Great Adventure 8/13/11...I'm getting old and grumpy

Sunday, August 14, 2011 11:46 AM

I took my nephew to Great Adventure for his birthday yesterday as I usually do. I didn't bring my coupon booklet because most of those coupons are for during the week, and I thought "everyone pays kids price," as the Six Flags ads on TV clearly state. Well, don't you know I got to Great Adventure and the ads on TV tell you NOWHERE that the ad special is only for internet ticket purchases. Since I didn't bring any discount flyers with me and since I didn't bring a Coke can or anything, I ended up paying the full price admission for my nephew. Plus, the price of preferred parking went up five bucks, and the gate price went up about ten bucks. I was already very angry by the time I got our flash pass and went to the first ride. I believe there was already a discussion on here about how Six Flags advertises their specials for the internet on their commercials, so I should have known better, but I just wasn't thinking about it, and I was irritated with myself as well.

Anyway, on to the rest of the day:

We went right to the Green Lantern, as I wanted to get #97 under my belt in case it rained or something happened where we couldn't get to it later. Good thing we did. We rode Green Lantern from the third row, and it was a lot of fun. I only got a little bit of headbanging, the inversions and really the whole ride were VERY intense, and I have to say, I love this coaster. Until it tried to kill me. I digress. The line was already all the way out onto the sidewalk, through all the switchbacks, etc. Even with Flashpass we waited for a half an hour.

We were on our way to our next reservation at Bizarro when I noticed that there was no music playing around the area of the stupid mine coaster, and there was a train full of people stuck on the loading station brakes. I started to get a very bad feeling as we walked towards Bizarro and the park remained largely silent. Then we noticed Bizarro was stuck at the base of the lift hill. It turned out the entire park lost power. Now I was more than a little irritated because I had driven through heavy construction and shore traffic to get to GrAdv, I had paid way more than I should have had to pay to get my nephew in the park, and I had bought that pricey little Q-Bot, and now we couldn't ride anything for who knew how long?! I remained calm though, smoked a cigarette in the very nice little smoking area by the short cut from Bizarro to Toro, and we figured we'd head back over to the midway for some cheesesteaks and corn dogs (my nephew wanted the corn dog. Blech...). It turned out ALL the park was without power, including the food, the drinks, EVERYTHING. I didn't really know what to do because I didn't want to go home, but it seemed like it was going to be a problem that was going to take a while to fix.

We decided to take it easy and get drinks and some popcorn from the vendors that take cash only so we wouldn't get dehydrated. Finally, after about an hour, our QBot informed us that Nitro and Dark Knight were up and running, so we headed over to the other half of the park. Nitro was running pretty smoothly from the second to last seat, and I wished we could have re-ridden, but my nephew wanted to do Dark Knight. We hit Skull Mountain as well when that came back online, and that first drop from the back seat STILL got me good. I wish they'd put all the special effects back on though. They're cheesy, but they add a little something rather than riding around in a coaster in the pitch dark.

Dark Knight has gotten worse and worse. I swear I remember this particular mouse being super fast and fun, but it seemed slow again this time around.

I almost forgot: I finally got to ride Houdini! A few things with this ride: I love the theming. If the pre-show was a little more in depth and a little louder so you could hear what everyone was saying, it would have been even cooler. Even with that, this ride is one of the most themed in the entire park, and I was really impressed with the detail. The ride itself is SO cool, if not too short. I was SO disoriented the whole time.

The rest of the park finally got back online, so we went on Toro (which was running almost as rough as a typical wooden coaster...I am getting concerned that this coaster, once--and still--my favorite, is tearing itself apart), Bizarro, and then we went back to ride Green Lantern again. We wanted to ride KingdaKa, but it kept going down off and on, so every time we made a rez with the FP, we had to make a new reservation for a different ride.

I got into an argument with the attendant at Bizarro. I almost never am confrontational, but the day had been so irritating with spending the extra money and the power outage and the running back and forth from one end of the park to the other trying to ride SOMETHING that I had had enough. The ride attendants TOLD us to leave our shoes on the platform for Bizarro, so I did. Then I got off the ride and my shoes were nowhere to be found. Here they were with the ride operator, along with a few other people's shoes. He said to me, "Don't EVER leave your shoes on the ride platform again". I said, "Well where are we supposed to put them? And you TOLD us to put them there!" He said, "Sit on them!" I said, "Well, when you sit on them, they come out of the seat and fall out of the coaster through the hole in the back of the seat!" He said, "Not if you sit on them right!" Well excuse me! I know from personal experience that on these rides, if you sit on your shoes, when your butt comes off the seat during an inversion, you lose your damn shoes. I didn't want to get kicked out of the park for belligerence or anything though, so I just made a dismissive gesture and snorted a little bit and walked away.

Then I hurt myself. I mean really hurt myself, not just my normal whiny stuff. We went on front car of Green Lantern and I felt a pop in my knee and my entire lower leg cramped up and went numb. It was excruciating, and I had to get EMT help and be driven to First Aid. I must say, although the service from the EMTs was slow in coming, they were VERY nice, they were extremely patient with my hyperactive nephew, and they drove me to Flashpass and out to my car so I didn't have to walk anywhere (although it turns out I really just hyperextended my knee and I'm just a little sore and swollen). I think these guys were the coolest people in the park. And it is no wonder that they're slow in coming: no one thinks to move out of the way for the big giant golf cart, and about a million people stop these guys to ask for directions and if they can get a ride and if they know when the rides will be operating again and...I felt for the guys, I really did. I would have blown my stack a long time ago if I was a nurse or EMT in this park.

We never did get to ride Ka, which is Anthony's favorite, so I feel bad that I didn't tough it out to get our last rez in, but I was just too tired, angry, and hurting from the injury. I couldn't do it.

However, as a nice little end to the day: Just as we got in the car to leave, the sky opened up and started pouring down rain. We just beat the bad weather, so we finally got a little good luck, for which I was grateful. After it poured for about five minutes, it stopped raining long enough for us to get into familiar driving territory, and then it started pouring again. At least we got to do all that we DID do.

I'm still not going back to Great Adventure for a long time. I'm liking the calm quiet familiarity of Dorney more and more. I'm getting old! Ehehehehehe...

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Sunday, August 14, 2011 2:25 PM

Wow, that sounds like a fairly disastrous day. One of those where, if you only had the foresight to know, you'd never get out of bed. Bummer.

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Monday, August 15, 2011 1:17 AM

I hate how these GAdv trip reports always have the theme of disparity, closed rides, and high prices. Just think how crappy your day would have been without a Q-Bot.

Nice TR, by the way.

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Monday, August 15, 2011 1:37 AM

LostKause said:
I hate how these GAdv trip reports always have the theme of disparity, closed rides, and high prices. Just think how crappy your day would have been without a Q-Bot.

Yeah, shouldn't those bastards be controlling the weather and the power grid by now? :)

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Monday, August 15, 2011 2:34 AM

Well, about the power grid, they do seem to have a pretty big problem keeping the power on. You are right about the weather.. I can't argue that.

But keeping KK open and running seems like something that they could improve on, as well as the other rides.

It just seems like the majority of TRs that come from SFGAdv are negative. That's all I'm saying.

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Monday, August 15, 2011 6:17 AM

I didn't read anything that pointed to fault for SFGrAdv, LK. Just a lot of bad luck. And again, this was a trip on a Saturday in August. My Thursday in July trip was quite pleasant. I didn't write a trip report, but I spoke about it on the last podcast, if you'd like a alternative perspective. But honestly, in the end, I think you'll believe what you choose to believe.

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Monday, August 15, 2011 7:00 AM

Honestly, my trips to Great Adventure are usually pretty...great! This really just was too much money and a lot of bad luck...I think if I didn't have to drive so far and then if I had had the foresight to bring a discount ticket just in case, the rest of the day wouldn't have seemed so bad.

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Monday, August 15, 2011 9:02 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

Yeah, shouldn't those bastards be controlling the weather and the power grid by now? :)

Baby steps...let's get that hotel open first.

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Monday, August 15, 2011 1:05 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

LostKause said:
I hate how these GAdv trip reports always have the theme of disparity, closed rides, and high prices. Just think how crappy your day would have been without a Q-Bot.

Yeah, shouldn't those bastards be controlling the weather and the power grid by now? :)

PLUS ONE :-)

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Monday, August 15, 2011 2:38 PM

I find more and more that I simply don't "do well" at a big park during the day. Too crowded, too hot, etc. I went to SF Great America last night (my home park, and my favorite SF park) - got there around 730 and stayed until 10pm. Had a pretty good time, it was cooling off - the sky and moon were beautiful (especially going backwards on the amazingly smooth and better than ever American Eagle). Of course, not everyone can just mosey up to any given park for a late night.

My last trip to SFGAdventure was pretty bleak - back in 2006. Now that I know I do better (at big parks) at night, I'm open to going back there (not just yet) but at night time. I've had mostly bad luck with that park, always left early and couldn't get out of there fast enough.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011 8:27 PM

I was at SFGADV the night before you Bunky, I noticed regular parking had jumped to $20 from $17 earlier in the season. Kingda Ka was running like clockwork for some reason, they were loading trains and kicking em out almost as fast at CP does with TTD. El Toro was pretty rough, my nuts got smashed on the divider pretty good. They were running 2 trains on both tracks of Rolling Thunder and doing races when they could. So I rode that quite a few times I saw the ride ops deliberately ignore the Flash Pass folks a couple of times. They made one group wait 3 trains before loading em on. I finally got to ride Blackbeard's Lost Treasure. For a small coaster, that's actually lot of fun if you're the only one in the seat. Went over to Nitro, but the line was at the 1.5hr mark and since I had to get to the office to finish decrypting a laptop I called it a night.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011 9:15 PM

You know, I still haven't ridden Blackbeard! I always forget about it, and the one time I thought I would ride it, it wasn't running. I should have ridden it this last time, but my nephew didn't want to, and I can't leave him by himself or he will create chaos. Hehe...

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011 10:40 PM

Blackbeard was fun but skull mountain is my third favorite ride there.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011 10:44 PM

Yes. Hooray for Skull Mountain. I really surprised my friend Rob with that first drop in the back seat. I was talking to him and completely distracted him until we got yanked over the top. That's such a great little ride.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011 10:49 PM

I screamed like a 12 year old girl on that first drop in the back seat.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011 10:48 AM

LostKause said:
It just seems like the majority of TRs that come from SFGAdv are negative. That's all I'm saying.

Well, then, I should write more of them, because my days there turn out pretty damn well for the most part.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011 10:51 AM

That may be one of the Top Five worst days at a park I've ever heard of.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011 12:47 AM

Blackbeard's is one of the underrated coasters in the park. If you sit in the last row or one of the back rows you can really get thrown around. It also rarely has more than a 5 minute wait with a 20 row train.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:03 PM

Heh, yes Mike, it was pretty pathetic. I look at it now and chuckle, but I was pretty irritable for a day or two. I'm gonna have to go back though to ride Blackbeard now. Before I go to Massachusetts to ride Bizarro for my 100th, that is.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:17 PM

bunky666 said:
Heh, yes Mike, it was pretty pathetic. I look at it now and chuckle, but I was pretty irritable for a day or two. I'm gonna have to go back though to ride Blackbeard now. Before I go to Massachusetts to ride Bizarro for my 100th, that is.

I'm joining the choir on Blackbeard. It's a fun coaster with deceptive speed. On a recent visit I was with a Kingda Ka junkie who did not want to ride it (never had) insisting it was a kiddie coaster. Family, yes. Kiddie, no. And I'd ride it over the P.O.C. in the box any day.

Shame you couldn't nab Bizarro in its previous incarnation. I had it as my top steel, but Bizarro left me cold.Didn't even feel like the same ride..totally different vibe.

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