Great Adventure, 9/7/09

After not taking a trip to the park in over 2 months, I thought Labor Day would be a good day to go with low crowds since I have been to Dorney and Hershey on Labor Day in past years and crowds were low. Unfortunately, the park was more crowded than I was expecting.

Nitro was first, the line was just past the 30 minute sign but with 3 trains running I was in the station in less than 5 minutes. The ops were running to check the restraints as fast as possible. I saw the rapids had a little less than a 15 minute wait

Batman was closed so I went to Skull Mountain. The line was past the turnstyle and with 2 trains running it was a little over 10 minutes. Dispatches varied, sometimes they didn't stack, other times dispatches took over 2 minutes.

The Skyway had both sides running but had a long line as did Buccanner, Fantasy Fling and Blackbeard's so I went to Frontier Adventures.

The Log Flume had a line that looked to be at least 30 minutes so I skipped it and went to Runaway Mine Train. The line was on the stairs but only 1 train was running. I didn't realize this until I was in line and it took almost 15 minutes. By the time I exited the ride, they were using 2 switchbacks. How often do you see that anymore? That meant it was around a 30 - 35 minute line and even stranger was the flashpass merge point. If someone were to use flashpass, they would still be waiting almost 20 minutes from the merge point.

Bizarro had the first set of switchbacks full. The attendant said 30 minutes but judging by the dispatches, I figured it would be longer than that so skipped it.

I went back to the Log Flume which had a 15 minute wait now. The person at the entrance was not checking for loose articles and was allowing people to bring the souvenir bottles in line. Then when they got to the boarding platform, they were told they had to drink the soda and then throw out the cup or just throw out the cup. It happened 4 times in 15 minutes. People weren't happy but they ended up throwing out their cups. If the person at the entrance isn't stopping people from bringing the cups in line then they should allow you to leave it on the platform area. It was annoying to see so many other guests getting upset (I don't blame the guests, I mean annoying that people are being told to either throw out something they bought or not ride).

Superman had a line that looked to be over 30 minutes so I went to Scream Machine. Walk on with 3 trains running. The ads in the station covering up the station art really looked bad and the 1 train with the hair product advertising looks horrible.

Kingda Ka didn't look to have a long line so I took a chance and went there next. They were now stopping people outside the station rather than at the beginning of the ramp near the lockers where the guard usually stands. After about 5 minutes in line, the ride broke down so I left especially since the line was longer than I was expecting (seeing the main queue empty, I thought it was a station wait).

I went to Nitro for 1 last ride, it was a little before the snack stand. The line moved a little slower this time taking a little over 10 minutes to get into the station. Once I got into the station, there was a small delay. 2 groups of people tried to re-ride and the ops wouldn't allow it and made them exit the train (the seats they were in were going out empty). One of the people in the first group threw something at the op at the mic when they walked down the exit ramp so they had to call security. This took a few minutes, I really hope they caught the person who threw the item.

Overall it wasn't that good of a trip to the park. I guess part of the problem was it was more crowded than I was expecting and how I was backtracking more than I should have been and only getting 6 rides in a little less than 3 hours was less than I was expecting.

I was going to try again this upcoming Sunday but I saw on the Northern Star Arena sign that Soulja Boy is going be there for a concert so I that plan is out considering I'm sure the park is going to be packed.

Ride Count:
Nitro, 2x
Runaway Mine Train, 1x
Skull Mountain, 1x
Scream Machine, 1x
Log Flume, 1x

Interesting report. Labor Day at KI, even with their season pass special (gold passholders could renew for $69.99 each) was very comfortable with crowds. You could have walked on Firehawk an hour into the day, and even Diamondback was 20 minutes tops after the initial rush. What time of day did you get there?

We're planning a trip out there in early October. We went a Sunday in October last year and it wasn't terrible, particularly for the first two hours and then crowds did pick up considerably. Is that par for the course there later in the season? How's Kingda Ka holding up these days?

Jimmy Boy's avatar

Hey Yoshi, Ive followed your posts here as well as dorneyonline and I just wonder how you go to a big amusement park like this for only 3 hrs.... it kind of seems like a waste of time to me.... it seems like you go to all these parks for short periods of time... just kinda wondering why?

^^Sunday crowds are usually bad in October, comparable to a summer weekend. Saturday's are the worst and Friday nights are empty (at least last year they were). This was my first trip to the park since Kingda Ka reopened and I wasn't sure how long the ride was down for after I got out of line but I think it has been running ok for the most part since it reopened based on other reports.

^I almost never go to parks for more than 4 - 5 hours, the exception being parks like Hershey that I only get to once a year. Going to Great Adventure and Dorney around 15 times each a season, there isn't much of a reason to spend a full day there especially since I usually try to go on very slow days where I can get 15 - 20 rides on average and if it is crowded, I will spend less time since I'm not willing to wait in lines longer than 15 - 20 minutes for a coaster I have been on 50+ times.

Last edited by YoshiFan,

Yoshi, thanks for the feedback. I vaguely recall you saying that you went to a Friday night last year where they had a crowd in the hundreds (a season pass night, maybe)?

We'd really love to be able to hit the park, particularly if Kingda Ka is up. Not for the credit, per se, but because the lines for everything else will be shorter. Please keep us posted on your remaining visits!

^Keep in mind (and I dunno if this was even mentioned), I've been to GAdv on some damn busy duys (45K+) and with GFP the waits were very manageable! :)

^^Yeah last year on Friday 9/26 was Family Fall Fun Night, it was for passholders only. The problem was it was raining all day and called for 70% - 90% rain all night so no one showed up. I and others called the park and were told the event was still going on from 5 - 10 as planned.

I later found out only 410 people were in the park, so they closed at 7:30 even though it wasn't raining at all after 6. That was the number I read on another site but after going to the park that night I would have guessed it was less than half of that considering most coasters had single digit riders, others were waiting around for riders. People were furious because after calling, they drove and some got there at 7 - 7:30 only to find the gate was closed and wasted their time and gasoline for nothing.

It was an amazing experience though because on the sky ride for example, I saw 5 other people walking around the entire time and it was strange to walk down a midway and see no one. Here are some pictures (not mine) if you want to see how empty the park was and in some of the pictures you can see the lot with basically no cars:

This year it is Friday 9/25 and hopefully the weather will be better even though I am not going.

I'll write reports for any other trips to the park but the way things look now, I probably won't be going back until the first Friday night of Frightfest.

Last edited by YoshiFan,
crazy horse's avatar

I love this park.

But I think they need to add a few more flat rides like swings, bumpercars, and maybe a enterprise.

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

^ They actually used to have all of those flats. They still have the bumper cars in a cordoned off area along with a Musik Express. I'm not a fan of bumper cars or Musik Express but if they were open it would sure help with the long lines the park gets. Here's hoping they open Houdini again sometime soon. That is my favorite ride in the park save for El Toro.

The swings were there until 2007. They were under the Sky Ride near Skull Mountain. You could still see the circular area last year where they were ripped out. I'm not sure when Spin Meister was taken out but that one has been gone a bit longer.

crazy horse's avatar

I really like the Houdini ride as well.

Six flags new england still has that ride, and I rode it several time when I was there. I also posted some pictures of the ride in my trip report from sfne.

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

rollergator's avatar

GAdv, about a decade or so ago, got one of those "mega-expansions in flats", kinda like SFoT recently got. I mean, like 8-10 flats all at once. Little, if any, of that remain - Jumpin' Jack Flash and Evolution were part of that addition package, as I recall. (Note: per Wikipedia, with all that entails, the year was 1999 and the package included a dozen flats.) Per that same Wikipedia reference, Houdini is slated to be down all year. Shame if it goes away, as it's one of the very best of the genre.

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

I think I read or heard someone that Houdini is closed due to the cost it takes to maintain it. I'm not sure if that is true or not because the one at SFNE still runs. I got to SFNE for the first time this year and I was glad I got to ride their Houdini ride but the one at GAdv is better. The sound is not as distorted and you can actually understand the illusion and what is going on. GAdv's Houdini also has better placement in the park. Crack Axle Canyon is a dead end at SFNE. There was little traffic in that section on a Saturday in August. It was nice that it lead to a quiet barbeque meal but I think Houdini suffers ridership because of it. The one at GAdv is always packed due to being near the entrance.

I remember the campaign for all the flats. It was the "war on lines." It was great they recognized the horrendous lines were a problem but now sadly we are back in the same boat with terrible lines and virtually all of those rides gone. The only ones that I know of that are still left in the park in operation are the Enchanted Tea Cups and the Jolly Roger. It has sadly become a 'coasters and kiddieland' park. Not a lot of variety or 'in-between' rides. Even Tango which went in with El Toro has been covered up with shrubbery. It only operated for a few seasons and just sits there hidden now.

The ride I think this park need desperately is a train. It will cater to all ages (everyone can ride) as well as helping get around the park a little easier. The park is huge and the skyride is the only way to get around other than footing it.

Yoshi, I got a question.
I have never been to SFGadv before and am in Philly to weekend on the 17 in October. Hopefully we could go Friday night (you said it would be less crowded), but if not, our only choice would be Saturday afternoon. In the past, how long wait times were there on a very crowded Saturday? Also, I looked at the map and saw Nitro was at the opposite end of the park as some of the other rides (Kingda Ka). How far? Thanks-

DaveStroem's avatar

Nitro is a good 15 minute walk from El Toro & KK.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

Saturday's on Frightfest are horrible. If you have to go on a Saturday, get there at opening. Otherwise waits are going to be an issue without Flashpass. I have seen pictures of Saturday nights in 2007 and Nitro was 50+ feet out of the regular queue, Batman looked to be 2+ hours etc.

The skyway is a good option to get from one end of the park to another but unless it is a short wait, it may not be worth it as it can get a 20 - 30 minute wait easily especially if only 1 side is running.

So generally which side of the park fills first, Nitro side of KK side? If they really are a 15 minute walk apart, I assume probably would not be a bad idea to hit the major/low capacity coasters on each side before switiching sides. Since a main goal of mine would be to ride Nitro, I think I would start on that side unless reccomended otherwise.

KK side because everyone goes to KK and El Toro and I guess now Bizarro as well plus Superman though that isn't as big of a draw.

Nitro has the highest capacity of any coaster in the park but if you want a front row ride, it might be ok to head there first since the front seat row always has a huge line. However if you want a front row ride on KK, then that is more of a priority because unless you get to it at opening, it is going to have a crazy wait for the front row. Sunday it looked to be an hour wait for the front row while other rows were walk ons or a 5 minute wait.

Thanks YoshiFan-
Normally I would not wait more than 10-15 minutes extra for most front seat rides (KK and Nitro might be an exception, but I still would not wait much longer).
The reason for going to Nitro first for me would be that I have not been on a B&M hyper (only hyper is Mamba) or any great steel coaster (other than Kraken). Because I live in the Midwest, we have a pretty good wooden collection, but the steel is not great. I would just hate to go to park and not go on Nitro, and while I hope I go on KK, having heard of the downtime it receives (specifically due to weather), it would not disappoint me as much.

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