SFoT - 7/9/08 - What's the appeal?

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Thursday, July 24, 2008 12:18 AM
I moved to Ft Worth, TX (coaster purgatory) from Pittsburgh, PA (coaster heaven) last September, and I work literally across the street from Six Flags. The windows of our conference room have a full panorama of the park, it's a pretty cool sight. But, despite being so close, the fact that I've ridden everything in the park as a clone except Mr. Freeze and the $50+$15 price tag (admission + parking) I hadn't gone yet. This day I had gotten to work ridiculously early, so I got to take off at 2:00, and with nothing better to do and hearing an ad on the morning news for $29.99 tickets, I decided I'd give the park a whirl.

Got my tickets at the local grocery store, and headed over to the park for my $15 parking fee raping. I found a parking place that wasn't too far back, and walked to the park gates. Along my walk, I noticed a lot of picnic areas that seemed to be outside the park gates. Not something you typically see at a Six Flags park, but judging by the number of groups of kids with only a few adults, it seems that most of the groups take advantage of this to save on food costs.

I walked through the very extensive entrance plaza and, as I usually do when I'm at a new park, did not take a map, and just started walking towards the only thing I was really excited about being there for, Mr. Freeze. My walk immediately took me through what appeared to have once been a well done Looney Tunes land, but anymore it just looked worn and unkempt. That would definitely be a carrying theme; SFoT in general is a combination of extensive theme that hasn't been cared for since 1995 and absolutely overbearing advertising. I'm not one that is typically annoyed by commercialism, but the fact that every fence post, grassy area, ride, food stand, heck the billboards holding other ads, were sponsored by some corporate entity just made me sick 10 minutes into being in this place. Getting a little revenue from in-park advertising is fine, but SFoT just takes it to a sickening level.

Third observation (after worn theme and over-advertisement) is that the midways here are tiny. Again, seems like something built a while ago and just left to ... well, not rot, but certainly not updated. There were major midways all throughout this park that were the width of the typical choke point at a CP, SFGAdv, etc. Later in the day, I would encounter primary travel routes through the park that were barely wide enough for single-file lines of people. I can't imagine the chaos god forbid there was an emergency at this park that required evacuation. A co-worker told me not to even bother with this place because it was so dirty and trash filled and since he probably came on a busy Saturday, I can see how; one little piece of garbage would get trampled by everyone and it just multiplies after that.

So, finally on to the rides. I first passed the new Tony Hawk ride and was going to hop on, but since I'd ridden Pandemonium at SFNE, the fact that there was a full queue kept me away. I kept trying to walk towards Mr. Freeze, but first came up to the Batman: The Ride entrance. So, I hopped in line hoping for short lines since it was a Wednesday in the later afternoon already. I was highly disappointed in the lack of upkeep in the gardens out front of the ride (is mulch and a little weeding really that expensive?) and again disappointed in how little the theme in this line resembles any other B:TR. Back seat ride, great as usual. This and Talon always go back and forth in my book as the best designs for a B&M Inverted; quick, powerful, leaves you wanting more. Probably one of the "rougher" Batman rides I've been on, but that's definitely a relative term.

Following Batman, I finally came across the entrance to Mr. Freeze. The ice cream shop theme had some promise, and I was hoping to see some good stuff inside the line. This turned out to be my longest wait of the day, about 45 minutes. I had to watch what else, MORE ADVERTISING on the screens in line. Found this interesting; Six Flags named their own top 5 coasters ... 5. Titan, 4. X, 3. El Toro, 2. Superman (SFNE), 1. Kingda Ka. And in usual Six Flags fashion, used 75% clips of Scream Machine at GAdv and 25% clips (mainly of the station) of Superman for their little bit on Superman. I know it doesn't matter, but is it really that hard to use the right pictures with the right ride? Everyone in the line was very impressed with the POVs on Ka. I didn't bother to tell anyone that it wasn't worth the incredible pain from being shaken like a rag doll (especially for men) and that there was a more worthy candidate in Ohio. The rest of the Mr. Freeze line was themed alright; again, seemed like things had broken down or worn down over the years and just weren't replaced/fixed. Getting into the station, they only had one side working (which contributed to the long line). I opted for a front-seat row for maximum vertical drop. As we slid into position, I braced for a nice Flight of Fear-like launch but was initially disappointed in the very wimpy start to the launch. But, aside from that one complaint, this ride is awesome! It's everything I thought it could be, great visuals in the top hat, great power through the pull outs, and the vertical spike is airtime city, not to mention doing it all again! Great ride, definitely one of my top 15 favorite steel coasters.

Following Freeze, I decided to do everything else in the park and then come back, since I wasn't expecting much out of everything else and wanted to end on a high note. I got lost getting there, but took a quick spin on their boomerang, Flashback. Nothing special here, but a decent ride. Then I proceeded to get COMPLETELY lost trying to get to Judge Roy Scream which was a complete waste of my time. I think this coaster was the ONLY coaster that Mr. Sawyer "researched" when he made the pieces for wooden coasters for Roller Coaster Tycoon because it looked like something straight out of RCT2. It was also quite boring, very slow, kind of bumpy and not worth the effort to get to it. Lakeside setting was the only redeeming quality. I again got lost trying to get back to the main part of the park and ended up in front of Tony Hawk. The line was a little smaller, so I did it. I felt like a real credit whore after that though, so had to do something to feel less dirty.

Being back in the "park proper" after Tony Hawk I found the entrance for the old Schwartzkopf, Shockwave. I know gator is a huge fan of this thing, and most folks on here are fans of Schwartzkopf, but I never "get" what you guys like about these things. This one was a little different. It certainly wasn't anything I rate as spectacular, but the powerful loops, the pops of air on the drops of a steel coaster, yea, it wasn't bad. Definitely worth a ride every time. By the time I hit Shockwave, lines were just gone, everything was a station wait or walk-on for the rest of the day.

Next up was the Superman Tower, by my "favorite" company S&S (BOO!!). I either hate, or at least mildly dislike everything this company has ever made and this was no exception. Why is the seating arrangement on a major attraction like this one 3-3-3-3 when practically every other amusement ride is 2s and 4s? The ride itself was ok, I like that you get a shot and drop with every ride, but controlled freefall is just not exciting when you've been on an Intamin uncontrolled freefall drop ride (which my day was also colored by anger that Tony Hawk sits on the site of a former Intamin 1st gen, only the greatest flat ride of all time ... ).

I had two rides left on my "to do" list, as I wasn't planning on doing a Disaster Transport cousin while I was there. Texas Giant was the next one up, and it almost ended my day. The only time I have ever been on a p.o.s. that even approached this level of awfulness was Rattler at SFFT. What the heck is with Texas and large wooden coasters? There was NOTHING even remotely enjoyable about this experience, from the moment the car pulled up, and the guy that rode in my seat started shaking his head, warning me to just skip the ride. First 10 feet out of the station, SLAM, terrible lateral tracking and I already have a bruise and we haven't even hit the lift hill. The cars bump and slam the whole way up the lift hill. The first drop is one of the most painful and excruciating moments I've ever had. From that moment on was just a blur of pain, honest fear for my life that the thing was going to slam so hard laterally into the rail that it would break the rail/wheel/axle/support structure, and a maddening desire to just jump straight out and get the heck off even if it meant trying to survive a 25' drop to the ground. I would have done anything to get off that piece of crap. Even the stupid EXIT RAMP for this ride was creaky, wobbly and looked like it was about to collapse and send everyone hurtling down onto the railroad tracks below.

What really set me off is that they have the audacity to display that this is the "best coaster in the world" everywhere! Now, I understand that they "won" an award from a magazine that's basically a popularity contest based on where the voters have actually been, and when the magazine's based right next to the park, chances are the biggest wooden coaster at the park is going to win something, but do they have to still claim that title? The issue I have with it is it's so horrible, and no one on my train, or the train that pulled up before I left enjoyed their ride, most people left complaining of pain, and these people now have it in their heads that the ride they just left is the "best" coaster in the world. Now what do you think are the chances that they decide to visit another amusement park to ride roller coasters? I'm sorry, but that's just bad for business of the entire industry to have those signs up on Texas Giant.

After surviving Giant (and the exit ramp) I actually needed to take a break, so I got a drink and headed off for Titan. I wasn't expecting much out of Titan since I really didn't enjoy Goliath at SFMM and they're basically the same ride. Titan I think benefited though from being preceded in my riding day by Texas Giant, whereas Goliath had to compete with Scream and Riddler's Revenge. Titan wasn't bad. The first drop is entirely too shallow for a coaster of that height, there's no power to it at all, but the second drop is good and the airtime hill is nice. Some of the Gs in the next sections are nice, but the way the speed, potential, and steel used for the support structure in this ride are mis-used is just sad. It looks like a terrain coaster that was jacked up on stilts so it could fit in a parking lot, and the complete lack of airtime on the second half just sort of kills the fun of hills 2 and 3. But, not a bad ride. I did it again just because I was back there, and I needed to erase the memory of Texas Giant.

Following Titan I skipped La Vibrola (or whatever) and went back up for 2 more re-rides on Batman and 3 more rides on Mr. Freeze (with no wait exceeding 2 trains on Freeze ... why 45 min. last time?).

So, I can now say I've been to SFoT, but I doubt I'll return other than if a whole group is going and I'm the only "no" vote. Mr. Freeze is amazing, but it's not enough to justify $45-$65 (depending on available discounts) and rest of the park is such a turn off.

I made a track record for myself when I got home and realized I'm up to 183, so my goal now is to hit 200 by the end of next year. SFoG, Canada's Wonderland and SFGAm are the only "major"s (8+ non-credit-whore coasters) left on my list, so I'll probably be hitting one of them next summer. Until then ...

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Thursday, July 24, 2008 12:59 PM
I think also that if you're determined to have a good experience, you will likely have a good experience. I've heard many bad things about Great Adventure AND Dorney, and I have fun every time I go anyway.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:04 PM
The appeal is that it has, dare I say, charm? I haven't been there in around four years, but had a pretty nice time when I was there even thought it was packed.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:29 PM
For what it's worth, both Tony Hawk and S:TOP have single rider lines.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:21 PM
Disaster Transport, I don't find too much fun about that ride, but La Vibora are you kidding me? You missed out on something great. You also missed out on Runaway Mountain, and the wonderful Mine Train. No wonder why you are only begging to get on Mr. Freeze. You missed 3 great coasters in my opinion.

I absolutely hate Texas Giant, but I also think that Judge Roy Scream, Flashback, and Shockwave are great. Wildcatter was really rough. I'm surprised that you didn't like Texas Giant if you liked Wildcatter.

It sounds like the reason you don't really like this park is because you have been on a lot of rides before except Mr. Freeze. When you have been on 183 rides, rides probably seem the same like every other ride.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008 3:07 PM
Eww Texas Giant. What a piece of... major wood scrap.

I agree about the layout of the park; it's confusing, unkept and old. The natural creeks smell, and the theming is faded and broken. The park needs major upgrades, a remodel really.

You can really tell the park never expected to be as big as it is today. The midways make no sense. Fiesta Texas, down south, brings in fewer people but has much larger midways and just feels updated and fresh when compared to SFoT.

And does a combo tower really, really have to be that tall? Really?

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Thursday, July 24, 2008 6:32 PM
It really sounds like you had your mind made up not to have a good time before you went to the park. I have been to SFOT 3 times. I take it for what it is--a 40+ year old Six Flags park. I have always had a decent time. I agree that the TX Giant needs a total redo or taken down completely. It is the roughest ride that I have ever been on. But I enjoy coasters, so clones or not I ride and reride the coasters many times. Try buying a season pass for $49.00 when they go on sale. It is defintely worth the $ when you can visit all the different SF Parks.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008 6:47 PM
Like Gator, I like airtime more than going upside down, but I still like to be thrown for a good loop. Shock Wave has more airtime than most non-looping coasters. Throw in a couple of powerful loops coupled with no stupid OTSR's to ruin the experience and you've got a top ten steelie in my book.

I've had amazing rides on Texas Giant and not-so great rides on it. Some people think The Voyage is a terrible wooden coaster, so opinions vary quite a bit about what is fun and what hurts.

Shame you skipped the mine trains (both are very fun IMO) and the magnificent bobsled, but you may not have cared for them anyway. One thing I will agree with you on is that Freeze is the r0xors. :)

So why worry about the one-day admission so much when you could just get a cheap season pass with parking and go all season (almost all year down there) whenever you need a fix? I can't imagine living within a day trip of that park and not going at least three times per year!

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Thursday, July 24, 2008 6:52 PM
I can't say that I didn't notice somewhat of a "deterioration" of the park to some degree, but it's not like we're talking about SFMM circa 2001 or anything....at least not from my experience. I'd describe the crews when we were there as fast, friendly, and efficient. The people we dealt with about my lost SP were even more helpful.

Then again, I absolutely adored TG (again!), so maybe my opinion should be discounted... ;)

Even throwing out the wood, and taking into account that the Big Gios aren't popular with enthusiasts, there's still Vibora, Freeze, Run-A-Way Mountain, the cool Mine Train, and....ummmm, forgetting one....oh yeah, that beautiful and awe-inspiring Anton looper.

For those who've spent *years* going to SFoT, I could potentially understand some complaints about the loss of some "charm", but overall, it's still the Gold Standard of mega-parks, at least IMO. Obviously, YMMV.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008 9:33 PM
Hehe, I was waiting for your review gator :)

Yea, mine trains do nothing for me, and I watched Vibora as I walked under it from the parking lot and it just wasn't anything awe-inspiring for me. So, while they may have been nice experiences, none of those three would have really been make-or-break for me on the park.

I think masterblaster summed up my feelings best; the park is like a house that was built in the mid-90s with great loving care and top of the line things for the day and really done up to the nines ... but then the owners lost interest or financial ability and everything just sort of sat and aged in place and now, 10-15 years later things just seem sort of outdated and worn. I could see how with a little updating here and there, maybe replace a "fixture" or two (specifically a large wooden one) and it'd be a nice little place, but as it stands, not something I'm interested in. "Flip My Park" if you will ;)

If there is any "charm" in that place, it's been completely buried by Starburst, Gatorade, Chevy, Ford, Pepsi, Coke, Corn Nuts, Bob's Advertise-o-Rama, Big Tex's Cowboy Hats, etc. etc.

Spinout, what is Wildcatter? I don't remember riding anything called Wildcatter?

I really disagree with the folks who said I wanted to have a bad time. I wasn't expecting Cedar Point, Hersheypark or Great Adventure here, but since I work close enough that I could literally pop over on my lunch breaks for a quick ride or two and be back before most people who went to TGI Fridays for lunch, I wanted to like the place enough to justify spending $15 each time I go over there to park (because apparently the season parking pass no longer exists? I couldn't find it online for sale ... ). I was planning on hopefully liking it enough to upgrade my day pass to a season, but it just wasn't enough. Plus, I no longer have the desire, time or the funds to get to other Six Flags parks enough to use that benefit. Everything is just so freakin' far away from Texas!

And gator if you enjoy TG, it's official, you need psychiatric care!!! ;) A LOT!! *** Edited 7/25/2008 1:33:56 AM UTC by Impulse-ive***

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Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:05 PM
^Oh, that was official long ago, Brett.... ;)

When the intensity of a ride like TG is so insanely ratcheted, I definitely am one of the more forgiving people you'll meet when it comes to "roughness". Re-rode in the back, and then passed the seat to an elderly (mid-late 60s) couple who said they not only knew what they were getting into, they were close to giggling with anticipation. I know *exactly* how they felt....'cept for being in my 60s. Not JUST yet, thanks... :)

I still think, all wood aside (JRS is kinda tame for me) that SFoT has one of the top-3 steelie collections in the U.S.

Oh, and Wildcatter was the Intamin first-gen drop ride that got.....dropped...(im-plosively if you will)...to be later replaced by THBS.

*** Edited 7/25/2008 2:08:39 AM UTC by rollergator***

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Friday, July 25, 2008 12:27 AM
When do the season passes go for 50 bucks? I was going to buy a six-visit Great Adventure only pass, but I'd much rather have the Six Flags season pass so I can visit Six Flags America before the end of the summer.
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Friday, July 25, 2008 10:52 AM
if you work across the street, why can't you just walk over and leave your car parked at work?
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Friday, July 25, 2008 11:51 AM
I will have to agree Texas Giant is absolutely one of the worst wooden coasters I've ever ridden. I would rank it with SOB, Bandit at Walibi World, SFFT's Rattler, Mean Streak, and Jupiter.
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Friday, July 25, 2008 12:00 PM
Well this is the suburban south/west so the "street" is I-30 :) I tried to see if there was a way to walk over but I'd have to walk 1.5 miles up the street and cross a highway bridge. Safety issues aside there'd be no ride time by the time I made it over there before I have to walk back.
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Friday, July 25, 2008 12:44 PM

Impulse-ive said:
Spinout, what is Wildcatter? I don't remember riding anything called Wildcatter?

Wildcatter was the Intamin Freefall (the very first one). It was imploded last year to make room for Tony Hawk.


I wanted to like the place enough to justify spending $15 each time I go over there to park (because apparently the season parking pass no longer exists? I couldn't find it online for sale ... )

They do sell season parking; you can add it to your pass when you get it processed. It is odd that it is not mentioned anywhere on the website.

Even though I do criticize the park from time to time, I still think it's worth getting a season pass. Shock Wave alone is reason enough for me but I also like the the Mine Ride, Freeze, Batman, La Vibora, Judge, Runaway Mountain and even the Giant. I'll ride Titan occasionally for the airtime, although I could do without the helices. I like being able to get a coaster fix 10 months out of the year, just 15 minutes from my house. I also enjoy just walking through the park during the Texas Heritage festival and Holiday in the Park.

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