Great Adventure 6/14/09

Associated parks:
None

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 5:11 AM

About six months ago, I promised my nephew Anthony that I would take him to Great Adventure for his eleventh birthday. I figured Sunday might not be as bad crowd-wise, and it was supposed to be fairly mild weather-wise, so we started on our journey. As we drove, the sky darkened, at first barely at all and then by increasing degrees. By the time we neared the Great Adventure exit, it was doing more than spitting but less than pouring. I warned Anthony that although the park would still be open, Kingda Ka would likely not run with the amount of rain and fog going on at the time. I also reminded Anthony that if the trip didn't work out, I would take him shopping for a birthday present and we'd still go to Great Adventure another day.

I didn't need to worry. As we pulled into the lot, I was laughing at how empty the park was. My favorite time to go to amusement parks is actually when it rains lightly like this because most people seem discouraged, they clear out the park, and then my friends/family and I are free to run around the park and power ride to our heart's content. This trip to Great Adventure was no exception.

We headed to Dark Knight first and there was NO line, as it was still raining. Five people MAYBE. By the time I got my stuff in the locker, there were about 15 people ahead of us, but I'd say we waited no longer than 10 minutes to get through to the train station. I was again disappointed by our first ride on TDK due to the braking. The first two times I rode this mouse in a box, there seemed to be NO braking, and it was the wildest Wild Mouse type coaster I'd ridden. Lately, it seems kinda slow. Still not my favorite type of coaster by any means because I'm afraid we'll fly off the tracks because of my...heavier than average weight. I know, I know, it's totally irrational.

When we stepped out of TDK's building, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. Plus, the park was still deserted. Very cool. We were going to Batman next, but it was closed for some reason. It had been running before we went on TDK, so I don't know what happened. Anyway, I told Anthony that Nitro was next. He pointed to Batman and asked if that was Nitro. I told him no and pointed to the behemoth first climb and told him that THAT was Nitro. He said, "Okay, now I'm scared". I gave him some facts about Nitro so that he would feel a little better about it (only 10 feet more on the drop, a little faster, etc). We walked on to Nitro and climbed into the back seat. Anthony's lapbar didn't look all that tight, so I was tugging on it and trying to staple him in, but it was as tight as it would go. It turned out just fine. As we neared the top of the hill and I watched the rest of the train disappear from view, I warned Anthony the drop was coming and then watched as his face turned from pale to Casper white as we plunged down Nitro's 215-footer. Then he started cracking up so hard he had tears coming down his face. Nitro was kicking some major a$$ on that first run with smooth floater air in serious abundance. Never got so much airtime on Nitro before. Could have been the weight loss so the harness wasn't as tight because I noticed El Toro was much more comfortable as well, but the whole train must have noticed the great run because everyone was screaming, "Woooooooo" every time we hit airtime.

Anyway, as usual, I digress. Anthony loved Nitro and practically screamed, "We GOTTA do that again later". That's never a problem for me, so I promised him we would. Batman was still down, so we hit Skull Mountain.

Skull Mountain was running somewhat poorly. All the effects were out, so the coaster was completely dark. There's not a lot to the effects to begin with, but it was still a bummer. I like a little bit more going on. The train seemed to be running more slowly than usual, and it almost crawled to a stop. Don't know what THAT was about.

We were going to get on El Toro next, but I saw that Kingda Ka was running, and that was Anthony's number one priority, so we hit Kingda Ka next. Wait time wasn't bad at all, just barely into the switchback behind the lockers. Once the station cleared out a little, they loaded us into the station and we had one couple ahead of us for the back seat. We got the teal train, so of course it was a rough ride. However, Ka felt extra fast, and not QUITE as rough as usual. Anthony looked horrified throughout the launch, so I made a big show of laughing and making silly faces, and he started laughing by the time we hit the top of the hill. He was laughing so hard for the rest of the ride that he had tears streaming down his face again. He wanted to ride again, but he decided that he would rather do all the coasters in the park first and then do re-rides.

El Toro was next. This was next to the longest line in the park for us, halfway through the first switchback. However, once we got to the station, we saw that once again people were not filing all the way back to the back of the ride, so we had a one-train wait for the back seat. Just as we were about to get on, there was a couple with a handicapped little girl that came up to the special gate for people with disabilities/wheelchairs/etc. I didn't mind at all, but what I DID mind was what happened with this little girl. She was severely disabled, unable to walk or even stand or hold on to a lapbar or buckle her seatbelt. The ride ops allowed the father to carry the little girl into a seat (although not the BACK seat) and strap her in before allowing the rest of us to board the train. I just kept thinking, "how are they allowed to do this? Does anyone know that there is a rule that people must be able to board the train themselves? This is sooooo dangerous..." I was honestly really worried for the little girl. Toro, however, was okay for her, I guess because there was no problem.

El Toro was running great again although I have noticed some slight roughness in the end S curves. Nothing significant at all, but it runs different than last season. Anthony had a blast, as did I. He said it was totally worth the wait, and we had to do it again.

We hit Bizarro after Toro, and we took the back two seats (there are not four seats on the back row anymore, which is kind of nice because you feel more like you've got the train to yourself). I liked the colors they've redone the coaster with, but I agree with whoever said the sound system was a waste. You can't hear it half the time, it doesn't make sense in any way, and it really adds nothing to the ride. It was starting to get really hot outside, so the mist sections felt super cold and super refreshing. The spiky silver thing was neat to pass under and roll upside down over, but I didn't see any fire like I heard was going to occur. Apparently the fire was running later in the day. Plus, the effects felt tossed into the mix randomly, like they were specifically added just to prove a point, not to really add too much to the ride. I was forewarned, so the disappointment was minimal. Anthony was bored by this ride (as most people seem to be after hitting Toro and Ka).

We ate at the Boardwalk areas, and I tried Bubble Tea. Disgusting. LOL Anthony waited for over a half an hour for his chicken fingers because the guy that took his order apparently was a moron and thought that Anthony and I ordered our food, paid an exorbitant fee for it, and then left. Anthony was waiting patiently and quietly by the counter while I picked up my beef teriyaki (which I would not recommend). Finally, the guy got us our order of chicken strips and then didn't give us our soda. I didn't realize it until we left, and by then, I was so fed up (and so skeeved out by the bubble tea), I didn't go back.

We finally got to ride on Batman after lunch. Batman was running great as well, with less roughness and headbanging than I can ever remember, but the line was RIDICULOUS. I don't know why, but it was like everyone in the park was waiting to ride Batman. We waited for 45 minutes. Then we walked across the park again, and Anthony insisted we ride the front seat of Kingda Ka. This time, we got the orange train, and combined with the front, we had the best ride I've ever had on Ka as well. Plus our pictures were CLASSIC. I had to buy them for us. Anthony was making some sort of hand gesture and grinning satanically, and my hair was standing straight up from the back of my head. I looked like I stuck my finger in an electric socket. LOL

Next was Superman, a walk-on for the back seat. Anthony is afraid of heights, and so he was no more fond of hanging there with nothing below him anymore than I am when going up that hill. He loved the pretzel loop and actually really enjoyed this coaster, but at the end, we got stuck near the station for about 15 minutes. By the time they finally got us loose, I had a headache and was heaving a little. The feeling went away quickly (thank god), but that was definitely the last time we were going to ride that.

Toro ran great again from the back seat.

The next Dark Knight ride was a walk-on. Batman was a three-train wait. Nitro was a 20-minute wait for the front seat, but I like both the front AND the back of Nitro, and Anthony wanted to experience the front seat. Great ride, but not as good as the first one of the day. However, we were allowed to fill seats towards the back of the coaster when we arrived back at the station, so we rode one more time as a bonus.

We were going to do Ka and Toro at night, and Ka at night is one of my favorite coaster pasttimes, but the park closed early without any announcement or warning. Anthony was really bummed, but we're going to go back for those night rides at another time.

All in all:

Kingda Ka: 2

El Toro: 2

Bizarro: 1

Superman: 1

Top Spin thinger: 1

TDK: 2

Skull Mountain: 1

Nitro: 3

Batman: 2

Rapids ride: 3 (I never once got wetter than my sneakers and one patch of my shorts, so we kept trying).

All in all, I'm psyched for my trip today to Great Adventure, and I'll post again if I don't fall asleep first.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 10:10 PM

All the effects on Skull Mountain have been off for a few weeks. It's fusturating to know they have the skull figure, pumpkins and tiki masks but you can't see them now except during the strobes and that's only if you know where they are so you can look for them.

If the wind is past a certain mph, they don't run the fire effects so that is probably why they didn't work on your ride.

That is horrible to get stuck on Superman. That is something I am always concerned about while riding. I hate having my head tilted down on the brake run for even a minute or two if they are stacking and can't imagine being like that for 15+ minutes.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:37 PM

Yoshi, plus we were right next to the siren/horn thingie they blow when there is a problem. We were joking that it was used to block out obscenities from the passengers. LOL Every time one of us would go to talk, it would blow again. We started trying to curse in between the blasts. Yes, immature, but I don't know how with it you can be with all the blood in your brain when you're hanging like that. *snicker*

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