Michigan's Adventure is not currently equipped to accept Cedar Fair Platinum Passes at the park gate, and thus our morning began with a ten minute detour into the group sales office to collect our admission tickets. Fortunately we'd arrived early enough that this didn't affect our plans, as we still ended up waiting inside the park for a security guard to drop a barrier. This isn't one of my favourite park policies, as all it really achieves is a running of the bulls; surely it'd make more sense to allow people to gently walk towards the queue of their choice?
Our sole draw today was Thunderhawk, a SLC relocated from the now defunct Geauga Lake. As such rides go this one was actually running pretty well, and while neither of us wanted a second lap it was far from the worst of the genre. From there we wandered across towards Shivering Timbers, but a lengthy queue coupled with an untimely rainstorm made us decide to give it a miss. We'd always intended this mornings visit as a hit-and-run, though a stay of just twenty minutes represents a new record for us in a large corporate park!
4th June 2010
There are a number of small coasters at various FECs in the greater Chicago area, most of which are absolutely tiny and thus not worth the effort. The only one that does justify a trip is Tiger Terror (#1512), a surprisingly lively family coaster built by Wisdom Rides, albeit without any of the usual violence that is prevalent on many of Wisdom's other creations. Passengers are treated to three laps of the course, the first two speed restricted courtesy of a tire drive that acts as a poor man's trim brake. For the third lap this restriction is reduced, and the result is remarkably thrilling. The ride has also been spruced up with some colourful theming which makes it well worth while. Coaster enthusiasts on the way to or from Chicago O'Hare Airport would do well to make a visit.
Castles n' Coasters
4th June 2010
Our trip itinerary this year had an unintended spare day in it, mainly due to various parks on the eastern coast not opening in the first week of June. We elected to use this to travel to the only major park in the entire country that we'd yet to visit. Castles n' Coasters is quite a long way from any other theme parks in the United States, making it quite a challenge to fit into an enthusiast itinerary without resorting to air travel. We managed to acquire cheap flights courtesy of Southwest, making the trip at least somewhat sensible.
The park is located in a slightly unsavoury area of Phoenix, and has recently instituted an entrance fee on evenings and weekends, presumably in the hope of preventing trouble. For whatever reason this was not being implemented tonight, allowing us to walk straight through to the ride area. Once inside, we acquired unlimited ride passes (individual tickets are not available) and headed for the coasters.
Desert Storm (#1513) is a substantial ride with two inversions that towers over most of the facility. Though the inversions look like loops the second is rather unusual, with a direction change towards the bottom that makes it feel more like a corkscrew. Even after multiple rides I'm not sure whether this is something I like or not, but it's certainly a unique element. The tracking is fairly smooth too considering the ride is almost twenty years old. Overall it is a worthwhile coaster, and something every enthusiast will enjoy. The smaller Patriot (#1514) feels like a Hopkins remake of the large size roller skater design, and like its neighbour it's a good ride. The course includes a couple of crossovers with very tight clearances, so tall people might want to duck!