Six Flags America: 08-13-2002 (Descriptive)

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Friday, August 23, 2002 10:29 AM

Six Flags America: Tuesday, August 13, 2002

My husband Brian and I went together to the park.

This was to be his first time to the location since the Wild World days. I had been during the Wild World days too, but had also been to SFA at the end of June 2001 and the end of June 2002.

A little background on the cast: I am a coaster enthusiast and an amusement park junkie. My husband is not; he's more of an average Joe-Schmoe member of the General Public that doesn't get some insane kick out of tossing around park and coaster trivia tidbits - he's there to have fun, that's it, have a great day. He likes coasters and he really likes themed parks, but he's open to experiences and new things. He's also ridden a Skycoaster and I have not. He's an adrenaline junkie like me, maybe even more so.

There was a heat advisory out for the day. We got to the park between 11 and 12. A lady met up with us on our way through to the entrance gates, got our names and phone numbers, some other stats like number of visits and distance to the park (important later), and then we were in the park.

Back up a few steps: there were alot of cars there! I had to park further out than ever before. Our car was facing the water park, specifically the area where that huge bucket fills with water and then tips and splashes. In order to get to the entrance gate, everyone crossed over this fenced point of land, worn down into pathways from people not taking the long walk around it, but the more direct route to the entrance gates. NOTE to six flags: Please construct a simple path, as it's inconvenient for people to squeeze and then hurdle over the fences, and no one cares to stroll through the parking lot when they can get to the park more quickly. We're there for the park, NOT for the pleasure of your parking lot. This is a relatively cheap thing to do. It would make many people happy.

So we're in the park. We head to Roar. A bit of a wait, and we rode in the backmost seats. The ride was great and more than Brian had anticipated. It was a bit shakey but it's a wooden coaster and we were in the back. I think Roar is the best coaster in the park. Brian had a different opinion but he really liked Roar.

We hit the Pirate ship. Nice, but they could make the ride duration twice as long and it would be better. There's never a line there that I have ever seen, weekdays or weekends, and three full swings and then it's over. It's fun, make it longer please.

I desperately wanted Typhoon Seacoaster to be open, but of course, it wasn't open. I don't think it would have ever been open this season: the water tank substantially low, the canals for the boats, bare and dried and pathetic looking. You could see the underlying tube structure where water would be pumped and stuff. Boats I think were on the hills, sitting out, blistering in the sun, molding in the rain. We noticed later, from the JJ trains, that more boats were sitting on the blacktop in back of TSC, neglected, blistering, not being cared for. What a pity, since it's one of the greatest rides in the park. Shudder to think, but it's pretty original and creative. Isn't it an Intamin, too? Oh the shame and horror. I can't believe that it's the drought that has this ride shut down, because the other water rides were running. Please for the love of all that is fun, if you have to open only one of these water rides, open the one with more personality. Three water rides at this park (not including the water park), two pointless and one great, and which one is shut down indefinitely. Just tear it out if you don't want it. It looks like a big canker sore.

We headed over to the Wild One area.

The Rainbow type ride: Falling Star! Loved this ride!! Seldom much of a line, and the ride is a blast. It looks wussy sure, but it's just plain fun. Wind and weightlessness... and if you sit a single person in one of the seats, you get swooshed back and forth, left to right. A surprise that made it even more fun. We were laughing our butts off.

Tower of Doom: it was good. No great wonder.

The Wild One: This coaster was nice. A bit of a wait. Now, the park has worked on this coaster - they've attached newer (?) pieces of lumber to the coaster, I guess it is maintenance. But they have not bothered to paint it, and it looks bad. The coaster is white. Please please, give out some paint brushes and buckets to some employees and have them paint the wood. It's not that much wood to paint but it's enough to take away from it's beauty. It looks like no one really cares but for the minimal required work.

Mind Eraser: I found it very humorous that as we were waiting in line for this one, Brian said 'I hope it doesn't fall apart while we're riding it.' I tend to be a bit narrow-sighted about coasters at times - I like the drop of Mind Eraser from the front seat, the view, the adrenaline rush. However, with his words I took a step back out of that narrowness and looked at Mind Eraser. It does look bad. The red supports are more of a faded spotty burnt orange. Rust patches galore. The blue is fading almost as quickly. The trains look unkept. If you watch the coaster closely, or maybe not so closely, you can see the shaking, roughness. You can see the bad transitions where you know it's going to hurt. I wonder what maintenance if any SFA has done on this ride, ever. As our train slammed to a halt in the final breaks, I started wondering - if a park truly doesn't like a coaster, they could make it SBNO like BGW did with Drachen Fire, or they could treat it like SFA treats Mind Eraser. Yes, perhaps some of this problem is Vekoma, but you know what? My husband didn't care about who Vekoma was. Vekoma Shmekova. He was at SFA and as far as he knew it or cared to think about it, SFA has an inverted coaster that sucks. Cant help but wonder if really this is how most of the GP considers coasters, you know? In fact, it really did erase his mind - later he couldn't even remember the name of the coaster.

We passed Renegade Rapids. I've been on this before, once. It's short, unimaginative, and boring. It gets you wet. You know what? So does splashing onesself in a bathroom but I don't have to wait for 45 minutes for that. Now, I love rapids rides and water rides, but I don't care for rides that disappoint me. More on this bathroom water thing later.

Jokers Jinx. The high point of my day after Roar. And Falling Star - I love that ride! Anyway, got into line, and it turned out to be very lucky for us. It appeared that as we got into line, the operators were bringing the second, yellow train into play. It squeaked a little disturbingly but we figured - if the ops approve, we approve! The line was moving great, acceptably. The ride ops were having fun. They were sassing the riders, and everyone was having a great time. Deploying out, zoom zoom zoom!!! We got into the yellow train, wouldn't it figure, and in the back two seats. Zoomed out, coursed through, a weightless air-time-full rodeo ride, then pulled into the final brakes before taxiing back into the station. Well, we stayed there on that brake run... for a good amount of time. We heard the swooshing of the other train through the steel pasta, and then getting suspicious enough, husband and I looked around and there comes the pink train flying through the corkscrew and then coming to an abrupt halt. Safe yes, but still a tad disturbing. So we sat there melting into our black leather seats for a good time, the people in the station waiting, getting concerned, asking what was wrong. A pick-up truck came over and a couple blue shirts popped out, up the stairs, looked over the controls and brought us in. Not sure that JJ was as confident for the rest of the day - we noticed some suspicious pauses in swooshing trains that suggested maybe further problems. What a shame; love the lapbars! Grease the yellow train, maybe?

Superman: A decent line, not too long a wait. Went to the back seat queue. I was feeling anxious - this coaster reminds me of Millennium Force! Two seconds up the first hill, one of the guys in front of us lost his hat and it bopped my husband in the face. Flew back somewhere, dont know. I didnt even notice it, I was looking elsewhere. Tons of negative Gs in the back seat. It was great! A bit rocky though. And... a bit boring. Husband loved it though - was his favorite coaster of the day. As we were coming back into the station, the guys in front of us apologized about the hat and we all four chuckled about it, no hard feelings, poor guy looked like he wanted his hat. A girl in the middle of the train tossed some cookies over the side of her car. Poor girl. We bought the on-ride photo, because in the photo, the guy was holding his head where his hat used to be, and it made us laugh again. Good times. On the way out we noticed alot of rust spots on the supports for the first hill. Come on guys, it's a beautiful Intamin hyper - please take care of her!

Batwing. Is this thing ever running right? The newest coaster in the park and more tempermental than... for pity's sake! We saw that the line was huge and they were running one train, so we headed for the bathrooms allllll the way over by Wild One before we got into line. Six Flags: MORE BATHROOMS. I was looking forward to splashing some cold water on my face in the bathroom after walking in the melting heat from batwing to gotham but then i found that the bathroom water was running HOT. What the heck is up with that????? I've read where people want the special soap back in the Cedar Point bathrooms, but hey at least you have cool water to wash your hands! Here in the ghetto we don't have cold water. Oh, did I say ghetto? Yes, we were calling this Six Flags Ghetto by this point - because this park was being maintained like it was nothing more than a ghetto.

Got back to Batwing. It swooshed through, husband got excited, a new experience. Then the coaster shut down for tech difficulties. Over the dying staticky intercom the ops announced considerately that it was down, no estimate for when it would run again. Is the intercom dying, perhaps, because they've had to use it so often this summer??? Two out of three times I've come to SFA, the coaster has been down at least half of the day, the third time, running one train, long line for that. Can anyone tell me if Stealth has these kind of problems?? We waited in line, what the heck, for an hour, then the ops just started walking people through - no dough, no go, and out we were again. Got our stuff from the lockers (and no bathrooms) by batwing, husband wondered if he could get his $.50 back for storing his stuff for no ride. Disappointment all around. So we went to look for food.

We didn't want barbeque from the place where you have to sit outside, we wanted air conditioning, so we hit the food court and the hollywood cafe. Both places were disappointing. Couldnt find the trays, the employees in the back, backs turned to the customers, sipping sodas at their leisure. Meager aged offerings sitting in the bins. To be carried out on the absent trays. At this point, husband and I decided that we had no desire to give SFA any more of our cash than we already had, so we left.

Additional comments: More trees, more trees, more trees!!!!! Put ceiling fans in the stations and in the sheltered picnic areas. Upgrade the parking lot to be more user-friendly. Paint your coasters. Take care of Mind Eraser or get rid of it. Patch the rust spots. Figure out how to run coasters smoothly and reliably. This isn't criticism of the ride oprators but of the management. What we observed couldn't be due to the ride operators - it was too extensive, substantial, couldn't reasonably have been a huge team of ride ops trying to sabotage a park like this, had to be the management where these results were originating, not sabotage of course but inadvertent sabotage really through PP management practices. This rests with the management. This park has so much potential but it's being run so poorly it's a real shame. I'd love to love this park, but I don't think that I'll be getting a season pass next summer. My husband and I are already planning trips to other parks. I came back to SFA because the coasters were the park's saving grace but even now the coasters aren't saving much because they're not as much of a new experience, and so the negative experience of poor management and maintenance comes to the fore.

The survey people contacted my husband yesterday by phone from some Florida phone number - we figured then that these people were contractors to SFA hired to get guest feedback. He didn't restrain himself in his responses, and the caller was a tad surprised. Well, maybe it stands to reason, since Six Flags hasn't invaded Florida yet with what seems to be its fast food amusement offerings.

I expect some flames, but please understand that this is my trip, what we experienced. I have given Six Flags the benefit so many times, I've come back to it, but my money is valuable to me, and my money goes where I get the best returns. Logical. I'm not into feeding a Six Flags charity case. They just need to improve alot before we go back there or to any other six flags parks. Unfair? I don't think so. I've read enough trip reports about the six flags parks to know that SFA is no exception to the rule.

Please also understand that when i say ghetto, I in no way refer to the guests of the park, it's location in Maryland, the behavior of anyone, etc. I refer strictly to the appearance and management of this park.


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Friday, August 23, 2002 11:19 AM
Nice TR. I visited that park spring 2001 and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Seemed to me that the park was run a little better than the other Six Flags parks I have been to but maybe I caught it on a better day :)
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Friday, August 23, 2002 11:29 AM

My wife an I found about the same things that you encountered at SFA.

It has the POTENTIAL to be a good park... if it were just a bit better run and maintained. I did not notice the rust on S:RoS... but I DID notice the unpainted wood on Wild One. Unpainted wood on Roar (with its treated lumber) isn't bad... but if you have a painted coater, no matter what type of wood you add (treated or untreated), paint the darned stuff to make it match and not look so bad.

While I am certainly not a Six Flags fan (actually, pretty much the opposite), my wife and I are considering getting a season pass next year from SFA. And then we are planning on hitting SFGrAdv, SFNE, the Great Escape, and possibly SFOG (if we do a Florida trip). No love for SFA that will make us get a Season Pass... just saving money in the long run.

Now Catherine mentioned that she visited in Spring 2001 and was "pleasantly surprised". This TR is from August 13. My above coments and negative impressions come from a visit in August 2001. When I was there in May 2002 (this year) I was "pleasantly surprised" by how "improved" it seemed over last year. Could this be a timing thing? The operations are good in the beginning of the season but then tend to fall apart near the end? (Of course, my comments of the unpainted Wild One sections were observed during my May visit).

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 8/23/2002. ***

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Friday, August 23, 2002 11:34 AM
On Typhoon SeaCoaster, while they are NOTORIOUS about only running like 4 or 5 out of the advertised SIXTEEN boats they have (many of which are hanging out behind WIld One), I've seen TSC running each of my five visits there ranging from opening day till just yesterday.

About that dreaded path in the parking lot, it didnt *used* to have a fence there. They put the fence up last season supposedly to keep people from injuring themselves walking down the slightly steep grade. It's funny that people have just ignored it and made their own path. Is it really that hard to walk around? But that would be a nice thing if they took the hint and made a path there.

And finally the trees. There are probably more trees in that park than most parks I've ever been to. The problem is that most of the trees are in no position to provide any shade to the midways. Now, the question becomes how do you shade the paths yet keep them wide enough to service the rides. I cannot off hand think of any park the size of SFA or bigger that handles this delicate balance well. BGW is wonderful in providing shading, but I think their midways are a little narrow. Cedar Point has TONS of midway space, but little shade. Once I figure out how to do both, me & RGW's "Amusement Park Consulting" business will REALLY take off!

I personally dont think SFA is poor enough to give me a "bad" day there, in general, but I'll admitt it is near the bottom of my list of parks. I'd probably never go there again if I didnt live here.
jeremy

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"To get inside this head of mine, would take a monkey-wrench, and a lot of wine" Res How I Do

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Friday, August 23, 2002 11:38 AM

I couldn't agree more when it comes to the ride cycle on high seas,now if you want a great swinging ship ride the sea dragon @ Rehoboth beach funland is the ride for you,maybe SFA should go up there and study the way that ride is run and learn a few pointers.

I'm also surprised to hear of how many people showed up on a hot day like that and that Typhoon sea coaster was down the entire day,it was down when I visited back on the 10th=( and I had to settle for renegade rapids instead.

About the paint(or lackthereof) on mind eraser I wish the park would really do something about it because it does indeed look terrible,either they should repaint it or get rid of it.

I'm surprised that JJ is having problems again because it sure had it's share of trouble when I was there,I wonder if the brakes are acting up again? at least Wild one wasn't giving you trouble because it sure gave us some.

I'll be heading there possibly next thursday,if not then in early october,I hope things improve by the time I get there or I'm not gonna be all that happy with the park.

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Friday, August 23, 2002 11:46 AM

Thanks for the feedback on my TR! :) I'm glad no one has flamed me yet.

Are you serious, has Seacoaster actually run at all this past summer??? From the looks of it when I went in June 2002 and then this month, I mean, it looked exactly the same, no water, boats idle, sitting, boats in the back, on their sides, no activity, absolutely nothing. I figured from what appeared to be no effort to bring the water into the ride and no activity at all, that it was just written off for the 2002 season.

Maybe the service is better in the beginnign of the season and it drops off cliff-face-like as the seasons wears through, but ticket prices don't drop as the season progresses, so neither should the quality.

As far as more trees and shade, perhaps they could put in an overhang such as they have at Kings Dominion, or more trees along the edge of the pathways. It just seems as you had said that the trees are thre, but just... waaaaaayyyy over there......

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Friday, August 23, 2002 11:53 AM

Well, your concerns sumed up what I felt. Although I had a good time, the park could use a little touch up, in certain areas of their park. If these problems were addressed, then I think this park has the potential to be great.

coderGirl said:I expect some flames, but please understand that this is my trip, what we experienced.

I wouldn't flame your TR. It was a very good in pointing out the good and the bad.

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Dayuum, Your HOT!

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Friday, August 23, 2002 12:00 PM
Couldent help but replie to ur post, you had almost the same exsperance I had when I visted them in the 2001 season , the sea coaster ride was closed,and the park was not too fun at all, but for some reason when I visited on June,26,2002 I had a really nice time, there was not one line for anything ,and the The sea coaster was alot of fun. Alot of there workers have additude proplems thou,and the water in the bathroom was hot when I was there too!, and I had soap on my hands, so I had to deal with it At first it was warm ,then got real hot. I think the front seats of Superman are better becuase they hop up faster then in the back seats, and it is too bad that they did not give me a call becuase I would have love to give them a peice of my mind from my 2001 trip. The only thing is that there food was nasty looking, so I dident eat till we where halfway back to Newyork.
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Friday, August 23, 2002 11:05 PM

2Hostyl said:
I cannot off hand think of any park the size of SFA or bigger that handles this delicate balance well.

Great Adventure, PKI, PCW...oh did I forget to mention Great Adventure :) :) :)


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God is Good!

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Saturday, August 24, 2002 6:46 AM
Tuan, Have you *been* to Great Adventure lately? You will absolutely ROAST in the "Movietown", "Bordwalk" and "Southwest" areas. And to be honest, "Fantasy Forest" isnt much better. PKI does good on *half* of the park (Tower area, Rivertown). But by Sonny, Racer and even Reptar, it gets pretty sunny. Again, trees everywhere...but not really providing shade to the walkways. Admittedly, I went to Wonderland a long time ago...and it was overcast :)


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"To get inside this head of mine, would take a monkey-wrench, and a lot of wine" Res How I Do

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Saturday, August 24, 2002 10:13 AM

Sorry about your visit. SeaCoaster has been open on all of my visits (8) - but I have seen it break down before, and I saw it close last year. Batwing has also been open every visit, and is more reliable than last year overall, but I understand your dissapointment. It should run at least two trains every day with only minor breakdowns.

I completely agree about the paint on Mind Eraser, Superman, and Wild One. However, Superman is only 2 years old, so they probably did not budget any paint money for it. Hopefully they will clear it up over the off season. And Wild One... well, just be happy that it gets new wood and rehabed trains (cough Rolling Thunder cough).

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Sunday, August 25, 2002 12:54 PM
I am actually about to flame you because of your use of the word Ghetto. If you look ghetto up in the dictionary, it means "part of a city where members of a minority group live" rather it be a bunch of rich minorities or whatever. Just because something is called a ghetto does not mean it is run down. Ignorant people like urself make me sick to my stomach! YOUR use of the word was simply to say that SFA is filled with nothing but African Americans and is run down and what not. Well, u need to rethink urself because I don't appreciate what u have had to say. It's people like you who have too many preconcieved notions and stereotypes about people in this world.

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So...you can't handle a rollercoaster huh? Well...you ARE the Weakest Link! Goodbye!
Number 1 Batwing Fan!

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Sunday, August 25, 2002 2:02 PM
yup
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Monday, August 26, 2002 6:11 AM

Take things in context, scoaster , and read more of the definition than what you simply want to read and stop playing the "race card":

Miriam Webster defines the word ghetto by the deffinition that you use... it also defines it in the following way: " a situation that resembles a ghetto especially in conferring inferior status or limiting opportunity "

It's got nothing to do with race... its got everything to do with beign run down and in poor maintenance.

You are taking your deffinition to literally. Deffinitions change over time. They mean one thing originally but then are changed by common usage, wether proper or inproper.

IF you read the entire deffinition, you will find that the word dates back to the 1600's as refering to a section of the city where the Jewish population of Venice were forced to live.

Overtime it became applied to an area of a city where any minorities lived (either by force or by choice). While perhaps in some cases the areas were nice, for the most part the implication of the word was of that of a lower status.


The most famous "ghetto" was probably in Warsaw during WWII. Again, the Jewish population of the city was forced to live there.

But enough of the history lesson. Again, before you quote the dictionary, read all of the deffinitions. True, it does say where miniorities live, but it goes onto state "especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure". Bottom line, the term does inflect "inferior status" or being "run down".

Not defending the use of the word ghetto in this thread, Just pointing out, scoaster, that before you go quoting deffinitions, you should really read all of the deffinitions... not just pick and chose those that will (incorrectly) support your argument.

Then again, looking at your personal quote, I see that you are a SFA "fanboy" should I guess I really shouldn't expect very much objectivity.

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 8/26/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 8/26/2002. ***

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