TR: Indiana Beach, 8/10/12

TR: Indiana Beach, 8/10/12

Post by sharondbon » Fri, 17 Aug 2012 07:49:15

Trip Report: Indiana Beach, 8/10/2012

We went to Chicago for a few days, then stopped at Indiana Beach for 2
nights. I haven't been there since the Hoosier Hurricane opened.

We stayed at the Beach House Inn, which was a great location at a not
so great price. I think we paid $95 for Thursday night and $125 for
Friday for a small room with 2 double beds. The room was small but
clean and typically decorated for a budget mid-west hotel. They
supplied soap but not shampoo, which I thought was odd. The one huge
advantage of the room was that we were in the park, so it was easy to
go back and forth.

We checked in about 7:00 and decided to go back into Monticello and
see what possibilities there were for dinner, rather than eating park
food. We ended up at the Harvest Time family restaurant on US 24, just
a little past the McDonald's. It was a typical fairly good food at a
decent price midwest restaurant. Then we went back to the park and
started to walk around but it started raining, so we just went back to
the room. Within 15 minutes (about 9:15) there was lightning and a
tornado warning, so that got the park shut down.

The next morning we cobbled together breakfast from leftover Chicago
pizza and Pop Tarts. The Skyroom did not open for breakfast until 9:00
and they only had coffee in the lobby of the Inn. We were scheduled to
sit through a "presentation" from Ideal Premier Resorts. Matt thought
that we would learn things about what they planned to do with the
park; I thought it would also include a sales pitch or be mostly
pitch. I was right.

First, the "bus" that would take us to their presentation was an
employee's old ratty car. Then we had to register and watch a video
about Morgan RV parks. Then came the sales pitch. The guy did a good
job but really, people have to be idiots to be talked into a
presentation that lasts for an hour, after which they commit to
spending $13,248 plus $550 per year maintenance. After the soft sell,
then they brought in the hard sell "manager" but we shut him down
pretty quickly. Luckily, our ride back arrived within 10 minutes or we
would have walked. If we can hike from the Willis Tower in Chicago out
to Navy Pier in one shot, we can handle hiking back from their sales
location to the park (would have been about a mile or so.)

We heard from soft sell salesman Matt that the Beach House Inn and
most of the onsite accommodations were going to be removed in the next
year. But then we heard from hard sell sales manager Dave that no, the
public will still be able to stay there. So there is still confusion
about what exactly is going to happen with everything. However, we did
walk out with a certificate that entitles us to 2 nights in a Morgan
RV accommodation for our next visit well see if that only equates
to tent camping on a pad in the NASCAR RV park across the road J

Got back, watched a little bit of Olympics in the room, then we headed
out. The rides were just starting up at 11, so we walked down and got
ride wristbands. I think we were overcharged - the people at the Inn
had said they would be $22 but we were charged the regular $24.95
price. Then she wanted to charge us for the waterpark, which should
have been free for us. We just paid for rides and later got the Inn to
add the waterpark onto the bands. Then we walked down to the end of
the park.

The park appears to be in good shape, but could use some sprucing up.
New paint jobs would make a world of difference. One good thing is
that there wasn't any garbage cluttering up along the sides of the
walking areas. Everything appeared to be clean and maintained.

Ben spotted the ropes Challenge Course in the Adventure Point area,
but it turned out that they weren't opening AP until 1:00, so we did
the Sky Ride over to the other end. They were only filling every other
chair but the park was mainly deserted at that time so there wasn't a
line. The biggest crowds that day were the 2 middle school band kids
who were all wearing matching shirts. Later in the day it looked like
more regular people arrived and the park ended up with a nice sized,
though small, crowd in the evening.

We walked over to the Hoosier Hurricane but they were still doing
maintenance testing and the gate was closed. But Rocky's Rapids was
open, so we did the log ride. It was fun but did not get you wet, just
a misting. When we got off, the gate to HH was open and some people
were heading into the coaster station, so we went in. When we got to
the loading area, the train was just coming in and the attendant said
that if we were willing to wait, it would open soon. After about a
minute, the mother and daughter ahead of us gave up and so we were
first in line. After about a half minute, the attendant opened the
ride and Matt and I took front seat and Ben took the back.

HH was running well, and it wasn't raining yet so it was a better ride
than my last visit, where all the rides were in the rain. It was a bit
rough, but I couldn't see any specific problem areas with it, so it
seems to be well maintained. It just needs some paint touch ups, like
the rest of the park. And 1 seat was roped off. It was also one of the
rides that had a long dispatch, since the attendant was waiting until
it was full, so we sat in the station for a long time. I don't think
we filled the whole train on the first ride, but later rides seemed to
be full.

Ben wanted to do Tig'rr so we headed over there. The flying scooters
were not running and did not run all day. We waited in a short line
(only 2 cars operating) and we were next to go when the rain started
again. The operator shut it down and covered the other brake run with
a mat. It also looked like they shut down Cornball Express, so since
it was noon, we joined the crowds of band kids in Noble Romans for
pizza.

After lunch (rain stopped, sun out) we headed back to Tig'rr but it
had a slightly longer line. We stuck it out while Ben whined that he
didn't think it was worth the wait and it was too loud. Then we rode
and now Ben loved it. It seemed to be pretty zippy that day but I
don't have much to compare it to. Would have been better if they could
fix up 1 or both of the other cars that were sitting there waiting for
maintenance.

Because it was right there, we did Cornball Express next and we loved
it. I loved the tight layout that weaves through the park and the HH.
I wish it had been longer, though. Matt and Ben also loved it. It was
also rough but seemed to be running well, so it seems like on some of
the bigger rides they might be keeping up with maintenance. This would
be an improvement over some of the other comments I've seen about
Morgan and their maintenance. I don't recall seeing any roped off
seats but I'm not sure.

Next was a sky ride back down to the Adventure Point area, since it
was well after the 1:00 opening. We also wanted to do the zip line,
but found out that AP is a $10 upcharge. Since all I really wanted to
do was zip, only Matt and Ben paid for the upgrade on their
wristbands. There was nothing on any signs about paying only for zip
rides. I walked with them across the bridge to see the launch platform
and then stayed on the bridge to watch them go. It looks like fun and
there wasn't any line - they just walked up the stairs at the platform
and went.

Then after the zip line, they both did the ropes Challenge Course.
This is 2 levels of various ropes, platforms, wooden planks, etc. that
you maneuver around while hooked into a safety line that hooks into a
permanent metal safety rail system via channels. The channels allow
the end of your line to travel with you, and they have junction points
where you can switch and maneuver them from one side to the other. For
example, on the left side of the section might be a tightrope with
overhead ropes to hang onto but the right side has plank bridge. You
are on the left but you can switch over to the right by maneuvering
your safety harness into the right channel. Each section looked about
20 feet long and they had 2 or 3 different challenges in each. The one
safety rule is that 1 person is the only person on a challenge in a
section at a time. The upper course had about 4 sections, and the
lower course had about 6. You can stay in there as long as you want,
which was about a half hour in our case. You have to unhook at the
bottom of the end and hook back into the bottom of the beginning.
Halfway up you decide whether to use the channel that goes onto the
lower level, or go into the channel that goes up the stairs to the
upper level.

The other option in AP is a small climbing wall, but we skipped it. We
decided to do the Giant Wheel while we were down there. I saw when
walking around down there that there is only 1 small remnant left of
the old mini-golf course - one lone little hole that you had to putt
uphill to get to the cup, which is now covered with a stopper. While
we were walking up to the Giant Wheel, it started sprinkling again.
Because there weren't that many people down at that end of the park,
we had the wheel all to ourselves. And also because the sprinkles
turned into rain, again. But the wheel was fun and it seemed to be
running fairly fast for a pod car wheel.

We walked back to the other end and did the Galaxi and it. waasss.
ssslllloooooowwwwww. But weirdly fun. On the way out we fed the carp
at the end of the walkway. There were some there that were obviously
good at catching the food because they were huge. We walked past
Frankenstein's Castle and the Den of Lost Thieves and eventually ended
up at the end of the park, where we did the Double Shot.

We faced the lake and were the only ones riding. It was a great ride
and Ben wanted to do it over and over - he took 2 more turns facing
the park. Then they wanted to go to the waterpark, so we walked back
over to the room and they got changed and we had our wristbands
upgraded. I did not want to do the waterpark, even though I came
prepared with swimsuit and water shoes, because did I mention that
high temp that day ended up being 71, with a 15 mph sustained wind
gusting to 23 mph? I sat on a lounge chair with an umbrella for
awhile, then headed back out into the park.

I really, really wanted to do Frankenstein's Castle and I was willing
to pay the $3.50 upcharge. However, I just couldn't do it. It was
pitch black in there for me. I couldn't see anything, even allowing
time for my eyes to adjust. I could hear stuff, and reach out and feel
walls, but that was it. It was exactly like when we go caving, and for
fun we have everyone turn their lights out. So I backed up and went
through an exit door and the attendant turned on a few lights. But
they were just little yellow safety lights and it still made
absolutely no difference, so I just gave up at one point and went back
out through the exit door. I didnt ask for my money back because you
know that portrait in the waiting area, the one with the old time
photo of the woman that turns into a skull when you turn your head? I
swear the woman manning the ticket booth was that same woman, it
literally looked just like her.

Matt and Ben also weren't interested in the Den of Lost Thieves, but
when I saw that it was a Sally-style shooting ride, I decided to wait
for them to do it. I didn't want to sit with nothing to do in the
waterpark, so I went back to the room and watched "The Haunting" on
Animal Planet (appropriate for what I just tried to :-) and then
"Dirty Jobs" (Mike Rowe finds out that working in a sugar cane plant
isn't always sweet :-)

Matt and Ben returned when the waterpark closed at 6:00 and we hung
out watching Mike Rowe get dirty for awhile. They said the waterpark
was fun but cold and windy - so windy that you really had to hang on
to your tubes at the top of the slides.

We went over to the Skyroom for dinner. I've heard they've remodeled
it, but it's still a lovely old relic of the 1960's inside. They do
have pretty good food for a decent price considering you are in the
park. They steak tips and blue cheese dinner salad I had was really
good. I don't know how much outside business they still get. After
dinner, it was time to catch up on rides we hadn't done yet (but not
until Ben got 2 more rides on Double Shot).

First was the bumper cars, which were amazingly fun. They were running
fast and we were ducking in and out between the pillars, while still
going counter-clockwise. It was easy to catch up and nail your target.
An "it's running fast" theme seemed to be developing.

Then we did the Den of Lost Thieves. That had the 2nd longest line of
the night. They were running 4 cars but I'm not sure if that's the
upper limit or not. It was fun but a lot of the targets were not
operating. Ben won over me, 350 to 210, and Matt had fun shooting with
both hands in a car by himself (200 right hand, 390 left hand but he's
not left handed.) I liked the ride and wish that they could get those
targets operating. Some of the set pieces had no targets operating.
The other problem is that the safety equipment also has red lights, so
I kept trying to shoot them.

After the Den, Ben wanted to win an Angry Bird at one of the games
across the way but he didn't want to pay us back the $12 it would have
cost to have him get one (2 people play 1 game at $3 each, which wins
him an ugly tie, then 2 people play another game at $3 each to trade
the tie for the bird he wanted.) And yet he paid $15+tax for one at
the Adler Planetarium just a few days before that. Oh well.

Ben wanted to do the Paratrooper, so he and I rode (Matt's stomach
won't take it.) Oh wow, does that thing move! I've never experienced
airtime on a Paratrooper before this one. They were running it so fast
that you had the tiniest bit of airtime as you went over the top
point.

None of us wanted to do the Scrambler but Matt and I wanted to do the
Antique Cars. Ben whined the whole time because it was the slowest
line of the night. But I pointed out to him that I waited a half hour
for him to do the Challenge Course, so he could wait one ride for me.
He accepted that. This is one of the rides where they do pictures, so
we made sure that we were in the back kissing, while Ben drove and
looked angry. Yes, we had to buy that one. And it again started to
rain while we were on it, but since it was sunset, we got off just as
a beautiful full-arc rainbow was in the east over the lake. It only
lasted for a few minutes but I got a phone camera shot of one leg and
the lit-up Giant Wheel.

And heres another issue with the park why is it so crappily
lighted? They could have this incredibly beautiful park at night. Just
put more classic lights on rides instead of spotlights. The Giant
Wheel was gorgeous at night (even with a lot of lights missing) but
that was the best thing.

The rain this time was rather hard, so Ben went down to try to
Challenge Course again while Matt and I waited under the awning by the
cars. Soon Ben came back, angry that they shut it down for rain just
as he was getting harnessed in. He was very angry and didn't want to
do anything else. So we said fine, be that way. Don't ride anything
else. The rain eventually stopped and we walked down to see if the
little yellow submarine ride (Splash Battle) or LoCoSuMo were finally
operating.

No, neither one. There were no signs that any work is being done on
LoCoSuMo, it was just not operating. We were really disappointed but
my bet is that they just don't want to have the workforce to keep that
many big rides operating. From what I understand, it's a pervasive
problem but I'm not sure whether that just started when Morgan
purchased them. Since we hadn't done Steel Hawg yet, we turned around
and dragged angry Ben with us.

Back with SH are the Swings (so no, they are not over the water) and
Music Express, 2 rides that Ben loves and one that he doesn't (the
upside down looping coaster.) So we left him with instructions to stay
in the area - we didn't want to leave him with the temptation of
running back to Double Shot. Matt and I did SH and it was so worth the
wait. The upside down parts are not that intense to us, but we both
loved the negative degree first drop. Then the swooping parts are
great - it's a better ride for us than Firehawk at KI. We tried to
talk Ben into it by saying that it was like they put inversions on
Diamondback, but he said no. But he loved the swings and Music Express
- both are running at what looks to be top speed. They just need to
fix the lights on both - they both looked pretty sad.

So my knees were done with steps for the day, so I went back to the
room and took Aleve and watched Olympics while Matt and Ben went back
out and did Double Shot, sky ride, Challenge Course, sky ride, and
finally Double Shot again. On the sky ride, Matt walked down below
while Ben rode - and Matt kept outpacing him.

Checked out the next morning and hit McD's for breakfast. We headed
south on Indiana route 43 so we got to skirt the east side of the
Fowler Indiana wind farm, which is cool.

I really like this park and agree with others that it has so much
potential. But on our Friday visit, there were so many rides not
operating, but not appearing like they had anything wrong with them

- Big Flush water slides
- Flying Scooters
- The Flying Bobs
- Splash Battle
- Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain (darn it!)

There is also an empty pad out over the lake down by Adventure Point,
which I assume was once the home for the Swings but is just empty. It
will be interesting to see where Morgan RV takes this park. We
speculated that the following will happen in the next 5 to 10 years:

- Morgan will tear down the older motel accommodations and cabins but
leave the Beach House Inn. It will also force all the other resort
properties to close which are now on its land (but Im not sure where
the boundaries are.) They've already brought in a huge number of
trailers for more accommodations.

- Theyll close the parking lot at the northern end of the park and
have everyone come in through the south lot and the suspension bridge.

- After they get things cleaned out, theyll convert all of that land
to RV pads. Youll pay a premium to get a spot there, as opposed to
NASCAR across the street.

- Theyll jack up the prices for non-Morgan patrons. More upcharges
possible for what you want to do. But people staying on Morgan
properties will get the upcharge stuff for free as a perk.

- They could conceivably move Steel Hawg, Swings, and maybe Music
Express to make more room for more RVs. They already have a spot they
can put the Swings. Steel Hawg could actually go in the area now taken
by Big Flush and Double Shot, with maybe some pillars sunk into the
lake if needed. Then I can see them selling Music Express and the Big
Flush to some other park, and move Double Shot somewhere, like maybe
inside the turnaround loop of HH.

Sharon "we fought the rain and the rain sort of won" Bond