Fall Road Trip: Part 2 - Six Flags Great Adventure October 16

Thursday, October 20, 2005 12:42 PM
(continued from part 1)

After our 2:00 am check in, morning came too soon. We knew Great Adventure was a big park with serious crowd issues, so we headed out in time to arrive at gate-opening and grabbed so-called breakfast from the golden arches. Apparently I was not very good at explaining the Q-bot to my wife because we arrived at the gate and I dug out my SFGE season pass and my wife looked at me and said, “You never told me I needed my pass. I thought it was included in the Q-bot!” <doh!> She had to head back to the car while I ran ahead to get in the Q-bot line. I’m a bad husband!

I got the Q-bot Gold because we were only there for one day and we didn’t want to miss anything. For $100, I thought they would have a better set-up, but the truth is, the Q-bot is obviously and afterthought in the park design, and ride-op staff really don’t care about making it work efficiently. While we were honest in our use of the Q-bot, there were many Q-bot users at the park who were openly manipulating the system by riding when their device said “Early for Ride” or “Next Ride Nitro” rather than waiting for the “Enjoy your ride” to appear. Ride ops were too lazy or jaded to turf these line-jumpers, and the whole park suffers. We overheard one rider bragging about how he was caught once, and told to go to security. He did and security gave him an exit pass. WTF?? The device is so expensive, you would think they would have implemented a better queue management system. Don’t even get me started on the combined handicapped entrance / Q-Bot entrance / ride exit combinations… :(

Robin: The Chiller - By the time I signed the paperwork for the Q-bot, the wife was back and not quite furious with me. We headed for Batman and Robin: the Chiller first, thinking that it was best to get this slow-cycle coaster out of the way early. Only Robin was running. We scanned the Q-bot and waited less than 5 minutes to ride. The wife wasn’t paying attention and only realized that it was a shuttle coaster when we started to go backwards. Her laughter was contagious. :) It was a great way to start the day. It wasn’t perfectly smooth, but it wasn’t jarring or violent either. The only victim on this ride was my hair. 70 mph backwards really messes it up. Too bad Batman: The Chiller was closed, it would have been fun too.

Kingda Ka(n’t) - Our biggest mistake was that we didn’t head for this coaster straight away. We got our Q-bot scanned and were checking out the tigers while waiting 45 minutes for our time-slot. Unfortunately, the winds picked up and the safety systems were kicking in. Staff managed to restart the ride a couple times, but eventually, they had to give up and shut it down for the day. Our ride-time was delayed 30 minutes (75 minutes from our original scan-time) before finally canceling. Oh well, Storm Runner was probably a better ride anyways.

Runnaway Mine Train – Cute mine-train with very snug restraints. I’m 5’8” and I needed to cross my legs so the lap bar would lock. There was some mine theming in the queue and in the platform, but nothing noticeable along the ride. Why can’t so-called mine train coasters actually carry a mining theme?! (I’ll stop my rant before it starts.) The ride itself was OK, but definitely more comfortable for kids than adults.

Medusa – We loved it. We both raved about how smooth it was. It reminded us of Kumba at BGT – the track layout is not identical, but appears to be very, very similar. 7 inversions and no head-banging. Thank you Six Flags and B&M! During our morning ride, we could watch the safari from the lift hill. We also made Medusa our last ride of the night, and it was very dark and quiet – almost eerie.

Rolling Thunder – We spent several minutes trying to find the entrance before we realized it was closed due to El Toro construction. :( Another time…

Superman Ultimate Flight – It looks a lot like Geauga Lake’s X-flight, but it’s not the same. While X-flight has riders on their backs in the brake run, station and lift hill, Superman has riders flying the entire time. While I enjoy the flying sensation on the coaster course, I’d much rather be sitting rather than hanging in the brake run and in the station. Superman also feels much faster and the G-forces in the loop seem stronger. My wife loves good flying coasters, and this one was tops in her books. The only bad experience we had on this coaster was the lack of intelligent ride-ops when we rode later in the evening. They could not organize the Q-bot line (which blocked the exit), they allowed regular riders to steal Q-bot seats, they ignored handicapped riders, and they were just plain slow checking restraints. A security guard came to the platform to help keep the Q-bot / handicapped line organized, but after the fourth time he reminded the ride ops to move exiting riders off the platform, he decided to leave the station before he lost his temper. Why should a security guard have to tell ride ops how to do their job? We were lucky in that we only missed a Q-bot run on Great American Scream Machine because of those ride-ops. I sincerely hope those guys don’t come back next year.

Great American Scream Machine – We weren’t expecting much from this Arrow looper. Boy, were we surprised. Not only is it very tall and very fast, it’s actually a really fun ride. 7 inversions and no headaches? That’s an Arrow miracle! We only rode it once, but would have rode it again if it wasn’t for the moronic ride-ops at Superman.

Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train – A fun kiddy coaster. Not to hard on adults. Kids loved it.

Skull Mountain – This coaster was made by the same folks who built Dragon at La Ronde, so we were hoping for a similar experience. It looks amazing. When we went by the waterfalls along the lift-hill, we were impressed. When the coaster dived inside to the dark disco-themed interior, we were very disappointed. No glowing themed elements… no eerie soundtrack… just a dark coaster with disco lights. ? The best part of this coaster is the exterior theming.

Nitro – This B&M hyper puts BGW’s Apollo’s Chariot to shame. Nitro has airtime and ejector time as well as ultra-smooth helixes. It is way more forceful than Apollo’s Chariot. This was our favorite coaster in the park. :) The regular line was 2 hours, but with the Gold Q-bot we were able to ride twice – once at sunset and again in the dark, both times amazing. Unfortunately, Nitro was where we saw and heard the most people cheating the Q-bot system. We even saw exiting riders get into the Q-bot line and ride – the ride-ops on the platform were not very thorough checking the devices. However, these ride-ops were most generous to riders in the non-normal line. They would periodically clear the Q-bot / handicapped line, virtually filling the train (except for the front row) before allowing regular riders to board. This helped keep the exit ramp clear, even if it did encourage guests to cheat the system.

Batman: The Ride - It's a fun, violent, compact invert, apparently a clone of the Vampire coaster we love at La Ronde. The landscaping the coaster isn't great -- I can't decide which is uglier -- SFGAdv's gravel pit or La Ronde's giant ashtray.

Non-coaster info:
Q-bot - Would we rent a the Q-bot Gold again? Without hesitation, yes. The lines were too long to seriously consider a coaster trip without one. But from our perspective, since we’re spending $100 in gas to get there, plus +$300 on hotels and food, the extra $100 rental fee isn’t a significant barrier. We also liked the fact that we could shop, watch shows, drink beer, eat a meal, or nap on a bench while virtually waiting in line. However, I still think Six Flags must improve their queue systems and Q-bot verification.
Halloween - SFGAdv goes all out – IMO, better than Cedar Point, Geauga Lake, SFDL, SFGE, Hersheypark, and Knoebels. We’re coaster nuts, so we didn’t visit the haunted houses or other Halloween attractions, but they did look impressive. The hay ride through the dark woods seemed very creepy – from Nitro we could see and hear periodic gun-shots and fireballs as well as screams of fright.
Shopping – Buy your souvenirs early. We planned to return to shops in the evening to buy our souvenirs. Unfortunately, all non-main street shops close well before the park closes, and the main street shops have limited selection, so we were SOL for many of our favorite souvenirs. (Hey, SF, you just lost $50 in sales!)

Kinda Ka wasn’t the only attraction that seemed to close just for us. On our way back to Ottawa, we stopped in Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. We got our tickets, went for lunch, but before we could tour, we were met by a Parks Service officer who said, “I’m sorry sir, but all the buildings are closed due to a security incident.” <doh!> *** Edited 10/20/2005 4:43:19 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 10/20/2005 4:49:18 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 10/20/2005 4:50:16 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

Thursday, October 20, 2005 2:03 PM
Looks like you had a fun day other than KK being down due to the winds.

The Q-bot entrances have been changed for fright fest on most rides due to limited staffing, I would presume. I know because I went early this year (some rides had other entrance ways for Q-Bot) and then again on Oct 15th (enter via exit on all).

The Horror Hollow walkthrough was OK but not great. I did it the night I went. Also they could have more clowns and stuff in the Psycho Circus area when there isn't a show at the freak show stage. The Hollywood Ghoulavard show was also OK. I was walking to ride Batman while the actors for it were walking to the stage and Elvis walked by so I like an idiot did my best "Thank you, Thank you very much" and he seemed to chuckle at it. The KISS tribute band sounded pretty good also as I walked past the stage they played at. We didn't get to do the Hayride since it was a very long line and I was really fading fast thanks to benedryl (stupid bees).

Watch the tram car please....
Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:05 PM
So what exactly is the cost for Q-bot gold? I didn't realize it was $100 for two people.

Is that a flat $100? $50 per person? $60 (or $80) for first person, $40 (or $20) for additional person?

Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:11 PM
check the pricing structure out here.
Watch the tram car please....
Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:54 PM

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