Sunday, June 20, 2004 12:56 PM
I was pretty excited for this one day trip because its my first real amusement park trip without my parents. I went with 2 other friends. We left at about 6:30 AM from Central Illinois, and arrived at SFSTL right as it was opening at 10. My friend's dad managed to get season passes for 45 bucks, so we got in the park and immediatley headed for the season pass processing place near Thunder River. For some reason they made me take my glasses off, which made no sense to me (they werent sunglasses). Anywho, got our season passes and headed around the corner to Mr. Freeze, which wasnt yet open, so we decided to get on Scooby Doo. Wait was only 5 minutes. It was a fun little ride, dosent compare to MIB at Universal, but still a fun little ride. I scored I believe 28,000 on my first and only ride of the day. When we got off, Mr. Freeze was open so we headed on it.
Mr. Freeze: 2 rides. 10 minute wait, 45 minute wait. This was my fist time at SFSTL since 1998 I believe, so it was also my first time riding Mr. Freeze without OTS restraints, and it makes all the difference. I remember some decent head banging on this before, now it seems much more smooth, and much more enjoyable. Some pretty powerful forces on those drops. 7.0 (out of 10)
The Boss: 3 rides, 5-10 minute wait for each. From looking at the layout of this thing, I was expecting some decent air possibly? Possibly a decent large woody? Overall, a mixed bag. The air which I was expecting was non exsistant, even from the back seat. But still a decent ride, with some pretty good drops. Certinly no rougher than Mean Streak or SOB. That helix at the end kinda beats you though. 6.5
Screaming Eagle: 2 rides, 10 minute wait, 45 mintue wait. Another one I was expecting some air on, and came back dissapointed in that department. The ride was longer than I remember, and the seats were nice and cushony, they need that much padding on The Boss. But again the air was basically not there, although I never did ride in the back. Nice pacing throughout, though. Its also kinda neat how its sort of alone back in the woods. Still holds up very nicely. 6.5
Ninja: 3 rides, 20 minute wait, and a few 5 min waits. Unlike everything else, Ninja actually had a shorter wait later on in the day. This is a pretty decent arrow, but ive always liked your standart arrow loopers like this. Not too rough, either. Seems to have aged pretty well. 6.5
River King Mine Train-1 ride, 15 minute wait. Not a bad little mine train, better than CP's anyway. Its neat how you can easily touch some of the overhanging branches and even some of the tall grass on the helixes. 5.5
Batman The Ride. 1 ride, 1 hour wait. Is it just me, or is this one a lot smoother than the one in Chicago? Id swear it is. Ive always liked the theming on Batman, with the birds and kids laughing coming out of the speakers, then the music on the stairs and station. For being the original design of the Inverted rollercoaster, its still, simply put, on of the best. I'll admit there are better designs out there, but they arent a lot better. Its a little short, and not incredibly tall, but it packs quite a punch in a short time. Its amazing how well the entire layout holds up compared to newer ones to this date. Its only missing a cobra roll, otherwise theres nothing else I could really ask for in an invert. 8.5
Overall it was a very fun day. I mean yea, it did get quite crowded later on in the day, but we had done everything we wanted to by 7 and we left around that time. But talk about your perfect weather. Last time I was at SFSTL it was 95 degrees. I doubt it ever hit 80 on Saturday. You couldnt beat it if you tried. Park was clean and the employees seemd to do their job quite well, except for Xcalibur. Not sure if that ride is just that much of a pain to load, or if they were just that slow to load it. But it took them around an hour to do 4 or 5 cycles of that thing. Thats pretty pathetic, IMO. But it was a very neat ride. I like how the op can talk to you while its running through that speaker system. I was kinda wondering why everyone was screaming at the same time as I was waiting in line. Not sure if anyone else was there on Saturday, but I had my Dragster shirt on if anyone saw me. *** Edited 6/20/2004 4:57:09 PM UTC by stljason1***
Sunday, June 20, 2004 4:20 PM
If you think Ninja's a pretty decent Arrow, wait till you find out it's actually a Vekoma
! I've always been fond of that ride. Sure, it's a little rough, but it's unique, and you can't say that about too many rides anymore. Although I much preferred the old red and white paint scheme.
Glad you had a good time. And, yes, their Batman is smoother. Much smoother. No idea why. SFStL is just a great mid-sized park in a perfect, perfect location.
Dan D McD
Sunday, June 20, 2004 5:05 PM
I was gonna same the same thing about Ninja, biggest misconception is it is an Arrow, but really it is an excellent old Vekoma, which is surpringly good. Some people complai nit is a bit rough, but I found it to be smooth the couple times I have rode it.
Surprised you didn't get much airtime from Screamin Eagle, every review I read this year says you can't keep your butt in the seat as it is giving massive airtime. I rode it last year without seatbelts and I got plenty of air.
Sunday, June 20, 2004 6:48 PM
Im very surprised to hear Ninja is a Vekoma. Never would have thought that, I mean I even took a good look at the track, and it looks IDENTICAL to that late 80's early 90's arrow track. And like I said I didnt sit in the back seat on Eagle, so that might have been different there, and I think ive been spoiled somewhat in the airtime department by Phantoms Revenge. I completly forgot to mention Tom's Twister. What a unique ride. I mean sure, they have things similar at fairs and stuff, but this was just a totally different design...not something youd expect to find in the middle of a six flags park.
Monday, June 21, 2004 12:19 AM
And I can't see how you didn't get airtime on Eagle as well, on everyseat (even very front) I have gotten insane airtime, musta been a bad day....
Bleh, give Eagle a second chance! *** Edited 6/21/2004 5:17:19 AM UTC by RCTyrant***
Monday, June 21, 2004 10:07 AM
It doesn't surprise me that the Ninja is a Vekoma. All four of us that rode it last week all got our necks jammed during one of the corkscrews and vowed to never ride it again. We also rode the Eagle in the back seat and got some nice pull down air. I can only imagine that it would give some great ejector air up front.
Monday, June 21, 2004 5:48 PM
If you think Ninja was rough you obviously havent ridden too many old loopers like that. And I KNOW you never rode Steel Phantom...
EDIT: Looking at your track record, you obviously have. Lets just say ive been on several loopers of the same sort that are much more rough. But I was right on you never riding Steel Phantom... *** Edited 6/21/2004 9:49:21 PM UTC by stljason1*** *** Edited 6/21/2004 9:50:09 PM UTC by stljason1***
Monday, June 21, 2004 6:45 PM
Ninja has Arrow trains, so at least part of the ride is from Arrow, but the ride it's self is Vekoma made.
Monday, June 21, 2004 9:37 PM
The problem with many old loopers is that you never know what kind of ride you might get. I've ridden Ninja at SFOG many times and have had both good and bad rides. I'm happy for you if you've had good rides on it. I really am. We didn't and personally I didn't really care for the coaster anyway and probably wouldn't ride it again even if it hadn't hurt. Probably some of the ones that you've had crappy rides on, I've had decent ones. And please tell some more about how painful the Steel Phantom was. You make it sound so intriguing and now I feel so jealous that I missed out. It makes me wish that I've been riding longer than just 2 years.
Monday, June 21, 2004 10:20 PM
Im not sure if your trying to be sarcastic about the Steel Phantom or not. But I will elaborate on it either way. Not sure how familar you are with the Steel Phantoms/ Phantoms Revenge layout, but you have been on the Revenge I see, so at least you know what the first part of it was like. The first and second drops on the Steel Phantom werent too bad, not much head banging. But somewhere right after you hit the bottom of that second drop, all hell broke loose. You hit those turns and those inversions so fast, youd bang your head into the headrests, and there was absolutley no stopping yourself from doing it, it was that powerful. You could lessen it a little after a few rides, when you knew when the worst of it was coming, but it still got you, every time. Id find myself just sort of trying to brace for the inversions, knowing exactly what was coming every time, knowing I couldnt really stop it no matter how hard I tried. Im not sure how tall you are, maybe some people heads cleared the restraints and they didnt get the same amout of banging your head aginst them. I was probably only 14 the last time I rode it, but I was probably a good 5'10 even then. Im about 6 foot now, dont know how much of a difference that would of made. But it was bad, and I feel ive always had a high tolerance for pain on coasters. For instance, I never got too bothered by the roughness on SOB, a coaster many consider to be the roughest out there. The restraints hit my ears and head just right to give me quite a headache, every time. I never wanted to ride more than 2 times in one visit because of this. Before I end this rant, I want to clarify a few things. Despite its roughness, I still loved the Steel Phantom. It was almost like something out of a dream as a kid, I looked up at that thing, scared to death of it. When I finally did get up enough courage to ride it, I enjoyed it greatly despite the pain, and it completley got rid of any fear of rollercoasters ive ever had. Not since that first ride on the Phantom have I ever been afraid of a rollercoaster. It just somehow clicked in my head at a young age that If I could ride that, I could ride anything. I also loved it for what It did for Kennywood, put it on the map for good. It was and still is such a small park, its still incredible to this date that they had the fastest rollercoaster in the World for nearly a decade. A small park wont ever be able to have that distinction ever again. Still blows my mind. Overall the Revenge is the better ride, more re-ride friendly, and that air is amazing. The exact oppisite of the Steel Phantom, but I guess thats what they were going for. But I will always remember the Steel Phantom, and I think anyone who had the honor of riding it will feel the same way, and I also think anyone who rode it loves it in their own sort of way. *** Edited 6/22/2004 2:22:44 AM UTC by stljason1***
Monday, June 21, 2004 11:00 PM
Well just to clarify, I was being sarcastic but I do really appreciate your detailed description of the ride. You seem to really have a deep affection for the ride and a great memory of it. I wasn't being sarcastic though about regretting missing out on riding it. My favorite steel is The Phantom's Revenge and I would have loved to have experienced it in all of it's pre-existing painful glory. Who knows, maybe I may have had a good ride on it (although from the many people I've talked, including you, that's pretty doubtful). So what do you think was the fundamental problem with it? The fact that you started to hit the inversions right as the ride would hit it's top speed coming out of that 200+ foot drop or maybe the design and placement of the restraints? A combination of the two? What I'm getting at is, do you think that it was a design mistake from the get-go to try something like that or just a crumby design of the restraint system that caused so much head banging?
Tuesday, June 22, 2004 6:57 PM
I dont believe it was only the restraint system, god no. There was nothing wrong with the restraint system, nothing that made it any worse than any others. To be honest, im not sure what the problem was, but it wasnt just the restraints, it was much more. Not sure if your thinking that it hit those inversions right after that 225 foot drop at 85 MPH, because it didnt. It curved to the left after that drop similar to the Revenge and then went fairly steeply upwards, hit some trim breaks, then went into the first inversion, the vertical loop. Did it go faster into those inversions than the average coaster? Probably. But it wasnt going 80mph into them or anything like that. I wonder how it was in its first season or two, because I didnt ride it until probably 96 or 97. Im thinking maybe those arrow trains just werent designed right to go 80Mph. Im guessing they just got beat to death quickly maybe? But at the same, time that dosent make much sense, because they used the same chasis on the Revenge, wouldnt that mean it would also be rough? This issue might call for its own thread.