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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Kemah Boardwalk- Boardwalk Bullet is running like a dream

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Thanks! I was skeptical it would run better with the 5 car Frankentrain, but it shockingly was.

 

Flash Pass really is a no brainier at that park even on light days simply because of how cheap it is ($12-13 USD). But based on what I've seen online, it's usually pretty busy.

 

Mexico City definitely is worth a long weekend. La Feria also has some rides worth checking out, but as you'll discover in my next update, their operations will make you rip out all your hair.

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Kemah Boardwalk I was trying to figure out how to cram Kemah Boardwalk into my December Texas trip figuring it would be on weekend only operations.  But much to my surprise, it was actually open

Sesame Place I made way more visits than I expected in 2020 to Sesame Place.  Most of these visits were because the park is just a half hour from Six Flags Great Adventure and Sesame Place tended

so what's the point of it being an "indoor park" when many of the slides seem to go outside for a portion.   if it rains, do they close off those slides?

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La Feria de Chapultepec

 

I don't even know where to begin with this one.

 

I knew La Feria's operations were less than stellar from my visit last year- disorganized entry processes, staggered openings, slow dispatches. I figured 3 hours would be enough time to get a few rides on Quimera and Montana Rusa.

 

But...that assumed they were open.

 

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Doesn't Quimera look awesome? Too bad "La Feria" is the Spanish translation for ride closures.

 

As I approached the park, I didn't see a single coaster train. I tried to console myself that their dispatches really are that slow. Before buying a ticket, I asked if the coasters were operating and got a quick nod.

 

So I made my way towards Quimera. If you read my report last year, you know this is the most intense coaster I have ever ridden and it's not even close. That intensity combined with altitude sickness limited me to just one ride. I was feeling good on this day, so I was ready for the ultimate endurance test.

 

But it wasn't to be. The ride was closed. That alone was frustrating, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. And this iceberg could have sunk multiple Titanics.

 

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Caution tape. Classy.

 

Let's take a tour of the park, shall we?

 

Cascabel?

 

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Closed

 

Montana Rusa?

 

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Closed

 

Pepsi Drop Tower?

 

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Closed

 

Casona del Terror?

 

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Closed

 

Martillo?

 

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Closed? Nope. I tricked you. This ride was removed.

 

New Zamperla Endeavor?

 

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Even the new ride was closed.

 

Basically every single thrill ride was closed so had to make lemonade from the most rotten of lemons. It turned into a scavenger hunt to find rides actually operating. And let me tell you, it's easier to find Waldo. I'd estimate only a quarter of the rides were actually open. I guess this is why admission is only $13 USD.

 

There was one coaster open at least, but it's without a doubt the least interesting of the bunch in Raton Loco. It follows the standard layout of one of those Reverchon/Zamperla spinning mice, but I hesitate to call this one standard.

 

La Feria gave Raton Loco the Quimera treatment and disabled the brakes. This results in some truly vicious laterals in the top section and once the spinning is unlocked, I think you hit more RPMs than a rotor. Well at least one thrill ride was open. 6 out of 10

 

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Of course the spinning mouse is the only open coaster.

 

The flume was running so I decided to give Troncos a whirl. It took a while to find the entrance because for some inexplicable reason La Feria made the entrance sign part of the ride's layout. You can't make this stuff up.

 

Off-ride, Troncos looked like a compact little flume, but it actually had a really expansive layout. First, you travel down this long straightaway next to a wall that didn't cost $5.8 billion dollars. Second, you travel underneath Montana Rusa and pass the boneyard of La Feria attractions. Third, you pass travel underneath a building with clearances rivaling the Motor Boats at Knoebels (aka taller riders may have to duck).

 

And it's punctuated with a completely effed up final plunge. When you transition from the lift to the trough, the log drops a few inches to begin the descent. The descent is extremely gradual and is profiled similarly to Lake Winnie's Boat Chute. Thankfully the splash shields failed to deflect the water back at me since it had an interesting order to it.

 

Troncos is an interesting flume and I'd say it was the highlight of my visit. 8 out of 10

 

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I'm from Boston, so I love that dirty water.

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Most parks would place the entrance sign above the walkway. Not La Feria.

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Enjoy the scenery like the graveyard of rides past.

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I had to commiserate my visit somehow. This seemed like the best way.

 

I mentioned this in my Oktoberfest report, but I rarely ride himalayas. The reason for this is Canobie's former Mattherhorn. They ran the ride so hard that the cars swung well beyond horizontal. That's also the reason the ride tore itself apart. As I passed the Tren del Amor (aka Love Train), it almost looked like riders were getting airtime. I was intrigued and it wasn't like there were other things to ride.

 

And they were in fact getting airtime. Two of the three humps delivered aggressive little pops of air combined with the constant laterals. The ride was running so fast it felt like it would rip itself apart. I loved it! Eventually we slowed down. But right before we came to a stop, the ride accelerated right back to its max speed. Basically it was a double cycle. Now this is how a himalaya should be run. 9 out of 10

 

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Does this ride have stronger airtime than Medusa? Heck no. But technically it has more pops of airtime.

 

Next door was the Julio Verne, which looked like one of those old Chance Astroliners. When I stepped inside, it was apparent La Feria made some homemade modifications. The seats looked straight out of a preschool classroom; my knees were at chest level for the ride. I sat down and waited for my space flick to start.

 

But I got Dino Freaking Island.

 

My jaw hit the floor. Wtf was I riding? I was sitting in a spaceship watching a heavily pixelated (and possibly bootlegged) Dino Island from someone's DVD player. Meanwhile the rocket moved. But it didn't move with the film. Rather it bobbed and twisted with no rhyme or reason like Antarctica.

 

It was terrible. It's something so bad that it needs to be experienced like Gatlinburg's Earthquake or the Jurassic Jungle Boat. 2 out of 10

 

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I went in expecting some B movie space film.

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But instead I got Dino Freaking Island.

 

I planned to hit the park's Condor, but they just decided to close early with absolutely no warning or announcement. Really there was no more fitting way to end the day.

 

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I probably should have ridden this before taking the photo because this was the last cycle of the day.

 

Needless to say my visit to La Feria was frustrating. Missing out on Quimera and Montana Rusa alone sucked, but the fact that I left Six Flags Mexico and the awesomeness of Medusa and Superman really made it sting.

 

Would I recommend La Feria? If you're already in Mexico City, I think it's a chance you need to take. For all the operational issues the park has, they have a really odd and strong ride collection. I know I'll give it another try someday. I just hope Quimera hasn't torn itself apart by then.

 

But my journey to Mexico didn't stop there as I traveled even deeper into the country to Guaymas. While my previous travels were to the two most touristy areas in Cancun and Mexico City, this was the middle-of-nowhere. The best way I can describe Guaymas is that they tried to be Cancun, but it didn't quite catch on.

 

Now there was a random Wacky Worm about 15 minutes from the airport. I thought about being Marco Polo for a fleeting moment and snagging what may be one of the rarer coaster credits out there. But instead of going to Parque Infantil Sonora, I decided to join my coworkers on an expedition for street food.

 

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El Pescadito looks incredibly sketchy. It looks like a run down garage with barbed wire. But it was recommended by the hotel and it was absolutely delicious.

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Mexico really is a beautiful place.

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The only time I've been in a car at night in Mexico was in Cancun and Mexico City. Both were in heavily populated city areas. I imagine your checkpoint was in a less frequented area?

One the checkpoints (the only one we got stopped at) was right when entering Valladolid which has about 50,000 pop and is the nearest major city to Chichen Itza and the other two were in rural areas (one right before a highway junction and the other in the middle of nowhere but before another highway junction) which we got waived through both. All of these checkpoints were in the Yucatan state and none were in the Quintana Roo state. We drove the main north-south highway that goes between Cancun and Tulum at night almost everyday since it got dark at around 6PM in January but it was like an expressway/divided highway with lots of resort entrances every few km and plenty of gas stations, 7-11s, Starbucks, etc and it was very well lit (better than most US highways). The only annoying thing were the constant speed bumps to slow you down when going through towns.

 

Also those ruins in Tulum are quite the sight. I saw them last year on a work trip.

The Tulum ruins were the least impressive of the three ruins I saw but have that amazing oceanfront location. The beach that you can enter in the archeological grounds of Tulum was beautiful and I'd pay the admission again (under $4 per person) just to access the beach. The Chichen Itza ruins about 2 hrs drive away are the most elaborate of the Mayan ruins I saw and have that famous "seven modern wonders of the World" pyramid but the Coba ruins less than an hour drive away from Tulum has a slightly taller pyramid and the only Mayan one in the region you can actually climb to the top which was awesome and also has bikes you can rent to get across the grounds which are quite spread out.

 

LOL. . if I ever show my spouse that map, my chances of convincing him to go are over

he's way too cautious to go somewhere when it says "reconsider travel".. but I'm working on him!

(I did get him to go to the Ruins in Belize (which were SPECTACULAR), when we were on a cruise. . . and we also stopped on Cozumel and he was OK with that, as long as we stayed on official cruise group tours)

Mexico City is in the yellow "Increased Caution" area which is the same level as most of Europe, the Caribbean, and Belize.

https://travelmaps.state.gov/TSGMap/?extent=-13.895124108,35.427916279,5.157282858,43.995024245

 

I also went to Cozumel on my trip for a couple of nights and felt totally safe there. It's isolated from the rest of Mexico since everyone has to cross by ferry or fly in and felt more quiet and mellow than the rest of Quintana Roo especially once you got away from where the cruise ships dock.

 

 

Anyways, getting back to the topic of your report Mike: Six Flags Mexico looks great and La Feria looks like it leaves a lot to be desired. I'd feel comfortable going to Six Flags Mexico on my own but would rather go to La Feria with TPR when there's a better chance of more things being open. If I was in Mexico City on my own I'd probably try to visit La Feria on a busier day and brave the longer lines just for the chance that more things were running.

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Unfortunately the beach at Tulum was closed during our visit due to seaweed. But it was a nice view at least.

 

I remember the Schwarzkopf being closed during one of TPR's trips as well. It really seems like a wild card if things will be operating there. I was able to ride all the coasters when I went during Cinco de Mayo last year, but they all had staggered openings and glacial dispatches.

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First, you travel down this long straightaway next to a wall that didn't cost $5.8 billion dollars.

 

 

BWAAAA-HAAAAA-HAAAAAA

 

fantastic report from what must have been an incredibly frustrating day.

 

but you made the most of it, and got some good pics.

 

shame about the two big coasters (and all the other rides) closed, but the two coasters are the highlights there - at least I thought so. . . but now, if we ever go to Mexico City, will make it a point to ride the flume too.

 

(not a Himalaya fan, tho Cosmotron at Knoebel's is fun, and is really the only one I'll ride).

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Thanks! Thankfully I did ride all the coasters in my visit last year, but I was hoping to reride them. At least I got a redemption on Quimera after riding Galaxyland's Mindbender a few days later.

 

I've never understood the love of Cosmotron to be honest. Maybe it's because Northeast puts all their scramblers in a dome and (especially Funtown) puts on a better show.

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I really enjoy reading your reports! But I have to ask...what is it that you do for a living that sends you all over the country for what seems like non-stop work trips?? I can’t help but wonder every time you take a day trip to a random because you’re in the area for work

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Wow. So disappointing, though I'm glad for your sake that you'd already visited previously. Is February an off-season of sorts in that region? That doesn't sound like the sole reason for the problems since you mentioned frustration on your other visit, but I was hoping it might be part of it. I don't want the closures to be a bad sign for the park's future, but I've read a concerning number of complaints.

 

I love Himalaya-style rides with airtime! Those rides are hit-or-miss, ranging from dull to generically fun to amazing. I've found a few gems with mega positive G's or bucking bronco jolts.

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I visited on a Tuesday towards the end of January, so I don't think it was their peak season. However, from my visit last year and reports I've seen from others, it seems like this is a possibility anytime at La Feria (and has for quite some time).

 

It's a shame because their mix of rides is quite weird. The lone saving grace of the coasters being closed is that I could try some new flats like that Himalaya. I can't decide which style I prefer- this one with the airtime or the ones that swing beyond horizontal.

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Wildlife World

 

Imagine a place with a flume that passes through an aquarium and a sky ride that passes over animal exhibits. Does this sound like coasterbill’s version of heaven? All that’s missing is beer and wouldn’t you know it, they have a local BBQ littered with local beers. This place may sound too good to be true, but it exists, and it’s known as Wildlife World.

 

I had a 7 hour layover in Phoenix. My original plan was to grab a nice dinner and spend the rest of the time at Castles n’ Coasters, but something caught my eye. It was a custom Chance family coaster only 45 minutes west of my position.

 

I knew absolutely nothing about Wildlife World outside of the coaster, so I figured it’d be a quick credit stop and nothing else. Boy was I wrong. This is the best zoo I’ve visited outside of the Kolmarden Zoo where Wildfire is basically the ultimate cheat code.

 

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You'd hear a lot more about this place if it were anywhere but Phoenix.

 

My first stop was the Log Flume. I love my highly themed log flumes like Splash Mountain and Ripsaw Falls that take me past animatronics. This log flume did something even crazier. The ride takes you on a safari.

 

First and foremost, the flume surrounds an island of monkeys. That alone basically makes this ride perfection. But the flume does not stop there. You also pass through an aquarium and an aviary. I felt like I saw the entire zoo with this one ride.

 

And it has a really good drop at the end too. It’s not overly tall, but there’s this weird straightaway before the drop that generates a solid head of steam. The end result is a surprising pop of air. It’s no Skull Mountain, but it’s definitely there. How could this ride not be a 10? 10 out of 10

 

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It does usual flume things dropping and splashing.

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But what other flume takes you past an island of living monkeys?

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The ride is literally a safari.

 

While some parks like Sesame Place keep credit whores in mind and position their coasters at the front of the park, Wildlife World plopped their originally named coaster in the very back of the park. No joke, the coaster has an original name. Nobody likes the generic “Roller Coaster” name, so Wildlife World heard all of our complaining and named their’s the “Family Roller Coaster”

 

One “ride” consists of two laps. In between laps, the operator stops the train and allows you to change seats. The coaster uses the same trains on the Chance Big Dipper coasters many of us have embarrassingly ridden, but this is considerably taller. And the pre-lift passes an alligator exhibit for good measure.

 

I was foolishly optimistic the first drop would deliver some air, but it wasn’t to be. However, the second turn had some bonafide laterals and the third hill (a twisting S-hill) actually had a tiny pop of air. That’s about all the coaster is, but it’s solid for what it is. 6 out of 10

 

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The coaster is located in Adventureland (awesome sign) way in the back.

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It isn't much, but there's one legit moment of airtime.

 

The final ride I tried was the Sky Ride. The ride gave me a partial redemption for missing out on Kolmarden’s Safari Sky Ride. While I couldn’t feed the animals during the ride, it did pass over countless animal exhibits and offer some unique views. 9 out of 10

 

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Now this is how a lazy man sees a zoo.

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Note the limited fencing. That's a theme at this park.

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It's Jackie Legs! And if you get that reference, I'm sorry that you too lost 90 minutes of your time watching that film.

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If Sky Rides aren't your thing, they offer a Safari Train instead.

 

But Wildlife World is so much more than just rides. Obviously there are animal exhibits, but I was surprised just how minimal the fencing was around the exhibits. This was like the Mt. Olympus of animal enclosures. Most fences were about waist high and some exhibits didn’t even have fences. The result is an amazing animal experience until someone someday inevitably ruins it for everyone else.

 

My favorite exhibit was that of the giraffes. Several parks offer an upcharge experience where you can feed a giraffe and who knows how much that even costs. At Wildlife World, you only need to pay 25 cents for food and then you can walk right onto a feeding deck for absolutely no cost.

 

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This is an absolute steal for 25 cents.

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It'll only take one idiot to scale this fence and ruin it for everyone. Sad but true.

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I'm glad they listened to me and held still for the photo.

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That's one creepy looking crab.

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This is the second of three places to have penguins on my trip.

 

What I expected to only be a 30 minute pit stop turned into an incredible 2 hours. I almost had to cut out Castles n’ Coasters because I was enjoying Wildlife World so much. I know I didn’t see everything, but I can confidently say that this is an absolute must for an animal lover.

 

If you plan to visit Wildlife World, there are three logistical items you should know.

 

1) All rides are an additional upcharge ($5-6 per) on top of the $40 entry fee. For the amount of rides they offer, I’m surprised they don’t have an all-inclusive wristband, but that’s just how it is.

 

2) All of the rides are cash only. I don’t recall seeing an ATM. That’s not to say there isn’t one, but I’d recommend bringing plenty of singles just to be safe.

 

3) The rides close well before the park does. On the day I visited, they closed about 2 hours before the rest of the park.

 

I have no clue when I’ll ever be in Phoenix again. But I know I will again someday en route to Mexico for work. When that happens, I know I’ll find myself back at Wildlife World.

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This looks like a neat little place. Tons of places have that obligatory kiddie credit. It's always nice when they opt for something a bit more on the family side. The flume also looks really unique! A bit pricey but certainly unique.

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Castles n’ Coasters

 

When it comes to airports, I like to play it conservative. I strictly adhere to the 2 hours for domestic and 3 hours for international flights. Now I know a lot of people who ignore that recommendation and make it through just fine, but that’s not my preference.

 

I originally planned to be there from 5-5:45, which would give me plenty of time to make my 9 pm flight to Edmonton. But because I enjoyed Wildlife World far more than expected, I didn’t end up leaving that park until 5 and Castles n’ Coasters was 45 minutes away.

 

Did I do the responsible thing? Probably not. But did I do the fun thing? Absolutely!

 

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Castles n' Coasters was light on the castles, but heavy on the mini golf.

 

As expected, crowds weren’t an issue. However, finding the ticket booth was. You’d think the giant sign underneath the castle that says “Ticket Booth” would be the right place, but you’d be wrong. I was redirected into the impressive looking arcade to the prize redemption counter.

 

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If I had more time, a visit down Pinball Alley would have been in order.

 

My first stop was Desert Storm. If I was only going to ride one thing, it sure as heck was going to be the effed up Hopkins looper. Because of its location, you never really hear much about Desert Storm. But I was intrigued by it.

 

The loading procedure was painful. The lone employee sat by the control panel with a timer before sending out a train. My watch timed the average dispatch at about 7 minutes. That’s frustrating on a normal day, but especially when you have a flight in a few hours.

 

In many ways, Desert Storm rode like a drunken Schwarzkopf. The first drop had some vicious, throw-you-over the seat divider laterals. And that was followed by a circular vertical loop that pulled enough Gs to almost make me kiss my own knees. But it’s the second loop that’s the true WTF.

 

It starts like your normal vertical loop, but then it curves sideways almost like a corkscrew. The end result is an element with as many Gs as the first loop and the crazy laterals of the first drop. The following helix is slow, but quite dizzying probably because that second loop destroyed my equilibrium.

 

If you want a smooth, refined coaster, Desert Storm is not for you. It’s not rough (especially since it’s lap bars only), it just has forces no normal coaster would provide. But if you like rides that are so screwed up that they’re awesome, maybe you’ll like Desert Storm as much as me. 8.5 out of 10

 

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Hopkins, were you drinking when you designed this loop? Don't lie to me.

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Desert Storm passes over all sorts of rides and pathways.

 

After my second ride, I contemplated leaving. But then a notification popped up on my phone that WestJet had a flight delay! I anxiously opened it up…and it was for all of 10 minutes.

 

But I sure as heck was going to use those 10 minutes.

 

My next stop was the junior coaster in Patriot. I have no clue if the Cardinals will ever face the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but Castles n’ Coasters is in good shape if they lose a bet with Six Flags New England. The ride itself was a bit bumpy, but the final helix was extremely tight and actually pulled some Gs.

 

Probably the most noteworthy things about Patriot is the all-American montage of Rambo and Fred Flintstone adjacent to the lift and the spiral staircase in the queue. 4 out of 10

 

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Riding this credit is part of the TB12 method.

 

SkyDiver was loading, so it would have been a sin to skip out on the Larson drop tower. By luck, my ride happened to be during sunset and it was a beautiful sight seeing the sun descend over the mountains. But that beauty was disrupted by the inevitable and terrifying plunge. This one sounded like it needed some WD-40, but it still packed an absolute wallop. 10 out of 10

 

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This thing sounded like death, but it rode like a dream.

 

I always thought Castles n’ Coasters had one of those standard portable flumes, but they actually had a neat looking custom one with some pirate theming and a tunnel. I didn’t want to arrive at the airport dripping wet, but Splashdown was worth the gamble.

 

Thankfully it only provided a gentle sprinkle and it had two solid drops- the first had a tiny pop of air and the second was taller than I expected. Ultimately, it was a really solid flume. 8 out of 10

 

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What a surprisingly nice flume!

 

Since I needed to pass Desert Storm on the way out, I couldn’t help myself and took one final ride in the back. To experience the screwy laterals in full, that is the place to ride this coaster. I ended up back in the parking lot around 6:30 and comfortably made my flight. Security had no line whatsoever and I even had enough time for a full sit-down dinner.

 

Castles n’ Coasters is a neat little park and I wish I had more time there. It’s not a park worth traveling to exclusively, but if you’re travels take you through Phoenix, it’s absolutely worth a stop.

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As always, I loved your reports. I'd heard of Castles and Coasters, but didn't know that Wildlife World was a thing. If I ever make it out to that area, I'll definitely check them out.

 

David

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Glad to see you "enjoyed" what little this Grand Canyon State has to offer in terms of Theme parks. If you ever make it back out here, be sure to check Schnepf Farms. It is only open occasionally but it has the best coaster in the state. It may not be very tall but it sure has some "OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL" airtime moments when you sit in the back.

 

We visited Wildlife World the month the new Roller Coaster opened (our third time at the park) and it was a nice addition. to the park. I really dislike that you still have to pay for a ticket to get into the park and then pay additional charges for EVERYTHING ELSE! And you are correct, there is no ATM in the park (although I believe there was one at the restaurant when we went). So expect to spend a lot of money if you want to do everything. I believe it still is one of the largest Privately Owned and Operated Zoos in the country...but that might have been a worker talking BS when we visited.

 

Jimmy "Nice to see some love in the desert" Bo

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Thanks!

 

I just looked up that kiddie coaster at Schnepf Farms and the back seat riders really look like they're getting yanked down those drops. That looks right up there with Knott's Timberline Twister for a kids coaster that gives way more air than it should.

 

I have heard somewhere that Wildlife World was the largest privately owned zoo (maybe another TR on this site?) and maybe that helps explain the pricing structure.

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Galaxyland

 

The West Edmonton Mall has always been on my bucket list; however, getting there from Boston is a royal pain. After a work trip to Mexico dumped me off on the West Coast, I saw my opportunity and jumped on it. And I have no regrets whatsoever.

 

The mall is an attraction in itself and I’ll post a separate TR covering the World Waterpark, the aquarium, and all the other goodies in the West Edmonton Mall. This report will focus entirely on Galaxyland, the park that they claim is the world’s largest indoor theme park.

 

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This is just one of the 4-5 entrances.

 

Was there any doubt where my first stop would be? After being denied Quimera, Mindbender seemed like one heck of a consolation prize. And I have to say that it’s one of the most imposing coasters I have ever seen. The scale of the coaster is astounding considering it’s indoors. Plus it has a deafening roar that echoes through the park. When Mindbender is running, everyone knows.

 

The recent reports I’ve seen from Galaxyland have called Mindbender uncomfortable. The ride’s layout is aggressive for sure, but painful? Not if ridden correctly. It is absolutely imperative that you let the accordion restraints bottom out on your shoulder. This will prevent any unwanted headbanging or neck-chopping. If you don’t follow this step, I can see how one would call this ride rough.

 

When everyone anyone talks about Mindbender, they always talk about the insane Gs those loops pull. All three loops are among the most forceful on the planet. The second one in particular is a real doozy since it occurs immediately after the first and you have no recovery time.

 

But I rarely hear about the rest of the ride. The first has a ridiculously tight curve and the steepness yielded a freefall sensation. All of the subsequent drops and ascents have equally as abrupt twists and offer some powerful laterals.

 

And for good measure, the finale doesn’t peter out. I find quite a few of these Schwarzkopfs just mail it in after the final inversion. Mindbender has a surprise hill with some excellent floater air and an extremely disorienting final helix. The helix isn’t overly intense, but it encircles a mirrored support column, which can only be described as mind bending.

 

As an added bonus, all of these crazy elements occur in the tight confines of the mall. The ride also contains a non-stop barrage of headchoppers with the ceiling, supports, and pathways. Mindbender was the main reason for my visit to the Mall and it did not disappoint. This may be Schwarzkopf’s crowning achievement and it’s a coin-flip if I prefer this to Quimera. 9.5 out of 10

 

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Everyone talks about the loops. No one ever talks about the drops, but they were awesome.

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Just look how abrupt the twists are.

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Hidden Mickey!

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Mirror mirror on the wall, whose the best Schwarzkopf of them all?

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I swear you could touch the ceiling if you tried.

 

In total, I racked up 13 rides on Mindbender. And to be honest, I would have gotten more if the operations weren’t so brutal. Going in, I knew Mindbender closed for periodic inspections. There were three scheduled inspections over the course of the day, each about 45-60 minutes in length.

 

What I wasn’t expecting was 10 minute dispatches. The ride had two trains and two operators. But in one of the most bizarre operational policies I’ve ever seen, each operator “owns” one train. What this means is that one operator sits off to the side while the other operator admits guests, checks restraints, and dispatches the train. It didn’t seem very efficient to me. Further, they often wouldn’t load the train until the prior completed its run.

 

That’s one piece of the puzzle. The other are those restraints, which consist of a seatbelt, lap bar, and accordion shoulder bars. Riders are not allowed to adjust their own restraints, so the operator takes about 30-45 seconds per person to adjust these click by click, soliciting feedback from riders at every click if it’s tight enough.

 

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Seeing the premier ride go down for about 30% of the day was annoying, but at least it was no surprise.

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This is what 13 rides on Mindbender does to you.

 

Galaxy Orbiter is an interesting spinning coaster. The coaster has a modest height, but goes on forever thanks to a standard lift plus two booster sections. Without a doubt, this has the best layout of the Gerstlauer spinners. It basically tours the whole park a la Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Streak, mixing in 2-3 solid drops and an intense figure 8 finale.

 

But while all the other Gerstlauer spinners are smooth as glass, this one was extremely bumpy. I was not expecting that at all. In the end, I think I’ll take it over the Pandemonium clones, but this could have and should have been so much better. 6 out of 10

 

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This may be one of the best ride signs ever.

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If you want a full tour of Galaxyland, you mind as well ride this coaster.

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Hats off to Gerstlauer for even fitting this thing in the mall. If only it tracked better.

 

The last obtainable credit for adults is Autosled. This is Galaxyland’s version of the Zierer coaster with an absurdly long train that aimlessly winds around like Jaguar. I remember there being one drop with some good whip in the back, but for the most part it rode more like a monorail. 5 out of 10

 

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By Zierer's standards, an 11 car train actually felt short.

 

Beyond the coasters, Galaxyland had a small but solid flat ride collection. Unfortunately their Chance Unicoaster was closed for its annual rehab and they had removed some notable flats like Solar Flare, but I did find two that I really liked.

 

The first was Space Shot, which is actually a double shot. I believe this ride stands where the old Intamin freefall once stood. The ride stands inside a giant column complete with cutouts to the rest of the park and the outside world. Normally I’d take an Intamin Gen 1 over an S&S tower, but not in this case.

 

The ejector pops at the top are tied with Hershey’s towers for the strongest I’ve experienced on a ride of this type. And the descent actually produced an honest to god freefall sensation better than most of the turbo drops. Maybe it’s the ride itself or maybe it’s mental since it’s pretty disorienting shifting from a view of the outside world to a darkened column and back to a chaotic amusement park. 9 out of 10

 

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On one hand, it's very cool being able to look out and see the snow-covered Edmonton. On the other hand, I sort of wish they had some space/star effects up there.

 

Havoc is the parks newest attraction. I think it’s one of those KMG Spinouts. The one I rode at the Alameda County Fair had a cycle focusing entirely on sustained hangtime. Havoc mixed it up with some abrupt, airtime inducing swings not unlike a frisbee before finally holding us upside down for an eternity while all the blood rushed to my head. 9 out of 10

 

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I love how Autosled wraps around Havoc.

 

I’ve always been intrigued by Coney Island’s El Dorado Bumper Cars because of the ride looks like its housed in a nightclub. Cosmo’s Space Derby had a similar (albeit cleaner) vibe to it, so I was intrigued enough to ride. The atmosphere was cool, but the cars were weak. They were so weak that head on collisions were allowed. Too bad they were nothing more than a love tap. 6 out of 10

 

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When a family park allows head-on collisions, that should be a red flag for bumper car fans.

 

Galaxyland also has an odd mix of dark rides. The most notable is Quirks in the Works. This ride is an absolute WTF. I don’t know for sure what a Quirk is, but I think they’re the random aliens you take aim at during the ride.

 

The actual ride building is pretty small and there aren’t many targets. But the ride cleverly gets around this by utilizing slowly moving rotating vehicles. This allows you to cycle between the same few targets again and again without it feeling repetitive. 8 out of 10

 

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I just love how the vehicle plows through the curtain, slapping riders in the face. Canada gives 0 effs.

 

There’s also a building tucked underneath Mindbender that houses both a fun house and a haunted walkthrough. The Fun House was a major disappointment. 90% of the attractions is a gagless stroll through a blacklit room. The other 10% are actually a solid door maze and vortex tunnel, but it’s not enough to save this attraction. 3 out of 10

 

Haunted Castle was better. I think the age requirement was 16, so I figured it may have some good jump scares. However, the gags were slow developing and often delayed. But it is cool how there’s barely any walls or guards in there. Some of the props have a pretty wide range of motion and there’s no way this would be allowed in America as someone would stupidly grab a scissor lift or something.

 

It’s worth noting that there are no live actors and the finale is a vortex tunnel that’s actually shared with the Fun House. 7 out of 10

 

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Because everything is literally on top of each other, it's nearly impossible to get a clean shot of the Haunted House.

 

The last ride worth mentioning is the Galaxy Express. At first glance, this looks like your standard kiddie train. But upon closer inspection, you may notice that it has 2-3 tunnels. These tunnels actually have some cute little dark ride scenes. 5 out of 10

 

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Do not be fooled; this isn't your usual kiddie train.

 

Outside of Mindbender, the dispatches on individual rides were actually pretty good. However, there was one other frustrating operational quirk. At Galaxyland, a 7 pm close means a 7 pm close. Right at 7 pm on the dot, they power off the arcade games, cease the music, and gate off 3 of the 4 entrances.

 

And that leads to the attractions. I’ve seen parks close queues off early. Galaxyland doesn’t do this. Instead, they let people enter queues right up to closing. But the final train of the day must be back in the station by close. Indiana Beach is the only other park I’ve been denied a ride at closing even though I was in the queue.

 

Ultimately, I really enjoyed my day at Galaxyland. Mindbender is legit and Schwarkzopf fans should absolutely consider making a pilgrimage to Edmonton. The park isn’t particularly big, but they utilize every inch of space and indoor parks always have a unique vibe to them.

 

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Also aren't these the most adorable cotton candies that you've ever seen?

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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