Belmont Park



Theme Park:Belmont Park (since 1925)
Address:3146 Mission Blvd
92109 San Diego
https://www.belmontpark.com/
Operated by:San Diego Coaster Co.

Belmont Park not far from SeaWorld San Diego is a small Seaside Amusement Park in San Diego, CA, which opened its doors in 1925. A lot has changed here over the years, but the park’s main attraction has always been the wooden roller coaster Giant Dipper. Other attractions in the park include an ice cream-themed Tilt-a-Whirl, the Chance Rides Fireball Beach Blaster and the interactive looping rides Octotron and Flip Out.

Giant Dipper

After leaving the station on a bend, we immediately enter a long tunnel, at the end of which the ride’s lift hill awaits us. This takes us to a starting height of around 22 metres. Once at the top, we immediately ride down a tight steep curve, which is a little too steep in the valley and shakes us back and forth a little, just before we take on a big hill. After a long double down, we reach the other end of the rollercoaster and change direction in a big turnaround, just like the first drop. Well shaken, we hurtle over a series of hills to the other end of the ride, where another steep turn awaits us. This is also followed by a series of classic airtime hills. Finally, the track takes us through a long Bavarian curve before we reach the ride’s braking section.

The Giant Dipper at Belmont Park has a pretty daring layout for a wooden roller coaster that is almost 100 years old and, unfortunately, it rides accordingly. The steeply inclined valleys are somewhat reminiscent of the French funfair rollercoaster The King, but we don’t necessarily have to expect to get a wipeout on this one – instead, we either make an uncomfortable acquaintance with the side wall of the train or our seat neighbours. I therefore decided not to go on another ride.

Pictures Belmont Park


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The park in Fiesta, Texas

It may be the Six Flags park with the most exotic name, as Fiesta Texas basically invites you for a good time with the Mexican background of Texas in mind; but the truth sometimes can be rather simple: Six Flags Fiesta Texas is a theme park in Fiesta, Texas. You simply cannot miss the exit to the park.

History of Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Before Six Flags Fiesta Texas became a thing, it started as a theme park by the Gaylord Entertainment Company – which back at the time was big in business operating their Opryland USA theme park in Nashville, Tennessee – and the USAA Real Estate Company. The site of the park, a depleted limestone quarry, was available for development in 1988. Despite the great competition by the Houston based theme park Six Flags Astro World and the Arlington based Six Flags Over Texas, both companies saw enough potential to develop a theme park in the San Antonio area – which was also due to the stable growth in the industry. The park opened to the public in 1992. Four years later, Time Warner took over the management of Fiesta Texas and changed the name to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. With Premier Parks purchasing Six Flags in 1998, they also bought the park of USAA.

Tour of the park Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Without any doubt, this park is impressive. Even the drive towards the parking offers a beautiful view. I used my platinum membership for preferred parking, as this was my last visit to a Six Flags park this year; even though I would not have needed it. With a great view onto the amazing looking water park White Water Bay, we now enter the park.

Due to its location, nearly all park guests directly head to the inverted roller coaster Goliath or the Boomerang roller coaster. I, on the other hand, was on a mission. As I did not have the time to collect my membership bottle the day before at Six Flags Over Texas, I directly went on the search for the membership services office. After some time and with a refillable bottle in my hands, it was time for the rides.

Bugs’ White Water Rapids, Whistle Stop Train and the Gully Washer

As a German, I always enjoyed the Spassburg section of the park with its funny ride names like the Rollschuhcoaster. Sadly, most of the names changed over the years. I was looking forward for a ride on Bugs’ White Water Rapids, Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ log flume. Unfortunately, this O.D. Hopkins ride was still under refurbishment for the season.

Instead, we get on the Whistle Stop Train at the Pilger Bahnhof and enjoy a round trip through the front sections of the park towards our next stop: The Gully Washer. This Intamin rapid ride features a nice journey along the quarry wall. It is a lovely themed rafting without any big highlights. The waterfall near the end of the ride was not used on my day of visit, so you can remain dry on your ride.

Road Runner Express

Next stop is the Road Runner Express where we experience the park’s preference for high elevated stations, which are only accessible via a network of ramps, for the first time. The ride itself is a mine train roller coaster by Arrow Dynamics. It is the latest one of its kind featuring a fast paced ride above and along Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ quarry wall.

After the lift hill climb, the ride immediately starts with a small drop into a turn to the left. After being tilted more and more to the side, the train shoots down its first major drop into a highly banked curve. After a forceful valley, we now race towards a camelback and then pass an upwards helix into the second lift. On top of the quarry wall, we take another turn to the left. After a short straight, we now perform a U-turn before reaching the edge of the cliff. In a wild cliffhanger manoeuvre, we perform a Figure-eight style combination of helices before reaching the brakes in full speed.

The Road Runner Express is a very fine mine train roller coaster. The coaster is very fast and forceful, but still family friendly. Its location is simply awesome and its appearance from the outside is nearly perfect, although is doesn’t feature any decorations whatsoever. It is a shame, that no one has bought another version of this kind of mine train roller coaster after this installation.

Iron Rattler

Right next door you can find one of the most legendary roller coasters out there: The Iron Rattler. Before this roller coaster became the second RMC masterpiece, it used to be the longest and highest wooden roller coaster out there. With a daredevil first drop and a lot of exciting elements along the 5080 ft long track, this coaster was not for chickens or structural engineers with concerns on the ride’s static. In other words: The coaster was famous for its highly visible vibrations of its support structure and its modest ride comfort. Nowadays, the coaster provides a fun and exciting ride loosely following the path of the original layout.

We start our journey with an excellent view onto the mine train roller coaster Road Runner Express. After a turn we reach the ride’s lift hill. Immediately after reaching the maximum height of 179 ft, we drop down 171 ft following a twisted path of pure madness featuring a maximum angle of 81°. Following the path along the quarry wall, we now enter an airtime filled camelback before reaching the second highest point of the ride. With great momentum we now go over hill and dale before we plunge down the cliff once more. Following a valley, we climb and twist ourselves upwards, which culminates in the first and only inversion of the ride. After being screwed up by the Iron Rattler, we race along a series of harmonically optimised hills, before dropping down the wall a last time. With no contact to our seats, we hit the next valley hard before a curve through a tunnel leads us into the brake run of the ride.

If the Iron Rattler would be slightly longer, it would be my favourite ride. It is not as forceful as other roller coasters by RMC, but it is a very repeatable ride experience featuring amazing elements and a beautiful Zero-G roll. The first drop is insane and everything else is great – it just could be slightly longer.

Goliath

The next roller coaster in our list on the other hand is a very solid ride and doesn’t need to be longer. We now move back to the entrance of the park for a ride on Goliath, Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ inverted coaster. Before coming to Texas, this B&M roller coaster was located for some years in the Japanese theme park Thrill Valley before being relocated to Six Flags New Orleans. Due to its elaborated design, the coaster survived Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. After a refurbishment, the ride was installed at its current location in 2008.

Goliath is the third installation of a B&M inverted roller coaster with the Batman layout in Texas. Surprisingly, there aren’t any other suspended roller coasters in Texas, which really shows the passion of the Texans to this specific layout. Especially, the people of San Antonio must be huge fans, since two of the three installations can be ridden over here. Goliath is still something special as it is the only one featuring the mirrored layout and one of the longest and strangest ramps you can find within the park. Apart of that, the Goliath features a highly forceful ride through both of loops and the corkscrews.

Boomerang Coast to Coaster

A similar forceful ride can be found at Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Boomerang roller coaster simply called Boomerang or Boomerang Coast to Coaster if you really want to be precise. It is a very pleasant and smooth ride – although I would recommend to only ride it after the morning rush. Along with Walibi Belgium’s Cobra, this Boomerang is one of the best ones out there and should not be skipped.

Superman Krypton Coaster

Following the paths towards the other side of the park, we now enter the queue for Superman Krypton Coaster – Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ signature roller coaster. It once featured the highest inversion of all roller coasters; a record which was being hold for a very long time till it was broken by the same company in 2013. As one of the first floorless coasters by B&M, Superman Krypton Coaster features a wild and exciting ride experience.

After a short turn, the train quickly climbs up the lifthill. Once arrived at the top of the quarry wall, we enjoy the view onto the shopping centre The Shops at La Cantera before dropping down an increasingly steep curve. Pressed into our seats, we now race through the first valley before entering the ride’s large loop. After another valley along the quarry wall, we decide to have a closer look on top of it. In a helix, we now race along the surface before plunging down to the ground level once again. In a giant Zero-G roll we turn ourselves upside down the second time, followed by an equally giant Cobra Roll element. A curve to the left leads us upwards and a short curve to the right directs us directly into the block brake section of the ride. Without any noteworthy reduction of the speed we enter the next drop which leads us into the first of the two corkscrews. After a short curve we hit the second one. Another curve and a short hill then lead us into the final brake of the ride.

Superman Krypton Coaster is a great and forceful ride. It features an interesting and unique layout with a great selection of inverting elements. In my mind, I always have to compare it with Parque Warner’s Superman – la attración de Acero (ride of steel) in San Martin de la Vega nearby Madrid, Spain as they are very similar rides with Superman Krypton Coaster being slightly weaker due to its lack of airtime. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my ride on the Krypton Coaster.

Batman – The Ride

Since we could not yet spend the visit with the DC villains, as the Giant Discovery Joker was not yet delivered and the Super-Villains Swing was not yet reassembled, we focused on the Dark Knight instead. Batman – The Ride was the first ever S&S Free Spin roller coaster and an initial success for Six Flags. With many of these rides being build basically everywhere, I was very interested to have a look at the prototype, especially since my ride on The Joker a day earlier at Six Flags Over Texas was absolutely nuts. After waiting a quite long time due to a breakdown of the ride I finally came to the conclusion, that this ride simply cannot be judged properly. The ride’s comfort is always good, but the experience varies by every ride. My ride on Batman – The ride was just okay. It could have been better, but it also could be much worse. Overall, this marble track roller coaster is quite interesting due to the used technology, which cannot be found on later installations.

The Poltergeist of Rockville

Batman – The ride is in the Rockville section of the park, which just looks awesome. The 50’s are back and brought some great rides with it – although none of them are from this time period. I really love the look of Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ teacup ride Hustler and the S&S combo tower Scream. Unluckily, the free fall tower was just operating one of the towers, which lead to a long waiting time. I also like the look of the spaghetti bowl roller coaster Poltergeist, which I could not test due to a breakdown around noon. The layout of this launch roller coaster simply looks nice and features some very exciting elements.

Fiesta Bay Boardwalk and Pirates of the Deep Sea

The last area of the park is the Fiesta Bay Boardwalk, home to a great selection of classic American flat rides. Next to the modern Tilt-a-Whirl Spinsanity, the Twister Waverunner, a Fireball and a Ferris Wheel you can find with Pirates of the Deep Sea a newly redesigned Sally dark time. The makeover of the old Scooby Doo Ghostblasters ride is just excellent. The ride fits into the theme of the area, although it doesn’t feel like a cheap tourist trap you properly find on a real seaside pier. Well done, Six Flags!

Pandemonium

At the end of the pier you can find the spinning roller coaster Pandemonium. I was quite confused by the queue of the ride, since it looks way longer than it is. People are always queuing from the start of the pier and therefore you can or would expect a very long waiting time. Especially since the ride by the German manufacturer Gerstlauer only features 4-seater cars. At the end, I did not wait as long as I thought it would be, which is quite positive. The ride itself gave me the spin of my lifetime, although I was the only one in the car.

Interestingly, when exiting the ride, you find yourself below the pier on the same level as the Gokart-track of Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster

The last attraction on our list is the Golden Lasso Coaster featuring Wonder Woman. As the actual name (Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster) is quite long, I reduce it to either the Golden Lasso Coaster or Wonder Woman throughout my review.

The Golden Lasso Coaster was the first installation of an RMC raptor track roller coaster, which reintroduces a very old idea back into the roller coaster market: The monorail roller coaster. Due to its track design you are free to add very tight and compact elements to your layout. Of course, this doesn’t come without downsides, as the seating arrangement within the cars is not optimal for a great throughput. The focus on the heartline gives you an excellent and very thrilling ride, but the trains itself let you wait in line for quite some time.

After boarding the vehicle, the ride starts with a very fast climb to the top of the lift hill. Once we reached the top, the train descents a small drop and moves through a curve. We now hit a small hill after which the vertical drop of the ride awaits us. As the top of the hill is very tight, we are immediately thrown out of our seats and experience an amazing airtime filled drop shortly after. Faster than we could possibly imagine, we already hit the next valley and make our way towards the top of the Dive Loop. A second later we twist ourselves sideways in a large camelback. Another second later, we initiate a curvy incline leading into the second airtime filled drop. This is followed by a Cutback element and a classic Corkscrew. After another curve we already slam into the brakes and the 50s long journey of endless insanity comes to an end.

Wonder Woman features the best roller coaster of any DC superheroes up to date. This ride is absolutely awesome and the best RMC roller coaster I’ve ridden so far. You simply cannot describe the insanity of the Golden Lasso Coaster – you have to experience it. It is just awesome.

Pictures Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Conclusion Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is a very nice theme park with a great selection of roller coasters, flat rides and shows. As the park’s offer was somewhat reduced, I can only conditionally recommend a visit at Easter. I really would like to come back to test all the rides I missed during my visit and have a look at the water park White Water Bay and the night-time spectacle Celebrate!. Till then I’m looking forward to my next visit in the San Antonio area.


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Zipper-Dee-Doo-Dah in Cleveland

As I’m currently in Ohio for business, I took the chance to visit the I-X Indoor Amusement Park in Cleveland this Saturday.  Since 30 years, the fair takes place in the International Exposition Center (short I-X Center). The name Amusement Park fits in very well thanks to the one-time admission fee and the additional show program. Nonetheless, the I-X Indoor Amusement Park is a typical American funfair. The highlight of the event is the weather independence of the fair and the interaction of many rides with the hall’s ceiling.

Most rides come from the Baker Bros. Amusement Company. Rockwell Amusements, Swika’s Amusements and Reithoffer Shows each provide a roller coaster. In total, the funfair hosts six roller coasters, three of them for children. However, they were not my reason of visiting. I wanted to finally ride a Zipper.

Like the Tilt-a-Whirl and Sizzler, the classic from Chance Rides is indispensable in any US funfair – the oval with the pulleys at both ends has been sold a good 200 times since 1968. And even in Europe you could find a Zipper in the past; on the downside they are very rare.

The ride itself resembles the one on a top spin: it rocks, swings and sometimes wildly rolls over. Only a nacelle brake does not exist; you leave everything to chance. The speeds during the journey are usually constant: The main arm rotates at seven revolutions per minute, while the steel cables make at least four revolutions. At the turning points, a short acceleration kick follows every time, which – with a bit of luck – puts the gondolas into a proper rotation. Since you are only secured by a comfortable lap bar, holding onto the handrails is definitely a good thing.

The ride in the narrow cages is definitely not for tall people. With shoe size 11 you also have problems placing your feet properly. People with a weak stomach will quickly reach their limits through the whole swinging thing – especially towards the end of the journey. The zipper itself, however, is a masterpiece of engineering of the late 1960s. Even before the great looping fever of the 70s, Chance Rides turned the fairground world overhead. Unluckily, our ride on the Zipper was somehow tame. In the end, we rocked more than we did anything else.

Luckily, there are plenty of other options at the Indoor Amusement Park, but due to the crowd, we concentrated on the Fabbri Kamikaze. This Italian ride offers some longer head-over stays at the top of the ride – in spite of the over the shoulder restraints – and wonderful hang time during the fast looping sequences. You basically lift off from your seat, whilst the stations drive throughs you will be pressed neatly into your seat. What a machine!

In addition to the small Zamperla Spinning Coaster Wild Mouse and the little Pinfari Wild Cat next door, the roller coaster G-Force turn out to be one hell of an adrenaline machine. This small Wing-Coaster-Butterfly from A.R.M. Rides is a lot of fun in a rather small package. After having taken a seat in the 16-passenger train, it raises leisurely up a way too steep straight. Arrived at the top, the train then latches out quickly. In the next second, you fall very fast to the ground. The transition between the much too steep lift and the ascending straight after is the only highlight, as the name of the rollercoaster proves itself. After experiencing the G-Force on your own body, the train swings back and forth and fastly comes to a stop again. If ever Sunkid Heege would produce such a ride 😀 .

The I-X Indoor Amusement Park in Cleveland is a pretty cool funfair. The choice of rides is quite balanced and offers something for every taste. On our visiting day, the indoor amusement park was pretty crowded, but the weather outside was also a mess all day. If it is a bit emptier you can definitely have a lot of fun here, I really liked the fair itself. The mood was great and the gimmick with the hall’s ceiling basically upgrades every ride to a maximum.

 


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