The "New" Indiana Beach: 6/9/16

Thursday, June 9, 2016 10:57 PM

I heard about the new management and was closer than usual to the park, so I decided to visit and see what had changed. There were lots of billboards promoting the "New" Indiana Beach on the way.

Backstory: My family and I went to IB for a weekend in 2004 and we loved it. We stayed onsite and the atmosphere was spectacular. My 2010 visit was fine, but definitely off. I was hoping that some of my love for the park from 2004 would come back.

The Good: There was lots of fresh paint everywhere; on buildings, water slides, and the rides, and the paint colors are less garish than before. Everything was running except Lost Coaster (but they were working on it), the Bumper Boats (concrete slab), and the flume (no loss). For the first time that I could remember, no one cared about filling trains (with one exception) and would run rides even if I was the only one there. The park wasn't busy but it seemed busier than it had in 2010. The Double Shot is still awesome and the coasters were running well. There were lots of employees around and they were reasonably efficient.

Frankenstein's Haunted Castle still rocks.

Finally got my Steel Hawg credit, and I liked it more than I expected to!

The unusual: I was stopped at Tig'rr because I was alone. I was told that because they had recently repainted, the ride was running slow and needed at least three people. Luckily I didn't wait long for other people to show up, but it did feel like we were going to valley at some of the higher points. Does this normally happen with newly-painted rides?

The inevitable changes: Lots of rides were shuffled around between 2010 and 2016, but I'm not sure if it was Morgan or the current owners who moved them. It turns out the only things flat out gone are the mini golf courses, the Flying Bobs (now home to the Larson Loop), and the Splash Battle (going to be the Bumper Boats).

One of the coolest things about IB in 2004 was that everything within the resort was wide open with no fences or barriers. The complex just seamlessly transitioned from park to the accommodations on the North end; if you were staying on the property, there was nothing stopping you from wandering the park before it opened and having the boardwalk to yourself. I walked, took pictures, and occasionally talked to the workers as they got the park ready. Now, the park has been completely fenced in and cut off from the hotels/lodgings with designated entrance points. Inevitable and understandable, but a little sad.

*Not* changed: They're still having you scan your wristband at every ride. Hopefully that will go away at some point.

The Needs Improvement: There were definitely some things that were missed in the rush to get everything fixed up. On Den of Lost Thieves, some of the targets didn't work and nothing was happening in the last room. The seatbelts on many of the coasters were in poor shape; there was one at Hurricane that seemed to be rapidly eroding in a way I have never seen before on any ride.

The shuffling of some of the rides left decent-sized holes in the midway, and for the first time, there was dead space along the midway and areas of nothing. It hurt the atmosphere a bit, and there's now hardly anything active near the South Entrance. Are they still doing the Ziplines? There were a few routes that seemed abandoned.

The new midway leading to Steel Hawg has more going on than I expected (I didn't know that they had moved the Flying Star and the Music Express here, plus some newer rides), but it is one of the ugliest, least pleasant park areas I can think of, and it is now where people who park at the North Entrance enter the park. What a terrible first impression they must have at what was already the less-impressive entrance! Hopefully that is something that can be addressed later on.

Overall it was a great visit, and I'm happy I went! I really think that the park and the new owners are on the right track!


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