You all didn't really expect me to write 13 trip reports did you? Even I'm not that crazy. For everyone who didn't know about this trip, here's the story behind the insanity: Rob (Robodud) and I were invited to his cousin's wedding in Denver. We didn't want to spend the money to fly out there and back for just a couple days, so we decided to make a road trip out of it. Coincidentally, there happens to be quite a few parks between Ohio and Colorado.
Thus our mind-boggling coaster trip was born. Some criticized us and said we were crazy, others supported us and cheered us on, but we're proud to say that we each made it through this past week in one piece and had a blast in the process.
Here's a rundown of the parks we visited and some key points from each, as well as a short list of our favorite and least favorite parks. (Disclaimer: keep in mind that these are my opinions and experiences, so if you have a problem with it just stop reading this, don't take things personally, and keep nasty comments to yourself). Thank you, and enjoy.
Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom:
We headed here with an open mind, but I'm sorry to say that SFKK was a let down. Many areas of the park were dirty and smelled bad, and although there was close to nobody there the day we went, running one train on almost all the coasters meant long lines anyway.
Chang: one train, half hour wait, but I really enjoyed the ride. The second half wasn't all that intense, but the lack of a trim on the drop *cough cough: Mantis* really improved the first few elements. One question: how does a coaster running one train manage to stack? Chang's crew managed to dazzle us many times with their stacking abilities.Later we asked for and received glasses of free water, but only after being instructed by the food stand employee "Y'all keep them cups, ya hear? We ain't got many left."
Twisted Twins was the major disappointment for me: only Lola was open, and we both felt it was rough, forceless, and very un-CCI-like. Thunder Run was the surprise of the day. We rode seat 2-2 and got some great air and laterals, and it wasn't rough. We only ended up staying a couple hours, but after counting many mullets, we dubbed the place "Hillbilly World" and headed for Holiday World.
Holiday World was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. The live entertainment was awesome, the coasters were amazing, and the employees were some of the friendliest people I've ever encountered at a park. The park was hit hard by some storms in the evening, but as soon as the rain let up the rides re-opened, and it was then that Legend became my new #1 coaster.
Legend's track was soaked, and we got two glorious night rides where we were absolutely flying through the course. A train had to be removed because it was majorly overshooting the final brake before the station. Despite knowing the layout of the ride, everything was a surprise at night, I lost all perception of where I was and where we were going next, and I hadn't felt my heart beat that fast after stepping off a coaster for quite a while.
Raven was flying over its wet track as well, and we got an amazing night ride there too. Both coasters took our breath away, though Legend did a bit more so than Raven, and I had to tear myself away from the park. I will definitely be back soon. I'm in love.
Six Flags St. Louis:
Seeing as how this was my first visit to a park that had always been owned by Six Flags, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What I ended up getting was one of the best visits I've ever had at a Six Flags park. It was clean, the landscaping and fountains were beautiful, and it was heavily themed.
With the exception of a couple coasters, they had good capacity and Mr. Freeze's loading station is pure genius. The Boss was a fun, intense CCI, but with a little more TLC and some PTC's, it would have a lot more potential. It's safe to say that Rob and I are anti-Gertslauer. Screamin' Eagle was a sadly deceptive coaster. The hills looked amazing and full of air, but instead we just got a very rough ride while trying to keep our backs away from the bone-jarring seat backs. Maybe some better maintenance would have helped this classic, and it reminded me a lot of the sad state of Rolling Thunder.
Later we had a good laugh imagining River King Mine Train with stand up trains, and the trims going both up and down the hop right before the third lift seemed just a bit unnecessary. We easily got all the coasters done and still had time to leave early and take a ride to the top of the amazing St. Louis arch.
Worlds of Fun
It was easy to see Cedar Fair's influence here. It was a nice park, but Snoopy stuff had been plastered all over the previous around-the-world theme, which just looked weird. Also the fact that someone had the stupid idea to remove Zambezi Zinger and replace it with a Vekoma boomerang definitely screamed Cedar Fair. They seemed to have overlooked removing the Rotor though, so we took a ride on that since we figure it won't be there much longer for safety reasons.
Mamba was a walk-on all day, and although the front was pretty tame, the back seats seemed to be the place to be. Nice air on the first three hills and good speed through the helix. The return bunny hops were disappointing, no air whatsoever. What a shame, they could have really learned from Magnum's success.
We were pleasantly surprised by Timberwolf, which strangely enough uses the station from the park's old Arrow corkscrew. Mass confusion follows each time the airgates open, as the gates don't line up with the seats on each car, and we had to have a ride op explain to some kids that they didn't belong in our seats. Timberwolf had some good, forceful air, including a few stand-up moments, and some nice laterals. Cedar Fair couldn't let this coaster run without their stamp of quality, however, and a highly unnecessary trim was tacked onto the first drop.
Orient Express was fun and surprisingly smooth for an Arrow looper. We took a thrilling (top) spin on Thunderhawk, but unless you're in the last couple seats on each end, you'll get completely drenched like we did. Very welcome on a hot day like when we were there, but let's hope they tone it down when it gets colder out. Worlds of Fun was indeed fun, but they could really use a new coaster with a little more marketing appeal than Boomerang to round out their collection and draw some more guests.
Six Flags Elitch Gardens
This park had the strangest yet most classy entrance I've ever seen at a park: completely enclosed in a building with huge glass windows. I didn't really see the point in them opening the gates at 9:30 just to corral us on the midway and keep us there until 10, but we were among the first into the park that morning, so it wasn't too bad.
It was quite entertaining to see people sprint to the Flying Coaster. We walked over and managed to wait only about 10 minutes. Rob said it was decent riding in the middle of the car, but I was on the outside edge and I got thrown around a lot in my harness through the zero-g rolls. Other than the inversions, the ride wasn't bad, and the lift was very unique.
Sidewinder was great, we rode second to last seat and got some amazing air and some strong g's through the loop. This was our first Arrow shuttle loop, since Afterburner was closed when we were at Fun Spot. I endured Mind Eraser and Boomerang purely for the credit on my track record, then Rob and I had a good laugh as we came out the exit of Mind Eraser: there was a big red arrow painted on the ground pointing to the first aid building. Is that appropriate or what?
Twister II was a decent woodie, but with all the debris laying in the middle of the ride, the peeling paint, and the walls of gum in the queue, it wasn't much to look at. The one train op made for a long line, and the coaster was definitely rougher than it looked from the ground: I have the bruises to prove it. The park was getting really crowded by mid-afternoon so we left and rested up for the wedding.
Lakeside was quite a surprise to us. We pulled up to the parking lot attendant and waited for him to tell us if there was a parking fee, but he simply sat there without saying a word and smiled at us. We sat in uncomfortable silence for a few seconds until finally Rob broke the silence and asked him if we had to pay to park. The guy replied that there was a charge for general admission, and we handed him a coupon we found in our hotel lobby for two free admissions. Once again, he sat there silently smiling at us, so we assumed that was all he needed from us and we drove away to park the car.
We bought two all day ride wristbands for $27.00 with the other coupon we'd found, and amazingly, our wristbands consisted of a piece of string tied around each of our wrists with a sticker folded in half around the ends of the string. This definitely wasn't going to be like any park we'd ever been to before.
We walked around, finding the entrance to the Cyclone, which can only be described as majestic. The retro styling and neon lights accenting the station really made the coaster stand out from the rest of the park. This was a fun Vettel classic, not as thrilling as Conneaut Lake's Blue Streak, but still good in its own right.
Wild Chipmunk was a great wild mouse, considering its age, and we scored a boring credit on the Dragon coaster. Many of the flat rides were closed and those that were open seemed to have a ratio of one ride op to 4 or 5 different rides, so we rode the Gravitron and the train and then headed back east to Iowa.
Adventureland was another real shocker on the trip, but this time in a good way. The park was beautiful and immaculately clean, the employees were almost all incredibly friendly senior citizens, and the rides were all great. We headed to Outlaw for our first ride of the day and walked right on. The ride ops all smiled and wished us a good ride, and off we went. That classic swooping CCI first drop was good as always, and there was some great air in the back seat, good laterals, and this coaster proved once again that a wooden coaster doesn't have to be very big to be fun.
We pulled into the station and the ops all looked at us, smiled, and asked if we wanted to go again. Rerides?! I was already in love with this park and I'd only been there a half hour. We got several more rides on Outlaw and headed to Tornado. The first thing we noticed was how amazingly smooth Tornado was, and the front cars offered some nice pops of air.
Dragon, the Hopkins double looper, was down for a while, but we finally got on. It was very intense, and the sensation of this ride could only be compared to a Swartzkopf looper. The Underground had some cool themeing and was a nice family ride, but not much more than that. A couple drops or fast turns could have been added to make it a little more enticing to older kids and adults, but it was smooth and it was air conditioned. We ended the day with a few flats and a scenic ride on the train.
Adventureland was a wonderful park, with good rides and amazingly kind people. I wish I lived closer to Iowa, since this is a must re-visit for me sometime in the future.
Arnold's Park was nothing like I'd imagined. I wasn't aware that the entire town is a huge resort area, and although the park itself wasn't busy, the town and beach were bursting with activity. The Legend rollercoaster was very fun, and at 75 years old, it had aged very well. There weren't many people riding, so we got many laps and they were offering re-rides. There was some great air up front and also in the very back, and it was amazing to experience this piece of coaster history.
There wasn't a whole lot more to do in the park, but we hit up the Tilt-a-whirl and the very disorienting fun house and glass house before leaving for Minnesota.
Definitely another Cedar Fair park. Valleyfair was a nice park, but felt very much like Dorney and Worlds of Fun, so it didn't keep our attention long. Wild Thing looked very cool with a totally different layout than the other two Cedar Fair Morgan hypers we'd been on, but it proved to be the weakest of the three, and rougher as well. I tried hard not to compare coasters, but Steel Force and Mamba were definitely more intense.
High Roller, on the other hand, was very fun. We almost fainted at the sight of buzz bars on a Cedar Fair coaster, and with the amazing amount of air, we thought this was too good to be true. It was: we hit the first trim on the turnaround, and then the second on one of the return hops. Cedar Fair just can't let anything escape without a trim it seems.
We called Excalibur "Millennium Force Jr.", because that's what it looked like from the lift. The back seat of the train was amazingly intense, and the turns were fast and furious, similar to Gemini's ending helix or Magnum's pretzel turn. Very cool, and our favorite ride in the park. Corkscrew was just that: a corkscrew. The only added bonus was the extra helix that Cedar Point's Corkscrew doesn't have, and with a one train op it was also the longest wait of the day: about 30 minutes.
Mad Mouse was identical to the one at Michigan's Adventure except amazingly enough, only one set of trims was turned on. Definitely more intense that way. Valleyfair was okay, but I honestly had a better time at Dorney and Worlds of Fun. The one thing they had that really made my day was Berenstein Bear Land. It brought back fond childhood memories of Cedar Point. But once again, this is a Cedar Fair park that needs something new and big soon.
Mall of America
This was my first visit to Mall of America and I was just blown away by its size, I can hardly imagine my reaction if I ever make it to Edmonton Mall. Camp Snoopy was just nauseating: Snoopy was plastered everywhere. We had a good time though, we rode the log flume, which was really long, well themed, and fun.
Lil' Shaver, the electric powered kiddie coaster, was the most boring coaster I've been on to date, seeing as how it had no hills and was basically just an oval with speedbumps. Is that even considered a coaster? Ripsaw provided a nice view from atop Camp Snoopy and there were some nice turns and speed in a couple places, but it definitely could have done without all the straightaways. We ate lunch and browsed a bit before heading to Wisconsin.
I remembered hearing that they had a coaster there, so we stopped for a few minutes to check it out. For the outrageous price of $3.50 we rode their Galaxi coaster and left. They also had a ripcord and a slingshot with bungee cords rather than steel cables. Across the street was a SkyScraper, and I was very tempted, but the funds were getting low, so regrettably we had to pass on all three.
Big Chief Karts and Coasters
Our first thought: what a rip-off! The all day wristbands were $35 and expired at 8:00 pm. That's not too bad, considering they had a lot to do there, but since we arrived at 6:30, it wasn't a very good deal for us. The alternative: 4 coaster rides for $20. Again, a rip-off. They have no evening passes of any sort, which upset us a bit, but we forked over the money and trudged on. What we didn't realize is that you get 2 rides in a row on each coaster.
We started off with Pegasus, a family/kiddie CCI running PTC trains. For a kiddie coaster, it was very intense. The laterals were insane, and we were getting thrown around quite a bit. We headed over to Cyclops next, not sure what to expect from this coaster. Seeing as how the biggest drop on the coaster wasn't even the first drop, we were already impressed.
Walking into the station, we encountered a sign at the back of the train: "You must be 18 to ride the back two seats of Cyclops". Rob and I grinned at each other and without a word made a dash for the very back. Several younger kids longingly watched us board the back seat, and soon we were off.
I have to say that this coaster is short but unbelievably insane. The swooping dive threw us both straight up and out of our seats, and I watched as my knees cleared the bar in front of me. Just as I thought I was about to sail out the back of the train, I was sucked back in as we pulled out of the drop and tore around a turn. Then we got to cruise through the station and do it all a second time.
Cyclops, simply put, is one of the most underrated CCI's out there. It was mind blowing, and I got off the ride with the same feeling I'd experienced on Legend. We tore ourselves away from Cyclops and took Zeus for a spin. Although it had individual lap bars instead of buzz bars, the first drop and the airtime hops were great. This too would be a standup ride if it didn't have the restricting lap bars, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless.
We headed back to Cyclops to use our last ticket, and I have to say that coaster is top 10 or even top 5 material for me. Who would have ever suspected such a small coaster could pack such a big punch? Big Chief was also added to our "must re-visit" list.
Six Flags Great America
With all the good things I'd heard about this park, maybe my expectations were too high. Regardless, I was very disappointed to walk in and find out that three of the 11 coasters were closed. Iron Wolf, Shockwave, and Deja Vu were all down, and the park was very busy. We knew already that this wasn't going to be a great way to end our trip, but we decided to make the best of it.
We headed straight to Raging Bull and got on within 10 minutes. The back seat wasn't bad, there was some nice floater air, but I have to agree with everyone and say that the trims do kill the ride, and it was dwarfed in comparison to Nitro and Apollo's Chariot. Within the next two hours we hurried to get in as much as we could before everyone made their way to the back of the park. Demon was a great Arrow looper, one of my favorites by far, and I loved the lighting effects in the tunnel.
American Eagle was only running backward, and it was decent, but I'm wondering if forward might have been better. V2 and Batman were clones, nothing too exciting there. With three of the major coasters closed, this didn't leave us with much else to do. We rode Viper, which I have to say was the surprise of the day and my favorite coaster in the park. It was unbelievably smooth and full of air and laterals. Once again, a very underrated wooden coaster that I'm happy I got to ride.
Although I only got one ride on Whizzer, I'm deeply saddened that they're taking it out. The sign at the entrance said "Thanks for the memories" but it still just doesn't seem right. Whizzer was a fun ride, and I love the swooping drop right along the ground and between the trees. Although my relationship with Whizzer was limited to one ride due to the hour long line, I'm so glad I got to ride it and I too will miss it greatly.
Deja Vu finally opened, but a sign announced that it would only be open from 12-5 so we hurried and got into line. With intervals ranging from 4-5 minutes, we ended up waiting an hour and a half for a 45 second ride. It killed us to wait that long, but living 6 hours away doesn't give us much choice.
Iron Wolf finally opened, and we ended up waiting close to an hour for that as well. What's with these horrible dispatch times? Capacity seemed to be a foreign word to the ops while we were there. Iron Wolf was the worst stand-up I've ever been on, worse than the TOGO's even. I came off with a serious headache and we decided to call it quits and head for home. SFGAm was a disappointment to both of us, but we figure we'll try again sometime and see if it improves any.
In all, this was an awesome week and we discovered some great new parks and coasters that will definitely be incorporated into another trip someday! Oh yeah, and the wedding was cool too.. ;)
Favorite parks of the trip:
Holiday World, Adventureland, and Big Chief
Adventureland and Holiday World
Least friendly employees:
Legend and Cyclops
Adventureland and Holiday World
Six Flags Kentucky and Lakeside Park
Surprise coasters of the trip:
Cyclops and Viper
Best theming of garbage cans:
Best improvised wristbands:
Best gift shop containing Cedar Point merchandise:
Worlds of Fun
Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom
Most mullets in a park:
Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom
Most unnecessary lift hills:
River King Mine Train
Best head banger:
Ninja, Iron Wolf, and all Vekomas
Best road signs on the way to an amusement park:
Itchy's Stop and Scratch Flea Market and Wet Willy's Water Slides
LOL. Sounds like a great trip. The smaller parks sound awesome. I wish I lived near there.
Awesome TR Kristin! I am SOOOOOOOO jealous of you guys! :)
As one who probably helped to overhype SFGAm to you, I'm sorry it didn't deliver. It really sounds like you were there on a big time off-day. Glad to hear about all the CCI's you were able to ride (what's that, like 9 or em?). Once again, I'm jealous!
Anyway, glad you had a great trip without any speeding tickets, coaster crashes, or stalkers. ;)
It's 106 miles to Indiana Beach. We've got a full tank of gas and a half-full cooler of cokes. It's light, and we're wearing Disaster Transport 3-D glasses....hit it!
Kristin you are crazy LOL
Sounds like a lot of fun though
I love the awards and have to agree with ya on the most Mullets award.
All I need is 4.5 million bucks and a half a mile long sliver of land and maybe someone could build me my very own Shivering Timbers. ;)
He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.
Another Cyclops convert! I agree with you that it is the most underrated CCI of the bunch. With a buzz bar and a back seat ride Cyclops should be termed a standup coaster!
Also Viper being a suprise coaster for you. SFGAm is my home park and this coaster never fails to suprise me every time I ride it. The monster ride that can be had in 1.3 is one of the best coaster experiences in my book. Even better than Cyclops.
I have become such a wood-a-holic over the last year that I really need to make that trip to Indiana and ride the 5 CCI's in that state soon.
BTW it was great to finally meet you and Rob for the brief moment at CP at the end of July. Maybe I will see you again next year at an event or something!
A proud CoasterBuzz Member
"So you think your'e really brave, gonna see the DEMONS cave.
You silly dude, your'e only food, for the DEMON"
Bob Hansen - Yes! All woodie-freaks need to get to Indiana. You will not be let down. :)
"When will you stop all your buzzing?" - The Flaming Lips "Oh My Pregnant Head"
MooreOn, you are correct. We did hit 9 CCI's on the trip. I can't believe all the parks we hit this last week. Now I'm just gawking at my new track record which boasts tons of new rides from the trip.
A few things to note about the parks:
Holiday World - Straight from Pat Koch, they set an attendance record the day we were there. Even though the park was packed, the rides were no more than a 30 minute wait. She also said that they are considering continueing expansion of the park next year . Legend and Raven... must ride!!
Lakeside Park - We found out that many of the employees there spoke little English, that could be why they didn't tell us if a ride was closed or if we wen't allowed on it.
Adventureland - "Cedar Point without the rules, safety guides, or crowds"
Big Chiefs Carts and Coasters - You can get away with murder in the park. I got a nice shot of me leaning against one of Cyclops' low turns. Kristin got a nice video of the train flying past her on Zues' return run.
Cedar Fair Rule - "Trims on the first drop on one of our coasters or your money back"
I'm also glad that you noted that I didn't get pulled over.
Parks this year: 35
Beatings from Kara: 13
EDIT: For signature
*** This post was edited by Robodud on 8/7/2002. ***
Steel: 1)MF, 2)Goliath, 3)Magnum
Wood: 1)Villain, 2)Beast, 3)Roar(SFMW)
*** This post was edited by hunter11 on 8/7/2002. ***
So waittaminute--where are the 53 coasters? I only counted 38.
Geez--I actually counted them.......(hangs head in shame).
The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.
I enjoyed your report very much. So many parks, yet it was short and to the point. I will be heading out tomorrow for my 10 parks in 10 days, including a few of the parks in your trip.
I hope you don't mind if a I follow with a trip report using the same style. All trip reports should be written in this way.
Number of coasters ridden: 171
*** This post was edited by SJCoasternut on 8/7/2002. ***
I think I see what you are getting at CPlaya. There were quite a few rides on the trip that really weren't worth mentioning in the TR, such as Boomerangs, Hang n' bangs, and Batman clones.
Kristin condensed everything down for one TR and cut out anything that was unnecessary. There were about 60 coasters total that we had listed to ride, however, we only got to 53 since some were down mechanical and/or was a kiddie ride that we couldn't ride.
Hope that clears up the confusion :)
I survived the Extravaganza!!
Parks this year: 35
Beatings from Kara: 13
Well, I guess that does make it quicker.
Even with my new BulletPoint format, I haven't gone farther than Park #6....and I probably won't finish until after Labor Day.
I skipped almost every clone and kiddie coaster on the 100 and rode only the coasters at SFGAM and PKI that I missed in the past. Okay, I had a few PKI repeats....but not many.
But that does clear it up.
The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.
*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 8/7/2002. ***
The thing that set this coaster trip apart from others I've been on was the fact that every single park was new to both of us. This made for quite an exciting adventure. I can honestly say that the best parks of the trip were the littlest parks.
Although I love my Cedar Point, Kings Island, and a handful of Six Flags parks, It was so liberating to escape the Cedar Fair/Six Flags/Paramount corporate policies and just have old fashioned fun for a change. The carnies, the old classic coasters, and the family-owned feeling we got at the small parks were the moments that I really treasure now and will remember for years to come.
Hopefully my reviews will help draw some more people to the little parks and help to recognize the overlooked yet amazing coasters that some of these places have to offer. :)
Awesome trip report! That sounds like a pretty hectic schedule, but those are usually my favorite types of trips. Sponteneity rocks! :)
About Holiday World having an attendance record, I guess the day I went (last Sat, Aug 3), they broke that record AGAIN. I asked the ride op on Legend if it was busy, and she said it was the busiest day in the history of the park. Wowza wowza, why was the Legend line only 20mins then!
Saturday is the time to go, too, Legend night rides baby...the line was maybe 20mins at like 8:30, but dwindled to about five at like 9:15pm. They kept the queue open til the 10pm close which rocked, and enabled us to get like four or five night rides. Legend is just as sick as ever, I so totally need to go to GOCC!
Again, glad you guys had a safe trip, and thanks for sharing your experiences.
It tastes like burning.
Best road signs on the way to an amusement park:
Itchy's Stop and Scratch Flea Market and Wet Willy's Water Slides"
Holy cow! I totally forgot all about Wet Willy's -- I used to love going there as a kid! It's on I-44, west of SFStL, right? Man, that's a blast from the past!
And having been to Adventureland in Des Moines just 2 weeks ago, I can second your comments. That really is a great park with 3 really nice coasters... Outlaw was a lot of fun, as was Tornado, and Dragon, while boring and unimaginative, is the only coaster I've ever been on that's made me gray out. :)
SFKK is like some kind of parallel universe. I was also shocked that The Summers and Dinn is better than the CCI.
I consider myself an airtime whore, but the Legend is my #1 wood as well even though it isn't an airtime machine like some others. It's just pure exhilaration with it's speed and directional changes.
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