Magic Mountain 2/18/06---Sheep to the Slaughter!

Associated parks:

Disclaimer…while I do hate SFMM, I am a new stockowner who hopes for Six Flags success. The following report is as open and honest as I can make it. I cannot change the events to appease fanboys. I’ve got interest on both sides of the issue. This is how it went down…

Through means well out of my control, I was forced to visit Magic Mountain Saturday. Lets just say that my wife and a good buddy (who is a closet coaster enthusiast) tricked me into a “L.A. Zoo visit” which ended up in Valencia.

The $15 parking does NOT include tram service at 9:20 am on the Saturday of a Holiday weekend. The employee did not know if the tram would run or what the deal was.

We checked the list of non-operationals and were happy when X was not on the list. This coaster was the ONLY reason for my buddy’s trickery. They opened the gait 5-10 minutes early and had ALL gates open. I was hoping/thinking things had changed.

We jogged to X and got the usual speal about how X was down for maintenance and nobody knew when it would open. There were about 4 employees standing behind the temporary barrier who laughed when one of them loudly proclaimed that she hoped it rained today and the ride would not open so they would not have to do any REAL work. This pissed off a dad and his son and allowed us to move up to the front of the line. After 45-minutes of waiting with no testing, we reassessed our strategy and moved on.

We skipped Viper that had a line to the Midway while running one train. Revolution was down for Tatsu construction. Walked under Ninja that was also down for construction. We wanted to get on Déjà vu but there was not even a train in sight for this thing. An employee told us it was down for 6 weeks.

We tried to get on Psyclone, but it was stuck on the lift with people. If you are counting…we had now passed, or waited for a total of 5 coasters that were not running. Two of the rides were actually advertised as being down in front (Revolution and Ninja)!

By this time it was close to 11:30 and the rain started. We tried to get into a store right by Déjà Vu, but the employee inside, at the cash register shouted through the glass that they were closed…? We were able to find raincoats in the Candy Shop (?), which appeared to be the only retailer open in the entire back side. All the up charge attractions were ready to go, but they must not have enough staff for the retail outlets!

We headed for Riddler’s Revenge and were pumped that they were running two trains. It would have been less than 10 minutes to wait until they decided to take one train off the track. This added 15-20 minutes to the time. The reason…? They were stacking the 2-train operation and people were getting too wet on the stack. I cannot make this stuff up. Lucky for us, we got on the 3rd train out of the station after the reduction to 1-train operation, and by this time it was perfectly sunny. Note that they would not allow anybody to ride in the front car because the rain would “sting.” When pointed out that it was perfectly sunny and that there was not a drop in site AND that the Batman had people filling the front car throughout the whole rain-filled train reduction…we were greeted with a blank stare. Anyhow, the ride was fun. I still like Mantis a little better because I think Mantis has a tighter feel to it…but there is no doubt this is a fun ride. After 2 hours in the park, it was nice to ride something.

We skipped Batman as they were running one train every 10 minutes…we decided instead to try one train every 10 minutes on Goliath! After about a 30-minute wait we had a great ride on my favorite coaster in the park! Still, we had yet to see any of that family friendliness or improved customer service everybody was talking about. Seemed like every other visit I have ever made to this park...

We saw X running from the Goliath hill and made a sprint back across the park. To our surprise we were first in line…? They told us it should be running in 1-2 hours. We decided to rough it out, as X was what my buddy came for, and neither of us cared whether we got on another ride given the 1-train operation throughout! After 30 minutes we scored the first train out and sprinted back to get the 3rd train out before the line got too large. Our 2 rides took another ½ hour off the clock given the speedy load times…I’m not a big fan of X in terms of re-ridability. My friend called it a top 5…and he has been on quite a few. Anyhow…this ride has not aged well…but neither has the whole park! If you have not done X---then you must give it a try to bolster enthusiast credentials as there is no doubt that the first ride on this baby is adrenaline galore, but for me the novelty has worn off. Whether this is the ride itself, or the hassle to score a ride is hard to say. I suspect it is a bit of both!

We decided to make one more leisurely trip around the park, as we did not have to meet with the wives for another 3 hours! This time we caught a Psyclone cycle that both of us wish never happened. My neck hurts as I type this sentence.

We trekked up to Superman and were excited to see only 5 people ahead of us for the front seat (sits 3) for the only side running. After ridiculously slow loading cycles, BUT the nice touch of allowing double rides for the 2 trains that went before us, another 20 minutes went by. Our train loaded quickly and we had an average Superman ride. We expected another ride when the lap bars opened. The guy behind us complained and the operators said that we would not get a double ride because the line was now too long. At this point I politely explained that the line was now long because people like US had to wait for double rides, and now we were getting short-changed. The kid was polite and allowed us to take a second cycle. To those who have not been on Superman, do not worry, as you’ve missed nothing.

We skipped the single train running Goldrusher and caught the single train running Scream instead. It was only a 2-train wait. Scream is the worst of all these elevated B&M’s, but I still think the ride is above average. We’ve all heard about the parking lot issue…so no need for me to elaborate.

…so there you have it. Rides breaking down…Single train operation throughout the park with the added touch of Magic Mountain taking the only double train off the track in the first hours of operation. Employees loudly praying for rain and ride shut downs... Plenty of closed shops and food stands to compliment the dirty restrooms.

One new touch, which I forgot to mention, is that the Panda Express Chinese restaurant in the Mexico themed area by Viper no longer allows special orders. They do deny you with a smile though. I was unable to substitute steamed rice for fried rice with my dinner even though both containers were right there and the only effort required was that the server scoop from the white rice instead of the brown! Keep in mind that ALL dinner options come with fried rice. The only option with white rice is a bowl (not a dinner) which you MUST take the vegetables that come with the bowl. There is no "have it your way" at Magic Mountain. This must be something to do with the new family friendly atmosphere. We all know how much the little ones love green peas in the rice…?

For those who were concerned, I did not have to pay. They indeed have the balls to charge $59 after the $15 parking fee, and to my knowledge, they were not offering a discount due to excessive ride malfunctions. My buddy bought the $30 online tickets. I felt bad and bought the parking/rain coats and food. He got the better end of that deal. We both left wishing we had gone to the zoo. I tried to tell him this before the day began. He now understands why this coaster-lover wanted nothing to do with going to this park.

There is nothing that has changed about SFMM that I could see. Same old crappy park complete with crappy service and broken down rides that we have come to expect… Single train operation was on ALL rides that were running at any given moment. This was on a SATURDAY of a HOLIDAY weekend when one might imagine a park trying to change an image might make an effort. Sadly, this is not the case!


*** Edited 2/21/2006 12:31:54 AM UTC by Jeffrey R Smith***

delan's avatar
How depressing . . . . .
Interesting, it wasn't that bad when I went last month. It must vary quite a bit day to day.
I have to say that when I finally do get out west it will be to go to DL/DCA & KBF. It's just as delan said, "depressing". And it is to see a park that has so much to offer people, give so little but have the nerve to rob people twice before they ever get in the gate.

To me, it's what will always set MEGA amusement parks like SFMM & Cedar Point apart. They both have a lot to offer riders, but CP always gives it's guests a good visit every time. You just rarely ever hear this kind of banter coming out of Sandusky.

Now officially a Halloween Haunt Cornstalker for Fall '08!
I can't say this enough "I HATE SFMM" with a passion. The place just plain out SUCKS! The rides Suck, the coasters Suck, and the service Sucks. If you haven't been don't waste your money, I don't care how great TATSU will end up being I am never going back to that dump. Another thing that I think ,that apearentaly no one agrees with me about, Is that X is one of the worst coasters ever. It seems that this park got the bad end of a deal because all but one coaster (Goliath) sucks. This park is a Huge waste of money. NEVER GO
Not that it matters or would surprise...but I forgot to say that Collosus was down the 2 times we went by. It appeared that they were testing one red train on one side when we left...
Well, at least Cali got some rain, they sure do need all they can get ;)

I feel your pain, knowing the park has so much potential just makes it even worse.

And with all the 1 train operations it just feels like none of the coasters are really open due to the long waits :( *** Edited 2/21/2006 4:22:46 AM UTC by Geewhzz***

OMG, are people just making up things to rant about with Magic Mountain? I must be in a different dimension or something but SFMM for the past 3 weeks have been nothing less than impressive.

I didn't go on Saturday because I checked the weather and they clearly said it was going to rain so why waste a day. I did go on sunday though and those so called single train operations were only on gold rusher and viper, but by mid day Viper had gone to 2 train operation.

I have never eaten at Panda express in the park because it is ridiculously over priced so why bother. X was running 2 trains and Deja-vu was down for rehap as it always is this time of the year, so to me this is nothing new, you just had bad timing. Another thing that is kinda interesting is that you sound like you were looking for a drastic summer time operation change in the winter when there was clearly not very many people in the park all day because the parking lot was not even a 1/3 filled when I went back to get my jacket from my car.

The park is a hellova lot cleaner, a lot of characters were out taking photos with people, and the longest line I recall waiting in was for X which was about 40 mins. If your day really was a bad as you dramatically spelled out then I totally simpathise. Inclement weather is always a gamble and you lucked out in a bad way. Mine on the other hand was really great. Everything I've said was based on my Sunday trip. Feb 19, 2006

Six Flags is a Diamond in the rough!
jkpark's avatar
Sounds like SFMM does alot of testing when the park is open, shouldn't they take care of that before opening the gates?
This is quite intriguing...the reason I say this is that on another coaster board I am on, a TR was done for the same day at SFMM and other than X being closed first thing in the morning and a little rain early on, the TRs are COMPLETELY different in regards to how their experience was...

--George H

Weather had zero affect on the day (except inability to ride the 1st train of RR). By noon it was sunny and remained so the rest of the day. For whatever reason, Magic Mountain did not find reason to change operations when the weather improved. They were consistant.

As for differing opinions...that is expected. I can only give the report as MY DAY unfolded.

As for "bad luck" or "poor timing"... Again, I must respectfullly disagree. This report is the same as EVERY other time I have been at the park. I'm guessing I've got 8-10 visits in over the past 10 years, and EVERY time it has been the same in terms of poor operations and ride breakdowns! It is one thing to have a lot of rides down as advertised. It is another thing to have so many rides down during the day. those on the edge...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Magic Mountain indeed has defenders who always counter attack any negative trip report.

I admit I hate the place. But I do my best to be objective and honest about the experience. There just is/was and never has been much good to say.

P.S. Magic Mountain was open Friday and Monday for the Holiday weekend. It is not as if this was a random off-season Saturday. They expected crowds and still could not deliver what I believe to be a reasonable experience...

LOL. No matter what kind of day I'm having at SFMM, I can always count on Riddler's Revenge to ruin it for me. It has to be the least effectively managed ride ever created.

If they were so worried about stacking trains, why not just run one train empty for awhile until the rain stopped?

If SF ever improves the queue area of this ride, then I'll know SF has truly changed.

CPLady's avatar
Redman, I'd be curious as to where you read the completely different trip report for that day. The only other one I read didn't exactly impress me.

I have gotten the impression over the years, though, that visiting SFMM during what would be considered the "off season" (or what could be considered the off season for a year round park), the chances of finding more coasters down than normal are much higher.

I know very well how limited services can be at Cedar Point during certain times of the year, and had a day or two when several of their coasters were down at once due to various maintenance and weather issues (specifically high winds). But it is rare to find only one train operation on any of the coasters that run multiples, so it's easier to "forgive" limited services when you can ride most coasters with little to no wait during those times.

The one constant I see, though, is line jumping and poor customer service. Admittedly, the only SF park I've visited is SFGAm, and I enjoyed my visit there.

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

Jeffrey R Smith said: those on the edge...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Magic Mountain indeed has defenders who always counter attack any negative trip report.

I don't understand the flag about the warning but anyway, I would hardly call myself a defender but I think it's greatly unfair for individuals to pass unforgiving judgement based on 1 or 2 bad experiences. Granted I have not shared my day with you, and you seem so passionate about the numerous terrible times you have endured so I can only respond to what you post, but never the less when someone says, (Not implying you in particular), that this is the worst place in the world, don't go there or I hate Six Flags, the rides are terrible! That's kind of ridiculous in my opinion, if it's so much of a pain, why waste moments of your time and life ranting and raving about something that you can control by simply not wasting your time or money. Sure I've had my share of Bad times at the park but I've also had some great lasting ones.

I kinda think of myself a little different than a lot of you who tend to ONLY focus on the bad things that happen completely over looking the positive if there were any. Granted I know Magic Mountain isn't a bowl of peaches and cream but there are a lot of nice touches that have been addressed this year that are impressive if you compare past operations: for example, the cleanliness levels are outstanding, the staff are above average considering that it is much easier to get fired now, it was really cold on sunday and they still did their jobs well.

Maybe I do sound like a defender but, it's the things that you and a couple of others say the gives bad word of mouth that ruin things. That's probably the angle that you intend on taking, it's just that the park isn't always that way.

Six Flags is a Diamond in the rough!
eightdotthree's avatar
And so goes every Magic Mountain trip report.

Someone says they had a bad time, someone says they had a different experience.

Heres my take. Two coasters were down because of construction, keep Deja open and rehab the two that are closed. Thats customer service. How about a nice big sign saying the coaster is currently not operating due to maintenence?

Great its clean, hooray. What about the rest? You are looking at a $75 day before you even get in the gate, the experience should match that price.

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar
I guess I'm glad that my one and only trip to the park in April of 2003 went better than expected. I went into the park expecting awful service, most of the rides being closed, the usual stuff. Even though I had those expectations I was determined to have a good time at the park.

I had an unforgettable experience at that park and while it has its flaws. It was the best Six Flags park that I've been to, bar none. I was so excited to get on Ninja, Flashback, and X. Even though Colossus was closed due to Scream's construction I didn't let it phase me.

When it comes to TR's you really can't take that person's experience as Gospel. Some people have different tolerances, they tend to look at the glass half empty and half full. Jeffrey, based on most your TR's that I've read, you seem to be a glass is half empty kind of person. You tend to look for the bad and ignore the good. I've been to parks with people who are like that and it doesn't make it any more fun.

I can't change you, but I think in the future I'm going to take your TR's with a grain of salt, because I don't enjoy reading b*tch fests. Sorry you had a bad time.

~Rob Willi

john peck's avatar
When I was there in 2002, there was just something not quite right about the employees. There just seemed to be this negative vibe in the air. Sounds like it's still there.
Hey Rob:

Congrats on the new baby by the way… Your assessment seems rather harsh for a “glass half full” type of guy! :-) You would think the overtly optimistic would cut a little more slack. You could not have read me more wrong. My buddy and I had a blast Saturday, no thanks to Magic Mountain. Most would describe me as the outgoing and fun type… I make the best of all situations. If this were a zoo board I would tell you about how nice the L.A. Zoo was for my Sunday visit...

When it comes to trip reports, I like to shoot from the heart and give my gut reaction. These types of critical reports are what I prefer to read myself, therefore I tend to write this way. I do not think I do anybody a service by sugarcoating the obvious. I’m one of the only guys on CB who takes the time to point out my conflicting biases BEFORE writing a report. I believe this to be honest and helpful. I think you may be confusing me with somebody else if you truly believe everything I write or see is negative for reports. Or maybe I'm a poor writer!

The reason this particular report is so NEGATIVE, is that there was just not much good to say. I wrote it how I experienced it in terms of customer service, cleanliness, and mechanical issues. I found time to compliment the nice guy at Superman, the good ride on Goliath, the well above average ride on Riddler, and the above average Scream! Those were the good things! I included all of them that I could think of. At this moment, I cannot recall any other positive stuff to say about Magic Mountain that would motivate me to give a glowing reponse. I wish this were not the case. In fact…I left out some more negative stuff so as to not bore you. I’m sorry if I could not make up enough good stuff to counterbalance the negative stuff on this trip! I wish there were something good to give you about Saturday’s trip…but if you read the narrative of how and when things happened, I would think even the most optimistic of persons might understand that, at least on this particular day, something was terribly wrong with Magic Mountain. And sadly, Saturday's trip was consistent with my prior experiences---which honestly are not too different than you read from a lot of others when it comes to this park.

I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings or gave the impression that I'm an ogorous grump! If you indeed are the type of person that needs to have enough good to cancel out the bad…then indeed take all my reports with a grain of salt. I'm not the type of writer that can appease that type of need. I will never seek out balance. I rather seek out the truth in terms of extremely negative stuff AND extremely positive stuff.

As for your assertion that all my stuff (or most of it) is too negative…I must respectively take you to task. I’ve linked my last few reports. A quick scan reveals them to be positive for some stuff and negative for others. In fact, until this report, I left out the narratives and settled for raw emotion for my December stuff. I wrote them how I felt at that time. Believe me, I’ve no agenda. I’ve had good reviews on CB for Fiesta Texas, Sea World San Antonio, KBF, Bell’s, Schlitterbahn, Universal, Disney, …just to name a few off the top of my head. I do admit that last summer’s series of trip reports appeared negative on the whole, but I assume that the fact I was going to obscure parks that are not all that popular might skew the data a little bit…no? I mean there is usually a reason some of these parks are not too popular! I experienced a lot of those reasons firsthand and shared them with you. My private messages seem to indicate that a lot like what I offer. However, I'm always striving to do better.

Anyhow…I’ve included a few links to let the readers decide for themselves if I’m too negative in my reporting. My feelings are hurt a little bit as I pride myself on being fair and objective… :-) I hope you reassess your attitude toward my writings as I certainly do not desire to me "Mr. Negative." I prefer to be "Mr. Tell It Like It Is!"

*** Edited 2/21/2006 10:43:01 PM UTC by Jeffrey R Smith***

The view point that I see is that most trip reports are preaching the same ole thing about this and that that's messed up with the Magic Mountain. I'll be the first to tell you that SFMM was really let down by previous managment but fortunately this is a new year and new managment so they have to attack what they have.

eightdotthree said:

Great its clean, hooray. What about the rest? You are looking at a $75 day before you even get in the gate, the experience should match that price.

Sarcasm aside, With Magic Mountain being clean is a very big accomplishment because this park was nice and sh**y with trash all over the place and rusty looking rides. Nice touches like this is bringing that appeal back, well at least for me it is. My ticket was for $30 but the parking was $15, so I only paid $45. I don't know very many local peeps that ever pay full price to enter any park in California, especially not on a day when it's likely to rain and during off season.

The whole point I was making is that this is a new season with a lot of proposed changes that should benefit everyone for the good, but it seems that many of you don't want to allow that to happen, you would rather moan and complain before anything can take shape. Give these guys a chance to shake some stones then blast away, but anything before that is just making un-necessary noise that we've heard all too many times.

Six Flags is a Diamond in the rough!
I can assure you that I have no agenda. This report is what happened and what happened only! As I said...I have stock now! I certainly wish they would improve. Saturday...for anybody remotley touring the park in the manner we did...this place flat out sucked! Even after you and others defend Magic Mountain, I honestly can't think of something better to say beyond what I reported. I want to give you something to appease your need to see this park in glowing fashion, but I would have to lie to do so! I hope you understand...

I cannot attest to the supposed improvements as I did not experience those firsthand. I've read the recent reports and held small hope that the improvements would indeed materialize. The fact is that I have NEVER experienced a day without rude employees, multiple brekdowns of the rides advertised to run, and poor operations, etc! For me, this is the norm.

I'm glad to hear that you and others think improvements are being made. Maybe some day I'll get back there again to see this for myself. Of course...they will have to trick me into going again! :-) I'd rather be at the zoo or those parks down south!

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