Last week a bunch of us from work spent
a day at
an amusement park
in Santa Clara, CA. The rides and
attractions I went on (with short reviews)
- Alien Adventure
- Ack! This is a big IMAX theatre so I thought it
would be pretty cool. But it wasn't. The movie that's
being shown is called "Alien Adventure". It's sort of
a nice exercise in computer animation (it's essentially
a couple of scenes of virtual roller coasters)
but it made me sick. (Yes, I am a weenie who gets
motion sickness when playing Quake.) After seeing
"Everest" or "Fantasia 2000" on an IMAX screen, this
is a real letdown.
- The Demon
- When I was younger, this was the only kick-ass roller coaster
at Great America. It was the first one with loop to
loop and a corkscrew and it went about a million times
faster than anything I had ever ridden before. Fifteen
or twenty years later, it's still a great ride. And because
it's been eclipsed by some of the newer and flashier
rides, the lines weren't all that long. It was on
this ride that my boss was telling people, "Keep your
hands up or you're fired!"
- The Grizzly
- The Grizzly is a wooden roller coaster,
so you know it's got to be pretty good. True, there are no
loops and it's not the fastest, but there's just
something about the gentle swaying motion of a
wooden roller coaster that makes it a little more
frightening than if it were a normal steel
- Loggers Run
- This is a much better water ride than Whitewater Falls.
It's a lot higher and you get a lot wetter
but you can only fit four at a time, so the entire group
couldn't go all at once. The secret here is to get on the
ride with as many fat people as you can so you can build
up that momentum and get a really big splash.
- Rue Le Dodge
- Bumper cars. Bumper cars are dead fun, but the
general consensus was that there were too many cars
so there wasn't enough room to maneuver.
- Sky Tower
- This is barely qualifies as a "ride". All it is is a 200-foot
pole with a rotating room on top of it.
The only redeeming quality of this is
the fact that it's air conditioned.
- Top Gun
- This is a suspended ride; you ride around with
your legs dangling in mid-air. This is really fast with
three loops and a corkscrew and a dive towards
water. In fact I think it's too fast so the ride is
- Whitewater Falls
- This is a water ride, and a very tame one at that.
Now all water rides are a little dull because
you can't do loops or corkscrews
or go too fast, but this is exceptionally boring. It's
just an oval. You go up on the left side and down
on the right and you only get a little wet.
- This is a standing roller coaster.
It's also too fast. This
and Top Gun are the only two rides on which I thought
my glasses might fall off. The best part of this ride is
the icon on the instructions which shows a person
standing up with an elongated seat (like a bicycle
seat) between his legs. It's sort of a silhouette
from the side and it looks like a far-too-well-endowed man.
The joke in the line was, "That's how exciting
the ride is!" (nudge nudge, wink wink)
So, to summarize, my
picks are: The Demon,
Top Gun and Loggers Run.
The rides I didn't go on, but would have liked to are:
James Bond 007: A License to Thrill (a movie where the seats
move), Stealth (a roller coaster on which you lie down) and Invertigo
(a roller coaster that goes forwards and then
backwards on the same track.)
Parking is $6 so if you can car pool or take public transportation
or (shh) park in one of the nearby hotel
parking lots then that's good. The entrance fee is
about $40 at the door but it's easy enough to find a coupon
or maybe you can buy tickets through your work.