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AJ's 2011 Summer Adventures-Now With TPR's North East Trip

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Last year, I did a trip report covering everywhere I went over the summer, due to the large number of parks I was visiting. This year, I plan to do the same once again. This summer, I am planning to visit a large number of parks, many of which I have never been to. In addition, as I am going to St. Louis and doing stuff around the city, I'll post pictures from that.


Here is my schedule for this summer.


June 14th, 2011: Knott's Berry Farm (no trip report)

June 23rd, 2011: Legoland California (below)

July 23rd: Six Flags Magic Mountain (scroll down)

July 23rd-July 28th, 2011: St. Louis Trip

-July 23rd: Arrival, Budweiser Factory Tour, City Museum (further down)

-July 24th: Six Flags St. Louis (below that)

-July 25th: Gateway Arch, St. Louis Segway Tour, Cardinals Game (below Six Flags)

-July 26th: St. Louis Zoo and the drive to Santa Claus (even further down)

-July 27th: Holiday World (bottom of page)

-July 28th: Return drive and onward to Newark (very bottom of page)

July 29th-August 5th, 2011: TPR North East Trip

-July 29th: Quassy Amusement Park and Lake Compounce (Page 2)

-July 30th: Bizarro Bash at Six Flags New England (Page 2)

-July 31st: Palace Playland and Funtown Splashtown U.S.A. (Page 2)

-August 1st: Canobie Lake Park (Page 2)

-August 2nd: La Ronde (Page 2)

-August 3rd: Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom (Page 3)

-August 4th: Six Flags Great Adventure (Page 3)

-August 5th: Departure Day (Page 3)

August 17th: Universal Studios Hollywood (mini-report page 3)

September 11th: Wild Rivers Waterpark (mini-report page 3)

September 13th: Knott's Berry Farm (2nd visit) (mini-report page 3)


For those who have read some of my previous trip reports, you may remember that they are primarily text-based with some pictures. This year, I plan to have the same text-based reviews of all the rides, but will have a larger number of pictures and even some videos. Before I begin, I might as well post my rating scale as well, which will be used throughout all these reports. It is mostly based on the American school grading system.


A-One of the best rides I've been on (at least of its type), or one of the most unique. It may also be the best ride at a particular park. These rides are generally what I consider the absolute must-ride attractions.

B-A really good ride that I'd be willing to wait an hour for and would hate to miss, but would do so to get all the A rides in.

C-Decent ride, but not worth an extended wait time (greater than 15-20 minutes).

D-Not very good, and only worth riding if there isn't really a wait.

F+-I don't care to ride it again, but would do so if I was with someone else who wanted to ride.

F-I've done it once and don't care to ever do it again. I very rarely give an attraction this rating. When I do, it is usually because the ride is painful, not because it is simply boring. These are the only rides I would not be willing to try again, even if I was visiting with someone else who had never been on it.


Okay, time to begin.


June 23rd, 2011-Legoland California


In late May, I found out that my cousins from Northern California were going to be visiting for a week at the end of June. Usually, when they visit, we take them to one of the local parks, as they don't care for any of the parks in Northern California (since we last visited them up there in 2008, they have been to SFDK once and none of the other three at all). Last time they visited, we had taken them to the Disneyland Resort, but that was in the fall when the park was less crowded. I asked them if they would be interested in visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, as they had shown interest in that park before, but they both declined. When I asked them if there were any parks around here they wanted to visit, they replied with Legoland California. This surprised me, as one is middle-school age and the other is in high-school, but since I hadn't been to the park in a couple years I agreed.


On Thursday, June 23rd, 2011, we left my grandmother's house in Costa Mesa slightly before 9 A.M. and headed down to the park. We got there to find a moderate line at the parking booths, but a relatively short line at the ticket booths. After purchasing our tickets, we headed inside, turned right, and headed to the Imagination Zone for our first ride of the day: Technic Coaster. All ride reviews are in the order we rode them.


Technic Coaster-Out of Legoland California's three roller coasters, this one is probably my favorite. It is just a Wild Mouse, but it is a good wild mouse, and Legoland isn't about coasters anyway. It has a large drop right at the beginning, which is easily the best part of the ride. After that, it is pretty much a normal mouse, however. C


Dragon-I don't know why, but I didn't enjoy this ride as much as I used to. It is just a junior coaster, but it is probably my least favorite coaster at the park (as a coaster). The dark ride portion at the beginning is kind of neat, but since the park now has an actual dark ride it is no longer as unique as it used to be. In addition, I've been on some other dark ride/coaster hybrids that are better. The ride isn't bad, it just isn't really anything special anymore. Fortunately, it is one of the few rides at Legoland with decent capacity. D for the coaster part, C for the ride overall.


Treasure Falls-This is the park's log flume, which I had never actually gone on before (it was always closed). Since it was running, we decided to ride. It is very small, probably not more than fifteen feet tall, and it has miniature logs that only seat two people (or three kids). Needless to say, this is my least favorite log flume, and is so pathetically small that I doubt kids are that into it either. The line crawls due to only having four logs, and the logs themselves are very uncomfortable. The only miniscule positive of the ride is that it is a Jeff Johnson credit, as the logs coast from the top of the lift all the way around the turn to the drop (although they are stopped before the plunge). This is also the only block-sectioned log flume I have been on. F+


After Treasure Falls, it was about 11:30. We decided to get lunch early to avoid the crowds. I got a hot dog, while everyone else decided to go down the hill and get pizza. After I ate, I walked around the park for a bit and took some pictures, then headed down to Explorer Village to meet them outside of our next ride.


Fairy Tale Brook-This ride is technically a boat ride, but is better described as an outdoor dark ride. Riders float past scenes from classic fairy tales, all depicted with Lego models. Unfortunately, some of the displays seem to be wearing out and are not functioning correctly. I remember all of the displays having some type of motion in the past, but this time at least a third of them were static. Nevertheless, it is still a decent ride, and it almost never has a line due to its location and somewhat decent capacity. C


Aquazone Wave Racers-Best described as a water whip, this is probably my favorite water-based attraction anywhere if you exclude flume rides. You stand on a jet ski and steer it, attempting to avoid the water blasters that can be fired at riders for free. Since it was a bit cold on the day we were there, the line was pretty short for this even though you don't get that wet (I took two direct water bombs and got off drier than I was after the log flume). B


Bionicle Blaster-A subpar teacup ride that is very difficult to spin. As a result, I almost never go on this. We only rode because there was no line. F+


Coast Cruise-Probably the most relaxing ride at the park, this ride is a boat tour of the lake. It allows you to get a unique perspective of some of the Miniland sets, including some that aren't easy to see from the walkways. It isn't that long, however, and most of the same sights can be seen from the walkways. C


Miniland-This is the absolute best Walk Through attraction I have seen anywhere. Famous cities and landmarks from all over the United States (and a few international ones), all created out of Lego bricks. It is amazing how detailed some of these displays are. Many have moving vehicles and guest-activated elements, which are fun to watch. New since I last visited was Star Wars Miniland. I have to admit that while I am a Star Wars fan and the area looked nice, it was not quite as impressive as most of the real world structures. I took a lot of photos of Miniland, most of which are posted below. A


Fun Town Fire Academy-This is one of the most interactive attractions I have ever seen. To save a lengthy, detailed explanation, I'll just post a video at the appropriate place within the photos. It is really a lot of fun, but I dislike the police academy theming that has been added since last time I rode. Police don't capture robbers by shooting fire hoses at them. This is only a minor complaint, and doesn't affect the ride, so I'm not going to let it affect my rating. B


After Fun Town Fire Academy, the younger of my cousins wanted to do Driving School (which is probably one of, if not the best, attractions at Legoland, at least for kids). She is the only one in our group that is young enough to ride, and since this was the last time she would get a chance, I agreed. My sister decided that she would wait with her, and I told them to call us when they were done. Meanwhile, my other cousin, my brother, and I went and rode Legoland's one true thrill ride.


Knights' Tournament-This is one of those KUKA robotic arm rides. There are five intensity settings, and riders pick whichever one they want. I have personally experienced levels 2-5 (1 is pathetic), and level 4 is my favorite. Five just gets me sick as I can handle inversions, but not being held in an inverted position (which five does several times) and the lower levels are less exciting (although three isn't bad). There is a video below of my brother and cousin taking on level five, so you can look at that to see how intense this attraction can get. I really like this ride, but unfortunately it throws you around a bit and isn't the most comfortable ride. B


After we got off the ride, I got a call from my sister. They arrived and wanted to ride as well, so we were forced to wait in the half-hour line a second time. This time, my sister did level five solo, my brother and one cousin did level four, and I did level two with my other cousin (I was unsuccessful in trying to get her to try level three). Once we were done, we headed down to the Land of Adventure, as one of my cousins hadn't been to the park since it opened.


Dune Raiders-One of those sack slides that had been added since my last visit. It wasn't that large, and was quite bumpy, but at least you went somewhat fast. There were also a pair of spiral slides but I don't know what they were for as I never saw a single person ride those. C


Lost Kingdom Adventure-A pretty good shooting dark ride. I enjoyed this, and ended up with the highest score of my ride vehicle (and third out of the five of us). Surprisingly, the cousin that hadn't rode this before got the highest score. With the exception of Disney's shooters, this is probably my favorite shooting dark ride, and is way better than the Ghostblasters rides. However, it seems like they either run too many cars or load too slowly, as the car stopped a couple times toward the end of the ride due to the station being full. B


After Lost Kingdom Adventure, everyone except me decided to take a second spin on Bionicle Blaster, then we stopped for a snack. Here, we made a list of what everyone still wanted to do in the hour and a half that remained. I asked each person to pick one ride they wanted to do again, or one ride that we hadn't done yet, and we set out to do them. Our first stop was in Fun Town, where my sister had chosen Kid Power Tower. I stayed off as I didn't want to delay the line (only four people over twelve can ride at a time), although I do really like the ride (I'd give it a B based on my last experience). We then went to one of my cousin's picks.


Adventurers' Club-This is an entertaining walkthrough, but I'm kind of getting bored by it. The objective is to find seven hidden Lego keys in the three rooms (a jungle, an Egyptian tomb, and an arctic wasteland) but as I know where they all are it isn't as cool as it used to be. Nevertheless, it is an okay time waster, especially if you are with people who haven't done it as much as you have. C


Skipper School-This was my choice. It is my least favorite of Legoland's six water rides, but it is still a good ride. There aren't many attractions where you get to drive a boat through an obstacle course, which makes this ride unique. Unfortunately, the line is one of the slowest I've experienced, so even though there were only about twenty people in front of us it took fifteen minutes. C


We then headed to my brother's choice: Knights' Tournament. Unfortunately, it still had a half-hour wait and nobody else wanted to ride, so he decided he'd pick something else. We went to my other cousin's choice, Dragon (her favorite coaster excluding wild mice), and rode it again. We then went to my brother's alternate choice: Technic Coaster. Unfortunately, this ride still had a half hour wait as well. Even though I was willing to wait with him, he decided to just skip it. I then gave everyone twenty minutes for shopping. They only needed half that time, so we headed out just before closing at 6 P.M. We drove through a Carls Jr. on the way home, then headed back to my grandparents' house.


Overall, I enjoyed my visit. Legoland California is one of the more unique parks I've been to, and is a park I try to go to once every couple years or so. Most people think of it as a kids park, and although it is certainly geared toward the elementary and middle school aged crowd, it isn't exclusively for them. Adults can still have a fun time as long as they go with the knowledge that the park isn't about thrill rides. In fact, this is probably the least thrill-based major park in the United States.


There are two main faults Legoland has, however. The first is the admission price. In my honest opinion, the park is not worth $69. On most days, when the crowd isn't outrageous, it is possible to do everything in about two-thirds of a day. The park doesn't have a large number of attractions, and only about two-thirds of those are even rides. I personally feel an admission price more in the $40-$50 range would be more appropriate. The second major fault is the low capacity rides. With the exception of Dragon, Coast Cruise, and possibly Fairy Tale Brook, I doubt any of the rides can manage much more than 400 people per hour. This is not a fault of slow operators, but is inherent to the ride design. In some cases, this can't be helped, but for some rides it would have been nice if they could have found some way to install a higher capacity model. Oh well, what they have is enough to deal with the typical crowds the park gets. I have only seen lines greater than a half hour for a few of the park's worst capacity offenders, and 45+ minute waits only seem to exist on one or two rides.


Ride Count


Technic Coaster-1


Treasure Falls-1

Fairy Tale Brook-1

Aquazone Wave Racers-1

Bionicle Blaster-1

Coast Cruise-1


Fun Town Fire Academy-1

Knights' Tournament-2

Dune Raiders-1

Lost Kingdom Adventure-1

Adventurers' Club-1

Skipper School-1


Total-16 rides in 8 hours (2 rides per hour)





We're here, and it's time for the first ride of the day.


This is the best part of the ride.


The rest of the ride is more or less standard.


This was the line when we got here. It took about a half hour. When we got off, the line was over an hour. I think a lot of people run to this ride first thing, and the station set-up doesn't work if they don't run enough cars (they had six going, and the line wasn't going very fast).


Time for another coaster. This one is too hidden by trees to get a good picture of, but imagine the larger Vekoma Junior Coaster design with a dark ride portion added at the beginning and you've got a pretty good idea.


Time for Pirate Shores. This is Soak 'n Sail, also known as the drowning factory. It wasn't too popular today.


The old style Splash Battle. Didn't ride this since it was right about 70 and cloudy the whole day, plus the guns don't work very well. You can be hit by people on the shore, but you can't hit them back.


Captain Cranky's Challenge, the only ride in Pirate Shores that doesn't involve water.


Finally, Treasure Falls. As far as log flumes go, this is like the credit whore log flume for sad and pathetic people. In fact...


Here are the two who convinced us all to ride. My brother (Gemstone on TPR) is in front and one of my cousins is behind him. Fortunately, the line was less than fifteen minutes, or I would have been quite irritated.


This is new since the last time I visited. I skipped it not because it was cold, but more because I don't think a raft slide, three small body slides and a lazy river is worth extra.


Washington DC? That can only mean one thing...It is time for a tour of Miniland.


New York, the largest of the Miniland creations.


I will be at the real place in about a month (well, actually slightly outside it, but close enough).


That's either a really big boat or a really small city.


Some of Legoland's sponsers are advertised in Legos.


Video game fans: what do you think will be the successor to the XBOX 360? Whatever it is, it better not have the red ring of death issue.


Legoland Truck.


If Miniland was supposed to be in real time, they would have had to let someome run amok here after Hurricane Katrina to bring it up to date.


I don't know exactly what this is supposed to be. If I ever go to New Orleans, I'm sure I'll find out.


I like watching all the boats moving about in the Miniland Harbor.


The land vehicles are controlled by magnets, but the water vehicles are just attached to underwater cables. If you look closely, you can see them in this picture.


Even though its a kid-focused park, the model builders still decided to recreate Sin City.


This is the hotel my brother wants to stay at when he goes for his 21st birthday.


Too bad the volcano isn't interactive. Legoland could use a little fire.


I'm pretty sure Legoland has the two closest Eiffel Towers in the world. This one is for the Paris hotel, and there is another one just across the lake.


This hotel looks just as impressive in Lego form as it does in real life.


Legoland's master builders appear to have made an improvement.


This is the only hotel I've stayed at in Las Vegas. I guess that's what happens when my trips are always done as cheaply as possible.


If Transformers ever decide to destroy Las Vegas, they better not destry this. If they do, it will be just like Revenge of the Fallen.


When I went and saw the real thing a few weeks ago, I had no idea I would be seeing the Lego version in the same month.


Since this is where my cousins live, they enjoyed seeing it. However, it appears that there is something unusual going on here.


San Francisco is being attacked by giants! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!


It is now time to journey to a galaxy far, far away.


Cue John Williams's famous Star Wars theme.


First stop...Naboo, as seen in the Phantom Menace. I wasn't a huge fan of this recreation.


This movie would have been much better if the gungans lost, or at least if Jar Jar Binks died.


Next up...Geonosis, from Attack of the Clones. This was one of the better areas.


"The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the clone wars have."-Yoda


The Clone Wars movie was pretty bad, but somehow it ended up with what is probably my favorite set: Christophsis.


Revenge of the Sith was the best of the prequel trilogy, so for that not-so-remarkable achievement it gets two planets. The first is Kashyyyk, home of the wookies.


The second is Mustafar. Or is it Mordor? I don't know, both look pretty similar on screen.


If there is one thing that is definitely better in the prequel trilogy than in the original trilogy, it is the lightsaber duels. Akakin Vs. Obi-Wan is probably one of the top ten swordfights in any movie I've seen.


From A New Hope, we get Tattooine. This is arguably the most important planet in the Star Wars galaxy and I'm glad that they did a good job with it.


From The Empire Stikes Back, we have Hoth. I was a little disappointed by this choice, as Hoth is probably my least favorite planet in the Star Wars galaxy. I would have much preferred Bespin.


Finally, from Return of the Jedi, there is Endor. This one is pretty well hidden, and even though I knew it was there I almost missed it.


Some random imperial speaks with he-who-must-not-be-named...oh, wait, wrong series. Please, Lord Vader, don't force grip me!


Now that we are done with Miniland, it is time for a tour of the remainder of the park. First, let's take a look at the park's dinosaur problem.


These guys are everywhere. Some appear to be helpful, while others are just goofing around.


Skipped Coastersaurus, even though I like it, because it was a 30-60 minute wait all day and nobody else wanted to ride.


This is where you can learn to drive and get a Legoland Drivers License if you are between 6 and 13.


For those between 3 and 5, they can drive here for practice. I don't know if they get a license too, as I was never young enough to do this one.


Up on top of Fun Town Hill, they have this ride.


The ride attendant said the record for most ascents/descents in one cycle was 3.75, but my brother claims he got 4.


This ride is also on top of the hill.


I've heard this attraction called various names, but the best description is "the pedal-powered ride."


At most parks, if you see a line that is only this long you are pretty happy. Here, however...


No way is it worth that! Earlier in the day, this sign said 120 minutes.


More random dinosaurs. I wonder who would win: the dinosaurs or the dragons?


Fun Town Fire Academy! This sign tells you what to do, however I doubt you can read that. Just watch the video to see how this ride works.



Skipper School. It is the aquatic equivalent to Driving School.


This course is surprisingly challenging. I see a lot of people get turned around backward in here. It used to be harder, but most of the obstacles have been removed.


Time for Legoland's one true thrill ride.


Choose thy destiny wisely, for none enjoy a protien spill.


"Grrr! I am the Knights' Tournament dragon. My older brother kicked me out of the castle up there, and now I have to stand guard over a plastic chest and make sure nobody breaks the rules of this ride."


From here, it doesn't look so bad. However, everyone in this picture has chosen destiny one or two.


These people are going a little more intense, but you can't capture the true insanity of this ride in a picture.



"Hey, you! Yes, you back there with the camera. If I catch you taking an on-ride video, I'll eat you."


The brand new Dune Raiders (well, I think it's actually a year or two old, but it was new for me).


It wasn't that good.


I've never gone on this, but it looks somewhat pointless.


Dueling Frog Hoppers! KidTums must really enjoy this part of the park.


Aquazone! I remember when this ride opened and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Of course, I was nine at that point and wouldn't ride any coaster larger than Knott's Jaguar.


Now for the last ride featured in this trip report: Bionicle Blaster.


As you can see, it is just a teacup ride. A very mediocre teacup ride.


And to end, a picture of my group enjoying themselves on Bionicle Blaster. One of my cousins is on the left, my brother has the gray jacket on, my other cousin is next to him, and my sister is barely visible behind the poll. I am not visible at all and am instead behind the camera.

Edited by rcdude
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^The large scale city models in Miniland are pretty much what I showed in this report: New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, as well as the Star Wars and New England harbor areas. There used to be a Daytona Beach area, but it was removed to make way for the Star Wars section. There are also a few other stand-alone models that are a little separate from the cities. I know there was the Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, and Mount Rushmore. There may have been more, but I don't remember. These models are best viewed from the Coast Cruise ride instead of the walkway.


There is a lot to Miniland, and that is why it is one of the best attractions at Legoland. You could easily spend twenty minutes examining each city closely and finding all kinds of hidden details. Additionally, it doesn't have a line, so it is great during the middle of the day.

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July 13th, 2011-Six Flags Magic Mountain


This was a long delayed visit to the park. As a general rule, I try to avoid visiting Six Flags Magic Mountain during the summer because it is too crowded and there are way too many line jumpers (worst park for line jumping that I have been to, even worse than Knott's). However, this year I decided to make an exception due to the opening of Green Lantern: First Flight. Originally, the ride was going to open Memorial Day, so I planned to visit in early June before all the schools were out for the summer. Of course, the ride got delayed, so I rescheduled my visit for the first week after it opened. As everybody knows, the ride was delayed all the way until July 1st, and this required me to push my visit until mid-July, as there was the only time I could visit before I leave for my trip.


In an attempt to get to the park early and experience Green Lantern with a short wait, I left home at about 8 A.M. For this trip, my brother and sister came too, along with one of my sister's friends (who had never been to the park). There was a little delay due to traffic, but I still managed to get to the park early and be in line at the gate just after 10. For whatever reason, however, the entrance plaza was already about three-quarters full. A half-hour later, the gates opened and we headed directly to Green Lantern, along with about a third of the crowd. When we got there, we found the wait was a little over 30 minutes, which I figure isn't bad for a new ride.


Since I have done other SFMM trip reports, I am not going to review every single ride, only the ones that are new or have changed rankings since my last vist. I also did not take any pictures as this is one of the best documented parks.


Green Lantern: First Flight-This is a very unusual ride. It is very different from anything else I have ever ridden, and is certainly a lot better than it appears. On my ride, I only got one flip, but I still thought the ride was very good. Under ideal conditions, I think Green Lantern would be my favorite coaster in the park, but for now I am going to rank it as simply as a top tier coaster (see below for my rankings). A


However, as much as I like Green Lantern, there are a few things I would like to see changed with the attraction. First, the ride has a decently themed indoor queue. However, they hold the line outside and only let a small number of people inside. This means that when you go inside, you have to walk right past all the theming and the movie without really paying much attention to it. I would much prefer it if the park would have the line inside instead of outside, both so you can appreciate the theming and so you aren't waiting in the heat and sun. Second, the seats on the ride vehicles are really high in the station. I am almost six feet tall, and I had difficulty climbing up onto them. Perhaps the park could consider adding a small step that raises about six inches for loading and drops before the ride is dispatched. It wouldn't need to be very large, and would help a lot. Finally, I don't know how much of a capacity boost (if any) there is with running five cars instead of just four. However, the loading takes so long that every single car stopped on the midcourse brakes and sat there for a bit. This really interrupted the ride, and if there really isn't a capacity difference between four and five cars I would prefer it if the ride was run with only four.


Overall, however, Green Lantern is a decent addition, but it is just a super low capacity ride. Unlike other rides, which often get shorter waits as they age, I don't think the line for this will ever be short. Every other coaster in the park (except possibly Road Runner Express and Deja Vu) gets better capacity than this (even Superman with one track), so if you want to ride it go there first or be prepared for an hour or more wait.


After Green Lantern, we headed to Apocalypse. Unfortunately, it was closed and hadn't opened yet. We noticed that Deja Vu was running, however, and rode that with a minimal wait. Still a solid B ride, and much, much, much better than a normal Boomerang. We then noticed that Tatsu was open (it was listed as closed at the entrance), but decided not to ride since it looked to have a long wait. This was a mistake. We went up to the top of Samurai Summit and rode Ninja next.


Ninja-I don't know what it is, but my opinion of this ride seems to change every time I visit the park. Sometimes, it seems like a good ride, and other times it is "just okay." Today was one of those "just okay" days. It wasn't bad, and was still better than the other suspended I've been on (Iron Dragon), but I just don't think it's worth more than a three train wait. D


We tried for Superman: Escape From Krypton next, but since my sister's friend didn't want to ride and the line was out of the building with one track running (probably at least an hour) we skipped it and went for lunch. After lunch, we did Riddler's Revenge (still the best stand up...A), Batman The Ride (still my least favorite Inverted Coaster...C), Colossus (good but not great...C), Scream (undervalued...B) and were going to do Goliath but it was broken. My sister and her friend then wanted to go off on their own for a bit, so they did, and headed off toward Viper. My brother and I instead headed toward the other new for 2011 coaster, as we needed the credit.


Road Runner Express-This is the third Vekoma Junior coaster I've been on with the same layout, and it is probably my favorite of the three. It doesn't have as nice of theming as Gadget's Go Coaster, and it only does one lap, but fortunately the line wasn't too bad. Unfortunately, due to the extra slow loading procedure it took quite a while. For whatever reason, the station is one sided, so everyone has to get off, and the operator has to close the exit gate and open the entrance gate. He then lets people in until all the cars are filled, then everyone buckles the seatbelt and those are checked, then the lapbars are locked and those are checked, then the train is dispatched. The whole process probably takes 2-3 minutes. Also, they have boarding aisles even though nobody is allowed on the station while the ride is operating. I found these kind of random. One other note...the seatbelt is so short there is no way two adults can ride together. If two people are in the same car, one would have to be elementary-school aged or less. D


By the time we finished this ride, Goliath was running so we headed over there and got on with a short wait. It is still a really good ride, and in my opinion, better than it is given credit for. A. We then rode Log Jammer.


Log Jammer-With the recent rumor of this ride's upcoming removal, I wanted to be sure to ride it in case I didn't get another chance. This is a good log flume, but I don't think it is anything spectacular. It also is a bit too wet for my tastes. If it is removed, I'd be fine with that, but only if something better replaces it. If not, I look forward to enjoying it in the future until its time comes. C


We then rode Revolution, which would be so much better if it had more comfortable restraints (in its current configuration, C) and checked the lines for Tatsu and Apocalypse. Tatsu was approximately 90 minutes and Apocalypse was nearly two hours, so we skipped both and did Jetstream. Slightly better than Log Jammer, at least in my opinion, but still only a C. I also got wetter than I expected on that ride. We then checked Gold Rusher, but since there was one train opted out...checked Superman, and found that the line had grown, so we passed...rode the Orient Express down the hill and checked X...75 minute wait...then I got called by my sister and we met up with them. I told them that the park was crowded, and that we wouldn't be able to do all four of the major remaining coasters. Her and her friend said they wanted to get dinner, but I told them we should do something first to avoid the dinner rush. Her friend wanted to do Deja Vu a second time, but when we got there and found out it was a 45 minute wait we changed plans. They didn't want to wait in long lines, and I didn't want to remain idle until they got shorter, so we got a snack and waited for X2. I was glad to learn that the audio was back in action, and the ride felt smoother than it had been last time I rode. A. I then asked what everyone else wanted to do. My sister wanted to do Superman, but her friend said he was done for the day and just wanted dinner. My brother and I decided we did Superman enough at WCB, so we decided to just leave and get dinner at Wendy's before heading home. As a result, we got home significantly early, as we left the park at 7 P.M. instead of 9 like I had planned.


Six Flags Magic Mountain...not a place I like to visit in the summer. In about 9 hours, I got to do 14 rides. As a passholder, this isn't a big deal, but if you only have one day to visit and it has to be during the summer, you better invest in a Flash Pass or plan some rides to skip. There is no way you can do all of the park's coasters in one day anymore because there are just too many. It didn't help that a few were only running one train.


Speaking of Flash Pass, this system is really starting to annoy me. In general, I don't mind skip the line systems as long as they are fair. The regular and gold levels are what I consider fair when you merge into the line at the pick a row point. On the rides where you go up the exit and can pick any row, the system is what I consider unfair, because it can affect people who want to ride together. The platinum level is always unfair, because people get to ride twice. At Ninja, a group with a platinum Flash Pass messed up the groupings of at least six different parties, increasing their wait times by two trains or more. I've also seen people abuse the platinum pass when operators are not paying attention, riding more than twice or switching seats. I know that is partly the fault of the ride operators, but it just annoys me. I think it would be much better if, at least with the platinum pass, the operators waited until there were 20 or so riders, then put them all on the same train and didn't load any people from the regular line. I know it would reduce capacity, but it would also cut back on the annoyance level of the regular line. Finally, I think any ride that is operating at significantly reduced capacity (one train) or is a low capacity ride by default (theoretical below 1000 pph) should not have the flash pass as it lengthens the regular line too much. Now, this may be just me ranting, as I have never used the Flash Pass at SFMM (but have used Qbots elsewhere) and never will since I visit so often, but the people I talked to were getting pretty annoyed with it as well.


Okay, enough negativity. It was a decent day, just not as good as I was hoping. It's also too bad that my sister's friend, who has never been before and likely won't be back for years (his family only visits an amusement park about once every three years, and always Knott's or Disney), was unable to experience all of the park's best rides.


Finally, here is my current ranking of SFMM's coaster lineup (I've been on all operating coasters except Magic Flyer). A couple are placed at two spots because it depends on conditions.


Green Lantern: First Flight (predicted ideal ride)

Apocalypse (at night)



Green Lantern: First Flight (my one flip ride)


Apocalypse (during the day)

Riddler's Revenge


Deja Vu

Superman: Escape From Krypton

Batman The Ride




Road Runner Express


Gold Rusher

Canyon Blaster


That's it for this report, and that's probably all for a bit. Once I get back from my trip, I'll be adding at least one update per week until I am done.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Now that I am back from my trip and I'm fully recovered, it is time to start updating this thread once again. I want to have my trip report finished by the time I start school (Mid/Late September), so I'll be doing two or three days of the trip per week. First up is the St. Louis trip, which is not all park related (although there will be reports from Six Flags St. Louis and Holiday World) and following that will be the TPR North East Trip.


July 23ed, 2011-St. Louis Day 1: Arrival, Budweiser Factory Tour, and City Museum


My alarm went off at 4:00 A.M., much earlier than I wanted it to. The reason for this? We had a 7:15 A.M. flight out of LAX (about an hour from my house), and I needed to do my last minute check before we left. After ensuring that I had everything I would need for the next two weeks, I put my suitcase and backpack in the car, then waited until everyone (my brother, sister, and dad) was ready to leave. Shortly after 4:30 A.M., we were off.


The drive only took about 50 minutes, about what we were hoping. We parked, then got our luggage and waited for the shuttle. Fifteen minutes later, we were at Terminal 4. After passing through airport security, my brother and sister got Burger King for breakfast, then we all waited at our gate for the flight to depart. Due to construction, we were bussed out to a satellite gate to board the airplane, then we were on our way to St. Louis.


We got to St. Louis on time, made our way through the airport, then got on the shuttle to Budget rentals to retrieve our rental car. Everything went very smoothly. We went to a Wendy's for lunch, then went and looked at my Dad's Grandmother's house (I think that's the one it was). Following this, we headed to the Anheuser-Busch brewery to take the beer tour.


The tour was very interesting. It began with a trip to the Clydesdale stables, where we got to see the Busch Clydesdales. The stables are very elaborate, and if you didn’t know better they wouldn’t seem like horse stables at all. After this, we went into a number of different rooms, each the location of one of the steps of the brewing process, where we were told what happens at that point. There was also plenty of outdoor walking, giving time to take in the wonderful architecture of the brewery. All the buildings are made of brick, and there are a lot of little decorations that improve the aesthetics of the various buildings. The last stop on the tour is the bottling plant, which was unfortunately shut down when we were there. However, you could get a general idea of how the process worked. After this stop, you got on a bus to the hospitality house, where everyone of age was allowed two free beers (for others, like me, who were underage, soda was provided). Overall, the tour was decent, and I’m sure it would be better for those who have an interest in how beer is brewed. I thought it was interesting, but I wouldn’t have considered it a must-do attraction.


Following the tour, we went and checked into our hotel in downtown St. Louis. We unloaded the car and relaxed in the rooms for a bit, then headed out for dinner. After some searching, we decided to try a random pizza place that was actually fairly good. After dinner, we walked up the street to what would end up being one of my favorite things of the St. Louis trip: City Museum.


For those who do not know what City Museum is, here is a general picture. Although it is called a museum, it isn’t really much of one. Instead, it is basically a gigantic playground built inside and around an old shoe factory. The main indoor part consists of three stories with all kinds of tunnels, slides, and other random objects to entertain pretty much anyone. In addition, through the Enchanted Caves in the back of the museum is the Shoe Shaft, a ten story spiral slide that used to be used to transport shoes down from the upper levels to the lower ones. There are additional attractions on the roof (which is an upcharge) and outside next to the entrance of the museum, consisting of more slides, tunnels, and tubes. As I didn’t take any pictures of this place, I recommend checking out the trip report from TPR’s Middle America 2010 trip to see what this place actually looks like.


We began our visit on the first floor, checking out a few of the attractions down here such as the roller slide, the vertical slide, and the treehouse. However, after a short time we got tired of this section of the museum, as the first floor really doesn’t have that much to do. We headed into the Enchanted Caves and climbed up ten stories to the roof. Here, we played with the lethal rope swing (falling from this thing would hurt), then my brother and I decided to climb up to a cage above the top of the rope. It was quite a workout, but I’m glad I did it (even if it is only to say that I did). We all then headed outside, up to the highest point, to try the roof slide. This slide is really long, somewhat steep, and gets going pretty fast. We also took the time to check out some other attractions on the roof, such as the school bus, the water walk, and the giant ramp slide, among other things. After about 30-45 minutes, we had done everything on the roof except the Ferris Wheel (which is fairly normal and had close to a 30 minute wait), so we decided to head back inside.


Instead of walking down, we took the Shoe Shaft. It was about a 15 minute wait, but it was worth it. The slide wasn’t that fast, but it did seem to go on for a long time. It wasn’t my favorite slide in the place (I liked both the roof slide and the giant ramp slide better), but it was still unique and still fun. Once we all got down, we headed out to MonstroCity, the outdoor part of the City Museum.


This part of the museum was what we all decided was the sketchiest section. Metal tubes that you could crawl through were all over, some as much as fifty feet in the air. My dad, who doesn’t like heights, was barely able to make it through them, and my sister, who also doesn’t like heights, stayed closer to the ground. There were also several slides out here, including the dragon slide (which I got stuck in) and the quarter-pipe slide (which was more intense than I expected). When we were done out here, we took an ice cream break, then headed up to the third floor to see what was left. Most of the stuff here was more displays than anything else, but they were still cool to look at. We also checked out the Skateless Park, and found some tunnel/maze thing that continuously got smaller until you had to crawl to proceed. I didn’t make it all the way through, but my brother did (at least as far as he could go). We then decided to leave as the museum was progressively getting more crowded and we were all tired. We spent 3 hours at the City Museum, and I still don’t think I saw everything (especially since the 2nd floor was closed for a private party).


We headed back to the hotel, and watched TV for a little while before going to bed. Most of us had only gotten 4-5 hours of sleep the night before, and as the next day was Six Flags St. Louis, we all wanted to be well rested.


Due to my camera being packed in my luggage, I didn’t have it for the Brewery Tour. I also didn’t bring it to City Museum as I didn’t want to risk it getting damaged. However, I did take one picture on day one.


This was the view from our hotel room window in St. Louis. We were on the north end of downtown, overlooking the rest of it.

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July 24th, 2011-Six Flags St. Louis


Six Flags St. Louis was the one part of the St. Louis trip that was up in the air until about two months before the trip. At first, we weren't going to include it, but since my brother and I had Six Flags passes, there was a ClubTPR discount, and my dad wanted to go back after last visiting 30-something years ago (when Screamin' Eagle was new), we decided to include it. We then spent quite a bit of time deciding whether to devote all day Sunday to the park, or about two-thirds of Monday to it. In the end, we went with Sunday after I heard a few reports that the park typically wasn't too crowded either day, and figured that, worst case scenario, we would buy a Flash Pass.


We got to the park about 15 minutes before opening, parked, and walked to the gates just as they were doing the rope drop. There were a lot of people inside, but fortunately many of them were headed for the waterpark. We turned left and headed for American Thunder.


American Thunder-I am a huge fan of GCI coasters, and I had heard a lot of positive comments about American Thunder. While I did like the ride and thought it was pretty good, I personally feel that it is a tad overrated. Almost everyone agrees that Thunderhead is one of the top three GCI coasters in the US, but most say American Thunder is better than Apocalypse the Ride. I feel the other way around...I prefer Apocalypse. American Thunder was still definitely above average, but I just don't think it held its speed as well as some of the other rides do, which is what I really like about the twisters. That being said, the airtime hills were something different for a GCI and it was still a lot better than Roar at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. My favorite ride at Six Flags St. Louis, and still one of my top ten woodies. Also, like all GCIs I have ridden, I liked this one best in the back. B+


After American Thunder, we headed over to Mr. Freeze to see a line outside of the entrance. As we got closer, however, we realized it just wasn't open yet (in fact, it wasn’t even testing). Instead of waiting, we did another nearby attraction in the meantime.


Scooby Doo Ghostblasters and the Mystery of the Scary Swamp-All I knew about this ride was that it was a water-based shooting dark ride. It was actually quite fun. The ride didn’t seem like the best shooter out there, but it was certainly different and was pretty good theming-wise for Six Flags. I also did not know there was a mini-drop in the ride. Rode twice and it was fun both times. B


When we got off Scooby Doo Ghostblasters, we heard Mr. Freeze testing, so we decided to wait for it to open. They sent two additional test trains, then opened the ride. We ended up getting on the third or fourth train of the day.


Mr. Freeze-My favorite steel coaster at the park. The ride was really good, and quite unusual for a shuttle coaster. It reminded me a lot of the former Speed-The Ride in Las Vegas. Personally, I think Speed might have been a little better overall, but Mr. Freeze has one of the most interesting elements I have tried…the Top Hat. This was easily the best part of the ride, and gave quite a bit of hangtime at the top (especially toward the back of the train). Overall, Mr. Freeze is fun, intense, very smooth, and is certainly one of the best shuttle coasters currently operating. B


Pandemonium-I have now been on three different Pandemonium coasters and this one is my favorite. It is significantly better than the Discovery Kingdom model, and is slightly better than the one at New England as well. It didn’t spin as much as the Discovery Kingdom model does, but this ride has a better layout and is overall more fun. Not worth a huge wait, but not a waste of time either. C


We were going to head to Boss next since my brother really wanted to ride it, but unfortunately it was not open. After finding out that it would likely not be open until the afternoon, we headed to Screamin’ Eagle.


Screamin’ Eagle-For an older wooden coaster, this one is pretty good. It’s not that intense, but it does have a little bit of airtime, is reasonably smooth, and does provide a good ride. Unfortunately, this ended up being our longest wait of the day the second time we rode (nearly 30 minutes due to one-train operation). I enjoyed this ride, but probably wouldn’t wait too long to ride it again on a return visit. C


River King Mine Train-As far as mine trains go, this is not the best and is not the worst. We only waited about three trains for it, which is good because I probably wouldn’t have wanted to wait much longer. The ride is pretty slow and boring, and feels a bit disjointed as it meanders about. The drop into the tunnel at the end was the only exciting part on the ride, but even that wasn’t anything too special. Good for families, but not for coaster enthusiasts (of course, most mine trains are that way). D


At this point, we decided to stop for lunch. We went to the Mooseburger Lodge, which is very different from the one at Six Flags Magic Mountain (counter service as opposed to table service), but was still fine. Even though it was about normal lunchtime, the restaurant wasn’t very crowded. In fact, the whole park wasn’t too crowded. We were all surprised that lines were so short for a Sunday (as of this point, we hadn’t waited more than three trains for anything except Pandemonium, which was about a five minute wait), especially since Six Flags St. Louis is considered a major park.


After we were done with lunch, we spent a little while deciding what to do next. We didn’t want to do the two remaining coasters right after lunch, but we also didn’t want to sit around and wait for Boss to open. We ended up deciding to ride the train.


Tommy G. Robertson Railroad-Not much to say about this. It’s a simple train ride around the park. There are two stations (one in 1904 World’s Fair and the other in Bugs Bunny National Park), but they are somewhat pointless as they are very close together. C


While on the train, we noticed that the Boss was running with riders. After getting off at the Bugs Bunny National Park station, we headed over there.


Boss-When we were walking through the excessively long queue line for this ride, I was thinking, “This ride reminds me somewhat of GhostRider.” Before this trip, GhostRider was the only CCI woodie I had been on. After riding, I decided, “This ride is almost as good as GhostRider.” I like the Boss a lot, and think it has a better layout than GhostRider, and it isn’t too rough in general, but during the whole ride there is a heavy vibration that is carried through the not-so-comfortable trains. In addition, there are a couple really good jolts in the ride where anywhere except the front row (best seat) gets quite rattled. I probably liked this ride the least out of my group of four, and do think it is slightly overrated, but it certainly isn’t bad. I just wouldn’t want to wait excessively long for it. C+


At this point, we decided to rent a $1 locker to store our stuff for a couple hours while we did the water rides and a few other attractions. We headed to Pandemonium and rented there as those are the most centrally located.


Thunder River-I wasn’t so crazy about this one, and it might be my least favorite rapids ride. It did what a rapids ride needs to (got you pretty wet), but it wasn’t that interesting otherwise. Just a bunch of rapids with a tunnel and a couple waterfalls at the end. It was, however, quite fun passing other boats on the way back to the lift. Rode twice only because there wasn’t much of a line. D


Log Flume-Probably my favorite of the three water rides at the park, but only one side was running. It was better than it looked, but there is no way the drop is six stories like the claim. It looked and felt like it was about half that. Also, the logs felt a bit smaller than normal on this ride. C


Moon Cars-Pointless. About 400 ft long and less than a 2 minute ride. Once was enough. F


Batman The Ride-I am not a huge fan of the Batman coasters. They are fun, intense, and smooth, but I just don’t like them too much. They aren’t bad, but I would rather ride almost any other B&M Invert than a Batman. For whatever reason, however, I enjoyed the St. Louis Batman significantly more than any of the other three I have been on. It is currently my favorite Batman (although that could change in the future). I just wish that they didn’t have such a long mandatory queue for the ride (the whole first half consists of a winding pathway through a park that has no shortcut…somewhat overkill, at least in my opinion). B


Ninja-Oh dear. I wasn’t looking forward to this, but it actually ended up not being horrible. It was a bit more fun than I was expecting, and at least in the front seat it wasn’t much rougher than the smoother Arrows. I still wouldn’t wait very long to do it (maybe three trains max), but it was at least better than the mine train. D


Tidal Wave-The only thing that makes this one better than the SFMM version is that it actually gets you soaked. The ride is not that exciting, and is only worth riding if there isn’t a line. My least favorite of the park’s three water rides. D


Superman: Tower of Power-Intamin AG makes the best drop towers. For whatever reason, however, this one seemed a little weaker than other Intamin towers I have been on. It was still good, but it just felt less intense. This ride also operates differently from most: instead of dropping all the cars at once, they drop one at a time in a random order. C


After Superman, we went and did our second ride on the rapids and re-rode Pandemonium before retrieving our stuff from the locker. At this point, it started to rain lightly. We tried for Mr. Freeze, but it closed on us. We also noticed that Pandemonium, American Thunder, and Boss had shut down. Hoping the rain would let up soon, we decided to do the Ferris Wheel while we waited.


Colossus-Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this is the largest Ferris Wheel in America at an actual amusement park. It gave a good view, but wasn’t anything special. It was a little disconcerting, however, when we were in line and would hear the tires slip every time the wheel started up. F+


By the time we got off, the rain had stopped and Mr. Freeze was cycling again. We headed over there and re-rode Mr. Freeze, then made a list of what else we wanted to re-ride. The resulting list included American Thunder, Batman The Ride, Boss, Scooby-Doo Ghostblasters, Screamin’ Eagle, and Superman: Tower of Power. We made our way around the park in a clockwise manner (beginning at Boss and ending at Scooby-Doo Ghostblasters), stopping at each one. In addition, we did one other ride when we got to it.


Rush Street Flyer-My brother wanted to do this after he saw it, since it reminded him of the defunct Gran Slammer at Knott’s. The ride was pretty much just as I remembered it. D


Although we had planned to stay at the park until closing, we ended up finishing early and left about 7 P.M. We stopped at a McDonalds for dinner, then headed back to the hotel.


Overall, Six Flags St. Louis is a good park, but it isn’t great. The park is not the best Six Flags out there, and it isn’t the worst either. It does have a good selection of coasters, but the biggest problem is the lack of a signature ride. American Thunder and Mr. Freeze are both great rides, but I really don’t think either of them are worth going out of your way for, and the next best coaster in the park is a relatively common Batman. However, it is one of the few Six Flags parks that does have a good non-coaster ride selection, and overall I think this is one of the most balanced Six Flags parks, but it could use a few newer flat rides. Other than SkyScreamer (which was unfortunately closed), most of the flats seemed like they were older and somewhat outdated. Other standard Six Flags issues, such as low quality food at excessively high prices, were present here, but drink costs can be saved with the Souvenir cups, which we all purchased.


That reminds me…I believe it started here, but Six Flags St. Louis has Souvenir cup holders on all rides that require lockers. This is a great idea, and I’ve seen it at some other Six Flags parks as well (but not Magic Mountain, which I visit most often). I really think every single Six Flags park needs these, as they appear cheap to install and will probably really increase cup sales.


I was also very surprised at how low the crowds were for a major park on a Sunday. Almost every ride was a walk-on for at least one of the rides I did on it, and even if they weren’t I don’t think I waited more than 20 minutes for any ride except for the one mentioned above (ride 2 on Screamin’ Eagle). I am surprised people got Flash Passes on a day like this, and I would never do so myself.


I had a good day at the park. The weather was a bit hot, but wasn’t unbearable, and the rain was refreshing in the middle of the day. This is a park I don’t specifically care about going back to, but wouldn’t mind doing so, especially if they add a major new ride. Also, despite being a major park, it really isn’t a full day park. Two-thirds of a day would probably be sufficient for a return visit, although if you have never been plan a full day in case it is crowded or you want to explore the waterpark as well.


Coaster Order:


1. American Thunder

2. Mr. Freeze

3. Batman The Ride

4. Pandemonium

5. Boss

6. Screamin’ Eagle

7. Ninja

8. River King Mine Train


Ride Count


American Thunder-2

Scooby Doo Ghostblasters and the Mystery of the Scary Swamp-2

Mr. Freeze-2


Screamin’ Eagle-2

River King Mine Train-1

Tommy G. Robertson Railroad-1 (round trip)


Thunder River-2

Log Flume-1

Moon Cars-1

Batman the Ride-2


Tidal Wave-1

Superman: Tower of Power-2


Rush Street Flyer-1


Total-26 rides in 9 hours (2.89 rides per hour)




The first ride of the day, which ended up being the best ride in the park (that seems to happen to me a lot).


Welcome to the Scary Swamp, home to Scooby-Doo and the gang.


Although it is called Scooby-Doo Ghostblasters, it is very differetn from the normal Ghostblasters rides.


Somehow, one of the worst Batman villians got one of the best rides.


We'll get to you a bit later.


The one feature that sets Mr. Freeze apart from the other launched shuttle coasters...the Top Hat.


The LIM motors on the vertical spike actually give a stronger launch than I was expecting. I didn't think I'd be able to feel it, but it will push you back a bit if you aren't expecting it.


Thunder River. My dad said the ultimate waterpark ride would be a normal rapids ride done on inner tubes. I somewhat agree, but I think some waterslides are more fun.


Six Flags St. Louis does have themed areas, but due to signs like this it isn't always easy to tell them apart.


Time for the spin cycle. I hope this seating configuration works. (note-my dad took this picture and the following photo since he did not ride...not a huge fan of spinning rides).


It didn't work quite as well as we hoped, but we still spun a decent amount.


Time for the Boss.


The first half of the ride in particular reminded me of GhostRider. The second half...not so much.


Okay, now that it is raining its time for Colossus, the giant Ferris Wheel.


If I remember the sign correctly, this wheel has a 180 ft diameter.


This is the view from the McDonalds we stopped at for dinner. The park does actually look kind of neat when you're approaching it (just a bunch of rides spread out over the hillside).


Goodbye Six Flags St. Louis! Thanks for a great day! Maybe I'll be back sometime.

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July 25th, 2011-St. Louis Trip Day 3: Gateway Arch, Riverboat, Glide Tour, and Baseball


Monday the 25th was the day we chose for general touring of the city. This was partly influenced by the schedule of the St. Louis Cardinals, as they had a game Monday night but not Sunday and we wanted to go to a baseball game (if possible). We had also chosen to do Six Flags on Sunday instead of Monday, so that left the whole day free.


Before I begin, I will just note that there is nothing amusement park related on this day. Instead, it is a bunch of other random things we did. This will be the only report that is not at least indirectly related to an amusement park.


After getting up at a somewhat late time for being on vacation, we grabbed breakfast and headed down to the Gateway Arch, just a short walk from our hotel. We went through the security process, then got in line to purchase tickets. Since we decided to do both the Arch Experience and the Riverboat Cruise, we asked for tickets for the next available time slot for the arch and the 12:00 P.M. cruise. As it was already almost 11 A.M., the ticket person insisted we wouldn’t be able to make the boat and gave us tickets for the 1:30 P.M. cruise instead. About five minutes after getting our tickets, it was time for us to get in line for the Arch.


Arch Experience-The Gateway Arch is probably the most popular tourist attraction in St. Louis, and is the tallest structure in the city at 630 feet. However, since it is an arch, a normal elevator cannot be used to ascend to the top. Instead, passengers ride in small pods that seat five each. These things were tiny, even smaller than I expected. In the boarding area, you wait in front of what appears to be a normal sized door. However, only a small center section actually opens. The door for the pods was at most 4 feet tall, and the ceiling inside wasn’t much taller. Fortunately, the journey only takes 4 minutes. Still, this is not a suitable attraction for the easily claustrophobic.


Once at the top, you emerge onto the small and crowded observation deck. I’m guessing only about 200 people could fit up here at any one time, as it is probably about a hundred feet long and ten feet wide. On each side of the arch are windows that allow you to look out at the city of St. Louis on one side, or across the river to East St. Louis on the other. That’s it. We probably only spent about 10 minutes or so at the top because it was crowded and you can only look at the city for so long.


So how was the Arch Experience overall? Eh, I wasn’t crazy about it. Yes, it gives you a nice view, but it is really one of those things everyone does due to the fame of the arch. I much prefer going up in a normal skyscraper, such as Sears…no, sorry, Willis Tower, to the Gateway Arch. Yes, I’m glad I did it, and it was a bit different, but I have no desire to do it again.


After we got down from the Arch, we noticed it was only 11:40 A.M. We headed down to the riverboat landing and asked if we could do the 12:00 P.M. cruise instead of the 1:30 P.M. one that was on our tickets, and they said yes, so we got right on.


Riverboat Cruise-This was a nice way to see the shoreline of the city, although there really wasn’t a ton right by the water. Most of it was old factories or manufacturing plants, and not actual buildings you would be likely to visit. We also got to see several bridges, including a very interesting one (see pictures for details). The cruise was narrated by the captain, and a park ranger (at least I think that’s what he was) told us a bit of history as well. It was a nice way to spend an hour and travel on the Mississippi river aboard a paddle steamer. Oh, wait, I almost forgot…the boat wasn’t actually a paddle steamer, it was a modern boat dressed as one. The Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland is still the most authentic paddle steamer I’ve been on.


Following the cruise, we headed over to a shopping area (forget the name) to get something for lunch. Of course, instead of trying one of the restaurants in the area, we went to one of my least favorite fast-food restaurants…Subway. No comments there. We then walked back to the hotel and relaxed for an hour or so before we left for what ended up being my favorite part of the day.


Glide Tours-Glide Tours is a company that operates Segway tours in St. Louis. This was one of the things we decided to do relatively late in the planning stages, but I’m really glad we did. The company offers three different tours in the St. Louis area, and we opted for the Downtown St. Louis City Tour. Like any tour of this nature should, the experience begins with a safety video and a small amount of paperwork, followed by about a half-hour of practice riding in the parking lot. Once everyone has a pretty good idea of how to drive the Segway, the tour begins.


The tour consisted of approximately 2.5 hours of riding through Downtown St. Louis. I don’t remember the exact route, but I know we went past Union Station, the old City Hall building, Busch Stadium, the Gateway Arch, about halfway across Eads Bridge, and by the old courthouse. In addition, we also rode around in a couple parks were we got to do some off-sidewalk Segway. The tour was very fun, and we had a great guide who seemed to know a lot about the area. On it, we also got to check out a few things that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.


The other main reason we did this tour was also just so we could get a chance to ride Segways. I’ll just say it as simply as I can…these things are a lot of fun. They are very easy to ride, and they can cover a significant distance very quickly. I can see why these are catching on, and if they weren’t so expensive and I was more of an outdoor person I might consider getting one.


Following the tour, we headed back to the hotel once again. However, on the way, we stopped at a Hardee’s/Red Burrito to get my brother and sister dinner. Although they have a very similar menu to Carl’s Jr./Green Burrito, my brother and sister said Hardee’s was not nearly as good.


My dad and I then headed back out, but not by car. We went to the Metro station and used the public transportation system in St. Louis to head to Busch Stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. As we weren’t 100% sure we were doing this until that evening, we didn’t have tickets yet. Fortunately, we were able to buy pretty good tickets for only $10 each. Since the point of going was more to check out the stadium then to watch the game (neither of us really care too much about the Cardinals or their opponents, the Houston Astros), we ended up spending about 5 innings in our seats, then a couple innings walking around the stadium. This stadium is pretty bizarre, and it is not at all symmetrical. In some areas, there are only two decks, but in others there are three or even four, and the left-field side is not the same as the right-field area. There was also a walkway around half the stadium that you could watch the game from, but on the other side the field wasn’t even visible from the walking area. We ended up leaving right before the 7th inning stretch, and beat most of the rush for the Metro. At this point, the game was 8-1 Cardinals and I’m thinking most people figured it was a guaranteed win. When we got back to the hotel, however, we saw that the score was 8-5 (the Cardinals ended up winning 10-5, but I didn’t watch the ending).


When we got back to the hotel, we didn’t really do much. We just went up to our room, showered, watched a little TV, and went to bed.




All of these pictures were taken in the morning, as I did not take any pictures during the Segway Tour or at Busch Stadium. However, a few photos of us on the tour can be found on the website: http://www.glidestlouistours.com/. Just click on tour photos and select the July 25th, 2011 P.M. Tour.


Welcome to the Gateway Arch, the most popular tourist attraction in St. Louis.


This is where you board the pods.


When you are at the top, you look through tiny windows in the sides of the arch.


To the east, we have East St. Louis.


To the west, we have downtown St. Louis.


Busch Stadium. My dad and I will be here later in the day, while my brother and sister (who hate sports) will be playing video games in the hotel room.


Fun Fact: The arch is the same height and width. Therefore, it is 630 ft. tall and the bases are 630 ft. apart.


Yep, that looks like 630 ft. to me.


Here we are at the top of the arch. Now can we go down and do something else?


Count these steps. Count up to step 33. That is how high the river has gotten in the past.


Down at the edge of the Mississippi River.


Here is our Riverboat, the Tom Sawyer.


The other boat, the Becky Thatcher, was not in service today.


Time to head up-river.


Random factory...or something.


In East St. Louis, it is apparently legal to throw your money away.


This is the Gateway Geyser. On ideal days, it is capable of launching water up to 600 ft. in the air.


Under the bridge.


Another random factory.


I really wasn't paying that much attention to whatever the tour guide was saying. As a result, I don't know the significance of this mural, but I know it looked nice.


This barge was being unloaded. There is a reason they unload one end first. Apparently, if it was loaded/unloaded in the middle first, it would break and sink.


I guess there aren't enough bridges across the river yet. This was the turnaround point for the riverboat.


There is something strange about this bridge...see if you can spot it. Answer at the end of the update.


Downtown St. Louis from a distance.


Downtown through the Arch.


I personally think the Gateway Arch looks better from a distance than fron close up. If you are too close, you are blinded by the reflections of the sun.


The old courthouse. If you remember anything about Dred Scott from American History...yes, this is where that all happened.


The Anheuser-Busch Brewery. We were just here a couple days earlier.


Ha! Proof that the boat is a fake. This was about ten minutes from the end of the trip, and it's a little difficult to tell, but the upper paddles are dry.


This is the tallest building in St. Louis. It is tall, but the Gateway Arch is still taller.


As we were walking the riverfront afterward, we passed this plaque.


This statue is actually about 20 feet tall. It was under 12 feet of water here.


And finally, here is what was strange with the bridge...the top deck randomly ends three-quarters of the way across.

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Okay, I’m committing myself to finishing the St. Louis part of my trip this week. Others are finishing their North East reports, and mine hasn’t even begun. So, without further ado…


July 26th, 2011-St. Louis Trip Day 4: St. Louis Zoo and Drive to Santa Claus


The last day of the St. Louis portion of our trip began like any other day. However, after getting up and getting breakfast, we had to load up the car and check out of the hotel. Once that was done, we headed over to Forest Park.


St. Louis Zoo: I do like zoos, but I think I’m spoiled by living so close to the San Diego Zoo. That zoo is regarded as one of the best in the world, so compared to that the others generally don’t seem as good. Besides, seeing the same animals over and over can get boring.


The St. Louis Zoo, however, is the best free zoo I have been to by far. Here, admission is free, and the specialty attractions (rides and shows) cost extra. We didn’t do any of those, so we only had to pay for parking. We spent about two hours here and did a lap of the zoo, looking at all the animals. Some of them were asleep or relaxing due to the heat, but a few were up and about. The exhibits were good in that they did what they needed to while not being too cluttered, and it was fairly easy to spot the animals inside. Overall, I’d say that this is a very good zoo, but it isn’t my favorite.


Following our zoo visit, we went to look at a couple more houses that were owned by relatives of my dad. I think one was his father’s house as a kid, and another was a house he used to stay at regularly (don’t remember who owned it). He said he disliked staying there at night, and I could see why. The house is right on the edge of a cemetery.


After the house tour, we went to get frozen custard at a place called Ted Drewes. I expected this to be something like soft-serve ice cream or frozen yogurt, but it was a bit different. Custard starts out vanilla, and flavor is added by mixing in stuff. I just got a basic chocolate custard, and it was really good. Much lighter than frozen yogurt, and I think it tastes better as well.


Once we finished our custard, we headed to a nearby Steak ‘n Shake for lunch. Steak ‘n Shake is an unusual hybrid between a fast-food restaurant and a diner, and instead of hamburgers they serve steakburgers. As I like neither hamburgers or steak, I didn’t try one, but everyone else did and said they were good. I was a bit surprised my brother liked them, as he is usually not a fan of higher-quality burgers. We all liked the restaurant, and once we were done we headed up the street a bit to Gooey Louie’s to get some Gooey Butter Cake for later. Then we got on the freeway and headed out.


The drive from St. Louis, Missouri to Santa Claus, Indiana is a very boring one. I think it took us a little under three and a half hours including a stop for gas. However, we eventually made it to Santa Claus, which was much smaller than I expected. Other than Santa’s Lodge (where we stayed) and a small marketplace, there isn’t really too much in the town. Oh, wait, I almost forgot about the main attraction: Holiday World (this will be covered in the next update).


Since there wasn’t much around for restaurants and we were considering it anyway, we decided to drive to Owensboro, Kentucky. This allowed me to get a Kentucky state credit. On the drive, we passed over a cool bridge and past a power plant, but there wasn’t anything else noteworthy. When we got there, we drove around town a bit, went out to the edge of the river (or as close as we could get to it), and then got dinner at a Taco Bell (we were looking for a KFC, but the one the navigator found was closed). We then headed back to Santa Claus and had some Gooey Butter Cake (which was really good), watched TV, and went to bed.


Overall Thoughts of St. Louis


St. Louis is a very interesting city. It has much more of an old feel than some other major cities, partially due to the number of brick buildings. These look older (probably because they are) and they give a different feel to the city. Also, St. Louis has several different areas in really close proximity to each other. There is the nice part of the city, which seems newer and is more open, with several small parks scattered about amongst the buildings. This is the park of the city that we toured on Segways. Then there is the old section with brick buildings up and down the street with no end in sight. This seemed like the most busy section for nightlife, and was where we stayed. Finally, there is the old, run-down part of town, which we stumbled into due to a slow GPS and road construction. Most of the buildings here looked (or were) abandoned, and the area seemed a bit sketchy. Outside of the downtown area, St. Louis is just like anywhere else, but the houses do feel old (a lot of those are brick too) and the neighborhoods are more spread out.


Compared to other big cities, St. Louis is not my favorite. I enjoyed visiting it, but I really don’t have any desire to return. I think I managed to see most of what I cared to see on this trip, and I don’t have any specific reason I’ll need to go back in the future. After this trip, my favorite big city that I’ve visited is still Chicago.


Favorite St. Louis Activity: Glide Segway Tour, closely followed by City Museum


Least Favorite St. Louis Activity: Tough to pick one…probably the Gateway Arch, although it wasn’t bad




Pretty much all of these are animal pictures taken at the zoo. If you are into those, great. If not, feel free to skip them. I promise I’ll have more Theme Park Photos up soon.


The last time I'll see this view on the trip.


First up at the zoo...Penguins. This was one of the coolest exhibits (literally)!


The bears are always neat, but they seemed a bit too tame. Perhaps they need to be untamed (sorry, that's as good as they get).


Tiger doing its thing. It looked like it was protecting its exhibit or something.


Meanwhile, the other big cat is taking a nap. Either that, or...


Maybe it is waiting for one of these guys to fall asleep so it can "guard" it.


The rhino looks tired. I don't think it's in the mood for a rally today.


Hyenas...I've got nothing.


The cheetahs were the most active of the big cats. I think they might be distressed because their relatives are being hunted down in Florida.


And finally, we'll end with a picture of Dusty the Elephant.

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July 27th, 2011-St. Louis Trip Day 5-Holiday World


Holiday World. This was one of the main reasons we opted for a St. Louis trip this year instead of a New York trip. I’m sure many coaster enthusiast have heard a lot about this park, as it has won many awards. The park is rated as one of the best in the US, and has been called the cleanest and friendliest park in America for several years. They also have a waterpark, Splashin’ Safari, which has won its fair share of awards. However, if there is one thing most people know about the park, it is that Holiday World is home to three of the best wooden coasters in the world: The Raven, The Legend, and the Voyage.


Due to my brother’s worry about not getting to the park on time, we left the hotel nearly an hour before the park opened, even though it was only five minutes away. We parked, walked over to the gate, got tickets (thanks to ClubTPR, it was only $30 per person), headed inside, rented lockers, and got to the Fourth of July rope drop point about 15-20 minutes before rope drop. Yes, leaving early paid off, but I think we could have left about 15 minutes later and been fine on time.


At 9:30 A.M. exactly, the rope dropped. Like I expected, many people headed into Halloween or to Splashin’ Safari. Instead, we headed to the largest ride in the park: The Voyage.


Voyage-The Voyage has been called the world’s best wooden coaster for several years. It is one of the largest woodies ever built, and is the most well known Gravity Group ride. It is a really good ride, but it is rough. I rode three different times in three different seats: 1-1, 2-1, and 4-1. The first and second car gave a shaky ride, but as long as you held on after the first three hills it wasn’t bad. The fourth car, however…that one hurt! If this ride were smooth, it would be my favorite wooden coaster. However, it is just too rough and not re-rideable enough. After three rides, I decided that I was done with Voyage for the day (not that we had time for a fourth one anyway). It ended up placing second on my wooden coaster list (between Thunderhead and Apocalypse the Ride), and was demoted to third following a ride on El Toro a week later. It is really good, but not the best, and it was my favorite of Holiday World’s three woodies. A


Before we visited the park, my brother said, “I haven’t been on it, and the Voyage is already my favorite wooden coaster.” As much as I tried to tell him to ride it with an open mind and don’t make decide ahead of time (I think that might have been part of the reason he didn’t like Intimidator 305 last year), he wouldn’t listen. As I expected, he got off and said the ride was his favorite woodie. What I found even more interesting, however, was that he didn’t find the ride at all rough. He took his first ride in the front seat, and when I rode it later in that seat (my first was in 2-1), I found it only slightly smoother than anywhere else. It took a backseat ride before my brother would acknowledge that the ride was rough. My dad and sister both really liked the ride as well, but both said it was rough. I think it may be my sister’s favorite wooden coaster, but I don’t remember if my dad said it was or not.


Gobbler Getaway-This is a shooting dark ride. It has a unique storyline where you shoot…er, I mean call…turkeys. Despite the fact that your weapon was a non-lethal turkey caller, we all called it the turkey shooter ride (as I’m sure many people do). I wasn’t a fan of those caller guns, as they seemed to not work as well as the regular ones I’ve found on Sally’s other rides. Either way, the ride was pretty good, except for the ending, which was disappointing (not spoiling it for those who haven’t ridden yet), and I got the highest score on this one. B


After Gobbler Getaway, we decided to head to the waterpark early so we could get changed and be ready when it opened. Although I was against this decision at the time, I ended up being really glad we did. We got changed, and waited about 10-15 minutes for the rope drop. When it did, we headed into Splashin’ Safari, and all the way to Wildebeest.


Note: All waterpark ride ratings are only for waterpark rides and are not comparable with dry rides.


Wildebeest-This ride was great. It is an amazing ride, and is one of the best waterslides I’ve been on. However, I personally prefer more traditional waterslides to water coasters (funnels are my favorite), so this wasn’t my favorite slide in the waterpark. I also have to admit that I do not believe any slide is worth the lines this ride gets. We only waited 15 minutes, which it is totally worth, but when we got off, the line was backed up to the 90 minute sign and growing. I have to be honest here…as awesome as Wildebeest is, I’d rather wait 5 minutes to ride Rendezvous Run at Castaway Bay (Cedar Point’s Waterpark Hotel) than 90 minutes to ride Wildebeest. It is an amazing ride, but I would never wait in excess of an hour to ride it. A


Zinga-I love funnels. They are my favorite type of waterslide. Unfortunately, Holiday World has this strange policy of only 2 adults per tube. Due to this, we had to split our group of four into two groups of two, and the ride was a little disappointing. For my dad, who had never been on a funnel before, it was a great ride. For me, it was my least favorite funnel, but my favorite slide in the waterpark. A


Zoombabwe-I’ve heard that this is one of the best family raft slides, and I do feel it is (though not the very best). However, I generally find these rides underwhelming unless you load up a ton of people. This ride had a 600 lbs. weight restriction, and there are scales at the top, so we had to split our group again. Fun, but could have been better. B


After Zoombabwe, we were going to do Wahtubee, but we all decided to skip it after seeing the line backed up to the “60 minutes from this point” sign. As few, if any, waterslides are worth a 60 minute wait (and certainly not a family raft ride), we headed instead to Bakuli.


Bakuli-I’d never done a Behemoth Bowl before, so I was interested in trying this. It was, unfortunately, my least favorite bowl. The bowl is so large that there is little feeling of speed when you enter it. The tube goes up on the wall briefly, but after that it just goes around on the flat part of the bowl until you reach the middle. A bit disappointing, but still more fun than most of Splashin’ Safari’s slides, especially since all four of us could ride together. D


Pilgrims Plunge-This is not technically a waterpark ride, but we did it while in our swimsuits (and then re-rode later in normal clothes). I really liked this ride. It feels a lot taller than it actually is since there is almost nothing around, and the drop seems to take forever since it isn’t that steep (more of a giant ramp than a drop). I also liked how it waited until the last possible second to splash you at the bottom. For giant water rides, I slightly prefer Perilous Plunge because it has a better drop, but both of them are really good. B


After Pilgrims Plunge, we decided to get lunch. I was surprised at the prices for Holiday World; It was only about $6 for chicken strips, fries, and a cookie, and the drinks were free. Speaking of free drinks, Holiday World has a lot of free stuff: free parking, free drinks, free sunscreen. Lockers are only $5, and admission is very reasonable. I thought the food was pretty decent, at least for amusement park food.


Once we were done with lunch, we headed to the smaller slides in the waterpark.


Otorongo-I only got time to do this once, as nobody else wanted to do it a second time. We chose the Ron slide (twister) since it had the shortest line. It actually was decent, but it was too short. The spiral (Oto) looked fun as well, and I would have liked to try that one, but the straight drop (Go) didn’t look like it was worth it, especially since it had the longest line. D


Jungle Racer-A ten lane mat racer. It was okay, but I think it was one of the less exciting mat racers I’ve been on. It just felt slower than most of the others. I’m also not a huge fan of this type of slide. F+


AmaZoom-I like single tube slides better than double tube slides, and I found this one better than the Otorongo slide I rode. I wish it was actually dark in the tube, but it was still fun nevertheless. C


Following AmaZoom, we were going to do Bamboo Chute, but my brother refused to do any more waterpark attractions. He was worried we wouldn’t have enough time to finish the ride park if we continued doing waterslides, and the remaining attractions were mostly generic. In order to avoid a conflict, we decided to skip Bamboo Chute and head back a slightly early (I had planned on doing the waterpark until 3-4 P.M., and it was about 2:30 P.M. now). As a result, I ended up missing Bamboo Chute and the other Otorongo slides, and my sister ended up missing the Lazy Rivers. Fortunately, those are rides that can be found at any waterpark, so it wasn't too much of a loss, although I would have liked to do them anyway.


When we were done changing and back in Halloween, I asked my brother, “Legend or Raven?” Since Legend was closer, he chose that, so off we went.


Legend-This ride really seems to vary in terms of the experience it gives. On my first ride, I rode in the third car, and it hurt. When I rode the second time, it was in the front car, and the ride was really good. I am really glad I rode it a second time, because I actually ended up liking the ride better than GhostRider. There is a lot of airtime and a ton of laterals, and the ride does feel a little out of control. It can be quite rough, and it is a little overrated, but I still think the Legend is a great ride. B


Frightful Falls-This ride was very unusual. Instead of fiberglass, the flume is made out of concrete and is built into the ground. Overall, this made the ride less comfortable than most, especially at one point when it picked up some speed only to slam right into the wall. Despite this, there were some cool things as well. The tunnel was neat, and we had no idea what would happen in there. The drop was also really good, although it almost felt like the log bounced at the bottom. I enjoyed this log flume, and it is right in the middle of log flumes I’ve been on, but I wouldn’t wait too long for it. C


Raven-I’m just going to start by saying it: This ride is overrated. I don’t know how it was ever considered the #1 wooden coaster. During the years listed on the sign (2000-2003), GhostRider was running as good as it ever has, and even in its current state I prefer GhostRider slightly to Raven. Now, it is true that Raven is mostly smooth (the lake turn was a bit shaky, but the rest wasn’t bad), and there is quite a bit of airtime, but the ride is much shorter than I expected. I think I was also expecting a little more than I should have, as when I saw the ride walking in I was thinking, “That’s it? I thought this thing was taller.” In my opinion, the ride has five good drops (with the fifth one being surprisingly large), but after that it isn’t that exciting. The laterals are fairly weak, and it doesn’t feel as fast running through the trees as the Legend does. Raven is still a really great ride, but I just expected…I don’t really know. I guess just…more. B


Liberty Launch-An S&S double shot. When we were waiting for this, my dad was all “this is a kiddie ride.” True, it’s only about 80 ft. tall, but I personally prefer a double shot to most other S&S towers under 200 ft. This isn’t the best double shot I’ve been on, but it was still quite fun. My dad still thought it was a kiddie ride, but said it did have more airtime than he expected. B


Howler-Nobody else wanted to ride this, so they all watched and took pictures for blackmail while I rode. I don’t care, it’s a credit and it was actually okay for a kiddie coaster, although it was a bit jerky. F+


Raging Rapids-Holiday World has a very bizarre rapids ride. Instead of having groups of two or three seats, the boats have single seats spread evenly around the circumference. I thought the ride was actually pretty good, but it’s not the best rapids ride I’ve done. At least it is better than the log flume. B


Lewis and Clark Antique Cars-I thought this was decent for a car ride. Certainly not the best one I’ve done, but not the worst either. I don’t really like the two rider rule, but to some people it probably doesn’t matter if they drive (even though I’ve got a license, I still enjoy driving car rides). C


HallowSwings-I think this is probably my favorite swing ride, although I don’t ride them too often. Maybe it is just because the one at Knott’s (which I ride most frequently) is very disappointing. B


We were considering doing more flats, but nobody else really wanted to. I wouldn't have minded doing a couple more (such as the flyers and round-up), but I was fine with what we had done, and didn’t want to keep anybody else waiting. At this time, it was only about 5 P.M., so we had ended up doing the remaining dry rides in about two hours. In order to avoid a debate, I didn’t mention this to my brother, but we really could have spent another hour or so in the waterpark and gotten everything done.


Now, we had to decide what to do. I asked everyone what they wanted to re-ride, and we all decided we wanted to re-ride the three wooden coasters. However, I also wanted to re-ride Pilgrims Plunge, so we went there first as it closed at 6 P.M. After the longest wait of the day (50 minutes) we rode. We then did Voyage again and got dinner at the Plymouth Rock Café to avoid having two amusement park food meals in one day. It was decent, but overrated. After dinner, we went to Raven and found it now had a 20 minute wait since the waterpark was closed. We rode anyway, and I got a back car ride in addition to my earlier front seat ride (the back was better).


Now it was decision time. My brother wanted one more ride on Voyage, and I wanted a front seat ride on it. However, I also wanted to do Legend, which now had a 20-30 minute wait and appeared to be broken down (a train was stopped halfway out of the station). My dad was done, so he didn’t care. Since my brother and sister both wanted to do Voyage, and since I admitted I would prefer a front seat Voyage ride to another rough Legend ride, we opted for that. We waited about 40 minutes in line, but it was worth it. In its current state, there is no better place to ride Voyage than the front seat. We got off and met my dad, who had retrieved our items from the locker, and then prepared to leave.


On the way out, however, we walked right by the Legend, and the queue was still open. After making sure nobody minded waiting, my brother and I got in line for the front. Unfortunately, we were told there would be only two more trains, and there were already 4 people in line for the front. My brother left, as he didn’t want to end on anything other than Voyage unless it was a front seat Legend ride, and I took a seat in row two on the last train of the night. I’m really glad I got that last Legend ride in, as it was a much better experience in semi-darkness. After I got off, we headed out.


My overall feeling about Holiday World were a bit mixed. At first, I thought the park was overrated. I had been let down by all three woodies, and there didn’t seem to be anything special about the place. However, the more and more I did, the more I enjoyed the park. I ended up really liking the park. In addition, Splashin’ Safari blew away every other included waterpark I’ve been to. Although I think the addition of Mammoth is somewhat silly, I’m sure it will help, as that place was crowded. Holiday World is in the middle of nowhere, but the park (especially the waterpark) seems to draw huge crowds. The ride park, on the other hand, seemed to be empty for most of the day.


How are the rides, anyway? Well, Holiday World has a lot of non-coaster rides, and their collection is pretty good. However, they are mostly older rides, and there are no modern giant flats in this park. The coasters are all really good, even if they are a tad overrated, and if visiting the park missing any of them would be a real bummer. However, don’t go expecting to ride the woodies all day, as they are a bit too rough for continuous riding (especially Legend and Voyage).


Now, the negatives of the park. Fortunately, this is one that doesn’t have too many, and I can only think of a couple. First, the park did not seem as well themed as it could have been. When I think of Holidays, I think of the symbols that go along with each one. These were not very prevalent in the park, and outside of the Christmas section all the other areas felt the same. They felt more like a random forest than a themed area. Secondly, if you aren’t into the waterpark, there really isn’t enough for this to be a full day park. I really think you could do everything here in about half to two-thirds of a day if you are only doing the ride park and not the water park. This is not only due to a lack of rides, but more a lack of lines, and the park could work a bit on getting a few more modern flats. The other main one is a complaint I’ve heard from others. Although the park has three above-average wooden coasters, they don’t even have a full size steel coaster. I really think this is what the park needs to complete its coaster collection. It doesn’t need to be some groundbreaking giga, but something good from one of the major manufacturers would add quite a bit of variety to the lineup because, as different as three woodies are, I felt that it got a bit repetitive riding them throughout the day. One or two wooden coasters are really enough for almost any park, and three without a steel coaster just doesn’t work too well (at least in my opinion). However, other than these minor things, I really liked the park.


As you may or may not have noticed, in my signature below I have Holiday World listed as my favorite park. That is only mostly true, as there is an exception. Yes, Holiday World is my favorite park if you only look at places that feel like amusement parks. However, I still think Dollywood is a better park, it just doesn’t feel like an amusement park. At Holiday World, before you walk in the gate you know that it’s an amusement park. At Dollywood, however, if you avoided the county fair area, you’d have to get to Timber Canyon before the place felt like a park and not like an old mountain village. This may be just my opinion, but it’s how I feel.


Ride Count:



Gobbler Getaway-1





Pilgrims Plunge-2


Jungle Racer-1



Frightful Falls-1


Liberty Launch-1


Raging Rapids-1

Lewis and Clark Antique Cars-1



Total: 23 rides in 11 hours (2.09 rides per hour)




Because of Holiday World’s super-strict camera policy (“cameras are not allowed on rides, even when secured in a pocket or fanny pack”), I decided to just leave my camera in the locker for most of the day. I doubt it would be an issue, but I didn’t want to break any rules, no matter how silly. However, I did promise more theme park pictures, so enjoy two pictures of the Voyage and know that next week when I begin my North East report there will be many more.


The Voyage. Not the #1 wooden coaster in the world, but still really good.


And there is the ride. My brother and sister are in the front row, but it is a bit difficult to tell.

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Okay, I will begin the North East reports tomorrow, but here is the bridge report between the two trips. Since my camera was packed, I don’t have any pictures, and since it wasn’t the most interesting day I’ll keep it short.


July 28th, 2011-St Louis Trip Day 6: Return Drive and Flight to Newark


Just as every day begins, we got up at the hotel and had a breakfast consisting of Morning Glory brand Pop-Tarts (not so good) and Gooey Butter Cake (still good after a couple days). We discarded what was left over, packed our bags, loaded the car, and headed out.


Since my flight wasn’t until 4:50 P.M., and everyone else’s flight wasn’t until a couple hours later, we decided to stop at a couple locations on the way back to St. Louis. Our first stop was not far from Santa Claus: The Lincoln Boyhood Memorial. This is simply a national monument marking where Abraham Lincoln lived when he was a kid. Although he is known as coming from Illinois, he was actually born in Kentucky and raised in Indiana. This monument has a brass recreation of the foundation of the Lincoln’s log cabin, as well as a tombstone in the general area where Abraham’s mother was buried and a small museum. There is also a recreation of an old homestead, complete with costumed rangers playing the parts of inhabitants in the 1800s. The whole monument was a little interesting, and was a decent way to kill an hour, but is not a must-see attraction or anything like that.


After leaving the monument, we headed back toward St. Louis. Coincidentally, we stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s right next to the gas station we had stopped at on the way to Santa Claus. When we reached St. Louis, we still had a little time to kill, so we headed back across Ead’s Bridge to check out the Gateway Geyser. The geyser is little more than a fountain that shoots water into the air for fifteen minutes every three hours. However, it is capable of spraying as much as 600 ft. into the air (in ideal conditions). Conveniently, we arrived a little before the 3:00 P.M. show, so we just waited around for it to begin. Unfortunately, it was a bit windy, so the geyser was only going about 100-150 ft. up. Not nearly as impressive as we hoped, but I’m guessing 600 ft. shots are rare.


It didn’t take too long to get to the airport after the geyser, and once there I unloaded my luggage, double checked that I had everything (especially my passport), said goodbye to everyone, and headed inside. It wasn’t too crowded, so getting my boarding pass and going through security was pretty easy, although it took me a few minutes to find security, as I didn’t realize it was downstairs (all other airports I’ve been to have security on the upper level). Once through, I went to the gate and waited for my flight.


The flight was uneventful, but I am pretty sure there was at least one other TPR person on my flight. How? I was on an Embraer ERJ-145, a small 50 passenger aircraft with a 1-2 seating configuration. Due to the size of the overhead compartments, all bags larger than a backpack must be gate-checked, and I believe I saw another suitcase outside with the neon-green luggage grip. What is the importance of noting this? There really isn’t one. I just find it interesting that out of all the places people come from for these trips, and all the flights into the destination airport, two people out of the twenty or so who did not do the early arrival activities would end up on the same exact flight.


Anyway, after landing at Newark I retrieved my bag and headed to the Air Train. I was going to get something for dinner and obtain some Canadian currency at the airport, but it was 8:20 P.M. and I didn’t feel like having dinner, and I figured I wouldn’t be tempted to purchase alcohol at La Ronde if I didn’t bring any money (we had been told that there would be a cash bar at lunch). Besides, I figured that I could use a credit card or borrow a little from a friend if I really needed to purchase anything. So I just headed for the Air Train, then took the shuttle to the hotel.


At the hotel, I checked in, then headed up to my room. My roommate, Jordy, had arrived earlier for the add-ons, but he wasn’t in the room when I showed up. I dropped off my bags, then grabbed a snack for dinner from the vending machines (a bag of Ruffles chips, a bag of Famous Amos cookies, and a coke). Once I was done with that, I headed down to the lobby.


I didn’t keep track, but I was probably down in the lobby for an hour or more sitting with some trip people and talking. I’m more of a listener in large conversations unless it is a topic I’m interested in, but I still talked with a few people. We eventually made a large circle with the chairs and about 15 of us were engaged. Some of the people I recognized from my 2010 trip: the IntimidaTour. Some of the people I recognized from Robb’s DVDs. Others I had no clue who they were. As I am horrible with names, I don’t remember who all was down there, and I likely wouldn’t remember their name if we met again unless I hung out with them later. This is one of the nice things about TPR trips: It is really easy to meet people, especially ones with a common interest. During the course of the trip, I talked with Americans, Canadians, and Europeans, many of which I would never have met otherwise.


At about 11 P.M., the room began to empty, so I headed up to my room. When I got back, my roommate was there. It just happened that he was one of the people in the circle of conversation, but due to my lack of remembering names (especially of people I haven’t met in person), I didn’t realize it at the time. I went and took a quick shower, then we went to bed, as the next day would be a somewhat early morning.

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^Thanks. If at least one person enjoys my reports, I feel that they are worth the effort. I look at everybody else's as well, but generally don't comment too much while I work on my own (all of the North East reports have been good so far).


It is time for the North East USA tour reports to begin. Exactly one month after the trip started, my trip report starts (I did not plan that intentionally, it just worked out).


July 29th, 2011-North East Trip Day 1: Quassy Amusement Park & Lake Compounce


The trip began with breakfast in the morning, at 7:30 A.M. This would actually end up being one of the earlier mornings of the trip (fortunately), but as we had two parks that day we needed the time. Originally, I believe the plan was to leave the hotel at 10:00 A.M., but it got rescheduled to an hour earlier since everyone could be here on time.


The buses actually left the hotel early, so we were on our way. For this day, I had chosen Elissa’s bus, which was also the bus of Brian the Bus Driver. He told various awesome jokes and stories during the drive, but I either can’t remember most of them or they wouldn’t make sense elsewhere. Anyway, Elissa went over the rules, then told us we’d be at the park by 11:30 A.M. So, what would be the first official park of the trip?


Quassy Amusement Park


We actually arrived a few minutes before the park was scheduled to open at 11 A.M., so we were given the privilege of first in line on the park’s new for 2011 Gravity Group woodie: Wooden Warrior. Although we didn’t have official ERT, the park gave all TPR trains double rides, which was almost as good.


Wooden Warrior-I have a feeling that Quassy would have been dropped from the tour if they hadn’t opened this ride. It is a small wooden coaster, only 35 ft. tall with a 45 ft. drop, but this is the absolute best ride of its size anywhere. The ride is excellent, and is just the right size that kids can ride without getting scared, and teens can ride without getting bored. It has a 42 in. height requirement (I believe) so it is totally family friendly. Where does it place on my wooden roller coaster list? I’d have to say right between Giant Dipper and Boss. It is seriously that good, and was better than half of the full-size woodies later in the trip. C+


After getting my double ride on Wooden Warrior, I headed to the park’s other credit.


Little Dipper-Obviously, this is a kiddie coaster. However, I was slightly excited about it because it was both my first Little Dipper and my first Allen Herschell coaster. For a kiddie coaster, it wasn’t bad, but it was too jerky for adults to be comfortable on. F+


After Little Dipper, I decided to walk around a bit and take pictures. At 12:30 P.M., there was a scheduled lunch in the birthday pavilion. This was where one of the biggest non-ride surprises of the trip occurred. At lunch, every participant was given a ticket to ride the upcharge Quassy Boat Ride, a ticket for a free dessert, and a block of wood from Wooden Warrior. That’s right, we were all given pieces of the roller coaster…for free. The park also had beer for those old enough to drink (which had not been previously announced) and the food wasn’t bad, although they underestimated how much our group could eat.


Once I was done with lunch, I headed back to Wooden Warrior and took the time to ride the front and back seats (it was only a 1-2 train wait each time). I also met up with Steve (kcsteve), who I knew from the IntimidaTour trip, and we ended up spending most of the time at Quassy together, just going on a variety of rides.


Slide-I like old school spiral slides quite a bit. This one was pretty fun, and since there was no wait I did it twice. I wish you could find these more places. D


Fun Slide-This, on the other hand, was a racing slide. I’m not the biggest fan of these slides, and the drizzle (it was threatening to rain all day) resulted in the slide being slow. However, there was no line, and I’d rather do this than a flat, so why not? F+


Free Fall ‘N’ Drop Tower-For a tiny tower, this was actually pretty good. Unlike most of this size, which either bounce or have a controlled descent, this one had a very short free-fall. You did get five or six drops on the ride, so it was fun, especially with no wait, but it is not nearly as good as any of the larger towers. C


Train-A fairly fast train ride, but not that exciting. Just does a lap of the picnic area. A good way to see Wooden Warrior up close, but I ended up not getting any good photos. F+


The Big Flush Water Coaster-As Steve did not want to ride this, I rode with another random TPR person (whose name escapes me at the moment). Compared to other similar rides, this one is longer, darker, and wetter than most. I didn’t get absolutely soaked, but I was pretty wet at the bottom. However, it is one of the most fun rides at Quassy. C


Galleon Pirate Ship-Smaller than average pirate ship. I think this was a portable model, as it didn’t appear to be bolted to the ground. Not that great, as far as pirate ships go. F+


At this point, Steve played SkeeBall while I watched, then rewarded some random kid with a ton of tickets. He then got a souvenir T-shirt (“I came all the way from Kansas City to ride Wooden Warrior”) and we headed back to the bus. As planned, the buses left at 2:30 P.M., but not before one of the best moments of the trip. Brian passed around a picture, and had everyone guess what it was (it ended up being a flower in the spring…literally a neon yellow flower with a spiral drawn on it (the spring)). He also said that if anyone got it right, he would give them a prize. Earlier, he had mentioned someone winning a picture with the bus driver and that he needed to get his leopard print thong out. However, for this one, he rolled down his sun shield and there was the thong. I didn’t get a picture, but I’m sure others did. I was too busy laughing, along with the rest of the bus.


Overall Thoughts:


Quassy Amusement Park is a very small park, so it isn’t going to be a full day outing. I had heard prior to my visit that the park was a little ghetto, so I wasn’t expecting much. However, the park was actually better than some of the larger parks later in the trip. I really did have a good time there, although I don’t think I needed any additional time. The park does have a waterpark called Saturation Station as well, but I didn’t do it. Right now, there are only two slides, but they are getting a new slide tower for next year (to replace the old Mad Mouse), so I’d definitely want to check that out if I went back. Overall, I’d say Quassy is a decent place for a three hour stop, and is worth going to just for Wooden Warrior, but don’t go expecting some major park.


Ride Count:


Wooden Warrior-4

Little Dipper-1 (2 laps)


Fun Slide-1

Free Fall ‘N’ Drop Tower-1


The Big Flush Water Coaster-1

Galleon Pirate Ship-1


Total-12 rides in 3 hours (4 rides per hour)


Now for the second park of the day…


Lake Compounce


After less than an hour of driving, we arrived at our next destination. We were given tickets and let loose. Unlike Quassy, where I spent most of the day with just Steve, at Compounce we ended up joining a larger group of people. I don’t remember everyone for sure, and I know the members did vary slightly during the day, but I think it generally included Antonio (CoasterCrazy88), Jason (Jason10), Jeremie (Jerrykoala2112), JoAnna (Jojo19799), Kevin (XII), Nathan (kumba830), Nick (kunpc1), and Shawn (SuperShawn).


As we were walking in, I consulted my checklist to figure out where to go first. However, I was distracted while we were walking in by the closed rides sign. I forget what other rides it listed, but to my great disappointment, the Sky Ride was closed. Fortunately, that was the only ride on the entire trip I was really disappointed to miss. Anyway, we choose to go to Zoomerang first, since it was the closest coaster to the entrance, and basically made a loop of the park.


Zoomerang-Zoomerang is a boomerang. It is not a bad boomerang (in fact, it was the best of the three on the trip), but it is still just a boomerang. We waited probably about four or five cycles for it, which amounted to around twenty minutes. I thought it was reasonably smooth, but not the best boomerang I’ve been on. It is, however, still just a boomerang. D


Saw Mill Plunge-Honestly, this log flume looked more impressive from the ground than it did on the ride. It goes up the lift, meanders around for 2-3 minutes, then goes down the drop. It was a fairly large drop, but I’ve seen bigger. The ride wasn’t terribly wet, but it did give you a bit of a splash, especially with more people on it (my boat had two, but others had four and we saw a boat of five that got soaked). D


Boulder Dash-Okay, here is what I think of Boulder Dash. By day, the ride is really good. It makes excellent use of the terrain, maintains its speed well, has a lot of airtime, isn’t too rough (though parts are a bit shaky), and the layout is not very predictable. However, you can see where you are going to go. By day, it outstanding, and on my top five woodies list, but it is not my favorite. At night, however…OMG! This thing is crazy. When you are flying through the woods under cover of darkness, not only does it feel like you are going faster than you really are, but it is not at all possible to predict what is coming next. The ride has several double ups and double downs, as well as parts where it will be flat for a while, then suddenly turn, rise, or drop. The return run also feels faster at night, and the triple up really is the most ridiculous element I’ve experienced on a wooden coaster. I love this ride, and at night it is my favorite wooden coaster. A


Wildcat-Ugh. This is in my bottom five wooden coasters, and was the worst woodie of the trip. It isn’t unrideable yet, but it is really quite rough, especially at the bottom of drops. You can also feel the cars flex as it goes around the course, which is quite an unusual sensation. I rode twice and it was slightly smoother in the middle row of the back car, but still…if the wait is more than two trains, I probably would skip this one on a future visit. D-


Down Time-I think this name fits a drop tower, but would be a ridiculously funny name for anything else (although for some rides it would be strangely appropriate). The ride was pretty fun, but I generally don’t find Turbo Drops to be that impressive. B


After Down Time, I decided I was going to go try the rapids. I began walking out toward them, but when I was about three hundred feet beyond the Trolley stop, I saw it coming. I turned around and boarded the ride to save my feet (I’d rather not get blisters on day one of the amusement park trip).


The Trolley-This is more of a convenience than an actual ride, but I find it nice that the oldest park in the United States still has a working trolley (it was, after all, originally a trolley park). I was also surprised by how long this thing was, and feel sorry for anyone that had to walk out this way. D


When I got off, I went to take pictures of the closed Sky Ride. I really wish I could have gone on it, as I am a chairlift enthusiast as well (and track chairlift credits when I’m skiing). I still find it funny that A. a lot of enthusiasts have no problem with 200-300 ft. tall coasters but are scared by a 40 ft. tall chairlift and B. people call the Lake Compounce Sky Ride excessively steep. Yes, it did have a pretty decent slope, but if you want a steep chairlift, head to June Mountain in California and download on J1 (I wish I had a picture of that lift). I’m pretty sure that lift travels on a 40+ degree face.


I next headed to Thunder Rapids, but as I was walking up the line I saw a couple people coming out soaking wet. Instead of riding, I walked around to the observation deck and watched. This ride was definitely a wet one, and due to the weather I didn’t think I’d dry. I would have used my TPR Poncho, but I neglected to bring it with me. As a result, as much as I do like rapids rides, and as good as this ride looked, I opted out and went to dinner a little early.


Dinner at Lake Compounce consisted of items you don’t find as often at most amusement parks. I don’t remember what all they had, but I had Chicken and Tacos (more precisely, a chicken breast and a couple Chicken Tacos), and I think there were a couple other things. There was also beer (once again I am underage) and I think the manager said we drained a keg faster than any other group (don’t quote me on that). Anyway, dinner was pretty good, although I was halfway done by the time the rest of my group showed up. After dinner, a couple of them went on the rapids ride and got moderately soaked, then we headed back to the park and did the remaining rides any group members wanted to do.


Ghost Hunt-I did not realize this was a trackless dark ride until I was about to board. It is still pretty much the same as every other Ghostblasters attraction, but due to a malfunctioning gun/car I didn’t enjoy it. Nobody in my car got a high score (I had the second-highest and it was right around 200, when I typically get in the 600-700 range on these), so all of us decided it wasn’t that great. If I got a working gun, my opinion might change, but I didn’t end up riding again so I can only base it off my one ride. F


Thunder N’ Lightning-I love Screamin’ Swings. They are among my favorite flat rides. It is just really unfortunate that my local one is an upcharge, as I never get to ride them. Although only one arm was running, the ride was still awesome. My favorite flat ride at the park. A


After Thunder N’ Lightning, a few members of my group did the twister. I should have gone and done a second ride on Thunder N’ Lightning while they did that, but as I didn’t I’ve got a video of the insanity that can happen on this ride when you put TPR members on it. Take a look below:




Once everyone got done with twister (a few of them rode twice), we headed over to a few of the other flats in the park.


American Flyer-The park’s flyers. These weren’t really snappable, as they took forever to get going and the ride cycle was short. I was, however, able to get mine going back and forth pretty good, and hit at least a few of the bushes on the inside of the ride. I’m really glad we rode this twice because the other flyers of the trip (Canobie Lake Park) was closed. C


Zoomer’s Gas n’ Go-Car ride. Each of the cars had some type of sound effect. Mine played music, and I think there was one with a siren (can’t remember what else there was). The ride was fairly short, but it was nicely themed and had an on-ride photo. F+


Rev-O-Lution-I like Disk’Os, and just like Screamin’ Swings there aren’t any near me so I don’t get to ride them too often. This was fun, but it didn’t feel like it spun as much as some of them do. Maybe it was just me. Still enjoyable, however. C


We then headed over to the Skycoaster, where the park was having a $15 per rider special. I believe there were five group members who wanted to ride (I think it was Antonio, Jason, Nathan, Nick, and Steve, but I may be wrong), but Skycoastin’ Steve showed up so there were six riders. I have never done a Skycoaster and I don’t really care to (I’m not afraid, they just don’t appeal to me) so I watched and took a couple pictures (discovering in the process how bad my camera really is with night shots). After the ride, our group split. Some members went to Boulder Dash to get an early start. I, however, was with the group that headed for Down Time. We rode that, then did another ride on Wildcat, then went over to the Kiddie Coaster for ERT.


Kiddie Coaster-Normally, you must have a kid to ride this. However, Robb and Elissa arranged a half-hour of ERT on it so we could all get the credit. Due to weight restrictions, only three riders were allowed per train, and it was only sent around once to minimize the line. As far as kiddie coasters go…yeah, this one was pretty bad. It was pretty rough, and now that I have my credit I don’t care to do it ever again. F


After I had my kiddie coaster credit, I headed over to Boulder Dash for ERT. When I arrived, I was told that due to a late start ERT had been extended until 10:20 P.M., but the bus would leave at 10:30 P.M., so don’t be late. There was only one train, but they were giving double rides. I chose to wait for the front row, knowing it would probably take half the ERT. Fortunately, the operator was entertaining, and we were playing Q&A with her while the train was out on the circuit. After a while, I got a double front seat ride, then got a double ride elsewhere. I was going to do one more ride, but didn’t want to push it for the bus (it was already 10:11 P.M.), so I headed out. Once everyone was back on the bus, we headed off to the hotel.


Overall Thoughts:


I enjoyed Lake Compounce, but wasn’t as crazy about it as I thought I might be. The park was nice, and was my favorite mid-size park of the trip, but other than Boulder Dash there weren’t really any stand-out attractions (and the other three coasters were all below average). It certainly wasn’t a bad park, but I was just expecting a little better. Lake Compounce is the type of park I wouldn’t mind going back to, but don’t really care about doing so until they get something new. Also, next time I go, I definitely want to try out the waterpark, as it looked better than it sounded on the website (I skipped it mainly due to the weather, as I would have had plenty of time). Lake Compounce isn’t really an all-day park, but it is probably a ½ to 2/3 of a day park depending on whether or not you intend to use the waterpark.


Ride Count:



Saw Mill Plunge-1

Boulder Dash-5 (four during night ERT)


Down Time-3

The Trolly-2

Ghost Hunt-1

Thunder N’ Lightning-1

American Flyer-2

Zoomer’s Gas n’ Go-1


Kiddie Coaster-1


Total-21 rides in 6 hours (3.5 rides per hour)



I have a ton of pictures from this day, probably more than any of the other days on the trip. Although I started out the trip by taking quite a few pictures, after about the third day the number began to drop.


The North East USA 2011 Tour has begun!


First ride of the tour...Wooden Warrior.


First train of the trip, with Robb and his camera right in the front row.


It may look small, but this ride was really good. Certainly the best coaster under 50 ft. tall I've been on.


As Yoda would say, "Size matters not." I can't think of a better roller coaster example than Wooden Warrior. This was better than half the full-size woodies on the trip, and was definitely a suitable 150th credit.


Let's check out the park's other credit: Little Dipper.


It certainly is little, at only 12 ft. tall (I believe that is correct, but if not please correct me).


Although it is small, it is also quite fun, especially for a kiddie coaster.


Unlike the trip's other Little Dipper, this one was capable of handling a train full of coaster enthusiasts.


Despite its size, this ride was capable fitting several kids rides within its perimeter.


1952 steel roller coaster technology. That's right, this ride predates Matterhorn Bobsleds. Take that, Disney!


It may be sad and pathetic to ride a kiddie coaster, but it is even worse to have a solo ride on one.


Our lunch consisted of wood and paper. No, just kidding, we had hot dogs, burgers, and chicken. This wood block ended up being my only souvenir of the entire trip (I rarely spend money on souvenirs).


Let's check out the rest of Quassy.


Didn't ride this because Tilt-A-Whirls make me sick.


Didn't ride this because, while I'm fine with these rides going forward, when they go backward I get really dizzy really fast and I don't like that.


Yes. This is more my type of ride.


There is a lake at Quassy. That is probably why the park was originally called Lake Quassapaug.


This is the entire Saturation Station Waterpark. It only has the two slides and the funhouse.


However, this will be replacing the Mad Mouse for next season, and will make the waterpark worth visiting.


This is the smallest drop tower with an actual drop that I've ever seen.


Quassy is mainly a children's park with flat rides and classics such as the Carousel.


However, they have one other really good ride, The Big Flush Water Coaster. If you don't mind getting a bit wet, this is pretty fun.


Good-bye Wooden Warrior. Good-bye Quassy. Maybe I'll be back some day.


Oh no. Zoomerang means two things: 1. we are at Lake Compounce and 2. The North East Boomerang tour has begun. Get your survival kits ready.


For those who survive Zoomerang, they are rewarded with Boulder Dash, the best CCI ever built (based on my limited experience with 7 CCIs).


Most of this ride is hidden from view, and that really enhances the ride. There are a few surprises hidden within those trees.


Wildcat is twice the size of Wooden Warrior. Which one is better? Here's a hint: think small.


According to an employee, Down Time is 160 ft. tall. I think it looks more in the 180-200 ft range. Maybe the folks at Alabama Adventure can clear that up for us.


No matter the height, it's still an S&S, so while it is good it isn't as good as an Intamin.


The waterpark didn't sound too good on paper, and I skipped it due to the weather. It actually looked pretty fun.


The Lake Compounce Sky Ride, a 1997 Garaventa CTEC fixed grip quad. 1900 ft long with 700 ft of vertical. Operating at a line speed of 225 feet per minute, the ride has a capacity of 1000 people per hour and a ride duration of 17:36 (round trip). You can only see approximately one third of the ride in this picture. If you didn't understand any of this, you need to read my ski area trip reports (beginning for the 2011-2012 season this December).


I'm honestly more disappointed about missing this than I am about not getting the second credit of Le Monstre.


Thunder Rapids, which I was planning to ride until two minutes before I took this picture.


In about half a second, these people are going to find themselves in a floating hot tub (minus the heat).


Good Luck Guys.


Lake Compounce really is in a beautiful location.


Magic Mountain looks like mini mountain when compared with these peaks.


Check the video to see how crazy one of these rides can be.


The North East Tour Lake Compounce Skycoastin' team!


If I remember correctly, one of these three was a first timer. I've never done one of these, but your first time pulling the ripcord has to be scary as heck.


Even though I like these, I didn't ride this one because I didn't feel like it after dinner and never got back around to it.


And finally we end the night with ERT on one of the best coasters of the trip. What...no, not this. Kiddie Coaster was the most pathetic credit of the trip. I was talking about Boulder Dash.

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^Yeah, it really was unfortunate that the sky ride was closed. I was really looking forward to it. I imagine it is a bit like a first-timer visiting SFMM and finding out Goliath is closed when they get to the gate: it isn't the reason you came, but it is something you were excited about.


July 30th, 2011-North East Trip Day 2: Six Flags New England


Of all the parks on the North East trip, SFNE was the one I was looking forward to the most. From everything I’d heard, it was one of the best Six Flags parks, and it is well known as being home to one of the world’s best steel coasters. Also, this day had been opened up as a bash, which meant that there would be some extra people (I think there were around two hundred total). The only thing I was worried about were the Saturday crowds but this ended up not being a problem.


Although the bus left at 8 A.M., I was able to sleep until 7:15 A.M. and still have time for breakfast thanks to a two-night stay at our hotel. I was grateful for this, as it would be a long day (we weren’t scheduled to be back at the hotel until 11:45 P.M.). On the ride, Elissa talked a little bit about the park, and told us that thanks to Q-bots we wouldn’t have to worry about crowds. She also did a lesson on “Q-bots for beginners,” discussing how to use them and what they did. In no time at all we arrived at the park, then waited around for a bit until all the Bizarro Bash participants were registered. We were let inside and greeted by a park representative, who told us we would have an hour of morning ERT on Bizarro, Batman, and Gotham City Gauntlet. Elissa gave a final reminder for all the trip participants to meet at the Hurricane Harbor entrance at 10 A.M. for Q-bot distribution, and we were then escorted to DC Superhero Adventures to begin our ERT. Given that I really wanted to ride Bizarro, guess where I went to first.


That’s right, Gotham City Gauntlet.


Gotham City Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum-Yeah, I figured it would be a good idea to get the lowest capacity coaster out of the way first. This ride was okay. Not the best mouse I’ve been on, but not the worst either. There were no brakes for the switchbacks, which made those quite fun, but then the dips were taken at regular speed. This was my first Maurer Shone mouse and I think I prefer the Mack version to this (Mack mice seem a little smoother). D


Bizarro-Everyone knows that Bizarro was formerly known as Superman-Ride of Steel and was the best steel coaster in the world for several years. According to our trip participants, the Bizarro transformation has made the ride worse. I’d never been on the ride before the transformation, and I haven’t been on any other Intamin AG Mega Coasters, so I wasn’t quite sure to expect. After my one morning ride (only one train during morning ERT), I loved it, but didn’t think it was good enough to make it into my top ten list. After it had warmed up and I rode more, however…OMG best coaster I’ve ever been on. Most people love this ride because it is glass smooth and has more airtime than almost any other coaster on Earth. While these are both contributing factors, I like it for a different reason…it really has a little bit of everything. The ride has large drops, airtime hills, an overbanked turn, high-g helixes, tunnels, fog, theming (albeit low quality), on-board audio (also not spectacular, but not horrible), and is so smooth and fun I could ride it all day. There is only one complaint I have about the ride, and that is the lapbars. No, they are not the worst lapbars out there, but they are fairly uncomfortable and due to the operating procedures of this ride you will likely get stapled in. However, that is so minor in terms of the overall experience that I can overlook those. As the soundtrack says, “Bizarro #1. Bizarro! Bizarro! Bizarro! Bizarro!” A+


Batman-The Dark Knight-I like floorless coasters. They are my favorite type of looping coaster, and I have not been on a bad one yet. Batman-The Dark Knight is generally considered as one of the weaker floorless coasters, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. I still really liked this ride, and to date it is the only floorless I liked better in the back row (instead of the front). However, it is shorter than most, and it is a little bit rough (especially in the corkscrews). Good, but not great. B


After I did a couple rides on Batman, I headed back to Bizarro to retrieve my belongings from a lockbox (even during ERT these were required), then I walked all the way back to wait for Q-bot distribution. As I didn’t have a Flash Pass group, I just hung around until I found a group of three. As a result, I ended up grouping up with Dan (username unknown), Doug (DECoasterNerd), and Ian (Ian_D) (at least I think that’s correct…stupid name remembrance issues). Anyway, Doug and Dan had to retrieve their stuff from a locker still, so they did that while Ian and I headed into Hurricane Harbor for waterpark ERT.


Typhoon-I like watercoasters, and this was no exception. However, after going on Wildebeest a few days earlier, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed in a ride that is half as long. The conveyor belts were also weird, as it felt like the raft would skid to a stop and then instantly accelerate on each one. Overall, a fun ride, but if you’ve been on better I wouldn’t wait too long for it. Also, as far as launch mechanisms go, I would say this: Hydromagnetics are preferable to water jets which are preferable to conveyor belts. C


Tornado-Very standard tornado slide, identical to those that can be found at many waterparks. I prefer tornados that do more before the drop into the funnel, but even a simple one like this is still fun. C


After we got off Tornado, the waterpark opened and people came flooding in. If I was by myself, I probably would have done a few more rides, but I didn’t mind leaving because A. most of the other slides looked very standard, B. most of the other slides looked relatively short, and C. most of the other slides looked like they wouldn’t be worth the waits they’d get on a crowded Saturday. Yeah, overall, even though Hurricane Harbor has a lot of slides, it honestly doesn’t look like that good of waterpark (short slides, no theming, overcrowded, etc.).


Our Flash Pass group reunited outside the changing rooms, and we decided to see how many credits we could get done before lunch at 12:30 P.M. As it was about 11:15 P.M., that gave us a little over an hour. Without a Flash Pass, the answer would be zero or one. However, thanks to our flash pass, we managed three plus a flat.


Mind Eraser-Yeah, it’s an SLC. Prior to this trip, the only one of these I’d been on was Kong (a notoriously bad one). I can’t remember for sure, but I think Mind Eraser was a nearly decent ride. In other words, I would happily wait two trains to ride it again on a future visit, or maybe around 15-20 minutes if I’m riding with someone who wants to ride or needs the credit. In SLC terms, it didn’t kill me. D


Scream-I generally am not a huge fan of S&S rides. Scream, however, breaks that rule. Scream is an S&S combo tower, so you are first launched and then dropped. I believe it also has the capability to operate in Space Shot or Turbo Drop mode, which would decrease my enjoyment significantly, but putting both together into one ride makes it a whole lot better. Easily my favorite non-coaster ride at the park. A


Thunderbolt-A 1940s wooden coaster. This was mostly smooth (although there was one rough spot), and would be a good first major coaster for most kids. It is fairly tame, but does have a small amount of floater air. Unfortunately, due to one train operation, the Flash Pass line still took nearly twenty minutes. At least it was still much shorter than the normal line. C


Pandemonium-At this time, I have been on three Pandemoniums, and all three are a bit different. This one is the middle of the three. It has a nearly identical layout to the St. Louis version, but the setting isn’t quite as nice. However, it is still a bit better than the Discovery Kingdom ride. For whatever reason, this one felt like it spun the least out of the three, but it may have been just me. C


After we got off Pandemonium, we queued up Cyclone, but before it was time to ride it was time for lunch. Lunch was alright, not great, not bad, but it was probably a little better than what you’d normally find in the park. And for those who can drink (a group I am not yet a part of), there was unlimited free beer. I can’t confirm it for sure, but I am pretty sure that there were some drunk/intoxicated people at the event by the time of night ERT. Given that my Flash Pass group were among the last in the lunch area, and stopped for several more beers during the day, they may have been among those (not that I care too much).


In addition to a meal, the lunch included a Q&A session with a higher-up from the park (forget his name and position, but I think he was park president or general manager), followed by a game of TPR Quest. This is the third time I’ve been at an event with this game, and I have to congratulate Robb on coming up with a game that will probably never get old. Each time it is played, the items change, and they seem to get more random each game. Some old items return (a ClubTPR card, a park map from outside the US, a bra, etc.), but there were also plenty of new items as well (a human wheelbarrow, the best beer chugger, and a few others). This is always a fun game, and I really think Robb should continue having it at every TPR event if the crowd permits (but only at TPR only events, as other groups might not get it).


Once we were done with lunch, we headed to Cyclone, but as a nearby ride distracted up we opted for it first.


Catapult-This is honestly one of the most WTF rides I’ve ever seen. It looks like a giant fly swatter when in motion, as it consists of two platforms on opposite ends of a rotating arm. Elissa warned us that it was hardly ever open, so with a one cycle wait we decided to get it while we could. As much as I wanted to ride this, I was actually nervous about doing it (something that rarely happens with me anymore). However, the ride ended up being really good. In fact, this is probably my favorite inverting flat ride. It is extremely forceful during the bottom of the swing, so it was a bit uncomfortable, and the restraints were quite tight, but I still liked this ride. B


Cyclone-Apparently this ride used to be rough. From my experience, parts of it were a bit shaky, but not too bad. I think the topper track really helped, as the parts I expected to beat me up were some of the smoothest. Now, this ride, at least in the back seat, is probably the most intense coaster in the park. The reason? Although this ride’s first drop is only 30 feet or so, in the back car it has one of the most insane airtime moments I have experienced on any roller coaster. I seriously thought I was going to be ejected the first time I rode as I wasn’t expecting it. The first half of this ride has a couple other pops of air, but the second half is boring, and so slow that it feels like the ride is going to roll back. A good ride, but it dies too quickly to be great. C


Flashback-Apparently, this boomerang came from China. That would explain the gigantic air gates that look (and sound) like prison bars, as well as the extremely large and over-padded harnesses. Well, that padding does nothing. This ride sucked. It is the only boomerang I’ve been on that is actually worse than the one at Knott’s. I really hope this ride leaves within two years, especially since the park is getting Déjà Vu next year (much, much, much better than any boomerang), but if it doesn’t I do not plan to ride it ever again. F+


Blizzard River-I like rapids rides, and after missing the one at Lake Compounce I was even more excited about trying this one (which looked similar). I am really glad I did, as Blizzard River is now my favorite rapids ride (yes, better than Grizzly River Run). It is well themed for a Six Flags ride, fun without getting boring (some rapids rides do the same thing for too long), and had just the right level of wetness (soaked without getting drenched). I imagine that Lake Compounce’s was probably really good as well based on my experience on this, so I know I have two things to look forward to next time I get back to that park. B


Twister-I like floorless top spins, but I do not like normal top spins because the restraints are uncomfortable. However, since a couple other group members wanted to ride, I decided I’d do it with them. This ride had a relatively uninteresting cycle with only two or three flips. I could have missed it, as I enjoy my local top spin (Riptide at Knott’s) much more. D


After Twister, we queued up Splash Water Falls, but upon arriving found that the Flash Pass line was about 30 minutes. As this would require us to skip the backstage tour, we decided to come back later. Instead, my other group members got beers, then we headed over to the tour.


The Bizarro photo tour was pretty good, as the location allowed us to photograph not only Bizarro, but also Catwoman’s Whip, Mind Eraser, and Batman as well. I got a number of photos, most of which are probably similar to what others took. As a result, this day of my trip report will look very similar to those of other trip participants, but that isn’t a bad thing.


Once we were done with the tour, I went to get my last credit, Catwoman’s Whip.


Catwoman’s Whip-Meh, these Tivoli coasters are just okay. Of the three identical layout rides I’ve been on, this is probably my favorite as it has the most dense foliage, but it is still a “ride it for the credit” type coaster. For kids and families, these are good rides, but for everyone else they are a bit boring. F+


Houdini-The Great Escape-I was very impressed by this ride. It is at a Six Flags park, but the ride itself seems almost Disney quality. Some people were calling it a dark ride, but I think of it more as a simulator, as it simulates the room rotating and inverting (or you rotating and inverting inside a stationary room). The audio was fairly quiet so it was hard to hear what was going on, but the ride was still fun.C


Splash Water Falls-This ride looked neat, but it was actually a little disappointing. I was expecting it to spin the whole way down the flume, but it didn’t, and the ride really felt more like a slow waterslide that didn’t get you wet than anything. Also, due to the use of only three rafts it took a while even in the Flash Pass line. Very disappointing. F+


At this point, I went to retrieve my objects from the waterpark lockbox, then we got dinner. The service was way slower than it should have been, but I don’t blame the cashier because he had some lady yelling at him the whole time about not getting what she ordered. Of course, she didn’t have a receipt so they couldn’t help her. I was ticked off, however, by the number of people with souvenir cups that would jump to the front of the line to get a free refill. I really think there should either be a dedicated refill line, or customers should be required to wait in the regular line for refills. As a result, it took us 20 minutes to order with five people ahead, and then another 20 minutes to get our food. Ugh. I could tell the other members of my group were quite upset. I was annoyed, but I never expect good service at Six Flags parks (I have received very little elsewhere).


After dinner, we basically went and re-rode Pandemonium, Cyclone, and Scream, then handed in our Q-Bot and waited for night ERT to begin. We were going to ride Great Chase, but it was closed by the time we got back over there, so I missed the credit. In the hour of ERT, I ended up getting several rides on Bizarro and a couple shots at the surprise Gotham City Gauntlet Water Challenge. I will say this about the water challenge: holding a cup of water causes you to notice every little bump and jolt in the ride, especially ones you would normally overlook. On both runs, I did well on the switchbacks, but failed completely on the dips (first dip on run one, double dip on run two). As our team could only manage about two inches, and the leaders were at nine (or somewhere around that), we quit and headed back to Bizarro without taking a third run.


I got three rides on Bizarro, and was going to do a fourth, but once again I didn’t want to miss the bus. I headed out early with Elissa and a few others who had had enough of the long day. We got back on the bus, waited for about fifteen minutes while everyone made their way out, then headed back to the hotel.


Overall Thoughts:


Six Flags New England is a good park. It’s got a better selection of flat rides than most Six Flags parks, and the park is also fairly well balanced. Bizarro is really an amazing ride, and a couple of the other coasters aren’t bad either. In addition, there is an included waterpark (although, from looks it doesn’t look specifically great), and the food, while being standard Six Flags fare, seemed slightly better than at other parks. However, this is not my favorite Six Flags park. It is good, and I definitely would work it into another trip to the New England area, but I still prefer Six Flags Magic Mountain.


Here is my reasoning. To me, Six Flags parks are coaster parks. They are the place to go if you want to ride major coasters and not much else. When I go to one, I expect quality coasters. At SFMM, there are at least six coasters I would be willing to wait an hour or longer for, and there isn’t a single coaster I would skip by default. At SFNE, however, there are only one or two coasters I’d wait an hour or more for, and there are one or two that I would skip by default. This is one of the reasons why I am in support of the park installing Déjà Vu: they really need another good coaster, and relocating Déjà Vu is cheaper than buying a new ride. Besides, although it is a good ride at SFMM, it isn’t really needed there, and is overshadowed by the park’s other coasters. At SFNE, it would probably be the second or third best coaster in the park (depending on how well it survives the move). In addition, I would like to see SFNE add another B&M. Inverted, Flyer, Stand-Up…whatever, as long as it isn’t a Mega or a Floorless. Add those two coasters, and SFNE could become my favorite Six Flags park.


Ride Count


Gotham City Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum-3 (all during ERT-1 morning, 2 night)

Bizarro-4 (all during ERT-1 morning, 3 night)

Batman-The Dark Knight-2 (both during morning ERT)

Typhoon-2 (both during waterpark ERT)

Tornado-1 (during waterpark ERT)

Mind Eraser-1







Blizzard River-1


Catwoman’s Whip-1

Houdini-The Great Escape-1

Splash Water Falls-1


Total-27 rides in 14 hours (1.93 rides per hour)


The relatively low rides per hour is more due to taking it easy during the day than due to lines, as we never had a wait longer than twenty minutes and did everything we wanted to (minus a couple flats) plus several re-rides. Most of the time, on a TPR trip, I average 2-3 rides per hour or greater (skewed due to ERT).


Coaster Order


1. Bizarro

(large gap)

2. Batman-The Dark Knight

3. Pandemonium

4. Cyclone

5. Thunderbolt

6. Gotham City Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum

7. Mind Eraser

8. Catwoman’s Whip

9. Flashback



I’ve got a lot of pictures from this day, but two-thirds of them are from the backstage tour, so this may look similar to other photo trip reports from this day.


Welcome to Six Flags New England, the largest park in North East USA.


You can't have Bizarro Bash without ERT on Bizarro.


But we had ERT on Batman as well.


Although the ride was mostly smooth, this park did have some mild headbanging.


I really hope this SLC is better than Kong.


It was, but...oh no, it erased my memory of Bizarro.


I would rather ride SFNE's Scream than SFMM's Scream provided they have the same wait, but I would take SFMM's over SFNE's if it had a shorter wait.


I never got around to riding Christmas Ornament: The Ride.


As there were only four ornaments and they only seated two each (or three kids), and there was no Flash Pass, the line would have taken forever.


All three North End coasters can be seen in this picture. I wonder if a fourth will be visible next year.


I didn't ride the Coney Island version, but based on what I heard I think this one is probably better.


The Vengabus is coming, and everybody's jumping, New York to San Francisco, An intercity disco, The wheels of steel are turning...wait, what? Mr. Six got kicked out five years ago? Aw, man. Six Flags, you disappoint.


Judging by how close we are to the coaster, I'm guessing we're on the tour. I just wish I could remember which coaster this is a tour of.


It sure looks like an amazing ride...have we done this yet?


Whoever was in charge of location planning picked a horrible spot for that building.


That's right, this is the Catwoman's Whip backstage tour.


Man, Catwoman sure is popular. A lot of people ride her every day.


Mind Eraser eclipse. Come on...why does my head suddenly feel funny?


Hooray, the Mind Eraser eclipse restored my memory. This is Bizarro, and is the best coaster here.


Bizarro...through Bizarro.


This part of Bizarro is kind of like Millennium Force Jr.


I'm not sure if it is the best idea to stand under a Hang and Bang.


This is how close you could get to track. I'm guessing it was probably about ten feet away and blocked only by a fence.


I'm thinking Bizarro and that building are in some kind of a relationship. After all, there is some...nevermind, this is a family park.


Good, only one person has died in the park today.


You have to give Batman some exposure as well. After all, it is the second best coaster here.


Oh no, Batman eclipse. It will make you sound like Christian Bale in the Dark Knight. RUN AWAY!


Bizarro is so awesome, it can jump the sun in a single leap...without melting.


Disappointing water ride number 1, because it was a letdown.


Disappointing water ride number 2, because I skipped it and will never get another chance.


And finally, we'll end with a picture of Bizarro's light and mist tunnel...which is better than World of Color.

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July 31st, 2011-North East Trip Day 3: Playland & Funtown


Day three was one of my favorite days of the trip, partly because we visited one of my favorite parks, and partly because it was the most relaxing day. After our long, long day at Six Flags New England, it was nice to have a day where we could take it easy and still get everything done.


The day began with a 9 A.M. departure, followed by the first lengthy drive on the trip. I don’t remember the exact time, but it was about 3-4 hours since we had to go from Connecticut all the way to Maine. Along the way, we watched various TV shows, such as Simpsons, Kitchen Nightmares, South Park, and my favorite show for a TPR trip: Baggage. There were a few others, but I don’t remember them all. In addition, we had the first snack time of the trip. This was also the day where I switched over to Robb’s bus, which I remained on for the remainder of the tour, so no more stories from Brian. It’s nothing against him, I just knew more people on Robb’s bus and it was slightly less crowded.


Eventually, we arrived at our lunch stop, Jimmy the Greek’s. This is not a Greek restaurant, as the name might imply (and as I thought until I learned more), but is more of a sports bar. They had standard stuff you might find in a place like that, as well as many different types of beer. Of course, what you choose is up to you. For most group meals on TPR trips, unless they are done buffet style, you are given an allowance (typically $25) and are allowed to use it for whatever you want. You can choose an expensive dish with no drink (except water), no food and all alcohol, or anywhere in between. People sitting together can pool their cash and distribute it however they want (ex: a table of four has $100 between all of them), and if you do go a little over you can always pay Elissa. Occasionally, heavy drinkers will open up a personal bar tab, but I don’t think this is too common (especially on our trip, where we had two days of free beer already). I chose to sit with Skycoastin’ Steve, Jennifer (paiging_jen), and Neil (televisedconfession). I know I had pizza, and if I remember correctly so did Neil and Jennifer, while I think Steve got Fish n’ Chips. I thought the place was pretty good, but most places TPR visits are. It was also nice getting to chat with the others at my table, as I didn’t really see them much before or after this point.


A little bit behind schedule, we left Jimmy the Greeks and drove to Old Orchard Beach for our first park of the day.


Palace Playland


Let me start by saying this…Palace Playland is a permanent carnival. If you go expecting anything more, you will be disappointed. The park consists of rides set up on two city blocks, with a road in between them. However, it is right on the beach, so that gives visitors something else to do while they are there. A lot more people come for the beach than the park, as there were no lines anywhere outside of the two coasters (where the line was 90% TPR members).


We gathered at the ticket booth while Robb purchased tickets, then we were each given seven tickets (equivalent to one ride on each coaster) and told to meet by the entrance at 4 P.M. Most went for the Galaxi first. I, on the other hand, along with about twenty others, headed for Orient Express.


Orient Express-This is a family coaster, and looks identical to a ride that I rode a couple weeks previously at the Orange County Fair. The only difference is that the OC Fair’s is called Cobra and the train is a cobra (of course), while the train for Orient Express is an eastern dragon. However, the ride was just as rough, just as unpleasant, and just as pointless. D


Galaxi-I’ve been on one other Galaxi, the defunct Screaming Mummy at Pharaoh’s Adventure Park. While this one was in better shape, I think the Pharaoh’s ride was a better ride. However, even though it is in semi-decent condition, this ride is still just a carnival coaster and wins the award for the sketchiest coaster of the tour. They were running three trains, but the ride is entirely manually operated. An operator sits at the load point with several buttons, and each controls a set of brakes on the ride. I’m sure if the brakes weren’t applied correctly, you would either hit the unload platform too fast or would stall on your way there. A second operator here is in charge of locking the lap bars, then when it is clear they hold down a button to lower the block in front of the train. If they don’t raise it quickly enough after the train has passed, they will accidentally dispatch two trains, as the next one sits behind the first with nothing else holding it back. Finally, at the unload point, there is a third operator, who has a large brake lever and must stop the car at the correct position. Yeah…at least the operators weren’t total carnies. The ride was just okay…not good, not bad. C


After I got off Galaxi, I walked down to the beach (but for some reason didn’t consider going into the water). I walked around the crowded beach for about ten minutes, then emptied my shoes and walked back into the park. I checked my watch and discovered that I had 45 minutes left. 45 minutes! Instead of walking around the town like most people did, I went to the ticket booth and purchased ten tickets ($1.20 a ticket, so $12) just so I would have something to do. As every ride at the park (or something like it) except the Galaxi and Power Surge (which would have made me sick) had appeared at my local fair a couple weeks before the trip, I wasn’t sure what I’d use my tickets on. I eventually decided to try what appeared to be the most thrilling ride first.


Adrenalin-This is smaller than other, similar rides I have done elsewhere. However, I still think this was a lot of fun. The ride spun quite a bit, and it was actually a decent cycle. However, it was a little on the short side, but I still really enjoyed the ride. Probably the best ride at Palace Playland. A


I next headed over to Moby Dick, but as soon as I saw that the ride was four tickets and not three, I decided to skip it. I also passed up the Euro Slide (did the same thing at Quassy) and the Fiesta Loca (not a huge fan of spinners). I ended up deciding to do Cascade Falls, even though it’s a fairly pathetic log flume and identical to the one at the OC Fair. However, I’m really glad I did because as I was walking up to the station, there was a mom and a couple kids. The two kids wanted to ride, but the mom didn’t, and the operator was telling her that they couldn’t ride without an adult. They were about to leave, but I told the mom I was by myself and they could ride with me if they wanted to, so I essentially loaned myself to a parent (the opposite of borrowing a kid).


Cascade Falls-I know it is a fairly pathetic log flume with a simple layout, but I actually found it somewhat fun. The ride just goes up a lift, around a turn, down a drop, around another turn, and repeats (see picture). However, it does get you a little wet, and the bigger drop is at least decent. C


After getting off and being thanked by every member of the kids’ family (their mom, dad, and grandparents were there), I headed back across the street to the smaller section of the park. As I was walking around here, I noticed the fun house and decided to do it.


Grand Orient Fun House-I love funhouses, and that is the primary reason I continue to go to the OC Fair every year (they aren’t common in normal parks). This one was small, and it was so bad it was actually a little fun. The funhouse had a few of the more common gags, such as sliding/tilting/rotating platforms, rollers, punching bags, bungee cords, and a rotating barrel, but there were several rooms that were randomly empty and some of the effects weren’t on. Now that I’ve done it once, it isn’t worth paying $2.40 to do a second time. D


As I got off the funhouse, I noticed Steve, and he asked me if it was any good. Of course, I told him he should try it, so he got a couple tickets and did it, along with Skycoastin’ Steve (who was also nearby). I watched them, then walked around taking pictures. I was going to buy a few more tickets to do Drop Zone, but since it looked identical to the Quassy tower but with a different seating arrangement (5 x 3 instead of 3 x 3), I skipped it and hung out by the entrance as a group began to congregate. At 4 P.M., we began walking out toward the busses, and had to hurry across the street to beat a parade. Unfortunately, as the busses pulled away we realized that someone had been left behind (and I cannot remember who it was, but not someone I ever hung out with).


Overall Thoughts:


Palace Playland is a permanent carnival, nothing more, nothing less. If you are in Old Orchard Beach, it is worth an hour or two of your time if you want to do something different. Otherwise, don’t even bother.


Ride Count


Orient Express-1



Cascade Falls-1

Grand Orient Fun House-1


Total-5 rides in 1 hour (5 rides per hour, but that wasn’t really the goal)


After a short 15 minute drive, we arrived at the main park of the day.


Funtown Splashtown U.S.A.


Funtown Splashtown is the largest park in all of Maine, and is a combo amusement park/waterpark. Despite this, and the fact that they actually have a major coaster, the park is small. It felt about the same size as Castle Amusement Park here in California. Despite its size, the park did require more walking than I expected, as it is laid out in somewhat of a G shape.


We were all given our wristbands and meal tickets, then set loose in the park. As Splashtown closed at 6 P.M. and it was already after 4 P.M. when we arrived, I headed there first. I rented a locker and got changed, then hit the slides.


Corkscrew-A head first mat slide, but an older one that uses flat foam mats as opposed to the newer, easier to grip ones. As a result, when I dove down the slide, I almost lost my mat. As far as mat slides go, this one was probably my second favorite after High Extreme at Raging Waters San Dimas, as I prefer these types of slides to the standard mat-racer. C


Liquid Lightning-This was not only my favorite of the two tube slides I did here, but it is one of my top five tube slides. The ride doesn’t look like much, but it goes fairly fast and feels as if you are going to tip over at a couple points. It’s not the longest ride out there, but it is still quite fun, and is worth the wait. A


Splash-An enclosed tube slide, but in a transparent tube. We chose this one since it had a shorter wait than the dark tube. It wasn’t great, but is far from the worst tube slide I’ve been on. Still, with my limited time, I didn’t care to do the similar, but dark, Splish. D


Tornado-We were going to do this one at the end, but as there was a lifeguard getting ready to close it we opted to go here first. I joined up with a couple other people (whose names I forget) for this one, as no singles are allowed. It was better than the SFNE Tornado, but still not the best funnel I’ve done. I did like how the funnel was in the middle of the ride instead of the end, however. A


Speed Slides-I didn’t know about this until I got to Splashtown, and I wasn’t planning on doing it, but there was no line and it looked bizarre. Unlike most speed slides, which are a steep, straight drop from a 50-80 ft. platform, this one is a ramp from a 25 ft. platform. The ride starts out slow, then gets a bit steeper before leveling out in a pool instead of a runout. Was it any good? For kids, it probably is, but for me, it didn’t do anything. D


At this point, all the lines were closed, so I got changed, returned my key, and headed back to Funtown. Honestly, if you are just going for slides and nothing else, Splashtown is a really good water park. It’s not the best, but it does have enough for a couple hours and it will be getting six more slides next year. However, if you are into lazy rivers or wave pools, this isn’t your waterpark. There really isn’t anything here other than slides and a kids area. Even though I like waterslides better than many non-coaster rides, I wasn’t going to bother with doing this one, but as I skipped the Lake Compounce waterpark and never planned on doing Splashwater Kingdom, as well as getting minimal waterpark time the day before, I chose to enjoy an hour or so at Splashtown. I’m glad I did.


When I headed back into the park, I decided I’d do a few rides and then get dinner. Well, might as well start with the credits. Also, as you will likely see if you read other trip reports, this is the first park on the trip where my opinions began to differ significantly from the majority.


Wild Mouse-This ride was exactly the same as the Gotham City Gauntlet mouse at Six Flags New England, but minus the cups of water. In addition, there was a no single rider rule, so I had to wait until a couple other people showed up before I could ride. Fortunately, it only took a couple minutes, and there was no line anyway. As for the ride, it was like GCGEFAA, but not as good. In fact, it hurt a little.D


Excalibur-Okay, I was expecting nothing out of this ride. It looked fun, but I was expecting it to be rough and my least favorite CCI. I ended up loving it. Not only is the ride the smoothest CCI I’ve been on, it really delivers a lot of airtime in the first half. I would almost say this is like junior GhostRider, but much smoother than current GhostRider. If it weren’t for the forceless double-helix ending, this would be one of my top five wooden coasters. As it is, the ride falls at 10th place, just one spot lower than GhostRider. I did think it was that good, and would recommend coming to this park to ride this the next time you are in Maine. Second-biggest surprise of the trip. A-


Astrosphere-What did I know about the Astrosphere pre-trip? It’s an indoor scrambler with special effects. I had no idea that it was so detailed. The ride began like a normal scrambler, but as soon as the lights went out and E.L.O.’s “Fire on High” began playing, I knew it would be something awesome. The ride has normal lights set up all over the dome, but also has projections, strobes, disco balls, and lasers. The best way to describe it is a scrambler mixed with a light show mixed with a rave. The ride isn’t the most intense scrambler, which is probably a good thing, but it is certainly fast enough, considering the cycle lasts at least three to four minutes. I also love how this ride is treated as an experience rather than just a ride. Before riding, everyone is told what they are about to experience while inside of a dark tunnel, and is given the chance to exit if they can’t handle it. Following the ride, the employees “debrief” you before letting you out. I get a sense that they really have a lot of pride in this attraction, and rightfully so. There are very few flat rides I ride multiple times in a day, and I rode this twice, and would have done it over and over again if I had more time. As I said, go for Excalibur, but ride this as well. In my opinion, the world’s best scrambler, hands down. A


Dragon’s Descent-First, any ride involving dragons gets bonus points in my book. Second, this ride was the tallest S&S on the trip, so it was certainly one of the best (hard to say for sure, but probably second after Scream). Third, this ride held you at the top for a really, really, really long time. I am used to Supreme Scream, which waits about 3-4 seconds before dropping, and most other towers I’ve been on wait about 6-7 seconds. I timed Dragon’s Descent on one cycle, and it waited a full 14 seconds at the top. This one also seemed to give a pretty good downward shot, though it may just have been my slightly foggy memory (I was still hearing “Fire on High” in my head when I rode this). Great fun, worth multiple rides, and some of the best theming I’ve seen on an S&S tower. B


After Dragon’s Descent, it was already past seven, so I decided to grab something for dinner. I redeemed my voucher for a hot dog, fries, and a drink (never got around to the ice cream). Whatever the place was that I picked, it seemed popular as I found many other TPR members here, including the group I had hung out with at Compounce (at Funtown, I was by myself pretty much the whole time and I hung out with some others at Splashtown). As they were headed for the log ride, I decided to join them for a ride.


Thunder Falls Log Flume-Another concrete flume, so not the most comfortable ride. However, this one wasn’t as rough as the one at Holiday World, and it was a bit longer. I enjoyed this ride, especially since it had a pretty decent drop (although there was only one significant one). Not the best, but not bad either. C


Once we were done, the group decided to do some flats, and I was on my own again. I chose to do the closest ride next.


Antique Cars-This was a long ride, but it was partly because the cars were slow. Still, the layout was pretty good, and this was the best of the three car rides I did on this trip. I wouldn’t have wanted to wait much more than I did for them (about ten minutes), but I’m glad I rode. C


At this point, I decided to head back over to the Astrosphere, as there was a scheduled TPR takeover at 8 P.M. Just as I arrived, TPR members began to get in line, so I jumped in with the group. I have a feeling everyone enjoyed the ride, and as I was on the first of three TPR cycles, I had a bit of time before heading to the Tea Cups for the takeover at 8:30 P.M. As a result, I chose to do a second ride on Dragon’s Descent, then headed over to the teacups takeover.


Tempest in the Tea Cups-Well, the takeover failed. Not only was the ride half-full, but even with four people we couldn’t spin the cup much. So much for an insane ride. Oh well. F+


As there was still time before ERT, I chose to do a nearby ride.


Flying Trapeze-Most swing rides I’ve been on are Waveswingers. This one is a YoYo. They both give different rides. I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other, but I do think the YoYos are slightly more intense. I enjoyed the ride, but didn’t find it any different from a standard model. C


At this point, I headed over to Excalibur for our night ERT. Since the ride only has one train, the park was doing double rides. We were going to play “Pass the Sword” on the ride, but unfortunately the park wouldn’t let us. Too bad. The ride was still fun, and was even better at night. After three double rides, I took a break and watched the Pac-Men grow. Apparently there was a special in the Skee-Ball tent, and a lot of TPR members took part. Toward the end of ERT, I hopped back on the ride for one final lap, then joined the remaining folks on a walk out to the bus. We got on, then headed down to New Hampshire to get to our hotel. On the bus, we had the first “Storytime with Canadian Nick,” where Nick would get up and tell a story. I’ve got to say, some of them were quite good, and I’m sure being a paramedic gives plenty of stories to tell.


Overall Thoughts


I really enjoyed Funtown Splashtown U.S.A. In fact, I think it was probably my favorite small park of the trip. The place reminded me a lot of Castle Amusement Park, a small park in Riverside, California that I enjoy visiting every few years. However, Castle Amusement Park doesn’t have a top-tier coaster or an amazing flat ride yet, and that is what sets Funtown apart. It is a small, out of the way park that has a couple of the best rides I’ve been on. In fact, it is probably my second favorite small park after Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, and is certainly one I would like to visit again when/if I return to Maine. It isn’t a whole day park, especially thanks to the lack of lines, but for a half-day outing it would be difficult to find somewhere more fun to go. Really, unless you’re looking for thrill rides, this is an excellent place to visit, as only Excalibur and Dragon’s Descent are true thrill attractions.


Ride Count:



Liquid Lightning-1



Speed Slide-1

Wild Mouse-1

Excalibur-8 (seven during night ERT)


Dragon’s Descent-2

Thunder Falls Log Flume-1

Antique Cars-1

Tempest in the Tea Cups-1

Flying Trapeze-1


Total-22 rides in 6 hours (3.67 rides per hour)




Time for lunch at Jimmy the Greek's. This was the surprise restaurant that wasn't announced until the itinerary was handed out on day one.


Old Orchard Beach. Unfortunately, there would be no TPR beach party on this trip.


We were just here for a quick stop to add a couple credits to our counts.


Here is how much it will cost you if you want to get the two credits. Each ticket is $1.20, and most rides are three or four tickets.


Both credits are actually across a street from the entrance.


Galaxi was on the larger side for a fair coaster, a bit ghetto, and less fun than the Hi-Miler.


Okay, I'm done with the credits. What should I do next?


Adrenalin looks like fun. Let's try that out.


This Euroslide is only about half the size of the one at my local fair. It's not worth two tickets.


This is the ride where I loaned myself to a parent. It was more fun than either coaster.


This was actually the first time I've seen a portable waveswinger. My fair always has a YoYo.


I've always wondered if a pirate ship is acutally seaworthy.


Super hokey busted funhouse with a foreign language on it.


The ferris wheel looked relatively new. I didn't investigate further.


Although the park was fairly empty, the surrounding area was quite busy.


I guess people were visiting the various stores next to the park.


Hmm...I wonder why so many TPR members decided to wait outside this store...maybe there'll be something going on at the hotel tonight.


This is the most unusual seating arrangement I've seen on a drop tower. They are ususally 3 x 3 or 4 x 2, with occasional towers being 4 x 4.


I should have done this since none of my local parks have one and I didn't see another one on the trip. Maybe next year.


"Okay, we've been here long enough, let's leave this dump!" No, it wasn't actually that bad.


Hooray, a good park. I'm surprised I actually enjoyed this park better than Canobie.


First things first, get the mouse out of the way.


Yes! Time for the most awesome flat in the North East (excluding Catapult).


Inside that building, the magic happens. I won't tell you what the magic is, but I will tell you that after the Astrosphere, a normal scrambler will never satisfy you again.


There are very few S&S rides I truly enjoy. This is one of them.


"Hello! I'm the guardian of this ride. Don't worry, I won't bite, I'm friendly, just a little camera shy. That's why I defocused your image a bit. Just don't touch me, and be on the lookout for my relative down in New Hampshire tomorrow. May the G-Force be with you!"


I literally waited for the ride to stop at the top, pulled my camera out, turned it on, and took this picture all before it dropped.


I didn't take any more pictures because I was too busy having fun. However, here is the result Robb's OCD and the TPR Skee-Ball takeover.

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August 1st, 2011-North East Trip Day 4: Canobie Lake Park


The day of Canobie Lake was probably the latest start of the trip for two reasons. First, the park was less than fifteen minutes away from our hotel, so it wasn’t necessary to leave early. Second, the park didn’t open until 11 A.M., so our ERT didn’t start until 10 A.M. The bus was scheduled for a 9:30 A.M. departure, which is pretty late for a TPR trip.


When we got to the park, we were given wristbands, meal coupons and tickets, then told to wait outside until they were ready for us. At exactly 10 A.M., they opened the gates and let us in. At least a third of the group headed for Untamed. I, however, headed for Yankee Cannonball first.


Yankee Cannonball-For an old school wooden coaster, this one is actually pretty good. The ride is relatively smooth and does have a small amount of airtime. More than anything, however, it is simply fun. It is a basic out and back design, and while not the best out and back I’ve been on, it certainly isn’t the worst. Unfortunately, due to the rides operational policies, it is difficult to get your preferred seat unless you are at the front of the queue (no preferred seating, pick from what is available), and the line gets long due to mandatory one-train operation (it was consistently 30 minutes or more every time I walked past the line). A


After a couple rides on Yankee Cannonball, I decided to go check out Untamed, the new for 2011 Eurofighter and the other coaster open for our ERT.


Untamed-Prior to this trip, my only Eurofighter experience was Mystery Mine, which is one of my top ten steel coasters. While Untamed is not a bad ride, Mystery Mine it is not. The ride is very short (less than thirty seconds), has a compact twisting layout, and is a bit rough. I rode once in each possible seat combination (front inside, front outside, back inside, back outside), and while the back inside seat gave the smoothest ride, there were still a couple jolts. I have not decided whether I like Untamed or Yankee Cannonball better, because while Untamed is a more thrilling ride Yankee Cannonball is more re-rideable. A


As I was walking away from Untamed, I encountered quite a few general public people entering the park. I looked at my cellphone and noticed it was only 10:40 A.M., so I was all like, “What the heck? Did the park cut ERT short?” When I got back to Yankee Cannonball, I found out that this park does something a bit unusual: the park opens a half-hour before the rides do. There was someone at the entrance to Yankee Cannonball checking to make sure those who entered had TPR lanyards and wristbands, and asking everyone else to wait in an orderly line off to the side (which already had around a hundred people in it). I rode Yankee Cannonball again, then someone said Canobie Corkscrew was open so I headed over there.


Canobie Corkscrew-This was my first Arrow corkscrew, and I’ve actually always wanted to ride one since the original Corkscrew at Knott’s Berry Farm (an identical model) started the Golden Age of Steel Coasters. Corkscrew is a short and simple ride, and I actually found it somewhat enjoyable. It was a little rough, but not as bad as some other Arrows I’ve been on, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again on a repeat visit as long as the line wasn’t too bad. Judging from the comments of others getting off the ride, I think I’m in the minority here. C


Dragon-Yes, I do count this as a credit. I also hope that everyone else who rode it does as well. It is a simple double helix powered coaster that I assume is decent for kids, but for coaster enthusiasts it is just a ride for the credit. D


Following Dragon, I decided that I wanted to explore Canobie Lake on my own. I left my friends (who had stopped for a drink) and headed toward one end of the park, planning to hit all the majors in one direction, and stop at the less majors on the way back.


Policy Pond Saw Mill Log Flume Ride-I’m just going to say it…while others said this was a decent log flume, I didn’t find it to be that great. It is another concrete flume, and while not the roughest one there were a couple parts it was a good idea to brace for. It did have two drops, so it was better than some I’ve been on, but I wouldn’t care to wait in that long of line for another ride. D


Mine of Lost Souls-This is a totally cheesy dark ride that was actually pretty fun. However, the storyline made no sense. You begin by entering the mine, which involves a couple singing miners, and everything seems normal. However, then the Grim Reaper shows up and weird stuff happens. Somehow, you find yourself in Egypt, then you’re faced with a headhunter. Finally, the Grim Reaper blows you up and the ride ends. WTF? It was just so cheesy that I waited in the twenty minute line twice, hoping to make sense of it all. No good. C


Starblaster-All double shots are awesome, but this is one of the more awesome ones. Although not as intense as Dragon’s Tower at Castle Amusement Park (still the most intense S&S tower I’ve done), this one did give you quite a bit of airtime at the top. Unfortunately, the loading process was a bit slow and unorganized here, so even though it was only a three cycle wait it took at least ten minutes. A


Boston Tea Party-I heard that this was a very wet splash boat ride. However, when I got in line, I looked at the drop and thought, “That isn’t even very large or steep. How is this ride so wet?” Well, I rode, and got absolutely soaked. Turns out that the boats throw water into the air, causing you to shoot right through a tidal wave and drenching everyone on board. This was the wettest water ride of the trip, and was my favorite of Canobie’s three water rides. D


Once I got off the Tea Party, I decided to go get something for lunch. As I was trying to locate one of the allowed food stands, I found several places that looked very similar to the RCT food stalls. I guess those do really exist. Others said that this park was cute, and I have to somewhat agree with them. At a couple points, I did literally feel like I fell into a park on RCT that I had designed. Eventually, I found a place to eat and got a hot dog, fries, and a drink. I had my lunch, then headed back to where I wanted to go.


Sky Ride-When I got on this, I was hoping it would drop me off near the Psycho Drome. From the queue, I saw four towers, with the chair descending toward the far end. It looked to be going toward the Psycho Drome. I should have been paying more attention to the people on the chairs, however, as that would have told me what I needed to know. Once I got to the midway point on the ride, I realized it would take me near the Psycho Drome. However, I also saw two signs that are commonly seen at ski areas: “Do Not Unload Here” and “No Downhill Loading.” Yep, it was a round trip only ride. While it was fun to ride the bullwheel for once (even at low speed), and while I am a fan of chairlifts, I probably wouldn’t have bothered had I known it was a round trip since the line was twenty minutes. A good way to see this side of the park, but…yeah. F+


Caterpillar-This was the biggest benefit of the Sky Ride, as I probably wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. It turns out that Canobie has an old-style caterpillar, and it was a lot of fun. The ride didn’t go as fast as I expected it to, but it only went forwards, so I was able to ride without getting sick. B


Psycho Drome-After the awesomeness of the Astrosphere the previous day, I wasn’t expecting nearly as much out of the Psycho Drome. This turned out to be a good thing, as the ride was not nearly as awesome. The normal lights were left on during the entire cycle, and there were very few show lights in operation (I think there might have been two). It really just felt like an indoor scrambler that played techno music (and not-so-good techno at that). The one thing I will give it, however, is that it did go fairly fast for a scrambler, but it was still a little bit of a letdown. B


Pirata-A pretty standard pirate ship. This one seemed like it had a long cycle, but it didn’t seem that great. I only bothered with it since there was no line and the flat I wanted to ride (Xtreme Frisbee) was broken. D


Tall Timber Splash-As I was walking up the stairs, I noticed a sign that said, “The left path is for the wet slide.” I totally expected it to say below that, “The right path is for the dry slide,” but it instead said, “The right path is for the WETTER slide.” Very funny. Anyway, I decided to just do the wet slide, and it wasn’t very wet. Since the line wasn’t very long, I figured, “How much worse can the wetter slide be?” and decided to try it as well. Big Mistake! Not only did I get soaked (which I wanted to avoid when we would be leaving for a long bus ride in less than an hour and a half), it wasn’t as good as the wet slide. However, neither slide was that great, and they seemed very similar (if not identical) to the defunct Yosemite Sam Sierra Falls. D


After Tall Timber Splash, I did my second ride on Mine of Lost Souls as I didn’t think I’d have enough time to get back here again before we left. I then decided to do a couple minor rides that I had missed out on earlier.


Turkish Twist-My only rotor experience prior to this was Spin Out at SFMM, and that was so slow I slid down the wall when the floor dropped. As a result, I was going to skip this. Even though it is right in the center of the park, it took me forever to find, and when I stumbled on it they were loading so I figured I’d give it a try. It was actually pretty good. I stuck to the wall during the whole cycle, and it seemed more forceful than the newer Gravitron rides I’m used to. I’m glad to see that this park is keeping so many classics instead of replacing them with newer, updated technology. C


Antique Cars-I was going to do the Canobie 500 since it looked like a better ride, but unfortunately the line was prohibitive. As a result, I was stuck with the much shorter Antique Cars, which, not surprisingly, didn’t have a line. The ride was short and pretty boring. F


When I got off the Antique Cars, I saw several TPR people walking past. They were heading for the Starblaster, so I decided to ride that once more on the way out of the park. I then stopped at a bathroom by the exit, then headed out to the bus and got ready for the longest drive of the trip.


Overall Thoughts


I like Canobie Lake Park. I really do. However, I did not think it was the best small park like many did on the trip. The employees were nice, the food was okay, and the rides were decent, but unfortunately there were problems. Not only was almost every ride in the park low capacity (leading to longer waits than I expected), but there were very few that I thought were great. In my report above, I have assigned an A rating to a few rides, and that is mainly because they are the best in the park. Compared to similar rides, however, most of those A rides would be in the B category because they are not the best of their type. In fact, you could downgrade everything at the park except the coasters, Boston Tea Party, Mine of Lost Souls, and Psycho Drome. In addition, the park could really use one more major attraction, not another roller coaster, but something else, as it felt like there were very few rides here worth re-rides. Now, even though I did enjoy Funtown Splashtown U.S.A. a bit more than Canobie Lake Park, it really is a great park, and is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, but after everything I had heard about it I was a little let down. Like most small parks, however, I wouldn’t recommend a full day. Plan for two-thirds of a day, but you may be done in a half-day if you visit when the crowd is low.


Ride Count:


Yankee Cannonball-3 (all during morning ERT)

Untamed-4 (all during morning ERT)

Canobie Corkscrew-1


Policy Pond Saw Mill Log Flume Ride-1

Mine of Lost Souls-2


Boston Tea Party-1

Sky Ride-1


Psycho Drome-1


Tall Timber Splash-2

Turkish Twist-1

Antique Cars-1


Total-23 rides in 5 hours (4.6 rides per hour)


After we left the park, we got on the bus and headed for Canada. During this bus ride, I fell asleep for a brief period of time, as what was being shown didn’t interest me (I think it was the Simpsons, Family Guy, or Robot Chicken, none of which I am too into). We then drove up into the mountains of New Hampshire, and past Cannon Mountain ski area (yes, I find it noteworthy that we passed a ski area I have about a 2% chance of ever skiing at). We drove on for a bit more, then stopped for dinner. We were told, “You have one hour to grab something to eat before the bus leaves. We recommend you eat at Burger King, Subway, McDonalds, or Pizza Hut. There are other restaurants in the area, but be aware of the time.” The busses then pulled up next to McDonalds and dropped us of. Since that is my favorite of those fast food restaurants, I just ate there.


A short time later, we were back on the road heading to Canada. At this time, Robb decided to play Canadian Bacon. It was a relatively generic Comedy that was just okay (I’ve certainly seen worse, but I’ve also seen a lot of better comedies). Before the movie ended, we reached the border. According to the current policy, we were all required to get off the bus and have our passports stamped. Even though I’ve been to Canada once before (in 2008 to visit Niagara Falls), this was the first time I got a stamp. The process was quick and easy, and before long we were on our way.


We finished the movie and had another Snack Time, then headed onward to the hotel. As we neared the hotel, however, we all saw a disturbing sight: several downed power poles and a dark section of the city. Once we got back into the lights, I started looking at the addresses and did a double take. Before I knew it, the bus had made a u-turn. That is correct, our hotel had no power! Fortunately, we were still able to access our rooms since the locks ran on batteries. Everyone got out their Apple products (I used my iTouch as I don’t have an actual iPhone), and we made our way through the dark corridors to our rooms.


Once everyone had deposited their bags, we all congregated in the parking lot outside of the entrance and held the TPR Alcohol and Snack Exchange. Even though I am of age in Canada, I chose not to drink since I didn’t want to risk missing the bus or ruin my day at La Ronde (I didn’t know what type of effect alcohol would have on me and my cellphone alarm is unreliable). However, I did take part in the snacks, which weren’t quite as good as they were on the IntimidaTour, but were interesting. I also went and wandered around the parking lot and hotel a bit, which is quite creepy in the dark when you are alone. I felt like I was in some haunted abandoned building or something. I did try finding my room in the dark just in case my battery died or something, and was successful by counting my steps from the lobby (yes, this is how I entertain myself). I also retrieved my trip notebook and got it up to date under the moonlight. Shortly before 1 A.M., I headed inside and went to bed, as I would need to be up at 7:30 A.M. the next morning and I was expecting a tiring day at La Ronde.




The Canobie Lake day was the day where my number of photos began to decrease. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t find things to take pictures of, but I just didn’t feel as much like pulling my camera out of my pocket (when I am at a park, my camera is inside a plastic bag along with my cellphone in one of my cargo pockets).


Let's begin our day at Canobie Lake Park, home to many classic attractions, with a ride on a classic out and back.


Yankee Cannonball was fun, but I think I might prefer 21st century thrills.


Due to Canobie's 85 ft. height restriction, it is unlikely they will ever build a coaster taller than Untamed.


The entire setting of this ride is nice. I like how they themed the support columns to look like trees.


Yes, this is pretty much the entire ride. It really is short.


In addition to a modern looper, Canobie has an old-school looper as well.


Everyone on that train is getting screwed.


Time for the pseudo-credit.


"Hi, everyone. Welcome to my...oh crap! You people aren't kids. At least you aren't ACErs!"


"You may not be ACErs, but you're still quite heavy combined."


I do like dragons, but I think a two-tailed dragon looks a bit odd.


"Hey! Why are you taking pictures of my rear end? It doesn't matter how I look, you're going to insist on getting your credit either way."


Although this ride is named "Mini Dinos," I think they look more like dragons. Besides, most dinosaurs can't fly.


One of Canobie's newer flats, the Wave Blaster. I didn't ride because it goes backwards.


I really like how Canobie has a selection of both older flats like the Caterpillar...


And newer flats like the Skater.


Yay, a Sky Ride that is actually open.


This looked identical to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk ride. If so, it was made by Roebling.


Yeah, you can see pretty much the whole thing here. It probably wasn't more than about 400 ft. long.


Disappointing scrambler in a dome. It would have been better if they simply turned the normal lights off during the ride.


Less than two hours after we left the park, we're already in the mountains of Northern New Hampshire.


Cannon Mountain! I'll probably never ski here, but at least I've seen a North East ski area.


The McDonald's where I had dinner. I don't count McDonald's credits, or rank various McDonald's, because they are pretty much all the same.


A storm is coming. We got lucky on this trip, and never had rain delays at the parks.


As we learned from Canadian Bacon, all signs in Canada must be in both English...


And French.


It may not be that obvious, but there is not a single light on in this hotel.


Apparently, a tornado or other strong storm blew through here and damaged the power lines in the area. It also totaled the deck at a restaurant next to the hotel.


Everyone gathered outside the dark lobby waiting for the TPR Alcohol & Snack Exchange to begin. And that is where I end.

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Thanks for posting. I know it takes a lot of effort to post a review like this one


Thanks. It does take some time (on average, 1-2 hours to write and another 2-3 hours resizing pictures and uploading them), but at least it gives me something to do. I don't start school for another two weeks, and since everybody else is busy with school/work, I'm home by myself for a good part of the day. These keep me from getting bored.


Although we didn't have official ERT, the park gave all TPR trains double rides, which was almost as good.

Actually, we DID have official ERT. The park closed off the ride to the general public while TPR was riding.


I honestly did not realize that. I thought they had just let us in line first, then let everyone else line up behind our group. Bonus points to Quassy for closing their headliner attraction during operating hours for us. I doubt too many parks out there would be willing to do that (although I'm guessing it would be more likely at the small parks).


Now, onto my day in French Canada.


August 2nd, 2011-North East Trip Day 5: La Ronde


I got up in the morning at 7:30 A.M. As usual, I went into the bathroom, closed the door, and flipped the light switch. However, nothing happened. Yes, the power was still out in the hotel. I packed my stuff, grabbed breakfast, and headed out to the bus. It was around a half-hour drive (if I remember correctly) to the park, during which I took in all the French-Canadian stuff. As I don’t know French, I couldn’t read half the signs, but I could figure out what some of them were.


When we arrived at the park, the busses were taken into a backstage parking area that was right behind Monstre. We were greeted by representatives from the park, given tickets, and escorted to Goliath for our ERT session. Unfortunately, there was only one train running, and the delays due to filming combined with the slow operations resulted in it taking me 40 minutes to ride twice. Granted, I did wait for the front and back row, so that added a little bit, but I think in the whole hour of ERT there were only about ten trains sent.


Goliath-Goliath is a B&M Mega Coaster. It is a bit on the small side, but is still a fun ride. I don’t think this is the best B&M Mega, but it isn’t the worst either. The ride did have a bit of floater airtime, but it felt more like the airtime experienced on Intimdator than the airtime experienced on Apollo’s Chariot or Nitro despite having old style trains. Regardless of this, Goliath was definitely the best coaster at La Ronde and is the main reason for a coaster enthusiast to visit the park. Currently my favorite coaster in Canada, but if I get to Canada’s Wonderland next year I am 99% sure that will change. A


After my two rides, I decided to head to Monstre so I could get at least one ride in before it opened and the line grew. When I showed up, I found out I could only do one ride due to the park requiring a nearly full train (I think they said 20 riders were required, and the train seats 24) and there were only about 40 riders present, some of which were waiting for the other side. I got on board and waited until the ride was ready to dispatch.


Monstre-This ride was decent. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t specifically notable either. It’s very large, but it isn’t that intense and is nearly devoid of any airtime. Fortunately, it wasn’t too rough. Even though Monstre does have two tracks, they rarely ever race them. The tracks follow the same layout, but have different profiles, so I doubt this would be a good racer anyway. Since the line was reported at 45 minutes with a Flash Pass for the other track, I ended up only getting to ride one side of this coaster. C


After I got off Monstre, I immediately headed for Toboggan Nordique, as this ride was not included on the Flash Pass. Elissa had told us this would be where the Flash Passes were handed out, but since the line appeared short (the park had only opened about five minutes before I arrived, and people were just starting to back here), I decided to ride first.


Toboggan Nordique-I am really glad I only waited ten minutes for this. By the time I got off, the wait was an hour. This is the only Zamperla mouse I’ve been on and I have to say it was okay. I still think Mack builds the best mouse rides, but Zamperla’s aren’t bad. They are a bit slower and smaller than the competitors, however, and have a lower capacity (a sign at the ride said (translated) hourly objective: 300 people). Not bad, but still not worth more than about a fifteen minute wait, even if you don’t have the credit. D


When I got off, I met up with Kevin, who I had decided to group up with today. We waited for a couple others to show up. After a few minutes, we found another group of two and I really wish I could remember who they were (I think Ken (kcliff01) was one of them, but I really do not remember). Anyway, we decided to get as many credits in as we could before lunch, so that is what we set out to do.


Dragon-A lot of people thought this ride was pretty cool and I have to say that, as a ride, it was. This is a dark coaster, but there is a lot more theming inside than I would have expected, including several dragons and various light effects. However, as a coaster, the ride was very, very weak. There isn’t a single drop on the ride, and it pretty much consists of a few helixes and a couple slow, straight segments. I’m going to give it a two part rating: D as a ride, F as a coaster.


Ednor-L’Attaque-If there is one part of the day that showed the true colors of La Ronde best, it was this. We used our Flash Pass for the ride, and it still took a minimum of 45 minutes for us to ride AFTER we had gotten in line. Yes, they were only running one train, but according to a sign, the hourly objective for this ride is only 300 people when there is one train and 600 when there are two. WTF? Vekoma says that an SLC should be able to get around 1000 people per hour with two trains. With one train, they should be getting approximately half that, or 500 people per hour through the ride. I guess La Ronde really aims low. Oh, by the way, the ride was bad. I don’t know whether I prefer Kong or Ednor, but both are inferior to Mind Eraser and I would not wait more than two trains to ride either one again. D


Vampire-La Ronde has both an SLC and a Batman. In my opinion, I feel that if B&M designed an SLC it would be better than Batman. However, as it is, even an unthemed Batman like Vampire kicks an SLC’s butt, even when the SLC in question is placed over water and has water cannon effects. Vampire actually felt like it was more intense than most, as it seemed to fly through the course a bit faster. It isn’t my favorite Batman, but it is a pretty good one. C


Cobra-This is a clone of Shockwave/Batman The Escape, the first Intamin AG Stand-Up Coaster, which operated at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Great Adventure, and Six Flags AstroWorld before going into permanent storage at Darien Lake. Cobra is, unfortunately, the absolute worst stand-up I have been on (yes, even worse than the TOGO at Kings Dominion). Not only are the restraints very funky (half of the shoulder restraint is fixed, while the other half rotates down), the ride is extremely rough and uncomfortable, and has a fairly boring layout. I am really glad I got to ride this, as I’ve always been curious as to what Shockwave would have been like, but I don’t care to do it ever again. F+


After Cobra, it was almost 1:30 P.M., so we headed back over by Goliath for lunch. Unlike I was expecting, the meal was standard burgers and hot dogs, with no French-Canadian food in sight. This was both good, because I knew I’d like it, and bad, because I was hoping to try some poutine (which I never got around to, although I honestly doubt I would have liked it much). During lunch, Robb got up to the microphone and made three important announcements:


The Good: Hersheypark would be getting a custom Intamin AG coaster for 2012 named Skyrush. It would be similar to a mega coaster, but feature winged seats.


The Bad: Due to the line at Marche du Mille-Pattes, combined with the child policies, it would be very unlikely that we’d be able to get the credit. Fortunately, I wasn’t planning on it anyway.


The Worse: Boomerang was closed for maintenance, and would be down for the entire day. I had seen it closed and was just broken, but it looked like another credit would be down. At this point, I was in serious doubt about whether I would end up reaching 200 credits at Six Flags Great Adventure or not, as I didn’t think I’d get side two of Monstre and had already missed a credit at Six Flags New England.


However, this meant we had only one credit left to obtain at La Ronde, so we set out for that after lunch. Due to the nature of the ride, however, we made a detour first.


Spirale-Pretty basic observation tower, although it is a double decker. The spiel was in French, so I had no clue what was being said. Good view from the top, however. B


Super Manege-Hooray, the final credit at the park we had to obtain. However, it was a Vekoma Corkscrew, so I was prepared for the worst. Most reported this as being not too bad, and it really wasn’t too rough (except for a couple really bad jolts), but the ride was uncomfortable and quite boring. Like the Stand-Up, I really don’t care to do this one again either, but I would if I was with someone who needed the credit or just wanted to ride. F+


Once we got off Super Manege, we stopped at the shot stand (something you would never see in America). I passed, but everyone else got a shot or two, and we decided what to do next. Nobody cared about re-riding anything other than Goliath or Vampire, but I said I was also interested in possibly doing the Space Shot. We decided we’d make our way over there, but first we took a ride on Goliath (which was now running two trains without stacking! Go figure). Once we got off, we boarded the Minirail and headed back to the front of the park.


Minirail-Just a monorail around the park. Goes a bit slowly, but it’s a good way to get around, especially from Ednor to Vampire as there is no short path connecting those two. Also a decent way to see the park. D


We got off the Minirail and headed to Orbite, but on the way we passed Vertigo. Andrew and the other guy (I really do apologize for forgetting your name) rode, while I waited off with Ken. We then reserved Orbite, but it was a little wait before we could ride. As we were waiting, some other TPR members came off and told us it was worth it. Five minutes later, it was time to ride.


Orbite-I think this might have been a little overhyped. Sure, it was good, but it wasn’t amazing. It did have more airtime at the top than most Space Shots, but I still prefer the Double Shot, Combo Tower, or Turbo Drop to even the best Space Shots. C


We were going to re-ride Vampire, but due to the time on the Flash Pass we just wouldn’t be able to make it. Andrew and I decided to ride Disco Ronde, as we still had a little bit of time and it looked fun.


Disco Ronde-Relatively weak breakdance. I really didn’t think it spun that much, but at least we didn’t have to wait very long to ride. F+


Once we got off, we headed back to the Flash Pass office, handed Robb the Q-bot, then walked to the exit and back to the busses. At 4:45 P.M., we were on our way back to America.


Overall Thoughts


A lot of people despised, or at least strongly disliked, La Ronde. I, on the other hand, thought it was an okay park. It is not the worst park I’ve been to, even in the Six Flags chain, but it is far from the best. The park has a good selection of rides, although their coaster selection is not so good. Unlike many Six Flags parks, however, La Ronde has a lot of coasters without feeling like a coaster park. It doesn’t even feel like a Six Flags park, and I get the feeling that it is one of the parks in the chain Six Flags is mainly using to make money and not really putting too much into, but once the company is a bit more stable that may change.


La Ronde is really more of a mid-size park, but it gets massive crowds. Robb said he heard the park can get 40,000 people some days. This is probably due to the extremely short season (May-October, but only 96 operating days). Normally, I’d look at a park like this and figure a Flash Pass isn’t necessary, but that would be a big mistake. If you want any chance at getting the park done in less than a full open-to-close day, or you want to do anything other than ride each coaster once, you MUST purchase a Flash Pass. In fact, don’t get regular, get gold. Even with the gold level, however, it will still take you two-thirds of a day to do this park. You cannot credit run this place and be out in two hours like you can at other mid-size parks, so don’t even try. Is this a bad thing? No, not really, but it does mean that even with a Flash Pass you will be waiting in lines.


Now, the biggest complaint I’ve heard about La Ronde is that their operations suck. In all honesty, I wouldn’t say that, but I would say that they are very inconsistent. During the day, most rides were running one train when I rode them. Most of the time, the operators were taking their time dispatching the train, and it was not unusual for it to be in the station for two minutes or more on some coasters. However, later in the day, I saw two trains on Goliath, Monstre, Cobra, and Vampire, and guess what? They were all running, with the same crew, with minimal stacking. Now, if the Goliath crew can do a sixty second dispatch when there are two trains running, why don’t they do so when only a single train run? Furthermore, why doesn’t the park just open every ride with two trains, instead of waiting until later in the day to add it? This park can be quite puzzling, but at least they were able to go fast when they needed to (all coasters had lines upwards of an hour for pretty much the whole day).


Overall, however, I did enjoy my day at La Ronde as much as I could. The management treated TPR very well, and they honestly seemed like they were invested in giving us a good time (I heard they opened Vampire early for us, but I never went over to find out). It is not somewhere I care to go back to until they get another major coaster, but I wouldn’t dread the thought of returning. It is the only park on the trip I thought we could have used more time at, but at least I was able to accomplish my main objectives in the time we had (only missed out on a handful of non-coaster rides, the second side of Monstre and a second ride on Vampire).


Ride Count:


Goliath-3 (two during morning ERT)

Monstre-1 (during morning ERT)

Toboggan Nordique-1





Super Manege-1




Disco Ronde-1


Total-14 rides in 6 hours (2.33 rides per hour)


Coaster Order:


1. Goliath

2. Vampire

3. Monstre

4. Ednor-L’Attaque

5. Toboggan Nordique

6. Cobra

7. Super Manege

8. Dragon


Note: this is treating all rides like coasters. If you take the whole experience into account, Dragon would rank between Toboggan Nordique and Cobra.


After we left the park, we headed back to America, crossed the border (this time they just collected our passports and we stayed on the bus), watched more videos, had the final snack time of the trip, talked about Great Escape, had another Storytime with Canadian Nick, and did other random stuff until we arrived at the hotel, which was literally right down the road from Great Escape. We actually arrived early, but at 9:15, everyone who had signed up for the bonus dinner headed next door to Pizzeria Uno for dinner. I’m not a huge Pizza person, but I will say the deep dish pizzas were pretty good. The flatbread ones, however…yeah, not so great. I hung out here until close to 11 P.M., then headed back to the hotel room, updated my trip notebook, got a shower and went to bed.




I’m sorry to inform you that I have no pictures from this day. However, I do have a legitimate excuse. My camera battery died the night before, and due to a lack of power at the hotel there was no way to recharge it. As a result, you will have to refer to other trip reports to see what went on at La Ronde. There will be photos for the remaining two updates, which will hopefully be up this week, probably tomorrow and Thursday/Friday.

Edited by rcdude
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^ Again, nice report! Some good pictures of SFNE that I missed!


You totally should have stayed longer at the Canadia alcohol exchange.. it progressively got better, and more random! I had a long ass conversation with some random canadian who was walking by with his wife - I learned things about that country that I didn't know before the trip, so.. culture credit?


There are many other reasons to have a headache at La Ronde than the amount of alcohol consumed the night before..

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August 3rd, 2011-North East Trip Day 6: Great Escape & Magic Forest


The final official day of the North East trip was here. Although I would be doing the official add-on at Six Flags Great Adventure the next day, as would a number of the trip participants, this would be the last day we were all together as a group. That night, or the next morning, some members would head home, and others would join with a new group for the Road to Cedar Point trip.


All mornings begin the same way, and this one was no exception. 8:30 A.M. departure for Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom, which was conveniently located about five minutes down the road (we had just passed it the previous night). We got off the busses, had our tickets and Go Fast wristbands distributed to us, then we were walked back to the Comet for our hour of morning ERT.


Comet-The Comet really was one of the rides I was most looking forward to on the trip. It has been rated as one of the top twenty-five wood coasters in America for years, and has been renown for the airtime-filled ride it delivers. It also has a bit of history behind it, as the Comet was built from the remains of the legendary Crystal Beach Cyclone. After my first ride during ERT, however, I was disappointed. The ride was fun, but it didn’t deliver like I thought it would. Throughout the ERT session, it ran faster, but even on my ride later in the day it only delivered a moderate amount of airtime, way less than I was expecting. I would say that this is the best traditional out-and-back I’ve been on, as well as the best ride at Great Escape for sure, but I really do think it is overrated. B


Once ERT ended, I headed around the park to collect all the credits before lunch. Mainly by coincidence, I ended up following nearly the same group of people I was with at Lake Compounce, and after a couple rides I just decided to stick with them for the day.


Alpine Bobsled-I’ve been on Disaster Transport, so I was interested in this so I could see how an outdoor Swiss Bob would stack up. While it was a better ride and felt more like a bobsled when it was outdoors, the ride was still just okay. It was different and a bit exciting, but was somewhat rough. D


Frankie’s Mine Train-I wasn’t planning on riding this, but after I heard that they were letting TPR members ride without a kid I stopped by to get the credit. I think this was probably the smoothest of the three Zamperla family gravity coasters I’ve been on, but it still wasn’t anything special. F+


Canyon Blaster-Wow, was this ride horrible? I was expecting a nice Arrow mine train, but this one was worse than Cedar Creek Mine Ride (which I strongly disliked). It was rough and uneventful, which is not a good combination for any roller coaster. F


Steamin’ Demon-I stated previously that I somewhat enjoyed the Canobie Corkscrew, an old-school Arrow corkscrew design. Steamin’ Demon is an old-school Arrow Loop & Corkscrew, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was rough, but it did have a slightly fun layout (unlike the mine train). F+


Desperado Plunge-Honestly, this would be one of the best flumes of the trip if it had A. a larger drop at the end and B. more comfortable logs. The ride is nice and long, and it does have a couple drops, but unfortunately the largest one is only about 25 ft. You get wet, but not soaked, which is how I prefer water rides. However, the logs are very uncomfortable (at least in my opinion). D


Boomerang Coast to Coaster-Finally, the last boomerang on the trip. One of the better ones, though not as good as the one at Lake Compounce. D


After Boomerang, it was time for lunch. Standard park food (hamburgers and hot dogs), but it was slightly better quality than the average Six Flags fare. Once everyone was in the picnic pavilion, it was time for a vote. In the morning, we had been told that the bus would leave at 3:45 P.M. At this point, it was about 12:30 P.M. Robb asked for a show of hands of who would like to leave early, at 3:00 P.M. Not surprisingly, about 2/3 of the group voted to leave early. I honestly didn’t care, because while I could have occupied myself until 3:45, after lunch I found myself getting tired of the park really quickly. When I was done, I joined a few people for the rapids ride.


Raging River-This was actually a really good rapids ride, and was quite long. It uses the same boats that Knott’s uses on theirs (6 riders, 3 sets of 2 seats), which I think are my favorite rapids ride boats. I got pretty wet on the ride, which seemed to keep going and going. I was only expecting it to be about two minutes long, but it probably ended up being five or six. A


When I got off the rapids, I went and re-rode Alpine Bobsled (mainly because Robb said there was a possibility it might be removed after the 2011 season, which it won’t be), and Comet (mainly because it was the park’s best ride). Then we headed toward the front of the park, stopping at a few rides on our way back to the exit.


Cannonball Express-Standard Himalaya ride. Felt a bit on the slow side, and only went forwards. Forwards only is a bonus, but the slow speed…yeah, glad there wasn’t a line for this one. F+


Swan Boats-A nice relaxing ride on the river. I’m usually not a huge fan of these rides, but I actually enjoyed this one somewhat. I don’t think I would have waited very long for it, but it was worth the short wait (ten minutes or so). A


Sasquatch-I don’t know the exact height of this tower (I think around 160 ft), but it was pretty fun either way. One side launches and the other one drops. Since Space Shots are my least favorite S&S rides, I only rode that side once. However, I rode the Turbo Drop side twice. It felt like it climbed to the top of the tower at an abnormally fast rate, and then when it reached the top it seemed to slip for several seconds before actually dropping. However, it was over after only two or three bounces. Still, Sasquatch was probably my favorite non-coaster ride in the park. A


I was going to ride Thunder Alley, but after getting off Sasquatch I decided it would be cutting the bus a little too close for my comfort. So, I stopped in the restroom, then headed out to the bus.


Overall Thoughts


A lot of people on the trip liked Great Escape. Most thought it was a nice park, and that it wasn’t anything like most Six Flags properties. I agree with that. However, when I go to a park, I go primarily to ride rides. I do enjoy the theming and atmosphere of the park, and I will say it adds to the experience, but I’d rather visit a park with good rides and minimal theming than a park with good theming and poor rides. Great Escape, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. Yes, I can enjoy myself at parks like Great Escape, but this is probably my least favorite mid-size park.


Let’s talk about Great Escape’s ride selection for a moment. In the coaster department, the park has Comet. It is definitely a good ride, but I don’t feel it is anything worth going out of your way for. The next best coaster in the park, Alpine Bobsled, is one I wouldn’t wait more than about ten minutes for (at most). The park just has a really poor collection of coasters, and I really think they do need at least one or two additional quality coasters. They don’t need to be world class thrill rides, but they need something. I really think this park would be a good candidate for a Euro-Fighter or similar coaster, as they give good rides and are relatively small and inexpensive compared to a B&M or Intamin creation. Pull out Canyon Blaster or Steamin’ Demon, replace it with a Euro-Fighter, and the park will have improved their coaster selection significantly.


As for non-coaster rides, the park has a lot of those. However, most are either generic or not that great. The more unique ones are fun, and are actually better than most of the park’s coasters, but I’d like to see more of those at the park. I heard they had some fairy-tale walkthroughs, but I didn’t investigate those so I don’t know how they were. As Great Escape is now, it is a great park for kids and families, but if you want thrill rides it’s not your destination. Adding a few non-coaster thrill rides would help with that, and would allow the park to have a bridge between the moderate intensity of a scrambler and the high thrill of an S&S tower.


The other major problem with the rides in this park is that they are all low capacity. Fortunately, we had Go Fast wristbands, which allow unlimited access to specific rides in the park. You just go up to the exit and wait in the Go Fast queue until there are seats available. However, policies with these wristbands were very inconsistent between rides. Some would wait for an entire vehicle load, then send a cycle with only Go Fast riders. Some would let a small number on the ride, and whether or not seating was restricted varied as well. Twice, there were specific seats for Go Fast riders, but I wasn’t informed of this until after I had already picked a different seat, and was forced to move. I don’t really like the Go Fast system, but I’d probably rather have it than no skip the line system. Most of the normal queues didn’t look too long, but I’m sure with the low capacity attractions they could take a little while (I had plenty of experience with that at Canobie).


As for Splashwater Kingdom, I didn’t actually take the time to visit this section of the park, but it looked pretty small. There were three innertube slides, two boat slides (which were closed), a bowl and a funnel. That’s it for the full-size slides. There is also a fun house, kids area, wave pool, and I think there was a lazy river but I can’t remember. Now, the park has announced a new slide tower for next year, which is a good step for the waterpark. However, they could still use a family raft slide to round out the offerings in the waterpark.


Overall, yes, I enjoyed my day at Great Escape even though I didn’t really like the park. However, I don’t really care to ever go back to the park unless I was in the area for some other reason, had a Six Flags season pass, and was with someone else who wanted to go. If you are in the area and have a Six Flags season pass, I would recommend stopping by the park for a half day or two-thirds of a day. However, it is not worth the visit otherwise.


Ride Count:


Comet-5 (four during morning ERT)

Alpine Bobsled-2

Frankie’s Mine Train-1

Canyon Blaster-1

Steamin’ Demon-1

Desperado Plunge-1

Boomerang Coast to Coaster-1

Raging River-1

Cannonball Express-1

Swan Boats-1



Total-18 rides in 7 hours (2.57 rides per hour)


Coaster Order:


1. Comet

2. Alpine Bobsled

3. Boomerang Coast to Coaster

4. Frankie’s Mine Train

5. Steamin’ Demon

6. Canyon Blaster


We left Great Escape and headed down the road to Lake George for the final official credit of the trip. I was not aware of it, but it turns out there is a place named Magic Forest Park about fifteen minutes from Great Escape. Robb and Elissa didn’t tell us about it until we left, but they had arranged for us to get the kiddie credit at the park. I have a feeling they try to include a bonus credit on every trip, and this one was even more of a surprise than the one on the IntimidaTour (we were told about that one early on, but not that it was Python Pit at Go-Karts Plus until the day we visited).


We got to the park, which was obviously a kiddie park, and our group of ninety adults lined up for the Roller Coaster (yes, that is the ride’s name). Of course, our group got some funny looks from parents. Now, Robb had told us to put as many people on as we could to move the line quickly, but whatever we did, don’t break it. So, the operators allowed the group to load twelve people on the train (it seats twelve). They sent the first train, and it made it most of the way up the lift, then stopped. Oh no, we broke it!


In reality, we didn’t end up damaging the ride, which was certainly surprising. When the train rolled back, the chain bounced all over the place as it skipped on the gears, and the entire thing looked like it was going to snap or derail. However, the operator gave the train a push and tried again. No luck. After three failed attempts, the back car was unloaded and the ride finally made it around. From that point, we were only allowed to put eight on the train, and a maintenance worker was watching the ride carefully while our group rode.


If you have not seen Robb’s video in the official update of this ride, you need to. The rollback was one of the most random hilarious moments of the trip, and it was all caught on film. Anyway, I ended up getting on the fifth or six train.


Roller Coaster-It’s quite interesting that the first day of the trip and the last day of the trip both had identical Allen Herschell Little Dippers, as that is all this was. I personally thought this one was a little smoother than the Quassy model and it had a nicer setting. However, it’s still a kiddie coaster, and is still just a credit for adults. C, but only for kids.


On my way out of the park, I took some time to take a few pictures and look at a couple of displays. Magic Forest Park really looks like a pretty good kiddie park. There are lots of small rides for them to enjoy, as well as a few larger rides that parents can ride as well. However, the park is totally random. All over the place are miscellaneous statues and fairy tale displays, some of which look very out of place. I don’t know how they got such a bizarre collection, but it certainly adds something interesting to the park.


Once we all had the credit, the busses left the park and headed for the location of our farewell dinner: Carrabba’s. I’m not the biggest fan of Italian food, but for whatever reason I really like Carrabba’s. I had my first experience with this restaurant on the IntimidaTour, and since they don’t exist in California I don’t have the ability to visit on a regular basis. While it is not my favorite restaurant, it is probably my favorite Italian one and I would much rather eat here than at a Macaroni Grill or Olive Garden.


After everyone was done with dinner, the busses departed from the restaurant and headed back to Newark. Along the way, we talked about the 2012 TPR trips. We were told the same list of trips that were on the questionnaire, but with one change: instead of LeviaTHON, there was a Southern California trip. I’m guessing they got switched after LeviaTHON was announced, but we were also told Southern California might be delayed depending on when/if Knott’s new coaster would be opening. At the time, with what trips were announced, I was thinking I probably wouldn’t be on a 2012 trip (although the NEW HOTNESS USA trip sounded great had I not visited most of those parks already). We also talked about future trips, and it sounds like most of the Europe and Asia trips will be repeated by 2014, and there will be some new ones as well. Unfortunately, the USA trip I would probably be most interested in (Orlando/Central Florida) probably won’t be happening any time soon as an official TPR trip.


At about 10:30 P.M., we arrived back at the hotel in Newark, the very same one we began at. Here, we were greeted by the Road to Cedar Point trip participants. A lot of North East trippers hung out with them downstairs in the bar or lobby until late at night. I, on the other hand, went to bed somewhat early. The next day was going to be the longest day of the trip by far, and one of the longest days on any trip, period.




Welcome to Six Flags Great Escape. We just don't call ourselves Six Flags because we are not a coaster park.


You know it's time for ERT when there is a mob of coaster enthusiasts heading toward the ride.


Although a bit overrated, the Comet is a really good traditional out-and-back coaster.


The history of the ride. It was quite interesting.


Other than Comet, however, there were very few good rides at the park.


Good thing I still have my Boomerang Survival Kit.


Fortunately, this one wasn't that bad.


The drop really isn't that big or wet on this ride. The water cannons, however, will get you soaked when a skilled guest is at the controls.


At least half of Splashwater Kingdom's slides are visible in this picture.


As much as I like skyrides, this one moved slower than molasses in the summer, so I passed.


The second-best ride at the park. Yeah, moving on...


Time to enter the Magic Forest.


I wonder what most people think when they see a group of adults in line for a kiddie coaster. They probably think were freaks or something, or we have issues.


There is indeed one of these here, and that is the only reason we came.


The Roller Coaster in all its glory.


This is nearly identical to a picture I posted in the Quassy report.


Same angle, similar result...yes, both Little Dippers are identical, except...


This one needs a lunch break.


In addition to the coaster, this park had various kids rides...


A petting zoo...


Another old-school wooden slide...


A miniature carousel...


And lots of funky statues, including a muffler man (not pictured).


The whole park is set in an authentic forest, and there is a train surrounding it. The place reminded me a bit of Traintown in Sonoma, California, but fairy-tale themed.


And I'll end with my favorite attraction, the kiddie tank ride.

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The last day of the North East USA trip, and the first day of the Road to Cedar Point trip (for those on that tour) was at the East Coast park I have most wanted to visit for quite some time.


August 4th, 2011-North East Trip Day 7: Six Flags Great Adventure Add-On


Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the largest parks on the East Coast, one of the premier parks in the Six Flags Chain, and home to a few of the best coasters in the country. At least, this is what the park claims. It is also said to be one of the busiest parks, with lines regularly reaching two to three hours for El Toro and Kingda Ka, and over an hour for all other major coasters. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of Robb & Elissa, we had ERT on five of the park’s coasters, and Gold Flash Passes, so lines were not a problem at all. However, the one downside to this amazing day was the length.


As we were staying in Newark, we had about a 90 minute drive to the park in the morning. This necessitated a departure time of 7:00 A.M. so we would arrive in time for morning ERT. Everyone was tired in the morning, and I know several people slept on the bus. However, we made it there quicker than I was expecting. We were given tickets, then led to the entrance. After everyone went through security, we were walked back to Movietown, where we had an hour of ERT on two of the park’s coasters: Nitro and Dark Knight.


Nitro-Nitro is an all-around amazing ride. It isn’t really what I would call “intense,” but more what I would call “fun.” The ride has a lot of airtime and a couple points with fairly strong positive force, and is glass smooth. It is not my favorite B&M Mega Coaster (that award still goes to Intimidator), but it is really close. There are only a handful of coasters I could ride all day without getting either sick or tired of them, but Nitro is certainly one of those. A


Dark Knight-During morning ERT, I got to ride Dark Knight with the lights on and thought it was a pretty good wild mouse. It is one of the smoothest I have been on, partly due to the magnetic brakes, and features minimal braking on the switchbacks. However, when the lights are turned off, the quality of the ride drops significantly. The switchbacks are too quick to take in the set pieces, and the other ones later in the ride are poorly timed so they don’t illuminate until you are nearly past them. In the dark, the couple sharp dips are completely unexpected and catch you off guard, causing them to be uncomfortable. I will say that Six Flags did try to make a good ride for cheap, but unfortunately it just didn’t work out. D with the lights on, F with the lights off.


After our hour of ERT on these two coasters, we were given an additional half-hour of ERT on the park’s new for 2011 ride: Green Lantern.


Green Lantern-In general, I am not a huge fan of Stand-Up coasters. So far, the only one I would wait more than fifteen minutes for is Riddler’s Revenge at SFMM. Green Lantern, however, is second place. The ride is fun, but is a bit too forceful for a stand-up, especially in the second half of the ride. However, it has a good layout and is fairly smooth. I had heard reports that it didn’t transition well and was very rough, but I’ve had worse rides on many other B&M coasters and all other Stand-Ups (even Riddler’s Revenge). Not what I would call an absolute must ride attraction, but certainly not a bad addition to the park. C+


As if we hadn’t had enough exclusive ride time, the park also gave us first-ride privileges on Kingda Ka. Better still, they opened the ride a little early for us, so most were able to get two or possibly three rides in before the general public arrived. I, however, did more laps on Green Lantern than most, so I only got a single ride on Kingda Ka.


Kingda Ka-If for no other reason, this is a must ride because it is the tallest coaster in the world. However, tallest certainly doesn’t mean best. The ride is one of the top three in the park, but it is still not even on my top ten steel coasters list. The ride is very short, and if you sit anywhere behind the second car it is way too shaky when it hits its top speed (128 mph), causing mild to moderate discomfort if you bang into the shoulder harnesses. It is still an excellent ride, but is ever so slightly overrated in my opinion. If this ride was as smooth as Top Thrill Dragster and only had lap bars, however, it would likely be my favorite Accelerator Coaster. A


After ERT, we collected Q-bots. As I did not have a group, I waited around and ended up joining Antonio, Patrick (traincrossin), and Chris (Chrisrad, I think, but I could be wrong (there were several people named Chris on the trip)). Anyway, we got our Q-bot and set off on our quest to get all the credits, wondering if we’d accomplish our task before lunch. Where do you suppose we decided to start?


El Toro-There is no way to describe El Toro other than the most extreme wooden coaster in existence. Looking at the ride, I just thought, “Wood coasters should not be able to do this.” The ride is absolutely massive, and has insanely steep drops and nearly vertically banked turns. You would think that any wooden coaster would be unrideable due to roughness if it was this intense, but El Toro was actually glass smooth. Too smooth for my tastes, in fact, and that is why while El Toro is an outstanding ride I cannot call it my favorite wooden coaster. It just feels too much like a steel coaster, but it’s made of wood. For me, it doesn’t really fit nicely into either category, but it would probably rank second on my wood coaster rankings and somewhere around sixth or seventh on my steel list. While the ride is excellent, and it has airtime so extreme I felt I was going to be launched from the train, it is just not that re-rideable. I thought this was somewhat like a wooden version of Intimidator 305; it is really good, but I wouldn’t want to do it all day. I could only do six rides in a row during night ERT, and I quit after that. While I do love Intamin, it is mainly rides like this that remind me why I generally prefer a nice B&M for ERT sessions. A


Rolling Thunder-I wasn’t expecting much out of this ride, and I didn’t get much. The first two hills on it were pretty good, but after that the rest was very dull. Almost no airtime on either track, although it wasn’t as rough as I was expecting. I rode each track once, and I think the left track was slightly better. D


Bizarro-Bizarro at SFNE may be #1, but this Bizarro certainly isn’t. In fact, SFGAdv’s Bizarro is my least favorite floorless. I don’t get why people say this is better than Scream. I only rode once because I had a worse ride on here than any ride I’ve had on Scream, and the audio was horrible (at least in my opinion). Not synchronized music, just a bunch of nonsense quotes. The only advantage this ride has over Scream is the setting and the fire, but I’d rather ride Scream, as after the Zero-G Roll the rest of the ride was very shaky. However, even a subpar B&M like this is still better than 75% of the coasters I’ve been on, and I did enjoy this a little more than Green Lantern (shaky versus crotch discomfort, and I’d prefer the former). B


Runaway Mine Train-This ride is probably my second favorite Arrow mine train after Carolina Goldrusher, but it is still just a mine train and is still just okay. It has larger drops than most of the other mine trains I’ve been on, and isn’t too rough, but I found the individual lap bars (same as on Canyon Blaster at GEASK) a little uncomfortable. D


Superman-Ultimate Flight-For anyone that hasn’t been on a flying coaster, I’m sure this is a great ride. However, since I live 90 minutes from Tatsu and ride it at least 5 times a year (over two or three visits to SFMM), Superman really doesn’t stand a chance. The pretzel loop is still really good, but the rest of the ride is a bit underwhelming. Still, flying coasters are my favorite type of “gimmick rides,” and I enjoyed it enough to ride twice. I wouldn’t want to do the normal line on this, however, as it looked to be at least 90 minutes. B


Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train-I’ve now been on three of these large Tivoli coasters. This one is probably my least favorite, but only because it does two laps instead of one (and I don’t care about going around twice). Other than that, it is identical to the others, and not really worth a re-ride once you have the credit. F+


Skull Mountain-I was expecting this to be somewhat like La Ronde’s dragon, but I was very wrong. This ride is an Intamin Indoor/Family Coaster as well, but sacrifices intensity for theming. There are minimal effects inside the ride, but the first drop really catches you off guard. In addition, the layout is unpredictable, and even though I watched a lights on POV before the trip I had no clue which way it was going to turn next. However, the ride is very short and not worth that long of a wait. D


Batman The Ride-Many people like Batmans. I do not. They are too much intensity packed into too short of a ride for my personal tastes. This one was my least favorite of the four I’ve been on. It had minimal theming and felt a bit shaky compared to some of the others. Still not a horrible ride, especially compared to everything out there, but two rides in one day is plenty for me. C


At this point, it was time for lunch. I thought the food here, while being normal park food, was fairly decent. They also had beer for those who drink it, although I don’t know if it was unlimited like it was at SFNE. As soon as he was done, Antonio left lunch to go do more rides, we arranged to meet with him a little later. There was a raffle, followed by the shortest Q&A ever (I think only three questions were asked), then the backstage tour was announced. Up to thirty people could participate, and it would be a 45 minute photo tour under Nitro (it ended up being two hours and including Kingda Ka as well). I didn’t participate (I would never miss a backstage tour, but I’d pass on a photo tour at a park I’ve never been to when there is plenty to do), but both Patrick and Chris did. I gave them my cellphone number so we could meet up once they were done, then headed back to the park.


I met Antonio outside of Dark Knight, and we decided to ride again with the lights on. We then did a re-ride of Skull Mountain, another Nitro ride, and headed over to the other side of the park.


Saw Mill Log Flume-There is more to this log flume than I expected. I knew it had two lifts and at least one drop. What I didn’t know was that it had three drops. However, the ride was just okay. There was very little to it than the drops, and none of them were particularly impressive (although the third one was slightly larger than average). Also, the lift hills were very, very bouncy and uncomfortable. D


We rode El Toro again, and did the second side of Rolling Thunder (credit #200…yay!), then I got a text from Chris saying they were done with their tour. We met up with them and did re-rides of almost everything, plus a few additional rides.


Road Runner Railway-The last credit in the park, and the last credit of the trip. Standard Zamperla kiddie coaster, but I thought this one was really rough. Least favorite of the three I’ve been on. F


Dream Street Skyway-Double Skyway (two side-by-side bucket skyways sharing towers). According to a sign, it is ¾ of a mile long. Good for transportation across the park, but if there is more than a ten minute wait it is quicker to walk. D


Edwards AFB Jump Tower-One of only two remaining parachute towers in the US, and the closest thing this park has to a drop tower. However, the ride’s speed is closer to that of a fast elevator, and it doesn’t really drop. It also lacks the most unique feature of the old Sky Jump at Knott’s (stand-up baskets instead of seats). F+


Houdini’s Great Escape-Nearly identical to the SFNE version of this attraction, but the ride at SFGAdv had louder speakers so I could actually hear what was going on and understand the story. The ride is both fun and unique, and is probably the best non-coaster ride at the park. C


We stopped for dinner at some point as well. I got Johnny Rockets, and I can’t remember what everyone else got (probably burgers and/or sandwiches). I don’t remember the exact order, but we did more re-rides after dinner, then headed to El Toro for night ERT. As stated previously, I rode El Toro six times during night ERT, then quit. I was pretty tired, and my feet were killing me (when I woke up this morning, I had discovered a giant blister on my foot and was walking on that all day). After ERT, we headed out to the bus, boarded, and headed back to the hotel. Due to the drive, it was probably close to 1:00 A.M. when we arrived. I went immediately to bed so I could maximize my sleep, as my flight would be leaving at 9:25 A.M.


Overall Thoughts:


I am extremely conflicted about Six Flags Great Adventure. Almost everyone on the trip thought it was the best Six Flags park they’d been to, but I have to disagree. It is certainly not a bad park, and it does have a lot of great rides, but there are still issues present. For this park, I think it might be easiest to list the pros and cons separately.


Positive Aspects:


Coasters: Six Flags Great Adventure has 13 roller coasters. Among them are three world-class rides and a bunch of other above-average attractions. Sure, there are a few not-so-good coasters, but other than Dark Knight and Road Runner Railway there aren’t any bad rides. They’ve also got a varied collection of rides. In fact, other than SFMM, I think SFGAdv has the best variety of any Six Flags park I’ve been to.


Operations: On most of my visits to Six Flags parks, operations range from average to very poor. At SFGAdv, however, operations were excellent. Maximum trains were being run on everything, and there was minimal stacking (except at Bizarro). This was especially apparent on rides I have seen elsewhere. For example, I rarely see a dispatch quicker than two minutes on Tatsu, but every Superman train was dispatched in around 90 seconds. If it can be done here, why isn’t it elsewhere? I think the park’s super-strict loose article policy certainly helps, but it also seemed that the operators moved very fast. In addition, all the employees were much more friendly than they are elsewhere.


Cleanliness: I know Six Flags has been trying to clean up their parks, but this one seemed cleaner than average. Maybe it was just me, however, but I didn’t see trash anywhere on the ground or in planters.


Negative Aspects:


Non-Coaster Ride Selection: Of all the major parks I’ve been to, SFGAdv has the worst collection of non-coaster attractions I have seen. There are two reasons for this. First, the park doesn’t have very many. Excluding the kiddie area, I counted only eight flat rides and two water rides in the park. That is absolutely pathetic, especially for a park that claimed to have the most rides of any park just one decade ago. In addition, few of those are rides I would care to ride, as they are all older attractions that can be found almost anywhere. I am really glad to see the park is adding four new flats instead of a coaster next year, as this park really needs to balance itself out. At least SFMM, which has a similar problem, does have some decent water rides and a couple moderately good flats.


Size: Okay, this is something that can’t really be helped. SFGAdv is giant, and has a really poor layout. When I described it to my family after returning, I told them it was somewhat like a star. There are clusters of rides at each point of the star, and those rides are close together, but to get to the next cluster you pretty much have to return to the center and head up the next arm. In addition, there is relatively little in the center. This creates a lot of walking and a lot of dead ends. The worst of these walks are Golden Kingdom to Plaza Del Carnival and Movietown to anywhere on the opposite side of the park. Again, it is not something the park can help easily, but it is a negative, especially during a long day.


Platinum Flash Pass: I like the Flash Pass, but I hate the Platinum level. This is at many Six Flags parks, and usually it is an inconvenience but doesn’t get to me. However, for some strange reason, it really ticked me off at SFGAdv. Probably because it seems like all of them were waiting for the front row on rides like El Toro and Nitro, so when I did a front row ride on El Toro it took twenty minutes longer than any other row would have due to everyone riding twice (yes, I know it was my choice, but it was still annoying). All the regular people that had waited in the two hour line were getting pretty annoyed as well. At other parks, the more frequent problem is abuse of the system due to inattentive ride operators (at SFMM, I’ve seen people ride more than twice or switch seats, both of which are not allowed), but here it was just increasing the wait for an already popular ride. In my opinion, Platinum Flash Pass should either: A. have a separate line and send out Platinum-only trains when there are enough riders so it doesn’t disrupt the regular line; B. not have the double ride privileges for certain popular rows; or C. be more limited when it is busy. I don’t know what others might think, but if I had waited in a long line due to half the train getting double rides every cycle, I’d be pretty mad as well (this is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much). Okay, that’s it for my Flash Pass rant.


Overall, I enjoyed what Six Flags Great Adventure had to offer, but found myself running out of things to do. There are very few coasters that I will typically ride more than twice in a day, and outside of the upper echelon of rides five in a day is too many. However, at SFGAdv, there was very little other than coasters to do, and I’ll only do those so many times. This is probably the main reason why I wasn’t as big of a fan of the park as some other people. It was not a bad park, it just didn’t have enough to do. In a way, it really is like an east coast version of SFMM…if you like coasters, you’ll love the place. If not, I can’t really recommend a visit.


Ride Count:


Nitro-7 (three during morning ERT)

Dark Knight-4 (two lights-on during morning ERT, two lights-off during daytime)

Green Lantern-4 (three during morning ERT)

Kingda Ka-2 (one during morning ERT)

El Toro-8 (six during night ERT)

Rolling Thunder-2 (once per track)


Runaway Mine Train-1

Superman-Ultimate Flight-2

Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train-1

Skull Mountain-3

Batman The Ride-2

Saw Mill Log Flume-1

Road Runner Railway-1

Dream Street Skyway-2

Edwards AFB Jump Tower-1

Houdini’s Great Escape-1


Total-43 rides in 14 hours (3.07 rides per hour)


Coaster Order:


This park has a couple rides that are variable and as a result are listed twice. The asterisk rankings are the conditional ones, and the numbers are the offical ones.


* El Toro (night)

1. Nitro

2. El Toro

3. Kingda Ka

4. Superman-Ultimate Flight

5. Bizarro

6. Green Lantern

7. Batman The Ride

* Dark Knight (lights on)

8. Skull Mountain

9. Rolling Thunder

10. Runaway Mine Train

11. Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train

12. Dark Knight

13. Road Runner Railway




I have a decent amount of photos from this day even though I didn’t do the backstage tour. Also, although this was the last park of the North East trip, there will be one final post this weekend from the trip as a summary.


Six Flags Great Adventure has an impressive skyline. Every major coaster except Batman The Ride and Bizarro can be seen from the parking area.


Six Flags Great Adventure Welcomes Theme Park Review for an amazing day with 2 1/2 hours of ERT.


ERT begins on Nitro. This is often ranked as the best B&M Mega and it is an outstanding ride.


A trainload of riders ascends the lift. With three 36 person trains and minimal stacking, Nitro is one of the highest capacity coasters out there.


This was not open for ERT, but I don't really mind. I wouldn't have rode it more than twice anyway.


Instead, we had ERT on the coaster themed to the best superhero movie so far.


We also had another superhero movie based coaster. Apparently, the relationship between movie quality and coaster quality is inversely proportional.


By adding Green Lantern, Great Adventure is one step closer to Magic Mountain; they both have green B&M stand-ups.


As if we didn't already have enough ERT, we also got early rides on Kingda Ka.


Superman is good, but compared to Tatsu it is disappointing.


This reminds me of a ride I used to ride occasionally at Knott's Berry Farm.


However, there is one signifcant difference betwen this and the Sky Jump.


Back in 2006, Six Flags Great Adventure unleashed the bull. Five years later, it is just as furious as ever.


Bizarro's not #1.


If the grass was replaced with pavement and the trees were removed, this would be identical to Scream.


The only good part of Saw Mill Log Flume.


I wonder if this train travels to the Fountain of Youth.


Random turtle approves of this trip report.


There used to be a very unique coaster in this spot. I wish they had kept it, as it was certainly better than some of the park's other rides.


Can't forget about the kiddie credit.


Pretty much identical to every other Zamperla.


At 13 ft. tall, this ride is one of the shortest coasters out there.


For skyway enthusiasts, here is a rare double bucket lift.


A little information about the attraction.


We'll end with the cliche SFGAdv shot. I see two great coasters and two not-so-good coasters here. A perfect representation of the park...half positives, half negatives.

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Nice Photo TR. It's great to see more photos from the Northeast Trip and I do enjoy reading your reviews on the ride and seeing them compared to my own.


Oh, and I was the other guy you forgot from La Ronde.

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^It was definitely not you that I forgot about, because I remember you asking me before or during ERT if I had a group yet. It was one of those two guys we paired up with after getting off Toboggan Nordique whose name I can't remember.


August 5th, 2011-North East Trip Day 8: Departure Day


As is always the case, all trips must eventually come to an end. This one was no exception. In a way, I never want a trip to end, but I am always a little glad when it does. After two weeks away, I was exhausted and ready to return to my normal life.


In order to avoid getting home too late, I had to catch a 9:25 A.M. flight out of Newark, which meant I got on the 7:20 A.M. airport shuttle (a little early, but I wasn’t sure what crowds would be like). It ended up not taking as long as I expected to get my boarding pass, head through security, and find the correct gate. The flight left on time, and at about noon I arrived in Dallas, Texas.


I had a little over an hour before it was time to board my next flight, so I went and grabbed McDonalds for lunch, then headed to the gate for my flight back to Orange County. At 1:40 P.M., the plane departed. I was so tired I actually fell asleep for a bit on this flight, which is unusual as I rarely fall asleep in moving vehicles. Of course, the flight was uneventful and I arrived on time at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California.


Final Thoughts:


My entire two week summer trip was great. I got to see a lot of new places, meet some new people, and do things I’m not likely to do again anytime soon. St. Louis was nice, although I’ve enjoyed other large cities better, Holiday World was a lot of fun, and the North East Trip was probably what I would consider the ideal TPR trip for me. Perfect mix of small, medium, and large parks, quite a few great coasters, some unique non-coaster attractions, and just about the right length and intensity without being too much. I enjoyed it a lot more than the IntimidaTour last year.


Now, just as I did last year, I have a list of trip awards. This is really just a list of best and worst for a few things. There are six categories for the St. Louis/Holiday World portion of the trip, and another ten for the North East Trip. Nothing is really bad, so I will use the terms favorite and least favorite instead of best or worst.


St. Louis/Holiday World Awards:


Favorite Activities: Segway tour, closely followed by City Museum


Least Favorite Activity: Gateway Arch


Favorite Days: Day 1 (Budweiser and City Museum), Day 3 (Arch, Riverboat, Segways, Baseball game), and Day 5 (Holiday World)


Least Favorite Day: Day 6 (Lincoln Boyhood Memorial, Gateway Geyser, flight to Newark)


Favorite Random Surprise: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard


Least Favorite Random Surprise: Closed roads downtown, making navigation difficult


Favorite Downtown Location: City Museum


Least Favorite Downtown Location: Laclede’s Landing


Favorite Amusement Park: Holiday World (obviously)


Least Favorite Amusement Park: Six Flags St. Louis (by process of elimination)


Favorite Coaster: Voyage


Least Favorite Coaster (excluding kiddies): River King Mine Train


North East Trip Awards:


Favorite Large Park: Six Flags New England


Least Favorite Large Park: Six Flags Great Adventure (by process of elimination)


Favorite Mid-Size Park: Lake Compounce


Least Favorite Mid-Size Park: Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom


Favorite Small Park: Funtown Splashtown U.S.A.


Least Favorite Small Park: Palace Playland


Favorite Wood Coaster: El Toro, or Boulder Dash at Night


Least Favorite Wood Coaster: Wildcat


Favorite Steel Coaster: Bizarro (SFNE)


Least Favorite Steel Coaster (excluding kiddies): Canyon Blaster, or Dragon (LR) if theming is ignored


Favorite Kiddie: Roller Coaster (MFP)


Least Favorite Kiddie: Kiddie Coaster (LC)


Favorite Water Ride: Blizzard River


Least Favorite Water Ride: Splash Water Falls


Favorite Non-Coaster Rides (excluding water rides): Scream, Astrosphere, Catapult, Houdini’s Great Escape (SFGAdv), Starblaster, and Thunder N’ Lightning


Least Favorite Non-Coaster Rides (excluding water rides): Tempest in the Tea Cups and Sky Ride (CLP)


Favorite Group Meal: Carrabba’s


Least Favorite Group Meal: Pizzeria Uno


Favorite Days: Day 1 (Quassy & Compounce) and Day 3 (Playland and Funtown)


Least Favorite Day: Day 6 (Great Escape)


Overall, I really enjoyed every part of my two-week summer trip. However, it is likely I will not get another chance to do a trip of this length, at least not in the near future. I am going to try to do the LeviaTHON trip next year, but it is dependent on finances and timing. I want to try to be on a TPR tour every year, as I really enjoy them. As I said last year, unless you are going solely for credits, a TPR trip really is the best way to see new parks and meet new people with the same interests. They are definitely worth the price, which considering what the trips include is an excellent deal. If you’ve never done one, try a shorter trip (one week or less) first, and if it is your type of thing, you’ll likely be hooked. If you find it isn’t really your thing, however, then at least you know.


That’s it for my Summer 2011 trip, but is not it for this thread. Next week, I will post the final three reports: a Universal Studios report, a Wild Rivers report, and a Windseeker review (yes, I know they are behind schedule).

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