After spending Sunday morning at Worlds of Fun, we made the long, and BORING, drive between Kansas City and St. Louis. We had originally planned to spend the entire day at SFSTL, but since Mother Nature was not cooperating, we changed our plans at the last minute. We left WOF around 12:00 and with a short stop for lunch and gas, we arrived at SFSTL just around 4:00. The park was only open until 6:00 on this day but our main objective was to get our season passes processed. We will be making another trip down to St. Louis in a few weeks and will spend a full day at the park then.
We were pleasantly surprised to find a VERY empty parking lot. I imagine the morning rain kept a lot of people away. Lucky for us, it was clearing up pretty nicely for the evening hours. The sun even managed to occasionally peek out of the clouds for the first time all weekend. I hadn’t expect to get more than a couple rides in after getting our passes processed, but this looked very promising.
On the way in, I noticed that they have installed semi-permanent walk-through metal detectors up front this season. Anyone that visited the park late last year will remember they had security using hand wands to scan everyone on the way in. This should speed up the entry process a little bit.
We had planned on getting our passes processed first thing and then tackling as many rides as possible before the park closed. While waiting for Tammy to finish up in the restroom, I noticed half-empty trains cycling on Batman: The Ride. This was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
I should also mention that the park had a special going on today. It was called GutCheck 2K2. How it works is that you get to wait in line once, and then get to ride twice if you wish. This would work out very well on Batman, but as you’ll read later, would turn out to be a REAL bad idea on other rides.
We made our way through the Batman queue. Does this park have the longest queues in the world or what? Between Batman and Boss, you almost spend more time walking an empty queue to the station than you actually do on the ride. Anyway, we made it to the, almost empty, station and walked on to a middle seat for our two rides.
On the 10th Anniversary of the original Batman: The Ride, I was reminded, once again, of the absolute brilliance of this machine. I truly believe that this is one of the best ride designs ever conceived in the history of roller coasters. It’s amazing that so much intensity and power is packed into such a small footprint. Batman at Great America was probably the single most influential ride leading to my obsession of coasters. If any ride in the world deserves to be cloned repeatedly, it’s this one. Namtab, as some like to call the mirrored version in St. Louis, was running very smooth and fast today. I really enjoy the confusing ride given by having the mirrored track. It’s nice to expect to turn one way, only to be taken the opposite way suddenly.
On the second trip up the lift hill, I was treated to yet another surprise. I heard the distinctive roar generated by the Premier launched shuttle coaster across the park, Mr. Freeze. My eyes followed to where I knew the sound was coming from and I saw there were, in fact, people on the train. I didn’t get to enjoy the site for long since I was soon flying face first towards the ground. I already knew where I was headed next.
After our double ride on Batman, we managed to control ourselves just long enough to get our passes processed. The employee helping us inside seemed kind of annoyed and rude, but it went quickly so I won’t complain too much.
On our way over to Freeze, we went past the, new for 2002, Scooby Do ride. The exterior of the ride looks pretty impressive. They were in the process of putting up the fence posts in the queue area, which winds through some sort of scary swamp. The ride has a sign out front that says it’s scheduled to open May 17th (I think). I’m hoping they finish a little ahead of time because my next trip there will be the weekend before. This should be a great addition to the park. Now if they could only get some flat rides…
I hadn’t expected Mr. Freeze to be operating this weekend based on the posts of a few people on the internet, so I was really happy to have an chance to try this ride with the new changes. For those living in a bubble this past winter, Mr. Freeze was converted from OTSR’s to lap bars much like the Flight of Fear coasters at PKI and PKD. Only one train was on site. I imagine the other is going through the same conversion process. There was no line for Mr. Freeze and we had only a 1 train wait for the second row of seats.
How is the ride now with lap bars only? Well, I felt it was pretty much the same experience, only without the negative side effects. The top hat is still one of the best inversion elements, and is even better coming through backwards. The floating air at the top of the spike is still wonderful. The absence of the head banging really lets you enjoy the trip backwards more now. I don’t think the change has magically made this a top-ten coaster for me, but it has improved my opinion of it quite a bit. I encourage anyone who didn’t like this ride before, to give it another chance now.
So far we had been moving along really good at the park. We had gotten our passes processed, and gotten three great rides and it was not yet 5:00. This would be the end of our good luck though.
We headed back to The Boss and by the entrance they had a sign posted that the ride would be running at a limited capacity today. I found out later that one of the trains didn’t quite make it up the second (or was it third) hill on Saturday and had to be removed from the track there. As a result, the park was running only a single train (I have no idea where the third train was... anyone know?). Now keep in mind that the Boss is a pretty long ride to begin with. Add in single train operation, and DOUBLE RIDES, and you have yourself a recipe for disaster in terms of capacity. The line was just barely out of the station, but that still equated to a wait of almost an hour for the front car, which only had about 4 more people waiting than the other rows.
We finally managed to get our rides right at 6:00. The boss was running pretty well for the most part. The first drop and subsequent dip were very smooth and provided some great air. All of the large drops were pretty smooth except for a small jolt at the bottom of the third. The ride seemed to be running pretty fast overall. One thing that wasn’t too good was the helix. There was a bit of roughness through this portion of the ride. I don’t remember it being there last year. I wonder if it was just the train, or perhaps the seat I was in. I’ll provide a follow up after my trip next month.
The long wait for The Boss killed whatever time we would have had remaining but it was worth it. We got to ride all our favorite coasters in the park in just 2 hours and it was a good way to end our weekend in the Show Me State.
I’m looking forward to my return trip in a few weeks. I’d like to see how the Screamin’ Eagle is running this year and see if The Boss has improved any. I can’t wait to get more rides on the new and Improved Mr. Freeze. Way to go Six Flags! (Boy, doesn’t that sound strange).
Thanks for reading. As always, comments and opinions are welcome.
R.I.P Megadeth. 20 Years of Metal will not be forgotten.
I get the feeling there's a conspiracy over at King's Island to remove anything that has "K" or "C" in its initials.
On the way in, I noticed that they have installed semi-permanent walk-through metal detectors up front this season. Anyone that visited the park late last year will remember they had security using hand wands to scan everyone on the way in.
At the end of the year, they had the walk through ones too.
X Looks Awesome! Oh Yea!!
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