Monday, June 9, 2014

Park Review- Canada's Wonderland

Park Review- Canada's Wonderland

Last season, Canada's Wonderland shocked and surprised us, we had no idea of the hidden treasure sitting north of Toronto. Now that we knew, the park made it to the top of our "Must Visit Again" list.

Needless to say, the second time around just confirmed the fact that this park is the hidden jewel of the Cedar Fair company.

Day: Monday
Date: May 26th, 2014
Weather: Sunny and Warm
Overall Rating: Excellent
Coaster Baiting: Excellent
Overall Opinion: Shut Up and Visit.
Website: Canada's Wonderland
Review Team: Myself, +Kitsune Hazard and +Alexandra F

 **NOTE: We where invited by Canada's Wonderland to review the park as well as their newest attraction, Wonder Mountain's Guardian. This has in no way effected our review or opinion.**

Honestly, Canada's Wonderland is simply a beautiful amusement park with some heavy themed elements. While I hesitate to call it a 'theme park' it's very close since so many of there rides follow the areas which they've been planned in. This year we arrived on a lovely spring morning, much warmer then our previous years visit, as this seemed to be the first fully wonderful weather weekend of the Spring.

(Warning- Post is Picture Heavy)

Upon arrival we stopped in at Guest Services, picked up our passes and finally got to meet with Dineen, the parks PR manager. Not only is she a friendly and lovely woman to chat with, she really knows her park!

Needless to say the BIG QUESTION was if Wonder Mountain's Guardian was Open? It was and we were in luck! However, business comes before pleasure and we had some serious work to do.

Having gotten permission from the park, we headed to our first stop, Leviathan to get some excellent on-ride POV footage.  After a few rides and some purely amazing air-time we reluctantly agreed to move forward.

Honestly, I've ridden many coasters in my years, but Leviathan is one of my favorites. It's a speed and airtime machine, as much as many won't believe me, I like it better then Millennium Force at Cedar Point. It's smoother, has a higher drop regardless of being just feet 'shorter' on the lift hill and that over-banked turn.. splendid.  +Alexandra F couldn't say anything other then loudly exclaiming "I WANT ONE!" after her first ride.

Business still being business, we headed to another of our favorite coasters- Vortex. Honestly, coaster riding is serious business with us! Plus all of us have a seriously soft-spot for these suspended swinging coasters. Something about them is just plain fun, anyone who says otherwise probably isn't much fun. We got some excellent POV footage from this ride also, which swings so much more then others we've ridden. It's a love affair, it really is.

Want to see the POV of Leviathan and Vortex? Visit our YoutTube Video Page!

Up Next, the one we've been waiting for and watching all season for updates- Wonder Mountain's Guardian.

Yes, I'm going to talk about it, but I'm not giving away the surprise, so don't even ask me. As promised, WMG is a great addition- it has elements of a roller coaster mingled with interactive dark-ride elements. In true 'shoot 'em up' style, this ride has good combination of both elements but it's not just the 'enemies' which you can shoot at- the ride has 1500 infrared sensors behind each screen, allowing you to 'shoot up' pretty much anything projected! From baddies to the landscaping, you can destroy it all if the mood takes you.

It also has one heck of a surprise 'party piece' which the park kept completely silent about, it took us all by surprise and I'm not telling you what it is either. Your just going to have to experience the ride on your own!

The ride also has a 'scoring' system allowing you to keep track of how well you do. They also keep track of 'best players' and 'best players of the day'. You can spot our own dorky +Kitsune Hazard lurking on that second screen to the right!

While we got to ride right before it's opening that day, we also got a chance to chat with Peter, the head of maintenance and construction of the ride (and park). Honestly, I could have stood there for hours and asked a million questions but time is money and we try not to get too much in the way. However, I can confirm for everyone that WMG will be changing formats when needed. They will move the ride to a 'spooky' theme for Halloween and that came directly from the park!

After the last bit of chatting with both Peter and Dineen, we where finally turned loose upon the park but with so much of our 'hit list' already completed we had to stop and make a plan of attack.

Since we normally try to visit a park in some kind of order, we back-tracked towards the Wild Beast roller coaster as it was the only part missing in that area. Always a great wooden coaster, she was running a little rough in the warm weather. Although you do get a great view of Leviathan from the lift hill, and we still love this little wooden gem of a ride.

By this point we'd cleared a section of the park and needed to figure out our next move. Although since +Alexandra F and I where here, the next move is often "feed us". So that's exactly what we did!

This year, Canada's Wonderland surprised us by comping us lunch at their 'Marketplace International Buffet' which is in the Mideval Fair section of the park. Since we're pretty much willing to try anything, we were game.

Normally the price is around $22 per adult and we were rather surprised by both the quality and choices presented. Normally buffets at amusement parks can be very hit-or-miss, they are either very good or they leave you questioning why you spent so much money. This is one of the good ones, and we're not just saying that because the park gave us lunch. Personally, I'm a severely picky eater due to allergies but this location had good tasting food with a wide enough selection that I had plenty of choices.

Pizza, Pasta, Chicken, Fresh Bread, Taco Bar, Salads and Desserts. They really had a good selection and we attempted to try a little bit of everything.  We found no complaints here, everything tasted good and the selection was wide. While it might seem a high price to pay, we'll make sure to stop here from now on.

It's easily worth the price and if you make this your 'big meal' of the day, you won't be hungry for a long while. Plus, damn good desserts!

Stomach's full, we took a little break and plotted out the rest of the day's plans. With so many great attractions, I'd recommend everyone have some kind of plan when it comes to a large park like Canada's Wonderland.

So plans made and lunch digesting, we headed out. Moving at a nice clip we managed to jump in fairly short lines for two of the smaller coasters at the park- Flight Deck and Time Warp.

While Flight Desk is still rough and easily in the 'head-banger' area of rides, Time Warp is still a massive novelty for us. This odd little Zamperla flying coaster is just so unique we have to ride it. While few of them exist, it's a fun ride simply based on the factor you don't see them often (only two of the nine made exist in the US and this is the lone version in Canada).

With some coaster riding accomplished, we got ourselves a drink and kept moving. We had bigger things to ride and they where lurking just around the very next corner!

Ahh Behemoth, you lovely air-time machine!

We where getting very lucky with lines, perhaps we where moving against the flow that day but we only waited about 15 minutes to load.  While we had major questions about seat-belts being added to the ride, we give it the benefit of the doubt.

 Seat-Belts? Pointless.

We can't imagine why B&M felt the need to add these to the ride. They buckle loosely and don't effect the riders air-time, the only point I can see is they make people feel more 'secure' on an already secure ride system.  Don't worry folks, these don't make a lick of different in the ride experience!

Another ten minute break and we kept moving right along. With normal stops at some great coasters including Canadian Minebuster (which you can sneak a peek at the new water-slide which is lurking in the backlot and can be seen from the coaster), Silver Streak and our personal favorite hidden gem- Ghoster Coaster.

Honestly, these tiny PTC coasters don't get enough love. While they might be made in miniature for kids, they pack a real 'roller coaster'  punch including all the favorites! Air time, Bouncing, Ge-Forces and Noise. Trust me, give them some credit and don't just walk past!

You have now reached the point where I wax poetic about the park. Because it deserves it.

Canada's Wonderland is simply a beautiful park with friendly and knowledgeable employees. Most areas are landscaped and shaded nicely, you can always find a place to rest or relax for a bit.

Plus, it's clean. Not once did we spot an overflowing trash can, trash on the ground or a dirty bathroom. Nothing here makes you feel like someone could be doing more to make the park a nicer place, all those things are already done by the employees! 

The employees, Wow.

Honestly we are still surprised each year by how friendly the people are and how well they know their park! You won't run into the typical highly disinterred teenagers working their first job here- they care! Even the younger folks provided good information and directions, they will actively engage and chat with folks. We've never once felt rushed or like a hassle to the employees here, something which other parks should learn! Each one we chatted with gave good directions, knew what was going on and didn't mind sharing information. They all seemed to know some little interesting fact about the park (such as different names of rides, when they changed and such).

Folks, Canada's Wonderland is an amazing park. They have the rides, the food and the service. It's a trifecta for amusement parks and is still in the lead this season as my personal favorite park to visit.  Trust me when I say your going to love this hidden northern gem and we hope you take the time to plan a visit.

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