DELLS COASTERS AND SUCH 6/23-24

Associated parks:
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Sunday, June 26, 2005 1:27 AM
There are many of us out here in the coaster world that belong to more than one club or group so I will point out that this trip was part of the CoasterCon for ACE which included SF Great America, Little-A Merrick-A, and Mt. Olympus.

I haven't been to the Wisconsin Dells in over 15 years. My how some things have changed! Yes there are still some "cheesy" attractions and some of the "mom and pop" motels are still around but most have been replaced by resort properties with their own waterparks along with a healthy dose of the usual chain hotels.

First stop after the gracious host at the Comfort Inn allowed me to check in early, was Timber Falls to check out Avalanche, the new S & S Wood Coaster.

The place was absolutely deserted except for a few of us that decided that oppressive temps or not, we were here to ride.

15 rides later, most without even having to get off, I decided this was one of the strangest coaster layouts I had ever experienced and at the same time it was a nonstop out of control feeling ride experience. If you like lateral forces than this baby is for you.

I had to catch my breath a bit after that mini-marathon so a ride on the log flume was in order. Then it was back onto Avalanche for a few more rides. This thing is absolutely addictive to ride and I really didn't was to get off but I had other stops to make.

On to Riverview Park for three more credits. Nothing spectacular here except that this place is kind of like I remember it. Except for the Waterpark, it kind of looks like a carnival that just stopped somewhere one night and never left. After a few coaster rides and a couple go-kart rides it was off to the next stop- Mt. Olympus.

Hades is indeed an imposing sight and as I pulled in I couldn't believe the amount of theming they have put into this place. I vaguely remember the old Big Chiefs park but that's a distant memory now as this "mega park" has evolved.

After getting a couple club obligations out of the way myself and a couple new found friends headed right for the main course-Hades. The line was short so we waited out the front seat.

I should say that this coaster by Gravity Group has more airtime before the lift hill than many coasters have during their whole run! A quick ride up the lift hill reveals...Oh My God" is the only thing I could think of as we headed for the blackness of the tunnel. But wait, out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a mechanic outside the fence by the tunnel entrance and...The tunnel lights are on!

While I might have preferred them to be off for my first ride I was thrilled to get a real look, or at least the best look you can as you're screaming through the thing at 70mph, to see what the layout really looked like in there. I would agree with what others have said, unless you see what the track does in the tunnel, including the 90 degree banking, you would never believe it.

This thing flat out has insane air, g forces galore and it's a scream all the way through.

As we roared back into the station it was clear we had to reride this right away before the line got longer. So, next up was the back seat and it was just as good as the front. Again, back from that ride it was time to try the middle. I can safely say there isn't a huge variation in the ride from one place to another on this coaster.

There seems to be wild airtime no matter where you sit and much like Avalanche the ride seems totally out of control.

Fortunately most of us got to see the track layout as they left the lights on for our ERT seassion also. Lights off runs would have to wait for the next day.

Let me just say, you have to get to The Dells to ride these coasters. I have Hades in my Top 5 and I'm still debating on Avalanche. I know it's a top ten.

I do hope that these steel framework wood coasters do age well because at the speeds both of these coasters run roughness will make them ugly rides in a hurry.

One thing to note about Hades reminds me a little about The Beast. Because of the tunnel, after the train starts down the hill and then into the tunnel you hear absolutely nothing until just before the train comes screaming by the station and navigates the final part of the course.

Nick Laskaris, one of the owners of Mt. Olympus, is considering buying another car (4 more passengers) to help capacity. With only one train, and significant modifications required if it is ever to have two trains, anything would help. The station is already set up with gates for the additional car when it's added.

I know others have commented on some of the employees here. They are mostly european students with varied english skills and not a whole lot of enthusiasm for their jobs. They do make a cursory attempt to check belts, lap bars and the like but it is a little unnerving at the same time when most of us are always thinking about safety.

As a whole Mt. Olympus is headed toward "destination park" status as they're getting a nice mix of rides including a new Zamperla Disc-O and a Robocoaster they're finishing up installation on.

In addition to their regular outdoor waterpark and a new indoor waterpark coupled with the Treasure Island Resort they have the largest collection of go-kart tracks anywhere. One of them, Medusa's Drop is not to be missed. Nothing better than a go-kart track with airtime!

The place has immaculate landscaping and is very clean. With a few more benches and trash cans, and some more shade they'll really have something.

Before I left the area on Friday I headed back to Mt. Olympus for a few more rides on Hades as well as Pegasus, Zues, Cyclops, etc.

Then I headed back to Timber Falls to take a spin on their Skyscraper. I had never done one of these and the funds were holding out so I took the ride. I'm not real crazy about Sky Coasters, or Sling Shots and after riding this I put in in the same category. They're an extreme thrill but not that re-rideable in my book.

There's also one of those free-fall drop towers (SCAD?) up the hill from Mt. Olympus but I thought I would let that wait until next time.

I had free-ride coupons from a friend for a jet boat ride so I headed up the strip for that and as you might expect got absolutely drenched from head to toe. I skipped the Duck Boat ride and headed home to Iowa City to rest up for one day before heading back to Chicago for a Cubs-Sox game with some Great America thrown in.

I can't say this enough, and no one is paying me to say it...Get to the Dells to ride Hades and Avalanche! *** Edited 6/26/2005 5:54:19 AM UTC by Brad G***

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 1:44 AM
I really need to head up to the Dells for this, and soon.
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Sunday, June 26, 2005 4:18 AM

I haven't been to the Wisconsin Dells in over 15 years. My how some things have changed! Yes there are still some "cheesy" attractions and some of the "mom and pop" motels are still around but most have been replaced by resort properties with their own waterparks along with a healthy dose of the usual chain hotels.

My view of the Dells couldn't be more opposite. My take after two and a half days (hell, I'm still stuck here) as a first time visitor is that's it's all cheesy attractions and sleazy motels with little to offer me personally beyond the coasters...

Then again, I'm an ass. ;)


Let me just say, you have to get to The Dells to ride these coasters. I have Hades in my Top 5 and I'm still debating on Avalanche. I know it's a top ten.

Agreed. Although I'd personally flip the personal rankings of the two coasters. Avalanche is an easy top 5 and Hades would land low top ten. (for woodies alone - include steel and Avalanche is still top 5 or 6 and Hades becomes top 20)

My thing with Hades is that it almost seems too fast for it's layout. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I think this thing is really on that threshold of being 'too big' for a woodie. Not quite, but flirting dangerously close. Knock a few mph off the speed from the drop to the end and I think I'd have enjoyed it more. (then again, it'd probably roll back on that big hill right out of the tunnel)

I think I'm the first to give Hades an "it's very very good" ranking as opposed to the "OMG!" that has become standard.

For the record, my daughter raved about it, so what do I know? :)

*** Edited 6/26/2005 8:19:19 AM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 5:16 AM
Are these sleazy motels *cheesy* as well? ;-)

Not THAT is a scary thought.

Luckily I am a cheese fanatic (of the food that is..lol) so I may get more out of the Dells than just the wood.

I kept in touch this past week with a few friends who attended the Con (first time visitors to the Dells) and they pretty much had the same reactions as you, Brad.

Between the TR's and phone calls and text messages about the Dells (especially from this past week) I am getting ancy. :-P

-Tina

<---who is going to hell, er, Hades in August.

*** Edited 6/26/2005 9:18:52 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 5:40 AM
Huh. They didn't call me, Tina. And to think I almost called them whilst at Kennywood.

;)

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 9:35 AM
Brad, A few of us (WCFCr's) met up to ride Hades and Avalanche the week before Coaster Con. Both coasters blew us away. "Why aren't more rides built like this?" was uttered quite often between all of us. Avalanche is absolutely fantastic and totally out of control. That final left turn before the brakes is a beautiful manuver that I've never scene attempted on a woodie before. It worked so well and felt absolutely amazing. people have poopoo'd S&S for what they did at Enchanted Village, but I've ridden Tsunami (J2) as well and I'm very comfortable with their ride designs. The dynamics are completely off the hook.

Hades got off to a slow start the day we arrived. It stalled out on the second hill on it's first runs of the day. It took them several attempts to get the train to crest that hill, but by 12:30pm or so the ride opened. Our first rides were still fantastic and they just got better throughout the day as the train warmed up. By nightfall, We were shaking our heads in total disbelief at the insaneness of the ride. It's a coaster that will get noticed and put Wisconsin Dells on more enthusiast maps. when coasters are that good, I have trouble ranking them above one another. Kinda why my top ten has almost 20 coasters on it. I for one am thinking about going back later in the year to check on the coasters progress. I don't even care that it's almost a nine hour drive.

FYI...We found out from Nick after speaking with him in the morning that he hired Randy Larrick to take care of the wood up there. He was muttering something about Randy putting too much grease in the bearings that caused the slow runs and *stall outs*. But with Randy's affiliation to CCI and wood coasters....that should tell us all that Nick is serious about having good wood!!

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 9:50 AM
I have found that you have to accept the Dells for what it is: A Tourist Trap, but that's OK. I found the people there to be friendly and helpful, which is more then I can say for other parts of the country. I go there for the coasters and they fit the bill perfectly. Anyway, glad to hear you had a good time.

P.S. I would have loved to ridden Hades with the lights on.

Brian

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 10:37 AM
I've gone to the Dells each of the last 2 years and I like the place. I'm planning on making a return, to just there, next year. As others have said, I've accepted the fact that it's a tourist trap, and just go with it. There is still lots of fun stuff to do. I'm also a big waterpark fan, so the fact that it's like waterpark capital of the world helps as well.

I really enjoyed both Hades and Avalanche. Hades worked a little more for me personally, as I'm just a fan of larger, aggressive coasters (that don't beat you to death). Plus the tunnel is just absolute controlled chaos. Avalanche was aggresive but in a strange way that I didn't expect. It's loaded with airtime and nonstop laterals that don't let up at all. Both coasters definitely add up to a one-two woodie punch that can certainly hang with the other big boy duos out there. I'm glad to here that the majority of the ACEers were able to get their rides in and that you got to see the tunnels with lights on. Very cool.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 9:45 PM
FYI...We found out from Nick after speaking with him in the morning that he hired Randy Larrick to take care of the wood up there. He was muttering something about Randy putting too much grease in the bearings that caused the slow runs and *stall outs*. But with Randy's affiliation to CCI and wood coasters....that should tell us all that Nick is serious about having good wood!!

Hence my being told Randy and his former forman Jeff Mason at CCI were staying up there after the ride was done. Odd how the old owners of CCI ended up working for the designers that worked for them.

Jeff Hammersley couldn't keep Legend running right when they put the PTC's on it. He finally figured it out that he would only fully grease one car per day with the 7th day off and it began flying again.

Chuck

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 9:46 PM
Ok, Gonch is a big meanie stupidhead that sucks. Everyone point and laugh.

I hate that my take sounds so negative but like the others said - the Dells is what it is.

How bad can a place with two top ten woodies be, right? :)

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 9:49 PM
Ok, Gonch...sucks.

Music to my ears ;)

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Sunday, June 26, 2005 10:27 PM
It's OK Gonch. Like you said, it is what it is up there. I personally like it. You'd never expect to find that kinda stuff in the middle of Wisconsin. There are nice train rides and also boat tours of both the upper and lower Dells. With all the different roadside attractions it's touristy, but it's kinda laid back too. That's what I like about it. The five woodies are just the icing on the 'ol cake for me. Well....actually they are the main reason I love going there. Who am I kidding?!! ;)
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Sunday, June 26, 2005 10:57 PM
You know, mooSH, when you do see Gonch again, and he embarrasses you by doing something off the wall, cause it is quite obvious you have such a crush on him, I just hope I'm there to see you turn red.
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Monday, June 27, 2005 1:34 AM
LOL Tek. Gonch knows I'm only kidding. Heck, he probably appreciates the attention ;)
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Monday, June 27, 2005 2:08 AM
I know he knows. But I'd love to see him come up and give you a huge hug and plant one right on your cheek, just to see how you'd take it.
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Monday, June 27, 2005 2:41 AM
LOL!
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Monday, June 27, 2005 3:08 AM
I'd kiss Moosh on the lips.

You guys don't give me enough credit. :)

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Monday, June 27, 2005 5:40 AM
Have you ever seen those lips, Gonch?
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Monday, June 27, 2005 1:07 PM
See, that's what I admire most about Gonch: he's totally secure in his [hetero]sexuality. The world could use more men like that!

Now, about those Dells coasters....

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Monday, June 27, 2005 1:43 PM
Sounds like Hades may be getting better.
So how were the lines during ERT?
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