Chadster's Vacation Adventures: Final Edition!

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - Credit Whoring!!!

Postby gisco » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:45 am

Wow, I hope you took a shower after those two!

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - WoF Opening Weekend 2011!

Postby chadster » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:17 pm

So this past weekend(4/16-4/17/2011) I took my annual trek to opening weekend at Worlds of Fun in the BBQ city of the midwest, Kansas City, MO. I have been waiting since October to ride PROWLER! and could hardly wait to get to the park. This year I attended Saturday evening which is an add-on for me as I normally only go on Sunday to take advantage of the lighter crowds. The park was packed on Saturday and several of the rides were closed with Prowler being cranky and shut down the last several hours of the night, so no ride for me :( until Sunday!!! :)

The park took a beating over the off-season due to the hellish winter storm that I too experienced. The walkways in areas are crumbling due to all of the moisture under the asphalt and I noticed some plants and shrubbery that had been pulled. Construction on several projects appeared to have been put on the bus to delay town due to the winter weather as well including Planet Snoopy, the GL Carousel, and the new Festhaus. Snoopy was operating only a handful of rides, most of which didn't get moved or touched in the off-season as part of the Snoopy build.

Prowler only had one train, the tubs for the red train were covered up in the transfer area, the chassis however, was MIA. Prowler was also screaming like a school girl (metal on metal for those that didn't translate) on the turn around and S curve. While one would think it just needed some lube, after riding several times in the front, it was clear she was lubed well. Lots of wood replaced on the structure on the turn around, didn't notice any actual track bed that had been replaced, so I have to think the winter was not kind to Prowler either, but, she's just as smooth as when she opened. The screeching and subsequent metal smell helped to scrub off speed on the S curve which was disappointing. I have high hopes they will get that all sorted soon enough as their maintenance staff does a swell job.

Timberwolf was also a one train wonder as per normal on opening weekend, maintenance appeared to be giving it it's annual once over. Thunderhawk (see pictures) was also getting some much needed attention, and was, well, missing a key component to it's operation, the gondola.

Talking with some of the supervisors who have been at the park for a while, I learned a good number of last year's staff moved on to college and other ventures so they were in a learning period, but in general, were picking things up well. While there is bound to be some confusion on policies, procedures and whatnot, the crews were doing well, especially on Patriot. Hardly ever was a train stacked, so kudos to them.

Oh and all the rides appear to have all gotten shinney new orange seatbelts (where applicable), so you will be safe and sound while riding ;)

Despite some disappointments with rides down, you can't fault the park. They've done a helluva job trying to recover from the winter storm, and they took on several large projects in a short period of time. Anyway, I look forward to returning next month to see the GL carousel in place, Snoopy up and running, and Festhaus finished off. Now on to the pics and vid!

Worlds of Fun 4.16.11 001.JPG
Welcome to Worlds of Fun, please note the rules. A few them, I don't totally agree with, such as the need for hot females to cover up bathing suits.
Worlds of Fun 4.16.11 003.JPG
Let's start off with a little construction underway.
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Festhaus is coming along nicely
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This is going to be a nice addition, certianly better than the tent and looks to be able to accomodate a lot of people.
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This is where the classic carousel will go.
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It looks like they are getting really close to bringing in the ride.
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So yeah, there's that. Moving on, how about more construction with Planet Snoopy.
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On the way to check out PS, I spotted this guy holding his average sized monkey.
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Yup, the logs are still flowing.
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Nice fancy new sign, it lights up at night even.
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They didn't do much over to the right. I got to whack the worm (took some convincing). The train and kiddie spin and puke are still over there too.
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Some landscaping is in
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Some is not.
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Most of the rides are in and put together. A few still need some work, but for the most part they are in.
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This is looking far left from entry back towards the outdoor theatre
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The ballons still need their top
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And the monorail type ride still needs, well, a ride station and other components. This going to be a great and much needed addition to the park. Looking Goooood!
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Up up and away!
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So the operating rides are all in my video, the pics focus on stuff that's down or under construction this update, so next up. Thunderhawk, but, what the? it's missing!!!
Worlds of Fun 4.16.11 059.JPG
it's not over here.
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Or here. hmmm. It was cranky alot last year, was closed on each of my visits :( I actually like this ride and look forward to it.
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Random parts. So, it looks like they are doing a major rehab on it, mucho needed. Hopefully it will be in tip top shape. I can only imagine the stress the ride has on the structure and components.
Worlds of Fun 4.16.11 061.JPG
Ahhh, there it is!! all covered up. On of the spinny brakey things was still not attached so one can assume it's getting some TLC. Hopefully it's back up and running soon!
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So taking a stroll around the park I find they still have hairy bananas and new for this year, hairy monkeys
Worlds of Fun 4.16.11 036.JPG
The flying sprem is also still there.
Worlds of Fun 4.16.11 052.JPG
Thanks Worlds of Fun, enjoyed my visit! No, really depsite boomerang being down, I really enjoyed my visit! See you soon!!!

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - WoF Opening Weekend! Pg 7

Postby PAL » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:29 pm

Another nice video. One question: Why is Linus wearing a black shirt?

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - WoF Opening Weekend! Pg 7

Postby chadster » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:53 am

Good question.

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - Sandy Lake Pg. 7

Postby chadster » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:07 pm

I arrived at Sandy Lake Park in Carrollton, Tx on April 23, 2011 around lunch time fully expecting to complete a credit run and depart within 20 minutes. What I found was much more than just a simple credit run. I found a park full of history, lush landscapes, well-kept amusements, and a family atmosphere operated daily by the six park owners, family, and friends. Situated just off the George Bush Turnpike outside Dallas on Sandy Lake Road, this park is extremely easy to get to and will only cost you a $2 per person gate admission taken when you drive in. Today I will take you thru a brief history of the park as told to me by park manager David and his father, one of the six owners, Frank Rush III, mixed with information contained in a book on the history of the park provided and written by Mr. Rush.

While the park existed prior to its purchase by the Rush family, it wasn’t until they leased (and a few years later purchased) the land in 1971, that the park begin to take its shape to become what it is today. The park came with the pool, which has since been modified to a shallower depth, the mini golf course, a few picnic tables and over 100 acres. Upon my arrival I headed to the ticket booth and had a nice conversation with the lady selling tickets that noticed my TPR shirt and directed me to David. I honestly had no intention of talking with any of the park owners, but I am extremely thankful I had the opportunity to do so.

David takes care of the amusements and park operations. He expressed to me that they had found their niche and are quite happy with it. Over the years they have rotated a few rides out and in, and, replaced a few. The park used to own a Trabant, but later sent it packing. They said they have found over the years that rides that involve user interaction tend to have more maintenance issues so they have elected to stay away from those. David also expressed that he was considering adding a few new attractions and was hopeful of the possibility of installed a spinning mouse one day. The park, he said, is very profitable and they host large corporate picnics throughout the year. After a nice conversation he had told me that he had visited TPR a time or two but doesn’t really have time to travel to other parks as during the operating season he’s dedication is to the daily operation of the park. I told him the site itself was owned by Robb and that many of us travel around and write stories (trip reports) of our experiences. He then asked if I’d be interested in a book that his father wrote, more for family history, but it details the history of the park. Without hesitation I accepted. He phoned his father and told me enjoy the park and that they would find me later on.

I was able to ride my first powered coaster, the Dragon Wagon. The Dragon Wagon has a history of itself according to the book. Frank’s father was voted down on the purchase of the ride, which he bought anyway. Placement was an issue, but in the end it was placed in the parking lot where it remains. It was cramped, but I was a trooper, crossed my legs, and enjoyed my first powered coaster.

Next up was the little dipper, a classic as well. Don’t let the size of this ride fool you, it packs a punch over the camel humps. The train was also nice and roomy compared to the dragon wagon.
The park has all of the classics, a newer paratrooper, tilt-a-whirl, spider, rock-o-planes, and pony rides for the kids. What amusement park can you think of that offers pony rides? I can’t think of any that still do that.

The lady at the ticket booth recommended I try out the Pretzel. This is where I met Jeff, who has operated the ride for over 15 years. The Pretzel is a dark ride that came from, guess where, Bell’s Amusement Park. The park purchased the ride about 1983. Frank tells me the ride was on trailers and took him a year to refurbish and repair as it was in bad shape. For all you dark ride enthusiasts this is a must, and Jeff will entertain you with his stories, but watch out, he has a collection of scary masks that we will use on you when exiting the ride. That just adds to the fun.

Frank tells me they do all of their own catering and touts their picnics and catering as using a higher standard than the chains. They recently closed the park to the public for Southwest Airlines where they held their annual company picnic for 5200 people. Yes, 5200 people. I’m told they are one of their top customers and they do whatever it takes to keep them happy. You can rent out their picnic pavilions for private parties, smaller parties can bring their own food or cook out on property, and they will even rent you a grill displayed at the front gate. Once you rent the pavilion, it’s yours the entire day, not for the duration of the lunch. A master BBQ chef prepares their meats which I am told are some of the best in Texas.

Of other note, Funfest, which started over 25 years ago, is starting this week over a 45 day period. Frank said this year they expect over 1400 school bands from across the region competing and judged by industry professionals. These bands will not only receive trophies in their respective categories, but will also receive a written critique from the judges.

Frank autographed his book and asked that I pass it around to those in the TPR family who wish to read it. I will have it on the NE trip, however, it’s already been reserved for at least a portion of the trip. Anyone else who wants to see it can do so as well. Just check page 1 of this thread for a listing of the parks I will be at next.

So to conclude, and before the few pictures I took of this wonderful family park, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The staff and owners make you feel like family. Jeff tells me one family drives from Arkansas each year just to visit the park and this year they had a new addition to their family as he pointed to them walking around. This is a park that you can come, relax, play, not feel pressured, and enjoy an afternoon. But don’t expect to come to the park in the evening, it won’t be open. They elected many years ago not to stay open in the evening as they felt it would attract the riffraff, and so far, so good. Next time you are in town, perhaps to ride the Texas Giant, don’t forget about Sandy Lake, take advantage of the mini golf, and perhaps the pool in season, and enjoy a stress free, nickel and dime free day.

EDIT: A link to the book can be found here
Sandy Lake 4.23.11 002.jpg
Here is Sandy Lake's train. If I recall correctly, they have purchased 6 of these trains over the years, the first train they purchased was underwater after Katrina. I'm told it's since been cleaned up.
Sandy Lake 4.23.11 003.jpg
Rock o Plane
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how about some bumpity bump bump cars
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Dragon Wagon. I'm told at one point they ran this backwards. Insurance and attorney's dictated otherwise many years later.
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The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the, oh wait...
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i thought this kiddie ride was cool, looked to be made of wood, but idk
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Fake horses
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Real Shetland Pony Horses
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See, told you so.
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Time to ride the big boy coaster.
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Lift hill
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They have lots of room, picnic pavillions, and basically everything you would want in a park.
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And finally, we come to the pretzel.
Sandy Lake 4.23.11 049.jpg
Take a spin, ghosts live in there, just ask Jeff.

So that's it from Sand Lake, thanks to David and Frank for their time. I enjoyed my visit and have certianly identified a park that several members of my family will be taking their kids, cousins, and nieces, and nephews!
Last edited by chadster on Sun May 01, 2011 5:54 pm.

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - Sandy Lake! Pg. 7

Postby chrisdanger » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:31 pm

Sandy Lake was and still is the park if your company needs a place for a summer bbq, which btw is some of the best in the area. My moms company used to have them there yearly, so Im quite intimate w/ that pool and The Pretzel!! Thanks man for doing a quick TR on a place I used to spend so much of my childhood at!!

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - Sandy Lake! Pg. 7

Postby PAL » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:10 pm

That train engine looks immaculate. Good BBQ? I'm looking forward to our visit!

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - Sandy Lake! Pg. 7

Postby samisthabomb » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:25 pm

I'm going the day after TGB. Looks awesome! Very interesting history, too. Great TR.
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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - Sandy Lake! Pg. 7

Postby chadster » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:13 am

^^ It's coming sir, just have to make it through these boring classes!

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Re: Chadster's 2011 Trip Diary - Sandy Lake! Pg. 7

Postby RoCo » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:38 pm

Any park with a Pretzel dark ride is an automatic must-do. Awesome. I'll bet this park gets a nice little attendance bump after the NTAG day. ;)
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