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25-state, 40-park, month-and-a-half, post-pandemic extravaganza

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Day Fourteen: Alabama Washout

Yesterday evening at Sam’s Fun City, I spoke to a man who explained to me that both coasters were not running now but would be the next day. He also seemed to recognize that I was an enthusiast. “Yeah, we get a lot of people who are interested in the Miner Mike, because it’s a disappearing model. It’s down for maintenance now, but it’ll be up by opening time tomorrow, and adults can definitely ride it. And the Emerald Coaster will be running by noon.”
I knew this would mean a delay for the day, making me get to my hotel pretty late, but decided I’d go for it the next day.
The next day, there’s a woman at the counter. “You want to do what?! The Emerald Coaster won’t be open until at least one. The other one? It’s a coaster for little kids. You still want to ride it?! Anyway, it’s down for the day.” Bit of a different attitude and assessment.

I leave and drive 45 minutes to The Park at OWA, reaching it in a torrential downpour. I go to the box office and they tell me the park won’t be opening at all today because of the weather.

So, the day was a wash. Them’s the breaks. I make the long drive to my hotel in Austell, Georgia, and the rain along the way is insane. When rain makes Alabamans and Georgians slow down to 10 mph, you know it’s heavy rain.

Oh, well. I’m currently a five-minute walk from the entrance to SFoG, tomorrow’s plan.
 

CanobieFan

Giga Poster
Ah, Sam's fun City, I've visited three times. twice in the same day, the second time around... but I did manage to ride both coasters 🙃
Similar experiences with being told no on the kiddie the first time I went, second time around, some 7 years later, I got lucky and an Enthusiast was the operator and let me and my friend have a go... we also found the big coaster closed because 'it only runs at the top of the hour if there are riders' and it was like 4.10pm... we ended up leaving and getting food before trying again I think for the 6pm cycle, before heading back to Orlando, successfully
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Ah, Sam's fun City, I've visited three times. twice in the same day, the second time around... but I did manage to ride both coasters 🙃
Similar experiences with being told no on the kiddie the first time I went, second time around, some 7 years later, I got lucky and an Enthusiast was the operator and let me and my friend have a go... we also found the big coaster closed because 'it only runs at the top of the hour if there are riders' and it was like 4.10pm... we ended up leaving and getting food before trying again I think for the 6pm cycle, before heading back to Orlando, successfully
Looks like I need to return in seven years.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Day Fifteen and Sixteen: Georgia

I spent a day and a half for my first-ever visit to Six Flags over Georgia, and I can sum up my ambivalent feelings quite succinctly: a fantastic park run terribly.

Let’s start with the negative and get it out of the way: I’ve been to well over a hundred parks, and SFoG is easily the worst run I’ve ever encountered. Yes, finally a victor has emerged to take the crown away from Mount Olympus, and the crown was snatched quite handily.

This view of mine is not the result of one or two annoying incidents that led to a snap decision from me. No. We’re talking — literally — over thirty jaw-dropping moments over the two days. Just staggering incompetence, indifference, and disorganization. Yes, I’m talking ride operations, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The park entrance admission organization, the management of the Flash pass office, the organization of lines, and, most of all, the food service operations. I find it hard to convey how many times I was staggered, just in sheer disbelief of what I was witnessing. I know parks have a staffing crisis right now, and I know things can go wrong in handling crowds, but even simply comparing this park’s operations to other Six Flags — so like for like — it was just stunning how bad everything was. I’m actually daunted to go any further, because once I start getting into specifics I know I’ll never stop, and no one wants to read a novel from me on this topic. I’ll just say that if I tried to make a list of the worst things I saw in the operations, the time that a food preparer shouted for a customer to “Shut the f*ck up” wouldn’t even make the top ten.

I visited the park with a friend who is a local, and he deliberately refrained from saying anything in advance, because he didn’t want to taint my impressions. Suffice it to say, I didn’t need much help in reaching the same conclusion he has made for years about the operations. And on day two I met three other people at different times in the park who all shared their feelings that the park has been terribly run for years. All four people independently said the same kind of thing: the park itself is so great that I want to come here often, but the management of the park is so terrible that it keeps me away.

Let’s segue to the positive. It’s a wonderful park. The setting is nice with lots of trees and shade, and for a Six Flags park the place has a fair amount of character. The coaster collection contains several great rides. Goliath is a fabulous hyper, and Twisted Cyclone is a fantastic, little RMC. Joker Funhouse Coaster is a surprisingly fun junior coaster, and this is definitely the best of the Superman Ultimate Flight clones. They also have one of the best Batman inverts, and Dare Devil Dive is a surprisingly fun Eurofighter. Finally, I think Georgia Scorcher may just take the prize for best standup from Riddler’s, much to my surprise, primarily because it has serious airtime. A standup with airtime is a unique thing, in my experience. And I love weird, unique dark rides like Monster Mansion.

So all in all, SFoG is a great park! … A great park in the hands of complete and total incompetents.

Now recently I realized that I would be hitting my 600th coaster at SFoG, and I wondered what I might choose for the milestone. But that was before I was spited at both Sam’s Fun City and The Park at OWA. At some point yesterday it dawned on me that my 600th was going to be something a bit different…

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This. Yes, this. This is called Scream’n Eagle, and it was my 600th. It was either going to be this or the kiddie coaster, which, by the way, is named Kiddie Coaster.

In the afternoon today I jetted over to Fun Spot America Atlanta and nabbed their two credits. The above-pictured ride actually has fun drops and pops of airtime, but around the turns it shudders in a manner that no safe coaster should ever be shuddering!

Anyway, it’s a tiny little community park, and it beggars belief that, if the story is true, some kind of RMC is going to appear there. It’s like a shanty town getting a skyscraper.

Heading off tomorrow to a rural park near Chattanooga, Tennessee that I’ve wanted to visit for many years!
 

Hixee

Flojector
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Man, I'd love to hear some more of those horror stories. :p
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Ha ha. OK, by request some horror stories coming this evening. I’m not sure how entertaining they’ll be, but they should do the job in getting across how bad it was. I mean, it would take me hours to try to list everything, but I’ll pick a few representative moments.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Day Seventeen: Georgia/Tennessee border

More SFoG crappy operations details to follow, but first today’s experience.

I have been wanting to visit Lake Winnepesaukah ever since I saw it featured in the 90s doc from PBS called Great Old Amusement Parks, and it did not disappoint at all.

Granted, Lake Winnie, as the locals call it, was not running two of their three coaster creds, and the place is small enough that I felt I’d done everything I wanted to do after three hours, but, nonetheless, I was happy. This place charmed me. It is a purely vintage, old-school, Southern amusement park.

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My first ride was a dark ride called the Wacky Factory, and what amused me was the fact that there was no theming inside at all, really. Nothing suggestive of a factory setting at least. No, the inside is just a series of weird lighting effects. :D A wonderfully weird start.

But I really came to this park for two things: the Cannon Ball and the Boat Chute.

Visually, the peeling paint of Cannon Ball and the rickety look in general suggest a nasty series of jolts are in order. But no. I wouldn’t exactly call the ride smooth, but there are no uncomfortable moments, so you can leave your arms up from start to finish without any fear of crushing a vertebra. More significantly, the coaster has numerous moments of great floater air, assisted by the wonderful buzzbars, and including a final jolt into a covered brake run that feels close to being a real hand chopper. It was a great ride, and I loved marathoning it with the excited locals.

Then there is the boat chute. What a marvelous holdover from a bygone era. There is something absolutely awesome about the first section of this ride. You get into these amazing, vintage boats, and they drift forward and slowly through a long, long, long tunnel that is pitch black. There are odd noises of wood creaking and metal jangling intermittently, but the boat just keeps floating along forever in the pure darkness. It reminded me a little bit of the darkest parts of the Pirates of the Caribbean or Efteling’s Flying Dutchman, except instead of emerging into high theming, the boat just sails on and on through the black void.

Finally, it emerges and heads up a lift hill. No messing around at this point, as once you crest the sole lift hill, you immediately take the sole drop. Now there was one slight element of disappointment here in that in old footage of the ride the boats would insanely BOUNCE at the bottom of the drop. In other words, the entire boat would legitimately become airborne. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but the bottom of the drop is now just like any other shoot the chutes ride. You hit the water at speed, and gloss along the top of it for a bit, getting a spray of water in the face. Fun, but not the insanity of old. I asked a young ride op, and the boats have never bounced in the years he’s been there.

Once I finished at the park, I had time for an impromptu tour of Chattanooga, which was more urban than I expected in parts, but it was also pretty charming. I know there is a lot more to see than I did, but I only had an afternoon.

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MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
OK, so examples of the horrible operations at SFoG.

Keep in mind that I thought the park itself was great. It’s just terribly run.

Also, I was there for a day and a half, and the terrible operations were on display constantly, at every turn, for that entire period. So it’s hard to isolate a few moments, but I’ll try.

First, patterns. Teenage staff with obviously woeful training and no supervision. Lack of signage or organization. Staff who move in slow motion and never speak. Confused crowds everywhere trying to figure out how to organize themselves, guessing what they would be asked to do if there were anyone in charge present.

OK, some examples:

1. Park entry, first Saturday, then Sunday. On Saturday, the park is supposed to open at ten. There is a sea of barricade gates and signs, but it is as if they were left every which way from a wild party the previous night, and no one thought it necessary to set something up in preparation for the arrival of crowds on a July Saturday. The crowds have absolutely no idea where to go. I don’t mean it simply wasn’t clear which turnstile or gate to line up at. I mean, the signage has people in clumps all across the front of the park for an eighth of a mile. Everywhere you go you can hear the conversations of confusion. Why not just ask an employee, you might wonder? Because there are none. NONE. As if the park were simply closed. As ten o’clock approaches and still no one is there, the crowds get more agitated, and I can hear everywhere the confusion turning to stress and irritation. Then it is actually ten o’clock, park opening time, and still there is not a single employee anywhere in sight! Finally, minutes after ten o’clock employees appear and open a single entrance on one end of the crowds. Employees upbraid 95% of the crowds for lining up in the wrong places, as if scolding unruly schoolchildren. Apparently, it doesn’t occur to them that if thousands of people are utterly confused, the fault may just lie in the organization of the system.

Sunday. Sunday park opening is very similar to Saturday, except there were fewer people arriving early. I am at the gate, and this time the signage has been moved around, and I am determined to follow it and figure out if there is a system here. It starts moving me through a serpentine sort of labyrinth, but I never went anywhere except by following a sign. Finally it led me to a single gate that was totally open. Now some parks do let early arrivers enter the park up to certain barriers, and I certainly was not trying to sneak in as I had a Diamond Elite pass in my hand. Tentatively, I walk in and there’s just no one around. Finally, a security guard on a golf cart approaches me and condescendingly asks what I’m doing. I told him I was actively TRYING to follow the rules and just followed signs at each step. He told me there’s no way the signs could have led me in here. Now I have no interest in being a pest — as an enthusiast I actually WANT to be a good patron who follows the rules, but I couldn’t help insisting that I had followed the signs. I didn’t push it as I didn’t want to give him a hard time, but I did want to say, “Blame me if you like, but your admission setup is total chaos.”

He escorts me back outside, and then you can repeat the crowd chaos from the day before.

2. Flash pass. The Flash Pass office at any park can get long lines, but they open early to try to crank people through as fast as possible. In this case, the friend I was with on the Saturday decided to spring for platinum passes for us. We joined a line in the hot sun outside the door of the Flash Pass office, but they didn’t open the office until half an hour after the park was operating and the coasters were taking riders. There’s just something particularly absurdly irritating about spending money to save waiting time and get more time on coasters, but then wasting 45 minutes in the hot sun waiting for the opportunity to do this in the first place.

Then in the coaster lines the Flash Pass lines were very often half-staffed or not staffed at all. When they were half-staffed, someone would check our tickets to enter the line, but where the Flash Pass entered the station, there was no one there to control the flow of people in, and there was no one to control the flow of people from the regular line to the station. This left the patrons in both lines in charge, and it immediately became apparent that they were two lines openly competing for the same slots in the station. This meant no one stopped anywhere; everyone just jammed in making the stations wall to wall people. This was so bad that if the Flash Pass line entered the station toward the front of the train and the regular line entered toward the back of the train, there was no way a Flash Pass person could ever get through the crowd to the back half of the train, and there was no way anyone in the regular line could ever got to the front half of the train.

When there was no staff at all on the Flash Pass line, everything was the same except that no one ever checked any passes, so anyone could enter any line and never get caught.

3. Ride ops. Again, daunted by too many choices, I’ll just choose one moment on Goliath. In my experience, B&M hypers are people eaters with huge put-through capacities. Not in this case.

The ops move as if they’re auditioning for the role of someone whose puppy died an hour ago. They have sullen expressions and they never speak — not to the riders with instructions, and not to each other. That alone cannot meet safety protocols. Then there is the speed at which they move. They walk so slowly that it would require a great effort from me to move so glacially. They don’t even walk so much as shuffle, as if reluctantly. Basically, they look as if someone has been forcing them at gunpoint to work nonstop for the last one thousand years.

Again the station is slammed wall to wall with people. Many are sitting on the floor. For a B&M hyper! I am waiting for the back of the train. In between dispatches, the ops throughout the park just seem to go down and stop, rather than constantly moving to prepare the next dispatch as they do at every other Six Flags park. In this case, they don’t even pay enough attention to the fact that the last six rows of riders who just came in from a ride have not been released from their restraints. One op comes over to the sixth from the back row and seems to think these are new riders. They have to tell him that they have already ridden and can’t get out. He manually releases them, they get out, and new passengers get in. But this is when my jaw really dropped. Instead of realizing the situation and jumping into overdrive, he does this incredibly slow, ambling shuffle to the fifth from last row. Meanwhile, the gates shut so no new riders can get in, even if the old riders weren’t still trapped in their seats. Bear with me now and visualize all this. He slowly, SLOWLY reaches over to release the fifth from last row of riders. The riders in the gates waiting to get on express frustration mixed with disbelief — are they going to let us on? Now the entire train and everyone in the station — including a stacked train sitting on the brake run for many minutes in the baking sun — are waiting for this drama to play out. Sloooowly, he makes his way to the fourth to last row and slowly releases them. Then sloooowly he does the same for the third to last row. Then he goes to the second to last row and checks to make sure their restraints are on tight. Understand this: despite all that I have been describing he was unaware or somehow forgot that the last two rows were also trapped previous riders. The girls in the very back row had amused me with how extremely traumatized they were by the ride when they rolled into the station, but now these girls are shouting in panic to be let out because it’s evident the op was about to send them around again. Slowly, he acknowledges the screaming — still never uttering a single word through all this, by the way — and manually releases the last two rows.
So now the last five rows (four seats per row) are all empty, right? So what does he do? I KNOW what a normal ride op would do at any Six Flags, as I’ve seen it done a million times. He’d call for the station operator to release the gates again to allow the last five rows of riders to board the empty rows. What does this guy do? In full horror of slow motion, he shuffles back to the fifth to last row and slowly, slooooowly, closes the retraints one by one and buckles them up. Slooowly he works through all five rows, twenty seats, and closes the restraints. Then they send off the train with the last five rows empty. Huge groans from the people smashed together waiting in the station.

4. Food. I’ve saved the worst for last and don’t know if I’m up to the task. I’ll concentrate on one incident, and then maybe reference two others. Let’s call them A, B, and C moments.

A. At JB Sports Grill (name is something like that), there is a line that goes through a cattle pen back and forth and then spills out into the midway. I could talk about the lack of control of the line, but let’s just fast forward until, years later, when we finally reach the counter. We finally reach our spot at the cashier, and the employee says nothing. I do her job for her and say hello. I order my food and give her my membership card, mentioning that it has the full dining plan on it. She says that’ll be $7.10. I explain again that I have the full dining plan. She points to the register and adds, “It says $7.10.” I don’t get rude in the slightest or even get a tone that is anything other than friendly, but I say that I’ve used this card at other Six Flags parks and it covers the full meal. She has to go get someone else to help. Long wait. Another employee arrives and after a long time he succeeds in voiding this first charge and doing it again, with no $7.10 involved. Great! Success! What I would find out later is that the “voiding” of the first meal meant that they used up both my lunch and dinner credits at the same time, an argument I’d have to make that evening.
Anyway, order successfully submitted at the time. Cashier says nothing. I volunteer, “Is pickup here or somewhere else?” She responds as if this has never occurred before. “Oh, um, you can just wait right here.” She points about three feet to the side of register, and she takes the order from the next customer. So there we wait. And wait. And wait. After about fifteen minutes, the cashier looks our way and her face very clearly registers, “Oh, yeah! That’s right! Those guys are waiting.” She turns around and checks all the food placed on the counter behind her by the cooks. She goes back to her computer to see what the order was. She returns to the cook counter and gets the attention of a cook. If our original order ever was made it was clearly long gone, and whatever the case she is clearly now placing our order anew or for the first time with the cooks. Another ten minutes go by and again she looks up and registers surprise with a clear “Oh, that’s right! Those guys are still here!” look. Again, she returns to the counter behind her and finds among the items that have been sitting there for a while our food. She hands this to us. No words. “We also had drinks.” “Oh, what were your drinks?” (This forgetting of drinks and then being asked afterward what it was — to which I could have said anything — was repeated for all three meals I had at the park.) Then she hands us empty cups. No words. We take our cups and our food and move down the line to the soda dispenser. Nothing comes out any of the pourers. We move farther down the line to the last soda dispenser. This one has ice, but again no soda. We move halfway back again to the middle of the counter line and there is no sign anywhere or any indication of what to do. Meanwhile, there are dozens of other customers, trapped in this same space between packed line and service counter, all angry and confused, all milling about to try to figure out how to get their food and drink. In the middle of the line, I flag down a passing employee behind the counter and ask how we get the drinks. “I get the drinks,” she says. “How on God’s green Earth is anyone supposed to know that, and why would anyone ever arrange a system that way?!” is what I wanted to say. Instead, I just told her which drinks we’d ordered and she filled our cups. Immediately, a gaggle of empty-cupped orphans who saw us getting liquid amassed around us to try to be next. After what had seemed a year, we made it outside. Of course there were no tables.
Well, that is my most detailed account. I’ll add just give quick details from two other incidents.

B. For dinner we went to Macho Nacho, a fast food vaguely Mexicany chain at most Six Flags. I’ll spare you the story of the similarly lengthy and disorganized line process for this one and fast forward to the moment we reach the cashier. At this time, to the left of us, there is a customer who, understandably, had become sick of the process, but, not understandably, decided to deal with it by becoming some kind of diva tyrant bossing the employees around and really becoming kind of impossible. The young staff were clearly horribly undertrained and had absolutely no idea how to deal with this. First there was the one mentioned earlier who, heading back into the kitchen as the man was berating her, passive-aggressively shouted over her shoulder that she just wished he “would shut the f*ck up!!” This sent the man into paroxysms of performative outrage. Repeatedly shouting what had been said to him, he demanded to see the manager and blah, blah, blah. But this was the amazing part: Every single employee in the place stopped everything they were doing and just stared dumbfounded at the man while he performed (shouted and demanded this and that) for minutes. It went on for minutes. I am standing directly in front of the cashier waiting to order, but she’s just staring off to the side transfixed, as if she’s just witnessed the Second Coming of Jesus. It was so amazing — keep in mind there is a huge mob of irritated people in line waiting to order — that I just had to chuckle a bit. I mean, if I were a jerk it would have been a perfect time to snap my fingers in her face, but I was more filled with amazed curiosity. How long can every employee go on standing stock still and staring, as if they were watching someone perform a fit on reality TV. Finally, I just tried a few hello’s and hi’s, and when she looked my way, asked if I could order. I got my food and left, but my friend was waiting in front of a different cashier, and he told me that a manager came up behind this cashier, put her hands on the young woman’s shoulders, physically pivoting her in the direction of my friend, and said, “This customer is your priority. You have to focus on the customer.” It was almost like a teaching assistant dealing with an autistic child in the classroom. Such a strange thing.

We then moved to the outdoor tables, and it looked as if they hadn’t been cleaned all day. I don’t mean there was a bit of a mess here and there. I mean to sit down and put your food on a table, you’d have to physically move aside all the previous cartons and wrappers and condiments and such. And the trash bins weren’t just overflowing. They were little mountains of trash in a shape suggestive that a bin may be somewhere beneath.

C. The next day I tried the mobile ordering, thinking — in hope more than expectation — that if the system actually worked, maybe I could cut out a lot of the previous day’s nonsense. I picked a restaurant, Johnny Rocket’s, selected the food, entered the dining plan info, and then I had to select the time. It was 11 o’clock and the AVAILABLE (this is key) choices were in fifteen-minute slots, starting at 11. So, 11-11:15, 11:15-11:30, etc. I was on the other side of the park, so I chose 11:45-12:00.
I arrived at the restaurant at 11:40, and it was closed. No one inside. What would have happened if I had selected 11:00, which was showing as available?
By 11:55 I can see the first employees stirring inside. Another family arrives, looking at the order on their phone, but confused to find it closed. At noon, someone briefly opens the door and asks if we are mobile orderers. Yes, we are. So we’re let in. Just me and this one family. And we wait inside. And wait and wait. Meanwhile, people are constantly approaching the door we were let in and finding it locked. Some go away, but many remain, and these are people staring at their phones in disbelief, pointing to their mobile-ordered food and tapping on the glass. They get more and more agitated, but the employees are still just setting the place up and they don’t care about all the irritated confusion going on outside. To ask the obvious question: why have a mobile ordering system geared to times when the restaurant is not going to be ready? That’s just setting up parkgoers for confusion and frustration. And in this case, they’ve ordered their food, but have no idea if they can get it, AND they see just a few customers already in the restaurant for some reason.
Finally, some of the crowd trapped outside notice that some employees are occasionally coming in and out a door hidden at the side, almost at the back. First two teenage boys go around and enter, and then when the crowd sees this, they all rush over and enter. And then non-mobile-orderers also see that the place is apparently accessible, so everyone tries to crowd into the mobile order line, which is clearly on one side of the restaurant, and the walk-in orders is meant to be on the other side. When they finally opened the walk-in side, it created mass chaos with people trying to cross over every which way.

Meanwhile, that one family and I are at the start of the line. There have been cartons of food placed on the counter behind the cashier for about ten minutes, and I say to the family, “I’m pretty sure that’s our food that’s been sitting there all this time.” They immediately reply, “Oh, we KNOW that’s our food — we recognize the order. We’re just wondering how long it’ll take them to notice.” A man behind the counter at this point kind of figured out what we were talking about, turned around, and actually said, “Oh, I didn’t see that was already there. OK. I’m sorry about that! There you go. Oh, did you have a drink? What size was it?” At that point, I was just genuinely pleased to have gotten an apology. I had grown used to almost no speech at all from everyone employed by SFoG.

Phew! Well, you asked for it. That was a few of the incidents that I observed over the day and a half at the park.
 
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MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Day Eighteen: Alabama

It may seem as if my trip has been incessantly popping in and out of the states of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, but there was a method to the madness of the route. Anyway, today was the last day in Alabama, and I write this from a motel room in a truck-stop town in Arkansas, two states away.

Today was Alabama Splash Adventure. First, some contradictory elements. Parking here is free. Nice! But admission is weirdly expensive for such a small place. Inside, soft drinks are free. Wonderful! But a tiny, really crappy slice of microwave pizza (or pizza-esque comestible) is $5.50, so I paid eleven dollars for an unfilling lunch. Then someone with a sense of humor put out this sign:

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The dry park section of the park is small — the odd, shrunken remainder of a once larger park, and most flat rides have no riders and lonely operators. Still, the park overall is nice enough.

Of course, as a coaster enthusiast I am at this park for one reason only, and I make a bee line for it:

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Aw, yeah. Not only did I conquer this bad boy, but I got a zen ride AND they let me go around twice.

After Centi-speed I wondered if there were any other credits here ….. 🧐😏

OK, so Rampage was one of, say, the dozen most anticipated coasters of the trip. In the years after Rampage first opened I heard nothing but insanely high praise. Then in recent years I have been hearing from people a lot less impressed. So I went in with checked expectations.

Then when I first laid eyes on it, I had a surge of adrenaline. I love the look of it. More of a terrain coaster than I expected and a more impressive first drop than I expected. It looks like an El Toro mixed with a bit of Boulderdash.
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So, I was really excited when I got on for my first ride, front row. But during the course of the ride, reality inevitably set in. The pacing is really slow. It's early in the day and the train was at best only a third full, so those are possible factors. But it also loudly screeches around every turn and I have to think just better lubrication would make a difference.

Then I switched to the back row and it was still slow but considerably better. About four of the drops have great airtime, so I was enjoying the rides. But still it CRAWLS over the hills at several spots.

For my eighth and final ride there was a sudden downpour, and while this blinded me it also made for a bit of a wilder ride, so that may corroborate my poor lubrication theory.

In the end, Rampage was still a really fun ride, but it is no longer the legendary beast it was for its first few years. And I was so ready to love it once I saw it.
 

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CanobieFan

Giga Poster
I wonder if Rampage is hit-or-miss, I visited last summer and was shocked at how good the ride was, considering its long history of being SBNO.
I felt it lived up to most of the hype, not in my top 10 but still a fantastic ride at an otherwise crap park.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
I wonder if Rampage is hit-or-miss, I visited last summer and was shocked at how good the ride was, considering its long history of being SBNO.
I felt it lived up to most of the hype, not in my top 10 but still a fantastic ride at an otherwise crap park.
Wow. I wish I had experienced that.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Day Nineteen: Arkansas

Today we visited Magic Springs. I have heard complaints over the years about this park — credits being closed or not opening until hours after park opening, and poor operations — so my expectations were safely low. One aspect of these warnings came to be on point: Arkansas Twister never opened. We were told they often do track work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. :rolleyes:

But there was much to like here with the other four credits.

The meme-inducingly-named Big Bad John was a surprisingly great mine train! It was smooth, had several fun dips and helices, and the final drop is a fantastic grand finale! It’s a sudden steep drop with great air dropping into a dark shed-like building. This one deserves to be talked about as one of the best mine trains, yet I’ve rarely heard it mentioned in that category.

The X-Coaster is a Maurer SkyLoop, a model I’d ridden once before at Skyline Park. But having ridden one once before didn’t stop the ride from being shockingly crazy. The initial vertical lift slowly progressing straight into upside-down hangtime is an incredible pisstake, and then there is a backward drop from a spike that feels like a complete freefall. Meanwhile, I had my arms raised, so at times I felt as if my entire body were hanging by the belly from the restraint, with none of my back or butt touching the seat. It certainly FELT as if with just a little wriggling or even just by going limp, I’d fall right out and die. And when I consider all the body types that must ride it, it seems incredible that people don’t fall to their deaths. Obviously, they don’t — or haven’t yet — but it feels as if that would be the case.

And the view from the top of any of the taller rides was quite nice, with the surrounding hills all covered in lush green trees.

The SLC named Gauntlet reminded me of the European SLCs I’ve experienced. Condor and Limit are the most ridiculously shaky SLCs I’ve ridden, yet they weren’t painful for me at all because the seats were so nicely padded. Gauntlet was violently jerky, but all that would-be head banging was just head thumping against padded sides.

Finally, the park’s shoot the chutes ride was a crazy soaker.

Again, my expectations were low for this park, so they were exceeded. We had quite a nice day, and the only regret was one missed credit.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Day Twenty: Missouri

A few years ago, in the midst of a Midwestern coaster road trip, I did a full Griswold at Worlds of Fun. Having planned the trip by looking at park websites (and not realizing that WoF might decide, in August, to change their August schedule), I actually physically drove right up to their gate, right up to a downed barrier arm, and just stopped dumbfounded in my car, as if acting out a comedy scene in full. Eventually, I drove straight on to Adventureland (WoF was actually right on the route to Adventureland, where I was planning to go anyway, so I didn’t really alter my route; I just lost a park and bumped up another).

The point of this little backstory is to establish that my squeezing this park into this trip — a bit of a detour if you were to look at the route overall — was to right a historical wrong. Justice and all that. Finally made it to this park, my last unvisited Cedar Fair park.

Not until I roamed around the park did I remember that I’d heard the park areas are each themed after a different continent, sort of a weak echo of the Busch Gardens or Europa Park setup. And clearly, the cultural research that went into this was exhaustive:

E1AF0449-F5CC-46AD-B552-88E4561B73BE.jpeg

It was a surprisingly crowded day, but I had a very positive experience. I rode all the credits except the kiddie coaster, and I’ll list the highlights and one lowlight:

Patriot is very smooth, and its inversions are seamless. But the ride was a little tamer than most inverts I’ve ridden. Still, it was an enjoyable first ride of the day.

Timber Wolf was rough enough to have a lot of the GP complaining, but I thought it was a completely tolerable level of roughness. I’d heard a fair bit of negativity about this ride over the years, so I was surprised by some enjoyable floater in the first half. I liked the ride.

Mamba is a credit that has eluded many visitors to WoF because it seems to go down a lot, so I was very pleased that it was open all day. I got a front row and then a back row ride, and the first half had some really great and extended floater air, making this one of the best Morgan hypers. There is a hard trim on the mcbr, however, that quite neuters the final bunny hills.

Finally, Prowler was fantastic! I mean, I think the layout could be improved and the ride could be longer, but it’s a wild ride with crazy flojector, and I was exhilarated by it. I rode it in the front row and in the back, and both were superb, but the back was a bit wilder. I REALLY wish I could have marathoned this, but the park’s short operating hours (by American standards), and some longer lines here and there meant I had to settle for just two laps. Still, I ended the day with the back row ride and that was a great grand finale. I left the park with a bit of that euphoric adrenaline rush.

The one aforementioned lowlight. Spinning Dragons, the “Pandemonium” spinning coaster is a fun ride, but a perfect storm of factors — these are low capacity rides, the operations feed in fast pass people more often than regular parkgoers, and the ride was down for most of the day creating a rush — meant I had to wait a full hour in the heat for this ride, and it really felt like a mood-destroying grind. This slog also kept me from getting more rides on the two best coasters. Still, this was the one nadir in an otherwise positive experience at the park. Even had decent food for lunch and an early dinner.

On the whole, Worlds of Fun was a very enjoyable day. On to a state tomorrow that I’ve never set foot in.

Signing off from my hotel in Wichita, Kansas.
 
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