Nor Cal Adventure: Part 1 of 3- PGA

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Monday, August 12, 2002 8:46 PM

Hello everyone, I just returned from my first trip up North August 7-12th. I went to PGA, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Six Flags Marine World.
I will write the TR's for SCBB and SFMW in the next few days...

As for PGA I went on Thursday August 8. We arrived at about 10:30, when the park opened at 10. The park was not too crowded as we arrived, and crowds were good for us all day.

Strategy of ride order wasn't a big deal for me, since I was going with my family and I would be at the park all day. As a result, the first ride of the day was on the Grizzly. I'm not sure that I liked anything about this ride. The tracking on the ride was horrible, it felt like the train couldn't make any solid contact with the rails. Needless to say, this one didn't impress.

Right next door in the back of the park was Psycho Mouse. My mouse experience was limited to DCA's Mullholland Madness and a good Wild Mouse at the Orange County Fair. This one surpassed both of those, and struck me as a great ride for both families and thrillseekers alike. I loved the "cheesy" station and the mouse cars. Here is one reason to miss Arrow...

Next up was Demon. If it sounds like we are hitting the "not so thrilling rides" first, thats pretty much true, but I like it that way, so that the best can be saved for last. Regarding Demon, the ride was average, but enjoyable. The rocks and waterfall theming was very cool, and I liked the two loops in a row off the lift. I was pleasently surprised with its smoothness.

As a direct comparison to one of my hometown favorites, Montezooma's Revenge, Greased Lightning is downright awful. I didn't think it was possible to ruin a Shwarzkopf coaster, but PGA certainly succeded. I feel that putting the brakes on in the return through the station did this. Its just strange to not see the train get onto the steep angled part of the track. Worse was the weight drop launch. The train seems to just roll out of the station, which is odd compared to Monte where you seriously rocket out of the station. I suppouse it just feels strange when you try to compare the two.

Now we move up to the highlight rides, starting with Top Gun. Previously, I had been on Raptor and Batman, and enjoyed both very much, so I had high expectations for this one. Sitting in the front (as with any B&M invert) is a must. The view and flying sensation is unparalleled from up there. One thing about Top Gun that took me by surprise was the intensity. I think I had a little gray out at the bottom of the drop, which hasn't happened to me before. The helix at the end over the pond scum water was very intense. Overall, the ride was a little short, but well designed and very good (though I still prefer both Batman and Raptor).

Vortex was next, and after riding several other B&M stand-up's I hoped this one could live up. I realize that this one came much earlier than Mantis and Riddler's, but after those two, this one seemed a little to tame. Aside from that, I experienced the typical troubles with the stand up restraints. By no means is this a bad ride, but when you have experienced the other two that I mentioned, this one can't quite match up.

Next on my list was the ride that I hoped would make my day at PGA, Stealth. It was also my longest wait of the day at 60 minutes. After the hour wait in very hot weather, watching what might be the slowest loading procedure around only raised the expectations for the ride. Needless to say, it wasn't very good. I'm going to go ahead and say that the Vekoma rattle took charge here, as well as the silly loading procedures added up to a ride that was average at best. Perhaps the foremost complaint I had about it is the lack of "flying time." The whole ride seems to be spent upside down, and that really seems beside the point on a flying coaster. I do realize that this was the prototype and I am sure that X-Flight and Batwing are better, but Stealth really didn't do much for me. One thing I did like about it was the "whole body chopper" above what I think was a walkway cover. That was pretty good, which tells me that more time flying could have really helped out an average ride.

My final coaster at PGA was Invertigo. It was broken for most of the day, but when it finally opened, I went right to it. The line was long and slow moving, and once again very hot. But the ride made up for all of that. I sat on the backside of the front car (facing backwards on the first lift). I was afraid it would be an average Boomerang (which I don't typically like) but I was so very wrong. I loved Invertigo! The headbanging was certainly there, but with those wierd pads extending from the OTSR's that wasn't an issue. The face/off seating configuration was a blast, though I didn't know the people sitting across from me, they were very friendly and I enjoyed seeing their reactions during the drops. This was the surprise ride of the day; I was very impressed. (Don't go thinking I like Vekoma suspended coasters, I will get to Kong soon enough)!

That is it for PGA's coasters. I tried to ride the Green Slime Mine Coaster (shameless, I know), but the ride op declared that I was too tall. I figured that most ops were pretty nonchalant there so they wouldn't mind, but apparently not so.

The Action Theatre was okay, I only saw the 7th Portal, not Meteor Attack (new this season). I admit that I had no clue what happened in the film, but I still thought it was a good show, and worth viewing once.

The Log Flume was okay at PGA. I enjoyed the views of Stealth from that perspective. It was kind of funny when I actually slipped off the side of the seat during the drop.

Here are the wait times and lap counts for PGA:

Demon (morning)-walk on 1 lap
Grizzly (morning)- walk on 1 lap
Psycho Mouse (morning)- 5 minutes 1 lap
Top Gun- (all day)- 15 minutes to 20 minutes 3 laps
Vortex- (morning)- 20 minutes (later)- walk on 3 laps
Stealth- (afternoon)- 60 minutes 1 lap
Invertigo- (afternoon)- 40 minutes 1 lap

That is today's TR for PGA.
I have a question however: why do very few of their coasters have a roof over their station? That just seems odd to me, as I haven't seen another park that builds like that.

I wish more of their queues were shaded, as it was in the mid 90's and very sunny on the day we went.

The landscaping was very nice all around the park, and the rides that had some theming were pretty decent (Top Gun and Demon).

Keep an eye out for my next TR from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk...
Thanks for reading!


*** This post was edited by CoasterFanMatt on 8/13/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by CoasterFanMatt on 8/13/2002. ***

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Monday, August 12, 2002 9:10 PM
Great TR! I enjoyed it being PGA is my favorite park for no pacticualr reason, the reason they don't have alot of covered stations is because it's not very hot in Santa Clara, mid 90's is very hot for that area, but this time of year it has a chance to get that hot. It is mainly 70-80 all summer in the Bay area, even in Silicon Valley, if you think about it though, a decent number have covered stations, it's just the ones liek Ivertigo, where you wait for a while, that don't and the heat just boils on and on, That cover on Stealth's break run was just added this year before daily operation started to.

Too bad you didn't get a spin on Deliruium, when I went I didn't get one ethier!

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See THE ULTIMATE in Orlando TR'S! Right now in the TR fourm!

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Monday, August 12, 2002 9:23 PM

I see what you mean about the covered stations. I think it was unseasonably hot when I was up there. Apparently they were record-breaking temperatures for the area!

I am a little dissapointed about Delerium. I just kept walking by it with the intention of trying it later, and never really got around to doing it.

One more thing I thought was strange was the early closing times at PGA and SFMW, 8 PM seems way early when compared to my usual parks in So Cal that close at 10 on a weeknight.

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Xcelerator-
0-82 in 2.3 seconds! =Wow!

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Tuesday, August 13, 2002 1:42 AM

The thing about Greased Lightning is PGA didn't ruin it. It was built that way, and has been that way since it's opening. That's the difference between a drop weight and fly wheel coaster.

The trip back to the station is a bit faster than Monte, and the train hits the back spike immediately , where as Monte was built with space to allow for more speed to burn off.

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"Escuse me, can you tell me where the heck the Mystery Lodge is"?

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Tuesday, August 13, 2002 10:09 AM
I agree that shade in the queue lines needs to be added. Even if its not that hot I think it would be appreciated by park guests. Seems like you had a good time. Great TR.

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I'd rather being riding coasters... or playing Halo:)

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