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Valleyfair, Adventureland, & Nick U


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June 18-21 I spent in Minneapolis with a friend I made at the ACE Spring Conference at KI this spring. He lives up there and wanted to show me his home park Nick U and Valleyfair which is nearby. Due to my flight being cancelled and rescheduled for a day later, I got to also go to Adventureland in Des Moines. 

Nick U: for an indoor park this one really delivered! Good collection of flats and the coasters weren't bad for being cramped into the mall. SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge was a decent euro fighter but it seemed a bit shaky to me. I really enjoyed the length of the Pepsi Orange Streak and the views it provided. The fairly Odd coaster was probably my favorite as it ran smoothly and gave us some really good spins! Avatar the last Airbender was a cool concept but the spinning mechanism wasn't working 100%. We also managed to snag the kiddy coaster credit. There was a new op who struggled to stop the ride so we went around plenty of extra times. The star attraction is by far the log chute which is my second favorite log ride after the original splash mountain at Disneyworld. 

Valleyfair: Comparable to Dorney Park but slightly worse. Still a fun afternoon of coasters and flats. Started the day with Mad Mouse which was my first arrow mouse. Was definitely a bit more aggressive and rough than I was expecting but I did enjoy it's wonky transitions. Next was Renegade which honestly was just ok. It seemed rougher than Mystic Timbers and didn't have quite as good airtime. Did manage to get a front row ride though which was pretty cool. We then took a pit stop at wheel of fortune which was my first time being on a chance trabaunt since I was a kid at Coney Island. All parks should have a trabaunt! I loved that ride as a kid and this brought back so many memories. I love the way they run forward and backwards and waltz around their concrete pads. The next coaster was Wild Thing which was slightly less inspiring than Steel Force at Dorney Park but it's still a great ride and a fun hyper. The mid course was hitting a bit hard so if you were in the front of the train you didn't get any airtime on the final bunny hills. However, in the back there was some nice smooth floater. Definitely my number one coaster in the park. It was at that moment we noticed Excalibur testing so we made the second train of the day. Such a short ride but boy is it action packed! Got front row and back row rides and it's my solid #2 in the park. There's really no other coaster quite like it with its speedy low to the ground turns and crazy airtime hill mid ride. It wasn't particularly smooth but also never painful. While in the back of the park, we rode thunder canyon which was a cool refreshing journey though the forest. I managed to miss all th waterfalls...others were not so fortunate. High Roller was up next and it was very underwhelming. Probably the biggest disappointment of my trip due to the excessive trimming which took away any chance for airtime and made the coaster feel like it would valley at any moment. I'd like to see a gravity group refurb and the removal of some of those trims. Corkscrew was the coaster I most feared at the park but it was amazingly smooth during my ride. Very enjoyable classic arrow. A surprise ride at the park was Cosmic Coaster which was pretty fun considering its size and speed. Nice little helix layout. Those trains are dynamite though! We rode the flying eagles which were nothing special, supercat which looked old as dirt but delivered an enjoyable ride, and the monster which definitely runs faster than ours and provided us with much more spinning action. Final coaster was Steel Venom. The holding break is very jarring but I'm glad VF keeps it operational. Intense coaster with a unique element!

Adventureland: After a 3 hour drive, we arrived at Adventureland and immediately hit up the Underground. Such a unique indoor coaster/dark ride. It reminded me of a better version of black diamond at Knoebels. Next was monster which is by far the best euro fighter I've ridden. Such great speed and hang time! The Pheonix was a good spinning coaster but while I was in line I got super hot and sick so I got to take a trip to first aid for most of the afternoon. The first aid staff was very kind and helpful. Turned out my blood sugar was off which had made me feel nauseous and weak. After lunch, we rode outlaw run which was running very smoothly for a CCI. Also got on the tornado which was a wonderful out-n-back woodie. I insisted on riding the teacups before leaving seeing as the PTC crazy daisy rides are a rarity these days. I thought the one at Knoebels spins slightly faster but the Adventureland one was quite enjoyable. The train ride was a fun way to end the day before the return drive to Minneapolis. 

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Its been 8+ years since I've been to Valleyfair.  Disappointing that you didn't enjoy Renegade; I loved that ride back then, no clue how well it has been maintained, was pretty smooth (and still fairly new) back then.  I do like Mystic Timbers better, but Renegade will always hold a spot in my heart (I doubt I ever make it up that way again).  Wild Thing was a mixed bag for me.  Great drop, phenomenal floater hill that follows and fun bunny hills at the end with ejector air time, but man that middle section just kills the pacing and overall experience.

That park is so overdue for a coaster, being that close to a major metro market (and little competition around it) I'm surprised it doesn't see enough patrons to warrant more major investments.  I believe the airport forces some height requirements, but a new B&M invert would fit in very well there.

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20 hours ago, medford said:

Disappointing that you didn't enjoy Renegade; I loved that ride back then, no clue how well it has been maintained, was pretty smooth (and still fairly new) back then.  I do like Mystic Timbers better, but Renegade will always hold a spot in my heart (I doubt I ever make it up that way again)

To be fair, I am honestly not the biggest GCI fan out there. I do enjoy them but I by far prefer a PTC or a CCI running PTC trains. PTC coasters have amazing airtime and CCI is all about the laterals for me. I don't love the bucking bronco airtime found on most GCI coasters. I don't need to be thrown to the left and right during an airtime hill. Just straight up is fine (like nearly every PTC out there). I also find GCI trains to be uncomfortable and shaky. I'm in the minority on this but my opinion that renegade was just ok probably stems from the fact that I don't love GCI to begin with and I felt like Mystic Timbers had the superior layout and runs more smoothly than renegade. 

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On 7/10/2024 at 9:53 AM, johnjniehaus said:

To be fair, I am honestly not the biggest GCI fan out there. I do enjoy them but I by far prefer a PTC or a CCI running PTC trains. PTC coasters have amazing airtime and CCI is all about the laterals for me. I don't love the bucking bronco airtime found on most GCI coasters. I don't need to be thrown to the left and right during an airtime hill. Just straight up is fine (like nearly every PTC out there). I also find GCI trains to be uncomfortable and shaky. I'm in the minority on this but my opinion that renegade was just ok probably stems from the fact that I don't love GCI to begin with and I felt like Mystic Timbers had the superior layout and runs more smoothly than renegade. 

Renegade was my first GCI, and I have loved all 3 (Thunderhead @ DW) that I've been on.  Added to it, we were planning a weekend in Minneapolis after visiting family in WI and ValleyFair wasn't even on the radar; my wife was pregnant at the time, however my wife's cousin was taking his kids there at the same time we were in the area, so we tagged along last minute.  I hadn't looked at a single POV video of any of their rides, I knew WildThing was suppossed to be their "it coaster" so when my oldest and I got on Renegade we were not expecting a ton.  The station flyby as you wait in line was cool; the ride, especially the 1st drop took us both by surprise.  When the ride was done we just looked at each other and couldn't believe how much we enjoyed that.

 

Mystic Timbers is my favorite ride at KI, so obviously I'm a GCI fan :)

 

Interesting to know, how do you feel about RMCs?  RMCs, at least the 2 that I've been on are far more intense but incorporate a lot of the similar elements that give you air one direction and a twist in another.  Steel Vengance is either #1 or #2 for me (along with Velocicoaster) and Lightening Rod would be ranked pretty high in my limited coaster experience (though that was before they changed the lift hill, not sure how much that changes the experience, I'd guess not a ton other than the lift was pretty cool, but you weren't exactly thrown over the top like other launches do)

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11 hours ago, medford said:

Interesting to know, how do you feel about RMCs?  RMCs, at least the 2 that I've been on are far more intense but incorporate a lot of the similar elements that give you air one direction and a twist in another.

So I do enjoy an RMC but I don't think I have any in my top 10 coasters. Steel Vengeance is the best one I've ever ridden given iron gwazi was closed when I went to BGT and I have never ridden the international ones. Steel Vengeance is my #4 at CP trailing Milli, Magnum, and Maverick. I want to like it more but the excellent ride is marred by the really long line which is located in the blazing sun and then the metal detectors are super annoying. I also have extremely bad luck with waiting over and hour and then it goes down so needless to say, years of bad experiences leading up to getting on the coaster have really put a damper on my desire to ride it. It's usually a one and done for me. Good ride but I'm not going to make sure I get multiple rides in on it like I will Milli, Magnum, and Maverick.

The difference between GCI and RMC to me is that RMC is smoother and while the restraints aren't the best, I find them to be more comfortable than the GCI ones. GCI restraints do not provide me with much lateral support and I don't like getting flung around like a towel on a clothesline. While RMC lap bars are kind of tight, the bars and trains provide me with a lot of support during the wild elements putting less stress on my body. 

I think we all have different types of rides we like and different restraints fit us better than others. My sister doesn't like the lap bars on The Racer and The Beast because they are tight on her legs while she prefers a GCI bar because it locks around the hip area and less on your legs. Some people hate arrow looper harnesses and other people like them better than a collar or vest restraint. Some people like that a Zamperla endeavor has a harness to make you feel secure while other people despise the harness and prefer and Schwarzkopf or Huss enterprise with so restraints (or maybe a small seat belt). 

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