SFGADV TR 2 of 2, long but a must read. Trust me!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 10:18 PM
Warning if you are one of those who bashes six flags ride operations then do not read, I repeat do not read my part in this TR on the finale. You don’t want to go through the humiliation. This is a long TR so I put an asterisk next to the most interesting parts so you can read it briefly if you want to.

Trip 2 day 1 Sunday August 10th

This was my second trip to Great Adventure this year. The other was exactly two weeks earlier. I was planning on going to Gadv, Hershey and CP on this trip, but not enough people could do it so that increased the cost too much. So instead I met my friend Dickson for the trip who recently moved down to PA. I got down to Philadelphia where we meet via the greyhound. We both traveled back to MA after the trip by his car. Anyways when I meet my friend we went straight from the bus station to Six Flags. His younger brother Thomas came for the first day only of this trip. It was his brothers first ever trip to the park. I got to the station in Philly around 4 PM, and we estimated that we would be in the park by 5:30 or so.

The arrival

When I left MA it was a perfectly sunny day, but by the time I got into NJ there were storms and I was getting worried. Fortunately it seemed that the storms had died down by the time I got into Philly so we decided to go to the park anyways. We did not actually arrive at the gates until 6 pm b/c of some heavy traffic. So we figured 4 hours in the park would still be enough. When we got there though the good news was that the park was empty. The bad news was that none of the rides were running. Five minutes later at 5:45 to be exact they started up the rides, thank God.

*Getting into the park

For me that was easy with my seasons pass. Our plan was for my friend Dickson to get his seasons pass and with the coupon book give his brother the bring a friend for 15 dollars coupon. I couldn’t give Thomas this coupon b/c my coupon book only works for SFNE. I went into the park ahead of them to find the booth for the seasons pass upgrade from the daily admission. My friends did not get into the park for 45 minutes and their story was really annoying to hear. They said that guest relations said, that they could not upgrade to a seasons pass b/c the park does not offer them anymore. They were forced into getting a big six. This is ridiculous. I remember in 2005 not going to six flags until late August, but I ended up going both to SFNE and gadv a few times each. To make matters worse. My friend and his brother also informed me that the park was closing at 8pm. The stupid part was also that there was no other indication of this. Yes nothing. The park did announce that they were cancelling the parade, but not the whole park down at 8pm. I bet many if not most people in the park got into lines at 8 only to find them closed.

El Toro 10/10

We did not have much time. I wanted Thomas to ride each of the big 3 (El Toro, Nitro, and KK) I decided we should do El Toro first. On the way to El Toro I saw something happen for the first ever time. It was KK rolling back. I never once saw an Intamin rocket rollback, and I was at CP for 2 days in 03 and I had been to GADV numerous times now. They were running only one train on El Toro. So we actually had a good 20 minute wait for a back seat even with the park as empty as it was. While the ride was still awesome it felt a lot slower. I guess that is what happens when it sits in idle for a long time.

*Kingda Ka 10/10

I remember watching something on TTD where they said that it actually launches anywhere from 120-122 mph. They said it requires 120 to go over the hill and if the speed is any higher than 122 it will go over to fast. Well if that’s the case with TTD and the same holds true for KK, then I would bet anything that I had my first 130 mph launch on KK. I was in the front row and it just felt so abnormally fast. I couldn’t believe how fast we flew over the top hat. Put it this way. I would not want to have been on the back of that train with only lapbars. It might have been dangerous. Unfortunately when I got off the train my friend’s brother Thomas lost his cell phone on the ride. The operators told us to come back later that night after they close.

Nitro 9/10

The last of the big 3 was Nitro. We just got there in time before the park closed. It was a great ride as always.

*Leaving the park

We walked to KK where they told us to go to guest relations to fill out a form. When my friend was in line dealing with that I could not help but notice all the customers complaining to guest relations about getting their money back. One of the managers was outside trying to help as best he could, but some of the park guest got so hostile that he actually raised his voice and threatened that he will call security and they would escort out of the park the next person who raised their voice to him. That is when everyone stopped yelling. The manager named Paul kept saying that their policy on this day was that since the rides went down at 12:30. If they were not up again by 2:00 everyone with a receipt could get a coupon to get into the park again for 10 dollars. Once people heard this their tension finally went away. It is just really sad how a manager has to threaten guest to get them to listen. I must say that Paul that manager handled himself in an extremely professional fashion. Way to Go! We then left guest relations and went to the lost and found. They did not have Thomas’s phone, but what they did have was stunning. During this day that the park was open a grand total of 4 hours they probably had 5 broken cell phones from KK, 8 from Medusa, and like 8 from Superman. This is also not to mention all the hats and ect that are also lost all the time on these rides. Six Flags should start up a fixing cell phones business. Seriously they could make some big bucks and get out of debt real fast! We kept going back to the lost and found during this trip but nothing was ever found.

Trip 2 day 2 Monday August 11th

There was once again a threat of rain. Fortunately it never did rain at the park. My friend and I did not get to the park until around 12:30 or so.

Superman Ultimate Flight 7/10

I started this day right where the other trip left off. This was my first ride on Superman this summer. It was probably a good 45 minute wait for a front row seat.

GASM 6/10

On my last trip I had a front seat. This time I had a seat in the back. It was a five minute wait. I must say that the back totally blew away the front. It was much more smooth and enjoyable.

Parachute Training Ride

I had never been on this ride and decided to give it a try, but my friend and I backed down when we saw a 30 minute wait. We thought we would try it again, but that never actually happened.

Nitro 9.0/10

We had a 30 minute wait for a back seat.

Skull Mountain 6/10

This was another one of those rides that I did not get on my last trip so I was excited. The ride was actually a little better than I remembered from past summers.

*Batman the Ride 7/10

We were going to do the Dark Knight next but the wait was too much. Batman was the last of the rides that I did not get onto during my last trip and really wanted to get on this time. I had my first ever front row seat on this ride. It was another 45 minute wait. While in line the ride broke down two times and after my ride on it. It broke down again while I was walking down the exit ramp. On both trips this was the only ride that broke down while I was in line, and it managed to do that two times.

Medusa 8/10

We had about a 25 minute wait for a back seat. Once again it delivered. The next two hours were spent taking photographs and leaving the park to get some less expensive food.

*Nitro 9.5/10 3x

It was now close to 8 PM. Our plan was to finish the day with the big three, but while taking photographs in the park we noticed that KK went down. So it was just going to be Nitro and El Toro. I guess you Intamin haters and B&M lovers can now take a deep breath b/c it was not just a B&M ride that went down when I was on these two trips. We got 3 rides in on Nitro in about one hour. Two in the back and one in the front. These were some epic rides. Like I said in my last TR, the best thing about Nitro is not the height, speed, or airtime it is simply the fact that it is so reridable. These nighttime rides had a really cool part. Right after the first drop when the ride photo happens you get blinded by the light and the next 5 seconds of the ride is in complete darkness. While in the station one of the ride employees was trying to hype everyone up by asking questions. The first was what was the tallest roller coaster on the east coast before KK was built? I was already sitting in the front seat of the train waiting to dispatch when he asked this. And before he said “on the east coast” I said TTD. He then said, “ I meant on the east coast” That is when I pointed straight down referring to the ride I am on. Before my very next ride he asked everyone what year Nitro was built. I yelled out 2001, but could not be heard by him.

El Toro 2x

We ended the night on El Toro. It is just so much better at night. The first wait which was for a back seat was probably about 20 minutes. For the second ride I practically walked straight to the station. I got a seat towards the back, but not completely in back b/c I figured that if I took the extra time for a seat in the very back there might not be enough time for a third ride. When we got off the ride and back to the entrance my watch was at 9:58, but they were not allowing people back on, and it appeared that no one had gotten into that line for quite some time. This really bothered me b/c I thought the policy was that you had to be in the line by 10. Clearly that was not followed. And by the way if anything my watch is fast. I did check it with the parks and it is faster. Fortunately the park would make up for this in an unforgettable way in about 24 hours!

Trip 2 Day 3 Tuesday August 12th

This was my final day at SFgadv this year. We did not get into any lines until almost 3 PM that day b/c we got there late and I started the day by taking some photos.

The crowd

The weather conditions and forecast was perfect on this day, and this made the crowd massive. I just could not believe that this day was far more crowded than the time I was at the park on a Saturday also with perfect conditions about two weeks earlier. The crowd looked like it rivaled the day I was at this park in 2005 with a 2.5 hour wait for Nitro and a 1.5 for Medusa. I just do not understand why the crowded days at this park seem for me to be the last day of my visits. Oh well.

Kingda Ka

We first headed for KK but were told that it was a 2 hour wait. So we decided to try it later on in the day again.

The Twister 5.5/10

It was a good 25 minute wait. While this ride was fun it does not hold a candle to the one at SFNE.

Medusa 8/10

We figured that Medusa would be the best value in the park. In other words the best line for what we get out of it. It was a 75 minute wait for a front seat. The only time on any of my trips that I would complain about ride operations was on this ride. They were almost double stacking the trains. I’m not even sure if the ride operators checked our restraints. Some how the managed to work fast, but do a slow job. Fortunately the El Toro crew would later make up for these guys.

Nitro 9/10

Nitro believe it or not only had a 30 minute wait for a back seat. I do not know what is going on, but some how Nitro has seemed to have some of the shortest waits in the park this year for the major rides.

Kingda Ka 10/10

We once again tried KK, and this time we waited it out. It was a good 1.5 hour wait for a front seat. This time the ride seemed at its normal 128 mph. I got the best view I have ever had on the ride this time.

Nitro 2x9.5/10

We got two more extremely short waits on Nitro. The ride is just so much better in the dark.

*The Finale

El Toro 2x ?

Off the scale!

It was now 9:15 when we got in to the line for El Toro. We were told that it was a 45 minute wait. So b/c of what happened last night all hope of a second ride went away. Amazingly it was only a 35 minute wait for a back seat. So we were able to ride again. I had one last trick up my sleeves. I always wanted to be on the last train of the night. So my friend and I went right for the back and let people in front of us until we heard the operator say one last train. When we got into the train we noticed there were six people left. So there was one train after us with six people in it, but the best train is the last full train. So I was still happy. Just like the first time I rode it that night, it delivered a ride that simply can not be described in words. When we hit the breaks it took a while for the train to go into the station. I think its b/c they were taking one of the other trains off the track or something idk. Anyways everyone on the train started talking and we all, yes the entire train united, and we said that we will all refuse to leave the train and instead yell and shout for, “one more ride.” We did just this when we got into the station. A couple of the employees actually unbuckled some seatbelts and lap bars but we still did not budge. Instead every person on the ride yelled “One more ride”. Some of the ride operators started looking at each other. Then all of sudden I heard the main operator say, “ You know what, we love you guys so much we will let you have one more ride.” I never even got out of my seat!! At first it was total disbelief like” are you serious” Then it was just utter enjoyment. Everyone was thanking everyone else when we went through the station and up the lift hill. When we got back into the station we all clapped for the ride operators. It really was awesome just awesome! I do not know if I have ever seen that many people that happy in my whole life! When I look back at it this experience made up for all the negatives that happened on this trip. In 2005 I waited 2.5 for KK until a hat got stuck in the launch and it closed the ride down for the day. I have felt like SFGADV has owed me that ride ever since. I would go as far as to say that this ride/ experience made up for that. So I am curious as to how often this occurs. I am sure this is not the first time this has happened. Does anyone have any experience similar to this or know of any?

Conclusion

All five days I was at this park this year were great experiences even though two of those days were a combined 2.5 hours! The park seems far more capable of handling large crowds than it was in 2005. KK does not have nearly the amount of down time that it did in 2005. The locker policy has got to change. I still miss the Chiller. I would also like to take this opportunity and say that the El Toro crew is the best! *** Edited 8/18/2008 2:25:51 AM UTC by GIGAFORCE01***

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:25 PM
Why oh why can't Great America be this much fun. Glad tonhear your comments on KK only being and loving Dragster I hope to ride KK soon. Nice to hear Great Adventure has such positive reviews.
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Monday, August 18, 2008 11:54 AM
Thanks for the TR, Eric. I went to SFGADV a couple of years ago and I ended up hitting one of those crowded days andl only got to ride 4 coasters. I hope to get back there.

I did have one question for you from your signature. Do you really think Millennium Force is better than your ride on Superman at SFNE? I just got my rides on Superman a week ago. I think the Millennium Force has a better first drop but overall Superman beats it hands down. I just thought it was interesting and I don't want to start a VS thread. I am glad you had such a good time and the extra ride on El Toro sounded awesome! Power to the people.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 2:12 PM
S&S fan,

lol, I finally manage to write something on this site without mentioning MF, then someone mentions my signature. Anyways just like my last TR said, yes MF and El Toro stand far above and beyond the rest in my book. While Superman has better airtime, helixes, tennuls and is more of a complete ride, there is one aspect that to me it fails in. It does not have a key moment on the ride. In other words there is no part on the ride that to me is a 10. A 10 would be the frist drop on MF, the airtime hills on El Toro, or the launch of both KK and TTD. While every part of Superman is great, there is always some coaster that does the same thing better. The airtime on El Toro almost embarrases the airtime on Superman. The first drop on MF overshadows to me the first drop on Superman, and the tunnels on Montu are more impressive than the ones on Superman. My key quote is, " how can I say a certain roller coaster is the best in the world, when there is no point on the coaster where it is the best in the world." Let me put it this way. I actually rank KK and TTD ahead of Superman b/c they have moments that fully capture my attention. I always love to ask people who do not seem to enjoy the force that much if they rode it at night in the back row. B/c to me MF is like El Toro in that it is just so much better at night.

As for my signature that is actually referring to something else. It is metioning how MF is my favorite ride not the best. Best is which ride is better. Favorite is a ride that has a special place in my heart. On that day that is described in my signature my fear of roller coasters ended on MF. MF will always be my favorite roller coaster for that reason alone; while it will someday lose its title in my book as the best.

Another way to phrase my first paragraph is that I put more emphasis on key moments and less on completness on rides than many other people do. MF does that better than any other ride in my opinion, but that is my opinion. If you think Superman is better than MF hands down than it is better than MF hands down. And yes, please lets not have this turn into a MF vs. Superman thread. That was not the point of this TR!!!!!! I just gave my own personal insight when asked once. And if this does explode into a debate or something which I hope it does not. I will not be responding for a while b/c I do have to go do something. So no I will not be ignorinig youi.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 4:04 PM
I love your TR Giga. Its about having fun and everyone coming together to make things more exciting, which makes for a great trip. Your description of KK is really good. I can only imagine how intense it was to go over the top. I also like your comment on nitro. Its not about the height, speed, air time, its about the re ridding. Thumbs up Dude! You can tell that you had a good trip just by reading your TR. We need more of this. I find that in general society is becoming so critical and judgmental of everybody and everything. Going to an amusement park is about having fun, loosing yourself and keeping the BS at the entrance.
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Monday, August 18, 2008 8:47 PM
Eric-

Thanks for the response. I was just curious and you make a solid argument for your point of view. Hopefully I will get to ride El Toro someday because Superman holds the air time record right now in my track record.

Doug

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Monday, August 18, 2008 9:57 PM
While I love the first few hills on Toro, for me the best part of the ride is the "S" curves and the shot into the infield.

My son was tall enough for his first rides on Saturday. (Front during the day and Back seat at night). He liked it a lot too , but prefered to spend most of his time in the Looney Tunes Fun Factory.

I was impressed that two different ride ops took out the "stick" to check him out before he boarded. I also was impresed that some of the peeps in the station were congratulating him and talking to him about the intensity of the ride.

I will write up another report later on in the week, but from the overall consensus...El Toro is a winner and is still in great shape.

Giga - - -> Good TR!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008 1:26 PM
^ Glad you had a good time too. I see that you were also very impressed with the El Toro ride operators. I also think you made a great decision in riding El Toro once in the front and then later in the back. Those must have been two completely different experiences. And Oh yes, how did I forget to mention those awesome s curves at the end of the ride. They really do produce the most out of control feeling I have ever had on any coaster.

S@S Fan

Here is my TR from last summer, when I first rode El Toro being a SROS veteran.http://coasterbuzz.com/forum.aspx?mode=thread&TopicID=47626 Just scroll down a few paragraphs. The difference is that SROS has probably 7 or 8 hills of great air time but El Toro has 3 hills of extreme airtime. El Toro is really the only coaster that I have been on where the airtime is expereinced beyond just the top of the hill. You are actually out of your seat and against the lapbar part when down the hills. Its the same feeling you get when your going down a really steep first drop on a coaster. So the airtime is more intense and longer! Watch this video here on youtube from about 8 to 18 seconds and you can actually hear the bottum wheels on the train roll against the track when the train goes over and part way down the first two hills. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tBNrh4bG28 This is NOT MY VIDEO! I just happened to find it on youtube one day.

Although I will admit that as you know from what I said before, I am more into rides with great moments over complete rides than most other people. SROS is more of a complete ride than El Toro is. El Toro is only 45 seconds long. Its just the most insane 45 second ride there is. Atleast that I have been on. So SROS may still be on the top of your airtime list. I really don't want anyone to go through any antisappointment from what I said about El Toro compared to Superman.

*** Edited 8/19/2008 5:28:12 PM UTC by GIGAFORCE01*** *** Edited 8/19/2008 5:28:32 PM UTC by GIGAFORCE01*** *** Edited 8/19/2008 5:31:51 PM UTC by GIGAFORCE01*** *** Edited 8/19/2008 6:39:21 PM UTC by GIGAFORCE01***

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008 12:16 AM
Ah, I am jealous that you got last train of the night on Toro. Super jealous. Green, really. Grrrrrrr! LOL I've only done last train of Storm Runner.

You have a good way of explaining your ranking/opinion on rides. And I don't think anyone that sits in the back seat of Toro is gonna suffer from anticipointment at all in terms of airtime, but then again, I've never ridden SROS, so I could be wrong.

I too have a ridiculously long trip report coming up on Cedar Point. Check it out!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008 11:00 PM
I figured I would try to see if anyone can answer my question one last time. I’m just surprised that no one has said anything after 600 plus views and considering that many people on this site were or are ride operators. It is if anyone knows how common it is for ride operators to let the last ride of the night go around the circuit one extra time for the passengers? I know it’s a vague question, but any response would be nice. I’m not trying to sound like a little kid in a candy store, but I’m really curious. I figured after my experience that it is rare, but probably not the first time that that has happened on El Toro all summer.

Anyways, thanks again everyone for the replies and for simply reading that whole long thing. I am glad you liked it. That experience on El Toro will never be forgotten!

Bunky666, I’m just saying that SROS has more hills filled of airtime on a good level making it more of a complete ride in my estimation, while there are only 3 airtime hills on El Toro that are on that extreme level. It’s your choice which is better. I would prefer 3 extreme air time hills over 7 or 8 good ones. The 3 on El Toro being the first two and that other one about 2/3 the way through. I personally like the last one the most actually. *** Edited 8/22/2008 3:00:45 AM UTC by GIGAFORCE01***

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