Got to the park about 9:45 to a very empty parking lot. Through the metal detector in a snap and then up to the gate just as they were playing the National Anthem. An ROTC group was raising the flag. While I'm not ultra patriotic I do find it very annoying when people won't shut up, take off their hats and face the flag. It wasn't a case of not hearing the music either-It was plenty loud.
Then they had the crowd at the gate do a countdown to opening and off we went. I already had my Great America pass and when I scanned it the lady said something like'"You people from Chicago must be anxious to ride coasters, I 've seen lots of passses from there already this season." I let her know I wasn't actually from Chicago but that it was a closer park for me and had a better variety of coasters. She thanked me for coming and said she hoped I would come back to visit again this year.
As others have said in other reports there were smiling faces and lots of hello's from the park staff all day long. They were training people everywhere. In fact I thnk for the first couple hours the park was open there were probably about twice as many employees as peeps.
This was also the last weekend for "Spring Scream squared" or whatever they called it. On most of the popular rides you could ride twice without getting off. It's an interesting gimmick but as light as the crowds were I would rather have them cycle the rides normally.
Boss- Running two trains. The first half of this ride continues to be very rough but then things seemed to smooth out a bit. I rode about a dozen times throughout the day and it didn't seem to change much. Other than the front car, I prefer the rear of this one. I did earn a nice bruise on my left thigh from the repeated rides.
Screamin' Eagle- Wasn't open for the first hour or so. Running two trains once it opened. Seems to be running better than what I remembered from last year but it just seems like it's being "held back" from what it could be. The retracking is an improvement, especially on the final run into the station. I find it odd how they have a multitude of long bolts running sideways through the wood rails supporting the track in several places. One of the ride ops said that the mechanics can "fine tune" the track easier this way. I noticed they had done that in a couple areas of Boss also. I did about six laps on this one.
Batman- What can you say...It's Batman and is always about the same. I do like this one for a change though as I'm so used to the one at SFGAm. It's a refreshing change to dive right instead of left once in awhile. Anyway, I actually stayed on for four straight rides near the back and by the end of the fourth ride I needed a break.
River King Mine Train- At my height I don't fit particularly well in these things but I took a couple rides anyway. I noticed kind of an odd shuddering of the car on the first circuit but coming through the last curve I heard kind of a snap and then things were fine. I'm not real familiar with the running gear on these cars and what would have caused that but it was fine on the scond run.
Mr. Freeze- While it's still far from a smooth ride and has lost some of its punch on the launch it's still not a bad ride since they changed the restraints a couple years ago. This is kind of a one trick pony ride for me though. I'll ride it a couple times each time I visit but that's enough.
Ninja- Kept getting stuck on the left hill periodically throughout the day (man that alarm siren is annoying) so I never bothered riding it. I didn't feel like enduring the headbanging. I've ridden so many of these Vekoma/Arrow loopers that unless it's something I need a credit for I don't bother anymore.
The only major ride that was down for the day was Excalibur. No signs of activity or anyone working on it. It was posted at the entry to the park as closed and indeed it was.
General impressions- I always enjoy my visits here even if there isn't a lot that I ride at this park. The staff is always very friendly. There are tons of discount opportunities here for SP holders including all the food stands. They were good about asking if I had a pass or not. Looks like they have a good deal on the Sports Bottles also. $10 to buy it and then refills are $1. They were still accepting 2004 bottles as well but those were $2 to refill. I guess I don'r know if there is any difference in size or
The park still needs a lot of painting and being early in the season there weren't any new flowers or plantings in evidence. In fact quite a few of the planters looked like they hadn't been touched yet.
And...Without stating the obvious, they are in need of another coaster here. I guess I don't have a big preference as to what kind but if this park is going to "the next level" it needs that kind of help.
Next up: SFGAm opening day-April 30
"Heavily medicated for your safety!"
i'm not sure what to put here..
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