Well I must say, I was a little hesitant to throw down the money I did for the New Hotness tour, but let me tell you, once my 12 days was over and I was back home relaxing in my chair, recounting the experiences I had, the coasters I rode, the friends I made, the trip was every bit worth the money I spent on it, including all the extras I paid for, t-shirts, onride photo's, etc.. let's talk about the trip now...
I arrived on the 30th and relaxed in my room since there wasn't a whole lot more to do in Newark NJ, the room was really comfortable, and the restaurant downstairs offered a nice menu, I wasn't too thrilled with the wifi, but it was a pretty unanimous feeling amongst the other participants as evident by a lot of us sitting out in the hallways to get a better signal.
The next day was the NY city add on with Coney Island. we arrived there in the morning, and met up with Scotty of Scotty's Pizza tours and he was our guide for the next few hours. we walked the streets of little Italy and stopped at 3 different pizza places, Lombardi's, Forcelli's, and Joe's Pizza for a different slice at each one, we also learned about the ovens, how the pies are made, and the history behind it all. you would think it was a boring tour, but it was actually pretty interesting, and the pizza was awesome! not to mention you got a view of NY too.
moving on with the report, after the pizza tour was over it was time to head to Coney Island! This place was everything I was expecting it to be, after seeing it in videos and coaster specials for years, of course the first order of the day was the Cyclone, I was thrilled to be riding a piece of history, it's almost a rite of passage to ride it, however I wasn't expecting the roughness of it, nor was I expecting to get ejected out of my seat on the hills, only to be slammed back down at the valleys. I was banged around and it took me by total surprise. now I know why the seats are literally covered in extra padding, you really do need it! I rode this twice, the second ride wasn't nearly as bad, and there was no way I was going to sit in the back seat of that monster..
We rode a few of the other coasters there at the park, nothing really worth hooting and hollering about though. we headed back to NJ and the hotel around 10 pm we had to get up early and be in the lobby with our luggage by 7 to officially start the trip. the first stop was Six Flags Great Adventure, I really enjoyed this park a lot, we had to deal with some rain at the start of the day, and it stuck around for a few hours, the rides would close, and open frequently, but we stood our ground and patience, and eventually the day turned out great, and we got every credit in. I was blown away by Kingda Ka, however I wasn't expecting it to be as rough as it was, so that was kind of surprising.
up until this trip, The Voyage was my top wooden thrill, but that all changed once I rode El Toro! holy cow the insane airtime, and speed of that coaster combined with how smooth it flies over that track, is incredible. we had night time ERT on this one and after 13 times of riding this one, I was feeling the day. another awesome coaster from this park was Nitro! we got about 12 rides in on this one, with some of them being at night time which was great since there are no lights on the ride at all. We also got a backstage tour of this one, and got some interesting insights on the ride, from the general manager.
Those were the three coasters that stood out the most at this park, even though I did enjoy Bizarro as well. one of the trains on Kingda Ka did a rollback with a bunch of TPR people on board, so luck was with some that night. after a long day though we piled onto the bus and headed to the hotel, and the next day would be Knoebels.
Knobels was an awesome little park with lots of stuff to ride, I wasn't expecting the good times I had while there, we got an interesting backstage tour of "Flying turns" in which we also got to walk the track, which was a definite treat.
after the walk back, it was time for lunch then we headed off to ride the rides and enjoy our day, The Phoenix was a total surprise to me, it turned out to be an awesome coaster, and the out of your seat crazy airtime absolutely makes the entire ride worth it! I was seriously wondering all day how we were going to have swords and other glowing devices that night during the glowfest without being ejected out of the car.. I didn't get any shots of the glow fest, but I tell you it was the high point of the day! we had so much glow going on, and it was so incredibly fun, I can't even think of how many times we rode that coaster, done with Knobels, and the next day was Hershey park!
Hershey park was a fun place, but it really wasn't too exciting for me, we got ERT on Skyrush, which is a great coaster however they really need to rethink the restraints for the ride. The first hill is the best part of the whole ride, there are a few shots of airtime, some nice turns and drops, but those restraints really need work..
we got all the credits in here, almost thought we weren't going to get to ride Fahrenheit because of the ride closures because of a pending storm moving in, however it never developed and all the rides opened up. I really enjoyed Fahrenheit, Storm Runner, The Great Bear, and SooperdooperLooper. and the Wildcat was a little rougher than I was expecting, although I still loved it. we unwillingly rode Roller Soaker, and btw when Robb gives you the idea to ride it early because there isn't anyone there to fire the cannons, don't listen to him, HE is an expert cannon shooter, and had his minions timing the hits perfectly.. (thanks for the soaking robb)
we headed out of Hershey, and the next stop was a big anticipation for me, Kings dominion! I loved this park, I had been wanting to hit this park for many years because of seeing Rebel Yell in the movie "Rollercoaster" from the 70's. it is also the home to Intimidator 305 which totally blew me away! what an incredible coaster, the sheer height of it combined with the speed, and the airtime and quick direction changes all make it the coaster it is. for an even better experience ride it at night time, no lights other than on the lift hill! we got ERT at night on this, and it was awesome, we also got an added bonus of a walkback tour of the coaster as well.
another favorite of mine at this park is "Dominator" wow what a nice coaster! we had ERT on this one as well and the ride was awesome every time we rode it. we closed out Kings dominion and headed back to the hotel across the street, the next morning it was time to move again but not before stopping off at Bush Gardens Williamsburg!
This was one of the most beautiful parks on the entire trip, and the rides, and employees and everything about this park made it an awesome place. Verbolten was everything it was hyped up to be, the effects in the dark forest were great, I got to see 2 of the 3 different "effects". we got a really cool backstage tour of Verbolten, Griffon, and Lochness Monster, before heading back for lunch. we got to ride the front seat of Griffon and the back as well, both incredible rides, we got ERT on Griffon, at night which was great. Apollos chariot was another surprise coaster, it rocked, and the airtime was awesome!
after we closed out Busch Gardens, it was time to make our way to the next stop on the tour, Carowinds. I really wasn't too thrilled with Carowinds, I enjoyed my ride on Intimidator, but not so much when it was raining hard as it was a few times. NIghthawk was painful and definitely a ride once then forget it, speaking of painful, while riding on Ricochet, we came to a stop in the break run at the end of the ride, sitting there waiting to move into the station, when Bam! the next car comes slamming into our car! that wasn't very nice, thankfully none of us got hurt. there wasn't really much more at this park that grabbed my interest, and we ended up leaving earlier than expected guess the thought was unanimous!
our next stop was Pigeon Forge and Dollywood, it also meant 3 nights in the same hotel which was a welcomed treat... we hung around the hotel the first night catching up on wash, and relaxing, and the next day was spent in Gatlinburg, taking in the tourist traps, and spending money on stuff in the various shops. the following day was our day in Dollywood, unfortunately, a storm moved in early on and was with us for most of the afternoon and early evening, by the time it did end, the skies cleared up, the temperatures dropped, and half the people in the park headed home leaving a somewhat empty park for us to enjoy. "Wild Eagle" was an incredible ride, though it's not a major thrill ride, it is awesome because of how smooth it is, and how it glides along the track. there are a few bouts of air which are an added bonus, the night time rides were the best however there are about 4 different camera points that take pictures, and the flashes from them are blinding.
after Dollywood we hit Lake Winnie the next day which was like a smaller version of Knobels, it had cheesy rides, a rough coaster, and we had a really good time, well I did anyway... they have a drop tower there, its very deceiving, there is no warning when its dropping it just goes when your not expecting it. We had one more stop to go and that was Six Flags over Georgia..
This was another one of those "must see" parks on my list, and I really wasn't disappointed with it in the least bit. the main gate of the park was literally 5 minutes away from the front door of the hotel, so the option of coming back to the room to sleep was there and boy did we take advantage of it. the coaster highlights for me here were Goliath, Mindbender, Great American Scream Machine, and the Georgia Scorcher. Daredevil dive was exciting but it was way too slow and the trim break right at the release on the top of the first hill is so not needed. I liked this park however it was a lot of walking to get from one end to the other and really wore you out. at lunch time they raffled off 20 spots on a backstage tour of the parks grave yard, which was actually pretty interesting to do..
The trip ended with ERT on Goliath and Georgia Scorcher, they did the water challenge on the Georgia Cyclone, we were too busy riding Goliath to do the water challenge. we left the park about 1130 and headed back to the hotel for the snack exchange, and final night before heading home the next day. in addition to all the parks we visited, there were several stops along the way at fun centers, and mini parks that offered kiddie coaster credits, the fun times were in abundance at those stops, nothing better than seeing a bunch of coaster nuts holding their hands up on a kiddie coaster going wooo hoo! over the hills..
This trip has been such an experience for me, I rode so many coasters, I got to visit several states, I made some of the most incredible friends, and I have some pretty special memories of the trip that will always remain... Robb and Elissa go out of their way to make these things eventful for the participants, and deserve more kudos that I can possibly give. they work extra hard to get those perks and ERT at the parks, and I can only imagine the hours spent planning, organizing and researching that is done for each and every one of the trips.
hands down it was one of the best investments I have ever made, and look forward to the next bash/trip I can attend! thanks again Robb And Elissa!