Sneak Peak and WOF opening day

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Today’s post is coming late for a couple of reasons. Primarily because I was busy and didn’t get to write one earlier, but also because I decided to do it on something that happened this evening.

Last week I wrote a roundup of upcoming events that included The Gold and Platinum Pass sneak peak at Worlds of Fun tonight from 6-10 p.m., and the official opening day on Friday. I mentioned having a quandry since I had a 7:30-8:30 p.m. Maundy Thursday service at church. That was amplified last night when the choir director (choir member here), said we needed to be there promptly at 7 p.m. for our warmup.

Yet, when all was said and done, I managed to get to the sneak peak (post topic), and to the Choir Maundy Thursday warmup.

Let me make a couple summary statements about the sneak peak, and then add some details about specific things. In summary, the sneak peak was a shake down, and peak at the new entrance and rides installed this year. It was fun, frenetic, and a little bit confused as not everything was where in needed to be and some new workers got on-the-job training of their positions. Yet from my perspective I consider it a success.

I had intended to bring my good camera with me, but forgot it in my rush to get there, so the few photos are from my small, “dumb” phone. When we drove into WOF there were short lines of cars and the parking gate huts, but it didn’t take long for us to have our platinum pass with parking verified and be securely parked in the middle of C lot. At the time the lot was only half full. It was 5 minutes before 6 p.m. when we got down to the entrance.

As I walked down to the entrance I commented to the sun that I wasn’t seeing any of those temporary security scanning tents tonight. Then I wondered whether they might have built some permanent scanning system in when they put the new entrance together. Turns out that was right.

They have three two-lane booths on both sides of the entry plaza. In the picture on the right you can see these walk through metal detectors with green and red lights. Somewhat like the airport, but more pleasant. I really don’t like that fact that we need these things, but if they are needed, this looks to be a much better, and more efficient, way to get the process done.

We waited through some short lines to get through these, and were able to be on the “inside” of this first stage before 6 p.m. I had time to have the kids pose on/by the step/benches underneath the new “WOF balloon” that we had gotten a sneak peak with on the WOF Facebook page.

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The balloon is nicer, and more impressive, that it looks in the photo. But it does have a velvet sort of look to it.

We posed the picture, and then went through the main entrance gate, and the wonderful wide bay of entry options. Much more open and less confined than the previous setup. It was 5:59 p.m.

 

In the picture on the left you can see the scrolling electronic sign above the entry stations. In the picture on the right, you can see, sort of, the other side, and looking over to the new plaza. Previously the entrance was further in, and down a hill. now they put everything at the top of the hill, and created a pathway/greenway that gives you a gentler slope going up or down, still leading to the main plaza. It feels much more open and inviting.

The evening, at the beginning, was more a sneak peak. We could see a lot of things, but things weren’t stared yet. The Fjord Fjarlane has a neat orange metal fence around it, and the entrance booth is on the side away from the new plaza. It also looked nice and freshly painted.

As we came through the new entrance, we could see a large group of people who had been waiting starting to go around the park counter-clockwise.  We also saw a long line of people waiting to eat at Chickie’s & Pete’s, since you enter it from the plaza. We  decided to go counter-clockwise because the group of people looked smaller.

We saw that they have removed the covered canopy from the Tivoli Music Hall. Again it opened up another space, looking more inviting.

We saw very few rides open as we went around the inner loop — that means when we got to Africa we turned up the hill toward Europa instead of going past the Boomerang. In Europa we caught our first glimpse of a new ride, the Falcons Flight.

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They were testing the ride. You can’t tell by the picture, but the main wheel was going counterclockwise, and each arm is set to go clockwise. The picture doesn’t show the top of the tall central post the ride will go up and down on, and we didn’t see the arms going clockwise.

By this point, to get to choir, we were planning on only staying 30 minutes at the park, so we were bypassing everything in search of food.  So we didn’t do more than glance at the second new ride: the Mustang Runner, located where an old kiddie bumper cars used to be, just outside Camp Snoopy. They didn’t seem to be testing that ride when we were there.

The line was pretty long at Vittle Griddle, so we circled around. The daughter and I hit Subway, while the son hit Pizza Pier. The lines seemed reasonable on our time schedule.

There was modest confusion at Subway. We recognized the manager as the same one we had talked to and built up a rapport from last season. She was pleasant, if a little hectic busy with all the minor technology changes and training a new cashier. Our sandwiches got made quickly, but it took a little more time to ring people up. There was minor issues in front of us with someone who had an all season bottle and getting in rung up. I was fine and patient for that to be resolved, because it meant that when i paid for mine, and asked for the all season bottle on my card, it worked well.

The pizza line was about the same length, but moved more slowly. A large family in front of Nathan was trying to work out their season dining plan and getting their cups.

It ended with all of us getting our food and meeting at yellow tables near the Pier at about the same time. So we ate, and started walking. We were hoping to get the bottle refilled on the way out, but there wasn’t enough time to wait in a short line while the refresh station staff worked out the problem of not having all season cups and only one day cups.

On my way walking across the bridge from the Orient to the entrance plaza, I got stopped by a WOF employee carrying a camera tripod with no camera on it. He said “this meal is number one of how many you expect to eat here this year.”

I said we expect to eat there most every day the park is open, except for the days we are traveling on vacation. Then we expect to be eating and using the dining plan at King’s Dominion, Canada’s Wonderland, Michigan’s Adventure, Cedar Point and King’s Island. He replied that he reads the blog and expects to see updates on the numbers and going up.

I am assuming he identified me because of my picture on the blog, and because the red hair is rather distinctive. So it seems I have a “small” notoriety, and can’t act incognito at the park. No problems there. I obviously don’t expect any special treatment, but it is nice to know I am sort of recognized by some people as a regular patron and supporter of Worlds of Fun.

We’ve been season pass holders of one form or another since 2001. That makes this our 17th season.

And to satisfy my one reader, I’ll confirm that at this point we have one day, three meals, and one drink fill-up.

I expect everything to be  smoother tomorrow, because of tonight’s run-through. I applaud the management on the new entry way, and think the season is off to a good start.

 

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