The Grand Strand (Myrtle Beach), 3 Parks, 2 Days

Associated parks:
None

Wednesday, May 30, 2001 6:44 PM
5-28-01- Day 1

An early wake up call got us on the road towards Myrtle Beach. Who knows how many bikers we passed by coming back from Biker Weekend (man have I heard some horror stories about that, heard more from hotel workers when we got down there). The rain was dumping from the sky in buckets and it wasn't looking too good, but I was satisfied as long as there was no high winds or lightning. After checking into the Carribean, our resort-hotel, we unpacked and re-checked the opening times of places. The Pavilion did not open until 6 PM and Grand Prix was open already so we headed to the Go-Cart/Amusement Park first.

Myrtle Beach Grand Prix is a small place with a number of amusement rides, 2 roller coasters, and a few go-cart tracks. The main reason for stopping here was the Reverchon Spinning Mouse, named Crazy Mouse. I had never been on one before so it was a bit enjoyable (not thrilling, simply "enjoyable"). I also grabbed a ride on the Wacky Worm jr. coaster just for the count. The park had a Top Star Tour flat ride, and since I had never ridden one, I took a spin on it. The Top Star Tour was very fun and at that point became my favorite flat ride. I also took a spin on some nice go-carts before heading for dinner at the All-Star Cafe.

Crazy Mouse- 5/10
Wacky Worm- Unrated, designed for the kiddies

Between 6:30 and 7 we arrived at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, the biggest of the Grand Strand parks. The highlight would be Hurricane, a CCI designed year 2000 woodie with 2 amazing helixes. For 20 bucks I received admission and an all-day ride stamp. I headed straight for Hurricane. Maybe it was the location. Maybe it was the fact that there was absolutely no one there. Maybe it was the fact that it was the only big coaster in the park. Hurricane delivered. It would have been a lot better with PTC trains or even *drool* Millennium Flyers, but the Gerstlauer trains are another story. The first crew of the evening didn't care about the bars, while the last crew stapled me every time. That did not really matter, as the wind from the first drop automatically stapled me. The first drop is nice, the second provides a good air-time pop, and third has a wonderful Millennium-Forceish floater into one of the most insane helixes I have ever seen. The helix is not banked much, meaning you WILL be flung hard against the side of the car, or the person beside you. This also means you will bang into the sides of those Gerstlauer lap bars, where the "padding" looks like a small piece of rubber ripped off of a car tire. Exiting the wild helix is a banked drop into 2 more hills. Both hills are very smooth with nice airtime. Then is the final helix, and it is just as wild as the first. Not once could I put both arms up. The coaster simply pounts you sideways and flies relentlessly down the small final drop and onto the brakes. It may sound like I am bashing Hurricane a bit, but I really loved it. Put it in a park like Cedar Point with a bunch of other rides and maybe it would not be as good, but I rode it 15 times and got a nice feel for it. At one point during the evening it rained hard, and any tiny bit of roughness in the coaster was erased, providing an incredible ride that was smooth and relentless. After the rain it got a bit rougher, which was strange, since I have never had a coaster "turn rough" between rides lol. Overall though, Hurricane was loads of fun, and after 15 rides (almost every one in the front with a few in the back), I give it an 8.5/10.

The rest of the Pavilion was fun as well, and the Arrow mouse (the first they made) and even the Mack jr. coaster were enjoyable. I especially liked the Top Spin ride, and I like (or maybe dont like hehe) the idea of the operator controlling the ride. Of note is the park's whitewater-rapids ride, which may actually be the best I have been on. It starts in a pitch black cave and dips under waterfalls and hits the rapids very hard. I find it hard to get anything other than my feet wet on these types of rides, except Roman Rapids but that was the waterfall part, but this raft ride was wild during the whitewater parts. I also enjoyed and got some laughs out of the quirky ride through Haunted Hotel. The Pavilion was a great experience, especially with no lines for ANYTHING :)

Hurricane: Category 5- 8.5/10
Mad Mouse- 5/10
Little Eagle- once again, not gonna rate a kids coaster

5-29-01- Day 2

Once again woke up to a thunderstorm. That did not matter, however, as Family Kingdom did not open till 6. The weather became fairly nice but there were warning signs against going into the ocean due to jellyfish. Stayed in the pool for a while and later ate dinner at the fish house next door. Then it was on to Family Kingdom, home of "The Legendary Swamp Fox Roller Coaster Rated 8th Best Coaster in the USA" (don't ask me where that rating came from lol). Upon riding this John Allen 1963/66 (ive heard both years dont know which is right) creation, I discovered that it is a great coaster :). If I had to pick a scariest coaster out of the 50 tracks I have ridden (Swamp Fox was my 50th), I would probably say Swamp Fox. Why? Well, first off the coaster has the classic single bar and of course no headrests on the trains. The coaster has seat belts, and let me tell you, at the turnaround I was panicking to tighten that thing as tight as it will go. Its no use though. In the back seat and sometimes in the front you are almost ejected clear from the train. I love the way John Allen puts a big drop then a tiny hump. The coaster is smooth as can be (except for some rough landings from airtime but that isn't the coaster, if you're gonna take the air you've gotta take the landing :)), and it creates a great sensation of speed. It is a bit short however, and I give it a 8.5/10 just like Hurricane. The exit platform is right before the entrance, and riders are required to exit even when the station is empty (it always was). However, you can walk down the exit and up the entrance before the train even makes it to the entrance platform. I rode Swamp Fox 20 times and loved every ride.

The park also has a jr. coaster, which they would not let me ride because I was too tall :(. It was an exact copy of the jr. at Grand Prix which I did ride. There was also a Himalaya/Music Express named Hurricane, Myrtle Beach's largest Ferris Wheel, and a number of other rides. Of note was The Great Pistolero Roundup, an interactive dark ride similar to Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion. It was a bit cheaper but still no lines and for some reason I love these type of rides. At 10 PM I left the park and returned to a hotel to get some rest for the trip home.

Swamp Fox- 8.5/10
Speedy Gonzales- did not ride

Overall, my trip to Myrtle Beach was a good one. The location next to the Atlantic Ocean, the "county fair" like feel of the parks, and the absence of lines all made it a great experience. I rode 6 out of the 7 coasters and Swamp Fox was my 50th track. Swamp Fox and Hurricane are must-ride coasters and they are now among my favorites. Look for photos and a video of Swamp Fox in the future at http://www.starcoasters.com

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AIM: Vulcan91 ICQ: 55839810
Coaster Tracks Ridden: 50
www.starcoasters.com
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Wednesday, May 30, 2001 6:54 PM
Cool. Sounds like you had fun :)

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The Jet Coaster ROARS!
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