Six Flags America, Largo, Maryland, USA
Some of you may know I used to be an Adventure World fan, but that changed once it became Six Flags America (wow, that was in 1999...) But I have to admit the park has been changing some over the last two or three years and it seems to be getting better. For the last few years I have been buying or I should say renewing my season pass online and they just mail it to me, that way I could use it for other parks without ever having to go there. Well, Janis and I decided to go there yesterday, first time in a little over two years. We left Richmond, VA around 8:15 and got to the park about 10:20am. I think $15 is way to much to pay for standard parking, but I know that is pretty much standard for Six Flags. I only went to Great Adv. once this year and now to SFA once, so a parking pass wasn't worth it.
Anyway, we parked as close as we could without getting preferred parking and we entered the park, no wait to get in. The three employees we encountered from the parking booth to the front gate entrance were all VERY nice and polite and honestly seemed happy to see us, it didn't seem fake or forced to be polite. We got there in time to see the Six Flags show with Mr. Six dancing and the countdown until the park opened at 10:30 sharp. A decent crowd was on hand, but not too bad.
We first headed to Superman, that is the real reason I wanted to go, since all the hype in my local area with Intimidator 305, I wanted to go ride another Intamin hyper style coaster again. They were running both trains, and I could clearly see where they have now mixed the New England cars with some of the original SFA cars, the paints were very different and you could easily tell. There was no wait and we got to stay on multi rides. I think I got 15 rides on Superman in 3 five increment stay on rides throughout the morning and early afternoon. Superman is starting to need a little attention with the paint brush, but overall still a wonderful ride. I have been on all the US mega coasters and as much as I like SFA's Superman, its my least favorite. So far I like SFNE's Superman the best, not been on it since the change this year, but its the best of the Intamin mega coasters as far as I am concerned. Darien Lakes (SFA's older and mirror imaged twin) layout makes more sense because the flat track and helixes are low and over the lake. Here its over a dirt field. That aside, it still puts out a solid ride, just a little too much flat track for me. A few wheels could use some attention, but overall a great ride.
After our first five rides on Superman we went back to Batwing, we know to hit it early because it gets a line and it STILL only runs one train. I have been to SFA at least 20 times since it was built and I only ever saw two trains operate one time and that was for about 2 hours and then they had issues and removed one. Saturday they only ran one the entire time we were there. I have fun on flying coasters, but the way this one is operated, I just get so frustrated. We rode once, had fun on it and then I felt like, "Well, I got that annoying duty over with." We then went back to Superman for our 2nd stint of five stay on rides.
When we left the Superman we stopped at the shop at its exit. They had some GOOD deals on a clearance rack. I got Janis a nice hooded sweatshirt with an embroidered SFA and Superman logo on it. Had the old price of 42.99 on it, and it was on sale for a low $5, with season pass discount, $4.50... Wow... Took advantage of front of the park package pick up and got it on the way out.
We next rode Jokers Jinx. I still never understood why they built this here when KD opened the original just three years earlier only and hour and half south. Yes, I know, one is inside and one is outside and only us enthusiasts may know, but we DO know... With that said, I think KD and KIs have the better launch, but I think JJ's actual run through the circuit is now better. For one, KD has its mid course on so hard your body starts to tip to the side when exiting the brake because its tilted. Because JJ has no mid course, this doesn't happen and the rest of the ride is faster. Not to mention the extra car's weight keeps the trains momentum going stronger. The cars are also a tad bit bigger and you can enter and exit the train easier. We only took one ride on it because we have one at home... No sense in wasting time on it.
The train this year at SFA actually runs as a "ride", for many years it just was used to transport people back to the picnic area for company and group events. Now its a ride again. I have always thought there train was rather poor and it still is. They have a nice engine they don't really use anymore, instead now they have two ugly engines that look like some kind of John Deer tractor. But, it was a nice way to sit down and rest a bit and take in a nice new to us view of Superman.
We moved on over to the Wild One. This at one time was my favorite out and back, but that was with its last profile before Six Flags ruined it. I used to love the triple down turn around of this coaster. It was running ok for what it is, but just not the design I like anymore. But it seems to be well taken care of. We rode twice, hardly any line at all.
I always take a drop on the Tower of Doom, and for the first time in MANY years, all three sections of it were open. I think we only waited 3 circuits or so for it. Lets face it, I am used to Drop Tower at KD, so this one is kind of pathetic. But it still gives the nice drop tower feeling if only briefly.
We now moved on to the Mind Eraser. When inverted coasters first started coming out, I dreamed of having one somewhere near me. My first inverted was Raptor the year it opened at Coastermania. LOVED it... Then later that year I rode Batman at Great Adventure. And I simply dreamed of having one near by. Living about 30 mins from KD and about 30 mins from BG I was out of luck for a few years. But Adventure World announced it was putting in its SLC Mind Eraser. I was SOO happy, it was only 2 hours from home! I went to AW many times that year (1995). It was two years later that I would finally be treated to my STILL personal favorite inverted, Alpengeist at BG. Got kind of off topic there, sorry... Mind Eraser was about a five train wait and was running both trains. We rode next to the back. It was horrible, it has gotten so violent with its trains it hurt. It was one constant shimmy from start to end. It hurt pretty bad, Janis got off and said she would not ride it again. I had a chance to stay on as no one was in my row, so I did just to see if it was really "that bad" and it was... I think the trains needed some work, something needed to be tightened up and a few wheels changed.
Now, finally on to Roar, which used to be one of my favorite wooden coasters, it was in my top five for years some time ago. I was lucky enough to even be in Roar's commerical many years ago, it opened in 1998 I believe? They were only running ONE train, and I was very annoyed at this. I asked why they were not running two, the line was down the ramps to the ground. The employee told me that there were too many lapbars broken on the 2nd train to bother running it, and then once we finally got to the station I saw that the train that was running had THREE rows closed off for broken lapbars, so the capacity was really bad on Roar Saturday. We rode the back seat, wow, just as bad as Mind Eraser, the shuffling was horrible and as much as I love rough twisters, this one was just hurting to ride. I think it actually made Janis cry a little. PTC trains are no longer what they once were. They just can't hold up to todays mondern wood coaster designs. Honestly the track didn't seem to be in bad shape, it was the trains that are beating themselves apart that made the ride rough as heck. I think the trains are breaking themselves as they roll along the course, I could see why lapbars were not working, I think they are getting jarred in ways they shouldn't. We only rode the one time, the line was long and the capacity and ride was poor. I really hate seeing that on such a wonderfully designed twister layout. I hope one day they will see the need to put the GCI M. Flyer trains on it as Hersheypark did with Wildcat. I think they will cost some money, but may save lots of wear and tear on the coaster over many years.
After that we went back to Superman for another five ride trip and then headed out. We stayed about 4.5 to 5 hours. One of our better days overall at the park, it wasn't dirty and the employees were friendly and they were dispatching trains faster than they used to, but still not what they should be, but there has been marked improvement and SFA should know that. Keep on trying SFA, you are getting better.
On the way home we stopped by Funland in Fredricksburg, PA, its a corky little place inside of a big shopping area right off of I-95, They added a kiddie coaster a few months ago, so I decided to stop and get the credit. Its a simple Dragon Wagon that has changed its train from a Dragon to a space ship. If you are just wanting to stop in and get a spin for the credit it will cost you $8... VERY steep.... Its one buck for a funland card and then 7 bucks a ride, we did go around 10 times though haha. But that got my count to 301, so now I can say I have been on "over" 300 coasters! I am trying to time my coaster count perfectly for Intimidator, I have 3 coasters to add before I ride it next year, I want to make it my "305" coaster! I can do it!
Don't worry your not alone! Mind Eraster at SFA was the worst roller coaster i went on all summer! A few weeks after, I went on the Mind Eraster at SFNE, and it wasn't half as bad! I was actually able to enjoy myself on it.
I had no idea that they mixed some of the old SFNE cars on Superman with the SFA ones. No wonder everything felt so simillar earlier this summer when i got on the SFA one for the first time :) And yea i agree with you that the SFNE is better than the SFA one. In fact, I don't think I have found a single person who has ridden them both and likes the SFA one more. The SFA one is still an awesome ride though.
-Eric: Major Parks: SFNE(homepark), SFA,SFGADV,CP,BGE,BGA,Kennywood,and Sea World: Track record 65 different coasters ridden #1 is Millennium Force #2 is El Toro and than there are all the others
I know exactly how you felt about the maintenance at SFA. When I went earlier this summer, it felt like every single train had a least one row taped off. I wonder if they're understaffed in the maintenance department there or if it's just a lack of effort.
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