Please note that this TR is LONG. Be prepared to do a LOT of reading. If you don't have the patience for it, consider reading another topic!
My group arrived at the park at 9:50 AM, and met a HUGE line at the parking gate. The price is still a ridiculous $10, and there's still a "cow-herding" method because everyone thinks there's a way around the traffic until they realize that only those lanes are open and now they need to sneak back into the throng. But enough of my rants (I heard enough of that on my driver's Denis Leary comedy tape!).
Upon arrival at the park, I quickly gained entrance and began my slow jog to my baby, Nitro. At the ride, I was pleased to find very small wait, with the line starting at the station stairs. While waiting on line, I found a friend whom I had not expected to come actually had made his way there! We took the first ride of the day together, and it was great to be back on a coaster. The season had begun!
But right now, I need to make a quick tangent: the maxim of the day is "Ride operators are a Buzzer's best friend." I say this because, today, I met my very first Buzzer, rOLLocOASt! He was posing as a mild-mannered ride op, and I grabbed his attention as the train left the station, and he quickly informed me to take a seat in the section of the train he was checking. On the second ride, I took the seat...AND WAS STAPLED! How dare he! Of course, while I should have seen this coming, it was more than made up for later. But I digress...back to our regularly scheduled TR.
Since the lines remained incredibly short, my group decided to take four rides on Nitro right off the bat...we finished up around 11:10 (that's right...four rides in an hour!). In an effort to add some spice to our coasting, we said goodbye to my baby and moved onward to Batman The Ride. We took one ride on it, primarily because one particularly wimpy member of our party passed on the ride, and also because my world-famous graffiti had vanished from the wall! Crimeny!
The plan of attack then called for us to experience the beauty of lap bars on Batman & Robin: The Chiller. However, there was one problem, one of the most dreaded words in a coaster enthusiasts vocabulary (yes, even scarier than "Windjammer"): rollback. It seems that, during its first cycle of the season, the Batman train didn't have enough oomph to clear the tophat, and the train settled between the inversion and the uphill climb. So much for THAT idea.
We then decided to hit The Great American Scream Machine, and while we were at it, I would get my Season Pass processed. BAD IDEA. The line for processing was ONE HOUR LONG. It really was absurd, but there was nothing you could do. Once you got into the processing center, they did move pretty efficiently...just an overload of people. After this, we rode the GASM and broke for some Nathan's lunch...though I think $17 for two hot dogs and two large fries is equally as absurd.
After lunch, we headed toward the opposite end of the park, experiencing (in succession) Rolling Thunder, Viper (!), and Medusa. I had then had my fill of the other coasters, and needed more Nitro! So, at about 2:15, I crossed the park yet again, and rerode Nitro...over and over and over and over ad nauseam. Let's just say me and rOLLocOASt got REAL close over the next four hours. At one point, my group and I broke for some Dippin' Dots and some Laser Trek (which we SUCKED at, by the way!), but inevitably, we returned to Nitro, where we ended the day.
Which brings us to the most important part of any TR, the reviews:
BATMAN THE RIDE -- We sat in the middle of the train, and while the ride seemed faster than normal, it also was a bit rough, which I noticed last season. I can attribute some of it to start-of-the-season syndrome, but there was no noticeable improvement over my last ride in September 2001. We'll have to wait and see on this.
GREAT AMERICAN SCREAM MACHINE -- I'm sorry, but while I ride this every time I go to SFGAdv, I just can't figure out why. It's rough, headbanging, and the transitions are just horrendous. On a good note, it did look like they put on new restraints...same as the old ones, and not much softer. Go figure.
ROLLING THUNDER -- Call me Mr. Negative, but I'm also astounded by the fact that this traditional wooden coaster, which should generate gobs of airtime, generates NONE. And while it may have been greased last season, it hasn't been yet this year. It was also VERY loud and squeaky. This thing really needs some TLC.
VIPER -- While it was good to see Viper up and running again, the ride experience wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Ride ops convinced us that "major maintenance" had been done on Viper, but the transitions were still rather rough. The inversions weren't as headbanging as I remember, but the ride's most significant problem (no, not it's manufacturer...) still hasn't been solved: the restraint system is one of the most uncomfortable ever devised. Rehaul the restraints, and you might have a decent coaster on your hands.
MEDUSA -- As expected, the beast rode smooth as glass, and the transitions provided all the necessary thrills without any headbanging at all! The inversions were as graceful as ever, and with the exception of the kinda bumpy cruise to the midcourse, it was like she hadn't even hibernated the winter. It was good to hear the B&M Roar again, too!
And, of course...
NITRO -- I'll get the bad out of the way: it was riding just a BIT rough today, but I'll gladly chalk that up to start-of-season syndrome. Riding my baby again was like a breath of fresh air, and she did not disappoint me at all! The airtime was smooth and extended, particularly on the first drop, fourth drop, and the fourth bunny hop. But the best part: No LT! For those of you not as in the know as the obsessed gentlemen I ran into, No LT refers to No Line Time. And there was NO LINE. ALL DAY. ON ANYTHING. The longest wait was for Medusa, five minutes (and season pass processing, but that doesn't count). If the line reached the bottom of the station stairs, it was LONG. Rerides were an absolute must on a day like today, and boy, did I ever.
Last season, I had a total of 11 laps. Today alone, I had EIGHTEEN. I can attribute many of these rides to rOLLocOASt and the other lovely Nitro ride ops who allowed me to fill in empty seats from the platform later in the day.
Then, of course, there was 3CE. If you don't know about 3CE, I'd suggest you all look into it...it's a beautiful thing.
And so, the result --
Season Pass: $74.19 ... Lunch at Nathan's: $16.95 ... Embarrassing Myself at Laser Trek: $5.00 ... EIGHTEEN Laps on Nitro featuring No LT, 3CE, and Live Buzzer #1: (you guessed it) PRICELESS.
Spring Break for me is next week...I'm shootin' for 50 laps by then...21 to go...
The Luv Monkey has spoken...
Track Record: 29 and counting...
"I don't wait on lines...lines move for me."
*** This post was edited by Davie the Luv Monkey on 3/29/2002. ***
Touch The Sky
I CANNOT WAIT to get there and coast with everyone. Hope we get the short lines as well! And there better be 10 coasters open, or the 100 shirts will be a waste! I wonder if the plane from Muskegon to Pittsburgh, and the 6 hour car ride from Pittsburgh to Jackson will be worth it... ;).
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