Park: Morey’s Piers
Where: Wildwood, NJ
Date: 8/13/08 and 8/14/08
On the final two days of a week long stay in Wildwood, my sister and I got a waterpark/amusement ride combo. It’s actually a pretty good deal at $55 seeing as the ride wristband is $45 and the waterpark pass is $33. The waterparks were holding some sort of event and even had signs out front saying that the parks would have a higher guest volume than other days. In return we received an all day waterpark pass good for both parks. Sweet! The lines really weren’t awful, save for the Serpentine Slides at Raging Waters.
I’ll give myself credit for not falling off the tube on the Sky Pond slide at Raging Waters. The slide is made up of multiple slides and pools and is the only one of this type ever built. Anyway, the tube is prone to hitting the water on its edge upon entering one of the four elevated splash pools. There’s been countless times where I’ve been thrown off the tube and then had to capture the runaway tube before it found its way down another slide.
One thing I noticed was that the Red Tornado (or whatever the heck they were called) slides are now gone. They were two enclosed body slides that did one spiral before shooting riders into a splash pool. They were pretty fast and never failed to shoot water up my nose upon splash pool impact. I seem to remember them sitting idle the year before, and they looked a bit whipped, so I guess it was time. The splash pool is still there though; maybe they’ll build a couple of new slides for it.
The Amusement Parks
On the 14th, we redeemed our wristband voucher and got ready to pay them off three times over. A perk with buying the writbands now is that you can now use the Tram Cars that traverse the boardwalk for free until 6pm. Morey’s sure know hospitality! The first ride was the Great Nor’Easter, a custom SLC installation. For this season, Morey’s added in new trains, axed the queue area, and sort of renamed it to “Fly: The Great Nor’Easter.” I refuse to use the ‘Fly’ in front however because it takes the balls out of this ride. This ride is supposed to be themed as the fury of a bad ass nor’easter storm! Not some flying crap!
The new seats get rid of the shoulder harnesses replacing them with an overhead lapbar and a vest looking thing. Your head no longer bounces between the shoulder harness at a furious rate, but the ride is still rough. Oddly enough, the center seats are less rough than the ones towards the front! We went on this twice in a row before leaving it for the time being.
Next up was AtmosFEAR, a 140 foot ARM drop tower. They didn’t have the recordings working today, or maybe they simply just took them out. The journey to the top is very slow, taking over a minute. Once at the top the car immediately disengages without any stop or anything. You cannot see upwards due to an overhang on the car so the drop is a complete surprise. However, if you ride during the day you can see your position by looking at the large shadow that the tower casts. For some reason, this tower gives massive airtime compared to any other tower I’ve been on. Maybe it’s because the car drops with absolutely zero resistance to cables or anything; it’s a pure freefall right into the magnetic brakes.
Our next ride was Dante’s Dungeon, a Dante’s Inferno model dark ride. A few years prior they redid the ride adding in new props and a new façade. Personally I think the new façade stinks; the old one was much more menacing with the upside down face in the fire and the hellish scenes painted everywhere. Now it’s painted to look like a night scene. The inside is pretty good though with large moving props, air blasts, and the occasional actor. Actually as soon as our car entered the double doors, a person was waiting there to scare us. The funny part was that the person had the Morey’s uniform on! Disgruntled Morey’s employee? That certainly is scary! I didn’t notice this year but in years prior the ride had two people dressed in grim reaper costumes wandering about the track.
Next I went on the Condor, a staple of the pier since 1989. They built a little backdrop with the word ‘Condor’ on it this year. Although I seem to remember seeing this ride up for sale, so it’s a bit weird to put some investment into the ride when it may be going (you can buy it now for $415,000!) The ride always runs slow since Morey’s pitches it as a family ride. The lack of a real thrill is made up with the view from this ride.
After the Condor I boarded Cygnus X-1, a ‘new’ ride for the 2008 season. It’s actually just a revamp of their Gravitron ride. It’s themed after the black hole Cygnus X-1; I guess that’s a good theme for a Gravitron…although a bit weird for an ocean side park that largely has an ocean theme. The outside looks really nice and the inside is nice as well with strobing white lights along the sweeps and loud music. The ride went pretty fast as well; a bit faster than other Gravitrons it seemed.
We left the pier and headed over Mariner’s landing, the center pier of the three Morey’s owned piers. The first ride was probably the Pirates of Wildwood dark ride. This used to be an awful dark ride called Dark River, but was revamped into a dark ride about skeleton pirates invading Wildwood and torturing the ‘shoobies’ and ‘bennys.’ It’s hilarious just for that reason. It’s not a very scary ride, but fun! Again there was an actor roaming around this one. Actually they didn’t even do anything, but the surprise of seeing him/her around a blind turn was enough of a scare.
Next was Rollies Coaster, a Zyklon model coaster with those horrible shoulder harness restraints. Why does a small coaster need shoulder restraints? They suck since the ride traverses slightly banked turns, sudden drops, and stop on a dime brakes.
After the small coaster, I went on the big one, the Sea Serpent to be exact. Sea Serpent is a Vekoma Boomerang, the first in the US actually. It even predates the iconic Giant Wheel that resides on the same pier; Sea Serpent was built in 1984 while the Wheel was erected a year later. At one time this ride was a rough one, but with the addition of a Vekoma train some years ago turned it into a rather smooth coaster. I didn’t have to wait very long at all for this; actually I think I just walked right through air gate into an open seat the first time around. That’s always a nice feeling, almost VIP-like.
I boarded the Musik Express next, a very nicely kept Himalaya ride. At one time this featured a backdrop with Judas Priest painted on it complete with Rob Halford howling into a mic. Well that’s gone, replaced with animated sea creatures playing instruments. I cannot believe they did that! Actually, yes I can. They seemed to be very strict in balancing and making sure riders sat correctly this year. I didn’t even know that a Himalaya like this needed to be balanced to the T. If they saw someone holding onto the side of the car while the ride was running they would actually get on the mic and repeatedly yell “car number X let go of the side.” I wonder if some unreported incident happened to warrant this. No other Himalaya has been doing it.
I then proceeded to ride the Giant Wheel, the ride everyone thinks of when they think of the Wildwood boardwalk. It’s a large 160 foot wheel made by…well what do you know, made by Vekoma! At night it lights up with LEDs along the sweeps that cycle through a 14 or so minute light show. At the top you get a great view of…well, everything! It’s quite windy at the top, being right on the ocean and all, but it was nice after baking in the sun all day with little ground breeze.
Next we went on the Wave Swinger. Everything is pretty standard about this swing ride. The outer swings seemed to point outwards a bit during swings, and did so progressively more throughout the ride. At times I was convinced that my swing was going to turn around and face backwards! That would have been interesting to say the least.
We exited Mariner’s Landing to head over to Adventure Pier, or whatever it’s called now. We knew that the pier opens later on but we saw the Great White wooden coaster running and decided to head on over. Upon getting to the pier we saw that everything but the Great White was closed. Everyone on the Great White trains had their hands in the air as well. Hmm…something’s up. We got to the line only to be turned away since ERT was going with a bunch of ACEr’s at the park.
Under the awning of a game stand sat a group of Theme Park Review members. My sister questioned one about what was going on while I made some joke about being a part of Theme Park Critic. One kid standing near the back gave be a dirty look upon saying that; needless to say I was ready for a fight between the factions! Ehh, no I wasn’t. Anyway, I’m suprised those people survived ERT on Great White; that coaster is pretty rough! Two rides in a row is enough for me.
Later on we returned to Morey’s Piers to get on some of the rides that were not open before and to re-ride some others. The first one was Zoom Phloom, a great O.D. Hopkins made log flume ride on Surfside Pier. This 7 minute flume takes you above the pier, around the Nor’Easter, near the waterslides, under the pier, and down two steep drops. It’s my favorite log flume ever; it even beats out some highly regarded coasters as far as I’m concerned.
On Mariners Landing I did the pitching game and got up to 60mph. On a previous one I only got 53mph. Hmm. People were really launching the ball too, and it was only going up to 65 or so. I also hopped on the Maelstrom, a KMG Spin Out. This was one of those rides that I’ll only go on if I have a pay one price wristband. They’re not that great and kind of uncomfortable, but if I can go on it without paying per ride, then why not?
At this point we went on the Sky Cycle ride, which are like seagull looking cars that travel around an elevated track. Doing this during the day would have been awful, so we saved it for when it was cooler out. Sometimes it’s tough to peddle the car around a corner, especially if they haven’t greased the wheels up.
Back over at Adventure Pier, we got on Great White and got a wild night ride. The trains were absolutely flying that night with the bunny hops providing some substantial airtime. Overall, the Great White has great drops, fun sweeping turns, and a nice location. The tunnel under the boardwalk and the final drop are my favorite parts of this coaster.
We also went on Jersey Junkyard, a dark ride to make all other dark rides look great. If you have a wristband, go on it and see for yourself. Do not…DO NOT use tickets on this. You’ll want to strangle someone, anyone at the end of the ride if you do. Another dark ride resides right next to JJ called Curse of the Mummy 3D. You basically just walk through brightly colored walls with ancient markings and are shot with air blasts at specific points to scare you. However the hall towards the end with the mummies on each side is priceless! I won’t spoil it.
I also went on the Sky Ride, which I more like a chair lift. Upon boarding I heard a ride op tell the one running this ride that “after this next group, don’t let anymore on.” I wonder why. The reason was evident as I rose up above the Great White; there was all kinds of lightning going on around the area! Oh great, and this ride is pretty long too! Nonetheless, the ride is a great way to get photos of the Great White as you travel over it for most of the journey.
All said and done I got three rides on the Great Nor’Easter and two rides each on the Sea Serpent and Great White along with the other rides. On the coasters alone I more than paid off the wristband. Counting all of the rides including coasters I would have used 148 tickets. It’s .85 per ticket so in the end I would have spent 125.80 on tickets. Oh yeah, and there was the free Tram Ride which added $2.00 onto the grand total.
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Bonus Mini Report!!
The day after my sister and I went to Atlantic City; home of the endangered Steel Pier. Now I always hate to hear that a park is going to be removed but this park really wasn’t that great at all! They had a few standard rides like the Rock n’ Roll Himalaya ride, a medium sized ferris wheel, some go carts, a Sling Shot. They also had a Zamperla Disk-O…I was tempted to ride but it hotter than hell out and I really just wanted to hang out in the casinos! The pier really wasn’t that impressive at all.
The casinos themselves are a spectacle in themselves. They’re nothing compared to the grandiose themed resorts of Vegas, but pretty good in their own right. Eventually we settled into a row of video poker machines at the Borgata, Long Island Iced Teas in hand, and gambled. My sister lost all that she put into the machine and I won three bucks. I’m actually really happy about that! I was all set to basically give a donation to the place with what I put into the machine…a whole $20. Ha!