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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

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Wonderland in Amarillo, Texas was a park that had always been on my radar.  While the park didn't have any award-winning coasters, the park did win the prestigious Golden Ticket Award Park of the Year in 2009.


I'm not kidding.  It actually won that award.


All kidding aside, I genuinely wanted to visit Wonderland since the park had a very weird collection of rides.  This park should be called Hopkins-Land.  The park owners installed a Hopkins Sky Ride in the 1970s and it was the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship for both sides.  When Wonderland wanted to install a log flume a few years later, they wanted a more affordable option than the Arrow models.  So they approached Hopkins, who agreed to build the park a log flume.

The Big Splash Log Flume was the prototype log flume for Hopkins and it would go on to be the company's most successful model.  Big Splash has a relatively simple layout, but without this ride, the log flumes I grew up riding in Northern New England may not exist.  This flume also has a weird quirk.  The logs often stall out on the elevated section leading up to the final drop, so the employee monitoring the drop had to manually pull every other drop along.  5 out of 10


Hopkins also delivered the park's signature attraction in 1985, Texas Tornado.  The story is that the park approached Hopkins at an industry event to build them a roller coaster.  Hopkins sketched the initial design on a cocktail napkin and the company's prototype coaster required some onsite modifications.  This is why the loops have such a bizarre appearance.

It's important to visit Wonderland on a busy day.   I intentionally visited on a weekend. Texas Tornado requires at least half the train to be filled, which can be problematic if you visit on a weekday.  Wonderland is open just 7-10 pm most weekdays, which makes it challenging to ride Texas Tornado between the short hours and reduced crowds.

Texas Tornado has PTC trains for a steel coaster, which is odd, but this ride tracks much better than you'd expect.  This coaster has no airtime, but it has some intense positive Gs.  Hopkins designed the drops on this coaster backwards.  Most drops have tight starts and more gradual pullouts.  Hopkins reversed this.  So you get slammed with heavy Gs on every pullout.  You also get some crazy Gs on the vertical loops as well.  The coaster does crawl atop most of the hills, but if you love positive Gs, this ride is for you.  8 out of 10




Hopkins also provided the Pipeline Plunge water slide you can see in the above image.  This was their prototype water slide.  The slide itself is just ok.  My favorite part of the slide was the views it offered of Texas Tornado and the back half of the park.  5 out of 10



The park also has three other Hopkins prototype water rides.  You have the first shoot the chute with two across seating.  This made the ride more compact.  You also have the Rattlesnake River Rapids, the company's first river rapids ride.  Unfortunately, both these attractions were closed.  It was a bummer on a day when the temperature approached 100 degrees.


Thunder Jet Racers was open, but I skipped this one.  It's an Aqua Drag attraction targeted towards kids.  A jet of water shoots dinghies down a straightaway.  I grew up riding the one at Santa's Village, so I knew what the ride experience was like.


The last Hopkins prototype is Skyrider, not to be confused with Sky Ride.  Skyrider is a monorail that circles around the front half of the park.  It gives some great views of the log flume and Cyclone wild mouse.


Speaking of Cyclone, it was a really neat and rare Miler wild mouse.  This ride has no restraints.  It feels like you're riding in a padded bath tub.  This means you really get thrown around on the ride's hairpin turns, especially since the wheels are set quite a bit back from the front of the cars.

The ride doesn't really offer any airtime, but the laterals are great and the ride is smoother than you'd expect.  It's just a bummer more Miler wild mice weren't built since they're among the best of the genre.




Cyclone should not be confused with Mouse Trap, the park's Pinfari Zyklon.  I originally wasn't too excited for Moues Trap, but this ride had some crazy airtime on the first two drops if you rode in the back car.  This Zyklon has 3 car trains and loose lap bars, so it generates a lot of power on those first two drops.  The rest of the ride is uneventful, but I kept riding it for those two drops.  6.5 out of 10


The last operating coaster was Hornet, an odd Vekoma coaster that previously operated indoors at Boblo Island and Mayan Mindbender.  Wonderland put the ride outdoors, so the slow twisted layout is quite odd.  The ride was smooth; it was just dull, as it never built up any speed.  3 out of 10


The park also had a SBF Visa spinner called Spin-O-Saurus.  These rides are everywhere now and they're extremely reliable from what I've seen.  However, this one has yet to operate since it has been waiting for a part per the park.  Maybe it will finally open in 2021?


Beyond the coasters and Hopkins prototypes, you had a really interesting dark ride in Fantastic Journey.  Unfortunately, this ride was restricted to just one ride even with the highest tier wristband, which is a shame since it's a great ride.  It feels similar to Waldameer's Wacky Shack in terms of the ride system and aesthetic.  And there were one or two very effective jump scares.  8 out of 10


The park's best non-coaster was Drop of Fear, one of the most intense drop towers I've ridden.  This one is a rare adult Moser tower and you drop like a rock.  It's just a hair less intense than an ARM/Larson tower.  The drop is gut-wrenching and delivers some great floater airtime the whole way down, especially since the OSTRs were rather loose.  9 out of 10

This tower also felt a bit sketchy between those OSTRs and this odd operational policy.  After each cycle, the operator would unload the carriage and lock the restraints before loading guests.  The operator would then climb atop the seat and yank the ride's cables and catch car with their bare hands.  They would then unlock the restraints and load guests.  Has anyone ever seen a ride operated like this before?  I included a video of this since I couldn't believe it


Texas Intimidator was another rare flat.  This is a Moser Action Flipping Arm and it is a very disorienting ride.  The ride had a lot of downtime; it kept getting stuck when it tried to lower.  But I was able to ride it once and it offered a mix of fast flips and drawn out flips with hangtime.  9 out of 10


The park also had a rare Huss Rainbow.  I loved the one at Great Escape when I was younger.  And the one at Lake Winnepesaukah was great too.  Both those ones delivered incredible sustained airtime.  The one at Wonderland was run slower, so while there was no airtime, the ride still delivered some nice laterals.  6 out of 10


One of the other underrated attractions at Wonderland is the park's classic miniature golf course.  This one is loaded with obstacles and this is the type of course I enjoy.  It's not only the best mini golf course I've found inside a theme park, but it's one of the best mini golf courses I have done anywhere.




The final odd thing about this park is when the 10 pm closing time hit, the park immediately cut out the music and turned off most of the lights in the park.  It transformed the park from a lively place to feeling like a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Wonderland is off the beaten path for most coaster trips.  It required a 4 hour sidetrip each way to visit after Frontier City.  And I think it's 5.5-7 hours from the major parks in Texas, but I'm glad I visited this park since it has such a weird ride lineup. 



Park Entrance.JPG

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as you note, Hornet was the "Mayan Mindbender" at Astroworld.

while it's not near as fun when it was an indoors dark coaster (it was housed in a giant Mayan Pyramid at Astroworld), it's still wonderful it's one of only a couple of Astroworld rides that still exist and can be ridden (the only other one that's operating is Superman at SFStl - which was Dungeon Drop at Astroworld).   

So just for the historical purposes, it's great you got a ride on it.

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^ People are posting Superman Tower of Power was removed from the Six Flags St. Louis website.  When I was there last year, it was only running one or two sides, so it seemed to be having some trouble.  I'm wondering if that's one of the 15 rides Six Flags is removing.

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38 minutes ago, Canobie Coaster said:

^ People are posting Superman Tower of Power was removed from the Six Flags St. Louis website.  When I was there last year, it was only running one or two sides, so it seemed to be having some trouble.  I'm wondering if that's one of the 15 rides Six Flags is removing.

Cant' say who as don't wanna get anyone in trouble. . .

but I queried someone who would know, and the response was:  "at the moment (as of staff training this pas weekend) it's SBNO, but apparently whispers from someone in park maintenance is that the plan is it will be removed :( )



really glad I got to ride it when at SFStL in 2019

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3 hours ago, cfc said:

The loops of the Texas Tornado do, indeed, look a bit "off." But Hopkins's rides always look odd to me.

The loops on both this ride and Desert Storm are bizarre.

12 minutes ago, PKI Jizzman said:

Catching up on this thread, great stuff! Thanks for writing! 

Glad you enjoyed it!

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Six Flags Over Texas

Six Flags Over Texas is the original Six Flags park and it's also one of the best parks in the chain.  Not only does it have a strong ride lineup, but I think it's among the prettier parks with its abundance of trees and better than usual theming.  The park also tends to run their rides at their maximum capacities.

My one issue with the park in the past has been the rule banning single riders from the back row.  There haven't been many good things caused by covid, but one silver lining is that Over Texas suspended this rule and I hope it never returns.  It was great being able to ride New Texas Giant and Shock Wave to my heart's content in the back row.



Typically, I get a large chunk of my photos at Over Texas from atop the Oil Derrick observation tower.  When I approached the ride it was closed.  An employee informed me someone jumped off the top (no seriously, the employee actually said that as a joke) before saying it was closed due to it being converted into a Christmas Tree for Holiday in the Park.

So most of my photos came from the hotels I visited around the park.  I got some really neat angles of Titan and New Texas Giant.






Great Escape dictated my first stop at Over Texas.  I have visited Great Escape almost a dozen times over the past two decades.  And I have only been able to ride Alpine Bobsled on three visits.  The ride is usually closed due to rain (either that day or the days prior), mechanical issues, or noise and if by some miracle it opens, it's a ticking time bomb until it breaks down.  It's at the point Great Escape lists the ride as closed by default on the app and at the main entrance even if it actually is open.

Meanwhile, I have never seen La Vibora closed in any of my visits to Great Escape.  Not even for a brief breakdown.  I do prefer Alpine Bobsled for a few reasons.  That one feels wilder because of the heavier bobsleds and I prefer the two abreast seating.  If you aren't careful on La Vibora, your legs can get smacked by the side of the train.  I found a way to ride this comfortably by jamming my feet into the side of the bobsled.  While this one isn't as fast as Alpine Bobsled, it's still cool riding in a trough that large.  Especially since it's a rare thing for me.  5 out of 10




I also got to see an operational ABC Tourbillon.  Cyborg at Great Adventure was closed for almost the entire year.  It finally opened towards the end of the year and unceremoniously broke again almost immediately.  I actually enjoy these rides if they never stop flipping, and the one at Over Texas did just that.


The most problematic ride to experience at Six Flags Over Texas in all my visits has been Mr. Freeze.  And it was no different in 2020.  The ride had some minor hiccups throughout the day, but I was able to get three consecutive rides at night before it closed again.  The ride is short, but intense.

I think the launch is actually the tamest part of the ride, but it's still pretty good.  My favorite part is the mindbending inverted top hat.  That element starts with crushing positive Gs, switches to giving an upside-down pop of airtime, and then lays on even more positive Gs.  The pullouts and overbank deliver even more Gs and the vertical spike delivers some great weightlessness.  8.5 out of 10

I also never noticed the dilapidated Mr. Freeze statue adjacent to the operating booth until my most recent visit.  That statue looks like it was hit with Joker gas.




New Texas Giant may have been the original RMC, but it's still a very good roller coaster.  It has a few extremely strong ejector airtime hills mixed in with some overbanks and floater airtime hills.  It may be the tamest RMC, but its length and abundance of airtime still makes it the best ride in the park.  It's really impressive this was a prototype and it's impact on the industry and the top 10 lists of enthusiasts cannot be overstated.  8.5 out of 10





Shock Wave is a close second.  This is my favorite Schwarzkopf in America (until Indiana Beach opens Quimera).  The drops deliver some shocking ejector airtime in the back row and the vertical loops deliver the powerful positive Gs you'd expect from a Schwarzkopf.  And this coaster still runs like a dream after all these years.  9 out of 10

Sorry for the blurry windows, but I don't think the hotel cleans the hallway windows as frequently as the rooms.




I made the foolish decision to wait until after dark to ride Judge Roy Scream.  The coaster is a pain to find by day and near impossible at night.  You have to go up a hill around the backside of Sky Screamer and go under the road.  All that for an old wooden coaster!

Judge Roy Scream is mostly uneventful, but the first camelback and final speed hill deliver shockingly strong pops of airtime.  I don't remember the ride giving airtime like that in my prior rides.  The coaster is definitely bumpy on wheel seats, but it's very ridable if you avoid those.  6 out of 10




Runaway Mountain had a Christmas overlay, but I honestly wasn't a fan of it.  The overlay caused the show building to be illuminated just enough that it spoiled the layout.  The coaster was still fun though as it was very smooth and I love the demonically twisted fourth drop.  6 out of 10


Runaway Mine Train is the original Arrow mine train.  The ride has a great setting in the woods.  The first 2/3 is sort of jerky, but the ride travels so slowly you can properly brace yourself.  And I love this coaster's finale.  You travel up a lift hill in a saloon and the final drop delivers some surprising ejector airtime if you're in the back car.  6 out of 10


I also made sure to ride Batman.  Yes it's a clone, but it's a great clone.  This one rattled pretty badly in 2018, but it was running much more smoothly in 2020 with all the usual forces.  8 out of 10



Titan is the tallest and fastest coaster in Texas.  While it doesn't provide the airtime I typically expect from a hypercoaster, Titan does deliver strong positive Gs and have a good sense of speed until you come to a full stop on the mid-course brake run.  6 out of 10

Titan 2nd Half (Aerial).JPG

Titan Drop (Iso).jpg

Titan Turnaround (Far).JPG

Beyond the coasters, Over Texas has a strong non-coaster lineup.  I skipped most of them this visit in favor of re-rides on the coasters, especially since they often had longer lines.  Six Flags Over Texas is a great park.  While it's only the second best Six Flags park in Texas, that's not fault of Over Texas.  That's more a testament to how amazing Fiesta Texas is, but I'll go into more in my next report.



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I love the Six Flags parks in Texas.  We did a trip two years ago and hit up both parks for Holiday in the Park.  The original RMCs are still two of my favorites (I-Rat is just outside my top 10) and each park has a lot to offer.  Thanks for your report, looking forward to your thoughts on Fiesta Texas.

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22 minutes ago, grsupercity said:

I love love love the G's Tian's first helix makes. Glues my arms down. Very fun park. You had some very nice photos taken from the top of the oil derrick. Thanks for another nice write up  

Those were actually from the nearby hotels since Oil Derrick was closed.

4 minutes ago, VegasBaby said:

I love the Six Flags parks in Texas.  We did a trip two years ago and hit up both parks for Holiday in the Park.  The original RMCs are still two of my favorites (I-Rat is just outside my top 10) and each park has a lot to offer.  Thanks for your report, looking forward to your thoughts on Fiesta Texas.

Iron Rattler is still one of my favorites.  I much prefer it to New Texas Giant.

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30 minutes ago, DoinItForTheFame said:

I love you TR’s!! Thank you for always sharing! And I love that you took the time to go to nearby hotels to get us unique views of coasters. Thank you for that! 😁

Thank you!  I had to stay somewhere.  I just chose rooms with a view.

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1 hour ago, grsupercity said:

When we did Over Texas we stayed at a hotel across the street from Judge Roy Scream. The place also had good views and Texas shaped waffle makers lol

I didn't bother going to the breakfast area since it was packed.  I get enough food with my meal plan.

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Nice report. Mr. Freeze was the star of the show when I visited in December 2019. I was expecting it to be good, but it blew me away. It's right up my alley in terms of coasters I tend to prefer.

Texas Giant and Shock Wave are also excellent as well. I found the rest of the lineup to be a bit "average," but the overall park experience impressed me quite a bit (since it was during HITP). I can't wait to visit again - potentially this June.

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16 hours ago, cfc said:

I like this park a lot. It's hard to beat a lineup that has New Texas Giant, Shockwave, and Mr. Freeze.

I agree.

12 hours ago, thrillseeker4552 said:

Nice report. Mr. Freeze was the star of the show when I visited in December 2019. I was expecting it to be good, but it blew me away. It's right up my alley in terms of coasters I tend to prefer.

Texas Giant and Shock Wave are also excellent as well. I found the rest of the lineup to be a bit "average," but the overall park experience impressed me quite a bit (since it was during HITP). I can't wait to visit again - potentially this June.

Thanks!  While there is a dropoff after the standouts, I think the supporting coasters are so diverse that they compliment the elite rides well.

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