So this past week, I took a long-awaited vacation to southern California. Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve always promised myself that I would get to Six Flags Magic Mountain sometime in my life. Finally, the time had arrived. And I figured while I was out there, I would hit up Knott’s Berry Farm, as it’s a Cedar Fair park and I’m getting a platinum pass anyway.
Since Knott’s is open on weekdays, I started there on Thursday. I didn’t expect much of a crowd, considering it’s a weekday in January, and boy was I right. The park was virtually empty. I had originally planned on staying from open to close, but by 2:30 I was basically bored of the place. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s a very nice park. Here’s my ride reviews..
Silver Bullet- This was my first ride of the day (first train), and by far the best ride I got on. I’ve never been on a B&M Invert that was so smooth. The overbanked turn after the loop is fantastic as well. I don’t like the first drop. It seems a little drawn out. But after that, it’s just nonstop fun. I made sure to ride this several times that day : )
Ghost Rider- A lot of people really like this woodie, but I must say, I was a little disappointed. The first two hills are really good, but after that it just seemed really bumpy and not too fun. The hills provided some decent airtime, but I had a hard time enjoying them as I was trying to brace myself from being tossed around. I love the “mine shaft” you go through to enter the queue.
Montezooma’s Revenge: Can’t go wrong with a Schwarzkopf loop! Great ride.
Jaguar- I was really excited when I saw the entrance to this ride. You have to enter through a giant Aztec-looking temple, and the majority of the queue is themed rather well. The ride, however… boring.
Supreme Scream- A standard S&S launch tower. I’m not sure if there are upward launches on this (similar to Power Tower at Cedar Point) or not, as they only had one spike open. I thought it was interesting that they launched you down immediately when you get to the top. No anticipation factor whatsoever.
Boomerang- My first classic boomerang coaster, and quite possibly my last. It wasn’t overly fun, and it was certainly jerky.
Pony Express- Longest line of the day, dumbest ride of the day. Enough said.
Sierra Sidewinder- My first spinning coaster. It’s a good ride for the kids. I went in not expecting too much, so I enjoyed it.
Excelerator was closed for refurbishment, so I didn’t get that credit. : (
The overall atmosphere at Knott’s is really nice. I like the “faux” mountains around the park. I rode the Calico Mine Ride, which was pretty neat. The caverns looked pretty good, and I liked the indoor waterfalls for sure.
I was really looking forward to La Revolucion, but after I got off I was pretty underwhelmed. Not nearly as good as a giant Frisbee.
Finally, I went to the Mystery Lodge. That was a really enjoyable show. I’m still pretty puzzled about it, so they did a very good job. Overall, Knott’s was a nice, clean park with great atmosphere and some fun rides.
I spent a few days in San Diego with my uncle, and then on Sunday I made the trek up to Valencia for Magic Mountain.
I got to SFMM about a half hour before the park opened, and there was a good-sized crowd waiting to get in. Or so I thought. Obeying the advice of another guest, I jogged to X2 for my first ride, and I got on the first train. Let me say this; ever since X opened, I’ve been dying to get on this thing. And WOW it did not disappoint. X2 is just unbelievable. Right when you depart the station they give you a classic Sinatra-esque love song, and then some electronic feedback like the monster is taking over. Then it fades out and right as you start up the lift, it hits you with some Metallica. When I first heard that, I went from really excited to insanely pumped. I had some serious adrenaline flowing before I even crested the hill. The events after that… wow. The first drop is just incredible. I even knew that I was going to be flipped face-down, but when it happened I couldn’t suppress my scream of delight. It’s phenomenal. Then the rest of the ride was just a blur of flips in ways that I’ve never been flipped. Fire being blasted right in your face. All the while some crazy rock tunes are being pumped into your ears. By the end, I was just awestruck. X2 is utterly fantastic.
The kid that rode with me advised me to go to Tatsu next, as he said the line usually gets pretty long for it. So I walked up the hill to Tatsu to find another empty station. I walked right on, and away I went. Tatsu is a great ride in its own respect. If it were on level terrain, it would be fun. But because it towers over the park on the hill, Tatsu is just fantastic. The views are amazing around every single turn. I’m willing to bet this is the only flyer we’ll see with the pretzel loop at the END of the ride.
After Tatsu, I decided that I wanted another lap on X2, while I was on this side of the park. I hit Viper on the way there- a very good looper, but a little jerky- and then got in line for X2. I was about 5 minutes from the station, when I noticed that no trains had been dispatched in a while. After about 15 minutes, they announced that it was down mechanical. I figured I would move on and come back later. A good decision, as it was down for a good chunk of the day.
I spent the next several hours going all the way around the park in a clockwise manner. The Revolution was very surprising.. I was expecting a pretty tame ride with the sole focus being the loop. However I really enjoyed it. The first few hills are really fun, never knowing where you’re going next. And the loop is very good as well, obviously.
Next was Superman: The Escape. Another coaster(?) I’ve been longing to ride for a very long time. I’m sure most of you will expect this.. I was pretty disappointed. The launch is rather boring, and you don’t even come close to the top of the tower.
Ninja was closed, so I moved on to Terminator. This was one of the few rides for which I actually had to wait (more on that later). I kept wondering why they had so many line separators, until I got to the building with the pre-ride movie. The movie was pretty cool. For a minute, they almost had me convinced that there actually was a giant robot outside. The ride itself is very fun. It maintains a ton of speed throughout, and some of the quick transitions are just fantastic. Not to mention how smooth it is. Well worth the wait.
Déjà vu was closed, but I’m too tall for those anyway… So I grabbed a quick lunch and hit Gold Rusher. That was a pretty tame ride, but some of those head-choppers are terrifying when you’re 6 foot 6!
Up next was Riddler’s Revenge. Yet another coaster I’ve been longing to get on for a very long time. Yes, I said it. I wanted to get on a B&M Stand Up for a very long time. You can certainly see the similarities in the layout of RR and some other B&M stand-ups, but Riddler is definitely the best I’ve been on. My legs were a tad bit sore, but it’s well worth it.
Moving on, I hit the Batman clone. Always a pretty good ride. However this one had a fresh blue paint job. I loved that! : )
Then I walked down to Scream! And Colossus. I’d never been on a floorless coaster, so the front seat on Scream! Was a very interesting and fun experience. Colossus was a pretty fun out and back woodie. I like the abundance of drops. But I felt like something was missing… wasn’t I supposed to be holding a gun to Jon Candy?
I finally made it to Goliath, to find about a 30 minute wait. I got on the back seat, and up, up, up we went. Then after CREEPING over the top, we dove down, got some serious speed. Went through the turnaround, got some good floater air, and then WHAM! In true B&M hyper fashion we hit the MCBR of all MCBR’s. All that momentum just gets killed. And then you go into the high-g helix. Whoopie. The MCBR killed that ride for me.
So now that I had basically done the whole park, I headed back over to the X2/Tatsu area. Tatsu was a literal walk-on all day long. There was no one in the park. The only three rides I had to wait for all day were Terminator, X2, and Goliath. Needless to say I got more than enough laps on Tatsu, and I got 4 rides on X2.
Can’t say enough about Magic Mountain. The only complaint I really have is the lack of flats. There’s 2 spinny rides by Batman, but other than that it’s just water rides and roller coasters. Nonetheless, the park was exceptionally clean, the crowds were obviously very light, and the coasters are just wonderful. I love how the park is laid out on such uneven terrain. That is something that many Midwest parks lack. They’ve used some creative genius in designing that park, and I hope I’ll be back there sooner before later. One last thing… I thought it was really funny how after 6 pm, the weather dropped to about 60 degrees and most of the Californians were putting on pants and even coats while I was standing comfortably in my tee shirt and shorts!
My trip to California was simply wonderful. I’m working on getting pictures up on photobucket.
Got my pictures uploaded.
Glad you had fun. I was at SFMM the same day you were. I got on 35 rides. I was not one of the people who changed into a jacket when it hit 60 degrees though. I wore a t-shirt the whole time.
Nice report. I was fortunate enough to make it to those parks a few years ago. It's a pretty nice trip. Just thought I'd point out that Goliath at Magic Mountain is not a B&M hyper. http://rcdb.com/615.htm When I was there, the MCBR was pretty light, so it didn't kill the ride for us. Of course, the trains were only half full that day, so that may have been why.
Whoops! I don't know why I was thinking it was a B&M. Oh well, thanks for correcting me. But yeah, that mcbr was brutal!
Awesome report! My husband an I are taking our first trip out to both parks early summer and your report of X2 has left me even more pumped....I didn't think that was possible!!! We live in Michigan so we get the Platinum passes and out to Cedar Point 3-4 times a summer but never to SFMM or Knotts...I can't wait!
Glad you liked SFMM. I grew up in Michigan so there was a ton of anticipation when I finally moved out to L.A. I had watched YouTube videos of people riding X and knew exactly what it did from start to finish but when we crested the hill and our car tilted forward, it still took my breath away. The first time is really unbelievable. YouTube simply can't capture how open and vulnerable you feel up there. And the speed was also a big suprise. You're really hauling some ass coming out of the first raven turn into the back flip. It's the most intense ride I've ever been on and easily my favorite coaster.
On Goliath, supposedly it ran without the mid-course slam back in the day. I can't imagine what that would've been like because even with the dead stop the finale is pretty intense. Last time I was there they actually wouldn't dispatch without at least 15 riders because the mid-course would hit too hard otherwise.
^Wow, yeah I can't imagine Goliath without the trim either. I was nearly blacking out at the bottom of the helix, even after coming to nearly a complete stop at the mcbr.
"Back in the day," maybe '01 or even late '00 I got some rides on Goliath when the MCBR wasn't biting. Surprisingly, it wasn't that big of a difference (from a physics perspective, initial velocity heading into a drop really doesn't have that much of an effect).
"initial velocity heading into a drop really doesn't have much of an effect."
Admittedly I'm a little rusty on this sort of analysis but how can that be? Energy is always conserved minus what's lost on some non-conservative force. If you have more kinetic energy coming out of the block at some given potential energy height, you should be going faster at the bottom than you would if you had exited the block with less kinetic energy. The only way I can see that being otherwise is if you're seeing significant non-conservative force losses from possibly wind-resistance, friction, or normal forces from the track.
I'm not saying it doesn't have an effect, it just doesn't have a significant one. Dave Althoff had an analysis on his website at one point about how MF could never break 100 mph even if the initial velocity were increased to 20 mph.
The long and short of it is that the faster your initial velocity, the less time you have "falling" to gain speed from the acceleration of gravity. Of course your final speed will be greater than if you started from zero, but not on a 1 to 1 basis.
From the energy perspective, potential energy for gravity is mgh. Kinetic energy for a moving body is 0.5mv^2. So the marginal height required to get a moving body from 0 mph to 1 mph is about 1/10,000 of the height required to get a moving body from 99 mph to 100 mph.
From the mechanics perspective, vfinal^2 = vinit^2 + 2ad. You can see that if vinit is low, vfinal will be largely influenced by 2ad and thus much larger than vinit. If vinit is high, vfinal will be mostly influenced by vinit and will be very close to it.
From the sanity check standpoint, imagine standing on top of a 10 story building. Drop a rock out of your hand and it will hit the ground at a significantly greater rate of speed than if you dropped it (i.e. 0). Throw the rock at the ground and it will hit the ground going only a little bit faster than when you had thrown it and actually not that much faster than when you had just dropped it (even in the absence of friction).
Then once you add on frictional forces that are proportional to speed (such as wind resistance) you basically get very little gain for initial speed.
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