TRIP REPORT: Valleyfair – July 2019

On July 15th my brother and I visited Valleyfair theme park in Shakopee, Minnesota. We were in town for a college tour, so our day at the park didn’t begin until 5 pm. That might sound like a bad thing, but it actually allowed us to purchase the “After 4 pm” ticket that Valleyfair offers at a cheaper price than general admission. The park was completely dead the entire time we were there, so we were able to get more than enough done in our limited time.

We started our visit with a ride on Steel Venom, the parks Intamin impulse launch coaster. We were very pleased to see that the holding break was still working, as it really made the ride stand out as unique. My home park (Six Flags Great America) has V2, which is the same type of coaster as Steel Venom but without the holding break, and I definitely prefer Steel Venom over it now.

After Steel Venom we made our way over to Wild Thing, the park’s Morgan hyper coaster. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this ride, because I had never ridden anything made by Morgan before. Our first ride was in the back seat (we would ride it once more later), and I’m still pretty undecided as to whether or not I liked it. On one hand, the track feels poorly profiled and kind of rough, but on the other hand it has really good airtime after the midcourse break run. It’s definitely one of the better coasters at Valleyfair, but it’s not exactly mind blowing.

Our next two rides were Mad Mouse, the park’s wild mouse, and Excalibur, the parks…uh…Arrow steel coaster? I don’t really have much to say about Mad Mouse other than the operations were pretty slow, but I do have a couple things to say about Excalibur. For starters, what is this rides purpose? Like I guess it’s unique, but the thing that makes it unique is that there’s literally nothing interesting about it. You go down an okay drop, do a couple turns, get one pop of airtime and then you’re done. The entire ride is like 30 seconds and there’s basically no elements. It’s not a bad ride necessarily, but I just find its existence to be perplexing.

Next came my most anticipated ride of the entire trip: Renegade. This coaster would actually be my 100th roller coaster, making it a very important milestone. My first ride took place in the back, and then we immediately jumped back in line to ride in front row. I won’t go too in depth on my thoughts about Renegade, because I want to do a full review on it, but let’s just say this thing did not disappoint. It’s easily the best roller coaster at Valleyfair, and definitely a hidden gem in the coaster world.

The only roller coasters left to hit were High Roller, another wooden coaster, and Corkscrew, an Arrow looping coaster. I honestly had pretty “high” hopes for High Roller (get it), because I usually enjoy classic woodies, but sadly it ended up being my second least favorite coaster at the park. The ride was far too rough to be enjoyable, and the layout was exceptionally boring. As for Corkscrew, it actually wasn’t that bad. I don’t have too much to say about it other than it wasn’t as rough as I was expecting and I’m surprised it’s Valleyfair’s only coaster that goes upside down.

The funny part about our visit is that everything I’ve listed so far only happened in the first hour and a half. The park was open until 10 and we still had about 3 and a half hours to go. This meant we had PLENTY of time for re-rides, other rides, and just taking it slow in order to really appreciate the park. After riding Corkscrew we actually just sat down at a table and relaxed for 20 minutes or so. It was really nice to just take the atmosphere in for a little bit.

After our break we headed back to the Route 76 area of the park to get a second ride on Steel Venom. We rode in the front row this time, which is by FAR the best seat. Having no one in front of you makes the holding break a million times scarier and better than it already was. Then we rode Delerious (a super loop), the Antique cars and Northern Lights (a Zamperla Disk-o). All three rides were better than expected, and I especially enjoyed Northern Lights. If only it counted as a coaster…

Once we were finished in that area we headed over to Wild Thing to get a second ride on it. This time we waited for the front row, and it was a little bit better than the back. The coaster feels much smoother and faster in the first half of the ride. Sadly, you do lose a lot of the post-midcourse airtime that you get if you ride in the back.

As we rounded out our time at the park, we managed to get a ride on Xtreme Swing, the park’s S&S Screamin Swing flat ride. This was by far the longest wait for any ride in the park (like 15 minutes), but it was SO worth it. I had never done a Screamin swing before, and it has definitely become my new favorite flat ride. It’s so smooth and graceful, yet there is so much airtime and intensity. I just wish it was a little bit longer. I’d say it was my second favorite thing in the park after Renegade.

Speaking of Renegade, we ended our night with four more rides on the beautiful wooden coaster. We would’ve liked to get even more rides on it, but had to stop because the park was closing in 10 minutes and I still had to buy a mug and t-shirt. Renegade is a truly wonderful wooden coaster, and I hope that more people go to Minnesota and ride it in the future. It’s really under appreciated.

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