WhirlyBall is the perfect marriage
of amusement rides and sports.
This experience has guests playing a hybrid
of lacrosse and basketball while riding in
bumper cars. If this sounds like chaos, it is.
But I love every moment of it. In this review,
I’ll explain everything you need to know about
this attraction and why I think no other set of
bumper cars will ever dethrone this attraction.
WhirlyBall was invented back in Utah back in the
1960s. Riders board bumper cars and are given
a scoop. You use this scoop to fire a wiffle
ball at a target on a backboard. Every time you
hit this target, you earn a point or whirlic.
While you don’t need to be in peak physical
condition to do well at WhirlyBall, you do need
excellent hand-eye coordination and anticipation.
I remembered seeing a flyer for this game when I
visited the Mall of America back in 2020
and made it a priority on a return trip.
Little did I know that I had passed other
WhirlyBall locations in my travels. This game
is particularly popular in the Midwest with both
Illinois and Minnesota having multiple locations.
There also a few other locations, including
one that used to be one in Orlando.
WhirlyBall Twin Cities in Bloomington, Minnesota.
It’s literally across the street
from the Mall of America.
You have two options to book. You can
either rent the court for an hour.
This costs $220-$240 depending on the day. Or
you can participate in a 30 minute pick-up game.
I did the latter for my two games of WhirlyBall.
It can be a little tricky to join a good pick-up
game for two reasons. One, all three courts could
already be booked, so definitely call in advance.
Two, you’re at the mercy of how many
people arrive around the time you do.
This venue does allow you to play 1 on 1, but
that’s not the true WhirlyBall experience.
Official games play with teams of 5, but you
want at least 3 people per team if possible.
For our second game, we had to linger around
the parking lot for 20ish minutes until another
family arrived to play with us.
Riders board whirlybugs, which are
special bumper cars designed to offer better
agility and steering than traditional cars.
Riders use a standard pedal, but the wheel is
replaced by a handcrank. While I was worried this
steering mechanism would take some time to learn,
it was seamless. You turn the crank clockwise to
go right and counterclockwise to go left. And to
go backwards, you spin the crank 360 degrees.
These cars don’t hit the hardest, but head-on
collisions are openly permitted and encouraged.
You really need to be strategic with your
hits. Sometimes I’d try to time a hit to
disrupt a throw. Other times, I’d try to block
someone in to force them to give up the ball.
While the game is similar to lacrosse,
you are not supposed to make contact with
another player’s scoop. You’re allowed
to block them with both your scoop and
car though. The latter is the best way
to force someone to give up the ball.
The most difficult part about this game is firing
the ball with the scoop. It definitely takes a
few minutes to develop the proper technique for
passing and shooting. The target on the backboard
is pretty small, but I found it reasonably
easy to hit if you had a straight up shot.
I most struggled with passing. It was tricky
figuring how much arc and velocity to use. Most
others I played with were the opposite. They could
pass like pros, but they struggled to score.
So what would I rate WhirlyBall? I would give this
experience a 10 out of 10. This is one of the best
attractions I’ve experienced in my travels. The
game is super addictive and especially worth
checking out if you love both sports and bumper
cars. I know the experience isn’t exclusively
about the cars, but these destroy every other
set of bumper cars out there because of how
they’re implemented into the experience. They
perfectly fit a sport as chaotic as WhirlyBall.
So those are my thoughts at WhirlyBall based
on my experience at the Twin Cities location.
What are your thoughts on WhirlyBall?
Have you ever tried this attraction?
Let me know your thoughts down in the comments.
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