Six Flags St. Louis (05/03/03)

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, May 4, 2003 7:20 PM
Yesterday, we made a trip down to Six Flag St. Louis. Joining my girlfriend Tammy and I for the day were our friends Steve (Big_Steve) and his wife Terry. It was a great day to be at the amusement park. The sun was shining and it was comfortable at about 70 degrees. The park was somewhat crowded due to a large amount of school and tour buses present, but that didn't hinder us from having a great time.

I noticed the park has added Lo-Q since the last time I had visited. Technically, the park still calls this program Fastlane. The logos state that the technology is provided by Lo-Q. We didn't purchase the Q-bot but I did inquire about it later in the day out of curiosity. The rental fee was better than I expected. It costs $15 for the first person, and $5 for every person on the same device after that. Most of the roller coasters along with Scooby, Xcalibur, and a couple water rides were set up for the system. I didn't notice many people using the Q-bots throughout the day. I've not yet used this system so I don't have a real solid opinion of it yet. I'm still not a big fan of virtual queues or similar programs in general. Especially at parks that charge for the service and don't run at full capacity.

Almost all of the rides were running throughout the day. The only exception being the Rush Street Flyer (Chance Falling Star). I even noticed that Tom's Twister (Chance Rotor) was running; something I've not seen to often in my visits to the park. All the coasters, including Mr. Freeze, ran two trains all day long as far as I could tell. Boss could have probably used it's third train in the afternoon as the queue was almost backed up to the entrance bridge.

The ride operations were good for the most part. The crews on Boss, Eagle, and Batman did a real good job of loading and dispatching the trains. About half of the Mr. Freeze crew seemed to be hustling while the other half were dragging their feet. Most of the flats had only a single operator which made for some longer than usual waits.

Xcalibur was loading painfully slow. You could have literally loaded and cycled Deja Vu three times in the time it took the crew of Xcalibur to load and run a single cycle. Part of the problem was that they had no order in which people were to load. They let everyone run around the ride and sit wherever. This meant the ride ops had to walk around the ride twice. Once to check for empty seats, and once to check restraints. They were obviously in no great hurry either. In my opinion, it was a poor showing for a "new" ride. The ride does hold a lot of passengers which helped a little.

My only other complaint of the day was the food. I won't go into too much detail, but we ate at Screen Stars Diner. Lets just say I was reminded why I don't normally eat at parks. I'd give my $20 away to a stranger before I'd spent it on two "meals" at that place again. On a positive note, the virtual reality game seemed to be doing pretty good business right outside. We were amused that so many people were eager to pay money so they could look like an ass in public. We all agreed that we could do that just fine on our own without spending the extra cash.

The condition of the park overall was very good. The trees have all already filled in and you couldn't look hardly anywhere without seeing a sea of green leaves. It was gorgeous. The park was clean and most of the rides looked great. The Tidal Wave (Shoot the Chutes) has been painted and looks MUCH better than it had last year. It's a bright blue color and it makes the ride look brand new. I didn't get a good view of the boats so I don't know if they've cleaned them up any. Xcalibur looks amazing and fits in nicely at the park. I really love the atmosphere and beauty of this park. It really helps make a day at the amusement park more complete. The park looks like it has everything in place for a great season. Hopefully, the park will do well and we'll see another coaster in the not too distant future.

The Rides

--------------

Mr. Freeze (1 lap) - As I mentioned earlier, Freeze was running two trains today so the wait wasn't too awfully bad (maybe 30-40 minutes). We were kept amused in line but watching some kid lose his basketball over the fence not once, but three separate times. We figured he'd be smart enough to stop bouncing it after the first time, but no such luck. Freeze was running great as usual. The launch was good and the top hat was spectacular, especially backwards. The climb up the spike provided some great float time although we were also blinded by the sun directly above us. I never really paid much attention but the train really hauls ass around the overbanked turn on the return trip. Great ride!

Batman (1 lap) - We filled the back row and were treated to a fast, smooth, and intense ride. I still stand by my opinion that this is one of the greatest coaster designs ever built. I say, "Bring on the clones"!

River King Mine Train (2 laps) - This coaster was running very smooth. It's got a good location and is fairly secluded from the park. I love when you top the third and final lift right along side the Ninja corkscrews. It's always funny to hear first time riders make the brief mistake of thinking it's part of the Mine Train track. The last drop into the tunnel is a nice finish for an enjoyable ride.

Screamin' Eagle (2 laps) - I was really surprised at the Eagle this time. After a handful of terrible rides in the past couple years, I was expecting the worst yet again. Instead, we were greeted to a pretty darn good ride. The ride wasn't near as rough as before and it was running really, really fast. Our second ride was in the dark from the back seat and we were greeted with some pretty good airtime down the drops throughout the entire ride. I don't know if there's a wooden coaster anywhere with a better location than this one. Almost the entire ride is surrounded by trees. You can hardly see any of the ride from the midway anymore which really adds to the excitement. If this ride was retracked, from start to finish, it would still be one of the best in the world. I'm very happy that the ride was performing better this time around. I didn't notice any track work so I'm not sure what the difference was, but it was a nice surprise.

Ninja (1 lap) - Well, I didn't get banged up this time but I was so tensed up when I rode that I didn't really get to enjoy the ride any. The head-chopper provided when the track dives under the lift chain is the single redeeming feature of this ride. It's worth one ride just for that experience.

Boss (6 laps) - We took our first ride in the afternoon and I was pretty disappointed. The ride was pretty rough and seemed somewhat sluggish. I know what an inconsistent ride the Boss can be but I was hoping for more great rides like I had last year. Unfortunately that didn't seem to be the case. I even had to second guess myself for putting Boss at number six in my wooden top ten last year. This was definately not the ride I had remembered.

Luckily for me, after the sun went down, the Boss really came alive. Since I've been into coasters, I've never seen a ride that changed so dramatically in a single day before. I'm well aware of the added thrill of riding coasters and night, but this was almost too good to be true. We got our second ride about 9:30 and I wouldn't ride anything else for the rest of the night. The G-trains were absolutely screaming around the track. It was still a little rough at the bottom of the second and third drops but it was so fast and outrageously intense that I didn't really care. There's not a better beginning sequence to a coaster anywhere than the double down first drop followed by that sick right turn and bunny hop. I swear the train was trying to tare itself right off the track. The outside track of the double helix has been retracked and the ride is pretty smooth through this part now. As an added bonus, it also seems to carry more speed throughout the turns than before.

I don't know if I can accurately describe how the Boss felt last night, but it provided exactly what I look for in coasters. Too many coasters are enjoyable rides, but provide a very controlled feeling. What I got last night felt totally out of control and intense beyond words. It was coaster riding at it's best for me, and I'll could never ask for anything more.

Scooby Doo Ghostblasters (2 rides) - This was one of the highlights of our day. I never got to experience the new and improved dark ride last year and it was a very pleasant surprise. Sally did an excellent job with the visuals of this ride. It was way better than I had expected. After riding the version at Kings Island a couple weeks ago, I was afraid this one might be kind of a let down in comparison. Fortunately, that wouldn't be the case and this rides stands pretty good on it's own merit. The target and scoring system on this one is very good. This was my only complaint about the ride at Kings Island. I love how you can see where your flashlight is hitting. There doesn't seem to be much of a problem with registering shots either which often seems to be a common on these interactive rides. I also like how the value of the targets change after you hit them multiple times. I think this was a great addition to the park and it appears to be very popular with all ages.

Xcalibur (1 ride) - To be honest, I was a little disappointed by Xcalibur. I think I may have been expecting more from the ride. I thought it would be intense and disorientating when it reality, it was quite the opposite. The ride spins fast which is nice in one aspect, but it also means you don't really have any sensation of being upside down. If you closed your eyes, you'd never know you were moving. Another problem is the ride cycle is really short. One vertical revolution is all the ride makes. I thought it would be longer. The ride is over before you really to begin to enjoy it. My first thought after the ride was complete was "That's it?" I'd like to see the program modified to hold the riders straight upside down for 10 seconds or so. I think that would be a big improvement.

On the other hand, the ride looks absolutely stunning. I am so impressed by the theming and visual appeal of this ride. Six Flags really did a great job with this one. This ride could easily sit in Islands of Adventure and not seem out of place. Since this park is really lacking in the flat ride department, this was a good addition for the park. If they can get the loading procedure straightened out, it has the potential to move a lot of people quickly.

Other rides - During the course of the day, we also took rides on the Riverview Racers (Yo-Yo),. Bumper Cars, Moon Cars, Highland Fling (Enterprise), and the Train. All were enjoyable.

--------------------------

Overall, it was a really great day. The company of good friends along with a beautiful park with some good coasters really hit the spot. I don't normally do parks on Saturdays but I can't really complain too much about this trip despite the crowds. I really had a blast. It's a good three hours to the park from where I live so I don't get down as often as I'd like, but I really enjoy this park. I hope to make another trip later this year on the way down to Branson.

Kyle
*** This post was edited by Recess 5/4/2003 11:24:10 PM ***

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Monday, May 5, 2003 10:25 AM
I thought the same about Xcalibur. The line would fly if there was a little bit of organization. The ride was ok, but I would definately recommend it to anyone just for the view when you are looking down. Its very unique.

Neuski

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Monday, May 5, 2003 5:22 PM
> Almost all of the rides were running throughout
> the day. The only exception being the Rush Street
> Flyer (Chance Falling Star).
The ride hasnt opened all season. I have a sinking feeling that it may not open this season, or at least not till late in the season.

> Xcalibur was loading painfully slow. You could
> have literally loaded and cycled Deja Vu three
> times in the time it took the crew of Xcalibur to
> load and run a single cycle. Part of the problem
> was that they had no order in which people were
> to load. They let everyone run around the ride
> and sit wherever. This meant the ride ops had to
> walk around the ride twice. Once to check for
> empty seats, and once to check restraints. They
> were obviously in no great hurry either. In my
> opinion, it was a poor showing for a
> "new" ride. The ride does hold a lot of
> passengers which helped a little.

Yeah there slow, but give them time to get adjusted to it. I would say by the end of the seaon they will be loading it at a reasonable rate. And this ride is totally diffrent then any other ride at the park, there noone with experince.

> My only other complaint of the day was the food.
> I won't go into too much detail, but we ate at
> Screen Stars Diner. Lets just say I was reminded
> why I don't normally eat at parks. I'd give my
> $20 away to a stranger before I'd spent it on two
> "meals" at that place again.
I know the meals are high, but I recommend that you eat at Villains Cafe next time. The foods reasonable, the severings are large and its really really good. I eat there more then I eat at the employee caffeteria.

> On a positive note, the virtual reality game seemed to be doing pretty good business right outside. We
> were amused that so many people were eager to pay
> money so they could look like an ass in public.
> We all agreed that we could do that just fine on
> our own without spending the extra cash.
Just a little tid bit, I beleave Ham on Rye (the maker of the game) is based out of St. Louis.

The
> Tidal Wave (Shoot the Chutes) has been painted
> and looks MUCH better than it had last year. It's
> a bright blue color and it makes the ride look
> brand new. I didn't get a good view of the boats
> so I don't know if they've cleaned them up any.
It seems ever three years or so that thing gets painted. And the boats to the best of my knowledge have not been painted

> The park looks like it has everything in place
> for a great season. Hopefully, the park will do
> well and we'll see another coaster in the not too
> distant future.
;)

> The Rides
> --------------

> River King Mine Train (2 laps) - This
> coaster was running very smooth. It's got a good
> location and is fairly secluded from the park. I
> love when you top the third and final lift right
> along side the Ninja corkscrews. It's always
> funny to hear first time riders make the brief
> mistake of thinking it's part of the Mine Train
> track. The last drop into the tunnel is a nice
> finish for an enjoyable ride.

Its a great ride, its even better if you stair down and to the side while riding.

> Screamin' Eagle (2 laps) - I was really
> surprised at the Eagle this time. After a handful
> of terrible rides in the past couple years, I was
> expecting the worst yet again. Instead, we were
> greeted to a pretty darn good ride. The ride
> wasn't near as rough as before and it was running
> really, really fast. Our second ride was in the
> dark from the back seat and we were greeted with
> some pretty good airtime down the drops
> throughout the entire ride. I don't know if
> there's a wooden coaster anywhere with a better
> location than this one. Almost the entire ride is
> surrounded by trees. You can hardly see any of
> the ride from the midway anymore which really
> adds to the excitement. If this ride was
> retracked, from start to finish, it would still
> be one of the best in the world. I'm very happy
> that the ride was performing better this time
> around. I didn't notice any track work so I'm not
> sure what the difference was, but it was a nice
> surprise.

Yes it has been retracked to an extent. The entire first drop has been retracked, as well as other parts on the ride. The ride is so smooth, I couldnt belive it myself when I rode it in mid April.

> Boss (6 laps) - We took our first ride in
> the afternoon and I was pretty disappointed. The
> ride was pretty rough and seemed somewhat
> sluggish. I know what an inconsistent ride the
> Boss can be but I was hoping for more great rides
> like I had last year. Unfortunately that didn't
> seem to be the case. I even had to second guess
> myself for putting Boss at number six in my
> wooden top ten last year. This was definately not
> the ride I had remembered.

Ah yes everyones fav. bi-polar ride. One ride you could be getting banged up and crying for mommy. While durnign other rides its so intense, out of control and fun that you have tears of happeness goign down your cheek.

> Luckily for me, after the sun went down, the Boss
> really came alive. Since I've been into coasters,
> I've never seen a ride that changed so
> dramatically in a single day before. I'm well
> aware of the added thrill of riding coasters and
> night, but this was almost too good to be true.
> We got our second ride about 9:30 and I wouldn't
> ride anything else for the rest of the night. The
> G-trains were absolutely screaming around the
> track. It was still a little rough at the bottom
> of the second and third drops but it was so fast
> and outrageously intense that I didn't really
> care. There's not a better beginning sequence to
> a coaster anywhere than the double down first
> drop followed by that sick right turn and bunny
> hop. I swear the train was trying to tare itself
> right off the track. The outside track of the
> double helix has been retracked and the ride is
> pretty smooth through this part now. As an added
> bonus, it also seems to carry more speed
> throughout the turns than before.

> Scooby Doo Ghostblasters (2 rides) - This
> was one of the highlights of our day. I never got
> to experience the new and improved dark ride last
> year and it was a very pleasant surprise. Sally
> did an excellent job with the visuals of this
> ride. It was way better than I had expected.
> After riding the version at Kings Island a couple
> weeks ago, I was afraid this one might be kind of
> a let down in comparison. Fortunately, that
> wouldn't be the case and this rides stands pretty
> good on it's own merit. The target and scoring
> system on this one is very good. This was my only
> complaint about the ride at Kings Island. I love
> how you can see where your flashlight is hitting.
> There doesn't seem to be much of a problem with
> registering shots either which often seems to be
> a common on these interactive rides. I also like
> how the value of the targets change after you hit
> them multiple times. I think this was a great
> addition to the park and it appears to be very
> popular with all ages.
How is the PKI verson of the Schooby ride.

> Xcalibur (1 ride) - To be honest, I was a
> little disappointed by Xcalibur. I think I may
> have been expecting more from the ride. I thought
> it would be intense and disorientating when it
> reality, it was quite the opposite. The ride
> spins fast which is nice in one aspect, but it
> also means you don't really have any sensation of
> being upside down. If you closed your eyes, you'd
> never know you were moving. Another problem is
> the ride cycle is really short. One vertical
> revolution is all the ride makes. I thought it
> would be longer. The ride is over before you
> really to begin to enjoy it. My first thought
> after the ride was complete was "That's
> it?" I'd like to see the program modified to
> hold the riders straight upside down for 10
> seconds or so. I think that would be a big
> improvement.
Its a good ride, for us hicks. And your right they do need to pause it at the top. How ever I dont think most of the people rideing it could take it more then revolution. During the commercial shoot very few people stayed on past three straight rides.

> --------------------------

> Overall, it was a really great day. The company
> of good friends along with a beautiful park with
> some good coasters really hit the spot. I don't
> normally do parks on Saturdays but I can't really
> complain too much about this trip despite the
> crowds. I really had a blast. It's a good three
> hours to the park from where I live so I don't
> get down as often as I'd like, but I really enjoy
> this park. I hope to make another trip later this
> year on the way down to Branson.

> Kyle

Tassel cat
*points finger at ground* Tassel cat
Tassel cat

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