Gator's California Adventure - with Disney!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 4:57 PM

Not really much for TRs, esp. now that I've officially received an invite from AARP (ugh!).

So, here's the poop - I'll talk about what's new, or new to me, in the last decade - any questions, I'll do my best to answer.

Belmont Park: Giant Dipper was running better than I've ever experienced, and may have even rivaled it's NorCal brother. RDC bumper hovercraft ride was good as always, even if a little slow. Beach Blaster, the KMG Afterburner, was down all day (bummer). The two new-to-me rides running were the Octotron (C-M Unicoaster) and Control Freak (Moser Gyro Loop). Rider controls are generally a big plus for me, and these two are no exception....that being said, the Unicoaster was a pleasure to ride, with inversion after inversion, totally pain-free. The Gyro Loop was quite a bit harder on the shoulders despite being well-restrained. The Unicoaster is something more parks will likely have, like Knoebels' Herschell Looper with much less effort, and greater comfort. Seeing the waves and the beach (and dipping my feet in the saltwater) was a huge bonus....LOVE seaside parks.

Next up was Sea World San Diego: Whole park was new-to-me - had driven by at night once before, but no visits. Journey to Atlantis was a fun water-coaster...more coaster trackage than Orlando's, but FAR less theming. Manta was clearly the star of the park, a really fun family ride. Beautiful landscaping throughout. Other rides of note were Riptide Rescue, a Troika-type ride with airboats as vehicles. The skyride over the bay was really nice - although I have NO idea how they'd rescue people if the ride broke down. The Sky Tower provided an excellent view of San Diego, the bay, and the ocean.

Onward to Anaheim and DL/DCA: Not much "new to me" other than Cars Land and World of Color at DCA. DL is quite possibly my favorite park anywhere, feels like all the best attractons from the FL parks all crammed into one space. Sadly, Matterhorn was down for rehab, and ToT isn't yet completed with the Guardians make-over, but we had a fantastic time. Indy, Splash and Big Thunder to me are all "better" versions in CA, and HyperSpace Mountain is pretty awesome in the darkness. Still somewhat prefer the inline seating at DMK, but there were NO complaints from me. Cars Land is simply beautiful by day, but STUNNING at night. Radiator Springs Racers is what Test Track always wanted to be when it grew up. And World of Color, despite the breeze playing havoc with the "screens" - was incredible and amazing.

Next up, Knott's: Mine Ride was "toned down" or something, couldn't quite ID what had changed. Flume was great, but attempts at re-rides were thwarted every time. Excelerator was still quite punchy, and Monte is of course one of my very favorite rides anywhere...got to introduce some new victims to the back seat/back spike combo. We skipped Boomerang even though we knew we'd never have another chance. The Boysenberry Festival was in full-tilt - the hard cider was great, but any time they charge over $10 for a single beverage, you're unlikely to stay and enjoy too many. The Steampunk interactive dark ride was fun...but the storyline seemed a bit fragmented. Finally, of course, there's the rehabbed Ghostrider...I don't think I've ever thought THAT highly of GCII rehabs before. But I do now. Good as new...and when I say that about Ghostrider, that's quite high praise.

On to SFMM: Tatsu was new for some of our crew, and a couple of us commented that we'd almost forgotten about the pretzel loop...until it HIT...and hard. I'm getting too old for that element. Apocalypse is just completing its rehab with some British company, and hadn't come back online yet. Riddler was down for a pain job. Ninja was just being Ninja, arguably the best suspended left. Hydroflume (name?) was awesome as always...hope SFMM and HP keep those things around forever. Now, the new stuff: Full Throttle - much better than anticipated...the hangtime in that loop is out of this WORLD. Thoroughly enjoyed the ride, and the trains/restraints were *excellent*. Green Lantern: mom always said if you didn't have anything nice to say, say nothing. On to Twisted Colossus! Without dueling, it was another winner from RMC...when dueling, it's RMC meets Lightning Racer, and is incredible. Possibly my favorite attraction on the trip (save maybe RSR @ DCA).

Drove on up to NorCal, and hit Discovery Kingdom during the day (San Fran sightseeing would come later). Joker replacing that horrid Roar coaster was a HUGE hit...another winner from RMC. Did their 4-D show, was fun even if kid-oriented. Medusa is still a fun B&M with that one crazy element, the Sea Serpent...yummy. Did Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf, etc., but this is a coaster/park forum so I'll move along.

CA's Great America: Grizzly had work done, was "better." Get rid of those ghastly trains and we'll talk. Another cool B&M custom invert after Silver Bullet at KBF, always welcome. Mostly credit laps for friends, but did manage both Schwarzkopf flats...Berserker and the AMAZING Centrifuge. Had heard such great reviews on Goldstriker, was really looking forward to it. Alas, on this day, is was pretty rough and tumble, not at all screaming thru the track as we'd hoped.

Finally, ended up at Santa Cruz: Even with several rides down, including the Haunted House, I still consider this the pinnacle of beachside amusement parks. Breakdance, KMG Afterburner (Fireball by name), and the iconic skyride. Giant Dipper early in the day was a bit rough and sluggish, but we managed a couple post-dusk rides in the front that made for a fantastic ending to a whirlwind trip.

edited to add: Forgot to include Adventure City....was bummed to hear that the ultimate soap-box derby cars and Tree Top Racers were leaving, but Rewind Racer was a more-than-suitable replacement. My first "family boomerang" and a great ride for the park. Also hit B2B freeway, the train, and the petting zoo...while waiting for RR to open. Great park for small kids and families...

Thanks for reading...questions/comments always welcome...

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, April 26, 2017 5:02 PM
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 5:44 PM

Did you visit with Laffing Sal?

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 8:38 PM

Absolutely! I knew they were older, but either never knew or had forgotten that they were actually PTC manufactured.

Anyone who says clowns are creepy hasn't spent enough time with a Laffing Sal....

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:30 PM

I will generally run from a clown, but I can sit with Sal all day. I was at a little amusement park nostalgia show one time and they had an operating Sal on display. You wouldn't believe the amount of adults that cut a wide berth around her, turning their heads so they wouldn't look.
That Sal has an interesting history and she's probably the finest fully restored example.

I'm jealous of your California swing- I wish the west coast was a bigger bleep on my radar. I've been to DL, Knotts, Mission Beach, and SFMM but it's been so long ago there's plenty of new to see. Maybe in the next year or two. Cars Land is a bucket list item for me.

Thanks for the report.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:54 PM

Patriot at CGA?

And I absolutely adore both parks at DLR. Cars Land is breathtaking, Paradise Pier is just a ton of fun, and DL itself feels like everything good about Disney jammed as tightly as possible into the space.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:55 PM
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Thursday, April 27, 2017 8:28 AM

Patriot was fun, and my first B&M conversion...no headbanging at all was nice, but it felt SO short. Then I saw a sign outside with a track length under 2000', and was reminded of why the standups were shorter in track length.

"Cars Land is breathtaking." Could NOT agree more - you hear that, RCMAC? ;-)

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Thursday, April 27, 2017 9:31 AM

That's an interesting setup for a Bayern Kurve at CGA. I didn't realize that there was one out there.

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Friday, April 28, 2017 9:25 AM

Sure doesn't run like the old Sierra Twist at SFMM, or KW's model when I rode years ago....but it's still nice to see one.

Memories from childhood in NJ....it's the Swiss-Bob....

And, just in case I didn't make it clear earlier...Centrifuge runs at about a 12. :-o

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