Bonjour mes amis! The next stop on my journey through this perception of existence that my brain creates took me to,
Fierté Montréal et La Ronde
A friend and I made plans to go to Fierté Montréal, or Montreal Pride to you non-French speakers. We planned to make a fun weekend out of it between the pride events, the club/bar scene there, some sightseeing, eating good food, and the parade on Sunday. My friend, who has a Six Flags pass, asked if we should consider going to LaRonde, and at the time, my response was, "hell no", but then we didn't have a lot planned post-parade on Sunday and the little roller coaster fangirl in me was nagging on about how I haven't been there in nearly 10 years.
Montreal is one of my favorite cities and it's awesome, in addition to the fact that Canada is an incredible country. Full disclosure on the fact that I'm French-Canadian may have a tiny bit to do with it. However, the fact that their leader is not an insecure, developmentally-disabled preschooler with the temperament of having just sh*t his lunch into his adult diaper after being woken up from his nap too early, automatically gives them a +1 over us.
LaRonde was ok.
Crossing into Canada at the Saint Bernard De Lacolle border crossing. Bit of a long line. Guess everybody is headed to Canada for the weekend!
After you drive about 40km through a whole lot of nothing, you start seeing signs of a city, and pretty soon you're crossing over one of the bridges onto the Île de Montréal
Checked into the hotel and immediately made sure the hair was done and ready for a night out
Having gotten thoroughly intoxicated that night, I didn't really take any other pictures, so the next morning, here was our view from Starbucks on the side of the Centre Eaton
In the afternoon, we found a good spot on Boulevard René Lévesque, which was the street closed for the parade route.
The parade got off to a late start, but finally it started heading our way. Then, soon after...
Daddy Justin Trudeau, the gorgeous-as-f*ck Prime Minister of Canada, who can totally get it and do all sorts of things to me that I can't write on this forum, comes along with a ton of people behind him! We did not expect this at all and it was so awesome, definitely a never-in-America sort of thing
Foreskin for the win!
Aww, thanks Airbnb
Cool, modded old Mercury Cougar
Then Walmart came and handed out these cans of cola that turned us all gay
After the parade, we walked down the street and enjoyed the beauty and architecture that is Montreal. We had very nice 80-degree weather all weekend as well
Now, for the stuff you basic b*tches will all cum over, you take this beautiful old bridge over the St. Lawrence river, onto the Île Sainte-Hélène, where you'll find,
It had been almost 10 years since my last visit, and not much has changed since then in the way of new attractions, so we only planned to stay for a few hours. But peut-être they've spent the past decade focusing on improvements instead. Perhaps they spent it re-painting, repairing, and really polishing the park into it's full potential, considering it's located in a major city on a gorgeous island next to a big, beautiful bridge?
Still a pretty, clean entrance with the cool sculpture and grand carousel.
The park's central lagoon is very picaresque, with the not-all-the-way-up S&S tower out in the center
They have a Batman clone, which is a very good thing! Being one of the newer ones (this example opened in 2002), it seems a bit smoother than the older ones, but still retains the intensity and amazing ride. It also doesn't have the super loud, clacky and clanky lift. If I had to pick a "favorite BTR", it's likely this one
"Batman the Ride" in French, is "Le Vampire" ;)
Le Batman du Canada features a similar outdoor queue path, sans theming, to it's south-of-the-border counterparts, but then it has two queue houses that are absolutely plus grande.
I've only been to LaRonde one other time. Do these ever get filled up? And if they do, I would not wait in them.
It's not every day you get to walk onto the front row of a BTR clone. In fact, I don't think I've ever had this privilege. The ending with the corkscrews seemed really insane in the front!
C'est un oiseau! Non, c'est un avion! Non non! C'est le vampire!!!
LaRonde caught the "fake JB's" disease that's spreading like a deadly disease throughout the Six Flags chain. You might know how I feel about them.
Cooking burgers and hot dogs does not a "barbecue" make.
"Maison Rouge", Fright Fest maze. Some of the park's FF attractions looked ready to open that day.
La duexième eyesore.
We went on the big*ss ferris wheel to get some views of the city and of the park
Goliath, now amazing to think it's been here for 12 years, is still the star of the park. We wouldn't get to it until dusk, so I didn't get much in the way of photos.
As it was a walk-on, we also did this in the front row and there was actually more airtime to be had there than in the back. Still a really fun B&M almost-hyper!
A nice view of Titan's lighting package, Le Vampire, and the Jacques Cartier bridge as dusk approached
We actually skipped all the coasters you see in this photo, as I value my ears not being beaten in Vekoma corner and by Le Hopefully Future RMC. Hahaha remember when it won "best coaster in Six Flags chain" or whatever? What the f*ck! :lol:
Ednor: Le Nope.
As you can see, Six Flags, like Disney, very carefully regards what guests can and can't see, ensuring only the best sight lines and top-notch theming for guests!
Things that make me scream like a little b*tch: Justin Trudeau and spiders. We took a spin on Dragon, the park's family coaster, and the wooden queue into the building was home to hundreds of spiders like these in the top of the woodwork, which would occasionally descend down one of their kill-you lines toward unsuspecting guests' heads.
Seriously, what would it take for them to get pest control or occasionally just wipe the webs out?! While we were dealing with this, my friend told me she never wants to come back to LaRonde ever again.
So then, to calm our nerves, we made our way over to Goliath to finish out the night
Some drive tire porn for you
A nice blurry view of the lights on Jacques Cartier bridge at night
A nice blurry view of LaRonde's skyline from the parking area
And, to finish it out, one last look at the stunningly-built architecture of the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
Some day, I hope Six Flags will get their act together and realize what a stunning park they have. The bones are there, they even have great rides and some decent coasters. If they just cut the grass, fixed broken signs, paint fences and buildings, and train their employees, they really could make this a great park.
Nah, who am I kidding. This is Six Flags we're talking about.
I know La Ronde gets crapped on all the time but my one trip there 5 or 6 years ago was pretty decent.It's not the greatest park in the world and could certainly use some TLC but I enjoyed my day there just fine and would gladly go back again.
That bridge is pretty awesome, that same trip I was in town for business and had a free day and since I was up with a few hours to kill before the park opened I decided to just walk from downtown to La Ronde. I remember being alone inside that bridge trying to find my way out of the damn thing, it had a weird abandoned building feel inside of it that was pretty creepy even in the daylight. Pretty nice walk though, I'd do it again.
^Hilariously, when I was looking on the app to see where some of the food offerings were, one of them said, "located next to the Cobra roller coaster"...so does that mean it's been scrapped too?
Alrighty, so the next and final stop of the weeklong northern trip I took was to a park that never really lets you down. It's never really been perfect, but it's come close a couple of times. It has a ton of potential and it would probably be really great if Cedar Fair owned it, but it's still pretty dang good. I'm talking, of course, about
Six Flags Great Adventure
I try to go here at least once a year, I really like this park. El Toro is my personal favorite coaster. The park has some really great areas from when Six Flags made their best attempt to get their sh*t together over 10 years ago, between the Golden Kingdom and Plaza Del Carnival areas. Some of the buildings and theming were approaching SeaWorld/Universal quality at the time, which is pretty good for Six Flags.
El Toro is still totally awesome after all these years. In the back car, you get thrown into the first drop unlike any other coaster out there. You're treated to a warm buffet of airtime, some great laterals, and a few bumps here and there. If it's completely dead to the point of in-station re-rides, I'd recommend taking one advil prior because there's a few "potholes" here and there in the turnaround and coming out of the "Rolling Thunder hill", which can give me a slight headache after 3-4 rides in a row. We took a ride in the front row, which I think is my first time ever doing so, and it was glass smooth up there.
Kingda Ka ran consistently and reliably all day without breaking down. The park does strictly enforce fluffy bunny policies at Toro and Ka, but nowhere else. Operations at these two coasters were outstanding, with El Toro consistently dispatching one train as the other landed in the first set of end brakes. Ride ops were "walk of shame"ing anyone they found to have their phones or wallets with them when checking restraints. Operations elsewhere were mixed but mostly good. At one point Nitro stacked all three trains for over a minute. Bizarro a few times dispatched one train as the third was hitting the last block behind the second, but other times they had it going pretty well. Food was good, the park and restrooms were clean.
I think this is the most I've ever said about a park before the photos. Photo time.
Driving down from upstate NY, you get some nice city views driving through northern New Jersey on I-95
The obligatory entrance photo, chromed-out Six Flags sign included
And upon entering the lot, you're treated to this familiar view. I always tend to park down this far to avoid the bottlenecking and New Jersey aggression when leaving the lot later on.
The nice, clean entry plaza at Great Adventure, complete with large fountain. The plaza is extremely large and wide, but it's necessary because sometimes this park gets totally slammed. But other times it's a ghost town, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why.
There was a threat of rain all afternoon and Great Adventure rain policy really sucks. Taking no chances, I headed straight for The Bull. Waiting for my friend to arrive from New York City, I waited twice, then on the second go-around, was able to ride 4 times in a row without exiting the station.
El Toro begins with a super fast elevator lift, followed by a short-radius 180-degree turn, which you get pulled through pretty quick in the back row before getting absolutely thrown into that huge drop.
The airtime is perfect. It's strong, sustained ejector but it's never painful or too much.
Another view of the same hill
To my amazement, this path that had been closed for a very long time that connects The Golden Kingdom to Plaza del Carnival has been opened up once again. This is a quick shortcut between Toro and Ka, you previously had to go all the way out to the boardwalk area and around to get from one to the other.
Can we now get Busch Gardens Tampa to do the same between the Sky Ride and Kumba?
Some of the nicely-themed buildings they put up when Six Flags realized their potential temporarily around 2005-2006.
Can you ever have too many photos of El Toro?
I apologize for the lack of waiting for trains, but this is an Intamin accelerator coaster and waiting for a train could mean that you just missed your chance to ride for the day.
Thankfully, this wasn't the case and I got on after a 15-minute wait.
Six Flags Great Adventure is good about hanging onto older rides longer than other parks in the chain, including the parachute tower.
They have lanterns here and sh*t
When I was walking over to this, I remember thinking to myself how coaster enthusiasts nowadays are total p*ssies and think these are rough. Like, did you 15 year olds ever ride what was in it's place before? That sh*t hurt!
Then, I ate my words when I was on the ride. Still fun, but in one of the turns, the restraint pinched the cartilage of my ear between my sunglasses ear rest and my head, which hurt like a motherf*cker.
Still not as head-bashing as GASM tho
I skipped Superman because I don't really care about those kinds of flyers, and headed straight over to Nitro.
Nitro is fun, but if you ride El Toro first it's hard to feel anything. I have some enthusiast friends who sh*t on Nitro and say how Mako and Diamondback are better. Honestly they're all exactly the same, they just seem weak if you ride an Intamin or RMC first.
The trees here are really starting to obstruct the view of Batman.
The cream-colored ferris wheel here looks really classic, adding to the atmosphere
Can't go wrong with a pub! I skipped drinking this day, as I'd be driving back to upstate NY late at night and didn't want to make myself tired
My friend finally arrived from NYC, so we started the loop of the park again. Fantasy Forest is one of the park's original areas dating back to it's opening.
It's fitting for Six Flags to be selling Kias. Six Flags is like the "Kia" of theme park chains. They offer a ton of models in everything from a tiny subcompact to a full-sized SUV. They have performance and luxury models. They'll work and give you what you're looking for, for the most part.. But you'll rarely, if ever, forget the cheap feel.
Nicely, Great Adventure was utilizing every single game stall, the employees were really selling the games to guests, and the feel of the area is exactly what it's supposed to be, "The Boardwalk".
I really love this area when it comes with killer clowns to scare the sh*t out of you.
The Golden Kingdom
If you go to the park and don't take this photo, you're banned from Six Flags for life
I tried to get my friend to go on the log flume, but she refused. This one is really pretty and nostalgic
We went to the Western House or whatever it's called next to the log flume. The food was pretty good, I got a pulled pork sandwich and fries. They advertised beer for sale and I actually considered getting one with my meal, but then I didn't see any.
I'm actually pretty easy to please with theme park food, as I know I'm getting theme park food. Just don't c*ck tease me with a hot dog stand disguised as JB's or serve chemical burgers that taste like the byproduct of a water treatment plant like SFoG does.
As the sun was setting and we were starting to get bit by mosquitoes sitting next to the flume, it was time to head to Bizarro
We got a few rides on Bizarro as the sun was going down. It was nice to see that they still kept the theme elements like flamethrowers going after all these years, where SFNE had shuttered theirs years before the un-Bizarroing of Superman.
Bizarro is kind of whatever to me, a weak B&M floorless with a ramp-turn for a drop and not a lot of forces. That said, it's still a fun front-row ride that wouldn't upset our stomachs after just eating. The zero-g roll is an actual zero-g roll, compared with some of the faster ones that are more of a "positive g roll". It'd be a great "first big looping coaster" for when younger enthusiasts reach the height minimum.
We had just enough time before closing remaining to get one ride each on Batman and Nitro
We walked through the queue and were greeted to this completely empty station. I've never seen an empty Batman station before at this park!
My friend ended up asking me if we could do Batman again, so I agreed, and we ended up finishing out the night with 5 rides in a row without ever leaving the front middle seats of the train. An unusual way to end the day at Great Adventure, but it was a ton of fun. It started raining pretty hard on our third ride, and there's few things more disorienting than having to close your eyes on a BTR.
I also want to shout out to a really awesome Batman crew. They were friendly and engaged with us every time we returned to the station, with the operator over the mic making it a fun experience and the restraint-checkers saying we were welcome to the Batman family.
This really was a Six Flags Day, and I mean that with zero sarcasm. Thanks Great Adventure, you're still good in my book!
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