For the past six years Quassy, a small, family oriented park in Middlebury, CT has celebrated the roller coaster that is credited with putting them back on the map. May 7, 2016 marked the park’s 6th annual Wooden Warrior Day…and oh how it rained! But this park is so great, a little rain could not put a damper on a fantastic day!
For those pre-registered for Wooden Warrior Day, the coaster opened at 9am for ERT (exclusive ride time). The coaster and the rest of the park opened to the general public at 11. The Wooden Warrior is, as its name suggests, a wooden coaster. Designed by the Gravity Group (who also designed Story Land’s Roar-o-Saurus), this fun coaster includes a significant amount of air time. The height restriction is 42″ making it a great coaster for younger riders who are ready to transition to their first “big” coaster. The air time and tunnels make it a fun ride for adults too, so it’s truly a coaster that the whole family can enjoy. Unlike most wooden coasters, the best seat is in the front of the train, as opposed to the back, but any seat gives a great ride. After riding several times, we decided to enjoy a second benefit of ERT, being able to walk around the park before it opened to the general public.
Quassy has been family owned for generations, and thus provides the kind of experience that makes the customer feel right at home. Hand painted signs adorn most rides and wooden cutouts are scattered around the park to allow for family photo ops (check out the photo of me in “Quassy Jail” below). Small touches, such as the “hidden” Quassy logo in the sign for Frantic, a new addition to the park in 2015, make the park unique and special. Before and after the park opened, the employees were all hospitable, greeting us with smiles and providing excellent customer service. Examples of this were all around including the carousel operator who opened the gate for us as we exited the ride and warmly invited us to come back for another ride, Frantic’s operator who politely offered me a step stool to get into my seat, and Reverse Time’s operator who joked with my step daughter to take good care of me so I wouldn’t be too scared on the park’s newest addition.
For those with little ones who might not quite be ready for the Wooden Warrior, the park operates an Alan Herschell Little Dipper. Since it’s a classic, I couldn’t help but ride and I’m so glad I did! I never would have expected air time on a Kiddie Coaster, but I lifted out of my seat as the car cruised over the “dips” from which the coaster gets its name. The park also includes several other Herschell kiddie rides including a boat ride, sky fighter jet ride, and a helicopter ride. Rhode Island readers who might be nostalgically longing for their childhood at Rocky Point might recognize these rides as similar to the ones that they rode on Warwick Neck many years ago.
If rides aren’t your thing, Quassy has a great arcade. It includes a small shooting gallery, ski-ball, claw machines, and even a small laser maze. Prices are reasonable and it is possible for kids to grab enough tickets to win prizes. The best part is that tickets can be redeemed for Quassy souvenirs such as mugs, picture frames, and stuffed animals all bearing the Quassy logo. Taking full advantage of the lake, there are also paddle boats and a water park which weren’t open since it was early in the season, but I hope to return to review these later in the summer.
For those of us enjoying the buffet as part of Wooden Warrior Day, one of the park’s owners George, wished us well on all of our amusement park adventures for the summer before reminding us, “You can always come back home.” And that’s just what Quassy feels like: home. If you’re looking for a great family experience, plan a day at Quassy. You won’t be sorry.