michaellynn4 wrote:It's a disappointing way to end the season, but not surprising at all. I'm bummed for Six Flags, this is all something out of their hands. I just hope it doesn't drastically affect their bottom line or cause them to rethink future HitPs.
I too hope the event continues in the future, it's always fun reading trip reports from the event...people riding Nitro and Batman in 20 degrees, crazy!
The average temperature for this time of year is in the 30's. This current weather is freakish for such a long stretch as it is now. I really hope this does not detour the parks from continuing the event.
This event is a home run. I don't see it going anywhere. Even the last few days, crowd levels were respectable. On days with good weather, the park was REALLY crowded this year. There were multiple days where Skyway and Justice League posted wait times over 90 minutes for the event. Crowd levels seem to be rising for Holiday in the Park each year.
They epxanded it to 3 other parks after it's initial run at Great Adventure for a reason.
coasterbill wrote:This event is a home run. I don't see it going anywhere. Even the last few days, crowd levels were respectable. On days with good weather, the park was REALLY crowded this year. There were multiple days where Skyway and Justice League posted wait times over 90 minutes for the event. Crowd levels seem to be rising for Holiday in the Park each year.
They epxanded it to 3 other parks after it's initial run at Great Adventure for a reason.
Absolutely. I’ve been a believer in tbe event even more so after this year. It was 15 degrees when I went this year and there were STILL more people than you would think there.
boldikus wrote:Nice! We'll need the full play-by-play. You better bundle up!
If you insist
We were on our way down to Rehoboth for the weekend, so we popped into Six Flags on Friday on what turned out to be closing day for the season.
We had checked Queue Times a few times (say that five times fast) on the way down so we saw that Nitro, Joker and Batman seemed to be down for the day. Nitro and Batman both ran well into the week with each day bringing single digit temperatures at night and temperatures in the high to mid teens during the operating day so we couldn't really complain that they finally sh*t themselves and maintenance was unable to get them running for the last day or two of the event. They had been working miracles for weeks, what more could you really ask for? We probably wouldn't have made a special trip with Nitro and Batman closed, but we had to pass the exit on the turnpike anyway so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to throw on 4 or 5 hoodies, a jacket and 2 pairs of socks and have ourselves a Six Flags day.
As we pulled into the park, we glanced at the dash and saw the car reporting a frigid 22 degree temperature outside. It seemed almost surreal to roll down the window at the parking booth and get hit with a 22 degree arctic blast while handing the parking attendant our pass and wishing him a Happy New Year over the deafening B&M roar of Superman and Green Lantern (since any other park would have called it quite about 20 degrees ago).
As we drove into the parking lot I couldn't help but be amazed at the fact that the park was absolutely not dead. Nobody was mistaking this for a Fright Fest crowd, but there were a lot of people there given the weather. We were there on 45 degree sunny days in the first year of Holiday in the Park that had similar crowd levels and that's really a testament to the popularity of this incredible event.
After loading up on hoodies, gloves and sweatshirts we made our way through a brief 5 minute security line and the subsequent 5 minute admissions line and into the park. We knew that the last few days, some of the coasters sh*t themselves right around sundown and never reopened (in the case of Nitro, Batman and Joker they sh*t themselves so bad they were done for the year) so we immediately went over to Superman.
You can't operate a B&M below 40 degrees™: PS, I'm sure Brit is in there somewhere
While there were plenty of people in the restaurants and shops and riding the indoor rides and flats there weren't many people willing to brave the coasters so we were greeted with a station wait. We normally only ride Superman in the front, but had planned on grabbing the next available row knowing the ride may not be long for this world. Luckily, there was a group of 2 up front so we hopped onto that row anyway and a few minutes later we were flipping up to the familiar screeching "wurrrrrrrrr wurrrrrrrr" noise that's Superman's way of saying "f*ck you, it's too cold for this sh*t". Thankfully, after a few more audible groans from the ride and a few seconds of worry from us, the train reluctantly rolled out of the station and around the turn and began it's climb up the lift.
On the way up the lift, we couldn't help but reflect on the absurdity of the situation. It was 22 degrees, our Facebook news feeds were clogged with people warning about the dangerous temperatures and concerns about exposed skin and frostbite (PS: you people live in the northeast, grow some balls) and we were ascending the lift hill to crazy town and before we knew it... barreling into a giant pretzel loop at 50 mph.
The ride was absolutely awesome, and thanks to the flying position it wasn't AS ridiculously frigid as we expected since the wind wasn't blasting you in the face like it would be on a traditional coaster. Don't get me wrong... it was cold as sh*t, but we expected worse.
It's EXTREMELY cold out! If you MUST be outside, make sure you wear layers, avoid having exposed skin and most importantly DO NOT do ANYTHING childish and stupid.
As we (slowly) coasted back into the station and descended the ramp, we heard the familiar Superman announcement of "Everyone in the queue please take 2 steps back", and realized we might have just got on the last train of the day. As we made our way through the shop and down the boardwalk we heard the obnoxious horn and saw them send another train but we were pretty confident that Superman was on it's last legs and felt quite fortunate to get a ride in when we did.
We thought about re-riding, but we were freezing and hadn't eaten all day so we made our way over to Panda Express to grab some lunch and find some heat. If the rumors are true, we may have been some of the last customers at Great Adventure's Panda Express. What a tremendous honor. We should get some T shirts made up.
OMG, you can sort of see Brit's face this time. lol the park isn't as empty as it looks like it is in this picture but I assure you that it absolutely IS the frigid arctic tundra wasteland that it looks like it is in this picture.
After spending some quality time with the panda, we realized were were actually quite fond of heat and decided to keep the theme going with a ride on Justice League, Battle for Metropolis. On the way, we walked by Batman and Nitro but saw that there was no sign of life at either of them. That was definitely a bummer, but we weren't complaining. It was in the low 20's and we just rode a B&M.
Not surprisingly, Justice League was sporting a bit of a wait, but nothing terrible. The line moves much faster than normal during Holiday in the Park since they don't have Flash Pass users to merge so we were on in about 15 minutes. We didn't mind the wait. Hell... a lot of people were camped out in the first (and otherwise empty) section of the queue for no reason other than the fact that they wanted to enjoy a few extra minutes of heat.
I still can't believe Six Flags actually invested in such an impressive dark ride.
When boarding the line, we couldn't help but notice how many security guards had chosen to "secure" the Justice League line that day rather than venturing out into the rest of the park. Well played guys! If anyone questions it, just say you heard that Joker and Lex Luthor were up to some sh*t and you were assembling an army of people to defend the park guests from harm with your trash grabbers. They'll totally buy it. I'm sure the heated queue had nothing to do with it. lol
The ride itself was great, though we got absolutely crushed by the dude in front of us who put up a score of well over 300,000. Brit suggested while walking off the ride that he was probably some loser enthusiast that rides the ride all day every day and that's why he beat us so badly. I'm on board with that. We got our asses kicked, therefore that dude must be a loser. It can't possibly just be that we suck at this game and that guy has some basic mechanical skills.
As we exit the ride, trying to rationalize the Texas sized a** beating we had just received we noticed that the sun was starting to set and that it was somehow getting even f*cking colder (which was hard to believe). Laughing at the stupidity of the entire situation, we walked around the park a bit more in search of something to ride.
As we did so, we really couldn't help but be amazed. The park wasn't "busy", but a lot of the rides were totally full. We made our way past the Bumper Cars and noted that every single car was being used and there were a few people lined up in the queue. We saw a similar situation going on at the Scrambler and on the Big Wheel and we even found a few TRULY insane people lined up for Sky Screamer. If you had told me a few short years ago that the park would be able to open up on a 20 degree night in late December and pull that off I would have laughed in your face.
Even without their best coaster, the amazing Safari, the tallest drop ride and coaster in the world and a bunch of other great rides, I still firmly believe that Holiday in the Park is the absolute best time of year at Great Adventure.
As we continued along, we couldn't help but notice a mad rush of people all headed in the same direction. We were confused at first but soon realized that we had somehow found ourselves surrounded by people in an endless quest for relentless intensity.
...or possibly heat, but the joke's on them because this ride is way too intense for heat. Who needs heat when you have Fuego Takis?
Noting that we too loved intensity, we joined the masses and made our way over the mountain.
As it turned out our train was otherwise full, but apparently nobody loved intensity quite enough to jump into the last row. Thankfully, we were up to the challenge and hopped in. As we made our way up the first lift and around the outside portion of the ride, we couldn't help but laugh at the massive icicles that had popped up where the waterfall was supposed to be.
Brit was using face protection to protect herself from the incredible fuego intensity. I told her that she should give up and surrender to the intensity, but she insisted on defying the mountain.
The mountain clearly didn't like Brit's gestures as we were quickly thrown down the first drop and ejected from our seats to some classic holiday death metal and a pissed off demon god commanding us to get out. With a full train, the ride proceeded to rocket through the course per usual... proving once again that Intamin is basically incapable of designing anything that isn't infinitely more ridiculous and intense than it has any right to be.
We survived this time, but just barely.
As we exited the mountain we realized that it was now totally dark and the temperatures had officially dropped into the teens. We still needed to make our way down to Delaware that night so we planned to ride a few more rides and head out. At that point, we knew it would be our last trip of the season as the park had announced that they were closing on Sunday and Monday and we knew snow was in the forecast for Saturday. Since we couldn't end our year on Nitro per usual, we had a few options. Before we could worry about that though, we had one more ride to hit.
Brit couldn't have been pleased, but had to know this was coming. While an eerie silence filled the air as most of the coasters had completely sh*t themselves, these were prime conditions for a Swiss chairlift.
It was certainty weird seeing the Skyway without a line on a Holiday in the Park night as it offers the best view of the lights of anything in the park, but at that point most people had retreated to the flat rides, indoor rides and shops due to the hilariously low temps.
While it was freezing, it was a great ride. The eerie silence and insane visibility caused by the cold temperatures and closed rides was super cool and the lights looked absolutely stunning. I really do hope that Six Flags never decides to be cheap and do this themselves as Oak Island really does a great job on the lights. There was no doubt in either of our minds that those lights were the main reason people were actually willing to show up in these types of conditions.
We glanced over at the boardwalk but didn't see any signs of life. Superman's station lights were off and they had clearly called it a night. Lantern's lights were on, but there wasn't a train in sight. It was 19 degrees and windy so nobody could really blame them and we decided to ride Skull Mountain one last time and head out.
As we touched down and departed from the fort and made our way back to the Dream Street station we took some more horrible pictures of the lights (thanks, crappy iphone) and spent some time thinking about the absurdity of the situation. It was insane that the park was open, it was insane that we were there, it was insane that other people were actually there with us and it was insane that they had been running coasters earlier that day. Yes, they were totally silent now but they put up an effort that no other park would have and we were having an awesome evening at the park. We continued along, admiring the awesome carousel lights, the fun peppermint lights of Houdini and the cool tree show in the fountain while listening to the familiar sounds of Christmas carols and eventually the B&M roar off in the distance....
... you're sh*tting me right?
Nope. I'm not sh*tting you. While they had been sitting forever, they actually managed to get one of those f*ckers running on a 19 degree night. That's the good news, but you can probably imagine what the bad news was.
I was pretty torn. On one hand, I really wanted to ride a giant B&M coaster when it was 19 degrees out just because of the sheer absurdity of the whole thing and because there's a pretty short list of people who can claim that they were dumb enough to do that.
On the other hand, I had managed to put off riding that horrific abortion of a coaster for at least half a decade and I was quite pleased with that life decision.
It was a tough call, but remembering the recent conversation on here about how well it was running I decided to go for it. I expected it to be horrible, but it was worth it for the story.
Brit informed me that she would rather f*cking die than ride that piece of sh*t ever again, much less when it was 19 degrees so she disappeared into the heated gift shop and told me to meet her back there. This is why women live longer than men. We're not a group of people who were ever meant to last.
I know frozen, inflatable snowmen can't talk but as I passed through on the way to Green Lantern I would have sworn that by some amazing Holiday in the Park magic I heard him call me a hopeless dumbass.
Being a sh*thead, I happily continued on to the sh*ttiest coaster in all of New Jersey for my inevitable frozen beating. I got a little nervous as I didn't see the ride cycling (though I did consider the fact that the ride being closed might be the best possible outcome for me), but the queue was open so I made my way in. A few seconds later, I saw a train full of victims begin it's journey to destination suck.
Why do I do the things that I do?
I made my way up to the station and realized that the reason we thought the coaster was closed earlier was that they needed 12 people to send the train and they were having a really hard time finding enough people that were stupid enough to ride the worst coaster in the park in temperatures that were now 13 degrees below freezing.
We were instructed to stand in the first 4 rows only and we did... waiting about 15 minutes until we got 3 more people to finally show up so we could reach the 12 person minimum. While the park was far from dead earlier, people were heading out in droves about an hour after dark. In addition, very few people bothered to venture all the way back to Green Lantern since Superman was closed and this ride was running so infrequently that most people probably assumed it was closed too. Plus, even if people knew it was open... they probably hated the piece of sh*t anyway.
Eventually, a few more victims showed up and we were quickly locked in to our seats... or... whatever and on our way up the lift. I noticed that they had some cool audio on the way up the lift (that I never noticed because I never ride this awful thing). Very cool! A few seconds later we dropped off the lift, went through the turnaround thing and made our way down into the giant loop.
The loop itself was fun, and I tried my best to enjoy it knowing that it's generally the ONLY good element on a standup coaster. As we exited the loop, I braced for impact... but it never came.
Don't get me wrong, I could feel the ride pummeling my head over and over again, but I had 5 hoodies on so it really didn't matter. In addition, the throbbing leg pain was seemingly absent also. I guess my legs were entering the initial stages of frostbite and had gone numb. IDFK, lol.
Once I realized that I might actually survive this thing, I actually really started to enjoy it. It was BRUTALLY cold, but that just added to the craziness of the whole thing and made the ride even more enjoyable. Amazingly, despite waiting 15 minutes between dispatches, having a mostly empty train and the temperature being in the high teens we slammed into the midcourse and slowed down abruptly. The ride was straight up hauling through every element, Batman style. I guess we just never appreciated the fact that Lantern was running so well because... well... it's Lantern.
The second half of this ride is generally the seventh layer of hell. The first half has you convinced that there's no possible way the ride could suck any worse, the second half says "hold my beer" and turns into an endurance test of relentless pain and suffering but on Friday night it was actually a lot of fun.
Our train rolled into the final brakes and into the station to applause. APPLAUSE. For Green f*cking Lantern. It's a Holiday in the Park miracle.
I considered riding again, but I really didn't want to press my luck with this thing. In addition, Brit was waiting in the gift shop so I figured I had better make my way back.
Along the way, I stopped to admire some of the lights and grab a few pictures. I was still in complete disbelief that a ton of other people were still at the park and doing the same.
I hate peppermint, but these trees are super cool.
I met back up with Brit and (after raiding the gift shop), we ventured back out into the park for our final coaster ride of the year and the season. It felt weird that it wasn't Nitro, but I knew I couldn't have my last ride of the year be on Green F*cking Lantern... so off we went to face the intensity one more time.
This ride really is the greatest clusterf*ck in Amusement Park history... and I love it for that.
As we made our way through the queue and into the station, we realized that most people had caved to the intensity and made their way to the exits. Only the most intense were still hanging on.
There were only 4 other people on our train, and for some asinine reason they wanted to ride in the front so we walked right on to the back row for our last ride of the year. If Skull Mountain was going to be our last ride of the year, then no other row was acceptable.
See... this level of intensity is clearly too much for most people. Despite the sign's demands, many of them probably left screaming for their mommy.
The ride itself started out amazing as always. We were ejected from our seats on the first drop and began the endless series of crazy helixes to the awesome but confusing death metal and pumpkin intensity extravaganza. Near the end of the ride though, we noticed a problem. We were CRAWLING.
Skull Mountain is an indoor coaster, but there's no heat and even inside the building it couldn't have been more than 30 degrees. Since our train was mostly empty, we barely made it onto the brake run and by the time we got there the death metal had long since cut out. The beginning of the ride was as awesome as always, but we must have hit the brake run at about 5 MPH. I can't believe we made it.
As we made our way back into the station, Brit asked if we were going to ride again. We really had to go, but agreed that if nobody was riding up front we were totally going to go for it since a Skull Mountain valley would be the single greatest way to end a season in Great Adventure history. Unfortunately, people seemed to have found their balls and stopped ignoring their burning internal desire for intensity (or heartburn caused by the fuego Takis... it's hard to tell the difference) so we decided to bail. Oh well.
Huge thanks to Six Flags Great Adventure for being awesome. While they couldn't get Nitro and Batman running on the last day, they had been winning the battle against historically cold temperatures for the whole week. On days where Six Flags New England, Kings Island, Six Flags America, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Hersheypark, Six Flags St. Louis, Dollywood and others had given up on their coasters they (at times) had their entire Holiday in the Park lineup running down into the teens. In addition, it was awesome to see so many people actually showing up and supporting this event despite the abysmal weather. Make no mistake, this is no normal cold front. The temperatures have been an average of 20 degrees below normal for almost the entire United States for about a week (excluding Central and Southern Florida and Southern California) and it will continue that way for another week. Considering all that, what Great Adventure was able to do was amazing.
- Boldikus, this song needs to be on your next mix tape.
Great report! I regret not making it down this year since Great Adventure's HITP lineup is better than most regular lineups. At least the event made its way to New England when the temperature isn't sub-20 like it has been the past two weeks.
Glad to hear you took a stand and stood up to your fear of riding the one B&M in the park that you can't stand. Outstanding report. You're really a stand-up guy doing that for the entertainment of all of us at TPR.
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