7/21 Fly in
7/22 Morey’s Piers
7/23 Six Flags Great Adventure
7/24 Six Flags America
7/27 Dorney Park and a party at a friend's house
7/28 Dorney Park
7/29 Fly out
July 23 was a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. I was stayed in Vineland, NJ. The drive from Vineland to Jackson, NJ was about an hour and 15 minutes.
I met a friend named Dave there, who considers Six Flags Great Adventure his home park. He was mapping out a plan of attack for the park. He said that most people will run to Nitro, which doesn’t usually open until 10:30 or 11 am. We would do the Chiller first and then Batman: The Ride and Nitro.
My only other Six Flags experience was Worlds of Adventure, which was an OK place. As soon as I stepped into Six Flags Great Adventure, I instantly thought that it was much better than Worlds of Adventure.
We headed to the Chiller, but it was closed, so we did another plan. We went to Batman: The Ride first and then to Nitro. After Nitro, we did the Chiller (Batman side), Rolling Thunder, Great American Scream Machine, Batman: The Ride, and Nitro again. Medusa was down in the morning. From Nitro, we saw the Robin train running on the Chiller, so we got in line to ride it. Dave then had to leave and I hit the park on my own, doing Medusa and re-rides on Nitro and Batman: The Ride.
Here are my impressions of the coasters…
BATMAN: THE RIDE
This was the first inverted coaster that Bollinger and Mallibard (B&M) had done. The inverted coasters that followed, like Montu and Dueling Dragons, are a little better, but Batman: The Ride is a good ride. It’s short, but packs a punch. The ride vibrated a little bit, but it was not uncomfortable. B&M gives us another good coaster.
Dave and I were making fun of the theming on the ride. They toss in two broken toilets in a junkyard. The day was pretty hot and we were looking for A/C everywhere. The A/C in the queue was cool, but it got warm during the day. I rode it five times. They were running two trains, but the loading and unloading was pretty slow. I waited a maximum of 10 minutes for it. Most of the time it was a walk-on.
This is a B&M mega-coaster and blew me away. It was ultra-smooth – perhaps the smoothest B&M I’ve been on. Airtime is great!
One trick to get more airtime is to slouch a bit and then push the bar all the way down. As you’re going up the lift hill, sit up. That way, you can get two to three inches of wonderful airtime. Dave and I were going “Whoa!” during each airtime moment. Nitro was running three trains and loaded pretty quickly. I rode Nitro six times and waited a maximum of five minutes. Also, up Nitro’s lift hill, it posts signs that say you’re now taller than these landmarks, like Niagara Falls and the Sphinx.
BATMAN AND ROBIN: THE CHILLER
Like I was saying in my previous write-up on Morey’s Piers, boomerang coasters seem to have similar layouts, but different names. Batman and Robin: The Chiller was a very different and very unique boomerang. It uses LIMs to launch the trains into maneuvers and like a boomerang, it holds you for a moment and launches you backwards through the same maneuvers and back into the station.
The Batman side (or blue side) launches you through a flat spin and through a top hat inversion. A top hat inversion is like an upside down “U.” It sends you straight up vertically, curves, and sends you straight down vertically. After I rode this, I proclaimed it the coolest boomerang that I’ve ever ridden. I wish more boomerangs were like this! What a rush it was too to blast out of the station! I really love launched coasters for that reason. I like the slam in your seat feeling that a launch gives you. The A/C in the Chiller queue was the coldest that we encountered during the day. No wonder it’s called the Chiller! We waited about 5 minutes for our ride. Later, the line was out the door and looked like a 60-minute wait!
The Chiller had just converted to lapbars from a harness. The ride was much better with a lapbar. I can see people’s heads banging against the harness.
At around 1 pm, Dave and I were riding Nitro. Up the lift hill, Dave spotting the Robin train running, but no one was on it. We knew it was testing. After Nitro, we rushed over to the Chiller. The Robin entrance was chained off. The line for the Chiller was out the door. There was another chain 90 degrees to the Robin entrance chain. Like true coaster lovers, we stood by the 90-degree chain and waited for it to open. I knew that it would open soon. Dave said that he would wait 15 minutes and if it didn’t open, then we would join the Batman queue.
About 5 minutes later, a Six Flags employee dropped the Robin entrance chain. He announced to the people in the outside queue that they would get on faster if they took the Robin entrance. Most people in the outside queue did. The people in the inside queue (even if they were a foot inside) couldn’t move. Dave and I followed the outside queue to the Robin entrance and we were on in 5 minutes! Dave was pretty excited since he had only rode the Robin side once. He said that I was lucky to ride it since most people in New Jersey haven’t ridden it!
The Robin side was pretty intense, although the boomerang maneuver wasn’t as fun as the Batman side. The Robin side (or the red side) had a cobra roll. It was still a knock your socks off ride.
I wanted to ride the Chiller later in the day, but the weather got bad and it was closed. I rode Nitro and Batman: The Ride several times while I waited, but I never saw the Chiller run again.
This is a wooden racing coaster, but only one side was running. The ride was very rough and squeaked a lot. The ride seemed to be in a bad condition. I think if maintenance used more oil, then this would be a better ride. I rode it once for the credit. They were running one train and we had no wait.
GREAT AMERICAN SCREAM MACHINE
This is a looping steel coaster. It was rough and a headbanger! The harnesses had a super-huge “U” shaped grip. Dave said that it rode it 25 times in a row one day. I don’t know how he did that! Two rides on this coaster were enough for me. The mid-course breaks on this coaster bring it to a complete stop. The coaster then slowly goes down the drop and into the next maneuver. It may create suspense, but the brakes do not have to be that hard! They were running one train and we had no wait.
This ride is similar to Demon Drop at Cedar Point. I had never been on one, so Dave dragged me onto it. It was a neat ride, but it was over way too quick. By the time people started screaming, the ride was over. We waited 15 minutes for this one.
Medusa was B&M first floorless coaster. Medusa was closed all morning. The line was about a 10-minute wait, but when it was my turn to ride, the floors in the back didn’t drop. Maintenance came and beat it with a shoe or something. After about 10 minutes, the floor was fixed and I rode. This was a pretty smooth and good ride, although I like Kraken at Sea World Orlando a little better. From the lift hill, you could see Six Flags’ Wild Safari. I’m glad that I didn’t go on the safari. Each car had several baboons on it. I would hate for my rental car to have windshield wipers torn off! I rode Medusa once and two trains were running.
HOUDINI’S GREAT ESCAPE
From the park map description, I wasn’t sure what to make of this ride. I thought it was a simulator ride, but it seemed like a themed carnival ride. Houdini’s ghost would perform is greatest trick for us, which basically was a spinning room. It was good to ride it once to get out of the heat. I waited 10 minutes for this one.
DINO ISLAND II
This was a 3-D simulator ride. The line moved slowly and I waited 20 minutes for this one. They could have put more people in the theater than they allowed. The theater was a quarter full, even through the entire queue in the building could have fit into the theater. In the preshow area, Dino Island is indicated as an island off Africa, but the queue videos say that it’s in the South Seas! Some Six Flags guests actually did go to college, thank you.
The simulator was a pretty wild ride. It was sort of like Universal’s Back to the Future, but a little less intense. The 3-D effects only came up when the simulator stopped moving. I don’t think they perfected squishing like at Islands of Adventure’s Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride.
This is a mine ride train. I think I need to stop riding mine rides. I’ve been on many and none of them compare to the ultimate mine ride, Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. That ride is very smooth and has a neat maneuver where it goes back and forth, something that I haven’t found on most other coasters. Other mine rides are rough and toss you around. Runaway Train wasn’t any different. I had to cross my legs to fit into it and it gave some uncomfortable laterals. I rode it once for the credit. I think two trains were running.
This is a roller coaster in the dark. It was a walk-on. There was supposed to be strobe effects in it, but I didn’t see anything. It was just dark. The coaster seemed more intense because it was in the dark, but outside, I think it would be considered a kiddie coaster. I rode it once for the credit. I think that they were running two trains.
Viper was down, which seemed like a good thing. My friend said that ride was very rough.
I also saw the Ski Xtreme show, which wasn’t bad. It was good to sit down and relax for a while.
I ate lunch at Ted’s Cheesesteaks. I wanted to eat at Nathan’s Hot Dogs, but prices were high. Ted’s Cheesesteaks was pretty pricey too. I had a cheesesteak and fries that cost around $15. I should have exited the park and eaten at the KFC down the road. The cheesesteak wasn’t too good. The bread was so cheap that half of the steak fell out. The restaurant didn’t put out forks either.
The cashier at the cheesesteak looked like the taxi driver guy from “Wings.” He was the saddest person that I’ve ever seen. His face seemed to bear the burden of all the world’s despair and depression.
The things that I liked about the park were the water fountains beside every bathroom. One of the marks of a good park to me is a water fountain by every bathroom. That way, if you get thirsty, you can look for a bathroom and always find a fountain. Some parks have the bathroom and fountain in different places. Too bad most of the water fountains had warm water. Dave and I finally broke down and bought bottles of cold water. It was $3, but certainly worth it after drinking warm water for hours.
I think that the ride ops could have improved on throughput. It seemed to take forever to load and unload trains. Once on Batman: The Ride, I saw some of the ride ops passing around a piece of paper and writing something down. I suppose they were signing that the ride was OK, but can’t you do that while a coaster is on the tracks? The big boys – Cedar Point, Universal, Disney, and the like – will get you on and off most rides pretty quickly. Perhaps they need to go to the big boys to learn how to get people on and off ride fast.
Also, parking seemed a little steep at $10. I pay $10 just for the privilege of parking on a piece of asphalt. OK, Universal Orlando charges $8, but at least you get a nice parking garage with moving sidewalks. Six Flags has a version of Fast Pass called Fast Lane, but you have to pay to use it. I think it costs $20 for the first person and like $10-$20 for each additional person. I thought that was a little steep. I felt a little spoiled by Disney and Universal. At least their Fast Pass versions are included with admission! It might have been worth it to use Fast Lane for the Chiller, though, but I would be hard-pressed to pay $20 just to cut the line.
Another bad thing about the park were spots of graffiti. On the Nitro restraint, someone decided to write his or her name on it. This is just disrespectful of the park. Come on, treat the park like you would treat your house. How would they like it if I came over to their house and wrote all over their walls? There was some graffiti mixed in with the themed graffiti in the Batman: The Ride queue, but the park seemed to have spots of graffiti here and there.
By the way, this was the first Six Flags park not to have a Superman-themed roller coaster. My gosh, is Six Flags slipping? Did they overlook painting Nitro red and blue?
Still, I thought Six Flags Great Adventure was a good park and one that I would visit again.
Tomorrow’s park was Six Flags America in Largo, MD. I left Six Flags Great Adventure at around 8 pm. It took about 3 hours to get to Aberdeen, MD (which was about 1 hour from Largo). I must have been in Toll County because I hit so many tollbooths on my way there. I must have paid $5-$6 just in tolls.
I stayed at a Red Roof Inn at Aberdeen. The front desk clerk was kind of discourteous. I had a reservation for $43 a night, but the clerk said that she couldn’t find the reservation and wanted to charge me $55 a night for a room. She refused to honor the lower charge. I had to call the 800-reservation line to strong-arm the hotel into giving me my reservation rate. The reservation line operator was very nice and courteous. The front desk clerk was another matter. I don’t need to meet a frowning face after fighting traffic for 3 hours. I’m glad that I was only there for one night. I had reservations at other Red Roof Inns and I was hoping that I wouldn’t have this sort of trouble later. If I did, I was going to raise some stink.
The first B:TR inverted was at Six Flags Great America And Batman, and Robin are not even close to resembling a boomerang!! hahaha!
But still good TRs
*** This post was edited by El Gato Coastro on 8/23/2002. ***
Well Im glad you had a good trip, and it seems your a wee bit biased to Big Thunder Mountain :)
I am jealous! Just went to that park for the first time over a week ago and didn't get to ride Chiller, mine train or Skull MOuntain :*( Did get to ride Viper though--ouch! You were lucky that you were with someone who knew the park. That usually makes first time visits to large parks like that more fun :) Wish we would have had a "Dave" to show us around!
Are you Barry from the Universal site by chance??
God is Good!
Are you Barry from the Universal site by chance??
Yes, that is me. :)
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