Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Impression: Valleyfair

I've practically grown up at Cedar Point, and because it is still my home park today, I felt right at home at Valleyfair. As a young Cedar Fair enthusiast, I knew all about Valleyfair, but didn't have the chance to visit until know. Valleyfair is one of my favorite parks that I've visited this summer. It may not be as good as some, but              iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmm    mmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiiii to me, it was home.

We headed into the park around 11:00 a.m. on a nice Sunday morning. The parking lot was not even half full, and the weather forecast looked optimistic. They scanned my beloved Platinum Pass and in we went. The first place we stopped was the Cinnabon shop, where I had my morning dose of sugar with their cinnamon sugar mini donuts.

We headed around to the right, and decided to make Corkscrew our first ride of the day. The line was nonexistent, so we eagerly climbed in the front row. Around the turn and up we went, before dropping quickly and going through the motions of riding an Arrow corkscrew coaster. Hill, drop, Loop, turn, corkscrew, brake. It certainly wasn't a very unique ride, but it was fun, and nowhere near as uncomfortable as its sister in Sandusky.

On that positive note, we headed into Planet Snoopy for some quick pictures and a ride on High Roller. The Planet Snoopy area was very well done and, based on the crowds, most people would agree with me. We kept moving though, as my goal was another credit - I've already ridden my fair share of kiddie rides.

Upon arriving at High Roller, we were greeted by a nice long line. In truth, it wasn't that bad, but it did not move; they were only running one train. A good thirty minutes later, we boarded High Roller, resigning ourselves to the fact that we had just waited entirely too long for a ride that was probably just going to hurt. To my surprise, I was not thinking either of those things when we got off. High Roller was neither boring nor rough, and while the line was maybe still a bit long for my liking, it really was not unreasonable. The airtime and forces were a bit lacking, but it was still better than I was expecting for a Cedar Fair woodie.

Our next stop was one I was eagerly anticipating, knowing that it could easily make it into my top ten. With that enthusiasm, I hurried over to Cosmic Coaster, just on the edge of Planet Snoopy. All joking aside, it was not a bad ride for a kiddie coaster. The best part was when they let us go around three times. After that big adrenaline rush [/sarcasm], I had to calm down with a drink at Stadium Pizza and Grill. We didn't stay long, though, as Mad Mouse was waiting for us. Another decent ride, but nothing special. With these (and boomerangs), when you've ridden one, you've ridden them all.

I had a bit of bad luck after that: my phone and camera died. What would I do about photos for this report? We decided we'd come back again in the morning for a few pictures, but for now, we had coasters to ride. On our way to Renegade, we were unavoidably sidetracked - we had to ride Looping Starship. Normally these rides make me sick, and I wasn't quite sure how I'd do on it after that root beer earlier, but I decided that it was worth the risk. The restraints stapled me into my seat, as always, but once I got over that, it turned out to be a pretty decent ride.

We did go straight to Renegade after that to find that it was a walk-on! It was our lucky day, it seemed. We took second row, and soon enough, we were off. Renegade was wonderfully twisty, in true GCI fashion, but it was not as smooth as I was expecting. It was very bumpy, but I hesitate to call it rough because it was not all that uncomfortable. I was definitely bouncing around more than I'd have liked, but it was more of a steady, rhythmic bump, that didn't really affect the ride experience in my mind. Taking out that factor, it's one of the better wooden coasters I've been on; it was fast, genuinely thrilling, and relatively forceful. Maybe not quite as good as I had been expecting, but looking back, I don't feel any disappointment.

Next up was Excalibur; in my mind, the "odd man out" of the Valleyfair family. It seemed I wasn't the only one who thought this, as there was no line. Maybe it was just because Excalibur is all the way in the back, practically by itself, but I wasn't complaining - I got in the front row immediately. After a one train wait, we took off up a hill that would make up about half of the ride. After a decent drop and a pointless straightaway, we moved through a few curves that were forceful but unexciting, before hitting the brake run with a jolt. Excalibur's main problem, in my mind, is it's length; it's simply too short of a ride. The ride itself wasn't all that bad, and I might have even enjoyed it if it had continued for another thirty seconds or a minute. We had decent speed, and could have kept going for a while, but it just ended. I was not disappointed with Excalibur, but I know that Valleyfair and Arrow could have done better.

Next, we decided to head over to Wild Thing. I was expecting something similar to Magnum at Cedar Point, but what I got was much better. Firstly, there was no wait, so I ran and grabbed the front row, as I always seem to do. It was very windy on the lift hill, which was both scary and exhilarating, but I tried to ignore it as I looked at the whole park from above. Before long, we plummeted downward on a drop that was deceptively long, before coming up into one of the greatest airtime experiences I have ever had. I don't think there was a moment on that second hill where I was actually seated - the airtime was perfectly strong and sustained. The rest of the ride was glass-smooth, and was easily the smoothest coaster I had been on, until I rode Sky Rocket a few weeks ago. I rode it again in the back row, which was still great, but not quite as smooth. Regardless, I knew that it had placed very high in my top ten.

We knew that the day was almost winding down by that point, but we had a few last rides to do. Xtreme Swing was first on our list, which was, again, a walk-on (it was our lucky day)! It was a very fun, albeit short ride; these swings are always among my favorite flat rides. Next was Power Tower, where I rode both sides. I love these rides, and Power Tower was just as good. RipTide was also a lot of fun, minus the water factor. I love the flipping, but I don't always love the water being shot in my face. I got off the ride almost completely soaked.

Our last stop was Steel Venom which, surprise, had no line. I got two rides on it; one in the front, one in the back. Both were good, but I particularly liked the back for the holding break. Of course, you still felt it in the front, but it was more intense in the back row. Better than Wicked Twister? Eh, about the same - both are fun, simple rides. We headed out after that.

Jump to the next morning, we arrived at opening and ran back towards Steel Venom, where I grabbed my pictures. We went around the park in the opposite direction this time, heading towards Wild Thing, which I really wanted another ride on. With no line once again, I took the front row as I had the day before; still an amazing ride. I had wanted to get one more ride on Renegade as well, but it was closed. What's more, the back of the park was closed as well, so I have no pictures of Excalibur. Bummer. I grabbed one last ride on Power Tower, and we headed out.

Overall, I had a great time at Valleyfair. Some of their rides were a bit lackluster (Mad Mouse, Excalibur), but others like Renegade and Wild Thing totally made up for it. Personally, I'd love to see a B&M invert addedIt is definitely one of the best parks I've been to in a while; maybe not the most unique in terms of atmosphere, but to me everything felt just right.

Overall Park Rating: 8/10 Stars
Click here to view all Valleyfair photos.


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