Review of Idlewild Park, Wild Mouse and Rollo Coaster (1993)

Idlewild Park is located in the town of Ligonier, about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Parking is free, admission is $12.95 per adult. We visited the park on a summer Friday, arriving about 3:00 or so.

Idlewild is a very beautiful park, very similar to Knoebel's Grove in Elysburg, PA. Lots of trees, lots of shade. There aren't very many rides at the park. Besides the two roller coasters, there is: Scrambler, Whip, Spider/Octopus, Bumper Cars, Round Up, Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Tilt-a-Whirl, Caterpiller and Paratrooper. There also seems to be a lot of things to do with small children, but I won't pretend to know a lot about that.

There were not a lot of people at the park for the time we were there, so the lines for most rides were very short, maybe 5 or 10 minutes maximum. The caterpillar was a thrill, simply because it had a working cover that comes over the cars as you go round and round, something that has almost disappeared from parks some time ago. The bumper cars were pretty slow, and they don't let you run for very long.

Food-wise, try the BBQ chicked available near one of the entrances, or french fries from the Potato Patch. Since Idlewild is owned by the 'Kennywood People', the same world-class fries are available at both parks. Prices for all food was reasonable. A welcome surprise was an ATM machine located within the park itself.

Rollo Coaster

A junior wooden coaster with a 30 foot lift hill, this out and back ride delivers more than you would expect by looking at it. The ride is run the way it should be - manual brakes, no electronic controls at all, no seat dividers, no headrests, no seatbelts, no ratcheting lap bars. The smaller than normal PTC trains are equipped with fixed lap bars, similar to the Miller & Baker trains on the Kennywood Jack Rabbit. The trains are smaller than the Jack Rabbit's, though, and leg space is at a premium for six footers.

The ride is a quick jaunt along the wooded hillside, with small hills that give a bit of airtime, a nice fast swooping turnaround, and a quick run back to the station. No trim brakes to be found. This ride, as well as the Clementon Lake Jack Rabbit and Dutch Wonderland's Sky Princess, are good examples of what can be done with a modestly-sized coaster. Every trip on Rollo Coaster was fun, everyone came back with smiles or outright laughter.

Wild Mouse


The new for '93 ride at Idlewild is the Wild Mouse, a modern interpretation of a classic style coaster, by Vekoma. This ride is thoroughly hidden in the trees (making it _very_ difficult to photograph :-(), with many trees even in the center of the structure. The ride is painted brown, with light brown cars painted to resemble mice. This ride gets an award for the cutest coaster cars, hands down. Each car has 2 2-passenger rows, with individual lap bars a la Schwarzkopf loopers. There is a no single rider policy in the front seats of the cars.

The ride starts with the cars ascending the chain lift at a more-than-slight side angle, so the person on the left gets to crush the person on the right. After the lift, the switchbacks start. Moderate at first, these quickly progress to more violent manouvers. It seems a wonder the cars don't get pitched off the top during these turns. Bruises from the lap bars and on the shoulders are almost a guarantee! There are two decent drops on the ride, with the second giving healthy airtime when ascending the other side. There are at least three trim brakes on the switchback sections, and only two of them were doing anything when we rode (#1 and #2, #3 was off).

I defy anyone to ride this and not come off laughing and giggling (as well as rubbing their thighs). A terrific steelie overall, and I'm sure Idlewild will be very happy they installed it. Now all we need is some ride time on the Wild Mouse with NO trim brakes set - that would be intense!

As always, comments are welcome at