Six Flags Great Adventure, 4/11/07 a nice surprise

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I had amazing day at the park today. Most of my past trips to the park have been horrible to the point that I haven't been inside the theme park since 2002. After becoming an enthusiast I decided I was ready to give the park another chance and a weekday when most schools were in session seemed like the perfect time to go. This was my first time going on everything but Rolling Thunder, Skull Mountain and Runaway Mine Train

After stopping at WaWa for some lunch to eat in the car, I pulled into the parking lanes and didn't have to wait at all. The register wasn't working at the gate I went to and they had to call a supervisor over which took a few minutes. I am glad I decided to eat out of the park because I couldn't believe the pricing in the park. $4.99 for a soft pretzel, $2.00 for a candy bar, $6.49 for 1 slice of pizza etc.

It was easy getting into the park, they had many turnstyles open all of which had very short waits.

The first ride of the day was Batman The Ride. I was looking forward to this as I really enjoy Talon and Great Bear so I knew this was going to be a great ride. I tried the test seat and had trouble getting it buckled. I took off my sweatshirt and had just my t-shirt, a very thin jacket and barely got it to buckle. I couldn't understand how that could be as at the end of last season I had the same issue with Talon but had lost 15 pounds this offseason but I realized the belts on Batman are much shorter than other B&M's, more on that later. It was a 1 train wait for anything but the front. I had heard that BTR is very forceful compared to newer B&M inverts and it really surprised me at how forceful it was. After I got off the ride, my legs felt strange and my head hurt a little.

Skull Mountain was next, I thought the queue was great and the station looked good with those orange lantern/lights. I tried the back to see how much air time you got which was surprsingly a lot for a small coaster. I asked for a re-ride and the people riding left so I had a solo ride, my first solo coaster ride ever. 2 rides was enough for now.

I walked over to Nitro and didn't expect to fit but tried the test seat and surprisingly, I saw the yellow on the bar which meant I could ride. Another walk on again except for the front. I was a little nervous about not having a seatbelt but if there is 1 manufacturer I trust, it's B&M. The ride was amazing with those banked turns and massive hills, way better than Steel Force. They were allowing re-rides but it was just crowded enough where it wasn't possible for the most part. I went through the empty queue for another ride. I walked over to Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train as I needed the credit but it was closed and they were cycling empty trains.

Figuring it could get colder soon as the forecast was saying it was going to be much colder and windier than it was I went over to the boardwalk. Spongebob 3D had no one in line so I wanted to try it. Even with no line I would guess it was about 15 minutes from when I got in line and when the film started. Once you go into the theater they only had 1 person checking the seatbelts. The theater was maybe 2/3 full and it took a while by the time they went from row to row and had to use doors to change rows when they got to the left side of the theater.

After than I went to Great American Scream Machine. For almost as long as I can remember, I would see the cosater when entering the park and I always saw it as their major coaster because of how big it was and always thought you had to be crazy to go on it. I found yet another empty station but waitied an extra train for the front row. It was smoother than I thought and the MCBR really slowed the train down almost to the point of it stopping. I decide to stay for a re-ride and went to the back row. It's amazing how where you sit can make the ride totally different. It felt like it was jackhammering it was so rough and my neck kept hitting the restraint. Had I not ridden in the front first, I probably would have never ridden it more than once. From the ride I saw Superman was only running 1 train and had a line into switchbacks which I guessed was around 30 - 45 minutes and since I was unsure about riding, I held off on riding it.

I went to Rolling Thunder which only had the right side open but had the red and green trains running. I had never been on the right side before but don't remember the left side being so rough. It was very uncomfortable and the only coaster that I went on and did not ride more than once today.

El Toro's first drop is amazing to see in person and the line didn't look too bad with 2 trains running but I knew I wasn't going to be able to ride. I wasn't close to fitting so it's something to hopefully look forward to next year since I still want to lose a lot more weight.

Runaway Mine Train was running with half full cars so I headed there and had to laugh at the wait time signs. 90 minutes with a full queue, 30 minutes with the line at the bottom of the stairs? I have waited in a close to 2/3 full queue and it was about 25 minutes. Today it was a walk on for the front. The new restraints are very nice (though I prefer the ones on Trailblazer) and are much more accomodating for taller riders.

Now came the coaster I was looking most forward to riding, Medusa. I like Hydra a lot and from what I had seen it looks like a bigger and better version of Hydra. I took off my sweatshirt again figuring I might have trouble with a regular seat and got into the last row. I had no trouble at all buckling the belt and had much more room than ever before in a B&M invert or floorless. For my second ride I wore the sweatshirt and still had no problems buckling the belt. Medusa's belt length is much longer than Batman The Ride's which leads me to believe that when a B&M gets new restraints, the new belts B&M is putting out are much shorer than before since Batman just got new restraints and I remember reading Alpengeist which also got new restraints also has shorter belts.

The ride was amazing and I really liked the vertical loop and "real" dive loop compared to Hydra's inclined dive loop. The ride seemed so much longer than Hydra as well and was just an overall better ride.

I decided to take another lap around the park, first stopping at Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train which was now open. I got row 18 as a bunch of rows were roped off. I was very surprised at this coaster as it's a kiddie/family but I thought it was a lot of fun and liked how it was much longer than a typical coaster that size. I rode twice just because I wanted to take a break from riding the bigger coasters.

Skull Moutain was next again and this time I saw in the front. There isn't that much leg room and I didn't find it as great as in the back row.

I went back to Nitro determined to wait for the front row which was only a 3 train wait. The first drop looks almost like it's straight down from the front row and the view was amazing. I got back in line for another ride and realized this is definetly my favorite coaster in the park.

I wanted to try a front row ride on Batman the Ride which was a 2 train wait. Sitting in the front row is such a different experience on B&M inverts and again, I couldn't believe how much more forceful it was.

For some reason I went back to Skull Mountian again for another back row ride and back to Great American Scream Machine for 2 more rides in the front row. The park was so empty at this point that at the end of the re-ride, there was no one in the station and they sent the train out empty.

Seeing that Superman only had a station wait, I decided to give the ride a try. I figured I had better try the test seat even though it appeared to be a short wait and got 2 clicks. The queue for this coaster is so long and I couldn't imagine waiting in a full queue or even a half full queue especially with how slow the line moves. It was a 2 train wait but with only 1 train running and very slow loading and dispatches, it was over a 10 minute wait (not bad I know but I could see how the line gets long fast as it was earlier today). This was my first time on a flying coaster and when they raised the seats it was quite a shock even though I knew it was going to happen. The pretzel loop was strange and very forceful but I thought the ride was way too short and not something I would wait more than 15 - 20 minutes for. For my 2nd ride, I timed it from when I exited the ride, and went through the empty queue again and had a 1 train wait and it was almost 15 minutes including the ride time and walking through the exit. Again it wasn't an issue today but even on a somewhat empty day it would be a problem.

The park was really clearing out at this point and I wanted to ride Medusa a few more times before leaving. I went back to Runaway Mine Train to find no other riders in the station and thought I was getting another solo ride but the 2 riders on the train stayed on. Medusa was even emptier than before and had a 2 train wait for the front and moved to the 5th row for a re-ride.

It was almost 6:00 at this point and I wanted to stay and ride some more and try to get 100 inversions today but I was starting to feel really tired and a little sick from all the riding and headed home but still got a new personal record of 70.

It was the best trip I have ever had to Great Adventure and it's amazing how the lack of crowds can make a park so much better. Other than Superman running 1 train, everything else was running 2 trains most of which didn't seemed needed but was nice since it helped shorten the waits for the front rows on the bigger coasters.

Ride Count:

Spongebob 3D: 1x
Batman The Ride: 2x
Nitro : 4x
Medusa: 4x
Great American Scream Machine: 4x
Rolling Thunder Right: 1x
Runaway Mine Train: 2x
Superman Ultimate Flight: 2x
Skull Mountain: 4x
Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train: 2x

matt.'s avatar
Do you mind me asking what your height/weight is?
I'm very jealous of all of these good SFGAdv trip reports, but just y'all wait until school lets out. All Hell will break loose once people actually start going to the park.

It may *seem* that SF is doing a great job right now, but it's way too early to predict. The challenge with this park is running the rides at capacity mid-season when the budgets start running low. Mid-season, a lot of their employees start getting more irritable and the park tries to stay under budget by lowering staff and ride capacity.

I don't take these wonderful TR's to mean that the park is "headed in the right direction". SF usually starts off each season well, and then we see them struggle with "guest" satisfaction after school lets out.

Call me Negative Nancy, but we'll see.

Great Adventure is a great park and can be awesome in those times when there aren't many people there. Last summer I had a great day that was topped off by two hours in the Gotham City section and basically wait-free rides on BTR, Nitro, Stuntman's Freefall (rip), and Batman: The Chiller in the afternoon.

I agree that Medusa takes the cake over Hydra, which I still like a lot. I do like the nice air I get on Hydra's drop though, which I didn't on Medusa since it was curved.

FYI, I did read somewhere that there is an issue with the other Superman train. It was running two on opening day and a few days thereafter and I guess something needs to be fixed now, so we'll see. One of Tatsu's trains is apparently with B&M so hopefully SUF won't have a similar problem.

*** Edited 4/12/2007 3:33:34 AM UTC by Willh51*** *** Edited 4/12/2007 3:33:53 AM UTC by Willh51***

^ I didn't know there was an issue with the other train. From what I have read it seems like that ride has always had issues. Even today they had minor issues with restraints not unlocking. Hopefully they get the 2nd train back when it starts to get crowded or I think it will be an unbearable wait with 1 train during peak season if even today it had a long line earlier in the day

^^^It helped motivate me. I have been wanting to lose weight for years but was never really serious about it until at the end of last season. I hated sitting in the larger seats on the B&M coasters since I sometimes had to wait an extra train for that seat and I hated how it's in the middle of the row so when people ask you to move over and you can't because you need that seat, it's uncomfortable. I could fit on the regular seat on Talon but I hated having to have the op buckle it plus it wasn't comfortable. So I decided that this offseason I was going to change my eating habits and I kept telling myself it will all be worth it the first time this season when I sit in a regular seat and can buckle it myself. That is just a short term goal though.

Like I mentioned in my TR, my long term goal is to be able to get on El Toro next year and the Chiller as well (I didn't even bother trying since it has no test seat)

I would think it would anger a lot of people though if they can't ride a certain coaster. I think it gave me the push I needed to finally do something about it. I know there are other benefits besides getting on coasters but if that's what finally convinced me to do it, then that's fine with me.

I know that had I not lost those 15 pounds, I would have had no chance of getting on Batman, had to use the larger seat on Medusa, and probably would not have gotten on Nitro or Superman (or Superman would have been a very tight fit).

dexter said:
I'm very jealous of all of these good SFGAdv trip reports, but just y'all wait until school lets out. All Hell will break loose once people actually start going to the park.

It may *seem* that SF is doing a great job right now, but it's way too early to predict. The challenge with this park is running the rides at capacity mid-season when the budgets start running low. Mid-season, a lot of their employees start getting more irritable and the park tries to stay under budget by lowering staff and ride capacity.

I don't take these wonderful TR's to mean that the park is "headed in the right direction". SF usually starts off each season well, and then we see them struggle with "guest" satisfaction after school lets out.

Call me Negative Nancy, but we'll see.

I think you're right. I really didn't get into it much but the ops weren't moving as fast as they should have though it wasn't all their fault. They only had 2 people checking restraints which even caused some stacking on the some of the coasters. It wasn't an issue today since the lines weren't there.

Part of the reason I specifically went today after not going for close to 5 years was I knew that I would have a good trip because of the lines. Had it been jammed with hour waits and people using Flash Pass (I saw no one using it today) to make the waits worse, I don't know if I would have gone as long waits and bad experiences is what kept me away from the park all these years.

It's also the reason I'm not a SP holder, yeah the park is great now but once summer comes, it's too crowded to be fun for me. *** Edited 4/12/2007 3:54:39 AM UTC by YoshiFan***

Agreed, one train on Superman in July will be hellacious. I think the trains cause most of the problems on the flyers (B&M and Vekoma), so I'm not surprised.
I don't see any mention of Kingda Ka... was it closed or you didn't think you'd fit?
It was running consantly and I heard it was only a 20 minute wait. The launch and height of the ride seems like a lot for me (especially the launch). I had planned to go to Hershey and tried Storm Runner this past weekend since it's a lot slower of a launch to see if I liked that before trying Kingda Ka, but that didn't work out.
Like Willh51 said, Great Adventure is a wonderful park and it’s good to hear the park running like it should. There are few things more frustrating then when good parks run badly. People don't go to parks to hear excuses, they just want to ride. The real question is how the park handles crowds by adjusting rider capacity. Other park chains make appropriate adjustments to accommodate larger crowds. Reasonable to expect Six Flags to do the same, especially for a chain trying to shift negative expectations. *** Edited 4/12/2007 6:26:50 PM UTC by rc-madness***

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