RickUK’s Great Adventure

Sunday, May 17, 2015 9:19 PM
Rick_UK's avatar

Firstly - this was on a bin in a line, made me laugh.

Well then… I am home, refreshed and very tired, but I would like to share with you details of my day at Great Adventure on Thursday (14). Firstly, I’d very much like to thank YoshiFan for his assistance during the planning of my trip.

In short – I had a fantastic time, it was tremendous. I won’t do a blow by blow account of the day, more of an overview of various bits and bobs.

Before visiting SFGAdv, my experience with Six Flags was limited to visiting Six Flags Holland and Walibi Wavre – now de-flagged and run much better than they were during the ill-fated Six Flags European experiment.

Provided by NJ Transit from Port Authority, I did a bit of research about this and it seemed the best way was to get the bus ($12.50) – I was told they didn’t really run on a schedule, just that they ran as and when required, but that there were no buses after 9.30am – but that they could start as early as 7.30am. So, I took my chances, go to PA for 7.15am….. and the first bus didn’t leave until 9.05am (should have gone at 9am but the driver was stuck in the line at Dunkin’ Donuts…).


Best day of the trip, 29 degrees Celsius, not sure what that is in your dinosaur metric.


No problems here, quick bag check. Security guy was very pleasant but did take two cans of Pepsi off me – didn’t realise this was the rule, but whatever, in we went. I didn’t realise what a pain in the ass my bag was going to become with the Six Flags locker policy, in hindsight I wish I hadn’t taken one, I probably didn’t need one, thinking about it.

First Impressions

The park looked great in the sunshine! The entrance plaza was full of staff welcoming guests with costume characters and a great fountain at the end of the midway – the park felt pretty alive and the hundreds of school kids who were visiting ran past me, as I grabbed a park map to see what was what.

The Coasters

First up was Nitro - reminded me a lot of Silver Star. Running three trains and pretty much only stacking due to the lack of people in the park. Crew was pretty good getting those trains out. Solid ride overall, looked a little tired but rode extremely well.

Over to Batman – The Ride. Wow, those Batman clones are intense, I don’t think it’s quite as good as Nemesis, but it’s certainly a solid coaster, nice setting, too. Again, was running two trains, more often than not half full throughout most of the day.

I skipped Dark Knight earlier in the day, but returned later. It’s a nice idea, but I imagine it doesn’t quite live up to what you have in mind, if you’re unaware of what’s inside that (very pretty) building. Car stopped about two third of the way around, so got a nice look of the place with the lights on.

Bizarro – again, running three trains – for no apparent reason, if I worked for SF maintenance I would put my foot down and stop them running three trains on days like today, not only does the park not provide the staff to run this thing properly with that number of trains, the staff were waiting for punters to enter the station to fill the trains – crazy. Great floorless, we don’t have any of these rides in the UK and very few in Europe, so a nice change. The fireballs caught be off guard, I thought these were long gone – cool addition!

Mine Train – some brutal transitions, but fun. Again, two trains – cycling half empty.

El Toro – Wow. Sensational. Best ride ever, surely. Crazy, crazy, crazy. A much better implementation than Collosus at Heide Park, perhaps Intamin learnt some stuff along the way. The station is a bit long, so the back rows were a 0/1 train wait, so I didn’t ride any further forward than car four.

Kingda Ka – that thing bounces around the track! One lap was enough, good fun – for sure but I am not sure it’s any better than Stealth, which as you may know is just a mini version of it. Three trains running on here with a very enthusiastic and attentive crew.

Superman – better than Air, but I still don’t think the flying thing is for me, it’s a cool idea, but I just don’t think it really lends itself to making a great ride.

Green Lantern – I thought I would echo what I had thought about flyers, but WOW! I loved this ride. Sure, it doesn’t look pretty and it’s painful to load – but not so much to ride. Great fun! Seemed popular, too.

Skull Mountain - Nearly forgot this one, was alright! Not sure what else was supposed to happen but it was essentially just whizzing around in silence in the dark?

Other Rides

Houdini’s Whatever It’s Called. Probably the laziest implementation of mad house that I’ve seen. Hex & Villa Volta are the winners in this category, but I doubt that SF planned to get anywhere near either of those rides, and they didn’t.

Sky Flyer - these are great rides, it's a shame the planners in the UK don't like anything over 100ft at most of our parks.

I didn’t ride a lot else, if I am honest. The drop tower was closed, as I had expected it to be so and I don’t particularly like flats. The Log Flume looks great – but felt a little odd riding it on my own, so didn’t.

The Safari was good times – not really my thing, but I thought it was a pretty outstanding attraction for what I guess is a regional park – good times.


I had dinner plans back in NYC so just grabbed a pizza slice and fries, followed later in the day by a churro. Not cheap, didn't expect it to be.

In Conclusion

I don’t really get the hate, after my visit – I’d love for this park to be my home park. It has a solid collection of coasters (if you like B&Ms, especially). Two extremely unique Intamin rides.

In terms of cleanliness, there was a ton of people out in the park cleaning up, park was clean and although some of the paving and painting looks a little tired, everything appeared to be pretty well looked after – or at least not in a state of abandonment.

In terms of capacity – every coaster had all its trains in operation, all day – when they weren’t really warranted, an odd (but pleasant) find, given the park’s reputation. The Drop Tower has been closed for a few weeks now and the Top Spin looked dead. Everything else (bar rapids – closed till Memorial Day) was open, again – on full capacity. Hats of to Six Flags, in that respect.

So, was it worth skipping out of a day in NYC for the visit? Sure! When I arrived in NYC, I figured I wouldn’t get everything done in six months, let alone six days, so it felt OK to save some stuff for another visit somewhere down the road.

Thanks for reading and thanks for hosting me in your wonderful country, I had a blast!

New job starts in six hours, oops. Night all – I’ll leave you with a few photos - nothing much.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Sunday, May 17, 2015 10:28 PM

Great report and pictures. I'm glad to hear your trip to the park was good.

It sounds like the effects at Skull Mountain weren't working. There is supposed to be music during the ride and there are some props like tiki masks and pumpkins that are supposed to be lit up but aren't always are. There is also supposed to be a section of track at the bottom of the first drop that glows but the lights also aren't always turned on the track there either.

Sunday, May 17, 2015 10:57 PM
kpjb's avatar

Nice to get a fresh viewpoint on the park. I had a similar experience to yours on my only time there.


Sunday, May 17, 2015 11:16 PM

Ah, I'm so excited to head there for my first time on my Western Pennsylvania tour later this month!

Great TR! :D

Sunday, May 17, 2015 11:17 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Yes. It was interesting to get a new perspective on the park...rather than the tired old cliches enthusiasts have been spouting since forever.

I suspect the average SF visitor (AKA "The GP") sees the park in a very similar way.

And, like kpjb, your experience seems to mirror what I tend to find at Six Flags parks as well.

Sunday, May 17, 2015 11:34 PM

Curious: how does a tour of western PA get you to New Jersey?

Anyway, I enjoyed my one and only time at SFGA. I thought it was very Flags-ish but you'll have that whenever you visit any park in any specific chain, right? It's an older park and I was particularly interested in that aspect of it and I thought the coaster collection was good. Having it as my home park would be not totally heinous.

I enjoyed the Mad House, but I like rides like that, and wonder why we don't see more. Vekoma seems to have taken an old, simple concept and complicated it somewhat, but the illusion is still there and I can get quite lost in it.
If I ever get to Europe I'll look forward to trying the better ones.

Sunday, May 17, 2015 11:47 PM

RCMAC said:

Curious: how does a tour of western PA get you to New Jersey?

Oops! I meant Eastern - Dorney, Hershey, Knoebels and SFGAdv!

Monday, May 18, 2015 1:20 AM
LostKause's avatar

I really like their log flume a lot. I rode it many times during my last visit.

The safari ride was cool, but it was very bumpy when I rode it. I still enjoyed seeing the animals in such an environment.

Did you get to ride their new looping ride? Did you see it operating? I read a headline recently that it was open, or opening very soon, or something.

No comment on the closed drop ride, except to say I'm not surprised.

Monday, May 18, 2015 10:37 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

And, like kpjb, your experience seems to mirror what I tend to find at Six Flags parks as well.

Ditto. I've been to the park a few times now (as well as other Six Flags parks), and loved it. The last time I had a poor Six Flags experience was 10 years ago at Magic Mountain. I guess I just tend to see the brighter side of things :).


Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Monday, May 18, 2015 12:51 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

What's wrong with Zumanjaro (or whatever it's called)?

Thanks for the TR. After having GAdv. as my home park for 4 years, it's nice to hear the take of someone with fresh eyes. Especially someone who isn't jaded by the previous regime.

And Skull Mountain has a serious pop of air on the first drop in the back. A tip for "next time."

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Monday, May 18, 2015 2:00 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I don't think there's anything 'wrong' with Zumanjaro, I do know it can't be cycled while Ka is cycling, so they stagger, but word is they've went to the state and there is a fix in the works, so maybe it's down for that.


Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Monday, May 18, 2015 6:21 PM
Rick_UK's avatar

LostKause said:

Did you get to ride their new looping ride? Did you see it operating? I read a headline recently that it was open, or opening very soon, or something.

It was the press opening until 2pm, then it was a preview event for season pass holders, so no ride for me. Not sure I would have done so, to be honest.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Monday, May 18, 2015 10:01 PM

Zumanjaro has been having problems all season. It was ok on opening weekend after that it had multiple breakdowns that were small but the ride usually reopened later. On April 27th, as the gondolas were going to dispatch, they unloaded the riders and had the mechanics check something with the gondolas and it never reopened that night (I was sitting in the gondola when this happened). On May 1st and May 8th, it was closed the entire time I was at the park. This past Friday, there was someone at the entrance with the height check stick rather than just a ride closed sign with no worker there and they thought it might open but never did and never tested.


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