Last season, I decided to write one trip report per season about Six Flags America, my home park. For a variety of reasons, one being I was tired of writing trip report, after trip report praising how much the park had improved and then the bottom falling out in late June and the park never recovering in July and August. Rides would begin failing and operations would sink. I’m happy to say, this haasn’t happened this season.
I left home around 8:45 and had an enjoyable ride around the Capital Beltway with my wife and teething six month old baby. Thank goodness, his gums hurt in the evening and not in the morning. We arrived at the park at approximately 9:45 after a stop for a bagel and Iced Tea from Panera Bread (my morning necessities).
Much to my surprise as I pulled into the SFA parking lot, just about every parking lot booth was open and staffed. I’ve been visiting SFA a number of times this season, pretty much on Saturday’s and half the booths were closed with a line out to Central Avenue. It finally seems the park has this as a problem and fixed, as least today they did, I think perhaps one or two of the booths were closed, but the majority were open.
My wife, son and I found a shady spot in the parking lot (how many amusement parks can you say have shade in them) unloaded and headed for the main gates. My big frustration to this point was finding only one stroller lane open. However, we were in the park by 10:10. It should also be noted the park has a new opening spiel advertising season passes and Fright Fest with the Vega Boys “We Like To Party” song playing in the background. Could Mr. Six be making a come back?
After entering the park I head to the Grand Theatre area to wait for the imaginary “rope drop”. The park has moved the waiting area back from the sides where it used to be, to an area between the lockers and caricature artists. They also have a new pre-opening routine, which would be far more entertaining if the majority of Looney Tunes were involved. Out are the “Shake My Hand” and other songs that pierced the airwaves above Six Flags America before park opening. Some of the music in the previous pre-opening is still there and so is the Star Spangled Banner. In is a new dance routine done to “Have a Six Flags Kind of Day” and a reminder about the guest code of conduct. A few weeks ago, this was being hand signed for those that are hearing impaired, I’m not sure if it was today or not.
Superman:Ride of Steel
2 train operation
The rope drop occurs promptly at 10:30 and I head back with Coasterlover to get a quick ride on Superman:Ride of Steel. We approach the station, pass a throng of people blocking the entrance trying to figure out what they are going to do since they have bags they can’t take into the station and walk past a line of people that are standing in line for car 1 row 2, thinking they were in line for car 1 row 1. A few minutes later, we were leaving the station in car 1 row 1 of the red train. Superman has been running smooth all season and today was no exception. The banked turn at the bottom of the drop, the awesome air on the second turn, the first helix was pretty powerful, I don’t think I ever received more air on the second hill than today, the second helix lost a little power but it didn’t matter because the bunny hops did their best to eject me from the ride, the screeching halt with me telling everyone boarding the “Blue Train” in front of me to “WATCH OUT”. I got some smiles and stares on that one! I found the crew to be working at a leisurely pace in checking restraints and upon returning from my ride, I noticed the ride operator telling one of the ride attendants not to sit on the trash can on the unload platform. After Superman, we decided to head to Batwing!
One train operation in the AM, two train two side operation in the PM.
There is a constant battle about the B&M Flyers and the Vekoma Flyers as to which one is better. I prefer the Vekoma Flyers over the B&Ms because of the track layout and the fact that I don’t have hang going up the lift hill. The down side to the Vekoma Flyers is the restraints aren’t exactly the most comfortable in the world and you are on your back in the baking sun going up the lift and in the brake run. However, I still find the Vekomas to be have a better design.
As I approach Batwing, I notice the trash from the day before wasn’t picked up and the area wasn’t clean of littler as I kicked a couple of bottles that were at the foot of the steps. This would be the worst I saw the park trash wise the whole day. In general, the park looked far better today than at any point in the season.
As we arrived at the station, we walked on to the train, no wait! We stowed are stuff in the bins and board row 1 seats 3 and 4. The ride attendant (I wish I could remember his name because he deserves a prop from me) was nice and helped me into the restraints, holding up one of the folder restraints for me. He then pushed my lap bar down and before I knew it I was on my back and heading up the lift.
One of the reasons I like Batwing’s layout is you can’t see when you are going to reach the top and flip. That makes it exciting to me. The sudden race down the drop and the over banked turn over the station and towards the rear of the coaster, then the second over banked turn toward the rear of the coaster, really makes you feel like your flying. Then you have the loop. Certainly one of the top 10 most intense loops around and then the third banked turn back towards the rear before you hit the triple cork screw into the helix which to me is nothing more than “meh”. I guess in some ways, Batwing just doesn’t have an all that outstanding of an ending but the whole rest of the ride is outstanding.
1 ½ train operation
From Batwing, we head back towards the front of Gotham City and walk up to a virtually empty Joker’s Jinx station. Now I say Joker’s Jinx is running 1 ½ trains because the yellow train had about three rows of seats closed and tagged. I’m not sure what the problem was but you know, Premier Rides is not that far from the park.
Regardless, Joker’s Jinx is running great. I sat down in the coaster and fasten the seat belt. I thought the launch was more powerful than ever and we quickly reached the peak of this spaghetti bowl of coaster track. I don’t know why, but going down Joker’s Jinx is just gains so much speed out and the quick twists and turns make it an outstanding coaster and probably one of my top 10.
From there, we meat up with my wife and son at the Lucky Albatross before heading off to Roar!
Two train operation
What happened to Roar? They FIXED it that is what happened. Finally all of the moaning and groaning about the roughness of Roar the past two seasons has paid off. We boarded car 1 seat 1 and 2. The ride operator did a fantasic job of getting the train loaded and pleasantly reminded everyone to fasten their seat belts before pulling down on their lapbars. Within a minute or two we were off and heading up Roar’s lift.
First props to the Roar crew! They have probably been some of the best people this season.
Roar in it’s early life has been known as a great, chris-crossing wooden gci coaster. The past couple of ears, you could tell Roar needed some T.L.C. It must have received it. The drop, while it still shook me a little bit wasn’t as near as rough as it had been. Then I found the rest of the ride to be smooth overall. It also looks like the have freshly greased the tracks and the turn towards the break run didn’t send me to the dentist for dentures. It’s such a better coaster than what opened earlier in the season. Props to the park for fixing it and making it a great woodie again. Hopefully, this coaster will move back up the charts a little bit this year.
While on Roar we noticed Skull Mountain was testing. We checked with a Supervisor who said his guess would be that it would open in 30 minutes. So, in the mean time we went over to Wild One.
Two Train Operation.
She is 90 years old and still bucking. On our way over to Wild One, Coasterlover and I were both talking about how we were lucky in the fact the park is taking such great care of this coaster. Sure, it’s shorter than it’s original incarnation, but it packs a punch. The well greased tracks made for a smooth ride, I did kind of notice it was slowing down under the Skull Mountain Skull and heading for the turn around, but the back portion of the coaster was out of control. The helix is strong and more powerful than ever. Sure it’s not a Voyage or El Toro put it is still a great wooden coaster.
We counted six boats
After Wild One, we headed back over to Skull Mountain and waited for it to open. While we waited outside of the ride for about 15 minutes, one of the ride attendants did eventually come back out and say we could wait inside while they finished testing. Props to them for that. We did go inside and the ride opened about 5 minutes later.
For those of that are not aware, Skull Mountain used to be known as Typhoon Sea Coaster. This season, the park has been working on fixing the ride so it would run more reliably. They move the turntables which were said to be one of the reasons the ride was having so many problems. You now don’t go backwards on the ride, the ride is completely forwards.
The park has fixed some of the lighting in the first tunnel and has the song “Pirates Life For Me” playing through out the ride. Hopefully, if things can get worked out, they will get the animatronics fixed on the ride. Regardless, it’s a nice ride in which gave me a pretty good wash down.
After Skull Mountain, we ate lunch. Coasterlover ate at Uncle Roy’s Bangin Burgers. I don’t know how he feels about the burgers, but I have had them a couple of times this year and thought they were pretty good. My wife and I ate sub from Subway. Could someone please explain to me the purpose of a Subway Express. She had a veggie sub with lots of lettuce and tomatoes only. I had a Turkey sub. There were no cucumbers, no carrots, green peppers etc.. They were missing some of the best ingredients needed for a great sub!
After lunch, my wife departed us for a couple of hours. Coasterlover and I went to see Unspoken which didn’t have any shows today because of illness and injury. However, it is a great show and I encourage everyone to see it in , the Wild West Stunt Show arena when at the park. We then went to Flags Emporium and checked out a new Six Flags America T-Shirt which actually featured rides from Six Flags America. We went and watched Pop Revolution then went back to Superman before Coasterlover departed. I watched the parade which has an American theme this year and contains some actual American themed floats (the parade is far better this year)
In general, I had a great day at Six Flags America. The park has really made some strides this season. I don’t remember seeing any rides closed today and the ride board had no rides listed as being closed when I left. I have found the more employees being courteous than ever before and the park is cleaner. I would like to see the ride attendants’ step up the speed in which they check restraints a little bit. However, I’m not about to say they are slow in doing there job because that isn’t something I saw today.
I visited SFA four times in the month of July. This is the first time in several years that I haven’t seen a meltdown in July and walked away with a positive feeling the park has made a big step in the right direction. Are they perfect no! They still have some work to do, but they are better than in years past. *** Edited 7/29/2007 2:36:10 AM UTC by coasterguts***
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