SF St. Louis 6/2/11

Thursday, June 9, 2011 12:25 PM

The day prior to HWN, I got my first visit to the park. It was also my first SF visit since a disastrous (operations way) day at SFMM circa Solace '05.

I came way with an overall very favorable impression of the park, and SF (assuming this was an example of current ops). Ride ops were actually engaging. Every staff member waved pleasantly at the train riders as the cars went by, and the bathrooms and grounds were kept near immaculate. Many coasters had two train operations that may not have even needed it. OMG, did SF finally "get it"? I know the reports were indicating as much, but this was the best SF experience I've ever had, even better than when I thought they were doing pretty good (which, prior to this visit, seemed like ancient history).

Not everything went smooth, with the ops at Superman: ToP being the weakest link; really could have used Anne Robinson at that point. More on them later.

After standing in the Guest Relations line to get a comp pass (I had a SFMM season Pass voucher that I had been unable to activate yet), I wonder if these lines move fast anywhere, for any chain. The short line still was an interminable wait. Finally in. Got platinum flash pass, which means we can ride twice in a row if we wanted. So even if a had a minimal wait, we would use it just to be able to get our two rides in and then move on. Also got our refillable SF cups.

And was paid a flash-visit (not that kind of flash, gotta go back to SRM '03 for that) by Nasai. My old friend was pretty convincing in his stating that he was not doing a HWN trip. I saw Dave and Jim, and was saying hello when someone's hands covered my eyes and asked me to guess who else was there, lol! This just minutes after a phone call while on the way there where he explained why he wasn't going to be there. Nice!
I would spent more time with Nasai later during the trip, but it was a great way to kick the weekend off. :)

First, we headed to The Boss. Very back row. Loved It! Nearly had a religulous experience on the final helix; smooth, IMO, and intense! Could've switched seats for the second ride, but no way was I walking away from that; I'll get a front row on my next visit (and rest assured, this is a park I plan to return to). The Boss was a great first coaster on an awesome trip.

Mr Freeze. What can I say that hasn't been said before? Yes, I agree that tophats are waaaaay more fun when they are inverted. I especially liked going backwards through it; love the air! Another great ride. I'm beginning to wonder why this park isn't talked up more...

Pandamonium: my first Gerstlauer spinner. The weight distribution methos was not quite the same as, say, the Mack at Knotts. That way did not get much spinning at all. Thank goodness the Plat FP allowed us to try again, with a different configuration. Maximum spinning followed, and the ride shot up my rankings. For a family coaster I felt it was exceptionally good. I loved going through all the banked turns spinning at high speed. Way better than the mack or reverchron models I've ridden.

Ninja. Even up front is was a brain rattler that I had no intention of re-riding. Followed by Batman. These things don't age overly well. Ouch, ouch, ouch, IMO. No re-rides either as my head was saying it was time for a break.

After the log ride and Scooby Do (which I enjoyed) it was time for Evil K. Holy Crap, does that thing haul!! Fun, intense, and rough in all the right ways. Mightily impressed with this machine. Must return to this park even if this was the only coaster they had.

RKMT: credit lap, though the final drop was fun. It actually blew my cap off (oh well, I though), but the people behind me caught it (in the face, no less. But we all laughed about it).

Final coaster was Screamin' Eagle. Fun enough, but not as good as the other two woodies. But overall it rounds out the wood selection nicely.

Flats here were enjoyable. Excalibur was a standout. Whatever it is, I had never done one before, and it was hella fun! The park was beautifully landscaped, and the hillside setting was sublime.

As for the ops on S:ToP. We were in the FP line for a few cycles before they finally noticed we were there. We had to actually step into the ride area to be noticed. Then they sat regular peeps (twice!) because they kept forgetting about us, or they would come to let us in after the other op had already filled up the spots, sending us back to wait. The same thing happened to the other flash-passers behind us. Three ride ops and none of them could get their act straight. Still, we did finally get our two rides.

Overall, this park was a great time, and I highly recommend those who haven't been find a way to visit.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011 9:00 PM

The Boss, when running well, is a fabulous ride. Evel Knievel surprised me (in the front) with some un-GCI-ish pops of fairly hard-hitting airtime. I was very pleased to see you talk about Freeze the way I talk about Freeze. Frosty good times!

You had ridden Excalibur once before? My guess is you rode Evolution at SFGAdv - not sure if any others exist in this country...

P.S. "Pandamonium" is actually a Tony Hawk's Big Spin.

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