Elitch Gardens Passholder Preview – Mid April

Hello All! Jeff here again. After a lovely morning at the Kaleidoscape media event (see that report here), I returned the next day, Saturday April 13 for the first day of a Passholder Preview weekend before the park opened to the general public on Saturday, April 20.

It was another unseasonably cold April day in Colorado, especially for this Southern Californian. It snowed again during breakfast so I decided to wait until the early afternoon to visit Elitch’s.

According to the park’s social media, some rides would be “weather dependent” so I wasn’t getting my hopes up to get on a lot of things.

Upon arriving at the park, I joined a very long line to process season passes. The park’s processing office had been open during the week recently, but I’m guessing the weather kept most people away until today. The line moved pretty quickly though and I was swiftly processed, photographed and then given my season pass wristband.

It’s a stretchy cloth wristband that you can load money on for in-Park purchases. Seems like it will be especially convenient in the summer when Island Kingdom, Elitch’s attached water park opens.

After the passing the entrance to Island Kingdom, you’ll find a Main Street-style entrance to the park proper.

At the end of the street, you’ll find the park’s Chance Giant Wheel: Big Wheel. Here’s looking back toward the entrance:

Unfortunately many of the coasters and larger rides were closed, including Sidewinder, an Arrow shuttle coaster.

I had hoped to ride the John Pierce-designed woodie Twister II. I never rode the original Twister but I love the homage to it: Twister at Knoebels in Pennsylvania.
Star Flyer was closed. It would have provided a nice view of Denver but would have been really cold today!

Brain Drain was running and thrilling guests. (So was the Intamin Half Pipe coaster but I didn’t get a pic of it.)

But you could tell the park was actively working to get more rides open as the day went on and the weather improved. Boomerang opened while I was there.

Mind Eraser (a Vekoma SLC) started testing in the afternoon and a sizable line of hopeful riders started forming in the early part of the queue.

I took a few more rides on Kaleidoscape.

The ride didn’t appear to have much of a line at first. Until I realized there was an extended queue back behind the building that wasn’t used during the media preview.

There’s a mural on the side of the building and a statue that was re-painted and repurposed:

The gift shop was open and on board photos were offered at the exit of the ride.

While I didn’t ride any coasters during my visit, I rode a couple of really nice flat rides. Like their Huss Troika (named Troika of course):

DragonWing (a Chance Aviator) is an installation I’m not super familiar with and was a lot of fun. A handle in the cabin lets you adjust your flight slightly as the ride raises pretty high above the park.

The park’s carousel is a restored 1920 Philadelphia Toboggan Company installation (all horses and chariots) which is located right after the main entrance building.

And then there’s Turn of the Century, a Zierer Wave Swinger covered in Art Nouveau style paintings and architectural details. Look at this beauty! Wave Swingers/Flying Carousels/Swing Rides are my favorite flat rides and often my traditional last ride of a theme park day. They’re gentle but fun and often feature a lot of beautiful hand painted artwork. I really think this one is the most beautiful flat ride–of any kind–that I’ve ever seen. I took a lot of pictures of it. Here are ALL OF THEM:

Another thing I loved about the park was that most of the bathrooms had postcard style murals painted on the walls. (And yes, I know taking pictures in public restrooms is inherently super creepy but I made sure no one else was in there before whipping out my camera)

I had a great time at Elitch’s. It looks to be a great season for the park. Its long term future is a bit uncertain due to a real estate development recently approved for the land it’s on. They’ve already moved once, let’s hope they can do so again!

Thanks again, Elitch!

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