Two hours at SFWoA- 07/23/2002: Not too bad

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002 7:02 AM

After some of the "SFWoA-bashing" I did yesterday, I decided to head down there after work yesterday and see if the negative comments I made were still valid.

I arrived at the parking booths around 4:15 pm and noticed the Rides side parking lot was a little more than half full, so I parked in area B-1 and started off on my hike to the front gate. For the $8 they charge for you to park, the least they could do is provide a tram. On busy days, guests parking out in the far reaches of the lot are going to have a LONG haul to the entrance. The parking booth attendant was nice enough though as he thanked me and told me to enjoy my day.

I always check the closed rides board on the way in and noticed that the Skyscraper (the cabin was parked at the top of the tower), ElDorado, and Giant Wheel were all down. I don't think ElDorado has run all season.... not that it's a big loss or anything!

First stop was the Big Dipper (15 minute wait). One train operation here, but the line moved relatively well. Seat 1.3 was closed for some odd reason, so I opted for a ride in seat 2.1. Not as much air as in the "ejector seat", but enough to make for a wild ride. I've always enjoyed the Dipper, and this year the ride is running very well. I'd say it's probably the best woodie in the park now (more on that later).

I was going to ride Superman: Ultimate Escape, but it was down due to "technical difficulties". It would be back up and running again later, however I didn't care to return to that section of the park.

Headed over to the Double Loop (2 minute wait) to take my first ride of the season on this Arrow "classic". Really the only thing I saw that was done are the harnesses have been replaced with new ones. Other than that, everything else looks the same, and the operators are still releasing the restraints using the foot pedals. The ride itself really isn't bad. It's not one of my favorites, but it does offer a smooth ride and a nice pop of air before the helix finale. The brakes at the end were on hard as we made three whiplash-inducing stops before coming to a rest in the station. Ouch!

Since Villain was running two trains, I decided to take a spin on the only CCI coaster I have ever been on. There was about a 4 train wait, and I ended up riding in seat 5.2 of the "grey train". To be completely honest, what was once the best woodie in the park has really gone to hell in a handbasket. The speed is still there, but my god... the shuffling and screeching of the train has become almost RWB-like. The "trick-track" section is almost painfully violent now. I have a nice bruise on my elbow from that particular section. Maybe new trains are a good idea. Whatever the case is, the Villain is a shadow of its former self. It really is a shame as this was once in my Top 5... now it's dropped out of my Top 10 altogether. The slow employees here didn't help matters much either!

Batman Knight Flight was next and the line was in the station house only... which meant a very short wait. Two trains were being used, and they were being stacked on a regular basis.... but not as bad as I have seen in the past. This ride is without question the best ride in the park. I rode in the front for the first time in quite a while and have to say that the forces are extremely intense. I felt some nice "grey-out" forces in the loop and "the turn", and while the airtime isn't that great off the mid-course compared to sitting in the back, the helix finale more than makes up for it with almost Raptor-like g's. The corkscrew section doesn't feel rough in the front either. Definitely SFWoA's signature ride as far as I'm concerned.

For some reason, I turned right after exiting BKF and decided to take a spin on the Raging Wolf Bobs (which humorously enough, is considered a Lo-Q attraction!). There was NO line at all when I walked up, so I took a front seat ride. I was shocked that the ride really isn't that bad from the front. Yes, it comes to a near halt on at least 3 occasions and the train has a rather odd "push/pull" feeling to it... but overall it was nowhere near as bad a ride as it is in the middle or back of the train. You don't get to see the rest of the train "shuffling" through the course from the front either.

As a fan of the YoYo, I had to take the walkway to the Wildlife side. Along the way, I stopped to check out the zebras at the all-new Base Camp Zebra. This was the first time I have seen it in person and it really is rather, well, lame! Two zebras are housed in a fenced in area that isn't very big and really isn't that "African-looking". It is a nice diversion, but after looking at the zebras for 10 seconds it's time to move on.

The YoYo is probably one of the best flat rides in the park, and its new location is pretty nice. The top actually tilts, giving the swings that scary tipping way back sensation. If it weren't for those seat belts around your chest, I think we may have lost a few riders along the way. The new paint job looks very nice as well.

I must have been feeling tired yesterday because I went on Mission Bermuda Triangle. I walked right in and was ready for my deep sea expedition. This has got to be one of the worst sim rides I have been on as the motion base is poorly synched with the on-screen action, the storyline makes NO sense, the video footage is very grainy, and the cabin doesn't move that much. This isn't Six Flags fault... this was an Anheuser-Busch ride, and it wasn't any good then either. I say get a new film for the simulators (they can be re-programmed, can't they?) and start from scratch.

Took a quick stroll through Shark Experience, which is no longer staffed by anyone. The moving walkway is still out of commission, yet the recording says "You are approaching the end of a moving walkway...please watch your step". Yes, those stationary walkways can really be a doozie if you're not careful! This is a cool exhibit... but the windows on the tank need a good cleaning. Why do people have to spread their greasy fingers all over?

I took the newly relocated boardwalk back to the Rides side to end my day. As much as I like the new location of the boardwalk, I have to question the park's decision to have the walkway end in the Asian Adventures gift shop. This is just a huge bottleneck area and it wasn't really a great idea, but the fact that you can make a complete circuit makes travelling around much easier. On a humorous note, I had just missed the ferry across the lake. As I strolled at a leisurely pace and made it back to the Hurricane Harbor area, people were STILL disembarking from the boat!

In any case, it was a surprisingly good two hours at the park. With the exception of some dirty bathrooms and several lackadaisical employees (Villain immediately comes to mind as they were really taking their good old time loading the two trains), I couldn't find too many things to complain about. If only every day at the park could be this good............

ray p. (who will keep dreaming of the day that SFWoA gets their act together and runs on a consistent basis)

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002 7:59 AM
Nice TR!

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Sean

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002 12:14 PM

Villain is my number 1 woodie when I rode it last year. But I keep hearing it sucks this year. I geuss I got to get SFWOA and ride it again to see the change. Good TR.

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Steel: 1)MF, 2)Goliath, 3)Magnum
Wood: 1)Villain, 2)Beast, 3)Roar(SFMW)

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002 5:44 PM

Villian is still number one in my book for a woodie. That trick track was a killer though. I so hear you there bro. Did you think it was rough? I thought it was but arent all woodies? They will never be smooth. We did hear the screaching and feel the shuffling you experienced though. Overall...Good....I dont know what ride did it...(I wasnt paying attention to it)but i had a bruise on both shoulders. I thinkit was Batman Knight Flight. Because i was wearing just a really short sleeved t shirt.

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Drive It Like You Stole It!

Ride It Like You Own It!

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