SFDK (Joker) 11/12/16

ApolloAndy's avatar

So we moved to San Jose a few months ago and finally got the time to head up to visit my parents who live about 3 miles from SFDK. We took a big family trip to the park on Friday, largely just to hang around but also because I wanted to try out Joker, RMC's redo of Roar West for this year.

For context, my home park for the last 11 years has been SFoT, so that's what I'm comparing everything to in my brain.

Park operations on the whole were somewhere between bad and atrocious. Parking lines, ticket lines, entrance lines, and food lines were all long and had multiple closed lines/windows/turnstiles. To compound matters, there was no sense of urgency from the workers who were at the head of said super long lines. Ride lines were fine for the kiddie stuff, which was all we did aside from the opening lap on Joker, though both kiddie areas were jam packed. Joker took an hour and 5 minutes to open after the park opened for the day. How do I know? I was standing in front of it that whole time listening to announcements about how it was "almost ready to open." I guess there was some gate sensor issue according to one of the staffers.

That said, this park is just beautiful. The kids loved the animal attractions, especially the butterfly enclosure and the giraffe area where the giraffes graze just a few feet from the observation platform. We also got to see a dolphin show which was quite good and a welcome break on an otherwise busy day. The landscaping is nice, the back area of the park by the water is very serene, and the theme areas (land, sky, and sea) are actually somewhat cohesive.

So Joker -
I probably didn't give this ride a completely fair shake, given that I had spent an hour and change while it was "almost ready to open" while my family waited for me, but I thought the ride was only good, not great. I got one ride, backseat on the first train of the day. (They were assigning seats and I was 6th in line, so I asked for back).

The characteristic RMC insane air was present in a couple of places and the first drop was just as ridiculous as other RMC's but a lot of air opportunities were sacrificed in favor of inversions or crazy banking. The layout also felt really tight with rapid fire elements and no sense of pacing. Also, I'm too old for inversions and this had 3. Definitely the least of the 4 RMC's I've ridden (N:TG,Outlaw Run, Iron Rattler, Joker in that order). I also think B:TR is the worst B&M invert and have no problem with Alpengeist, so YMMV. Still a good ride and probably still the best ride in the park, but not something that's going to bring me back from 2+ hours away (damn you, Bay Area traffic). I also really did not like the rolling stock on this ride. The restraints had ankle/shin bars and though they were padded, I kept bashing my legs into them. Oh I should mention that the cute little section of track from the station to the lift had some pretty decent air.

Overall, I give Joker a high 4 stars.

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

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