SFGAdv. 6/17/05: Great time even without Ka!

Associated parks:
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Saturday, June 18, 2005 11:02 PM
So here it was again. It was time to take what has now become an annual trip to SFGAdv. I usually like to take my trips mid May to avoid crowds. However, due to plans to meet a friend, that wasn’t possible. If I had known Kingda Ka was going to be down, I may have picked a different day. Well I guess that may not be true considering I DID know that Kingda Ka was going to be down. I think I was so coaster deprived at the time it didn’t matter. I needed to get to an amusement park and I needed to get their FAST.

I took Thursday, Friday and Saturday off for my trip. The one certain thing was that we were going to SFGAdv. on Friday. Everything else was kind of up in the air. What time we were leaving on Thursday and what we would be doing on Saturday was all out of my control. It just so happened that everything fell into place quite nicely. Well… for the most part that is.

We left Thursday at around 3:30 and headed to a friends house. They live just 1 mile from the Jersey shore and about 45 minutes from SFGAdv. The drive down was easy. There wasn’t too much traffic and we made pretty good time. Before heading to our destination we stopped by the ocean. We just put our feet in because the water was pretty cold. We headed to our friends, grabbed some dinner and went to bed. We had a long day ahead of us.

The next morning we headed out at about 8:00. On our way the low fuel light went on. Thinking we didn’t have enough gas to make it to the park, we got off the nearest exit on the I-195. Why, for the love of God, didn’t I pay attention to signs. I realized prior to getting off the highway that there were no “nearby gas station” signs. For some reason though I thought we would find one. Well we did. After driving 20 minutes from the 195 we finally found a gas station. The only good thing was that gas was cheaper than home. Other than that, it was a waste of time and a bad start to the day. It could only go up from here… right?

We arrived at the park a little after 9:00. We had originally planned to stop at WaWa (best convenient store EVER) before getting into the park but our off road adventure made us late. We had to meet some friends at 9:00 at the front gate.

We paid our $10 for parking (ouch) and got a nice spot right up front. We got out of the car and waited. 9:30 went by… 9:45 went by… 10:00 went by. Where were our friends that were supposed to meet us at 10:00? Well in the midst of the waiting, we headed over to Guest Relations. I had my Great Escape nametag with me and, from what I was told, it got a friend and myself into any Six Flags park for free. I was told right. They gave me no trouble whatsoever at Guest Relations. That was nice. So my friend and I had gotten in for free and my brother, with his coupon, ended up paying only $25. Between the three of us (we split is three ways), it was $8 a person. Not bad for a day at an amusement park.

So here we sit. There are people pouring into the park by the busload and we still can’t find our friends. Not forgetting our cell phone 45 minutes East would have helped. We actually didn’t forget it. We sat in the driveway and made a rational decision that we wouldn’t need it. Boy are we stupid.

The next two hours involved the three of us making phone calls from a pay phone and searching the front entrance. Before giving up completely, we went into the park. We thought our friends may have gone in. Well they weren’t in there either. Fed up with how the day had been going, I pleaded to go to Superman. I NEEDED a coaster fix. They were all just sitting there and we weren’t riding them. I couldn’t wait any longer.

The line for Superman stretched pretty far. The covered queues weren’t open though so the line really wasn’t that long. We made it to the station in about half an hour. We took the back seat and before we knew it, we were off. The only bad thing about this ride is how long it takes to dispatch a train. You’ve got the people in the train outside of the station just hanging there while the train IN the station has barely loaded. I hope they can speed the process up a bit.

Superman: Ultimate Flight:

This coaster is starting to grow on me. I moaned and groaned about the location and short length for the past two years. I never liked the themeing and to me, this coaster could have been so much more. That was before. Now I really love the ride. The first drop is great, the pretzel loop is INCREDIBLE and the barrel roll, which used to bore me, was actually pretty fun. This ride was a great way to start our day. I’m very happy the park added this coaster. It was a great investment.

Two train operation.

Ride Rating: (-5 to +5): +2

After Superman we headed back to the entrance. I couldn’t believe that we still hadn’t found our friends. For some reason the pay phones in the park weren’t working right. We decided to make our way to WaWa to find out where our friends were. As we approached the car we saw something on it. My friend had found our car and left us a note! It seemed as if we were too late. From what the note said, I concluded they had left. We went to WaWa anyway but had no luck. We ended up never meeting them. It was so depressing.

As upset as we were, we couldn’t let it ruin our day. If we kept thinking about the situation we wouldn’t have any fun. We cleared our minds and headed to the Safari.

I always look forward to going into the Safari. I always have a good time. This was the second year we drove through without air conditioning, which I certainly do not recommend. Still, there was much fun to be had. The highlight of the Safari were the Giraffes. They all stood in the road and licked our windows. It was quite amusing. It was sad that the monkeys were fenced off. I remember when they used to jump from car to car. I really miss that.

After the Safari it was back to the park. We stopped and stared at Kingda Ka for a while. Boy that coaster is HUGE. I was so sad that we weren’t going to get on it. Being able to look at it was nice though.

When we headed back into the park we went to Nitro. We ended up waiting a good 30 minutes for row 7. There were only two trains but the line moved pretty quick.

Nitro:

I really love this coaster but this year I felt a little let down. The great thing about Nitro are its hills. I’m talking about the one right before and the one right after the hammerhead. That is some great floater air. The first drop is nice as well. The helix seemed more intense than I remember. That quick pull off the MCBR is also exciting. The bunny hops at the end don’t do much for me though. Don’t get me wrong, I really love this coaster. I just wasn’t blown away with it this year as I was in years past. I love the queue cover they added. Nice touch.

Two train operation.

Ride Rating: +3

After seeing that the lines were just getting longer and longer, we decided to get a Q-Bot. This would be the first time we had ever purchased one. We had mixed feelings about it.

The Q-Bot turned out to be about $20 a person (there were three of us). My brother had to leave his license when we signed up for it. We found out later that he wasn’t supposed to. Anyway, they kind of just give you a Q-Bot and send you off. We should have asked how to use it but of course, we didn’t. The first ride we reserved was The Chiller. The line was well outside of the building! I had never seen it this long. After that we made rounds. We then reserved Stuntman’s Freefall, B:TR and Nitro. Since we had an hour to kill before The Chiller, we headed to Skull Mountain. We were waiting in line for about 5 minutes before entering the station.

Boy was that station a mess. There were hoards of people everywhere. There was absolutely no order. We headed straight for the back because less people could fit over on that side. After another five minutes, we were on. It wasn’t a bad wait at all. I was pleased to see they were running two trains.

Skull Mountain:

This coaster wasn’t as dark as I remember. It was still pretty fun though. The first drop in the back seat is actually pretty thrilling. I recommend it. The rest was pretty lack-luster. There were some uncomfortable jolts but nothing too unbearable. The bottom line is that it’s a good family coaster. I’m glad it’s a part of SFGAdv.

Two train operation.

Ride Rating: 0

Next we took a drop on Stuntman’s Freefall. We had already reserved the ride but wanted didn’t want to wait. It was about a fifteen-minute wait. This ride is wonderful. Coming to a stop is a little painful and a little loud but this ride crew was moving. The drop is really fantastic.

After that ride we started going around the park. We reserved Superman, GASM, Saw Mill Plunge (name?) and Medusa. By the time we had done all that, we were ready for Chiller. We walked over to the ride and up the exit. We were on the next train.

Robin: The Chiller:

When are they going to get Batman going?! This is year three that the ride has been closed on our visit. Still, Robin did not disappoint. The launch was more powerful than I remember and the cobra roll was silky smooth. I never really liked Premiers attempt at a Zero-G roll but it seems to be a favorite among enthusiasts. This has always been my favorite ride at the park and still is.

One train operation (obviously).

Ride Rating: +4

We still had a little time to wait before our Stuntman reservation so we went and saw Catfight. There were certainly some corny parts but overall, I was impressed with the show. I really enjoyed it. My favorite part was obviously the finale. All of that fire was exciting. I hope they keep this show around.

After the show we headed over the Stuntman’s and right up the exit. Of course now there wasn’t a line so Q-Bot didn’t really matter. Once again the ride did not disappoint. If SFGAdv. ever gets a new drop tower, I hope they don’t get ride of this ride. It’s just plain fun.

We had about half an hour to kill before Batman. We went into the arcade and actually had fun dropping a couple of bucks on games. I had forgotten how fun cheesy little arcade games can be. Within no time we had to head to Batman. We walked up the exit and right onto the ride.

Batman: The Ride:

I really love the new paint on this ride. I know it’s now two years old but it still looks fresh. The intensity of this ride never ceases to amaze me. That helix after the second vertical loop is awesome. There were some rough spots but it was “B&M” rough. Nothing too bad. I also want to say that it looks like the queue received a makeover. There were fresh flowers everywhere and the grass and trees were nicely trimmed. Overgrown grass and weeds surrounded the queue last time I was here. Definitely a nice change.

Two train operation.

Ride Rating: +2

We had over an HOUR to wait for our Nitro reservation. We had to go occupy ourselves. We kind of just walked around for a while. First we stood by and watched people get soaked on Poland Spring Plunge. The ride itself doesn’t get you too wet but watch out for those fountains. Number four will drench you!

Next we headed to Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train. I LOVE the new entrance. It’s so nice. The sign and covered area was a great idea. This year the back of the train was open! That’s where we headed.

Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train:

This is the perfect family coaster in my opinion. It’s a decent length, a decent size and as for capacity well… look at that train! Being in the back was borderline intense for the first drop. You certainly get whipped over it quickly.

One train operation always.

Ride Rating: -1

We headed over to Sponge Bob but decided not to wait as the line was a decent size. We then headed into the new Golden Kingdom. The boardwalk entrance is beautiful. My overall impression of the new area is… WOW! I can’t believe how beautiful this new addition is. The play area for kids, the tigers, the little rides and of course, Kingda Ka are wonderful additions. Of course Ka wasn’t open but it looks marvelous. The themeing of the new area is out of this world. That’s what really did it for me. I can’t believe the effort Six Flags took with this. A+ for that! WOW!

It was about that time. We headed over to Nitro because our Q-Bot was ready. We grabbed the back row this time.

Nitro (Second Time):

The ride seemed a little better than in the morning but nothing too EXTREME. The silky smooth track and graceful maneuvers are brilliant. I really love that helix and, in the back seat, that pop off the MCBR is excellent. I think the hammerhead is a little underrated as well. It was nothing incredible but a fitting element nonetheless. Another train had been added and the crew was booking. They were great with the guests too. My favorite ride op was Cyndy. She was very nice. Great job!

Three train operation.

Ride Rating: +3

We headed back over to the Boardwalk for our ride on GASM. This is another ride where Q-Bot was not needed. We actually waited longer at the exit than the people in line.

Great American Scream Machine:

I don’t have too much of a problem with this coaster but my friends do. It isn’t silky smooth but come on, it’s an arrow over a decade old. What do you expect? My least favorite elements on this ride are the batwing (boomerang… whatever arrow calls it) and that nasty entrance into the MCBR. My favorite elements are the corkscrews. They are pretty smooth in comparison to my hometown arrow coasters corkscrews. As my friend said about GASM, “They should take this down and put something good here… like trees.”

Two train operation.

Ride Rating: 0

Technically, we were supposed to hit Superman before GASM. That’s how we reserved it at least. I don’t know what happened but everything we reserved after Nitro was lost. We kind of had to start all over. That whole ordeal was frustrating. We next headed to Medusa.

We had reserved Medusa on our Q-Bot but with three-train operation and no visible line, we realized that was unnecessary. We got up to the station and got in line for the back row. This crew was FLYING. It was a nice surprise. They were getting people through this coaster so fast. There was no stacking.

Medusa:

I love this ride so much. Everything about it is perfect. I love it’s elements, it’s pacing, the grassy area beneath it, it’s colors, it’s station... etc. I could go on forever. The first drop, loop and dive loop were great. The Zero-G roll was better than great. The Cobra roll and corkscrews were nice and that helix in the middle was a nice kick of intensity. To me, this is the perfect coaster. It just has it all. I really enjoyed it and always do. Thanks again to the magnificent crew!

Three train operation.

Ride Rating: +3

One of my friends is a wood coaster freak so guess where we went next…

I want to like Rolling Thunder. I want to like it SO bad. I try. I really do. This was actually my first time on the right side. The left side has had some re-tracking done but the right side was certainly left out. I wish the park removed both Viper AND Rolling Thunder for next year’s wooden coaster. Having an incredible new wooden coaster right next to Rolling Thunder is going to lessen its appeal. Maybe I’ll get my wish and they’ll axe it. The recent paint job makes me think not though.

Rolling Thunder:

I cannot believe how much this ride hurt. The left side wasn’t nearly as bad as the right. The crew was pretty bad as well. Going from an awesome crew on Medusa to the crappy one on Rolling Thunder was not fun. They were fooling around and were in no hurry whatsoever. It amazes me that with the slow speed of the lift hill, the crew STILL couldn’t have the second train loaded and ready to go when the first entered the brake run. The ride itself, like I said, was bad. It was painful. I used to stick up for this coaster but now I just want it gone. Its layout is pretty boring too. I don’t blame Six Flags. It’s just a bad coaster to begin with. New wood would make it better but why spend the money?

Two train operation (why bother… the crew was in no hurry).

Ride Rating: -2

After that wonderful experience we hit up Rodeo Stampede twice. I usually love this ride but it wasn’t really whipping today. Still a fun time. I forgot to mention that I could see Viper’s old area from atop Rolling Thunder. Boy did they just RIP this thing down or what. Half of the supports are still sticking up from some of the footers. It’s like they just cut them off. I had heard the rumor that Viper would be going to SFDL an kept it in my signature. I have never been so happy to be wrong. I did ride the coaster every time I went to the park though. Its first drop and second inversion were good in my opinion. The ride overall was just not worth saving. I’m glad it’s gone but will miss it a little.

Another thing that could be seen from Rolling Thunder’s lift was Kingda Ka. That ride could be seen from any lift but Rolling Thunder gave a wonderful view of it. I know that the coaster is down but I’m so glad they built it. I can’t wait to get a ride on it sometime. I’m a huge launch fanatic and love quick rushes like Dragster. Another thing I wanted to note was that there was a train at the beginning of the launch. There was no train at the end of the launch. I couldn’t see very well but the track and wheel assembly under the final launch track looked fine. I hope the problem that occurred won’t be repeated.

We headed back to the arcade before our final Q-Bot ride. We ended up just giving our tickets away. We had at least 250. We just didn’t have time to cash them in.

We went to Superman and walked right up the exit. Someone was being trained as a ride op (from what I saw) and boy did that slow things up. One thing that annoyed me was on this ride, the air gates were opened right as the exit gate was. That meant all of us waiting at the exit with Q-Bot had to run to row four to get a ride. Twice we were denied because people waiting in line beat us there. The ride ops didn’t seem to care. We eventually got on. It was 8:05 when I pulled down my restraint.

Superman: Ultimate Flight (Second time):

Once again this ride did not disappoint. That pretzel loop is heaven. Going through it I saw someone lose a large amount of change. Too bad for them. One thing I noticed was that there was someone in the ride area while we were going. I assume they were from maintenance but I thought it was kind of dangerous. They weren’t in the danger zones but in the ride area nonetheless. I always thought the ride was not to be running (with people at least) while someone was in the ride area. I guess I was wrong.

Two train operation.

Ride Rating: +3

At the end of the night we handed in our Q-Bot. We were told that we weren’t supposed to leave our license and that we could pick it up at Lost and Found. That was kind of irritating but not really a big deal. Once we got to Lost and Found we had to sign a paper. Not hearing what the lady had said, we asked her to repeat it. She yelled “Just sign the paper!”. I couldn’t believe how rude the Lost and Found people were. She acted as if we asked her to sacrifice her first-born child or something. Jeez. So if anyone wants to know, the lady who works in Lost and Found with very short hair (maybe it was a man?) is not very nice. Bottom line… don’t lose anything. Yeah… stick me in an air-conditioned booth all day and pay me and I would never treat park guests like that.

Overall Ride Summary:

Superman: Ultimate Flight: More intense than I remember. Good addition: +2

Nitro: Nice hyper coaster. I wish it were more intense but it’s still damn good: +3

Skull Mountain: Nice indoor family coaster. I recommend the back seat: 0

Robin: The Chiller: My favorite ride at the park. Open the other side please: +4

Batman: The Ride: Intense but a little rough. I still love it: +2

Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train: The perfect family coaster: -1

Great American Scream Machine: This ride is rough. I still like it but wouldn’t miss it: 0

Medusa: Great elements, great atmosphere, great ride crew. Just awesome: +3

Rolling Thunder: Please take this down. Don’t make me say I miss Viper: -2

My overall satisfaction with the park has increased. SFGAdv. is the perfect example that even if their new, record-breaking coaster isn’t open, you’ll still have PLENTY to do. This park has one of the best coaster selections around and, with the addition of the Golden Kingdom, has hit a home run with a children’s area. The staff, overall, was very friendly. There were a few frustrating incidents (Rolling Thunder crew, Lost and Found) but most employees were friendly and helpful. I really love this park and am thrilled that I had as much fun as I did with Ka just sitting there.

Great job Six Flags. I had an awesome time!

*** Edited 6/19/2005 3:11:17 AM UTC by UBRhino***

+0
Saturday, June 18, 2005 11:23 PM
Nice TR! Love the use of the old "Griswold" sacle of rating. So much better than the people that come on here and rate all coasters a 9 or 10 out of 10! :)
+0
Saturday, June 18, 2005 11:47 PM
Agreed. It was also nice to see a positive review of Nitro. ;)
+0
Sunday, June 19, 2005 3:52 AM
Great TR UBRhino! Very honest and entertaining. I dig that! That's what keeps things refreshing in life.

I am starting to love those Qbots. :-D

-Tina

<----who honestly loves Nitro just as much as Ka, maybe more.

+0
Monday, June 20, 2005 8:14 AM
Nitro certainly is underrated. It's not S:ROS at SFNE but it's a well-rounded ride nonetheless. I'm kind of surprised its helix doesn't get more praise. It's pretty powerful.
+0

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