What's new

Slithering in the States #2 - Part 11: Six Flags America

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
It's been far too long - two whole months without a trip report. Terrible.

Getting those season passes at the end of last year unleashed a frenzy of opportunity, so I couldn't resist going back and going hard, America style.

Day 0


Flew into Philadelphia as it was cheap and relatively central to the crazy route we had going on. April is a bit too early in the year to find every park up and running but with the huge amount of choice in the region and a bit of geographical flexibility, there was more than enough for any sane person.

Somewhat disappointed in the choice of cars again this time. It didn't even include the dash outside to fight with others over what was left in the car park.
The choice was red or white. ("Ooh red... you like FIRE!")
We'll come back to what car it was later on in the trip, as it turned out to be an amazing omen.

Trundled down to a place called Triangle. The end.

Day 1 - Kings Dominion


Kings D eh? Let's start with the big one.


Feels like this one has been on the horizon for such a long time, in a rather mock fashion. Blacking out and being punched in the neck. One of those world beaters you know.


It was fun, it wasn't spectacular. It's a silly thing.
I'm maintaining that these big drops don't feel significant enough. 300ft feels like nothing with that shaping.
The corner was intense, but not to the point of unpleasantness.
There's a disctinct lack of airtime due to the sheer size of the thing and, you know, trims.
I do respect it's ridiculousness.


Twisty.


(Un)fortunately they've changed the restraints from what I knew of them to softer things in much closer proximity to your neck, so that bit of comedy was out the window. It did make the sharp directional changes a lot of fun without the need to brace too much against the vicious laterals, which was probably the best and most interesting part of it all.


Volcano, The Spite Coaster.


The wrong Anaconda.
This thing was hilarious. It ran so slow through the second half that it could have stalled any moment, and then provided unnerving hangtime in a corkscrew.
Weird, man. It never got better than the 90s.


The wrong Avalanche.
One of those ones that keeps killing its momentum just before it gets interesting.

Set complete though. :emoji_ballot_box_with_check:


Flight of Fear was cool, other than the inconspicuous building


Aliens and Premier Launches. Only knowing the trains from RCT, I'm so glad they got lap bars now.
The first inversion sequence in the dark was wonderfully disorientating and then it shuffles its way downwards in an endearing fashion, like certain other indoor coasters.


You know the name. Classic.


Racer 75 was doing a China and only running one side.
It was alright, and a bit different with the exceedingly long straight section of hills to start.
Tunnels at the end are obnoxiously loud and seems hard to judge the winner when you end up rather far apart for the second half, not that it mattered on this occasion.


Grizzly was the moment when operations hit rock bottom and a good park turned into an alright park. They managed to break it as we arrived in the station, causing an old woman to kick off swearing and complaining about a virtually walk on queue while ignoring her child companion who seemed to not be enjoying the day out either. It went back up quick, but was run about as slow as possible.
Most questionable part was the fact that they let children of any size go through the air gates, sit down in the train and pull the restraint down before any height check was performed. Upon making their way down the train, the staff would spot these children:
Stop.
Slowly walk back to the front of the station where a key was lying on the platform.
Pick up the height stick.
Pick up the key.
Use it to unlock the restraint.
Get the child out.
Measure the child, with faff.
Slowly walk back to the front of the station where a stash of wristbands was kept.
Root around for the appropriately coloured wristband.
Put the wristband on the child.
Slowly walk back to the front of the station to put the key down again.
Continue checking restraints.
Many times.

It wasn't a problem, we had breezed the day and were taking it easy, but it sure was a sight to behold.

Oh, the ride. It was a thing. A wooden thing.
People behind us were complaining it was like a car crash and the worst thing they'd ever done by the time it hit the brakes. People were wrong.


Talking of things. I'm officially bored of these.
But wait, it's got a different layout. What have they done this time?
A couple of corners instead of a zero-G.
Loop :emoji_heavy_check_mark: Cobra :emoji_heavy_check_mark: Interlocking corkscrews :emoji_heavy_check_mark:
There's no character any more.


This iteration of Woodstock Express was good. Surprising airtime. Is this what they call buzz bars?


This was also fun. More Premier launch, more lap bars. Those unbanked turns that make things a little more car-like. Someone shouting "what the... f*ck" on the scene bit as nothing happens. Indoor bit, laughably awkward trims on a hill into a corner. That'll do.


Enough mockery, on to the main event.
I wasn't ready for how good this thing looks. Didn't know it had a theme to be honest. Just thought RMC conversion, another of those confusing names that ruin the identity of the ride + looks like wood mate.


I thought the story was different and interesting. There's shirts in the shop that just say Hanover Hill Orchard which is a damn obscure coaster reference that I would love to wear one day. They also have plush apples. Good.


It kicked some serious ass. It's like I'd forgotten how good these boys are (in the USA at least) after only a couple of months and then BAM. Three big back to back hills of insane standing airtime put me right back in it. And then it just keeps going and going.


This outwards banked hill through the structure is brutal when you don't see it coming.



Minor nitpick: Those 2 mini 'overbanks' at the end don't really do much and this bugs me ever so slightly more when the sign outside states 3 OVERBANKS as though that's a big deal on a coaster.

Everything else is packed full of intensity and joy. They really got a lot out of the size. Absolutely loved it.

Let's introduce my new feature for this report, cos Americans say the darndest things:
Quote of the day (picture Jamie Foxx shouting to the air gate queues after a front row ride): "Y'all ride this thing? Naw man... it ain't worth it".


One train ops limited rerides somewhat, but it was enjoyed well into the night. Great way to end the day and a great sign of things to come.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Great report @HeartlineCoaster; I'm presuming you preferred Twisted Timbers out of the park's two major coasters? I think I'd find I305's intensity a little much, personally.

Where to next on your trip?
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Hah, two USA trips already? Welcome to the dark side. ;)

Looking forward to seeing where you end up on this one.

And curious about the car tale - my trips have always resulted in excellent cars in the USA/Canada, but always seem to get total ****e here in Europe. Always plump for the bigger stuff, I guess? :p
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
I'm presuming you preferred Twisted Timbers out of the park's two major coasters?
Oh yes, no contest.


Day 2 - Busch Gardens Williamsburg

A rainy day keeps the crowds at bay. We were directed to the 'preferred' car park by default due to a distinct lack of customers. This should be easy then.


Not what I want to see when entering a park.


Creds though, that's a different story. Stumbled onto this first by mistake due to some staggered openings of certain areas.
Upon arrival at the station, half a train full of kids that were already seated shouted some warm greetings and told us to board while the staff completely blanked us. Ok then.


I forgave the British flags when this sight came into view. Several coasters + a train in one shot = win. For some reason I never imagined the rides here to be in such close proximity, picturing them all set apart in their own trees.


Old Nessie was next. Foolishly went for the front as it was walk on and got a face full of rain, but it made things funnier.


The legendary loops are cool, but the rest of the layout was laugh out loud comedy, much like Anaconda the previous day. 1080 degree helix with wonky corners into a small hill and almost pointless second lift being the highlight. Oh Arrow... you make me very happy.


Did Battle for Eire next to escape the rain briefly. Didn't take a picture it seems, so have some eagles. Beasts.

This was VR done rather well, I'm afraid to admit. You get a weird helmet thing before entering a preshow with plenty of time to set it up comfortably on your head while waiting.
The preshows are really nicely done, with good theming, attention to detail and humour, particularly in the safety instruction video.
Upon boarding the simulator, all you have to do is take the phone out of a cup to the side of your seat and it snaps neatly into place within your helmet with a satisfying magnetic click - eliminating that pace killing experience of taking several minutes to get a clunky headset on your face properly before resuming a story. No names mentioned.
Actual ride was alright, if a little forgettable. A bit of swaying around scenes, dragons, and then the thing where you get to aim your face at something to shoot it near the end which I enjoy.


Draken's American brother. Bit of a +1 to be honest.


They're fun. Ridden both in the rain. It got grease on my jeans.


This looked like a bit of fun too. Hopefully a Wicker dude killer.


Well yes it's better, even if it isn't particularly pretty on ride. More of the GCI signature unexpected forces on the weird shaping into corners that I've been missing a lot recently.


This legendary invert was a bit of a let down. It was riding poorly in the back, about as poorly as I've experienced on any of its type.


A front row ride redeemed it slightly. It has some good moments, but not properly forceful from start to finish. And then that ending... barely doing 10Mph through several corners of fake snow. More laugh out loud layouts.

I did appreciate the little details:
The ski lift themed supports.
The skis on the sides of the trains.
The way each of the wheel covers gets more and more snowy as you head towards the back of the train.
The huts during the ride that have skis crashed into them.
Skis.


Spite of Darkastle.


Talking of little details. Y'all be droppin', Bridge out and Big Bad Wolf number plates. Yes.


And this quaint little queue.


This thing is so good. The launch into the building is surprisingly powerful and provides some amazing airtime in the dark, which is followed by some fast turns about as forceful as ol' 305.
I can't really choose between the Zierers and the Intamin at the moment on track drops. There's more overall punch in the former, but the teasing double drop of Thirteen gets me just as good.
I'm hoping Golden Horse will settle the dispute.


The Gerst style small drop into a launch is a tad awkward and it has some pacing issues, using the multi launch only to instantly lose all its speed again up into the bridge feature.


But it's a very different experience and a ton of fun. I like you Verbolten.


Oh good, a Sky Rocket. Oh good, comfort collars. +1.


Which leaves the Chariot. The first of many B&M hypers on the trip. Was good to finally sink my teeth into what they're all about, having only had a rather disparate bunch to my name previously.

So what are they about? Not a huge amount really. A battle of how interesting can we keep things between hills.
This one had character. The bonus straights between hills to fit the landscape. The best airtime being the kick out of the mid course. The couple of wonky hills. Most of the other hills were decent enough. Solid stuff.
Better than Shamebhala, that's all I really wanted.


Spite from Pompeii.

So BGW was finished in about 2.5 hours in the rain. Sat down for a slightly too big meal to contemplate.
It's a really nice park, above average on the 'pleasant to be in' scale and run very well as far as I can tell. Just a bit of a shame with so many big name rides and an insanely well rounded lineup with basically no filler (unlike everywhere else around here) that none of the rides are truly outstanding. Hopefully they'll fix that soon enough. I want a reason to come back.

Took a ride on the buckets before some rerides.


Y'all love a construction pic don't you.

We were contented by mid afternoon and decided to hit the road early with the intention of a couple more evening hours at Kings Dominion which we would have been passing anyway. Got as far as the car park entrance to see a big display saying they had closed early due to rain.
Not such a good sign of things to come.
 

Cranedude

Member
ALREADY back in the states? So much whiplash!
I like that you like Twisted Timbers and Verbolten! Seem like good rides (sadly haven't gotten out and ridden them yet)
 

Kw6sTheater

Member
A few thoughts on your excellent trip report, @HeartlineCoaster;

- Verbolten is an absolutely amazing and underrated coaster that redefined what the term "family thrill coaster" means to me. :)

- I was also surprised by how clumped together Busch Gardens Williamsburg's coasters are. I believe that Griffon and Alpengeist are so close because of the height limits imposed upon Busch Gardens Williamsburg from their proximity to Jamestown and the Virginia coastline; since Griffon is 205' and Alpengeist is 195', Busch Gardens Williamsburg was likely only granted access to build high in that small space as it would affect the park visibility less from aforementioned areas (as opposed to other spaces like where Verbolten, InvadR and other rides are located). While waiting on the brake run on good ol' Nessie, I caught Griffon & Alpengeist testing at the same time - quite the treat to my eyes and ears!

- The attention to little details is a major part of why I love Busch Gardens Williamsburg as much as I do. The New France area - today known as Canada - gave me heavy Dollywood vibes, due to its wilderness-style theming and log focused aesthetics. I thought the German murals on the sides of some Oktoberfest game stands were a nice touch, as was the ornately designed Das Festhaus features such as the large clocks on either side of the stage, murals of German people, places and culture, and last but not least the entirety of the Verbolten queue line and station I only noticed that Alpengeist's trains had skis attached to them after my third ride on it, and noticed on my one lap on InvadR that just before the coaster returns to the station, there is a writing on the right side of the wall - proclaiming "La victoire!" ("Victory!" In French). Busch Gardens Tampa may have the more top-notch coasters, my heart and my childhood, but there's just something very special about Busch Gardens Williamsburg to me - as much as the park's layout and hilly topography frustrated me, I have to admit that Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a place I'm dying to revisit come 2020.
 

Howie

Active Member
Genuinely kinda weird reading your trip reports from basic parks that I've actually been to, rather than all those crazy 'excluse', far eastern places that I've never even heard of. But still fun! Looking forward to seeing where's next. :)
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Day 3 - Hersheypark


The tour of legends continues as Skyrush looms into view over the construction site that is the current entrance.


Let's get right to it then. A small queue had formed outside the entrance while the ride wasn't quite ready.
Took advantage of the free lockers nearby and joined.
It wasn't long before we headed up the stairs and into the back row. Quote of the day here from a fellow rider. Apparently 'Dorney is kicking our (Hershey's) ass'.
I'm no local expert, but by it's reputation I would imagine it isn't. It's also closed.
First impressions of the ride? Not great to be honest. Not the mind blowing machine it was meant to be but don't worry, the Flying Aces style fairytale will resume later.
You'll just have to read the rest now.


Cred time. Weird little layout that doesn't do a whole lot. Discount Revolution.


Comet was properly good. Old school woodie with minimal restraints that rides very well. Hilarious laterals and moments of standing airtime. Great stuff.



Great Bear was alright. The helix at the start is a welcome change.


It has some fun moments like the straight over some mud.


And the part where they must have realised "oops we've got to get this layout back to the station, chuck in a long drawn out s-bend". Reminded me of the middle of Flight Deck.

Doing so well with a surprising lack of queues again, we foolishly headed off into the rest of the park blindly at this point, somewhat forgetting about our 2 hour locker limit.


Did Trailblazer, the Arrow mine train. It was a thing. Ain't no Diablo.



+1.


Now properly worrying about locker time and not knowing the actual time, but unable to resist the draw of things nearby, gave Wildcat a bash.
Just as we reached the air gates, already nervous about being late, they decided to add another train. Good for them and fun to watch, but such a tense moment.

They seem to have developed an obsession for large swooping drops which do absolutely nothing.
I'm going to have to retract this statement about GCI. This was their very first build, so it's been in them all along. And it sums up the ride perfectly.

A brisk power walk back to the lockers, getting lost along the way. I believe we had 2 minutes to spare. Good to add a bit of drama.

During our travels it had been noticed that neither Fahrenspite, nor Storm not-Running were open. Suppose the odds are high with this many Intamins.
Planned our next move over a bit of lunch.


Which was Cocoa Cruiser of course. The first of too many Pindsnivets on this trip.

And then time to suck up the Laff Track queue (only queue in the park) next. A short way into the queue, it broke down and we all cleared out again.


Lightning Racer it is.

First side (right?) was a bit underwhelming. I liked the staggered lift idea. Thought they were gonna do a Dauling Dragon at the top and cross over, but it was just a large swooping drop of course. It rattled around some more corners for a while and we lost.

Other side seemed to be behaving a bit better. It was winning every single lap without fail, even with a couple of rows out of action. It managed to accentuate a few good moments in there - bit of a speed hill through a shed and the odd moment of surprise airtime. All these mid-tier ones are really fading on me now - nothing amazing, but decent enough.


Laff Track was back up and running. Suffered the queue a while longer, had a laugh in the hall of mirrors, hopped aboard.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - these Maurer shelf models suck. They only come into their own when they get a little creative, otherwise its just a lack of spinning and a lack of interest. Indoors.

That was creds complete for what was available (forgot to mention Spitewinder, the Boomerang was also closed – what a pity, never mind)


Jumped on a Ferris wheel and contemplated the park. We’re missing out on 2 of the big boys and at present, don’t particularly feel like staying ‘til close. Hmmm.
Ran through some of the usual crazy options while sitting on the wheel, including £60 for half an hour of Oscar’s Whack-off Taxi if we leave in the next 2 minutes (and I thought Sea World was badly priced).
Just then, Storm Runner saved the day by suddenly testing. That’s that question answered.


Joined a reasonable queue of dedicated guests outside the entrance and watched them continue to test for another hour or so. Didn’t know it was dual station. They’re only running 1 train, but still, that’s cool.


Our patience paid off and we got on. Here’s a mine train pic I didn’t insert earlier for dramatic effect.


I really liked this thing. It’s taken me far too long to come across the hydraulic launchers that are actually good, so I hope the remaining ones live up to it.


There’s a brilliant mix of forces over and out of the top hat and into the dive loop that actually took the air from my lungs - properly pretzel intense. The restraints are the tighter vesty ones like ol' 305 had, which may have something to do with that, but it was a great moment.


The flying snake dive thing is a unique and really cool element, followed by a super snappy slither up into the brake run. A layout actually worth its launch.

Upon leaving the ride, we asked a staff member who had been carrying around the beginner’s guide to working on Hershey’s rides for the last hour about our chances with Fahrenspite. The response was amusing. Fantawild amusing:
It was too cold to run.
(Current weather was 18C and we had just got sunburnt waiting for that last ride).

Shame. Interesting looking thing. Also wanted to complete the Norwegian Loop set.


Did the tower. Windows and sun placement was bad for pictures. Rerode some stuff.


Had some surprisingly nice park food opposite the Bear and let the sun go down. I like the lighting packages on the GCIs.
Then settled in for an hour of Skyrush.


No wait, forgot to reride Comet (and to take a decent picture). Comet was awesome again. Staff were really enthusiastic and were doing quizzes about the park to entertain the queue. Beats those GCIs any day.


Then settled in for 55 minutes of Skyrush.

What is it about these Intawings? They leave me cold by day and then absolutely blow my mind by night.

It was absolutely incredible. The more you ride it, the more it just does things to you that weren’t happening before. The sensations that only a ride of this type can provide. Pure, vicious, sideways assaults in moments that don’t even make sense.

My favourite seat was back left. The same seat that felt like nothing special on a first ride - just another decent airtime machine.
The same seat that went savage on me – now a world beater. It induces proper screams of pain, terror and joy in the same moment, every moment. Every straight hill. Every twist. And the unassuming entrance to a corner that makes you instinctively grab for the restraint no matter how hard to try and keep those hands up.
The final corner is a welcome moment of relief before you hit the brakes both laughing and crying. This thing shouldn’t be legal. But we’ll take 9 laps back to back.
Nope, they’re letting us stay on again for the last train of the night. We’ll take 10. What a glorious night of hobbying.

I’ll weigh in on the ol’ restraint discussion while I’m gushing. It took me one lap to get used to it. I sat normally, the bar was directly on the thigh and during the twists, one leg would unevenly take the strain. It wasn’t particularly comfortable.
After this, I slouched a little each time I got in. The bar was coming down into the hip joint. There was no more uneven strain and it was uncomfortable no more. It ached after a few goes, like all good airtime machines do, but it was perfectly manageable and oh so worth it.


I love Skyrush. It’s making me grin stupidly just sitting here writing about it. That’s what you want from a ride.

Didn’t feel in a position to drive to the hotel after that session, but somehow managed it even with the thought of those leg wounds being opening up all over again tomorrow.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Great report @HeartlineCoaster; glad to see Skyrush lived up to expectations in the end! I've heard that Intamins often have a tendency to warm up quite drastically as the day goes on, so maybe that's the cause of your changed opinions?

Where to tomorrow?
 

Hutch

Active Member
Loved your description of Skyrush, agree with it all. The way it just becomes alive after that lift hill, the number of times it tries to kill you on one cycle yet you love every second of it, no other coaster I've done has done that. Brought back some memories and made me excited to ride it again this summer. Thanks for that.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Day 4 – Six Flags Great Adventure


Wow. For what I imagined to be the 2nd most significant in the chain after MM, this place wasn’t… well presented. Fading clones and relocations in a derelict looking car park. Six Flags.

It didn’t get much better as we entered a lengthy queue for security. Queues were out the door for season passes with a sign detailing all the nearby (closed) highlights you can do. Six Flags Darien Lake. Six Flags La Ronde. Never mind the nearby, I’ve done you one better.


Straight in and straight to the bull, no time for messing. Locker up lads.

So the ugly ass train wrap they put on one of their trains is currently advertising the Kia Soul, specifically in red. Guess what our hire car is.
The Kia Soul, specifically in red.
We’ve been driving the bull. This made us happy.


And away we go. Set complete and it’s the best of the prefabs. I assumed as much going in, but tried not to set my expectations too high. The first drop and two hills already double what made T Express the standout to me and then it doesn’t turn into a clone. It does, you know, cool stuff.


That Rolling Thunder(?) hill is amazing and kicks your ass at the bottom with a weird crunch, then the forceful turns of the bucking bronco are a fresh and welcome change to the usual cornering on these things. As with Skyrush, a light moment of pause for contemplation into the brakes, but what a fantastic ride. Intamin you’re finally doing me proud.

Limped away from that, with the wounds from yesterday already re-opened.


Casually walked on to the tallest rollercoaster in the world. Again not what I expected from this park. They don’t make a big deal out of this ride, it’s just plonked out the back alongside more car park and a field with no particular fuss made over it. The queue has bamboo and they’re playing disco beats throughout. The station is boring other than being dual loading again (and not using it again).


Sitting on the launch track waiting for the drop tower to finish its cycle with absolutely no suspense built is dumb. Ended up having a conversation, unphased, and other guests were doing the same. And away we go.

I've heard it’s a three stage launch, steadily getting rougher with each. Then you’re up 400ft. Ears popped. Felt like it trimmed over the top hat so I start laughing, and then you’re back down to earth being presented with a hill in visual form only, no feeling.
+1?


Casually walked on to the tallest drop tower in the world from there. I say casually, but it’s a stupidly long walk through unthemed fence and fields along the entire length of Ka. Ugh.
Again, not what I imagined. No fuss is made about this ride either.

A sign proclaims I might get lube on my shirt from the ride. View of the park is decent. Three stages of roughness in a reasonably weak drop. I did get lube on my shirt from the ride.


We’ve turned this into a fun game now, how many creds can you hit before the locker expires without knowing the actual time.


Superman added to the suspense by breaking down as we entered the air gates. This is happening a lot. Security came and looked in a bin, then engineers at the train. And then it ran again.

Crystal Wings was a weak flyer with amazing theming. This was a weak flyer in a field, some car park and some desolate earth between. Cool.


Green Lantern man… I thought I’d worked out how to handle the B&M standup, but this was just awful even in the front middle. Car park, desolation, being punched in the ears.
Probably the only B&M I would need serious persuasion to ride again. Not cool.

That was it for round 1 of locker time. Stopped for a bite to eat. Not quite the quote of the day, but the facial expression of the day happened here with a waiter guy walking round tables:
‘I’m looking for a number 5’.
One woman pipes up:
‘I’m 26…’
Silence.
If he could have had his head in his hands, he would have.


Did the mine train next, after almost walking onto the buckets by mistake. It was better than the previous day’s, with a bit more to look at and a bit of an airtime hill. Then a girl started screaming at the top of her lungs about a wasp on the brake run. Please let me off this ride now.
Escape was difficult as the exit path was filled with people too large for the path all making weird comments and noises. Eww.


Mirrored Scream. Shortest locker hire ever, not coming here again.


Was surprised to see it run 3 trains. +1.


Actually wanted the buckets now for a trip over to Skull Mountain.


What a legendary ride. Back row didn’t disappoint for the first drop and then it was a bit of indoor fun. The face amuses me, so I was always going to like it.


Nitro was cool. Had a bit more purpose than most of these and a bit more kick in some of the hills. The helix was quite intense and different, then still had the signature mid-course fun.


You’re alright Nitro, you’re alright.


Batman was a thing. Was nice to walk through the queue after spending 90 minutes in the identical looking one at the last SF.
Still never got better than La Fuga somehow, they all fail to replicate that solid intensity throughout the second loop and all the way through the following corner that makes you want to scream and rip your feet off. And that saddens me.


Joined the apparent longest queue of the day for the indoor mouse. Then it broke down. Sounds familiar?
Stuck it out this time and eventually ended up in the elaborate preshow room. Thought it was about Batman but turns out Joker has 2 rides here.
The cars on this thing look weird with their subway theming and there’s a couple of bits of scenery going on indoors that make a welcome change from the mediocrity of the model. S’alright.

Joined the actual longest queue of the day for Joker. Then it broke down. Ugh.


Still had a proper fear (but the good kind) for this thing going in, due to Arashi trying to kill me several times.
It's true that they dont ride the same over here for whatever reason. It wasn't even close in the intensity department, but did introduce a little unpleasantness into the mix by failing to flip and then rocking back and forth with a bit of a nasty head sensation. Nah.
Best compliment I could come up with was 'I wouldn't be averse to riding another'.

Time was running a little low now, though we weren't particularly sure how. This place seemed to have a way of sucking time out of nowhere. Had 2 creds left to hit before an evening with the Bull.

Hit the 2nd Pindsnivet in 2 days first while the queue faded for the Tivoli. It wasn't listed as an attraction on the map, so finding it and subsequently getting on it was a bit of a bonus.


The Tivoli. +1.


Unfortunately the evening didn't turn out to be quite as magical as the previous. They had taken a train off and there was a general contempt in the air from other guests about how terrible the operations were.
The station was a complete scrum following 10-15 minutes of outside cattlepen and many people were getting to the top of the stairs just to instantly bail after seeing the state of it.
Quote of the day here from a man who had Flash Passed his way to the top of the stairs only to walk away again, his voice cracking under the emotion - "It used to be my... favourite ride".
I love the idea of poor operations being a dealbreaker for something you regard that highly.

Managed just 2 rides in the hour, but at least it got properly dark for the last. Rode about the same as the morning - so amazing stuff.
Shame it's Six Flags.
Up next - Six Flags.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Great report @HeartlineCoaster; glad El Toro seemed to live up to your expectations! I look forward to where you go next!

Out of interest, has anything on this trip threatened your top 10, top 5 or top 3? Or have you potentially even gained a new number 1?
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
God, that day sounds bleak.

I remember having good memories of SFGAdv back in 2010, but that was my first 'proper' USA park (outside of Florida), so I think there was probably some rose tinting going on. Not much love for the place anymore, by the sounds of things.

Hey ho - another Six Flags next. I'm guessing one with an RMC? :p
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Out of interest, has anything on this trip threatened your top 10, top 5 or top 3?
I haven't got round to doing a proper sit down and reflect on that stuff yet. Definitely going to be some movement up there though.

Day 5 – Six Flags New England

Continuing on from things not being how they were expected, this park is in a very unassuming location in a field past some houses. Reminded me of a more European setup.
Similar to Busch, it was raining on arrival and we joined about 10 other cars in a mostly empty car park.
A tram took us from there up to the bridge over to the entrance. A local man on board made the statement – "Monday, rain, no liiiiines."
Good.

Narrowly avoided taking a survey, got a warm welcome and headed in. Didn’t seem to be any need to rush, so decided to use the hit things as they appear approach.


Started strong on the Great Chase with a confused but friendly operator. Probably his only customers all day.


Pandemonium was decent, if a little wet. Finally found a Gerst spinner that actually knows how to spin. Taken long enough.


From there we hit the main event, after the usual locker faff.


Wicked Cyclone was stupidly good. Again I hadn’t really entertained the notion of any of these having themes, but it was nice to see some Strom Chasing equipment in the queue and hear the station audio talking about weather reports.


The ride itself felt like a really strong mixed bag of elements. After an amazing first drop, inversions and intense air time hit you almost alternately in parts while it hauls its way through the structure, so you’re never quite sure what’s coming next. Many of the hills have a lot of variation in banking which make for a lot of fun and it has that double hump thing they do that tricks you every time.

We were allowed to stay on in the back for 3 rides in a row before moving on, as the station was completely empty. Loved it.


Boomerang was down all day. What a pity, never mind.


GIB was also down all day. Seems to be missing a train. That’s 1/3 success I’ve had on these beasts.


Thunderbolt went down as we entered the air gates. This again.
Turns out it was nervous new staff who had seen some sparks and called a friendly engineer who watched it go round again to reassure that nothing was actually wrong before reopening.

It rode alright, it did a few things. Very forgettable though.


Time for the world’s best coaster as of 20 years ago.

Didn’t know it had weird trains with stadium seating, these ain’t the T-bars I know and love.
Didn’t know some of these were chain lift, this ain’t the cable I know and love.


It had some airtime, but not a patch on something like Geforce. The layout is even more drawn out with extra corners and very large manoeuvres that don’t really do much and the last 2 hills feel like a bit of a bonus rather than the focus of what the ride is trying to do, so it doesn’t quite fit into their category of ‘airtime machine’. Which suits some people I guess.


Wasn’t anything special to me unfortunately. Wouldn’t call it any more significant than the B&M hypers of the previous few days. I’d make excuses for it about cold, wet and empty trains but, you know, Wicked Cyclone.


Mouse nearby wasn’t ready for us so we hit the 2nd of these Tivolis in 2 days. +1


Followed by the 2nd of these Freespins in 2 days. This one was even less intense again, pretty much failing to flip at all, resulting in an altogether different experience that was a lot more comfortable and still quite fun.


Another forgettable floorless. Shorter and more to the point, but nothing different or particularly exciting about it.


Looks nice though.


Vested SLC. Could have been worse. Noticed some guests taking rerides. Good on them.


Mouse was open by the time we got back round to it, so park complete for what was running. All taken at a rather leisurely pace.

Went for some lunch, at which point we heard a parkwide announcement. "Due to poor weather conditions, we will be closing the rides at 4pm today" (instead of the scheduled 7pm).
That’s not ideal, but fair enough we thought. It’s been quiet enough for us to get everything done with time to spare, and probably the same for everyone else. Still got time for a picture lap and an hour with the RMC to close the day off nicely.

So we almost liked a Six Flags park.


Took some pictures as planned and headed over to Wicked Cyclone at 3:15. Paid for a locker before running round to the entrance, just out of pure excitement of what was to come. A member of staff was there, with the entrance chained off.
“The ride’s closed lads.”
“But, why? It was meant to be 4pm.”
“Yeah well…” Quote of the day – “gotta clear the area.”
“Right…”

Went back to the lockers and promptly left the park.

This was such a dick move by the park/him and completely soured the whole day and park experience. The ‘area’ was completely deserted other than in the station, and the ride continued to run with a small group of people on it for the entire time we were walking out of the park, getting into the car and driving away (so until 4pm like they claimed). We could have been on that train as well, but were denied 45 minutes (+3 hours) early. That’s what I like to call ‘pulling a Phantasialand.’
There’s just no decent explanation for it other than it being a written rule that Six Flags have to be a dick to you at some point during your day, otherwise they aren’t doing their job properly.

Shame the survey people weren’t still at the entrance as we left to receive the good news, but we did get one to fill out by email a few days later. That was fun.

Oh well, better parks to come.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
There’s just no decent explanation for it other than it being a written rule that Six Flags have to be a dick to you at some point during your day, otherwise they aren’t doing their job properly.
This is a good sentence. :p

"Have a Six Flags day!"
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
"Have a Six Flags day!"
I've never taken that as a positive statement. Sounds like "You'll get what you get, and you probably won't like it".


Day 6 – Travel

No parks today and probably for the best. We had left options open en route, but nothing surfaced in the end.
Of note:
- That american dream mall would have been on the cards, clearly not happening yet. We did happen to drive right past it between SFGAdv and SFNE, seeing a spooky shadow of some Gerst track through the glass. That was cool.
- Saw Dorney in person on this drive. Still kicking our ass, but closed.

Everything else reasonably (and unreasonably) within reach was also closed so it was just a leisurely 12 hour drive that all went surprisingly smoothly really.

Which left us with 2 full days to enjoy this magnificence of a park. Good.

Day 7 – Dollywood


Pulled into what was soon proclaimed to be the world’s best car park. A quaint setting between the hills with gorgeous views and a couple of teasing glimpses of 2 of the main coasters testing.
The world’s friendliest tram staff pick you up from cutely named stops (C for Cotton Candy) and take you to the entrance, telling you everything you need to know and more, including the fact that there’s a number to call if you have minor car issues when leaving and the park will send someone to come and help you out. How awesome is that.

Didn’t know anything (or care) about the logistics of this place other than Lightning Rod is in an area with some buildings and breaks down a lot.


Straight to the Rod then.

We were fortunate enough to catch it on 2 consecutive days of zero down time and zero queue, racking up about (who am I kidding?) exactly 20 laps total. And what a ride.

I had extremely high expectations for this thing, not particularly down to its mostly universal praise and being the ‘best thing ever’ circa 0BS (Before SteVe), but more from the fact that I saw some construction bits about it (specifically concept art for the quad down) when I was much more novice at this game and it stirred a reaction in me that I haven’t really been able to replicate since.

Construction doesn’t generally excite me these days, the concept of following things being built with great interest, then not bothering to ride them or care about what happens next is alien to me.
Lightning Rod was the exception. My jaw hit the floor. It made me shout ‘I need this in my life’, but due to various circumstances I always ended up somewhere else.


Until now.

So that’s expectation context set up. I didn’t really know anything else about it other than launched lift and quad down.

Well.


It’s a lot shorter than I thought it would be.

For something that gamechanging I expected it to be repeatedly kicking your arse for a good while. But just as it properly gets going, it ends. And that left me wanting a little more.

The launch is insane, and stupid, and hilarious, and I love it. That’s aside from the fact that it has those weird handles on the restraints that you can grab onto and make things even funnier while you’re "peelin’ out on the world’s fastest wooden rollercoaster".
Then it slows at the top. Aww. The humps are good, but not amazing.
The pothole is there. It amuses me.
Then it does those 2 big sideways elements that are good, but not amazing. It may be because I’ve done enough similar things already that they didn’t particularly blow me away like they should have.
Then it gets good. Stupidly good.
Vicious wonky hill that often punched me in the side and/or back if I was being complacent about the intensity.
I believe they call it the twist and shout, but it was more like the shout and shout. Cos here come those leg wounds again.
And then 4 shouts in a row of ferocity. No, 5. The little speed hill under the brake structure is sublime.
Whipped into the brakes and arghhhhhh no, keep going. This ride will give you blue balls.


It’s really, really good. But not the best thing ever.
It’s the ultimate death of Wildfire, I’ll give it that title.
It actually feels like you’re riding on wood and is a much, much better ride to go along with that.

Anyway, there are other rides here.


Stumbled on a rapids next, which was a nice little sit down with some good water based entertainment.


Then stumbled on a log flume, which was a nice little sit down with some more water based entertainment. I like the synchronised splash effect here. Reminds me of trying to make them in ORCT.


Blazing Fury was coaster number 2, which was a nice little sit down with some good dark ride based entertainment. Love the ol’ trick on the drop and the worryingly intense ejector in the back.
Learnt a little park history along the way. Previous Silver Dollar City and all that.


Tennessee Tornado was having teething troubles in the morning, but opened in front of our faces as we reached it.


Quote of the day from someone behind in the train as it hit the brakes, parellelling my thoughts on Lightning Rod – “That was IT? What the f*ck”.
It’s decent for what it is. Forceful and smooth. Spent some time dreaming of what wonderful things they could put in its place.


Wiiiild Eagle. Wiiiild Eagle. It has a song, love it.

It’s at this part of the park you notice they have a weird obsession of being overly specific with figures in announcements, telling you the length of the ride to the second as the train dispatches. It’s a good quirk.


Straight drop wing rider, always on to more of a winner. Had a bit of roughness to it in the outside, but that’s probably good on these because it seems inherent with any strong force going on, so it means it’s actually doing something.
Pretty standard stuff but with amazing scenery, but I find the seating alone more interesting than the other B&M stuff that’s been boring me recently, particularly in the front when you’re kicking supports.


Firechaser Express with it’s queueline claimed 0.01 negative Gs with even more precision.


This trip is becoming king of the family thrill. Another amazing ride that should really set the mark for what parks should be getting as intermediate coasters.
And once again proves what Gerst are best at.




Lovely airtime, fun effects, interesting, varied, good looking, the whole package. Great stuff.

From here we discovered what may be my favourite thing about the park.


Rocking chairs. It might seem trivial, but that’s now a sign of a quality park for me.
I hadn’t really been a big believer in the notion of ‘parks can be a good place to be, with or without the rides’ until I sat in a rocking chair at Dollywood and thought ‘Yes, I could sit here all day. I get it now’.


It needs the other factors of course, the place is beautiful and clean, there’s relaxing country music playing, it’s quiet, it’s hot, there’s a man with a banjo whose job is to chat to guests all day long.
Never mind the coasters, have I got a new favourite park?


We also had a view of Mystery Mine from our chairs and it looks SO BAD offride to the point of laughter. Jerking it’s way round awkward manoeuvres that would make Pinfari blush. How have they gone from that to what we just rode?


Let’s do it then.

It rides as bad as it looks, for the first half anyway, but at least it’s funny.


The indoor parts set it apart. The first indoor bit is like Saw but less obnoxious and more fun. The second lift and following section is everything Novgorod should have been with its hilarious practical canary death, fire at the top and cool inversions that make the drop worthwhile.
Easily one of the best of its type and a bit of a guilty pleasure.


Talking of guilty pleasures, look, it's the singing vulture from Portaventura.


Drop tower next door is amazing. More reasons for me to love the park in the fact that one of the attendants decided to jump on the ride with us as they were doing restraint checks and then casually chatted away to guests about the park while 200ft in the air. Amazing views, punchy drop. Love these ones. Better than Zumanjaro any day.


Zamperla 80STD #3 of the trip. A pretty +1.


Thunderhead was a slight let down, though GCIs are a let down to me as standard these days anyway. I believe in the process of riding it we learnt it was a clone of some other reasonably big named woodie in America so that’s one less thing to look forward to in life.


It was alright, a couple of surprises here and there, a bit too much roughness. I think they quoted the main features as 100ft large sweeping drop and TWENTY TWO corners which you know my feelings on by now. Eh.

But that completed the park, and what a joy it had been. Let’s do it all again.


We had some of the famous cinnamon bread with that apple butter stuff and it was a messy but worthwhile challenge to finish.


We found Barnstormer after somehow missing it earlier. I like that.
It’s got Rush levels of short cycle, but a nice theme and interaction.

We sat in some more rocking chairs.

We rode the rod til we bled.


Agreed.

Easily one of the best days I’ve had at a park. There’s definitely something to be said for allowing extra time for something special.
Thank you to the other parks of America for not bothering to open yet.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Yeah, Dollywood really is something special, isn't it? Really stands as global gold standard - glad you enjoyed it.

And yeah, the quad-down. That's the money-maker. :p

EDIT: Shame to have not broken up that drive with a bit of cultch, some nice stuff along that route. Next time hopefully!
 
Last edited:

Hutch

Active Member
It's funny reading back-to-back reports of Six Flags and Dollywood, really shows you how differently they run. It's a bit absurd... Dollywood they go out of their way to make your day, while Six Flags they enjoy ruining your day lol.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Shame to have not broken up that drive with a bit of cultch, some nice stuff along that route. Next time hopefully!
You've probably learnt by now that I'm not big on 'cultch'. Rather do that stuff when I'm old and burnt out, which won't be long at this rate. ;)


Didn't really look into +1s for this trip as it was so packed and it seemed almost rude to be considering it, but the temptation was a little too much to resist on this mostly free day.

Day 8 - Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster


Started off by knocking on the door at opening for this thing. Believe it was the first in the area, starting a trend that is making them crop up next to every other building in the town at the moment.

My experience with these is quite limited, having only done a small one in a field. The lift hill alone on this was probably longer, it just kept going and going, winding its way up into the mountains and trees. This was quite cool, with the relatively exposed feeling you get sitting on a tea tray and it got all quiet and peaceful for a few minutes.

The downhill part also just kept going and going and got reasonably intense at parts, aided by the fact I didn’t have particularly good pockets and kept having to adjust them with one hand while keeping the lever pinned down in the other.
There was still the same old issue with alpines in that you’re attached to the rails and don’t get the same feeling of this could crash, unlike a tubey one.

Island in Pigeon Forge


Next on the list was this little thing in town. A quick and easy in and out job. Free parking, $4 ride, part of a bigger resort type place.
It played amusing music and we got some good looks for riding it. Next.

Nascar Speedpark

Got to the ticket desk for this place and asked if the coaster was open. It wasn’t going to open all day. Got some good looks for powering out again. Next.

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster


This one is directly opposite Dollywood’s car park, a prime spot to pick up trade.
We weren’t sure whether to do more than 1, but it turned out that this ride was a significantly different experience to the previous one, which made it worthwhile.

It has several lifts and several downwards sections with some odd attempt at theming along the way.
There were people actively working on construction within one part of it, there’s some sheds with old tools in, some tunnels, a bloke in a watchtower asking how your day is going and announcements saying the bear is coming to get you.
It wasn’t as good a ride with all the stopping, but fun and different nonetheless.

That’s enough of that.

Dollywood

Had another fulfilling day at this wonderful park. Mostly the same itinerary, here’s some photo highlights:










Rode the train which was awesome. Full size engine that proper smokes up the smokey mountains and comes with warnings at the start about getting hot cinders in your eyes. Jeopardy on a gentle ride.
Lots of good commentary from the staff before it plays amazingly appropriate songs including one about the devil driving a long black train.


Mmmm construction. Also spite.


I wish I could have had this as my avatar while I was away on this trip.

Glorious day. Was sad leaving Tennessee that night.
 
Top