We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Shakopee. Very short drive to the park and decent restaurants within a short drive. The hotel was really nice, just like every other Country Inn I have stayed at. The only gripe I had about the place, and it wasnt the fault of the hotel, was a large group of kids that came in on a bus that made life in the hotel a living hell. They visited Valleyfair one of the days we were there so we had to be subjected to their obnoxiousness there too. What really burned us was they got to go to the T-Wolves/Lakers playoff game Saturday night. UGGGHHHH!!! I would have killed for those tix!!!
Anyhoo, on to Valleyfair. The forcast for the weekend was complete crap. Thunderstorms and rain pretty much the entire weekend. We left for the park at ten and arrived shortly after ten to a nearly empty parking lot. It was drizzling lightly, but not too bad. First things first, we needed to process our season passes. I plan on taking the girls out to the Po!nt later this year and I plan on going out to Knotts sometime around Halloween. The season pass processing, even on a day when there was no people was an absolute mess. They have a small little office to do it in, with no direction as to where to wait in line. A bunch of people were crammed in there with no clue as to what was going on. Finally a supervisor came in and straightened things out a little bit. People had to keep moving everytime they took pictures for the passes. Catherine's pass had to be redone three times because they couldn't seem to spell "Catherine" properly.
Anyhoo, after getting the pass processed we were assaulted by the camera nazi's up front. I took a nice picture of them and we moved on.
I don't know how many here have experienced the joy of introducing someone to coasters for their first time, or even taking someone on a ride they are completely terrified to go on only to see the smile on their face afterwards. I had MANY of those experiences over the weekend. It is a feeling that is so addictive.
The first of these experiences was on High Roller. After the two older girls went on with me a few times they said that the younger girl, Sarah (age 12) should be able to handle it. Sarah wasn't too sure about it but finally agreed. This was her first "big" coaster. The only two other coasters she had been on were Little Titans where she cried the entire time about five years ago and Spacely Sprockets Rockets at SFGAm a few years back.
Anyways, we got on after a bit of trepidation and her almost chickening out. On the trip up the lift she started crying and I was starting to panic. If she really freaked out she would tell her parents how mean I was to have her go on this ride :) Anyways we get to the top and I'm trying to calm her down. Down the first drop she has this look of sheer terror on her face. Same thing for the first camelback. Then we hit the turn around and she's hyperventilating. There is this trim brake just before you drop off the turnaround and I said to her "it's gonna slow down a bit here" and she instantly calmed down. The rest of the ride she is whooping it up and having a great time. We get back to the station and she high fives me and then after getting out of the ride she gives me a huge hug and says "I wanna go again!" It was one of those moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Had a similar experience with her on Mad Mouse, Catherine and the middle girl Marissa on Power Tower and Steel Venom, and Catherine on Wild Thing.
Of course, Catherine got to have that experience with me though too. I am not real good with flat rides for some reason. Most of them intimidate me. Those that I hung out with for CBCon can attest to that with Revolution. Catherine on the other hand is a flat ride junkie. She goes on all the flat rides at the fairs and loves them. So she wants to go on Chaos. Uncle Bob does not :) Catherine of course bats her cute little eyelashes at me and convinces me to go. At first I was terrified and then I really got into the ride. Catherine was giggling the entire time at the steady stream of profanity leaking out of my mouth. All in all it was a great time. I ended up going on it again on Sunday.
So anyways, the day was on and off rain, but never all that bad. We ended up leaving before the big storms hit and we did Mall of America the rest of that day. Riding Wild Thing in a near monsoon is not advised as we really got stung pretty bad by the rain.
Sunday was a bit better weather but the park was just as dead as Saturday if not even more dead. We ripped off several rides on everything and managed to still leave the park by two in the afternoon.
A few observations about the park in general. Note that I have been to the park once before, late last year. The park was nice and clean. The employees are somewhat friendly although some of the ride operators could be friendlier when enforcing safety standards. One thing that annoys me about this park and some other Cedar Fair parks is that you cannot leave stuff in the station and there are no lockers around to put your stuff in while you are on the ride. Further, most rides they will make you take your stuff on the ride with you. Steel Venom was the only exception to this. The other annoying thing is no rerides even when NO ONE was waiting in the station. You must get out, walk around and get back in.
Coasterwise, last year I really ragged on Wild Thing for not having any airtime. This year it seems to have found some long lost air as I was getting it just about anywhere I sat. Steel Venom was wonderful just like last year. I love how this impulse is so close to the ground unlike V2 at SFGAm. Great interaction with the midway too. I was able to wave to Shannon and Sarah as we went up the front spike :) High Roller seemed less bumpy this year and more tollerable. There are a few little pops of air I didnt remember from last year. The Mouse coaster also seemed less rough this time around. Same with Corkscrew. Everything just seemed to ride better this year for some reason I guess.
As for Mall of America we only rode the new coaster, Timberland Twister. I'm not real fond of MOA's pricing structure and the place was packed unlike Valleyfair. Everything had about an hour wait, even the littlest of kiddie rides. We ended up saving Timberland Twister for Monday on the way out of town, choosing to hit it before the crowds arrived. We ended up waiting 20 minutes in a very short line. The ride has horrible capacity. Most of the time they were letting two ride instead of four and not pairing up couples increasing the wait even more. The five trains before we went had 2, 2, 1, 2, and 2 person(s) respectively. The ride itself was a lot of fun. We put most of the weight on one side and got spun around quite a bit. It's not a ride I would wait one hour for though.
Anyways, overall it was a good trip. Had a great time riding with the girls as I always do. It is always fun to ride coasters with people that have a different perspective of the rides than you do. Definately looking forward to another trip to the Po!nt with them and seeing how Catherine handles Top Thrill Dragster :)
When I was in high school, I went on a church trip to PKI. At that time, all my friends had girlfriends, and they all split off by themselves to make out, so I was alone. The 9-year-old son of one of the youth sponsors was there, so I agreed to give him a shot of independence and take him around the park.
He had never ridden a roller coaster, not even a kiddie one, so I figured I'd start him off right on the Beast. :) He was obviously scared, but the first thing he said when he got off was, "Now I want to do one with loops!"
So we rode Vortex and King Cobra and everything else many times. At the end of the day, as he was sleeping in the back seat, his dad told me that his son had said today was his best day ever.
Sadly, that kid died in a car accident when he was in high school. :(
Great TR as always and glad you had a good experience overall.
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