Great Adventure 6/16/08...my re-introduction to coaster enthusiasm

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008 8:25 PM
I apologize for the length of this TR, but here it is:

We went to Hersheypark for our senior class trip on June 4th (no TR, but Fahrenheit is sick and Storm Runner is still amazing), and ever since then I've really wanted to get back into the whole coaster thing. When I used to post here as TalonJosh1491 5-6 years ago when I just broke 13 years old, I was as big of an enthusiast as anyone else here was. I obviously couldn't drive and I'm about the only person in my family that likes roller coasters, so I was lucky to get to 1-2 new parks a year. I'd get to Knoebel's multiple times since it's right down the road, maybe Hershey or Dorney once, but the rest were all vacations.

For whatever reason, I guess you could say I grew out of it. My family decided that they'd rather go to the beach than go to amusement parks, so I was SOL. I didn't even go to Knoebel's (still haven't either, not since '04, I'm waiting for the Turns but I miss Phoenix dearly). Before the aforementioned senior trip to Hershey, the last parks I visited were IOA and USF in 2006. The feeling I got while at Hershey was pretty much "damn, I miss this". I wanted to plan something and go to another park as soon as I could. The initial plan was to go to a place that I haven't been to before, but there really wasn't anywhere within reasonable driving distance that I haven't been to, so instead I picked a place that has 1) added a ton since my last visit and 2) has rides that I didn't get to go on when I was there last. Great Adventure fit the bill.

My first and only visit to SFGAdv was in 2002, and from what I remember, I enjoyed myself. However, I only managed to get on 6 coasters (Nitro, Medusa, B:TR, Rolling Thunder, GASM, Viper). Nitro and Medusa immediately broke into my top 10, B:TR was one of my favorite inverts, and Viper and GASM were decent. With the additions of S:UF, El Toro, and Kingda Ka, not to mention getting to ride Nitro, Medusa, and B:TR again, it was the perfect choice.

With the help of a Tastycake Buy 1, Get One Free coupon, I managed to drag my one friends with me. She doesn't mind coasters, but was a little afraid to go on the likes of Ka and Nitro. They were calling for rain and thunderstorms all day, but I had a gut feeling that we would be fine, so we went anyway. We left around 8:10 AM and was there by 10:45, which I understand is making good time (going 80 on the interstate goes a long way, I guess). The park didn't seem too packed, which was a good sign. I was hell bent on getting on Kingda Ka, so we headed over there first. We got in line to see a good number of the switchbacks full, so we said screw it and would go back later. Apparently the line wasn't as long as we thought, because on all of the coasters they would fill up the station and then cut off the rest of the line and have it further back. We couldn't get a clear view of KK's station from where we were, so we didn't know that at first. Oh well, on to El Toro.

EL TORO - I said before that I'd be hard pressed to find a wooden coaster better than Phoenix. Well, I found one. Everything I heard about this ride proved to be true, it was amazing in every sense of the word. The drop was sick, getting yanked over every hill was sick, and the end was crazy. The air I got on the hill leading into the twisted turn ending was Phoenix-esque. It was pure speed start to finish, and it's now sitting atop my wood list. 10/10

After El Toro, I had a bit of a headache, which really worried me. I know some people develop motion sickness on coasters, and I was afraid that I was too. I was fine at Hershey last week (except for Sidewinder), so I'm hoping that this was just a fluke or something. Anyway, we headed back to Medusa so I could catch up with an "old friend".

MEDUSA - After riding Medusa in 2002 it was one of my 5 favorite coasters. It wasn't quite as good as I remembered it to be, but it was still a great ride. Love the first drop and the zero g roll, not to mention the great pacing. No longer in my top 10, but still a favorite. 9/10

My friend wanted to hit up Runaway Mine Train on the way out of that section, but it was experiencing "technical difficulties" so we passed. We worked our way to Movie Town because she really wanted to get on Dark Knight, but the attendant at the front of the line said "wait is about an hour, not worth it", so we moved on to the bigger Batman-themed ride.

BATMAN: THE RIDE - B:TR was the fourth B&M invert that I rode, following Talon, Alpengeist, and Great Bear, and was my 2nd favorite after '02. It's just as intense as I remembered and still ranks among my favorite inverts (behind Raptor, Montu, and Talon). I actually greyed out in the transition between the first loop and zero g roll and was pretty close to doing it again right after the second loop. 9/10

We checked TDK again, still a long line. We decided to check out Skull Mountain, which had no line. It was a good little ride, and the first drop really sneaks up on you. After a quick ride there, we headed back to Nitro.

NITRO - After my ride on Nitro 6 years ago, it was my #1 or #2 coaster, Apollo's Chariot being up the other. I remember tons and tons of floater air and a sick helix leading into the MCBR. I must say that in 2008, Nitro left me disappointed. Still a fantastic ride, don't get me wrong, but there seemed to be less air this time around. Still a good amount, but nowhere near what I experienced last time. The helix was intense as ever though; I greyed out near the end of it. Not the perfect 10 it was before, but still well worth the ride. 9/10

After Nitro, we went to check out the line for S:UF, and it looked a little lengthy, so we skipped it. She then saw GASM and wanted to ride that, which was a huge mistake. I won't dedicate a paragraph to GASM, it wasn't worth it. I'd like to know what happened to it, though. In '02 it was a good ride, not a great one, but not as painful as I was expecting. In '08, horrible. I got knocked around early and often, and it actually made my friend's ear bleed (she was wearing little stud earrings). My headache got a million times worse after that, so we took a break. We went through the Fly Me to the Moon 3D show, which sucked, then we got some food. She liked what she got, but my mozzarella sticks were subpar. I didn't know marinara sauce was supposed to be watery. After a little rest, I decided it was time for some Ka.

KINGDA KA - Damn. That is all. But really, TTD and Ka were the only rides that I was legitimately scared to ride. My friend was terrified too, but along with the fear I was also pretty pumped, so she didn't really appreciate me getting all excited. I decided to make matters worse when they played the "128 MPH in 3.5 seconds" over the loudspeaker by saying "Hey, you know that's pretty fast right? It's pretty tall too." She responded with "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you" when we were getting ready to launch. Speaking of the launch, WOW. I love launches, and ever since Storm Runner 2 weeks ago, I was craving something even faster and better, and Ka delivered. The top hat was pretty sick, as was looking over and seeing everything look so small. The "small" hill into the brakes provided some nice floater air. As insane as that was, I'd still rank Storm Runner as my favorite Intamin rocket. I'd go SR 1, Ka 2, TTD 3. It's still a top 5 ride for me, but Storm Runner is top 3. 10/10

I've looked and noticed that this TR is dragging on, so I'll condense the rest.

After Kingda Ka we went over to Dark Knight and decided to suck it up and wait. The pre-show was really cool. Decent in length and made me sort of feel like I was in Gotham City. The rest of the queue was nicely themed also. As for the ride, just your standard Wild Mouse, but packed a punch due to minimal braking. Easily my favorite of the Wild Mice due to the above average theming.

Headed over to Superman, wait was non-existent, walked right into an empty row in the station. This was my first flying coaster, and I thought it was pretty fun. The pretzel loop was as intense as advertised, but the rest (save the inline roll) was just average. Re-ridable, but not near the top of my favorite coaster list.

I had to beg my friend to get one last ride on El Toro before we left, so we got that out of the way, as amazing as it was the first time. We made our way towards the candy store on Main Street and left at about 8 after picking up some stuff for the road. We made our way back to PA and got home around 10:45. I had to pull over after an hour because I was so tired, so she took one for the team and drove the rest of the way.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. SF seems to be doing everything right here. The park was clean, all the staff I encountered were nice and seemed to enjoy their jobs, and the dispatches on rides were solid. This trip did it's job, which is get me back into my coaster loving mentality. It introduced me to two of my favorite coasters, including my new favorite wooden coaster. Lucky for me, I'm going to college at Bowling Green which is just a short drive from Cedar Point, so my habit will be supported for at least 4 more years. What was a really spontaneous, spur of the moment trip turned out to be a huge success.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008 12:21 AM
I think it's going to be VERY difficult for me to find a woodie that beats out El Toro. I NEVER EVER EVER thought a wooden coaster would be at the top of my list for favorites, but there it sits, and I can't imagine anything taking it down. You are absolutely right, it's SICK.

Recommendation for the headaches: Dramamine. It's my little cheat to take Dramamine about a half an hour before riding the rides, and then I can handle nearly everything. Still haven't braved KK, but my friend Ivory says I am going to be forced on it on Friday when I go to Great Adventure again. I've been told it's honestly not that bad, but I just can't imagine a 450 foot drop. I don't care about the launch part, but that drop scares the bejesus out of me. I was told El Toro is worse than KK for scare factor, but I highly doubt that. We'll see how it goes. I told her if I go on KK, I'll have to be sedated beforehand because on some of these rides, I get SERIOUSLY scared. Like I need to sit down and put my head between my legs scared. I can't imagine what KK would do. Just thinking about it gives me the willies.

I'm so glad you are having a coaster rediscovery. I'm in the same boat. I've been fascinated by coasters since I was little, even before I rode them, and now, I've experienced a resurgence of coaster love. I've declared this my summer that I get up to 50 coasters on my list. I've added El Toro, Nitro, Superman Ultimate Flight, Runaway Mine Train (stupid brutal junior coaster which I loathe), Skull Mountain, Medusa, Fahrenheit, Phoenix, Twister, and Voodoo in the past two weeks. Six more to go and I'm good for 50! :) Maybe I'll HAVE to do KK just to get that credit. What's the worst thing that could happen to me as long as something doesn't break? I'll vomit or have an anxiety attack. Then I'll punch my friend in the head and get ejected from the park. LOL No biggie, right?

Keep ridin! :)

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