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Photo TR - A.J. goes to a Six Flags Park!

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You know how I said that I was going to Six Flags Great Adventure on Saturday? Well, sometimes plans change.


Follow along with this fun road sign game, and you'll see where I've been, and soon!


Here's the first clue -


Where do you think I went - did I go on I-81 toward Allentown, I-83 toward Hershey, or some place completely different?

Edited by A.J.
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I don't know, I mean, I-83 is a way to get to Baltimore and eventually Upper Maliboro, but I didn't go that way.


I went this way -


Why is this strange turn-off only for EZPass holders?

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You know when I said that plans change? Well, they did!



It's the Jackson, New Jersey McDonald's!

And then my group and I decided to take a small, nine-hour detour to some place I've never heard of...



What's Six Flags? Is that a slalom ski run or something?


A.J. experiences a Six Flags park!

Oh, boy, this will be good...


Myself and a bunch of my friends from the Theme Park Engineering Group at Penn State decided that it would be awesome to do a "fun" trip to an amusement park for once. So, that's exactly what we did. We boarded a luxurious Chrysler sedan from the 1990s, and drove through the perils of Harrisburg, Lancaster, King of Prussia, and THIS...



It's the New Jersey Turnpike! Kill it with...oh, wait, it's under construction. A glimmer of hope maybe?


Eventually, we escaped the money-sucking clutches of the Turnpike and found our exit toward the McDonald's.



Take Exit 16A on the right to go onto County Route 537 Westbound, toward Six Flags and Mount Holly.


Upon entering the park boundaries, we were greeted with this wonderful view.



Stupid Beetle! Get out the way of my terrible photograph!


Parking, was, as I have heard from most people, absolutely outrageous. I have never seen any place where parking is a whole $20 on top of the already expensive admission ticket. The fee was reluctantly paid, we docked our Chrysler luxo-barge in a parking bay, and set off into the unknown.


The admission process was quick and easy, as we already had purchased our tickets online (Definitely purchase online, you save a few bucks). Upon entering the park, we perused around the Main Street area, and something caught my eye...



Hey, Confectionery, how's it going?


Memories of me as a cast member the Main Street USA Confectionery flashed before my eyes until I realized my group was far ahead of me. So, I snapped out of it, rejoined them, and headed into Movie Town for the first ride of the day.



Sorry, Nicole, but I completely ignored your advice!


Yes, we decided to tackle Nitro as the first ride of the day. Now, I'll be honest, I don't get out much; meaning, I haven't ridden a whole lot of roller coasters. As such, Nitro was to be the tallest coaster I had ever ridden, as well as my first B&M mega coaster. We waited a little bit, because I wanted the front seat.



Ready to board!


Only my toes could touch the floor of Nitro's train, which was kind of weird. I had heard great things about the ride, so I was excited and apprehensive at the same time.


It's a really good ride! The seats and restraints are comfortable, you can extend your feet out with no problem, and there was a huge sense of freedom. The first hills, hammerhead, and next hills were great for me, but there was one monster in the closet...




At the top of that intense spiral, my body had completely had it. I lost my vision and all feeling in my body for about five seconds, and segued back into reality at the bottom of the drop after the mid-course. It was the most insanely confusing experience I have ever had in my life. The ride was fantastic as a whole, though, and I would definitely do it again, but not on the same day.


Because of my, uh, experience, I was out of coaster commission for a while. My group went and did Batman while I got something to eat and got my land legs back.



Sky Screamer was looking great. I wish it would have been open.


After we reunited, we all did Skull Mountain, because it wouldn't bother me too much. Skull Mountain felt like someone put me in a dark box and shook me around. It was kind of stupid.


We all then decided to go and try Superman Ultimate Flight, which was at the other end of the park.



Are these the only games in the park? I don't remember seeing any others. It's kind of weird that all these games are in the same place, and not scattered everywhere.


Typically, Superman had a very long queue. Thankfully, the queue line provides some great photo opportunities.



Fly, Superman, fly!


Something that did NOT help the queue time was a stopped train on the lift...



That has to be weird.


A lot of guests were rumbling about the "broken" ride and how "they might die". Instead of listening to the conversations, saying "stupid GP" in my head and posting in the GP thread, I decided to be a "good" guest and explain to the other guests why the people stopped on the lift were perfectly safe and would be evacuated if there was a big problem. The lift eventually started moving again, and they were sent through the circuit unharmed.


One thing that bothers me about Six Flags is how badly some the rides look. Like, this for example...



Peeling paint, multiple shades of blue, rusting supports, rusting nuts and bolts...


I understand that the ride is probably perfectly safe, but it still looks bad. Another thing that was a little bothersome to me was Six Flags outrageous pleas for money, as evidenced by this expensive and conveniently-placed concession stand.



The girl behind the counter was pleasant enough, but I still refused to buy anything.


We got up to the platform, eventually. I still wasn't feeling up to riding a big coaster, so I scurried across the platform while the four others rode. It seemed like the crew was made up almost entirely of trainees, which was most likely the culprit for the long wait time.


They were preparing to give the "all clear", flip the train up and dispatch, when I realized that the third row's restraints weren't locked properly (some ankle braces were not closed, and some seats' pins were already deployed before the shoulder harness was pulled down). Now, I'm sure the supervisor that was there would have noticed eventually, but I got his attention myself by pointing to the third row, after which he signaled a hold, released the restraints, and locked them up again. That made me feel important that I helped the crew out, but in reality they probably would have noticed.


After the ride, we went to the Main Street area to get a quick bite to eat. I had a salad and bought a Pepto-Bismol (they didn't card me even though I was technically purchasing drugs), and we all went to that one ride everyone talks about...



You know, that "best wooden coaster in the world"? That's this one, right?


El Toro had a pretty long wait, but we decided to slug it out.



Kingda Ka photo-bombed my shot. Sadface.


I decided to extend my wait even longer by waiting for the front row, like I usually do. My group got on a long time before I did, and they went to Rolling Thunder while the minutes ticked by.



It would be so cool if the bull's red eyes lit up at night.


I took the front seat, said my prayers, and rode the wild bull.




It just didn't let up, at all. The airtime was outrageously good, the figure-eight section was smooth like surf curves, and the whole ride was just ridiculously smooth. I could ride it over and over again. I want to have Theme Park Review ERT on this ride.



I'm doing my best "ta-da" pose.


If you live in the northeast or mid-atlantic, you have no excuse to not get down to Six Flags Great Adventure and ride this thing. I would pay admission price just to ride it, it's that good.


HOWEVER...it's only my #2. My #1 spot will always be reserved for the Knoebels Phoenix. So there.






After I got off, I met up with the group at Rolling Thunder's platform. It was running one side, two trains, and it went down. They waited ten minutes, then one of them signaled me to leave. We met up at the entrance, and got back in line. We eventually rode it. It was a really big deal to one of the people in our group to ride it, as the right side of Rolling Thunder was the only Great Adventure credit he was missing.


After Rolling Thunder, we decided to go do Bizarro. When I say "we", I mean "they", as I decided to hang behind and play historian, since Bizarro really didn't appeal to me and I don't keep a coaster count.





Apparently, the train that my group was on had the audio working as well!



The audio's working! It's like I'm taking crazy pills!


As I was going around taking photos, I realized that as an art student, I am obligated to take so-called "artsy" photographs wherever I go. So, here's one of El Toro.



Good? Bad? Kill it with fire? YOU CHOOSE!


I decided I was bored with taking photos of people getting sprayed by the guest-controlled showers at the Log Flume (sort of a creeper thing to do, eh?), and I got in the queue for the mine train. I was quite surprised and a bit shocked when I saw this coming down the track...



What kind of mine train is painted bright orange?!?


The mine train seriously felt like I opened up RollerCoaster Tycoon, saved a track design, and built it as-is in real life. It was okay, but incredibly awkward.


Afterward, I decided to creep on some avians...



They were probably tweeting about how all park guests are stupid and how all coaster enthusiasts are the most amazing people in the world. Who knows?


We regrouped briefly, then split up again, with the foursome heading to Green Lantern while I went to hunt for Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train, as I had never ridden one of those neat Tivoli rides before.



Weirdest footers. EVAR.


I rode in the very back, and it was a ton of fun! It's no airtime machine, but it whips you around. Plus, the un-padded seat meant that you literally slid from side to side! It's freaking awesome!


This nerd item was particularly interesting...




No, the lower tire is not broken. The lower tire stopped like it should. The upper tire kept spinning for like...thirty seconds! I understand that only a big coaster geek would notice this, but, I'm a big coaster geek! So there.


The group still hadn't gotten on Green Lantern, so I headed over there and continued to take photos like a slav...er, historian should do. It was getting dark.







I really want to know why they decided to paint the corkscrew yellow in the first place...


After they got off (apparently Green Lantern is like Mantis at Cedar Point, but way more shaky), we went back to El Toro for another go. Once again, it was fantastic. GO RIDE IT NOW!


The last ride of the night for them (launched coasters don't appeal to me either) was Kingda Ka, running three trains with one station. The queue moved fairly quickly, but before they got to get on, the ride had a hiccup and they had to reset. They brought a full train backward into the other station from the launch train, and then sent the same train back on the circuit five minutes later, with a successful lap. One of my buddies really wanted a rollback, but he didn't get it.


They enjoyed the ride though!



If you watch the Theme Park Review IAAPA videos, you may recognize someone in this picture.


All in all, it was a pretty good Saturday at Six Flags Great Adventure!


Some notes:

  • There's a difference between being a "bad crew" and a "new crew". Superman's crew was not a bad crew in my opinion. They obviously looked like they were engaged and learning the proper procedures to operate the ride.
  • Rolling Thunder is terrible. Don't ride it unless you keep a coaster count.
  • El Toro is fantastic.
  • I complained about the food prices at WDW a while ago, and Elissa said that their prices were reasonable. She was right. I will now complain ONLY about food prices at Six Flags parks. Thanks Elissa!
  • El Toro is fantastic.
  • The "Visual Scan" that the operators do before dispatching the train is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Oh, New Jersey...


Thanks for reading!



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Awesome report! El Toro is amazing, isn't it? SFGAdv is about three hours from my house, you'd think I'd get up there a lot more often to ride it, but it seems like I'm lucky to get up there once a year.


And yes, that visual scan is incredibly dumb, isn't it?!? Made me laugh the first time I saw it.



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I'm not a fan of Kingda Ka, either--a one-trick pony.


I really enjoy Great Adventure's coaster collection (esp. El Toro), but I've always found the park a bit odd--particularly the strangely themed Blackbeard's Treasure Train. (I guess it's meant to go with Skull Mountain--rather like that ride.)

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And yes, that visual scan is incredibly dumb, isn't it?!? Made me laugh the first time I saw it.

I wouldn't think it was dumb if they actually looked directly at the train that they were checking. A lot of times, they would do their visual scans and stare at walls for a second or two! What, is a ninja going to be perched on the walls or something?


So what are your opinions on El Toro?

It deserves all of the praise and accolades it has been given. It is quite the ride. I can't say that fully, however, because I rode it once in row 1 and once in row 2. I haven't experienced going over the drop in 16, 17, or 18; but I much prefer riding coasters close to the front. It's my kind of ride, too, because it actually fits a unique space as opposed to being dropped on a lot.


I didn't like that the ride felt short; it might of just been that I felt like it was over too quickly. Another thing is that I wish Intamin would have used the train design of Balder and Colossos, because those trains look like they would have a much more open-air and out-of-control experience; but I understand that its train design is probably safer due to the lateral guards on either side of the rows.


It definitely provides one of, if not the best all-around roller coaster experiences in the world, with its airtime-filled first half, OMGWEREGONNADIE hill in the middle, and fun positive section at the end. It still will not dethrone the Knoebels Phoenix from my #1 spot, however.


(i.e. not credit whoring)

He DID ride the Tivoli

I don't know, I'm not sure that counts. It really isn't a kid's coaster (Road Runner Railway, noticed I skipped it?). It's a very easy-going coaster that is tons of fun. I want to get to either Mall of America or Bonbon Land, so I can ride one of those Tivoli coasters at full-scale.

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^the Tivoli is more of a "family" coaster than the Zamperla Roadrunner ride. I actually did feel a bit ashamed when I whored the Zamperla, but not when riding the Tivoli.

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Thanks for the report. Glad you liked El Toro as it's still my #1 Coaster.


Zierer coasters that have these types of pinch wheel drive will use a "dummy" wheel (no motor attached) to monitor train speed. That's why you'll notice the sensor directly below the wheel. You'll notice these on Jaguar's lift hill at Knott's as it looks likes there's 4 or 5 wheels that have broken motors when in fact they are speed monitors (dummy wheels) that have no motor attached.


End nerdiness.

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Yeah the visual scan thing in my opinion makes sense but I dont think the employee understand why it makes sense as they do it so fast there no way they can catch stuff as you showed since you had to show the crew memeber that a whole row of seats were not checked They move their heads back and forth so fast there I am convinced all they see if a blur of nothing.

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Chris, thank you sooooo much for wearing that shirt I'll be there dissing KK as well this summer.


Of course I wore that shirt! Gotta represent my ride haha


And no I did not enjoy KK. I mean the OTSRs and tower brake fins are a fun jab at KK, but it was unacceptably rough. I've ridden it several times over the past year and this has be a recurring complaint of mine. Two of the four of us had headaches after riding. It's amazing how maintenance really does make a difference. Also goes for Green Lantern which shuffles significantly more than Mantis. +1 for CP

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And yes, that visual scan is incredibly dumb, isn't it?!? Made me laugh the first time I saw it.


Haha, that became a running joke for the Road To CP trippers last year. Besides that though, I found the operations were pretty good.

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And yes, that visual scan is incredibly dumb, isn't it?!? Made me laugh the first time I saw it.

I wouldn't think it was dumb if they actually looked directly at the train that they were checking. A lot of times, they would do their visual scans and stare at walls for a second or two! What, is a ninja going to be perched on the walls or something?


I have NEVER seen them stare at the walls. They scan the platforms to make sure it is clear and no one is trying to climb/jump over the air gates. They scan in front of and behind the train to make sure no one who entered through the air gates decided to make a dangerous detour.


They are not looking for ninjas; that would be the job of the Security team.

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^I've seen it at other Six Flags parks as well, including Discovery Kingdom and Magic Mountain. I don't like it because it seems too specific. As a supervisor at CGA, I know that our operators are trained to scan the area before dispatching. However, they do not need to literally turn their head at every angle before starting the ride. Just a personal preference, but I think the Six Flags way of scanning the ride area is a bit excessive. On the other hand, safety first, so I can't complain there.

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