Well I'll wait and let Andrew answer why he didn't include Kennywood in his itinerary. I just got a text of his first reaction to Toro and it is priceless. I don't want to spoil his report so yall are gonna have to wait for his update!
It was an odd beginning to the trip, for sure. This report is unusual for me, too, in that I'm actually still on the trip. Usually I do this right after I get back to kind of digest the experience. This essay, though, I felt worked best if I was still feeling those emotions of fear, uncertainty, and a loss of what I had previously thought was true. It was important to write this in that moment.
bert425 wrote:weird you didn't just do what we did, and fly into Pittsburgh, and rent a car and then drive to Philly.
hope you had a great time, but at least the fact you're posting, proves you made it thru!
Yep, I'm alive despite all the odds.
As for the planning, it all came down to too many things I wanted to do in Pennsylvania for the time I could take off work. Something had to go. Pittsburgh is at the extreme end of how far I would go on a road trip, while Hershey and Knoebels are just over the limit of how long I can drive in one day. So that's where the line was drawn. If I'm going to all the trouble of flying, I'm prioritising the parks can I can only reach by plane.
I do plan to work Kennywood and Waldameer into a future Cedar Point trip.
I actually thought to text you that you should start at least writing your report with those feelings fresh in your mind. Especially since you'll have nothing but fun the rest of the week and by the end of it you'll have mostly forgotten about how awful the first day of the trip was.
^ I'm in the queue for the Safari. Animals don't care about that sh*t.
boldikus wrote:I actually thought to text you that you should start at least writing your report with those feelings fresh in your mind. Especially since you'll have nothing but fun the rest of the week and by the end of it you'll have mostly forgotten about how awful the first day of the trip was.
That's writer's instinct talking!
Brought to you by the Professional Organization of English Majors.
As rough a start as the trip had, it instantly got a whole lot better. I was headed to the home of the world’s tallest roller coaster! The park was having a Season Passholder Appreciation weekend that Friday-Sunday, with ERT and discounts on food and merchandise. As a Six Flags St. Louis Gold passholder, I was allowed to participate in the ERT, just not any of the discounts. Makes sense; my pass gets me parking and entry into all parks, but all other perks are at St. Louis only. Fine by me, the ERT is the important part anyway.
I'm ready for a block party!
Look at all those parking lot coasters!
Really nice entrance
I love the look of this Ferris wheel.
Maybe I just missed them, but I didn't see any actual Spyro prizes at the Spyro mania.
On Friday the ERT was on Nitro and all the Movietown rides, so I proceeded directly to Nitro. I purchased an all-day movable fluffy bunny (I love that Six Flags does this—much better system than Cedar Fair has), and prepared to board the first ride of the day, and certainly one of the best. I rode front and back, and I found each to be a bit different. I thought the first half was a little better in the back and the second half a little better in the front. This is a top tier coaster, and one of the best I’ve ever been on.
Woohoo! ERT time!
Ready to ride some Nitro! Best corrugated metal theming I've ever seen.
Batman, Dark Knight, and Justice League are just the same as their Midwestern counterparts, which is a great thing in the case of Batman and Justice League, and a very bad thing in the case of the Dark Knight. Oh well, thanks to ERT, I didn’t wait for it at all. I will say that I appreciated Batman’s queue being able to be shortened in the park section, and that Dark Knight still used the pre-show room here. As for Justice League, this version gets rid of the single rider line in favour of a 1-2 rider line—not an upgrade.
Walking to the Bull now, and I just had to take this picture of the park's two best attractions.
I'm not quite ready to become a cultist just yet.
Once the park officially opened, I headed straight to El Toro and witnessed the mass of humanity headed straight to Superman, Green Lantern, and Kingda Ka, while no one went to Toro. I was one of like 4 people on the ride for the first little bit and got several rides on it.
Ooh, getting close now!
Beautiful coaster. Best in the park.
It's cute how Six Flags attempts theming. E for effort guys.
Phew, tough decision. I was going to ride Kingda Ka, but there is that outlet mall only 2 miles away....
It was now time to ride the king of all…er…da kas? I don’t know. What I do know is that this is a fearsome kingda, and that people love to argue about putting their stuff in a fluffy bunny. Seriously, I went over to the ride and threw my stuff in my all day rental and then got into what I thought was a line spilling out of the actual queue. No, it was about 40 people with about 20 backpacks each arguing with the poor employee who had to tell them verbally what 200 signs along the path had already told them: Put your stuff in the fluffy bunny. It’s bad enough that people can’t be trusted not to be launched 400 feet in the air at 120 miles per hour while trying to film the thing on their crappy cell phone camera so they can show the shaky video to their crappy friends. No, these people are arguing for the right to do so. People are stupid.
Anyway, the ride itself is great. I rode in the front row, because I didn’t fly a thousand miles to ride in the second row. It was an awesome experience, and really about the same as Top Thrill Dragster. If there are any differences at all, they weren’t enough for me to notice. Great ride, mistreated employees, stupidly long walk to get to it.
Speaking of stupidly long walks, I hit up Zumanjaro next. It was one of only a couple of rides with a single rider line, so I took advantage of it, and it saved me 1 cycle. Eh, worth it, I guess. The ride is very similar to Lex Luthor at Magic Mountain, and has a spectacular view from the top.
Next up was the Parachute Drop. Now you might say that was a really dumb thing to do right after getting off Zumanjaro, but if you say that, I daresay you didn’t read part one of this report. After that brilliant display of decision making skills, nothing else I did this trip was remotely dumb by comparison. Anyway, the parachutes were great. Loved it.
Two members of the Justice League!
On to Green Lantern and Superman. The only stand up coaster I had been on up to this point was Riddler’s Revenge, which I really liked, so despite the hate it gets around here, I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t that great either. I used the same seat trick I did on Riddler’s, so the seat was well below me and I didn’t experience any pain. I just…didn’t really care about the ride. Maybe that’s the worst thing that could possibly be said about an amusement ride.
Superman was much better. I appreciated the hard restraints instead of Great America’s vest style. As I went up the lift, the ride was stopped while an operator went to retrieve a guest’s cell phone. So I am now officially 2 for 2 on Superman ride stoppage. Can Georgia make it a trifecta?
Yay for skyrides!
These circus tent structures were pretty cool.
While not the best western-themed area ever, Frontier Adventures did offer plenty of fun.
Oh no, a sign of doom.
Yep. No flumage today.
Three fantastic rides.
I could put it off no longer. I had to do the Safari. I am so glad they made this a ride rather than a drive-through experience, because there was no way I would have driven a rental car through an area with wildlife. It was a great attraction; there are so many species, and most of them are freely roaming around you as you ride through the middle of the enclosures.
My truck awaits!
Most animals were hanging out in the shade. I don't blame them; it's hot today.
A whole herd of bison and deer.
These water buffalo know how to spend a hot summer day.
I don't remember what these are called, but they have a big white circle on their butts.
That ostrich was having none of it from the circlebutt donkey.
Antelopes just antelopin'.
The giraffes did not get very close to the vehicle, preferring to stand in the shade. Smart giraffes.
Halfway through, there’s a spot to stop off and smoke in a children’s playground. No, I’m not kidding, the smoking area is actually in a f*cking playground. Because New Jersey. Anyway, there are a few reptiles you can see in glass cases, which is exactly how I prefer to see reptiles. There’s also Cheetor from Beast Wars!
It's Cheetor from Beast Wars!
Sorry about the glare--the lighting in here was not made for photography. Trust me, this is the best photo of this snake.
Yep, that's actual toilet paper.
Yeah, they've got one of those Little Tikes roller coaster things as an enrichment item.
Hmm...waste management in New Jersey.... Getting a serious Sopranos vibe from this.
Back on the tram, it was time to see some carnivores! Lions, tigers, and bears—but no George Takei. One bear walked right up to our tram and got uncomfortably close. Good thing we’re about 30 feet off the ground in this offroad adventure vehicle!
More animals resting in the shade.
No matter how big the cat, they all love to lie around in high places.
Now for the bear exhibit. Nothing between us and the bears, it's kind of eerie.
This guy was just walking down the tram road.
No big deal, just driving by a bear.
Cool albino peacock.
These bear cubs have their own enclosure, and will be introduced into the general population soon.
Rhea, a cousin of the emu.
Kangaroos just chillaxin'.
Yup, that's a cat.
This guy isn't actually part of the safari, just hanging out in the woods.
Once the safari ended, it was time to finish up the last few rides. I started with Bizarro, which I liked a whole lot. It did of course have that B&M bounce.
Bizarro want you ride coaster now!
Next up was Mine Train. I’ve said this many times, but Thunderation at Silver Dollar City was my first big coaster. That has the unfortunate dual effect of endearing me to mine trains, but none of them ever measure up to Thunderation, so I’m always disappointed.
It was finally time for the Skyride! I love these things, and I don’t have any near me at all, so it’s always special to get on one when I travel. When I got off, I headed straight for Skull Mountain for my cult initiation.
I entered the mountain, which looks conspicuously like a corrugated metal building with a skull puking a waterfall. The queue quickly immersed me in the theme of this ride, which is of course Takis. Like seriously, I’ve never seen such gratuitous marketing. Even by Six Flags standards, this is pretty taki.
I headed straight for the back row. Some demon, cleverly disguised as a child, was tempting me that I could get on faster if I would go in the second to last row, but I resisted and rode in the very back. This ride is so horrible, but holy crap that airtime. It comes out of nowhere, completely unexpected, and jolts you out of the seat. This coaster is otherwise so ridiculously crappy that the airtime completely stands out. My god, a ride that has LED lights straight out of a Party City catalogue and royalty free metal music has no right whatsoever to that kind of airtime. But it does, and it’s horrifically awesome.
Next up was the Joker. I was able to use the single rider line, and I was excited to try one of these 4D S&S coasters, but it just wasn’t very good. I kept hitting the back of my head on the seat every time it flipped. Interesting concept, but poor execution. Probably the biggest disappointment of the day.
Cleanup time—a quick stop by Justice League, then on to Houdini and back to El Toro.
Okay, finally time to check out the Justice League ride.
Nice big plaza. No trees.
Building looks much the same as the others.
This is different though. Honestly the way they do this is not as great as the straight up single rider lines.
I started to go back over to El Toro, but I had to stop here. I taught I taw a puddy tat.
I did! I see a puddy tat! Wight next to the most Jersey stiltwalker ever!
Had to stop in on the way for Houdini too. Such a cool ride, loved the preshow too.
Gotta love these gargoyles.
This birthday cake and ice cream plaza is pretty cute.
The lakefront is beautiful too.
Time to relax at Macho Nacho before bullriding some more!
After El Toro, I headed over to meet up with Bill and Brit for some night rides. No photos of them, though, so I guess you have to trust that I met them.
I didn't get any cheesesteaks here. There are better steaks to be had in the city. Stay tuned to this report for more on that subject.
Skyscreamers are always good rides, but I've got one near me, so I opted to skip it for more Nitro and El Toro. No regrets.
It was around now that Bill and Brit arrived and texted me that they were going to Justice League. I didn’t really want to ride that again, and besides, that would make us a group of 3 and significantly increase the wait time, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to join them just then. Instead, I hopped in the queue for El Toro. I got off right before they got on Justice League, so there was enough time to meet them there.
Obviously, they didn’t recognize me by sight alone, so I went up to them and introduced myself. Bill knew me from the forum, but Brit didn’t. She’s Internet famous, so I did my best not to be too creepy despite the fact that I, a perfect stranger who lives over a thousand miles from them, know details about their vacations. Ah, Internet forums, what would we do without them?
We rode Nitro in the back row, which was even better than when I had ridden it that morning. It’s a special kind of magic that makes all roller coasters better at night, but Nitro is especially good after dark.
We then proceeded over to El Toro, and how else to get there but the Skyride? El Toro is maybe not quite as good a night ride as Nitro, but it’s still a hell of a way to end a day at Great Adventure.
Overall, this is a fantastic park, maybe the best in the Six Flags chain. It’s certainly neck and neck with Fiesta Texas. It does of course have some of the Six Flags annoyances, with adverts everywhere and silly rules like having to put your stuff in a fluffy bunny that the park also charges you for. But if you know that stuff going in and accept it, then this park delivers a ton of fun. It’s the only Six Flags park other than Fiesta Texas that I would want to visit again. All the rest, even Magic Mountain, I may hit up if they got something new, but Great Adventure is fantastic as it is, and I would go back there now. It wasn’t my favourite park on the trip (stay tuned to see what is), but it is very, very good.
Nice report. Great Adventure is my home park, so it is always nice to see the park from the perspective of a first time visitor. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Joker. It is my second favourite coaster in the park, after El Toro.
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