First Visit to Gadv under new management 7/1/06

Associated parks:
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Sunday, July 2, 2006 5:34 AM
Six Flags Great Adventure has always been one of my favorite Theme Park to visit since I discovered the wonderful world of Amusment Parks back in 1999. I was 13 and Medusa was released. With the park improving in terms of being one of the greater Six Flags Parks and now being under new management, I deicded to take a look at some of the changes the park is making better. I also had to pick up my season pass for this year.

I arrived at the park by NJ Transit at 9:45 AM and rushed over to the gates. The main reason why I came to the park was to get a first ride on El Toro and re ride " The Tallest Fastest Roller Coaster on Earth". At the present time both of these coasters weren't showing in signs of test runs as everyone waited for the ropes to be dropped. Two minutes before it was 10AM I deicde to use the bathroom and bam, I hear a count down. I beleive this is as new thing they put together for the guest who are waiting for the rides to begin and watching the looney tunes characters at the fountain. I love the atomsphere at this time as it just goes along with the park. I rushed out the bathroom apparently knowing what that countdown was for and took place in the second running of the bulls I've been in towards El Toro.

As soon as I got there, I saw the train fly by the turn around section and was simply in aw. I got a bit overwelmed and ran faster, trying to catch my breath once I stopped at the entrance to wait for it to open. After about 2 test runs, the ride stopped on the lift for about 20 min. One of the guards came out and told people " El Toro is experiecing a few minor issues, we don't know how long it's going to be, but your welcome to wait". I thought "Great, I come all the way out here to ride this thing and now they can't even get it to work on time!" About 10 min. after I said that, The train on El Toro's lift moved and all frowns on one's face turned to smiles and yell's. As it went down the first drop, I watched in amazement and then the train went over the second hill and I immdiately had chills run up my arms as I could alrealdly feel airtime on that hill!

Now straight to the point, first ride off the day was the back seat. I felt instantly in love with El Toro after riding this beast in the back. The Intensity, change of direction, smoothness, and airtime was just wild. I felt I was on Nitro for a minute. Yet, this wasn't even my best ride which came right after in the front seat this time. Now, I'm truly in love with this coaster! lol, talk about some wild hangtime, how you get wiped around during the finale, and it's pacing is just crazy. Definately the best wooden coaster I've been on hands down!

After the El Toro recovery, I walked over to Kingda Ka and just took in some of the changes I noticed since last year. Seems like Six Flags is really trying to win back those families. Kingda Ka was just like I remembered last year. But it seems like it pulls some more G's during the launch. Still my 2nd best steel coaster right behind Phantom's Revenge.

Afterwards, All I did was wander around with friends playing games, taking a ride on Spongebob 3D, a very good show might I ad, Nitro, and Batman: The Ride.

I love Six Flags Great Adventure not only because it's my hometown park, but because of the large amount of activites that go on there. I want this park to do good in the long run but overall I would say I had an ok visit for today. Not one of my best because due to lack of staff, they didn't have alot of the rides open and rides like Nitro, Kingda Ka, and El Toro suffered long lines due to stacking and not enough trains open. I was also expepcting Batman&Robin: The Chiller to be open but again due to staff it wasn't. I didn't like how some of the men's restroom had looked. One in particular was over by Batman: The Ride which had paper towels and urine all over the place.On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give my visit a 7 1/2 to an 8. Thanks for taking the time out to read this report!

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Sunday, July 2, 2006 7:30 AM
AKAIK Chiller is closed indefinitely due to some sort of accident last month on Robin, not staff problems.
*** Edited 7/2/2006 11:31:44 AM UTC by MrX***
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Sunday, July 2, 2006 10:31 AM
Mrx: I understand why Robin was down which was due to I believe stalling mid ride during the return trip but Batman I don't beleive was affected by this.
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Monday, July 3, 2006 11:53 AM
/\ They can't run either side until the problem is taken care of. It wasn't a LOS issue. Otherwise, it would have been open with just enough staff lol.

Overall though, I'd tend to agree that on Friday, there was definately a LOS issue across all rides.

Ironically (knocking on wood), Kingda Ka has been running perfectly since reopening this year. It has periodic inspections throughout the day but they are planned and usually only around 10 minutes long.

This park seriously shines when firing on all cylinders. Some of the money Shapiro spoke of in the recent update had to do with more staffing so lets hope that actually happens :)

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Monday, July 3, 2006 12:09 PM
LOS and we are well into the summer? Scary!
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Monday, July 3, 2006 4:09 PM

RTneedsTLC said:
Ironically (knocking on wood), Kingda Ka has been running perfectly since reopening this year. It has periodic inspections throughout the day but they are planned and usually only around 10 minutes long.

I must definitely be visiting on the wrong days then, because all four times I've been to the park this year, I've been unable to snag a single Ka credit, even though I've stood in line three times for a total of about six hours. Is there some trick about which no one sent me the memo?


This park seriously shines when firing on all cylinders. Some of the money Shapiro spoke of in the recent update had to do with more staffing so lets hope that actually happens :)

See, I've had just the opposite experience this year (and I've been a huge SFGAdv advocate for the past few years). Staffing, whether an overall lack of manpower or just lackluster performance, has been a problem across many of the rides, and I've yet to see the park "firing on all cylinders" during ANY weekend visit. How come I've only snagged a total of 10 rides over four visits? Is it because I'm not a family man bringing his kids to the brand spankin' new children's areas? If the new look of Six Flags is to dispense with the thrillseekers markets in exchange for embracing the family market, how is the new regime any better than the old regime in terms of customer satisfaction?

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Monday, July 3, 2006 4:30 PM
I'm starting to wonder the same thing Dave. Though I do think it will take awhile until we get a clear understanding of the *complete* changes Shapiro wants to make, in the meantime, the BIGGER focus should be on restoring the shaky rep Six Flags has in terms of daily operation. If you can't even properly staff and operate your rides consistantly, then what good is having a new regime?

Shapiro constantly worries about families, but he needs to understand that mom and dad aren't stupid. If they've been to Disneyworld or Land, they know a "guest" focused park when they see one. You can't fool them with rhetoric and being able to identify them by name.

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Monday, July 3, 2006 4:46 PM
I will say that SFGAdv has made some progress in 1 or more areas lately. It's nice how they've redone the old Hernando's Hideaway area, as well as install the Golden Kingdom and create the 2 Looney Tunes areas that they have.

But certain things in the park are still in need of maintenance and/or freshening, such as "The Old Country" area, which is kinda sorry if you ask me. Also, we know that RT needs something. IMO, they need to totally overhaul and retrack this beast. The Boardwalk is so devoid of trees and a pleasant atmosphere. Fantasy Forest is a bit on the random side in parts, and when are they gonna get all the rides running at full capacity? Frontier Adventures could also use some renovating, such as the Fort area, the giant Teepee and wagon, the Log Flume, the old shooting gallery/bathrooms, and the arena area.

The park has potential, of course, but it would be nice to see them seriously get their act together and turn this place into something really nice and amazing. It would also be cool if they brought the Lethal Weapon show back, or a redone version of the show or something movie-related.

It also would be nice if they pulled up some of that excess pavement in their concrete jungle and added some more landscaping or something. A Main Street freshening would be nice, as well.

And yes, operations still need work. But at least they aren't as lame as SFMM :) *** Edited 7/3/2006 8:47:25 PM UTC by rablat5***

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Monday, July 3, 2006 5:02 PM
"And yes, operations still need work. But at least they aren't as lame as SFMM".

That ain't saying much. This park should be above and beyond any other park in the chain. They should be right up there with Cedar Point and SFGam at least.

Right now they're not even close.

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Monday, July 3, 2006 5:45 PM
^ Yes, you're right. I hope Shapiro can seriously turn around some of these parks. SFGAdv should be right up there with SFGAm at least. Heck, if SF was on par with the Paramount Parks in terms of park ops, we'd have less to complaint about.
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Monday, July 3, 2006 6:15 PM
Kingda Ka, El Toro, and S:UF were all closed today, the day before July 4th, an extremely busy day for the park...it sucks that the three newest coasters at the park were all shut down. :(
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Monday, July 3, 2006 6:30 PM
Wow...that majorly blows. :(
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Monday, July 3, 2006 9:12 PM
Word is KK, Toro, GASM and S:UF were hit by lightning last night (we had some huge storms).

I bet it will be up tomorrow.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 1:12 AM
You know what kid of gets angry. They post the list of non-working rides at the ticket booth (At least they used to) and then they wn't refund your $15 parking after you decide it just ain't worth it today.

Big Jim: - I am so sorry to hear that.

T-Mac woot: - That may be true, but if that is or was the case, I want a discount or some concessions from the park before I enter at full price.

Maybe throw in the water park for free or something like that. Show that you understand that there is a problem and that you are willing to do SOMETHING about it.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 2:31 AM
^ TOTALLY agree. I remember thinking something similar at SFDL when Supes *and* Viper were down. Toss in free parking, or a ride on the go-karts. Even a free drink coupon for eveyone coming into the gate would go a long way.

Ya know, a happy customer is still a darn fine thing to have at the end of the day...

One of my earliest park memories was the ice cream palace at GAdv as a young kid (even *I* was young once, LOL). It sure would be nice if they recognized what DWeaver and I have been agreeing on, that the de facto "flagship" park should look and run at least as well as SFoT or SFGAm. Operationally, CP is still going to be a little better, most likely, but then there's the "intangibles" like trees and flowers and to some degree theming...oh, and animals... :)

I sure *hope* the repeat visits from Shapiro mean that the park will be closely montiored for progress... ;)

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 6:19 PM
All three coasters were hit by lightning, severely enough to keep them down the next day, and all three being the most recently added coasters to the park? Sounds far fetched, maybe its just me.
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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 8:22 PM

rollergator said:
^ TOTALLY agree. I remember thinking something similar at SFDL when Supes *and* Viper were down. Toss in free parking, or a ride on the go-karts. Even a free drink coupon for eveyone coming into the gate would go a long way.

Ya know, a happy customer is still a darn fine thing to have at the end of the day...

One of my earliest park memories was the ice cream palace at GAdv as a young kid (even *I* was young once, LOL). It sure would be nice if they recognized what DWeaver and I have been agreeing on, that the de facto "flagship" park should look and run at least as well as SFoT or SFGAm. Operationally, CP is still going to be a little better, most likely, but then there's the "intangibles" like trees and flowers and to some degree theming...oh, and animals...

I sure *hope* the repeat visits from Shapiro mean that the park will be closely montiored for progress...


Due to rides as troubled as Chiller and KK, those 2 are ALWAYS going to have problems with capacity and downtime. No way around it. Toro's dispatch times have been much better with 2 trains, and now with the test seat that tells you if you can ride or not they should be even faster.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2006 1:49 AM
^ Not talking about just Ka and Chilla. Although we've been OVER the Chilla thing and for whatever reason, GAdv is, and has been, THE park with the most troublesome Premier coaster. I'd say coincidence, except for the Jump, and I've seen Excalibur running every time I've been to SFStL since the move. The park seems to just have trouble keeping rides RUNNING, the "rides not operating" list from someone's recent TR showed a BUNCH of rides down for the day. Maintenance-wise, I think the park's gotta take *some* (not all) of the blame for DDMs.

Add in the problems with STAFFING rides properly, and having rides like TopSpin closed during even busy days, and that SFGAdv hasn't been one of the cleaner or friendlier or more efficiently run parks for...10 years at least. I have alot of friends in the area, some pretty staunch defenders of the park.

But to me "at least we're better than SFMM" isn't exactly a rallying cry...I like almost everything that Snyder and Shapiro have done in terms of making the parks a nicer place to BE, now they need to focus on getting them to OPERATE the way they should run. SFGAdv is the park to keep your eyes on for signs of progress in that area.

Oh, and Chilla (as much as I *love* the ride(s))....likely won't be much of an issue beyond '06-'07 if it keeps sucking down LIMs for breakfast... :(

*** Edited 7/5/2006 5:55:35 AM UTC by rollergator***

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Saturday, July 8, 2006 7:28 PM
Hey, I have a friend who moved to Brooklyn last week from Missouri and doesn't know the area at all yet. I am planning on going to Great Adventure (from PA) Monday or Wednesday and I looked at the NJ transit website but I couldn't figure out how he could take a bus to come and meet me. If anyone could point me in the right direction I would be totally grateful.
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