Superman catapults a park into pandemonium SFNE 08/05/06

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Monday, August 7, 2006 9:38 AM
The drive was scheduled to be a 4 hour ride so I crawl out of bed at 5 AM. Ugh I hate early wake ups but I knew I had to get moving to make the needed stops and get to park by opening. Gas and some wake up drink (Amp) was picked up at Wawa and up the NJ Turnpike I go. Nothing like a bunch of fast moving traffic to help get to the park on time. My average speed had to be over 65 MPH for the whole ride and if I wasn't going that fast it seemed I would get run off the road. Oh watch Connecticut state police... THEY HAVE UNMARKED CAMAROS!!!! I had only seen two state before without standard police cars Florida and Maryland but theirs are marked!

I arrived at the lot to find the first Bummer of the day. Parking wasn't $15 since they said all they had was preferred parking where I pulled in and it would cost me $25. Oh well I'm here to have a good day so I hand over the money. The nice lady hands me my park brochure, entertainment schedule and poster map and wishes me a good day. I shrug off the $10 unplanned expense and get a quality spot close to the gates 30 minutes before opening. Yep I made a 4 hour drive in 3.5 hours including going past NYC. Good omen.

As we are waiting outside they do all the normal Six Flags spiels about park additions, park policies (no smoking, flashpass, metal detectors, etc.) and wishing us a good day. Shortly after I line up the gates open to let people into the Main Street area so Flash Passes, and the Photogos can do their assault and such can be gotten to before true park opening. I get in line for Flash Pass and in typical Six Flags fashion someone lights up a cigarette. Someone in their group even said it was a no smoking place in the park and they told their own friend that they didn't care they's smoke where they wanted and hid the cigarette until they finished it. Now I was starting to feel like I went to GAdv not a new to me park.

Nice job of SFNE to have a preshow for Flashpass to explain the usage. But they should really make sure you fill out the forms after the show since most people didn't listen and just filled out the paperwork and lined up at the door to the next area. Once I got to the desk to recieve my pass and pay for it I got the third downer on the day. $50 for gold for one person? NOPE! Try $60. Nice markups on Saturdays without having it on your websites. Good thing I was prepared for an expensive day.

I got my wonderful Bot and headed right to Superman since the ropes were now down. I went to scan and was told by the display on my pager to use the regular line. I knew this meant the line wasn't going to give a default length at the beginning of the day. I walked into the normal line and headed for the back row. I wanted to feel ejection and figured that was the right row to get it. After a few trains I board and strap myself in. Nice effiecent ops and we are out of the station with minimal delay. I can't explain the ride but just will say I knew after one lap that my number one steel coaster was going to change this day. HOLY EJECTION AIR SUPERMAN... ooops wrong superhero. I love the tunnel at the bottom of the first drop and the misted tunnel. Those final bunnies threw me even more than SFA's SROS. I also learned why people compare El Toros crossover of Rolling Thunder to this ride. How far is steel coaster heaven? As of now about 4 hours from my house. I reserve the right to reevalute that in the future. But Superman Ride of Steel delivered the goods on ride one. Now anticipation for rides after nightfall would be hard to hold back.

After this ride I headed to the left checking out the park and wandering to the next coaster I would try Mind Eraser. I wasn't in a credit grabbing mood so Poison Ivy wasn't on my to do list. I get in a seat and strap in for the abuse that is Vekoma's SLC known as Mind Eraser and BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ sorry we are experiencing technical difficulties. They undo the restraints and ask us to return to the air gates to wait if we wish. I decide to head back out the line and over to Batman since Vekoma's aren't worth a wait to me.

Batman looks like it will be a fun variant on my friend Medusa. Well I enjoyed the ride but it lacks in some ways compared to Medusa. No cobra roll or flatspin? New England you got cheated. Good ride but MEH!

I checked out the water ride from Houston and since I wasn't dressed for riding (cargo pants not shorts) I walked on by. Plus a similar version didn't do much for me, so I figure maybe if i change later I will ride it. Never did get changed so I didn't try it.

This reminded me that I had to ride the other ride from Houston that arrived to this park. So I broke out the handy dandy brochure (the poster map stayed in the car) and located Catapult. Ugh it's exactly at the opposite end of the park from me. Ok what should I do on my way over. Well there is a Top Spin called Twister. Guess what it's doing the same program as GAdv's top spin named Twister. BLAH! I want a better program for both. Three flips? Get a grip!

I wandered further and found Houdini, Tomahawk and Rodeo. Houdini was the same as GAdv's and I enjoyed it. It seemed to really make the illusion work better on me than GAdv's. Tomahawk wasn't high on my list. I prefer the other designs of this ride, MaxAir, Claw at Hershey, Fandango at Knoebels. To my dismay Rodeo was down. I love breakdances and this would have been a must ride.

I passed the shoot the chutes, again sorry I don't want to get wet in long pants. What is the next ride in the walk? Flashback, aka a boomerang. Well I decided it was an adult coaster so I better suck it up and ride it. One word. OUCH! It wasn't good on my neck. I got off and the op asked if I was ok since I rubbed it as I got out. I informed him I'd be fine I just took a shot that I knew was coming but couldn't stop it. Yes I hold my head back but for some reason I still get my neck or ear bashed on these. Nice job by the employee to ask though.

Scrambler. Nope been there done that only really fun with someone else. Now I got to the area of the park that really peaked my interest. I see Mr Six's Pandemonium, Catapult and Cyclone. All of which accept Flashpass. So I plan out a loop of Pandemonium, Catapult then Cyclone and go to scan them. Well Catapult isn't accepting reservations since it's only a one cycle line and I still have 15 mins or so til my reservation for Pandemonium. Adapt, Improvise, ride Catapult then scan Cyclone and do my reserved rides becomes the new plan.

Catalpult is a the only ride of it's kind in the US and I WANT MORE OF 'EM. Wow what an experience. The rotations going face first down are just insane. And the others are no slouch either. I love this thing. It ranks up there with my favorite flat rides. I ended up riding it four times in the day three times I rode so I dropped backwards first and one time so I went face first the other time. I actually though the backwards drop first was more fun. But I would ride it either side it was just a shorter wait on the side I rode more.

As I walked to my reserved ride on Pandemonium I scanned Cyclone and arrived right in time for my reserved ride on Pandemonium. Who wants to ride a ride that everyone laughs hysterically? I know I love to do that while riding and Pandemonium is a ride that induces such laughter. When this thing spins it spins like crazy and gets you to have a giggle fit. When it doesn't spin it's still a good ride. Of my four laps I got three spin filled rides and one little spin ride. The little spin ride came when we had four people and the two heaviest were seated on the side that went up the lift first. All other times the heavier side was down lift. Maybe I found out the way to load the ride or not who knows. I was trying to figure out how to make it spin maximumly and this was the best i could figure load most weight on the right side to induce spinning. At least that seemed to work when I rode. What a great ride and Mr. Shapiro is right if he adds a version of these (or something like Exterminator at Kennywood, indoor crazy mouse not outdoor) to all parks. Another great ride op moment was on this ride later in the day. A family was set to board and the console operator informed the family that the female children needed pants or skirts over their swimwear to ride. He said they had to put either on before he could let them board but that they could go down the exit and then come back up once they did and ride right away. Great job again on enforcing the rules but letting the guest still enjoy their ride with little aggrvation. Yes the people were upset but they did comply. It was all in wording and results that made it work out the way it did.

A quick lap on Thunderbolt lead me to my last ride to complete the lap of the park. That ride would be a ride I tend to detest at any park but I needed to get a ride on it to prepare for my trip next week to Vegas. The ride's name would be Scream. I hate drop rides. I have always had a dislike for heights and the sitting at the highest point just doesn't make me happy. Once they let go and move I am fine. Well this is a combo shot. First it raises you a little bit then shoots you up and bounces you a few times then it takes you up locks you in place then after a slight delay it drops you. I actually didn't hate it as much as the hang and drop versions of this ride.

Mind Eraser was down for a long while but it did open and I got my lap. It definitely is named right. Another issue I had when I got my lap is that the op thrust the restraint into your body when they checked the harness. OUCH! Then the ride proceeded to abuse my ears and head overall. Needless to say it was a one lap a day and done also as all Vekoma SLC's not named Great Nor'Easter have been for me.

I did many rerides on all of the adult coasters except Flashback and Mind Eraser. Most operations were effiecent and polite. Food was typical Papa John's Pizza for a park meal and I waited until the ride home to eat again. I didn't take as many pictures as I may have since I put the camera back in the car after the operators on Superman had me remove it from my belt and place it in the bins on the platform. I didn't have an issue with removing it but to do that every time I wanted to ride would be a task since I had to remove the belt to take the case off the belt. Rather than deal the belt, I decided pictures would be a later trip priority. I saw a few operators stop line cutting and was impressed with the way they handled the backlash from the offenders. I also had a late night situation where someone did the old I am going up with my friends routine in the flash pass line on Superman and something happened behind me and the person they were joining with was infront of me and there was a heated exchange between patrons that I really didn't feel comfortable being in between the arguing parties. Later the same group that was joined by the earlier person had a few more join them from the main queue and it caused a discussion with the op handling the flashpass merge and I feel he did as good as he could with handling that.

Overall a great day at a new to me park. I would still like to see some things made better at Six Flags parks but I won't fault the new ownership yet since they didn't have a chance to totally do what they want. I will fault the park management since they should have been dealing with the problems under the old leadership.

Footnote: It's now Monday morning and my ribs are still sore from the ride op's crushing blow on Mind Eraser. UGH!

Watch the tram car please....
Monday, August 7, 2006 10:07 AM
eightdotthree's avatar Nice TR. This is one of my favorite Six Flags parks, I hope they can continue to make it better and better cause right now its teetering right on the edge of bad and good. They have a lot of great rides and the atmosphere there is tremendous.

How were the crowds that day? I am going in two weeks on a Saturday and I am already dreading the crowds. Was the FlashPass worth it?

Monday, August 7, 2006 10:23 AM
Crowds were manageable. I think the longest Superman's line was was 2 hours. Most other coasters were about an hour. Catapult was a max of 3 cycle wait.

I can see how you say it's teetering on the edge of bad. Some people there definitely acted as though they would fit in at the unruly park known as GAdv. But most were great. I will definitely be going back in the future if I have a SF pass.

As for Flashpass I think It was worth it to not be in the lines. Even with the issues I saw at Superman. Then again I am a Flashpass supporter and use it when I can. *** Edited 8/7/2006 2:42:37 PM UTC by dragonoffrost***

Watch the tram car please....
Monday, August 7, 2006 10:50 AM
Flash Pass IS worth it.

Complain all you want about it... but it is worth it.

I was at SFNE on Sunday that 30th and used FlashPass Gold. Sure, it was pricey... but since my wife and I got in with our Season Pass from SFA (which paid for itself after our first visit to SFA), we went for the qbot.

21 different rides on weekend in a Six Flags park, and we weren't rushing around either... it was a leisurly day.

Money well spent if you ask me.

"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
Monday, August 7, 2006 10:55 AM
eightdotthree's avatar Yikes, sounds ridiculous to me! How did the FlashPass work? Was it worth it?
Monday, August 7, 2006 11:10 AM
eightdotthree's avatar We got our passes at SFA too, only used them once so far though.
Monday, August 7, 2006 11:47 AM
The flash pass is a pager that you scan at a reservation kiosk and it gives you a ride time (same wait as the line for regular and 1/4 of the regular wait for the gold). 10 minutes prior to your reserved time the pager stats to let you know your ride time is approaching. 5 minutes before your ride time you can scan the pager at the kiosk for Flashpass entrance. Then you walk up a sepearte entrance, it is not the exit at SFNE and merge near or at the station for your ride.

Most rides allow you to chose a row. Only one I saw without an option was Batman:the Dark Knight they were assigning everyone a row on it so you went wehre told and didn't get the front row if you had flashpass.

Edit: by the way you can be up to 10 mintues late to the entrance kiosk and still check in.

They have a nice preshow at SFNE that explains the process. *** Edited 8/7/2006 3:50:01 PM UTC by dragonoffrost***

Watch the tram car please....
Monday, August 7, 2006 12:35 PM
To add something to dragonoffrost's comments on FLashPass and Batman The Dark Knight...

The reason why they "assign" you to rows is not because you have FlashPass, but because the station, like the ride itself, is 1 and a half times too small. The main queue enters in the one corner of the station and the FlashPass queue enteres at the other and runs the length of the station. Where both meet is where you go into the area of the gates and this area has just enough room for 4 people to stand at each gate... there is almost no room to get around a group of 4 people standing at a gate... its teh 4 people and then the rail that separates the FlashPass line from the rest of the station. Now granted, IF they would not have the FlashPass line, then there would be a little more room in the station... but not much more. When I was there, the employee at the merge point was letting groups of 4 from the FlashPass line and the regular line go where they want, but groups of or less from BOTH lines he was directing to make sure all spots are filled as close to capacity as possible.

The exit to this ride is just as tight. If you are in the back of the train, you get caught up in a traffic jam of riders from in front of you who are trying to retrive any items left in the station.

"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
Monday, August 7, 2006 4:26 PM
I just thought the flash passers having an arguement on not being able to ride front row on Batman was funny. I have been a frequent Flashpass user and am used to not being able to choose my seat at coasters but this one guy got real indignant and then left the platform and didn't ride because he couldn't ride front row.

I was sitting in a train on the brake run as it happened and was trying to hold back the laughter as they walked down the steps and back out of the line. I've seen the same thing at GAdv but this was the first time I saw it at SFNE and I had been there almost 4 hours with customers being better behaved. I guess that was the first incident that started to make me think... "I am at Six Flags why am I surprised with the clientelle?"

Watch the tram car please....

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