Great updates Adam! What did you guys have to do to get the intamin wheel?
Adam, this is going to make you really jealous, but I rode Boulder Dash 70 times yesterday! The park was completely empty due to the terrible weather forecasted, which didn't arrive until around 4 or 5 in the afternoon.
Sorry for the major delay in updates but school has been keeping me busy for the last month or so... But, to make it up to you, I've got another long update filled with text and some photos here and there.
Our second morning at Six Flags New England started up with ERT on Pandemonium and Flashback. Those of us that wanted to get a few rides in on Pandemonium (Jes and I, as well as some others) went straight to Flashback to get it over with.
Flashback is the park's standard Vekoma Boomerang. Not the most painful, but not the smoothest either--the ride took us up the lift hill as we all chatted through the slow ascent. At about three-fourths of the way up the lift, we felt an abrupt creak as the entire train shimmied. The lift stopped, as did we. The first ride of the day was the first breakdown of the day for us--and for the TPR observers on the ground, another Elissa Bingo square filled. After about five minutes of waiting, the lift process resumed and a few seconds later we were dropped backwards through the station, cobra roll, loop and up the second lift, just to go back through the course one more time.
After our ride on Flashback, we went over to Pandemonium where we would test our theory of increasing the spin on a car (like we had on Whirlwind at Seabreeze). After four rides, we had a decent set of spins and were ready to go back to Superman: Ride of Steel for some more morning ERT. Just as good as the day before, the ERT was definitely fun.
Day two at Six Flags New England meant Flash Passes (Q-bots), which had us excited. Three groups of four paired up to make twelve (though we ended up picking up a straggler along the way); making lines a thing of the past.
We moved onto Catwoman's Whip, a kiddie coaster with an extremely long train and a statue that made Brent really happy... It also featured an incredible view of the Dark Knight's Glow in the Park Football/Golf multipurpose arena/field/swamp... I'll say no more on that.
We hit Scream (the park's S&S tower), Thunderbolt (a really fun old school woodie), Great Chase (a credit whore's favorite kiddie coaster), Cyclone (a really fun but jarring woodie with an odd layout) and Catapult, the park's S&S Sky Swat. The Sky Swat has to be my least favorite amusement ride ever ridden. Now I know what it feels like to be put on a panini press...
After that, the Prize Gang decided to hit the arcade to wins some prizes on Deal or No Deal and Stacker. It wasn't our most successful prize stop, but we did come back with a few pieces of candy.
After lunch, we left Six Flags New England for our surprise park. Most of us hadn't figured it out at that point, even though Rye Playland was listed as one of the parks on our shirts but not on our schedules.
Rye Playland has five coasters: a wild mouse, Dragon Coaster (a historical wooden), a kiddie wooden, a steel kiddie and Super Flight (a Zamperla flyer). We were able to get on all but the kiddie wooden, but none of the coasters were worth an in depth review.
The park also features several great flats including a gravitron (and its very own Dance King), two fantastic dark rides, a hall of mirrors, and the Sky Skate--which we broke.
Our visit to Rye was extremely fun as it was another unique park with some pretty fun attractions. Oh, and we won tons of prizes in the park's arcade. I consider Rye's Prize Raid to be one of the best runs we had throughout the trip, but I'll let the photos do the talking.
The next day we moved on to Six Flags Great Adventure. We started off with a quick period of ERT on the new Dark Knight coaster. The ride, though overhyped by Six Flags was under hyped by the public. It is a mouse in a box with some cool effects and a knack for stealing Tyler's phone. One holographic effect really got me and the pre-show had me entertained, but the ride was pretty basic beyond that. I do prefer it to the swamp that has become the intended location for Six Flags New England's to-be version of the ride.
On to El Toro, I was greatly anticipating this ride after all of the serious hype. Not to say that I was disappointed, because I wasn't--I just wasn't as blown away as most, likely because of how incredible Boulder Dash had been during our ERT. It really was great and incredibly smooth--I don't really think it can be made out of wood.
The one coaster I had anticipated most on the trip was, of all things, Kingda Ka. After watching countless videos about it, I knew I was going to love it. I waited to ride in the front row just to make it the best first ride possible, and it worked. The launch was absolutely breath-taking (and eye-drying) and everything after that seemed to go by without notice, mostly because of my shock from our 0 to 128 mph motion. My photo was priceless and I was going to use my voucher to print it had the person managing the photo booth hit the delete button rather that of the print.
Saddened by my lack of photo, I figured I'd get one later that day. We re-assembled into our Q-bot groups once more and decided to hit Rolling Thunder's dueling sides once each. Afterwards we went on to ride Great American Scream Machine, Superman - Ultimate Flight and Medusa. As we queued up for Medusa, it began to pour, and our group was separated. Half of us were loaded onto a train while the others waited for the next. Too bad the ride shut down after our train to wait out the storm. We regrouped as the queue emptied just to find that all other rides in the park except the Dark Knight and Fly Me to the Moon 3-D were closed. We tried the 3-D movie, bypassing what looked like a two hour line, immediately entering the pre-show area. The film was just a cut of the feature film with added 3-D visual effects and an odd set of simulator motions. It wasn't really worth the time.
Next we moved back to the Dark Knight, and rode it twice more. The rain wouldn't stop. TPR had scheduled a mandatory meeting for 5:00 pm that day so that we could catch up in case the rain had shut everything down--and sure enough, it had. In what was a near unanimous decision, we decided to give up on the park for the day and get an early start on our long drive to Williamsburg, Virginia.
We left the park without hesitation and made our long ride to the Busch Gardens area of Williamsburg. Getting in with plenty of time to spare, our group decided to go for a nice meal at Chili's for fajitas and good food. And so our day ended with an early nights rest and a good meal (not in that order).
Rye's Dragon Coaster has tons of history to it...
And how was your ride?
Can you find what is wrong with this picture?
And we hadn't even broken it yet...
The Prize Gang strikes again!
The Deal or No Deal Champions!
"Stuck with you" by Huey Lewis comes to mind when I see this photo...
1 of two photos I took at Six Flags Great Adventure during our visit.
The Chili's group was awesome!
A great end to the day!
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
Six Flags America is one of those parks I just didn't take any photos of. So, my report for the park will likely be more in depth, so here goes...
We started our morning with a nice load of ERT scheduled at our next Six Flags park. With this park, I had no expectations. I hadn't heard positives like those associated with Great Adventure or New England. I hadn't heard any negatives either. The park was essentially a blank slate for me, so I was ready for whatever would follow that day.
Our ERT was set to start at Wild One, the park's historic wooden coaster. After getting in the train and strapping in, we hit a sudden stop when the ops told us they would need to have us exit the ride so they could test the coaster for a few runs. After a few tests, they told us that we'd need to come back. So, the head of PR escorted us backstage so that we could quickly move on to Superman: Ride of Steel. Once in the queue, we were hit with another breakdown (TPR was on a roll today), so we were sent back to Wild One, which was working when we got back. Wild One was pretty fun with a few good pops of airtime, and was fairly smooth for an old woody.
Next, we moved on to Batwing, the park's Vekoma flyer (my first Vekoma flyer ever). I was definitely apprehensive about starting a ride on a lift backwards with no idea when we would reach the top. Though a little rough at times, the ride was definitely fun--though not as good as a B&M flyer.
The park management, as a sign of thanks for patience during the break downs opened up Joker's Jinx as well for us before the park prepared to open. My first ever Spaghetti Bowl coaster (one of two on the trip) was also really fun. Matt, Brent and I spent the rest of the ERT on Joker's Jinx before moving onto the other credits in the park.
Two-Face: The Flip Side was unfortunately closed during our visit (though it hasn't opened since, as far as I know), so we kept going. Onto Mind Eraser, we experienced the 2nd worst SLC of the trip, rivaled only by Flight Deck at Canada's Wonderland.
Next was Roar, the wooden twister. I was disappointed with the ride itself--it was smooth (for the most part), but it just seemed to be a little uninteresting. Once was enough for us.
We finished off by getting our Great Chase credit, which was the standard Road Runner/Wyle Coyote coaster found at the Six Flags parks--nothing special, but definitely fun.
And so our day at Six Flags America ended pretty quickly as we moved on to Busch Gardens Europe the next day.
Other moments of note: the weird drop tower, Wonder Woman, Mr. Penguins Blizzard River, the lunch buffet!
Busch Gardens Europe was definitely one of my more anticipated parks of the trip, partially because of my love for Anheiser-Busch parks. I've been a passholder for Seaworld Orlando and Busch Gardens Africa since the time I was four, and had plenty of experience with the parks to anticipate Europe. And honestly, after seeing how well Busch had done with Sesame Place, I was excited to see what they could do with a full-fledged park in the middle of the Virginia woods.
In what would be regarded as one of my favorite parks on the trip, we started our morning at Griffon for a filming session. Unfortunately, due to my age, I was unable to be on the official shoot train, but park management graciously operated a second, non-filming train for those not involved in the shoot.
Griffon, the sister to Tampa's Sheikra is taller (by five feet) and wider (by two seats) with an extra immelman thrown in the mix. While I loved the wider trains (sitting on the far right seat in the front row is really incredible) and the small pop of air before the splashdown, I have to admit that I still prefer Sheikra. Both provide an incredible amount of airtime, and both are great, but for some reason I just prefer Tampa's ride to this one.
Park management was also gracious enough to open Alpengeist for us while the shoot continued. Alpengeist is the larger brother of Tampa's Montu. Much like my comparison between Sheikra and Griffon, I seemed to prefer Montu to Alpengeist. Alpengeist is much larger in scale with far more intense elements and is truly a fun coaster--but I've never felt the blood rush into my feet like I did on Alpengeist to the point where I was scared to ride anymore. While I still enjoyed Alpengeist, I thought the appeal of the tightly-woven B&M inverted coaster was lost on the largely strewn out layout of Alpengeist.
After ERT on the coasters, we proceeded to The Curse of DarKastle, the park's Spiderman-like dark ride. Another anticipated moment of the trip, I had been looking forward to this for quite some time. We had a great tour guide (Bill was his name, I believe) who took us through the entire ride on foot, afterwards answering many of our questions. I asked several of my own questions, including that of Drachen Fire, InBev and future projects. Others contributed some great questions (barring a few-- "Do you have white beer?") as well. And just when we thought the tour couldn't get any better, they let us ride the ride for real, making the experience even better. DarKastle is definitely a great attraction (I wish we could have something like it at Busch Gardens Africa), so the tour was well worth it!
Afterwards, we continued on to Loch Ness Monster, which this year turned 30 years old. I had fairly low (but excited) expectations for this coaster because of the effect Python had on me in its last week of operation. I assumed that if Python was terrible as it was, Loch Ness could only be as bad, if not worse. Boy, was I wrong! Loch Ness has to be the smoothest Arrow Looper I've ever been on, and definitely my favorite. The ride has some great drops, two fantastic loops and a very unique layout. Long live the Loch Ness Monster! I'm glad that Python's trains went to good use here at Busch Gardens Europe, as the Loch Ness Monster has earned them! 30 years later and I can honestly say it was my favorite coaster in the park!
Thanks to our Quick Queue passes, we breezed through the park for the rest of the day, picking up souvenirs and ride photos (to be posted at the end of the entire TR) as we went along. We got to ride Apollo's Chariot several times that day without the pass, but that was because of how efficient the ops were for the ride--another sign of Busch-quality operations. Apollo's Chariot is somewhat overhyped in my opinion, having sat both in the front row and back. It was good--but not as good as everyone made it out to be. I don't know if it is just because I spent so much time on Behemoth in the previous week, but this hyper just didn't get to me like it did others.
With our Quick Queue, we proceeded to the water rides, Le Scoot and the Roman Rapids, both of which got us soaked. Afterwards we hit Escape from Pompeii, the first time without any effects, and the second with.
We even had time to hit the park's 3-D simulator, Corkscrew Hill. The story itself was semi-bizarre with several jokes regarding continuous shaking made from our group--it was odd.
The rest of the day we would continue to walk the park, ride the coasters more and blast riders on the Roman Rapids with set of amazing quarter-operated water jets. The only other moment of note during the day was our game of Water Wars. I personally cannot wait to watch the video because we just soaked each other. I played three full rounds, while some played two. The first was the full group. Armed with a slingshot and a bucket of water balloons, guests are meant to launch the balloons across the court to hit the tops of the individual huts, sending flurries of water rushing down onto the opposite warrior. Though some of us adhered to the "slingshot-only policy" others left their hut with balloons in hand and decided to use their arms as their slingshots.
Round two was just between Max and me, pitted in a major water war. I hit Max several times with the larger water bombs, soaking his top half beyond recognition. Then, just when I thought I was free of his return volley, the brat next to me decided to take one his largest water bombs and chuck it at my side, soaking me in the process. Caught off guard by the attack, Max proceeded to leave his hut carrying his last two balloons--slamming both into my other side, thus leaving me soaked on both sides. One more time meant revenge on Max, and I definitely hit him hard!
That night, we had ERT on Big Bad Wolf, the park's Arrow Suspended Swinging coaster. I'd heard nothing but good things about the coaster, so I anticipated the session for sure. Though the trains shimmied a little at times (and seemed to shed silver shards of metal), it was an overall fun ride that was boosted in thrill by the dark surroundings of the Virginia woods.
We ended ERT and headed back to the bus after another great day, ready to move on to our next park, Kings Dominion...
Alpengeist greets us on this morning...
Through the trees! Does this count?
One thing that Busch always does right with its coasters--theming!
Its time for some DarKastle!
We had ours--do you have yours?
Busch Gardens Europe has its own Coaster Dynamix model of Alpengeist. It also sells Alpengeist and Griffon model trains by Coaster Dynamix.
Let the tour begin...
Spooky even with the lights on.
Guess who is filming you...
Josh was definitely happy to be here!
Are we tilting or is that what you're supposed to think?
Ludwig doesn't look so unhappy here... Its a shame he became a vengeful ghost/werewolf/monster.
Enter the library.
Even the maintenance bay entryway is themed! Another sign of Busch-quality!
"Coaster-people make the greatest food for a fireplace monster... Om nom nom!"
Did I rotate this photo the wrong way?
Even more spooky and eerie!
This is way better than the face in the Matterhorn at Nara Dreamland!
Elissa's dad had a question to be answered...
So many things could be said... We love the Fudges!
The sun sets on Griffon as our visit at Busch Gardens Europe comes to a close...
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
The day at Kings Dominion for me was one of curiosity and minor anticipation. Another park filled with credits, ERT and a Q&A lunch session with park management, I had my hopes up. Our experience at Canada's Wonderland under Cedar Fair's management had been pretty spectacular for Behemoth Bash and it didn't leave the bad taste in my mouth that many had warned CF management would during my visit. I hoped the same would come with Kings Dominion. Another of the former Paramount parks, I had the hope that my visit would be similar to my Kings Island visit back in 2004.
We started our morning out with a half-hour on Dominator, the newly relocated B&M floorless from the former Geauga Lake Park. Immediately standing out at the entrance of the park, its bright yellow loop (the same color scheme that the ride touted in its previous location) and an orange finish. Now, I'm a sucker for blue paint on B&Ms (SeaWorld Orlando is heaven to me for that reason alone), so the supports also helped get my attention. Compared to The Dark Knight at Six Flags New England, this was much larger in scale (somewhat comparable to Kraken) and far more intense. The ride is smooth and fun with some great elements and, if timed right, a good fly-by moment with the trains starting and finishing the ride. I was glad this piece of Geauga Lake history was saved, and it seems like its new home was in need of this staple attraction...
After Dominator we moved on to Volcano, the Blast Coaster for another half hour of ERT. The coaster's launch caught me off guard, and the ride's twists were definitely interesting. But, as great as the ride was, I found myself more avidly starring at the barren space inside of the Volcano itself. The history buff inside me was beaming when I found out that the inside of the Volcano used to host several attractions, one including the Smurfs. Looking all around me for traces of the previous occupants, I was fascinated by all that I saw, even if it was a few footers or track imprints here and there.
Following Volcano, we went on our credit run:
Back Lot Stunt Coaster- Just as "wonderful" as all others. No working effects. Dark tunnels with weird transitions. The same old bag.
Flight of Fear- I'd missed this one in Kings Island back in 2004, but after riding the outdoor version at Six Flags America, I wasn't too worried. Luckily, without OTSRs, it wasn't as bad as I expected. Though, the darkness of the ride itself was completely disorienting--more than I've ever felt.
Ricochet- Just like The Fly at Canada's Wonderland. A weird model of the mouse, but fun regardless.
Hurler- Rough and wild. Not sure how they could have tied this into Wayne's World back in the days of Paramount, but I'm not sure it matters.
Shockwave- Closed. Shame considering I enjoyed its clone at Canada's Wonderland.
Rebel Yell- Shaky but fun. A classic out and back racer, both sides facing forwards. It seems that made the ride a little safer, according to PTC.
Avalanche- A Mack bobsled--my first. It was an interesting coaster but the seating configuration makes for some awkward situations... I'll say no more.
In between our coaster splurge, we had the opportunity to take part in the Scooby Doo Haunted Mansion Challenge. By averaging scores from two rides on the Sally dark ride, we were ranked among other participants from the group. The first ride I did really well beating Alan to shame. The second time--not so much. Needless to say my average was not so great leaving me without a top three ranking; also giving Alan plenty of room to gloat.
Back to credits, we went after Scooby-Doo's Ghoster Coaster but it had too long of a line. Taxi Jam was another missed credit due to our height but that was expected.
It was then time for our lunch and Q&A session with management. We had a pretty interesting chat regarding the park and its many aspects, but I won't go in depth on that... At the end of our meal and session, we were given Walk-On Wednesday passes for Drop Zone, Anaconda, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Dominator and Grizzly, so we went on to finish off the day.
Anaconda- the park's Arrow looper lives up to its company brand. Rough at times, Matt and I were cracking up throughout the entire ride. It was painfully funny.
Grizzly, the last of the credits we needed for our visit was filled to the brim with guests [mostly] waiting patiently to get onto the next train. Needless to say, they didn't like when we walked onto the ride in less than a minute, stealing the front car with ease. Though most hated Grizzly, I found it to be pretty enjoyable; definitely one of the better wooden coasters on the trip (though far below any of those that made my top 7).
We went on to Drop Zone with a slow dispatch but great drop. A decent tower, and my first Gyro Drop; it was pretty good.
One more ride on Backlot Stink Coaster and Dominator before we left, and we were off. We drove back to New Jersey that night in preparation for our next day at Morey's Piers...
Dominator greets us!
Interlocking corkscrews are always fun...
Kings Dominion highlights the ride's loop because they are so proud... And they have good reason to be.
This twisted mass of steel is just beautiful!
The standard Paramount Eiffel Tower stands tall at Kings Dominion.
Wow. Just wow.
Not the worst, but definitely not the best.
Maximum R.P.M. laughs at you (or at least it did)...
"Scooby, Scooby Doo, looking for you..."
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
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