Indiana Beach14th June 2003
Indiana Beach can be thought of as America's answer to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Though it is not on the same scale, it features a large number of rides crammed into every available space. We were greeted on arrival by Tom Spackman, a member of the third generation of the same family to own the resort. He told us that we'd be enjoying exclusive ride time on the three wooden coasters. He also warned us that the Galaxi would be closed all day, but hoped this wouldn't put too much of a damper on things.
The first of the coasters to open was Cornball Express (#165). If you'd asked me earlier this week if any coaster could top the magnificent Raven I'd have laughed at you, but one circuit on this ride was enough to totally change that opinion. Cornball Express featured seemingly impossible amounts of airtime, with riders being launched into their lap bars over every single hill. Better yet, the ride interwined with the log flume, which made for some wonderful near miss effects; it was possible with good (or bad!) timing to be splashed!
The signature wooden coaster at the park is a truly unique attraction with nothing even close to it anywhere else in the world. Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain (#166) was originally built as a dark ride in the late 1970s, before being converted into a wooden roller coaster last year. This conversion necessitated a unique rolling stock design, with two car trains seating eight, four facing in each direction. The ride opens with a vertical lift, presumably due to lack of space for anything else. Once the car is released at the top, however, the experience goes from sedate to extremely intense, particularly when facing backwards. The cars move in and out of impossibly tight spaces, turning corners at speed which should simply not be possible. The result is simply brilliant, and by far the closest I've ever seen to the mine train scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
The third and final wooden coaster would be a great addition to most parks. Chances are that I'd have thought more of Hoosier Hurricane (#167) had I not ridden two other stunning coasters first. This ride was fun, but it wasn't outstanding by any means. A few consecutive rides were enough. The last new credit of the day was the Schwarzkopf-built Tig'rr Coaster (#168). The wait for this was pretty lengthy thanks to a single operational train, but it proved to be worth it nevertheless.
Indiana Beach is home to a rather impressive walkthrough by the name of Frankenstein's Castle. This is usually an upcharge attraction, but we'd all been handed a free pass to try it out once. There were some really unusual tricks in here, including one that caught out quite a lot of group members; a balcony that tilted forward about twenty degrees when people stepped out on to it. Following this, we decided to wait for the Den of Lost Thieves dark ride, reasoning that the wait time of half an hour probably signified a worthwhile attraction. In all honesty it didn't, but it was still an interesting diversion. Those who want to know more about it can read some details on the manufacturers web site.