Michigan's Adventure, Muskegon, Michigan, USA
Originally from Northwest Ohio, I grew up with Cedar Point being my home park. Now living in Michigan, it seemed like going to Michigan’s Adventure would be the thing to do. If Dorney Park is Cedar Point Junior, then Michigan’s Adventure is Cedar Point Senior. Slow, a little lame, and a little more spread out than it needs to be … (indecently, Michigan’s real Adventure is driving on I-94, amirite …?)
Arrived about 20 minutes after opening and the parking lot was so empty I expected a moose out front telling me the park was closed. Nice thing about that, barely any lines (my longest wait was for Mad Mouse). Bad thing about that, it was in part due to the weather forecast (cloudy with frequent showers) that I had completely neglected to check beforehand. In retrospect, a jacket would’ve been a nice addition to the packing list.
Since I was there to ride Shivering Timbers, that’s where I headed first. Walk-on into the backseat, green train. Was really impressed with this ride. Seemed amazingly smooth for a wooden roller coaster and with how whipped around the back of the train gets, that’s really something. I loved how powerfully the back of the train was pulled down at the top of the first hill. It may even be my favorite wooden coaster (note I’ve been on very few). Blue Streak once held that spot (with Gemini in a close second) but I haven’t been able to ride that one for a few decades (once I cracked 6’2”). El Toro’s coming up around this time next year, with Holiday World and King’s Island later this summer. It probably won’t hold this spot for long.
After the first ride, went around for a second, back row, blue train. Still smooth, but a little less so. Still lots of airtime and a great ride. Third time 'round got the front seat. Still really fun and even smoother than before, but the back’s the place to be on this one. After that, it started to rain so I hunkered down under a giant Coke umbrella and waited for it to pass.
Next on the docket was Wolverine Wildcat. A little girl next to be was scared to ride and her mother told her “You’ve already been on the scary one. This one’s just fun.” Well, turns out, the little girl was right. Wolverines and Wildcats are pretty savage, and so is this ride. Tried both front and back on this one. It’s a fine little roller coaster, I liked it, but definitely a rougher ride. And without a really big payoff moment. If I’m gonna get whipped around needlessly, I’d like at least one “Whoa” moment, which I never got on this ride.
Despite the warnings, I wanted to try Thunderhawk if for no other reason than to increase my coaster count. Rode twice, walk on both times, once in back, once in the third row. I really wanted to like this ride (hence riding it twice). But it just didn’t do much for me. Restraints were a bit painful (shoulders, not, thankfully, head). The trip up the hill was nice (still love the whole no track below you thing) as was the first drop. But then we were looping and going upside down and twisting and then we stopped. I don’t know if it was the short length, too much packed in to too little space? But I couldn’t get overly excited for this one (there did seem to be a lot of near-misses which were the ride’s one saving grace).
Dodging some more raindrops, walked back to the front of the park (maybe it’s because I’m too darn old for 60% of the stuff at parks, but it seemed like there was a lot of wasted space at this one. Lots of meandering for not much payoff. Anyhoo, next ride was Mad Mouse, which had the longest wait of the day (at roughly 13 minutes). I really miss the Wildcat at Cedar Point and wanted to relive that feeling (don’t get me wrong, Luminosity is plenty scary, but why’d they have to rip that one out again)? Mad Mouse is a really fun Wild Mouse coaster. Not much to it, but the switchbacks really do make you feel like you’re going to be thrown off the tracks over and over. And surprisingly (to me), I fit just fine. The one downside was it took FOREVER to load/unload this ride and we got to sit in a downpour at the end for entirely too long.
Next was Corkscrew, another one I rode for the coaster credit. I didn’t think it was possible to like a ride less that the Corkscrew at CP, but this was it. One plus, plenty of leg room in the front car. But at least CP’s has a loop. This one …a good introduction to the concept of going upside-down is about it.
Always feel a little weird riding kids coasters alone, so skipped out on Zach’s Zoomer and Big Dipper (which was closed making my decision all that much easier). Rain was again threatening, so walked over for a few more rides on Shivering Timbers before calling it a day. One more back seat ride, but this time in the rain. Riding in short sleeves in the rain really put the “Shivering” in Shivering Timbers, and with the green blob looking never-ending on the radar, decided that was enough of Michigan’s Adventure. All told, 10 rides on 5 coasters over 3 hours for $32. Really, not half bad. Still, looking forward to my August trip (CP, KI, Kentucky Kingdom and Holiday World over three days, weather-dependant) which is probably the next you’ll hear from me.
I went a few weeks ago. Thunderhawk was down all day, but Timbers was as good as you described. Was surprised to see what looked like brand new wood on a significant chunk of track. Turns out, that new track replaced the painful "trick-track" segment, and the ride is that much better for it. Now all they need to do is update the control system so the train in the station parks before the one on the lift is almost at the top...
Took out the trick track? Too bad. I really enjoyed that part of the ride. Shivering Timbers is the only coaster I fell in love with on the basis of seeing a photo of it on the web. It looked so beautiful that I decided I had to ride it. People thought I must be out of my mind to go all the way to Muskegon to ride one roller coaster and maybe I was but I'm glad I did it and this is still probably among my top 5 woodies.
Hard to say about the shade as there was no sunshine, but I'd have to guess pretty minimal. Most shade all day was the eventless tunnel at the beginning of Wolverine Wildcat (so much potential, so little action).
As for the trick track, wish I could have experienced it just 'cuz I haven't on a ride yet. But the person in front of me on my second ride was raving about how much better the ride is now that it's gone.
I thought the trick track was a better idea on paper, (and in photographs) and in reality did little to enhance the ride. I imagine a hop there is more fun.
The trick track was an invention of Harry Traver's. Back then they were usually taken a few in succession and at a slower speed, allowing the cars to really rock to and fro. That combined with wide seats and minimal restraints surely provided thrills and scares for riders in the 1920's. In fact there were a few coasters of his, called Jazz Railways, that consisted of nothing but trick tracks and turns, one after another, very much like a Wild Mouse.
I feel the attempt to pull the stunt from history and into modern design was kind of a fail. I'm not sure why, unless it's simply that today's rides are too fast and contain enough other thrilling design features so that the trick track seems less than effective.
So don't worry. Really, ThatTallGuy, you aren't missing much. In my book a great pop of air has got to be better.
I'd argue that the trick track on the Togo stand-up clones was very effective, but only because your head is a good bit further from the track.
Sorry I'm a little late to the party here but I have to say that I'm very sad to hear that the trick track was removed. It was one of my favorite parts of the ride (I've been a very frequent MiA visitor since 2001) and I would always yell "TRICK TRACK!!!" during that part. I guess I'm glad I caught this news on the forum prior to making my first visit this year since it probably would have been more shocking to discover it during my first ride of the season. I never found it to be painful. There are parts of the ride that I have found painful at times (the helix was pretty awful for a few years and some of the outward bound hills can be a bit of a slam at the bottom depending on its mood) but that's not one of them. To me, it added to the out-of-control feeling that I enjoy so much in wooden coasters. I also tend to enjoy chaotic laterals even more than I enjoy airtime, so I tend to have a minority view when it comes to wooden coaster tastes.
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