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Rai Fox

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Posts posted by Rai Fox

  1. 2 hours ago, PKI Jizzman said:

    Do you prefer daytime or nighttime Fury? I think I choose night specifically for no wasps. There was tons on Sunday.
     

    What is it with wasps this year?  All the other problems with parks...yeah, I get it, I know why staffing and parts shortages and all these things are a problem, and I don't want to hold them against any parks.  Wasps though...2/3s of the parks I've been to this year have been absolutely invested with them.  Twice this year, (Raven@Holiday World and Thunderhawk@Dorney) I've been stuck on a brake run with wasps crawling over me while I was stuck in the restraints.  I do not do well with wasps.  Never had that happen before this year...

    The rest of it looks great, definitely want to try to get there next year for Fury and Copperhead at least!

    • Like 1
  2. Just got back from the first night of Fright Fest at SFNE.  A bit too tired after driving back for a long report, but...Given how difficult a year 2021 has been all around, I was pretty impressed with them.  It was basically the same event as 2019; same haunts and events, but I don't blame them for not having time to rework the event entirely; I was just grateful to be able to go at all this year.  The only significant rides not running were Fireball (still down from storm damage, I guess) and Houdini, which gets turned into a haunt for the season.  The actual haunts were staffed well enough (I know people always comment on their being few actors in them, but I really didn't get that sense at all...no worse than any other haunts I've been through), and maybe just because it's the first night, or maybe people are just eager to be able to do these things again, but the actors seemed to be getting pretty into their roles.  Ops were good; all the coasters were running with minimal stacking, apart from the occasional troublesome guest, even on WC, which is an impressive feat.  Wicked Cylone , Superman (red train) and Batman were all running great; Riddler's Revenge was...well...Riddler's Revenge.  Brisket at JB's was pretty great for Six Flags food.  The Hell's Belles show (cheesy, but I have a soft spot for it) was definitely better than 2019; new ending makes a bit more sense, and the performers were definitely better than I remember.  Crowds were very low, too; I had my skip the line passes from the VIP membership, but didn't need them for anything except Harley Quinn; every other ride was a walk-on all night; same for the haunts  I still wish they were open more than 5 hours; I could have used more time just to enjoy the atmosphere, after missing Halloween almost entirely last year, but...great start to the season.  SFNE is still doing an impressive job of keeping things mostly normal this year.

  3. Alright, Indiana Beach!

    So, I'm looking past the flying bobs out over the water, at the jetskis darting around the bigger boats.  To one side, there's the bang of an old dark ride car coming through the crash doors, next to the skull that leers down at the midway, just beneath the multicolored chairlift...

    Wait, I'm supposed to be doing a TR on Indiana Beach, not going on about childhood memories of Rocky Point.

    I don't know how many people, if anyone, around this place remember Rocky Point Park, and given that they're both small parks, there probably isn't a big cross section of people who've been to both it and Indiana Beach, but Rocky Point was a small park in Warwick RI, the second oldest running amusement park in the US, until it closed in 1996 after the board of directors embezzled all of its money away.  Rocky Point was one of the best parts of my childhood, it's almost solely responsible for my being such a fan of amusement parks, and I have so many memories of it.  Indiana Beach ended up being something unexpectedly special for me because of how much it brought those memories back, more than any park I've been to since Rocky Point closed down.  It looks so much the same, right on the water even if it's a lake instead of the ocean, they use the same simple old style park decor, even the same colors, it shares so many of the same rides, they run the rides the same way...Indiana Beach was like going back in a time a quarter of a century for me.

    But you're here for the photos and all.

    So, the day didn't start off looking like it was going to be particularly good that morning.  In fact, the day didn't start out looking like I was going to even make it to an amusement park at all.  I was seriously doubting my GPS right up until I saw the entrance to the park.  If you've been to Indiana Beach, you probably know what I mean; if not, well...

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    Thiiiiiis is what it looks like 30 miles from the park.  Oh look, corn.

     

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    ...And 20 miles from the park...

     

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    ...and ten miles from the park...

     

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    ...Five miles from the park, and we still have corn...

     

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    And this is less than a mile from the park.  I don't know about you but I was growing a bit concerned at this point.  Just beyond those trees in the distance though, it turns out Indiana is hiding a lovely lakeside resort area.  Huh.

     

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    Unfortunately a fair number of rides weren't running that day, including the park's biggest coaster, and their flyers.  A bit disappointing.

     

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    The entrance to the park is picturesque, though, nearly cinematic with how it appears from nowhere, in the middle of these fields...

     

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    ...and over a big, swinging and bouncing suspension bridge.  The park isn't quite on an island, connected to the rest of the shore at the far end, but you could be forgiven for missing that from here, and this is quite a way to head to the main gate.

     

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    I'd gotten an early start and got through the gate while most of the park was still waking up; the skyride wasn't running yet.  It might have been nice to get the layout of the park from the air before anything else, but there would be time for this later.  Like so much else at this park, the multicolored, open air chairlift style ride across the midway immediately brought back memories for me.

     

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    As did the Flying Bobs down near the water.  I always love these rides but this was on the "not running" list for the day.  Too bad.

     

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    The ferris wheel did run, but not quite yet.  I forgot to get back to it later, and wish I had; it probably would have been a nice view down by the water.

     

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    Not even down the entrance ramp into the park itself and they're already trying to make me hungry.  Apparently these "pronto pups" aren't actually corn dogs but a sort of pancake battered dog that predates normal corn dogs?  Meant to try them but didn't.

     

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    Only a few people in the park so far, and the first rides just starting up along the midway.  I've never seen a view quite like this at a park before; it's not quite like any boardwalk I've been to; halfway between the craziness of most of them and the more laid back classic feel of, dare I go as far as say Knoebels? 

     

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    I noticed a few little projects like this, with new bricks and materials going in, scattered around the park.  From what I've heard the park's previous owners didn't take particularly good care of it, but the current one seems to be putting some work into getting things back in shape.  Some parts of it still look a little dingy now, though not terribly so, but I'm curious to see how it'll look in a year or two now.

     

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    No Wave Swinger at this park, but a classic Chance Yo-Yo instead.  I don't know if I can really say I like the Yo-Yo better, but it's comparatively rare enough to be much more exciting to see one.  Also one of the first "adult" rides I ever got on at Rocky Point...  This one hadn't opened yet but would soon.

     

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    Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain was running, and I could barely stop myself from sprinting to it.  It had been ages since I'd seen the first pictures and video of that bizarre coaster, and it felt sort of surreal that I was actually going to get on it, especially after hearing about IB's "closing forever."

     

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    Pretty much everyone already in the park was in line here, and with the coaster's rather pitiful capacity it was a good 45 minute wait.  I didn't really mind, given that it was the last 45 minutes of a decade plus long wait.

     

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    The skyride started up while I was waiting here.  I was going to have to get that view of the park at some point!

     

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    Almost there!

    So, Lost Coaster of Superstition mountain is...it's really difficult to think of a word other than "unique."    The hydraulic vertical lift is definitely not  something I've seen before.  Neither are the cars, which are a bit cramped but reasonably comfortable, even riding backwards like I ended up.  The ride is deceptive though; it's not big and it doesn't hit any real high speeds but it feels a lot faster riding it.  The twisty, bumpy course throws you around quite a lot as it winds around and inside the mountain, especially when you can't see the elements coming, but it's not harsh and no overly restrictive restraints to bounce off of, so the constant bounces and twists manage to be more fun than they look from off ride, without being rough on riders.  The theming inside the mountain isn't exactly Thunder Mountain, but it's enough to be fun, and give the ride at least a bit of an (admittedly mostly incomprehensible) story.  It's not something I could call a must ride, but it's definitely a step above your average small coaster or wild mouse, and there's really nothing else like it that I'm aware of.  Different enough that I wasn't disappointed after waiting so long to get on it, at least!

     

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    Most of the rides down the midway still hadn't started up yet.

     

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    But the antique cars had, and there wasn't much of a wait, so why not?  These have an interesting layout with quite a lot of track packed into a very small area, twisting over itself something like three times.  I can't imagine fitting more track into one little plot than they did.

     

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    Unfortunately it only had something like three cars on the track, with most of the rest half-disassembled to server as "scenery."  Not too much of a problem today but hopefully in a better year they can have more running.

     

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    The "road" sneaks in under Lost Coaster, then runs alongside Cornball Express.

     

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    Taco Time?  It was still barely past breakfast time, but...that doesn't mean it can't be taco time...made a note to stop for one as soon as I got off the cars.

     

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    Up close to Cornball Express here.

    I did stop by the taco stand but decided on just grabbing a travelling taco for a quick stack and to compare to Knoebels version (basically the same thing).

     

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    Quite a few of the flats are built on platforms out over the water.  I wanted to see if that made them feel any different, but they were mostly scheduled to open at 2.

     

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    Cornball Express was supposed to be running, but wasn't yet...wait, no...

     

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    First train of the day.  I was going to have to head over that way soon.

     

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    But since I was right here and the Scrambler had just started running, it wasn't going to hurt to make time for it.  This one didn't run as fast as the Scarecrow Scrambler at Holiday World, but the breeze off the lake made for a wonderfully relaxing ride, and it seemed to run forever.  Despite not being one of the faster ones I've been on, I think this has to be one of my favorites just for location.  Being over the water does make a different, it turns out.

     

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    The shooting gallery built into the bottom of Dr Frankenstein's Haunted Castle shares its theme but looks a tiny bit out of place on the colorful midway.

     

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    There's also an arcade underneath the castle with...Bump N Jump and Mr. Do?

     

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    Okay, as if I hadn't already been getting "back in time" vibes from this park...

     

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    For some reason my camera managed to make it look like this one wasn't working, but it was; everything in the arcade appeared to be despite its age.

     

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    I'll take this stuff over a Six Flags redemption arcade any day!

     

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    Dr Frankenstein looking down on the midway.

     

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    Rats!  I assumed this meant I could expect my ankles to be tickled somewhere in the castle...

    The Haunted Castle itself is really something spectacular though.  It's a slight upcharge, a few dollars to get in, but it's absolutely worth it, and I can't encourage anyone who gets to Indiana Beach enough to make sure they do this.  It's an old style walk through dark attraction but it's kept up very well with all the props and scenes in good shape as far as I could tell, and it goes on absolutely forever, using up every bit of three stories of an expansive building.  I didn't take pictures inside since I wasn't sure it was allowed, and I wouldn't want to ruin some of the surprises anyway, but there are some great ones, including a room of doors that I got lost in for an embarrassingly long time.  In my defense, there's more to getting out of it than just checking all the doors...the actual exit is even better hidden.  Eventually there's sunlight ahead...

     

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    But you come out up here, a couple stories above the midway and looking down on Sea Dragon, with nowhere to go but back into the maze, where it winds on for quite a while longer somehow.

     

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    Okay, I did take one picture; this area inside the tower was bright enough to get a shot without needing to use a flash, and silly enough that I had to get a picture of it.

     

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    It really is a surprisingly big attraction, absolutely worth the extra cost.

     

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    Out back here, Air Crow.  Probably not as good as the Knoebels flyers but I imagine if you catch a good breeze off the lake you can get a good ride on this one if they run at any decent speed.  Not going to find out today though.

     

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    Everything is packed in wherever they can fit it at Indiana Beach.  Kiddieland is stuck in underneath the coasters here.

     

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    And Tig'rr is on top of a restaurant.

     

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    I'd never been on a classic Jet Star before; it looked like a slightly bigger version of the Flitzer that had been at Morey's Piers until recently, but it's a far more intense ride, and there were no brakes at all on this one.  It doesn't look like much but that first banked turn feels more like Intimidator 305 than a family coaster!  Definitely a deceptive ride, and one I hope stays at the park for a long time, old or not.  ...Also, unlike Flitzer,  you don't need three separate harnesses to mummify you into the cars; there's practically nothing for restraints at all, which for this kind of ride is far more comfortable.

     

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    I would not have wanted to have to evac from this one though.  That is one very sketchy walkway.  Maybe at least fix the completely missing boards, IB?

     

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    Turning around from Tig'rr, you take the stairs right up into the mess of structure of the two coasters above to get to Cornball Express' station.  Which I apparently failed to take any pictures of.  Cornball Express is a pretty middling coaster though.  It seems a little unsure of what it wants to do with itself; there's a bit of airtime, a few laterals, some modest speed, but it doesn't really do anything well enough to really stand out, and it's definitely on the rougher side ; probably the roughest coaster of my week that wasn't at Six Flags St Louis.  Not unrideable, but not great either. 

     

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    Hoosier Hurricane at least looked like it might be better, but wasn't running.

     

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    This tiny kiddie ferris wheel stuck right under the coaster where it barely fit in got a laugh out of me.  Anywhere they can fit things at this park.

     

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    Fascination wasn't open, but I don't think I would have wanted to spend much time there alone anyway.  Besides, I was going to Knoebels not long after this, with friends, so...

     

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    Pretty standard flume, out and back with a bit of twisting on the way and a middling drop.  An average log flume is still a good ride in my book though!  Could have done without the chewed-gum covered tunnel though.

     

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    There's a food stand offering all sorts of take-a-year-off-your-life treats nearby, but the prices are a bit much.  I had to go for one anyway, of course.  I hoped for $7 this would be at least a king size snickers; it wasn't, just an ordinary size candy bar.  Definitely tasty but not worth that much.

     

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    Further back, a Music Express.  As someone else pointed out in a recent report here, this is far from the best looking music express out there in that rather half-assed building.  Don't let that keep you from riding though!  This may have been the fastest one I've ever been on...at least since I was a kid at Rocky Point (again, I know, but really)...and it runs a very long cycle...and then backwards at full speed too.  Who cares what the building looks like from outside when it runs like this!?

     

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    Behind that, Steel Hawg, the El Loco, which was a new experience for me.  Was not a fan of : The shoulder-crushing restraints, which reminded me far too much of the long gone and not missed Viper at SFGAdv.  Was a fan of: Everything else about this thing.  I don't know whose idea this coaster was but it's a great way to fit all sorts of new experiences into a very small areas.  The far-beyond-vertical drop, outside banked corners, extended hang time upside down...this thing just keeps throwing crazy things at you until you're back in the station.  I can't think of much else you could fit into a plot like this bigger than a wild mouse and I'll take this over one of those any day.

     

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    Out behind it, Triple Loop being set up.  Not in time for this summer though, pretty obviously.

     

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    I'm always a little bit uncomfortable with chairlift style skyrides, I admit, and this one was a bit sketchier than most, but I wasn't going to miss out on the views.

     

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    At the far end of the skyride, back near the main entrance ramp, is a...maybe surprisingly classy sort of gift shop.  Cute anyway.

     

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    Bumper boats!  Fun but they had a pretty good line; I wasn't interested enough to wait long for them.

     

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    Picture came out awful in the sun, but the Yo-yo running, apart from the waterfall effect around the platform that I believe is usually there...which makes no different on the ride itself.  Unlike some I've been on in the last few years, this one still has its tilt mechanism working and all.  These do feel a little more "exciting" than Wave Swingers for some reason, maybe just the way they often feel like the seats are going to crash into each other.  A nice change from the usual wave swingers anyway!

     

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    After that I figured I'd get on the paddle wheeler and get some views of the lake.  The boat could use a little TLC and paint but still made for a nice relaxing ride.

     

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    And some great views of the park and surrounding areas.

     

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    I don't remember if the (small) Double Shot drop tower was running or not but it was missing its topper, which with its sort height just sort of made it look like it was cut off halfway, like some sadistic RCT player was planning to launch riders into the sky off of it.  Not that I ever did anything like that...

     

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    Another view of Triple Loop being rebuilt.

     

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    These cottages can be rented by the week.  You can also rent boats etc on the lake here.  That may be in my future for some summer soon, I think...

     

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    It must be nice to be wealthy enough for a lake house. 

     

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    This area is kinda hilarious though.  It's such a nice little lakeside resort area, but those trees there...that's the end of it.  Beyond that double row of trees...yeah.  It's corn.  Corn for miles.

    Ended up being a nice ride, and longer than I thought.  Unfortunately on the way back to the dock some asshole on a jetski decided to try to cut in front of the boat.  Paddlewheelers, it turns out, aren't particularly maneuverable, and having to make emergency maneuvers in them doesn't end well.  We ended up hitting the corner of the dock and doing some pretty visible damage to it and the side of the boat.  If you're on a jetski, you can turn a hell of a lot more easily than a big old paddlewheeler.  Don't be a dick =/

     

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    Apparently the boat has been around quite a while

    By time I was back on shore (especially since it took a while to circle back into the lake and line up for a second try at docking) I was getting pretty hungry...and heading down the midway to see what I could find, I smelled pizza.  Apparently Earl's Pizza is a new addition to the park this year, so I stuck my head in, expecting typical amusement park pizza.  Instead, they were making pizzas, personal or full size, from scratch in an open kitchen, and it smelled fantastic.

     

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    All, Cesari's is no longer the best amusement park pizza.  This wasn't just the best pizza I've had at a park, this was up there was the best I've had anywhere.  Definitely give this a shot if you're visiting Indiana beach.  Awesome, amazingly thick crust, great sauce, tons of cheese...the only thing I'd like to see is more available toppings.  SO good though!  ...I'm eating a salad at my desk while I write this and now I'm just sort of sad.  And hungry.

     

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    Next up was Den of Lost Thieves.  This is an old, classic dark ride, updated with guns, since every park seems to want a shooting dark ride these days.  In this case, they pulled it off pretty well; the addition of the shooting gallery doesn't really take much away from the classic feel of the ride.

     

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    The guns don't even look terribly out of place on the cars.

    This was a pretty top tier dark ride; everything was in good shape and working well from the props and sets to the guns and targets.  Nice job melding old and new with this one!

     

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    Nearby on the midway, the carp feeding station.  I thought this was going to be some sort of midway game.  Nope...it's...a carp feeding station.  The carp are clearly a fan of this one.  If only carp were better eating...

     

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    Across from there, a classic Polyp ride.  I'd wondered since I saw this on the Indiana Beach website why this one had that ugly fish face theme.  Now, looking back at the carp feeding station right there, it made sense!  Cute.

    I'd always thought these rides looked like an inferior knock-off to a proper Spider or Octopus, without spinning cars or anything, but that was because I never saw one in motion.  The difference here is the vertical motion; it's not a slow up and down like an Octopus, but a sharp jerk into the air.  This one is more like someone bred one of those rides with Downdraft at Knoebels; far more fun than I ever thought it would be.  Definitely changed my opinion of these quickly.

     

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    I like the little detail with the ride's history here.  Gene Staples has commented on liking older rides better than new ones, something I can frequently agree with, and seeing details like this with them is pretty nice.

     

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    The paratrooper was running by now.  Like with the Scrambler, the breeze from the lake was nice, but it was running pretty lazily otherwise.

     

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    Plummeting towards the lake might have been somewhat different than the usual here too, if it was running.  Since it wasn't, I didn't have to make excuses not to find out!

     

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    I wonder if this runs as fast as the Music Express.  I wish I could have found out.

     

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    I'm not one to pass up a train ride...even if I'm the only one on it.  It's a short track, by necessity at such a tiny park, but scenic.

     

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    ...at least, a scenic view of the undersides of some of the coasters.  Could use a little touch up here.

     

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    Tig'rr, again.  From here you can see how it's built onto a roof.  Whatever fits!

     

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    The train also goes through Frankenstein's castle, with the inside of the tunnel featuring on animatronic diorama to try to lure people into the walk-through.  Tried to get a picture of that but you're past it too quickly for my phone to want to adjust from sunlight to the darkness in the short tunnel, and it didn't come out at all.

    I made a few rounds for repeat rides on some flats here, before heading out a bit early.

    Indiana Beach has a few warts here and there, some no doubt just from 2021 being what it is, and others like some of the neglected paint and such probably remnants of the last owners.  From the maintenance projects visible here and there, that's hopefully something that will be improved on soon.  I hope Cornball Express gets a bit of work too.  As is right now the classic flats and the location are the stars of this park (and the pizza!) but that and the nostalgia were more than enough to make me love the place.  The oddball unique layout with everything packed in on top of each other is sort of fun too, and for the most part the staff was better than most of the parks I saw this week; not quite WoF or SDC but definitely beating the rest.  I definitely want to get back here in a less difficult year, and I'd love to take other people with me, especially other people who have the same memories of Rocky Point that I do for this place to bring back.   Not my absolute all time favorite park, but one that definitely had something special to offer me, and I'm already looking forward to next time.  It's all the more special after seeing it "close", so all I can say is a huge thank you to Gene Staples for this one.  I'm hoping for a very bright future for this park now.

    On the way to my hotel for the night, I was thinking the day probably couldn't get a lot better, but...

     

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    ...oh.  OH.  YESSSSSS.  If you haven't had Albanese Gummy Bears, they absolutely earn their "world's best" label.  A factory outlet?  I had no idea this existed but I was not missing that.

     

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    Gimme...

     

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    So much amazing candy!  I want it all!  Yes, I'm six years old, why do you ask?

     

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    If you see these anywhere, grab them.  They are the ultimate gummy bears.

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    Unlike a lot of these kind of things they really do all taste like what they're supposed to.  Blood orange, mango, and black currant ones are just....mmph.  Yeah, this salad isn't cutting it right now, but these are one of the reasons why I have to eat salads for the next few weeks after my trips >.>

     

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    These? Pass.  Ugh.  I love anything hot.  I'll happily just nibble habaneros.  These are just not good though.  The jalapeno is decent, but the sriracha just tastes like ass, the cayenne and habanero have no flavor, just heat, and the reaper...well, that was too much even for me.  So much pain.  Maybe good to try to get other people to try if you're evil though.

     

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    Party trays of Albanese gummy candy.  Okay with me.

    Yeah, I bought so much here that I had to pay overweight baggage fees on the way home...  In my defense it was mostly gifts....mostly...

     

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    Stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Merrillville, IN...like everywhere else I'd stayed at so far (is that so far hanging heavily enough for you?  There's only one more hotel after this, right...?) it was comfy, and the staff was exceptionally friendly.  No problems recommending this one either

     

     

    • Like 1
  4. Alright...week at Knoebels down.  A few years back I put up a report here on a week at a cottage there.  I did the same thing this year with mostly the same group, so I'm not going to be bother with a full report again, as it was mostly the same, only not quite as good, because 2021 is just rough everywhere, but still a fun time.  Penn's Cave is still a great way to spend an afternoon.  Camel Beach was an absolute dumpster fire; they happily let us all in at full price before letting us know that a part of the park was closed because of storm damage, and they have absolutely the worst fast pass system I've seen anywhere (no separate entrances, no management; an "expresspass" armband just entitles you to shove your way up the stairs past everyone else.   Three hour lines for one waterslide...  Dorney Park was Dorney as usual, which for 2021 was not a bad thing...operations were pretty much normal for most of the day, with all but a couple flat rides and food stands open, almost no lines, and coasters running well.  Knoebels...is having a rough time of things, with about half the park actually open, but they're doing their best with what they have, and Twister is running the best I've seen in something like fifteen years going there now.  Also, we discovered Marley's, 20 minutes from Knoebels, which...I suppose I'll have to make a post in the Knoebels thread for that one later!

    But we're here for the midwest parks, and Thursday of my week at them was Kentucky Kingdom.  This wasn't a park I'd originally even thought to add to my itinerary, but was suggested to me here, and I decided it was definitely worth checking out.  As it turned out...Kentucky Kingdom is an...interesting little park.

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    Kentucky Kingdom is literally set up in the middle of the Kentucky State Fairgrounds, almost entirely surrounded by the parking lot and fairgrounds (mostly the former).  Just getting to the park was a challenge the day I visited, since there was a major event (National Hot Rod Association finals, apparently), going on at the fairgrounds, and traffic was being diverted with some entrances closed, which left my GPS rather unhappy with me.  I was able to my way in, past a gate attendant who commented on how crazy a day it was with so many confused drivers, and parked up in back, where I could get a decent view of Kentucky Flyer.  I also had an interesting view on the path around the back of the park to the gate (a bit of a walk, really)...

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    Separated from the fairground by just a chain link fence, I walked past an almost endless lot of classic cars.  If I didn't have plenty to focus on at the park, I definitely could have spent a lot of time on the other side of that fence too...

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    But I had this view of Lighting Run to keep my attention where it belonged on the other side.

     

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    I got to the (surprisingly small) gate just as they were opening, without too many people in front of me.  I was most interested in Lightning Run, but almost everyone headed left toward it, and having perhaps learned my lesson at Holiday World, I went the other way this time.

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    About five other people did.  Looked like I'd have some time without lines here.

     

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    The first thing in this direction turned out to be kiddieland.  It...took me a bit to figure out why it was "King Louie's" playland.  Sometimes I'm just not very smart with all that word stuff, I guess.

     

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    The first adult ride, a Reverchon (I believe) Himalaya.  No line at all made it worth stopping for, but sadly it's not a great one.  Very plain, and the rather abused looking wooden floors of the cars seemed a little concerning.  It didn't move particularly fast, either.

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    Next door to it is the "Movie Store" advertising 4d movies, but at the time I had no real interest in the Kentucky Show or Yogi Bear.

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    Scream Extreme was a bit more my speed.  A solid ride, but a very short cycle; it barely reached vertical before we were coming back down.  The ops here also made it clear they could not care less about being at the park, just ignoring the guests and looking straight ahead with thousand yard stares.  This was about fifteen minutes into the day...  This turned out to be the case with most rides and staff here.

     

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    Some sort of show pavilion here, but I didn't put too much effort into checking it out in the morning.

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    One of the more...unique things with Kentucky Kingdom is that it's build on two sides of a significant road.  Towards the center of the park, there's one bridge to cross, but at this end, it's just a crosswalk with two guards.

     

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    The back half of the park starts to look nicer than the front half though.

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    I know, this place isn't a big fan of ACE, but this was slightly interesting.  Lots of little points of interests at other parks but this one has a general coaster timeline going on.  Oh hi Flying Turns!

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    Mile High Falls had water running but wasn't open yet.  Too bad; I love big shoot the chute rides and this is definitely one of the biggest ones I've seen.

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    At least the back half of the park has some shade.

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    ....aaaaand RMC track!  Yes please, heading that way now.

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    Storm Chaser is anything but big, but it does everything it can to make up for its size, with an intense inverting first drop and enough ejector air to make Phoenix feel self-conscious.

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    Aaaand since everyone else had gone towards Lightning Run at the start, I was going to have no trouble at all getting on it as many times as I wanted here.

     

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    There's as much air as it looks like right about there.

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    And this hill, while small, will make you REALLY grateful for secure restraints, because the train wants you off of it here.  On top of the air, Storm Chaser never seems to lose any speed until the final brakes, and there's not a bump or rattle on the entire track.  Not a big coaster, not my favorite RMC, but definitely still a fantastic ride, especially for its size.

     

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    Heading back towards the center of the park, and towards a bit more classic wooden coaster.  I was a little nervous about Thunder Run given that it's not a new ride now, and my back had not appreciated the Legend the day before, but I wasn't going to just skip it either.

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    At the time being, I didn't realize this was basically the same coaster as Hurler, and it's probably as good thing that I didn't, since I might have passed on riding it entirely.  Thunder Run, despite being the original that Hurler is a mirrored version of, has one major difference from the later copies; it doesn't suck.  I can't say what's so different about this one compared to Hurler (at least the one at King's Dominion), which, every time I rode it managed to be pathetically slow, incredibly rough, or both at once, but Thunder Run is actually a solid coaster.  It held a lot more speed than I can remember ever getting from Hurler, and it did it without beating me up at all; even with an already sore back I didn't find any painful spots here.  It's not a terrifically creative layout and isn't going to knock any coasters off my top ten list, but it's not a bad one by any means either, and I could definitely enjoy a few laps around it.

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    Heading back in that direction anyway, I stuck my head head into the carousel pavillion to take a look at it, and...I'm not sure what to make of this carousel.  It wasn't running to start with, but the sort of stained and discolored brassy look makes it look like it's on its way to becoming a horror movie prop at some dilapidated park where half the characters  won't make it out alive.  It's also called the Bella Musica carousel, but the music it was playing was horrifically unpleasant, again like it should have been in a horror movie or at least running as a halloween attraction.  Very strange...

     

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    Kentucky Kingdom strikes a midpoint between free drinks at Holiday World and Lake Compounce and most other parks with overpriced drinks; soda is 99 cents, which is hard to complain about, but keeps people from dumping half finished cups all over the place, making a mess and attracting wasps.  This might be the best approach, really.

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    Out on the back edge of the park, the forest-y look disappears again and we're back at parking lot fairgrounds.  I am not usually a fan of ring of fire rides but I clearly had all the time I was going to need today, so I figured I'd give this one a shot.

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    Bleachers?  Are these rides that much fun to watch?  Who thought this was needed?

    As far as the Eye of the Storm...I'm still not a fan of it.  There's nothing wrong with this one but anything with really quick repeated vertical loops, especially ones that stop short upside down, definitely leave me feeling off for a while after, every time.

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    I'd been considering going back to my car to get my swim suit and tower, since I seemed to have plenty of time and the water park looked to have some good stuff, but the water coaster wasn't running, so...much less temptation there.

     

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    A lot of water rides didn't seem to be running, sadly.  This was going to have to be the first rapids ride I missed this week.

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    Aaaaaand then we have T3.  I knew what I was getting into here, but I had to know just how bad it really was.  For anyone not familiar with it here...SLCs are infamously rough enough, yes, but T3 is not just an SLC.  T3 is an SLC prototype.  That can not be good news.

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    It was well after 1:00 at this point.  I really wanted to try this thing though, so I hung around for a bit.

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    I wasn't the only one waiting for T3 by time it finally opened an hour and a half late.  Some of us just don't have very well developed self-defense instincts, I guess.

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    T3 has restraints I've never seen on anything else; it's almost like a 5 point harness, all belts, attached to a lap bar.  It's strange and looks a bit awkward, but it's actually fairly secure and comfortable.

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    As for the ride itself...it's an absolute piece of crap.  It thunks and bangs its way around the track like the wheels are falling off, and I'm not even sure how it even makes it through the course with the way it gives these constant shudders like it's about to suddenly screech to a stop with something horribly broken.  And yet...it's not actually painful at all with the newer restraints, so it's actually...sort of enjoyable?  It's something along the lines of a coaster version of a so-bad-it's-good movie?  There's no arguing that it's absolutely awful, but I can sort of enjoy it for that since it doesn't actively beat you up anymore.  The only really bad part is that on the final brake run, the restraints slam down hard on your thighs enough to make Skyrush's restraints feel loose.  My legs were going numb by time I actually got off.  Other than that...I didn't bother riding it again, but I probably could have.  Strange ride.

    Taking this picture, I was asked to leave the area by the staff of a nearby basketball game.  I have no idea why, it's just a patch of open pavement between the ride queue and the game, with no signage and nothing there, but apparently standing here is forbidden?

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    Kentucky Kingdom's layout is just plain strange, between the split over the road, and the way dry and water park rides are just tossed in next to each other.  It's not difficult to get around or anything, but there's definitely sort of a "kid's first RCT park" vibe to it...or maybe just someone playing that one scenario you just want to finish and get over with to move on to the next.  Just drop stuff in wherever it fits.

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    Kentucky Kingdom isn't big on theming, but at least they made a bit of an attempt with Kentucky Flyer, and it's a theme I can definitely appreciate.

     

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    Even the trains have a bit of extra detail to them.

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    It's still just a family coaster, and you can't expect too much of it, but it does give a very smooth ride and some nice pops of airtime, more than you'd expect just looking at it.

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    By this point I couldn't keep my eyes off the other side of the park's skyline though.

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    I was going to need food first though, but my plans were shut down pretty quickly with yet another closed restaurant.

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    With my original plans off the table, I decided to just get something healthy for the first time in the week and grabbed a salad.  It was...fine.  Just a prepackaged salad with range dressing, but the veggies with fresh enough, and decent, red tomatoes.  Not bad!

     

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    More waterpark in the middle of the dry park.  Or vice versa?

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    Good sized ferris wheel, not running...

     

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    Aaand finally Lighting Run!  Only...on the other side of the road.

     

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    At least there's a bridge to get there at this end.

     

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    And a pretty cute little antique car ride.  I could see that there was no line at all for Lighting Run, so I let myself delay a bit more and get everything on the way to it, the cars included.

     

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    This was one of the nicer looking parts of the park.

     

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    Right, these things.  The majority of the rides had recorded spiels about putting your belongings in the lockers, where they would be safely secured until the end of the ride.  Not one ride actually has lockers as far as I saw.  They all have yellow u-line bins.  It's...an attempt, I guess, sort of.

     

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    At least they put a little more effort into one of their cars.  This was definitely one of the nicer looking antique cars out there, and was going to be mine, but the kid behind me in line was so excited by the flame paint job, I let him and his father go in front and take it.  The ride is much more meant for kids anyway...

     

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    Nice enough for anyone to enjoy though.

     

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    SDC's Cinnamon Bread was already amazing.  This place has it with bourbon glaze.  And...I entirely forgot to come back for any on the way out.  Not happy with myself.

     

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    The Breakdance was opening up just as I got close to it, which was close enough to a sign for me.  They're fun enough flats anyway, and this one ran a reasonably good, fast cycle.

     

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    The flyers less so.  These weren't moving fast enough to bother with.  Especially not when I was a few weeks away from Knoebels...

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    Swinging ships have to get a bit higher than this to interest me these days.

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    And here we go, this is what I was waiting for.  Lighting Run looked smaller than I expected up close, but I wasn't going to let that kill my excitement.

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    Still no line...

     

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    Interesting trains, the looooong nose is a bit awkward.  Comfortable though.

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    So, Lighting Run...is pretty great, really.  It's an unusual hybrid of new and old, with it being designed as a newer coaster built to limited budgets; it seems to use a lot of older technology and construction style...tubular spine track, internal guide wheels on the trains...but built with modern computer aided design.  The result feels sort of a classic arrow coaster, but with actual smooth transitions, and comfortable restraints.  It has a wild feeling that's missing from a lot of newer coasters, but without the jostling or rough elements, and with comfortable trains and restraints, and a whole lot more grace and flow in the layout.  I absolutely loved it, and I just can't see why this is the only coaster of it's type so far.  I don't know if the rumors of Rye Playland looking into one still hold any water, but I hope that's still possible; I'd love to have one of these near me.  Great, great ride, not even considering that it's meant to be a compact, budget ride.  I wonder if there's any reason these aren't capable of inversions?  I'd love to see something like a recreated Vortex from KI, with the smoother ride this kind of coaster has...

    Rode this one enough times to have lost count, loved it every time.

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    I've been on a lot of frisbee type rides, but none completely inverting before, so Cyclos was a first.  It's positively dimunitive compared to something like Harley Quinn or Black Widow, but it doesn't feel it as much as you'd think once you're on it, and the hangtime is surprisingly intense.  Expected to be a little let down, but I actually really enjoyed this.

     

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    Back at the front of the park I took at look at the show pavillion, where they were doing a seal and sea lion show.  Didn't stop to watch; it was just too hot and I was really looking for air conditioning.

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    Right...there was...the theater.  Well, it was probably air conditioned!  Not a Yogi Bear fan, so I headed in to see what the Kentucky Show was, expecting very little.

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    ...and somehow got less.  The Kentucky Show isn't actually a 5D attraction.  It was...this...and it didn't actually play at the scheduled time either, probably because no one was there at all besides me, standing back here, enjoying the cool air.

    I did decide to go around and try the Yogi Bear 5D movie instead, as a friend mentioned that she'd heard some good things about the new Jellystone show on HBO and I thought there was some chance it might be connected to that.  I should have known better...this was the worst motion theater ride I've ever experience.  It uses the less-than-great system with two attached tilting chairs on each motion platform, like the old Days of Thunder ride at King's Dominion and all the versions that followed; not my favorite of the motion platforms.  Much worse than that is the utterly awful actual movie, which...is not even in first person.  It also has nothing to do with the new show; it's an uncanny valley CG thing that features a mostly nonsensical attempt from  Yogi Bear to build and very briefly fly a makeshift plane, but it's in a normal movie third person viewpoint, making the chairs' motion feel completely disconnected, and  more like just watching a terrible movie in the back of a car while someone drives off a cliff.  Why does this thing even exist?  I have no idea.  Why would anyone want a motion theater movie that isn't even in a first person perspective, with a move that's more bad comedy than motion?  Still no idea.  Pass on this one.  Please, everyone pass on this so they replace it with something worthwhile.  Like a restroom or a food stand or just an empty room with air conditioning...wait they had that...

     

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    I decided to head out at this point, but by time I drove past Storm Chaser on the way out I wished I'd gone back around for more rides on it.  Maybe next year!

    Overall impressions...I'm really not sure what to make of Kentucky Kingdom.  It's in a strange, awkward location, with a strange, awkward layout.  The staff mostly seemed to hate their jobs, and several attractions seemed to be just taking up space.  On the other hand, the coasters were mostly good, generally even better than I expected, and even T3 was enjoyable in its way.  The place definitely has potential, and I'm more than likely going to visit again next time I get the chance, if only for Storm Chaser and Lighting Run, but I definitely hope the park's new owners can work on some of the rough spots...at least the ones that can be changed.  I suppose they're pretty well stuck with the location and layout.

     

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    Stayed overnight at the Best Western Edinburgh/Columbus.  As with everywhere else so far, it was more than acceptable and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone traveling through.

    For the second time in a few days I had a hole-in-the-wall mexican place next door, Sabor De La Vida, and decided to go with that again for dinner.  It worked out the first time...

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    And did this time as well.  One empenada, and one massive sandwich with everything you can think of on it, from steak to ham and eggs to cubed hot dogs...yeah, a bit weird, but I'd had similar at another mexican place years back and it had actually been really good, and was this time too.  Cheap and tasty, would definitely do again.

    Tomorrow was, I hoped, going to be a good day...I'd been waiting so many years to get to Indiana Beach...

     

     

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  5. Busch Gardens does have some of the best B&Ms around!.  Montu is unbeatable, and Kumba is still fantastic and easily beats most of its bigger successors.  Disappointing to see operations so terrible though.  That definitely wasn't the case the last time I was there, but it's been a few years, and that obviously wasn't...well, 2021.  Busch Gardens without quality food just seems sad.

  6. 51 minutes ago, PKI Jizzman said:

    Love this trip report! Man SF STL has gone down hill since I visited. No more Intamin drop, Xcalibur closed, at least Freeze was running. If you've been on more than 100 coasters it's really difficult to get excited about STSTL. 

    Sad to hear Outlaw Run is in that shape during the day, man I have such fond memories of that coaster. What a great supporting cast of Wildfire, TNT, Powder Keg and now there's TT. Can't wait to get back to that park!

    I'm probably making Outlaw Run sound worse than it was; it definitely wasn't terrible during the day, it just wasn't quite what I expected.  Some of that was on me for not realizing it wasn't the same as the newer I-box coasters.  The difference between day and night was still pretty much beyond my ability to explain though.  Friend of mine asked if they changed trains out during the day, and...that's possible?  It might explain some of the difference?  One way or another, at night it was absolutely amazing.

    I did absolutely love SDC.  Got to a lot of great parks this week, still some really good ones coming, but SDC was definitely the best.  Mostly, anyway.  One of the later ones ended up being even better than I expected in a lot of ways too...

  7. Day 4 - Holiday World!

    So, we've gotten past the one real disappointment of my trip.  From here on out, while there were some...oddities and difficulties, the rest of the days and parks were good!  Holiday World was the next stop...and I probably don't need to tell a lot of people that that's a good one.  I went in with high expectations.

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    Fourth part of the week and not any less excited to see coasters on the horizon there.  The Voyage definitely looks impressive from back here!

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    Coming in from the parking lot, you're reminded that you're in the presence of a legend.  So...does it deserve its one-time top spot?

     

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    I was here before opening, but there was already quite a crowd.  There seemed to be far more people here than at Silver Dollar City by midday, despite being a smaller park and a Wednesday now.  That's just 2021 though, can't predict anything.

     

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    Cute entrance area with all the christmas decor.  All things considered it's less weird in July when it's Holiday World.

     

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    There was just no way I wasn't heading straight to Halloween though.  Halloween all year round...that sounds like paradise to me.  This was something of a mistake on my part, as everyone else did exactly the same thing.  I could have avoided a lot of time in lines if I'd been smarter like I knew I should have, but...Halloween...

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    Another sight I've waited so many years to see.  It almost felt surreal to walk through this gate now.

     

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    Nothing like the train passing right overhead to get you all excited!

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    And...through the course...and...stopping...here...for...five minutes?  I don't know what was going on with The Raven.  The operations were beyond unacceptable.  With two trains running they had between six and eight minute dispatches for most of the time I was in the queue.  Trains sat stacked in the waiting area for five minutes at a time.  From out here I couldn't tell why...but they were still running, so I stayed in the molasses line.

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    After the dark stairway up, we're finally in the station.  It's...actually sort of dingy.  After SDC, I suppose I expected a bit more.  At least give it a little cleaning, Holiday World.  This coaster deserves more respect.

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    These people had just spent twice as long waiting to get off the ride as they had riding it, so there was no enthusiasm left when they got back into the station.  Still not keeping me from being eager to get on though!

    This was where the problems became clearer.  The ops were checking a row, stopping to have a little chat, checking another, going back to the first row to talk to a rider, starting their checks over, getting halfway down the train then releasing restraints to let someone out to put a bag in the locker and starting over again...

    Once again, this was not understaffing, which I swore not to complain about given the situation this year.  This was just embarrassingly bad staffing.

    The coaster did its best to make up for that though.  Despite not being being anything like a big coaster anymore, the care the park takes of it is obvious.  I can't imagine any (real, not hybrid...) wooden coaster running smoother than The Raven does.  The course out to the lake is gorgeous and scenic.  It's not a forceful coaster, it won't be trying to throw you out of your seat...it's a bit more like a smaller version of the Beast where it's more a high speed ride through the woods (only without the trim brakes), but with the setting this works beautifully.  I wish I could have gotten in a night ride on it, but the park wasn't open late enough.  Maybe next time!  Unfortunately, at the end of the ride, I found out that not only were the trains being stacked for several minutes at a time...the holding track before the station was surrounded by wasp nests.  I'm not sure what kind of wasps these were; they were small and apparently not aggressive, not really bothering anyone, but people were absolutely losing their minds about them.  Having people swat wasps in your direction while you're locked into a ride does not make for a fun experience.  Meanwhile the ops locked everyone in the train in front of us into the ride...then unlocked them all to let a kid out out and check their height, and tell them they weren't tall enough to ride, then started plodding down the train to slowly check restraints again.  I don't like being critical of people, but in the space of four days I'd now seen the best ride team I can remember (Prowler!) and now the worst.  I hope it was just a bad day for them...

    Still...The Raven?  Yeah, lives up to the legend.  Well...not literally, because the Legend is around the corner and it's even better...we'll get there.

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    Across the way, Holiday World's rather nicely painted scrambler looked to be running a pretty good cycle, but that was quite a line for a flat that I'd see at basically every park during the week.  Pass.

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    Yep  Much more interesting.

     

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    This caught my attention on the way though and from the path it looked like the line was pretty short.  The ride appeared to give good views of the coaster it ran beneath too, so...I could make time to do that first.

     

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    Unfortunately, this was not really the queue.  This is the queue to get into the queue in the station.  It ended up being close to an hour wait.  I probably would have waited anyway, since it was a decent looking flume, but I wasn't expecting it  yet.

     

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    The final drop passes right through the Legend's lift hill structure...

     

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    And ends with a respectable splash!

     

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    Out on the course, you do get some nice views of The Legend.

     

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    And...some more comical graves.  Well, it is Halloween land here.

     

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    And then some really nice views of The Legend.  Unfortunately, in the entire time I was on the flume, no trains made it out onto the track.  One finally hit the lift hill just as I was climbing toward my own drop.

     

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    Of course I headed right over to The Legend after that; no more delays.  It was, unfortunately, running with the same kind of operations as The Raven had been, which explained how none of them had been running while I was on the flume.  The Legend did, at least, have the excuse of having only one train running.

    Once I finally did get on though...I loved the start of the ride, at least.  The first drop is still pretty spectacular, and then it's into a spiral drop that was apparently a world's first.  It also found the spot where Screamin' Eagle had messed up my back and doubled down on it.  I'd sorta known that was coming.  I spent the rest of the ride trying to keep from making that worse, so I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I wanted to.  The Legend is not what I'd normally call a rough coaster, definitely not something I'd normally complain about, but it was just a bit too much for my still-sore back.  I sort of have to reserve my opinion of the ride then; I'm pretty sure it's one I would have absolutely loved if I were more up to it.  As is, it was mostly pain and trying to avoid pain.

     

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    Lunch sounded good, and after SDC I kinda thought I was going to avoid burgers at theme parks known for good food.  On the other hand...the jalapeno cheese curds they had here too were just too were calling to me.  One burger would be fine.  The line was sloooowwww, but...jalapeno cheese curds.

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    I ordered the deluxe cheeseburger (or whatever they called it) and took it over to a table to find I'd been given a completely plain burger with just cheese and no toppings at all.  I considered going back to get that fixed, but another 20-30 minutes in line seemed less than ideal when there was a lot I still wanted to do in the park and the limited opening hours were ticking by quickly.  Fortunately, despite being plain, the burger wasn't actually bad at all, and the cheese curds were awesome.  I was sort of expecting them to have almost no jalapeno to appeal to everyone, but they actually had a decent bite.  A little bit oversalted, but really tasty anyway.

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    The water park was open now, and now the lines were thinning out quickly.  Still, better things to do than a scrambler.

     

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    Pretty nice looking Wave Swinger, but not today.

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    Oooh, maybe Wednesday was the right day to come here after all.  Noted for later.

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    I hadn't gotten off to a great start at Holiday World, between operations and my own back (and bad decisions), but on heading back towards Thanksgiving, things turned around entirely.

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    Heading to the back of the park, you cross a bridge past a decent looking raft ride that I figured I was going to want to get on later when it started to get really hot.

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    ...And right under The Voyage.

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    Even the turns at the very end of the ride before the station look impressive...

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    ...and that first hill...

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    Hard not to be impressed by this one. 

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    Station is sort of a letdown again.  Silver Dollar City really has screwed up my standards, I guess.

    I was a little concerned about my back after The Legend, but I couldn't possibly come here and not get on this ride, and I'd been hearing that it was running very smooth now.  That turned out to be true, fortunately.  Despite the ridiculous speed the Voyage keeps up for most of its length, there's barely a bump on the track; it's running like it thinks it's an RMC this year.  Sheer speed and air time are fanastic, and the far section with the low ground turns is a nice change of pace in the middle of what would have been good even as just and out-and-back.  The coaster users the terrain to pull off an interesting trick and comes to an almost complete stop at what seems to be barely above ground level, where is shouldn't even be able to get going again...before deciding to haul ass once more for an entire second half of the coaster.  I'm still not entirely sure how it does that.

    Objectively speaking...The Voyage is probably the greatest wooden coaster I've ever been on.  It does everything right, it goes on seemingly forever, and I absolute love it.   The part that's going to get me strange looks is that it's still not my favorite...though it's definitely way up there...but even after that, I'm still giving it to Prowler, at the very least for this trip.  I know...but The Voyage, while great, is mostly paced and predictable in its elements.  You have big hills with big air time at the tops of them, right where you know it's going to be.  Myself, I just love the GCI style layout with the smaller, quicker movements, laterals and pops of air.  Probably not going to be a common opinion though...and the Voyage is almost inarguably an amazing coaster in every respect.  It definitely turned my initially questionable day at HW around instantly.

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    I'm guessing this is where Pilgrim's Plunge / Giraffica was.  I would have loved to get on that, but then, from what I hear even if I'd been there when it was standing, seeing it running wasn't likely, so...

     

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    One more coaster...Thunderbird!  Which I keep going to call Wildfire.  Not quite.

     

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    It's not a coaster I've seen a lot about, but the launch into the immelmann here is pretty good start for a coaster, especially with the seating position way off to the side.

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    Having been on Gatekeeper and Thunderbird, I'm not sure I've entirely formed an opinion on Wing Coasters yet.  They definitely seem to be mostly a gimmick more often than not...but on some elements it really does work.  The launch alone, with no track anywhere near you, is...different, and pretty fun, and the twist through the barn later in the ride makes for a pretty good headchopper.  I'm not sure I'd want them to exactly replace standard coasters, and definitely not a good invert or flying coaster...but I suppose they have their place.  I went around for another ride in back and on the opposite side here, since there wasn't much line as there had been on the other coasters.  Still fun that way, but launches are just more fun in front.

     

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    Not running.  Well, I suppose no great loss.

     

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    Looks like Holiday World still has quite a lot of land to build on back here if they want to.

     

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    Even standing practically under Thunderbird, though, it's The Voyage that you can't ignore.

     

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    Looking back towards the middle of the park, it's a nice looking place even with the "hole" in the middle where their big water ride used to be.  Hopefully they do something with that soon.

     

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    I'd just assumed that Gobbler Getaway was the turkey themed tilt-a-whirl and the sign was just in an odd place that looked like it would be over the ride when you looked from the front of the park...which actually does work from most angles.  It's not though; turns out this is another shooting gallery dark ride that I had no idea existed.

     

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    Here, a slightly creepy animatronic grandma and her also slightly creepy but very content looking cat tells you the story of...well, a bunch of people going looking for turkeys trying to escape thankgiving dinner.  It's not exactly high fantasy.

     

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    Once inside, it's a little odd with overly bright, almost Garfield's Nightmare ish colors, and a lot of 2d props and scenes.  Your cars are equipped with "turkey callers" instead of guns, and instead of actually looking like you're shooting at anything, whenever you hit a target a turkey pops out hiding behind or somewhere near it.  It's a bit silly, but for a family friendly ride where they may have wanted to avoid actual guns, it's cute and works well, and unlike a lot of these every target appeared to be working, some of them with some cleverly hidden turkeys showing up.  Pretty well done.

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    It seemed like a good time for the raft ride, even though I expected a long line at this time of the day.  Instead...it was closed...but just as I snapped this picture the maintenance guy came by to pick up the closed sign and gestured for me to head into the queue.  Well, okay then!  I'll take that sort of timing!

     

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    Lots of sprayers on this one for bystanders to soak the riders with, but I figured getting on the first raft after it re-opened, I'd be able to avoid being anyone's target.  (No such luck there.  Some people were apparently as eager to the ride open to have targets float by again as I was to ride it!)

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    They were still just getting ready to let people on again when I got to the station, but it was only a moment of waiting.

    Out of the four raft rides I'd been on over the last few days, this one was probably the most forgettable.  Nothing close to Mystic River Falls, and not nearly as wet as Six Flags St Louis'.  It was probably better overall than Fury of the Nile, but I at least remember the Egypitian cave from that one, where thi was fairly bland and just coursed past trees and rocks, with some prop saloon buildings at the end.  Still a decent ride though, and a good way to cool off, though most of the water came from the guest-controlled geysers rather than any intense rapids.

    It was about to head back for the dole whip, but when I did, I caught a sign I'd not seen before.

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    Big Red Floats WITH dole whip?  I can't imagine much better than that.  If you haven't had Big Red, it's a red creme soda that people frequently insist is bubble gum, but is actually lemon and orange with the vanilla (...which...does somehow end up tasting bubble gum ish).  It's great stuff (though...not quite as good as the local Catawissa Red Cream you can get at Knoebels.  Juuuuust sayin').

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    Unfortunately, despite the sign you apparently have to ask for Dole Whip in it, and the "default" if you just ask for a Big Red float is just vanilla ice cream.  It still tasted great though, and their vanilla ice cream was pretty good anyway.

     

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    Oh, what the hell.  There was basically no line at all for Scarecrow Scrambler now, and it did look like it was running pretty fast.  Not a bad way to spend ten minutes or so.  Some classic, common rides are everywhere for a reason, after all.

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    I considered trying to get on The Raven again, but after the earlier lines, it was well after 5:00 by this point and the park was only open until 6:00, so I decided to just avoid the traffic at close and head on out.  Still more parks to do...and my back clearly needed some more time in bed.

     

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    ...no idea what this actually is and I'm sure the reality would be disappointing anyway.

    I'd promised a few people from the Midwest that I was going to try Culver's while I was out there, and since I was out early, this seemed like the perfect time for it.

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    Mushroom swiss burger.  It was very good for fast food, and I can see why locals like it so much.  Not quite Whataburger...but probably second only to it for fast food burgers so far!

    Headed off to the Red Roof Inn in Georgetown.  The room was tiny and barely even had room to move around the bed...but again, comfortable and clean, and at the price, no complaints at all.

    Tomorrow would be Kentucky Kingdom!

     

     

    • Like 3
  8. 18 hours ago, CP_RULES said:

    @Rai Fox You somehow made SFStL look worse than WoF. Magic!

    I've said it many times and I'll go ahead and say it again: The Boss is a masterpiece of a ride, exceptional layout that uses the terrain to its advantage, great laterals, great airtime, and a nice ride time. BUT, and this is a massive BUT, it has run quite sporadic and mostly bone jarring for the past decade. I must ride it every time I go because I remember those early rides, but the last time I went I was holding on for dear life and regretted it. No joke, it is on the same brutality level as GASM at SFoG prior to whatever retracking was done recently. I really hope the Boss is the first RMC re-track with the steel rails that do not alter the layout.

    I cannot fathom your experience on American Thunder. I have ridden it so many times, never would I have ever described it as slow. Confused? I guess so.

    Ninja is a pretty good classic. It gets hate, I am no stranger to joking about it, but it has nice air on the first drop and it really isn't as jarring as many other coasters of its time. If they replace it with an S&S freespin I will be so sad. Respect the Ninja!

    It doesn't seem to be a common opinion but that was my experience of it!  I had a really great day at WoF, SFStL was kind of a letdown with absolutely horrible staff.

    I can definitely see how The Boss could be a fantastic ride if it was running better though; an RMC conversion on it would definitely get me back to the park.  I also realize my experience with American Thunder was far from typical too; just watching videos of it on youtube is enough to make that clear.  No idea what was going on with it.

    Ninja definitely deserves to be kept around; it's definitely one of the better coasters from its generation.

  9. 40 minutes ago, mikeykaise said:

    I wish KK would run theirs backwards but was told theirs wasn't programmed for that.

    They all run on a hydraulic drive and there's really no "programming" needed.  It's just a valve that feeds the hydraulic fluid in the other direction.  Apparently a lot of parks won't run them in reverse though because someone managed to fall out of one years back so now it's a liability issue (see the current discussion in the Lagoon thread...one idiot ruins things for everyone...)  Of course if an operator just says that, people will beg, so they always just claim it can't.

    That said, the one at IB is a Mack Musik Express, KK's is a Reverchon Himalaya, and while I definitely can't say for certain that the Reverchon models aren't as good, I've never personally seen one that runes nearly as fast as the best Mack models.  The one at KK was...okay, but not what I'd call fast.

    • Like 1
  10. 3 hours ago, mikeykaise said:

    Your slower than normal ride on American Thunder surprises me. I rode it as my first coaster in the morning when we got there and it was moving pretty good so maybe just a time of the day thing maybe? I totally agree about Boss, it was painful and not fun at all I couldn't wait to get back to the station and be off of it, probably the worse coaster I've ever been on. I didn't get a chance to ride Screamin Eagle because I got there later in the afternoon and that whole back section was closed even though it was running in the morning so I'm guessing staffing issues. The train was shut down to so missed that as well. I did like the mine train coaster, not fast but was fun. I didn't get to Ninja because I was too worried about cracking my head on the restraint and having a headache.

     

    1 hour ago, grsupercity said:

    I loved American Thunder on my visit a few years back. I think its my second favorite GCI after Mystic Timbers. It hauled through its course on my rides 

     

    That's what I've heard from everyone so far, and seen in other TRs.  I don't know what was going on the day I was there.  Guess I'll just have to hope it's more like it's usual self next time!

    • Like 1
  11. 12 minutes ago, bert425 said:

    nice report ..  yeah, Excalibur was down on my 1 visit too.

    we have a follow-up trip planned in 2022, so I can see the updated Carousel, and ride Excalibur.

    too bad you didnt' do the mine train, I actually quite enjoyed it.  (and as a lover of Ferris Wheels, a spin on Colossus was a great way to see the park).


    by the way, from what TeacherKim has told me, Boss had been scheduled for RMC conversion. . .but then:  Covid/park closures/plans scuttled.. etc. . ).

    hopefully that plan will come back around again, as I hated it too.  (tho LOVED American Thunder and Screamin Eagle)

    I did actually get on the mine train, it just didn't make too much of an impression. Having been on Thunderation the day before, it really didn't have much of a chance.

    An RMC Boss could be pretty fantastic; that would definitely get me back to the park!  I really wanted to love the other wooden coasters.  One just managed to mess my back up (it wasn't even a rough ride, it just caught me juuuust right...) and the other...well, I don't know what happened with American Thunder, but I do hope I can get on it again when it's running better sometime!

    • Like 1
  12. Day three was an early start and off to Six Flags St Louis.  This was not among my must-do parks, but not only was I driving through the area but I have a couple local friends there, one of whom hasn't had a chance to get to an amusement park in many years, so I arranged to meet up with them and head for the park.  Neither really wanted to spend a full day at a park, but I was generally fine with that; I could hit the important stuff here and then rest up a bit since SDC had been so tiring, and I still had most of a week of walking left.

    There was at least one thing I was looking forward to there, though not one of the coasters at all.  When I was much younger, in my high school junior year, my school took us to Six Flags Great Adventure, where I really wanted to get on their giant Evolution.  Of course, I walked up to the ride, took one look at it, and decided that maaaaaybe I'd try it later on after I worked up some nerve.  Unfortunately, when I came back later, the ride was broken down for the day...as, apparently, was frequently the case.  Two years later I returned to the park, and...it was down all day again.  Shortly after that it was removed from the park, but was moved to Six Flags St Louis and renamed Excalibur, where it's now the only Bussink giant Evolution running anywhere in the world.  I'd chased it halfway across the country and now I really wanted to finally get on it.

    Of course there was a lot of park between the gates and that ride.

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    The entrance area is cute enough; pretty typical Six Flags but not bad!

     

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    It quickly starts to look...a bit more early 2000s Six Flags again though.

     

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    ...alright, not ever Six Flags is doing great with the landscaping, I guess.

    We skipped past American Thunder and the flume since everyone else was heading that way, and planned to start right at the back, but turned the corner to find Justice League open with absolutely no one in the queue.

     

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    ...which...was good because the queue was not a particularly attractive place to hang out in the direct sunlight.

     

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    A little nicer indoors, but still empty.

     

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    Six Flags actually made some effort with theming on Justice League.  Disney it's not, but not bad!

    The ride itself is definitely a budget version of some of the bigger interactive dark rides; the vast majority of the action takes place on screens with only limited physical sets, and only the screens are interactive.  Two of the guns in our car didn't seem to work either.  Still, it's worth a ride through, and it does make good use of the cars' movement.  Not Spider-Man or even DarKastle (RIP) but amusing, especially with no wait.

    Heading out of that ride left me with a towering blue spire right in front of me.  Well, I wasn't missing this one!

     

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    Both of my friends were...not up to starting out with that kind of coaster, but there was nearly no line, so I let them find some shade while I headed over to Mr Freeze.

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    Six Flags really could do something with the central area here and make the ride look a bit more attractive though.

     

    IMG_20210803_104951.thumb.jpg.88dd8582864110c1e6c7045fc967c2f2.jpg

    ...and...they could do a LOT with the area closer to the station building.  Noooot the chain's best effort here.

     

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    Inside, though, the station looks pretty good.  It's a pretty nice setup two, with two loading areas to load and unload one train while the other is carried to the center on a transfer track and launched...backwards...out to the spire.  It rides pretty much like the other older Premier launch coasters I've been on, Flight of Fear, Poltergeist etc, which is to say it's not the smoothest ride out there, but not too unbearable.  The launch, especially backwards, is pretty intense.  After that you've got a reasonably tall top hat, a fast overbanked turn, and then a climb up the spire before doing it all backwards.  Er, front-wards.  It could be a better ride with some attention to theming instead of just plopping it in a messy field, but still a fun coaster.  There was absolutely no one in the station except waiting for the front row when my train returned, so I got another ride out of it, and could have stayed for more but felt a bit bad leaving my friends, so headed back to meet them, so we could finish heading to the back of the park.

     

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    About the greenest part of the park...

     

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    REALLY?  Halfway across the country, and for the third time...  I was not thrilled...but not particularly surprised either.

     

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    Didn't see much need to prioritize this after just riding Spinning Dragons the other day.

     

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    Supergirl...great ride, still not as good as a classic Enterprise.

    One of my friends said they were at least up to doing a classic wood coaster, so we both looked up at the treeline behind Supergirl and I tried not to cringe.  I'd heard enough about the Boss...  I was nice enough to warn my friend, but...they were not dissuaded and I was going to want to get on it eventually anyway.

     

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    It...looks pretty good!  I love the layout.  The BANG THUNK BANG noises the train made tearing past were not promising though.

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    There used to be a helix back there.  It was apparently removed because it was too rough?  ...What about the rest of the coaster?

     

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    When the train comes back into the station, the op asks how the ride was, and everyone on it groans, you know what you're in for.

    The Boss was not the worst coaster I've ever ridden.  Hercules at Dorney still takes that spot, especially the last year before it was torn down.  The most painful that's still standing though?  Easily.  I really wish this wasn't the case; the coaster's size, speed, and layout really should make it a great one, but I barely remember what it actually did after the first drop; I was trying to brace myself to avoid major trauma, and trying to reassure my friend that no, coasters aren't usually like this.

    I'd love to know what The Boss is like when it's running well, if it ever runs well, but what a disaster.

    Needing something less likely to result in spinal fractures, and wanting to let my second friend who was not feeling up to major rides come along, we decided it was worth waiting a bit for the River King mine train.  For a family coaster, it's...fine.  It's not even in the same league as Thunderation, or any of the major Cedar Fair parks' mine trains, and it seems to spend more time on lift hills than actual track, but...it's fine.  That's about all I can say for it.

     

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    I remember seeing in Bert's report from a couple years ago that the carousel was in absolutely tragic shape.  Fortunately they seem to be doing something about that.  The carousel looks a little sad just sitting there without horses, but I'm not going to knock any points off the park for that if it was in such desperate need of restoration; at least they'd doing what they need to do.

     

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    No one was particularly inclined to do this "coaster" either.

     

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    And I didn't really need to go out of my way for another Boomerang...but Screamin' Eagle looked more tempting.

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    According to the park map, and the app, there was a shoot-the-chute ride here.  They might want to double check that, or consider some serious changes to their theft prevention strategies..

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    IMG_20210803_120922.thumb.jpg.b5921a77070829d04ccbbb4c5e58c9dd.jpg

    The artwork here is starting to look a bit sad.

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    Some pretty solid floater air on the first hill here.

    Screamin' Eagle was not bad, certainly better than The Boss.  Unfortunately it hit one serious pothole coming off of the second airtime hill, and I hit the seat just wrong and wrenched something in my back very painfully.  The rest of the ride was mostly spent trying in vain to keep any more pressure off my back, so I didn't get to enjoy it much.  I got off the coaster seriously concerned about my back for the rest of the trip.  Definitely time for something calmer for a bit to rest after that anyway, so I gathered my friends for a circuit about the park on the train.

     

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    It's a full size train, at least; somewhat more than I expected here.

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    River King from the back side.  Not exactly a monster of a coaster there.

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    I didn't think any bandits were going to be jumping the train from this one.

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    Scenic rusted shipping containers.  Really, Six Flags.

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    Yet Another Batman...Both of my friends were absolutely terrified of this one.  Yes, I know.

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    Hello GCI curves!  Now we're talking...maybe this park had something worthwhile after all.

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    Cute little switching engine...not sure what a small park railroad really needs one for but still...

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    One more try for Excalibur, aaaand nope.  Still closed.  Ffffffff...

     

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    Apparently this is a show venue, in Better Days, but just background scenery now.

    It was well past lunch time, and we all decided on Chop Six, which was, of course, now at the opposite end of the park, but everyone was feeling like chinese food.

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    Well...everyone except the park.  Hungry as we were, we settled for burgers and bbq at Mooseburgers Lodge.

    This was a nightmare.  The staff in that restaurant had no idea what they were doing and wanted to be anywhere but there.  I tried to buy lunch for everyone, attempting to use my meal plan for myself and the 50% off from my membership for the other two lunches, but the woman at the register could not make this happen.  First it was one lunch at half off, then everything half off, then one free meal from the meal plan but the rest full price.  Eventually I gave in and paid full price for my friends' meals, because we were getting nowhere.

    At that point we were just sort of waved off to go wait with the horde of people also waiting for their meal.  No one was calling numbers; we were left to figure out on our own to bring our receipt up to the window to the kitchen area and ask the staff there for what we'd ordered.  That was when I figured out that the woman on the register had rung up the wrong meal for me, because the woman who checked my receipt decided the proper response was to scream at me that I'd ordered something different than I said I had.  She also would not hear it that they'd rung it up wrong, insisted I had ordered the wrong meal, and would not hear otherwise.  (The two meals were, also, exactly the same price...)

    I understand that, especially this year, park food staff is stressed, and I try to give them a lot of extra room, but this was the single most miserable person I have ever dealt with at an amusement park.

    We finally managed to get three pulled pork sandwiches...not what I'd ordered but food all the same...and asked for the bottles of water we'd ordered to go with them, at which point we were told the register girl was supposed to give them to us and we had to go back through that line.

    For what it's worth, the BBQ was not actually bad for Six Flags food.  I think it was more sauce than pork, but with how hungry we were, it tasted good.  Actually getting our hands on it was a ridiculous process though.

    By time we managed to deal with lunch, we all figured it was time for some water rides to cool down.  Six Flags St Louis has a pretty decent looking raft ride with huge twelve person rafts, and people getting off of it ranged from soaked to half-drowned.  We were up for that.

    The queue for the raft ride there also offers some good views of Mr Freeze from the back side.

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    We managed to get to share a raft with a guy who spent the entire time in line talking about how masks and vaccines are a hoax, there's no covid in florida, it's all just politics, etc etc, which was...quite a delight...

    The actual raft ride is fairly simple, just a big square loop, without much in the line of effects, waterfalls, etc, but the back stretch has a series of increasingly fast and rough rapids that, at least on our ride, the raft spun at a perfect speed to subject a new pair of seats to each one.  One of my friends and I were just barely spared by the first wave, which pretty well soaked the people next to us, but they just kept getting bigger, and of course heading into the last rapids, we were riiiiight there for it.  I've gotten wet on raft rides before; I have never had a wave come up over head height.  Absolute drenched...a good thing in the day's heat though!

     

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    Given how wet we already were, there wasn't much reason not to do the flume now.

    IMG_20210803_144020.thumb.jpg.ea14287e4947fe110740dd061e90168a.jpg'

    SFStL's flume is actually two different flumes, not mirrors of each other, but only one was running with the moderate crowds.  Neither flume is particularly big, but...I'm not sure there's a such thing as a bad flume?

    My friends had to find somewhere to sit again though, because I was not going to a park with a GCI and skipping it.

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    The line for American Thunder didn't look long, but it was absolutely crawling, and by time I was halfway through I was getting texts asking where I was.

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    Ah yes.  Crew of the week.  Two of the crew of the week were spending quite a bit of time in the station with their heads down looking barely conscious.  Again...I know staffing is hard at parks this year, but...operations were abysmal.

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    On one hand, American Thunder is by far the smoothest of the wood coasters at this park.  On the other...I don't think I've ever ridden a GCI coaster that crawled over the track like this.  It barely felt like it had the momentum to get over most of the hills.  I've read good things about this one in other reports, and it seemed like it should have been as good as I'd heard, if it just carried any speed...and looking up POVs on it, it definitely used to...but this year or at least when I was there, it just was not that coaster.  Maybe it's just desperately in need of maintenance right now, but this was the only time I'd ever been badly disappointed in a GCI coaster.  Unfortunately wrapping it in American Flags and putting up signs about how great the staff are do not replace actually taking care of the ride.  As is it makes a better metaphor than a coaster...

    I was running out of major coasters and the only one I'd really enjoyed so far had been Mr Freeze...but I still had Ninja, which I'd been warned about as well.  Still, it was a classic Arrow, I wasn't going to skip it.

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    Not the biggest of the old arrow multi element coasters, but I rather like the layout.  I was expecting a beating though.

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    An exciting (**TURBULENT**) ride.  Yeah...

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    Gotta say though, maybe it was just a low bar with how bad I expected it to be, and how much The Boss and Screamin' Eagle had beat me up, but I didn't think it was all that bad?  Certainly smoother than Vortex at KI had been (and I very much enjoyed Voxtex anyway).  Much to my surprise...this ended up being one of the two coasters there that I actually liked.  The half cobra roll into the helix felt pretty unique, especially on a coaster of Ninja's age.  Solid ride and I'm glad to see that despite everything else Six Flags seems to be generally taking care of it.

    After the long wait for American Thunder, I felt a bit bad about making my friends wait any more, so I decided to pass on Batman.  I'd been on plenty of those clones before and I'd get another chance at one later in the week...a somewhat more "special" one at that.  My back was extremely unhappy with me, too, so we decided to make it an early day so I could rest up and hopefully not be in pain for Holiday World the next day.

    IMG_20210803_161752.thumb.jpg.647c956cca0a138d536c7ad2ea60a1b0.jpg

    ...but not without a funnel cake sundae first.  Six Flags' funnel cakes are generally the best but one of my friends had never had one, so...

    Overall...there were a couple reasonably decent rides, but Six Flags St Louis definitely does not come across as the high point of the chain.  A lot of it feels badly neglected, many of the rides are in rough shape, and the staff was absolutely awful.  This was, fortunately, the low point of my week and the only park I was unhappy with for the most part.  If I do this trip again next year to bring others with me like I want to, I'll be skipping this one and doing the St Louis City Museum instead, I think

    Unless Excalibur is actually open, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

     

    IMG_20210803_173337.thumb.jpg.c32d5d4841168ad89d3dcc25a932d4b3.jpg

    Required photo of course.

    For anyone else coming out this way, I stayed overnight at the Baymont by Wyndham Evansville North/Haubstadt.  It felt like a much more expensive hotel than the $65 or so I paid for the night, was very clean and comfortable, and offered what looked like a quite decent breakfast (that I didn't stay for, because I was headed to Holiday World).

     

    • Like 1
  13. On 8/12/2021 at 12:21 PM, CP_RULES said:

    Great to hear the recent track work on Timber Wolf has made it rideable again. Much like the Boss, it is a really great ride when it is smooth.

    Yeaaah, about that one...getting to that shortly.

    On 8/12/2021 at 12:21 PM, CP_RULES said:

    Quite perplexed on your opinion of Prowler, but that seems to be the case for enthusiasts, we either think Prowler is amazing or just meh.

    Overall I am glad you enjoyed WoF, and as much as I crap on it, it IS a fun park to go to once or twice. The sad thing is, my trip reports from 10 years ago look mostly the same as this, so there's more like asteroids of fun to be had instead of worlds of it. Too much for me to read through the SDC part yet, but I keep it coming!

    Fair enough!  It's not a coaster I see in a lot of people's top fives or anything, but it definitely did just work for me.  It is sad, if understandable, that the park doesn't get any real investment, but it's definitely worth a trip every once in a while.

  14. Does anyone with a Six Flags Membership know how to actually get the discounted flash pass?  I have a diamond elite vip membership; the membership benefits sign-up page still lists discounts on flash pass for all membership levels.  Once I'm in the membership portal though there's no actual mention of it, and nowhere that I can find to make additional purchases.  I can buy through the app but it doesn't apply any sort of discount at all.

    Hoping there's a way to do it ahead of time without having to get to the park, since last weekend Great America had apparently sold out ahead of time; I don't know if that's going to be the case this coming weekend at Great Adventure but I'd rather not risk it.

  15. I just did a week long tour of 7 different parks on my own (apart from one that I met a couple local friends at).  It ended up being a great time, having the freedom to just do whatever I wanted at the parks and not have to worry about anyone else.

    Don't worry about what anyone else thinks; do you really think anyone is looking around to see who's with who else?  A lot of parks do single rider lines for a reason...it's not that uncommon.  Just go and have fun!

    • Like 2
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