Danny Biggerstaff CoAsTeRDaN
Sunday, August 26, 2007 5:37 PM
TR: Six Flags Great Adventure We got some advice from a NJ friend that Fridays seem to be the overall best day to go to Great Adventure. So we took Friday August 3rd off of work and made our way to NJ. It has been many years since our last visit. The last time we went was 2003 when Superman: Ultimate Flight was built. We arrived early; we left Richmond about 4:15am and got to the park about 9am. There were 4 of us on this trip: Gary Moyer, Janis, Sarah and I, and we all had season passes to Six Flags America, so our admission was free. Gary had the Six Flags parking pass, so no fee to park for us! Since we were early we decided to drive through the Safari. Gary and I had been through many times before, but Sarah and Janis had never been through it. The Safari took about 50 minutes, it’s a lot of fun and I suggest making time to go through it at least once a visit. We then went and parked, got a pretty close spot and entered the park. With Six Flags season passes you just have to scan your pass at the gate. I wish Cedar Fair would do this… We went to where the rope held us back near the Carousel and Yum Yum Palace and waited about 5 minutes for it to drop. We first headed to Kingda Ka. We had not been there since this was put in, so we really wanted to ride it and figured it may get the longest lines of the day. We had only ridden Top Thrill Dragster one time, and that was the year it was put in (2003?). Janis and I had forgotten how Top Thrill Dragster felt. Kingda Ka was running all 4 trains and the line was only about 10 mins long. We boarded near the front of a car after about 3 cycles of trains launched. (Sarah did not ride this ride all day, claims she hates launched rides…) Finally it was our turn. We inched up to the launch and you look at that impossible height of the tower, so far away. The launch is kind of drawn out; I remember this with Top Thrill Dragster as well. It’s not very sudden; it takes its time getting you 128 MPH. I kind of like that, you get to enjoy it longer. By the time you are at the base of the tower you can tell you’re moving… Then it’s up and up and up and up some more, finally you bleed off speed and crest the hill to dive bomb the Earth while spinning. I also liked that this ride had a 2nd hill; it felt a little more like a roller coaster than Top Thrill Dragster did for this reason. I also like these restraints better than Top Thrill Dragsters; I find these newer Intamin harnesses more comfortable. We rode back to back times and rode 4 more during the day at various times. So now, finally, Kingda Ka was added to our track list. One train was taken off for maintenance late in the day, around 7pm, I think, and it ran three after that. Next we headed to El Toro. I have heard so many mixed reviews on this ride, I had no idea what to expect. They were running both trains and we only had about a 10 minute wait the first time we rode. We got in the back seat, the belt is a little tight, but that’s Intamin for you… After the train was secure we headed out of the station and up the lift. I didn’t know that it had the same style lift as Millennium Force. The lift MOVED you up and did it fast and was smooth and quiet. During one ride we stopped about 3/4s the way up and when it started again it was just as smooth and fast as it was at the bottom of the lift. The first drop was amazing, one of the very best, if not *the* best first drop on any wooden coaster I have ridden. It’s so steep and so sudden; it produced major negative G’s. I was actually caught off guard during our first ride. The next few hills also produced a lot of negative G’s. The turn around was fast and smooth and the final part of the ride was very unexpected to me, I fell in love with the S turns close to the ground. I ended up liking the coaster a lot more than I thought I would. I may have to place it in my top five, but I am unsure where right now. I have to admit that it doesn’t feel like a “wooden” roller coaster due to the prefab track and the poly wheels like on steel coasters. But even with that said, it’s still a wonderful ride. I just wish Intamin would figure out how to make a comfortable belt and lap bar restraint for their rides. We rode 2 or 3 times in the morning and returned many times during the day and rode it about 7 times straight during the last hour of park operation that day. We got the last ride of the night. The crew was really moving the trains through the station, they didn’t play around. The trains never stacked and the dispatching was very fast. Some of the best operations I had ever seen at a Six Flags Park.After El Toro we took a spin on Rolling Thunder. Honestly this ride is just horrible. I have been on it many times over the years and I just don’t care for it. It’s never lubed and it has a rather strange layout. We took one ride on the left side at this time and returned later in the day and took a ride on the other side. Both rides were very poor and just left us wondering, “Why bother?” The crew at this ride was the anti El Toro crew; they were slow and didn’t care. One train was running on each side, which was fine for the crowd as it was walk on all day long, but they still let the train sit for about 5 mins in the station before dispatching, no one could figure out why. They were too busy playing around with each other. Not only was the ride bad, but the crew made it worse…Next we headed over to Superman: Ultimate Flight. Janis and I had ridden this when it was built, we also rode the one in Georgia when that one was built, and Sarah rode the one in Georgia as well. Gary and Sarah had not been on this one, though. It had the longest line of the day, I believe we waited 45 minutes for it. We decided since we had already waited 35 minutes that we would wait the extra 10 and get the front row. I like B&M flyers; they load faster than Vekoma’s versions. After our one ride on Superman, we took a spin on the Great American Scream Machine. It was a one train wait, and it was running two of three trains. I have always liked GASM; it’s one of the better Arrow’s, in my opinion. While we were in that area we took a drop on the Parachute ride. We headed over to the other side of the park, and walked by Chiller, and it looked strange with the heartlines removed. It was still down (as usual), and at this point, I think they just need to give up and remove it.We next headed for Batman the Ride. In 1994, during the late fall, Gary and I rode this 54 times in one day. They allowed re-rides and we took advantage of that many times that day. We only rode twice today, but that was good enough, we didn’t want to waste too much time on steel coasters we have ridden so many times when El Toro was in the park. This was the first time I had seen it since they painted Batman “Nitro” yellow. It looked good, but I question why they painted it the same color as a coaster right next to it. Also, I noticed that the harnesses were different per train. On one train, the harnesses were the old style B&M ones and they were tighter, and they refitted the other train with the newer, bigger B&M harnesses. You can tell the difference, the older ones come to a sharper point on top of the shoulder, the newer ones are much more rounded. Anyone know why they one train of each? Also, I noted they never added a big boy seat…Now it was time for a few rides on Nitro. This ride is one of B&M’s best. It is fast and powerful and remains smooth. They were running all three trains and the wait was only 2 to 3 trains long, so we rode about 3 times in a row. It’s a fantastic coaster and has a helix that will make you gray out. The funny thing is that this coaster is 2 years newer than Busch Gardens Apollo’s Chariot, but the trains looked old and beat up. Great Adventure needs to work on that a little bit. Busch Gardens trains still look like new. Up next was a spin on Skull Mountain. We waited only 2 trains and they were running both trains. I have always enjoyed this little coaster. The sky ride was operating (which is rare when I am there for some reason), so we took a ride from Skull Mountain over to the other side of the park where we rode the Mine Train. I see they refitted the trains with newer individual restraint bars, THANK YOU Six Flags for doing this. It makes getting into those older Arrow mine rides so much easier. We took one ride on that and then headed for Medusa. Medusa is still one of the better floorless coasters out there; I never understood the actual theming for it though… We took 2 or 3 rides on it then headed out of the park for dinner at the local KFC and then returned for a spin on Kingda Ka and finished out with many rides on El Toro including getting the last train out. It was one of the best days at Great Adventure I ever had. The crowd was not as heavy as other days and the park operated overall very well, except for the Rolling Thunder crew. On the way out many of the park managers were in a line at the exit giving people high 5’s as the guests exited. That was a very nice and fun way to end the day; it showed they cared a bit. It looked like they were having fun being there doing that as well. It must have been about 15 managers in the “handshake” line. It was an unexpectedly GREAT day at Six Flags Great Adventure.
Sunday, August 26, 2007 5:57 PM
Sorry to be slightly off topic here but...
Holy cow it's Danny Biggerstaff!
Danny Biggerstaff CoAsTeRDaN
Sunday, August 26, 2007 6:15 PM
I apologize, I typed it in Microsoft Word and copy/pasted it. It just ran it all together and I didn't realize it did that. I will make sure to remember to seperate them in the future...
Sunday, August 26, 2007 7:35 PM
I liked the trip report, I never knew or noticed anything about the restraints on any of the BTR's or any of B&M invert in general.
Sunday, August 26, 2007 9:59 PM
So Fridays are slow days? That's just bizarre. I went for the first time on a Monday last month thinking it would be the slowest day, and it was anything but.
Sunday, August 26, 2007 10:26 PM
My least crowded experience at SFGAdv ever I think was on a Friday in July of 1999, so I can believe this.
Interesting that you would actually like the KK restraints better than TTDs--I really DON'T like them. Of course, maybe it has something to do with my build, but I could probably come up with others who like the lap bar system better than these newer OSTRs. Ouch for me!
Sunday, August 26, 2007 11:00 PM
Would claiming I'm starting to like SFGAdv more than CP be the equivalent of changing my religion?!?
Hopefully Halloweekends will help me re-discover my "faith"....
Monday, August 27, 2007 12:25 AM
Dan, All you have to do is hit the edit link over your post and find where the paragraphs start, click there, and then push your enter key once or twice (depending on your browser).
Please... If you do it I promise that I'll read it.