We went to MM on Memorial Day, and up until about 2:00 the park wasn't very crowded. We were able to walk up on a lot of the rides, including Deja Vu, Riddler's Revenge, Ninja, and Superman. We also had minimal waits on Batman, Scream, and Colossus. After about 2:00, the park got much busier, and we had an hour to one and a half hour waits on both Goliath and X. The waits for smaller rides like Viper, Revolution, and Gold Rusher were not bad still, especially towards the end of the day. We left two hours early, and though I didn't get to experience the park at night, I still got to ride all the major coasters I wanted to, which from what I've heard isn't always that easy there. The rest of my group was really disappointed with the park, and was tired and ready to go at 8:00, so I accommodated them.
My general impression of the coasters at SFMM is that they are a real mixed bag of bad to good coasters, with one really great one. That great one would be X, and all of us in my group agreed that it was our favorite ride there. It was really a unique ride experience, and gave one a real impression of free flying through the air. It's too bad the coaster type isn't more dependable, because it would be nice to see more of these types of coasters around the country.
From the category of rides that were good, though not one of my all time favorites, come RR, Scream, Batman, and Deja Vu. They were all fun, and I would say RR is my favorite stand up coaster, and this Batman model seemed a little more intense than the other clones. Scream looks really dumb out in the parking lot, but the ride itself was fun, and I liked it a little more than it's similar cousin in New Jersey. However, none of these rides were anything terribly out of the ordinary, or memorable. Deja Vu was quite different, and was really intense fun. Certainly not bad for a boomerang coaster. Good but not great.
Also on the positive side, I was very pleasantly surprised by Ninja, which I found to be quite fun for a coaster of that type. I certainly liked it better than Iron Dragon, and it was comperable to Big Bad Wolf. Gold Rusher and Revolution were not bad rides, and my wife and I actually thought GR was better than the CCMR at Cedar Point. It had it's fun, quick parts, and was certainly not bad for a small mine train coaster. Revolution wasn't a great coaster, but for an old ride like it was, it had its good moments.
A ride I was disappointed with was Goliath, as we waited a long time for it, and were expecting a big, exciting hypercoaster like MF, Nitro, or Magnum. After the first hill and turnaround though, there wasn't much to the ride, and we all left a little disappointed. It wasn't a "bad" ride, but it also certainly isn't one of the best I've been on. Another ride that was disappointing, and wasn't even very good was Superman. Maybe back in the day it was a great thrill, but after riding the likes of Dragster and other rocket coasters out, S:UE seemed a little blah. It also made a ridiculous amount of racket every time it launched. I say "tear it down" and put up a similar coaster that actually gives a thrill. My wife and sister liked it ok, so maybe my brother and I are being too hard on it. But we both were just really bored with it.
Knott's, on the other hand, had far fewer coasters yet a much better atmosphere, and the coasters they had were better. The big three at Knott's (Silver Bullet, Xcellerator, Ghostrider) were better thab any of the rides at MM in my opinion, and only X was in their ballpark. The park was barely crowded at all on Wednesday (no line was out of the loading station), and we were able to ride each of those coasters three times, as well as ride a number of other things around the park and go to the Mystery Lodge show. Even the Log Flume there was top notch, and we rode it two times. My brother and I really wanted to ride Perilous Plunge, but we weren't really prepared to be drenched, and it wasn't all that warm out that day (this whole week at SoCal has been rather chilly actually - I think it's warmer in Michigan right now!).
Another difference I really noticed between the two parks was the ride ops' enthusiasm. I was very surprised at MM that the Ride Ops barely said a word the whole time they were going about their job in the station. It was always so quiet, and was quite strange. Knott's was the opposite, as all the ops were enthusiastic, friendly, and really seemed to be enjoying their job. That was nice to see.
Bottom line: I was very impressed with Knott's in general, and especially their three biggest coasters. I wasn't so thrilled with MM, and really understand now what I've always heard about it now. Hopefully they can turn the park around, as it's in a beautiful setting, and it's a shame it's not a better park experience.
Thanks for bearing with me during this long TR, but there's a lot to say about my first visit to these two prominant SoCal parks, and I condensed it down to this version! Thanks again to those who gave me some advice before I went, and you all were right about the parks.
But anywho. I agree with you on most counts. SFMM has so much potential. It is in a great area. The layout is decent. What it has could be phenomonal if they'd just paint and clean...everything.
Then they need to completely overhaul the 2 woodies there, which both have major potential. And then restore Revolution and, to a lesser degree, Flashback (Just to get it running). It could rival any park out there, but felt so ghetto. I did love Goliath, though, so you must be smokin Crack ;).
Knotts is, by far, my favorite of the 2. Very good, Great dark rides, great coasters. I wanna go back. Now. Can I come stay a week, Moosh?;)
BTW, I've a lot of negative reaction to Silver Bullet at Knott's, and am not sure why. I thought it was a great ride, with nicely timed elements and a great location around it. Sure, it's not as intense as Raptor, Talon, or the Batman clones, but I liked the pacing of the ride.
OK, it does rain sometimes. :)
Was there a lot of children/school groups at Knott's on Wednesday? There was on Tuesday, but they seemed to leave around 3.
I was sadly disappointed that Goldrusher was only running 1 train (The #4 train for those of you counting) on Sunday. I wanted to ride it, but I wasn't about to wait in a 1/2 hour+ line because of single train ops.
Sounds like you still had fun out there. I know I sure did.
Is it just me or is B&M getting soft with their rides. ;)
It depends on the ride and what the park is looking for. B&M knows in advance whether they are building an intense ride or not.
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