I know there have been pages and pages of forum dedicated to the pro and cons of this, but I have to look at it this way: A butcher usually gets to take a few pieces of meat home with him at the end of the day or they will spoil. Most retail folks get a discount at their stores. People who work at movie theatres get to see movies without paying. I had a bad couple of years and it was time to think about ME for once. I used my coupon from Pathmark and bought a gold bot for one. The virtual power that I had was incredible.
I have to admit I started feeling guilty about not waiting on lines, getting off of one ride and then going again and in the case of Batman the ride: Logging in – waiting on line – riding and then going right back on again with Q-bot. In many cases, at the end of a ride, as I solo rider, I could pop back on. Also as a solo rider, I would not wait for the first row, q for the second row, and then get an upgrade when the front row only had 3 people. This was truly my day. (I even got a front seat on chiller this way)
Ah – I digress…instead of a list of: first I did this and then I did this, I will try to provide a feel and flavor of the day. The park was in very good shape. It was clean, well staffed and the list of closed rides for the day was reasonable: Freefall, Chaos, a kiddie train ride, and Ka, which I knew about. The bathrooms were clean, stocked and air-conditioned.
I was talking to a security guard who told me that earlier in the day there was a major ejection where 4 or 5 people were escorted from the park. The whole department was called in. I explained that I was thrilled to see the increase of security presence and that I expected the park to be much more crowded than it was. He told me yesterday was empty due to what he thought was the live 8 concert and that Nitro had almost a five minute wait all day. I wish I brought my camera, The “Mr. Six Bus” was there and the guards were frequently taking pictures of people in front of it.
Most of the people in the park were genuinely happy. There were some crowds, but nothing like it could have been or should have been for a July 4th weekend day. There were also quite a few misters on, particularly in the boardwalk area. It was truly interesting to see people from other countries not only working there, but visiting. There was a good feel or and display many cultures and dialects.
I was wearing a black Top Thrill Dragster shirt and I was singled out by four crews. The Nitro group (Sean) was particularly interested in discussing parks. He even seated me next to a guy wearing a shirt from another park. I also got a few pointers in how to ride Nitro. (Lean in a little bit on the hills to fully feel the air – Wow did it work!) A gentleman on Congo Rapids was teasing me saying that his park was better. A guy working Batman the Ride asked me about the shirt and wanted to tell me about his upcoming trip. It was GREAT to see that some ride ops were interested in rides. Most of the coaster crews were pretty fast and efficient. The one guy running the carousel was so overwhelmed. There was a two minute ride cycle, and aboutr seven minutes to load, unload, shut the gates, etc. Get the poor guy some help. The same for Music Express – and in both cases – no music. The Stuntman Water Effect (was perfect for the weather), but it only was using two boats and was a slow loader.
Nitro – 14 rides - I got to see the ride stop in order to add another train to the circuit for a total of three. Very Cool! The ride is smooth, fun and full of power, but even better at night. On the last few runs, there were fireworks going off from afar (Not the 6 flags version which was to come later) Front row – back row –any row. It’s just a great ride with lots of leg room.
Great American Scream Machine – 4 rides – Better than it had been, but still a lot of head banging. The break after the first 3 loops almost completely stopped the ride.
Medusa – 6 Rides – Good overall ride. Lots of fun. I can’t figure our exactly geometrically how the floor fits between the concrete. I looks like it shouldn’t, but it does everytime. Notice to operator: A good ride op is like a baseball umpire. If you nitice him too much, it’s not a good thing. The ride could use a bit of paint.
Batman the Ride – 8 Rides - Smoother, faster, and more intense than I remember. Thanks to the crew for the instant re-rides.
Chiller – 3 Rides – Good launch – good time – Nice restraint system. I apologize again to the guy next to me for sticking my behind in your face as I was crossing over you. (Nice laugh from the crowd)
Mine Train – No Legroom.
Superman Ultimate Flight – I don’t care much for this ride. The big loop is cool, after that it’s nothing spectacular. I think the funny part is that you tend to have to wait for the car in front of you to dispatch before you enter the station. So there you are, superman, stuck in traffic like the rest of the mortal population.
Skull Mountain – Ok, but a bit short. Could use some more effects in there. At least some mist and a few strobes.
Rolling Thunder – Nice to see both sides open and racing. The ride still hurts. (I think the family in front of me lost 3 teeth collectively). It’s always a bad ride even on a good day. It’s time to let it go. I said my goodbyes to it as we were pulling into the station. It’s over.
Log Flume – Still Nice – But bumpy. When Great adventure first opened and Jerry Lewis was the pitchman, the jingle sang “Ride the giant log flume ride – the greatest thrill in all the world.” It’s still there after 30 years and makes a nice complement to the western area, but in no uncertain terms is it or was it the greatest thrill in all the world. Not even the top 10.
Congo Rapids – Nice – but needs more obstacles that splash.
Boat Flume – Nice to see this one open today. It has a nice flow, but only one drop with few other elements.
Rodeo Stampede – I love this flat ride. It’s like a slightly tame Break Dance with cow shaped cars. The program isn’t too long or too intensive, but it’s a lot of fun. One thing I didn’t understand is that last year there was a very strict policy of two people to a cow. This year I could ride solo. I also confused the foreign ride op when I asked him if the metal rod he uses to lock the cars hurts the animals.
Swing – Short program – a little mild – but nice.
Tea Cups – Ditto – I have to admit I love this ride, but I have trouble getting my cup to spin fast.
Sky Ride – I saw the best sun set of the year up there. The sky was on fire. PURE BLISS.
Space Shuttle – An old friend returns – I love this ride. It’s very graceful and a lot of fun. There is a seatbelt, a thigh crusher and an OTS restraint which hurt my chest. It had been closed for many years and it’s nice to revisit an old friend.Now bring back Swiss Bob, Pendulum, Scrambler, Trabent and the Super Side Winder.
The rides started closing down by 10. At which point a FANTASTIC fireworks display lit up the sky. I swear this show had two or three finales. A few strays were released a half hour before the show, but it was almost a 40 minute exhibition. VERY IMPRESSIVE! And a nice way to end the night.
Food: WAWA – Great and cheap way to eat before the gates open while you are on line.
Chippys Fish – I never had this before, but it was quite good. I think it’s part of a chain (Expensive though). Actually, I needed to make a pay phone call and the guy in the stand was kind enough to give me roll of quarters for a ten dollar bill. My bill came to some odd amount and I told him to keep the change. He told me he was unable to do so. I never heard of anyone refusing a tip at a park.
Kosher Hot Dog – Nice to know there is a place in Great Adventure where you can get a kosher hot dog. It was very expensive but good. Interesting how the kosher stand was ironically placed right next to the German-themed picnic area.
Other and Oddities: There was a metal raccoon or critter trap next in the rocks near the movie water effect ride.
A loud group of kids rented wheel chairs and were using them to get around the park. They parked the chairs and were then climbing over the rows of cueing on the sky ride. They weren’t what I exactly call handicapped.
There was still some line cutting, but it was mostly one person on line and the others passing through to meet up with him or her. Not that that makes it right, but that's coming from a Q-bot user. One group was screaming with the ride op at Skull Mountain because her Q-bot reservation was for six, but the op would only allow three at a time on the ride on each train. The Q-bot user said, "that's not fair I have a reservation for six." The op said, "I can only allow 3 few fass pass mmebers at a time." Next came some explosive cursing and talk about how she was going to guest relations to get her mony back for the &^&^$%&^ Q-bot. Another Q-bot user was angry on Superman because she was cut by a VIP tour. "What the *&(&( is a VIP. I have Q-bot...I'm a VIP too."
The tigers in the exquisite exhibit were beautiful. I was wondering though...Didn’t we learn anything from Sigfried and Roy? They may look splendid and make a nice attraction, but I just don’t believe they belong on a theme park midway. One guest might do something stupid and it could trigger a dangerous reaction. The trainers are never in the exhibit alone with the animals, but it won’t take long for an accident to happen. The rest of the themeing and the attractions were PERFECT and a significant improvement to Bugs Bunny Land. The mini water area alone was like an Epcot fountain with several attachments to hose down the little ones. The play area and the kiddie rides here were top notch. I ducked my head under a fountain and was comfortable for fifteen minutes.
The bridge from rolling thunder to the back of the mine train was cut off due to construction and destruction. A ride op told me that some big things were coming soon, but was not allowed to tell me what.
Shows: Batman / Catfight – Big, loud, explosive fun for the kids.
Parade of Loony Tunes People – Costumed characters waving at you
Overall: The improvements in this park (Security, Golden Kingdom, Many trains on the coasters) coupled with the Q-bot shows that This place can please a lot of people. I could make a full day out of things I didn’t do such as Ferris Wheel, Buccaneer, Sponge Bob, Upcharge attractions, Jolly Roger, Treasure train, Fun Factory as well as the Safari and Water Park. It’s a very expensive day, but I had some free coupons and the coupon for the bot, so it wasn’t too bad. Parking was $10. (Ouch). It was a fantastic day, and the promise of going on Ka at some point, will gladly get me to return several times over the season.
Six Flags is showing that at least in this park, a commitment to listen and to make positive changes.
Bravo! *** Edited 7/4/2005 9:14:17 PM UTC by Richie Reflux***
NIce report though.
Thats odd that Free Fall was closed. Maybe something happened to it? Ever since Ka closed, they have had every ride open that could be. The kiddie train is having state inspection issues and Chaos and Ka, well, we already know why but everything else has been nearly 100%. Hopefully its back soon.
The crews are getting better and better and I've noticed over the last few weeks that many seem to actually like roller coasters and rides. Imagine that!
Thanks for taking the time to actually notice some things like the food, security, cleanliness, etc. I know a lot of the people that are working extra hard to try to make these changes a reality and with SFI, we all know that isn't easy.
edit: fixed typos *** Edited 7/5/2005 4:49:04 PM UTC by RTneedsTLC***
Yes the ops do seem to be enjoying themselves. I was taking pictures of the Runaway Train from the Kiddie Carousel and the carousel op was counting down for me when the train would come through. I also spent some time talking to Sean and Earl (ops on Nitro) they really seem to like working the best coaster in the park in my opinion. Yes I have ridden Kingda Ka but I still love Nitro more.
Security is wonderful this season. I saw a situtation starting near Congo Rapids and Security handled it quick and peacefully.
Food I don't have too much to say about since I usually eat a big breakfast then don't eat again until I leave the park. But I will say drinks are plentiful though expensive unless you want to tote around a souvenir bottle all day.
Cleanliness is definitely moving in the right direction also. I saw people constantly patroling for litter and trash cans being emptied on a regular basis.
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