Six Flags America 7/24/02

Associated parks:
None

Thursday, August 22, 2002 7:32 PM
From 7/21/02 to 7/29/02, I decided to do a coaster invasion of some northeastern states. My stops were:

7/21 Fly in
7/22 Morey’s Piers
7/23 Six Flags Great Adventure
7/24 Six Flags America
7/25 Hersheypark
7/26 Knoebel’s
7/27 Dorney Park and a party at a friend's house
7/28 Dorney Park
7/29 Fly out

Today was a visit to Six Flags America. I had originally scheduled to go to the Coney Island Cyclone in NYC, but I had to cancel. For one, a few relatives wanted to get together with me in Baltimore. They ended up canceling on me at the last minute. They did this to me before. I decided not to meet them unless they come to my house. Secondly, I hadn’t heard very good things about the Coney Island area and NYC traffic. I wanted to be safe. Thirdly, I had a Six Flags season pass, so I was able to get into any Six Flags property at no charge. So with all these factors, I decided to visit Six Flags America.

The coaster that I really wanted to ride was Joker’s Jinx. I love launched coasters and I wanted to give this one a try. I checked out of the Red Roof Inn that I was at the night before and I saw the frowning clerk again. Even after a hard night’s work, she was still pretty unfriendly. I headed to Six Flags America and got there before opening.

I rode the coasters in this order: Joker’s Jinx, Superman: Ride of Steel, Two Face: The Flip Side, The Wild One, Roar, and Mind Eraser.

Here are my impressions of the coasters…

JOKER’S JINX

This was the coaster that pulled me towards Six Flags America. I rode it three times with a maximum of a 5-minute wait. They were running two trains. The launch on Joker’s Jinx is pretty fast and it was neat to ride the coaster on the spaghetti path, but it certainly wasn’t the best launched coaster that I’ve rode, like the Incredible Hulk Coaster or Wicked Twister. Like the Chiller, they switched from a harness to a lapbar, which made the ride a lot better. Joker’s Jinx was a fun ride.

On my third ride, I sat beside a woman who was friendly and nice. Unfortunately, she had bad body odor. Mrs. BBO had an odor so bad that I could taste the nasty odor molecules in my mouth! What should I have said to Mrs. BBO? “Excuse me, ma’am, but there are showers available in a hotel. Can you use it tonight?” I just tried to keep my disgusted look off my face.

SUPERMAN: RIDE OF STEEL

This is Six Flags America’s mega-coaster. They were running one train and I rode it two times. The wait was about 10 minutes for each ride. The coaster has some great airtime. I was out of the seat for what seemed like a very long time. I wasn’t too thrilled about the spiraling down parts. I want more airtime, not a boring spiral! The coaster wasn’t as good as Nitro or even Millennium Force, but it was still fun.

TWO FACE: THE FLIP SIDE

This coaster has yet another standard boomerang layout: the cobra roll and one loop. It has a small twist, though: you’re facing the other person in the next row. The coaster had the linebacker SLC harnesses. I thought, “Oh, no, another headbanger,” but this ride was smooth. The lift hill was very quiet, too. All in all, it was still another standard boomerang. It was not a bad ride, but had a long wait later in the day. Fortunately, I had a short wait for it of 5 minutes.

Two Face wasn’t themed very well, either. There’s a picture of Two Face at the front and umbrellas were black and white, but the ride itself was mostly orange. They could have called it “Boomerang” and no one would have noticed the different. Why couldn’t they have painted the track half as white and half as black?

Speaking of theming, there was a lack of it on rides named for DC comics characters. One Super Himalaya ride was named for the Penguin, but it still had an Alpine Bob’s sign and pictures of skiers on the ride. Another was a Superman Chaos ride. It was green, but it was probably green when it came from the factory. It was rather ugly too. I think an “S” in the middle of the ride or even red and blue paint would have made the ride better looking.

THE WILD ONE

This was an out and back wooden coaster. This was also the surprise of the day. The ride seemed kind of old, so I thought it would be a rough ride. It turns out the ride was very smooth and had a lot of good airtime. I proclaimed the Wild One my favorite coaster in the park. I rode it two times with a 5-minute wait. They were running one train.

ROAR

This was a twister wooden coaster. Here’s an example of why I don’t like twisters. They’re rough and toss you around a lot. Roar was no different. The first ride was pretty rough. I rode it a second time. On my second ride, I tried to avoid the roughness by making my seatbelt and lapbar tight, and by leaning forward a bit on the ride. That didn’t work. I was beaten up enough on this one. If I liked it more, I would have rode it a lot more since the ride was a walk-on.

MIND ERASER

Here is another SLC inverted coaster and it has no relation to the Mind Eraser boomerang coaster at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. All the SLC coasters I’ve ridden are headbangers. Mind Eraser was another one. Again, this coaster had the standard SLC heart-shaped loop and three flat spins. Come on Vekoma, use some imagination in your SLCs! The ride was a walk-on. As I exited the ride, a coaster train passed overhead and some guy yelled, “This ride sucks!” Indeed it does! I will say one good thing about SLC coasters. The lift hills are very quiet. You don’t hear any of the clanking of a standard chain lift. It’s too bad their rides can’t be smoother. I rode Mind Eraser once for the credit.

Batwing was down all day. Some benches blocked off the entrance. Two janitors stood around the benches. One held a makeshift cardboard sign. From a distance, I couldn’t read it. I wondered why this guy was holding up a blank piece of cardboard. I walked closer and it said that Batwing was closed and will be down all day. I wanted to ride the flume ride Skull Island, but that was down all day too.

I also saw the Batman Stunt Show, which was pretty entertaining. I caught the first show of the day and the auditorium was half empty! In fact, the park was very quiet that day. I found that surprising, since it was a summer day. I was sure kids were out of school and looking for something fun to do. I think the number of people in the park matched the number of people in the Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain queue at noon!

Like other Six Flags parks, they need to improve on throughput. I’ve been to two other Six Flags parks – Six Flags Worlds of Adventure and Six Flags Great Adventure – and they also have throughput problems. People are left sitting at the break run for eternity while the ride ops pack people into the rides. They need ex-employees from Cedar Point, Disney, and Universal to kick these Six Flags employees into shape.

The other problem with the park is the lack of water fountains. The only fountains I saw were around the locker area. The lockers were about in the center of the park. I think the park was trying to cut out water fountains so they can sell more $2 bottled waters, but it seemed like bad customer service not to put water fountains around the park. I mean, what would you rather have – people drinking free water during hot days or passing out from a lack of water during hot days? I walked around and was so thirsty that I bought bottled water, but I used that bottle to fill up on water throughout the day. I had to walk to the lockers a lot, but it was better than paying $2 a shot for water!

The food seemed kind of pricey too. I ate at the ribs place. I wanted ribs, but they were out of them. How can you call yourself a ribs place when you don’t have ribs? I had a pork sandwich, fries, and bottled water. It costs $11.20. It wasn’t too tasty, but edible.

Six Flags was also offering Fast Lane passes. You could get 5 for $10. Each coaster had two designated Fast Lane rows (usually in the middle). You could ride in those rows if no Fast Lane ticket holders were using them. With the crowds on this day, it didn’t seem worth it. I might have bought some of Batwing was open, but still, to charge $2 a ride to get to the front of the line seemed very silly. I paid $9 to park on a slab of asphalt!

I think that I will call Six Flags parks “Greed is Good” parks. First, I get charged $9-$10 just to park. Then I had to pay for Fast Pass-like tickets. Then I pay $10+ for so-so food. The lack of water fountains at Six Flags America seems like a greedy attempt to increase drink sales. Come on, Six Flags, my wallet can take only so much of a beating!

I’ve decided to nickname Six Flags America “Attack of the Clones.” No, Jango Fett was not wandering around the parks! It’s just that the park is full of clone rides. Joker’s Jinx layout is similar to other launched coaster, like Flight of Fear. Two Face: The Flip Side is similar to Face/Off. Superman: Ride of Steel and Roar can be found at other Six Flags parks. Mind Eraser is like most other SLC coasters. Even the Wild One had a familiar out and back coaster layout. Don’t get me wrong – I had fun at the park. If I lived in the area, I’d get a season pass. I’d visit again if I were passing by the area. However, it seemed like I went out of my way to visit the park. The taste is more bitter, considering this is the park that I paid a lot of tolls just to visit.

I left the park at 4 pm, since I had done everything that I wanted. I was trying to reach Hershey, PA so I could do the preview plan at Hersheypark. Unfortunately, I ran into rush hour traffic at Baltimore. What was to be a two-hour drive ended up being about 3 ½ hours. I was so tired from driving that I checked into the Red Roof Inn in Harrisburg. I decided to just work on some postcards. This Red Roof Inn had a nice front desk person and they found my reservation without problems. I paid $41 a night at this hotel and was going to stay there for two nights.

Tomorrow: Hersheypark

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Friday, August 23, 2002 9:53 AM
Sorry about Batwing being down, it is my favorite ride at the park. About the water, it is free at any food place and they even give you a decent sized cup (unlike SFGadv, but it is free there also).
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Friday, August 23, 2002 10:25 AM
In case you were unaware, the majority of Vekoma SLCs are clones. This helps keep the price down, which helps to explain their popularity.

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http://www.rockandrollconfidential.com

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Friday, August 23, 2002 11:52 AM
I've made the rounds @ SFA and I could only count six water fountains in the whole park: Main Gate, lockers, behind hollywood cafe, crazy horse saloon, by shipwreck falls, and @ the entrance to Gotham City (there *may* be one in the waterpark). The bad thing is that, with the exception of the one in GC they are all "off the beaten path", so if you didnt know they were there, you almost never just *stumble* upon it. Sad and Sorry!

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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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