Adventureland 2021

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 9:00 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Adventureland

Des Moines, IA

June 1, 2021

Put this in the “parks I never really thought I’d visit” column. I’ve thought it looked like a fun, small park for years and years, but I didn’t know if I’d ever visit. Now here I was, leaving my hotel room in Kansas City and heading to Adventurland. And as a bonus, their brand new roller coaster had just opened 3 days prior. The drive felt longer than I expected and I arrived later than I’d wanted, but the park wasn’t very busy, thankfully. So I got my ticket, the only one that I hadn’t pre-purchased, and headed in to the quaint park. Since I wasn’t able to ride the spinny coaster at Worlds of Fun, I headed left to the spinner at this park.

Phoenix (419)-I love this model of spinning coaster, and this one did not disappoint. I was able to ride by myself after around a 20 minute wait. The first drop was spinny, the switchback section was spinny, the whole ride was spinny with airtime and fun laterals. I loved it.

The main street of Adventurland was fairly desolate. It was cute, but looked slightly neglected. I’m not sure if I felt that way because it was kind of large and completely empty, or if it really looked that way. But the park was clean and the employees to that point had been very friendly and helpful. There was a ride that I had seen pictures of and heard about for years that I was interested in riding, and because it was such an odd coaster with barely any pictures of it as it is all indoors, I didn’t know what to expect. So I headed there next and got in line. The wait was maybe 20 minutes, and probably the longest wait I had during my time there.

The Underground (420)-The Underground is a completely enclosed wooden coaster. But its really more of a dark ride than a coaster. After you’re let into the building, you wait in a room with doors that lead to your row on the train. But there was a short pre-show with a miner animatronic that plays. Then the doors open and you board. And while the ride is a wooden coaster, its far more dark ride than coaster as you mostly just meander down a ramp passing by scenes. It was interesting and I really liked it, even though it was definitely more of a dark ride.

I hadn’t been at the park long and was moving right along at a quick pace I walked around a little and saw the new ride with it’s new plaza before heading over to the park’s classic wooden coaster.

Tornado (421)-I headed up the queue and into the final car on the train for my ride. I think I may have waited for a couple of minutes as they were only running one train. Tornado is a classic out and back wooden coaster, and it was really a lot of fun. There were a few outstanding hills on the way out and the return trip, and several points of really decent airtime. I was impressed because this ride had never been on my radar. It was running so well though.

Riding Tornado gave me my first glimpse of just how much of the old Dragon coaster was left. I was surprised there was that much of it left, and I wish I’d been able to ride it as I’ve still never ridden a full scale Hopkins roller coasters. And since Tornado’s exit emptied out near the park’s newest attraction, I headed there next.

Dragon Slayer (422)-I’d ridden Arashi in Japan and loved it. But I had yet to ride one of these in the US. Dragon Slayer was just as fun, if not more so, than Arashi. I only rode one time during my visit, with a group of young girls, and we flipped and spun quite a bit. It was a great ride. I think I counted about 4 flips in the middle of the ride, not counting the others. I much prefer these to the Intamin version that I’ve ridden.

I needed to find a restroom so I walked over towards the other side of the park. There were a few flats that I’d wanted to ride, but didn’t have a chance unfortunately. However, I did get in line for the park’s Eurofighter. I was hoping this one had lap bars, and indeed it did, and I fit.

Monster (423)-Wow. This ride was so smooth and fun. I rode in the front row and the inversions were perfection. You drop beyond vertical into a series of inversions and hills going out and back, then into a few other inversions before hitting the cut back towards the final brake run. Monster was a hit. I hate that I wasn’t able to see the amazing lighting package they have on the ride at nite, but the daytime ride was fantastic.

I wandered around the park a little bit longer before heading over to the last coaster in the last section of the park I’d yet to visit. I loved the area by the small lake, it was quaint and nicely landscaped. I toyed with riding the rapids ride, but chose not to get wet and instead got in line for the park’s other wooden coaster.

Outlaw (424)-I really liked Outlaw. This was an earlier CCI slightly twisted coaster with great airtime and lots of really fun laterals. I sat near the back of the train and there were several very good pops of airtime.

Part of me regrets not getting re-rides on everything, but I also needed to get to Minneapolis to turn my car in and check in to my hotel and to actually just relax from the last several days of being on the go. I took a few more photos and then hopped on the chair lift towards the front of the park and headed out.

I have to say, my time spent in Des Moines was a lot of fun both passing through for a park and staying over nite. There is a new park being built about an hour and a half away, and I may need to head back in a couple of years and spend a bit more time there. But this trip through the area was over. So I got in my cars and headed north back towards Minneapolis.

My drive was boring, as were most of the hours spent driving during the week. I arrived in Minneapolis near 7 PM and headed to the airport to turn in my car. The entire terminal near the car rental at the airport was already closed for the evening, but I was able to walk through and find my way to the light rail terminal. I got on the wrong train first that took me to the other terminal, so I got off and re-boarded the one that went towards my hotel. I had looked on line to see which station was close, and the hotel said it was walking distance. About 3 stops later I was getting of and was very happy to see that not only was the hotel in walking distance, but the station was literally right across the street. That was a big score.

The Cambria Hotel that I had reserved was very nice, very modern, and very very convenient. I checked in and during check in they went into detail about how to schedule my transportation to the airport on the morning that I was leaving, as well as tell me how to schedule time for the indoor pool, which was closed unless you reserved an hour long spot. Then I headed to my room, which was amazingly comfortable, and I was able to relax for a bit.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Monday, September 13, 2021 5:45 AM

Riding Tornado gave me my first glimpse of just how much of the old Dragon coaster was left. I was surprised there was that much of it left, and I wish I’d been able to ride it as I’ve still never ridden a full scale Hopkins roller coasters.

The only thing you missed out on here was bruises and a thumping headache.


I develop Retro Games for macOS, iPhone, and iPad when not riding coasters.

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