Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California, USA
I vacationed in Los Angeles for a week in May. One of my stops involved the park I always wanted to visit. My "home" park would be Cedar Point but I've visited Kennywood much more often the past few years than The Point. Mainly stopped going to Cedar Point as much due to fatigue and boredom from the peninsula. I'll definitely be visiting sometime this summer, though.
Cedar Point always offered a great contrast to what I thought Magic Mountain is. Most of the coasters have some sort of counterpart. Both have an interesting location; Cedar Point being on a peninsula and Magic Mountain built on a hill of sorts.
The day started off great. We arrived right at open (10:30am) with little to no line of cars, not too many people walking through the gates, and a fast check through into the park. By then the clouds arrived but the temperature hovered around 75 degrees all day. I figured the day would be great with little crowds.
First planned stop involved X2; then the infamy surrounding the attraction hit. We did the trek to the entrance only to find it closed to begin the day. I was a bit bummed. This was the one ride I really wanted to get on above all the others. I hoped it would open later that day.
We diverted to the wacky coat hanger contraption that makes up Viper. I (un?)luckily had a chance to ride GASM at SFGAdv before it bit the dust; I knew what to expect. Viper surprised me! I really enjoyed it. It wasn't all that rough, either. The batwing still remains one of my favorite elements on a looper. I laugh at the classic arrow engineering with the giant ramps up to the first loop. I'm glad Stengel and B&M figured out you can make loops proportional to the height of the actual ride. Viper works well for what it is. Didn't get a chance for another ride throughout the day.
After Viper came Tatsu. My immediate impression of the ride? It needs a paint job more than a rusted out '65 mustang. The wait time listed around an hour. We both figured it wouldn't get much less throughout the day. The line procedure was...odd? They held you at the bottom, made you wait under the tarp, and only sent a train or two load up the stairs and into the station. It reminded me of a more extreme procedure than what CP does at Millennium Force. I didn't know really what to expect besides the pretzel loop. I've been on all the different stateside Vekoma and B&M models. Tatsu was the last flyer model I had left to conquer.
Tatsu's climb up the lift slightly intimidated me. Below you see trees, rising/falling terrain, paths, and everything else around that corner of the park. Then everything goes haywire once you do the curving drop around the tower! From there I don't remember all too much. The swooping transitions from fly-lie-fly were some of the best. I still think it lacks in serious drops but that may be the terrain playing tricks on my eyes. The forces everywhere packed a good punch but nothing too overwhelming. It ranks slightly below Manta for me but it's still in my personal top 10 of steel coasters.
After Tatsu we wandered our way around the park. I'll admit that Magic Mountain's natural landscaping took me a bit out of the element. It makes you forget you're in an amusement park with all the trees, bushes, and seclusion up by Ninja and the log flume. We came down off the hill and hopped onto another highly anticipated ride on Apocalypse.
Why is the queue five miles long for this ride?! I'd sure hate to wait through the switchback maze on this ride. The preshow looked well intentioned but no way is it anything close to Disney or Universal; I totally get SF isn't Disney or Universal, too. I hopped on expecting a ride to unseat Kentucky Rumbler in my wooden top 10. Unfortunately the exact opposite happened.
Can anyone tell me what happened to this ride? The ride was rough, uncomfortable, lacked airtime, and was worse than Mean Streak, Raging Wolf Bobs, or any other awful Dinn & Sommers creation I've ever been on. Did Six Flags decide to completely neglect the trains and trackwork? Ugh, I hated the ride. Didn't want to do anymore of it.
Next up was Riddler's Revenge. No wait time was posted, one train operation was happening, and I've never been huge on Standup coasters from B&M. I've been on Chang and Mantis; chang won the battle between the two coasters. I almost wanted to skip it and come back later. We decided to get it out of the way now. We finally got on after a very long wait, a packed station, and excruciating one train operation. Riddler surprised me! I totally loved the ride! The inversions weren't awful on my legs, the order of elements was creative, and the second half featured a nice contrast to the first half of the ride. I totally understand the love for this ride. It may be in my top 10 steel loopers. The ranking looks like this for me: Riddler>Chang>Mantis
From here the day mellowed out. I felt quite wiped out after Riddler and Terminator. We walked around a bit and snapped some pictures to recover for the rest of the coasters. We found out X2 was still closed. That wasn't the only maintenance problem, though. The mine ride, Goliath (opened for about an hour but shut right back down), Superman (another highly anticipated coaster for me...), Ninja (another anticipated coaster with its varied terrain and being an arrow suspended), and Scream (which opened after awhile) all had their own issues which kept them under downtime. I took it all in stride and still managed to enjoy the day despite many marquee rides suffering lengthy downtime.
Colossus managed to stay open despite the troubles of every other ride. I didn't know what to expect from this ride. The only similar wooden coaster I've been on were the Eagles at SFGam. I enjoyed those so I figured Colossus would be comparable. I think Gemini would be a more accurate comparison despite the steel track. Colossus ended up as an average if not below average coaster for me. Nothing seemed bad but nothing stood out to me, either.
The surprise of the day goes to Parking Lot Coaster: The Ride. Scream gets tons of hate for the location Six Flags put it. I get that it's off the shelf, was most likely a cheap response to CP over the coaster number wars, and seemed uninspired on every single level. I didn't expect much but I loved Medusa at SFGAdv when I made a visit there back in '07. Much of the same love I have for Medusa carried over to Scream. The ZeroG roll is still one of my favorite inversions. Dominator would be #1 overall floorless if it had one. Kraken still holds the title for best floorless.
I skipped out on Full Throttle due to a long line, short ride, and I'm sure Sky Rocket at Kennywood is the better ride. It makes for pretty pictures despite all the negatives. I'm sure the investment into the ride could've been better spent paint jobs for all the coasters, trackwork for Apocalypse, and a total refurb of Revolution...
Last ride of the day ended up on the first full circuit looping coaster! My excitement in riding another piece of history scaled quite high. The terrain nature of Revolution seemed to make it even better. Boy...was I wrong! The shoulder restraints are the worst restraint system I've ever experienced on a coaster. The constant jostling repeatedly slammed my head into the rock solid OTSRs. Ugh, I wanted to get off after the first hill.
We checked X2 once more after revolution but it was definitely shut down for the rest of the day along with all the other rides. I know B:TR backwards is missing from my list. Didn't feel like an intense invert I've already been on despite the backwards gimmick. Green Lantern isn't for me, either. I almost got really sick on Mickey's Fun Wheel the day prior...
I thought Six Flags turned the corner from days of low capacity attractions, broken rides, and lifeless parks?
I'd like to visit another day maybe in a couple years. Don't see myself coming back until a major coaster addition like a NTG or Leviathan.Last edited by LJEdge, Wednesday, June 4, 2014 2:37 PM
The up time problem that people so frequently report is the thing that has kept me from ever committing to visiting the park. If it's just one ride that's down, even for an entire day, sure I get it, that happens. I've been there. But many rides being down on a regular basis makes me apprehensive. Maybe it's just popular perception, but perception is often reality.
In hindsight I would've rather spent the day at Knott's (which I didn't visit) since I was staying a mile away from Disneyland. At least I knew most of the rides would've been operational, experienced Cedar Fair quality operations, and checked Knott's off my list. Except that SFMM included many more enticing coasters, GhostRider was under rehab, and I'm waiting for the Knott's giga/hyper.
But, I went in expecting all the Six Flags problems were fixed. Maybe being there on a non-peak day played into awful operations? All of us know that shouldn't be an acceptable excuse, though. (Park hours were 10:30-6pm)
I had thought about going to SFMM when I was in Anaheim for a week last October, but I opted for Knott's instead. I don't regret that decision, especially after reading this.
I have had a series of hit or miss days at MM. I've never had a super huge problem with lines there (usually visit on a weekend in winter) but I <gasp> planned 2 separate trips around X and failed on both of them. Then the third time around, it was a walk on all day and I got 17 laps.
(Fourth trip, which was still about 8 years ago X opened late in the afternoon and I got on the first 2 or 3 trains, then ran as far away as I could).
In response to Jeff's reply. I kind of had that going into my experience this weekend at Great Adventure. Knowing Kingda Ka was down, no big problem there as its a lot like Top Thrill Dragster.
It however, was listed on the Flashpass attractions which got my hopes up to start the day. However, all other rides were operational minus a hiccup with Nitro.
I learned a long time ago, sometimes you have to just let things be as they may and not complain about rides being down. However, in this instance I think this guy got shafted by a lot of downtime.
I have to wonder if the sheer number of SFMM's roller coasters and the money that goes into developing and operating them is at least partly responsible for the issue. I have to imagine that the required budget to keep all of those rides running consistently is enormous. I'm sure that year-round operation is a factor as well, but I'd imagine that they have their scheduled refurbishments.
Interestingly enough, when I've gone on a weekend in the winter, the uptime was nothing short of spectacular. X was closed on my first visit only because it was being converted and Superman was closed on my second visit only because that was during its conversion as well.
I'm sorry you had a bad time, but for a counterpart to the reviews above, both of my visits to the park were quite pleasant.Last edited by sirloindude, Wednesday, June 4, 2014 6:26 PM
I've had nothing but bad experiences at SFMM in my last 3 visits which spanned 10 years.
Single train ops turn every ride into an hour plus wait, despite the lines being incredibly short. In fact, my last 2 visits we gave up. Only rode the mine train, Arrow suspended, and a handful of small rides because of the single train, 1.5 hour wait issue.
I will not return to this park until I hear it has stopped. I, like the OP, was under the impression that the park had brought itself back up to standard, but apparently not.
I bet you wouldn't have had to wait in a 1.5 hour line if you had bought a Flash Pass... Just saying.
And Knott's always runs two trains? Whenever I have visited midweek Ghostrider always has only one train running, even when the line is over 45 minutes. Since the midcourse brakes now bring the ride to a stop and completely neuter the second half of the ride it isn't worth the wait.
I always park my car in the 3 hour free parking zone and when I go out to move it, I often can't be bothered going back in.
We really lucked out with our visit at SFMM... It was in January on a day that the park was only open from like 10-6pm or something and had only one possible day to visit while in Cali... Fortunately, the forcast was gloomy (around 50-60* I believe, and some rain). So the park was beyond DEAD.
Got to the park and X2 was closed... They were testing it however, so we waited about 1.5hrs outside of the entrance for it to open. This WAS the reason we went to this park, so if that was the only thing we rode so be it.
Thankfully, it opened around 11:30 and we waited about one train for it. The most insane, unreal ride experience EVER. There is no other ride that compares to this that I have ridden. I really wish they built more of these, but I understand why not... :)
We then took off to ride everything else in the park... Nothing had a wait. We rode everything in the park within just a few hours, even re-riding some of the better rides. Park was clean, employees super friendly and overall an amazing experience.
X2 was walk-on all day/night. We ended the night re-riding it (never having o leave the station) and getting around 7 or 8 laps the last half hour or so. Could not ask for a better visit, considering all we had heard about this park.
I would love to get back to SFMM, but mainly for X2.
I also love X2.
I'm thankful that I got most credits on my first crappy visit.
But it was my second visit, on a Monday in December, that was worth it. Only thing down was Supes, and that was die to Full Throttle construction.
So far I'm still missing one side of Colossus that I guess I'll never get (in its current form).
If they'd spruce the park up, run it right, add a dark ride, and some modern flats, SFMM would be one of my favorite parks.
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