Indiana Beach was always a tricky park for me to hit. It really isn’t near any other park and quite frankly, it really isn’t that close to a major airport, making transportation difficult. My theory was that I’d eventually get to it as part of a Holiday World trip, probably during Holiwood Nights but not in 2020. Well that changed in a hurry in February when IB announced that they’d be closing permanently. All of a sudden I was lamenting not getting out to the park. When the park announced that they’d been bought and were reopening I knew that I needed to get out. Add to this the fact that overnight flights to most places had been cancelled and international borders were closed it severely limited my ability to take weekend trips without taking time off. But one of the nearest airports to IB, O’Hare did have overnight (or in my case late night) flights from SFO so I saw my chance to take a trip to a park that could use my support.
So my flight got in at 12:30am into O’Hare and I picked up my rental car and made the long drive to my hotel in Indiana. A couple of side notes: this was my first time renting from National and I found it very strange to be able to just pick up any car in the aisle without talking to a person; one of the highways through Chicago had 3/4 lanes closed causing a bunch of traffic, even at 1:30am, but that also didn’t stop plenty of enterprising drivers from driving on the closed off lanes to skip the traffic. I finally got to my hotel, which was a former barn - interesting stuff, around 2:30am.
The next morning I slept in until 9am or so, got up and got to the park by around noon (the shift from Central to Eastern time happened in between my hotel and the park). The VIP parking lot, which I got for free with my season pass, was almost full but when I got into the park I was greeted to a station wait for Hoosier Hurricane, which I hopped into right away!
I ended up being a little disappointed with Hoosier Hurricane. The layout looks awesome with lots of airtime hills but the airtime isn’t great. The turnaround was also rough to the point of uncomfortableness. To be fair, I sat in the front few rows which never helps when it comes to rides.
After Hoosier Hurricane, it was time to ride the ride I was most excited for: Cornball Express!
Like Hoosier Hurricane, Cornball is also built like a RCT ride in one of my parks, built on top of sections of the park with an elevated station. But unlike HH, this ride was a walk on for most of my time in the park! For my first ride I hopped into the back row. The lift hill runs parallel to HH’s lift but in the other direction making for some interesting interaction between the rides. The drop provides a fantastic airtime moment in the back and there are several great airtime moments that are enhanced by the buzz bar restraints used. Overall I was really impressed with the ride but it wasn’t perfect. The helix in the middle of the ride really killed the pacing for me. It does provide some decent lateral forces but I personally am not a fan of laterals. They always feel like a bug not a feature to me. But even with this one drawback, this is still far and away the best ride at the park!
Next up was the weirdest coaster at the park!
Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain
I figured that I’d do one more ride before lunch and LoCoSuMo was the ride immediately next to the taco shop I wanted to eat at so I figured I’d hop in line. The line was out onto the midway but it didn’t look like it was more than 30 or so people so I thought that it would fly by. Well I was completely wrong about that and I ended up waiting around 30 minutes in the hot sun. But no worries. It took so long since they were letting groups essentially have their own cars no matter how few were in the group. LoCo has 2 4 train cars and only runs one train so if those 4 train cars only hold 2 people you can see how it would take forever. On the plus side I was able to have a car completely to myself.
The ride itself was really weird. The elevator lift was very cool and I really enjoyed seeing just how tight the turns that the trains took were. But the ride felt rougher than I expected and I didn’t really feel a ton of forces through the ride. I would’ve preferred a couple of more show scenes throughout the ride especially since the story kinda felt bare. Maybe one of those show scenes could’ve been a MCBR so that the coaster could run two trains? But at the end of the day, even though I didn’t feel the need to go again, I am very glad I was able to ride such a unique ride!
After LoCo it was time to get some lunch and I decided to hit up IB’s famous taco shop. All the signage talks about the awards the tacos had won so I was expecting something amazing. Well, they were good tacos but they were definitely not the best I’ve ever had. I spent some time wondering why they were so hyped until someone pointed out that Northern Indiana is not likely to be a bastion of Hispanic culture so there probably aren’t many authentic Mexican restaurants around for locals to compare to. I, on the other hand, have lived in Texas and California, both of which have many amazing Mexican restaurants. But the tacos were definitely better than most theme park food, which explains why I ended up coming back again for dinner and lunch the next day.
After lunch, I went over to play Fascination for the first time. I’d heard about the game for so long and I was psyched to try it! Well it was awesome!! I didn’t win any games this time around but I burned through my money way faster than I intended. It was a great way to get out of the heat for 30 minutes while doing something you can’t really do anywhere else.
Steel Hawg is the biggest and most intense coaster at IB. I’d been on its cousin at Adventuredome in Vegas and left impressed, specifically with the insane hang time moments that the ride had. I expected something similar from Steel Hawg, specifically around the dive loop. The first drop was great! You get great airtime and whip in the back. And the outward banking on some of the turns was very cool. The dive loop was just good. I compare it to the final dive loop on El Loco and come off disappointed. El Loco had what felt like 4 or 5 seconds of hang whereas Steel Hawg only had a couple. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good ride but nothing I felt compelled to ride again.
Tig’rr was the last coaster I needed to finish the set so I hopped in line. Since the cars only seat a handful of guests, I got my own car again. This wasn’t as big of a deal as LoCo since this coaster was much less popular. The ride itself was pretty uneventful. The risk drop was cool but this ride too featured more lateral forces which I don’t really care for. Tig’rr also is a good example of how weird IB is considering it sits on top of a restaurant that was unfortunately closed. More than any other park I’ve been to IB really has learned to work around their lack of space.At this point I was done with all of the coasters at the park! For the rest of my first day at the park I walked around, ate some more food (the burrito at the taco shop is better than the tacos) and took lots of pictures! I left a little before park close so as to get back to my hotel at a decent time.
The next day I got to the park about 30 minutes after opening and got two quick rides in on the woodies before they filled up.
My opinion on HH improved a little bit sitting in the back. It was still a little too rough for my taste but at least featured a little more airtime. Cornball was just as quirky and airtime packed as it was last time!
At this point I went to the taco shop again and got an early lunch. After eating I walked around the park a little more getting some video. But unfortunately around 1pm the sky started opening up and raining. No worries since I had 2 hours for it to blow over before I left for O’Hare. So I posted up in the Fascination parlor where I won a couple of games! After an hour I walked around the park a little but just didn’t feel comfortable enough to take video since it was raining just hard enough to be bad for my camera. At that point, and since none of the rides were running, I went out to the car where I sat inside for 30 minutes or so waiting to see if stuff reopened. Well, I didn’t even see testing so I gave up on the day and headed back to O’Hare to get on my plane headed back home!
Overall Indiana Beach was a very cool park. Although none of the rides were good enough to warrant coming all the way back to, if I was in the area, Cornball was absolutely good enough to warrant popping in on. I’m really glad that I got a chance to go especially after all of the drama earlier this year. If you find yourself in the area, definitely check it out and support a great local park!