Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California, USA
Saturday afternoon we left for the airport around 2 pm for my 3:15 flight to Vegas and then on to Burbank, California. I was flying Southwest for the first time and had a B22 boarding pass. The flight to Vegas was 100% full and I ended up in a middle seat in the 3rd row. The second leg of the flight was much less crowded with only 2 people per row. I arrived at Bob Hope airport shortly after 7 pm. After a short walk to the rental car check in followed by a shuttle ride and I was in my Dodge Caliber and heading to my hotel.
I drove up the 5 for about 30 miles and found my hotel without any issues. After checking in to the hotel I walked over to Denny’s for dinner. From the parking lot I could see the lights on many of the coasters since the park was right across the freeway from my hotel. After dinner I crashed pretty hard as I was still on east coast time.
I awoke early Sunday morning to a beautiful view of X2 out my window. I could see them already testing many coasters. The skies were clear I knew I was going to have a great day. After a quick workout I grabbed some breakfast in the hotel lobby and headed for the park. It was 9:30 when I pulled up to the parking gate with only 10 cars in front of me. I parked in the first row and jumped on the tram to head to the front gate.
At the gate I was in the front of the line to go through the turnstile that was in front of me. The staff was extremely friendly and were handing out park maps and answering questions before the gates had opened.
I knew I wanted to go to X2 first as I have heard that it can get long waits on a normal day. I walked to the ride being passed by tons of people running like the rides were going to disappear if they didn’t get there first. As I approached the attendant, they motioned me to go to the right and through the tunnel under the station. I walked to the top and to my surprise I had a seat on the first train of the day.
X2 was an interesting ride that felt very similar to Firehawk at Kings Island. I know they are extremely different rides, but the sensations were quite familiar. I enjoyed the ride but couldn’t rank it anywhere in my top ten steel coasters. 8/10
Next up was Tatsu, I was told that this coaster could also see longer lines but when I got there it was a walk on with many rows empty. I have been on all of the Superman flyers and the Vekoma Flying Dutchmans, this coaster blows them all away. The way the ride blends into the landscape was amazing. When I got back into the station my row was empty so I took another lap and then a third before I moved on to something new. 9.5/10
I walked over the hill and down to Apocalypse (formerly Terminator Salvation) for some GCI goodness. The queue was well themed and the ops were all in camo which added greatly to the effect. I don’t think I have seen specific ride uniforms anywhere outside of Disney. Again this coaster was a complete walk on so I grabbed the back row and was not disappointed. There are some nice pops of air and a really good head-chopper just after the first drop. When I got back to the station there were plenty of open rows so I moved up to the middle of the train and got a re-ride. At this time I have been in the park less than an hour and had 6 rides on 3 of the better coasters the park had to offer. 9/10
After getting off Apocalypse I took a quick lap on Gold Rusher. It was a typical Arrow mine train that was anything but memorable. At least it too was a walk on. If you haven’t picked up on this by now, January is great time to go to SFMM. 5/10
Riddler’s Revenge was next on the list and were I found the first crowd in the station. This B&M stand-up was only running one of its three trains. One was sent to Great Adventure for use on Chang/Green Lantern and the other was undergoing annual maintenance. The coaster was by far the best stand-up I have ever ridden, It seemed to go on forever and had many powerful elements. That being said, I had no desire for a re-ride. 9/10
Just around the corner was the Riddler’s arch enemy Batman the Ride. This was pretty much like every other Batman clone I have been on, short ride with lots of tight powerful elements. The back row only had one other person waiting so I grabbed the right wing seat with him on the other side. I mentioned about loving an empty park when he told me that he his gold flash pass was a total waste of money. He was right. When we got back to the station there were only a handful of people in the station so we stayed on for yet another re-ride. I could have gone for more, but I still had a lot of park to see so I moved on. 8/10
Next up was Scream, this B&M Floorless was in dire need of a paint job. The blue track and red supports were looking powdery and faded. As I got up to the station it was a bit fuller then most of the others, but since this is a 4 across seating I found a single couple to fill out their row. This could have been so much better of an experience if the park had done any landscaping. This is truly a parking lot coaster with the painted on lines still clearly evident. I was able to score a re-ride with some really cute girls. 8/10
I moved on to Goliath, this was the last of the major coasters on my list since Colossus, Déjà vu and Superman Escaper were closed for maintenance. This was my first Giovanola mega coaster and I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a fun ride with one of the most forceful helixes that I have ever been on. I had to fight to keep my arms up going through it. Again this was a walk-on and I did a total of 3 laps before leaving to go get some lunch. Yea that’s right I got all of this in before lunch. 9/10
I had been checking a few places to eat while I was walking from ride to ride. It seemed that if you wanted to eat it was going to cost at least $10. As I was leaving Goliath I noticed that the burger place near Toontown was quite busy with almost all of their tables full. I stopped in and notice their sign stating that all their burgers were 100% sirloin so I decided to give it a shot. I got a DBL cheeseburger platter with fries for $10.99 and a couple of cups of water. This was one of the best burgers I have had a park. It was quite tasty and very large. It reminded me of the burgers that I would get at Max & Erma’s. 9/10
After lunch I wanted to grab the rest of the coaster credits so I headed to Canyon blaster for my kiddie credit. This was your typical Miler kiddie coaster. 3/10
I walked toward the front of the park and was heading to Revolution when I spotted their 1912 carousel. When we are a new park, we always try to ride the carousel so I wanted to keep that tradition alive. This one while old didn’t have much charm and the decorations seemed quite sparse for a ride of this era. I got on to my horse and was required to wear a seatbelt. This is such a load of wooden horse crap to make adults wear a seat belt on a carousel. What I didn’t realize when I got on was that there was nobody else on the ride. Yes the park was that dead that I got a Zen ride on the carousel. 4/10
Revolution’s entrance was right next door to the carousel so I took a quick lap on this head-banger. I had expected a lot more from this Schwarzkopf since I loved Mind Bender at SFoG. The big difference is that Revolution has over the shoulder restraints. It kills the ride IMO. I could have re-ridden in any seat other than the front row, but chose not to. 4/10
Just up the stairs was Viper. I was not looking forward to this after just getting off a head-banger but to my surprise this Arrow looper was decently smooth with just one ouch during the entire lap. Still I had had enough. 6/10
Since I was in the area I decided to go back to X2 for another lap. It was again a walk on with a half empty station. This time I waited for the front row (1 train wait) and it was well worth it. The views were much better and the forcers seemed stronger if not a little rougher. This lap I sat on the outer seat where on the first lap I sat next to the track. This raised its rank a bit, but still not cracking my top ten steel coasters. 9/10
Ninja was the only coaster that was open that I had not ridden. I intended to correct that. I climbed the stairs to the top of the “mountain” where I found my first significant line of the day. The station was full and the line was almost back to the entrance, but none of the switchbacks were open. I would guess about a 20 minute wait. As I got up to the loading area I noticed that the line for the front was the same length as all the others. With that being said, you know where I was headed. The ride was quite fun and would rank better than Iron Dragon, but not as good Big Bad Wolf. 7/10
It was now just after 3:00 pm and I had all the coaster credits. I wanted to go up in the Sky Tower but I guess it was closed. The queue was open but the elevator never came down. I waited for 1 minutes before giving up and taking the “Orient Express” down the hill. From here I started re-riding with 3 more laps on Apocalypse without leaving the station only changing seats. The lines had started to get a little longer because many of the coasters had been taken down to one train operations. The only other one that I wanted to ride again was Riddler’s Revenge which is a real surprise since I normally dislike stand-up coasters. That is how good this one is. I walked around the park some more but I had my fill of riding so I decided to leave the park an hour before it closed and get to the airport a bit early.
My day at Six Flags Magic Mountain was one of the best park days I have had. I only wish I could have had my family with me on this trip.
Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.
Great TR, Dave. Very enlightening.
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I've always thought that the 4D concept felt like Arrow's (very complicated) version of a Vekoma flyer, too. I don't know what it is about it, but I wasn't really impressed the couple of times I rode X many years ago. I think if it stayed closer to the ground for a greater duration, and played with your body orientation that way, it might make it more effective.
Couldn't agree more with your sentiments on Riddler. It's a fantastic ride.
It's the only stand-up I've ever been on that I really enjoyed, and not just thought it was good "for a stand-up."
I feel that way about Scorcher (Well, I loved me some King Kobra, but that's hard to talk about ;). I'm not a huge fan of Riddler. It's fun, but more of the same. I actually rank Scorcher and King Kobra both above it.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
King Cobra (assuming you're talking about the one at Kings Island) is still to this day one of my favorite rides. The two airtime hills on that were just bliss. Particularly the one right after the loop.
But I do agree that Riddler's Revenge is just a flat-out fun stand-up.
I call Cedar Point my home park even though I live in the Chicago Suburbs.
I'm heading there the same weekend in 2012 in January. I hope It's all good and happy with maintenance issues. Did you see a need for a flash pass when you were there?
I was out there the weekend after Dave. Saturday that weekend was moderately busy (45 minute wait for X2, 30 minutes for Tatsu) but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact it was 75 degrees and sunny. Sunday was just as Dave described it as far as crowds go. It was overcast and did sprinkle a little bit through the day so that really kept crowds down.
In response to your Flash Pass inquiry I'd strongly recommend that you wait until you get to the park and then gauge if it's necessary. The weather seems to be a determining factor as to what crowds will be like as well, as both SFMM and Knotts were both dead on that overcast Sunday.
Also, if you have a Discover card you'll usually get in a few minutes early by waiting in the Discover card entrance line. I've seen reports of people getting in up to 10 minutes early, which will be a huge plus as you'll get a monster head start on the people running to X2.
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