Part 3: Six Flags Magic Mountain
So...it had finally come to this. SFMM was the park I was looking forward to the least on this trip after hearing many negative comments. I was expecting it to be Six Flags America, but with a slightly better selection of roller coasters. Did I have a good day? Did something derail and/or catch fire? Read on, and find out!
We got to the park for 10am, which was when the website said it was opening. However, the park didn't really open until about 10:30 for...reasons. On the plus side, this gave us some time to look at the park map and plan out our day. Our first stop was to the most important part of the park...the Flash Pass office. I will never not buy one of these things when I travel. It's money well spent. Since we had heard horror stories of SFMM's operations, we decided to be high class and bought the Platinum Passes. It turned out to be a great idea.
Our first stop of the day (along with most of everyone else) was X2. X2 has been a bucket list coaster for me ever since I first saw X in RCT2 way back in the day. I was not disappointed in this ride. It was everything I was hoping it would be...crazy, intense and disorienting. The first drop is probably my favourite drop on any coaster ever. I didn't even find it to be rough, and I was sitting on the outside seat. To make matters better, we managed to get a front row ride which I think just made it better. I'm sad there is only one of these rides in North America and that it's so far from me.
Since Viper is right next door, that's where we went next. Viper was my first of the now mostly dead Arrow megaloopers. I can see why they're more or less an extinct species. It's not that it's overly rough or uncomfortable...it's just...boring. There is no imagination in the layout. It's basically the same Arrow multilooper I've been on countless times, but a bit taller. They didn't even use the height/speed appropriately since Arrow didn't learn to make bigger loops until Tennessee Tornado. It's a shame too, because with a bit more imagination, this ride could have been something special. Instead, it's same old same old.
Next up was a ride with some definite historic bonafides, Revolution. Now, let's get this out of the way...the OTSR's suck. We all know that. Let's not talk about it further. I actually enjoyed my ride on Revolution. It had a real graceful feeling when it was going through the big sweeping turns that I really liked. Also, the run in to the loop is something that builds anticipation and momentum. Plus...it was the Whippersnapper in National Lampoon's Vacation. That automatically makes it awesome.
Continuing down the front of the park, we came to the park's newest hotness that's not a kiddie coaster, Fu ll Throttle (YOLO!). I love Premier and pretty much everything they do. Fu ll Throttle is no exception. While the launches aren't particularly foreceful, there is plenty of hangtime to be found in the loop. And with only the lap restraint, that's pretty fun. The backwards bit I was a bit skeptical about, but it was still fun going back up the inversion and stalling before going into the last launch. There is definitely some airtime to be found on the top hat, but you hit the brakes so quickly, it ends before you can enjoy it. As much as I enjoyed Fu ll Throttle, it has a major drawback: it's too short. It feels almost...incomplete, like they had something else planned for after the top hat but Six Flags couldn't afford it, so they just ended the ride there.
Now, from here we had a choice. We could either keep walking all the way around to the side of the park for Goliath, or we could be lazy and take the Orient Express up to Ninja. So...Ninja wasn't too bad of a ride. It seemed to carry its speed throughout the course rather well and provided a couple of really good swings. Now that said, I'd still take Vortex and Big Bad Wolf over it, but it was enjoyable. Plus, we didn't hit any trees (too soon?). I'm still a bit confused about the placement of the second lift. It reminded me of Adventure Express at KI, but except without the awesomely lame animatronics. That said, when going up the second lift, both my friend and I were chanting "YOU WILL PAY". Because we are nerds.
After this, we hit up probably the best flying coaster I've been on (not that that's saying much), Tatsu. I love the B&M flyer seats and restraints. They're probably the most comfortable out there. As for the coaster, it was pretty good. But, what really set it apart from the other flyers I've been on is the pretzel loop. Holy f'ing crap was that thing intense. I had a rough idea of what to expect, but it still caught me off guard. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but...damn. The rest of the ride felt like more of a graceful wander with the odd inversion thrown in for good measure. Still, I'd take this over any of the Superman clones.
Continuing our journey through the back part of the park, we came to the park's newest woodie, Apocalypse. While we could no longer take the tunnel, I still really enjoyed this ride. It carries its speed really well and provides good little pops of air all along the course. GCI has been doing some really good work lately and this is just another example. Also, Millennium Flyers are super comfy and I love them.
Our next stop was the park's mine train, Gold Rusher. There's not really much to say about this one. It was your typical mine train. Fun, but not something you'd really want to ride more than once. In fact, I remember very little about the actual layout or course of the ride. It's kind of just vanished in the ether of my memories.
After Gold Rusher, we wanted to ride Superman. No big deal right? Well...not if you foolishly decide to climb Samurai Summit. We must have taken a wrong turn or something because we just started climbing...and climbing...and climbing. I thought Magic Springs was excessive on the hills...but damn. As we were going up, another group came up to us and asked if we had also made a wrong turn going to Superman. Damn you, Samurai Summit!
Anyway...Superman. What a complete and total letdown. Much like X2, Superman had been a bucket list coaster for me since I first saw it on TV. But, unlike X2, Superman did not live up to my expectations. Sure, it goes 100mph (though in reality, I'm sure it's far less than that) and has a 400 foot tall tower, but it was just so boring. The launch did not do a thing for me. It just felt like I was in a car pulling on to a highway. Even going up the spike, I didn't get the same sense of "holy crap, I'm high up" or hang time that I've felt on other rides. Even launching backwards seemed to be pointless. I'd take either of the Mr. Freeze rides over this any day of the week. Now, all that being said, I think this ride has just been overhyped having been on every TV show about roller coasters since 1997. Maybe I was expecting something that was never there. Or maybe I've been on so many more extreme rides over the years that what would have been mindblowing in 1997 is common place in 2014.
After Superman, it seemed like a good time to get lunch, so we went back down the mountain and hit up the Full Throttle Sports Bar. This was for two reasons. One was to get a break from the sun and the other was to watch the US/Ghana World Cup match. To my surprise, the restaurant was actually pretty full of soccer fans cheering on the US side. When they scored the first goal, the place went crazy. It was a fun experience.
After lunch, we made the trek around to Goliath. I don't know what it is about the Giovanola hypers, but there's not a lot going on with them. The first drop has that weird constant angle thing going on that doesn't really give you the same thrill as the B&M or Intamin hypers of the same era (e.g., Nitro, Ride of Steel, etc). I did appreciate the tunnel at the bottom of the drop though, that gives a great head chopper effect. I'm also a fan of the helix of death, even though the MCBR makes it not as deathy as it could be. Like most of the rides here, I liked it, but it could have been so much better. Maybe a bonus helix like Titan has would have made me like it more (even though I had the same thoughts about Titan).
Up next was something I had been looking forward to for a while, Lex Luthor Drop of Doom. I'm a huge drop tower fan, so getting the chance to ride a 400 foot tall one made me very excited. I loved this ride. The suspense slowly building as you go up the tower only to be replaced by adrenaline as you fall for what seems like forever was great. I don't know if it was a purposeful decision or not, but the overhang above the car so you can't see how much farther until the top was a great touch. It's probably my favourite drop tower now. I can only imagine Zumanjaro is just as good.
Heading down into what seemed like a forgotten corner of the park, we encountered Scream, the coaster with authentic parking lot theming! The ride itself is decent enough, even though it's B&M Cookie Cutter Model 105. I didn't think the parking lot would have been as noticeable as it was, but it really took away from the ride. It just looked ugly and cheap. Like Magic Mountain said "WE NEED COASTER! COASTER GOES HERE NOW!" without any real thought. I mean...how hard is it to put down grass or do some basic landscaping? Bah.
Across the way from Scream is (was? will be?) Colossus. However, it was closed on the day we were there. We ended up getting to Magic Mountain the day after Batman and Colossus finished their backwards runs and both rides were down. Why they didn't just put the forward trains on and have the rides opened is beyond me. But, it is not for us to know, it is only for us to wonder why. Anyway, two missed credits. Kind of crappy, but what are ya gonna do.
However, there were still open coasters in DC Universe for us to ride! The first one we got to was Green Lantern. While I had heard some not very positive things about this ride, I was giving it the benefit of the doubt since Insane is so highly praised. But...oh god. This ride wasn't just painful or horrible. It was horribly painful. I think a lot of the pain was having my shoulders and collarbone reamed into the restraint every time we went down a drop, perhaps going too fast or something, I dunno. Maybe if the ride actually spun more than once or twice it would be better. But as it stands, this one is in the bottom 5 of my list.
Our final credit of the day was Riddler's Revenge. Now, here's a ride I loved! I'm not a fan of stand up coasters at all. I couldn't stand (no pun intended) Mantis, despised Shockwave, danced a dance when I found out Skyrider was leaving Canada's Wonderland and the less said about CGA Vortex the better (because that part is still coming). But, this one was awesome! The layout was really good and didn't allow you to really catch your breath until the brake run. I loved the back to back dive loops into the inclined loop. And who doesn't love a Kumba style loop around the lift? This was one of the best surprises of the trip. I wasn't expecting much from it, but it came through big time!
So, after a marathon day at the park, we got in all our (open) credits. We stayed for a while longer and re-rode a few things before leaving. So...what was my take on this park? All in all, I had a good day. But, that was entirely due to the Q-Bot. For the most part, operations were pretty poor at the park. Without the pass, we wouldn't have come anywhere near finishing the credits. If I would have been waiting in the lines, I would have been annoyed and aggravated really early. The whole vibe of the park seemed to be "um...put a coaster here or something. No, I don't care if it fits. Just do it. We need this record! WE MUST BEAT CEDAR POINT!" and "Operations? Capacity? LOL NOPE" which are to the detriment of the rest of the park.
To be honest, if I were back in LA, I don't think I would go back to Magic Mountain, even with Twisted Colossus unless I already had a Six Flags season pass.
On that depressing note, here are some pictures!
Arriving at Magic Mountain! But, the real story here is the age of that school bus. Damn.
This was insane and awesome
The whole time, my body never really knew what was going on
I will give Viper some credit, it does look nice.
Normal sized loop placed insanely high because why learn something new?
At least it wasn't too rough
It's actually a fun ride if you look past the OTSR's
Failed attempt at a fancy picture
It's a shame it brakes so soon
Look ma! No trees! (side note: the accident happened after the trip)
It was definitely refreshing to ride a flyer that wasn't a Superman layout
Huge pretzel! Huge forces!
There were tunnels. Though we were never told to take them.
I love the curvy layouts of GCI rides
And hey, it's way better than Psyclone would have been.
RIP, Terminator Salvation
Pretty much the only picture I got of Gold Rusher. I told you I forgot all about it.
*gasp* Just give me...*wheeze* a couple minutes.
It only ran one side, which was kind of lame.
The sign for Goliath is better than the ride. That said, I still liked the ride.
That is one loooooong drop
Hahaha, do your fart. I am 8 years old.
Are you screaming? Because that would be appropriate here.
Gorgeous area the park picked for it
Though nothing can dampen my love of interlocking corkscrews
Green torture machine
If Hal Jordan can make anything his mind desires with the ring, why couldn't he make a good roller coaster?
I'll also blame Ryan Reynolds. Because...reasons.
Denied: Part 2!
Riddle me this...
What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree, and is very dangerous?
A sparrow with a machine gun!
What does a turkey do when he flies upside down?
He gobbles up!
Bonus Fu ll Throttle pictures!
I love those trains. Very comfy.
Pretzel looping as the sun goes down
Mandatory picture quota filled!
See you later, Magic Mountain!
You too, Scream! I also like how this one turned out.
Up next: Disneyland Part 2: Electric Boogaloo!