John

John is a proud Clevelander, and lifelong fan of roller coasters and amusement parks.

Why Not Get Suspended?

No, not from work or school, but from some classic Arrow steel track!  The Bat at Kings Island, opened in 1994 (not too be confused with the similarly named but ultimately failed early 80s suspended coaster) and was called Top Gun.   Appropriately, it was themed to the 1986 movie.  I think Kings Island nailed it with its current paint job and the revival of the legendary failure’s name.  It ...

Why Not Go Big?

Banshee at Mason, Ohio’s Kings Island was introduced as the world’s longest inverted coaster.  Aside from any record-breaking facts toted at its introduction, in person, this new-for-2014 B&M beaut is huge and moves an impressive amount of people through its queues every day the park is open. So Why Not Get Inverted? Have you ridden Banshee? Which inverted B&M coaster is your f...

Why Sit When You Can Stand Up?

That was a question a few roller coaster designers in the 1980s and 1990s asked.  However, the stand up roller coaster seems to be slowly fading away with several parks dismantling & selling theirs or, in the case of Mantis at Cedar Point, converting it to a Floorless Coaster. So What’s Your Take? Have you ridden a standup roller coaster?  Have you ridden one that’s been converted ...

Why Not Take a Flight?

Firehawk at Kings Kings Island is one of three of Vekoma’s Flying Dutchman roller coasters in the U.S.  Originally painted green and black and named X-Flight, this flying coaster once lived in northeast Ohio at the now defunct Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (or that park’s more familiar name, Geauga Lake).  Now in southwest Ohio, Firehawk still provides plenty of white-knuckle rides. Wh...

Book Review: Images of Modern America: Libertyland By John R. Stevenson V with forward by Jimmy Ogle

John Stevenson writes with a thoughtful and passionate touch in his account of the former Libertyland, a patriotically themed small, but genuinely immersive theme park in Memphis, Tennessee. Coordinating a detailed work including the arc of a historic theme park and a focus on sharing the experiences of those who loved Libertyland, Stevenson successfully brings the reader to Memphis and helps them...

Why Not Ride a Kiddy Coaster?

Well, because this one hurts!  I remember riding this particular Allan Herschell designed roller coaster as a very young child, and it hurt even then!  This little steel monster/kiddy coaster resides at Midway State Park (formerly Midway Park) in Maple Springs, NY along the shore of Chautauqua Lake.  I wish they had the Mad Mouse model instead… So What’s Your Take? Do you ride little c...

Why Not Get Some Hangtime?

Why not get some hangtime on Cedar Point’s guardian, GateKeeper?  Opened in 2013, GateKeeper claimed several records, including the world’s highest inversion at 170 ft. What’s your take? Have you ridden GateKeeper?  What is your favorite or least favorite aspect of this huge Bolliger & Mabillard Wing Coaster?

Review: Blue Streak at Conneaut Lake Park

When I arrived at Conneaut Lake Park this past July, there were maintenance workers high up on the lift hill. All roller coasters need maintenance and regular inspections, especially wooden ones that have structures that some describe as living or breathing. I never think of it as an ominous thing to see work being done (whether it be welding on a steel coaster or some sawing and hammering away at...

Conneaut Lake Park Trip Report

Conneaut Lake Park was founded in 1892 and lies just off-shore of Conneaut Lake in Western Pennsylvania, about 45 miles south of Erie. Like many classic American amusement parks, the offering of a pleasant picnic and swimming area eventually led to the continual addition of more things to do as its popularity grew to satisfy the growing crowds. But unlike Lake Compounce or Cedar Point, it has been...

Review: Mystic Timbers at Kings Island

Mystic Timbers was my first modern wooden roller coaster. Prior to that, the most recently built wooden coaster I’d ridden was Cedar Point’s Mean Streak which, I can attest to, was never a great ride even when it was brand new in 1991. Within a couple years it had become fairly rough. I remember very clearly riding Mean Streak its last summer before it received the trim brakes on the first hill. I...

Kings Island Trip Report & Future Speculation

Visiting Kings Island had been a bucket list item of mine for many years. I can’t say whether it was effective advertising that I’d absorbed watching Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoons or whether it was due to my early research on roller coasters as a kid on a database such as ProQuest in the public library. I remember looking for the record-breaking coasters that existed at the time, a quest...

Euclid Beach Park: From Glory to Condemnation – Part 1

In the late nineteenth century, the City of Cleveland was one of growth and prosperity. Founded in 1796 and established as a city by the very young State of Ohio’s legislature in 1836, in just around 100 years its population went from a few dozen to more than 261,000 as of 1890. Recreation was limited in those earliest of the pioneer days in what was formerly called the Western Reserve. Truly a fr...

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