I ended up entering the park at 11:00, I chose to go with their season-pass 2007 deal of 59.99. The regular admission is 39.99.
Expecting everyone to clog Tatsu at first, I went around the other way, towards Goliath.
Goliath didn't open before 12:00.
So the first ride of the day became Batman, which was a walk-on.
I took the chance to wait some trains (they ran one train empty in between the trains with riders) for first row, and I must say it's really worth it on this ride!
Some of the elements take on a whole different meaning when you can see where you're going.
I especially love that last corkscrew now, it seemed to decide spontaneously to add another twist while we were passing through. :)
I remember I used to perceive this ride as something of an overdose, and it certainly is speedy, forceful and surprising, but when you can see where you're going, it's actually even more fun.
Today I'm quite convinced that cloning this ride so often was a great decision! :)
Next I was all nervous to rendezvous with my favourite coaster on the planet, a.k.a. "Riddler's Revenge", the famed ultrasmooth largest stand-up coaster in the world. So - how has it has been in all these years without me? (real love, you see.)
I go in: The station and the music, everything is still the same, some dust and spiderwebs, the green color of the track is gone in some places, but apart from that, it's almost as if time had stood still - it's exactly the same as 6 years ago, including the music.
The station was walk-in, a train was waiting... and waiting...
it turns out one of the restraints wouldn't open, locking a rider inside, so they were waiting for a mechanic.
After 10 minutes, the mechanic arrives and the rider is freed. Some time later the train is sent on the track empty, probably to reset the restraint system.
After a couple more trains, I was on.
I got into row four (rows 4 and 5 are my favourite). Some people dislike the bike saddles of this ride, but I must say I actually enjoy this restraint system. I am rather tall (6"4), and this is one of the few rides I can stretch out completely which is much more enjoyable than being cramped into a seat with the OTSR crunching down on my shoulders.
The trick is not to be locked with all your weight on the saddle, but to have most weight on your legs.
So up we go, up the lift that passes through the first loop.
All is great, the first drop just (almost) like I remember it, the first loop with an awesome moment of weightlessness. BUT THEN!
In the third valley the train suddenly starts to shake, banging my head against the restraint..
the same in the next valley... I can't believe what happens to me!
Riddlers Revenge now an Ouchmonster!
It bangs peoples heads now.
I am really sad about this.
While age obviously didn't turn it into an entirely terrible ride, it certainly is only a shadow of its former self.
You can also hear this by the way:
If you know what RR sounded like some years ago and compare that to what it sounds like now, you immediately understand.
Or try comparing RRs current rumble to the awe-inducing choir-like sound of Tatsu making its course!
RR used to give me the best moments in my life as a coaster enthusiast 6 years ago - and I recommended it since to countless people as my all-time favourite...
:( too bad :.( R.I.P.
I am really sad.
OK, onto new shores anyway!
I wanted to check out Deja Vu, which has the grace of being hidden all the way in the back of the park, so the line was quite short.
The wait took 30 minutes never the less, as the loading and unloading of this fun machine takes a while.
Once I'm on there, I fasten the restraints... it's 3-fold safe, so I don't see why anyone would have to scream on this ride at all! :)
This ride really has some unexpected features up its sleeve - some things that seem meaningless when you look at the ride from the outside turn out to be key moments in the riding experience.
First, just hanging there vertically when you are pulled up the first tower is simply insane, and it's really high! Thankfully, they don't let you dangle there for too long, that could have become really nightmarish!
Face your fears! :)
The track you go through once it drops is OK, it's very big, so everything has this enourmous almost unbelievable quality and extreme speed to it.
The next incredible moment comes when the train is caught by the lift on tower 2.
You shot up the tower weightless, like on STE, but then the lift catches you, and all of a sudden -"clonk"-, you are laying on your back, looking at the sky.
Then you do it all backwards, which is even more exciting. Back in tower one, the train rushes up that tower and -"clonk"- again the train is caught, this time dropping the riders unexpectedly on their frontsides and into nothing but the 3-fold restraint system, what a shock!
It's almost as if the ride wanted to underline who is boss with that last gesture :)
I'd almost give it 10/10, but it's a little shaking and rough in some places, so it gets a 9/10 from me.
Next, I went back around to get onto Scream.
It was a walk-on.
Having never been on a regular B&M sitdown up to now I was curious to see how the elements feel, especially the 0G roll.
Scream looks cool (futuristic color scheme), and they went into some effort to conceal the parking lot - from most perspectives, the coaster seems to "float" somewhere over an unseen ground.
The coaster is not necessarily bad, but still about as rough as RR has become (*sob* *sigh* *whine*)
Ad times, it dingles and rumbles like a Vekoma. Still, the elements are really well designed, with a lot of attention to details. The added helix+airtime hill with head chopper after the MCBR took me by surprise and the whole section with the interlocking corkscrews is very well implemented with all kinds of little micro-banking effects, and comes across as a real G-force pleasure.
If it would be smoother, it could be my new favourite, but like this the ride didn't really make me feel comfortable.
Next, I checked on Goliath, whose bright orange color seemed to have faded in the Californian Desert Sunshine (R) quite a bit.
The station was a walk in - but Goliath was run in 1-train-op and the capacity seems to be somewhat smaller than on the other rides, so it was a 20 minutes wait anyway.
Goliaths ride hasn't changed at all.
It is still the smooth mega wonder coaster that it was, huge swooping large and forceful, making you forget what is up and down and all around - and yes, I did grey out a little in the helix, I think almost everyone does, and justifiably you may question whether this is healthy.
I had no lasting immediate effects from this though, not even nausea.
The first drop is really thrilling the way the train crawls over the apex in nightmarish slow motion, the tunnel is incredibly headchopping.
Going down, there is virtually no airtime.
Maybe they couldn't do more airtime without adding OTSRs...
It's more than wonderful that Goliath has just lapbars, it really enhances the sense of freedom - it's just great how the train twists under you on the second drop, and the upper body is free to bend in any direction in that moment (reminds me a little of EGFs first drop).
The MCBR was set to "brick wall mode", bringing the train to a complete stop, probably to reduce the forces in the helix somewhat.
This makes the drop from the MCBR a little weird, as the train just dips to the side and riders hang halfway in their lapbar.
The second part of Goliath is fantastic - a labyrinth of high G forces that makes you forget where up and down is.
And the Gs are actually not THAT bad, they come and go pretty smoothly.
I kept Tatsu for the last.
Tatsu is a really silent coaster, if you subtract the screams of the riders, that is.
The sound it makes is really awesome - actually the best sounding coaster I have heard up to now - at times it sounds very solemn, almost as if there would be a choir singing somehwere. But it's pretty faint - will be lost on most people.
The line extended all the way down the stairs, but most of the wait (as always) was spent in the station. About 20 minutes.
They really take some time to load and unload the train - I think it may not go any faster though.
They ran two trains - this creates the problem that the second train returns much sooner than the loading of the new train is finished, which makes the returning riders wait about 2-3 minutes in their medium-comfortable flying position before they can put their feet on the ground again.
The restraints are a stroke of genius though!
I think there is no way of making the "flying" position on a coaster ride more comfortable than this.
I really haven't figured out Tatsu's layout still, but I'm definitely joining the choir of people bestowing accolades upon it!
Every element of this coaster is interesting and well designed - whether it's the the corks that deliver wonderful moments of weightlessness to the almost-inverting turn-around to the really nicely intense Pretzel-Loop (OK, it shakes a little at the bottom, but the moment going up on the other side just makes up for that).
I wouldn't have thought a flying coaster could be so much fun. It's definitely a composition!
P.S. Tatsu has a little problem with riders spitting their chewing gums on the walkway beneath the lift and the break sections.
It's really gross, and it's not even a year old!
Otherwise, I must say that I found SFMM as a park pretty clean, and the operations were absolutely satisfactory (maybe also because there were not a lot of people in the park that day).
The season-pass deal made me forget that a lot of rides where not operating - some of those I didn't find that spectacular anyway, such as Ninja and Flashback.
In terms of "SFMM is going to make room for housing development" I have to say that there was a big sign on which they looked to hire people.
To me, the park looked definitely better than in 2001, even though the Monorail didn't run, and some of the paint on the coasters (especially Flashback and Ninja, but also most of the others) looked a little see-through.
Now that I have a season pass for 2007, I may drop by from time to time to ride one or the other coaster - and I can't wait for X to reopen of course.
The only thing that could keep me from doing the occasional pop-in is the $15 mandatory admission to Parking Park next door.
I exited SFMM at 13:30.
It seemed to be a really mellow day at SFMM - 6 coasters in 2.5h. Not a bad average, huh..?
jo *** Edited 12/4/2006 9:30:26 PM UTC by superman***
As for Riddler's Revenge, when you rode was the train only partially filled by any chance? I noticed that on both Hulk and Mantis when I rode with only one or two other folks that there was a lot of shaking, I suppose the extra weight helps smooth the train's performance. I also noticed on Mantis that for inexplicable reasons that the train would shake in different sections of the ride at different times, so maybe the stand-up coaches wobble with age.
It seems like they've already relegated Tatsu to 1 station operation which seems like a bummer. I guess if it was not busy it doesn't matter, but I hope they don't stick the ride in 1/2-train operation.
At least Deja Vu was running (I loved the one at SFOG). I remember several years ago when all the trip reports reported on its closure. Nice to see it alive now.
Though I personally find Scream! a good solid ride, it does have some shakes and rumbles in some parts that are pretty noticeable. Then again, all the Floorless coasters that I've ridden have done the same.
But for the most part, I agree with everything you posted. A lot of the rides really do need a new coat of paint and extensive rehab.
That being said, I've been on coasters that treated me much worse, it's just sad to see something so great and beautiful as RR deteriorate like that.
Yes, Tatsu was in one-station-op. Now that you mention it, I remember it was a dual station - and I even saw a train waiting in the other half.
If they would use the other station as well, people wouldn't have to "hang around" as much- which is indeed a minuscule imperfection in Tatsu's ride experience.
*** Edited 12/5/2006 3:09:43 AM UTC by superman***
Cool, because I laughed, and also slowed down the helix that makes us gray, but uncool if it takes away from the ride. Very good superman!
Six rides in two and a half is super cool.
Right on man!
Also, Riddler's Revenge didn't change. Instead, you did. You were either smaller, or taller than you are now. Unless, they added new restraints, I don't see how it can change in which you are banging your head.
On Iron Wolf, I was always banging my head. Still today, I am banging my head. It's more rough though because of new restraints.
It sure used to be much smoother - I think it's probably normal for a coaster to change over time, just think about the stress it has to handle day by day!
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