I visited Kennywood for the first time this past Monday August 12th. Phantom's Revenge had already been on my radar, but the addition of the Steel Curtain put this park on my short list to visit this year. We arrived before the park opened so we could get an early start. My expectations were low since this isn't a typical corporate park and I have heard from friends that this park is somewhat inconsistent with customer service and ride ops. I would have to say that was my observation as well, however I found many friendly employees who went out of their way to engage with myself or my wife. They were juxtaposed by many disinterested employees and ride ops. Some were very friendly and helpful and others were so disengaged I felt like I was being ignored, this was a recurring theme during our visit. I did have a great time at Kennywood, but as someone who breaks the door down when the park opens I will warn you they did start letting people in at opening, however they essentially didn't open the park for another 30 minutes. A few stands and services were open by the gate, but other sections of the park were closed entirely and shuttered. They allowed people to line up outside the queue for Steel Curtain, but did not open the queue and the ride for about 30 minutes. Annoying but not the end of the world. Another thing to note is that Steel Curtain and the gift shop are essentially the only part of Steelers Country that are done and open. The rest of the area is under construction.
The ride collection at this park is varied and make this park feel unique. The roller coaster collection is what I was interested in but they had a good mix of kiddie, family, and high thrill attractions. They also had a good mix of classic and modern attractions. We spent all of our time on the roller coasters, though we did not ride Exterminator or Lil Phantom.
Steel Curtain is a great ride for the park and is a really fun ride experience for guests. The trains and restraints are really great and are super comfortable. I hope to see S&S use this chassis in the future since I felt both Maxx Force and Steel Curtain rode well. The lift is very steep and brings you up to the top for a pre-drop curve before the fake out barrel roll drop. I like the drop and it felt unique compared to other inverting drops I have tried before. The ride may be the inversion record holder in North America, but the ride isn't only about inversions. The sensation of speed is great through the entire layout, and there are even a few airtime hills that delivered great negative G's. The inversions are obviously the highlight of the ride and a cool variety are offered. The two sets of double inversions are fun and offer a twisted experience that really caught me off guard my first few laps. The dive loop and corkscrew provided nice whips, and the stalls gave good hang time. Steel Curtain was very re-rideable, and both my wife and I found it more enjoyable with each lap.
The stand out at this park for both of us was Phantom's Revenge. I love how the ride interacts with the Thunderbolt and the ravine. It gives it a special feel like it could not exist anywhere else. I was a little nervous the ride would be too rough to enjoy. While it was wild and out of control feeling in all the best ways I didn't feel it was rough at all. There was a jarring moment on the ride but after the first lap I knew it was coming and braced myself for it and the rest of my laps were awesome. I never experienced the original Steel Phantom, but I have to imagine the work that went into changing it over into the Phantom's Revenge was worth the effort. The ride feels modern and smooth, while at the same time holding onto some sort of DIY nostalgia fitting it into the landscape. The ride delivers heights, speed, intensity, with a generous helping of both positive and negative G's.
I hate to call the rest of the coasters the rest of them because they all are fun and have something cool about each of them. Skyrocket has a good launch and tons of airtime on the tophat. Jack Rabbit might have delivered the most surprising airtime of the day on the unique double down drop. The Racer was a fun layout with the cool racing interaction you would expect. Finally the Thunderbolt was the most complete and thrilling of the three classic woodies. Also as a whole group none of the wooden coasters have ratcheting lap bars. Thunderbolt and Racer have buzz bars, while Jack Rabbit has a single position lap bar. The steel coasters give riders freedom too with only lap bars and no over the shoulder restraints to be found. Kennywood offers an experience that feels nostalgic and unique at the same time. My wife and I truly enjoyed our visit and I can't stop thinking about Phantom's Revenge.