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TR: The English hit East Coast USA (with photos, kind of)


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EAST COAST USA TRIP: Tues, 12th July to Thur, 28th July

Who?: Me (Alex), Si (my brother) and Andy (my dad).

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I've included a link to a photo album, rather than post several large photos as attachments! Click here for photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/413217909enNQEl

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WARNING: LONG Trip Report!

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Days 1-3, Tues 12th / Wed 13th / Thur 14th July: Six Flags Great Adventure

Well, we flew into JFK from Heathrow and full of built-up energy from the boring flight, we decided to stop at SFGAdv for the evening, mainly to get our season passes and avoid lines the next day. Got to the park at 8:30pm and managed to get free parking. Season Pass processing was closed, but the Customer Relations staff were excellent and did the passes for us anyhow.

 

We’d set aside 2 full days to do SFGAdv (when planning the trip, we were hoping Kingda Ka would be open!), so we in actual fact had much more time than we needed.

 

Anyhow, got in line for Nitro at 9pm and were on it within 30mins; Wow, what a ride! Not bad for the first coaster of the trip; a back row, night ride on Nitro! It’s awesome, the first half of the ride is flawless, the first drop is one of the best in the world. I think it dies towards the end, after the mid-course brakes, but overall, a great coaster, and the best B&M Hyper I’ve been on, surpassing Raging Bull.

 

Did Skull Mountain, which had no line; no big ‘wow’ there.

The next day, we hit Nitro first off. It annoys me so much that the park opens at 10am, yet Nitro was not letting guests on until 10.15. The rides should open on time, with the park, no excuses. Did the front and back of Nitro (preferred back), then hit the rapids and flume rides nearby.

 

Batman the Ride was intense, but lacks that certain something to make it stand out from the crowd. I was pleasantly surprised by the Chiller (the Robin track; Batman was closed)—I’ve rode Flight of Fear at PKI with the OTSRs, and these rides are so much better with lap bars instead! Left park when a massive thunderstorm hit, shutting all the rides, but hey, we had a full day the next day to complete the park.

 

Later in the afternoon, when the weather had improved, we decided to hit Clementon Lake, to get on J2, a highly-rated woodie. What should have been a short-ish drive turned into a huge one- bad maps, bad signposts, bad traffic etc made the drive really tedious. But just to rub salt into the wound, when we eventually got there, J2 was goddam closed for maintenance! So unfortunately, we didn’t get to go on it, and didn’t even bother going into the park.

 

Day 3: Back to SFGAdv. Our strategy was to do ‘the other side of the park’, so ran to Superman at 10am. Again, what is it with rides not opening on time? SUF was on 1 train operation when we got in the station; they added a second train then, so the coaster didn’t open til 10:20! Did they think they could get away with operating SUF with 1 train for the day? They should have added the 2nd train before the park opened, so SUF would have opened at 10am! Anyhoo, SUF is IMO better than Air at Alton Towers, as it is more thrilling, but the ride does die after the drop + pretzel loop (which is awesome). The swoops are boring, as it doesn’t get close enough to the ground to create any sense of danger…

 

Hit Rolling Thunder; I actually enjoyed this, it was ok. Nice views of Kingda too… would have loved to ride KK. The Mine Train was shockingly bad, as was Great American Scream Machine. Medusa was cool, an excellent B&M floorless, probably second best ride in the park. Finished the park with more goes on Nitro.

 

Overall impressions of SFGAdv; lots of good rides, although some are almost too ‘run-of-the-mill’ – ie seen it all before; Batman, SUF, even Medusa. Didn’t need 2 full days at the park, maybe would have if KK had been opened. Incidentally, the new Golden Kingdom area is really well themed. Operations were a bit dodgy at the park; some rides were running at low capacity, and some rides were closed (KK, Batman:the Chiller, Log Flume). At 1pm on Day 3, we went for a pizza (big mistake, I know, but we had time to kill!)—they had ONE window open in the Central plaza pizza place; the line took ages, what a joke. Didn’t want to part with money to buy a Q-bot (way too expensive for 3 of us), and besides, wait times weren’t too bad, and we had plenty of time. Overall, I liked SFGAdv, but I wasn’t blown away with it either. Nitro, however, made the park visit worth it- what a ride!

 

Day 4, Fri 15th July: Six Flags America

Got to this park at 11am, it looked scarily crowded. Anyway, headed to Superman- we were pleasantly surprised to find almost no line at all. Got on the front within a couple of trains. We’d already done S:ROS at Darien Lake (and this is a mirror version I think), but when we visited Darien Lake, it was raining, so the raindrops felt like pellets hitting your face when you rode S:ROS! It became more of a case of ‘surviving’ the ride rather than enjoying it. We could tell it was a good coaster, but didn’t really enjoy it…

 

Anyway, this coaster was awesome, it even beat Nitro! LOVE the first corner, LOVE the 2nd bunnyhop (after the first big helix – MEGA air, all over the hop), LOVE the ending! Managed to get 5 rides on this over our time at the park; best seats were definitely at the front; visuals were obviously better, but airtime was better too IMO. This ride soared into our Top 5 with ease!

 

Saw that Batwing was starting to build up a line, so went there asap. Jeez, this thing is an operational nightmare. One train, only a max of 24 people per train, nearly 10mins between dispatches – EVENTUALLY got to the front of the line… and then it broke down. Ride-ops ensured us it was a minor technical hitch, would be ‘back up in a couple of mins’. It was down for most of the day. Left the unshaded line (for fear of fainting / dehydrating)… oh well, we’ve done X-Flight already.

 

Tried out Penguin’s Blizzard River- that thing is sickening, you spin a crazy amount of times! Joker’s Jinx was good, but didn’t really warrant a reride. As with Robin: the Chiller, the lap-bars at least make the ride bearable. But the ride does die after the launch and first 3 inversions… it kinda just goes round in circles, before ending with a half-hearted corkscrew.

 

Did Typhoon Sea Coaster (also an operational nightmare)- I hear it’s hardly ever open; I swear there were only about 5 boats on that damn thing… and each boat only holds 8 people! We timed the ride: it spent about 2mins on the conveyor belt through the station, over 2mins on lift-hills etc! Was a boringish ride anyway… Only amusing thing was that Si lost his hat on the drop!

 

Roar was slightly too jerky, Wild One was ok, but not worth a reride, Batman Stunt Show was . Decided to leave at about 4pm, as thunderclouds gathered… I actually liked SFA, despite a lot of bad stuff I’ve heard about it. In a way, I almost liked it more than SFGAdv, since Superman was better than Nitro (both parks didn’t have any real stand-out rides other than those 2). But I guess SFGAdv had more attractions overall…

 

Day 5, Sat 16th July: Washington

We’d set aside Saturday to have a look at Washington. Got into Washington remarkably easily, albeit our car got bumped on the way in, and the damn driver just carried on… I dunno if that’s common in the US or not!

Overall, Washington was fairly unspectacular; I mean, it was worth going to see the monuments / sights, but there wasn’t that much else there! You couldn’t really get that close to the White House (we all randomly got cleared from the White House area by these security people, which was strange), but the Capitol was very impressive. Stopped off at a mall, saw the Pentagon and drove down to Ashland, near Richmond, for PKD the next day.

 

Day 6, Sun 17th July: Paramount’s Kings Dominion

Well, this WAS a surprise. This park to me, looked like being one of the weakest on our itinery, but ended up being one of, if not, my favourite. Being a weekend, we needed a good park strategy to avoid the long lines, and we did this just right.

 

Went straight to Hypersonic XLC, and got on the 2nd train, front row. I had always wondered why this ride doesn’t get ranked more highly, it looks awesome. But now I see why. I was looking forward to the launch, but it didn’t do much for me, the Intamin Rocket ones are way better IMO. The reason? Well, H:XLC has the greatest acceleration, but the adrenaline rush is just not sustained enough, it’s over waaaay too quickly. With TTD, for example, the launch at least lasts long enough to take the feeling in. Rita, here in the UK, IMO has a better launch then H:XLC.

 

The climb up the hill felt really awkward too, it just was jerky (and braked?) – it didn’t have the nice ‘flow’ that B&M and Intamin coasters have. Overall, H:XLC is *ok*, but it could have been such a better ride. And it’s capacity is shocking, so we didn’t bother getting back in line for a reride, as a big line had already built up.

 

This was a good choice, as all the other rides at the back of the park, up until about 1pm had no wait. Did Drop Zone… now THAT is how to do a drop ride, my friends. Damn, damn good… it packs adrenaline, fear, speed & thrills all into one nice ride. Top ride, did twice. Shockwave was not as bad or as rough as I’d expected, but I wasn’t dying to have another go. Ricochet was . The three woodies were all surprisingly fun, without being amazing, and were fairly comfortable. Did each one twice. Rebel Yell had some nice air, Grizzly had a nice setting, and a good sense of speed; Hurler, my favourite of the three, managed to combine good air and good speed!

 

Had to wait a while for Volcano: the Blast Coaster… We did it towards the back, and thought, ‘yeh, that’s pretty good’. Best coaster at PKD, no doubt, but not incredible. Did Flight Of Fear (again, no OTSRs = … but not worth a 2nd ride), then Anaconda (I hate Arrows) and Avalanche (). Tomb Raider Firefall had looked cool when we walked past it earlier, but when we got on it later on, there was a distinct lack of fire and the water jets didn’t even get near you… certainly a disappointment. It broke down soon after we went on it.

 

Decided to try Volcano:TBC one more time. Didn’t wait long, and got on the front. This ride was SO much better in the front seats. It changed from a ‘good’ coaster, to a ‘great’ coaster. I think the reason I liked it so much in the end was just because it’s different. 2 launches, a vertical climb, a massively high inversion and randomly cool barrel rolls scraping the edge of the volcano structure! It’s a nice change after something like Batman: the Ride, which seems like it’s straight off the production line.

 

Hit the Scooby-Doo rides (shooting ride and coaster) – both were fun! Got a photo with Scooby-Doo too (:D), before heading up the Eiffel Tower to get some photos and video. Overall, I was really impressed with PKD; loads of rides to go on, and all a bit different to what you’d find at a standard park. It could do with another really decent coaster, because although PKD was awesome, I think I would be more likely to revisit SFGAdv or SFA again, simply because each of those had one amazing coaster. Volcano was good, but not in the same calibre as Nitro or S:ROS…

 

Day 7, Mon 18th July: Busch Gardens Williamsburg

And so came the disappointment. The problem with BGW is that it doesn’t have enough to do there. There’s not many main attractions. Come to think of it, there aren’t many support attractions. This means that the big attractions all get crowded out and remain crowded all day long. AND it means that because there aren’t that many rides, the main attractions have to please as many people as possible: IMO Apollo’s Chariot was tame, mostly due to the excessive trim-braking… why use the trims? My theory is to make all the rides as family friendly as possible, simply because there aren’t enough support attractions for the big rides. I don’t know…

 

The weather was insanely hot today, maybe that has something to do with my negative impression of the park… It’s massive, with an awkward layout, where the paths are all needlessly twisted (case & point: going from Curse of Darkastle to Alpengeist). On a hot day, extra walking = extra annoyance. On a positive note though, it is a beautiful park and really well themed too… but this doesn’t make up for the lack of rides…

 

Anyway, hit Curse of DarKastle first to avoid the inevitably gargantuan lines. This WAS good. It’s not in the same league as Spider-Man, but it is still truly exceptional. If this is the future of theme park rides, I’ll be happy. Thrilling, scary, fun; the perfect ride, for all the family too.

 

Next up, Alpengeist. This was a total disappointment. Nearly 200ft high, 6 inversions, decentish theming / storyline: what could go wrong? Well, I realised it, right at the end of my 2nd ride. The ending is the only really fun part of the ride; where you feel that you’re going to scrape the ground, as you fly through the snow-filled trenches. It’s the only time you get any real interaction with your surroundings. This is why Nemesis is the best inverted coaster in the world: it uses the inverted design to its advantage and offers near-collisions, ground-scrapes, tunnels etc. Alpengeist only does this at the very end of the ride; the rest of it is all just a standard looping coaster, IMO. We rode twice, back first, then front. Front seats DID improve the ride, but not by much; only visually. Incidentally, the operation on this was pretty crap too, the trains took ages to dispatch. Oh well, move along.

 

Curse of Darkastle and Big Bad Wolf had large lines, so skipped them and headed towards Apollo’s Chariot. Again, 200ft coaster, loads of bunnyhops, what could go wrong? Well, I have no doubt AC is a good ride; it looks awesome, but seriously, this thing was trimmed to death. Nitro had air on pretty much every hill when you’re sitting on the back row, but seriously, I got almost no air on AC, even with the lap-bar a couple of clicks higher than it could have been. The reason was that it was trimmed so excessively that the train creeped over the hills… Like Alpengeist, it was a GOOD ride, just not the amazing ride it should have been.

 

Amazingly, Escape from Pompeii had a small line, so did that. Impressive effects inside the building, but overall, the ride was way too short. Loch Ness Monster sucked (did I mention I hate Arrows? – have they ever made a comfortable looping coaster?- no, X, doesn’t count!). Corkscrew Hill 4D was worse- it messed all our heads up and made us feel sick! We used the park transport as much as possible, but still the walking and heat was getting to us. Decided to get in line for Big Bad Wolf… the ride was pretty good, I wasn’t disappointed with it, but not worth another wait to reride. The Skoot log flume was down, the rapids were down, so did AC once more (ride broke down, so waited in the station for 30mins or so).

 

And then we left. As I type this up, I’m thinking ‘what else did we go on?’ But that is it. There are NOT enough rides here. And the rides there (except for Curse of Darkastle) were not thrilling enough to make me want to go round, get back in line and ride them again. BGW is a beautiful park, and while that may add to the experience, I go to a theme park to be thrilled… and there wasn’t much here that thrilled me. And at $50 an entry, it’s the least value for money. Won’t be heading back here in a hurry, unfortunately .

Day 8, Tue 19th July: Knoebels

Today was the day of the massive drive: from Ashland, VA, to Harrisburg, PA. We left at about 7am, took several stops to break the drive up, and got to Harrisburg just after midday. The drive was long, but was fairly painless, and we avoided all the Washington traffic which was good. The plan for today had been to hit Hersheypark, but obviously Hershey needed a full day, so we decided to hit Knoebels instead. This unfortunately meant a further hour’s drive.

 

I’m glad we did hit Knoebels though. We were all tired so didn’t actually stay that long, and perhaps didn’t soak up all of the classic rides on offer, but we hit the big rides and had a lot of fun! Had a long debate on how to pronounce Knoebels (I got it right with K-no-bels; the worst guess was ‘nurghballs’). Also had a long debate on whether it’d be cheaper to buy a ride-all-day pass or to buy tickets. Decided on tickets, and that was the right choice!

 

First hit Twister. It was a fun ride, but nothing that special. It lacked air, but had some cool drops and twists and turns. Then onto Phoenix. I have to confess that after seeing how small it was, and having had my first go in the back car, I didn’t think it was all it was cracked up to be. But then I had a ride in the front car, and I was totally blown away! The beauty of the Phoenix is its restraints, or should I say lack of them! This compliments the ride’s design perfectly, and you get the most crazy airtime over each hill. Phoenix is not my favourite coaster in the world, but for sheer fun factor, there is none better.

 

I have never laughed so hard on a coaster in my life… I don’t think I’d ever laughed on a coaster before the Phoenix, come to think of it. But seriously, it’s so, so fun! Not scary, not thrilling, just pure enjoyment; the best airtime coaster out there! I loved it! Not sure if it beats my fave woodie, Megafobia (which offers the complete package of airtime, drops, twists / turns), but yet another example that a coaster doesn’t have to be big to pack a punch. Megafobia, Phoenix and Cornball are easily my 3 fave woodies (Son of Beast is my least fave )

 

Hit Fandango, their new Frisbee style ride, which was a lot of fun too, despite being small. The Log Flume was quite fun, the Haunted Mansion ok… played Mini Golf too, and did High Speed Thrill Coaster (didn’t get the back seats, so didn’t get any air ). Decided not to hit any of the smaller or traditional rides, and concentrated on reriding the Phoenix as much as possible. After about 3 or 4 hours at Knoebels, we were shattered, so returned to Harrisburg and had a nice long soak in a Comfort Inn jacuzzi! I enjoyed Knoebels: it’s certainly a traditional, family-owned amusement park, and makes a change from the big chain parks we often visit. Besides, it had Phoenix- any park with that ride is onto a winner!

 

Day 9, Wed 20th July: Hersheypark

Hersheypark was good. It wasn’t quite as good as I thought it’d be, but it wasn’t really a disappointment either. It’s not a park I’d head back to in a hurry, but it was well worth a visit. Storm Runner was kind of a disappointment. Got to the park for 10am, and went to SR (they didn’t open it til 10:15- God, I hate it when parks do this!). We rode in the back seats for our first go, and then towards the front for our 2nd go. Both times, the ride didn’t blow us away as I thought it would. It’s a very good coaster, just not as incredible as I thought it’d be. Admittedly, I didn’t try it in the front row, and I’m sure this would have improved the ride, but oh well.

 

The launch kinda sucked. It’s just not as powerful as the other Intamin rocket coasters- it’s short, the sense of acceleration and speed doesn’t blow you away like on the other rockets, and it’s not sustained and is over too fast. It feels more like a Premier coaster launch, or an Intamin LIM launch. The top hat was also *meh*, I didn’t get as much air as I hoped. The first inversion was just an inversion, the 2nd, just a barrel roll. The 3rd was really fun, I like how the track just suddenly twists away from you: this was a cool inversion, and is by far the highlight of the ride. The twisty bit of track at the end would be ok if not for the restraints.

 

I’ve rode Rita at Alton (no more ride Rita jokes please), and the restraints didn’t bother me, but on Storm Runner, the quick manoeuvres that the train makes causes you to smack into the restraints. They don’t really hurt, but they’re not comfortable. On Rita, they’re ok, cos the transitions are all smooth and there are no inversions, but I felt that they weren’t right for SR. Overall, SR was decent, just not amazing.

 

The water rides however, were awesome. Decided to hit these before the lines built up. Roller Soaker was a lot of fun; again, it’s nice to go on a ride which is unique and which adds a degree of interactivity. However, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much if I had to wait more than 10mins for it! We got soaked to the bone on Roller Soaker, so hit the rapids, which were also suitably wet and a lot of fun too. Finished off the water rides with Tidal Force which was a decent splash boats ride.

 

Lightning Racer was cool- certainly left the rough & horrible Gwazi in the dust… We won one race, lost the other. Fun ride. Wildcat was shocking… it was pretty rough and the layout wasn’t even very fun anyway. Got credits on Wild Mouse, Trailblazer, Sooperdooperlooper and Comet (didn’t really think much of any of them), then hit Great Bear. By now it was mid-afternoon and quite busy, and we waited a while for Great Bear, and realising this would be our only go (wouldn’t line up again), we decided to do the front. Took ages, but I enjoyed Great Bear. It’s not amazing and it’s over way too quickly, but the ride is pretty fun, particularly its interaction with surrounding rides. The helix drop and the little s-bend before the corkscrew were cool… it was just a little different to a standard B&M Inverted coaster.

 

Had dumb photos with dumb Hershey costumed characters, bought Hershey chocolate (not as good as the English ‘Cadbury’s’ chocolate- all Americans should try this stuff, it’s awesome), did the free Hershey Chocolate Factory Ride to get the free (pathetically-sized) Hershey chocolate bar. Left park in late afternoon. Impression of Hersheypark… pretty good. Needs one more big, thrilling coaster though. A park I enjoyed, but lacked a ride which was so good that I would go out of my way to return to the park… I thought Storm Runner would be that ride, but it wasn’t :S.

 

Day 10, Thur 21st July: Dorney Park

Got into the park for under $30 each, thanks to some coupons a kind lady gave us on entering the park. Headed straight to Talon. I have to say, Talon was great. I thought it was pretty forceful, and did get close enough to the ground on occasions to make it a fun ride. The layout was decent too, I liked how it entered a section of twists, turns and drops between the Immelman and final corkscrew. Definitely one of the best B&M Inverted coasters I’ve been on, certainly the best one on this trip.

 

Then to Hydra. Hydra was exactly as I had read it was in reviews; kinda forceless, kinda tame. I didn’t really like the JoJo Roll at the beginning either, it was pretty pointless. The rest of the ride was likeable, without being that thrilling. The new-style elements weren’t that special, that tilted dive loop thing is NOT an inversion, and since the ride is quite small, the first drop really sucks in the front seats. It felt like some of the latest B&Ms- more of a nice family looping coaster. That’s not really a bad thing, I’d take this ride over an Arrow coaster any day.

 

Rode the Log Flume (ok) and then hit Steel Force. I thought Steel Force was shockingly bad, simply because it was shockingly tame. I tried front and back seats and couldn’t get any air on this thing. It lacked intensity, forces, airtime and I didn’t even get a sense of speed on it. The bunnyhops at the end may have been better without the mid-course brakes kicking in just before them. For a hypercoaster, I am stunned to say: it was boring.

 

Got a credit on a kiddie coaster, did Laser (did NOT enjoy – way too rough and intense… I accidentally smacked heads with my brother on this one… but it was the high g-forces that almost made us black-out!). Did Thunderhawk (rough), the rapids ride, Dominator tower etc. As I had been told, there wasn’t that much to do here. Glad I visited, but I’d certainly put Dorney Park under the bracket labelled ‘average’.

 

Day 11, Fri 22nd July: Lake Compounce

Day began with a long drive north, up into Connecticut, where we were staying, about 3 miles from Six Flags New England. On the way, we’d planned to stop at Lake Compounce, to break up the drive, although we had already done 85% of the drive by the time we reached Lake Compounce at 2pm.

 

Lake Compounce is another small, (family-owned?) amusement park. It reminded me of Indiana Beach, only in a forest! It was certainly a pretty park, set beside a lake, in the middle of a wood, with a large hill to the side of it. Boulder Dash, ‘the world’s #1 wooden coaster’ is located on this ‘mountain’; it stampedes along the side of the hill, in and out of the trees.

 

In my opinion, Boulder Dash isn’t the best wooden coaster in the world, but it is one of the best. The first drop isn’t great, but then the ride just stampedes through the forest, diving in and out of the sides of the mountain. The ride NEVER lets up, with plenty of speed, airtime, dips & dives and twists & turns right from start to finish.

 

So why wasn’t it the best wooden coaster in the world? Well, I don’t really know, but I think it might be because it didn’t contain any large or powerful drops… the ride is just a huge dash through the forest, by the side of the mountain. It was really fun though, and would have been an even better ride at night- I know how much better the Beast at PKI is at night, so this would have been awesome. It certainly was running a lot better when I rode it at 6pm, in relation to when I rode it at 2pm…

 

Otherwise, Lake Compounce had nothing that special. It was a fun place to stop off at; we hit the Skyride (nice views, but too long!), the rapids, log flume, a tower ride, a Haunted House / shooting ride etc. Did the Wildcat wooden coaster which wasn’t great. Oh, and we did do our 197th different coaster, Zoomerang, which proudly ranks as our 197th favourite coaster. I did the boomerang at Darien Lake 2 years ago, and thought it was ok… but this was just shocking. It was almost as painful as Son of Beast, it was overly intense, made you want to throw up, was overly disorientating, made you feel like you were going to black out… jeez, this thing was crap. I don’t think I’ll hit another boomerang ever again, not even for a coaster credit!

 

Day 12, Sat 23rd July: Boston

We wisely decided not to hit Six Flags New England on the Saturday, and to instead drive to Boston. Boston was really cool. It was a nice, friendly place, with a cool park in the middle (not theme park!), and some excellent shopping nearby! It’s like New York, only smaller, less busy, less noisy, less congested and more like a normal city! Boston was good, we had a nice non-theme park day out there…

 

Day 13, Sun 24th July: Six Flags New England

In another good move, we decided that SFNE didn’t look as if it had that much in the way of must-do rides, other than Superman, so we planned to hit their free-with-admission water park as well. We hit Superman at 10am (I love how the guards walk you there to avoid a mass stampede down the steps!) - I’ll write more about S:ROS later. Then did Poison Ivy (no line) and Batman the Dark Knight, our 200th coaster! (The ride itself was nothing special… a fairly standard looping coaster). Got into Hurricane Harbor water park at 10:30am, got changed, waited for the rides to open at 11am.

 

Hurricane Harbor was awesome. In fact, I think I enjoy most water parks, as long as I don’t have to wait in lines. I hate waiting ages for a water slide, when most often they’re kind of *meh*– at least at a theme park, you wait ages for a ride which will thrill you. So, we’ve learnt that if you want to hit a water park, you get in the water park as soon as it opens, to avoid the lines.

 

We hit Typhoon first, which is a new style ‘rocket’ water slide by ProSlide. It’s kinda like those MasterBlaster slides, except it uses moving conveyor belts to transport you up the hills, not water jets. We didn’t have to wait long for this ride, as we were one of the first in line, but it built up a huge line very, very quickly. If you want to do this ride, get there early! It’s a brilliant water slide too, way better than the MasterBlasters. You get properly soaked as you leave the conveyor belts, the slide has drops, turns, has enclosed sections, and even has airtime! No joke! This was a really fun water slide, I was well impressed!

 

We did a whole lot of other tube slides which were all enjoyable (and we didn’t have to wait for them). We had to wait for Tornado, and hence didn’t enjoy the ride too much. Zinga at Splashin’ Safari is better anyhow. Did the lazy river, which was awesome! It’s a lazy river, but with waterfalls, jets, bubbles etc. We called it ‘the Lazy River with Attitude’, after Alton Towers’ ‘The Flume: Bathtime with Attitude’. Didn’t enjoy the speed slides there (back-burns!), but overall, Hurricane Harbor was one of the best water parks I’ve been to, with a lot of rides, all of a high quality! And it’s free with admission to SFNE!

 

Back in SFNE, we hit Cyclone, in the back seats (as I’d been told, it was insanely rough, but was certainly an amusing experience!). Decided to try Mr. Six’s Pandemonium, using the single-rider line. They’ve really screwed this ride up: Q-bot users and Singleriders wait in the same line, so there are still a lot of cars going out with empty single seats- there should be a separate Single Rider line. And it’s dumb offering Fastlane / Qbot on this ride; I swear that almost no one from the main line gets let on the ride! We waited for about 20mins, and I wasn’t that impressed… the Maurer spinners are much more fun. Saw more examples of shoddy operations on Thunderbolt- one train operation, and some trains were being loaded entirely with Q-bot users; so the line took ages. When we reached the front of the line, we took the only seats left (middle seats), to avoid having to wait another train… hence I didn’t enjoy the ride as much as I might have in the front or back seats.

 

Superman. This thing is amazing. Actually, amazing doesn’t do it justice. It’s just indescribably good. It’s got a near perfect layout: great first drop, loads of large airtime hills, an overbanked turn, and an insane twisted section at the end, with high g-force helices, dives, turns. The bunnyhops and quick turn into the brakes at the end make up one of (if not) the best ending on a coaster ever. Throw in a couple of subterranean dives, one even with some cool mist effects (that now no longer exist on the UK’s Oblivion), and you have near-perfection.

 

Before this trip, my favourite two coasters in the world, by far, were Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force; they still are my favourite two, but this one is certainly in the same league as those 2. These 3 are by far my fave coasters in the world. The reason I placed MF and TTD slightly higher than S:ROS is that they both have one moment of ultimate exhilaration (TTD’s launch, MF’s drop); Superman didn’t have one of those kind of moments, but otherwise was perfection.

 

I rode front seats in the morning, and loved it, but back seats were just incredible. I LOVED this ride, and it made the whole side trip up to Connecticut worthwhile. Superman (and Hurricane Harbor, to some extent) make SFNE a must-do park! Get your ass over to SFNE and get on this ride! We ended the day on this ride- it was the last coaster of the trip, and easily my favourite coaster of the trip.

 

Day 14-17, Mon>Thur, 25th>28th July: New York

At first, I thought NYC was totally retarded. Seriously. It’s stupidly big, stupidly busy, stupidly noisy, stupidly crazy and quite frankly, stupidly stupid. Our cabbie seriously almost killed someone en route to our hotel. I have to say though, you get accustomed to NYC really quickly and I actually really liked it, and enjoyed the 4 days we spent there. We stayed in the Novotel hotel, very near Times Square.

 

We spent our time there eating, shopping and sightseeing. Times Square was a mini-Las Vegas and was fun! The view from Empire State Building is awesome. The Statue of Liberty was excellent. There is nothing to see at Ground Zero, but that’s the point: it’s what used to be there that counts. It’s pretty scary seeing it in real life. But at the same time, it’s quite cool: there’s a good vibe there as all the people there are all quiet and lost in their own thoughts. I found that aspect of it quite peaceful. Glad I went. Central Park was also nice, in that it was an escape from the crazy Manhattan. We didn’t do the Cyclone at Astroland/Coney Island – didn’t leave Manhattan!

 

The shopping in NYC is excellent! We randomly bumped into Jose Mourinho on 5th Avenue! (For the benefit of Americans reading this, Jose is the manager of Chelsea FC, who are the current champions of the English Football / Soccer League… he’s regarded as one of, if not, the best coach in the world). Got a photo with him, he was pretty cool about it, bit of a legend! (But that won’t stop me hoping Alan Shearer bangs in a hat-trick against him next year!).

 

So yeh, by the end of the trip, I liked NYC: great shopping, loads to see and do, crazy (in a good way), and typically American! NYC rounded off an awesome trip to East Coast USA, full of lots of food, lots of random travelling and over 50 different coasters! Thanks for reading; any questions, comments etc. would be welcome! Hope you enjoyed the trip report!

 

Once again, click here for the photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/413217909enNQEl

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Saw more examples of shoddy operations on Thunderbolt- one train operation, and some trains were being loaded entirely with Q-bot users; so the line took ages. When we reached the front of the line, we took the only seats left (middle seats), to avoid having to wait another train… hence I didn’t enjoy the ride as much as I might have in the front or back seats.

 

actually, you aren't missing much with the one train operation on Thunderbolt. They've always been running one train since the park was Riverside. Now I'm not positive on the reason why, but someone said that the reason why they now only use one train on it is because back during the Riverside Days when they did have two trains on it, the ride-op wasn't paying attention and let one of the trains bump the one in the station.

 

Plus, those brakes are terrible, it takes forever for the trains to slow down since they're friction brakes. I think the train stops right on the transfer track before the station, compared to Cyclone which has the other brakes which stops it pretty quickly but violently.

 

Aside from that, good to hear you had a good trip, shame I couldn't have met up with ya at SFNE, but i was in Wisconsin at the time.

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Had dumb photos with dumb Hershey costumed characters, bought Hershey chocolate (not as good as the English ‘Cadbury’s’ chocolate- all Americans should try this stuff, it’s awesome)

 

I agree that Hershey chocolate isn't good, but Cadbury's not great either. You have obviously not tried Belgian or Norwegian chocolate.

 

Mmmmmm... chocolate.

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