Wonderland Amusement Park

April 19, 2009

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   I moved to Amarillo, Texas, in October, just after Wonderland closed for the 2008 season. So I had to wait to visit a park and ride coasters. But soon April came, and the park opened.

   I went with a co-worker to the park, which opened at 1. We paid $17.95 for a wristband and stamp, which lets you ride everything except the big coaster, Texas Tornado; the dark ride, Fantastic Journey; and play miniature golf. It was pretty windy, as is the norm in Amarillo, and Texas Tornado didn't open. But we were there and determined to have fun. We started on Cyclone, a Miler wild mouse that is one of only four left in the world. It was my third Miler mouse, the other two being at Adventure City and Lakeside. My friend rode in the car before me, and I hopped in the next car. I enjoy these. I was a little weirded out because they run multiple cars, but there are no block brakes. But it seems to be working.

   Then we went to Big Coaster, the Pinfari. There were two trains, and we waited about one train to get on. We ended up in the back car. There's a seat belt with a plastic clip and a lap bar. The ride operators have to push the train out of the station, where it turns to the right and engages the lift. Big Coaster was pretty fun. The first drop is good, and there's a pop of airtime. The helices are big, and the ride picks up some good speed after the second helix. But then the ride operator in the station pulls a lever that engages the brakes after the helix, and the ride slows to a crawl. It goes over a small bunny hop, hits some more brakes then turns to the right and hits the final brakes. And here's where it gets weird. To get back to the station, there's a chain that slowly brings the train in.

   Next was Himalaya. We waited one cycle, which seemed to take forever, so I decided to time it when we got on. The ride lasted about 4 1/2 minutes, and it was forward the whole way. We started getting bored after the first minute. Toward the end, a truck horn blasts a few times, and we happened to be in the tunnel. It was pretty loud in there and caught us off guard.

   We went to Sky Ride next, which is a ski-lift-style ride. It makes a loop over the midway toward the entrance, and you get off where you get on. We guessed as to how long this ride would take. I said five minutes, and she said eight. It's floorless, and we kicked a bush as it lifted to its maximum height. There are good views of the park from above. Twenty minutes later, we were back in the station. Yes, 20. Incredible.

   We hopped on over to Texas Intimidator. We waited one cycle to get on. It was a pretty fun ride, but the constant change of direction messed both of us up for a little bit. I could feel my stomach moving around, which is a gross feeling. So after that we decided to kick back a little.

   So we went to a little monorail-type ride called Sky Rider. Not to be confused with Sky Ride. It's relaxing and just takes a track around a little corner of the park.

   After that, we went to Wonder Wheel, the park's Ferris wheel. It offers pretty good views of the park, and you can see downtown. They stopped us at the top for a little bit, and then it circled around a couple of times and ended.

   Then I saw an Intamin wooden coaster! Oh, wait. That's just the name. We went to Bumper Cars next. They run them for a good length of time, and if you don't hit anyone, you can get some good speed. I bumped into some people and got some good hits.

   Next, we went to the train, which has the best name in the world: Train. It's a little thing that circles around part of the park. It goes behind Cyclone and stops before the midway so people can get on or off. We stayed on for the full circuit. It was pretty neat, and the operator was a cool old gentleman. He seemed like he really enjoyed his job.

   We went to the merry-go-round after that. We were the only two people on it, and it only circled around two or three times. She rode a sea creature, and I rode a horse. After that, we stopped and looked at a big park map. It's got some odd labels on it. My favorite was the clock. We decided to ride a couple other rides and finish our day on some water rides.

   But first, Bench: The Ride. And we also saw the clock.

   We went to the Tilt-A-Whirl next, and we didn't get any full rotations. It was pretty lame. We tried scooting around and rocking the car, but we didn't rotate at all.

   Up next was Jet Racer, an odd water ride that blasts water to shoot you forward on a raft for a few feet. Only one side was working, so there wasn't any racing going on. It was fun, and I only got a tiny bit wet.

   Then we went to a water slide called Pipeline Plunge. It's got two enclosed slides that you hop on a raft to ride. I took the right side, and she took the left. We started about the same time. My butt got a little wet, and there was a little splash about halfway through the ride. But then it got insane. About three-fourths of the way through the ride, there was a ton of water being splashed in from above. It slammed into me and got me completely soaked. I imagine my friend would have been the same, but she got out relatively dry. I was soaking. Since I was totally wet, now was the time to get the other water rides out of the way and go home.

   We went to the log flume, Big Splash. It starts off with a couple of turns before the lift hill. The water's clear at the bottom, but the water at the top before the drop is brown. Dark, ugly brown. The drop is fun, and you don't get too wet on it.

   We walked by Spitter's Corner on our way to Rattlesnake River Raft Ride. It's a simple raft ride, but we didn't get wet on it. There appears to be one spot for a waterfall, but it wasn't on. There's also a rattlesnake with a hat on just chilling. There were a couple of splashes, but our feet got wet. That didn't matter for me, though, because I was already soaked!

   To finish up the day, we went to Shoot the Chute. We saved this for last because we knew we'd get pretty wet on it. We were the only people there, and we hopped right in the boat. We got in the third row and pulled down the lap bar. There's no water on the top, and the boat just coasts to the drop. But the drop has a huge splash, and we got soaked. My clothes were several pounds heavier, and my glasses were covered in little spots of water. It was time to call it a day.

    Wonderland is a pretty fun park. It's got three rides that are opening in June, so I'm planning on visiting then. One is a 200-foot-fall drop ride, and two are from Six Flags AstroWorld. One is a swing ride, and the other is a coaster. This is a good park to visit a couple of times a year. I hope to go back for the new rides and get a ride or two on the looping coaster, Texas Tornado.

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