Updated 6/5/2017 – Added more photos and web links.
I guess I never realized the Adventureland handouts are dated, and get changed during the year — including changes to the map!
Since 1997, the Royal Hanneford Circus has been entertaining guests starting Memorial Day Weekend. We were told last year that the circus would be returning for the 2017. When the park opened this season, a large circus tent was already set up back in Outlaw Gulch (though the show itself would not open until Memorial Day Weekend). I noticed the tent looked different, and the large banner said “Billy Martin Presents the Adventureland Circus.” Billy Martin is the name of the ringmaster who has been with the Royal Hanneford CIrcus circus since it first came to Adventureland.
At that time, the map in The Daily Adventure handout (dated April 30th-May 27th) looked to be the same as 2016 (as does the one on the website). The handout map was “Sponsored by perficut”…
…and the map in the handout labeled the circus tent as “Royal Hanneford Circus”:
The Show Times page listed “Starting May 27th the Circus is Back! The Royal Hanneford Circus.”
It seems that the time the circus arrived, it was being billed as “Billy Martin presents The Adventureland Circus.”
During the circus’ opening weekend, I asked them about this. It turns out it is a brand new circus, not connected with Royal Hanneford Circus, in a brand new tent, ran by ringmaster Billy Martin.
The next edition of the show guide was revised (the map is now sponsored by RIPKE).
On the circus tent, a new text box reads “Adventureland Circus.” The Show Times section inside now refers to Adventureland Circus.
When I saw the 5 o’clock performance, it featured several performers that were there last year (the quick change couple, the contortionist, and one of the aerial acrobats) plus some I did not recognize.
With the same ringmaster as years past, and many familiar acts from last year, it should entertain folks as much as always – just in a nicer, newer tent with improved lighting and sound. Ringmaster Billy Martin says each show will have a different line up of acts, and during the season they will be swapping out acts to keep the show fresh. I look forward to checking it out again on my next visit.
Now I have to pick up copies of the map throughout the year when a new edition comes out…
P.S. You can hear the distinct voice of Billy Martin somewhere else in the park… Do you know where? Answer in the comments.
NOTE: This article will be revised with additional information as I receive it, or continued in another part. Check the main page for the latest…
Updated 6/5/2017 – added photos.
Adventureland has many new food offerings this year. The park brought on three new chefs to oversee new food items, and it shows. Here are some of the more notable ones (photos to be added):
Bernie’s Klement’s Cart (between Storm Chaser and The Monster’s exit under the Iowa Beer and Wine Shop tent) – This is a “gourmet” hot dog stand, serving Klement’s hot dogs and sausages. You can get a 1/4 pound plain hot dog for $4.75, or a kid’s dog for $1.25 (maybe it’s $1.75). They also offer more loaded hot dogs, like a Chicago Dog (“1/4 pound all beef dog with all the traditional Chicago toppings”) for $4.50, Bernie Dog (“1/4 pound all beef dog with chili, cheese sauce and crispy onions”) for $4.50 (it’s the same squirt chili and cheese they use on nachos), Bratwust (“1/3 pound bratwurst with yellow mustard and sauerkraut”) for $4.50, and1/3 pound Itialian Sausage or Hot Italian Sausage on a stick for $4.50. The hot dogs come on fancy buns, and the Chicago dog was loaded with all kinds of toppings.
Chuckwagon Soda in Outlaw Gulch has lost the old fashioned candy, as well as the old-time sodas (no more sarsaparilla, darnit), and switched to more traditional flavors, but still has some not found elsewhere in the park (like a red cream soda). They have also swapped out the beef jerky they sell, and offer beef sticks and beef jerky. (At least, I think it’s a different brand from past years. It’s very good.) They have a plastic “mason jar” you can buy for sodas to get cheaper refills all year long, and the jar actually says “Chuckwagon Soda” on it. (I am guessing these are not park-specific jars, but rather, that Chuckwagon Soda was a franchise kiosk available to amusement parks and such.)
Fun Foods on Main Street now has a cotton candy room where they make it near the sidewalk window. They also now carry four types of popcorn, all popped there: plain, caramel, cheese and kettle corn.
Gulch Food in Outlaw Gulch has added fried fish sandwiches.
Gyros in River City received a full remodel, and is greatly expanded inside and out. The old order/pickup window is now the pickup window, and an order window is where the facade next door used to be. They have added baklava, Greek salads (very good!), and falafel gyros to their menu. I am also told that the gyros are fancier this year.
Iowa Cafe on Main Street has a new style baked beans, loaded with meat (bacon? BBQ?). This may be the “Dr. Pepper Baked Beans” served elsewhere in the park.
Oasis in Adventure Bay, the ice cream place has pineapple Dole Whip again. It was lemon last year. Those who have been to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom or the original Disneyland in California know how huge pineapple Dole Whip is there. People line up for the stuff.
Petunia Pig has been spiffed up and no longer has pickles or drinks. Now it offers bacon popcorn and huge 1/4 pound bacon on a stick.
Spectators Sports Bar and Grill takes over River City Smoke Shack BBQ. It has been repainted blue, and mirrors the name of the sports bar at the Adventureland Inn. The menu is mostly the same, but they added brisket sandwiches and the new Dr. Pepper Baked Beans. The house made BBQ sauce is also new, made at Spectators. They also have walking BBQ, which is like a walking taco but BBQ instead of taco mean.
Taco Villa in River City has lost its taco salad, but added a large hard shell taco. They also have a burrito bowl which is the taco toppings in a bowl, very much like a taco salad without the chips. A combo meal is available which adds a churro and drink.
Vegetarian Offerings. Most locations with corn dogs or hot dogs are now offering veggie corn dogs and veggie hot dogs. I think some veggie items were on the menu last year, and others were added during the 2016. I tried a veggie chili cheese dog and it tasted just fine. I recall trying a “veggie hot dog” many years ago and disliking it. I guess they have figured out how to make better veggie dogs.
Abita Bar, opened in 2015 in River City, is now Corona Cantina and has dropped the Louisiana beers. Instead, a much wider variety of canned Mexican-style beers is available, and more frozen drinks. They have strawberry, margarita, mango and pina colada. The frozen drinks are virgin drinks, and they actually add alcohol shots and mix it for you – they have six types of alcohol!
Bier Garten now sells their refillable boot – much larger than the 24 ounce mugs. The refill mugs are also an updated design this year, introduced at the 2016 Oktoberfest.
ICEE Mix It Up around the corner from Sheriff Sam’s Saloon also adds the alcohol shots (which they first did at the 2016 Oktoberfest event). You can add two types of Jose Cuervo tequila, Gin, Iowa-made SWELL Vodka, Jack Daniels, Bacardi Rum, Captain Morgan, or Malibu Rum.
Sand Bar in the water park has some new mixed drinks, and will be offering a huge refillable 42 ounce drink!
Also in the water park is a new LEINENKUGEL Tiki Bar attached to the central gift shop. It has canned drinks and three types of shots (Fireball, some mint schnapps, and JÄGERMEISTER). They also have some canned drinks not found elsewhere, like Not Your Father’s Iced Tea.
Most drinks places with canned beers also seem to be carrying some new items.
Beer prices have inched up a bit, with a small beer going for $6.50 and a large for $10 ($8.50 last year, I think). The $12 refill mug (24 ounces) can be refilled for $6 ($5 last year) so if you plan to have more than one drink, and like their draft beer selection, buy the mug. After the mug and one refill ($12+$6 = $18), you already save two bucks over buying two large beers.
Last year, the park also offered a refill container for frozen drinks. It was the same container used for ICEEs, so it was impossible to tell if someone was walking around with an ICEE or a frozen hurricane 🙂 This year, they have a new frozen drinks containers just for alcohol. It doesn’t have a lid and they don’t have straws tall enough for it yet, but it’s nice looking. Over at Iowa Beer and Wine, the frozen Monster drink is now sold only with one of these refill drinks, so if you plan to try it, start with a Monster, then you have a refill cup to use at ICEE Mix It Up, Corona Cantina or Sand Bar.
Did I miss anything? Leave a comment!
I will try to add photos of all the new food items to this post when I have time.
Adventureland continued to work on the park between the first few opening weekends, and before the park went to daily operation starting the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
The Chicken Shack new has new metal rails for folks to go through to pick up food and end up at the register.
Petunia Pig received a new lane sign noting it’s new bacon popcorn and 1/4 pound bacon on a stick.
The following weekend, a second tall sign for the bacon on a stick appeared.
In Outlaw Gulch, the food location that opened last year (moving next door from the old Saloon location) finally has a menu sign in the lane which lists an official name: Gulch Food. Fish sandwiches were added this year, too.
Flowers have appeared around the small pond in Iowa Farm near Petunia Pig, with more added the next weekend.
The area in front of the Giant Sky Wheel that had trees last year (cut down just before Oktoberfest) now has a beautiful flower bed and flag poles. The flags start with the United States of America flag, then various military flags. For Memorial Day Weekend, the park held a group photo of Adventureland employees with current or former military service. The Giant Sky Wheel also displayed a patriotic red, white and blue light pattern.
More more to come… Check back for updates and photos.
Updated 5/28/2017 with more photos (some taken after this article was originally posted, showing things added since then).
Adventureland was scheduled to open the weekend of April 28-29, 2017, but heavy rainfall and cold temperatures caused them to postpone. The park opened to great weather on the weekend of May 5-6.
Here is a quick look at some of the “new for 2017” changes we noticed…
Paint and Signage
The staff has been busy, with many areas of the park showing new paint, new signs, and other general improvements. Even the parking lot has areas of new painted stripes and curbs. Professor Bellows‘ sign looks like it is brand new, but a worker there says it was just cleaned up.
Saw Mill Splash has a freshly painted sign, and SideWinder‘s “you must be this tall” sign is new as well.
The walkway sign promoting the Ben Ulin Magic Show is different from last year (and quite colorful).
Overall, many menu signs have been swapped out to feature new items (and prices) for this year. During 2016, a few items were added to Rally Round, for instance, and those items now have a permanent place on the menu board rather than just a sign in the window.
LCD monitors started appearing last year acting as menu boards at various food locations. The trend continues this season.
Outside monitors have been added to the Main Street Theater and the various picnic areas. They replace all the old paper signs that would be put up when the locations were rented for special events. They look very nice.
The Bier Garten gained two new LCD screens inside, too, with one showing the menu and the other playing sports video.
Over at the Iowa Beer and Wine Shop, the seating area is now under a new barn-shaped permanent tent, similar to the cover at the Bier Garten. A member of our Facebook group considers this to be a nice “spit shelter” since the area sits under the tall Storm Chaser ride.
The River City Abita Bar (added in 2015) is now the Corona Cantina. It offers a much larger selection of drinks, including a larger range of frozen drinks that start out non-alcoholic with shots added. This now allows kids to get the frozen virgin drinks at this location. Pina Colada and a few other flavors are now available that were previously only obtainable down at the Sand Bar in the water park. The Louisiana beers seem to be no more.
Over at ICEE Mix-It-Up, down from Sheriff Sam’s Saloon, they now offer alcohol shots for the ICEE drinks. This was offered during Oktoberfest, and will likely be even more popular during hot summer months at the park.
The park has added at least three new chefs, and it shows. Iowa Cafe continues to serve house made mashed potatoes and great fried chicken, but the baked beans got a total overhaul. Some report having them loaded with bacon, and others say it was more like brisket meat chunks. Perhaps they are still experimenting with the recipes, but all report that the beans are fantastic.
The Gyro shop received a huge update and expansion and now has an order window and a pick up window. New menu items include fancier gyros, baklava (honey pastry – try if you like honey), Greek salads and more.
Around the corner, new signage at Subland is in use, with numbered sandwich choices rather than the “fill out what you want” sheets.
Taco Villa has a new burrito bowl, and I am told the tacos are also fancier.
River City Smoke Shack has now been repainted and is a Spectators Sports Bar and Grill location, matching the logo and name of the restaurant at the Adventureland Inn. The location still serves funnel cakes from the left side, and barbecue from the right side, but the meat is now cooked at the restaurant and brought over. They have added new meats, and the BBQ sauce is the house-made sauce from Spectators – something you won’t find at any other theme park. The funnel cakes also feature a “funnel cake of the week (? month ?)”.
Dippin’ Dots now has “sundaes.”
There are likely many other food changes within the park yet to be discovered and reported, so if you see something new, let us know.
This is just a quick look at some of the changes notice last Sunday, but it is clear that the staff is focusing on improving the park in all areas — not just multi-million dollar roller coasters like the Monster last year.
More to come…
Check out some photos from 2017, incuding photos of many of these new items, here:
The current season pass price is $125 through May 31, 2017. You can go to the park this week (April 24-28, 2017 from 3:30pm-7pm) to buy one and get your pass made. After May 31, the price will increase. But now, and save money, plus get an extra visit in May to make the cost-per-visit even less.
Adventureland Season Passes can be loaded with money to use in the park “almost” anywhere they accept credit cards. (The brochure says it works anywhere, but we found a number of locations last year that couldn’t handle the season pass via their credit card machine.) If you don’t have a Season Pass, you can get the Adventure Card and do the same thing. If you load the pass at the ticket booth, for each $50 you put on they add a free $5 bonus. It’s a great way to get 10% back. Also, last year, we found that the Pass/Adventure Card also earned 2% cash back. Every time you spend money using it, you get a 2% cash credit. Thus, if you just loaded $50, you’d be getting basically a “12% discount” ($50 + $5 bonus + $1 cash back). NOTE: You only get the $5 bonus if you load at the ticket booths, and the bonus is only available through June 11. After that, you just get the cash back (if it’s like 2016) and you can load it online any time you want.
The Season Pass is a great value if you can make a few visits to the park during the year. There are food and merchandise discounts. and, apparently, even a discount at Spectators at the Adventureland Inn. When we visited, we were told is was a 10% discount there.
I know some folks that go to Spectators regularly and run up quite the tab on a meal and some drinks. I bet they could save money with a season pass just for that discount over the course of the season 😉
5/18 Update: Spectators has informed us that there will be no Season Pass discount there this year.
If you have any tips to share, please post them in my Facebook group or e-mail me. I’ll have a contact form added soon.
Adventureland Park opens this year on April 29, 2017. Members of my Adventureland Iowa Fans (Unofficial) Facebook group have been sharing photos of things being tested at the park lately, such as the Storm Chaser and work being done on the Tornado. If you have anything to share, and you do the whole Facebook thing, please drop by.
After the 2016 season ended, I moved on to other Fall/Winter projects so I have not done (m)any updates to this site. There is often something new posted to the Facebook group, however.
I expect to start sharing new information as I hear it, so subscribe to updates here and check back as opening day approaches.
I have not seen anything details on how well the park did last year with the opening of the new Monster roller coaster, but it is usually a trend that a major addition creates a nice attendance bump over subsequent years as more and more folks hear about it and return to the park to try it out. The Monster opened in June last year, so the “gotta go see it” crowd was moved to the last 2/3rds of the season. This year, the new attraction will be there opening day so it could provide a stronger opening May.
The park continues to impress me with how well it has scaled to handle the crowds during peak events such as The Monster opening, July 4th, and Oktoberfest. (Especially Oktoberfest, when they’d lost many of their seasonal RV campsite workers when the park closes and they moved on to their next stop.)
I don’t have a pass for this year (yet) but I expect to make it out to see what all is new.
Today I found out that a YouTube channel I have been subscribed to for years was a fake account that had nothing to do with Adventureland. They use the address, phone number, website and logo, as well as photos from the resort which sure made them look legit.
But, a recent video contained clips of rides that were not at Adventureland, and some scenes of a hotel that was clearly not the Adventureland Inn. I thought maybe some intern had been assigned to make a new video and had simply searched for “Adventureland” to find images. Maybe those that were found belonged to the Adventureland in New York.
Turns out, it’s just some fake account. No clue why. Maybe they do this to tons of businesses, hoping to hijack visitors so they can get enough views to earn revenue for showing ads?
With that said, I am going to confirm and post the official social media accounts that the resort actually owns. These will end up on the Wiki, but for now, here is what I know:
Adventureland started offering season passes in 2002. Back then, they were $55. In the first year (maybe more?), they did not include parking. Parking was only $3 or so back then, though, so it still made for cheap visits to the park.
Over the years, the price has steadily increased. When the 2017 season passes were made available at the end of 2016, they were at the special “before Christmas” price of $110. On January 1st, they increased by $15 to $125. After May 31, the price will go up again. Last year, the regular price was $135, and we don’t know yet what the 2017 price will be.
With full price adult admission being $42 this year, if you visit three times during 2017 ($126), getting a season pass at the current discount is cheaper.
Thus, three visits to the park is the current break-even for a season pass. After May 31, when the price increases, it will take four visits.
However, since the season pass also includes parking ($10 in 2016), if you are driving and parking, that means the break even would still be three visits ($156 to buy a ticket and pay parking three times).
It’s really a great value.
Add in the 15% food and drink discount at Iowa Cafe, plus various other merchandise and game discounts, and it’s a great way to save some money if you think you might go more than three times in a season.