Six Flags America 6/24/06 (Long)

Associated parks:
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Sunday, June 25, 2006 10:23 AM
Yesterday, my younger brother and I made our first visit this season to our home park, SFA . We were kind of late getting our season passes this year. I was anxious to see some of the changes being made by the new regime, since this park sometimes gets a bad rap.

We got to the park around 11. I was aware of the parking price increase to $15, but what surprised me was the new $25 "preferred " parking. It seems that they took the lots closest to the front gate and made them premium parking lots. When we first arrived, there was a handful of cars in the premium lots. When we left, even though the second lot was almost full, the preferred lots were still less than half full. Something tells me that they might scrap this if they realize that people aren't going to pay $25 to park a few feet closer to the gate.

Upon entering the park, the first thing I noticed were the colorful banners that have been put around main street. There was also a group singing on the stage in front of the Grand Theatre . We got our season passes with almost no wait, and then went to the rollercoasters:

Roar: This ride has become really rough over the years! We got the front seat after about a 5 minute wait. Still a great ride, but extremely rough, especially on that last turn into the brake run. I think it might run better if they got Millenium Flyer trains for it.

Superman - As usual, this ride delivers great speed and great airtime. Kudos to the ride ops for keeping the lines down and the loading process fast.

Jokers Jinx - Down the whole time we were there

Batwing - When we left Superman, it was stuck on the lift. When we returned later in the day, it was closed, so we didn't get to ride it. Pity, because I really like this ride.

Mind Eraser - Well at least it doesn't seem to run any worse this year. Still rough in some places. Our train was delayed in leaving because some teenager decided she didn't want to ride, just as the operator was giving the all-clear to dispatch the train. She made quite a scene, and they had to unlock the entire train to let her leave.

Wild One - One of my favorite rides in the park. Great speed and airtime, especially on the return run after the turnaround. The helix finale still delivers great g's , even with the trim brake.

Two Face - Nothing really special about this ride. Just your normal Invertigo experience.

The employees seemed to be a little nicer than in previous years. The park was very clean yesterday, and we saw many sweepers out cleaning the midways. There is also a lot more signage around the park, with many more "have a great day!" signs. We saw one of the games employees tell a woman to put out her cigarette, and informed her that there was no smoking on the midways. There was also a small band that went around the park playing. I noticed that the ride ops, instead of saying "have a good day at SFA" now say "have a nice 45th anniversary at SFA".

While riding Superman, I happened to notice the Ultra Twister track pieces and cars sitting in the back of the park. It'll be interesting to see if and where this gets installed next year or not.

All in all, this park still has a long way to go to erase it's bad reputation, but it's definatly taking steps in the right direction. I think they should do something with the space where Iron Eagle was, because it looks kind of dead in that area. They also use some more flat rides.

At this point, I don't think a new coaster is necessary for SFA right now unless it's a family coaster like a wild mouse or a mine train coaster, which I think would certainly round out the park's coaster lineup. I would love to see a Phase 2 addition to Hurricane Harbor, and maybe connect it to Coyote Creek, making two entrances to the waterpark. Judging from the success of last year's renovation of the waterpark, a new addition would definatly draw in even more families. But overall a good day.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006 10:52 AM
Joker's Jinx is down because they are waiting on a part of be manufacturered. They had a nice sign in front of the entrance explaining the reason. Batwing has been running exceptionally well all season. Sorry to hear you didn't get a chance to ride it. Yes, Roar has been getting rougher and Wild One seems to be running as well and smooth as a steel coaster. I also found the Superman crew doing an exceptional job disptaching trains yesterday.

As much as I hate to say it, I think we're stuck with the Premium Parking so just about all Six Flags parks now offer it. *** Edited 6/25/2006 2:54:04 PM UTC by coasterguts***

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Sunday, June 25, 2006 11:36 AM
Poor Premier (the coaster company) is having a rough summer. I would like to ride SFA's Superman and see how it compares to SFNE's for myself. I always find it strange that I had little recognition of this park (that it even existed near D.C.) until a few years ago.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006 1:28 PM
^If you've ridden SFDL's superman you'll find that it's pretty much the same experience just mirrored.

Batwing has been running rather well this season,it's been running better than it ever has in the 5 years since it was added to the park & anytime you can get in at least two rides at different times during the day while still having plenty of time afterward for other rides is definitely a good thing.

The park definitely needs to do something...anything with the nantucket area around the iron eagle/enterprise pads,that area should be rethemed with a few flats & maybe a spinning mouse so as to bring some life back to that section of the park.Sadly I don't think we'll be seeing UT put up at all though but if you want my opinion I'd rather they add a family coaster such as a mouse or mine train first & definitely add a few more flats.

The park really needs to drop the $25 premium parking,guests simply aren't going to pay an additional $10 more just so they can park closer to the front gates...I believe the outrageously high food costs are bad enough as it is,I mean $6 for one slice of pizza is pretty darn expensive no matter how much better tasting it is compared to last year.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006 1:43 PM
Even if the premium parking lots are only being half utilized that's still quite a bit of income for the park. What's half full? 50 cars? 100 cars? 200 cars? It adds up, and it doesn't really add much additional overhead to the park's budget.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006 6:17 PM
I have to agree with matt. We may see the premium parking adjusted from one season to the next based on use, but the spaces closest to the gate will be considered premium parking from now on. It might be five rows instead of seven next season or maybe they will make a perk for Premium Passholders like BGW or perhaps a $5 or $10 upcharge for season parking passholders. However, my bigger issue with the park is, if their going to charge the same price as other parks for parking, then they need to bring the tram service back so people feel like their getting something for their money. If they are going to have parking attendants, then they need to get their buts off of the stools and start directing people where to park. Nobody else can sit down while working in the park (ride ops are the exception) the parking lot attendants shouldn't be allowed either. The whole parking situation rubs me the wrong way at SFA.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006 7:03 PM
I heard a rumor at the park the other day that we may lose more of the regular parking spaces, as apparently, even though SFA can charge for handicap parking as long as it is a private lot, they are not allowed by Maryland law to charge extra for those spaces, and currently all the handicap spaces are in the premium parking areas.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006 7:23 PM
I don't think Six Flags America is charging Premium Parking Rates for the Handicap spaces and I don't think they will move them. I could be wrong but I don'think they will get away with moving them to the regular priced lots. I'm pretty sure the law says the spaces have to be closest to the entrance. Changing the handicap parking is a pretty significant change and it wouldn't surprise me if it needed to go before a public hearing to make the change. *** Edited 6/25/2006 11:23:46 PM UTC by coasterguts***
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Sunday, June 25, 2006 7:25 PM
The trick is to arrive early and get a good parking space. Those premium parking are a waste of 'our' money, all I see there are PG and MD cops parking there (which is good in so many ways, to clean up the mess caused by last years visitors).
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Sunday, June 25, 2006 8:09 PM
Another crazy thing is that SFA's preferred parking is $25 -- $5 MORE than SFGAdv's preferred parking. Since when has SFA charged MORE for parking than SFGAdv, which is notorious for being expensive. SFA's lots are close enough (unless you end up parking way out in the overflow lot on a crowded day) that walking to the gate still isn't very far.

I agree the the Nantucket area needs something--more rides, games, food, etc. They just left that area to die.

I wish I knew what was up with the Premier coasters. What is it they're waiting for? I've read why Robin and Freeze were closed--is JJ closed for the same reason as Freeze?

I would like to see the waterpark and/or the back part of the park connected somehow to the Coyote Creek area, but I don't know how they would do this, as there realy isn't any way to put in a large path at the end near Mind Eraser and Renegade Rapids. Another connecting point that would be nice is between Roar and TSC, but TSC is in the way of connecting to Gotham City. The easiest shortcut to implement to help the park's layout is between the Batman Stunt Show over toward Wild One's helix--like the did the one season during Fright Fest.

It's interesting to note that SFMM showed up on the chopping list and not SFA. SFA supposedly sits on valuable land and it's a much less famous and established park than SFMM.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006 9:20 PM
I'm not convinced the SFA is off the chopping block yet.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006 9:50 PM
^Nor am I, but it would be much easier to build up SFA then it would be to change SFMM, for example:

a) Roar is no way shape or form a rough coaster. BELIEVE me, I have endured (and lost to) quite possibly the roughest and most painful wooden roller coaster in America, and it's not LoCoSoMu (that was awesome. Sure it was a little jerky, but it was rerideable), and it's not SOB (didn't ride due to past experience). I'll give you a couple of hints: it's at a Six Flags park and it's relatively new. It was designed by the much beloved people who designed the Voyage.

b) Nantucket is very much alive. Just because it doesn't have rides, doesn't mean it's not in use.

c) There was an interview on an enthusiast site with Mark Shapiro recently, and he said he really likes the spinning coasters, and wants to install them at all the Six Flags because it appeals to both teens and their families. So while the Iron Eagle site may be empty, imagine that there's a spinning coaster that wraps around Tower of Doom next year. There is room.

d) One thing I would definitely build would be to add a Bugs Bunny National Forest area, which are at at least three of the Six Flags now. Those sections look really nice, and would provide a second kiddie area.

e) I totally agree that they should go to phase II of Hurricane Harbor. My jaw dropped when I saw how big the HH was at SFGAm. There are a ton of slides, and a really large lazy river (which we skipped because it seemed so long, it probably would've put us another 1/2-hour behind getting to IB)

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Sunday, June 25, 2006 10:12 PM
^Niether am I.

About the parking I noticed that they've removed handicapped parking from the premium lot by simply spraypainting over the handicap parking markers with black paint & they really should make use of the trams like they tried to do in 99 as it is simply much too long of a walk from the far end of the lot to the gate.

While they're at it they should just make a seperate parking area for passholders,we pay them a good 30 bucks for a parking pass so we should have the same preffered parking options that those who pay the 25 dollar premium fee are getting.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006 10:36 PM
Batwing Fan, I really like your last idea. Damn right, if you've paid for a parking pass you should get equal access to the premium spots.
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Monday, June 26, 2006 7:40 AM
While I like the idea of season parking passholders getting access to the premium parking spots, I don't think it's going to happen. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if they made season parking passholders move to the lot furthest out. Why? A season parking pass pays for itself in two visits. After that the park looses money on season pass parking. The park makes more money on people that don't buy a season parking pass, than those that do.

BatwingFan, the handicap parking has been crowded to the side of the parking lot closest to Hurricane Harbor for yeats. The spots your talking about that have been painted over, have been painted over for years. In fact, I've been parking in them for years because they weren't marked correctly.

*** Edited 6/26/2006 11:41:34 AM UTC by coasterguts***

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Monday, June 26, 2006 7:02 PM
I read that Shapiro interview so I did hear about his obsession with the spinning coasters & I certainly believe that another family/kids area is needed in the park with more moderate rides as opposed to what's already in LTMT.

LTMT is a decent area for the younger crowd but what's needed is a more intermediate area for kids in say the 8 to 10 year age bracket & a spinning coaster would make for a perfect family attraction to maarket just such a new themed area....great chase is just not a family coaster.

I still believe that they need to do something to the IE/enterprise area in nantucket...seeing two empty ride pads where there used to be two fully functioning attractions years ago just gives that area of the park a real run down appearance plus these pads present new locations for possible rides such as a frisbee on the enterprise pad & perhaps that 120 ft tall ferris wheel we were supposed to get years ago on the IE pad....think of the view of the park one could get from having a giant wheel in such a centralized location.

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