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swfan1988

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swfan1988 last won the day on January 6

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  1. That bird gives me Dr. Diabolical vibes, not super familiar with SFMM is the site kinda near their DC Universe or Screampunk areas? I wonder if the response from the theme at SFFT has been positive enough for them to want to use it here.
  2. Hi Everyone! Wow...and I thought my homepark's thread was quiet! I'll have to liven it up a little bit! When it came to planning my NorCal trip I knew I wanted to hit CGA, and since I had a rental car and a Six Flags pass I decided I should do SFDK. When looking for what else to do in the area, and being a fan of independent parks in general, I decided to throw in the Boardwalk as a nice bonus. I figured it would be a nice way to kill a few hours before heading to the airport or after spending most of my day at CGA. I man did I regret planning it that way cause was I blown away by this place! I'll kick this off by saying: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is the best park in Northern California. The whole place made me think of Knoebels, but at the beach! Which to me was like a perfect match! I love the old school feel of Knoebels, and the beach added a whole different atmosphere. I wish it was a little bigger, but the crazy multi-level-ness really added to both the unique-ness and the ride lineup. The star of the show is of course Giant Dipper. Now you here "Giant Dipper" and you think old wooden coaster (with Morgan trains), like REALLY old. And old wooden coasters are hit or miss. Some are fun, some are rough, some are just plain boring. To me though, Giant Dipper is hand's down the best coaster in NorCal and easily the best classic wooden roller coaster I've ridden. It beats out Phoenix, Racer, The Beast, Judge Roy, and Flying Turns for me. The best way for me to some it up is "They don't build 'em like that anymore...". It was totally out of control feeling from the minute we went into the tunnel to hitting the final breaks. I'm pretty sure that if I wanted too I could smack one of the support trusses at 40 mph those tolerances are so tight, and your just flying every which way in your seat. I would not call this ride "smooth" nor "rough", more like I don't know..."smough". It felt like a well cared for old school wooden coaster, lovingly cared for but still having the many engineering and construction imperfections of a ride built at that time and operating for so long. Some might find it uncomfortable, and I unfortunately ran out of time before I could grab a non-back row ride, but for what I like this is what I want in a wooden coaster like this! Oh yeah, they have a Maurer spinner called...uhhh...Underflow? (Check's rcdb) Undertow! Pretty standard family spinner, but my vote for best of it's type. I liked it better than Pandemonium or Sierra Sidewinder. On top of having an awesome wooden coaster, the Boardwalk has not one (but two!) awesome classic dark rides! Cave Train Adventure is a hilarious journey under the boardwalk into a black light filled city of cave men. I got a lot of laughs from this one! The Haunted Castle was a fun old-school haunted house, again on par with Knoebels. I think this one has a few more modern effects than the one at Knoebels, but same kinda of scary but also fun experience. I wanted to ride Logger's Revenge, since I'm a sucker for log flumes, but the long line and my limited time prevented me. I got some custard from a stand next to Haunted Castle (I think) and enjoyed that while watching the ocean. I know most of the vendors here are third party, but dang that was some good custard! And after a few hours my time was up... I really wish I had planned a full day for this park, or even had skipped SFDK and just come down to Santa Cruz for a night. There seemed like so much to do on the Boardwalk and the near by warf. I really REALLY liked this park, and it's probably the only one in NorCal that I legit want to go back to soon. It is a little spendy, but it's also in a resort area and I think it could have been much more expansive. But that's really it's only con in my book. Otherwise, Knoebels on the Beach? SIGN ME UP!!! And that concludes my little trip to NorCal, and my 2023 TR's! I don't have much planned other than a Florida trip this summer, so we'll have to see where I end up this year. See you guys all next time!
  3. Hi Everyone! Next up on my quick NorCal trip was Budget Busch Gardens Six Flags Discovery Kingdom! Coming off a little disappointed with CGA this park surprised me in that liked it better. Not THAT much better, but a little better none the less. It might be a lower quality Busch-esque park but I appreciated the uniqueness. What is is with NorCal parks and weird entrances. At CGA you have to walk around there amphitheater, and at SFDK you have to walk past like half the park to get to the gate. Can't you like move the entrance a little? Oh well, doesn't matter. Here's the coasters as best I can remember. The big standout was Medusa for me. Having ridden Superman and Patriot, I hadn't really had a floorless that stuck well with me. I was surprised that I enjoyed this ride a lot actually. The sea serpent roll was unique. It wasn't rough, and all around a solid looping coaster. I think this ride tends to get overshadowed and forgotten about in many floorless discussions now days. I'm also gonna ride Kraken later this year and I'm curious how it holds up against that. Joker was down or busy most of the day so I only got one ride in. While I thought it was fun for an I-box, I can definitely see why it isn't the highest regarded. I don't think it's a bad ride by any means, but it just doesn't hold up against other rides RMC has made. It's focus on inversions is unique but I think there were some missed opportunities for a more exciting ride. I really like the Joker/funhouse theme as I feel like it's one of the better expressions of this theme at the Six Flags parks. Another ride that was fit or miss all day was Flash:V2. I was curious about this ride having never ridden one of these Intamin Impulses. I really liked the launches, and the 45 degree spike was a nice twist on an otherwise uninteresting layout. I think I'd rather have these than Sky Rocket II's, but I can also see why we didn't get more of them. The rest of the lineup did the following for me: - Sidewinder Safari: Broken - Kong: POS - Boomerang: "eh" - Cobra: Didn't ride - Superman: I'm sorry but I'm not waiting an hour in line for a Sky Rocket II - Batman: POS (Hate those free spins!) I think that's it...I'm not too worried about kiddie coasters at this point in my life. Outside of a relatively weak coaster lineup, the rest of the park came across as a mishmash of "Six Flags stuff" and animals. The animals were to my surprise actually pretty well presented. I thought there would be more "old zoo/safari park" vides with the exhibits but most (especially the ones that looked like they had been redone in recent years, were actually quite nice. Not top notch stuff necessarily, but much better than I was expecting. Part of me is kinda surprised that Six Flags never removed the animals. They must be something of a draw since I always seem to here that animals are expensive to take care of especially in settings like this. Plus the park is pretty full from a development standpoint, so I'm curious as to why some exhibits haven't been sacrificed for more rides. Overall, I thought this was a fine park. No burning desire to go back, but what I would expect from a mid-tier (pre-merger) Six Flags. A couple good rides, a lot of mediocre ones, and "Six Flags stuff". The animals were a nice bonus that made the park special. I'm curious to see what direction this park goes with additions or if some CGA stuff migrates over eventually. The final park on my short trip was one that I threw in as a bonus initially, and walked away from pleasantly surprised! See you guys then!
  4. Hi Everyone! When the news broke that the land under CGA had been sold I decided to prioritized getting down there. It's the closest Cedar Fair park to my outpost in the coaster desert, and I had always been intrigued by it's unique setting, history, and line up. I didn't want to regret not going. And...well...I'm sorry to all the local fans but...I'm not all that sad that this park is going away now... While I am sad that the massive investment plan that CF allegedly had for this park is not going to come to fruition, in it's current state the park is kinda sad I think. Please though, allow me to explain. I think it's cool that the park shares a parking lot with Levi's Stadium. It might be a logistical bummer on game days but I think the park is in a cool spot. It's a little weird walking past that relatively large amphitheater and down a path ala Worlds of Fun to get to a security screening/ticket booth area that has seen better days, but the reward of the the view with the carousel is a good one. With Gold Striker on the right side of the entrance let's start there. Gold Striker was fun, not as fun as I thought it was gonna be though. It's got the signature GCI twister layout, though I think Thunderhead (when running well) does it a bit better. I thought there were a few moments where some potential was wasted, on a ride that was built in a location where space and therefore element utilization is at a premium. I didn't think it was too rough which was really nice. I hope it get's relocated, though I have my doubts. RailBlazer was an interesting one. It's of course the older clone of a coaster at my homepark, and it operates a little differently than Stunt Pilot does. It seemed to be in better shape than Wonder Woman, though I don't know if that's bad maintenance on Six Flags' part or not. I think I'm in the minority though when I say that the elements didn't feel as well executed as they do on Stunt. Same intensity I think, just Stunt is just smoother and has better transitions in my opinion. There are some variations in the profiling between the two of them, and I think I prefer SP's. I hope RailBlazer gets relocated, and I think the likelihood is good. Demon on the other hand...just get rid of this thing already. It's old, rough, and has a not very interesting layout trying to shoehorn some loops in there. I normally like older Arrow's but this was not a good one for me. Grizzly was closed. Wah wah wah...I'm so bummed...I'll have to plan a return trip JUST for that credit... An Arrow that was gun was Psycho Mouse. Probably my favorite wild mouse, though it's just a wild mouse so...is there really that my to say about it. Hope it gets relocated, though with so many alternatives in the family coaster market now I'm not 100% hopeful for it. Patriot was a blah floorless. Not very smooth, not very interesting. Don't care about it's fate. Flight Deck was a solid invert. While short, I enjoyed it's use of space and intensity. I know it's a custom layout so moving might be difficult, but it's probably the one ride from this park (Skyride and Carousel aside) that I hope to see live on somewhere else. Speaking of the Skyride, this was my first Von Roll Skyway and I can say I'm a fan. It had cool views, and it made me wish that more parks had rides in this vein. Thinking of this park as a whole, I'm of course bummed that a park is on a timer yet after visiting I think the writing was on the wall. It's in a major metro area, sitting on prime PRIME real estate. I can see why CF would want to invest a lot here in the past, but I can see how attractive it was for them to sell it. The best case would obviously be for someone to swoop in and buy/long-term lease the park from Prologis. But even if they did, I think they would have to put a lot of money into the park to keep it viable long term. There's not a lot of expansion room (not none, but not very much) and it looked to me like the park had a lot of deferred maintenance/blight. I noticed several buildings that looked abandoned for a long time (the large theater behind Gold Striker comes immediately to mind) and while these may be for sound or storage or haunt or whatever, I still thought that for a park in such a nice area it wasn't a positive image. It looked to me like Marriott had a great plan when they built it, but much like SFOT somewhere along the way someone stopped caring about the plan and just did whatever. And ultimately I think that's backed the park into a corner of poor space usage and long-term maintenance. I hope the park is saved, and revitalized cause I think it could be a really REALLY cool park, but right now I'm not devastated to see it go. CGA kicked off a small NorCal trip for me, so I'll be back with my next stop SFDK! See you guys then!
  5. Hi Everyone! My new years resolution is to be more timely when posting trip reports... So before the holidays get away from me I figured I better get them done. After SeaWorld I wrapped up my Texas trip with a stop at what many argue as one of the better (pre-merger) Six Flags, Fiesta Texas. An I have to say that of the 3 Six Flags I went to last year (OT, FT, and DK) this one definitely felt like the nicest. For one thing it is the newest, opening in 1992, but also when Gaylord designed it your can for sure tell that they cared about the theming and were willing to spend the money to build a nice park. (Definitely makes me wish Opryland was still around). The overarching themed areas (or at least the ones Six Flags hasn't monkeyed too much with) are well done, and details are plentiful. There is still a lot of "Six Flags stuff" which is a shame because I think the park would be even better without the ads, upcharge go-karts, poorly implemented DC themes, oh and the boomerang... But even with this "stuff" it's a very nice park, so let's see what I thought of it's lineup! Iron Rattler is of course the star of the show. The photogenic-ness alone of this ride is enough to impress. And how smooth! For being 10 years old now, it feels like it opened for the first time yesterday. No other RMC that I have ridden is that smooth. My only real complaint with IR is that it felt a little short. 3200 feet is respectable, especially when compared to RMC's built at that time, but it just felt like it was meant to have another 500 feet but the Six Flags budget was like nah... Maybe that's just me though. The surprise of the whole trip for me was Dr. Diabolical's Themed to a Strange Degree Not on the Wall Skydiving Machine (I mean Cliffhanger...sorry got a little carried away with the name). When this was first announced I thought "Cool! Dive coaster on the quarry wall", and then I found out that it wasn't gonna be on the wall and I was like "Ok whatever, next coaster" I knew about the theming going in which I was very impressed with, though I thought it weird that you go outside and bam there's the coaster and the theming ends instantly. I feel like they could have put SOMETHING in the outside portion, literally ANYTHING but no it's just some grass. Theming aside though I really enjoyed this coaster. Granted it was my first B&M dive, but it really surprised me. I'm in the camp that I want a lot of the smaller regional parks to get these small dive coasters. The drop was one, the inversions were pretty intense for B&M, and it was just fun to ride. That to me is a big win for any attraction at any park, is just being fun to ride. Big thumbs up from me, and I'm kinda excited for Iron Menace now too. The next headliner here that everyone talks about is of course Superman. To me this ride was like two-face, first half fun and solid B&M floorless. Second half? POS. It just meandered around some inversions while trying to rattle your brain out of the skull. Not my pick for best floorless (yay, Medusa!). Walked away kinda disappointed as I had heard good things about this ride. Next up was Wonder Woman, and I know this was the prototype raptor but this thing was in rough shape. I think it's pretty evident why this ride is undergoing the refurbishment it is. The drive tires were worn down, the magnetic breaks were all banged up, and the train tracked horribly. Fun layout, which I really enjoy, but man was it rattly. I hope this is not the inevitable future of these rides since that would be an awful shame. I have had the privilege of riding all three prototype raptors and this was easily the worst. Poltergeist and Batman: The Ride Great White Goliath were both fine supporting coasters. The theming in the station for Poltergeist was cool, though the rest of the ride I thought was just ok. Goliath was just a rough Batman clone. Oh, and I rode their Boomerang, no comment needed. Roadrunner was a slightly below average mine train, if it still had the Wylie Coyote statue at the top of the lift I think I would have liked it a bit more. It only beats Pandemonium for me cause it was the last Arrow mine train, and at it has a custom layout. A ride I did not like was Batman, there S&S Free Spin. I missed the one at OT cause of the weather, and I'm actually kinda glad I did. I strongly dislike these rides, there just stupid, uncomfortable, pain machines. I tried the one at SFDK as well and I hope that's the last one I have to ride, at least for a couple years. I also road the train, which was great, and the Bugs Bunny Log Flume. I loved the execution of the Looney Tunes theme on the flume! Imagine if that's how Six Flags did all their LT/DC Comics theming? I think that be pretty cool. And that wraps up my Texas trip. Both San Antonio parks were great, though I think I slightly prefer SeaWorld. I thought their ride lineup was a little stronger, plus the balance with the animals made it more interesting to me. I hope I can find a good excuse to get down to SA again soon! I got three more TR's to do all from NoCal, so we will see you all then!
  6. Hi Everyone! I said in my SFOT report that before going to my next Six Flags park I went to a park that surprised me. And boy did it! Now, I've heard lots about the SeaWorld parks. I've heard good things, bad things, and mixed things. I've been to BGW so kinda new the drill, but not a true SeaWorld park. One constant was that SeaWorld San Antonio was the worst of the three. With that in mind I say... If this is the WORST SeaWorld...I can NOT WAIT to visit the best! This place was cool, really cool. Quick side note: I'm curious as to the history of the park. Does anyone know why the entrance is the way it is. It looked like the area the is now home to Discovery Cove and Auqatica used to be part of the main park, thus the big glass arches. Is this true, or is that just kinda how it's always been? Anyways, back to my thoughts... Started out strong by heading right after entering and going straight to Texas Stingray. I've ridden what are regarded as GCI's better rides, so I was curious how one of the newer ones went over. And this is a GREAT ride! I would characterize it as the perfect "good wooden coaster" that every park should have. Extremally re-ridable, with an interesting and engaging layout that has a nice balance of laterals and airtime. I wish more parks would have wooden coasters like this. Not trying to be gimmicky, or the craziest wooden coaster around. Just a good old fashioned fun ride, that everyone can enjoy. It doesn't have to try and be the star attraction to be good. It's not my favorite wooden coaster by any means, but it certainly is a great one. Next up was the best Batman clone I road in Texas, the one everyone forgets exists...Great White! Nothing too much to say other than...at least it wasn't rough like the other two... I hit Wave Breaker next, which scores well in the uniqueness category. I like the concept and the unique ride vehicles. Not the most intense ride of course, being geared towards families, but it serves it's purpose well. If this was the proof of concept for the other motor bike coasters that SeaWorld has been installing lately, they should be solid family coaster additions. Mix in the extra theming that DarKoaster and Penguin Trek (that is a jet ski coaster...right? I haven't been following it...) have and I like this type of ride. Good job SeaWorld doing something different with the family coaster concept, and adapting it to your theme of rescue. Steel Eel was next, which I think is the best coaster in the park. I say think because Texas Stingray, while great, just doesn't have the magnitude in my opinion to be the best coaster in the park...but it's just so good. It's a close one. I'll go Steel Eel. Definitely better than Mamba and Titan, even up there with the B&M hypers I've ridden. The plastic seats did hurt a little, and I might have wacked my hand on a tree...but still great. Having knocked out the coasters in short order (No I'm not such a credit whore to ride the Grover coaster, and I didn't want to get wet so I skipped Journey to Atlantis) I decided to check out some of the animal exhibits and shows the park had. And I must say, while some of the exhibits (cough cough Penguins cough cough) were kinda dated, I was overall impressed. They integrated well into the theme park environment, helping to offer a cool mix of thrills and animal engagements. And that I think is what I thought was the great accomplishment of this park, and really nice balance of animals, education, and thrills. The rides were all solid great rides, not stand-outs but solid, mixed with well presented animal exhibits. In my opinion this is the formula that SeaWorld should follow. They shouldn't be all about the biggest, craziest coaster, and they shouldn't be all about education, but a mix of both. They do kinda hit you over the head with the SeaWorld Rescue thing, which while I understand why they do they could be a little more subtle about it... BGW has similar attributes, but it's european theme and heavy hitter coaster line-up lend it to focus more on the thrills rather than the animals. SWSA had a better balance I thought. If this is the worst of the SeaWorld parks, then I'm really excited to visit Orlando and San Diego and see the balance more fleshed out. If I could ask San Antonio for one thing it would be more, more of this awesome balance that makes SeaWorld so unique. One thing they could improve is the Orca Encounter show. Now I get it, maybe it's a lot of work to retrain the Orcas for a new show, maybe this was the super quick fix they needed during the height of the Blackfish controversary, and they just stuck with it. But come one, you can make it less obvious that this is the Shamu show with all the Shamu references stripped out, and some new videos spliced in. This could be such a cool experience with and educational focus, and the tricks demonstrating the abilities of these amazing creatures. As the Orca program at SeaWorld winds down, I hope they come up with a better way to showcase these animals while they've still got them. Speaking of improvements to this park. Catapult Falls was of course not open during my visit, but let me say this is the ride this park needs. Continuing that "solid rides" theme I mentioned earlier, this park needs another water ride for the Texas heat. I'm excited for this ride and what it means for the park going forward. I hope next on the table is some more/refurbed animal exhibits and shows. This park also had some details of it's own such as this sub over by the sea lion/otter area. I like little things like this, does this sub have some historic significance for the park? Also, I really enjoyed Discovery Point. I wasn't able to spend a lot of time there, but the idea of having some exhibits available for the cost of parking, with of course upcharges as well, we interesting. It was pretty well presented I thought as well. And that concludes my time at SeaWorld San Antonio. I REALLY enjoyed this park. I expected Fiesta Texas (oops spoiler alert) to crush this park in every way, but I have to say for me it's very close. It definitely puts San Antonio high on the list of cities I'd like to return too. See you all next time!
  7. Hi Everyone! Would you look at that, I'm playing catch up on trip reports again. I had the privilege of doing both Texas and NorCal this summer, interspaced with a very busy work schedule. I'll start things off with the park that, for better or worse, I spent the least amount of time on Six Flags Over Texas. This was the year that I finally bucked up and bought a Six Flags pass. I knew I wanted to do the Texas parks, and was pretty sure I'd be going to Discovery Kingdom as well so the math seemed to work in my favor. I don't know if I'll continue it for next year, since its value is directly tied to my currently undecided travel plans, but it was nice to have. Anywho, Over Texas was the first Six Flags park I had ever visited...I know great start right... And well...it was fine I guess... I went straight to New Texas Giant, over my better judgement of going to La Vibora, which was my first RMC I-Box. And while I though it was good, it definitely felt like a proof of concept. It was smooth, but not all that adventurous with it's layout. One thing that I thought was really interesting was how the ride was positioned, not in the physical sense but in the marketing sense. I though it was interesting how the ride seemed to be presented as an updated version of the Texas Giant, rather than as a whole new ride. I mean think about it for a second, to my knowledge every RMC I-Box conversion since this one has been marketed and presented as a brand new ride. They may pay homage to the old attraction in the name or elements, but they are seen as a whole new experience separate from the old one. This ride felt like Six Flags wanted to position it as, "the Texas Giant, just good now!", rather than a whole new ride. From the minimally modified layout and theming, to old Texas Giant sign still in the gift shop, it didn't feel like they wanted it to be seen as a new ride, just a refurbed version of an old one. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, what you guys think? While I was in that corner of the park I did Titan. And wow...what a waste of a coaster. I should be able to remember some moment from a hyper coaster, and well I can't. In fact I had to go back and edit this part of the trip report to include the part that I road it... After Titan, we headed towards the other side of the park. Sadly we passed the then closed Pirates of Spelunker Caves...I was really bummed about that. It looks like a really unique attraction, especially for Six Flags. We hit up Knock-off Space Mountain on a Budg...I mean Runaway Mountain. Seriously though, can't you at least put something, ANYTHING, EVEN ONE OF THOOSE AWFUL ADVERTISEMETNS, in there to look at rather than a "meh" Premier coaster in a box. Next we did Justice League, which while impressive for a Six Flags, I'm not all that big a fan of shooting dark rides and I'm not the most familiar with the DC universe so it didn't resonate all that well. I like the vehicles and the animatronics and effects which seemed to largely be in working order. But the heavy reliance on screens and the shooting aspect really detracted for me. I have yet to ride a shooting dark ride that I've ridden and not said that be better without guns. I think it's just a ride genre I struggle with. After Justice League, we noticed some storm clouds in the distance and a check of the forecast confirmed that our day was probably gonna get cut really short. I got in line for Mr. Freeze but with a relatively long line and 5 minute dispatches I was like nah... So I went to Batman instead. And it was fun. Not my favorite invert by any means, but a solid ride. Of the three Batman's I road in Texas this one fell squarely in the middle, not to rough but not so smooth either. Glad I got the cred. Not so glad I got the cred...Judge Roy. Goodness, what a POS. Maybe this layout was fun at one point, but thanks to Six Flags maintenance it looks, sound's, and rides like it's gonna collapse. I'm pretty sure the intensity warning in the station is an excuse... Grabbed a quick snack and my complementary souvenir cup, then headed for Casa Magnetica. This was probably the experience that stood out the most to me. While a little short, I really enjoyed the wacky humor and "crooked house" effects (Who am I kidding, the peacock idol is ALIVE!!!). I'm glad the park brought this experience back and I hope other parks nationwide consider these smaller, more subtle experiences. I was gonna hop on New Texas Giant again, but then it went down for lightning. We thought about waiting or doing the log flume, but with the storm clouds quickly rolling in, I called it quits. And good thing, I got in my rental car and it POURED and I mean POURED. Now I'm from the PNW and whats more the rainy part of the PNW, yet I can only remember a few times it rained like that. Also, I got in the car started driving away and remembered Shockwave exists...RIP cred. As a whole I thought Over Texas was an interesting park. It felt like at one time someone cared and had a grand, well-planned, vision for the park, and somewhere along the way someone else said "to heck with that" let's put random rides and stuff everywhere. I liked the little details that someone clearly thought about when they were built. The remnants of that early vision were very apparent, and it looked like a recent effort has been made into restoring many of the older and broken down parts of the park. To be a good park though I think it still has a long way to go. Maybe Selim's idea of a higher standard for Six Flags will carry through and start here, but somehow I doubt that. And that's my hope for the future of this park. That someone who actually cares will be put in charge, and chart a new course forward. Build upon Casa Magnetica, Pirates of Spelunker Cave, and all the other improvement projects they seemed to be working on. Create a long-term vision that can buoy the park, and then clean the place up. If this park didn't get any new rides for a few years, but just restored an area of the park a year, I would be happy. I'll leave with a picture of what is now the only Intamin bobsled coaster in the US, here to hoping that it and the park can not only hang on, but thrive in the next few years. I mentioned earlier that I had bought a Six Flags pass, and that I did all of the Texas parks. So you probably know what my next Six Flags was...but first a stop at a park that actually surprised me. A park I didn't think would be so cool, but ended up giving me a lot of hope for it's chain and the other parks in it. See you all next time!
  8. Hey Everyone! My home park's discussion thread has been pretty quiet now for awhile...I've been meaning to post updates over the last couple years however my busy schedule has not permitted it. However, while not a whole lot has changed inside the park since Stunt Pilot in 2021 a lot is changing for Boulder Beach in 2024! Today the park announced a whole new area coming next year, Emerald Forest! https://www.facebook.com/silverwoodthemepark/videos/693032702687348/ https://www.silverwoodthemepark.com/rides/emerald-forest.php?fbclid=IwAR34KQY3V1htwDTyoetsN9xptMm7kR1UM00O0nORP-jPufQ6IRLIof3YWRQ They have been working on construction behind the water park since the end of last season, and it's cool to see it finally being confirmed! The $15 million expansion consists of: - Eagle Hunt, the PNW's only water coaster, the first duelling water coaster in the west, and the longest water coaster in the US at 925 feet! (No, I don't consider it a new credit! ) -Salmon Run, a new kids area with 8 different slides -Rapids Grill, a massive new food pavilion for the waterpark, as well as an additional restroom facility - A new series of individual private cabanas, as well as some new larger cabanas for bigger groups. These cabanas will offer similar service to those on Cabana Island by the wave pools. While I am really excited for Eagle Hunt adding some unique modern thrills to Boulder Beach, and I appreciate the expanded food capacity of Rapids Grill I'm most excited for what I think this announcement means for the parks future. This expansion is the biggest single expansion to the park since I started visiting over 10 years ago, and the fact that they are willing and able to commit to such an expansion of this scale financially and ambitiously makes me super thrilled for the future of the park. It says to me that they are committed to growth, and brining new more modern attractions and experiences to the park rather than just relying on the success of the past. I'm really looking forward to 2024 at Silverwood!
  9. I'm excited for this! It seems a little short, but I love the whack layout for a dive coaster! I really enjoyed Dr. Diabolical at Fiesta Texas, so I hope B&M is on a role with small dive coasters. Would love to see more!
  10. Hey Everyone! I picked the absolute worst day ever to visit Knott's. I decided to go on a Thursday in September thinking "It'll be great! They'll be hardly anyone one there! I can ride all the rides with basically no wait!" Well let's start with all the things at Knott's I did NOT ride... - Montezooma's Revenge: In pieces and closed till who knows when. - Xcelerator: In pieces and closed till who knows when. - Ghostrider: Closed for seasonal refurbishment... - Calico Mine Ride: Closed for addition of candy for Scary Farm...used Hangtime's "Ride Closed" sign... - Hangtime: Technical issues all day, lacked a ride closed sign for most of the day so they used a trash can... - Butterfield Stagecoach: The only ride that actually had a line all day... Oh and there was basically nobody there so they had nothing going on for entertainment. It essentially felt like an authentic ghost town! (Wait a minute...wasn't that Walter Knott's goal? uh oh...) Ok, ok so I might be a bit down on this one, but please don't get me wrong. I really wanted to enjoy Knott's and appreciate all the history and cool stuff that is there. But when so many marquee attractions are down for the day (not to mention how Timber Mountain almost missed half a day while I was there...) and has no vide, it's hard to look past it and have fun. I did really enjoy the sky tower (the operator on there was awesome, and you could tell he had a passion for the ride! Love it when that happens!), and the train ride was cool albeit a bit awkward with the entertainment. Plus, Timber Mountain was cool to ride! Definitely a bucket list for theme park history buffs and log flume lovers like me, and I thought Garner Holt's additions were done well for the most park. Not sure about the whole "Haunted Hootenanny" thing, but the rest was good! My remaining ride thoughts were as follows: - Pony Express: Just kinda "meh", too short, not all that exciting, ruins the sightlines in Boot Hill...WHO AM I KIDDING PONY EXPRESS IS THE BEST COASTER EVERY OMG!!! (Somebody here will appreciated that...) - Sierra Sidewinder: Not as spiny or fun as I would like, just kind of an "ok" family coaster. - Coast Rider: Just a POS wild mouse. - Jaguar!: "eh" Nice views of a dismantled Zoom. - Silver Bullet: Considering I forgot to list it with the other inverts I've ridden in the KI trip report...yeah...not that memberable, though definitely a nice people eater for the park. - Berry Tales: Probably the best Triotech thing I've ridden so far, would rather have had way less screens though. Appreciated the nods to the parks history and the original ride though. I also made the necessary trip to Mrs. Knott's, and the trek out to Independence Hall. Mrs. Knott's I though was just ok, it felt like everything was just pulled from a warmer when I was there for lunch. Would like to go again for dinner and see if it's different. I like the setting, and the Boysenberry Punch was great! Independence Hall was a neat slice of Knott's history, and I like it's simplistic albeit effective approach to telling the history of the real independence hall (which I have visited). It was also cool to know that scenes from National Treasure were filmed there, since it's one of my favorite adventure movies. Also loved this sign in Fiesta Village (which was of course an absolute mess when I was there). I hope it survived the remodel, despite it's questionable appropriateness in today's culture... And that's all I got for Knott's really. I actually kinda felt sad for the place. It has so much history and cool stories, but it just seems to not be the best operationally. I don't know if that's a Cedar Fair caused problem or just "the way things are", but I also noticed that some smaller areas just seemed to be lacking in maintenance. I hope CF isn't taking a "well if it's broken we won't fix it, just 'remodel' it later" approach long term as I think that will inevitably destroy the unique charm that the park has (or what it still has...). Personally rather than seeing a giga or hyper come (which would be great), I would prefer a greater focus on operational excellence and a restoration/expansion of the details that made the place special to begin with. Maybe that's just me though. Someday I would like to return Knott's and get all the credits I need, just not sure when that is. Right now I don't feel very motivated to return but we'll see if their future additions change that! And we did! I got all caught up (except for that 2022 update for my homepark...but we won't talk about that...)! I'm kicking off my 2023 travel season next week with Texas so here's to that and a great summer season for everyone! See you all next time!
  11. Hey Everyone! When it came fall time I wanted to go to CGA and the Bay Area. However, when looking at flights with the time off I had from work Orange County was the cheapest option and I was like "Well, I guess were going to Disneyland!". I last visited Disney in 2011, so it had been a while and I had always wanted to go to Knott's, plus I have WDW and Orlando on my radar for next year, so I figured why not! I did two days at Disney with a park hopper, and one day at Knott's (more on that fiasco later though...)! While I'm glad I go the park hopper option, and it was nice to have, I did find that overall Disneyland is the FAR stronger park than California Adventure. You just can't compete with Big Thunder, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Indy, (formerly) Splash Mountain, Rise of the Resistance...and the list goes on and on. First, though I saw this shirt in the airport on my way and it was awesome... Alright, back to Disney. I eat at the quick service pizza place attached to Naples, and that was great! Pretty good pizza with a pretty good (for Disney) price and portion size. Can't remember the name (and too lazy to look it up), but I'd recommend it. Disneyland was fun. Rerideing so many of the rides that I remember riding as a kid, and seeing the ones I'd seen being built in the meantime was absolutely amazing. None of the coasters are my favorite or Top 10 by any stretch, but the dark ride lineup is so strong! I think I prefer Haunted Mansion to Pirates, though I'd like to ride the non-Nightmare Before Christmas version to know for sure. Quick thoughts on Splash Mountain: It was good but not great. I thought the pacing was too fast, and the story to difficult to follow. Also when I rode I thought the ride was in rough shape by the standards I expect Disney rides to be maintained at. Multiple scenes had all their lights not working or effects turned off. I was kinda disappointed in the end. I understand why it's being replaced, and part of me is happy that it's being put out of it's misery (If that has been the long term state of the attraction). But part of me feels like a better approach would have been to refurb it, make new culturally appropriate shorts featuring the characters rather than shoe-horning Princess and the Frog into the space, which I think deserves it's own brand-new/ground-up attraction. I think my biggest worry with the replacement is if we go from the classic animatronics of Splash Mountain to a screen heavy Bayou Adventure. That to me would be a bigger disappointment than loosing Splash Mountain. Alright, enough of that! I really want to praise the renovated rivers of america. When this was first announced I was worried, fearing that much of the charm and uniqueness of both the river and the railroad would be lost. But boy did the imagineers do good on this one. It doesn't feel out of place, and it's cool the details and interactions they did between the train and the river. The Mark Twain was down while I was there, so I got to ride the Columbia which was really cool! Definitely felt like an older Disneyland but in the best ways possible, if you get the chance I would highly recommend it! As far as coasters go: - Matterhorn: Closed for refurb - Big Thunder: Fun but not as wild as I remember. It felt toned down, which I personally feel is a result of the retracking they did a few years ago but maybe it was not that wild to begin with. - Space Mountain: Aka "Left Turn: The Ride". Not a fan. - Incredicoaster: Now THIS is how you do onboard audio AND tell a story with a coaster. Everyone of those "storytelling coasters" needs to take notes from this guy. Big fan of the upgrade from California Screamin' Speaking of rethemes and new Disney rides... Mission Breakout was great! I don't know squat about the Guardians (or really any Marvel thing really), but I caught on to the story and characters instantly, and I think this story works so well with the simplified version of the Tower that California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios got. Based on what I know about the Florida version I don't think it would work so well there, but here it was awesome! Very happy with this one! Rise of the Resistance was also fun. I was curious more than anything to ride what has been widely held up as one of the best things in the industry at the moment. While I did think it was fun, I felt it faltered in the main area where it is praised. It wasn't ambitious enough. Yes, Disney seems to have gone out of their way to great a unique ride experience, with the multiple pre-shows and ride vehicle uses. Yet, it feels like a more advanced version of a trackless darkride, and it felt like it didn't want to push the envelope tooo far. This was disappointing as while I thought it was creative, it wasn't that imaginative with its theming, story, or ride system. Another problem I had with it, and with Galaxy's Edge as a whole is that it doesn't feature any of the Star Wars characters and locations that people actually WANT. It's not set on Hoth, Tatooine, Yoda's planet, or even features the death star. Han Solo, Leah, and Dark Vader are abscent. Heck, even Luke Skywalker himself is nowhere to be seen! People like to compare it to the Wizarding World, and I say (having never even visited the Wizarding World) that that is probably better simply because it features people and places that fans want to go to or meet! I think that's the big lesson Disney has missed from the Wizarding World, they have to build stuff that takes us to places or let's us meet characters or do things we actually want too! I think that's the biggest problem with Galaxy's Edge, Pandora, Avenger's Campus, etc... One land that avoids this however is right across the esplanade...Cars Land! Not only did they build basically the entire town of Radiator Springs and every location around it, plus let us experience an adventure with every major Cars character (that people care about...), they also included a full model with basically every piece of the dye cast Cars toy line I grew up collecting! Ok, way sidetrack/nerd alert, but still THAT'S SO COOL! My only problem with the land is that Lizzy's Curio Shop was closed and seems to have been for awhile...does anyone know why Disney isn't using this relatively prime retail space? The rest of California Adventure I though was just a weak mix of poorly executed rethemes (Pixar Pier), old lands that should have been updated/replaced a long time ago (Hollywoodland, Golden Valley Winery), cheap new additions (Avenger's Campus), and actually pretty solid little areas that get lost in the mix (Grizzly Peak, Pacific Warf, and Buena Vista Street). And...that basically covers California Adventure, I don't think World of Color was running while I was there so I didn't see it, and the park closed early one night for Oogie Boogie's Wallet and Capacity Bashy Thingy. Overall, it's just ok and if I went back to Disneyland I'd probably skip it and just stick with the main park unless they offered some sort of really nice package deal (which we of course all know they won't...) Overall I enjoyed my trip to Disneyland, look forward to FL potentially next year, and have little desire to return for another decade. It was just so expensive, and doesn't offer anything that would make me want to return super soon. I'm not even that excited for this "Disneyland Forward" thing they are talking about. I will say it was absolutley hilarious seeing all these families rush everywhere with Genie Plus and all these things they planned out too the minute 6 months ago, and here's me (who decided to go like 2 weeks before) being like "I'm gonna go do this now!" with zero stress or cares at all. That's a wrap for Disneyland, let's see if I can get one more done today to get caught up! See you guys next time!
  12. Hey Everyone! I've been meaning to post this report for a while...lol... I visited KI last summer, and went to Knott's and Disney in the fall with every intent of doing full TR's for them. However...due to some work and life stuff...I never got around to it. So, with my impending trip to texas next week I decided I might as well play catchup and try and get these things done before I forget again! It's not gonna be as long as normal but we'll see what I can whip up! Kings Island was...great. I think that's the best summation of this park...great. Not perfect, not good, not "the best", but great. It felt like a park where no matter what you could come and have a guaranteed great time, and that was something I really enjoyed. It might be a little controversial, but Orion just stole the show for me. It was huge, fast, and fun, albeit a bit short but not offensively short. I do feel like some more length (and not a hilariously debatable height status...) would have benefited the ride, but hey it's a B&M Giga/Hyper. I could think of plenty of parks that would beg to have Orion if KI fans really don't want it... Not my favorite coaster but definitely a top 10 Earlier on the trip I was able to ride Prowler at WoF, which instantly took the crown of my favorite wooden coaster. Knowing the relative similarities between Prowler and Mystic Timbers, I was excited to experience a more modern, refined (and arguably better maintained) version of my new favorite. And while Mystic did edge out Prowler as my favorite, it did so barely. It was mostly the theming and reality of being in the legendary shed that did it though I think. I thought Prowler was more aggressive, and had the stronger layout so if KI's wooden coaster crews could just take a field trip to WoF please that be great! The Beast was, well the Beast. It was fun to say I've ridden the world's longest wooden coaster, but I thought it was kinda rough and not all that interesting of a ride. We were in line for a night ride when they announced that the ride would have to close for the 50th Anniversary drone show (Side note: The show was great! More regional parks need something like that!), so we choose to watch the drone show and go back to the hotel after a long day of fun instead. Something for next time I guess! Speaking of things for next time, I missed the Backlot Stunt Coaster, Woodstock Express, and Invertigo credits so as soon as KI replaces Vortex I got a good reason to go back! Banshee and Diamondback are really a nice pair for this park. I wasn't a huge fan of banshee, not liking the vest restraints all that much, and finding the layout after the first drop and loop being a little "meh" but enjoyed it nonetheless. Favorite for invert for sure...though with my invert count (Banshee, Aftershock, and Patriot) that's not saying much... Diamondback was fun though! A nice solid B&M hyper, love the splashdown! We eat at the Coney BBQ which we all agreed was just ok. We had had awesome BBQ in Kansas City a few days earlier though, so that probably didn't help KI's cause. Wrapping things up as far as coasters go: - The Bat: Fun and interesting but short. Loved the not quite removed Top Gun/Flight Deck theming and the view of Son of Beast's station. I wish someone would make a modern version of this swinging suspended coaster model. - Racer: Only road the blue side (I think, can't remember now). Weak first half and just a rough return. I think the red side opened later but I wasn't too inclined to try again... - Adventure Express: Easily my favorite mine train so far! Pretty smooth, funny theming, I hope they don't ruin it too much with the renovations this year. - KI&MV RR: Nice little train ride! Like how it serves as a transport option to the waterpark. Overall, I really enjoyed KI and like I said I do have reasons to go back. That being said, I don't think I'll race back unless I pair it with Cedar Point, or they have something cool for the Vortex plot. Just don't have a burning desire to return...not yet at least! Whew, one down, two to go! See you all next time!
  13. I would curb your excitement a little... I've seen the pictures and it looks like the 208 ReTrak they have been putting on Timber Terror and Tremors. However, each time they have added it they have reprofiled the ride slightly. It doesn't change the layout but it does reduce the "amplitude" (for lack of a better term) of the element. I don't know if that's just a park specific thing that Silverwood is doing or if it's just how the product works.
  14. I haven't been to KD or CW but have been to BGW, and in addition to what @AmyUD06 said I'd add: - I didn't use Quick Queue on my trip, although I went on a Tuesday in August. The longest line I remember waiting in was for Le Scoot. I don't see a downside to waiting to buy Quick Queue, especially if you don't end up needing it. - BGW opens in phases in the morning, so if you want to rope drop it just be aware of that. I thought the order was England before the stated opening time, Scotland, Ireland, and France at the posted opening time, and then the rest of the park 30 minutes after the opening time. I could be wrong though on this though, can someone clarify? - Full day would be great at BGW, adding the half day would also be cool, but would only do it if you want re-rides or want to do everything in the park. - Don't sleep on Le Scoot, the train, skyride, or Escape from Pompeii (you don't get as nearly wet as on other shoot the chutes). All of them are fantastic gems at BGW. - If you like history I would 100% recommend Colonial Williamsburg. It's not all that far away, and it's easily the best "living history" museum that I've been too. You can pay to go inside the buildings or go on a tour, or you can go to the visitor center and walk around the streets for free. You could use your half day here if you wanted.
  15. Well, we all knew this was probably gonna happen and now here we are. While I am disappointed, I'm excited for FITH 2.0. I'm hopeful they reuse or kinda mimic stuff from the original ride and don't just do a screen based "tribute". That would be a huge disappointment. I agree with teacherkim though, they should have announced or at least teased the replacement so we get less of the "They are removing all the charm!" and "Save my childhood!". Knowing theat the ride will continue at least in spirit would go along way I think. I'm also curious to see what they do with FITH's location. I'm not necessarily buying the new train station theory, as I feel like if that what they wanted then getting rid of Flooded Mine would have been the better option. Speaking of Flooded Mine, I hope that when they are done redoing FITH that they either do a real big rufurb for FM or just put that poor ride out of its misery.
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