Alexander: We’ve got a BIG one today, folks. One of the world’s largest regional parks is our oyster today: it’s Canada’s Wonderland!
It’s a Saturday, but we have guidance from locals and FastLanePlus! Let’s see how this 15-credit-saga unfolds.
– Over the years, many of our images have popped up on other sites and forums, awesome that our coverage spreads, not so awesome that not everyone mentioned where they got the images from. We are totally fine with our audience using our images, BUT ONLY IF credit is given to californiacoasterkings.com. Thank you! –
Fussy and/or low capacity rides not featured on FastLane were our first priority. This includes Wonder Mountain Guardian, which turned out to be largely unimpressive by the standards of a shooting dark ride, but actually pretty decent by the standards of a family roller coaster. Cred #1 is done!
Cred #2: The bewilderingly popular but undoubtedly charming Bat, a 1987 Vekoma Boomerang that runs an Arrow train originally commissioned for the park’s custom Arrow looper, Dragon Fire. More on that later.
Next we took on some of the park’s kiddie creds. Of the four ex-Paramount Park junior wooden coasters, CW’s is the only one left that still bares the name Ghoster Coaster, which harkens dates to its Scooby-Doo days. Cred #3!
In fact, the most popular Cedar Fair kiddie coaster monikers (Woodstock’s Express, Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbies, and Flying Ace Aerial Chase) are all absent here. The Vekoma Jr. Inverts at Carowinds and Kings Island opened as Rugrats Runaway Reptar before becoming Flying Ace, but CW’s has always been known as Silver Streak (despite being purple in color). You can see cred #4 poking through the trees on the right.
Fly is Cred #5 of the day. An unlikely-monikered family favorite (not a flying coaster, but rather, a wild mouse themed to a…common house fly…?), this “Large Park” Mack Wild Maus model is actually a CW original; before there was Coast Rider, Ricochet, or the menagerie of Legoland Technic Coaster / Project X installs, there was Canada’s Wonderland and their impressive mouse coaster themed to a different kind of pest.
My beloved Kings Island Bat is cloned from this ride; while designed specifically for this park (the lift hill into Wonder Mountain and the ferocious flight over the lake certainly reflect the deliberate execution of its layout), the awkwardly aloof positioning of the Kings Island install (well beyond the treeline and the nearest midway) is too charming to deny.
As a whole, Canada’s Wonderland is a watered-down Kings Island to me. The rockstar suspended coaster and knock-out kiddie areas are here, but when you stack up the two parks’ collections of wooden coasters and below-the-track coasters, there’s really no comparison.
It’s not Wonderland’s fault, though. It was the Paramount Parks workhorse despite getting the short end of the coaster stick all these years. Creds #9 and #10 are great representations of both eras of ownership: Backlot Stunt Coaster personifies the small-potatoes investments Paramount made despite the park’s potential, while Behemoth, (built literally as soon as humanly possible after the Cedar Fair acquisition) is a manifestation of that potential.
The ex-Paramount Parks share many parallels (especially Kings Dominion, Kings Island, and Canada’s Wonderland – the ones built from the ground up by Taft Broadcasting), but all ex-Paramounts are not equal. Since its inception, Wonderland has been carefully carving out an interesting niche for itself.
While other parks (competitors and sister parks alike) focused on the coaster wars, Canada’s Wonderland built up an arsenal of remarkable thrill rides. The last remaining Huss SkyLab (giant Enterprise) and the world’s only Huss Jump 2 (the notorious and mechanically challenged Sledgehammer) are just the tip of the iceberg.
Oh, and cred #11 is the troubled Mighty Canadian Minebuster. A recreation of Coney Island Cincinatti’s defunct Shooting Star (a labor of love for the Cinci-based Taft park operation), Minebuster is the medium-sized-coaster-that-couldn’t. It really does try, but a jackhammer ride through the water park leaves little room for accolades (though the retracked final helix offers a glimmer of hope).
*insert platitude of acclaim here*
No, but seriously. Leviathan is excellent. Very good and unique to Fury 325 despite their obvious similarities. It almost makes me wish Fury had just *one* large camelback hump (but hey, that’s what Intimidator is for). Also, shoutout to Riptide for being one of, like, 3 Mondial Splashovers ever built.
Cred #13 is the delightful Dragon Fire. The size comparison of the petite Arrow looper and its B&M buddy remind me of how Colossus at Magic Mountain looked the year Goliath opened. (Fun Fact: there’s only one Arrow Dynamics coaster with counter-clockwise corkscrews, and you’re looking at it)
Cred #14 is Wild Beast. It’s one of four coasters built by Taft to the tune of Cincinnati Coney Island’s other woodie, Wildcat. Kings Dominion’s Grizzly is lauded as the best, Great America’s Grizzly is largely regarded as the worst, and Wild Beast comes to rest in its own little purgatory of mediocrity.
Well. Not for me. We rode this earlier in the day, actually. Sean counts powereds, I don’t. Whether you count it as a credit or not, it’s a really charming ride. Lots of surprises inside Wonder Mountain!
*we interrupt this program to bring you MORE VORTEX*
Credit #16 (for Sean):
The last credit procured was Taxi Jam. We were able to procure a kid for Sean so that he could get the credit, but I wasn’t so lucky. Long lines for the little coaster didn’t help. Maybe I’ll get it next time.
(Sean: But now we think about it… this empty grass plot is the perfect size for an RMC Raptor, like RailBlazer coming to California’s Great America… lowkey #confirmed 😛 )
(oh, and a Windseeker)
New for 2017! Soaring Timbers! The only Mondial Airwolf in the Western Hemisphere! And I think it’s the only one situated at a stationary park (it’s a custom modification from a standard traveling fair model).
The ride program is a little mild, getting into the seats/harnesses are a tight squeeze, and dispatches suck (the restraint checking process involves the ride operator jumping around to the different rows to check seatbelts; a holdover from oddball funfair standards), but I still actually managed to enjoy the experience. It looks cool too! Photos don’t do the custom LED light package justice.
Tomorrow is our last hurrah! We seal the deal on our Northeast takeover with a visit to Canada park #2 of the trip: Marineland in Niagara Falls!.
Here’s the parks we’ve visited and will launch reports for! The names will become links as soon as they are live!