Saturday, May 13, 2017
I had heard that Soaring Timbers opened on Thursday, May 11 so I was excited to get to the park this weekend to try it out myself. It was ready for guests when the park opened!
The ride experience is probably my favorite at the park. It’s sort of a combination of sensations from Riptide and Shockwave. You get that smooth forceful thrust upward and sideways like Shockwave but also the feeling of being thrown face first toward the ground like Riptide. I rode it about 15 times over the weekend. There were really wild cycles with the gondola constantly swaying and stalling upside down but also a few rather boring cycles where the gondola almost felt like it was level most of the time. It can really vary depending on the seat you’re in (end rows are best!) and the balance of guests on the ride.
The loading of Soaring Timbers is really unique. I’m still trying to figure out what the experience can be compared to… The onslaught of instructions given to you as soon as you get into the pre-load area feels like you’re being trained for something.
While you’re waiting in your pre-load lane, the attendants explain the order in which each lane will enter the ride platform. For the most part, this was very orderly. On the platform, it did get a bit chaotic with unloading guests scrambling around to get their stuff from the bins, while loading guests clashed with each other trying to get to their assigned row.
Once seated, the restraints are lowered automatically by the attendants, like you see on other Mondial Rides. These restraints are an older style that look slimmer, but the tight seating arrangement has it feeling significantly more cramped than other Mondial Rides, which I occasionally have problems with if I’m next to another guest with large arms. If you have any problems with claustrophobia or being tightly constrained, you might want to skip this one. I felt a bit anxious when I ended up with the restraint poorly positioned with my hands clamped to my thighs and not being able to move at all.
The rows are too narrow for attendants to come by and physically check your restraint as they do on other rides. Instead, two attendants on either side of the row watch as they have each guest tug on their belt and then their shoulder restraint.
Being so close to other guests, I could hear their reactions. During the ride, you could hear the excitement in everyone’s voices. However, the reviews were mostly negative as the ride ended, with a lot of people commenting on the short cycle and uncomfortable seating. One cycle I was on actually boo’ed when the ride ended.
I’d give the ride a numerical rating of 8.5/10. I’d give it a perfect score if the seating situation was better. I can speculate as to why the seating is so tight… Perhaps a combination of engineering reasons (keeping the load tight and close to the center of the ride) and physical dimension limitations since this ride was original designed to travel by truck. I can’t imagine there’s much they can do now.
More wooden sculptures were added, like these bears (which are part of a wooden bench) and the raccoon in the background. The area is very well done.
Elsewhere in the park, Muskoka Plunge is coming along. I found it ironic that the Splashworks slide gets the shingled roof while the flat ride themed to trees gets a tent. Anyways, the slides still need to be completed near the bottom. Only a couple weekends before it opens!
I caught the last 10 minutes of the Woof Jocks show because of a thunderstorm that rolled in and this was my closest shelter. I meant to catch the show anyway so it was a blessing in disguise.
Some dining news to share from this weekend…. The new Timbers BBQ next to Soaring Timbers is now open! This used to be just a regular hot dog stall but now includes other items like turkey legs.
The International Street Ristorante Pizza Pizza has a new mural…
The new La Cantina took over the corner Italian Sandwich stall next to the Pizza Pizza. I’m glad they decided to open up another Mexican place because the one in Backlot is always quite busy.
There’s a new candy store called Dulce (“sweet” in Spanish) which used to be a store that sold girls clothing and accessories.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Whenever I do these back-to-back weekends, my Sunday visits are usually only a few hours. I spent most of it at Soaring Timbers.
A new Refresh Centre has opened on International Street next to True North Gifts which replaces the Skyflyer Refresh Centre that was nearby. This stall used to sell drinks and candy.
It’s become a guessing game when it comes to the size of cup I’m going to get on the drink plan. I’ve gotten Coke-branded regular and large sized cups, as well as a generic smaller beige cup. I wish it would consistently be the regular sized cup… The smaller beige one makes me feel like I’m being cheated.
The metal parts on the Arthur’s Baye structure was painted red. It was previously blue. I’m still trying to figure out how they’re going to set up that ski jump thing as part of the Canada-themed events in July.
Lunch / Diner
I went with the fish and chips, which prove that looks can be deceiving. It was nice that it was fresh but there was way too much batter. It had a thick gross gooey batter layer in between the outer crisp and the fish itself.
The worst part was that this meal took 45 minutes to make. I know it’s still early in the season but it always feels like some food locations at the park so easily turn to chaos when it has any sort of line. I’m not one to give them a hard time (it doesn’t really help the situation anyway) but I get uncomfortable being around other people who are willing to vent on front-line staff.
Before I left, I had a quick meal at the Ristorante Pizza Pizza. I asked one of the cashiers what was on the season meal plan because I had saw that they changed it from two slices to one over the off-season on the website… so of course she told me it was still two slices. Inconsistencies with these programs are starting to get frustrating.
On Sunday, I went with my favorite classic meal at the park: The chicken nugget basket from Chicken Shack. The quality of this meal usually doesn’t disappoint. I like that the chicken is crispy but not over-breaded. The only thing I could say is they could advertise the different sauces better, maybe even let the guest choose the ones they want as they place their order.