"Large crowd, small capacity. You figure it out."
Well, here's how it works. I live in Columbus, Ohio. I was on my way to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which is about a nine or ten-hour drive for me (I made the return trip in 10:06). It is about an eight-hour drive to Adventure World, and a four hour drive from there to Busch Gardens. Busch Gardens is open 10:00am-7:00pm, which means that if I went straight there from home, I might arrive just in time for the park to close. But thanks to Hallowscream, Adventure World is open 4:00pm-10:00pm. That means I can drive all day, get to the park about the time it opens, spend the evening, and still make it to Busch Gardens when it opens the next day. Add in that, with a little coaxing, Adventure World will accept my Wyandot Lake pass, and the itinerary decision becomes obvious.
I don't usually bring up parking in my trip reports, but there are two notable things about parking at Adventure World. First of all, Adventure World has one of the most expensive parking lots I have encountered, at $6.00. On the other hand, it also is one of the nicest landscaped lots...almost anywhere you park is in a tree-shaded spot! Unusual, anyway!
Those of you who have met me in person may have noticed that I have a fairly low tolerance for hassle, bullcrap, and incompetence. I guess I must have been in a good mood, as I encountered a certain amount of all three just trying to get into the park. In fairness, a certain amount of that had to do with my Wyandot Lake pass. A suggestion for Premier Parks: In the future, put the Premier Parks logo on your passes someplace! Fortunately, I found someone who recognized the logo as a Premier park.
I was less fortunate later in the evening, as I re-entered on a handstamp after jetissoning my camera, as my computer set off the metal detector and my penknife proved to be contraband. I take it there have been some violence problems in this park? Never have I had so much difficulty getting through the main gate of an amusement park!
Initially, I brought in the video camera, and started by shooting video throughout the park. Adventure World is a generally nice-looking park, although during Hallowscream some areas take on an incomplete or unfinished look...the Typhoon SeaCoaster, the Renegade Rapids, and Shipwreck Falls had all been drained and shut down for the season with their boats lying about. Also, Premier has no objection to having major construction going on while the park is open, so one can see large numbers of footers placed back near Mind Eraser for the new coaster. Like many parks, Adventure World is not really much of a theme park. There is a section with the obligatory Old West theme, and Adventure World has taken the additional step of theming their kiddieland around a circus (the kid bumper cars inside the lion cage is particularly cute!). And a pirate theme seems to be emerging near the Typhoon SeaCoaster, the Pirates Flight, and the Pizzas of Eight food stand. But the bulk of the park is unthemed. Decoration of the rides is important here; actual integrated theming is not. Which I think for most parks is a good thing. To do theming and do it right requires a lot of attention and a lot of detail. A park like Busch Gardens can pull it off. For a smaller park sich as Adventure World, where the real draw is the ride, and there is some desire to have the ride stand on its own merits, the more limited ride decoration approach makes a lot of sense, and is a lot more flexible.
Well, just because I was lugging a camera didn't mean I couldn't do any riding, so I headed for...
One word of warning about Python: If you walk towards the boarding platform, you will miss it and end up at a dead end next to a kiddie ride. Instead, hike towards the loop, then follow the path to the entrance stairway.
I only rode once, and that ride included a mechanical failure. Python is the worst-looking coaster in the park, in need of a paint job...and on the platform, I wish they would either eliminate the gates or hook them up. At the moment, each queue location has a gate just kind of hanging there, while access to the train is controlled by a little piece of plastic-coated wire rope with a snap-hook. But while the ride doesn't look good, it runs fairly well. Platform procedures are terribly inefficient, then the train is launched smoothly and rapidly off of the loading platform, through the loop, then up to the far end platform. At this point, we stopped, as usual. I said to the kid next to me, "...And if you thought that was something, watch THIS."
Promptly and on cue, nothing happened.
A telephone rang. Moments later, I saw two maintenence men running across the field towards the tower. As one of them approached the end-operator booth, I heard his radio crackle something about the Mind Eraser.
I heard the brakes open, then without delay, nothing happened.
"No, just hold that..." said the maintenance man. The brakes opened and we slowly moved forward a couple of feet. "Okay." The brakes closed. Moments later, they opened again and we were off, shooting down the hill and backwards through the loop. Woo-hoo!! Then we stopped in the station as the waiting customers were told not to board. Whatever the problem was, they did get it solved.
I made the mistake of passing this one up, justifying my decision because I had ridden it before, and it had lots of kids waiting to ride. On the other hand, a Moli-Coaster where adults are not required to rent kids is a rare and wonderful thing!
The station reminds me of Skyliner. The helix reminds me of Sky Princess. The platform efficiency reminds me of the Beast. And the sound reminds me of Mean Streak. I had to pass up my first chance to ride this due to a particularly strident "ABSOLUTELY NO BAGS OF ANY KIND" rule, enforced with unbelievable vigor. The line for this ride was very long all night long, owing in large part to the single-train operation, the inadequate crew (two people are not enough to run such a ride), and generally very slow platform operations. The coaster is completely run by hand, and the tower operator was "goosing" the train as it left the station, so that she could visually check bars and belts in the last two cars. Of course this also made the train crawl to the lift.
Once over the lift, though, this ride shows its more-or-less true colors. Can you say, "airtime?" The kink at the top of the first drop gives this ride just an extra little kick for an out-and-back ride, and I have to ask the locals (Ted, Dan, Sam...anyone else...), Was that little S-curve, where Wild One meets Typhoon SeaCoaster, always there, or was that part of the TSC installation? It's a violent lateral element, and I kind of like it.
I need to re-check my census, but isn't Wild One one of the oldest operating coasters now? Adventure World seems to be keeping it up fairly well...that is, it tracks well and runs well...but it really needs grease. I'm pretty sure Adventure World uses graphite, and I think it had just rained before I arrived, so that may explain the excessive squealing. Or maybe they just don't know that wood coasters need lubrication. In any case, the biggest problem with this ride is the slow loading and single-train operation that made for 35-minute waits.Mind Eraser
Well, after apparently failing to solve the problem, they finally pulled off the recalcitrant train and re-opened the ride. I promptly jumped into the front seat and took off. Now, the last time I rode this thing, it was fabulous. Now, the ride is still fabulous, but the train has been butchered! Realizing that T^2 and El Condor are almost entirely unsuitable for carrying humans, Vekoma redesigned the shoulder bars. Now, the bar padding extends in close, high and tight around the rider's ears. AAAAAUGH! Why is it no longer sufficient that manufacturers pin us unto our seats by our shoulders, but now they all (except Arrow and Pinfari) insist on bringing those &@!% bars clear up over our ears? Mind Eraser is a smooth, intense ride, with limited lateral force (except for the final turn from Trimstation 2 into the Station. That turn, taken at a slow crawl, is a headbanger.). Okay, so my ears are overly sensitive, and they become flushed and irritated when they get smacked even lightly. But no one should have to endure the extra padding Vekoma has stuck onto the shoulder bars on this ride. It is unnecessary on Mind Eraser. Before this change, I thought Mind Eraser had about the best seats around, among coasters with shoulder bars. Hey, Vekoma even rememered that most coaster-nuts have arms, something it took Arrow a while to figure out, and that B&M still don't seem to have learned. The Vekoma SLC is also noteworthy simply because of the amount of action it manages to pack into literally no space at all. The result is a collection of astonishing visual effects you simply do not get on larger coasters. But now, the term "Hang & Bang", almost fits just because now you have something to hit. The new bars are a Bad Thing for this coaster.
I think I should also point out that Mind Eraser was running two trains until the malfunction occurred. Just an observation for those of you who believe that "Tierco" is an old Sioux word for "only single train operation".
Finally, a word about some of those issues that keep coming up. I found Adventure World's employees to be generally pleasant individually, but when dealing with a whole platform full of people, they tended to be officious, bureaucratic, and occasionally a little nasty. To a one, the ride operators seemed to move with glacial slowness, without any sense of urgency at all. But what I did notice is that the operators are exceptionally attentive to their rides. I got the impression that many of them did not know why they were doing the things they were doing, but they were doing a better job than I would expect at this time of the season from any park.
In general, it was a good evening. A bit more hassle in some areas than I like, and coaster platform spiels tend to get tiresome after about the fifth time you hear them while waiting in line. And it was a great warm-up for BGW.
Next trip: Busch Gardens Williamsburg
1997 Trip Report index
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--Dave Althoff, Jr.