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Chadster's Vacation Adventures: Final Edition!

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Thanks all, glad you liked the photos and video! Coming up this week, credit whoring Missouri, and WoF opening weekend! Video coming with the WoF report and some Planet Snoopy pictures (well mainly construction pictures) Stay tuned for mid-week!

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I highly approve of the music in your video.


Wonderland looks like it has a charming, old-fashioned vibe and a great collection of classic rides! They also have some unusual coasters. I'm fond of Miler mice and Hopkins loopers (yes, really), so I'm looking forward to visiting!

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Even with the excellent trip report, I believe the park is still under appreciated.


Despite having traveled cross country, the Texas Tornado is still one of my favorite steel coasters. It's right up there with the coasters from the big chains. After the first drop, the ride levels off into a flat straight-away with a slight left curve to it. And then the first loop.

Past the loop is quirky feature that resembles a double-up. Next the coaster takes a steep dive to the left, swooshing under the Flume shoot. As quickly as it drops, it rises again in the same fashion. And then dives right down to the ground to enter the second loop. After inching through the loop, it thunders underground through the tunnel. The ride ends after a smooth hill with low hanging branches. Well, actually, the ride ends with the manual brake lever. With the rides quirky elements, the ride is more a hybrid of a steel looper and a mine train. The coaster is well paced, a great ride from the beginning to the end. With the tunnel at the end, the ride has a what I call "dessert" at the ending. A feature that a vast majority don't have and come back to the station rather anti-climatic. And the coaster has interesting story itself being designed on a bar room napkin, and OD Hopkins keeping the ride budget under a million.


For the technically inclined, Wonderland was a showcase of OD Hopkins rides. Along with the Texas Tornado, the Log Ride, Shoot the Chute, and the Rattlesnake River were all products of OD Hopkins. As for water rides, the unusual Thunder Jet Racers was the prototype for now world famous Master Blaster slides. This prototype was built-in house by Schlitterbahn (NBGS) to test the uphill blaster technology.


And, they have a great and challenging retro mini-golf course.

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Well there comes a point in every man's life that he needs to step out on a limb and try new things, explore his identity, and become a whore perhaps. That's just what I did this past weekend, visiting two parks for the sole purpose of whoring out two quality coasters.


The first coaster would be the Python Pit @ Zonkers in Olate, Kansas (4/16/11). I have to say, I felt like a creep walking into a 5 year olds paradise, but after talking with employees, I felt less so as apparently many many TPR folks have also sacked the Python.


Zonker's is located inside the Great Mall of the Great Plains, and to be fully truthful, I'm surprised this mall is still open. Having read on the internet a few years back that this mall was home to several "outlet" stores, I stopped in. It had about a 50% occupancy rate at the time(being generous) and mostly one off stores. I passed up Zonkers not knowing what it was, or what was in it. On this trip, I'd say they have a 20% occupancy rate. So, if I were you, I'd get the credit now, so you can get a relocate credit later


This credit was not worthy of bringing in my good camera, it was only worthy of a point and shoot.


Welcome to the Great Deserted Mall of the Great Plains, let's tackle a Python


Here's part of the intense course.


There's a Python slithering by back there somewhere.




And that's that. Time to get the hell out of there, if I only I could remember where I parked...so many cars, so many parking spaces. Who am I kidding, only about 20 cars in the lot. Next up, Rte 66 Carousel Park.

Edited by chadster
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So, the following day (4/17/11) I made my way to Joplin, Missouri, home of Rte 66 Carousel Park, and home to two coasters. If you've ever been to Branson or Orlando, then this style of park would not be strange to you. It offers bumper boats, go carts, mini golf, batting cages, and a few old school amusement rides. $22 will get you an all inclusive ride pass, or take a spin or tow for $2 per ride on the amusements.


This is truly a family owned and run park and almost 100% supported by the locals. It's a nice place for the teeny boppers to go for date night or kill time. For coasters whore's, it's a great place to get a cheap credit, or two.


Welcome, park in the rear please.


Since we are whoring, let's get down to business. I paid $2 for the ride ticket and headed for the entrance. To my surprise, four adults were marathoning this beauty.


Tiger Terror!!!! Looks scarey.


Here is part of the oval course.


and here is the other part of the course in action. So yeah, there it is, three or fours spins (that's how many times you go round, not how many times I rode it) and out we go. But first, let's take a look at a few of the other rides.


OH MY NECK!!!! (down on the ground, flopping like a fish)


swing set.


another swinging thing


These seemed to be the most popular attraction at the park. Tiger was second. The ship got no love.


Height restricted to 54", so no go for me.


Oh yeah, they couldn't call it carousel park with out one of these!


So yeah, there you are. Thank You Rte66 for allowing me to be a whore for the weekend!

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Chad, I'm enjoying this sordid show. Please keep debasing yourself for our entertainment.


Wonderland looks worth a stop, even for a prude. I can't think of any reason that would take me to or through Amarillo, so thanks for the great video look at a set of classic flats. Himalayas are cool.

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So this past weekend(4/16-4/17/2011) I took my annual trek to opening weekend at Worlds of Fun in the BBQ city of the midwest, Kansas City, MO. I have been waiting since October to ride PROWLER! and could hardly wait to get to the park. This year I attended Saturday evening which is an add-on for me as I normally only go on Sunday to take advantage of the lighter crowds. The park was packed on Saturday and several of the rides were closed with Prowler being cranky and shut down the last several hours of the night, so no ride for me until Sunday!!!


The park took a beating over the off-season due to the hellish winter storm that I too experienced. The walkways in areas are crumbling due to all of the moisture under the asphalt and I noticed some plants and shrubbery that had been pulled. Construction on several projects appeared to have been put on the bus to delay town due to the winter weather as well including Planet Snoopy, the GL Carousel, and the new Festhaus. Snoopy was operating only a handful of rides, most of which didn't get moved or touched in the off-season as part of the Snoopy build.


Prowler only had one train, the tubs for the red train were covered up in the transfer area, the chassis however, was MIA. Prowler was also screaming like a school girl (metal on metal for those that didn't translate) on the turn around and S curve. While one would think it just needed some lube, after riding several times in the front, it was clear she was lubed well. Lots of wood replaced on the structure on the turn around, didn't notice any actual track bed that had been replaced, so I have to think the winter was not kind to Prowler either, but, she's just as smooth as when she opened. The screeching and subsequent metal smell helped to scrub off speed on the S curve which was disappointing. I have high hopes they will get that all sorted soon enough as their maintenance staff does a swell job.


Timberwolf was also a one train wonder as per normal on opening weekend, maintenance appeared to be giving it it's annual once over. Thunderhawk (see pictures) was also getting some much needed attention, and was, well, missing a key component to it's operation, the gondola.


Talking with some of the supervisors who have been at the park for a while, I learned a good number of last year's staff moved on to college and other ventures so they were in a learning period, but in general, were picking things up well. While there is bound to be some confusion on policies, procedures and whatnot, the crews were doing well, especially on Patriot. Hardly ever was a train stacked, so kudos to them.


Oh and all the rides appear to have all gotten shinney new orange seatbelts (where applicable), so you will be safe and sound while riding


Despite some disappointments with rides down, you can't fault the park. They've done a helluva job trying to recover from the winter storm, and they took on several large projects in a short period of time. Anyway, I look forward to returning next month to see the GL carousel in place, Snoopy up and running, and Festhaus finished off. Now on to the pics and vid!



Welcome to Worlds of Fun, please note the rules. A few them, I don't totally agree with, such as the need for hot females to cover up bathing suits.


Let's start off with a little construction underway.


Festhaus is coming along nicely


This is going to be a nice addition, certianly better than the tent and looks to be able to accomodate a lot of people.


This is where the classic carousel will go.


It looks like they are getting really close to bringing in the ride.


So yeah, there's that. Moving on, how about more construction with Planet Snoopy.


On the way to check out PS, I spotted this guy holding his average sized monkey.


Yup, the logs are still flowing.


Nice fancy new sign, it lights up at night even.


They didn't do much over to the right. I got to whack the worm (took some convincing). The train and kiddie spin and puke are still over there too.


Some landscaping is in


Some is not.


Most of the rides are in and put together. A few still need some work, but for the most part they are in.



This is looking far left from entry back towards the outdoor theatre


The ballons still need their top


And the monorail type ride still needs, well, a ride station and other components. This going to be a great and much needed addition to the park. Looking Goooood!


Up up and away!


So the operating rides are all in my video, the pics focus on stuff that's down or under construction this update, so next up. Thunderhawk, but, what the? it's missing!!!


it's not over here.


Or here. hmmm. It was cranky alot last year, was closed on each of my visits :( I actually like this ride and look forward to it.


Random parts. So, it looks like they are doing a major rehab on it, mucho needed. Hopefully it will be in tip top shape. I can only imagine the stress the ride has on the structure and components.


Ahhh, there it is!! all covered up. On of the spinny brakey things was still not attached so one can assume it's getting some TLC. Hopefully it's back up and running soon!


So taking a stroll around the park I find they still have hairy bananas and new for this year, hairy monkeys


The flying sprem is also still there.


Thanks Worlds of Fun, enjoyed my visit! No, really depsite boomerang being down, I really enjoyed my visit! See you soon!!!

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I arrived at Sandy Lake Park in Carrollton, Tx on April 23, 2011 around lunch time fully expecting to complete a credit run and depart within 20 minutes. What I found was much more than just a simple credit run. I found a park full of history, lush landscapes, well-kept amusements, and a family atmosphere operated daily by the six park owners, family, and friends. Situated just off the George Bush Turnpike outside Dallas on Sandy Lake Road, this park is extremely easy to get to and will only cost you a $2 per person gate admission taken when you drive in. Today I will take you thru a brief history of the park as told to me by park manager David and his father, one of the six owners, Frank Rush III, mixed with information contained in a book on the history of the park provided and written by Mr. Rush.


While the park existed prior to its purchase by the Rush family, it wasn’t until they leased (and a few years later purchased) the land in 1971, that the park begin to take its shape to become what it is today. The park came with the pool, which has since been modified to a shallower depth, the mini golf course, a few picnic tables and over 100 acres. Upon my arrival I headed to the ticket booth and had a nice conversation with the lady selling tickets that noticed my TPR shirt and directed me to David. I honestly had no intention of talking with any of the park owners, but I am extremely thankful I had the opportunity to do so.


David takes care of the amusements and park operations. He expressed to me that they had found their niche and are quite happy with it. Over the years they have rotated a few rides out and in, and, replaced a few. The park used to own a Trabant, but later sent it packing. They said they have found over the years that rides that involve user interaction tend to have more maintenance issues so they have elected to stay away from those. David also expressed that he was considering adding a few new attractions and was hopeful of the possibility of installed a spinning mouse one day. The park, he said, is very profitable and they host large corporate picnics throughout the year. After a nice conversation he had told me that he had visited TPR a time or two but doesn’t really have time to travel to other parks as during the operating season he’s dedication is to the daily operation of the park. I told him the site itself was owned by Robb and that many of us travel around and write stories (trip reports) of our experiences. He then asked if I’d be interested in a book that his father wrote, more for family history, but it details the history of the park. Without hesitation I accepted. He phoned his father and told me enjoy the park and that they would find me later on.


I was able to ride my first powered coaster, the Dragon Wagon. The Dragon Wagon has a history of itself according to the book. Frank’s father was voted down on the purchase of the ride, which he bought anyway. Placement was an issue, but in the end it was placed in the parking lot where it remains. It was cramped, but I was a trooper, crossed my legs, and enjoyed my first powered coaster.


Next up was the little dipper, a classic as well. Don’t let the size of this ride fool you, it packs a punch over the camel humps. The train was also nice and roomy compared to the dragon wagon.

The park has all of the classics, a newer paratrooper, tilt-a-whirl, spider, rock-o-planes, and pony rides for the kids. What amusement park can you think of that offers pony rides? I can’t think of any that still do that.


The lady at the ticket booth recommended I try out the Pretzel. This is where I met Jeff, who has operated the ride for over 15 years. The Pretzel is a dark ride that came from, guess where, Bell’s Amusement Park. The park purchased the ride about 1983. Frank tells me the ride was on trailers and took him a year to refurbish and repair as it was in bad shape. For all you dark ride enthusiasts this is a must, and Jeff will entertain you with his stories, but watch out, he has a collection of scary masks that we will use on you when exiting the ride. That just adds to the fun.


Frank tells me they do all of their own catering and touts their picnics and catering as using a higher standard than the chains. They recently closed the park to the public for Southwest Airlines where they held their annual company picnic for 5200 people. Yes, 5200 people. I’m told they are one of their top customers and they do whatever it takes to keep them happy. You can rent out their picnic pavilions for private parties, smaller parties can bring their own food or cook out on property, and they will even rent you a grill displayed at the front gate. Once you rent the pavilion, it’s yours the entire day, not for the duration of the lunch. A master BBQ chef prepares their meats which I am told are some of the best in Texas.


Of other note, Funfest, which started over 25 years ago, is starting this week over a 45 day period. Frank said this year they expect over 1400 school bands from across the region competing and judged by industry professionals. These bands will not only receive trophies in their respective categories, but will also receive a written critique from the judges.


Frank autographed his book and asked that I pass it around to those in the TPR family who wish to read it. I will have it on the NE trip, however, it’s already been reserved for at least a portion of the trip. Anyone else who wants to see it can do so as well. Just check page 1 of this thread for a listing of the parks I will be at next.


So to conclude, and before the few pictures I took of this wonderful family park, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The staff and owners make you feel like family. Jeff tells me one family drives from Arkansas each year just to visit the park and this year they had a new addition to their family as he pointed to them walking around. This is a park that you can come, relax, play, not feel pressured, and enjoy an afternoon. But don’t expect to come to the park in the evening, it won’t be open. They elected many years ago not to stay open in the evening as they felt it would attract the riffraff, and so far, so good. Next time you are in town, perhaps to ride the Texas Giant, don’t forget about Sandy Lake, take advantage of the mini golf, and perhaps the pool in season, and enjoy a stress free, nickel and dime free day.


EDIT: A link to the book can be found here


Here is Sandy Lake's train. If I recall correctly, they have purchased 6 of these trains over the years, the first train they purchased was underwater after Katrina. I'm told it's since been cleaned up.


Rock o Plane


how about some bumpity bump bump cars



Dragon Wagon. I'm told at one point they ran this backwards. Insurance and attorney's dictated otherwise many years later.




The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the, oh wait...





i thought this kiddie ride was cool, looked to be made of wood, but idk


Fake horses


Real Shetland Pony Horses


See, told you so.



Time to ride the big boy coaster.


Lift hill






They have lots of room, picnic pavillions, and basically everything you would want in a park.


And finally, we come to the pretzel.


Take a spin, ghosts live in there, just ask Jeff.


So that's it from Sand Lake, thanks to David and Frank for their time. I enjoyed my visit and have certianly identified a park that several members of my family will be taking their kids, cousins, and nieces, and nephews!

Edited by chadster
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Sandy Lake was and still is the park if your company needs a place for a summer bbq, which btw is some of the best in the area. My moms company used to have them there yearly, so Im quite intimate w/ that pool and The Pretzel!! Thanks man for doing a quick TR on a place I used to spend so much of my childhood at!!

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I love Sandy Lake Park! It's incredibly charming!


Jeff will entertain you with his stories, but watch out, he has a collection of scary masks that we will use on you when exiting the ride.

This is very true!

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