Ok, Mary here’s the story: we went to thirteen (13!!!!) other amusement parks this year before finally going to our home park Kennywood.
Which is like, 25 minutes from our house.
(OK, it’s longer when I drive because I take the NOSTALGIC route of my childhood, through West Mifflin which means fuck all to anyone reading this who doesn’t live in Pittsburgh but basically I go the way we used to go when I was a kid living in a completely different part of Western PA, lol.)
But hey Ted, let me tell you why I was dragging my feet: Kennywood has been changing, and not for the better. Can it go back to being family-run, please? I have no idea what the plan is but the dumbos that are in charge now removed FOUR FLAT RIDES this season: the Paratroopers, the Bayern Curve, Volcano (which will always be the Enterprise to me), and the MOTHERFUCKING KANGAROO. Literally, the ride of Kennywood’s mascot, Kenny Kangaroo. Those are four rides that I would ALWAYS take for a spin on my visits too (sometimes not the Bayern Curve though because there’s a horn that would occasionally blow and it always bothered me) and I am pretty gutted over this. And so was the park, as evidenced by the literal gaping spots of nothingness left in the wake of their removal.
I just hate it.
Didn’t they hurt us enough when they removed the Log Jammer?! Sure, we got that record-breaking….thing called Steel Curtain, but if we’re being honest, that coaster is just OK. Come on. It’s OK to admit it.
AND THEN?? They replaced the waffle place with a fucking MILLIE’S. Literally, the UPMC of ice cream shops. Every time I turn around, MILLIE’s. I used to be a huge Millie’s fan girl but the last several times I visited, I was met with subpar service and not-great scoops, so after years of screaming the virtue’s of Pittsburgh’s premier creamery, I unfollowed them from all social media and put all of my stock in Sugar Spell Scoops (the couple who own that biz are WAY more deserving of my attention anyway, AND their vegan ice cream is incredible).
And also! Kennywood’s admission is astronomical for what they offer these days. I felt so angry when I ordered our tickets online.
It was just Chooch and me who went last Tuesday – Henry was like NO THANK YOU when we asked him to take the day off and go with us. I know I complained a lot up there, but it was actually not all bad. I will recount the day’s events in bullet-form because that’s what cool people do.
- Chooch and I arrived at the park right as the gates were opening. Our traditional routine is to go straight to the Exterminator because that line pops off even on a light crowd day. It’s an indoor crazy mouse right, so most of the line queue is in a cement-block of a room that feels like a large jail cell and and honestly, even during NON-pandemic times, it’s horrible to stand in there. There is NO air flow and you’re at the mercy of the people freely farting and BO’ing all around you. Ugh. Kennywood recently reinstated their mask mandate for indoors, including Exterminator, but who knows how many people would actually abide by that? Judging by what we saw throughout the day any time we were in a gift shop, bathroom, or food-place, not many! So when we arrived at the Exterminator and found that no one was in line yet, I felt blessed. I don’t think we have ever been the first ones on the Exterminator before! And when the ride officially opened at 11, we ran past the ride attendant holding a box of disposable masks since we are mask mandate-abiding citizens and brought our own, and ran all the way through the queue while everyone behind us walked like Normals. I’m pretty sure we got on the ride and went through the entire cycle before anyone else caught up and got on the ride, lol. We are fucking maniacs.
- Phantom was A FUCKING WALK-ON for the back row. Goddamn, this is literally the only reason I keep coming back to Kennywood after they consistently disappoint me and break my heart with the cruel decisions they make in their sterile boardroom.
- In line for the Racer, there were three older teens behind me talking about how they were going to take the back row and in my head I was like, “LOL, try it.” The group in front of us ran for the front and Chooch and I breezed right into the back row. Two of the guys got to snag the back row in the other train but their friend was left to dejectedly sit alone in some dumb row, lol. Anyway, I still think the Racer is fucking boring but I have to admit it’s smoother than most of the other racer-types we have recently ridden, fo’ sho’.
- The same guys ended up being in front of us for Steel Curtain and the ride attendant cut the line off at them since there were three of them and only two more riders were needed for the train that was queueing up so the ride attendant told Chooch and me to go ahead of them AND WE GOT THE BACK ROW AGAIN LOL. I felt kind of bad. Especially when….
- ….WE BROKE DOWN ON THE BRAKE RUN! So then they had to call up the out-of-shape maintenance guys who noodled on up in their golf cart and then like, 6 other Kennywood manager-looking people in polo shirts walked over from their secret underground headquarters. They got us back into the station in under five minutes (it was much less worse than the time we broke down on the Gatekeeper brake run) but then of course they had to shut down the ride for a bit to test it so those poor guys had to wait even longer. They probably really hated us then.
- Speaking of the Steel Curtain, it’s been running one-train ops FOREVER now. Like, what the fuck is the issue? Actually, I think I used to know and then forgot. But anyway, for one-train ops, I do have to give lots of credit to the Steel Curtain crew because they fucking HUSTLE and even try to to call out single riders in order to fill all the rows, which is something that I don’t see happening very often.
- This little kid photobombed us in line for Jack Rabbit and then excitedly blurted out, “I photobombed you!” and I thought that was really cute and Chooch was annoyed because we’re supposed to hate all kids together and he doesn’t like it when I find exceptions. Also, I love the fucking Jack Rabbit. I REALLY stopped and appreciated it this time around, having been on so many different wooden coasters lately. This bitch is 101 years old (the coaster, not me, though I am aging rapidly these days) and still so fucking smooth. I’m mad at CORPORATE KENNYWOOD but I have to say – they take excellent care of their coasters. They know they got a good thing going!
- Right about the time we were ready to eat, it started to rain. We were SO SMUG about this because for the last several years, whenever we go to Kennywood sans Henry it has been our tradition to eat at Johnny Rockets because they have a veggie burger. Plus, it’s indoors, whereas when we’re with Henry, we get pizza and have to eat it at a table outside. This is FINE but not when it’s raining. Well, since we got to Johnny Rockets right as the rain started, it hadn’t yet been deluged by people seeking shelter so the line to order wasn’t very long at all. In fact, there were only several groups ahead of us. But while we were standing there, I happened to glance at the menu. Then I did a second, longer glance. Then I walked closer to it and squinted. CONFIRMED: THE VEGGIE BURGER NO LONGER EXISTS IN THE JOHNNY ROCKETS WORLD. I’m not sure if this is just a temporary covid thing, an economy thing, a FUCK VEGETARIANS thing, or what, but it threw us for an actual loop because it was now STORMING and the only other indoor eating place had a line coming almost out the door.
- Which brings us to that portion of the bullets: THE PARK CAFE ALSO HATES VEGETARIANS portion. First of all, congratulations for being literally the longest line we stood in all day, Park Cafe place. Also, congratulations to the whole lotta Yinzers declining to wear their masks indoors while in line and not eating. Cool. Cool cool cool. Anyway, I was panicking because my eyes are bad and I couldn’t see the menu and didn’t know if there were any options for me (Chooch said he was getting the mac & cheese dinner and I 100% did not want that). Chooch walked closer to the menu and reported back that they had a veggie wrap. Now I was happy! A veggie wrap sounded like JUST WHAT I WANTED.
- Then I had a solid 30 minutes to stand in line, panicking about WHERE TO SIT once we got our food because 75% of the motheryinzers up in that piece were rain-averse sissies looking for shelter and not actually eating at the Park Cafe. For instance, we were standing near this one FEMALE who was taking up three (three!!!!) tables with her little brood of brats and they were eating snacks she had brought with her in ziplock bags. She was sitting there staring at everyone, while eating crackers. LITERALLY BEING A BITCH EATING CRACKERS. I watched her drop a crumb on her lap and then lazily pick it up and eat it. I HATED HER BIGLY.
- When we got to the ordering portion of the line, I confidently screamed through my mask that I would be having a veggie wrap, please and thanks, only for the sandwich counter broad to come back and say, “I’m sorry we’re out of veggie wraps.” SO I SAID “OK NEVER MIND THEN I’M GOOD I GUESS” and ended up just getting an order of fries from the HOT FOODS counter and I was sad about it because first of all, I didn’t want fries, and second of all, if I did I would have gone to the POTATO PATCH BECAUSE HELLO WHO GOES TO KENNYWOOD AND THEN EATS NON-POTATO PATCH FRIES?? I guess a lot of people because I was seeing fries on many trays.
- THEN I ALMOST SHANKED AN OLD BITCH WITH MY EYES ALONE WHEN SHE CUT IN FRONT OF ME IN THE DRINK LINE. I only given the guy my drink order and Chooch was right next to me waiting to get his drink too but after the man handed me my water (#CheapBitchAlert), this old bitch went right on ahead with her bad self and ordered pink lemonade. I looked at her and ACTUALLY made an “UGH” gasp sound and she shrugged and said, “I’m sorry, but he looked at me so I ordered!” Later on, Chooch white knighted her and I disowned him.
- Oh! We saw Aaron in Johnny Rockets! Apparently his brother who now works with Henry was also on his way. Henry excitedly texted me about this because that’s his Work Son and he knows everything about him. He definitely talks to Henry more than Henry’s actual sons do LOLOLOL.
- Is there even a more Pittsburghy picture? I mean, sure there is. But man. This is iconic. Steel shit in the background and good ass coasters in the forefront. Love that for us.
- Ugh, I stupidly put a temporary moratorium on my Millie’s ban because their KENNYWOOD EXCLUSIIVE flavor is a lemon thing with Eat n Park smiley cookies so I got that and it pretty OK for the first couple of bites but then I just felt sick and also remembered that I don’t even really like smiley cookies that much anymore but now I had wasted my KENNYWOOD SWEET TREAT on stupid ass Millie’s when I should have stuck with Golden Nugget. I was SO SAD. (Yes, I considered doubling up on ice cream but my stomach rejected that idea before I even had a chance to think the full thought.)
- It was still raining a little bit and because of nearby lightning, the coasters were still down. So we got in line for the Whip because it was running. While in line, there was a group of four kids in front of us, and the one girl who was maybe 13 was being SUCH.A.CUNT. She was evidently very offended and personally affected by the fact that one of the people with her had the AUDACITY to wear a mask. He looked like he was maybe 15, I dunno, I can’t tell ages. She kept screaming at him to take it off, the ‘rona’s not real (HATE when people call it that, btw) and when he failed to do her bidding, she ripped the mask off his face and threw it over the railing of the queue!!! Then she got in his face and coughed dramatically and with much vigor. OH BOY if that was my fucking kid she would HAVE GOT IT. I half-expected this guy to scream back at her but instead, he calmly pulled another mask out of his pocket and put it on. I mean, good for him for being the bigger person, but if I were under the age of 18, that bitch would have had her hair yanked out of her white trash head. You know she learned that shit from her parents, too! Ma and Pa are probably still proudly flying that TRUMP 2020 flag from their trailer. Of course, I took a picture of the bitch but I will be MATURE and not post it here also because I don’t want to get in trouble lol.
- she might be in the background though.
- When we got off the Whip (which was extra whippy and fun in the rain!), I saw that the Swings were testing so Chooch and I got in line with all the GP, like wow how hard-pressed we were for action in the rain. Also, I was NOT leaving the park just because it was raining. Rainy days are the best times to go to Kennywood. So, we stood in line waiting for the Swings to reopen and when the unsmiling worker took away the CLOSED FOR WEATHER sign, we cheered with all of the little kids and their mommys. Then a bunch of people walking by were swayed by our cheers to also ride the Swings. The power of choral cheers, you know?
- We also stood in line for quite a while waiting for Musik Express (which was previously supposed to be closed for the whole day) to be cleaned and tested.
WE HAD NOAH’S ARK TO OURSELVES.
- We did eventually get back on Phantom’s Revenge. Man, this baby was running SO GOOD, and then right after it rained? Wow. Anyway, we were in line for the back as per usual when I noticed that the Bitch Eating Crackers was also in line with her Kids Eating Crackers. “Look,” I whispered* to Chooch. “There’s that bitch from the Parkside Cafe who—” when she looked at me and said, “Do yinz want to get in front of us?” and I finished my sentence by saying, “Oh wow, yes, thank you so much!” We took the spot in front of them and Chooch looked at me and said, “Wow, right after you called her a bitch.”
- *I always wonder if my whispering is loud, tho.
UM IS THAT A SEATBELT FLYING IN THE AIR OMG LOL
- I will literally never stop going to Kennywood as long Phantom is there.
- They redid Garfield’s Nightmare so it’s more like how it used to be….kind of? Chooch was mad and wants them to bring back Garfield but that’s just because he’s from a generation that only knows this ride as Garfield’s Nightmare. I thought they were restoring it to the original Haunted Hideaway but they just gave it like, a modern update. I dunno, but they gave it a confusing storyline and I wasn’t sure what was going on.
- Oh! We rode Steel Curtain again later in the day because the line was very short, like maybe 20 minutes, and of course the eccentric old man in front of me turned and started jawing off to me about how it’s his favorite ride in the park and he’s ridden it over 300 times and he’s aiming for 500 and blah blah blah. I was trying very hard to be conversational with him but it was hard because, and I swear I’m not exaggerating for the sake of being a mean girl, but he only had one bottom tooth and it was so hard to understand him. Then he turned back around and Chooch said, “That’s totally not blood on his shirt though, right.” OMG I THINK MAYBE IT WAS??? Anyway, the ride operators totally knew him and called out to him by his name and I felt kind of cool since I was standing next to him. LOOK I AM HARD-UP FOR ATTENTION and even second hand attention by a 20-year-old ride operator at Kennywood is something for me to write about it in my diary.
- Over a week later and I still regret my decision to choose Millie’s over Golden Nugget. I will never let that happen again, if you take me back, Golden Nugget. Please say you will take me back.
- My Sharona was playing at one point as we were walking around and Chooch asked, “Oh, is this the actual song? I thought it was the Weird Al version at first and thought it was weird that they would play that here” and I admitted that I not only forgot that Weird Al did a parody of that song, but that I forgot he existed in general. Then later that night, I had regular TV on for some reason in the background and THIS HAPPENED:
Well, that’ll do it. Kennywood was annoying but also fun. I still hate Thomas Town even though I went through a HEAVY Thomas the Tank Engine phase in high school and signed yearbooks with a Thomas stamp (don’t ask) and I hate Steelers Country and all the missing FLAT RIDES and fuck Johnny Rockets and Millie’s, but one ride on Phantom’s Revenge can make me forget it all.