Did you ride the drop tower and/or sling shot at Barrymore's? Way more fun than either of the two triflin' little coasters! (Spinning coaster seems too much like a flat ride to even count as a cred to me.)
I've never been on a Sunday afternoon but I haven't encountered much in the way of waits beyond the go-karts. The karts truly are King there.
I did not ride the drop tower, unfortunately, although it did look reasonably thrilling. I wanted in and out of that place as quickly as I could be. I've been there before a few times and it was hardly crowded at all, but I think all the new attractions are helping to draw guests in.
Shucks, another year for me without the creds here and it's not like it's far. I didn't know they added another one! I'll definitely have to make the trip next year, it's a fun little place. Looks like you are having a solid season so far!
This past weekend, the lady and I trekked down to Cincinnati for her best friend's wedding. I knew early on that I would have a decent amount of free time on my own as she was a bridesmaid and essentially did bridesmaids things the entire weekend. Well, if I'm in Cincinnati, I might as well stop into Kings Island for a few laps on Banshee and Mystic Timbers, right? WRONG! Kings Island was closed the entire weekend as it is currently that phase between regular season operation and Halloween Haunt. Well, ****...that foiled my plan I had since we were originally invited to the wedding. But then lo and behold, Coney Island Cincinnati announces that they're closing the dry side of their park forever at the end of September. Might as well...
Python - It sucked. Everything about it was awful. Although it's a Zyklon/Galaxy model, it's shorter in both height and length than the standard layout and was built by DPV Rides, who I have never heard of before looking it up two seconds ago. The trains were the standard two cars, but the last row was enclosed such that nobody could sit there, and they were bulky, overbuilt, and the headrests actually restricted a lot of motion that ultimately made every drop and brake grab painful. Seriously...burn all of these awful things down.
Giant Slide - might as well get some mileage out of our admission. The slide had three solid moments of floater air that left me giggling. Better than the cred.
Rock-o-plane - This is actually the real tragedy about the park closing. This was my first time trying a rock-o-plane and it was great! The ride moves like a ferris wheel, but each gondola has a clutch which riders can operate. The result is something along the lines of a top spin if you can manage to time your clutch releases properly. I got most of the way through the ride before I was actually worn out from flipping and shaking and just let myself go around naturally. Seriously cool ride though.
Overall thoughts - I never thought I'd actually visit Coney Island Cincinnati but to be completely honest, I did not completely hate it. Because I love to compare parks to others, this place felt like a tiny Martins Fantasy Island with a bit of Knoebels charm thrown in there. The park wasn't crowded by any stretch, and rides felt like they were just haphazardly placed next to the walk way, but the park was actually landscaped and had some buildings with nice architecture. Will I go back for the water park? Nah...but the hour I spent there was tolerable.
As for the wedding, it was a great time! The reception was at the Cincinnati Art Museum which is located up on a hill to the east of downtown and offered a great view of the city, especially at night. They even had part of the galleries opened up for us so we could be sophisticated art connoisseurs between eating, drinking, and dancing. Good fun!
Luckily, I will hate this hobby slightly less in a few short days. The lady and I fly to Oklahoma City on Friday and then we will be off to Dallas Saturday afternoon. I am way too excited to visit Six Flags Over Texas next Sunday.
With Holiday World announcing that Voyage is closed for the season to get a jump start on maintenance, it looks like any semblance of a plan for Voyage at night has gone out the window. I can't remember any previous year of enthusiasm being as spiteful as this one. I'm missing out on Frontier City as it's closed the one weekend I'm in town, I had to cancel Little Amerricka and Bay Beach because of logistical infeasibilities, Kings Island spited me last weekend, Holiday World isn't worth the seven hour drive without Voyage, and while we're at it, Wild Mouse at Idlewild, Steel Curtain, and Sky Rocket were all closed when we visited. Boo!
Alright alright alright! You may have guessed by my inundation of posts in the Polls section of the forums, but I am back from Texas! It was one hell of a trip - while I was reflecting on the trip during the flight home, I couldn't help but think that my arrival in Oklahoma City nine days prior felt like an eternity. Those are the kind of trips I love. I'll certainly summarize the whole trip at the end and likely link a few Facebook posts for the non-coaster related things, but I know everybody who reads this is here for the coasters, so let's get on with it!
This was my big coaster trip this year, consisting of Six Flags Over Texas, Sea World San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, ZDT's Amusement Park, Galveston Pleasure Pier, and Kemah Boardwalk. This trip simultaneously translated into my biggest single day cred haul in years as well as summing up to a relatively underwhelming amount of total creds. Nevertheless, I'm happy I finally got them...well, most of them. First up on the agenda was Six Flags Over Texas.
We had rolled into Dallas from OKC on Saturday evening of the 21st and had a relaxing evening with @tomahawk, @Skeletor, and @RCF, and the ladies. These three had been lowballing the park all summer and I had been hearing plenty of meh reviews, but I was excited to simply visit another major amusement park with some great company. I woke up Sunday morning and prepared for some logistical wizardry - I had to drop off my rental car, get picked up by Chris, and then meet Andrew at the park, and then eventually meet up with Tom later in the day. Andrew arrived first and sent us a message that said (paraphrazed): "yeah, I parked in the first row...I haven't parked this close before." Before the trip, we realized that we'd be visiting during a Dallas Cowboys game...apparently that's the time to go as we parked not much further back in the lot.
New Texas Giant - I deferred to the locals' judgment on order so the OG RMC was first. It was a literal walk on. Into the train and up the hill we went. I was legit impressed with what the ride did beyond the first drop. The big turns that kicked off the ride were much more fun than I anticipated. I felt like I was in a half pipe on the ski slope. The second half proved to be quite fun as well. I totally understand why this coaster sparked a revolution in the industry. New Texas Giant may not have the bat**** ejector air that essentially every other RMC has and its elements may be relatively tame compared to the insanity that Alan Schilke is cranking out now, but it's still a damn good ride. It's extremely fun with a ton of reridability, a flowing layout, and a good length. The ride certainly does not deserve the hate that gets thrown at it.
Titan - The first thing I noticed about Titan is that it had a slight rattle that I don't remember Goliath exhibiting. Despite that, the ride paced fairly well, even with a vicious stop in the mid course brakes. Nobody really talks about the Giovanola giants because they lack airtime, but I think they're fun coasters. The twists and turns make the rides unique and I particularly like the high G helix. Titan hits you with two of them...even better.
La Vibora - I've heard @Snoo, @Youngster Joey, @Hyde, and company's story regarding this ride multiple times. It's a funny story, but after receiving some extra context from riding it, it's even funnier now. I didn't realize that the coaches had single file seating, so I spent most of the queue time and the entire ride thinking about the six guys in that story straddling each other during their wild ride. As for my ride on La Vibora, I thought it was a fun time. There was one big pothole at the bottom of the first drop and we carried enough speed to slam into guardrail when entering each block brake...one of those instances caused the coach to hop in the air, or so it felt, but aside from that, my ride in the front was enjoyable. Chris and Andrew, on the other hand, were yelping in agony during the entire ride.
Runaway Mountain - I realized about half way through the ride that this is actually a Windstorm clone. Luckily, this one was much more pleasant than the last one I encountered. Interestingly, it seemed as if the park tried to do some Halloween theming with music and strobes, but we could hardly hear the music and the strobes did not sync with where the train was. Not sure what it was all about, really.
Mini Mine Train - I had no idea what this ride was when I checked RCDB earlier in the year. I thought it was a bigger kiddie coaster, but it's much more of an actual mine train than anything. I also did not realize that both of the park's mine trains are adjacent to each other. Anyway, the ride itself was cute - just a few meandering corners and a drop into a tunnel, but it's definitely not meant to be ridden by larger riders.
Runaway Mine Train - This mine train was actually one of the more interesting mine trains that I've been on. It meandered, but it meandered interestingly...if that even makes sense. It felt like Dahlonega Mine Train at SFOG except not horrendous. I appreciated how long it was - the ride fully utilized three lift hills, unlike a lot of the other mine trains with one of those three lifts being skimpy.
Judge Roy Scream - This coaster has had so much venom thrown its way that I was expecting almost Villain at Geauga Lake levels of pain and roughness. Luckily, that was not the case with an empty train. I still wouldn't call it good - it still shakes you pretty good. At least it looks nice though.
Shockwave - I'm so glad we still have so many classic Schwarzkopfs around. Shockwave is simply excellent. The double vertical loops are more intense than Titan's helices, which is saying something. The ride also yields some bizarre airtime when transitioning out of each turn and into the drops. It's a much different beast from Mindbender though, but that isn't a bad thing at all.
Oil Derrick - We noticed that Oil Derrick was open so we took some time to take in the view. It helped me get my bearings with regard to the park's layout and reminded me just how staggeringly enormous the DFW metro area is.
Superman: Tower of Power - we grabbed a quick ride while walking by since crowds were still at a minimum and the ride was a walk-on. This is the first S&S tower that I've come across that provides both shot and drop cycles in one ride. The ride starts with a shot up to the top and bouncing the carriage a few times before hoisting the carriage up to the top, dropping, and bouncing a few more times. It was ultimately a really fun cycle that I wish more parks would incorporate on their towers.
Mr Freeze - These coasters were great launching forwards but they're even better launching backwards. They provide a forceful ride from start to finish with some good hangtime in the spike. The only downside is the backwards launch caused my long hair to get in my face so I spent much of the ride with limited visibility.
Batman: The Ride - The first of three Batman clones on this trip...something that I was perfectly fine with since I like these rides. This particular one had a slight rattle throughout the ride but it still packed quite a bit of power from beginning to end. It was the worst of the three Texas clones, but it was still quite good.
Joker - I've heard that these free spins can be hit and miss, and my only experience came from an enjoyable ride on the one at SFGAm, so I was glad to pick up two more on this trip. I was even more delighted at the complete bat**** insanity that took place during my ride. I think I flipped a good seven or eight times, I didn't have a clue what direction I was traveling in, and I was a fit of giggles the entire time. I am totally fine with parks building these left and right - they're a hell of a lot better than god damn boomerangs.
Pandemonium - It's another Gerstlauer spinning clone. These models have decent layouts, although I've noticed that you'll either spin at the beginning, middle, or end...rarely more than one section. Luckily, we got some good spinning in the middle of the ride.
Overall Thoughts - So what did I think of this day at the park with extremely light crowds? I honestly loved it. The park was pleasant to be in with space to move about the midways and such. Others will disagree, but I think that the park has an objectively good ride lineup, especially compared to a number of other Six Flags parks. I also REALLY appreciated the original vision of the park with the sections representing each country that flew a flag over Texas (...although it's probably a good thing that there's currently no sign of the Confederate States). That aspect is a neat homage to Six Flags' overall history and shows just how much their parks have evolved over the years. I thought the place had some halfway decent theming, especially in the Spain and Mexico sections, and there was plenty of shade all throughout the park. I will admit that I can see how a day here could become frustrating with heavy crowds and **** Flags operations, but I honestly did not see why people hate this place as much as they do.
It took a minute to get this one out. The rest won't be quite as lengthy so I'll likely be able to churn them out a bit quicker. Next up is Sea World!
By the time we finally got to our second park of the trip, we had already visited five major cities and our trip was beginning to come to a close. We wrapped up our trip with five parks in two days, starting with Sea World San Antonio. This park (well, all the Texas parks in some capacity) tends to receive quite a bit of venom thrown its way for whatever reason; something that has surprised me since this particular Sea World was the most ride focused of the three until corporate's brand shift really got rolling. We arrived a bit after opening to find only a handful of cars in the lot, and even when we got well into the park, the place still felt completely empty.
Super Grover's Box Car Derby - A cred's a cred, and it was the first we came across so I got it out of the way first. Of all of the SEAS parks kiddie coasters, this one is the red headed stepchild since it's about half the length of the rest. That's about all that needs to be written about it.
Steel Eel - Time for the first big cred. Steel Eel has certainly been a coaster that I've been interested in as you never hear anything about it - good or bad. We walked through the empty (and small) queue and elected to ride in the back row. The ride offers a decent amount of flojector airtime over every hill, and the ride's turnaround is a pretty fun swooping drop and climb. The ride seemed like a mini version of Superman at Six Flags Mexico, and based on my rides on Steel Force and Mamba, as well as all of Morgan's respective build dates, it seems like they learned a great deal from each ride and refined the next design by a considerable margin. The only downside of Steel Eel is that the transitions into each valley in the back row were not comfortable. We elected to move on and weren't able to come back for a reride, but I'd imagine that it would have tracked better in the middle or front. Despite that, it's still an enjoyable ride. Lastly, Steel Eel is sporting a fairly fresh paint job which really makes the ride pop.
Wave Breaker - I'll be honest, I paid zero attention to Wave Breaker's construction and had little interest in any reports regarding the ride after it opened so I had no clue what to expect. The trains...suck. They sit you more upright than a motorbike coaster but the seating position and the lap bar are still quite awkward. The ride itself is alright. There isn't a whole lot of substance to it as it's just a few meandering, but somewhat fun turns. The tire drive launches do their job - they get the train moving but don't expect anything exhilarating.
Great White - This is the best Batman clone in Texas, and second out of the nine I've been on (Vampire at La Ronde holds that crown). You know how these Batman clones go - forceful loops, forceful turns, forceful corkscrews, forceful everything. Great White is no exception - it's easily one of the most intense of the bunch. I did feel a slight shimmy in the first loop, but aside from that, the ride was glass smooth. Sea World sure is taking excellent care of their best coaster.
Journey to Atlantis - This was my first time riding one of these supersplashes. Turns out, it offered a pretty fun ride due to the turntables and backwards dip. It was a scorching hot day so I didn't have any problem getting completely soaked, but the splashdown resulted in us getting a nominal amount of wet - enough to cool us down, but not completely drench us. Not bad at all.
Texas Stingray - I was fairly impressed with the full renderings and POV that were released shortly after the announcement, but I am that much more excited after seeing it in person. The coaster's construction seems like it's pretty far along already - the lift, drop, second drop, third and fourth turns are constructed and the station is taking shape. I wouldn't be surprised to see them complete the structure before the end of the year.
Overall Thoughts - I have no clue why this park gets so much hate thrown its way. The park is a bit small - we did all of the coasters, all of the animal enclosures, and the orca show in a little over three hours, but I don't really see that as a problem. Objectively speaking, the park is quite a bit better than most parks out there. There is plenty of vegetation throughout the park and the midways are decently wide and fairly well decorated, which make the park pleasant to be at. The coaster lineup is already on the good side and Texas Stingray is only going to improve it. Even the animal enclosures were interesting and unique. Not really sure what rubs people the wrong way.
After a delicious lunch and a quick run back to the Airbnb, we were on our way to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. If not for Six Flags' recent acquisition of Frontier City, this would be my last Six Flags park to visit. I've been hearing overwhelmingly positive reviews of this park for years and a number of its coasters have been on my hit list since I became an enthusiast, so it's time to find out what all the fuss is about. We arrived just after opening and, naturally, headed straight for Gal Gadot. (Also I would like to apologize in advance - for whatever reason, my sense for composition and photo taking was completely absent during this visit and thus I'm pretty disappointed in my photoset)
Wonder Woman - I rode the ride over a week ago and I am still trying to process what just happened. We got two walk on rides - I elected to sit in the back for the first and the front for the second. This ride was just completely ridiculous from start to finish. Incredibly strong airtime over every single hill. Strong positive Gs in every single valley and turn. Crazy directional changes and absolutely relentless pacing. Watching from the ground, the train's speed almost looks unnatural. And of those two rides, the front row was more intense because you could literally feel the rest of the train shoving you into the next element. So is it in my top ten? I'm not sure yet. The ride's flaw is its length. The elements are great, the flow and pace are fantastic, and the ride is unbelievably smooth...but it's over before you even realize it. Despite that, Gal Gadot should make for a good gateway drug. This formula in a bigger package will be tough to beat. Two laps on Wonder Woman and I am so ready to ride Jersey Devil and other RMC steel coasters that follow.
Superman: Krypton Coaster - I've been itching to ride this coaster since I became an enthusiast and it was worth the wait. Krypton Coaster was everything I wanted it to be. The ride had great forces throughout all of the inversions, but what sets it apart from the rest is the turns. The drop and the helix that interacts with the quarry wall give off some unique sensations as the train floated through the transitions. The ride does have a rattle, but it's more of a "what is that noise" rather than "why is my body vibrating" so I can't knock the ride too much for that. I certainly can't wait to ride it again.
Kiddee Coaster - because I'm a cred whore.
Roadrunner Express - I didn't really know much about this mine train prior to riding it aside from quite a few people showering praise on it. Why such positive marks? The ride starts off with a significantly large drop off the side of the quarry wall and into plenty of twists, turns, and helices. The ride more or less repeats that same formula after a quick second lift. Roadrunner Express was an absolute delight!
Goliath - Third Batman clone. Y'all know what I think of them already. Goliath's trains are short one car, and of all the Batman Clones I've ridden, the seven cars per train variants are a bit more intense than the rest. Goliath is no different - it's the most intense of the three down in Texas, although Great White is slightly smoother. Despite that, Goliath looks fantastic with its vibrant color scheme as it greets you when you drive into the lot.
Poltergeist - These Premier spaghetti bowls are another coaster type that I really don't mind at all. Poltergeist, like Jokers Jinx and the Flights of Fear, are still relatively intense coasters and pack quite a lot into a small space. The only strange bit about this ride is that the seatbelt wass incredibly short. I am a pretty small guy and I barely got the belt buckled. This led to a significant amount of people getting walk of shamed.
Batman: The Ride - the second free spin of the trip and the third I've done. Although this particular one didn't flip me as many times as SFOT's, it was still a pretty wild ride. My seat was rocking fairly violently and positioning me in all sorts of different directions. Loved it!
Spites - Ahh...I had some fantastic luck on this coaster trip, but it seemed to run out at Fiesta Texas. We noticed as we walked in that Boomerang looked like it valleyed. We later learned that the train recently underwent its teardown and was just put back on the track. Later on, we went to go ride Pandemonium only to find out that they converted the ride's station into a haunted house (have a Six Flags day!). Lastly, and most unfortunately, We approached Iron Rattler after our ride on Superman and saw a full queue and a sign out front stating that they have not yet finished their ride enhancements and were down a train. I had a skip the line pass for purchasing a 2020 season pass and I attempted to redeem it, but of course Iron Rattler was the only ride they weren't honoring at that time. I miss a boomerang and a spinner clone of which I've already ridden a half dozen others already, so be it, but I was gutted to be missing out on Iron Rattler.
Overall Thoughts - Luckily, if I had to pick a park to return to in Texas, it's Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Objectively, it is the best Six Flags park without a doubt. Up until Fright Fest really got underway (tangent: **** Fright Fest and Halloween events in general. I want to ride coasters, not pay a significant amount of money to push through mobs of people and stand in unbelievably long lines for haunted houses), the park was pleasant to walk around. The midways were lined with legitimate theming - the one side of the park looked like an old western town and part of the other side felt like a legitimate Californian boardwalk. And the entire place had the quarry wall to act as a backdrop which made it feel like such a unique, special amusement park. Unfortunately, the spites, less than stellar operations, and crowds of people in attendance for Fright Fest reminded you that it was, in fact, a Six Flags park. Luckily, much of the issues experienced were a function of Fright Fest more than anything else so I'll gladly return at another time of year, hopefully with Iron Rattler open and fully operational.
Almost done! I'll wrap up this trip with the three remaining parks next time!
Ok let's wrap up the coaster portion of this trip, shall we? We hit the road Saturday morning and headed out of San Antonio. We planned on hitting all three of Texas' notable small parks throughout the day - something that we ultimately succeeded in doing, but Murphy's Law threw a monkey wrench in our overall plans (Houston is enormous and has terrible traffic, so we spent more time sitting on the freeway than doing things). Anyway...
ZDT's Amusement Park was up first. The park is located in Seguin, which is a small town about 45 minutes outside of San Antonio proper. There isn't much there aside from a Caterpillar plant and ZDT's, which is such a tiny place that you literally blink and miss it when driving down the main road. The outdoor attractions weren't operating yet when we arrived since a storm passed through a bit before, so we faffed around at a donut shop while waiting for the rain to pass.
Switchback - It's still so bizarre that this "park" built such a unique ride. Switchback itself is not a very big coaster, but it's actually too big for the scale of the park. Despite that, the ride is really fun. The first drop and bunny hops peppered throughout the ride provide a solid amount of ejector airtime on the forward portion, but the intensity wanes after the spike. Running the course in reverse with all the directional changes and bunny hops is such a unique feeling and really give the ride an extra dimension that most don't have. The ride tracks quite well with the timberliners too. Switchback certainly does not buck the trend - I have yet to ride a bad Gravity Group coaster.
Overall thoughts - Well there really isn't much else to say about the park. Switchback essentially is the entire park minus a couple other small flat rides, a rock climbing wall, picnic pavilion, and arcade. I guess it's cool to see that they're able to operate such a bizarre little place in a town like Seguin. The staff was very nice though - they gave us no flak whatsoever when we asked about purchasing a single ride ticket.
Fast forward to driving through Houston and heading for the coast. As we headed south throughout the trip, the temperature steadily increased. Now that we were heading towards the coast, the humidity was becoming offensive. Luckily, we arrived at Galveston Pleasure Pier to find a refreshing breeze coming off of the Gulf.
Star Flyer - Another ride I heard an earful of where @Hyde straight up did not have a good time during that particular trip. This star flyer was legitimately frightening. The seats would swing out over the water when the gondola was at speed and the breeze would cause each set of seats to swing and twist as they spun around the tower. It's definitely not for the faint of heart.
Iron Shark - I mean, it's a compact eurofighter. Iron Shark has a handful of fun elements and twists that make the ride interesting but not much more. Tantrum is smoother, but it's also newer and Iron Shark has withstood a hurricane or two.
Overall thoughts - It is a pretty cute little pier which makes for a fun location for an amusement park. The crux of this place is the cost - $27 for a wristband is pretty steep considering their selection of rides, and if you don't want to ride, you still have to pay ten bucks to even step foot on the pier. I did it and now I don't have to go back.
We were off to Kemah Boardwalk after dipping our feet in the water for a minute. We were pretty hungry when we arrived so we put our name on the waitlist at Salt Grass - a steakhouse which is a bit more expensive than your average steakhouse, but well worth the money. Our table was ready by the time we bought our ride tickets so we went to eat...and we had a slight problem when we walked out. Boardwalk Bullet was closed. We elected to ride the other ride we purchased tickets for. It was already fairly late so Bullet didn't reopen that night. Luckily we planned on heading to the space center the next morning which was pretty close to Kemah so we were able to ride in the morning.
Aviator - it is a spinny tower ride that operates with rudders like a flying scooter without the snapping. It was ok.
Boardwalk Bullet - The wait was well worth it. Boardwalk Bullet is one of the best coasters in Texas. I haven't the slightest clue how Gravity Group did it, but they managed to pack such a relentless ride filled with airtime and wild transitions into an incredibly tiny footprint. Every transition gave a pop of air and nearly every hill yielded solid ejector airtime. The ride also seems fairly well taken care of - Bullet offered a surprisingly smooth ride considering how small of a park Kemah is and the climate. This ride made faffing about Houston worth it.
Overall thoughts - If you're a sucker for boardwalk type parks like I am, Kemah is right up your alley. Kemah gives off a good feel with its densely packed rides, shops, and restaurants - it's simultaneously exciting and somehow relaxing. Unfortunately, the park's operations were poor. There was a single ticket booth open on a Saturday evening. While Boardwalk Bullet was down, there was staff out in front giving the typical "we don't know what's up" spiel, yet they walked away with about 30 minutes to park close without saying a word and did not return. It was odd, to say the least. Nevertheless, Boardwalk Bullet is worth putting up with these shenanigans.
So there it is. Finally got the Texas creds and we couldn't have had a better tour of east Texas. We easily logged over 1,000 miles from Oklahoma City to Houston with every stop along the way. In total, I logged 27 new creds and six new parks. During the trip, we visited 28 points of interest and we loved every second of it. I'm already excited to go back, and I suspect it'll actually be sooner rather than later. With @tomahawk, @Skeletor, and @RCF down in Dallas, we certainly won't be able to stay away for long.
And in case anybody is curious about the non-coaster things we did, I documented it all in posts on Facebook:
So what's next? I'm not totally sure. I'm running out of weekends to run over to Canada's Wonderland for Yukon Striker and SFGAm for Maxx Force, but they aren't totally out of the question quite yet. Scene 75 is a family entertainment center in Columbus with a Visa spinner that should be opening relatively soon - if it isn't open this weekend when I'm down in Columbus, it'll only be a matter of time before I visit. I guess we'll see what happens!