Great Adventure Opening Day 4/12

Sunday, April 13, 2014 3:35 PM

Following this rough Northeast winter, yesterday brought a re-birth of sorts..the re-opening of Great Adventure. This won't be lengthy, but if anyone wants more info, I'll be glad to expand.

Got to park before they even opened the outer gate on Rt. 527

2/3 of parking booths closed. Everybody had to head toward the left third..jam-up.

Daily regular parking up to $25

I was concerned about the entry procedure, but had no trouble. You scan your pass or ticket, place index finger on sensor, wait for clear, head on in. I guess the finger print is now saved for the season and "attached" to my pass.

Headed right for Toro, arriving at about 10:25, and was told it wouldn't open until 11. Went to Mezzaro and was told the same thing, but walking away, I saw Toro running (well before 11, mind you) Got three terrific rides all on the "wood" train. I heard from a friend that her ride on the Kia Soul train was bad. No real wait yet.

Three rides on Mezzaro were followed by a lap on Runaway Train. Had to take one to wish it a happy 40th anniversary, since it's the only coaster remaining from the park's opening in 1974.

Sky ride to other end of the park, where I waited 20 minutes each for two rides on Nitro. First was really jackhammering on the first two hills, second was much better (different train?) Airtime up the wazoo, especially on the closing bunny hills.

Batman, all these years later, remains the most intense ride in this park. Along with Nitro, it seems to have gotten some paint. Nitro's railings must have been finished that morning, attested to by my temporary "tattoo" on my left ring finger, if you catch my drift. Nitro also appears to have new clamshells.

Met a few people I knew, including my friend Fran and her husband, but I didn't get to ride with them. I did get to ride and hang out some with my friends Kate and Jaclyn (bunky666 here on CB), as well as Jaclyn's friend Jaya.

Bought my souvenir cup..smaller than ever..and got through the day without losing it.

Forgot to bring my certificate to claim my piece of Rolling Thunder. Jaclyn tells me the presentation of it is really nice. I probably still could have gotten it, but I didn't get over that way until ACE had closed down shop. Oddly, there's still a tiny section of RT standing near Toro's brake run.

Went back to my "roots" for sustenance...I brought a sandwich, cookie, and drink in a cooler, and went to my car to eat them. And the Coke Freestyle kiosk is still operating, so it's all good.

No access to the area around KK, but Zoominator (my name for it) appears to be on schedule. Lot of work still to be done in the area, though.

After saying goodbye to Kate, Jaclyn and Jaya near Batman's smoking area, I headed to get another drink and a last ride on Toro. But my legs were rubber, and I decided to pass. This is just spring training, after all :)

Next up: Easter Sunday at GrAdv!

Mike

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 4:38 PM

Are these finger scanners new for this park?

Last year we spent a week at BGW. I'm not sure how long they have been in use there, but they seemed to cause a lot more headaches for both employees and guests, including us. Maybe we just encountered an unlucky stretch of use-time, but for the life of me I could not figure out what advantage they serve.

What did you mean by the "Kia Soul" train om El Toro?

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 4:48 PM

I was actually working on an opening day trip report but my internet timed out and I lost everything by the time I got back to it, so a few more things to add:

I think the fingerprint system was a ridiculous clusterbomb at this time, but with some tweaking, it will be most excellent. Parking and dining plans are added on to your pass at the processing center, which to me just seems like an unneccessary extra step. If you order your pass on the internet and it includes parking, why make it a separate item and a separate stop during your first trip to the park?

I like that they've added cupholders to the stations so that you don't have to put the drink cups in the lockers. Probably a lot less messy for the employees as well.

I finally got my Blackbeard credit. I am glad they have this little coaster for families, and it is a great coaster for kids to cut their teeth on as well. This is NOT just a kiddie coaster!

Nitro was running like crap in the back. It was vibrating so hard that my teeth were clicking together and I couldn't see the track straight. However, the front seat was ridiculous in the best possible way. Nearly ejector air for me, followed by that famous sustained floating airtime. I felt like I was standing up during the whole ride. Fabulous. That lap was made even better as I got to ride with Mike, Jaya, and Kate in a weird stroke of luck (Kate was originally supposed to be on the other side of the park for El Toro, and Mike didn't have a Flashpass, but we bumped into him at the merge point for FP and regular patrons).

I somehow got a free Flashpass for my second person. I don't know if it was an opening day special, a Gold Season Pass perk, or something else, but the girl at the purchasing counter didn't know either. She scanned everything and scanned my season pass, and my 130 dollar total dropped to 65 dollars. She said, "Apparently, the second pass is free for you." I am an honest person and asked her if there was an error, but she said no. Who am I to argue? I grabbed my pass and got the hell out of there before they changed their minds!

Best of the West restaurant has got to be the worst amusement park restaurant ever. I mean, the food's not bad (I actually really really liked the fries), but they are so. Friggin. Slow. I remain convinced that they kill the chickens out back and handmake the batter to fry the tenders in. 45 minutes to get food. Seriously.

Toro ran great on my second ride, even on the Kia Soul train. I do notice a significant slow down after the first turn around before the back half, which I never noticed last year for ROTB or in previous years of riding. I also got stuck on the lift hill for a minute or so before they started it back up with no problems. However, no other problems occurred, and this ride still blows my mind.

Nitro and Bizarro had the slowest ops ever (all three trains stacked for many minutes at a time on Nitro), but all ops on all coasters were very kind, friendly, and enthusiastic. So many were high fiving and smiling and wishing us a great day. Some even preemptively told us we could have rerides if no one came into our row. Very nice.

I ran into some teenagers while waiting in a small line for the backseat of Toro (no boxing or volleying required, as Mike and I remained mostly on different Bull-riding schedules for the entire day), and the one girl was ghost white and shaking. Apparently, they had witnessed a malfunction with one of the Superman foot restraints in which a girl was screaming she was falling out of the coaster and everyone thought she was just scared until they got stuck at the first set of station brakes. Her foot restraint had failed during the ride, and she had been slowly sliding out of the restraint inch by inch the whole time. I didn't see Superman running for quite a while and don't recall actually seeing it running in the evening it all, so they may have shut it down. It was coming up on the Q-bot as question marks as well for most of the evening, so something serious could have really happened. I felt bad for those kids...they actually seemed sweet and very concerned, and I hope that everything gets fixed and there are no more near misses like that one.

The Rolling Thunder tribute was indeed nicely done. It included a cut piece of track about the length of a brick with a certificate of authenticity, a plaque attached to the track piece, and a cute Happy Meal looking box (we were calling them Sad Meals since RT was riding so wonderfully the weekend before demolition) with the RT logo and dates of operation on the front. Awesome.

Jumanji does not look nearly close enough to completion to be ready by Memorial Day. I will believe it when I see it. If the weather stays as nice as it has been, maybe, but I wouldn't bet on it, for all of you looking for a late spring/early summer visit.

All in all, except for some glitches in the new ticket/season pass processing and the crazy bad vibration issues on Nitro's back half, Great Adventure is looking at a fantastic season. I also heard an interesting rumor about the park's future plans for expansion from someone who seemed to be in the know, and I like the idea I heard. It will be interesting to hear how that plays out.

Awesome day. I wanna go back now!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 4:55 PM

What is Mezzaro?

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 4:59 PM

It is a large canvas, cotton or linen printed with floral motifs, with designs symbolic and allegorical, always with a big decorated border.

But in this case I think it's an awkward mashup of Medusa and Bizzaro.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Sunday, April 13, 2014 5:01 PM
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Sunday, April 13, 2014 5:24 PM

Gonch nailed it. I just think it sounds better than Bidusa. And I learned something today..I wasn't aware it was actually a thing.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 5:27 PM

OhioStater said:

Are these finger scanners new for this park?

Last year we spent a week at BGW. I'm not sure how long they have been in use there, but they seemed to cause a lot more headaches for both employees and guests, including us. Maybe we just encountered an unlucky stretch of use-time, but for the life of me I could not figure out what advantage they serve.

What did you mean by the "Kia Soul" train om El Toro?

The finger scanners are indeed new this season. I'm not sure if all SF parks are using it. And one of El Toro's two trains is overlaid in its entirety as a rolling advertisement for the Soul model made by Kia Motors. The other train features no advertising.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 5:31 PM

Bunky, according to the pass-holder benefit list, the BOGO Flash Pass..regular or Gold..is an all season-long valid benefit. I'm just not clear on whether it can be redeemed on multiple visits, or just one.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:18 PM

Um.

Interesting.

I feel like perhaps I've been under some kind of rock with the "Kia Soul" train. Has this been discussed around here? I kinda sorta thought that is exactly what you were referring to, but I was hoping it was some kind of inside joke with frequenters of Great Adventure. Apparently not.

Not sure how much I would care or not if this happened on the signature ride at my own home park. At least on Top Thrill Dragster it would actually play off as some type of theme...but El Toro? Is Six Flags desperate for cash?

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 10:10 PM

The Kia train isn't as noticeable as the old Stride gum train at least. Six Flags was labeling some of their coaster trains with advertisements, the most notable ones being the...I think it was KitKat train on Rolling Thunder and Stride gum on El Toro. It was kind of obnoxious, and the labels peeling off started looking real shabby. After that, they did the Soul (Sol?) train. It is not as noticeable, but it still is one of the saddest ways to pull in those advertisement dollars. Ironically, the Toro train with the car advertisements seems to run more slowly and more roughly. It doesn't bother me the way it does some people that they did this to the trains, but there were probably much better ways to advertise without using the ride vehicles.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 10:15 PM

They've been wrapping trains at all the SF parks for a few years now. Sometimes the sponsor has a loose tie-in with the ride, I seem to remember at SFOT there was a hair gel ad, or something, on one of the Shockwave trains. I think it's tacky.
It also makes me wonder what they do for one train operation, do they wear out the sponsor train as opposed to normal rotation? Or if there's a maintenance issue and the wrapped train is taken out of service, is some sponsor expecting their money back?

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Monday, April 14, 2014 7:15 AM

I was at sfne for opening day and they have the bio scanners too. I found no problems with them, you walk up press your index finger on it and walk in.

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Monday, April 14, 2014 8:14 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

It is a large canvas, cotton or linen printed with floral motifs, with designs symbolic and allegorical, always with a big decorated border.

But in this case I think it's an awkward mashup of Medusa and Bizzaro.

SMH. Okay, then. Better than "Millie" I suppose.

I thought it was Italian coffee at first, but that's Lavazza, and didn't make sense in context.

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Monday, April 14, 2014 9:48 AM

RCMAC said:

there was a hair gel ad, or something..... I think it's tacky.

I see what you did there. :) (intentionally, or not, I see it)

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Monday, April 14, 2014 9:49 AM

kpjb said:

SMH. Okay, then. Better than "Millie" I suppose.

Hmm...is it, though? I cringe about the same.

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Monday, April 14, 2014 1:41 PM

I think the train wrapping deal is so declasse. They spend all this money on trains then cover them up with this hideous plastic...destroying whatever pathetic theming that is left. Ugh!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:06 AM

Mike Gallagher said:

Gonch nailed it. I just think it sounds better than Bidusa. And I learned something today..I wasn't aware it was actually a thing.

The correct term is Bizdusa ;-)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:22 AM

I thought Bidusa was the name of the new suspended coaster with cars that swing both ways.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:12 PM

I thought it was the name of that thing over there in Europe that I dont know what it is but it sits next to the toilet.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:31 PM

I thought Bidet was the composer made famous by Carmen...? ;~)

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