bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Six Flags Over Texas Labor Day weekend part 2 updated
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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby bert425 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:02 pm

Philrad71 wrote:Nice report, Bert...I have to get to Texas to these parks.

I just hope that I can hit SFOT on a good day and not a shitty one like you did, or like TPR did a couple of years ago during one of their tours. This park (like Six Flags Great America) seem to stand out more in the chain as very hit or miss in terms of overall operations and visit experience.

I know that most can be hit or miss, but these two parks always seem to have either really good reviews or really bad ones.



sirloindude wrote:It's a shame that it has become hit or miss these days. Despite my visits to SF parks other than America being pretty infrequent, I felt like SFOT always delivered when I'd go there. It's one of the few in the chain to which I'd really like to get back in the very near future, although based on this review, maybe I don't. ;)


Please don't take the negative as anything other than observations / added flavor.

we had a wonderful time despite the crowds/hiccups with staff attitude.

I'd ABSOLUTELY recommend this park for a visit, but just be prepared that you might get some frustration. . . . then just tell yourself to realize you are at a theme park, and have fun.

although I must note that "hit or miss" absolutely is an accurate description, as you'll see when I update for Sunday morning.
it really was like night and day in terms of employee attitude, crowds, and ride thruput.

we had a good time on both days for this trip, but Sunday was really closer to perfect. but an imperfect day doesn't remove how fun the rides at SFoT are.

(hopefully I'll get the Sunday Morning update posted in the next few days -- I'm in Houston for a wedding, and responding on the hotel lobby computer. . which auto-filled in Theme Park Review when I searched for it! so yay).
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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby bert425 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:08 pm

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:What a Six Flags day! You got a lot of good photos too.

Mr. Freeze is really impressive, and you gotta love that air conditioned queue. On a hot muggy day, once you get in that building, you don't mind that wait one bit.


LOL. . it most certainly was a Six Flags day! (not as much as my trip to Fiesta in Early Oct.. coming up in update in the next few weeks).

was still a great trip to SFoT tho. I don't recall the A/C working in Freeze's queue, but it wasn't uncomfortable during the breakdown wait, since a lot of folks left the line, so plenty of room to move around.


bigboy wrote:Great trip report. We accidentally went on a make-up bring a friend day a few years ago and the crowd was off the chain - both in quantity and behavior.

The only part of Gunslinger that came from Astroworld is the big handguns on the center of the ride and the name. The ride has been at SFOT since the '80's and was known as Texas Tornado prior to 2007 or so.


that's really interesting on Gunslinger! I had no idea, so thanks for the info.
Maybe that's why I didn't recall it being a yo-yo? :p

of course, a yo-yo SHOULD tilt (one can even see the mechanism to make it tilt while riding). . but I've now been on 2 in the past few months that did NOT. weird.


Canobie Coaster wrote:Nice report! That's a shame the crowd and employees weren't the best as I had a really pleasant day at SFOT last year.


Thanks!

and glad your trip was pleasant. .as I noted, we had a really good time, despite the issues that Six Flags certainly should address (mainly the food service employees, and for sure the parking lot exiting. . . . seriously Six Flags, get someone directing traffic at the end of the night!).

our Sunday morning was an A+ experience, so average that with the C- from Saturday, and you get a solid B.

So not bad :)
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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby The Great Zo » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:59 pm

bert425 wrote:We rode the beautiful grand Carousel at Six Flags Over Texas, not to organ music, or even Carousel music. . but to blasting loud Will Smith “Getting Jiggy With It”. I $#!t you not.


What. :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

My only visit to SFOT was a mixed experience like yours. The park, taken on its own, I really liked! The ops, guest behavior, etc, well, yeah. Not so much.

Interesting to hear your thoughts on NTAG after riding SV first. Sounds like the latter is the more complete experience!
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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby bert425 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:40 pm

The Great Zo wrote:
Interesting to hear your thoughts on NTAG after riding SV first. Sounds like the latter is the more complete experience!


I think SV is a much stronger coaster, and thought the 1st half of it was absolutely stunning.

I liked the 1st half of Giant a lot, but SV has it edged out.

because the 2nd half of Giant is just so "meandering", SV beats it by default. But even tho it has no extreme elements, I think if Giant hadn't braked so strongly at midcourse, that I'd prefer Giant's 2nd half over SV's batcrap crazytown - even tho I really did like the barrel roll inside the structure of SV.

so yeah, the Giant was running, SV beats it hands down. Tho to me, Giant was more re-rideable, even braked as strongly as it was at Midcourse. .if that makes sense.

and here's another pic I found of me in the New Texas Giant line, that Nick took after he exited at Flash Pass entrance and went to sit (this is after about 40 minutes waiting, so we were almost at the base of the stairs).

hope to have Sunday pics up by Wed to close out this TR.
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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby thrillrider » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:57 pm

Great report!

We were able to spend a few days at this park last summer. I agree about the parking lot mess. To make matters worse, the baseball stadium was emptying out at the same time the amusement park was.

Beyond that, we had a blast at the park. The crowds were not too bad, and without fast lane we were able to hit all the coasters several times. I vaguely remember the food service being slow, but after spending the past few days at cedarpoint I cant complain about it anymore. =)
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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby bert425 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:16 am

So what a difference a day makes!

we got up Sunday morning, after a decent night’s sleep, and I checked my messages, and found a note from the TPR angel who had gifted us the priority parking on Saturday. She noted that she had seen my thank you email (where I mentioned the craziness and some of the frustration of the day), and that IF we had decided to go back into the park? She had set me up once again with a reservation for priority parking on Sunday.

We had decided we were going back to the park for a few hours anyways, but I again thanked her profusely, and after checking out made the quick drive to the park – where this time we were in front row of the reserved parking (and again, we showed them the parking pass on my phone, and told them that someone who was not with us had made the reservation for us, and they still said “no issue” and directed us to the reserved lot).

already we could tell the crowd was MUCH lighter. I think much of it had to do with it not being a BAFF day, but also because it’s Sunday in Texas, so many folks were at Church. Getting in thru the gates was a breeze, and I told Nick we should head to Justice League, since we hadn’t even stopped at it Saturday due to how long the queue line had been. There was still a 15 minute or so wait, but it was all within the Hall of Justice building.

I was really happy that this version wasn’t my 1st time riding it, and that I had recently had my 1st ride on one of these at Six Flags Over Georgia – as there, all the effects had been working. Here at SFoT, the Cyborg in the queue didn’t move and several of the effects within the ride weren’t working -- the tilting shelf of barrels was the big one. Nick, not knowing that some things hadn’t been working, really liked the ride.
So in the end, that’s all that mattered for me.

The operations were spot on tho, with the line moving steadily. Everyone was friendly and the employees were all happy and cheerful (although to be fair, it was morning, and the heat of the day hadn’t kicked in yet).

From the exit of Justice League, we were going to head to Pandemonium right across the walkway but I spotted Texas Skyscreamer operating – with empty seats! So instead we headed directly there, and it was practically a walk on. I waited only one cycle for it, after the prior night it had easily been pulling hour + waits.

I know it’s the tallest one in Texas (and almost the tallest one in the USA at 450ft), but it didn’t really seem all that high. Maybe because I was chatting with the guy who took the open seat next to me during the ride – we talked about Fiesta Texas, LOL – but I didn’t find it scary, and I’m not a huge fan of heights. It was more fun than a wind seeker, and offers fantastic views of not only the park, but of both Dallas, and the stadiums next door. The coolest part of the experience, was how close it FEELS like you’re getting to Riddler when the pendulum swings up on that side. It’s rather neat.

Speaking of Riddler, I got off Skyscreamer and went with my new friend over to Riddler, which also was almost a walk on. (Nick sat on a bench and watched). We ended up chatting the whole time we were in the short line for Riddler, and he was telling me he really wanted to ride Harley, but it wasn’t open. That was weird, since it was operating yesterday, so I figured maybe it was one of those that opens at noon, a couple of hours after the park. How was Riddler? It has some nice forces during the swing, but the actual spinning motion didn’t seem all that noticeable. I mean, I *knew* we were spinning as we were swinging, but I couldn’t really feel it. Still, a good ride, that gets some great height – you really feel UP THERE. I thought it wouldn’t feel that high since I had just gotten off skyscreamer, but nope, still feels pretty high : )
Exiting Riddler, Nick stayed where he was, and my new friend and I went across to Catwoman’s Whip, which had a short wait - although while I was in that line, Riddler went down – and that entire line moved across the walkway and into Catwoman’s line giving that a good wait now (but that was behind me).

Riddler seemed to go down quite a bit during my visit to SFoT (so did Mr. Freeze), but credit where it’s due – Riddler always seemed to come back up 5-10 minutes after it went down. So if you go, and it breaks while in line? My suggested strategy would be to stay in line and wait it out. I have no idea what causes it to shut down so often? Maybe a restraint light, or it doesn’t line up correctly when a cycle stops? But wait it out.

In fact, by the time we got off our cycle on Catwoman – maybe a total of 10 minutes in line and on ride – Riddler reopened, so we went right back across the walkway and got on it with only a 1 cycle wait. While on my 2nd spin on Riddler, Harley started cycling. Checking the time, it was just before noon, so that SEEMS to support the assumption that it opens a couple of hours after the park opens. (Judge Roy also opened around this time, and Aquaman had a sign it didn’t open until Noon. . so it’s weird that certain *rides* rather than certain *areas* open up after park)
Anyways. . after my 2nd ride on Riddler, my new friends headed to Harley and I went to meet up with Nick at the bench.

Since we were in Gotham anyways, we headed over Joker, which was a walk on this morning. It’s got a great setting, right on the edge of the park, but I honestly think that Batman at Fiesta Texas is a better ride. I’ve gotten more flips on Batman, and they seemed more intense. Not sure if it’s the setting at SFoT, or maybe because Batman at SFFT is the orginal installation? But I prefer Fiesta’s S&S Freespin.

Getting off Joker, Harley was *also* a walk on. Now granted, the park wasn’t that crowded. . but I was still pretty surprised that the newest ride two days in a row wasn’t pulling any real lines. There were quite a few folks standing, or sitting on benches, watching the ride. But not many actually in line for it. I have to wonder if it simply LOOKS too extreme and is scaring off potential riders. Which is a shame, as it’s not really intense, and I found it to be a fun little ride. Not my favorite, or scariest, or most extreme. . but fun.

With no line, I rode it twice while here (both times requesting end row seats, and being placed where I requested for both rides).
I was feeling bad that we’d been in the Gotham area all morning, and tho I had ridden: Skyscreamer, Riddler (x2), Catwoman, Joker, and Harley (x2), Nick had only done Justice League today thus far. So I suggested we get a ride on Batwing, as I know he will ride the dumbo-type ride.

Batwing was the ride in Gotham that seemed to have the longest line, with lots of families and small kids in line. It was at least a 4 cycle wait, but as noted – since Nick had only been on Justice League, I had no issue waiting with him to ride it. We watched Mr. Freeze cycle, since the entrance is right next door, and I asked Nick if I could grab a ride on it before we left the area after Batwing, and he was OK with it .. tho he reminded me he wanted to head out no later than 3, and preferably sooner.

So we got off our ride on Batwing, and Nick sat at a shaded Johnny Rockets table, and I went to get in line for Mr. Freeze – only to find the entrance chained off. I asked an employee what was going on, as the ride had been cycling with passengers, and he told me the ride was down for mechanical issues. I asked if I could get in line to wait it out, and was told that it’s standard procedure to close the line when technical issues. I guess I hadn’t seen this the day before because I was IN the line when it went down? But that would explain why no one joined us in the line inside while we waited out the breakdown the prior day.

Oh well. . I hadn’t been on Batman, and that’s right next door to Mr. Freeze, so I texted Nick that I was gonna give that a shot tho I had no idea how long the line is, as the queue on this one is all hidden (and well themed) too. Batman was basically a station wait – but it still took a good 6 minutes or so to get thru all of the queue (and to jump over the giant puddles that had formed in the Gotham park entrance area of the ride queue). . . it’s a great queue, but wow is it long. The ride was super intense, too. The closest I’ve come to a Batman that intense is the version at SFoG. . so I have to wonder if they are the *exact* same model/layout running the same ride cycle. It was great!

and, of course, while on the lift-hill, Mr. Freeze started cycling again (oy).

But I had ridden Batman instead of Freeze, and I didn’t want to be greedy – and wanted to keep Nick happy (and he was ready to get out of this part of the park). . . so instead of getting in that line, I went back to nick and we headed out from Gotham and back over to JRS. We again waited for the front car, this time in 2nd row, and tho not as good a ride as we had gotten the prior night, it was still not bad in the front. I’d guess if we’d gotten on later in the day, after the coaster had been running for the day, we would have gotten a great ride. We backtracked towards the front for a ride on Pandemonium – wow, TWO rides in a row that Nick rode with me. . . LOL. Then headed towards Shockwave.

as we were passing Superman Tower of Power, Nick told me he had changed his mind and didn’t want to ride Shockwave. The two coasters back to back, even minor coasters like JRS and Pandemonium, were enough for him to say he was basically done and ready to go. But I could ride a few more things.
So I hopped into the single rider line on Superman, and took a quick ride.

Shockwave was down when we got to it, for some reason. We didn’t get close enough to ask what was going on, only saw an employee turning people away from the entrance as we came around the base of the Oil Derrick. I wasn’t too disappointed, as I had gotten a ride on it the prior day. And it was getting close to 1pm.

So I asked Nick if he would ride Runaway Mountain, even tho he had said he was done with riding. It was really the only major coaster we hadn’t been by. I told him if he’ll ride that with me, we could leave afterwards, and he agreed to that, as leaving earlier is what he wanted to do anyways. I warned him that I had heard the coaster sometimes pulls a line (was thinking about how Batwing had a line,so a family coaster might be the same), but the park wasn’t that crowded, so lets give it a shot.

we were over by the Oil Derrick, so had to continue all the way around the perimeter of the park to get over to Runaway Mountain (SFoT is laid out so strangely!)
I looked longingly at Giant as we walked near the coaster, but again, I didn’t want to be greedy, and I had agreed that Runaway Mountain would be our last coaster.

*BUT* as we passed Rodeo, it was running! I pointed out to Nick that a) it had been down yesterday and we were disappointed since we wanted to ride it, and b) it was NOT a coaster, so therefore we could ride and still keep the promise : )
They seemed to have only one operator on it, and tho she was speedy-ish, because every car needs to be manually secured/unsecured, a line that was short enough it was only a 1 cycle wait? Still took a good 10 minutes to get on the ride. It was ok tho, because even with the short queue area, it’s indoors and air-conditioned. So all was good, and we had a fun, but not too intense ride on the SFoT rodeo ride.

Added bonus was the giant chair photo op right next door to the ride. It’s not a throne, technically, but since I do love me a good throne, of COURSE I hopped up on it for a picture.
Headed back around towards the front of the park, we found the turn off to get over to Runaway Mountain – and it had been so long since I was in the park (we hadn’t come over here at *all* yesterday) I totally forgot that there are no other rides in this area. Several stores, and restaurants, and a big theater – and a nice section that was like an outdoor museum with the history of the park are over here. But no other rides. Nick actually asked me more than once if I was sure we were headed the right way. But at the end of the ‘street’ was the queue for Runaway Mountain, and I pointed out to him that they were not using almost any of the outdoor queue that snakes among the trees. (they also weren’t using the waterfall on the outside of the building – looked like it hadn’t been on in a long, long time). So the queue pretty much started at the entrance to the cave, and that ended up being about a 15 minute wait. Not bad at all.

he was nervous about it, since he really didn’t want to get jostled, but I reassured him that from what I recalled, it’s a pretty smooth steel coaster that is similar to Space Mountain in that it’s dark, it has lots of helixes, but no loops, and I remembered it being one of my favorites in the park. I didn’t recall the trains being only 3, two row, cars (so a total of 12 passengers per train). . but the smaller trains actually made it feel like it was moving even faster in the dark.

the ride was absolutely fantastic.. yes, it’s mainly going in circles, but there is a diving helix about ½ way thru that completely catches you off guard (in the dark, duh), and had us “whoot!” ing and laughing. . it’s a great element. Really great coaster.

We got off it, and Nick actually was considering if we should get back in line to ride again (I think the deciding factor against it, were the amount of steps to exit the ride – you have to climb up quite a few steps, to go over , and then down on the other side to exit the building). So instead, I kept my promise, and we headed towards the front gates, ending our visit on a really good ride.

Nick asked if I wanted to get on the Carousel before leaving, and even tho the radio station personality wasn’t there blasting loud music over the main gate today. . the memory of “Getting Jiggy With It” was still there, and I passed. LOL

We did stop on the way out at the front gate to get “Pink Thing” dipping dots – which have pop rocks in them, so made my whole mouth tingle. They were good, and I recommend them, even if they aren’t a “real” pink thing. They got the flavor pretty close to the original treat.

not a bad amount of rides in just over 3 hours. . as noted what a difference a day made.

Getting out of the lot was a breeze, since we were leaving in the early afternoon, and with that, we closed out our visit to Arlington/Six Flags Over Texas, and headed back to Austin.

Here’s the pics from the 2nd day:
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Cyborg in Justice League. he wasn't moving at all (not even his mouth), but still looks good
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we're seeing in THREEEEE - DEEEEEEE
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love this Aquaman statue in the lake at the Splashdown.

wonder if they're gonna add a long wig to him to match the Movie version when it comes out in a few weeks?
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Joker sign during the day
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Riddler sign during the day
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Catwoman sign during the day
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me on Riddler.

Why did he not lift the camera up to go OVER the fence? or walk up to the fence and put the camera thru the slots to get a clear pic?

because.. . Nick. LOL
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Mr. Freeze broke down, so went to Batman instead. Long, hidden, queue. . but was basically a station wait once I got thru all the queue area. good coaster
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and very photogenic from the exit
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Harley looks amazing during the day too. . tho the night time lighting package is stunning as I posted earlier
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Harley and Joker
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Harley's sign during the day
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I can totally see how this can intimidate people, but the ride experience is not overwhelmingly dizzying.
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na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Batwing!
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Pandemonium is sponsored by Twix here at SFoT.

not really sure why. . LOL
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in line for Rodeo (covered and in the AC). LOL. . apparently I didn't take a picture of the actual ride?
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but I did climb up in the big chair for a photo op after!
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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby bigboy » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:49 am

Nice report. You can cover a lot of ground in the park on an early Sunday morning when it's not a bring a friend day.

I love looking at the old traditional maps. That one looks to be 1965 from the presence of El Sombrero and the lack of Mine Train.

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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby bert425 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:21 am

bigboy wrote:Nice report. You can cover a lot of ground in the park on an early Sunday morning when it's not a bring a friend day.

I love looking at the old traditional maps. That one looks to be 1965 from the presence of El Sombrero and the lack of Mine Train.


thanks!

that map is one of the ones on display in the "outdoor museum" area over by Runaway Mountain.

without much crowd, I would have loved to stay a bit longer. but I did get at least 1 ride on everything I wanted, including everything that was on my wishlist:

Texas Skyscreamer
HarleyQuinn Spinsanity
Catwoman Whip
Riddler
Mr. Freeze
&
New Texas Giant

so everything else was just gravy. . . and other than La Vibora (and the Wil E. Coyotie kiddie coaster), I actually did get a ride on every coaster.

so a very successful trip!
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Re: bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:02 pm

Wow, much better day. Were you even at a Six Flags park?

bert425 wrote: Batman was basically a station wait – but it still took a good 6 minutes or so to get thru all of the queue (and to jump over the giant puddles that had formed in the Gotham park entrance area of the ride queue). . .

Oh, okay, yeah you were.
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