Location: Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin

Featured guests: Tasha Pokrzywa, communication managers, and Ed Reams, director of in-park revenue

3 things that surprised me:

1. Kennywood’s newest ride, Spinvasion, is part of a new alien-themed themed corner of the park dubbed Area 412. Spinvasion was built in Italy by the Zamperla company, which has been manufacturing rides and roller coasters since 1966. The ride was disassembled and transported to New York on a ship before being trucked to West Mifflin. It’s the first ride of its kind in the U.S. and will be open to the public on Memorial Day weekend. Kennywood began its 125th anniversary year on April 22.

2. The Kangaroo lept onto the scene in 1962 and was removed after the 2020 season. After an outcry from fans, the ride was refurbished and given a new paint job — chosen by fans — before making its triumphant return to the park in the middle of the 2022 season.

3. Tasha walked me over to Raging Rapids, where they were still doing a little fine-tuning. All the rafts got a fresh coat of paint over the winter and the ride got a new control system. Many fans recall when, a few years back, the waterfall near the end of the ride disappeared. Tasha said that decision was made with the riders’ safety in mind, although Kennywood has a good track record of listening to fans, so it’s always worth writing in if you want to see a change.

One thing that didn’t make the final cut: I asked Ed where they keep all the potatoes that they’d be transforming into piles of fries at The Potato Patch. Since we toured the park five days before opening day, he said they hadn’t arrived yet. Ed explained that a pallet of potatoes would be delivered the day before opening day to make sure the fries were fresh.

Additional info: You can learn more about Kennywood on the park’s website.

Want more Yinzer Backstage Pass? Check out our visit to Leona’s Ice Cream factory in Wilkinsburg.