Tuesday was overcast, and the forecast was for strong storms, so we knew we might not have an uninterrupted day of coaster riding. Add onto that the fact that most schools had just started that week, and people have been saying all year that the crowds are typically not bad threre, and we were expecting a pretty low crowd day.
However, we weren't expecting what greeted us when we arrived that morning. We got to the park about a half hour early (9:30), and as were pulling into the parking lot, we got a bit of a shock. There were practicaly no cars there! We wondered for a minute if they had decided to close the park for that day even though it was supposed to be open. But there were people in the parking booths, so we knew that wasn't the case. However, we were literally the 5th or 6th car in the parking lot, and this was only half an hour before opening. We were pretty surprised by that.
Well, we got into the park, and decided to ride X-Flight first (since that's what everybody seems to recommend since it generates the longest lines with it's popularity and low capacity), but we had to wait until they lifted the chain at 10:00. My wife is pregnant, so she was bummed that she wouldn't be able to ride anything. She saw X-Flight as we were walking up to the park and really got the itch to ride, but knew she couldn't risk it. We do hope to return next year however, and she looks forward to riding the rides there then.
When the chain went up, my brother and I hurried back to X-Flight, amidst a small group of other people. We weren't quick enough to get the front row, but that's not really important on Flyers, so we took the second row, and got on the first ride of the day. This was my brother's first flyer experience other than The Flying Coaster out at Elitch Gardens (which he was very unimpressed with), so he was really looking forward to it. I had ridden S:UF at SF:GAdv earlier this year, so I was looking forward to riding my first Vekoma, for comparison's sake. I enjoyed the ride, and in some respects liked it more than S:UF, due mostly to a more interesting layout. The B&M model was of course smoother, and the pretzel loop still the coolest inversion, but I liked X-Flight. My brother wasn't as taken by it, due mostly to the roughness of it. But he thought it was OK.
Next up was Superman: Ultimate Escape, which had just been voted better than Wicked Twister by Amusement Today's awards, so we were anxious to compare. We walked right into the station, and got on the back seat, since that is where we always like to sit on WT. However, we were not very impressed with the ride from that position. It was all right, but didn't touch WT in our opinions. We were able to ride in the front later on in the day, and liked it better there, but it still doesn't come close to WT to either of us.
We actually tried to get right back on S:UE and ride in the front, but after we had gotten one the ride and strapped ourselves in, they closed the ride due to "inclement weather". We heard only one thunderclap, saw no lightning, and it didn't rain for the next 45 mins. We sat for a while in front of Batman:Knight Flight, hoping the storm would blow over and the ride would open, but it didn't. We were a little perturbed they shut everything down so much before the storm actually got near, but maybe it was closer than it appeared to be.
We decided to head back to the Wildlife section since there were no rides operating, and just as we arrived (man that trail back there from Gotham City is long!), it started to rain. We ran into the Shark Experience to get out of the rain, and when we had ventured through that, we headed back outside. The rain was now a monsoon practically, and we just waited under the awnings outside as it poured and poured. When the rain let up a bit, we headed over to see the Pirates 4D show, since it was inside. My wife and I had seen it (BGW I think), but my brother hadn't, so that was nice for him.
When we came out of the movie, the rain was gone, and we headed back to the Wild Rides section to ride B:KF. This is the ride I was most looking forward to, since I really like Floorless coasters, and everybody raves about this being the best ride at WOA. It was my brother's first ever Floorless, so he was also quite excited about riding it. We had no wait, and got into the back seat since there was a 1 train wait for the front. I really liked the ride, and it moved into a virtual tie with Superman: Krypton Coaster for my 2nd favorite Floorless. It still didn't touch Kraken in my opinion though, as I just think Kraken's theming (tunnels, mist, and such) puts it on a level above the other Floorless models, and most coasters for that matter. But I really liked B:KF, and my brother also really liked it. We rode it again, and this time went on in the front seat, and it was even better (though I noticed in the back you get a little air coming off the MCBR). Definitely the favorite ride there for both of us.
Since this is quickly becoming a novel, I'll try to briefly sum up the rest of our trip.
Wait times: The park was virtually deserted Tuesday, and only slightly more crowded on Thursday when we went back. And it was beautiful weather Thursday! We would have had absolutely no waits ever for a ride if we had never waited for the front or back of a ride. That was great to me as a rider, since I hate waiting in lines. However, I can't imagine it's too good for the park if it's like that often.
Rides: Following are my brief assesments of the various rides, ordered from favorite to least favorite:
B:KF - My favorite ride there, I rode it 8 times over the two days. The only complaint I had was on day 2 when I rode in the front on the right side. I got shook around like a rag doll, and it sounded like the ride was coming apart. Very unusual for a B&M, and unlike the rest of my rides on B:KF. I rode the rest of that day in the middle seats, and experienced none of rattling, except of course in the interlocking corkscrews. No waits except for the front, which was long on Thursday when they ran only one train. (The funny thing is, the park was busier that day than Tuesday, and they ran 2 trains Tuesday.)
X-Flight - I really thought this ride was pretty fun, and rode it 4 times. Despite 1 train op both days, I never had a wait except for the front. My biggest complaint is that when the sun was bright in the sky, it really hurt my eyes while I was in the lying position. Still, not bad for a Vekoma.
S:UE - Not as good as WT, but still a pretty cool ride in the front seat. I got three rides on it, and had only a one train wait for the front.
Big Dipper - This old woodie gave quite the ride in those cushy cars both of my rides. With no seat belt, and the high lap bar, I was practicaly flying out of the train on some of the hills. It was crazy! Proof once again that a wooden coaster doesn't need to be really high, fast, or new to be really fun!
Texas Twister - Seriously! I know it's not a coaster, but I had a blast on this Top Spin. I would have to say it's easilly the most intense Top Spin I've been on. It really whips you around and around. On the second day I was there, I was the only person on the ride, and nobody else was in line, so the ride op gave me three straight rides on it. That was WILD! Needless to say, I was glad that I hadn't eaten anything for a long time! ;)
Serial Thriller - Other than the fact that it was a Vekoma SLC and not a B&M, and therefore was bit rough, I thought this was a fun ride. I like it's setting there on the water (though it does smell bad), and it was an intense little ride. I got two rides on it, both in the front, and had one train waits both times.
Double Loop - I was very impressed with this ride considering it's an old Arrow looper. I definitely like it better than CP's Corkscrew, and it was much smoother than most Arrow loopers I've ridden (except maybe LNM). I also like the two shots of good airtime towards the end of the ride. I only got one ride on it, since it was closed the second day I went.
The Villian - This was my biggest disappointment at WOA, as I was really looking forward to riding this unique woodie. However, I found the ride to be a little rough, and it delivered minimal airtime. And I just wasn't overly impressed with the layout. I only rode it once, though I wanted to ride it again the second day we went, but ran out of time.
Mind Eraser - A Vekoma Boomerang coaster. What else can I say? Been there, done that a few times, and the ride is only mediocre anyway. Rode it once the second day only, since my brother won't even ride the things anymore.
Road Runner's Express - Yes, I rode the kiddie coaster just to say I rode all the coasters here. However, it wasn't a horrible ride, although I don't recommend riding it with your arms up like I did. When you go around the sharp turns you slam into the hard side of the car. Ouch!
Raging Wolf Bobs - What a great place to put a new coaster in the park! ;) Seriously, I really did not like this coaster, as it was old, rough, and devoid of good air. I just found no enjoyment in riding it, and neither did my brother. And what's with that name!? Sorry to those who like this coaster, but I say TAER IT DOWN!!!111 ;)
Ride Ops: Well, they weren't the nicest in the world, and they all seemed to want to be anywhere but there, but they also weren't the worst I've seen. They weren't mean, just indifferent. I'm sure they have a little more gusto at the beginning of the season.
Wildlife: We spent the greater part of our second day at the park seeing the various shows in this section, and really liked them. I'm sure they're not much different from the other Sea World shows, but to get them included with admission to the ride park and water park is a great deal. This section also seemed to be more crowded than than the Wildrides section. I don't know if that's a good sign or a bad sign.
We ate at the Mandarin Buffet the first day, and really liked it. While it was a little expensive, if you consider we didn't buy any other food in the park, and we ate quite a bit there, I'd say it was a good deal. I definitely would go back there again.
So that's my first trip to SF:WOA in a nutshell (I know, that's a pretty large nutshell!). Due most likely to the time of the season we went, a number of flats and water rides were closed, as were a lot of slides in Hurricane Harbor. But none of the bigger rides were closed. The only ride I really wished I could have ridden that was closed was Mr. Hyde's Nasty Fall, and I've ridden Demon Drop at CP so it's not that big of a deal.
My brother's biggest complaint was the lack of a Hypercoaster there, as those are his favorite kind. He can't take too much of the ones with inversions, so he'd like to see a steel coaster there to address that need. I too think a Hyper would be a great addition to their lineup, and would really help complete their collection. However, if they don't have a better attendance showing than what I saw, I don't see that happening soon.
I really liked the park overall, and look forward to returning next year, when my wife can ride too. It may even become a regular part of one of our Ohio trips once a year. Thanks for reading, and I hope it was interesting!
Take care and God bless!
*** This post was edited by DILinator 9/1/2003 1:19:44 AM ***
*** This post was edited by DILinator 9/5/2003 10:09:23 AM ***
rumors say hyper for next year. but theyve been saying that for quite some time now... :) glad you had fun.
Much prefer S:UF over the Vekoma flyer. The harness on X-Flight is brutal! I was all strapped in, the ride op came by and touched the vest and I was trapped, barely able to breathe! My sister claimed the chest smashing reminded her of the boob bruising experience of SFGAm Powerdive.
The forward trip through Mind Eraser wasn't too bad but the backward trip in the cobra roll was painful. It felt like someone whacked the back of my head with a pipe. Note to self: No more Boomerangs!
Been on V2 at GAm dozens of times so S:UE held no surprises. Do like the GAm location better - over the water - so I'd give it the nod. I also prefer WT, but not by much.
I was really looking forward to Big Dipper but was disappointed. Once I get back home, found out I should have ridden in the front. Felt very little air in the back. Not the only time at WoA I missed the money seat.
Got to the park about 10:15 on Tuesday and headed left. First stop was Serial Thriller. We were all set to go when the severe weather warning came. Headed over to Wildlife as EVERYTHING on the Rides side closed. We made it over to the Aquarium, petting the rays, when the monsoon hit. It was like the end of the world had visited Aurora, OH. So there we were, trapped in the Aquarium with a couple of dozen little kids all trying to find Nemo.
Once the rain let up, we stayed on the Wildlife side. I'm a big fan of the Sea World parks so this was a lot of fun. Caught the Dolphin show, the Shouka show, had a penguin and shark experience before eating at Mandarin. Very good food and a lot of it. Since I NEVER eat from stands at parks, it was nice to see this high-quality sit down.
Back to the ride side, hitting RWB first. Ugh. I've read the last half was retracked and it certainly shows. Unfortunately, the last half is so uneventful to just be plain boring.
Then the best ride in the park - BKF. I loved this floorless, my third fave behing S:KC and Kraken and number 7 overall. I had two rides in the front row, right side and didn't experience any roughness or headbanging (unlike Raptor two days later at CP - worst inverted EVER!)
Next was the RRX, Double Loop and Villian trifecta. I'll only comment on Villian because the others were simply credit rides. This is where I appearantly missed the money seat again. Opting for a back seat ride, I was unimpressed, really. A bit rough, no air but some good speed and an interesting layout with some nice elements (the trick track and the double up finish - I hope I'm remebering this correctly.) Not bad but my ride on Thunder Run at KK two weeks ago blew this away.
Lastly, we finally got our ride on Serial Thriller. Expected T2 and got something just a bit better. I agree, the location helps. A two train op with no one in line also beats the 40 minute wait for T2 running one train.
On Wednesday, we had planned to visit the water park for a few hours before heading over to CP for starlight at 4. Had such a good time in Hurricane Harbor - kick ass wave pool and the new body slides - we didn't leave WoA until close at 6p.
A great couple of days at a great park. I mentioned in a post earlier that WoA is now my favorite SF park even tho GAm is my home. So much to do. I found the employees and ride ops to be very friendly, willing to chat, laugh and smile with riders. I saw as many sweeps walking around this park as I did at HW last month. If there is a customer service or capacity problem here, I didn't see it during dead week.
I will defintely visit the park again. We all had an amazing time.
Wanted to mention that we stayed at the Bertram Inn, just down the road from the park, on Monday night. This is an amazing hotel, comparable to many 4 stars I've stayed in around the country. Highly recommended.
Stayed at the Inn at Six Flags the second night. Uhhh, let's just say not quite as good....but more expensive! More for the kids to do but if you want to stay near the park and don't mind $139 a night, the Bertram Inn is the place to stay.
I do have to say though, that I don't know what was wrong with the Villian ride I had. It was in the front seat, and I still thought it was a little rough (not really bad like RWB). Maybe it was just a bad ride, I don't know. But I will certainly give it another try next year when I go back, and hopefully I will enjoy it more. I was really hoping to.
The X-Flight harness also was an issue for me on a couple of the rides, and contributed to my brother not liking the ride much. At times, it was stiffling! At least a couple rides it wasn't too tight, and I was actually hanging on it, not pressed to the back of the seat.
I definitely want to go to Hurricane Harbor next year, as we just ran out of time this year. Plus, it appeared half of the slides were shut down anyway. But it looks like a real nice water park.
Maybe Texas Twister was a little jerky, but I didn't really notice it being that bad. It was very intense however, and I was probably nuts for riding it three straight times like I did. I was quite lucky I didn't hurl at all! ;) I don't hold onto anything, and I stick my legs out (my wife thinks I look like an idiot! ;) ) when I'm riding it, so I really get flung around. But I like it! :)
*** This post was edited by DILinator 9/1/2003 10:45:29 PM ***
villain.... i love the ride, but i feel it degrading. you dont float over the first few hills like you used to. and whats up with that second turn around now? the train is so slow around the corner and out the flat section. after that though its back to the fast and out of control ride. this is my favorite modern woody. i havent ridden too many though, so my opinion is sure to change once i ride some of the top 10 next year.
ive visited 5 sf parks this year and woa is my favorite out of all them.
Picked up one of the Cool Coasters sets over in a shop in the Wildlife section of the park, and it is a super fun toy!
Had a fun day at the park. It could use a few more more flats...why the heck was their enterprise ride dismantled? Also, the staff could be a LOT more friendly. I've never seen such a miserable crew. The only friendly person I ran into was the girl watching over the sting ray/manta ray petting pool. She was cool.
Nashville needs a theme park!
Also, the staff could be a LOT more friendly. I've never seen such a miserable crew. The only friendly person I ran into was the girl watching over the sting ray/manta ray petting pool. She was cool.
It is amazing how two people can be at the same park one day apart and have such different experiences and opinions about the staff. Everyone I encountered was friendly, enthusiastic and helpful - ride ops, food sales, shop clerks, security, life guards - even the sweeps smiled back. Maybe that's the key. I often smile and say hello first.
I 'm really starting to believe that you get exactly what you expect.
My motto at every park I attend is "We're gonna have a great day." More often than not, that's exactly what I get.
I thought that the ride ops were all right. The biggest thing I sensed was that they were all a little weary of the whole routine, and counting the days until the park closed. And that is perfectly understandable, given it was the end of the season. Actually, the worst ride op I faced on that trip was at Cedar Point. One of the male ops for the Antique cars was a real grouch! Oh well.
I don't want to drfit too far off topic, or get into too much "senseless speculation", but after this recent action taken by Dorney Park in removing an upnpopular woodie in favor of a new steel, it got me thinking about WOA, and Raging Wolf Bobs. Do people think that they might some day remove that old ride to make room for a new coaster, Hyper maybe? That area on the Lake, coupled with all that area between Wildlife and Wild Rides would make for a decent footprint for a coaster. Plus, they could even theme it to Gotham City and make that area larger, since BKF is the only thing there right now. Just a thought. Thanks for all the responses! :)
Take care and God bless! :)
I am not who you think I am.
You must be logged in to post