I wasn't initially expecting my first park visit of the year would be at Frontier City! While I was in Oklahoma last month on a trip for work, I made my first ever visit to the park. I'd thought about going during previous work trips to Norman, but never found the time. I didn't want to pass up the opportunity again, so I headed on in during the morning of Saturday, May 19th. I had a busy travel schedule so I only had about three hours in the park, but I was able to get in some rides on the coasters and a couple other things. Plus, I had some time for photography, and ended up with enough pictures to do a full Photo TR.
The first thing I did when entering the park was head to Diamondback -- or is it Diamond Back? Either way, it's a rare Arrow shuttle loop, though good for one ride and one ride only. As the park had just opened, I just had to wait one train to get on. From there I started my clockwise lap around the park, stopping next for a ride on Steel Lasso, a Vekoma junior invert. I waited two cycles for that.
The next coaster on the loop was Silver Bullet, a classic Schwarzkopf looping star. Sadly, as I had seen when driving into the park, there was work being done on the ride -- and workers on a lift were doing something at the top of the lift hill. The question became -- would they get the ride open before I had to leave?
Continuing to the south end of the park, I found Wildcat, the park's wooden coaster. Resurrected (with modifications) from a park in Kansas City, Missouri, Wildcat was a pretty good ride! I waited 3 or 4 trains and made sure I got the middle row on the front car, just to avoid any possible issues.
I took it pretty easy after riding Wildcat, making another loop or two through the park for photography. As much as I wanted to get on the log flume -- as I love picking up log flume credits -- the line was simply too long. I also couldn't ride the Ferris Wheel, as they have a strict no-single-rider policy. I did ride the shooting dark ride (Quick Draw) and the train (Old 89'er Express), and while on the train, I saw that Silver Bullet's queue had been opened! That was the good news I'd been waiting for, so I hopped off the train (at the station, of course) and headed to Silver Bullet. It was still another 10-15 minutes before the ride opened, but I got on the second train of the day, and very much enjoyed my ride. It seemed to operate pretty consistently after that. I did a little more photography after riding Silver Bullet, and then headed out of the park to continue my day.
Reviews of the rides...
Wildcat: I actually liked this quite a bit! I'd have a hard time calling this a full-size wooden coaster, as it seemed a little short in stature and length, but I thought it was a great family woodie. It's a simple layout, but the hills did have some air, so that's good. I rode in the best possible seat -- the middle row of the front car -- and thought it was a very smooth ride. If I were braver (or more patient with the building queue) I might have tried the back, just to see how different it might have been. Overall, I thought this was a lot of fun.
Silver Bullet: I'm actually disappointed I only got to ride this once, as I loved it. I'm not the crazed Schwarzkopf fan that some enthusiasts are, but I do appreciate their compact intensity, and Silver Bullet delivered. It wasn't just the positive Gs from the loop, but an array of different forces as the train continued throught he circuit. Silver Bullet wasn't glass smooth, but it wasn't rough either. This is a really cool ride, and if RCDB is to be believed, I think it's the last operating Schwarzkopf Looping Star in North America. Obviously there are some bigger Schwarzkopf models -- Mindbender in Edmonton, the-coaster-with-a-thousand-names at La Feria in Mexico City -- but this one's unique to the continent!
Diamondback: There aren't many of these Arrow shuttle loop coasters left either, though sorta-sister-park Elitch Gardens has one in Denver. This was my first run on one of these, and I mean, I guess it's cool because it's historic and unique. I'm kind of over Arrow loopers, though, regardless of the layout. I'm also not a fan of backwards segments on roller coasters, so naturally, this one won't end up in the top half of my coaster rankings.
Steel Lasso: The Vekoma junior inverts (or family suspended coasters or whatever) are decent little rides as long as they're smooth, and this one was. Not much to review, as I'm guessing most everyone's been on one of these. Definitely a good ride for a family park like Frontier City.
Quick Draw: I was excited for a Sally dark ride, but this one just didn't do it for me. It's hard for me to get too into shooting dark rides with guns that have no indicator light at all, and my aim was certainly not particularly strong. The theme was a perfect match for the park -- of course you're a wild west sheriff looking for the bad guys! Some of the effects were pretty fun, but some of the set pieces were a little sparse. Still fun, though!
Among other attractions, they've got several staples that any mid-size park should have -- a Ferris wheel, a carousel, a log flume, a rapids ride, antique cars, and a few thrilling flats. What would I like to see added? Being realistic -- no 300-foot gigacoasters -- how about a drop tower, a frisbee, and one of those small Mack launch coasters like the thing at Slagharen? Heck, you could take that ride's theme (Gold Rush) and drop it right into Frontier City and it'd fit right in.
So, maybe the current ride selection was about what I'd expected, but the overall atmosphere of the park was actually a step above what I'd anticipated. It seems like just about every park I've been to has a western themed section, but could Frontier City pull off an entire park with that cohesive theme and keep it from becoming stale? The answer is yes! The theme and decorations around the park clearly had a lot of effort put into them -- there was detail to be found, and probably some in-jokes that flew over my head. There are some similarities to nearby Silver Dollar City, but the themes are different -- Frontier City is more "wild west town" where Silver Dollar City is more "wilderness mountain village" if that makes sense. Obviously Silver Dollar City operates on a much different scale, but based on the pretty good attendance I witnessed on a random Saturday in May by the time I was leaving, I'd say Frontier City has room to grow as well.
Two minor issues I ran into during the day: 1) The coasters are all pretty short, so it would be hard to complain about the single-train ops. Maybe a second train might have helped on Wildcat, if they even have one. However, the lack of operating vehicles was more of an issue on the log flume (running only three boats as best as I could tell) and the Quick Draw dark ride (maybe running 4 or 5 single-row cars). I waited it out for the dark ride (about 20 minutes, no huge deal) but the line for the flume was probably a solid hour, and I just didn't have the time for that. 2) Upon purchasing my park ticket, I learned at the gate that I wasn't actually given a park ticket by the ticket agent -- their mistake. In order to get one printed, I had to wait about 20 minutes at a single window at the back of the ticket building. In that time, the park opened and lines began to build. Wasn't a huge issue, but certainly an inconvenience.
Overall, I came away with a pretty positive impression of the park, and I enjoyed my three hours there! Now, I do think it's funny that there seems to be unbridled optimism about Six Flags taking over operations -- methinks some enthusiasts have short memories or weren't around 10-15 years ago -- but I'm as curious as anyone to see where this goes. I'll likely be back in Oklahoma every few years for work, and a new coaster would certainly get me back to the park again!
And no, I didn't ride the kiddie coaster.
On to the pictures...
First stop -- the ticket booths! I could have bought in advance, but I wasn't 100% sure I was going until the morning of.
Taking a walk into the park and enjoying the western theme.
We've all seen this kind of wild west town theme at other parks, but they do it really well here.
We could pick up some supplies...
...or enjoy some art of a stagecoach!
But before we move on, let's head back to the gift shop at the park entrance, which is (oddly enough) where the entry for the Diamondback roller coaster is located.
Here's Diamondback in full, as seen from the parking lot. It's a rare Arrow shuttle loop.
One of Diamondback's most notable features is that the train starts at the highest point of the ride, where the ride station is located.
From there, it's a steep drop...
...into a single vertical loop...
...and up to another platform at the far end of the ride.
The train locks in place momentarily on the second platform, and then prepares to do the whole thing again backwards.
Another look at the station platform, which is raised up pretty high.
Diamondback was originally built at Six Flags Great Adventure, where it was called Lightnin' Loops. There were actually two of them, and the other was shipped to Six Flags America (and has long since closed).
It's an old Arrow loop, and it feels like it too.
At the far platform and about to run through the coat hanger backwards.
From over a wooden fence inside the park!
Here's the queue walkway up to the Diamondback station.
Another view of the ride.
Going backwards on the return leg.
Through the loop!
It's, well, not very comfortable.
Last shot from the ride platform. If I had thought about it, I should have used this spot as an observation deck to get pictures of the rest of the park!
As I started a loop around the park, I came across Brain Drain.
If this is what your doctor prescribed you, you need a new doctor.
I just don't think these things are for me, so I skipped it and moved on.
My second ride of the day was on Steel Lasso. And yes, I tried to get good-quality pictures of the major ride signs around the park!
Steel Lasso is a fun family coaster, and it felt smoother than -- say -- its Peanuts-themed counterpart at Kings Island.
The mix of orange and green is interesting. I'm getting a Rougarou vibe...
Of the park's five coasters, Steel Lasso is the only one that was originally constructed at Frontier City.
Here are a few top-of-the-lift shots from the Silver Bullet exit platform.
Not a whole lot of excitement on this train.
Seriously, why does everyone look so scared?
Well, hopefully the Grand Centennial Ferris Wheel is a little less scary.
It's got a great perch on a hill at the southern end of the park.
Sadly, I was unable to ride, as the park does not allow single riders.
The centerpiece of the wheel, with a slightly-peeling park logo.
Below the wheel is the station for the Tin Lizzys, the park's antique car ride.
Just down the path from there -- in front of the water park -- is Frontier City's only wooden coaster.
It climbs the lift...
...it hits the drop...
A little bit about the history of Wildcat, which was relocated from Kansas City.
So, the Wildcat station doubles as a bit of a wooden coaster history lesson, with tons of signs describing coasters all over the world. Here's one that talks about the development of the first coasters.
Another sign on the same theme.
Perhaps the two most classic wooden coasters in the US, the Coney Island Cyclone and Leap the Dips. Sadly, "has been operating since 1902" isn't valid at the moment.
Two coasters famous for their trips through the woods.
Two international TPR favorites!
Two of the more extreme woodies in the US.
Some RMC love.
Want some real obscure local coaster history? Two long-defunct Oklahoma coasters.
Finally ... I mean, what? Of all the coasters in the world, you pair up these two? I don't think you could pick more polar opposites if you had to.
So anyway, on to Wildcat! A train leaves the station...
...and heads up the lift.
Brave riders in the back.
Taking the first drop.
Heading up the next hill.
After the brake run...
...a straight bit alongside some water.
A return to the station. "Wanna go again?"
So, next up, the Mystery River Log Flume -- which sadly, I wasn't able to ride.
It's a pretty standard flume, but always good to see parks keeping these around.
Top of the lift...
...and on the way down.
It's a splash!
It's a bigger splash!
You might get a little bit wet.
Or, just duck below the front of the boat and hope you don't get wet at all.
Down the drop (which is completely dry).
Into the water (which is not).
Another angle of the splash.
Cresting the top...
...and heading over.
Barely visible through the water.
Always helpful to wear appropriate eye protection on a log flume.
Just a classic family picture.
Over on the back side of the log flume, this is actually where it starts -- a short drop into a ground-level flume segment.
A view from behind the flume's lift hill.
Does this count as a two-train shot with the skycoaster?
Excellent photos. FC is an interesting little park. For a park of it's size, it hits so many good notes. It's just missing something big to really bring some interest back to it. I live just an hour and a half away, but it's hard to get too excited about heading down there often. If they would just re-profile the second half of Wildcat, that would really tip the scales for me.
The theming has really come back. They've made a lot of effort on visual improvements. I hope that Six Flags doesn't let it all go to waste again.
Good report I live about 30 minutes from the park. Yes they do a great job with the park. I hope Six Flags doesn't ruin the park like it did last time. The park besides some decent rides has a very good entertainment line up. They are celebrating the parks 60th so there is a very good special show with a Frontier City song. One of the famed Gun fighters narrates the show which takes you through Music and Pop Culture of the parks existence. They have a long running Magic Show. Two Johns Saloon has two shows A Flea Circus and a smaller more intimate magic show that alternates through out the day. Red Hot Country a Music tribute to Oklahoma Country artists. you can't forget the longest running gun fight in the theme park industry. There is 4 shows through out the day of this action packed stunt show. For a family park you won't get bored when you visit this park.
The Soaring Eagle opened up this past weekend the park did great! It's pretty impressive you soar right over the Main Street of the park.
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