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Everything posted by BigThunderMtn

  1. Those are pretty fantastic views! I'd seen a non-onride photo of the second one years ago and couldn't ever tell if it was real or an altered photo! I guess this clears that up!
  2. Yes, yes, yes... of course Superman is the only thrill worth riding with no peers and no competition and you would be best off just to ride it once and then back reverently out of the park in awe, bowing the entire time... Or not. Superman is a good ride. But to walk through the world with blinders on that only let the Supermans, Kingda Kas and El Toros through is a very good way of ensuring that you'll not be able to enjoy any park you wander into. If you don't live on an ivory tower when it comes to coasters, I think you'll find Six Flags a nice little park with some real gems. Point in case- one of the treats is wholly ignored by many coaster fanatics- Thunderbolt. This tiny wooden coaster (lift hill c. 70') is a really enjoyable ride, smooth as glass but with enough kick and spunk that you won't confuse it for a kiddie ride. Not to be missed! Thunderbolt's big brother, the Cyclone really beat me up, but I'm a little guy, someone with a bit more padding or muscle mass to absorb the shocks might have a more enjoyable experience. The Batman steel coaster is a lot of fun, yes it's been around for a few years, but the thrill of a good inversion-happy toedangler has not worn off. Waiting for the front row may be worth it too; this coaster offers a primo unobstructed on-ride photo opportunity for the front row. Flashback is a good, solid boomerang and although I like Mind Eraser, (I'm wearing a MindEraser t-shirt right now, actually.) I know just about everyone else in the known Universe finds it extremely rough. All I would say about it is don't take their word for it- if a Mind Eraser hasn't slapped you silly yet, hop on and try it for yourself. Additionally, there are some classic flat rides- Chaos and Nightwing are my personal favorites and bits of decent theming here and there (this is still Six Flags after all) and a great waterpark. Bottom line, go in with an open mind, ride everything once and you'll discover your own favorites. And DON'T skip Thunderbolt.
  3. Technically, my first roller coaster was Polar Coaster at Story Land in NH, but my first 'grown-up' coaster was Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I was only 7 or 8 at the time, and my family talked me onto it by telling me it was just like a monorail.
  4. What a shame, looked like a beautiful lobby, but at least in Dubai there is plenty of money floating around to rebuild it with! The most important thing being that no one was hurt, of course.
  5. Ugh, gum. There's a reason it's not sold in the Magic Kingdom. Nevertheless, one of the weirder days on the job; Splash Mountain is closed so I find myself in the sun on the roof of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad station building with a sharp stick and a bucket, scraping cemented gum (and the pennies stuck into it) off a (literally) hot tin roof while guests walk by and point and laugh. Ahh, memories. The worst gum wall I've ever seen however was at Six Flags New England, on the last oxbow of the approach queue at Thunderbolt, the cutest little 1941-original, hand-powered station braked, wooden roller coaster you ever did see. It made me so mad, since of all the rides there you could tell this little gem (one of my favorites anywhere) didn't get the custodial attention. I noticed there was no gum in the queue for Superman...
  6. Someone else out there thinks Gwazi is smooth as glass and Scorpion's gives a bit of, well, sting? Nice to know I'm not the only one! Don't suppose you fancy Vekoma Mind Erasers smooth rides too? Great TR, BGA is always an impressive park to see, even in pictures. As for the poor operations debate? Last time I went, Gwazi was slowish, but they only had Tiger side open, so one train=they weren't doing so badly. Kumba was a walk-on, Sheikra was under construction, and Montu had a wicked (pardon the New England choice of word) line. Now Python was super-efficient, but I suppose that's a moot point now...
  7. Most definitely, at Disney it's "Safety" then "Courtesy", then "Show" then "Efficiency" And they stick pretty closely to that order of operations, especially when it comes to keeping that first one first.
  8. ^ I don't think they do... They certainly wouldn't be anything like the ones on the Flying Unicorn picutred; the logs don't have fins to be received. And the logs are moving so fast at that point, I just can't believe they would even do anything.
  9. ^ Esactly right, the brake mechanism is so big, that it takes up the bottom 3 or 4 feet of the pit even when it isn't raised. When it's up, it fills the whole thing. The pit is completely undercover in the shot Nat posted, by the time you're out from under the bridge, you're past the pit, the Brake and its mechanisms.
  10. We all hear a whole lot about X2, El Toro, Superman; Ride of Steel, Milennium Force, Kingda Ka and recently Fahrenheit, among many, many others. And surely rides of this type are spectacular tops of their classes. But the parks they inhabit contain many other, special roller coasters which, while they don't provide the newest, tallest, fastest, or most devilishly inverted thrills are a great time in their own right. And sadly, they go wholly unnoticed in the shadows of their super-fantastic counterparts. How many of us have blown past all of the rides in a park to be first in line at the New HyperMegaGigaSuper-Fantastic Death Drop coaster, and then half-heartedly go back and pick up the rest, if they're open. And if not, no biggie. Come on, we've all done it. But I believe we all have a soft spot, a fondness for some certain "backup singer" coaster that will always hold a special place in our heart, even if we can't find a souvenir from it to save our lives. I want to know which out-of-the-way coaster means the most to you, the one which gets no fame but would just lay you out flat if it were demolished. Which coaster do you feel is just underappreciated? (And if it's not a coaster, that's okay too!)
  11. Actually to be honest, I expected a full-blown swift kick to the junk for that one! A kick in the shins beats that any day, I'll take it!
  12. Hmm, I'm puzzled, I'll have to look into it. The runout is as you know 180º curve, which is as tight as the logs can safely navigate, so there wouldn't be any need for brakes at the end in any scenario I can think of. A log going way too fast would ride up on the egress path and beach itself long before hitting them. The Drop 5 zone only backs up with 5 logs before C-lift stops, so it wouldn't be to slow a collision in the case of a backup, and even if they were at the beginning of the runout it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense, in any scenario where you'd need them ramped up high enough to have any effect at those speeds, you'd jsut use the E-stop and the big Brake. The speed plus the pump-powered current there, coupled with the speed they'd pass the brakes at either end, not to mention the relatively slow braking effect of that type of brakes... The logs don't even have fins, or an exposed magnetic surface to maximize efficiency. They are completely smooth on the bottom and sides. I don't disbelieve you, I just can't figure how/why they'd work. You're sure they were brakes? A picture would be helpful. Ya, the Anheuser-Busch Company was able to get some exemption, for both Sea World and BG Tampa, though I haven't been able to unearth any info on what it is or why. Anyone out there know anything more about it?
  13. I'm glad to hear it's back too! I wonder what kind of repairs then? Just broken railings/catwalks, fenceposts, removal of assorted limbs and branches probably. Sorry to hear that, man! I definitely found Hurler to be uncomfortably rough, and Grizzly, Ricochet and Anaconda I could see, though I enjoyed them. But I found Stunt Coaster, Shockwave and Rebel (both sides) to be smooth and enjoyable. Especially Rebel Yell- excepting that one dip right before the big fantail helix. That one spot definitely resulted in serious pelvis-to-lap bar contact!
  14. Nat, the show scene is the Drop 4 "Brake", the Drop 4 "Break" was the 15 minutes we all spent sitting around in Tower while maintenance was pulling the duck feathers away from the sensor that E-stopped the ride The Drop 4 Brake (alternately: Creature from Br'er Lagoon, JAWS, the Tourist Trap, Chamber of Destiny, (sound familiar, ECZenith?) PHRED-A's little helper etc.) has always been there for use in emergencies, lurking just below the surface ready to apply heinous levels of friction at a moment's notice. There are just some occasions when you don't want a log flying around at 40+ mph. But it has been replaced (partly, and in full) on more than one occasion, perhaps that's what you are thinking of? As the ride normally functions, you are not braked at all at the bottom of Drop 4 by anything other than pressure exerted by flume water except in the case of emergency. As Nat correctly explained, the Brake is a fickle and finicky creature, and it's no easy task to reset it, so we don't wake it unless we have to. And just forget about Autopia/Indy Speedway! Actually another reason for not pushing a log full of guests out of the Drop 4 Brake is the danger to the Cast doing the pushing. You're pushing a log at Bear Behind (one of the many scenes where Br'er Bear treats you to the deluxe view of his posterior,) and you slip and fall in, you're wet and possibly have tetanus, but you're okay. The channel's only 3 feet deep. You fall into the Drop 4 Brake, and maybe not. As much as the Brake's fierce nicknames are humorous, it really is a dangerous, forceful machine, with lots of pieces to get tangled in, not to mention the pit it lives in is 9-12 feet deep. Big time potential ouch! A third reason not to do it is simply because if the brake is activated, the log is sitting on it, and not in the water, and those darn things weigh more sitting than floating and it's easier to push a two-ton log without another 800 lbs. of guests and turkey legs inside. As for a little WDW-version Splash trivia: When you are sitting in the station approach queue, (where "Ev'rything is Satisfactual" is painted on the barn wall ahead of you,) look up. The massive section of wooden ceiling cutting through the rock at a 45º angle high overhead is C-lift, the one going up to the Big Drop! If the music seems a little louder in here, it is- to disguise the rumbling of the chainlift rotors on the other side of the wall to your left! In the scene where Br'er Gator is fishing, Br'er Frog should be sitting on his back, but often isn't due to maintenance problems with the AA. Whether he's there or not, he keeps on a'singing. Listen for the booming bass voice without a body. The turtle's name isn't Br'er Turtle- it's Br'er Terrapin. The guests' overwhelming favorite effect in the entire ride, measured by number of comments to the Cast- the beehives with the spinning bees between Drop 2 (the roller coaster drop) and Drop 3 (the little spacer drop before the Laughin' Place). The animated characters from Song of the South that didn't make it into the ride? the Tar Baby, of course, the Sis (female version of Br'er) Moles and Sis Hummingbirds. The above three characters, along with Br'er Bear were the only ones from the movie to make cameos in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There is no Br'er Buzzard- the Top Hat-wearing vultures at the bottom of C-lift were original characters from America Sings; the Boothill Boys. Ironically, they are often claimed by Disney to be the most memorable of all the characters in Splash- moreso than Br'ers Bear, Fox or Rabbit! Imagineering has in the past conducted spot-inspections to make sure the Cast is using official, approved spiels! Scary! The reason Splash Mountain (and Pirates and iasw and Maelström etc.) Don't have restraints is because at the time of construction, Florida state law prohibited any ride where boats are floating in a channel from restraints of any kind (lest the boat flip over or sink, you can't trap guests in the vessel.) The law has changed since, allowing Kali River Rapids, Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls and their ilk to restrain away! Three questions which will instantly earn you the fiery, white-hot loathing of a thousand suns from any Splash Mountain CM: 1. Will I get wet on this ride/Is this a water ride? 2. No, really, which seat gets the wettest? 3. Does this ride go upside-down? (Seriously. All the time. Hence the quote in my signature) And finally, the most widely-known story of how the guest died on Splash, including (check that, especially) the version on Wikipedia are wrong. The man exited his log before Drop 2, (the rollercoaster) to take a picture of his party sitting in the log. As he attempted to get back in, the muscular conveyors at the edge threw his boat over the drop. He tumbled to the bottom of the dip (where there is no water) and was subsequently crushed by the next boat. Several CM's who were on duty that day still work at the attraction or resort at large, from ops to maintanence, security, emergency response, merchandise, custodial and more, and their independent first-person accounts verify this version of the events to be true. After the death, the intrusion (security/guest monitoring) system was revamped, and the opening of Drop 2 was narrowed to be just wide enough for the flume itself and an accompanying egress path to dissuade guests from getting out and trying to get back in before the Drop. Unfortunately, due especially to the lighted 'exit' sign and exit hallway there, it is still a frequent spot for intrusion by guests who've decided they don't want to ride anymore. In general, getting out of the boat is a bad idea, and dangerous for all involved. So, from the Cast, P-P-Please don't flings us into that Briar Patch! Wheeee!!!
  15. Is Grizzly okay? Was there any damage to track or superstructure or just branches in the way? Grizzly was a pretty good ride, I really enjoyed it, and definitely didn't find it as rough as Hurler.
  16. I agree, that was the most frustrating thing about working at WDW for sure, the Mouse likes to generously reward rude, mean, or rulebreaking guests for their trouble, even while the Cast Member/other guests/both that have been abused stand nearby, mouths hanging open in disbelief. Or in the case of a Cast Member of course, standing nearby silently, pleasantly smiling. They call it "Good Guest Recovery," but when someone whose FastPass is invalid flips out and pushes (literally) past three ride operators and 750 patiently queuing people, and then stands on the platform yelling and screaming for 10 minutes at the station crew (who have no idea who this person is,) using lots of words not suitable for the scared little girls in Cinderella dresses standing nearby, with no concern for the fact that the entire ride must be stopped while they have their foot over the yellow warning line on the platform (causing a big 'ol dispatch cascade which disturbs the rides of 100+ other people), and says a lot of hurtful things about your mother... only to have the supervisor show up, apologize for the fact that the guest isn't pleased with our FastPass system, give them passes for reentry on another attraction for their trouble, and then put them in whatever row they'd like on the very next vehicle, well there is nothing "Good" about that policy. Nothing.
  17. I'm sorry your experience at KD was less than optimal. We didn't get to see an evac, but we too saw some kids get ejected (cutting in line at Volcano) Yet, I'm so jealous because you got to ride two rides I didn't, Dominator (which wasn't open yet,) and Avalanche (which was broken)! The 45 minute wait looked worth it! The weather is a bummer though, but when it comes to tornado watches, it's better safe than sorry! Here's hoping it was just a bad day and not signs of Cedar-Fair procedures to come. And the big stone monkey statues guard the entrances to the Trail's End Restaurant. P.S. The oldest ride at the park is the Scooby-Doo's Ghoster Coaster. Opened a year before the park itself.
  18. ^ Actually, it was all over the news here in Maine, as and it made the local broadcasts at 9 and noon in the Washington D.C. area, too. We like our own fake soundstages enough, but we care about the real ones too! Haha, as I speak for the whole Eastern Seaboard...
  19. According to the sources I've been able to reach, the Back to the Future clocktower did indeed survive intact if a bit charred. About half of the little grassy plaza in front did too, as did several fronts in the clocktower alleys, (behind and to the right, about where the giant coffee cup was sitting in BTTF: the Ride). The rest of the Courthouse Square area was destroyed. I find this to be eerie, given the fact that this is the fourth major fire to destroy the New York St./Courthouse Square, (The others were in 1957, 1990, and 1997), not to mention a rogue tornado in 1979, all of which the clocktower handily survived. In fact, in the catastrophically damaging 1990 fire, the Courthouse and the nearby King Kong attraction were the only buildings in the area that could be saved. The building was put up in 1948, and before Back to the Future the plaza was called "Mockingbird Square" because the facade first knew fame as the courthouse where Atticus Finch defended Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird. The television show Ghost Whisperer was currently filming on the set, and production will be affected by the fire. It seems either ironic or oddly appropriate for that building to be so long-lived, right out of Back to the Future somehow. I don't know exactly why... The clocktower standing alone after the 1990 fire. Except for the King Kong building in the lower right, all of the other standing buildings were damaged so extensively they needed to be destroyed. Courthouse Square during the 1997 fire, the Clocktower is not the light-colored pedimented building in the middle of the image, it's the pedimented building right behind that one.
  20. On my recent trip to Kings Dominion, I found the operations to be efficient and the staff friendly and helpful etc. But the team of girls running Shockwave (the stand-up coaster) obviously loved working together and were having a good time, joking and laughing, but not to a degree that the guests were being ignored or the ops of the ride were being neglected. Though it doesn't seem like a real part of 'operations,' it makes the whole park seem happier when the cast is having fun. Thanks to those girls, despite the rainy weather outside, the Shockwave Roller Coaster station was a sunny place to be. Kudos!
  21. Amen to that. I can't tell you how many mornings at WDW's Splash or Big Thunder there'd be a short ride fault or 'stupid guest trick', which would build up a bit of a queue until it was fixed. Because there aren't heavy crowds first thing in the morning, the ride opens with a bit of a skeleton crew, filling out as the day goes on. So you'd get people yelling at the Cast because there aren't enough operators to handle the line. To be sure, not an appropriate reaction, just made everyone's day more irritating. Although in what was an absolute coincidence, the guests doing the most yelling at Splash tended to get the wettest over the course of their ride...
  22. I would think they'd have to, if the military discount, for example, wasn't altered any for the new prices, we'd be talking a $12 ticket! Not bad for a Six Flags park!
  23. Wow, with all of these price cuts, Six Flags must be more worried about the gas crisis and impending doom it could cause than they seem. Do we yet know if the reduced ticketing is completely across the board, or are there any SF parks which will be staying at last year's pricing?
  24. So papers around the northeast are reporting that Six Flags New England will be cutting back on it's admission costs by $10 for this season- from $49.99 down to just $39.99. The quotes from SFNE president Larry Linton said the park wants to be more affordable in these trying economic times. I read this as: Due to the airline prices that are soaring higher than the planes themselves, the tourist herds aren't flying to a park sitting all by itself between Massachusetts and Connecticut in the middle of nowhere to ride rides they could also find in more exciting places like Orlando or California. Let's face it, Agawam isn't exactly a world-renowned resort destination and even the presence of the best instance of Superman: RoS (yeah, I said it ) doesn't really warrant a trip in from five states away. This leaves only the hard-nosed(bitter), practical(stingy) New England natives as patrons, and we won't pay $50 to get into a theme park, plus the $350(a gallon) in gas it'll take to get out there and back. Places in New England are really far apart, despite how tiny all those states look on the map. There's a lot of forest and endless Boston suburbs in there, and we wouldn't give the oil companies the pleasure of driving through it. I mean SFNE's the closest "major" park to me here in Maine, and it's 4.5, 5 hours away. Same goes for NH, VT and RI. Not exactly a day-trip kind of deal. Even with a new indoor Batman coaster opening soon, and the high-thrill S:RoS, Batman, and Cyclone they've already got, not to mention the cutest little 1941 original, favorite-of-the-Kennedy-family wooden roller coaster you ever did see; Thunderbolt, it's got to be a tough time for them, financially. I'm not one for empathizing with big corporations of any kind, much less their CEOs, but in this case, every penny the price of gas/air travel goes up must equal another empty queue for them. The Hartford Courant's got a good little article on the story, http://www.courant.com/business/hc-natbizdigbrf0528.art1may28,0,5090196.story and it looks like SFoG and SF St. Louis are making the same price cuts.
  25. I don't know of any specifically wooden coasters that need retheming offhand, but I've always thought Earthquake would make good theming for a particularly rough one, Theme the queue as a dilapidated old building, falling in on itself, plaster walls fallen away revealing the lathe behind, beams supporting the sagging rafters at odd angles, holes in the roof creating impromptu spotlights, every now and then a coaster train passes overhead, unseen, but creating a distinctive rumble... The station equipment & consoles could be themed to generic emergency equipment, and the cast costumes (I'm from Disney... the Cast wear costumes) could be simple navy blue or red polos with words like "Quake Response Team" across the front. Incoherent radio chatter buzzing in over a orchestral, bass-heavy ostinato, (plus the liberal use of yellow blinking caution lights in the space) would complete the mood, and I think it would work very well. It would be even better if the Unload and Loading platforms were severed, so the trains came into the station empty, and the place where you disembarked could have signs over the tunnel ahead (back to the load platform) saying "End of the Line" and "Road closed", theming even your reason for leaving. If it were up to me, this is what a good wooden roller coaster theming would be. For some reason it seems they often get shafted, compared to the steelies.
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