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texcoaster

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  • Birthday 12/19/1966

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  1. That accident resulted in several changes... like a divider between riders on the bench seats (so people couldn't swing their legs around and get out from under the bar by sitting sideways) and seat belts in every row instead of just the back row like before. The ability to sit sideways was the reason for the original "no single rider" policy, figuring that at least one of the two people would have enough sense not to allow it, but apparently this girl wanted to sit in her boyfriend's lap and they managed to make it happen on the way up the lift. Idiots. Of course, the coffin cars came about after some other idiot forgot to switch the transfer track after adding a second train. The transfer track used to be a dead end - the train would roll out of the station and a switch track would guide the train into a shed about 12ft off the ground. They had switched the track and added the second train and an employee hopped in the front seat for the obligatory test ride before letting the public on. They didn't switch back the track, though, and the train rolled out of the station and down the dead end track, running right off the end and falling to the ground, crushing the rider. The trains had already been Frankensteined by then, with dividers, bolted-on wrap-around headrests, seat belts, etc etc etc, so after destroying one of the two trains, they bought new ones for the next season that had all of that stuff already on them. Interestingly, Astroworld also had a transfer track incident on their SLC - where a ride op released the brakes on the transfer track accidentally, and the second train (which was hanging out on the transfer track, not attached to the layout) happily rolled off the end into a giant pile of twisted metal and fiberglass.
  2. My first ride was June of 1976, just a few days after it opened. I rode in row 8, because you had to be 5ft tall to ride in the back car (which was rows 9-12 with the 4-bench PTCs). It was wicked. The next year, I was (barely) 5ft tall and was able to ride the last row. OMFGWTFBBQ! The first drop was terrifying, the second drop was almost as good, but it was the "post turn" that put it in the #1 spot for so long. The post turn was the turn just under the turn between the first and second drops. It was the first turn in the layout that was completely inside the structure and as it finished the turn, the front cars went over the drop... causing the back car to accelerate, giving delicious laterals to the back car. As the back car hit the drop, the long 4-benchers catapulted back seat riders into the air... with a buzz bar restraint and a seat belt (only in the last row), there was plenty of airtime... and that's when you noticed that the track overhead was RIGHT THERE IN YOUR FACE. Nobody - and I mean NOBODY - kept their hands up here. I'm sure it had enough clearance, but it looked really close! Anyway, you had laterals, then ejector air with a head chopper, then got slammed back into your seat just in time for laterals on the other side of the train. It was the most wonderfully intense moment in a ride full of wonderful moments. The cars were well-padded (which is one of the reasons the coffin cars were so universally despised, with that hard foam "padding") and it was not painful to be tossed around like a rag doll. The three-bench PTCs took some of the brutality out of it, but they were still really good. After the upper part of the coffin cars were removed, the ride got good again, but the ratcheting individual lap bars of those Morgan trains never brought back the terror of having all that space between your lap and the buzz bars. As for my 10K rides, unfortunately most of those were in the Morgan trains. I lived an hour north of Houston during my childhood, so I only got the one or two trips to Astroworld every summer. When I moved to Houston in 1985, I got a job in the wee hours of the morning and an apartment just a few blocks from the park. Living alone, paying your own bills, and trying to make it on a part-time job = NO MONEY. Luckily, I got a season pass for Christmas every year and I could walk to the park, so no parking fees. Back then, Astroworld had a "no single rider" policy on TxCyclone. If there was a single rider, they couldn't dispatch the train until they found someone to fill the empty seat. I would walk over to the park after work, just as it opened and head for the Cyclone. The ride ops quickly got to know me and would tell me to wait by the exit and if I saw a single rider, take the seat next to them. That made me happy because I didn't have to wait in line or walk around and it made the ride ops happy because they didn't have to find another single rider to fill the seat. There were times when I would be on nearly every train. I only went during the week, so it wasn't ever crowded. I found other things to do on weekends. I usually racked up 30-50 rides per day on the Cyclone, then I'd head home for some food. Sometimes, I'd finish the day at Waterworld to cool off, or hit some of the other rides. I'd have to wait in line for those, though, since Cyclone was the only "no single rider" ride for some reason. I counted my rides until I hit 5,000... and that was about 15 yrs before Cyclone met its untimely end in 2005. I figure that 10,000 is a conservative estimate.
  3. ^^Oh, yes, I remember the Texas Cyclone. I have a few pieces of it and logged more than 10,000 rides on it during its 29-year run. It was the coaster that took me from "fan" to "enthusiast." Back to the thread at hand... I can't believe there are two pages of responses and nobody has jumped on the original poster with "those are overrated coasters, your ACE mentality isn't welcome here."
  4. Yeah, and so is Iron Shark. Also, NTAG and iRat are both listed as the SAME COASTER as the older, wooden versions of each ride. RCDB is a great tool when you want to find out where coasters are, see pics of them, and plan a trip.... but I've learned not to take it as gospel when finding out specifics about a ride.
  5. There are several possibilities, none of which I know for sure, but I can guess: [1] In the days of old, TxGiant often came to a complete stop on the MCBR and the person was there to insure that nobody tried to get out (which is shockingly commonplace when a ride comes to an e-stop). Insurance regulations for the ride might still demand that a person be stationed there to prevent this in case the ride needs to be e-stopped. It would take a LONG TIME for someone to get from the station to the MCBR to calm down the riders and make sure they're not doing something stupid. [2] That person can do a quick visual scan of the train and e-stop it if he/she sees something wrong. Lap bars up, people trying to film the ride, whatever. Nobody in the station would be able to see that kind of detail, even with cameras. [3] Tradition?
  6. I've had enough awesome experiences on "kiddie" coasters that I don't ever rule something out based on looks or size or speed. Sure, if it's a major park I'm going to ride the "good" stuff and if there's time to get the kiddie credit without having to bribe a child to ride with me, then I'll do it. I'm more likely to consider the kiddie coaster a "must ride" if I'm in an area and that is the only coaster around. I mean... kiddie coaster or no coaster at all... that's a no-brainer for me. OF COURSE I'm gonna ride it. By going to those parks that just have the kiddie coaster (or the standard boomerang or Galaxi or whatever) I'm helping to support those parks that are likely hoping to expand someday or just trying to hold their own against the big park down the road in the next town. I do this for the same reason that I'll shop at a mom-n-pop store or two even though there's a Wal-Mart a few blocks down. But I must say again, I've had some great experiences on kiddie coasters. Some of them are actually FUN (Knoebel's High Speed Thrill Coaster comes to mind) and other times I've just had a great time watching future enthusiasts take their first-ever coaster ride. The terror that turns to pure joy as the ride progresses, the excitement on the exit platform with the words "again! Again!" and the memories of my own conversion from fraidy-cat to hard-core enthusiast. And as others have said, the people you're with can make a difference. I was at SFOT not long ago for Fright Fest and as I was heading for Freeze, I noticed that the Mini Mine Train station was full of adults. There might've been one or two kids on the ride, but the rest of the train was filled with grown-ups. I got in the queue and was on the next train. It was nighttime and the train slipped into the dark just over the lift... and at every tiny little dip or tunnel, about 20 sets of fully mature lungs screamed in mock terror right on cue. It was an impromptu thing that just happened for some reason and when the train got back to the station we were all laughing and high-fiving each other. It was the highlight of the evening.
  7. I don't remember who it was I was talking to, but it was someone who would probably have insider info... anyway, I mentioned the coasters I was hoping to hit in 2013 and wondered aloud if it would be better to put Cliff's and Greezed Lightnin' with a Silver Dollar City trip or a Vegas trip. The person said, "you might want to plan on skipping Cliff's in 2013 if you're just going there for Lightnin' - just sayin. No further info was given.
  8. That's more installations "under their belt" than Gravity Group or GCI, even if others did the design work for most of them. Technically, Gravity Group has more experience if you count the years of work the four guys did with other firms before forming TGG.
  9. ^Yes, but that was one layer of topper track on existing regular wood track structure. If you look at the construction photos of Outlaw Run, you'll see that the track is being fitted in sections like a plug-n-play Intamin coaster. The track is still a stacked structure like old-school track, but it's being preassembled in sections, then fit together like plug-n-play. I don't think we're going to be able to predict how Outlaw Run is going to feel until we actually ride it. There are similarities to wood, prefab, and steel track all happening at once, but that particular mix is going to have a whole new feel to it, I'm pretty sure. If they can get the smoothness of El Toro with the out-of-control sensation of a traditional coaster, they might just have a new world's #1 on their hands. But I digress. This is the SFFT thread, sorry.
  10. I read an interview with Mark Hamill saying that he and Carrie Fisher had already been talked to about the next movie (this was shortly before the Disney deal was announced). It seems that the new movie(s) will continue the story timeline beyond where Jedi ended and Luke and Leia (and possibly Han) would play brief parts in the first installment as a bridge between the old series and a set of new characters that will continue the story in that universe, but be otherwise unrelated to the previous films.
  11. Some new coasters entered the list and some got shuffled around because they were better or not as good as previous years. On the wood list, Wodan enters at #8 and Legend, which I was never overly fond of before, kicked my azz with multiple OMGWTF rides this year and lands at #3, just behind Voyage and El Toro. Wow. Raven comes in at #10, putting all three of HW's coasters on my top ten. On the steel list, blue fire Megacoaster sneaks in at #8. The coasters above it remained unchanged.
  12. How about instead of doing SW: Ep 7, they do a reboot of the prequel trilogy, call it canon, and effectively wipe the slate clean? So instead of a trilogy about governments, trade blockades, senate maneuvers, and Jar-jar Binks, we get the story of Obi-wan and Anakin's (and PLEASE don't call him "Annie" for chrissakes) friendship... a character-driven trilogy that goes from teacher/student to comrades to betrayal. Sure, there are some battles and dogfights and such, but what Lucas seemed to forget is that the reason we loved the original trilogy and hated the prequels is that we went to the movies because we LIKED THE CHARACTERS. There weren't many characters in the prequels that were developed enough to be likable. Disney has a pretty good track record at creating memorable characters, I think this franchise can go nowhere but up.
  13. I dunno... it will surely be going faster than it did in the helix, but I still don't see it being much of a speed demon after it gets all the way back up to the plateau. Does anyone know if it will use the same wheels that NTAG uses? If so, it will be generally slower overall than it was with wood track and steel wheels. That's why NTAG's length is shorter than the original and has a complete helix gone, even though the first drop is taller. Having said that, doing those overbanks at a crawling pace could be seriously wicked.
  14. The RIDE is still good. What I hate is that what used to be a one-of-a-kind themed attraction is now corporate-themed. Yes, as Looney Tunes themed rides go, it's better than most, but it's still a huge step backwards from what it used to be. For the record, I'll take local theming over Looney Tunes/Super Hero theming every single time. Saying I should just appreciate it anyway is like saying "so Revolution has OTSRs, get over it" Yes, there is some validity in that statement, but the level of joy will forever be diminished from what it was before.
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