John and Ty's excellent adventure - They rode the rides so you know what to expect
By John Joyce
Published in News on September 29, 2012 11:58 PM
John Joyce: Just like the name describes, a spinning object revolves around a central point spinning at a different rate, much like your head and stomach are going to be. Its low impact is countered by decent speed and angles that will keep your vision blurred.
Ty Johnson: I remember this one as "The Ring of Fire" from my childhood, but even without Johnny Cash running through your head, this is a fun one. A roller coaster in an endless loop, the weightlessness lasts just long enough so you know you just went upside down. Sitting at the front allows you to see what's coming, which can either be an added thrill or a calming feature, depending on how you feel, but half the ride is still in reverse. Inner cars allow you to sit across from friends and study their faces, which my fellow passengers said was a hilarious perk.
TJ: Aptly named, this ride is one to watch before you walk on. If I had done that, I wouldn't have swallowed so much air when the ride's easy phase kicked into high gear, as it essentially spins you like an electric mixer before that mixer turns completely on its side. If I had watched before I rode, I also wouldn't have screamed so much when it reversed directions and took me skyward again, swinging me out above the parking lot. Sky. Grass. Cars. Sky. It's one of those rides where the strangers across from you are your best friends because they're the only people who know the true reasons for your screams.
TJ: The Powers Great American Midway centerpiece this year, the Vortex requires an additional three tickets ON TOP OF a wristband. Worse, the ticket booth across from the ride sells tickets four at a time. Team up with others at the ticket line to save a few bucks collectively, especially since the line will probably be a mile long on a busy night. The ride has two pods where four riders each sit as it spins passengers windmill-style high into the sky while the cars themselves spin around. You go so fast that you scarcely realize how scary the ride looks until you look at it from the ground. Although you'll probably have to ride it so you don't look like a coward, the ride isn't quite as daring as the Freak Out, in my opinion, simply because you go too fast to really be scared. To avoid the lines, hit this one before dark and look west when you reach the pinnacle to see the sunset on the horizon.
JJ: This one took me back -- and then forth. The swaying was much more enjoyable than the spinning rides. The 8-year-olds seated behind me swore they were bored to death, but their facial expressions at the highest points of the pendulum-like swings to and fro told that they were in fear of their own demise by much different means.
JJ: Strap in! Wait, there are no straps. This ride is a short journey off the planet, but sure to bring you back to Earth -- with a thud. The flying saucer spins and lifts you off your feet; the G-force will literally have you climbing the walls.
The Wave Swinger
JJ: A doo-wop accompanied spin above the fair grounds, the suspended swings send you around at a leisurely pace. This one was good for those trying to pace themselves, or for those who are either too young or too old to handle the Vortex -- like yours truly. I'm not certain which of those categories I'd prefer to think of myself as belonging to, but I know what Ty thought of me.
JJ: The Hitchcock version of the Wave Swinger, no doo-wop music and almost twice as high, this swing set is not for those who like their feet planted firmly on, or anywhere near, the ground. Its not too fast and it won't jostle your brain out of your ear, just be sure to look out over the fair grounds instead of directly at the ground.
TJ: While my colleague insists Vertigo and the Wave Swinger are date rides, swings are my downfall. Being slung around so high and so slowly gives me too much time to think about how far I am from the ground.
TJ: No single riders, but if you're lucky you can find someone to squeeze into the tiny, luge-like metal cage with you. Tiffany Price of Princeton partnered with me to take on the Ferris Wheel-esque thrill ride. A steering wheel in the center of the car controls your spinning and a talented pilot could likely navigate the car in a way to prevent ever turning completely upside down. Or you can do like I did and just spin the wheel continuously throughout the ride. If you grip the wheel tightly, you can also make your co-pilot scream by holding the car upside down when you're stopped up top.
JJ: This one is for the kids, or the still kids-at-heart. You'll race around, forward and backwards in rocket-like race cars that swing side to side as the ride zips around. There's not a lot to it, but it makes for a nice change of pace if you're coming off the Ring of Fire. You'll have your choice of color as far as the cars go, but the ride operator selects the direction.
JJ: We didn't start here, but Ty and I certainly got around to it ... and around and around and around. The row of shoulder-strapped and lap-belted seats takes you on trip around time rather than through it. Although it doesn't look anything like one, you'll feel like your whizzing around the face of a clock, either into the past or back to the future.
TJ: A decades-old favorite, the Zipper is another ride requiring a partner, so my lovely assistant Tiffany once again accompanied me. The mechanics and sounds of the Zipper add a certain amount of ambiance to the experience, which is slightly influenced by your leaning and shifting in the metal cage. I remember my friends boasting about flipping seven times in a row. We only managed six, but your stomach always manages to outflip your car on this one.
JJ: Considering the fact that it was constantly being hosed down, this age-old favorite of fair and carnival fan-fare might be hard to get on. The sleek black machine spins and rotates like a big spider juggling a bunch of smaller ones. It has good speed and won't slam you around at all, just make sure you can stomach the motion. Save the cotton candy and funnel cake for after this eight-legged agitator.
JJ: You may want to watch this one first. At first glance you'll think it a less ornate version of Alien Abduction. But once you're strapped in -- yes, this one has a strap (of sorts) -- you're in for a different ride all together. Want a mental image? Think of a spinning coin near the end of its run, as it starts to level out... but don't forget what it took to get to that point either.
TJ: I remember when this one premiered and it's still just as great as in my memories. The hand spins constantly, flipping you back and forth while Carly Rae Jepsen blares from the speakers. An annual favorite of mine, this was the only ride I rode twice during my riding blitz.
JJ: Picture the Swing Buggy as an all-white futuristic glam-rock attraction. You might say that if the buggies are for boys then the Fly Bob's belong to the young ladies, but I wouldn't. There were girls much younger than me on many of the rides I wouldn't go near, so I have no room to talk.