Arriving at the park saw us waiting in line to pay our money to park, I was nervous about the crowds. We waited at least ten minutes to get in the parking lot. Once we were parked we checked with the group and they were just passing the park and missing their turn so I made the executive coaster nerd decision to go in the park and ride Nitro and Batman while we waited for them to get there. It was the right decision. We walked on to Nitro and Batman and had two great rides before the other group got there.
Once they got in the park we hit Nitro and then Batman again. Everyone loved Nitro, including me. I don't get why it gets such a bad rap, its just so much fun in a "weeeeeeee!" kind of way. Batman was good, and running very well. The crews on both rides, and all other rides throughout the day were surprisingly excellent. There seemed to be supervisors on each ride keeping everyone moving. There was also security in the lines looking for line jumpers, keeping tabs on who was bringing what into line and on Kingda Ka there was a guy controlling the traffic to the station. I was impressed. Keep it up Six Flags!
We had an expensive lunch at the place near the Ferris wheel. It was terrible. No one liked their food at all.
We hit Skull Mountain, whatever, then moved towards Superman. Superman was down for the moment so everyone but me and a couple others sat out Great American Scream Machine. I took a nap in the grass for about 30 minutes. Everyone actually liked it. I just didn't want to risk a headache.
We got a locker for Superman since I didn't want to risk losing my iPhone, renting the locker was no big deal, and since it was only a dollar I didn't feel dirty renting it. I like this. The guy at the front of the line said two hours, I called BS and the line ended up only taking 30 minutes. Again, the crew was impressive. The ride is fun but lacks something to make it more interesting.
We went to Kingda Ka next. This was my first time seeing the new section of the park, it was nice but WAY too crowded. The park wasn't anywhere near full capacity, I am thinking 25-45%, and the place was mobbed. I don't want to be here on a weekend this summer. We queued up in the sun (no shade in the line) for Kingda Ka and waited about an hour. I sat somewhere in the middle. The launch felt different than TTD's. It seemed to rev up in stages and was a lot rougher. The trains felt like they wanted to separate from the track. Crazy airtime on the hump and its over. Very exile rating ride. Everyone loved it.
The queue for the ride was in sad shape. The landscaping around the ride was weedy; they haven't re-mulched or even cleaned it up at all. Honestly, the whole park was like this. Weeds and dirt were the norm. There were also big gaping holes of nothing but concrete were rides used to be. Where are the rides? A couple other people noticed this as well.
After Kingda Ka everyone was thinking about leaving and going back to AC to stat the evening's festivities. Luckily we got in the line for El Toro. The line was about 45 minutes. Again, the crew was incredible and really hustling despite the awkward restraint issues. Waiting in line for El Toro was cool, everyone getting off the ride was really pumped, and you could watch them on the first hill, huge smiles.
El Toro was simply amazing. I suppose its the debate of whether or not its a wood coaster or not but I don't care. Its an incredible ride. The bachelor once off the ride said, "damn, that ride was mean!" I agree. Violent airtime. Violent pacing. It never stops throwing you out of your seat or surprising you. Awesome. Best ride in the park IMO.
After that we left for Atlantic City.
I can't end this trip report without being complimentary or critical of the park.
First of all the ride crews and security all did an incredible job all day long. The lines moved, the trains dispatched and no one line jumped. I was very impressed. I hope they can keep that up through the stressful summer.
Now for the critical part. The park was in sad shape. It looked more like Conneaut Lake Park than a Disney like experience they are pitching to us. Its one thing to say its spring still and there’s nothing growing yet, but its another to see weeds. Not only this, but there are huge areas of nothing. Not to control crowds, but because they took out ride after ride and put nothing in its place.
To me Great Adventure is a flagship Six Flags park. They need to step it up a few more notches. They are getting by on their great coaster line up and nothing else. This could be one of the best parks in the country if they wanted it to be.
So overall we had an awesome day of riding coasters with friends. You can't beat that.
I'm not sure I understand why ET would be debated as a wood coaster or not. I'm sure there is a reason that probably has to do with the way it was built but I don't get it.
Re: Bad Landscaping... I think the standby response of “It’s early” is in order here. I mean, I doubt they want to risk a bunch of new plants and landscaping being ruined by a late Spring cold snap. It was just this past weekend that I got around to fertilizing the lawn and planting/weeding the yard. Hopefully they will get better in the forthcoming weeks.
Nice report, sounds like Six Flags is really trying with the ride crews and keeping guests happy.
I looked online and SFNE still has theirs listed. It's not like GA has an abundance of flats. I thought this was a decent attraction and certainly a nice change from the coasters (which I do enjoy).
But unfortunately, Screamscape confirmed that Houdini was removed due to more budget cuts at GAdv....
I dunno what SF's strategy is with the cuts, especially when it's been speculated that frugile spending and more efficient operations will simply not be enough to reduce SF's debt load significantly (almost making the cuts pointless in a way), but it does suck and unfortunately I think the bottom line is that with the economic constraints of the 21st century that bottom-barrel scrapping is just the reality!!
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