SFA 4/21 -- beautiful day (but not Six Flags)

Associated parks:

Sunday, April 22, 2007 12:25 AM
So I had some free time today, so I recently decided to head down to SFA to get a parking pass, get my season pass booklet, and take some pictures, including getting some for my website. I'm just going to do this trip report in my standard "observations" breakdown style.
  • The park only had 3 parking booths open, which helped to create a backup at the booths. When it finally came my turn to pay, the attendant said that he'd be right back, then he went over to another booth to help out (someone was having trouble, I think). Meanwhile, my line has stopped moving for a while. On the plus side, the employees here were polite.
  • The parking lot improvements, while a good idea (tearing out the hill by the waterpark and putting in extra parking and a tram lane), the current setup doesn't have all the lines painted for parking spaces. Also, the items used to separate a tram lane do not look good--traffic cones and trash cans.
  • Fortunately, I was able to get my parking pass & season pass coupon book at guest relations. Props to Shapiro for allowing the parking passes to be used at all SF parks this season. Also, the coupon selection is pretty good this year, including 1 bring a friend for free to any other SF park! In the past, they had the coupon for 50% off admission to any other SF park, which was good for up to 4 or 6 people.
  • Ride operations were sub-par. Mind Eraser, SROS, & Batwing were all running one train. ToD was running 2/3 cars, which I'm tired of seeing. Blizzard River was only running 3 rafts.
  • Certain rides had some downtime, such as Shipwreck Falls, Great Chase, Roar, SROS, & Octopus. Skull Mountain won't open until sometime in May. Joker's Jinx didn't open at all.
  • On a side note, I wish that, in their "conversion" of TSC to SM, they would actually complete the "mountain".
  • The Hall of Justice looks pretty good, though it could use a big sign stating such.
  • For some reason, Robin and Green Lantern were hanging out at the Batwing platform instead of mingling with the guests on the midway.
  • Parts of the park have received some touching up and some parts are looking better in terms of the landscape, but the park still could use plenty of work--some or a lot of it being detail work.
  • For some reason, later in the day, they were only using the front half of the ROAR trains. The operator said that it was running too fast and that they could only load certain rows. I have never heard this before in all the times I've been going to that park. Could this be true? If that's the case, they'd better be doing something about it soon, because the hot summer season is coming, and it'll probably be running at least as fast then.
  • Batwing has needed a fresh coat of paint for years now; this year is no different.
  • The park is still lacking in flat rides.
  • Why did they get rid of Chick-fil-a?
  • The water of Shipwreck Falls was disgusting; I even took a picture of it--there is so much debris floating around in it. You'd think they'd try and filter it or something.

Anyway, I wasn't really planning on riding, and I stuck to that. I don't think I'll be coming down here too often this season. At least I can use my pass and parking at other SF parks, which I plan on hitting this season (hopefully SFGAdv, SFGAm, SFoT, & SFFT). The park has seen some improvements, but it could use a lot more. I guess it's gonna be slow-going with this one.

Sunday, April 22, 2007 12:45 AM
Obviously there are some negatives in your TR, but would you still recommend a visit to SFA?
Sunday, April 22, 2007 12:55 AM
If you've never been, then I recommend going, at least once or twice. But out of all the major parks within range of a day trip from the Baltimore area (SFA, SFGAdv, KD, DP, HP, BGE), SFA offers the least-quality experience, and overall is the worst park of the bunch, IMO. It has some decent-good rides, but overall, I don't like the park a whole lot.

IMO, the best parks of the list above are BGE & HP.

Sunday, April 22, 2007 11:48 AM
Sounds like SFA.
Sunday, April 22, 2007 1:02 PM
Roar could have been running too fast. Since it's the beginning of the season and everything is fresh off winter rehab the maintainence guys should just have to add a pump or two of grease to some of the guide wheels. Too little grease and you burn up the bearing, too much and it will run sluggish and possibly rollback. They normaly start off with a little grease in all the wheels and slowly add to the wheels every few run depending on how fast or slow it's running.
Sunday, April 22, 2007 1:36 PM
Seriously tho...given the laws of physics Roar isn't going to get faster and faster and faster. Even in the best of conditions there is a finite speed trains will be moving, given the ride's height. I find it hard to believe the ride wasn't designed to handle such speeds. And given there are at least two sets of brakes at the end [brake run and transfer shed] I also find it hard to believe they cannot safely run two trains even when it's "running hot."

Methinks you were lead a line of BS ;)

Sunday, April 22, 2007 2:36 PM
Actually, I heard pretty much the same thing coasterpunk said as to the reason why Roar was having problems.
Sunday, April 22, 2007 2:45 PM
I'm not doubting Dan's explanation at all. But even in optimal conditions I find it hard to believe it would pick up enough speed to be dangerous. I'd think those rides are over-engineered anyway....
Sunday, April 22, 2007 2:52 PM
That's the explanation I heard. My guess is, Roar was running to fast, causing a sensor to kick in and shut the ride down. However, I'm not an expert on coaster safety so I'm not sure. *** Edited 4/22/2007 6:52:16 PM UTC by coasterguts***
Sunday, April 22, 2007 2:53 PM
OK, I can buy the sensor explanation. So then why not go to single-train op and fill all rows?
Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:11 PM
Because they would get criticized for running one train? ;)

I'm not sure Moosh, good question. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:16 PM
Just want to clarify that I'm not criticizing the park for running the ride in that method. Two half-full trains is almost as good as one completely full train.
Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:19 PM
I know your not. I'm saying, others would criticize the park for running one train. It's a legitimate question.
Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:52 PM
I think the problem with Roar was that the coaster wasn't greased properly. Prior to this weekend, temperatures at SFA were pretty cool requiring much less grease. This weekend, temperatures peaked about 10-15 degrees higher than they had in the previous days and weeks before hand. Without adding more grease, the train was just flying around the track and the heightened speeds were eating up the track. If this was the case, it would make sense to lighten the loads, slow the train, and prevent the coaster from ripping up the track until they could get more grease on the ride. My guess is that the coaster will be back up to full operations by next weekend, if not by today...
Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:58 PM
^^ Like me! :)
Sunday, April 22, 2007 5:19 PM
My Buddies and I will be heading to SFA on May 5th. I wonder if any will be heading to SFA on May 5th. I will be wearing my SROS shirt to SFA on May 5th. If you are going to head up to SFA on May 5th. Tell me what wil you be wearing so I can try to find you.
Sunday, April 22, 2007 5:23 PM
You know,I seem to recall an incident on WO last season when it was rather hot out & as a result the trains were entering the brake run a little faster than normal with the front end actually stopping just outside the brake run just before the turn into the station...why it didn't trigger a fault in the blocks is beyond me but it did happen.

If only there was enough straight track on Roar to set up a trim here & there then perhaps they could control the excessive speed so that it won't burn out the bearings....not to mention saving on excess track wear & tear but alas the only spot on the entire circuit that I can think of for this would be on the semi flat spot just before the drop into the photo area,or quite possibly in the tunneled section as well.

Sunday, April 22, 2007 7:14 PM

rail junkie said:
My Buddies and I will be heading to SFA on May 5th. I wonder if any will be heading to SFA on May 5th. I will be wearing my SROS shirt to SFA on May 5th. If you are going to head up to SFA on May 5th. Tell me what wil you be wearing so I can try to find you.

Lol, what's that date again??

Sunday, April 22, 2007 7:51 PM
^I was about to ask that same question.... LOL ;)
Monday, April 23, 2007 6:34 PM

matt. said:

rail junkie said:
My Buddies and I will be heading to SFA on May 5th. I wonder if any will be heading to SFA on May 5th. I will be wearing my SROS shirt to SFA on May 5th. If you are going to head up to SFA on May 5th. Tell me what wil you be wearing so I can try to find you.

Lol, what's that date again??

May 5th seeing as how the trip we planned to make on the 14th was canceled on account of me bing sick,the weather being bad & the car needing repairs.


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