Awesome! Lake Winnie really is a good park. Good move going to the boat chute first. I had the same experience with Cannon Ball; apparently it's fairly normal for it to open later than the other rides.
When I was there last year, the Fly o Plane never opened at all, and had been closed for some time. Not surprised it was removed. Genie is a decent replacement, certainly less unique but fits the park well.
And yeah. Conestoga. Holy sh*t. I think that ride has ruined all flying carpets for me. Knoebel's 1001 Nachts is really great, but Conestoga eats it for lunch.
That makes sense the Cannon Ball often opens late considering I saw them doing a track walk during the park's first operating hour. The buzz bar issues weren't something they expected though. It's odd they wouldn't open their star attraction right at opening considering everything else around it opens right away.
This is one of the rare times Knoebels has been outdone on a flat. 1001 Nachts is a pretty poor version of a flying carpet in my opinion due to those restraints. Ouch!
Alabama Splash Adventure I planned to meet up with a longtime friend in Birmingham. Originally the plan was to hit Alabama Splash Adventure together, but that plan changed in favor of the more mainstream tourist activities in the area. However, I wasn’t going to miss out on an acclaimed CCI wooden coaster, so I made a pit stop on the way.
It was hot. It was humid. But I wasn't here for the water park.
With limited time, I was hopeful the ride side wouldn’t be too crowded. I knew Labor Day weekend would be a boon on crowds, but the weather was on my side as the almost 100 degree weather kept 80% of guests on the water side. The ride side was far from deserted. But I didn’t have to wait more than 2-3 trains for the coasters.
Most people were on the water side and I don't blame them one bit.
I've never seen an aquatic ropes course before. What a cool concept!
Three things immediately jumped out at me within 5 minutes of being in the park. One, the staff was incredibly friendly. I attribute that directly to ownership by the Koch family. Two, the park was very bright and vibrant. Not only did the rides and buildings all seem to have fresh coats of paints, but the color choices were designed to really stand out. Take three of their new-for-2018 rides as an example. Three, the park found a creative way to salvage defunct attractions. They’ve scattered these vehicles throughout the park to serve as kid-friendly benches. Awesome idea!
Rather than let some of the old rides rot, they re-purposed them as random seats throughout the park.
Like La Ronde, Alabama Splash Adventure also added a new-for-2018 Tilt-a-Whirl.
But unlike La Ronde, they actually delivered all the new attractions they promised. Here's the Yo-Yo.
This may be the brightest scrambler out there. Also a new for 2018 addition.
My first stop was undoubtedly going to be Rampage. Most of the dry rides are targeted towards younger riders, but Rampage is the big exception. You can’t really see the coaster until you approach it due to all the park’s trees, but the roar can be heard throughout the park. Then once you see Rampage, it looks really imposing since it’s situated on a hillside in the back of the park.
Two roads diverged on a Main Street. And sorry I could not travel both. And be one traveler, long I stood. And looked down at Rampage and went that way.
Rampage absolutely towers over everything on the ride side.
For my first ride, I rode in the front row next to a gentleman working with the park to film some POVs for YouTube. After a 5 minute delay and the application of an entire roll’s worth of tape, we were off and the coaster was good. Though I’m not going to lie, I was slightly let down. The first half was the perfect balance of laterals and airtime, but the second half (while fast) was considerably tamer and missing air.
I then tried Rampage in the back and it was a whole different animal. It was completely untamed back there. That first drop is incredible. The airtime was as strong as Raven’s 5th drop. But without stopping, Rampage zooms around a minimally banked, low-to-the-ground turn that dishes out some powerful laterals. It’s remarkable how smooth this maneuver is considering how aggressive it is.
The following camelback delivered strong sustained airtime much like it did in the front row. That’s followed by a decent turnaround mixing some mild laterals and a nice pop of air. The next hill’s slope offered a solid pop in the front, but the slope was too gradual to offer any air for back row riders. It’s ok because the following turnaround has an incredibly abrupt pullout and absolutely slams riders to the side of the train. Then there’s another awesome, air-time filled camelback and I discovered why Rampage is a back row coaster.
The final two turnarounds don’t offer any air in the back, but the two drops off of them are very steep and offer outstanding ejector air for back row riders. When we hit the brakes after my front row ride, I was content. When we hit the brakes after such a wild back row ride, I was amped up. So much so that I forgot about that sneaky drop after the brake run. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s another nice moment of laterals.
Rampage really is a great wooden coaster. I went in expecting an airtime heavy out-and-back coaster, but instead I was treated to a masterful blend of airtime and laterals. Maybe I would have appreciated a follow-up ride in the front row more, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the back row. 9 out of 10
Rampage's first drop is awesome, particularly in the back row.
Rampage is everything that CCI did right. It's a great mix of airtime and laterals.
It's one wild ride. Hence the chains.
After a mini Rampage marathon, I hit Centi-SPEED on the way out. Having ridden Lake Winnie’s dull Wacky Worm earlier in the day, I was expecting another snoozefest. But something was different about this one. It actually had some speed. So much so, that the final turn had laterals rivaling those of Rampage. There were only two laps and it didn’t do much else, but still that was a surprisingly good moment on a kid’s coaster. 4 out of 10
Centi-SPEED. Speed is in all caps because of the blistering 10mph top speed.
I wish I had another hour at Alabama Splash Adventure to get a few more rides on Rampage. That really is the only reason for coaster enthusiasts to visit this park. The park seems to be expanding at a calculated and measured pace, so I’m excited to see what comes to this park in the future. They have the star attraction, the infrastructure, and the service, they just need more attractions on the dry side.
Thank you for saving Rampage.
Alabama Splash Adventure is only 15-20 minutes from Birmingham, so you can easily explore Alabama’s largest city. We didn’t want to stay out after sunset, but we did have enough time to see the world’s largest cast iron statue, the Kelly Ingram Park celebrating the civil rights movement, and grab some delicious fried chicken. Unfortunately Sloss Furnaces closed ridiculously early, but that’s something I can look forward to in a future visit.
When I heard it was a Vulcan, I was hoping it'd be Spock.
^ I tend to prefer standalone water parks over attached water parks. It's far easier just to walk into the park in my bathing suit than to have to rent a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo (usually on the water side), retrieve it before the water side closes, and then lug the bag around. I especially am not going to sacrifice time at such a large park like Cedar Point.
That being said, because of the weak dry offerings outside of Rampage, I probably would have spent time in the water park if I had more time. Rampage alone is worth the visit.
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