Fast Times

Get Your Ride On At The RodeoHouston Carnival

The Klondike coaster makes a great warm up.
The Klondike coaster makes a great warm up. Photo by Kate McLean

The Houston Press takes carnival rides seriously.  Like, super seriously.  So seriously, we've provided a preview of new amusements as well as designed a state-of-the-art guide to finding the perfect type of thrill.  If you've been riding for some time, you know that any ride is a good ride, but sometimes every good rider has to make a choice or two.

Big thanks to Chris Lopez, Deb, Michele, the nice police officers guarding the big white tent, and all the friendly staff at Ray Cammack Shows for allowing the Houston Press to run around unchaperoned...again.  As one independent food truck vendor, who travels year round to different carnivals, put's it, "RCS is the best in the biz, the industry standard."

Open now through March 17, the Junction Carnival is ready for you, Houston.  Toot, toot!  

Titan (25 tickets)

At noon on February 25 in Houston the shiny and new thrill ride, Titan was touched by riders for the very first time.  The tallest of its kind in the United States, Titan cranks the willing round and round so fast you can smell Galveston.  Whether it's the soul moving a few moments ahead of the body or vice versa the effect is pure rapture. And as guests make it back down to earth, they're greeted with a wholesome country song.  It's a great day to be alive. That it is, Travis Tritt. That it is.  (Deb at RCS: Girl— you can do it.)

Klondike (14 tickets)

The Klondike roller coaster doesn't believe in a slow development of scare. Up, up, up, followed moments later by down, down down, and back and forth in a pendulum progression that cannot be stopped.  Complete with a full loop and several sharp dips, this coaster is a good first ride to get the blood pumping.  The front row fits a 5'8" and a 6'3" perfectly, and golf clap, please, for the 4'4" three rows back who must have just made the height requirement.

click to enlarge Ice Jet sizzles and smokes. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Ice Jet sizzles and smokes.
Photo by Kate McLean
Ice Jet (14 tickets)

Looking for a date ride? This is it.  Sean Paul beats bump loudly in tandem with bright lights as sensory faculties are effectively triggered. "It would be cool if they had smoke machines." Moments later the ride is completely fogged out— too bad you're totally strapped in, but alas, it's for the best.  Speed builds, then slows, builds then slows as the bobsled is whipped around a majestic polar bear center.  It feels like Ice Jet lasts longer than most rides. Or maybe it's that time was standing still.

Tea Cups (6 tickets)

Approaching the empty Tea Cups ride, it was about to be a scenario of one girl six cups until a very professional attendant shut that idea down real quick. He would absolutely not be swayed. No amount of treasure in the world is going to let him let you ride Tea Cups unless you happen to be within the height of 36 to 54 inches.
click to enlarge Held his post like the best of them. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Held his post like the best of them.
Photo by Kate McLean

Barnyard Express (6 tickets?)

Couldn't find this ride, and was late for dinner, but for a two year old it sounds totally lit.  An all aboard dose of rowdy.

For a full rundown on the scariest rides, please see this in-depth report from last year.  Aside from Windstorm and Extreme Energy the gang's all back.  Listed below are the best rides categorized by type of scare.  

Overall Scariest Rides

Mega Drop and Bungee both scare by anticipation and an actual free fall.  If Mega Drop begins to feel like Tea Cups, it's time to check out Bungee. (It's a legit bungee jump.)

Fastest Rides

The verdict is still out, but OMG! feels like the fastest because it's going every which way.  The Titan does make it to 60 mph, but because it goes so high and it's path is straight, it registers more as a "serene" fast.

Scared of Heights Rides

The Titan is the tallest at 17 stories.  Below that is, gulp, Mega Drop.  Right below Mega Drop is Speed and Mach 1, which with four seats perched quietly in the air for an extended period of time— that might do the trick.  The La Grande XL Ferris Wheel is up there but doesn't really count as scary.  

Stomach Flip Rides

This type of scare calls on the perfect orchestration of movement needed to trigger the quirky yet desirable "stomach flip." Zipper, an old favorite. Konga, a new favorite.

Ragdoll Rides

Again, OMG! riders are pleasantly ripped to and fro with the best part being the uncertainty of where it's headed.   G-Force spins two different ways at once, but by the end, the body adjusts to the rhythm. Insanity 360 is a good mix of both and keeps you guessing while upside down for a few, long, moments.

What's Up With My Body Right Now, I Can't Move It

Alien Abduction and Centrifuge use centripetal force to scare sans seatbelts— and it feels amazing. A full body smoosh.

Ticket Pricing:

10 for $5
40 for $20
100 for $50
The Fast Pass for $25 allows for skipping the line.  Valid on day of purchase only.

The Fun Pass app is definitely worth looking into.  Can you imagine a world where tickets are purchased and reloaded with just the click of a button?  No line? No wait time? Imagine no more. This app also records every time you scream like a baby.

Just kidding.  That's the government.

click to enlarge Hi. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Photo by Kate McLean
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