Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports Land

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby coasterbill » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:46 am

WolfBobs wrote:Didn't see any mention of Valleyfair's new coaster Delirious. Did you skip it? Did I miss it? Was the line too long without a fastlane?

I had never seen such an utterly unique style of coaster and we were intimidated by it's brilliance so we took a hard pass. Maybe next time I'll work up the courage. :lol:


The second day of the trip was our Mall of America day, which might have been the day that I was most excited about. As it was a Sunday the mall was operating on limited hours from 11-7 but that was fine with us as it gave us an excuse to sleep in a bit after our long day the day before (with a 4am wake up call to catch the flight).

We arrived a little before opening and entered up on the top floor. We weren't exactly sure of the setup but basically the mall is a giant rectangle with 4 levels and the entire center of that rectangle is reserved for Nick Universe. Right as we entered we were greeted with an "aerial view" of the park and I immediately had a tiny bit of regret.

Holy sh*t... it's a theme park... in a shopping mall.

The most striking thing in the park is absolutely Orange Streak. The ride has an insanely long and spread out layout and it basically covers the entire park. Unfortunately for us it was right smack in the middle of a 2 week long refurb and while I initially wrote it off as a skippable family coaster I was sort of kicking myself for it now (though the alternative was visiting on a weekend when the Twins weren't home so I guess it was still the right call).

That aside, the place was still insane and we were pretty excited. One thing I didn't expect was that it was actually a really nice theme park. I sort of assumed that it would be a bunch of rides plopped down on concrete with no real atmosphere aside from the "cool factor" of being in a mall but that's not the case. Everything in Nick Universe is well themed and the park is FULL of trees and vegetation. Evidently the park has over 400 trees that are able to grow because of the glass roof that lets in tons of natural light. You actually get sort of hot in the sun (to the point where some of the ride ops have shade umbrellas) and the park really makes you forget that you're in a mall. The place oozes with atmosphere and I really didn't expect that at all.

After looking over the railing for a bit we finally made our way down and joined the growing ticket line. I don't know much about the park but we sort of figured the best course of action was to start out with the Intamin Halfpipe since by process of elimination an Intamin with multiple launches had to be the most unreliable coaster in the park. That said, after we got our tickets we noticed something a little odd.

We happened to glance up at the Orange Streak platform and we saw a few people walking around up there. Obviously there's nothing surprising about that since they were doing maintenance on it but everyone on the platform was wearing a bright ride op uniform and none of them appeared to be maintenance. We decided to walk over there and noticed a small line forming behind a small chain hanging across the doorway of the entrance building.

Despite the initial excitement we never saw the ride cycle and after 10 minutes or so one of the ops slowly made his way down the stairs. I assumed he was about to explain to everyone who was lining up outside the entrance that the ride was closed for refurbishment but much to our surprise he grabbed the chain, pulled it aside and we all followed him up the stairs. Holy sh*t!

We were a decent way back in the line but the train is enormous so we easily got on the first train of the day. It was a tight squeeze for me but I barely cared, I was thrilled to actually be riding it.

We have no idea why this ride is open but we're so happy it is.

We really enjoyed Orange streak. There's nothing thrilling about it and if anyone shows up in this thread and complains that the ride isn't thrilling enough for them then I hope they step on a Lego because I mean... duh you miserable, awful hypothetical person. That said, it's sort of like the park's unofficial train ride. It goes all over the park and gives you great views of everything, it's a super long ride and there's this cool tunnel thing through the flume that I never knew existed. Orange Streak gets a thumbs up. I don't know why it was open but it ended up operating all day which was a great surprise!

Since we had already shot our plan to hell, we figured the next stop might as well be Rock Bottom Plunge as it was right across from Orange Streak and had absolutely no line. This seemed to be the park's star coaster as it featured multiple inversions and a beyond vertical drop so we were pretty excited at the prospect of riding a respectable looping coaster in the middle of a shopping mall.

The first thing we noticed was that the ride had an adorable entrance sign featuring Spongebob and Patrick barreling towards earth at suicidal speeds. It's kind of weird that the park has so many thrill rides that don't fit the Nickelodeon demographic at all but I mean... we're not complaining.

This park has way more charm than Valleyfair can ever dream of having and it's located in a Mall between a Nordstroms and a Forever 21.

The highlight of this ride is certainly the lift and drop as it takes you within a few feet of smashing through the glass ceiling but at the last second you abruptly change course, plummet back towards earth and you're whole world is turned upsideown. They should call this the "Hillary Clinton Experience".

Please don't talk about politics now. It was a layup of a joke. I voted for her even though she sucks. Chill. lol

While it's easily the roughest Eurofighter I've ever ridden, it was still enjoyable. The drop is great (especially the temperature change up top) and the layout is super fun. We weren't up for an immediate re-ride but we figured we'd come back later on.

Wheeeeeee. The site flipped this 90 degrees for some reason but I sort of dig it.

We had totally thrown this plan out the window earlier but at that point we realized that we had better get over to that launched Intamin just to be safe. As was the case with a lot of things at Nick Universe, the first thing we noticed was the really cool signage and entry area. We hadn't actually seen a train launch all day, but the gate was open so we made our way down into the queue.

This place really blew our expectations away. I can't believe how nice the theming was.

Surprisingly as we approached the ride platform it was actually loading, so I guess it was just a coincidence that we never caught a train earlier. We didn't really expect much from this ride but we absolutely loved it. The cars spin a ton and the launches and pullouts of each hill are really abrupt and forceful. The cliff notes version is that Intamin made it so what should be a glorified swinging ship is somehow awesome even though it has no right to be. I guess we should have expected this. :lol:

This was the sleeper hit of the weekend.

The final coaster of the day was Fairly Odd Coaster which I believe is a Pandemonium clone (though I think it was the original). Generally these rides have super stupid layouts, but it actually makes sense at Mall of America since it's built for the spot that it's in and it's sort of cool to see one of these that's not an aesthetic abomination.

See, look! The layout is the way it is NOT because the ride got run over by a dump truck in transport but because they had to miss a beam. Now I get it!

We ride Pandmonium at Six Flags New England a ton, but you almost never get the chance to ride alone. It had only happened to us once before (during some passholder ERT thing), and when we realized that we were the only two people boarding odd coaster we knew the ride was about to go bullshit.


Generally I find that these types of spinners provide a pretty reasonable amount of spinning, but if you put two people on one side and nobody on the other side that goes entirely out the window. We spun like a motherf*cker throughout the entire course and we were pretty much seeing stars when we finally hit the brakes. For a lot of people that would have been a bad thing, but we thought it was absolutely fantastic.

Alright, alright alright... enough bullshit. We got the stupid credits, now it's time to ride (by all accounts) the best ride in Minneapolis.

If I came up to you and told you that the best ride in Minneapolis was a log flume in a shopping mall you could easily explain that away as "Well, he would say that... it's a log flume and he's an idiot". The reason I was so excited for this ride was that other people were saying it... lots of other people. Aside from a few GCI fanboys it's almost unanimously considered the best ride in the state. I knew we were in for a treat.

A log flume in a shopping mall. What a wonderful world.

I really appreciate the fact that the park made the decision to leave this ride alone when turning the park into Nick Universe. It's pretty much the only ride in the park that didn't get a Nickelodeon overlay but it's so great in it's current state that shoehorning some Nickelodeon crap into it would have been a really unfortunate decision.

As you enter the themed queue you feel like you've stepped into a totally different park. It almost has a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train vibe with the dark cave and interactive games that you can play while you wait. Before you burst out laughing they're not totally comparable but it's the same general idea on a "Shopping mall in Minnesota" budget.

As for the ride, holy sh*t. It's absolutely loaded with cheesy animatronics, tunnels and well themed passageways and features two large drops. I'm a big fan of the first drop as it's hidden from the loading area by a wall but every few seconds you get to hear the sound of screaming riders and a large splash just a few feet away as you prepare to board.

After awhile the ride goes up a lift and ends up level with the second or third level of the mall. It's designed so that you basically float within a few feet of the people sitting at the food court tables and it really interacts well with the rest of the mall (which is obviously by design). It's really weird how one minute you're lost in the theming and another minute you're floating by a Dick's Last Resort and a Hooters.

It's awesome to see things like this

The flume is absolutely great and due to it's location in the middle of a mall it gives you a nice little splash without soaking you. I am kind of entertained by the thought of a ride that soaks you to the bone in the middle of a mall in a place that routinely dips below zero degrees in the winter but obviously that's not how Log Chute rolls and I guess we can all be thankful for that. :lol:

While the park is absolutely loaded with awesome rides and there were plenty more that we wanted to check out we had ridden all of the "must-rides" at that point and decided to check out the rest of the mall. Hot take: This place is huge. There are four main levels. The first two are basically your standard American mall (only huge) aside from the amusement park, Soarin knockoff, American Girl money printing factory and Lego store. The top two mix in different types of things like tourist traps and destination dining, mini golf courses, laser mazes, escape rooms, go kart tracks, comedy clubs, movie theaters and a Crayola Experience. The basement also houses a giant aquarium which offers combo tickets with the amusement park but we'll get to that later...

Yes, he is made out of Legos.

We took a walk through the food court and grabbed lunch at some awesome noodle place and then took a few laps around the mall so we could grab some souvenirs and walk off that lunch. In addition to the usual stores, they know their audience and have a few stores appealing to tourists looking to buy some Minnesota and Mall of America trinkets.

The more you know...

After hitting up the Great American Cookie Company (I can't pass one of these without stopping) and ruining all of that great mall walking we decided it was time to head down to the basement and check out Sea Life aquarium. Unless you're just rushing through I highly recommend doing this as a combo ticket with the mall as it's actually really nice aquarium. Obviously we've heard of Sea Life and I've heard mediocre reviews at best but I was pleasantly surprised. They had a lot to offer for the price.

This is now Brit's favorite mall by default

Doo doo doo doo doo doo (haha your day is ruined now)

Journey on little guy. Yeah... it's no use. Even the Turtle Trek song can't get the baby shark song out of your head. Sorry I did this to you (doo doo doo doo doo doo)

Let's follow up that atrocious display of Photography with this good one (well... by my standards)

The theming and exhibit design was actually really impressive

I would have never expected this aquarium to be so good. They even have an awesome shark tunnel!

Everybody was having a great time at the aquarium

Obligatory shark tunnel photo even though they never come out the way you think they will

Alright Sea Life, it's time to go back to the rides. Later gator.

One cool thing about Mall of America is that (again, despite being in a shopping mall) they've amassed one of the more unique flat ride collections in America and we were just as excited to hit those rides as we were to hit the coasters. The first ride we came across was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell Shock ride which is honestly one of the strangest contraptions I've ever laid eyes on.

What the hell is that?

This was our first experience with these types of rides but basically you sit in a seat with two wings on the side that you can control and use to flip yourself as much (or as little) as you'd like. Unlike a Rock O Plane or something, there's actually a level of skill involved but luckily the mall has a video playing in the queue giving you tips on how to flip it and when to lean certain ways. We were really grateful to have that since otherwise we'd have probably been flailing around aimlessly. It's pretty involved but watching the video for a bit gives you all the information that you really need.

Best ride op panel ever?

We're in no way experts but we managed to flip the hell out of the ride and we had an absolute blast on the thing. I know capacity isn't the best but this ride is a visual spectacle and it's a ton of fun. I don't know why more parks haven't bought these things.

Brit approves (which is no sure thing with a flipping flat ride)

Up next was Ghost Blasters, a ride that seemed to have no connection to Nickelodeon whatsoever and that I didn't even know existed before we walked up on the queue line. The ride is sort of tucked up next to Rock Bottom Plunge and we couldn't help but assume it would suck simply because there doesn't really seem to be enough room for them to fit much track inside. It may be a case of low expectations but this was a solid little shooter. I have no clue how they managed to get that much track into such a tiny space.

What a nice little surprise

Next up was "Brain Surge" which was also a new type of attraction for us. I know that these things have been popping up more and more lately but this was our first encounter with one. It's basically the same concept as the old Knoebels "Looper" ride, but much more modern and comfortable. Rather than being held in by Jesus and a burlap strap, there's an actual respectable restraint which is nice because as much as I love Looper I refuse to ride it now unless it's freezing out and I'm layered AF because hanging upsideown by your upper legs by a repurposed potato sack sucks ass without a bit of padding. :lol:

That said, it also maintains the best part of Looper which is the awesomely fun concept and the incredibly precise controls. You can put yourself in any position you want, creating a ride experience that ranges from "Lamer than Dumbo the Elephant" to a nauseating sh*tshow with 50 consecutive inversions. We went for the latter (with a few quick breaks to just hang ourselves totally upsideown for 10-15 seconds at a time).

This ride is terrific

I won't lie, for the second half of this report I've been winging it a tad. We dipped in and out quite a bit checking out some of the other things the mall offered but the park is easily accessible from everywhere so we often popped in for a ride or two before heading back out. Brit loves her a good mall so I was definitely dragged into more than a few stores along the way but I guess that's more than fair after dragging her on all of this coaster sh*t. :lol:

The Lego store is insane

I'm so happy this thing was open. We came back around for a re-ride later in the day.

I guess you could say we went streaking right in the middle of the mall

The mall is lined with bars which earned a seal of approval from me. PS: This is my spirit animal. I assume he can open beer bottles with his beak.

We took another plunge later in the day

It's not the smoothest, but it's still a blast

It's crazy how much they managed to cram into this place

I wonder if they grew to regret how obnoxiously huge this ride is. It sort of ensures that they would have to spend the remainder of the park's existence trying to figure out how to build things around it but it does make for a really enjoyable ride.

So much awesomeness crammed into this little park

We ended up back here quite a bit throughout the course of the day.


Since we had a wristband we decided to hit the Ferris wheel and while I totally understand it's existence because of it's nonexistent footprint, this is the only ride in the park that I really consider to be a useless piece of garbage and I offer my deepest sympathies to anyone who actually spends money to ride it.

Sorry Dora, I meant "Esta maldita rueda de la fortuna chupa el culo"

So here's the problem...

Since you're in a four level shopping mall you pretty much get an "aerial view" of the park just by walking around. The ferris wheel is right on the edge of the park and basically brings you eye to eye with people standing on the railing by the miniature golf course. The entire point of the ride is the view, and you could get the view by taking the escalator up to Dick's Last Resort. I mean... why? With a wristband I mean... whatever, but who would pay actual money for this? :lol:

The load platform gives you a cool view of Rock Bottom Plunge though

After the wheel of suck we decided to hit the fireball which was running one of the best programs I've ever seen on this type of ride.

After that ride we were down to our last 30 minutes or so before the mall closed so (after raiding the gift shop and buying Brit a stuffed Appa since she's the only one on the planet that liked that live action Avatar Airbender movie) we decided to hit the Avatar ride again and then finish the day with back to back rides on Log Chute.

I know I said this earlier, but these Intamin Half Pipe rides are great. Every park needs one of these.
I love the little details in this place

We had about 15 minutes left at that point and we used it wisely with a few more Log Chute rides. I love flumes but it's rarely where I choose to end my night. Log Chute is spectacularly good though and while the park is full of great attractions it's really the only one that qualifies as a big-time "standout" ride. It's easily the best ride in the park (and the state) and while I'm not sure why they didn't opt to re-brand it with Nickelodeon bullsh*t, I applaud their decision.

Taken from the second level

We knew we would love the mall but Nick Universe blew my expectations away. The rides were great but the level of theming and landscaping was a big surprise. It makes you forget that you're indoors, and if it were an outdoor park I still think it would be my favorite park in the state. I highly recommend it to anyone.

After our second flume ride the park had closed up as did the vast majority of the mall. Thankfully the fourth floor and some of the third floor restaurants remained open for hours after the rest of the place shut down so we could grab something to eat before heading out. With so many things to choose from it was a super tough call...

Kidding, obviously

This Margaritaville is nothing to write home about but we opted to eat there anyway to fulfill my life's mission of giving all of my money to Knoebels and Jimmy Buffet. The mall had tons of great options but I'm not too particular, not too precise.

Sadly I do differ from Jimmy a bit. For one, he's rich. Also, I don't like mine with lettuce or tomato. I can roll with Heinz 57 and french fried potato. I'm iffy on the kosher pickle but not the cold draft beer... that part sounds good and good gold almighty you don't really have to steer, you just take the elevator to the third floor.

PS: Boldikus refers to this as "The stupid cheeseburger song". I don't know why I continue to hang out with that guy.

Up next: More Minneapolis fun!

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby Canobie Coaster » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:07 am

Awesome report!

That Mall is on my bucket list of places to visit. Theoretically that new mall in New Jersey should have some similarities, but I strongly doubt it will have the same woodsy atmosphere. I'm stunned and glad they kept it looking as nice as it did during the Camp Snoopy days.

Lastly, how did they miss the opportunity to theme Ghost Blasters to Danny Phantom? I loved that show growing up and that ride layed it up for them.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:23 am

:lmao: Fantastic report!

Glad you got on Orange Streak! My oldest doesn't usually ride roller coasters, but she loved that one. Something for everyone.

Maybe it's that a giant orange turd was dumped on my city today, but I laughed way too hard at the glass ceiling joke. Spectacularly done.

We also got the combo tickets with Sea Life, and why not? IIRC, they were ony a few dollars more than the NU wristband anyway, plus huge awesome aquarium. It's way bigger than the Sea Life in the Crown Center mall in Kansas City.

That log flume is the best in the Midwest. It's been there since before the Nickelodeon stuff and I'm glad they haven't messed with it.

And of course...Margaritaville. Perfect. :)

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby RCjunkie » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:47 am

Nice trip report. Good to see you like my 'winter' park. ;) Glad you got to ride Orange Streak, it is the 'train' of the park and lets you see it from all angles. Log Chute is the only original ride from Camp Snoopy and it was themed to Paul Bunyan (as you can see his ax in one of your pictures). Why they did not re-theme it I don't know but I am also not complaining. I had a strange feeling you might like this ride. :lol: Having it at NU makes up for VF removing their Flume ride. Airbender is not down a lot but I would say it lives up to it's Intamin reputation and is down more than any other ride there though.

coasterbill wrote:...because of the glass roof that lets in tons of natural light. You actually get sort of hot in the sun (to the point where some of the ride ops have shade umbrellas) and the park really makes you forget that you're in a mall. The place oozes with atmosphere and I really didn't expect that at all.

And believe it or not because of all that glass that is tilted at the right angles also allows MOA to be heated that way. There is not one heater in the place as crazy as that sounds. It is warm even when it is 20 F degrees below zero. "The more you know." :lmao:

And for the six people that care..... I want to give a little background to the picture of that red chair on the wall of NU that you said you 'like to see things like this". MOA sits on the former site where Metropolitan stadium (The Met) was for the Twins and Vikings to play in. To commemorate that they marked the longest home run hit at the park and 'left' the chair in the stands where it was hit too. They also marked the home plate which is over by Sponge Bob so you can see how far it was hit.
A shot of home plate near Sponge Bob.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby PKI Jizzman » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:16 am

Ahhhhyeah, you finally got to check out the flume! Glad you like it, and glad you got on Orange Streak. The place is seriously as modern engineering marvel, every theme park fan needs to check out MoA.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby boldikus » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:31 am

Super awesome update. I might have been a little embarrassed to say this park is near the top of my list. It looks so fun and this fab report just made me want to go there even more. And the missus lives to shop so she'll enjoy the mall its attached to.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:02 pm

Don't be embarrased by that! My wife and I went here before we had kids and a couple of years ago based an entire trip around it just so we could bring the kids. It's a fantastic place. And I absolutely hate malls and do everything I can to avoid them. This one's great. If the New Jersey mall ends up like this one, you'll love it.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby bluestreak » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:19 pm

That Ninja turtle ride is one of, if not the best flat I've ever ridden. It's absolutely amazing. Glad you had a great time!
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby CaptainUnknown » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:09 pm

That log flume is a national treasure. I knew you'd love it.

Canobie Coaster wrote:Lastly, how did they miss the opportunity to theme Ghost Blasters to Danny Phantom? I loved that show growing up and that ride layed it up for them.

Because for whatever reason, the Falling Star got themed to Danny Phantom. The Fireball replaced it.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby anonymouscactus » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:29 pm

Wow. Great report. I had no idea the park had all of that theming and awesomeness rolled into it as this is the first report and photos I've seen of it. Very cool.


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