Trip Report: Indiana Beach
May 17, 2002
Indiana Beach, IN (near Monticello, IN) (on beautiful Lake Shaffer)
Welcome to the fourth installment of Eric and Dave's Spring Fling.
We awoke this morning, and thought the weather was cold but surely it would warm up. Excited to try out the new LoCoSuMo, and since I had personally never been to Indiana Beach we drove to the park with great excitement.
After a lengthy drive, we pulled into IB's North parking lot around 11:45am. We opted for the free parking section, and headed up to an unassuming white building that had "Indiana Beach" written on it in red letters. This would be the first stop, to pay the grounds or general admission fee. It costs $2 per person to enter Indiana Beach, for which we were given a computer generated admission ticket. We then walked to an unatteneded admission gate, clearly within eyesight of the sole ticket seller and entered the park. At no point is your admission ticket collected.
Before continuing, some words of explanation for those who have never been to Indiana Beach. Indiana Beach started out, and primarily remains a lakeside camping resort. Sure they offer a few motel rooms, but the majority of lodging at IB comes in the form of rental cottages and campsites for your tent or RV. Along with this they offer the usual amenties of a lakeside camping resort: boatramps, fishing, swimming, etc. As IB Legend goes, one one fatefull summer trip to the Jersey Shore, the owners of IB discovered the amusement pier/boardwalk and decided that they wanted to add a boardwalk to their own lakeside resort. The result of their dream is the Boardwalk Funway at IB. (It should be noted that on several signs, Cedar Point reffers to itself as the Funway. Just look at the signs on the Causeway). The final effect at IB is a cross between a Jersey Boardwalk and a county fair atmosphere.
Entering IB through the north lot is surely different from your typical amusement park entrance. The North Lot also services the cottage rental area, and as such after passing though the admission gate, you must walk around the side of the cottage rental area. But I would be remiss not to mention that immediately inside the north gates there were two LoCoSuMo cars that were sort of on display, next to a pile of lumber in CCI wrap that was sorta on display.
The LoCoSuMo cars are pretty spot on the artist rendition that appeared on the CCI site recently. That is they resemble mine cars, with two benches both facing each other. The effect is that the front passengers face rearward, and the backseat passengers of each car face forwards. In an overly simple ASCII animation the seating is roughly: |_ _| |_ _| as there are to be two cars per train, if memory serves. Of the two cars sitting by the north gate one was under a blue tarp and the other was exposed. A closer look at the cars reveals that the seats have a generous amount of padding, have no seat dividers, and have no headrests. In terms of passenger restraint the cars have individual retracting seatbelts which fasten in the middle of the car, similar to a morgan hypercoaster train, as well as a most unusual lapbar design and door. The lapbars appear to be unpadded. The two passengers sitting away from the door must slide in underneath a lapbar that does not open, similar to lapbars found on such classic rides as the KW Jackrabbit, Lakeside Cyclone, or Joyland Rollercoaster. To facilitate entering the car, the half of the lapbars nearest the door folds up towards the center of the car. This allows the innermost passengers to enter the car and slide underneath the stationary lapbars, then the two outer passengers get in and sit down, then the lapbar is lowered to stretch accross the whole bench. This bar will be totally non-adjustable, one size fits most. Lastly the tub door is closed. The tub door actually seems to be important as it apparently can't be opened from within the tub, and it is crucial that the lapbar be lowered before the door is closed as the end of the lapbar slides into a slot in the door. We observed some IB employees experimenting with various loading procedures to find out that if the door is closed, then the lapbar lowered, the lapbar won't be locked.
I'd say that Matt Crowther has a tough call on this one, if indeed this is considered for Coaster Classic status. The cars mechanically fit the requirements with no ratcheting lapbars, no seat dividers and no headrests, but by virtue of the fact that you are facing the other riders in the car face/off style, the whole "Rider vision" thing is brought into question. I seem to recall that retracting seatbelts do not disqualify a ride. I have no doubt that givenIB's operations that riders will be free to choose a forward/backwards experience at their discretion as choice of seats is also part of the CC rules and regs.
We continued down the pathway to the park, you turn the next corner, and you have the cottage rental area to your left, the Log Flume and Hoosier Hurricane station to the right, the pay parking lot next to you, and a footbridge to the picnic grove for those opting stairs over walking clear around the Log Flume to get to the picnic area. Eventually you come to the back of the Boardwalk shops. Quite similar to other boardwalks the mainland side of the IB Boardwalk is lined with shops, eateries, grab joints, arcades, other games, as well as other guest conveinence features. Several of these have doors to both the boardwalk side and the rear, and a few places can only be accessed from the rear. The traditional first stop to any park is only accesible from the rear forexample. Turning right and proceeding down the rear side of the boardwalk shops you come to a little green hut. This hut is where you can purchase various ridepass packages.
Indiana Beach operates under an unusual ride pricing scheme. You see, IB has two ride sessions on most days. Each ride session requires a seperate fee if you want an unlimited ridepass. On most days the afternoon session runs from 11am-6pm, and the night session runs from 4pm-11pm. Either session is 7 hours long and costs $16. For those wishing to participate in both ride sessions, an all day pass is available for $24. The all-day pass is an especially good deal as it includes the full waterpark package. (Waterpark open 10-6). If you do not wish to purchase a ride pass or Pay-One-Price Ride session as the park calls it, the park will sell you either individual ride tickets ($1 each) or GOLD STAR tickets (worth two individual ride tickets, or $2 each) sold in a pack of 10 tickets for $15. (a $5 savings). Rides cost between $1 and $4 each, with the wood coasters, the dark ride, the double shot, and the Shaeffer Queen being in the $4 category). Sufficently confused yet? Let me add in the waterpark pricing scheme. For the Bathhouse, beach, and swinning area its $3, if you pay $9 you can also use the Action River, or if you pay $14 you can get full waterpark access. You best deal is the all day waterpark and ride pass for $24. Clear as mud, right? That's why it takes the park two full columns on the jumbo oversize version of their brochure to explain it all to you. But then Indiana Beach will look for an exucse to put up yet another sign, "Signs, Signs, everywhere a sign", you will find the most signs per-capita in IB. I don't think its possible to count the number of tiny white signs with black lettering the park has, everything from directional signs, to safety warnings, to tips and helpful hints, to a few that are humorous. Instead of "Restrooms ahead on left" they might have "Restrooms 500' ahead and to the left"
We arrived at the green hut and decided on the Afternoon session only. (11-6). It just so happens that on this particular weekend, IB was selling 2-1 ride passes due to the Spring Festival. In other words $8 for one session, $12 for an all day if you remembered to come in pairs. (It should be noted the park is offering this cut rate pricing to ACE members through June) For $8 each we recieved wristbands with simply "EXPIRES 6:00PM" on them. With our proper Tyvek jewlery, we continued on down the backside of the boardwalk. Upon hitting the end of the baordwalk shops you go through what resembles a barn which houses some of the midway games, and at the other end of the barn you come back outside make a left and you are walking between the pirate ship ride and Frankenstein's Castle. Frankenstein's Castle is a walk through haunted house/funhouse, but more about it later. We were, as you might suspect heading towards LoCoSuMo. Passing an aracde, then a shooting gallery, round the corner to the right, past the antique cars and there in front of our eyes is what looks like an active construction site. There on the right sits the Lost Coaster of Superstiton Mountain (LoCoSuMo for short, thanks Moosh, hope the royalties aren't TOO steep). Superstition Mountain was one of the parks two dark rides, involving a multi-level trip through Superstition Mountain using a traditional dark ride system on steel track. For 2002, Superstition Mountain is receiving an extensive rehab aimed at improving reliabilty, capacity, and guest experience. CCI was called in to convert the traditional dark ride system into what can best be described as wooden wild mouse coaster (or scenic railway given the dark ride nature). Several very abrupt tiny dips, and impossibly tight turns define the visible part of the layout. What is cool is that some of the track is laid directly on top of the old track, though it may not retain the same profile or direction of travel as the original. The other key feature is the elevator. Instead of a lift hill, the two car mine trains will be lifted to the start of the course on an elevator. Out in front of the mountain the new loading area has been constructed, and some assist or kicker tires were seen along the loading area track. Speaking of the track, one car sat proudly on the track, while its mate sat on the ground just inbound of the construction barriers, again sorts on display along with some heavy looking construction equipment and a brake caliper. Let's just say they will be putting these little mine cars on an agility/dexterity test unlike any other wooden coaster. We happened to arrive on the scene when a park representative was giving a presentation for the media. We respectfully stood back by the Skycoaster harness shed to observe
After listening for few moments and getting the general feeling that we woulnd't be riding today, but in true coaster enthusiast pollyana, we held out for a glimer of a chance of hope of a ride. In the meantime,we headed down the Boardwalk towards the northern, or Double Shot end. One of the first things you notice is that this is THE park that inspired RCT. On the lake side of the boardwalk flat rides sit out over the lake perched on little piers of their own. This treatment is given to the Water Swings (Chance Yo-Yo that does not Yo-Yo), Paratrooper, Scrambler, Skycoater, and on a grander scale the whole waterpark complex, whose pier contains the Galaxie coaster. On the land-based side of the boardwalk you will find a Musik Express, Falling Star, LocoSuMo, Antique Cars, Swinging Ship, Flying Bobs. (And that's just the south end of the boardwalk. An area juts out behind LoCoSuMo which contains the parks Kiddieland, both wooden coasters, the Tigrrr coaster, the Log Flume, and a rockwall. In addition a train ride runs from Kiddieland to the South Bridge, and atop the south train station sits a Giant Wheel. A Skyride runs the length of the boardwalk with stations on the South Bridge or a more traditional station by the Skyroom. Further north on the boardwalk you come to a Tilt-A-Whirl, Dodgems, Chaos, two boats: one a stationary floating eatery, the other the Shaffer Queen which offers paddleboat rides. Roughly across from the Chaos on this boardwalk is the Den of Lost Thieves Dark Ride. But if you continue on past the waterpark and hang a right around the skyride platform there are some wet/dry slides (Big Flush), Frog Hopper, and a Double Shot tower. Quite an impressive amusement boardwalk.
We headed to the Galaxie, the Galaxie as I mentioned is sort of on the waterpark pier and is positioned above the waterpark area. We entered the Galaxie line and observed the operation. Contrary to the photos of this ride, today they were running numerous single cars instead of the two car trains. The operation itself is extremly labor intensive for the loader. Consider that this person must greet the oncoming riders, lower their lapbars, push them out on their way, push the next car forward up to the loading area, seat the next group of riders, walk back the brake run, grab the next car wherever it stopped after the unloader shoved it along, walk the car up the brake run, stop it behind the car of riders they just seated. (The "send next car" bell has usually already rung by this point), walk up to the car of riders you already seated, lower their lapbars, send them out and prepare to repeat the whole Rube Goldberg-ian process. Meanwhile an unloader is at the other end of the station, releasing lapbars as the cars come in and stop, helping the riders out of the car, then shoving it on its way downtrack towards the loader.
We had a minimal wait for the Galaxie, and were later seated in a car, Eric in the back, myself in the front. A bit later the operator came back and lowered our lapbars, while admitting that they probably aren't necesary in our case, and Ooof, these are tight lapbars. Clearly, smaller riders are the intended cargo on this one. We soon found ourselves climbing the lift and looking down at the waterpark below us. Forget nice broad concrete and sand passageways and palmtrees and such. No here you see a maze of slide splashpools, slide entrances, and other waterpark attractions connected to each other via a series of narrow wooden wooden walkways. It's truly unique and must be seen to believed. Also visible is the "Action River" a legthy component of which is a long straight featureless length of through followd by a tight 180 degree turnaround followed by another long straight featureless length of trough placed right next to the first one. It looks a lot like a rapids ride in RCT. Back to the Galaxie, we rode a fairly standard Galaxie, unloaded, dodged runoff from the waterslides above, and headed back to the main midway. We also noted that the Galaxie line was all the way to the bottom of its ramp by this point.
Our next stop was the Den of Lost Thieves(DoLT). DoLT is the parks remaining dark ride, but it too is significant in that DoLT is an extensive makeover of the parks original darkride. Essentially the same building, trackplan and cars were retrofitted with new scenery and gags from Sally, while the cars received light guns with a score console. The station area itself is rather bland. A DoLT marquee is mounted on fron of the building, and appears painted on a plain black wall. The queue line is under cover and shares space with the return track that the car follows when moving between unload and load. (Not exactly a straight segment of track). A piece of station theming exists in the from of a talking animated pirate skeleton that is missing his skull. He kept talking about "Show Your Colors!" I hope the blue wristband is the color he is talking about. Eric and I boarded a car TOGETHER (remember this, this ties into a major part further along in this review). After a pause to build up suspense our car lurched forward towards a set of light blue double doors, with no clue as to what lies beyond. What lies beyond is a second set of double doors, then a slight jog to the left before starting up the lifthill. The majority of the DoLT is on the upper level of the building. You go upp the first third of the lift before doing a turnaround and heading up the rest of the way. Keep your eyes peeled about 2/3 of the way up the lift there are two targets mounted above the lifthill on a little gallery. They aren't the easiest to hit but they are there, but don't spend too much time on them or you will be missing out on the much easier targets in the first room at the top of the lift which will come into view and range. Speed is especially important if you are riding with another player as each target can only be hit once per car. You will note that each target has a red light in the corner, only the lit targets score, once either rider nails it, the light goes out and it can't be hit again. When you hit a target, usually it triggers some sort of animation like a traditional shooting gallery. This animation is a triple edged sword. Its fun and amusing to watch, but while you are watching it your opponent may be nailing other targets, or the car may be moving to a harder vantage point or out of range completely. However you do want to watch the animations at least until you figure out which ones are hiding the Captain's Gold Bags. You see some of the targets when hit, will reveal a gold bag. You only have a few seconds to hit a gold bag before it spins back around out fo sight. Scoring is 10 points for each target, and 30 for each gold bag you get.
Anyway, one of the things with the interactive dark rides is its hard to figure out the storyline, if one even exists, because your competetive instincts get fired up and you just start shooting anything that glows red without giving mind to what it is. (I'd love to test this theory by building a dark ride with targets that one would never DARE even joke about shooting in real lift, to see how people would respond) From what I recall Scene 1 is a fish market or other kind of store, you then spin around to the inside of the general store where provisions are hanging about the walls. Here you will see red lights galore and before you can say "Draw!" you car spins around away from them and goes down a hallway that is evidently on deck a pirate ship. Don't Look Up or you will see the cannon look as if it is about to fall and crush your ride vehicle, but do keep your eye on the lit targets. You then go inside the ships cabin (again I'm calling it like I see it I may be way off base here), the bigger room of the cabin is another one with loads of targets but precious little time before you spin out of the way. You then assend a short ramp, note the red light to your left, it will light up a lighthouse when shot, and you will see the Jolly Roger (skull and crossbone flag) straight ahead. After a left hand turn you go through a rolling barrel, shame is that there is no lights on near the barrel so the affect can't be truly apprecitated. Then you go through a saloon scene, and out back past an out house and then you crash through some doors to an outside balcony above the loading station. Don't think for one second that this is a rest period or intermission. By gazing in the window along the left side of the balcony is the treasure room with targets, then as you near the end of the balcony there is a barrel with one target on it, its an easy target but recall only one player can get it per car. You then turn and go back inside through two sets of double doors, and start down a ramp back to the lower level. Be sure to look up going down the ramp as there is another gallery of targets above the ride path. You will bottom out in a sea, more targets around as you round the corner. You last scoring potential is a bunch of moving targets in a darkened room. Godd luck hitting the moving red lights you can barely see. You then exit the ride through the explosion room with no targets, but its a good place to compare scores as the scoreboard shuts off as soon as you hit the unload platform.
We exited the DoLT and proceeded on down the boardwalk. When you reach the skyride platform (with a bar underneath), you can make a job to the right, past one of two mini golf courses, the Gyrosphere, and public (pay) beach area, you can continue on around to a newish area that contains the Big Flush (wet/dry slides) where I confirmed that people will slide no matter how miserable the prevailing weather conditions, further on back is a pair of tower rides, the Frog Hopper and the Double Shot. Double Shot is the compact S&S ride combining the thrills of a Space Shot and a Turbo Drop all into one tiny package less than 100' high. The Double Shot was a walk on and we enjoying our quick double blast. This particualr Double Shot is not as strong as the one in Ocean City, NJ, based on the fact that the Ocean City ride left nice red bruises on our shoulders and this one didn't.
We exited Double Shot and headed for the parks other rollercoasters. Now those of you familar with the layout of IB might be thinking "There really doing things in an unusual order", well we did spend time looking in the shops and just walking around trying to get a few moments of heat between rides. Words can not describe how unseasonably cold it is. While much of IB is situated along the main boardwalk, an annex area exists behind the main boardwalk, to wood coaster people the annex area may be the most important part of the park as it contains the Hooiser Hurricane, Cornball Express, Tigrrr, log flume, train station, kiddieland, and picnic grove. Not an area to sneeze at.
The Tigrrr is located on the rooftop of an eatery, with easy access via a ramp. Tigrrr had a minimal wait, and is a Schwarzkopf Jet Star. This Jet Star operates with no active passenger restraint system. No seatbelts, no lapbars, no anything. Jet Starscontain a lot of right hand turns, and the signs advise you to brace for hard right hand turns. Jet Stars are larger in footprint than other small compact steel coasters, are a bit more fun, and a lot more special because theyre just aren't that many of them left. We has a delightful ride on Tigrrr, walked down the ramp back to the boardwalk level, and then up the Stairway to Coaster Heaven. The way IB fit two full size wood coasters was to simply build them above the rest of the park. Even the loading stations are way up in the air. After climbing nunerous stairs you come to the loading station. On both wood coasters the entrance starirs and exit stairs run right next to each other with only a railing seperating the two halves. Way up top is a simple station, sparesely furnished, no more elaborate than it needs to be. There is a wheelchair lift and airgates, but that is it. We noted the parks policy that wood coasters only run every 15 minutes, unless ridership is such that at most 4 seats go empty. Though the crowds was sparse today, the above average number of coaster enthusiasts in attendance provided enough riders for continuous operation. We held out about 3 to 4 trains to take our first ride in the very back. Each train we waited hoping that enough people would come to fill the next train, not that big a deal as most people exited, crossed the bridge over the tracks, hopped under the rail between entry and exit and rode again. Cornball Expres is kinda Twister, kinda long curved out and back. You start up the lift, which crosses with the lift of Hoosier Hurrican almost in Twisted Sisters fashion, drop off the lift and the impressive airtime lets you know this isn't just any coaster, amongst the many hills, it intertwines with the lifthill structure and the HH as well as completed an evil helix. That last hill really delivers the goods. A great airtime laden ride, one that literally had us "Wow"ing at the end. Cornball Express is not a family coaster no matter what anyone tries to tell you, it lives up to the CCI nameplate of giving a wildly good ride.
We exited down the long stairway and decided that to warm up from our coaster rides, we would walk through Frankenstein's Castle. Frankenstien's Castle is the parks walk-through, and in addition was recently refurbished by Sally with new animations and possibly new stunts as well. (Are you noticing a trend with the parks dark attractions being refurbished in recent years, including this year for LoCoSuMo?) Indiana Beach as a whole looks very well maintained and clean, an atmosphere common with smaller fanily run parks. Frankenstein does not allow any free-loaders into his castle, he isn't impressed with what sort of fancy Tyvek Jewlery or hand markings you may have either. POP ridepasses are not honored at Frankenstein's Castle and in many cases this is a good thing. It limits attendance, and I'm sure helps to cut down on the quotient of 'bad guests' touring it. By 'bad guests' I mean those that would rather vandalize, deface, or otherwise damage and ruin this excellent attraction. The self-guided your of the castle will run you $3, and it is well worth it. You will be issued a ticket which will be collected as you enter the lobby of the castle. You wait in the lobby for the next elevator, an elevator which will supposedly take you up to see the castle turret. As a group you board the elevator, and the doors are closed and the elevator starts going 'up', of course its the infamous elevator illusion but bare with me. You are greeted by Frank who remarks that you would much rather see his dungeon, the elevator reverses direction and starts going down. You then hear some rats, the ride gets bumpier, and he Frank remarks not to worry the cables have only broken three times this week. The elevator then crashes and you are let out via a different door into the dungeon. This is where we made a concerted effort to be the last group out of the elevator car. we followed the hallway to the first animated scene and hung behind allowing space to develop between the rest of the guests and us. Forget the 'safety in numbers' thing, we want to get a bit scared. Frankenstein is full of classic fun house elements, and haunted house scenes. The vague signage outside indicated "No Horror Scenes" which isn't quite the right phrasing, there are dioramas and animations based on horror themes, however there is NO blood, guts and gore used in the attraction. The basic layout of the castle is a dark twisty series of passageways with spooky drawings in day-glo paint along the walls, punctuated by animations, fun house stunts, dioramas or, pop-out stunts, or a combination of the above. No live actors will touch you while progressing through the attraction, as there are no live actors. In addition between each 'feature' there seems to be a door compartmentalizing the attraction into a series of rooms, and isolating each effect by itself. The unusally high number of doors may exist for a number of reasons. They could prevent backtracking through the castle, or they may help to hide the suspense of what is to come from the people behind you, or door to hold a sertain anxiety spell. It's just not comfortable to open a door into a darkened room and to march right in not knowing WHAT may be just around the corner.
Some of the stunts included in Frankenstein's castle is a cage where with clever use of mirrors it looks like YOU are in the cage, a tilted room that you must traverse laterally three times with disorienting patterns on the wall, Frank's lab, (spend some time here), an electrocution scene, a Hall of Doors. You will know you are in the Hall of Doors when you come upon a tiny oval shaped room with numerous doors along the edges. In fact the whole outside wall just seems to be one continuous circle of doors with no breaks. When you enter this room, stop, wait for the door you entered through to close, close your eyes, and turn around a few times, just enough to totally disorient you. While I was lucky enough to guess the correct door on the first try, failure to do so could lead to humorus or frustrating results. A certain contact did an extensive reserch on this and discovered that the room contains 7 doors. Of these one if the one you entered through, and two of them lead to a path that merges together to continue on through the attraction. That leaves 4 doors that lead elsewhere in the attraction . (Insert evil laugh here) Further, more extensive research revealed that two of the doors lead to a false pathway that just returns the person to the other door, one of them leads into a dead end path, of there is a turn first but it will eventually dead end on you, the last door is a bit more mercifull and merely reveals a brick wall. Good luck to you!
Other stunts include a rocking room, with a sign warning you to STOP! and "Don't Look Down!" (Knowing that cursiosty will get you and you will look down and think you are rocking bath and forth), there is a balcony overlooking the midway. This innocent little resting point allows your eyes to readjust to outside light, so that they will need time to readjust to the darkness again. Then there is the Rat Hall where a recording advises you to not step on the rats, while 'ankle grabbers' are swatting at your ankles. (in pitch darkness of course), another hallway just gets thinner, and thinner, and thinner, and thinner, in the dark, so that by the end you are squuezing between two walls, one of which feels like a mesh grill and you just KNOW something is going to pop out at you but mercifully nothing does, but the power of suggestion assaults you there. Be sure to take a close look at the ghost band. Especially the one holding a microphone inone hand, up to the mouth of his head, which he is holding in his other hand. Take a good long look, go out on the ledge and take a REAL close look. An effect is triggered when you step out on the ledge, but that's all I'm gonna say about that stunt. These stunts and more await the visitor to Frankenstien's castle, there are chicken exits, but no self respecting amusement park enthusiast would be caught dead bailing out the chicken door, would they? If you are really worried, when you start climbing down the spiral stairs out of the castle turret, you are done, the stairs spiral back down to the midway and you come out right next to the ticket booth.
Wow, can you tell I was very impressed with the walk-through? From Frankenstein's Castle we made our way to the Hooiser Hurricane, wen approaching the Hoosier Hurricane, especially in chilly weahter, be REAL careful you use the correct stairway, failure to use the correct stairway up to the coaster could result in you winding up in a station where an attendant will help you into a log. It's a short simple log flume, but its not wise in chilly weather. Using the correct stairway we climbed WAY up to the Hooiser Hurricane, then up over the bridge accross the tracks to the loading side. We didn't go for the very back, but very close to the back. I forgot to mention above that both of IB's woodies use the traditional style double bar. Yes, even the 2001 Cornball Express feautres the double bar. Hoosier Hurricane is a pure out and back,albeit ine built over rides and water, and with the wierd S-turn at the top of the lift. The HH is really the family coaster of IB, and on this date feautred glimpses of CCI workers attending to LoCoSuMo. Not much air, not much laterals, just family coaster fun. We rode HH, then climbed back down to the midway. At about this time we decided to do something a bit more aggressive about this chilly weather thing. It involved a trip to Wal*Mart for warmer clothing. We caught another glimpse of the LocoSuMo car (which was being used for photo opportunites at the time, I guess if you can't ride it, you can sit in the car.....) and headed out the unattendedexit gate, being sure to stop by the ticket window that advertised "Pass Out Stamps". We were infomred that a ridepass is good for readmission to the grounds.
We left the park, returned with more suitable attire, and this time decided to park in the South Lot. The South lot (FREE), is really the way to enter IB. At least its visually more striking. You pull into this lot on the side of the road, unable to see a park anywhere, a lone pathway leads down a hill into the woods past an abandoned ticket plaza and front gate (the exit hi-security turnstile still remains), down the path into the woods, and you come out onto a suspension bridge, as you look accross the bridge, the boarkwalk and its rollercoasters just pops up in fromt of your eyes as if by magic. You hurry accross the bridge where you find a 'tollbooth' that has replaced the front gate you saw earlier. We showed our ridepasses to the toll collector and headed down the ramp into the park. You enter through HH's turnaround, and situated in the turnaround is the parks other mini golf course,just off the bridge is the skyride platform, and on top of the train station is the giant wheel. We got to the bottom of the ramp, then decided we wanted to ride the Skyride, back up the ramp where the toll booth attendant was coming in off duty "Short visit, guys!" We boarded the Skyride, where they actually stopped the ride as we passed through the gate instead of just having us wait for the next chair. Seated, the lapbars folded down from the sides, we left the Skyride platform and the videocameras came out. What an awesome videotaping vantage point. You travel above the rollercoasters, above LoCoSuMo, above the boardwalk, and the Skyride goes all the way from one end of the park to the other. It was a wonderful skyride until about 2/3 of the way accross when the RAIN started. Ah, wat next we just took care of the cold so now its going to start raining. ARGGHHH. The skyride takes a bit longer in that they stop the ride to let people on and off. We eventually hit the other platform and the sign says "Please exit the Skyway quickly" No need to worry about that, as soon as we were over the wood deck the lapbars came up, as soon as we reached the line, we were down out of the chair and heading down the ramp for some shelter.
We headed to the Den of Lost Thieves in order to stay dry and ride some more. We againboarded the SAME car, even sat on the same sides of the car. The car lurched forth into the building, the car accended the first part of the lift hill, the car went up the secondhalf of the lifthill, and we nailed the targets above the lifthill, the car was just about to crest the lift when it stopped. We easliy took out all the targets in the first room while the car was stopped. Then we started smelling something burning, then we saw another car headed up the lifthill behind us, but it stopped about right under the target gallery. All confusing noises stopped, the scoreboard for the guns turned off, the animations stopped, and the service lights came on. We noted the group in the car behind us get OUT of their car and walk down the lift. (The cars have no restraints) This was without the assistance of a park representative. You know a public address system here would do a world of good. We waited, reaming seated in our car, until a ride host came in through a service door. The two ridehosts took one look at us, and were like "You too have GOT ri ride seperate". We must have overheated the cars tiny little motor. We were helped out of the car, then one attendant walked with us while the other looked further up into the ride. Wepassed through the blue serivce door in scene 1, which does NOT lead immediately to safety. This is a lesson in why you should wait to be escorted out. The door opens out onto the drop that occurs much later in the ride, we were then escorted out through the ride via the normal ride course. It was such great fun to be walked out of the dark ride, though I did not think it appropraite to start vidoetaping, especially since I was more concerned with really low ceilings and low flying stunts, tight walls, irregular flooring , fragile stunts along the sides of the course, and not stepping on the trackrail itself. With a trusty flashlight we were escorted off the ride with a feeling that being walked off was even more fun than the ride. Whats more is they walked us around to the loading area and reseated us in, ahem, seperate cars. I was the first car out afterit reopened, and got to ride through the first half of the ride, (till the balcony) with the work lights on, that's how I know its a rolling barrel, muchmore effective when you can see it turning . We exited and headed for Double Shot.
The Double Shot was a walk on again, and still a very good ride in a tiny package. We left the Double Shot and started hitting the flat rides. One fateful ride we took was on Chance Chaos. It took a cycle or two, mainly due to only a few tubs being open. We were admitted to the ride, and we knew better than to try to sit in one tub. For starters a Chaos tub isn't that comfortable, even if riding solo, two and this pertains mainly to me takes up a bit more than my fair share of tub room, thridly we had had the incident on DoLT hot on our minds, and lastly legend has it that a Chaos will not operate with more than 350lbs in a single tub. Eric took a seat in a tub, and I went looking for another one, unfortuantely all the other open tubs were claimed, the operator as I suspected led me to Eric's tub. Despite protestations based on weight issues, including as he was locking down the big outer bar "So much for the weight limit, huh?" But hey, we are willing to follow directions just to see what does happen if you put more than 350 lbs in a Chaos car. By our guesstimation we had close to 500lbs in that Chaos car. The ride was started, the ride spun, the main boom arm went up, the tubs stopped spinning, the main boom arm came back down VERY slowly. The ride operator came to our tub, released our bars manually and then he escorted me to another tub while muttering about a sensor, opened it up and put me in it. The bars were rechecked, and the ride started spinning, the boom arm went up, the ride remaining spinning and performed its cycle as it should. I stifled the deisre to go "I TOLD YOU SO!" to the ride operator. Besides I was having one of the best Chaos rides ever. No less than 4 flips, some hangtime (when the car flips upside down and stays there for a few seconds), and even one of those forwards/backwards combination flips. We exited the Chaos and headed to the Antique Cars. IB's Antique Car ride is noteworthy in that it interacts very well with Hoosier Hurricane and the back of LoCoSuMo. In other words it was a must ride for a coaster enthusiast. Not only that it had a fairly interesting layout. We also saw the shooting gallery next to Frankenstein. Its one of those 15 shots for 50 cent galleries, with a catch, score unlucky "13" for a free game. I don't know if they meant 13 or above or exactly 13, but it would seem that the skilfull player could play indefinitely. By this time the rain was getting harder so we ducked into the Fascination Parlor.
Fascination is an old competition game, siilar to bingo get 5 lights in a row on a 5x5 grid. To light the lights you roll balls down to a 5x5 grid of holes, the game lights up the space corresponding to the hole your ball went into. Continue rolling until one player gets bingo. Lucky Fascination players start collections a kind of foreign currency, Fascination Tickets that some day will be worth a valuable prize. More often or not they buy carnival slum or go into a cigar box never to be seen again, just waiting for enough tickets to buy the super cool prize. We sat down at tables and realized that the price of a game has gone from a quarter to fifty cents. We proceeded to play a healthy number of games. I am glad to report that I have not losy and of my Fascination skills, winning 8 of the 14 games I played. This is with tables that do NOT have a bumper to prevent you wasting a shot down the center hole, which is given to you free. Quote heard playing "Just pick a hole! I don't care which hole you fall into! JUST PICK ONE! NOOOOO NOT THAT ONE FOR THE FOURTH TIME!"
We played a while, I have the feeling my gameplay was being more closely observed, and we noticed a computerized console with a readout monitor that reports the winning machine. Clearly someone has done some modernization to this setup. When we finally got up, we were chatting with the attendant who commented that "You only have about a half hour left till the BIG STORMS get here" Groan.
Not wanting to waste time we went and took some rides on Hoosier Hurricane, here I must note another safety concern. A no--crowd shortcut gate would do wonders to enhance safety concernd by riders trying to jump a railing, on a metal bridgeway, three stories above the ground, with narrow paths on each side of the railing. I just see something happening someday. Our last HH was in a mild rain. We noted the wierd transfer table, instead of being straight in line with the station, as seen on other CCI's, this one the train stops outside on an uncovered brake run, then makes a left into the far side of the station where the transfer track is, then goes out the other side of the station, does a turnaround and back into the station to theload/unload area. There is a little wierdness in everything. I must note that after one ride the train stopped and a rider got out of the train started down the exit ramp, this would not be unusual except that the lapbars had not been released yet, I will let you draw your own conclusions.
With rain once again, we took refuge in DoLT this time, riding continuously for quite some time, we even got caught in a second evac situation though we were farther along in the ride so it wasn't our fault. I was talking about tight walls and narrow clearances and irregular floors. My car stopped at a point in the ride that my easiest evac was to stand up on the seat and climb over the back on the car. What you DON'T see in the dark would hurt you if you tryed to leave a dark ride car midride. Just a safety tip for fellow readers.
A clearing, just enough time to make it back to Kiddieland before another wave of rain, we take a round trip on the train ride (Travels from kiddieland to the bridge and back) More good views of the coasters and LoCoSuMo. After the train we took some rides on Cornball Express. I must saw that this ride performs no matter if you sit in the front seat or the back seat. Our last ride was in the front seat, and just as we left the station a big rain wave hit. The Cornball Express is fun, but its NOT that fun when getting pelted with rain drops. We returned to the station, the lapbars weren't opened at first, and we thought "DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT SENDING US ON A DOUBLE RIDE" We exited Cornball made our way back down to the midway and decided that things had gotten a bit too miserable in the weather department to be enjoyed.
It was time to hit the Skyroom. But alas the Skyroom doesn't open for another 45 minutes for dinner. DoLT marathon #2 anybody? We then renetered the Skyroom and had a marvelous gourmet dinner. Despite the appearance and atmosphere of the park, do not underestimate the culinary skill of the Skyroom. It is one of the finest meals you will ever eat at an amusement park. (Entrees are $12-$20) (Salmon Crowns for me), and Skyroom guests get a voucher for free preffered parking and grounds admission on their next visti to IB. In fact Skyroom kinda reminds me of the old international Restaurant *snff* at PKI overlooking the midway much like the Skyroom does. Speaking of overlooking the midway, by 6:30 we coulnd't see a soul walking the boardwalk. When we left their were basically two contingents of riders in the rain, DoLT and the Dodgems. We made the long, cold wet walk back to the south gate, and called an end to our IB day, besides our wristbands had expired anyway.
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