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Photo TR: Tom's North American Adventure!

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Hey folks!


Just over a week ago I got from my biggest trip to date with my good friend Ian, which was a huge tour across the United States. From Minneapolis to Martin's Fantasy Island, and Canada's Wonderland to the Colonel H. Sanders Museum, I covered a lot of ground. This is the story of where I went in 20 days of great friends, great parks, fast driving, fast food and poor bowel movements.


It was a really memorable trip, in no small part thanks to the amazing company along the way. So as always, thanks to everyone who took the time to put up with me!


Thanks to Ian for his photos too, my report would look lame without them.


Table of Contents:

Part 1a and 1b - Driving to Michigan, Michigan's Adventure.

Part 2 - Canada's Wonderland

Part 3a - Marineland

Part 3b - Niagara Falls, Martin's Fantasy Island and Anchor Bar

Part 4a - Darien Lake

Part 4b - Seabreeze

Part 4c - Waldameer

Part 5a - Idlewild Park

Part 5b - The drive back to Chicago, plus a bonus park!

Part 6 - Valleyfair & Mall of America

Part 7 - The Wisconsin Dells - Mt. Olympus, Riverview and Timber Falls

Part 8 - Six Flags Great America - A quick trip report

Part 9 - Indiana Beach

Part 10a - Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom

Part 10b - Beech Bend

Part 11 - Dollywood

Part 12 - Holiday World

Part 13 - Kings Island

Part 14- The White Castle Challenge!

Part 15 - Cedar Point, Kennywood, Geauga Lake


Part 1a - Driving to Grand Rapids, Michigan


The adventure begins at Manchester Airport at 10am. 40 mins before getting on the plane, I manage to lose my PASSPORT in the bar at the departure lounge. Luckily 39 minutes before I got on my flight I had found it again. I've made a bad habit out of losing things whenever I go on holiday, and I wasn't about to let that happen again. So I kept everything well within sight until I touched down in Chicago.


Thanks to being one of about 5 non-Americans on the flight, it took all of 2 minutes to get through Immigration, and then it was off to pick up my hire car. I grabbed the nicest looking Pontiac G6 going - heathed leather seats and all! Not really necessary with the temperature in the 90s though.


With my luggage in the boot (or trunk, whatever that is) it was time to drive to Grand Rapids for the night...


And the first of many Super 8s! Michigan's Adventure coming soon...


Sunset signals the end of the first leg of the trip.


There's the Grand Rapids sign, but how the bloody hell did I end up back in Europe?


Complete with two flavours of Dr. Pepper that I've never seen before!


Halfway along, and here's one of those classy Michigan rest areas!


Get back on the Italian Job already!


Don't worry, I didn't go on the "wrong" side of the road once!


Back on the Interstate, it was business as usual getting around the rush hour traffic. Stop-start, stop-start, etc etc.


When in the US...


Apart from the wacky food on the plane, I hadn't eaten much all day, so I went for a bite to eat at a service plaza.


That's the exit for Aurora, IL of Wayne's World fame. Excellent!


Isn't she a beaut! Goes like a rocket, but handles like a canal boat.

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Yeah, Michigan road stops.....are real classy.....NOT!


Michigan's so ghetto it couldn't save itself, Wait till' you see Detroit now that is freakin' ghetto. You probably most likely will not see Detroit, but if you do stop there that's where ghetto gets to it's prime.


Well, enough bashing of my state, stupid Kilpatrick effing up Detroit. I don't even know how he got re-elected as mayor.....OY!



Chris "Lovely MISH-EE-GAN!" Benvenuto

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Part 1b - Michigan's Adventure


Michigan's Adventure was the first park of the trip, and all those fears about the lack of shade and the mass of concrete came true! Apparently a lot of trees were cut back after one fell over onto a ride during a storm. This wouldn't be so bad if there other sheltered areas outdoors, but apart from umbrellas on the garden furniture outside the food outlets there wan't any! So nice going there Cedar Fair.


The park is also very lacklustre, with nothing special ridewise to make it stand out from the crowd. I'd describe it as "bland". Not a bad park to go, but not much there to spice it up a bit. And sometimes that's worse.


There were a few good points. The staff as a whole were very polite, Shivering Timbers was excellent, and made the park a little more worth the visit. They also have Swan Boats, which Alton Towers don't, and unlike Alton Towers they actually pay the license for some real music to get piped around the park.


But none of that is really much worth shouting about. I was done in just over 2 hours, and was on the way to Toronto for the next park of the trip. So here's how it went....


You know I could be arrested in America for this! See you at Canada's Wonderland, very soon...


And here's me with my friend Taylor!


The Bridge to Canada! Or a gateway to heaven, you decide.


On the way to Paul's house, I made a stopover with a friend in Windsor, Ontario, which meant passing through Detroit. And check that sign-unendo!


Several hills and a stupid trick-track later, and that was that!


Ejected? Sounds like fun! More fun than walking over miles of concrete anwyway.


So it was back to Timbers for one more ride before leaving. Unfortunately someone had threw up, and the train needed a clean.


Possibly the campest funnel slide in the world! At least it takes the glare off the concrete.


But the Dan in me came out, and he said "screw this!".


I thought about this one too.


Then I saw this and passed it up.


Grand Rapids, at Michigan's Adventure. Way to think outside the box for a name! I was really thinking about doing this...


Alton Towers, take note!


And how could we forget our "Sad and Pathetic" credit of the day?


They can't figure it out either!


Nice smooth ride, but I can't figure out why they need 9 cars on track when 6 of them are stacked at any one time,


Never done an Arrow mouse before. But apparently neither have the park.


Some of the high up views are brought to you by this ferris wheel.


But it's good for the whole family, which is what it should say. Certainly a lot better than the concrete!


By Michigan standards, this is a HIGH THRILL RIDE!


The junior woodie was much better than Wildcat!


Well I say that, but it had the longest line in the park! At a whopping 10 minutes.


Wow, I can hardly wait.


And I really wish someone would hit this. Preferably with a demolition ball. It wasn't very good.


After the bliss of Timbers, it was time to hit Wildcat.


But what the hell was the point in this? I get the same effect just leaning to the left or the right!


And the first drop? Well take a guess...


Double-up? Airtime!


All those hills? Airtime!


Even first thing in the morning, it was butter smooth, and there was some excellent airtime! Must have caught this on a good day.


No problems for me. I'm about as a wide as a sheet of paper. May I also point out there will be plenty more sad and pathetic shots like this throughout the PTR.


The seats are a problem if you're wider than a fridge, but they're rather comfy.


First ride, Shivering Timbers - through the glare!


One Maxx Pass later, and I'm ready to tackle Shivering Timbers, Wolverine Wildcat, Mad Mouse, and JAIL BAIT!


Apart from a few cars next to mine, this was the car park. Shouldn't take too long then!


Here we are! And the car park looks heaving already.

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I think CF's ride rating system is really bad. I wouldn't have been surprised if Zach's Zoomer was a 5 last year since at Dorney Wild Mouse and Thunderhawk were both 5's but changed to 4 this year. The log flume and bumper cars are also a 4 and the rapids are a 5. I think a 1 - 7 or 1 - 10 system would be better especially when most coasters are a 5.

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Great report so far, Tom. Michigan's Adventure really is a bit of a hole, but I have to admit that I always have had fun there - thanks to my friends who live in Michigan. And Timbers is pretty great .. very moody since Cedar Fair took over, but it sounds like you caught it on a good day.


Can't wait for the rest of the pictures!



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Hmm--it does look like Michigan's Adventure is Michigan's version of Dorney Park (although the latter looked a bit nicer).


Looking forward to seeing more, Tom.

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Excellent TR as always so far Tom!


I'm seriously considering doing a day at Michigan's Adventure after the Midwest trip. Still haven't decided if it'll be worth it. Then again I hear so many mixed reports about Shivering Timbers so maybe I should just go and decide for myself.


Looking forward to more!

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Nice report about MA, Always wanted to go on Shivering Timbers since it was built. Thorpe Park should have something like this or a bit smaller.


If it's a coaster I ride it, If the ride is rough i don't knock it and put the ride down.


That "trick track" section on Shivering Timbers is just a bit of fun, it was created in the early 20's / 30's, nice to see the designers adding this small effect to the ride.


Most of the Ops in the USA are polite, it's in their nature and they love our accent. You def won't get any sound from English Ops, they have their "hoods" up or a type of "Chav".




Next USA trip I want to do is: Windy City, CP, CPL (if open), KI, SFGL, SGGA, Timber Falls, Michigan's Adventure, Mt O to ride "Hades", Green Bay and http://www.wisferry.com

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Glad you enjoyed ST, I've always liked that coaster. You should have went and checked out the wavepools at the far end of the waterpark, though. They are the most insane swells I've ever experienced at a waterpark. The wavepool is rated a 5, but it deserves it. The undertow alone was too much for my fiance, who only ways around 90 lbs, and was pulled under! Excellent Trip so far, and can't wait for more.


-James Dillaman

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Part 2 - (Paramount) Canada's Wonderland


I'm not quite sure where to start with trip report, but I think I'll start by saying how awesome the compnay was. I had met up with Paul the night before, and today we both met up with Nikki And Jer for the first time, and you three really made the day for me. So thank you again for taking the time out to come along.


Canada's Wonderland is one of those parks which doesn't really have a flagship attraction. In fact the most standout landmark of the park is the rather pretty entrance plaza, complete with plastic mountain and working waterfall.


There's a lot of roller coasters here, 13 altogether. I was a bit worried about getting them all done, as the park was closing early for Grad Night that evening. But as it turned out we had no trouble getting everything done, even with the odd breakdown here and there.


On a previous visit, Dave (Meteornotes to those of you who don't know him personally) had called this place "The biggest collection of 'only one ride required' coasters". And he was quite right. It's a very varied line-up, but there's nothing which would break a top list here. Unless of course this is the only park you've ever been to.


It's a bit sad to see some of the Paramount stuff being removed from the decor now that Kinzel's paving slab empire has got their hands on the park. But there's plenty of trees to shade under if the weather gets warm, and with high humidity and temperatures around 30 Celsius (that's about 90-something Fahrenheit for anyone) quoted by all the weather forecasts it proved essential. I really hope they do manage to keep this park looking good, because the greenery is one of the best things about it.


Anyway, onto the first half of pictures...


I think this what's called a ego trip.


Nothing runs like a Deere. And nothing bruises like an Arrow!


They should have called it John Deere - The Ride.


It's the mystical, magical, difficult to photograph, Dragon Fire!


Still feel like I'm being watched.


Here's some left right action that won't make your ears bleed!


Keeping with the Mack theme, the wild mouse was just accross the way from the plastic fantastic mountain.


Marineland can only dream of having a mountain that looks this good. ;:)


Even Mack pseudo-credits are more fun than queuing for the Bat.


It's the leaning tower of Canada's Wonderland!


Drop towers are also much more fun than queuing for Boomerangs.


Here's a few things you can do while waiting for the line to go down. Ride Wild Beast, which was runnign really well with a few good pops of airtime.


It's the Bat at Canada's Wonderland! We'll be back when the line gets quieter.


...a cobra roll, a loop (not pictured, sorry Derek) and a 45 minute line?


What has two lifts...


There are more trees on this path than in the whole of Michigan's Adventure. Fact.


From Skyrider's queue you can see the lift of Minebuster. The rest of the ride is hidden by the waterpark.


I can't help but feel that someone is watching me...


But this one didn't derail on me, and I popped my Togo stand-up cherry, and a few internal organs to boot.


Jer didn't tell me until after, but that was an axle he set eyes upon just outside the line.


I still say they got the cars in the wrong order, and it should be set around Turin.


Here's a photo of Italian Job. And as far as I'm aware, no-one's ever got this angle before. Ever!


These girls just don't know what they're in for.


But if they wanted to create a Pain 101 coaster, they sure succeeded!


I can't imagine what Zamperla were thinking when they came up with this ride.


You didn't really think we'd start the day with a good ride, did you?


I heard that Marineland went green with envy when they found out this park had a waterfall.


Nikki was really shy today, now I wonder why that is?


I guess they don't get many passes from Michigan's Adventure, because mine didn't work at the turnstile.


Paul looks pretty excited!


Are you excited yet?

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I guess they don't get many passes from Michigan's Adventure, because mine didn't work at the turnstile.


Blame Cedar Fair. Seems the ex-Paramount passes scan just fine at all the ex-Paramount parks.


But the CF parks are a few steps behind.


That was a really fun couple of days. You even managed to get a few photos of the paparazzi themselves.

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Part 2!


Says it all really. So go there while you can, before Cedar Fair totally ruin it!


The worst kids area in world! Two rides an a lot of concrete.


Well I would if you were open!


Cedar Fair's identikit food joint comes to town. A sign of things to come? I sure hope not.


Coke's last stand.


"Someday, I dream of having a cool walky talky PA system. For now, I'm just stand and look bored."


Vortex through the supports.


We got another ride in on Vortex before we left.


Short line? Much better. And here's my entry for the lamest coaster to reach a big number on. This was my 300th.




And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...


Silver Streak broke on us earlier, but we came back to get the credit, at the price of 2 sore ears each.


But after riding it, I think I can see why only one ever got made.


More scary flat rides! I always thought Sledge Hammer looked pretty sweet.




Hmm...wonder what the gyro-swing's called?


Tom taking picture of Nikki taking picture of tom taking picture of Nikki taking picture of (repeat until out of breath).


AHA! So that's why she's been so quiet all day!


Check out this sideloop. You like that?


In case you are knocked unconscious during Top Gun, the on-ride video of your ride will help you see what you missed.


It's also really rough. Of the worst SLCs I've ever done.


Top Gun is right next to Tomb Raider in the "DVD Bargain Bin" area of the park.


But first, some 90 DEGREES in the brakes action!


By this point, I was getting really paranoid about who was following me. I had to find out sooner or later.


Here's the back half of the layout.


My, what a big turn you've got!


If Kleenex are reading this, re-direct all your supplies to Target superstores around Santa Clarita, now!


This is the sort of thing Jahan has wet dreams over.


You can't really go wrong with an Arrow suspended. Unless you're called Iron Dragon.

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