Gotta Love That Magic Mountain. 5-27-08

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Thursday, May 29, 2008 5:25 AM
Well first I need to say that I really DO like going to Magic Mountain ... and that's in spite of everything I will be relating to you in the following report. I have an annual pass and like taking a day to go to the park ... but I also know there will always be some great episodes to remember, which could also be viewed as just totally ridiculous moments if I let it get to me to much.

My biggest reasons to go was to get back to "X," which is of course now "X2." I know there are some people who don't agree with me, but I LOVE the ride and couldn't wait to get back on it. I was more than curious to see what the new stuff turned out like. My last time I rode X, I rode it 14 times in one afternoon - one after the other ... I was completely lovin it. Not only that, I'm totally into the back, outside seat, which people think is the roughest - what can I say ... different things for different people. I consider it almost like a sport to ride it. Falling down that first drop with a twist is completely addictive to my body.

Anyway, on to the park ...

Arrive to see a huge banner over the parking booths. It says this:

"GET A 2008 SEASON PASS for just $10.00!!"

Only till you are up very close, do you see the last line in tiny letters...

"Over the price of regular daily admission."

Okay ... first good laugh of the day.

When waiting to get in the front gate for the past couple of years, you have to exist through a sort of pre-show akin to a high school pep rally. This year they are giving little prizes to entice a better reaction from the teen crowd ... who prior would sit there like they would rather die than join such a retarded show. One of these fabulous prizes was a single Fast Pass ticket ... especially funny since the other members of whoever they are at the park with would have to pay for their own if they wanted to join the Fast Pass winner at the front of the line - Wow ... Way Cool!!

Then the guy giving away the Fast Passes (who is way too "High School Musical 2" peppy) tells us, "You Gotta get these Fast Pass things, they are REALLY COOL! You can buy them inside at the fast pass window. It's like being able to CUT, without getting in trouble!!" ... Like DUDE, that is SO awesome!

Get to X2, very excited to just get to check it out. I didn't have some unrealistic expectation that was going to blow me away with it's incredible newness, but it definitely works ... at least in a Magic Mountain sort of way. I didn't end up seeing the fire effect until the second time I rode it in the day. I don't know if they just don't fire it off early, but there was no wind all day, and it didn't start till about 3 in the afternoon. The fire is actually pretty cool though, and at night, I would imagine it would actually be really amazing.

On ride sound system wasn't bad either. The majority of the ride is so loud itself though that I couldn't even tell you what was on it a lot of the time.

The mist and fog are another thing altogether. It is literally the same mist system they use in the queues around the park, but stuck at the bottom of the ditch of the first drop. Oooooooo, 5th dimentionee. Maybe there is something else that wasn't working, but you can barely see it, I was like - wait, was that the fog ... or mist ... or ... what WAS that?!?

Love that they changed the routine of getting on and off of the ride. Right now, it still takes a while to get loaded, but I could see that later when they really have a system down it will help a lot.

Now for another good moment.

There is someone who directs you to your specific aisle up on X2s loading platform. In the morning, I asked as politely as I could if I could wait for the back seat. The guy was great, and let me do it, which I was really happy about. I waited to the side, and after a bit he called me over to take my spot. I thanked him for doing it since it he could have said no.

For my second ride later in the day, I again asked the attendant if I could do the same thing. She also allowed me to do it, so I waited again to the side. Close to ten minutes later she has still not seated me, but I decide to be patient about it. I could also tell it was sort of hard to keep everything under control on the platform. A couple minutes later I notice that she has placed a single rider in the back row with no one else. I have to ask her if I can get in that line, she says yes. But then, because other people have moved around in the lines without her noticing, the number in our row suddenly gets messed up, and she tells me to just go up a few rows. I tell her I have already waited a while for the back, and I’ll just continue to wait, she says okay.

At least another five minutes go by. Many odd numbered groups walk though, and she doesn't seat me with them ... I start to get the feeling she's pulling a little power trip on me ... who knows for sure ... but it sure did feel that way. Then a group of three teenagers walks through telling her they want the front. She seats them in the back, telling them they can't do that. They have no idea what she is talking about, and TELL the attendant again that the aisle she has put them in isn't for the front of the car ... that they want the front. They just obliviously run up to the front rows while she is trying to stop them, they have no idea the attendent is even trying to tell them something ... she just gives up and lets them go. Then as she is taking another group of people toward the front of the train, a bunch of other people just go straight through the turnstile and walk wherever they want. I'm starting to get annoyed; she also doesn't have a clue these other groups have just walked in either.

After a few more minutes, the final straw was when a guy walks off the ride, comes around behind her, and asks if he can ride with the single rider she has placed in the back aisle (which by the way is whom I’m sure she is finally going to pair me with). She has no clue he hasn’t waited in line like the rest of us, and with all the other commotion swirling around her, she allows him to do it. I call her over, "That guy is just going to be able to getting on just like that? I've been waiting here or a long time?!" She realizes I saw what she did, then tells the guy to move up to another row. I tell her, "You do realize that guy didn't even wait in line, right?!” No reaction. “He JUST walked off the ride a second ago and is getting right back on." She looks sort of sheepish, kind of shrugs her shoulders and goes back to telling the next people in line where to sit ... Jeezzz usss!!

I got on the ride, and had a great time anyway. This time the fire effect blew our pants off like it's supposed to at the end, and I was jazzed about it. But man oh man, did I had to WORK for that one!

So … I needed to save the best episode for last. I would not have believed this conversation if it had not actually happened to me. But here is goes.

In the morning when I arrived, I checked to see if any attractions were closed. Nothing was. I realized after lunch was the perfect time to go up the tower. I haven't been up there in years, and I was sort of interested in checking out the small museum they have set up at the top. I get to the tower’s base, and it says the attraction is closed. I decide to go to the Guest Relations office to see if it might be opening later. Here is my closest retelling I can give of the conversation I have with the woman who is running the desk by herself:

Guest Relations Woman: (hangs up the phone) "Can I help you?"

Me: "Yeah, I was just wanted to know if you could tell me whether the tower is going to open at all today. It wasn't listed out in front as being closed this morning, so I was just wondering if it might be opening at some point?"

G.R.W. "The tower?"

Me: "Yeah, the tower thing."

G.R.W. "The tower? I don't know what that means ...” (small silence as she looks at me), “I'm new here, so I don't know everything yet. There's a tower? What tower are you talking about? We have a lot of towers."

Me: " The huge tower thing."

G.R.W. (silence)

Me: "You know, the huge tower at the top of the hill." (oh my god, what the hell!!??)

G.R.W. (sort of an embarrassed smile) "I haven't been here that long, there's a tower?"

Me: (I am laughing at this point) "Yes, that huge, um, thing at the top of the mountain ... it's giant…" (I’m really struggling to figuring out how to explain myself at this point)

G.R.W. (blank stare)

Me: "...it's like the first thing you can see when you come here." (I'm pulling open my map to show her what I'm talking about.) "This thing … right here ... it's HUGE."

G.R.W. (She stares at the picture on the map) "Oh wow, you can go up that?"

Me: "Yeah” … (this CAN’T be real) “... it's like an observation deck that you go up, and there's supposed to be a museum up there… see, it’s listed here under the attractions."

G.R.W. "That sounds really neat. I'm going to have to see about that. I haven’t been here that long."

Me: "I guess it's not opening today then?" (WHY, WHY, WHY, would I even ask)

G.R.W. "Well, I wouldn't know about that, I haven't heard anything about it."

I leave ... I'm cracking up ... "Tower? What tower? ... You can go up there?.”

The whole exchange just totally boggles my mind ... how does someone even get to work each day without ever seeing there was a GIGANTORIFFIC tower on top of the joint. Not to mention … this is a woman who WORKS in Guest Relations! I'm telling you ... this could just finally be the thing to rank up there with the letter I saw many years ago in the esteemed "Parade Magazine" (you gotta love Parade Magazine) - it was from a HUGE fan of Robert De Niro. In essence, the letter read:

"I'm one of Robert De Niro's biggest fans, I've seen ALL of his movies ... Is he black or white?"

I still don't know what's funnier, the letter itself, or the fact it got published in the paper.

But I do know one thing … you gotta love that Magic Mountain.

THE END.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008 8:33 AM
^^Good TR!

I don't know how old you are, but haven't you realized up to this point that in the world most people are idiots!?!

Sorry to hear about that X2 queue issue, but I would have been way more aggressive a lot earlier and took it upon myself to go to the back with or without her blessing....you're not crossing the River Styx here, and obviously her blase-ness indicated she likely wouldn't have done anything either....

As far as the tower, you should have just waited to see if any activity was happening later, or found some "tie", or even that Burkhardt manager guy.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008 9:01 AM
Just curious, but, no mention of the new train on X2 or if it has improved the ride? I know you didn't think it was rough before, but did the new trains make any difference at all?

Nice TR!

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Thursday, May 29, 2008 9:58 AM

bunchastuf said:
My last time I rode X, I rode it 14 times in one afternoon - one after the other ... I'm totally into the back, outside seat, which people think is the roughest -


Dude... you must be made of steel!
I had bruises on the back of my calves that hurt for days and a serious headache after about 3 laps on X in fall 2006, and only one of them was outside-back.



On ride sound system wasn't bad either. The majority of the ride is so loud itself though that I couldn't even tell you what was on it a lot of the time.


That's what I thought would happen if they put audio on X --- Audio at SFMM is generally out of control - they also have this strange habit of playing everything at the same time at full volume (e.g. two layers of taped announcement+station music+live talks from the ops on Tatsu). Bring earplugs to SFMM!

I must say though you make X2 to sound quite charming - crazy is good as long as it's safe.

thx again for the TR

*** Edited 5/29/2008 2:00:22 PM UTC by superman***

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Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:11 AM
You should have seen if there was anyone else at guest relations to see if they knew about it. I went to the Magic Kingdom, and I wanted to find a character. We went to guest relations, and they told the location that the character was in. I was amazed. It's stuff like that, that separates Disney from Six Flags.

I betcha if I wanted to find a character at Six Flags, Guest Relations would have no idea where they were. I complained about the antique cars at a Six Flags park that they said no single riders for them. The lady said I could fill a comment card, and the ride operation department would get back to me.

Why isn't there someone in ride operations at the park that could answer the simple question I have? For your tower, Guest Relations probably has no idea if the tower will open that day probably because the ride operations department is a different department, and they aren't in communication with each other.

They must have a book, or keep track of what times rides are supposed to open, and not. Why can't guest relations have that book? Obviously, they have people scheduled for that day that say that you will work this particular ride at 1:00 pm.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:09 AM
Very entertaining TR! Thanks for sharing.
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Thursday, May 29, 2008 1:13 PM
I have never been to SFMM, but reading your TR was entertaining; sorry to hear about that queue...over at CP every time we go I encounter ride ops you are too "sheepish" to do anything about numerous problems (i.e., cutting, smoking in lines)...sometimes I think uopen getting hired Cedar Point actually removes the spine of 50% of its employees.
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Thursday, May 29, 2008 5:42 PM
tigellinus:

Yeah, I do know most people are idiots, but ya know, sometimes you gotta laugh at it all! I have DEFINITELY done my share of complaining at Magic Mountain. I just didn't feel like going there that day.

By the way, I'm two months away from being 50, so I have been around enough to see some amazing things.

The episode with the tower was so far out there I was sort of at a loss - I also wasn't going to work that hard for something I'll be able to do later in the year. Not to mention the entertainment value I got out of it. I literally was walking out the front door of guest relations with an uncontrollable smile ... you gotta admit, if you step away from the stupidity of it all, it was pretty damn funny stuff.

The reason why I didn't get more aggressive with the X2 queue issue is because there is a big sign where the platform attendant is standing stating that there is no preferred seating. When they let me do it, I felt like they were being very reasonable - it was only when things started to go bad that I became hyper aware that this was not going well. By that time, she knew I was there, and made eye contact with me pretty much every time she was getting another group to go to their row. To then just walk out to the row when she wasn't looking would have been just asking for a bad encounter ... at least that's how I weighed it out at the moment.

I do have to say as well - that platform job does not look like a fun job. Everyone is asking you a billion random questions about everything imaginable while you are trying to fill the rows. Not to mention everyone going all different ways to put stuff in the lockers and coming back, switching places with other friends, etc.

Bster:

You're right, I guess I didn't say anything about whether the new trains on X2 improved the ride. I like the new trains, I think they look, and feel better - but from my prospective I was more concerned that the ride would be toned down. I was very happy to find out that it was at the same intensity as it was before ... take that with a grain of salt though since I liked it. The last pull down on the ride, is definitely as intense as it was before, but I also think that the seats themselves have a slightly better design in padding your neck and head better.

superman:

The very first time I rode X (probably about 6 times at the pass-holders pre-opening days) I got that same calf bruises you are talking about. I never knew why I didn't get it after that ... I was actually under the impression that they had changed something on that area of the seat - if they didn't, I guess I just learned how to ride it differently. Never had the headache thing though.

You are right about the audio at the park. The audio in X2 throughout is actually pretty well done though. I don't think I have ever seen them use such high end speakers in the park before. The ones in line are all in synch with each other, and have more full range than I've ever heard there before. To some of people, that may not be all a good thing though - it's very loud, and they are trying to push the "extreme" aspects of the ride.

I probably didn't explain myself well when talking about X2s on ride sound either. I actually meant the physical sound of the ride itself (the chain-lift, the sound of the car flying along the track, etc.) is so loud, that most of the time it's hard to discern what's going on with the speakers. What I could hear, I thought was pretty good.

*** Edited 5/29/2008 9:45:45 PM UTC by bunchastuf***

*** Edited 5/30/2008 9:15:25 AM UTC by bunchastuf***

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Friday, May 30, 2008 4:30 AM
Wow that's a really entertaining trip report! You are obviously a super patient person.

It doesn't shock me so much that a guest relations team member doesn't know something there, but that they didn't have the sense or training to ask, call, or radio someone who would know. The basic purpose of their job is to answer questions and resolve problems....amazing.

Not sure if the guest relations team member was super young, but it could be testament to the fact that that ride was hardly ever open in the last 10 years. It's the only logical conclusion I can come to as to why she was clueless about the existence of the ride. Wild!

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Friday, May 30, 2008 5:12 AM
Cropsey:

You would think that was the guest relations job wouldn't you?

"Tower? What tower? There's a tower?!"

It still cracks me up.

It would make sense that you thought it was a super young team member, but it wasn't. She was middle aged, and actually sort of a sweet (but clueless) lady. She was completely nice to me as we talked.

Ultimately though, I think that just sort of added to the humor of the whole incident. I felt I was doing a Saturday Night Live comedy sketch with her or something.

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Friday, May 30, 2008 10:35 AM
Yeah, it's one thing if she is unaware of the existence of The Orient Express, that's easy to miss. But there are only 2 structures that actually are taller than the surrounding hills, Superman:TE and The Tower, how do you miss one of them?

As for the X queue attendant, it is a great idea to have one there. I remember X's opening they had someone at the line split, and someone at the station entrance, assigning a row. It worked SO much better than later when it was just a mad crush of people without someone assigning a row. Of course if said attendant can't pay attention to what's going on, the effectiveness lessens.

Good TR.

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Friday, May 30, 2008 11:41 AM
Buchastuf, thanks for the info!
I am really wanting to head out to California to try out some new parks. However, my wife and I are expecting, so it's going to be a few years before we can get out there.
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Friday, May 30, 2008 2:56 PM

bunchastuf said:I felt I was doing a Saturday Night Live comedy sketch with her or something.

That would actually make a great SNL sketch!

Dad: Hi do you know where my kids can see Bugs Bunny this afternoon?

Six Flags Guest Relations Lady: Who?

D: You know the character that's on your shirt. Bugs Bunny.

SFGRL: Your kids want to look at my shirt?

D: No, the famous cartoon rabbit. He has a show where he sings and dances for the kids!

SFSRL: Sir, first of all rabbits don't sing and dance, and secondly we don't allow animals in the park no matter how talented they are.

Yeah it's not that funny but lots to work with here!

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Friday, May 30, 2008 4:09 PM
Cropsey:

It would need to be Ms. Swan from Mad TV in the Two Flags Amusement Park guest relations office.

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Friday, May 30, 2008 4:35 PM
perfect!

answer to every question: "I dunoooooo?!?!"

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