We'd already made a command decision to grab a Q-bot, since we were staying all day, not leaving and returning for ERT (in hindsight, a break would've been a good idea). The Q-bot office wouldn't open until 10, so we made a beeline for Thunderbolt. Don and I jumped in for a quick few laps, and it was already pretty loose and fast...I knew it would improve even more as the day went.
It was already getting sickeningly hot, so we decided to take things easy, knowing it would be a long day. I'm not much of a flats person (I love 'em, don't get me wrong, but given the choice - and the aforementioned "take things easy" decision...), so we stuck mostly to the coasters as we arrived at them, with the odd flat thrown in here and there.
From Thunderbolt, I took my guests for a look at Superman, particularly Don. He remembers being a coaster fiend as a kid, but he hadn't been on one in about 15 years, so bringing him to see Superman was like bringing him to Mecca...pretty awe-inspiring for him. "Don, they're opening this plaza at 9:50 for the first rides of the day, so we will be here at 9:40...take any pee breaks right now," I told him. No pee breaks necessary, but we did grab 3 waters (at $3.00 a pop, thank you very much - ouch). Ignoring the price of water the best I could, I looked around and marveled at how the park overall looks better and netter each time I go...one of the cleanest Six Flags I've ever been to. I'm pretty happy to call it my home park.
After our water and a quick walk around Main Street, we headed back to the entrance to DC Superhero Adventures, where Dave, the organizer of Superhero Celebration, was mentioning that he'd be taking us down to Superman in a few minutes.
Those few minutes came and went, and off we went. It was a pretty small group, much smaller than the line at the registration window. My mom, having had neck surgery a few years ago, wasn't too comfortable riding like she used to, so she sat in the sun and watched our stuff while Don and I followed the crowd toward the queue. As we were walking, Don was watching the test runs, mesmerized. I had to shuffle him along, so we wouldn't fall too far behind. By some miracle we got in on the first open run of the day...apparently because some of the other enthusiasts DID fall behind. It was a blue train ride, so I considered it the appetizer. Don, on the other hand, was floored by the experience, and departed the train with the biggest grin I've ever seen on him. I told him to wait until we got on the red train.
After our lap, we decided on an early lunch, so we stopped in at Good Vs. Evil Cafe for our free lunch. Not bad for a freebie, but there are better restaurants in the park.
From there we decided just to start wandering after grabbing our Q-bot. Once Q-bot was in hand, we slid in for another Thunderbolt lap. After that, Mom wanted to find Hurricane Harbor, since she'd already decided that she probably couldn't do the coasters due to her neck surgery, so off we went. On the way we stopped at Poland Springs Plunge for a quick cool-off. While in line we stood watching Tornado for a few minutes. Poland Springs Plunge is nothing special, but Don's kind of a big guy, so with him in front, we did get a little wetter than you might expect.
After that, I Q-botted Batman and we all took that half-hour to jump on Colossus, the Giant Ferris Wheel. Good opportunity to show mom how to get to Hurricane Harbor, so she could spend the day there while "the kids" ran off to get into trouble.
Our BAtman ride time was here, so we jumped in the Fastlane line. This was my first spin on B:TDK, since I hadn't been able to visit in the last couple of years. I know lots of people poo-poo B:TDK, but for me, it quickly entered my top 5 B&M's list. The tight compact layout made all the difference.
After Batman, mom headed off to HH and we slowly made our way back toward the middle of the park. After a restroom and water break, we decided to hit Mind Eraser on teh way by. We Q-botted and had about 25 minutes to sit in the shade and call our respective wives with up-to-the-minute park reports. Mind Eraser time arrived and we jumped in. Being a B&M fiend, this was my first Vekoma SLC, and it lived up to its reputation in every way. I'm kind of a short guy, so I finished that ride with a numb ear...decent ride, though, but just as rough as everyone says. As if that wsan't enough, we hit the braking run only to be held up...the train in station was undergoing cleanup operations. That left us dangling in the braking run for about 10 minutes (a long 10 minutes when squeezed into Vekoma SLC restraints).
Skipping the details from here, we hit (in no particular order) Cyclone (back seat ride - HARDCORE roughness but some decent air), Houdini (an extremely unique experience), The Skyway (for laziness' sake)...oh, funny story here. As were waiting to board, we're chatting with the guy ahead of us, when his turn to board came up. At that point he whips out his driver's license and shows it to the ride op, and proceeds to board. When his gondola was away, the ride op gives us that "WTF" look, and says "I have no idea what that was all about." We told him that was exactly why we let him go ahead as a single rider...that was creepy.
But, I digress...we skipped Flashback (ride one Vekoma Boomerang, ridden them all). Also at one point we slid into Canyon Turkey Legs in Crackaxle Canyon, for the biggest f***ing BBQ turkey legs I'd ever seen. Remember what I'd said about better places to eat? This was it.
A quick stop in at Illusion Quest (air conditioning is a beautiful thing), and it was time to meet up with my mom for the Batman Stunt Show. After the show we eally slowed things dow, since the heat was starting to get to us. A little ice cream, some wandering another quick bite, and a turn on the carousel, and it was time to head back toward S:ROS. We decided to just sit and hang out at the patio tabels for about 90 minutes, just recovering from the sun and blistering heat.
Finally it was time for ERT, a little delayed due to cycling the GP through their last few laps. Don and I decided to wait a minute for the read train (the blue was loading when we got to the platform), and it was well worth the wait. Easily a 5-10 MPH difference, with some sick airtime. After 3 laps, I switched trains to compare, and the difference was obvious. There were times it seemed the blue train was struggling to get over the first camelback. I took a break every three or four laps, since the new restraints were killer on the legs. Don had already ended his day (he's of the "I've experienced it, I'm happy" mindset), and was sitting with mom, so I stopped and chatted with them during each of my breaks.
I got back to the read train for three more laps, but by now it had started to slow down as well. So, a quick switch back to blue, and I decided to call it a night about 11:45 or so. I was sore, sunburnt, tired, hot, sweaty, and sleepy (and looking at a 2 hour drive back to Don's), but I was happy. Superhero Celebration 4 can't come fast enough.
I didn't actually have a radar gun with me, but the speed difference was glaringly obvious (as opposed to "felt a little faster"). I also said the blue train was, at times, almost creeping over the first camelback. Either way, get to SFNE and ride. S:ROS lives up to the hype in every way (in my opinion), and the combination of elements, airtime, speed, and layout is unparallelled. The red train is fairly well known around here as an incredibly fast and smooth train, so if you do ever get to SFNE, ride both to compare.
Glad you had fun. Seems like a great event. I've never been to SFNE, but a 5-10 mph difference between trains? It could have felt a little faster, but I have trouble believing there was that much of a difference...
Will, I don't recall a bell on Mind Eraser. Maybe the bouncing of my ears on the restraint kept me from hearing it, but I'm sure I would've noticed it anyway. In any case, like I said in my report, Superhero Celebration 4 can't come fast enough.
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