Lake Compounce Trip Report, 2004-09-19

These are photos from my September 19, 2004, visit to Lake Compounce. They are a part of the Canobie Lake Park Information Archive.

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Trip Report and Photos

I arrived at Lake Compounce at about 20 minutes before the 11:00am opening time. Even though it had rained a lot the day before, the parking lot was pretty much dry except for some areas and a few puddles here and there. Unfortunately, one of the puddles was in the roadway immediately inside the entrance and was unavoidable.

Lake Compounce's parking lot;

At 11:46am the tunnel gate opened. I bought my ticket and waited for the main gates to open, which it did at 10:51am. The weather was nice and sunny, and the air was dry. It was a somewhat cool day, in the 60's, but I actually like this sort of temperature better than hot summer weather.

On the advice of the forum, I decided to ride Ghost Hunt first. It was a walk-on. The ride is really nice, especially the surprising ghost-hunting break halfway through. I got a score of 1560, after abandoning an attempt to go through the ride double-fisted, John Woo style. (It turns out that I can't aim with my left hand.)

At 11:00am, I arrived at Boulder dash. A small crowd (less than a train) was there waiting for the ride to open. Only the red train was running, and it went through two more test runs before the ride opened. At 11:08am, the ride opened and the first train left the station. I elected to wait two cycles to have a front seat for my first-ever ride, and at 11:15am I rode Boulder dash. Then, I rode a second time, this time in the back seat. As I was exiting the train, at 11:34am, my spare camera fell out of my pocket (unbeknownst to me), but the an alert BD crew member immediately saw it, and I got my camera back. Thanks, BD crew member! Finally, I rode a third time at 11:44am, in seat 12, after waiting an extra cycle for a party of special-needs guests. BD was pretty much all walk-on during the morning.

At 11:57am, I rode Drop Time. Even though I was wearing an elastic strap that held my glasses firmly on my head, I still had to take my glasses off for the ride. This ride is a lot taller than Canobie's, though much gentler, being drop ride rather than a launch ride. The ticking sound did lend a lot to the atmosphere of the ride. This ride was a walk-on. Seats 1, 2, and 3 give a good view of the lake and park (though I didn't have my glasses on.)

At 12:00pm, I had my first two cups of free soda of the day. Cup 1 was a mix of Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew. Cup 2 was MD.

At 12:03pm, I rode Musik Express.

At 12:08pm, I lined up to ride Bumper Cars, which is actually my favorite ride at Canobie. There was a two cycle wait. LC's bumper cars is a small ride, with only 14 cars (the 15th car was out of service, stuck in a corner). Also, there is a center island, and you have to go around the track in one direction (counter-clockwise). Also, the cars have backpack-strap-like restraints instead of a lap bar. Weird. During the first cycle of my wait, a little kid got stuck, almost started crying, and required assistance from the ride operator who stopped the ride to extricate him. During the second cycle of my wait, more people got stuck. This time, every single car got stuck in a big traffic jam, and the entire ride had to be stopped for the operator to get the cars unstuck. This happened twice(!) during the ride. Finally, I got to ride, and my ride ended at 12:30pm.

At 12:31pm, I rode the Carousel. I sat on a bench. I noticed that the horses don't have seat belts, but they do have tails made of real hair.

Carousel calliope; Carousel calliope; Carousel detail;

At 1:00pm, I decided to eat lunch at the Croc Pot. I had chicken fingers and a Sam Adams. I decided to eat on the veranda which was a bit windy. One of the condiments at the Croc Pot was "Tiger Sauce", a horseradish-flavored mayonnaise.

Towards the end of my lunch, I noticed that a stage show had started just below me, at the Lakefront Stage. It was "Totally Retro", a variety show where the singers sang, among other things, TV theme songs like the theme from Love Boat. This show was so corny and hokey, that I found it absolutely hilarious and was compelled to take pictures.

Totally Retro; Totally Retro; Totally Retro;

After lunch, I noticed that the Trolley was running which was sort of a surprise because I seemed to recall that it was listed on the "closed rides" board at the front gate. I then took a ride on the trolley. It travels a very (very) short distance to the south end of the park. I then rode the Sky Ride. I agree with the person who said that this was the scariest ride in the park.

Sky Ride; Sky Ride (and abandoned path); Sky Ride; Sky Ride; Sky Ride;

After taking another short trolley ride back to the north end of the park, I took a look the water park. Because of the temperature, there was nobody in the wave pool. I couldn't get it into the photo, but there are actually three lifeguards guarding the empty pool. All are wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants and facing the pool. For some reason, all had whistles in their mouths. The song "What's the Frequency, Kenneth" played on the loudspeakers, and all the lifeguards started playing air guitar (using the red floating thing that lifeguards use) along with the music.

wave pool;

At 2:19pm, I had soda Cup 3, a MD/DP mix. At 2:25pm, I had soda Cup 4, MD. At 2:29pm, I felt somewhat ill from drinking too much soda at once.

In part 1, I forgot to mention that I rode Wildcat sometime in the morning, probably right after my carousel ride.

I then walked through Kiddieland where there was a Garfield show going on. Are the performers for the Garfield show the same ones who do the Totally Retro show? It appeared to be so. I noticed that there was an rectangular pavilion to the right of the Garfield stage. It was empty, and on the map it was labeled "Lego Construction Zone". Did this building once hold a whip? It's the right shape for it. At 2:38pm, I rode Garfield's Drop Zone. I found this ride to be a lot of fun, though I nearly suffered a crotch injury getting onto the ride.

I noticed that there was an ornate water bubbler near the Drum Circus. Since I take pictures of amusement park water bubblers, I took a picture of this one. I noticed that there was another one near the water park that looked similar to this one. The other water bubblers were not as decorative, like the one at at Saw Mill Plunge.

water bubbler; water bubbler;

At 2:46pm, the line for Ghost Hunt was now somewhat long, to the left-front corner. Too long for my taste. I regretted not riding more earlier in the day.

I waited in a short line for the Giant Wheel which was running with two employees and boarding/exiting riders from the front of the ride. Just before me a family boarded the ride. I noticed that they had a little boy who clearly did not want to be on the ride. He looked upset and was ready to cry, be sick, or throw a tantrum. Luckily, the ride operator noticed and would not let the boy ride. It was a good call-- I suspect that the kid would have been traumatized had he been forced to go on the ride.

From the Wheel I could see the Haunted Graveyard going up. Unfortunately, my photos turned out small and grainy:

Haunted Graveyard long shot; Haunted Graveyard long shot;

At 3:10pm, I rode the American Flyers. Though I had read the reviews of this ride, I sort of got excited when I found that the rudder had a range of motion of 45 degrees in either direction. Canobie's flyers have their rudders chained so that you can only move them 10 degrees from center. However, once the ride started, I found that true enough it did not give much of a ride, even using the rudder. I'm not very good at the Flyers and thought that it might have been me, so I rode it again. This ride was a little better, though I still am not very good at it.

Throughout the entire afternoon, I noticed that Zoomerang was not running. I've ridden this ride somewhere else, and knew that I didn't especially like it, so I wasn't too disappointed. At 3:05pm, I noticed that they were taking the train on test runs. At 3:24pm, Zoomerang opened with a very short line, so I decided to ride it. Because the party in front of me was four people and I was a single rider, my one-cycle ride turned into a walk-on. I was surprised. Zoomerang runs very smoothly-- a nice ride.

Throughout the park there was Haunted Graveyard theming here and there, including in front of Zoomerang.

Haunted Graveyard theming;

At this point, I noticed that the sun sets behind the mountain. Because of the placement of the sun, I was limited to taking pictures facing eastward. Tip: take westward-facing pictures early in the day.

At 3:36pm I rode the Pirate ship. I noticed that this ship doesn't go up quite as much as others I've ridden in the past, which was a bit disappointing. However, it probably was all for the best since I started feeling ill on the ride. To settle my stomach, I had another Soda. 3:42 pm, Cup 5, Mountain Dew.


I went back to ride Ghost Hunt, but the line was still to the front left corner and too long for me. As I was leaving the queue, I unexpectedly got squirted with water! At first, I couldn't figure out what had happened, but then I saw the gargoyle. Very nice theming.

At 3:50pm, the Boulder Dash line was about 10 feet onto the bridge. I like to take pictures of coin-operated amusements, especially old-school mechanical ones. Lake Compounce pretty much has none of these. I settled for a photo of the Quarter Press machine next to the Boulder Dash photo concession. The machine is made by Copper Memories, Inc. I wasn't happy with my first picture because the lighting was a bit too strong and because I thought that a bystander might have walked into my picture. So, I went back later and took another picture, this time with flash fill.

Boulder Dash quarter press; Boulder Dash quarter press;

At 4:00pm, I was back at the front gate area, and I noticed that the clock was one of the types where figures come out one door, move across a balcony, and go back into the clock through another door. These figures were dressed unusually.

At 4:15pm, I decided to have a hot dog at the Grille. Hot dogs are $2.25 ($2.39 with tax). At first I was a bit disappointed when I saw the hot dog because it looked wrinkled and shriveled. However, it turned out that the hot dog at Lake Compounce are really good. They're real-- the kind with a skin casing, and grilled (explaining why it looked wrinkled). The roll was also grilled. (It was a New England style roll, as opposed to Coney Island style.)

The Boulder Dash line was still to the bridge, and at the Ghost Hunt line was a bit shorter, reaching to the left television. I decided to get another soda, Cup 6, Mountain Dew, 4:30pm.

Boulder Dash line at 4:19pm; Ghost Hunt line at 4:24pm;

Wave Swinger;

At 4:37, I noticed that the train was in the station so I decided to take a ride. I hadn't realized until then that the train went around the lake, to the south end of the park. The locomotive has a placard that reads "Chance Rides". I'm not sure how the train is powered. It seemed to run directly on natural gas or propane rather than being powered by steam. I took the return train back to the main station, 4:52pm, and then watched the juggling show at the Lakefront theater.

Lake Compounce;

By this time the line for Ghost Hunt was shorter, so I decided to ride. The wait was 16 minutes. 5:49pm. However, I got stuck with a gun that didn't seem to aim very well, and I got a score of 1320. (FYI, it was the left gun, and it had black electrical tape wrapped around the handle.)

I walked into the Rock 'n Roll Diner and saw that there was a Wurlitzer "Elvis Presley Limited Edition" jukebox-- the second of the only two coin-operated devices at Lake Compounce. (I'm not counting the shooting gallery, the ATM, or the pay phones.) Since it was getting a bit cold, I had a large coffee (Green Mountain Coffee Roasters) and sat for a bit.

Wurlitzer jukebox;

By the way, what is the policy on beer at Lake Compounce? That is, are guests allowed to walk around the park with beer? The Croc Pot had a sign saying that alcohol had to be consumed on the premises. However, I noticed that there were people walking around with beer. I was a bit confused, since at Canobie alcohol is not allowed outside of restaurant areas.

At 6:30pm the line for Ghost Hunt was even shorter, and at 6:41pm I rode it again. I was dissatisfied with the score I received earlier and wanted another go at it. My score was 1860. However, I note that my car waited quite a long time just after boarding, and I was able to get 240 points before entering the main section of the ride.

At 6:55pm, Boulder Dash was a walk-on, so I decided to ride. I tried to be helpful by buckling the restraint in the empty seat next to me, but I didn't do a very good job of it and was hindering more than helping. In any case, I was interrupted by a rider on the exit side asked whether I would mind a seat mate, I said it was fine, and the rider turned out to be Tony!

I swear that Boulder Dash is an entirely different ride at the end of the day. During my morning rides, I thought that BD was just okay. However, at night it is absolutely amazing and so much fun! It runs way, way faster compared to the morning.

I ended my day with another ride on Bumper Cars (walk-on), another ride on Ghost Hunt (walk-on, score 1930), and another ride on Boulder Dash (walk-on), again sitting with Tony. I think that I discovered the secret of Boulder Dash-- the later you ride, the faster and better it gets.

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