Six Flags Great Adventure (6/25/2007)

Associated parks:

Date: Monday, June 25, 2007

Weather: Comfortable and Cloudy early. Hot and sunny later.

Who: Myself and my wife.

After some unexpected home maintenance problems in the morning, our 3 hour drive got off to a semi late start at 9:30am and we arrived at the park at around 12:45. We easily passed through the gates with our Six Flags season passes (from Six Flags America) and went directly to the Flash Pass office. Seeing that the park was not jammed, but that the lines were moderate (what we could see of Superman Ultimate Flight’s line from entering at least), and remembering our experience with the Q-bot last year at SFNE, we decided that this was the way to go at SFGrAdv as well. Since we were later in the day and well after the morning rush, the process of getting a Bot was quick and easy. After this , we were off “to the left” in a clockwise path that would eventually take us over most of the park. On our way to our first rides, what I noticed was how neat and clean the park looked.

Superman Ultimate Flight: 2 rides. I missed this on my previous two visits to SFGrAdv because the lines were so long… and instantly I realized just how glad I was that I sprung for the Gold Flash Pass on this day. Only having ridden Vekoma flyers before at SFAmerica, Carowinds, and Geauga Lake, I was not really looking forward to this ride, but rather riding it “for the count”. Was I ever surprised! B&M did it right! The restraints were VERY comfortable, and I like the fact that you “lay down” in the station and go up the lift facing downward rather than reclining on the lift and going up on your back. Most memorable part of the ride for me was the first drop and inversion. Talk about intensity and G’s! A fun ride… much better than I expected.

Great American Scream Machine: 1 ride. Rode this before in 2004. Liked it back then, liked it now.

Have to say that I was impressed on how good the Boardwalk section looked… everything open and painted… a far cry from the “abandoned park” look of closed stands and faded paint that I found in this section in 2004.

Kingda Ka: Okay, I’ll admit… I was intimidated when I was getting ready to board this behemoth… especially in the front seat! But five minutes after entering the queue (Thank you Gold Q-Bot!) I was strapping myself in. All I can say is WOW! That launch and climb put the tower is hard to describe…. And the view as you crest the top and plummet toward the ground is amazing and a bit frightening (if you are afraid of heights as I am). It was quite an experience. However, on my second ride, this time farther back in the train, I discovered that I was like “Meh…. Been here, done that…” It’s got speed, it’s got height… but it hasn’t got much else. I hesitated to call this and CP’s Top Thirll Dragster “one trick ponies” (really BIG ponies that is) before I rode it, but after riding it, I will say that. Personally, I prefer its smaller, but more interesting cousin, Storm Runner, at Hersheypark.

Golden Kingdom was a nice looking area of the park, but I did find the path way to be a bit small.

Rolling Thunder: Okay, call me odd, but I like this coaster. Sure, it sounds bad with all of that grinding of metal on metal of the wheels and track… and it is bumpy… but it is still a fun coaster I believe. A little TLC could go a long way. They were running both sides as efficiently as the state of this coaster would allow so I managed to snag a ride on each side. ( only had ridden the left side previously). While the coaster still looks to be in sad shape, at least they brightened up the queue and the loading station a bit since my last visit.

El Toro: 2 rides. First ride was in the very back seat. The cars looked roomy, but I found them to be a bit cramped once I was seated, buckled in and pulled the lap bar down. The op came by and pressed the lap bar down even further. Stapled in like this I left the station and headed up the lift hill (a lift hill that is actually faster than some coasters!) While it looks tall and steep from the ground, at the top of the lift hill you only realize just how tall and hall steep that first drop is. To borrow a line from Bill Cosby’s “Roland and the Rollercoaster” routine…. “That’s when she hit the fan…” This ride is nothing but speed from the crest of the first drop to the station brakes. I was glad that the op stapled me in as he did because on the crest of the second hill (and every hill after that), it was only the lap bar and seat belt that was keeping me in the train! Talk about ejector seat air! Chele said this was the first time she really remembers seeing a look of fear on my face on a coaster. What an incredible ride! Much more intense (and enjoyable) than the green giant called Ka. While the front seat was good for visuals… the back seat wins out for sheer intensity.

IF you are going to build huge wooden coasters, Intamin’s plug and play’s are the way to go. As wicket as this thing is… as intense as it is… as much as it throws you around and tries to throw you out of the train… it doesn’t rattle your brain around your head and try to tear your ribs from your sternum as a certain giant wooden coaster in southern Indiana does. Viva El Toro!

Dinner: Best of the West.. Barbecue Port Sandwich. It was good and being as large as it was, and with the baked beans and cole slaw, you got your money’s worth… even for park food. Great to sit on the “patio” and watch the log flume boats splash down a stone’s throw away.

Medusa: 2 rides. Okay, between Dominator (Geauga Lake), Kraken (Sea World Florida) and Medusa at Great Adventure, I will say that I really like floorless coasters! Great elements, great pacing.

Runaway Mine Train: 2 rides. I rode this for the first time in 1977 and I can remember being very impressed by it. Over the years, after riding a few mine train coasters I thought that my memory of the Runaway Mine Train may have been wrong… I mean, after all it was just a mine train. Well, after riding it again for the first time in 30 years I realize that my memory was NOT wrong. This is probably the best mine train I have encountered. Small, but fun, drops, relatively intense helices and some air on the drops make this mine train stand out above all others coaters of this type! Great setting too around the giant fort and over the water.

Saw Mill Log Flume: Another blast from the past. Rode this for the first time in 1974 (opening year of the park) or perhaps 1975. My first log flume back then. Impressed then, not quite as impressed now. Still one of the better log flumes out there. Interesting that you have three drops, even though the first two are not all that high and don’t get you all that wet. The setting over the lake and through the trees helps this flume a lot. The splash down is fun and those coin operated water cannons at the end are diabolical!

Sky Ride: Yay! It’s open! On my last two visits it wasn’t. On my last visit the one station actually looked sad and abandoned. But it was running today. I rode this last back in the 1970’s. It was my first “big” sky ride (i.e. not the shorter “ski lift” style where your feet dangle). I can remember being afraid of the height back then and sitting on the floor as I held on to the pole in the center of the car. I was much better today. While still not all that jazzed about being suspended by a cable high above the park, I was a big boy and sat up in my seat and enjoyed the view. Great view and great way to get from one side of the park to the other! Looking down at the park as we passed overhead I commented to Chele how impressed I was with the way the park was looking! She said she was surprised too. It had been years since she had been there… I visited by myself in 2004 and 2005… and she was expecting the worst by the way I described it after those visits. So was I, I told her, but I was very pleasantly surprised!

Skull Mountain: 1 ride. Okay… it’s an indoor coaster… what more can I say? Nothing much. The exterior is more impressive than the ride.

Nitro: 2 rides. Okay, there may be newer and bigger rides in the park (Ka), but this is still my favorite! While El Toro is wicked the way it tries to throw you… the air on Nitro is of the floating type… much more of a graceful ride. I especially like the floating air on the bunny hops (huge as they are) on the way back to the station. But as a reminder of just what this coaster can do, they have added that helix that packs some intensity. A truly impressive coaster… perhaps not the most intense in the park… but certainly, in my opinion, the most fun to ride!

With a drive ahead of us, we decided to cut out at around 8:00pm and decided to give Batman the Ride and Batman and Robin Chiller (of which only the red side was running) a pass until our next visit. I had ridden both of those before so I was fine what that.

Black Beard’s Lost Treasure Train: As we were leaving, one for the count. A few good points… 1) for its small size, it does pack some speed in the back and 2) they run you through the circuit twice.

And that ended our day at Six Flags Great Adventure. After that we turned in the Q-Bot and headed for the exits. 3 ½ hours later (after getting slightly lost in Trenton!) were back home in central Pennsylvania.

I can’t state enough how impressed I was with Great Adventure. It was clean, the employees were efficient, friendly and courteous, security was out in force and not letting any rule violations slip by, the “infrastructure” looked to be in good shape… everything was clean, painted, well maintained… landscaping was even impressive. The “charm” that I had from my child hood memories of the early years of the park… a charm sorely missing in 2004 and 2005… was back! The park seems to have a charm… a soul again! The changes laid down from upper management over the few seasons seem to be taking a hold. Before this visit, I was not all that thrilled about going back… just going back for the new coaster credits. Now, I am trying to see just exactly when I can work it out in my schedule to get back there again.

One final word… while the lines were not huge (more moderate than huge)… the Gold Q-Bot was worth its weight in gold. Detractors may call it what they will (legalized line jumping, what ever), but if you want to make your most of the day at busy park of this size, and if they offer the Bot, and you can afford it, you are only hurting your self if you do not take advantage of it. It does get frustrating when operations are not up to what they should be and it is the inefficiency that is making the lines long, but with all coasters running multiple trains and running VERY efficiently, it was certainly an investment that I am glad I made that day to make my visit as enjoyable as possible! My ONLY regret from this day… we didn’t buy the Souvenir soft drink cup for cheap refills.

*** Edited 7/2/2007 6:45:06 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"

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