Little A-merrick-a 6/7 (not very long for me)

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Saturday, June 7, 2003 8:04 PM
Well, after living an hour from it for 12 years, I decided it was time to check out Little A-merrick-a. For those of you not familiar with the park, it is a small park in a town outside of Madison, Wisconsin with an Allan Herschell Mad Mouse and Kiddie coaster as well as a Chance Toboggan.

We got to the park at about 12:30 walked around a little and I got the $13 wrist band. I kind of wanted to come to the park for a quick fix of some "backyard" type coasters and I wanted to do what I could to support the park so they will hopefully get the wooden coaster they're looking for. My first ride was Swiss Toboggan. Sporting my newly christened Coasterbuzz shirt, I was greeted by the first nice staff member happy to see an enthusiast stop by. Closing me in the car, I found that even at my short 5' 9" frame, I had to slouch so that the roof of the car did not hit my head. I feel bad for anybody boarding that ride with any vertical advantage. The climb up was really interesting going up vertically, and probably would've been the highlight but my head started thinking about people calling it a permanent carnival and I couldn't help but imagine the car falling backwards. With a quick prayer I was out of the tunnel and down the spiral. The spiral lasted longer than I anticipated and suddenly I was hurtled into a few rough bunny hills that really didn't sound good. Almost before it started, the ride was over and, needless-to-say, I didn't plan on riding it again. I don't even want to rate any of the coasters at this park, I'm just really hoping they bring in the funds to upgrade to a wood coaster.

Moving on, we went to the far end of the park to see how far back it went and what it had to offer, it wasn't a whole lot but I came back and decided to ride their "test pilot" ride which is really a roll-o-plane. From what I understand, they got the ride from Adventurland in Iowa and completely refurbished it. It looks fabulous with sleek black cars accented with red flames. I've ridden roll-o-planes at carnivals before and was ready for the seemingly endless ride time. Being the only one of the ride, I found myself the center of attention bringing onlookers from across the park. They were dumbfounded by this 1960's machine. To my displeasure, the ride tilted on it's axis and spun horizontally, yet the cars rotated so that the force pushed me upwards which caused an uncomfortable pain around my hips from the insanely tight seat belt. Two of the rides were down and I wasn't having the greatest impression of the park other than the very friendly staff.

Next was Mad Mouse, the largest coaster in the park. I love Mad Mouse coasters but wasn't expecting a ride like Wilde Maus @ BGW. The ride was pretty rough, but the freedom of no restraint made up for that. Once again, I felt like the entire park was staring at me. The staff at this ride was a duo as one operated the brakes (trim brakes) and one operated the ride. I was the only rider though and I felt really uncomfortable in the final two bunny hills which felt as though the car was going to detatch from the track. I'm pretty sure there aren't any upstops just guide wheels in the [ ] shape.

I needed a boost on my impression of the park. So I decided my dad and I would take a spin on the park's claim to fame, their over 3 mile train. The engine was immaculate and it was an oil powered train, damper and all. They own two oil and two coal engines. Leaving, the station, it looked like rain and was a little chilly and there was no roof so we were hoping it would hold out. It was a nice leisurly journey leaving the park and driving by some ghost town scenery which, if you look closely, stores the other trains, and I saw one that lookes stunning with polished wood and a roof and even sides! They must only take that out when somebody worthwhile is there. You go through a tunnel and you don't see the park again until you return. Along the way sheep cross the tracks, llamas run from the train, and you go around a large lake with cows, and come back and there are two Zebras which got pretty close to the train, and there were even two Emus. It was a nice, probably 20 minute ride that really did change my perspective of the park. Really fun for a grandparent and young grandchild and even my dad and I had a great time on it. By the way, the rain held out! Back at the park, I was struggling to get my money's worth for the $13 wrist band, $1.50 for the Toboggan, Wild Mouse, and Test Pilot, that's $4.50 and the train was $4.50. I needed to ride another $4 worth and I was getting anxious to go. The train was the only ride that seemed worthwhile to me. I hit the tilt-a-whirl that actually had some other riders on it! And even being a sole rider, I got it into about 5 gyro spins in the extra long cycle. Not bad, I really like these rides. And then I hit up the Bumper Cars for the longest Bumper Cars experience of my life, they had to have run for 10 or 15 minutes, it was amazing and really a lot of fun, but, unfortunately, no head-on collisions! I managed to squeeze out $3 worth of ride and I had had enough.

Sadly, the park didn't have the "atmosphere" I expect to experience in a smaller park. I understand the park has some really tight budgets and I respect what they have done and how they do refurbish rides to outstanding condition, but they only part of the park that seemed clean and to have some atmosphere was the kiddie area. The park is built on a one-time parking lot (the parking lines remain) which is bizarre because the park doesn't have a parking lot, just some gravel and flags. The park needs a comfortable, re-rideable ride. Even an S&S 80' tower would do wonders, but I really hope they can pull of a wood coaster. I think that even with $5,000,000 the park could be completely transformed to a park with some real atmosphere, but that is a lot of money for this park and they are a far ways from reaching a standard of Indiana Beach or Knoebels which I thought they might be somewhat close to. I wish the park the best of luck in a promising future and I hope their attendance goes up and they can start growing and improving their line up.

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Warning: I do not think like the average person. My remarks have plenty of thought behind them. Take it for what it's worth, if you disagree, please, feel free to express it, but don't put me down because of it.
*** This post was edited by SFGAMDie HARD 6/8/2003 10:59:58 PM ***

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Monday, June 9, 2003 11:47 AM
The dictionary deffinition of a Chance Toboggan is:

Chance Toboggan: Evil instruments of torture first invented during the Spanish Inquisition. It's sole purpose is to crush the rider's spine and then rearrange their internal organs when the car reaches the rough "bunny hop" at the bottom of the "hill". The original versions of this ride came equiped with crow-bars to help pry the riders out of their uncomfortable and cramped position with in the car. This is the name sake ride for the company, in that you are taking a Chance of being crippled for life after riding one of these God forsaken contraptions.

(well, that's not the REAL deffinition... but it should be)

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

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Monday, June 9, 2003 11:56 AM
I actually thought that Little A-Merrick-A wasnt too bad. It was kind of a cute little park. The train is a very redeeming feature of the park. I also thought that little monorail going around the park was kind of neat. The staff there was very friendly. I will agree with you about the Toboggan. Total torture device, will never ride that again, not even for a credit elsewhere. I like the kiddie coaster they have there. Actually got a few little pops of airtime and the operator sent us through twice!!! He got a kick out of full grown adults wanting to ride it though!

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Bob Hansen
Resident Airtime Whore

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Monday, June 9, 2003 12:23 PM
I thought Little A-Merrick-a was a fine effort by hard-working, pioneering folks who do what they can with what they have. I tip my hat to them.

But how did you miss the little haunted house? Just happen to miss it or too much of a wussy?

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

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Monday, June 9, 2003 12:28 PM
I actually like Toboggans. :)

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-Mike B.
Son of Hulk

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Monday, June 9, 2003 12:39 PM
Last year, if you paid attention after the "ghost town", you went by the owner's personal home/farm. Sitting there, out in the open, were the trains from the Lincoln Park Comet. I'm still kicking myself for not having my camera that day.

I'll be going back in another week for my kids' annual playgroup excursion, so this time, I'll be prepared.

Later,
EV
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Remember that if you're one in a million, that means that there are 5000 other people on Earth just like you.

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Monday, June 9, 2003 1:05 PM
It is a park with good employees, but I too agree that there is something mising in the atmosphere of it. No, I'mnot saying I don't like the park, but there is something missing that could make it better. If they were to re-construct the Lincoln Park Comet, where would it go, as this is not a huge tremendous park.

To answer your question SFGAMDieHard, the big disc wheels "act" like the upstop wheels and then there are the wheels that ride in the top of the track. The other thing about the Mad Mouse is that the track/supports shake a lot when the train runs over it. But that all adds to the fun of the ride.

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Who: Man
What: Can now fly
When: 2003
Where: SFGAm
Why: For A Fast-Paced, Heart Pupming Energy Rush
How: On S:UF !!!!

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Monday, June 9, 2003 1:08 PM
Little-A-Merrick-A = Good credit stop.

I didn't think the place was much at all. Maybe I'd enjoy it more if I had some little kids...

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Monday, June 9, 2003 1:46 PM
I love Little-A-Merrick-A. I go to the park 3 or 4 times a year. I talked to the guy incharge of the park and he said that he was thinking of buying the Hillcrest Park Little Dipper and moving it. I told him that it would be a great idea. We should have a build the coaster day at the park in the winter if they move it. That would be a cool winter coaster event
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Monday, June 9, 2003 2:02 PM
While none of you said it, it seems you got the impression I hated the park. That isn't the case at all, Frank emphasized what I meant in that I appreciate small parks like that but they usually have a very strong atmosphere and I just didn't sense that at all at Little A-merrick-a.

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Warning: I do not think like the average person. My remarks have plenty of thought behind them. Take it for what it's worth, if you disagree, please, feel free to express it, but don't put me down because of it.

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Monday, June 9, 2003 2:20 PM
This park serves its purpose. Its of the carnival setting.

I applaude the people running this place. They purchase used rides from other parks, refurbish them, and open them up in great condition.

The park is still relatively new (I believe about 8 years), and with a very limited budget, I am actually impressed with the amount of rides they have already.

One way or another, they will have a wooden coaster of some kind there in the near future. Whether its a relocated one or built from scratch, Little-A-Merrick-A will be on the radar screen soon.

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"

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Monday, June 9, 2003 3:42 PM
The owner is very dedicated. He actually takes a good sized loss on the park each year. He only does it because he enjoys it.

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Please visit the small parks. We don't know what's happening behind the scenes
Woodencoaster.com

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