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Wonderland Park (Amarillo, TX)

07/31/15 at 09:00am in Wonderland Park (Amarillo, TX)
Post: #1
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I was in Amarillo, TX last week for work and discovered that it is a deeply odd place.  For example a local millionaire artist created "Cadillac Ranch," which is essentially a variety of Cadillacs buried nose down in the ground.  People tag the cars and leave the empty cans of spray-paint.  It is one of the more unusual attractions I have visited.

   

Anyway, a friend and I decided to spend an evening at the local amusement park, Wonderland Park.  It was small, but fantastic.

   

I am told that the Microsoft roller coaster icon is actually based on Wonderland's Texas Tornado.  Regardless, like many things in the area, it was surreal but fun.  You can see their rides on their website, so I wanted to highlight a few that made a specific impression on me.

By far one of the most disturbing experiences of our visit was riding the carousel.  You could tell that it had been very pretty at one time, and honestly, if it were painted and patched it would be a lovely, old classic.  My friend and I got on and the horses went about halfway around, when the ride suddenly stopped and started to drift backwards.  We then saw the ride op walking over to the ladies room.  Naturally, we weren't entirely sure what to do, and some people dismounted and went in search of other attractions.  Just as suddenly the ride started up again, but the operator had not yet returned from the bathroom.  As we came around to the front, we saw a different person, who was not wearing a uniform (maybe her friend?), running the carousel.  Our ride op did not make it back, before we disembarked in fact.

The Cyclone, a rare mouse-type coaster, was another "interesting" experience.  There were only three cars, which is good, since they only seemed to allow two on the track at once.  I am told that there are no blocks, and the operator manually brakes the coaster.  The cars, themselves, made this kiddie coaster them most painful experience of the evening.  Imagine the front half of a flume log without the footrests.  Now imagine some old leather padding in the sides of the car.  That was what we rode in.  No restraints at all and no way to brace ourselves.  So, naturally, I was thrown up against the sides on all of the hairpin turns.

The Texas Intimidator was our first ride of our visit, and perhaps we should have waited a bit longer after dinner to try it out.  I will say that it proved conclusively that I have an iron stomach.  It felt as if we were being twisted in several directions at once, and like all of the flats at Wonderland, it lasted a very long time.  I really don't have any coherent way to describe this device, so I will just quote the park's website:

Quote:The Intimidator was purchased from Moser Entertainment of Ostiglia, Italy.

The ride was originally named the Flipping Action Arm by the manufacturer, yet Wonderland held a “Name the Ride” contest, with the “Texas Intimidator” being the winning name.

It contains 3 4-seated flipping arms totaling 12 seats and 2 rotation motions (rotates and seats pivot at the same time.) The highest point the Intimidator reaches is 13m and 39ft.

Of the four coasters, there were two that we really enjoyed: Texas Tornado and Mousetrap (strangely still referred to by the park as "The Big Coaster," despite being renamed in 2012).  They were both fun rides with some airtime and a few cool sections each.  The Mousetrap has one bizarre element, however: the ride ops had to push it out of the station, until it reached a small downward slope, which allowed it to roll over to the chain lift.  Once it got going, however, it felt quick and had some great drops and turns. The Texas Tornado had two loops and a great drop at the beginning. I was intrigued, however, by the PTC cars and floppy restraints. Thank goodness I understand physics... I am told that many steel coasters have PTC trains, but it was a complete first for me.

The Skyride is exactly like a ski lift.  In fact they do not stop the chairs at all, so you have to load and unload the same way you do on the slopes.  It turns out that skiing off a chair lift is a bit easier than jumping off and running in front of it.  Regardless, it provided a great view of the front of the park, and was totally worth it.

   

   

The last attraction that I really need to comment on is their classic dark ride, the Fantastic Journey.  It was like a combination fun house and haunted maze, viewed from a two-person car.  It was completely dark inside and they made sure to keep the cars completely separated from each other, so that my friend and I were both "alone" inside the event building.  There were glow in the dark paints, animatronics, strobes lights, and creepy sounds.  In short, it was a lot of fun.

While I'm not sure that anyone should go out of his or her way to visit Wonderland, if you are in the area, I highly recommend taking an evening and experiencing this old-school amusement park.

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
Thanks given by:  Joe, Matthew, Zachary, Connor, MAZ, UncleDuncan, Hawth, Jesy
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08/01/15 at 11:07pm in Wonderland Park (Amarillo, TX)
Post: #2
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Looks like a fun little park.

Here are a few videos I found:

Big Coaster/Mousetrap


YouTube Link


Texas Tornado


YouTube Link


Cyclone


YouTube Link


Fantastic Journey


YouTube Link


Video of the park


YouTube Link


I would have enjoyed the last video above a lot more if he had used the sounds of the park instead of the annoying music.

H.R. Pufnstuff, Who's your friend when things get rough?
Thanks given by:  Nicole, Zachary, Joe
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08/02/15 at 04:27pm in Wonderland Park (Amarillo, TX)
Post: #3
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I had read online that this was the only steel coaster to ever have PTC trains. IDK how true that is, I would love to see which other coasters do too.

Waking up fresh every mornin'; Openin' up for you; Waitin' for your laughter; With so much new to do! Busch—Gardens! Busch—Gardens! Come to Busch Gardens and come to life! Come to Busch Gardens and come—to life!
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Thanks given by:  Nicole
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04/28/16 at 01:09pm in Wonderland Park (Amarillo, TX) (Latest Edit: 04/28/16 at 01:11pm by Nicole.)
Post: #4
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So, as cute as Wonderland was, I can't say I'm entirely surprised.

"Delbert Latham and his 6-year-old son Kayson were on a roller coaster at Wonderland, an Amarillo, Texas amusement park, when Kayson's seat belt came undone mid-ride."

The ride op attitude seems similar to my bizarre experience on the carousel.

"'What makes it worse is when I told the guy at the end of the ride he stated that he knew that had happened sometimes!!' he wrote in a Facebook post."

On the other hand: rare coaster credits at an old school amusement park.  Also: gnomes.

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
Thanks given by:  UncleDuncan, MAZ
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04/28/16 at 01:15pm in Wonderland Park (Amarillo, TX)
Post: #5
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It seems scary to me in all the right ways.

Puts the Reggae in your Jeggae!
Thanks given by:  Nicole
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