The most expensive poorly-planned non-coaster coaster trip EVER (Knott's and SFMM)
This is my first time writing a trip report, mainly because I rarely have the time or money to go on a coaster trip, let alone any trip for that matter. However, this trip absolutely MUST go in the books because they don’t get much worse than this. Maybe this report will help some of you re-think how you plan your trips… Granted, everything turned out okay in the end, but the struggle is extremely entertaining and amusing, so enjoy reading…
So the idea of the trip sounded great. Fly to Los Angeles for the opening of Xcelerator, hit Six Flags Magic Mountain as well, and maybe catch some nightlife in Hollywood since I recently turned 21, which makes any city all the more exciting. My broke college self conjured up a plan to fly to L.A., and stay with a friend of a friend who was more than willing to drive me around as long as he got to go to the parks with me. Things were going good. So I searched Travelocity and found a round trip ticket from Chicago to LA for only $200 with tax. Awesome.
My roommate/best friend Ryan decided he wanted to come along to California with me. Both of us are jobless so therefore we can go on random trips at the drop of a hat, which is what has been going on for the past month (see recent trip reports by Legendary :)). So the plan was set, we were to fly to Los Angeles on Wednesday (June 12th), visit Knott’s Berry Farm for Xcelerator’s original VIP day (June 13th), attend the original media day (June 14th), and then visit SFMM on Saturday, and finally leave around noon on Sunday (June 16th). However, Ryan was against staying at some stranger’s house that he didn’t know, so he somehow convinced me to get a hotel room for the four nights we were to be there. I reluctantly gave in, but mostly because Ryan has a habit of taking two showers a day, both of which are 45-60 minutes in length (NOT an over exaggeration). I figured his overly complicated primping/grooming/cleansing ritual would be too much of a burden on anyone no matter how accommodating they were, so the hotel room was probably a better idea, and definitely avoided any conflict.
Well as everyone knows, Xcelerator was delayed. This was the first conflict that arose and we hadn’t even left yet! We received word directly from the park that the dates had simply been moved one week later. So I called Travelocity to see what the damage would be to change flights. $100 just to switch, and the new flights were $75 more. Not that bad, but considering the cheap plane ticket was the whole reason I was going in the first place, this was not good news. But we couldn’t fly to Cali a week early and not even get to ride Xcelerator or even X for that matter. So Ryan and I rescheduled our flights.
The Monday before we left on our trip, Knott’s calls me to inform me that Xcelerator was delayed yet again. Luckily, it was only delayed to Saturday. Any more delays and we would be missing out!
Everyone knows you are supposed to get to the airport super early just incase right? Well I figured if we left West Lafayette, Indiana at 1:00pm that we would have plenty of time to catch our 6:00pm flight to LA. I knew it would take about 2.5 hours to get there, so that gave us 2.5 hours at the airport. Well somehow our 1:00pm leaving time turned into 2:00pm. Not a problem. But somewhere along the line I forgot that we absolutely had to leave at that time, and I decided to do some errands before we left, such as stopping at the bank and the post office. There were lines. We left West Lafayette at 3:00pm. Oops. I started to panic in the car because I slowly began to realize that meant we wouldn’t arrive at O’Hare until 5:30pm! What was I smoking?!?! I have never been so panicked while driving ever. And we had to park in the long term parking at the airport so who knew how long it would take to finally get to the gate!
My stupidity rating at this point = 5/5 (5 being really really stupid )
I sped to the airport even though I hate speeding, but I had to. We made it to the parking at 5:30pm. Luckily there wasn’t much of a line and we were able to go up to the E-ticket machines, get our boarding passes, and hurry through security to our gate. Ryan decides to check his luggage, which slows down the process. I was determined to fit my humongous, obviously-too-large-for-carry-on suitcase with me. It didn’t even fit through the X-Ray machine, but somehow the security guy (who refused to speak and simply held up his hand as a gesture for me to stop trying to shove my bag through the machine) got it to go through. I set off the metal detector with my cell phone and keys and was padded down like none other by another security guard. As he pats me down he asks me if I am Rob Lowe. That was hilarious; I have gotten Carson Daily before, but never Rob Lowe! I really don’t think I resemble either of the two but whatever. Ryan and I were starving by now but had 2 minutes till 6:00pm. As we rushed to the gate, we noticed a line of about 30 people boarding the plane, so we stopped at a food cart on the way and I bought some kind of deli sandwich and a water. We actually made it on the plane! Seriously though, that was some luck to actually make it to O’Hare as fast as we did considering we were on the interstates during rush hour and all. I sure paid later on for things going that smoothly!
The flight went pretty well, although I was sandwiched between Ryan and some random old dude, and I tried to fall asleep but that wasn’t about to happen. Right after take off they start serving drinks and food. Ironically they were serving deli sandwiches, and I had just finished inhaling the $7.00 one I had bought on the way to the gate. Even better, the sandwich that was served on the plane tasted better! (Yes I ate that one too ).
Arriving at the airport, we were to meet Randy, the guy that is friends with a good friend of mine. I had never met him before but he is a really cool guy so it wasn’t awkward or anything. We drove to the hotel and checked in at about 9:30pm (The Radisson Hotel located right next to Knott’s). Ryan and I were starving again so all three of us went to Downtown Disney and ate at some ESPN Zone place that actually had really good food! I liked the whole Downtown Disney area, and it looked really great at night.
By the time we got back to the hotel, it was getting pretty late so Randy stayed the night with us at the hotel since he lived about an hour away. He was supposed to go to Knott’s Berry Farm with us the next day (Thursday), but had to work in the morning and would call us later to meet us at the park later on.
Randy left at about 9:00am and Ryan and I continued to sleep until about 11 or 12. We woke up, showered, and after eating, eventually made our way to Knott’s. Having no car, we had to walk around looking for a restaurant and found an IHOP. We walked over to Knott’s and the first thing we rode was Ghostrider. I had some high expectations for Ghostrider since I had heard so much about it. We waited about an hour and 20 minutes, not realizing how long the line was since there is also a queue upstairs in the station. We sat in the very front and it was a pretty good ride. Typically I am a fan of the back seats on coasters, simply because I like getting pulled over the tops of hills, although I favor the front on coasters such as The Legend. There were some drops on Ghostrider that were pretty cool, but in the front you kind of hang over them and just speed out of the drop. In exchange for that you do get to experience some nice airtime, which is always a plus! The ride was super smooth and even impressed Ryan, who hates wooden coasters (most likely because Mean Streak is one of his only woodies for comparison). However, it failed to impress me as much as I would have hoped but it was a good ride nonetheless.
Ghostrider (front) = 6/10
I guess I should add that Ryan is not as much of a fan of coasters as I am. He likes them and enjoys visiting parks such as Cedar Point, but he really only likes riding coasters that have a lot of recognition (which is why he likes CP a lot). I literally have to drag him on to coasters that he has never heard of. I should have figured the trip wouldn’t be as entertaining bringing a non-enthusiast with me, but we are great friends so it was a good time still.
I can’t quite remember exactly what we did that day, but we did get to ride every coaster. Montezooma’s Revenge was next. The launch surprised me on this coaster; I expected it to be pretty tame since the ride is pretty old. But wow, that launch is awesome, the only downside is that just as your heart races and you begin to enjoy the accelerating speed, it suddenly stops accelerating because you have reached max speed. Still an awesome launch though!
Montezooma’s Revenge = 6/10
Jaguar was pretty boring and non-eventful but the queue and station were entertaining to look at (aside from it smelling like pee). We sat in the very front on this one, and since the train is sooooooo long, you really don’t get to experience most of the drops (the few that there are) because you are already at the bottom by the time the train picks up speed. Some of this ride might be pretty cool in the very back, but we didn’t care to ride it again that day.
Jaguar = 2/10
There isn’t a whole lot to say about Boomerang, except that it was pretty smooth and everything I expected considering I had been on these many times. I still enjoy the back seat on these and the first drop always gets my stomach even though it isn’t very steep or long. I found it humorous that it has an on-ride photo for being such a short ride, but hey, whatever makes money.
Boomerang = 5/10
Lastly, we searched for the kiddie coaster and finally found it. Ryan and I barely fit into the seats, and we chose the very back. As we rode, I was literally scared for my life! Never before had I seen such dramatic and compact hills on a coaster in my life. It really looked like we were going to take the hills way too fast and way too hard. Somehow, the train accelerates and decelerates relatively quickly so that the hills aren’t so sudden and extreme, but wow, Ryan and I enjoyed this coaster a lot more than Jaguar!
Timberline Twister = 3.5/10
Supreme Scream was awesome and everything that I expected it would be, having ridden Power Tower numerous times. The line was pretty short Thursday night, although I think about ten people non-discreetly line-jumped in front of us even though there were only about 40 people in line to begin with. I didn’t really care, but sometimes I find it entertaining seeing how they do it. The ride-op walked past the queue pointing to people and asking “Doubles?” However, I didn’t really understand him and didn’t even think that he was asking a question, so after I heard some people behind us say “we are” I figured it out and signaled to the ride-op and told him “yeah two riders here.” He looks at me and says “Yes that is what doubles are” as if I didn’t know. We passed everyone who had cut in front of us and stood on the numbered circles he instructed us to stand on. The ride op that was loading the ride closed the gate before we got up to it, so we stepped back to our circles assuming we were for the next ride. The original ride op that thought I was incompetent yells over to us telling us to get on the ride as if we were just standing there for fun! The other op had closed the gate so we just assumed we weren’t riding. It’s slightly annoying being treated like your incompetent but in a way it made me laugh a lot since the guy thought we were the stupidest people on Earth.
Before we left, we headed over to Ghostrider to get a night ride. This time we chose to sit in the very back of the train. WOW. This ride was awesome in the backseat, and it was so much fun at night on top of it. Great hills and turns, and you just can’t beat that drop off the trim brakes over the station. Very awesome. Some of the turning parts reminded me of The Legend at Holiday World. On a little side note, since I didn’t write a trip report for when I went to Holiday World for Stark Raven Mad, The Legend is by far the greatest coaster on the planet. Every single wooden coaster I ride now just reminds me of the Legend, whether it be a certain turn or just the way the coaster sounds. Anyone who does not want to visit Holiday World just because it is in the middle of nowhere and only has two wooden coasters is very mistaken! I attend college in Indiana and never visited till this year. Any chance I get, I will DEFINITELY visit that park. The Legend by far surpasses anything I have ever ridden. Okay, I am done raving about the Legend, but if I ever write another trip report, I will most likely go off on a tangent about how awesome the Legend is! Back to Ghostrider though, it was awesome in itself! I am very glad I rode it again!
Ghostrider (back) = 9/10
Later that night we get back to the hotel and there is a message from Randy, the guy driving us around. Somehow, he suddenly had to work all day Friday, Saturday around noon and 6, and Sunday morning. This meant that he was not able to take us to SFMM on Friday, and he wasn’t able to accompany us on Xcelerator on Saturday, and even worse, he was unable to take us to the airport on Sunday morning for our flight (which left at 8:40am). Maybe he really did have to suddenly work at all the right times, but the fact that he called the hotel instead of my cell phone made me think he made it all up and was ditching us on purpose. It was just too much of a coincidence for me to forget about. Suddenly, Ryan and I were screwed! I called Joe (Legendary) and he tried to help me find someone who could drive us around. All I had to offer was that we would pay for all the gas, and we would be able to get the driver a VIP pass to Xcelerator’s opening. Unfortunately, we were still unable to find a ride. A friend of mine that lives in LA (who doesn’t have a car unfortunately) called me that night but with both of us being car-less, we couldn’t hang out. Thursday night I went to bed feeling like an idiot for depending on some guy I didn’t even know.
Friday we waited around by Xcelerator during the day. Intamin was supposed to hand over the ride to Knott’s at that point but of course there were delays and that never happened. Ryan and I were hoping to get an early ride on Xcelerator but we just wasted time getting our hopes up. By now, we had no way to get to Magic Mountain so I finally gave in and decided to rent a car. I was under the impression that only 25+ year olds could rent cars but apparently I was wrong. We had no way to get to a rental place, so we naturally called Enterprise, cuz hey, they pick you up . Renting a car wasn’t too expensive, but it still sucked since the trip was supposed to be a cheap, efficient trip.
By the time we rented the car and had eaten, it was about 4:00pm and we were on our way to Magic Mountain. It should have taken 45 minutes to an hour. It took us a little over two hours since we were driving in rush hour traffic. Whoops. Once we arrived at SFMM, I was shocked to see how compact X was. From all the pictures I had seen, it looked a lot more spread out, but maybe that was because of the lenses on the cameras that had taken the pictures. In person, the pullouts of the drops and the elements look A LOT more insane and extreme. Bummer that it wasn’t running, but I already expected that anyways.
Parking wasn’t so bad since it was so late in the day and there were a few open spots closer to the entrance. We walked all the way to the entrance and Ryan purchased a season pass. Usually passes are cheaper buying them elsewhere than the park, but at this point we didn’t have the time to shop around and figure out where to get one. The lady at the sales window asks Ryan if he has a coupon. We both say no, and in the back of my head, I figure that they have coupons in newspapers and such, which we did not really have access to. So his season pass costs him $90.00. Ryan isn’t too thrilled about that price, but he pays anyways. As he fills out his season pass sheet in the season pass office, a family walks in and a man working in the office tells them about discounts for some of their other family members that hadn’t come with them. Ryan over hears him mentioning a coupon with a map. So I ask the guy where we can get a map, and he says it is the map you receive when you pay for parking. Ryan immediately gets pissed off so we go back to where he bought it asking if we could get a discount because we had the coupon and just didn’t know it. The girl there can’t give us a refund, so she tells us to go to Guest Relations and try to do it there.
So we get the coupon and I go into the park since Ryan still doesn’t have a season pass or ticket. I go up to Guest Relations and explain to the woman what happened. Never before have I been as insulted as I was then. Not only was I treated like I was trying to somehow scam the park, but I was treated as if I had done something wrong. The situation was simple. We had a coupon and weren’t informed it was in the map. Ryan hadn’t received what he paid for yet, and simply wanted a refund of the $20 discount that was in the map for the parking that we had paid for. The lady acted like I was trying to get my money back for food that I had already consumed. She wasn’t nice to me at all and fed me a line about how “you don’t go to a grocery store, buy your groceries, and then come back later with coupons asking for a refund.” I understand the analogy, however, this was not the same thing at all. We had the coupon, and there really is no reason why we should not have the refund. Ryan hadn’t even gotten his season pass processed yet so he should be entitled to a refund if he wanted one anyways. The lady also told me “how do we know you didn’t just walk up to someone and get this coupon from them.” I could not believe she actually said that to me. What I have learned in all of my jobs dealing with people, the customer is always right and you never insinuate that they are lying or somehow cheating. Besides, it isn’t like the coupon is hard to get anyways; EVERYONE gets it when they pay for parking, and we had definitely paid. She gave me the business card of someone to write to in order to request a refund, and I walked off insulted. The situation was just a big conflict that didn’t need to happen, maybe we should have asked the lady at the sales counter where we could get a coupon, but at that time, it seemed like the answer would have been something out of the way for us when really we had the coupon all along. I wasn’t really mad about that, because it wasn’t even my money anyways, but I was furious at the way the Guest Relations office treated me. Even worse, the whole ordeal cost us an hour of our time. It was now 7:00pm and the park closed at 10:00pm. Ryan was paying $90 for 3 hours at SFMM.
So us, being the tools that we are, purchased a FastLane pass. We had to. We had three hours and that was not enough time to hit as much as we could. I had been to SFMM before but Ryan had not, and I wanted him to experience as much as he could there. Walking throughout the park, I actually came to the conclusion that I really, really, really like the park. The trees are so tall in some areas and you just feel like you are enclosed within the park. That is my biggest beef when it comes to some of Cedar Fair’s parks, it seems that they favor huge open areas of white concrete instead of vegetation and natural shading. I have to give SFMM major props for having a very attractive and comfortable-looking park.
Our first ride was on Goliath. We used the FastLane and got to pass the 45-minute wait. We rode in the very back, and even though I like the backseats, this one sucks in the backseat, at least in my opinion. The ride seemed like the elements were too drawn out and boring. The “centrifuge” was pretty cool, by the end of it I had my eyes open but couldn’t see a damn thing since I “purpled out.” I have heard the terms “brown out” and “grey out,” but to me, all I see are these purple flashes and such. It actually surprised me since upon entering the helix it seems like you are traveling at a normal speed and the g-forces don’t seem to be anything extreme. I guess it is just the pro-longed positive g’s that contribute to the purpling-out. Overall, I thought the ride was pretty boring; the most entertaining part was looking at the park while on the lift hill J.
Goliath (back) = 4.5/10
Batman: The Ride was next. I had been on many of these, but Ryan had never been on one. I really don’t enjoy BTR at all, but Ryan really likes inverted coasters so he naturally liked Batman a lot.
Batman: The Ride = 5/10
Riddler’s Revenge was right after Batman. Last time I had been to SFMM was in 1998, and I loved RR. I was a little worried that it had gotten worse with age, especially since Mantis is one of the few coasters that I will actually pass on riding. We waited for the front since the line was only in the station, and I started to really appreciate the theming. I never cared much in the past for Six Flag’s mediocre theming, but I now I started to like it. The music in the station and everything just adds to the environment of the ride. It certainly gives the ride its own personality. One of these days I will get to experience IOA J. This time around, Riddler’s Revenge was just as good. It is definitely not as intense as Mantis, the transitions between elements are more spread out, but that is not a bad thing on a stand-up coaster. I really enjoy this coaster and would have ridden it again if we had the time.
Riddler’s Revenge = 8/10
Ryan wanted to ride Superman (of course since he had heard so much about it), but unfortunately it did not have FastLane and the line was looking a little too long for me. Actually, I probably would only ride it if there was no line at all! I tried explaining to Ryan how uneventful it was, and so we proceeded to Ninja. I liked Ninja a lot last time I rode it, but this time it seemed more sluggish. I hyped up Ninja a lot to Ryan, so maybe I expected more from my own hype, but it is still a fun ride.
Ninja = 6/10
We had about 30 minutes left at the park by this point. All that was left to ride that I thought Ryan might enjoy was Déjà Vu. However, the line was an hour and a half long, and we were not about to wait that long for it. While at SFMM, my friend from LA that doesn’t have a car called me from a friend’s house and wanted to hang out. He now had a friend that could drive him around as well. So that was partly the reason for not wanting to stay so long at SFMM, since we wouldn’t be home until 11pm at the earliest without riding Déjà Vu. We still had a FastLane pass to use so we decided to ride Goliath once more. We rode in the front car this time and wow, what a difference! The front is so much better on this ride, or maybe it was also the fact that it was nighttime. The turns are much cooler and I immediately liked the ride a lot more. I still purpled-out in the helix but I don’t mind out of body experiences .
Goliath (front) = 7/10
Ryan surprisingly wanted to ride Colossus, so we headed over and rode in the very front. It was a really smooth ride with a little pop of air at the top of some of the hills, but nothing to write home about. This ride is just weird to me, it feels a lot like a steel coaster. Could be a fun ride if both trains were running, but that wasn’t happening today, and it wasn’t happening way back when I rode it the first time either.
Colossus = 5/10
We left Magic Mountain and made it back to our hotel in 50 minutes. Later that night we hung out in Downtown Disney, ate some food and then chilled in the hotel for a little bit. So much for enjoying Hollywood .
Saturday at 3:00pm was the opening of Xcelerator. Ryan and I slept in and then headed over to the West entrance of the park, however, I thought it was the security entrance. I thought we were going through a security gate, so that is why I drove the car all of one block to the entrance. The man at the security station treated me like I was incompetent because I didn’t know what entrance he was referring to, since I thought that it was a drive-up entrance he was talking about, and I knew that was the only one off of Western Avenue. So I have to park across the street, no problem. I pull into the lot and speak to the security guard there, apparently I have to park in the next lot down, so I go to the next lot and finally park. Funny how we could have just walked and saved ourselves the fifteen minutes of hassling we went through.
Naturally, by now we had come to realize that no matter what we did, there would be some kind of conflict going on everywhere we went. Of course, our names were not on the VIP list for Xcelerator’s opening. I really didn’t care by this point because I expected it to happen; nothing was going right apparently. I talked to the right people and finally got through, and we had about 40 minutes until 3:00pm. We ate at Auntie Pasta’s (some great Italian buffet food for $8/person across from Ghostrider’s entrance) and made it over to Xcelerator at exactly 3:00pm. Of course they were running behind schedule, but after all the speaking and what not, the first train launched with riders and I got goose bumps. Everyone with the VIP wristbands went to get their ride on Xcelerator and we decided to wait for the back of the train since most went to the front. I was extremely nervous waiting for the launch; there is something about launch coasters that just get me nervous. Wow was I stapled into my seat as well, but I won’t bother mentioning how uncomfortable this staple was since I had a worse one later on…
The launch is incredible. It is just too much to try and describe. It is awesome, even better than you would think. Even better than my POV animation J. Breathtaking. We were rocketing ninety degrees upwards while twisting until we started to crest the top. Before we knew it, we were flying down the drop and continued on with the rest of the course. Awesome ride, the launch alone is worth the wait!
Xcelerator (back)= 8.5/10
All of the VIPs were supposed to only get one ride on Xcelerator, but there was no one enforcing this. So naturally, Ryan and I got back in line while we could. We decided to wait for the front since this was probably our last ride and the public had formed an extremely long line. Unfortunately, Knott’s made Xcelerator’s station a huge conflict-starter. The ramp up to the station splits the queue into two lines. Your first thought is that it splits the train into a front and a back waiting section. Nope, the line on the right waits for the front car, not the front seat, the front car. This means that most people waiting will want the very front seat, but the station is set up so that 4 people wait at a time per car. Very unnecessary if you ask me. Nobody who waited in the right side line wanted to settle for second-to-front seat. Not my problem :). We finally got to sit in the front. I started getting nervous all over again. I was stapled pretty well, more than last time, but it wasn’t THAT bad. Suddenly, off we go. Right at the end of the launch, it suddenly feels as if the train is braked. I think to myself why are they braking the launch??? Then it becomes apparent that we are not going fast enough to make it over the hill. Before we even see the horizon, we fall backwards and into the brakes, coming to a smooth stop halfway back the launch. You would think it would be the coolest thing in the world to experience a “short shot” or “rollback,” but it really isn’t anything different than an impulse. It is unexpected of course, but I already saw it happen a few times while testing. It would have been really fun to be behind someone who didn’t know that it was okay if that happened, but we were in the very front. A lot of the general public standing by the beginning of the launch seemed excited about it happening and were asking us about it. It took SO LONG to creep back into the station. We had to get out and let them test an empty train. This time the brakes came up on the launch way too early and therefore, the train barely had enough speed to make it completely vertical. It fell back and came to a stop while the entire queue line started “boo”ing. This train took literally ten minutes to come back into the station; it was ridiculous. The next launch failed as well, but it made it a lot higher than before. Finally, the third test made it and we were allowed to ride. Unfortunately, this time the ride op pushed the lap bar EXTREMELY deep into my mid section. Not only was I not to get any airtime on this ride, but my future children weren’t about to get any either . I was VERY uncomfortable but I am a trooper and went with it. The front is definitely the place to be on this ride. You get the most air at the top and you see the horizon for longer. You also get the best view of the spiraling 90-degree drop. I think it feels a lot steeper in the front than in the back. Unfortunately, the overbanks are just as boring in the front as in the back, but the view you get makes up for it. The second overbank comes pretty close to the supports for the first drop, but not close enough to be a hand or head chopper. Very smooth and quiet stop. Wow, this ride is definitely awesome and everything, if not more, than I imagined it would be.
Xcelerator (front) = 9/10
By now it was getting pretty late, almost 6:00pm. Xcelerator’s main flaw is that when a rollback occurs, it takes way too long to correct. I was instructed by Joe (Legendary) to ride Perilous Plunge. As awesome as it looks, it wasn’t as hot outside as it had been earlier and I didn’t want to get wet. There was hardly anyone in line, but they were running only one boat with a cycle time of about 10-12 minutes per boat!!! The wait was two hours and I somehow convinced Ryan to wait with me. About 30 minutes later he decided he would rather go back to the hotel and perform his hour-long showering ritual instead of getting soaked on Perilous Plunge. I waited for 2 hours for Perilous Plunge by the time I got on. By now, the sun was very low on the horizon and it was chilly at the top of the lift. That drop is AWESOME. Yes the 4-point restraint holds you in, but wow is it still awesome. We got soaked. A lot. I was drenched. Good thing about the 4-point restraint is that it keeps your back and butt from lifting up at all so that stays relatively dry. I walked towards Ghostrider to see how long the line was but it was just as long as before so I decided to pass and go back to the hotel and meet up with my friends from LA again. Later in the day we hung out at some huge outdoor mall and also saw Minority Report. Awesome movie!
This day alone is enough to entertain anyone. The entire trip had been full of annoying inconveniences, but this day takes the cake.
I decided we could leave by 6:45am and make it to the car rental place, and then our flight, with plenty of time. (Plenty of time = 30 minutes or so). We left the hotel at about 6:55am after checking out, and got to the drop off place for our car at about 7:30am. After that, we waited there for the shuttle that came “every five minutes.” Well this easily turned into fifteen minutes, but no sweat, we had time. But of course, everyone that got on the shuttle was flying a different airline, and our airline (United), was the last stop. Wonderful.
We finally get off of the shuttle at about 8am. There is a long line forming OUTSIDE of the terminal. We quickly get in line and ask the man in front of us what it is for. “It is for checking your luggage.” It seems odd to me but we stand in line.
My stupidity rating at this point = 4/5
I forgot we had E-tickets, and this was some kind of “convenient” curbside-check-in for luggage if you had your ticket already. No problem, we just had to go inside, but of course, it was another long line. By the time we get to the little machine and swipe our credit cards to get the tickets, the computer screen says: Sorry, you are unable to receive your ticket at this time. Please pick up the black phone and speak with an operator for assistance. I pick up the phone and the lady explains to me (nicely) that I have to ask someone behind the counter to get my ticket manually since the computer won’t give out tickets if there is less than 30 minutes before the flight. I hang up and ask the woman behind the computers. She (not so nicely) tells me that I have missed my flight and I have to go to another (longer) line and get my ticket re-issued. Crap, this was supposed to be a simple, cheap trip.
Oh, but it gets better .
So we wait in this long line. We are about three people away from going up to the desk when an airport worker approaches us. I immediately think Awesome! He overheard our dilemma with the computer and can get us on our flight! He looks at us and asks “Are you two traveling together?” I reply with “yes.” He then opens the rope that was containing us in line and says, “Please step out of line and follow me to another security check point for screening.” I couldn’t believe it. We were randomly picked out of the line to go through more security. “So we are losing our place in line because of this?” I ask in an annoyed tone. I could not believe this was happening. “No, you can check your luggage over there too.” That was good to hear, but STILL.
So our luggage supposedly goes through some extra security checking and we have to wait in another line. Finally we get up to the desk and explain that we need our tickets reissued. The lady says “I’m sorry, I can’t issue tickets here, I can only check luggage. You have to go to that line over there to get a new ticket” as she points to the SAME LINE we were just pulled out of for the security screening. What a joke. I think I swore at this point (not at her, I have never gotten that frustrated) and explained to her that we were just pulled out of that line. She talks to the lady next to her (the ticket lady for the international passengers) and says we can go through her. That was really nice of her considering my head almost exploded in front of her . So the lady gets us on a flight that leaves at 9:00am. Not too bad, and it didn’t cost a penny so I was VERY happy about that. Unfortunately, we have to get back in line at the security line next to us, but there were only three people waiting. We get back up to that same lady who couldn’t re-issue us a ticket and hand her our tickets. And of course, she says “I’m sorry, I can’t check your luggage, you missed the cut-off time before the flight departs.”
I’m pretty sure I am a sane individual, but I imagine that insanity feels like what I felt at that moment. I started laughing because it was just so ridiculously perfect. Everything was just… funny at this point.
So we explain that the lady gave us that flight time, but that lady wasn’t at that desk any more. This lady mumbled something and called someone over and said not to worry and that our luggage would get on the flight. Nice lady .
As it turns out, our flight was delayed 25 minutes so we actually had time to eat something. We got on the plane and had a nice flight back to Chicago. Of course, no messed-up trip like this would be complete without me losing our parking ticket for my car that was at the airport . Luckily, the lady at the pay booth was nice and we didn’t have to pay anything extra.
So now looking back, that was the funniest trip ever. The most inconveniences ever as well!!! I am sure I missed a few of them! But in conclusion, plan your trips and definitely get to airports extremely early. Although my stupidity does make for good conversation :).
-Keith "Badnitrus" McVeen
*** This post was edited by Badnitrus on 6/24/2002. ***
*** This post was edited by Badnitrus on 6/25/2002. ***
HAHA it took me 5 minutes to edit and already 2 replys
-Keith "Badnitrus" McVeen
Dood, I made it all the way through "War and Peace"..er your TR. The lack of parenthesis is brutal.. I think I purpled-out from crossing my eyes trying to read it! ;) In all seriousness, it sounds like you had a crazy, yet fun trip. Sorry about all the inconvieniences. Kudos for not snapping on someone in the airport! I'm a little confused as to the continuous ending sentences with the letter J. I'm sure it's an inside joke maybe?
Anyway, glad you had fun (when you were able to) and just wanted to let you know, I'm a huge fan of your work and show it to everyone! ;) Take care.
Sorrrrrrrry folks! Parks closed. The moose out front should have told you.
So did they loose your luggage too?
Joey Ciborek, Florida Coaster Club, Member
"WE RIDE ALL YEAR!!!" www.FloridaCoasterClub.com
"It's like an addiction" Me, The Discovery Channel, Ultimate Guide: Roller Coasters 5/27/02
Awesome trip report! It was a great read with the new and improved paragraphing...
Sorry you had so many hassles, but I guess you will pay attention to that whole "get to the airport two hours early" thing from now on, eh? I always do so, and, even though I get bored sitting around waiting, my flights are always hassle-free.
I'm bummed X wasn't open for you, it really is stellar.
Great TR Keith ~ Sounds like 1 crazy time. Hearing about all of your "mishaps" made me less jealous that you got to go And Lol about Ryan and his showers.
Speaking of Joe and TRs; Where's the rest of "Coasting Through Ohio"?!?
*** This post was edited by JulieSFO on 6/25/2002. ***
for cryin out loud! this is a web site, not english 101!!
if you don't like the way he writes his post then don't read the damn thing!!!
"A tout le monde, a tous mes amis, Je vous aime, Je dois partir. these are the last words I'll ever speak, and they'll set me free" -Megadeth, 1983-2002
Wow. I laughed (I laughed a *lot*!). I cried (from laughing so hard ). Awesome TR, dude!
I had known about a lot of the mishaps from our phone conversations (how long was that damn Perilous Plunge line anyway?!) but reading them just made it that much funnier. I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but wow...in all my years of road trips, absolutely nothing that bad has happened to me!
About what happened at SFMM with the GR rep, no one should have to go through that. *Especially* someone who is there to listen to your complaints/concerns and leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside! When you're that ticked off before entering the park, something is severely wrong. I wish parks could hire Guest Relations reps who are truly interested in bettering your day at the park. There are so few of these types of people, unfortunately.
Other random agreements: *GR at night and in the back is *so* much better than front in the day. It's almost a "just there" coaster for me in the day, but at night it's definitely special.
*RRv is my favorite stand up coaster as well, it just feels more complete to me than the others. I am a sucker for diving loops and its got two!
Some disagreements: *I actually prefer the back to the front on Goliath. I think it's a pretty mediocre ride anywhere you sit, but the back has a pretty good pop of air on the first drop. And I still think you're the only person on this planet who DIDN'T get severely ejected on that third hill!
*Batman is a great inverted and how can you not like inverteds?!
Xcelerator sounds very, very cool and I can't wait to get out there to experience it. Or can I? With some of the reports about the way they are operating this thing, I am having some hesitation about spending my money to go there only for me to feel like I'm in a concentration camp. It sounds very uncomfortable the way they are abusing peoples midsections and that is the OPPOSITE of what they're trying to accomplish (safety). Wonder how long it is 'til someone really does get hurt by the hardcore, unforgiving staple-ing.
Oh well, enough about that crap, glad you actually had a great time despite all the trouble. And you're right, it does make for hilarious stories!
Great TR again, and hopefully things won't go so bad when y'all come down to the southern parks soon.
Joe, who was expecting some sort of "Ahh folks, we're having some sort of engine trouble" spiel from Keith's pilot on the flight back home.
EDIT: Dang it, Julie, don't you know I'm hellalazy? Hehehe, fine fine I will finish them just for you...I already had SFWoA started so I guess it shouldn't be too bad. Makin' me work! LOL.
"Whoa that was pretty cool." -- Reaction to first flip over on X-Flight
*** This post was edited by Legendary on 6/25/2002. ***
Wow Joe that is the longest reply... EVER! Goliath's third hill was poop for me, I honestly expected more.. and about the stapling on Xcelerator... the ride is STILL worth it!
-Keith "Badnitrus" McVeen
-Keith "Badnitrus" McVeen
Speedy - yeah I made that animation in the commercial, and I did get a VIP ride, they just *forgot* to put me on the list. They also play the animation while you wait in line, that was pretty cool to see!
-Keith "Badnitrus" McVeen
I just like how for the rollback part, they just take your animation and reverse it! It's a great animation, and I would imagine it has got to be a cool feeling to see your animation in line and in the commericals. Heh, When you guys rolled back, I was next for the front car! I'm mad I didn't get to talk to you (my fault), but oh well.
Great report! I'm going out their in Jan with (40) other people we are going on a cruise - and then I'm heading to SFMM
Wow... when you IM'd me about having some tough times on the trip, I had no idea you meant that tough! What's with all of the rude (or otherwise stupid) people you encountered? You're not in the Midwest anymore! :)
Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"
*** This post was edited by SFgadvMAN on 10/21/2002. ***
Well, have we all learned a lesson from this TR. 1) Rude/Stupid people can be encountered everywhere, 2) Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare (like any of us do anyway), 3)Six Flags needs to work on their people skills.
Take a Virtual Ride:
Mike "Viper" Semtak
that was a good trip report but I would apreciate it if each day was a part (pre trip part 1 trip part 2 thursday part 3 ect. ect. ect) although I still thought it was a good report.
I rode the bullet at thrillville NH
-Stephen King Riding the Bullet
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