A few months ago, I had to plan for a meeting that would take me down into the Dallas, Texas area. My friends, Tim Baldwin and Jeffrey Siefert offered me to stay at their place, and even said they would pick me up at the airport. Six Flags Over Texas was to be open the Friday before the meeting so I decided to fly down a day earlier, then go to the park with some friends. I hadn’t been to SFOT since 1998, so there were a couple of new-to-me coasters that I hadn’t ridden yet. Because of this, it looked like I was going to hit a milestone as far as my coaster count goes.
Friday the 21st got here rather quickly. I had a very early flight out of Columbus so I left for the airport at around 4:00am. I figured the airport would have been uncrowded once I arrived there. Boy was I wrong! Port Columbus was the most packed I had ever seen it. This was in no doubt due to the increased security thanks to the war that had just started a couple of days before. My flight was on American Airlines and I was shocked to see what appeared to be an hour plus wait to check in. Luckily though, I didn’t have to check in any luggage as I was only going to be gone for a few days. I also had an e-ticket to I was able to take advantage of the self check in kiosks that were in front of the check in counter. I still ended up waiting 40 minutes to use one of those kiosks, but it was better than waiting over an hour to check in.
My flight down was very smooth. Thanks to the added leg room on my AA flight, I was able to stretch my legs out a bit. I also brought my MP3 player and fell asleep listening to the new Doves CD. For some reason, that CD makes me sleepy, but the music is far from boring IMO. Once I arrived in Texas, Jeff picked me up. I was kind of surprised that the weather down in Texas was colder than it was in Columbus, but I had a feeling it was going to warm up pretty soon.
After going back to Tim and Jeff’s amazing abode, we met up with some other friends and headed towards Six Flags, but first, we stopped by the school where Tim teaches. His entire school room had all kinds of coaster posters and stuff on the walls. It was very cool to see this. One of the hallways leading to his room also featured some coaster artwork from students. It was all very impressive to see.
At around 11:00am, we arrived at Six Flags to a mob of people going to the park. The weather had warmed up considerbly so that brought out the crowds. It was nice seeing the impressive skyline of the park. We knew in advance that two rides would be closed. Those rides are Mr. Freeze, and the new Superman: Tower of Power. I had ridden Mr. Freeze before so I didn’t mind, and I have done many S&S towers so I didn’t feel like I was missing a whole lot because of Superman being closed. However, some S&S towers have surprised me before, so I guess I will just have to come back and ride this combo version some other day.
Once we were in the park, we headed to the back to ride something I had not ridden yet. With each step we took towards the back of the park, the coaster we were heading to looked bigger and bigger. I was quite impressed with the size of it, even though I had ridden its near twin a mere few weeks before. However, this version just seemed to be much bigger. Perhaps it was just the angle we were looking at it from.
Once we arrived at the entrance, we hopped in the 30 minute wait line, and soon found ourselves on the loading platform of…
Yep, this one ended up being my 500th coaster. I was more than happy to have this as a milestone because I really love Goliath at SFMM, and this looked to be quite simlar. Lee Colletti and I decided to ride in the very back seat. This ended up being a great choice as the ride impressed us greaty. As for the ride itself, it is basically a clone of Goliath, with an extra helix before the block brake. Everything after that is pretty much the same as Goliath.
We hopped into our comfortable Giovanola train, and quickly headed up the 245-lift. For some reason, this lift seemed faster than its twin, but I could be wrong. While going up, Lee and I looked around to see if we could find the skyline of Dallas. We weren’t paying attention to the top of the lift and were pulled down the first drop without warning. I was very impressed with the airtime on this drop. I floated all the way down. At the bottom of the drop is a underground tunnel, which leads up to a nice sharp turnaround, then another dive to the ground, providing some more floatage.
The incredible camelback hill followed which once again threw us out of our seats, and brought us back down with grace. The train then rips into a left-hand upward helix. This is the strongest part of the ride. I was amazed at how fast the train rockets through this element. I love positive gs so I was in heaven when going through this thing. There were some nice headchoppers thrown in for good measure.
Lee and I continued to have our hands sticking up in the air when we hit the block brake.
Our train suddenly came to a near stop. I am not talking about a mere trim here, but a almost dead stop. Lee and I were both tossed into our lab bars. At first I thought we had been e-stopped, but I guess this is a standard part of the ride. There had to be a reason for this, and sure enough, we were about to find out why.
The train picked up speed once again and tore through the nice rapid curves after the block brake, then entered yet another helix, this one, once again very strong. It was here that I realized why the brakes were on so hard. I can’t even imagine going through that second helix without that block brake hitting. Once we were through the helix, we tranversed through a few more curves, and then we were done.
Color me impressed!
For some reason, Titan felt much faster than the other Giovanola hyper I have ridden. It was a very smooth ride and I wish I had some more time to ride it. I ended up purchasing the on-ride photo because I liked it so much. This ride fits perfectly with SFOT. Who cares if it is a near clone? I never understood that whole argument anyway. What it all boils down to is fun, and Titan sure has that.
By this time, the park was getting extremely crowded. Tim mentioned that it felt worse than a Saturday. I wasn’t going to let the crowds get to me so I decided to ride what I could before we had to leave. We ended up riding at least one more coaster before heading to lunch.
Back when I was rating coasters some years ago, this was my #1. When I rode it in 1998, I was kind of sad to see that the park hadn’t been taking care of it as it didn’t provide a stunning ride like it did when I first rode it in 1995. This was about to change though. After a 45 minute wait, it was time to see if this coaster was running better.
Sure enough, it was. It really tossed me around a lot, but in a good way. It clearly showed who was boss and tossed me up into the lap bar quite a few times. This was the Giant I remembered. It was good to see the park had improved it since I had last ridden it.
Most of the group I was with is not big into eating at parks, so we left the park and went to a deli to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the park and meeting up with more friends. We also got to chat a bit with the parks marketing team, who were great to talk with for a few minutes. They sounded really excited for the opening of Superman in just a few more days.
At this point, our group split up and I headed with others to ride a few more things. It was very evident that I wasn’t going to get on every coaster in the park this day, but I did want to ride a couple more rides before the park was to close. We headed over to one area of the park to see how the wait was for a coaster I had never ridden, but the wait was too long so we headed over to another older coaster instead.
Still an amazing coaster. Not only do the two back-to-back loops provide some of the best positive gs around, but the ride also contains many moments of airtime, some which are rather scary when sitting in the back row. I love this ride. As we were walking down the exit, I noticed that most of the supports had small pink ribbons tied around them. I joked with Tim saying that PKI’s King Cobra had pink ribbons on its supports before it was removed. Shockwave is Tim’s favorite ride in the park so he didn’t find my joke very funny. We then decided to head back to a coaster we had decided to pass on earlier. The wait looked to be just as long as before but we went for it.
----Batman The Ride---- (#501)
I won’t go into a play by play of this ride as I know many of you are familiar with the layout, but I do want to point out that this version seemed to go deeper in the trenches than the other versions I have ridden. There is also a section that swings out over a small road which I found to be cool. We waited an hour and a half to ride this, but I found the ride to be worth it. I still am not tired of this layout.Time was now starting to dwindle down so we decided to ride a couple more things before leaving.
The very first Arrow mine ride. While the ride doesn’t offer a totally wild ride, it does have a long layout which consists of 3 lifts, and a surprise drop at the end. This was my first time riding in the new trains and I could tell a difference. It didn’t seem as “rickety” as it used to be.
While the group was with was waiting to meet up with the rest of the group, Richard and I decided to go to the top of the observation tower to check out the view. While on top, we could clearly tell the the Superman tower was higher than where we were standing, but the actual ride portion wasn’t. It still was very high above the ground though.
Richard took a few shots before we headed back down. We had about 15 minutes before the park was to close so we walke over towards the Texas Giant. We knew the line would be fairly long so we decided to do the nearby dark ride. For some reason, I was led to believe this was a retrofitted Sally dark ride but once we got into the loading station, we found out differently.
I didn’t follow the story well because Richard was cracking jokes left and right. This made for a rather interesting ride. I am glad I did ride it though as I have passed on it every time I was at the park. Soon after our ride was over, we met up with the rest of the group at the front of the park and left.
I want to thank Tim and Jeff for hooking me up with a place to stay and picking me up at the airport. Their hospitality is amazing and I enjoyed being taken around the area. I should also mention all the people I got to ride with or hang out with on this trip.Thanks to Carole, Mark, Matt, David, Brian, Richard, Dave, Lee, Harry, Bill, and Ray. You guys are great!
Thanks for reading,
*** This post was edited by Sean F. 3/26/2003 1:33:22 AM ***
People complain about clones, yet can't even come up with original conversation, which is ten times worse.
I just ride a lot I guess. I didn't start to ride "seriously" until around 1994. The last couple of years have been good years to ride a lot of rides. I did go to Europe last year and picked up over 80 coasters so that is why my count did rise.
However, don't forget that just because I have ridden 500 coasters doesn't mean that I am any more of an enthusiasts than someone who has ridden just 1.
I recently had a conversation with someone that argued that because I had ridden that many coasters, I obviously was more of a "coaster freak". Sorry, but I don't agree with that at all. I don't do this to show off. I don't do this to compete. I do this because it is great fun!
Sean (who knows of a few people that have ridden over 800 coasters, but doesn't look at them as more enthusiastic) F.
Is everyone still at school? Thanks for any help
Sounds like you had a great time!
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising up each time we fall!"
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