wanted to get it in before end of the year, so let's backtrack to Frightfest visit just before Halloween (and Nick went with me this time, since we activated our 2019 passes, including my photopass I got dirt cheap):
Here's what I wrote about the visit at the time, over in the Fiesta Texas thread:
went to the park yesterday to exchange our Season Pass renewals (+ the upgrades) I had bought during the Labor Day flash sale.
gorgeous day, but the park was absolutely packed (they were also doing some membership special event too. . tho it wasn't BAFF or BAF cheaper. . so I can only imagine what Friday or Sunday looked like crowd wise).
park was slammed with families with younger kids - which is a good thing in the long run, even if it made the lines for Roadrunner and Bugs Bunny rapids extend out past queue entrances (so we bypassed both, as we'll ride them when there isn't an hour wait). very strange in that Roadrunner had an Hour wait? next door Iron Rattler was a walk on. (yeah.. I rode it a couple of times).
odd that several attractions near the haunts close down lines at 5pm (including Pandemonium, and Gully Washer). .but I suppose they have to flush the queue lines so those spaces can be used for exit lines from the haunts.
Although everything was operating, we saw a couple of cases where almost 1/2 a rides capacity was down - Spinsanity had only 4 of the 7 cars operating, the other 3 were locked off. Hustler had multiple pool balls locked off, and Fireball was running with a few seats blocked off. Even Wonder Woman, which was running all 3 trains - as opposed to only 1 train a couple of weeks ago. . . even tho 2 of the trains had several seats blocked off. . still, it was nice they were trying to increase capacity).
Iron Rattler was running two trains, but the camera wasn't working, so no photo for me (I was hoping to use my new Photo pass. . but we used it for Wonder Woman, and for entrance pics. . so still got some pics I'll post later)
I'll likely have a small TR report up in the next few weeks, although we didn't actually go thru any of the haunts as the lines were simply too prohibitive for Nick to stand that long in line (we stayed until ~8pm).
the park only got more packed as it got later, and the fog effects thruout the park once it hit 6pm, made it look eerily spooky, so good on them for that.
Anyways. . the point of posting now was to talk about the "coffin challenge". . .oh my. I thought it was silly, but dumb, when they announced it. . but seeing it in person at Fiesta?
The most idiotic thing I think I've seen, purely based on the execution of it. It was set up in front of the stepts to train station in Crackaxle - so the train could only be boarded in the German section for a full circuit of the park.
ok, I GET that we're in Texas, and it's hot. . . but really? the coffins are open at the top. and Fiesta brought out tents to shade the participants from the sun. (which wouldn't be an issue if the lids were closed, would it?). I mean. . they were laying there with sunglasses on, and water/food available on top of the coffin lids (we saw one contestant reach up and take a drink of water and grab some chips. . guess the rule is they can't sit up? ) but they all also had earphones in, and several were playing on phones -- which to be fair, the Emcee took away from them 20 minutes later as we were walking by.
but really? open lids, you can have your phone, and shaded by a tent? easy to do. it sounded like they had a LOT of applicants, but I can think of way better use of my time than this easy challenge, especially since i'd expect all 8 are gonna succeed, and the 300 will have to be split. whoop de do, they get to keep the coffin. . . oh well, maybe they are super Halloween fans and wanted a coffin decoration.
anyways. . I thought it was idiotic. . but lots of folks did gather around to look at them. here's a picture of it.
here are the pics from that trip
the Hustler pics are in two sections, because they had to shut it down while we were in line due to a MASSIVE "Protein Spill". . and then once they got that cleaned up? the spritz they used to decontaminate drew *hundreds* of bees. . it was like the movie "the Swarm". .and everyone cleared out quick! when we came back about an hour later, is when we got to ride, so the inside poolball pics are from then. . . .and yes, we avoided the Purple ball which was "patient zero" for the protein spill/bee craziness.
the abovementioned silly "Coffin Challenge" participants
the Gully Washer got renamed "Blood Bayou" for FrightFest
and the water dyed red
but Bug's WhiteWater Rapids kept it's white water. .. hey, it says so right in the name of the ride!
what is that I spot from Batman's queue? yep, the Carousel is back up and operating!
woot woot. . gonna ride the Hustler for the 1st time this year, and Nick will get on it with me.
hmm. . why is nothing moving? and they aren't loading?
we're smiling, but we are about to be told someone puked all over the inside of the Purple ball, so have to wait for clean up.
and then a few minutes later? BEEEEEESSSS!!!!
so went over to the Boardwalk to take some artsy pics of a ride I can't go on (Nick won't ride due to fear of heights, and Fiesta won't let single riders on).
I've only gotten to ride it once this year, and that's when a group of 3 let me join them in their car.
So I'll settle for artsy pics of Hurricane Force 5 thru the Ferris Wheel
Poltergeist. . my 2nd Favorite coaster in the park. WonderWoman has displaced it, which bumps Iron Rattler down to a close 3rd.
Heading back over to Hustler to see if the bees are gone, but stopping to take pics of Scream, and Wave Runner
yep. we're in a Pool Ball! yay!
not moving yet, but will be soon.
Spinny, Spinny, Spinny
wouldn't be a bert photo trip report without a carousel pic, now would it?
couldn't get on my bunny, as a kiddo was riding it. . so got me a bear (I think?)
Canobie Coaster wrote:Great report! I'm so jealous you can enjoy Six Flags Fiesta Texas yearround.
it's really nice it's just over an hour away from us (closer to 1:20, but still. .not a bad drive).
if weather isn't terrible (supposed to be 60% chance of rain), I'll head there on Wed, expecting it to be DEAD. if weather is terrible? I'm off all week, but Nick goes back to work on Thurs, and I'll just head down there on Thurs myself.
Since it was so overcast, then raining, and nasty on Wed I was requested by the spouse NOT to drive to San Antonio, and instead went on Thurs, 12/27. As opposed to how nasty Wed had been, Thurs was beautiful, with the weather in the high 60’s and the sun out.
So hopped in the car around 10:30 and headed towards San Antonio to be there just around the Noon opening. Traffic was way worse than I was expecting – I figured Holiday travelers would not be heading home yet, but due accidents and construction on I35, it took me over 2 hours to get there, pulling off the Fiesta exit close to 12:30.
I had noted to my spouse it was either gonna be dead, since most folks were still visiting family, OR it was gonna be packed . .with no in between.
The moment I turned onto Six Flags drive, I knew it was gonna be the latter – I’ve never seen the entrance backed up past the tunnel. And once thru the tunnel I was pretty shocked to see all the parking booths open, and full lines of cars. Oh, and the lot was already full past the guard tower (oy).
Ok, so I knew I wasn’t gonna get a lot of riding in, but was here so let’s enjoy.
I parked fairly far back so it would be easier to get out when I left (and when I left the lot was full way past my car), and headed up to the main plaza. The line of folks to get in was large, but kudos to the park for having all the metal detectors up and running – even if they weren’t enforcing the two “Express Entry: No bags or purses” rules. Seriously, I was two people behind a woman in one of the Express lines who had her 4 kids, and one in a stroller. Yep, a stroller, in the Express Entry line, and you bet yer butt, the bottom of the stroller was full of bags, that each had to be opened, and checked and the full stroller screened while the woman complained about them stopping her when she has “nothing bad”. . . welcome to poor humanity.
luckily, other than this self centered entitled woman, didn’t see anything like It the whole rest of the day.
I was surprised to see so many folks lined up at the ticket booths – but then realized they were running a couple of promotions, and that’s why (along with the weather) was so crowded: 1) Bring a friend for $20, 2) buy a membership and get Fast Lane wristband for the day, and 3) in honor of the Alamo Bowl (today), the Park was offering discount tickets yesterday (as well as the Iowa State University Marching Band was doing a Parade thru the park).
Surprisingly tho, despite the lines at Security, and at the Ticket windows - not much lines at the actual gates to get in – which were moving super fast, as they were eschewing the finger prints, since it was so busy – so scan the card only, and then in the front gates.
Was slightly disappointed to see there were no shows scheduled today, since I had hoped to catch some. But I completely understand it’s the week of Christmas and People take time off.
In fact, staffing issues were noticeable thruout the park, particularly with the number of closed eating stands. The ones that were open, had long lines, but that is expected when the park is so crowded, so no faulting them there, tho would have been nice If they were able to get more staffing.
Was also a bit surprised to see some rides closed that *had* been operating during Holiday in the Park as recently as a week ago: Goliath, Gully Washer (with water drained), Bug’s Whitewater Rapids (still had water in flume), and Crow’s Nest Ferris Wheel.
Pretty much everything was up and running tho, including Poltergeist and Wonder Woman were down when I arrived, but both opened during my visit.
Seeing how crowded it was, I decided to go ahead and eat first, as it was already 1:30 by the time I actually got INTO the park and I hadn’t eaten anything yet today. I smartly deduced that Festhaus was the best option, since that’s the most spread out of the eating options at the park, and my gambit worked and within 5-10 minutes I had gotten thru the Hot Dog line and was sitting at table inside the dining area watching the Carousel thru the windows while eating my neon-cheese chili-cheese-dog with tots meal that is part of my meal plan.
was it the best thing I ever ate? Nope, but it was edible, and way quicker than going over to Totally Kicken Chicken (which had a huge line every time I passed it), or Johnny Rockets (which had a line spilling out of the queue into the walkways – not helped that the Boardwalk location was closed, so everyone was at the Superman location).
after eating, I went right next door, and waited a cycle for the Carousel (yeah, it was already that crowded, that they were running full carousels!), but I didn’t mind, and I ended up getting on my bunny (white rabbit).
Upon exiting the Carousel, I headed towards Wonder Woman which had started testing and had noticed from the carousel queue. I guess it opens at 2, since park opened at noon?
Even with getting to the ride just after it started cycling people, the line was almost all the way to the entrance. But since I was here anyways, tho confused on how it could have gotten that packed so quickly, I got in line. Turned out it wasn’t more than a 30 minute wait, since it turned out the line looked so long only because they were not using the full queue – the whole “statues” queue was being squeegeed to get the water/leaves out from the prior day’s storms. Why did they not do this in the two hours before the ride opened for the day? Well. . . Six Flags. LOL. They also were holding the line around the Flash Pass Merge point (something I saw at every other ride too. . .I guess to make it more of a benefit for those who purchase), but that also added a little more “virtual” wait.
Kudos for having all 3 trains cycling (even with a couple of seats out of commission), tho I get the feeling they don’t run all 3 that often - as they were stacking constantly, rather than moving smoothly thru the station. But still. Overall, good on the park for running all 3 trains, and the employees were great!
After Wonder Woman, I briefly considered hopping on Hustler, but decided that likely wasn’t a great idea still so soon after eating. The Batman queue was completely full, so decided to bypass that and headed to Superman. Noting no additional construction for the new Joker Ride, tho the site looked like they were going to be pouring foundation for it in the near future. . . and Whirlygig still looked the same as it had during my prior Holiday in the Park visit.
The Superman queue, while wasn’t completely full, was the fullest I’ve ever seen it. Going several back and forths under the tarps in the space behind the gift shop. This line moved rather quickly tho with two train operations (and holding at the Fast Lane merge), and in less than 30 minutes, I was up the stairs, and then walked onto the back row for my ride.
this was the first ride I’ve had on Superman since I got the Photo Pass, so of course I got the picture. I noticed quite a few folks taking a picture of the screens and the booth operator didn’t seem to mind (something I had *also* noticed at Wonder Woman), so I asked her if they aren’t enforcing that anymore . . . and she shrugged. I guess if they aren’t, that makes sense why they had dropped the price for photopass so much that I bought it for 2019. I guess the true test will be next time I’m on Bug’s rapids, since that booth used to have a big sign noting not to take pictures of the screens. . so will see if that’s still there next time.
After Superman, I continued making my way around the park, people watching, taking pictures, and stopping to watch folks ride the gunslinger upcharge (lot’s of people lined up for this). There were folks lined up for the Holiday Express train – but having ridden it I bypassed. Remnants of the ‘Make your own S’mores” firepits were out, tho not lit . . and I didn’t see any carts selling the kits? So maybe they are done with those for the season and just haven’t removed the firepits yet.
I also noted completely full (and I mean *completely* full – as in spilling out into walkways) queues for Iron Rattler, and RoadRunner Express – so even tho I don’t mind waiting in a line since I’m in the park? Nope, not today, as those were 2 hour + waits. No question.
I hadn’t been over to boardwalk yet, and I wanted to get a look at the new Pirates ride to see if any work had been done, so I continued around the park on my 2nd lap still taking pics and stopping for a “professional” pic from a Six Flags photog in front of the giant ornament (he told me they wouldn’t be out later due to staffing, so I got it in the bright sun).
Just as I was passing Poltergeist (which had been closed all day), they started testing. I stopped for a moment, and saw another empty test car, so joined the handful of folks milling about by the closed entry queue. .and sure enough, a few moments later, a staff member came out and opened up the queue. So I ended up on the 1st full train of the day on one of my favorite rides. And they were actually running 2 trains too! 1st time I’ve seen that in a long while.
I was gonna ride again, but the line had already extended out to some of the switchbacks outside the main station (again, something I had not seen in a very long time), so decided to be happy with my one ride, and go check out the Wonder Woman line. By now the Statue queue was in use, and the line was almost all the way to the entrance (at least 1 ½ hour line), so I bypassed and headed to the boardwalk, waiting a couple of cycles for Fireball (getting stuck in the center, but oh well, still a fun ride). I only really ride Pandemonium or Spinsanity when I’m with Nick, since he’ll ride those, so I went ahead over to the new Pirates ride and noticed they now have signage up, as well as a pretty good amount of detail in the outdoor queue area.
I took a few pics, although wasn’t able to get anything from the indoor queue as the doors were closed.
As I was walking away, I passed someone who looked like a Store Manager from the Boardwalk area headed to the backstage area by Pirates (and stopping to pick up some trash along the way), so I struck up a conversation and complimented on the really nice job the park had done with the theming on the outside of the new ride that opens next week. When we were there a few weeks ago, no outdoor work had been done, so I said how cool it was to see the signage up. He responded that the outside signs are the last things they put up, and that they are super excited to debut the new ride and said “just wait until you see the inside!” (so I mentioned I had seen some photos from a tour a few weeks ago, that Ryan had posted on TPR, but I was looking forwards to seeing what they had done in person).
He asked me if I had been having a fun day, and I told him I was, even tho it was very crowded. And I mentioned I had just considered riding Wonder Woman again, but it was for the best that the line was too long for me since I can get “tender” from the seating position if I ride it too many times in one visit. And he laughed and said he had ridden it 35+ times in a row with no problem (which caused me to think, “ok, who is this guy?”). . but we came to the conclusion that since he’s taller than me, he’s likely more comfortable in the seating position on the ride than I am, since my shorter-than-his legs might be more stressed : )
It was right around then when another Six Flags worker on the boardwalk walked up and he introduced me to him (sorry, can’t remember this worker’s name). . . but this worker was excited about the evening event, which was to be the Employee’s party to ride the new ride, as well as the boardwalk rides and Wonder Woman open after park close.
This worker said “thanks Jeff” as he was heading off. .and it was *then* that I looked at the Manager guy’s nametag and realized I had been talking to Park President Jeffery Siebert! ( LOL. . good thing I hadn’t said anything negative!).
I immediately shook his hand again, apologized that I hadn’t recognized him – and noted we’d interacted before via Facebook (tho I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything, he interacts with lots of folks)
He asked me if I was going to be coming to the Membership premiere of the ride . . . pointing out the membership benefits sign out front. I think I responded with explaining how we’re pass holders, and although the Membership early experience was cool, the upgrade to Member wasn’t for us at this time: we’re fine with the lower tier benefits of passes -which mesh with our style of experiencing a theme park, and since we love Fiesta Texas we come fairly often to the park from Austin.
We only talked for about 5-10 minutes but the highlights:
-- We talked about the Carousel – shocking I know. I really complimented on how great it looked and how happy I was to have it back open. he praised the folks who hand painted all the restoration and agreed with me on how beautiful it was looking.
-- Still about the Carousel, we talked about the music playing and how it was different the 3 times I’d visited since it reopened (and I made him laugh by telling him about riding the SFOT one to “Getting Jiggy With It”). He told me the music on the Carousel will be changing year round to go with the themes of the Park, but it will always be a Wurlitzer organ version of whatever the theme is (which I had not realized was a real organ inside the Carousel, I had thought it was simply recorded music, but he said it’s a real organ).
-- Speaking of Themes, since they are now open Year Round: Mardi Gras celebration is going to be starting in January, instead of waiting until the early March Spring Break timeframe.
-- and speaking of year round, I asked him what that was gonna do to the maintenance schedule? ie: are they going to try to cram in maintenance Mon-Thurs since they no longer will have off months? His answer was that they were going to move towards doing continuous maintenance and he thought that was a good thing. Not sure how to parse that answer, other than to think there will be some ride downtimes on some weekends. . hopefully they will advise online what might be down for maintenance each time. but hey, if Disney and Knotts can stay open year round and keep up, I'm sure Six Flags Fiesta can too.
-- I commented on how I was pleased and surprised that Poltergeist was operating both trains, and he told me it had been due to a “wheel supplier” issue that kept the 2nd train idle for most of the year, but that was resolved now.
I didn’t want to take up too much of his time, so I again thanked him for the conversation, and how I can’t wait to be back to ride the Pirates in the New year.
then continued my 2nd trip around the park (again noticing the huge lines for food still, and the still overflow lines for IR and Roadrunner).
I was wanting to use my “snack” on the meal plan for a shake but the lines at the places that offer it were simply too long, so I was pleased to notice that the Lemonade Stand in the central square offered the Frozen Lemonade (regular or Strawberry) as a “snack”, and that line was only a couple of people deep. So I did that, and browsed the stores up front while enjoying it.
Since no shows, I had decided that I would head back home, having been in the park for a few hours, when suddenly a marching band fired up behind the Theater off the main square – as noted at the beginning of this, it was the Iowa State Marching Band – they are in San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl, and they are quite impressive. So I hung around and watched them pour out into the main park, for a parade around the park. Luckily, they headed right (towards CrackAxle) so didn’t block me . . and instead I went the other direction for one final ride on the Carousel before they came all the way around : )
Then I headed to the car and left the park around 5pm. . . so all in all not a BAD day. Didn’t do a whole lot, and certainly not a *full* day, but in ~4 hours I did:
eat lunch ride the Carousel ride Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster ride Superman: Krypton Coaster ride Poltergeist ride Fireball ride Carousel again
Not a terrible way to spend a day.
On to pictures:
holee crap. . . the line to get TO the parking booths
all lanes open, and all full.. yep, big crowd today. but it's a beautiful day, and the temps are in the high 60s
yep, can see the lines from way back here
they do have multiple Holiday in the Park theming still up, but light on shows/performers - understandable, I mean it IS Christmas week.
Hmm. . Goliath doesn't seem to be cycling? (yep, was closed this visit)
my lunch. . . mmmm. . neon cheese
but got to ride my bunny
Wonder Woman line, 5 minutes after official open. not as bad as it looks, since they aren't using the "statue" queue room. (but they are holding the line back prior to "Flash Pass" merge
stopped in the line, can get some nice pics tho. . but stupid bright sun
ah there we go. . . Sun blocked by the track of the initial dive loop!
NEVER, in my entire time going to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, have I ever seen the Superman queue this full!
the quarry walls are so dang pretty, and you get some nice views, if you ever have to wait in the Superman queue
walking towards Crackaxle area. . tried to get a shot with IR too, but got Gunslinger and Roadrunner in the same pic.
Line was too long for this for me to wait today, but this location is so great for a Skyscreamer, even if it's not the tallest one in the chain.
so pretty when they have the waterfalls running.
huh? Gully Washer is drained. .it was just running the other week.
the toy soldiers blocking the German section train station
wow. . full Batman queue. that's something I rarely (ever?) see
Took a pic of the sign when walking by, then saw it testing, went back, and got on 1st train of the day.
oooooooo. . signage is up at "Pirates of the Deep Sea"
and they are announcing Membership preview night. . the queue is looking really nice outside
stupid shadow from Crow's nest. . but they had several of these "Jolly Roger" tarps/flags hanging on the outside queue
the inside (of the outside queue) looks GREAT. yeah, it's only some netting and twine, but looks so good.
as do the "paintings" along the walls
look who I bumped into and struck up a conversation with (without knowing who he is): Park President Jeffery Siebert
and yes, I asked him before we parted ways if I could get a pic with him, and asked if it were OK that I post it on TPR.
what's this? a Marching Band Parade? and I managed to time it to be right were they come out? cool.
they really were VERY good.. . such moves too. very choreographed as they marched
On Ride pic from Wonder Woman (again, they put me in the back seat. . I did not mind at all)
On Ride pic from Superman (back row) 1st On Ride I have from this since I got the photo pass for 2019)
official pic from the giant ornament.
Daytime with sun behind us, but I rather like it, to be honest!
sideways frame works really nice with Boomerang - which also had a line, tho not a completely full queue.
Great report! I'm really intrigued to hear how the Pirates ride turns out. Judging by the outside, it must be pretty good on the inside.
As for the cheaper Photopass, that's a good point it may be the park realizing it's easier than stopping cell phone photos. I got one for SFNE simply because of how cheap it was. The all-season photo pass was the same as the one day photo pass.
^ it could have just been staffing issues, that since it was only one person working each booth at both WW and Supes (also noticed only one person at IR booth when I walked by the store, but didn't peek into Roadrunner store to see if only 1). . so maybe they were just focused on helping those that wanted the pics rather than stopping folks from taking pics of the screen.
but I really do wonder if they just aren't going to stop people anymore since the photopass to get an "official" photo has dropped in price so much. . . . I mean, I'd rather have the "real" picture than a picture of a screen.
as noted tho. . will check it out again next time I'm in the park and see if it's still the same.
(and Bill. . .that shirt was a Chanukah gift from some friends. . LOL, they know me, right?)
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