SFMM (arg!!) and Belmont Park

Associated parks:

Wednesday, June 13, 2001 6:18 AM
My wife and I take two vacations every year: one by ourselves and one to visit family. This year, we have family in San Diego, so we went there from Columbus last weekend and caught some coasters on the side.

We did a lot of the touristy stuff, like cruising around the bay, walking around Balboa Park, climbing around on Point Loma, shopping in Tijuana, etc. We also drove up to Mission Beach to check out the Giant Dipper at Belmont Park.

I can't really review the park because we were only there for a matter of minutes. Basically, we ran in, looked at the wooden model of the coaster, bought our $3.50 tickets, waited one train in line, rode and left.

About the coaster: It's beautiful, it rides smoothly, it's graceful, it starts with a looooong dark tunnel, and has a nice piece of trick-track. Nothing really memorable though, but worth riding.

That was Friday. The next day, we made the long drive up to LA for Magic Mountain. I was kinda worried about going on Saturday, because I knew it would be packed. But I didn't care - I had already visited in 1998. As long as I got to ride Goliath once, everything would be OK.

As we drove in, we saw the lift hill for X directly beside the parking lot road. As the day went on, the workmen would manage to add one single piece of track to the hill. Sheesh.

We parked at about 10 minutes after opening time, and I could see people riding Colossus...but no Goliath trains yet. gulp.

Then my worst fears were confirmed: RIDES TEMPORARILY NOT OPERATING: GOLIATH, FLASHBACK. Great, the two I hadn't ridden yet closed. Wait, it said temporarily. I held out hope.

We flashed our season passes (my brother- and sister-in-law bought tickets) and entered. After making the obligatory bathroom stop for the women (skipping the first bathroom, which had a line 15 people deep), we hiked up the hill for Superman: the Escape.

On the way there, we saw there was no line for Ninja, so we rode it. This is a great ride...right up there with the other great Arrow suspendeds like Top Gun and BBW. I love how it swoops low around the log flume. The only thing that kills it is that huge lift at the end (YOU WILL PAY!)

After that, we headed for S:TE. The line was all inside, about 15 minutes (even with one side running). Still a rush, though the launch felt less powerful than I remembered.

Now, we ran down the hill and caught Gold Rusher with an empty station. I like this Arrow mine ride for its uniqueness. The lift hill is actually more like a split lift, with the first part all on the ground, and a neat spiral in between the sections. The pacing is weird (fast-slow-fast-slow) but the ending helix is nice.

Riddler's Revenge was next on the list. We waited about 25 minutes for a random "seat" near the front. This one was much more fun than I remembered. In my last TR for SFMM, I wrote that RR was slow after the block brake, but not this time...it flew through the bunny hop and final turns. This may have overtaken Mantis as my favorite stand-up. The station needs to be redesigned though...like Magnum's, it's weirdly shaped so all the seat lines run together - yuk.

There is a serious safety issue going on here. About 10 seconds after the train arrives in the station, the seats all fly up to their fullest extent with some force, whether someone is on them or not. I saw a girl catch her butt on the seat and was actually lifted off her feet and lost her balance. I had trouble myself getting out of the row before they shot up. Watch out!

Now the park was getting crowded. I figured we better hit Goliath before the line was too long. So we went over there....no line....not running. There was a group of 5-6 park employees near the entrance, one holding a clipboard. I approached them:

IMPORTANT-LOOKING MANAGER TYPE (before I could say anything): Goliath is closed all day.
ME: Why?
HER: We're testing for safety (despite the fact that a train didn't run all day).
ME: Because a woman died of an anuerism?
HER: Yes.
ME: Are you aware that the coroner said the coaster was not at fault?
HER: Yes.
ME: (disgusted) Fine, whatever.

Let me tell you, I almost cried at this point. I had to sit down for a while. Then slowly, the rage took over. Six Flags owes it to me to have its newest ride running, especially on a Saturday, probably one of the biggest days of the year since school just let out. Safety? Give me a break. The only thing Six Flags is worried about is getting sued. They know the ride is safe. They opened it up hours after the accident.

Anyway, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole Six Flags chain, combined with some other incidents I'll mention later. I'll probably not be able to come back to California for many years, so I missed my only chance to ride Goliath.

Well...then, my group was hungry, so we went to "Food Etc." for snacks, where we ran into the most inept person I have ever seen. We ordered vanilla ice cream and soda, and had to repeat all or part of our order four times. The kid put his finger in my wife's ice cream, got my soda wrong, couldn't work the cash register without calling the manager over, and gave me the wrong change.

Then we ate, and I sulked.

Next we hit Colossus, mostly so I could take pics of Goliath. We waited about 20 minutes, extended by the fact that some teen-age punk wearing a WALKING CAST on his ankle, and his FOUR friends, got to skip the line and ride in front of us. Unbelievable. Permenantly handicapped is one thing...but a busted ankle? The park should NOT allow people to take advantage of this situation.

Colossus was fun, but a little rough. One side only running, of course.

Now it was so hot we were starting to lose energy...and it was only 1 p.m. We went over to the log flume...the one about which Ninja twists. We waited over an hour...sheesh. The ride was fun, but the log was so small my wife and I both got bruises on our knees.

We wanted some icees now, so I got in a long line at a stand that said "Cherry Icees." After waiting for 15 minutes at least, I arrived at the window. "Cherry Icee, please," I said. "Oh, the icee machine is broken," the employee said.

WHAT?!? What did all the people in front of me order??? I just rolled my eyes and walked away.

We'd about had enough of this crap at this point. All the lines were way out of the gates. We did the one thing I didn't get to do in 1998...that is, go up on the Sky Tower and take aerial photos. Deja Vu is done. The tower guy said it'd be open in 2 weeks. He also said X would be open July 4. Whatever. The footers aren't even down yet.

We hung out on the tower for 30 minutes or more, because it was cool up there. Then we came down, took the Orient Express to the bottom of the hill, and got the heck out of there.

To make matters worse, there was traffic in LA, making for a 3+ hour drive home. :(
Wednesday, June 13, 2001 9:00 AM

Den said:
"Six Flags owes it to me to have its newest ride running, especially on a Saturday, probably one of the biggest days of the year since school just let out. Safety? Give me a break. The only thing Six Flags is worried about is getting sued. They know the ride is safe. They opened it up hours after the accident."

And in today's litigious society, you wont begrudge them a *little* protection? I can understand you being pissed. I was the very definition of an unhappy camper back in 1998 when we drove out from Chitown to PKD in late August and Volcano *STILL* wasnt working. But since this little incident with the woman has gotten *such* media exposure, they have to be very careful to dot every "i" and cross every "t". I know that doesnt make you happy, but you should at least understand.
--Welcome to Life!....Sucks doesn't it?
(misplaced tag) *** This post was edited by 2Hostyl on 6/13/2001. ***
Wednesday, June 13, 2001 10:03 AM
2Hostyl, Goliath being closed alone I might have been able to handle, but combined with all the other things I mentioned, I left the park infuriated. Especially after visiting Holiday World two weeks ago, where I had the best time I've ever had at a park. Oh, here are two more things I forgot to mention:

-SFMM is advertising X and Deja Vu as "opening spring 2001!" I know they have to print their maps, etc., well in advance, but I still think it's extremely dishonest.

-While getting a frozen lemonade (after being rejected at the Cherry Icee stand), the employee dumped the lemonade from a black garbage bag into the cooler, then stuffed the bag into a garbage can, then with the same hand that went into the can, reached elbow-deep into the cooler to retrieve the scooper. Gross. I can't believe all the restaurants here got A's from the health board.
Wednesday, June 13, 2001 2:32 PM
This should just go to show you – never go to Holiday World… it makes all other parks look pitiful by comparison…

But, I do agree with you – Six Flags parks always seem to leave me with a bad taste in my mouth too. Rude, slow employees; dirty; rides running at reduced capacity (Colossus only running one side on a Saturday – come on). But what can we do… we’re kind of stuck with them aren’t we???
Wednesday, June 13, 2001 8:37 PM
ok...let me get this straight. A human being is dead and you are crying about not riding a roller coaster that the person died on? Now I am advocating a new "McCarthy" era on roller coasters but I think the park is well within there rights to keep the ride closed until they have gathered all the evidence that they can to avoid a lawsuit and to prevent any new opportunists who might be hoping to take advantage of all the bad press. By the way the coroner said that he could not rule that the coaster did it or didn't. That right there tells Six Flags they better cover their butts legally. Now I completely agree that Six Flags parks are dirty and the employees are not always the best, but to moan because a ride that someone died on is closed is just sickening. It's not like it wasn't all over the internet and the news that the coaster was closed. Oh and complaining that the work on X was only one piece of track?? What are you the comic book guy on the Simpsons? Get over yourself. Someone is DEAD!! Let them clear everything up so lawsuits don't end up causing even more down time. It's too bad that you didn't get to ride the coaster that you had never been on, but you know what? You have the possibility of another chance. Right now there is some family who will never see one of there own again!!
Thursday, June 14, 2001 5:44 AM
Figaro, I realize someone is dead. But people die every day doing things like walking down the sidewalk, driving down the road or sleeping. There is NO NEED to shut down the sidewalk, close the road or demolish the hotel because someone died there. They all are perfectly safe.

All rides have enough warning signs that they SHOULD take all responsibility off the park. Just the fact that Six Flags feels the need to shut down a ride for fear of being sued makes me want to vomit. I hate our litigous society where people can't take responsibility for anything. If the family of the woman that died has any sense, they will accept this accident as a horrible tragedy that was not anyone's FAULT, just like most deaths aren't.

I never read anything on the internet before I left about Goliath being closed. All I read is that it reopened several hours after the accident. And from the sound of the person I talked to, it was open the day before I was there as well.

And the slow construction of X has nothing to do with the accident. It's just another proof of Six Flags' apethetic attitude toward pleasing its customers.
Thursday, June 14, 2001 6:09 AM
Sorry... but I have to agree with Figaro on this one.

Fact: Someone is dead (Tragic enough right there)

Fact: SFMM wasn't running Goliath because soemone had died on it (makes sense. The causes are still pending. If the coaster did contribute to the death they are looking at a law suit. If the coaster did not contribute to the cause of death they are still probably looking at a law suit)

Fact: You were upset that you did not get to ride Goliath and that you got no satisfaction from MM because of this fact.

Somehow, with the above three facts, I think its just time to move on. As Figaro said, you will have other chances to get to MM.

With the Goliath tragedy (as with any coaster / park accident) we have talked so much about "Rider Responsibility". Well, it can be extended further. In the wake of something like this, when it is not known if a ride will be operating for what ever reason, if we are making a trek to a park to ride the ride in question, we should take the responsibility to check to see if said ride will be up and running.

Good example of this happened to me in Fla this past March. My wife and I went to Sea World for the sole purpose of riding Kraken. On the day we were there Kraken was down because of "high winds". I was none to happy, but oh well, "thems the breaks." The next day we were going to IOA (for the main purpose of riding Hulk and Dueling Dragons). With the events of Sea World still fresh in our minds, we called IOA that morning to make sure that their coaters were up and running. In a case like yours, having known that a death had occured on the ride in the recent past and that the cause of death was still "undetermined", I think I would have called ahead to see the status of that coaster.

In the big picture, look at it this way...

A woman became unconcious while riding Goliath and later died... you made the trek to MM and did not get to ride Goliath because it was closed pending the out come of testing and the investigation. I don't think MM is going to be very sympathetic to your cause (nor should they be).

"Resistance is futile... you will be assimilated." The BORG's (and Six Flags') motto.
Thursday, June 14, 2001 6:30 AM
SLFAKE, it wouldn't have made any difference to call ahead, because we were going to SFMM no matter what. My brother- and sister-in-law had never been there, and wanted to go before they move to Guam in August. Only I was there for Goliath alone.

As it turns out, my family was also disgusted with the park, because they like a more well-rounded park experience (shows, food) and all the shows they wanted to see weren't running for some reason, and the food was terrible.

I will admit, I should have expected Goliath to be shut down. In fact, I DID expect it to be shut down. But my optimistic side told me not to worry about it. And I'm not holding a "grudge" against 6 Flags because of this. This is just the straw that broke the camel's back this year when it comes to having really bad days at 6 Flags parks. I think if more people speak up about the filth, the bad help, the bad running of rides, etc., then management might actually do something about it.
Thursday, June 14, 2001 6:53 AM
Now there you have a point.

From the initial report it sounded like Goliath was the main factor that had you "disgruntled".

I can't comment on the "the filth, the bad help, the bad running of rides, etc.," of Six Flag's parks because I have never been to any. HOWEVER... because of that reputation of "the filth, the bad help, the bad running of rides, etc.," I have no overwhelming desire to visit a Six Flag's park.

From where I live it would take me around 2 hrs to get to Knoebels and 2 hrs to get to Six Flags America... believe me, I would take repeat trips to Knoebels any day over SFAm (granted... I would like to get there this year... but not for Batwing, for Wild One). Heck, I would even take the 2 1/2 hrs to get to little Lakemont over the 2 hrs to SFAm.

The only other SF property that I feel a calling to go to is The Great Escape (for Herb Schmeck's Comet)... and from what I heard that park has yet to been "assimilated".

Sorry, but I never got caught up in, nor understood, the Six Flag's mistique (as can be seen by my profile). And for what it is worth, I am not CP'er either... having never been there. Give me Hersheypark's clean paths and good staff (competent at WORST... excellent at BEST) and working rides (only ever seen one coaster closed... and that was the sooperdooperlooper in 1977 during its "shakedown" season) any day.

"Resistance is futile... you will be assimilated." The BORG's (and Six Flags') motto. *** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 6/14/2001. ***
Thursday, June 14, 2001 7:18 AM
There is no "mystique" for Six Flags parks; it's just the coasters, trust me. If Holiday World or Kennywood or Americana could afford to build a couple of B&M's or Intamins, I'd be ecstatic.

Another draw is the cheap season pass. For $55 I have already been to three different Six Flags parks and plan on two more, not to mention the waterpark 10 miles from my house that I will probably be going to every weekend when it gets hot.

I guess for that price you have to expect the filth.
Thursday, June 14, 2001 9:08 AM
As for "filth." Many people will see ONE overflowing trash can and call the WHOLE PARK filthy. If you look for bad things, you find them. If you go looking to have fun, you will. Ride closures happen, at 6 Flags, Paramount, Independants and Cedar Fair, deal with it.

"X" marks the spot in 2001!
Thursday, June 14, 2001 9:13 AM
Soggy, you've got the wrong idea about me. I am a very optimistic person. I usually have fun at every park, even if it's 100 degrees and the lines are 3 hours long.

If I go to a restaurant and they screw up my food, I don't complain to the waiter, because it's not his fault...BUT I do write a letter to the company, because it's the big wheels who need to hear about it. Same with Six Flags. They need to know the things I mentioned in the TR are happening. For example, the unsanitary food practices, the inefficient running of rides. If I was CEO of Six Flags I would NOT want these things going on.

What I'm trying to say is, I don't look for bad things, I look for good things. It's just that, aside from the actual coasters, I haven't found much good at Six Flags parks this year.
Thursday, June 14, 2001 10:11 AM
And this is precisely the problem – there are always people who say “enjoy the rides that are open and quit complaining about things being closed” or “it’s an amusement park, you have to expect it will be dirty” If the public doesn’t care, why should the parks?
Thursday, June 14, 2001 2:50 PM
DEN, have you been to SFOT recently? You may find it more to your liking since it has been refurbished. The park is celebrating it's 40th anniversary and with that in mind the park management has undertook the task of cleaning up the park, adding new rides (TITAN) and shows, raising the quality of the food and improveing the overall appearance of the park. I've been comming to SFOT for the past 30 years and this is the best condition I've ever seen the park in.

So if you get the chance to visit Texas, make it a point to visit SFOT. BTW, Titan is a longer version of Goliath that is up and running even as I type this. In fact, it didn't close even after the incident on Goliath.

In fact, Soggy (who knows me as TitanRules on another forum) recently visited SFOT. I'm sure he can bear me up on this. Normally, no one is more critical of the SF chain than I am. I can remember times in the past that I thought my home park was being neglected by the SF ceo. But with the addition of Titan as well as other improvements, I can honestly say that SFOT is one park that you won't be disappointed in.

Right Soggy?
Friday, June 15, 2001 5:37 AM
DAN-EL, I would love to go to SFoT. I have ever since I saw a map of the park my parents had in like 1983. They went in the 70s when they lived in Wichita Falls. Six Flags should take care of that park, it being their first one.

Unfortunately my wife has no desire to go to Texas. :( sound of whip cracking
Friday, June 15, 2001 6:56 AM
Den, my point was "One bad experience does NOT make a whole chain bad." Maybe YOU did not come right out and say it, but many others have. DAN-EL is correct, his homepark of SFOT is awesome. If anyone is looking for a "near perfect" Six Flags experience, go there! Astroworld,(AKA the coaster retirement home) is another story.

(Den, just buy the airline tickets and make hotel reservations, tell the wife that they are non-refundable, and that you wouldn't want to waste the money.)

"X" marks the spot in 2001!
Friday, June 15, 2001 7:38 AM
Soggy, here's my somewhat meager 6 Flags count, in case you're curious:


All but the one in Chicago, I noted problems with rides running badly, trash or rampant teens. Compared with family-owned parks I've been to, and even other big themers (PKI, CP) I've definitely noticed a huge difference, even without looking for it.

On the other hand, most of the B&Ms on my track record are at those 6 Flags parks, so I shouldn't complain. :)

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