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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Magic Springs- Riding Almost All the Coasters in Arkansas!

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Six Flags St. Louis

Six Flags St. Louis is one of the less talked about parks in the Six Flags chain.  But that isn't really fair to the park.  Sure it's coaster lineup isn't in the upper echelon of the chain, but it's among the chain's prettier parks with all the trees.  Plus, the park received a brand new sign in 2020 that looks awesome.

My visits to Six Flags St. Louis took place in late June, shortly after the park reopened.  This was back when there were still a lot of unknowns with the virus, so the park took an extremely cautious approach.  During my visits, they were skipping every other row and cleaning trains after each cycle.  And all of the indoor rides were closed.  I noticed Six Flags parks stopped doing these three things as the season progressed and I imagine it was similar at the St. Louis park.



But when people talk about Six Flags St. Louis, usually it's when locals talk about the hyper coaster they feel that they deserve.  But news flash, there already is a hyper at this park in Mr. Freeze.  😆

And honestly, it's better than some of the hypers out there.  The ride may be short, but it's intense.  The inverted top hat is one of the most disorienting and oddly forceful elements in the world.  It will mess up your equilibirum, give bizarre hangtime, and crush you with positive Gs all at once.  I also love the LIM boost on the spike and the insane weightlessness it offers as you seemingly defy gravity.  8.5 out of 10

Unfortunately, Mr. Freeze was a capacity nightmare in 2020.  When I saw the queue line starting at the building, I figured it would go quickly.  An employee estimated it would take just 15 minutes.  It took four times that.  The ride was running just one train.  They were skipping every other row, but because the back row had an issue with one of the seatbelts, they decided to operate the ride with just 4 rows rather than shift the available rows forward one.  And often times one or two of those rows would be occupied by a Flash Pass user.  Add in cleaning after each cycle and a few breakdowns and this ride probably had an hourly capacity of 70-80 riders per hour.




American Thunder was running much slower in 2020 than it was during my 2018 visit.  I'm not sure if it was the half-filled trains or something else, but it felt rather tame for a GCI.  The pacing felt off and the airtime was weak pops for the most part, but it was smooth and still a fun ride overall.  7 out of 10



Screamin' Eagle was another one that let me down in 2020.  This was actually my favorite ride in the park in 2018.  I got some awesome front row rides with some great airtime.  Plus I loved the ride's setting among the trees.  That part didn't change, but the quantity of airtime did.  Only a few of the hills offered airtime this year.  The ride felt just as fast though, so I'm not sure if the ride wasn't fully warmed up or something.  6 out of 10


Surprisingly, my favorite wood coaster on this visit was actually the Boss.  It was the opposite back in 2018.  The Boss had some good airtime on the larger drops and several instances of good laterals.  I didn't find the ride overly rough and I love the ride's setting in the woods. 

I was also secretly hoping the mid-course would be turned off so the return run would absolutely haul, but it was still active.  That being said, the final bunny hills still deliver abrupt pops of airtime once the ride regains its speed. 7.5 out of 10



One of the other big surprises on my visit was the fact that Xcalibur was actually open.  In 2018, the ride was in pieces and I doubted it would ever reopen.  But the park actually gave this rare ride a full refurbishment.  I had previously ridden an Endeavor on the fair circuit, but I had forgotten what types of sensations this ride offers.

The ride is short, but that's probably deliberate because this has the potential to be an extremely nauseating ride.  The most intense part of the ride was actually at the start as the ride gets up to speed and you rotate on your back.  While the full rotation was cool, the way the vehicles rock prevents you from inverting as you'd expect.  It's still a unique ride though and one I hope sticks around.  6 out of 10


My favorite flat ride at the park is still Superman Tower of Power.  I love this drop tower's placement atop the hill and the drop packs a wallop.  You drop like a rock and float the whole way down.  8.5 out of 10



Since it was quite hot, I also made sure to ride the park's two water rides.  The Log Flume was one of the earlier Arrow ones, so it wasn't overly exciting.  The drops were small and shallow, but you could tell this was previously the park's star attraction considering it had two troughs side by side if needed.  4 out of 10


Thunder River was a game of Russian Roulette that I lost.  I really wanted to get soaked.  But I came off bone dry.  Meanwhile the group I was with got hit by every single rapid and came off soaked head to toe.  I was envious.  5 out of 10


Because of the miserable throughputs of their attractions, I barely had time to hit Ninja and Batman before closing, so I don't have photos of them from 2020.  So I'll show my 2018 ones instead.  Ninja was a complete walk-on, probably because of its reputation.  I don't hate the ride since my head clears the top of the OSTR, but it definitely has some bad transitions.  But I do enjoy the pop of air on the drop and the insane headchopper with the chain return.  5 out of 10


I deliberately saved Batman for the end of the day since I suspected it would have a putrid capacity.  And I was right.  This one was about on par with Mr. Freeze.  Batman was also running just one train and skipping between rows.  This turned a wildly efficient B&M into one of the most inefficient rides from a capacity standpoint and it took about a half hour with just 40 people ahead of me.

However, this is one of the best Batman clones.  I love how this one still has the black paint scheme and this one felt like it was running quite fast.  I was greyout out during the first half and my legs were tingly in the second half.  8.5 out of 10


Six Flags St. Louis was my first Six Flags park after covid in 2020 and it was interesting to see how the chain's operating policies evolved from this point.  I completely understand why the park did what they did at the time, but I'm glad Six Flags adapted as they learned more information about the virus and how it hasn't seemed to transmit in outdoor amusement park setting such as this.

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Worlds of Fun

I wasn't originally planning on visiting Worlds of Fun this past summer, but it became a necessity if I wanted to make Orion my 1000th coaster.  After Diamond Back was closed at Frontier City, I'd be short one coaster.  So I squeezed Worlds of Fun into the trip to shamelessly get the Cosmic Coaster kiddie credit I missed in 2018.  I had heard this coaster was off-limits for adults back then, but I knew several people who recently got the credit with no issue.



But I made sure to hit all my other favorites at Worlds of Fun as well.  My favorite coaster there is still Prowler, even if I think it's overrated.  The ride was running smoother than it was in 2017, but the airtime was lacking, particularly on the outward leg.  The second half was the only place I consistently got pops of airtime throughout the train.  I still love this coaster's setting and it's clear this was the inspiration for Mystic Timbers.  7 out of 10

I have no 2020 photos of Prowler, so here's one from 2018.


Patriot is probably my least favorite invert, but it's still a fun ride.  Most of the inversions aren't all that powerful, but the zero-G roll is floaty and the ride is glass smooth.  I also love the candy cane paint scheme.  7 out of 10


Timber Wolf had a lot of retracking before my 2018 visit and the ride is still running similarly.  The ride is pretty bumpy towards the back, but it's fairly smooth up front.  The ride is trimmed quite a bit, but there are a few pops of airtime scattered about.  6 out of 10


Mamba dominates the park's skyline.  Of the trio of Cedar Fair hypers, I think Steel Force is head and shoulders better than the other two.  Mamba has the same issue as Wild Thing.  The mid-course trim saps the ride of all its speed for the return run, killing the airtime.  The ride is very smooth and the first two hills do give some great floater airtime at least.  6 out of 10


Unfortunately, a lot of the non-coasters were closed.  That included the water rides and the two best flat rides in Detonator and Cyclone Sam's.  Boomerang was also closed.  That in itself wasn't an issue for me, but the path past Boomerang was closed.  So Mamba was at a dead end that required you to navigate around the entire park.

Since I ended up walking onto all the coasters, I ended up leaving early and starting the drive to Holiday World.  Worlds of Fun isn't my favorite Cedar Fair park, but it's similar to Dorney in that you can come here and ride some solid coasters without any waits.




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I have always loved Patriot's paint scheme as well, and while it is more tame, it has some of the best invert airtime I've experienced with that hop over the station. I don't know if "good" rides on Prowler are more elusive than it seems but I have never really thought much of it. Honestly, I'd take Timber Wolf over it because if I am going to be shaken around anyways I know I will at least get some airtime!

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It's sad how hard the midcourse brake grabs on Mamba. Like you said, the first half is a lot of fun and the second half is a total bore. It barely limps back to the station.

Cyclone Sam's being closed was one of the bigger disappointments of my Midwest trip last summer. I love indoor flats! (Lightning Rod was also closed, but...that wasn't much of a surprise).

Love that photo of Prowler, even if it is from 2018!

And I totally agree on both sentiments that Patriot is the weakest B&M invert and also that it has 2 of the best airtime moments on any of them.

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When I visited the park for my first and only time in 2018, I had the WORST ride on Prowler. I don't know if it is where I sat or the square wheels, but I literally could not wait for it to end. Just non stop jack hammering the whole ride. Did I just pick a bad seat or does it run that inconsistently?

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13 hours ago, CP_RULES said:

I have always loved Patriot's paint scheme as well, and while it is more tame, it has some of the best invert airtime I've experienced with that hop over the station. I don't know if "good" rides on Prowler are more elusive than it seems but I have never really thought much of it. Honestly, I'd take Timber Wolf over it because if I am going to be shaken around anyways I know I will at least get some airtime!

My favorite invert overall and for airtime is OzIris.  That one had a half dozen airtime moments plus forceful inversions and great theming.

11 hours ago, DBru said:

It's sad how hard the midcourse brake grabs on Mamba. Like you said, the first half is a lot of fun and the second half is a total bore. It barely limps back to the station.

Cyclone Sam's being closed was one of the bigger disappointments of my Midwest trip last summer. I love indoor flats! (Lightning Rod was also closed, but...that wasn't much of a surprise).

Love that photo of Prowler, even if it is from 2018!

And I totally agree on both sentiments that Patriot is the weakest B&M invert and also that it has 2 of the best airtime moments on any of them.

I wish Cedar Fair ran all their Morgan hypers like Steel Force.

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8 minutes ago, pianojohn said:

When I visited the park for my first and only time in 2018, I had the WORST ride on Prowler. I don't know if it is where I sat or the square wheels, but I literally could not wait for it to end. Just non stop jack hammering the whole ride. Did I just pick a bad seat or does it run that inconsistently?

Prowler was running much rougher in 2018, but it had a little more airtime.  In 2020, it was smoother but lacking in the airtime department.

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Has anyone ridden Mamba without the terrible mid-course halt? I remember riding it as early as 8th grade which was about 15 years ago for me and it wasn't any good then either. I get a thrill out of Mamba by holding my hands as high as I can and letting my brain think those headchoppers in the helix are going to snap off my arms at the elbow...

Is there any particular reason they run it this way? Do the 3-row-cars increase the stress on the trains through the tight radius bunny hops enough to justify a slower operation, maintenance-wise? 

And @pianojohn I have never gotten off Prowler excited about my ride... It's never terrible but not quite enjoyable either.

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It's got nothing to do with the trains.  Steel Force at Dorney uses the same exact trains and can fly through the MCBR.  Granted, Steel Force never runs all 3 at the same  time....

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^ I saw Steel Force run three trains on my first visit to the park back in 2005 and even with that Steel Force had a 15-20 minute wait, which is insane for Dorney.  I think I've only seen any of the Cedar Fair Morgans run two trains recently.

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Silver Dollar City

I was a proud Silver Dollar City season passholder in 2020 and took full advantage of it, visiting four times- twice in the summer and twice for their Olde Time Christmas event.  After Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, this may be my favorite park in the world.  I love the way this park blends theming, atmosphere, service, and thrills into one park.  And unlike a lot of other major parks, wait times always seem to be manageable here.


Their best ride is always a walk-on.  I have never had to wait more than one train for Outlaw Run.  I'm guessing a lot of it has to do with the ride's location (it's in the very back of the park at a dead end with poor signage), but I'm not complaining.  I rode this coaster over 100 times in 2020 and loved it more with each ride.  I especially loved my night rides.  The ride is really secluded in the woods (although more of it becomes visible when the leaves fall).  There is zero light along the course so it feels like your rumbling through outer space.

The ride's pacing and sense of speed is flawless.  Every hill delivers powerful ejector airtime and the inversions deliver hangtime, particularly the double barrel roll finale.  I know some people have started to call this coaster rough, but it's extremely reridable for me.  It's about on par with El Toro in terms of roughness.  10 out of 10




Time Traveler seems to be the crowd favorite for most guests.  For me, it's a great compliment to Outlaw Run.  It has an epic first drop if you're in the back car.  Any time you can get ejector airtime on your side or backwards is a special moment.  The rest of the ride has a lot of great elements from the airtime hills to the inversions and the rotation gives it a lot of reride value.  The launches are weak in terms of power, but if you spin during them, you get some odd centripetal forces more reminiscent of a flat ride.  9 out of 10




Powder Keg was the trickiest ride for me to get on in 2020.  In my summer visits, it was only running one train and skipping every other row.  So it boasted a 45-60 minute wait when the other coasters were walk-ons.  In my winter visits, the ride was running at full capacity, but I had to cope with rain and cold temperatures shutting it down.  Fortunately, I was able to get a few rides on this underrated launch coaster.

This launch packs a serious punch.  Don't be fooled by the ride's modest stats.  It's about as powerful as a hydraulic launch for me.  The rest of the ride has some good airtime on the hills and the old Buzzsaw Falls section delivers some nice laterals since it's way underbanked.  The ride also has a great setting in the woods, which is a theme for pretty much every coaster at this park.  8 out of 10






Wildfire has a beautiful setting, but I find this ride a bit overrated.  The first drop delivers some great airtime in the back; it feels more like a B&M hyper drop.  But the inversions aren't really forceful for me.  The ride is glass smooth though.  7 out of 10




Fire in the Hole is a ride I gained a new appreciation for in 2020.  The dark ride scenes are similar to Blazing Fury at Dollywood- old but fun.  But the drops at the end really surprised me.  They were giving some abrupt airtime I don't recall Blazing Fury ever offering.  8 out of 10


Thunderation was running really rough in 2020.  It's a shame because I otherwise like this mine train.  It has a really unique layout and has some good speed as you carve your way down the hillside.  5 out of 10


One of the weaker areas of Silver Dollar City is the flat ride department.  You have the Grand Exposition Area with most of them and then you have a few others scattered throughout the park.  And that's fine by me since I'd rather the park focus on unique attractions.  The two flats I do enjoy though are Firefall, a small S&S double shot with two strong pops of airtime, and the Giant Barn Swing, a screamin' swing with the obligatory short cycle and some nice floater airtime.




American Plunge is one of my favorite log flumes out there and it never gets any recognition.  The ride has a great layout through the woods with some tunnels and figures along the course.  The ride also has a surprisingly tall and steep drop for an Arrow log flume.  Just know this one is a soaker though.  9 out of 10


Unfortunately, I missed Mystic River Falls in my visits.  I saw it test in my summer visits and then it was closed for their Christmas event.  The ride looks amazing with the mesmerizing elevator lift and landscaping, so I hope to experience it on a future visit.



The park also has a great shooting dark ride in Flooded Mine.  While it's definitely dated, I like the soundtrack, overall aesthetic, and the amount of figures.  The set pieces are huge for this type of ride.  All of the targets seemed to work, although the triggers on the guns are a bit rigid so your finger will be in agony by the end of the ride.  9 out of 10



One of the unfortunate things about visiting Silver Dollar City in 2020 was that the Marvel Cave walkthrough was closed.  I understand why since there would be no way to distance in there.  I enjoyed my tour in 2018 and hope to try it again on a future visit.  This cave is the reason Silver Dollar City even exists so it's the heart and soul of the park.



The Christmas event was similar to Smoky Mountain Christmas event at Dollywood.  The park is very transparent about the operating temperatures on their attractions and will run everything except the water rides assuming temperatures are high enough.  In general, you want it to be at least 41 degrees if you want to see everything open.  Their train ride had a special overlay for Christmas.  The train always stops mid-ride for a show scene.  Usually it's a hold-up, but for the holidays it was a story of the nativity.  But for me, the highlight of the train were the views of Outlaw Run.



The park also had a ton of dazzling lights with the Christmas in Midtown area and the fancy Christmas tree standing out.  The park also had a nightly parade.  It was short- just 3 minutes in length- but the cheerful music, bright floats, and character interactions made it extremely enjoyable.








The food at Silver Dollar City is excellent too.  I committed what many of you would call a mortal sin and skipped the cinnamon bread, but remember, I hate sweets.  For me, the best food items at this park are the sausage and potato skillets, the brisket, and the homemade pretzels from the Mark Twain stand.  However, the latter was only open during my visit on a summer weekday.  It was closed every other visit.  Do any locals know if I just got unlucky or is this stand often closed?






Silver Dollar City is a park I could visit for a week straight and not get bored.  It excels in almost every area.  Really the only criticism I have for the park is that the layout is extremely confusing, but I finally got a grip on it after my 2020 visits.  I can't wait to visit this park again.


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Magic Springs

The largest amusement park in Arkansas is a bit off the beaten path, but I was intrigued to visit this park.  They had an odd coaster lineup and by all accounts, the park was beautiful.  The park met both those expectations.  But more importantly, it surprised me in the customer satisfaction department for reasons I'll get into.

The day I visited had a 100% chance of rain.  I was skeptical the park would even open, so to say I was nervous driving through the middle-of-nowhere when I could have been at Silver Dollar City was an understatement.  But the park reassured me they would open when I contacted them over Facebook and said they would run their rides in rain as long as there was no thunder and lightning.  I was just worried they'd pull the old Six Flags and close at the first drop of rain.  So my top priority was to make a whirlwind tour of the park's coasters if that happened.




My first stop was X-Coaster.  I had previously ridden two of these X-Car coasters, a clone at Skyline Park and the extended model in Abismo at Parque de Attraciones de Madrid.  These rides are awkward, but they offer some freaky hangtime.  I wanted to prioritize this coaster since I've heard it's the red-headed stepchild of the park; it has a lot of mechanical issues and the park even tried selling it a decade ago but they couldn't when they realized it was welded together.

The park had the ride ready to go at opening even though I was the only one back there and it was enjoyable.  I dislike how the restraints dig into your stomach, but the hangtime was excellent on the upside-down lift, the barrel roll, and the rocking back-and-forth.  6 out of 10



Surprisingly, my favorite ride at the park was Big Bad John.  The name may have helped, but it was one of the better mine trains out there.  This one was quite smooth.  And with all the trees around it, you'd think this was custom-made for Magic Springs, but it was relocated to this park from Dollywood.  But most importantly, this one had a shocking final drop.  If you rode in the back car, you got a powerful pop of ejector airtime.  6.5 out of 10


On the way to the next major coaster, I passed Diamond Mine Run, the park's nice-looking Miler kiddie coaster.  I couldn't help myself since it was a walk-on.  Miler is the king of the kiddie coaster genre if you ask me and the ride was about as fun as a coaster of this size can be.


Then came Gauntlet, the park's newest roller coaster and Vekoma SLC.  This one had a redesigned wheel assembly, so it was supposed to be smoother.  It was better than the ones built in the 1990s, but it was still a headbanging mess since you have the same bulky over-the-shoulder restraint.  You just got smacked in the head every other second as opposed to every second.  2 out of 10


At this point, the heavens opened up and booms of thunder could be heard.  While I got on four of the five coasters, the last one was Arkansas Twister, the park's wooden roller coaster.  I thought about hitting this ride first, but it didn't open until an hour after the park because of where it's located.  For those unfamiliar, Arkansas Twister is located all by itself next to the park's amphitheater.  You have to walk through the entire water park to reach this ride and there aren't any other attractions or food stands near it.


It rained hard for the next 2-2.5 hours.  I was expecting an announcement over the PA saying the park would close.  Because while the rain was supposed to subside in the early afternoon, it was expected to pick back up.  But the park never closed.  They patiently waited out the storm.  And it may have been because the park only got busier as it continued to rain, which goes against everything I've seen visiting amusement parks.  Maybe it's because this park is in Hot Springs, a tourist town?

Eventually, Arkansas Twister started testing and it was a comical sight to see.  The return run has an extremely drawn out camelback that runs parallel to the lift hill.  And I have no clue how an empty train can possibly clear this hill.  If you watch any POV of this coaster, it looks like someone screwed with the video's speed but the train really travels that slowly over this hill.  Even with a loaded train on a rainy day, the hill took 7 seconds to crest.

After several test runs, the ride finally opened and it was pretty forgettable outside of that infamous hill on the return run.  There were a few laterals and maybe 2 hills with weak airtime, but it was mostly a dull and somewhat bumpy coaster.  All of the hills are too drawn out for their own good.  The ride does have a nice setting tucked in the woods though and both the lift and far turnaround give great views.  4 out of 10



With the coasters knocked out, I wanted to hit a few of the park's non-coasters.  And to be honest, this is the park's biggest weakness.  Their flat collection is shockingly bad for a park of this size.  They do not have a single adult spinning flat ride.  For adults, you just have an awesome drop tower, a swinging ship, a Zamperla Hawk, and bumper cars.  The rest of the flats are for the kids.



The park does have a scenic antique car ride though and their log flume looked great too.  Both travel through the woods, but unfortunately the latter was closed in 2020.  That left the only options to get wet (outside of the rain) was Plummet Summit, the awkwardly named shoot the chutes ride, or the Crystal Falls Water Park, which seemed to be the park's biggest draw.




Later that afternoon, the rain returned in full force, but because there was no thunder or lightning, everything continued to run.  So I had plenty of time to get rerides on the coasters.  I mostly rode Big Bad John and X-Coaster, especially since they're right next to each other.  But I did go back to Arkansas Twister to see if it sped up.  It did not.

Magic Springs was a beautiful park and the service was much better than I expected.  I am stunned they stayed open all day to give people their money's worth.  But I don't think I'll be back anytime soon due to the high price and the ride lineup.  If this park ever added a great coaster, I wouldn't hesitate to include this on a Silver Dollar City trip.  But to be honest, I think this park would be best-served focusing on their almost non-existent adult flat ride lineup and expanding their water park.

Fast Lane Entertainment

Magic Springs wasn't the only park I hit in the Razorback State.  I also stopped at Fast Lane Entertainment, an indoor family entertainment center.  This complex was much bigger than I expected.  The primary focus was a giant bowling alley and a modern arcade, but there were a few amusement rides.  The one that drew me in was the Python Pit Miler kiddie coaster.




The ride was your typical kiddie coaster, but it ran a long cycle.  And the ride was in a really weird part of the building.  Most of the complex looks really nice, but this coaster is in the back corner in what looks like a warehouse with some random colored stripes on the wall.


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