Who Would Recommend Going to SFGAdv?

I've got a trip planned for SFGAdv next week but I've haven't read very many positive reports about the place. I'm driving from Lafayette, Indiana so it's going to be about twelve hours. I've never been to this park and their coaster collection looks great, but everyone always complains about the operation and the employees and I'm just wondering if it would be worth it. This is my last big vacation for the summer and I'm wanting to surprise my girlfriend and take her to the Statue of Liberty since it's only 45 minutes away, so I'm really looking foward to that. Any advice? Should I bail out? Thanks!
beast7369's avatar
I am sure you will enjoy your time there, as I did. You will likely see long lines if you are there on a weekend rather than a weekday. It is a beautiful park, with some great rides. It however does have a lot of dead ends.

I would advise doing the Statue of Liberty on a seperate day so you can really enjoy SFGAdv. Also then you can go into NYC and see lots of sights there, such as the World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Times Square, etc. They are not to be missed. Also Coney Island is about a 20-30 minute ride on the subway from Times Square.

Also dont forget that New Jersey has some awesome not to be missed seashore pier parks, such as those in Wildwood.

EDIT - added the piers bit. *** Edited 8/8/2006 4:14:00 PM UTC by beast7369***

I was at Great Adventure for my first time a few weeks ago in the middle of July... It was very hot, so that may skew my experience a bit. While I persoanlly had gone in with absolutely no convictions, i was pleasantly surprised. Overall, on the day I was there, the longest "normal" line ran about 30 minutes; Nitro was a walk on as was Medusa. There were some operational issues (i.e. 6 - 8 minute dispatches on Superman, same for Batman), but aside from those problems, it probably was my best Six Flags experience in a while. El Toro ran about a 45 minute wait with two trains running, and Kingda Ka had 2 trains running and about an hour wait (but this was also when El Toro was down).

There definately still is room for significant improvement in park operations, but at least it seemed to be better than my previous experiences (though I have no benchmark to use as a comparison for Great Adventure.) One thing to pass along though. If it is as hot as it was the day when I was there, memorize where the drinking fountains are as you go around. In certain areas there certainly were some shortages in their numbers.

On another note, if you want to "lay back" a bit at a park, Rye Playland was a decent park to go for a slightly slower pace. Growing up near Cleveland, I was happy to ride another Racing Derby...

Yeah we're staying 3 days and we're going to NYC on a seperate day. We're going to the park during the middle of the week for two days.

Honestly, I won't be upset if I miss KK. I've ridden TTD countless times and I don't want to spend half my day waiting for that ride.

I used to live in NJ and made frequent visits to Great Adventure. I haven't been there since 1999 so I can't comment on any recent changes but in the past, I always thought the park was pretty nice with numerous trees, unusual charm (especially for a large Six Flags park; the superhero stuff hasn't totally erased some of the original unusual features and fantasy buildings).

I never drove directly between Great Adventure and the Statue of Liberty but I think it might be a tad longer than 45 minutes!

If you've never been to SFGAdv, I recommend going--but plan for a weekday--the closer to the middle of the week, the better. Save an entire day for the park, as it is fairly large, has a lot to do, and can get crowded.

SFGAdv used to be my favorite SF park. As of late, it has just gone downhill. Actually, pretty much since the Premier takeover, it's gotten worse than it was under Time Warner.

You should enjoy yourself. I went to SFMM for the first time this year, and I got to see first-hand some of the negatives about the place, but fortunately it wasn't too crowded, and I still had a good time, even though I did complain a lot :)

coastin' since 1985

Figure about an hour and 15 minutes for the drive from Great Adventure to Liberty State Park in NJ (where you can catch a ferry to Liberty Island).

That is not taking into account traffic and crowds, as well as security screenings and check points and schedules on the island itself.

"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
ApolloAndy's avatar

Unless you're willing to fork over the cash for a q-bot.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

We're staying in Dayton, New Jersey which is about 1/2 from the park and 45 from Liberty State Park. That's the closest we could get without getting too expensive. I just read a TR that said it's $20 bucks to park. That blows me away!
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Get a q-bot/FlashPass! It will make all the difference.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

^ Last I was there this year, it was $15 for general parking and $20 for preferred. Interestingly enough, this isn't quite as bad as SFA, which has the nerve to charge $25 for preferred parking.

coastin' since 1985

I'm not sure I'd drive that far for a trip to GAdv (heck, I'm only 2 hours north of there and don't drive that far for it), but hey, if you're an enthusiast and you've never been there, its worth a visit since it does have some nice rides.

Oh, and the Statue of Liberty might be more than 45 min away. (a good rule of thumb is to add 2 hours to whatever you think your trip time should be :) ) Seriously, tho, enjoy your trip to NJ/NY.

I was there this past Saturday for my second visit and had an absolute blast (the gold q-bot really helped though). With my experience with the park if it is busy and you don't have a qbot you are in for a long miserable day but if it is slow or you have a qbot you can have a blast. It was actually quite funny to see the difference in people's attitude from those waiting in line to those who forked over the additional cash.

As far as Operations go i was still left unimpressed. Superman only had one train and 5 plus minute dispatch times. Kingda Ka was dispatching on average once every 5 to 10 minutes with several occassion breakdowns...surprise surprise. Nitro was using three trains but never saw them once close to hitting interval.

The park in my opinion does look a lot nicer/cleaner since my visit two years ago. While I thought the Goldem Kingdom and the new area looked good i think it was a little too hyped up and i was expecting to much. It was nice to see garbage cans not overflowing and somewhat clean bathrooms this year though. The one question I have to some of the regulars is if they know why all the pop machines would be unplugged on a 90+degree Saturday, made absolute no sense to me or the people I was with.

I would definately plan on still going but if it is busy I really reccomend getting a qbot, I hate spending the cash but it really saves a lot of headaches. If you take that route spend one day at the park and two days in New York it is a great city. I made my first visit two months ago and have been back three times since, I love having a girlfriend that lives in Manhatten. Whatever you do go in with an open mind and I'm sure you will have fun.

^ Soda machines unplugged? Maybe it's part of the cutbacks lately--you save money on power by not running the machines, and people can buy soda from other places :)

Man, that really is not cool--to have to get a gold qbot just to enjoy a day at the park. Also, to have S:UF running 1 train is awful.

I really hope that this place seriously gets turned around, and I hope it bites them in the wallet until they do. The prices are ridiculous, the operations are crummy, and all of the rides aren't open--some of them major ones. *** Edited 8/8/2006 9:32:45 PM UTC by rablat5***

coastin' since 1985

*** Edited 8/8/2006 9:48:28 PM UTC by wes jorden***
Are some of these parks really charging $20+ for parking? That is ridiculous. Even if it is "preferred".

Shapiro needs to reevaluate the situation once again if he cant pull a profit without charging that much money to just park! I would almost be tempted to just drive away and not come back if
I was faced with a parking price like that.

It sounds to me like SF is nowhere near where they should be operations wise. They need to make some more serious changes, and fast!

Well I would counter with an almost completely different viewpoint than that offered by the above, but, I will qualify my opinion by saying I haven't been to the park when it wasn't very early or very late in the season, and the weather was rainy off and on all three times I've been there.

But, in those three experiences, I have found nothing but great things at this park. The rides are amazing, it's a virtual B&M schmorgasboard! I haven't ridden Ka or Toro, neither were open/built yet when I was there last. The most I ever waited for something was about an hour for Nitro, and I've always seen great operations on Nitro, one of the more impressive crews I've ever seen. There was some slow ops, Batman mostly, and the inherent slowness of Chiller was annoying, but I got over it.

I would definitely recommend the park, but by all means, don't expect a shining jewel. Go in there remembering that these are just kids, they're hot, they're working long days dealing with mostly annoying people, and the rides don't get the maintenance they really need. Have a great time, I'll be there the last weekend of this month.

Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
matt.'s avatar
I would recommend going to any and every park that you've never gone to before.

I've made it clear before that SFGAdv isn't my favorite place in the world but I would never tell somebody to not go if they'd never seen it for themselves.

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Whatever you do, don't miss the Houdini ride! That was a real treat on my recent visit.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Definitely go! Even though there are a few glitches with SF, just remember that it could always be worse. As Acoustic Viscosity said, make sure you catch a ride on Houdini's Great Escape. Its a very mind boggling illusion AND its air conditioned! I would also make the trip to SFGAdv just for El Toro... yes, it is THAT good.

Have fun, we'll be waiting for the TR!

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