Saturday, 23 August 2014

Vancouver Playland

With the trip starting in earnest myself, Tal, Thomas and Christof loaded up and headed to the first park of the trip.

Playland park is the only park in the city so has pretty much the amusement industry monopolised here. I can only assume given the land issues, the town planners don't want land used for more parks. The park is the oldest in the country and as well as having a fairly short summer season is also home to the Pacific National Exhibition, a huge fair that attracts thousands. So a good park to start with.

The first coaster we started with was the park's wooden coaster called "coaster" (sighs). It's been open since 1958 

It's an ACE landmark coaster, an accolade that that club slaps on older rides that are typically not very good. This didn't bode well.  

Actually, this turned out to be probably the best wooden coaster of the trip. It was easy to ride, not rough at all and had some great airtime especially half way around the circuit where it turns and immediately drops. Having the first coaster throw me around like this had me in hysterics - such a great start to the trip. 

It's not the easiest ride to photograph though. The best shots come from the big wheel or outside of the park, so consider saving some time for that if that's your thing. 

Mmmmm donuts, but it was too early for that, there were rides to do!

The park was one of the first to champion a scheme that encouraged physics education through bringing kids to the park - something that hundreds of parks around the world now do. So does this mean it's this park to blame for filling parks with kids? :) 

The park has a pretty decent selection of coasters, spin rides, tower rides and childrens rides. It does constantly evolve typically replacing at least one ride every 2 years. (This year it was the Frisbee that was headed for the chop). Overall it does look like a travelling park that never left i.e. just a lot of rides slapped on a bit of land. There is no theming for example - But this doesn't matter if the overall experience is a good one, which this was.

The second coaster was the Kettle Creek Mine Train. This is a kids ride, but fortunately one that we could ride too. Although it doesn't look like it might be a record breaking coaster it does actually hold one. It's the most Westerly fixed active coaster currently in the world. History buffs will know that Hawaii used to have a coaster which is the all-time most westerly :)

What a great name for a toasted cheese sandwich establishment, and a cute logo that the Japanese would approve of!

A clever idea for a drinking fountain. Would you put your head in a lion's mouth?

The final coaster of the day was the Vekoma Corkscrew at the back of the park called "Corkscrew" (sighs again). Surprisingly this ride ran pretty well with no head shaking that you typically get on these rides. Perhaps it was the euphoria of that wooden coaster but this surprised us too.

It certainly run much better than it did for these kids in Final Destination 3, which was filmed here. 

If you've never seen the ride layout it's not as complex as in the film. It's just a standard double-corkscrew layout.

The haunted walkthough is an upcharge attraction.

The park wasn't busy at all today and we were easily able to get around everything in good time. The biggest crowd was for the wooden coaster and even that was just enough to fill the train. 

This was a nice touch on the drinks vending machines. Usually the drinks manufacturers design the livery for the machines so I can only assume this hasn't come from them but imposed, but a good imposition. 

Entrance Pano

and that was Playland, a really nice introduction to the trip with no bad coasters at all. We were really impressed with the wooden coaster and said goodbye to the park in the best way we could see fit; riding their best old coaster some more.

Vancouver Playland is located in the North East of the main city bit with parking at the intersection of East Pender Street and Windermere Street. The website is here

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