Visionland Opening Day - A Riddle for you (LONG)

Associated parks:
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Sunday, May 25, 2003 10:56 AM
Question - What do you call an outstanding CCI creation that has been SBNO for nearly 2 years?

Answer - Fast, Wild, Insane, Total Chaos at night, but most importantly... OPEN!!

The day started with an early morning wake up, about 5:30am CT, and I preceded to get ready for the Grand Re-Opening of Visionland. At a mere 2 hour drive, it's easily a day trip. I left home around 6:30 and headed east towards Bessemer. Visionland had graciously extended an invitation to area ACE members to help the park re-open by letting us park for free (some of us at least) and free admission. I arrived at the park about 8:30 and was stopped by a security guard at the main entrance. I told him that I was with ACE and that I was here to help with opening ceremonies. He said that he wasn't supposed to let anyone in the parking lot until 9:00 and that I needed to park in the employee parking lot behind Rampage and walk in that way. I said okay and drove off into the parking lot to turn around where I saw several other people parked already. Most of them were color guard members and various members of a local band that had been asked to play. I decided I'd try my luck at parking in the main parking lot. I figured if I really wasn't supposed to be there, they would tell me at the parking booth. When I got to the parking booth, I told them that I was with ACE and was here to help with opening ceremonies. They all looked at each other with a weird look on their faces and then shrugged their shoulders and told me to go on in. No problem. I drove off and passed several employees scattered around the parking lot to help direct traffic. Every time I passed someone they would wave very big and tell me "Welcome to Visionland!". At least the day was starting off good. Friendly faces at 8:30 in the morning definitely help to get rid of those morning blues. I parked my car and approached the Season Pass sales window to let Andi Westland know that I was here to help. She informed me that I was the only one from ACE to get there so far. I hung around out front for a bit and then she ushered me into the park. She introduced me to a guy named Bragg, who I think was in the PR department. He handed me a box of American flags and counted out a little over 1000 of them and told me to hand them out to everyone that entered that day. Once they were gone we could go ride. No biggie. By the time this happened the parking lot had opened at 9:00 and the crowds began to line up. Still being the only ACE member there, I began to get worried that I was gonna be handing out all of those flags by myself. I knew of several other ACE members that were supposed to be there by now, so I called them on their cell phones to see where they were at. Stuck in traffic was the response that I got and they would be there in a few minutes. Good. At least the park wasn't gonna open for another 30 minutes and they'd have time to get there.

>>Fast Forward<< The park opens about 9:45 and we hand out all of the flags (thanks Becky!). Time to go ride!!

Celebration Street -

The park has been totally upgraded. New stuff here, new stuff there. Very nice. When you first enter the park, you enter Celebration Street. This used to be the old entrance plaza for Visionland. It still has all of the buildings, some with new names, all with new paint. There are new stores including a real bar that sells beer and wine and an arcade along with a Lazer Tag store that had yet to open (I think). The area has retained the typical "theme park" entrance feel and it will be interesting to see how it works out being open year round. Mid-way through the Celebration Street area is the entrance to "Splash Beach" waterpark, formerly Steel Waters.

Splash Beach waterpark -

I wandered through here several times to see how the area looked. Most of the people that were at Visionland were there because of the waterpark. This place was full to the gills with people. I checked out the construction site for the new wave pool and speed slide, supposedly opening next month. It's amazing how behind you can get after 20 or so days of rain. They were just pouring concrete for the bottom the wave pool, and the footers for the speed slide were no where to be seen. We'll see if they hit their target opening date of June 14. Updated names and facilities as well as new paint here and there were also noticeable. Everything else was pretty much the same.

Magic Adventures theme park -

As you approach the end of the Celebration street area, you see the entrance to Magic Adventures theme park. When the park was the old Visionland, there used to be a carousel directly in the middle of the walk-way here and you headed toward the left to get to the rides. That's changed. The Carousel has been moved to block the former "left" pathway and you step down several steps to enter the theme park area. You enter the area in what used to be the "dead" area in front of the ferris wheel. By having everyone enter the area in this spot, it really brought this area to life. New games, new food stands, and bright colors made this area finally come alive. The ferris wheel is in front of you and off to the right slightly and the entrance to the rapids ride (Wild River Gorge) is around the corner behind the ferris wheel. The group, (Kevin Smallhorn, Robert & Sam Ulrich, Kitty & Doug Wintemute, Becky (Kitty's sister) and me) all headed to the left and followed the walkway to the Rampage. We passed by several of the old flat rides that were originally there. A new Round-Up and Scrambler are located in this area as well. We passed the kiddie area for now and headed to the main attraction, Rampage. First noticeable thing, they have taken down the old Rampage sign that had chains holding it to the post and looked pretty cool. No clue as to where it's at. They did have a new sign up with all the warnings, and height restrictions on it as at any park. The areas have really grown up over the 2 idle years the park was closed. It looks good now that everything has finally matured. We notice several new braces along the course of the ride as we walk into the queue. There are piles of lumber laying around the area, probably for current renovations that are still taking place. As we cross under the tracks and go to the backside of the station, we noticed a new staircase alongside the brake run. I'm assuming they are for evacuation and maintenance purposes. We notice that only one train is on the track and later in the day we questioned where the other train was at. It is at PTC getting a $36,000 make-over. It seems that during the off season one train sat in the station and one sat on the brake run. Both left uncovered for nearly 2 years. I'm sure that they needed some serious TLC. We board in the back seat, my favorite, and after the usual spiel, we're off. Everything on the Rampage is exactly as it was when the park closed. Great first drop, serious laterals and that well-known ending that kicks major a**. It was running fast, but I knew it could be better. After several more rides, we headed to Wild River Gorge. This is a quirky little rapids ride with 6 seater rafts. I had ridden it before and kinda knew what to expect. The last time I had ridden it I barely get wet. This time was different. I got soaked. Water, water everywhere. We took a spin on the bumper cars since they were close by ( I have a bruise on my knee due to a head on collision, thanks Kevin!) and after that Kevin left to see a family member graduate. We decided to get a bite to eat since everyone was kinda hungry. The food is pretty good for theme park food and fairly cheap. There is a new Mexican stand that sells huge Mexican plates full of stuff for around $7.00, drink included. The other stands that were scattered around was a chicken stand selling the usual (hamburgers, chicken strips etc...) and you could get a chicken strip dinner with 4 nice sized strips, a handful of fries (more than I could eat) and a large drink for $6.50. The best deal of the day goes to the bbq stand at the top of the steps before you enter Magic Adventures. Sam got 6 bbq ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, biscuit and a drink for only $7.00. After we ate we all split up and I rode the ferris wheel with Doug, Kitty, and Becky. Perfect picture taking place by the way. We noticed that the one remaining S&S Tower (the space shot) was running and decided to take a ride on it. To get to the Space Shot you have to walk down the access road to the left of Rampage for a mile (well not really, but it is a LONG way back there). It is still a good ride, but a lot of guests aren't gonna see the ride as being worth the huge hike to get to it. The only thing good about making you walk on the access road, is that it gives the park room to expand in the future along the road. There is plenty of room for a boomerang or something of that size back there. I spent the rest of the day roaming around and taking pictures until Joe Campanella called and said that he was turning into the parking lot. I went up front to meet him and his sister's boyfriend or husband (I can't remember (Sorry!) Eric and his son. We walked around the park riding things here and there until night fell. Knowing how the Rampage comes alive at night I was really excited about this. We rode it several times sitting in different area's of the train, and came to the conclusion that the Rampage has returned!!!! The ride was running extremely smooth and very fast. The park was planning on shooting fireworks at 8:30 or 9:00 or 9:30. No one really knew when the fireworks were gonna be shot or when the park was gonna close. We finally asked Bragg, the PR person, and he said at 8:30. We got a few more rides on Rampage before the fireworks were shot. They shoot them from the hill behind Rampage, so they can be seen pretty much from anywhere in the park and the surrounding area. Good show to, I think the park needed this kinda entertainment to keep people in the park. It worked to say the least. The park stayed pretty crowded until after the fireworks show when everyone started to dwindle out. We took a few more spins on Rampage and headed for the gate which closed at 10:00. Everyone left and went their seperate ways home.

All in all, opening day had it's bad times (i.e., mad customers, slow loading on rides, a few cursing matches between customers and employees (albeit funny, still inappropriate) a desperate need for signage and shaded walkways wouldn't hurt anything) and the usual things that happen on opening days. I did have a great time, and I will be back.

Thanks for reading and sorry for being so long winded, Josh, don't sit on the ropes in the queue lines, Herrington

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**Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my gosh....I could be eating a slow learner.**
*** This post was edited by Rampage 5/25/2003 2:59:12 PM ***

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Sunday, May 25, 2003 12:28 PM
Did Visionland remove any rides?

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Congratulations RUBEN STUDDARD!!!!! You're "Flying Without Wings"!!

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Sunday, May 25, 2003 2:05 PM
They removed the Enterprise known as "The Voyager" but it will be back next year after a refurb. Also, the log flume is out this year for a refurb also. It will return next year as "Jurassic Journey". And the turbo drop side of the Stratosphere Screamer was also removed.

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**Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my gosh....I could be eating a slow learner.**

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Sunday, May 25, 2003 9:22 PM
You probably saw me walking around with a keyboard under my arm and a dirty white t-shirt all day. I had been working continuously since 8:45 am FRIDAY. By the time I left that place I was at the point of physical meltdown.
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Sunday, May 25, 2003 10:54 PM
I had never been to Visionland before so at the last minute we hopped in the car, drove 6 1/2 hours for opening day, and to get a ride on Rampage(in fact we took about 20). Rampage is awesome, and much better at night ( and the ops are pretty good at letting you take " 2 click runs")! Visionland as a whole, its okay, give it a couple years. Other than the coaster I enjoyed the Mindspinder( Breakdance), space shot, totally wild bumper cars, and an insane swing ride (Tidal Wave) ( I guess the smaller parks tend to run thier flats a little more intense). The park seemed to be well managed, other than the fact that no one seemed to know when closing time was and the service at Family grill by the bumper cars... terrible. The water park was great, will be much better with the wave pool. Oh yeah and free warm sitting in the Alabama sun Sprite remix ( cant beat that!) The best part of the whole park... the full service bar, including margaritas, beer, liquor, pool table etc., what other theme park has that? I think this park will do well if the management tries to stay kinda low key and takes after Holiday World. all in all a day well spent! I will definately be there in Sept for Rip Roarin Rampage!!
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Monday, May 26, 2003 7:07 AM

Bosshawk said:
You probably saw me walking around with a keyboard under my arm and a dirty white t-shirt all day.

Funny you should mention that. lol. We did make several comments about the guy that was always walking around with the keyboard under his arm, wondering if the keyboards were bad enough that they needed to be replaced every 10 minutes. lol.

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**Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my gosh....I could be eating a slow learner.**

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Monday, May 26, 2003 5:18 PM
I usually had the same one. All of our registers have programmable non-standard keyboards. Since I was having to do so much to the registers I just kept one with me so I would have one as soon as something came up.
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Monday, May 26, 2003 5:22 PM
Wow, this was a great weekend opening-wise. Conneaut Lake Park opened, as well (trip report coming soon)

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"I can't believe I just left a nuclear weapon in an elevator." -- Farscape

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Tuesday, May 27, 2003 4:18 PM

Rampage said:
They removed the Enterprise known as "The Voyager" but it will be back next year after a refurb. Also, the log flume is out this year for a refurb also. It will return next year as "Jurassic Journey". And the turbo drop side of the Stratosphere Screamer was also removed.

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It sounds like a great park that will flourish over time... Is the turbo drop in for refurb also or is it gone for good?
**Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my gosh....I could be eating a slow learner.**


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Tuesday, May 27, 2003 7:09 PM
The turbo drop, as far as I know, is gone for good. They have filled in the footers where it used to stand.

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**Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my gosh....I could be eating a slow learner.**

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