SFMM 7/25/07

Associated parks:
None

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 5:14 PM
Magic Mountain Trip Report – Tues 07/25/7

WEATHER
AM 85 degrees, PM 96 degrees, scorching sun

CROWDS
Eerily light

COASTER CLOSINGS
"X" Closed 2 – 3PM
"Superman" Closed 2 - 3PM, maybe more, we left at 3

WAIT TIMES
"X" (2 trains) - A.M. 0 – 20 minutes, PM, 20-45 minutes
"Tatsu" - 45 – 60 minutes (Speedpass – 0 minutes)
"Revolution" - 0 minutes"Viper" - 0 minutes – (Speedpass – not necessary)
"Goliath - 0 – 10 minutes (Speedpass – not necessary)
"Superman" - ?
"Riddler's Revenge: - 0 – 5 minutes (Speedpass - not necessary)
"Batman" - 0 – 10 minutes"Deja Vu" - 0 minutes
"Gold Rusher" – 0 – 7 minutes
"Log Jammer" - 0 – 10 minutes

ATTENDANCE
Seems like were only maybe 5,000 people here today, max. The only way MM will increase attendance is if someone advertises a party there on MySpace.com. (Apparently, kids are using their bodies as thrill rides, and they don't need Magic Mountain anymore.) The place was empty, basically. There were vast stretches of smooth, wide, super-heated, empty, blacktop midways here today, peppered with only a few guests. Where is everyone?

This is the height of summer, and many of the drink stands were closed. One Ear of Corn stand didn't sell a single ear of corn during the lunch hour. Generally, the game midways sat vacant. So strange for summer.

There was the usual demographically broad mix of people. A few inner city teens. A few gay couples. Hispanic college kids in groups of 10. Tourists from Germany wearing black socks and sneakers. Early-teens texting messages on their cell phones. Harried California moms with kids aged 2-13 holding chocolate-smudged fistfuls of coupons. But all the fathers were conspicuously absent. (Apparently they were on MySpace.com, too.)

MAINTENANCE
The park was clean. Not immaculate. Oddly, all MM bathrooms are now permanently attended by no fewer than two attendants, one male and one female. The bathrooms are well maintained now, which is thoroughly disorienting. (Now, if they renovate the tired bathrooms, they'll be in business.)

STAFFING
The old ride operators, formerly droopy-eyed, robot-like dropouts on prescription thorasine, have been replaced with squeaky clean high school seniors with manners. Where on earth did management find them? I said "Thank you" to a few of them. Two responded "You're welcome. Have a great day at Magic Mountain" and one teen actually responded "You're so welcome," which I found to be downright refined. Emily Post's body, spinning in Valencia for years now, is finally at rest.

However, Ninja's bored ride operator insisted on making a percussion instrument out of his microphone. Tap Tap TAPPITY TAP. So loudly, you wanted to cover your ears. If this were Disneyland, he would have been decapitated by the Mad Queen and sent home to El Segundo. Here at MM, however, it is the last vestige of second-rate work performance, so I forgive him, and I almost become wistful for the days of MM ride-ops yanking each others' hair, foul-mouthed name-calling and talking about how they are going to kill someone after work. Alas, those days may be coming to an end.

LOG JAMMER
The whole log ride concept needs replacement, not just at MM. What used to be a unique water ride experience in the 70's has somehow turned into a low-rent, leaking, light blue, elongated plastic bed-pan on stilts, carrying high-gloss plastic faux logs with musty-smelling water sloshing around in them. Clunk, clunk, bump, slosh, slosh. It's so seventies. Haven't these $2 million dollar moldy investments long since been amortized? Replace it immediately, but not with a thrill ride, please.

TATSU
This ride is positively astounding in two ways. First, the view from the top of the Tatsu lift hill is stunning-- a carefully architected, thoughtfully chosen panorama. (However, you can't get a real feel for the panorama on the youtube.com video of Tatsu.) The lift rises about a hundred feet on top of the mountain, no less. You ascend to what feels like 500 feet! The view is Southwest (I think) toward the vast, undeveloped desert, dotted with sagebush and cactus, and it is positively breathtaking. Bravo to the coaster design team. Tatsu's footprint is some of the most prime terrain coaster real estate in the country, and here, it is truly maximized. Brilliant. Based on the youtube.com video, I thought "no problem". This seems pretty tame. Well, it was intense.

Second, this coaster seems to gain height as it progresses through the course. I've never experienced anything like it... Higher and higher! Bigger dips! Bigger! Oh, my God! Bigger! Faster! The swoops and hills use the terrain to become more and more massive at each element, to the point of no return! Again and Again. And, Oh, my God! Shouldn't this ride be ending? Now bigger! Massive dive roll! Holy God! It feels like the ride engineers have diabolically used their CAD programs to invert the typical ride experience—now the ending is bigger than the beginning! Incredible. No more! Please make it stop, or I'll.... Just as you approach a hilltop that can't get any higher, the platform appears out of nowhere, thankfully, and your train approaches the station at the top of the hill, not at ground level. An incredibly impressive design, and a powerful, world class thrill coaster-- a dime a dozen here at Magic Mountain, however. I don't think I'll be riding that one again. Too intense.

GOLIATH
Thank God they braked this thing, and braked it severely, at midcourse. What a joy this coaster would have been if it were a succession of twelve buoyant, massive air time hills, instead of one massive hill, dumping, compromised, into a haphazard spaghetti bowl of g-force-soaked, hairpin turns at ground level. Utter junque. Ride queue empty. No surprise.

REVOLUTION
Only oblivious tourists from Hamburg alighted this modified flivver. Revolution is starting to look like one of those tired, abandoned looping carnival coasters. I refused to ride it because of the pain factor. I love this old beauty, but only in its former glory. I say restore the coaster to its original conception, or junk it. Merely painting it doesn't cut it. They shoot horses, don't they?

DEJA VU
This coaster epitomizes the new, sterile, blinders-on, death-machine coaster experience that is chewing up the dim hope of MM as a place of interaction, of joyous experience and of shared wonder. When you ride Deja Vu, quite literally, you can not even see your fellow riders. There is no collective experience. No joy. No "happening". No story. Just utter terror, intense fear, a restraint system, and the muffled screams of someone from another seat, whose leg you can almost see dangling through a mechanical crevice seven feet in front of you. Cold and antiseptic. Ride queue empty. No surprise.

X
Didn't ride this visit. Once is enough. A brilliant coaster, but it's too intense for me. I guess I'm too old. My friends rode it. The wait times at X are now minimal, compared to last year. X's historically long lines have migrated to Tatsu, apparently.

Watch the riders as they emerge from X. There's no laughter. There's no jumping up and down, like teenagers do. There's no race to get in line again. No high-fives. No ten year olds. Instead, it's teenagers and young adults. With a comatose look. A look of having been through a war. A look of smiling through the pain. Trying to sort out the experience, rather than revel in it. A feeling that you have met your physical match. This is the end of the road. Coaster riding used to give you the feeling of power, of having conquered a beast, and you can conquer it again right now, no problem. Let's go again! And, maybe we can get Mikey to try this one! He'll love it! Let's go again!

No, this is terror. And the physical defeat of man by machine.

NINJA
Looking for respite from the fear of getting older, and the fear of death, which MM is now synonymous with, I found Ninja. This perky terrain coaster was an absolute delight, to me. It had surprising zip and lively side to side swinging movements. This is a lively coaster, inciting laughter and shared experience, endlessly re-rideable, notwithstanding the unfortunate design flaw of a lift hill at the ending. It's coasters like this that keep me coming back. Not the aggressive thrill coasters which I ride only once, (and which many guests never ride at all.)

This is the kind of coaster I used to ride over and over again when I was ten years old. We assigned random names to an upcoming swoop, like the "Abominator" or "The Richter Scale," or looking back to my friends riding in the car behind me, and shouting "Avalanche" or "Look out!" or "You'll never catch me!" This is coaster joy. This coaster is all applause and "Can I ride again?" and "what seat will you try next?". Rather than, "Oh, God. I made it. What excuse can I tell my friends that I want to sit the next one out? I'll never ride that thing again."

BATMAN/RIDDLER'S REVENGE/SCREAM
Can we finally say that Magic Mountain is completely saturated with aggressive, B&M/Giavanola style steel coasters of many seating styles? Stand up, sit down, flying, shuttle and suspending— they blend together now, and over time, have become a repetitive, homogenous experience at this park. 360, Immelman, Immelman, corkscrew, corkscrew. Over and over. What used to be a variety of innovative design approaches in seating and suspension now just seem like small, unimportant footnotes in a sea of intense, multi-colored steel. The many B&Ms are indistinguishable, at least to the few riders who rode today, and to me, I must admit. Why ride them all when you can get the same steel flavor on any single one? Same elements. Same gut-wrenching fear. It's hard on the nerves.

COLOSSUS
The Colossus ride queue is filled with huddled masses who seem to be there not to revel in a quality wooden coaster experience, but rather, to take umbrage from the imposing army of overly aggressive steel coasters. At least on Colossus, you can see with whom you're riding, and talk. And share the experience. However, Colossus can't compare to the modern Gravity Group woodies, nor to the classic old coasters like Phoenix or Thunderbolt, or even to other 80's woodies of its size, like American Eagle .

Collossus has no redeeming feature. It can't stand the test of time. The bathtub like cars rumble embarrassingly, its pacing fizzles, and the double-down cries out for re-instatement. I so long for re-rideable, mid-range coasters at MM, that I want to pull for this pile of lumber. But, let's be honest. It's not smooth, it fizzles, and seems dated.

SUMMARY
Six Flags Magic Mountain attendance figures seem to be reeling from a steroid overdose of agressive steel coasters, according to today's attendance. It just feels saturated with steel right now, like a homemade stew overrun by too much potent spice. Maybe with the new family marketing approach, the park will return to diversity and variety in their ride development, including respectable, re-rideable classic wood.

Magic Mountain needs more laughter, more delight, and racing back in line for another go round. And less fear of dying, and meeting your maker. After a few incredibly intense rides, we left the park at 3PM. *** Edited 7/26/2007 1:55:46 AM UTC by Bill***

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 6:15 PM
What an absolutely delightful TR. Positively divine! :p
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 7:27 PM
Wow. That was the best trip report I have ever read. Bravo on that. Not only was it full of facts regarding your trip, it was packed full of wit and humor. After visiting the park this year for the first time, I agree with almost everything you wrote. Again, great trip report! :)
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 9:32 PM
Thanks for the wonderful trip report! At least someone gets the joys of using the possibilities of language consciously.

You have an interesting perspective on the joy/fear/intensity of coasters that I'll definitely have to verify the next time I'm there.

I agree that people who exit X seem pretty stressed out, I believe the problem is that the trains are not tuned the way they should, the dynamic system of springs, lever actions, track stiffness etc that it forms together with the track -

I adhere to the religion that X could be a breathtaking firework of well choreographed aerobatic flight motions if it worked the way it was intended.

I also thought a while about your perception of "gut-wrenching fear" on the many B&M rides.
Apart from them becoming more and more bumby over the years, they are the only rides I am able to relax on and manage to submit to the forces, speeds and inversions with a feeling pleasure and satisfaction.
I am possibly sick not to go nuts about being tied to a plastic seat dropping from intense heights on a thin rail of steel, but I really can't get enough of the 0G in the dive loops - it just gets tears down my cheek.
I'm definitely in the boat of the people who don't enjoy the terror aspect of coaster riding, and are more in search of a fascinating spatial trajectory to witness with ones own body.


Thanks again - I really enjoyed reading your writing!

*** Edited 7/27/2007 6:27:13 AM UTC by superman***

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 9:54 PM
Bill. Simply stunning. If you posted on here more, I'd visit more :). Couldn't agree more, with an old fart, that is.... ;)
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 11:50 PM

Bill said:

There was the usual demographically broad mix of people. A few inner city teens. A few gay couples. Hispanic college kids in groups of 10. Tourists from Germany wearing black socks and sneakers. Early-teens texting messages on their cell phones. Harried California moms with kids aged 2-13 holding chocolate-smudged fistfuls of coupons. But all the fathers were conspicuously absent. (Apparently they were on MySpace.com, too.)


Hahahahahaha!!!! Sooo perfectly right on here and true!!


Bill said:


Watch the riders as they emerge from X. There's no laughter. There's no jumping up and down, like teenagers do. There's no race to get in line again. No high-fives. No ten year olds. Instead, it's teenagers and young adults. With a comatose look. A look of having been through a war. A look of smiling through the pain. Trying to sort out the experience, rather than revel in it. A feeling that you have met your physical match. This is the end of the road. Coaster riding used to give you the feeling of power, of having conquered a beast, and you can conquer it again right now, no problem. Let's go again! And, maybe we can get Mikey to try this one! He'll love it! Let's go again!

No, this is terror. And the physical defeat of man by machine.


Again, so true...after having been on TTD a billion times now, I'm yawning through drops!! But I could *never* yawn or nap through X!!


Bill said:

Magic Mountain needs more laughter, more delight, and racing back in line for another go round. And less fear of dying, and meeting your maker.


Right on the money here too in terms of re-rideability...the only thing I will disagree with you on is Tatsu. Maybe it's because I'm a young'n in my 20's, but I could ride Tatsu all day over and over!! Of course I love flyers too...

Outstanding TR!!!

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Thursday, July 26, 2007 1:52 AM
Totally great report. Makes me instantly forget to write my own SFMM report!

Your view for details is great.

I still love Magic Mountain as it is my dream park from back in the day when I any snippet of rollercoaster footage on tv was a synonym for Magic Mountain and California.
This was in the seventies, I was a kid in Germany and I knew I had to go there. And even back than I knew that i hated sandals (black socks and sneakers was not on my radar back then)

I have been there for the first time in 1990 and many times since. I became aware of the downward spiral the park was on while getting new rides like there was no tomorrow. But I did not care for the run down place and the decaying atmosphere.
For me the mountain always was and will be a magical place. I think i can fully understand the oblivious german tourists who might have had the same momentin their childhood. Magic Mountain is the last place that is left of the idea of California - at least the way it presented itself to the world years ago.

I hope it will never close. And i hope that it will return to the place you are wishing for.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007 2:19 AM
I sure wish 'we' or someone who cares could do something about Revolution. Same with Whizzer here at Great America (well, our ride is in GREAT condition, but lets not trash it, ok..)

I totally agree with all the B&M nonsense. It's pretty darn boring.

Maybe some grassroots ACE party like the one(s) who saved the San Diego Dipper. But in front of a corporate machine like six flags, we'd probably make total fools of ourselvs.

Someone step up; wish it could be me, but I can't keep my mouth shut and tend to get a little mad.

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