out to a very high angle, providing good floating air and a much more thrilling ride than your typical swinging ship.
The Scrambler is also above average. Aside from the fact that it ran a very long cycle, this is unquestionably the fastest scrambler I've been on (and I've been on lots).
As far as the non-coasters go, Castle Park has a good collection of the usual flat rides. King's Crown is an above-average chairswing ride. It travels high, fast, and tilts up and down as it circles.
The Little Dipper is the park's kiddie coaster. It was not operating during my visit, and the employee at the nearby kiddie funhouse said it may never reopen. He said that it is missing a part that they cannot replace because it is so old. This ride is old, as I remember riding it when I was a young child visiting Castle Park. The employee did not seem absolutely certain though, so I guess time will tell.
Let's check out what else the park has to offer. There are only two other coasters. Merlin's Revenge is a standard Vekoma roller skater, though I would probably say that it is just as fun as (if not more fun than) the Screamin' Demon. Little kids can ride, plus they send the train around the track twice.
This whole new little section of the park was actually very nicely themed. There were speakers blasting cool medieval movie type music interspersed with dragons growling. I'm sure these two rides will prove very popular for Castle Park.
Plus you've got to admit that these flyers look pretty darn spiffy.
...I actually got some good swooping, snapping action on these. A couple times I got the flyers to swing out to the point that the attached cables kind of rattled and shook the whole vehicle in a lurching fashion. Is this the mark of a good flyer ride, or am I still doing something wrong? Either way, I was proud of myself afterwards!
I can speak pretty highly though of the Dragon Flyers. I've never quite "got" flyers in the past. I hear so many people rave about them, but the examples I've ridden have left me a little underwhelmed. I don't know if it's that I haven't been on the best examples, or if I just don't know how to work them. However...
They were also having some technical difficulties with the ride all day. I got this picture of the cool-looking cars while they were testing the ride in the middle of the day and it had slowed to a stop on the track. An employee had to climb up and give it a nudge to get it moving again.
Screamin' Demon was honestly just an okay coaster. It is the park's only true adult coaster (though the 51" height requirement seems a bit excessive for this ride and for a family park), but I certainly give the edge to the Reverchon spinning coasters. This one's speed and spinning were okay during the first couple of switchbacks, but it then hit the first set of brakes, which slowed the ride so much that it hardly moved through the second half of the ride (the rest of the turns and the tiny little dips).
...the Dragon Flyers, the only flyers to be found in Southern California.
...the two new rides for 2008. Screamin' Demon is a spinning coaster by Fabbri. According to rcdb, this is the manufacturer's only permanent installation in the U.S. Right next door is...
A view of Castle Park's castle from the parking lot. The arcade is in the castle itself, the miniature golf courses are behind the castle, and the ride park is to the right. Let's head over there, because that's where we'll find...
Hey, great report! I've always wanted to see some pictures of the different types of rides this park offered and you provided that greatly! Looks like a fun park that I'd try to visit if I'm ever out that way. Thanks!
biosciking wrote:A couple times I got the flyers to swing out to the point that the attached cables kind of rattled and shook the whole vehicle in a lurching fashion. Is this the mark of a good flyer ride?
Sounds like nirvana to me.
FYI - I added this Photo TR to the TPR's Park Index
As usual, my analysis is free of charge! Original enough to not steal someone else's quote as a signature
Great TR! I didn't realize that Castle Park had so many rides. I was planning a trip down there in March on my was to Disneyland, but may hold off until my son hits 51" since you mention that height requirement for the coaster. (He is about 50" now!)
I also posted my first TR in the wrong order, so don't worry about it. Thanks again for the great pictures!
My first TR was the right way so lol just kidding great pics! Usually I don't take my camera (as a trip to CP is always a last minute decision) and it's usually dark by then. The pics end up not so good with a phone's camera.
This is the park I grew up with and sadly(?) most of the rides are the exact same, so it's good to see new rides come in. the only thing I have no idea about those flyers. Out of the two or three times I've been on them, they have all had different speeds each time so I wonder if weight is a factor in it? Sucks to hear about the new coaster though, it didn't seem like much, but I'm sure if they ran it a little faster it would be a lot better.
Believe it or not, I'm a lifelong SoCal resident and I have never been to Castle Park. I didn't even know they had Flyers there! So it looks like a trip to Riverside County is in order. Maybe I'll combine it with a trip to the Orange Empire Railway Museum.
Anyway, that Fabbri coaster looks like the Pole Position ride that tours the county fair circuit. If it is, I recall that it wasn't much fun and I got pretty banged around on it at the Ventura County Fair a couple of years back.
Is the "Ghost Blasters" ride the standard Sally model (like they have at the Mall of America)?
I actually don't know the answer to this, as I've only been on one other Ghost Blasters ride, at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Castle Park's is different than that one, though. Castle Park's actually has a long, winding incline in the middle of the ride, which gradually drops back down to ground level by the end. I don't remember Santa Cruz's having this element. Do the standard models?
I was planning a trip down there in March on my was to Disneyland, but may hold off until my son hits 51" since you mention that height requirement for the coaster.
The Dragon's Tower also has a 52" height requirement, but other than that the requirements are 48" or less for everything.
Sucks to hear about the new coaster though, it didn't seem like much, but I'm sure if they ran it a little faster it would be a lot better.
I think this is true also. I'm wondering if they haven't gotten it to work quite right yet, what with all the technical difficulties. Right at the beginning I thought it was going to be good, but the brakes really killed it quickly. If they would ease off on them, I'm sure there'd be a lot more spinning action and a much more enjoyable ride.
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