As a long term coaster enthusiast, I'm accustomed to experiencing both the good and the bad in my amusement park visits. My day at Magic Springs seven years ago fell firmly into the latter category, and I honestly wouldn't have made the effort to return at all were it not for the fact that my girlfriend needed the credits.
There were two new policies in evidence today that I'd not encountered on my last visit. The first was at Diamond Mine Run, where the operator told me that I was too tall (6'2") to ride. This didn't bother me too much given that I already have the credit, but it would certainly frustrate other enthusiasts. I was far more annoyed at a new rule forbidding riders from wearing sunglasses on roller coasters, right up until I discovered that prescription glasses (and thus mine) were permitted, with or without a safety strap. Perhaps someone from park management would care to explain why prescription glasses can be safely worn, while non-prescription ones cannot? Does anybody actually think these policies through?
On the positive side, the park rides no longer open thirty minutes after the main gate, meaning that we were sitting in the train of Arkansas Twister five minutes after opening. The single functional train was shuffling a little at the apex of every hill today, but the overall ride experience was greatly improved over my last visit, to the point that we could have spent an hour or two on it without problems. We decided to stop after two laps only because we had a hard time limit on the day and other coasters beckoned.
The front seat on Big Bad John was enjoyable, so we decided to up the ante by trying a second lap in the back seat. We were next in line when the ride was taken offline to investigate a "strange noise" coming from the brake run, but fortunately the problem was resolved quickly. As expected the back seat was pretty violent, leaving us with a few coaster bruises that we added to with a lap on Gauntlet.
It was interesting to see seat belts on the X-Coaster, a retrofit that has been performed in a distinctly haphazard fashion, with the belts connecting to loose metal rings attached to the hand grip on the front of each lap bar. From the perspective of this enthusiast it seems unlikely that these belts would reliably support the weight of a rider in the event of a restraint failure, which begs the question as to their purpose; perhaps they were added to reassure riders after the widely publicised power incident a few years ago?
The last ride of the day was on Dr Dean's Rocket Machine, a standard S&S Double Shot. This ride was at least as fun as the various different credits, which tells you all you need to know about the roller coasters at Magic Springs.