SFA Opening Day 4/9 Superman Valleys, what a way to start 2005!

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Saturday, April 9, 2005 5:52 PM
Six Flags America Opening Day
April 9th, 2005
Weather: Mostly Sunny temps in the mid 60's

What was looking to be a promising start for Six Flags America's 2005 season quickly turned to disappointment within minutes of opening the park.

I arrived at 9:45 and quickly made my way to the gate and was the first in line for bagless entry. Excitement has been building all week for me. I wanted to ride Superman!

The park began the season patriotically with a great rendition of The Star Spangled Banner over the P.A. system, everyone removed their caps, put their hands over their hearts, turned and faced the flags while the song played. The rendition sounded like a Boys 2 Men was singing it. After the Star Spangled Banner played, we waited about 5 minutes. The employees inside the gates were dancing and having a good time. One of the park managers pulled a family out of the crowd, invitied them inside of the park, gave what appeared to be a eight year old boy a key to the "Switch". Everyone counted down from 10 to one and then the boy turned the key, and lifted the lever to start the 2005 season at about 10:25. I was the first person across the bridge and into the main park and made my way back to Superman. By the time I reached Riddle Me This, my old legs began to slow down, about three or four kids had passed me and Coaster Lover (being the college junior he is) caught up with me.

We turned the corner by Joker's Jinx and found four Superman employees and two park benches blocking us from going any further. What's this? I began to wonder is SFA going to start the 2005 season they way they started 2004? We were told Superman and Batwing were going to open and we should check back in a couple of hours. Not a good sign. I really wanted to be one of the first to ride Superman for 2005 and if held off hitting the bathroom to do so. Not only was Superman closed, so was Batwing. While Coaster Lover road Penguin's Blizzard River (PBR) I headed for the bathroom, we were going to meet by Krypton Comet when done. When we met up again Coaster Lover noticed from the top of PBR that Superman's blue train (and the only train on the circuit) valleyed between the last two bunny hops. Not a good sign. We finally realized, this wasn't going to open anytime soon and I made Joker's Jinx my first coaster for 2005 at SFA.

Joker's Jinx (JJ) is still being painted and you could seem where they have primered the rust spots. They have pretty much finished the track but a lot of work still needs to be done on the supports. However, the one thing the park didn't fix in the office season was the ponding of the water in the station. Wearing shorts and sandals, I had no choice but to get might feet what as I navigated the queue. I rode JJ in the third car and really enjoyed the ride. It seemed smoother than last year and still pulls some great g-forces. However, the train is still trimmed towards the end of the tunnel unfortunately. One train operation and I noticed it wasn't running by 4:00 as well.

After JJ, we headed over to Wild One where we had a one train wait for the blue train. Wild One still runs like last season never ended. Smooth as silk, the helix still exerts some positive g's on you and the air is still killer on the backside of the ride.

Two Face is still closed. It's been closed since September and from the looks of the black fence at the entrance to the ride, it doesn't look like it's going to open gain anytime soon.

Next up was Roar. When we walked up to Roar! they apparently had just finished resolving a problem with the coaster as the lines were beginning to backup. However, the problems didn't seem to be with the coaster but with the crew. When the teal train pulled into the station, it didn't line up exactly right with the air gates and they were going to run it without loading it but then decided to let people board. A factor in their decision to run it was probably the fact the line was beginning to stretch out of the station and down the ramp, this is the first time I've seen this. My personal opinion of Roar is it's getting rougher. The last curve hasn't improved any and still beats the daylights out of me. I had to laugh at the patch work they did on one of the seats, it looked like black electrical tape to cover it.

From Roar, we headed over to the newly painted Mind Eraser. When we got to the ride it was down. I began to develop my conspiracy theories. Perhaps the park was ticked because of all the pictures I've been taking of Hurricane Harbor before they opened for the season. Anyway, we watched a couple of test runs trying to determine if the trains were new. After looking at the bottom of the seats (which you could still see the red on them) we determined the trains weren't new. The new trains will be orange and yellow. I really liked the new colors a orangeish red with yellow track. This ride really looks great. The paint may have marginally improved the ride, but it's still rough in spots.

After Mind Eraser, Renegade Rapids was just opening so I was going to douse a boat or two with water only to find the "New" water canons were not working. From there we went and watch the new stunt show which needs some work, popped in on the country show which really shows some promise, ate lunch at Pieces of Eight which wasn't to bad. Then I took some pictures before leaving at 4:00.

When I left the park at 4:00, Batwing was running test runs, Superman was still down but they managed to pull the train into the station, Joker's Jinx was still down, with half of the train still hanging out of the station towards the final brake run, Two Face was closed, Mind Eraser went down for the second time.

Now for the park improvements:

First, Iron Eagle was running a continous pattern, I guess they were stress testing the ride.

Second, Chick-Fil-A is coming to the Skull Island food court. But it's not open yet.

Third, Both JJ and Mind Eraser received new paint job, the Flying Carousel received new seats, Pirates Flight received new chains and the boats received a paint job.

Fourth, Hurricane Harbor is coming along. I could see a couple of sections of Tornado have been put together and they have begun pouring the footers for Bahama Blast.

Fifth, There was ride mechanics everywhere today. They were working on Two Face, Iron Eagle, Mind Eraser, Roar, Superman. Whereever I turned, I saw a ride mechanic. One guy had retired and had came back just to help get the park open for the season. I'm sure that will be the case with some of the others.

I'm sure there are other improvements, I've left out and will point out after I upload my pictures. Check back for my pictures later this evening.

After seeing and reading the trip reports about Six Flags Great Adventure's opening day. I have to say, I was extremely disappointed in Six Flags America's opening day. But tomorrow is a new day and I will be there tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

*** Edited 4/9/2005 9:54:47 PM UTC by coasterguts***

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Saturday, April 9, 2005 6:28 PM
What is wrong with 2 face? I went last year and was disapointed that it was closed. does anyone have any info?
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Saturday, April 9, 2005 6:44 PM
When I went to guest relations to get my coupon book, the lady said that 2 Face has been closed so long because they are waiting for 1 single part that the ride cannot operate with, that comes from Italy. They have been waiting on it since last season she said and they the part still hasn't come. So I dont really think it will come any time soon either, but ya never no.

Colin

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Saturday, April 9, 2005 7:03 PM
They were working on it today. That's all I know. I heard the same thing about the special part needed from Vekoma. Two Face was suppose to have been ready by opening day, at least that is what I was told last season. Maybe the Pope's funeral slowed delivery of the special part down. :)

*** Edited 4/9/2005 11:04:03 PM UTC by coasterguts*** *** Edited 4/9/2005 11:04:15 PM UTC by coasterguts***

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Saturday, April 9, 2005 7:35 PM
Yeah, the Popes death does kinda make since to slow the part down...that never popped in to my head because im not catholic so the Pope dosn't meen anything to me. But, yeah that does sound like a good reason that it would be stalled on arriving
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Saturday, April 9, 2005 8:33 PM
Yeah! What a way to start 2005. I was very upset. But I did get to see my first valley. But yeah just a quick note, after 4 from when you left, they were running Superman but they told us while we waited at the entrance that the ride was running too slow so it wouldn't be opened at all today. Once I heard this I left.
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Saturday, April 9, 2005 9:01 PM
Nice TR, sounds like a...nice day. I know if Phantom's Revenge was closed all day on opening day I would be upset.

Thats a shame about Roar too, all they have to do is fix up that last turn and it would be sweet. I guess we can expect that ride to run itself ragged before they even touch it. What a waste.

One picky note about your typing.



"However, the one thing the park didn't fix in the office season was the ponding of the water in the station. Wearing shorts and sandals, I had no choice but to get might feet what as I navigated the queue."

In the office season? to get might feet wet?

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Saturday, April 9, 2005 9:04 PM
Sorry...about that, sometimes I type faster than I think and I don't catch my mistakes.
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Saturday, April 9, 2005 9:06 PM
Ya, I was going to come back but I never did. I went into DC for the Cherry Blossom festival to meet up with my family who had come down for the event (btw NEVER go to the CBF on a weekend, it was INSANLY crowded in DC), and while I was in DC my gf called me telling me she was in College Park (where I go to school) so I decided to skip SFA for the rest of the day to be with my gf.

Adding to what coasterguts said...Improvements:

PBR: They removed the seatbelts! Instead they just have stickers on the side of the boat. They also added about 6" onto the overall height of the wall of the flume around the turnaround into the station. Those who had noticed in years past, boats coming around this section often created waves that would splash over the wall flooding the queue and ruining the landscaping. Well, that problem is no more. With no seatbelts, they were running at least 6 boats with no stacking and a fast moving line. The boats looked like they had been stored outside (or in a VERY dirty place) all winter, but otherwise this was the most improved attraction.

Mind Eraser: The trains are NOT new, they are repainted. They do have completly new wheels. The track is yellow and the supports ARE orange. They have about 50% of the supports done and plenty of work still to do in the station. Otherwise the coaster looks brand-spankin' new. The train that was running was the yellow train (formerly the red train). We were told the second train is being painted orange (matching the supports).

TOD: as far as I know, it ran all three sides all day. It was running all three sides when I got there and was still running all three when I left.

Wild One and Roar both got brand new seatbelts and lapbars, but not many other differences were noticable. Two Face seems close to opening, but the side panels are missing from the trains, so I'd guess next weekend. Batwing was testing like a champ (hopefully those ride ops got LOTS of practice loading the trains), but I never saw it run. I'd guess part of the problem was where Superman vallied. A lot of the work to get the train back to the station was right over the pathway back to Batwing (another reason to complete the path from ME to Batwing). Joker's Jinx is going to look REALLY good when the paint job is done, but it's only about 50% done at best. RR and Shipwreck falls were both up but TSC never opened (that I know of). Sonoco Speedway now has an actual person (along with the machine) where you purchase tickets. There were a few more noticeable touches all around. I'm pretty sure the small wooden bridge into Coyote Creek was replaced (or at least restained). It appeared that one of the two trains on the Oak Grove Express was painted (or at least the cars were). They poured a reasonably big cement pad in the backstage area by Two Face for some reason. Don't know if a new building's going there or if they're going to stack the big blue boxes there or what. Other than that, it was pretty much the same old SFA from last year.

Hurricane Harbor is coming along nicely. Seems a few more pieces have shown up in the parking lot and they have started to assemble some pieces inside the waterpark area (assemble, as in put together on the ground, NOT in their final position). The pieces in the parking lot are fenced in and about half the second lot was "coned" off to keep people away from the ride pieces. Painting around the waterpark is coming along nicely. The buildings on the main enterance into the park are all very brightly colored (looks like a pack of Starbursts with a few blues and greens thrown in). The enterance was redone, but I don't know if it's as it will be in the end or if it's just temporary.

Well, that's about all I noticed in the two hours I was there. I didn't get any pictures and I'll wait till tomorrow to make judgements on the ride ops. I'm going back tomorrow, so I'll reserve too much judgement till then. Look for a full TR with pictures by this time tommorow...

SFA, I'll overlook the down falls of today if Superman and Batwing are open tomorrow...

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Saturday, April 9, 2005 9:45 PM
From what I heard from the staff they were conducting employee training on superman so of course it never opened after the problems concerning the train valleying this morning.

JJ broke down on us when we were about 2 cycles away from riding & never reopened,Batwing also broke down on us....not once but twice with the first time being when we were next up to ride,the 2nd breakdown occured about an hour later when we entered the queue & no more than 5 minutes later did it go down,yet another annoyance is the fact that AB no longer runs backward anymore.

At least Mind eraser got a new paintjob for both the track & trains....I actually like the new two tone color scheme used on the yellow train & even got in two rides on it today.

All in all it was a rather frustrating day(due to superman & batwing being down) & I was so put off by todays turn of events that I'd probablly not want to return anytime soon.

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Saturday, April 9, 2005 10:02 PM
I'm not going to let one day ruin the year. Let them have their problems opening weekend. Nobody's perfect. I mean, had Superman not vallied, it probably would have been open right at 10:30 with the rest of the park, and Batwing probably would have been open too. Two Face is close to reopening and Wild One and Roar ran just fine all day. There's more in the park than just rollercoasters. I didn't see any more than I did just passing it, but the Wild West stunt sgow seems like another winner this year... there's no doubt that I'll be back tomorrow, and chances are good I'll be back next weekend no matter what happens tommorow...
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Saturday, April 9, 2005 10:10 PM
Coaster Lover, I don't know why you're defending the park. If you had paid good money to get into the park (which even with a season pass you did), then you would have every right to come away disappointed. One coaster being down (S:ROS) shouldn't have any effect on another coaster (Batwing) opening or not opening. They're not even that close to each other. Yikes. That seals the deal for me this weekend. And guys, Vekoma is out of the Netherlands. What would the Pope's death have anything to do with a part not being delivered?
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Saturday, April 9, 2005 10:57 PM
Gatta take the highs with the lows... I bought my season pass last year during Fright Fest and went enough times then to pay for my season pass so I'm not too worried about the money. It was fun times with fun people and that's what really matters to me.

Anyways, one more thing... Seems we're getting a Chic-fil-a in Skull Island. It wasn't open, and there was no real sign, but the menu clearly said "Chic-fil-a Chicken Sandwich" and another menue item was "Waffel Fries". I'd guess it will only serve a VERY limited number of Chic-fil-a items, but hey, it's still REALLY good food.

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Saturday, April 9, 2005 11:03 PM
Yes, you are correct about Vekoma being out of the Netherlands, but we never said they needed a whole new ride or anything, they just needed a part, which just happens to come from Italy, which just happens (hint hint) to be were the Pope used to live. DUH! lol didn't meen to sound snotty, sorry if I did, C ya

Colin.

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Sunday, April 10, 2005 12:08 AM
I have no doubt that Six Flags can make improvements- some parks have good operations already. However, it appears that Mr. Six's "customer satisfaction" bus drove right past Maryland. And if they had two trains on Superman (which I'm guessing they didn't), they simply could have removed the valleyed train and ran the other one (And yes, I have seen coasters valley, and continue operating later in the day!)
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Sunday, April 10, 2005 12:56 AM
But havent they needed the part since last year? I doubt it would take this long to get a part for a ride/manufacturer that has a lot of installations. But then again, what the heck do I know.
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Sunday, April 10, 2005 7:05 AM
From the March 30th SFA Newsletter


WE ARE 100% COMMITTED TO MAKING YOUR DAY HERE GREAT. After a off-season of getting ready, Six Flags America has some incredible changes for you this season. New Shows! New Opening Routine! New Events! You won't want to miss the best season yet!


Fun - The new policy isn't a customer satisfaction policy. They say they are 100% Committed, they don't say 100% Satisfaction Gurrantee.

I don't know why Two Face isn't ready perhaps the part hasn't arrived yet but they were working on the ride. Maybe Superman was ready and it was just coincidence that it vallied on opening day. The more I think about, the more I believe Coaster Lover is right, the train stopped over the path back to Batwing and they needed to get to that area of the ride to work on the train making it unsafe for employees and guests. Batwing was running for most of the day just without guests. However, given the fact the park only had one train on Superman and Joker's Jinx and Iron Eagle wasn't running seems to make me wonder about the 100% Commitment.

I will say this, I don't think I have ever seen more ride mechanics in the park at one time as I did today. *** Edited 4/10/2005 11:16:28 AM UTC by coasterguts***

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Sunday, April 10, 2005 9:19 AM
Well I'm kind of glad I decided to skip going to the park this weekend. Especially with Two-Face being closed and being the only credit I need there. Oh well, hopefully I'll check it out in a couple of weeks and they'll have the kinks worked out for the season.
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Sunday, April 10, 2005 9:30 AM

WE ARE 100% COMMITTED TO MAKING YOUR DAY HERE GREAT. After a off-season of getting ready, Six Flags America has some incredible changes for you this season. New Shows! New Opening Routine! New Events! You won't want to miss the best season yet!


'Ok they dont even have correct grammar. The a is supposed to be an.
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Sunday, April 10, 2005 8:29 PM

BATWING FAN SFA said:
From what I heard from the staff they were conducting employee training on superman so of course it never opened after the problems concerning the train valleying this morning.

From what I heard from the staff (while standing in line waiting for the ride to open today) they were all trained last week and the ride was running really well until it valied during test runs Saturday morning.

One more thing to consider whenever a coaster valleys and they pull it back into the station. What happens if one of the cables snaps, doesn't that create a safety issue the park needs to be sure they address? Thus the reason for keeping Batwing closed.
*** Edited 4/11/2005 12:36:27 AM UTC by coasterguts***

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