The whole drive across Mass was overcast and rainy. I planned the trip for Monday to avoid crowds, and I knew this rain would deter crowds even more, but I didn't know SFNE's policy on when to shut down the coasters so I was nervous. There was no lightning, so I wasn't terribly worried.
My friend Emily and I arrived at the park at about 11:30am and just wandered into the midway. The first ride we came upon was Thunderbolt. The line was non-existent, but a one-train operation and the threat of torrential rain made us move on so we could for sure hit Superman while we knew it was open.
Superman was a very short line in physical length, but the one-train operation made for about a 30 minute wait. The worst was when you got to the station and are waiting for your row. It's like waiting for Deja Vu, probably worse. The red train was sitting on the transfer track. I was worried this would be the norm all day, and it is something I am not used to because that is one thing SFGAm rarely ever does.
I went for the back seat, but the line was considerably shorter for the second last seat so we just took that. This was my first Intamin mega coaster and I was surprised by the cramped seating their trains had. The new harnesses are cumbersome, but really efficient so I appreciated that. I thought I had pulled the lap bar down as far as it went, but I clearly did not because the ride ops pushed it much further. You weren't going anywhere. I appreciated their commitment to safety. Intamin just doesn't have the comfort that B&M does.
I was bugging Emily and telling her she must put her hands up on the first drop, but I had no idea what was in store. My experience with hyper coasters have been just Apollo's Chariot and Raging Bull where their trains are not nearly as long and they have the straight-away at the top of the lift hill. I found that quite a ways before we even crested the hill, my stomach was lurching and the ride just whipped over the first drop. The wet ride didnt' back down for the rest of the trip. It felt as if we were accelerating the whole ride. I know this ride has a great reputation, but I'm often disappointed by rides others praise so I wasn't anticipating to feel the same way as others do, but I did. It bucked like a bronco the whole way and the tinyness of the car helped in creating the illusion of flight. I loved every minute of it.
Wanting a re-ride, but not ready to wait again in the slow-moving line, we headed on to Mind Eraser. Emily hadn't been to the park since 7th grade and she remembered really liking the ride.
On the way to Mind Eraser, we passed Catwoman's Whip and decided to give it a spin. We sat the second last car again (it was a walk-on and the back was taken). I was once again completely caught off-guard by the first drop. Clearly the length of the train was the reason, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not a bad attraction to have by any means.
Mind Eraser was also a walk-on. When we got to the station, I saw that there was only one ride-op checking harnesses. She was working hard to get each train out quickly though and I appreciated her positive attitude even in the light of working alone in the rain. Surprisingly, Mind Eraser was running two trains which was completely unnecissary first of all due to the lack of a line, and second of all, it was impractical for them to think that a single ride-op could get the train out before the previous one returned. Both times I saw a train complete the circuit, it had braked before the gates in the station were even opened.
I've ridden two SLC's before--Top Gun and Kong. I found Kong to be a great ride, probably due to the rain when I was riding it which for some reason made me really like it. Still, I don't hate on these rides as much as others. This one was how I remembered Top Gun...shuffling forward and backward as well as side to side. I still enjoyed it though. The first drop was pretty solid on this as well. I think SFNE is full of great first drops.
Next up was Batman:TDK. I remember when they released the layout of this ride and there was initial debate as to what coaster type it was going to be. The ride was operating two trains with no line. There were probably 12 people on my train. I found the ride to be predictable and surprisingly rough. Once was enough, it really lacked great speed or g-forces, it was pretty much just about the floorless gimmick, and the inversions. Nothing more.
Having reached the end of that side of the park, we turned around and went back. Emily wanted to see the Chinese Acrobat show. I've never been into amusement park shows. I've never really disliked one before, but I'd just rather ride than sit in a show. However, it was raining and I tend to be controlling in this particular environment, so I agree to see the show. It was in the RockVille High School theater thingie. Having been accustomed to SFGAm theater, this was literally like a high school gym. Who thought it would be a good idea to put aluminum benches on a level floor? The opening announcer was obnoxious and told the audience more than once that if their kid climbs on the bench and falls, it was "not [her] fault." Maybe if the floor wasn't level, the kids would be able to see over everybody in front of them and if they had a chair they might sit in one place.
The show was alright, but nothing to write home about. I know I sound pretty negative right now about the park, but the park itself was really great. It was very clean, I found the staff to be very enjoyable and there were actually characters roaming the park. I haven't been to SFGAm this year so I don't know if they have begun to put more characters in the park or not, but I never remember seeing a character at SFGAm outside of during and right after a parade. The ride-ops are required to wave to you when the train leaves the station and while it wasn't an enthusiastic wave, I thought it was a nice touch.
Next up was Pandemonium (sp?). I was really excited about this ride because I love the unexpected nature of the ride. I've never ridden a spinning coaster outside of the wild mouse version. It was a great and solid ride. The first drop again impressed me, and while we didn't get into a super-fast spin as I would have liked, I thought it was really excellent and unique.
Next to Pandemonium was an aero 360, I don't remember the name of the ride. This was another ride I hadn't ever ridden. I've of course ridden those carnival rides similar to this where you are basically in a cage, but the ability to swing your legs and be out in the open on this ride really made a much bigger difference than I had anticipated. The ride cycle was a joke at 2 full circuits in each direction, but if this had a longer cycle, it could end up being my favorite flat-ride.
The catapult was next and I had almost completely forgotten it had been relocated to SFNE. I was probably just as excited about the ride as I was about Superman. We waited one ride cycle again (the park was really empty, it was great, and the rain was holding out for the most part.) We boarded and I found the restraints to be very uncomfortable. The otsr were tiny which I know is supposed to make you feel more open, but I don't trust the mechanics of restraints so much anymore and if I don't have a seat belt as a back-up, I want to hold onto the harness. The handlebars were so far up though that was very uncomfortable. The lap bars were extremely tight as well which I could appreciate.
Catapult was the first ride I've ever ridden that as soon as it started I thought, "I want off!" I thought it would be so cool to whip over the top of the rotation, but when I was inverted and headed upward in the inverted position, the strain on my neck and shoulders and the blood rush to my head caused my entire upperbody to ache. There wasn't an enjoyable part to it, I can see how it looks really appealing on the surface, but if they knew this is what it would feel like to ride it, I don't know if anybody would have bought it. I didn't see a single person get off and say, "That was amazing." The few people we sat didn't really like it either. I don't think they disliked it as much as I did, but, like I said, it just wasn't a pleasant feeling IMO.
Being a purist, was craving some rickety rides on a wooden coaster. I've heard varying reviews for the wooden coasters at SFNE, but I tend to enjoy the shakiness more than others. Cyclone was nearby so we got in line. This was a one-train op as well, but I didn't see another train parked anywhere. Is it in repair or do they not have one? The ride was very shaky and jerky but I loved it. It wasn't out of control in speed, but it was in forces and changes of direction. I really liked it.
After stopping for the most expensive trip I've taken to Panda Express, we hopped on Flashback. I've ridden a couple boomerangs and always liked them. This was my first time in a newer one with the new trains. We sat in the back seat because I usually like the drop backwards through the loop for the positive g-force. I found out I may be growing out of that because my head pounded after that ride. It was also rougher than I remembered, maybe the others are better?
Thunderbolt couldn't be passed up, so that was next. The line was much shorter than before. We probably waited only 4-5 cycles. This may be the oldest coaster I've ridden. The first lift-hill was unnerving due to the fact that it is not straight. You can see that it has warped in a way that the hill kind of weaves back and forth. One ride-op was great on this one. She slapped five with every person that went through the turnstile. I think her name was Enime, or Emine. One of the two. Her wave was a little more heart-felt as well. Thunderbolt was more rickety than Cyclone and I liked it more. It might need some retracking on that lift hill, but for what it was, I liked it a lot.
I was done with fooling around by now. It was back to Superman. The line was just in the station. Still a one-train op which kind of just annoyed me because Batman:TDK and Mind Eraser both had two trains running with smaller crews, smaller lines, and shorter rides. The line didn't need two trains at this point, but how long does it have to get to put the other one on?
The second ride was in the second back seat as well. The third ride was in the second row where we found the people we rode Catapult with in the front. The fourth ride was in the about 3rd last car, and when we got back in the station, our row was the only one without people waiting so we stayed in it for our fourth ride. The ride had definately warmed up. There was a man timing it in the station and he said it had just gotten below 2 minutes...I'm not sure of the time but he was pleased with how quickly it was getting through.
If we stayed for the last hour of the park being open (they announced they would be closing an hour early due to inclimate weather but it was better out than it had been all day and I'm certain they closed due to the lack of crowds) we would have been able to marathon, but Emily was getting tired and she was driving back so I insisted on one last ride for the first time in the very last seat. It was worth the effort. I just couldn't get enough of it.
We then rode the laying down flying spinning thing in front of Superman and headed towards the park exit. We stopped at their power tower, Scream where they were waiting for passengers. It was pretty good, but I preferred Indiana Beach's.
After stopping at Cold Stone for an even more expensive than normal ice cream, we went to Houdini's Great Escape. I forget what these are called but I've never been on one. I thought they may have themed it a little bit too scary for their target audience of mild riders, but it was fun none-the-less. Do they make these where they actually invert? I loved the disorientation of it, but I think it would be even greater if you actually inverted but you almost didn't know when you were actually inverted.
Houdini was the last ride of the day and it was a darn good day. I will definately be returning and checking out other parks such as Lake Compounce and Canobie when I bring my car to school for the first time next month, but I am more than happy with the trip I had and can't wait to go back. Great Job SFNE!
You are also right that you need to check out Lake Compounce. Boulder Dash is one of the best wooden coasters around and I've ridden my share of good wood. *** Edited 7/25/2007 9:05:37 PM UTC by OP AWESOME***
Haven't been there in a few years, and would really like to ride Pandemonium, and The Catapult. Going to have to plan a trip to return probably next season.
Houdini is technically called a "Madhouse" made by Vekoma. I don't believe any of them invert. Did you really think it was scary, or were you being sarcastic? I thought the theming was sub-par and not scary at all. The version at Alton Towers called "Hex" is truly stunning. It makes all the other ones I've been on look like baby rides.
Glad to hear you had a good time though. My friends and I had a really good time there too.
Coasterfantom2, yes they have Super hero Celebration every year and is now in October for ACE members only
Craig the coaster freak, Catapult at SFNE does not run slow and it is a great ride. I have ridden it alot and you have to now how to ride it otherwise the restraints will crush you
I'm not sure why I disliked Catapult so much, but I'm pretty sure I never want to ride it again.
Do you think people are scared of there being no floor, and they might injure there feet?
Hulk (sitdown) has a line usually at IOA though. I don't know about Kumba.
Was that Flying Bobs ride working at that park? It has some jungle themed theme. It sounds like a poorly run park. Having one ride op checking restraints, and not having enough trains out is "poorly" run. The problem is that it's not one of the big SF parks. That gets me though because what is SFStL. That's not a big park, and they have things up to standard in my opinion.
Based on operations, SFGAm & SFStL have to the best. It's ridiculous how these other parks are.
I don't dislike floorless coasters, this one was just kind of a snooze. I personally also think that the floorless feature is kind of a gimmick and doesn't really add much to the experience of the ride. The ride might be really popular, but as I mentioned it was a really overcast and wet day so there weren't lines on really any ride.
I enjoyed Medusa at DK, it was a solid ride. The changes in direction weren't very quick though so it was pretty predictable and hardly felt out of control.
The park also wasn't poorly run. The ride operation varied dramatically, and not running the second train on S:ROS was just really puzzling to me seeing as it had a sizeable wait and Batman TDK and Mind Eraser didn't have a wait at all but they were operating two trains.
The park itself was cleaner than SFGAm, the food was better (SFGAm has the worst food of any park I've ever been to.) And the scenery/theming was fresh and well maintained where I think SFGAm's is a little dingy and dated.
DantheCoasterman-Catapult is an S&S ride. I don't know the model name, but it has two large platforms of seats that are arranged kind of like a seesaw with a center support directly between the two platforms and it rotates forward and backward like a giant inverting seesaw.
It's too bad to hear that B:DK has gotten rough. It used to be a really good ride.
The difference between Catapult and Thorpe Park's Slammer is that Catapult's restraints keep on sucking in all throughout the ride making it a killer on your hips. Slammer's just stay in the same position making it a more enjoyable ride.
Batman probably had no queue due to it being an efficient ride, despite the bad dispatch times.
*** Edited 7/30/2007 12:30:33 AM UTC by Chris One Click***
You must be logged in to post