Written by Michael Coutermarsh
Edited by Mack aka Pubman
Having won two tickets to Story Land located in Glen New Hampshire, I made plans to visit with my parents and 10-year-old niece. We got a bit of a late start but arrived at the park at 1pm and we had till 5pm to enjoy the park. The first thing we did when we arrived was bring our dog to the onsite kennel. Foliage is at peak right now in the White Mountains and crowds were good but light. This was a good weekend since the holiday is 2 weeks out and weather was unseasonably warm for the area in the mid 70’s.
My parents bought their tickets for $27 each with a military discount. With a long trip the front restrooms are the first hit before making our way up and over the hill past the Church and Heidi’s Grandfather’s house to the Cuckoo Clockenspiel, the park’s clock themed teacup ride. Our day was officially off to a start.
We hit a couple rides on the Polar Coaster before moving further into the park. My niece wanted to use Professor Bigglestep’s foam factory. I used this opportunity to check out Splash Battle Pharaoh’s Reign, the park’s newest ride added a couple years ago. In all I was not very impressed, short layout aside all the cool themeing is in the center and you never see it from the ride. You simply meander around a nearly triangular track while the sets spray you and if they are around you spray people and they spray you. It’s really just a glorified spray ground.
Later in the day we rode the Slipshod Safari Tour. This was hacked into to make room for the Splash battle. Now the ride had lost a lot before and was nothing amazing but the current version is too small, too tight, and really not enjoyable. They still use the tractor trains form the larger ride and they are simply too much for the small layout. I think a new ride system would do wonders for this attraction.
1 ride on: Cuckoo Clockenspiel, Splash Battle Pharaoh’s Reign, Slipshod Safari tour, Balloon Wheel, Alice’s Tea Cup, Antique German Carousel, Farm Tractors, Los Bravos Mining Co (Walkthrough), Huff Puff & Whistle Railroad. My niece and dad rode the Whirling whales
2 rides on: Bamboo Chutes X2 ( Iroad alone) and the Crazy Barn x2
3 rides on Turtle Twirl (my nice and dad road 5 times)
4 rides on the Polar Coaster
Given I had not been to the park in a few years I was on the lookout for small additions. One of the first things I saw was a meet and greet area in the front of the park. The park also built a permanent stroller storage building. Two more changes caught us by surprise one good and one not so good. The good addition was a small play area with hydraulically powered diggers. Four were set up along a small sandpit in the parks farm area. The other addition was disappointing. The front play area got a new name and with it the removal of the ball pit. My niece was very upset to see it gone and in its place a small magnet play attraction. My niece showed no interest at all and it seemed that was the general consensus with only a few kids using the area. Normally this area was very busy.
We opted to eat at the park since we had a long ride home. Being late in the season many of the stands were closed. We made our way up and over the hill to the front of the park and made out way to the Pixie Kitchen. I noticed the front snack stand is now a fried dough stand. I was impressed to see they were cooking fresh dough and not the pre-fried dough that has overrun the areas parks. We rounded the corner and ordered lunch: 2 kid’s chicken meals, 1 adult chicken meal, a large drink, kids drink, and a Souvenir cup refill. The meal came to just under $33 dollars
The employee had to ask a manager about refilling the since my 5 year old cup was out of style. They refilled it but none of them had seen that cup. Funny it was still around on my late trip 3 years ago. The new cups are those things colored plastic souvenir cups with a sticker around the center which I do not like. It was nice of them to offer free refills for the day, but I find these cups make the soda taste funny. Food prices were also up form my trip a few years back which had jumped from the previous trip.
Being late in the season the park closed at 7 instead of 5. As we finished eating, Cinderella and Prince Charming were on the park speakers announcing the closing an hour off. So it was a mad dash to get in a few last minute rides. My niece decided that the Turtle twirl was a must marathon ride. So after we all hit the Polar coaster it was off to that ride.
I went off alone to hit the silver mine walkthrough. Then meet back up to make a game plan. Mom insisted on hitting the train but I knew better. After not being able to talk anyone into the Bamboo shoots flume I went off alone. I got in 2 rides before making my way to the Whistle-stop station in the Friends around the world section of the park. See here is the trick. The train dose a last minute run after closing to pick up stragglers. I do this every trip, you get a ride in on the train and you don’t have to worry about hitting it during the day. Another reason is I often visit with a friend in a wheelchair and this makes for a easier way to get back up front.
In all it was a good day. The staff was very friendly and he grounds are very well kept. I did see one landscaping change which was a fence around the center ponds. It’s a bit sad that after 55 some odd years it is now necessary to fence of the ponds. The park has changed. In some ways for the better but there is a very strong corporate feel to the park now. It was nice to see that the Kennels were still free.
Before we left I made appoint to get a couple photos of the shuttered Heritage NH. I really miss this attraction. Really wish Kennywood had opted to keep it open. I know I’m not the only one since I hear a few comments during the day about the attraction.