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Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America

drachen drachen Profile

Posted:
7/8/11 at
6:28:32 PM

Yes, it’s another drachen review/trip report. I’ve been making my rounds this summer. It feels good to be traveling and riding again. Like I’ve mentioned before, my new work schedule is much more conducive to getting to amusement parks. I promise I won’t post any more reviews until my Indiana excursion at the end of the month…

Finagling a Visit

So, my brother and his wife had flown in for the week (Wildwood trip). They arrived in Philadelphia, and I thought they’d leave from there too. But in actuality, they were flying out of BWI, and when I learned of their plans, the wheels started turning.

“I’ll take them to the airport”, I volunteered, with Six Flags America in the back of my mind. I haven’t been in two years. It worked out that I dropped them off at BWI at 4:45 PM on July 4th. I walked through the SFA gate at 5:20 PM. Traffic is actually very light around DC on the 4th.

I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the park, just enough to ride my three favorite coasters there. The real reason for my trip was to ride Skull Mountain (formerly the Typhoon Sea Coaster). In all of my visits to Six Flags America, I never took the opportunity to ride it. The line was always long, and I always figured I’d be back to ride it later. As I mentioned before, I like flumes almost as much as I like coasters. I couldn’t let this one go away without having ridden it at least once.

Skull Mountain

So, upon entering the park, I headed straight for Skull Mountain, bypassing an empty ROAR. The park has signs posted everywhere about the ride’s closing on July 10th. There are even two boats sitting outside the station – two boats that they could have used on the ride as the line was painfully slow. But, why repair any boats on a ride that is closing in a week? I believe there were five boats on the ride, and they were all close to each other. After the fifth boat left the station, there was a long wait until boat number one returned.

I’m glad I got to ride it. It’s not a bad flume ride at all. In fact, it’s quite fun, and I love nautical themed attractions. The tunnels were dark, with the “Pirate’s Life For Me” song playing. I don’t know if there used to be lights inside to see the gags. It has two small drops midway through the ride. After a tall lift, you hit a rotating platform, turn 90 degrees to the right, and drop down a large, steep drop through the skull’s mouth. You don’t get wet really, though my shoes got soaked from the water sitting in the boat.

As much as I want SFA to add another coaster, I hope their near future plans include a flume to replace Skull Mountain. I don’t think any park should be without one, and this park is losing a good one. I’m curious about their 2012 addition.

The Park

Six Flags America has a lot of potential. The main gate and midway is very well done. I like the western and pirate themed areas. Thomas Town is very nice, and Hurricane Harbor looks great. I just don’t get the Gotham City area. On, my first visit there back in 2002, I was really surprised how far back Batwing was. Just a long path with nothing around it. That area between Superman and Batwing really needs to be developed with some flats. There is a ton of space between the three DC Comics coasters to create a really large and neat themed area, much like Magic Mountain did for this season.

The park has a very urban employee pool to hire from. The kids were great. Every staff member I ran into was friendly and personable. My only complaint is that those kids love the microphone – to a detriment. They are talkative, but I just don’t want to listen to the constant unnecessary yapping into the mic. There was even a games girl that used her microphone to serenade passersby. She would have made the early episodes of American Idol, if you follow me. I had never heard the song before, and it certainly wasn't recognizable.

From an operations standpoint, I felt the operators were slow, perhaps because they were having too much fun with the mics and talking to each other and to the guests, to pay attention to the operations. Not once did I see a train dispatched before the other had been waiting on the brakes for at least a minute.

They cut off Superman’s line just before the station, which I didn’t like. As a single rider, I can maneuver my way through a normal line once I reach the station. Obviously, that wasn’t an option on Superman because they didn’t let more guests into the station until it was empty. I don’t mind this style of line management usually, but the ride ops were so lax about it. There was so much time between chain drops, it really got frustrating. I even saw a few empty seats on the train, and each one I saw frustrated me more. I ended up only riding Superman once because it was really backed up when I got off. I wasn’t putting myself through that again.

There are some real un-kempt areas of the park that are not visible from the pathways. However, if you look down from a ride station or lift hill, you can see some really ugly pieces of ground. I’d like to see them improve in maintaining all of the grounds, not just the landscaping along the walkways. I would include the parking lot in this as well. It’s your first impression of the park as you enter, and it’s just not very well kept up.

I like the park. It has some good rides, and it’s worth the bi-yearly visit I do. There are just a few areas in which it can improve. With a little TLC and some attention to a little more detail, it could be a really good park. I can’t say I’ve ever felt unsafe there, as I have heard from others before.

Crowds were relatively light for July 4th. With speedier operations, I wouldn’t have had to wait long at all for any of the 4 rides I did.

The Coasters – I didn’t ride them all on this visit, but I have ridden them all several times, and will rate them here in order of how I like them, in Geauga Dog’s countdown fashion.

6) Mind Eraser

I don’t hate Vekoma SLC’s like others do, but once I ride one once, I don’t feel a need to ride it again. I rode this one in 2002. It felt like a standard SLC. They’re not terrible rides, but I can rate it as the least enjoyable for me at the park. It’s received a neat yellow and orange paint job in recent years – much better than the teal and maroon it had before.

5) Joker’s Jinx

Again, not a terrible ride, and much better without the OTS restraints. RCDB lists the lap bars as arriving in 2002. I could have sworn I rode it that year with OTS’s. I actually find this ride to be quite thrilling. The launch is great, and the spaghetti bowl is quite intimidating to look at. Head-chopper heaven, and it’s actually pretty smooth. Premier built some fun roller coasters. I miss this ride’s cousins at SFGAdv.

4) Batwing

The only flyer that I’ve ridden that I will re-ride. I really like the Vekoma version much better than the Supermen I’ve ridden from B&M. This coaster’s layout is really fun. The lie-to-fly, fly-to-lie transitions are the best features, as well as the large swooping first turn. The only thing that keeps me from riding it is the line. I haven’t seen two-train operations on it since 2002.

3) ROAR!

I love ROAR!'s layout. GCI’s second coaster still delivers. I prefer the front on this one, but any seat is good. It’s classic GCI, with swooping drops, inclines, and turns throughout. It still rocks the PTC trains, and they still track decently well. I can’t say I wouldn’t like to see the Millennium Flyers on this guy. I think those trains are the reason I like ROAR!’s west coast brother so much.

This is a very fun coaster for me. I did ride this on my July 4th visit. I had a one train wait for the front seat. If I had more time, I would given it a few more rides.

2) Wild One

There’s a great story behind this coaster with the fire, and its relocation to Maryland. I’m glad Wild World saved it. It’s a really fun ride, and the changes Premier did to it aren’t bad either. I love the ride’s location – right across the front of the park. It’s got a great first drop, and a very fun double-up out, double-down back. I love how it threads the needle through Skull Mountain, which won’t be part of the ride next year. One thing that really stood out to me this time was the powerful and smooth helix at the end. I got one front seat ride on it, and waited about 4 trains for it.

1) Superman: Ride of Steel

What can I say about one of the best roller coasters in the country? I love everything about this ride. It blew me away in 2002 as my first Intamin megacoaster. It delivers the same ride today as it did back then.

Superman is sporting a new paint job. It’s the same color scheme. I’m not sure when it was done, but I remember thinking in 2009 that it was due for one. I thought for sure it would get the purple Bizarro theme. But I guess, not, and I’m glad it didn’t.

I got one front-car ride to experience the third-hill air in all its glory. It didn’t disappoint. The ride was great, but I think I like the back better. My favorite features of this ride are the non-OTS restraints, the fabulous first drop, the hard turn off the drop, the second hill – great float, the powerful 540 degree helix, the amazing third hill – ejection city, the powerful second helix, and the super-fun hops into the station. Wait… I just described the whole ride.

I don’t know why this coaster doesn’t get talked about more than it does, and why riders don’t rank it higher than it is. It’s great in every sense of the word. I’ve ridden a lot of roller coasters, and it ranks near the top for me.

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/8/11 7:42:50 PM

> 1) Superman: Ride of Steel

> What can I say about one of the best roller coasters in the
> country? I love everything about this ride. It blew me away
> in 2002 as my first Intamin megacoaster. It delivers the
> same ride today as it did back then.

> Superman is sporting a new paint job. It’s the same color
> scheme. I’m not sure when it was done, but I remember
> thinking in 2009 that it was due for one. I thought for
> sure it would get the purple Bizarro theme. But I guess,
> not, and I’m glad it didn’t.

> I got one front-car ride to experience the third-hill air
> in all its glory. It didn’t disappoint. The ride was
> great, but I think I like the back better. My favorite
> features of this ride are the non-OTS restraints, the
> fabulous first drop, the hard turn off the drop, the second
> hill – great float, the powerful 540 degree helix, the
> amazing third hill – ejection city, the powerful second
> helix, and the super-fun hops into the station. Wait… I
> just described the whole ride.

> I don’t know why this coaster doesn’t get talked about
> more than it does, and why riders don’t rank it higher
> than it is. It’s great in every sense of the word. I’ve
> ridden a lot of roller coasters, and it ranks near the top
> for me.
>
It's become my #2 steel. I get a ton of airtime, and it's a back seat ride all the way. Vague possibility I'll get down there one more time this season. Maybe this time I won't have to take the walk of shame on Batwing. Thanks for the report, drachen.

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 7/8/11 8:44:00 PM

Thanks for the TR. While I haven't been to this park yet Six Flags America has intrigued me ever since they flagged Adventure World as I sort of dig the idea behind the theming of the park. It's definitely on my list of to do parks when I head back down to BGW/KD in the near future.

> Skull Mountain

> After a tall lift, you hit a
> rotating platform, turn 90 degrees to the right, and drop
> down a large, steep drop through the skull’s mouth.

Was this the only flume in the U.S. with the rotating platform? Sounds like it had the potential to be a maintenance nightmare.

> 5) Joker’s Jinx

> The launch is great, and the spaghetti bowl is quite intimidating to look at. Head-chopper heaven, and it’s actually pretty smooth.

While they are the same do you prefer the indoor Flight of Fear or the outdoor version? Do they literally stop the train on the mid-course like they do at Kings Island?

> Premier built some fun roller coasters. I miss this
> ride’s cousins at SFGAdv.

I'm somewhat surprised we don't see more of their rides being built. I haven't been disappointed in any of their rides thus far. And Chiller was a good ride. Too bad they couldn't have at least saved one of the tracks.

> 4) Batwing

> I really like the Vekoma version much better than the
> Supermen I’ve ridden from B&M.

I agree and the loop is not as intense as the pretzel loop. I would much rather be lying on my back at the end instead of in the flying position.

> 3) ROAR!

> I can’t say I wouldn’t like to see the Millennium Flyers on this guy. I think those trains are the reason I like ROAR!’s west coast brother so much.

I'm surprised they haven't switched to the Millennium Flyer trains yet. Don't the PTC's tear up the track more? I also love Roar West, which was my very first GCI coaster.

> 2) Wild One

The reason I haven't been to SFA yet is because I look at the park as being an "I've been there, done that" park with all the clones I've ridden elsewhere. However this ride seems to always get good reviews and with your review it's made me want to check it out soon.

> 1) Superman: Ride of Steel

> I don’t know why this coaster doesn’t get talked about
> more than it does, and why riders don’t rank it higher
> than it is. It’s great in every sense of the word. I’ve
> ridden a lot of roller coasters, and it ranks near the top
> for me.

What kind of belts does it have? Are they the skinny Intamin belts or have they been replaced with bigger belts? Are the belts also short in length? Just wondering as I have a hard time getting on Darien Lake's and they have the big orange belts that are also a bit short in length. I guess when I get to SFA I won't be riding this coaster.

G-Dog

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by alpengeistno3 at 7/8/11 10:42:55 PM

> Skull Mountain

> After a tall lift, you hit a
> rotating platform, turn 90 degrees to the right, and drop
> down a large, steep drop through the skull’s mouth.

> Was this the only flume in the U.S. with the rotating
> platform? Sounds like it had the potential to be a
> maintenance nightmare.

Not only that, originally the ride had 3. The platforms worked fine, but would always "set the ride up" (you were a ride op, so I assume you know what that means). That's the reason they only run 4 or 5 boats despite the ride being almost 9 mins long.

> 5) Joker’s Jinx

> The launch is great, and the spaghetti bowl is quite
> intimidating to look at. Head-chopper heaven, and it’s
> actually pretty smooth.

> While they are the same do you prefer the indoor Flight of
> Fear or the outdoor version? Do they literally stop the
> train on the mid-course like they do at Kings Island?

I personally prefer the indoor ones, despite the mid course. Something about swirling around a ball a track in broad daylight has never sat well with me.

JJ has no mid course and is actually "smoother" than either of the indoor Flight of Fears.

> 3) ROAR!

> I can’t say I wouldn’t like to see the Millennium
> Flyers on this guy. I think those trains are the reason I
> like ROAR!’s west coast brother so much.

> I'm surprised they haven't switched to the Millennium Flyer
> trains yet. Don't the PTC's tear up the track more? I also
> love Roar West, which was my very first GCI coaster.

Roar really is "tame" compared to some of GCI's other creations. Surprisingly, the PTC's have done little to destroy the track (I hear SFA does a lot to take care of it, though.) I don't forsee them getting MF's unless GCI tosses them a SWEET deal on them.

> 2) Wild One

> The reason I haven't been to SFA yet is because I look at
> the park as being an "I've been there, done that"
> park with all the clones I've ridden elsewhere. However
> this ride seems to always get good reviews and with your
> review it's made me want to check it out soon.

> 1) Superman: Ride of Steel

> I don’t know why this coaster doesn’t get talked about
> more than it does, and why riders don’t rank it higher
> than it is. It’s great in every sense of the word. I’ve
> ridden a lot of roller coasters, and it ranks near the top
> for me.

> What kind of belts does it have? Are they the skinny
> Intamin belts or have they been replaced with bigger belts?
> Are the belts also short in length? Just wondering as I
> have a hard time getting on Darien Lake's and they have the
> big orange belts that are also a bit short in length. I
> guess when I get to SFA I won't be riding this coaster.

Well, from what I have heard, the belts and bars are designed to fit a 42" waist or 250 lbs. At 290, I can ALMOST get them closed. (my thumbs were in the way and they wouldn't offer any assistance at all.) If you can fit El Toro, you can definitely do Supes.

Paul

> G-Dog

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by drachen drachen Profile at 7/9/11 5:49:35 PM

> > It's become my #2 steel. I get a ton of airtime, and
> it's a back seat ride all the way. Vague possibility I'll
> get down there one more time this season. Maybe this time I
> won't have to take the walk of shame on Batwing.

And that would be one long walk of shame on that ride.

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/9/11 6:02:02 PM

> > It's become my #2 steel. I get a ton of airtime, and
> it's a back seat ride all the way. Vague possibility I'll
> get down there one more time this season. Maybe this time I
> won't have to take the walk of shame on Batwing.

> And that would be one long walk of shame on that
> ride.

>
Nah. To me, the walk of shame ends when you're off the platform. I know..I've done it twice. Once on Batwing, once on Millennium Force.

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by alpengeistno3 at 7/9/11 8:07:33 PM

> > Nah. To me, the walk of shame ends when you're off the
> platform. I know..I've done it twice. Once on Batwing, once
> on Millennium Force.

>
Mike,
What made you have to walk from Batwing? I'm sure I'm heavier than you and I got on with no problem. Supes, El Toro, Joker's Jinx (if I get the lazy ops who won't push down on the bars) and FOF (if I get the train #1 with the shorter belts) all send me for the walk.

Paul

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/9/11 8:43:20 PM

> > Nah. To me, the walk of shame ends when you're off the
> platform. I know..I've done it twice. Once on Batwing, once
> on Millennium Force.

> > Mike,
> What made you have to walk from Batwing? I'm sure I'm
> heavier than you and I got on with no problem. Supes, El
> Toro, Joker's Jinx (if I get the lazy ops who won't push
> down on the bars) and FOF (if I get the train #1 with the
> shorter belts) all send me for the walk.

> Paul

When I was down there in April, I tried to ride Batwing before I met Darkwing (too many WINGS!!! AAAAHHHH!!!) I was on and thought I was fully secured. The op said I was not and told me to get off. Another guy, bigger than me, was also removed from the same row at the same time, so maybe that had something to do with it? I have no idea. Is it like el Toro, where if the sensors say you're not going, you're not going? After meeting Darkwing and getting a couple laps on Supes, we headed back to Batwing so I could try again and she could get her first. The line was prohibitive at that point so we passed on it.

You rode Toro with me, didn't you? I don't remember you having any issues at that time.

Mike

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 7/9/11 9:26:34 PM

> Well, from what I have heard, the belts and bars are
> designed to fit a 42" waist or 250 lbs. At 290, I can
> ALMOST get them closed. (my thumbs were in the way and they
> wouldn't offer any assistance at all.) If you can fit El
> Toro, you can definitely do Supes.

I'm more like a 41" waist but I wear 42's and I weigh about 235 and I struggle with the belts. Even the last time when I tried to ride Millennium Force, which I want to say was 2004/2005 I almost had to do the walk of shame as I struggled with those belts and I weighed a less then. I do have big thighs and I realize that is my problem area. Now I'm a bit worried about if I'll fit on El Toro or not.

G-Dog

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/9/11 10:00:44 PM

> I'm more like a 41" waist but I wear 42's and I weigh
> about 235 and I struggle with the belts. Even the last time
> when I tried to ride Millennium Force, which I want to say
> was 2004/2005 I almost had to do the walk of shame as I
> struggled with those belts and I weighed a less then. I do
> have big thighs and I realize that is my problem area. Now
> I'm a bit worried about if I'll fit on El Toro or not.

> G-Dog

I'm exactly the same weight and waist size as you. I have to be stapled into Toro's seat, but I've never had a problem with the belt and have never had to be turned away. The lap bar is what causes issues.

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/9/11 10:09:39 PM

My waist is 38 inches. I barely fit in the 2nd or 3rd row of each car of the train last month on El Toro. In the front of each car there is more leg room that allows for you to sit up strait and decrease the mass of your midsection. If your waist is 41 inches, it's probably your only chance to get the green light.

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by alpengeistno3 at 7/9/11 10:10:25 PM

> > Nah. To me, the walk of shame ends when you're off the
> platform. I know..I've done it twice. Once on Batwing, once
> on Millennium Force.

> > Mike,
> What made you have to walk from Batwing? I'm sure I'm
> heavier than you and I got on with no problem. Supes, El
> Toro, Joker's Jinx (if I get the lazy ops who won't push
> down on the bars) and FOF (if I get the train #1 with the
> shorter belts) all send me for the walk.

> Paul

> When I was down there in April, I tried to ride Batwing
> before I met Darkwing (too many WINGS!!! AAAAHHHH!!!) I was
> on and thought I was fully secured. The op said I was not
> and told me to get off. Another guy, bigger than me, was
> also removed from the same row at the same time, so maybe
> that had something to do with it? I have no idea. Is it
> like el Toro, where if the sensors say you're not going,
> you're not going? After meeting Darkwing and getting a
> couple laps on Supes, we headed back to Batwing so I could
> try again and she could get her first. The line was
> prohibitive at that point so we passed on it.

Yes, Bats has sensors. I got 3 clicks out of the bar and fit fine in the back row.

> You rode Toro with me, didn't you? I don't remember you
> having any issues at that time.

That was 3 years and 20 lbs ago. Lines didn't allow for trying seats last year when I went to Gradv, but I tried 3-1 and got denied.

Paul

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by squirrels at 7/12/11 10:08:06 AM

How were the other guests/crowd in general?

I live in the area, but I've never gone there...the stories I've heard suggest that it's a rough crowd. I've been worried about fitting in the coaster restraints while sporting a bullet-proof vest.

Re: Another Review/TR -- This Time Six Flags America by drachen drachen Profile at 7/14/11 3:23:43 PM

> Thanks for the TR. While I haven't been to this park yet
> Six Flags America has intrigued me ever since they flagged
> Adventure World as I sort of dig the idea behind the
> theming of the park. It's definitely on my list of to do
> parks when I head back down to BGW/KD in the near future.

If you're near KD and have an extra day, I would certainly recommend spending a few hours at SFA. It's got three really good roller coasters. The other three aren't bad rides at all either.

>> 5) Joker’s Jinx

>> The launch is great, and the spaghetti bowl is quite
>> intimidating to look at. Head-chopper heaven, and it’s
>> actually pretty smooth.

> While they are the same do you prefer the indoor Flight of
> Fear or the outdoor version? Do they literally stop the
> train on the mid-course like they do at Kings Island?

The indoor version is pretty cool. I guess I would prefer that one. But the outdoor version is just as good of a ride - just brighter and hotter. I don't remember a mid-course break run on Joker's Jinx. If there is, it would only be in use when they are operating two trains, which they weren't on the 4th. If they weren't using the second train on the 4th, I don't know how often they use it at all.

>> Premier built some fun roller coasters. I miss this
>> ride’s cousins at SFGAdv.

> I'm somewhat surprised we don't see more of their rides
> being built. I haven't been disappointed in any of their
> rides thus far. And Chiller was a good ride. Too bad they
> couldn't have at least saved one of the tracks.

I agree. I have yet to meet a Premier ride that I didn't like. I think Premier took a lot of slack because their OTS restraints were just awful - probably the worst I've experienced.

Their launched rides are electricity monsters. They take so much energy to launch. Having two of them side by side was a utilities nightmare for SFGAdv. It's a shame too. That ride was a treat to ride and a treat for the eyes.

>> 3) ROAR!

>> I can’t say I wouldn’t like to see the Millennium
>> Flyers on this guy. I think those trains are the reason I
>> like ROAR!’s west coast brother so much.

> I'm surprised they haven't switched to the Millennium Flyer
> trains yet. Don't the PTC's tear up the track more? I also
> love Roar West, which was my very first GCI coaster.

I guess if it ain't broke, don't fix it. New trains aren't cheap. When it comes time to replace the trains, I'm sure they'll look at GCI's. I don't think the PTC's are terrible, but the Millennium Flyers track so well.

>> 2) Wild One

> The reason I haven't been to SFA yet is because I look at
> the park as being an "I've been there, done that"
> park with all the clones I've ridden elsewhere. However
> this ride seems to always get good reviews and with your
> review it's made me want to check it out soon.

It really is good. If it weren't for Superman, this would be the best ride here. It's not rough, which makes it very re-rideable. It's not to be missed.

>> 1) Superman: Ride of Steel

>> I don’t know why this coaster doesn’t get talked about
>> more than it does, and why riders don’t rank it higher
>> than it is. It’s great in every sense of the word. I’ve
>> ridden a lot of roller coasters, and it ranks near the top
>> for me.

> What kind of belts does it have? Are they the skinny
> Intamin belts or have they been replaced with bigger belts?
> Are the belts also short in length? Just wondering as I
> have a hard time getting on Darien Lake's and they have the
> big orange belts that are also a bit short in length. I
> guess when I get to SFA I won't be riding this coaster.

They are the standard Intamin belts. They're not a problem for me, though if I was 50 pounds heavier they would be. I don't think these rides will ever see longer seat belts, with the ejection history Intamin lab-bar rides have.

I know there have only been three ejections out of millions of rides given. But three ejections is three too many, no matter how you look at it.

I don't mean to offend anyone when I say this, so please don't take offense. But as much as I love roller coasters, and as much as I don't eat healthy or exercise enough currently, the day I can't fit into a ride comfortably is the day I seriously start to diet and exercise. I can't picture not being able to ride anything I want.

I'm 6' 210 lbs, which is heavier than I want to be. I'm not as athletic as I used to be, and certainly not as fit. I can feel it when I ride more aggressive coasters. When I coaster beats me up a little, it inspires me to do push-ups and sit-ups to strengthen my core to handle these things better.

But then I get home and do nothing about it... Perhaps I should start.