Nickelodeon Universe, Mall of America, Bloomington, MN
Total Timber Tour Blog Day 9
Firstly, apologies for the delay in the last two days blogs being uploaded late – we were staying in a Microtel and their free Wi-Fi was sporadic at best!
2 mile drive from our hotel in Bloomington, MN to the Mall of America close by. The hype would have you believe it’s the largest in the States, which it may have been once – the gumph says its 540 stores and attracts 40 million visitors a year. Yes it’s big, but a lot of the stores are small and it doesn’t take that long to walk a circuit on one level.
What’s this got to do with a coaster tour? Well, they needed something to fill the middle of the mall, so added a ride park. Now called Nickelodeon Universe, it’s quite a major attraction, with 3 good sized coasters.
Their latest coaster, the Rock Bottom Plunge, has a vertical lift hill and a 95 degree first drop (beyond vertical). It packs quite a lot into a very small footprint. Again, we were very well looked after by the park and stayed for 3 hours trying out the various attractions.
A long 406 mile drive south through Iowa and Des Moines and back into Missouri, staying in Kansas City, MO. More about our choice of accommodation here tomorrow!
On our way through Des Moines, we passed a park called Adventureland, which was closed. We already knew this but couldn’t resist a photo opportunity for the blog. The park season here is a lot shorter than other parts of the world, mainly due to the ‘unofficial’ summer here in the States finishing on Labor Day (1st Monday in September) and the parks’ heavy reliance on students for operations. With the colleges opening for the Autumn/Fall term, the parks tend to be closed weekdays at the end of August. This was quite a determining factor in the route of this trip, ensuring the coasters that had to be ticked off were visited when the parks were open! It’s sort of worked in our favour as a couple of days when nothing close by is open at the beginning of September we have the opportunity to rack up some major mileage!
Adventureland is home to one of the best coaster legends in recent times. During a coaster club trip in 1999, all members were telling each other to get to Outlaw, their latest coaster, as soon as possible as something special was occurring. What followed is beyond belief, but it did happen as we both became part of it, and fellow enthusiast David Ellis has the video to prove it. The operator on Outlaw, Dennis we think his name was, decided to have some fun with us British and give us a couple of laps of the coaster for the price of one. Bear in mind this was not exclusive riding time, but us and Jo Public riding together. So far, nothing too out of the ordinary except… he was adding the second lap by turning off all braking – final brake run and the station! Each time he did it, the train completed a normal circuit, flew through the brake run, around a 160 degree left bend (with no banking), through the station into a tight 90 degree turn, over some bunny hops, around a tight 160 degree right bend (with no banking) and had enough momentum to fly ½ way up the lift hill under it’s own steam – just amazing. Once the park got wind of what fun we were having, a supervisor came to the ride and Dennis quit there and then, walking off the ride to rapturous applause by us all. One of those ‘never-to-be-repeated’ experiences we were lucky enough to both be part of.
We’re on our way to Texas now – and should have a nice surprise for you all tomorrow!