Joyland is a small family amusement park that many have never heard of. Located in Mackenzie Park, Joyland is just two miles from Texas Tech and close to downtown Lubbock. The population of Lubbock is relatively small when you take away the college students, but offers most everything you would expect from a mid-sized city including one of a kind eateries that will make your mouth water. Personally, I recommend One Guy From Italy. To die for calzones and pizza, all freshly made.
The park itself features three coasters including a S.D.C Galaxi (WildCat or similar) and a funky Allan Herschell Mad Mouse that looks like it was built on scaffolding. Both rides are manually operated, no drive wheels, no computers, but they do have pneumatic breaks, all hand operated via levers. The park also has several classic rides such as the roll-o-plane, scrambler, and spider. Recently they added a 140 foot tall Larson built drop tower. For those of you ride manufacture nerds, Larson is located 45 miles away from Joyland in Plainview, Texas. I did drive by the facility, but wind gusts up to 45mph and the volume of dirt being blown around kept me from getting out of the car. I can tell you tho, that some lucky park is getting a new Fireball and/or an Aviator.
On my visit on 4/9/2011, crowds were very light at 6pm, less than 100 in the park. The entire staff were extremely friendly and happy to hold my camera backpack while I rode. I talked with several park employees who were asking about my C-TPR shirt so hopefully we will have some new members soon! Jerry, who was operating the shot tower gave me a super history lesson on the park of which I will share some of it in the photos below. Greezed Lightning is still in storage and I was given directions on how to get to it, those pictures and information I learned about it's current status will be towards the end.
All in all, plan to spend around 2 hours in the park on a light to mid sized crowd day, three hours on a heavy day. For the park index, I'd give this park an overall 2.5, it would be a 2, however, the staff gets a solid 5, food and beverage prices also get a 5. Expect to pay slightly more for drinks than the local 7-11, but food overall was way below industry standard.
So, without further ramblings, I present to you, Joyland!
Welcome to Joyland!
If you make a left once you pass thru the gates, you'll find this amusement park must have.
Next door to the horses running in circles, you'll run into another must have at an amusement park, the bumper cars!
They even have things built in for you to bump into!
Next we come to my personal favorite ride type, I wished ever park had a Himalaya or Musik Express!!
This one goes forwards, and backwards, but not in the same cycle. They alternate, one cycle forward, everyone gets off, hauls a$$ around to the queue, gets back on, then goes fast backwards!
I have no clue who these kids are, but they were loving the ride!
This park is full of the classics, all of which I love, like this old school tilt-a-whirl
This is there standard how to have fun guide.
On to the Mad Mouse! Take a close look.
See? I told you it looks like it was built on scaffolding! RCDB says it used to be at Bell's, but that must have been way before my time as I don't recall this ever being there.
You have to respect a ride op who can operate a ride theses days without the aid of a computer. All levers, no buttons, no clear to send lights, all 100% know how.
Nerd Shot #2!!!
The parks other classic rides include an itsy bitsy spider crawling...oh, uhum. Hey, they have a spider!
I walked past the spider and found this ride. Made to ride with your clothes on (please), people were getting off it wet enough to warrant a bathing suit, so I passed.
Next I took on the Galaxi! This ride has a sign notifying you that the the ride must have a minimum of 4 riders, 5 with kids. The park was so slow today that the op was sending the train (pushing the train out of the station) with two patrons on board. I had to wait about 10 minutes for someone else to show up.
So this one pulls two cars around. I personally like versions that only have single cars, the doubles and tripples to me slow the ride down a bit. Speaking of slowing down...
100% hand operated brakes!
My mandatory wait for more riders allowed me time to get these shots. Get this, I got to ride with my bag on board! You don't get that at Cedar Fair.
This has to be expensive to operate as it uses a gasoline engine to power! It's a trailer model and if you're not careful, you'll get wet!!
You can even blast off into space!
Kindof a week ride program, no fast spinning at the end, still, a nice calm ride. Being as this park is geared for families and tweens I can see why they would have this running a calm program.
Any ride with "Big Splash" in the title indicates an unacceptable amount of wetness.
Bell's had one of these death machines
Maybe this is where it went many moons ago
Reagrdless of it's origin, I'm not getting on it, don't feel like having a headache the rest of the night.
And for the third and final coaster, Dipsy Doodle!
Nerd Shot! You'd expect on a ride of this type to get spun around 2 or 3 times.
But I lost count at 5. The ride op was super friendly as were all of them. He had only ever been to three parks, so I gave him some info on TPR and about some parks close to an event he was planning on attending, so who knows, maybe he'll make it out to NTAG Bash
Winding down my journey I headed toward the shot tower and ran into this.
Being as I have an hour drive ahead of me, I kept with my promise to myself to avoid all water rides.
Especially when I saw those sprayers at the bottom of the short hill. Short ride, but it gets the job done.
So finally I made my way to the shot tower where I met Jerry. Jerry thought I was an ACE'r. I told him I wasn't fat enough to be an ACE'r. Apparently that crew comes out once a year to ride the parks three coasters. I'd bet only three of them could actually fit into the coasters as well.
But I digress. So this ride was put in not too long after the park purchased Greezed Lightning, so it's fairly new.
So after we chatted, I strapped in and he pressed the button. This thing has a surprising amount of air on the way down and a gentle release at the top. A great ride indeed.
Think about this. Small town park with not a lot of cashflow can put in a 140 foot tall tower. Think of how many major parks that don't have a tower. SFMM, SFDK, Hershey. So maybe this park isn't that small afterall, it's just doesn't have a huge Intamin or B&M. Most people were riding the flats anyway. The coasters, except for the kiddie coaster, weren't getting much love, so heck, maybe that's a sign to the bigger parks, MORE FLAT RIDES!!
So anyway, Jerry gave me the coordinates for the whereabouts of the old shuttle coaster, so off I went.
I drove up just as the sun was setting and here it is! Sorry about the picture quality, it was getting dark quick.
So why isn't it up yet you ask?
Well, several reasons. Placement for one. But, that I'm told is most likely resolved. It will go to the west of the gate along the front.
The real problem is the ground, it's too soggy.
And money. Everything takes $$
The footers he said need to be 35 feet into the ground, and needs multiple footers as you can imagine.
And for a park not making millions, that gets expensive, 60K plus expensive. Then you have to pay a crew to install it, refurb it, wire it, test it, certify it, etc.
He didn't give me a figure, but just my rough knowledge tells me it could cost at a minimum of 250k to get the ride going. They certainly could use it, and it would probably pay for itself in a few years. But in the world of unknowns, sometimes it's better to wait.
So with that, I leave Joyland and a backwards running Musik Express and head out for dinner.
Don't let the size of this park fool you. The rides are in great condition. The ride vehicles were free of torn seats or messed up bar padding, clean grounds, and, a friendly, everyone is welcome atmosphere. You can tell the park owner cares about the rides, the customers, and his staff.
Thanks Joyland for a great evening!!!!
Last edited by chadster on Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:31 pm.
Joyland was a interesting little park... The time I went about half the park was closed, which made it hard to justify the price of admission. Funny thing is a lot of people in Lubbock didn't even know the park was there! As you said it is a small town and a lot of the population is college kids. Many of them have no clue that the park exists.
I will second your opinion on One Guys! That stands as the thing I miss most from Lubbock. My wife and I would me there for lunch almost every week for the better part of 3 years.
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