Saturday, June 30, 2001 4:27 AM
Caution: Long read ahead.
This was my first visit to SFMW, and overall I would say this is a nice little park. I really wanted to go last year when Medusa opened, but just couldn't make the trip. Once V2 was known to be operating regularly, I just couldn't resist making the 450 mile drive from southern California. My girlfriend and I stayed at the Holiday Inn across the street from the park. Nothing like waking up, looking out the window, and seeing the beautiful lines of Medusa. I was at the park from open to close (10a-8p), and I could have easily stayed longer if it was possible. The only other Six Flag's park I've been to is SFMM, so for the most part I will compare my experience at SFMW to SFMM. I passed on all the shows, they only reason I'm glad they are there is to keep the GP out of line for the thrill rides. My girlfriend is hardly an enthusiast, she merely "tolerates" my coaster obssesion. If she didn't atleast "tolerate" it, I would have kicked her to the curb long ago. Good thing she isn't reading this, becuase I must say she is "dead weight" when we go to amusement parks. Where I can go and stand in line and ride all day, she won't. I probably could have gotten in 60% more rides if she wasn't around, but hey, relationships are about comprimise.
Overall impressions and observations:
Unlike SFMM, metal detectors are absent from the entrance gate, of course, this place isn't a short drive from LA. I thought the park was very attractive. I found it very clean, on par with the Disneyland resort and KBF. Too bad SFMM can't stay this clean, but I'm sure this has more to do with the clientel than park maintenance. Landscaping for the most part was very nice, atleast in the areas not occupied by coasters. The crowds were light, the longest wait of the day wasn't much more than 30 minutes, and this was for the front seats on Roar and Medusa. Food quality and pricing was what I expected, that being average at best and over priced. The ride op's all seemed playful and happy, doing the little things they do to keep themselves entertained while working. Elsewhere, the people working the concession stands and eateries appeared less than happy, but I can't blame them, a poor job with a poor wage.
When it comes right down to it, I'm spolied by fact that the San Diego Zoo and Sea World are about an hour south. For this reason I didn't spend much time with the critters. Despite this, I did look at all of the animal attractions and they appeared well maintained. One thing I found that I thought was interesting was an arieal photo of the park and surrounding area in the Shark exhibit. It was obviously old, and was taken long before a thrill ride found its way into the park.
Unlike SFMM, all rides with a height restriction had ride ops patrolling the airgates with broomsticks marked at the appropriate height. This seemed like a much more efficent method of measuring the shorties as opposed to walking them up and down the platform to the measuring markers. I don't see why the Six Flags parks don't make more effort to learn from each other.
The minimal stacking I saw throughout the day on any of the coasters was caused by our good friends who pay for all these great coasters, Joe and Jane GP.
I'm not into rating coasters on some subjective numerical scale, Its generally great, ok, or sucked.
Verticle Velocity: Intamin Impluse Coaster (2 rides)
I remember seeing pictures of Linear Gale in Japan, and I thought wow, that looks like a great ride. Then came S:UE, and some English reviews to go with it, and I knew this ride was something I would really enjoy. Finally V2 comes to the west coast, and I very glad it did. This ride is AWSOME. I tried both the front and back of the train. I liked the back of the train best, looking straight down from the top to the back tower is great. I liked the G's the ride pulled in the transitions as well. The front seat of course has a great veiw, and the 70 mph wind blast is cool as well, but I felt the spiral added very little to the overall ride. The brake grab on the back tower wasn't working, so I imagine next time I get up to SFMW I'll find V2 that much better. While waiting in line, I really enjoyed watching the ride cycle. When the train acclerates from a stand-still the tourqe generated by the LIM's must be incredible, the entire track structure actually snaps back a little. There was a thread a while back were someone had asked if Impulse coasters would be the next boomerang style mega-clone. I hope so. This ride is so good it should be at every McDonalds playland, and if it was I would eat their disgusting food every day just to ride it. I had read about fat people (why sugar coat it?) being turned away from impulse coasters, well I was lucky I was just a hare under being too fat. When I jumped into the seat and pulled down the restraints, I was worried that I was going to be turned away. I say THANK YOU to the ride ops working V2 who were willing to work hard squeezing me and my gut into the restraints. Intamin has been making some spectacular rides lately, but shame on them for not taking fat America into account when designing the restraints on this ride. My question is, does Volcano:TBC have these same restraints? If KBF ends up getting an Intamin Invert (speculation on my part) then I'm going to have to shake a few pounds so that there is no chance I'll be denied.
Roar: GCI Wooden Twister: (2 rides)
Roar not only looks really good, it rides even better than it looks. Finally I get a ride on another decent woodie. Good speed throughout the entire course, and the term "twister" is truly earned. Aside from GhostRider at KBF, I haven't been on anything better. I road both in the front and back. I liked the front seat better, I felt that there was more airtime as the train crested the numerous hills. Both trains were operating and the line moved quickly. I have ridden in woodie trains from PTC, Morgan, and B&M, and none of them were as comfortable and roomy as the beautiful GCI Millenium Flyer trains.
Boomerang Coast to Coaster: Vekoma Boomerang (1 ride)
Even though I have on in my backyard at KBF, and I turn my nose up at it when ever I'm there, the line was short and I rode this one anyways. The main reason I rode this was becuase the train was diffrent than the one at KBF. I believe the train at KBF is an Arrow, and I'm assuming the train at SFMW is a Vekoma (can anyone confirm this?). Anyways, this train looked better, tracked better, and felt more comfortable than the KBF train. Other than that, if you've ridden one Bommerang, you've ridden them all.
Kong: Vekoma SLC (2 rides)
My first rides on an SLC. This attraction had the shortest wait in the entire park, I had a good idea why, but I had to find out myself. Overall, I found this ride lacking in excitement, slow, and rough. Whom ever came up with the term "Hang & Bang" should win a prize, I can't think of a more deserving nick name. First ride was in the back, it was pretty rough, but not really bad. To satisfy my morbid curiosity I rode again in the front seat, and it was really, really rough. This coaster (and I would imagine SLCs in general) are trully deserving of the bad reputation they carry. I shed a tear for everyone who has an SLC in their home park as opposed to a B&M. You can feel the individual cars pushing and pulling on each other as the train navigates the course, the only other coaster I've been on were you can feel the train fighting itself like this is the Arrow Suspended coaster, Ninja, at SFMM. I am of the understanding that this is a 1st revision SLC, the prototype must be a torture device. I wonder if those Euro's who are coughing up the scratch for the Hyper SLC have taken a ride on a standard SLC? This was the only dissapointing coaster in the park.
Medusa: B&M Floorless (3 rides)
The plaza that houses Medusa and Cobra was very nice, It will be great once the landscaping really gets a chance to grow in and shade this area. The station and quene for Medusa are great as well. The Music playing in the station was the soundtrack to the motion picture Gladiator, very cool. I have yet to ride the Demon at PGA, but I'm going to go out on a limb (a very, very study limb) and say that Medusa is the finest sitdown coaster in the state of California. If this isn't looping perfection, I don't know what is. I'm used to the music to my ears roar of the passing trains on B:TR and Riddler's Revenge at SFMM, to hear almost nothing come from the sand filled Medusa is quite a change. I was expecting it to be less noisy, but wow, its almost silent. Two trains were cycling, the third sat on the transfer track surrounded by sandbags. I rode in the front, rear, and middle of the train. I couldn't really tell that there was much difference in the overall ride experinece across the train except for the awsome "floorless effect" of the front seat. The foot chopper illusion is great, but as almost everyone else says, its lost elsewhere on the train. If you have yet to ride a floorless, make sure you wait for the front row on your first ride, its really worth it. Perhaps if I got more rides in I could distinguish between the different sensations provided on the opposite ends of the train. The zero-g roll was easily my favorite part of the ride, followed by that nice big loop coming off the excellent first drop, and the sea serpent. I thought the corkscrew around the spiral staircase on the mid-couse block brake provides a nice visual.
I passed on the Cobra Zierer family coaster and Roadrunner Express Zamperla Jr. coaster. I not fanatical about filling up my track record, I'd rather take another ride on the real thrill machines than waste precious time on the kiddie rides.
White Water Safari: River rapids raft ride
Average river rapaids raft ride. Along with every other rapids ride in California, this pales in comparison with DCA's Grizzly River Rapids.
VooDoo: Huss Top Spin
I like spin and spew rides, I'm suprised to say this one just didn't really do it for me. I'd probably pass on this next time. I prefer the similar Zamperla RotoShake.
Tasmanian Devil: Huss Frisbee
This ride is great, we need one of these in Soutern California in the worst way. SFMM hasn't gotten a decent flat ride in years, I say this should be the one.
Dinosphere Turboride: Iwerks 3D motion simulator
The only air conditioned attraction in the park, too bad the thing is total garbage. The 3D projector was broken, so only 2D today. Even if it was 3D, I would have still found this attraction garbage. The second the chairs started jerking all over the place I couldn't wait for it to stop. I guess I'm just spoiled by amazing motion simulators like DCA's Sorain' Over California, Disneyland's Star Tours, and USH's Back to the Future.
Well, thats all I have to share, if you hung around to read this all, Thanks. I'd love to hear the Buzzer's comments and opinions.
*** This post was edited by The Anti-Rumor on 6/30/2001. ***