What to Expect at Lost Island Theme Park in 2023!

A Roller-coaster at Lost Island Themepark
A photo I took of one of the roller coasters at Lost Island in 2022

Let's Talk About What to Expect at Lost Island Theme Park in 2023!

I love theme parks. Even though I only have a handful within driving distance, I really enjoy learning about the art and engineering of themed amusement parks. That makes having a Lost Island within spitting distance of my home really something special. I got to enjoy Lost Island last season, and I have a lot of hope for what it will develop into. That being said, I think there is a lot to talk about in terms of what ways the park is still developing. 


The Bigger Picture of Lost Island Theme Park


Lost Island Theme Park is the most recent addition to the larger Lost Island ecosystem. It’s older “siblings” include a nationally ranked water park, a campground, and minigolf. The waterpark was opened in 2001. Not only has it succeeded commercially, it’s also pretty darn impressive, especially when compared against other Iowan waterparks. For me, Lost Island waterpark offers a better selection of attractions, better crowd management, and a better base-admission price experience compared to Adventureland’s water park in Altoona, IA. In another point against the older company, Adventureland has experienced safety issues in recent years, including a fatality on Adventureland’s rapids ride in 2021. Between weakened competitors and high expectations, this setup the new Lost Island Theme Park with the perfect conditions to become the dominant park in Northern Iowa.


Concept art from the Lost Island marketing team showing a water themed area
Concept art from the Lost Island marketing team showing a water themed area

Competition and Marketing of Lost Island


I am very excited to see the competition between Lost Island and Adventureland. I think that it will keep Lost Island from resting on laurels, and it will encourage Adventureland to up its game. 


That being said, Lost Island aims to compete regionally, even nationally, in a way that most parks don’t. That is to say, Lost island is taking itself seriously as a theme park, not an amusement park. Park officials suggested early on, without using such forward verbiage, that they were aiming to become something of a Disney or Universal for the midwest. This was further supported by concept art. Rather than just casually decorating areas of the park, the art demonstrated a desire to incorporate storytelling and wonder, and maybe even immersion through sight lines. They also announced that there would be a top-of-the-line projection based dark ride for opening day. This really got the niche theme park community interested, since regional parks so rarely deliver good theming, and rarely invest in a serious dark ride. (While we were waiting for more crumbs from the marketing team in 2020, one youtuber took this time to dig into the park map to predict how rides and theming might work out; His predictions were shockingly accurate and showed a crazy knowledge base of coaster manufacturers. Check out his work here)


What I want to See from Lost Island in 2023


Despite all this hype I have heaped on Lost island, I want to make something clear: Lost Island Theme Park is still in its scraggly youth, and needs to keep developing if it wants to deliver on its promises.


Appearance and Sight Lines


The first thing I would like to see improvement on is appearance. The park is beautiful, but it totally lacks those sight lines I mentioned earlier. Part of this might just be because the plants are still new and need to grow in. As of the last time I visited, the park was not exactly lush and it was very obvious that all of the ornamental flowers were freshly planted. There is also a lot of blank space that I assume will be filled by new attractions in time. However, right now they break immersion by making the different “lands” feel too close and too connected. More tall plants, attractions, food carts, etc. would make the park feel more alive. 


Thrill Ride Selection


a lot of people who visited last year might have been disappointed about the thrill ride selection. On the day I visited, only one roller coaster was operational, and it vibrated me almost painfully when I rode it. Luckily, the park has plans to open another coaster and a log flume ride for the upcoming season. In future years I would love to see some empty space also be used for more thrill rides, or any type of ride that can satisfy adults and older children. The park already does well for younger children, thanks to a good selection of mild flat rides. 


App Functionality, Storytelling and Non-Ride Attractions


If you get a brochure while at the park, you will be informed that the park has a sort of augmented reality app with puzzles that will help show you the lore behind the different sections of the park. Alas, when we visited last summer, we couldn't get anything to function in the app at all. After being given our initial prompt to walk to a given area, the app wouldn’t recognize when we arrived, thus locking us out of the rest of the story. This isn’t a great look when you also consider that the Volcano dark ride is the only part of the park using overt storytelling.

 If Lost Island intends to compete with story based parks like Disney, it needs to make the story impossible to miss, rather than a cute feature for people looking for it. Getting the app working would be a great first step, and would help entertain adult guests and teens who might run out of attractions. As the park gets older and has a chance to develop, I would also love to see costume character interactions and live performances reinforce the storytelling without relying on a self guided game. Good news on this front: the park’s social media account showed a character mascot at their winter awards event, which indicated that characters in the park might be on the table this season.


Conclusion  


Just because this park is clearly still in development does not mean it isn't a great park! It also doesn't mean you need to put off visiting until the future. Actually, if you have any hobby interest in theme parks, I recommend visiting now and again another year so you can see all the improvements over time. I also highly recommend the park for people in driving distance with small children, or who would get value out of a multi-day trip involving the waterpark. 


I’m so excited to see what Lost Island Theme Park does in 2023!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lazy Camping Food From Aldi, For When You Have No Energy or Money

Can You Travel Overnight in Amtrak Coach Seats? Our Experience on the California Zephyr

My No-Build Prius Camper “Conversion” for Camping with 2 People