SFKK 8/14/06 (couple o' pics)

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006 1:25 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar In direct contrast to the extremely wordy TR I did for SFGAdv, this will be more of a run down. You're welcome. :)

Decided to hit SFKK for their last day of daily operations this year. Weather was very hot, very humid and threatening storms all day, but not delivering. Arrived with the wife and kids around noon to a mildly filled parking lot and were gone before 6pm having covered the whole park and hitting all we really cared to. (those storms did catch us on the way home though)

So here we go with the coasters (in the order we rode them):

Greezed Lightnin' - The usual Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop goodness. I would have liked to go a little higher on the back spike, but I'll take what I can get - and these are few and far between. Walk-on ride in the middle somewhere. Dispatches weren't as quick as they could've been, but full trains were the exception this afternoon for most of the day, so no harm done. But in typical SF fashion this was running only one train. ;)

Chang - Scored a walk-on, back row ride. My daughter's first stand-up & she dug it. I thought this was certinly among the better stand-up rides I've gotten in my life. I'd put it almost on par with Georgia Scorcher (which is better than Mantis or Vortex, but not as good as Riddler) so take that for what it's worth. Only one train running, relatively slow dispatch, but as would become the order of the day, the partially empty trains proved it really didn't matter.

T2 - I now have a new 'third worst coaster I've ever ridden' to brag (complain?) about. This was bad even for an SLC. Not only was there side-to-side banging, but also front-to-back banging any time there was a significant change in elevation. Just ridiculously horrible. It was running two trains though...and with minimal stacking. We nabbed a 2nd row, one-train wait.

Thunder Run - About as 'meh' of a ride as possible. Nothing outstanding, nothing horrible. Running one train with horribly slow dispatches - but still, no more than a one-train wait all day.

Roller Skater - I like the family coasters. I like riding with the kids. My son (4 years old) loved it and demanded re-rides. No biggie as it was just a matter of walking back around to the entrance, waiting for the train to return and getting back on. Decent enough location with the trees and creek considering it's next to the road.

Twisted Twins - The pink side wasn't running. Walked-on to a front row seat. Left with the 'meh' feeling again. I'm sure this would've been more fun with the other side running as that's part of the experience. As a stand-alone ride, I wasn't impressed. One train, decent dispatch, train running with empty seats each time. (so I suppose running the pink side made little sense)

Road Runner Express - A little wigged by the high-end height requirement (48" with an adult, 50" alone), so my little guy was pissed that he couldn't ride. Two-car wait, sat in the front of the car. No brakes at all on the top half, brakes hitting hard every time on the bottom. Crew doing a good job of keeping the cars moving. Couldn't complain.

Other observations:

- I've now been to 10 SF parks over tha past 6 seasons. I'd put SFKK squarely in the middle of the pack overall. The park was nice enough, the employees pathetically average. The goofy layout was unique enough to keep me interested, but if I frequented the park it would get real annoying, real quick. (the bridge, the dead-end pathway to Twisted Twins, etc)

- I know this was the last day of daily operations and I know SF is cutting corners chain-wide, but their choice in where to cut surprised me. Only one ride was closed - Rainbow. However, almost every food/drink establishment in the front half of the park was closed along with many of the games. In the back the opposite was true, most of the games were shuttered while more than a few food stops were dark. With the easy revenue stream of such things, it seemed an odd way to go about things.

- Let me just say my wife does not share my complacency on the subject of the increased prices. This is the first SF park we've hit as a family since Shapiro jacked things up and as much as it pains me to admit it - under my old lady's iron fist we actually spent less at the park than we normally would have. Although I suppose I could argue that so much was closed that the opportunity to spend was lessened, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Parking is just $5 here which is a flat out steal in this day and age (and I don't honestly care how many of you believe you're getting free parking at whatever park, so don't bother :p )

- Two souvenir cup options available which I thought was a cool idea - they're even offering drink packages in tiers. :) You could get the 'basic' cup for $4.99 with 99 cent refills or the 3D 'upgraded' cup for $9.99 with free refills. And again, the benefits go to those willing to spend.

- Free cups of ice water all day long any time we asked with no hassle to be had. No horror stories there.

- Ample smoking areas and most were tables near food spots with the cigarette disposal things beside them. Nice touch and in our 6 hours there I only spotted someone smoking outside of these designated areas once. (in the area in front of Twisted Twins)

- The kid running the Flying Dutchman (Wave Swinger meets wooden shoes) was riffing on his spiel and it was nice to hear. It's one of the things that made me love CP and when someone's running something as mind numbing as the Flying Dutchman and still trying to make it fun, you get bonus points.

- The ultimate in 'get parents to part with their money' was in the kiddie area. On Speedway (kiddie whip kinda ride with little racecar styled cars) after the kids were loaded, the ride-op went around to check seatbelts. Right behind her was another employee with the digital camera having the kids smile, snapping a pic and then handing the kids the ticket with the number on it to check their photo on the way out. This is friggin' brilliant - mom's were straining to find an angle through the fence with their little point & shoot cameras to get a shot of little Billy on the opposite side of Speedway and SF gets a solid shot from on the ride...all you have to do is pony up and buy it. I guarantee more than a few did. (and I was surprised that not one kid on that ride lost the ticket before running off and handing it to mom)

- Speaking of the park forcing you to have your photo taken, when did they start the thing where you can view, share and order online? At the bottom of the ticket they shove at you after snapping away is a URL (in the case of SFKK it's: http://kk.photogra.com ) and you just enter the date you were at the park and the four digit number on your ticket to 'view, share and order your photo online!' Another little piece of brilliance if you ask me.

- I think that's it. I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. SFKK didn't live up to it's reputation one bit...and that's a good thing. The coaster line-up is without a real standout, but it's also without a real klunker too. Flat ride selection was adequate. Employees were lethargic in many (but far from all) cases, but the lack of crowds lining up made it less of an issue than it is at parks like SFGAdv on a weekend.

Longest wait of the day was for Tin Lizzies and I'd probably be exaggerating to call it a 10 minute wait. Scored at least 15 cycles total on 8 or 10 different flats (including kiddies) along with all 7 coasters in under 6 hours along with stopping for pics with Bugs Bunny, circling the entire park taking photos and stopping to eat once and getting drink refills all day long.

Between this trip and my earlier visit to SFGAdv, I'm convinced I must be one lucky S.O.B. because even with admittedly questionable operations in many cases, I still haven't been reduced to the '3 rides for $60' days that so many people claim to get. Then again, maybe it isn't luck at all.

*On an interesting side note: we did stop at a McDonald's quite a way up I-71 (in the direction of Ohio, not Indiana) to find it plastered with HW stuff, yet not a single iota of SFKK was to be found. Kudos to HW for getting out there and hitting the pavement that far away from home and boo to whoever should be doing that sort of thing over at SFKK. It's the little things that kill.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 2:23 AM
The online photogra arrangement has been going on for at least a few years now. SFGAm has used them for at least a few years. I am sure later on they have added more SF parks to it.

Glad you had fun Gonch. I have visited this park 4 times and never came away aggravated or disappointed.

It's a small scale park with a quirky layout and that is fine with me. My only beef is that small bridge to crossover.

You nailed T2 of how I feel about it. It just jackhammers in ways the human body shouldn't be thrown around. Thunderhawk at GL is glass smooth compared to T2.

The ironic thing about that billboard that you see when on Twisted Twins of HW and the Voyage is that it's on the property of a Pepsi bottling company. SF= Coke, HW= Pepsi. You know they are going to capitalize on that. :) *** Edited 8/15/2006 6:25:05 AM UTC by Chitown***

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 2:37 AM
If you buy a pic online form Photogra, expect to get spammed about it for *years* afterwards. I was getting mail regularly about one 2002 PKI photo until just a few months ago...
Tuesday, August 15, 2006 3:20 AM
But of course, if you are willing to accept the photogra transparent logo on the front of your pic that you view, you can save it to your hard drive. :)

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 11:08 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

The online photogra arrangement has been going on for at least a few years now.

Shows how much attention I pay to those photo tickets they give you. :)

And the only reason I knew is because the girl said, "Don't forget you can check these pictures online."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 12:45 PM
Interesting that you would feel so "meh" about Thunder Run. I would feel this way, or probably worse, about the Hurler ripoffs, but this original, IMO, is the best coaster at the park. For as many coasters as I've ridden (almost 200), this one actually sits on my top ten wood list. It's got 2-3 decent pops of air, and it navigates the turns not too badly overall.

I do, however, agree with you on Twisted Twins--those are very much "meh". :)

Of course, this is coming from the guy who actually likes T2 to a certain extent. Sure, it's probably the roughest SLC I've ever ridden, but I think I dig the original SLC layout as opposed to the newer one.

coastin' since 1985

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 12:49 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar See, I list the Hurler's as some of my least favorite wood of all time. So I suppose a 'meh' response to Thunder Run is a compliment in comparison. :)
Tuesday, August 15, 2006 12:52 PM
I only got on one Twin, Green/Stella. I found it really really meh, same with Thunder Run.

The G-Trains don't help either. Those things suck so bad...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 1:57 PM

The G-Trains don't help either. Those things suck so bad...

Gerstlauer's marketing slogan...

"Gerstlauer trains: Cheaper than PTCs... and only sucking about half as much as Morgans."

"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
Tuesday, August 15, 2006 3:02 PM
Hey Gonch, do you have plans of putting all your photos of your SFKK visit up on your site? I really liked the one of Chang with it's new paint job and would like to see more.

If anyone has any good photos of Chang with it's new paint pm me so I can take a looksee at them. :)

This ain't no book you can close, when the big light hits your eyes. Cropduster-Riot Act-Pearl Jam
Tuesday, August 15, 2006 4:06 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Yeah, as always, photos will be up on the site. Hopefully in the next week or so.
Friday, August 18, 2006 12:02 AM
Glad you had fun at the park! We at Six Flags try very hard to make every guest that enters the gate to have the most enjoyable time they could have, even when facing many of the obstacles that encountered along the way!

Mudinthevayne - No offense, but you are not representation of the park and should not report libelous information without knowing the facts. (i.e. nothing has been released about Rainbow's current status, other than the fact it will not be operating for the rest of the season. No reasons for this have been established.)

Friday, August 18, 2006 1:27 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

*On an interesting side note: we did stop at a McDonald's quite a way up I-71 (in the direction of Ohio, not Indiana) to find it plastered with HW stuff, yet not a single iota of SFKK was to be found. Kudos to HW for getting out there and hitting the pavement that far away from home and boo to whoever should be doing that sort of thing over at SFKK. It's the little things that kill.

Just a heads up on how that works. It's not really a case of anyone hitting the pavement, the promotions stuff is done through contracts with the park's marketing department. Generally a big part of the contract would be that they are the only coupon amusement in the store at that given time, so HW could have a deal for August while SFKK would have something in there for July. So it's really about the deal with the regional McDs promotions person and how agressive the Promotions or Marketing Manager for the park is.

Friday, August 18, 2006 8:53 PM
I actually kinda like the quirky layout too, and contrary to others I've never had a bad time at SFKK. It's odd you had such a meh experience with Thunder Run. It's always been surprisingly good when I've been...lots of airtime in the front AND back. I do wish that Bridge:The Ride would get some themeing. Since building a mountain to *enclose* the bridge and *hide* the roadway below (hey we can all dream right?) is way out of the question for SF, at least throw some colorful strands of lights over it. Nice to hear another good report from SFKK.
I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!

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