SIX FLAG ST. LOUIS - Saturday 7/20/02 (Long)

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, July 21, 2002 11:25 PM

Hi, everyone...

Although I've been a member for a while, this is my first trip report here at Coasterbuzz. It was also my first visit to SIX FLAGS ST. LOUIS

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MISSION:

Get a Six Flags Season pass for less $$$ than my home park (SFGam) charges & ride a few coasters before heading out to my DJ gig.

THE EXPERIENCE:

My friend Matthew and I arrived at the hotel in downtown St. Louis at 5:30pm. Check in… Drop off records & overnight bag in the room… hop in car & drive ½ hour to the park.

We got to SFSTL around 6:30pm. The parking fee was $8… a little less than SFGam’s $10 and a bargain compared to the downtown Chicago rates I’ve grown accustomed to.

The heat/humidity was dreadful. This was one of the hottest days of the year.

We ran to the guest services center to purchase our passes. We got them immediately. Much to my surprise, we were informed that we would have our photo taken & be able to collect our passes inside the park rather than at the front gate. We moved quickly to the Season Pass building near the THUNDER RIVER rapids ride. (AHHHH! The joy of air conditioning!) Again… no wait! We had our passes and ready to explore the park by 7pm.

This gave us 3 hours to experience as much as possible. I had 2 goals. 1) Get at least 1 ride on “THE BOSS”. 2) Ride “MR. FREEZE” – front car.

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And we’re off…

THE BOSS (1st ride):

This ride looks gorgeous. I’m a sucker for coasters that twist in and out of wooded areas, and this park has 2 of them. I was shocked to discover that wait was only 5 to 10 minutes... Unbelievable! I honestly expected a 30 to 45 minute cue line, especially on a Saturday in late July. The ride crew was extremely efficient. 3 train operation with little or no stacking.

We chose the back car. Loved the trains… very open & comfortable. The view ascending the he lift was lovely & the first drop and surprise, hidden double down was amazing. The remainder of the ride was very exciting, but extremely rough, especially the laterals on the curves & the remarkable ending helix. I wondered if the intense heat caused the train to run faster than normal or affected the track somehow. This was the first wooden coaster to ever give me a headache, but it wasn’t bad enough to ruin the ride for me.

Rating: 8/10

MR. FREEZE

I’d been eyeing this baby since we first arrived and simple couldn’t wait any longer. This is one cool looking coaster. Big, blue, and unlike anything I’ve every seen. The themeing was great and the top hat was mouthwatering. I expected to wait at least an hour for this one. Again, I was pleasantly surprised. Only 20 minutes for the front car (probably would have been 5 to 10 for any other seat). The 2 sliding loading platforms were a brilliant idea and the crew was very efficient.

Even though there were still signs everywhere warning riders to remove all ear jewelry, I was thrilled to discover the ride had lap bars. The restraints are large and snug, firmly securing you at the lap and shins but still giving you enough of an open feeling to make you a bit nervous.

Now for the ride…

The launch 71.8 mph was breathtaking. The 190ft tunnel was a blur and the top hat was a complete joy. The ride never lets up, blazing through the over banked turn and up the 200 ft. vertical tower. There is a little electronic “push” near the top of the tower that is extremely scary, giving you just enough unexpected forward movement to scare you. The ride backward was fantastic, and going through the top hat this way once again made me very thankful for those lovely lap bars…

… until …

Ride was over and we backed unusually slowly into the station. I was giddy form the experience so it took me a few moments to realize something was wrong. After a minute, the ride ops announced that Mr. Freeze had broken down and would be closed for an undetermined about of time. Matthew and I laughed and high-fived each other, thankful that we got to ride before the technical difficulties occurred. Our smiles quickly disappeared once we realized that the breakdown also meant that we were stuck until the mechanic could get there and manually push our train all the back into the station.

It only took 5 or 10 minutes but it seemed like an eternity. Those restrains were extremely uncomfortable, especially for anyone with long legs. I imagine most people don’t notice, since the ride only lasts a little over a minute, but sitting there for any extended period of time was pure torture. Once they got us rolled completely back into the station and the loading platform back to its original position, we were released. My legs & shins were a little sore, but I don’t imagine that this would have been a normal side effect of the ride.

All in all, comparing it to other modern shuttle coasters, I enjoyed it just as much Vertical Velocity (front of train) but not quite as much as Déjà vu.

RATING: 9/10

NINJA

Unlike many of the park’s other attractions this 80’s looper looks terrible. The ride was practically a walk on for the back seat with 2-train operation. The experience was pretty dull, with the exception of the cool head chopper effect experienced after the sidewinder inversion twists under the lift hill chain. The ride was also a bit rough in parts, but nothing compared to some taller Arrow/Vekoma loopers I’ve been on. The lack of themeing made me long for Great America’s classic DEMON, a far superior coaster in every aspect.

RATING: 3/10

SCREAMING EAGLE

Surprise! Another walk on. The station and the ride itself looked like it could use a coat of paint, but I was happy to be riding another Woodie that twists through the woods. This was apparently The park’s main attraction until the 1990’s. We got the back seat again and cheered when we saw the coasters night time lighting turn on as we ascended the lift.

This ride had some incredible airtime and some thrilling moments, but it seemed even rougher than The Boss. It gains points for being a nonstop and scary thrill machine, but gets penalized for being the 2nd wooden coaster to ever give me a headache.

RATING: 7/10

RIVER KING MINE TRAIN

After the bone rattling Eagle experience, it was time for a smooth, family coaster. This cute mine ride hit the spot – smooth as glass and relaxing. The enclosed “surprise” bit at the end was fun.

Even though this was my first visit to Six Flags St. Louis, the ride seemed awfully familiar. I later discovered that I had ridden the similar, 2nd track which was sold to Dollywood sometime during the 80’s and operated for several years as “Thunder Express”.

The 2nd track of RKMT was apparently removed to make way for Ninja.

Not very thrilling, but a lot more entertaining than Ninja.

RATING: 6/10

BATMAN: THE RIDE

We headed over to this ride at 8:40pm, ecstatic that we had ridden almost every major coaster the park had to offer in less that 2 hours. We saved this one for last, as it’s basically a mirror image clone of the original inverter at our home park SFGam. Again, the wait was very reasonable, 15 minutes (20-25 for the front car), especially considering the ride normally has 45 minute to 90 minute waits even on slow days at Great America.

The theming is as good, maybe better than the SFGam original. I especially liked that the outdoor portion of the cue runs directly underneath the ride’s initial inversions, providing a better view.

We made it to the loading platform in about 12 minutes, so we decided to hold out the extra 10 for the front car…

… bad idea …

Just as we were about to board, the ride operators announced that the ride would be closed for ½ hour for the 9pm fireworks display (DOH!). Since the park was scheduled to close at 10:00, we decided to get out of line and try to ride some other things that weren’t closed by the fireworks display.

Oh, well… guess I can ride this back in Illinois in a few weeks.

RATING: (?)

RATING FOR THE ORIGINAL at SFGAM: 9/10

The rest of the night, we had a streak of bad luck. We rushed to MR. FREEZE. It was operating again and wanted to get 1 more chance to ride this thing. I imagined the seeing the fireworks while heading toward the over banked turn would be great experience. The line was very short… 10 minutes max. After waiting in the station for a few launches, I make a joke about how it would be really funny if the ride broke down again while we were on it. Literally seconds later, the ride broke down.,,, guess I jinxed it.

Disappointed, we rushed toward THE BOSS. The ride was a walk on, except for the first car, so we decided to wait for the front this time…

… Another bad move …

We were maybe 2 trains away from boarding when the ride ops announced that they would be removing one of the trains and the ride would be shut down for a few minutes, which seemed like a terrible inconvenience to the park’s guests considering we had less than 1 hour left. We waited for about 15 minutes as they did this, as the station filled up with guests hoping to get one last ride in.

Once they got the ride up and running, we were again delayed by some people wearing mysterious white armbands who were allowed to ride the front car before us. Matthew started loudly complaining about “how rude” they were to be cutting like that after we had waited and extra 15 minutes, especially since they didn’t seem to have some sort of handicap that would give them ride priority. (anyone have any idea how they were allowed to cut in line? Does SFStl have some sore of “fast pass” that I’m not aware of?). Some young girls waiting behind us were mocking Matthew, making fun of him for complaining. (hee hee)

We finally got on at 9:45. The front car at night rocked! The first hill wasn’t as thrilling as it was in the back, but the rest of the ride was much smoother than our earlier experience. It was still kinda painful in parts, but I didn’t get a headache on this lap. (Although the woman behind us was screaming Owww! Owww! Ouch! Owww! the whole time).

THE BOSS – Ride 2 (front car)

RATING– 8.5/10

With 5 minutes to spare and MR. FREEZE apparently down for the night, we decided try to hit SCOOBY DOO’S GHOSTBLASTERS for our last ride of the night. Much to our chagrin, the employees stationed and the entrance told us that we were welcome to wait in line, but that the ride had broken down and they weren’t sure when or if it would be operating again. This being the 4th temporary ride closure/disappointment in the past hour, we decided not to wait any longer and head back to the hotel to rest up for my afterhours gig.

THE PARK IN GENERAL

Overall, I was pleased with the park, despite the heat & temporary ride closures. The themed areas were well done and the park itself clean and reasonably well maintained. The only rides that had long waits were SCOOBY DOO (which was at least 1 hour for most of the day) and many of the water rides.

If I’m back in town before the end of the season, I’d like to stop by again and check out some of the flats & other stuff I missed. Six Flags St. Louis had a variety of food, games, & shows to offer, plus the Hurricane Harbor water park looked great.

Next week, I’m leaving for my 30th birthday “Roller Coaster Road Trip”…. More on that later ;-)

- Greg

*** This post was edited by djgreghaus on 7/22/2002. ***

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Monday, July 22, 2002 8:55 AM

Nice TR.

I had a similar experience with The Boss when I visited SFStL. The ride was running three trains when we arrived, then switched to two train operations, then went back to three trains, and ended the day running two. This really had me puzzled, and was the only thing I noticed "wrong" with the park.

Seems they have some Kennywood-itis when it comes to the number of trains running on The Boss. :)

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"Look outside, I know that you'll recognize it's summertime." - The Flaming Lips "It's Summertime (throbbing orange pallbearers)"

*** This post was edited by chris on 7/22/2002. ***

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Monday, July 22, 2002 9:10 AM
Nice TR! That sounds cool on Freeze but annoying.

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Sean

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Monday, July 22, 2002 9:22 AM

Was the Train Ride operating.

Just wondering.

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Monday, July 22, 2002 9:33 AM

I believe the train ride was operating, but I wasn't really paying attention as I only had 3 hours to ride as much as possible.

I'll probably check it out on my next visit.

-G

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Monday, July 22, 2002 12:02 PM
Good TR. Too bad you had bad luck with all the ride breakdowns.

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Steel: 1)MF, 2)Goliath, 3)Magnum
Wood: 1)Villain, 2)Beast, 3)Roar(SFMW)

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