Looking for Dells information!

Saturday, May 15, 2004 1:23 AM
I'm heading from Vegas to Ohio this July. I'm traveling with a newborn and the dog (big yellow lab in case you care). I'm not hitting every single park along the drive as I have in the past due to the baby. I’ll get my Holiday World (on the 4th AGH), PKI & Cedar Point fix while I’m back home for a few days. There is no need to tell me about all the parks I’m missing on the drive as I’ve done all of the Midwest to southern parks along the way (this is not meant to be rude but just an attempt to keep the thread more focused).

The new experience for me will be on the return leg. I’m taking a high north route back. I’m going to the Dells for the first time. I’ve read as much as I can on CB about Dells (there is not a ton of stuff). I pretty much know what to expect coasterwise. I realize that I should not expect great scenery and world-class service from the parks and I should expect to pay top dollar. However, I’m always excited to add a few new rides to my list. I can’t wait for the Cyclops' second drop. If anybody has any other can’t miss stuff or places to stay (remember I have the dog) or tricks of the trade when it comes to the Dells---let me in on it please!

I also plan on hitting Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone for the first time. Any info is most appreciated.

P.S. I know Valley Fair and Mall of America are not too far off the path, but I was there a few years ago for a wedding and have no burning desire to drive that much further out of the way as I’m already looking at a possible 5000 plus mile trip over 3-4 weeks.

P.S.S. Thanks in advance for any information you guys may have.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004 1:59 AM
My your mention of Cyclops, I'm assuming you mean Wisconsin Dells? If not, ignore this...

There is some flume ride at one of the mini-golf courses in town. If you like flume rides, this one is a true classic and worth it to ride it once.

Big Chiefs is one of the worst places for coasters ever. Yeah, the CCI's that they have are pretty nice, but they are about the worst maintained and unsafe rides I have ever seen in my life. You'll see more exposed metal in the trains here than you will at a steelworkers convention. Oh, and make sure to check your own harnesses, as the attendants rarely do. Be really careful when you are at that park. It's an accident waiting to happen.

While expensive, the Kalahari sure is a neat hotel. Supposedly, they are making another one in Sandusky that will directly compete with the one Cedar Point is building. I don't know about the things inside, but the hotel amenities are sweet.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004 2:33 AM

Jeffrey R Smith said:

I also plan on hitting Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone for the first time. Any info is most appreciated.


I really didn't think Mount Rushmore was anything to get overly excited about. I mean, if you're really into that kind of stuff (national memorials, history, etc.), then by all means go. But I was just bored after a couple of minutes of just looking at the president's heads carved into the mountain. You see it, and it's like "Wow, that's nice", then it just wears off quickly and just became boring. To be honest with you, I didn't actually go to the memorial because I didn't think it would be worth it.

As for Yellowstone, be sure to check out the Old Faithful geyser that erupts every 90 minutes. It's a really neat thing that you don't get to see everyday. Just outside Yellowstone, there's also the Grand Tetons National Park which has some really beautiful mountains. Well, have a safe and wonderful trip!

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Saturday, May 15, 2004 11:11 AM
the flume mentioned above is the Timber Wolf at Timber Falls, the home of the new Avalanche coaster, so as long as you are at that park anyway you should ride it. You can get an all day pass for $20, which includes Avalanche, Timber Wolf,the bumber boats, and golf.
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Saturday, May 15, 2004 11:37 AM
If you really want to experience the Dells stay at the Kalahari or Great Wolf Lodge and do a day at Noah's Ark as well. Noah's Ark is the largest waterpark in the country and has a fantastic collection of slides, my favorites being Black Thunder, Stingray and Congo Bongo Rapids. It is worth the stay.

If you are going to Mt Rushmore be sure to hit there night show, its a video followed by a slow light up of the mountain. 100% pure American patriotic cheese and amazing, missing this will likely cause you to have the same reaction to the mountain as Scream Machine. Grand Rapids is situated in a perfect place between Wisconsin and Yellowstone to spend the night if you are planning on making the trip from Wisconsin to Wyoming in two days. I have done the trip many times and if I remember right one leg is a 14 hour drive the other a 12 hour drive.

Yellowstone is one of my favorite places to visit the park is huge, you will never see all of it so plan a stay as long as you can allow. Besides its famous Geysers (Old Faithful and the Norris Geyser basin, the worlds largest gyser basin are musts) be sure to try and hit Mammoth hot springs and the Grand Caynon of Yellowstone.

You have a fantastic trip planed enjoy it!

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Saturday, May 15, 2004 2:32 PM
As far as places to stay, if money is no object, I would also recomend Kalahari or the Wilderness.

For other things to do I would say you have to do a Duck ride. Maybe a visit to the Wonder Spot (totally cheesy little place). Tommy Bartlett water show.

For a nice dinner maybe Jimmy's Dell Bar (I think that is the name of it) or the place across the street that I can't remember the name of.

Frank, who loves the Dells and thinks they are like a kids version of Vegas

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Saturday, May 15, 2004 3:53 PM

thecoasterguy said:


Big Chiefs is one of the worst places for coasters ever. Yeah, the CCI's that they have are pretty nice, but they are about the worst maintained and unsafe rides I have ever seen in my life. You'll see more exposed metal in the trains here than you will at a steelworkers convention. Oh, and make sure to check your own harnesses, as the attendants rarely do. Be really careful when you are at that park. It's an accident waiting to happen.


Bull. Not only have I been to the park when it was Big Chief's countless times, I have spoken with both maintenance men and those in charge more than once. Zeus and Cyclops are two of the best maintained wooden coasters I've ever been on. There's not a single bump on them, and they're well oiled and greased every single morning. You don't get smooth rides from lack of maintenance. As for exposed metal, I also have no idea what you're talking about. Zeus got new lapbars last year, and Cyclops' bars have never been a problem. Also, as I said in another thread earlier today, I personally don't feel it's that unsafe to not check bars as long as they're locked and a visual check is done. (Although, that said, the Big Chief people usually do check bars from my experience). So...what gives?

Big Chief is going through massive changes this year in its transformation to Mount Olympus. The parking lot has been completely torn up and moved to the top of the hill. Things are being painted, new shops and food stalls are being constructed, and things are getting nicely-themed signs. The new ticket booths look wonderful. The Trojan Horse track has been completely redesigned and will no longer go under the parking lot. It also looks like the park is getting a lot of landscaping and shade, and I think this will be a good year for them. It will certainly be interesting to see how the POP goes for them. Entry into Big Chief will cost you $27.99 if you're riding, $2 if you're not. I'm actually surprised by the prices, as they're really not all that bad (and actually, the POP is now cheaper than it was last year).

Depending on when you visit in July, Avalanche may or may not be open. As far as I know there's no set opening day, but as of a couple weeks ago the ride consisted only of a station, brake run, and a couple bunny hops. The later you're going in July, the better your chances.

If you're a credit whore, there's also a Galaxi at Riverview, and Little A-Merrick-A (just east of Madison) has a Toboggan and a wild mouse.

The Kalahari is indeed impressive, but if you're visiting in the summer, I can't imagine you're going to want to sit in an indoor waterpark. Although they do have an impressive (though small) outdoor park, if you're really into going to a waterpark, go to Noah's Ark or stay at Treasure Island, where you'll get free admission to the huge outdoor park that was Family Land.

If you're into the more "extreme rides", the Dells has just about one of everything. There's a skycoaster, a bungee jump tower, a couple of ejection seats/slingshots, and one of only two permenant SCAD towers in the country. www.extremeworld.com will tell you more.

If you have any other questions, ask away.

-Nate

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Saturday, May 15, 2004 4:20 PM
Coasterdude318 this is certainly good to know about the coasters at Mt. Olympus. I'll be going for my first ever visit there in a little over 2 weeks, and I was a little concerned at first by Thecoasterguy's post. Now I'm looking forward to it more than ever.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004 4:40 PM
Kalahari Resort is the best resort at the Dells. I just got my summer info packet, and they got a new wave surfer machine(where u can get a board and surf on it) in their indoor waterpark. The whole place is great. It reminded me a lot of Vegas hotels. Only they had very friendly customer service, great food (a dippin dots in the hotel) and a lot of neat animals. Best hotel I have ever stayed at.
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Saturday, May 15, 2004 4:48 PM
FYI, I believe the animals from the Kalahari have been moved to Storybook Gardens, aside from a few lion cubs in the lobby.

-Nate

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Saturday, May 15, 2004 4:50 PM
Back in 2000, I did a big road trip that took me through the Dells. I drove from Chicago to Minneapolis in one day, so I didn't spend much time in the Dells. It was spectacular country and from the outside, the waterparks looked world class. However, the roller coasters were not exceptional, compared to Cedar Point or Valleyfair. (I might have selective memory -- the same road trip took me to Cedar Point where I road MF in its inaugural season.)
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Saturday, May 15, 2004 6:29 PM
Thanks for all the information guys! I'll probably be at Mount Rushmore for 5 minutes just to see it! I'm excited about the Dells. I highly doubt that the Kalahari will take my dog---but it sure sounds like a place I have to go see!
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Sunday, May 16, 2004 1:46 AM
Regarding safety and Big Chiefs, they have different ride ops and sometimes they do not seem well trained. Sometimes they don't check the restraints and once the girl was terrible at breaking the train. However, I have never felt unsafe at all. The machines run great and I can check my own bar if needed. As for the breaking that one time, I found it funny and there is only one train anyways. If that bothers you, then I guess that is your choice.
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Sunday, May 16, 2004 3:07 AM
As of tonight, Avalanche's first drop is complete, as well as a couple of bunny hops along the main road. By my estimate, it's about a third complete, so don't count on a Memorial Day opening as the park claimed (surprise!). It is looking really good, though.

As far as braking trains at Big Chief, it's actually harder than you'd think to bring those trains to a smooth stop, but it's hardly a safety concern.

-Nate

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Sunday, May 16, 2004 3:54 PM
I'd ask Kalahari. They have some really nice service. They just might.
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Monday, May 17, 2004 12:22 AM
Called Kalahari and they did not take the dog (not that I expected them to)! I'm still going to stop by this place and see what I'm missing. Besides coasters, baseball, and scuba diving, there is nothing more I enjoy than seeing nice resorts I could be staying at if it were not for my dog. I get a lot of that living in Vegas! I would never trade him for the world though. In fact, on my many trips to the WDW resort I spend a lot of time touring the resorts there. We'll see how this (Kalahari) compares.

Thanks for the information everybody. I'm sure I'll make the best of it from my Days Inn/Best Western/Red Roof Inn type of sleeping arrangement.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004 11:17 PM

coasterdude318 said:

Bull. Not only have I been to the park when it was Big Chief's countless times, I have spoken with both maintenance men and those in charge more than once. Zeus and Cyclops are two of the best maintained wooden coasters I've ever been on. There's not a single bump on them, and they're well oiled and greased every single morning. You don't get smooth rides from lack of maintenance. As for exposed metal, I also have no idea what you're talking about. Zeus got new lapbars last year, and Cyclops' bars have never been a problem. Also, as I said in another thread earlier today, I personally don't feel it's that unsafe to not check bars as long as they're locked and a visual check is done. (Although, that said, the Big Chief people usually do check bars from my experience). So...what gives?


Nate,

If that's the case, fine. I was not posting this to be an idiot. I was posting this because the time that I was at the park, the condition that the rides were in was horrible, and the complete lack of lapbar checks floored me. There was no visual check going on when I was there. People would get in, the operator would wait for a second, yell "Here we go" and start the ride. One of my friends left the station with the lap bar all the way up because he was finding his seat belt, which had fallen under the seat to put on.

The exposed metal in the last seats of Cyclops was incredible when I was there. The lap bar's padding on the far right seat was partially missing. The divider in between the two seats had no padding left whatsoever and was straight steel. The rides in these coasters were smooth, I'll admit that, but when I go to parks I find myself checking on how the operators are running things very carefully, and Big Cheif's ranked alongside Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom as the cream of the poorly-run crop. I am very hopeful that you are right and the park has changed, but the time that I was there left a really bad safety taste in my mouth even though the coasters were fun.

Again, it was my opinion of the park and nothing more. That was what *I* saw when I was there.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004 11:55 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about the biased opinion from someone who is so affiliated with the park....
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Thursday, May 20, 2004 12:05 AM
How can an opinion be biased? Isn't that what makes it an opinion?

When did I ever say I was affiliated with the park?

And hey, like I said, I haven't been there in a while and that was what I saw when I was there. Read the last line of my post, directly above your name. Parks can change, even from day to day. That is what I saw when I was there.

I would much rather a park change then operate rides like what I saw, especially rides that I admittedly really liked. I found Zeus to be really fun and it was easily my favorite ride there, although I didn't find Cyclops ejector air to be as much of a surprise as Raven's. I didn't really find Pegasus [sp?] to be overly fun, but hey -- there are a lot of different coasters because there are a lot of different people in the world and not everyone is going to like the same things.

Also, I'll readily admit that I am not a fan of Go-Karts, so while their Go-Kart tracks were great, I didn't really have fun riding them (and I never have had fun riding Go-Karts, so I wasn't surprised by this). That probably magnified the bad experience I had with the coasters.

Regardless though, I personally did find the park to be scary in the way of operations. The rides are fun, but I personally don't plan on going back for a few years at the earliest because of what I saw when I was there.

*** Edited 5/20/2004 4:05:51 AM UTC by thecoasterguy***

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 12:16 AM
thecoasterguy: When was this visit you're referring to? I'm generally curious, only because some of the things you describe (exposed metal, for example) I have never seen. The incident on Zeus is indeed frightening, especially because of certain incidents that have happened the past couple of seasons (at other parks). The park obviously has a poor employee training program in place, but I'm hoping that will change this year.

I believe TeknoScorpion was referring to me with the supposed "biased" opinion. Please explain to me how I am affiliated with the park. That's certainly news to me!

-Nate (thrilled to have a stalker)

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