Having purchased the Season Pass on line, I arrived at the park at about 11am, only half an hour after opening and handed my first paper (the one that will get you through the gates) to the lady at the turnstiles. Security was also no problem to pass through. Quickest time EVER getting into a Six Flags Park. It did take me a while to find where the passes were being processed, but once there, it was only a short wait. My mug-shot…. Er… I mean Season Pass picture was taken, my card was handed to me, and I was on my way.
The entrance area of the park was moderately crowded, but deeper into the park the crowds thinned. My destination was Superman. On my way there I noticed the location of Penquin’s Blizzard Falls or whatever it is called. Does it look a little out of place? Perhaps. But at least it looks better than before with NOTHING sitting there. It looked kind of desolate in that area of the park. Nice to see that they are filling things in.
The line for S:RoS was not long. I chose the second seat… just as good as the first, with half the line. Actually, it was more like a quarter of the line… because of the line jumpers into the queue for seat one. I was eying up the restraints. Hmmmm… A little more constrictive as I had heard. Sitting down, I did manage to get the belt closed and the lap / ankle bar down… but I certainly didn’t have much room to exhale. Since May of 2003, the combination of the restraint getting tighter and my mid section getting wider took its toll I suppose (time to hit the treadmill!).
Anyway… a fun ride as always, so I get back in line again. Actually they are running the blue and the red train… but only loading the red. Blue is still being sent through test runs. But, with two riders in front of me, when blue pulls up, the gates open and they load. I now step up to the air gates. Blue is dispatched, Red is still on the break run. Blue makes the turn to the lift and starts up the hill and then… KLUNK!.... everything stops. The Ops look at each other. Maintenance looks at each other. Waiting hopeful riders look at each other. But no one moves. Finally, maintenance leaps into action with the lightning speed of arthritic turtles. After about 10 minutes of waiting, the “Technically difficulty” announcement was made and the queue was cleared. I never did see them unload the stuck trains… but I suppose they did, since I did not see any emaciated people still stuck there later in the day.
I then walked back toward Wild One. The station was fairly empty, so I entered. After seeing several folks line jumping into the front seat queue, I decided that 3rd or 4th seat would be good for me, so I stepped up to the short line there. And I waited…. And waited… and waited. The slow moving maintenance crew on S:RoS were greyhounds compared to he folks here. Anyway… eventually the line moved enough so I was next. I sat down in the seat, buckled my belt, pulled the lap bar down, and waited. The ops were taking their good old time checking the restraints. When they got to the girls who were in the seat behind me, they stopped. The one seat belt was twisted in the buckle and it couldn’t be adjusted. I checked my watch. We waited on the platform for 5 minutes. Granted, I know that they needed to fix this… but it was the speed at which they were moving. Or should I say the lack of speed at which they were moving. Anyway… eventually the belt was fixed, the restraints were checked, the train was dispatched. Wild one is still a fun ride… good air… nice helix at the end. However, we were stacked on the breaks for a few minutes while the crew in the station just stood around talking and taking their time with the next train.
When I exited, I checked the station. The combination of the lightning speed of the crew and the twisted seat belt caused the entire station to fill, so I decided to move on.
Walking past the perpetually closed “Typhoon Sea Coaster”, I saw that ROAR had a small crowd. I was surprised to see that it was also a short wait. While dispatch times were not super quick, they were okay. However, I did notice something odd. If a person boards and closes their lap bar with out buckling their seat belt, the crew will make them buckle it without unlocking the lap bars. Granted, this means they do not have to recheck the bars… but I wonder if unlocking, having the person buckle, and then rechecking the bars would be quicker than sitting there while the person struggles to first find and then buckle the belt while being pinned into the seat by the bar?
Anyway… three rides on ROAR. The one up front was fun… good visuals… but the last two in back kind of redeemed this coaster for me. I was about ready to give up on this after my previous visits, but for some reason today the back rides worked for me. Still my least favorite GCI… but a much better coaster than I had originally given it credit for.
Looking across the park I saw that S:RoS was running again, so I ventured back that way. The line was not very long, and in a few minutes I was waiting for the next to last seat with only two people in front of me. Looking through the station, I noticed about 5 people climbing under the rail and jumping the line. I just sighed… they were not affecting me, so I didn’t let it bother me that much. The line jumping stopped as soon as the security guard climbed into the life guard chair at the end of the station. They are still running two trains, but this time only the Blue Train is filled. Red is running empty. Blue pulls into the station and the people go to unload… but oooops… the restraints will not release. The crew tries to open them, but nothing. So they sit there for a while. People in the station become a bit restless. The “trapped folks” continue to sit there. Waiting guests become more restless. Then, with the speed of a… of a… hmmm… of a what? Okay, with a speed faster than stationary brick, maintenance arrives. The guy is carrying this small metal box with some sort of cord attached. He proceeds to plug it into each car and manually release the restraints. They have problems with the last seat, but when it is finally released and the girl gets out of the train, every applauds her. Anyway, after a few minutes of extensive examination of the situation (i.e. head scratching), the chain goes silent and the “Technical Difficulty” message again is broadcast.
Checking out Wild One’s station, and still finding it full, I decided to call it a day. Considering my main point was to get the pass for later in the season, the 5 coaster rides that I did manage to get were just a bonus. I will make an observation though. The park seems to be cleaner than in the past. The trash cans were not over flowing, the paths were clean, etc. And it the park looked good too. Hmmm, did they hire more people? Train people better? Switch mechanics and maintenance people from S:RoS to grounds? Who knows.
Any other park I would have been upset with if I had run into the inefficient operations… but, at SFA, I expected it. Sad to say, the park lived up (or down?) to my expectations.
*** Edited 5/24/2005 2:20:05 PM UTC by SLFAKE***
I know the ride operator on JJ catches people line jumping all of the time and forces them to go back. I haven't seen it much on the other coasters. ATTENTION SFA!!! THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL!! LINE JUMPING IS A BIG BIG PROBLEM!!!
The park has hired more mechanics this season, sadly it seems most of them are spending their time between Batwing and Superman.
At least you weren't in the queue on Sunday for Wild One when the ride op refused to open the air gates and load the train until everyone cheered. Which was great, except there was a train sitting in the brake run. Now, I'm all for having fun with the guests and using the microphones to get the guests excited about a ride. But there's playtime and there's a time to focus on dispatching the train.
The park has improved in a lot of ways this season. Six employees running Superman (ride op, four in the station and one at the gate), five running Batwing (ride op and four loading the train), three on Mind Eraser (two loading the train and one ride op). I personally appreciated earlier in the season when the ride ops on Superman were paying attention to the next two people to ride, checking for height requirements and informing anyone with "loose articles" they needed to put them in the cubes on the other side. Saw this on Superman. It seems to have stopped now.
As far as fastening seat belts, seat belts have been part of the coasters at SFA for as long as I can remember. If the GP hasn't learned how to fasten their seat belt before pulling the restraint down, maybe they will remember the next time if they have to fasten their seat belts with the restraint in the down position. A little pain for everyone now may go a long way in the future.
For the most part, I have seen an improved staff at the park this season. If the park would focus on dispatching trains (I would love to see the park dispatch the trains with the speed I saw on Texas Giant at SFoT a couple of years ago, then again the ride didn't have seat belts) and line jumpers, they would see the overall guest experience improve.
*** Edited 5/24/2005 3:20:30 PM UTC by coasterguts*** *** Edited 5/24/2005 3:21:35 PM UTC by coasterguts***
To top it off the station has been completely empty for the most part, maybe a 1 train wait for the front, allowing us to ride it 5-6 times without getting off. Plus, just like S:ROS at SFA, there were 6 ride ops, but without a line.
Yes I have been through that.
Also people drive worse there than they do on the NJ Turnpike. (for those who don't know) The NJ turnpike has been rated one of the 5 worst interstate/toll roads in the nation. If you are not driving at least 75 MPH on the NJ Turnpike prepare to be run over. But the last time I went to SFA (two weeks ago) I was doing 80 and people were passing me like I was standing still on that road between Baltimore and Washington D.C.
deal with my posts or just dont read it im not gonna stress having stupid proper english for some stranger im not gonna fix whats not broken
Actually, being from another generation, I would appreciate proper English myself. It's part of the Terms of Service agreement for this site. It's annoying having to pause and interpret someone's abbreviation for a word (example 6flags instead of Six Flags).
Just a warning, Colin and I are asking nicely. Others will not be so polite.
*** Edited 5/25/2005 1:53:09 AM UTC by coasterguts***
http://www.coasterbuzz.com/forum.aspx?mode=thread&TopicID=41815 *** Edited 5/25/2005 2:07:42 AM UTC by coasterguts***
Coasterguts, I'm going to have to disagree with one comment you made. I timed Typhoon Sea Coaster recently, and it was only around eight minutes long (I know I'm splitting hairs). And yes, it has been running recently. At least it was the two times I've been to the park. But I do agree that maybe a more traditional flume would be more reliable. I guess the question is who makes park models of log flumes anymore? I don't know if Arrow would still do a flume, and I believe O.D. Hopkins is out of business (I'll check into that).
They've been working on the technical glitches with the ride. If Coaster Lover was around, he would point out the sensors have been moved from under the unload platform to above the unload platform. Their in the yellow boxes siting in the unload area of the ride. The park has been making an effort to improve the capacity of the ride. It's my understanding they we're able to run 8 boats (don't quote me on that figure) at one point last season. So far, I think the most they ran this season is six.
I-Fan, can you and I agree to 9 minutes, give or take a minute? :)
*** Edited 5/25/2005 6:28:23 PM UTC by coasterguts***
Coaster Lover said:
They've made extensive modifications to TSC over the last few years. Just one being the sensors in the station. I'm surprised to hear it being closed for so long. TSC has run VERY well, at least when I've been at the park. These mechanics are doing all of the modifications in house, Intamin isn't helping much at all. As such,theyare constantly changing sensors and sensor positions, tweaking the lift speeds,and making other modifications trying to find what worksandwhat doesn't. To avoid completly shutting down the ride, they tend to only make the modififations in the post season or early/late in the season when the ride is closed during the week. It's made progress... just slow...
Yup... Coaster Lover you just explained everything about TSC. When I went to the park twice this year the ride was operating a doing a swell job. The ride is fun going backwards and stuff, but the rest of it is just dull. The theming in the tunnels is lacked on. Plus on the outside you just keep on moving till you go up the hill. I would like to have some water effects and more theming. Hopefully this ride would go into rehab!!!!! But other than that, its fun.
P.S. Is anybody going to join the Unoffical Guide To Six Flags America @ www.coasterland.net/sfa ? It just looks real dead. I will join if there is more people on there... *** Edited 5/26/2005 3:35:41 PM UTC by SF Critic***
Anyway, HelloKitty it's spelled "grammar", but thanks for trying harder. Yes, the Sea Coaster is one long ride. The tunnels used to be better with some moving props (those props are still there but they don't move–for example the pirate who used to move a boulder towards the boat) and music. If anything, the Sea Coaster's tunnels remind me of the Olde Mill at Kennywood, which is now Garfield's 3-D nightmare, or something like that. It was just a casual ride with some props along the way to look at.
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