SFA 6/1 Where is Everyone?

Associated parks:
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Sunday, June 1, 2003 8:48 PM
So I get a call from my good friend Shannon around 3pm, Sunday. How was Stark Raven Mad, and how was the ERT? (cell phone breaking up on her end). “It was cancelled due to a tradgedy” finally came out. So I logged onto the internet and found out that someone had died. Wow. These are the same PTC trains that I’m about to ride at SFA today. I couldn’t stop thinking on the whole drive there about what had happened. It felt so distant, but so close. I knew my friend Matt was there for his first SRM and he had been so looking forward to it. While I didn’t know for sure what happened yet, it sure made me more cautious today.

I arrived around 4:30 and the parking lot was half-full. Getting into the park, it seemed almost exactly like last Sunday’s trip. Pretty much empty. The first ride of the day was actually not a ride at all, but DDR Extreme. Since I didn’t have any secure pockets for my quarters, I figured I’d get this out of the way first. I managed two B’s and a C in light mode. I’m making progress. My biggest problem on the third song was a higher BPM than the other songs. It really threw me off at times.

Slightly exhausted, but ready to ride, I hit Roar. I hopped into the familiar modern PTC train. I put my seatbelt on fairly tight and pulled my lapbar down about two-clicks. I don’t think there was any room for a third-click, unless a ride op had pushed down. Granted Roar isn’t an airtime monster (that award would go to its great grandfather Wild One), but that first drop from the back seats does produce a strong moment of ejector air. I left Roar and passed by an operational High Seas (pirate ship). Are my eyes deciving me? This is the first time I’ve seen it operating this year. Unfortunately, Typhoon Seacoaster still isn’t open. I get a strong feeling that the park is running on a skeletal crew until schools let out, which will be much later than usual due to the horrendous February snow storm.

I next headed into Gotham City so I could finish off a roll of film. I took a few pictures of Penguin’s Blizzard River, and managed to snag a ride also. The most common question people ask who haven’t been on the ride before is “Does it get you wet?”, to which the common answer is “Not really”. Unfortunately, the boat I sat in had about two inches of rainwater inside, so as the raft would change directions so would the water. My shoes and socks got a little bit wet, but nothing at all like a rapids ride. PBR seemed to be a little bit more popular than last week, so I guess curiousity will make the lines longer, if we can ever get any decent summer like weather. The only complaint I heard was from a lady who said it was worse than a Tilt-a-Whirl, and that closing her eyes just made it worse.

I then hopped on Joker’s Jinx and sat in the front row. One thing was painfully obvious; the track is in need of one serious paintjob! Of course I’ll take the lapbars over the paintjob anyday, but let’s hope it doesn’t further deteriorate over the years. I took a look at S:ROS and saw one-train operation (again), and decided to pass for now. The next destination was the other woodie Wild One, which was running out of control as always. I walked up to a nearly empty station for Two Face. Again, no complaints from me on the nonexistant lines. I managed two rides in a row, and felt all five of those G’s each time. Brutal stuff.

I then finally got my ride on Iron Eagle! I’ve been trying for weeks to get a ride, usually because there wasn’t enough people to meet the minimum capacity of seventeen riders. Okay, now that I’ve had my once (or twice) ride for the season on the rush of blood to the head (and yes, that was a Coldplay reference) that is Iron Eagle, I decided to take in a show.

In the main theatre is a show called “Cirque du Six Flags”. Call me a snob, but I just worked as an usher on the real deal (“Dralion”) recently, so they had a lot to live up to. I tried watching with an open mind, but a lot of the show didn’t seem to click for me. To me it felt like a third-rate circus act, and at that, one that would pass around a hat for tips at the end of the show. I did like two spots out of the show however. The first was a man who did some bycicle tricks. He then started riding increasingly smaller, and seemingly impossible for an adult, bikes to ride. The other part I liked was a man who balanced a board over a round cylinder. He kept adding shelves (I’m not sure what else to call them), until I think he got to six high. I think Six Flags using the Cirque du name shows balls on their part. I realize they’re two french words that can’t be copyrighted, but obviously they’re trying to make some connection in the patrons mind with the real deal. Sorry, not even close. Bring back City Beat, or whatever it was called.

Afterwards I went and rode S:ROS, which still has one train running. Will the red train ever run this year? I sure hope so. Even so, Ride of Steel is a people muncher, and I only waited ten minutes for 1:2. I was hesitant to ride Batwing, but changed my mind anyway. I noticed an interesting new safety warning on my way into the queue; the maximum weight for the rider is 265 pounds. It fulfilled my 15 minute wait or I don’t ride policy, because they were only running one train as usual, and row two was completely not working. It wasn’t working on the parked train either. What’s up with that?

I hopped back onboard PBR and obtained a solo ride. It was definitely easier to figure out where I was without any other distractions. On the splashdown one of the waterjets went right in my eardrum. Ouch. Going forwards, I hopped back on Joker’s Jinx again. Man, I love this thing with lapbars. I manage two rides in a row. Slowly running out of time, I walked back over to The Wild One. The park may not be very big, but they make you do a lot of walking. I sat in 1:3, and again the ride was way out of control. Noticing that I had 10 minutes left, I had a decision to make: DDR or The Octopus. I went with The Octopus since I hadn’t ridden it yet this year. During the first half I was spinning like crazy due to their only being one person.

In conclusion, I had a fun, relaxing day at SFA. My only fault with the park is that the ride ops need to step it up a notch. Many of them were just too slow, although they were making sure every harness or lapbar was down to its utmost position. After the event at HW, that might not be a bad thing. Alpine Bobs was closed (not that that’s a bad thing), as was Tower of Doom for the second week in a row. It’s about damn time that Intamin comes out and fixes this thing once and for all so all three sides can run, but they’re probably too busy coming up with some 600ft. 200mph launched ride to care.------------------
If you have a problem with clones, the solution is real simple—Stop traveling.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 1:11 AM
I hear you on the whole Superman thing, however, up until now, they have pretty much been running the red train and leaving the blue train on the transfer tracks. I don't get this whole cycling trains and leaving one train on the transfer track thing. I was there on Friday. The parking lot was half full like you said it was yesterday but there must have been 500 middle school kids for Physics is Fun day. But yet, Batwing was down and S:ROS was running only one train. Tower of Doom has been down for a couple of weeks now. Something major must be wrong with Typhoon Sea Coaster, I have seen them working on it now for about a month. I do know they added water canyons and a majority of the boats are sitting between Roar and Joker's Jinx.

I saw the new Cirq du Six Flags show as well and felt pretty much the same way. Try the new Samurai Cowboy show it it's pretty good.

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www.sfafans.org

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 8:02 AM
Perhaps they're trying to synch up the new water cannons on TSC before opening it for the season,but then again it's already june & the ride should've been open for at least a month now.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 1:23 PM
My daughter and I were also there Sunday evening. I think that we got there about 5:30. We stopped for a couple hours since we were driving nearby on our way home from Richmond.

I would say that the parking lot wasn't even half full. I didn't make it back to Batwing, but the other coasters were near walk ons except SROS which varied from one train to a 10 minute wait. Even Two Face seemed to be operating as a walk on which is darn rare with its low capacity.

SFA is continuing to run many of the coasters with one train empty and one train full. This may make sense if your crews have limited experience, and you don't want them to use the transfer track. Full trains run faster (better) than lightly loaded trains. If you wait to fill each train with light crowds, the other train stacks on the brakes for a long time making riders wait. With what SFA is doing, you just cycle the empty train through and bring the loaded train on in. If the crowd picks up, you just start loading both. The only disadvantages are an increased chance of valleying the empty train and increased wear on the train.

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