July 23, 2017 Trip Report

Trip Notes

I arrived at the park just after opening. The weather was overcast with one or two short periods of drizzle during the day.

I never really noticed the show guides available at the front gate this season until today. A couple new things I took note of: Taste of Italy and Greece events will be at Arthur’s Baye instead of Action Zone where they’ve been in the past. The other thing is that Oktoberfest will be on two September weekends (16/17, 23/24) instead of just one.

The Freestyle Ski Aerials show seems more like a “filler” show than anything else, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It felt like it was over very quickly, but it’s a fun little event to stop for a bit and watch.

The Great Canadian Fiddle Show fills Celebration Plaza with great music!

Here is the menu for the Celebration Plaza food stalls for the rest of the month. I haven’t purchased any meals in Celebration Plaza so far since I’ve got the meal plan.

Riptide is back up and running. I rode it for the first time in years today since it was running a dry cycle. I don’t know why I don’t ride it more often. I thought it was pretty fun.

With my ride on Riptide, I realized I had ridden all five Mondial Rides at the park. (Since I’ve skipped Riptide for years, I can’t say that very often.) Here’s my ranking as of today:

  1. Shockwave (Top Scan)
  2. Psyclone (Revolution)
  3. Riptide (Splashover)
  4. Windseeker (Windseeker)
  5. Soaring Timbers (Inferno)

It’s a bit unsettling that earlier this season I had Soaring Timbers over Shockwave. Maybe I was just excited about a new Mondial at the park.

Sledgehammer seemed to be having one of those days.

It felt like a short visit (even though it was about six hours) but it was fun. Thanks for reading!

Trip Meals

I had the curried beef from Backlot Cafe. It still remains my favorite meal at the park because it’s been consistently good. Today’s serving was easily the best with a generous serving of curry and a slight peppery kick to it because it shared a pan with the spicy potato curry.

I didn’t stay long enough for dinner.

Trip Video

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July 16, 2017 Trip Report

Trip Notes

I arrived at the park about 15 minutes before opening. There was Behemoth ERT so I headed there first and got a couple of rides in.

Sledgehammer is a lot of fun and I’m glad others still enjoy it as well!

I made my way over to Soaring Timbers. It was a walk-on when I got to it. I was surprised to see them loading every other row, bringing the capacity down to just under half. I’m not sure what the reason is but I don’t like it, especially since it’s still running that boring cycle.

I find myself hopping over to Shockwave after Soaring Timbers. It’s running very well.

Over at Arthur’s Baye, they set up the ramp for the Freestyle Ski Aerials show for Celebration Canada 150. Today was its debut but I never caught the show.

I guess the best place to view the landing is from the Marketplace Buffet patio at the back, if it’s open for non-eating guests.

The Earth Rangers were nearby with animals on display.

I took a ride on Thunder Run. I love the view from the queue, although the trees block it for most of it. I remember these used to become famous gum trees.

Thunder Run is such a nostalgia trip for me as it’s one of those rides that I stuck with growing up with the park. Although there are changes in the station and the VR thing, the inside of the mountain is more or less the same. Somehow, the string lights at the end of the ride are the most memorable thing from the 90’s.

I hadn’t ridden Time Warp in over a decade and I was thinking about giving it another try so I finally did it today. Boy, was that a mistake.

From beginning to end, the car was vibrating and knocking my head harder than any other ride at the park… and its neighbor is an SLC! I wore my glasses on it and, by the end of it, the nosepads were bent out of shape and my head, nose, shoulders, and back were aching. For more than half of the ride, I was holding my face because of how loose it had knocked my glasses. It’s the worst experience I’ve had on a ride in recent memory, because the last memory was the last time I rode this piece of garbage.

I seriously don’t understand how a ride like this could have lasted so long. It’s not even just the ride experience. You’ve got a super bored op doing nothing but confirming with the load attendant that the next car is ready. Then you’ve got the lone exhausted load attendant walking back and forth all day, closing the cages. I hope this ride is on its way out sooner than later.

After the ride on Time Warp that got me actually angry because it exists, I went straight to Leviathan which had a line just a little longer than the staircase. It went down as I got in line but it started loading riders again about fives minutes later. I got a seat in the back row which gives such an excellent ejection as you leave the lift.

There’s a security camera in the station. I’m not sure if it’s new, but the sign for it is definitely new. It hangs above the exits gates and says that the area is being monitored. I’m curious about the reasoning.

A few more notes with no pictures:

  • Backlot Cafe no longer has bison burgers and the veggie burger now has the upgrade fee on the meal plan.
  • Bistro 81 is no longer on the meal plan.
  • Vortex won a capacity contest with the Bat crew at Kings Island. I didn’t spot any other of those signs at the rides I rode today.

Thanks for reading!

Lunch/Dinner

For lunch, I was taking too long to decide so I ended up with my favorite chicken nuggets and fries from Chicken Shack. Great as always.

For dinner, I had the meat lasagne from Backlot Cafe. It was a bit of a let down with it being burnt all around and super salty, but it somehow was not the worst meal I’ve had at the park before.

July 1 & 3 Trip Report (Canada Day Long Weekend)

Trip Notes

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Canada Day! The weather was not exactly perfect but still tolerable. It definitely kept the crowds away as I was fully anticipating it to be the busiest day of the season. I felt like the park has already been busier this season than it was on Canada Day.

The new Celebration Plaza breathed new life into that area of Medieval Faire. There’s a temporary stage, patio seating, and street performers scattered around throughout the day.

This band was there throughout the day. They were also on International Street at times too.

There’s these little stalls for Taste of Quebec and Taste of Ontario this week. Each week, the menu items change themes for other parts of the country. (I’m personally looking forward to the lobster mac and cheese!)

I didn’t see a single purchase from these stalls while I was around. It might have been because the staff looked incredibly bored…

Elsewhere in Medieval Faire, a new virtual reality experience takes over the old laser tag game. While I personally have zero interest in this, it was still good to see people participating.

This Haunt-themed stall popped up near Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. Late in the day, I saw they were redecorating it though I’m not sure what it ended up serving.

As usual, paths and certain rides were closing early due to the fireworks show. The weather was concerning some people but it did end up happening, unlike Victoria Day weekend. That fireworks show has been rescheduled for the Civic Holiday in August.

I caught the Ultimate Thrills Circus. I wanted to see the ball of death or whatever it’s called (the one where people on motorbikes drive inside a sphere). They didn’t have that this year but there were a couple of other motorbike stunts. It’s a good show but I don’t have much interest in watching it again.

This was something I couldn’t stop laughing at for most of the day. For Canada Day, staff are allowed to decorate themselves and certain parts of their rides (usually entrance signs and ride fencing). The guys at Psyclone ended up with this. It got worse as the day went on with the rain making it rapidly fall apart. Eventually they took it down… to reveal the tape or whatever they used left a blue imprint of the sign. I’ve always wondered why they never bothered slapping on a coat of paint on the container since they’ve been so good at upkeeping building paint everywhere else around the park.

Shockwave was down as they did some work on the arm motor. It was back up by Monday, running the same fun cycle.

Soaring Timbers, on the other hand, continues to disappoint me and the riders getting off. I’m starting to think that they have it running like that to have a ride for people who don’t want something as intense as Shockwave. Maybe I’m just making excuses for it.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Compared to Saturday, the weather on Monday was gorgeous. The park was noticeably busier.

This little Mountie is stationed at his post on Arthur’s Baye.

I finally caught the Cirque Canadien show. To be honest, I never watched any of the Cirque shows the park has had in recent years so I was excited to check it out. It was such a fun show and something I hope everyone gets a chance to see when they’re at the park.

I’ve saved so much money being on the meal plan this year that I’m browsing through shops more and tempted to start buying things. I keep going to the park saying I’d treat myself to dessert but I still haven’t yet this season. The fudge at the Sweet Shoppe on International Street is so tempting.

Right before I left the park, I bought one of these t-shirts for $14.99. (It’s even less with the season pass discount!) It’s an exclusive shirt to Wonderland with the CW logo on the back. It’s a good price considering other shirts at the park are almost twice that price. I may or may not be considering buying another in a different color…

Trip Eats

On Saturday, my lunch was my first meal from the new La Cantina on International Street. I went for the three tacos. I’m so bad at customizing food on the spot so my tacos had weird combinations. In the end, the ingredients were all good so it was all delicious. My only issue was that it wasn’t very filling for me but, again, the quality is up at the top.

For dinner, I had my favorite chicken nuggets and fries. They were clearly left out for a while and the fries were the bottom of the basket fries. However, this meal still managed to be good, and this is still better than any meal I’ve had out of Coasters.

On Monday, I had the chicken mac and cheese from Alpen Cheesery. I wanted the jalapeno sausage but all they had was chicken. That was my second choice anyway so it was cool. I opted for some nacho cheese on top. I also asked for some sprinkled parmesan cheese, but the associate was struggling with the cheese all clumped up in the container that I told him to forget it.

I was shocked by the weight of this when it was handed to me. I’m happy to report that my stomach survived this one. (My stomach didn’t agree when I first tried a meal from Alpen Cheesery a few visits ago.) I still intend on trying the jalapeno sausage version soon!

For dinner, I went back to La Cantina and got a chicken casadilla. At first, I was worried it wouldn’t be filling but it was actually the perfect size. I really like the chicken at La Cantina over the beef. The beef is still good if that’s your thing though.

Trip Video

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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

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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.