There's gold in them thar Dells! (Wisc. Dells - 6/24)

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:57 PM
Despite nearly quadrupling my track record since 2002, until this past weekend I seem to have ridden only the worst of the wooden rides this country has to offer. Rattler? Check. Mean Streak? Check. And the list goes on. I set out to remedy this situation in 2006, beginning with a trip to Wisconsin Dells.

Arrived at the park Saturday morning and took a parking space right in front of Hades’ big drop. No need for parking lot signs (lot A, lot B, etc.). I’m parked by “the drop.” Made a beeline for Hades (as did everyone else) and was seated within minutes. What an insane ride! Hades is right up there with The Boss and The Beast as one of the most aggressive rides I’ve ever been on. The first act out of the station is terrific, and could almost be its own ride. Then there’s the tunnel… I imagine rocketing through hell at 60 mph might be similar to Hades’ tunnel. This is the heart of the ride, and nothing can beat the experience in that tunnel. Out of control, pitch black, loud… insanity. The turnaround by the park entrance serves as a nice respite, but it doesn’t wait long to plunge you back into the darkness. The ending is a little bit of a letdown, but just a little, probably because the breakneck pacing slows down slightly. But the train hardly loses any steam right up until the ending, and every train I saw come back to the station was full of people gasping for air and shouting, “WOW!” I rode it twice, but each time I had to take a break afterward to catch my breath. It’s that intense.

Next up, I tackled Zeus. I was expecting an understandable letdown after riding Hades, but Zeus did not disappoint in the least. It’s another ride that just keeps on building speed and doesn’t let up until you fly into the brakes. Terrific airtime, great speed, powerful laterals, and an aggressive and impressive course. The turnaround in the woods is spectacular. Another ride that left people in the station breathless after returning.

Cyclops was a short but similarly impressive ride. The three big rides are so intertwined that it’s hard to tell which ride does what, so I was definitely surprised by Cyclops’ course. It’s half has big as Hades, but it packs just as powerful a punch. Again, great pops of ejector air, powerful laterals, and the last drop… it’s the highlight of the ride. I took several pictures of the train going of the last drop, and it’s hilarious to look at the faces of the folks in the last few cars. Every one of them is holding on for dear life.

Last up was Pegasus, and despite being a small ride, it delivered a solid ride. There is no banking whatsoever on Pegasus, but plenty of turns. That equals forceful laterals. The fact that the majority of people riding Pegasus were adults tells you that it ain’t no kiddie ride.

Random thoughts on Mt. Olympus: It was strange to finally visit a smaller park that lacked some of the things I’ve grown used to at big parks… like gates and turnstiles and fences. It’s a little strange, but it does make the park feel smaller and more intimate. Also, the line etiquette is odd as well. A lot of times, even without prompting from ride ops in the station, people waited outside the station until people boarded the train. It kept the stations from getting crowded, and I was impressed that so many people followed what seemed to be an unwritten rule. And while single-train operation on all the rides might make lines longer, it allows the rides to make up for it in intense finishes. With no block brakes, all the rides just tear into the brakes at full speed. There’s a lot to be said for the design of a ride that finishes strong, and all the Mt. Olympus rides finish strong.

And, of course, before leaving the Dells, I stopped by Timber Falls to ride Avalanche. Avalanche is like the tunnel on Hades, only without the tunnel. Ridiculous ejector air throughout the ride, super aggressive turns and laterals, and one wicked spot that combined both air and laterals. Once you’re on the ride, you can barely tell where you’re going. It’s just left turn followed by bunny hill followed by left turn, and it’s all insanity. Yet again, the ride left people gasping for air when they got back to the station.

Overall, I can’t believe that one city in the middle of Wisconsin has the bulk of the best wooden coasters I’ve ever ridden. All the rides were what wooden rides should be: aggressive, but not rough, and extremely fun. They just don’t disappoint in any way. Hades, Zeus, and Avalanche now make up three of my top five spots, including numbers one and two. Not bad. Not bad at all. Want to ride some good wood? Get up to the Dells. Now.

Next up: Holiday World in August. Let's see if Santa Claus can top the Dells. *** Edited 6/28/2006 5:58:40 PM UTC by Olsor***

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:13 PM
"...and nothing can beat the experience in that tunnel. Out of control, pitch black, loud… insanity."

Glad you enjoyed our little wooden enclave up here. Yes, Hades is very, very good, but wait'll you get a load of a night ride on Voyage. ;) If Hades is a guitar amp turned all the way up, then the Voyage is the proverbial "Spinal Tap" guitar amp... "These amps go to eleven!"

Later,
EV

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:28 PM
I loved The dells wooden coasters, IMHO there wasn't a bad or even mediocre one in the bunch of the five. Even Pegasus is more than your average jr woodie.

For a reall treat, Visit IB and Holiday World for another two other one two three punches. I see your comming to HW :)

You won't be dissapointed if your ride Raven and Legend first. Hopefully you'll have a not so busy day. Voyage however is like takeing the most extreme of everything the dells has and putting it into one coaster. It's that far beyond Hades IMHO but I still enjoy em all for what they are.

Thanks for the TR! Glad you had a great time.

Chuck

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 6:46 PM
Im heading there this august does anyone have an idea of how the lines will be for Mt Olmpus and avalanche?
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:26 PM
Unless it's a saturday, I would say Avalanche will never be a long wait.

Mt. O we hit on a wensday in August and it wasn't busy but Hades had about a twenty minute wait all day.
Chuck

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:38 PM
Even though I live just 45 minutes from Mt. Olympus, I haven't visited yet this year. I assume, though, that the rumors about a second train for Hades were just rumors? I figured I would have heard something, but sometimes things get built at that park without anyone knowing.

I know, I'm a bad enthusiast.

-Nate

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:47 PM
No second train. Not even a sixth car yet. :(
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Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:15 AM
Nate,

Bad enthusiast, bad! ;)

If they did add a second train, I would expect them to add a roof/awning over the brake run so that the second train isn't exposed to the elements during the winter. There's no transfer track, nor much room to install one.

MAG,

I've been to Timber Falls twice on summer Friday nights, and never had to wait more than one or two trains for it. I would say that the longest lines will be during the Aug 11-12 ACE event.

Mt. Olympus waits aren't that long either, but I've never been there on a Sat. or Sun. Expect longest lines for Hades, and the two big go-kart tracks (Trojan Horse and Poseidon).

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Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:28 PM
Love your TR! Very descriptive! I pretty much agree with everything you said. The second time I rode Avalance and the ride came to an end, I said to myself, "boy! That was a quick $6." But it's worth it!

I can't wait to ride Voyage in 3 weeks! =)

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