A fun few action-packed hours at SFA 5/21/06

Associated parks:
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Monday, May 22, 2006 2:41 PM
Today was one of those days where I was on the fence about wanting to go to an amusement park. There was a concert down in Virginia that I had wanted to see, but the more I thought about the cost of gas, the ticket price + service charge + parking charge, I said “screw it.” The eventual DVD will be out and it’ll be cheaper.

So eventually I got motivated and wandered down to Largo. I didn’t get to the park until 5pm, but they closed at 9pm, so I was good. The weather looked kind of iffy where I lived, but it was beautiful in Largo. Looking at the closed attractions board, I see one ride--The Avalance--the Chance Alpine Bobs. More on that later. The first order of business was to try and drop off my windbreaker somewhere that I would need later. First off, I got my Joker’s Jinx fix in. I saw something that made me happy on the way in and that was a security guy planted in one of the lifeguard chairs. There weren’t enough people to really justify it, but it does set a precedent. On to the ride, the green train is now sporting black lapbars. I don’t know if they are replacements or painted, but they look great.

On my way down to the Batwing lockers, I saw that The Avalance is still in a state of transition with construction walls around it. From what I could see, the inside panels have all been painted one of two shades of purple, replacing the skier motif. They’ve also come up with a logo that is being painted on the back of the cars, and the sides look different too.

So continuing my walk to Batwing to use the locker I noticed they were running two trains out of two stations, and it’s not even crowded. Awesome! Normally, I would pass on Batwing, but with this situation, why not? I still find it odd to see two Batwing trains out on the course at the same time. If everything goes right (which I witnessed happening sometimes), the train in the station can be dispatched after the other train either approaches or leaves the loop. I rode out of station two (closest to S:ROS), and we had some troubles getting going (restraint issues?), but it was kind of strange to see that the other train was already gone when we came back. Today I rode in the front row (closest to the op) and going through the loop is quite different than the back. I felt as though I was doing a somersault as oppossed to the back where I’m able to follow it through more easily, even if the g’s are much more extreme. I noticed lots of new wheels too.

I was going to ride S:ROS, but I wanted to ride Typhoon Seacoaster first while there was daylight. There was a diversion first known as Penguin’s Blizzard River. I rode with a bunch of little kids and their chaperone. Coming off the lift into the spinning start, something didn’t seem right--because we weren’t spinning that much. Normally, the boat spins the whole way down in very tight circles. This felt a little bit more like riding Bahama Blast in your clothing. It was a trip to hear a bunch of little kids in the boat behind ours singing “Get Money” (title?) by the Notorious B.I.G. I never knew the two words that followed Get Money. I do now...

There was only one minor and welcome obstacle in my way before passing out of G.C. and that was the 6pm parade! I kind of forgot about that. On my way to T.S.C., I looked down and thought that either a) the concrete padding has been all redone, or it’s been powerwashed. Either way, it looks really nice. I’m not entirely sure how many boats were in service, but I’m guessing there were six. All I know is that once seated, we didn’t stop. I heard the girl behind me say that she wish the more of the scenes were lit up, and I agree. Going up the second lift, we temporarily stalled near the top due to the other boat not going down. It gave me a chance to look at some of the Ultra Twister parts and pieces. Suprisingly, no one on the boat said anything about the stuff. So after two minutes or so, we got our turn at the big splash. I hit Roar right after, and they did a great job with the dispatch. I could see that the water was running on Renegade Rapids from the lift, but was anyone riding? I don’t know.

Next, I moved into the Southwest Territory. First up was Two-Face. The lead op was very perky and professional. It was from up on lift one that I spotted the boom arm from Iron Eagle in the boneyard. Apparently, you could still put it in your backyard for a price. I next rode Wild One with a good crew and not a lot of people to be a good crew towards. The lead op was the second perkiest ride op today. I went to ride Tower of Doom and I was the only one on it. I still love the view from section two since it gives you great views of Roar, Mind Eraser, and Hurricane Harbor.

Leaving the S.T., I went back to Gotham City to retrieve my articles and pick up S:ROS, but it was unfortunately not working at the time. I waited a few minutes, and they opened up the queue and station. Three maintenance guys rode it and reopened it after removing the blue train. We got seated and it didn’t last long as dispatch was not happening. So everyone got back in line. A few minutes later and an unmanned test run, we were onboard again. This time, we got our ride in. I heard a girl say earlier on at T.S. that the lift was much faster this year, so I timed it and and I think she’s right. It was about half the time to get to the top. Leaving S:ROS, I went down to Batwing to take another ride since there were still two stations running.

On my way out, I picked up one last ride on Joker’s Jinx. I then walked over to Coyote Creek to look at the path that everyone wants so badly looping back to Gotham City. As Coasterguts (I believe) said earier, it’s impossible. There are far too many supports and large concrete footers on Mind Eraser to cut a path through and to the right is the unload section of Renegade Rapids. I wound up leaving around 8:30pm.

So where was everyone yesterday? It was a nice, warm but not too warm, day. I have a really bad feeling that gas prices are having an effect on peoples motivation to go to the amusement park. The other day, it costs me $35 to fill up my tank in my Mazda Protege 5, and I still had an 1/8th of a tank left. You can only imagine that the average family is probably still driving the large S.U.V. and it’s costing them a lot more than $35 to fill up their tank. The real worry is for next weekend when Hurricane Harbor opens up. It just hasn’t been warm enough yet, and the week doesn’t look much better. We need some consistent high-temperture days before I’ll even consider breaking out the trunks.

Rating the day:
Positive:
1) I felt like the WB characters and Justice League were following me everywhere. It’s great that these costumed people aren’t confined to one area, or you only see them at a show. Sometimes they were taking walks between rides such as the Justice League walking back from Batwing and then later showing up at S:ROS.

2) On a day where we probably would’ve given the park a pass for running one train on everything, they weren’t. Particularly impressive was the two station operation of Batwing. Sometimes, they were able to get things timed so well that the train on the lift was actually slowing down since it was so far ahead of the other train out on the course. It would speed up after the other train moved beyond a certain point.

3) Everything was running, except for The Avalanche.

4) Security at major rides

5) Ride ops doing a good job. The only “bad” kid was one who was trying to impress a female op with his impression of a current music video during the breakdown. He needs to keep his dancing and bad singing at home. It’s not American Idol afterall.

6) The four way post directional signs that I don’t remember from last time are very informative and look great. Some new ride/section signs also looked good.

7) Park was clean with a few stray pieces of trash being blown around by the ocassional high winds. No overflowing trashcans or anything like that. The only problem I had was with the Gotham City bathroom once when I needed to use a stall, I had to wipe the seat down. I can understand being pee-shy (can't go at a urinal in front of other guys). It happens to the best of us, but please raise the seat if you have to go this way.

Negative:
1) I really wish they would move the Ultra Twister parts and cars out of view. The majority of the ride is located beyond Batwing. I think all of it should be put back there. It just makes things looks cleaner. Under the new management, we can only guess as to whether UT will ever be used. The same goes for the train cars from Astroworld that have been sitting there since opening day next to Joker’s Jinx. It just looks cluttered.

2) As mentioned earlier, I would love to see all the scenes of Typhoon Seacoaster lit up and/or operational. Right now, it seems kind of half done. *** Edited 5/22/2006 7:22:08 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***

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Monday, May 22, 2006 3:05 PM
Sounds like you hit the park on a good day but I'm suprised to hear that avalanche still isn't ready yet.

They really need to have the justice league characters out more because the only time I saw them was during the parade on my last visit back on the 29th,I'll be hitting the park again myself on the 10th.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 4:28 PM
I-Fan-

What day did you go? You said today, but I thought the park was closed today. I was at the park for about 1 1/2 hours on Sunday morning and the place was dead. I think the parks attendance was affected by The Air Show at Andrews and the fact that next weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. The park has felt pretty crowded this season.

BTW, I'm not sure if I mentioned the path between ME and Batwing wouldn't work or not, but, after looking at the park from the satelitte's in the sky I just don't know if it'll ever happen. I thought perhaps the park could building a couple of bridges over Renegade Rapids to get people over there. But those bridges would need to be ADA compatible and would be pretty steep and tall for a non-handicapped person to cross, let alone someone who is handicapped. Thought about removing Tilt-A-Whirl as wheel (relocating it to Southwest Territory) but there isn't enough room between Roar and RR. I say build a nice resturant (doesn't need to be full service) and bathroom back there and everyone will forget the park deads ends at Batwing. *** Edited 5/22/2006 8:33:21 PM UTC by coasterguts***

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Monday, May 22, 2006 4:46 PM
Nice TR. I went yesterday (Sun 21st) as well...simply because I knew it would be dead. I was a bit of a slacker this year and just got around to getting my season pass processed. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with all the staff, security, and costumed characters walking around! A crowd pleaser for sure!

Before I start, most rides had two car operation...and the place was DEAD. First ride- Roar. Seemed smoother than last year. Fun ride. Next, waited in line for JJ. Someone threw up in one of the trains, so they closed it down for about half an hour to clean it up. Sooo, I headed to SROS. I rode the back twice in a row without even having to get up out of the seat! After the second ride, people in queue so I walked up (in the exit lane) to an empty seat in the middle of the train and sat there for 4 more consecutive rides!! Crazy dead day!!!! And two train op! Then for a quick ride on Batman- also two train op. Rode back for 1st time- crazy G's. Then to Two face, then to what is fast becoming one of my favorite woody of all time Wild One. Another ride on Supes and I was done. Quick day, two hours only from 12:30 to 2:30.

Love the changes at six flags- hope it continues! Clean, friendly, and two train op on most rides. The SROS crew even were racing to see who could finish checking their side of the train first.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 5:15 PM
Coasterguts, I was there on Sunday. I started the TR early in the morning--around 3am or so but I finished it today. Another thing I noticed was that they finally repainted the safety lines on the steps to S:ROS. They were a very faded yellow and now are a dark blue/purple. The Superman logo looked better than opening weekend as well. I finally saw two of the smoking sections. One is by the bathrooms over by Shipwreck Falls and the other is over by the basketball game in Gotham City.
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Monday, May 22, 2006 6:40 PM
^^The crew on supes wasn't doing all that hot back on my visit...slowest in the park next to the Batwing crew of course & I gotta agree with ya on Wild one,that helix was the smoothest it's ever been in all the rides I've had on it.

I wish the same could be said for Roar but despite the retracking the ride is still rough but nothing that a good set of M-flyers wouldn't fix.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 7:45 PM

palwine said:
Love the changes at six flags- hope it continues! Clean, friendly, and two train op on most rides. The SROS crew even were racing to see who could finish checking their side of the train first.

I'm glad you mentioned the race. I saw them do this a couple of weeks ago. The ride op was counting seconds while the attendants were checking restraints. I had fun with the ride op since I was in the front car. As he was counting forwards, I was counting backwards. I had everyone laughing as he screwed up. The ride op couldn't keep a straight face. :)

I agree about Roar. The back half of it is extremely rough, in fact, I would say the part from the on ride camera to the brake run is rougher than the rest of the ride.

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