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 Review of Leap-The-Dips @ Lakemont Park
1 Rating Posted by: Timberman on 8/17/2008 5:18:00 PM
I&#39..ve ridden Leap-the-Dips a number of times over the years but could never bring myself to review it. Here is a coaster that truly deserves the overused designation of being in a class of its own. It is also, as many have said, a can&#39..t-miss experience for the devoted roller coaster enthusiast. Yet can one fairly take into account this ride&#39..s historical significance and singularity when trying to rate it against other undeniably more sophisticated and thrilling installations? In this case, I would say yes. My personal approach to reviewing roller coasters is to rate them not along a defined set of characteristics or elements but as an experience that is more or less moving, significant, or memorable than other similar experiences. I will adjust somewhat for such characteristics as nostalgia, artistic merit, trailblazing significance, or excellence in one or more of my favorite coaster attributes. On the whole, however, I try to capture the overall impression the ride left on me, an admittedly capricious and unscientific measure. Judged by this rather obscure standard, Leap-the-Dips is certainly among the highlights of my track record, and a ride whose considerable merit should have broad appeal, although perhaps for reasons that may vary from person to person. If you think that all this ride offers is historical significance, however, you are seriously underestimating the fun to be had.

First, the ride. What really prompted me to review this coaster at long last was that I was totally unprepared for how much faster and more exciting the two circuits I experienced yesterday were than any I&#39..ve had since Leap-the-Dips was restored and reopened in 1999. The speed off the lift was more like that of a Wild Mouse than the stately shuffle I had come to expect. This added some nice lateral forces, although certainly not a Mouse-like whipping effect. What impressed me most, however, was what that speed did for the titular dips, those wonderful little depressions in the track that turn an otherwise pleasant sight-seeing trip into something approaching a thrill ride. Suddenly, the coaster&#39..s quaint, quirky sobriquet made perfect sense. You literally do leap the dips when you hit those depressions with a nice head of steam. What makes the ride even more fun is that the dips get deeper and more boisterous as the circuit goes on, with one double-dip in particular likely to have you reaching for the grab bar. That&#39..s another thing. That grab bar is the only restraint on the ride, which is why, on our most memorable trip, we were able comfortably to seat two adults and four kids in our leaping, diving little coach. Vice-like and unnecessary restraints are perhaps the single most deplorable aspect of modern roller coasters to me, and to enjoy unencumbered even the relatively tame forces of Leap-the-Dips is so liberating a breath of fresh air as to be worth a full point in my rating. When I&#39..m pinned two inches deep into vinyl and foam, I don&#39..t care what sort of what sort of neck-stretching, rocket-like &quot..uplift&quot.. a 70-mph ride has to offer. It will never activate my coaster-loving neurons like being flung into the air and splayed over my seat, even at 14 mph. I actually sustained a few bruises leaping the dips yesterday, a circumstance caused wholly by my bony frame and stubborn insistence on riding with my hands up. The coaches themselves, besides being the most handsome and classy in the business, are also very comfortable and well-padded and should provide less skeletal riders one happy landing after another.

Another reason I love this ride is that it offers the perfect venue for a full-sized coaster credit to those budding enthusiasts not yet ready to graduate to something like the Pheonix or Jack Rabbit. Big drops and speed are still too intense for four-and-a-half-year-old T2, but respectable height coupled with manageable velocity and the primal joy of being lofted skyward hit exactly the right note. Not only that, but the whole Timber nuclear family could fit three-across for some priceless coaster bonding and shared fun. That puts LtD in a vanishingly small cohort of rides and is worth another point to this proud coaster dad.

All the other stuff that impressed me you&#39..ve alrady read about in other reviews. This ride is beautiful to look upon, and perfectly complements not just one of the neatest collections of vintage rides in America, but at $9.95 for a one-day &quot..Ride and Slide Pass,&quot.. one of the country&#39..s greatest entertainment bargains. We were fortunate to visit during a classic car and street rod rally, adding to the park&#39..s already surreal sense of timelessness. If that weren&#39..t enough, I was stunned to find an original, fully-operational Space Invaders video game in the arcade, still allowing kids to save the earth for 25 cents.

I&#39..m not a student of physics or coaster technology, and I don&#39..t know why Leap-the-Dips was running in such fine form during yesterday&#39..s visit. The explanation may have have been as simple as getting the right weight distribution in the coach, but if so, that lightening struck twice with no forethought on our part. Whatever the case may be, the ride came alive for me as never before, and a coaster so well known for preserving a treasured note of the past had me thinking only of simple, unrestrained fun in the here and now.

Review Comments

ginzo on 8/18/2008 12:37:47 AM said:
I rode this today and I don'.t know if my bruised arm would agree with the ".tame forces". description. I had my right arm up and in just the right position for the side of the coach to bounce up out of one of the dips and whack my tricep.
coaster05 on 8/21/2008 2:33:22 PM said:
^Is there any ride you don'.t get hurt on? lol
ginzo on 8/21/2008 6:54:27 PM said:
^Other than the immediate crotch punch, I didn'.t get any lasting damage from that crappy Movie Park drop tower.
coaster05 on 8/22/2008 6:37:40 AM said:
^You got me there as my tailbone still hurts from that park gem
ginzo on 8/23/2008 12:58:03 AM said:
Ouch, I'...m sorry. Such a stupidly designed ride. Though it was pretty funny to just sit there and hear the groins while people rode it.
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