(Note-this is the second version of this, sorry it took so long. The original was lost due to a hard drive failure. It really sucks, because the first one was a masterpiece. But perhaps this one will turn out to be just as good, if not better. That is possible, right?)
Take Two *grumbles*.
Some time last year, some kid on Coasterbuzz sent me an email telling me I wasn’t much of an enthusiast because I had been to neither Cedar Point nor Six Flags Magic Mountain. That, at the time, was untrue as I had in fact been to Cedar Point, but I have let my membership for Cbuzz Club expire, thus I wasn’t able to update my track record from 51 coasters ridden. Surprisingly, this was not the first time I had gotten some random email telling me something similar. To the kid that emailed me that message, you can sleep better now, because I’ve been to both Six Flags Magic Mountain and Cedar Point. You can be happy now.
Like I care.
This is a story about the worst day I’ve ever had at a theme/amusement park. This is also the day I had the biggest case of anticipointment I’ve ever had. Its not filled with twists and turns, but happens in a rather linear fashion. But don’t go Ass-u-me-ing that just because I was at Six Flags Magic Mountain that that was the reason I had such a bad day. No, don’t assume anything. Read on and learn, young grasshopper.
Solace on March 12 was wonderful. First event, wonderful ERT. Great food, and lots of friends. Today would be my second event. I didn’t want to arrive too late, since they were only offering ERT for 2 hours. Two whole hours on X, Goliath, and a Beemer? Sweetness! But we had plans for the evening, so we weren’t going to be at the park until it closed at 8pm.
We stayed the nite before in Buena Park, 2 blocks from Knott’s Berry Farm. Since it was Sunday, we were told that traffic wouldn’t be so horrible going to Magic Mountain, but we’d need to leave at least an hour before we expected to be there. ACE SoCal and Ride World were holding the ERT for the West Coast Bash from 8-10am, and I wanted to hit X as much as possible, as well as Goliath if I liked it. So at about 7am, the alarm went off and I called up to Tim Danner’s room to let him know we were up and getting ready to leave in just a few minutes.
We were off shortly after waking up, and greeted outside by Tim, as well as cooler weather and cloudy skies. It was definitely a Sunday morning feeling in the air. So we loaded up into the car, got a bit turned around, which knocked about 20 minutes off of our ERT, and then headed in the right direction. We were going fine, until Jamaal’s bladder filled up…so we stopped off on some exit trying to find a restroom. Welcome to the Latino Ghetto! We drove a few miles up the road and finally found a laundry mat that didn’t speak English. Jamaal was the only one that got out to pee, as Tim and I stayed in the car. Another ten minutes knocked off of ERT, grumble! So anyhow, we were back en route to Valencia in just a few minutes. After driving for quite a while, though not quite as long as I would have figured, we saw the tall vertical spike on Supes and knew we were close. “Welcome to Valencia, CA, Home of Six Flags Magic Mountain”. Wow, you should be so proud (sarcasm off). So we found the exit and headed up the driveway to Six Flags California.
We got a decent parking spot, not far from the gate. I wish, however, that I had had enough sense to take my pleather jacket with me instead of leaving it in the car. It was going to go back to the 80 degrees we had had all week, wasn’t it? I’d learn from that mistake a little later in the day, though. But enough about the journey there, lets get into the story. We headed up to the gate and picked up our tickets and lanyards for the Ride World event. Once inside the park, we headed over towards the other reason I came to California. It’s not a drug. It’s not a dirty movie. It isn’t the spot of some buried treasure. But X is still something I don’t fully understand.
We headed over to Baja Ridge, passing by Revolution, Viper, and other things. Tim pointed out the bridge that led to X and across we went. We only had about an hour of ERT left, and I would have loved to spend an hour over here, but I didn’t know how crowds would be since there was another event there that day, as well as ‘Physics Day’. Ugh, but it wasn’t going to be crowded on a Sunday in March, was it? There was no line for X. We went under the station to the right side (facing the way the train leaves the station) and got in line. This was such a massive station. Here I was. I had waited for this moment for far too long. What would it be like?
X (oh my)-
This was the coaster that turned my life upside down. Literally. I still don’t know what to make of it. I know I liked it. I know I want more. I know I hope I get to ride the one that is supposed to head over to Japan next year. And I know that I could come back to California for this reason alone. I had promised Rob (nasai) on the phone 2 weeks before that I would take my first ride in the outer front seat, and that was a promise I intended to keep. We could have hopped right on the middle, but I wanted a front row ride. Upon getting into the station, we ran into Jodi (coastermom) again, said our hellos, and got in line for the front.
Two trains on this for ERT? Thanks, SFMM, for doing something right! Tim sat on the inside as Jamaal waited for the next train and rode with a very nice lady in line that was just as excited about our first time as we were. After getting in the comfy restraints (can all parks retro-fit Arrows with something like this? Please?) Tim, myself, and a few dozen other enthusiasts were off. It was still kinda cool, but I was far too excited to worry. I wish I had put my stuff in a locker, because I would have enjoyed the ride much more had I not had my camera, wallet, etc in my pocket with me trying to hold onto the stuff. After cresting the top of the lift and dipping down and up, we were facing almost literally straight down 200 feet up. This was intense! The drop is great, esp. the flip upside down then up into the Raven Turn. The ride was truly magnificent, and I loved how disorienting it was with the seat flipping as the train is doing a half roll. Blissful! You never know what direction you’ll be heading in next. Yep, this really Rocked my Sox!
After the first ride was over, Tim and I put our stuff beside the lockers and walked right over to the second seat for another ride. I ended up in the front outside seat again with a very nice older gentleman for my second ride. This was slightly more enjoyable, since I didn’t have all the stuff in my pocket to worry about. Yet another wonderful ride on this masterpiece. C’mon S&S Arrow, lets see more!
Whew! So Jamaal also took another ride, then we all got off and they took some pix. This was already quite a ways into our only hour of ERT, but the boys wanted to take pictures. So we headed over towards Goliath. More picture taking ensued. Eventually, we made it over to the entrance just as Supes was starting to test. I was really looking forward to that. So we took a stroll down Goliath’s queue and ran into Tina, who was by herself. The park was nearly opening now, but we still had 2 coasters for ERT to ride. The line for Goliath, along with the huge sign, was really nice. How would the coaster be? Would it be boring like people claim?
Another Hyper on the trip for me, yay! People say this is forceless (except the helix) and boring. Huh? Jamaal and I rode in the front of this one, with maybe a one-train wait. In line, I saw Robb Alvey and his crew in the back. I almost said hello, but didn’t bother him, leaving him to have fun with his friends. So we went up the lift and into the first drop. Wonderful! I like it so far. The turnaround afforded just a small bit of air, but the hop after the turnaround had me totally flojecting out of my seat. Say what you want, I really thought this was great. I was hoping for a gray out on the helix since I had experienced one on Face/Off last summer, but no such luck. Silver Bullet’s helix is just slightly less intense than this one. Mmmm… G’s. The ride was over, and I was happy. It isn’t the normal type of hyper, but it still rocked. Good job G-Tech.
Two down, one more to go on ERT as we headed over to Riddler’s Revenge. We got lost in Gotham Backlot, but quickly found our way to the entrance. I really don’t like stand-ups and would rather have had Déjà Vu on the rooster like originally stated, but oh well.
We waited out the front. I think it was a one-train op, but can’t really remember myself. The station needed dusting, but was nice, and I really did like the music I had heard so much about on the boards online. This was the first Beemer I’d ridden that had the loop around the lift hill. It didn’t do anything for me, really. While Riddler’s isn’t at all bad, in fact it was quite good for a stand up, I still like King Cobra and Chang Better. I guess this comes in at number 3 or 4 on my stand up list. Nice order of inversions, decent layout, but only good for me for one ride per visit.
At this point, the park had opened properly. I was so worried that Superman would be down when I finally made it to California, since it had spent so much down time last year not running. I almost ran up the hill to Supes once the park was opened. Heck, this was the ride I had seen when it first opened and marveled about it for years since. Would it live up to the self-hype I had for it?
Superman: The Escape-
After huffing it up the mountain, we got in line for the ride, which was right at the doors to get in the vehicle. Since there were only 3 of us, we should have gotten in the front, but opted for the second row instead. After a couple trains wait, the doors opened and we went inside. I was anxious for this one. We were strapped in and a second later, launched out of the ‘Fortress of Solitude’. That was a launch? Uh. Hmmm. Okay, so the launch was weak, but we’re gonna go about 300 feet up a spike and fall back. That ought ta be cool, right? Nope. Nadda. This was the worst case of anticipointment I’ve ever encountered. I couldn’t believe it. Even the kick back on the spike and falling a couple hundred feet backwards was not thrilling. Perhaps this was a better coaster when it used to use all of it’s potential, but I was not impressed. Just goes to show you that record breakers do not equal ‘best ride eva!’
Okay, next please. On our way up the hill, we saw Ed, Craig, Frank, Rob (Frisbee), and part of the gang. They were going to get Rob’s credit on Psyclone, so we told them we’d meet them there. That was our next destination, since I wanted to get Psucklone out of the way. On our way there, right under Déjà Vu, we spotted the group, so we all had a group pic right in between Psyclone and Déjà Vu. Then, Jamaal, Tim and myself headed up to the station house as Craig snapped pix of a mouse that had had too much headbanging on one of the coasters in the park. As the group walked off, Ed hollered back and told us Harold needed to ride, so he sent Harold with us.
We waited longer than I would have wanted to, but they were only running one train. How can they mess this up, after building Viper? This was one of the worst woodies I’ve ever been on, and I really don’t like the trains either. This could probably be fixed and be a decent ride, I’m not for tearing it down, but please do something to make it ride-able. I’m at least glad I got the credit so that I can skip this the next time I go to Wally World. Two lemons in a row, now what?
It was time for another ‘credit coaster’, but at least this one didn’t really hurt, and I wasn’t looking forward to it, so it delivered as best as I could have hoped. We had picked up Harold permanently at this point, which was fine since we needed a fourth rider.
The line was longer than I expected, but it was mostly kids there for Physics day, and they’ll ride anything. This was a typical mine train coaster by Arrow, which used the terrain nicely. Mine Trains just really don’t do anything for me, though, and this was no exception. It was another credit, however, so at least it didn’t really fall into the ‘sucky’ category. Not a lemon, but next.
Jamaal was getting hungry, and we were feeling kinda cold. I wanted to wait for Panda Express, but Jamaal’s sugar was getting low, so we were gonna ride one more ride and then take him to eat. The one thing I missed at Cedar Point, because of my own stupidity, was the first gen. Intamin drop machine. I figured I’d just ride the one at Geauga Lake the next day. How was I supposed to know it was getting rehabbed? But that was okay, because Six Flags had one, and, yes! It was open!
They only had 2 tubs going, and the line was kinda long. Eventually we made it to the front and got in. A tip for all you tall people out there: never sit on the outside seat of this thing; it will hurt your shoulders. All pain aside, this was one of the better and more thrilling drop rides I’ve ever done. Tina was right! Too bad the line was long; I’d have done it again. Oh well, there’s always Demon Drop this year at the Po!nt.
So we headed to a Mexican food place to feed Jamaal before he passed out. The service was kind of slow, and this annoying little girl who was way too skinny (and had ‘JUICY’ written on both socks) kept making things worse by bugging the workers. After he ate and we sat a spell, the next closest credit was Batman. I was anxious to see if I remembered what a ride on one of these was like, so it was time.
Batman: The Ride-
I like the paint scheme on this one better than all black. The first and only other Batman I’d ridden was the original at Great America. I liked it, but compared to Top Gun, which was new and I had just ridden, I wasn’t as impressed as I could have been. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good coaster, but I liked Top Gun better. Would I still be under whelmed? Perhaps I shouldn’t ride any other inverted coasters for at least a month before I ride another Batman? The line was much like I remembered, with just a few changes due to the different parks. The line at Great America seemed darker inside as well, and all the effects were working then, unlike here at SFMM. I still like how the station is themed to the Batcave. This is a well themed coaster. But having just ridden Silver Bullet the day before, I was still somewhat under whelmed. Again, Batman isn’t a bad coaster at all it just isn’t my taste. I still rank them high, and much higher than an SLC. But I guess it just isn’t my ‘thing’.
While in line for Batman, someone called my cell. I thought it was someone in the group, but they said they had found a cell phone, and that this was the last number dialed or something. After a second or 2 of searching, we discovered Tim had lost his cell phone, so I gave the phone to Tim. He told the person on the other line that we’d be back over to Stuntman, where it was found, to pic it up right after getting off Batman. Since we were finished, I grabbed Jamaal to go out and get our coats, as Tim and Harold went back to get Tim’s phone. We agreed to meet at Panda Express for lunch.
So we walked to the front gate, passing by Flashback. It just needs a paint job and it would look so much better, much like the rest of the park. But, of course, it would be nice if it actually ran once in a while. Next year, perhaps? We could have walked to the car, but my legs hurt, so we took a tram instead. I threw some of Tim’s stuff in and grabbed his and my jackets as Jamaal got his. A few minutes and a tram ride later, we were back in the park. On our way up to Panda Express, we saw Tim and Harold at Guest Relations. Apparently, Tim had a bad experience trying to get his phone, which wasn’t there when he got to Stuntman’s Freefall and he was filling out a report. I headed up to Panda Express with Harold catching up, and ordered my food. Jamaal and Tim eventually came as well, and we all ate from Panda Express, which was kinda expensive, but gave a good amount of food with your order. This was one of the longer lines we were in all day.
After eating, I noticed Viper’s line got kinda short, so we headed there next. The lines are confusing, but I didn’t care where I sat. Would I like this as much as I liked Shockwave? I’m not a huge inversion fan, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about this, and I hadn’t been on a ‘bad’ Arrow yet that day.
We got in somewhere on the middle. Trains were stacking coming into the station like mad, but after a 40-ish minute wait, we were on. The initial drop is nice, and the order of inversions, though cookie cutter, is well paced. This was a smoother Arrow, no headbangy for me! The ride was just the right size, and gave just the right amount of thrill. I can see why the GP were lining up for this one.
The day was getting late. We ran into Dawn and Danny while we were eating, and saw Kristin and Jeff around the park as well. The next close credit was Revolution. I’m so sorry for the people of SoCal who have to deal with this. It just ain’t right!
The station seemed bigger than it needed to. What pains me about this coaster is that I could see and feel the potential. Trims and OTSRs totally butcher what could really be a shining star. Why mess with perfection in the first place? A unique layout that uses the terrain, Revolution has so much potential that is totally lost. This would and could have been a surprise hit for me, if they just hadn’t messed this one up. So, so sad.
After a quick ride on Bathroom: The Experience, and an argument about unisex bathrooms (they’re a bad idea, but don’t ask), we headed back towards Scream! Since Deja, Flashback and the one kiddie were out of the running, and Ninja closing without us getting a ride, we needed to get our last 2 tangible adult credits, skip the other kiddie coaster, and head to Playa Del Rey. So off to Scream! it was.
I don’t know why, but this was the worst line jumping in the park. I didn’t do anything about it because Tim and Jamaal seemed embarrassed that I’d actually do something to stop the line jumpers. This is a problem spot in the park. After a wait that was too long, we were on the ride in the middle. This was to be my second floorless coaster. I don’t understand the distaste for this ride. Perhaps we just caught it on a really good run, but it was smooth like a B&M should be. I really liked Scream!, and will ride it again on the next visit, probably a few times. This was also the first time I’d experienced a Zero G roll sitting above the tracks. Amazing! Now I really see why people like these so much. Something is lost on them when you’re on an invert.
After riding and snapping a few shots of Scream!, we headed over to Colossus, where we met Kyle (Recess) and his girl Tammy. This was the longest line of the day. Ugh! Why?!? One train op on a coaster with 2 different tracks, but only one working? The wait was terrible. The unused side looked bad as well, with loads of rust and weeds growing up thru the tracks. This was such an icon at one time for the park. What the frig happened?!?
After waiting an eternity, Jamaal and Harold get on the ride as Kyle, Tammy, Tim, and myself get passed up on a seat. The ride ops let a whole load of Fast Lane kids get on before us. Now, to me, if you’re only going to run one train and have a 75-minute line, Fast Land should not be an option on this coaster. Even if it is, you shouldn’t let half the trains fill up with Fast Lane people. I have no problem with Fast Lane/Fast Pass/Freeway type systems, but use some common sense! I started running my mouth, and I think I scared the kid that got in our seat. Tammy and Kyle were laughing hysterically at this. I was mad, but I got over it quickly after the terrified kid got back in the station only to see me still standing there. Poor kid. Oh well. Again, this is another butchered classic that I see potential in. I’m so sorry for all the people that have to endure this travesty. Colossus could have major air if they’d let it. Put back that double dip! Paint it! Re-track it (with wood)! No trims! Totally depressing.
After this, we said goodbye again to Kyle and Tammy, then to Harold. The day was over for us, and Jamaal had left his insulin shot at our hotel, so we had to drive all the way back there, then to Moosh’s for a party. We left the park, and I called to get directions from Buena Park to Moosh’s house.
Six Flags Magic Mountain could be much better. Though the day wasn’t really ‘bad’, it was still the worst day I’ve had at a park. I guess I’m lucky. I can tell they’re trying to fix things, but the first priority should be customer service, then painting and running all the coasters. Out of 16, I got 14 in one day at Cedar Point, only missing Wildcat of the adult coasters. That was my fault. At Wally World, out of a possible 16 coasters, we got 11, only skipping one coaster, with the others either closed, or no adults allowed. Maybe next year, when they have more to offer, they’ll have all of the coasters open for the event.
We could have arrived at the motel quickly, changed, and be on our way. But we got lost, and that caused another major argument on the way back, so we were looking at another hour passing before we were gonna get to the party. So after yelling at each other in the car and eventually getting to Days Inn, we officially inducted Tim as a friend, cause 15 minutes after we were all yelling at each other, we were fine, and discussing how Tim is so not a metrosexual when it comes to dress, but Jamaal totally is. (Why can’t chicks get over it like dudes can?)
We were later to Moosh’s party than we wanted to be, but oh well. Playa Del Rey, which is right behind LAX, and beside Marina Del Rey, was very nice. The party was dwindling one we made our fashionably late entrance, but there was still cake (yay!). I mingled for a minute, then followed Jeff, Kristin, Danny, and Dawn down to the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. Moosh lives right by the ocean, and it was beautiful.
We conversated with friends, made sure Tina didn’t set Moosh’s yard on fire, and eventually said our goodbyes to the gang. We got directions to LAX for the morning, and were told we needed to leave around 5am if we wanted to miss rush hour and be able to catch our flight. The drive back to Buena Park was peaceful as we were both tired. Sorry we didn’t beep when we passed you, Mike and Beth.
The next morning, we were up and out by 5:30. The traffic wasn’t bad at all, but we still had to find Alamo to return our car. This proved a little tricky, but we still found it, turned it in, and caught our shuttle back to LAX. Our plane was leaving at 8:35 am bound for Dulles International.
Once we got inside the airport, we checked in, checked our luggage, and got in the security line. I commented on how it would have been nice to have known where the end of the line was, and this prompted some annoying old woman to start complaining and accusing the government, FAA, TSA, and LAX for being a bunch of ‘facisists’. I said welcome to post-9/11 lady. She got even worse as time went on. She yelled at everyone. One TSA woman told her off and told her to get over it, but it didn’t help. Since there were security delays, they had everyone in a main line, but were pulling people who’s flights were coming up to the front of a shorter line to get them thru security so as not to miss their flights.
We were right at the front of the line, with her just ahead of us, when they started calling for our flight. Since she was almost ready to go thru, she should have stayed where she was, but instead, her all too bright mind told her to get out of the line she was in the front of and get in the other line, which was now longer than what we were in. Once they explained to her the situation, she faked crying and started yelling profanities at the people, which got her an escort to the front of the line. I yelled “Nice performance, honey! Oscar Worth!”, but I don’t’ think she heard me. Everyone else started to chuckle.
Oh well, we were almost there. Imagine my horror when I found out she was on our flight…
So we got to our gate, and went for breakfast at the Burger King right beside it. I went to pee, and after I got back, Jamaal went. He didn’t realize there was a restroom across the hall from us, so he went down the hall to the next restroom. I’m waiting and waiting. Our flight starts boarding, but no Jamaal. Then they start paging the two of us. I didn’t know he wasn’t in the close bathroom, so I went in to get him. No Jamaal. I told the flight attendants he would be coming, but I was kinda worried. That’s when he came running down the hall, and to the gate. Just made it.
I told him the woman was on our flight, and if she caused problems, I’d fake another TIA (mini-stroke), and get them to land the plane so that we don’t have to worry about her. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that.
That evening, we landed in Dulles. We took the shuttle to the main building, got confused, and eventually found my vehicle, which I parked at a friend who works at Dulles’s office. We then called my other friend Jon that works there and went to dinner at Hardees. We told him all about the trip before eventually heading out. We had a 6-hour drive home, after a 4 hour flight back.
The drive was long and boring. We talked, listened to music, and what not. Eventually, I dropped Jamaal off and headed to my house for a well-deserved nite in my own bed.
Clint, I'm glad you survived the line jumpers. I know how you must have felt. :)
Nice descriptive TR! Very well thought out. We'll have our chance to meet up someday. Until then, rest assured that you are blessed to have good friends who will hang with you on the most boring long drives, and stand in line for some of the worst coasters in the world.
I gotta second nasai on the friends who'll go with you. Either I have no friends or all mine are losers cause I don't know a single one that would just up and go to California with me for a couple of days of coaster riding! ;)
Good read my friend, see ya at the Coasterbuzz event!
I've seen Tim's Pix's somewhere, I'm not sure where...
Brett, after you go thru with it, maybe she'll let you out for a coaster vacation to the west coast for a week. I'm game. And yes, I should be there (hopefully) :).
Udo, Tim's pics are on his website. They came out very well, actually. I should have mine up either this week or next week. Yay pictures.
... at least, those are the ones she can't complain about, I'll just have to make some wheelin' and dealin' for more time. While I would have preferred a rider, I'll take someone who's understanding just the same!
I love reading your "chapters". Keep 'em coming!
Yes, I'll have to give you the whole version of the annoying woman when we talk again, it was bad!
Clint-still trying to think of an interesting name for a random Carowinds TR, B.
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