color me impressed -- SFGAdv 6/24

Associated parks:
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Monday, June 25, 2007 8:09 PM
The main reason for our trip to New Jersey this time was because of a concert in Camden (The Fray) that evening, but it was nice to be able to throw a little SFGAdv in for some extra fun.

We got to the park a little after 11AM. I was expecting the place to be crowded, and while it certainly wasn't empty, it was definitely not as bad as when I went last year on the record-breaking Columbus Day. It was beautiful weather outside, and the crowds were about moderate. Below is the usual random notes/observations:

  • I was impressed at how many trains were running on the coasters--Medusa (3), Runaway Train (2), El Toro (2), Rolling Thunder (all 4), GASM (3), SUF (2), BTR (2), Nitro (3), Skull Mountain (2)--you get the idea. The only major rides that I noticed were down the whole time were Batman Chiller and the parachute tower. Kingda Ka was running 2-3 trains at least, but I don't know how many exactly.
  • There were moderate number of characters out, as well as some of the streetmosphere ones, too.
  • All 3 water rides were running, which was good, since it was a warm sunny day.
  • There seemed to be some employee training going on at Medusa, and the trains were being stacked fairly badly.
  • SFGAdv has some decent bathrooms from the 2 I used--definitely better than SFOT.
  • It was nice to see not only both sides of RT running, but each side had 2 trains, which I don't even know when the last time I saw that!
  • It stinks that the Chiller lost those rolls. Now, Freeze is definitely the superior of the 2 designs. We got in line for Chiller, but we decided to wait for SUF and KK instead.
  • Some rides definitely went down, but they made efforts to get them back up again. In fact, we got stopped on BTR's lift, both near the bottom and near the top. Honestly, it was one of the scariest BTR rides I've ever had--BTW, we were in the front.
  • We got in line for KK, and not too long after that, it went down hard. We waited at least 1.5 hrs for it, and it didn't come back up, and we kinda had to leave. But by the time we made it back to the car, it was back up again--blasted foiled!
  • They didn't handle the KK situation as well as they should have. Supposedly, they made an annoucement, but those in the lower queue didn't seem to be able to hear it. We heard one made much later, but that was after we already wasted over an hour in line. Also, the misters on the fans were turned off, and some of the umbrellas were missing--this is not good. On top of that, they weren't even bothering to sell water in that park of the queue--only lemonaide and slushy-type drinks.
  • I had the least dark Skull Mountain ride that I've ever had. Too much light was being let in--they should fix this :)
  • Wiggles World looks good from what I saw, and of course, the area by the log flume and BBNP looks nice, as well.
  • Both sides of the skyride were running! Unfortunately, one side broke while I was in line for it, so we switched to the other side.
  • El Toro was running well and fairly efficiently--definitely better than last season.
  • The wait times posted on the signs are definitely exagerated. Like someone said, the times are if they were running one train, and perhaps even a somewhat inefficient one-train operation at that. They are definitely pushing the Flash Pass with those signs--grrr :)
  • Flash Pass seems to be handled differently on different rides. At least it was handled better than it was at SFOT, were I think that they would just let the people come and just pick what seats they wanted without waiting in ANY of the normal queue--this is the worst way to run Flash Pass, so at least SFGAdv has it a little better. I still wish it didn't exist, though :)
  • Nitro was giving some sweet air, and of course, El Toro was amazing. Props to the ET crew.
  • The crowd control in some of the queues was definitely good. For BTR, ET, SUF, and Medusa, there was an employee only letting in so many people at a time, and there was even some seating direction, to a certain extent. This park could use good crowd control, so this is another step in the right direction.
  • These parks up here could take a hint from Texas and install more misting fans throughout the park, including midways and queues. We like the "Shapiro signs" -- the refreshing advertisement signs that were installed for this season -- but they could use more of them.
  • The chicken fingers baskets at Best of the West have enough food for at least 2 people. Keep that in mind when you get food in the park, and you'll save some money.
  • The main street fountain looks good this season.
  • Security had some visibility, which was good. SF was also handing out guest code of conduct cards before you entered the park, and they also had stuff clearly printed in the park guide. We didn't get to see any smokers thrown out, though.

Overall, it was a pretty good day at the park. The worst part was the Kingda Ka portion, but excluding that, they put on a fairly good performance. If they keep heading in this direction and no backpedeling, we should continue to see good things from this place. Keep up the good work!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 8:20 PM
I don't believe I've ever been on the skyride, and I'm glad to hear El Toro is working better than last year. Me and my friend are going up there sometime in July to get her first ride on E.T., so I'm happy to hear things are going better.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007 11:05 AM
Yea, it was noticeably better than last year, although the park wasn't near as crowded as it was when I went last season.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007 2:29 PM
I can't wait for my trip in like 5 days. El Toro here I come!
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007 3:07 PM
Rablat - - - > Thanks for the report. I should be there within a week. I can't beleive that Rolling Thunder had both sides going with 2 trains. WOW!

Can I ask how RT was this time around? Was it the same "Spit-out-yer-teeth-like-chicklets" ride we've come to know and hate, or was it a bit smoother?

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007 3:36 PM
^ I can't say for sure, since I didn't ride it this time around. But I would assume that it's pretty much the same as usual. I do, however, prefer the left side to the right.

It was nice, and rare, to see both sides running--and actually racing--with 2 trains on each side. I guess it can be done if the park puts forth the effort! :)

*** Edited 6/27/2007 7:37:01 PM UTC by rablat5***

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007 3:39 PM
Does me proud to see this kind of TR about a SF park - especially coming from you. :)

They're getting there.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007 3:43 PM
Under the old regime, we were told that RT *could not* run both sides simultaneously. Score yet another point for Shapiro... :)

I've heard great things about the Toro crew this year....guess they realized the newest biggest most heavily promoted ride needs the best crew... ;)

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007 3:56 PM
^^ Yes, Gonch, even I can see when they're doing a better job. :)

^ They actually said that, Gator? So I guess that it was never able to run that way from when it was first built then--bullcrap. Glad they've shown that they can get their act together. I certainly hope this keeps up.

And it's about time that they got a good crew on El Toro--it's arguably the best coaster in the park, plus it's the newest, so it should have one of the best crews.

Sure wish they'd get Kingda Ka running more reliably, though.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007 5:36 PM
Apparently Kingda Ka has been running much better as of late from what I hear, I'll check it out for my self next week.
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Sunday, July 1, 2007 9:34 AM
I was at the park Thursday, 6/28. Ka was running 4 trains while I was there. It was actually one of my best days yet. I rode Ka four times in an hour. Nitro had a five minute wait, same for Toro. Crowds were light all over.
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Sunday, July 1, 2007 10:23 AM
I was there on thursday as well. Had a great time.

I am sure there is some mathematical curve that shows their performance degradation as the crowds increase (I think I just outgeeked myself)

Anyhow, the park looked great. the employees were decent..and I love the new wiggles world.

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Sunday, July 1, 2007 12:38 PM
We happened to be at the park on the same day. We got a gold q-bot out of fear and the reputation the park had (please dont throw stuff at me :) ) but we didn't need it THAT bad. However, it did give us a lot of freedom in our day and got us walk-on El Toro all day. I was shocked at how well run the park was and how outgoing and energetic most of the employees seemed.

I wish this enthusiasm and energy would spread to the Cedar Fair parks, where the theme seems to be indifference and boredom.

I truely think that if SF keeps up the good work, they will surpass CF in the guest experience and value they offer.

I do have one beef with SFGADV however. We ate lunch at the mexican resturant by Toro. We waited in a line of 15-20 people, which took over a half hour. Once we did get to the front of the line, we encountered downright RUDE employees, and a system that was extremely poorly laid out. The food was good enough, but the wait and service was poor.

Overall, I had an EXCELLENT day at SFGADV and would love to go back!

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Sunday, July 1, 2007 3:22 PM

rollergator said:
Under the old regime, we were told that RT *could not* run both sides simultaneously.


rablat5 said:
^ They actually said that, Gator? So I guess that it was never able to run that way from when it was first built then

This was my home park growing up (and I was a "cast member" in '92 & '93), and yes there were several people (including management) who would tell you that! It wasn't until the late '80s that Rolling Thunder stopped racing altogether (they'd run both sides up a lift then slow one side down just enough for the other side to crest then bring the first side back to speed, IIRC the right side was always the one left behind in this case). I never did get a good response from any of the RT crew but they always eluded to how unsafe that would be and give this shocked look...?!? I still think Management just wanted higher riders per hour (i.e. don't wait until both sides are ready), although the slowing of the lift suggests a different story.

It is great to read that SF is doing much better than last year. Trust me, it isn't worth waiting 2.5 hours for KK when the lines for everything else is under 30 min! I'd ride Nitro & Medusa several times instead (I can't say anything about ET, we should've checked it's line before queueing for KK). *** Edited 7/1/2007 7:27:58 PM UTC by jshorerzd*** *** Edited 7/1/2007 7:28:31 PM UTC by jshorerzd***

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Sunday, July 1, 2007 6:08 PM
I wish they could rahab Rolling Thunder cause I think its layout has potential if the trains could navigate it.

This park is one of the best when the crowds are not ridiculous like they are during summer weekends. Glad to hear people are starting to have fun there again. :) I would like to get back there some day to try out El Toro, but am wary based on past experiences.

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Monday, July 2, 2007 1:29 PM
I was surprised by this park this year too.

I was ready to give up on this park after my list two visits (2004 and 2005) and only went there this year (June 25, 2007) ro ride Superman Ultimate Escape, Kingda Ka and El Toro (the three coasters I had not yet ridden). I was REALLY impressed in what I found however... a clean park that looks in good shape (paint, landscaping, clean)... pleasant and EFFICIENT employees.... a security force that was letting NOTHING slide by if it was against policy... did I mention EFFICIENT and FRIENDLY employees?...

I was VERY impressed and we had a great time. While I was not really all that excited to go before this last visit, I now can't wait to get back!

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Monday, July 2, 2007 1:36 PM
I only had two problems at SFGAdv when i went two weeks ago. One time a kid was cutting through the line asking if he could use a cell phone to everyone he passed. He stopped at me, cursed me out (polo + oakleys = rich boy i guess, even if i did get the sunglasses on significant discount), and then he disappeared. Though a minute later security was everywhere.

Second incident was in line for Batman, there was pot. Nuff said, and it was in the indoor part too.

I saw someone get kicked out of the park for smoking in a non-designated area (woot), we followed them out and the security guard pointed out all the places it says no smoking to the one guy who said "we were never told!". "We have them on the entry gates, when you buy your tickets, on the trash cans, buttons on the fronts of every employee's shirt..."

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Monday, July 2, 2007 4:25 PM

The Mole said:
I only had two problems at SFGAdv when i went two weeks ago. One time a kid was cutting through the line asking if he could use a cell phone to everyone he passed. He stopped at me, cursed me out and then he disappeared.


Interesting you should say that. My wife did not ride Nitro and while she was waiting for me, a similar thing happened to her... a kid came up to her and asked if he could use her cell phone. She said no. He asked why. She said "First, I don't know you. Second, I'm not from around here and it's roaming". He said. "Really, what's your area code?" She said "717" He said, "Oh, so you ain't lying." and went on his way.

Some new scheme going on?

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Monday, July 2, 2007 4:37 PM
That is the most idiotic thing I've ever heard. Yeah, I'll let you use my cell phone, and while I'm in such a generous mood, I'll let you borrow my wallet, and hold the keys to my car for a while. Wow, does anyone fall for that? This guy seemed to be asking as casually as asking for a cigarette.
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Monday, July 2, 2007 4:43 PM

SLFAKE said:
Interesting you should say that. My wife did not ride Nitro and while she was waiting for me, a similar thing happened to her... a kid came up to her and asked if he could use her cell phone. She said no. He asked why. She said "First, I don't know you. Second, I'm not from around here and it's roaming". He said. "Really, what's your area code?" She said "717" He said, "Oh, so you ain't lying." and went on his way.

Some new scheme going on?


Sounds fishy, very fishy. This is something Six Flags should look into. While they are definitely doing much better and I'm seeing families go to the parks more, I also see a lot of bad things still going on. While some of the pointless rude stuff is gone, this is my first time I was cursed out in line, asked for a cell phone, and pot use in line.

Though everything else was actually quite good....

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