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Williams Grove

Roller Coasters at Williams Grove:
CoasterYear BuiltDesigner/BuilderTypeRating
Cyclone1933Oscar BitlerClassic out-and-back4
WildcatAnton Schwarzkopffigure-8 Wildcat 3+

Roller coasters and parks are rated on this scale: 0-5, with 0 being the worst and 5 being the best.
I visited Williams Grove on Sunday, August 11, 2002.

WILLIAMS GROVE - Mechanicsburg, PA
Overall Rating: 4-
Williams Grove is a great old traditional one-of-a-kind amusement park. This park is so unique. It is laid-back and has a relaxed, old-fashioned atmosphere. The entire park is built in a forest. The park is completely shaded by large old trees, something that is very welcome on a hot day and also something that is not found everywhere. Williams Grove has one midway, with games, food, and a few rides. Williams Grove is a very nice, very beautiful park with great scenery, wonderful trees, and very low prices. But the park is lacking in one very important area: rides. Williams Grove has very few rides. They have the grand old Cyclone wooden coaster, new/used Wildcat coaster, C.P. Huntington miniature train, Musik Express, a Paratrooper, Swings, a haunted house (Dante's Inferno), a walk-thru funhouse, a double waterslide, slow bumper cars, and go-karts, but that's all. Besides the coasters, there are no notable rides that are worth going on. Lines are non-existant, however, so if you (for some reason) decided to ride some of the rides, you would not have to wait long, and you would be in the shade. In fact, most rides do not even have queue areas! At Williams Grove there are two payment options. Option #1: pay-one-price. This costs $15 and includes unlimited rides on all rides. Option #2: pay-per-ride. Buy individual ride tickets for $1 each... each ride requires only one ticket (including the coasters). You must pay a $2 admission fee either way. We chose to pay-per-ride. We ended up riding the Cyclone 4 times, the Wildcat 2 times, and the train once. That cost us $7 plus $2 admission = $11. This is cheaper than the ride all day wristband. And we would not have rode the train, we only rode it because I often drive the C.P. Huntington train at Clementon Park (I'm a ride operator at Clementon Park in New Jersey). We did not ride any other rides because we would have had to pay $1 for them, and we would rather ride them for free at pay-one-price parks such as nearby Hersheypark. Another small problem at Williams Grove is everything is old. Buildings had sagging rooflines, and the park just seemed a little bit run-down. Just a little bit. Even though we rode just a few rides, I had a great time at Williams Grove. This park is an enjoyable, one-of-a-kind park. I especially like the setting, in a forest, which is unlike most other amusement parks. In fact, to get there you take small, 2-lane roads through a town and suburbs, and if you are not watching, you could drive right by the park! You enter across a river, which also runs through the park. This is so unique and one of the best parts of the park. The old Cyclone was very fun and enjoyable, and while there are not very many other rides to keep you occupied, you can easily spend about an hour at this small park. We could have been done in less than 30 minutes if we rode everything once, but I love riding things multiple times. Anyway, Williams Grove is a fun old place. This is a traditional amusement park, and it is home to a wonderful rough-and-tumble 100% classic roller coaster. Although it's a little run-down, Williams Grove is a good park to stop by and ride a few affordable rides. I had a fun time with no lines, low prices, and we rode everything we wanted to ride.

Cyclone: 1933 Oscar Bitler classic out-and-back
Rating: 4
The Cyclone is a one-of-a-kind classic roller coaster. In 2001 when we visited Williams Grove, it was closed, but in 2002 it was open for business. This is basically the only reason to come to Williams Grove. There is nothing like the experience of a 70-year old wooden coaster, especially one that uses a train that is just as old and has no computer control system. The Cyclone is at the far end of the midway. It is what a classic coaster should be: old and rickety, and 100% classic and traditional in its operation. Cyclone has an excellent old train. It is a 2-car PTC train that came from the Cyclone at Palisades Park in New Jersey. There are three rows per car. The train is of course old-fashioned and classic. It has simple single, traditional lapbars and single seatbelts. No unnecessary seat dividers, headrests, or multiple ratcheting lapbars & individual seatbelts here! And did I mention that these trains are old!? The trains are rickety and old. The lapbars come down far, but lock way up high, so you can lift the bar up about 3 or 4 inches before it locks! Cyclone is one of the few remaining rides with Manual Brakes. That's right: great old manual brakes. They are manual squeeze brakes, a strange combination. Cyclone is a simple out-and-back, with a twist. The return tracks are directly below the outbound tracks!!! After the turnaround, the tracks turn until they are directly below the outbound tracks! But let's start with the beginning of the ride. The lift hill is 65 feet high, and has an old anti-rollback. At the top of the hill, there is a 180-degree turn to the right, and then a fast and bumpy 60-foot first drop to the ground. After that, the train goes up again onto another hill. From then on, it's all small dips and hills, none drop anywhere near the ground. Why? Because the return tracks are underneath, so the dips can't go too low! After the series of bumpy little hills, there is a 180-degree turnaround. The turnaround leads to a drop to the ground, and a straightaway that leads underneath the outbound run. Then, there are a series of small hills and dips back to the station. On the final hill before the station lies the final brake. The brake is on 'full-power' and stops the train immediately and harshly, and even painfully! Then there is a small straight section into the station. These squeeze brakes slam the trains to a stop! The ride has one-stop loading and unloading. Riders exit, and once they have left the station, new riders are allowed to enter the train. One of the most interesting seats to ride in is the very last row. When we got in the very last row, the operator came and asked if we were ready and knew how brutal the back seat was. He said it's really bad, and most people really don't like it. We decided to try it once, and it sure was interesting. Going up the lift I was the most scared I had pretty much ever been on a coaster. How was this ride going to be? The answer: ROUGH, BUMPY, INSANE! Even though Cyclone does not have any airtime, we were out of out seats for most of the ride due to the bumpiness! We would bounce in the seat! While it did hurt my back, we were laughing with joy the whole ride! It's a good thing the old PTC train was well-padded and very comfortable! I had never been on anything like the Cyclone's last row. The operator was right, it was bad and rough, but we liked it, (but we probably would not do it again). It beat us up just like the classic coasters of the Golden Age. Ahhhh, the Cyclone. It was a very fun and enjoyable coaster, with an EXCELLENT CLASSIC ATMOSPHERE. It is rough and needs to be overhauled, re-tracked, and restored. If it was completely re-tracked and well-maintained, it would be a very fast top-ten ride, and I'm sure it would have grand airtime. In its current state, though, the Cyclone has no true airtime, it squeals like Rolling Thunder on the turnarounds. But, it is also a one-of-a-kind experience. No where else can you get on a coaster this creepy and rickety (not even Camden Park's Big Dipper is this rickety). The old trains, old manual brakes, old tracks, and just knowing it's 70 years old make this a unique ride experience. I absolutely love old coasters with manual brakes, and classic trains, and the fact that the Cyclone had all of this plus a unique, one-of-a-kind ride layout earned the ride a rating of a 4. It could get a 5, if it were re-tracked and was a fast, great ride. But then it would lose its rickety, creepy value. The Cyclone is a great, unique, traditional, classic, one-of-a-kind old out-and-back wooden coaster. It's old, rickety and rough, but at the same time enjoyable, fun and a good ride. The classic atmosphere and traditional coaster experience are top-notch here, and I really enjoyed the Cyclone. It's a good ride! and I recommend it. :)
(The Cyclone requires a minimum 5 riders per ride. There is never a line. And on a final note, it is the last coaster remaining from coaster designer Oscar Bitler !)

Wildcat: Schwarzkopf figure-8 Wildcat
Rating: 3+
Williams Grove is home to this new/used Wildcat by Anton Schwarzkopf. The coaster was moved from a park in New Jersey to Williams Grove in 2001. It is your usual everyday Schwarzkopf Wildcat. It's a figure-8 and a twister. It has long, steep drops, high-banked turns, helixes, zippy speeds, and single cars. The single cars seat 4. The restraints are single lapbars, which go down about 2 inches (very high). There are no seatbelts, headrests, or seat dividers. The front sides of the cars read "A.Schwarzkopf". The small cars give very high speeds on this small ride. There are no negative-g's, but the turns do provide lateral g-forces, which let you slide back and forth on the seat. The design of the Wildcat is much better than your dull old Galaxi. It has more twists and turns, and better drops. The helixes and drops are fun. And, if you have ridden several Galaxi's like I have, the track layout is surprising as you are riding, because you expect a turn like on a Galaxi, but end up with a different turn and drop. Wildcat is very fun and enjoyable. It has fast speeds and fun laterals, with classic cars. The brakes are very quick, slam squeeze brakes. The ride is located in a field, so it is not completely shaded like the rest of Williams Grove. The ride uses 2 cars. The Wildcat is fun and enjoyable, and a very good steel coaster for the park.

Other rides:
O&B Railroad (Out-and-back Railroad): This is a Chance C.P. Huntington miniature train. I went on it because I often drive the C.P. Huntington train at Clementon Park. I found a long, enjoyable ride! The train ride is very scenic as it travels through Williams Grove's forests, the forested picnic groves, and under the Cyclone. That's right, the train goes under the Cyclone, through the turnaround, providing good views of the 1933 classic. The train also goes over a small river. The train has three cars and is a fun, relaxing, enjoyable, good ride. Note: may be considered boring if you don't like this type of ride and/or miniature trains.

Previous Williams Grove Review (2001)
Williams Grove Official Site
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