After weekend after weekend of traveling, I finally got a weekend to stay home. So naturally, I wanted to go ride some coasters. :) It was a beautiful Friday evening in Des Moines and I hadn't been out to my local park yet to process my season pass, so I decided the time was right. I had already purchased the pass online last week to take advantage of a $10 discount they were offering so I hoped I would be able to use the certificate to get free parking (comes with the pass). "Go ahead," the friendly attendant said. Score! I parked my truck close to the gate around 7:50pm and headed in.
I took my certificate to the main gate and a nice, young lady escorted me inside to the season pass processing center (apparently after a certain time, they shut it down and only open it as needed). I was in and out of there in a jiff and decided to take my usual route to Tornado via the skyride (through the trees). I also didn't know where the new Splash Over (Top Spin-ish) ride was and figured I would be able to spot it on my way across the park. Turns out, they put it in place of The Mixer right at the front of the park across from the Skyride. So sadly it seems Adventureland has once again replaced a ride instead of adding a ride. I wasn't a big fan of the Mixer, but would prefer the park to fill in with more rides instead of just swapping them out as they have for several rides in recent years. Anyhow, I elected not to ride Splash Over and didn't get a chance to see the water effects either, but I'll get to it sometime this summer I'm sure. Anyhow, back to the skyride...
Anyone who's been to Adventureland knows how the skyride literally goes through the trees. Well a couple of years ago, they did some major pruning which really hurt the effect, but the "theming" is growing back and I was once again able to drag my feet across the trees. :)
So once I reached the other side of the park, I headed for my dear old Tornado. I was greeted by a very short line (about 10 people) and the red train was in service (my favorite). I grabbed a seat in 4.1 as 4.2 and 4.3 were taken and fastened the annoying New for 2005 seatbelt, but then smiled at the good 'ole buzzbar. :) The dispatch op called out, "You're outta here!" and we were off. I got some nice float on the first drop and several other hills, but not the good air the ride is capable of. The snappy laterals were there and the tracking was pretty good. A good ride overall. Nothing spectacular, but a fun ride none the less. I've always preferred this Outlaw, but I've also had some really great airtime rides on it and I was born the same day the ride opened (July 4, 1978) so it's special to me. Anyhow, someone was in line for my seat when we returned to the station, so I decided to head over to Outlaw. That's one thing I love about Adventureland--most of the ops let you stay on if no one is in line for your seat and they often let you fill in any empties otherwise.
On my way back to Outlaw Gulch, I passed the tilt-a-whirl and decided that sounded fun at the time. Last weekend, Beth and I got the suckiest zero-spin ride I've ever had on one of these so I think I was anxious for a good spin. I got a decent ride, but nothing as crazy as triple-spin rides Nicole and I got down at Lake Winne back in April--that was the best one ever!
After my one spinner for the night, walked over to Dragon Island to get to Outlaw Gulch, passing the dismantled Lighthouse ride. Hmm, I had heard rumors of it being removed for the '06 season... I finally made it back to Outlaw and grabbed one ride in 5.2, as once again my back seat was taken. :p Outlaw was tracking pretty good, but still seemed slow like it has the past few years. I swear this thing used to have more air. It was slightly less fun than Tornado and someone was in line for my seat again, and the middle is just a bore on this ride, so I decided to head out of Outlaw Gulch. I would have liked a quick spin on Sawmill Splash, but it was closed--hmm, never seen that before.
On my way back to the main part of the park, I decided I would give Dragon a lap. As I was walking up the ramp, a kid and his dad were behind me, and I had a feeling the kid was hoping for the front seat and worried I was going to steel it. Well I of course headed straight for the very back row to get the best out of the lame 45 degree first drop and I think the kid was quite happy to score the front seat. So the train pulls in and I am shocked to see seatbelts! Yes, they added seatbelts to the OTSR's, similar to B&M style, but the belts hang from the harness and buckle into the front of the seat. WTF? Seatbelts after 15 years? I guess I shouldn't be surprised after Tornado getting them last year. Lame! Anyhow, Dragon was its usual jerky, mediocre self, but I found myself respecting it a bit more for its intense G's after all the great german loops I've experience since last season. It's like an Anton without all of the other good stuff.
Next, I decided to head over to Rev's new favorite, The Underground. I wanted to really give it a shot this time since Rev has been all excited about it lately. I got there, waited for the door to the pre-show to open and went in. It was just me and the terrible animatronic dude who's mouth just kind of twitches every 10th word or so. Then the doors to the station opened and I hopped on for my very own, personal ride, which was kind of eerie. I won't say much, as to not spoil it for the Rev, but there seemed to be more theming in there than I remember and the trim brake seemed to slow the train more than in the past, but I'm probably wrong. Anyhow, it's a decent little ride and I'm glad Advenuteland has it. I just wish they would have made it more exciting.
It was now 8:52 and the park was closing at 9:00, so I decided to head back to Tornado to finish out the night. When I got to the station, there were some peeps in line for the front, but my seat, 4.3, was open. Score! As the train pulled in, I heard a kid whine, "oh man, someone's in our seat". "You mean, MY seat," I thought to myself. ;D so I finally got my back seat ride and got a bit more pop in the airtime department, but still nothing like in the past. Hopefully it will do its thing later this summer. July 4th and 5th would be nice. ;) Anyway, returning to the station, no one was in line for my seat and it was time for the last ride of the night. Score! One more lap on my dear Tornado and it was time to head out.
So in one hour, I managed three rides on Tornado, one on Outlaw, one on Dragon, one on Underground, one on the skyride, and one on the tilt-a-whirl. I didn't get a chance to grab a funnel cake or my usual ICEE, but otherwise It was a great evening at my home park. Looking forward to visiting it with Lori and co. in a few weeks and seeing it through their eyes.
I was on the road home by 9:15 and realized I could probably get to Taco Casa in time for some food. "The Casa" is my favorite little Des Moines eatery on the corner of Euclid and MLK Parkway. They close at 10:00pm, 7 days a week. I'm not one to barge in just before closing time, so when I got there right at 9:30, I was happy to see I wasn't the only one keeping the place from closing up for the night. I decided to make it easy on them and not order my usual chimi, so I got two soft tacos to go. Mmmm. I love this place so much! I can't believe I didn't try the hot sauce until recently. Yum! I've been denying myself of this extra tasty goodness all these years.
Ok, I think that's enough TR-age for a one-hour park visit. :) *** Edited 6/19/2006 8:38:45 PM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***
I think Adventureland is only a great coaster away from being a really good park. They have a nice selection of flats, and Tornado and Outlaw are both nice woodies. I haven't been out there in about 4 years because I'm still holding out for something new.
Taco Casa? I've seen the place, but never stopped. If I'm over in that area of town I usually hit up Tasty Tacos. I'll have to give it a shot.
Adventureland has the makings of a great park. They just need one GREAT ride to get them there.
What amazes me about Adventureland is the staff running the rides. I won't go into it other than they are great and it's something that you don't see at most if not any other park.
I really like the place. It's VERY clean, every ride is a practical walk-on. Any day is like having your own ERT. Tornado and Outlaw are both excelent coasters. I would like Dragon alot more if it had any possibility of being a smooth ride.
It is a great break in my trips down 35 to WOF from Minneapolis.
I'll have to be in the mood for Mexican the next time I'm there.
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