Well, this was an unexpected trip for me. I originally was supposed to be in Pittsburgh for my grandparents' 55th wedding anniversary, but my grandfather is a bit "under the weather" and didn't feel up for a celebration. Finding this info out last Thursday left me in a bit of a bind as to what to do with myself over the weekend, as I was going to be staying in Chicago (thanks to how easy it is to reschedule frequent flyer tickets). I tried to scrounge some people together for Coastermania and the CBuzz Con at PKI, but it was pretty impractical for us to just take off without any planning at the last minute. So it seemed only logical that we should be on our way to Indiana Beach.
I'm not going to go into detail about the park visit, as I just did a TR for the park last weekend. This will be more or less a review of LoCoSuMo.
Keep in mind that this is a completely objective review of the ride, and I've left my "Indiaina Beach Fan" goggles at home.
Cosmetically, there is still much to be done on the ride: The station only has half of a roof, a permanent queue still needs to be put in place, one train still needs to have the netting treatment completed, and there are still a lot of "rough edges" that need to be smoothed out where the track enters and leaves the structure of the mountain.
I have mixed feelings about the trains, particularly the netting. I know the netting had to be put on for clearance reasons, but there is something about it that isn't quite right. The netting is of such a diameter that it doesn't affect visibility, but at the same time it does affect the feeling of openess while traversing the track. It just seemed to me that the ride would have been better with nothing over my head, as I was distracted by it at several moments. The seats on the trains are pretty comfortable, but there isn't much in the way of leg-room. If you are an adult riding face-to-face with another adult, you will be familiar with each other from the knee down.
On to the ride (I only got one ride in, so I won't be able to give a play by play):
The elevator lift is very smooth and very quiet. My friend Dennis and I were chatting, and hadn't realized that we had raised off the ground a couple feet before noticing the elevator had started going up. Our tain engaged the track going on and off the lift without a hitch, but I've read in other reports that there were some problems over the weekend.
Once the train leaves the elevator, the craziness begins. This is a wild ride, but not wild in the traditional coaster sense. There is a lot of jerking, lurching, shaking and rattling, but in a good way. The trains themselves track smoothly, but the contorted dips and turns in the layout make the actual ride experience very jarring and disorienting.
It's a very interesting experience, as there are extremely thrilling moments (the double down), as well as some more "chill" moments winding through the mountain that are reminicent of a more traditional dark ride experience. There is a trim before the double-down that was being carefully monitored by CCI/IB folks during our ride that left the interior of the mountain well lit. I'm sure that when the tweaking period is over, and the lights are off in the mountain that this section will be far more effective. It was also noteworthy that I didn't notice any other breaking on the course, although I was aware that the breaks were in place and working.
CCI and Indiana Beach did an excellent job on the ride, as it successfully incorporates elements of a traditional dark ride experience and a coaster to make something unique. My friend Dennis commented upon leaving the ride "Thank God someone finally made a mine-ride that actually feels like one." This is a very weird, funky, and fun ride.
I'll be interested to watch the ride's progress as the cosmetic touches are adressed and the operations are fully tweaked. Hopefully some theming will be done over the next couple seasons on and inside the mountain (maybe something similar to the flume at Knott's) to fully maximize the ride's potential.
"drop rides, not bombs."
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