When we pulled into the south parking lot at Indiana Beach, we saw something we’d never seen in our many trips to the park – a packed parking lot. We found a spot and headed in, but our enjoyment of the walk over the suspension bridge – for my money, the most dramatic entrance into any park – was tempered a bit by a worry: had we picked a bad day to come to the park?
No worry. The park was crowded, more crowded than I have ever seen it. But it was a picnic crowd, and I have a theory about picnic crowds at amusement parks: their impact on wait times is not proportional to their presence on the midway. Picnics bring out all types, including people who don’t normally go to parks and don’t ride. Wait times were longer than on an empty-park weekday – our first wait for Cornball was 20 mins., for example – but by the end of the day things were back to the happy IB norm … walk-ons (or nearly so) for most rides.
I love this park for its waterfront midway atmosphere and jumble of great attractions. As for the major rides, this is how the four of us (me, my wife, 15-year-old daughter, 12-year-old son) found them last Sunday:
Cornball Express: flat-out my favorite coaster anywhere. Every inch of this thing delivers and it was running beautifully. Seven rides, each better than the last. ‘Nuff said.
Hoosier Hurricane: I’ve said before that this moody ride is underrated. Sometimes, it’s just a coaster. However, the re-tracking they did was a huge success. My wife had sworn off riding HH for its roughness, but the kids and I got off raving about how smooth it is now, so she went on with us, and wound up riding it two more times that day. Our last two rides were after dark, and that’s really the time to enjoy HH. If you like the “run through the woods” at the end of the Raven, try HH at night, the whole thing has the same wild, headlong feeling. Still not an airtime machine, but up front I was getting a surprising pop on the first part of the double-up, which I’d never felt before. All in all, a much improved coaster.
LoCoSuMo: lines were almost Six Flagish for this during the day, so we didn’t try until evening, around 7:30. With two train operation, we waited maybe 20 mins. The extra padding in the trains is cool, but kind of foreboding – if we need this much padding, what is this thing going to do to us? I loved the elevator, very ominous and atmospheric after dark. My son and I rode backwards, facing the girls. I’ve never experienced such crazy laterals, and laughed my head off in a sort of funhouse, Jane-stop-this-crazy-thing kind of way. The girls, however, thought it was too much. My daughter prides herself on her I’ll-ride-anything sangfroid in the face of extreme rides, but stepped off uttering two words: “Never again.” So I’m not sure this ride is a success. It gives the park a dose of extreme that it can use, “extreme” in a novel, IB kind of way. But it’ll be interesting to see if it continues to draw after the novelty wears off. Once people have tried it, will they want to re-ride? Half of our party of four probably won’t, ever. I will, but I won’t crave it the way I always crave one more ride on Cornball.
Food Note: We ate at the Burger Shake, and had the best food we’ve ever had at IB, outside of the Skyroom. Good burgers with nice, fresh trimmings, and my daughter raved about the marinated chicken sandwich. The girls also put over the toffee cappicino (sp?) at the Beacher.
The park was in great shape. Did the Double Shot, the great Duce bumper cars, and the classic Frankenstein's Castle walk-through, among others. I read a recent trip report where the writer had visited the park on a weekday and had been underwhelmed. Well, on an off day with nobody around and you’re sitting around waiting for the coasters to fill up, I can see how it might be lacking something. But on a day like last Sunday, with great summer weather, a lively crowd and the coasters flying, I can’t imagine anyplace I’d rather be than Indiana Beach.
*** This post was edited by blizzard on 8/26/2002. ***
I gave up trying to read that after about 5 sentences :(
Le roi est mort. Vive le roi.
Thanks Great America!
Yikes!!! Sorry about that. I composed the post in Word, and when I pasted it into the window, the hard returns were in place. Somehow they vanished. My fault entirely for not checking it when it went up.
All better now.
"I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!" - Homer Simpson
D-Mon of Darkness
LIVE LIVE INVERTED - ALPENGEIST
Deja Vu Count = 23
Sorry, D-Mon, but like most good things in life, small traditional parks just aren't for everybody. If you need a two-digit coaster count to get whatever it is you get out of park-going, then you really should do everybody a favor and stick to the two-digit coaster count parks. I mean, c'mon, Indiana Beach? What were you even thinking?
And no, I'm not offended. Just relieved that keeping you happy isn't part of my job description.
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