*Visionland "Scarefest"* 10.4.03

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, October 5, 2003 3:18 PM
I pulled into the Visionland (Birmingham, AL) parking lot at about 1:30 on Saturday Oct. 4. There were maybe 100 other cars in the lot. I thought great...no lines!!!

The first thing I noticed were the decorations for "Scarefest". Over the main entrance were 4 tall poles supporting large Halloween figures from a pumpkin man to a skeleton. I paid and entered Celebration Street, the very beautiful new entrance and shopping area of the park. At the end of the street, you can see the park's giant Ferris Wheel located behind the entrance gate to Magic Adventures. I walked down Celebration Street noticing the Halloween decorations. There are Scarefest banners hanging from the street lamps, pumpkins and haybales, tombstones, skeletons, etc. placed all along the street which gives it a very nice Autumn feel. I notice the Haunted House on the hill to my left overlooking Celebration Street. It is totally decked out in Halloween themeing with tombstones everywhere in front of it. It looks great!
At the end of Celebration Street, I pass through the circular plaza in front of the Magic Adventures entrance gate. The plaza has water jets which squirt up out of the pavement to the delight of all the children playing in it (which weren't too many on my visit) and also has a nice 4 abreast carousel!

Passing through the plaza and down the steps into Magic Adventures, I decide it's time to ride what I came here for and head to the Rampage, Visionland's CCI built wooden coaster. Wow, does it ever look impressive upon first sight! It's built into the terrain and situated on a hill in the back of the park. The ride is a complete walk on. I hop in the second seat from the front and off we go. Smooth is not even the right word for Rampage. I am always amazed at CCI's coasters and was totally blown away by Rampage. Lots and lots of airtime combined with lateral turns make Rampage my top #3 woodie (after Holiday World's The Raven and The Legend). I love when coasters are built into the landscape with hidden turns and drops. Rampage is full of them! It's fast and furious while still running like butter. The back seat is an airtime lover's dream! Probably the most surprising element of the coaster is the finish. It fooled me every time. After the brakes on the transfer track, you think the ride is over as the train comes to a complete stop. The brakes release and the coaster turns to the left picking up speed rapidly when it immediately drops twisting into a right curve then up and back down another drop straight into the station at incredible speed. What a winning finish to an amazing coaster! The coaster seemed even more speedy and out of control at night. The back turn around was completely in the dark and oh so fun! This year the PTC train (I'm not sure if there is more than one train since I didn't see another) is sporting 2 red, 2 orange and 2 yellow cars with flames down the sides and a Rampage logo on the front. Very nice! I highly recommend this coaster to all coaster enthusiasts.

Other rides I rode at Visionland included the S & S built Space Shot located on the highest hill in the park offering great views out to the river and quarry, a Break Dance ride, Marvel Mania -the kiddie coaster at the park (yeah I still like kiddie coasters), the giant Ferris Wheel, and the Wave Swinger. Visionland's Wave Swinger is the wildest I've ever ridden. It was spinning much faster than any I've ever been on, and I actually felt like I was pulling several g forces on it! Woah! Never seen chairs swing out so high on one of these. It was a very long ride too. Other rides in the park but that I didn't ride were the Pirate swinging ship, Wild River Gorge (closed for the season), the bumper cars, Hurricane (a gorgeously lit musik express/himalaya type ride), Scrambler, and the Patriot, a mini round up ride.

Crowds did not pick up all day so the park was easy to walk around. I checked out where the new attraction for 2004 is being added. From what I understand it involves a flume ride and dinosaurs. Sounds cool! For food, I decided to try out one of the gargantuan sized roasted/grilled turkey legs from the cute and friendly female vendor back on Celebration Street's plaza. It was VERY tasty, and I washed it down with Miller draft (yes the park serves beer) from the "tavern" on Celebration Street. I tried out the Goo Goo Cluster ice cream and it was very tasty too.

Then it was souvenir time. Fall is a great time to visit Visionland, not only because of the light crowds and cooler temperatures, but all the souvenirs are marked way down in price. I bought a Visionland coffee mug (featuring Rampage), decorative soup bowl and plate, 2 Rampage magnets, a Rampage key chain, and a Wild River Gorge button/pin all for under 5 bucks! Unfortunately, there were no Rampage t-shirts! The park definitely needs to get those!

Before leaving, I enjoyed watching the Halloween characters walk around the fog filled Celebration Street scaring everyone. It was quite comical! All in all, Visionland is a very enjoyable park with great landscaping, friendly ride ops and shop merchants, and an extremely thrilling world class roller coaster. I can't wait to see how the park expands in the coming years!
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Nashville needs a theme park!
*** This post was edited by thrillerman1 10/6/2003 12:35:27 AM ***

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