USH and SFMM 10/3, 10/4

Sunday, October 6, 2019 1:51 AM

I just got back from a solo "weekend" in LA stuck on the tail end of a conference. I don't particularly want to write out a "trip report" so I'm just going to hit the highlights, maybe for my own posterity more than anything else.

USH - I see why people say it's a shadow of USF/IoA. It was open from 10a to 6p and I feel like that was more than enough time to do the park. It really didn't help that 6 of the 8 or so major rides were mostly screen based: Minions, Simpsons, Kung Fu Panda, Potter, Transformers, plus the studio tour parts. Even Jurassic World has incorporated a screen element (albeit, one done extremely well to the point where it doesn't feel like one). Mummy was okay, I guess, but also significantly worse than it's Floridian counterpart. The real highlight of the day was the studio tour and the Waterworld show, two things I was not really that interested in initially. I really liked actually seeing the studios themselves ("meh" on the Kong, Earthquake, and Fast and Furious parts) and the Waterworld show was actually quite impressive. I'm super glad I didn't take my family (one of the main reasons I went to USH: I didn't imagine it would appeal to my kids) as they would have been scared out of their gourds, either by creepy things or by action/thrill. I thought Harry Potter was decent, but I got pretty motion sick on it and both times I rode it, it broke down at some point during the ride. I would be really interested to watch it from off ride.

SFMM - As semi-expected most the rides didn't come up with the park, but everything was walk-ons all day, so I guess it didn't matter. I guess I should clarify that I only spent about 3 hours in the park because I rode everything that I wanted to, was feeling nauseous, and figured I could move my flight up and get home a night early rather than spending the whole day at the park.

New to Me Coasters:
Full Throttle - This was a surprisingly cool ride. Huge hang time in the loop and the reverse launch was pretty cool. The initial launch also packed quite a punch.

Twisted Colossus - Holy crap, this ride is fun. It's a little on the short side but you get to go around twice, so I guess you can't complain. Huge RMC air all over the place and some really fun and interesting opposite banked hills. This definitely will find a place in my top 10 steel. It's just a really fun ride and it doesn't have a bunch of unnecessary inversions for no reason (ahem, Outlaw Run).

Tatsu - Holy Crap, this ride is also fun. The lift hill is genuinely scary and it really does do a great job of accentuating the feeling of flying. There are so many moments when you're zipping barely above the trees, and then the mountain drops out below you and the track pulls up and it really feels like you're Superman or Peter Pan. I wish I could have ridden it more than once, but that pretzel loop is so punishing.

Apocalypse - I'm not a GCI fan and this didn't change my opinion. It started out pretty well, but then felt like it ran out of steam about 2/3's of the way through the course. That may be because I was the only one in the train, but I just didn't get much out of the ride at all.

Other reflections:
Lex Luthor Drop of Doom - I was surprisingly not at all scared by this thing. I mean, it was definitely tall, but I don't think the difference between 400' and 200' is really significant in terms of the actual ride experience. After the split second when you start to drop the long free fall is pretty much the same. I mean, I'm sure it's for a longer duration and I did actually have time to wonder when we were going to hit the brakes, but it didn't really affect the enjoyment of the ride.

Riddler - My goodness this thing has gotten rough. The station is still the same, though, which brought a smile to my face.

X2 - I absolutely adore this coaster. I rode it about 20 times when it was still X. I got a pretty good ride on it (only one big bump where the seats spun and smacked me in the head), but the uniqueness and intensity are unmatched anywhere. I was genuinely hanging on for dear life, which is something I thought I had moved beyond. The trains are just so massive and that first drop in the back seat is something you just don't find on any other ride. Amazing.

So I think it says something about SFMM and about me that I only felt the need to ride about 50% of the coasters and Lex Luthor. Most of the other coasters I had ridden on my previous trips 15 years ago and their clones around the country more recently. As I mentioned in the preface, I was ready to leave around lunch and moved my flight up because I was done.

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