Hey, everyone! After seeing the announcement on Adventureland's Facebook page last night that The Monster would open today, I decided to make the 25 minute trek across the city to check it out. Unfortunately, my tale isn't a happy one, as I was denied a ride due to still being a bit too large. I was hoping for another couple of weeks before it opened, but here we are. More on this later. I should hopefully be able to ride it in the next couple of weeks, so my review will need to wait until that time. Regardless, I still have way too many pictures to share. Robb is editing the off-ride video and will post it to this thread when it's ready.
The park opened at 10, and I was hoping to get parked by about 9:30. I didn't end up getting there until 9:45, and there was a decent amount of people already lined up and waiting. Still, not nearly as many as I'd expected there to be. At 10, the garage doors opened and people were able to walk through the tunnel entrances. A few people took off running, but most of the crowd did more of a brisk walk to the back of the park. It didn't seem like a lot of people either:
1. Knew the ride was open.
2. Knew where the ride was located.
Everyone turned right at the space shot, but now that I know where the entrance is, I think it might be faster to go left. I got in line about 10:03, and there were already people spilling out into the "overflow" area. It looks like they'll be adding a lot more queue area, but it wasn't ready yet. There are also supports to put up some shade for the line, so that was good to see. Just standing there for 15-20 minutes made me feel pretty hot. It's about 80 degrees here today, FYI.
Kudos to Adventureland for having plenty of staff in the area to handle the crowd. I will say, there seems to be some confusion about some of the rules of the ride, though. They have signs saying that all bags, cameras, glasses, etc must be left with a non-rider. I asked the person at the entrance what I should do since I was there by myself (I don't have any friends), and he said that I could just leave it on the platform, no problem. There wasn't a problem with that, they just don't supply a cabinet for each train or anything similar. So be prepared for it when you ride. I didn't notice any lockers in the area, but I didn't look that closely, either. The issue I ran into was with glasses. I saw several people riding without a strap while I was in line, so I put my strap on and assumed it would be ok. When I went to ride, I was told that even with a strap I couldn't wear them. I just set them on the side with my bag.
You're allowed to pick which row you want to sit in, but they might want to have someone at the splitting point to help with the traffic flow. There were also a lot of empty seats on trains, sometimes 2 in one row. Not sure how that ever happens. They'll eventually figure it out, but the lines will move pretty slowly until they do. Some other things... There isn't a test seat. I saw a few other people do the walk of shame (that might explain the empty seats), so it might not be a bad idea for the park to get one of those. I knew what I was getting into, but a lot of people won't be happy after waiting for an hour and then not fitting. Just my 2 cents.
Other general thoughts... The park was kind of buzzing today. All of the employees seemed genuinely excited about the new ride opening. They were all asking people what they thought about it. From what I could tell, people were loving the ride. There were also some very concerned looks on people's faces the first time they actually saw it, too. This is definitely unlike anything most people here have seen. The ride seemed to be running a lot faster than I expected it to based on some of the videos I'd watched. It's also really quiet, and sounds very smooth. I can't wait to finally ride the damn thing. They already had some Monster souvenirs at the shop near the exit, so they're ready to cash in on this beast.
OK, here are the pictures I took. The first 5 are with my phone while I was in line, the rest are from my DSLR. Enjoy!
The queue gets pretty close to the ride.
Final corkscrew. (I honestly don't know the names for most of these inversions, and I don't really care. Just don't correct me. I hate that.)
This guy was excited. I was waiting for him to put his hands down, but he just sat there staring at me and doing that.
The station looks nice, but there's clearly some work to be done.
Lift hill. Notice how many hands are up now, compared to the next couple of pictures...