Valleyfair!, Shakopee, Minnesota, USA
After visiting the Mall of America on Sunday, my wife, daughter, nephew, mother in law, and I visited Valleyfair! It rained hard overnight but the rain was passed by the time the park opened. The sky stayed overcast until around 1:30 PM and the crowds stayed extremely light. We virtually enjoyed a day with no waits without paying for fastlane. This was my first time at Valleyfair, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it as did my whole family. We enjoyed the water park, Planet Snoopy, lots of rides, some shows, and of course some really enjoyable roller coasters! I'm sure that the fun factor was helped by the small crowds, but this really is a nice amusement park with great employees and a fun assortment of attractions. Here are some highlights for the day.
We stayed at the America's Best Value Inn in Shakopee. It is only a few minutes from the park, offers discounted tickets to people staying, offers a terrific continental breakfast, and is a very good value for what you get. For less that $100 a night, we had a two room suite with a king sized bed and full sized couch that makes into a bed. The room had a TV in each room (great for my daughter) separate air conditioning controls for each room of the suite, and a jacuzzi tub. The room wasn't fancy other than its size but served us very well. They also have a nice pool area. There were a couple of strange quirks like the fact that we had to have our room key reprogrammed each night of our stay, but for everything else offered, it was a great value and location!
We arrived at the park just before 10:00 AM. My wife decided to opt for premium parking since my mother in law has trouble walking long distances and we wouldn't have a wheel chair for her until we got to guest services. When she told the employee at the parking booth, the lady asked us if we were sure. She told us that the parking lot was not crowded at all and we would be able to park very close without paying the extra money. She was correct and saved us $8.00. Thank you!!!
The water park is nothing revolutionary but has some fun slides, a nice wave pool etc... Also of interest, they have a white water rafting ride. I've never seen anything like it before. At the bottom, you get a very heavy rubber raft type of tube. You walk up a small incline where you get on the tube and drift into the rapids. Then its a wild ride to the bottom. The tube and water push you all over the place and try hard to bounce you off your tube. There are no handles to hold onto and no way to steer so you are at the mercy of the currents. It is actually really fun and a little bit frightening. My daughter, nephew, and I all went down it with my nephew and I returning for two more trips. My mother in law even tried it for one trip. I was worried about her, but she got to the bottom unscathed and laughing. She didn't choose to do it again but at least she stayed on the tube as did the rest of us. We were all a little bit worried when she decided to try it since she has been through a lot health wise the last couple of years.
Planet Snoopy has some very neat rides and many of them can be enjoyed by the whole family!!! Cedar Point could use a few of these (and Valleyfair! could use a better kids coaster). My daughter, nephew, and I ran around Camp Snoopy with virtually no lines. I think that the two of them had gone on about 8 rides each by 11:00 AM and I had joined them for a few too! They're a bit big for Planet Snoopy, but most of the rides allowed for us to enjoy them anyway.
Valleyfair! still has their IMAX theater in operation. We watched a fun little show about dinosaurs which was included with the park ticket unlike Dinosaurs Alive. We did not and still have not visited any Dinosaurs Alive attractions so I can't comment on it other than to say that $5.00 seems like a lot after already paying for park admission.
We watched an indoor show called British Invasion which was surprisingly entertaining and very well done. The singers / dancers did a fantastic job. The sound was turned up a little too loud (as it is with most of these shows). Other than that, it was about 30 minutes of high energy music and dancing. If you find yourself at the park this summer, I highly recommend it. We also saw a few minutes of an outdoor show called Smash. The singing wasn't nearly as well done (probably partly because of the modern pop music that they were trying to perform.) It was a cool day, but it must be hard work performing that show in the heat of the sun several times a day on your average summer day. Kudos to the cast for trying to make the best of some less than stellar musical choices.
And now, the roller coasters:
Mad Mouse (1 ride) is your average Arrow Mad Mouse. Great family ride. All five of us rode it and enjoyed it. I really think that all parks need a coaster like this or similar. Fun, fun, fun!
High Roller (2 rides) is the out and back woodie of the park. It has great padded bench seats with a one position, padded lap bar which makes the ride extremely comfortable despite the usual old woody bumpiness. It is also nice because its layout has an added extra loop to the usual out and back lay out making the ride a little longer than most out and backs that I have been on. There is not a ton of air time, but it's still pretty fun and family friendly.
Excalibur (3 rides 1 day and 2 night) is way at the back for the park. It's fun factor took me by surprise in a good way. If you've been to Cedar Point, picture the Gemini's first hill without the racing track. After that first hill, the layout is more like your average Mine Train coaster. All of the elements are taken very quickly and the first hill is pretty steep and quick. The ride seemed fairly smooth as far as the track is concerned. Some of the transitions are a little jerky but nothing that I would consider painful. My wife, daughter, nephew, and I all really enjoyed it.
Renegade (3 rides 1 day and 2 night)Wow! during the day ride and Super Wow! for the night rides. This thing packs a real punch. The layout is twisty, surprising, and air time filled! The first drop was unexpected on the first trip which made it especially fun (I won't spoil it for you if you don't know what I mean by unexpected). This ride was definitely not what I would call smooth but it is fast, furious, and really fun. My daughter thought it was too intense for her so she only went for one ride as did my wife who also wasn't a huge fan. My nephew and I really liked it. I wouldn't mind if Cedar Fair would get similar rides for Cedar Point, Michigan's Adventure, and Kings Island. At night, it really kicked into high gear. It was mind blowingly fast and one ride was not enough!
Wild Thing (3 rides) This is an extremely fun hyper coaster. I hadn't heard much of a buzz about it but I enjoyed it every bit as much as I enjoy Magnum at Cedar Point (which is one of my favorites). The turn around is taken before the block breaks and offers some nice positive G's. The hills don't seem to give quite as much air time as Magnum, but they are enjoyable all the same. The ride, as a whole, seems to ride smoother than Magnum. This was my daughter's favorite ride at the park and I certainly didn't mind going on it with her multiple times. We actually would have probably gotten 4 rides in but it went down mechanical the second time we were in line and we got out to do other things.
The park also has Steel Venon (impulse) and Corkscrew. We didn't ride either of these. For the kids, they have Mild Thing (cute name but really small even for a kids coaster). They have a nice selection of flats. I was going to ride my first Top Spin until I realized that those fountains really do get the riders soaked. They have a raft ride and a shoot the chutes. They also have a Challenge Park Area with Sky Coaster and Go Karts.
If you are in the area, I recommend a trip to Valleyfair. The rides aren't huge but the place is just really fun. I doubt I'll go back again any time soon, but if I were in the area, I certainly would try to make a trip!
We went to Valleyfair last summer when we were passing through Minneapolis. We only stayed for a few hours but had a nice time. Renegade is one of my favorite rides. Would have been great to ride it at night. Wild Thing was fun too. Would definitely visit again if in the area. We also visited Nick Universe and to me that is a "been there, done that" type of place.
If I get another Cedar Fair Season pass next year, I might visit Valley Fair.
My partner and I were actually going to go out there a few years ago, but we decided to go to Cedar Point, Geauga Lake, and Sea World instead. I really wanted to go to the Mall of America to check it out, and with Valley Fair being pretty close to it, it would have been a no brainer. But, it was the distance that did us in. It's quite a drive from Michigan. I think 10 hours.
if I decide to go next year, I might also stop at the Dells for a ride on Hades. Either that or spend a day in Chicago, and do Great America, before and after spending time in Minnesota. But, it really depends on how I get there.
Maybe next year will be the year for Valley Fair to get a cool new ride. As long as it isn't yet another wind seeker. It would be cool to visit there at least once. That raft ride sounds cool, will have to look that up on youtube.
Valleyfair is definitely a worthwhile day if you get to the area. It has a lot more to offer than first meets the eye. If you get lucky and go on a really slow day like I did, then it's most likely even better.
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