Bizzaro @ SFNE report from 7/15

Friday, July 17, 2009 12:55 PM

I ended my work day in the Hartford area yesterday, and despite
needing to put my washing machine back together and finishing the
grout on the tile floor I installed; I decided to swing out to SFNE to
finally try out Bizzaro.

I got into the park around 6 or so, found a decent parking spot (still
about a mile away from the park), and headed straight through to
Bizzaro. The park crowd was reasonably light for one of the first
beautiful days we've had around these parts. Aside from Bizzaro, and
more advertisements (a lot of which held the text Your Ad Here!) there
weren't any noticeable differences to the park. Mind Eraser may have
got a new paint job, and they finally tore down the just-too-sexy sign
for twisted ivy, but those may have happened last year.

On to Bizzaro. I actually felt almost exactly how I thought I would
about the ride, but my emotions were more pronounced than I had
expected. Overall, I'm very disappointed and wish they had left it
alone. The detraction were way worse than I had expected. However,
the positives were much more impressive at the same time.

Lets start in the queue: the new theming is lame, and they've added
flat screen tvs that play commercials and american idol on a 25 minute
loop. What the hell. Does anyone remember looney toons in the lines
back in the old days? I found this offensive. It wasn't so bad the
first time through, because I spent the line reading news on my
phone...but the second time, with the phone now dead, it was terrible.
The cutouts were crude and looked like they were trying too hard to
look like comic books without actually 'getting' comic books. The
lightning screen/news report I found cheesy, but the crowd enjoyed it
so I'll call it a success. The graffiti and stuff was stupid looking,
and felt like the whole thing was done by a 13 year old myspace user.

A big complaint from a lot of people was the proximity of the flame
throwers to the line. It was hot out, and those flames were
unrelenting. They looked great until you were stuck standing 25 feet
away for a half hour. And they didn't add crap to the ride
experience.

On to the trains. I am very, very happy that they got rid of the
shackles on your ankles. The new lap bars were a lot more comfortable
than the last iteration, but of course not as good as the original T
bars. But screw those science-damned headrests! This ride used to
have an amazing feeling of freedom, but it's all gone now. The view
from any seat aside from the front felt 50% more constricted. I
closed the restraint and was happy, then looked up and was pissed.

Then the ride started to move, and the sound turned on. What the hell
were the thinking? There's no story, not theme, and for the most part
it's not synchronized with the ride. It's not even music, It just
screams various 5 second recognizable sound bits from movies and crap.
I remember hearing blues brothers followed by will farrel. what the
f'ing crap. It did not add a damn thing to the ride, but did a great
job of distracting me from enjoying myself. It was also a huge help
to the headache I had on my second ride. It stopped me from talking
to the random guy sitting next to me (which may have been a good thing,
but if I wasn't there alone it would have sucked). And then when you
get to the brakes it's just BLARING. I think it wanted us to start
chanting, but I didn't see that happen all day.

Terrible audio aside (if you are somehow able to do that) , the other
additions were actually quite enjoyable. The new facade on the tunnel
is dumb looking, but really enhances the feeling that the train isn't
going to fit. The ugly buildings after the turn around add a lot to a
previously dull section of the ride. And you're going too fast
through both of those elements to tell how ugly they really are. The
new mist tunnel with the empty superman symbols is cool, especially at
night. The flame throwers don't add a damn thing to the back 1/2 of the
train since it's long gone by the time you pass, and in the front it's
basically just "oohhh fiiiire". Doesn't add any excitement, but it
sure looks like it does from off the ride.

I took two rides, one right when I got there and a second before I
left. The night ride was a lot cooler looking, but the park closed
within 20 minutes of darkness setting in. The only reason I got a
real night ride was because SF drastically favors the fast pass line.
There were 15 minuter periods of standing still, even though the crew
was doing a great job at sending trains out (best I've seen since the
restraints were changed).

Overall, I'm not happy. They took an amazing ride, slapped some
crappy looking effects on it, and tried to market it as a new coaster.
It wasn't even a successful trick they played on the public, since
most people I know in CT became aware that it wasn't actually a brand
new coaster (as the add campaign implied) before the ride opened. I
didn't see anyone seem to enjoy the coaster significantly more than
people as a whole did before. To me it's nothing but a waste of money
by a failing chain.

As for the rest of my day, I grabbed a double ride on Batman, which is
very enjoyable although short. I crossed the park and hopped on
catapult, which really doesn't do anything for me. The line for cyclone
was way too long, and the trains were coming out every 7 minutes give
or take, so I passed. I got a ride on Pandemonium which is really
fun, my night ride on Bizzaro, and that's it.

It was a nice break from the constant work of a new house. I'm glad I
went, and I had a good time overall. I think I'm past the point where
I can really enjoy going to parks alone, which was an odd realization.
I might feel different aout a new-to-me park, but it just didn't seem
like it used to.

Also, the whole park really smacked of money gouging desperation. I
didn't spend a dime there, and there weren't many lines for concessions
or games. The place was clean and the landscaping was nice, but this
park did with advertisements what cedar point does with trash cans.
It was garish and unsightly, and drastically took away from that
magical atmosphere the park used to have even in the early SF days.
Now the only atmosphere is one of being held upside down and shaken,
so the loose change slips from your pocket.

Thanks for reading, if you made it through this whole thing.

-mike

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Friday, July 17, 2009 1:41 PM

That's a shame, I really liked that park five years ago despite it being poorly run.

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Friday, July 17, 2009 2:39 PM

I think B:DK (or B:TR or whatever the floorless is called) could have benefitted a lot more from the new effects than Superman did. On the other hand, then they'd have to write a new story line and couldn't reuse the one from SFGAdv.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009 10:11 AM

Mike, I share your thoughts to a degree on Bizarro. (see thip report from 7/5). Yeah, the misters were cool, but the flames were "meh" at best.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009 3:04 PM

We were there last night and got our first dark ride on Bizarro. Although I wish they had left this ride alone, I must admit that the new effects added, except the audio, are pretty good in the dark. Enjoyed the ride much more than the daylight rides. It isn't #1 anymore but it was fun.

Last edited by depotrat, Sunday, July 19, 2009 3:05 PM
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Monday, July 20, 2009 1:08 PM

Andy, I don't think the park would have had any problems reusing the story from Medusa, since both parks were originally going to get the same B:DK. The only difference they would have to make is accommodating a much shorter ride time.

And thanks for the replies, everyone. It's sad that what depotrat said is true: they took a #1 coaster (it was always #2 for me actually) and dropped it off my top 10 list. There's no way to get around the audio, and it kills the ride. I'm going again on Wednesday with the fiance, so I'll post back if my views change at all - and add her input as well.

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Monday, July 20, 2009 1:22 PM

There is a way to get around the audio

Buy ear plugs ;)

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