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Photo TR: Castles n Coasters n Mini Golf!

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So while Garbles and I were in Phoenix we decided to stop by Castles and Coasters, afterall it's the state's only Amusement Park. And apparently we weren't the only ones with that idea.


Driving in we saw a busy atmosphere with vibrant colors and a multitude of people milling around. Parking in the overflow provide an opportunity to get in some cardio, which we both need, desperately.


The fact that we eat too much Texas BBQ aside, we met up with Billy who has been with the park for 10 years and has pretty much done about every job there. The park is under the management of the owners' daughter who took over from a less than stellar management team. And what a difference it's made. We found the park clean and well maintained, great systems in place for F&B, and operations that certain large amusement chains should be jealous of.


The Desert Storm was surprisingly smooth and delivered some unexpected G's, really good ride. Patriot, the Roller Skater knock off, somehow picks up all it's speed at the end of ride which again was kinda unexpected. And while most of you will be the ones to go in, credit whore, and leave, the park also offers a himalaya(any park with a himalaya gets my stamp of approval) an ARM Tower (also a no brainer) bumper cars/boats, a well themed log flume and three nice mini golf courses on top of a ropes course and zipline. Inside you'll find all the latest arcade and redemption games. So plan to stay more than 20 minutes, ok?


Have a look around and when you find yourself in Phoenix make it a point to stop by, ride a coaster or two and play some mini golf, you'll have a nice stress free time.



Saturday afternoon and the place is hopping.


So, the top of the Larson ARM tower matches the top of the food and party building. Coincidence?


Ah yes, a classic Hopkins coaster, with not one, but TWO loopy loops


Up Up and Away


NO! Don't hit the light!


Many parks these days don't provide you with a ton of photo ops, but here this is not the case.


You can pretty much shoot the entire ride from anywhere in the park.


Seriously, this loop was pretty awesome.


There's even a bit of theming during the ride, ok, maybe just a building next too it, but still it looks cool as you're passing by.


Time to grab credit #2


I still don't understand this lift hill but it works so that's all that matters. Some funky drawings on the way up to keep you entertained.


Ah, there's some of the artwork.


Check out the hood scoop. Fun fact, it was put in to mount cameras inside, but its closed off now so I figured why not show it off.


It's about here that the ride picks up a ton of speed. Not bad at all and well people seemed to like at as they had a 3-4 train wait to ride.


Very few amusement parks do this and i'm pretty sure SF and CF do not. Place your order and window 1.


Pick any food items up and window 2. Line flows smooth, service is fast, food isn't expensive. The major chains should really take note.


Love. Although it's not a hydraulic model, its still fun.


My artsy side.


Just once i'd like to see one of these go full circle.


Sometimes in life there are things you cannot unsee. And since I can't unsee, you get to see :)


Oh hi there


I really do like the attention to detail in the flume ride.


Mr. Elephant says you will get wet. It's a water ride.


Every park has one.


Zooming right along.


Seriously, the maintenance team here deserves to be recognized.


Makeout tunnel.


Garbles loves the Hopkins almost as much as he loves planes.


So the park opened in 1977 with the bumper boats and mini golf.


And then these came along.


No exactly sure what's going on here....


So yeah, mini golf fans will love this place


Three courses, all very nice.


You can even semi fly over them.


Or if you like, get more athletic.


So with that, time to wake up Garbles and head back to the Big D.


Seriously, when you are in town stop by, its a fun place and the people were all very friendly. Great way to kill an afternoon or evening.


Comment away!

Edited by chadster
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Thanks for posting. Planning to visit a friend in Phoenix next month, and this was on my list of things to do that weekend. Looks like a fun little partial day park. Glad to hear the coasters ride relatively smooth...I wasn't sure what to expect from a Hopkins coaster since there aren't many of them.

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I did not know of your forbidden Himalaya love.


I have a severe weakness for the original Reverchon Himalayas. While the newer, not as well made ones are still fun, I'm a sucker for the classic. Only one of them touring the US festival circuit owned by Wade Shows. Very few of them exist in US parks nowadays.

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Being a local in Phoenix, I wouldn't exactly say that Desert Storm is smooth...the lap bars do help a little bit and the front seat is tolerable. I had smoother rides on Viper at SFMM in early October than most of my rides on Desert Storm anywhere but the front row over the years. Maybe you caught it on a good day or something.


Plan to be there two to three hours at the most, it can be fun, but don't expect much. Drop tower is better than Lex Luthor though, those Moser(pretty sure Skydiver is)/ARM style towers are no joke.

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Nice trip report! I knew about Desert Storm, but very little about the park. Looks like quite a nice place to spend a few hours.


I was very much so surprised by the park. It was very clean, vibrant, and good theming everywhere. I also like the Hopkins loopers because they are so funky - and this one was no exception. It felt smooth, the loops were very forceful and I liked the funky banking/turning aspect of the second one. I would definitely go back if I was in the area!


Funny you should say that, after looking at the video and seeing the trackshaping and transitions, smooth is not the first word I'm thinking of. But I guess looks can be deceiving some times...

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Glad to see that the park is doing well. As a local, the park had some years that were not quite good. Management and the clientele were not that great. I'd be pressed to say it made SFMM look nearly pristine in comparison. But to see actual lines at the park is very good news! Looks like the new management is doing a very good job. Hope to see more from the only place nearby to get a decent coaster fix.

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I live in Phoenix and drive by Castles & Coasters every day. I always feel like I'm going to fall out when I ride Desert Storm! It's like the lap bar doesn't click down enough or something.


I do agree they've done a fantastic job maintaining the park. I've been going there since the early 80's when it was Golf & Stuff. I don't think the bumper boats were there in the 80's, just goofy golf and the arcade(s). (There used to be 2 arcades). The place is very sentimental to those who grew up in the area!


Great review and pics.

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Great photo TR guys!! Nice to see that my old home park is looking great and always seeking to improve. The best ride in the park is definitely the ARM drop tower, and Desert Storm isn't bad, it's a fun ride to get a quick coaster fix. The arcade is definitely worth checking out, has some really fun retro games and offers great shelter to the summer heat.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello all! Just thought I would share a few photos from my somewhat recent first trip to Castles N Coasters. Overall,as the OP posted, it was a nice little park as long as you know not to expect a huge deal. Arrived in the early afternoon and the park was closed for a private event until 1:00. Luckily, we arrived around 12:30 so didn't really have to wait long. Desert Storm, their "major coaster" was a walk on each time I rode it. It was surprising that this was consistently the shortest line in the park. Not surprising was that the log ride was consistently the longest, but even at that it was only about a 15 minute wait max. I imagine during the hot Phoenix summer this can be a pretty gnarly line.


I was pleasantly surprised that their family coaster "Patriot" had quite a bit of speed...definitely a fun addition. Couple of decent coasters, some fun flats, and a nice clean park. My only complaint (if you would even call it that) would be that several of the ride opps seemed that they were hating their lives. Not quite sure how this is...if I were a teenager operating a ride, I would be thrilled! But maybe that's just me.


On to the pics...



The moose out front should have told you...


And now we enter.


Desert Storm...surprisingly smooth(ish)


Not quite sure why I took a pic of the sign, and not the ride.


Time to cool off.





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