Summary: great visit, no waiting for Untamed thanks to the single riders line, very few crowds, closed early at 6pm, free return visit pass.
I had a great visit to Canobie Lake Park today, Saturday, August 27, 2011. I went because I hadn't seen the shows, and next weekend is the last weekend for summer shows. Also, there's a hurricane coming and the park will be closed Sunday.
- I arrived at the park at 10:30 am and parked in the second row which was almost full. A good number of people had the same idea to go to the park today. Or, James suggested that perhaps Canobie moved up their Sunday corporate picnics to today instead, and it seems likely that maybe that is what happened. In any case, the park was slightly more crowded than you would think the day before a hurricane and with rain forecasted for the afternoon. However, for a Saturday in August, the park was remarkably uncrowded. The turnstiles were already open.
- Canobie Critters greeting guests inside the gates were Molly Mouse and that Castaway Island bird.
- A sign at the entrance said that due to inclement weather the Canobie Express, Sky Ride, and Rowdy Roosters would be closed. Also, the scheduled fireworks had been canceled. And, other rides could close due to inclement weather. The front entrance announcements also said that fireworks had been canceled.
- Rowdy Roosters was indeed closed, but as you all know it's been down all season for refurbishment. Surprisingly, the Canobie Express was running, contrary to the sign. The Sky Ride did not run. During the day, they removed the cars and stored them in the loading station. I believe that all other rides were running, though I can't seem to recall it running.
- A big tree between The Trellis and the Tiki Maze had been cut down. The stump is still there.
- The Rad Tags booth is gone.
- The Octoberfest tent frame was installed in front of the Midway Stage. The tent canopy had been removed. I'm guessing that perhaps they did it because of the hurricane?
- 10:43 am, the Yankee Cannonball queue is two switchbacks long. The queue for Untamed had about 40 people in it.
- There's a Screeemfest "The Last Ride" coming soon sign on the Sky Ride building.
- Construction on Bear Lodge has been finished. It has a chandelier made from wood "antlers" and logs as columns. There's a New Hampshire wildlife display inside with taxidermy animals. There is also a birch-themed log table inside.
- The gift shop construction has been finished. The store is named Bear Claw Souvenirs.
- In back of the Untamed lift station building construction continues on the ride photo building. They were doing masonry work today. There's a concrete pad in the field behind Untamed and another bare patch of ground that might be for something else.
- Untamed's single riders line is now in service. It's the stairs in the back of the building. The single riders line works excellent, probably because not many people realize that it's there. (The sign is past regular entrance, so people are unlikely to see it. In any case, the single riders line works extremely well, and I was able to get many, many walk-on rides, a few one-cycle wait rides, and one two-cycle wait ride.
- Untamed seems to be running smoother and quieter than it was on opening day. I experienced no head banging. However, later in the day I noticed that the ride was a bit faster and was vibrating more. James said that the ride was running one car at the beginning of the day (I didn't check this), but by mid-afternoon it was running two cars.
- Gables Grill has a new, themed condiment stand.
- The smoking gazebo behind Psychodrome (moved from where Big Bear Plaza now stands) has been finished.
- Tomato and squash plants have been planted in front of the Portofino sign.
- Mini Dinos's refurbishment has been completed, and the ride looked spiffy with a new sign and a new paint job.
- The Castaway Island volcano was smoking. The Be-Bop cheeseburger was spinning. The Tiki Maze tiki statue was not spinning.
- There's a new AED at the Wooden Nickel Arcade.
- The Wooden Nickel Arcade got a new Terminator Salvation light gun game.
- In the Mine of Lost Souls, all the doors were working. The Billy Hollander pepper ghost wasn't working (but Bobby was working fine). It looks like some lights are out (but other lights that had been out were now working.
- The Chicken Coop has a new themed condiment stand behind the Village Stage seating.
- Mine of Lost Souls has a new sign. It's bigger and more colorful. 11:37 am, the Yankee Cannonball queue is 4 switchbacks long. The Untamed queue was 3 switchbacks long.
- There's a new, giant catering tent in the North Grove catering area.
- The Ring Fling building was closed, with windows boarded in in advance of the hurricane.
- In the morning and early afternoon the weather was partly sunny, partly cloudy, and all warm. By 3:30 pm, the temperature dropped noticeably. By 4:30 pm it started sprinkling, and by 5:30 pm it was raining lightly.
- There was new artwork on the Ring Toss and Short Shot stands.
- Behind the International Food Festival, the trash area was smelling.
- I saw the 1:30 pm Wildlife Encounters show, the 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm Tribute to Michael shows, the 3:00 pm Tribute to Janet show, and the 3:30 pm Tribute to Tim show. I'm not sure if the 4:30 pm Wildlife Encounters show went on since it had started sprinkling by then. I liked how all the shows were different than last year (they had different songs and dance numbers). For frequent park visitors, it made seeing the shows worthwhile. Responding to comments in another trip report, the Tim show was definitely PG-rated and nobody looked like Chippendales dancers or strippers.
- 1:30 Wildlife Encounters animals: Green Wing Macaw, Red Coatimundi, Brazilian Porcupine, Burmese Python.
- The new Louis Armstrong statue in the Dancehall Theatre museum was made by Custom Creations who made the other statues in the museum. The giant Michael statue was moved from the front plaza into the museum.
- I had a vanilla soft serve at Frozen Delite, and a chicken parmesan and Bud Light at Portofino.
- Fishing Well has new LED lights along the edge of its canopy.
- Canobie was definitely in pre-hurricane mode. Minuteman Fried Clams was open earlier in the day, but by 4:00 pm it was closed. The Kayem Diner hot dog stand also opened during the day but was closed in the late afternoon.
- At 5:46 pm, Canobie announced that the park would be closing early at 6:00 pm. By that time, rides were closing left and right.
- Interestingly, at 6:03 pm with the park closed or closing, there was a huge line for Fried Dough.
As people left the park at the end of the day, they were given free return tickets to the park, good through September 25, 2011. That was an unexpected treat! Officially Canobie has a no-refund policy, and everyone who decided to visit the park that day knew that bad weather was expected and that the park was likely to close early. So, giving return tickets went above and beyond what was expected. I'm sure that it made guests happy and made them view Canobie Lake Park positively. I also suspect that they may be more willing to spend money on their return visit to the park.
I took 211 photos during my trip, and to get them up quicker, I'm just uploading all of them unsorted. The photos are currently uploading overnight, but you can take a sneak peek at them here:
(I'll edit this post in the morning to add some photos.)
Edit: replaced URL. This post has been edited by Ben James Ben on Oct 3 2012, 10:47 PM
"Canobie. Itís always fun! It's so much fun, it's so much fun! So much fun!"