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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG!

Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG!

Schrecken Schrecken Profile

Posted:
8/10/11 at
5:07:07 PM

I just got back from my annual coaster road trip I take every year with my friend Karen. This year we decided to hit Indiana Beach, Six Flags Great America and Cedar Point. The first two parks were new to me so I was exited that I could add quite a few coasters to my current count, + I hadn't visited CP since Maverick came along.

First up was IB, which was about a 3 hr drive from Karen's house (she lives near Cincinnati, so I had made the 8.5 hr drive from my Maryland home the previous day). We got to the park just before 11 am, and already it was hellishly hot. After using our ACE cards to receive a nice discount, we entered the park near Steel Hawg. There was a bit of a line there, and we noticed they were running only two trains, so we decided to save that for later on. The first coaster we rode was Cornball Express. It was essentially a walk-on, even with only one train running. We got three very enjoyable front seat rides before moving on. Next we climbed a million steps to ride the Hoosier Hurricane, but just as we neared the top it broke down. Knowing that the park wasn't that crowded, we decided to ride some other stuff and come back to that later.

Next we did Tig'rr, which was also pretty much a walk-on and a fun little coaster. Unfortunately by that time the heat was really beginning to build up (unbeknown to us at the time, the weather service had issued a heat advisory) so we went looking for a food or drink place to get some ice water. But we found to our dismay that every place we checked said they had no water, and all we were able to find was a single water fountain with funky-smelling (though thankfully it was just a smell and not a taste) water near the Cornball Express. I have never been to a park that couldn't or wouldn't give out tap water to guests who ask for it, especially with the weather being so hot. A big thumbs down to the park on account of that.

So, after drinking all we could from the stinky fountain, we went into some gift shops to try and cool off, and luckily these were nice and well air-conditioned. Then I was getting pretty hungry, and we decided to eat at the main restaurant that looks out over the lake. I got fried chicken and mashed potatoes, which was tasty, and Karen got a couple of side dishes because she wasn't that hungry (+ she has lactose intolerance and has to be very careful about park food), though I did end up sharing some of my chicken with her as the portion size was pretty good. I got a soda with my meal and Karen did get some ice water there, and as we were leaving the waitress was nice enough to top us off with a free refill before we left. We kept our styrofoam cups (we wrote our names on them and were able to leave them in the cubby holes on the ride platforms) and were able to refill them at the fountain for the rest of the day, which made things a bit more tolerable.

Next we headed for the Hoosier Hurricane, which was now up and running. Karen had ridden it before and didn't remember it being that rough, so we rode about two-thirds of the way to the back. Well, that was a huge mistake on my part, and I should have known better! My neck was killing me when I got off, due to quite a bit of jackhammering in several of the bottoms of the smaller hills towards the end of the ride. Karen wasn't as bothered by that as I was, and she wanted to ride again, so I bravely opted to try it again in the front seat. It was better there but still too rough for my tastes, and I had had enough of those two woodies for the day.

So we finally headed over to do Steel Hawg. The line was shorter but oh so slow to load with only two trains. Plus, none of the lines at IB are shaded and you are at the mercy of the sun beating down on you when it's really hot. Not only that, there are no fans or misters anywhere as is often the case at some other parks. Just standing there for maybe 15 minutes was torturous. Finally we got to board the train and got our brief but interesting ride on the Hawg. This coaster isn't fast by any stretch of the imagination, but the first drop and the extended section where you are upside down are quite unique, and also the outward-banked curves. It was fun, even though it moved a bit slower than I expected. We opted for another ride while we were over on that side of the park, and roasted again for what seemed like eternity in line on the steps (though was probably only 10 mins).

Then we moved on over to the boardwalk part of the park and did the Lost Coaster. Again, very slow loader, baking in the line, and I wasn't able to choose a forward-facing seat. I like to be able to see where I am going on a coaster I have never been on before so I can anticipate any places where I might have to brace myself (I have a bad back) against any rough spots. But luckily this coaster wasn't too rough, that coupled with the fact that it's also fairly slow. Not a bad ride (and another unique coaster) but I wish I could have done it facing forward.

After that, we did the Galaxy, which was pretty mundane, as expected. Then into a gift shop to cool off, and then I decided I wanted to ride the sky lift. Karen has a fear of heights (which only comes into play on rides that are very slow, appear to have minimal restraints, or stop at great heights, like ferris wheels and non-enclosed sky rides), so she hung out in the gift shop over on the end of the boardwalk opposite of the Double Shot (which unfortunately was closed) while I rode. I got off on the other side and got back on and rode it back to where Karen was waiting. Then we did some flat rides, which, like the Paratrooper, were really nice since they were right on the water.

At that point it was a little after 6 pm, and we decided we'd head on out and head on back to our hotel to escape the heat, which had made both of us feel really wore out. We passed on a final ride on Steel Hawg since the line had gotten pretty long and we blanched at the thought of cooking in the sun one last time.

I think I would have liked this park much better had the heat not been so intense, even though I realize the parks have no control over the weather. But, I do think there are things they can do (like shading ride lines, offering tap water, installing some fans) to help mitigate the heat. One final note on this and the rest of our trip - we opted not to do the water parks because Karen wears glasses and she can't wear them in the water due to possible chlorine damage and then she feels like she doesn't get as much enjoyment out of it because she can't see. Otherwise we probably would have taken a dip at some point in the day to cool off.

The next morning (which was this past Wed the 3rd) we got up early and drove the 1.5 hrs from our hotel to SFGrA. The weather was overcast and the sky rather ominous looking, so we were worrying that it might rain, but when we got to the park the sun had come out, which turned out to be not so good in the long run. We entered the park around 10:30 am, and decided to hit The Dark Knight since we had heard this was a really slow loader and the lines could get very long. Well, we waited for perhaps 45 mins in a building that suffered from the same problems at IB - no ventilation, and it got really warm with all those people standing in there. No fans, and no AC. Finally we got to ride (we were hoping this was a mouse like the one at Kennywood, but no such luck), and boy what a disappointment! All that themeing and all that wait for a boring wild mouse that didn't even spin! Other riders also were remarking about what a dud this ride turned out to be. Then we went on over to Superman (probably a bad decision on our part, since the line was extremely long, and we might have had better luck later in the day). We waited there for what turned out to be an hr and 45 mins, blowing the rest of our morning and leading into the afternoon. Again, part of the line was unshaded and no fans, and we just roasted and became very thirsty. It wasn't as humid as it was at IB, but when the summer sun beats down on you it's pretty darned hot! Worse yet, some woman not far behind us passed out. It was while in line for this ride that it dawned on us what a total abysmal drag the Fast Pass option had become to those of us who were unwilling or unable (in our case unable, as Karen's job had cut her hours back pretty drastically, and I'm on a budget too) to upgrade to that. Every park I've ever been to that has a similar system has always seemed to make it pretty unobtrusive to the patrons who wait in the regular lines. A few people here and there are allowed to dribble into the front of the line, but here at this park huge herds of people (more than 30 at a time in some cases) were allowed to cut in the front of the line, all the while the regular line would just come to a standstill for what seemed like forever. To add to the insult, the little signs posted at various places in the lines telling riders how long they'd have to wait were grossly misrepresented due to the FP system. A sign said you'd wait 30 mins from here, and it would turn into 45 mins or even worse. I've never seen anything like this in a park and hope to never again. BTW, I really did like Superman, and for some reason this one seemed a lot better than the one at SFOG.

Then we did Ragin Cajun, as it was right in that area. That was more fun that TDK and rather redundant having two rides like that in the same park.

Every ride, even the older ones, were crowded like that. And on Batman (the B&M, not TDK) as we got to the gates, a huge group of people from the opposite side filled every place on the incoming train - no idea where they came from or what the purpose of that was, but it sure did suck. The only saving grace there is that the front seat had two empty seats, which the ride ops allowed us to upgrade to, so we did get a front seat ride on Batman.

After that, I was really hungry and I went back to my car and ate some food that I had purchased earlier in the day and had stowed in my cooler. I sneaked some snacks back into the park for Karen (again, due to the lactose intolerance she doesn't usually eat the park food) and after she ate we quickly headed over to Raging Bull. Again, a line that lasted forever, though thankfully most of this was in the shade. By this time the sun was getting low, so we were really worried about being able to ride all the coasters before closing time. Finally we got to board the trains, and we took a seat in the 2nd row. I like the first part, which reminds me a lot of Goliath at SFMM, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out why there was a trim on upside of that one hill. That seemed really weird, though after that trim there were a couple of rough spots in the troughs so perhaps that was the reason for it being there. Not a bad ride, but not my favorite hyper either.
Then we did Viper, as it was right there, but also a long wait. But we did decide to ride in the front, since the front seat line wasn't much longer. This was a nice woody that wasn't too rough.

I decided to pass on the Demon, due to time restrictions and knowing that it was an old head-banging Arrow looper. Also passed on Vertical Velocity, again, due to long lines and knowing that CP has Wicked Twister if I wanted to ride one of those. I really did want to ride Iron Wolf, but we made another mistake and attempted to have a quick ride on one of the flats, Ricochet, which was anything but. Even the flats had hellishly long lines. We also had done Condor earlier in the day, though the line for that wasn't quite as long as for this one.

Then it was almost dark, and I figured I'd cut my losses and head for Whizzer on the way out. We waited at least 45 minutes for that, but it was totally dark by then and I found this ride to be a lot of fun in the dark, especially since we sat in the very back. So then it was time to leave, and I was really disappointed that I got in so few rides and my feet were killing me from all that waiting. I swear I felt I spent the whole day just waiting in line....I wasn't too upset about missing V2 and Demon (and also American Eagle was down so that was a moot point) but really P.O.'ed about missing Iron Wolf (though if rumors are true I suppose I will at least be able to ride that if it comes to SFA and I can count it then). All in all, while I found the park to be clean and well-maintained, and with a decent clientele, and decent employees, I still found the general experience to be negative due to lines being much longer than they should of been due to poor management. I was glad when I got my survey in my inbox and I did politely give them a piece of my mind about my unfortunate experiences at the park.

Finally it was time to head for Cedar Point. The next morning we set out to make the rougly 5 1/2 hr drive from where we were staying to Sandusky. Unfortunately the mapping I had done online omitted that much, if not all of our easterly route was on toll roads. Mapquest said "portions toll" but I didn't take that to mean the whole darned stretch of freeway would be one toll after another! Luckily Karen had a paper map with her and we decided to take Route 6, the back road way east all the way to Sandusky. It did take a bit more than 5.5 hrs, though, and after stopping to get a bite to eat, we finally rolled into town around dusk. The only problem with that was that I had to find a local store where I could buy my CP ticket (I didn't have a season pass as did Karen), and we searched for more than a half hour for some drugstore that was mentioned on CP's site, to no avail. So we did find a Meijer's and I bought my ticket there.

The next morning we arrived at the park around 9:20 am, early enough for Karen to enter the park early (unfortunately I couldn't join her, but I did use the time to make some phone calls that I needed to make). I headed around to the side entrance of the park by the marina and waited a short amount of time until I was allowed in around quarter till ten. I immediately headed to the back of the park towards Maverick, to get that out of the way before the lines got really long. It seemed to take forever to get back there, further than I had remembered that part of the park being. I did end up waiting maybe 20 or 25 mins to ride, and the wait was helped by the fact that I was, at least for this one ride, a single rider. The only bad thing was I took the chance of being stuck wherever the ride ops could find an empty seat. This ended up being towards the back of the train. I had been forewarned many times by many people that there is a risk of a head-banging and I planned ahead accordingly. I did manage to ride the entire ride with only one incident of having my ear boxed a bit, and that was at the very end. If this ride had soft restraints like I-305 it would be really great. It has a great sense of speed and pretty wild turns, and would be even better if the rider didn't have to work hard to avoid a head-banging.

So then I walked back over to where I would meet up with Karen at MF. The lines for that had gotten pretty long so we decided to save that for later and headed for Mean Streak. I decided to give this coaster another try since it had been worked on, and just to be safe we rode in the front seat. In the front I'd say it is at least rideable, though not something I'd really care if I ever rode again. Then we did Blue Streak, again, in the front, where it was just like I remember it the last time; not a bad woodie but not the best I'd ever ridden.

After that, we figured that the lines on Raptor might be shorter and indeed they were. Raptor is a bit of a conundrum for me. Most everyone loves it, but for some reason it has always rubbed me the wrong way. But like MS, I decided to give it another chance. We rode in the very front seat, me in one of the outer seats (that might have been my mistake here, since I had forgotten that the outer seats on a B&M can be a bit rough compared to the inner ones, I found that out last time I rode Dominator) and Karen in one of the inner ones. Well, unfortunately I vividly recalled why I wasn't enamored of this ride the last time I was at CP. I got a head-banging almost worthy of a Vekoma, sad to say. Of all the B&Ms I encountered on my trip, this was the roughest by far. So I had to pass on a second ride, and I left Karen to try and grab some repeat rides while I headed out to the car to get some things. When I came back she only got on extra ride, because someone got sick and they were only filling one train to presumably dry the other one off.

So then we ate lunch at the Panda Express and cooled off a bit in the AC. Then we headed over to the other side of the park and rode Max Air. And after that, Disaster Transport. For some reason the inside line area on DT seemed even darker than it had before, as if some of the lighting was turned off. We waited maybe 20 mins or so on this one. Then we got in line for Windseeker. This line wasn't too long either (the whole park didn't seem to be super-crowded, and most major rides only had 20-30 min waits, and a bit less for many of the flats), maybe 15-20 mins. The ascent was a bit unnerving, especially when you are looking down on Wicked Twister, but the view over the lake was awesome and the breeze beautiful. The location really makes this ride. You can see the entire park from up here and you get a bit longer of a look at it than from MF or TTD.

Afterwards, we made our way to Magnum. The line was very short and we went for the 2nd seat, which Karen seems to think is the least rough and least likely to leave lap bar bruises. I didn't find it any rougher than I remember, though the last three bunny hops were a tad bit painful, but I didn't receive any bruises from it. The airtime was excellent as always.

Then we went over to ride Gemini. It was only running the blue side and the line was a bit longer than what it should have been. The red train was stuck on the lift hill and the other in the station. We opted to ride in front, and this coaster did seem rougher to me than when I had ridden it the last time. Perhaps I was on the red train or in a different seat, but it was rougher than I recall. Then, after we had ridden, they got the red trains going - figures! The sun was getting low and we headed back over to TTD (which had an hour and a quarter wait the last time we passed it by, about an hour ago, which was probably so long due to the fact it had temporarily shut down earlier). We did the Witch's Wheel on the way over, since it was right nearby. The line on TTD was down to about an hr at this point, but I didn't want to leave the park w/o a ride on it. So we got in line for it, at this point figuring we'd just about be able to get over to MF before the line for that closed. The wait times displayed at various rides at CP were pretty accurate, and about an hour later we were behind the gates about to board a train. One of the ride ops asked those who had already taken their seats if anyone was scared, and more than a few hands were raised. That reminded me of my first ride on TTD way back in 04' at Coastermania. I must say I'm pretty jaded and have been since I got heavily into coasters way back in the late 90's, but I must admit that TTD and MF have been virtually the only coasters that actually had me a bit freaked on my first ride. I recall getting off of TTD after that first ride and my whole body was shaking...first with fear and then with exhilaration, and since then I've never really been able to get enough of it. Even though I have ridden TTD many times over the years (mostly at Coastermania events, since that's about the only time you can really get any decent amount of re-rides), the exitement returned as the launch sequence began. I had truly forgotten what a total rush this ride is, despite it being very short and only a "one trick pony". Before I knew it we were over the top and into the brake run, and I had gotten my rush on my 2nd favorite coaster at CP.

So then, finally, we had saved the best for last. We headed over to Millie and already the line was really long, longer than I remember it being during the day. The line was also moving rather slowly, and for a moment I thought (as did a few others in the line nearby) that they were only running two trains rather than the usual three. Earlier in the day, when we had thought about catching a ride, Millie had been briefly closed, so I wondered if that didn't have something to do with the slow moving line. I think the line seemed even slower than it really was due to some really obnoxious teenagers who were in line right behind us. They spent the better part of the hour-long wait cursing and spitting and basically doing everything they could to make everyone around them miserable. Sadly there was no park security in sight. But finally we got to the station and the hooligans that had been behind us vanished into the crowd as we decided on the 2nd seat. One of the trains had the 2nd seat closed off, so we had to wait a bit longer than we expected. But finally we were able to board, and we found ourselves ascending that oh so quick and steep (and of course very quiet) lift hill. As always Millie delivered, a breath-taking rush nearly straight down into the darkness, and just seconds before we caught a beautiful glimpse of the soft moonlight reflected on the surface of Lake Erie. Unlike TTD, MF does seem to go on forever, in a good way, of course, and still maintains utterly blistering speed even into the brake run. After that last awesome ride, it was finally time for our 2011 coaster road trip to draw to a close (well, only the coaster part, I still had to drive back home the next morning).

All in all I'd say I had a decent trip, even though I was very dissapointed in the way the crowds were managed at SFGrA. In another time and place I really think I might like that park; perhaps in the fall when crowds tend to be much lighter and the weather cooler. No idea when I will get back there, so I must leave those potential additions to my coaster count un-counted for now. I could say the same thing for IB, weather-wise. I'm glad I visited that park, I just with the weather had been more cooperative. Thankfully I've never had a bad experience at CP; perhaps the only detriment to that park is that the bugs can be really bad.

Here are some pictures I took on my trip - the first two are Raging Bull, the third is the double-decker carosel at SFGrA, the midway at IB, the next is Maverick and the last is me in front of Windseeker.





Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by drachen drachen Profile at 8/10/11 5:45:35 PM

> so we went looking for a food or drink place to get some
> ice water. But we found to our dismay that every place we
> checked said they had no water, and all we were able to
> find was a single water fountain with funky-smelling
> (though thankfully it was just a smell and not a taste)
> water near the Cornball Express. I have never been to a
> park that couldn't or wouldn't give out tap water to guests
> who ask for it, especially with the weather being so hot. A
> big thumbs down to the park on account of that.

I enjoyed reading your TR.

I just got back from Indiana Beach too. In fact, I was there the week before you. (My TR is attached below.) I actually really enjoyed Indiana Beach, the park. But, I thought their operations were pretty poor.

Regarding the tap water, we stayed there in a cottage. I can tell you that the public water at Indiana Beach is very poor quality. It is high in iron, and tastes very metallic. I don't blame the park for not serving tap water to guests. I'm sure the water feeding their soda machines is filtered.

I thought SFGAm was one of the nicest Six Flags parks I've been to. But, I went on a September Saturday, and the crowds were non-existent. That may have swayed my opinion.

The good thing about not getting to do everything you wanted to at a park is that it motivates you to return.

Indiana Beach & Holiday World - Finally! TR/Review (Lengthy)

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 8/10/11 6:16:11 PM

Nice TR! Too bad the weather was so hot. Being so uncomfortable does affect your perception of things. I'm surprised to hear about IB with the water situation. Being that hot AND thirsty makes things even worse. Even Six Flags (the cheapest chain in the bunch IMO) has been giving out ice water. I got several cups at SFA and when we went to SFGAdv they were refilling my Poland Springs bottle I had brought in with super cold water from the soda fountain.

I didn't realize SFGA was that close to IB. Perhaps I should start planning my trip for for next year. :~)

Jen

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by Rollercoaster_freak220 Rollercoaster_freak220 Profile at 8/10/11 7:50:57 PM

Great TR! I'm sorry that the weather was so bad at IB. It had to be one of those "water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink" situations, especially with the lake surrounding you the whole time. I'm surprised at the water refusal. They'd better rethink that policy on days like that, or they may find themselves at the business end of some kind of lawsuit.

It's too bad the crowds were so heavy at SFGAm. It's a great park. That park will always have a special place in my heart since it's where I first really fell in love with coasters, and even more so, because that's where I got engaged. Oh, and BTW, the picture of the carousel at night is fantastic! :)

Glad you had an awesome time at CP. When CP has light crowds, this guy has a good flippin day! lol I'm very surprised to hear your feelings about Raptor though. It's my second-favorite inverted coaster, and I've never had any serious head-banging on it (apart from the atrocious snap into the brake-run.)

Glad you had fun and got some new coasters under your belt!

-Josh

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 8/11/11 1:42:37 AM

> so we went looking for a food or drink place to get some
> ice water. But we found to our dismay that every place we
> checked said they had no water, and all we were able to
> find was a single water fountain with funky-smelling
> (though thankfully it was just a smell and not a taste)
> water near the Cornball Express. I have never been to a
> park that couldn't or wouldn't give out tap water to guests
> who ask for it, especially with the weather being so hot. A
> big thumbs down to the park on account of that.

> I enjoyed reading your TR.

> I just got back from Indiana Beach too. In fact, I was
> there the week before you. (My TR is attached below.) I
> actually really enjoyed Indiana Beach, the park. But, I
> thought their operations were pretty poor.

> Regarding the tap water, we stayed there in a cottage. I
> can tell you that the public water at Indiana Beach is very
> poor quality. It is high in iron, and tastes very metallic.
> I don't blame the park for not serving tap water to guests.
> I'm sure the water feeding their soda machines is filtered.

> I thought SFGAm was one of the nicest Six Flags parks I've
> been to. But, I went on a September Saturday, and the
> crowds were non-existent. That may have swayed my opinion.

> The good thing about not getting to do everything you
> wanted to at a park is that it motivates you to return.

I did read your TR - seems that they were loading the rides every bit as slowly when you were at IB too! I also fully agree with you about HW being the better of the two parks by far. I've been to HW at least a couple of times in the recent past so I didn't hit that park this time.

As for SFGrA, we were informed by a few of the locals that that day was unnaturally crowded, more so than they had ever seen it be. We were also told that some of the area schools had some kind of program to encourage kids to read - by giving out free passes to the park and those passes were about to expire not long after we were there. So apparently there were a gazillion kids also mobbing the park to use up their free passes before they had to go back to school. If that is indeed something that the area school districts will continue to do, I'd strongly advise any long-distance travelers like myself to avoid that park like the plague the first week of August. The only way I'd go back (if I ever get back - but if rumors are true then I will one day be able to add Iron Wolf to my count when it comes to me at SFA) is for an ACE event, when I know I could get at least one ride on everything for ERT when the park DOESN'T look like Times Square on New Year's Eve!

I can see where SFGrA would be a great park - clean, nice collection of coasters (at least based on what I was able to ride), decent clientele and staff, but I am still P.O'd with SF's crappy handling (not sure if this is immediate park management or a general SF thing, because I've never seen anything like it before at ANY park) of the crowds and lines.

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by frontrow frontrow Profile at 8/11/11 5:12:57 AM

Great TR. I visited Indiana Beach for the first time about 5 weeks ago. I thought it was a neat little park. I also remember the stinky fountain. The slow, lazy ride ops drove me nuts. I know what you mean about all those steps. When I first entered the park I headed strait for Cornball Express. Even after being pointed to the entrance I still had a hard time finding it. Cornball Express and Hoosier Hurricane have very odd entrances. Did you go through Frankenstein's Castle? It was one of the best walk through fun houses I've been through. The heat wasn't an issue when I was there, therefor I was able to have a really good time.
The one time that I visited SF Great America was a weekday in August. I did get to ride all the coasters and 4 rides on Raging Bull (that's because I rode it when the park first opened and kept riding until a line formed.) I waited an hour or more for Batman, Viper, Vertical Velocity, and American Eagle. Iron Wolf and Demon had 45 minute waits. So when I was there the park was very crowded. It took the entire day to get everything in. When I saw your photo of the carousel it reminded me when I rode it on the way out at night time. I really did like that park, the lines were just to long. If you could go on a day where everything is a walk on, it would be a great experience.
As for Cedar Point, I'm used to long lines, although the lines didn't sound like they were that bad when you went. I'm glad you had fun. Its always a good experience when visiting a park for the first time and you added 2 new ones.

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by squirrels at 8/11/11 10:07:22 AM

Where in MD are you located?

I feel you on FlashPass. Had I known how much of an advantage it gives riders, I may have upgraded to it myself.

I had one particularly harrowing experience with FlashPass riders...at the end of the day my group was all at the gate of Great Adventure, ready to leave, but my buddy and I wanted one more ride on KdK. It had been broken down but just as we were ready to walk out we saw a train crest the top-hat through the trees, so we left his girlfriend and sister at the gate and ran back for one last ride.

As it turns out, they were letting ENTIRE TRAINS full of FlashPass customers jump the line...and wouldn't you know it, when we finally DID board and taxi out to the lift-hill, the ride broke down AGAIN. If not for FlashPassers "buying the right to line-jump", we would've gotten our last ride in. That REALLY left a sour taste in my mouth, which is why I often sound frustrated when I talk about that park...not because I don't like the coasters. :p Stop me if I'm wrong, but I don't agree with regular admission only buying you the right to stand in line and watch wealthier people ride.

I think Mildred might be starting to show her age at CP. It broke down twice when I was waiting in line for it as well, and I remember seeing a car stuck at the top of the lift hill the day before when I had arrived. Fortunately, their mechanical staff seems to be able to get it back up and running quickly. And Maverick would work a lot better with the I305-style straps than the hard Intamin head-restraints due to the twisting motion. As much as I tried to anticipate the twists, my head got bopped a few times too. (thankfully it's pretty thick) But I305 does the same kind of quick snap-twisting and they changed the restraints for that reason. With Maverick only going 70, imagine those snaps at 93mph. :o

Glad you had fun overall, though.

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 8/11/11 11:00:29 AM

I have never been to a
> park that couldn't or wouldn't give out tap water to guests
> who ask for it, especially with the weather being so hot. A
> big thumbs down to the park on account of that.

Oh, so you haven't been to Canobie? I know there it was "wouldn't," not "couldn't"..because I was looking right at the tap.

decided to hit The Dark Knight since we had heard this
> was a really slow loader and the lines could get very long.
> Well, we waited for perhaps 45 mins in a building that
> suffered from the same problems at IB - no ventilation, and
> it got really warm with all those people standing in there.
> No fans, and no AC.

I really might be off base saying this, since I dunno if GrAm's DK is a carbon copy of GAdv's. But since the A/C is the only reason for me to go NEAR that P.O.C. in the box, I would have been awfully P.O.'d that it wasn't working.

Finally we got to ride (we were hoping
> this was a mouse like the one at Kennywood

Nah..that one's actually fun.

> Then we did Ragin Cajun, as it was right in that area. That
> was more fun that TDK and rather redundant having two rides
> like that in the same park.

Only coaster I didn't get on on my sole visit in '07.

> really P.O.'ed about missing Iron Wolf (though if rumors
> are true I suppose I will at least be able to ride that if
> it comes to SFA and I can count it then).

Trust me..you didn't miss much, other than the historical aspect, being one of B&M's first (THE first?) installation.

Nice report and nice pix!

Mike

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 8/11/11 1:35:43 PM

Nice TR, wish you would have had better luck in some aspects but it sounds like you still had a good time.

Also, that pic of the carousel, can I post that on my tumblr? Of course I'll give credit where credit is due!

- mugen

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 8/11/11 2:17:24 PM

> I feel you on FlashPass. Had I known how much of an
> advantage it gives riders, I may have upgraded to it
> myself.

> I had one particularly harrowing experience with FlashPass
> riders...at the end of the day my group was all at the gate
> of Great Adventure, ready to leave, but my buddy and I
> wanted one more ride on KdK. It had been broken down but
> just as we were ready to walk out we saw a train crest the
> top-hat through the trees, so we left his girlfriend and
> sister at the gate and ran back for one last ride.

> As it turns out, they were letting ENTIRE TRAINS full of
> FlashPass customers jump the line...and wouldn't you know
> it, when we finally DID board and taxi out to the
> lift-hill, the ride broke down AGAIN. If not for
> FlashPassers "buying the right to line-jump", we
> would've gotten our last ride in. That REALLY left a sour
> taste in my mouth, which is why I often sound frustrated
> when I talk about that park...not because I don't like the
> coasters. :p Stop me if I'm wrong, but I don't agree with
> regular admission only buying you the right to stand in
> line and watch wealthier people ride.

Wealthier people? I am FAR from wealthy (just graduated with $390,000 in student loans and I'm NOT exaggerating - that's the actual number)and I budget the $40 in when I plan a trip for the park. It is worth it to pay that to not stand on line in the heat and sun beating down on me, never mind lately with my bad ankle - it saves me a lot of pain. And if you buy your tickets on e-bay for cheaper (like I used to do), it doesn't come to much more that what I would have paid. There are ways to make it work financially.

With KK the FP line was one side, one train really so I don't know what you mean by letting trains full of people line jumping to ride it. It didn't affect the far side loading stations at all and primarily the second queue on the near platform. Now, with the one side operation, you merge with the crowd and still have to wait. You cannot jump in front of anyone in the queue on the platform, only the part of the line that is out of it.

I have never seen them let that many people through at once with a FP so it must have been the person manning the line that was the problem. Whenever there have been a large group of people I've always seen them break it up when letting people through the line. That does suck if that happened to you guys.

There are also a limited amount of them, I think it's around 200 - 250 at SFGAdv, so if everyone is spread out at different rides, it shouldn't affect the rides so badly. It sounds like you both had really bad luck.

Love it or hate it, it's here to stay so my advice is plan ahead and get one. Save money by bringing you're own lunch & drinks (you can bring a sealed bottle of water into the park and have them refill it throughout the day - I hide it in bushes when I go to ride), look for deep discounts or try e-bay for tickets and it is manageable if you plan ahead.

Jen

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 8/12/11 1:35:02 AM

> Nice TR, wish you would have had better luck in some
> aspects but it sounds like you still had a good time.

> Also, that pic of the carousel, can I post that on my
> tumblr? Of course I'll give credit where credit is due!

> - mugen

No problem, you can use it if you like. I'm surprised it turned out at all as it was taken on a cellphone; most run of the mill phones don't take that great of pics, especially at night.

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 8/12/11 2:01:58 AM

> I feel you on FlashPass. Had I known how much of an
> advantage it gives riders, I may have upgraded to it
> myself.

> I had one particularly harrowing experience with FlashPass
> riders...at the end of the day my group was all at the gate
> of Great Adventure, ready to leave, but my buddy and I
> wanted one more ride on KdK. It had been broken down but
> just as we were ready to walk out we saw a train crest the
> top-hat through the trees, so we left his girlfriend and
> sister at the gate and ran back for one last ride.

> As it turns out, they were letting ENTIRE TRAINS full of
> FlashPass customers jump the line...and wouldn't you know
> it, when we finally DID board and taxi out to the
> lift-hill, the ride broke down AGAIN. If not for
> FlashPassers "buying the right to line-jump", we
> would've gotten our last ride in. That REALLY left a sour
> taste in my mouth, which is why I often sound frustrated
> when I talk about that park...not because I don't like the
> coasters. :p Stop me if I'm wrong, but I don't agree with
> regular admission only buying you the right to stand in
> line and watch wealthier people ride.

> Wealthier people? I am FAR from wealthy (just graduated
> with $390,000 in student loans and I'm NOT exaggerating -
> that's the actual number)and I budget the $40 in when I
> plan a trip for the park. It is worth it to pay that to not
> stand on line in the heat and sun beating down on me, never
> mind lately with my bad ankle - it saves me a lot of pain.
> And if you buy your tickets on e-bay for cheaper (like I
> used to do), it doesn't come to much more that what I would
> have paid. There are ways to make it work financially.

> With KK the FP line was one side, one train really so I
> don't know what you mean by letting trains full of people
> line jumping to ride it. It didn't affect the far side
> loading stations at all and primarily the second queue on
> the near platform. Now, with the one side operation, you
> merge with the crowd and still have to wait. You cannot
> jump in front of anyone in the queue on the platform, only
> the part of the line that is out of it.

> I have never seen them let that many people through at once
> with a FP so it must have been the person manning the line
> that was the problem. Whenever there have been a large
> group of people I've always seen them break it up when
> letting people through the line. That does suck if that
> happened to you guys.

> There are also a limited amount of them, I think it's
> around 200 - 250 at SFGAdv, so if everyone is spread out at
> different rides, it shouldn't affect the rides so badly. It
> sounds like you both had really bad luck.

> Love it or hate it, it's here to stay so my advice is plan
> ahead and get one. Save money by bringing you're own lunch
> & drinks (you can bring a sealed bottle of water into
> the park and have them refill it throughout the day - I
> hide it in bushes when I go to ride), look for deep
> discounts or try e-bay for tickets and it is manageable if
> you plan ahead.

> Jen

I only saw the whole "trainload" of people thing one time over at Batman - no idea what was up with that as it happened when we were on the loading platform but not right up to the gates, and I hadn't been paying a whole heck of a lot of attention beforehand. There were about 4 people ahead of us in line to board, and when the next train came in and unloaded, the gates just didn't open as usual. There was indeed an entire trainload of people on the exit side who took their seats on the empty train; no idea where they came from (not from our side) or why they were permitted to board from that side and usurp those who were next in line.

Otherwise, the FP people did enter the line from the same side as everyone else; usually that merge point was around the stairs on rides that had them. Though I'd bet my last buck that were were WAY more than a couple hundred people who had bought one that day. That might be the case on average days. I do know that the last time I went to DCA and DL they had a system like that (though at the time there was no extra charge, the catch was they only gave out a very limited number of passes and you had to get there early to get one), and I did make use of it then. However, I never saw them ever let more than about a half-dozen people merge into the general line at one time.

At SFGrA, what they often seemed to be doing was (this was more obvious on some rides, due to the the way the lines were, like on Viper) just stopping the general line for up to ten minutes at a time while just waiting for a bunch of FP users to collect there. We were right at the merge point on Viper and I know that employee stopped our line for nearly that long, even though there were no FP people there at the moment. If they just let the FP users bleed into the line gradually as they came to the merge point instead. The end effect was like a 4 way intersection where the traffic lights are the same length for both streets, but one street has thousands of cars an hour while the other has only dozens in the same time period.

Regarding wealth or lack of it, I have no problem at all that someone chooses to pay more for a shorter line. If someone orders a lobster dinner at a restaurant and I can only afford a club sandwich, that shouldn't mean that I get just half the food that should be on my plate because someone can splurge for something more expensive. What isn't right is when that upgrade is done at the expense of someone else.

That said, there is another way to get lots of rides (never thought of hunting down tickets on EBay, will have to try that!). I will continue my membership in ACE and that way I can get ERT on coasters when the public isn't even allowed in the park! That works for all parks that have ACE events, whether they are SF parks or not.

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 8/12/11 2:02:49 AM

> Where in MD are you located?

I live in Sykesville, not far outside of Baltimore.

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by alpengeistno3 at 8/12/11 2:41:30 AM

> I only saw the whole "trainload" of people thing
> one time over at Batman - no idea what was up with that as
> it happened when we were on the loading platform but not
> right up to the gates, and I hadn't been paying a whole
> heck of a lot of attention beforehand. There were about 4
> people ahead of us in line to board, and when the next
> train came in and unloaded, the gates just didn't open as
> usual. There was indeed an entire trainload of people on
> the exit side who took their seats on the empty train; no
> idea where they came from (not from our side) or why they
> were permitted to board from that side and usurp those who
> were next in line.

It is possible that these people had "exit passes", given to guests who participate in an evacuation from a stalled ride. They don't use the Flash pass entrance, but instead board from the exit side of the station for any rides (same a special/ handicapped access. When I got stuck on DK, everyone on the ride got their pass and it wouldn't surprise me if they all took them over to Batman TR to redeem them. (El Toro and KK were prohibited then.)

Paul

Re: Trip Report : IB, SFGrA, & CP - VERY LONG! by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 8/12/11 11:21:37 AM

I'm pretty sure group tours and VIP tours enter that way as well. When people enter from the exit of the rides it has absolutely nothing to do with the Flash Pass.

Jen