Darien Lake, Darien Center, New York, USA
Lesson learned: don't arrive too early. They don't allow cars in the parking lot before 10:00 am. We waited at the front of the season pass line before the turnstiles opened at 10:15. We had to wait for the Looney Tunes song-and-dance routine and official rope drop at 10:30 -- this was made painfully slow by the fact that we could already see people streaming into the park from the campers entrance.
We did the 'Superman Sprint', but balked when we saw they weren't letting people in queue yet. (A couple hundred campers were already waiting outside the entrance.) By this time, Predator was up and running with riders and virtually no line, so we thought we would give it a shot.
This coaster brutalized us when we last rode it in in the back row in 2001. While we've been to SFDL since then, Predator was always closed. Today, we took it in the front row after a 4 train wait, which was really fast with 2-train operation. The ride itself was very good -- we were surprised. No gut-busting on the lap bar, just airtime and banking in all the right places. FYI, There was a slight hiccup when the safety system e-stopped one train on the lift hill. The system didn't want to reset and the chain-lift struggled to restart. The delay was minor because maintenace was on the scene in less than a minute, and everything running smoothly in less than 5 minutes.
Superman: Ride of Steel
By the time Predator ran a half-dozen trains, Superman started loading people. We waited 20 minutes in the queue. We expected a 3-train / 10 minute wait on the platform, but lucked out and found a foursome trying to stay together -- they let the two of us go ahead of them in row 2. No wait! :) As always, S:RoS was an amazing ride! Great air-time and speed. I still prefer Magnum XL-200, but S:RoS definitely beats Maggie in the high-speed curves. :)
Boomerang Coast to Coaster
Another boomerang. 2-train wait. <yawn>
I can never remember where the comfortable seats are. We rode in the middle and were jostled around. I know I've ridden this thing comfortably, I just can't remember where.
Single train operation frustrates me. The line wasn't long -- but there was still a 7 train wait on the platform. Mind Eraser is perhaps the most rough invert I've ridden. It also carries over some putrid pond. My wife was reminded of the view from Dominator at Geauga Lake. :(
A good raft ride. I couldn't get wet enough. It was a very hot day.
<insert sponsor name> Plunge
A nice flume, but not very wet. Even though they were only loading on the left side, the line moved reasonably fast.
We nearly dried out from Grizzly Run. This ride got us quite wet relatively quickly. They have huge capacity in the boats. Even though staff were not filling all the seats, it was only a 3 boat wait.
This was our first visit to SFDL's convoluted waterpark. The different areas are quite separated from each other. The sidewalks between the lockers and the wave pool were very hot. We did a lot of wincing and swearing as we crossed the park. After cooling down and splashing around in the wave pool for an hour or so, we found the bridge to Barracuda Bay and waited 15 minutes to try Floodgate Falls, which is an odd little tube ride with lots of dips and currents that send riders backwards when you least expect it. It is virtually impossible to stay together as a group on this randomly-moving tube ride. We would have stayed longer to try the other tube-rides, but we had a 5.5 hour drive ahead of us and had to leave early or risk losing our sanity.
The womens changerooms near Hook's Lagoon are all messed up. The mens changeroom is just one large room with benches -- it's simple and it works. For some reason, the women's changeroom has several private booths. This is great for privacy, but it means that women had to line up to wait 10 minutes to change, while men whisked in and out without any delay. Are the Baracuda Bay changerooms like this too?
All-in-all, it was one of the best day's we've spent at Six Flags Darien Lake. The weather was good, the staff were friendly, and with the exception of Mind Eraser (and obviously Boomerang), all big the coasters were running multiple trains.
As for the waterpark, it's really a pretty bad situation with the way it's laid out and the fact that there's really no place to move it with out spending a lot of money to alter the terrain. Ideally, I'm sure they'd like to move the slide park over next to the wavepool area. Heck, Shipwreck Falls required a lot of excavation because the slides that it replaced hugged that hill where the other tube slides are located. If anything, the waterpark situation probably needs to be addressed even before they get another coaster.
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