Hotlanta! SFoG opening day.

Monday, March 8, 2010 1:32 PM

Not long after I had a move date for North Carolina, I had an idea: I could go to Atlanta for opening weekend of Six Flags over Georgia!  Since my first (and last) visit was rained out and gloomy over 2 days at the park, and there were lots of things I didn’t get to do, so I hoped I would have a nice warm day with minimal lines.  Unfortunately the weekend before I was planning on going, though, I was very sick.  I had planned to make reservations that weekend but was so sick that I ended up second guessing my decision to go.
When Monday came, I was still sick.  Then Tuesday.  Then Wednesday.  But by Wednesday evening I started feeling some better, so I made reservations on Orbitz.  On my last visit in March of 2009 I ended up staying in Marietta at a Ramada Limited.  It was clean, convenient, and close to the highway, so I decided I would try for Marietta again.  I found a similar room, same ratings as last year, for about $10 cheaper in Marietta so I booked it at a total cost of around $80 for 2 nights.
Friday came and after work I rushed home to get my stuff and headed out.  Traffic thru Charlotte was awful and put me behind schedule.  All of my driving was at nite and this gave me a terrible headache as the lights bothered me due to so much traffic.  Around midnight, though, I had finally arrived in Marietta.  Eventually I saw the Inn and my GPS told me to turn right, which was impossible as there was only a wall.  I had trouble trying to get to the place, so eventually I called and the lady guided me to the entrance, which was up and off a side street across a bridge I’d kept going under (I should have turned left, then right, but the GPS didn’t say anything about turning left).
I checked in rather quickly because I wanted to get to the room.  The motel looked nice on the outside so I was happy.  After parking around back I got my stuff out of the trunk, locked up and walked towards the stairs.  Then I heard a man start coughing, which startled me.  He watched me as I walked up the stairs and then started yelling incoherently at me.  I didn’t like this at all, so I rushed to my room.
I opened the door…and immediately wished I wasn’t staying there.  It was dirty.  It was really nasty.  I closed and bolted the door shut.  I was not happy.  People started walking by my door loudly talking and stopping right outside of my door.  I felt unsafe.  I didn’t want to sleep in the bed, but had no real choice.  After about 30 minutes, I got on my phone and used Hotwire to get a better room, which ended up being at the Atlanta Hilton in downtown for $71.  I knew I’d be losing my money for the 2nd nite here, but I didn’t care.  I didn’t get much sleep and as soon as morning came I packed up, checked out, and left.  I’ll never stay there again.
Six Flags was about 20 minutes away.  The park was supposed to open at 10AM, which means the rides usually open about 30 minutes later.  I was meeting Dawn and Russ and got a call from Dawn on the way to the park.  The ride to Six Flags was fairly easy and quick.  Once I got off on the exit, I paid to park at separate parking lot which was $5 more than Six Flags charges, but right outside the front gate.
I walked over to buy a season pass which was only $4 more than a day ticket and then got in line to get it processed.  This took about an hour total because everyone there was buying a pass.  There weren’t a lot of people there, but everyone who was there was in this line.  During this whole time, the rides weren’t running that any of us could see.  I talked to Dawn and let her know I was almost done and that I’d be there shortly.  After getting my pass I headed over to the entrance of the park.
Everyone up until this point had been more than friendly.  The morning was beautiful, and walking into the main plaza of the park, there were balloons everywhere.  I spotted the Palmers quickly and after saying hi (and taking a quick picture) we headed to Goliath as it had just opened.  We got to the entrance and everyone else had run to Goliath too.  We waited for about 40 minutes (which is much more bearable with 2 other people to talk to) before finally getting on in the middle of the train.  After a quick lap bar check (and a double high five, something that would be had plenty through out the day), we were off.

Goliath-I enjoyed Goliath on my last visit.  It has no real ejector airtime (my favorite), but very good sustained floating airtime (good enough for me).  We head up the lift hill rather quickly.  The first drop was so much better than I remembered.  It felt like a really big drop this time, and I don’t remember it feeling like that last time.  The floater air over the first few hills was great and the helix has some nice sustained lateral forces.  I really wish the trim brake after the helix wasn’t there because I think the rest of the ride would be just insane, but you can’t always get what you want.  The last few hills and the overbanked turn deliver a nice pleasant feeling of floating.  On the last 3 bunny hops we noticed a cell phone go flying up about 2 rows ahead of us.  As it came down, it hit one of the girls in that row in the head before flying up again, then back down.  When it flew up a third time, a girl on the end of the row caught it.  We were in amazement that it was caught and everyone was laughing and talking about it.  Then there is the last (wonderfully evil) hop before the brake run.
Sadly Goliath ran only one train, but the ride delivered very well.  I almost purchased the on ride picture because we all had a look of astonishment on our faces due to the cell phone incident, but I passed.  We walked over to Gotham City next.  This is still the best Gotham City of any Six Flags park I’ve been to.  As we came around the corner, Batman The Ride’s new paint job stood out.  Dawn didn’t care for it, but I like the 2 toned blues.  We headed directly for Mind Bender.  My last (and only) ride was okay, but nothing to write home about.  I was hoping for a better ride this time.
Mind Bender-We got on near the back of the train after about a 20 minute wait.  Again, only 1 train operation, but I can’t complain as the wait really wasn’t bad.  The other train was still disassembled, which we saw going up the lift hill.  Mind Bender was much better this time.  Again, the first drop was better than I remembered.  The first loop was good.  There were some very nice pops of light ejector air on some of the hills.  Mind Bender is in a nice setting in the park and makes good use of its location.  It was running better this time than list time and I was much happier with it.  Even the horizontal loop was much more fun.
So another coaster moves up in my rankings due to a much improved ride.  I needed a restroom stop so we walked over to the restrooms in Gotham.  Then we went to grab a bite to eat.  The original plan was Johnny Rocket’s across the park.  We got in and the staff, while friendly (and hollering Hello to everyone that walked in with their little spiel), weren’t moving fast.  We waited for a while and eventually decided to go elsewhere.  Russ wasn’t happy with the service and suggested the BBQ joint over by the USA section of the park.
Theme park food is over priced, but the pulled pork BBQ, fries, and potato salad were actually not bad.  We sat and ate and talked and what not for a bit.  Once we were done we headed to the back of the park to go ride Great American Scream Machine.  Once we arrived at the entrance, however, we were informed that the ride was closed to the public.  A local radio station was holding a marathon on the coaster.  We went over to their booth and Dawn and I played their Plinko game.  I got a shirt, she got a tote bag.  
Since the Palmers had to leave to pick up Dawn’s mom at the airport, we headed to Superman Ultimate Flight for a final ride before they left.  Once we got there, though, the line was about an hour long, and they didn’t have that kind of time to wait.  We walked back down by Ninja and Dawn and Russ decided to call it a day.  I planned to walk out with them to put my hoodie in the car and get my 4GB memory card, but when I walked by the Sky Buckets, I decided I’d hop on to the other side of the park.  We all hugged and said good bye and I headed over to the Buckets.
This is one of those rides that I’ve started riding when I get a chance at parks.  They’ve started to disappear so I try to get on them when I can.  This one is actually useful as it goes from one side to the other quickly.  When I got off of the ride I walked around that part of the park as Acrophobia stared down at me, taunting me.  I didn’t ride it on my last visit.  Drop towers scare me and this one is even scarier.  But I knew if I didn’t do it then, I wouldn’t.  The line wasn’t very long, so I hopped in.
Acrophobia-I like the signs in the queue showing height comparisons.  After about 3 cycles I was sitting in my seat.  The seats were different than I had imagined after hearing about the ride.  Once we started to lift off, we started rotating around for a nice view of the park and Atlanta.  At the top I closed my eyes.  The gondola stopped rotating and the tower shook a tad.  The operator went through his spiel the seats having already leaned forward.  Soon we were falling.  I like the falling part, but the ascent is what really scares me.  Still, I was glad I rode.
I walked over to Cyclone, which had opened at this point, but the line was the same length it was when I last rode.  They were only running one train, and the last time I waited almost an hour.  The ride isn’t worth that kind of wait to me, so I skipped and put it off until later.  Being close to the front gate, I opted to run out to the Xterra and do what I had to do as my Camera’s internal memory was full and I was getting hot with a Hoodie and my jacket.  My car was in the front of the private lot, which was just across the street from the park entrance, so it was ultra convenient. I did what I had to do and was back in the park in about 10 minutes.
After going back in I hopped on the train.  The mine train wasn’t opened yet and I wanted to ride.  I took some pictures and then headed to the train.  The train ride takes you all around the park, but I only rode to the stop in the back of the park.  As we were riding you could clearly see the backstage areas, and even they had balloons and a festive atmosphere.  The conductor mentioned that when we passed by employees, they weren’t waiving at the trains, they were smiling and waiving at us personally, and to remember to return the courtesy.  That was a nice touch, and something that was prevalent through out the day.  After I got off the train I remembered that I wanted to ride Monster Mansion so I headed over there next.
Monster Mansion- The façade is very well done.  It really does look like an old mansion in the middle of the park.  The line wasn’t very long, so in about 15 minutes I was sitting at the back of the boat and on my way.  This is a very well done dark ride, one of my favorites.  I liked the quirkiness of the whole ride, riding thru the first scene and seeing a dining room set set up in the water.  The music was fun, the animatronics were done well.  I like that there is a story and so many fun scenes.  Then the scary scenes start.  The face on the mist effect was really cool.  The marsh scenes were really fun and spooky looking.  This is a well rounded dark ride, with fun, light hearted scenes and a few scary scenes thrown in the mix.  Some of the animatronics were rather huge, too.
I walked over to see if the mine train had opened up, but it had not yet so I walked back to Gotham City to ride Batman.  Six Flags over Georgia is a very nice park with plenty of shade, and even though it has a slightly hilly terrain, it isn’t hard to get around.  I took some pictures here and there and eventually made it to the newly painted Batman.  The wait was about twenty minutes with one train running.  
Batman The Ride- While I was in line, someone in front of me got a call from someone in their party who said that Great American Scream Machine had opened to the public, so I now had a plan for after this ride.  Soon I was sitting on the train ready to go.  This is still my favorite Batman clone.  The first drop was really good today, and the rapid succession of loop/Zero G roll/loop is intense, but fun.  The twists and turns at the far end are so close together and pull strong forces.  Even the corkscrews on Batman are fun.  I don’t like a lot of inversions, but Batman is a great layout.
I booked it over to the Cotton States section of the park in hopes of a ride on Scream Machine.  I got over there and the attendant told me that the Marathon was still going on, so the wait could be a little long.  I didn’t care and got in line anyway.  It was maybe a 20-30 minute wait tops before I was sitting on a train.
Great American Scream Machine- I really like this old woody.  It had been running all day for the marathon since early morning, and it was running WELL.  I didn’t feel any rough spots like I did last time.  The first drop was good, the second was fun.  Not a lot of air for the next hill, but the short hill before the turn around had nice ejector air.  Every hill on the return trip delivered.  It wasn’t major ejector air, but it was a lot of fun.  I really like this classic wooden coaster.
I decided that since Ninja was so close I’d hop over and get in line.  I really didn’t like the ride much on my last visit because the trains are uncomfortable and the ride shakes.  But there was literally no line to ride, so I figured I might as well give it a courtesy ride.
Ninja- I think I said it before and I’m saying it again, I’m never riding this coaster again.  The layout isn’t bad but the trains are terrible.  The first drop rattled, the 2 inversions that followed rattled, the turns and swoops rattled, the corkscrews rattled.  Even the jump to the brake run was uncomfortable.  Ninja isn’t any fun and I don’t have any plans to get back in line again.  I have to remember that there is a reason for it not having a line.
I walked over and got in line for Superman Ultimate Flight next, but once I got up to the end of the line and saw that it was about an hour wait, I promptly turned around and left.  This was one of the coasters that really needed 2 train operations on opening weekend.  It’s a fun ride, but not fun enough to wait that long with a closing time of 7PM.  I walked up on the hill to get a picture of the carousel and rocking tug.  I wanted to ride the cars, but they require 2 people and I was by myself.  Going off the other side of the hill, I noticed that Canyon Blaster was running and I needed the credit so I made my way over to get my ride on.
Wile E. Coyote’s Canyon Blaster (210)- This kiddie coaster was closed on my last visit and it looked like a lot of fun so I was bummed that I missed it.  It had been closed all day, so I figured I wouldn’t get the chance to ride yet again, but thankfully there wasn’t a very long line when it did open, about 2 hours before the park’s closing.  It’s actually rather fast for such a family ride, but it’s well done and uses the terrain and buildings that it rolls around.
I walked over by the mine train once more and it was running one train and I figured there may be a wait.  I should have ridden, but opted not to.  I passed by Cyclone again, and the line was still as long as it had been.  So since I’d gotten my credit and all, I walked around the long way over to Goliath.  I stopped and watched the beginning of Mr. Six’s Dance Party while waiting to take a picture of Goliath coming down the first hill before heading over to the entrance.  I sat closer to the back this time, and again, the ride was just outstanding.  By the time I got on, it was getting pretty dark and the park was closing.
After I was done I walked around a bit more and then headed to the front.  The staff around the park was friendly and helpful all day and everyone at the exits and on the rides were high fiving guests and spieling, which made for a nice atmosphere.  The day was cool but bright and beautiful.  I’m glad I was able to get back and now that I have a season pass and live much closer to the park, I’m sure I’ll be back soon.
I left Austell and headed to downtown Atlanta.  I made my way to the Hilton for my 2nd nite.  After checking in and having my car parked (yay Valet parking!) I headed up to my room on the 23rd floor.  I was hungry, but since I didn’t expect to be staying at the Hilton, I hadn’t brought any close that I felt were suitable for any of their restaurants, so I did the next best thing, I ordered room service, Pizza, a bread plate, and ginger ale.  My 2nd evening was much nicer than the first, and I promised myself that the next time I take a weekend trip to Atlanta, I’ll just go ahead and book the 4 star room first.
I’d planned to go to Turner Field and maybe the aquarium on Sunday but when I woke up I just wanted to head home.  I packed up and headed out to pick the car up.  The ride home was rather uneventful, save for my stopping in South Carolina for a nap.  In the end I was home by 5PM.  Atlanta has quickly become one of my favorite cities.  Next time I head down I’m going to spend time in the city proper for a few days instead of just Six Flags, but now that I’m so much closer, getting there is much easier than before.

Monday, March 8, 2010 1:40 PM

That private lot is the best. Use it everytime we swing by SFOG.

Great TR, man.

Monday, March 8, 2010 2:43 PM

I didn't even feel dirty that I payed extra for the convienience of parking so close. ;-)

Maybe next time I'll even rent a flash pass!

Monday, March 8, 2010 2:56 PM

You might want to spend a little more than ~$40 a night for a room next time, too. :)

Monday, March 8, 2010 3:07 PM

But that's not always true. I stayed in Marietta last March in a Ramada that had the same star rating and was around the same price. It was clean, safe, and convenient. I got it thru Hotwire.

But seriously even this place only had one bad review and it didn't adress any of the same issues I had. And had I booked the hotel a week ahead I could have gotten a four star in downtown ATL for $49 but since I waited and booked it went up to $71. Thankfully it was still that price Friday nite :-).

But now that I'm close and don't also have to factor in so much for gas on the trip, I can use that extra cash on a nicer room.

Monday, March 8, 2010 3:12 PM

In my world, that room falls under both the $40 rule and the Ramada rule.

That is don't stay somewhere that gives rooms away that cheaply and don't stay at Ramada. ;) :)

Monday, March 8, 2010 6:12 PM

No actually the Ramada was decent last time. Clean and in a safe area. But if I'm
being honest, seventy bucks a nite for two nites in Atlanta would be worth it here on out. I k rw I was going to get a nice room and that's worth not being cheap anymore now that I have a better budget to play with anywho. Rather spend the $140 and be close with a great room than play lodging Russian Roulette and actually lose money.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 3:48 PM

We were down there on Sunday. Still 1 train operations and GASM was still closed for the marathon. We were more then a bit pissed about this. All they had to do was put a second train on for the public.

We had some issues with parking as I posted on the main section.

After talking to some people we found out that SF corporate makes the decisions about how many trains to put on. I know from several ride ops at KI that they can make the call about how many trains to run. At SFOG not even the director of operations can make the call anymore.

We did get several exit passes from Guest Relations that allowed us to get a few more laps in.

Hopefully when we are back down next month they will have things worked out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 5:08 PM

I wonder how many Flashpasses are being sold when people see that they have to wait for one train operations?

People were saying how Six flags doesn't do this crap anymore?

I am really itching to visit SFoG, maybe sometime this summer, after years of declining to give SF my hard earned money, but really, I just don't know.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 5:28 PM

I suppose it's what you make of it.

I think the comments about the same day from two different people that are entirely different in tone are very telling. Also interesting that both mention returning to the park. No harm, no foul?

I also have to ask whether 20-40 minute waits (for the most part) are unreasonable? I'd probably be a bit miffed waiting that long and seeing one-train ops, but only because I knew the wait could be reduced. Then again, just because it can be reduced doesn't necessarily mean it should be.

On a crowded day, I might be pleasantly surprised to find wait times like that. I wonder how the average guest feels? Are they just happy to see "short" 20 or 30 minute waits or are they standing around pissed that the wait isn't even shorter?

What does the park save by not pulling out additional trains and slower days? What do they lose with the same decision?

Seems to me this has all been considered and the company is ok with the park operating with those kinds of wait times.

(And I suspect none of it has to do with selling FlashPass :) )

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 6:51 PM

LostKause said:
I wonder how many Flashpasses are being sold when people see that they have to wait for one train operations?

Apparently not many. I only saw Flashpassing maybe twice all day. I was by myself most of the day after Dawn Marie and Russ left, and never once did I hear anyone in line either:

A)Complain about the waits
B)Complain about Flash Pass

People were saying how Six flags doesn't do this crap anymore?

No, people are referring to busy days when one train runs on coasters and the park is wall to wall. The park was fairly dead. I only rode one flat (Acrophobia) and three other non-coasters. They were pretty much walk on.

I am really itching to visit SFoG, maybe sometime this summer, after years of declining to give SF my hard earned money, but really, I just don't know.

SFoG is managed by SFI, but the park isn't totally owned by them, and its one of the best regional parks there is out there period. Do yourself a favor and go. Let me know and I may even join you :-).

I also have to ask whether 20-40 minute waits (for the most part) are unreasonable? I'd probably be a bit miffed waiting that long and seeing one-train ops, but only because I knew the wait could be reduced. Then again, just because it can be reduced doesn't necessarily mean it should be.

And walk on for the flats don't forget... I was fine with it for the most part. As I said, they could have had a public train and that would have made sense. I dunno what the prob was on Supes, but the line was longer than I ever saw Goliath.

And Cyclone is always busy as it is right at the front gate.

Scorcher had a fairly short wait, Ninja had no wait, the kiddie and mine train when they opened weren't very long waits. Goliath had a decent wait, but, I mean, it's Goliath.

Overall, anyone going to opening day of any park should totally expect this kind of day.

Oh, and Dave, Next time just pay to park at the private lot, trust me, it's worth it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 7:24 PM

The kiddie (WECCB) is one of my top-rated kddie coasters, LOL.

Mind Bender (however you spell it) remains one of the best inverting coasters around...

Goliath (perhaps because of the "mistakes"?) is the best B&M hyper I've ridden (all in N. America save LaRonde) - and by a considerable margin. It destroys in the back seat...crunchy landings and all.

GASM and Cyclone - I've had a few of those absolutely massive rides on Cyclone, and they were other-worldly. GASM can be really solid, and is really fun when smooth. It can be an ideal wooden combo of out-n-back and twister when they're both running well....but it seems like usually its one OR the other, and not both.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 8:01 PM

Tekwardo said:
...never once did I hear anyone in line either:

A)Complain about the waits
B)Complain about Flash Pass


The park was fairly dead. I only rode one flat (Acrophobia) and three other non-coasters. They were pretty much walk on.


And walk on for the flats don't forget...

Scorcher had a fairly short wait, Ninja had no wait, the kiddie and mine train when they opened weren't very long waits. Goliath had a decent wait, but, I mean, it's Goliath.

Overall, anyone going to opening day of any park should totally expect this kind of day.

Exactly the info I was hoping to pull from you guys with my questions and all things I expected to hear.

Seems to me nothing out of the ordinary or completely unreasonable was happening.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 8:36 PM

One person on Facebook said they waited 2 hours for the front of Batman. No, they didn't. And a lot of people on Facebook complained, but, honestly, I wouldn't have had any issues with the park at all...if I weren't an enthusiast who goes all over and did this for a living ;).

Last edited by Tekwardo, Tuesday, March 9, 2010 8:37 PM
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 10:17 PM

SFoG is managed by SFI

...Yep. :) That could be the problem.

Do yourself a favor and go. Let me know and I may even join you :-).

I really want to go, Tekwardo. It could be included in one of my trips this year, whenever I decide to take it. If I do decide to pay the park a visit, I'll let you know. I'll probably pay extra for a close parking spot, so I don't need a locker, and I'll consider getting a Flashpass if the lines are long. I've read many times that the lines at SFoG are normally quite long.

Last edited by LostKause, Tuesday, March 9, 2010 10:20 PM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 9:53 AM

LostKause - Lines are usually only long at this park if you go during peak times (i.e., when schools are not in session). If you go anytime before the middle of May or any Sunday after Labor Day you should be fine. Sundays before 1 pm are ideal this time of year and you'll knock out most of the park in the first 2.5 hours assuming you're there at opening.

We went opening weekend last year (you'll recall the first weekend last year was cancelled due to snow/cold), had the same weather, crowds were just as low and we had a great time. This year we knew that the park probably wouldn't open the rides until later in the morning (due to the cool temps in the morning) so we got to the park at 1. There couldn't have been more than 500 cars combined in both lots. What we thought would be a ride-a-thon ended with us leaving the park shortly after 3 after riding one ride. Most of the major coasters were sporting an hour wait at some point during the day. I don't know, I guess I'm a little confused as to why park management would be willing to let people wait that long for some rides knowing that their guests know it's not busy in the park. I'm willing to bet though that this weekend they'll be running two trains on their major coasters.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 7:33 PM

Tekwardo said:
One person on Facebook said they waited 2 hours for the front of Batman. No, they didn't.

Yes they did, they waited 2 hours for the ride to open. Not due to a long line. The fact that they stood there and didn't move on is their own fault.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 7:50 PM

Ah. Well I stand corrected, and whoever that was stood there stupidly.

Seriously, if a ride is closed and you wasted 2 hours for it, you can't complain. I waited 20 minutes. Got a great ride too!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:58 PM

^^I assume that management pulls the trains because most people don't post on coaster boards and most people would be happy riding everything once and maybe one or two things twice. People would be bored with the park in a matter of hours.

Gator: Did you prefer Goliath (oG) to Diamond Back and Behemoth? I haven't ridden either of those (or Goliath La Ronde) but I definitely though oG's was superior to Nitro and AC. RB need not even be mentioned.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 8:48 PM

Yes, Andy, unfortunately the "mistakes" in creating Golliath oG were not repeated. D-back and Behemoth are "back to the blueprint"-type rides, fun but a little TOO family-friendly for me personally. I'm sure KI and CW are thrilled with what they got, and they should be. But I'm happy that the enthusiast-friendly (gator-friendly?) version is the one within driving distance...


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