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Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:53 am
by coasterbill
Great photos. It's nice to see this park getting so much attention with the addition of Monster.

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:17 am
by Henry M
Monster looks really nice, and it looks to be an excellent improvement on the okay Eurofighter model. Hopefully this park will expand some more and in a few years we will see the addition of a new cool coaster.

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:13 am
by Lightning Rod
Are you planning to make it to Valleyfair?

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:21 pm
by ytterbiumanalyst
Lightning Rod wrote:Are you planning to make it to Valleyfair?

Yes, we spent an entire day there, open to close. More on that later, but first...

Mall of America

Wow, how this place has changed. The last time we were here was in 2007, the year before it became Nickelodeon Universe. Orange Streak and the log flume are still here, but wow has everything else changed! They’ve stuffed rides in every conceivable corner, and created a much improved experience.

One of the best parts about Nickelodeon Universe is that since it’s in a mall, you’re not stuck paying $15 for a crappy cheeseburger. Instead, you can pay $15 for a good cheeseburger (hey, those places have to pay the rent, which isn’t cheap at MoA!).

We bought the combo tickets online with the SeaLife Aquarium run by Merlin. You absolutely need to buy your tickets online; it’s a crazy big discount. Armed with our printout of the confirmation page, we headed to one of the automated kiosks to obtain our tickets. These aren’t normal wristbands that have that sticky-back stuff. These require a sticker, which is provided by the ride op at the first ride you go on.

There were some school groups there on that day, but other than them, the park was fairly empty all day. We made a full round, going on everything we wanted to once, then headed to the aquarium for a break. It was bigger than the SeaLife at the Crown Center in Kansas City; the tunnel was amazingly long, and the sharks and rays are beautiful. We were not able to pet the rays because some of them are pregnant, but on the other hand, I learned that rays can be pregnant. I figured they laid eggs, since they were fish. It’s been an educational experience!

After the aquarium, we moved back to Nick Universe for some re-rides. SpongeBob, TMNT, Shredder, and Jimmy Neutron were the favourites, and my youngest marathoned the carousel. We ended the day with a trip to the LEGO store and a couple of toy stores on the third floor. I didn’t expect that we would be there open to close, but that’s how it happened! This place really does have something for everyone, and it’s such a different kind of place that even those who aren’t into theme parks can have a good time.

Theming: Great theming throughout, especially considering the limited area they had to work with. If you are a kid or have been a kid, you’ll know most of these characters.

Food: Incredible! There’s your standard mall food court, of course, but beyond that the entire 3rd floor south is full of sit-down restaurants, and there are a few others scattered throughout the mall. The question here is what you’d like to eat. If it’s a chain, it’s here.

Service: Above average. Staff were friendly and efficient, and I loved that the ride ops didn’t do any showy “Take 5” or “Scanning” like the ride ops in certain chains. Instead, they just observed the ride areas. We never encountered any guest services or food service people (much, much better food is to be had in the mall).

Water rides: Just the one, but it’s incredible! Probably the best log flume I’ve ever been on. There are several immersive scenes, and the splashes (yes, two of them) lightly drizzle without soaking, which is very important for an indoor ride. Add to it a highly themed queue, and this ride is just incredible.

Flat rides: They have some very good flat rides here. TMNT, Shredder, and Jimmy Neutron’s Atomic Collider were especially fun. If you like flipping, I’m sure Brain Surge is good. I saw many excited people in line for it. I just don’t do flipping like that.

Coasters:

Avatar Airbender – This was much anticipated, as I’ve never been on one of these. It felt like a severely whacked-out Disko, and it was very enjoyable. I only rode it once, as it bordered on too much spinning for me, but luckily it stopped just shy of crossing that line.

Back to the Barnyard Hayride – This is a small powered coaster with no drops. My four-year-old loved it, and she normally will not ride any coasters. Winner!

Fairly Odd Coaster – This is identical to Spinning Dragons, but it fits in much better here. It looks like it was actually designed for this park, with the way it spirals around the pillars and other rides.

Orange Streak – The classic coaster that opened with the mall. It’s not tall or fast, and relies mostly on big sweeping curves. My oldest daughter loved it, since she tends to stick with milder coasters.

SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge – This was my first Eurofighter, and since the only point of reference I have is Monster, it’s maybe a bit unfair. Monster is just head and shoulders above SpongeBob, and that’s saying something. SpongeBob was my favourite coaster in this park by far, and third favourite of the entire trip, behind Monster and Renegade. So, for anyone who is maybe a bit underwhelmed by Eurofighters, go ride Monster. It’s not the same thing at all.

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:49 pm
by coasterferg
Sweet report! Just this past weekend I did a very similar trip. We called it our NebrIowaSota trip. We left Lincoln, NE on Saturday afternoon, hit up Arnolds Park on Saturday night, then Valleyfair and MOA on Sunday and Adventureland on Monday and got home late Monday afternoon. We were planning on hitting up the Iowa State fair and Fun Plex in Omaha too but we decided it was better to end our trip with Monster than a Zyklon or a standard Wild Mouse so we skipped those. Plus I already had the Fun Plex credit. Ended up riding 17 coasters in total. I feel you on the driving too, the flat parts of Iowa are pretty brutal to drive through.

I am a bad coaster enthusiast, I have never even heard of Como Town or that they had a coaster! Otherwise we totally would've hit it up to get a new credit as well.

Monster at Adventureland was awesome. That first drop...oh my! And if you sat in the back left seat, you got thrown all over the place. Loved it, it was my favorite coaster of the trip. Tornado was a bit rougher than I remember, maybe I'm just getting old. Outlaw is still a great coaster that packs a lot of punch in an undersized ride.

Again, nice report!

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:42 am
by laqueefa
Awesome report! Thanks for the great pics.

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:51 am
by GCI Wooden
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Water rides: Just the one, but it’s incredible! Probably the best log flume I’ve ever been on. There are several immersive scenes, and the splashes (yes, two of them) lightly drizzle without soaking, which is very important for an indoor ride. Add to it a highly themed queue, and this ride is just incredible.

Agreed. That thing is awesome. I'd say it's easily the best ride in the park.

Looking forward to more of the TR!

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:06 am
by RCjunkie
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Water rides: Just the one, but it’s incredible! Probably the best log flume I’ve ever been on. There are several immersive scenes, and the splashes (yes, two of them) lightly drizzle without soaking, which is very important for an indoor ride. Add to it a highly themed queue, and this ride is just incredible.

It does help fill the void for locals after they removed The Flume from VF and I am glad NU has this.

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge – This was my first Eurofighter, and since the only point of reference I have is Monster, it’s maybe a bit unfair. Monster is just head and shoulders above SpongeBob, and that’s saying something. SpongeBob was my favourite coaster in this park by far, and third favourite of the entire trip, behind Monster and Renegade. So, for anyone who is maybe a bit underwhelmed by Eurofighters, go ride Monster. It’s not the same thing at all.


Sponge Bob is still fun and I still like it but Monster is Sponge Bob on steroids and that much more fun due to that. Same manufacturer but not even in the same realm for comparison, Monster just blows SB away (as it should considering the cost and size).

Looking forward to your VF TR next.

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:07 pm
by ytterbiumanalyst
Valleyfair!

Valleyfair! had a promotion giving a kids’ ticket plus a meal for $34, which is the same price as my Platinum Pass Bring-a-Friend is, so we picked Wednesday for our visit. At opening, we went to Route 76 and I rode Steel Venom (the only coaster of this entire trip that I couldn’t ride with my kids), while they rode the Tilt-a-Whirl and Northern Lights. Fantastic rides all! That out of the way, we headed to the waterpark for a couple of hours, then made our way from back to front. This seemed to be a good strategy, and we never had a very long wait for anything. Amazingly, some of the rides that we had heard were recently taken apart were back up again, including SuperCat and Wheel of Fortune. In all, it was a very good time, and we stayed from open to close, and really didn’t want to leave when the park was closing. They certainly have some areas that could use improvement, but overall, it’s a very fun place.

Theming: They attempt a little in the old west section around Renegade, but no, there’s really nothing to speak of here. The park is beautiful, though, very well landscaped, and mostly done with paving stones rather than asphalt. You can tell they take pride in it and make it as nice as possible.

Food: They’ve got all the basics covered, and I don’t have any complaints. Chickie’s and Pete’s is great as usual. Minnesota law is kind of weird about alcohol sales, though (and it must be a law and not just Valleyfair!, because it was the same in many different places we bought beer). They take your ID and then quiz you about your address, age, etc. In Missouri, they just check your photo to be sure it’s you, and your age to be sure you’re old enough. That was an odd experience, but hey, whatever keeps the kids from getting drunk on $9 beer.

Service: Very good! I found all employees very helpful, food service, ride operators, shop staff, front gate staff. I was very pleased with everyone’s willingness to help in whatever way I needed.

Waterpark: This is really the only complaint I have about the day. What was in the waterpark was very fun; the highlight was the Raging Rapids slide. That thing is ridiculous amounts of fun. I thought it odd to have a 56” height limit until I rode it. It’s intense, and completely unlike anything I’ve ever done. Don’t get rid of this; it’s amazing!

Hurricane Falls was good, too; pretty standard family raft ride, but you can’t really go wrong with these. There’s only one Zoombabwe, so I can’t complain.

Breakers Pipeline/Plunge was very fun; this is a much-needed addition. It’s a long, long walk up there, but it’s a breathtaking few seconds. I honestly like this one better than Mile High Falls at Kentucky Kingdom. It’s not quite as tall or as fast, and that is a benefit. Mile High Falls was a bit painful, and Breakers Plunge is not.

Panic Falls was underwhelming, and I could see this leaving for a complex like Oceans of Fun’s Predator Plunge/ Sharks’ Revenge, but a bit different design since they already have the drop capsule slides. Mostly they need more tube slides here. Literally the only tube slide is Raging Rapids.

Overall, I love waterparks, but I was done with this one in about 2 hours. They need more for kids, too. Barefoot Beach is a great start, but they need a big play area like Oceans of Fun’s Paradise Falls. That would complete the offerings for kids.

Water rides: Thunder Canyon was a very solid rapids ride. They did a good job of making sure no one leaves dry in any way at all. The ending is especially brutal, with a waterfall over the lift.

The Wave was a solid splash boat as well. I especially loved that it splashed toward the main midway. We had as much fun standing by the fence as we did actually on the ride.

Flat rides: There are several notable ones here. I thought Power Tower was fun, very similar to Cedar Point’s version. Detonator still has the edge, though, with the airtime on the downstroke. Xtreme Swing is great, as Screamin’ Swings always are. Northern Lights, Flying Eagles, SuperCat, and Wheel of Fortune were also fun, and it was good to revisit Monster for the first time since it left Worlds of Fun. We didn’t ride Looping Starship—none of us are fans of that sort of ride—but it is special.

Coasters:

Corkscrew – This is the park’s only looping coaster, and it’s a good one. I experienced no headbanging at all, though my wife did on the second corkscrew.

Cosmic Coaster – Different from its Worlds of Fun counterpart, this one is a powered coaster. The downward helix was fun, and the kids liked it. Not much else to say about that.

Excalibur – If they’re going to take out one coaster, this should be the one. It was fun, but not nearly as exciting as the others. The airtime on the figure 8 was a nice surprise.

High Roller – The classic woodie! If only more children’s areas had a coaster like this! Really puts Worlds of Fun’s Wacky Worm to shame.

Mad Mouse – This is the best mouse coaster! It felt really solid, didn’t have any odd bumps or jolts, and had plenty of lateral goodness. If only they didn’t stack all the cars every lap…. Wow, why bother having more than 3 cars if you’re going to run it that badly?

Renegade – Best coaster of the entire trip. It’s relentless, powerful, fast, and it does not want you in your seat ever. I think I still give the edge to Prowler, but just barely. Wow.

Steel Venom – I love these, and this one was especially cool with the holding brake. Really unnerving in the front seat looking straight down.

Wild Thing – So much fun. The “tunnel” was a little weird, what with its not going underground. I come from the hills, and that ain’t no tunnel. The figure 8 at the end, while not nearly as forceful as Mamba’s helix, was fun nonetheless.

Overall, with the amount of negativity directed toward Valleyfair! on this forum, most of it is completely undeserved. Yes, it would be nice to have a modern looping coaster, but it needs a better waterpark first. That’s the glaring need, and the main thing that keeps this from being a two-day park.

Re: Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
by GCI Wooden
Nice Trip Report! It's always fun seeing other people's perspectives to your home park.

And for Wild Thing's tunnel, I would think that they didn't go underground because of the close proximity to the river, but I really have no idea. I think it adds a fun little element to the ride, though.