Anyway… After being detoured off the parkway, even though we had no map and had no idea exactly where we were, we had the good fortune to make the correct turn off the exit and took a rout that lead, more or less, to the park.
Arriving at the park we found the parking lot to be VERY empty and we found a parking space very close to the entrance. We passed through the entrance using our preprinted season pass forms and headed directly to the season pass office and probably our longest wait of the day at about 10 minutes, but once it was our turn for processing, things went quickly and we were soon on our way.
I am not intentionally going to do a “Went here, did this… then went here and did that… then went back here again and did that again…” but it might seem that way since we just started at one side of the park and worked our way to the other.
For what ever reason, every one of my visits to SFA starts out in South West Territory and ends in Coyote Creek… and this trip was no exception.
Two Face: The Flip Side: 1 ride: I have not ridden this coaster since my initial visit back in Aug of 2001. The line was always too long and slow moving. However, today it was a walk on. I grabbed the last seat of the train facing backward... which is actually the first seat of the train facing forward on the return trip. It didn’t seem quite as rough as I remembered… and the loop on the out bound trip was actually kind of neat the way the train slowed at the top of the loop, and then speeded up as it exited the loop, whipping the back of the train over the top.
Wild One: 2 Rides: 3 train wait for the front seat, walk on for all others. Fast and fun as always. 1st ride in the front seat, 2nd ride in the back seat, and I am still not sure which one I prefer. Neither are bad… just not sure which is better.
Jokers Jinx: 1 ride… 3rd seat (or 1st seat, second car). Skipped this one last time because of the wait. No wait this time… it was a walk on. Not my absolute favorite… but worth a ride if the wait is not too long.
Superman Ride of Steel: 1 ride… 3rd seat (or 1st seat, second car). 3 train wait. Fast as always… but not quite the great thrill that it was on my first visit. I don’t think the coaster has change, but rather that I’ve just gotten more used to it. As always, insane first drop, great air on the first and second hill and the hill on the curve into the station still flips your stomach.
Snack time: Chick-fil-a in Skull Island. A bit overprices, but hey, it is a park… what do you expect? Some complain about “chains” operating in parks… I don’t mind it… at least you know what you are getting.
Roar: 2 rides… front seat and back seat…. Walk ons both. This GCI never fails to NOT impress me. Fun coaster… worth a ride or two… but nothing memorable. Great visuals on the first drop, but after that… eh… Some complain of roughness... I didnt' think it was all that bad.
Mind Eraser: 1 ride, front seat walk on. I can only take one ride on this coaster… those head rests do a number on my ears. Change the head rests and you would have a much more fun ride.
Snack for the road: Funnel Cake in Main Street 1776. Its dough… its fried… it’s covered in sugar… how can you go wrong? (Don’t let your doctor or nutritionist hear you say that!)
That about sums up our day. Low crowd and cool weather certainly helped our enjoyment.
A few things to note. I am not sure if it is simply a beginning of the season thing, or if the Shapiro Era changes are starting to be felt… but….
- Even though the crowds were light, all the coasters (with the obvious exception of Two Face) were running two trains. Not sure about Batwing… I didn’t venture quite that far… but from what I could see from SROS there wasn’t very much of a line there.
- Flash Pass rows of cars were open to anyone who wished to ride them, with a sign / warning present that said that these were actually reserved rows… you may chose to ride in them, but if there is a Flash Pass person who is waiting will get priority over you. The last time there these rows were blocked off form “regular” riders and, even though lines were long, they were not filled when no Flash Pass riders were present and were dispatched empty.
- Crews seemed to be working very efficiently. On my second Roar ride the train actually blew right through the break run and into the station because the other train had already been loaded and dispatched before my train finished the course.
- Employees seemed to be much friendlier. Some went out of their way to say “have a nice day” etc. The ones who said nothing at least were working and not being overtly rude as in the past.
- The park seemed MUCH cleaner. We lost track of the number of “sweeps” we saw.
- With the exception of renegade rapids, Typhoon Sea Coaster, and a ride in Gotham city that looks like a Himalaya type ride, all rides were open. The Himalaya style ride was partially dismantled with a sign excusing the disruption (so it looked long term), Typhoon Sea Coaster seems to never be open (are those skeletons part of the pirate themeing, or just guests who expired of old age while waiting in line?), and the Rapids may have been closed because of the cool temps. A few shops were closed, but most eating places were open. This is a switch from past visits when rides were closed but places to spend money were open.
- Many management types seen walking around making rounds.
- More security seen making their rounds.
- The park just looked better…. Areas mulched and landscaping looked well maintained… flowers planted and maintained... and it seemed to be more benches.
All in all, it was a fun day and I was impressed with the way the park was looking and operating. Will I get back there again this year? I don’t know… but if I don’t, it will simply because there is only so little time and so many parks to visit, and not because I came away saying “NEVER again… or at least not for a very long time” as I have said after past visits.
I might make it a point to get there again near the end of the season to see if the pleasant surprises I found there last Friday were results of a new modus operendi and will still be present, or if they were simply a case of this being the beginning of the season only to be forgotten as the season wears on and winds down. *** Edited 5/24/2006 3:10:23 PM UTC by SLFAKE***
I hope the park keeps improving. The change is extremely noticeable over previous seasons. I've been told to have a nice day or asked am I having a nice day. Sometimes I've been surprised and actually had to look around to see who was asking me. :)
A day at the park is what you make it!
Saw two "stranded" boats: One at the base of the lift hill... one about 3/4 of the way up the hill.
There's a Chik-Fil-A there? I LOVE Chik-Fil-A! ;)
Who is eating Chik-Fil-A as he writes.
A day at the park is what you make it!
Don't get me wrong... It's just fast food... but it's comparable in quality to what you would find at a Chick-Fil-A out side of the park. Looks like they might have cut their menu a bit too for the park.
Now the price... that is higher than you would find out side of the park... but, sad to say, that is to be expected. You go to a park, you know you are going to pay more for park food (and no comments about 25 cent cotton candy at a certain park... I mean food... not pink insulation in a stick).
While it was more expensive than a Chick-Fil-A out side of the park, if I have to pay the higher prices for park food, I would rather pay for decent to good park food that I know (i.e. Chick Fil a) -VS- the park's own food such as at the restaurant / food area between Skull Island and Coyote Creek as we did back in 2001... the most DISGUSTING park eating experience of my entire life! It was even worse, over all, than the sour "sweet" corn on the cob at Geauga Lake last year!
And I thought I remembered seeing another one in the park.
A day at the park is what you make it!
Who's the nutcase now?
And as for his beliefs "getting in the way"--someone's beliefs should govern how they live and act. How is this "getting in the way"? It's his business--let him run it how he wants. And if that's according to his beliefs, then so be it.
It's a privately owned company but if it's true that employees were fired because of their conflicting religious beliefs, he is clearly in the wrong. Just because someone owns their own business doesn't mean they can discriminate when hiring employees. I can't open an amusement park and hire only white males ages 18-45 to work at the place.
And I'm still waiting for you to explain how Chik-Fil-A is the most profitable privately-owned restaurant company.
How do you know he was discriminating on this? I know that he won't let just anyone open a franchise, and that makes good sense to me. I think he wants certain people more on the same page with him in this matter, but that doesn't mean that other people can't "work" for Chik-fil-A; it just means that not just anybody can get a Chik-fil-A franchise. Seems like good business sense to me.
And personally, I don't like being called a religious Christian nutcase. Even though this was directed at him, I'm also a Christian. Sure, call me a coaster nut--that's what I am. But I don't appreciate that, and that's why I took offense.
I applaud the owner of Chik-fila for having beliefs and upholding them. If someone didn't want to play by his business rules then he shouldn't have them as employees. Until I hear a specific case cited (like him firing someone just for not being Christian) than I think the whole discussion is based on rumor and is moot. I heard from many people that Walt Disney is frozen and stored somewhere in Disneyland....doens't make it true :)
*** Edited 5/24/2006 10:43:56 PM UTC by Peabody***
As far as food to avoid I make it a rule to avoid hollywood cafe if at all possible,my friend got seriously ill after eating a burger for lunch there last season,the food in crazyhorse saloon is good though.
Do a Google search on Chik-Fil-A's CEO and toss in the word lawsuit. You'll see proof of a couple of lawsuits that were filed by employees that truly believe they terminated because of their religious beliefs. I'm sure the lawsuits could be frivilous but if you do a little reading and see how "extreme" the CEO's thinking is, it is entirely plausible.
Trust me when I say that I admire pretty much anyone that stands up for what they believe in (crap like Osama bin Ladin are exceptions) but there is a way to take things a little too far. Going by what I know, I'm getting the feeling that might be the case here.
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