SFA Memorial Day-I must be dreaming the whole day

Associated parks:
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Tuesday, May 28, 2002 7:28 PM
After killing ourselves in Texas at the four major themeparks last week, you’d think the last thing I would want to do is go to another amusement park, especially on Memorial Day. Well, you would be wrong. A common theme to the Coaster Zombies trip was that we would be driving down some major highway and we’d see something we were really looking forward to riding like Ultra Twister, or Mr. Freeze. Yesterday, I got very excited seeing Superman from Central Ave. This could be the start of a very good day.

Arriving in the park yesterday, I noticed that the parking lot has been restriped. I then had to actually park down in the bottom overflow lot. Passing by the waterpark, I notice that it’s slammed also. What is going on today? Walking into the main parking lot, I notice that several cars that parked on grassy areas had tickets that mentioned that cars could be towed. It also mentioned that their license plate numbers would be recorded for future reference, and that they would be banned from the park if they parked again on the grass. Cleaning cobwebs out of ears.

Making it inside, I realized that I really liked the park. It’s could be the absence makes the heart grow fonder theory I think, but the park looks really nice today. The first ride of the day was Joker’s Jinx. The station is packed. After a minor technical breakdown I got on board. I notice two things a) the purple train has arrived and b) there’s more padding on either side of the car around the upper shoulder area.

Moving over to Wild One, I met up with Sam Marks and his riding partner Bob. We decided to go see a show. Did I mention that Texas kicked our butts? We decide to see City Beat, a high energy montage of modern pop songs. Let’s just say that there’s plenty of eye candy for both men and women in this show. I was really impressed with the lighting, and the lightning fast changeovers between scenes and songs. If you thought you wouldn’t like a show, you should definitely give this one a shot.

Moving on, I say goodbye to Sam and Bob, who are tired and worn out from riding a few coasters and seeing the Batman Stunt Spectactular--twice. Did I mention...Oh, never mind. Heading back into the park, I decide to see the Batman show. At the beginning of the show we were told to stand up. I thought it was some kind of gag. No, it was so we could give a minute of silence for our men and women who’ve died for our country. I must be on drugs.

Leaving the stunt show, I found the only problem of the day, and that was that the water fountain in Gotham City had broken down. Moving onto Superman, a ride I’ve ridden hundreds of times, I find a ride that was a little bumpy, but made up for it in massive airtime. I can’t remember if my butt ever made contact with the seat during the ride. Usually at this point, I would look at Batwing, see one train running, and turn back around. But today, they are running both stations with plenty of staffing. Choosing the seconday station (closest to S:ROS), we get on within 20 minutes. I sit down in the seat and a women closes my straps and pushes my lapbar down within the space of 10 seconds. Am I at Cedar Point? It was so awesome to see both sides running, and also seeing the track flipping back and forth. The ride was still bumpy, but noticeably more comfortable. I got no harness rash at all.

Moving on, I see that Riddle Me This, a Roundup, has a lot of people on it. That’s very unusual. The next thing I see just about drops me to the floor. Walking up to Typhoon Seacoaster, I count three boats on the lift, and more on the course. A boat is also dropping down the last drop every 30 seconds or so. After getting on within 15 minutes or so, I see lights are on in the tunnel. It turns out that they’ve redone the themeing inside and every scene is lit up. It’s finally the darkride/logflume combination that you’ve always wanted. Out on the course, I notice that the waterfalls our on, which haven’t been on in sometime. Going up the lift towards the first turnabout, I try counting the boats on the course. I think I arrived at 8 boats. You’d be lucky to see three or four boats running most years. One thing that really impressed me is that every employee I waved to, waved back. Contrast that with a year I saw a young man sleeping at the first turntable.

Moving onto Wild One, I see the prettiest sight. I see five trains on five different coasters (S:ROS, Batwing, Roar, Mind Eraser, and Joker’s Jinx) rounding their courses all at one time. Now I know I’m on drugs. Rounding the turnaround on WO, I notice that the station is packed on Joker’s Jinx at 8:30 at night. That woud’ve never happened last year. People would’ve ridden it once, and would’ve never gotten back on again later in the day. It turns out that in the Baltimore Sun’s annual themepark wrap-up, that the park is promoting the lapbars. Here’s an excerpt ”Joker’s Jinx now has a lap bar instead of an over-the-shoulder restraint. Riders now should be much more comfortable on this 3-year-old roller coaster.” Consider that a warning that the secret is out, and you should expect long lines for this baby all summer long.

After riding Iron Eagle, I talk to a manager about the status of the Sky Escaper site. It turns out that the ride is being scrapped due to the inability to get parts. He does listen about my suggestions to put in either a Power Surge or a Frisbee on the site. Keep your fingers crossed. At 9:50 I see a huge lightning strike over the top of Ride of Steel. Immediately the coasters are closed down, but I was still able to get a ride on The Octopus, which was spinning like mad tonight. Leaving the park, I run into Scott, the operations manager who’s featured in the Batwing segment of Extreme Rides, and another manager. I complimented him on my day at the park, and how well the employees were trained today. They were enthused that I enjoyed my day at the park, and I learned that several more things are currently in the works. First off is that more Fastlane options will be available soon. Second, the purple train of Jinx should be on by next weekend. Third, you will see many more things painted over the summer.

Walking towards my car, I felt really good (until I had to be taken to the emergency room later that night for heart attack-like symptoms, but I digress) about my experience at the park today. I saw plenty of management, plenty of well-trained employees, and lastly, I didn’t see any grumpy patrons. Everyone seemed really happy to be there. The park was cracking down on line jumping, and several gang bangers were removed from the park. Walking down the hill towards my car, there were several floodlight machines on so you can feel safe returning to your car.

After going to the three Six Flags in Texas, we thought it was just the southern hospitality. We were wrong. It’s so nice to see Six Flags getting their act together, and providing a park that is worthwhile going to in the Baltimore/Washington DC area.

Jeff, how about that first ride on Superman Ride of Steel this summer?
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2002, the year the Six Flags America bashing stops.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 1:49 PM
So now the secret of sky escaper's demise is revealed,I always thought it was a popularity issue rather than a parts issue here's to a new & better flat ride going there,I'm surprised that the ferris wheel isn't going there after all. I'm really glad that the park is making vast improvements this year and is finally getting it's act together.Now when it comes to the shows in the park ,if you think city beat was good then you should really see "this is your country" over at crazy horse saloon,now I'm not one for shows but I really enjoyed it when I was there a few weeks ago so check it out on your next trip,you won't be dissappointed. When talking to management did they reveal any clues or hints as to what next year's attraction might be? I'd love a top spin on the former sky escaper site.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 3:04 PM

Totally awesome TR! On those days when it is supposed to be crowded, parks can really shine, or really blunder. In this case, SFA delievered!

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