Michigan's Adventure Trip Report, 7/15
Welp, I thought I’d take a crack at my first TR, since I’ve got plenty of free time on my hands, so here goes.
This Friday, I trekked up to Michigan’s Adventure with one my buddies. I left the house by 7am, stopped in Grand Rapids to pick up my friend, then finished the 3 and a half hour drive to MA. US-31 is a pretty pleasant drive, with dense forest on both sides. Michigan’s Adventure really is in the middle of nowhere though. Whitehall seems like a typical country town, but then BAM, there’s MA.
We arrived at 10am, an hour before opening, and by the time the parking lot had opened, about 50 or 60 cars were in line. I was definitely worried about lines after seeing how many people were waiting for the gates to open. One thing MA can do a lot better is to stop corralling all the guests in a very small area before opening. It felt as crowded as some of the concerts I’ve been to at small venues.
Looking to start the day off with a light thrill, we headed to Mad Mouse first. It’d been over a year since my last coaster ride, so seeing Shivering Timbers looming in the distance built the anticipation even more so. We were the first in line for Mad Mouse, and the first train to be seated. Just as the final test car departed the station, we were next, and then….. “Attention Mad Mouse Riders, we are currently down.” We were given the option to wait in the exit area while maintenance workers did their thing, but we opted to make a quick decision to head for Corkscrew.
Corkscrew was well, a corkscrew. Not too head-bangy, not too smooth, but some good fun, about a 3 train wait with one train operation. Not til after I got off did I realize I’d ridden a coaster that was a cookie cutter of the first modern looping coaster. That was something to think about I guess. Glad we rode.
Next was the Wolverine Wildcat. I’d heard some pretty great things about this ol’ Dinn, but it doesn’t seem as exciting just looking at it. I’d never ridden a wooden coaster in this kind of layout, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Wildcat gave some pretty great airtime with the first few drops, but the double up/double down element was pretty tame with trim brakes. The final bunny hops are very fun, and the big three bench PTCs tracked better than I had thought. We took two rides here, and another ride later, all back seat rides.
Timbers was finally running occupied trains, so we hoped in line. We took our first ride in the back car, front row, looking for that great air this thing is notorious for. All I can say after that first ride is wow! There is some serious ejector air on the trip out, and quite a bit left on the return trip. I had totally forgotten about the trick track, and to be honest, I hadn’t even realized we had gone through it. I was so consumed with the airtime, and slight roughness that it had slipped right under my nose! We took a second ride in the very back with the same results, but this time I saw the trick track, and I have to say that is a very fun element! Rides in the back were pretty rough, but that’s how I like my woodies, and there is some definite bouncing in the valleys. We took two rides at the time, and 6 all day.
Thunderhawk: Well, something very strange happened when we got to Thunderhawk. This thing’s been at MA for only 3 years, and we walked right on. You should know, that this is a very new thing to me having only been to CP and KI in the past. This ‘hang ‘n’ bang’ didn’t seem nearly as rough as everyone makes the SLCs out to be, although this is the only one I’ve ridden so I had nothing to compare it to. We took our first ride in the middle, which I advised we do, searching for a smoother ride. Now I always read about coaster lovers just reriding and reriding, but I was not expecting my first long stretch of rerides to be on a Vekoma SLC. We took 5 in a row, never waiting more than a train. The front felt of the train felt great, but the back seat was our favorite because the sensation of being pulled through the inversions. By the 5th ride, I’d began to gray out in the double in line twists, so we said enough was enough, and headed for lunch and the water park to cool off in the wave pool.
One of the great things about this park is the accessibility between the parks. They’re practically a single park, and it was very easy to ride coasters, cool off briefly, then head straight back to the rides.
We took a spin funnel of fear, and a few body slides before making our way back to the rides, and we hit the Log Flume, Adventure Falls, and Grand Rapids (our longest wait of the day at 15 minutes). All were great. Then we did something stupid… We went back to Thunderhawk… for another 5 rides. I think we were just so amazed that it was a walk on every time that we just couldn’t control ourselves. Graying out happened on the 3rd ride this time around. We rode til we were dizzy, and couldn’t ride anymore. I really do enjoy this ride but, ten rides were enough.
After the mouse, we took another spin on Wolverine Wildcat, then went back to Timbers for another 2 rides, one in the back seat, and one in the front. The front is smooth as glass, it really is night and day between the front and back. The helix is F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!!! I did notice that the trim was on, although very light, but the force that thing has is truly amazing. You are just whipped thru it, bouncing around it on the back seat rides. You can really feel that 60+mph speed out front, but it just didn’t feel right riding a woody in the front, let alone an airtime machine like this. Speaking of speed, the sign in the station says 65 mph, but rcdb says 57 mph. It definitely felt fast, but does anyone know the actual speed?
By now, the 86 degree weather (and lack of shade) was starting to hit us. We went back to the wave pool to close out the water park at 7pm, and then went back to Timbers for another 2 rides, for a total of 6 on the day, then said our goodbyes with a last ride on the Mouse, leaving the park at 8pm, two hours before close. We’d done more than we ever expected in only 9 hours at the park.
The park could definitely use more shade, as I was ‘borrowing’ some from the ‘guess your weight’ game attendant. Luckily she was pretty nice about it. My other concern for this park is a lack of character. You can’t really tell what this park is trying to be. It’s really a blank slate, with the exception of the woodies. Cedar Fair needs to step up and do something about that. They’ve had the place for 10 years now, and it stills seems a bit bland. I wonder what it was like before CF ownership. My only major complaint though is a lack of flat rides. We rode Ocean Commotion once, and the swings once to get a nice breeze, but there are no other good flats it seemed. I’d like to see a giant S&S swing in the back near Grand Rapids, kind of in the woods. I think it’d be a great fit here.
Alright folks, I hope you’re not too bored after that, that is if you’ve made it this far. Happy coastin’
Great TR, I would never have known that was your first if you hadn't said so! I rarely hear anyone talk about Michigan Adventure here and forgot it even existed. When I plan my extended park trip either next year or the year after I may consider hitting that one after your TR. It sounds like an easy park to do in less than a day with a few decent coasters.
Glad you had a good time.
Very nice first TR! I enjoyed that park very much the first time I went too. I am probably not as lucky as you to be able to go back again soon, but it was good to see someone enjoy everything, especially ST, as much as I did.
Great TR. The last time I was Michigans Adventure was in 2001, which was the first year that Cedar Fair owned it. I was there the day after they had that accident on Chaos. I know what you mean as far as the park being bland. There is no theming or landscaping. It's like they put concrete down in an old field and put coasters and rides on it. You would think after 10 years Ceadar Fair would have done something. As far as coasters, the only thing they added was Thunderhawk and that was moved from Geauga Lake. I love Shivering Timbers, especially in the front seat. In 2001 when I first rode, it became my favorite wooden coaster. Since then more wooden coasters have been built, but Shivering Timbers is still in my top 5. With a few exceptions, most of my favorite wooden coasters are located in small parks. It's good that you're getting out there, riding, and having fun. I want to go back and ride Shivering Timbers so bad, but I'm waiting for the park to add another signature coaster. I've been waiting 10 years. Hopefully I won't have to wait 10 more.
Thanks! I've read so many TRs on here that it just came naturally I guess.
MA was very do-able in a single day. The park opened at 11am, and we had hit all major rides by 3pm, with a couple rerides on each. You should definitely include it on your trip, and it would be pretty easy to combine it with a travel day. Shivering Timbers is really worth the trip alone. I'd never experienced such airtime in my life, maybe even more so than my current #1, Magnum.
Thanks for reading!
All right! I TR from Michigan Adventure! We don't get enough of these, and I know little about the park.
> We arrived at 10am, an hour before opening,
The park opens at 11? That's weird.
> Looking to start the day off with a light thrill, we headed
> to Mad Mouse first. It’d been over a year since my last
> coaster ride, so seeing Shivering Timbers looming in the
> distance built the anticipation even more so. We were the
> first in line for Mad Mouse, and the first train to be
> seated. Just as the final test car departed the station, we
> were next, and then….. “Attention Mad Mouse Riders, we
> are currently down.”
Ouch. That really puts a damper to my day. I hate it when parks can't have their rides operating i ntime for the park to open. Maybe I am picky and naive about what it takes to get a coaster ready, but few things make me more mad than this.
> Corkscrew was well, a corkscrew. Not too head-bangy, not
> too smooth, but some good fun, about a 3 train wait with
> one train operation. Not til after I got off did I realize
> I’d ridden a coaster that was a cookie cutter of the
> first modern looping coaster. That was something to think
> about I guess. Glad we rode.
Corkscrew's layout over the lake and the helix around the tree give it a unique layout compared to other Arrow corkscrews. I am an out-of-the-closet fant of Arrow loopers (most of them) and love the corkscrews. This one looks extra fun.
> Timbers was finally running occupied trains, so we hoped in
> line. We took our first ride in the back car, front row,
> looking for that great air this thing is notorious for. All
> I can say after that first ride is wow! There is some
> serious ejector air on the trip out, and quite a bit left
> on the return trip. I had totally forgotten about the trick
> track, and to be honest, I hadn’t even realized we had
> gone through it. I was so consumed with the airtime, and
> slight roughness that it had slipped right under my nose!
> We took a second ride in the very back with the same
> results, but this time I saw the trick track, and I have to
> say that is a very fun element!
I have always been impressed with how this coaster looks and can't wait to get on it. And yes, I like my wood rough also!
> Thunderhawk: Well, something very strange happened when we
> got to Thunderhawk. This thing’s been at MA for only 3
> years, and we walked right on. You should know, that this
> is a very new thing to me having only been to CP and KI in
> the past. This ‘hang ‘n’ bang’ didn’t seem nearly
> as rough as everyone makes the SLCs out to be, although
> this is the only one I’ve ridden so I had nothing to
> compare it to.
Surpisingly, there is a wide variance in the roughness of SLCs. SF Mexico's is painful as hell, Astroworld's wasn't bad. None of them blow my socks off, but you're right - the back is the best.
Your experience reminds me of the day I spent as Isla Magica in Seville. I logged on 14 rides on their SLC, most of them after consuming a to nof beer. I got a little dizzy towards the end, too.
> One of the great things about this park is the
> accessibility between the parks. They’re practically a
> single park, and it was very easy to ride coasters, cool
> off briefly, then head straight back to the rides.
I like these "combo" parks because during the heat of the day, the water park draws a big crowd and keeps the coaster lines low. SFFT is great for this.
> By now, the 86 degree weather (and lack of shade) was
> starting to hit us.
86 degree weather?!?!?! Ha! Get down to Texas my friend. But I did hear the north is getting a heat wave of 100+ temperatures.
Thanks for your first TR!
Thanks for the comments. I did notice that I rarely see a Michigan's Adventure TR on here, so I'm glad I can be the one to put the park out there.
We for sure thought it was strange the park opened at 11am, but it really is a pretty small park, so operations were up and running fairly quickly, with the exception of mad mouse however.
I love my Arrow Loopers as well (all Arrows actually), but I've only been on three! Here's to getting to as many as I can before they're gone!
I'll admit, 86 degree weather isn't so bad, it was actually quite nice, but the last week, we've been in the mid 90s and it's not going away. The humidity is what hits you up here, but hey, it's better than rain and snow, so I'll take it.
Thanks for the feedback ya'll!
I enjoyed your trip report. I did not go to Michigan's Adventure in 2011, but I have been there every year prior. You obviously picked a great day to go to the park, because some days are better than others. It just depends on how busy it is, and trust, me, it's not fun waiting in long lines at Michigan's Adventure, especially considering the lack of shade. Even though, the park has tried to make it better.
I was kind of confused though on your comment about the family raft rides in the back of the park. Unless they have changed the rafts, you can fit 4 adults in those rafts even 5. And, I agree with you 100 percent that they need to find a way to get the rafts to the slide entrance without guests having to carry them, on funnel of fear as well. If it's very crowded, like the line for the funnel of fear, sometimes you can't see small children that are hidng behind the rafts, or getting ahead of their party. My friend was messing with me, by bouncing the tube off my head, and knocked over a 6 year old kid. Lucky he didn't fall down the stairs. I think it's very unsafe, and one step away from injury. But all three are excellent rides.
I also find it odd that Corkscrew often has a long line, and it's not that exciting. If I can see that the line is out of the station, I don't bother with it. I also skip the Mad Mouse if the line is long as well. But, the coaster that can have the worst line in the park is the Wolverine Wildcat, which can be as long as 2 hours. They really need to add another train to it. They have greatly improved the Wildcat over the years though, the double down drop was very brutal, and the whole ride was once Mean Streak ruin. Now it's actually a very decent ride.
Your comments about Shivering Timbers were almost identical to mine, only I try not to ride in the back of the train. The shaking in the final helix makes me wish there was a dentist in the station so I can have my teeth checked afterwards. The rest of the ride is awesome! I think it would be really cool if they placed a tunnel over the trick track...really dark. I think it would freak first time riders out!
As for Thunderhawk. The last time I rode, it was also a walk on, but I have been there when the wait was 50 minutes. But, that was because it was kind of cold, and most people were riding the rides, and the water park was almost empty. So, it depends on what the weather is like. Also I think Thunderhawks location has a lot to do with it's que. It's pretty much the only ride on that side of the park worth the wait.
Grand Rapids is a decent ride, but I can't stand the rafts! They need to get rafts with seatbacks! They would have an easier time seating guests, and not have to figure out how to sandwich people into the rafts with a 2 hour plus wait. I also don't enjoy riding right next to someone's snot nosed kid. Or getting an elbow to the face at every turn. Nice ride, but would be better with different rafts.
At any rate, my last couple visits to the park were pretty decent. Light crowds, and lots of ride time. However, on some days the park is PACKED!! and you can hardly get rides on anything. Whatever you do...don't go on a Saturday! Also, for those of you reading this who have not been to the park. be ready for sticker shock, as food, and parking is expensive. Ithink parking has gone up to $10.00 this year, which as far as I am concerned is robbery!
I also wanted to comment on the park's hours. During Peak season the park is usually open for 10 a.m until 9 during the week, and then 10 a.m until 10 p.m on Saturday and Sunday. But, I have been at the park when they started closing the rides early, at 8 even though the park is supposed to be open until 9 or 10. Cedar Point does that too, but, keeps it's most popular rides open so that everyone who is in line at closing time can get a final ride. I think MA closes them early because of it's location in a fairly residential area, and if I recall, they had to get some kind of permit, so they could stay open until 10. Some days in the early season they are only open until 5. But still charge the same admission price!!! With limited services and no water park!
* This Post Has Been Modified *
I did notice that the water park is a bit unorganized with its lines. Funnel of Fear seems to start its line right in the middle of the kiddy area.
Corkscrew was never more than maybe a 5 train wait when I went this summer, although I had gone in the first 30 minutes of the park opening, so crowds were still light. I think it's a fun little ride, and I will ride at least once each time I go. Wolverine Wildcat, however, is in dire need of a second train. I really enjoy that ride, but that line moves awfully slow.
I would LOVE to see some tunnels on Timbers at the bottom of some of those big ol' drops. The excitement level on that ride is already sky-high, but I think tunnels would really give it the edge.
Yes, parking was $10 this year, on top of a $27 ticket.
I'm not sure how residential the area is. It seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but I'm not familiar with the Muskegon area so I may be wrong.
Thanks for your comments! I'm lookin' forward to gettin' back out there in a few months.
The park has certainly changed a lot since I've started going there in 2004. As it is my home park, being a little over a 1/2 hour away, it's just a great little park that really not many people know about it outside of the Michigan area.
Wolverine Wildcat doesn't have any trim brakes in the course, just 1 before the final turn, to make braking it a lot easier (manual button, not automatic) and to put less wear and tear on that turn. What you think is a trim are anti-rollbacks to stop the train at the top of the hill if it doesn't have enough momentum to make it over. A lot of the old wooden coasters built before CAD have them. Actually was the first coaster built from scratch by Dinn Corporation and designed by Curtis D. Summers. A 2nd train is possible, but it needs a full refurbishment that includes an automatic system, 2nd brake run and transfer track. I see it happening sooner rather than later, just because the attendance numbers have at least quadrupled since 1988 when the coaster was built, but it'd be up to Cedar Fair whether or not they want to spend that much money on a coaster like that in a park of that size. Same thing with the trim brake on Timbers, was added before the helix because there was just too much stress being put on the support structure and it was becoming very painful too. I think it made the helix a whole lot more better, was really the only flaw that I saw on Timbers.
I'm hoping with FastLane coming to the park and the new ADA requirements, the queues and exits are redone on some rides to accommodate those and be up to code. At least with some of the other Cedar Fair parks, they're converting the single-riders lines to FastLane, but MiAd doesn't have any. 2012 looks like it's going to be a quiet year with just general improvements, nothing major. Hoping 2013 does at least bring something to the park.
I don't hear many trip reports from people about MiAd, just because of the location and it being a small park. You sounded like you had a great time too, since this last summer was blistering hot on a few days. Hope you visit again!
I will certainly be back. Since discovering MA, I'll finally have a home park closer than Cedar Point (4 hours away) and King's Island (5 hours away). I'll have my apartment at school in Grand Rapids for the next couple years so I'll be able to shoot up US31 anytime. I'm thinking season tickets this year!
As for the Wildcat, I do know about the anti-rollback devices at the crest of the hills, but the ride just felt slow over the double-up/double-down element that I figured there was a trim somewhere. I believe I'd only ridden 3 times that day and I wasn't looking for a trim. Thanks for the info about that last trim before the final turn though.
As far as park improvements, I'd like to see a single rider line on Timbers since I plan to make a few solo trips this summer, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary on any other rides. Maybe on a second large coaster in the future, but with the existing coasters, I don't think it would be utilized much.
Thanks for the comments.