Wednesday, June 6, 2001 8:26 AM
Being that I attended coastermania last year, I
decided to take the road less traveled and visit
SFWoA. So after weeks of planning and frustration of finding a way to access the park by Public
Transportation, I finally arrived in Cleveland via
Greyhound. It was raining the whole night on the long Greyhound trip, and it continued that morning we arrived in Cleveland. In fact, it began to rain harder when I stepped out the Greyhound station to look for this Tower City place. After hopping from shelter to shelter under buildings, I finally found it. This Tower City place is nice. It has shops, hotels and other things also. I got something to fill my belly at Mickey D's and proceeded to the main train station, which is situated on the bottom floor. After a train ride that took longer than it seemed, (because it actually stopped at crossing lights!), I was on my way to......a bus ride. After a 45 minute bus ride, I was staring at the vertical spires of SUE and at the Green Vekoma Thing built over mud. The employees on the bus with me endearingly reffered to the flying coaster as that X-Flight s**t.
I waited about an hour inside of the park because it opened at 11:00. I noticed people started to gather aund the X-Flight entrance. The crowd began to grow nd grow until it reminded me of the MF dash crowd.Luckily I had spent hours in the gym before this visit. When 11:00 hit, the mad
dash began. Now I'm about 6'1" 240, but believe me, I can run. It didn't matter because X-Flight wasn't open. I didn't have time to think about that during the heat of the race,
so I made a turn back towards.....
Superman Ultimate Escape: I waited 10 mins for the
front seat. The ride is still freaky as ever. Being that I rode v2 and this within one week, I can assure you that there is no difference in the way it rides. The only difference is the scenery and dispatch times. SF should put some
fake spikes over that shed under the vertical tower. And I found it amazing that SUE crew is slower than the v2 crew. After that blast, i was confused on what to do, so I looked toward that big pile of steel and wood and proceeded to ride...
The Villain: The line was just outside of the station, but guess what folks. It was running one train! Yee haw!! So the wait for the back seat was made 30 minutes instead of what seemed like 10. The back seat ride was very good; laterals, airtime, and headchoppers galore. This excellent ride made up for the one train operation...or so I thought.
After that ride, I decided to ride the floorless. I noticed the line was darn near the entrance.
"And why could that be?", I asked. Well i was answered when it took 5 minutes to dispatch one train. I looked to the side for relief in the form of the Raging Wolf Bobs. No help there...closed. Double loop; only running one train. I walked over to the other side in hopes that there would be a coaster that would be a short wait. Nope, Big Dipper was running one train with a long line and the Boomerang was closed. I used one last ditch effort to ride a coaster in the form of an SLC....nope!! It was closed also. Geez,they're supposed to compete with Cedar Point with
operations like this?
It was 1:00 PM and I was bored so I remembered that there was a Sea World side added to it. I took the ferry across the lake, which is a very nice ride BTW.
The Wildlife side is was the true delight of the trip. It was well taken care of, had lots of scenery and just felt better than the crowded Wild rides side. I caught a couple of good shows with Dolphins, Sea Lions and Birds. During the end of the bird show, it began to pour, so I ran for shelter under this HUGE childrens playhouse. I also notcied construction going on for two flat rides. The sun finally began to surface, so I crossed the nicely constructed boardwalk back to the wild rides side. On my way, I glanced out the corner of my eye and noticed an flying coaster train running the rails. I began to "hussle on over" to....
X-Flight: Wow, what a short line, but the employees are telling everyone it's going to be a 2 hour wait. Well of course, when it's only running one train!! Since I had plenty of time left , I decided to wait it out.
After marrying twice, having kids(who in turn had kids of their own), and growing a beard; I finally got to the station. Ok, it was more like 2 hours and 30 mins. I noticed that only three people were sitting in the front, so I asked the people waiting, could I snag that seat. They obliged, and I felt lucky. The seat is so strange, yet so comfortable. When it reclined, I started to lose my breath for some reason. I held it until we reached the lift hill. When we reached the top, it felt like I was sliding backwards off of a waterslide until we flipped over and got to business. WOW, this ride is more intense than it looks, you feel every bit of G's and Laterals. The way it changes directions is disorienting and the loop and helix are intense also. Definately a top 10 ride.
After that I was dumbfounded again, so I looked towards the first coaster I saw, which was...
Big Dipper: Even though it was still running 1 train, it looked like a walk-on. I opted to sit in the back seat,which was about a 5 minute extra wait. This ride is a fun ride, but a little rough. Not really that memorable. I looked around and I saw that the floorless was running two trains. The decision was unanimous, I was off to...
Batman Knight Flight: The wait was 20 mins for the back seat. The floorless effect is the best in the front; it feels like your'e sitting on an office chair gone horribly wrong. I like the back seat better because it's more intense. The layout is pretty good up to the cobra roll. The cobra roll feels like it's just there to flip you upside down and the finale is not memorable either. Judging from the conversations, many of the locals feel the same way. If you ask me do I think it's good or bad, I'll reply it's "eehh". Not good, not bad, just "eehh". Sort of like Demon at my home town.
After another spin on Villain, (which was still running one train), I saw the short line for the arrow looper and went for a ride on....
Double Looper: This ride actually has a moment that is more intense than BKF. The double loop element works well, but the layout is extremely short. Hey, it's something to do.
I spent the rest of the day, repeating what I already did. I was about to ride Raging Wolf Bobs when it broke down. Oh well. I decided to ride X-Flight last; not knowing the consequences of this last decision. After a 30 min wait, I rode it and got off of it, ready to catch the bus. There was already a group of employees gathered in front with the same idea. It was 10:15. The bus was bound to come around this time.
10:30 No bus
10:45 I start to get antsy and I take my mind off of the wait and start a conversation with an employee. He mentions that SF is going to tear down the front parking lot and fill it with rides and coasters.
11:00 More SF employees come out. I start getting more antsy.
11:15 Employees overhear a conversation with a security guard stating that the next bus will come at 12:00 midnight.
11:30 I'm getting extremely perturbed, but hopeful that the security guard was wrong.
11:45 Some of the employees inform me that three buses should have came in the time that they were waiting.
11:58 The bus finally comes, but I have to get to the Greyhound station at 1:10 AM. Great!!
'm on the bus sweating telling people my situation. An employee decides to give me a number for a cab service. I take it and borrow another employees Cell Phone to call it. I get off the bus at this mall and wait for the cab. The cab comes and get to the station (25 dollars less rich), with ONE minute to spare.
Good grief Charlie Brown.
Talking with employees, I found out that this kind of poor service happens often. Well no wonder why people complain about SFWoA employees. If I was forced to stay out beyond my curfew, (when few buses are running), and then come back in the morning. I'd be disgruntled as hell!!
There were over 80 waiting for that bus!!
All in all, this park definately has the potential to be a major player in the business and perhaps the new SF flagship. But, in terms of customer satisfaction, they have a long way to go to compete with the Majors in that area. I liked the wild life side better than the wild rides side, and thats bad coming from a coaster enthusiast. Well, sitting on the Greyhound bus, I became very sleepy, I decided to leave the past in the past and focus on my new destination.....PKI!!
part two coming out soon!!
Tagline: "Trains will rise"
"Trains will fall"
"But hope survives"