Offseason, begone! (SFFT, 3/7/04)

Associated parks:
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Monday, March 8, 2004 12:37 PM
Wasn't it Keats, or Yeats... or someone, who once wrote:

Oh, shiny behemoth,
Throw off your cloak of winter'd downy snow,
And launch forth your screaming human cargo.

Ah, yes - Ode to Opening Weekend.

Similar to those McDonald's commercials where the burger-hungry husband uses the flimsiest of excuses to get out of the house to pick up more burgers, I offered to pick up a package for my fiancee in San Antonio and, perhaps, on the drive back, stop by Fiesta Texas for a few... or six or seven hours to break in ye olde season pass.

I got to the park around 11 am, and it was about as crowded as it would get all day, which is slightly above "deserted." The new Tornado slide looked to be almost complete, although its stairway didn't connect to anything just yet. It's a great visual addition to the front of the park, though.

Like a lemming to a cliff, I headed straight for Superman Krypton Coaster, and walked right onto a 7th row seat. Four years old, and it's still running as smooth as glass. Need I even say it? Love the zero-G roll. And whatever I said about zero-G rolls in that General Buzz thread from a while back, I take back. Left side or right side, I was floating all the way through that thing. Upgrade.

After an obligatory second walk-on ride on S:KC, I made my way over to Scream, which was also a walk-on. But the launch was thoroughly disappointing - I got zero airtime. But at least I wasn't on the other of the two operating towers, which didn't even make it over two-thirds of the way up. What's with these S&S towers? With the exception of the Big Shot in Vegas, I haven't experienced launch airtime in a long time. Serious downgrade.

I took a spin on Poltergeist next, which was as fast and crazy as ever. I sat in car 4, which helped reduce the upper body-tossing I remembered from sitting in the back of the train when it first got its lap restraints. Upgrade.

Mind you, SFFT is a pretty small park. On a day when the park is empty, which seems to happen a lot, you can pretty much ride everything in an hour. And I mean everything. So, omitted for your reading pleasure are all accounts of me milling around, taking pictures, eating food, and watching shows.

Fast-forward to Roadrunner Express, which was, as you could guess, a walk-on. Cripes, these trains were going out with about 8 riders, tops. I had the 2nd car entirely to myself. Which was good, or else someone would've heard me utter an audible "whee" at a few points in the ride. Um... can I go with level-grade?

And, feeling a wave of masochism overcome me, I decided to hop on The Rattler just once... just once, to see if it had improved any. By this time in the day, I had ridden everything, and figured that I might as well suffer a spine injury after riding everything else. But the top third of the snake-coil helix had been retracked, so I figured that that was at least a few hundred feet of the ride that wouldn't be too unbearable. There were about as many people going out on Rattler's trains as there were on Roadrunner's... not a good sign. I sat in the 2nd car, hoping the front of the train might provide a smoother ride. Of course, my restraint only came down to about 6 inches above my legs, so at least I wouldn't be pinned to the seat.

The first and second drops actually weren't too bad. Rough, but I've experienced worse. And, indeed, the retracked part of the helix was... sort of smoother. I don't know if I ever knew exactly what the "defensive riding position" was... until the latter part of the helix, when I quickly learned on my own. Since my restraint was hardly restraining anything, I sat way forward in my seat, and thus avoided a bunch of fore-aft jackhammering. I was also prepared for the severe braking at the exit of the helix, something that always sends new riders' heads toward the headrest in front of them. I could be wrong, but it also looked as if some of the track in the tunnel had been retracked as well. But it didn't really make a difference. Rattler's about as low on my list as it can get, trumped only by Mean Streak. I guess I'll go with an upgrade... you can't really downgrade Rattler any further.

Since my spine survived that experience, I thought a few more rides on Superman would be appropriate to close out the day. Ah... zero-G goodness.

Overall, it was a nice day at the park. Beautiful weather, and you can't beat the utter lack of crowds. At times, I could see more park personnel walking around than patrons. Of course, the teen girl squads were out in force, roaming the park, wearing identical too-small t-shirts. Their contribution to the ambience is critical, however. I needed to hear someone come off Superman muttering, "that ride is tight."

On a side note, I've never been to any shows at any other parks, so I have no basis for comparison, but I was pretty underwhelmed with the shows I saw yesterday, especially for a park that consistently wins the Golden Ticket award for best shows. The Festival Folklorico mariachi band was terrific, but they deserve a much better venue than a few hundred feet from Boomerang: Coast to Coaster. The Rockville High show had great singing, but terrible backing music, almost as if they're singing to muzak. And Retro Fever at Sangerfest Halle... I mean, it's hard enough to perform for a room full of people eating junk food, but it doesn't get easier singing very sterile versions of disco classics. I'm just surprised there isn't more live music... I mean, up here in Austin, they've got live music in the airport. They're practically giving it away!

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Monday, March 8, 2004 12:43 PM

Olsor said:Of course, the teen girl squads were out in force

SAILING MISHAP!

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Thursday, March 11, 2004 5:12 PM

Olsor said:
I needed to hear someone come off Superman muttering, "that ride is tight."

...momentarily ashamed at the realization that tight is indeed part of my vocabulary.

-BB

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