SFA-2 1/2 Hours and a much warmer day

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Sunday, May 8, 2005 11:58 PM
Again making a hasty decision to travel down to Largo, MD, I decided what the hell--it’s a nice day in the 70's, even if I’ve been up since 6:30a.m. Before I could get started, the car was in desperate need of a washing due to all the heavy pollen, which put me a little bit behind. I also affixed the parking sticker, which thank heavens is the static type, and not the type with glue that even Goo Gone can’t get rid of like in years past.

So now you probably want to know what’s new. Well first of all, Bahama Blast is almost finished. I’d say there’s about six slide pieces left. The loading platform is already in place. It was hard to decern which of the staircases belonged to which slide, so they may have more of those to put into place. It looks great and it runs parallel to the exit road. To give you another frame of reference, it’s right next to Crocodile Cal’s Outback Beachhouse, which was getting a major color scheme update itself. The staircases are a lime green, and the slides are all different colors. It was hard to figure out with the one slide if it was white, or if it was just primer. Sitting besides the last remaining pieces for Bahama Blast were plenty of props for the newly revamped kids section. There was a multi-colored fish, and plenty of pirate ship pieces.

So walking in I briefly glanced at the closed rides sign which still had Krypton Comet listed. (Sadly, that was correct.) I saw S:ROS running from the car and you would think that would be my first stop and you would be wrong. You see there were two rides that were operating that can be hit or miss, and I decided to ride those first. I started off with Iron Eagle. To me, I felt the ride was very placid, which is not the impression most people get watching it from the ground. I wasn’t even holding onto the grab bars. They had two people on the deck, and one in the booth which is new to me. The second ride, which was running for a second trip in a row, was Typhoon Seacoaster. This time I sat in the back and the water rushed over my feet which were only covered by sandals. Yikes was it cold. Since I have barely any memory of last years one and only visit, can someone tell me if the photoelectric sensors in the station are new? There are several of them placed throughout the station in yellow boxes for blocking.

The ride was great as always, and some little squirt got me with one of the cannons. He still isn’t playing in the big leagues yet. We were taking out people left and right at SFGadv. on the Sawmill Splash waterflume.in 2003. So I then stopped in Gotham City’s only bathroom before I entered the NBZ-or the No Bathroom Zone. Can I just say that Joker’s Jinx looks amazing? It’s like it’s brand new. They even finally painted the whole outside of the tunnel yellow! I then passed a very sad looking Krypton Comet. Some of the ride pieces were askew, so I hope that means that it might be up soon. They were only running the blue train on ROS today (red was on transfer track). I think I only waited one train to ride. It was ok, but it just isn’t the same as it used to feel for me. Because of the seatbelt that gets tightened to extremes and the lapbar which gets stapled, it just isn’t that much fun anymore. The third hill which used to be the point of anticipation was just average at best. Keep in mind that I’ve been spoiled by the SFNE version last year, so anything else will feel average. I didn’t even bother checking if Batwing was running, and I have no memory of it running while I was in line for S:ROS.

Next on the hit list was Two Face the Flip Side, a ride I missed several weeks ago because it was closed (as was S:ROS). I picked the money seat first (facing the ride operator). It was great to be back onboard. I then came back around and picked the other money seat–the front seat. Once again, it was great to be back on the g-force monster. I still to this day don’t understand how we lucked out and didn’t get a standard boomerang. That would’ve sucked. Making the rounds I hit Tower of Doom and then Wild One. I love the new (to me) station design where it breaks up in the middle so the ride op doesn’t have to constantly tell people to move out of the way if you’re not waiting for the front row. It’s also nice to see the color-coordinated cubby holes for extra items at every coaster. I think a lot of that was added last year, but I still give them credit for doing something that should’ve been done a long time ago. I picked the back seat first, and man, the whip you get off the turn onto the double-down is amazing. It yanks you right out of your seat. Since no one was waiting, I decided to take a re-ride. I hadn’t had enough, so I walked back around to get the front seat which wasn’t quite as good.

I tried to get a ride on Joker’s Jinx, but I just arrived as it had gotten stuck. That’ll teach me to wear the t-shirt to the park:) I then went back to pick up Roar which was also having some technical issue, so I rode Mind Eraser. I cannot comment enough on how much I love the new colors. The trains look great as well. I rode in the very back row, and for once it wasn’t a horrible ride. Feeling the need for another flat ride, I took a spin on the Octopus. My timing was a little off as I was the only one in line. So that meant waiting for others to show up. I think I waited a total of five minutes for one fairly long cycle. To the one attendants credit, he did apologize for the wait (yes, there were two people working it!).

Running out of time, I ran over to Roar for the last ride of the night. I again chose the backseat. Again, on the way up the lifthill, I must comment on how great Mind Eraser looks at night all lit up. Roar was pretty good and they actually ran it around again, but I got off before that ride because I just wanted to get home. First though I stopped in the gift shop to your left on the way out. One thing that really amazed me in comparison to Paramount is how many shirts I actually would buy featuring Six Flags (if I had the money and wanted to further promote the park). There were a lot of very modern and cutting edge designs (Year after year I have yet to see a Volcano the Blast Coaster shirt that I would actually wear). They also had one of those three-part-panel shirts features a guy who buys two hot dogs, does some rides, and then pukes in the trashcan in panel three. Nice:)

So how were my 2 1/2 hours? Pretty decent. I didn’t make any trips to guest relations, which is a major improvement over the last visit. It was great to see more employees on some of the rides that have needed them in the past. My only complaint, and one that’s out of SFA’s hands, is the clientele. If I were the average Hersheypark/King’s Dominion visitor, I think I would be scared off by some of the people in the park. The language alone would have me going “I’m not bringing back Susie and Bobbie to this park again.” To me, it doesn’t make me comfortable either when I pass gaming areas and they’re playing what I consider to be rough rap music. I remember reading about the Dorney Park manager who heard rap music and stopped it immediately. I think SFA would be wise to do the same.

To me if I were king, I would want to make gangstas and thugs (which on some days there is an abundance of) less comfortable in the park, not more comfortable. I’m not asking that play classical music like Barnes & Nobles, but I wish they would think about the total picture. Do I listen to some stuff with some rough language? Absolutely. Do I listen to some stuff that would make some uncomfortable? Again–absolutely. I wish SFA would think about it like this; if my parents are in the car, do I play the latest Dieselboy hardcore drum & bass compilation, or Skinny Puppy? No way in hell. I play something a lot more placid like Delerium or Coldplay.

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Monday, May 9, 2005 1:08 AM
Ya, I was there too today (you can read my TR in the SFA TR thread). Not a bad day overall. The more I rack my memory, the more I believe those sensors were there in the station on TSC last year. I mean, you wonder why that ride is down more than a regular logflume... I've realized it's not because it's actually breaking down, it's ALWAYS because of a sensor malfunction. Unlike a regular logflume, TSC actually has blocks which just complicates the ride by so many folds. But ya, other than the first weekend of operations, TSC has been open EVERY visit I have made to the park this year which is wonderful.

I'll agree, the paint jobs do look wonderful. Not just on Mind Eraser and Joker's Jinx, but all around the park. Lots of paint everywhere you look. Lot's of new everything all around.

As for the merchandise, I'm not really too impressed. They don't really seem to have ANY shirts for individual rides. I mean, you can occationally find the Superman shirt with the logo and ride name, but that's about it.

Today I overheard an interesting conversation while waiting for TSC to reopen. The little boy says to his mom, "Mom, that lady doesn't have a bra on" (refering to the lady on the front of High Seas) and the little girl says "ya, and that's a family ride." Made me chuckle. I really see no need to change it, but I guess if people complain, than you gatta. As for the music, it's a good idea. It would only require changing the sound clips in the game booths. Most of the time the music around the park is "easy listening" music, and I can't see where that would be causing any problems. At that, I think most of the music in the game booths is fine, but there may be one or two clips that should be cut, I'll agree.

As for the people at SFA, to be honest, and not to be rude or anything, but it's almost like SFA is shipping in the white guys this year. I've had no problems wit hthe people at SFA this year. Sure I've had one or two isolated problems with a few kids/teens who are just acting immature, but considering how many times I've been to the park, it's almost certain that it would happen. Maybe it'll be worse as the kids get out of school for the summer, but so far, I've thought it's been pretty good/calm around SFA. All I can say is, if you hear a group that is using too much vulgarity for your liking, and you can find a security guard soon enough, point the people out. They're trying to make it a family environment at SFA as much as possible and part of that is stopping vulgarity, and the security guards will talk to those people.

Other than that, things are pretty good at SFA, for now. The summer is long. There's still plenty of room to move... for the better or for the worse. Let's hope SFA builds on what they have. Having said that, SFA has started a new custome/staff relations program. The supervisors and managers have little cards that they are handing random guests with the stipulation that the guest will give the card to a staff member doing a good job. If a staff member gets your card, they get a reward (I have no idea what), but YOU also get a small token of the parks appretiation. I won't say what I got incase they arn't giving everybody the same thing, but I will say that what I got was MORE than worth the time/effort that I had to put out to look for an employee doing a good job. It's a good program and could have a serious impact on the staff if the reward for them is good enough.

Well, not much else to say, check out my pics below. It has a lot of what you were talking about.

(FYI, it's no longer Crocodile Cal’s Outback Beachhouse, they changed the name to Crocodile Cal’s CARIBBEAN Beachhouse...though they still have the surfing kangaroo and kooalas, so I don't know)

http://photobucket.com/albums/y208/CoasterLover/

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Monday, May 9, 2005 9:24 AM
I agree with the both of you, in fact I was walking by the games booths yesterday and thinking the same thing myself. Who would want to spend the time playing a game with some of the music that is playing. The same thing with the water game in Coyote Creek. I don't really see the need for the music, Southwest Territory, HH Midway or the few in Skull Island don't have music. I don't get harassed with loud music at BGW or PKD to play games. The game teams game teams are doing a great job in getting Gotham City in getting people's attention, I don't think they need the music.
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Monday, May 9, 2005 9:54 PM
I'm glad yall had fun. I was in Alabama for the weekend (cousin's graduation), and it was Mother's Day mann I couldn't go. No Theme Parks in this State, just Carnivals and Fairs. Boo!!!!

Yeah I agree with all 3 of yall. The last time I went this season (May 1.) I couldn't really hear the Batmans music in Gotham City. The only time i really heard it was when I was about to climb on Batwing.

Games don't really need the music to attract people. Sometimes a game next to each other will play at the same time with a different song and it gets annoying. I just let the park play music through the intercom while walking through the park, and just let a song play if a person wins a game. That's about it.


Coaster Lover said:


Maybe it'll be worse as the kids get out of school for the summer, but so far, I've thought it's been pretty good/calm around SFA.


I don't think it will get as bad. Usually SF didn't really entertain guests as much, so teens took matter in their own hands and entertained themselves (joking around, foul language, fighting). Now SF is taking the stand to entertain guests even more. Just look at the show schedule. Last year everyshow didn't play daily (ex. Batman Thrill Spectacular didn't do a show on Tuesdays not ONCE, but will play other days). Now this year every show plays daily. SFI is doing a great job now due to 1st Quarter. This park is trying to become a family park.

Look at Hurricane Harbor: Tornado, Bahama Blast, and the new kids section. These are all family oriented rides. Even SF Great America Hurricane Harbor has alot of family slides for their new park.

SFI is really trying hard this year and its really showing. I'm praying they will pull through this year with no faults.

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Monday, May 9, 2005 11:19 PM
I noticed the same thing SF Critic, and all I can say is "It's about time", especially at SFA. I mean, SFA added PBR in 2003, the last attraction they added that was really for the whole family was back in 1998 with TSC. All the other attractions have been geared towards thrillseekers (Batwing, Superman, JJ, TF) or towards kids (Movie Town), nothing in between. Building for families is becoming an ever increasing trend in the amusement park industry. That's why I'd guess SFA's next coaster will be a family coaster (mine train or mouse). Preferably I'd rather see a good family dark ride.

As for the shows, didn't notice that. I did notice that they have multiple casts for each show, but I didn't even notice that they were performing the shows every day. After comparing thios years park map to last year's I can see you're right. Good find. *** Edited 5/10/2005 3:20:19 AM UTC by Coaster Lover***

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005 10:53 PM
Don't forget Crocodile Cal's Carribean Beach House (Crocodile Cal's OutBack you know the rest) they added with TSC the same year. Yeah I would like to see a family dark ride at the park.

2006 Family My Options?

1. I can agree with you Coaster Lover. Currently we don't have a all in the dark family ride yet. It will be good for the park.

2. Maybe a junior coaster with alot of flats.

3. Maybe a B&M floorless coaster with alot of flats (like SFGAdv got in 1999). Supposedly SFI bought 3 B&M floorless coasters for next season.

4. I would like to see an Action FX Theatre @ SFA (similar to PKD). It will be good to run 2 shows on 2 different sides. One action movie adventure and one cartoon style for kids and family.

Warner Bros. movies they can make 3D rides

Matrix Series, Looney Tunes characters, Cartoon Network characters, Deep Blue Sea, Catwoman, Terminator 3, Harry Potter, Imax 3D (SFGAm is doing that show this year) etc. These are a few movies that are WB. SFI can use these movies as motion simulators at their parks. If you didnt get a new ride you got a new show on the simulator.

Those are my options for family oriented rides for 2006. I'm not going to talk about next season because im taking away from Hurricane Harbor since it didn't open yet. But those are my options.

Whatever SFA gets next season, they need more flats and family rides. If we get a coaster with flats or with a family coaster that will be great also.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005 11:20 PM
SFA doesn't need a simulator, especially considering it would probably show the same shows that the one at PKD. SFA needs something else for a dark ride. One option... a 4-D movie. It's really not a ride so much as it's a show, but it still gets guests out of the rain/heat for a little while. Next option would be a riding lazer tag, ala Scooby Doo at PKD. There's plenty of themeing options so you could make it significantly different than the one at PKD. You could even do one of the trackless models like "Challenge of Tut" at the former SFH with multiple endings. The only problem is security. I've heard those rides have thousands of sensors and cameras to ensure guests stay in the car. Slow moving cars and limited restraints often result in mischivious guests. The next option would be an enclosed ride, on the lines of TR:TR at PKI. Another option would be something like what BGW just added. Of course, the better the indoor attraction, the more the cost (for the most part), so we really have to just keep wishing and hoping.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 11:00 PM
I dont think SF would be interested in anything except what BGW just added. But I doubt if there interested in that either. Also it's possible SF could start adding more dark family rides like Skull Mountain @ SFAdv but nothing dramatic. If SF did get something like BGW then it probably won't land @ SFA. I could be wrong.

Personally I don't know how much money SF has ever put into a single ride. I don't see SF going into a Ride The Movies phase like Universal does. They do in some way like Batman: The Ride and theming and their other movie rides, but they are basically all coasters or flats.

I can't think of any SF park that took a movie ride to the extreme (ex. like a motion picture Disney or Universal). If they did something like this it will be up to $100 million possibly because Universal and Disney do put alot into their parks. But I can't see it happening anytime soon. SF needs to get out of debt first and improve their parks, which they are doing this season.

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