Arachnid Wonder World: Arachnodrenaline

I wonder what you, dear reader, expect from a name like Arachnodrenaline. It sounds a bit like a corny, B-horror film from the eighties, no? There certainly isn’t anything wrong about that of course, it’s just not the kind of name I would necessarily expect to come from a place like Arachnid Wonder World. If you’ve been paying attention, then you could probably give a very valid argument as to why that was exactly the sort of thing I should have expected from the park, but I digress. Or rather I don’t; Regardless, I like the name!

            After Domina and I underwent our unique purging situation, it was time to select our next attraction. What came as a great surprise to me (though admittedly not as surprising as that whole “purging” ordeal I dare not mention again.) was how late in the afternoon it was! Risnorf’s Circus official started at 1:10, but by the time were mulling over the next attraction to ride, it was almost 5:00. That extraordinary second show must have been as long as a movie. This left us precious little time in AWW, a bittersweet thing, to be sure, though I was determined to make our final hours in AWW a fitting cap to our surreal adventure. Never go out with a fizzle, as they say, pop that champagne like a volcano. I didn’t really know how to do that, however. How could I top what has already been so extraordinary? That’s the fundamental dilemma with “betterment”, I suppose. The spectacularly new renders the old less spectacular than it once was, which, I suppose, is a problem. Domina didn’t have any ideas, though fear not, she remained refreshingly perky. Our time constraint, combined with the fact that there were such a gargantuan number of choices, made our decision quite an overwhelming task.  Should we ride and compete on the bucking centipedes? Maybe we should just ride that classic (gossamer) pendulum ride…No, no, I think we’ll be better off riding the jumping spiders…Or else go web-bungee jumping. I think you get the picture, dear reader. We finally shrugged our shoulders and decided to wait in line for the “haunted” bumper cars, an indoor attraction that allegedly featured prehistoric arachnids back from the dead, as well as a multi-dimensional driving space (as in vertical, diagonal, and upside down.). This seemed interesting enough, although we felt that we could have selected something more substantial. But if we didn’t reach a decision soon, the only attraction we would experience would be ‘The Great Indecision Exploit.’

       But as fortune would have it, we didn’t need to reach a decision at all! You see, I had forgotten about something I had done when I purchased the two tickets to AWW. On the website where the tickets were purveyed, there were several customizable options for the tickets themselves. For the most part, I kept it simple; a straight forward, all-day ticket for both of us. I didn’t have the funds for all those admittedly disappointing and gimmicky extras, like season passes and flash passes. Flash passes annoy me in particular, as they are essentially just a real life version of “pay-to-win”, a good way to kill a fair sense of adventure. There was even a cheese-scent option for some bizarre reason that I won’t even try to fathom. But all weirdness aside, there was one interesting option that stood out to me, one that warranted a slightly deeper dive into my pockets. There were a few select attractions throughout the park that had no queue at all, as they didn’t need them. This is relevant to the tickets, as these select rides were only available to those park guests that purchased the associated ticket add-on. Initially, I was super annoyed about this; if flash-passes are pay-to-win, then this would be the equivalent of blocking content behind a pay-wall. Proverbial DLC in air quotes. However, upon reflection, I ended up simmering down about the ordeal. Considering the sheer volume of attractions the park had to offer, the amount of rides that required this extra-ticket purchase were quite negligible in comparison; only three in total. Besides, this kind of thing wasn’t exactly equivalent to the extortionate ticket sales you would find at your local states fair…But even putting that aside, there was one thing that could quite objectively be considered a good thing about these ticket add-ons; nonexistent waiting. Do you remember the incredibly fast line at the entrance of AWW? Well, the wait for this special attraction ended up being just as fleeting, whereas in another park, we could of have been looking at a two hour wait time for the type of attraction we rode. What made it so fleeting? Believe it or not, it had nothing to do with the fact that the ride was secluded from default-ticket guests. Instead, it was due to the fact that the physical tickets that came with the add-on featured a minuscule “buzzer” of sorts, not unlike the kind you would find at a restaurant, one that buzzed when your food was ready. This buzzer, however, was far more sophisticated, as it didn’t function on a straightforward wait-time; that would have been impossible to manage. Reading the fine print on the website now, the buzzer allegedly sent microscopic spiders to scour the brains of the park guests, reading their respective minds. Somehow, the combination of all the microscopic spiders within all the guests created a nearly perfect time table for embarking upon these special rides. I can’t claim to understand how it truly works, but I’m not going to complain about the results. Somehow, the act of reading our collective minds allowed the add-on system to craft a riding schedule that went along smoother then Mussolini’s trains. Just accept it, dear reader, don’t question how nonsensical that sounds.

             In this case, Domina and I were both pleasantly surprised by the buzz from our tickets (Domina in particular, as she wasn’t even aware that I had purchased these add-ons.), in this case being for the titular Arachnodrenaline, which is, in fact, a roller coaster. A particularly thrilling one, I could promise you that. Although it certainly seems like we haven’t gotten to ride generous amount of roller coasters on this day, have we, dear reader? Only one on our entire trip in the park? That seems light, but I’m not complaining; if I just wanted roller coaster after roller coaster, I would have gone to Six Flags. 

             As it stands, this roller coaster alone did more than enough to fill a thrill seekers adrenaline addiction than one hundred coasters could at your average amusement park. Read on to find out why, dear reader!

 

The Roller Coaster

This review is going to be shorter than what is typical, as the nature of the attraction only really warrants one category of assessment, that being the roller coaster itself. Think of it as recompense for the absurdist length of my former post, or else abject and shameful laziness on my part. Whichever you prefer.

Have you ever ridden ‘Batman: The Ride’, dear reader? It was the world’s first inverted coaster; not as in loops, but as in the coaster train riding underneath the track rather than on top, as was traditional. A sit-down “flying” coaster, if you will. As you must have guessed, Arachnodrenaline was very much along the same lines of that style of roller coaster. As you may have also guessed, this attraction also provided a substantial twist to the formula. This is AWW, after all, and you’ve read enough to know that the creators of AWW aren’t playing around. Not everything at this park works, mind you, sometimes things are arguably even disastrous; but the words “mediocre” and “average” are definitely absent to the vernacular of AWW.

With that being said, what was the twist in this instance? Well, I’ll start with the biggest one; the ride vehicles. Did you ever have the desire to channel Tarzan and his vine-swinging antics? Well, take a trip to AWW and ride Arachnodrenaline and you’ll find your wish fulfilled, sort of anyways. You see, the ride vehicles for the gossamer train of this attraction did not include traditional harnesses of any kind. Instead, riders were asked to simply grab on to safely interspersed strands of web, or rope, attached underneath the swift-moving ride vehicles. As a side note, these side vehicles lacked any visible wheels; the train simply seemed to glide along the track effortlessly, as if magnetic. Just an interesting little innovation there…Now, to you, simply “holding on” to a web strand while a coaster train zigs and zags along a mountainous track full of corkscrews and inversions may seem needlessly dangerous. But fear not, once guests held on to the web strands, it was impossible to let go due to the adhesion. Like most roller coasters, riding this thrill beast required the ultimate sacrifice of control and trust in fate! One of the reasons roller coasters tend to be so thrilling, I suppose. Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed a problem with the ride design; the physics of rope-swinging mixed in with the structure of a roller coaster, which, indeed, featured loop-de-loops, massive drops and the like,  doesn’t exactly go together like bread and butter, does it? To that I say…Really? Are you really going to question the physics of AWW at this juncture? At this point during our trip, incredibly innovative design was on par for the course and didn’t remotely faze me; following the circus, I learned not to underestimate the creators of AWW.

So along with the mighty thrills one would expect from an upstanding roller coaster, you could also add to that some quite literally swinging thrills for good measure. Beyond that, there was another extraordinary and wonderfully terrifying innovation that came with this roller coaster. The best way I could describe it would be “track & vehicle hopping”; to put it more directly, there were certain points on the linear track in which the track seemed to end, only to continue further away past a gap with a new ride train at the ready. These gaps were obscured from park guests not riding the attraction, so the initial approach towards the first gap was quite a harrowing experience, as you would imagine. Fortunately that only lasted a few seconds, and it made the thrill of the “hop” all the more thrilling. Essentially, the ride train would chug full speed ahead towards a gap, seemingly headed for an inevitable crash. Then, the train would stop extremely abruptly, causing the web-ropes to swing at quite a massive trajectory. At another park you would expect the coaster to start going backwards, flashback style. But here, the adhesive of the web-strands suddenly lifted, and all riders were thrust into the air! After a bit of freefall, we all ended up catching the ropes of the next train across the gap, at parallel spots, in fact. Somehow, the design of the roller coaster made it impossible for us to miss “catching” the next train over, and impossible for collision of any variety. You figure out how, but point is, it makes for one hell of an adrenaline rush. Definitely coaster of the year, if not the century.    

Another thing with regards to the physics of the roller coaster; most roller coasters today relay on momentum and gravity working in tandem to complete a full cycle, with artificial motion shifters in places, like chain lifts, boosters, and brakes for instance. This ride, however, seemed to rely more on artificial motion rather than natural momentum, with technology well beyond the examples I gave.  Sometimes the coaster seemed to inexplicably go slowly downhill, only to speed uphill like a rocket, adding a layer of unpredictability. In fact, the motion of each ride experience differed slightly each time. I only know this as Domina and I were actually allowed to ride the coaster two times in a row. Following the second bout of excitement, the arachnid ride operator cleared the air about the motion and explained how no two rides were exactly alike.

This, however, leads me into some of my minor criticisms; why do you think Domina and I held no reservations about riding this roller coaster twice in a row? It’s obvious, isn’t it? No? Urgh…Idiotic dear reader…No, not all you, just you, specifically. Fool of a Took, it should be obvious. Well, to spell it out, the ride jut went by too damn quickly! It was quite the condensed thrill, and, don’t get me wrong, sometimes that’s a good thing. I’ll take a ride that ends too quickly over a ride that overstays its welcome. But this one could stood to be a wee bit longer; it’s a minor complaint, but frankly, we would have ridden it a third time if we were allowed to…Which also, I suppose, speaks volumes about how well designed the ride actually is, so there’s that. Of course, it wasn’t perfect; while the swinging mechanic added an exciting layer of unpredictable movement to the mix, and overall I would say the inclusion was a net positive, it did cause some slight dizziness. Some people like sort of thing, but I’ve never been a fan. Headaches after-the-fact simply aren’t my thing. Dizziness was not advertised, so it is a minor negative…Another negative would be the theming of the ride, or more specifically, the lack there-of. In fact, quite disappointingly, our trip to AWW was devoid of any slow moving, heavily themed dark rides. There’s a beauty to those artistic wonders that was sorely missed here! That being said, we only covered a fraction of a fraction of the rides that there is to cover at AWW, so that criticism is somewhat moot. But why I am so hard on this ride its lack of dense theming. Why not the trampolines I reviewed a few posts back? Well, here’s the thing…Arachnodrenaline wasn’t entirely devoid of theming, and that is what made the lack of it in most areas of the ride so jarring! There was one specific segment of the ride that had us going inside a cavernous mound of web, a dark ride portion. It didn’t last very long, but it was hella-cool. During this twisting and turning portion of the coaster, there was a lot of illusionistic “near-misses”, with the narrow walls and the swing of the web strands, and more notably, ravenous spiders that seemed to be hyped up on drugs chasing the ride train, trying to eat us! In some regards, this segment of the ride made me think the entire attraction should have been a thrilling dark ride, a chase against hungry, eight-legged beasts. That would have been awesome! Instead, we get this bizarre contrast, as if the ride simply wasn’t finished. Perhaps that was the idea; the stark contrast of the theming made the red-eyed spiders less-expected, and therefore more frightening, the same as the track-gaps. Perhaps a good idea in theory, but in my opinion, not in practice. In the long run, it was distractingly random.

  Criticisms aside, this roller coaster was pretty spectacular, and I definitely have no regrets about buying that special add-on ticket. It was worth every penny.  

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Score: 4 arachnids out of 5

Thanks, to a short ride experience and a lack of a wait time, Arachnodrenaline really went by in the flash, despite us having ridden it twice in a row. This left us time for one final attraction before saying au revoir to AWW. Our final choice of attraction was a difficult one to make, but I must say, we left the park with a resounding bang. My next review covers what was probably the most epic ride that I have ridden, if ‘ride’ is even the proper terminology. You’ll understand more in the next post, dear reader, and I do apologize for calling you an idiot, dear reader, that was hypocritical of me. No, not you, you idiot, the others. Goodness, what a walking absurdity, you are. Nevertheless, I look forward to my final review post of AWW, I hope you’ll join me! Yes, even you, you ridiculous, lobotomized one.             

 

Final score for Arachnodrenaline: 4 arachnids out of 5

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