May 13 & 14 Trip Report

Trip Notes

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.

 

 

Trip Video

Photo Gallery Links

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 6 & 7 Trip Report

Trip Notes

Saturday, May 6, 2017

On Saturday, I had my first look at Soaring Timbers in action!

For most of my day at the park, there was something going on at the ride. The ride was moving for most of the day. Finishing details were starting to be put in place, from height requirement signs…

… to a nice wooden exit sign!

During the week, they erected a curvy queue canopy structure. The queue path leading to the switch backs has a similar structure which already has a green covering on it.

Muskoka Plunge is coming along nicely. It shouldn’t be too long before the drop pods are put into place, which I spotted in the parking lot staging area over the weekend.

With the cold winds and constant drizzle, crowds were non-existent and rides were either going down or at limited capacity (ie. one train operation). To be honest, with the cold visits so far and the updates around the park to look at, I haven’t gotten much into a riding mood yet.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday was my first visit this year where it was actually sunny! It was still cold though.

I noticed the Laser Quest thing in Medieval Faire is gone. Maybe we’ll get something like that VR thing at Knott’s, though it’s not something I’m interested in.

Soaring Timbers looks great in the sunny daylight. I didn’t see it cycle except for once when the park opened. Also something new for this weekend is the little rapids thing going on at the top of the waterfall.

Sledgehammer was giving trouble throughout the day so I spent some time looking on.

It was a very short visit to the park, only a few hours long. There was a street hockey event in the parking lot which I forgot was there. I was expecting it to be bigger when I first heard about it.

Lunch / Diner

One of the reasons I visited on Saturday was to take full advantage of the two meals per visit on the season meal plan. I went with the butter chicken at Backlot for my lunch. I can’t say it’s my favourite thing but it was worth a shot. The serving of chicken was considerably smaller than the beef I got on opening day.

I had a cheeseburger (they forgot the cheese) meal from Coasters, which I ate at Backlot because Coasters was full and it was too cold outside to eat. I kinda ruined it by moving between locations because the burger got cold by the time I got to Backlot. I didn’t oversalt those fries though.

Side note: The website is lying when it says the burger at Backlot is on the meal plan. I can’t even upgrade to my bison burger. 🙁

On Sunday, I had the chicken nugget basket from Chicken Shack. The staff were excellent! They were very helpful to other guests and attentive. (The other associate at the register noticed the one that took my order became busy with a guest so he started distributing his orders.) The food itself was well prepared and the chipotle sauce was excellent. The one weird thing about Chicken Shack is that they give you a smaller generic cup if you’re on the drink plan. Both Coasters and Backlot gave me a regular Coke-branded cup so I’m not sure what the deal is there.

Soaring Timbers Testing Video

Photo Gallery Links

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017

CW Opening Day Trip Report (Sunday, April 30, 2017)

Wonderland’s now officially open for 2017! After months of anticipation, it was great to finally be able to get to the park and pick up where I left off as if those wintery months didn’t exist.

Trip Notes

I arrived at the park about 9:50am. There was season pass ERT in the Soaring Timbers area but, knowing Soaring Timbers wasn’t ready and knowing the crowds would be light with the forecasted rain, I decided to skip it.

The metal detector program across Cedar Fair parks has pretty much become consistent. Wonderland got the new metal detectors. They’re paired together now which I think will help form more organized lines on busy days. I’m glad we didn’t get those ugly metal detector huts that other parks have been getting.

There’s this thing set up on International Street near the Tim Hortons. I have no idea what it is…

I made my way directly to Soaring Timbers. Even though I knew it wasn’t going to be open, I wanted to check it out before I did my favorite rides.

The ride was parked at 180º to what it’s supposed to be in the loading position. The back fiberglass covers of the seats were off as they continued to work on the ride throughout the day.

The area looks incredible, even with some finishing touches still needing to be completed.

After having a moment to admire Soaring Timbers, I went on my regular routine through Action Zone.

They actually cleaned up the restraints for this season. In recent past seasons, it had these zip covers that went over the shoulder and lower part of the restraint.

My first ride of the year was on Behemoth. It was so cold and windy that it was too uncomfortable to marathon which I usually take advantage of on early summer mornings.

The helix on Minebuster was retracked over the off-season but it didn’t really help. Maybe it was the tensing up from the cold but the ride still bordered on boring and uncomfortable.

My first score on Skyhawk was 42 and my highest for the day was 50! There are new storage bins at the center of the platform. They’re actually keeping the entire platform clear, likely to avoid tripping hazards for operators. I don’t really like the placement over the grates as it makes it easier for someone to drop something down there. I would have preferred the boxes be directly underneath the wings, where we were originally instructed to put things last season.

The Bat received a fresh coat of paint which returns it to its original paint scheme. The orange was such an eye-sore. There’s also a new sign that specifically says it’s not on Fast Lane and lists the nearest rides with it.

Leviathan and Drop Tower were down for the count while I was at the park, though I know Leviathan did open up after I left.

Drop Tower has a little Canadian flair to it this year with a red maple leaf behind each gondola number.

I really like the maple leaf toppers on signs throughout the park.

Courtyard has a new sign structure by Timberkits. The same guys who did the sign were also responsible for a new pavilion in Courtyard, the lamp posts around Soaring Timbers, and a mystery structure in Splashworks

Muskoka Plunge is quite taller than I realized with it being visible in the distance. I’m not a waterpark guy but I’m still excited to see something new like this for Splashworks.

The Splashworks mystery structure mentioned previously is the wooden thing on the right side of this picture.

I would recommend Backlot Cafe to anyone who visits Wonderland. The variety of options and the quality of food is incredible. There have been some changes this year. Some stations have been moved around and there’s a new Mediterranean station. The Teryaki station is no longer there.

Aside from these changes in Backlot, I did not recognize any of the other planned changes in regards to dining at the park. I don’t know where Timbers BBQ or La Cantina are, and The Chippery still looks the same despite the Wonderland Craft Chippery rename. There’s also the Sugar Bush Waffle & Dairy Bar listed on the park map in International Festival that I did not spot while I was there. I did notice the Skyflyer refresh station was gone but the park map indicates that the nearby candy apple stall next to True North Gifts will be turned into a refreshment station.

Lunch/Diner

This is my first season with the season meal plan so I decided to try something I don’t normally get. I got the curried beef at Backlot Cafe. The picture may not look that appetizing but it was actually very delicious and cooked extremely well. I’m not sure if it’s luck but the serving seemed surprisingly large. No complaints there!

While I was at Backlot, I purchased the all-season drinks plan with no bottle. Unprompted, I was told to keep my receipt just in case. When I asked if people were having problems with it, I was told that I shouldn’t have any issues since she was confident that she correctly linked the program to my pass. That leads me to believe that there may have been cases where it didn’t go so smoothly for some people…

I didn’t stay at the park long enough to get dinner.

Trip Video

On the road to 2017… What else is NEW?

Since my last blog post about updates on the Canada’s Wonderland website (which was retweeted by CW on Twitter — Thanks CW!), there’s even more to share! Let’s go through it together.

New Canada’s Wonderland Website

On April 10, both Kings Island and Canada’s Wonderland went public with their refreshed websites. The older websites were not mobile-friendly and generally felt outdated when compared to “modern” websites out there. The focus on a responsive design that adapts well to smartphone screens is apparent.

The site looks fantastic on mobile and great on desktop, but I wish the site would throw everything from paginated lists onto the screen when I’m looking at it on my widescreen monitor. Having to scroll sideways through a list of events one at a time on desktop just feels wrong. That’s just me though.

Special Events Line-Up for 2017

Wonderland came out with the 2017 special events list, and it’s absolutely nuts. In addition to some fantastic returning events, there’s “Celebration Canada 150” which are a bunch of Canada-themed events throughout July. Here’s the complete list:

  • Brew & BBQ
  • Celebration Canada 150
  • Celtic Dancers
  • Chinese Acrobatic Show
  • Earth Rangers
  • Fireworks
  • Food Truck Festival
  • Freestyle Ski Aerials
  • KidZfest
  • Live Music & Traditional Canadian Food
  • Oktoberfest
  • Parkour Freestyle
  • Street Performers
  • Taste of Greece
  • Taste of Italy
  • The Great Canadian Fiddle Show
  • Ultimate Thrill Circus
  • West Coast Lumber Jack Show
  • White Pine Dancers
  • Wonder Jam
  • WoofJocks Canine All Stars – Splash

Arthur’s Baye and the new Celebration Plaza

A lot of the Celebration Canada 150 events will be in Medieval Faire at Arthur’s Baye. They make mention of “Celebration Plaza” so I’m curious to see if there will be any major theming for it in July. Arthur’s Baye itself is a unique stage and has a decent amount of seating and surrounding plaza area. It shouldn’t feel as congested as Action Zone sometimes feels during the special events it hosts.

Live Shows Line-Up for 2017

The live shows list is familiar but it wouldn’t feel right without it!

  • Charlie Brown’s Happy Campers
  • Cirque Canadien (Return of Wonderland Theatre Cirque show)
  • Flying Frontenacs (Rethemed Kinet-X)
  • Peanuts Party in the Plaza
  • Snoopy’s Symphony of Water
  • Starlight – Northern Reflections (Rethemed Starlight Spectacular, part of Celebration Canada 150)
  • Victoria Falls High Dive Show

The “Candy Heist” Thing

I posted about the Candy Heist story that went international, primarily because of the infrared helicopter that was used to locate the kids. I wasn’t sure how to format the post with my own opinion piece in it but since we’re here… I just wanted to say that I am not one of those who believe this was “a waste of taxpayer money”. The story should have focused more on the trespassing than on the candy. You don’t know what three kids running around in an empty dark amusement park are going to do. The helicopter is used in home invasions and the like. I don’t see what the difference is.

760 Vaughan Mills/Wonderland Bus Returns

The YRT’s next set of service updates are happening April 30th, which is Wonderland’s opening day. While there’s no new route navigator up yet, searching for the schedule shows a rather limited schedule on opening day.

The first bus to arrive at the park is at 9:45am and the last bus to leave the park for the day is at 6pm. It’s not early enough for Early Ride Time at Soaring Timbers and not late enough for closing either, but at least it’s a sign they haven’t given up on the route too much. (A lot of bus drivers were commenting on how quiet the Wonderland stop was last year, especially in spring and fall.)

Bank Days

Every year, CW hosts “bank days” where employees of banks can exclusively enjoy the park. These bank days happen before the park officially opens for the season… I’m going to be so jealous of those who post up Soaring Timbers pics while I sit here waiting for opening day.

Here’s the calendar:

  • April 22 – BMO
  • April 23 – Scotiabank
  • April 29 – RBC

Official Sledgehammer POV

CW recently posted an on-ride POV video of Sledgehammer. I’ll end this post with that. Enjoy:

Three Youths Arrested for Stealing Candy from Canada’s Wonderland

 

TIP OF THE DAY – Breaking into a theme park to steal candy is not a sweet idea and can lead to a criminal confection #CaughtByAir2

Three youths have been arrested after they broke into Canada’s Wonderland and stole candy.

On Saturday, April 8, 2017, shortly after 10:30 p.m., police were called by Canada’s Wonderland security who had spotted three people within the closed park. The males were seen dressed in dark clothing with their faces covered, entering one of the stores on the property and stealing candy. The males left the store and disappeared into the park.

The York Regional Police helicopter Air2 arrived on scene and a short time later, with the use of the FLIR camera, officers located the suspects hiding beneath a tree. Officers in Air2 directed officers with the Canine Unit to the area where the suspects were hiding and they were taken into custody without further incident.

The males were discovered to be youths, two of them were 16 years old and the third was 15 years old, all from the City of Vaughan. The youths were cooperative with police and were remorseful for their actions. They were each released to the custody of their parents and entered into the Community Referral Program, under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Video of this incident captured by Air2 is being released as a deterrent to anyone that is considering trespassing onto private property.

Source – YRP Facebook

Preview and Opening Day Specials, plus Dining Location updates!

(Photo taken last October)

It’s getting down to the final few weeks of the off-season, so tapping refresh at the park’s website may actually give you something new! Over the past few days, I’ve noticed some new information appear on the website. Let’s take a look!

Preview Night Specials

The annual Season Pass Preview Night is on April 28th from 6pm-10pm. In addition to getting to ride the new Soaring Timbers for the first time, here’s what else you have to look forward to that evening:

  • Season Pass Holders can bring up to four friends for $15.99 each.
  • 25% off at True North Gifts on International Street.
  • 50% off arcade games at Crystal Palace arcade in Action Zone and Arcadium arcade in Medieval Faire. (Season Pass holders only.)
  • 50% off Build Your Own Funnel Cake at Med Funnel Cakes.
  • 50% off at the Wonderland Craft Chippery. (There’s more to this one later on in this post!)

Source

Opening Day Specials

Wonderland officially opens to the public for another season on April 30th at 10am-8pm. Here’s what to look for on Opening Day:

  • Season Pass Exclusive Ride Time in the Planet Snoopy area, and in the new Soaring Timbers area in International Festival. The SP ERT calendar is available here.
  • 25% off at True North Gifts on International Street
  • Buy 2, Get 2 pieces of Homemade Fudge at the Sweet Shoppe on International Street.
  • 50% off arcade games at Crystal Palace arcade in Action Zone and Arcadium arcade in Medieval Faire.
  • Buy one, get one half off funnel cakes at Fighter Town Funnel Cakes in Action Zone.
  • 50% off any Gourmet Mac and Cheese at Alpen Cheesery in International Festival.

Source

Dining Location Updates

Over on the Dining Locations page, there are a few new entries to take note of:

  • Dockside Grill in Splashworks will serve burgers, hot dogs, and sausages, along with vegetarian options. I think this is a renaming of the Waveside Grill tent that was set up near the Waveside Pizza Pizza. Maybe we’ll see something more permanent this year.
  • Timber’s BBQ Pit in International Festival will serve grilled sausages, hot dogs, turkey legs, and steak sandwiches. I believe this is a renovation of the existing Alpen Top Dog.
  • La Cantina on International Street will serve tacos, burritos, and more. “La Cantina” was an original 1981 park restaurant but was removed in 2005 for Starbucks, so it’s a nice nostalgia hit to see the name back in the park. The park originally listed the International Street Burrito Bar on the website earlier in the off-season but that’s gone now (it’s still on the meal plan list as of this write-up) so I assume they renamed that to La Cantina.
  • Wonderland Craft Chippery in the White Water Canyon area was mentioned earlier in the Preview Night Specials. It sounds like the Chippery has gotten a bit of a rejuvenation with tasty new items like chili cheese chips and pico de gallo chips. The Chippery was originally opened under the Paramount ownership and has served fresh-cut chips mixed with flavourings.
  • International Street Eatery is no longer on the website…

That’s all of the NEW I’ve got for now. Hopefully we’ll see more shortly as we’re still waiting on the 2017 park map, and special events and live entertainment line-up!