Friday, June 8, 2012

Black Widow Opening Day, Kennywood - 6/8/2012

Dan Swatrz (left) of Clairton and Adam Carlini of Coraopolis become some 
of the first people to experience the new Black Widow at Kennywood Park.

Kennywood Park’s newest thrill ride, Black Widow, opened its shoulder restraints to the public on Friday, June 8, to manic enthusiasm. Within minutes, a queuing line had formed and was stretching along the park’s midway, underneath the Pittsburgh Plunge water ride, nearly reaching the entrance to the Exterminator roller coaster.

“[Black Widow] is an awesome combination of spinning, air-time, speed and height,” said the park’s manager of public relations, Jeff Filicko. “We’re very excited to debut it.”

Black Widow was designed by by the Italy-based ride manufacturer, Zamperla, who is also responsible for the installation of other rides in the park including Cosmic Chaos, Aero 360 as well as several rides in Kiddieland. The first of its kind in North America, Black Widow resembles a giant pendulum with a spinning disk of 40 outward-facing seats on the end of its arm. At the peak of its highest swing, the ride reaches 146 feet tall and reaches a top speed reaches 68 miles-per-hour at its base.

Kennywood's newest thrill ride, Black Widow, opened to the public on
Friday, June 8, 2012.

Members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, a national organization dedicated to the enjoyment and preservation of roller coasters and amusement parks, were chosen to be some of the first people to ride Black Widow and were on hand to discuss their experiences.

“Depending on which side [of the disk of seats] you sit on you might get a lot of airtime on one side or a very good view of everything below you from the other side of the ride,” said Aaron Maricic, of Clairton, upon disembarking from the ride for his first time.

“It was like flying,” said Val Lucas of Bridgeville. “I’ve been on Max-Air at Cedar Point (a ride similar to Black Widow) and I like this one much better since you can see your surroundings better.
Greg Legowski of Pittsburgh soars above Kennywood's
midways on the new Black Widow which opened to the
public Friday Afternoon.

The addition of Black Widow, however, does not come without a cost. The formerly record-breaking Pitt Fall drop tower was removed to make way for the new ride due to a combination of low ridership and high maintenance costs. Nevertheless, riders are still finding a silver lining in the gain of the new ride.
“I do miss [the Pitt Fall] a little bit but I think that this is a very fun ride and a great placement for it,” Maricic said.
“This is a good replacement for it and I think that if I enjoy it this much then so will other people,” said David Hahner III of Ross Township.
“We knew, taking out the Pitt Fall, we had to find something that was an equally thrilling ride experience,” Filicko said. Not only does Black Widow serve that purpose to be an awesome experience for our guests, it’s a perfect fit for Lost Kennywood where it sits right now. The area around the ride is beautiful... and you can be right up close next to the ride so it’s even an awesome experience for people watching the ride from the midway.”
David Hahner III, 14, of Ross Township savors the
sensation of the wind in his hair as he takes his first ride
on Black Widow at Kennywood Park, Friday afternoon.

The area around the ride is another new addition. Red brick pavers have replaced the asphalt walkways surrounding the ride while trees and planters adorn the queuing lines. The hedges that once surrounded Pitt Fall have also been removed giving guests on the midway a newly unobstructed view of the final turn and hills of the Phantom’s Revenge.
“I think Kennywood is keeping their promise of keeping the park thrilling, yet beautiful,” Hahner said.
Black Widow is now open daily to the public at Kennywood. A regular FunDay pass can be purchased online or at the park for $37.99.

Black Widow opening day, Kennywood Park - 6/8/2012 from Joel Brewton on Vimeo.

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