CPlaya 100 Park 4 SFGAM-Things get ugly (Bulletpt)

Associated parks:
None

Monday, June 17, 2002 7:45 PM
ARRIVED: About 3:30, but I don't start riding 'till 4. Why? SFGAM's slo-mo approach to just about everything--at least on this visit. It took 20 minutes to get someone at Guest Services with only two people in line in front of me...and the two of them were together, at that. Hello, excuse me. Can you please kindly come TAKE MY MONEY? It's bad enough I'm paying full price for a season pass when I could purchase one at SFWOA for 30% less and I'm too far behind schedule to find an Albertson's for their slight discount. But somehow, I thought the primary goal of a business was to separate me from my hard-earned cash (or easy credit). Why can't they have more people to take it from me?

LEFT: 9:00 pm (closing), during which time I boarded exactly 5 rides.

I suppose what disappointed me the most was that I hadn't been to SFGAM in ages (since CBaby was two) and I secretly hoped to ride B:TR and Iron Wolf the day before boarding CP's Raptor and Mantis to compare them head-to-head. But it was not to be.

PARK APPEARANCE/ATMOSPHERE: No real complaints here. SFGAM is a gorgeous park. I love how the train weaves over and under the paths and to finally be amidst half-decent theming. But the place is packed. At first, I was hoping it was just the school groups who had filled the 40-50 buses out in the lot and perhaps they'd go home later. No dice.

So while the park looked just fine, it was loaded with tired and ticked-off people.

RIDE QUEUE TIMES: Atrocious. By far the worst of the entire trip. Though I did manage two walk-on rides (Giant Drop and the aging Demon) very late in the day, the average wait otherwise was about an hour from 4-8 pm. Many people I waited in line with heartily complained about the waits they had endured all day in the park. The most chilling thought about the wait times: I parked no more than 4-5 rows from the front gate that day. What's going to happen when the real crowd shows up?

For the life of me, I still can't figure out why Six Flags would build ground-breaking coasters like Iron Wolf or B:TR right next to Chicagoland and equip them with only two trains. Why? Why? Da 'Bull has three, but then they followed up with two single-train shuttles. I just don't get it.

I wouldn't say the ride crews were particularly bad, but there's really no mistaking the loading/unloading process for a CP hustle, either.

BEST EXPERIENCE: Raging Bull. The seating position wonderfully approximates standing air and the banked turns actually deliver the falling-out sensation I had only hoped for from MF.

WORST EXPERIENCE: Waiting and waiting. First to purchase my pass, then to take my photo, then to Viper, then to pay my check at the saloon, then for RB and then for Deja Vu. And finally, waiting in line to leave the park in my car. I just couldn't wait enough.

Almost as bad were some of the conversations / arguments from the colorful locals while waiting. One group of school pals railed against each others' varied ethnicites for fun. Trust me, you don't even wanna know where that went....but whatever you can imagine, it was worse. Much worse.

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE: That's coming up....but the second most pleasant was discovering a buffet at the Crazy Buffalo Saloon. The fare was simple (BBQ chicken, pork, roast beef, your usual fixins on the side, simple desserts) but well-done and the restaurant was meticulously themed--from the swinging entry doors to the 'jail cell' to the televised western segments right down to the 'steel' plates. Nice change of pace.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Table service at the above restaurant, which (to put it mildly) sucked pond scum face first. After seating me and refilling my lemonade once, my server simply vanished. After eating what I wanted without my drink, I waited for a check that never came....as did another family seated near me. We finally walked up to the register, told the hostess what we ordered and demanded that--you guessed it--they TAKE OUR MONEY! Right now! Suddenly our server resurfaced with checks and half an apology for smoking crack in the kitchen when he could have been serving us (j/k, sorta). This guy definitely didn't rely on tips for a living.

COASTER RANKINGS (please note: I had already been aboard every SFGAM coaster except Spacely Sprocket Rockets, V2 and the coasters listed below)

WITHOUT FLAW:

Raging Bull - As described above. I strongly considered a RQG rating because (like many of the attractions @ SFGAM) it's a fantastic idea poorly executed. There were only two trains in use as the line got longer and longer. One friendly rideop explained that the third train had yet to get its 'summer wheels'. However, the ride experience is fabulous. At the time, it easily captured the crown as my favorite hyper.

REALLY QUITE GOOD:

Deja Vu - the best surprise of the day....because it was down most of the day and got back on track late in the evening. Well, it was up, then down, then briefly back up, then down for quite a while, then up again right at closing. But I stubbornly hung in there through all the test runs, all the cursing and screams of "Let's GO!!" by the same dork (like that helped) and the diminishing hope of tacking on any more badly needed coasters during my stay. Was it worth it? Well, yes--if for no other reason, because I waited two years to ride one. The vertical lifts were fantastic....but everything in between was a letdown. The 'butterfly' lacked the intensity of the earlier cobra rolls and the rounder vertical loop was surprisingly wanting and forceless.

Viper - Was it as good as the woodies back in Wisconsin? Nooooooo. Was it even close? Nooooo. Was it a good coaster? Yes. Was it better than any other woodie in a corporate park? Almost. It was right up there with the best of the non-CCI woodies.

Demon - All you'd really want in an Arrow looper. A couple of vertical loops, the obligatory corkscrew, a helix, good theming and tunnels too. Someone explain to me why they bothered building Shockwave.

MAJOR NON-COASTER ACTIVITIES: Rode my first Intamin Giant Drop...quite the letdown. I guess I'm far too used to a 250-foot drop to be bowled over by a 160-footer. At least it was almost a walkon.

OTHER COMMENTS: The CPlaya 100 was starting to look troubled. Skipping Santa's village cost me two coasters I couldn't make up @ SFGAM because of their crowds, poor capacity and slow loading. I chose SFGAM instead of IB at this point because LoCoSuMo would not be open and Monticello would leave me much farther away from CP.

After closing, I filled a thermos with coffee and attempted to drive through downtown Chicago and as much of Indiana as I could manage before getting a room. Seemed a good idea until someone got into an accident.

Can someone explain to me why the heck the third-largest metropolis in America can't manage to keep traffic moving after a crash? Why must entire highways grind to a halt until the police come? Ever hear of using the OTHER lanes? Huh?

Of course, I've been blessed with Chicago-style accidents in the past....so I knew to kill my motor and read the paper until they got around to letting people move again. Nevertheless, it cost me time and I got no farther than Hammond, In.

By this time it was so late that CBaby fell asleep on the phone and began to snore as I told her about my day. I had to hold down the '7' key to wake her up and tell her to go to bed.

But things will get better tomorrow. Right?

Click here for CPlaya 100 Day 2, Park 5, titled - Ugh CP!

Click here for CPlaya 100 Park 3 (Little A-Merrick-A)

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/21/2002. ***
*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya 6/3/2003 2:48:38 PM ***

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Monday, June 17, 2002 8:24 PM
giant drop is just a tad bit higher than 160 feet ...
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Monday, June 17, 2002 8:27 PM
Thanks for bring us on the ride of your trip!

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X-Flight World's Only flying coaster!
Batwing World's only flying coaster!
S:UF World's only flying coaster! Don't you love SF ?

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Monday, June 17, 2002 9:23 PM

hogfat said:
giant drop is just a tad bit higher than 160 feet ...


More like 227 feet as listed on the Six Flags Web Site, its taller than Bull for sure.

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Deja Vu Count = 10
CoasterWorld

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 3:01 AM
No Whizzer?
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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 4:51 AM

Were the waits long because of poor capacity or because it was crowded?

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 5:27 AM

Poor capacity would be the case for Deja-Vu because the loading procedures take forever which is not the ride-ops fault. The procedure they have to go through just takes a long time to do.

All the other coasters seem to move the people.

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""To be the man, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!, You got to beat the man""!!!

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 5:54 AM

The lines are always horendous at this park. Every time I go there are hour waits for just about every ride in the park. Doesnt matter if I go on a weekday or weekend, May or July or even September there are long waits at this park.

Of all the parks I have ever gone to, this is the only one I am consistantly waiting in long lines at. I really think the lack of competitive parks in the area leads to huge attendances which the rides they have cant handle capacity wise.

This park has some of the best ride operations in the entire chain with little stacking and the right amount of trains.

The only time you will have short lines at this park is when it is raining and even then it is a gamble. Sorry you had such a bad day there. It is a really nice park without the lines.

-----------------
Bob Hansen

A proud CoasterBuzz Member

"So you think your'e really brave, gonna see the DEMONS cave.
You silly dude, your'e only food, for the DEMON"

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 6:08 AM

For once, I'm going to attempt sticking to my original Bulletpoint rules in responding to questions. It called for me to use the outline to write up a basic review and then expound on details in the review itself as people asked questions. The idea was that you'd help me improve the review and spare new readers the need to sift through the thread for answers or ask the same questions repeatedly.

So I'll try adding more to the original post unless the answers veers too far from the subject, in which case I'll post an answer in the thread.

Of course, as India Arie would say, "Ain't nothin' that I'm sayin' law." If this approach is too cumbersome, let me know. I'm still very open to suggestions on improving the BulletPoint outline.

Thanks for reading and I really appreciate your responses.

I'll get to the 'answers that veer' sometime after I add to the TR.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 6:30 AM

Kick The Sky said:
"The lines are always horendous at this park. Every time I go there are hour waits for just about every ride in the park. Doesnt matter if I go on a weekday or weekend, May or July or even September there are long waits at this park."

Bob, I feel you on that. I grew up with this being the only park I went to consistantly (we *did* travel to other parks, but the only one that got repeat visits was CP). Moreover, most of my visits were on Saturdays or Sundays in June-August. Because of this, I'm *USED* to coaster lines being an hour. If it's anything less than that, I think it's a miracle (and that goes for ANY park I visit)

For that reason, I cannot understand bellyaching about a 15min wait (Dammit I WISH!)
lata,
jeremy

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Besides, if we were really shutting down people we disagreed with, would Jeremy (2Hostyl) still be around? :) I think not. - Jeff 1/24/02

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 7:49 AM


CoasterDude316 said:

hogfat said:
giant drop is just a tad bit higher than 160 feet ...


More like 227 feet as listed on the Six Flags Web Site, its taller than Bull for sure.


Well, sure it would be if you climbed to the tippy-top of the tower...but the ride doesn't go that high. If you check PKI's Drop Zone specs, you'll find that the 315-foot tower has an actual drop height of 264 feet. Subtract that same number from Giant Drop and you're down to 176 feet.

So it's a tad bit higher than 160 feet, but not much at all. I sure don't feel like I'm much higher than a standard-height S&S tower.

-'Playa

(who can't shake the fear that it will one day be themed as a Giant Chupa Chups pop)

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.



*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/18/2002. ***

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 10:37 AM
Hi CoastaPlaya

I'm from Chicago and I think SFGAm is a good park. However, I do think that a lot of my fellow hometown SFGAm friends exaggerate on how really good the employees are and guest services , although I love my home park, I'd say that it probably has the least greatest employees of any park I have ever been to.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 10:50 AM

No exaggeration here buddy so leave me out of the equation. I work in the service field and I know what constitutes good and bad service.

I have been to CP and SFGAm and I can say with confidence that both parks demonstrate for the most part good service. I have also encountered the occasional poor attitude employee at both parks also.

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""To be the man, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!, You got to beat the man""!!!

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 12:19 PM

Catherine said:
No Whizzer?

No--and I wasn't too happy about that. I love the Whizzer as I do all things Schwarzkopf. It has a special place in my heart as the last SpeedRacer and CBaby's first 'adult' coaster (she rode it when she was 2 1/2). But in five hours, I could barely hit the coasters I had never boarded--actually I missed two of them.

BTW, have you been here for the whole story to date or did you just click in now? Hit my links and you can get the whole thing if you haven't already.

Brentwood23:

I hadn't been to SFGAM in 7 years prior to 6/6 and had no complaints in past visits--other than the same ungodly wait times. Remember, by the time I hit SFGAM, I'd been up since 5:30 that morning, logged 400 miles of driving and three other brief park visits. I was also aware of my need to log in another couple hours behind the wheel after I left the park. Might this have skewed my POV a little? Maybe, maybe not...but I can only relate my own experience as it happened.

-'Playa

-----------------
The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/18/2002. ***

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 1:07 PM
Chitown,
I know what you are saying, but I just feel it's easier to find more bad Six Flags employees. You know, the ones that hate their job within 3 minutes of their job?
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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 1:56 PM
Why would it be just Six Flags employees, and Giant Drop is alot higher than 170 ft. CoastaPlaya, when you are on the ride you are looking down at Bull which is 202 ft. However I don't think it is 227 like it is listed. I think the drop is about 215-220. There is no way the top of it is 40 feet tall!

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Deja Vu Count = 10
CoasterWorld

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 2:32 PM

Welcome to the world of drop towers...where a 300' Power Tower or a 312' Supreme Scream have ride segments of 240' and 250' feet, a 315' Drop Zone has an actual drop of 264 feet and a 227' Giant Drop is even shorter.

Remember, beneath the soon-to-be lollipop at the top are where the brackets that lift and drop your car and beneath that is the area where you actually sit.

So why do you appear to be above RB? Could be the topography of the land, could be your own foreshortening (where objects farther away seem smaller) or a combination of both. But there's no reason to believe PKI's Drop Zone top segment is any taller than Giant Drop's.

Even Six Flag's own web site calls it '20 stories' and they're rounding that number off....I spend way, way too much time 250 real feet off the ground to believe it's even 200.

-'Playa

-----------------
The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 3:24 PM
HEY, I live in Hammond. Where in Hammond were you? I live in south Hammond. Did you pass Calumet Ave. exit, or some netting for a driving range? The Calumet Ave. exit is like 5 minutes from my house, and I belong to the country club with the driving range. Bad trip, though. Wish you would of had the chance to ride everything you wanted.

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HuKeD oNN fonickS dusinT wOrK"[;.

*** This post was edited by Raging Rider on 6/18/2002. ***

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002 6:20 PM

I'm guessing north as I exited off of I-90 (the skyway) instead of 94.

I stayed at the first--well, make that second--hotel I saw, a Ramada off the highway where I talked the front desk gal into giving me $20 off my room.

-'Playa

-----------------
The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

+0
Wednesday, June 19, 2002 9:05 AM
Giant Drop is 217 according to stats
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