How Bad Was The Great Escape Comet Butchered?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:14 AM
I rode this beast back in 2000 and it delivered a ride similar to the the Phoenix at Knoebels. Maybe not quite as intense as the Phoenix but still a very solid ride.

I'm just wondering how much the ride has changed since it's reprofiling. Does it still pack a punch?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:33 AM
Vater's avatar What exactly was reprofiled and when? This is one of the coasters I've been looking forward to riding most since I discovered this season what Schmeck greatness is all about...

*** Edited 10/27/2004 3:34:40 PM UTC by Vater***

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:36 AM
I rode the Comet for the first time just three weeks ago. I must say I was very disappointed in it. My ride had absolutely no airtime, and seemed to crawl along the track at points. It was certainly no Phoenix. I never rode it before the re-profile, but if it was as good as people say, then I'd have to say the re-profiling did effect the ride. It is possible that I just was there on a bad day, as I understand it is quite a moody coaster.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:53 AM
DawgByte II's avatar

According to this article in the most reliable news you can get in the Amusement Industry...

...looks like they're going to continue butchering the Comet until it's just a lift hill & a large oval of straight track!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:55 AM
Reprofiled, when? I rode in the middle of August for the first time and found it totally insane, full of air, and much more intense than Phoenix.

Kingda Ka 2005

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:10 PM
Ok here's the scoop.

The Comet was re-profiled for the 2004 season in ONE spot. Right after the first turn arounds there is a small bunny hill that takes a right hand turn. Anyone who has ridden the ride this year can see that this hill is now NEW wood. It is now as smooth as glass.

The second hill after the second turn around provides a sensation the re-profiled hill once did. It gives strong lateral jolts. However, the re-profiled hill was taken at much higher speeds and was much more intense.

The Comet can give many different rides. If you sit in the front, the ride will be smooth and fun. If you sit in the back, you'll certainly get a wild ride.

I rode in the back car this season and thought it was the most intense it's ever been. My favorite part is the second bunny hill after the first turn around. The three upward jolts the ride gives going over this area is amazing.

It all depends on where you sit. If you sit in the front you may be dissapointed. If you sit in the back, you'll be very impressed.

As to whether or not the Comet has been ruined, well that's just wrong. The one section of the track that received new wood deperately needed it. Some people may have liked it the way it was but I'm sure MOST people who have ridden it would agree that it was a little too much. If you didn't brace yourself, it was very uncomfortable.

Sit in the back for maximum airtime. Of course the Comet doesn't provide the extreme negative G's as some modern coasters. However, some of the hills give some nice floater air and one hill actually provides ejector air. ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:18 PM
So only one hill was reprofiled. I was under the impression that one entire section from one turn to the other was reprofiled. Thanx for the heads up. *** Edited 10/27/2004 4:24:26 PM UTC by coasterpunk***
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:22 PM
I really wish I had taken a picture of the new wood for you guys.

Here's a TR I posted earlier in the season. You can read more about the re-profiling there:

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:33 PM
So it sounds like it was just retracking not a reprofile. It was This hill about in the center of the pic that had the work done to it.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:44 PM
That's a good pic to use.

That pic was taken from the top of the lift hill. Follow the track and after that first turn around, the "turning" hill at the bottom is "the" hill. Right to the bottom left of it is the hill on the second turnaround that provides basically the same sensation.

Yes. Retracked sounds MUCH better than re-profiled. ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:45 PM
rollergator's avatar Even ACE news made it sound like the changes performed were *pretty seriously* detrimental to the ride...I'm VERY happy to hear there's a difference of opinion on that, cause a great Schmeck coaster IS a thing of beauty....and a joy forever...:)
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 1:07 PM

coasterpunk said:
So it sounds like it was just retracking not a reprofile. It was This hill about in the center of the pic that had the work done to it.

It was more than just retracking (with less durable southern yellow pine). According to Tom Rhodes who wrote the story for ACE News the pullout at the bottom of the second drop (out of the high turnaround), through the dogleg, and into the speed hill halfway along the second run has been changed. Low-to-the-ground track has been raised, higher bents have been clipped.

I haven't had a chance to ride it since the changes so I don't have an opinion, but I do know the changes have upset a lot of people.

There are also rumors that the good folks from Six Flags are going to "fix" the final stretch as well.

Personally I can't possibly imagine how SF maintenance has the aptitude to change a classic design by the master Herb Schmeck.

The Comet was near perfect when it was re-opened at the TGE in 1984, and it ran without any problems for 9 years. I have to wholeheartedly disagree with Rentzy17, I never found the Comet to be the least bit uncomfortable. I thought the Comet was the best of both worlds, thrilling enough for the enthusiast yet gentle enough for an entire family. It certainly doesn't need to be changed now. SF doesn't know what a gem they have.

*** Edited 10/27/2004 7:27:50 PM UTC by Jeffrey Seifert***

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 1:14 PM
I totally forgot about the bottom of the second hill. You're right. That has been re-tracked too.

Maybe I just don't remember the Comet in it's glory back in 94. It just seems to be to be the same. Nothing too extreme has been done to it. I haven't noticed a lot of those smaller changes.

I really wonder why the park would do this stuff. I know why they fixed the bottom of the second hill and the hill after the turn around, but raising low to the ground track and "clipping" higher bents? Why is that necessary? I'm wondering if it makes the Comet easier to maintain. The train may not beat up the track as much.

I agree with you Jeffrey that the Comet did run well for 9 years. That lateral turn wasn't HORRIBLE but it was my least favorite part of the ride.

I cringed when you said "the good folks at Six Flags are going to 'fix' the final stretch as well." I really hope that isn't true. What could they possible do to it?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 1:30 PM
Sounds like the Comet crew at Great Escape need to visit another Schmeck coaster in PA that was also relocated. They maybe they will learn how to care for a classic.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 1:40 PM
I've heard from numerous people that the ride has been severely affected by this seemingly-small change. That lateral/airtime hill was one of the best moments on the Comet and with it reprofiled to what people refer to as nothing more than a "speedy ramp", I can understand the outcry. Furthermore, someone who rode the coaster just a few weeks ago claims that the hill is already showing signs of roughness because of the inferior wood being used.

Next year, the entire run from the final turn to the brakes is going to be "fixed" in a similar manner. That means changing the profile of the hills and switching to softer wood. This will be the equivalent of reprofiling the last run of speed hills on the Phoenix, as the Comet is one of those Herb Schmeck rides that finishes with a bang. What a shame.

The Comet is one of those rides that was pretty much perfect as it was. I agree that it was more tempermental than the Phoenix (which seems to give great rides no matter what day it is) but it was still a fine design that had no obvious flaws. I don't get the reasons why these changes are taking place, as the coaster was as close to a "family thrill ride" as one can get.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 7:29 PM
Poor Herbert is probably rolling over in his grave!
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 8:01 PM
Im very dissapointed and sad to say that The Great Escape is my homepark. It is extremely bad IMO. It's more of a "family" park. The best ride there is The Comet and you can only ride it so many times until you are just dead sick of it.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 8:52 PM
I can understand how SF maintenance can make profiling changes to a ride like that for no apparent reason....just take a look at some pics of SFA's Wild one before & after the flagging of the park to get a sense of what I mean.

Now nine feet were taken off the base of the first drop in an effort to reduce roughness in 91/92 & some of the larger drops near the middle of the "out" portion of the layout were re-profiled in 97 for TSC's installation....I can forgive the park for that but the biggest mistake they've made with the ride is the re-profiling of the turn around.

Sure the double up is nice & all but that swooping downward curve was far better than what we've got now so I can really sympathize with you guys on how SF has a habit of really butchering any classic woodies they may have in their possesion.

With any luck hopefully niether the GE Comet & Wild one won't have to endure any future re-profiling work...that is unless they plan to restore either ride to it's original glory.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 9:25 PM
You can tell how much they altered the turnaround looking at it from the Gotham City area. You can still see where all the original ledger positions are on the bents.

Here's an Original Profile pic

the New Profile pic

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:03 PM

Downhill Screamer said:
I rode the Comet for the first time just three weeks ago. I must say I was very disappointed in it. My ride had absolutely no airtime, and seemed to crawl along the track at points. It was certainly no Phoenix. I never rode it before the re-profile, but if it was as good as people say, then I'd have to say the re-profiling did effect the ride. It is possible that I just was there on a bad day, as I understand it is quite a moody coaster.

I really think it was a bad day. I rode it just 10 days ago and it was flying. It gets faster as the day gets on -- I suspect the wheels are stiff for the first couple hours of operation.

To compare it to other woodies, I would say that Pheonix ranks a notch above The Comet, but it's a very small notch.

As for the difference before and after the tracking, I suspect peoples opinions reflect their differing tastes in ride elements. I love air-time and The Comet never dissappointed me in 2000 or 2004. I did notice that the laterals and trick-track's between hills were not as intense as they were in 2000, but the laterals in the turn-arounds remain still swift and powerful. I'm not a fan of laterals, so I didn't really care.

Do the people dissing the coaster ride on a bad day, really miss the laterals, or just hate change? I don't know. But I do know that I'll keep coming back to The Comet. *** Edited 10/28/2004 3:07:26 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth***


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