Jun 202022

And: other leftover thoughts.

Phantom Pheenin’

I’m a broken record, bigly, but my appreciation for Phantom’s Revenge somehow grows every year. Maybe it’s just because the more coasters I ride, the more obvious it becomes to me that this beast is ELITE. Like, God tier. You might say that this is my home park pride talking, but find me any seasoned coaster enthusiast who does not come off this ride shocked and awed.

Plus, it’s visually delicious. The purple repaint they gave it over the offseason is stunning. I legit cannot come to this park without taking a ton of pictures of it.

The station got a refresher too! I love the Phantom station so much because it’s always uber casual in there and the ride crew is always poppin’ off.  How can you not be stoked to ride a coaster when the ride crew is energetic and high-fiving everyone?! And maybe this is the origin of my being so impatient with ops at other parks, because the crew on Phantom is so efficient. When they have two trains running, it is a well-oiled machine. (This isn’t to say that Kennywood as whole has great ops because some rides have super questionable crews, lol ugh.)

These two guys were my favorite!!

I think we rode it about 7 or 8 times on this day and it was absolutely glorious. Backseat is my bestseat but we did sit in the front one time and I was reminded of how stellar that one is too but if we’re being real here, there is no bad seat on this bad boy. Sit anywhere, you’ll fucking love it. That second drop feels like it will never end and it actually scares me sometimes. And the bunny hills at the end will eject you so far out of your seat that it feels illegal. I have been saying that for years and it makes me laugh when I watch enthusiasts’ reviews on YouTube because they ALL SAY THE SAME THING.

The park wasn’t very crowded on this particular Sunday so it was a station wait at worst, walk-on at best. There was one time when we were in the back and came back to NO ONE WAITING for that seat so I cried, “cAn We StAy On?!” and the guy nodded.

“Oh….thanks,” Henry mumbled, re-fastening his seat belt. He loved it though, lol. This day of Phantom rides came close to rivaling the BEST experience I ever had on Phantom.

Here’s Phantom cruising past Thunderbolt and the Turtles.

Speaking of the Turtles…

I always like to ride the Turtles because it’s the only ride of its kind left in America (in the world, even?). It’s just so much fun and you get great views of Phantom and Thunderbolt.

The ride operator was this young guy who was oozing moxie & enthusiasm. 100% the kind of person you want operating this adorable family ride! He was doing the whole, “Scream if you want to go faster” routine and the kids were just eating it up. The best part was when he announced that it was the last time it was going to be going around and he wanted everyone to yell, but then it ended up going around one more time. Henry and I were in the front of the line when this happened, and after the ride finally came to a stop and the ride op walked past us to unlock the exit door, he said to us, “I overshot it,” and we cracked up. Then, instead of letting us on, he was like, “Let me go look at the book real quick because I can’t remember when she said to hit the brakes….” and we were like, “OK do you what you gotta do, my guy.” When he came back to open the gate for us, he continued to explain the braking sitch.

“The book says to start braking when the first turtle reaches the garbage can, and that’s what I did…” I wasn’t sure why he was confiding in us but I was cool with it. We sat in the last turtle, directly across from the control booth, so when he walked by to go inside, he called out to me, “Are you an enthusiast?” I wasn’t sure if this was a trick question and to be honest, sometimes enthusiasts can be super snobby and entitled, so I said, “Um, kind of!”

“I could tell by your shirt,” he said, and I remembered that I was wearing Chooch’s Diamondback shirt from King’s Island. I was originally wearing my Steel Vengeance shirt but I spilled coffee on it right before we left the house that morning so I had to change! Either way, I’d have been called out for being a thusie, lol.

Once the ride started, Henry was like, “Oh god, he loves you” and I don’t know why because I wasn’t really giving him much to work with by way of conversation. However, when he said to scream you better believe my lungs went hog wild!

When the ride stopped, he said something else to me and I wasn’t sure what it was so I just chuckled in response which is my go-to reaction when I didn’t hear what someone said to me. The next thing I know, he was saying, “I’ll show you the controls if you want, come on!”

Just like that!

In this scenario though, it actually really was a “tour” of the control booth and not a sex thing.

He didn’t even unlock the gate for everyone! One of the people getting off the ride had to do it and he just let the other people continue to stand in line while he took me over to his control abode (Henry ditched me!!!). Granted, it was actually cool to peep inside there – I had no idea that it was all manual. He demonstrated how he has to turn the speed knob and that was kind of provocative. Then he walked me back over the exit gate afterward like a true gentleman and the people waiting in line were like, “Hello, the fuck is going on here? Can we ride the Turtles or nah?”


Henry was waiting for me and just smirked. “Wow, you’re lucky Chooch wasn’t there. He would have been PISSED,” he said, knowing how Chooch hates it when I get attention.

“Oh don’t worry, I’m texting him about it right now,” I laughed.


I just really can’t stress enough how wonderful of a day it was at Kennywood with Henry. I mean, it’s rare to have a bad day there (unless you go on a Saturday, which sucks no matter what amusement park it is because, Saturdays…) but I think the older I get and the more parks I visit, the more I truly appreciate Kennywood (um, I almost typed “Henry” instead, what a Freudian slip!) I mean, no other park has a Noah’s Ark, for Christ’s sake!

Legit one of the best walk-thrus in the world.

I do wish Kennywood would get some more flat rides though. I mean, they removed 4 last year (brought back one though!) so they owe us. I wish they would rebuild Le Cachot which burned down in the 90s – it was a great classic dark ride with old-school pretzel cars. I hate hate hate Ghostwood Estate or whatever it’s called because shooting rides are dumb and I preferred the dark ride that it replaced.

I’d also like to see them get rid of their dumb 4D theater that hasn’t been used for several seasons now. I’ve been there 3x so far this season and it doesn’t appear that they plan on using it this year either. Please get rid of it and give us something good!

Thunderbolt was a walk-on!

Steel Curtain is never a walk-on because they are forever running only one train (I’ve heard rumors that the elusive second train has made some appearances this season but I have now been there three times – we went again on Father’s Day! – and, bitch where?).

However, on this day we only waited about 10 minutes! The line ended at the bottom of the steps going up to the platform, and we got the second to the last row. This was Henry’s first time riding it and only my 5th, I think. It’s such a bizarre coaster. It’s not bad by any means, and I hesitate to use the term “underwhelming,” but I think because it’s so frustrating to get on which makes it hard to get multiple re-rides, that sort of makes it feel less great. But, everyone wants to ride this and not Phantom so be my guest – keep Phantom’s station empty for me!

(This sounds so negative – I do genuinely like this coaster, I just wish Kennywood would stop fucking with prototypes and spend their cash on something more reliable.)

I used to hate how it disrupted the Kennywood skyline as I have always known it, but I think I’m over that now. It’s pretty interesting to look at. Which is good considering how much time it acts as nothing more than a giant yellow lawn ornament lol.

Growing up with Kennywood as my homepark has spoiled me when it comes to wooden coasters because all of ours, for as ancient as they are, run relatively smooth. Most wooden coasters at other parks kill my back!

Our Racer actually races (*clears throat* Cedar Fair “Racers”).

He decided to play this after we started drinking our way through the Bites & Pints sample card.

He lost, lol.

Lil’ Phantom also got a repaint to match Big Bro!

View from the train – it makes me disgusted but I can never not look!

Literally the weirdest views at Kennywood but I wouldn’t trade it.

LOL I dunno how he had room for a square cone after eating and drinking all those samples. Golden Nugget is part of the process at Kennywood and it’s my favorite thing to eat at the park, so you know my stomach was at capacity when I politely bowed out of square cone’age.

(I did steal a bite of Henry’s though!)

Literally one of the best days I have ever had at Kennywood. I was worried that going to so many other parks would ruin Kennywood for me, but it still has my heart. I just hope this dumb company that owns it now continues to make improvements and fills those flat ride gaps! I would love to see them remove Raging Rapids which I haven’t seen running in the last several seasons (it’s completely drained and we’re almost into July at this point) and put in a new and improved Log Jammer. I miss the Log Jammer so much and I think that’s another reason why it’s so hard for me to fully and completely embrace Steel Curtain.


Anyway, don’t want to end on a low note. This day made me appreciate Henry a lot because he was such a good sport – he even rode Swingshot with me and that’s totally not his jam at ALL. It’s nice to be able to enjoy coasters and stuff with him even when Chooch isn’t with us!

P.S. If you have never been to Kennywood,  this is a pretty good review of Phantom’s Revenge, also – come to Kennywood and ride this thing! It is 100% worth the hype.

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