Great Adventure & Kingda Ka 8/20/06

Associated parks:

We arrived at SF Great Adventure at about 9:50 am. Walking into the park we noticed the sign that stated that “Kingda Ka would be closed today”. I ignored the sign, and figured Six Flags is famous for posting that rides are closed that ran all day.

As soon as I got in the gate I went directly to the Q-bot line, and hooked us up with a Gold Q-bot. For 4 of us it was 166 and change. Damn that seemed a lot higher then last year. This is the sort of thing that has caused all the debate threads about the Q-bot. It is a scam. If you want to ride all coasters at Great Adventure on a Saturday you really need the gold Q-bot, and Six Flags knows that people are willing to pay to be able to ride every coaster on a weekend day, or any other day for that matter. I myself hate waiting in lines, and I figure if you are fronting the bill for the regular Q-bot may as well spring for the gold to cut the waits. It turned out to be well worth it for us.

I’ll say up front that this was my families worst visit to Great Adventure ever. It was just a horrible experience all around. Horrible ops, ghetto crowds, and much more will be revealed as this goes on. I really thought that SF was heading for a customer service turnaround with their new attitude and slogan “100% dedicated to your playtime”, but one can only hope. The reality is that Great Adventure took a huge step back in those areas because they have that new record breaker Ka. Its a good coaster, but won’t change the fact that in opening that area of the park they ignored the rest of the park and rides.

All the other coasters in the park that used to have 4 attendants checking restraints all of the sudden didn’t this year and these are Superman, Medusa, and Nitro. If I didn’t have the gold Q-bots the waits for these would have been outrageous. Medusa, Scream Machine, Runaway Minetrain, and Nitro were only running 2 trains, and the ops were still stacking trains. I kept thinking what a f**king joke this is! I really wish Six Flags would learn something from Cedar Fair in this category. The capacity they could hit with their coasters are no where near where they could be at. Ka was just same way, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.

We were riding Rolling Thunder, and seen that people were getting in line, so as soon as we got off we were right there.

Kingda Ka- The record breaker. It is a good coaster no doubt about that. I love Intamin, and anything they do. The new restraints on Ka are a little different then the restraints found on Storm Runner, and I felt the changes were welcome. A thinner OTSR, and a wider lap bar to accomadate any body type except those taller then 6’ 5”. Pretty much as perfect as you can get to make sure that no one falls from another ride of theirs again.

We waited about 50 minutes for our 1st front seat ride. We would have had to wait that long that had all 4 trains been running, but they were only using 3. Since I have ridden TTD a few (7 times) times the anticipation just wasn’t there like when I had ridden that. The front blast was intense, but it just didn’t do it like TTD or Storm Runner. I am thinking because I am more used to it (lost track of how many times I have ridden storm runner now).

The launch is shorter and faster then TTD but it didn’t really seem like it until the night ride. I really enjoy the brakes at the top of the top hat. Gives yo more of a chance to look around before you drop. The only time I felt that on TTD is the time that I almost roled back. We hung there and just barely made it over. If the last 2 rows had been loaded we’d have rolled back. Ka didn’t have any problems with making it over the tophat. It seems like Intamin has worked a few things out with this ride. Lets just hope that SF maintainence takes care of the coaster.

The spiral feels just the same as TTD, but the bunny hill is a nice touch. Good pop of air in the front. In the back it doesn’t do much. The brake run is much shorter, and makes a difference. I wish they’d do this with TTD. CP could shorten the brake run considerably.

I like the look of TTD’s trains more, but Ka’s are still pretty. I really think that Intamin took their experience with their Rocket coasters, and put it to good use. Ka is a winner! A record breaker for sure. Its nice to have the tallest fastest coaster closer to home, but its just a shame that its in a park that leaves a lot to be desired.

The Golden Kingdom is a very nice addition to the park. The theming is excellent, and I am sure that it will thrill for many years to come. Wonder how long Ka will remain a record holder.

They didn’t put the 4th train on Ka until 9pm. That was just horrible, and the only reason they did that was so that they could cycle people through to get them on the ride. They didn’t want to stay open any later than they had to.

I seen 2 fights, People were line cutting on several flat rides big time, and the only reason that I didn’t complain is because I had a gold Q-bot. The crowd that SF draws is just horrible. People that don’t think that line cutting is a big deal. It was really disappointing to see. I think that they should use the ticket method on all rides like they did with Ka. That would save a lot of headaches.

Ka is great! It edges out TTD just by a nudge, but isn’t better then SR. I’d give it a 9 out of 10. Now only if the rest of park would get back to where it was before Ka opened. It would be one of my favorite parks. They definitely have good rides, but I guess locations is everything. They definitely need to do something about the ghetto crowd. I don’t want to go to a park and feel like I am going to get shot! ;)

Being with my family made the day a lot of fun. Otherwise It would have a bad day all around. I guess this is more of a ka trip report, but that’s what my focus was this visit. Good park with bad staff. The potential that this park has is unreal. I wish I had days to spend on this topic.

Nice TR.

My only advice is to stay away on weekends in July and August.

I always got the impression that the staff hates working the weekends in July and August for exactly the reasons you specified.

Well, I was right.....they do. And unfortunately, this rubs the wrong way with visitors that aren't trashing the park or irritating the hell out of the staff and ops.

The weekdays still tend to have excellent operations and things will also greatly improve through September weekends. And then, Fright Fest hits and it all goes down hill again.

Solutions? I guess raising the hell out of Season Pass prices might help remove the "weekenders" but that comes at a cost to all of us. More staff and security is also welcome but Six Flags needs to cough up more pay to attract more workers.

Well, at least Kingda Ka was open lol.

Wow, did you come back from the future? August 20th 06? I'll be sure not to attend the park on that day. ;)

2005 visited: PCW, PKI, CP, MFI, MIA, Knoebel's, Dorney, Hershey, PKD, BGW, USF, IOA, BGT 2006 planned: Holiday World, Kennywood, Indiana Beach, SFKK, Lake Compounce, SFNE, La Ronde, Hershey, SFGAd. and more!
I really enjoy the brakes at the top of the top hat. Gives yo more of a chance to look around before you drop.

Kingda Ka nor TTD have brakes on the top hat. You must be confusing the "braked" feeling with gravity.

Coasterfantom2: I'm surprised that lines for Medusa and Nitro were long. I went a few weeks back on a Saturday and the only lines were for KK and Superman. Medusa was a walk-on and Nitro was about a 10 minute wait. I got there before they opened and got my 2 KK rides in so I could hit a few rides and leave for the day. I can totally understand your complaints about the ride ops and poor ride capacity. SFGAdv has some of the SLOWEST ride ops I've seen. It takes them 4 minutes to launch a train on Superman. For a lot of rides, you'll notice that there's almost always a 2nd train waiting behind the train in the station (Is that what you meant by stacking ?). They seriously need to teach these employees how to be FAST and SAFE.

BSBMX, Kingda Ka does have brakes at the top of the tower, they don't stop you, but slow you down so that if you are in the front, you are being held looking down through the spiral for a little. An amazing experience.
I know what you mean when you speak of the "ghetto crowd." Yes, it's horrible. But remember, SFGA is in the middle of 4 major cities: New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC. Gang clashes are abundant in this park, and I too was afraid of saying anything in fear of being beaten to a pulp. Six Flags can't turn them away, business is business.

Glad you enjoyed Ka. Front seat is the best seat. Yes, that brake is at the top to slow it down just enought so the people in front can look into that awesome spiral (I'll never forget that view, FRONT SEAT ROCKS!).

As for the line problem, I think you have to blame yourself for that one. I'm not trying to be an idiot, but the Q bot makes the line even longer for the rest of us. Sure, it's great for the people who want to fork over that cash, but it's a Biznatch for us who wait our turn in line. In order to avoid you people on the most popular rides, I get to the park early and get to be on the first ride. But, if I could drop that cash, I would. It is a great idea to get the most out of your visit. For instance, I only rode 3 roller coasters in 8 hours a few days ago at SFGA. The lines were a pain.

About two years ago, some friends and I attempted a spur of the moment trip to SFGA on a Saturday. We witnessed three instances of line cutting (bullying was more like it) and an all out brawl, while waiting to enter the park.

Needless to say, we just headed back to the parking lot, headed up to CI, and rode the Cyclone a few times.

That said, I've had a great time every weekday I've went. So that's probably the way to go.

eightdotthree's avatar
I had my worst amusement park experience two days in a row at Great Adventure, its such a great park with so much potential. But going there on a weekend ends up being more stressfull than fun unfortunatly.

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