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Monday, June 2, 2003 2:46 PM
First off, I wanted to give my condolences to all those affected by the HW tragedy, and believe me when I say news like that tempers any minor complaints one may have about an amusement park trip. It certainly puts things into perspective.

A friend of mine was let go from our company on Friday, so what better way to take his mind off things than take him on some coasters. Scott (the man in question), Melanie, Jay, Erinn, Rob, and myself went down to Magic Mountain to have ourselves a good time.

I got there slightly late due to an accident on I-5 just before the park, arriving about 10 minutes after opening. The first lot was already full, and it looked like it was going to be a busy day. Turns out I wasn't the only one late, Scott and I waited another 20 minutes before the others arrived, and we headed into the park around 10:30.

First line of the day...the security gates. The area behind the ticket booths was COMPLETELY full of people waiting, it was a good 20 minutes before we got through there. Only about half of the metal detectors were open, and people were trickling through very slowly. Eventually made it through, and into the park we went, heading for Goliath.

Goliath was running 3 trains, but the queue was nearly empty. We got up to the station to find 4 rows completely empty of people, and chose to wait through a single train for the back car. As is, they were stacking badly, simply waiting for enough people to fill up most of the rows on the train. Goliath was running pretty much as usual, and those that hadn't ridden it seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, so that was good.

We would have gone to Scream next, but we were still waiting on Melanie to arrive, both her and Jay waiting for their first rides on it, so off to Batman we went. I won't give any real report here, pretty average stuff. Waited no more than 10 minutes, the ride was fun, and we were off. While coming up the lift hill, I noticed Riddler's was dispatching every other train empty, so I assumed the line was super short. So, off we went.

I have no idea why there were going empty sometimes, there was a pretty decent line, long enough to be out of the station and through the first switchback. Soon thereafter they were releasing both trains full of people, and we waited about 40 minutes for it.

Melanie had arrived by this point, so it was off to Scream!

Scream: They were running three trains as they seem to have been doing since it opened, and it was a testament to the high capacity of this ride. After Riddler's line, I had assumed we'd have a wait for Scream, but the queue was literally empty. We made it all the way up the stairs and to the row queues befire finding ANY line at all, and waited no more than 10 minutes for the front row. The line for the ride stayed near empty the entire day. I don't know if it's just because the ride has such high capacity, or if, for some reason, people just don't care about this ride, but that's fine for me. I love that zero-G roll, so any time I can ride it with almost no wait will never upset me.

After that, it was off for X, but my friends all got distracted by Log Jammer. So, after nearly an hour wait (no wait for Scream, but an hour for Log Jammer?!?), we got our ride on it. Scott decided it would be thoroughly enjoyable to lean forward in the back seat on the final plunge, which is supposed to make the splash much larger.

This aparrently works. I couldn't believe how drenched I got, especially after riding this ride so many times and getting nary a drop on me. Wow, I've never been that soaked on a water ride, not even on Roaring Rapids. Yeesh!

It did help for X's queue, though, being that drenched certainly makes standing in the sun not be so bad.

X: Ahh, X. Still my favorite steel, and pretty much the only noteworthy part to this entire TR. Admittedly, talking about it is my entire excuse for writing one of thes. though admittedly I've yet to venture out of Southern California (that will change in a couple of months). On my recent Scream ride, I noticed that cars were soon to be routed into the overflow dirt parking lot, and given the short lines at Scream, I assumed most people were at X. However, the line was not even to the beginning of the queue, and moving very quickly. After a short 40 minute wait, we were in the station and about 5 trains away from getting on the front row, right side. However, true to form (or at least true to form for my last 4 trips to the park), X broke down while we were waiting.

For a little backstory, I went about a month ago, and we had waited a little over an hour for X, just reaching the beginning of the actual queue area. I realized I hadn't seen a dispatch in about 15 minutes or so when a female employee came up, took the sign that said "2-3 hour wait from this point", turned it around, and stuck a "3-4 hour wait" sign in its place. She told me they had to take a train off the track, and at that point, we gave up and left. It was easily at least a 3 hour wait from that point, and I just didn't feel like dealing with that. The breakdown happened somewhere between 3:30 and 4pm.

The next time I went with a friend visiting town for E3. We went on a Saturday, and there was a line about halfway down the bridge. We waited for about an hour before the ride broke down. We decided to stay in line, and within an hour or so, had moved up almost all the way to the fork under the station, barely waiting longer than it would have taken anyway, thanks to all the people leaving the line. When the ride restarted, the station was nearly empty, so it was quick from that point on. I noticed, however, when it broke down, that a mechanic was walking from the storage shed with a wheel, so it looked like X had managed to damage a wheel mid running. This also happened sometime between 3:30 and 4pm.

Flash to yesterday. When we were about 5 trains away from riding, they just stopped cycling trains, and attempted to announce technical difficulties. I say attempted because apparently the girl working the booth thinks that the best way to announce these things is by sticking her lips directly on the microphone and mumbling. Oi. After a good 20 minutes or so, I had a first at SFMM. A ride-op actually came around through the queue and explained to us what was wrong. Travis told us that X had managed to damage a wheel, and they were replacing it. I mentioned that I'd seen this happen two weeks ago, and he responded saying that it had been going through wheels at an alarming rate (not his exact words, but since I don't remember 'em, I'm making up my own).

Another 20 minutes pass, still nothing. One of the ride-ops walks by and says they expect to have it up and running again in 20 more minutes. We continue to wait.

30 minutes later, they shut the music off and the fans in the station off. Augh! Turns out they apparently have to shut ALL of that down to move the transfer track, which is precisely what they did. I guess it wasn't that easy to replace the wheel, and they eventually took the train off and went to one train operation. After that they had a single test run, and we were back in business. An hour and 10 minutes later. This all started sometime between 3:30 and 4pm.

A) How is this thing chewing through wheels so quickly? Also, why does it seem to be happening about the same point each day? Each of these three days was pretty warm, is the combination of the heat and the friction from the heavy trains just munching on the polyurethane on the wheels? If this is such a problem, why don't they have a steady supply of wheels waiting at the shed, it always seems to take them a good half hour just to go retrieve a new wheel.

B) Given that this almost seems to be routine now, and that it took all of 2 minutes to transfer the train into the storage shed, why didn't they do this as soon as they knew they had to replace a wheel? One train operation sucks, but at least it would have been operating and they could have gotten some riders through.

So, the headaches for X still haven't subsided. Nonetheless, we eventually rode, and all those that hadn't ridden it yet LOVED it. I still love the ride, and it gave a great ride this day, nice and agressive, just the way I like it.

After that, we were tired and left. Other quick notes:

- Deja Vu is still shut down.
- A number of flat rides were listed as down, including Atom Smasher and Swashbuckler, though I saw people riding that later. All in all, I think 5 flats were shown as being down at the front gate. If it weren't SFMM, I would assume they're doing routine maintenance and maybe painting some of the ones that really need it, but that can't be the case here ;)
- Flashback is shut down for the summer now that Hurricane Harbor is open.

That be about it, sorry for being so long winded.

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Monday, June 2, 2003 3:13 PM
Nice tr. Going to be out there myself in a few weeks and I wanted to see if deja vu was still down.

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I hope they kill that iron yuppie. Thinks he's so big. The great homer simspon

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