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The Midway Rides Worth Your Dollar

15August 2021

Beach Party

Six gondolas sit on a revolving hub and swing up to 120 degrees.

  • Dad (then 40): Like a burlier, sideways Tilt-a-Whirl. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter (then 8): But worse! Thumbs up.

Cliff Hanger

Riders lie parallel with the ground as the ride revolves and tilts.

  • Dad: It kinda feels like you’re flying and constantly about to hit the ground. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: It’s higher and better than Valleyfair’s! Thumbs up.

Downdraft

This fast-moving ride rotates riders in a circle while propelling them in an outward motion.

  • Dad: That was a really tight space, and a ton of centrifugal force. I don’t feel so good. Your call.
  • Daughter: Fast and furious. Thumbs up and thumbs down!

Spider

Twelve free-spinning tubs whirl around as the six spider-like arms spin and fall.

  • Dad: I did not remember this being so spinny. Gonna be sick. Thumbs down.
  • Daughter: Valleyfair’s is better. Thumbs down.

Kamikaze

Two arms that swing up progressively, in opposite directions, to the top, and are eventually completely inverted.

  • Dad: Maybe not the best thing to do after you’ve just done four spinning rides in a row. Hoooly cow. Your call.
  • Daughter: Don’t try it. Thumbs down.

Crazy Mouse

A roller coaster with hairpin turns, quick drops, and a car that spins as it wheels around the track.

  • Dad: The perfect blend of speed and hills and total discombobulation. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: I don’t know where the camera is, so smile the whole time or else your picture will be ugly! Thumbs up.

Starship 3000

In this flying saucer ride, riders stand against the wall and defy the laws of gravity as the ship spins at a mind-numbing clip.

  • Dad: One of the great rides of my youth. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: So epic because you can do a handstand or anything and you won’t fall. Thumbs up. 

Magnum

Clusters of free-swinging cars spin on an axis attached to a rotating deck. 

  • Dad: Looks pretty epic, but my wingman wasn’t tall enough again. Your call.
  • Daughter: Boo. Your call. 

Flipper

Like a sideways Tilt-a-Whirl but faster and with more intense Gs.

  • Dad: Holy crap. I’ve never done anything like that before. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: I’m going to puke, but I want to do it again. Thumbs up.

Orbiter

Pods of cars spin at the end of arms that move up and down and attach to the ride’s trunk, which is simultaneously spinning.

  • Dad: It’s like the Scrambler but on its side and faster. What’s not to like? Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: I love this ride. Thumbs up. 

Sky Flyer

AKA “the swings.”

  • Dad: I skip this one as a matter of principle, and because I have little faith my swing will stay connected to the chain. Thumbs down.
  • Daughter: Don’t do it if you’re scared of heights. Thumbs up!

Sea Ray

A giant swinging ship that ultimately puts riders upside down 50 feet high.

  • Dad: If you’re only going to ride one upside-down ride, I would say this is the one. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: Nope. Thumbs down.

Rock Star

Riders elevate 50 feet on top of a floating platform that creates a free-fall experience as it whips toward the ground.

  • Dad: At last, a ride that’s not making me puke. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: Boring. Thumbs down.

Tornado

Riders spin their own cars as the ride spins and lifts into the air at an angle.

  • Dad: An oddly relaxing spinning ride. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: You can spin really super duper fast. Thumbs up. 

Air Maxx

Eight passengers sit back-to-back while this swinging ride sweeps them back and forth to an eventual speed of 60 miles per hour and a height of 157 feet.

  • Dad: Would’ve been a thumbs up, but…
  • Daughter: …I wasn’t tall enough! I’m so mad. Your call. 

Zero Gravity

Like Starship 3000 but outside.

  • Dad: I feel a bit seen since I’m above the max height, but I do remember loving this when I was a kid. Your call.
  • Daughter: I like this ride. Thumbs up. 

Equinox

Riders’ legs dangle from suspended seats attached to the end of one of three massive arms that swing back and forth in a spinning pendulum motion that peaks at 75 feet high.

  • Dad: Had she been tall enough to ride, it woulda been pretty cool. Your call.
  • Daughter: Woulda been cool. Your call.

Sizzler

A modern version of the Scrambler that spins riders in two different directions. As the center of the ride rotates, so do the spindles that the seats are on.

  • Dad: Ten times better than the version at Valleyfair. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: It’s fun. Thumbs up.

Alpine Bobs

Free-swinging bobsled cars move up, down, and around the hills and valleys of a circular track.

  • Dad: Sneaky good. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: It goes forward and backward. It’s epic. Thumbs up.

Techno Power

Riders’ seats chaotically list and spin as the entire deck rotates and techno blares.

  • Dad: Maybe the craziest ride at the fair. Thumbs up.
  • Daughter: It goes really fast; it’s super fun. Thumbs up.

Zipper

Riders enter a VERY tiny cage and toss and turn as it moves up and around a flattened-out Ferris wheel–like track.

  • Dad: Twelve-year-old me says thumbs up. Sadly, I can’t fit in it anymore. Your call.
  • Daughter: Never again. Thumbs down. 

Storm

Riders sit in multi-rider tubs and get spun silly while the ride tilts back and forth on an incline.

  • Dad: It’s straight spinning and no action. Thumbs down.
  • Daughter: It’s awesome. Thumbs up. 

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