Indiana Beach, Monticello, Indiana, USA
After getting word late Friday night that one of my friends was planning on heading to IB for opening day with a group of friends, and with the wife going out of town for the day, I decided to make the 90 mile trek to Monticello to get my first coasters of the season in.
I will try to keep it short, but typically I ramble.
Got to the park, and noticed that quite a few people (for IB standards) were at the park. At noon, there was still about 50-75 people waiting to get in at the south gate (bridge entrance). Luckily they were using 2 booths to get people set up with their wristbands. One change this season is that there is no longer a general admission fee (previously 2.50). Also, the park no longer has "ride sessions". Wristbands are now POP for all day.
Instead of going on about the rides, I will mention some things that seem to have changed this year. First, and most noticeably, wristbands now have a barcode on them, and when you get to a ride, you scan your wristband (ala Mall of America). This is obviously a new system as some rides were still getting their systems set up, and some ride hosts were not even enforcing this rule. I'm sure that will change.
Along with that system, the park now has a Cash Card that can be purchased at the office or any of the admission gates. When you buy this card, you can load any amount of money you want onto it, and based on the amount you put on, IB will add a few extra bucks (ex: 25.00 = 27.50 in park). These cards can be used anywhere in the park, including rides and arcades. In fact, when we went to play Fascination, they were actually scanning the cards for that as well. This is a nice option for people who visit the park regularly, who don't always want all day wristbands. They can simply come in, scan their card at the rides they want to ride, and be done with it. It's also nice to not have to worry which stands/stores will take your credit/debit cards. It's a nice looking card too!
As far as changes in rides, there wasn't much. It did feel like some of the cycles were shorter on some of the flats, and seatbelts have begun to pop up places where I haven't seen them before (Tig'rr and Flying Bobs). I know this is all because of Morgan tightening up safety a bit... I just hope the "charm" doesn't begin to fade as well. As far as coasters, all of them were open except for LoCoSuMo (more on that coming up). All of them seemed to be running great, especially Cornball. It seemed to be smoother and faster than I remember last year, and was delivering great airtime all around. Also, the rough spots near the bottom of the drop were still there, but not as bad as last season...
LoCoSuMo was a different story. When getting to the park, I heard it would be down all day, due to lift issues. However, while enjoying our delicious Tacos from the Taco Shoppe we saw them open the line. We quickly got in line, and got right near the front. Without even cycling trains, they loaded the train and dispatched. All went well, until the train was coming back to the station. When it left the mountain and hit the hill with the drive tire to bring it back to the station, it got stuck on the tire and started to squeal. After 10 seconds or so, either the ride E-stopped or the tire just stopped and the train rolled back into the mountain, re-triggering the train sound effect (which was pretty humorous). The ride host asked everyone to leave the line, and although the train was pulled back out of the station, the ride never re-opened. (It looks like it was open today based on another TR)
In addition to all the things I mentioned above, there were also a few places where some things have been painted (fountains and planters around Antique Autos), and it seems to me Galaxi got some new paint, but perhaps that was done last year...
Ok...I've rambled on quite enough, so I will stop here. If you have other individual questions about the park, I will be happy to answer them. There was also a pretty funny incident with a very tall friend of mine, and the Frog Hopper... but I will save that for another day ;)
Time in Park - 6 hours
Steel Hawg - 2
Cornball - 3
Double Shot - 2
Den of Lost Thieves - Score: 170 (Wow, I'm rusty)
I'm from Mishawaka Josh! It has never taken me more than 75 minutes to get there but I kind of drive fast I guess!
Even though there's a lot of people there sometime when I go, there's rarely lines for the coasters I find. I find that it's more family attractions that have the longer lines. Except locosumo always had a line when I went.
Kyle Says: Diamondback was a lot of fun! Made his first time at Kings Island worth it all!
Since they only offer the POP now, why do they need wristbands that you have to scan at every ride? If you don't have a wristband, you don't ride. Can you put a certain $ amount (or points like MOA) on them and ride till you are out? If that's not the case, it seems like a waste of money on unused technology, unless they plan on doing something different in the future.
The wrist bands are only for POP. The Cash Card that I also mentioned can be pre-loaded with money, and used with the same scanners to get on rides. So, if you just want to ride a few rides, and have some tacos, you can just put 15 bucks on a cash card, and scan at the rides you want (and the Taco Shoppe) and not bother with a wristband. :)
I had some problems with my wrist band at first. It was good for a couple rides, then suddenly on Hoosier Hurricane it came up saying "it was already in use", meaning there was a duplicate. It only happened once, then seemed fine everywhere else. The cards are a good idea though, and while it is a deal I'm sure it is just to give incentive to keep spending in the park.
Absolutely! While playing Fascination, it is much easier to just leave your card on the table, and keep playing, as opposed to having to get out the cash for each round. I think it will definitely lead to higher per cap spending in the park.
As long as the sky ride remains seatbelt-less, I'm good!!
I'll speak for myself on this, but the day I was there last Sept (the day Gonch went) was surprisingly one of my most enjoyable park visits in all of 08!
I'm afraid to go back this year since I know it won't live up to that trip...I mean, after 30 rides on SH in one day, surely it's all down hill from there! ;)
Lord Gonchar said::( - for seatbelts on Tig'rr
:( :( :( - End of an era to be sure. Ride sessions were a great way to keep the park from getting overcrowded, so that's kind of a loss too, IMO. Great news about Cornball, as my last visit had left me kinda disappointed. The "cash cards" are a great idea I've been promoting since my first encounter with "Splash Cash" at the 'Bahn several years ago.
I've read some other trip reports, and others have confirmed that there is new wood on both Cornball and Hurricane. I thought I felt a difference... especially on Cornball. It was only 60 or so on Saturday, and Cornball felt faster than some of the 85 degree days that I was in the park last summer. I can't wait for those days this season!
In addition, some of the group who was with me on Saturday had never been on Cornball, and at least one of them said it was a top 10 coaster for them. The airtime was fantastic!
Well my friend who thought so highly of it was a Buckeye!
Gonch, I don't think it's the greatest thing out there. I would easily take anything at Holiday World any day. However, for how short it is (55 ft) and relatively slow (45 mph), it really packs a punch. Also, it can be very temperamental depending on when you go, so you may have caught it on a bad day. There were a few days last season where I thought it was very subpar, but when its running well (like last weekend), you are out of your seat 4 or 5 times, not to mention the helix produces some great laterals. And I'm partial to any ride with buzz bars.
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