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PTR: West Edmonton Mall - Galaxyland


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A couple of weeks ago I had to venture out to Calgary for work. I had the weekend off so I got a rental car and headed north to hit the West Edmonton Mall.

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I entered at one of the entrances near the Ice Rink, a ringette tournament was happening.

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More sights from Galaxyland.

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You are really close to the ceiling there. The ride spins non-stop from the first drop to the brakes.

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Taken from the line for the really cool Galaxy Orbiter.

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Taking action photos in dim indoor light was tricky.

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The West Edmonton Mall looks pretty cool! I know it is on my to do list, but you have the "out of the way" part right. I was trying to figure out a way to connect it with a possible NW tour involving Vancouver, Washington, Idaho and Oregon. The best bet I found was either to fly there and head down to Calgary for the Calaway Park credit, then hit West Edmonton, or the other option would be to drive from the Spokane, WA area up, which would be a good drive (6-8 hours I think).

 

I love your pictures of Mindbender, it looks crammed in there!

 

-Gary T.

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With the forum outage last night I didn't want to write a couple of paragraphs about the trip and have things go down as I submitted, so here goes...

 

Twenty years ago my parents had planned to take me out west and among the things we'd be doing was a trip to the West Edmonton Mall. Unfortunately that was near the time my parents split up and the trip never happened. Due to Edmonton being way off the beaten path I never did make it up there in the times I had been to Western Canada, however this was about to change.

 

I had to go to Calgary for work, for two weeks, the weekend I was free to do whatever I wanted to do. I rented a car with some fellow co-workers and headed due north. I had looked ahead to see that Galaxyland had a final three operating hours of the day reduced all you can ride fare, and that was my plan, do the mall until 3pm then the real fun would begin.

 

When we got to the mall we entered around the Ice Rink and noticed a ringette tournament or something of that nature happening. My group wandered the mall into some of the classier establishments like the head shop and the adult entertainment stores. We wandered further to see the gun shooting range, the Santa Maria and the lagoon that surrounds, we wandered further and saw the huge waterpark from the mall.

 

Further exploration landed us in the casino which had some slot machines looking out into Galaxyland. That there was my first glimpse of the Mindbender and that train seemed to be just flying through the layout. After the casino we broke up for lunch, I headed to a yummy Vietnamese place for some spicy Pho, and soon after lunch it was 3.

 

So we regroup and head to Fantasyland, I of course by my pass but the others in my group were reluctant and it ended up I was the only one to take some spins on the rides there. Due to just eating lunch I started off small and rode the Autosled. Glaxyland's kiddie coaster it's had since opening. For what it was it was alright, nothing too special. Next up was the Galaxy Orbiter, I was dubious about riding this not because it looked scary but because I was still really full and some of the cars seemed to be spinning a lot. I got on and rode with some small kids, we quickly made it up the lift hill and at the top the spinning started. The first drop was quick and then we were headed for some serious ceiling level spinning through the switchbacks. There was another drop, then the first block brake. After that there was a good sized drop and we spun around the Swing of the Century up a mini-lift looped around another helix and then headed up the third lift. This took us into the middle of the Mindbender and the triple helix finale. There was some serious spinning happening here folks. The ride was just ok up until the finale, but it's there that made the ride a winner, I liked how the cars spun for the entire course.

 

Well that experience was enough to prove to my stomach I was alright for the Mindbender. Not that I've ever gotten sick from a ride, but there only ever needs to be one first time and I didn't want that to be here. The wait was minimal with maybe 15 people in line. I lucked out because I was by myself and skipped ahead of the group. Once I was buckled in the train was off. The ascent was quick, and the drop quicker, it seemed more like a loop than anything. At one moment You were facing forwards heading up the lift and at the next moment the concrete floor beneath you. After that we traversed the mini-bunny hops to the first block brake that we flew right past and down towards the loops. I had a touch of greying out during the loops, it was my first time for that. Upon the post-loop ascent I banged my neck into the restraint pretty hard. Again with the block brakes they were barely on and the train flew though the course. The rest of the ride was ok with a few neck-jolts encountered. Now you might be thinking it's a rough ride, well yes and no. After riding an Arrow or Vekoma I know my tailbone can feel beat up, The Mindbender didn't do that to me.

 

I headed to the Space Shot next, it was ok, I think it would be better if they blackened the tower you shoot up into because doing what the ride does while staring at a wall isn't all that exciting. I took another spin on the Orbiter and again it was a blast. Looking at my watch I knew I had enough time for one more spin on the Mindbender. They close it twice during the day for maintenance and when I got in line it was just about to reopen. There was about 60 or so people in front of me and it was here I got to see how abysmal the ride operations were. I've seen two man ride ops at Holiday World work faster than what this group of three employees can do with a small 12-seat train. 60 People and a 25-30 minute wait later I was on for my second spin. My first trip I was in the orange train, this time around I was in the day-glo yellow train. My shoulder restraint was set lower this time too. I had an amazing ride overall, this train ran smoother than the orange one and with the lower restraint my head had nothing to hit in some of the rougher transitions I had experienced before.

 

After the ride the time was almost up, I watched a train or two go through the course and off I went to meet up with the rest of my group to head back to Calgary. One other thing it was weird walking outside at 5pm and being in total darkness.

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Is it just me, or does Galaxyland look ghetto? Maybe it is just me, but other indoor parks like Toverland, Adventure Dome, Nickelodeon Universe/Camp Snoopy, and even Kunckleheads are nicer than Galaxyland. I know the park is older than the four parks I mentioned, but the park is so crowed yet cavernous at the same time. The water park looks nice though, and the park might no look as bad as it does if it was built under a giant glass roof like the water park.

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Ghetto probably wasn't the correct word to describe my thoughts. It is just that major indoor parks that I've seen whether in person or through pictures have all looked to be pretty nice. Now, Knuckleheads isn't major, but it still kicks @$$ for what it is. It is just that Galaxyland just looks bad to me with the concrete and steel everywhere, and it just seems so cavernous for the most part.

 

Galaxyland looks like it has a lot of fun rides, but it is just that the setting of the park is bad in my opinion. The entrance looked nice, and it would be great for the park if it was themed as good as the entrance. However, I would still go to Galaxyland if I was in the area for Mindbender though.

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Ghetto probably wasn't the correct word to describe my thoughts. It is just that major indoor parks that I've seen whether in person or through pictures have all looked to be pretty nice. Now, Knuckleheads isn't major, but it still kicks @$$ for what it is. It is just that Galaxyland just looks bad to me with the concrete and steel everywhere, and it just seems so cavernous for the most part.

 

Galaxyland looks like it has a lot of fun rides, but it is just that the setting of the park is bad in my opinion. The entrance looked nice, and it would be great for the park if it was themed as good as the entrance. However, I would still go to Galaxyland if I was in the area for Mindbender though.

 

It may look like that, but it's really not. The entrance and kiddier areas of Galaxyland are all heavily space themed, and there's really not that much concrete. When you're actually in the park it's not ugly or remotely 'ghetto.' There's a lot of twisted steel from the 3 coasters in the more thrilling half of Galaxyland but it's still well themed and nothing looks bad. Pictures don't do it justice.

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I know that's you in the back, but did you happen to be riding with Don King?

 

To my best recollect it was two native kids and the one in front of me had a blonde mohawk.

 

Is it just me, or does Galaxyland look ghetto? Maybe it is just me, but other indoor parks like Toverland, Adventure Dome, Nickelodeon Universe/Camp Snoopy, and even Kunckleheads are nicer than Galaxyland. I know the park is older than the four parks I mentioned, but the park is so crowed yet cavernous at the same time.

 

I thought the park was clean, but it did seem dated even with the newer galaxy theming. To all the bright and airy pictures of Camp Snoopy/Nickelodeon Universe, Galaxyland seemed pretty dark and bunker-like. Also the Galaxy Orbiter and Mindbender stations seemed fair-like rather than what you'd find in an Amusement Park. Those were my initial impressions anyway.

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Nice PTR, I wanted to go there this winter. Would of done the whole skiing at Lake Louise, the waterpark and galaxyland. But the price of airfare out of Philly jumped through the roof. It is still in my plans to hit in the next couple of years. Thanks for the pics!

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