FARMINGTON — Ask amusement park fans what their No. 1 gripe is and it will probably be long lines.
But long lines aren't likely to be a problem when Lagoon opens for its 116th season, weather permitting, Saturday, at 10 a.m.
"It's great time to come to Lagoon," spokesman Dick Andrew said. "It's never really crowded."
In fact, opening day at Lagoon is almost always a "ride-until-you-drop" time. Hundreds — and not thousands of patrons like most other days — usually have to wait only a few minutes before boarding a ride. The lines are usually short for children's rides, too.
Weatherwise, Andrew said it is going to take some pretty severe storms to cancel the season-opening day.
"The weather reports for this weekend look positive," said Sheldon Killpack, assistant marketing director on Thursday morning, after a snow storm had moved in. The weather may be "partly cloudy" by Saturday.
All rides and attractions, except Lagoon-a-Beach and the Cliffhanger (Lagoon's newest ride), are expected to be open, including the two big water rides, Rattlesnake Rapids and the Hydro Luge. Lagoon-A-Beach and the Cliffhanger won't open until May.
The addition of the Cliffhanger, a sort of "human dishwasher," is not the only change at the park this year.
The Speedway cars, a three-decade favorite among the not-quite-old-enough-to-drive-a-real-car-set, have been removed to make way for the Cliffhanger. (Park officials say the cars were getting too outdated to be properly maintained.)
Andrew said those who enjoyed the Speedway will likely like the Double Thunder raceway. The go-cart style ride costs $5.50 beyond the park admission, and drivers must be at least 54 inches tall. Passengers pay $3 and must be at least 46 inches tall.
In addition, the Prize Center in the Carousel area has been downsized and moved to the Arcade. A retail gift store will go where the Prize Center once stood.
Other changes this year include: a new entryway to the USA outdoor theater; an Arby's Restaurant where the former Gaslight Restaurant was housed; a cluster of new picnic pavilions that are scheduled to open later this year at the northeast side of the park; and an expanded food-catering operation.
As usual, youth cloggers will compete atthe park on Saturdays in early May, and prices for Lagoon's premium attractions, Top Eliminator and Sky Coaster, will remain the same as last year.
Lagoon will be open Saturdays and Sundays in April and May as well as Memorial Day — Monday, May 28. It will open daily starting Monday, June 4. The park opens at 10 a.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. on Sundays. Closing time is 7 p.m. during the preseason.
Admission is $29.95 plus tax for those over 51 inches tall to 64 years of age. Admission for those age 4 and up to 50 inches tall is $23.95 plus tax. Children 3 and under are $15.50 plus tax. Senior citizens pay $16.50 plus tax.
Daily parking is $5 for cars. The cost for oversize vehicles is $9.
Lagoon is also featuring its "early bird special" again this year. Patrons can save $5 per each adult admission for up to six people by bringing in a can of Coke Classic, Diet Coke or Sprite to the admission window, before noon, on any day except Saturday.
Season Passports are now on sale. Between now and June 10, the price is $69.95 plus tax if four or more passes are purchased at the same time. Otherwise, the cost is $79.95 each. On June 11, the prices will increase $10 per pass.
A season parking pass is $35.
For more information on Lagoon, or to order Season Passports, call 451-8000, or go online at www.lagoonpark.com