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Dr. M

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Everything posted by Dr. M

  1. I see people debating about how awful/not-so-awful SFA is, and whenever I see that I can't help but chime in. From my one visit about two years ago, my impression was that SFA is basically a used car lot for major coasters (plopped down next to each other in a dirt field). Outside of Wild One, the park was utterly bereft of atmosphere or charm of any kind. It was absolutely the most vacant, soulless, hilariously corporate, listless, uncreative, uninspired, dirty, and barren amusement park experience I've ever had. Nothing about it is unique, except for possibly having the worst location of any amusement park in the world. Why is it even worth making excuses for it? The worst car in the world may still have wheels, an engine, and windows that roll down, but it'll still be worse than any other car you could buy. As long as this park remains nothing more than essentially a dumping ground for SF intellectual property and used coasters (or clones, or new coasters with nothing really "new" about them), then it doesn't matter how great the operations get or how much theming they add. The fundamental problem will still be there, the park has no soul, no character, and worst of all, no f***ing trees. That is all. EDIT: Ok, ok, it has trees... around the edges... here and there... squint hard and you can see them...
  2. That's crazy. Do these rides even have much in the way of "airtime"? Even if you're somehow not secured properly, how would you just fall out? EDIT: I looked at some footage of the ride, and the cars do seem fairly open, like you could pretty easily fall out if not restrained properly. Must have been one of the turns that threw him out? That's very sad, I hope he makes a full recovery. And I hope he sues their asses off. Considering he's a somewhat elderly gent, I doubt there was any horse play involved.
  3. Have you ridden Nitro though? I feel Nitro is an exception just because it has super solid tummy-tickling airtime over every hill, and generally avoids that "trimmed" feeling. If it's possible for you to enjoy B&M hypers, you'll enjoy that one.
  4. To me it's like asking a food connoisseur if he prefers salty flavors or sweet flavors. Both are essential ingredients to an excellent culinary experience, what's the point in trying to isolate them? Even a ride like the Phoenix isn't just about airtime. When your riding in the backseat, and you reach the far end of one of the turnarounds just as the train has begun accelerating again and you get that huge kick of lateral Gs, man that makes the ride for me just as much as the airtime does. One compliments the other.
  5. What he meant is do people prefer negative G's or positive G's. Most people figured it out. I personally prefer positive G's, although I enjoy some nice floater negative G's, too. Maverick does not boast particularly high positive Gs beyond possibly the first few turns. It's "forcefulness" mainly comes from the force of the twists. I don't think most people know what the $*%& other people are talking about, and in any case if they do then it would be nice if people used the correct terminology. Most people would call El Toro a "forceful" coaster, and in that case it is negative gs they're talking about.
  6. ^Thank you! From the Wikipedia article: "Recovery is usually prompt following removal of g-force but a period of several seconds of disorientation may occur." Guess that answers my question. It would be interesting for the show to go into factors that give some people a higher tolerance to g-force than others, genes, fitness level, etc.
  7. I guess it would just be called "passing out". I don't doubt it's possible to pass out on a ride, but if you have no preexisting conditions and are completely recovered by the time the ride is over, then I'd be curious if that's really what's happening. If you completely lose your vision, then your brain must already be in a heightened state where you may not remember anything during the ride, for instance during my first ride on Skyrush I apparently yelled "my thighs!" over the final bunny hop, but had no memory of this whatsoever afterwards, and that was without having blacked out first. In any case it would be interesting for the show to cover the difference between greyout, blackout, and pass out, and how things like dehydration affect whether they occur.
  8. Airtim is force, I seriously do not understand the distinction here at all.
  9. Oh man, is this the thread for me. I've had ideas for what my own amusement park would look like for a long time. My ideas have grown and changed over the years, but here's sort of what it looks like right now. You may think this is all totally unrealistic, and maybe it is, but oh well, it's my imagination. To be honest, there's no racing giga, no 500' coasters with multiple inversions. I believe this is a park that could exist in the reality we live in today, if it had the the right people and the right money behind it. (edit: Maybe I should point out that this would be the "master plan", executed over many years of development.) Overall description: A park that's deeply rooted in the surrounding community, combining a small, family-owned park atmosphere with world-class thrills. It would also work closely with the local artistic community, with constantly rotating installations and performances from local musicians and theater groups (as well as touring talent). The main midways would always be lined with street performers of every kind. Music would be extremely important to the park, even hosting its own avant-garde music festival. The location would be heavily forested of course, with a decent amount of interesting terrain. Theme: The theme along the main midways would be total over-the-top fantasy land, with big incandescent bulbs strung over every pathway and hanging from every building, with larger-than-life statues and architecture that meld a blurry, idealized vision of turn-of-the-century amusement parks (Coney Island and the like) with European high-fantasy, wizards and witches and such. The outer rims of the park would delve into slightly darker territory, as you'll see in some of my descriptions of the rides. List of rides, in the approximate order of construction: Grand Carousel: This would be the centerpiece of the elaborately-themed entrance plaza, located in a courtyard surrounded by tall Gothic architecture, but done in a playful way, with many statues of pixies and gargoyles and such, sort of like Cinderella's castle on drugs. It would feature the world's largest carousel organ, and the only one that also uses the space around the carousel, with ranks of pipes and percussion hidden all around the surrounding structure. The smooth stone walls would create a very live, echo-y space giving the organ a truly magnificent, almost church-like sound. All musical arrangements would be done by yours truly, and live concerts would be held just for people to sit and listen to the organ, occasionally combined with live performers. Classic woodie: Located not far from the entrance and mostly visible from the midway, this would be the starring attraction in the park's inaugural year, a standard classic wooden coaster featuring fast-paced airtime hills and high un-banked turns, with of course buzz-bar-only restraints. All lit up like a postcard from Luna Park, circa 1905. Dark ride: This would go along with the over-the-top theming of the main midway (with a facade to match), a classic dark ride that takes place almost entirely in darkness, with extremely loud terrifying things that pop out at you. The most notable unique gag: A room of seemingly endless cobwebs. A pulsating egg sac comes into view, you seem to be heading straight for it. Suddenly the lights go out, it's pitch black, there's the sound of a million tiny legs racing toward you, and the car passes between giant rollers, kind of like the rollers in a car wash, with millions of long thin fibers hanging off of them, that start at the bottom of the rollers and travel upwards, brushing past the riders and simulating the feeling of getting swarmed by baby spiders. Steel looper: This coaster is really what puts the park on the map as far as thrill rides go. Located away from the main midway, it starts with a long chain lift up a densely forested hillside. It has an extended terrain section that starts before any big drops occur, cutting a few switchbacks through the forest, slowly, slowly increasing in speed, with a very tight barrel roll thrown in for surprise, taking place only a few feet above the ground. Finally there's a flat section of track leading directly away from the hillside to the main ~160' beyond-vertical drop, hit at a pretty decent clip resulting in one of the strongest moments of airtime on any first drop in the world. The second half would be similar to Stormrunner with three or four elements, either inversions or straight airtime hills, that take place high in the sky, zooming down to the ground between each one right along the midway and then back up again. This coaster, possibly entitled "Coven", is themed to the idea of a coven of witches running off into the woods to perform rituals and conjure spirits, and then returning to the town possessed by said spirits, ready to wreak havoc. It has a sort of haunted rural theme, with the station structure a typical American barn seen through a fun house mirror, impossibly tall, with a vaulted, almost Gothic wooden ceiling, and tall, arched windows illuminating the space from high above the guests' heads. It would be advertised cheekily as simply "the greatest roller coaster ever built". Launched Woodie: Exactly what it sounds like, this traditionally-tracked coaster starts with a sharp drop from the station, around a curve or two, and then enters the launch track located directly beneath the station track (like Maverick), through a pitch-black tunnel where you're accelerated to ~60 MPH. The rest of the layout is intense and stays as low to the ground as possible. Indoor Coaster: This would also be along the outer reaches of the park, the centerpiece of an area themed to post-industrial urban decay. It would have narrow pathways winding around an abandoned factory complex, appealing to the "urban explorer" in all of us. In the largest part of the building is the most intense indoor roller coaster ever built, with extremely tight turns and inversions. It would constantly be switching between pitch blackness and incredibly bright lights pointed in your face, the whole building being pumped full of grating industrial dance music, total sensory overload, almost like the abandoned building has been taken over by some insane, very angry spirits. Like Space Mountain from hell. B&M Invert: This would be the first B&M invert to feature lapbar-only restraints (ha). It would be fast-paced and intense, never far from the ground, weaving around and through the buildings of Post-Industrial Decay Land (I'd think of a better name for it), kind of like Black Mamba (only more intense). It would feature probably four inversions, the world's tightest dive loop, zero g roll and two corkscrews. Like many of the coasters the layout would be on the short side, no MCBR, favoring pacing and intensity over length. Backwards Vekoma Tilt coaster: This would be the tallest coaster in the park, possibly a hyper coaster. Only the tilt-drop mechanism would be supplied by Vekoma, not the entire layout. The seats would be designed with every other row facing backwards. The tilting platform would have a fake-out drop to it, so when the train was tilted about 80ยบ or so the train would suddenly lurch forward maybe six inches. The rest of the layout would be your standard hyper layout, focusing on airtime instead of inversions, for the sake of the backwards-facing riders' necks and backs. Advertised as the world's tallest true vertical drop, and the only one you can experience facing backwards. Pneumatic Launch Coaster: Again, only the launch mechanism would be designed by S&S (all track designs in this park are done at least partly in-house, myself taking a John Wardley coaster auteur approach). It starts with a short trip through pitch blackness, with a voice from the darkness reminding you to keep your hands down and your head firmly against the head rest, before it suddenly starts glitching out and fades to static, like a radio losing its frequency. You're left sitting in total darkness before an array of flashing lights and obnoxious industrial warning buzzers lights up in front of you as the doors ahead open to the outside, but before you even have time to react you're accelerated to 110 MPH in 1.5 seconds (the world's fastest acceleration). There's a very brief stretch of flat track that's right next to the midway. You turn away from the midway and race high up over the forest, a shallower hill instead of a vertical incline to take more advantage of your tremendous speed. At the highest point the track twists around the heartline into a flying snake dive (still with a very good amount of speed), diving vertically down towards the forest. Following this is a gigantic ejector airtime hill and then a long ground-level helix to point you back in the direction of the station. A main midway attraction, this coaster has a carnival theme, the front of the station building adorned with a gigantic statue of a boy's head, cartoony, looking like he's riding the ride, his hair blown straight back, his eyelids peeled back, his mouth wide open, his tongue hanging down over the outside queue area (it drips water during the hot summer months). Next to his head is a giant canon which the train appears to be launched out of. A puff of smoke emits from the mouth of the cannon every time a train is launched, sort of like the water jet effect on Summit Plummet. Other Rides: A tunnel of love, a log flume, an entire fantasy-themed children's area, a drop ride, other assorted flat rides. Laser Tag Arena: An upcharge attraction located in Post-Industrial Decay Land (but accessible from outside the park as well), the world's largest indoor laser tag arena, with it's own technologically advanced in-house system offering more types of gameplay than any other system in the world, even allowing large groups of guests to define their own rules. An annual tournament would be held. Halloween event: Of course a park with entire sections themed to horror elements would hold the most epic Halloween event you've ever seen. The daytime would have a fun, kid-friendly atmosphere with pumpkin carving and the like, but as night falls, legions of costumed actors would descend upon the midways, most of the lights would be turned out, the organ would begin playing horrible discordant music. There would be three or four long walk-throughs, focusing on quality over quantity (and coming at a rather steep upcharge), including one that's very expensive and takes reservations in advance, something along the lines of, well, this. Oh, and No Water Park Well, that's about all my ideas for now. I highly doubt anybody read all that, but it was a ton of fun typing it all out anyway.
  10. Yeah Skyrush at Hershey always seemed to have a cluster of people just standing around the entrance when I went last year, forcing you to shove by them. Super annoying. I've had some of the best ride op experiences at Hershey, along with some of the worst. That same visit the Skyrush op who was sitting in front of the mic was twisting the metal neck of the mic around and around, making a loud horrible scratching sound through the speakers. All the guests were giving him dirty looks and he just smirked back at them. If I was his supervisor I think I would've broken his wrists.
  11. I found neither of my rides on Blue Streak to be rough or painful at all, with the exception of the trains (remove the ridiculous headrests and the individual lap bars) it's perfect the way it is.
  12. I saw the picture before I read your description, and my first thought was "Did they seriously put that decal on crooked?"
  13. I've revised my question a little, since I thought a "blackout" implied total loss of consciousness and according to Wikipedia it does not, blacking out really does just mean losing your vision. Is it possible to completely lose consciousness (due to g-force) during a ride and then be conscious again by the time you hit the brakes?
  14. Thunderhawk was the first roller coaster I ever went on, I've been on it many, many times over the years and I can't say I've ever gotten a ride that was even close to being good. Maybe I've just been extraordinarily unlucky, but visiting the park at least twice a year for fourteen years and I've yet to get even decent floater airtime, so I'd say rides without the trims on are rare at best. Sometimes it's rougher, sometimes it's smoother, but it's never good. Maybe the layout has potential, at least to be better than it is, but it'll be a cold day in hell before we ever see it.
  15. It's actually pretty easy. For example... this is from Cedar Point's "Roller Coasters" page. I'm not arguing about whether Goliath is wood or steel because I don't care, and I don't care if Cedar Point thinks this is a coaster... but it isn't. HA! Life is one big grey area, isn't it? It's got wheels, it's gravity driven (sort of), it's on a track... Of course, I don't think anyone ever tried to call that old Ring of Fire ride a coaster.
  16. Put me on the list of people who found GateKeeper extremely uncomfortable (one of the worst rides I've been on comfort-wise) and even if the tightening problem has been "fixed", thinks the big smothery vest design is STUPID.
  17. I'm not the first person to say this, but the real problem with wing coasters (remember, wing riders are made by Intamin, not B&M) is not intensity, it's lack of creativity in the layouts. With the exception of the wing over drop, every wing coaster is just a string of elements from B&M's tired bag of tricks, only this time, ooh, you're next to the track instead of above or below it! How innovative. "Ehh you got your loops, your rolls, your helices, what more do you want?" Intamin built a ride with not one, not two, but three separate launches, Premiere built a ride that was basically a giant loop with a top hat over it, RMC... well, you know what RMC is doing. There's a lot of creativity and imagination in the industry today, and B&M isn't at the forefront, they're not even in the middle, they've placed themselves squarely at the back of the pack.
  18. Well the actual first proper wood coasters - side friction coasters - ran on 100% steel rails. See this picture of the Scenic Railway in Melbourne (Australia), which was built in 1912.. By your standards then, every non-side-friction wooden coaster isn't traditional and should not have been built Joking aside - this argument is getting a little ridiculous. You don't want to call it a wood coaster? Fine, then don't .. but it seems like you're not going to let anyone change your mind (which is fine), and you're not going to change anyone's mind (also fine). Going round and round in circles over it is a bit silly and subtracts from the big picture: RMC and SFGAm are doing something totally mental and insane and that's awesome. It could be built from ground up kittens and baby seals, and it would still be awesome! Hey now, I like what RMC is doing, I was one of the more vocal proponents of this coaster once the layout was released, I still am (minor quibble with the supporting structure aside). A great coaster is a great coaster. I'm just not sure I see the point of classifying it as a wooden coaster, from an enthusiast perspective. That's all this conversation is about. But I've said what I think so this'll be the last I mention it. Probably. Speaking of the layout, they've clearly done their best to stuff an extremely tall coaster into a very limited space. Does this remind anyone else of the circumstances that brought us Skyrush? That kind of problem requires tight turns taken at a very high speed, I'm thinking we might be looking at another coaster that pushes the boundaries of intensity.
  19. Damn straight. I'd be the first to admit I get into stuff too deeply sometimes.
  20. Ok, easy one: People talk about "blacking out" on coasters, but is it actually possible to completely lose consciousness during the course of the ride and then be conscious again by the time you hit the brakes?
  21. ^It's always going to be an issue of "you say tom-a-to, I say to-mah-to", as long as people refrain from acting like these things are set in stone, we won't have a problem. RMC calls it a wood coaster because it's good for business, gives the parks something to market. Fortunately, I am not bound by that same principle and am free to call it as I see it, as are we all.
  22. Keep in mind I don't think it matters very much, but here's my reasoning for why it matters at all. The biggest reason is yes, fair polling. Like it or not, the GTA are an important marketing tool for parks both big and small. How can you possibly compare Gold Rusher to a coaster with a dive loop? That's the whole reason for the distinction in the first place. I don't participate in the polls, but I can tell you I certainly wouldn't want to have to make that comparison. It's not that one is better than the other, it's that they're simply not in the same category. The other reason is more abstract. If you're a hard-core wooden coaster fan, but you don't consider these coasters wooden coasters, than seeing all the wood records being claimed by them, seeing so many people name them as their favorite wooden coaster, etc. etc., don't you think that might get pretty irritating? Again, no it's not that important, but the fact remains. I don't think anybody is "up in arms about it", I think it's just irritating when statements like "You can consider it a steel coaster if you want, but it'll still be a wood coaster" are made, as if it's some kind of immutable fact. That's a provocative statement, it's saying my opinion is invalid, and it's also not a reflection of reality. There is room here for both views. The role of the large steel rails tends to be downplayed in these kinds of discussions, but is that really true that the spine is serving a much larger structural purpose? The rails in this case aren't only the actual running surface of the train, they're also why the coaster is smoother than traditional wood and will remain smooth over time. They're the reason a more minimal support structure can be used. They're the reason the track can be twisted into more shapes and endure the stress of inversions. This is all because of how much of the track is steel, and yet you're telling me the spine is the most important thing? It may happen to be what the steel rails are sitting on, but I think it's pretty clear the rails are the defining feature of the track. How much would really change if this was an i-box coaster and that spine was metal? Not nearly as much as if the rails were traditional wood, nothing about this design would be possible. So then in a manner of speaking, doesn't this track have more in common with steel track than it does wood, if you go strictly by properties and abilities? So what you're saying is the thin strips of metal on a traditional wood coaster actually constitute the "rails", while the wood pieces underneath are just the cross ties. Fair enough, but again approaching this from an engineering perspective, you have to admit that the role of the steel in traditional wood track is very different from the steel in topper track. I can't articulate this very well since I'm not an engineer. But it seems clear to me that those thin metal rails in traditional coaster track only serve to provide a smooth running surface. On topper track, the metal is the only thing between the running wheels and the up-stop wheels. It's what allows the track to be in that shape, it's what keeps the train from flying off into space. It's obviously supplying much more of the actual structure than the steel on traditional wood track.
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