Aug. 8, 2010

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   I drove from Amarillo to Lubbock and went to the small, family-run Joyland. I paid for a wristband and went to the coasters first. There are two coasters at Joyland I can ride; the other coaster is a kiddie coaster. I went to Mad Mouse first. It's a classic wild mouse coaster. I sat down and waited to go, but the ride operator said, "Seat belt." I hadn't noticed the retractable seat belt hiding from me. I strapped in, and the car climbed the lift. Like any wild mouse, it's got tight turns, but it also has a couple of spots where there's some banking. It's a fun ride, and the only brakes that kick in are at the end. There's a slight pop of air in the last drop before the brakes. 6/10.

    I went to the park's other coaster, Galaxi. I've been on a few of these before, so this wasn't anything new. Lots of helices, some fun drops, odd banking. I rode in the back seat. Overall, it's a fun ride for a little park like this. 5/10.

    This park also has two rides I've wanted to ride for a long time. I wouldn't dare miss Roll-O-Plane. I climbed in my seat, and the ride started. What a crazy sensation. The car turns sideways on the way up, and you're upright at the top. Then it dives down and twists again so you're upright at the bottom. Then it gets really crazy. The arm tilts 45 degrees, and now you're tossed from side to side as it spins around. I thought this was tons of fun. 8/10.

    Then I went to the train, simply named Train.  I went to the very back and enjoyed the ride. It does a loop around the back of the park and travels back on half of the same rails it came in on. It's a nice way to relax, and there's a good view of Mad Mouse while looping back. 4/10.

    I went to Dare Devil Drop next. This 140-foot-high drop tower is pretty cool. It's built on a part of the park that's on a little hill, so some views make it seem like you're higher up. It's fun. There's no hesitation to drop. Once it hits the drop, it just falls. There's a good amount of free fall before the brakes strongly kick in. 7/10.

    Then I went to the other side of the park and rode Skyride. There's a sign at the entrance warning you not to spit. It was a nice way to kick back and get some views of the surrounding amusement park and state park. After that, I got a drink of water from a lion's mouth. It was in the low to mid-90s that day, so I wanted to stay hydrated. The park also has misters and sprayers around to keep people cool.

    I rode Galaxi again in the back seat. I like it. I also rode Mad Mouse again.

    I wanted some ice water, so I stopped at a food booth. This park charges for ice water! I paid 85 cents, and the water wasn't that good.

    Then I rode Bench: The Ride.

    I went over to Rock-O-Plane, and the ride operator demonstrated how the braking mechanism works as I was loaded. There's a hand brake in the seat that allows riders to lock their position. If you don't brake, it operates like a Ferris wheel. If you do, you can get it to stop in some crazy spots. I held the brake for a few laps and tilted upside-down at the top. I locked it so I faced down while head down, and I rocked up on the way around again. This was a really fun ride. I'm glad I rode it. 9/10.

    I walked over to Paratrooper, but there are water sprayers at the bottom, and I didn't really want to get sprayed every time I passed the ground. That and the ride operator was playing with his cell phone while it was in motion.

    I headed toward the other side of the park but had to stop at Musik Express. I didn't ride, but I took a video of one of the funniest things I've seen at a park. The ride operator didn't think the riders were enthusiastic enough about their ride, so he put it in a slow mode and played Barry Manilow's "Mandy." They got noisy shortly after a few laps of that.

    I went to the carousel next. Then I rode Dive Devil Drop again. The operator of Dive Devil Drop talked to me about coasters and amusement parks for a while. He was interested in ACE. He asked if I was an ACE member, and I told him I was and how much it costs. He was an older gentleman, and he was pretty cool.

    Joyland, like Wonderland in Amarillo, is a small park but fits in with the relatively small city. It's got an OK selection of rides. It's too bad Greezed Lightnin' wasn't built, because this park needs something like that. I hope this park will expand and build a looping coaster or a decent woodie. For now, it really lacks on the coaster side. It's just like a permanent carnival. Also, paying for water isn't cool. But I had a fun time. 4/10.

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