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Everything posted by rramstad

  1. Wildcat was brutal, and yes, I was floored that it was in that condition considering it was retracked recently. I have no idea how that happens, especially with the train that is on it... normally that train is quite forgiving. You are correct that Wildcat doesn't seem to be set up for two train operation (no transfer track) but it easily could run two trains as there's a break run before the loading area as well as the lift hill i.e. it could block for two trains and you could simply have both on there all the time. Ridiculous to have a 45 minute wait on a day that wasn't really all that crowded. I did not ride Boulder Dash in the front, and I didn't think it was all that bad in terms of the frantic nature of the ride but there were whole sections of track that because of zero lubrication and the stuck wheel(s) that the train failed to get any negative Gs at all even though the layout should have provided them. I don't mind a rugged ride when that is the intent, I get frustrated when I see a ride that is rugged in places where it should be providing airtime. The unfortunate part on Boulder Dash is that it's just lazy lack of maintenance. I did not get any sense that the track was out of gauge or that it needed rework. It was simply the combination of lack of regular lubrication plus stuck wheel(s) on the train. There was no sign of the blue train anywhere and a crane next to the transfer track. Anyhow this all now has me worried about Kennywood. If the park management is this disconnected from what is going on at the park i.e. the main attractions at Compounce should be the two woodies, and big picture, they were both complete let downs, that's not good, and if Kennywood's woodies are getting the same level of neglect or downright incompetence, that would be unfortunate.
  2. Unfortunately our trip Sunday was a real mixed bag. The good: definitely a neat, historic, classic NE park. The bad: crowded, most lines were 45 minutes or so. Wildcat was unbelievably rough for a coaster that size. I think my wife suffered a minor concussion riding it, or Boulder Dash. She was unable to ride most of the coasters at SFNE the next day due to headaches. It's unbelievable that they were running single trains on both woodies on an unbelievably crowded Sunday, and both coasters were among the worst I've ever ridden in terms of maintenance and how much they battered the rider. (This coming from someone who is a veteran of woodies all over the USA, and likes rugged rides as long as they aren't pointless... Big fan of the Luna Park Cyclone, and the old Riverside Cyclone, for example.) It was pretty clear that there was a stuck wheel or other issues with the train they were running on Boulder Dash, lots of squealing and jumpy behavior from the third or fourth car. The other Boulder Dash train wasn't even on the transfer track, and there was a crane next to the ride, suggesting it's off somewhere getting repaired... which they should hurry up, given it's mid August, and the train they are running clearly has issues too. I can see where Boulder Dash with a properly functioning train and with correct maintenance might be a top five woodie. The setting was awesome, the layout had serious potential, and it was fun. That said, in the condition it's in, I can't even put it in the top twenty or so. Ugh. It was nice to be in that environment, with the rides and the forest and the lake and the people, but the lines sucked, and the condition of the woodies depressing.
  3. Thanks for the advice on this thread. We had a decent day this last Monday. The park was fairly crowded by my standards, usually 15 minute waits for most things, often more than that. The biggest winner in terms of advice was probably the Pandemonium single rider line -- we wouldn't have had the time to wait in that line, it was over a half hour. I was quite impressed with Joker but that's probably partially because there was zero line and so it was easy to re-ride. Wicked Cyclone was smooth and fun but the ride felt really short compared to the original Riverside Cyclone. It also didn't have the same "barnstorming" sort of feel as the original. Evaluating it on its own merits, it did have a great start, middle, and end, but somehow didn't rise to the level of epic for me. Superman was good but the restraints reminded me (in a bad way) of Skyrush aka "Thigh Crush" at Hersheypark. Ugh. Thunderbolt was amazingly smooth for an old woodie. I was super impressed with that, given that we had been at Compounce the day before and gotten battered by Wildcat. We hit Cal's for lunch as another poster suggested and that was perfect for what we needed... dark, air conditioned, lots of food options, not too far away. It would have been nice if the park was less crowded as we probably got no more than three rides on any single coaster... Many of them we only did once, due to time. We were there all day except for a 2 hour break at the hottest time of the day. I think there might have been a bunch of school or church groups. Anyhow, thanks again for all the advice and suggestions.
  4. Thanks for the advice, really, and please anyone else chime in, I'm actively reading the thread, happy to listen to all suggestions. I suspect that Joker is probably also one to hit early because of capacity? I had some GREAT rides on Cyclone back in the day especially in late fall, when it was warm in the day and cold at night... the ride would really speed up as the rails cooled off, especially if it had been humid.
  5. Thanks for the season pass suggestion but I'm coming from Seattle and haven't been to SFNE in about 30 years. (I did have SF Magic Mountain passes last year, precisely for the reason you mentioned, we were doing a multi day visit and was cheaper to just buy passes for everyone... too bad that was last year.) I don't think it is likely that we would be able to use the passes again this year... though it is an interesting suggestion, as it doesn't take much for the pass to make sense. We'll be at the park Monday so I am not sure if the sale you mentioned will happen in time. Hmmm. Interesting concept for sure though. Thank you for the restaurant suggestion. I appreciate it. Mostly I was looking for any warnings regarding rides that are kind of useless in terms of re-ride potential but tend to have long lines because of the way they are constructed... always seems to me that every park has a couple of these, and I'm wondering which ones match that description at SFNE. The Cyclone was one of my favorites and I'm really excited to see what they've done with it.
  6. Hi there. I've read the last few pages of comments but wanted to post. I'm going to visit Lake Compounce for the first time later this week, and had a few questions. First, any recommended sequence for rides and/or warnings regarding rides with poor throughput that should be ridden early and/or watched for when they have a short line? Second, any food in the park that shouldn't be missed? Food outside the park that shouldn't be missed? It's interesting, I put this on the plan strictly because we have to be in central CT on Saturday anyway, and I knew it was nearby, and an older park. Then I read about Boulder Dash the other day, and got real excited. Then I read this forum, and now I have very low expectations. Looking forward to any information anyone can share. Thanks.
  7. Hi. I'll admit I haven't read the 792 pages of posts, but then again, I'm sure the first 600 or so are out of date LOL. I am going to make my first trip to SFNE since I used to have a season pass in 1991 back when it was Riverside. I understand a bit has changed... I'm wondering if the regulars can help me out with a couple things. First, is there a suggested ride order first thing in the morning OR rides that have notoriously poor throughput that should be hit early? Second, the $30 for parking is nuts, but at least it sounds like we can drive out and back in, so we'll probably go elsewhere for lunch and a break in the hottest part of the day. Any recommendations for somewhere relatively nearby for a relaxed off site lunch? Oh, and I guess I'll ask one more... any rides that are especially awesome at dusk or night? Thanks in advance for any information you can share!
  8. ^^ Hey there, you aren't the only one that finds the restraints on Skyrush take away from what otherwise could be a great ride. I wasn't able to find any strategy that worked for me, and basically near as I can tell, you've got some people who aren't bothered as much by the restraints OR they seem to have some sort of trick that works for them (none of which worked for me). These people will try to convince you there's something wrong with your body, or you aren't riding Skyrush right, and so forth. Don't listen to them. Your experience is just as valid as theirs. For every person that thinks Skyrush is a great ride and anyone who has an issue with the restraints is just a wimp or they are doing it wrong, there's at least one other person that wouldn't ride Skyrush again, ever. (Evidence: note that even on crowded days, Skyrush starts out with long lines, but by mid afternoon, there's no line at all. Contrast with Storm Runner, which has long lines all day, or Great Bear, even longer lines... those are rides where when the GP rides it, they want to ride again, where Skyrush is not that ride.) Don't get me wrong, I like rough out of control rides (my favorite woodie at Hersheypark is Wildcat) but Thighcrush is just annoying. I rode it many times, probably six or eight times, and while I enjoyed it, at the end, I just couldn't take the pain in my legs anymore. No exaggeration, my legs still hurt four days later, with visible redness and bruising on the tops of my thighs.
  9. Rode it 20 times or so this July and the double-up wasn't nearly as good now as it was in 2001. Not sure why. The double-down was decent. Phoenix was one of my favorite coasters, easily top three, but it wasn't nearly as good this time around as I was expecting. Perhaps admittedly faulty memory but I suspect it's just been wearing a little funny -- there's a couple of spots on both upper turnarounds where the train is "hunting" because the track is out of gauge and that didn't happen at all in 2001.
  10. The bunny hops into the station were great, but a couple of the features, notably the double up, didn't work at all because the train was moving too slow. That wasn't true 12 or so years ago.
  11. Phoenix was one of my favorite coasters but it seemed oddly neutered when I was there in July. Admittedly I hadn't ridden it in 10-12 years but either there were some trims turned up or there's been some wear in the turnarounds so speed is lost due to the lateral forces. Conversely, when I rode Twister shortly after it opened (early 2000s), I was not at all impressed. The ride looked really cool, but it just didn't deliver. After the rework this off season, it's an AWESOME ride now. Much much much improved, better than it was in the first year of operation.
  12. I thought some people were talking about a dual loading station like Kingda Ka or Manta? So four stations? Two for each side? No, dual stations, two for each train. Four trains, so that's eight stations. You have to wait in two stations to get on the ride.
  13. FYI, unless I'm horribly mistaken, this already happened. Early on, SF only owned a few parks. They expanded a bit, then they expanded a lot, buying a whole bunch of parks (including parks like La Ronde, Canada's Wonderland, and so on). They ran into MASSIVE problems having so many parks, so they sold off the less profitable ones. That's how you end up with today. Allegedly this is the leaner, more profitable Six Flags. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Flags OK, so reading this, I have it a little backwards, but the essentials are there. Six Flags started out with a few parks, then bought a few parks (including Great Adventure). Along the same time a smaller group Premier Parks was creating and acquiring some regional parks. Premier bought Six Flags, then went on an extended buying binge. Eventually they had too much debt, and a shareholder revolt ensued, and they started selling off parks, first one at a time, then more aggressively. I do in some ways agree with you though. Great Escape is certainly more of a regional park and I can't imagine that it generates that much in the way of revenue. The other smaller revenue parks, like La Ronde, SF America, SF DK, SF FT, SF Mexico, SFNE are still quite prominent for the given region, even if they are not the major park in their major area like SFMM, SFOT, SFOG, SFStL, SFGAm, SFGAdv. You could probably make an argument that concentrating on the big six would result in more revenue... but conversely, those smaller parks might help keep SF as a worldwide brand, as opposed to something that is more specific to certain markets. At the end of the day, SF is a public company, and there's a lot of analysis and effort that goes into their decisions. I realize that when you spend time in the parks riding the rides that it might not seem like they have multiple full time people who just look at things like financing and debt vs return, but they do.
  14. I was a huge fan of the original Riverside Cyclone -- season pass holder in 1991 or 1992, can't remember -- and spent a lot of time riding it. I gotta say that this looks like a really cool re-imagining of the original. From admittedly faulty memory, the layout seems very similar to the original, but obviously they've changed quite a few things here or there. To a PP, there always was a certain amount of steel used in the structure, especially where the trains were running through the supports, so the additional steel is certainly in keeping with the original ride. I am pleased that it looks like the original first turn -- off the first drop -- looks like it is being kept more or less intact. For those who rode the Cyclone when it was running well, there was a very interesting section in that first turn where the train really kind of jumped sideways and down, the turn started out swooping and curved, but then became a sharp right angle down. Super exciting at speed. They've obviously smoothed that off but still that high overbanked maximum speed first turn should be awesome. Glad that they didn't try to make this what it isn't... Cyclone was never a big airtime machine, it was always a twisted curved mess, and a bit violent in terms of lots of transitions piled up quickly with each other... and a relatively short ride, all things considered. It seems all of that will stay intact, with the smooth new track, plus inversions. Hadn't planned a trip out there, might have to...
  15. Ooh, off topic, but one of the most difficult days in my life was media day for the opening of Mean Streak. CP had fed us breakfast, gave us free rein of the park for the rest of the day, got us in super early so we could make the morning local TV news, and so on, and walked us all back to Mean Streak, which had impressive stats. I rode it with my friend (who at the time was a primary photographer for Roller Coaster magazine, ACEs publication) and we looked at each other before getting off and knew that we weren't impressed... it was "fine" but for that kind of money and effort, it needed to be great, and wasn't... but we had to put on a happy face and talk to the media for 20 minutes about what a great addition to CP it was. (Of course, once the park opened, we were off, and never rode it again all day. Magnum, Blue Streak, hell even Gemini was a better ride.) I had always assumed Mean Streak would become kindling, but if RMC doesn't have an exclusive with Six Flags, a remake would be fantastic, as IMHO 99% of the problem with Mean Streak was improperly banked turns, odd lateral forces that took a lot of speed out of the ride. Simply making it a hybrid would help a lot, rebanking would fix most of the issues, and if you cut down a couple of spots as necessary, based on speeds, you'd be done.
  16. Considering the old Colossus often ran only one side, and dispatches were easily in the 90-110 second range, and the ride was only a couple of minutes long, and boring, if they get this working with a 110 second dispatch for a thrilling four minute ride, well, it's a huge freaking upgrade.
  17. Yep, and I think that some additional height is likely. If they didn't rework the first hill, I suspect the general public would be fairly meh to the new ride, given that it sits right next to Goliath, even if it did have some interesting element. My best guess is that they'll build a new lift hill, with some interesting new elements off of it, before the track heads over to the existing structure. It would not surprise me in the least if the new lift hill topped 200 feet -- you'd spend money on that first hill, possibly an inversion or two, a second hill, and then you'd merge in with the existing structure. This could work regardless if they made the two existing tracks into one long single track, or if they just made the two tracks into one short single track.
  18. Let me be frank, and of course, this is just MHO. All of Riddler sucks. The Batman at SFGAdv is WAY better than the SFMM one, and all of these Batman coasters are meh compared to the best of that style. Viper -- well, there's a reason most of the SF parks have taken out their seven loop Arrow coasters -- they were state of the art at the time -- I was there for media day for Viper's opening, actually -- but they haven't worn particularly well. Long story short, it's not just the "twisted drop" that sucks on these rides. The rides themselves aren't very good. They aren't well maintained, so there's a lot of needless banging around, which slows the ride down, and makes it boring. Second point, these three you mentioned have banked, curved drops. They aren't twisted, where the train makes a tight flat spiral. I can assure you there are great coasters out there that have banked first drops. I can also assure you that a vertical twisted drop is something unusual that has nothing in common with a banked curved drop.
  19. ^ That's interesting and thanks for the explanation. I never read any coaster related sites until just the last few months. I'm definitely of the "my favorite coaster is whatever coaster I've ridden recently that really impressed me" camp -- I'm a rider, not a counter, and look at different coasters a bit like different types of food, or music, or art. Some of what happens with a ride is personal taste. It's difficult for me to say a ride sucks, or is terrible -- you can compare rides in the same genre and say one is slower, faster, more interesting, unique, etc but again, different people might have different opinions. (I know people who think Tatsu is too intense, while others just love love love it.) So I haven't experienced this phenomenon of the Internet message board and the new coaster announcement where some subset of the fan base announce "eh, that's going to suck" in response to whatever announcement happens. No experience with it, but I understand the impulse, certainly everyone has their own personal favorite elements that they'd like to see and given that most parks only get a new coaster every few years, if a new ride doesn't have those elements, well, it could be a while before you get what you want. That said, in this particular case, I still kind of don't get it. SFMM has a really interesting array of coasters -- pretty much none of them are the best in class for the kind of ride they are, but they are all probably in the top three to five or so in the US for that particular style -- but they were missing a hybrid wood steel coaster, and now they'll have one. I'm hoping it'll have a bigger drop and higher speeds than SFMM Goliath, plus inversions, but will be satisfied if it's just a massive improvement over the old Colossus, and let's face it, pretty much no matter what they do, the new ride will be an improvement... smoother, more reliable, higher speeds, better throughput...
  20. I don't get this. I'll freely and openly admit that I'm new around these parts, and that I've only been to SFMM probably five or six times. My impression with all of this though is that Colossus at the end was just a big bundle of suck -- poorly maintained -- made me sad whenever I rode it as clearly SFMM wasn't taking care of it, at all. (That's generally my impression of all the SFMM coasters, by the way... if the ride wears poorly, it just ends up being terrible eventually, and very little effort is put into rehabbing and refurbing rides.) ANY RMC conversion will be a huge upgrade. The twisted drop sounds fun and interesting. I especially like the idea of twisting as you come over the top of the lift hill, so you are inside the drop. If that drop is vertical, so much the better, and then you could swoop out of it or possibly do a fly to lie or similar. Given the relative intensity of Tatsu, Goliath and even YOLOCoaster, I have to think that the new Twisted Colossus is going to be somewhat extreme, which again, suits SFMM and the demographic perfectly. If you want a nice amusement park ride, with good theming, go to Disneyland or Knott's. If you want serious coasters, head north to Six Flags. I'm really looking forward to seeing more details on this particular conversion -- I think it's very challenging, actually, given how vanilla the Colossus layout was -- as opposed to something like SFNE Cyclone which kind of lends itself to an extreme conversion more readily.
  21. Another good tip that I'm assuming is still true is that they have a separate entrance for Discover cardholders. Those folks get let in just a little early, maybe 5-10 minutes before the posted time, but minutes can mean a lot! Discover has no annual fee and so I applied for and got one just so I could get into MM a little earlier on the occasional trips I make there. It matters -- on January 1st we got in a few minutes early, cut through the gift shop, rode YOLO and then immediately got back in line and probably only had to wait two trains. The GP showed up in force by the time we were off the second ride, I'd guess the line was 45 minutes at two minutes after park open.
  22. These days its a pickem between YOLO and X2. Personally I usually go to YOLO first because X2's line tends to die more in the latter half of the day than YOLO, but you could go either way. Whichever you choose, its a good idea to go to the back of the park next because with most of the people starting at X2/YOLO and going from there the back of the park is always dead in the mornings. I'd go YOLO, GL, Batman/Riddler, Apocalypse, then work your way from there. Also I bet Scream! is probably going to be super dead all day every day since it was relatively unpopular to begin with and now is all by itself in that corner. Yeah, what he said. My experiences recently have been that YOLO has poor throughput so the lines tend to stay ridiculous pretty much all day long. X2 gets a big line early but once you've ridden it, it's not something people get all excited about reriding, and the locker policy (everything in a locker, even refillable drink containers) makes it a pain in the butt and a few extra dollars every time you ride, so I think it's not terribly popular with STH anyway. Cut through the gift shop, go directly to YOLO, then go anywhere, Green Lantern or Tatsu would be my pick as they are both difficult in terms of lines. (I think Riddler is running very rough, I like Apocalypse but lines are erratic, Batman is meh... I could see Green Lantern than Goliath, or Green Lantern then Lex Luthor.) Scream is always dead. Rare to see any line on Riddler or Batman either. YOLO seems to have long lines all the time Tatsu seems to have long lines all the time X2 seems to have long lines in the morning Apocalypse can have long lines but normally not, might be worse now that Colossus is down Goliath tends to have long lines but the ride has good throughput, rare to wait more than 45 minutes even in big crowds Lex Luthor, Superman and Green Lantern have crappy throughput so even a short line can take a while, especially for GL (consider single rider if there isn't anyone in the single rider line) I think that mostly covers the bases. I've heard Ninja lines can get a bit long these days as they are running one train. Enjoy.
  23. After what happened on NTAG, I hope all parks choose the safer rout. It stinks that your wife is too big to ride certain coasters, but remember its for safety reasons. That's why children or pregnant women cannot ride certain rides. And yes in our society of political correctness they probably said your clothes were too thick instead of being honest and saying she herself is too big. Hey, maybe this will be motivation to drop a few pounds. I have seen lots of success stories on here from people that were motivated to lose weight after they were turned away from a ride. Me, for one. At one point in the early 1990s I was having trouble fitting in the back seat of the Coney Island Cyclone. I realized that I had really let myself go and vowed to fix that. Never had a problem again. It was great motivation to lose some weight.
  24. Here's my hope. I could imagine an RMC conversion where the two current tracks are utilized, as they are more or less, with some elements added, but as one long track. The secret sauce? New lift hill, very high, probably giga, likely starting outside the existing structure and bracing and recontouring and raising one of the existing first drops. Use the outer circuit with extra material added above and around, including some inversion and "bridge" type structures between the existing hills, add banking. Keep the second circuit somewhat like it is currently but with no braking, faster, so the elements can be felt the way they were meant to be felt. Note that I'm not suggesting a second lift hill. I don't think that's necessary. The current structure runs fine at about 50 mph maximum speed. If you went giga with the first hill, and had a top speed for that of 80 plus mph, then you'd have 50 plus after the first circuit. I could see them using basically all of the existing structure -- for the first new cycle around, it would just essentially be the scaffolding for the rest of the ride, which would mostly be at 150 to 200 feet off the ground, and the second cycle would be much like the current ride, just easier to maintain and still a bit more thrilling due to a higher speed. That's what I'd like to see anyway.
  25. My recent experience (and I should write a TR and will) is that the Flying Turns had a bit of a line in the AM, but by the mid afternoon, the line was actually a bit shorter. We probably waited 30 minutes first thing in the morning and then later in the day it was more like 20 minutes... once people ride it once, they aren't willing to wait a long time to ride it again.
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