2019 Texas & Arkansas Trip
When trying to plan for visiting Magic Springs and Crystal Falls, it was always a bit of a challenge to try and find other parks to combine it with as it is pretty close to the middle of the State of Arkansas, which doesn’t have any other major parks in it. While Silver Dollar City up North in Branson, MO would be the next closest major park (a 222 mile-drive between the two winding through the Ozark Mountains), it was while we were in Texas that the park happened to be open, so the decision was made to include it. Granted, it was over 300 miles one way to get there, I had figured that the park wouldn’t necessarily be a full-day outing, especially as their water park was not yet open for the season.
Upon arrival to the park, it was quite slow for the beginning as there were maybe 20-30 cars in the parking lot when we arrived (most likely because it was Easter Sunday, so we managed to get to the park when people have been at the later Easter services). While the light crowd was a nice surprise, the park itself was an even better one. I didn’t expect that the park would be as scenic as it was thanks to some excellent landscaping as well as the use of the topography and terrain for views in the area. I was really impressed with the park in this regard.
Since this was a new park for all three of us, every coaster ridden would be a new one for each, and the first was the smallest, Diamond Mine Run. This Miler junior coaster is certainly one of the more landscaped and themed versions of this ride as they actually gave it the feel of a larger mine ride that came from the likes of Arrow in the past. It also just so happened to be coaster #950 for yours truly!
The second coaster was Gauntlet, a Vekoma SLC that had originally been planned for Jazzland in New Orleans, but was instead opened here. Unlike the previous ride, this one had no theming. It was essentially out in this open area of the park, and like many other Vekoma SLC’s, a tad bit on the rough side. While I don’t blame smaller parks for installing cloned rides for the sake of saving money, it’s nice when the cloned rides are a bit smoother. I still find it odd that many times when riding SLC’s in the United States, they tend to be rougher than the ones I ride outside of the country.
The next coaster we rode was Big Bad John, an Arrow Mine Train that has been at Dollywood and Six Flags St. Louis in the past. What I found fascinating with this ride was that you could see how the ride could have fit with the station of Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood if they had reused it after this one was removed from there as the beginning of this ride runs a fairly similar path to that one. In general, this was a really fun ride (although nearly impossible to get pictures of because it is hidden in the trees), especially near the end as the last big drop gives some surprise airtime, especially if you sit toward the back of the train.
While we had not done so as much at the other parks, since today was such a slow day at the park, we took in a few of the flat rides of Magic Springs, including the Brain Drain drop tower ride (which made it easy to enjoy the excellent scenery of the Ozarks before dropping) and the Ozark Taxi Co. car ride. The car ride was a bit wilder than your usual car rides at parks because of the steeper hills at the park, leading these cars to get a bit of speed going downhill.
The next coaster, X Coaster, was probably the most disappointing as it was hardly a comfortable ride. Now to be fair, part of it was my own fault because the restraint sat really tight to my stomach because of being a bit bigger, but part of it came from the ride itself as the inverting part of the ride up top (which for all intents and purposes, should be the highlight of this ride) as it was actually quite rough and jerky. We survived it, but it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.
That would leave one last coaster for this park, and that was the Arkansas Twister. This wooden coaster had once operated at the former Baseballs and Boardwalks park in Haines City, Florida (a place I once lived about 5 miles way, long after the park had closed already). It looks like it would be a fun ride from some of the pictures, but I wasn’t so sure when the realization came that it had wooden coaster trains from Gerstlauer which tend to ride a bit on the rough side compared to other wooden coaster trains.
Upon riding it, the trains weren’t too bad on this coaster, but it didn’t quite ride to the potential from the look of it. There were some sections that were recently retracked which helped to make it smoother, but it wasn’t filled with airtime, and there was a particularly slow hill near the end where you wonder if it will make it over, which is probably why the park loads the train front to back, not allowing anyone to just ride the back rows unless the rest of the train is filled first. This coaster would be best for someone who is experiencing a wooden one for the first time, but more seasoned riders may find it on the tamer side.
While the coaster collection isn’t quite going to match up with some other well-known parks, there are some great qualities to the park, including its setting in the Ozarks, and the look and landscaping of the park. It was certainly a nice quick visit to the park, and since we were able to ride all that we wanted to quickly, we decided to head over to Little Rock for some sightseeing there before beginning the drive back to Dallas.
See More of the 2019 Texas & Arkansas Trip:
1: Arrival & Six Flags Fiesta Texas / 2: Exploring Downtown San Antonio / 3: SeaWorld San Antonio /
4: A Shameless Credit Run / 5: Six Flags Over Texas / 6: Magic Springs and Crystal Falls / 7: Some Arkansas Culture
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