Southern CA / SFMM & KBF (long)

Associated parks:
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Saturday, June 22, 2002 2:31 PM

I have just returned from a week in Southern California that included visits to SFMM, KBF, and USH. The best way to some up the trip in one word, mediocre.

I am a Florida resident who was born and raised in Ohio. KI, CP, BGT, and Geauga Lake are/were very familiar places.

Day 1. Monday, June 17th. Six Flags Magic Mountain.

I will do my best to avoid negative comments. The park was a mess. I will forgive the "X" issues, as no one could anticipate the current problems. As for the rest, well, you be the judge. Forget whether or not Superman is a coaster, if you say have 15, one is always broken (X), one never runs (Flashback), you only run one sometimes (Ninja) and another is temperamental (Deja Vu), you should stop pushing the coaster angle. The remaining rides are mediocre at best. The day started with the restrooms near Goliath. "Forte de John" is a clever name, but the facilities looked like they hadn't been cleaned since Spaniards arrived. At 10:15am, this is not a good day to start out the day. Goliath was a solid ride, and I enjoyed the experience. The speed was excellent, but the G's on the helix were a bit much. My very healthy 16 year old son experienced a brief blackout during the last helix. He recovered quickly, and convinced me he was okay. Off to Colossus. Not nearly as bad as many on these boards have stated, nothing special, nothing bad. A good starter coaster for those leery of the bigger more intense descendants. Batman was your typical B&M invert. Nice ride, way too short. I'd put Montu and Raptor way ahead. Now the fun starts . . .

Riddlers Revenge. I have ridden Mantis and King Cobra, this stand-up will be my last. A rough, poorly paced, poorly staffed (more on that later) standup version of Kumba. Not worth the 30-minute wait. It gets worse.

Psyclone. For all of you who suggest the Mean Streak be torn down, you must not have ridden this pile of wood. This was by far the worst wooden coaster I have ever ridden. One train operation, a ride op that mumbled into the mic, then dropped it repeatedly on the ground. I still have the headache. I have ridden the original, and while it was rough from age, this 10 or so year old coaster has no excuse. The ride queues were filthy, the handrails were loose, overall, a shameful waste of space.

Deja Vu. We did not ride this. Waiting over 2 1/2 hours did not seem worthwhile, especially as we were recovering from Psyclone. We have ridden Face/Off, so missing its cousin was no big deal.

Revolution. This was probably a great coaster at one time. The way it winds through the terrain is great. The OTSRs however, ruined this ride. This was the ONLY ride where the ride ops spoke clearly with some excitement. The others either mumbled or said nothing at all.

Viper. If you think Vortex is rough, you better skip this scrap heap. A mid run break (not the midcourse mind you) couldn't ease the transitions. The queues for this ride as well as most of the park looked like a stadium after a sold out football game. Where are the "Litter Gitters"? Everywhere you look, trash, trash, and more trash. The bathrooms got worse. One restroom had blood, feces, and vomit on the floors and the walls. There were no employees to tell.

Now some good things.

Superman. This was a treat. I won't get into whether or not it's a roller coaster. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised. This was a fun ride.

Ninja. The biggest surprise of the day. The ride was down until late afternoon. Once it opened, we waded through the river that is the queue line and had a great ride. Like Revolution, this ride uses the terrain to its advantage.

Over all, SFMM was disappointing. It was very dirty. What little staff we encountered were morose at best, rude in general. Many of the rides did not operate (even though the front gate only noted X, the Metro (monorail) and Rotor). The food was bland and our fellow guests didn't help much with the line jumping, line smoking, and general obnoxious behavior. I will not return.

Tuesday, June 18th. Universal Studios Hollywood.

Good park, great hamburgers, we have seen most of it (except Backdraft and Mummy's Return) here in Florida. I would recommend and return. For Kevin Smith fans, while riding down a large series of escalators, my son and I joked about a gag in Mallrats regarding kids and escalators. Needless to say, once at the bottom, a child's shoe was caught in the escalator. The kid was fine (his parents were so busy panicking, they didn’t see the emergency stop button), I almost wet my pants.

Day 3. Wednesday, June 19th. Knotts Berry Farm.

This was the best theme park experience of the week. Ghostrider is by far the best traditional wooden coaster I have ever ridden. Jaguar was a pleasant surprise. Even the Boomerang was good. Xcellerator was not running, but we did see some testing, including a rollback (probably planned). The park was immaculate; the employees were pleasant and helpful. Only the food scored under excellent. I would recommend and definitely return.

Overall, SF needs to clean up their act. USH and KBF do it right, plus they are close enough, SF management should go visit.

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Sometimes lurkers speak . .

*** This post was edited by CoasterDad64 on 6/22/2002. ***

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Saturday, June 22, 2002 8:41 PM
SFMM is my home park. Just wanted to get that out of the way first. :-)

My family visited the park on Sunday afternoon/ evening- the first day of the Coaster Con. And I can honestly say that was the dirtiest I have ever seen the park. And I have to agree- cleaning crews were non-existant then to. Why? I don't have a clue. But you can bet that we stopped in at guest relations to lodge a complaint about it. Did you? But in the park's defense, I can say that is very far from normal cleanliness from the park and I was shocked that they would allow it to look that crappy when ACE was visiting. (stupid on the part of the park managers, that's for sure).

As for the coasters:

On Riddlers I have to say that I am totally lost and confused as to how you had a rough ride on it. I've been on that more than I'd like to admit, all over the train, and have never, ever had a rough ride on it. Especially nothing in comparison to Matis or Iron Wolf. And the pacing being poor? Wow. Are you sure you were on Riddlers and not Gold Rusher? ;-)

Viper tends to be very dependant on where you sit sometimes. Where were you on the train? In the middle? If so, that's the worst place to sit on any Arrow coaster. Front or back of the train is the place to be, and I have very rarely had any headbanging when riding in the either of those spots on teh coaster.

Ninja is a very dependable coaster and I've never been to the park on a day where it's been closed for the whole day. I would guess that they had some mechanical work they had to do and that is what delayed it's opening.

I'm totally and completely agreed with you on Colossus, Revolution, and Psyclone (taer it down!) though.

And speaking from experience- an invertigo like Face Off is a pale pale tradeoff in comparison to Deja Vu. I'm sorry you missed it with the long wait, but that's like comparing Cedar Creek Mine Ride with Magnum.

I also find it strange that so many of the rides were closed on that day, but that may also be partially due to staffing. Many, many of the schools around here just finished up this week, so it's very likely that they still do not have a full staff in place. However even then on the slow day we were there a couple of weeks ago they had everything open- including the rotor- with the exception of the monorail. I don't remember anything else being closed then, so don't know why it wouldn't have been open for you.

I do have to agree that sometimes the crowds at SFMM aren't real nice, but there's not a lot the park can do about rotten attitudes. It would be nice to see them put in more security and crack down on the line cutters though.

Also where did you eat? That will drastically affect how good your food was. The Mexican food place over near Riddler's and Mooseburger are both particularly good in my opinion.

Knott's? Well what can I say? It's not Six Flags so 90% of the people around here will automatically assume it's better no matter what happens. Not saying that's what happened with you, but for future comments.....

But Knott's is a great park, I certainly won't deny that. There is a reason that I spent more than twice the Six Flags price for a season pass there to.

But I would hope at some point that you would give SFMM another chance. It was not a normal park day, I can tell you that. And after all, I gave CP another chance when they gave me a park experience far worse than yours at SFMM. :-)

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Sometimes it's up. Sometimes it's down.
But with God, life is one thrill ride that you'll never regret being on.

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Saturday, June 22, 2002 9:15 PM

Sir Willow:

I would have to agree that I was shocked that SFMM would be so dirty for an ACE convention. As for where we ate, Mooseburger and the Dragon Pizza place on Samuri Summit. I know that parks can have bad days. But the rides need to be worthwhile to warrent a return. I am not a big fan of standups, so my opinion of RR is somewhat jaded. On Viper we sat in the 1st row of the 2nd car.

The staff pushed the limits of "oh well, whatever, nevermind". When I went to Guest Relations to comment about the dirt, they didn't really seem to care. I filled out a form and they glanced at my address and blew me off as a tourist. I guess it didn't matter to them that I am the father of 6 who takes family vacations to placed like CP and PKI. We have Gold Passports for BGT and SWF, two other excellent examples of clean, customer focused theme parks.

At first I thought maybe I was a victim of "anticipointment". (Great word, too bad it's not as original as some folks on CB think.) But the more I thought about it, the more agitated the whole dirty, apathetic, under-staffed place got me. I promise I was not looking for fault. As a teen, Magic Mountain (pre-SF) was a place I always wanted to visit. After all, "Kiss Meets the Phantom" was filmed there ;-)

When you spend your money you expect something in return. For almost $90, I don't think I'm asking too much enjoy a clean, relatively well managed park.

Next month I will be visting SFWoA for the first time since it's been a SF park. I hope the experience will be better. I will be heartbreaking if Geauga Lake becomes as bad as my SFMM experience.

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Sometimes lurkers speak . .

*** This post was edited by CoasterDad64 on 6/23/2002. ***

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Saturday, June 22, 2002 9:44 PM
Wow ! SFMM what a let down! My home town park is SFGA so I know that SF knows how to pick up trash, this park was a total mess! No X Superman was down almost all day I came 3000 miles to hit this park and I dont think I will ever come back X OR no X . For the record all the SFMM vs CP debates ...........NO contest . And whats with all the line jumping get some control SF !!!!! and get some garbage bags and clean the place up!!!! And next year dont spend 10 million on a new coaster that doest work go buy some paint and maintain the park you have!

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---- IGGY .

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Sunday, June 23, 2002 6:45 AM
Minus the rides, I found SFMM to be very dirty and unpleasant. I have never seen a park so filthy. I was at the Con and every ACER was making this comment. As for the rudeness, I agree with that also. SFMM seemed like they didn't care about the ACE convention, nor the fact that their park looked liked a cesspool (at times I felt like I was in a bad RCT game). We got a much, MUCH better reception from Knott's and Adventure City. They were very, VERY nice and were ecstatic that we were there. My friend and I even took a side trip to California Adventure and Pacific Park and they were both excellent.
Overall my experience with SFMM was better than mediocre. This was my first time to CA so all the rides were new to me so I can't complain, although I am going to go on an email frenzy and let all the parks know how much I enjoyed visiting them and/or what bothered me.

Psyclone is by far the worst coaster I have been on!!!!
Riddler's Revenge rocked, and Deja-Vu was OK (thank GOD for ERT!!!) The lines were nuts during regular hours.
Superman was great, although the initial blast-off isn't as intense as say, Hypersonic or the Excelerator (more on that)
Ninja and Revolution were OK.
Flashback? How long has this thing been down?
Goliath was excellent, and those last helixs are the most intense out of any ride I have been on.
Batman.........this is by far the best Batman I have been on! INTENSE!!!!
Collosus.......great woody......probably one of the best to date.
I know there were more coasters but I can't think of them right now. We rode a junior coaster but can't think of the name right away.

Onto Knott's:
Ghostrider.........HELLO! Excellent, the train kicks your ass.
Boomerang........OUCH, not anymore. I am hating those old Arrow cars more and more.

Pelerious PLunge.......didn't get to that one, although I had fun watching my fellow ACER nuts freeze their butts off.
Montezooma's Revenge..... My favorite ride next to...........
Excelerator! I almost missed this one, I returned Saturday and it was well worth it. Now maybe Cedar Point will get one???

I also loved California SCreamin at Disney.......nice launch and I loved the fact it was choregraphed to music.....nice touch!

Adventure City: nice little kiddy park, spent enough time to ride the Tree Tops and the kiddy coaster, then went over to Knott's

Pacific Park......beautiful!!! The West Coaster is a nice surprise.

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Feel The Adrenaline....
www.intenserides.com

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Sunday, June 23, 2002 6:46 AM
Minus the rides, I found SFMM to be very dirty and unpleasant. I have never seen a park so filthy. I was at the Con and every ACER was making this comment. As for the rudeness, I agree with that also. SFMM seemed like they didn't care about the ACE convention, nor the fact that their park looked liked a cesspool (at times I felt like I was in a bad RCT game). We got a much, MUCH better reception from Knott's and Adventure City. They were very, VERY nice and were ecstatic that we were there. My friend and I even took a side trip to California Adventure and Pacific Park and they were both excellent.
Overall my experience with SFMM was better than mediocre. This was my first time to CA so all the rides were new to me so I can't complain, although I am going to go on an email frenzy and let all the parks know how much I enjoyed visiting them and/or what bothered me.

Psyclone is by far the worst coaster I have been on!!!!
Riddler's Revenge rocked, and Deja-Vu was OK (thank GOD for ERT!!!) The lines were nuts during regular hours.
Superman was great, although the initial blast-off isn't as intense as say, Hypersonic or the Excelerator (more on that)
Ninja and Revolution were OK.
Flashback? How long has this thing been down?
Goliath was excellent, and those last helixs are the most intense out of any ride I have been on.
Batman.........this is by far the best Batman I have been on! INTENSE!!!!
Collosus.......great woody......probably one of the best to date.
I know there were more coasters but I can't think of them right now. We rode a junior coaster but can't think of the name right away.

Onto Knott's:
Ghostrider.........HELLO! Excellent, the train kicks your ass.
Boomerang........OUCH, not anymore. I am hating those old Arrow cars more and more.

Pelerious PLunge.......didn't get to that one, although I had fun watching my fellow ACER nuts freeze their butts off.
Montezooma's Revenge..... My favorite ride next to...........
Excelerator! I almost missed this one, I returned Saturday and it was well worth it. Now maybe Cedar Point will get one???

I also loved California SCreamin at Disney.......nice launch and I loved the fact it was choregraphed to music.....nice touch!

Adventure City: nice little kiddy park, spent enough time to ride the Tree Tops and the kiddy coaster, then went over to Knott's

Pacific Park......beautiful!!! The West Coaster is a nice surprise.

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Feel The Adrenaline....
www.intenserides.com

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Sunday, June 23, 2002 7:15 AM
Ouch! I'm a SFMM local too and it sounds like SFMM was just not firing on all cylenders for ACE. Shame on you SFMM, shame, shame, shame. I'll echo most of what Sir Willow had to say in defence of the park, it can be an awesome place, right on par with the best parks out there, when they want to be.

Maybe this whole X downtime thing is hurting them more than we can see?

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Nothing... NOTHING... can prepare you for... the Fourth Dimension!

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Sunday, June 23, 2002 9:07 PM
I'm still in shock that, especially with ACE there, that SFMM was so dirty and filthy. I'm certainly not denying that it was because in 4 years of multiple visits a year Sunday the 16th was by far the dirtiest that I've even seen the park. I was totally embarrassed by the presentation, and the park should be to. I've already sent another note to the parks email contacts, but the park that they presented to ACE was unacceptable on any day, let alone to a group like ACE.

Oh, one other side note, Superman is not launching anywhere near as intense and fast as it used to. If you watch where it ends on the tower, it's usually 5-6 support structures from the top. As recently as 2-3 years ago it would normally end around the 3rd support structure- quite a bit of difference in speed. And now with the other side down it sounds like it's more than overdue for a major rehab.

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Sometimes it's up. Sometimes it's down.
But with God, life is one thrill ride that you'll never regret being on.

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Monday, June 24, 2002 12:23 AM

Two things...

1) SFMM employs the "scum of the earth" so to speak, so I don't really think that the ride ops would really care about ACErs, let alone know who/what they are.

2) I know for a fact that the ride ops at SFMM are the ones responsible for cleaning the lines, and since the park is so understaffed at every ride, they really don't have time to go clean the lines. Now, if they would make their janitors go clean the ride areas instead of the ride ops, I think the park would be a little more cleaner. Actually, if stuipd people like yourselves would throw your trash in the trash can (preferably an empty one, not one that is overflowing) instead of throwing it on the ground, the park would also be a bit more clean.

Thank you...I'm spent.

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Monday, June 24, 2002 2:09 AM

ViperX said:

Two things...

1) SFMM employs the "scum of the earth" so to speak, so I don't really think that the ride ops would really care about ACErs, let alone know who/what they are.

2) I know for a fact that the ride ops at SFMM are the ones responsible for cleaning the lines, and since the park is so understaffed at every ride, they really don't have time to go clean the lines. Now, if they would make their janitors go clean the ride areas instead of the ride ops, I think the park would be a little more cleaner. Actually, if stuipd people like yourselves would throw your trash in the trash can (preferably an empty one, not one that is overflowing) instead of throwing it on the ground, the park would also be a bit more clean.

Thank you...I'm spent.



Where do I begin?

First of all, I want to thank you for calling me the "scum of the earth." Second of all, I do in fact know what ACE is, hell I'm even a member! Next up, yes, the ride ops are responsible for cleaning the lines, which is exactly why I have spent in upwards of 2 hours cleaning RRv's queue? Hell, just tonight I spent a good 2 hours making spin out, goldrusher, and the bumper cars spotless!

Bottom Line: Every park has its bad and good employees (Ive seen ghostriders queue quite dirty myself, and just today someone on Xcelerators "pit crew" was being a total a-hole to me...), but I take offense to comments about SFMM employees b/c damnit, I care! (which would explain why I am a lead...)

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Monday, June 24, 2002 2:53 AM
This was not meant to be a BASH SFMM employees TR. Simply comments on my experience. If the ride ops are the one who clean the queue, then no wonder they are bad. When you only staff two where 4 or 5 is appropriate, when is there a chance to clean? As for "scum of the Earth", hold on there. Uninspired and apathic, possibly overworked does not make them scum. The park was dirty, plain and simple. Who's to blame? Management. I also resent the statement "if stupid people like yourselves . . ." What exactly are you saying. I did not and do not litter anywhere. However, if there are no trash cans in the queue line, and no one to work the queue, where does the trash go? If you are going to jump conclusions about people, maybe you should know something about them first.

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Sometimes lurkers speak . .

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Monday, June 24, 2002 4:20 PM
I can respect SFMM for the prototype rides that they've introduced and have taken a chanced with, but thats all I can respect it for. I don't find the park to be as filthy as most of you guys think but I definitely agree that the employees don't do a very good job and that the rides are not kept very well (i.e. flashback, revolution, psyclone, colossus, viper...) If only X, Riddlers, and Goliath were at KBF. What a dream that would be!
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Monday, June 24, 2002 6:15 PM

CoasterDad64:

Sounds like SFMM was having a VERY BAD DAY!! It's my home park, and while I have seen it "shine" on some occasions, I'll have to admit, there have been times when it's been a pigpen too.

As for your comments on some of the rides, if you have been reading any of the posts regarding "Flashback" - it's been said over and over, it does not run while Hurricane Harbor is open. It is right next to the water park, and the screams (not just the noise) distract the lifeguards in the water park. In the fall, winter and early spring, Flashback does operate, although not on a regular or all-day basis. Since you don't seem to like head-banging, it wouldn't have been the ride for you anyway. As for Riddler's, I don't know what ride you were on, but you certainly didn't describe this great ride, IMHO. Poorly paced - you've got to be kidding??

And as for Deja Vu, how can you even compare it to Face/Off? Cousin?? - Try maybe second cousin, twice removed.

I will have to agree with you on Revolution and Viper. Revolution was severely ruined when the OTSRs were put in, and Viper, unless you ride in the front or back, as has been said, you WILL get your ears boxed.

Psyclone is either a love it or not coaster. I have ridden it since opening and I myself love it. Several years ago, they even ran it backwards for Fright Fest and what an experience. It had my sister hysterically laughing (and crying) the whole ride.

I know you were probably very disappointed with X being closed and such, but I think SFMM would rather have a safe ride than give in to the demands of a coaster group convention to open the ride. (Not saying that you were there for CoasterCon XXV, but they were not happy with it being closed either.)

And as for Knott's, I'm glad you enjoyed the park, and it's also too bad that Xcelerator was not ready for the public yet. It hadn't passed its final inspections until late in the week, and had to postpone the opening twice already for the charity auction winners and VIP's.

*** This post was edited by MMCoasterBear on 6/24/2002. ***

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Monday, June 24, 2002 6:56 PM

CoasterBear:

I am very aware of why Flashback doesn't run. However, what's the point of having a coaster you cannot/will not run. It was moved from SFoG, why not move to somewhere else at SFMM. I was not too disappointed that X was down. I am not a gimick guy, I prefer standard up and down. That doesn't mean the SLCs, inverts, prototypes, etc are bad, just not my favorites. BTW, I was not there with ACE, just a coincidence.

Why is everyone so defensive of Deja Vu. Saying that Face/Off and the other invertigos are distant cousins is a bit short sighted. (138 ft vs. 196 feet - 55 vs 65 mph - 5G on F/O 4.5 on DejaVu). Boomerang is a distant cousin. I just didn't think it was worthwhile to wait 2-2 1/2 hours for a steeper drop and 30 more feet. Again, a preference.

As for RR, again, touchy touchy. I did not like it. KC and Mantis were/are better rides, but I don't particularly like them either. Great pacing doesn't mean non-stop speed through inversion after inversion. If that were the case, Viper would be the greatest ride on earth.

The place wasn't a total loss. Goliath was an excellent ride, better than the current Magnum. Ninja was better than expected, and was the closest to the Bat I have ridden. Batman was standard B&M invert, can't go wrong there.

SFMM had a really bad day. I was not alone in making the comments. Any park can have a bad day. It takes 7 good things to make up for one bad. SFMM was in the red that day.

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Sometimes lurkers speak . .

*** This post was edited by CoasterDad64 on 6/24/2002. ***

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Monday, June 24, 2002 8:02 PM

Why the H___ they couldn't open Flashback during one of the ERT sessions is beyond me....the X thing is cool, safety first and all, but I am gonna just cry if I miss Z-Force, er, Flashback one more time!!! But I was in fact with the ACE crowd, and was WAY more disappointed with Knotts' "handling" of the Xcelrator DEBACLE than with anything I could have witnessed at SFMM.......the "Xplosive" TR will follow, I assure you.....

*** This post was edited by rollergator on 6/25/2002. ***

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Monday, June 24, 2002 9:56 PM
It's knott knott's fault they couldn't open the ride sooner. i read in the orange county register that the ride was signed off at 3:07 pm on saturday. seriously. only the xcelerator ride ops, top knotts executives, ride mechanics, and intamin officials got to ride on friday. i'm sure if they would have been allowed to open the ride and the auction winners already rode, they would have opened it. it's not even their fault. it's mostly buena park's and intamin's. And they gave you a free ticket to opening weekend. Lines weren't that bad. why didn't you go. did SFMM give a free ticket to the park because X was closed. No. were more than 1 ride closed. yes (at least a half a dozen). did they clean the park. no.

now ask yourself if the knotts experience was better than the magic mountain experience.

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