Six Flags Great Adventure. Home to a fantastic steel collection and now the worlds tallest fastest (and most unreliable ;) ) coaster in the world: Kingda Ka. It was this that prompted a friend who read about Kingda Ka in Maxim magazine 4 months ago to casually suggest we take a road trip to Jersey to try that bad boy out. And so after months of anticipation and not so careful planning, I, along with 5 non-enthusiast friends boarded a Plymouth Voyager at midnight on Tuesday and headed South for Great Adventure.
The drive was ok until the Jersey turnpike where even I knew we'd have problems. We missed our exit and this caused us to only reach our hotel room (which was in East Windsor) at around 10 AM. After a short breakfast we were off to Great Adventure. We were pretty much like 6 zombies as we drove to the park, but the sight of Superman: Ultimate Flight was enough to wake us all up.
We enter the park and make a beeline for Superman. The logic was that Kingda Ka wasn't running yet and the line was probably long anyway. We'd take our chances with it later in the day.
Superman's line was pretty long and the wait ended up being an hour and 15 minutes. Still, no one had ever ridden a Beamer Flying coaster so we didnt know what to expect. I had been on Paramounts Zamperla Volare (Tomb Raider) and I was extremely dissapointed with it. Regardless, I had another 11 hours to waste at the park, so waiting an hour+ for Superman didn't bother me.
We got front row seats and we were off. The lift is really quite intimidating and the first drop was breath taking. It felt the closest to actual flying as any other element on the coaster. The first "loop" was also thrilling but sadly that's where this coaster peaked. After that, a series of forceless manouvers left some of the riders underwhelmed. Still, overall it was a VERY fun ride and unlike the Zamperla's it comes pretty close to simulating a flying sensation (not that I know what it feels to actually fly...). For the rest of the group and myself, we were happy with the ride. I can sit here and describe all the flaws in it, but I had enough fun on the coaster to overlook all that.
Next was GASM, since it neighbors Supes. The line was short and we opted for back seats on this baby. I didn't expect much, but the ride delivered the G's! Some exciting elements included the tight verticle loops. My friends carry-case slipped out from under his leg during a corckscrew, but lucky for him my Spider-like reflexes saved the day as I managed to grab it before it gell out of the train. Overall, GASM proved that a coaster doesn't need to be new to be a blast and many in my group prefered it to Supes. Overall, a very fun ride with great force.
Next was Kingda Ka. As we walked through the new themed area, we were all surprised at the theming. Very good job by Six Flags. The tigers were beautiful but I was hit with a pang of sadness from seeing them in captivity. Such a gorgeous creature.
The line for Kingda Ka was supposed to be an hour and a half since the park wasn't that busy. It had rained at around 10 AM, thus I assume the locals opted to stay home. But as the day progressed it became pretty hot and at 1 PM, in line for Kingda Ka, we were all feeling the heat. Right before we enetered the station the ride broke down for almost an hour. We weren't about to abandon ship though, since we had driven 8 hours for this baby. We all agreed to stay in line and some of us actually napped as the mechanics fixed the ride.
Once inside the station, we all opted for the front row. We were 6 people, so we each waited for the front. This increased the wait time, but it was well worth it. As my buddy and I stepped on teh train I looked at my stop watch. 3 hours. Not too bad for the thrill of a lifetime. I'd describe how the coaster felt, but words wouldn't do it justice. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll let the on-ride photo do all the talking. I'm the guy in the blue polo and that look on my face is pure coaster nirvana. The experience is amazing. Just when you think you're speed is goign to top out, you keep going. When you hit 128 mph, it's the greatest rush ever. Heading up the 420+ foot tower is also a huge rush. When you crest you realize that you're moving a lot faster than what you expected. It looks a lot slower from down below. Then you spiral down 90 degrees and again, utter bliss. The experience is amazing and I'd gladly wait another 3 hours to do it again.
Everyone in the group agreed that this was the best rush we've ever felt. I've been bungee jumping and it doesn't compare. Kingda Ka > bungee jumping. It was so awesome.
We then grabbed a pizza from one of the small restos and quickly ate it before heading to Medusa. Tax in Jersey is so low compared to Montreal Canada. Here it's about 15%. :o
Anyway, the park was starting to empty out, so the line for Medusa was short. Still, they ran 2 trains, something I never see at my home park of La Ronde. We got front row seats on Medusa and it was so cool. The floorless element is accentuated in the front I believe, but two of my friends who sat in the second row said they felt the difference as well. The first verticle loop is massive and thrilling when all you see is rushing track below your feet. You're rarely ever on straight track and the ride is intense and non-stop action and fun. The interlocking corckscrews were the highlite for me, followed by the large opening verticle loop and the helix. All in all, this ride crept into my top 10 all-time coasters. It was THAT good.
We walked around to the other side of the park and hit Nitro. I had high expectations and had read that Beamer hypers were "forceless". I had ridden Steel Force and Superman: Ride of Steel at Darien Lake, so I knew what to expect from a hyper. The line was long but the they were running two trains and never stacked. A great crew in comparison to the lethargic efforts I see at La Ronde. We grabbed back seat rides for Nitro and what a blast it was. It was the best first drop on any traditional coaster I had ever been on. Hands up, and gravity takes over. From the back, Nitro is anything but forceless. The airtime is so fun because it isn't violent airtime what so ever. The gentle lifting and weightlessness was so fun. The coaster is a juxtaposition between fun and thrilling. The first drop helix and hammerhead providing the thrills and the floater air providing the fun. The group of 6 all agreed that this was the best coaster in the park (not counting Kingda Ka (we considered that more of an experience than a coaster).
Up next was Batman: The Ride. At La Ronde we have "le Vampire", a mirror image of B:TR which has 7 row trains. I didn't expect much, but the ride was walk-on at this point in the evening. Holy cow... What a difference. For some unknown reason this ride is more intense than Le Vampire. But it shouldn't be right? I mean, the design is exactly the same? If anyone can enlighten me as to why Great Adventures B:TR clone is more intense than La Ronde's, please do so. Regardless, it was a good ride.
We hit a few water rides next for ****s and giggles. There were few people in the park by now as it was 6:30. After the water rides, we did skull mountain which was a nice surprise. The fact that you're in total darkness makes the ride what it is.
After SM, a sopping wet group of 6 had a decision to make... Either hit up Rolling Thunder, or hit Nitro as the sun sets.
Winner: Nitro in the setting sun. We decided to try to ride Nitro until the park closed and that's what we did. The next ride was coaster heaven. Back seat once more, only this time as the sun set over New jersey. What a view and what an experience. The smile on my face could NOT be removed. I love everything about Nitro from the back seat. The drop, the hammerhead, the floating air. This wasn't what the enthusiasts said it was going to be. This wasn't forceless. This was amazing. After some more rides on Nitro it was now completely dark. The last ride on Nitro was done in darkness and this too added a new element to the ride. Amazing on all accounts, Nitro was Great Adventures second coaster of the day to crack my top 10.
Six Flags Great Adventure is an amazing park. It's so well run and I don't know how anyone can have a bad time at this park. Maybe it's because I'm used to one-train operation and dirty surroundings, but Great Adventure is awesome. The staff was quick, the lines moved fast and the steel collection was something I have yet to see in any other park. The trio of Batman, Nitro and Medusa are a tough one to beat. Maybe Hulk, DD Fire and DD Ice come close to topping it, but I'm not sure they do.
Regardless, the park was an awesome experience and everyone had a blast. Thank you Six Flags for showing me and my buddies a great time with some truely great coasters. Nitro is world class and Kingda Ka is an experience unto itself.
The rest of the trip was fun too as we had a lot of randomness. Hitting Wildwood and throwing our bodies into the massive waves, dining and gambling in Atlantic City and stopping in NYC at 2 AM only to realize that New York City really DOESN'T sleep was fun and spontaneous. I couldn't have asked for a better trip. The United States rocks and has so much to see and do. Most of the people I encountered on the trip were friendly and always willing to help with directions, especially in Jersey.
I'd also like to thank those who responded to my question thread. Even though I didn't hit Kingda Ka first thing, it was helpul. Thanks a bunch for helping enhance my trip with some useful tips.
Next year my friend and I (the one in the photo) plan on doing an East Coast tour because our experience at Great Adventure was so positive. *** Edited 8/12/2005 9:43:37 PM UTC by Talon*** *** Edited 8/12/2005 11:06:00 PM UTC by Talon***
New Jersey really isn't as bad as the rest of the world thinks, lol.
Regarding SFGAdv, its just great! Like you said, good operations, rides and shows. Food was ok, if a bit expensive... If WDW sells a 20 oz. bottle of soda 2$, then how come SF has to sell it 3,35$?
I've always stated in my reports that Nitro is fantastic, especially in the back row. The crew is the best in the park (Sean, Earl and company like rides and often plan their days off visiting other parks).
With all that's happening at Great Adventure, it's hard not to have a good time there.
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