Indiana Beach (5/22/04 & 5/23/04)

Associated parks:

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 3:49 PM
Warning: This is the first of two very long trip reports from an “Indiana Virgin.” If you choose to read, be prepared to lose ten or fifteen minutes of your life. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Matthew!

“You look like you’re ready to fall asleep.”

“Four hours ago, I was standing in the airport in Newark, New Jersey. That’s probably why I look this way.”

“What were you doing out there?”

“I live out there. My girlfriend and I came out here to go to Indiana Beach with some friends.”

<puzzled look> “Why?”

“I hear it’s a really nice park. Everyone seems to love the place.”

“I guess. But it’s no Six Flags.”

“Yeah… exactly.”

And that was my late-night conversation with a convenience store clerk after pulling into Monticello at two in the morning on Saturday. Obviously, some people aren’t overly thrilled with the park that I heard so much about. But that didn’t do anything to dampen my spirits. I was psyched! After years and years of wanting to get out to Indiana to visit their parks and ride their coasters, here we were. Well, here I was at two in the morning. My girlfriend was already asleep in the hotel room!

We got to the park at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, two hours before we were expected to meet our friends at registration for the GOCC Spring Fling event. We parked in the South Entrance lot- noticing very few cars and only a few dreaded yellow buses- and proceeded to walk down the hill to the suspension bridge that leads to the park. If there was ever an image I want to be permanently etched into my mind, this is it- a amusement park, jam-packed with all sorts of rides, sitting in the center of a gorgeous tree-lined lake. The uneventful Indiana countryside had immediately been replaced with a vision of vacation paradise. And I was not at all shamed to stroll across the bridge giggling with anticipation, no doubt embarrassing Linette and making the kids alongside us wonder why I was acting less mature than they were.

Right away, I was in love. In love with the way the ramp to the midway ducks underneath the ferris wheel. In love with the beautifully-landscaped miniature golf course underneath the turnaround of the Hoosier Hurricane. In love with the way the park unfolds before you when you stare down the midway towards the northern half of the park, with some rides stacked on top of one another while others sit on piers built out over the lake. I was told that this would happen, I was told I would feel all this- but I still felt ill-prepared. It’s like when someone raves about how good something tastes and you bite into it for the first time only to find out that it’s better than you were expecting.

With a few hours before we got our POP wristbands for the GOCC event, I bought a $19.00 book of tickets, thinking it would at least afford Linette and I rides on all the coasters. As it turns out, it bought us a ride each on LoCoSuMo, Cornball and the Galaxi. But it was just as well, because as soon as we got off the Galaxi, the thunderstorm began. We made our way to the parking lot side of the bridge where we took shelter under a covering and watched the lightning show as the storm passed over. The storm subsided just in time for registration to begin.

At the registration booth, our group began to form. Fellow Wood Coaster Fan Club co-founders Jon Blakemore, Sean Snyder and Steve Felder were there. I also met Mark Hackett (who gave Timber Tales its name), Rob Burtz and Bob MacCallum (GOCC Vice President.) We descended upon the park at 4:00, and thus began what can only be described as a whirlwind-like dash from ride to ride to ride for the next seven or so hours.

LoCoSuMo: An extremely interesting ride, to say the least. As the sign advertises, it is a “bone-rattling” experience, but it wasn’t nearly as unpleasant as I had heard. The drops are steep and sudden, the turns sharp and abrupt and the transitions jarring and violent- but nothing about the ride was unbearable. It’s not a ride to marathon on, but it’s more than a novelty and is worth more than just a ride or two. Theming inside the mountain is definitely present, but the speed at which the cars move makes it tough to appreciate everything that goes flying by. The cars are a tight fit- it’s pretty funny to see four adults try to arrange themselves so they all have legroom. Particularly humorous is when the cars pull into the station and all these people appear from two little mine carts like clowns from a Volkswagen Beetle. It’s not exactly a top-tier wooden coaster by any stretch, but it is a good ride that deserves a lot more respect than it gets.

Galaxi: I had never been on one of these before- plenty of Zyklons have made Wildwood their home in years past, but never an SDC Galaxi. I was surprised because I was expecting a boring Zyklon-like ride. What a fun little coaster! Very smooth, with two good drops and a pair of speedy spirals. I love the way the ride is wedged in between a bunch of waterslides on the lake. Nice visuals make a good ride even better.

Tig’rr: I am nuts about Jet Stars (I’m still pissed that Knoebels got rid of theirs for the Whirlwind and even more pissed that Morey’s got rid of it a few years after that and replaced it with that RC-48 piece of garbage) so I was obviously looking forward to this coaster. Unfortunately, this Jet Star seemed to be running very slow- on more than one occasion, I was left wondering whether or not the cars would make it to the top of the next hill. It still had the steep drops and speedy turns that make Jet Stars so much fun, but the absence of speed diluted the experience.

Hoosier Hurricane: The speed that was missing from Tig’rr must have somehow wound up on the Hurricane. This thing tears down the track like a bat out of hell. There are a few little pops of air but, as Sean so perfectly put it, this ride is all about speed and power. The coaster started in overdrive in the afternoon, and by the time the sun went down, it was haulin’ ass like few coasters manage to do. Even more impressive was the fact that, during the Sunday morning ERT, the Hurricane was running like it had the night before. It’s almost as if the coaster had stayed up all night just for us! Most CCI’s are pokey in the morning, but not this one.

Cornball Express: What can I say? It IS the perfect little wood coaster! I’d make myself dizzy trying to count all of the powerful airtime moments. The helix offers some of the most powerful laterals I have ever experienced on any coaster. The drops are steep enough to induce the feeling of a misplaced stomach. Is there a better recipe for wood coaster thrills? The more I rode this thing, the more I appreciated all of its little details. The first drop that feels twice its size. The world’s first inverted wood coaster structure at the bottom of the third drop. The sharp flat turn under the Hurricane’s lift. The final two speed hills that are just plain wrong! The last turn into the station that throws you around like a rag doll in a dog’s mouth. What the hell were they thinking when they designed this one? Will we ever be lucky enough to have another park ask the members of Gravity Group to think that way again?

But, like any good traditional park, Indiana Beach has an outstanding collection of other rides to support the coasters. The Paratrooper, placed over the water, reminded me of how great those old Frank Hrubetz rides are when run properly. The Dodgems, while no Lusse Auto Skooters, were also very good and had that classic bumper car smell. The sky ride makes for a nice scenic pass over the main midway of the park and a relaxing way to get from one extreme end of the park to the other. The new Air Crow flying scooters, sitting on a platform that still lacks lighting (and is thus unable to run after the sun goes down for the time being) are loads of fun. I wasn’t able to get the cables to snap, but I did get them flying rather high and the cables did vibrate a few times. Maybe the wind blowing across the lake was screwing things up for me? And the Double Shot- my first- was notable for two incredible moments of air. I never thought that such a small tower ride could be that good!

The park’s two darkrides were exceptional. Den of Lost Thieves featured a tremendously unique and unpredictable layout and was infinitely superior to the smaller version of the Sally ride on the boardwalk in Wildwood. Dr. Frankenstein’s Castle was even more unbelievable- the longest walk-through I’ve ever experienced outside of the Orlando theme parks during the Halloween season. All of the sets were extremely well done, and the second half of the castle features a surprise that I was not at all expecting! I like walk-throughs that depend more on quality sets rather than employees jumping at you from behind the walls. By the way, does anyone know which is the “lost” room?

As far as non-coaster rides go, the Yo-Yo was the highlight of the entire trip. Another first for me, I had no idea how a Yo-Yo differed from a standard Zierer Wave Swinger or Zamperla Flying Trapeze until Jon taught me how to “yo-yo” the seats. Once the yo-yoing started, we were clowning around like a bunch of drunken frat brothers for a total of four ride cycles (as with most IB rides, you’re allowed to stay on provided that no one is waiting for your seat.) I can’t remember the last time I was that hysterical! Snapping the cables on Knoebels’ Flyers is nothing… try snapping the cables on Indiana Beach’s Yo-Yo! Just be prepared for some bruises!

I had the pleasure of meeting David Wynn (IBDave) at the Skyroom restaurant on Saturday night. What a neat place! It’s also where the Sunday brunch was held, which was included in the price of the event. Have you seen this thing? The size and scope of the buffet made me think that the entire British Royal Family was expected in Monticello! Right next door is the Roof Garden Lounge where a band was playing for what seemed to be a typical Saturday night over-21 crowd. If we didn’t have to wake up so early on Sunday morning, I would have liked to have had a drink or two before calling it a night. Oh well, next time.

I also met Tom Spackman on Saturday night- an extremely nice guy that takes a lot of pride in his park- with good reason. He seemed very interested to hear what we thought of Air Crow as well as the changes that were made to LoCoSuMo and appears very interested in improving the park year after year. I wish that all parks were owned by people like him. He and his employees should be very proud of what they do.

Despite all the time we had between Saturday and Sunday morning ERT, we wound up wanting more before we headed to Holiday World. A true sign of a good park is when you spend so much time at the place and walk away still wanting more. The Falling Star looked like fun, as did the train, the ferris wheel and Chaos. We were so busy having a blast on all the other rides that we completely forgot about riding them until it was too late. Oh well. A case builds for a return visit to the park.

Overall, Indiana Beach is an exceptional place. I can honestly say that it was everything I was told it would be, and so much more. The setting was perfect. The ride collection was perfect. The coasters were perfect. The staff was perfect. As you may have figured, everything was perfect!

Except for its location. It’s about 600 miles too far from where I live. But I’m willing to ignore that flaw.

NOTE: An enthusiast event called “Lost Coaster Weekend” is planned for August 20, 21 & 22. All members of coaster enthusiast clubs are invited to attend, so check out the registration form here. It sounds like a great weekend at a great park.

*** Edited 5/26/2004 7:51:48 PM UTC by Rob Ascough***

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 4:23 PM
Great TRs Rob...
Wednesday, May 26, 2004 4:48 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Rob said:

...and even more pissed that Morey’s got rid of it a few years after that and replaced it with that RC-48 piece of garbage

To this very day I still maintain that RC-48 is the worst coaster I've ever been on...

...even worse than SFMM's Flashback!

I want my 15 minutes back! ;)

Great TR!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 4:54 PM
Thanks for the compliments, guys.

I think that RC-48 could be a decent ride if it weren't for those awful cars. Sitting on the chassis of the car with my knees at my chin and OTSR's made out of a concrete-like material is not what I call enjoyable. As it stands right now, it is dreadful... perhaps even worse than SFGAdv's Viper. I'll have to compare it to SFMM's Flashback next month.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 5:20 PM
Mamoosh's avatar "...I was in love..."

Told ya so ;)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 5:32 PM
Damn... great TR. My eyes are bloodshot from staring at this screen for so long reading the thing. Makes me want to hitch a ride out to IB... here's hoping!

- BB

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 5:59 PM
That trip was a lot of fun and the food was awesome. Duck, prime rib, mmmmm... A train right before us on LoCoSuMo rolled back too! Tig'rr ran well for a group of five large people I saw cram into it. Did you ride it alone or with others?

What is the wood coaster fan club? I would like to know more about that. Maybe we can meet each other on another GOCC trip later on!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 9:07 PM
BeccaRaptor, check your private message box.

Hey wait a minute Rob, I wasn't the one who wanted to ride the Yo Yo. I wasn't the one who suggested it at first either. And then I warned you what would happen if we rode them. So don't complain to me about being bruised either. hehehehe ;)

I'm glad we were able to introduce you and Linnette to a little slice of Wildwood....Indiana Style!! Those of us present at the event, who get to Indiana Beach on a somewhat regular basis, couldn't believe how much improved the Hurricane was running last weekend over previous years. Actually, I noticed that the coaster was making a lot of great sounds too. That alone told me how well it was running!!!!

Now you know what's so special about Indiana...long drives through scenic countryside and small town America. can just smell the nostalgia!!!

Wood Coaster Fan Club - coming to a park near you

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 9:50 PM
rollergator's avatar I want my fifteen minutes back! ;)

The smell of IB's bumper cars...ranks right up there with the smell of a nicely-maintained (greasy) wooden coaster, or the classic aroma of a fine Anton...

"I was told that this would happen, I was told I would feel all this- but I still felt ill-prepared." So good, it's "quotable"...:)

Really happy to know that there's other people who "get" IB....I'm told you either do or you don't....I do! :)

bill, greatly endeavoring to make LCW...oh, and there's still TWO credits waiting for me in Tig'rr and LoCoSuMo...(Moosh, next time you name a ride, try fewer caps)...;)

P.S. Had to make an edit for Thrillerman...IB definitely strikes me as Morey's West....or is Morey's IB East? ;)
*** Edited 5/27/2004 1:52:02 AM UTC by rollergator***

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 9:56 PM
Great report, Rob. It was nice to meet you, and I appreciate the copy of Timber Tales--- excellent newsletter!

The Hurricane is running the best it ever has. Maybe it's due to the rehab of its trains by PTC, or maybe because its celebrating its tenth birthday.

Glad you enjoyed both the Beach and Holiday World.

Thursday, May 27, 2004 8:18 AM
Thanks for the report Rob. You know I wanted to be there and now it almost feels like I have!

I'll be sure to try out that YoYo!

Thursday, May 27, 2004 9:15 AM
BeccaRaptor: We rode with two people in the car, so that could have had something to do with it. Still, I have ridden other Jet Stars all alone and have still experienced speedy rides.

Thrillerman: You're half right. I may have suggested the Yo-Yo, thinking that it would be a nice SCENIC ride above the lake! But I don't ever remember complaining about the bruises... I wear them with pride like battle scars!

rollergator: I COMPLETELY "get" Indiana Beach. It is a wonderful place- definitely amongst my five favorite amusement parks. Everything about it is flawless and I really can't see any reason for someone NOT to like it, but to each his own I suppose.

IBDave: It was great to finally meet you. Neat restaurant you were working in ;)

millrace: What can I say? You should have been there instead of West Virginia. But you can make up for it with Playland on Saturday!

Thursday, May 27, 2004 9:26 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Lord Gonchar said at 4:48pm:

I want my 15 minutes back! ;)

rollergator said at 9:50pm:

I want my 15 minutes back! ;)

I'm still in your head and now I know what you're going to say 5 hours before you say it.

Maybe I am a witch? ;)

Rob said:

Sitting on the chassis of the car with my knees at my chin and OTSR's made out of a concrete-like material...

That is perhaps the most colorful and accurate description of that ride ever! Nice.

Thursday, May 27, 2004 9:29 AM
beast7369's avatar IB*Dave, I have to completely agree that Hurricane is running the best it EVER has. Even better than opening year! And that is saying alot! Kudos, to the hard work you all have done this past off-season to Hurricane and Locosumo.
Thursday, May 27, 2004 9:53 AM
I warned you guys- there are NO refunds. You paid 15 minutes and there is no way you're getting it back!

Lord Gonchar: The thing that gets me is, did anyone EVER think that it would be fun to ride a coaster like that? The person who designed that thing must have been 4 feet tall if he thought it would be enjoyable.

Thursday, May 27, 2004 11:03 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

Rob said:

...and even more pissed that Morey’s got rid of it a few years after that and replaced it with that RC-48 piece of garbage

To this very day I still maintain that RC-48 is the worst coaster I've ever been on...

It's definitely one of the worst. I was so bummed it wasn't open during my trip to Wildwood this past weekend--NOT! In fact, it didn't even appear to have a 2004 inspection sticker on it.

Thursday, May 27, 2004 11:32 AM
I thought that the ride was for sale? Is it possible that the park didn't bother to have the ride inspected and has no plans to run it this year?

I hope its on its way out. Replace it with something like a Gerstlauer spinning coaster or a Double Shot!

Thursday, May 27, 2004 11:49 AM
Yes, it was listed for sale. Interestingly enough, the Breakdance which was also listed for sale, was also closed. I can't imagine Morey's leaving those rides just sitting idle though. They always seem to have all their rides open so it would seem odd for them to have 2 closed rides on the same pier all season.
Thursday, May 27, 2004 12:13 PM
You're right, Morey's is very good at keeping all rides open. Perhaps they will be disappearing before the end of the season? I wonder what is planned for the space? I wonder if the rumors about the Golden Nugget moving to Mariner's Landing have anything to do with this? Maybe the space is needed for some of the displaced Mariner's Landing rides?
Sunday, May 30, 2004 8:58 PM
Amazing TR Rob! Seriously, gets me misty eyed and makes me want to cancel my job interview in North Carolina. If I get the job, I'll miss my family and all, but the prospect of being hundreds of miles from IB breaks my heart. ;) I'm so glad you "got" it.

And yes, HH is just incredible this summer. I think about it more than Cornball. Gasp! :)

"Want to be upside down, maybe thrown from side to side" - The New Pornographers, The Fake Headlines


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