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TR - SFGADV 7/3/09 - it's long


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So I made may first ever journey to SFGADV (and first SF park ever) on 7/3/09.

 

We left Richmond, VA around 6:45pm on Thursday and the trip should have taken 5 hours took 7, what a nightmare!! Anyway we finally made it to Holiday Inn in East Windsor around 2am. Exhausted and beat to a pulp we crashed immediately (myself, my sister, her husband, and their oldest son (11)).

 

Hotel -- nice clean hotel, no problems, no complaints other than no Complimentary breakfast but the rate was only about $80 a night so I won't complain.

 

Friday AM we got up and headed out at about 9:15 or so. Stopped at WAWA near the park for some breakfast sandwiches. This place was out of control nuts and took us 30+ mins to get food and get out of the parking lot. We ate in the car and headed on to the park. After turning over my online parking receipt to a super nice attendant we were parked and walking to the main gate.

 

We arrive at the main gate around 10:15am to find it ridiculously packed up front. We waited in line for about 15 mins not realizing we didn't need to (we had printed online tickets and could have just gone on around and walked into the park vs. standing at the ticket line (ooops my bad)).

 

First stop in the park FLASH PASS pick up. I had already paid for it online and just had to watch the video and pick it up.

 

***SIDE BAR -- the Flash Pass IMHO is completely worth it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on the matter but if you are heading to the a park once and most likely only once this is the only way to handle a big park. Yes it is costly but it made the day very enjoyable and more fun than we would have had without it.

 

So on to the rides and the day ...

 

Weather -- beautiful 70 degree day. Not too hot, not too cold. We got whacked by a couple rainstorms twice in the day (more on that later) but they were pretty short and did not hurt the day much.

 

Park -- pretty busy up until about 1pm and then it was PACKED!! Park was very clean and tidy (except the Bathroom by the end of the day) and staff was nice, polite, and friendly. No complaints about the park at all.

 

 

With Flash Pass in hand we hit the park ..

 

First stop Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train (no reservation needed it so we reserved Dark Knight while we hit this) -- ehhh what can I say about the ride .. it's there, we rode, didn't ride again --- 1 Ride total.

 

Next Dark Knight -- 10 min wait via Gold Flash Pass so we walked right in after we got to it. Nice themeing, nice decor, nice preshow, so-so ride. Heh it's a glorified Wild Mauss and not a great one either. As before it's there, we rode, didn't ride again --- 1 Ride total.

 

Next Batman: The Ride -- 10 min wait via FP so again we walked right on. Nice solid invert, very enjoyable, very rerideable and a nice starter to the "big coasters" in the park. Rode this a second time late at night in the dark and was just as much fun. I would rate this third behind Montu and Talon as far as B&M Inverts - 7 out 10 --- 2 Rides total.

 

Next NITRO!! - 15 min wait via FP. Main wait line was already packed back to a 90 min wait (according to the sign). We hoped on the ride in the 2nd car from the back and off we went. This ride was excellent excellent air time on the 1st and 3rd hill (the one after the left turn) and all the "bunny hop" hills after the MCBR were air time pleasers as well. Great freakin' ride and easily moved to being my #1 B&M Hyper. Ride Ops were kickin' a$$ and taking names. 3 train op and they were rocking all day. They always had 1 train on the course, 1 headed up the lift hill and one loading. Only hold ups were when folks did not fit in the ride. We got 3 rides during the day and 1 in the pitch black night (which kicked a$$!!). 9 out of 10 --- 4 Rides total.

 

Next up Skull Mountain - 15 min wait via FP. Main wait line was 60 mins. Ehhh what can I say about the ride .. it's there, we rode, didn't ride again --- 1 Ride total.

 

Next up the Sky Ride to the other side of the park -- hey it's a sky ride what do ya wanna know ...

 

Next Bizarro - 20 min wait via FP. Main wait line was 90+ mins. Themeing -- gotta say I really like the Bizarro theme a lot. Love the look, love the idea, and overall it just worked for me. First ride was midtrain. Tons of fun on this ride, no pain, no roughness, no rattles, nothing but fun for me. Soundtrack was hard to hear (i.e. dialog) but having it playing for the ride did add to the experience. I did like the logo tunnel and the flame throwers as well. Just 100% enjoyable. Again ride Ops were kickin' a$$ and taking names. 3 train op and they were rocking all day. They always had 1 train on the course, 1 headed up the lift hill and one loading. Only hold ups were when folks did not fit in the ride. Ops delivering the ride message were into their speeches and got the crowds pumped before and after their ride. I would rate this as 2nd in the floorless line behind Kraken and Dominator 3rd. We rode 3 more times varying between front and back. 8.0 out of 10 --- 4 total rides.

 

Next EL TORO!!!!! - 20 min wait via FP. Main wait line 90+ mins. I'll start the review by saying HOLY F@$&*%G S%@T that was freaking phenomenal!!!!!! I now know what all you guys have been talking about for so long. This ride was fast, smooth, had ejector air and was just out and out blast to ride. The speed is right on and the ride is on the edge of being completely out of control. The best part is she is super smooth!! We rode near the front and the back and in the middle -- there is no bad seat on this ride. I cannot say enough about this ride, clearly the #1 woodie for me ... by a long shot. Again Ride Ops were kickin' a$$ and taking names. 2 train op and they were rocking all day. They were loading and dispatching as fast as possible - couldn't have been faster. Only hold ups were when folks did not fit in the ride. Ops delivering the ride message got the crowds pumped before and after their ride (not that it was necessary LOL!). You gotta love a ride that has riders clapping and cheering on the way out and on the way in ... you know you have something special when that happens. 10 out of 10 --- 5 Total rides (1 at night).

 

**Side note -- one of our rides was in a massive downpour. Wow what an experience. The rain hit our faces so hard you had to close your eyes and hold up a hand for protection. Truly a crazy moment.

 

Next Rolling Thunder - 10 min wait via FP (40 min regular wait). Decent old woodie, nothing special but nothing bad either. 6 out of 10 --- 1 total ride on side 1 only.

 

This was our only bad ride experience as side 2 was brokedown when we got on the ride and then on our ride (coming into the station) side 1 brokedown. We got stuck waiting under the storage area to come into the station to unload for more than 30 mins. They refused to let us off for the longest time saying they had to bring us into the station. After much delay maintenance guys came and let us all out and walked us down the planks where we had to then waste a bunch of time filling out an incident report. When all was said and done it cost us an hour!!

 

Next was GASM -- 10 min wait via FP (60 min regular wait). OUCH!! That was no fun. It didn't leave me bruised and battered but it just wasn't enjoyable. 4 out of 10 --- 1 total ride

 

Next was Superman: Ultimate Flight -- 30 min wait via FP (90 min regular wait). Wait time was bad because the ride went down in order to add a second train. This was my first flyer and what a crazy experience it was, very weird. There is not much I can say about the ride as I have no real basis for comparison. It was not painful or bad in any way it was just weird. I did enjoy the ride a fair bit and I look forward to my next flyer. 7 out of 10 -- 2 rides total

 

We also rode the rapids ride and the log flume -- we got absolutely soaked on both.

 

Overall we had a great time at the park. No issues or problems to report. Park was clean, staff was great and we have some great memories. Would love to go back when Ka is running but I had ridden dragster before so I wasn't completely destroyed about not riding it (my nephew was really bummed though).

 

I say kudos to SFGADV for a great job especially considering how ridiculously busy the park was that day.

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Next Rolling Thunder - 10 min wait via FP (40 min regular wait). Decent old woodie, nothing special but nothing bad either. 6 out of 10 --- 1 total ride on side 1 only.

 

This was our only bad ride experience as side 2 was brokedown when we got on the ride and then on our ride (coming into the station) side 1 brokedown. We got stuck waiting under the storage area to come into the station to unload for more than 30 mins. They refused to let us off for the longest time saying they had to bring us into the station. After much delay maintenance guys came and let us all out and walked us down the planks where we had to then waste a bunch of time filling out an incident report. When all was said and done it cost us an hour!!

 

 

Sorry about your bad experience. I was the guy out there who let you guys off. The ride had the worst day ever that day (I left that night shaking and almost in tears...no lie! I got a booklet of guest complaints about ME at GR). If we could have let you out, we would of. But maintnence and management were trying to figure it out! It costs us alot of downtime to evac, so if we could have restarted it, we could have!

 

July 3rd was trully the worst day of my life. EVERYONE ganged up on me, and not a single kind guest was there.

 

-Dainan "July 4th went by smoothly" Rafferty

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^ Ridiculous (the park guests I mean), they shouldn't have gotten mad at you.

 

 

^^Sounds like it was horrible with crowds, the wait time signs are not accurate at all though. Nitro at the 90 minute sign with 3 trains running is around 25 - 30 minutes so I am surprised Flashpass gold gave you a 15 minute wait.

 

If I keep reading TR's about crowds being this bad, it looks like I won't be going to the park again until September.

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Operations at the park were excellent on Saturday, July 4th, at least on the two big coasters.

 

On Sayurday I was running late and I arrived at the park right before 1PM (late night of drinking) Nitro was running 3 trains, minimal stacking and one train wait at most from 1PM - 2:15PM.

 

Then I headed to El Toro and got 4 rides in by 3:30, when I left the park. That was a lot more rides than I expected on July 4th with Kingda Ka being down.

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Next Rolling Thunder - 10 min wait via FP (40 min regular wait). Decent old woodie, nothing special but nothing bad either. 6 out of 10 --- 1 total ride on side 1 only.

 

This was our only bad ride experience as side 2 was brokedown when we got on the ride and then on our ride (coming into the station) side 1 brokedown. We got stuck waiting under the storage area to come into the station to unload for more than 30 mins. They refused to let us off for the longest time saying they had to bring us into the station. After much delay maintenance guys came and let us all out and walked us down the planks where we had to then waste a bunch of time filling out an incident report. When all was said and done it cost us an hour!!

 

 

Sorry about your bad experience. I was the guy out there who let you guys off. The ride had the worst day ever that day (I left that night shaking and almost in tears...no lie! I got a booklet of guest complaints about ME at GR). If we could have let you out, we would of. But maintnence and management were trying to figure it out! It costs us alot of downtime to evac, so if we could have restarted it, we could have!

 

July 3rd was trully the worst day of my life. EVERYONE ganged up on me, and not a single kind guest was there.

 

-Dainan "July 4th went by smoothly" Rafferty

 

Not your fault and I wasn't blaming anyone. I have been through this kind of stuff before and know the procedure. My groups only problem was that it was getting late and we were starving. We had not eaten and when we hopped on RT it was just after 1pm and we figured np we'll hit this ride and then grab a bite. Little did we know it would 2:30 almost 3 by the time we got to actually eat. At no time did we think the ops were rude, mean, etc etc. The frustration was simply being stuck on a ride that was all of about 50 feet from the station and not being allowed out.

 

 

FP - wait times on 7/3/09 -- I should be clear about all my wait times. These times were based on when I "reserved" a ride. As you all know this was done the instant we were scanned at a ride que for check in so by the time we rode our ride and walked to the next one we reserved we were walking right into the station to ride.

 

We could have gotten a fair bit more rides in as well if we had been a a little more efficient with our selection as we opted to ride everything once and then come back for rerides. In the AM we could have easily reridden Batman and Nitro 2 or 3 times back to back using the FP with very little wait time.

 

I have to give ride ops credit as none of them were goofing off at the park they were all busting a$$ and loading/unloading as efficient as I have seen anywhere. I was pretty impressed especially on the big 3 (El Toro, Nitro, Bizarro).

 

Lines -- Bizarro was backed up down the path out the entrance (i.e. the Bizarro sign) and almost to the concert area most of the day. Nitro's que was full and spilling out down the pathway most of the day as well. El Toro was backed up all the way down to the bridge area where you can crossover from Bizarro.

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Nope. Smooth as can be IMHO, super great ride.

 

Our first ride of the day the trim brakes were completely off and that 3rd hill launched my arse right out of the seat ... it was great!! Subsequent rides the trims were on in all spots and the ejector air I got the first time was still there but lessened a bit.

 

Really it was just a great ride. I am shocked to say I am listing it in front of Apollo's Chariot but for some reason I just really liked this one (perhaps because it is new and I have ridden AC lord only knows how many times).

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I'm glad you enjoyed your first trip to GADV. I've been to the park 6x already this year & I don't think I'm going back to the park until September after Labor Day because of the crowds. That sucks that you couldn't ride Kingda Ka but since you rode TTD your not missing much. Did you get any airtime on Rolling Thunder? I never do when I ride it.

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The ride had the worst day ever that day (I left that night shaking and almost in tears...no lie! I got a booklet of guest complaints about ME at GR).

 

July 3rd was trully the worst day of my life. EVERYONE ganged up on me, and not a single kind guest was there.

 

-Dainan "July 4th went by smoothly" Rafferty

 

Try not to let it get to you, Dainan. Whether the guests liked it or not, you were just doing your job and following orders. As we told you, you're the best op/attendant RT has seen in years and you should be proud.

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