My wife and I just returned from Hot Springs, Arkansas for an anniversary mini-getaway. As it was for our anniversary, amusement parks were not a priority in this trip, so our time spent at Magic Springs was limited.
I'd first like to highlight Arkansans. I live in Texas, so I don't have particularly high standards when describing a civilized society. However, when one thinks of Arkansans, one usually thinks of imbred backwater hicks straight out of Deliverance. As much as it pains me to say it, this stereotype was largely true. Hot Springs felt like one big happy trailer park, not the resort town we were expecting.
Most of our trip was spent partaking in the tourist-trappy, qaint, and/or romantic offerings the area had. We weren't able to make it out to Magic Springs until late Saturday Afternoon.
On the way to the park, a thunderstorm broke out. For this, we were delighted: We both knew that thunderstorms tend to keep people away from parks and draw many more to leave. As I will soon describe, this effect was short lived.
Upon arrival, the storm had fizzled to a mere sprinkle, however large church groups were gathering at the entrance to leave. We made our way inside and to the immediate left: As all the rides were currently closed, we wanted to get prime position on the woodie, Arkansas Twister, when it restarted.
This park has a very unique layout: It is essentially a big U. Arkansas Twister was the sole attraction on the left arm of the U, with everything else to the right. In the middle- seemingly the crown jewel- was the water park, Crystal Falls. We weren't here for the water park, although with the temperature pushing 100 degrees, it didn't sound bad at all.
Nevertheless, we made it to the Twister, which is actually an out-an-back. Within a few minutes, it started test-cycling and we were able to ride it twice within half an hour. The second time around, I was able to get a point of view using my new digital camera- you can find it at the end.
Anyhow, the (out-and-back) Twister was a fairly decent ride, if a bit short. The recent rain had it running fast, which resulted in mostly ejector air over several of the hills.
Moving on, we headed toward the rest of the park, located in the right arm of the "U". This park is absolutely gorgeous. Located along a hillside surrounded by natural foliage and with foothills in the background, we were very impressed. I know very little about the state of the park before it was closed and sold, but whomever is running it now deserves an applause for the care and maintenance of this place.
Down the hill, we pass what I call "Flat Row". It seems as if nearly all the park's flats are located one after another here. However, as our time was limited flats were not our goal. At the bottom of the hill is one of the newer attractions, Plummet Summit. This dip-the-dips created quite a large splash and due to the heat had one of the longest lines in the park (you can catch a video of the splash at the bottom).
We were happy with our relative dryness, so we moved on. At this point, it had been a good hour and a half after the thunderstorm, yet the new 2006 X-coaster (appropriately titled X-coaster) wasn't even testing yet, so we headed for the wild mouse, Twist-n-Shout.
This is a right good mouse. No brakes are used anywhere throughout the course, so each turn yields an insane amount of lateral G's. You know it is a great mouse when it feels like the car might rip from the wheel assembly each turn.
X-coaster still not operating, we headed to their midget S&S Space Shot. It's name is quite possibly longer than the ride: Dr. Dean's experimental rocket machine. It's relatively petite stature did have it's advantages, however: My wife, Lauren, had never elected to ride an S&S tower until now- mostly out of fear. She now can't wait for her next one.
Still no X-coaster.
Right next to the S&S tower is Big Bad John, a veteran-in-its-journeys arrow mine train. I was pleasantly surprised with this one: It rivals SF Over Texas's in my opinion, even without the (cheap 1960's) theming.
X-coaster is finally up!!!
...And there's a 2 hour wait. Needless to say, we didn't get to ride it. We had already planned to stop by Magic Springs on our Southern USA tour next Summer so it isn't a big loss, although I wish I could report about the experience.
The ride cycle itself is somewhere between Wicked Twister and Greased Lightnin' with an inversion thrown in for good measure. It goes up the funky lifthill, hangs you upside down, does a little twist into a dive, fly through the station, go halfway up the lifthill, back through the station, all the way up the spike into the twist, back through the station, and back up the lift hill. You are actually braked on the lifthill while perpendicular to the ground, and then slowly returned to the station. Next summer, for us.
Ah yes, Gauntlet. It was an SLC, so...yah.
After Gauntlet, the park was filling up at a rapid pace. It turns out that Foreigner had a concert here and thus 40,000+ screaming redneck fans were in force to see them. As the humidity was quickly draining what made us human, we decided to leave a bit early.
All in all, a good visit. We'll do a proper one (on a weekday) next Summer.
A few negatives:
-One train operation on all coasters, despite huge crowds.
-Inefficient ride ops. After every cycle, some minor incident delayed the next cycle.
-Poor enforcement of park rules. Rather, no enforcement. Everyone smoking, despite the park being non-smoking, rampant line-jumping, etc.
-Concessions: Only one person in each booth, slow, one attendant talking on cell phone not even greeting customer, etc.
Now, the photos and videos:
I have the point-of-view video of the Twister filmed in 16:9 480p30 (DVD Quality) but the original is over 100MB. If you want it, let me know and I'll send it to you some alternate way. The one below is compressed to fit below the 40MB limit. The other two videos are kept in their original quality as their file size is small.
edit: It's late, so I'll upload the videos tomorrow evening after work.
I didn't know Derek was coming to Texas this weekend!
Come to scenic Hot Springs: It's like Gatlinburg, only with nothing to do!
Hot Springs is home to Mean Jesus. Mean Jesus gonna git you (Seriously, doesn't he look pissed off?).
This is the only photo we have of me considering my hand was attached to the camera most of the trip. No, I don't know why I look cross-eyed.
The Mountain Tower in downtown Hot Springs might offer a scenic view of the park, provided you have something better than a 3.6x zoom.
Just in case you've forgot where you are after driving here and handing out $8 to park, this friendly sign reminds you.
These fountains might look like spring water, but drink this and you'll die from amoebic dysentery.
Arkansas Twister: It's an out-and-back coaster. Don't ask.
Exclusive lifthill shot!
POV of the Twister. Video forthcoming.
It twists, you slam into the siding and shout.
No brakes= Truely "WILD" mouse!
The car-themed cars fly about 5 feet over your head while in the queue.
Interesting Fact: Despite its petite stature, this Space Shot is actually triple the size of Disneyland's castle.
Recipe for a long line: 1 Brand-new ride, shuttle-like design, 1 12-person train, long load/unload time, long cycle, inefficient ride ops. Bake at 100° and 90% humidity and it's one line I'm not about to stand in.
Here's the funky upside-down lift hill in all its glory.
How can such a little boat have such a big splash?
We had a couples massage session before coming to the park. Something tells me we should have waited until after our Vekoma "therapy" session.
This park is quite beautiful. Certainly beats our (now-defunct) Astroworld.
The Hawk is a fun little floorless inverter. By "fun" I mean "vomit-inducing".
This pirate was by far the coolest person we met here, which isn't saying much considering he's inanimate.
Everything at Magic Springs is powered by Magic, including this swing.
Magic Swings at Magic Springs!
There is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.
It's amazing what rain does for wooden coasters. What would be a medicore (or just good) ride before turns into an amazing ride once the rails get wet.
Case in point: Tornado at Adventureland. Last Wednesday, it was raining pretty darn hard, but they kept the rides open. It was flying through its coruse, and we were lucky enough to score a front-row ride. Great airtime throughout the course. Usually, it's just good or okay.
For the POV of the Twister, I once again apologize for the compression artifact, but I don't have any tools available to resize the video so I was left with compressing it down under the cap. As I mentioned above, I can send the higher-quality one to whomever is interested.
The other two videos are short clips of Plummet Summit and the wild mouse.
First, enough with the stereotypes about Arkansas. In a vain (and unsucessful) attempt to be funny you blast on a city and people you know jack about. If Arkansas, and indeed Hot Springs is such a trailer trash wasteland, why in hell do people from your glorious steers and queers state come here in droves to stay? I've lived in Hot Springs off and on now for 25 years and the # of tourists visiting has never been higher. I would imagine there is a reason for that which is opposite to your rather dimwitted views.
And considering the pictures you posted of yourself, it comes as little surpise that everyone else around you looked funny, what with your cross-eyed view of the world. It's jackasses like yourself who stereotype people from my state as if you don't the have exact same thing going on in Texas---you know what the main difference here is? The majority of people in my state are actually citizens of this country!
You want redneck Deliverance with a twist of the Chainsaw Massacre? Visit West Texas. Or East Texas. Or anywhere else in Texas not inside the Metroplex. That's truly scary stuff.
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