Six Flags Fiesta Texas - Diamond in the Rough (9/10)

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Sunday, September 10, 2006 7:12 PM
So I'm in Austin, TX for a business trip and took a day to head south to San Antonio to see what's going on at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

Arriving at the park is a pretty impressive sight, the way that a few coasters stick up out of the "pit", and I pulled into the parking lot with my $15 in hand, ready for my first Six Flags pricing ripoff. Wasn't I surprised when it was "only" $10 to park! Wasn't the $15 supposed to be a chain-wide policy? Guess it's either not chain wide, or the price is dropping before the leaves do! Now, I would like to note right here that the fact that I "saved" $5 on my parking was a VERY important factor in my decision to actually buy food in the park later in the day, but more on that later.

I headed into the park with my SFA season pass in hand and my first impression was to be uh ... impressed (too many "im" words ...) with the effort put into the theme at this park. The entrance is a nice mix of southwestern and fantasy, leading to a nice quiet central area garden-thing which sits right in front of my first ride of the day: Boomerang.

Boomerang is your typical Vekoma Boomerang, but, I generally enjoy these things anyway. No lines for the most part today, so a 1 train wait for the back seat. This thing was surprisingly powerful for a boomerang and I was being tossed around pretty good, but not to the point of pain, just enjoyable. I even got a little stomach flutter which was neat. Needless to say, it's one of my favorite boomerangs, and the landscaping and line are nicely thought out and installed.

From Boomerang, I walked through the mostly empty park, through teh Los Fesivales section and rounded the corner into Crackaxel Canyon. This more western-themed area kept up the not-IoA-but-higher-than-most level of theme. I walked past the fist show stage that I noticed at the park and checked ht time of the next show from this award-winning park known for it's shows. I had about 5 minutes, so I went across the midway to take a spin on what is probably the most "adult" of the Roadrunner Six Flags coasters.

Roadrunner is what appears to be an Arrow Mine Train, but the thing is quite big and interacts well with the sides of the quarry. But, I was disappointed in this coaster because it has so much wasted potential! Great first drop, some nice curves, some good speed, but then ... brakes! And a lift! Why?! This tiny little lift leads to again, good drops, good curves, good speed and then ... brakes! The ride's over! What a wasted bit of coaster track. I'm sure it's thrilling for the kids, but this could have been one of Arrow's stamps on the coaster community if they'd used all that speed and expanded on this coaster. Just kind of annoying to think of how great it could have been.

After Roadrunner, I heard music coming from the nearby stage and stopped to watch. And I was VERY impressed! A live band, with many different instruments and 6 singers (3 male, 3 female) doing a lot of country songs, some that I even recognized (my wife listens to country) as being VERY new songs! Like, they must have learned those songs DURING the season! Very impressive, the sound and energy were great, and it was great to see a live band at a park! So far, I see why they earn that Golden Ticket year after year.

But, I can only take so much country music, so after about 10 minutes, I headed for the next coaster in line, Rattler.

Rattler from the midway is very impressive looking, even fun! I headed into the quite claustrophobic (sp?) line which seems to rise forever! I finally got to the station to see only a 3-train wait, so I opted for the back seat ... I would come to regret it. Watching the trains run the course prior to my boarding, I almost turned around and left the line. How is this thing certified structurally to run!? I have never seen such deflection in a coaster! Some of the higher-speed turns, especially the second hill, are EASILY distinguishable that they're moving from probably almost 1,000 feet away! We're talking movements that just look plain unsafe. I hadn't even given thought by the time I got in the train as to how that was going to affect ride quality, I was simply concerned about the thing not shaking and bending itself apart while I was ON it! Whoever designed this p.o.s. should have their engineering liscense revoked for allowing that much deflection in a structure. But, I was already strapped in, so off I went. The first drop isn't bad, but it just goes downhill from there ... literally and figuratively. The second turn you can FEEL the movement of the structure on the train the way the thing bangs around. I was already feeling a stabbing pain in my shoulder and had hit my knee off the side of the train by the time we came out of hill #2. Coming back up the quarry wall on a very boring piece of track we hit ... the brakes! Not that I'm complaining because the upcoming helix taken at speed would have been brutal, and probably would have broken every structural piece of the ride in the process, but come on, how did this design actually make it all the way to construction?!? The completely boring, painful and unremarkable rest of the coaster doesn't even deserve mentioning. I never thought I'd ride something worse than Psyclone or Hercules, but I now have. Rattler is the worst coaster ever built. Period. I jsut hope there aren't people riding in the train when it eventually fails structurally.

After my miserable experience on Rattler, I walked past some gorgeous scenery, which I guess is supposed to include a waterfall over the edge of the quarry, but a sign apologized that the waterfall would not be in operation due to a local drought. Next up, the most-looked-forward-to part of this park, Superman: Krypton Coaster.

Superman is one of the biggest floorless, and has many unique elements, interacting with the quarry walls and the water underneath it. The two turns at the top of the quarry then dropping very steep past the rock walls is pretty thrilling, but for the most part I was kind of underwhelmed by this coaster. It was by no means a bad coaster, but B&M has done better. Two rides, front and back and neither distinguished itself. Oh well, fun ride, but not the star of the park IMHO.

Following the main circle of the park, I next came to my favorite part of the park, Rockville. This 50s/60s town is very "movie" looking, with the midway painted with stripes like a roadway, parking meters, overhead traffic lights, "businesses" lining the sidewalks, and a large school at the end of "main street" housing a show theatre. I explored a little, puzzled as to why the splashdown ride is called "power surge" (water and electricity don't mix?!) and decided that I would take in my second show of the day at the Rockville High School. This indoor theatre was very nice, very large with a nice production package (sound, lights, etc.) inside. The show was EXCELLENT, great singing, funny enough for kids and adults to get a laugh, good character actors, but the storyline was a little tired. But, again, still far and away above anything else I've ever seen or expected from an amusement park. Golden Ticket indeed! Go Fiesta Texas shows!

Next ride up was Homeland Security: The Ride ... I mean Scream. This oddly themed ride is supposed to be in "technicolor", but as some kid was commenting to his Mom about the color changes as your ascend the tower, for some reason, I caught on that the towers directly mimic the oh-so-effective Homeland Security scale ... blue at the bottom where you're safe, green gets higher, yellow's getting scarier, orange is pretty bad, and red, you're as high as you can go! But, as odd as the theme is, it's still pretty nicely done, and the ride turned out to be a lot mroe fun than I expected! There's both a shot element and a drop element to the ride program, so you get the best of both worlds with one ride, a nice touch. The cars kind of confused me, there's enough room for 4 chairs on each side of the ride, but they only installed 3 for some reason. Operation was weird too, the ride would get checked, ascend about 18" into the air, then the op would check everyone again, then send you flying. My second ride I sat beside a big football player type that started screaming like a little girl from the moment the ride started and was literally nearly crying by the time we got to the bottom, so that was a funny added touch.

I went into the Boardwalk area as I thought I spied a frisbee ride from Scream's line, which I did. This was an odd frisbee though, it was quite old, seemed be to be from like the 80s, and was driven by tires underneath, like a Pirate ship. Wonder why it took until the last couple of years for these things to really catch on when they've obviously been around for a while? But, I didn't actually get to ride as someone yaked on this ride, and I didn't feel like waiting around for it and just never made it back.

So, I went back through Rockville to hit my last coaster of the day, Poltergeist. I've ridden I think every other Primeir spaghetti bowl in teh country, and I like these rides, they're some of my favorite, so I was expecting a good ride ... but not this good a ride! This one was something special. I don't know if the trains just run better, or if the launch is more powerful, but this thing just kicks the arse off of all other of these models! Twists are intense, inversions disorienting and the ride just really turns it on into the brakes! My only complaint is non-ride related, that the theme here is the worst in the park. It's very dated, it's old and broken down, and it doesn't fit the area. I had an idea, and maybe I shouldn't post this on the 'net where it can get "stolen" ;) but what about a bowling alley theme? It would fit the Rockville theme. Paint the entire thing brown track (like wooden like a lane) with white supports (pins). Take out all of the house and the line, build a big bowling alley building. At the end of the tunnel for the launch, blow fog into the tunnel and project 10 pins onto the fog. Paint the trains black, and as you launch into the fog, play a sound like a ball going down an alley and hitting the pins. You'll blow through the "pins", take the smoke with you and that would provide a neat effect out of the tunnel and into the spaghetti bowl. Eh, just an idea, maybe it's more work than it's worth!

After Poltergeist twice, I next did something I never do ... I rode the train! It wasn't exciting, it wasn't even all that fun, but it provided some good views of the really great scenery in this park. I headed out after that, satisfied with my day.

Overally, I think Fiesta Texas is the best SF park from an overall perspective that I've ever visited. It's the cleanest, the shows are amazing, the ops are friendly and efficient, and the rides, while not incredible, are fun. There's a TON of expansion capacity here too, the quarry is by no means full, there are a lot of places to build new rides, new midways and new themes. Other SF parks have more and better rides, other SF parks are bigger, but this one's got the overall package down real nice.

Thanks for reading.

*** Edited 9/10/2006 11:14:11 PM UTC by Impulse-ive***

+0
Sunday, September 10, 2006 8:00 PM
SFFT is really quite fabulous. Also of note: they serve Shiner Bock at very reasonable prices in Sangerfest!
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Sunday, September 10, 2006 8:55 PM
1) You spelled claustrophobic right.

2) Road Runner Express–I think you're literally the first enthusiast not to like it. But each to his own.

3) ALL Huss Frisbees are tire-driven, unless they're the Giant kind which is another breed. By the way, you missed one of the best programs on a Frisbee. I guess the person who yakked was giving their compliments to person who made that program:)

4) Another satisfied Poltergeist customer:) I had the rare priveledge to ride all four of the bowls in one year and it was definitely no.1.

5) I don't think the name Power Surge for a water ride is such a bad name because water and electricity do mix quite nicely to provide power in some communities.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006 10:45 PM
It probably wasnt running this late, but you missed the best show there too. At night they have a huge firework show complimented by lasers and projections on the quarry wall all themed to the history of Texas. If you do ever make it down there again I highly suggest checking it out, its not a Disney night show but its the closest night show Ive seen to that.
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Monday, September 11, 2006 7:20 PM

Impulse-ive said:


Rattler from the midway is very impressive looking, even fun! I headed into the quite claustrophobic (sp?) line which seems to rise forever! I finally got to the station to see only a 3-train wait, so I opted for the back seat ... I would come to regret it. Watching the trains run the course prior to my boarding, I almost turned around and left the line. How is this thing certified structurally to run!? I have never seen such deflection in a coaster! Some of the higher-speed turns, especially the second hill, are EASILY distinguishable that they're moving from probably almost 1,000 feet away! We're talking movements that just look plain unsafe. I hadn't even given thought by the time I got in the train as to how that was going to affect ride quality, I was simply concerned about the thing not shaking and bending itself apart while I was ON it! Whoever designed this p.o.s. should have their engineering liscense revoked for allowing that much deflection in a structure. But, I was already strapped in, so off I went. The first drop isn't bad, but it just goes downhill from there ... literally and figuratively. The second turn you can FEEL the movement of the structure on the train the way the thing bangs around. I was already feeling a stabbing pain in my shoulder and had hit my knee off the side of the train by the time we came out of hill #2. Coming back up the quarry wall on a very boring piece of track we hit ... the brakes! Not that I'm complaining because the upcoming helix taken at speed would have been brutal, and probably would have broken every structural piece of the ride in the process, but come on, how did this design actually make it all the way to construction?!? The completely boring, painful and unremarkable rest of the coaster doesn't even deserve mentioning. I never thought I'd ride something worse than Psyclone or Hercules, but I now have. Rattler is the worst coaster ever built. Period. I jsut hope there aren't people riding in the train when it eventually fails structurally.

*** Edited 9/10/2006 11:14:11 PM UTC by Impulse-ive***


Its an RCCA coaster.....that pretty much sums it up. Summers/Dinn were suppose to design the ride initially but ultimately lost out to RCAA. The ride was doomed from conception *** Edited 9/14/2006 11:24:54 PM UTC by DorneyDante***

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:44 PM
You actually survived a back seat ride on the Rattler? When I took the five hour drive to San Antonio this summer I took heed to all the warnings and rumours I've heard, and rode in second row of the first car. The ride was horrible, and I was in no hurry to even consider riding this ride again. The only reason I would ever ride this ride again would be for the tunnel through the rock wall. *** Edited 9/12/2006 9:45:23 PM UTC by Matthew Engel***
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