Michigan / Minnesota - Wednesday July 27th - Friday July 29th, 2016
Michigan's Adventure - Valley Fair - Mall of America
Lou Manalti's - Pizzeria Lola
Click each picture to make it bigger, then back to return here.
Preface - Visited 2 step child parks and added one
coaster to my bucket list. What is a step child park?
It's a park that doesn't get many new rides, or they get left overs from another
park. So why did I visit? Because I had an
annual pass and wanted to say I had visited every Cedar Fair park in the USA,
which I have now done.
Top USA Steel Coaster List
Day 1 - Wednesday July 27th. Here I am blasting off from FLL on American Airlines. I flew into Ohare (ORD) Chicago to save money on the flight since American had a non stop. In the 3rd picture is my rental car, a Jeep. Good gas mileage on the highway, 30 mpg.
Upon arriving in Chicago, I headed to Whole Foods in Schaumburg. This location had a juice bar, so I bought a smoothie.
Knowing I had a 4 hour drive ahead of me, I picked up The Lou pizza from
Malnati's. This pizza has spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and
Here I am driving through Chicago on my way to Muskegon MI. Traffic was horrible, I would not want to live in this city. But I flew here to save money on the flight.
Notice the Seagulls on the building. It "feels" like Cedar Point when you arrive.
After a 4 hour drive, plus a 1 hour time change, I finally arrived Michigan's Adventure around 5pm. Since I had a season pass, parking was free, and I was able to enter the park with no problems. The whole reason I came here was to ride Shivering Timbers, one of the best wooden coasters. I rode a few times, once near the front, once in the back, once in the middle. In the back, riders are thrown over the hills. This coaster felt like riding an RMC coaster in regards to the air time. There were a few bumpy spots, but it's not that bad.
Here's another wooden coaster called Wildcat. This ride was bumpy and I didn't really enjoy it. Besides the wooden coasters and a carnival coaster called Mad Mouse, there really wasn't much to do at this park. I didn't ride Corkscrew or Thunderhawk because they are head bashers that should be removed. That's why this is a step child park. The last coaster this park got was Thunderhawk in 2008, and that's a left over from Geauga Lake.
I drove the rental car back to Midway airport, taking a few rest stops along the way. Since my flight was at 5:30am, I didn't stay in a hotel, but car camped. Chicago was known for long TSA lines, so I arrived the airport at 2am. At 3am there was a line of people waiting as security opened. Two agents were checking people through the line, I made it to the gate in time. My flight from MDW to MSP on Southwest left early with no problems.
Day 2 - Thursday July 28th - I arrived Minneapolis at 7am, picked up a rental car, drove to Whole Foods and had a green juice. From there I traveled to Valley Fair and arrived before the park opened at 10am.
This coaster is called Wild Thing, and it's the main reason I came here, adding this coaster to my bucket list. 207 feet tall, 196 feet drop, 5460 feet length, 74 mph. I rode in the front and back, tons of air time especially in the back.
Next I rode a wooden coaster called Renegade, made by GCI. This ride reminded me of Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa. I went on a few more rides and then headed out. This park has more to do than Michigan's Adventure, but the layout is weird with Renegade being all the way in the back corner.
I visited Pizzeria Lola Here I ordered the Forager pizza.
Great taste from a wood fire oven.
I checked into the LaQuinta Minneapolis Airport hotel.
I went to Mall of America, which has an amusement park in the middle
called Nickelodean Universe. This park has 5 rides that
are considered coasters, I went on 3.
Pictured is Pepsi Orange Streak. This coaster travels around the entire park.
Pictured is Fairly Odd Coaster, a Gerstlauer spinning coaster.
Pictured is Spongebob Squarepants Rock Bottom Plunge. This coaster is also made by Gerstlauer and is considered a Euro Fighter. I consider these Gerstlauer rides Carnival Coasters, but came here to ride them because I wanted to visit the mall since it's a destination. This ride travels striaght up to the ceiling of the mall, then drops straight down into a loop. This is a good coaster for this type of park being in doors. But I don't care for carnival coasters outside because those parks can do better.
Day 3 - Friday July 29th - Checked out of the LaQuinta at 3am, turned in the rental car, made it through security at 4am, flew home on Southwest arriving at noon after stopping in Atlanta.
Conclusion: Visited 3 places I've always wanted too and finally did. An interesting observation is that it took me 18 years to visit Michigan's Adventure and ValleyFair. Why is this? Because these are step child parks that are out of the way. When visiting Michigan's Adventure, that's the only park in the area. At least when I visited ValleyFair there was also Mall of America in the same city. I would have to say of all Cedar Fair parks, Michigan's Adventure would have to be the step child park winner. Let's rank all Cedar Fair parks now that I"ve been to them all (in the USA). The top 3 receive rides in a regular rotation. Every 2-3 years, you can expect to see a new ride at the top 3 parks. For the rest of them, who knows when they'll get a new ride. The top 3 are marque parks, the next 4 are in the middle, and the bottom 3 are definately step child parks. The bottom 7 parks really haven't received a major coaster in years except for CGA with Gold Striker.
California's Great America
Knotts Berry Farm
Worlds of Fun
Click each link to bring up the RCDB page and look at when each park last got a coaster, then click back to return here.
The other thing to discuss, is that I walked through 4 different airports on this trip. Did I see any billboards for Cedar Fair or Six Flags parks? No. In fact, I didn't see a billboard for Michigan's Adventure until I was 10 miles from the park. What good does that do? Those billboards need to be in Orlando airport where everyone is traveling to/from Disneyworld.
End of Report. Thanks for reading.
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