Friday, March 16, 2001 11:20 AM
Trip Report: Six Flags Magic Mountain
March 11, 2001
Time to venture North about 50 miles to a theme park that is steeped in coaster enthusiast tradition. The Third park shown in Rollercoaster!, Wally World in National Lampoon, and site of many coaster milestones.
With all respect due the Magic Mountain, we arrived at its parking lot early Sunday morning to find a nice backup of cars waiting to pay their parking fee. ($7) "I have a very bad feeling about this", we then proceded to park the car and admire the coaster skyline visible from the parking lot. Despite what I had been told, I found the SFMM parking tram service to be fast and efficient. Upon reaching the front gate, I reached into my wallet and decided I would use the plastic card with Batman on it. Come on SFKK season pass, its time to do your thing.
I paused to note that the one day admission price (about $42) was more than I had paid for my season pass, how gratifying. We had a short delay getting through the utterly useless security checkpoint. I went through the metal detector, said metal detector buzzed, I was told to go on into the park. After clearing security we were in a holding area awaiting the gates to open, We found our way to the season pass gates, and a much shorter line. I must make a comment that the crowd that SFMM gets, especially the teens are pretty immature and 'punk'y. Contrast this to Disney or Knott's were everyone is generally well behaved and don't go out of their way to get in your way while videotaping.
Did I mention the holding area was PACKED, again "I have a bad feeling about this" We entered the park, and learned that our out of park passes would not scan, necessitating a manual override, and the gate attendant having to write our pass numbers down in a logbook. We then entered the park, paused for the park paparazzi, and headed into the park. In a moment of sheer genius we headed straight for the parks "In Park Transportation System", a monorail, and headed to the furthest, rearmost point in the park.
Thank you Duels Loop, while the guests mobbed the rides at the front of the park, we experienced near ERT like conditions on Riddlers Revenge.
Riddler's Revenge - Coaster # 163
1998 B&M Stand Up
Great the ming, after making out way through the empty queue and up the stairs, we were soon in row #1 on this B&M stand up. The green Riddled's with an interesting layout and a vertical loop that is threaded by the lift hill. While this ride has more to offer than Chang at SFKK, this ride DOES NOT HURT YOUR LEGS like Chang does. For the first time I was able to ride a B&M stand up without having a sharp pain in my legs at the end of the ride. An impressive ride to say the least.
Batman The Ride - Coaster # 164
We then headed to the parks other B&M, Batman The Ride, an Inverted coaster that is in several parks, and not all of them owned by Six Flags. Batman;s line began at the seat queues, and with a minimal wait we were in row 2 to ride this B&M staple. Again a solid dependable ride, even if the paint job on it is lousy. We took in the sights and sounds of the Gotham City area, and its uniquely themes Round Up and Music Express, the Collosus County Fair, with its traditional rides like the Scrambler, Tilt, and of course Collosus.
Collosus - Coaster #165
Colossus sits in a nice cul de sac at the back of the park, and when we arrived we learned it would only be running one side today. Parks, if you purchase RACERS, then RACE THEM! Another minimal wait, and we were in the backseat of the red train on the right track.
Collosus runs Morgan trains, yes, but the Morgan's lap bars have been replaced with individual ratcheters giving each rider their own lap bar. Colossus, what can I say, it isn't the worst coaster I have been on, I liked it better than Great Escape Comet. (Those who know me, know I have issues with TGE Comet) I noticed a few minor hints at airtime on Collosus, the ride layout was interesting, and it wasn't a bad coaster, just not a good coaster.
By this time we noticed that Goliath was running (GASP> dead trains. (I.e. those whose passengers are water dummies)) Okay, change of plans, lets explore the park in the other direction, Backtracking a bit, we soon found ourselves at Goldrusher, an early Arrow Mine Ride.
Goldrusher - Coaster #166
1971 Mine Train
Wow Arrow skid brakes, a rare find, and the traditional old style Arrow mine train car, with the manually operated lap bars. (Cross your ankles), and what appears to be a pretty recent bright yellow paint job. The ride leaves the station, turns around goes through the transfer area, makes a right onto lift 1, which hugs the ground and tops our by the base of Superman, then a short dippy section before lift 2, where and some more dips before you pass the mid course brake (not on), and an interesting turn before hitting the rides key element, the helix, A rather good mine ride.
We then headed up the mountain quite literally to Samurai Summit. Man what a steep hike. After nearly passing out by the time we reached the top we slowly stumbled over to find Ninja would not be operating today. After that climb, you gotta be joking me! We eyeballed the line for Superman and decided that getting a good meal was more important at the time. Then we saw SFMM's most useful ride, the Orient Express, an incline that makes getting to the top of this darn mountain a breeze.
After debarking the Orient Express we grabbed a park guide and looked at our dining options to sample the finest culinary fare that Tragic Mountain has to offer. We decided on the Mooseburger Lodge, which offers an all you can eat buffet. They also have a menu, but an entree is like $8.95 and a buffet is $11.95, you do the math. Said buffet had BBQ ribs, BBQ beef, roasted chicken, lasagna, and several other great things. To add to the flavor of the Mooseburger Lodge, the stuffed animals along the balcony edges talk to each other and sing songs. (I thought I was seeing the Country Bear Jamboree tomorrow). Then in the dead center of Mooseburger Lodge, I saw him. Wally! Wally the moose! Yep the moose who is famous for his line about "Sorry Parks closed"
After several trips to the buffet at the Moosebruger, and putting on an eating demonstration the likes of that seem in Chuck Lunch. it was back into the park. Instead of racing to our next ride, we took time to videotape the park some, cruising through Bugs Bunny Land, and noting the strangest kiddie ride. Tweety's Escape/ Imagine several birdcages like Tweetys attached to a kiddie wave swinger. Now imagine several kiddies locked inside the cages standing up. Bizarre.
We also noted that vertical construction has started on Goliath Jr. and that landscaping is already in place. After our tour of kiddieland, we headed to Flashback.
Flashback - Coaster # 167
Intamin Space Diver
Speaking of bizarre rides, this coaster sure is bizarre, it looks interesting, and we headed up and were soon in the back row. Both lap bars and OTSR's hold you secure for the head banging you are about to receive. It's a great concept, but the transitions out of the elements leave a LOT to be desired. We did notice the unusual transfer table located UNDERNEATH the main ride track.
After Flashback it was time to check on the Mighty Goliath, which we learned was operating, but first a spin on the Sierra Twist was in order (Bayern Kurve) Then we entered the hour wait for Goliath, which really wound up being about 45 minutes. A 45 minute walk as Goliath moves passengers through its loading area with much haste. I like the Goliath queue area with its nice spread out maze (you aren't crammed into a tight cattle pen), nice shade trees, evidence of misters, etc) A while later we were int he back row, for a G-Force extravaganza on this 255' hypercoaster. The first half of the ride, before the highest block brake in the world, is about negative G's, the second half of the ride is about positive G's, a wonderful coaster, one to be savored. And the trains are large, spacious and roomy, and the lap bars comfortable, though they can cause the same side effects as Gerstlauer lap bars. A clear winner for Giovanola.
Goliath - Coaster # 168
After Goliath we took a second lap around the park to note the ride lines for the rides in the back of the park, like Batman and Riddler to be obscene. Riddler was posting a 2 hour wait. Batman was 1.5 We trudged on, Goldrusher was still a nice walk on ride, then we headed around to look at the other side of the park. We notices SFMM;s pay-per-ride area, with the Go-Karts and Skycoaster, and headed around to Psyclone, only to be stopped be a huge wall blocking the path. Sorry no Psyclone today. Peering over the fence we could see some footers being drilled for a new toy opening soon. We then continued our tour past the DDM rapids ride, and on around to Viper.
Ahh, minimal wait time again, and upon seeing the Arrow multi-element trains we opted for the front of the back car, instead of the very back seat. Viper is one of Arrows mega 7 element multi elements and it rides great, The element pacing is decent, and the final dip under the lift to reach the brake run is fun and unique. A fine multi-element. Special note was paid to the advancing tires in the station and on the final brake run. After Viper we passed alongside the wall of fame, yes "The Greatest Coasters Ever Built" wall. Here we noticed was looked like could be construction for one of SFMM's new toys coming this year. We then came back around to Revolution. Revolution had about a 15 minute wait for the front seat, and still sports both lap bars and OTSR's. I noted a lot of guests lowered the OTSR's and forgetting about the lap bar, or not noticing it.
Revolution - Coaster # 169
1976 Schwarzkopf Looping Speedracer
Wow, Anton is the MAN. even with the OTSR's this ride packs a punch with its wonderful layout and loop. My ride was Fine, Just Fine, I think it will get a lot of attention. Not only that the ride is very photogenic, its the perfect ride. Excuse me while I go ride again. America's first vertical loop, and its one of the finest out there. I especially liked threading the loop later on in the ride.
After Revolution we decided we could either go to Pacific Ocean Park and ride Westcoaster, or stay here some more. Sorry Pacific Ocean, the scales did not tip in your favor.
We headed up the Orient Express incline to Superman, got in line, and a few moments later we noted crew with blue work shirts carrying hand tools approaching the ride, as well as a lack of launches. Doh!
We walked down the Summit to Goldrusher, hey better down than up right? Took a spin, front car, then headed over to Goliath to find a reduced 30 minute wait. Front car time again, and Goliath is great in the front seat. Then we headed over to Collosus for a front seat ride, about a 15 minute wait for Colossus now. Then we headed to Batman, and merely videotaped, that line looks scary, then over to Riddler's Revenge, and we spotted what looked like an empty queue area, got in line, and made a quick retreat as we noted the size of the line. We then headed over to Freefall Satellite Tower, an Intamin Freefall, got in line, filmed Riddler, filmed Freefall, and the line was just moving too slow for us. Another bail out.
We then decided to climb back up the mountain, Gasp, WATER, GASP, Oxygen, Gasp, ahhh we're up here. Noted the neat little Oriental garden.
We get in Line for Superman noting the sign says 1 hour but hey its the last coaster here we have to ride. The Left track never did recover the breakdown I mentioned earlier, so we were down to one side. The Superman crew was doing a devious little tactic by only letting about 100 people at a time enter the Ice Cavern, and waiting for those folks to almost clear out before admitting the next group. gives the impression you are standing in a line which is going NOWHERE. All told our 'hour wait' was only about 40 minutes, and that was for the front seat. Superman is a fine novelty ride, I don't think I'd wait in line for it again, but its a nifty ride, I liked the hang time at the top of the tower.
Oh yeah, Judgement:
Superman The Escape - Coaster #170
After Superman we rode the incline back down to the Flags gift shop to learn that SFMM does not stock many shirts in XXL, and that their souvenir selection is generally rotten, but that would be Six Flags in general.
After some shopping we were on our way back to our hotel.
Again the tram service was quick and efficient.
And on the way out of the parking lot. we noted some massive land clearing by Viper going on.