Great Adventure - July 4 - Safari - Rides - Heat and Pee Pods!

Monday, July 8, 2013 1:43 AM

Sorry this is a couple of days late…. Skip down if you want the ride info…Stay if you want (In the words of the late Paul Harvey) “The rest of the story….”

I went to Great Adventure on July 4. Forecast calling for early morning fog to burn off and Temps in the low 90s with high humidity.

No traffic on the way in from Long Island took Route 9 south to Monmouth road which passes by Wawa and then to the park. Lots of patriotic country songs on the satellite and local country stations.

Stopped in tor a tuna hoagie with lettuce only (What do you know…it is the middle of “Hogiefest!”) and left for the park.

According to the website, the park would open an hour earlier than usual if you brought a coke can. Somehow I don’t think the park was prepared for the early onslaught….

For the first time that I can think of…there were cars stopped on 537 with open doors and people just hanging out on the side of the road…waiting to get in the lot. (This can’t be good.) I waited in line for about enough time to read almost 2 newspapers until finally we were on the move. What made this even worse was that my sandwich was missing lettuce. The one thing I wanted on it. The ding-bat who took the order should have been fired on the spot. Forgetting lettuce on a regular day is worthy of a reprimand. Doing so during “Hogiefest” is an inexcusable offense.

We got as far as the parking lanes which were not staffed yet. Keep in mind this is an early admission day and they just weren’t prepared. Eventually a few cash lanes opened – but not all of them – which caused insane line weaving chaos. Finally I got to the booth and it had two employees in the same lane. Apparently it was someone’s first day and she needed to train him. (Rough way to start kid.) I explained that this is not a great way to start the day and she apologized and said that they didn’t plan for this. (This can’t be good.)

Paid my 22 bucks and took my regular spot near the Superman logo. I can’t believe that after several years of me answering surveys – my 22 dollar spot is in a lot that is not well paved at all. At least I snickered at the guy spot who will park in front of me at a much higher rate.

Guest relations – I wanted to buy a pass for the barbeque. This time they are serving from 12 PM – 6 PM. It’s usually ok. 18 bucks. Ok.

The about to give my ticket, but I need a wristband for early entry. Oh no! You don’t give the coke can to the guy at the gate…you have to go back to the table all the way over there. (This can’t be good.)

Well over there is another long line full of people who brought their cans (that sounds awkward) and the angry people who didn’t know. The wristbands for some reason were going on slow…but after getting one…it was back on line to hand in my ticket.

There was a food collection bin for people who decided to ditch their food so they could enter. The bin had a large assortment of un-opened chips, doodles, pork rinds…which was all going to a food bank. Not a lot of nutritious offerings for the food bank on July 4th. Oh well.

There were 3 rides that would be open early today; Nitro, Batman, and something else. When I got to Nitro – I walked all the way through the chque line and was 2 cycles away from a front seat on Nitro.

NITRO: I enjoyed this ride as I always do. I noticed that it could use a paint job and that some of the design was flaking away from the front of the train. Having been on this many times, the forces didn’t seem overpowering, though the first two transitions from the top of the hills to the valleys were very noticeable and there was a lot of shaking on the way down. The rest was floater air. There were some ducks just hanging out at the bottom of the helix towers and the view up the lift hill was nice. The breeze was appreciated too.

When we got back…there were lots of empty seats in the station…so the op let us stay on of we wanted to. As always, I lowered the lap bars down so they didn’t have to. I took another turn and could have done more.

SKY SWING – I have really learned to like this ride. While it doesn’t tilt in the manner of the older wave-swingers do, the height of this ride is very impressive. I used to go on the Big Wheel just to gaze at the park, the lake and the surrounding area. When you notice that you are on a swing going higher than the wheel…it gets a little spooky. The op kept telling the people on the ride to put away their phones. I guess they were taking photos. I wish I would have removed my sneakers for this. Oh well. It is still very popular and I wish it could accommodate more people.

BIG WHEEL – Son of a *&%#@! Now this ride will not take single riders. I didn’t know. I explained that I had been going on this ride since it opened in 74 and that I proposed to my wife on this ride. No good! I ended up ruining a young couple’s private ride by asking an op if I could board with someone else. At least they said yes. I looked away from them to give them their privacy. Wouldn’t this be a great spot for a cash – cab type of game show? “OK, that was the wrong answer…get out...NOW!

SKY BUCKET – Now each sky bucket is an M&M. You can’t even look up at Great Adventure without seeing an ad for this and that. Two sides were running and it would later shut down. This is still a great ride. (I miss the pre-recorded schpeel from the guy who reminded me of Orville Redenbacher!)

There were lots of signage, pre-recorded and live announcements to upgrade to a seasons pass. The line for the processing of these things was huge and now are held where the old Nintendo demo used to be.

JUNGLE SAFARI – This was a very interesting thing to me. First…it felt a little out of place in the western section. Second…usually the new attraction is a coaster or some type of a thrill ride. This time…it was for an attraction that is for the young and old and not for folks used to being bypassed by flash passers. The negative que comments were frequent and questioned by older people who felt angered by what the usually younger people were more accustomed to. Also, the wait to board was over an hour and a half and spilling onto the main thoroughfare. The flash pass entry was up ahead inside the line, so there was more contact than necessary between the passers and the regular line.

Most of the vehicles had three or four rows of four with a separated driver and a guide that had some freedom from the script.

A few comments…First the good:

1) You will see a lot of animals.

2) There were a few babies in the herds and they were highlighted by the guides.

3) You will not see the same ride twice.

4) There are animals in the safari that are already extinct in the wild

5) To be fair, the animals look very well cared for. I asked about the difference between the cars going through and the safari vehicles only and I was told there is a lot less stress on the animals now and the ostriches have stopped pecking on windows. (A learned behavior)

6) Every once in a while the giraffes will come over and possibly lick your hand. The smart ones take your wallet.

7) Photography is allowed.

Now the not so good:

1) No more baboons destroying windshield wipers and car tops. (They are not part of the tour.) I would have loved to have seen that.

2) There is a mandatory stop in the middle of the safari. I call it, “Upcharge Island.”

The vehicle stops and you get off and out. There are upsells here. You can pay to feed giraffes. You can pay to feed yourself. You can buy stuff. You can go to the bathroom. You can pay to go on a small zip line type of ride. (You ride in a seat type of device.)

Granted – there are a few animals behind glass (large snakes, tortoises) and a few staff with animals and you can have your photo taken with them and pay for that too.

I’m sure if you wanted to watch the (very pregnant) lionesses take down a wounded antelope, they would sell that too.

3) Despite the vehicle, theme and abundance of large critters at no time did I “feel” like I was on a safari. I was at a theme park in New Jersey. And I was sweating like a pig. Wait...pigs don't sweat. It was *&%$ hot! How in the world do you folks from Texas do parks in the middle of the summer?

4) The girl on the second part of my ride had no energy or enthusiasm. She just mentioned that she was hot and didn’t feel well. (A little unprofessional for my taste. That would never happen on Disney’s jungle cruise.)

5) The variety of the animals were not too impressive. Most of what they had…they had a lot of.

6) This attraction takes over an hour and once it starts…you can’t get off. (That sounds awkward too!)

7) Again, they have to do something about the flash pass entrance. The people waiting for this are not the usual coaster geeks who get it.

8) I don’t think any of us have the numbers over the years of how many people went through the safari, but I think this is once again going to be a big boon the park. If they combine the waterpark too at some point and connect the parks by tram or train for one price it will be a huge selling point.

WATER FLUME – There are more metal patches in this thing and it is starting to show it’s age. It might be time for re-theming.

CONGO RAPIDS – Both sides working. No waterfall anymore. Also in serious need of re-theming.

FOURTH OF JULY BARBEQUE – They usually do this for the Fourth of July and Labor Day The barbeque was decent. Burgers, Dogs, Fried Chicken Strips, Corn, Beans, Spicy Potato salad (Which I won’t eat), some salad and condiments, coke products, cookies and ice cream. They said there would be watermelon too, but I didn’t see any. Eat all you want under the Maple picnic tent. While the food was good, It was insanely hot in there though and the fans were useless.

Other Stuff: Say goodbye to the Buggs Bunny Fun Factory. It’s gone. It was fun, though not very clean and I’m sure a few too many big kids got in the way of the little kids in there. It was a security nightmare.

Pee Pods! – Now inside every urinal are Pee Pods! I can take heart and feel proud that I am leaving my urinals cleaner than I found it because Great Adventure now uses Pee Pods!

Here is the link and for a good laugh…watch the testimonial videos.

http://airspencerusa.com/peepod.html

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:16 AM

Nice report, sadly the no single riders rule at the Big Wheel is a NJ state law after someone fell out of the wheel at Morey's a couple of years ago. I have heard that for next year they are looking into bringing the monkeys back to part of the safari. For this year the only way to see them is on the VIP Safari Tour.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:39 AM

Richie Reflux said:

3) Despite the vehicle, theme and abundance of large critters at no time did I “feel” like I was on a safari. I was at a theme park in New Jersey. And I was sweating like a pig. Wait...pigs don't sweat. It was *&%$ hot! How in the world do you folks from Texas do parks in the middle of the summer?

"It's a dry heat." ;)

Not really. You do actually get used to it a bit and we tend to stay inside most of the time during the middle of July and August.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:00 PM

Yes. I am very worried about being a single rider at parks these days. It works great for the coasters, when they are looking for single riders. But, I have been at some places where you are not allowed to ride by yourself. Obviously the big raft rides at Michigan's Adventure are out.

It is sadly starting to happen at more and more fairs as well. I used to love riding the Carnival Zipper, and used to be able to ride it by myself, and now every carnival outfit will ask you to find another rider, and won't let you ride alone. I have also been kicked off the Ring of Fire, and that Oval looping ride, that I can't think of the name of off hand. I was at another fair, where there ride op of the paratrooper would not let me ride alone. That sucks.

I mean, what's the point of getting an all day wristband, if you can't go on all the rides. So, now when I go to a country fair, I check out the ride lineup before I buy a ticket. The Ionia fair used to have a great midway, but in recent years it really sucks. They have a galaxy roller coaster, but do not include it in the POP, and it cost $5.00 to ride it. NOT!!! The usually POP band is $25.00 which is $3.00 less than MA, with only a handful of rides for adults. It's almost not worth going at all.

Luckily the Allegan fair has a better midway, and usually has great Concerts going on. So, at least if you don't get in some decent rides, you can watch the concert from the hill for free. I saw Britany Spears and 98 degrees that way, though, I also took my friend and her daughter.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:03 PM
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:05 AM

Yoshi - Andy - Timber - - - > Thank you for replying. I have to admit (and I am saying this in a selfish way) that if someone types up a long report like this (and again I realize that not everyone cares about bar-b-ques and pee pods) - that there should be at least one response or two. Thanks for doing so. Tantrum over.

I didn't put one and one together about single ferris wheel rides. This is an issue at Dorney too - but at Great Adventure a single rider can ride the scrambler (now called Deja Vu) and at Dorney you can't ride the scrambler as a single rider. As an overweight rider, my options are becoming more limited. Perhaps the kayak will help me drop a few and catch some fish at the same time.

Texas Heat? I have never been to Texas, but I would love to. It's on my buket list and certainly not only for parks. Perhaps not in July or August. There is great salt water fishing in Texas and I would love to try it.

Have a great night.

Last edited by Richie Reflux, Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:06 AM
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:07 AM

Richie, I like the "incidental" stuff. Unfortunately (and I'm guilty sometimes) there can can be a sameness to the descriptions of rides on trip reports, unless something unusual happens (like volleying.) So really, although I read most TR's, it's the incidentals that make the report interesting. It's all part of the "overall experience of the day"..and that's what a trip report should be, IMO. And yours are always entertaining to read for me because they're not just "I went on this, and this was rough and this had a long line, and this was closed. " it's a TRIP report, not a "ride" report. I don't like to blow my own horn, but I've received compliments elsewhere for my reports, in which I try to capture a total experience. Why do I do that? Because it's what I like to see from others.

Both types of reports have their place on a forum like this. I'm just speaking on my personal preference.

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