Philrad71 wrote:Nice report, Bert...I have to get to Texas to these parks.
I just hope that I can hit SFOT on a good day and not a shitty one like you did, or like TPR did a couple of years ago during one of their tours. This park (like Six Flags Great America) seem to stand out more in the chain as very hit or miss in terms of overall operations and visit experience.
I know that most can be hit or miss, but these two parks always seem to have either really good reviews or really bad ones.
sirloindude wrote:It's a shame that it has become hit or miss these days. Despite my visits to SF parks other than America being pretty infrequent, I felt like SFOT always delivered when I'd go there. It's one of the few in the chain to which I'd really like to get back in the very near future, although based on this review, maybe I don't.
Please don't take the negative as anything other than observations / added flavor.
we had a wonderful time despite the crowds/hiccups with staff attitude.
I'd ABSOLUTELY recommend this park for a visit, but just be prepared that you might get some frustration. . . . then just tell yourself to realize you are at a theme park, and have fun.
although I must note that "hit or miss" absolutely is an accurate description, as you'll see when I update for Sunday morning. it really was like night and day in terms of employee attitude, crowds, and ride thruput.
we had a good time on both days for this trip, but Sunday was really closer to perfect. but an imperfect day doesn't remove how fun the rides at SFoT are.
(hopefully I'll get the Sunday Morning update posted in the next few days -- I'm in Houston for a wedding, and responding on the hotel lobby computer. . which auto-filled in Theme Park Review when I searched for it! so yay).
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:What a Six Flags day! You got a lot of good photos too.
Mr. Freeze is really impressive, and you gotta love that air conditioned queue. On a hot muggy day, once you get in that building, you don't mind that wait one bit.
LOL. . it most certainly was a Six Flags day! (not as much as my trip to Fiesta in Early Oct.. coming up in update in the next few weeks).
was still a great trip to SFoT tho. I don't recall the A/C working in Freeze's queue, but it wasn't uncomfortable during the breakdown wait, since a lot of folks left the line, so plenty of room to move around.
bigboy wrote:Great trip report. We accidentally went on a make-up bring a friend day a few years ago and the crowd was off the chain - both in quantity and behavior.
The only part of Gunslinger that came from Astroworld is the big handguns on the center of the ride and the name. The ride has been at SFOT since the '80's and was known as Texas Tornado prior to 2007 or so.
that's really interesting on Gunslinger! I had no idea, so thanks for the info. Maybe that's why I didn't recall it being a yo-yo?
of course, a yo-yo SHOULD tilt (one can even see the mechanism to make it tilt while riding). . but I've now been on 2 in the past few months that did NOT. weird.
Canobie Coaster wrote:Nice report! That's a shame the crowd and employees weren't the best as I had a really pleasant day at SFOT last year.
and glad your trip was pleasant. .as I noted, we had a really good time, despite the issues that Six Flags certainly should address (mainly the food service employees, and for sure the parking lot exiting. . . . seriously Six Flags, get someone directing traffic at the end of the night!).
our Sunday morning was an A+ experience, so average that with the C- from Saturday, and you get a solid B.
The Great Zo wrote: Interesting to hear your thoughts on NTAG after riding SV first. Sounds like the latter is the more complete experience!
I think SV is a much stronger coaster, and thought the 1st half of it was absolutely stunning.
I liked the 1st half of Giant a lot, but SV has it edged out.
because the 2nd half of Giant is just so "meandering", SV beats it by default. But even tho it has no extreme elements, I think if Giant hadn't braked so strongly at midcourse, that I'd prefer Giant's 2nd half over SV's batcrap crazytown - even tho I really did like the barrel roll inside the structure of SV.
so yeah, the Giant was running, SV beats it hands down. Tho to me, Giant was more re-rideable, even braked as strongly as it was at Midcourse. .if that makes sense.
and here's another pic I found of me in the New Texas Giant line, that Nick took after he exited at Flash Pass entrance and went to sit (this is after about 40 minutes waiting, so we were almost at the base of the stairs).
hope to have Sunday pics up by Wed to close out this TR.
We were able to spend a few days at this park last summer. I agree about the parking lot mess. To make matters worse, the baseball stadium was emptying out at the same time the amusement park was.
Beyond that, we had a blast at the park. The crowds were not too bad, and without fast lane we were able to hit all the coasters several times. I vaguely remember the food service being slow, but after spending the past few days at cedarpoint I cant complain about it anymore.
we got up Sunday morning, after a decent night’s sleep, and I checked my messages, and found a note from the TPR angel who had gifted us the priority parking on Saturday. She noted that she had seen my thank you email (where I mentioned the craziness and some of the frustration of the day), and that IF we had decided to go back into the park? She had set me up once again with a reservation for priority parking on Sunday.
We had decided we were going back to the park for a few hours anyways, but I again thanked her profusely, and after checking out made the quick drive to the park – where this time we were in front row of the reserved parking (and again, we showed them the parking pass on my phone, and told them that someone who was not with us had made the reservation for us, and they still said “no issue” and directed us to the reserved lot).
already we could tell the crowd was MUCH lighter. I think much of it had to do with it not being a BAFF day, but also because it’s Sunday in Texas, so many folks were at Church. Getting in thru the gates was a breeze, and I told Nick we should head to Justice League, since we hadn’t even stopped at it Saturday due to how long the queue line had been. There was still a 15 minute or so wait, but it was all within the Hall of Justice building.
I was really happy that this version wasn’t my 1st time riding it, and that I had recently had my 1st ride on one of these at Six Flags Over Georgia – as there, all the effects had been working. Here at SFoT, the Cyborg in the queue didn’t move and several of the effects within the ride weren’t working -- the tilting shelf of barrels was the big one. Nick, not knowing that some things hadn’t been working, really liked the ride. So in the end, that’s all that mattered for me.
The operations were spot on tho, with the line moving steadily. Everyone was friendly and the employees were all happy and cheerful (although to be fair, it was morning, and the heat of the day hadn’t kicked in yet).
From the exit of Justice League, we were going to head to Pandemonium right across the walkway but I spotted Texas Skyscreamer operating – with empty seats! So instead we headed directly there, and it was practically a walk on. I waited only one cycle for it, after the prior night it had easily been pulling hour + waits.
I know it’s the tallest one in Texas (and almost the tallest one in the USA at 450ft), but it didn’t really seem all that high. Maybe because I was chatting with the guy who took the open seat next to me during the ride – we talked about Fiesta Texas, LOL – but I didn’t find it scary, and I’m not a huge fan of heights. It was more fun than a wind seeker, and offers fantastic views of not only the park, but of both Dallas, and the stadiums next door. The coolest part of the experience, was how close it FEELS like you’re getting to Riddler when the pendulum swings up on that side. It’s rather neat.
Speaking of Riddler, I got off Skyscreamer and went with my new friend over to Riddler, which also was almost a walk on. (Nick sat on a bench and watched). We ended up chatting the whole time we were in the short line for Riddler, and he was telling me he really wanted to ride Harley, but it wasn’t open. That was weird, since it was operating yesterday, so I figured maybe it was one of those that opens at noon, a couple of hours after the park. How was Riddler? It has some nice forces during the swing, but the actual spinning motion didn’t seem all that noticeable. I mean, I *knew* we were spinning as we were swinging, but I couldn’t really feel it. Still, a good ride, that gets some great height – you really feel UP THERE. I thought it wouldn’t feel that high since I had just gotten off skyscreamer, but nope, still feels pretty high : ) Exiting Riddler, Nick stayed where he was, and my new friend and I went across to Catwoman’s Whip, which had a short wait - although while I was in that line, Riddler went down – and that entire line moved across the walkway and into Catwoman’s line giving that a good wait now (but that was behind me).
Riddler seemed to go down quite a bit during my visit to SFoT (so did Mr. Freeze), but credit where it’s due – Riddler always seemed to come back up 5-10 minutes after it went down. So if you go, and it breaks while in line? My suggested strategy would be to stay in line and wait it out. I have no idea what causes it to shut down so often? Maybe a restraint light, or it doesn’t line up correctly when a cycle stops? But wait it out.
In fact, by the time we got off our cycle on Catwoman – maybe a total of 10 minutes in line and on ride – Riddler reopened, so we went right back across the walkway and got on it with only a 1 cycle wait. While on my 2nd spin on Riddler, Harley started cycling. Checking the time, it was just before noon, so that SEEMS to support the assumption that it opens a couple of hours after the park opens. (Judge Roy also opened around this time, and Aquaman had a sign it didn’t open until Noon. . so it’s weird that certain *rides* rather than certain *areas* open up after park) Anyways. . after my 2nd ride on Riddler, my new friends headed to Harley and I went to meet up with Nick at the bench.
Since we were in Gotham anyways, we headed over Joker, which was a walk on this morning. It’s got a great setting, right on the edge of the park, but I honestly think that Batman at Fiesta Texas is a better ride. I’ve gotten more flips on Batman, and they seemed more intense. Not sure if it’s the setting at SFoT, or maybe because Batman at SFFT is the orginal installation? But I prefer Fiesta’s S&S Freespin.
Getting off Joker, Harley was *also* a walk on. Now granted, the park wasn’t that crowded. . but I was still pretty surprised that the newest ride two days in a row wasn’t pulling any real lines. There were quite a few folks standing, or sitting on benches, watching the ride. But not many actually in line for it. I have to wonder if it simply LOOKS too extreme and is scaring off potential riders. Which is a shame, as it’s not really intense, and I found it to be a fun little ride. Not my favorite, or scariest, or most extreme. . but fun.
With no line, I rode it twice while here (both times requesting end row seats, and being placed where I requested for both rides). I was feeling bad that we’d been in the Gotham area all morning, and tho I had ridden: Skyscreamer, Riddler (x2), Catwoman, Joker, and Harley (x2), Nick had only done Justice League today thus far. So I suggested we get a ride on Batwing, as I know he will ride the dumbo-type ride.
Batwing was the ride in Gotham that seemed to have the longest line, with lots of families and small kids in line. It was at least a 4 cycle wait, but as noted – since Nick had only been on Justice League, I had no issue waiting with him to ride it. We watched Mr. Freeze cycle, since the entrance is right next door, and I asked Nick if I could grab a ride on it before we left the area after Batwing, and he was OK with it .. tho he reminded me he wanted to head out no later than 3, and preferably sooner.
So we got off our ride on Batwing, and Nick sat at a shaded Johnny Rockets table, and I went to get in line for Mr. Freeze – only to find the entrance chained off. I asked an employee what was going on, as the ride had been cycling with passengers, and he told me the ride was down for mechanical issues. I asked if I could get in line to wait it out, and was told that it’s standard procedure to close the line when technical issues. I guess I hadn’t seen this the day before because I was IN the line when it went down? But that would explain why no one joined us in the line inside while we waited out the breakdown the prior day.
Oh well. . I hadn’t been on Batman, and that’s right next door to Mr. Freeze, so I texted Nick that I was gonna give that a shot tho I had no idea how long the line is, as the queue on this one is all hidden (and well themed) too. Batman was basically a station wait – but it still took a good 6 minutes or so to get thru all of the queue (and to jump over the giant puddles that had formed in the Gotham park entrance area of the ride queue). . . it’s a great queue, but wow is it long. The ride was super intense, too. The closest I’ve come to a Batman that intense is the version at SFoG. . so I have to wonder if they are the *exact* same model/layout running the same ride cycle. It was great!
and, of course, while on the lift-hill, Mr. Freeze started cycling again (oy).
But I had ridden Batman instead of Freeze, and I didn’t want to be greedy – and wanted to keep Nick happy (and he was ready to get out of this part of the park). . . so instead of getting in that line, I went back to nick and we headed out from Gotham and back over to JRS. We again waited for the front car, this time in 2nd row, and tho not as good a ride as we had gotten the prior night, it was still not bad in the front. I’d guess if we’d gotten on later in the day, after the coaster had been running for the day, we would have gotten a great ride. We backtracked towards the front for a ride on Pandemonium – wow, TWO rides in a row that Nick rode with me. . . LOL. Then headed towards Shockwave.
as we were passing Superman Tower of Power, Nick told me he had changed his mind and didn’t want to ride Shockwave. The two coasters back to back, even minor coasters like JRS and Pandemonium, were enough for him to say he was basically done and ready to go. But I could ride a few more things. So I hopped into the single rider line on Superman, and took a quick ride.
Shockwave was down when we got to it, for some reason. We didn’t get close enough to ask what was going on, only saw an employee turning people away from the entrance as we came around the base of the Oil Derrick. I wasn’t too disappointed, as I had gotten a ride on it the prior day. And it was getting close to 1pm.
So I asked Nick if he would ride Runaway Mountain, even tho he had said he was done with riding. It was really the only major coaster we hadn’t been by. I told him if he’ll ride that with me, we could leave afterwards, and he agreed to that, as leaving earlier is what he wanted to do anyways. I warned him that I had heard the coaster sometimes pulls a line (was thinking about how Batwing had a line,so a family coaster might be the same), but the park wasn’t that crowded, so lets give it a shot.
we were over by the Oil Derrick, so had to continue all the way around the perimeter of the park to get over to Runaway Mountain (SFoT is laid out so strangely!) I looked longingly at Giant as we walked near the coaster, but again, I didn’t want to be greedy, and I had agreed that Runaway Mountain would be our last coaster.
*BUT* as we passed Rodeo, it was running! I pointed out to Nick that a) it had been down yesterday and we were disappointed since we wanted to ride it, and b) it was NOT a coaster, so therefore we could ride and still keep the promise : ) They seemed to have only one operator on it, and tho she was speedy-ish, because every car needs to be manually secured/unsecured, a line that was short enough it was only a 1 cycle wait? Still took a good 10 minutes to get on the ride. It was ok tho, because even with the short queue area, it’s indoors and air-conditioned. So all was good, and we had a fun, but not too intense ride on the SFoT rodeo ride.
Added bonus was the giant chair photo op right next door to the ride. It’s not a throne, technically, but since I do love me a good throne, of COURSE I hopped up on it for a picture. Headed back around towards the front of the park, we found the turn off to get over to Runaway Mountain – and it had been so long since I was in the park (we hadn’t come over here at *all* yesterday) I totally forgot that there are no other rides in this area. Several stores, and restaurants, and a big theater – and a nice section that was like an outdoor museum with the history of the park are over here. But no other rides. Nick actually asked me more than once if I was sure we were headed the right way. But at the end of the ‘street’ was the queue for Runaway Mountain, and I pointed out to him that they were not using almost any of the outdoor queue that snakes among the trees. (they also weren’t using the waterfall on the outside of the building – looked like it hadn’t been on in a long, long time). So the queue pretty much started at the entrance to the cave, and that ended up being about a 15 minute wait. Not bad at all.
he was nervous about it, since he really didn’t want to get jostled, but I reassured him that from what I recalled, it’s a pretty smooth steel coaster that is similar to Space Mountain in that it’s dark, it has lots of helixes, but no loops, and I remembered it being one of my favorites in the park. I didn’t recall the trains being only 3, two row, cars (so a total of 12 passengers per train). . but the smaller trains actually made it feel like it was moving even faster in the dark.
the ride was absolutely fantastic.. yes, it’s mainly going in circles, but there is a diving helix about ½ way thru that completely catches you off guard (in the dark, duh), and had us “whoot!” ing and laughing. . it’s a great element. Really great coaster.
We got off it, and Nick actually was considering if we should get back in line to ride again (I think the deciding factor against it, were the amount of steps to exit the ride – you have to climb up quite a few steps, to go over , and then down on the other side to exit the building). So instead, I kept my promise, and we headed towards the front gates, ending our visit on a really good ride.
Nick asked if I wanted to get on the Carousel before leaving, and even tho the radio station personality wasn’t there blasting loud music over the main gate today. . the memory of “Getting Jiggy With It” was still there, and I passed. LOL
We did stop on the way out at the front gate to get “Pink Thing” dipping dots – which have pop rocks in them, so made my whole mouth tingle. They were good, and I recommend them, even if they aren’t a “real” pink thing. They got the flavor pretty close to the original treat.
not a bad amount of rides in just over 3 hours. . as noted what a difference a day made.
Getting out of the lot was a breeze, since we were leaving in the early afternoon, and with that, we closed out our visit to Arlington/Six Flags Over Texas, and headed back to Austin.
Here’s the pics from the 2nd day:
Cyborg in Justice League. he wasn't moving at all (not even his mouth), but still looks good
we're seeing in THREEEEE - DEEEEEEE
love this Aquaman statue in the lake at the Splashdown.
wonder if they're gonna add a long wig to him to match the Movie version when it comes out in a few weeks?
Joker sign during the day
Riddler sign during the day
Catwoman sign during the day
me on Riddler.
Why did he not lift the camera up to go OVER the fence? or walk up to the fence and put the camera thru the slots to get a clear pic?
because.. . Nick. LOL
Mr. Freeze broke down, so went to Batman instead. Long, hidden, queue. . but was basically a station wait once I got thru all the queue area. good coaster
and very photogenic from the exit
Harley looks amazing during the day too. . tho the night time lighting package is stunning as I posted earlier
Harley and Joker
Harley's sign during the day
I can totally see how this can intimidate people, but the ride experience is not overwhelmingly dizzying.
Pandemonium is sponsored by Twix here at SFoT.
not really sure why. . LOL
in line for Rodeo (covered and in the AC). LOL. . apparently I didn't take a picture of the actual ride?
but I did climb up in the big chair for a photo op after!
Wow, much better day. Were you even at a Six Flags park?
bert425 wrote: Batman was basically a station wait – but it still took a good 6 minutes or so to get thru all of the queue (and to jump over the giant puddles that had formed in the Gotham park entrance area of the ride queue). . .
from my trip to Fiesta Texas in late September (I believe it was 9/27, and they had just set up for Fright Fest).
I had a *very* Six Flags day, LOL, but it was still a good time and I got to enjoy a lot of the FrightFest decorations, as well as finally get a ride on the Carousel that had just *finally* reopened after being down for well over a year (they removed it to make way for Wonder Woman, and it was in storage while they re-furbished it and poured the new pad for it over by Sangerfest Hall).
here's what I wrote about the trip at the time, over on the SFFT board. now there's pictures tho
original post: quick 3 hour visit to the park today, on a very overcast (but no rain) day.
Scream operated off and on during my visit, and looked like Iron Rattler was not gonna open at all (no staff on the ride, and not even someone stationed out front by the chained off queue to talk to people -- an operator elsewhere noted to me it was because of "weather"). .but I dunno. . . it never rained, and Skyscreamer operated all day.
didn't stay late enough for any of the mazes to open (I was only there from 12:30-3:45), but the majority of the decorations are decent (a few are just awful tho. . but I think those were scarezone areas, so it's more about the live actors they would have out later, than decorations, right?
I'll give SFFT kudos for the mazes all being free and included with admission - as noted on the FrightFest Maps. But yeah, several places selling "skip the line" passes for the mazes too. as noted, can't comment on quality, as I left before any of the mazes or scarezones (or shows, for that matter) started on this overcast Sunday.
park wasn't slammed, but was fairly crowded. .ang I'm going to temper my above "kudos" with a SHAME ON THEM:
Goliath, Poltergeist, RoadRunner Express - all running ONE train (and pulling decent lines. . tho no Flash Pass lines) Also running *one* train? Wonder Woman. yep. . . 8 people per cycle, with a huge line. I understand it's a new coaster, and there will be downtime (and it has broken down repeatedly every time I've been, including today). . but only one train? on the newest coaster?
really smells like a ploy to sell Flash Pass (the kiosk to sell them, and the lines at each ride for it were pretty empty today. . nobody wanted to buy them).
at least Superman was running two trains (other than Pandemonium, which seemed to be cycling 4 cars, it was the only coaster with more than one train on a Fright Fest day, when the park is open until 10).
also of note, several areas of the park just reeked of Garbage and/or sewage. Not sure if they have an issue, or what. it certainly wan't "Fright Fest" theming, and it was disgusting.
might come back in a few days with pics, as I did like a lot of the decorations and took a bunch of pics. .but for now, I'll note that in ~3 hours, in addition to eating lunch and also standing in line to get a milkshake at Johnny Rockets, i rode:
oh. .they have a lot of signage up about the new Joker Pendulum ride, and I did hear a lot of people talking about it. (tho way more complaining about the line for Wonder Woman, and that Iron Rattler wasn't open).
I'll be back in a few weeks (with the spouse) to redeem our 2019 passes, and have already informed him that we will be staying until after dark on that day so I can check out a maze or two. hopefully operations have improved by then, as crowds will get bigger closer to Halloween.
Note: we did go back, and saw *much* better operations. I'll have that report up here with photos next week.
on to the photos from this trip!
I was there, at the end of September, for Fright Fest!
overcast skies, but no rain today.
Goliath seemed to have no line, but they were holding the line before the "ramps" section, which happens to be where "Flash Pass" lane merge is. so they were holding back the line IN CASE they got Flash Pass folks showing up. . so it took longer than it should have. but still not too bad -- for them only running one train.
the decorations up in the main square (which are tied to house?. . I think?) were pretty great
ooo. . coool
didn't have my photo-pass yet (that would be with the next trip where we redeemed our 2019 passes), but the Six Flags Photographers were happy to take pics with our own cellphones/cameras. . very nice of them
even if they did make us do "official photopass" poses. . LOL
scary zombie cut out selfie
another "official" pic taken with my phone
hence the "poses"
Joker is advertised thruout the park - in particular over by the Waterpark Section (which is where they advertised Wonder Woman last year). . guess this is the "go to" spot in the park to go see what the coming attractions are.
Ratter doesn't seem to be moving. . hurm :(
and yeah, it was down all day
Roadrunner was up, finally, and tho it was pulling a line I waited for it - as this was the first visit since last year's Holiday in the Park where it was operating while I was in the park.
Still missing *all* of the Looney-Tunes character figures that used to be there in the actual ride (both Wil.E. Coyote & Road Runner). .but at least it was running.
like this train? good, because it's the only one they were running.
Still. . having been closed all season, I waited the 30 minutes for it.
With Iron Rattler down all day, the only other reason to come to this side of the park is Totally Kickin Chicken -- one of the better food stands in the park. (and included on my Mealpass)
yeah. . was dead over here (this is just outside (closed) train depot, looking back towards Roadrunner). the stanchions off to the right, are I believe where one could buy Skip the Line house passes
Superman was running multiple trains, at still gives a great ride!
decorations from one of the scarezones going onto the Boardwalk
my. .how very Six Flags - one of the lawn zombies is doing a face plant (and no one went to fix it the whole time I was there). . this is from the bridge in front of Poltergeist).
yay, the Carousel is finally back and operating
they did an incredible job refurbing it -- the fresh paint looks fantastic.
I found my bunny! my favorite animal on this Carousel.
it was even playing Classic Carousel music!
Something it was *not* doing when Nick and I went back a few weeks later. . . by then they had adjusted it to "Carousel Music VERSIONS of German Polka". . which I guess makes sense now that the Carousel is in Spassburg.
but glad I got to ride with Classic music too.
2nd ride, other side of the bunny
the repaint really DOES look amazing
even the sea-dragon looks great. (never really understood why they have one fantasy creature on a realistic carousel. .but it's a nifty treat, and the kiddos always fight over getting to ride it, even tho it doesn't move)
More theming outside a house (wasn't open yet, but I took some pics of the posters theming for the house)
Bug's Rapids is back to running with all the water features working
including the dragon "tracking" the boat to soak everyone in it.
Dia De Los Muertas wedding -- under the train trestle.
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