Dells: Labor Day Weekend: Anticipointment in Hell...

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 11:37 AM
Spent Sunday through Tuesday at the Wisconsin Dells to finish off a rather meager coaster season. Living in Wisconsin, I found it kind of funny that it took me this long to go out and ride Hades; and visit the Dells; this year.

Anyways, we stayed at the Treasure Island Resort. It was nice to stay right at the park and just pick up wristbands in the morning for the parks. The rooms are very spacious, with a seperate living room area. My only complaints would have to be the lack of broadband access; seeing this is one of the top notch hotels in the area, and the fact that there was no continental breakfast. For what I paid for the room, there should have been something for breakfast.

Anyways, we drove out Sunday afternoon, taking our time to get there and enjoying the day. We opted to skip the park on Sunday and do other Dells things like shopping downtown and hitting Timber Falls.

We arrived at Timber Falls at 5pm to take advantage of the discounted ride band. Started off with a quick spin on Avalanche. The ride has lost nothing from last year. It just flies along the track, giving massive ejector air and fun laterals. I am baffled why this ride gets the bad ratings it does.

I actually took time this year to try out the log flume and was glad I did. Great drop at the end of the ride and the volcano was going as we wound around the main part of the ride. It was good enough that it warranted a second ride.

After the flume, did some mini-golf. Always liked golfing at Timber Falls over the years, but the courses are going down hill and need a lot of maintenance. Might take my money over to Pirates Cove next year.

Did some more Avalanche and left with the overall impression that it was still my number one coaster. Headed over to Pedros and had a wonderful dinner. Can't go wrong with that place.

The next day was basically waterpark day. It was the last day that the outdoor waterpark would be open for the year. Labor Day seems to be a good day to visit waterparks because the place was dead. Great weather and no people. Never waited for a slide.

I have been to Family Land many times over the years. Very little has changed with the place over the years, and lately, with the new advents in waterpark technology, that has been the downfall of this park. The racing slide is really the only new tech that is in the park now. Also, they tore out one of the best slides there; the one with the boards and the nearly straight drop; to put in two standard body slides. Still, it was some decent fun. I actually found the indoor waterpark a bit more fun than the outdoor one.

Before I go into my activities on the dry side of the park, I want to go into the differences between the two "parks". Family Land and Mount Olympus are technically still two parks and in some ways that becomes very obvious. The employees are the biggest thing that one notices. On the Family Land side, the employees are pretty friendly, with not as many foreigners, and a lot more hustle. I actually saw lifeguards and other employees running from one place to another. Even some of the hotel employees did this. On the other hand, there was the Mount Olympus employees, who were almost all foreigners, had no sense of humor, and moved like slugs. Also, another thing was I bought a souvineer cup on the Family Land side and it was refillable anywhere: except Mount Olympus...

Anyways, after a morning and afternoon of swimming, it was time to hit the rides. I hit the Disk-O to warm up and found it to be quite a fun ride that I ended up riding several more times during our stay. The it was off to the coasters and Hades.

I was really looking forward to Hades because of all the hype and everyone saying it was better than Avalanche. It was a short wait and finally I boarded the ride in the second row of the first car. I have to say the first part of the ride was really good, before the lift. Several brief pops of airtime. The drop after the lift was good. I found it better in the last car. The tunnel was...how do I put it...meh. It was so fast that I really didnt know what was going on and didnt get a good appreciation of the elements in there. After that was the turnaround. There was a nice looking airtime hill that didnt really give any good air and it was back into another tunnel and more...meh. The hill coming out of the tunnel looked promising, but again...nada.

I rode several more times in different seats and found the back seats the only ones to give a decent ride. I am not saying its a bad coaster, because it really was quite good. It just wasn't "all that". All in all, it was still a good addition to the park and makes me drool for what Voyager can be.

Did the other coasters. Cyclops still has the single most scary moment of airtime, ever. Zeus still has some nice airtime and is a lot of fun. Pegasus is still...Pegasus. Managed to get in some go-karts as well.

Tuesday was just Mount Olympus as the outdoor waterpark was closed for the season and we didnt want to get wet. Did more Hades for walk on rides and rode Cyclops a few times as well. Zeus and Pegasus were closed due to lack of staffing. After that, I bid farewell to the Dells for another year.

One last note, behind the racing slide complex, they have been doing some serious clear cutting. My hope is they put in some new waterpark enhancements back there, maybe a Pro-Slide Tornado, or a Master Blaster.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 11:45 AM
I found the back seat on Hades to be pretty crazy, the rides I got were about as fun as Cyclops.

My spouse and I went last year for our honeymoon over Labor Day and we were only there for 2.5 hours but got serious multiple rides on everything. I think there may have been 10 people at the park all day, it was great.

I only got 1 ride on Avalanche & while I loved it, I just thought it was too short of a ride.

Great TR Bob.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 2:05 PM
Better than Avalanche? Said who?

Like any good parent tells their kids who ask which is the favorite..I love them both in different ways. Avalanche is a teeny coaster with a surprising (abusive) punch, while Hades has a little bit of everything...both varieties of airtime, speed, laterals, that train out-of-control sensation and incredible showmanship.

As for the clearing behind the waterpark? The totally unfounded rumor I heard was crazy. Crazy, I tell you. But I don't spread hearsay on coaster boards. I'll ruminate on my own all day, but otherwise...

-'Playa

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 2:28 PM
I always find it interesting how differently people will react to a new coaster. But, Kick, I think that when you get to a new coaster, particularly a woodie, late in the season, after you've heard EVERYTHING about it for months, there is a kind of built-in possibility that the coaster will. . .disappoint. I think it is the "diminished returns" notion; we built our selves up into thinking that something is going to be so incredibly awesome and if it is not that, then, inevitably, we are disappointed.

This same phenom happened with me last year with THUNDERHEAD. I liked it, I enjoyed it, I thought it was really "smooth," but it wasn't the blast I was expecting.

Now, conversely, for me, AVALANCHE and HADES both are ABSOLUTE GEMS and currently lodged in my Top 5 Wooden Coasters List. I thought HADES was all that and the tunnels. . .well, I've been talking tunnels for a decade and I'm sooooooooooooo glad that we're finally starting to see a lot more of them.

The Beast and its helix tunnels have still never been beat, IMHO, but Hades' sure does one heck of a job making them more of a distant memory.

BJW

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 2:42 PM
I have to go with Bob on this call, Avalanche over Hades for landing a much higher percentage of its punches. Pitch black tunnels don't work for me because you lose the visual speed enhancement of close objects flying by. I think some dim red lighting would greatly improve the tunnel experience by giving you the visuals and allowing you to see that 90 degree banking.

So Bob are you going to be 'Haunted' again in 2005?

*** Edited 9/7/2005 6:48:17 PM UTC by boblogone***

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 3:07 PM
The red lights in the tunnel is an excellent point, boblogone. I said much the same thing when I rode for the first time back in early June. Also, it's a much more seductive, and scary, ride at dusk and into early nightfall than it is at high noon. I think that the tunnels help any ride to come "alive" at night.

Barry J.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 3:49 PM
I agree...a little bit of dim red lighting would make the tunnels a "Holy crap look how close we are to the other track" experience rather than a "It's so dark, I can't even see my hand in front of my face so I have no idea how close I am to anything"

Besides, like others have said, you fly through there so fast you have no real sense of "Hey, my body is parallel to the ground" during that high banked turn...

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 3:52 PM
So I'm not insane!

I got nailed pretty good for claiming a "top ten, but not top 5" rating on Hades earlier this year.

Like Bob said, still an outstanding ride, but Avalanche is the top 5 (ok, top 3 :) ) coaster in the Dells.

Then again, I thought Thunderhead was similar to Hades in that you'll have a hard time finding anything short of "This is my new favorite coaster" comments, but I came away with the same "top ten, but not top 5" feeling - so what do I know? :)

Essentially, I agree totally with KTS on the Avalanche/Hades take - even to the point where I said I back in June that I thought it took much of the layout almost too fast.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 3:56 PM
There's no point in illuminating Hades' tunnel if you ask me.

The floater drop wouldn't be a surprise and you blow through the 90-degree banked curve so quickly you'd still miss it. It would subtract more than it would add.

-'Playa

*** Edited 9/7/2005 7:58:39 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 4:09 PM
Responding to several comments here...


Lord Gonchar said:
Essentially, I agree totally with KTS on the Avalanche/Hades take - even to the point where I said I back in June that I thought it took much of the layout almost too fast.

To expand on this a bit, and also on the idea of red lights... The idea of a dark area in a ride is to provide confusion and is best supplemented with a surprise. Honestly, the tunnel section was just too darn fast to get that confusion, and the little pop of airtime towards the end of the first tunnel wasn't anything equaling a surprise. Because of this, I think the red light idea is a good one. I'd like to hear some thoughts from people that have riden with the tunnel lights on...


CoastaPlaya said:
As for the clearing behind the waterpark? The totally unfounded rumor I heard was crazy. Crazy, I tell you. But I don't spread hearsay on coaster boards. I'll ruminate on my own all day, but otherwise...

Somehow, I think your unfounded rumor may be more founded than you think. With the Dells, anything crazy is more than likely to happen. The Dells are about grabbing people's attention. Most visitors do not visit a single attraction for more than a few hours. Even a visit to a waterpark is no more than a half day experience. People tend to bounce around a lot. Most of the people I saw boarding Hades had single ride tix, supporting that premise... Bigger and better is the name of the game in the Dells. Look at Avalanche, and then the taller and faster Hades the next year...


boblogone said:
So Bob are you going to be 'Haunted' again in 2005?

Unfortunately, no. Hurricane Katrina is going to have me very busy for the next few months. I work for a company that services a third of all propery insurers with IT systems.

I do, however, have plans to make it out for Solace next year, so maybe we can all hook up again, then.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 4:13 PM
I am baffled why [Avalanche] gets the bad ratings it does.

It does? I've never seen any and everyone I know who's ridden it loved it.

Headed over to Pedros and had a wonderful dinner.

I vote for Pedro's, too! ;)

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 4:33 PM
You know what? Fine. Whatever. I'll say what I heard after a couple disclaimers.

1) Those Who Know (tm) don't tell and I don't actually know jack-squat. If I did, I wouldn't even drop those little smug hints you occasionally hear now and then.

2) I wouldn't know anyone in management at Mt. O from a hole in a wall if they ran me over in one of their golf carts. Nobody's uncle's cousin's friend has told or shown me one thing. I haven't peeked into anyone's office and seen plans on a table with a coffee ring on them. I won't pretend to have one speck of authority here. None o' that silliness. In fact, I'll even tell you exactly the fourteenth-hand fashion I heard this.

Some regular, common average hotel guest told me he saw someone strolling around the clearing with blueprints the previous day and said that person told me they planned to build an indoor coaster on that site. That's all I heard. So there you have it. A completely unsubstantiated rumor.

Thank you very much. You may begin pelting me with eggs and tomatoes now.

Actually, if they DID build one, it would make loads of sense. Catching up with Kalahari or Great Wolf in the indoor waterpark wars is gonna cost a good $50 million plus. It would increase year-round lodging at their hotels and draw the folks in the mega-waterpark-resorts over for a visit, too.

OUCH! I said eggs and tomatoes! Who threw the rock?

-'Playa

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 4:56 PM
There is NO DOUBT about it--AVALANCHE ROCKETS through its paces. I had one of my most stellar riding days of the year at Timber Falls in June, and probably logged about 50 consecutive rides on Avalanche.

It is what I call a "corker" of a ride--great air, wicked laterals and a dynamic sense of itself. Now, as to whether they are continually running it too fast. . .

I'd love to know what is was clocking the day I was there because it was "leapin' the dips" and then some. I was thinking easily 60 mph, maybe faster.

I think Gonch may be right. Many enthusiasts I spoke to said it was even more insane, speed-wise, this year than it was LAST YEAR. . .

If this is true, and it is not maintained, then it probably won't have a lot of longevity, will it??

But, I thought it was everything you could ever hope to ask for in a wooden coaster. . .sans the tunnels.

Barry J.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 5:47 PM
I rode both Memorial Day weekend and both are in my Top 10 woodies with Avalanche near the Top and Hades hanging on precariously. *** Edited 9/7/2005 9:51:09 PM UTC by larrygator***
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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 6:09 PM
I meant that I felt Hades runs the course a bit too fast. Sorry more not making that more clear.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 8:34 PM
Glad you had a good time, Bob. I'm with you on Avalanche, still my #1. I did find Hades to be much better at night than during the day though. Day rides were probably top 10, but night rides were top 5.

Did you ride the yellow slide at Mt.O's waterpark? That is definately the most insane waterslide ever! You better be holding on for that one or you'll end up with one helluva headache.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005 10:00 PM
I got my first rides on Hades and Avalanche back in May before most of the hype-filled reviews (for Hades)--I was blown away by Avalanche (which I had high expectations for as well) and very disappointed by Hades.

I returned to the Dells at the end of August--Avalanche still rocks and Hades is growing on me. Even from the start, I thought Hades was a great ride (top ten), but disappointing. Now, I'm still disappointed in it, BUT I really enjoy it. It's definitely one of my faves out of 230+.The two dead spots are what really hurt the ride for me---the top of the turnaround and the top of the hill alongside the lift. Otherwise, I'm lovin' every second of it.

Has anyone noticed if the ride time has gotten shorter over the season? I clocked it at 2:02 the weekend before Labor Day and seem to remember getting the same time back in May.That kind of surprised me. Most new woodies seem to have a noticeable change over their first season. *** Edited 9/8/2005 2:04:46 AM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***

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Thursday, September 8, 2005 12:14 PM
I don't know why but I went into the Dells with NO EXPECTATIONS and was BLOWN AWAY BY FOUR WOODIES.

Hades, IM having trouble ranking it above ST only because of the night rides I've gotten on ST were absolutely incredible. Then again, Daytime Rides on Timbers aren't steller at all and Hades was. UGH! Sitting easisly in my top five and possibly #2 Hades is fast and it's damn smooth for a woodie, That floater into the tunnel the second time was SUPERB and the latteral hops of air all over it make for a fun ride and a bit of Mooshing. I kinda thought the backseat pre lift was a bit too insane. I could also ride Hades all day and not get off of it.

Avalanche, GREAT COASTER. Some might have it at #1 and I couldn't blame them. IMHO it's top five material for these reasons. 1 Everything it dose is executed to the fullest. The air hills have air and in some cases MAJOR EJECTOR AIR, The turns are forcefull and its a good length coaster. It even has some latteral air and a first drop with air into a turn you think you can't possibly go around. Reasons it's not #1 for me? Weak lapbar springs and rib bruising. My brother rode it over 50 consecutive times and probably close to 70 total but I could only manage about 25 rides total and never more than three consecutive. I don't call it a mistake at all. I didn't see one person who didn't like it. Timberfalls had some great golf courses also on the other side of the road, The one inside the coaster was fair at best.

Zues. This coaster surprised me and though a little rough on the two hills following the drop. I FOUND IT OUTSTANDINGLY FUN in a RAVEN sort of way. floats all over this thing and crazy fast with a turn around that reminded me of a reverse Raven lake turn. Just plain fun and thats why it ranks top ten for me.

Cyclops, SOme things on this coaster were insanely great but something overall keeps it out of my top ten. Something in the IT's just not a complete coaster to me. Easily top 20 though.

Pegasus, I wouldn't call it Jr at all but a great beginners coaster for da rookies. It too had some forceful moments, Mainly the hop /turn onto the brake run Cornball anyone :)
Top 50 :)

There were things I didn't like at the dells, SUch as those super wide dividers on some coasters and short belts on some seats. Operations at MT. Olympus ranged from super nice at some shops to I COULD CARE LESS IF YOUR HERE OR NOT by some ops.

I loved the go kart tracks and for some strange reason, for a park that has virtually no flats. The park is easlily in my top five parks. Maybe three great woodies and some great karts is all it needs for me.

Chuck, who didn't even do the waterpark part of Mt. O and loved it.

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