June 24, 2017 Trip Report

Trip Notes

To me, today was the true start of the summer season at Wonderland. There was the first special event with Brew & BBQ, as well as several live entertainment shows starting for the season. With all of that, I decided to do a full open-to-close day at the park which I rarely do.

There are two new Canada 150 signs on either side of the floral flag that make for a great photo spot.

I don’t know how to feel about Soaring Timbers anymore. Every week, it’s something different. After it’s nice comeback last weekend, it’s back to the non-flipping version of itself again.

Loading is still silly sometimes. On one occasion, no one told each pre-load lane to follow one another so as soon as the attendant gestured to the first lane to come in, ALL of the lanes rushed each other onto the platform. There were people standing around confused once we were on the platform as people were mixing up their assigned rows.

After Soaring Timbers, I headed into Action Zone for some rides.

Action Zone is where Brew and BBQ was happening. It’s a lot more lax when it comes to the set up, at least compared to what I saw at the Food Truck Festival last year. There aren’t any barriers and it’s easier to get in and out of the area. It does get a bit tight when the lines for food build up though.

I like that every food item is the same price so you don’t have to go through the options first and then budget for what you want. I got the 8 tokens and beer mug and an additional 5 tokens. While waiting in line for tokens, there are staff checking ID and giving wristbands to those who are going to drink.

The line for tokens was one of those that kept blocking the path. It might have worked better if the token booth was outside of the actual event area, maybe closer to Kingswood or something.

I don’t normally drink since I’m not really a fan of beer, but I decided to go for it anyway. My first drink was the Head Stock from Nickel Brook Brewing.

My second drink was the Original Ironwood Hard Cider. This was my favorite for the day.

My last drink for the day was the Canuck from Great Lakes Brewing.

I’m still not a fan of beer after this but it was a good feeling to get into the spirit of the event!

The dive shows are back for the season with the Victoria Falls High Dive Show at WonderMountain and the Flying Frontenacs at Arthur’s Baye. I really enjoyed the theme of the Flying Frontenacs show, with improvements to the set and their Mountie costumes.

After mostly just hovering around all day, the sun was setting so lights around the park started coming on!

Soaring Timbers looks so strange at night. It definitely shows its carny side with the abundance of multi-colored LEDs. The flood lights on the base of the ride are very bright so it’s a little painful to look at at certain angles.

As I headed out from Medieval Faire to International Street to get a spot for Starlight, I noticed the fountains going off and on a couple times and doing this.

Before the show, it’s set up with a Canada flag set. In previous years, it would have a Starlight Spectacular logo.

The show was great and I’m glad I stayed for it. A few thoughts:

  • It’s obvious that they’ve stuck to the formula that everyone likes, with hints from the original 2011 show that people seemed to like the most… The similar soundtrack. The “scary” lightning scene. The mountain crumbling and building itself up. And then the blatant recycling of the finale. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. I just thought it was a bit humorous being able to see the similarities.
  • I think there’s supposed to be another laser on the other side of the mountain that didn’t go on during the show. I also spotted some fog machines (similar to what’s used during Halloween Haunt) along the Royal Fountains but they weren’t used tonight.
  • All of the elements of the show worked really well together. I thought the new fountains were awkwardly shoe-horned into the show last year but they definitely fit in with the new show.

If I were to rank the different versions of the show, I’d call it a tie with the original 2011 version. I hope to get catch the show again soon!

Lunch/Diner

At Brew and BBQ, I got the ribs and wings which came with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. The corn and potatoes were great. The coleslaw was a bit wet for my liking. The size of the ribs and wings was big, which made it a good value considering this was equivalent to $7 in tokens. They weren’t the best ribs I’ve had before, but they definitely weren’t the worst.

Later in the day, I decided to get the veggie burger again from Backlot Cafe.

I’m not too disappointed but it wasn’t as good as the first one I had. For some reason, it was dressed with lettuce, onions, pickles, and a mayo sauce, instead of garden greens and tomatoes. Quality is never really an issue at Backlot but sometimes consistency is.

The potato wedges were better though!

Trip Video

June 18, 2017 Trip Report

CW Notes

The weather forecast was calling for high temperatures and thunderstorms later in the day so I was a bit pessimistic about how the day would go. Spoiler alert: It was awesome.

I missed the 760 Wonderland bus so it took me slightly longer to get to the park this morning. As I arrived, Snoopy was orchestrating the Royal Fountains.

Leviathan never had more than a staircase wait all day so I got more rides on it than I usually do. It’s a great ride and I’m finding myself graying out at the bottom of the first drop when I sit in the back row.

There are a lot more of these Canada 150 signs all around Medieval Faire.

The Arthur’s Baye structure (does it actually have a name?) looks great! It’s probably the best look it’s had ever had as the boxes that the performers jump in/out/on top of has a texture that works well with the scene.

When I made my way over to Soaring Timbers, they were doing some work on it. It’s such bad luck that it’s missed every Early Ride Time slot its been scheduled for since the season’s started.

I continued my usual routine into Action Zone. The Weird Gondola on Sledgehammer that I talked about in my last trip report was ready for riders when it opened for the day. After seeing it going down a few times, I saw they later took that gondola out of service, including disabling its rotation. I didn’t see the ride go down after that so I wonder what effect it actually has on it…

After having lunch, I took my walk around through the back of the park.

White Water Canyon is set in such a nice area. I don’t know why people want to run a coaster through it.

The Chippery got an updated sign for its new name.

The other graphics around the stall are the same. I quite like the funky weird faces.

As I was walking out of Planet Snoopy toward Shockwave, I noticed Soaring Timbers was running. I rushed over to discover that it had opened up!

I’m happy to report it’s running great again. I don’t think it’s quite how it was but it’s still very satisfying. It can vary between cycles. Gondolas are flipping again. If they don’t, they at least have some crazy side-to-side action. There was one fun cycle I was on where our gondola hung upside down for what seemed like the entire arm rotation downward. I ended up marathoning on it for about an hour and a half. Unlike every other visit, overheard reviews of the ride seemed to be more positive. I think they’ve got the ride in a good spot.

I left Soaring Timbers just because I thought it was about to rain so I wanted to hover around somewhere else where there would be quick escape to shelter. The rain never did come so I ended up back at Behemoth, which was still a walk-on.

I’ll save you from another rant about drink plan cups.

I tried the Purple Splash again and it turns out there is a regular version. It’s still not as sweet as I would have expected a soft drink to be but it’s alright. It’s not my favorite drink out of the Freestyle machines though… That would be lemon Fuze iced tea.

The Funpix station near WonderMountain looks like it’s ready to go.

Stand here to take your selfie… but then you’re not taking the picture so is it really a selfie?

Lunch/Diner

Since I’m a cheapo and not quite ready to start trying the extra charge upgrade meals on the season meal plan, I went for the Black Bean Veggie Burger from Backlot Cafe, the only burger there that doesn’t have the upgrade fee. I was a bit unsure about whether I would like it or not, so I’m very happy to say that this may be another go-to meal because it is awesome!

The patty itself is made up of black beans, corn, and some other stuff I can’t remember. It had a very nice seasoning which went well with the greens, tomato, and the sauce they have on it. It seriously rivals the traditional beef burger at the park (even the very good one I had at Thrill Burger recently) as it’s tasty but doesn’t feel as “heavy” going down since it’s all veggie.

This was also my opportunity to try the new spiral potato wedges at Backlot, which replaces the typical fries everywhere else around the park. They were hot and fresh. It’s not really a complaint but it could have used some more salt, which is surprising since oversalting is usually the problem.

Before I left, I picked up two pizza slices and fries from the International Street Pizza Pizza. Silly me tried balancing everything while getting out my season pass so I ended up spilling the fries everywhere. I managed to salvage about half. Anyways, the slices and fries were well cooked and, I gotta say, it’s a lot of food for one person… That’s definitely NOT a complaint!

Soaring Timbers Video

June 11, 2017 Trip Report

CW Notes

Today was one of the first really hot days of the season. I was happy to finally get back to wearing a t-shirt and shorts to the park after all of those dreadful cold visits!

There was Early Ride Time for season pass holders in the Leviathan area. Since I tend to skip Leviathan most of the time because of long waits, I made my way there quickly as I arrived at the park in the last minutes of ERT. It was a staircase wait for me but the switchbacks were starting to fill up when I was getting off as the park opened to the public.

My next stop was Soaring Timbers. They’ve added some planter boxes around the top of the waterfall with cattails in them. It blocks the view of the platform but I like the amount of effort they’re putting into the theming around the ride.

They added a caged ladder at the back of the ride going up to the arm’s motor compartment. There are some support beams sticking out that I’m guessing will support a catwalk.

I don’t know if it’s luck in the way the gondolas are balanced with people or if the ride is adjusting the way it runs between cycles but there were a few times I was watching where one of the gondolas actually completed a full flip. Most of the day, though, it was still doing its slow non-flipply thing.

I’d like to think that it will eventually get a better cycle but I’ll always take a ride on it every time anyway.

This weird gondola on Sledgehammer was easily the highlight of my visit. The damper that controls the angle of the gondolas took much longer than normal to level out the gondola after each jump. With the last jump and drop so close together, the last drop looked like what’s pictured above. It threw me off the first time I noticed it because it looked so unnatural… so naturally, I had to try it!

It’s gondola #3, the one closest to the exit gate. When it jumps, the gondola is still spinning like in the picture for several rotations. Everyone on the gondola was loving it, taking turns falling into their restraint with their feet hanging out as they spun to face the ground. I loved the last drop because it’s so different to what it normally feels like. It was so much fun that I hope they don’t change it.

You can see it in action at the end of the trip video, linked at the end of this post.

Arthur’s Baye continues to get into the Canada 150 spirit with more red paint and a couple of these Canada 150 signs in the area.

I was recording a cycle at Riptide when it stopped at the top. When I got home and reviewed the footage, you could see the two forks out of sync and the ride trying to get them back aligned. I never looked at it that closely before so it was very interesting to see. In the trip video, you can see it at around 6:00.

I finally got my hands on the Purple Splash drink at the Freestyle machine at the Alpen Refresh Center. This is an exclusive drink that’s only available at Wonderland. I believe it only comes in a no-calorie version. That’s probably why it’s not too sweet, which is good. I’m probably wrong but it’s sort of like mostly grape but maybe with some lemon. I don’t know, I’m bad at this.

While we’re on the topic of drinks, the adventures with the drink plan continues. The Behemoth Freestyle stall didn’t have the small drink plan cups so I was denied a drink from there and was told to go to Coasters. There are still restaurants and Refresh Centers giving out regular-sized and even large cups. I also still have two drink plans on my season pass for some reason.

Thanks for reading!

Lunch/Dinner

I decided to try the chicken tenders and fries from Chicken Shack, instead of my usual chicken nuggets. As expected, it’s an excellent meal with nice pieces of chicken. The seasoning does have a hint of paprika (I think) which gives it a different taste to the nuggets. However, the thinner cuts of chicken and perhaps the way it was cooked makes the tenders really dry so you’ll likely want to dip them in ketchup or whatever sauce they give you (they’re always quick to give you sweet and sour for some reason). Whenever I get the nuggets, I have no problem eating them plain as they’re thicker and usually juicy. All in all, the quality and seasoning makes this a meal I’d get again!

Also, I have to mention that this is one of the most expensive meals at the park, listed at $18.99. I would have never gotten this if I didn’t have the meal plan.

Trip Video

June 4, 2017 Trip Report

CW Notes

OpenCam_20170604_134629

With the website drama unfolding, I was in a rough mood heading to the park. I was excited to check out Soaring Timbers though, which had reopened earlier in the week after being down for repairs.

IMG_0003

It was a bit chilly and raining as I got to the park but the weather improved as soon as I entered the gates.

IMG_0002

The ad banners for Brew & BBQ are up on International Street. I’m really excited to visit during that event since I missed it last year. I don’t really like beer but food and live music is always nice!

OpenCam_20170604_100534

My first stop was Soaring Timbers. I was fourth in line behind a group. We were told by the attendant that we’d have to wait for at least another six people to show up, making it at least ten on board. This was a rule that was in place when I first rode the ride a few weeks ago. I’m not really sure what the reason is.

OpenCam_20170604_101137

Since it didn’t seem like anyone else would get in line, I decided to take a walk down to Sledgehammer and Behemoth where I got a couple rides in.

I eventually made my way back to Soaring Timbers. After a couple rides, it went back to waiting for 10 people.

I’m disappointed by how tame the ride has become. It’s slower and rotates in a way that makes it difficult for the gondolas to complete a full flip. It had a couple of those nice moments going face first toward the ground, but it felt underwhelming that it would never actually make that full rotation over.

As I was boarding Vortex, I got a tweet about Soaring Timbers from Iain on Twitter. I realized he was the other single rider that was on Soaring Timbers. I introduced myself and we spent a few hours hitting some rides, including three runs on Leviathan which was a walk-on.

IMG_0019

I skipped Skyhawk the past couple of visits so it was nice to get a good run on it. 31 flips, and I have a witness!

OpenCam_20170604_120553

After Iain left, I did some walking around. There’s a new Booster Juice truck near Flight Deck, which replaces the generic snack stall.

IMG_0016

The Arthur’s Baye structure got a little bit more red to it with new red drapes on the bottom. They were previously white.

OpenCam_20170604_095140

With the website stuff on my mind, I felt like leaving early to get it all sorted out at home. It was a short visit to mark my 10th for the season. I can’t wait to get back next weekend.

Lunch/DinnerOpenCam_20170604_121301

I tried the pork souvlaki at Backlot Cafe. It comes with potatoes (or you can get lemon rice instead), greek salad, pita bread, and tzatziki sauce.

The meat itself was very nice. (I wish they gave you at least one more stick though.) The rest of the meal wasn’t very good. The potatoes were really dry. As for the salad, I was expecting something light like cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and feta… not bell peppers and beans. An hour after I ate this meal, let’s just say I found myself rushing to the washroom. Sorry to say, this is not something I’d get again.

The State of CoasterCircuits

I think this is blog #3 for CoasterCircuits. It’s not my fault this time.

The Timeline of Events

Here’s what happened on Sunday, June 4, 2017:

7am: CoasterCircuits.com is compromised. The blog homepage displays a “ransomware” style message. The rest of my websites are inaccessible.

8am: I receive a notification on my phone that it cannot log into my email accounts I have with the websites. In addition to having all of my files encrypted/corrupted, they somehow managed to delete my email accounts. This is the point I found out about what had happened.

8:10am: Leave for Wonderland because Wonderland.

4pm: Call webhost support line. Their backups of my websites were made after the attack had happened so I couldn’t pay for them to have it restored to a proper state, not like I would have shelled out $150 for it anyway. I was given the option to reset my entire hosting account, which would delete everything on it.

In the end, I decided to delete everything and cancel my hosting package altogether.

In Memoriam

MWHProjects.com website 🌹

MWHProjects/CoasterCircuits Photo Gallery 🌹

Canada’s Wonderland Source website 🌹

And all my other websites that have been forgotten 🌹

What’s the Plan?

MWHProjects and CoasterCircuits will live on as blogs, hosted at WordPress.com because I have no confidence in self-hosting a WP blog anymore. My two .com domain names will redirect you. Update: All 2017 trip reports have been restored, thanks to them being cached by Google!

I’d like to bring back a photo gallery to share my Wonderland trip pictures again but I’m unsure of where to go for that right now. Stay tuned.

Thank you for visiting.

May 27 & 28 Trip Report

Trip Notes

Saturday, May 27, 2017

After seeing Soaring Timbers out of service last weekend, I was hoping to see it open or at least some progress on it. There was lots going on at the ride as they try to get it back in proper order. I spotted the motor sitting behind the ride.

I was told last weekend that they were waiting on a part that had broken. I suspect the part on the forklift is the one they were replacing because it was wrapped in plastic earlier in the day in the first picture.

Throughout the day, they were up and down, tending to the motor area.

Splashworks opened for the season and it looks very nice! There are some nice landscaping additions and this new seating area that looks out at Muskoka Plunge. I don’t think Muskoka Plunge actually opened this weekend though.

There’s a new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream truck at the new patio area near Minebuster where the basketball game used to be.

I noticed these small no smoking signs at a lot of the patios around the park.

Flowers are starting to be planted around the park.

The floral flag is back with “150” written in the middle of the maple leaf to celebrate Canada 150.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

There was Leviathan ERT this morning. I was in line a few minutes before the park opened so I was able to walk on.

Over at Timbers, I was happy to see the motor back in place!

By the afternoon, they got it slowly going around. I hope everything works out so that we’ll be riding Soaring Timbers again next week!

While I was hanging around the ride, there were a lot of people pointing at it and saying it looks like fun. I’m excited to ride it again but also for other people to ride it for the first time!

By the time Saturday comes around, I’m desperate to get to the park so I actually go. Those visits are hectic, waiting in lines and dodging people and the lines that spill out into the midway. Sometimes, I forget how nice Sundays can be. The weather was great today and the crowds were still very manageable.

As I was leaving, Snoopy’s Symphony of Water was going on. I personally like watching the show from the sides but it takes better pictures from the front like above.

Lunch / Diner

I decided to try something from Alpen Cheesery, the mac and cheese place that was new last year. Everything is already prepared ahead of time but the macaroni is reheated in individual pans for each order. I got the chilli mac and cheese and added cheddar on top. You have the option to add mozzarella and parmasan too. It was delicious but I think it was responsible for messing up my stomach because of how rich it is with all the cheese, cream, and oils. I still want to give the other mac and cheese varieties a try though. I really wish they would do these varieties with fries instead at Hot Potato, and add it to the dining plan of course!

For dinner, I had nuggets and fries from Riverside Snacks because everywhere else was so busy.

On Sunday, I decided to try the cheeseburger from Thrill Burger this time. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the beef patty, which was far superior to the ones at Coasters. My only issue was that it was sitting under a heat lamp for a bit too long that the bottom bun got stiff and the lettuce turned mushy. Still better than the Coasters burger.

With the good experience with the cheeseburger earlier at Thrill Burger, I went back again and had the crispy chicken burger. It’s a good sized piece of chicken with good toppings. I hope these two things at Thrill Burger stay consistent because I’ll be back for more later!

May 20 & 22 Trip Report

Trip Notes

Saturday, May 20, 2017

It was a gorgeous day to start off the Victoria Day long weekend! The air was still cool so sweaters and jackets were still on, but it was great to finally sport the sunglasses.

I headed to Soaring Timbers first. To my surprise, it was actually closed. The hatch was open, which was a bit strange since they never had it open during its testing phase.

Later in the day, I saw that the gondola was rotated and chained down. I thought that was interesting…. This story continues later on in this post.

A nice alternative to Soaring Timbers is Shockwave, which is not too far away and has been under our noses since 2001. It’s a very fun ride running a nice forceful cycle, even in the inside seats.

When I got in line, the grouper/preload attendant was clearly new. Shockwave has two pre-loading areas so it makes people load onto the ride platform in different directions. This attendant was loading a full cycle’s worth of people into each preload queue, instead of half and half. As we stood watching everyone in the other preload queue board, we saw the operator tell her to stop loading so many people.

Snoopy’s Symphony of Water debuted on Friday. The fountains that move weren’t on so there were parts of the show where nothing was happening. Kudos to Snoopy for still staying in the spirit even when the fountains weren’t listening!

I’ll save my opinion on Wonder Mountain’s Guardian for another day but I found it interesting seeing the 3D glasses on the ground a few times already this season. When I rode it the one time last season, they collected the glasses before we were out of our seats.

I saw some work being done on the Freestyle refill station near Behemoth over the last visits. It was open this weekend and it was great to see the new configuration. Before, it was just two Freestyle machines behind the cashier so it was a mess with people trying to move in and out from behind the register. I’m glad that it has a better flow to it now, along with more capacity with two sets of regular fountains.

The park map lists a new International Street “Craft Chippery & Pretzel”. I haven’t seen any signage for it but I did spot this menu this weekend that includes pretzels. I assume some more work on the new location will be done swiftly like Timbers BBQ and La Cantina.

On the topic of food, Backlot Cafe finally added the burgers in the American station to the dining plan, except they all have a $2 upgrade fee except for the veggie. It’s a bit of a bummer but, since I’ve already made up the value of the dining plan I feel a little more inclined to start upgrading. I love those bison burgers.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Soaring Timbers looked even worse when I showed up on Monday. It was covered with a tarp, probably hastily put on for the rain that came the day before (which cancelled the Victoria Day fireworks).

They removed the main arm motor and it’s likely been sent off for repairs (if not, some other part that the motor must be removed to get to). It was really sad to see wires hanging out and in disarray. I hope it makes a speedy recovery because I’m craving another ride on it.

They added graphics to that mystery machine on International Street I spotted on opening day. It’s a FunPix station that lets you pose up in front of Wonder Mountain. Personally, I don’t really get the point since everyone’s carrying around a smartphone these days.

Wonderland was celebrating it’s 36th anniversary on Victoria Day (though it’s birthday is actually the next day on May 23). They had street performers, including this woman with a glass ball.

Also, a super tall Mountie.

They had free cake for guests like they did last year.

The Peanuts Dance Party was pretty fun! It had the same soundtrack as last year but I found people really got into it this time around. Check out the trip video below for some scenes from the party!

Lunch / Diner

On Saturday, I had the curry beef from Backlot. It’s 2/2 for this meal — It’s great! Next time I get it, though, I’ll have to ask for some extra gravy over the rice. The first person who served this meal to me did that without me asking.

Later on, I had the meat lasagna, again at Backlot. (Sometimes, when other food places are in a rush, Backlot can be quick. Sometimes.) I don’t like to be too picky but I’ll say that it was a bit on the salty side and it could use some more meat… but it’s still something I’d get again as it was well cooked (that cheese crisp!), cheesy, and that full layer of ricotta cheese was excellent.

On Sunday, I had a chicken nugget basket from Chicken Shack. Perfect as always. I didn’t bother taking a picture since it’s the sort of thing that looks exactly the same every time… and I’d rather accumulate pictures of Sledgehammer than pictures of chicken nuggets.

Trip Video