Let me just start by saying this: Everyone knows SFA sucks. Like, majorly sucks. Like if you have the choice between having a root canal or going to SFA to ride roller coasters, you're going to pick the root canal every time. Yep, everyone knows SFA sucks.
Everyone, that is, except for my family and me. Now, keep in mind that every time I post that I actually like SFA, it triggers some kind of flame war that usually starts with "You only like SFA because you remember when SFA is really crappy, and now that SFA is only sort of crappy, your memories of the 'old' SFA make the 'new' SFA seem like Disneyland" and devolves into "Kings Dominion rocks! Hershey is the best! SFA sucks and you suck too!" My intent in posting this TR (my first actual theme park TR in at least a couple of years, I think) is not to re-start that flame war, but to show some pictures of the park's new area in case someone, somewhere may be interested.
On Friday I left work early with what turned out to be a pretty bad stomach virus that lasted into Saturday morning. Then Saturday evening, I was in the ER until just before midnight for a completely different medical emergency. So when I woke my wife up eight hours later on Sunday morning and asked if she was ready to go to Six Flags, she had two words for me: "You're crazy." (Actually, she said two other words before that, but the TPR filter won't let me post them here.) It took a few minutes, but she soon came to the realization that I had my mind set on going, and once my mind is made up, very little ever changes it. Within the hour, we were off to Six Flags to check out the new hotness of 2014. Enjoy!
The first "new" thing we noticed on our way in were the banners celebrating Washington, D.C., landmarks. They did have a couple of these out during Fright Fest last year, but I don't remember them for 2013's opening weekend, so maybe they were put up sometime in between? Either way, the design on each lamppost was different, and most of them were new to us... so there!
Also new this year: healthier food options! Granted, I didn't notice them in any of the restaurants we went to... but maybe they were there, buried somewhere deep on the menu. What I do know is that the brisket sandwich at Crazy Horse Saloon probably isn't among those "healthy" options... but it sure was delicious!
Yes! We love sneaking peeks!
Welcome to Mardi Gras!
So, for the uninitiated, Mardi Gras is basically a cohesive theming of the area around Wild One, also pulling in the land where Two Face once sat. The first thing we noticed was a mild re-theming of some existing games, like "Fool the Jester" (nee "Guesser").
Also, Bourbon Shot! (Though we couldn't remember if this actually was a preexisting game or not).
Wild One's name remains the same, but it did get an updated logo.
Sadly, the historical coaster car outside the station is gone. Not sure if that's permanent or not.
New names for some rides, as well. Falling Star is now the Zydeco Zinger.
Tower of Doom is now Voodoo Drop.
And the Sonora Speedway is now the Big Easy Speedway (and still an upcharge).
A few inexpensive plywood signs to set the mood.
Some were more colorful than others!
One of the coolest things about Mardi Gras is that it comes with its own new set of costumed characters, most notably King Gator.
While not officially announced in the passholder marketing materials (at least not in any I remember reading), this voodoo priestess character also was walking around, making quite the impression. We assigned her the temporary nickname "Voodoo Mama Juju," which fans of "The Office" will appreciate.
The bass drummer above was part of a roving percussion group providing entertainment in the Mardi Gras area. Though they weren't bad, I wouldn't classify anything they played as being particularly jazzy or "New Orleans"-y (which would be fairly hard to do without some sort of wind instrument, anyway).
Ah, but it's not drummers or games or flashy alligators you've come to see, you say? Well then it's a good thing SFA's newest flat ride was on display (though not yet operational), as well. I draw your attention to the French Quarter Flyers.
Let the predictions on snapability begin!
Still not satisfied? Well, take a look at this! That would be a new roller coaster. And though it may not be a Eurofighter gigacoaster... it's a new roller coaster at SFA. At one time, a verified photo of Bigfoot (the Sasquatch, not the monster truck) would have been less elusive!
Here's the other end. Note that the surrounding buildings are being renovated, as well. We don't know what's going in them yet, but our vote is for a Mardi Gras-themed grab-and-go restaurant and a gift shop. Because you gotta have a gift shop.
Capital Railways was down temporarily to provide the entrance to the "preview area," providing an opportunity for a few unique shots.
Mardi Gras isn't the only "land" to have new costumed characters. Check out the sheriff in Coyote Creek! I'm psyched that Six Flags is adding unique characters to the park; I just hope that doesn't mean they're getting rid of the DC characters and Looney Tunes.
A new show for the stunt arena. Though the show is themed to Roman gladiators...
...it's still set in an Old West town/fishing village. And since the show is played mostly for laughs, the setting absolutely works. They even subtly address it twice during the performance. ("Wasn't this a pirate show last year?")
One of my favorite jokes (at least I think it was a joke...) was the division of the arena into a "blue" section and a "yellow" section, a la Medieval Times. At the beginning, one side is told they have to cheer for the blue gladiator, and other side is told they have to cheer for the yellow gladiator. Unless, of course, they like the other gladiator better, in which case they can cheer for him or her instead. And then it turns out none of the gladiators are color-coded anyway. (I also enjoyed the fact that the smallest female character in the show was named "Gigantus," though I was the only one who seemed to think that or the Medieval Times reference was funny).
As always, the stunts were first class.
Spoiler alert (unless, of course, you've seen any other stunt show, ever, produced at SFA): It ends with an explosion.
The park's other new show this season is LOL, which is a blatant ripoff of "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" right down to the names of the individual segments. It's also hilarious, repeatable and probably costs next to nothing to produce, which is a win for both the consumer and Six Flags.
Over in Coyote Creek's City Hall (AKA the park's arcade), this cardboard Minecraft mask was available for just 3,300 tickets!
And finally, to the haters I have just one thing to say: "Can any park where everyone wins a cape really be all bad?"
I'd call this a start in the right direction, but they still have ways to go to make it a place that people will enjoy visiting more. The new paint, theming, and new characters seem to help, but I'll believe it when I re-visit it (which might be later this year) and hopefully they can keep all this maintained the rest of the year. As for the gladiator/ wild-west show, it doesn't surprise me. Hopefully they plan on changing the background set. Good trip report, but I still feel a little skeptical on the improvements. Hopefully their next project will be for re-doing Gotham Field.
It's funny, I've probably about as many good visits to SFA as I have bad visits. I'm not sure I'm in the camp where I think it "sucks", but it sure has been dealt some pretty bad hands of cards over the years.
That being said, I still think with Superman - Jokers Jinx - Wild One - Roar - it actually has a pretty solid coaster line-up!
I do hope that operations have improved and with some of the more recent additions, they do seem to be making strides in the right direction.
I've been to the park three times, and had only one visit that I thought was "bad" (and that was on opening day while en-route to Great Adventure). I agree with Robb that the coaster line up there is pretty solid.
Maybe I'll venture up there this year (it has been awhile).
You guys are lucky that You are getting new shows. All we're getting is the same shows from last year. I wish SFGAm had that stunt show and the LOL Show. Please Jim, Give SFGAm LOL for next year!
And say what you will about SFAm or Jim Reid Anderson, But at least they are adding somewhat of a theme to a non-themed area.
Proud Member of the 300 Coaster Club. Joined June 16, 2012 Proud Member of the 400 Coaster Club. Joined August 17, 2013 Proud Member of the 500 Coaster Club. Joined January 30, 2015 Proud Member of the 600 Coaster Club, Joined April 21, 2017
coasterbill wrote:This is the sign for the new area?
I was just going to comment on the same thing. That being said, the park does seem to be taking some small steps in the right direction. Hopefully that continues.
I was there Saturday, and this is a new sign over the walkway to the go karts under Wild One, which is in the middle of the Mardi Gras section, not the actual entrance sign. Also, as for operations, they were pretty dreadful once again. 1 train on every coaster and LONG dispatch times. It is less noticeable/frustrating at SFA than it would be at parks with higher attendance, but for the most part, operations were slowed to a crawl (it doesn't help that every coaster except Superman had a second train literally sitting on the transfer, waiting for some use).
2017 Millennium Force Ride Host 2018 Millennium Force Team Leader
Awesome trip report! The park made a great turn around in the last few seasons. This used to be my home park and I actually enjoy it. Is it the best? No. However, the coaster lineup is good and they have a pretty decent water park.
I may not know everything about coasters... what I do know is they are my life... Home park: Six Flags America Favorite park overall: All Walt Disney World Parks Favorite Steels: Maverick, Millennium Force, Sky Rush, Talon, Poltergeist, I-305 Favorite Woodies: Iron Rattler, Phoenix, Roar, El Toro, Jack Rabbit, Thunderbolt, The Raven, The Legend TPR Trips: Northeast 2011, LeviaTHON 2012
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