Review: Wooden Warrior at Quassy

Small In Stature But Filled With Fun

Roller Coaster Reviews

In 2011, Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut added Wooden Warrior: a small, family-friendly coaster made by The Gravity Group. This addition was perfect for Quassy. The park already had a real “local park” kinda charm to it, and now it has a fantastic little wooden coaster to capture the attention of enthusiasts. Wooden Warrior is not only worth attention — it exceeds expectations and delivers a surprisingly awesome ride. It’s just a plain old fun time.

The Set Up

The diminutive woodie’s lift hill and turnaround are the first things you see as you turn into the parking lot. There’s a sign abreast the support structure, ala The Raven from Holiday World, which is a nice touch. Although on paper the ride isn’t big, it feels large within this park due to the comparatively small sizes of its neighboring rides.

One thing to know about Quassy is the entry price: none! Instead of paying one price just to get into the park, you pay for individual ride tickets — essentially paying per ride. Think Knoebels’ price system, if you’ve been there.

As of the 2017 operating season, one ride on Wooden Warrior takes two tickets — which will run you $5. This means if you really want to, you can just drop in, ride Wooden Warrior, and leave… But I highly recommend staying and enjoying the park’s lakeside locale and quaint atmosphere.

The sign that greets you upon turning into Quassy’s parking lot. It’s on the first hill, which is so small it could pass as the final element on an average coaster.

There’s really no theming on Wooden Warrior, but the ride’s placement adds a lot to the experience and particularly the queue. As you’re waiting in line, the train bounds over the last few hills before a turn into the brakes — all a few feet or less from where you’re standing. It’s quickly evident that this is one tightly packed-in ride!

Soon you’re in the station and boarding the lone, ultra-comfortable Timberliner train that Wooden Warrior runs. It only has 6 rows, but that’s really all it can have thanks to the coaster’s tight maneuvers. Although having only one shorter-than-usual train doesn’t help capacity, it is offset by the relatively small attendance Quassy gets (compared to large parks, who also have full-sized trains). My wait was about 10 minutes on an August weekday.

Wooden Warrior’s tiny lift hill and surprisingly potent first drop. The flags adorning the lift hill are another nice touch.

The Ride Experience

A little dip out of the station and you’re climbing the 32 foot high lift hill. Yes, you read that right — 32 feet! That’s about one-fifteenth the size of the tallest coaster in the world, Kingda Ka. Its first drop, which is slightly longer at 36 feet, is only a third of the nearby Boulder Dash’s first drop length.

Wooden Warrior is a thrilling paradox: tiny but surprisingly fun

You’d think that a coaster under 40 feet tall couldn’t provide thrills like the big boys, but man does Wooden Warrior prove otherwise. Once the chain lets you go, you fall into a snappy turnaround with surprising momentum. The turnaround isn’t a flat one — it actually dips a bit and rises up right before the main drop. This gives you a neat little pop of air before you plunge down the logic-defying 36 foot drop. It’s really fun — gives a solid sinking stomach feeling and tricks your mind into thinking it’s steeper than it is — just too brief.

You flatten out and hop a small but forceful bunny hill into a turn away from the station. This coaster focuses on short, poppy moments of airtime — and it’s wonderful. The turn rises into a nice hill and then into a banked turnaround enclosed by a tunnel. The track dips a bit in the tunnel, but with the darkness surrounding you it feels like a lot more.

You rise again before dropping out of the tunnel and being thrown into a flurry of short hills, which technically form a triple up but are so brief that you don’t really notice. A quick turn follows, and then two more little airtime hills before a final turn into the brakes.

The final bunny hops take the train incredibly close to the queue, seemingly to the point where you could touch the wood if you tried (please don’t).

The Verdict

Wooden Warrior is a thrilling paradox: tiny but surprisingly fun. It’s quite possibly the best thrills-per-foot coaster out there — a real bang for your buck. It’s filled with airtime moments and is just pure fun. Unfortunately, it is still only 36 feet tall. This means it can only offer a very short ride time and a relatively slow speed of 35 miles per hour. The height is a limiting factor, but Gravity Group and Quassy have managed to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of this ride.

This woodie gives hope to all small amusement parks out there, that they can have a great coaster for an affordable price fitted into a tight amount of space. Wooden Warrior also is a great family coaster — no one will be intimidated by its height, and it is smooth despite the tight transitions.

Wooden Warrior is hard to rate, simply because it cannot statistically compare to many other major coasters. In the end, I’d stop short of calling it world-class. But Quassy deserves big-time props for making such a fun ride in such a small footprint.

Final Rating 8.0

It’s definitely worth checking out, especially given its location — a half-hour’s drive from Lake Compounce and on the way towards Six Flags New England. And Quassy’s pay-per-ride system can be a good deal for single-minded enthusiasts. For more on Quassy and the other New England parks, check out Bobbie’s recent trip report.

Have you stopped by Quassy and gotten to experience Wooden Warrior? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this little joy of a coaster.

Hi, I'm Jon! I have many interests, but chief among them is a love of roller coasters and theme parks. I love rides and parks that deliver cool, unique, and meaningful experiences. I try to capture as much of that experiential goodness as I can in my reviews!

7 Comments

  1. I want to see more of these mini woodies popping up at parks. Maybe smaller parks will consider something like this if they’re not after some thrilling superlative (tallest, fastest, most, etc) because regardless of size, this looks like it really delivers.

    Reply
    • Indeed! I know there’s Gravity Group mini woodies in New Hampshire (Roar-O-Saurus) and one in Texas (Switchback) and now Sesame Place is getting one with their Grouch-themed addition. Quassy definitely helped get the mini woodie ball rolling.

      But I think your point about a coaster that doesn’t have the stats but is still fantastic could definitely apply to Mega-lites and Intamin blitzes. Coasters like Maverick or Lightning Run are really awesome, but overlooked by many of the bigger parks because of their smaller stature… shame.

      Reply
  2. This coaster is an absolute delight and perfect for a park such as Quassy. El Toro or Lightning Rod would be totally out of place there. A 36-foot drop did strike me as somewhat minimal in comparison with what I’m accustomed to, but hey, it works! Comically, one of my fellow riders remarked that I was brave to put my hands up, lol. Anyway, I bought enough ride tickets to ride it 4 times but ended up riding it only 3 b/c I had only 5 hours to cover both Quassy and Lake Compounce so had to leave. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to ride Wooden Warrior, because as I said in my post on wooden coasters in Connecticut (July or August, I don’t remember), this is a perfect example of why bigger isn’t necessarily better.

    Reply
    • I too hit this on the road from Lake Compounce… but yes it is so funny how a 36 foot lift hill can look like a good height. Really shows how superlatives are all relative and comparison based, and the environment around Wooden Warrior make it seem like the perfect size. With this, Roar-O-Saurus, and the new Oscar’s Wacky Taxi coming to Sesame Place, it seems more of these mini-woodies are popping up (and thankfully so!).

      Reply
  3. When they say that it is a thrilling family roller coaster, they mean it, at least the “thrilling” part. This is one INTENSE little roller coaster. It is not for the faint of heart, nor should it be considered a good first coaster, even though it looks like a junior coaster. [I’m thinking of my grandchildren, ages 4 and 6 when I say that!] Another surprise was that the air time was in the back of the train, not the front. It gives a pretty good whipping sensation as it goes over each hill.The ride’s seats are unique. They are quite comfortable and well-padded and the lap bar gives a feeling of security.

    After multiple laps on Wooden Warrior, coaster #350 for me, I rode the park’s “kiddie coaster,” Little Dipper, a NASTY little thing that made Wooden Warrior seem all that much better. The train cars are solid metal, meaning it hurts every time you go over the hill or around a bend. Add to that, clothing slides across the metal seats so you get slammed into the sides of the car. Charming little coaster!

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading and commenting Judy! You are right, Wooden Warrior’s size belies its intensity. Ejector, outward thrusting airtime is all over. You really lurch over all the hills, and feel every degree of the hill’s parabolic shape.

      At least you rode the Little Dipper, I wasn’t brave enough to give that rickety little thing a try (although maybe that was an advantageous move on my part… haha).

      Reply
  4. It was definitely worth stopping by on my way to lake compounce. I was very impressed with the air on the first drop and the first hill. The tunnel turn is awesome. I was surprised by how short it was even with everybody saying how short it was. Great little coaster!

    Reply

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