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United Spites of America - Summary


Theme Park Superhero
I like to imagine from that pic of 305 that its actually a family coaster and the brakes are the lift hill and its just ridiculously overbanked
Yeah, I always get these two confused.



Theme Park Superhero
We had finally received an email from Six Flags St. Louis by the time we came to visit their last park of the trip. For the sake of ease on both parties it came down to a simple case of abandoning the pass and receiving a refund on the whole thing (still waiting on a cheque in the post). Which basically boiled down to our first two visits being free, before the other two on the spot ticket costs made it slightly more expensive anyway overall. You win some, you lose some.

Day 18 – Six Flags Great Adventure

Except it wasn’t quite that easy, as unlike Great America they didn’t want to sell us tickets on the door and the web page was full of all kinds of minor clerical issues like not letting you put personal details in the right format so that your bank then rejects you for being suspicious.

We so nearly cheesed our way in when a friendly staff member approached at speed and offered to get us through for free on his ‘bring a friend pass’, while we standing around the entrance looking confused and frustated at a phone. It wasn’t to be however, as he was then informed at the gate that ‘it doesn’t work on a day you’re working’. Nice try though.

After far too long we were in the hard way, with only one ride on our mind.


The Jersey Devil. This thing amuses me, still feels like it came out of nowhere and the face on the train is so silly. I had a good feeling about it as we walked straight onto the platform with no queue and hopped on the highly efficient conveyor system they’ve developed to sort out the capacity issues of the original.


So it’s a shame it’s nothing like the originals in any other aspect either. I take issue with the fact that it rides really poorly across most of the seats I sampled. Unlike Railblazer clattering around in the station and then being butter smooth on track, the Devil clangs around on every joint and it just feels bizarre and unnecessary. What did they do wrong?

I take issue with the restraint design, where I didn’t before. There was no happy medium, it was either biting into my shoulders and restricting movement, or loose to the point of continually slipping off one side with me having to focus on putting it back in place rather than on the ride experience itself. I also don’t remember the straddle situation being quite so jarring in the way that it’s a slightly awkward leg position for receiving the best of the forces the ride has to offer.

I also take issue with the layout having lost the spirit of the ride type. By stretching everything out it loses that sheer ridiculousness factor of it whipping around the track at a million miles an hour to the point where I think it’s not real. This could easily have just been any old two-rail RMC and I can almost taste the world’s longest, tallest, fastest of it’s kind marketing wearing through the very design.

All that being said it’s still really good, obviously, it’s an RMC. There are some cracking airtime moments in there and the inversions are at least 50% graceful, in the right seat. Back row served me best, as always and it’s an easy top 3 in the park for me at least, which makes it no slouch.


So let’s knock out that top 3 one more time. Nitro was still full of the good stuff, when we finally found the entrance, reminding me that it’s still the best one around this particular part of the world. It’s really long, but less tiresome in the elements somehow and with a wider than usual range of forces throughout.


It’s all about the bull though, so glad they managed to get it back in action after it had such an immense attempt at tearing itself apart. That says it all about this ride really, aggression by the bucket load. If it makes it 90% of the way around the course whilst destroying track in the process, you know there’s no holding back here.

That airtime. That airtime again. And again. It’s unearthly until that middle section and then it just hits you with purposeful speed and rumble before trying to do damage once more. The rolling thunder is back and better than ever, with extra bonus crunch at the bottom of the dip, just to bring you down to size after some of the most severe ejection around. The bronco adds so much flavour to the finale and yup, it’s the best prefab. Still got it.

We stayed with El Toro until the heat got the better of us, honouring it with the back to back laps it deserved, but couldn’t have, on our last visit due to such terrible operations. It brought back all the classic memories of this part of the park though. ‘It used to be my favourite ride’ and ‘I don’t like riiiiides’ are still some of the greatest lines ever spoken by park guests.

Time to hit the shores.

Casino Pier

The main draw of Hydrus, if you can call it that, was spiting for no good reason, so this became a pure tick box exercise.


Starting with the unpainted one in the middle, which was a thing. Ignore the big green track in the background, just like we did at the last park.


Then the SBF spinner that isn’t a figure of eight for a change. A real highlight.
And no, I’m not doing one of those hamster wheels.


Finishing up with this jank machine. The inside holds no secrets, but it’s humorous.


Playland’s Castaway Cove

The biggest draw for doing all of these was the crazy looking GaleForce which had always given off the aura of a bit of a sleeper hit to me. Wild, compact, S&S multi launch goodness eh?


Oh, how wrong I was. We had some let downs this trip but this was in a league of it’s own. It was nothing short of awful. The lumpy, awkward forces of a Sky Rocket II combined with riding like a Eurofighter from 2004. Sprinkle in some disgusting restraints and you’ve got yourself an endurance-fest.


The unpainted one in the middle was better. E&F Miler showing up the big boys.


Whirlwind also took us back to the SBF spinners of old here with the classic layout.


And the park ended in style with yet more Miler, this time trying to remove my kneecap. Better than Galeforce though.

All in all, just a hot, sweaty and overcrowded day at the office.

Gillian’s Wonderland


5 minutes up the road there was a wacky worm. A pricey one too.
I rescued a man’s pass that had fallen into a road from a Larson Loop and then we had some meter jeopardy by running out of quarters and having to put up with a whole two train wait.

Moreys Piers

But nothing had prepared us (including researching the exact cost several times) for how pricey the last place on the coast was. Our quarter crisis was averted by doing laps around the town and then sneaking into an arcade for a change machine, which was explicitly stated to be against the rules. Needs must.

We parked nearest to the pier with the woodie and the realisation hit hard when we quickly learnt that one lap on Great White was $15+tax


Being a big and unique CCI this wasn’t a problem. There was quite a queue for it and it was eventually dark by the time we boarded. It had all the makings of a classic, the wild tunnel start and some nice big powerful drops. The stacked turnarounds were pretty cool, the back to back hill section was a highlight and the setting was great fun.

It had dawned on us in the queue however that this was by far the standout ride of ‘the park’, staring over at yet another Boomerang on the next pier in the distance. Every other ride here is a clone, and a poor one at that. Awful coasters we had ridden multiple times throughout the trip would cost the same as the woodie and even the kid’s stuff was priced well over the odds. The only conceivable way of ‘saving’ money on any of the rest of it was a pass costing in excess of $200. Queues were busy, time was pressing on, the fatigue of the trip had truly set in.


Up next – @Wakefield's favourite park


Theme Park Superhero
Let’s get this over with, it’s a highly anti-climactic finish. All the good stuff had been and gone and we were left with half a day to perform a courtesy mop up of one more park on the platinum pass.
But the bucket was dry.

Day 19 – Dorney Park


For some reason this had the longest queue of any park to even get inside the entrance. Everyone and their dog had turned up for what appeared to be the water park and security were being particularly slow and thorough. Not kicking Hershey’s ass so far are we?

Our original plan was to hit the stupid low capacity mouse fresh and early, but by the time we had reached it there was already a disgusting queue. Thinking it was only going to get worse we joined anyway and then it failed to move for a solid 5 minutes.



Hydra was a walk-on however so, you know, these mice at Cedar Fair parks are just plain awful.


And the ride ain’t half bad all things considered. Silly jojo roll is silly and then I greatly appreciate the non-conforming layout thereafter. It doesn’t drop into an inversion, it’s a little terrain inspired, the shaping of that cobra looks hilariously off and Hydra is an all round good time. Like the B&M I used to know and love.


This being an ancient woodie (and also a walk on) was a complete surprise, I didn’t even know what Thunderhawk #2 was. At least it isn’t another SLC.

In fact it was an even bigger learning experience as it also taught me that this park is well over 100 years old and yet you’d never know it. There’s not a single trace of vintage about the place. A sign in the station proudly proclaims that they used to have dark rides, so what happened there? Incidentally we don’t have any of these listed in the DRDb archive yet – if you have any information to share then please do.

The ride was entirely forgettable at this point. Good, but I don’t even know.


Steel Force was next along the path and yet another coaster with no queue. This one landed squarely in the middle of Mamba and Wild One in terms of float and crunch in the final sequence of hills, which is the only part that really separates them all.


The first half of clunky fun drop and big hill of nothingness, followed by moderately Forceful corners, Steel feels exactly the same. Pretty good.


Oh no, not another Impulse. Lessons thoroughly now learnt it was back row all the way for that rear spike goodness. Is this the one that pinched at the top? It might be.


Woodstock Express isn’t so good here either, just another Zamperla. It was being operated by a child though, so bonus points for intrigue.


Sure enough the Mouse had got even worse by this point so we headed over to the last coaster of significance, Talon, the Grip of Fear. The attraction staff didn’t have the grip of how to operate a ride properly however and it may well have been one of the most arduous ordeals I’ve ever witnessed in an amusement park. What could have easily been 5 minutes on two trains took almost an hour, with the second train consistently spending several cycle times with guests stuck and visibly disgruntled in the burning sun on the final brakes. There was zero hustle, there was barely even comprehension or understanding. It was the final piece of the puzzle in learning what we has all known all along. Dorney Park was kicking nobody’s ass.


As for the coaster, meh, not a fan. Yes it breaks a few moulds but it does nothing with that and ends up very meandery in the moments that aren’t standard fare.

After that fiasco the decision had been made for us. There was no time to suffer the mouse queue and it was off to the airport. It all went far too quickly.

As for Dorney, well, it’s a half day park and we didn't even complete it. There were obvious issues but it’s not a bad lineup at all, when analysed on a global stage. You could quite easily put it on par with the likes of Thorpe Park and that specific part of the world would do very well out of something like Steel Force or even Thunderhawk. The problem is the area of America this happens to be in. There’s literally world class attractions in every direction, just up the road from Dorney. It clearly doesn’t cope well with the slightest crowd levels and, as the place has no soul at all, may well remain relegated forever as the joke park of the region. Why would you come here?

But no doubt I'll be back here for the +1 if I ever get another platinum pass. It's always inevitable that one of the many other parks will build something that will kick Dorney's ass once more, in the near future.

Up next – a characteristically hefty summary.


Theme Park Superhero


Total states - 15
New creds - 160
New dark rides - 12
New parks - 28
New wacky worms - 2
Best new coaster – Steel Vengeance
Best coaster - Skyrush
Best dark ride – Volkanu
Best park – Kenny Knoebels
Distance travelled – 7000 Miles-ish
Spites – 14/174 (8%)

This trip kinda broke me. So many years of build up and so many creds, I've never quite hit that saturation point before and it hadn't really hit me until I totted it all up.
160 coasters. I've obviously done a lot over the years, but never cracked 100 in a single month, let alone 160. Then we consciously skipped 6 by the end of it.

Have you ever stared at your coaster list and thought 'I don't even know what that is?' It's happening to me more and more. It has also been over a month now and I still haven't properly sat down and readjusted my rankings in any semblance of a sensible manner (Phoenix <3). It's definitely getting harder to do that, but I'm determined to keep that part up no matter how deep into this I get. It always needs context, searching for that new best thing is a huge part of the appeal for me and the search goes on.

I may have moaned a lot here but it's more fun that way and it's still kinda my thing. On reflection there was a perfectly healthy balance of pleasant surprises vs disappointments, I just think the biggest shock was not walking away with a single new entry to the top ten after all of that. As promised I've now hit all of the CF top 25 and honestly I struggle to count beyond fingers the number of genuine contender coasters I feel are still out there operating. Which terrifies me on a weekly basis, but I'm undeterred.

Nevertheless, amazing, incredible, trip of a lifetime, loved it, what it's all about, great stuff, good job, god damn Twisted Timbers.

Thanks for reading.

Until next time.


Strata Poster
Good work on pumping these reports out!

I kept thinking to myself, god, I would never do a trip like this. I can do a week, two weeks, but nothing this extensive and with the amount of driving. ESPECIALLY with some... choice detours you took there according to your map. I'm sure you had your reasons, but you definitely could've "simplified" this route a little bit. I mean, was backtracking to Iowa for a Gerstlauer really worth it? ;)


Hyper Poster
That was some trip, and it was interesting to read about it, but the overwhelming feeling I got from most of the reports was that the whole thing was a bit of a chore for you. Obviously there were a few highlights but you just seemed so underwhelmed by most of the trip, which is rather sad. Maybe less is more? :)


Theme Park Superhero
Good work on pumping these reports out!

I kept thinking to myself, god, I would never do a trip like this. I can do a week, two weeks, but nothing this extensive and with the amount of driving. ESPECIALLY with some... choice detours you took there according to your map. I'm sure you had your reasons, but you definitely could've "simplified" this route a little bit. I mean, was backtracking to Iowa for a Gerstlauer really worth it? ;)
Yeah it was worth it, it would bother me far too much to have left it behind and how would I ever complete the Infinity set, you know? ;) It looks pretty bad on the map but most of that detour became a given for the Lost Island antics anyway, and if you've seen my last major Europe trip we did far more for far worse.

Just to clarify on the being broken waffle, that's entirely in reference to mentally keeping track of all the lesser creds and how I view them. Physically it was perfectly manageable, the driving doesn't bother me at all (again, we somehow managed even more miles than that in Europe last year). I was more burnt out in body by ten long days of standing around in Florida than by the physical freedom of a longer roadtrip.

That was some trip, and it was interesting to read about it, but the overwhelming feeling I got from most of the reports was that the whole thing was a bit of a chore for you. Obviously there were a few highlights but you just seemed so underwhelmed by most of the trip, which is rather sad. Maybe less is more? :)
Eh, I still think less is less personally. I know myself to be far too driven to maximise that free time at all costs.
Totally get that it sounds like a chore sometimes, it's partly in the character (I did name the whole thing after the spites after all, which weren't even that bad) and also in the case of days with the 'lesser' stuff there's only so much you can retread old ground on rattling off a list of coasters in famous parks you rode in a day, for a coaster forum.
What that definitely misses out is all the countless hours of fun in between. The getting around, the company, the conversations, the comedy, the good times, the atmosphere, the playlists, the open road. I can sprinkle that in, but you only see the snapshots of what sticks in the head. In no way is that anything but pure holiday to me, and the closest it ever comes to a chore would be dealing with all the hotel and flight faff - something which I consider to be a completely worthwhile chore against the end result, and could also happen no matter what else I was doing with the time.

In terms of underwhelmed for major coasters or parks themselves, yes some of that may seem surprising, to myself included, but that's nothing but genuine in how I've experienced things in one particular bubble and how they stacked up to anything else I've done. I don't want any impression to be given that they were judged on some decreased physical or mental state because of the nature of the trip. Yes I moaned a lot and yes it was stupidly hot, but that happens everywhere, it's nothing new!



Staff member
Social Media Team
Just caught up with this. Epic, as always, and a great read.

Beyond me where you find the motivation, but I salute you for it! :)