La Feria de Chapultapec [Mexico City] Aug 20th

Associated parks:
None

Monday, August 26, 2002 12:23 PM

Anyone who knows me knows I have an affinity for traditional parks over the large themers. Since La Feria is the traditional park in Mexico City I was most looking forward to this over Six Flags Mexico and Divertido [a third park I was unable to visit]. Of special interest to me is the park’s MASSIVE 1964 racing woodie f rom IAD, Montana de Rusa.

Akin to New York City's Central Park, Chapultapec Park is a HUGE public park in the center of the city. In addition to the amusement park there is also the Museum of Natural History, a Children's Museum, a train ride, a few lakes, restaurants, Mexican President Fox's residence, and Chapultapec Castle. The park is very green, with tons of pine. Given the city's altitude [7,200' above sea level, 2,000 feet higher than Denver] that was no surprise to me.

But who would have thought the major themer would have been the better run, more beautiful park?

The day started off badly before even getting into the park. After a taxicab ride that went 30 minutes in the wrong direction [thanks to a communication glitch] I got to the park at 11am, an hour after opening. Because my friends were picking me up at 3pm I’d only have 4 hours to explore the park. There was one ticket window open and a line of about 50 people. It took 30 minutes to buy my $60 peso [$6 US] entrance ticket.

I walked to the gate and handed the attendant my ticket. She told me [in Spanish, of course] that I could not take my backpack or camera into the park and needed to get a locker. I walked over to the lockers and gave the attendant a 10 peso coin for the rental. Unfortunately she only accepted vouchers for locker rental, and those could only be purchased at the ticket windows. So, I had to get back in the slow-moving line. To be fair, there was a sign on the ticket window stating that locker vouchers were to be purchased there, I just had not noticed it before.

On a board just to the side of the ticket window was a listing of 3 rides that would not be open: two of the three “new for 2002” flat rides were listed [Top Spin and Condor] and there, to my horror, at the bottom of the list was Montana de Rusa. The 1964 mountain of wood would have to wait for another visit.

At noon, an hour after arriving, I was finally inside the park. The first thing I noticed is that despite being inside a large, tree-filled city park, there are virtually no trees in La Feria. The park obviously suffers from Lakemont syndrome. There was one nice section of the park that was filled with trees: a small slice between the massive wooden racer, Montana de Rusa, and the park perimeter road where a few flats and the log flume were.

Despite being already open for two hours only one coaster was running: Raton Loco [Crazy Mouse]. Every single kiddie ride – and there are a TON of them – was open. The only adult rides open was the aforementioned spinning mouse, the world’s slowest Trabant, a Loop-o-Plane, the Paratrooper, and a not-included-in-admission Haunted House, which I didn’t feel like paying extra for.

The park has one other coaster in its lineup: Cascabel, Kennywood’s old Schwarzkopf flywheel shuttle loop. However the train sat in the middle of the launch track with no workers on-site doing anything to get it running. With only one coaster to choose, I got in line.

Raton Loco – once I actually got on this coaster I found it to offer the typical spinning mouse experience – lots of fun. But the park’s operations of Raton Loco were…well, estupido! I have yet to see a more inane operation of a coaster anywhere, especially one that should be a people-eater.

The park was running 7 of the 9 cars, but they were not running them continuously. Rather, they’d load all seven cars and then dispatch them one by one. When each car came to a stop in the station the riders would exit. Those cars would stack up in the station and remain empty until the last car had finished and the people had exited the platform. Then the ride ops would group together, talk for a few minutes, check each car to make sure no one had left anything behind, and then finally reload the cars again and send them on their way. I counted approx 120 in front of me and at a maximum capacity of 28 people every ten minutes it took almost an hour for me to ride. Grade – A for the ride experience, F for operations.

By now it was 1pm. I only had two hours left but the park still seemed to be in “prep” mode. None of the other adult rides had opened, workers continued to stock the food carts, there were a few workers with hoses cleaning off sidewalks and store awnings. With nothing else to ride, I found a small section of shade and sat and waited, hoping that Cacabel would come to life soon.

Sure enough around 2pm I noticed the train being pushed back into the station and shortly I heard the unmistakable sound of a Shwarzkopf shuttle being launched. I also noticed that many of the other adult flats, including Top Spin and Condor, were now operating. With an hour left at the park I got off my ass and began to squeeze in whatever rides I could.

Cascabel – this would my 295th coaster. What a thrill it was to be riding Kennywood’s old shuttle…or so I thought. Without an announcement it opened and I found myself sitting in last car, my favorite spot on any of Anton’s shuttles. The ride ops did a quick check of the bars and after a thumbs up were were off…slowly.

There was something wrong with the launch…it was unlike any other flywheel shuttle I’ve experienced. Both Monty and SFAW’s Lightning’s launches are quick and intense, but this one felt more like the weight-drop model. We moved slowly at first until the clutch kicked in with a loud “ca-chunk!” and then we were flung down the rest of the launch track. But the launch was not the only thing wrong with Cascabel. The train vibrated as if the rails were covered in rust. On the trip back thru the station the train was severely braked and I didn’t even make it up to the half-way mark on the rear spike. One ride was all I needed…I was off to explore the rest of the park to see what was operating. Grade - C.

Montana de Rusa cuts thru the center of the park like a giant wood barrier. You have to cross under it to get to the other half. It was so frustrating to be so close to the coaster and yet so far to riding it. The ride is filled to the brim with long, straight drops from beginning to end. Its easy to see its influence on Colossus and Gemini and, likewise, how it was influenced by Blackpool’s racer. Upon inspection I noticed that a lot of the trackage on the lower bunny hops was torn up and the track bed was being replaced. This seemed odd to me…didn’t CCI completely re-track this coaster just a few years ago?

In the remaining 45 minutes I rode two more rides: the park’s flume and a Huss flat called Mega Dance [also new for 2002]. And then it was time to leave. Despite the major frustrations in the first half of the day I can verify that the park was in full swing by the time I left – notable exception being the woodie, of course.

I never made it to the third park, Divertido. My friends who live in the city told me the park was far in the northern suburbs of the city – a 2+ hour drive – and not worth the time and effort to get there. They don't understand a credit whore's need to ride anything, no matter how far. Oh well...perhaps some other time.

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"I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!" - Homer Simpson

[Edit - sorry about the single paragraph...not sure what happened. Hope this is easier to read.]

*** This post was edited by Mamoosh on 8/26/2002. ***

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Monday, August 26, 2002 12:52 PM
Could you make a few more paragraphs.

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-Sean

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Monday, August 26, 2002 1:10 PM
Sean - thanks for the heads up. Now sure what happened. I hope its now easier to read.

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"I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!" - Homer Simpson

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Monday, August 26, 2002 3:36 PM

Aye no es bueno!

Great trip report! So sorry to see Montana de Rusa down for your trip there. I must be wrong but I thought the old Jumbo Jets from CP was at that park (it is one of my dreams to ride that coaster since I was alwasy too afraid as a little kid when it was at CP)

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Monday, August 26, 2002 3:52 PM

Catherine - CP's old Jumbo Jet was removed in 2001, but Tornado is still on park maps and signage. Raton Loco was moved to its place, and a new flat ride [Huss Mega Dance] sits where Raton Loco used to be. You can still ride it, tho...the park moved it to a sister park, Selva Magica [Magic Jungle] in Guadalajara.

As for Montana de Rusa, it was quite painful to see it closed. Of the 11 coasters in Mexico City it was the one I looked most forward to. Oh well...it happens. My trip was far from ruined.

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"I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!" - Homer Simpson

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Tuesday, August 27, 2002 4:59 PM

Most Coasterbuzzers probably have a copy of the American Roller Coaster by Scott Rutherford. On page 97 there's a photo of La Montana Rusa, and it has some very high, shallow drops like some of the old scenic railways. I'd love to ride it. Come to think of it, "La Montana Rusa" means "the Russian Mountain," doesn't it? Pretty cool name in an old school way.

Fine TR, Mamoosh. Glad to see we've both learned our lessons regarding the vanishing Word hard returns.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2002 6:48 AM

Blizzard - Montana de Rusa has two small drops high off the ground: one immediately following the lift, and one at the end of the first two huge drops. There is also a double down burried deep in the structure that is difficult to see...I'd never noticed it in pictures before.

Unfortunately, those gorgeous IAD trains with the Aztec carvings are either gone or have been totally redone. The trains sitting in the station seemed to be regular 3-bench PTCs [proably from the CCI renovation a few years back?].

It was indeed sad to see it closed, but I'll be back....

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"I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!" - Homer Simpson

*** This post was edited by Mamoosh on 8/28/2002. ***

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Wednesday, August 28, 2002 7:04 AM
Mamoosh sees himself in Feria. ;)

(Sorry, had to be said.)

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin (who would like to see himself in Milla regardless of hair color ;))
"Let's stop saying 'don't quote me,' because if no one quotes you, you probably haven't said a thing worth saying." - Dogma, KMFDM

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