Thursday, July 12, 2001 6:51 PM
I got to the park as it opened, at 10am. It was extremely overcast and seemed like it was going to rain, but suddenly at 1pm, the clouds dissipated and it got hot. Which made for a nice day with no crowds.
I used to work at PGA, when I was in high school. So I have basically tried to avoid it ever since. It didn't really get anything new to make me want go back until Stealth.
Stealth : After a brisk walk, I was able to walk on to Stealth. The second train was at the brake block so I didn't even get to see a train run the course, or even get a good look at the layout. Which made it even better. It's hard to even describe the Flying Dutchman-style coaster because it's just so different. What really counts as an inversion on this coaster? Is it when the track goes upside-down or when you do?
The anticipation as the seat tips back is completely out of control. Something I haven't felt since riding my first inversion. (which was the Revolution at SFMM 20 years ago) I was actually uncertain of how this ride was going to feel.
The web belt harnesses are great. Well, I thought so the first time I rode. The second time mine was too tight and a little uncomfortable, since it makes it tougher to breath. But I would gladly take a system like this that normal OTSR's. This was still a rough Vekoma but it was harder to tell with no horse collars. There is also a huge lap bar and shin cover.
The feeling you experience when it flips you over to face the ground is insane. It's so new and different all I could do was yell "SHIIIII" but couldn't finish as I lost my breath at the bottom of the first drop. The G forces you feel are also completely new, as no ride that I recall has ever put so much force into the restraints. But it's totally painless and thrilling.
In fact the dives were what I like the most on this ride. The loop is interesting, the corkscrews at the end are cool (but the roughest part of the ride as expected) but the dives are unlike anything else. None of them are that steep but they don't need to be. The second dive brings you perilously close to the roof of a shed (I think the photo booth actually) for a great collision effect.
This is by far the best ride in the park. It just leaves you wondering where they can go with this new style. When will someone else make one with the wheels on the outside, for a smoother ride. The roughness is tolerable, but for this kind of ride, I think it should be smooth and silent to give more of a flying feeling. (c'mon B&M, please...) The next 3 times I went on it all had 15 minute waits. Just awesome. Oh, and be sure to check out all the ride photos. Since it's at the bottom of a drop, everybody is at their worst, screaming, blood rushing to the head, just great looking. Also, I can't wait to go on X-Flight, as I should be visiting Ohio in September.
Top Gun: If you are a fan of B&M coasters (who isn't?) then this one is a necessary ride. It's just so different from all the other coasters they've made. It follows the landscape very well, and keeps you close to the ground (and water) for a good portion of the ride. Of course it's also ridiculously short, but I like the slanted helix after the loop and the helix over the water at the end.
The insane part is that when I walked into the loading area, I had to rub my eyes. There was no line for the front seat, no line for the back seat, but 2 lines of 4 people each for the middle seats. What?!
Greased Lightning : Now that this isn't called Tidal Wave anymore, and that they built a motion-machine theatre in front of it, people don't even know it exists. There has never been a long line on this ride for at least 10 years (when it was Tidal Wave, you may remember that there was about 3 hours worth of queue space with semi-elaborate themeing. What were they smoking when they built that much?)
It's a Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop, the old weight drop kind. This one just isn't as good anymore because they have really gone nuts on the brakes in the station on your backwards pass. You hardly make it up the back tower at all, and the front car barely makes it out of the station (nowhere up the tower.) That's just sad, this ride used to be cooler. Oh and they put seatbelts in the cars. Shame on whoever did that, or whoever complained enough to make them do that. The one at KBF is a flywheel driven kind, which give you a more intense and sudden (and loud) launch. This weight drop type gives you a more gradual but longer(more pulling time)launch, which is also much quieter. I think both have their good points.
Invertigo: I like the good amount of Gs you get on this ride, but I always thought that it made Vekoma look like the most mindless company. Couldn't they change the layout a little from the old Boomerangs? There was no wait when I went on 3 times today. The front and back seats are quite different rides, but I never really got into these rides. Even though I loved the Boomerang when it first came out.
Vortex: A decent B&M standup, although outrageously short. At least the helix goes through the loop. It also snakes side to side quite a bit for a standup, giving some decent laterals.
Oh, but they were running only one train, so there was a wait! In fact, 20 minutes worth! C'mon, they were even running 2 trains on Grizzly, what is going on?
Demon: They were also only running one train on this old Arrow coaster. That caused an agonizing 30 minute wait for the oldest coaster in the park.
They removed the scenery from the loops! There used to be some cool looking fake rock formations, one of which went through one of the loops! I have no clue why they would take that out, since this ride has nothing else. They put some trees at the bottom of the drop to help make up for it.
I always thought this was one of the worst Arrow coasters, since it does nothing. It just drops, does two loops, turns around, does a double corkscrew, does another turn, and then hits the brakes. There is a long tunnel between the loops and the turn, but it's straight and not very exciting. There is also a pointless tunnel before the lift, that is so short that it's not even dark. Even the original Corkscrew had more turns. They tried to help the boring layout with all the scenery, as there is another cave you go through before the corkscrews(there's also a waterfall to the right of the cave entrance.) The coaster is worth going on, but don't expect to be blown away.
Psycho Mouse: Great family coaster. I wish the first brake didn't slow you down so much, it kind of ruins the last few hairpin turns. There are 2 other brakes up there, why don't they use those to keep a nice speed, rather than slow you down a whole bunch early. But the first two hairpins give quite a bit of lateral Gs. And the first drop even gives a little more airtime than you'd expect. Still, I've been on far superior mouse coasters, even Mulholland Madness is better.
Grizzly: I just don't like this coaster. Which is weird, since I love wooden coasters. This one is just intolerably boring and unimaginative. None of the drops are steep, and all of the turns take too long, so all the intensity is ruined. At the bottom of the first drop, it suddenly banks to the left(but doesn't turn) before climbing up the second hill, which is a little unusual.
And you've all heard about the roughness. I rode in the very back to look at the track, and saw huge gaps in the track. Is this normal? Some were 1/4" thick, but some slanted gaps were easily 1/2" or more. The slanted gaps were only a deep as the steel itself, but some of the straight gaps went down a couple boards or so. When I saw it roll out of the station, you can see some of these boards near the gaps fly up and down and rattle against each other. This is obviously what makes this ride insanely rough, much rougher than any wooden coaster I've been on, and I've been on alot. The main thing that makes this one annoying is that the turns are slow, but rough, like they intended for you to feel the bumpiness for as long as possible. And it's a jarring roughess, one that makes your teeth rattle at times.
Oh yeah, they put seatbelts in. Why? There is no drop steep enough to give you any feeling of coming out of your seats, no real bunny hops, no good airtime. Seatbelts just hold you tighter to the seat for, well, more roughness. If this coaster was supposed to be a throwback to older coasters (although almost all old woodies I've been on were also the smoothest ones) then adding the seatbelts ruined it.
They took out the train circling the park, probably to expand the central plaza. This involved taking out that hill where the huge clock was, and making it all flat. The plaza is now enormous, and they put in a yo-yo which looks nice next to the huge carousel. They took out one of the log rides, the Yankee Clipper, to make way for Stealth. I don't think they changed the layout of the Log Jammer too much, it's essentially the same thing. They also recently took out Captain Skyhawk (probably when they expanded the plaza) and put in Euro-bungee, which is a gigantic version of those bungee-trampolines (I mean huge, it was easy to do double and triple flips on these) which is good because Captain Skyhawk was garbage. Drop Zone (Intamin 2nd generation freefall) had no line but I still miss The Edge (1st generation freefall) which was removed a few years ago. There is just something about those old Intamins that was truly frightening and never got old.
Overall this is a much better value than SFMW, just because there are more rides and coasters. None of the coasters besides Stealth really stand out, however.
*** This post was edited by djansi on 7/12/2001. ***
*** This post was edited by djansi on 7/13/2001. ***