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Archive for June 23rd, 2008

The lifthill and first corkscrew on the Canobie Corkscrew.Park: Canobie Lake Park
          Salem, NH
Manufacturer: Arrow
Model: Corkscrew
Structure: Steel
Height: 73 feet
Speed: 45 mph
Length: 1,250 feet
Inversions: 2
Elements: Double corkscrew

History: Originally, the Canobie Corkscrew was located in Chicago at Old Chicago, an amusement park/shopping complex. Here it was called the Chicago Loop. Unfortunately the complex closed in 1980, suffering from multiple accidents and competition from Marriott’s Great America nearby. The coaster was then shipped to the Alabama State Fairgrounds in Birmingham, AL under the simple name Corkscrew until 1986. The ride was then sold to Canobie Lake Park, where it has operated ever since. At one point, it was refurbished by OD Hopkins. Currently, the Canobie Corkscrew is the only steel coaster at the park, and is the only ride at Canobie that inverts its riders.

Review: The Canobie Corkscrew is located in a picturesque spot towards the back of the park. In front of it is the Xtreme Frisbee, to the back the Castaway Island water play structure and the lake. As you head for the entrance, the well manicured grounds hit you – Canobie has made this simple coaster that can oftentimes be an eyesore at other locations into an aesthetically pleasing ride. The entrance is directly beneath the second corkscrew, offering some pretty cool opportunities for photos.

The station and que line are very basic, nothing noteworthy to write about, other than the fact that you do get to choose your own seat. Since the ride is so short, the coaster only has one train. Loading times were a tad slow, but not overly bad – the crews were just taking their times with the restraints. The line is generally always moving – if there ever is one.

There really aren’t any surprises with this one. The ride is quick, the first drop is a bit surprising, and the corkscrews are a little too bumpy to be really fun. However, as one of the ‘signature’ attractions Canobie has to offer the teen/adult group, it is a fairly popular ride on busy days (although it still doesn’t hold a candle to the Yankee Cannonball or Xtreme Frisbee in terms of wait times). Overall just another standard Arrow corkscrew coaster, it probably just looks a little better than most of the others.

Grade: 4/10

Pictures from: 6/20/08

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Finally, school is out and theme park season has finally begun (for me, anyway)! In the past several years I have kind of ‘drifted’ away from theme parks…for example last year, the only park that I made it to was Canobie once, and the next time I got to a park was last week when me and my best friend took a senior graduation trip to Universal Orlando, it was there that I was reminded of how much fun theme parks were.

I chose to go back up to Canobie on a Friday kinda at the last minute, so it was just me…everyone else already had plans. I didn’t get going until later than I had wanted because I had to help my mom with some things around the house that needed to get done. I left at about 11:45, and got there at about 12:30. That left me about five hours at the most…and rain was threatening for later in the day, so I went in with the mindset that I had to be efficient and choose my rides wisely. This also meant that I wasn’t able to spend a ton of time snapping pics, so apologize if they appear rushed and/or sparse.

When I got there, the parking lot was pretty crowded (it looked like there were A LOT of school groups there) so that was a little discouraging, but I later figured out that most of these kids had packed themselves into the Castaway Island area of the park, so the rest of the park wasn’t packed (there were still a fair amount of people out at the park though). I paid my $30 (a little higher than I remember, but still pretty reasonable) and got in. I really wish Canobie would offer some kind of season pass, I would be able to afford to go many more times a year if I had one.

I immediately took a left and headed for the Canobie Village section of the park. I headed to the back and got in line for the Mine of Lost Souls dark ride. This would be my longest wait of the day (about 30 minutes), and part of that was because of the number of empty seats that were on each car when they were dispatched. It was common to see a full bench empty, and when I got on, it was me and three empty seats. It was a little disappointing to see so many empty seats, as it greatly increased the wait times.

Anyway, I still enjoyed my ride. It’s easy to tell that this is one of the older versions of Sally’s dark rides, but it’s OK, it’s still quirky and fun – the only thing is that I will never understand how the whole mummy scene fits in with the mine/grim reaper theme. Overall though, it’s still a fun ride.

The Mine of Lost Souls dark ride.

After I got off the Mine Ride (the scariest thing about it was probably the ride attendant who stood there and stared at you awkwardly in the shadows as you emerged from the mine and back to the loading area) I walked next door to the Timber Splash Water Coaster. I checked out the line and, based on what I remember of the ride, it wouldn’t be worth waiting. I’m not a huge waterslide guy anyway, but I still snapped a photo for your enjoyment:

The Timber Splash Water Coaster, just a fancy name for waterslides.

My next ride of the day had to be the Pirata. I really do enjoy these rides…especially if I can get the back rows. I seemed to time it perfectly, as I got in the short line just as the ride before mine was ending, so there really wasn’t any wait. I was able to snag the row second to the end, so I was pretty happy. While I enjoyed it, the cycle was pretty short. It seemed like the ride only gave us two or three full swings and then we were done. Even the version at my local July 4th carnival had a better cycle than that one. No big deal though, I still enjoyed it.

Pirata pirate ship ride.

Now besides roller coasters, the thing that like the most at theme parks are the water rides, specifically the log flumes. My next ride of the day was the Policy Pond Log Flume ride. The wait was quick, mostly due to the fact that the ride ops made sure that most every boat was filled to capacity. While not amazing like the ones at Disney and Universal, it is a pretty good one that fits really well with the character of the park. I didn’t get too wet, and I still really enjoyed the ride. It was hear that I encountered the nicest staff members of the trip, which is saying something since, for the most part, the ride ops and other staff members are all nice people. Some shots:

The startion for the Policy Pond Log Flume. The wood came from trees cleared for the ride.

The final drop of the Policy Pond Log Flume.

Notice how a majority of the ride is built into the ground.

Next up was the parks’ newest addition, the Xtreme Frisbee! While the ride looked pretty tacky and very much like an attraction you’d see at a carnival, it was still very enjoyable due to the awesome program that they were running. It was long featuring many swings and a lot of spinning. It more than made up for the short cycle on Pirata – it may have been the best ride of the day. The line was kinda long, but it was well worth for the very long ride.

One of the better rides at Canobie, Xtreme Frisbee has a variety of different programs that run at random times.

By now I was getting very hungry so I took a break from rides and decided to get some food. I walked through the park and eventually decided to grab a chicken quesadilla at the Poncho Cantina. While it may not have been the best looking food, it was actually pretty good. I’ll have to come back next time I am at the park.

The Poncho Cantina offers some decent Mexican food (by a theme parks' standards.

Now back to the rides. It was now time for my first coaster credit of the day, the Canobie Corkscrew. It is a typical Arrow corkscrew coaster, so there really isn’t a whole lot to look forward to. I was able to sneak into the back seat. The quick ride boxed my ears around a bit, but hey, it was still a coaster. At least the ride ops seemed to be really cool guys that were fairly enthusiastic. Photos:

The first drop on the Canobie Corkscrew.

The lifthill and first corkscrew on the Canobie Corkscrew.

The station for the Canobie Corkscrew.

The first corkscrew through the trees.

The final turnaround into the breakrun on the Canobie Corkscrew.

With my ears a bit sore, I decided to hit up the Turkish Twist just down the pathway. This is basically a Rotor with a little theming. I enjoyed this ride a fair amount, and it helped that they were playing some pretty good music while on the ride. I can’t for the life of me remember the name…but it was a good one.

The Turkish Twist.

After the quick ride (I emphasize quick) I made my way down to the Boston Tea Party section of the park. I was debating whether or not to ride it, and when I got there and it appeared that the ride was closed, it sealed the deal…i was gonna skip it (it did reopen shortly thereafter, however).

The Boston Tea Party broke down briefly during the day.

An overview of the Boston Tea Party. The tube is to prevent screams from disturbing the neighbors.

It also appeared as if the park had found their replacement for the Ocean Trip ride that is basically right across from the Boston Tea Party. In my opinion, it looks better than the old bright Ocean Trip. The duller colors allow it to fit in more with its surroundings. The sign is pretty tough to look at, however.

The new Boston Harbor Patrol has replaced the old Ocean Trip that used to occupy this spot.

My next ride of the day was also one that is relatively new to Canobie. The Skater ride (which has taken the place of the old Paratroopers ride) looks pretty good. I have never ridden this, or any ride like it for that matter. On the whole, I thought it was pretty good. I still wish that they had found some way to keep the Paratroopers, however.

The Skater ride that now sits on the plot of the old Paratroopers ride.

Next up was Psycho Drome, located at the very back of the park. Before I go on, one thing that I noticed about this area was that it is pretty dull. There really is no draw. The old spaceship simulator thing (which is closed), the Canobie Mall, and Psycho Drome are all back there, none of which really excite many people. I would really like to see them add there next big attraction back in that area of the park – just to liven it up a bit.

Back to Psycho Drome, I was pretty disappointed this time around. I remember getting a pretty good ride on it a couple years ago. This time around, the lights were on inside the dome, and the ride cycle was pretty short. No matter what kind of music or what type of strobe lights you have, if the lights are still on, it kind of ruins the atmosphere of the ride. I wonder why they would leave it on, since it was a good ride before the park decided to do this.

The Psycho Drome was underperforming on this visit.

I then made my way over to the Starblaster S&S tower ride. It is a small tower that packs a punch. What’s great about it is that it is a double shot tower, rather than a simple single launch or a single drop. For that reason, I actually like this one a lot more than some of the other ones around that, while significantly taller, run the simpler single shot programs. Just my opinion.

Starblaster...this was taken just before it started to rain.

Now it was time for the main attraction the park has to offer: The Yankee Cannonball. I wanted to ride it earlier, but the ride was very long so I elected to pass and come back later. By this time, the line had shortened somewhat, so I think that it was a good move.

It was about a 25 minute wait, so it wasn’t too bad. When I got into the station, there was only one seat left in the front row…damn. This was my first ride in the very front row for the Cannonball, so I was actually pretty excited. I had a pretty good ride, it was smooth, and there was some pretty good floating air throughout the dogleg out-and-back layout. There were a couple moments of more drastic air as well, which was really fun. The only downside was that next to me was a girl who seemed to get really mad at me when I tried to put my hands up. That was a bit of a buzzkill.

Yankee Cannonball's station.

The lift hill for the Yankee Cannonball.

The back half of the Yankee Cannonball from the parking lot.

After a good ride on the Cannonball, I headed over to Zero Gravity. This newer Round-Up ride replaced the older one that they had there last season. Overall, the area actually looks really good I was only able to get an overall shot of the ride (rain clouds were starting to roll in) but the landscaping and some of the minor theming was actually pretty good. As for the actual ride, I didn’t really sense a huge difference, which is good, because I like the Round-Up that was there before.

Zero Gravity is just an updated version of the old Round-Up ride that was here for so long.

At this point, it was drizzling. My last ride of the day was Wipeout. As soon as the ride started, it began to rain pretty hard. While the ride itself was actually really fun, it wasn’t great having rain drops smack you in the face. However, that didn’t spoil the ride. I don’t have a photo of it because I didn’t feel like standing out in what was now pouring rain to get my camera out and take a shot. I was going to try and wait it out and maybe squeeze in a couple more rides (particularly on the Cannonball), but then the lightning started to roll in, so I decided it was about time to leave (it was 4:30 and I had to leave at 5:15 anyway).

Other than the weather that spoiled the final 45 minutes of my trip, this was a pretty good experience. I really had a great time. Lines were for the most part very manageable, the staff was nice, and the park was well maintained. Canobie was just as good as I remembered it, and I hope to return several times throughout the summer!

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