TR: I-X Indoor Amusement Park & other stuff (3/24-25/2012)

TR: I-X Indoor Amusement Park & other stuff (3/24-25/2012)

Post by GodsOnSafar » Wed, 28 Mar 2012 12:33:16


(just for the record: I do have a blog I'll eventually upload pictures
to at http://SportToday.org/ where this and other
trip reports are getting posted, but I still like to keep posting the
fully on topic stuff here)

After being cooped up in the house for the better part of two months,
it was time to hit the road again and do something exciting and
different. This would be both of our first visits to the I-X Center by
Cleveland Airport - a necessary respite from the cold winter months
for us. We'd get to stay at a hotel, eat some food, and relax along
with hit a lot of different rides. We also wanted to do some touring
on the way.

Our driving plan had us pass through Port Clinton and Sandusky; two of
our regular obvious stops in Ohio. We made a stop in Cheesehaven and
made purchases there to enjoy back home in Michigan (local wine and
snacks), then continued over to the Marblehead Lighthouse. This was
not a particularly good day for a visit, unfortunately, due to heavy
fog in the area that prevented anyone from having a view of Cedar
Point across the water.

Our most momentous stop occurred at the location of the now defunct
Prehistoric Forest in Sandusky. After closing permanently for the 2011
season, we noticed a number of "open" signs and what looked to be a
bit of a garage sale going on. In fact, while some strange personal
effects were being sold off (radio controlled helicopters, an Amiga,
several fog machines) there was also sale of items from the park. We
made the purchase of a large 4-5 foot long metal park sign to use in
our ba***t. The person manning the desk indicated that this would be
something that would be going on throughout the summer.

Following our big purchase, we drove to Dianna's in Sandusky for
lunch, along with a trip by Cedar Point Dr. and the Causeway to visit
the park. If you're interested in snooping around and seeing anything,
3 of the Paddleboat Excursion vehicles are parked in the employee
parking lot across from Commons. As of right now, there's not a lot of
security. Actually, there rarely is over that way. So if you want to
take 5 minutes and go have someone take pictures of yourself at the
controls for one, you're probably in luck.

Having rung the fun out of Sandusky, we bolted for Cleveland. Our
hotel for the evening was the Sheraton Cleveland Airport, which is a
rather old airport hotel that appears to date from the 1960s/early 70s
- our room was small, windows were extremely small for a hotel of this
class, the bathroom was small and looked partially renovated - fake
tile by the shower/tub combo, then the sink still featured a razor
slot. The hotel lobby and meeting room areas were freshly renovated
and looked very nice - the restaurant downstairs had a sort of art
deco design aesthetic - but overall, this was probably the least
impressive Starwood property we've yet stayed in. Even with the
markedly mediocre surroundings, we chose to stay in at the hotel,
enjoy room service, the club floor lounge, and to relax in room.

We woke up bright and early the following morning and chose to do
precious little with our energy. We ate breakfast up at the club floor
again, yes, but otherwise we sat in the room, read the Sunday morning
paper, I watched the fights on HBO from the night before, and so on.
We were in no rush whatsoever to get to the I-X Center early, but we
did anyhow, arriving around 10:30PM to do little more than sit in the
car until the doors to the building were opened.

-I-X Indoor Amu***t Park-

For over 20 years, the enormous tank/plane factory turned convention
center in Cleveland has featured a number of rides brought in from
multiple carnival companies - Amu***t of America and Bates brought
the majority of big pieces, and some independent stuff was booked in
as well. In recent years, the number of attractions has gone down and
the number of days the park is open for business has been similarly
reduced. There's a number of reasons - the location of the I-X Center
is away from more of the populated and growing suburbs of the
Cleveland-Akron metro area, the outdoor amu***t world has changed
with the increase in cost of gas, a fear of gang activity bothering
families, and so on. Even with all the reductions, the indoor
amu***t park features 2 *** roller coasters, 2 kiddie roller
coasters, and a more substantial and impressive collection of flat
rides than some major themers. There's food, free entertainment, a
mini golf course, and a huge ferris wheel.

The first thing that grabs one as they enter is the absolute size and
scope of the I-X Center itself. It is an enormous complex with over a
million square feet of exhibition space, much of which was utilized
for the carnival set up in the West hall. Trip reports I've read in
the past indicated that the rides were set up in rows - this is
somewhat true based on our experience. The layout this time has the
main entrance way and exit split up from one another; you enter in and
pass a short row of attractions (Quadzilla, a sort of out in the open
tracked dark ride, a carousel, and a strange antique car attraction)
which are split from the rest of the facility by a curtain.

Rounding the curtain to the right, one enters the main "amu***t
park", which has a sort of kiddie/junior ride area in a square pattern
and leads into a long center "midway" of food. *** rides then wing
out right and left, but none of them are set in such a manner that,
like at a traditional fairgrounds with long midways, one must walk a
great distance to get to the other side of that row. There was quite a
bit of empty space, which could be the result of not having as many
rides as once were in the past. Throughout the floor one finds
passageways to ba***t bathrooms, and there's also facilities not far
from the exit that are on the same level. Another level of complexity
is added with a kid specific area in a different wing. We didn't look
too hard, but there was signage for it as well as some rides and a
children's walk through quite apparent from outside.

Our immediate interest lie with the roller coasters. We chose on this
trip not to *** ourselves out for the Wacky Worm and Dragon Wagon -
while we could have, it just seemed a little weird.

--------------------------

COASTERS:

G-Force (A#608/M#296): We were the first riders of the day on this
coaster, a weird sort of highlight. Bates Brothers Amu***ts, for the
uninitiated, also effectively owns A.R.M. Manufacturing, who have
become a pretty big seller in the world of portable amu***t
attractions. They're rather well known for having some of the scarier
drop towers on the circuit, but they're also responsible for the fast
selling ARM Vertigo portable swing ride (a 80 or 100ft portable
Starflyer like ride) as well as a Huss Rainbow variant. G-Force is a
sort of demonstration ride for the company - they built it, they'd
like to sell them - but as of right now, it is the only coaster like
it in the world. So, what is it?

Let's start with the track - its a U shaped shuttle coaster with a
near vertical spike that starts the ride and a slightly elongated
spike on the other half. The entire thing folds onto one trailer, but
its pretty tall. With the platform its on, the taller spike is
probably well over 53 ft up. The ride is entirely gravity based, with
the train being brought back up the taller spike via bogey and then
being released to coast between the two spikes. And then there's the
trains - floorless wingrider style trains. Yes, Ohio already has a
wingrider. In fact, this is the third year (to my knowledge) that the
good people of Bates have operated it.

Onto the ride itself: I rode in the same seat during both rides - the
release was easily the best part, but the construction of the ride and
the way it folds out means there isn't a lot of stiffness to the
spikes, and with the significant sway, you get tracking issues and the
ride is frankly a bit rough for moving in a straight line. But it is
absolutely bizarre. Maybe the most bizarre coaster I've ever been on.

Crazy Mouse: My wife and I rode this at the Ohio State Fair a few
months prior - the ride belongs to Amu***ts of America. It was
operating far better here at the I-X Center.

--------------------------

At this point, our friend CoasterBob was about to arrive. We did some
walking around, rode the Yo-Yo, and then met up with him. We'd go on
to ride the ARM drop tower and we all headed over to the Cirque
Shanghai for some base level entertainment.

Honestly, for a free show at a indoor carnival, the Cirque Shanghai
was pretty impressive. It wasn't some sort of artistic marvel - really
the acts were for the most part rather standard. There was a tightrope
act, some gymnastics type stuff, aerial silk, and then some really big
impressive stuff. The last two acts included a pretty exciting spin
with the Wheel of Death and for the finale - the Globe of Death with
four motorcycle riders. I still contend that some of the luster of
these things has been removed in the X-Games world of today, but to
see it in person is to still see and feel the danger that these acts
very seriously provide. It doesn't have the artistic flair of a Cirque
Du Soleil show certainly, but makes up for many of those things it
lacks in thrills.

With our time at the freebie circus over, it was back to riding. Bob
hadn't been on the coasters, and so I ended up re-riding with him on
both *** coasters on the lot. He was pleased with the spinning mouse
(his first) and thought the G-Force was, at best, odd. After that, it
was on to things that spun in a variety of directions. No funhouses on
this trip though - almost all of them were an upcharge of $1. Also an
upcharge: The ancient rocket ship styled simulator attraction, a la
Dutch Wonderland. ...

read more »

 
 
 

TR: I-X Indoor Amusement Park & other stuff (3/24-25/2012)

Post by David Sandbor » Mon, 02 Apr 2012 02:44:03

I've heard of this place for years.  I don't know why I never quite
managed to get there; it seems like it would be a good place to shake
off the off-season blues.  It would have been a good year for it, but
our off-season is almost over anyway.

In article

Quote:

> For over 20 years, the enormous tank/plane factory turned convention
> center in Cleveland has featured a number of rides brought in from
> multiple carnival companies - Amu***t of America and Bates brought
> the majority of big pieces, and some independent stuff was booked in
> as well. In recent years, the number of attractions has gone down and
> the number of days the park is open for business has been similarly
> reduced. There's a number of reasons - the location of the I-X Center
> is away from more of the populated and growing suburbs of the
> Cleveland-Akron metro area, the outdoor amu***t world has changed
> with the increase in cost of gas, a fear of gang activity bothering
> families, and so on.

Do you think there's any danger of it eventually not opening or
shrinking to something not worth traveling for?  I would certainly want
to make an effort to go one of these years if I think it's eventually
going to disappear.  It's just like a permanent park that's in danger;
I'd kick myself if I missed the opportunity.

Quote:
> G-Force (A#608/M#296): We were the first riders of the day on this
> coaster, a weird sort of highlight. Bates Brothers Amu***ts, for the
> uninitiated, also effectively owns A.R.M. Manufacturing, who have
> become a pretty big seller in the world of portable amu***t
> attractions. They're rather well known for having some of the scarier
> drop towers on the circuit, but they're also responsible for the fast
> selling ARM Vertigo portable swing ride (a 80 or 100ft portable
> Starflyer like ride) as well as a Huss Rainbow variant. G-Force is a
> sort of demonstration ride for the company - they built it, they'd
> like to sell them - but as of right now, it is the only coaster like
> it in the world. So, what is it?

> Let's start with the track - its a U shaped shuttle coaster with a
> near vertical spike that starts the ride and a slightly elongated
> spike on the other half. The entire thing folds onto one trailer, but
> its pretty tall. With the platform its on, the taller spike is
> probably well over 53 ft up. The ride is entirely gravity based, with
> the train being brought back up the taller spike via bogey and then
> being released to coast between the two spikes. And then there's the
> trains - floorless wingrider style trains. Yes, Ohio already has a
> wingrider. In fact, this is the third year (to my knowledge) that the
> good people of Bates have operated it.

> Onto the ride itself: I rode in the same seat during both rides - the
> release was easily the best part, but the construction of the ride and
> the way it folds out means there isn't a lot of stiffness to the
> spikes, and with the significant sway, you get tracking issues and the
> ride is frankly a bit rough for moving in a straight line. But it is
> absolutely bizarre. Maybe the most bizarre coaster I've ever been on.

I never knew about this thing, but now I'm just fascinated.  I don't
know why, it seems to be the most primitive type of shuttle possible.  
Perhaps I just have a thing for bizarre rides.  It's not much of a
surprise to me that we don't see more of them.  Even the most naive
customer must realize this is a pretty primitive thing.

Quote:
> Also an
> upcharge: The ancient rocket ship styled simulator attraction, a la
> Dutch Wonderland. Why?

I'm just amazed there's another of these still around.

--
Dave Sandborg
Remove Spam-away to respond via e-mail.

 
 
 

TR: I-X Indoor Amusement Park & other stuff (3/24-25/2012)

Post by Surf Dance Chri » Mon, 02 Apr 2012 07:42:25



Quote:
> I've heard of this place for years. ?I don't know why I never quite
> managed to get there; it seems like it would be a good place to shake
> off the off-season blues. ?It would have been a good year for it, but
> our off-season is almost over anyway.

> In article


> > For over 20 years, the enormous tank/plane factory turned convention
> > center in Cleveland has featured a number of rides brought in from
> > multiple carnival companies - Amu***t of America and Bates brought
> > the majority of big pieces, and some independent stuff was booked in
> > as well. In recent years, the number of attractions has gone down and
> > the number of days the park is open for business has been similarly
> > reduced. There's a number of reasons - the location of the I-X Center
> > is away from more of the populated and growing suburbs of the
> > Cleveland-Akron metro area, the outdoor amu***t world has changed
> > with the increase in cost of gas, a fear of gang activity bothering
> > families, and so on.

> Do you think there's any danger of it eventually not opening or
> shrinking to something not worth traveling for? ?I would certainly want
> to make an effort to go one of these years if I think it's eventually
> going to disappear. ?It's just like a permanent park that's in danger;
> I'd kick myself if I missed the opportunity.

> > G-Force (A#608/M#296): We were the first riders of the day on this
> > coaster, a weird sort of highlight. Bates Brothers Amu***ts, for the
> > uninitiated, also effectively owns A.R.M. Manufacturing, who have
> > become a pretty big seller in the world of portable amu***t
> > attractions. They're rather well known for having some of the scarier
> > drop towers on the circuit, but they're also responsible for the fast
> > selling ARM Vertigo portable swing ride (a 80 or 100ft portable
> > Starflyer like ride) as well as a Huss Rainbow variant. G-Force is a
> > sort of demonstration ride for the company - they built it, they'd
> > like to sell them - but as of right now, it is the only coaster like
> > it in the world. So, what is it?

> > Let's start with the track - its a U shaped shuttle coaster with a
> > near vertical spike that starts the ride and a slightly elongated
> > spike on the other half. The entire thing folds onto one trailer, but
> > its pretty tall. With the platform its on, the taller spike is
> > probably well over 53 ft up. The ride is entirely gravity based, with
> > the train being brought back up the taller spike via bogey and then
> > being released to coast between the two spikes. And then there's the
> > trains - floorless wingrider style trains. Yes, Ohio already has a
> > wingrider. In fact, this is the third year (to my knowledge) that the
> > good people of Bates have operated it.

> > Onto the ride itself: I rode in the same seat during both rides - the
> > release was easily the best part, but the construction of the ride and
> > the way it folds out means there isn't a lot of stiffness to the
> > spikes, and with the significant sway, you get tracking issues and the
> > ride is frankly a bit rough for moving in a straight line. But it is
> > absolutely bizarre. Maybe the most bizarre coaster I've ever been on.

> I never knew about this thing, but now I'm just fascinated. ?I don't
> know why, it seems to be the most primitive type of shuttle possible.
> Perhaps I just have a thing for bizarre rides. ?It's not much of a
> surprise to me that we don't see more of them. ?Even the most naive
> customer must realize this is a pretty primitive thing.

> > Also an
> > upcharge: The ancient rocket ship styled simulator attraction, a la
> > Dutch Wonderland. Why?

> I'm just amazed there's another of these still around.

> --
> Dave Sandborg
> Remove Spam-away to respond via e-mail.

I've actually ridden that exact ride (G-Force). It played at the
Florida State Fair in Tampa in February 2008. I believe that was the
only year it played there, and I think I remember hearing it was at
IAPPA in November the year before. I never saw it or heard of it again
until now. Alan's report of it is quite accurate. Its too rough for
what it should be and its basically literally a wing coaster (I
referred to it as a 4D with stationary seats when I saw it in 2008).
Its probably the most unusual coaster I've ever seen, especially
considering its so small for an *** coaster, in addition to its
unique design style. I'd ride it again if given the chance.