Six Flags Great America - 5/05/2002

Associated parks:
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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 7:01 PM

Sunday would mark our first visit of the season to my longtime home park, SFGAM. It was opening weekend for the park and I was worried it would be busy, but that turned out to be a non-issue. The crowds were relatively light most of the day. The weather was pretty nice although the wind had a little chill to it. It would cool off later on in the day but it wasn’t uncomfortable.

Tammy and I arrived at the park around 9:45 and were quickly inside. Since everyone seemed to be heading right towards Deja Vu and Southwest Territory, we decided to head left and work against the crowds. This would work out greatly in our favor as we would get 6 rides in within the first hour (3 V2, 2 Batman, 1 Eagle).

From there we took a leisurely pace around the park for the rest of the day. We rode mostly coasters since Tammy doesn’t do spinning rides and I’ve ridden all of them, many times, in the past. This was fine with me as our last visit was rather disappointing because of some insane crowds during fright-fest. We managed 3 coasters in 7 hours that day and I believe we beat that by 10:30am on Sunday.

We had some cheese fries from the place near the Eagle’s exit for a lunch snack and we ate dinner at the Mooseburger Lodge. There I had what was easily the greasiest burger I’ve ever eaten in my life. Don’t get me wrong, it was tasty, but it was so greasy that I had to remove the bottom bun because of the amount of grease it had soaked up. They had a live band playing some classic rock inside which was pretty cool. We ate and then just listened to the band for about a half-hour afterward. It was a nice diversion from the normal park routine.

We stayed until park closing at 8:00. The crowds really thinned out around 6:00 and almost everything had very minimal waits. Even V2 was down to under 10 minutes around 7:00 with a line barely out of the station.

As I reported in another thread, Deja Vu valleyed around 7:45 and the park was in the process of removing the passengers as we left. Security had the area blocked off so I didn’t get too close, but I did notice from Viper’s lift hill that it had stalled between the loop and cobra roll which is apparently pretty unusual.

It’s too bad this happened because the rest of the day, the ride ran great. I was really impressed that both Deja Vu and V2 ran consistently all day. I say one botched launch on V2 but that only resulted in about a 3-minute delay.

Ride Reviews

V2 (4 laps)
This was our first ride of the day and was a great wake up call. We rode first in the back and then up front. We managed four rides on the coaster with no waiting before a line finally formed.

Here’s my tip for V2. The line for the front car always gets long very quickly and will add quite a bit of waiting time. Go for row 2, which is almost as good and usually has a short line. All the people waiting for the front make that area of the train look crowded when in reality, there are usually only a couple people in the second line. The ride experience from this row is almost identical to the front with only a minimal difference in visuals. You can see pretty well over the front seats and you’ll experience the exact same rotation. The ride is also pretty good from the back but you don’t get much rotation on the front spike.

Batman: The Ride (3 laps)
Batman was running really well, especially for being 10 years old. I don’t know if I was imagining things but it seemed that one train was quite a bit faster and more intense than the other. It was easy to keep track because one train had the covers off the wheel assemblies. We rode in both the front (twice) and the back. While the back is more intense, I still prefer the front for the visuals.

Iron Wolf (1 lap)
I was a big supporter for Iron Wolf last year when I thought the ride was running really well. Unfortunately, it seems the ride from a couple years ago has returned. There was quite a bit of head banging and a lot of complaining when the train made it to the brake run. If things don’t improve, I’ll probably be avoiding this ride quite a bit this season.

American Eagle ( 7 laps – 1 backwards / 6 forward)
I guess that I’m part of the minority in that I still prefer the red side over the backward blue. Backward was fun but nothing spectacular. The layout on the blue side isn’t as good and turning the train around doesn’t change that. I rode the ride last time it turned one train around and I remember it being much better. Perhaps my tastes have just changed.

The red side was running as good as it has in years with amazing airtime on both the out and back trips. The brakes did grab pretty hard but it doesn’t (and never has) make much difference in the ride. One benefit of the new backwards trains on the other track is that the line for the red side is now non-existent.

I must give kudos to the park for not only running both sides most of the day, but also racing them quite a bit. It’s a lot of fun to watch the faces of people on the blue train as they fall down the first drop backwards.

Giant Drop ( 2 drops )
This is the first time that I’ve ever seen all the cars running on this ride. I noticed that one car always seemed to drop a bit further than the rest but I never did manage to ride that car. I consider this the best drop ride I’ve been on over Drop Zone, Hellevator, and Power Tower. One ride operator was making the passengers show empty hands before starting the ride. I guess they didn’t want anyone trying to “float” items.

Raging Bull ( 3 laps )
Although RB seemed to be running a little sluggish today, it still has the best first drop anywhere. The park ran 3 trains most of the day and the crew did a great job of dispatching the trains very quickly. Even the long afternoon lines resulted in waits of only 30-45 minutes.

Viper ( 4 laps )
We finished our night with a ride and re-ride on Viper. The airtime on this ride was simply unbelievable. I didn’t even notice any squealing in the turns as is sometimes present. Anyone that doubts the airtime that the two woodies at SFGAM have, can come see the two, rather large, bruises that I have on my legs because of them. My last couple rides were painful, but it’s that kind of pain that just hurts so good! I prefer seat 1.3 for the best ride

Demon ( 1 lap)
I got a pretty good ride on the Demon this time. I didn’t bang my head entering the corkscrew, which has been a problem for me in the past. They had the waterfall off but the tunnel lights and sound were on. They ran two trains but I didn’t see the third train anywhere.

Whizzer ( 2 laps )
This aging Speed Racer still performs very well. I’ll be crushed if the park ever removes this ride, as it was my first adult coaster of any kind. The ride is better later in the year when the trees fill in, but it was still fun.

Deja Vu ( 1 lap )
We rode DV in the afternoon and the advertised 2-hour wait ended up only being 1.5 for the front row. Despite all the problems this ride has, when you actually get to ride it is VERY good. The first vertical lift and drop are as thrilling as any moment on a coaster. The drop off the second tower isn’t bad either. The ride pulls some good G’s even though it doesn’t seem to be moving through the inversions very fast. The ride seemed to be pretty reliable until it got cold in the evening. I only wish they could figure out some way to speed up the loading and unloading procedures. Vekoma and Six Flags get a bad rap for Deja Vu, but everyone seems to overlook the actual ride experience, which is actually rather good.

Shockwave ( 1 lap )
I got a pretty smooth ride on Shockwave. I braced for the turn into the brake run and everything else was fine. I love the positive G’s the ride pulls through the second and third loops. I could have easily taken another ride since the line was very short, but I figured, why mess with a good thing.

Condor ( 1 spin )
This was my first ride ever on Condor and confirmed my thoughts about the ride. It’s basically like a tame scrambler that raises into the air. If height alone doesn’t thrill you, then I’m afraid this ride doesn’t offer much. I wouldn’t mind seeing the park remove this ride if we could get a modern flat in its place.

Misc. Notes
-Orbit was in pieces but looks like it has been recently painted. I think the park will be assembling it soon.
-The rapids ride and Ice Mountain Spash didn't run but Loggers Run and Splashwater Falls did. I didn't notice too many passengers though.
-The carousel at the park's entrance has been painted and looks spectacular.
-PowerDive doesn't look like it will ever see passengers again.
-Cajun Cliffhanger is gone.
-Hometown Square bridge is open again. Turbo Bungee is now where the kiddie rides used to be. They have been removed.

We had a very good day overall. I plan to go back in a couple weeks and I can only hope to have a similar day.

Thanks for reading,

Kyle

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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 7:49 PM
Accually, I don't think Cliffhanger is gone. When I was there, I saw something in the far end of the employee parking lot, opposite of the Skywhirl cages (while on Iron Wolf you see this.) It looked like what could have been the interior of the Cliffhanger. Of course, it won't ever be rebuilt, but I just want to say it is there, sort of.

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When did American Eagle get more airtime than Viper?

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Wednesday, May 8, 2002 2:41 PM
I agree with you on Deja Vu, that ride is one of the best rides I have ever been on, but if its not reliable and starts to valley all the time it will probally end up living a short lifespan, which is something I really don't want to see happen to such a awesome ride.

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Top 5 Coasters
1.Deja Vu(SFGAm) 2.Raging Bull(SFGAm) 3.Millennium Force(CP)
4.CornBall Express(IB)
5.Viper(SFGAm)

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Wednesday, May 8, 2002 4:04 PM
I really hope that doesn't happen. The ride looks so awesome and I hope I get to ride it this summer!

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X Looks Awesome! Oh Yea!!

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Wednesday, May 8, 2002 8:01 PM

Great TR!

Could they remove the orange seat belts? That would save significant loading time. Also, thanks for the V2 tip. I might try it.

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