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Great Adventure - 5/31/08 - Coaster Celebration

 

As gas prices inched closer to $4 per gallon and the forecast calling for severe storms in New Jersey the entire weekend, my brothers and friend decided to do the only logical thing we could think of: load up the Jeep and head to the “Coasternerd Congregation” event - also known as “Coaster Celebration” at Six Flags Great Adventure. I had never been to this event before, but I have been to Great Adventure a couple times and found myself battling huge crowds, terrible weather, and annoying New Jersey traffic laws both times. I was hoping this trip would be different and give us a chance to ride some of the major attractions more than once without the monstrous crowds this park is known for.

 

We got to Great Adventure early on Saturday morning and validated our Coasternerd status by obtaining bright green wristbands – then we enjoyed an hour of ERT in Batmanland which included walk-on rides for the Dark Knight, Batman the g-force ride, and the magnificent Nitro. My impressions of the Dark Knight were not very favorable. The pre-show that you are forced to witness before boarding would lead you to believe that the ride itself was going to carry a theme and maybe have somewhat of a story to it. Well it doesn’t, and it seemed to leave me with a sense of disappointment just for the fact that it tried. I’m not a big fan of themed rides so I didn’t have any expectations to begin with, so it was OK. On a positive note, we later learned that Dark Knight has a very valuable purpose at Great Adventure this year. Once the gates opened to the public, every man woman and child ran straight for it, thus providing another hour of ERT on the other side of the park for the rest of us. Thank you, Dark Knight!

 

The storms rolled in around 12:30 so we left to get some food and then drove through the Wild Safari which was very entertaining. Once we returned to the park in the afternoon, the sky had cleared up quite a bit, and the crowds were minimal. I believe the only coasters that had more than a 5-10 min wait were Superman and Krapda Ka. We picked up a few new credits by jumping on some kid rides, and then spent some more time in Batmanland since the lines were short.

 

Later, we joined the Coasternerd Congregation for dinner, where park management seemed to have shocked the world by removing our symbolic green wristbands and announcing that the planned night ERT (for El Toro, Medusa, and Krapda Ka) had been canceled. There was some rumbling and grumbling amongst the Coasternerds for a while, but that was strategically muffled by a supply of chicken, burgers, and giant coolers filled with mountains of ice cream cups. Personally, I was not disappointed in the cancellation of the night ERT. And in reality, the minimal crowds made for a full evening of re-rides throughout the entire park rather than just a handful of rides. I broke out the SLR camera and got a few pictures before the sun went down, and then got some night shots around El Toro, which turned out great – then jumped on for the last 3 rides of the night. The day couldn’t have started or ended any better… and the weather (combined with Dark Knight) really helped the crowds work to our advantage.

 

This was by far the best experience I’ve had in the state of New Jersey, and almost makes up for the scene I create at gas stations when I try to explain that I am, in fact, coordinated enough to operate a gas pump.

 

Day two we ventured onto the Pennsylvania turnpike to hit up HersheyPark and the sizzling Fahrenheit queue line. Better bring your sunscreen!

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Goodnight Great Adventure

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I love how the red light on top of Ka illuminated the clouds with a red glow. I got several shots from this area and most of them turned out awesome

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Time for some night shots

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Love the location by the lake, although it's not a very scenic ride when you're on it

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Probably my favorite shot of the day

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The obligatory sign shot

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Now for the El Toro photos. Many different angles because the ride is really that good

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I had to confirm with 4 different people that it was OK to take pictures near the ride. Eventually they approved - but I didn't have much time to get good ones

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Krapda Ka was running but that doesn't mean I had the desire to ride it.

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Medusa was running awesome and we got to stay on for about 30 minutes straight in the evening

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Skull Mountain - The best indoor coaster in the park

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Nitro owns all B&M hypers

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Through the substructure

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Batman the g-force ride

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Superman - the only ride in the country that subtracts a train for cloudy conditions. Seriously

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The grand entrance (or not)

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Hershey - 6/1/08

 

On Sunday we arrived at HersheyPark a little later than expected. Damn mapquest said it was 2 hours from where we started, and it ended up being about 2.5 even though we were the only ones on the road the whole time. Regardless, we got to the park and quickly found ourselves in the s…l…o…w… moving Fahrenheit queue line which apparently also doubles as a solar condenser to trap direct sunlight and distribute it across everyone’s forehead. The crew was doing a really good job of moving both trains, but the line was still very Hypersonic-esque in that it appeared to be reasonable in length, but really was about 2 hours. Actually that’s not a very fair comparison, as Hypersonic has been laid to rest in pieces where it should be, and Fahrenheit is clearly a more reliable and fun coaster. But the line did move a little slow, and that was the primary complaint from everyone there.

 

I rode Fahrenheit in the back, and thought the ride itself was very enjoyable. Not very intense or powerful, but it was a decent length, smooth, the first element (forget what it’s called) was great, and it was overall a fun coaster. The vertical lift was interesting, but nothing really special. I probably would have been annoyed if it were any longer than it was. One thing I noticed was a distinct rumbling vibration in the second half of the cobra roll which felt really strange. I wonder if that has anything to do with why the train valleyed there?

 

The rest of the park was much less crowded than Fahrenheit’s scorching queue line. This was my first trip back to Hershey in a few years and I was really impressed with how well Lightning Racer has held up after 7 seasons (has it really been that long, geez I’m getting old). It’s still a really fun coaster with a great layout. Wildcat was still good, but definitely lost some of its punch with the lighter trains. Storm Runner I thought was really uncomfortable and pointless, although others with me thought it was better than Fahrenheit – so clearly that is a matter of personal preference and Storm Runner is just not my type of ride.

 

Unfortunately, my coaster riding time at Hershey ended up being cut a little short as my allergies got the best of me on Sunday and my eyes started to swell up. I have severe allergies in the spring, and this time of year in Virginia things start to die down with the pollen, but apparently it’s still in full force in central PA. I spent some time indoors, and then went around to take pictures for most of the afternoon before we headed back home.

 

This was definitely a great trip for all of us, and hopefully there will be more like it in the future. The Coaster Celebration at Great Adventure was a well-done event, and although the weather and other factors got in the way this time, I still felt like they did a good job of organizing and executing a fun day for everyone. Hershey is always a fun park, and hopefully they will continue to expand as rapidly as they have in the past 10 years. It’s amazing how much the park has changed since my first visit in 1998.

 

Well that’s enough words for now. Here are some photos. Let me know what you think.

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One last vertical lift shot. That's all I've got for now

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Fahrenheit fits in its location nicely

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It's the (forget the name) inversion

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Interesting angle of the inversion

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I will probably run out of captions because I suck at writing them

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Now on to some fahrenheit shots.

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Reactions to Wildcat

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Storm Runner is not my friend, but it does make some people happy

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Favorite angle of GB

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Great Bear

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Wildcat

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Finally, a little blue sky to work with

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Trees are great for pictures, but very over-rated in real life, especially in the spring

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The HP grand entrance

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Great pics dude!

 

I will give my opinions on the trip too.

It is really funny when you think you know your hobby really well then something so amazing happens that it just floors you! That would be the crowds at SFGRTADV on Saturday (5-31-08).

 

2 years ago we stopped by to ride El Toro on a Sunday in September, weather forecast was stormy most of the day. That day Sucked hard as far as getting rides in. We got maybe 6 rides in the first 6 hours and the park was jammed packed.

 

This was the plan for Saturday with the same forecast. ride alot during ERT and then avoid the rides during the day and take pics when the weather was good. Well the park was just Scary dead! El Toro's line never left the station.

Kingda Ka's line was never more than 10 min (we walked on it a couple times) Now with these conditions I said the hell with taking pics, I am riding.

 

The storm did hit and shut things down from 12:30-3:30 but they had things up and running in the rain (minus some trains and KK)

 

We took advantage of the free Safari Tickets and did that, Nobody else had done it and my last time was 10 years ago. and all I remember was people feeding the Animals left and right and the Baboons tearing up cars trying to get the food. Well all that has been put to a stop now (Insurance reasons I am sure).

 

I was very impressed with the operations at 6 flags. Very efficient and Friendly too and they let you switch to empty seats in the station all day long which was awesome!

 

The park now seems to be a marketing Buffet. Ads are everywhere but if it helps with the debt then have at it.

 

I did manage to ride KK in the front seat finally and OMG what a difference it makes! Much Much better!

 

El Toro still slows to a crawl at the top of the lift but did not effect the pure insanity of the rest of the ride. Still IMO the most kickass coaster out there and I am so glad I was able to get about 15 rides in a day with no official ERT.

SF did give us free tickets to compensate for the canceled night time ERT.

 

Out of 8 trips to SFGRTADV over the last 15 years, this was easily the best.

 

 

Sunday we went to Hersheypark and did not have the same luck with the crowds Sadly.

First let me say that I am a Big Fan of Hersheypark but there were some things that really irked me about our visit on Sunday.

 

Fahrenheit Had a 1.5 hour wait with NO shade whatsoever in the blazing sun. Only 2 trains running (has 3) But the worse part was most trains had at least 2 empty seats in them. IMO a ride that has a crippled capacity with only 3 cars per train and not running all trains, they should be pairing up single riders as much as possible.

 

Great Bear had the worst operations ever, A train was back to the brakes before they even open the loading gates. horribly slow and the same thing about pairing up riders I saw and took a pic of a train that had 1 guy in the front seat.

 

I think Fahrenheit is a great coaster for the space they had to work with but it really is not all that intense but it is a fun coaster and it fits in well at Hershey.

Lines were pretty short compared to Fahrenheit though, the other big coasters had a 15 min wait.

 

Wildcat has always been my one of my favorite Wooden coasters and I was Eager to try it out with the MF trains.

I will probably get flamed for this but I want the PTC's back, There was still some airtime but most of the time it limped around the course due to the lighter trains. It was smoother and I think that is what the goal was. But I enjoyed it much better in 2006, anybody else share my view?

 

Here are some of my pics from Hershey.

 

Enjoy, JEFF

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pic from SFGA needs no caption

(I cannot confirm no Baboons were harmed in the making of this pic...sorry)

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4 hot chicks in the front deserve a post

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we travel in herds

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I still love this ride

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there it is

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airtime hill

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My Favorite pic of the day

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nice bit of air in the back here

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It is one cool inversion, please make more

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they seem to like it

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It is an awesome looking coaster

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please make it

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wee

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here is that drop ya'll keep hearing about

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Just pray they don't both break

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Interesting how the chains are independent and there are 2 catch cars on each chain that push the train up the lift.

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The line gets a big thumbs down

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I do love this place

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Those are some of the best pictures I've seen of my home park(GADv). Thank you for sharing them. The Hershey pictures were amazing as well.I was off the night of Coaster Celebration and I wish I had gone, sounds like the park would have been a blast once I got there after 5. Oh well, maybe next year.

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Anyway, very nice TR. I read they were assinging seats on Fahrenheit, are they still doing that?

 

On Monday night they weren't.

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What are the "annoying NJ traffic laws"? Just curious.

I think he was referring to not being able to pump your own gas.

 

Anyway, very nice TR. I read they were assinging seats on Fahrenheit, are they still doing that?

 

Maybe "traffic laws" is not the best phrase to use. It's mostly just the gas thing that annoys me, but there are those dumb left turn lanes on the right side of the road, and they also don't do a very good job of labeling lanes that are about to end. It's just a different experience driving through NJ than any other state, and some things don't make sense to me at all. But I'm getting more used to it.

 

Fahrenheit was not assigning seats even with a nearly 2 hour line on Sunday.

 

Thanks for the comments on the photos - even though we probably could have done without that last one of the baboon (Jeff)

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I don't believe that's right at all what Six Flags Great Adventure did to the ERT people. If they promise something, and the rides aren't broke, they should give it to you no matter how good, or bad the crowds are. You cancel the event altogether before it happens if you don't want to do it than, but don't do it on the day of the event.

 

That's putting the profits before the guest. I imagine that a lot of those people won't come back next year because that's the main reason they went to the event. So, how many people did Great Adventure lose for next year? Thanks for sharing the pictures though.

 

On a side note, I find it very funny that they used the same design for shirts at Great America, and at Great Adventure but with different rides. For the El Toro shirt, that design is also used on the Raging Bull shirt, and for the Great American Scream Machine design is used for the Demon. Of course, they changed the names on the shirt to say Raging Bull instead of El Toro. Funny, Six Flags.

 

For Fahrenheit, why did Hersheypark get such a low capacity ride? Maverick is also the same length, but at least they have 5 trains. Sure, Superman Ride of Steel is a hyper coaster, but it has 36 people per train compared to only 12 people. What the heck is Intamin thinking? This ride isn't even a LIM coaster.

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It didn't really bother us that much (cancelling ERT) The last 3 hours (7-10) was ERT, we could stay on and move to empty seats on everything except KK. We were all pretty beat anyway being there from 830am to 10:30pm then getting up early for Hershey the next day.

They did give us a free ticket which isn't bad expecially since we did not have season passes, I would be pretty pissed if we had season passes and a ticket was out compensation. I will probably just Ebay my ticket unless somebody here wants to make an offer

 

JEFF

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