Our first stop (we left Chicago on Wed June 13) was SFKK. The main thing there, for me anyway, was Greezed Lightnin'. I grew up on it when it was the Tidal Wave here at Great America. We rode it about 10 times, there were no lines.
It was Brian's first time to KK so we checked out the whole park, rode Chang (boring in a B&M way, yet still rough), T2, Thunder Run and Stella (Lola was down). Thunder Run was in very near delapidated state.
Brian's side of our seat had no padding. There were holes all over the inside and outside of the train - empty holes where screws once were. We could very easily shift the sides of the car by moving the lap bar from side to side. Worst of all (debatable) my lap bar popped up a couple notches during the ride. Track was horribly rough everywhere. (all this would later be reported to Park President Jay Thomas on our second stop at the park on Thursday June 21st.)
Thursday we headed to Beech Bend, a new one for the both of us. This place is great, reminds me a bit of Holiday World - a long windy road to the park and lots of very friendly people running the show. We gotta $4 ACE discount too! After the potty we bee lined for the Rumbler. Great ride, the whole thing has been reported a million times, so I won't repeat. The crew was great, mostly seniors. We stayed on a few times, not much of a line.
Next was the Looping Star. Very rough. Smashed my knee against a couple times - the shoulder bars were bad, but the worst was the no padding inside the seating area. Got a credit though. This is where Brian started called me CH. Should be CW, but it's H instead of W, special for me :) Hore, what's that?
We did the spinning mouse a few times - great ride, great crew. The drop tower (better than any Intamin or S&S - has more of a real 'dropping' feel like the Old Intamin free falls.) We left the park about 2:30 to head to Lake Winnie.
With only just an hour left before the 7pm closing, we tried to get a discounted admission, but no go. Turns out, was totally worth it! Cannonball was super, pure traditional fun. This ride is so well maintained, from riding it to looking at it. Reminds me of the CP Blue Streak before CP ruined the station and trains.
The Wild Lightnin' mouse coaster was great, but it's very 'extra wild' near the end. I think I felt (and heard) my spine lengthen during the last 180* turn. The old mill/boat/flume thing was great, as was the traditional haunted house.
The big suprise was the old roll o plane thing. What a gem, at a gem of a park. A little painful, but this is well worth it pain. Rode once by myself and twice with Brian. (Had to really do puppy dog eyes to get him on it that last time.)
Great park, the big hit of the trip, can't wait to get back!
I dropped Brian off at his sisters house in Atlanta and headed to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA the next day. Dead park, everything was walk on/stay on. Rode all 9 coasters, being a CH again... Cheetah - rode it 10 times, was very very rough on the curves,.. well rough everywhere thanks to Gerslauter. Great layout though! The layout is probably one of the best I've experience on a CCI ride.
With a different set of trains, this ride would be a top 10 I think!
Friday drove to Tampa to see my aunt and some friends. Sunday me and my aunt went to Busch Gardens. I haven't been to the park since Kumba opened and forgot how huge this park is. First up was Montu, great ride, one of B&M's more creative and better planned rides.
We got there around 3, so only a few hours to ride. Next was Gwazi, a little rough, but really outta control and a big suprise for me! I gotta cat named Gwazi ;) The trains looked newer than new. I couldn't believe how shiny all the bolts where, nice padding, clean, fresh looking paint job and new looking decals on the train sides.
Sheikra was great, basically a forceless ride. Rode 3 times, lines move pretty good, maybe a 15 min wait.
Went back to Gwazi and got some front seat and front of train rides. Both sides of this ride are really great, really outta control, lots of double dips, hills and suprises. I'm really suprised I haven't heard more good things about this ride. With a couple nice sets of MFlyers, this would be a top 10 ride!
It was getting late, so we headed to Scorpion. I'm a big sucker for the old Anton loopers with no shoulder bars. Rode about 5 times, great great ride. I was suprised to find out from a ride op that they haven't run the 2nd train in over 5 years. Must be bad on crowded days!
Ended the day with Cheetah Chase and Kumba. Still one of B&M's best, more unique rides. Rides like new too! My one complaint about the park would be the over-advertising of the "ride after dark/different park" thing. They closed at 9pm, hardly time to see the park after dark, seemed kinda silly to advertise it so much.
I headed back towards Atlanta on Mon/Tues and met up with Brian and his sister Jen at SFOG. This was the part of the trip I was looking forward to the most. Haven't been to the park since '94, and I'm a big geek for the Mindbender.
I was at the park around 930 before Brian and Jen showed up. Got my credits on Scorcher and Goliath. I sat down in the last row of Goliath. All the lap bars go down. Then an employee walks over "sir, you have to take your flip-flops off." So I get out of the train and put them against the railing. "Sir, they have to go in the box." So I walk back over and put them on top of the orange box, as the inside of the small box (for a train of 36 riders!?) is completely stuffed.
"Sir, they have to go IN the box." So I lift up the little flap and put them in, and started to walk back to my seat. "Other box." Ok... so I walk back to the orange box, retrieve my flip-flops and put them into the other box, the teal box.
Goliath is a great ride, better than Raging Bull. I then head down to my beloved Mindbender. Looks great, rides better than I remember it. Love the new entrance sign. I got 15 rides without leaving the station.
Brian and Jen get there, they want to check out Goliath. Part of the que is full now. About a 20 min wait. We watch the trains coming in. There are lots of empty seat and an occasional completely empty row.
We get up to the station and are told to go to row 7. I told the ride op we want the back row and she repeats in very robot manner 'row 7'. It turned into a big fuss. There were 2 guys who wanted the front, we wanted the back. I'll try not to go into too much detail, but a supervisor came up to me "sir, if you don't take the seat that was assigned to you, we will have to call security and they will escort you from the park."
We got our back seat, after about 5 minutes, and after shutting down the entire operation. This girl at the turnstyle was only beginning to let people into the station after the train was back in and totally empty. It was a very horrendous operation.
Rode Ninja - so rough I'm suprised they can even run it. GASM, one train operation. "There's ONLY one train" we were told by a ride op.
We were next inline to get on the Canyon Blaster coaster and a ride op was busy leaning over and accidentally hit the E-stop button. 20 mins, 3 maintenance guys, 2 managers later, we got our ride. Great little ride!
It rained, people left, we stayed. The sun came out. Got my credit on this Batman clone - one train operation. Then we finished the day with 10 or more rides on Mindbender.
We spent a little time at guest relations during the rain, due to the fiasco at Goliath. She took our numbers and told us that someone will be in touch with us to set up "no wait" passes for our home park, Great America. Haven't gotten a call yet. Forgot - Acraphobia was closed all day, and they Cyclone has seemingly been neglected for many many years (I took one back seat ride.)
The Mindbender and it's crew were the stars of the day, hands down.
Dollywood was the next day, very very packed park, but no everyone rides the rides. Thunderhead was incredible and the crew was even more incredible! They were funny, got people through fast, filled seats, entertained us, smiled, really new what they were doing! I called the next day to make sure they got the compliment.
Tenn Tornado had apparently just went down to one train op. Great ride, smooth, no headbanging. But still an Arrow. Still stupid Arrow design flaws - no banking on the curves to the lift - so it has to nearly stop before the curve before the lift. Short break run, so if they are running 2 trains, it stops there and 'wears out' the trains (a ride op informed me of this).
Blazing fury had some problems, so only 1 train op, with an over hour wait, didn't do it. Mystery Mine was great, but like Arrow, some goofy design flaws. Some of the drop pull outs were abrubt, causing you to lurch forward into the shoulder bars. Great ride though! no more than 10 min wait.
Finished the day on Thunderhead, what a fantastic crew! This ride is pretty darn smooth, with no new wood anywhere. That says alot about the design. There were steel wires through any pieces of wood that you went under - presumably incase a bolt failed (remember the lady that got hit with a loose board on Ghostrider...)
I dislike long Trip Reports, so I'm glad I'm almost done! Hope you enjoy this!
Finished off the trip at SFKK again. Went right to Greezy, rode 9 times without leaving the station. Did Superman drop tower 2 times - Brian had never been on this type of tower. On our way to ride Lola (she was closed on our previous visit), we walked past 3 suits who asked us "you guys having fun?" I said "ok..." they turned around and asked us what was wrong.
The guy started talking to us, Jay Thomas, and right away I recognized him. He was one of the people in charge of the internship I had back in '95 at SFOTexas. That was cool, nice to see he's been promoted to President of Kentucky Kingdom (something I didn't even realize until after our conversation was over, when I looked at his card).
We let him know of our dissapointment of Thunder Run's condition, Twisted Twins one-sided operation, and general displeasure with Six Flags as a whole. I let him know how the whole "flash pass" thing is a slap in the face to people who can't afford it.
It was a great talk, saw a different side of things. Six Flags is trying, and is getting better, slowly. Jay gets on these boards, and apart from hearing people out and out slamming Six Flags, he would love to hear your constructive criticism.
Finished the day with about 20 rides on Greezed Lightnin', the star of the park! We heard some kids talking about how someone got hurt, saw helicopters, etc. We left around 6pm, I did't believe the rumors, about the girl losing her feet until I saw it on the site later (couldn't get a good new station on the radio while leaving the park).
It's ashame this accident happened. It's really scary having been there, and having ridden the ride (the same 'pod' or the one right next to the one she was sitting in) within an hour or so of the accident. Our wishes are with the girl!
Great, tiring, trip. The small parks still beat the big ones in terms of bang for your buck! Mindbender and Tidal Wave (Greezy) are still some of the best steel coasters anywhere. Six Flags still has some bugs (greed will get you) and is working on making things better.
Arthur Bahl said:
Was that "O-Plane" ride at Lake Winnie the Fly-O-Plane? If so, it is the only one of its kind still operating.
I'm not sure, but apparently it was built to train guys before the war... I'm sure there are pics of it online somewhere, someone else probably could give a better answer, stay tuned :)
It's really really painful on the thighs, due to the seatbelt, but it's fun to try to get it to do Barrel Rolls.
I echo your thoughts about the Cannonball. Me and my friends went on a trip to CP and GL, then the next week we went to Lake Winnie, and we all agreed that Cannonball was probably the smoothest and most fun woodie out of any that we rode.
If the lines at SFOG were long, than I agree that some coasters should have more trains than one. How long were GASM, BTR, and Ninja on the day you went? If they were 15 minutes or more, there should have been two trains on those. However, you say that Mind Bender was no wait, so I'm wondering.
Mindbender was no wait, with 2 trains running. GASM was about a 20 minute wait. Cyclone was a one train wait, with 2 trains. BTR we rode right after the rain stopped, no wait... but earlier in the day I headed into the que, people were walking opposite saying it was an hour. Ninja was about 5 mins with one train.
Didn't even bother with Deja Vu or Superman.
I said it before, and I'll say it again, it's not SFStL that had bad operations before. It's SFOG, SFMM, SFA, and I think SFGAdv.
^That's sad. That manager should be fired! Everyone always praises her, and she does nothing right. That's just bad operations. My favorite park as in rides, but the second to worst park as in operations with Six Flags America being number one worst park.
I said it before, and I'll say it again, it's not SFStL that had bad operations before. It's SFOG, SFMM, SFA, and I think SFGAdv.
Are you referring to the manager of SFOG? I'm not aware of her. But the employees were very inconsistent with policies, and the Nitro crew (well the ones I came into contact with, minus one) were totaly sad.
I agree, too bad the bigger parks are dumps too, like SFMM and, especially, SFGAdv - of the 5 or so times I've been there, I always ended up leaving early. More than once after less than 3 or so hours.
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