Here's a trip report from my visit today!
Alright, so the plan was for my sister and her fiancee, my future brother in law, to meet at my place at 9:30 so we could get to the park, park the car, and get inside before the rope drop. Well, you know, best laid plans and all...
Turns out she set the alarm for PM and instead woke up at 8:45am panicking. They live in Ventnor Beach, which is just south of Atlantic City, a pretty good drive to my place in Howell, 10 miles east of Six Flags. I'm all set, having just sat down to breakfast when my phone ringy dingy ding-a-ling dings and her out of breath voice is on the other end apologizing and saying they're gonna be on the road ASAP.
Fast forward to 10:20-ish. They finally show up, we all pile into my car and hit the road. We got to the park just before 11am.
Oh, side note - This is the first day in FOREVER that the sun wasn't bearing down on NJ and the temperature wasn't in the mid to high 90s. Thanks to a line of sever storms that rolled through last night, the weather was hovering around 80 degrees with a very gray sky all day. This means people were afraid to go outside, resulting in only moderate crowds in the middle of July. Yay!
Anyways, we get into the park and I immediately suggest we go to Sky Screamer for three reasons. 1, I know the capacity is horrible so we should just get it out of the way. 2, I am terrified of Star Flyers (more on that soon). 3, my sister has never ridden one and she has a SERIOUS fear of heights.
Now, a quick background on why I hate and love Star Flyers. I rode the one in Orlando and just recently the one in Germany at Holiday Park. Both petrified me with their minimalist seat design. I mean, really? Plastic seats, thin chains, one tiny metal bar and a crotch buckle?! I'm gonna die on those things! I've always had a fear of wave swingers because I swear the chain is gonna break, so when you put that ride on a 200-foot tower and spin it at high speeds, I start to lose it a bit. The one in Orlando terrified me, but it was an early model, a simple up and down and done. Then I got to Holiday Park and rode theirs. They had an extra seat belt, but still plastic chairs and all that other hoo-ha. Oh, and they had a new-ish model that goes up and then yo-yo's up and down three times before finally stopping. Combine this with a VERY strong wind above the tree line that made your seat rock back and forth and spin side to side, you have the makings of a Kyle Torture Device.
I say all of these things, but I still love them. Mainly because they are the one ride that can seriously terrify me, and I respect the hell out of that. Now let's get back to Sky Screamer.
We get to the ride and see the line isn't horrible, but it's taking forever because, let's be honest, these aren't the best rides for a super-busy park. Beau (future brother-in-law) heard me mention Flash Pass and said screw it, let's go get one. He ended up buying the group the Gold Flash Pass. We walked right onto Sky Screamer. Sweet!
I realize prior to boarding that, this being the latest model, has much firmer seats. Mostly metal construction with legitimate buckles, including a full-on seatbelt across your chest. This made me feel a LOT more comfortable in the ride and less like I was seconds away from a gory death. Now, don't get me wrong, the ride still freaks me the hell out, but I was able to relax my death-grip on the safety bar and actually look around this time, as opposed to Orlando and Germany where I had locked my vision straight ahead and even the jaws of life wouldn't get my fingers off of the bar.
We realized going up the tower that they had installed speakers in the tower blasting AC/DC's Thunderstruck, which is awesome in it's own right, but even cooler today due to the heavy cloud cover and threat of storms. The ride was great. It scared me, but it still allowed me to have a good time. Watching my sister shake from nerves for the 10 minutes following the ride made the entire day worth it, and we were only one ride in, haha.
Anyways, from there we worked our way around the park with the Flash Pass. We did Dark Knight next which is still just a mouse in a box with a lot of broken effects and a few crappy working effects. After that it was off to Batman and wow, it was running as fast and furious as the day it opened. I really don't know how this ride manages to stay as good as it was 19 years ago, but it does. Side note, wow, I'm getting old. This was my first looping coaster and that was 19 years ago. Holy hell...
Off to Nitro next. After being bored to tears from B&M hypers I wasn't expecting much. I should note that I have ridden Nitro before, but it's been years since I went to Great Adventure. I completely forgot that this was a really good ride with a ton of airtime. We rode in the back and had a blast.
Skull Mountain was next. Yeah, still Skull Mountain. Crappy blacklight effects and a soundtrack that can hardly be heard. Hooray, I guess.
We worked our way over to the Log Flume and rode. I should tell you guys that Beau is a pretty big guy. He's not fat, just friggin' huge. And he got the front of the log. This ride went from being among the dryest log flumes to HOLY WOW WHY AM I SOAKED?! Thanks to Beau sitting in front we caused a tidal wave on the last drop that absolutely covered the entire log in a deluge of water. Lots of fun, still! I love this flume. It's long, it meanders, and it has two smaller, quick drops that pack a lot of speed.
Runaway train was next. The restraints are still horrible, the transitions are among the worst I've seen, but that final airtime hill never fails to cause ejector air. It sucks but I still love it.
After this we were going to do Bizzaro but the Q-Bot buzzed at us to tell us that Green Lantern had finally opened. We immediately reserved it and had a 5-minute wait. Well, it would be a 5-minute walk, so let's go!
Green Lantern was fun, though I do prefer Riddler's Revenge. I never got a chance to ride this as Chang, but it's already starting to show through the paint on the trains and the tracks that this is a transplant. There are a bunch of spots on the train where the red and yellow are clearly visible and the track's wheel marks are grinding to the old paint. Its not a real complaint, but for a ride being only a year old you would think the paint would last a little longer. This thing pulls some serious G-forces in the second half, so much so that it was starting to become painful on my legs. Luckily I was able to perfect my posture for our second ride and it wasn't nearly as bad on my muscles. That horizontal loop is evil if you have the wrong stance, btw, so watch out, haha. Also, this is one of the few rides who's layout is still a mystery to me. After the horizontal loop it just makes random left and right turns all over the place and I loved the disorientation. The second corkscrew caught me completely by surprise both rides.
Superman was up next and, while it is a fun ride, felt like it was running slow today. It could have been due to the weather, but the pretzel loop was practically forceless! We did get to witness someone in the rows ahead of us lose their phone and watch it smash into pieces on the rocks below the loop, though. That was cool!
After Superman we got a notification from the Q-Bot that Kingda Ka decided to work again! Hooray, we can ride a one trick pony! Let's go!
Beau had never been on the ride before so I let him and my sister ride the front row while I went for the second. The launch is great, the view is great, but the ride is meh at best. Up, down, twist, hill. So many people love this thing but I just get bored with it. On to El Toro!!!!!
Now, I mentioned I haven't been to the park in a long time and honestly, I was expecting El Toro to have gone the way of Rolling Thunder. I was really expecting a rough ride that is a shadow of it's former self. Boy, was I wrong.
We went straight to the back row. Right off the bat, I completely forgot how unbelievably steep the first drop is. I mean, holy crap! Ejector air on the first drop and the first two hills. The turnaround is fast and furious, and the return run is nice, though no airtime. And then it was time....for....THE HILL. If you've ridden before you know what I'm talking about. Right after the left hand turn around the station, you go up, and then right back down a drop that's pretty much as steep as the first drop. Riding in the back causes the most terrifying ejector airtime available on earth. You don't even get to the top of the hill when you're launched from your seat and then the ride pushes you even further out of your seat the entire time down the drop. Absolutely incredible. And the twister section is just turn after turn at such high speed. Sheer relentlessness and adrenaline. This ride is stunning and I love the hell out of it.
Finally we made our way to Bizarro and, to be honest, I'm kind of sad we even bothered. The ride crew was the worst I have ever encountered anywhere. They were running three trains and they wouldn't start checking the train in the station until train number 3 hit the final brake run. Meanwhile, the train would come in, unload, people would climb on and close their restraints and be ready to go before the last train even left the lift hill. These ride ops were busy crowding around the control desk talking with each other or texting on their phones to bother doing their damn job. Once the train hit the final brakes they would then "check" the train, which consisted of them lazily plodding to each seat with a "I hate my life" look on their face as they nudged the harnesses. It took over 2 minutes for them to check each train. Every time. I couldn't believe I was witnessing it.
As for the ride, well, it hasn't aged well. There's a few random headbangs, the LED tunnel at the bottom of the drop has a few broken strips, the flamethrowers are a lost relic, and the sound system is almost blown out. At least the two speakers on my seat seemed to be. They were quiet and extremely distorted. The final corkscrew is still cool, though, because of how close you get to the scenery.
Those ride ops, though, were absolutely atrocious. I feel sorry for the trip members on August 1st if they get stuck with them.
We went back to Kingda Ka after that and rode in the second car, rows 3 and 4. Oh god, what have they done to this thing?!?!!?!?! It was like sitting through a 9-pointer earthquake! It was horrible! The front car was great, but WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REST OF THE TRAIN?!
After that we rode El Toro, Green Lantern, and Superman one more time before calling it a day. Overall I had a great time (thanks, Flash Pass!) except for the wretched Bizarro crew and the second Kingda Ka ride. El Toro is running extremely well, Batman is still great, Nitro rocks, Green Lantern is nice, and Sky Screamer is terrifying/awesome. Maybe I'll return in a year or two, but I'm in no great hurry, hahaha.