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About JNoonez

  • Birthday 01/10/1981

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  1. Longest for me since I started riding coasters at age six or so was November 2007-August 2008, about ten months. I had open-heart surgery in April, so I cautiously made my return to coaster riding late this summer (with my cardiologist's and surgeon's blessings, of course). First coaster back from hiatus was S:ROS at SFNE. It was incredible. --Jarrad
  2. Excalibur at Funtown in Maine (another CCI) does the same thing, and they only run one train. --Jarrad
  3. Hi everyone, I'm on the mend from an April 17th open heart surgery to repair an aneurysm in my aorta and to replace a faulty heart valve. It's been a crazy few weeks, but things are slowly returning to normal (other than the massive coaster trip in June I had to cancel!). Anyway... I asked my surgeon if I'd ever be able to ride coasters again, and he wasn't able to give me a definitive answer. Was wondering if anyone had been through a similar procedure that would be willing to share their experiences. Thanks, Jarrad
  4. After postponing a trip to SFNE due to another extended downtime for S:ROS, it got me thinking about B&M coasters that may have suffered a similar bout of extended downtime. I couldn't think of any besides those coasters that were SBNO due to a closed/damaged park. Have there been any instances of B&M coasters being down for for more than a few days? Anyone know?
  5. Elissa, Robb, I was just at CP last week. As stated the only rides where you'll have to ditch the loose articles before getting in line are MF and TTD. Someone mentioned the daily locker rentals, which are fine but the keys are idiotically designed without a loop to put around your wrist. On our second park day, we used the coin-op lockers ($1.00, and staffed by an employee making change) at MF and TTD and most of the keys had wrist loops, which made me more comfortable than using the more expensive daily lockers. Hope this helps... Jarrad
  6. Recently adjusted by some new park visits... 1. El Toro - SFGAdv 2. SROS - SFNE 3. Thunderhead - DW 4. Nitro - SFGAdv 5. The Raven - HW 6. Boulder Dash - LC 7. The Voyage - HW 8. SheiKra - BGA 9. Phoenix - Knoebels 10. Phantom's Revenge - KW On the cusp... Viper - SFGAm Apollo's Chariot - BGE Storm Runner - HP --Jarrad
  7. Sorry if I am not quite understanding. I purchased some tickets off of ebay to save a few bucks. I can do the after 3 promo? Thanks. Actually, I think you might be able to. I bought tickets from the Dollywood website, and it worked. When the computers scan the tickets, if you're entering after three it will only allow you to use that ticket the very next day. If in doubt, call the park. Everyone I talked to there was beyond friendly. --Jarrad
  8. Well, I've already posted a TR for my first visit to Dollywood. I returned on Monday, May 14th, for a full-day visit. I truly feel this park nips at Disney's heels when it comes to attention to detail, customer service, and theming. Around each corner, I was impressed by just about everything. I thought their 50s car ride could use some upkeep, as it looked shabby in comparision to just about everything else in the park. Here now... the pictures! --Jarrad PAST-VERTICAL! Thanks for reading. Wicked fun. Signature shot. Just after I took this some kid lost everything he had in his pockets. I think everyone has this shot. Cue dramatic music... Never can have enough crossovers. Love it. Thunderhead. A top-tier coaster. Butter smooth and fast and so photogenic. Everything made me think about Dolly. Boring ride, with excellent theming. Common Dollywood acronyms: FUPA & ECV. That's my birthday. I spent quite a bit of time here. Best queue management system EVER! And a steal at $11. Whassup, Dolly? Diggin' the scene. Pretty. Before I started my day at DW, I decided to check out some of the scenic drives between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
  9. A minor epiphany... or What a Difference Two Days Make... After visiting HW on the 12th, and wrestling with my lackluster feelings for the place, it took a second full-day visit on Tuesday to cement my opinion on the park and its coasters. Undeniably, I think my opinions of the park were filtered through the lens of review after stellar review written shortly after ERTs and enthusiast events when the park would be naturally running at its prime. Stepping back, and taking the parts of the park for what they truly are during normal operating hours, I have a clearer view of what the park actually is on my own terms. In short, it's a small park with big aspirations, some of which are fulfilled, and some yet to be realized. After a wonderful visit to Splashin' Safari, I'm convinced this is where the park shines the brightest. Simply put, it is a *fantastic* waterpark, and I'm not even a huge waterpark fan. Interestingly enough, it was only when I visited the waterpark that I started to understand what the fuss was about in regards to the park's friendliness. Every single guard and attendant I encountered in the waterpark was exceedingly friendly and helpful, even though they were severely understaffed. It really did serve in stark contrast to the ops and employees on the dry side who, even after a second visit, seemed uninterested and apathetic. The young woman running the Midnight Ride was downright rude. So, yes, the waterpark gets a whole-hearted thumbs-up. I think the fact that the dry park has three major wooden coasters obscures the perspective that it really is a very small-scale theme park with very few marquee attractions other than the coasters themselves. Take away Raven, Legend, and Voyage, and the park has a lineup equivalent to my local parks (Compounce, or even better, Canobie, which you can almost compare ride for ride when the coasters are subtracted). When compared with parks of that size and caliber, I think HW actually fares much better, and the coasters certainly push them way over the top. Tuesday's one-train op on all coasters was perfectly acceptable since the crowd was never large enough to warrant it. The dry park, too, was woefully understaffed. Thankfully, they made sure all of the rides were running, but it was depressing to see at least half of the food and game concessions closed. Running a park before when a majority of your workforce is unavailable is tough, and I do think HW is just able to pull it off successfully. I mean, the park couldn't have made much money on Tuesday with a hundred or so cars in lot, but I'm of course really pleased that they were open for a second visit. To the coasters... I'll admit I've had a slight change of heart on The Voyage. After ten or twelve rides yesterday, I can definitely say the ride has moved up to at least top-ten standing for me. The single train they had on yesterday felt tighter and smoother than Saturday's rides, and I did spot some grease on the track. The ride was running fast and furious, and I did get airtime over the entire crest of the second hill--a spot where none was to be found on my first rides this past Saturday. I came to enjoy the ride's aggression a bit more, too. Once I knew where to anticipate the two or three most aggressive spots, I was able to let go and enjoy the ride more each time. Thunderhead and El Toro are certainly more my style of coaster, but I definitely appreciated The Voyage much more on this second visit. The Raven was running well, but The Legend was an unfortunate bore. The first drop is great (except for the pullout, where there's a nasty pothole that kinked my back up pretty well), but the rest of the ride just feels a bit sleepy. I think if everything past the far turnaround were taken a bit closer to the ground, the ride would be a winner, but as it stands, it's definitely the weakest overall experience of the three. Granted, I'd rather ride The Legend than a great number of wooden coasters, so there you go. I think the hype surrounding the park really did cloud my judgement during my first visit. On my second visit, I appreciated what the park 'is' instead of what it 'isn't'. Would I ever visit again? Yes, but probably during an event to get the ultimate HW experience as has been touted. I'm still perhaps not as enthusiastic about the park as some, but I will gladly admit that the park's strengths are really, very strong, and its few weaknesses are not prominent enough to take away from my enjoyment of the place, at all. I must also mention how great Paula from the park's PR department is! I e-mailed a few questions before my trip, and expecting a form response, I was really impressed to receive a personal response that was kind and helpful. She's even a Massachusetts native! I can only imagine the number of e-mail requests the park gets daily, and I definitely appreciated the level of effort on their end in that respect. I'll have pictures from the trip up later tonight (5-16). Thanks for reading, I've really enjoyed posting these TRs. --Jarrad Obligatory park logo shot. Welcome! You are sad-and-pathetic... Thanks for reading. Four days, six park visits, twelve new coasters. Sunburned, but happy. Raven... through the fence. And the supports! Quite a sight. Great music in this area. X-Files theme, anyone? Great vantage points in Splashin' Safari. Sad... Check. Pathetic... Check. Also an imposing sight. Gulp. Great rapids ride. Heartbeat getting quicker. Applause, applause. In my near-heatstroked state, I thought I saw the hands clapping. Deserted park. No complaints here. One of the few good vantage points to photograph Raven. This thing is buried in the woods!
  10. Today was Day Two of my somewhat sad-and-pathetic trip through Kentuckianassee. Today, I was certainly blessed with fine weather (high 70s with low humidity) and no traffic--which were both crucial to executing my ambitious itinerary today. I hit SFKK at opening to snag a few more rides on the coasters I liked, and then make it to Dollywood for their 'after 3 free' promotion. I ended up having one of my most exciting but tiring park days in a while. SIX FLAGS KENTUCKY KINGDOM Got there a bit before opening, fearing big crowds, but by the time the gates opened up, there were only a few dozen people waiting to get in the park. I knew this was a very good sign. My plan was to spend an hour in the park before heading off to Pigeon Forge. It was a great hour. In that time, I got four rides on Thunder Run, three on Chang, five or six on Greezed Lightnin' (all on the train alone!), and a couple drops on the Intamin tower. I was pleased to see that all of the rides were open and ready at 11am. Again, employees were great. I think now that the SF parks have seemed to make great strides changing their way of doing business in a lot of positive ways, some investment in aesthetics would REALLY go a long way. While parking, I noticed what looked to be the remnant of an old gateway of some sort. It was badly-painted concrete topped with razor wire. A taste of Fantazy Land in KY. Some attention to these eyesores would do wonders for this park, that is already fighting against its natural, geographical drawbacks. I then took the 4+ hour drive to... DOLLYWOOD First, holy crap, I should've researched Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg more exhaustively. This is *such* a cool place, especially Gatlinburg. It's just on the classy side of tacky, and it's got such a neat Nordic feel to it. I got into Dollywood tonight as part of the 'after 3, in free' deal they have with the purchase of a one-day pass, similar to the promotion I've used to great effect at Hersheypark. Dollywood is a gem of a park, and I haven't fully explored it yet. I cannot wait to get in there with my camera tomorrow. I would find it hard to believe that this park takes a bad picture. What I like best about the park is that it's theme is applied so subtly, yet immersively, that in my opinion, it comes off as a more genuine, authentic attempt at the turn-of-the-century theme that Disney goes for in Frontierland. It's immaculately kept, efficiently run, and the employees are the absolute friendliest I've encountered. And it's not the often-robotic stabs at customer service that I've seen at other parks... everything comes off as laid back, sincere, and truly grateful that you're a guest in their park. I just loved it. With the limited time in the park on what seemed to be a reasonably crowded Sunday, I decided to go with the Q2Q Lo-Q system. Simply put, it's the most logical and effective use of these pager systems I've seen, and an absolute steal at ten dollars and change. With it, I was able to get in ten coaster rides and a bunch of the other attractions. Thunderhead is easily a top-tier coaster for me. I liked it a whole lot, even after my first ride. I got five rides all over the train, and it just did not disappoint. The trackwork on this ride is superb. It's just a flawlessly engineered ride that never feels over-engineered. So many good moments, including a stellar first-drop. The drop is deceiving because the setting makes the entire ride look more diminutive than it is, so the speed and air on the drop came as a huge shock to me. And, my God, those MF trains just love the ride's vertical/lateral combinations of forces. Like Voyage, there's no signature moment for me, but it's infinitely more re-rideable. And the crew here was *so* great! They kept beating the train on the course in preparing for dispatch, and the panel operator kept announcing proudly "We beat the train!," as if she actually took pride in making interval. I liked that. In fact, I really appreciated the maturity of the ride ops, in general. There were no teens running rides that I could see, and the difference stands out like a quasar in comparison to other chain parks. Tennessee Tornado was an unexpected surprise. I actually really like Arrow coasters, despite their roughness, and this was no exception (even though it's decently smooth). As many have mentioned, this is a touch on the short side, but I think the fact that I had that very feeling was a testament to the quality of what's actually there. The huge loops are nice and forceful, and they've got this funky swervy tracking in the inversions that I really dig. I was actually shocked by the forceful pop heading into the final brakes. Solid, solid short-length steel looper. And, man, the setting is so great! Finally, Mystery Mine... As a themed attraction, it's really top-notch. As a coaster, I felt pretty 'meh' about it. The first half (with the exception of the first vertical (past-vertical?) drop felt really sluggish. The second half, of course, has a fantastic few hundred feet of track in the ride's finale after the second lift. I had an inner and outer seat for my two rides, and I definitely liked both for different reasons. I'm really glad I stayed away from the spoilers on this one! Also, considering the eight-seat trains, this ride does a more-than-adequate job with throughput. Other than that, I hit Blazing Fury (loved it), Daredevil Falls (liked it), and their Zamperla Disk-O (loved it). Can't wait to have a full day there tomorrow, and grab some pictures of a park that just blew me away on nearly every level. Despite the low attraction count in comparison to the size of the place, I felt Dollywood has a completeness of experience that some bigger parks lack. Just in the short time I was there, Dollywood rocketed itself in the top echelon of parks I've visited, and is clearly the class of this area of the country. Now, I'm wracking my brain to figure out how the hell I'm going to get out to Branson this summer to try Herschend's other big showpark. Not a bad problem to have to figure out, if you ask me. Jarrad
  11. Hi. This is my first post. I've been lurking, reading, and enjoying this forum for a long while, but I'm on my first partially sad-and-pathetic trip, visiting some parks on my way to visit a friend in Nashville, and I figured I'd post my thoughts along the way. No photos from today, but I plan on hitting both parks again on my way back through the area. HOLIDAY WORLD After landing in Louisville at 12:30, I rushed excitedly to my rental car and made it to Santa Claus by 12:30, Central Time. I was finally at *the* Holiday World... I remember obsessively watching my first 3D coaster video, rewinding the segment on the Raven until the tape broke, so I think it's safe to say I was particularly thrilled to be here. I was prepared for greatness. I got... dare I say, mediocrity in every respect. I realize that this is going to be an unpopular opinion amongst many, but I am stating with as fair a mind as possible that I was completely underwhelmed by Holiday World. The Voyage is a solid top-twenty wood coaster--nothing less, nothing more for me personally. My main gripe is that it's too aggressive for my tastes to be able to 'let go' and enjoy it. Not to mention there's just not a defining moment on a ride whose very length would seem to lend itself to at least a few 'wow' moments. The airtime was fair at best, and there was some pretty noticeable washboarding on the bottoms of the first two drops (nothing severe, though). The second ninety-degree followed by the block really kills momentum, and the ride photo is taken at the one truly uncomfortable moment on the ride, which leads to some pretty grim-looking on-ride photos. I have to say my rides in the back were a bit more exciting. All in all, a disappointment, and certainly not my favorite coaster in the park. The Raven is closer to a top-five wooden coaster, judging by the rides it was giving today. 'The drop' was excellent as advertised--even with some pretty unrelenting stapling, it delivered. The lake turn was tracking a little strangely, but there was lots of new wood on the ride, and it translated into a wild, but nearly glass-smooth finish. It's a great, solid ride, which benefits greatly from a wonderful setting. I just wish I could have gotten more rides. The ride was running one train, and staffed by two employees (one of whom was also operating the control panel). On a moderately busy Saturday, I call shenanigans. I feel like a lot of people pull punches when it comes to this park, but it's ridiculous that other parks get slammed for single-train operation, and this park often seems to get a pass for the same thing. It's a shame, too, because the ride's so good, but I got frustrated waiting an unnecessarily long time for each ride. It was for this reason that I only rode Legend a few times. The line was down the stairs all three times I waited (about twenty minutes). Legend is fun but unspectacular, but it's fast and interacts really nicely with its surroundings and its track was literally caked with grease (Voyage, by contrast, was bone dry). I got a couple nice pops of air, and the double helix tracked remarkably well and had some power to it. I left the park after three hours, having accomplished everything I wanted to on the dry side of the park (including Gobbler Getaway, which was very well done). Grabbed lunch, which was tasty and so reasonably priced. My general sense is that the park and its employees believe the hype about the Golden Tickets and Applause Awards so strongly that maybe they don't feel like they have to try as hard now. Nothing I witnessed today would make me say Friendliest Park (or even Cleanest Park). The employees were pleasant enough--to each other, primarily. I saw lots of camaraderie between employees, but I felt very little of that carrying over to the guests. And the coaster crews were mediocre, at best. There were six employees on The Voyage platform running two trains, and all but two times I rode, they stacked the trains. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I was just really underwhelmed with the entire park. If I hadn't already purchased another day's ticket, I might consider not returning on Tuesday. I do hope my visit today was just a fluke. I want to like this park so badly. Well, after this, I hopped back to Luhlville and headed to SFKK with really low expectations. SIX FLAGS KENTUCKY KINGDOM For a park that has a great deal going against it, I was more than pleasantly surprised with SFKK. Yes, the layout absolutely sucks. Yes, the park is a little (in some places, a lot) rough around the edges cosmetically. But I have to say, I liked what I saw in the two hours I was there today. Employees (to a fault) were really nice, always asking if I was having a good day. The security guard struck up a nice conversation about all the different Season Passes he's seen this year. They have a few more than adequate coasters, and a passable collection of flats. My first stop was Thunder Run, and it ended up being my longest wait of the evening at 15 minutes. Good, solid ride. Some nice air. Too bad it's a one-train op. But the crew was hustling like they never do on the woodies at SFNE. I'm excited to try this one on a few different seats. Chang was great! I'm not a huge stand-up fan, but it was smooth and powerful and had a couple pops of standing air (which was a great sensation). Two-train op with very little stacking. This was a great crew, having fun with the few guests in the station. Twisted Twins was pretty lame. After riding Legend today, I cannot imagine riding that with the Gerstlauer trains! They track so strangely, and the noises they make are ungodly! Trackwork was very smooth, though, and both sides were running (and dueling/racing). Ops were allowing those in the trains to find empty seats, so I got to sample a few rides on each side. Nothing spectacular, and it's probably one of the weakest applications of the racing/dueling format. Greezed Lightnin' was a walk-on. I love the engineering and construction of these rides. They are strong, intimidating--almost muscular, if that makes any sense. I friggin' love the lapbars on the Schwarzkopf trains. They are secure without being the least bit intrusive. I love how they pop open so dramatically at the end of the ride. 'Get the hell of the train... ride me again,' it screams. So, I did. Several times without leaving the platform thanks to the great ride-ops. That was about it. I did the drop tower, and forgot how much I prefer the Intamin towers to the variety of S&S towers. They're ballsy. And I'm fascinated by the simplicity of their design. This one's pretty short, but it still packs a nice punch. The mouse was crazy neutered. I skipped T2 because I value my brain matter above and beyond snagging a credit, but I'd imagine I'll take a spin on it when I hit the park tomorrow morning on my way to Dollywood. So, a good visit to a park I'd heard very little positive words about. I really do hope the new customer service mantra sticks through the course of a long, muggy summer, because I've had a few really excellent experiences at Six Flags parks this year. So, there you go. My first post. My little solo jaunt got off to a great start, and despite some of my criticisms, it was a really, really great day. Looking forward to Dollywood... Jarrad
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