5/31 SFA Superman Reopens

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Monday, May 31, 2004 2:28 AM
Got to the park around three, it was moderately crowded, but not bad for memorial day weekend. They have rewritten the Wild Wild West Stunt Show from earlier this year and it is better, but has too much dialogue. Waited around 10 minutes for Roar and Mind Eraser (both two train ops), got good rides on each. Waited through a breakdown on Two Face and then rode Wild One. Everything was running well.

Iron Eagle and all three sides of Tower of Doom were running. Typhoon Seacoaster was being worked on, but was not open. The Rapids was running but seemed to have very few boats. Jokers Jinx was down the whole time I was there. The purple train was stuck between the station and launch tunnel, so it may have misfired or rolled back, but I didn't see it.

Batwing was running a decent two train op (Waited about 45 min for a good front seat ride). The third train is gone, probably parted out for the other two.

Now for Superman. Waited an hour and a half due to a breakdown (The front row had a problem and was closed off the rest of the night). Also, Fastlaners filled a whole train before I was about to board, including the frontmost row and the back row. Why are they allowed to take the choice rows after we had already waited an 1:20? Everyone was pissed.

There are new safety signs up in the station, the station wall before you enter the station, and at the exit for fastlaners. There is also a test seat in front of the queue now along with an attendant, which is a great idea.

While the ride ran very well, and the restraints did not ruin the ride, they hurt my shins. I have decent bruises on both legs. I found the shin guards to be oddly positioned, and they are very unforgiving. The shin restraints on Vekoma and B&M flyers, Premier coasters, and Hypersonic all fit me better and caused no discomfort whatsoever. I really couldn't put my feet flat on the floor because of the tightness of the bar and position of the shin guard. While the ride isn't totally ruined, it was significantly hurt IMO.

Blue train is running while red is waiting parts. The current loading procedure is everyone buckles their new orange seatbelt which is like a normal seatbelt. They replace the old black seatbelt and do not have much slack at all. The ride ops check the whole train. Then the ride ops staple all the bars down and connect a new seatbelt from the lap bar to the outside of the seat. The yellow part is similar, though seemed lower than the old yellow piece (it sat on my thieghs more). The horizontal bar holds the wretched shin pads. There are two steel bars that run from the ends of the yellow piece to the ends of the shin pads to box in your legs. The metal bar is still straight and the seats appeared to be the same (slightly moved to the outside in the raised rows, not any deeper like the launchers). Loading usually took over 5 minutes per train. It doesn't seem to make sense that on the safety signs it says riders must secure their own seatbelt and lapbar while the ride ops do the lapbars themselves. Even with four ops on the platform loading was snails pace.

In summary, very long loading, and it hurt my shins, but didn't totally ruin the ride. Overall, big thumbs down. The whole new system is fine with the exception of the shin guards, which were horrible for me (6 ft., skinny). A better contoured shin guard with maybe some softer material would make the ride virtually unchanged, but currently it is uncomfortable. BTW, I saw three people turned away from the ride.

Forgot to add, the park was in good shape and the ride ops were friendly. While I was harsh on SROS, I was glad to be able to ride it, as I was not even expecting it to be open. Overall great job by the park, but please fix the shin restraint. *** Edited 5/31/2004 6:30:56 AM UTC by rollerEastcoaster***

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Monday, May 31, 2004 10:51 AM
Sounds very much how Six Flags Darien Lake operated their coaster as well... they ran a 1-train operation, and took forever to load a train. The queue was maybe 3/4 full or a little more, but was told that the wait time was 2+ hours.

I didn't ride it, but did watch the loong loading procedure, and checked out the new restraints on the sample one at the entrance to the queue. Those shin holders are a friggin' joke, along with the whole rest of the restraint. I can see the belt from the lapbar to the train, but everything else is completely unnecessary. I see a lot of complaints stemming from an uncomfortable shin placement... everything from bruised to chaffing shins.

I really hope this is temporary until the off-season when they got time to think of a better restraint or all new train using the system akin to TTD.

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Monday, May 31, 2004 1:33 PM
Good to hear that supes has reopened a whole week ahead of the posted date & I'm glad to hear that a test seat has been implemented as well.

Now from the sounds of things it seems that loading into the ride is gonna be a real slow & somewhat cumbersome affair & having the crew position the lap bars instead of the guests is just gonna make it worse as far as dispatch intervals are concerned.

I still hope I won't have any trouble fitting into the new restraints...I'm 6 foot 1 & 150 LBS so I should be able to fit but I'll try the test seat to be sure,as for the rest of the park I'm glad to hear Batwing is running two trains & I hope that'll be a permaanent way of doing things with regards to that ride but I'm disappointed to hear that IE & TSC are still down.

I think the reasons for IE being down must be due in part to the Hawk accident back in march...both rides use the same restraint system & during both my visits to SFA so far it appears as if no work has been done on getting the ride put back together after it's off season rehab which included the replacement of a burned out motor,me thinks it's time to just remove the eagle & replace it with a more reliable attraction...the same can probably be said for TSC as well.

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Monday, May 31, 2004 1:46 PM
I have to agree, the Ankle restraint ruin the ride so much as well as hurt and make it uncomfortable. Not to mention they had to staple the lap bar down so hard I had to run off the ride to find a bathroom.
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Monday, May 31, 2004 2:18 PM
At first glance I thought the new restraints looked fantastic, but now it seems a lot of people are complaining about the shin/ankle restraints. I'm curious, why does Superman's restraints bother you but not the Premier lapbars? It it a matter of padding? A matter of position? I'm genuinely curious.

I'm sure loading will speed up as time goes by. Ride-ops and park officials are understandably cautious right now, but I wouldn't expect this to go on forever. Theoretically, the new restraints should not take any more time to load than the old ones.

-Nate

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Monday, May 31, 2004 8:06 PM
In theory, it WILL take longer than the old ones because they first do a regular seatbelt check and THEN do the lapbars, which they also got to check the belts on the lapbar that snap to the train... so the loading procedure will take a lot longer than usual until they totally master it... THEN it may shorten, but I'd still be it'll take longer than the old restraints.

I'm sure when they get a 2 train operation going... the 2nd train is going to be doing a lot of waiting in the break-run.

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Monday, May 31, 2004 9:00 PM
Memorial Day, 2004

We went to SFA today with the express purpose of finding out how the new restraints fit on larger people and what it's done to the ride.

I am female, 5'11" and I don't know my weight precisely but it's in the neighborhood of 255 to 260, with my biggest circumference being below my waist. My husband is 6'4" and weighs about 220-225. He has a slight gut. He fit easily in the test seat. I also fit, with no difficulty but it was snug.

On the train itself, I found the seat belt to be shorter than the test seat, and needed a little assistance from the operator to fasten it. Thankfully he was willing to, and they were not insisting on the 1" of slack at all. If they were, I would not have been able to ride.

Riders are instructed to take their seat and fasten the orange seat belt but to NOT pull the lap bar towards them. If you did, they released the bar, and you could see the attendants getting annoyed. It sure looked intentional to me when one kid of about 12-13 had the whole thing fastened by himself when the attendants came by to check seatbelts. They made him undo everything but the orange seat belt. When they came back around to do lapbars, they really shoved it into him. It looked brutal. My husband whispered to me "Six Flags' birth control method". The attendants go through the line twice - once just to check the orange seatbelts, then again to push down the lap bars and fasten the outside seatbelt, which is similar to the ones on Premier's lap bar only rides, except this belt goes from the outside metal bar up towards the rider, not from the rider down to the bar like on Joker's Jinx and the Flights of Fear.

One thing on the train itself that is NOT on the test seat - they have bolted a flat metal bar to either side of the yellow lap bar, making the leg restraint area like a large M with the flat metal bar, your leg, lap bar pole, your other leg, and the other flat bar. If you can't picture it, think "unpadded Gerstlauer bars" on either sides of your legs, with an additional bar in between. If you have heavyset thighs, it will be an uncomfortable ride with your legs chafing the metal bar and the new seat belt end. I have bruises on the insides and outsides of both of my knees - the outsides from the metal bar and the inside from the black post that has always been in the middle of the odd-numbered rows on the SROS trains. There was no room to move your feet to get your legs out of the way due to the devices holding your shins/ankles in place - and where I once thought SROS at SFA was a decently smooth ride, I can now verify that there are some violently shaky parts that are not at all comfortable with the new restraints for me.

Some people still love the ride. There were several people who came off cheering. For me, it was a painful ride. My husband fared better, saying it was not uncomfortable, but the new restraints robbed the ride of 99% of its airtime. Wild One was a much better ride this late afternoon.

We are very sad and disappointed. Hopefully this is a temporary "fix", although I have my doubts that Six Flags will want to spend more money, when these restraints are apparently working. I am working on losing weight, so it is possible that I will be able to fit more comfortably in the future, but I'm sad to report that a whole lot of *fun* has gone out of Superman Ride of Steel at Six Flags America.

To add insult to injury, on my way out of the park a cicada landed on me. They have their hands full keeping the dead and dying bugs from littering the park, but they are doing as good of a job as is possible. I saw a few, but there is just no way to sweep up everyone of them as soon as they die. There are just too many of them.


Kitty

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Monday, May 31, 2004 11:22 PM
Well at least you didn't hit one of them while going down the first drop...I've gotten off lucky living in the cicada free zone so far but when I went to PG county last week with my sister boy it was a whole different situation.

It's like cicada central over there.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2004 1:17 AM

DawgByte II said:
In theory, it WILL take longer than the old ones because they first do a regular seatbelt check and THEN do the lapbars, which they also got to check the belts on the lapbar that snap to the train... so the loading procedure will take a lot longer than usual until they totally master it

But "in theory" it shouldn't. S:ROS has always had seatbelts, so there shouldn't be a reason to insist that the lapbars remain up until seatbelts are checked. I realize that's the park's decision (and understand why), but as I said, "in theory" it's not necessary. The second seatbelt also shouldn't take any more time, as it just needs a quick tug to make sure it's fastened. I'm sure things will speed up as time goes by.

-Nate

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Tuesday, June 1, 2004 7:21 AM
Nice TR!. I hope to make out to SFA tomorrow for my first ride on S:ROS since the new restraints. I'm 5'7" 229 with a 40" waist so I'm intertested in finding out how it will work on me.

In all of the excitement about the new restraints, did anyone else notice he reported two train op on Batwing? That's something to be somewhat excited about.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2004 12:53 PM
Yes I already took note of Batwing's recent multi-train operation & hope it'll become a permanent way of running the ride.

However knowing my luck when I show up at SFA on the 12th it'll probably be back down to the standard single train op again.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 1:28 PM
I really, really wanted to go to the park today. Until I pulled into the parking lot and saw them parking 75-100 school buses and charter buses. There was no room in the bus lot so they were parking them across several parking several spaces in the general public parking lot. Which, now that I think about it, irks me a little bit. As a member of the general public I pay $9 to get into the parking lot, buses park FREE. If they fill up the bus parking, why aren't they parking in the overflow lots... Good thing I have a season parking pass.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 7:12 PM
That is a good point CoasterGuts. Seems they could just drop the guests off at the front gate and park the bus off in the overflow lot. At the very least, have the parking lot trams going so the guests that are forced to park further away have a ride to the front gate.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 7:33 PM
Do they even own trams anymore? I haven't seen one in three years I owned a season pass. Heck, I don't know even know what the tram route would be.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2004 10:36 PM
If I remember correctly the tram route went from the overflow lot & followed along the curb of the walkway next to the waterpark up to the main gate.

They only used the trams during the 99 season & so far I havn't seen them used since then.

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Thursday, June 3, 2004 9:03 AM
I found this little tidbit in the jobs section of the website:

Host/Hostess: Parking Lot Host/Hostess
Position Type: Seasonal
Description:
Requires to direct traffic which includes standing, walking and use of hand and arm motions to signal vehicle drivers. Required to conduct safety spiels for tram operation, which includes speaking into a microphone to convey information regarding tram operations. Postive interaction with team members and guests, promote a "Service" atmosphere.
Skills required:
This position requires standing, walking, use of hand signals. Must be able to handle long periods of warm temperatures and direct sunllight.
Age Requirements: 16 or older
Availablility Requirements: Days Evenings
Pay rate: Please contact park
Contact: Human Resources

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Thursday, June 3, 2004 11:47 AM
Hmm it sounds like the trams may be making a comeback this season.

As for so much bus traffic in the lot: it could be a good sign that the park is getting alot of business this season,sure it might make it hell on earth trying to find a parking space for all us regular commuters but the bottom line is that alot of folks are deciding to patronize the park & that of course means that more money will be made & as a result perhaps more cap ex will go into the park within the next season or two.

As is I've already been given a hint at what we might be seeing next year but won't say just what at this point in time...as it is my source already gave me too much info on it the other day.

Back to the parking issue:perhaps maybe the park should consider implementing a season passholder parking area? I know SFGRADV & a select few SF parks already have such a system in place,SFA could really benefit from doing so because even with the expanded parking areas finding a decent spot can still be a pain in the a$$.

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Thursday, June 3, 2004 12:38 PM
The buses were there because of Math & Science day for area school students.
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Thursday, June 3, 2004 5:17 PM
Season Passholder parking? But where? You'd just push the rest of the guests even further back and unless the trams are deffinitly coming back, that would just make for a load of angry guests. They could put it else where and have a special Season Pass holder enterance, but where...unless it was at the back of the 3rd lot and entered behind Mind Eraser but that's still a bit of a walk.

Want a good parking spot? Just get there early. I find if I arrive at the park an hour before it opens, I can park right up in a front spot no problem at all.

As for the trams, I'm pretty sure they also got special approval in 1999 to build special tram lanes, but that never happened. Last time I saw the trams, they were sitting in the backlot by Twoface. They are Carolina Blue and look somewhat like trolly cars.

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Friday, June 4, 2004 12:48 PM
Rollereastcoaster when you were over by TSC did you notice if there was actually any water in the ride course or was it dry as a bone?

On both of my visits to the park(opening weekend & may 1st) the ride course didn't have so much as a drop of water in it meaning that the park wasn't anywhere near being ready to operate it for the season.

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