Wonderland Amusement Park

July 17, 2011

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    It's July. I had yet to be on a coaster in 2011. A college friend, Meghan, was visiting me. It was time to go to Amarillo's own Wonderland. I like Wonderland. I'd been three times before, and it's a really good park for a city the size of Amarillo. It's got a decent collection of rides, and the park's got character, thanks to the family that runs it.

    On Sunday in the summers, there's a deal at the park to get a ride pass for $10 from 7 to 10 p.m. It's normally about $17 or $24, depending on the day of the visit. We didn't want to go when it was 100 degrees, and we figured three hours was enough time to spend there, so the $10 pass was perfect. We paid, got our hands stamped and entered the park, which was a little crowded.

    My first coaster of 2011 was Cyclone. I love this ride. It's got good turns, good drops and it's simply nothing but fun from beginning to end. I've been on three of these (here, Adventure City and Lakeside) and want to make it to the fourth, at Funtown Pier, eventually. Meghan enjoyed her ride.

    Next we went to the Pinfari Zyklon, which apparently has a lot of names. There are signs around the station saying it's called Mouse Trap, but the sign at the entrance calls it Zyklon. The map calls it something like "Red & White Mousetrap Coaster," so I have no idea. I'll just go with the model name, Zyklon. Zyklon got a paint job this year. It's still red with white supports, but now it's all new, and it looks great! It also got magnetic brakes.

    Meghan and I couldn't buckle the single seat belt, so she sat two rows in front of me. I was in the back. The drops are really good. I got a slight tickle in my stomach down the drops because they're steep and fast and the back yanks you down. The magnetic brakes are a welcome addition. Before, you'd slam into them and abruptly slow down. Now there's just a smooth slow-down, though there are three distinct yanks on the speed because the three cars each have a fin.

    We went to Hornet next. I went to the next-to-last seat and let Meghan sit in the last seat. This coaster's got a lot of right turns and one left turn, which I pointed out to Meghan. It's a fun ride. From that side of the park, she spotted Himalaya and wanted to ride it, so we went there. There was a short wait as the ride cycled, but we got on the next ride even though the line was a little long. I sat on the inside. As we spun around, I let go of the bar and relaxed my legs. It's the best way to squish someone on the outside. I laughed as we spun through a pretty decent ride cycle of about four minutes. Meghan was being crushed the whole time.

    The ride pass is good for most rides, but to ride the big coaster, Texas Tornado, we had to buy two tickets each. It's $1.50 a ticket. Above the ticket booth was the newly named Gnarley the Gnome, Wonderland's mascot. We waited one train to get in the back seat. I enjoy this coaster, and it's got a few spots of really high G-forces. The loops are forceful, and the ground-hugging turnaround packs a punch. The tunnel after the second loop is really loud and pretty dark.

    We walked back to the West End and rode Fiesta Swing. It's a fun swing, and that's really it. It was a relaxing ride as the sun set. Meghan wanted to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl, so we went there next. There was a decent line, but we didn't wait more than a couple of minutes. We got some really good spins in both directions. We rode Zyklon again as the sun set.

    Then we went to Sky Ride, which is a super-relaxing ride. It's a chair lift that travels high over the park to the parking lot and turns around. It's about 10 minutes long. I wanted to ride Cyclone again because I enjoy it so much, so we did that. Before we got on, the ride operator stopped the ride because someone lost a pair of glasses in the final helix. We waited for him to walk over there and get them. That took a few minutes, but we were on pretty shortly after that was figured out.

    It was almost 10. Meghan wanted to play a midway game, so she went to the game where you shoot BB's at a piece of paper with a star in it. She didn't win. I rode Bench: The Ride, and we called it a night. Wonderland's a fun park, and I've enjoyed every visit I've made. It's also nice to see little improvements like magnetic brakes on Zyklon. Meghan and I had a good time.

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