Hello, all. I am a long-time Coasterbuzz reader, first-time poster. I thought I would share with you my day at Worlds of Fun. Bear with me, I tend to ramble...
My riding partner Jessica is a co-worker, and a self-described "coaster amateur." She stated up-front that her stomach is, shall we say, less than stable, but that she was willing to give at least most of the rides a try. I myself am a long-time ACE member, and will ride any roller coaster but have trouble with some spin-and-pukes. This promised to be an interesting day from the get-go.
We arrived at the parking gate at about 11am, paid the $7 parking fee, and were pleased to see that lot C (the one usually filled first) was only about half-full. This gave us hope that perhaps crowds would be light. Our hopes were not dashed, as we later found that none of the lines we waited in exceeded 20 minutes, and many were much shorter.
The hike from the parking lot to the front gate, which used to be the Scandinavian Entrance, makes one yearn for the days that WoF employed parking lot trams to shuttle people to and fro. There was no line at the front gate, but obtaining our tickets took a while longer than it should have because the nice little girl manning the cash register accidentally rang up $748.00 instead of $74.80 and had a heckuva time correcting the error.
We entered and decided to hang a left at the Fjord Fjarlane (Huss Swing-Around) to circle the park in that direction. We easily mutually skipped the Finnish Fling (an ancient Chance Rotor) becuase that is one ride I cannot handle. I don't know what it is about that ride, but the last time I went on it, I was in need of some serious medical attention. No thanks. We also passed on the Octopus but giddily took a spin (swing) on the Chance Sea Dragon---one of my favorite carnival rides.
Off to the Africa section of the park, only to discover that the Zulu (Huss Enterprise) was down. A maintenance man was madly hammering and ratcheting and whatnot near one of the passenger cab connections.
So next up was WoF's Vekoma Boomerang, for some odd reason named Boomerang. Yes, a standard assembly-line clone. On a previous visit, they were not allowing seating preference in the queue, but they were today. Jessica and I chose the front seat of the last car, as the biggest thrill I get from this ride is the first drop from the top of the tower. There was mild head-banging in the forward boomerang element, and harsher head-banging doing the same element in reverse. Nothing to write home about, but ya gotta love that first dive through the station. The crew was efficient yet very expressionless and mostly silent except for the occasional flat "Riders on the platform please step back as the train enters the station." A recorded spiel blared overhead. Jessica did NOT enjoy the backward part of the ride. More on that later.
I was a bit surprised that, as relatively new as Boomerang is, it is in terrible need of a paint job. No, not just because of the dizzying color scheme, but because there were many sections of track and supports that had large areas of peeling paint and/or black grease stains. Also, I am aware that all structures require a certain amount of 'give' to prevent undue stresses, but watching the Boomerang from the midway, I noticed that several supports--and the ENTIRE vertical loop--shimmy and vibrate alarmingly when the train passes. Is this common for Vekoma Boomerangs?
Next up was my personal favorite in the park--the immense and intense Mamba. This was the only coaster running two trains today, making the wait only two or three dispatch cycles. Jessica and I chose the front seat of the back car. Again, an annoying recorded spiel blared overhead, and the crew had very flat affects and were eerily silent. They were fairly efficient, with only occasional brief stacking of trains.
If there are still any doubts about the rumors of a trim on Mamba's first drop, let me put them to rest. There most certainly is not a trim on the drop, but the chain itself slows markedly as the train crests the top, letting the front 'hang' until the back crests and pushes it down. I have noticed this chain-slowing before on Mamba, but it was markedly slower today. The train just barely crawls over the top of the lift.
Our seat of choice provided wonderful sustained airtime the entire length of both the first and second drops, as always. The helix turn-around is fast and furious and provides some excellent head-choppers at the base. I personally would have liked another large hill or two before the turn-around, but what are ya gonna do? The MCB's were pinching HARD, I mean HARD today, slowing the train considerably. On previous rides, Mamba's return bunny-hops have provided me with excellent ejector air in that seat, but today, the air was mild and certainly not ejector. A great coaster was giving a good ride. Very smooth as always, except for the first set of final brakes, probably because of the two-train operation. That first set of final brakes hit HARD, full stop on a dime, jabbing the lap bars well into the gut. And when those brakes hit, something underneath the train would make a horrible retching, moaning, screeching sound that I likened to a goat giving birth. I just wanted to pat Mamba and say, "Aww, it'll be okay, sweetie," when I heard that agonizing sound.
This still gets me: almost the entire 'back' half of the park is now basically the Africa section now that Mamba has been added, yet there is a 50's style diner smack dab next to Mamba. Someone slipped up on the continuity of theming there, methinks.
By this point, I'm quite angry at myself for forgetting the sunscreen, as I tend to burn easily, and I'm starting to feel like a weinie on a grill. Our mouths feeling a bit like we were trying to eat an entire Sahara dune, we forked over $2.50 each to a vending machine for 20 oz. bottles of Sierra Mist. Much better.
On to Detonator, the park's twin S&S Space Shot towers. Yuck, folks, let's touch up that paint on both towers where the top of the air cylinders are. Black grease stains are NOT our friend. Excellent, fun, ejector air ride with a great view, but much too short in both duration and height. Strap me to one of those things and shoot me up 400 feet 20 times and I'll be happy.
Jessica and I sat and watched the park's new-for-2002 Thunderhawk (Huss Topspin) go through a few cycles before deciding, with some trepidation on her part, to take it for a whirl. Not my first Topspin, so I knew what to expect sensation-wise, but never before had I been assaulted by fountains on a Topspin before. I had a blast, despite the horribly painful restraints. I am by no means a small or even average-sized man, and my broad and hefty shoulders were/are literally bruised. But nonetheless, I loved it. But be forewarned, if you ever ride this contraption, don't open your mouth or you'll get a make-shift dental cleaning from those fountains. As the ride drew to a close, I looked over at Jessica and realized that perhaps she should have passed on this one. She was a quite lovely shade of green. She exited the ride with hand over mouth and scurried to the nearest restroom, but came out quite dignified and denied having parted with her stomach contents. Her only comment, "NEVER again."
Next up was my beloved Timber Wolf, one of my first-ridden roller coasters. Golly, what's wrong today, Wolfie? When did they put square wheels on you? This was not your typical shake-rattle-and-roll woodie experience, this was knock-your-teeth out rough. This was the roughest I have ever seen her. We rode in the front seat of car two, which usually supplies ample crest airtime, but not today for some reason. And the laterals were simply brutal, with horrendous shuffling/slamming of the guide wheels. Was it fun? Well, yes, it's always fun, but this was scary-rough. The first drop was completely trim-less today. The crew were very efficient, friendly, humorous, and personable--the ONLY coaster crew that seemed to have any personality at all. The only coaster without a recorded spiel today.
Jessica sat out whilst I took a spin on Bamboozler (Super Round-Up). This one is showing its age--a bit rusty and screaming "Paint me! Someone PLEASE paint me!"
Next up was the old Arrow looper Orient Express. Oh, dear, this thing has not aged well. Even Jessica, a self-proclaimed 'coaster amateur' asked, "Doesn't this one bang your head a lot?" before we even entered the station. This was hands down our most painful and unpleasant ride of the day. They ran out of square wheels and hooked up triangular wheels to this one. The transitions were awkward and brutal with noticeable shuffling/slamming of guide wheels and heads. I honestly heard "OUCH!" and "OWIE!" screamed at least eight times by other riders. The train flips through the loops so fast and hard that riders come out looking like turtles, and the boomerang element, good gravy, what can be said except, "Temporal lobotomy, anyone?" I honestly don't know if I care to subject myself to Orient Express again or not. After experiencing the smooth flow of transitions and elements earlier this season on SDC's Wildfire, I now know how good a steel looper can be. And, no, I am not trying to start some kind of Arrow vs. B&M thing, I'm just giving my opinion of today's ride on OE, which has actually given me some pretty decent rides in the past, just not today. Again, a silent, unenthusiastic, expressionless crew with an overhead recorded spiel.
Jessica and I decided it was time to grab a bite to eat now that we had circled the entire park. We chose the sit-down All Stars Grill in Scandinavia. Delicious baked beans, really good fries, and chicken sandwiches that one would probably not feed to one's dog. Our server was a boy of approximately 12 years of age who unfortunately appeared to have been born without a personality. Oh well, ya gotta eat. $21 for the above-mentioned fare and two drinks.
A bathroom break before circling the park again was in order and proved to be an adventure in itself. Sitting on the floor of the bathroom was a strange-looking fan-like device that was effectively cooling the bathroom but was blowing scraps of toilet paper and paper towels hither and yon, over the tops of the stalls, under the stalls. Quite odd but strangely entertaining, having ribbons of TP showering down on you whilst taking care of business.
We then hit Viking Voyager log flume, old and short but fun. Only mild moistening at the final splash-down. Zulu was still down. Another spin on Boomerang proved rather disastrous, at least for Jessica. When she said earlier that she didn't like the backward part, she was not kidding. Another run to the bathroom with hand over mouth. I was chuckling to myself but absolutely burst out laughing when a snotty-acting teenage girl exited said bathroom shortly after Jessica had gone in and loudly announced, "Oh, my god, they should like totally close that bathroom down for a while! That's gross!" Poor Jessica's mediocre lunch had made a repeat performance. Yet, bless her heart, she was still game for two more spins on Mamba, a ride on Fury of the Nile (excellent Intamin Rapids ride), and one more bone-jarring jaunt on Timber Wolf.
I rode Cyclone Sam's sans Jessica. This is an enclosed Chance Wipeout with tornado theming. That thing does 784 RPM easily. Insane spinning. At least I kept a firm hold upon my lunch.
We then decided to take a leisurely spin on the train. I can say that they really should rethink their job assignments as far as who should do the commentary during the train ride. In no way am I trying to make fun (other riders did enough of that, very loudly, ) but this girl had a very shrill, grating voice with a distinct speech impediment not unlike Elmer Fudd. I was actually quite offended by the teenagers loudly making fun of her.
We taried and mosied a spell before finally deciding to call it a day around 5:30, as the park was closing at 6:00. By this point, one could have fried eggs on my forearms, and my face looked like a tomato. (Mental note, sunscreen next time, dammit, sunscreen.)
I realize the above commentary appears to give a rather unpleasant review, but that is not my intention. I actually had a very good time at Worlds of Fun. My bickerings about the coasters are just comparisons to previous ride experiences. In no way were any of the employees rude, they were just very automaton-like, with the exception of the awesome Timber Wolf crew. And with the exception of a couple of messy restrooms, the park was extremely clean, nary a trace of stray trash anywhere. And even the garbage bins appeared to have been emptied often. We witnessed no line-jumping, but what would have been the point with the lines being so short? Overall, with some slight improvements in food quality (at least at that particular eatery,) and with some work at making the staff a little more personable, we would have had a perfect park visit.
Thanks for bearing with me, if you've made it this far. I enjoyed my day at Worlds of Fun and enjoyed sharing it with others. Take care.
See THE ULTIMATE in Orlando TR'S! Right now in the TR fourm!
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