Do not adjust your monitors... I actually got off (or on) my A$$ and wrote another trip report!
We had been wanting to do a Texas trip for a long time but for whatever reason it always eluded us or got put on the back burner for something else. Lucky for us that all changed last June when our favorite sh*thole airline randomly dropped a crazy low fare from Philadelphia (which is only a few hours from us) to Dallas and that finally gave us the incentive we needed to pull the trigger (get it? Like a gun... because Texas... ah whatever).
The flight was uneventful and after landing at DFW (F*ck that airport by the way) and waiting an hour to drive the rental car out of the garage once we were in the car (yeah, you read that right) we were on our way to our hotel. God, what an awful airport...
Our hotel was pretty close to the airport and by the time we got there it was about 11:45 (or 12:45 at home) so we were definitely ready to crash. Unfortunately the location in the Choice app was a little screwy and combined with the fact that this was my first encounter with Texas' obsession with service roads (Texans love nothing more than Jesus, guns and service roads) we missed the turn and ended up having to backtrack a little bit.
I know what you're thinking... Bill... who the f*ck cares? Get to the coasters.
Well for some ridiculous reason about 1/8 of a mile from our hotel we randomly passed an SBF spinner at some little miniature golf course that (for some reason) was open at 11:50 at night on a Thursday. I don't whore kids coasters, but for some reason I've decided that these things are acceptable since they're actually really fun (and often marketed to adults... see that weird place in NJ) so we walked into this deserted bowling alley and mini golf place 10 minutes before close and overpayed for an SBF spinner. I'm not proud of it and Brit was probably cursing me for missing that turn as I legitimately had no clue the place even existed and never would have known if I had properly followed the directions but... cha ching. These things are fun. Sue me. I should also note that there was one of those weird Texas thunderstorms in the area so the wind was whipping and you could hear rumbles of thunder but nobody cared as it was content to just sit over the same place for hours and wasn't actually headed our way. That whole night was weird.
Anyway... on to more respectable things, the next morning we woke up and made the short drive over to our first *real park of the trip, Six Flags over Texas!
Obviously this was a park that we were really excited to visit. It had about as much history as a ground-up Six Flags park could reasonably have and their ride lineup looked really impressive on paper. The forecast for the day (and every day) of our trip was in the 100-105 degree range but that did nothing to put a damper on our moods. At least it was a dry(ish) heat, right?
The park's entry area was quite nice and well shaded. Right off the bat it was clear that this park was sort of a relic of the days where Six Flags actually gave a sh*t and there were plenty of legitimately nice areas here. Over the course of our trip it became clear that if you lived in Texas and never ventured to any other parks you could probably think that Six Flags was a proud stamp of quality.
We budgeted for Flash Pass but since it was a weekday with 105 degree weather we didn't purchase it in advance and instead just decided to hit the rides that we wanted to ride and buy it when we encountered our first actual line. This turned out to be the right move as that never actually happened so I scored some additional beer money in the budget for the rest of the trip.
Unless there's a ride with hilariously atrocious capacity we've sort of settled on a new strategy when visiting new parks and that's to ride the rides that you came for before anything else. I know we probably should have hit La Vibora or Pandemonium but Texas Giant was closed for a few weeks (and gave us a bit of a scare) and had only reopened a few days prior so when we saw it running on our way into the park there was no question as to where we were headed first.
The ride was a walk-on so in no time we were strapped in and ready to go. Brit was a little freaked out about this ride at first (due to it's..um... history) but as soon as we were on our way down the drop she seemed to be totally over it and happily threw her arms up in the air a few moments later (I was already there from the minute we crested the lift).
Make no mistake, this is a great ride. We found it to be extremely tame compared to every other RMC we've been on with very fluid, drawn out transitions but it has really solid airtime and it's a really long ride. Personally I think it rides more like a B&M hyper than an RMC, but that's not a bad thing. If you can take a rough, dumpster fire Dinn Corp train wreck and make it ride like a butter smooth airtime-filled B&M then that's a massive home run.
RMC has come a long way since New Texas Giant, but it was great to ride the OG RMC. It's easily one of the best rides in the park and it was a great way to start off our vacation.
After grabbing our first of 500 free waters that day we decided to check out Texas Giant's awesome looking neighbor, Titan! We had been on Goliath and found the ride to be a total blast, so we figured that riding a near clone of it would be a similar experience.
The ride was a complete walk-on so we immediately walked straight on to the back car of the familiar, Goliath-like station. The lift offered awesome views of the ballpark (that we would be visiting later) and the Cowboys stadium that at first glance made me think that an alien mother-ship had crash landed next to Six Flags (that thing is massive).
Unfortunately while the experience started out on a promising note, Titan was probably our only disappointment of the trip. While it seems like it would offer about the same ride experience as Goliath, it absolutely doesn't. I think it was just a flat wheel on our specific train but the ride shook violently throughout the entire course. On it's own that wouldn't really ruin the experience, but that extra helix really makes a big difference and not for the better.
The 105 degree weather probably didn't help, but we were seeing stars by the time we hit the midcourse. The midcourse brought the train to a complete stop which was a nice reprieve, but we didn't really have the chance to recover before entering the next helix which proceeded to do the same thing.
I love intense coasters, but this ride just feels like pointless intensity. Rides like I305, Skyrush and Maverick kick your a** while flying through crazy awesome elements and that's great, but this ride just makes you see stars by going around in circles endlessly. It's sort of like the "Gravitron" of coasters. I don't get this ride... I didn't totally hate it but neither of us really enjoyed it either.
We didn't have much of a plan after riding Titan so after that we just sort of went around and rode whatever we happened to come up to that seemed appealing. The next stop was this weird thing that I never knew existed and even as we approached the ride we had no idea what to expect.
There's something really cool about coming up to a ride that you've never heard of and know absolutely nothing about. Obviously this is pretty common for most people when they visit parks but this hobby sort of spoils that so it's a rare event and on the few occasions where it DOES happen the reason that you've never heard of the ride is usually that it absolutely sucks.
The boats were super sketchy, felt like they were going to sink and at one point I felt like I needed to push but the ride was actually really fun. Obviously nobody is going to confuse this for Navi River journey but it's a really cute, corny old ride where Six Flags really tried to take advantage of their lone IP. It's a pretty long ride, the effects seem to (mostly) work and it's totally unlike anything you would expect at a Six Flags park. I'm not recommending that anyone wait an hour for it but for what it is it's a lot of fun.
We continued our circle of the park and quickly came up on Shockwave (which is sort of located on a dead end path under the observation tower). The observation tower was closed for painting and actively dropping paint on people so everyone sort of cut and run under it, but we made it through unscathed and were rewarded with a walk-on line for the classic looper.
I've never met a Schwarzkopf that I didn't like, and this was no exception. It's basically Mindbender-lite with the same awesome loops and green paint but it trades the awesome location with terrain elements for an overgrown, hot-as-the-surface-of-the-sun field near the highway and the layout is a bit abbreviated.
This ride is all about the loops but the loops are great so I'm totally okay with that. They're really forceful and super fun (which shouldn't be a surprise because it's a Schwarzkopf) and even though the ride pretty much dicks around and does nothing after that it barely matters. Shockwave is an excellent ride.
Up next were the two mine trains and while there's not much to say here they were both quite enjoyable. The larger mine train has a cool themed section before the final drop which was totally unexpected and they were both loaded with weird, wonky, Arrow goodness.
I don't mean to gloss over the mine trains but even while at the park I was sort of doing that in my head as I had my eye on Mr Freeze up ahead. I was already excited for it but Mr Freeze interacts with the mine trains a bit which served to build the anticipation even further as we watched it rocket overhead while we barreled through atrocious (but fun) coathanger turns down below that really do make you wonder if Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon were on meth.
The ride entrance and queue area are actually really cool and (by Six Flags standards) well themed. There was a bit of a line, but a quick check of queue times showed that it was pretty much the only ride with a queue (and it was only about 30 minutes) so we decided to stick it out and forego the Flash Pass. The queue was air conditioned and it was (according to the national weather service) approximately bullsh*t degrees Fahrenheit so you didn't really have to twist our arms.
After about 30 minutes of standing in line (and getting tons of chiller vibes) we were next to ride. Unfortunately the ride had other ideas as the train in front of us roared back into the station and (upon stopping) all of the service lights popped on and the ride ops informed us that the ride was down and that (while we were welcome to wait) it would be a minimum of 30 minutes.
Since we were next to ride we did decide to wait it out, but 45 minutes later there was still no sign of life and we finally decided to admit defeat. I assume that they were waiting for the LIMs to cool and on a 105 degree day they seemed to be taking their sweet time.
The queue was already giving me a strong dose of Chiller nostalgia and the frustration on the faces of the maintenance workers was doing the same...
Up next: Six Flags over Texas: Part 2!