Thursday, 21 June 2012

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Here was the view from our hotel in Pismo Beach as we headed out early in the morning to the next park Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Now I have pretty good memories of this park when we visited in 2002 so it would be interesting if it still retained it's charm...The theme park, not the caravan park.

After a short drive we arrived at the park and the morning fog had made way to beautiful blue skies; much better!

We had a wonderful welcome from the park manager who told us that we had a dedicated section of the beach given to us and that we were to have a great day in his park, which of course we would do. However there was some bad news, the wooden rollercoaster was being worked on following a minor incident a few days before, and there was no guarantees that it would be open for us. Not good, as the wooden ride is the main draw here, and is a great rollercoaster. 

Since 2002 the park had invested in a small number of signs that gave a backstory and history of the resort which goes back over 100 years. I like parks that have a past, and they always seem to have a charm that the corporate monsters could only dream of. They've also invested in new benches that look like they've been given unique paint jobs.

We had a great barbecue lunch with free alcohol and took the opportunity to kick back.

This'll make sense to those of us who came here in 2002 although back then Andrew had much more lettuce on his plate!

Wow! You don't get this at Blackpool.

A view from the skychair which runs along the boardwalk. A really nice park on a really beach, I can't rate this park enough. Oh, and they filmed the Lost Boys here, even better!

The big steel coaster was running.

Like Windstorm ridden at the fair, Hurricane was a bonkers coaster because of that diving drop that occurs half way along but despite it's potential neck breaking layout, it rode very well and was drawing a decent crowd, although some of that would be due to the wooden ride being down.

Nice little flying machine sending people out over the beach.

There is a classic carousel here complete with working organ providing the music, wooden carved animals, and a fully working ring toss, which was working for us, it was down later in the day. Hurr Hurr, he said "ring toss".

Final coaster is a nice child ride that makes good use of a small hill to add a terrain hugging element to it's layout...but we only rode it once.

Ghost Blasters is a shooting ride, that was pretty decent and I liked even more so because I totally kicked everyone's arse at it!

Weird hovering dodgem things that you steer like a tank with levers on each side. Too small for me to fit in however. It probably wouldn't hover with me on it anyway.

The park have done a really nice job with the theming on all of their rides.

Wipeout is a bit of an odd attraction in that the entrance gives nothing away about the ride and it's only the queueline that you hear what it might be and at the front queue when you see what it is exactly. To kill the suspense it's actually a really good breakdance ride in the dark.

Like the fair in San Diego there are some nice coaster themed murals. The guy at the front must be very tall or is partly standing on the ride. 

Bill totally rocking out the rock-o-plane, which I never knew by that name. We always called it the egg. I find the ride a little claustraphobic so gave it a miss.

Canyon Adventure is a lengthy dark ride that is so relaxing (boring) that people often emerge back into the sunlight asleep or having lost the will to live. Not young kids though, they love it.

In the entrance to the arcade there's a nice history of the parks that used to exist along the Californian coast line. There are only 3 left and we'd already done the other two. Go us!

In the back corner of the amusement hall there is an amazing collection of old school video games including an original paddle controlling pong game. We spent quite a bit of time realising how much we sucked at Frogger, Pacman, Defender etc... Jeppe did do amazingly well at Ms Pacman though setting a new high score.

For those that have never been to Cedar Point mid-late 80s there's a simulator ride showing Gemini and Blue Streak that you can enjoy, assuming you can fit in that seat, that is.

Offering a nice view over the park is the tower ride.

Ha, this is a cute variation on the shooting game genre.

Nick, Lasse and Chico enjoy the view.

I like when parks do things like this. In the corporate parks they'd be all about minimising health and safety and maximising throughputs (yeah, right)

Fright Walk, the park's haunted walkthrough was excellent. My measure of these is how many times I jump and 3 that I encountered here was a good score. I think they may have live actors, although there were none on our walk. Stay away from the walls as apparently I had one surprise thing shoot out of a wall and miss my head by an inch; that would have been fun. This attraction does have an upcharge.

The other haunted attraction is a standard dark ride, which underwent an overhaul a few years ago and now features a second storey and more effects, as well as some nice looking hearse style cars. This was a really fun ride.

and well the end of the day was supposed to be about the Giant Dipper, a ride that is almost 90 years old and which was running really well in 2002. As an apology the park gave us a couple of nearby rides to enjoy instead including a dodgems ERS with the power turned to 100%. Whilst a bit stop and start (we'd just get top speed for a short moment before recharging) it was a great alternative and I took no photos of it because it was too much fun crashing into people at legitimate top speed.

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