We arrived in Chicago Friday evening and stopped at Itto Sushi on Halsted in the Liconln Park area. I've decided that the thing I dislike about Chicago isn't the size of it, but rather the density. Everything is packed in tight and the cab drivers are insane. That's not fun when you're used to being able to drive your car everywhere.
After dinner, we took a wrong turn in the most ridiculous downpour I've ever seen. We eventually passed Wrigley Field, which looks like more of a dump in real-life than on TV (and Mike/onceler assures me the inside is about the same). Eventually we made it to our hotel.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Deerfield, about 20 minutes south of the park. At $90/night, this place is a steal. It's a fairly nice hotel, and the breakfast (not continental crap, but actual cooked food) and evening "reception" (free booze) is a nice touch. It's the third time one of us has stayed there. Good service keeps you coming back.
Saturday morning, the sky was not looking pleasant at all. We met up with our contact at the park and drove around to the park op office where they were forming a game plan to deal with the weather. It was clear that ERT wasn't going to happen. They weren't even comfortable testing the rides, let alone running them.
They quickly decided to offer everyone two FastLane passes, a $30 value, as well as free beverage coupons. I was sold, and I thought that was more than fair. In fact, it was in some ways better because we were able to get on a whole mess of rides with virtually no wait. Good times!
I met a bunch of people and will forget names I'm sure, and shortly thereafter we entered the park. We ran into Scott/ShiveringTim, Kara/STChick, Draegs and DJ Tobe and decided to hit Superman first since I still hadn't been on it. One side note, we used a locker, which was an OK deal at $5 all day with unlimited in/out.
B&M's restraint system is much better than the Vekoma counterpart, no doubt about it. The ride does lots of neat things. The pretzel loop, however, is just a bit much. I felt like my head was going to burst. After that, it was a nice smooth "flying" experience that I really enjoyed. As Stephanie mentioned, the real enjoyment from a ride like that would be best with lots of those sweeping turns and more rolls. I agree!
We walked from there through Mardi Gras, where unfortunately, Ragin' Cajun was not yet ready for prime time. What a bummer that is. They weren't running the new Top Spin yet either.
We hit V2, and I enjoyed it. Being toward the back of the train on this version of the Impulse is not really very exciting. I was pleased though that launches in both directions, except for the first forward, were pretty strong.
Scott spotted Deja Vu running when we got off, and it was obvious that the ride that has escaped so many of us must be conquered. They really need to consider a cross-over point in the park. The giant loop takes forever to get around. Mental note: Place across from Cartoon Network area sells beer.
Deja Vu did break down once while we were in line. They managed to get it back up, and we got to ride. I've never liked the backward part on boomerangs when you're near a particularly intense part of the train, but as Scott theorized, the elements are so big that it's not that intense at all. What a stupid design, by the way. Nice going Vekoma!
The sky looked a little threatening, so Steph and I decided to hit the beer stand and meet up with the others while they hit a few flat rides. Note to self: beer on empty stomach = quick buzz. Let's ride Batman, FastLane style!
Batman looks absolutely stunning with the new paint. It feels smooth as ever. With the thumping techno in the station and the buzz, I was feeling pretty good about all of it. The first inverter, sure, but still one of the best designs. I don't care how many are out there.
We revisited the beer stand after that, and the three kids went for nap in the car while Scott joined us for Raging Bull. Bypassing the line... thank you. Took a nice back seat ride. Bull is a great ride, as are all of the B&M speed coasters. I still like Apollo's Chariot best, but Bull was a ton of fun. More fun than I remember, which I attribute either to the alcohol or the fact that my other rides were in the rain.
Next up, Whizzer. Short line, yeah, but I've got a pocket full of FastLane tickets, so who cares! The park made the right choice to save this ride over Shockwave. It's very unique in so many ways, and its cover in the trees makes it a nice escape. I think it's their duty to keep up on the ride as long as possible. It's a classic.
Eventually we ended up back at the picnic grove for lunch. Food wasn't bad (chicken was a little dry), and the park gave us all gift bags with lots of stuff. Nice touch! I thanked everyone for coming and we distributed the left-over FastLane's and beverage coupons.
We left shortly thereafter, as we pretty much hit everything we wanted to hit. We went back to enjoy the swank accommodations and relax a bit.
The next morning we went back in to town to the Chicago Diner to pick up a vegan German chocolate cake for Steph and our friend Nicole (she was at the event last year).
It was a good weekend... and I was really impressed the way the park took a bad situation and made it right. I don't think anyone missed having the ERT at all. While a slightly stronger emphasis on capacity would be helpful, SFGAm is light years ahead of any other Six Flags park I've been to in terms of ability to show guests a good time.
Also, next time you come to Chicago, we'll have to take in a Cubs game. You don't really have to enjoy baseball as long as you enjoy cerveza's.
I too thougt that the pretzel loop was a little too forceful as I felt too much pressure on my spine.
Overall, great park. It is true that they need to focus a little more on capacitiy. A couple extra ride ops on each platform and perhaps making sure that the employees don't just call each other on the phone for fun would be a good thing.
Getting 3 re-rides on Viper without leaving the train before closing was nice. Dawn and I thought we were going to be really cool again like we were at Kentucky Kingdom and get the last ride of the night on the park's best woodie... But that didn't work out. What will we do with ourselves now that we can't claim such an ultimate coolness? ;)
I think you would really enjoy SFOG as well, Jeff. That's the closest to a "Is this really a SF park?" as you can get to Great America from my experiences.
I should add that I've scored rooms at the Embassy Suites where Jeff stayed for $40 from Priceline a couple times on a last minute deal. Try it sometime when you're looking for a last minute deal.
Just wanted to echo some of the things other have said. SFGAm did a great job taking care of us in light of the ERT being cancelled. I would agree the Fastlane Passes were great as it was easier to get on more rides that way.
When I was using one of the beverage coupons the person waiting on my asked what ride I got stuck on. I told her it wasn't for that and about the missed ERT and what they did for us and she said something like "They gave you Fastlane Passes? They never usually do things like that!"
Even though Adventureland is really my home park since it's closer I spend much more time at SFGAm and as others have said most of the time it doesn't seem like a typical Six Flags park. I really don't mind the 4 hour drive from Iowa City several times during the season when things go well, as they usually do.
I cetainly enjoyed meeting the faces that go with the screen names. Thanks to Jeff and Steph for putting together a great event. And, thanks again to SFGAm for treating us right. *** Edited 5/24/2004 10:14:44 PM UTC by Brad G***
Weird... you know, I've consumed alcohol three times in the last six months, and it sounds like that's all I do in this TR!
Nice TR, though, and wish I could have made the trip back up to Great America!
Too bad they closedRB's gate before 9pm. I was disappointed
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