Valleyfair - 5/25/07

Associated parks:
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Monday, May 28, 2007 8:41 PM
Having a friend working at Valleyfair gave me an excuse to finally visit Minneapolis. I have to tell you that overall I really liked the whole area, and it was not at all what I expected. But I've written elsewhere about the geography and culture, so here's my impression of the park that put the "fair" in Cedar Fair.

Kara picked me up at around 1:30, and we headed into the park. It was a little bit busy, mostly with school groups, but it was manageable overall. As you might expect, Renegade was priority one.

Aside from Gwazi, I've never met a GCI that I didn't like (and Gwazi I think suffers mostly from poor maintenance and un-Busch-like operation). With a relatively small ride, I wasn't sure what to expect. And as it turned out, the ride delivered in every single way.

The twisting drop is strange, but plenty smooth and offers an interesting sensation, especially in the back. What follows is a very well designed hill that gives you a nice couple of seconds of floater air. From that point, you get the classic, disorienting direction changes that GCI's are so well known for, and two very cool pops of air right near the end. And that, by the way, is what makes the ride so great: The ending is as strong as the rest of the ride.

I know that it costs a little more to maintain a wood coaster, but for $7 million, a ride like this is a total bargain. I don't tend to rank rides, but this one is definitely better than one of the three rides in Santa Claus. I absolutely loved it. I can see why Kara has been on it 60 times already!

Next up, Excalibur for the credit. As much as I wanted to whine about it, I guess it's not that horrible. The placement in the park is a little strange, but it's a neat ride. There certainly wasn't much of a line for it.

Mad Mouse was the usual Arrow Mad Mouse, and not braked much. It tracked pretty smoothly, it just has those couple moments of ouch on the thighs.

I was pretty anxious to ride Wild Thing, and I really liked it, at first. They were playing Chaka Kahn in the station. As much as I hate to concede that all of the enthusiast crybaby nonsense about braking at the mid-course is justified, well, it is. Those hills on the return trip should be wonderful moments of floating, but they just squeeze it too hard. It's a shame because it really could be a Magnum caliber ride.

The Extreme Swing is the exact copy of Skyhawk, minus the extra couple of feet for the sign. It too sounds different with the off-season mods in the cylinders. They seem to load this one much, much faster than they do at Cedar Point, fortunately, and it's such a great ride.

We also hit their Power Tower, which is confusing because the colors are reverse of the CP ride. Almost no wait for the drop tower. Love these everywhere I go too. The suspension bridge to it is fun.

To the front of the park for Steel Venom. I still stand by my preference for the double-twisting model in lieu of the nipple torture that the holding brake causes, but it's still a great ride to have in any park.

Kara was ragging on me for not doing the Skyscraper ("But it's only seven bucks today!"), but honestly, I just don't feel comfortable getting strapped into that thing. I remember the first time I saw one, at IAAPA in 2000, and I couldn't do it. Perhaps some day, but this was not going to be that day. Looking back now I feel like kind of loser for not just doing it, but don't tell her that.

We finished the lap with High Roller (yawn) and Corkscrew, which has that little video recording system on it. Pretty neat system, but I'm not sure why they put it on a ride that frankly doesn't appear very crowded most of the time.

We also took a spin on the Rockin' Tug. Kara said she passed it every day while working and really wanted to see what it was all about, even though it was a kid ride. I gotta tell you, it was a lot more fun that I thought it would be. I can see just loving the thing as a huge thrill as a kid. Good times. :)

With some time left before close, we headed back to Renegade for some more rides, doing six laps on the day. It really gets better and better every time you ride. Discussing it, I think that's what makes it such a great ride. It's very fun and very re-ridable. Love those beautiful and comfortable trains.

Overall, the park has a whole lot of excellent signature rides for its size. It's a real gem, and the Twin Cities are lucky to have such a great park!

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Monday, May 28, 2007 10:16 PM
You really should hit a skyscraper--it's one of the coolest non-coaster rides that I've ever ridden, and it is also a thrilling ride (while some rides, of course, are mainly just fun, and not both).
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Monday, May 28, 2007 11:15 PM
If you've gotten to the point where rides don't scare you anymore, the skyscraper is what you're looking for. :)
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:01 AM
Jeff, I'm glad to hear you made it to the Twin Cities. If I had known you were in town, I would have bought you lunch.

I avoid VF on school days at all cost. The last 3 weeks of the school year, VF does great business with the local school districts. My kids' school usually goes there every year. These next 2 weeks will be crazy with all of the school kids.

Renegade is a GREAT ride. There was so much anticipation for it all winter, that I think there was a little bit of a let down once it opened. Kind of like the day after X-mas. Clearly the best ride in the park.

Wild Thing has slowed down. Hopefully, they'll turn it loose again, but I unfortunately don't see that happening.

I finally rode Skyscraper for the first time two weeks ago during opening day. VERY intense. We did the season pass upgrades so we can ride it all summer. It'll take awhile to get up the nerve again. At the top you flip over so you're falling straight to the ground face first. I almost peed myself. Much more intense than Ripcord.

The weather was perfect this weekend, so I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 8:43 AM
Not to be an idiot, but is the Skyscraper the same thing as Slingshot at Kings Island??
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 9:47 AM
Nope.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 9:49 AM
http://www.gravityworks.com/va_sky.html
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 9:57 AM
Ohhh...ok...I've seen that thing in the background of Wild Thing pics before and always wondered what it was...but yeah, that definitely looks pretty intense!!
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 10:02 AM
^Especially the ones with just straps instead of rigid OTSRs! When the wind is blowing against you, you can't tell there's anything holding you in. You feel like you're flying around uncontrollably!
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 10:49 AM
I guess Kar-UH wanted you all to herself! :)

I wouldn't have been able to make it out Friday as it was. As for school days? Yeah, what SWS said...

The WT you rode was vastly, VASTLY improved from the Dark Ages of '03 - '05. While I'd be more gracious than some over certain special events, I was only doing that to be kind. I'll say without hesitation the complaining back then was utterly, totally warranted.

Da Babies haven't been on 100-plus coasters, FKA CoasterBaby's only been on one other hyper in her life and even they'd refuse to ride back then. That bad.

Glad to hear you had a good trip!

-'Playa

*** Edited 5/29/2007 3:36:37 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:55 PM
Yes, she said you were there in spirit, had it not been for the pesky moving. I totally forgot you lived up there until we were actually in the park. Perhaps next time!
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:40 PM
Jeff I suggest you try skyscraper as well. I rode the one at Morey's Pier for 10 bucks and it was worth every penny. Since there was no line the ride op let us ride for 20 mins straight and man what a view of the ocean and downtown Wildwood that provides.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:49 PM
Jeff,

Happy to hear you enjoyed your stay in Min-Eh-Soh-Tah, ya-know!

I thought you mentioned heading our way in the last Webcast.

As for comments on High Roller and Excalibur, HR used to be realy good and Ex used to be too rough.

Can't wait to hear your comments on the next cast.

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