Obviously, given two coaster geeks, we went straight to the park in the middle, the gooey sweet center surrounded by the chocolate shopping coating. Or something. If that sounds weird, it's because walking into that giant atrium and seeing an indoor amusement park is itself pretty f'ing weird. What happens when the kind of place that isn't supposed to be real doesn't seem real?
Fortunately, we pre-ordered wristbands online, so we only had to go to guest services and not wait in one of several ridiculous lines around the park. Of course those guest services people were Minnesota Nice, as was the case with most of the people I encountered there. Good times. No Sponge Bob there just yet.
Started with the Treetop Tumbler. Strangest flat ride I've seen. No idea what it is or who makes it, but it sure is a unique sensation. The Mighty Axe is the other big crazy ride, and while unique, it's not the most comfortable thing in the world. It actually feels a lot like a Top Spin. The Screaming Yellow Eagle (or was it blue?) was fun. The kids love it.
Ripsaw is an interesting coaster with gigantic trains and two lifts. It just kind of drifts around the park, but it has nice speed to it. Surprisingly good choice for the family.
Timberline Twister is of course the star attraction there, and wow does it deliver. First time I've been on one of these, and it's pretty sweet. Spinning coasters offer a different ride every time, so you really should get several laps to form an opinion. What worked for us is that it wasn't busy the first time, and it was just the two of us, sitting on the same side to really throw it out of balance. This led to much spinning, and good times! Many giggles. The airtime just before the final turn was intense.
The second ride we sat opposite a couple from Orlando and Chicago, so between the four of us, we were from four different states, all tourists (arguable since Kara technically works there). Four adults and we did not have a ton of spinning. The last ride we had little kids opposite us, and got a nice spin toward the end, again off-balancing the car. I love this ride!
Another highlight was the log flume, with it's cheesy but fun little theme elements. Kara pointed out that it doesn't seem to leak anywhere. And she's right, it doesn't seem like there's any water drifting about to where ever. Very strange!
We divided up the riding with some other things. Lunch was fairly unimpressive at a Panda Express, but much later we got crepes at a little shop. They were very yummy. While eating lunch, we saw a janitor who was not Minnesota Nice, and nearly clubbed some people with his mop, repeatedly. Also, someone in a shark outfit was hugging kids while someone with a sand pail passed out coupons for the aquarium. Aquarium? I'm on it!
Underwater Adventures Aquarium was apparently recognized by Discovery Channel for having the "best shark encounter," and I agree. Most of the attraction is simply a tunnel walk-through of a series of tanks. And frankly, that's the way it should be. It's really quite remarkable. We went through it twice, actually, and it was totally worth it. Great to see the critters up close, and just feel submersed in another world. They had a coin-op coaster simulator outside of the gift shop, by the way, that did Blue Streak and Gemini. How random!
We also covered two of the three floors of the mall. We stopped at Old Navy, Victoria's Secret, The Sharper Image, the Apple Store (duh) and Love Sac, which sells grown up bean bags. Very impressive mall, if you're into malls.
While a little tourist trappy, I had a good time, in and out of the park. Again, another unexpected thing for me. I may need to go back so we can cover that third floor! :)
I'm surprised I didn't see you as I put my 6 hours in that night.
The mall is taken for granted by so many people (such as myself) that it is really interesting to hear people awed by it like you were.
Also, to answer your questions about the Tumbler... it is Zierer Fireball. Only 2 left in North America, and a handful around the world.
MoA's is run significantly slower than Tumbler at Knott's. Puyallup's is, if anything, the fastest of the three. As far as I can tell, those are the only North American installations that existed. Never seen or heard of one travelling over here.
I was very disappointed with Underwater Adventures. We had discount tickets, and even then, it wasn't worth it. Haven't been back since.
MOA is fun, but it's become one of those things taken for granted here now. One of those "In your back yard but never go" kind of things. When I'm there it's just to kill time. And the coasters. Forget the shopping. There are like a million other malls around town to do that.
The aquarium is cool. I've done it once and never have to do it again.
My favorite thing of that place is the home plate plaque located where the real one was when the Met Stadium was there. Add to it the bleacher chair mounted to the east wall above the flume. I'm not sure, but the story of the chair is one of Harmen Killabrew's (sp) home runs landed in that exact seat.
Will you be back next year to check out the Eurofighter? Wear the thong when you do.
Thanks for sharing!
Home plate is by Ripsaw's station. Imagine facing the shooting gallery underneath the station, turn to your right and head for the Ax. It should be on your left as you go around the corner. On the floor of course, so look down for it.
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