SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURE OPENING DAY 2017
Albeit chilly, yesterday was a great opening day to the 2017 season! What an awesome, relaxed day of riding, drinking and just enjoying being back in the park after our now-shortened off season. Felt like a day of just hanging with friends but after a recount, we also rode a complete f*ckton. Wait times ranged from totally managable to non-existent. The longest we waited was for Safari Off Road Adventure and that was about a 20 minute queue, smack in the middle of the afternoon. So overall not a bad day.
I had made plans earlier in the week to take the train up from Philly and meet Bill & Brit in Trenton, and head over to the park and that's just what we did. We didn't get there for opening but it didn't matter since the place stayed pretty dead all day. We arrived around 11:15 to a deserted (and repaved!!!) parking lot. No more Six Flags Parking Lot Off Road Adventure. Entrance was dead and we got in in no time.
Of course we headed right to El Toro to find a station wait. (Also, LMAO @ my Aprils Fools 'assigned seating' joke. The fact it immediately made it beyond this forum and was spotted elsewhere on the internet is a testament to the power of TPR and how gullible and serious enthusiasts are. You guys are suckers and gave us all many huge laughs throughout the morning checking in here, so we thank you!)
On our way in we picked up Danny aka forum member "Lightning Loops". The four of us saddled up in the 2nd and 3rd to last rows. The Bull was running particularly well for a cold opening day, even in the wheel seats. Not sure if they did work on the turnaround but it felt like it. This was my first ride of the 2017 season and it did not disappoint. There is just nothing like going over the first drop in the back of that train. Never gets old.
On our way out of the station we ran into Matt/"Nitoro" and were informed Ka was also dead so the five of us headed into Safari Discoveries shortcut to head to Ka and also so Britt could stop to say hi to some animals, since with the other four of us geeks it was quickly turning into enthusiast-chat-hell for her.
And who do we run into in Safari Discoveries? The one and only Millennium Force maestro Josh Rice/"JRice92"! We hung out back here and talked a bit while Brit got her animal on (lol) before we headed over to Golden Kingdom.
There was a two train wait for the front row of Ka so Josh and I waited with Danny/Matt behind us in row 2, and Bill and Brit behind us waiting for row one. So nice to not have to wait. I know I always talk crap on Ka but I do enjoy the thing, especially in the front. I just hate waiting for such a short ride.
The restraints suck (soft straps, pretty please?!) and I still say they should give you goggles up front, anyone else have to almost close their eyes on the launch? I also noticed once again how the launch is not one smooth pull, its like 4-5 individual yanks. Was cool to ride with Josh and discuss Dragster and Ka.
Zum was down and stayed down most of the day, though we did see it testing a few times throughout the day. Bummer, but with the low crowds we had plenty to keep us busy. We headed out of Golden Kingdom and Josh noted that he had not yet ridden Ultimate Flight so we completely ignored Green Lantern, as everyone should, and got lucky with another station wait.
We noted some
of the queue railings have been painted black, with lots still the old cracked blue paint, as well as the first set of switchbacks next to the station halfway through being reconfigured and closed off, resulting in the ride looking the crappiest it ever has, and that's saying something.
Now rolling in a crew of six we had to find 2 rows next to each other for us to all ride so we just jumped in somewhere in the middle. The ride was great, still nothing in the park quite like that pretzel loop.
My incessant nagging about stopping for a beer somewhere was beginning to annoy everyone in the group (lol) so we headed across Main Street to stop @ Skybar for some midday brews. The bartenders here were awesome today - we were informed the park was considering getting rid of beer jail!!!!!!! Hope that means we'll be able to carry our drinks into ride lines - love passing the time in a 20-30 minute line w/ a beer. The funny guy also April Fool'd us w/ a promise of future all-season-long beer cups. Yeah... that's not happening, though a boy can dream. Over here we also ran into Larry Gator, very nice to finally meet you Larry!!!
After our beers we took a stop over at The Mountain. Another station wait. While I was happy the death metal was back and on full blast, instead of any effects working they had a light shining on a wall of insulation. So creepy! That they could make this ride crappier was a surprise, but I commend them.
We needed some Nitro in our lives and with two trains on the course and no crowds, we walked right on to the back two rows. With the chilly air and wind Nitro felt a little sluggish but we still had a good time. While going up the lift we noticed the hands from the observatory building in the boneyard. Stopped around the corner at Batman and all jumped in toward the back of the train. One train wait. I guess they have winter wheels off by now - while it was still good, Batman during HITP is better.
I needed to get my Macho on and my window to use my dining plan for lunch was closing (have to order by 3pm) we stopped at Macho near Batman. It actually looked closed but turns out it wasn't, just no one there. So we got food pretty quick and had a seat in the courtyard and had a nice relaxing lunch. I can't speak for anyone else but my loaded nachos were great - the best I've had from them yet. I got a Shandy at the bar next door to have with lunch. I love having the dining plan now, I feel like I'm just stealing food.
Since it was getting later in the afternoon and we (Brit especially) wanted to do Safari Off Road Adventure, since we figured the wait wouldn't be bad like it usually is on such a dead day, and I haven't done the Safari since probably the late 80s, so I was totally in. Also, since we needed to get all the way over there, we could conveniently scratch two itches at once and get Bill his Skyway action.
The wait for the Skyway was about 20 minutes on the Lakefront side but we waited, and split up into two groups to Von Rolled our way across the park.
We were able to get a better look at Joker, which had been down all day so far, and it looked pretty miserable. Remember Joker was closed the last weekend of HITP and had issues all throughout the event. Wonder what's going on. I like this ride so I hope they get it going today, was looking forward to riding it again.
Once we touched down we got in a very short line for SORA, the longest of the day but only only between 20-30 minutes before we were on a truck.
As I said I did the safari back in the 80s in my Dad's stationwagon and have very fond memories of the animals getting very up close and personal with the car. This felt a little more removed being on the trucks but we still managed to get very close.
Doing the safari again finally gave me this new appreciation for the park in some weird way. Honestly, I just kind of ignore SORA mostly and ride the coasters but it reminded me how much outside of the main park is involved in this thing - from the amount of animals, the amount of handling involved, to the upkeep/groundskeeping, the amount of keepers, guides, drivers, etc etc etc etc.
It made the park feel so much bigger to me all of the sudden. Us locals are spoiled rotten. We jumped off at Camp Adventura and hit the bathroom, and checked out the snakes. SORA was the only time all day I took a ton of photos so enjoy!
My only complaint w/ SORA is sitting out on the trucks really amplified how freaking cold it was yesterday. I look forward to enjoying it a bit more in the summer but our guides did note how the animals prefer the cold and as you can see a good amount of them were out for us to check out.
From here we naturally took a right to hit the worlds first floorless coaster, and still one of the best, Bizarro! It was surprisingly and thankfully running only two trains, and had a completely empty station except for the front row so we took the back two rows, was it was running better than I can recently recall. Smooth as can be, and that zero-G roll is the tits! And no stacking, in fact we rolled right into the station without stopping. Like, goddamn this crew is running some trains. Truly Bizarroworld stuff. Little disappointed no fireballs but I know its not unusual for the fire to not be on this early in the season.
I could've went for another lap to be honest but the group were hoping to get back to Toro and who am I to argue. Another short wait and to the back of the train we all piled on. Still one-train operations. No big deal with the crowds really. A few walks of shame today, I guess due to layered clothes b/c of the chilly weather. Nice and warmed up by now and running like a dream. Giant shoutout to ElToroRyan, good to see you and thanks for those stellar rides!
Heading out we popped in Macho for another round of beers, Angry Orchard for me. And after? Back in for another lap on the Bull, and yet another stop at Macho upon realizing we had to order by 8pm to use the dining plan, got some more food (yes Macho twice in one day, though I couldn't eat the 2nd meal and Matt finished it for me.) and then... yep one more lap on Toro. Ole!
We had about 30 minutes til park close and couldn't decide how to end the night but someone suggested walking all the way back across the park for some Nightro rides. We slugged all the way over there to a completely empty station and parked our a$$es in the back two rows of the train all the way until park close. Was nice and warmed up, we were getting some stellar airtime on those rides.
What a way to end a great day to start the season! Super awesome to meet and hang out with everyone, especially talking with Josh about the ins and outs of running the rides at Cedar Point. Also nice to hang out with Danny and Matt and always love seeing Bill and Brit. As I said it felt like we just hung out and took our sweet time enjoying the park, but we apparently did a crapload of riding. Much needed, and looking forward to seeing you all again soon.
El Toro 3x