SFGAM 8/28 Bad Forecasts=Low Crowds

Associated parks:

After getting Six Flags season passes (for 45 bucks) back at the begining of the summer, and after allready hitting SFSTL, it was about time we used it again at SFGAM. Two friends and I left Central Illionis around 6 AM and got to the park around 9:15. I had checked the forecast for Gurnee they day before, and it did not look good...at all. 80% chance of thunderstorms pretty much all day long. The entire drive up there the clouds looked downright ominious, but nothing ever really happened...they just looked bad all the time. That seemed to be the story of the day. Got an awsome parking spot, as close to the gate as you can possibly get without being in the wheelchair spots. I realised then and there that if the rain holds off, it was going to be an awsome day. And amazingly, it did. I hadnt been to GAM since May of 2001, so I was pretty pumped.

Got to the park and started hanging around near the season pass entrance before they opened. I dont think ive ever really been to a Six Flags park at opening, I thought it was kinda neat how they played the National Anthem right before they opened. It was right after that that one of my friends realised we were waiting around in a non-exsistant line, that season pass holders could just walk right up to the gate and be the first to get in. Got there just as they were opening the gates, and went straight for superman. One small group of 4 people were waiting in front of us, but that was it. I thought this whole thing was pretty cool because ive never really had oppertunities like this before. While we waited, my friend recieved a comment from someone behind us on his Underdog tee shirt, and it was at that point that we decided we were going to see who would recieve the most comments from people on our tee shirts. I had my TTD shirt on, my one friend of course had his Underdog shirt on, and my other friend had a shirt that says "I love Morman Girls" I'll let you know who wne later on. After waiting in line for half and hour, they opened Superman promptly at 10.

Superman was my 70th coaster, and also my first Flyer. I wasnt sure what to expect walking up to it...the first drop looked a little small, and it didnt seem too fast. We waited one train for the front row. I had known how flyers worked of course, but I really wasnt prepared for just how much of a different feeling it was. That facing the ground like that was, I thought, amazing. For a few brief glorious moments, I remember why I love these things so much. The whole flying sensation grabbed me, and I loved every second. That first inversion was pretty powerful, and gave me a new sensation that I loved. I'll admit the rest of the ride is a little uneventful, but I still loved it. I was kinda expecting going in the the whole flying thing was more of a gimmick than anything, but I was wrong. Truly amazing, I hope bigger and better ones are made.

Next was Batman. Another 1 train wait for the front row. I remember last time getting pretty roughed up on Batman, much more than the one in St. Louis anyways. It wasnt quite as rough as I remembered it, but the St. Louis model is still a lot smoother for some reason. A good ride, especially from the front row.

Working our way around, V2 was the next choice logically. Rode this one in the very back, another near walk on. Its pretty obvious Wicked Twister has a much stronger launch, but I really like the vertical spike, especially when it holds you the second time.

Iron wolf was much better than I remembered. Again in the front row, I think it was smoother than Mantis. Mantis always banged me up quite a bit. But ive never really liked stand ups at all. I must admit though, I enjoyed Iron Wolf. I really liked how it swoops through the trees in the back there...a really good sensation of speed.

American Eagle was another very short wait for a good ride. I think it needs to be oiled or something though, it just squealed this horrible sounding squeal on the turn out of the station. But the ride itself was good...some nice air and youve gotta love the turnaround. Im really not sure if I like this or Screaming eagle in STL better. Its a toss up for me.

I was glad to see Deja Vu running, because I know its still having problems. It was only a 2 or 3 train wait, but it ended up being probably 15-20 minutes due to what seemd like pretty high dispatch times. Kinda rediculous that they need that extra seat belt...thats probably what took so long, checking all of those...most people probably dont even know they are there. Got in the front row again for this one. The ride itself wasnt all that amazing. I can kinda see why this thing has problems, it just seems like the type that is going to age very poorly. A little rough for how new it is also. I got hit right on the check with a very large droplet of water at some point during the ride, and I thought I got splattered a bit with water at another part, and I know it wasnt raining. Is there some sort of water dripping or something from the ride somewhere up? Seemed like it to me. Anywho it wasnt BAD, but it left me slightly underimpressed.

I remember how Deamon gave a nice little pop of air from the back seat on the first drop, so I sat back there of course. Just as good as I remember, I love the high speed tunnel and the drop under the waterfall. Im not sure if something was wrong with my shoulder harness or what though, I dont remember it being that tight initally, but somewhere during the ride the thing somehow STAPLED me in...I mean it was pretty bad...digging into my collar bones, and I couldnt even take a complete breath because my chest couldnt fully expand. And I dont usually complain about stuff like that. Anyways it didnt happen to either of my friends so whatever I guess. I still like the ride very much, a good Arrow Looper for sure.

Raging Bull was one of my favorites from the first time I rode it, and it still is. Waited maybe 15 minutes for the front row and it delivered quite a ride. Wasnt as much airtime as I remembered, but that coudve just been because were were in the front row. Very smooth throughout though, im suprised there arent more hyper twisters out there. Capacity on this thing is amazing, the crew was hauling big time, and lines were moving amazingly fast with 3 train operation. Kudos to Raging Bull for having such good capacity, and also to the ops for doing a really good job.

After a flat or 2 and Giant Drop, we ate at that Saloon with the Buffet near Raging Bull. Food was pretty good, I ate a lot. I was amazed at how early it was when we sat down to eat, only 12:30, and the restaurant was pretty much empty. Us and maybe 1 or 2 other groups in there. I still couldnt believe how much we had allready rode, and on a Saturday no less. I always knew weather effects crowds big time, even more so at SFGAM, and Saturday was a perfect example. Clouds were ominous looking all day, but it didnt rain a drop until 5, when we were about ready to leave anyways. After we ate I had to try out the Camera trick at the shooting range. Sure enough it worked, and man, it was halarious. Some people jumped pretty good. I feel downright guilty doing it though, your pretty much cheating people out of 50 cents...but man its so funny, I just couldnt resist doing it another time later on.

After we ate we took a spin on Viper. It was my turn to ride solo this time, but I heard a girl behind me say "do I have to ride by myself this time" so I of course asked her to ride with me. Ride was fun, not quite as good as I remember it, but fun. Some decent air on a few drops near the end, and a great headchopper effect

While we were in the vicinity, we hit the Stargate SG 3000 simulator thing. I remember last time I was there it was dinosaur themed, with 3D glasses, and it was pretty fun. This time it was pretty boring. Im really not a fan of Stargate, but I still think it couldve been better. Probably wouldve been better to me if it was in 3d like the dinosaur one.

Whizzer was probably our longest wait yet, 20 minutes or so. This thing is definatly fun, I love that turn real close to the ground. It wouldve been a shame if this wouldve gotten torn down.

Next we decided to go ahead and wait for Rajin Cajun so we could say we rode every coaster in the park. One of the ops here saw my Dragster talk and we got to talking a bit about Cedar Point and how much better it is than the six flags parks, and Millie vs Dragster, and stuff like that. I defended SFGAM as being pretty good. The crew here seemd really fun and hard working all around. They were just cracking jokes with people, and just seemed to be ejoying what they were doing, thats not something I see very much. It was really refreshing to see a crew like that, expecially on a ride that probably isnt the easiest or most fun to operate. Kudos to them for sure. As for the ride itself, it was pretty good, but ive been spoiled by Exterminator.

After that I wanted to try thier top spin, but my friends didnt seem too interested, so we went to another one I wanted to try, Revolution. I was underimpressed, I was hoping for something as fun as The Claw at Hershey, but it just wasnt. Not enough swinging action was the problem I think. After this we wanted to get on Raging Bull and Superman again. Raging Bull had a line that was now just down the steps leading up to the station, but it moved amazingly fast due like I said to 3 train operation and good ops. Our last ride of the day, Superman again, ended up being out last ride of the day. It started to rain while were were about halfway through the villain signs. They then had a short 5 or so minute breakdown, but we did finally get on after waiting probably 40 minutes...it was raining pretty good at this point. I didnt enjoy it as much in the rain...it wa also a lot colder now that it was in the morning...I got soaked and I was quite cold. So not the best end to the day, but man, what an amazing day. We truly lucked out, because Im sure on a decent day on a Saturday this time of year it still wouldven been pretty packed. But thats where we REALLY lucked out...the forecast was downright awful when I looked at it, but it actually turned out to be a pretty great day until 5 when the weather finally did what it was looking like it was going to do all day...went downhill big time. But by this time we had done everything we wanted to, and done it again, and were about ready to leave anyways. So we did leave at around 5:45, as did everyone else it seemed like. Which brings me to my closing comments. In the tee shirt comment battle, my friend with his underdog shirt won by a landslide...it was pretty amazing really how many people comment on that thing, most of them adults in their 40's or later, but a few younger folk as well. It was pretty much a tie for 2nd between me and my friend with the I love morman girls shirt, we both only really had one direct comment on ours. Lastly, Im glad to announce I encountered probably the friendliest staff ive seen at any amusement park in several years, and those several years include a lot of parks, Including Cedar Point, Kennywood, Hersheypark, and others. Everyone seemed to be doing a really good job, and nearly everyone seemed to be enjoying thier job. That kinda thing really rubs off, if you see the staff enjoying being there, your going have that much more incenitive to enjoy yourself also. I was pretty impressed. A great trip for sure, and defanitly a great park. Sorry I ranted so long though. Oh and I was very happy that I got to add 3 new coasters to my list, making my count now at 72. *** Edited 8/30/2004 1:53:31 AM UTC by stljason1*** *** Edited 8/30/2004 2:01:33 AM UTC by stljason1***

The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000. Track Record: 89 coasters
Good report!!!!
I always enjoy hearing the national anthem to start the day, a great touch!!
I took two non-enthusiasts to the park on Thursday and, while the crews weren't hauling like you described due to staffing issues and kids back to school, the park was very lightly crowded as well due to bad weather reports, but it actually cleared up on Thursday and turned out to be an awesome day.

About the Demon stapling...weird, one of the people I took, I made them sit in the very back seat while I sat in the second last, and they had the same problem, they said they flew out of their seat during the first drop and then in the loop they got squashed. I've never had that problem before personally, but it's weird that that's the second time I've heard of it in less than a week.

Mildly amused since 2003.
That is strange DieHard...Im trying to remember which seat I was in, left or right...im pretty sure it was the left...yea...was that the same seat your friend was in? If it was, im pretty sure it wasnt just a coincidence...could be some sort of minor problem with that restraint? Im not sure what could cause it to lock so tightly like that...just for the record, im somewhat tall, 6 foot, but im not overweight...so I dunno. Its a mystery for now I guess.

The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000. Track Record: 89 coasters
I love wearing t shirts from other parks too. I wear my MF shirt at SFNE, and always get asked which I like more superman or MF. Great way to meet people. Rather than sit there bored.

I also hate standups except when I am in the front row and the train goes over the top of the lift hill before the drop. That you have to admit is cool.

-Eric: Major Parks: SFNE(homepark), SFA,SFGADV,CP,BGE,BGA,Kennywood,and Sea World: Track record 65 different coasters ridden #1 is Millennium Force #2 is El Toro and than there are all the others

In the back car of Demon on the red train, the restraints have stapled me everytime I have rode it this year. Don't know what the problem is, because it's only that train and that row but it sure is painful.

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