Castles n' Coasters n' Fiesta Bust 12/30-1/1

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Thursday, January 3, 2002 3:21 PM
A couple of days before the disappointing Fiesta Bowl, we took a trip over to Castles n' Coasters. The park consists of two sides, one for Mini Golf, and one for rides. We got there before the ride side opened up, so we took a look at the Mini Golf.

The Mini Golf is absolutely huge. There are four courses, each with 18 holes. We started the day with course three, and ended with two. It’s really one of the neatest mini golfs I’ve ever seen. Some of the holes are challenging but I managed to get 3 hole-in-ones. :)

The ride side opened up and we headed over to Desert Storm.

Desert Storm (3 laps)-This sure was a surprise. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, having never been on a Hopkins coaster before. They only run the train every ten minutes, or whenever they get a certain amount of people in the train. This results in having to wait for a while, but it isn’t bad. Each train has soft padding, which I loved. The coaster is located around many palm trees, and right over a Go Kart track.

The ride starts off with a twisting drop that leads into a vertical loop. The loop exits higher than it started causing some very good G forces. After a 180 degree turn, the train heads for the second vertical loop. This is a really strange inversion because it is almost like a corkscrew. Anyway, the rest of the short rides has a couple of turns (one through the loop) and an ending upwards helix.

Desert Storm would be a terrible ride if it wasn’t for the lack of OTSRs. The lap bars should be a feature on every non B&M or Intamin looper.

Patriot (2 laps)-Another Hopkins coaster. It’s really too bad Hopkins didn’t make more of these! I like the layout better than the Vekoma Rollerskaters. There was a height limit, but the employees didn’t seem to care. They also let you ride it twice.

After riding the coasters we road a couple of flat rides. First we did the Magic Carpet. This is a pretty cool ride since they seem to really crank up the speed. Then we did the Bumper Cars which they call Ram Rods. Too bad they were really slow. :(

The park also offers a Sea Dragon, a carrousel, bumper boats, and a log flume, but we skipped these.

The longest wait in the park was for Naskarts. The ops were extremely slow at loading people. Worse than any I’ve seen. The Karts would have been really fun, being under Desert Storm and all, but my kart kept slowing down, or stopping altogether.

Castles n’ Coasters is a nice little park. They have very little room to expand since they have highways and shopping centers surrounding them.

Something else I should note, our hotel had a lazy river! Yeah! :)

We also went to the Tempe Fiesta Bowl Block Party for New Years eve. The close off a huge section of the city for 150,000 people to enjoy themselves. It’s huge. They have carnival flat rids, games, bands playing everywhere, parades, loud music, kareoke, drunk people, skateboarding, and best of all, free Tostios! :)

The actual game was a big bust, but the Ducks sure deserve it. Joey Harrington was the best quarterback I have ever seen play the game. He was damn good.

-l (thinking it should be #1.Miami #2. Oregon)
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GO CU! Big 12 Champs!

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Friday, February 1, 2002 8:45 AM
PT300,

First off, while at the Fiesta Bowl Block Party, did you happen to see a magic/hypnosis act???  I was working audio on that show.

Quick history of Castles n Coasters:

As far as I can remember, the site now known as castles n coasters was there, but not in its present form. It used to be GOLF n STUFF (a large mini-golf chain based out of California, there used to be a Golf n Stuff across from Disneyland.). Golf N stuff consisted of the Main arcade castle, the four mini-golf courses, Lil Indy cars (now NasKarts, the Karts are different,track the same) and a batting cage. It was not an amusement park. You could go in and play arcade games, and just hang out if you wanted. I was in high school at that time and Golf n Stuff was a MAJOR hang-out. Lots of kids just hanging out (met many girls/girlfriends there). The batting cages were remoived and bumper boats replaced them.

Shockingly, in 1990 or 1991, Golf n Stuff closed for remodeling. Another castle was erected, and construction on TWO rollercoasters began. COOL! Upon its completion, the name was changed to Castles n Coasters and it was fit with admission booths. No longer a place where you can just go in and hang out. You had to pay to get in. BOO!

The park as you see it now is EXACTLY the same as it was when it re-opened in 1991 (over 10 yrs), with ONE exception: The second castle used to house a second arcade, but now is used for storage or something. Its off limits. No new attractions have been added, nor have any been removed.

I went there myself about a week earlier than you for the first time in over 8 yrs. Desert Storm wasnt as bad as I remembered it, in fact I kinda enjoyed it. The log flume is fun. Patriot, IMO, is just aweful. Its short (which is why they run it twice per ride), the seats are tiny, and its slow. The other rides are standard issue flat rides, nothing special. The NasKarts are OK, but the staff seemed under-trained on how to manage the Karts when there were minor accidents. You can always go for the Golf. Ive always loved the mini-golf courses. All of them different and fun.

The attendence at Castles n Coasters is Very low almost always. I would expect to see them close down completely before seeing any new improvements or expansion. They do have a HUGE parking area on the opposite side of the street next to Patriot that could be used for expansion.

All in all, Castles n Coasters was a mini-glof/arcade in a mall parking lot that someone decided to convert into a pseudo-theme park. It really hasnt succeeded from what I can see. Sure, it has some rides, but the mobs of people that hung-out at Golf-n-Stuff generated the profit to build such a park, and now nobody goes there at all. :(

The Fiesta Bowl Block party takes place on a half-mile stretch of downtown Tempe known as MILL AVENUE. Mill Avenue is a popular college hang-out. Many bars and coffee houses etc. Mill Avenue is often closed off for other Block Party type events, as it isnt a main thru-street. The North end of the block party sprawls out next to the Tempe Town Lake. The "lake" is about a year or two old. The "lake" is actually a dry river bed, with two dams placed on each end of the "lake" .On the other side of these dams is the remaining dry river bed. In fact, it is the Salt River. After heavy rains (yes, it does rain in Arizona, just not so often), The REAL lakes in the mountains to the north and east release water into the salt river. During the summer, there is a long strech (about 8-10 miles) where people go "tubing" down the river. Summer is traditionally the rainy season, as Arizona experiences monsoon activity (moisture from the south combined with hot temperatures makes for some interesting weather). Each and every day, the sky starts out clear and blue. Then, around 2-3pm, HUGE Thunder-head clouds develop around the city and threaten to create a storm. This activity is unpredictable, and there is alway a "chance of evening thunderstorms" on the news. In recent years, the energy inside the city (head, pollution, etc) has kept the smaller storms from penetrating in. Most of the rain hits the outskirts and mountain areas. When a storm does push its way into town during monsoon, its usually a HUGE one.

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My other car is a Giovanola!

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Friday, February 1, 2002 8:47 AM
PS-

Do you realize that you were only a FIVE to SIX hour drive from Knotts, DCA, Disneyland, and SFMM??? AND you didnt GO???!!!!

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My other car is a Giovanola!

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Friday, February 1, 2002 3:36 PM
Nope, I didn't catch the magic act. Wished I would have though!

Yes, the LA area parks were a thought for a while, but Mapquest said it was only a little less than eight hours. I trust a human being more though...

Anyway we never made it, simply because we didn't really have enough time during our three day stay.

Thanks for the background and history!

-l(thinking maybe an S&S attraction could be squeezed into CnC somewhere)
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"Go banana!"-Ralph

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Friday, February 1, 2002 8:26 PM
i dont doubt that CnC CAN add another attraction, I just dont think they generate enough positive cash flow to afford one.

I will admit that we drive above the speed limit, but Disney/Knotts can be made from Phx in 5hrs or less @ 80-85mph avg. SFMM is 5-6. All depending on traffic. We usually head out at night, so the traffic is light.

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My other car is a Giovanola!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2002 5:23 PM
Yeah, it is definitely a good idea to head to the SoCal parks in the early morning hours if heading there from Phoenix.  Traffic is non-existant and you can get there in 5 hours easy. 

Anyway, I know that I complain and moan about it every time a similar post comes up, but we really need an amusement park in the Phoenix area.  For those of you that might respond by adding that I should move then, sorry but I can't base my entire life on living around amusement parks.  I mean, they are cool and all, but I just can't quite put that as the top priority for where I am going to live.  :)

By the way, thanks for the history lesson LoadedG.  I didn't know any of that about CnC.  It was interesting.  Of course, I have only gone there about 5 times in my entire life, and they were all after 1991.  I probably went there for the first time in 91 or 92, when I was about 12 years old.......

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