Friday, July 13, 2001 10:12 AM
After the controversy caused by my last TR to this park, some of you may be surprised to find out that I had a really good day yesterday. Crowds were respectable, but waits weren’t too bad. I’m finding that the best time to ride rides is at night, since people tend to come early, ride everything, and then leave early. I also ventured to the Wildlife section of the park for the first time, which I found to be pretty impressive.
I arrived at the park with two friends (2 of the 3 who I also went to SFGAm with) around 1:00 and everything looked really busy. Raging Wolf Bobs was down for the entire day, but that was it. Good, the only ride closed is my least favorite coaster in the park.
We opened our day on Batman: Knight Flight. None of the queues were opened and the line stretched all the way to the entrance. About half way through our wait (which was about 25-30 minutes), an employee came and opened up the first set of queues. We rode again later in the day and while the wait was shorter, OUR wait was longer since we waited for the front seat. The difference between front and back (where we spent each of our two rides) is incredible: it is like 2 totally different rides! I always liked back better because of the whiplash on the first drop and the airtime off the block brake, but it also lacks the really cool floorless experience. I had my first front seat ride in a year and I may be sold. Train, what train???? It feels like you are just riding on top of the track yourself. I notice that you tend to fall out of your seat into the harness a bit more in the front, especially on the diving first drop and at the top of the first loop (This is the result of gravity, not negative G’s). I always considered this ride to be average, but it is quickly growing on me, front and back seat both! The ride ops were running 2 trains, with only the occasional stack, which is good enough for me. I must mention that my friends and I got a kick out of what may be the most apathetic ride op ever. She would lean on the railings as if trying to go to sleep while holding the Dispatch Enable button!
We followed Batman with a ride on my favorite coaster in the park, The Villain. Villain was down on my last visit, so we got three rides today to make up for it. Here, I got to see firsthand how a wooden coaster warms up throughout the day. All three rides were in the back car, and each ride seemed to get faster and more intense. (We rode at approximately 1:45, 5:30, and 8:30). The last ride of the night was particularly insane! This ride is just plain great. Good to great airtime on every hill, but what makes it even better is that almost every single drop has a slight curve, combining the airtime with strong lateral forces. The new Gerstlauer lapbars don’t seem to make much difference, but then again, the old ones never really bothered me, either. I do prefer PTC ratcheting bars to these, though. I noticed reactions to the ride (presumably by non-enthusiasts) and almost everybody left this ride happy. People were saying things like, “Wow, that is so wild!” and “That’s the best ride in the park.” Are you listening, CP???
One complaint I do have is the way the FastPass system works at this park. SFWoA uses a version of the system that just kills capacity. For Villain, 2 seats are blocked off in the station, reserved for people with FastPasses. These people come up the exit ramps and have to wait until the entire train exits until they can come through. Then, they board. In the meantime, the airgates remain closed for the rest of the riders, which just eats up time like you wouldn’t believe. If no FastPassers come up, the ride op’s have to call out for riders to come up and fill the empty seats, which just takes even MORE time, leading to mucho train stacking! Now Villain is a long ride (4000 ft.) and with 2 train operation, should never stack but because of this, it does. This is not the ride ops’ fault (they were actually pretty efficient) but the systems’. All in all, I am growing to hate the FastPass system. “Line jumping is strictly prohibited, that is, unless you pay us. Then, we’ll HELP you do it!”
We had to take my one friend on the Double Loop, since he’s never experienced what is perhaps the most worthless coaster ever made. Our general consensus of this ride was, “This thing sucks so much, it deserves a cult following!” You gotta love Arrow in the late 70’s when upward ramps replaced hills. (See also, Demon at SFGAm). Fun ride, though, because we made it fun. As much as I make fun of this ride, I will also be one of the first to complain if SFWoA ever tries to take it out!
Serial Thriller actually had a long wait, which was made to seem even longer for me because one of my friends decided to go off on a tirade against my other friend for spending a whole bunch of money for his watch. People around us in the queue were watching and I just wanted them both to shut up and get on the ride. Oh well, my friends are all about arguing. Anyway, the ride was ok for a hang and bang. These SLC’s always provide a couple of really cool footchopper effects.
Superman: Ultimate Escape had a slight wait and was great as always, but the ride ops were extremely slow checking lapbars, carrying on conversations with each other the entire time. What ticked me off was that they had the FastPass row blocked off and were purposefully leaving it empty for rides when no FastPassers came up the ramp. People inside the airgates were asking to be let in to ride on that row and were denied, which led to much yelling in the station at the ride ops who really didn’t seem to give a care. This is probably a good indication of what the average Joe thinks of the FastPass system; let’s hope it doesn’t last!
Finally, we rode on X-Flight which was running two trains with about a 35 minute wait. I was impressed at the crews. Often, a train would be out on the lift while the other was on the course. As for the ride, I thought my lap bar could have been a notch tighter, but I didn’t feel like I was falling out or anything. Intense and disorienting as always. All three of us left the ride with a buzz. My one friend says he doesn’t even remember the final helix. Yep, I think SFWoA has a winner here. Now I can’t wait to see what B&M does with the Flying Coaster concept.
We passed the Big Dipper because of a long line and one train operation (besides, I would have rather taken another ride on the Villain). We ate lunch at Swampwater Jack’s on the Wildlife side, and the food was really good and…GASP…reasonably priced (for park food, that is). We also saw the Batman Water Show which was cheesy but good. A walk through the aquarium was relaxing, too. I really love the way the Wildlife side is landscaped. It looks really nice, and I hope SF keeps that up.
Overall, a great day at the park. Trash was minimal, employees decent, and no guy urinating in a bottle this time! Maybe I caught the park on a good day, but hopefully, things are looking up for SFWoA!
Signature Under Construction: A New Adventure Awaits in 2002!
Friday, July 13, 2001 11:46 AM
An entire car (4 seats, 2 rows) is blocked off for the Fast Lane. A bit ridiculous I do think.
Signature Under Construction: A New Adventure Awaits in 2002!
Friday, July 13, 2001 2:08 PM
I am suprised at the comments been made recently about SUE(slow ride ops, Slow operations etc) because when I went, I couldnt find anything to complain about on SUE.
I went Beginning Of June, and for starters, I found the queue at all times to be very low(very impressive for a 1 train operation) This kept queues down to a miminum of only 30 mins max(and it was very busy too) Also, no way were the Ride Ops Slow, I thought they were working very fast together, and I even witnessed about 4-5 Rides happen in about 10-15 mins.
The Ride Ops were even having Fun with the Guests, The Guy in the control station was teasing people by delaying the launch sometimes, When he saw people expecting the Launch to happen after the Words CLEAR, he stopped it for a few seconds, when the people were wondering what was happening, he suddenly started the launch, catching people out.
Prehaps I caught the crew on a good day because I have heard a lot of stories before I went saying the same thing about SUE's Crew(slow working, and slow dispatches) but on the day I went, they were certaintly one of the best bunch of ride Ops I have come across.