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Mike240SX

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Everything posted by Mike240SX

  1. Photo TR: Sunday, September 5th, 2021 Knowing that long drives are always less fun when you're headed away from your destination, I decided to split up the trip home from Atlanta and SFoG with a quick stop in the Fort Mill, SC/Charlotte, NC area for Carowinds, a park I hadn't been to since 2019. I arrived at a little before 10:00, for an 11:00 opening, and was decidedly not first here. I got in, parked, and marveled at the mass of B&M visible from the parking lot. Intimidator's new paint looks great. And Fury, as actually intimidating as always. Man did it feel good to be back at a CF park. Anyway, made my way in, grabbed my Fast Lane wristband, and camped out at Intimidator, waiting for it to open. I was on the first public train of the day. Back row left seat. Did not disappoint. I could've sworn I rode this during my 2019 trip, but my spreadsheet didn't show it, so here it is now. Good amount of airtime, despite the trims. I then hopped on Woodstock Express, to see if the rebuild had done any good....and was again on the first public train of the day. Back row. The rebuild has improved it, but amusingly they only did the back half of the ride, leaving it two different shades of purple. That said, it seemed to be entirely new wood everywhere that was worked on. My next stop was Afterburn, again for the first public train of the day. Back row left. Totally forgot how intense this is., Then I took a ride on Boo Blasters; I had never been on this one and now realizing that the KI and KD ones were different, wanted to try it out. Much more like the KD version, without the rotating seats. Got a score of 1318, and amusingly was required to wear a mask since it was indoors. Next up was a walk-on for the back row of Copperhead Strike. I can't remember if I got on the back row during the 2019 trip, but it was definitely good. Love the hangtime and little pops of air. The park was setting up for Monster Jam... ...and Scarowinds. Took a lap on Carolina Cyclone to try out the "new" Vortex trains. Front row. The Vortex trains definitely improved it, but it's still an old Arrow looper. Can't imagine what that one pop of airtime that slammed me into the OTSRs would be like in the back row. Then got on Scream Weaver, my first Schwarzkopf Enterprise. SOO much better than the Huss models. Ran a lot faster, got virtually completely vertical, and stayed there for like 10 rotations. Completely missing any sort of lighting package, but it doesn't matter when the ride is that awesome. The operator could certainly use some work though...after the previous cycle ended, he walked the entire queue, asking people how many were in their group and how many cars they'd be sitting in, keeping a count of how many people he would need to let through onto the next cycle. Why not just do that as you're loading and save the time? Oh well, still an awesome ride. Nerd shot: After that, it was time for my #4 steel, in Fury 325. Front row, awesome speed machine. Nothing more needs to be said, but here's a picture of it's awesome logo: I went to grab some food from the awesome build-your-own Mac & Cheese place that used to be near the Skytower, but it has apparently since been turned into a burrito joint, so I had to settle on some from Harmony Hall. It was still quite good. I then waited 40 minutes for Ricochet, the only adult coaster here not on FL, and also my only missing credit from this park. Whatever, it was a wild mouse, and I'd been on the identical Ricochet/Apple Zapple at KD. The line probably would have only taken 30 minutes or less if it weren't for the slowest crew I've ever seen. I do think this station and sign are a lot nicer though. At around 2:00, I ventured into the water park (my 2019 trip was during Scarowinds and it was closed), to find the lazy river and one of the tube slide towers closed. Spent some time in the wave pool and did the two tube slide towers that were running, then headed out around 4:00 to check in to my hotel. Parked in front of me was a SUV with a quite comical stick figure family on the rear window: After check-in, it was totally my intent to go back to the park and get some more laps on Fury, but I was beat. The past two nights of 4 and 5 hours of sleep had taken its toll, and I was in bed by like 8:00. All in all, a good stop at a park I don't get to visit anywhere near enough.
  2. Not quite...it's actually closer to a Huss Break Dance in that the cars appear to be free-spinning.
  3. I didn't see that. I see realists that recognize that protests of less than a substantial amount of people won't result in any sort of change, and people that have been burned by this shitty park in the past, and people that, while respecting Blue Streak for what it is, are also realistic enough to realize that barring someone coming in to save it and transport it elsewhere, it's days are numbered.
  4. @bert425, no offense intended by not knowing about Monster Mansion. I guess I just missed it. Yeah, I would have preferred to go on a non-Saturday, but the trip schedule was dictated by my work schedule, so there was only so much I could do. I'm generally not one for soaking raft rides, but I definitely wanted to get on the Log Flume, which was closed when I was there on Saturday. I'm a pretty plain eater (many compare it to "eating like a 5 year old"), so anything from Macho Nacho would have been out. I did try to get a burger from JB's Smokehouse but wasn't waiting in either the standby or mobile order lines. I did skip Justice League; I've been on the one at SFGAdv. Guess it would have been a nice air conditioned break, but oh well. I'll definitely be coming back to the area to visit my friend some more, so perhaps I'll swing in again when more things are running. Thanks for the commentary!
  5. Well, it would be a record breaker by being the first wooden racing (not dueling) coaster built in the US in the past 40 years....
  6. Photo TR: My first visit to SFoG, September 4th, 2021 After several planned mega-trips this summer that were cancelled for a variety of factors, I managed to swing a trip to Georgia for SFoG and to visit my friend who I haven't seen since 2014 over Labor Day Weekend. Anticipating major crowds, I splurged for the Platinum Flash Pass, but probably would have been fine with the Gold at the end of the day. Anyway, on to the report. First off, the drive. Google told me 11-14 hours to drive from Delaware, not counting bathroom stops, so I was definitely anticipating closer to the 14. Thankfully, it only took me 12 (including stops), which marks a new record of longest consecutive drive for me. Being from the northeast, I was definitely getting annoyed in NC, SC, and GA....everyone just chills in the left lane under the speed limit, randomly jabs their brakes for no reason, no one understands what a flash of the high-beams from behind means, and my biggest gripe of all - NO ONE uses cruise control. It's so annoying to be cruising along at XX mph, you go to pass someone slower, then they're passing you back, and back and forth for 50 miles. Ugh. I've driven to GA before but didn't recall the drivers in these southern states being so terrible. Second off, the hotel. Wow. Nothing but praise for the Brick Lodge Norcross/Atlanta. It's about 20 minutes northeast of the city proper, so about 40 minutes from the park, but this was hands down the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in outside of Las Vegas or Atlantic City. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but man were the rooms quality. Oh, and there was this in my room, totally unexpectedly: After the 12 hour drive, I spent about 30 minutes in this thing. Wonderful. My only two gripes with the hotel were that the elevator was super slow, and the tubs didn't have a stopper mechanism to enable baths. Okay, enough about ancillary stuff. here's what you're really here for: the park! I arrived at around 8:45 for a 10:00 park opening, thinking that they open the parking gates an hour early like very other SF park I've been to. First one in line for the "small" lot, which I would later learn is the preferable lot to be in due to the shorter walk. Alas, they didn't open the parking gates until around 9:30. I will say, I appreciated the scenery of coasters on my walk into the park. They opened the main entry gates at around 9:50, and I bee-lined it over to the Flash Pass building to cash in my voucher (none of that "on the phone" nonsense for me, thank you!), and then snapped some pictures of the entry way. I'll say this, the park offers plenty of shade, and is quite scenic, especially for a SF park. Clearly, they were setting up for Fight Fest. A nice fountain/stage that was not in use. See? Plenty of shade. I made my way towards Dare Devil Dive, learning here that it tends to be the slowest operating of all of the coasters, and made it to the station (first one!)... ...only to have it break down, with the employee tester stuck on the vertical lift hill. I didn't stand there and watch, but she was still up there around 30 minutes later when I passed by again. Anyway, at this point I met up with @Kyndmusicand we wandered a bit, discussing the parks history, trying to find something that was actually running aside from Georgia Scorcher. He did turn me onto Monster Mansion, which I'm glad he did because I probably would have skipped it, but I'll talk about that when I got on it. Great to meet you, sir. As of approximately 10:30, pretty much nothing in the park was running aside from Scorcher, so I went to find something that I sorely miss from Cedar Fair Parks: The park has a pretty nice atmosphere.... ...with plenty of shade... ...but is still Six Flags. Are they going to reinstall the Sky Ride at some point or what? LOL After wandering around for a while, I decided to make my way back over to Gotham City to see if anything was running back there. That poor ride op was still up there... Got into Gotham City... ...and proceeded to grab a whole bunch of pictures of the good assortment of flats, most of which were not running. Joker (one of two rides here that bear his name), not running and wouldn't run all day. Crime Wave, not running and wouldn't run all day. But I gotta give it to the park here, they really nailed the theming on this one. Toxic Spin. Wild Whirl, not running. Maybe ran later in the day? And finally, Catwoman Whip, which I would ride later in the day. For now, though, it was time for Batman! I would wait 13 minutes because I couldn't find the Flash Pass entrance. Back row, right edge. Definitely smoother than the one in NJ, and I like this paint scheme better (still not as good as the original black/black with silver rails though). Amusingly, in the station the two back rows were blocked by a giant fan, but they were still letting people board them from the other rows' chutes. Just too lazy to move the crap out of the way? And this brings me to a good time to talk about the staff. While none were downright rude, and they were doing countdowns in the station to try to hurry people up ("You have 10 seconds to board your seat...9....8...."), most didn't seem to really care to be there. The only enthusiasm I would see from employees was at Mindbender later in the day. They also frequently did not have anyone manning the merge points for Flash Pass/general queue, meaning that the investment was largely a complete waste. I get it, short staffed blah blah (the panel operator at many coasters was also checking restraints!), but come on. Anyway, on with it. After Batman, Mindbender was still not running, so I headed back to Dare Devil Dive, which was now running. Walk on for front row (with Flash Pass). Interesting ride, only my second Gerstlauer. Very intense restraints though...they power-lower when you're in the station and clamp you right in. Did I wander into a Cedar Fair park? I then decided to hit Georgia Scorcher, since I was right there. 16 minute wait for row 7 left edge with the Flash Pass. Surprisingly smooth for a B&M standup, not terrible at all. Now that the park was starting to open up, I made my way to Goliath (back row inner right). Very impressive, nice bit of ejector air on the hill and substantial positive Gs at the helix turn-around. Better than Nitro and even Mako in my opinion. Next up was Monster Mansion. How this continues to exist in a SF park blows my mind. Super-cute, awesome animatronics, very long, great visual effects (the evil face projected onto the wall of fog was great). With some research after the fact I learned that this was one of the original rides in the park, and most recently underwent a major refurb in 2009, right in the middle of the RedZone bankruptcy phase. Impressive. Next up was Joker Funhouse Coaster. A better ride than Blackbeard Quinn's Lost Crazy Train at SFGAdv, but still a kiddie coaster at the end of the day. Took some time to just peruse the park's shaded, but hilly, terrain, and came across this: The remnants of the old splash boat ride, just hanging out and deteriorating. Closed for three years now, this just looks horrible from a guest perspective. And worst off, it still shows on the park map in the Six Flags app. This is the Six Flags I know. This definitely isn't: a 1908 carousel, perched at a a top of a hill overlooking another section of a park, completely shaded by trees. Made my way into Metropolis (got enough DC-themed areas here, SFoG?) and rode Great American Scream Machine, my second coaster with that name. I don't get what everyone complains about. Rode in the front, found it to be very smooth and a great classic coaster. Next up was Superman: Ultimate Flight, the OG. 17 minutes for the back row. Only one train running; second was in the never-used other loading station and the third was disassembled in the storage area. Definitely better than it's NJ counterpart, entirely due to the use of the terrain as opposed to being installed in a parking lot. Next up was the mine train, which I found to be better than expected as well. Front row, 17 minutes. Three lift hills, nice and long. Came across this nice monument to Angus Wynne, Jr, the founder of the company. And yet another shaded walkway. And then it was time for coaster #200, Twisted Cyclone. Train shot and nerd shot in one! The wild pre-lift area. 21 minutes for the back row. Wildest pre-lift section that I've seen yet on a RMC. Too short, but a good ride...that inverted-cobra-roll whatever they call it was awesome. Better than Wicked Cyclone at SFNE, but just barely scrapes into my top 5 hybrid rankings. After that, I made my way back to Blue Hawk, which was now running. Very picturesque coaster here, and I think the blue/grey paint scheme works great over the water. 23 minutes for front row. Very intense, especially the butterfly element. Wish it would have stayed in Wildwood. I also noticed this: Like, seriously, that just looks like shit. I get not cleaning the rails around the whole course, but in the station where everyone sees it? Just looks horrible. After Blue Hawk, I had ridden everything I figured I was going to here. The log flume was closed, as was Acrophobia, and I don't do spin-and-swings like Pandemonium. So, I made my way back into Gotham to see if Mindbender's preview period had started yet, and it had! Awesome!. 26 minutes for the front row, and I'll just copy-paste my review from a few posts earlier here: -The whole operating system has been replaced. Brakes, sensors, drive tires, lift chain, presumably the PLC, basically everything except the track itself appeared to me to be brand new. Even the track *appears* brand new, because of the paint, but we all know its not. -Capacity was great. They were chugging through the trains, and the ride ops here actually seemed to have some enthusiasm for the job (can't say the same for the rest of the park). Since it was just preview, Flash Pass wasn't an option, but I waited 26 minutes for the front row, with about 4-5 trains where I didn't move since exit-pass people jumped to the front. Probably would have been under 10 minutes had I gone for any other row. Notably, I entered the line maybe 10 feet out of the station. SFOG's lack of groupers didn't help here, so the station got very crowded and at one point a group of people waiting for the front blocked the entire line and some empty rows went out before they made an announcement to fill in the station. -The trains: Yes, they are lab-bar only. Yes, there are seat belts. Yes, there are carve outs for your butt with the little bit that goes between your thighs. I have to imagine it was better with the original Schwarzkopf trains, but as it stands these trains were not bad at all. Yes, there are only 5 cars, but there are 3 trains (though they double-stacked every cycle I saw). -The ride itself: It's a Schwarzkopf, which means positive Gs. And you get them in the loops here, even the "non-loop" in the middle of the ride. No grey-outs for me, but it did force my arms down at the entry to the two true loops and at the bottom of the non-loop. That said, it is what I believe to be tamer than it once was (entirely speculating here); the lift slows considerably before cresting, and each of the trim/block brakes at the start of the turns definitely took off some some speed. Without those, this ride would be absolutely insane, but even with them it was still pretty damnned good. and the fact that they chose to invest so much into this instead of just scrapping it wins a lot of points me with. And here's some nice action shots: Catwoman Whip (I still say it should have a 's in it) was running now as well, so I hopped on that. A poor replacement for a real Enterprise. As with most Zamperla rides I've been on, the seat/restraints are just not comfortable...and me being super short (26" inseam) had some struggles getting in and out of the seat. I did not particularly like how the swinging of the seats "locks" into place when the ride gets to its max elevation; spin it faster if you don't want the seats to fall over. After that, I decided to hit the road at around 4:00. It was hot (85 and no breeze) and I was exhausted from the hills. I did take a glance in their tiny water park, and decided to pass based on the lack of things to do. A note on food before I wrap it up: Every where I went had massive, massive lines. Often, the line for mobile-order-pickup was just as long as the standard line and was taking just as long. Also, food and beverage here is STUPIDLY expensive. $6 for a 20oz drink out of a machine (though "only" $4.25 for water), $8 for a shitty pretzel, etc.) I don't know if all SF parks are like that these days, since I try not to spend any money when I'm in SFGAdv or SFA, but wow. In closing, this park is tough to describe. It's definitely Six Flags, but some rides like Monster Mansion are decidedly not modern Six Flags. Decent coaster collection, but nothing that really stands out as incredible. Very scenic in most places with lots of shade, but the remnants of the splash boats and Skyride detract from that. That said, probably my favorite Six Flags park overall. I think Great Adventure has the better ride lineup, but the overall experience at SFoG is top notch (for Six Flags LOL). I probably won't be back until their next major ride (thanks, Six Flags, for your new Season Pass policy), but still my favorite park in the chain. And now, some rankings: Coasters at SFoG 1. Twisted Cyclone 2. Mindbender 3. Goliath 4. Batman 5. Blue Hawk 6. Great American Scream Machine 7. Superman: Ultimate Flight 8. Georgia Scorcher 9. Dahlonega Mine Train 10. Dare Devil Dive 11. Joker Funhouse Coaster Six Flags parks (that I've been to) 1. over Georgia 2. New England 3. Great America 4. Great Adventure 5. America Thanks for reading!
  7. @tykunkel1031How many hours of the evening? If it's 6 or more, then I'd say yes it's worth it, and you should also get it for your full day on Sunday.
  8. If you're going on a Saturday and the weather forecast is even halfway decent, just get it.
  9. And do what, exactly? Yell at them yourself? That is absolutely not your place. Listen, I hate when I have to wait any longer due to boarding pass people jumping me by using the exit ramp as much as everyone else. But the park has deemed it appropriate. Some people have injuries or disabilities, or got stuck on another ride and were compensated with exit passes. You don't know. If anything, having them use the FL is a preferable solution, this way they don't "surprise" anyone by taking their row from the exit ramp. I'm also disgusted that you call them them "boarding pass abusers." Not all disabilities are visible.
  10. Okay, we've finally arrived at my last stop on this whirlwind blitz of NJ's boardwalk amusement parks, a place that I had completely forgotten existed: Fantasy Island, Beach Haven, NJ This is basically an outdoor FEC with a big arcade. Great for kids, very little for adult thrill seekers. This place is so out of the way, too (about a 30 minute drive from the nearest highway), it's really only for locals and those who vacation on that barrier island. Which is fine by me, everyone needs parks! NJ is truly gifted in that department. On with it, then. The only coaster here, kiddie or powered or otherwise, is Hang Ten, a standard figure-8 SBF Visa Spinner, but 7 laps though if that's your thing. Whatever, it got me to 191, in the perfect place to break 200 at SFoG the next weekend. Here's the rides: Ferris Wheel Drop tower, unknown make. Carousel Pirate ship Boats-go-round (without water) Junior swings Kiddie train Tilt-a-whirl Tea cups themed to the beach. Looks like a Zamperla "Dizzy Dragons" model Cars-go-round Scrambler Bumper cars Baby pirate ship Pirates-go-round Kiddie Ferris wheel Mini-himalaya And finally, Hang Ten. There's also a very small water park next door. So that was every boardwalk amusement park in New Jersey. I know it was kinda repetitive, but thanks for reading...I just kinda wanted to share something that people in a large part of the country don't get to experience. I hope you enjoyed. If not, oh well, you'll be more entertained by my next report.
  11. Okay, getting close to the end here... Steel Pier, Atlantic City, NJ So, if you ask me, this place really shouldn't exist as it does. All of these efforts to try to make Atlantic City "family friendly" are pretty much in vain. It's still a casino town, first and foremost, and will always be ridden with crime and poverty. No boardwalk rides pier, outlet shopping, massive arcades on the old Showboat casino floor, or proposed water parks are going to change that. I say they should go the other way with it - legalize all drugs and brothels in Atlantic City only, and reap the tax revenue. Hey, NJ just legalized recreational marijuana, so they're part of the way there, right? I've gotta get one thing out of the way, right off the bat. Security here is nuts. I was approached by a security guard, asking me about why I was taking pictures of everything, rather confrontationally. I explained that I do write-ups for a website (don't worry, I didn't mention TPR), and was documenting the park. I also explained that I'm a LEO, and was not a threat to anyone. He "let me go," but then later while walking around approached me with the owner of the park, who again questioned me on why I was taking pictures. When I pulled out my badge to clearly demonstrate that I'm not a threat, he took a picture of it as if he thought it wasn't real. Absolutely unprofessional, but not very surprising for Atlantic City. I hate to think what would have happened to me had I not had that badge. Needless to say, I will not be back here, missing credit or not. Anyway, if anyone is still curious about the rides here, I did take pictures and got on their kiddie coaster, Loco Motion. 5 laps on that; it's a kiddie coaster and not much more to say. Their spinning wild mouse, Crazy Mouse, was non-operational when I went to it but appeared to be running when I bought my tickets. So, I gave the rest of the tickets I had to a family and headed out. Here's the ride lineup: Buggy bouncer Baby pirate ship themed to a plane Motorcycles-go-round Planes-go-round Double-decker carousel with some odd empty spots Junior roto-drop Tea Cups Adult-sized bumper cars in a kiddie-sized field Junior disk-o style ride Dumbo-go-round The kiddie coaster, Loco Motion. "Giant" ferris wheel...psh, only 227 feet, that's only half of the High Roller in Vegas, and that has bar cars. This is separately ticketed, and costs $11.25. Zamperla spinning flyer THIS is the most comically short drop tower I've ever seen. Pirate ship Kiddie bumper cars Sling shot Crazy Mouse Junior Moby Dick themed to surfing Inverting spin-and-swing Rock-n-Roll Wave Swinger After my very brief trip here, I stopped in at White House in Hard Rock for a cheese steak, which was also quite disappointing (overcooked, not enough cheese - should have gone to the original location on Arctic Ave). Made my way out of that shithole of a town, and headed north...and then south. Next up: Fantasy Island in Beach Haven.
  12. In the middle of this trip, I had planned an overnight stay at Wildwood's Bolero Resort. Definitely one of the nicer hotels/motels in the area, even though I stayed in the outdoor-hallway "motel" section of the place. They had two pools (one indoor, including two hot tubs), a tiki-bar near the outdoor pool, and a decent enough restaurant/bar that featured an Elvis impersonator on the night I was there. Only in Wildwood LOL. Morey's Piers, Wildwood, NJ So, this report will be very brief. My main point in including Wildwood in this trip was to get the two credits I didn't have, Doo Wopper and Wild Whizzer. Doo Wopper is your standard wild mouse, this time by Zamperla. I don't know what it is with their rides, but I always find their seats/restraints needlessly uncomfortable. Wild Whizzer is your standard figure-8 SBF Visa spinner, but gave 6 laps. I did also grab a ride on Dante's Dungeon. After that hilariously bad dark ride experience at Gillian's, I needed to cleanse the pallet. It was awesome, as always. Everything was working. No one on the ramp to jump out at me this time, but the ride op was TOTALLY in character. Proclaiming himself "Master Dante," he would interact with everyone who boarded the ride, trying to scare the little kids and having some adult fun with the grown-ups. Being a bit of a sub in my private life, I absolutely loved it. So, big shout out to Joe, who was kind enough to let me take a picture with him. I'm honestly a bit surprised that Morey's lets him get so into character with it (though he did say my recommendation of a bondage harness "would be great, but they won't allow it"), then again they do have Ghost Ship (quiet for two years now, though). We chatted a bit about haunted houses (which he does in the off-season) and dark rides, and was a pleasant end to my night. I didn't take pictures of every ride here because the place has been discussed ad nauseam, I figure most of you have already been here if you're going to be, and I was in a rush to get back to Ocean City for the rest of Castaway Cove. I grabbed a slice of Mack's pizza (actually sub-par this time, too much sauce), got a good nights' sleep, then it was back on the road in the morning for the parks I missed. Next up: Steel Pier in Atlantic City.
  13. I don't think it did open. One of the cars was actually touching the swing-away door at the end of the loading platform, as if it had impacted, so I think they had some technical issues to put it mildly. I was lucky enough to have my lap-bar stay closed on Pirate's Hideaway, but that gut-punch at the end makes me thing I wish it had come open haha.
  14. A town that I haven't been to for probably 30 years... Ocean City, NJ Yes, I know I skipped Atlantic City and Beach Haven (for now) - that's because, as you can see in the photos, a wicked storm was approaching and I was desperately trying to get Gale Force before it hit. Did I make it? Read on to find out! So, Ocean City is unique amongst NJ beach towns that have boardwalks in that it's the only one that's dry. Yes, no alcohol - no bars, no liquor stores, no beer stores, no nothing. You can bring in your own, and recently some BYOB restaurants have popped up, but yeah. Needless to say, this town is focused on attracting families. That's why I find it so odd that one of the parks built perhaps the most insane coaster I've ever been on. But I'll get to that later. First, some pictures from the boardwalk itself. They have designated lanes for bikes, walkers, and trams. A pretty sizeable water park. Did not go in. Partially-under-the-boardwalk go-karts. See, Morey's, you can still have this! Bring 'em back! This arcade featured nothing but real video games, no redemption whatsoever! Lots of classics as well as some modern games. Anyway, on to park #1: Gillian's Wonderland This park is partially indoors and partially outdoors, and features a cool castle-motif entrance. Each of the letters that spell out "Gillian's Wonderland" spin; it's quite a cool retro thing to keep around. And first, the indoor rides, which are all kid-targeting. Carousel Boats-go-round Crazy Bus themed to a submarine; first time I'd seen one of these. Balloons-go-round Fire trucks-go-round. Amusingly, some of them have trailers, which I'd never seen before. Kiddie Whip Dumbo-go-round A variant on the Zamperla buggy bouncer that I hadn't seen before. Cars-go-round Moving outside, we start with a standard climbing structure. Glass maze Zamperla spinning flyer Kiddie bumper cars A variant of the Dizzy Dragons, themed to the park's mascot. Wave Swinger Bungie Bounce. Been a while since I've seen one of these at a park. Musk Express Larson drop tower A train ride themed to chopper motor-tricyles. First time I've seen one of these. Standard burlap-sack slide. Big spinny-swingy-thingy that is not for me. An elevated monorail train ride, also goes around the inside part. Adult bumper cars Log flume that is also a dark ride. I really wanted to go on this, but I also really did not want to get wet with a lot of trip left to go, so I passed after seeing some people coming off it considerably dampened. Decently sized Ferris Wheel Standard Moby Dick, without the full backdrop. And a Ring of Fire. Waiting to be assembled, or waiting to be shipped off? I don't know. And now, the rides I did ride: Yep, that's right, I rode a Wacky Worm. Probably the low point of my coaster-riding career. But hey, I really wanted to get to 200, and a credit is a credit, right? Right...?! Anyway, it sucked. Two laps, and one little tiny barely perceivable pop of airtime on the one actual drop on the course in the back row. You know what else kinda sucked? Their dark ride, literally named "Dark Ride." Despite the name, it was full of large rooms and neon-painted decorations. Very little animatronics. Only one story despite the two-story building. I mean, I've been on *worse* dark rides (see my report from the Delaware State Fair), but yeah this was not that good. After those two at Gillian's, I headed down to Playland's Castaway Cove, definitely the more balanced park of the two, grabbing a small cup of Kohr's Brothers orange custand (with rainbow sprinkles), my staple, on the way. No NJ boardwalk trip is complete with out it. This place is cool in that everything is right on top of each other, sometimes literally on an upper deck. First, I'll showcase the rides I didn't ride: Wave Swinger Kiddie swing Kinda a jumbo-sized Kanga-Bounce from Morey's. Drive-'em cars. Tank-control bumper cars!!! I would have ridden these if I weren't alone...bumper cars with strangers is always kinda weird. But, I LOVED the gas-powered ones that were at Dorney Park before Demon Drop got installed. These were electric, but probably still tons of fun. Pirate's Gold Rush, their kiddie coaster. Would have ridden it (adults-sans-kids were allowed), but....you'll see. Burlap-sack slide. Cars-go-round Kiddie whip Kiddie drop tower Helicopters-go-round Standard climbing structure Zamperla spinning flyer Two-drop log flume Tilt-a-Whirl, with the new style cars. A Musik Express called "Rock-n-Roll." Guys, that name is already taken for a different type of ride... Gravitron Moby Dick themed to a Hurricane. Seriously guys, too soon. KMG claw ride Bumper cars Train ride, pretty sure it's the same model as is in Jenkinson's. S&S tower. Nope, still not the smallest one I saw on this trip. Pirate ship Carousel Balloons-go-round Okay, so what did I ride? I first tried to ride Gale Force, but upon arrival at the station, was promptly informed that it was shut down due to impending lightning. Here's some pictures anyway: Bummer. I figured Wild Waves was the same way, so I went to this: I had never seen something like this before. Apparently, it's a Technical Park brand ride model called "Aerobat" (click here for their website and better pictures/video). Castaway Cove calls it "Squadron 33". The wheel spins, and raises like a Zamperla Endeavor, but at a point the longitudinal rotation of the cars unlocks, and the rider controls it by angling the wings to divert airflow. My god was this thing nuts. At first, I was having trouble getting the car to flip, but once I did I could barely get the thing to stop. I must have flipped a half-dozen times before I got it to stop doing full rotations, and this is all while spinning around, coming what felt to be dangerously close to the platform while upside down. It felt like a super-long cycle, and once I got the hang of it I was able to do one or two flips and then recover. Insane, great ride. Why more of these don't exist, I can't fathom. 11/10, 6-stars, A+++. Wow. At this point, everything started to go dark, and they made an announcement that they were shutting down for the impending storm. I double-timed it back to my car just in time for the skies to open and a horrific deluge of water to pour down upon us. I thought about waiting it out, but it was already 7 PM and I had to get to Wildwood to check in to my hotel, so that's what I did. See the Morey's report in the next post. I did make it back to Castaway Cove once the storm had passed, though, and was able to get on Gale Force, Wild Waves, and Whirlwind, but not Pirate's Gold Rush kiddie coaster. What did I think? Gale Force - I think my notes video (I do this after ever ride to keep track of things for writing these reports) speaks for itself (warning, foul language): VID_20210830_221949594.mp4 Bonkers. No ride should have any business being this intense. Just, wow. I have no words. Incredible, incredible ride. Again, like I said about Steel Hawg at Indiana Beach, why are these not cloned everywhere instead of those stupid S&S 4D coasters? 12/10. That said, it does not make my top-10, simply because it's TOO intense. Wild Waves - It is what it is. It's cool how it interacts with Gale Force, but I was expecting at least a couple pops of airtime, but no dice. Whirlwind - It's a figure-8 SBF Visa Spinner. 5 laps I think? Sadly, at this point, the park was closing for the night, so I missed out on the kiddie credit, but all in all, a great trip. I will be back here again, for Gillian's dark ride log flume and more laps on Gale Force. Luckily I still have a bunch of tickets for Castaway Cove, too. Next up: Morey's Piers in Wildwood (that one will be a lot shorter)
  15. It's T-shirt time! Cabs ah here! Come at me bro! Casino Pier, Seaside Heights Ah, Seaside. The place where I spent most Fridays back in high school, with the same group of friends, only two of which I still actually periodically talk to. A place where I've dropped hundreds of dollars in to Dance Dance Revolution and the retro-arcade in the now-destroyed Fun Town Pier. A place where I rode my first ever looping roller coaster, Fun Town's aptly-named "Looping Coaster" (a Pinfari looper). A place where I worked the two summers between my junior and senior year and the one after I graduated college. Doing what, you might ask? That's right....games carny, just like my father did in his youth. Some things come full circle. I've gotta talk about that though. I'm not going to mention which company's games I worked for specifically, to protect the owner who is an awesome guy, but let me tell you about this job. Here was a typical day for me: Get into town around 9:00 AM and lay out on the beach for an hour, before they started charging (yes, Seaside is one of NJ's many pay-to-go-on-the-beach towns), then start my shift at 10. Every three hours, get a 15 minute break, in which I'd stroll down the boardwalk to the Beachcomber Bar & Grille (famously where Snooki was punched*), pound a shot or two, and come back to work. Did the bosses mind? Nope, not at all! Alcohol made me more animated in my spiels, which got more customers to play, which made the bosses more money. At the end of the day (typically midnight on a weekday, 1 or 2 AM on a Friday or Saturday), I'd go to the bars or a house party with people I hit on during the workday, or play poker with the guys, or shoot down to Atlantic City for an all-night blackjack session, just to come back and do it again the next day. This happened 6 days a week. Honestly, it was the greatest job I ever had - very laid back, could smoke whenever I wanted, met tons and tons of people...if I could do that for what I get paid now, with benefits, I would in a heartbeat. *Fun Fact: I was there the night it happened, but not actually in the bar when it happened. When their "advance team" rolled into the bar to tell the owners they were coming, I promptly ske-daddled my way right on out. I wanted nothing to do with them. Anyway, you guys don't care about that. On to the park! Casino Pier is the only remaining amusement pier in town. The other park, Fun Town Pier in neighboring Seaside Park, got absolutely wrecked by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and then completely destroyed by a massive fire in 2013. Though investigators deemed the cause to be an electrical short under an ice cream stand, I'm thoroughly convinced that the owners didn't have Hurricane coverage and burned it down on purpose for the insurance money. You can't convince me otherwise. Anyway, yeah, Casino Pier. A nice collection of both thrill rides and kiddie stuff here, along with an awesome roof-top mini-golf that I sadly didn't have time to get pictures of here. Needless to say, it hasn't changed much since I played it weekly back in high school (the player with the worst score amongst my friends always had to buy everyone's Kohr Brother's frozen custard), and it's a nice classic course with all of the standard mini-golf gags (loops, windmills, etc). This park has four coasters: -Hydrus, which we all know about -Pirate's Hideaway, famous for appearing like a well-themed dark ride but actually just being a coaster-in-a-box -Hot Tamales, a kiddie coaster -Xolo Loca, a variant on the SBF Visa spinner with the flipping seats. Unfortunately, Hyrdus and Xolo Loca were both closed during this trip. I had ridden Hydrus on a previous trip, so no big loss there, but I was eager to try out the flipping seats on Xolo Loca. But I'll get to the two coasters I did ride at the end of this post. First, the ride collection: So this is what the Zamperla buggy-go-round is supposed to look like, huh? Wave Swinger Motorcycles-go-round (I promise there won't be so many this time!) Disk-o Various-vehicles-go-round Claw ride, Super Storm. I think it's a KMG model. Either way, sideways spinning and swinging does not agree with my stomach. Standard Moby Dick. Skycoaster. Hard to tell here, but the cable running from the other tower was not attached, and the ride was obviously not operating. Also, note the knockoff Mighty Mouse. Musik Express. Tilt-a-Whirl with the new style cars Pretty sizeable Ferris Wheel, one of their newer additions. Centrifuge, an indoor Scrambler. Think like Cosmotron at Knoebel's - light and sound show to blasting music. Yes, in retrospect I realize I should have grabbed a shot of the actual ride. Kiddie carousel Standard burlap sack slide Standard climby structure Boats-go-round Another Dizzy Dragons. Zamperla must be making a fortune on these things and the buggy-bouncers. Horse-and-carriage-go-round Dumbo-go-round Kiddie whip themed to NASCAR Bumper cars Standard wacky-house Another Crazy Cabs. A well-themed example of the most pathetic log flume ever An actually-sizeable S&S drop tower, set on the double-shot program. And wrapping out the non-coasters, a Sky Screamer. Here's a shot of Hydus, not running, just because. And a few of Xolo Loca and Hot Tamales; the former is the orange track in these pictures. I think it's kinda cool that one coaster wraps completely around the other. And finally, Pirate's Hideaway. So I'll talk about that one first. The outside looks really cool, right? Awesome airbrush paint job, you'd think you're in for a treat of a pirate-themed dark ride, right? Nope. You get nothing inside. Just a big open box, complete with various tools at the ground level. Check out TPR's POV to see what I'm talking about. What did I think of the actual ride, though? Not terrible....until the second to final brakes, which slam you to a complete stop and drive your gut directly into the lap bar. Pass if you don't need the humorous credit. And Hot Tamales...it's a kiddie coaster, there's not much to be said. 5 laps, which is almost too much. So, opposite the Pier is the Casino Pier arcade. Which used to house a 100-plus year old Dentzel/Looff carousel, right here: For whatever stupid reason, the owners decided to sell it. Supposedly, it's being refurbished and will be placed in a new structure that has yet to be built along the boardwalk, but I'm not holding my breath. Of course, before heading out, I had to get some Three Brother's Pizza. Honestly the second best pizza I've ever had (yes, better than Mack's in Wildwood). Huge slice, but also huge price (like $6). And that about does it for Seaside Heights. A good park for both kids and thrill-seekers a like, when everything is running. For other adult entertainment, you've also got almost a dozen bars and nightclubs, both on the boardwalk and inland a few blocks (though sadly Karma, made famous by Jersey Shore, is now a wedding venue after the city pulled their nightclub-liquor license). Next stop: Ocean City's parks, Gillian's Wonderland and Playland's Castaway Cove.
  16. Alright, back to it! After the disappointing and out of the way trip up to Keansburg, the next boardwalk amusement park south is... Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Plesant Yeah, that's actually the name of it. Once home to a Flitzer (that now resides in Ocean City, MD), the only true roller coaster they have is a SBF Visa Spinner....but, it's not one of your usual figure 8 models! This one actually has a proper lift hill and somewhat of a course to it. But I'll talk about that when the time comes. So this park is mainly aimed at little kids to pre-teens...they have very few rides that adults without children would be interested in. Which, this is fine for what it is - Point Pleasant is mostly known as a family beach town (aside from the two Tiki bars on the boardwalk and one several blocks away, there are no real bars), and the park keeps with that image. As you'll see, this place was PACKED, only a few hours after my trip to Keansburg. So, let's get going with the kiddie ride rundown! Fire trucks-go-round Mini-carousel Convoy, with a unique original paint scheme Helicopter-go-round Dumbo-go-round Motorcycles-go-round Balloons-go-round Flying-go-round Pirate ships-go-round Wow, a break from the go-rounds! Tiny Larson tower (still not the smallest drop tower you'll see in this thread!) Dragon-themed teacups Finding Nemo-go-round? Tornado, their powered coaster. This has been here forever; I distinctly remember riding it when I was little. I didn't ask if solo-adults could ride, so I did not. Planes-go-round Kiddie-swings Adult-sized bumper cars, though I don't understand why you would name a bumper-car ride "Grand Prix." "Daytona 500?" Sure, but not after formula racing LOL. Boats-go-round The first of several Crazy Cabs I'd see on this trip. Basically a SBF Visa Spinning coaster without the coaster. Standard Tilt-a-Whirl Adult swings Moby Dick with a theme I'd not seen before Gravitron Super-Himalaya Mini spinning-swing. I can't stand the big versions of these, so I didn't even try out this little one. Standard carnival burlap sack slide. And they've got a cute little train ride, that also has been here forever. There's also a nearby ropes course. Now, onto the coaster! They call it Tidal Wave. Like I mentioned before, this is a SBF Visa spinner, and has quite a bit more to the course than the standard figure-8. Basically, it exits the station, does a 190 degree right turn, goes up the lift hill, makes a 180 degree left hand turn, does a little dip, another 190 degree left hand turn, goes down about a 15 foot drop under the lift hill, then a 190 degree right turn back into the station. The cycle is a 3 laps, so you definitely get your money's worth for the $6 the ride costs. This was my first ever spinning roller coaster of any manufacturer...given my general aversion to spinning sideways, I had always avoided them. But, my quest to reach 200 coasters by the end of the calendar year and limited travel days remaining in the season kinda forced my hand here. That said, it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Granted, it's a one-and-done for me, but it was a fun little ride. I sat in the very front car, which is on a tilted piece of track when it comes back into the station, and being the only one the car, it was quite unbalanced and I spun probably a dozen times before the ride op stopped it. That about did it for Jenkinson's. It's a fun park with a LOT for kids packed into a tight space, but though I might go back for Martell's or Jenk's Club (the two aforementioned tiki bars on the boardwalk, both of which I've been to before and are super fun) another time, I don't see myself coming to this park again. Oh, Fun Fact? "Jenkinson" owns like 90% of what's on the boardwalk in this town. The amusement park, two arcades, the bar/pizza place, a mini-golf place, and an aquarium. It's not quite as bad as Ocean City, where the Mayor owns one of the amusement piers and a lot of business on the boardwalk, but yeah...totally Jersey. Next stop: Infamous summer home of Pauly D, Snooki, and the rest of those animals - Seaside Heights!
  17. Agreed that it was the better choice to save it. I think of it like Thunderhawk at Dorney: Yeah, it was better with buzz-bars and original station (thus removing the need for the trim on the bunny hills), but it's still a pretty damned good ride.
  18. I did! Great to meet you @Kyndmusic. So I'll post my full report when I get home, but here's some bullet notes on Mindbender. Keep in mind, that I never rode it in its previous iteration. -The whole operating system has been replaced. Brakes, sensors, drive tires, lift chain, presumably the PLC, basically everything except the track itself appeared to me to be brand new. Even the track *appears* brand new, because of the paint, but we all know its not. -Capacity was great. They were chugging through the trains, and the ride ops here actually seemed to have some enthusiasm for the job (can't say the same for the rest of the park). Since it was just preview, Flash Pass wasn't an option, but I waited 26 minutes for the front row, with about 4-5 trains where I didn't move since exit-pass people jumped to the front. Probably would have been under 10 minutes had I gone for any other row. Notably, I entered the line maybe 10 feet out of the station. SFOG's lack of groupers didn't help here, so the station got very crowded and at one point a group of people waiting for the front blocked the entire line and some empty rows went out before they made an announcement to fill in the station. -The trains: Yes, they are lab-bar only. Yes, there are seat belts. Yes, there are carve outs for your butt with the little bit that goes between your thighs. I have to imagine it was better with the original Schwarzkopf trains, but as it stands these trains were not bad at all. Yes, there are only 5 cars, but there are 3 trains (though they double-stacked every cycle I saw). -The ride itself: It's a Schwarzkopf, which means positive Gs. And you get them in the loops here, even the "non-loop" in the middle of the ride. No grey-outs for me, but it did force my arms down at the entry to the two true loops and at the bottom of the non-loop. That said, it is what I believe to be tamer than it once was (entirely speculating here); the lift slows considerably before cresting, and each of the trim/block brakes at the start of the turns definitely took off some some speed. Without those, this ride would be absolutely insane, but even with them it was still pretty damnned good. and the fact that they chose to invest so much into this instead of just scrapping it wins a lot of points me with. This was my first trip ever to SFoG, and rode all of the coasters, but Mindbender is a solid #2 or #3 at this park for me. I've gotta review my notes for a full coaster ranking, that's just off the top of my head.
  19. Yeah, me too. I wasn't expecting it to be open when I planned this trip. Just checked in to my hotel after a grueling 12 hour drive. Tonight is dinner & drinks with an old friend and then tomorrow is the park, with Platinum FP.
  20. @Rai Fox, this has to be the funniest thing I've read in a TR all year. Great report. Keep it coming!
  21. @ElecterikDude, that mini-golf place looks absolutely amazing. If I'm ever in Denver I'll have to hit it up. Great report, keep it coming!
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