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Everything posted by Arthur_Seaton

  1. I went tonight and the maze pass was only $20, so I figured it was worth it. It's the same old stuff as the last few years (the clown one has changed a bit), but I think they do what they do fairly well with what they've got. That said, I really only do the mazes and skip all the other stuff (I'm allergic to musical theatre). I've always felt that the pigs and strobes one is pretty effective, and the poop hospital one is the worst. The two outdoor mazes are pretty fun. The park was DEAD (ha!), so I got a bunch of rides and re-rides in. Superman was running with its hexagonal wheels — the roughest rattle I've experienced on that ride yet. Golden Woman's Lassoo was open and running (thought it was down for rehab), but an op told me they've just updated the tech stuff so far and added a catwalk. The pothole by the camera is still there. I also rode the scrambler for the first time, and that thing hauls ass. The new kiddie coaster was running, too, albeit without kiddies.
  2. By "scrapped," I was thinking more that they've run into issues that make the project no longer viable and end up yanking the whole thing out. In terms of what degree of Schwarzkopf remains, the bulk of the track is there. I can't recall if the loop was fully dismantled or lifted out with the intent of reprofiling it and popping it back in. The excavation that appears at the base of the rear spike could be for some possible reprofiling as that transition is quite abrupt. I guess we'll see. Phantom's Revenge was a major layout change and redesign, but I haven't heard anything about Knotts doing that much work, and there's certainly not a lot of space to do so. My guess is that there might be some reprofiling on the loop to accommodate a new train design akin to what happened with the old Black Hole Jet Star II design. Maurer worked on that one, but I'd still say it remained a classic Schwarzkopf. My guess is that it'll be more of an extended swing launch with a potentially new element replacing the loop (non-inverting loop, perhaps?)
  3. Was at the park today. Camp Bus is still there (looks like it has a couple of flat tires), but Timberline Twister has been gutted. Doesn't seem like anything's changed on Montezooma's Revenge at all since my last visit. The same track pieces are still missing, and there's no action in the area whatsoever. I rode Jaguar to see if I could make out any developments, but nada. The only thing that looked somewhat interesting (likely not) is that there appears to have been some excavation at the base of the reverse spike to access something or other. La Revolucion and Barf Spin were both closed when I was there, but everything else seemed to be running. Also, there's still no Gigacoaster, which is annoying. Crowd-wise, it was pretty mellow, and the amazing curfew seems to be in place (saw a big sign about it when walking toward the entrance). Waited about 20-30 mins for Ghost Rider, 10-15 for Hang Time, and 5 or so for Silver Bullet. Walked around a lot and rode Supreme Scream over and over and over. I'm really hoping the lack of activity at Montezooma doesn't lead to scrapped plans which, in turn, leads to a scrapped Schwarzkopf. But something's definitely up with the lack of action over there.
  4. Went down to Fiesta, hoping to catch one of the few post-4th slower days and maybe get some marathoning in. The weather was looking sketchy, so I figured that’d help as well. I budgeted a few hours, but I often end up staying longer if my crowd calculations ring true. The place was more crowded than I expected, but not too bad. That said, a lot of the rides were down when I was there, so that likely bumped up the waits for other stuff. For instance, I used single rider for Iron Rattler (I hope they never get rid of that) but I saw from the station that the line had breached the switchback ramps, presumably because there wasn’t a whole lot else open for the first couple of hours. Such a line seemed unusual for a fairly slow day. I ended up leaving after just a couple of hours, so hopefully, things shaped up after I left. One of the first in, which is hardly anything to brag about. It meant basically sitting around for good 45 mins before anything actually opened. I don't remember the last time I saw this thing running. There were guys doing something on the lift, but not sure it would open later. Ominous clouds and potential storms are the norm in Central Texas. Afterward, I ended up going to ZDT's for the first time to ride Switchback. It’s a bit out of the way, but it’s a great ride, and if you’re into things like go-carts, water slides, rock climbing, and arcade games, I could certainly see the park being a good half-a-day affair. I bought the Entry + “Switchback Only” pass ($20) and planned to ride that alone a bunch of times. The place was pretty empty, and quite a few of my laps on Switchback were taken solo. I recall reports claiming it to be smooth, but I wouldn’t say that is the case. It’s rough right now, but that roughness is also largely due to its general aggression. The roughness and intensity remind me a bit of Apocalypse when it's in its roughest state. In fact, after riding twice, I thought I was done and felt a headache coming on. After a quick break to look around the place, though, I felt up for a few more rides and rode it eight times in total. Obviously, it’s not required on a ride like this, but the lack of security checks and clearance associated with large rides was pretty funny. You pull the lap bar down, the op checks quickly, then you're off into what feels like a wild-mouse opening. The lift hill seemed longer than the height of the ride, and the first drop is quite an event: very steep with solid airtime all over the train. What follows is very aggressive ups and downs with some pretty shuffly turns. It doesn't feel like it's jackhammering, per se, but it does feel like it's hitting the track hard when it comes down from a hill or hits a high-speed turn. The spike didn’t do much for me, and the backward leg was a bit nauseating each time, but I think it's a fun ride and super interesting. I wouldn’t classify it as particularly re-ridable due to the aggression, but it’s not so violent that you can't get on it a few times either. I certainly wouldn’t peg it as a kiddie coaster. All in all, very much worth the detour, and I’d likely go again if I had someone in tow who wanted to check the place out. Apologies for dumping a ZDT report in the Fiesta thread, but you know . . . Really interesting to see how overbanked this turn is. The spike looks cool, but the first drop was the best part for me.
  5. ^ Bummer, but nice report all the same! And good luck with the TX trips. I live there part-time, and SFFT sometimes gets compared to Knotts in terms of decor and whatnot. I don't feel that way myself, and I'm not all that fond of SFFT, but Iron Rattler is fantastic and the park does have some decent rides. Here's my experience from today: Interesting day at Knotts. I figured it wouldn’t be too busy in the days following Memorial Day, but I was wrong. I rolled in around 3:00 pm, planning to stay well after sunset to check out the new area all lit up. The park was mobbed, though, with a number of lines snaking out of their assigned areas. As such, I wrote off the possibility of getting on any rides at all (60-150 mins pretty much across the board). Instead, I just wandered for a couple of hours and people-watched. It's clear that the teen curfew is lifted during the day, and it was genuinely tricky to navigate the park since so many of the kids were either running at full tilt (I experienced multiple impacts), smashing basketballs into other guests, or glued to screens and therefore oblivious when they’d charge right at you. At risk of sounding all “kids these days,” this lot was straight-up feral. My hat’s off to the parents of teens, many of which I’m sure were happy to let Knotts do the parenting for the day. I decided to cut my losses and bail, but I asked an op at the gate when the curfew kicked back in, and she told me 4:00 pm and that many of the kids would be gone between 6:00 and 7:00 pm. Coast Rider line spilling out into the boardwalk. Absolutely not. Jaguar line starting outside the ziggurat. Absolutely not. Wait times at around 3:21 pm. Absolutely not. Montezooma's Revenge in pieces. Absolutely not. So, I took off for a while and came back around 7:00 pm to a completely different park. I walked straight onto Supreme Scream (still my favorite drop tower as I tend to prefer less-nerve-wracking experiences on drop rides) then over to Hang Time for a couple of rides. That was hitting 120 mins in the afternoon but dropped down to 15 minutes later. Walked straight onto Sol Spin and La Revolution (both re-themed to fit the new area even more. I still like both very much, even though Sol Spin can be a bit unpredictable and intense. More rides on Supreme Scream, Coast Rider (bin it), Silver Bullet (always loved this one more than most other B&M inverts). Only Ghost Rider pulled a 30-minute wait, but that was hitting 150 minutes earlier in the day. Line jumping in the lower station was really bad, and they ended up having to call a couple of security folks in (some of the more feral lot were still present and were now breaking curfew). Ghost Rider felt a bit crunchy, but I rode it before the major revamp so I’m used to some roughness. Still, one of the best coasters around, period. Ghost Town living up to its name. This was around 9:00 pm. Knotts knows how to build photogenic coasters. With 10 minutes left before closing, I jumped on the log ride, thinking that a few light splashes wouldn’t be an issue for the ride home. However, something happened that I’d never experienced before. Usually, I find the wettest part of the ride is that indoor drop — in particular, the run-off and subsequent corner when the water tends to splash up and into the log. Right as I started to go down the indoor drop, though, I got hit with what I would describe as a full bucket to the face. I was completely drenched from head to toe immediately, and I don’t see how that part of the ride (literally, that small indoor chute section) could have produced such an immense wave. Is there something new in that part? Or was it just an unfortunate fluke? Either way, it was a total drenching which made for a rough ride home. I'd asked the loading OP which seat would reduce overall wetness, and he said the middle. I couldn't help but think he'd run into that drop space with a bucket in hand (although I doubt that's even possible). The new area looks fine I suppose (nothing about it really wowed me), but it did seem more spacious than what I remember. There were performances underway, but I have a low threshold when it comes to musical theatre and theme park performances. I got a good sense that the park's created a high-traffic area with enough room for quite a bit of live-action stuff. After sunset, the place is nicely lit with a number of glowing statues. Montezooma’s Revenge is still in pieces, but I hope it’ll be finished sooner than later. I also hope they don’t make any drastic changes, although I totally understand the desire to preserve it as best they can. Given that both spikes remain, my guess is a new launch, a new train, and new special effects. I can’t imagine they’ll build any new structures around it, but who knows? Illuminated Critter #1 Illuminated Critter #2 Illuminated Critter #3
  6. Took a drive up to the mountain since online sources listed today as “ghost town.” It wasn’t. It was actually quite busy, with school bus after school bus lined up at the gates. The line to get through parking seemed long, as was the line to enter the park. With crowds like that, it’s inevitable that one’s faith-in-humanity meter will take a hit. I didn’t ride too much since the lines were indeed pretty long and ops seemed unprepared for the busloads of kids. An early ride on West Coast Racers seemed to take longer than what I recall from past experiences in terms of how slowly the line moved. I did manage to catch a post-breakdown re-opening of Tatsu, so I jumped in line since I knew it’d be close to a walk-on. I usually skip Tatsu as I find the riding position too uncomfortable to enjoy. The big pretzel thing at the end can be punishing, and I find some of the positive forces a bit much for those restraints, but it wasn’t bad at all. Oddly, Wonder Woman didn’t get particularly long lines, so I got on that one twice. Still fun, and I still prefer this design to the original Raptors, but a bit bumpy in spots. I seem to recall this being the case when it first opened too, though. I also took a quick ride on Viper, and that was about it. The lines ranged between 45 and 90 for most with a few exceptions, but I’ve ridden all those coasters so many times that I’m more than happy to just wander around the park, silently judging everyone there.
  7. Indeed. I went to the park tonight, mostly to just walk around and people watch. I figured with Spring Break, the lines for rides would be long. In fairness, they weren't that bad, but still much longer than I'm willing to wait. When I went a couple of months ago to process my season pass, you could at least get through a little pathway from Silver Bullet, past Sol Spin / Jaguar, and into the La Revolucion area. But that's all blocked off now. Furthermore, quite a few of the non-fiesta village rides were down, and it just didn't really feel like there was much to do except walk. There's some mass food binge thing happening right now, so it seemed like quite a few guests were just there to stuff their faces. Plus, you can really tell that the glory days of the chaperone policy are over
  8. Even though I find the drop tame, the ride still freaks me out because the tower shakes so much and that thin track looks like it could peel away from at any moment. I did indeed get stuck at the top once, for a good 20 minutes. It seemed that the pulley had disengaged from the car, but the magnet was still holding it in place. The kids running the ride were as freaked out as we were. Really, really unpleasant experience.
  9. Yeah, they're fairly unobtrusive and Arrow rides don't force them into your chest like other rides with "comfort collars" tend to (I'm thinking of Premier). That said, Boomerangs can be pretty jarring and rickety. I rode this particular one a few months back just to see how it was holding up, and it was terrible — not because of the restraints, but because of square wheels and wire coat-hanger design. For as brutal as those old arrow cars can be, there's something delightfully unnerving about how much open space there is between the seat and the restraints.
  10. Boomerang is well positioned in the park and looks great in that entry plaza. That said, they can add as many comfort collars as they like — I'm still not riding it! I think I tried some "improved" Boomerang at Hershey or something. It was still very much a boomerang, IMO.
  11. Drove down this morning to process my 2023 pass. I'm still not sure what pass I now have or have upgraded to, but I know it gets me into multiple parks, and that's all I care about. I think there are some other perks, and the ticket processor told me to grab some souvenir cup, but I've no need for something like that. I'd originally purchased a 2023 pass back around labor day, but SFFT absolutely snarfed the processing and cancelled the whole thing. I was going to sit the year out as the result, but this sale made the price only $10 or so more than normal. Anyhow, the park was absolutely dead, so I was in and out in an hour or so. Two rides on WW (I thought they were closing this for rehab or something? It's still rattly and rough, but they seem to have ironed out that gnarly pothole by the camera section). Two solo rides on Superman (business as usual). One on iRat (single train with part of the train roped off it seems). Two on the new drop coaster (felt less bumpy as well, as though somebody took an iron to that track, too). Two on Poltergeist (business as usual). It seemed like everything else was up and running except for the flume ride, but I haven't seen that thing running in quite some time.
  12. ^ Yeah, I saw that and will likely grab one. Kind of a trip to see them go from such significant price jumps back down to almost the regular annual membership price. I think I've been paying something like $80 for all-park access for years now. This would have been the first year in quite some time that I didn't buy a pass (both SFFT and SFMM are "home" parks these days) because of an in-park processing screw up.
  13. Interesting. This is the first year that I haven't bought a SF pass in eons. I actually did buy one in last year's flash sale, but my home park screwed up the processing so bad that it really soured me. I'll likely grab a pass at this price, though.
  14. I grew up around that park and visited often when the ride was still called "The Devil's Cascade." I vaguely recall an effect like this as well, only it was a different mask. They also used to have a couple of vertical-drop wooden slides in that same general area that were just as terrifying.
  15. I dropped by Knotts during Saturnalia to process my 2023 pass and the place was pretty slammed then as well. I kind of expected that, though, and really didn't plan on riding anything anyway due to some recent health nonsense. I just did a couple of loops then bailed. The line for Ghost Rider was almost down to the entry cave, Silver Bullet was in the switchbacks, and Hang Time was hanging out of the entrance. I hadn't followed closely, but I knew something was going on with Montezooma's Revenge. I didn't know how hacked up that whole area was, though. Lots of bottlenecking going on over by Sol Spin and whatnot.
  16. Yeah, that week is slammed at all the SoCal parks. The week leading up to Xmas, though — not so much. I seem to recall marathoning West Coast Racers with you on Xmas eve I think it was? It was that week when the ride first opened. I'm amazed SFMM got away with the low season pass pricing and "open all day" business for as long as they did. I took advantage of that for years and would often go for a few hours during the week and crush the place. When I first transferred my work to Texas, I recall hearing that SFFT was a "year round" park but I had a very different perspective on what that meant. Whatever's going on with the company right now, I hope they make it out the other side. I may end up skipping a pass this year for likely the first time in a decade.
  17. ^ Yes, the Cliffhanger trains were half-filled at best. In fact, the other one cycling — for quite a few laps — just had one rider also riding again and again and again. I'm guessing it's the train design as the roughest sections were basically the same moves (any turns that also doubled as dips). It can't be tracking issues for such a new ride, but it felt like tracking issues, as though the wheels were hitting potholes. It wasn't just rattly in a B&M sense but actually quite bumpy. For what it's worth, I preferred the front. I felt that the airtime on the first drop was more or less the same throughout, but the front gave a better sense of speed. Most of the mazes were just reboots, and I doubt they even dismantle them during the year. That might be why the new one felt so cheap and basic? Because they do need to dismantle that one? In terms of the missing effects in Buried Alive, it may have been a staffing issue. The elevator effect was there, but it wasn't functioning and it was basically just a section to walk through. Last year, or the year before, the doors closed and the room started shaking to make it seem like you're going down a mine shaft. Still, I dig mazes like what SFFT (and other SF parks) offer, perhaps even more than the big-budget places. There's a camp charm to store-bought rubbery props that I kind of like.
  18. I dropped by SFFT’s Halloween event tonight — a good move as the park was quite dead (ha!). From what I gather, there was some ambiguity online as to whether the park was open, so this — combined with the weeknight — may have been to blame for how quiet the place was. Either way, all of the rides were a walk-on and all of the mazes were a walk-in. I managed to ride all the usual rides multiple times as ride ops were letting folks take re-rides in open seats. Wonder Woman seemed to be having issues, and the mechanics ended up pulling one train off completely. The one that remained was not tracking well at all. Iron Rattler, Superman, and Poltergeist (the park’s best rides) were all running as well as ever. I also took my first rides on the new dive coaster — several, in fact, since there was nobody waiting in the station when the trains returned. As such, I got try all three rows in a range of seats without having to go through the queue show rooms each time. However, it didn't quite do it for me. I like B&M dive coasters, and I really enjoyed Valravn when it first opened even though enthusiasts didn’t seem all that enamored. This one looks good, is well placed, and does all the things it needs to do to draw crowds in. In other words, it’s fine. For me, though, I thought the first drop was the only real stand-out moment. B&M should make all subsequent dive coaster drops extra steep as the additional degrees DO make a difference. You get a proper (albeit brief) free fall feeling akin to Knotts’ Hang Time no matter where you sit. The inversions that follow are standard-fare B&M conventions, but what followed the mid-course break run felt somewhat meandering, and that bunny hill didn’t do much for me in any of the rows. But what really surprised me was how bumpy some of my rides were. I suspect it’s the fault of the trains, as the middle seat in all three rows was much better overall. But a ride this new — especially a B&M — shouldn't feel the way this ride feels. There were three or four areas in the track where the train was not just rattling but jolting around. In fact, after five or so rides, I started to get a headache. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not unpleasantly violent or overly aggressive, but it did feel unusually jerky for a B&M. In terms of the Halloween stuff, I’ve always had a soft-spot for the way Six Flags and their shoestring budgets handle such events. Given that it was a weekday, the event wasn’t well staffed, which I expected, so there weren’t that many scare actors around. But those who were dressed up were pretty into their roles. In terms of the mazes, I still like Slaughterhouse the best. It’s probably the most maze-like with some of the goriest effects and tricks throughout. House of Houngan is still the most detailed and most impressive looking. Rockkill High looked the same as previous years, as did Buried Alive. However, quite a few of the main effects in Buried Alive from recent years were no longer working (the elevator effect as well as a number of animatronic props). CarnEvil just isn’t up to par, and the new Trapped was by far the least impressive of the event for me. For the most part, it was just an asylum setting with minimal props, decor, and lots of rags, sheets, blood, and smeared poop. The standard walkway scare zones weren’t particularly effective, but the park had a couple of zones that were much longer and more immersive. Fear Acres for instance, hosted in the water park, was particularly strong. Overall, a good night to go. The mazes haven’t changed much, but (aside from Trapped), they all do the best they can with the resources available. A few pics: Fear Acres is a good example of a scare zone functioning more like a maze. If I recall correctly, much of this used to be in the queue line for the rapids ride. The usual entryway props. This one was over by the water chute ride entrance. A general view of how quiet the place was. Same spot but different path. More large-scale props in the main entry plaza by Boomerang. This was the main entry way around 9pm. The place was empty.
  19. I'm impressed SFMM was able to keep the full year-round thing going for so long. It always seemed like a terrible idea, but I took advantage of it often and would time my visits on days when I knew the place would be a ghost town. I remember hearing that SFFT was also open "year round," only to discover that meant "weekends only" for chunks of the year — days I try to avoid. Kudos to SFMM for keeping this up (along with dirt-cheap passes) for as long as they did, and I hope they put a moose out front on days they're closed. There are all kinds of variable involved, from the day you visit to proximity to Halloween. It's nothing like Universal where you can find lines hitting 2+ hours, but it can get pretty slammed. I don't think I've ever waited more than 30 minutes, even on busy nights. Many will be a walk-through if you time things well and are there for the SFMM equivalent of "rope drop" (in the Full Thröttle plaza area).
  20. Obviously there's no way a ride like The Ultimate could be moved somewhere else since the terrain is basically the support system. I grew up pretty close to that park and would visit often as a kid. They certainly had a penchant for strange rides and additions. I always loved The Rat and have semi-fond memories of Soopa Loopa, Devil's Cascade, and the Hell Slide.
  21. I'm with you on this, and I figured it was just me getting older. I think RMC has done amazing things for the industry, but some of the newer ride elements that enthusiasts seem to rave about (like outward-bank airtime hills and stalls and whatnot) do kind of baffle me. The first roll on this thing just looks really unpleasant, even though it's likely cool to watch from the ground. It probably won't be long before RMC does their first fully inverted chain lift or an outward-bank turn that slowly grazes you up against a cactus or something. And, as always, great report!
  22. Ruh roh! They did that one as well? That's it; I'm calling the police. Coast Rider was pretty much always lame, but the new restraint system was so ill-conceived that it was kind of funny.
  23. Ugh. I rode that thing and sat on the break run with the restraints cutting off circulation. Far, far worse than Skyrush IMO. The seats themselves were garbage as well. What on earth are they doing to this ride!?
  24. Yeah, they're super good. And I couldn't quite tell what was different, but I swear the SFMM WW collars are better than the SFFT ones. The collars on West Coast Racers, however . . .
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