It amazes me how similar the Jurassic Park and Simpsons rides are between the Orlando and Hollywood parks! I was looking through that part of your trip report and was like, "wait a minute is this still in Hollywood?" haha
Coaster Count: 200 Wood:35 Steel: 165
Favorite Steel: Maverick (CP) Favorite Wood: El Toro (SFGAdv.)
Greetings fellow TPR members and welcome to another installment to my 2011 trip diary.
Having been thru Amarillo, Texas on more than one occasion, I never stopped to visit Wonderland. So, this past weekend (4.9.11) I made the trek once again from Tulsa to Amarillo for the sole purpose of visiting the park.
Nestled inside Thompson Memorial Park and near the Amarillo Zoo, Wonderland Park is in the home town of the FREE 72oz Steak!, Amarillo, Texas. After doing some research on this park several years ago, I learned that it had ties to what was my local park, Bell's, as well as Joyland in Kansas. I will share some of those geeky facts that I came across below.
Wonderland sports some classic kiddie and adult rides along with a few modern rides. Wonderland would surely be KT approved with their frog hopper, and they are 100% Chadster approved with their Himalaya. Their classic wild mouse, Cyclone, is 100% hand operated and the Texas Tornado is a classic in and of itself. The park also features a hand built dark ride, a drop tower, and the prototype Shoot the Chute.
If you're traveling down I-40 going cross country or making your way to Six Flags, don't forget about Wonderland, a park that I can say is one of my top 3 underrated parks in the U.S. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the video and pics!
Welcome to Wonderland, where you can find something for everyone.
Even Tiger Woods would like Wonderland. Perhaps he could finish under par.
Toot Toot, oh wait, maybe it's choo choo, or chuga chuga chuga chuga, oh heck, it's the parks train, people!! And you know those annoying crossing bars at other parks? You won't find them here, they just slowly move the train out on the walkway, they figure eventually you'll get out of the way, if you were smart anyway
Here is the midway from the south entry (at least I think it was the south entry, I'm directionally challenged at times) Did you know Wonderland opened originally as Kiddie Land in 1951? Well, it did.
So here we come to the Wonderwheel. Looking good actually.
Bumpity Bump Bump. Ok, so you're asking, when did the park become Wonderland? Well, reports are about 1960ish when Mr. Roads began adding adult rides.
Sweet looking bumpity bump bump cars
Here's the parks short log ride, but it wasn't open quiet yet. A few rides were being a little cranky, but maintenance was quick to get them sorted out and up and running.
Log ride station. We will come back in a bit when it's open.
So off to a dark ride that brings back tons of memories. Fantastic Journey was hand built and designed by the park owner. Basically it's a Wacky Shack knock off. But you know what, it's way cool inside.
He built the rotating drum by hand and coloborated with Bob Bell of Bell's Amusement park on several features. For instance, the water fall at the end of the ride (not operable on my visit) was taken from Bells. The bus and air horn was original to Fantastic Journey and was later used in Phantasmagoria at Bell's.
The vehicles for the ride were made by Bob Bell. As in most Wacky Shacks and knock off shacks, the dip from the second floor was removed due to ride vehicles getting stuck as a result of objects finding their way onto the track. These rides are also subject to people getting out and wandering around. Bells had people who were lookouts, but Mr. Roads charged extra for the ride, which turned out to be a good idea as it kept the vandalizm down. The ride remains an upcharge at $1.50 per ride.
So yeah, now you can see why this ride brings back memories. Some similiar tricks, but serverl different ones, such as a guy getting buzzed in an electric chair. Sweet.
So after my dark ride adventure, I went to ride "Big Coaster" the first of four coasters that the park has.
This ride does not have a modern drive system in the station. Ride ops push the train from unload to load, and then out of the station. The ride op uses a foot lever to release the holding break.
From there, we found this creature. He's part of the parks logo. Notice that he is sitting on a mushroom, which is food, and food equates to...well you know
Nice and colorful tilt-a-whirl
Now we play a little game called WTF is it?
So, WTF is it? It kinda looks like a craftsman drill with one of those mother's car wax wheel cleaner attachments on the end.
Or part of a claw game
But seriously, WTF is it? The park calls it the Texas Intamidator, but it doesn't look like it's made by Intamin. So, like with food, if I don't know WTF it is, I stay away.
Next I headed to the back of the park and found the Himalaya. The Himalaya just happens to be the most awesome flat ride ever built. Fact.
They were not running this one backwards :( But, they were varrying the speed so they get bonus points.
Next door is the prototype Shoot the Chute which is code for it gets you soaking wet, which is code for Dan to stay far far away. Don't believe me, check out my video above :)
They also have these two dingy rides.
Next we will check out the West End, aka, the rear end of the park. Here they have three rides, out of which I will show you two. Want to see the third? Sure you do, it's in the video ;)
So here is Mr. Drop Tower. He's an unpcharge. Hmm...another similarity to their partner parks. A Partner park is defined as group of small park owners who pool their knoweledge and abilites to help each other out without any investment or other interest in each others parks.
They were only running one car today, which, is all they needed.
How about some Hornet action?
Maintenance was lubing her up. Want to see it in action? Yes you say? Well, I'll give you a guess where you can.
So after I had my share of fun in the rear, I moved back towards the front to check out Cyclone, a 1968 wild mouse.
My car had a fully adjustable butt pad. No lapbars, no seat belts, sit in and hold on.
It really wasn't a bad ride, and guess what, ZERO modern day improvements. This ride is 100% controlled by hand. Hand braking, hand dispatching, all with giant levers by one single op.
Gotta respect the op to be on his game. The timing is critical and the op has to stay sharp and know what's going on all the time. No sleeping here. Nice ride.
So the Big Splash Log Ride was running
So, I thought I'd get the traditional shot of the log splashing coming down the chute.
So here we go, wait for it
wait for it....
wait for it some more....
Big Splash! Well...
not so much. This thing travels aways before it comes off the track and into the water. First one I've seen like it.
So time to go check out Texas Tornado, but first, a stop by the old school scrambler.
So, here we are. Note the hours, opens at 2pm Sat/Sun, and 7:30p all other days.
Double Loopy! This was a good ride, espically for it's time period. Not a lot of air, but the second loop into the tunnel is awesome. It's also an upcharge at $3 per ride.
Sky ride, duh.
On the way out I stopped by to check out the gay pride ride.
With cloudy bottom. Runs a great ride program, it's also a trailer model, for those that want to know.
Finally we walk by some horses running in circles.
so yeah, there you have horses running in circles.
So there you have it. Wonderland is a great little park offering something for everyone. Again, I think it's a much underrated park, and although it doesn't have a stealthy B&M or 400ft tall Intamin, it's still a very fun place. Food and beverage is affordable. Picnic tables are abundant just outside the park gates for those who like to go that route. Plan to spend about 4 hours, but you could spend longer depending on your re-ride wants.
I didn't realize how much influence Bob Bell had on all those Wacky Shack's. He had a similar relationship with Joyland and their Wacky Shack. He must have had a side business in creating those cars and parts at some point.
Wonderland looks great. For a small park, they've got a fair coaster collection and a modest assortment of rides. Pity they slap upcharges on everything though.
I agree, the upcharges are a bummer, I'd rather they up the ride pass a few dollars. But, it's working for them so whatdaya do. The rides appeared to be on excellent condition. The park owner clearly has focused on a clean, safe, and fun environment which is highly respctable.
Awesome trip report. I actually really liked visiting this park when I went to many parks in Texas in 2007. When I went it was before the "West End" of the park and the Green Hornet wasn't there yet. I really like the new color scheme for the Texas Tornado. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed Fantastic Journey and I am extremely excited to see it's still there in all it's fantastikness!
Jimmy "Wonderland's one of my favorite small parks" Bo
Do not believe this post!
90% of the time, I am sarcastic all the time...it's science!
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