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Photo TR: Chuck's 1st West Coast Bash


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I’ve traveled with TPR to the U.K., Japan, and across Scandinavia and a big chunk of Europe, but I had never experienced West Coast Bash. I decided that it was high time I did. How can any red-blooded coaster enthusiast and TPR member avoid going to at least one WCB?

 

So, I hopped on a plane in Richmond, Va., and landed at the much-beloved LAX, where I met up with Matt, Jo, and Renee at the ever-so-exotic Hertz desk. But something was wrong. It was Thursday. WCB didn’t start until Saturday. What to do, what to do?

 

Go to Disneyland—what else? Where Erik and Cameron had a head-start on us! That simply would not do.

 

We spent a great day at Disney’s Construction Area and Disneyland, jet lag and all. Both parks were busy, so much so that DCA kept a few areas open an hour later than usual. Even so, we got a lot done, checking out the Aladdin show at DCA (a first for most of us) and most of DL’s major attractions that evening (with Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride thrown in for good measure). The park’s three coasters were delivering particularly good rides that night (especially Big Thunder Mountain). It was a bit too chilly for water rides, though.

 

And the company makes a big difference. The WCB experience was awesome—my thanks to Robb, Elissa, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knott’s Berry Farm, and, of course, my fellow partners in goofiness. And they know who they are.

 

But first, here’s a look at our little “pre-Bash” at DLR.

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This is where we parked. If you go there now looking for us, prepare for disappointment.

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Behold one of the most cunningly disguised show buildings anywhere!

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DCA says, "Do I make you 'orni?'" OK, this will be the only Austin Powers gag in this whole TR. I promise.

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See the big hubcap? Well, don't get used to it. It'll be going bye-bye. As Robert Frost wrote, "Nothing gold can stay."

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First things first.

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This definitely beats the little box of Total cereal I had on my Continental flight.

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Here's something you can't get across the way. In your face, Disneyland!

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Look! Mickey! On a wheel! And high-tech fountains that spew magic pixie water! (OK, that just sounded wrong.)

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Hey, I gotta helluva idea! Let's ride Screamin'!

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And let's use the single-rider line! Hot damn tamale, this idea just gets better and better! Too bad it broke down five minutes later.

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"Hurry, hurry, hurry! Hoop the stuck coaster train! Win yerself a kewpie doll!" DCA got 'er going again a hour or so later.

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And now, a look into the future of DCA. And what a high-tech future it is!

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See how Disney takes your "standard Zierer crown" and applies magic!

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This looks vaguely familiar. Where have I seen a similar entrance before? I'd call the feeling "deja vu," but that's at SFMM.

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Disney on the cutting edge! The new World of Color show will use animated paper cut outs! You've never seen this before. Unless you watch "South Park." But does "South Park" have high-tech magic fountains that spew pixie water? In your face, Matt South and Trey Parker!

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OK, I kid because I love. I like it that DCA is getting the boost it needs--particularly Cars Land.

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We picked up some Tower of Terror Fast Passes, then wandered into what seemed to be some sort of strange liaison between a prince, a horse, and a squirrel. Really, what is the prince whispering into that equine's ear? Why are they leering so much? Why is the squirrel so into it? Sick, I tell you! Sick!

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We had enough time to catch "Aladdin" before we had to use our Fast Passes.

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And we had to climb way up there.

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Yep--that's pretty dang high. The show was fun, though--particularly the actor who played the Genie.

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There is a Sixth Dimension beyond that which is known to Rod Serling. It exists in the back row of an "ordinary service elevator," and it is an area which we call . . .

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. . . the TPR Zone!

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"OK, I'm gonna cut loose all over this stone bear's nose. And I've been eatin' lots of berries, you stupid bear!"

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Yay! Screamin' is going again! Jo is the first of our group to triumph over the single-rider line! She's going to Disneyland! As are the rest of us--shortly.

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We wandered across the esplanade for a great evening at Disneyland. Join us, won't you?

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Yes, here we are at Walt Disney's original Magic Kingdom! And look--two adorable Disney characters are here to greet us! Say "hello" to . . .

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. . . Nerdledee and . . .

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. . . Nerdledum!

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Hi, Renee. How's that fancy new pass workin' for ya? Not so good? Well, I'm sure Tinker Bell or someone will get it straightened out.

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Look at that cute little castle! You just want to hug it and take it home with you!

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First, a spin on Space Mountain, following a "35 minute" wait. Well, it was worth it--it was running great that night.

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Look! Those two adorable Disney characters have followed us to Space Mountain!

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"Live long, and prosper."

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I think you know what this sign means.

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Yep--meat on a stick!

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Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?

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Vines! Why did it have to be vines?

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Columns! Why did it . . . Shaddup your mouth!

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This was my favorite ride when I was a kid. The rest of my family went to the Matterhorn at rope drop. I always went here.

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Good to know that Mr. Toad is "certified" and "compliant." They must've changed his meds.

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Hmm--there is a certain resemblance.

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Time to get our jet-lagged bodies to the motel.

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Later, Disneyland.

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Good night, DCA. There'll be WCB pics tomorrow. I promise.

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Yay! A Chuck trip report! I've been waiting for this one. (and Nay's as well) It was nice to finally meet you Chuck, if only briefly, on the SFMM morning of WCB. I will semi-patiently await the rest of the TR.

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How long have you been saving that Nerdledee and Nerdledum line?

 

Since his last trip with you??

 

Rimshot!

 

Just came to me as I was sorting through the pictures on Tuesday night, but it has such wide application here.

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Renee, truer words were never spoke.

 

Moving right along . . . it's time for the first day of West Coast Bash at Six Flags Magic Mountain! I'd last visited this park two years ago for a TPR DVD premiere party and had a great time. SFMM and Robb put on a sort of "mini-WCB" back then. This whetted my appetite for more.

 

And SFMM, TPR, and Rideworld didn't disappoint this year, either. The Magic Mountain day was long and epic, with ample ERT (morning and night), good meals, and some very cool "surprise" excursions. Everybody was assigned a time for a "backstage" tour behind Terminator, Batman, and Riddler's Revenge for taking pictures; but we were also assigned numbers, times, and meeting places for different excursions. Some received a backstage look at Scream during block-brake testing. Others got to check out the mantainance bay of X2. As for my group, we met at the exit to Batman and were given a very informative tour of the only "cycle shop" (dedicated to rehabbing trains) in the Six Flags chain. They were working on a trains for Revolution and Tatsu at the time. One interesting fact: According to our guide, a Tatsu train takes 14 weeks to completely rehab, while a Goliath train takes only 4 weeks--but his favorite trains to work on were on Gold Rusher.

 

In some cases, if there was enough space, you could tag along on another excursion (I was able to check out X2 behind the scenes). My thanks for Magic Mountain for working with TPR to make this happen. These sorts of tours are what makes TPR events stand out.

 

As for the coasters, here's how I rank 'em (best to worst):

 

Terminator: Salvation--Yep. This is now my favorite coaster in the park. This little GCI is completely nuts from start to finish; there isn't a dead spot on it. I like the theming and even the preshow. Plus, it has FIRE! And you haven't lived until you've experienced the special WCB soundtrack. Really, you have to hear it to believe it.

 

Goliath--Sorry, big man, but Terminator knocked you down a space. But you're still pretty damn good (particularly in the front row on the left side).

 

X2--I am not a fan of Ejan, er, Ejanik,er, Fuji-Q's 4D coaster (in fact, I really hate it). So, I was pleasantly surprised by X2. Yes, it is rather rough, but I thoroughly enjoyed my two rides. I think the secret lies in the seat rotation. Fuji likes to flip you over and over like a shirt in a dryer. SFMM didn't overdo the rotations--they flipped the seat enough to make it interesting, but not so much that you felt like you were tumbling around in a trash can. The soundtrack and FIRE are a big plus, too.

 

Batman--Everytime I ride one of these, I understand why Six Flags cloned so many of them. It's still one of the best B&M inverts around.

 

Tatsu--This is a excellent B&M flyer in a great location, but it's a one-and-done for me, thanks to the intensity of the pretzel loop.

 

Riddler's Revenge--Not a big fan of standups, but this one is very good with it's twisty, tricky layout.

 

Superman: The Escape--Yes, it's a one-trick pony, but it's still a pretty damn good trick. I was amazed at how loud this thing is (like a jumbo jet taking off).

 

Viper--This is my second favorite of the old, twisty Arrow rides (Tennessee Tornado is the best one). Kind of rough, but quite bearable.

 

Colossus--SFMM raced both sides during ERT, which was a definite plus. Overall, this is a decent ride, but it has seen better days.

 

Revolution--A once great ride that is but a shadow of its former self. Rough and painful.

 

Gold Rusher--This ride's motto should be "Banked turns are for wussies." The layout of this old Arrow minetrain is rather "eccentric," and it will slam you around quite a bit.

 

I didn't get around to riding Scream, but I have been on it before. Ninja was down for rehab, and I skipped Deja Vu, as well.

 

SFMM provided a very informative Q&A session, too. Guests submitted questions on slips of paper during lunch, and Jay Thomas and his group answered each one of them. Considering the source of those queries, that took guts.

 

Once again, my thanks to the management and staff at Six Flags Magic Mountain for being such excellent hosts, and to Robb, Elissa, and Chris (Rideworld) for working so hard to make this event happen.

 

And to think it's only half over . . .

 

Here's a look at WCB's first day.

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Before we amble over to SFMM, I'd like to wish Kristin "Happy Birthday" once again.

 

"I am the Birthday Queen!"

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I'm glad Russ survived the birthday party, as well.

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Hmm--looks like the sun is just barely up.

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Yay! Nerdledee and Nerdledum followed us to Six Flags!

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Step right up, folks!

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If you weren't a sexy beast before, you will be now in one of these uber hot WCB shirts!

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They're already having an effect on Cameron.

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"Hmm . . . let's see . . . last name 'Butts,' first and middle names 'Ineeda Seymour' . . . Yes Inneda Seymour . . . hey, wait a minute!"

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"Yes, not only have we removed the OTSRs from Revolution, but we're going to strap you into Tatsu using only twine and chewing gum!"

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Can you hear the bulls snorting? Well, . . .

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. . . let the running of the bulls begin!

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What to do, what to do?

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I know! Let's ask the degrading stereotype mouse!

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Viper first? Well, why not? I have a bottle of Advil with me.

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This part is actually pretty good.

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This part, not so much. Still, it's not a bad ride, overall.

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Next up, the biggest, most pleasant surprise of the day for me.

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Wasn't sure I'd like this one after the "rolling-in-a-trash-can" experience at Fuji-Q.

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But X2 was a great coaster, even if I'm not sure I could stand more than two rides a day on it.

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Nothing beats coasters and dounts.

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I think it's good that Six Flags has an "official sausage." I mean, without the "official" stamp, vendors would be free to sell bootleg sausages. And who wants that?

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OK,now that we're fortified with those donuts . . .

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Hey, how's that crueller sittin' for ya?

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"Oh, god! I never should've ate that pink one! But it looked so cute!"

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That's not what I would call a "donut-friendly" layout.

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This ride is personally approved by the Govanator.

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"Ah, a designated smoking area. I think I'll sit down, light up, and casually toss the still-burning match over my shoulder."

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OK, who's got the remote? I'm gettin' sick of this channel.

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I always do what Indians on TV tell me to do. So, I will stand by.

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Aghh! A prototype Schwarzenegger!

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"I'll be back! As vill you, to watch zee preshow again!"

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Take the . . . OK, you've heard this one before.

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My god! Skynet has opened some sort of interdimensional vortex! These poor souls are being sucked into an alternative future! A future without donuts! More to come.

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More from WCB at SFMM.

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Everybody's little shutter fingers were a'twitchin' for the backstage tour.

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Deja Vu. It's a ride and a lawn ornament. I do like the colors.

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Behold the magical pile of dirt that will become . . .

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. . . Mr. Six's Dance Coaster!

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Most people would be bummed about being left in the back of the park. But Buddha is probably OK with it, being, well, "Buddha" and all.

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He probably doesn't mind the compost pile, either.

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"You can't skip the preshow! Everybody has to watch the preshow!"

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"Oh, the sun is very bright and warm, I must say."

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Sheesh, look at all those geeks wearing the same shirt . . . oh, wait. Never mind.

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Excuse me little boats, but you're supposed to be in the water.

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OK, can anyone tell me what the heck this stuff is?

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"What's this? The Riddler back in Gotham City?"

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"Riddle me this, Dynamic Dunderheads! How is a raven like a writing desk?"

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"Holy conundrum, Batman! There's no answer to that one!"

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"Crap! You're right, Boy Wonder! Another brillant criminal scheme down the tubes!"

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"And thus we see the erratic nature of the criminal mind, Robin."

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"Well, since that riddle was too hard for us, here's another: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?"

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"Unclear. Do you mean to replace the bulb, or to have sex in it?"

 

"Damn you, Batman!"

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"Ya know, even warriors from the planet Zarkon need to take a leak sometimes. How about a little privacy, OK?"

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Any park can have "peligro." But only SFMM has "peligro extremo!"

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"When last we saw the Dynamic Duo, they were hurtling toward the Riddler's 'Tree of Death'! For you, an entire day has passed. For them, only a few moments! But wait! The worst is yet to come!"

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Vertical water is the best kind of water.

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Thanks for the walk, Six Flags--we all enjoyed it.

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Hey, I have a great idea! Let's walk up Samurai Summit and ride Superman: The Escape!

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Yes, it's quite a trudge--but it'll be worth it!

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"Your efforts are about to be rewarded, citizens! Soon, you will soar with me, the Man of Steel!"

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At last! The Fortress of Solitude! I hope Superman has an air-hockey table.

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Jo loves holding sweatshirts and bags for coaster nerds.

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Oh, boy--almost there!

 

"Ladies and gentlemen. We are experiencing technical difficulties."

 

D'oh!

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Wait a minute! You mean, we could've ridden up this freakin' hill?

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"I feel so ashamed and used."

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Well, there's always lunch to pick up our spirits--and nighttime ERT!

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OK, which line for the crappy, mediocre food?

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"I'm just s-o-o-o-o dead sexy!"

 

The woman behind you begs to differ.

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Hey, the sign was right and true! The BBQ beef is pretty good!

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This reminds me of what animator Chuck Jones once said: "Bugs Bunny is who we aspire to be. Daffy Duck is who we are." More to come from SFMM tomorrow. It's getting late.

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When last we saw our intrepid little crew at West Coast Bash, they were just finishing lunch at Six Flags Magic Mountain--little knowing what lay in store!

 

Once again, I'd like to thank Magic Mountain's staff and management team for being such great hosts that day.

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Hey, I got another great idea! Let's ride "Oliati" after lunch.

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So, we ambled through Oliati's long, rambling queue, which is quite attractive. But there was still an hour wait. So, we decided to hit this one during ERT.

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But we did learn some interesting facts. Did you know that Oliati wore size 45, double-E sandals? Now you do.

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Yep--that's a lotta cement. You could mend a whole mess of driveways with all that cement.

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"Hi there! Remember me from DCA? Well, I've still gotta buttload of berries and the urge to dump! You've been warned!"

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Time for excusrion #5! We meet at the appointed place.

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We weren't allowed to take any pictures in the cycle shop, but the tour was very interesting, and our guide obviously loves his job. Thank you very much!

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Time for a little Sky Tower love. Hi Tatsu!

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This is my favorite geeky coaster pic of the day. I had no idea that a Viper train had sneaked into my shot until I got home and loaded this onto my computer.

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"Yo, Angus."

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"Yo, Syl. Ever catch that little yellow bird, loser?"

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Back in the old days, Magic Mountain's coasters were fitted with cushions from New Orleans brothels.

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Matt, Ninja is very embarrassed and very sorry that it was down for rehab during your visit. Please accept its most sincere apology.

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The Troll, however, was talking smack behind your back. He's askin' for a butt kickin'.

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Oh my god! Charo is coming!

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"I'm gonna find the theatre where Charo is singin' tonight on this map. I could go for some of that 'hootchie-kootchie-kootchie' action!"

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Looks like this person has had too much of a "Six Flags Day."

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Q&A sessions make Matt jump for joy!

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"Yes. I-too-am-looking-forward-to-the-Q-&-A-session."

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"Hey, kids! Have enough 'Six Flags Days,' and you'll look as sexy as me!"

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Matt looks like he belongs on that float.

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Again, I have learned so much st SFMM. Who would've thought that oxygen was "exhilarating"?

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One last backstage tour--this time, at X2.

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Looking up X2's skirt! I'm so naughty, I'm so naughty!

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Yep. Those are some mighty big wheels. As I recall, they're part of the seat-rotation system.

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This train is taking some time off. No doubt, it has earned it.

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Yeah, the new color scheme is much better. It's hard to take a pink coaster seriously.

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Hmm--getting closer to nighttime ERT!

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"Hey, little boy! Come and ride the carousel with the nice man!"

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"Can I ride the carousel with the nice man? Can I, can I, can I?"

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Cameron works that pole. Jo and Holden are quite intrigued.

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"He tasks me! He tasks me, and I shall have him!"

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Superman ran quite well during ERT. You could hear that sucker roar all night from all over the park.

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Now this is what ERT is all about. Gotcha, Oliati!

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Sigh! The first day of WCB is just about over.

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May as well go out with FIRE! Thanks again, Six Flags--and Robb and Elissa! What a great day!

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Awesome TR Chuck. I LOVE your captions!

 

Advice on X2 (next time you ride): The inner seat rattles far less than the outter seat. I've had my best (smoothest) rides in the second to last row of the train, and generally the back seems to be a better ride than the front. Also, I think the left side delivers a more interesting ride, in my opinion.

 

-Mr. Bebe

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