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Kemah Boardwalk and Bullet Discussion Thread


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Bullet will be down after the first week in September through early to mid October while they re-track. Hopefully the work they do will be as successful as the work they did on the first drop as that is still nice and shuffle free.

 

They really need to work on the area right before the last turn into the breaks, it slams horribly.

 

-GG

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^Yes, the drop and the first turn were basically re-done. The drop is more round at the top and the ejector air is now just floater air. The first turn however is much smoother and more enjoyable than before and the s-hills after the drop are just as insane, just smoother.

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So it will be open Labor Day weekend then? I will be going to Kemah on Friday the 4th and of course would like to get a ride or two.

 

It should be open until September 8th if it doesn't have unplanned problems. I think they want to get that weekend in.

 

So, instead of reading 40 pages of backstory, whats the quick recap?

 

Has the first drop been reprofiled? I assume that flat section has been rounded out? Any other "major" reprofiling changes?

 

The first drop was worked on last off season about the same time as this years scheduled work. They totally tore out the entire first drop, ledgers and all, and rebuilt it to original design specifications (that area for the first time ever are currently at original design spec for my understanding). I guess you can call this re-profiling, but usually when I hear that term used it means 'redesigned'. In that sense it was not re-profiled.

 

That has, by far, been the most successful work done to the coaster out of all the maintenance and track work that has been done (and there has been A LOT). Its still smooth and fun there and I think most TPR'ers enjoyed that part of the ride. If the rest of the coaster ran that way it would be a totally different ride. It will take years but slowly they are working to make it run as designed.

 

The next part of the track to be worked on will have the same goal, get it to the original design specification, from what I have been told. The will be working on the upper bay turn which is the highest turn by the water right after the first drop and zig zag, the train is shuffling bad there an always has - it should have more than enough speed to stick to the outside rail here. I have little doubt that they won't work on the area before the last turn as well, it was hurting pretty bad there lately.

 

-GG

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  • 3 weeks later...

It was bound to appear sooner or later. It is complex since the relationship with TGG and M&V is seems to be good one, yet I think its likely TGG will have to aid Landry's in proving the poor workmanship against M&V.

 

It will be interesting to see if M&V is coming out to do the work on Sept 9th when it goes down for maintenance again.

 

The sad thing is that if this coaster was built to design (like the first drop currently is at) it would have been an awesome coaster. I doubt it will ever be 50% as good as its potential.

 

-GG

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  • 1 month later...

Bullet re-opened tonight after some major track work. The ride is now smoother, and I mean CONSIDERABLY smoother, than ever. There is still one part of track that shuffled a bit, the part under the upper bay turn, but the upper bay turn and other problem areas are glass smooth. This will be a welcome to most, but others will not like the fact that the coaster has lost some intensity with the fixes. Here are my experiences riding tonight.

 

The first drop is the same as when TPR rode, its still very smooth and fun, but as you head into the zig zag it is less intense as you no longer had lateral action thrown you left as you hit the upper bay turn. The upper bay turn, which used to have three very big slams, is super fast and glides amazingly smooth all the way around up until the second drop. No changes were made after the second drop, which has always been one of the smoothest parts of the ride... it now seems rough in comparison. Work was done on the next two hills, the over station flyby and the pop hill. These hills are fast and smooth, THERE IS NO MORE POP, it is replaced with a tiny but of airtime. The turn going into the under station fly-by was also redone and is now glass smooth. Track going into the double up was not changed but half of the valley afterwords was worked on and you can instantly tell when you enter the new trackwork, it becomes so glass smooth again. The last turn into the brake run is the same but you enter it much faster. Train still stops on mag breaks and crawls in.

 

It is a totally different coaster that will no longer hurt anyone. The first third is no longer as intense as the zig zag coming out of the first drop doesn't throw you around as much, but it is still very fun and you get a good amount of positive g's. I can only imagine how fast the coaster would be if all the track was as smooth as the new work. Again, no part of the Bullet has ever run EVEN CLOSE to as smooth as the newly worked on parts. I've ridden the Bullet immediately (usually the same day it tested and opened) after all the major work, and this is by far the most effective and noticeable work ever done to it with the first drop work a close second. I was shocked as my expectations were blown away going around the upper bay turn, its was a bit eerie as the Bullet has never ran like this over that section, or that smooth anywhere. The changes are not going to make The Bullet jump up to your new favorite coaster, but it will allow much easier ERT and a more pleasant ride to most guests at the Kemah Boardwalk.

 

For those who asked earlier, the new work was done by a local contractor, not M&V.

 

-GG

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Got 10 rides in tonight on the new improved Bullet. This brings the total for me to 723, so I think I probably know this coaster as well as anyone by now.

 

First impression: very smooth and fast. This is noteworthy, considering that I was in the back seat.

 

Overall impression after 10 rides: the ride is now MUCH more family-friendly than before. It's a good fit for the Boardwalk, which caters to families with children of all ages. The Bullet isn't likely to cause anyone to say "never again" after riding it now.

 

The good: smoooooooth. Fast. Not painful. Lots more airtime, some in places where there didn't used to be any.

The bad: much of the intensity is gone. Ejector air on first drop is still gone (taken out on the last round of renovations). Most shocking---no more "pop" on the hill after the queue line flyover.

 

So there you have it. Overall, I'd say they've done a helluva job this time. The coaster is thrilling enough for the teens and adults, but gentle enough for the smaller kids and scaredy cats. I can honestly recommend this coaster to anyone now, whereas before I really couldn't recommend that it be someone's first coaster.

 

Now, for the true coaster geeks and Bullet aficionados, the play-by-play (everyone else can stop reading).

 

Station, turn, lift are mostly the same as before.

Turn after lift seems to be a little speedier, probably because it was raining.

First drop is smooth, but the ejector air of the first year is gone.

Starbucks turn pulls strong Gs in the front seat. Very smooth.

Zig-zag has lost its bite. No longer brutal and intense, the train glides through it with ease.

Upper bay turn is amazing. NO slams, smooth as glass, little or no loss of speed. No shuffle at all. Wicked fast.

Double-up and water tower turn are now smooth. Airtime in front car on double-up.

Second hill rollback dogs are completely unnecessary. Seriously. The train FLIES over this hill now.

Second big drop has a nice little punch to it with that good running start it gets from the extra speed. Back cars get airtime here.

Bunny hop next to the old lady's house has a little shuffle, as does the middle bay turn. Nothing major, and probably wouldn't even be noticeable if the track up to that point hadn't been so smooth.

Queue line flyover, holy crap. Airtime in the front half of the train. It's FAST. One of my new favorite sections of the ride.

Speed hill next to the brake run, no pop. None. Front car gets a little floater air when the train is half full or better.

Upward southern turn, the former source of much battering and slowing down of the train, has been smoothed out BIGTIME. Very little loss of speed here, which leads to the front half of the train actually getting floater air over the hill before the station drop.

Station drop has great speed, what with the running start it gets.

Camera turn is faster and there's good floats for the whole train on the bunny hop under the station.

Lower bay turn has some nice laterals, something I don't think I ever noticed before.

Brake run flyover also no longer needs rollback dogs. Any faster over this and it'll be another float hill.

Whirlpool turn has lost the "kidney slam" and is much smoother in general.

Double-up that follows has good air in the front and the final turn before the brakes is really fast. In fact, this turn and the second big hill are the spots where even the occasional rider will think, "wow, this is a lot faster than before." In fact, I heard that from a lot of the folks tonight.

 

Oh, and if you're like me and you like your wood coaster with a little rough-n-tumble, then (and I never thought I'd say this about any coaster) the best seats are in the middle of the train. Rows 3,5,and 7 still have some of the "old Bullet" in them, but in a good way. None of them were painful in the least, just a bit shaky with a nice jolt here and there.

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Great news and review!

 

...I just wonder how long it will stay like that.

 

The work they did on the first drop and zig zag has remained as smooth as when they first did it last off season. The work done now is even smoother than what they did on the first drop which leads me to believe that it too will last.

 

I'd guess 65% of the coaster is now running how it was designed to run. I am quite confident that Kemah Boardwalk will have another round of major work during the next off season, probably rebuilding the track below the upper bay turn which is now the part that shuffles the most, getting the coaster to around 90% of what it should have been to begin with...

 

-GG

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Geez. Considering I rode it this summer and I thought the air on the drop was pretty decent, I'd hate / love to see what it was like in the first year. Maybe the backseat ride is too cemented in my mind, but I remember being thrown into the lapbar pretty well. I never found the ride that intolerable, but then again I think I rode three or four times. It was a bit rough, but in the normal woodie sense.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just rode Boardwalk Bullet for the first time last weekend since I'm in Texas for a few months and I loved it. The first drop and turn were fantastic and the overall ride was plain fun. It just kept going, it's insane how much track they fit into such a small area. All of the boardwalk was a lot of fun and the Bullet is definitely worth a ride if you are in the area.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's too bad they couldn't combine the pop with smooth. It would be one of the best rides if they couldn't kept all the extreme elements and just made it smoother, but that's how it is with a lot of the wooden coasters.

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It's too bad they couldn't combine the pop with smooth. It would be one of the best rides if they couldn't kept all the extreme elements and just made it smoother, but that's how it is with a lot of the wooden coasters.

 

The reality, at least with the Bullet, is that the more intense elements that some people miss where never part of the design of the coaster. From the insane ejector on the first drop, to the pop, to the intense laterals at the end of the first drop, they were all results of construction defects.

 

Rode the coaster this week, its riding the same as it did the day they re-opened it which is good. It is butter smooth on the parts that the new construction company worked on. Its clear to me that all the problems the coaster has had is indeed due to a result of bad construction, not bad or too aggressive design. After one more round of major constructions I think it will be 90% of what Gravity Group originally intended.

 

-GG

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone know the operating hours for the Boardwalk Bullet? i have an option to go to Houston for work March 18-21, and honestly the only reason i would go is if this coaster is open. I have looked at the website and it has a very generic Sun-Sat hours with the Bullets Hours subject to change. I know this coaster just went through a rehab, so would it be a good chance that the coaster would be open these days? Can anyone give me any heads up on this?

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Unless something comes up, the coaster opens around noonish and stays open till 10pm. I think it runs till 11pm on Fri-Sat.

 

Best bet is to avoid mealtimes. Go between lunch and dinner crowds and you should be able to get multiple rides with no waiting. After dinner, you can get a 2-3 train wait sometimes.

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Ok Thanks,

 

Also I get done with my conference around 11AM Sunday, and i'm going to book my flight home for Monday. Would SFFT be open this early in the year? I figure i could be there by 3 at the latest and as long as it closes after 7 i could get most of the credits in. I was there in 08 and only got 4 coasters in in 7 hours, so not a very productive trip.

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Unless something comes up, the coaster opens around noonish and stays open till 10pm. I think it runs till 11pm on Fri-Sat.

 

Best bet is to avoid mealtimes. Go between lunch and dinner crowds and you should be able to get multiple rides with no waiting. After dinner, you can get a 2-3 train wait sometimes.

 

Actually, they have new off-season hours this year. The Kemah Boardwalk now closes at 9pm on weekdays.

 

The Boardwalk Bullet may not open until 5pm on weekdays, but will usually open around noon - safest bet is to call before going. It still opens around 12 on weekends.

 

There is a chance it will be closed a few weeks preceding Spring Break for some more fixes, but that is speculative at this point.

 

-GG

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