Facebook group member Dee/Anna recently noticed that the sign over the entrance has been altered. It now adds fireworks to the list of prohibited items to bring in to the park (along with drones and selfie sticks). This popped up just before July 4th, and with this being the first year that fireworks were legal in Iowa, perhaps they were expecting to have issues with people bringing smoke bombs and bottle rockets in to the park 😉
Today, she posted about a new restriction at the park in regards to the thrill rides: If you have a prosthetic or amputated limb, you may not be able to ride certain rides in the park or water park:
Howdy, ya’ll. Some of you may know that I am from Houston, Texas. My appreciation for amusement/theme parks started when my parents took me to Astroworld as a child in the early 1970s. We also made trips to the original Six Flags Over Texas near Dallas, as well as big family vacations to Disneyland and Walt Disney World (back when all Walt Disney World had was the original Magic Kingdom park!).
Side Note: You probably have heard of Six Flags. They own a ton of regional amusement parks. But did you know most didn’t start out as Six Flags? My original park home park, Astroworld, was originally an independent park and became “Six Flags Astroworld” later. Many of the Six Flags parks started out as something else when they first opened.
But do you know why they are called Six Flags? That comes from the original Six Flags Over Texas which was named after six countries that at one time owned the Texas land area and flew their flag over it: Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and United States. The different areas of the park were all themed to one of these flags. Six Flags had a Mexico section with Mexican-themed rides (the Mexican Hat Dance was like Adventureland’s Lady Luck, except it looked like a giant Mexican hat).
Hmmm, I just looked at a map of Six Flags Over Texas and noticed that The Confederacy section of the park (from it’s opening in 1961) is today referred to as Old South.
But I digress…
Anyway, I thought today I would ask this simple question:
Where can you find this bit of Texas inside Adventureland?
Adventureland opens at 10 a.m. If you’ve never shown up early, you may not realize they open the parking lot and ticket booths a bit earlier. This allows folks to purchase tickets so they are ready to enter when the park opens.
The park then begins letting folks in to wait in the area in front of the train station. The two train tunnels in to the park have garage doors that remain closed until the park opens. At 10 a.m., the tunnel doors open and guests make a mad dash down Main Street to the rides.
If you have never seen this, here is what it looked like the day The Monster opened in 2016:
Some Disney parks do something similar, but they go a bit further and allow guests to hang out on their Main Street before the rest of the park opens At Disneyland in California, for example, they often open an hour early so guests can shop and/or get breakfast on Main Street. Disney’s Main Street is one long path with the only access to the rest of the park at the end where the “hub” is in front of the castle. (This would basically be where the bridge is at the end of Adventureland’s Main Street.)
Disney will have a rope across the end of Main Street and hold guests there until official opening. A few minutes before that time, an announcement and music plays, welcoming guests to the park. The rope is dropped* and the dash to attractions begins.
Thus, the term rope drop.
*Actually, pulled to the side, but maybe it was just dropped in early years before lawyers and careless visitors took over the world. I guess “rope being pulled to one side” doesn’t have the same ring to it…
Sometime this season, Adventureland started opening their Main Street early on certain weekend mornings. A few shops would be open as well as the arcade, giving visitors a much nicer place to wait than in front of garage doors.
While the Iowa Cafe does not open until 11 a.m., a food cart is brought out with with snacks and drinks (including some breakfasty items you normally won’t find in the park).
Here is how it looked on Saturday, July 1, 2017.
Upon arrival around 9:30, they were parking folks in the back corner Lot 2:
On busy days, they seem to load the far away lots first so don’t expect to always get a closer spot if you show up early 😉
The ticket booth line can normally be quite packed on a busy day, but this morning there were no lines there at all.
Once inside the park, they had a yellow plastic chain blocking off access to the left walkway near the Giant Sky Wheel.
In the middle of Main Street there was a food cart set up. It offered bottled drinks drinks (including milk, chocolate milk, and Sunny D) and some food items (such as breakfast cereal). It also had various sundries for sale such as sun screen.
At the end of Main Street was another chain.
The Main Street Arcade was open to give folks something to do while they waited. Normally, the G-Force ride would also be operating, but it was down for repairs this morning.
Since the arcade also has access to the Bavaria/Alpine Village side, they had the garage doors closed. This was the first time I’d ever seen these closed, since they are always open during normal park hours.
To entertain crowds, world record holder (and juggler) Brad Weston made an early appearance on his stilts. Normally he appears between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., but on these early entry days, he sometimes comes out sooner.
As it got closer to 10 a.m., the crowd levels increased. I didn’t go back to check on the Giant Sky Wheel side, but the end of Main Street crowds filled up a good portion of the end of the street.
At 10 a.m., the chains were removed and folks rushed to the rides.
This is a great thing for the park. It was a much more pleasant experience waiting Main Street with the carousel music playing and some treats available. It is unfortunate that there is no real breakfast, but perhaps in the future the park can cultivate an “early opening” crowd and offer something. It certainly seems like a great way to make guests happy, and make an extra buck from a captive audience.
In the meantime, you can always get coffee and donuts over in River City…
As far as I know, the park has not made any announcement about these early openings on their website or Facebook page, but somehow folks seem to know about it. Be sure to check it out if you get a chance.
On Saturday, July 1, 2017, the Tornado was closed:
At first, I thought this was because it was too windy. I have been told they close the ride on windy days because too much wind can keep the coaster from making it one of the hills. Later I found out that the coaster had been down for awhile.
Also during the day, G-Force was still being worked on:
Later in the day, folks posted in the Facebook Group that both of these rides have returned to operation. Huzzah!
The Underground also was down for awhile during the day, but I was told this was because Bad Bob had finally blown up the mine shaft. The ride would be resuming as soon as they got the rubble out of the way 😉
If you are planning a visit to the park for a specific ride, be sure to contact them first before driving out. Otherwise, you can check on the sign at the front entrance – it clearly lists any ride not operating that day: