USA 06/23 – Biloxi + Tropic Falls
Time to hit the road proper. We passed though many States on our travels the next day and ideally would have liked to pick up a little something from each. Louisiana immediately put a stopper to that plan, as their one ‘significant park’ with a Boomerang had opted only to open their water park in 2023, a narrow escape I’m sure. The only currently operating coaster up for grabs in the entire state runs on weekends only, of which this was not.
Mississippi then. Specifically, Biloxi. A good looking, up and coming seaside resort by the appearance of all things cred related at the very least. First stop here was
Day 5 – Big Play Entertainment Center
They’ve got all sorts going on here, but naturally we just wanted the coasters. Having arrived a little before anything was running we scoped them out and then acquired a piece of plastic from the ticket desk with enough value to score these.
#1 Biloxi Beach Hurricane, a fairly fresh SBF Visa Cyclon, from which the operator asked us to recall the events of Final Destination 3.
And the cold, hard steel of #2 Tornado.
Too easy. Further up the coast is
Paradise Pier Fun Park
Didn’t realise until now that this entire place was brand new this year. It certainly looked fresh.
The draw, if you can call it that, is one of those half-hamster SBF spinners, by the name of #3 Rolling Thunder. I’d not encountered one on this track layout before, which was simply their regular ‘two loop’ but scaled up in all dimensions. The hamster wheels were of course declined. +1
Next along was Alabama, the most significant contributor to the day.
A.k.a. the Park at OWA, this place is nestled in a shopping district hub, with other such leisure things on offer. We headed to the main event first, only for it to break down immediately.
And so it was dark ride time. Though generic looking on the outside Mystic Mansion was actually really good.
If you’re familiar with the Boo Blaster rides found elsewhere in the country, this is the self-claimed version 2.0 of those. It runs off of the same Boocifer theme but is enhanced with some impressively neat special effects as well as an amped up ending sequence with intimidating boss battles. A class act all round.
Back outside was #4 Crazy Mouse. It happened.
Then we had another attempt at the second coaster named Rollin’ Thunder of the day. It was only running a single 9-seater car and progress was slow even though the park was mostly empty. It broke down, again.
Meanwhile, dusting off the rest of the park – another classic from the Zamperla catalogue by the name of #5 Southern Express.
Now, broken or otherwise, all that was left to do was camp out my first ever Thunderbolt until it happened. I was intrigued. Eventually, it did.
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with the restraint design on #6 Rollin’ Thunder. They’ve combined the collar bone crushing vests of an S&S Free Spin with a bulky lap bar that comes down overhead towards your knees first, and then hinges from that point down the remainder of your thighs.
And that’s where the main issue with the ride lies. It’s the comfort of the trains, rather than the track, which let it down. Not sure why but I was expecting the opposite. It has moments of hilarity, in that the opening vertical drop has a trim on it. The car responds to this in a somewhat awkward car crash fashion, jolting you forward like a bad Skyrush.
It does some cool stuff, I can’t deny the flow of the layout, which is a fun linear mix of inversions and airtime. The former ride rather well, but the latter again are killed by the restraints as you get quite a violent rather than controlled burst of upwards motion through each, taken directly to the knee and clavicle.
I’d even go so far as to say I’m rather taken by the look of it all. That’s a nice piece of track that. On-board it’s mainly comedy however, another trim delivers the most ungracious sensation just after the crest of one of the airtime hills too, one that really makes you think ‘why there?’
Nevertheless there’s an unrefined charm to the ride and it’s comforting to know things can always be worse – I could well have hated it. But I didn’t.
The remainder of our journey skimmed us through the very end of Florida’s panhandle and back up into the depths of Alabama. We had considered going harder and picking up another couple of SBFs down that way that were open until 11pm, but sense got the better of us. There was a much more important day ahead and a time zone border that wasn’t working in our favour. Creds before breads for sure, but creds before beds is getting more questionable over the years.