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Everything posted by LiftThrill

  1. New top 20: 1. Millennium Force @ Cedar Point 2. New Texas Giant @ Six Flags Over Texas 3. Outlaw Run @ Silver Dollar City 4. Maverick @ Cedar Point 5. Iron Rattler @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas 6. The Voyage @ Holiday World 7. Goliath @ Six Flags Great America 8. Time Traveler @ Silver Dollar City 9. Raging Bull @ Six Flags Great America 10. Diamondback @ Kings Island 11. ShockWave @ Six Flags Over Texas 12. Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas 13. Raptor @ Cedar Point 14. Switchback @ ZDT's 15. Mr. Freeze: Reverse Blast @ Six Flags Over Texas & Six Flags St. Louis 16. Top Thrill Dragster @ Cedar Point 17. Powder Keg @ Silver Dollar City 18. Screamin' Eagle @ Six Flags St. Louis 19. The Beast @ Kings Island 20. Cannibal @ Lagoon
  2. Though I got zero pictures of it, one of the highlights of this trip was definitely the disc golf course we tried out near the Utah/Idaho border that I can't for the life of me remember the name of. The idea was pretty cool: take a ski lift or golf cart to the top of the mountain, then play disc golf down the mountain. In reality, we probably ended up getting more steps from this course alone than the Chicago/SFGAm combined day. You start off in between some super grassy cliffs in a field full of 8-inch grass, with the hole where I managed to lose my brand-new driver straight off the first tee pad (lol). That's about the time when when all of us realized we had probably bitten off more than we should try and chew. Luckily I managed to finish the rest of the course with only a mid-range disc and a putter with a relatively decent score (or at least I'd like to believe, considering we decided not to keep score lol). The course actually became easier as it went for the most part, but the walking was mostly uphill between holes. There was a humorous amount of frustration between losing discs, trying not to fall off cliffs, and accidentally hitting the ski lift, before we made it to the last hole (skipping a few holes in the process, namely one over water because that's a recipe for losing even more discs). This hole was actually pretty awesome as its total length was almost 900 feet and its total height difference was about 235 feet, with an almost straight shot down the mountain and right back to the cabin where you had started your golf cart trip up to the top. Overall, that was probably the most brutal disc golf course ever made but certainly one of the most hilarious (and pricier than expected) experiences of the trip. Between the $6 fee for the group and a net loss of 6 discs between all of us that went, it probably ended up costing a total of $75 for everyone combined ($15 for me to replace my driver, though most of the other discs lost were a little cheaper). I also got about a pound of stickers, burrs, and other types of desperate pleas for plant reproduction stuck to my pants and shoes, which was a whole lot of fun to remove afterwards (not). ------------ Some amount of days afterwards we went to the most unique park of the trip, Lagoon. While Silver Dollar City is a very charming and very awesome park, Lagoon surpasses it in uniqueness mostly for how strange it is. It's family-owned, but feels more like a family-owned/corporate hybrid. They have the charm you'd expect from a family-owned park, but with the outright bizarre park rules, tacky merchandise, and "cool kid" marketing you'd expect from a corporate park. They have no coasters by any mainstream manufacturer (that's still around), with a lot of in-house design, Schwarzkopf love, and some really unique coasters by Zierer and Maurer. We also used their BounceBack! program to get a second day for $18 per person and check out their waterpark, Lagoon A Beach, which I'll detail a little more in the next update. Cannibal from the parking lot Roller Coaster from the parking lot Wicked from the parking lot Anticipating an awesome ride The original parking lot coaster Pictured: TICKETS TICKETS TICKETS and some roller coasters Upon arrival, paying for parking, and a short walk, we arrived at Cannibal, one of the most unique coasters of the trip. After waiting 10 minutes and being assigned to the front, it was time for a very interesting ride. Cannibal is basically a really big Eurofighter designed in-house by Lagoon, with an insanely steep drop and some hangtime-focused inversions. After a ride on Cannibal we stopped for a ride in the front car of Roller Coaster, a classic woodie from 1921 that still holds up to this day. Cannibal's aesthetic is being a large brown tower with a coaster going around it. Lagoon is coasterbill approved™ There are weird fountains in many parts of this park. "which roller coaster are we gonna go on?" "ROLLER COASTER!" "no, which one?" "ROLLER COASTER!" "there are 10 of them here! which one???" "the wood one" "oh, the WOOD ONE! why didn't you say so???" The area on the right side of the park is absolutely stuffed with coasters. There's a wild mouse, a spinner, a Schwarzkopf double looper, and a Zierer launch coaster designed by Lagoon in-house, all within a minute or two's walk of each other. Our first stop in this area was Spider, the Maurer spinner that sorta kicked off the whole spinning coaster thing (in the US). After a ride that was way more fun than it deserved to be, we headed to Wicked, which broke down right before we got in line. In the absence of the park's second tallest roller coaster, we took two rides in the back row of Colossus the Fire Dragon (which is solid and pretty intense, but not my favorite Schwarzkopf), and noticed that Wicked had opened back up. Got in line and waited maybe 15 or 20 minutes before being assigned yet again to the front row of a coaster they were assigning seats on. We then took a ride on Wild Mouse (as hilariously janky as you'd ever want a Wild Mouse to be) and were about to SkyRide over to the other side of of the park when literally every ride in sight stopped running, SkyRide included. We walked to the other side of of the park to see what was going on only to find that the power was out throughout the whole park, save for restaurants and some smaller flats. Since we were hungry anyway, we grabbed some Subway in the park and waited for Jet Star 2 or another nearby ride to reopen (yes, I know you're allowed to bring food into the park, and yes that would've been cheaper and smarter, but we didn't have much of any food in the car besides snacks and it's not like the Subway overcharged THAT much, so all in all who cares?). Spider is a fun spinning coaster. Like most spinning coasters, it spins. Spider's theme is... a castle??? what? lol Compact TWISTYYYYYYYYYYYY Wild Mouse jank Straight up, straight down. Just like Top Thrill Dragster. (this ride is actually nothing like Top Thrill Dragster) Fire Dragon Cannibal from across the park If you want airtime at Lagoon, this is where you're gonna get it. Wicked through the trees Breakdown line A double helix of death that's not quite as death-y as Titan's Play a game of real-life Mouse Trap Retro loooooooooooooooooooooooop SkyRide porn for coasterbill pt 2 pt 3 Oh deer... Wicke Steepest drop in the Western hemisphere Overbanks Luckily it was resolved after not too long and rides began to reopen. We went over to The Bat which wasn't really a priority but since it was there and had a 5 minute wait, definitely worth trying. Plus, I hadn't been on an SLC, so what's more fitting than riding my first (kiddie) SLC not far at all from the city of SLC? One slightly painful ride later, we got in line for Jet Star 2 (which had finally reopened), waited about 5 minutes before getting pranked by someone's magnetic hearing aid falling out and sticking in some unknown location near or on the ride, causing the ride to close for probably 20 minutes (we bailed after hearing the cause for closure). Right next door is a pretty cool flat, a Zamperla Air Race, which delivered a pretty fun ride. something's wrong here.... The Bat Around the time we finished Air Race, Jet Star 2 finally opened up (third time's the charm!) so we got the chance to ride for real this time. Following that, we decided it was pretty much time to get some sleep, so we left the park. Last coaster on a very hot day before we leave the park ------------ Cannibal - As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't hold a candle to most of the other big coasters of the trip, but it absolutely does deliver a very fun ride full of hangtime, a ridiculously steep drop, a landscaping and theming job similar to Maverick with a waterfall that actually gets you wet, and even an airtime-inducing double down. It's not really intense at all, but it delivers a very fun and smooth ride similar to newer B&M loopers but with a wonky lap bar and a Eurofighter-styled drop. Roller Coaster - Surprisingly fun for such an old coaster. Definitely not smooth, but with a very recent retrack and new Millennium Flyer trains, it delivers a fun double-out-and-back airtime journey. Considering it's almost 100 years old, it could definitely be in worse shape. One of my favorite coasters in the park. Spider - You better get this thing spinning like crazy if you're gonna ride it. If you're balanced, the ride is pretty mediocre and jerks you around a LOT. However, once you're unbalanced, the car's spin begins to act as a propeller and you lift up up and away from the troubles of life's wonky turns and into one of the most ridiculous ride experiences ever conceived by mankind that will surely leave a smile on your face. I'd call it the halfway point between a Pandemonium and Time Traveler. Underrated spinner for sure. Colossus the Fire Dragon - Part of me came into this ride hoping it had any sliver of the awesomeness of ShockWave @ SFOT. While it's definitely a fun coaster and a rock solid fit for the park, it definitely has nothing on ShockWave as far as Schwarzkopfs go. It does, however, have a greyout helix that lands somewhere between the typical janky lateral-fest mine train helix and Titan's helix of actual death, and is pretty fun without bordering on headache. Wicked - The bastard stepchild of Maverick and a kiddy coaster, Wicked has a launch with decent kick that goes all the way up a top hat, then down a 90 degree drop that's pretty enjoyable. It hits a fun overbank and a floaty zero-g roll that's pretty happy-fun-times. After that, though, you're pretty much out of luck in terms of interesting elements. It has some wacky overbanks that do absolutely nothing, an impostor airtime hill with no airtime, a pointless tunnel, and some random a** trick track swishy swishies before hitting the brakes (disclaimer: probably not in order and probably not the correct terminology for everything). Fun, but the first half is infinitely better than the second half. If it weren't for my out-and-back woodie love affair, this would probably be my second favorite coaster in the park. Wild Mouse - Trims felt like they were turned off entirely. Absolutely out of control but also kinda cramped and uncomfortable (better than staple land on The Dark Knight Coaster though). As janky as any Wild Mouse should be and a fun time for the whole family. The Bat - would probably be more bearable if it had lap bars instead of the bulky as f*ck OTSRs. kinda interesting things happen like twice if you ride in the back. Air Race - Not my favorite flat at Lagoon (spoiler), but certainly fun and a little dizzying. The hangtime and forces you get are pretty enjoyable. Jet Star 2 - Thanks to the stupid no single rider rule (why is this????), you better hope you're the heavier person of the two in your row. As I was not, I had to do the biggest leg spread of all time to fit in here and the experience was a little uncomfortable. Luckily the ride has some fun drops and some intense turns that make it worth that little bit of pain. ------------ Disc Golf Course of Death Scorecard: Par x1 (and I'm damn proud of it) Discs Lost x1 Steps xWayTooMany Stickers x93627 Burrs x17362 Other Spiky Death Things x27572 Lagoon Scorecard: Cannibal x1 Roller Coaster x1 Spider x1 Colossus the Fire Dragon x2 Wicked x1 Wild Mouse x1 The Bat x1 Air Race x1 Jet Star 2 x1 ------------ stay tuned for the LAST update, Lagoon Day 2, featuring absolutely no pictures but some water park fun!
  3. Assuming the ride experience is identical enough to Wonder Woman @ SFFT (they are clones after all), back is gonna be the most ridiculous WTF intense ride experience with absolutely bonkers airtime and laterals. The front is gonna be not as forceful but certainly a lot of fun with a great view, and the middle area is going to be the tamest. If intensity if your forte, go for the very back for sure.
  4. I'm thinking of Storm Chaser opening season - people who rode it with the nylon wheels generally didn't like it as much as people who rode with the polyurethane. Could be a warming up later in the season thing? The polyurethane also runs smoother (the stuff saved the skateboard industry because of this).
  5. Rain's great for park visits most of the time, as long as it's not too consistently strong. I stopped by SFFT today in the rain just to see if anything was running (was in the area) and I got a really really fun ride on the go karts, but nothing else was running Raging Bull is quite different in the front from the back. I enjoyed it in every seat, but the back is definitely where the good airtime is. The edge seats in the back are fantastic and the coaster is as rerideable as they come. As for the free spins, I was just watching that video of Arashi and man I don't know if I could handle that lol. SFGAm's had just about the perfect amount. SFFT is the most unpredictable I think, and I may or may not try SFOT's in the next few weeks depending on if schedules line up the way they should.
  6. Using the nerdy ranking list method, here's every two-punch with a coaster in my top ten currently: Millennium Force (1) + Maverick (4) || Cedar Point (5) Outlaw Run (3) + Time Traveler (8) || Silver Dollar City (11) New Texas Giant (2) + ShockWave (11) || Six Flags Over Texas (13) Iron Rattler (5) + Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster (12) || Six Flags Fiesta Texas (17) Goliath (7) + Raging Bull (9) || Six Flags Great America (18) The Voyage (6) + Thunderbird (22) || Holiday World (28) Diamondback (10) + The Beast (19) || Kings Island (29)
  7. I don't really have any words. Keep on keepin' on, man.
  8. Following a fun evening at Six Flags Great America, we checked the hourly forecast and figured out that around 4PM the next day the skies were gonna unleash their wrath for the rest of the day. Luckily there was also a morning shower that was apparently bad enough to scare away 99% of visitors from the park, so the time we DID spend there was mostly spent actually riding things instead of waiting in line. We got up early and decided to have breakfast in Wisconsin for a state credit (yay!). Eventually we settled on an incredibly well-rated breakfast place called Franks' Diner so half an hour later we were up in the Cheese State parked next to quite possibly the sketchiest looking breakfast place this side of, well, actually pretty much any Shoney's anywhere. The buildings around it were probably twice its height and three times its width and, according to some history on the walls and menu, it was originally a freight car. The feeling of sketchiness increased as we walked in the door and caught our first glimpse of the slogan: "Order what you want, eat what you get." Sketchy-looking restaurants are generally either really really good or really really bad, and with an autographed picture of Guy Fieri eating there on the wall we had a good feeling this was gonna be in the former category. Franks diner has a lot of charm to the experience. Looking at the menu they have pancake stacks of anywhere from No Stack to Quadruple Stack, so anticipating moderate-sized portions I ordered a Small Stack of 2 pancakes, naturally with chocolate chips and whipped cream because, y'know, after walking 21 thousand steps the day prior it only felt right to pig out for breakfast. Fifteen to 20 minutes later, the food was ready and the server brought food to the table. The second I caught sight of my Small Stack, I realized I had made a grave mistake. These pancakes were huge as f*ck and I was seriously doubting my ability to consume such a large volume of food. It made no sense how a restaurant that takes up like 50 square feet on a good day could even get the space to create such an absurd measure of food. The inch-thick, foot-and-a-half-in-diameter pancakes took quite a while to even make a dent, but eventually my valiant efforts were met with a very bloated stomach and still a good quarter of these gargantuan a** pancakes sitting in front of me. I soon yielded to Franks' Diner's creation and we paid the bill and left, with a $10 tip for good service and, of course, going above and beyond the call of how much pancake one person can even begin to stomach. I had ordered what I wanted, and, at the very least, tried to eat what I got. HUGE! One half-hour(ish) drive later we arrived back at the park and prepared to spend until 4 getting the few unique rides we missed, reriding the good stuff, and of course, if the time allowed, credit whoring the hell out of some clones and/or kiddie rides (which normally isn't a priority, but considering how many clones and uninteresting coasters there are at SFGAm it felt almost necessary). We began the day by noticing the complete lack of cars in the parking lot compared to the day before, and waited about zero seconds to get through security and the entrance. Back in the thrill zone for some fun coasters. We didn't do the waterpark but it looked pretty fun. One of our stops today! misting in the rain, lol clones Naturally, considering what we had missed the day before, we headed for Southwest Territory and waited two trains for the back of Raging Bull. Noticing the complete lack of people riding we walked back around to try the front. After the front row ride the operator gave the typical "nobody in your row" spiel and we walked back over to the back end of the train for a third ride. That's what we're doing today. They're in for a fun time. Maybe it's the fact that it's one of the shorter hypers, or maybe it's that we had been in Chicago the day prior with 1000 foot buildings, but Raging Bull doesn't seem that tall from down here. It is pretty though! and it does seem REALLY tall from up there, lol here we go! are trims gonna ruin our day today? NO!!!!!! it's like Titan except good no lines at SFGAm??? WHAT??!?!?! Following three rides we headed over to Viper, the last major wooden coaster we had yet to ride. Rode in the front after waiting two or three trains and then headed to Demon, which was a walk-on for literally every row on the train. Went for the 5-1 seat that seemingly makes Arrow loopers not suck and got a ride that arguably did suck, but not as much as it could have. At that point, we had all of the unique good rides down, so we headed over to Goliath, grabbing a double ride on X-Flight (once in back, once in second row for the reride). Got 3 consecutive rides on Goliath (gotta love the awesomeness of morning showers!), then began the credit whoring with a ride on Joker. Got a better-than-expected ride on it, though devoid of the dive bomber drop. Riding these free spins is always a gamble, but we got some decent flipping which was nice. next stop Wooden fun station "theming" Worst coaster of the trip, but still has the #1 rave tunnel of all time (except the random A$$ frontier town one at Cedar Point, lol) coasterz Goliath from across the park one bad coaster and one good coaster Really cool sign though! Really good coaster over here Goliath's main aesthetic is a ton of wood with a train flying through it. except for the beautiful lift structure, that is see???? UPSIDE DOWN!!! Spaghetti noodle sticking out of the skyline Who ordered spaghetti? inverted coaster intensity Something tells me I don't wanna ride a coaster with these trains. Spaghetti + some really good wooden coaster action loopy-de-spatula-fun-cakes We went to V2 next, but it had broken down so we went somewhere to refill our drink since it was inevitably going to reopen in ten seconds anyway and there wasn't an issue with holding a spot in line because there wasn't a line to begin with. V2 was running a little rougher than you'd like but was still fun. Following V2, we rode Batman in the front, which was fun to compare to other Batman clones for some reason. Right after our ride, some people dressed in giant cow suits got on the front row (I think they were the only ones on that train lol), and with that as a confidence booster proving that dignity is just a social construct, we rode Little Dipper, then headed to The Dark Knight Coaster before checking out the mandatory double decker carousel and leaving the park. Batman queue "theming" nanananananananananananananananaBATMAN Cows on a Batman clone. More cows on a Batman clone Dignity is just a social construct... hey, but since it's wooden maybe it will be better than other kiddy coasters maybe? Goliath and a finger The cows try and escape the park. Little do they know, they're going the WRONG WAY! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!! It doesn't joke, but it does have some flips Plus these rides look nice lawg floom Batman vs The Joker! who will win? Neither, because they'll both get drunk and have a Mardi Gras Hangover Pretzel loop The indoor mouse is always a "good" experience Almost as many trash cans as a Cedar Fair park World's tallest carousel This is while the ride was running. Yeah, that's how empty the park was lol Literally seconds after we left the exit gate, rain began misting, then sprinkling, and as soon as we got in the car, the heavens unleashed their full wrath on us for managing to go to SFGAm (without any flash pass) and actually ride things. Bamboozled again, suckers. Thanks for the awesome day, SFGAm! I'll probably be back at some point, though I don't really have any idea when lol ------------ Raging Bull - What I don't get is how enthusiasts complain about B&M hypers having weak airtime and an annoying rattle, but then bash the one that has neither weak airtime nor a rattle. Sure, there's that trim that kills the airtime on a grand total of one hill, but the rest of the drops and hills give arguably fantastic airtime, even bordering on ejector occasionally. The back left seat is definitely the place to go, and with a butter smooth ride this is by far the most rerideable in the park. Goliath was three and done, but I could ride Raging Bull all day. This is exactly what Titan should be, yet manages to f*ck up in literally every way imagineable. The turns are comfortable yet surprisingly forceful with a good sensation of speed low to the ground, and of course the first drop in the back is something you have to experience to believe. Viper - Middle of the road woodie. Fantastic laterals and not overly rough, but doesn't really do that much. Maybe a ride near the back would've left me with a different opinion? Who knows. Can't compare to other Coney clones since this is my only one so far. Demon - Typical Arrow jank. Good theming, first drop, loops, and of course the rave tunnel to end all rave tunnels, but then the rave tunnel warps you to an alternate dimension where Demon is twice as bad as Corkscrew (CP). As far as Arrow loopers go, I'd take Vortex over Demon, but I'd definitely take Demon over Corkscrew or Tennessee Tornado. Joker - What kind of ride are you gonna get? The world may never know. Our ride had about three really good flips and was better than about 75% of rides on Batman @ SFFT. Makes me wonder, are all these things truly clones or do they have the flip-inducing fins in different places/on different settings? I'd be interested to know. V2: Electric Boogaloo - Much rougher than Wicked Twister, but I think the straight back spike is more fun than the twisted one. Gives some nice views of a log flume and some water, but WT has it beat with the beach location and smoothness. Batman: The Ride - Smoother than SFFT's and less headache inducing than SFOT's. The original is always (usually) better. Little Dipper - it's little and sometimes it dips The Dark Knight Coaster - Unless you count Pandemonium clones as wild mouse coasters, this was my first mouse. Wasn't really looking forward to it and... yeah. I'd probably have liked it if I knew the layout or if it was outdoors but between a staple-happy employee and the lights on the ride not working (are there supposed to be more lights? some of the barely-visible theming makes it seem like it) it was definitely a little unpleasant. The sound effects were working though, which was cool. ------------ Ride Scorecard: Raging Bull x3 Viper x1 Demon x1 X-Flight x2 Goliath x3 Joker x1 V2: Vertical Velocity x1 Batman: The Ride x1 Little Dipper x1 The Dark Knight Coaster x1 Carousel x1 Food Scorecard: Gargantuan A** Pancakes x2 Bacon Strips x2 ------------ Top 10 Before SFGAm 2018: 1. Millennium Force @ Cedar Point 2. New Texas Giant @ Six Flags Over Texas 3. Outlaw Run @ Silver Dollar City 4. Maverick @ Cedar Point 5. Iron Rattler @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas 6. The Voyage @ Holiday World 7. Time Traveler @ Silver Dollar City 8. Diamondback @ Kings Island 9. ShockWave @ Six Flags Over Texas 10. Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas Top 10 After SFGAm 2018: 1. Millennium Force @ Cedar Point 2. New Texas Giant @ Six Flags Over Texas 3. Outlaw Run @ Silver Dollar City 4. Maverick @ Cedar Point 5. Iron Rattler @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas 6. The Voyage @ Holiday World 7. Goliath @ Six Flags Great America 8. Time Traveler @ Silver Dollar City 9. Raging Bull @ Six Flags Great America 10. Diamondback @ Kings Island ------------ stay tuned for the next update, featuring some hardcore disc golf and Lagoon! that'll be the last photo update, because I didn't take any pictures during Lagoon day 2
  9. From the RMCs I've experienced, I greatly prefer the Gerstlauer trains on NTaG and IRat. To be fair, I haven't been on a steel coaster with the RMC trains, but they are generally a little more uncomfortable than the Gerstlauers in my opinion.
  10. The nylon wheels run louder and also have higher amounts of friction iirc, correct me if I'm wrong.
  11. Do they usually have TimeSaver available during SMC? If they do, crowds/what day we go shouldn't be a HUGE issue for us because we'll just grab TimeSaver unlimited. We're still deciding between SFOG and Dollywood for that week, might do both depending on what goes on leading up to that time. One of the best Christmas events ever + Lightning Rod is really hard to pass up especially considering we missed LR last time
  12. My drop tower experience is limited, but I really like Superman: Tower of Power @ SFOT due to its height and varied ride cycle (combo towers ftw)
  13. I have a picture of the bean in my folder. Not sure if I just forgot to add it or something, there are a few other pictures along with it that just kinda didn't end up in the TR for whatever reason. We spent a good half an hour there screwing around, lol also thanks for the comment on picture quality - I do the best I can with the camera I have
  14. That's about how I feel about Outlaw Run. It's fine, but hard to ride more than once in the wheel rows. Time Traveler had been down most of the day, so opening at all was a very good thing - DEFINITELY wouldn't have wanted to wait in that 90 minute line though.
  15. Following the tour, we decided to walk around and just check out parts of the city. I don't know why but for some reason we ended up at some fast food Asian restaurant called Wow Bao that, as the name implies, makes baos (dumplings). I got a salted caramel "sweet bao" and honestly that may have been the weirdest sh*t I've ever eaten. This is pretty much the Blazing Fury of food. Bizarre as hell and plenty of wonkiness to go around. It tasted like neither salted nor caramel nor bao and I really don't know what it DID taste like. If you like janky and weird food, this is the place for you. All their other typical Asian dishes also looked really weird, and the other non-sweet baos were apparently equally bizarre according to other people there. There's a spot where my memory kinda goes blank after Wow Bao. Maybe the salted caramel bao was actually drugged. The world may never know. The next thing I DO remember doing was some walking around in the big commerce center mall thing that has a train station in it or something. We looked at furniture stuff, some weird restaurants (though probably not as utterly bizarre as Wow Bao), and even up to the empty showroom floors for some reason (?) before getting hungry for real food and going down to the food court for lunch. The food court there was not your typical food court. Almost always you're gonna get a Panda Express, Chick-fil-A, McDonald's/Wendy's/Burger King (pick one), a smoothie place, a wild card restaurant that can be just about anything, plus some more local and chain places of different varieties than previously listed. This food court, on the other hand, boasted a bunch of weird high-class restaurants (at least compared to Panda Express and Chick-fil-A), including a highbrow-styled knockoff Chipotle, some modern-art-inspired grills, and maybe even a bonus Wow Bao (who knows?). A few days prior, someone had recommended we try hot chicken while in Chicago, as it was the city's second best signature food after hot dogs and before deep dish pizza. One of the places in this food court was a hot chicken restaurant called Budlong, so naturally that was the place to go based on the recommendation we received. I got myself an order of tenders and some surprisingly good root beer with cane sugar (tasted almost like cream soda combined with root beer) and sat down to eat. Now, I'm Texan, so spicy and hot food isn't exactly new to me and I've had plenty of stuff with jalapenos, peppers, and spicy seasoning, but I'm still a little sensitive to heat depending on the kind. The Budlong chicken has four tiers of hotness: not hot, classic, hot, and really f*cking hot. The classic seemed like the best choice so that's what I had gotten, and jeez these were some biga** tenders. I began testing the crispy edges for temperature (not spicy hotness, just if it was gonna burn my face off or something). Pretty soon my tenders were of an acceptable temperature so I began to dig in. I felt a little twinge of burn on my tongue, then throat, then cheeks, lips, and roof of my mouth, and all of a sudden my "classic" hot chicken became the "hot as f*ck" chicken. I don't even want to imagine what the actual highest tier of hotness would have tasted like but I imagine you'd have to call in the fire department. Luckily I had some really good root beer to wash it down and kinda heal it a little bit, but jeez this stuff is waaayyy hotter than you'd expect. After some more shop observation and way too much walking we had about another 45 minutes to an hour in the city before we were done for the day (fatigue mostly) so we headed to Portillo's to get the legendary Chicago dogs. These ended up being the most normal food in Chicago and probably the best. I also grabbed a frozen custard hot fudge sundae there because why not? We considered going somewhere afterwards for some Chicago deep dish, but after Wow Bao, Hot As F*ck Chicken, and Portillo's, we were feeling pretty full. After a walk down through the Magnificent Mile (I think it's called that? I heard people calling it the miracle mile but that's the one in florida right? idfk) of cool lifestyle edition shops that would be a glorified strip mall were they not lifestyle shops, we got lost for a bit and then returned to our parking garage. We headed to the lobby to pay and found ourselves standing at a couple of sketchy cash-only pay machines. Since our time in the city was about 7 hours from the time we got our ticket to park, we figured it'd be about $45 so we got out two twenties and a five. After putting in the parking garage ticket and one of the twenties, the machine gave the thank you! screen and handed back a five dollar bill. Wait, what? $15 for 7 hours? What kind of parking garage is this??? Aren't these things supposed to OVERcharge us?????? We weren't gonna complain so we got our paid-for(ish) ticket back and went to the car. Upon exit, there was some hesitance to use the exit ticket in case the system caught onto it scamming itself, but it ended up accepting it. So yeah, long story short the sh*tty parking garage scammed itself and left us $30 richer and 100% more confused than ever before. ------------ Yadda yadda yadda hour and a half drive through chicago traffic which is basically the Corkscrew to I-35's Cedar Creek Mine Ride and we ended up at Six Flags Great America on a perfect weather summer's day at like 5PM during the heat of the day. Our reasoning for going to the park two days in a row was to be able to do everything in case the crowds were the SFGAm standard (35 minute minimum wait, 294847472839 minute maximum wait according to most locals). We didn't buy Flash Pass in advance despite the fact that it would have been significantly cheaper to do so had crowds been super awful. After already having done 12-15k steps in Chicago, it was time to get a new maximum on the step counter. Arriving in the parking lot I love seeing new park skylines - cities, amusement parks, and mountainous areas are my favorite places to be because I love being surrounded by tall stuff for some reason. That's our first stop. Our first ride was Superman: Ultimate Flight, my first B&M flyer and one generally considered a weak ride compared to the other flyers. Waited about 50-55 minutes as expected per SFGAm precedent. My only flyer previously was Firehawk, which manages to be worse than Titan somehow, so I was apprehensive about Superman. Turns out that B&M flyers, unlike Vekoma flyers, don't suck. Anticipation... Simply by not being Firehawk, it's already better than Firehawk. Sunshine!!! They look like they're having more fun than they would be if they were riding Firehawk. "theming" Ok, not gonna lie. It's nothing special. But compared to Firehawk? There's not even a comparison. It's like comparing the Coasters cheeseburger to a McDonald's quarter pounder (one of the new fresh-meat ones). Neither are awesome or anything, but one of them is a huge pile of sh*t and the other is perfectly acceptable. Following that we went to one of the most anticipated coasters of the trip, Goliath! Waited another almost exactly 50-55 minutes (sensing a theme here?) and noticed that X-Flight was stuck on the lift. Last time I was in a park with a ride stuck on the lift, it was IRat which closed down for a whole day afterwards, so this was quite concerning considering I was pretty excited to complete the set of all 4 wing coasters on the continent, so it really would have sucked for X-Flight to have been closed the whole time we were there. There are a TON of clones at SFGAm. Luckily, they're all pretty ok clones. No Boomerang garbage here. V2: Electric Boogaloo X-Flight looks tiny for some reason. I think it's just surrounded by huge rides that make it seem absolutely puny. There's the one we're headed for. ...but not before waiting in an hour line. Luckily, if any coaster here is worth the wait it's this one. wood lots of wood Topper track they go up... they go down. This angle makes it look almost like Iron Rattler. Goliath, as the name implies, is absolutely massive. brake run After a very fun ride on Goliath, we had only seen X-Flight do a couple of test runs so the next stop, randomly chosen by looking around, was American Eagle, which even on a busy day only had about a 5 minute wait. The blue side had just closed for some reason that required security to show up so the obvious choice was the red side. I'm a sucker for good out-and-back woodies with good airtime so this one was right up my alley. Murican Eagle In the hilariously long queue (what's up with all the backtracking switchbacks here? lol) we noticed that X-Flight was just starting to run trains with actual people again, so after American Eagle we went to X-Flight to check out the situation there. The line was pretty similar to American Eagle's at about 5 minutes, so after that short wait we hopped on the left side. How is the wing coaster situation popping in Gurnee, IL? Well, it's pretty great, I'd say. X-Flight has a very cool-looking layout It looks small even from the station even though it's actually fairly big. Following X-Flight, we only had about 30 minutes left in the park before closing, which we wasted looking for Whizzer because the forecast for the next day wasn't stellar and we knew Whizzer isn't a very rain-friendly coaster, plus finding the ride was hard because it's in a weird location nestled between the entrance and the Southwest Territory. After looking around for 15 minutes we finally found the entrance for this legendary Schwarzkopf family classic and by the time we hopped into the back car it was quite dark, so we got the famed night ride on Whizzer. How was it? Find out soon because that wraps up the yapping part of the TR and begins the ride review part of the TR! Whizzer at night. Whizzer at night! Well, kinda night. In the trees it feels more like night. The (presumably) less awesome of the Six Flags Bull coasters. why is this parking lot light so f*cking bright? lol ------------ Superman: Ultimate Flight - Blows Firehawk to hell and back. A pretty tame ride but infinitely more comfortable and fun than Firehawk. The pretzel loop is as awesome as advertised and the experience is generally pleasant. Not a bad ride by any measure. Also, in case I didn't mention it, it's better than Firehawk. Goliath - After two days of riding it, this is definitely an amazing ride. The first drop might be the best on any coaster (Iron Rattler and Millennium Force are the only ones I can say for sure are in the same tier and possibly better), the inversions are very different from everything else RMC has done, and the airtime hills are great. It makes Outlaw Run seem rough with how smooth it is, but some of the transitions between elements are uncomfortably abrupt. Not a huge deal and doesn't ruin the ride, just a thing to note. Doesn't feel short, like Outlaw Run it feels like the perfect length (though paced much more awkwardly than Outlaw Run), but a very complete-feeling ride. Definitely a star attraction at this park. American Eagle - I love out and back woodies. The sense of adventure from going out and then coming back, the floaty sensation of airtime over a big hill, occasionally rib smashing laterals from the few turnarounds a ride has, and of course the less-than-smooth track interaction are all super awesome. American Eagle is actually quite smooth for one of these classic woodies and the airtime is some very fun floater/ejector combo where some hills give one kind, some give the other, and some give none at all. The giant helix puts all other wooden coaster helix sizes to shame (except maybe that janky as sh*t old Rattler one). Ended up being one of my favorite coasters in the park. X-Flight - I was very excited for this ride because a) wing coasters rock despite the clavicle/hip crusher restraints and b) it completed the set of all 4 North American wing coasters. I'd say it's definitely a very solid wing coaster and as an added bonus the restraints on it don't tighten nearly as much as GateKeeper or Wild Eagle. The layout is also more solid than those two with some great near misses, a fantastic first drop, and fun turns with higher g forces than you'd expect. Maybe a little bumpier than the other wing coasters, but still a very very solid ride here. I prefer Thunderbird for its launch and location, but X-Flight is a very close second for sure. Whizzer - Great classic family ride. Reminds me of The Beast a little in terms of the layout, reputation, and experience. The lack of restraints other than a seat belt makes it fun as you have lots of wiggle room and the bobsled trains make it unique compared to modern coasters. Sensation of speed is fantastic (it whizzes) and that's kinda the whole deal with this ride, so it's definitely well executed in that regard. ------------ Ride Scorecard: Superman: Ultimate Flight x1 Goliath x1 American Eagle (red) x1 X-Flight x1 Whizzer x1 Chicago Food Scorecard: "Salted" "Caramel" "Bao" x1 Hot as f*ck fried chicken x1 Portillo's Hot Dog x1 Portillo's Hot Fudge Sundae x1 Exercise Scorecard: Steps x21.3k ------------ stay tuned for SFGAm day 2, the part where we actually ride the OTHER coasters here!
  16. After one day of driving and going to Silver Dollar City, two days of screwing around, seeing some family and friends, driving through Missouri and Illinois, and getting a good night's sleep at an Airbnb that we booked last second (because we forgot that we'd already booked the La Quinta across from the park because half the time we spent dicking around in Missouri had absolutely no cell service. whoops) it was finally time for some more TPR trip report appropriate content. Before actually doing stuff in Chicago, we had to park so we found a big multilayer parking garage that was charging $38 or something ridiculous for parking but seemed like not a huge deal because we budgeted way too much for the day in Chicago so who cared, right? If I remember right, it was $25 for twenty minutes or less, $30 for 20 minutes to 3 hours, $38 for 3-6 hours, or $38+hourlyfees for over 6 hours. Remember this because it'll be important later. We had an appointment for a boat tour (explained a little more in the next paragraph) at 9:30 so to kill time we checked out the Apple store directly next to the boat tour boarding area. Honestly, these lifestyle stores were probably one of the highlights of Chicago. They're basically a normal version of a store, but with literally everything imaginable that fits that type of store. This Apple store had technology presentations going on all day, plus almost every modern Apple-owned product on display. It was my first time in Chicago and the main thing that intrigues me about big cities is always the tall buildings and cool skyline, so the touristy thing that was most appealing was the Shoreline Sightseeing architecture boat tour. That was a really fun experience and our tour guide, Juan Pablo, was quite knowledgeable about the city's history and the styles of architecture of the buildings in Chicago. Overall a comfortable boat ride and informative tour, I would definitely recommend if you like buildings, architecture, boat rides, or history. (time for HUGE picture dump. if you don't care for low quality pictures of cool buildings then feel free to skip forward until you stop seeing pictures of buildings) (post split in half due to attachment limit)
  17. I don't think there's a wrong way to do SDC honestly. There's seriously not a single bad thing about the park. As for Powder Keg, just getting to it is a representation of the entire park layout. No rhyme or reason to anything, lol, but it adds to the charm.
  18. How reliable is the Pigeon Forge forecast about a week out? If I were to do that trip I'd have to check around a week prior to the visit to decide what park I was hitting. The calendar says that Dollywood will be open 11AM-9PM on the Friday directly after Thanksgiving, which should include the warmest parts of the day. Even getting a single ride in on LR and eating some cinnamon bread would probably make the trip worth it, considering we got predictably burned on our 2016 trip (who didn't?).
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