SFGAM 7/6/02...or, Mark snitches on line jumpers!

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Monday, July 8, 2002 9:03 AM

Ever just feel the need to ride coasters? While having lunch on Friday, my friend Sata and I felt just this urge.

Me: "What new parks could we go to this weekend?"

Sata: "Six Flags in Chicago?"

"Dude, that's about 7 hours away...wanna leave at 5 tomorrow?"


Luckily, my wife, being the good sport that she is, agreed to head out with us the next morning. So the three of us headed out from the Easton area of Columbus at 5:20 in Sata's Golf 1.8T. Quick note: Golf's have small backseats. After about a 6 1/2 hour drive, and a nice drive through Gary, IN (roll 'em up), we arrived at SFGAM at about 11:00 Chicago time. Even though I knew that the parking fee was $10, it was still a little hard to take.

There was nobody directing traffic in the parking lot, which was hard to believe, so rather than fight with the other patrons for a spot up close, we just parked in the first spot we saw. I had almost expected for Deja Vu to not be running, so it was a wonderful surprise when I saw a train being pulled up the tower as we got out of the car. If you haven't been there, the visual spectacle from the parking lot is pretty nice, right up there with CP.

Sata's Wyandot Lake pass seemed to confuse the young lady at the gate, but after a quick trip through the metal detectors, we headed off to the DV monument. The line was outside the normal queue, but they weren't using all the lanes, so I figured on about an hour wait, which is what we would have had if the ride hadn't broken down, count 'em, three times while we were in line. The final breakdown occurred while we were on the platform, only two trains away from riding. This particular breakdown lasted over an hour, and seemed to involve every mechanic in the park. It bothered me a little that the ride ops were joking around while all of the patrons were clearly upset, but I guess it's not really their problem.

After a 2 hour wait, we finally get on Deja Vu in the back two rows...and it was worth the wait! I haven't been so scared on a coaster since my first lap on MF. If they could ever get this ride up and going reliably, it would land on nearly everyone's top 10 list, I'm convinced of it.

I needed to ride something that I knew would have good capacity after that debacle, so we headed off to the looming B&M hyper, Raging Bull. Only a 15 minute wait, and it wouldn't have been that long if people could figure out how the queue worked. Front row on the left, rows 2-9 on the right...come on folks! This crew was working hard and dispatching trains at an amazing rate. Anyway, we took our first lap in the back row, and I left a couple of clicks for airtime's sake.

Whoosh! Great airtime on the first hill, and just a load of fun throughout the course. I could have done without the trim on the third hill, but otherwise, it's a seriously wonderful ride. Of the hypers I've ridden, I'd say it's tied with MF for second, behind AC. Take off that trim and it surpasses them all, IMHO.

I had read many wonderful things about Viper on this board, but I wasn't really prepared to believe them. Well, let me tell you, they're all true. Brilliant, brilliant coaster. Incredibly smooth track, great transitions, plentiful floating airtime-it took its place behind only Legend and Raven on my list.

After reading all the rumors about Whizzer's eminent departure, I knew we had to get a lap on this Anton creation. I don't know if the line for this steelie is always as proportionally long as it was this day, but if it is, it sounds like a mistake to remove it (35 minutes). This crew was taking their sweet time in dispatching trains, however-the young woman who was the ride op actually held up our train so she could walk over and get some water out of the cooler. Anyway, the ride was a surprisingly fun trip through the woods with some good speed and a smooth ride, but probably not worth waiting more than 5-10 minutes for.

Making our way in clockwise fashion around the park, we hit the big Arrow looper Shockwave next. Only two trains running led to a 20 minute wait. I was expecting a Vortex-like ride...how wrong I was. This bad boy is intense! I took a back seat lap, and was shocked by the speed during the first drop. The forces were so strong that I came as close to blacking out as I ever have during the two consecutive loops. My wife was not quite long enough in the torso to avoid headbanging, screaming "this sucks!" during the corkscrew. I liked it, Sata liked it, Lori did not.

We ate lunch at the food court shortly afterwards, and I was still feeling the effects of the forces on Shockwave. My buffalo wings were quite tasty, but I would soon regret eating them-acid reflux galore.

Next up was my first lap on any Batman: The Ride. Finally, some theming that Six Flags can do well: a trashed city (dodges flames from SF fanboys)! In all seriousness, theming was well done-I liked the subtle inclusion of Bolliger and Mabillard into the theme. Once again, nobody understood the way the line worked...I think that SF could do with some more signage to that effect. After a 45 minute wait, we took our lap in the back seat. All I can say is WOW. This ride is so intense I can't begin to remember the layout. Huge speed throughout the course. If all the Batmans are this good, no wonder they're so popular. I have yet to ride a bad B&M invert, and I'd say this one is right up there with Fire and Montu as a favorite.

Okay, here's where we encountered some drama. Vertical Velocity was next up, and the line was looking very long. It extended all the way down the bridge and almost out the queue. So we decided to wait, since Sata wanted to compare it to Wicked Twister, and I was curious to see if it was more or less exciting than S: UE. Well, after we had walked all the way down the bridge and all the way back, we spotted two line jumpers sneaking in where the bridge comes back to the queue about 6 riders ahead of us. I yelled, "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" but he ignored me. Having already waited about 30 minutes and seeing about 30 more minutes ahead of us, Lori demanded that I tell the Fastlane attendant about the line jumpers. I got out of line and walked up to tell her, and she called security.

Moments later, the security team was there, and they asked the two line jumpers, a guy and girl in their early twenties, if they had jumped the line. They, of course, replied "No." As we came around to where the security guy was, he asked me to come back and write out a statement. So Lori, Sata, and I walked with Todd, the security guy, back behind B:TR into a restricted area, where it appeared the security guys were cooking out. We sat down in a classroom trailer and wrote out our statements. He reviewed them, radioed back to his co-workers, and then he took us back to V2.

As we arrived, no fewer than 6 security staff were escorting the line jumpers from the ride. The guy was screaming that he was going to kill them all, and his girlfriend was trying to restrain him. He pushed one of them, and said, "You're dead, you ****..." It was kind of interesting to watch.

Anyway, they took us up the exit line to the front of the line and we took our lap in the back two rows. Out of the three impulses I've ridden, this ranks number three. Weak launch, and the straight section seemed too long. The holding brake was fun, but it wasn't worth the wait OR the security fiasco.

Ready to resume our day in normal fashion, we skipped Spacely's and went to Iron Wolf. I was expecting a rougher-than-Mantis-ouchmyears kind of ride, but instead I got a really enjoyable lap in the back seat with good speed and nice air. I liked this stand-up more than Mantis, but less than Chang.

We headed for American Eagle after IW, and opted for the blue side. What a long walk back to the station! A two train wait, and then we were off. I absolutely loved this ride-I hope they keep it backwards forever. Take off the brakes and you have the best "big" woody I've ridden.

Completing our 10 coaster hunt, we finished up on Demon. Man, I was not expecting that air on the first drop! Good theming, no headbanging. A nice bridge between the corkscrews and the mega-loopers, I emjoyed this more than I thought I would.

Two more laps on Bull ended the night. We wanted to get on Deja Vu one more time, but we were told by park management that it was closed for the night and would not reopen.

Heading back for Columbus at about 8:30 local time, we stopped in Chicago to eat at the Rock and Roll McDonald's. Tired, exhausted, etc., and with another six hours to go, we were still all smiles. A great day at a great park.

Quick notes: The park was very clean, with workers diligently sweeping everywhere...nice clientele-didn't see any of MPG's "hoochies and gangbangers"...very little to no line-smoking...and Raging Bull still rocks.

Thanks for reading!

Proud CB club member

Monday, July 8, 2002 9:43 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar Yeah. I noticed that SFGAm. does a much better job with line management in terms of stopping line jumpers and stopping smokers. However, it does have its share of mechanical problems. Of course, while I was there for 2 days, Bull wasn't down for a single second.
Monday, July 8, 2002 9:48 AM

Great TR. It's always nice to see your homepark through someone else's eyes, especially if it is their first trip. Your assessments of the coasters are very close to my own. Viper just does not get the credit that the best CCIs do, but it ranks right up there. Thanks for turning in the jumpers. Glad you enjoyed your day.


Laugh your troubles away at Riverview, the world's largest amusement park.

Monday, July 8, 2002 10:00 AM

Rock and Roll McDonald's

Was this a Wesley Willis reference? :)

Great TR!

i hate this place....nothing works here....ive been here for seven years

Monday, July 8, 2002 10:20 AM
Kick The Sky's avatar

WTG on turning in the lousy puke line jumpers. I noticed on my last visit that there was more security watching the lines, most notably, on Batman.

I think that the park knows that, especially with Fastpass, that they need to rope in the problems occuring while waiting in line. I hope they keep it up.

Glad you liked our park out here and I hope you found it worth visiting again.

Bob Hansen

A proud CoasterBuzz Member

"So you think your'e really brave, gonna see the DEMONS cave.
You silly dude, your'e only food, for the DEMON"

Monday, July 8, 2002 11:04 AM
Finally, some justice with line jumping. I love it!

There's nothing like a woodie...

Monday, July 8, 2002 11:19 AM
After re-reading my post, I wanted to clarify that not only were the line jumpers removed from the ride, they were removed from the park. This action alone ensured that I will return to SFGam.

Proud CB club member

Monday, July 8, 2002 12:03 PM


Great job with the line jumpers! I should have done that same thing on Deja Vu when I went at the end of June. I am glad to hear that SF Great America is keeping up with their policies. That will also definatley ensure me to return in the near future.

-- Sean

Off to CP in August, Hopefully off to two other parks in July though!! YEA!!!! :-D It will be a good summer!

Monday, July 8, 2002 1:44 PM
Very nice TR, and nice job on the line jumpers. It's nice to hear that someone will stand-up and bring justice to the world :~D. You got a TON in for a Saturday, I'd expect it to be way more crowded than what you said.

HuKeD oNN fonickS dusinT wOrK"[;.

Monday, July 8, 2002 4:57 PM

In the future, if you are going to visit the park on a weekend, make sure you do it on a Sunday. It is much less busy on that day. Saturday is probably the worst day to go as far as crowds are concerned. Glad you got to see that this SF park can move the lines (save for Deja-Vu but thats not the ride-ops fault).

Unlike a certain other person who dogged this park because of problems including line-jumpers, it was good to hear that you spoke up and told security. They cant always catch every single problem that is going on but if people speak up, they do act on it.

Glad you had a great time besides being crowded. Come on a less busy day and you will have a blast.

""To be the man, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!, You got to beat the man""!!!

Monday, July 8, 2002 5:00 PM
Great TR! I lived in Chicago a couple of summers ago and spent almost every Saturday at SFGAm. At the time I thought they were terrible with smoking and line-jumping, and it was always VERY crowded, but it sounds like they've gotten better with enforcing rules and keeping wait times down. Since then I've been to others and the GAm management was actually very good for a SF park...doesn't say much for SF management. I'd love to go back sometime now that they have the two new boomerangs.

PLEASE READ: This post wasn't meant to offend or anger anyone; I apologize in advance if it does. So please don't post a reply just to rant about it. :)

Monday, July 8, 2002 5:41 PM
Glad you had a great time, Security is really acting on line jumpers this year. I got one kicked out of the park last Sunday, im just hoping it teaches them a lesson along with the others who witness it. I however didn't have to write anything about it since alot of other people around me saw it and backed me up.

Deja Vu Count = 18

*** This post was edited by CoasterDude316 on 7/9/2002. ***

Monday, July 8, 2002 6:51 PM
stoogemanmoe's avatar That is very cool about the line jumpers getting busted: HAHA!! I'm glad you liked my home park Mark. The "person" that dogged this park a couple of weeks ago ( the witch woman) needs to go back and give this park a chance as I too have never seen any great problems with this fantastic park! Glad you liked it Mark!

Beer, my soon to be wife, coasters, and the FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Is this a great country or what!!
stoogemanmoe and places to get discount Six Flags Great America tickets!

Tuesday, July 9, 2002 10:46 AM

Mark W. Baruth said:

Having already waited about 30 minutes and seeing about 30 more minutes ahead of us, Lori demanded that I tell the Fastlane attendant about the line jumpers.

LOL!!!! How ironic is that comment?

Sorry, I couldn't resist. ;-)


Tuesday, July 9, 2002 7:41 PM
Yeah right. The sucurity gards dont even care if people line jump. i was waiting for Deja Vu and a group of 20 people were jumping throught the supposed "fast lane area" that isn't in use. Security saw it and just said Don't worry about it. Man that ticks me off.
Wednesday, July 10, 2002 4:47 AM
SFGAm man, I'm not sure if by saying "yeah right," you're saying that my TR is false, but I can assure you that the events took place exactly as I described them. If you were dissatisfied with the actions of the "sucurity gards," then you should have escalated your issue to guest relations.
Doesn't it seem as though morons always have the caps lock on?
Wednesday, July 10, 2002 11:06 AM
No no, I was refearingt the fact that someone said that Security was doing smething about line jumping when they dont. Sorry for the mix up
Wednesday, July 10, 2002 8:56 PM
I don't think anyone could really blame those DV ride-ops for joking around. It's not like it's an hourly thing, it's a 15-minutely thing ;)
Thursday, July 11, 2002 6:14 PM

Uhh...the "straight section" on V2 is the same as S:UE.

Also, does anyone else think the ride is launching weaker this year? I don't, but I've seen several comments from people who think this is the case. Finally, it might just be me, but it seemed like it doesn't go quite as high on the back spike this year.

Monday, July 15, 2002 1:22 PM
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks Viper at SFGAm is a great woodie. I rode two laps on Saturday and they were the best I've ever had on the ride.

35 parks and 158 coasters in 2002!


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