Sneak-A-Peek Weekend-Day 1

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, May 1, 2005 12:10 AM
Ok, one of the days I have been waiting for finally came today. I finally got an opportunity to visit the park that started my love and enthusiasm for theme/amusement parks, Visionland Theme Park, here in Alabama.

My day at the park in detail:

I began my short, but exciting drive to Visionland, which took me about 35-40 min, if that. I took the new Visionland Parkway exit, which took me straight to the park. I arrived at the parking lot at exactly 3:30 pm CST as planned.

I was surprised at the number of cars that were present at the park b/c the weather was really rainy earlier in the day and the skies still had overcast. Despite it being a dreary day, I still came with expectation of having a great time.

As I drove up to the parking booth, I noticed that the parking was $7.00--$1 more from last season. I thought to myself that was kind of high, but I know they are in the business of making money, besides the guy working there was old enough to be my great granddad and he was very nice and funny. He was talking to me about fishing and he would have kept talking if another vehicle hadn't have pulled up behind me.

Anyway, I found a parking spot right near the front, which was cool b/c I didn't have to walk far. I walked right up to the front gate and of course there was no line. There were 2 attendents there and one of them scanned my badge and I went in. I have to admit that I was kind of surprised that there was no security there checking my camera bag, but I guess there was a level of trust since I was a season pass holder.

I walked in the park like a little kid experiencing his first day outside. I just kind of walked around Celebration Street looking at what was new that caught my attention. I noticed a few new game areas as I continued towards the entrance to Magic Adventure. I avoided the little squirting fountains so that I wouldn't get wet and damage my camera.

I entered Magic Adventures and the first thing I noticed was there was no one at the entrance gate, which I kind of figured since Season Pass Holders have free access to both parks. The next thing I noticed from a distance, as I looked to my left, was the entire bright yellow structure of the Zoomerang coaster, which seemed to demand attention from all guests. Just to the right of that was the massive wooden structure of the world-renown Rampage as it dominated that side of the park. Straight ahead was the Giant Wheel and behind that the Wild River Gorge's Huge Spiral Pumps.

As I walked past Fender Bender, (The Adult Bumper Cars) I began observation mode looking at the team members, as they are called here at Visionland. I made mental notes on their enthusiasm and attentiveness to the ride. I did the same thing for team members at the Patriot, MindSpinder, Wild Scrambler and Hurricane. I even got a friendly smile, as I was walking by, from one of the attendents at MindSpinder. As I passed by Hurricane, which by the way was playing some nice upbeat music, I noticed the Marvel City sign marking the entrance to the kiddie area.

I entered Marvel City and headed towards the Rampage entrance. I just gazed at the ride as it flew around the tracks. I decided not to ride just yet, so I walked towards Zoomerang. I noticed that they revamped this path, which used to be a service road for maintenance and employees. Keep in mind that this is the same path that leads to the Space Shot. The path had some nice landscaping and it was nice to see how they transformed the hill into a nice grassy spot for Zoomerang. The entrance was still in the process of being constructed as well as the station, the queuing and the retail shop. It looks like the entrance will be similar to Rampage, but it will have shaded covers at various intervals in the line.

As I walked towards the Space Shot, I noticed that they removed Convoy (Kiddie 4x4 Trucks) and its old station is now shaping up to be the new retail shop for Zoomerang. I noticed some plants and trees sitting there that I assume will be added to the scenery of Zoomerang. They also created a new entrance/exit for Marvel City which I think is very creative as it seems to open up a whole new area altogether and provide a quicker route to Space Spot and the new Zoomerang.

I walked to the foot of the hill to the Space Shot and looked back at Zoomerang, hoping to catch a test ride or something, but I only saw men working on it. I decided to go look at the old Cahaba Falls log flume ride, but as I was walking near the entrance of Zoomerang, 2 men came down from the ride. I stopped them and asked them if they were going to test it and one of them answered that it wasn't going to run b/c they are still working on it. I thought to myself that I hope it will be ready by Opening Day.

I walked back towards the entrance of Magic Adventures and headed towards the log flume. I was kind of surprised when I got there, b/c it looked like the exact same ride, but I did notice the different lifts and motors. There was not a log boat in sight and they added water back in the pool inside the ride's layout.

I headed towards Wild River Gorge and walked up on the entrance bridge and just looked at the ride layout. I had a great view of the whirlpool element as I saw riders pass by with concern and excitement. I asked a team leader if there were geysers and he told me that they have them but they were off due to the coolness of the weather. They didn't want people to get a cold, which was weird b/c the Water Park was open. I checked out the Swings aka Tidal Wave and the riders seemed to enjoy themselves. I then decided to visit Splash Beach since I had not been since the new owners took over. The park was pretty empty as expected as the lifeguards were standing there freezing their butts off. I did, however, get to see all the newest attractions like Kahuna Waves, Acapulco Drop and Splash Down.

I decided that it was time to ride a few rides, so I headed towards Rampage. I noticed that they were running one train (fiery painted one) which didn't surprise me b/c of the crowds. The operator, loaders and unloaders were all actively interested in their jobs and did everything from the spiels to the proper loading and unloading procedures correctly. I decided to ride once in the front and once in the back. Still as thrilling as day one to me. I didn't want to overdue it since I have all year long to enjoy myself so I headed for Space Shot. This ride has 4 different sides that give you 4 different views of the park and the surrounding areas. I did 3 of these sides and decided to call it quits. The park was drawing near closing time, so I made my way back to Celebration Street. I stopped by Marvel City to observe a few more things like signage and all and I noticed the Convoy trucks sitting in the old 'Loc-O-Motion' area. I thought for a second that this was their storage area, but I found out that this is the new location for the ride. Apparently they're using the same layout that the little crank-engines had, giving this ride a new experience.

I decided that it was time to go so I took one more look back at the coasters and everything else on my way to Celebration Street. I couldn't resist the scent of the Funnel Cakes and had to purchase one before I left. Oh by the way, I checked the bathrooms near the Stage to make sure they were clean and they were. I originally decided to use the camera that I carried to take pictures of everything that I could, but things changed as I was so concerned with what I could see than what I could capture on film. Maybe tomorrow, I will take pictures.

Even though, I didn't ride much, I still enjoyed interacting with guests and team members. I rate my experiences in this fashion:

For Appearance, I give the park a 7, b/c even though the park was nice and tidy, there were just a few things I was concerned about like one of the portable games was disassembled right at the entrance to Splash Beach and the Zoomerang's construction was not guarded well enough from curious guests. There should have been signage excusing the mess as well.

For Friendliness, I give the park a 9, the team members seemed to be glad they were there and made my experience a pleasant one.

For Ride Reliability, I give the park a 10, b/c every ride was running with the exception of Zoomerang, the Log Flume and Convoy.

For Capacity Efficiency, I give the park a 8, they were cycling most of the rides pretty good, but some waited too long for onboarding guests.

For Food Services, I give the park a 9, the only place I purchased food was the Funnel Cake shop, but they were fast and friendly. My only concern was not offering me my discount even though it was some cents off.

For Overall Experience, I give the park a 9, b/c they were really trying to please the season pass holders and you could tell even at the time of the day it was when I arrived. I just wish they had the brochures and all ready but I can understand the delays.

Also, I have some interesting news:

They are indeed adding a new water attraction and land has already been cleared for this project which is set for next year. Also, they wanted to have the Zoomerang testing today for season pass holders to view, but they were still working on it. Now, for the best news I have recieved all day. They are looking to add a new coaster in 2-3 years (2008). It will be located behind Wild River Gorge so it will be BIG. They were intially concerned about flooding since that land is flood prone, but they will raise it up for this major project. The word from a reliable source is that the park's management has plenty of money, but are a little bit conservative if you know what I mean. Also, Visionland owns most of the land to the right of the outlet mall so I figure as the park grows, they will expand the parking lot area on this side. Stay tuned for more news and updates!!!

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Sunday, May 1, 2005 12:52 AM
Are you like a CEO of the park or something?

...Maybe a secret shopper?

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Sunday, May 1, 2005 9:06 AM
I was there Saturday also. Didn't it seem like Rampage was running faster than usual. I've been there every year the park has been open and this year it seemed to really be moving. Its starting to age a little but its still pretty smooth for a woodie.

I love the placement of Zoomerang. I hate the name but I think I can get over it. You can see it almost as soon as you enter the park. Once you get to the Magic Adventure area of the park its highly visible. I think painting it yellow was a good idea. It really catches your attention.

I like the fact that they've opened up the park a bit. I used to hate having to walk to some of the rides. If you wanted to go to Space Shot and you were next to the kiddie coaster you had to walk all the way out of the kiddie area and back up the hill. Now they've opened up a more direct route.

Safety is a bit of a concern for me at the moment and I hope they'll be making some changes. The walkway going up to Zoomerang, the one that used to be a service road, has pretty steep dropoffs on either side. I can just see some kid running and not paying attention falling off the side and tumbling down the hill. Also on the way up to Rampage I noticed a portion of the fence that was sticking out that could really hurt someone if they're not paying attention. The carousel had one of the bench seats removed and the mounting brackets for it were still there. It would be very easy to fall on that and bad injuries would be likely.

I know the park wasn't supposed to be officially open but there were some things that should have been giving a little more attention before letting people into the park. Several of the kiddie rides had seats closed because they're just finding out the seat belts are broken. I have a feeling they don't inspect their rides very well and that's a scary thought. Maybe they already knew about things like that but just haven't received the replacement parts yet. We'll see how things progress there.

Several rides need paint jobs. When I'm on a ride thats all rusted the first thought that crosses my mind is that it hasn't been well maintained. The Pirate ship had quite a bit of rust on it. It ran well and my son and I rode it quite a bit but the rust was a bit of a turn off. Many of the kiddie rides have faded paint jobs and some of them have rust as well. I did notice that Rampage seems to have been given a little more attention this year than last year. Last year all around the track we noticed nails sticking up. This year I didn't find any and the ride seems to be better maintained.

We didn't stay long because it was kinda cold and it was overcast so we weren't going to be able to get any really good pictures. We'll be going back today since its nice and sunny. I'm hoping to get some really good shots of the park. It really is a pretty park. It just needs a little attention in a few often overlooked areas.

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Monday, May 2, 2005 1:08 PM

dexter said:
Are you like a CEO of the park or something?

...Maybe a secret shopper?


No, why do you ask?

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Monday, May 2, 2005 1:23 PM

Kryten6000 said:
I was there Saturday also. Didn't it seem like Rampage was running faster than usual. I've been there every year the park has been open and this year it seemed to really be moving. Its starting to age a little but its still pretty smooth for a woodie.

Yeah, I made a comment about the speed that day to another guest. Definitely still as good a ride as it was when it debuted in 1998.


I love the placement of Zoomerang. I hate the name but I think I can get over it. You can see it almost as soon as you enter the park. Once you get to the Magic Adventure area of the park its highly visible. I think painting it yellow was a good idea. It really catches your attention.

Yeah, I was admiring the location and all for Zoomerang as well. Definitely, the focal point for this season as it is a symbol located throughout the park and team members' hats.


I like the fact that they've opened up the park a bit. I used to hate having to walk to some of the rides. If you wanted to go to Space Shot and you were next to the kiddie coaster you had to walk all the way out of the kiddie area and back up the hill. Now they've opened up a more direct route.

It was cool how they transformed that area where Convoy was into a retail shop and entrance to this new themed area. I was excited to see that they will try to make this ride a great experience overall.


Safety is a bit of a concern for me at the moment and I hope they'll be making some changes. The walkway going up to Zoomerang, the one that used to be a service road, has pretty steep dropoffs on either side. I can just see some kid running and not paying attention falling off the side and tumbling down the hill. Also on the way up to Rampage I noticed a portion of the fence that was sticking out that could really hurt someone if they're not paying attention. The carousel had one of the bench seats removed and the mounting brackets for it were still there. It would be very easy to fall on that and bad injuries would be likely.

Yikes!!! I didn't notice all the dangers you noticed, except the area around the Zoomerang. Hopefully, you addressed these concerns to the proper authorities and I will contact my inside source to make sure that it will be taken care of before the park debuts on Mother's Day.


I know the park wasn't supposed to be officially open but there were some things that should have been giving a little more attention before letting people into the park. Several of the kiddie rides had seats closed because they're just finding out the seat belts are broken. I have a feeling they don't inspect their rides very well and that's a scary thought. Maybe they already knew about things like that but just haven't received the replacement parts yet. We'll see how things progress there.

hmm, I hope that they have inspected these rides b/c they marked them off.


Several rides need paint jobs. When I'm on a ride thats all rusted the first thought that crosses my mind is that it hasn't been well maintained. The Pirate ship had quite a bit of rust on it. It ran well and my son and I rode it quite a bit but the rust was a bit of a turn off. Many of the kiddie rides have faded paint jobs and some of them have rust as well. I did notice that Rampage seems to have been given a little more attention this year than last year. Last year all around the track we noticed nails sticking up. This year I didn't find any and the ride seems to be better maintained.

Yeah, I noticed peeling paint and rust too, especially on Marvel Mania. (Kiddie Coaster) Hopefully, all the rides will be painted along with Zoomerang before the park opens to the public. I will address that as well.


We didn't stay long because it was kinda cold and it was overcast so we weren't going to be able to get any really good pictures. We'll be going back today since its nice and sunny. I'm hoping to get some really good shots of the park. It really is a pretty park. It just needs a little attention in a few often overlooked areas.

I went back Sunday and I will post my trip report soon. Were you there? Post those pictures if you can.

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Monday, May 2, 2005 3:54 PM
I was there for part of the day Sunday. I didn't ride much. I mainly went around taking pictures. I got quite a few but I haven't had a chance to go through them yet. I'll post some soon and provide a link.

We'll probably be going back Sunday for the official opening. Do you happen to know if Zoomerang will be ready by then? I can't wait to try it out and see how the rest of the locals react to it. The Zoomerang really isn't anything special but I think its a step in the right direction. I think Visionland will be a pretty cool park in 5 to 10 years or so if they keep up this pace.

I'm glad to see there's another Visionland supporter here.

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Monday, May 2, 2005 4:07 PM

Kryten6000 said:
Do you happen to know if Zoomerang will be ready by then? I can't wait to try it out and see how the rest of the locals react to it. The Zoomerang really isn't anything special but I think its a step in the right direction. I think Visionland will be a pretty cool park in 5 to 10 years or so if they keep up this pace.

I'm glad to see there's another Visionland supporter here.


Zoomerang is suppose to be open on Mother's Day, May 8th along with the unnamed log flume.

Not only am I a major supporter of the park, I am also a client! lol I love this park and I wish them all the continued success.

Zoomerang will definitely be a crowd pleaser when it does open! *** Edited 5/3/2005 12:28:23 AM UTC by Godsentone***

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Monday, May 2, 2005 4:14 PM
Godsentone, read this.
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Monday, May 2, 2005 8:25 PM

Blaster_1578 said:
Godsentone, read this.

And your point? Please don't try to teach me nothing I have been doing what I do for a while now. Thanks anyway!!!

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Monday, May 2, 2005 8:58 PM
Don't worry Godsentone, that's just what people do on this site. Everyone is a psuedo-mod.

I've read it before (jophish17=BFL), and like I said before, good job and you may change my thoughts on Visionland one day. Too bad I will be out of town for RRR, but if all goes well I might take a day trip over there. With the way y'all Alabamans drive, it's only 1.5 hours :)

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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 12:00 PM
I don't worry about that Jophish. I know not everyone is a fan of Visionland just yet, but I have a feeling by the 10th season (2008) or sooner, they will be!

BTW, I was wondering what your coasterbuzz name was, BobFunland, now I know lol cool website. You got to show me how to get my own up.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 2:07 PM
I'm not being a mod, I just get annoyed reading a quote that was literally the post above in its entirety. Why waste my time like that?

I was trying to politely point you to some proper forum etiquette before someone flamed you for it.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 3:06 PM
ok man, now would you like to comment on the park?
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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 3:22 PM
You're right, two posts and not a single thing about one of the best "Hidden Gem" coasters around. If you're not going to comment on the park isn't opening the thread wasting your time?

Yea, I only joined CoasterBuzz to join the club, and because their News Section is pretty good.

You've heard enough from me on the park ;)

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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 3:40 PM
Well, I guess I have. Things have slowed down as for people's excitement about the park but I am convinced that they are going to have the best season to date. Oh, I found out that ACE will be touring Visionland on July 4th as well as June 4th. I wish I could be there for both, but I will be in Chicago on the 4th of July and 2 days later I will be visiting SFGAm for the first time. *** Edited 5/3/2005 7:41:45 PM UTC by Godsentone***
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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 5:26 PM
Well I didn't open the thread to comment on the park, but rather read about it ;)

I haven't been to Visionland yet, but plan to hit it on a trip through the South next summer. Rampage has been on my list for a while.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005 7:49 AM
Well, I hope you enjoy your first visit to the park. And don't forget to submit your trip report. Wanna learn more about the park, you can visit http://www.visionland.com .
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