Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Part 5: LAGOON Day 2: ft the water park
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Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby LiftThrill » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:01 pm

Hey everyone! I just finished writing up a report for my latest trip. While this one wasn't coaster-focused like my 2016 trip, it did have some parks. I'm not going to report on much else besides the parks because I didn't really take pictures of much else, though I do have a few pictures here or there of some other notable things we did during the trip.

I'd also like to apologize for how low quality my pictures are. My phone camera is actually terrible and I definitely have no clue about anything photography-related.

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We began the trip by getting bottlenecked by "construction" which is actually just some closed off lanes and a sign because construction may or may not eventually happen here so let's slow down traffic in case we decide to actually start constructing anything anytime soon. I-35 is what locals call Satan's small intestine, where the average speed reaches zero to five miles per hour on a good day. Legends say that sometimes, if you close your eyes, it feels just like Cedar Creek Mine Ride, only slightly more intense.

Eventually, slow gives way to not-slow and you escape I-35. Slowly the land of guns, grub, and gold becomes the land of... well actually it's just guns, grub, and gold again except with bigger hills. The drive was fairly uneventful, besides some cutting-off douchebag in front of us getting pulled over in Oklahoma, which was pretty satisfying even though getting pulled over in Oklahoma sucks because the whole state is a speed trap, but still, kinda satisfying. We grabbed some pancakes at the Comic Sans Napkin McDonald's with Silver Dollar City coupons (score!) and eventually, around noon, made it to Silver Dollar City. It was a Friday, so we weren't expecting the crowds to be SUPER awful (last time we went it was a Saturday, the first day of Star Spangled Summer, and the Harlem Globetrotters were in town, yet the park seemed very empty and we only used 4/8 of the Trailblazer punches) but budgeted for Trailblazer just in case. Upon arrival, the ticket line spilled out of the queue over to the tram loading/unloading area, so Trailblazer was a must. After about 25 minutes in the ticket line, we had our tickets and Trailblazers so we entered the park.

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Not even lying. Comic Sans Napkins

The original plan was to head to Time Traveler, use the one TT punch so we didn't get Lightning Rodded, then do whatever because we had 6 and a half hours and 7 punches. On the way to Time Traveler, we heard people talking about how it was broken down. New hotness is always a bit temperamental, so we headed there anyway in case it was temporary, but it looked like it was gonna be a while. Luckily, there's a damn good mine train next door. This is where we discovered how good of a decision Trailblazers were that day. They were running one train and the queue was almost out to the entrance. This would go on to become a theme throughout the day, but due to the sheer awesomeness of Trailblazers (and by extension, SDC in general) it didn't matter. As usual, Thunderation is a seriously awesome mine train, and with Road Runner Express taking an extended siesta it's fun to get a spin on an upper tier mine train. The trees around the ride are mostly intact post-Time Traveler, but a few of the denser forest moments over by TT felt a little thinner. Still a super fun mine train and comparable in quality to only the best of family coasters. It felt a little smoother this season vs. 2016, but it's not exactly butter smooth. If this is the weakest link in SDC's coaster lineup then SDC pretty much has the most rock solid coaster lineup this side of that one place that starts with Kn and ends with oebels (disclaimer: much to my dismay I'm getting this information secondhand and am still a Knoebels (and by extension Pennsylvania) virgin).

Thanks to Time Traveler being down and Thunderation running one train with a huge queue, we figured it'd be good to check on the other coasters. Like Thunderation, Outlaw Run was only running one train and had a queue that (at the time) was almost spilling out onto the midway, though it posted a 20 minute wait for some reason (lol). Punched in on the Trailblazer and jumped into the second to last row after being dumped into the station. Something to note is that Outlaw Run near the back is something you want to be careful of. It's still smoother than most woodies at its worst, but the back row of any car is definitely gonna jostle you around a bit more (dare I say rough?). Still the king of the park and it's amazing what kind of elements give airtime on this ride that in no right mind would you expect to give any sort of airtime. Due to its ridiculous intensity, its short length really is perfect and it feels complete.

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Every ride has an incredibly themed station.

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kinda artsy for being taken with a piece of sh*t camera, lol

On the way out from two Outlaw Run rides (both Trailblazed) I remembered that someone recommended the Giant Barn Swing. Looking at the line it didn't look too bad so decided why not. The line was about 20 minutes but it moved fast due to shorter cycles. Very fun flat ride with some airtime and fun theming, and worth a 20 minute line. I'd complain about a short cycle like the enthusiast I am, except who cares because it's still a giant f*cking swing and who cares if you only get to fly way up high in the air two times on the giant f*cking swing instead of flying way up high in the air three times on the giant f*cking swing, plus the line would have been longer and moved slower so it was kinda necessary.

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Seriously awesome flat ride

Following that we began the SDC ritual of eating some of the most glorious food ever made in the form of a Tater Twist. It's basically a hot dog on a stick wrapped in a spiral potato and covered in pure happiness. During this time we stopped to check out the glassblowing show and the pottery shop, while also looking out for news of Time Traveler opening. It seemed to still be closed so we headed for Wildfire. The line was only to the station so we skipped out on Trailblazing this time and headed for the front row line, where we encountered literally the only less-than-perfect anything ever to be encountered at Silver Dollar City ever, employees not communicating about who should get the front row seats on each cycle between the Trailblazer line and the normal line. That would've been fine except with one train ops and slow dispatches it was probably 30 minutes before we were on the ride. I know what you're thinking - why would anyone with Trailblazer be dumb enough to wait 30 minutes in a non-moving line? Honestly I don't remember why, but I'm glad we did because we ended up using all the punches by the end, so it would've been one less reride or something, and we ended up filling the day pretty perfectly, so who cares? After that we walked around and Trailblazed a back seat ride. Wildfire is a seriously solid B&M looper. It doesn't have the snappiness of Raptor or the gracefulness of a wing coaster, but the view in the front seat at the top of the lift hill is breathtaking, and the back row provides ridiculous ejector air down the first drop plus a hilariously fun yank through every inversion and turn. Just like literally everything at Silver Dollar City, Wildfire is a grand slam attraction.

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Wildfire has one or two signs, but not as many as Powder Keg.

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The whole park is so green. There's shade and trees everywhere!

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The place to be on Wildfire

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This cobra roll on Wildfire may not be as forceful as Raptor's, but it's like twice as big.

We were originally planning on doing the cave tour next, but in line for Wildfire, we heard that Time Traveler had opened back up, so that was naturally the next destination. Like Wildfire, Outlaw Run, and Thunderation, Time Traveler was running one train and had a super long line that was probably an hour plus (but at least it was operating! I was starting to think we'd get the Lightning Rod treatment, but unlike Dollywood, SDC can do no wrong - as long as you budget for Trailblazer). The Trailblazer passes only allowed one punch on TT, so this was our shot. This was one of the most anticipated coasters of the trip because of how unique it is, but I wasn't exactly expecting anything super amazing. (Spoiler alert: wow)

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I didn't actually get any pictures of Time Traveler, so here's a picture of it from the SDC park map/newspaper thing.

Following the awesomeness of Time Traveler, we stopped to ride the real star attraction of Silver Dollar City.

Oh, did I say ride? I meant eat. Did you really think this trip report wasn't going to include some raving about cinnamon bread? Ha! The new Time Traveler cinnamon bread with caramel and chocolate sprinkled on top was calling so that's what we got. I remember taking a high school health class where we were discussing dopamine or endorphins or seratonin or whatever tf the happiness stuff in your brain is. They told us that eating two cheeseburgers is equal to having sex on the scale of release of happiness brain stuff, which doesn't really seem accurate unless you're eating some really good cheeseburgers but hey, science! On this scale, the cinnamon bread at Silver Dollar City is equal to approximately seven thousand three hundred and forty eight cheeseburgers, which I'll let you do the math and convert to sex if you want to for some reason. This is a low estimate according to actual proven science, trust me.

Next we went to the entrance to do the Marvel Cave tour, which was one of the overall two must-do things we missed on the last big trip, the other being going to Dollywood on a day when Lightning Rod was open (not included in the Great Weird Trip 2018: Dollywood). This is one of those iconic SDC things that's really unique to the park and really cool. I've done a few cave tours before, like Natural Bridge Caverns and Carlsbad Caverns, but this one had the SDC charm and some park history involved which is always a bonus. The cave tour is about an hour and fifteen minutes from starting the tour to returning to the actual park midways, so at this point we had about two hours left before the 7:00 closing (side note: closing at 7:00?? who does that??).

The only coaster we had yet to ride was Powder Keg, the seriously underrated launch coaster of SDC. With three Trailblazer usages left, front and back row rides seemed like a good idea. Fortunately for everyone involved, Powder Keg was running two trains, a real breath of fresh air from the rest of the coasters that were doing their best Poltergeist impression (seriously, what's up with Poltergeist running one train lately? I haven't seen it run two all season). One front row and one back row ride proved once again that every Silver Dollar City coaster here whose name doesn't start with the letter T and have an entrance ten feet from another coaster whose name starts with the letter T absolutely has to be ridden once in front and once in back (Outlaw Run second to back) because the front has awesome views and the back has crazy ride experiences. Powder Keg fits this and really has one of the most complete ride experiences ever. It has a launch, a lift hill, some crazy airtime, bat-out-of-hell-or-maybe-just-Marvel-cave sensation of speed, an amazing location, and wraps it all up by being really smooth all the way through. If I were a typical enthusiast I could nitpick the S&S restraints or the seats or something dumb but really there's nothing truly negative to say about this ride.

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They're not gonna be sitting still for much longer...

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The legendary Powder Keg rollback spike that doesn't actually do anything

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Sorry guys, the ride exploded. Go ride Time Traveler instead.

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Powder Keg has too many signs

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not even kidding

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there are 3 of them!

Two awesome rides on Powder Keg later, we did something related to food and then got way too lost because Silver Dollar City has the most hilariously wonky layout of any park ever. Checked out woodworking around this time as well because woodworking is cool just like all the other SDC artisan stuff. One non-Trailblazed back row ride on Wildfire and one Trailblazed front row ride on Outlaw Run later, the park closed, so we headed out with empty Trailblazers, forgot which parking lot we parked in, took three tram rides, and finally got to the car.

Off we were to the esteemed (not really, but it was pretty good for what we paid for it) Baldknobbers Motor Inn on the Branson strip, and in proper road trip fashion we got some Andy's Frozen Custard at night also on the Branson strip. Did you know there are some extra coaster credits on the Branson strip @ America's Fun Park? I didn't until the morning after, but I don't care about credits besides milestones anyway so not a big loss.

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The Branson strip ferris wheel has a really cool light package.

-- quick rave review of silver dollar city ahead --

I can't emphasize how amazing Silver Dollar City is. Between stellar food and a rock solid coaster lineup there's seriously nothing bad to say about this park. Even on a day where 4/5 of the major coasters were running one train and the operations were kinda slow, the park still managed to deliver a ridiculously fun time. I know it's easy to say that when you skipped the line 8 times, but seriously, stuff like that at Cedar Point or SFOT would completely trash the mood of the day (and has for a lot of people at SFOT). This is a park where you can completely disregard rides and have a super awesome and full day, but also a park where you can completely disregard everything but rides and have a super awesome and full day. This is something I personally think no other major park does nearly as well, at least any park not named Knoebels (again disclaimer my knoebels knowledge is all secondhand and I have a knoebels shaped hole in my heart waiting to be filled one day hopefully soon). The food, rides, atmosphere, location, artisan crafts, shows (which we didn't do this time but did plenty of last time), and just overall park experience are on a whole new level compared to your typical corporate park and even most traditional family owned parks. The park is absolutely phenomenal in every way imagineable. I was a little skeptical that it wouldn't live up to the expectation I set for myself from last time, but if it's even possible to, I like it even more than I did after last time.

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The whole park is so organic and everything feels like it should be there.

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Stagecoach!

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Aw shucks! Thanks for havin' me!

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One thing SDC does flawlessly - food.

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Another thing SDC does flawlessly - atmosphere

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Technically outside the park, but SDC also has amazing landscaping.

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Tiny bird hiding in the flowers

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The bag that your merch comes in is awesome even on its own.

-- rave review done --

Time Traveler: I don't know what I was expecting, but whatever it was, Time Traveler blew it away in every aspect. I came off laughing so hard I had to stop walking and take a second on the side of the midway to figure out what kind of nitrous oxide laughing gas shenanigans the ride had injected into me. One of the most blatantly fun coasters ever made that really makes you question if any other coasters out there are really quite as fun as it. It's hard to say if one ride is really enough to truly rank something but screw it, Time Traveler is absolutely a top ten roller coaster for me. It has some hilariously fun moments of airtime, hangtime, inversions taken facing a direction that somehow makes them 50 times better, and it generally gives an experience you can't get on any other roller coaster out there. I'm sure that if it spun more or less than it does/did/has done/will do/something, it would be a lesser ride, but the amount of spinning makes it feel not like a spinning coaster, but a rotating coaster, where the ride does a statistical check for what seat position makes the next element the most laugh-out-loud fun and rotates you to that position, lather rinse repeat until you're basically straight outta the dentist and so high on laughing gas that you might even find an Adam Sandler movie kinda funny. Maybe.

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SDC Ride Scorecard:
Thunderation x1
Outlaw Run x3
The Giant Barn Swing x1
Wildfire x3
Time Traveler x1
Powder Keg x2

SDC Diabetes Scorecard:
Tater Twist x1
Time Traveler Cinnamon Bread x1
Some Skillets x2

SDC Miscellaneous Scorecard:
Cave Tour x1
Steps x12.5k
Artisan Craft Watching x3

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Top 10 Before SDC 2018:
1. Millennium Force @ Cedar Point
2. New Texas Giant @ Six Flags Over Texas
3. Outlaw Run @ Silver Dollar City
4. Maverick @ Cedar Point
5. Iron Rattler @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas
6. The Voyage @ Holiday World
7. Diamondback @ Kings Island
8. ShockWave @ Six Flags Over Texas
9. Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas
10. Raptor @ Cedar Point

Top 10 After SDC 2018:
1. Millennium Force @ Cedar Point
2. New Texas Giant @ Six Flags Over Texas
3. Outlaw Run @ Silver Dollar City
4. Maverick @ Cedar Point
5. Iron Rattler @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas
6. The Voyage @ Holiday World
7. Time Traveler @ Silver Dollar City
8. Diamondback @ Kings Island
9. ShockWave @ Six Flags Over Texas
10. Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas

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Stay tuned for the next update, which (assuming I don't split it in half) is the 21k step day in Chicago + SFGAm!
Last edited by LiftThrill on Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:56 am.
1. Fury 325 | 2. Millennium Force | 3. New Texas Giant | 4. Outlaw Run | 5. Maverick | 6. Twisted Cyclone | 7. Iron Rattler | 8. The Voyage | 9. Goliath (SFGAm) | 10. Time Traveler

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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby Condor » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:18 pm

I was also blown away by Time Traveler. Sorry you didn't get to ride it more. And I laughed at your I-35/Cedar Creek Mine Ride comment. CCMR has the ability to make other Arrow mine trains feel like Magnum.

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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby LiftThrill » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:24 pm

Part of me is kind of glad I only got one ride on TT - while I'd loved to have ridden it quite a few more times, I don't know if the second or third time could have done it justice. Some rides get better with each ride, and some do the opposite. I'd definitely have wanted to try the back, though.

As for CCMR, yeah. If you have seen a pool of water and occasionally walk around sometimes, you probably already have the credit.
1. Fury 325 | 2. Millennium Force | 3. New Texas Giant | 4. Outlaw Run | 5. Maverick | 6. Twisted Cyclone | 7. Iron Rattler | 8. The Voyage | 9. Goliath (SFGAm) | 10. Time Traveler

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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:47 pm

Very nice! Glad you had such a good time. Cave, crafts, cinnamon bread, gooood. You did it correctly. :lol:

Powder Keg is behind just so much stuff, stuff that had been there for decades. Even with all those signs, I still walk past a bewildered person wondering how to get to it almost every visit.
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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby LiftThrill » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:55 pm

I don't think there's a wrong way to do SDC honestly. There's seriously not a single bad thing about the park.

As for Powder Keg, just getting to it is a representation of the entire park layout. No rhyme or reason to anything, lol, but it adds to the charm.
1. Fury 325 | 2. Millennium Force | 3. New Texas Giant | 4. Outlaw Run | 5. Maverick | 6. Twisted Cyclone | 7. Iron Rattler | 8. The Voyage | 9. Goliath (SFGAm) | 10. Time Traveler

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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:39 pm

LiftThrill wrote:I don't think there's a wrong way to do SDC honestly.

Well, there is. If you run in, ride all the coasters, complain about how they didn't meet your sky high expectations, and leave, then you're doing it wrong. And yes, I've met those people. But I agree with your point. If you're having fun and enjoying the park, then however you do that is cool.

LiftThrill wrote:As for Powder Keg, just getting to it is a representation of the entire park layout. No rhyme or reason to anything, lol, but it adds to the charm.

Definotely. SDC has never had a master plan, and it shows.
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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby LiftThrill » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:47 pm

After one day of driving and going to Silver Dollar City, two days of screwing around, seeing some family and friends, driving through Missouri and Illinois, and getting a good night's sleep at an Airbnb that we booked last second (because we forgot that we'd already booked the La Quinta across from the park because half the time we spent dicking around in Missouri had absolutely no cell service. whoops) it was finally time for some more TPR trip report appropriate content.

Before actually doing stuff in Chicago, we had to park so we found a big multilayer parking garage that was charging $38 or something ridiculous for parking but seemed like not a huge deal because we budgeted way too much for the day in Chicago so who cared, right? If I remember right, it was $25 for twenty minutes or less, $30 for 20 minutes to 3 hours, $38 for 3-6 hours, or $38+hourlyfees for over 6 hours. Remember this because it'll be important later.

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We had an appointment for a boat tour (explained a little more in the next paragraph) at 9:30 so to kill time we checked out the Apple store directly next to the boat tour boarding area. Honestly, these lifestyle stores were probably one of the highlights of Chicago. They're basically a normal version of a store, but with literally everything imaginable that fits that type of store. This Apple store had technology presentations going on all day, plus almost every modern Apple-owned product on display.

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It was my first time in Chicago and the main thing that intrigues me about big cities is always the tall buildings and cool skyline, so the touristy thing that was most appealing was the Shoreline Sightseeing architecture boat tour. That was a really fun experience and our tour guide, Juan Pablo, was quite knowledgeable about the city's history and the styles of architecture of the buildings in Chicago. Overall a comfortable boat ride and informative tour, I would definitely recommend if you like buildings, architecture, boat rides, or history.
(time for HUGE picture dump. if you don't care for low quality pictures of cool buildings then feel free to skip forward until you stop seeing pictures of buildings)

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(post split in half due to attachment limit)
1. Fury 325 | 2. Millennium Force | 3. New Texas Giant | 4. Outlaw Run | 5. Maverick | 6. Twisted Cyclone | 7. Iron Rattler | 8. The Voyage | 9. Goliath (SFGAm) | 10. Time Traveler

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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby LiftThrill » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:51 pm

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Following the tour, we decided to walk around and just check out parts of the city. I don't know why but for some reason we ended up at some fast food Asian restaurant called Wow Bao that, as the name implies, makes baos (dumplings). I got a salted caramel "sweet bao" and honestly that may have been the weirdest sh*t I've ever eaten. This is pretty much the Blazing Fury of food. Bizarre as hell and plenty of wonkiness to go around. It tasted like neither salted nor caramel nor bao and I really don't know what it DID taste like. If you like janky and weird food, this is the place for you. All their other typical Asian dishes also looked really weird, and the other non-sweet baos were apparently equally bizarre according to other people there.

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There's a spot where my memory kinda goes blank after Wow Bao. Maybe the salted caramel bao was actually drugged. The world may never know. The next thing I DO remember doing was some walking around in the big commerce center mall thing that has a train station in it or something. We looked at furniture stuff, some weird restaurants (though probably not as utterly bizarre as Wow Bao), and even up to the empty showroom floors for some reason (?) before getting hungry for real food and going down to the food court for lunch.

The food court there was not your typical food court. Almost always you're gonna get a Panda Express, Chick-fil-A, McDonald's/Wendy's/Burger King (pick one), a smoothie place, a wild card restaurant that can be just about anything, plus some more local and chain places of different varieties than previously listed. This food court, on the other hand, boasted a bunch of weird high-class restaurants (at least compared to Panda Express and Chick-fil-A), including a highbrow-styled knockoff Chipotle, some modern-art-inspired grills, and maybe even a bonus Wow Bao (who knows?). A few days prior, someone had recommended we try hot chicken while in Chicago, as it was the city's second best signature food after hot dogs and before deep dish pizza. One of the places in this food court was a hot chicken restaurant called Budlong, so naturally that was the place to go based on the recommendation we received. I got myself an order of tenders and some surprisingly good root beer with cane sugar (tasted almost like cream soda combined with root beer) and sat down to eat. Now, I'm Texan, so spicy and hot food isn't exactly new to me and I've had plenty of stuff with jalapenos, peppers, and spicy seasoning, but I'm still a little sensitive to heat depending on the kind. The Budlong chicken has four tiers of hotness: not hot, classic, hot, and really f*cking hot. The classic seemed like the best choice so that's what I had gotten, and jeez these were some biga** tenders. I began testing the crispy edges for temperature (not spicy hotness, just if it was gonna burn my face off or something). Pretty soon my tenders were of an acceptable temperature so I began to dig in. I felt a little twinge of burn on my tongue, then throat, then cheeks, lips, and roof of my mouth, and all of a sudden my "classic" hot chicken became the "hot as f*ck" chicken. I don't even want to imagine what the actual highest tier of hotness would have tasted like but I imagine you'd have to call in the fire department. Luckily I had some really good root beer to wash it down and kinda heal it a little bit, but jeez this stuff is waaayyy hotter than you'd expect.

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After some more shop observation and way too much walking we had about another 45 minutes to an hour in the city before we were done for the day (fatigue mostly) so we headed to Portillo's to get the legendary Chicago dogs. These ended up being the most normal food in Chicago and probably the best. I also grabbed a frozen custard hot fudge sundae there because why not?

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We considered going somewhere afterwards for some Chicago deep dish, but after Wow Bao, Hot As F*ck Chicken, and Portillo's, we were feeling pretty full. After a walk down through the Magnificent Mile (I think it's called that? I heard people calling it the miracle mile but that's the one in florida right? idfk) of cool lifestyle edition shops that would be a glorified strip mall were they not lifestyle shops, we got lost for a bit and then returned to our parking garage. We headed to the lobby to pay and found ourselves standing at a couple of sketchy cash-only pay machines.

Since our time in the city was about 7 hours from the time we got our ticket to park, we figured it'd be about $45 so we got out two twenties and a five. After putting in the parking garage ticket and one of the twenties, the machine gave the thank you! screen and handed back a five dollar bill. Wait, what? $15 for 7 hours? What kind of parking garage is this??? Aren't these things supposed to OVERcharge us?????? We weren't gonna complain so we got our paid-for(ish) ticket back and went to the car. Upon exit, there was some hesitance to use the exit ticket in case the system caught onto it scamming itself, but it ended up accepting it. So yeah, long story short the sh*tty parking garage scammed itself and left us $30 richer and 100% more confused than ever before.

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Yadda yadda yadda hour and a half drive through chicago traffic which is basically the Corkscrew to I-35's Cedar Creek Mine Ride and we ended up at Six Flags Great America on a perfect weather summer's day at like 5PM during the heat of the day. Our reasoning for going to the park two days in a row was to be able to do everything in case the crowds were the SFGAm standard (35 minute minimum wait, 294847472839 minute maximum wait according to most locals). We didn't buy Flash Pass in advance despite the fact that it would have been significantly cheaper to do so had crowds been super awful. After already having done 12-15k steps in Chicago, it was time to get a new maximum on the step counter.

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Arriving in the parking lot

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I love seeing new park skylines - cities, amusement parks, and mountainous areas are my favorite places to be because I love being surrounded by tall stuff for some reason.

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That's our first stop.

Our first ride was Superman: Ultimate Flight, my first B&M flyer and one generally considered a weak ride compared to the other flyers. Waited about 50-55 minutes as expected per SFGAm precedent. My only flyer previously was Firehawk, which manages to be worse than Titan somehow, so I was apprehensive about Superman. Turns out that B&M flyers, unlike Vekoma flyers, don't suck.

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Anticipation...

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Simply by not being Firehawk, it's already better than Firehawk.

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Sunshine!!!

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They look like they're having more fun than they would be if they were riding Firehawk.

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"theming"

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Ok, not gonna lie. It's nothing special. But compared to Firehawk? There's not even a comparison. It's like comparing the Coasters cheeseburger to a McDonald's quarter pounder (one of the new fresh-meat ones). Neither are awesome or anything, but one of them is a huge pile of sh*t and the other is perfectly acceptable.

Following that we went to one of the most anticipated coasters of the trip, Goliath! Waited another almost exactly 50-55 minutes (sensing a theme here?) and noticed that X-Flight was stuck on the lift. Last time I was in a park with a ride stuck on the lift, it was IRat which closed down for a whole day afterwards, so this was quite concerning considering I was pretty excited to complete the set of all 4 wing coasters on the continent, so it really would have sucked for X-Flight to have been closed the whole time we were there.

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There are a TON of clones at SFGAm. Luckily, they're all pretty ok clones. No Boomerang garbage here.

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V2: Electric Boogaloo

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X-Flight looks tiny for some reason. I think it's just surrounded by huge rides that make it seem absolutely puny.

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There's the one we're headed for.

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...but not before waiting in an hour line.

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Luckily, if any coaster here is worth the wait it's this one.

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wood

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lots of wood

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Topper track

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they go up...

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they go down. This angle makes it look almost like Iron Rattler.

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Goliath, as the name implies, is absolutely massive.

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brake run

After a very fun ride on Goliath, we had only seen X-Flight do a couple of test runs so the next stop, randomly chosen by looking around, was American Eagle, which even on a busy day only had about a 5 minute wait. The blue side had just closed for some reason that required security to show up so the obvious choice was the red side. I'm a sucker for good out-and-back woodies with good airtime so this one was right up my alley.

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Murican Eagle

In the hilariously long queue (what's up with all the backtracking switchbacks here? lol) we noticed that X-Flight was just starting to run trains with actual people again, so after American Eagle we went to X-Flight to check out the situation there. The line was pretty similar to American Eagle's at about 5 minutes, so after that short wait we hopped on the left side. How is the wing coaster situation popping in Gurnee, IL? Well, it's pretty great, I'd say.

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X-Flight has a very cool-looking layout

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It looks small even from the station even though it's actually fairly big.

Following X-Flight, we only had about 30 minutes left in the park before closing, which we wasted looking for Whizzer because the forecast for the next day wasn't stellar and we knew Whizzer isn't a very rain-friendly coaster, plus finding the ride was hard because it's in a weird location nestled between the entrance and the Southwest Territory. After looking around for 15 minutes we finally found the entrance for this legendary Schwarzkopf family classic and by the time we hopped into the back car it was quite dark, so we got the famed night ride on Whizzer. How was it? Find out soon because that wraps up the yapping part of the TR and begins the ride review part of the TR!

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Whizzer at night.

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Whizzer at night!

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Well, kinda night.

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In the trees it feels more like night.

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The (presumably) less awesome of the Six Flags Bull coasters.

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why is this parking lot light so f*cking bright? lol

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Superman: Ultimate Flight - Blows Firehawk to hell and back. A pretty tame ride but infinitely more comfortable and fun than Firehawk. The pretzel loop is as awesome as advertised and the experience is generally pleasant. Not a bad ride by any measure. Also, in case I didn't mention it, it's better than Firehawk.

Goliath - After two days of riding it, this is definitely an amazing ride. The first drop might be the best on any coaster (Iron Rattler and Millennium Force are the only ones I can say for sure are in the same tier and possibly better), the inversions are very different from everything else RMC has done, and the airtime hills are great. It makes Outlaw Run seem rough with how smooth it is, but some of the transitions between elements are uncomfortably abrupt. Not a huge deal and doesn't ruin the ride, just a thing to note. Doesn't feel short, like Outlaw Run it feels like the perfect length (though paced much more awkwardly than Outlaw Run), but a very complete-feeling ride. Definitely a star attraction at this park.

American Eagle - I love out and back woodies. The sense of adventure from going out and then coming back, the floaty sensation of airtime over a big hill, occasionally rib smashing laterals from the few turnarounds a ride has, and of course the less-than-smooth track interaction are all super awesome. American Eagle is actually quite smooth for one of these classic woodies and the airtime is some very fun floater/ejector combo where some hills give one kind, some give the other, and some give none at all. The giant helix puts all other wooden coaster helix sizes to shame (except maybe that janky as sh*t old Rattler one). Ended up being one of my favorite coasters in the park.

X-Flight - I was very excited for this ride because a) wing coasters rock despite the clavicle/hip crusher restraints and b) it completed the set of all 4 North American wing coasters. I'd say it's definitely a very solid wing coaster and as an added bonus the restraints on it don't tighten nearly as much as GateKeeper or Wild Eagle. The layout is also more solid than those two with some great near misses, a fantastic first drop, and fun turns with higher g forces than you'd expect. Maybe a little bumpier than the other wing coasters, but still a very very solid ride here. I prefer Thunderbird for its launch and location, but X-Flight is a very close second for sure.

Whizzer - Great classic family ride. Reminds me of The Beast a little in terms of the layout, reputation, and experience. The lack of restraints other than a seat belt makes it fun as you have lots of wiggle room and the bobsled trains make it unique compared to modern coasters. Sensation of speed is fantastic (it whizzes) and that's kinda the whole deal with this ride, so it's definitely well executed in that regard.

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Ride Scorecard:
Superman: Ultimate Flight x1
Goliath x1
American Eagle (red) x1
X-Flight x1
Whizzer x1

Chicago Food Scorecard:
"Salted" "Caramel" "Bao" x1
Hot as f*ck fried chicken x1
Portillo's Hot Dog x1
Portillo's Hot Fudge Sundae x1

Exercise Scorecard:
Steps x21.3k

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stay tuned for SFGAm day 2, the part where we actually ride the OTHER coasters here!
1. Fury 325 | 2. Millennium Force | 3. New Texas Giant | 4. Outlaw Run | 5. Maverick | 6. Twisted Cyclone | 7. Iron Rattler | 8. The Voyage | 9. Goliath (SFGAm) | 10. Time Traveler

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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:17 pm

Great reports!

I found Outlaw Run perfectly fine in 2nd to back and could marathon it. The very back had a few more bumps, but it only became an issue with non-stop rerides.

Also I'm stunned they'd go one train on Time Traveler. That coaster had lengthy queues even with three train operations.
Top 5 Wood- Lightning Rod, Boulder Dash, Phoenix, Wildfire, Outlaw Run
Top 5 Steel- Steel Vengeance, Expedition GeForce, Twisted Colossus, Iron Rattler, Fury 325
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Re: Photo TR: The Great Weird™ 2018 Road Trip

Postby LiftThrill » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:59 pm

That's about how I feel about Outlaw Run. It's fine, but hard to ride more than once in the wheel rows.

Time Traveler had been down most of the day, so opening at all was a very good thing - DEFINITELY wouldn't have wanted to wait in that 90 minute line though.
1. Fury 325 | 2. Millennium Force | 3. New Texas Giant | 4. Outlaw Run | 5. Maverick | 6. Twisted Cyclone | 7. Iron Rattler | 8. The Voyage | 9. Goliath (SFGAm) | 10. Time Traveler

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