Great Adventure, 7/11/09

Saturday, August 15, 2009 5:46 PM

Meant to type this up a while ago, but didn't.

So I finally got off my butt and went to Great Adventure, closed Ka and all. Twas my first time and my girl's first in many years. It was a very charmed day.

We get to the park at about 11a, and after a bit of discussion, we decide to circle towards EL TORO and work from there. Amid mild protests from me as I dislike Beemer flyers immensely - and probably will until I ride Tatsu - we hit SUPERMAN ULTIMATE FLIGHT.

I've ridden the Georgia one ad nauseum to the point that if I go with people who have actually been I try really hard to skip it. I really don't like it and prefer BORGHAWK and the other Vekomas to this design. About a 40 min wait although we skip a few people when they need two riders, one of the many fortunate moments we have all day. I think the Georgia one has more pop, the ride felt particularly forceless and even the pretzel didn't really bring the goods. And to drive home the primary reason I dislike Beemer flyers, we stack for a good minute or two. She vocally ponders how much it would suck to be stuck in that position. I point out that I have for about five or ten minutes and that that's a good portion of why I don't dig it.

Next up was GREAT AMERICAN SCREAM MACHINE, my girl's first big boy coaster all those years ago. I was kinda stoked. I hadn't ridden a Big Ol Arrow Looper in many years and was expecting much worse than what we got. Front seat of back car, 2 or 3 train wait. Fun first drop. Surprisingly smooth aside from a couple transitions, but even those weren't bad. It was also pretty forceful and we were a bit dizzy and lightheaded as we got off which is always a plus. Had it been less busy - and she not been traumatized (more later) - I'd have probably snagged a low-wait night ride on the way out. So better than SUF.

We walk through Golden Kingdom, as I cast sad stares at the WORLD'S TALLEST, FASTEST LAWN ORNAMENT. We look at the kitties and enjoy the jungly ambience. It's a very nice little section.

Speaking of stoked, I certainly wasn't stoked for ROLLING THUNDER. We rode near the back after a one train wait. It sucked. Nothing good can come of a boring woodie that's also rough and jerky. It was such a nice day. I'm gonna say something positive about Rolling Thunder....

The station was dark, cool and comfortable.


My neck hurts. So we sit down and get...

CHICKEN FINGERS. From the place in the general area around RT. Maybe it's because I live in NYC and don't really think of $7-8 as particularly bad for food, but I was totally OK with this on both pricing and quality standpoints. Totally acceptable food.

AND NOW....

We hop in line for EL TORO. One of the most oddly fortunate moments of the day. My baby's a trooper, but between the line being almost full, apparent 1-train ops, and the basic design of the ride, she was feeling a little apprehensive. When the 2nd or 3rd train gets stuck at the top of the lift, it's like "HECK NO. We're outta here". Or something a little less PG than that. You'll see why it's fortunate later.


We hit the LOG FLUME. I quite enjoyed it, nice long and relaxing ride, good for snuggly moments and it produces a good splash. All good things. About a 30 minute wait. We try and fail to find the entrance to BIZARRO - and don't really sweat it as I know we're coming back for EL TORO later. On that note, they really should put up some signs or something. It's quite hard to find the entrance to BIZARRO without a map. Also, around this time we could see said floorless and notice that the train is stuck on the lift for a good couple of minutes.

We decide to head towards DARK KNIGHT as she really wanted to ride it. As we head there, I note that BATMAN is momentarily stuck on the lift.

We arrive at DARK KNIGHT and after about a 15 or 20 minute wait we're on and you know? I kinda dug it. The preshow was kinda cheesy and the projector needs replaced as it has an ugly green tint now but the ride was very lightly braked and delivered!

On the other hand, I'd never wait more than said 15 or 20 minutes and would feel royally gipped had I done so.

We considered BATMAN but the line was hella long and while we both dig the ride, we weren't dying to wait an hour for something we've both ridden alot, so we go towards NITRO and it's... wait for it... stuck on the lift. It actually closes for a bit so we hit...

SKULL MOUNTAIN. So this is one of the only bad times today. Firstly, the queue is really, really claustophobic. Which might be fine if you aren't serving the Greater New York City/Philadelphia Area. But GAdv does just that, and it just leads to loud packs of kids and teenagers from NYC and Philly acting like loud packs of kids and teenagers from NYC and Philly in a tight, enclosed place. Not alot of fun. We were surrounded by loads of them, and some little 8 or 9 year old even pinched her butt. Not a good setup. And I don't even want to mention how much I shudder when I imagine a fire breaking out in there. On the other hand, I must say the ride was sorta fun, actually. I'm really really skinny and my girl is built like a human female so the bar was way off my lap and as such I got some pretty sick air in a couple spots.

We hit NITRO. I'm pumped. After about a 30 minute wait - and again, a bit of a boost past a couple of trains wait as they need two people - we're on the 2nd row. It clearly has the best first drop of any Beemer I've ridden and thoroughly deserves the props it gets, but I still prefer Goliath South, weaker drop and all. GOLIATH'S installation hopping around the front of the park adds alot.

BATMAN still has a colossal wait so we head back towards Intamin Land. Along the way I voice my opinion that we should ride the ROUND UP and she voices her opinion that she would throw up. I decide it's not worth it.


We finally break down and ask someone how to get to BIZARRO and it all becomes obvious. Oh well.


We hop on line. I immediately realize that wooden cartoon boards in a queue line =/ theming. After about a 45 minute wait we skip a few people yet again and are on the next to first row, I never rode Medusa but I can't imagine the theming adds much to what's already quite a punchy little looper. I liked it alot, but again, the BIZARRO thing isn't really the appeal at all.


During the day we took various little breaks that I didn't note and it's now 8 and the sun is setting. We finally hop in the 3/4 full queue for EL TORO! Cue drumroll. Unlike the first time around they actually had 2-train ops and the crew was going pretty fast, so we only waited about 45 minutes if that. We hop in the front seat of the back car. It immediately becomes the best roller coaster I've ever had the pleasure of riding. So much air. Such brutal pacing. Such a feeling like God himself is ripping the tracks from beneath you on the first and second drops. A twilight ride on El Toro could only be bested by a night ride while the fireworks go off.


My girlfriend, however, would beg to differ. It was too much. She freaked and was screaming in horror the whole time. It was definitely not in the same vein as the screaming in horror on NITRO or anything either.
It was more like "I legitimately fear for my life" screaming.


And that was our day. I was down to go snag BATMAN or preferably another ride on ET or NITRO but she wasn't havin' it. It was awesome how it worked out with us hopping out of ET's line earlier. Had we ridden THE BEST RIDE EVER earlier, it likely would have ruined the whole day.


In closing, EL TORO is the alpha and the omega. GREAT ADVENTURE is an awesome amusement park.


NOTES

I thought the place looked outstanding and was very clean. The layout is borderline poor and quite confusing but the whole place is fairly comfortable and pretty well groomed.

All but one employee was very nice, the girl at a drink stand over by ROTTING LUMBER however was very snotty and acted like we asked for a kidney when we wanted straws. However even the guy at the top of the drop on the LOG FLUME made the effort to look away from his phone and weakly smile at us. Baby steps people...

I didn't want to come on Saturday for what it's worth. However we rightly knew we'd both be dead at work Monday had we gone on Sunday. Considering it was a Saturday and we didn't spring for Q-Bots I thought the lines were completely acceptable.

BAD STUFF

Lotsa line jumping primarily waiting for NITRO. It was kind of annoying, nobody stopped this kid from jumping half the line but two minutes later we saw a security guy moving a trash can to reconfigure the queue.

Also due to the design of the SKULL MOUNTAIN queue they really should have a security outpost midway through.

This whole no permanent lockers, $1 per ride fee thing is obnoxious nickle and diming but that's more a Six Flags in General issue and I don't wanna dwell on it.

All in all GAdv ruled!

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Monday, August 17, 2009 11:46 AM

Nicely done TR.

I was very pleasantly surprised at how much fun Great Adventure is. The coasters at the top end of their collection (El Toro and three Beemers not named S:UF) were all very re-rideable and loads of fun. The park has a lot of great things going for it and I completely agree with your assessment of how the park has a comfortable feel. Saying the layout is "poor" is definitely understating it, but that's a minor drawback to a cool park.

**EDIT** You won't look at B&M flyers the same way after you ride Tatsu. I understand that flyers aren't everyone's cup of tea, and I'm not a huge fan of S:UF (other than the pretzel loop), but Tatsu is in my top 10 and no other flyer I've ridden comes close.

Last edited by Gary Dowdell, Monday, August 17, 2009 11:53 AM
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009 12:55 PM

Glad you had a great adventure.

I have to agree that the park is poorly laid out. They need to move the entrance forward and put in a path connecting Movie Land and the Superman area.

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