For the last couple of months my friend Ellen and I have been trying to set a day to hit a waterpark. Ellen's not much for coasters, but she likes some elements of water parks. After considering Safari Sam's indoor waterpark in South Jersey and Dorney's Wild Water Kingdom, we decided to try Mountain Creek when I found out they had installed an Alpine Mountain Coaster. Waterparks are not a priority for me..they require too much climbing/stairs, amd it's a hassle not being always able to wear my t-shirt/glasses/water shoes on attractions. My day at Dorney's WWK on July 4 was my first real day in a waterpark in several years.
The day didn't get off to a rousing start. I took a different way to Ellen's (she was to drive out) to save a few bucks on the Turnpike. However, the road I took didn't bring me out where I thought it would, so I didn't get to Cliffside Park until 9:15. We had directions from the site that should have taken about 1:15 to get there. But the directions said to take Rt. 94 right to the park. We ended up in NY, as there was another segment of 94 we had to turn at and didn't.
$5 to park put us at the very back of a random, unpaved, bumpy parking lot which was pretty much already full when we arrived. It was a quite long walk to the ticket booth, wearing somewhat thin water shoes on that surface. At least we got to walk through the Preferred Parking ($20)lot.
My sister had found me a coupon for $5 off the 36.99 Waterpark entry price. No other charges, $31.99 was what we paid. All inclusive..even the Mountain Coaster is not an upcharge.
I was already feeling the effects of the walk. I knew the park to be very hilly..it is on a mountain, after all. Even the first walkway leading to the lockers..before you get to any water attractions..was very steep. I was thinking it was a mistake to come. As badly as I got sunburned and blistered at WWK, at least that was all pretty flat. I tried to convince Ellen we didn't need the $18 large locker for the amount of stuff we had, but she insisted. $5 of that comes back when you return the key. We stored our stuff and off we went, up another steeply inclined pathway.
There was a children's area to our right. It contained a lazy river, which is my favorite element in any waterpark. But only young children were allowed. Not like I was getting a credit so we had to pass it up.
Next we found ourselves in an area where tube slides were loading for the descent. We tried in vain to find the entrances. In looking for them, we found the Colorado River. We, naturally, had to go far down to get a quite heavy, multi-person flat raft, and then lug it back up the mountain. They provide you a face-masked helmet to wear.which may be necessary. This is a quite violent ride. Lots of jolts, a real soaker, and it would be very easy to bang your head.
Then it was back down the mountain to grab a two-seater tube and hit one of the regular tube slides. Back UP the mountain to the entrance. Lots of climbing on rocks, gravel, dirt..I was really getting wiped out. Ellen's a hiker, and weighs about 90-100 pounds less than me, and even she was feeling the effects. I don't know the name of this tube slide, but it was pretty decent, and Eleen liked it a helluva lot more than the Colorado. We hit one more after that which was pretty blah, then moved on from that area. At least on those rides we were able to wear our water shoes. That was not the case at our next stop.
Back in the late 80's, I sprained my shoulder on the Surf Hill at Action Park back in the day. They recently opened what I guess is a new or refurbished Surf Hill. I could tell it was not as steep as its previous incarnation. Problem with this, and we did try it, is that I was unable to wear my t-shirt and water shoes, and wasn't taking a chance with my specs, even though they were strapped. This was a VERY painful walk barefoot up yet another steep hill on a very unsmooth surface. I was very slow going up, and Ellen (and the ride attendants) were waiting for me. This is a racing slide with six or seven not very deep troughs side by side. You ride on your belly on a mat with handlebars. I had some pretty good speed once I managed to get the front of the mat up, but nearly had an embarrassing moment at the bottom. You guys are smart, I'm sure you can figure it out before I'm accused of providing WTMI!
We were heading down to take a look at the line for the Mountain Coaster, but decided to stop at High Anxiety, which is one of those giant funnel/tornado/toilet bowl slides (whatever you wanna call it.) I've only been on one of these before..I think at Kentucky Kingdom or Splashing Safari, but I'm not sure. The line looked like nothing..about 20 people on the stairs. What we didn't see was the line to get the four-person cloverleaf tubes further down. I said with all the work we were doing carrying these various rubber thingies, they should be paying US! The wait wasn't actually bad..about 10 minutes to get the tube, and a coupla minutes on the stairs. but that @#$%* tube was heavy and awkward to carry. The slide was a lot of fun, though. You go through a wall of water at the start and end, and get doused pretty good on the sides of the funnel.
(This is turning out longer than I expected...thanks for sticking with me!)
We skipped the wave pool, and passed up the Cliff Jump.
The attraction I loved most at Action Park was Cannonball Falls. On the occasions I went to Action Park with my buddy Jon and/or my girlfriend Hilary back in college, it was the one ride we tried to hit multiple times. Couldn't wear the shoes, shirt or glasses on this one, but I loved it..still my favorite water attraction in the park. It's a fairly short, dark, enclosed body slide (twin chutes.) But instead of a shallow, half-foot deep landing area, you're shot out the end of the tube and take an 8-10 foot plunge into a full-fledged pool of deep, very cold water. Incidentally, because the water comes from natural springs, it is not room temperature or worse, as at many parks..it's all cold and very refreshing. The coldness of it startled Ellen on the first splash of the Colorado River. Ellen bailed on the platform of Cannonball Falls. You have to be a good swimmer for this one, but it was the dark, enclosed tube that turned her off.
Time to eat. We stopped by the locker to get money and headed up the hill yet again to one of the snack bars. There's not a lot of food options in the park. I got chicken tenders which were tasty (4 for 6.99) and an unsweetened Gold Peak iced tea. Ellen got a cheeseburger, fries and soda.
As mentioned before, it was the lure of the Mountain Coaster that drew me to McAfee, NJ. Never been on one, but the videos I've seen made it look pretty fun. It's a single person cart (adult..two can ride if it's an adult and a small child.) You're pulled up the mountain via a cable, negotiating some slight dips on a mostly uphill climb. The rider controls the brakes and you are told to push the brake lever as far as it will go. They want you to achieve maximum speed to avoid collisions. Max speed is about 25-30 MPH, so it's a little faster than Leap The Dips :) There were two collisions just before we got on line for our second ride..plenty of EMS technicians about. I had a bit of trouble pushing the lever down since my arms are pretty short..I had to essentially use my fingertips. The ride itself? Awesomely fun. Some good laterals on the turns, and good speed on the straight stretches. You're told via a sign to slow down about 100 feet from the unload point. The attendant there commented that my Coasting For Kids tee was perfect for this ride. Easily the highlight of the day,aside from the Cannonball. We only waited about 20 minutes, and about five minutes longer for our second ride a short time later. The restraint is a passenger car-style three pointer.
Between those two rides on the Mountain Coaster, we took what is essentially a sky ride to the very top of the mountain. The doors open and close automatically, so there's no attendant actually "working" the ride. They're in the control booth and managing the line, which did not exist for us. The gondolas have no seats, so it's stand-up all the way. Many of the users are BMX bikers who travel WITH their bikes in the gondola. The BMX trails start at the top of the mountain. Yo can see several different ones during the ascent. It's a very long ride, with spectacular views of the surrounding three states.
We also rode the Soaring Eagle, which is not much to speak of. It's essentially a mild zipline. Two passengers sit abreast on a bench, which is then pulled backward partway up the mountain..maybe a hundred yards or so. Only restraint is a seatbelt. Then you go back down forward. There's not much to it, and I certainly wouldn't wait for it. There's one gondola on each of two lines, but only one side was operating. We just had to wait for a father and son in front of us.
Mountain Creek has an area near Soaring Eagle that includes football, golf, hockey, and soccer challenges, as well as batting cages. There's no upcharge, except for the coin-operated pitching machines. But there's no prizes..just a dry-erase leaderboard for the day. Ellen took some swings at the golf challenge. She didn't do very well, but I think, watching and observing, she simply wasn't addressing the ball properly. You have to bent your kness, plant your feet firmly, and address the ball...Helllooo, Ball!
At that point we split. On the way out, I got another employee compliment on my shirt. It was a short, fun and exhausting day. Sadly, I surmise this may have been my last visit, unless I lose about 75 pounds.
I hope you enjoyed reading this.