I knew I wanted to take a Memorial Day weekend coaster trip to visit Six Flags Great America and Holiday World. The question was what park to hit on the third day. Originally I was planning on hitting Six Flags St. Louis, but that park lacked a true destination coaster for me. It had several good coasters, but nothing with the allure of Shivering Timbers. I openly admit that I made the side-trip entirely for Shivering Timbers so if it were closed (which could have very well happened based on their other coasters as I'll get into), I would have cried enough tears to fill Lake Michigan. This isn't like Dollywood where the park has other great coasters to compensate for the top attraction being down. Was Shivering Timbers worth the drive? Yes.
Michigan's Adventure is unanimously considered the red-headed stepchild of the Cedar Fair chain. While every other Cedar Fair park seemingly gets a new ride every year, Michigan's Adventure goes years without new attractions and those attractions added aren't exactly things you'd save up for. The last 3 additions were the flyers in 2013, bumper boats in 2010, and a used SLC in 2008. Michigan's Adventure is probably due for the Knott's Boomerang next knowing their luck. Fortunately, I was able to enjoy a few of their rides installed before Cedar Fair purchased the park.
Despite the lack of attention this park gets, it's very clean like the other Cedar Fair parks. I also like how the lake is the centerpiece of the park. However, operations were notably worse at Michigan's Adventure. Stacking was common-place on the two coasters with multiple trains (Shivering Timbers and Thunderhawk). Then the other major coasters all ran just one train which led to painfully slow moving lines. Thankfully being Michigan's Adventure, even on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend the park wasn't that crowded. Everything was a walk-on except Corkscrew which was a 2 train wait and Wolverine Wildcat which was a 30 minute wait. The water park looked like the big draw for the park, but I skipped it due to time.
Several coasters were down for part or all of my visit which made getting the credits tricky. Upon arrival about an hour after opening, I was greeted with Corkscrew, Mad Mouse, and Zach's Zoomer all being down. Thank the heavens Shivering Timbers wasn't one of them. Corkscrew opened around 1; Zach's Zoomer opened around 3:30; Mad Mouse was cycling test trains with water dummies when I left around 4. Earlier in the day the workers were pulling a train through the Mad Mouse's course. Ultimately I got on all of the coasters but Mad Mouse.Shivering Timbers
- This is easily one of the most imposing coasters around because of how it towers over the empty parking lot with wooden hill after hill. The layout looked tantalizing in photos over the years and seeing it in person did not disappoint. My first ride was in the back and it was a very good 9/10 ride. The drops alternated between mild floater air and strong floater air. The turnaround had pretty good laterals and the final helix had absolutely bonkers laterals. The ride was relatively smooth too. Then I rode in the front seat and that was the money seat. The airtime over each hill was relentless and the ride maintains its speed like my favorite woody in Boulder Dash. I just wish the PTC lap bars didn't staple me down quite as much, which is the one thing keeping it out of my top 5 woodies. If I ever return to Michigan's Adventure, this will likely be the reason and the ride is as good as its reputation suggests. 10 out of 10Wolverine Wildcat
- Having not heard much about Shivering Timbers's little brother, I went in expecting a dull and possibly rough ride. I rode in the 2nd to back row and was pleasantly surprised by the Phoenix wannabe (complete with everything including the tunnel at the start). In no way was the airtime comparable to Phoenix, but the coaster was smooth and about 4 or so hills had nice pops of air, highlighted by the double down. I would have ridden it a second time, but I couldn't justify waiting for it again when I could get 3 rides on Timbers in the same time frame. 7 out of 10Zach's Zoomer
- The drop-off from Wildcat to the park's third best coaster is immense. Because of its smooth ride, Zach's Zoomer was my third favorite coaster in the park, which is a testament to how poor the steel coasters are at this park. It's a smooth junior woodie, but really nothing special. I think one of the hills gave a pop of air, but that was about it. 4 out of 10Thunderhawk
- I had heard on the park forum that Thunderhawk was the smoothest SLC. Having ridden it, I can agree that it tracks the best. What that equates to is a 3/10 ride instead of a 1/10 ride
While the head-banging isn't as brutal as other SLCs, it still isn't an enjoyable coaster for me. I really need the vest-restraints on a SLC in order to enjoy these coasters. If Michigan's Adventure got those style trains, this would be my favorite SLC. Without them, it's a pretty looking invert that bashes you in the head with a rattle instead of a hammer like other SLCs. 3 out of 10Corkscrew
- I went in expecting a ride similar to Canobie's Corkscrew. In some ways, it was true. The first drop had a nice pop of air and the corkscrews weren't overly brutal. So why the low score? The trains. Canobie's trains have plenty of leg room for me. These trains were extremely tight and even though I'm a skinny guy, I could barely get the restraint down since my knees were pointing upwards. 3 out of 10Big Dipper
- The looks I got from the other kids riding this was priceless, but it's all part of being a coaster whore. As far as kiddie coasters, this one was reasonably smooth and a bit taller, but let's not get excited. It's not a kiddie coaster at Knoebels. 2 out of 10
The only non-coaster I rode was the wet/dry water slide HydroBlaster. The slide was reasonably fast and managed to not drench me which is what I was looking for. The flume had a full queue when I passed it, so I unfortunately had to skip it. Grand Rapids looked like a very well themed river rapids ride and the name is perfect for the park, but I didn't want to get bombarded with waterfalls considering I had a long drive after leaving to Indiana Beach.
Michigan's Adventure is an easy park to pick on, but it is a decent park buoyed entirely by the awesomeness known as Shivering Timbers. If it were a local park, I'd definitely visit it at least once a year. However, as a park really out of the way from enthusiasts, I can't see myself returning until the park adds a great second coaster to compliment Shivering Timbers.