6/26/08 SFMM Update!
How have you been? What?—I’m not trying to play off the fact that it’s been a long
time since the last legitimate SFMM Update! I feel like Robb and friends have been doing a great job at keeping you up to date. And at the same time, there hasn’t been all that much to report on. With the summer season in full swing, there is very little time between breaths to do much other than operate the park.
But enough excuses, let’s not delay any longer and actually get to the update…
X2 v. Thomas Town
Both of SFMM’s 2008 attractions have arrived and are welcoming guests to ride. On one end of the park, you have X2, the arguably meanest and most-thrilling of the park’s coaster collection. On the other, Thomas Town, the undoubtedly most quaint, peaceful, and family-friendly of the park’s offerings.
Welcome to Thomas Town!
Thomas Town features two main attractions, the smaller being the coaster formerly known as Goliath Jr. It has since become Percy’s Coaster and looks much nicer than before.
I love how top-heavy this thing looks!
The larger of the attractions is Thomas the Tank Engine himself!
His eyes look like little Pac Mans!
Thomas is pretty much your average diesel-powered amusement park train that occupies the space where Granny Gran Prix used to be. To be honest, it feels even less like a “ride” than Gran Prix used to, but it does add modernity and atmosphere, two things that Magic Mountain really lacks. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Thomas Town is the nicest “atmosphere” in the entire park!
…Knapford Station really felt like a cute little train station.
The tour itself is “cute” and enjoyable.
More set pieces creating a setting along the track.
An exit through the most “blue” gift shop I have ever seen!
And towards the Cranky the Crane water-play area.
More set pieces underneath Cranky.
There is also Thomas “Storytime” entertainment, at select times, for the little ones.
I *love* the little chairs! I can fit like, one butt-cheek on them! Obviously designed for the little ones.
I’m going to be perfectly honest, despite all of the atmosphere and scenery to see, the attraction did lack in some areas. It didn’t quite feel like a “ride”. More like a tram-tour around the “Island of Sodor”. But some parts of “Sodor” were rather bland and boring.
…Yeah. Not much going on over here.
Oooooh…and lovely speaker-tree forest over here.
…Sodor is a whacky place.
That all being said, the ride is still cute. But I haven’t even mentioned the biggest problem with Thomas Town yet. It’s something visible in each and every one of the photos I just posted. Here…let me help you…
Where IS everybody?
That’s right—there’s nobody IN Thomas Town! One of the nicest new areas Magic Mountain has created in the last decade and there’s nobody enjoying it! Where did everybody go?
Despite it being both a new attraction and a pleasant family experience, Thomas Town is more like a Ghost Town throughout most of the day. And this is how it has been every day! In the morning, there is a “rush” and the line will fill up to about one-train’s worth. But it will soon cycle out and by an hour after park opening, that is what you see—a completely deserted land. Perhaps guests don’t like a quiet little train ride. It would seem that more guests prefer…
…Looks like I found all of the missing guests!
X2 has instantly become the most popular attraction in the park. One Saturday in June, Tatsu’s line never left the station for the first 45 minutes of park-operation due to everybody running to X2 instead! Running 2 trains on weekdays and 3 trains on weekends, the line reaches from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the time of day.
People wait forever for this ride and walk off happy that they did!
The entrance sign is still going up (and is nearly complete). The line is also visible, almost to the ride entrance—this is with full switchbacks.
Part of me wants to say, “Well, people just like X2 more than Thomas!” And I have to argue, X2 is a far better “ride”. But I do hold a fair bit of hesitation in just saying that because, let’s face it, have you seen a commercial for Thomas Town? A billboard? Paper ad? The park is virtually ignoring the existence of Thomas Town while X2 gets a commercial spot every time So You Think You Can Dance
cuts to commercial break!
Frankly, I don’t even know if the general public is aware that the ride exists.
So why isn’t the park advertising it? Is it not large enough to advertise? Is it some sort of licensing issue with the Thomas brand? Or is X2 just what the park is trying to focus on right now?
I don’t know. I understand that X2 is the crown jewel of the park’s coaster collection. But part of me thought that wanting to appeal to a family-crowd meant not just building family-friendly attractions, but letting the families know that it’s there. The park-maps now list the “family-friendly attractions” and there is a sign identifying them at the rides. The park IS making an effort to step away from their “teenage”-oriented past and promote good, clean, family fun.
So where’s that message? The only message you see on TV is “Come to Six Flags Magic Mountian if you’re bada$$ enough to ride the ALL-NEW X2.”
This was my metaphorical, “What happened to Thomas Town?” picture!
I only hope that a completely deserted Thomas Town gives the message that unless there is a transition to market the park as a family park, the park can never become a family park. Jay made it clear at West Coast Bash that Disney’s image as a great, family park allows it to remain king of family parks, despite whatever the truth actually is. Well, Six Flags Magic Mountain needs to reshape its public image to become a family-oriented park before it can every pretend to be, no matter how many family-friendly attractions it builds.
At the very least, find a happy medium. No more of this, Our rides are so thrilling, “You should check your pants for deposits”
, as they spiel on the TV’s in the X2 queue line.
My rant is over.
You Know It’s Going To Be…All Right
A beautiful day at Revolution.
Well, as it has been previously reported, Revolution has received some new paint…Not on the track this time, but on the trains themselves! There’s also a rumor that one of the trains is new or has new mechanical components, which is believable. One of the trains has a mighty-freshened up version of the teal/silver scheme that the ride has been utilizing since the ‘90s.
Not a great shot at all, but you can tell that there’s a certain “freshness” to the coaches, even down to the wheels.
What caught my eyes more while approaching the ride, was the other train. Red. White. Blue.
The Great American Revolution…once again.
The train has both a patriotic feel, with a retro 70’s throwback. All without feeling “old”, but rather looking new and fresh!
The front coach has the retro-“Magic Mountain” lettering, a great throwback to the days that people so reminisce about Revolution.
Little details are found everywhere, including my favorite, the bumpers!
I have to be honest, the very first time I saw this new Revolution train, I was walking out of the Tatsu exit. I was soooo mesmerized by it, that I actually ran into a bench while staring at it!—I even have bruises to prove it.
At least the nearby guests thought it was funny.
The ride is even slightly
improved. I rode in the patriot-train and noticed that the vibrations were nonexistent! The train seemed to glide over the track. That being said, the jolts that throw your head into the ungodly restraint were there. I’m convinced that the trains are as good as they will ever be. Therefore, if Revolution is to ever be perfectly comfortable again, the park will have to reprofile those terrible over the shoulder restraints.
May I recommend the soft-harness OTSRs, like on Tatsu or the new family SLC’s? Look into it.
A beautiful train, riding off into the distance.
*cues background music*
Entertainment, Advertisements, and Randomness, Oh My!
We’ve now arrived at that “end of the update” part of the update, where I throw together all of the things that weren’t big enough to have their own part of the update.
First up, the entertainment team at SFMM are working in full swing and to bring entertainment to the guests. Right at the entrance, you can find the “DDR Challenge”, where guests can compete against each other, in front of an audience, to see who is the Dance Dance Revolution master. Simple, but it’s actually quite entertaining.
Bow bow….chicka chicaaaaaa. Bow bow… Oh yeah!
Up next, is Kid Karaoke, which has replaced the bird show in the Carrot Club Theater. It isn’t uncommon to be walking through Bugs Bunny World and here scratchy girl’s voices attempting to belt-out their favorite Hannah Montanna songs.
I should be arrested for taking this photo.
Both of these offerings seem more focused on allowing the guests to entertain each other, than be entertained by the park. It’s partially clever, for what it is. As far as park entertainment, there’s the awesome Batman Begins stunt show, the daily parade, and then there’s CSI: LIVE.
This is CSI: LIVE. It’s in Magic Moments.
Though I have yet to see the show myself, a few of my friends weren’t entirely too thrilled by the show. I still will watch it and find out for myself though. If anything, for the air conditioning! (Last weekend, it was 110 degrees F at the park!)
There has also been a vast array of advertisements to pop up throughout the park. They don’t obstruct the park experience at all, but are very noticeable.
You have high-tech ad signs…
…Car showcase displays…
…High tech ad signs AND car showcase displays, and my personal favorite…
Trash can imprints advertising for the Consumer Products division of a company that also happens to have a Parks and Resorts division in indirect competition with Six Flags Inc.!
More fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo are being installed at Tatsu.
Here, let me save you the effort—
*bitch* *moan* *outcry* *rant* *groan* *protest* *snarl* *complain*
…there! I just saved us all 15 pages of complaining!
In other news, the Magic of the Mountain Museum at the SkyTower has received a few more upgrades, proving that the it will never be complete, so as long as there is imagination left in the world….I mean…erm…Just look at the pictures…
The models are no longer hanging around wherever they feel like, but have been properly placed on stands as they deserve.
“Dead space” in the center of the floor has been filled with some very neat photo-collages.
There’s even a test seat up here!
Which is actually really disappointing to me, as now that the test seat is in the park, there’s no real excuse to why the others can’t be used at their respective rides.
Yes, the Goliath Jr. sign HAS been removed. In fact, it’s currently sitting behind Psyclone’s footprint.
The 2009 Coaster
I do not have information on the 2009 coaster for you. I very much enjoy my job and would like to continue doing it.
So why dedicate a section of the update to it? For two thoughts:
One, be careful guys. I don’t know what Shapiro “slipped” last week. What I do know is there is still very little
information about this project out there. I’ve been reading through the nearly 10-pages of gossip already produced about the coaster and can’t help but notice a bunch of fallacies in logic. People are drawing conclusions far too soon and filling in information that hasn’t been confirmed. And that’s human nature, I understand. The brain is able to merge two planes of vision (one for each eye) into a single image by essentially “guessing” what goes between the two! We are designed to fill in the gaps.
That being said, be careful. People are already jumping to conclusions that are remarkably wrong. And I don’t want anyone to be disappointed by an element of this coaster that was never
on the drawing board to begin with!
Secondly, show some patience. After all, it was late-June of 2005 that I began doing updates for Tatsu, which opened in Spring of 2006. If it’s safe to use that same construction timeline, then it would be safe to say that markers/markings may begin appearing within the next few months! So patience. The ride will begin to come together soon enough and before you know it, you’ll be on the thing!
Well folks, that should do it for today! Hope you enjoyed the update. A bit short, but as I said, not all that much is going on right now! Check back over the next few months as more updates on what will be happening at the park occur!
I couldn’t resist!