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Photo TR: SFoG and BGA


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Table of Contents-

Part One: SFoG - Scroll Down

Part Two: BGA - Update 1

Part Three: BGA - Final Update

 

Our family vacation this year included a trip to Tampa, FL with stops at SFoG and BGA mixed in and let me just start by saying that southern hospitality is alive and well in the southern states, and that Missouri is definitely NOT a southern state. The people at every stop as we got closer to SFoG were more and more friendly, and this would continue for our entire vacation with the only exception being the Atlanta area. SFoG would become my first Six Flags park other than SFStL and I left feeling like the overall "Six Flags-ness" was the same even though the park was very different. I have very mixed feelings about the park. The rides weren't as good as I was expecting, and the staff was the only exception to the southern hospitality that we would become accustomed to on the trip; though I partly blame the Atlanta location for that. Anyways I'll start this off Chuck style and review the coasters in order of rank, letting the pictures tell the story.

 

Goliath- 10/10 Having read so many mixed reviews on B&M hypers, with the main complaint being their lack of force and airtime, I was VERY surprised at how much air Goliath had. A front row ride provided me with ample air and enough fun to push Goliath into my number two spot overall.

 

Superman: Ultimate Flight- 9/10 Another B&M first for me, this time in the form of a flying coaster. Most of the reviews on these rank the S:UF clones at the bottom of the chain, but if that's the case then I can't wait to see what the others have to offer! The pretzel loop alone was enough to give Superman a spot in my top ten, such an amazing and unexpected sensation that blew me away.

 

Georgia Scorcher- 8/10 This little coaster was a blast! After my "sitting" mishap on Mantis a few years back where my leg went numb and my jewels got smashed I've learned the proper way to ride these coasters, and Scorcher was a very pleasant ride.

 

Batman: The Ride- 8/10 Finally I have ridden a "proper" Batman clone. While I put the one in St. Louis slightly ahead of this one, it was still a great ride. These will never get old.

 

Mindbender- 7/10 I was slightly underwhelmed by this ride, most likely because I was under the impression that it would be riddled with forces which I did not find to be the case. It was fun, but it didn't really stand out as much as I was expecting it to.

 

Ninja- 7/10 Maybe I've just learned to brace myself for these rides, because I never find them to be all that rough. I'd say this Ninja, while farther from Japan, was a bit better than his brother in St. Louis. While I wouldn't call it smooth, it was a decent ride, albeit short.

 

Great American Scream Machine- 6/10 Someone call GCI, this thing needs a retrack ASAP! Airtime was ample, but so was the pain. I've never experienced quite as much jackhammering on a ride as I did on GASM. I walked off with pain downstairs that got me thinking this "GASM" is definitely not one of the "OR" variety. It's sad too cause it would be a great ride if only it were smooth.

 

Georgia Cylcone- 6/10 Judging by my ride, Cyclones in GA must be pretty nasty. The train shuffled along the entire course at less than enjoyable rates of speed. SFoG needs to invest in their woodies A LOT, because they really could be fun airtime filled rides if they weren't so dang rough.

 

Dahlonega Mine Train- 5/10 It was fun, but it's still a mine train. Not much else to say, a very typical and expected ride on this one.

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Bad staffing was evident on GA Cyclone too. This time the problem was even more dangerous. Three girls were operating the ride; one was laying on the ground laughing, the other was "checking restraints," and the other was laughing at the girl on the ground. When it was time to dispatch the girl on the ground yelled at the other to "press the button" to which the other responded "naw go ahead I don't want to." It was very unprofessional and dangerous, I saw at least 4 kids get on in the short time I was in the station that were clearly not tall enough to ride. On a positive note, I had fun at the park and thought it was really nice despite the poor staffing and mediocre rides lineup. Oh, and this is my favorite picture of the day too. Part two Busch Gardens Africa will be up soon!

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Best ride of the trip. The crew here was very hit and miss on their intervals. The poor staffing was also evident here when a new op came to take the spot of a girl who was scheduled to be off soon. The boy had clearly never operated the ride, and the girl's on-the-job training consisted of "just watch what I do for a bit I'm leaving soon" to which the boy stared back at dumbfounded. Five minutes later she was gone and he was walking around stapling people into their seats. I'm sure he had some sort of prior training but it was clear he did not know what he was doing even after being "shown how."

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Male support.

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I love the design of Goliath's station.

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This signature shot is credit to TPR's resident pickle loving gal, I can't recall her username or actual name (Julie maybe?), but here's to her!

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Taller than Godzilla, but probably not as scary. I MUCH prefer S:TOP at SFStL to this ride. I found the seats to be uncomfortable, the "surprise" to add nothing, and the drop to be not all that intense. Moving on!

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This picture follows along with the "I don't have time to wait for a train" trend.

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I was expecting a lot more from these loops, at least they sound cool.

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Its a funny coincidence that these ads are on a Schwarzkopf ride, or maybe it's not a coincidence at all?! Nah, Six Flags doesn't have that much depth.

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Its a shame that these ads were plastered all over the ride and its queue. At least the were semi-relevant.

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Mindbender is in a very nice area with lots of shade.

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This TR will be null and void of all "through the trees" comments, excluding the aforementioned.

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They're both a beautiful pain in the a**... unless of course you have an ugly girlfriend.

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How are GASM and a girlfriend alike?

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My mom and I on Superman, my dad has a very low nausea tolerance so he didn't ride.

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Signage update? They sure can keep their ads shiny and new, why not their theming?

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Superman would come next, as advised by members here to get to Superman early. No train in this one, I didn't have time to wait every time I wanted a picture. Nonetheless, I love this element.

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Our ride on Ninja would begin the hot and cold personality of SFoG. The crew on Ninja was very poor, the ride op wasn't stopping the ride in the right place which left many people confused and caused people to steal others seats. When a couple finally asked an op which seat they were supposed to board, she counted the gates multiple times and pointed to the sixth pair of seats... the couple was in the fifth gate. Not only was the station a mess of confusion with ill-knowledgeable ride ops, but the ops were also "having fun" with the train as it exited the station, stopping it every couple seconds and laughing. Not a good first impression of the staff.

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Back on track, SFoG has some very scenic areas.

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Ah, but alas, as would be standard for much of the trip, things don't get done as fast as one would like. My mom needed a second bathroom break already.

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A quaint entrance plaza, but we don't have time to stop and stare, to the back of the park!

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I loved how Goliath could be seen so easily from outside (and inside) the park.

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Because of my season pass, we only had to pay $50 to get me and both of my parents into the park! Yay for Six Flags being the Wal Mart of theme parks!

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Only a mile farther to walk... we should have taken the tram.

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Parking location noted.

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Even the ending bunny hops of Goliath tower over Scorcher. Bonus credit for getting two trains whilst driving by.

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The grandiose entry to the park had my parents ooing and aahing (it seems that phrase is much easier said than typed).

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A good sign that we didn't get too lost on our 10 hour overnight drive.

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BG has the worst employees of any park anywhere.

 

Maybe to some degree yes...But I know BG has better employees than some parks. This year they have been suffering a bit due to budget cuts and an extremely hot weather this summer.BUT, You would never see an employee laying on the ground (like the employees at GA cyclone) and not measuring some of the kids height...and the employee that do that eventually get caught or fire. And I can assure you we make sure the employees know what they are doing. Once finished with training and testing, the supervisor goes with the employee to make sure they do good. It just takes time for the employee to really get the hang of it and improvise.

 

That said, It really surprises me that a Park like SFOG would just have an employee show a newbie how to something in five minutes, i hope the kid was really trained before...Not sure why you really rated highly Superman, but hey people have their own taste and opinions.

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Great report and pictures!

 

I agree with you about SFOG's woodies....pretty rough, although I think they're at least bearable. On GASM the padding was really bad, making the ride worse.

 

When I visited two weeks ago, a few of the crews were sometimes a little too laid back as in being slightly unprofessional, often slowing things down, so I'm not suprised that there was frustration on some rides.

 

Can't wait for BGA!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Part two: Busch Gardens Africa

 

Sorry it took so long to post, I had the entire written portion done then my browser decided it'd be a good idea to crash and I was having trouble finding the motivation to re-type the whole thing. Anywho, onto the report.

 

As a person who didn't enjoy SDC to the level that it is supposed to be enjoyed, I was skeptical at how much I would like the "family attraction first, rides second" atmosphere of BGA. However, let me just say that not only did BGA exceed my expectations, it easily became my favorite park. BGA probably has the cleanest bathrooms I've ever seen at an amusement park, the attention to detail throughout the park really was amazing. The architecture, the rides, the animals, the staff, the operations, I could go on and on; everything was great.

 

The down side seemed to be that admission was going to be quite pricey, but BGA surprised again with their "rest of the season" passes for the same price as regular admission! We hadn't planned on going more than two times, but this promotion got us into the park 4 separate times and since we earned two free nights by staying at a Holiday Inn as well, we might end up going back for Christmas. Really a smart move by Busch. Ride breakdown is below.

 

SheiKra- 9/10 This ride really surprised me. Standing erect as the highest point in the park, it was a pleasure to experience not only the long drop, but also to smoothly navigate up and down the rest of its gentle curves. It wasn't an incredibly long experience overall, but the splash was a nice finale that ensured I always got off satisfied.

 

Montu- 9/10 Definitely the best inverted coaster I have ever ridden. The MCBR and trim were grabbing a bit too much which sort of killed the ending, but the overall ride was just too good for that to matter. My mom said it all when she got off saying "That's the smoothest coaster I've ever ridden."

 

Kumba- 8/10 It's got a slight rattle, but overall this thing really performed well for its age. Very forceful, very fun, great operations, and little negative effects from the MCBR speed check.

 

Gwazi: Tiger- 7/10 I'm not sure what the general consensus is on which side of Gwazi is better, but I found the winner to be very clear. Tiger had all the great GCI elements I love with plenty of potential hidden airtime moments thrown it. The flipside being that, while not as bad as Lion, the ride was pretty rough. Busch really needs to invest in Gwazi as it really is a big exception to their otherwise very high quality and standards elsewhere in the park.

 

Cheetah Chase- 7/10 The elusive cheetah had us doing the chasing for the majority of our vacation, causing us to visit FOUR times to finally get the credit in. Being my first wild mouse, I thought it was worth the hassle 100%. Even after riding I felt the same way. CC was a very fun ride, much better than I was expecting.

 

Scorpion- 6/10 Why does this thing only have one available train? No matter, Scorpion was just an okay ride. It had some decent forces, but overall I think it was just a good filler for the area and not worth anything more than the one ride I had.

 

Gwazi: Lion- 5/10 How did this get so bad? I'm not one to complain about roughness (I love The Boss and Timber Wolf) but seriously? This ride was probably the worst wooden coaster in terms of jackhammering, shuffling, and overall not-fun-at-all-ness that I've ridden. If it were smooth I'm sure it would be GREAT, but it wasn't, at all, and that completely ruined it.

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One more small update later. Thanks for reading!

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Goodbye for now, BGA.

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The topiary around the park was very cool as well.

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Especially at dusk!

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It still looks good, though.

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My mom stayed happy until riding the Lion side, then she complained of back pain for the next 2 days. I don't believe she was exaggerating.

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Huge palm tree.

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More pretty foliage.

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This dude was just chillin in the tree looking at people as they walked by and looked at him.

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Monkeys!

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Definitely a very well maintained park, and a very fun attraction!

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And their habitats are large and very nice looking too.

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All of BGA's animals are very good, healthy looking animals.

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Anyone care to help me out on the name of these gorgeous animals?

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Our driver was a young dude. I figured he'd be really cheesy but he was actually genuinely funny.

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This is the only section of the park with ads, but I believe it's part of the theming.

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My dad took this while my mom and I were riding, good job dad!

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Schwarz brakes!

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Every time we saw this ride my parents asked if it was SheiKra. I can see why it'd be confusing though, it's the EXACT same color and SheiKra is fairly close to it.

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Leftover paint?

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Another huge and awesome looking restaurant.

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Looks like the front seat got the green shirt memo.

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You're treated to the tantalizing smells of one of the restaurants near the ride at this point, it's sure to make you hungry, or sick...

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We would eventually convince my dad to ride. He loved it too.

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She didn't end up peeing her pants but she did end up loving the ride.

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Mom- "I think I might pee my pants"

Me- "Why do you have to go to the bathroom?"

Mom- "No, I'm scared." HAHA

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DOH! Just missed it.

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Can you spot all FIVE trains in this shot? Hint: I'm not counting what may be in the station.

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White horned things. Their name escapes me, but they're cool!

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I smell ACErs!

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Why couldn't they make Griffon this beautiful?

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Please keep this ride the same :)

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Please fix this ride :(

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Mom approves.

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Guy or girl in the seat behind me? If you know, EMAIL DAN!

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This building was absolutely stunning, and it was HUGE! I couldn't believe that this was just a restaurant.

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My mom thought these were fake they were so still. We later saw them on the prowl, a few of the biggies had some trouble gettin' going.

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The entire park is beautifully landscaped as well.

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Attention to detail was everywhere, this is the entrance plaza.

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Anyone care to help me out on the name of these gorgeous animals?

 

 

Scimitar-Horned Oryx

 

Extinct in the wild, but there is now a good population of captive-bred individuals. Re-introduction is slowly happening.

 

Thanks! Good to hear that they're being saved, they were really cool.

 

Part Three: Busch Gardens Africa Final Day

 

I didn't bring my camera to stops 2 and 3 at the park, but stop 4 was a quick run through the park near closing time to finally get Cheetah Chase. Enjoy the night pictures and thanks again for reading.

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Goodbye BGA, I hope to visit you again soon!

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Even things like this were greatly appreciated, it doesn't take much to make things look really nice at night.

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And it was little touches like having the lights in their theming work as if it was real that really made the park stand out.

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The whole park looked really pretty at night as well.

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Wait for it...

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Time for one last ride.

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Hot Summer Nights was going on, this picture doesn't show it but these stations actually got quite a few participants.

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I didn't even ask them to do this... Maybe my mom likes the topiary too much?!

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Definitely worth the hassle to get this one, so much fun!

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Finally!

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