Undeterred by the rain, we got on the road around 11:30am. Arriving at the park around 12:30pm., my sister gasped at the size of Tornado. Since it was still raining, the plan was to hit the waterpark first. I once again snagged a really close parking spot right in front of Bahama Blast, which was finally up and running! Walking into Hurricane Harbor, I was struck by just how much more stuff they’ve added since roughly two weeks ago. New signs, light beacons (not plugged in yet), the hanging shark, the steeple. Wow. Surprisingly, Cindy agreed to try out Tornado first, though she admitted to being nervous. Being the nicer older brother that I am, I carried the Whirly Wheels (two-seaters) for Tornado and Bahama Blast. It’s not too bad if you carry it by one handle close to your shoulder, though it can get a little bit tiring by the time you reach the top.
Cindy really like the first ride, so we went back up and did it again since there was pratically no line. About this time, the sun was starting to make an appearance. We moved onto Bahama Blast next, and weren’t sure what to expect, except for another long trip to the top of the stairs. Here’s where my sister made an observation that I was thinking also–shouldn’t one of the lifeguards actually be paying attention to what’s going on? Two little kids got on before us and just floated away, because of their size and the fact that no one was in there way. This ladies and gentleman is how people can get hurt on waterslides. Temporarily doing their job, I waited until the kids got to the bottom of the catchpool, and we were off. We drifted on our way, quite quickly might I add, and went into pitch darkness and some twistiness. You know the water curtain leading to the outside is coming up, you just don’t know when. Bamm! The rest of the slide is fairly mellow, but there is one spot that got me a little concerned, since we went up pretty high on the wall. Since there was no line, we had to do a repeat. One thing becomes evident from BB–there is oodles of room for expansion surrounding this slide, plus a really nice view of Two-Face.
We then went back to the shark slides and did Mako and Hammerhead a couple of times. The lifeguard is so apathetic. I’m not sure if she’s saying yes to go or not. Man, does Mako have some airtime! When we went back up to do Hammerhead, I looked to my left and noticed even more opportunity for expansion. Something along the lines of a really tall-high speed slide (or 2 or 3) would fit nicely, even it means moving a few of the picnic tables. We also took several spins on Paradise Plunge and Reef Runner. We then took a trip around the lazy river, and headed over for the Deerpark Plunge. In route, we passed several guys still working on the plumbing for Buccanneer Beach. I guess there are still unresolved issues, since I saw pictures of it operating from last weekend.
So we get to the tube drop-off/pick-up area, and a virtual army of little kids just starts shedding shoes, socks and shirts while their parents watched. So I’m thinking “Hello, could you pick your childs crap up please so I’m not tripping over it?” So since they took all the tubes, we waited for new ones to arrive. A father comes up and I’m ready to take his tube, and he says “We’re going to ride again, there’s more tubes at the bottom.” Ok, that’s great buddy. Apparently you missed the sign that says “Pass your tube onto the next rider”. So I walked down to the splashdown area and a lifeguard was carrying several tubes up, which I took off her hands. You see, I’m such a gentelman:)
We had two options–the yellow slide, which we did first, and then the new to me blue slide. I’ll learn all their proper names by the end of the season–maybe. We saw their was water running in the green slide, just no one to man it yet (I saw someone come down it later in the day). I looked to my left and saw a huge plot of land for even more expansion, although since it’s heavily covered in trees, I don’t know if they could get approval from the planning commission [sidenote: I just got the latest update which included Tornado and Bahama Blast. They had to be aprroved through several different agencies including forest management]. We hit up Tornado one last time and then watched several riders, including a bunch of teenage boys who probably purposely ditched the raft which followed behind them. On the way out, I took a look at the price for the tents–oops cabanas, which have dropped to $55 + $5 per person. Onto the themepark.
I led the way, which I hope wasn’t making my sister uncomfortable. I’ll try to keep things short. Roar was first, and things were so slow, especially since they were only loading one train. While waiting for the train to lock, I heard one employee say “F...-this s..., I’ll quit”, into a cell phone, and not discreetly might I add. What a nice way to start things off. I had no problems with Roar today. Typhoon Seacoaster was once again running–yeah! It appeared there were only three boats out on the course–bummer. So after waiting a while, we boarded and were right at the edge, when both boats in the station had to disembark. I’m not sure what happened, but I heard the ride op mention something about a friction wheel at the turntable. So I said we’ll come back later. Going onto another “If it’s open, ride it” ride, we boarded Iron Eagle, where I saw one of the funniest things ever. It took a little while to distribute the load properly, and the girl was going through the spiel about securing loose objects etc., etc., when she mentioned hair weaves. And we thought she was joking. Sure enough, on the first flip over, we see a hair weave on the ground. Can you imagine filing a claim for that? It kept several of us entertained anyway, since Iron Eagle is not exactly a high-thrill ride.
Cindy was very curious about Penguin’s Blizzard River, so we headed into Gotham City, while making a stop at Joker’s Jinx. We pratically walked right onto PBR, where they let us ride by ourselves. I think she liked it, and she noted that you don’t get too wet, even though they had the water streams on at the bottom. Moving on, we proceeded towards the dead zone–oops I meant the area below JJ/PBR. We passed a still somewhat torn apart Chaos (maybe for the best right now), and a non-functioning Ride of Steel (well, it was open earlier). So Batwing it was, and using the right station nonetheless. There was really not much of a line, but with only one train running, you know how that goes. We at least had the shade of the tunnel for a little while, but afterwards, the sun was a little bit much. It didn’t help that we had to wait one more cycle due to a weird problem with the train two before ours. It stopped outside of the station, slowed down, started up, and then jerked onto the chain. So that meant one empty test run. Anyway, I quite enjoyed my ride today, and it was certainly an improvement over the previous scary one.
Heading back up the hill, we got our Typhoon Seacoaster credit for the day, and got quite wet. Next was a two-in-a-row Breakdance program on the Rodeo, and then onto the next bit of usual SFA-ness. We got into line for Mind Eraser, which didn’t have that long of a line, and noticed it seemed to be taking quite a while to load each train. That’s what happens when you only have one guy checking restraints. Two guys in front of us were told to check their sandals into the cubbyholes, only to lose their seats to two girls who walked on. As they put it, “What kind of policy is that?” I’ve cleaned it up of course. We were both waiting for 6pm to kick in so we could get some “Buy-one, get one free” specials out of the coupon book, but we needed to kill a little bit more time. Passing a never-seen it-running Two-Face, we rode Wild One, and then Falling Star–which is no Rainbow, but still fun anyways once it gets some speed going. I did see one Two-Face testrun on our way out of the Southwest Territory, but I don’t know if it ever opened to the public.
Finally, we got to put something in our stomach, and I parted with over $8 for the 2-slices of pizza and a medium soda, and get one free. It’s not the greatest, but it was piping-hot and filled the void. Unfortunately, I noticed just how dirty the whole food area is, including the leftover food on the tables, but it’s not like it’s anything new. They really need someone to stay in this area and keep things clean. I think we rode High Seas next, which I rarely ride. The last attempted ride of the night was the Octopus, which had me wondering why we were the only two people in line. Ooops, the ride op says someone puked and he’s waiting for cleanup.
So overall, I’d say we had a good time, but we’re both concerned about some of the apathy of the people working in the waterpark today. A misinterpretation of a lifeguards signal at the top of the shark slides, for example, could have lead to someone being seriously injured, especially if it were to be a little kid followed by a heavy adult due to the high speed of both slides. Since the riders cannot see the bottom of either slide, we are counting on the lifeguard to say a definitive “Go or Wait”. I know the job may be boring, but please do it and speak up!
HH is now one of maybe three signature attractions at SFA. If the park wants to continue the trend of improved staffing, I would work hard at making sure the staffing in HH is on par with the other waterparks.
Don't forget, if you have a SFA Premium Pass, the park opens early on Saturday for ERT in Gotham City. I hope S:ROS is running two trains, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
I didn't have any bad experiences in the park (with the exception of waiting on Supey it get up and running) so I must of caught it on a GOOD day.
My previous visit last year was sorta similiar to yours, plus Roar was running like crap. This year it was ROCKIN!
Glad you and your sister managed to have a good time anyway!
I walked most of the park today. I-Fan is correct, the section of Gotham City from Riddle me this back to Superman is dirty, like it hadn't been hosed down in weeks. Ice Cream stains all over the ground. I was thoroughly disgusted to find a dust pan and broom laying on the ground next to Superman's queue entrance with a nice ice cream stain there and in several more places in the path leading to the station for Superman. The back to Batwing was in much better shape and so was the section around the games in Gotham City.
I don't know if it was in this thread or another one that mentioned SF managers not picking up trash. However, I know I saw Janet Porter today beinding over, picking up trash several times and recently saw Jeremiah picking up trash as well.
My wife and I couldn't believe how much faster Bahama Blast was today, didn't ride Tornado since I arrived in HH just about 10:45 and the line was already down to the bottom. Not sure what's going on with Buc Beach but they weren't let people into the new kiddie pool and slides today. This is the second time I've seen that on a weekend. I'm wondering if their having water quality issues but don't quote me.
One new thing I learned today, it appears the ferocity of the waves in Hurricane Bay has to do with the number of lifeguards they can put on the stands. The seas in Hurricane Bay were producing intermediate waves for the first hour or so the park opened, but about 11:30, they added another lifeguard and the waves became more advanced.
During Gotham City ERT this morning, I got four good rides on the blue train of Superman. It wasn't to shaky and I sat in several different seats. No air in the rear of the train but I was feeling the g's, unlike the front where I was getting lots of air and not feeling the g's so much. Red train was put on around noon.
Batwing was open and set to open with two train operation. I took one spin on that coaster during morning ERT and had the best ride ever. After that ride, I now question weather or not S:UF are any better than Batwing's. It's hard to believe but with both sides of the station on Batwing open (this was around 12:30) there was no line in the overflow queue and Batwing really seemed to be cranking them through.
Overall, the park seemed to be running strong operationally before I left around 12:45. At one point, I left the park to get my camera and came back in, they were using ever single line to get people through security and a window was open at every single ticket building except one this morning. Since today was deaf awareness day, lines to buy tickets were a little longer than normal. When I left, the second overflow parking lot was about 1/3 full. Honestly, I've left this park at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Saturday the past couple of seasons and the first overflow lot was just getting full. The fact at 12:45 the third overflow lot was being used is a good sign, I believe.
That's my take on today.
*** Edited 6/26/2005 10:21:21 AM UTC by coasterguts***
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