The plan was pretty simple. Drive to SFMM, enjoy what we (Moosh and I) could, hopefully get X in my record book, ride Scream! to say I did (yawn), and maybe, just maybe, have fun.
The 40 mile trip was pretty uneventful from Playa Del Rey. I did, however, learn that Playa Del Rey means "Beach of the King." That was kind of cool. :) We stopped for gas at some lame-o station that carried absolutely NO Hostess products of any kind. What kind of convenience stores do you have in L.A., anyways? The gas was a tad bit more expensive than Seattle's prices as well, but that was to be expected.
Arrival, and Moosh sent me out of the car to get in line, while he parked. There was a fairly decent line, both in the parking lot, and at the gate. Being that I'd never ridden X, my only goal was to somehow find my way in front of them. First, though, I had to get my ticket, which was now significantly more valuable as it's a Season Pass. I knew this coming in, but it's still pretty wacked that they'd do this to generate business. Whatever. I still don't own any SF stock, so I guess I can't complain. Yet. I got in line to the SP processing, and was eventually told I was in the wrong line. Fortunately, that meant I got to go straight into the park. I'd process the pass later that day.
As the teeming masses worked forward, a little spot opened, and Moosh and I slid in to get into the park much quicker. As the kids raced past, we plodded along patiently. The older I get, the less of the running I enjoy. I figure I'll get there. X wasn't going anywhere. It wasn't like we didn't have ALL day.
We decided to go straight to the X queue, and a good choice was made there. We were guided slowly to the entrance, by the "walking" attendant, who kept the kids from sprinting off. We took the turn to the right (which shortens the line significantly), and up the stairs. We chose the front, as this was my first ride for X. They were running 2 trains, and weren't stacking terribly bad until later in the day, when 2 trains became pretty much pointless. What a terribly designed station. I mean it suxors. Anyways...........we were on the 3rd train! Not bad, eh?
I took the outside seat. The restraints aren't half bad, and are pretty unobtrusive. There isn't much in front of you, that's for damn sure. Off, and up the lift hill. What a nice view. A bit bouncy, but I was expecting that. It's a lot of weight, mind you. At the top, the ride slows dramatically, and time just kind of stops. It's pretty surreal, as you know the inevitable is coming, and you have no way to really prepare for it. Then, it happens.
Face down, 200 feet in the air, with pretty much nothing but some sod, concrete, and death below you. It's pretty wild. I think this was the moment I smiled that smile of certainty that realizes if I were to die, this would be a pretty magnificent way to eat it. As we sped towards the ground, still face first, the arms wheel out, headfirst, until you're on your back. This, of course, is to prevent your spleen from exiting your nostrils in some grand guignol experiment of ferocious violence. It's brutal, the amount of g's it "seems" to pull at the bottom, but just as suddenly, you're floating (bouncing, too) around the raven turn, doing one monstrous superman-flies-to-save-that-train dive towards the bottom of the hill. It's a pretty powerful moment, and is the steel equivelent to Tremors great opening sequence. After that, it's a few flips, and turns, followed by flips w/turns, and another, might I say, evil raven turn (that basically hands you your ass), follow by the final flip/turn. It's a great ride, and too short, but given it's size, it's enough. Honestly, I don't think I'd want it any longer, as you pretty much want off it for a few minutes to digest what you've just been through. It's a winner folks. Is it perfect? No. Is it close? Yes. However, I would hazard to say that it's not ever going to be 100%, mostly due to the way the train tracks. It's pretty fricking cool, though, and quickly sucked it's way into my #1 (dare I say sucked?) steel. .... and NO, I haven't ridden SROS at SFNE, but chances are you haven't ridden the Coaster:Thrill Ride at the Puyallup, so there. :)
I would equate X to bukkake. Not for all tastes, and it definitely pushes the envelope. I wonder if this will get my TR edited? ;)
After my inaugural ride, we set our watches to "mosey," and we enjoyed our day like you would. We set out towards Scream!, and took in Goliath on the way. It's still pretty much just a drop. It has some moments, but it's so underwhelming in it's design, and I still don't get much of a thrill out of it. That helix does make me gray out a bit, though. That's always interesting. Oh, and it does have that one quarter second of air on the third hill, if you're in the right seat to feel it. Outside of that? Eh. My wife LOVES it, though, so who knows?
We set off to Scream! No lines, and no originality. God, what a bore. To top it off, it's the worst B&M in history. Granted, there are many rides I'd take this over, but for God's sake. How can you mess up a B&M, even if it's boring, and yet........ this one takes the cake in rough, bumpy, and basically being a crapola ride...just ****. It lays the big German shiezer egg, if you know what I mean. I think Matthew said it's "the best wooden coaster that B&M ever built!" :):):)
Hit Collossus. It seems worse than ever, although Matthew seemed to give it some praise. It's not 1978, and we need to reinstate the double down, in my opinion. Ah, to dream. When I own stock, maybe?
We got some lunch at "the Mooseburger," and it was pretty darn good. My sandwich was way too large, and I accidentally put ketchup on it, but hell.... the service was impeccable. I actually recommend Michael to anyone who happens the joint. What a great server. Seriously.
Anyways, I'm sure I'll get the remainder out of order:
Next, we headed over towards Batman the ride, and met up with a very "loving" young couple from my neck of the woods. Two cute lovers with a lot of "liptime" on their hands. They ended up riding with us in the back, and really loved it. I remember saying this is still the most intense coaster experience at SFMM, maybe on coasters.
We moved towards Riddler, only to be turned away by single train operations, and a huge ass line. I agree with Brian, that it's a wonderful, perfectly orchestrated ride. Matthew once said it was like a graceful ballet. I agree. Still, I didn't get to dance the ballet today. Curses to you, Geoffrey!
What else then jump onto Goldrusher next, eh? I still love this ride, and it's so damn smooth for an Arrow. An old as heck Arrow. I never realized it was built in '71. Or was it '73? Ah.......... Still, a great ride, and perfect to start a coaster newbie on.
As we stepped off, we noticed, MUCH TO OUR EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!!>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Thrill Shot was running! It wasn't down "because of the weather." Amazing. I'd never seen it in action, and since chances are pretty good we won't see these around much, I spent the very happy $10, and got hesitantly (because of overwhelming nerves!) in line. Matthew assured me we'd be fine, but I wasn't exactly liking the restraints. I know the ride used to be much more open (like this wasn't STILL open?), but the way the restraints hold you in is VERY disconcerting. I haven't ridden Phantom's Revenge, but I've heard that the restraints are these newfangled contraptions that open like a Lamborghini. Well... Thrill Shot has the same kind of restraint for your lap. No latch. No belt. Just a "lever," as it were, held by hydraulics (?), and an OTSR that is barely OTS. I mean, this thing holds about 2 inches of shoulder, and maybe just the top of your pecs. YIPES! It was definitely a moment of pure terror, as we chose programs 3 and 4 for our 2 "shots." All I remember is that #4 is called Totally Insane. I think. ;) First up was program #3. They lift you off the ground, and then with the force of a Spaceshot, you are at the top of the 200+ towers, totally exposed. Halfway up, the seats rotate to face the ground, then roll back at the top, giving some sweet air. I grabbed the shoulder strap for dear life, and held with a death grip until we were on the ground again. As they set our seats for program #4, I was pretty sweaty, and pushed my restraint as hard as I could, reassuring myself it was still locked in place. Then, pow! Up we went again, only this time the seats rotated forward at the top, and it was much more intense, as the roll over seemed more "random." They bring you back to earth facedown the entire time, and Matthew yelled for me to release my deathgrip, and just hold the hands up. I did, and cursed the whole drop, just hoping the restraint would hold. As you reach the bottom, the car suddenly jets skyward again, and the pressure on your body is amazing, and even more amazing on the restraints. I was just praying I'd survive it. At the top, the cars rotate back, giving more air, and then you are brought back to earth gently. *whew* That was, at the time, the most intense moment of fear I'd had this day. It wasn't over.....
As we stumbled off the ride, and the feeling came back into my arms (reeling from bloodloss from the restraints), we stepped over to peek at Psyclone. Would you believe we actually considered riding it? Well, we were stopped by the huge line. A very smart move, I'm sure.
Deja Vu was down. Those bastards.
Up the hill, we strode, discovering Ninja was running. I haven't been on Ninja since 1999, on my honeymoon. Well, I still haven't been on Ninja, because the line was too damn long, and I had other things on my mind, like another ride on X. Ninja can wait. I have time.
Didn't do Superman, because Superman sucks. Just ask Paul Rubens, and his banana.
Walked down the hill to ride Viper, even though we hadn't heard it run yet today. There was a reason. There were no employees in the queue. That was because the gate wasn't open. That's because there was yellow police tape keeping people out. That's because there was a HUGE HORNETS NEST IN THE MOUTH OF THE VIPER over the entryway. Wild! *shivers*
So, while the employees tried to figure out a way NOT to open Viper today, Matthew and I jumped in line for X again. I figured it would be an excellent way to end my day, and now that the line was terribly long, I figured it'd 3 hours anyways. Well, a little less than 2 hours later (including people that just don't seem to get that you can go right or left!), and an idiotic queue (which allows riders finishing to jump back into line up front), we were in line, and on the coaster for our backseat ride. Remember I said Batman gave the most intense ride in the park? Uh.....................................
This is where I said f*** a lot. A lot. F***. It was simply brutal, beautiful, and monstrous. A totally different experience. I still say I love the front, but for an ass kicking that is true, honest, and totally evil, you must ride X in the back. I'll say it once more for stress. F*** that f***ing f*** of a f***ing ride for f***ing me over so f***ing much! I LOVE IT!
Got the picture?
Left the park after getting my ****eating-grin picture taken at Guest Services for my SP, and on to the capper of the night.
Matthew and I were invited to a pal of mine's house for dinner to be served by his hellacious cook of a wife. I swear to this moment that the dinner would have been in excess of $500 at an actual restaurant. Take the finest French food you've ever eaten, then add in a movie music editor (my pal), who's a kick in the pants to be around, and you've basically got our evening tied up. I can't even really detail the dinner without boring you, but I can say that it made the day complete. Well, I guess I can:
1) Vodka pan-fried prawns, with avacado, cabbage root, tangerine, and small onion type plants, all gently season, and presented with utmost "super rich type" care.
2) A wonderful, dense, grade A, boneless Kobe beef type steak, brimming with natural juices, topped with a reduced cherry/vodka sauce and 4 large asparagus roots, all lying on top of a wonderful mashed Yukon gold potato, interspersed with celery bits, and lots of gentle spices.
3) A chocolate masterpiece, that looked like a ding dong, but was anything BUT. A smallish chocolate cake, topped with a creamy mousse, again topped by a hardened chocolate coating, all accompanied by sliced strawberries, and raspberries, all again dripped in that same reduced cherry/vodka sauce.
Oh My God.
All in all a pretty fricking killer day, and I can say that Robb Alvey was right. SFMM is doing better. Much better. They still have a ways to go, but at least most everything was open, and some things that I've trained myself to believe would never open again.
That, and Michael at the "Moose" was great. Do you think he offered great service, or what?
Thanks Mooshie. You were a blast to be around those past 3 days, and our time spent was wonderful. You're a great friend. *** Edited 3/8/2005 4:25:53 PM UTC by nasai***
Hopefully S&S will make the attempt to market this again. Would love to see more of them.
X ownzzzz joooooo 111111
Oh yeah, nice TR Rob. :)
And, Petie... we know. The entire country saw you. ;)
Operations-wise the park is on the right track. I understand it is the off-season and some rides will be closed or experiencing limited [i.e. one train] operations. The true test will come in the dog-days of summer when crowds are at their peak.
Customer service-wise they still have a way to go but seem to making strides. Examples:
1] In the X queue, for example, the lead op was at the controls and 2 ops handling both load and unload. Yet four other ops stood up on the bridge just socializing for the entire 40 mins we were inside the station. Had those four joined those handling load and unload trains would have been dispatched quicker.
2] The worker at the ticket booth who sold Rob his season pass wasn't friendly and only cracked a smile when Rob mentioned about how it much suck to work on a Saturday.
3] Inconsistency with list of rides open. Depending on the ticket booth customers found from zero to seven rides closed. Ninja, which was on a few of the booth's lists, was indeed open.
4] One positive note about customer service: Michael, the server at Mooseburger Lodge. At each new group that sat in his area he introduced himself and asked how their day was and what their favorite ride had been so far.
For the first time in a long, long time I didn't leave the park with a negative feeling. I just might have to return sometimes soon ;)
We set off to Scream! No lines, and no originality. God, what a bore. To top it off, it's the worst B&M in history. Granted, there are many rides I'd take this over, but for God's sake. How can you mess up a B&M, even if it's boring, and yet........ this one takes the cake in rough, bumpy, and basically being a crapola ride...just ****.
Scream was amazing when i went there, a great ride and i dont know where your getting this business it was rough but, worst B&M ever?
Silver Bullet at KBF takes that title hands down.
Maybe too much bukakke perhaps?
I realize the day is what makes it, but on this day, Scream sucked ass. German shiezer ass. ;)
Incredible trip report, Rob. On your next visit south, perhaps you could squeeze out a day in Vegas?
It's good to hear you got your first taste of X, since it's obvious you've got quite the taste for XXX. ;)
Its not just Nasai "getting this business" that Scream has problems. I've ridden all but three B&M coasters in the USA and Scream is by far the worst-performing. Scream's trains bounce and shuffle their way around the track -- which is odd since B&M's wheel assemblies are spring loaded -- and the cobra roll and flat spins [corks] have a wicked snap that causes one's head to violently hit the OSTR.
Bassistist will concur with my statement above as well as many others.
Silver Bullet at KBF takes that title hands down.
No offense but you're on crack. Other than one minor snap coming out of the cobra roll Silver Bullet is ultra-smooth.
I really like that TR
I hope SFMM is not going to be too crowded when I will be over there in may.
Any fights with little line jumpers?
Still hoping to one day get a ride on X.
I'm glad to see I'm not the only crazy Rob with X as his #1 steel coaster. And yes, the back seat kicks the $hoit out of you. Oh how I wish I could get my butt back out to Cali (heck and the new girl, too).
But I'm a regular Cleveland fan... "Wait until next year."
~Rob "Please get me out of this winter, since skiing now sucks" Willi
Looking forward to visiting the park this spring, sounds like its worth it for me to go to X first if I am there early.
I would equate X to bukakke. Not for all tastes...
You, my friend, are one sick little monkey.
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