July 26, 2009
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I went to Wonderland with a co-worker, Hilary, to get in the few rides I didn't get to ride in April. A new section called the West End opened in June with three rides: Hornet, Fiesta Swing and Drop of Fear. I didn't get a wristband this time. I got 10 tickets for $15. Hilary hung out just to take pictures. And eat a funnel cake. She had to have that.
I started off on Texas Tornado. It cost me two tickets. The train left before I got in the station, so I had to wait. The station is odd because there are a couple of extra rows of queues. I wonder if that means there were one or two more cars on the train. The train came into the station, everyone got out, and I got in. The gates are controlled much like Twister II's at Elitch Gardens. They're manual, and the ride host pulls a lever to open and close them. I got in the back seat. I buckled my seat belt and pulled my restraint down. Texas Tornado's train is a PTC, and I believe it's the only steel train PTC has made.
Texas Tornado is a Hopkins ride. It's poorly designed, which is to be expected of a Hopkins ride. But it's not too bad. There are some bumps and bad spots, but it doesn't crash around like Desert Storm at Castles n Coasters. The bottom of the first drop has high G-forces and really slams down. But the two loops aren't awful like Desert Storm's. Immediately after the first drop, the track turns slightly left but doesn't bank. It's not too bad. The turnaround has high G's, and the pullout of the second loop is pretty bad. After that second loop, it immediately enters an underground tunnel. In that tunnel, there's a quick, unbanked turn to the right. Then it rises into a section before the brakes. Another unbanked turn! Then the brakes. It's better than Desert Storm, but it's still not too great. It's also upsetting that you can't get a wristband to ride. It costs two tickets ($3) a ride. Though the ride host didn't take my tickets to ride! Ha. He just let me get on. That was cool. 5/10.
We went to the West End next to ride the new rides. We started on Hornet, a coaster that moved here from Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston, which closed in 2005. Hornet used to be an indoor ride. It was all right. I got in the last car, and Hilary got in the next to last car. The train's pretty long. This ride's pretty fun. It's tame. For most of the ride, I was wondering if we'd ever make a left turn because it's just right, right, right. But a turn toward the end goes left (the only left turn on the coaster) before a right turn and the end. It's got magnetic brakes, which I thought was cool. It's good that more rides are getting these. One thing that's unusual is the ride doesn't have an exit ramp. Everyone has to move to the side to let the riders exit. 4/10.
Then we went to Drop of Fear. Hilary stood by, and I dropped two tickets to ride. It was pretty fun. I was the only one on the ride, and it was over pretty quick. The drop is fast, and there's not too much airtime, but that's OK for a 150-foot-tall drop tower. 6/10.
Next I went to Fiesta Swing and rode that. It's a typical Yo-Yo. Some kid kept kicking his shoes off while we were riding. 4/10.
One thing that's odd about the West End is that it doesn't seem ready. It's a small expansion to the park, and there's an open area with stuff just sitting around. I could just walk up to all that junk.
We left the West End and went to Fantastic Journey, the dark ride. The vehicles have no restraints, which I thought was unusual. There's also a pretty funny sign warning people not to ride if they're offended by darkness. It's a decent, cheesy ride. It begins with lots of blacklight-lit doors the vehicle bangs open. It's got a few scenes of people getting tortured or something. One part startled me. You enter a black room after a spinning wall (those confuse my brain so much), and a man in an electric chair is shocked out of nowhere. It's loud and unexpected. 3/10.
Then we went to Scrambler. It ran for a decent amount of time. I thought it was fun.
I had two tickets left, and I wanted to ride another coaster, so I went to Cyclone. I really like these rides. I think they're fun and intense, and the turns are pretty crazy.
I used my last ticket on Rainbow. As the ride host was putting the restraints down on the ride before mine, he also was playing with his cell phone. Great. This ride was surprisingly good. The first rotations were OK, but when it reversed direction, it was wild. Airtime and wild side-to-side movements. I liked it. A girl sitting in the seat next to me unbuckled her seat belt, so when the ride went into the second half of the program, she slid all over the place. That seemed a bit crazy. The seat belt was keeping me from sliding into each side of my seat. I liked that it was there. There also was some weird art on the backdrop. 7/10.
Because my tickets were used up, I went back to Texas Tornado and took a few pictures of it. It was a quick trip, which really seems to be the only way to do Wonderland. It's a decent sized park for the size of Amarillo. It's pretty fun too. I'm glad I got to go this time and ride what I missed last time.
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