I arrived at the park shortly after opening. What a skyline, complete with the Great Gasp, Deja Vu in the background, Freefall in the foreground, and, dominating above all others, Acrophobia. - But where Viper's two towers should have been - nothing.
The park was surprisingly crowded for a day so late in the year, the entry plaza was pretty much packed. Nice, decent, grand entrance. Not quite as grand as PKD, not quite as scenic as BGW, but not bad. First, it was off to Georgia Scorcher, the first coaster on a clockwise round of the park. Nice eye-catcher, appearantly a little too much of an eye-catcher as the queing line was packed. Their Lo-Q looks like a nice and convenient enough system, but, IMO, $15 for an uncertain place on a train isn't worth it.
Seeing Freefall standing closed, it's entry path blocked, it was onward to the Gotham City area. Very good theming - not quite AS MUCH theming as in SFA's Gotham City, but the thick woods really add to making a good section. The first stop here was Mindbender - a coaster which I had high hopes for and anticipated to be my favorite ride in the park, judging by it's creator. Only the most minimal queing was in use, nice for a short wait, but, could this ride possibly be the next to go? If the park has any sense, Ninja will have that distinct honor, more on that later. Nice shaded line. Shading has to be the most important aspect to a good ride line other than theming. As for theming, the green waterfalls do enough of that - not that any Schwarzkopf ride would ever need theming to make the ride any better though. To the front seat it was, gotta have a good view for a terrain coaster. Incredible minimal restraint. SFoG, just don't follow in the footsteps of SFMM.
Out of the station, the straightaway gives a nice opportunity to take a look over at the first loop and initial drop... But then, up the lift it is, up and over the treetops, gaining just enough alititude to give a nice view. And then, it's disengaging time from the chain, sweeping to the right around a perfect Schwarzkopf curve before rushing down, down, and then bottoming out at a good clip of speed. Twisting up a little, the g-heavy forces prove that even the lap-restraint isn't completely needed. If Laser's inversions are 100% perfect, Mindbender's are 90. Then, up and back over the foliage and a curve to the left, slowing a little momentarily before heading down, up, and around the inclined diving helix. Back up and through a nice curve to the right, forming a somewhat figure-eight pattern. The second loop comes with some more great g's, I enjoyed this one even more than #1. With a powerful turn up over the green water below, the ride glides into the brakes. Overall, not QUITE as powerful and quick-paced as Laser at Dorney, but this ride makes up for it, coming in one place above Laser on my list, making home at #4, just below Volcano, S:RoS (SFA) and Batwing.
Next was Batman: the Ride. What a nice queue line! Some good landscaping for the first part, complete with a water fountain, and, then, the nice 'downtown' Gotham theming begins with the trip through the drainage pipes. Next is the 'Gotham City Public Works' building and soon after a trip trough the final queing ending with the Batcave boarding station, a huge Batman logo glowing above. The ride actually SEEMED like a walk-on. Sitting on the far-right side of the front row, I wasn't expecting too much, after a weak ride on Alpengeist... The seating, although comfortable, isn't QUITE as good as Intamin's inverted coasters, but this is plenty good enough for me. Heading up the lift, the parking lot out to the right sinks below, and before you know it, the 10-stories are below. After a little dip at the top, the drop begins, and it begins quickly. The speed at the bottom is incredible, and the B&M roar is felt firsthand. The loop whips you up and over very quickly, and the Zero-G Roll begins twisting in no time. After the second loop, the real twisting begins, with a chaotic series of elements. I was surprised that my head moved quite a bit, with the ride being engineered by B&M, but the track was smooth and powerfull, still not as good as Intamin and Schwarzkopf, but still very enjoyable. The final brakes came smoothly, bringing the train to a stop as the train in front loaded. I can't wait to ride Alpengeist again after this, perhaps I just got a bad ride on it.
After Batman, it was over to Deja Vu. The line, at a quick glance, was as full as it could go, so, skipping that, next was a trip to the Viper area to check out destruction. What a sad sight... Both towers were mostly down and it looked like the loop would be next, I got plenty of pics of it... Hopefully it's replacement will be a good addition.
I took a good look around the park next, I must say that I loved the theming in Lickskillet, although the pathways can get a bit congested with any crowds. The areas below the Sky Buckets are also very nicely landscaped. SFoG's Bugs Bunny Land is a nice area, but narrow, small and hard to navigate, but I found the indoor portion interesting... Overall though, I think that SFA's is better.
Then, I ended up at Dahlonegah Mine Train. The line for DMT was fairly long for a smaller ride, about a half-hour, and the back cars over every train, all three rows, were going empty. I would assume that it could have to do with restraints, since all rows in a car have connected lap bars, but, then again, that would be a coincidence with all of the trains (the ride ops didn't even know why they were going empty). Anyway, I got on the second-to-front row, not wanting to wait any longer for the ery front. The ride begins nicely, a diving U-turn to the left straightening out into a breif tunnel. The after the first lift, the ride picks up some good speed, gliding past trees as it goes. The turns are smoother than they look, but still a little jerky. For the oldest ride at the park, I suppose, this one has aged quite well. The second lift comes just too soon - still with plenty of momentum left. After this lift, the track engages on the terrain - shrinking down to Arrow's no-supports track type and then diving down a little hill. Soon, the third lift takes over - again much too soon. But, after the peak, my favorite part of the ride comes - a tunnel and then straightaway - charging towards the final drop and then 'hitting' it, no bottom in sight yet. A tunnel and quickly-paced S-curve follows, then a climb back into the station. Not QUITE as heavy on terrain as I had expected, but my second favorite junior coaster I've gotten to ride - below the smooth and graceful Avalanche.
SFoG's Bugs Bunny Land is a nice area, but narrow, small and hard to navigate, but I found the indoor portion interesting... Overall though, I think that SFA's is better.
It was back to the front of the park next for Georgia Cyclone... After about a 45-minute wait it was on the front seat and being 'launched' out of the station via a system of tires.... I love rides with pre-lift hill speed, and this one has some. Not as much as Hercules, but a good ride teaser. What ever happened to the 'The most a coaster can beeeeee.......' sign at the top of the lifthill I've seen in various pictures? Now it's just your usual 'Keep all' so and so inside the car sign. The first drop is a nice one, the reverse of the Coney Island Cyclone, and then up into a flat curve. The ride using such a small and fairly simple-looking layout for some good tricks is nice, curving in and out countless times. A nice airtime hop leads up to another flat turn... The thing I DON'T like so much of in coasters is lateral g's. This one had some, but not enough to take too much away from the ride. My flat out favorite part of the ride had to be the surprise Camleback hump midway through.... Airtime aplenty. The ride had great pacing, good surprises, and speed until the end. I'll just have to ride the original someday....
The line for Acrophobia was past it's provided length, so it would wait until later... Next was back to the back of the park to Ninja, to 'get it over with'. The first thing I noticed in line was that the wait for this one is actually very enjoyable... A little theming, good shading, and a great view of the ride gracefully, or so it seems, making it's way around the course. But, then, you see the train HIT the brake run... Yow! The brakes slow the train the most suddenly I've ever seen before and that whole section of the ride sways. And I mean SWAYS. After what seemed like 15 minutes, I got on the front row, of course. You can easily see which horsecollars have been replaced recently and which haven't... The front row hadn't... The ride begins interestingly enough, two 90-degree curves seperated by a good dip, picking up some speed breifly before the chain *TRIES* to carry the train up... It must have stalled five times on the way up, at the top it seemed like it was about to quit... But, anyways it would have been a great view if it had of stopped... But, no, the dive began, and proved the best portion of the ride... I see why the Butterfly is only found on two coasters... The forces are applied in the wrong way, tugging at your neck several times. The following curve was good, the second-smoothest portion of the course after the initial drop. The other unique inversion for Ninja, the Diving Sidewinder, is a nice touch, but still not too good for smoothness. After a curve, the Corkscrews are, just like Arrow's... Not too enjoyable in a strange way... After the last S-curve, it was into the brake run... I've never heard so many complaints on a ride as when this came to a horrible halt. If these brakes just slightly slowed the ride, leaving the second set of brakes to do the complete job, that would much improve the ending. With a climb into the second set of brakes, Ninja claimed the last spot in my steel coaster list.
After a train ride around the park, the next ride up was finally Georgia Scorcher, which now had a half-empty queue. It was to the second-to-front row of the train, seeing the length of the front-'seat' line. Once onboard, the 'seat' easily adjusts to fit height, and the train was quickly checked and dispatched. One question: Do all B&M stand-ups have the slight curve between station and lift? I beleive so. The lift from on-ride appears almost as short as off, but that doesn't comprimise the speed too much at all. After getting off of the chain and straightaway, the drop is taken quickly, just like Batman, and some good speed awaits at the bottom. The loop is a huge highlight of the ride - there's nothing I love more than stand-up airtime, and the top of the loop and the trip back down slows just enough to give a little off-the-seat time. Diving back down, the next curve twists up and dives down, then the right-half of the train narrowly misses a support on the spiral through the inversion. The banked hill following is a perfect set-up for the corkscrew, and then the following Carousel Curve around the lift is a perfect B&M delight, then the slight topography-following dive into the last series of curves - every one of them look like they'll slam your head around, but the perfect banking proves that theory wrong. The steep bank into the brakes is as good as it gets, and B&M, unlike Vekoma for Ninja, know the exact way to slow a train down gracefully.
After exiting down GA Scorcher's LONG exit path, it was off to Acrophobia at last. The line was mostly filled, but the ride is great capacity, atleast with good ride-ops. The wait, approximately an hour long, was enhanced by the occassional gust of wind from the ride and even those little 'Taller Than' and 'Not Taller Than' signs up on the walls of the queue building (which was obviously also used for the old airplane ride, due to it's aircraft-hanger shape). At last, it was into the next group of riders, and then onto the platform. Now, I don't think I've ever felt more comfortable 'seating' in my life... The towing ring fully attaches, and up it goes... Wow! What a feeling of freedom being lifted up off of the ground, feet straight below and restraints more minimal than I had expected. The view on the way up is fantastic - the ride slowing at the top with a great view of the Great Gasp and Atlanta on the skyline. The tilting begins before the ride has even reached the top. That is when my hopes began to be let down. I've known that it would be 15-degrees, but those 15 degrees are hardly even noticable. After waiting at the top breifly, the drop begins and ends in hardly any time - just like any other Intamin Giant Drop. I had heard that this one seemed longer than others, but, to me, it was just as long or shorter than SFA's Tower of Doom. And then - Ouch!!! Painless? Painless? Isn't that what I had heard? Not at all... Ouch! The brakes slow the ride in no time - not a good thing. All in all, good view, nice trip up, aside from that, my biggest dissapointment at SFoG. I would have to say that Acrophobia is much too over-rated.
The next day, the first thing I noticed upon entering the park was the lack of security. I thought that this was the time that park's would be stepping it up. No security guards, no season pass-scanning...
First, my biggest goal was to ride Deja Vu. Upon arriving at the coaster, employees were standing at the queue entrance, the ride closed for 'mechanical' reasons for the remainder of the day. Oh well, maybe I'll get to ride one of the DJVs before they're unbearably rough... A storm was moving in, so Great American Scream Machine was next. The wait was nearly an hour long, and I got on the front row. The lifthill gives a great view of the surroundings... Then the first drop gets the ride going down, down, and then leveling out and speeding back up over the water. The 90-degree turn is a bit slow, but still enjoyable. But the real treat of this coaster is definitely the Camelbacks. These are perfectly created - just like Intamin's hills - all curvature and airtime. The turn-around is nicely banked, and then more great hills. A nice slightly-banked turn sends you back over the water on the final run of hills - all providing more air, then the brakes kicking in - like Ninja, too fast. All passengers are hurled forward as the train reaches 0 MPH. Shortly after the ride was over, the storm hit and my day was over at SFoG.
With two great wooden coasters, three great steel coasters, and a nice-looking park, SFoG moves into my #3 park spot, just below BGW and PKD.
So, summed up:
Biggest Surprise: Batman: the Ride
Biggest Dissapointment: Acrophobia
And, for whoever really cares, here's where the coasters fit into my current list:
#4 - Mindbender
#8 - Georgia Scorcher
#9 - Batman: the Ride
#18 - Ninja
#2 - Georgia Cyclone
#4 - Great American Scream Machine
#2 - Dahlonegah Mine Train
Look for over 100 pictures of SFoG (and some of the SBNO Thunder Eagle) sometime later this week if all goes well.
Acrophobia was just plain scay. Those 10 degrees or so felt like much more and I found it very frightening. The noises it made, the lack of secure feeling, INTENSE! Any ride can cause discomfort to somebody, but most males seem to agree it actually takes it easy on that area.
How dare you say next to go and Mindbender in the same year! It's bad enough to see what they did with Viper. Shame on them.
Funny you should say that about the "security force" there. They need to get more people working in there that want to work, and aren't off-duty Sherriff's Deputies who despise being pestered while they do easy time. There's a strange collaboration around there, and it effects their flow with security, IMO. The parking lot is even under different jurisdiction. Other parks feel SO much safer.
Sad to hear Freefall wasn't opened. I hope nothing's going on there.
SFoG, it used to be so close, then I moved, so now it's so far out of the way:(. Sounds like it was busy, busy while you were there! We always get lucky and get there on like Mother's Day and there's nobody there. The beginning of the season is awesome for no crowds.
Well, the day I was there, it seemed that atleast 2/3rds of the other males agreed with me on that.
> How dare you say next to go and Mindbender in the same year! It's bad enough to see what they did with Viper. Shame on them.
By that comment, I meant the fact that SF is seeming to take out any ride once the wait goes down. In many cases, I think that it's poor descision. I LOVE Mind Bender and hope that it never leaves! I'm fed up with SF for removing Viper, but hopefully it will be well worth it for it's replacemet.
> Funny you should say that about the "security force" there. They need to get more people working in there that want to work, and aren't off-duty Sherriff's Deputies who despise being pestered while they do easy time. There's a strange collaboration around there, and it effects their flow with security, IMO. The parking lot is even under different jurisdiction. Other parks feel SO much safer.
> Sad to hear Freefall wasn't opened. I hope nothing's going on there.
Hopefully nothing more than the Fright Fest preparations.
> SFoG, it used to be so close, then I moved, so now it's so far out of the way. Sounds like it was busy, busy while you were there! We always get lucky and get there on like Mother's Day and there's nobody there. The beginning of the season is awesome for no crowds.
Thanks for your comments!
That's a strange park though. Batman does always seem like a walk-on, but if you chech your watch, it takes a few minutes more than you realize sometimes! The ones I usually encounter with no lines are the Cyclone and Ninja(and Viper, RIP). Usually, the trains would be about half or more full, though. Lots of people trickeling through. Everybody like to get in line for the Scorcher and GASM. I wonder how a possible second new coaster(along with Deja Vu) next year will effect the lines. There's usually people in line for Mind Bender, though, that's wierd. They do get rid of rides. Z-Force doesn't really count, but recently, in addition to Viper, there was a small runaway Taz ride, I remember it being a decent coaster(?). It was a coaster from when the park opened. So anything's a possibility, although that ride does have a good history in Atlanta(Mind Bender). Besides the Mine Train, I can't think of another junior coaster there.
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