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Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12

beastmaster beastmaster Profile

Posted:
4/6/12 at
1:41:16 PM

I was with Jen, but mugen828 was there too. I didn't meet him, but perhaps he'll chime in with his experience.

Met Jen a little past 10:30. She lives much closer to the park now, but ran into a back-up at the parking booths. I thought it was a nice touch that the parking attendant who checked my pass referred to to me as Mr. Gallagher in wishing me a good day. Minor, but nice. I still find it odd that not only does the park's name not appear on the pass, neither does the year.

There's a new security checkpoint to go through before you even get to the ticket windows. They wouldn't let me past there with my food, and I had to put it in Jen's locker. They relocated some of the lockers to a site outside this new security checkpoint. Oddly, the checkpoint was nat staffed later in the day, and items could then be brought to the lockers closer to the gate. Maybe this new checkpoint is just a morning thing.

Jen had to get her pass processed. Although I already had mine, I was gonna pick up my coupon book. I had understood they weren't doing the books this year, but must have changed their mind. Jen's processing was smooth as butter, and we both got our books.

Jen had previously offered to treat to a Flash Pass. I really didn't think we'd need it..I expected the park to be pretty much dead. Nope.

We rode Green Lantern first with about a half-hour wait for the front seat. I'm actually getting to like it, now that I've figured "how" to ride semi-comfortably. I'd still be leery about anything other than front. We had seen Ka testing, which, along with her customary churro a bit later, put the good Doctor on Cloud Nine. Ka was not open yet,and Toro already had a nasty line and appered to be running only one train. That thought was later proved false..the Stride gum ads have been removed from the one, so it was hard to tell until we were in the station later.

We hit Bizarro for two rides, poaching separate seats for the second with a non-existent line. Great rides as always, but unfortunately, the audio was working :(

Since Ka hadn't opened and Toro's line was long, we took a spin on Rolling Thunder before heading to the other end of the park. Would you believe me if I told you RT was quite enjoyable? I wouldn't call it smooth, but it ran much better than recent years. The turnaround didn't lose much speed, and it wasn't as screechy as usual. That was a nice surprise.

We prepared to head over to Nitro. We split up at that point. I've developed some breathing problems, and yesterday was the first time I was gonna put my body to the amusement park "test."
I actually didn't do too badly. Since Jen took some smoke breaks, that enabled me to rest occasionally. I was coughing some, but not as bad as it sometimes gets. So I was mostly OK. But at that point, I did not feel up to walking to the other end. So I headed over for a lap on Runaway Train to be followed by the Skyride over to Nitro. Since Jen doesn't like skyrides, she headed off in search of a churro and we'd meet at Nitro.

Well, the best laid plans of Mike and Jen... (apologies to Steinbeck..liked that one, huh?)
Skyride shut down as I approached the Train station, and then the ride broke down while I was on the platform. So I ended up walking anyway. I was pretty beat by the time I met Jen, and the feeling was made worse when I saw the MONSTROUS line for Nitro. The park had gotten quite crowded.

At then point, Jen decided to go for the Flash Pass. While she picked it up and went through the process, I rode her favorite "kiddie coaster"..you know of which I speak..

Trekked back over to Nitro and used FP. I think it was at that time (Oh, Doctor?) that somebody vomited on one of the trains. They sent it off empty two or three times after cleaning it, and we finally got our ride..on THAT train. They were only running two, unusual for Nitro. Third was nowhere to be seen. Ride was terrific, and we reserved another one immediately. While we were headed to the FP stairs, FP alerted Jen that KA had opened. She made a reservation, and we went to eat our lunch, then headed to the Golden Kingdom. They've moved the FP entrance back near the lockers. Just as we got on line, the big guy broke down (must have been the thrill of seeing Jen again after her cheating ways were exposed last year.) We thought they only had one train. After about a half-hour, it started up again. We were ready to board about a half-hour after that, and realized they were running three trains. We of course waited for front seat. Ride was flying, no real roughness. Worth the wait.

Not sure of order of things after that. We had two excellent rides on Toro in the late afternoon. I've lost a tiny bit of weight, but that wasn't gonna matter with this new crew. They were making no effort to really push down on the lap bar, resulting in more "walks of shame" than I'd ever seen. Dispatches were literally taking up to 10 minutes. Our plan was to have Jen push my bar down then get herself set. That worked well..she did a good job. Last year Paul got turned away after having already rode, due to the approach of the attendants. I hope this is just an Opening Day thing, and not a trend.

Ka broke down again when we were about 15 minutes away from aour second ride. We did get a ride on Batman to finish our day at about 7:30, but one train ops and slow dispatches came into play.

So there were a lot of bumps along the way. I'm very appreciative to Jen for springing for the FP, but she certainly didn't get her money's worth. Slow operations and mechanical issues were themes of the day, along with multiple coasters not running to max capacity, which is unusual for GA. I stopped on the way home for fresh orange juice and White Castle. Incidentally, I wasn't too hungry, but popped into Panda Express to ascertain they do sell orange chicken, and how much it was. They had run out, but do have it. I'm not sure I'll spend the money for it, but it's good to know I have another in-park food option. I also scoped out a Coke stand that has over 100 flavor combinations. I may get a souvenir cup and use it there, since they do have several appealing diet options (Vanilla Coke Zero, anyone?)

SkyScreamer appears to be mostly finished, swings are attached, but the area around the base is a mess of construction materials and junk. I guess landscaping is what mostly remains to be done. The space for the Scrambler is nearby, but is just a hollow concrete bowl. We were trying to figure out where the new bumper cars will go. Jen thinks it'll be on the wide open flat concrete area where the Wave Swinger once resided. I wouldn't be surprised if they removed the remote control boats and put the bumper cars next to the Jolly Roger.

Thanks for reading, guys and gals.

Mike

* This post was modified at 4/6/12 3:26:07 PM *

Re: Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12 by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 4/6/12 4:40:01 PM
Mike I got your email, just been lazy with responding to stuff, sorry! I think I did see you guys cutting through the animal exhibit entrance in the GK, but we were headed another direction. Alas, another time! (I won't be there sunday :( BUT I will be going either next weekend or the following with my gf for her first visit ever.)

My opening day was a lot tamer, we had to unfortunately wait for our passes to get processed and such, which was painstakingly slow. At the gate about 10 of 10am there were cars jam packed getting into the park, the crowds didn't seem all that bad within, but it was a lot more crowded then usual opening days.

We only got a few rides, hit the big three once each. Overall I was just happy to be in the park again so no loss on the day.

Besides us missing out on early no wait rides, the only other thing that got to me yesterday was the incredibly poor team on El Toro. The one kid looked like he was so upset he was going to burst into tears! I felt bad for the team, but they should have stopped, taken a breathe, and got some teamwork flowing. They seriously checked car 5 of one of the trains like 10 times. I was about to hop over the gate and check it myself. I wasn't sure if it was a timing issue or the ride op's mistake over and over. Either way it was just really really annoying. I hope they get better and can enjoy the job a little more.

After our ride on Nitro we saw a guy with a clipboard and he was pointing to the new Skyscreamer ride, so we went over to see what info we could get out of him for next year, hehe. I jokingly said they need more coasters! not flats, I think I kinda pissed him off a bit, but what was cool was that the woman he was with was a reporter, so she talked to us for a bit and wrote down where we were from and stuff. Keep an eye out for my name in the Asbury Park Times haha.

If opening day is any type of indication on the crowds for the season all I have to say is this....save your money for a flash pass! haha It was pretty damn busy!

- mugen828

EDIT: oh and Jen is right by the way about the bumper cars (I think). The manager or supervisor or whatever he was, who we talked to, said the open concrete area is gonna be for the bumper cars and the old spot where chaos was is going to be the scramber/flashback ride. He also mentioned the elephant kiddie ride will be right where Starscreamer is, and that the new slide at HH will be where the volley ball court is (was).

* This post was modified at 4/6/12 4:45:49 PM *

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 4/6/12 4:46:59 PM
Yeah, we did cut through that animal area twice.

Jen made the same comment as you about the black-haired kid with glasses on the Toro crew. He seriously looked like he was gonna burst int tears.

Re: Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12 by alpengeistno3 at 4/7/12 2:06:57 AM
Great opening day TR, Mike. Sorry I missed yet again, but until Six Flags decides to revisit that parking policy, I doubt I will be taking my chances of coming up there and having another "DK debacle" day!! Comments, below.

beastmaster said:

Met Jen a little past 10:30. She lives much closer to the park now, but ran into a back-up at the parking booths. I thought it was a nice touch that the parking attendant who checked my pass referred to to me as Mr. Gallagher in wishing me a good day. Minor, but nice. I still find it odd that not only does the park's name not appear on the pass, neither does the year.


Nice, we'll see how long that lasts when they start catching flak from butchering some hard to pronounce last names. Safeway used to do that with your register receipts, but I have noticed they are starting to back off that, probably for that reason.

beastmaster said:

There's a new security checkpoint to go through before you even get to the ticket windows. They wouldn't let me past there with my food, and I had to put it in Jen's locker. They relocated some of the lockers to a site outside this new security checkpoint. Oddly, the checkpoint was nat staffed later in the day, and items could then be brought to the lockers closer to the gate. Maybe this new checkpoint is just a morning thing.

Interesting, so were they actually searching there now instead of at the metal detectors? Or just doubling up to maybe, make things less hectic at the turnstiles? Sounds like more of an inconvience to you not being able to use the lockers right next to the gate. Grrrr!! I hate it when parks do crap like that!

beastmaster said:

Jen had previously offered to treat to a Flash Pass. I really didn't think we'd need it..I expected the park to be pretty much dead. Nope.

Hmm, those words sound ALL too familiar (see my KD TR if you haven't already!)

beastmaster said:

We rode Green Lantern first with about a half-hour wait for the front seat. I'm actually getting to like it, now that I've figured "how" to ride semi-comfortably. I'd still be leery about anything other than front.

Go for the back!! Pull up your "big boy pants" and go for it :)

beastmaster said:

We had seen Ka testing, which, along with her customary churro a bit later, put the good Doctor on Cloud Nine. Ka was not open yet,and Toro already had a nasty line and appered to be running only one train. That thought was later proved false..the Stride gum ads have been removed from the one, so it was hard to tell until we were in the station later.

We hit Bizarro for two rides, poaching separate seats for the second with a non-existent line. Great rides as always, but unfortunately, the audio was working :(

Great news about the Stride Toro train. Horrible about Bizarro (remember, it was the back row that wasn't working, right?)

beastmaster said:

Well, the best laid plans of Mike and Jen... (apologies to Steinbeck..liked that one, huh?)
Skyride shut down as I approached the Train station, and then the ride broke down while I was on the platform. So I ended up walking anyway. I was pretty beat by the time I met Jen, and the feeling was made worse when I saw the MONSTROUS line for Nitro. The park had gotten quite crowded.

At then point, Jen decided to go for the Flash Pass. While she picked it up and went through the process, I rode her favorite "kiddie coaster"..you know of which I speak..

Now Mike, no need to instigate with the good doctor on the differences between a "kiddie" and a "family" coaster again. We beat this horse last year with no resolution :)

beastmaster said:

Trekked back over to Nitro and used FP. I think it was at that time (Oh, Doctor?) that somebody vomited on one of the trains. They sent it off empty two or three times after cleaning it, and we finally got our ride..on THAT train. They were only running two, unusual for Nitro. Third was nowhere to be seen. Ride was terrific, and we reserved another one immediately. While we were headed to the FP stairs, FP alerted Jen that KA had opened. She made a reservation, and we went to eat our lunch, then headed to the Golden Kingdom. They've moved the FP entrance back near the lockers. Just as we got on line, the big guy broke down (must have been the thrill of seeing Jen again after her cheating ways were exposed last year.) We thought they only had one train. After about a half-hour, it started up again. We were ready to board about a half-hour after that, and realized they were running three trains. We of course waited for front seat. Ride was flying, no real roughness. Worth the wait.

When I was working at Busch and someone looked at me with apprehension about riding in the freshly cleaned "vomit seat" on either Alpengeist or Drachen Fire, my response was always "Don't worry. This is now the cleanest seat on the train. You don't want to know when was the last time any of these other seats were cleaned!!"

Gradv has a nasty habit of not having all 3 trains available for Nitro on opening day. Really unfortunate because KK rarely uses them (sounds like this year was definitely the exception!) and Nitro's line can be a beast with 2 trains even on a slow day.

Tell Jen, I know for a fact that those coasters talk during the off season. I am sure KK is aware of her Griffon fling and she had better try smoothing things over with the big guy or it's going to be a long season for her up there in Jackson!

beastmaster said:

Not sure of order of things after that. We had two excellent rides on Toro in the late afternoon. I've lost a tiny bit of weight, but that wasn't gonna matter with this new crew. They were making no effort to really push down on the lap bar, resulting in more "walks of shame" than I'd ever seen. Dispatches were literally taking up to 10 minutes. Our plan was to have Jen push my bar down then get herself set. That worked well..she did a good job. Last year Paul got turned away after having already rode, due to the approach of the attendants. I hope this is just an Opening Day thing, and not a trend.

As a former ride op, I am more than well aware of when some ride ops put more work in their job than others. When I went Busch Williamsburg, the Alpengeist op told me "you need to go to row 4 because I can't keep pushing this harness down to get you latched in here." (after I had ridden the ride 10 times previously with another op taking no time to help me get the harness latched). As if getting me in the seat was an inconvience to his inablility to do the job. Fast forward to my October trip to Busch Tampa, the red train had shorter belts than the yellow one by about an inch. I had rode the yellow train 3 times and by chance got the red train the next time around. Do you think the ops said what the BGW op told me?" No, he called over one on his co workers and they got it to work, despite the shorter length.

beastmaster said:

Thanks for reading, guys and gals.

Mike

Once again, great job, Mike. Thanks for the opening day insights.

Paul

Re: Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 4/7/12 5:37:24 AM
This new security checkpoint DOES consist of metal detectors, and bags are searched there. Agin, though, it was only staffed in the a.m.
Re: Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12 by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 4/9/12 6:19:34 PM
I enjoyed the TR. I'm jealous to read all these TRs.

Does SFGAdv always have some many technical problems on opening day? Is that sort of expected - get the kinks out early to everything is in top condition when the summer hits?

Also, what made that ride op cry?

- Pat-O

Re: Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 4/9/12 7:47:25 PM
LoneStar said:

I enjoyed the TR. I'm jealous to read all these TRs.


Does SFGAdv always have some many technical problems on opening day? Is that sort of expected - get the kinks out early to everything is in top condition when the summer hits?

Also, what made that ride op cry?

- Pat-O

They've been doing pretty well the last several years on Opening Day, but this was a bit unusual. I don't think they anticipated the volume they got on a weekday opening.

The ride op just seemed completely overwhelmed by the demands of Toro's operation, and was getting ..maybe "berated" is too strong a word..by the crew chief/dispatcher. He ended up at the entrance, where he was again yesterday.

Mike

Re: Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 4/10/12 9:11:15 PM
alpengeistno3 said:

Now Mike, no need to instigate with the good doctor on the differences between a "kiddie" and a "family" coaster again. We beat this horse last year with no resolution :)

LMAO! At least I didn't have to watch, LOL!


Tell Jen, I know for a fact that those coasters talk during the off season. I am sure KK is aware of her Griffon fling and she had better try smoothing things over with the big guy or it's going to be a long season for her up there in Jackson!

I knew it!!!!!

I made my own TR since I was unaware that Mike was doing one and I'll post it shortly. It's about 3 pages long so far so come back when you have an hour to spare! ;~)

Jen
Re: Notes From GAdv Opening Day 4/5/12 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 4/10/12 10:19:58 PM
mugen828 said:

I think I did see you guys cutting through the animal exhibit entrance in the GK, but we were headed another direction.
- mugen828

Why didn't you say hello?!

Jen

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