It was the summer and time to plan a big coaster trip. I had made it to Cedar Point to ride my 100th coaster Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. Now what shall I do after hitting 100? Work on 200 coasters, of course! I decided to cut a path through the Midwest and the Ozarks. It was time to go these parks:
7/12 & 7/13 Six Flags Great America
7/14 Michigan’s Adventure
7/15 Six Flags St. Louis
7/16 Silver Dollar City & Celebration City
7/17 Magic Springs
7/18 Worlds of Fun
That was the plan, anyway. Things have a tendency to change.
Since I was heading into Missouri and I had a Six Flags season pass, I decided to drop by Six Flags St. Louis. The coaster that I wanted to ride was Mr. Freeze. I love launched coasters and I decided to give this one a try. I really enjoyed The Chiller at Six Flags Great Adventure, so it’s time to ride another Premiere shuttle coaster. I wasn’t too fond of Flight of Fear at Paramount’s Kings Island. That ride tossed me around like a rag doll!
I ate the free Continental breakfast buffet at the Baymont Suites (which, as you recall, was outside of St. Louis) and left for Six Flags St. Louis. It took me about 30 minutes to get there and I arrived at 9:30. The parking fee here was $9. It’s still a lot to park on a slab of concrete! I was prepared to go through the Six Flags metal detectors again. This Six Flags had the metal detectors a little before the entrance. Smart move, Six Flags! People can get into the park a lot easier because they don’t have to pass through the detectors one at a time like at Six Flags Great America. As I waited in line, I could see a few of the coasters from the entrance: Mr. Freeze, Batman: The Ride, er, Clone, etc. I could navigate this park by following the coasters. I did that at Michigan’s Adventure and I could do it here! Also, as I waited in line, Looney Tunes characters mingled with the crowd. The “opening ceremonies” had the Looney Tunes characters do an un-memorable dance. I don’t see characters around Six Flags parks too often. I saw one or two at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure and about 5 at Six Flags Great Adventure. Six Flags St. Louis had the most characters I’ve ever seen at a Six Flags park!
10:00 arrived and I could enter the park. Since Mr. Freeze looked like a slow loader, I headed there first. The ride wasn’t open first thing and the entrance was blocked off by the garbage can of doom! Scooby Doo’s Ghostblasters ride was across from Mr. Freeze, so I decided to do that before the line got too long. As I was in the Ghostblasters line, an employee moved aside the garbage can of doom and opened the ride! Oooohh…I’m stuck in the wrong queue! I’ll do the Scooby Doo ride first and then move onto Mr. Freeze.
I waited about 10 minutes for Scooby-Doo. It was a kid’s version of Men in Black at Universal Studios Florida. You shot the dots with a lantern and cardboard figures would pop out every so often. It wasn’t a bad ride and seemed like a long ride. I ended up with a score of 19,200. I don’t know how good that is. The ride ops were very friendly. Was I actually at Six Flags? Scooby-Doo was also at the end of the ride and he shook my hand. His paw felt like a human hand.
It was time for Mr. Freeze. This queue was long! I thought it would never end. The wait was about 5 minutes for the ride. As I entered, the ride op was saying something in her mic, but it sounded like she was speaking through the mic at the NYC subway! The ride would have loaded faster if the ride ops didn’t have to check several kids’ heights on the ride. They were pulling short kids off the ride and measuring them. Most of them didn’t make it. The ride had an interesting double loading bay. As one train on one side of the building loaded, the other one rolled into position and launched. When that train was done, it rolled away as the other one rolled into position and launched. I guess that was the theory anyway because only one side loaded.
On my first ride, I sat somewhere in the middle of the train. Mr. Freeze was an amazing ride! I loved going upside down in the top hat inversion. I’ve loved this inversion ever since I went through it on the Chiller. Then the ride went through a Millennium Force type bank and up the vertical spike! Whoa! Then it was through the bank and upside down through the top hat inversion again into the station. Wow! I snuck through the Fast Lane entrance and rode it two more times. There was no line and I was too lazy to walk through the queue. Hardly anyone was in the station, but it was still a 5-minute wait for each ride. On my second ride and before I could get on, a seatbelt got stuck and the ride ops opened the other side. It would have been good to run both sides and just rope off the non-working row. Wait…this would be a good idea, but we’re at Six Flags, I forgot!
The next ride was Batman: The Clone, er, Ride. I had the longest wait for this ride – it was 30 minutes. The wait time was a lot longer because the ride broke down. I think a train was stuck on the lift. This delayed my escape from the Batcave by about 15 minutes. In the Batman queue, you could see part of Hurricane Harbor. The day was starting to become hot, so I hoped most people would venture over there to cool off. Good thing because that means a short line for me! The queue also had a K-Mart version of a misting fan. It was essentially a garden hose with a special nozzle tied to the handrail of stairs! It was funny seeing people stay out of this wet spot and trying to huddle up on the dry sidewalk as much as they could. When the line before them moved just enough so they could fit on the other side of the dry sidewalk, they ran through the wet part into the dry! Some people in queue were trying to push their friends into the water! What can I say about Batman: The Clone? It was another credit! I’ve ridden enough of these to know what it’s like. Still, it was a fun ride. Throughout the ride, I kept on singing, “Hey, don’t you know they’re all the same…” Thanks Robb and Elissa!
Next up was the Ninja. I was expecting to go to First Aid after riding it. I’ve heard of the mother of head banging on this coaster. I even thought of Elissa White saying to the Ninja statue, “Please be smooth!” (as from Robb Alvey’s Coaster Season 2002 video). I was tempted to ask the Ninja to be smooth too. The Ninja had a few minutes wait. As I was in the queue, a ride op jumped on the Ninja’s hood and pretended that he got into an accident with it! I wish I had my camera out! When it was my turn to ride, I say near the front, hoping to decrease the head banging. To my surprise, it wasn’t a bad ride. The head banging wasn’t as severe as I thought because I used anti-head banging techniques. Still, this is a good candidate for my “King of Pain” coasters list!
I headed to the coaster next door, the River King Mine Ride. There was a few minutes wait for this coaster on a two-train operation. I usually don’t like mine rides. The best and smoothest mine ride is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The Cedar Creek Mine Ride at Cedar Point is pretty good too. Other mine rides jostle me around too much or I’m too big for them. The River King Mine Ride was surprisingly a good ride. It had some nice turns and was fairly smooth. It was very enjoyable! I marked this to come back and ride again.
I headed to the Screaming Eagle next. I waited a few minutes for this coaster, which was on a two-train operation. Like I said in my Michigan’s Adventure trip report, my favorite flavor of wooden coasters is the out and back, primarily for the airtime. Since the Screaming Eagle was an out and back, I thought this would a good ride. I thought wrong! I thought Cedar Point’s Mean Streak was rough – the Screaming Eagle takes the cake! It was so rough that I wanted to stop the train and get off. I did get some airtime. One time I got some really good airtime, but I landed back on the seat so hard that I thought my spine had broken. I didn’t want to ride it in the front or back to see if it was less or more rough at different spots on the train. Once was enough! I crown the Screaming Eagle the new “King of Pain!” Congratulations – it beat out Mean Streak, the Python, and the Ninja!
The final coaster that I could ride was the Boss (sorry, I was too tall for the Acme Powered Gravity Ride). I was expecting a rough ride on the Boss. I’ve seen POV footage of the Boss from the Roller Coaster Adventures video and the camera was jumping around a lot! If the Boss does that to cameras, what will it do to me? The Boss had the longest queue I’ve ever walked though. The Boss had the Millennium Flyer trains. I really love those kinds of trains because they look so cool. I like the grill on the front for some reason. After virtually no wait, I took my seat in the middle of the Boss train and headed out. The Boss treated me like the camera. I was roughed up and beaten around so much that the ride became uncomfortable. I don’t remember much about the ride other than it was brutal! I never thought that one park could have three “King of Pain” roller coasters, but here we have one!
It was time to ride some other rides. I walked by Excalibur and wanted to ride, but as soon as I saw what it did, I said, “No, thanks!” I ended up sitting down and watching the African acrobats show. I thought it was a pretty good show. The acrobats did not sit still for the entire 30-minute show. I don’t know how they did it. They seemed really talented!
I took a ride on the train to get some good video of the park. The employee on the train was giving us a description of the different parts of the park (like most train rides at amusement parks do), but she was speaking in a very monotone voice. You go girl, you read that script good! Still, it had some interesting views of the park, like the “Power Tower” by Mr. Freeze!
I decided to get some lunch. Now like I said in the Six Flags Great America trip report, I find the term “good Six Flags food” an oxymoron. I found a fried chicken place and had the three-piece fried chicken dinner. It came with a biscuit and fries. Surprisingly, it was pretty good and nearly worth $10! The only bad part was that the sodas didn’t have any lids unless you bought a souvenir cup. The cashier was trying to really hype up the souvenir cup. I just hope that she had a mop ready in case I spilled the Coke!
After lunch and with a full stomach, I decided to ride the River King Mine Ride. I waited a few minutes for a ride. It was a good ride again, but I felt the chicken slosh around in my stomach. Maybe it wasn’t a good time to ride after all!
I decided to digest my food by watching the Magic Show. I don’t know who the magician was because they never announced his name, so I guess I will call him the Magician with No Name. His assistant had a name, which I forgot, but she was pretty cute. The magic show was pretty good, but do all magic shows have to end with the metamorphosis trick? I’ve seen that a few times already. Oh well…at least he didn’t saw a woman in half.
I rode Ninja one more time for some more head banging and then Batman: The Ride. Both rides had a few minutes of wait. I guess I was right – everyone did head over to Hurricane Harbor to cool down! I felt a little distracted on Batman: The Ride. I thought about Kara enjoying this ride so much at Six Flags Great America. I was stuck in la-la land and then the ride was over! It was like waking up in the middle of a movie and saying, “Huh? What did I miss?”
The last ride of the day was Mr. Freeze. The DC Comics area was the hottest part of the park. I could feel the heat just emanating from the sidewalk! There was not an ounce of shade anywhere here! Is this the Cedar Fair-owned part of the park? Anyway, I was halfway through the Mr. Freeze queue when some people were walking out because the ride was closed. I browsed at some of the shops looking for a Mr. Freeze coaster t-shirt, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. Then I heard Mr. Freeze launching. Closed, my butt! I got back in line to ride it. The wait this time was 15 minutes. Only one side was running. The side that had the train with the broken seatbelt was still closed. Would it be too much to ask to run both sides? The wait seemed like 15 minutes, but the line moved so slowly. I thought I was riding on a sloth. I had another great ride on Mr. Freeze. I even counted the airtime I got on the vertical spike. It was 8 seconds, by the way.
After doing some browsing and shopping at the Flags gift shop, so ended my day at Six Flags St. Louis. I thought that Six Flags St. Louis was one of the better and underrated Six Flags. It seemed pretty clean for a Six Flags park and the food was tastier. The employees seemed to come out of a better brand of cloth.
I left at around 4:00 and headed to my next stop: Branson, MO. I wasn’t going to see Yakov Smirnoff, but to ride more coasters at Silver Dollar City and Celebration City. It was about a 5-hour drive from Eureka to Branson. The Interstate to Branson seemed king of deserted. As I got closer to Branson, I hit more mountains. My Neon was like the “Little Engine that Could” as it went up the hill. I had to stand on the accelerator to get enough juice to get over the hill. Going down the hill was pretty fun. I did tune into the AM dial for Branson visitor information. Every 5 minutes the station was promoting their visitor center and free Milton Crabtree CD. Maybe I should have stopped by so I didn’t have to listen to all these country stations the closer I got to Branson.
I stayed at an Econolodge at Branson that I got off Hotwire for $36 a night. I had messed up my reservations. I was to stay from 7/16 to 7/18, but I came a day earlier. The nice desk clerk changed my reservation from 7/15 to 7/17. That meant I had to find a place to stay on my way to Kansas City. If I couldn’t find an Internet terminal to make a Priceline or Hotwire reservation, I’d have to find a vacant room somewhere off the Interstate.
Tomorrow: Silver Dollar City and Celebration City
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