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Photo TR: SoCal Trip 2013 - Knotts, SFMM, DL, DCA and USH!


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We made our first ever voyage over to California after years of wanting to get our west... We had a blast at what LA and the local area had to offer, and the parks were fantastic. Of course, I took plenty of photos! We went to Knotts, Disneyland, DCA, SFMM and Universal this time around among some other non-park stuff. As I get the photos edited and uploaded to my Flickr page I will update this thread with new photos. I should have all the images done within the next two weeks or so, hoping to get 2 parks done a week.

 

 

Not a big writer, so I will just do a summary of the parks and our impressions of each followed by the photos.

 

1.) Knotts Berry Farm - Page 1

2.) Six Flags Magic Mountain - Click Here!

3.) Disneyland - Click Here!

4.) California Adventure - Click Here!

5.) USH - Click Here!

6.) Santa Monica Pier - Coming Soon

 

 

 

 

First up, Knott's Berry Farm!

 

We arrived on Friday and the place was packed. Ended up riding Silver Bullet only once and enjoyed the parade, ice skating show and enjoying the park that night. Went back the next week and the place was dead. One train on everything with no waits to be found anywhere. The park is beautiful with all its wild west theme and the rides are pretty good. Silver Bullet was the highlight here (sucker for B&M inverts) and really enjoyed the layout on this one. If the drop was better, it would rate a bit higher on my list but that is the only downfall for me. Raptor remains my top invert, but Silver Bullet may tie Great Bear for #2 for me. Loved the overbanked turn and the entire ending sequence from the g-roll on.

 

Ghostrider was a bit disappointing... I looked forward to it but overall just did not enjoy it much. Same goes with Xcelerator, but I guess after having ridden Dragster, KingdaKa, Storm Runner, etc... It is the most lackluster of the bunch. Had a nice "Intamin Rattle" as well which did not help. Trains were terrible for me as they were much smaller for me than any other Intamin trains I have been on for my legs (I am 6'6" and it was a PAIN getting into those trains)... Many of the other rides were fun, but nothing worthwhile. Without Silver Bullet I would have no real desire to get back here *ride wise*. We did ride every coaster in the park except the boomerang, which I avoid at all costs.

 

Of course we tried the pie and chicken here (all that touristy stuff)... Both were quite good. Glad you are able to buy single pieces and not required to get a meal or anything like that to try it out. Was able to get a chicken leg for like $1.40 or something, which was nice just to try.

 

We really enjoyed Knott's overall, but the ride set was a little lack-luster for the most part. Beautiful park though, and all the shops and such were quite cool to look through. Staff was great everywhere throughout the park.

 

 

 

 

For even more photos (and higher resolution) visit my Flickr page here: Knotts Berry Farm

 

 

Photos:

 

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Edited by Invertalon
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Amazing photos! Knott's is one of my home parks and I really enjoy the photos you took of it. I like some of your clever shots especially of the photos of Silver Bullet's zero-G roll.

 

I'm interested to see how clever your pictures will be of SFMM since it is harder to photograph SFMM's coasters than Knott's coasters.

 

Also, how did you make the pictures taken from Sky Cabin so clear?

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Thanks!

 

As far as SFMM... I actually did not bring my camera gear into the park (it stayed in the trunk). Since we only had one day and the park was dead, we just used a smaller point and shoot for the day so we could enjoy the park as we had never been. That was the only park that we used the smaller camera... So those will not be quite as nice as these (or the Disney and Universal photos) but are still pretty good. All the other parks we either had a pass (Knotts) or multi-day tickets (Uni & Disney) so we went some days just for photos around the park. SFMM was also only open from 10:30 to 6pm that day as well, so time was limited... Plus X2 was walk-on, so we chose to do that instead I would have *LOVED* a day just to shoot at SFMM with my larger camera though, no doubt... I could have fun there all day just doing that. So many great opportunities all over that park.

 

 

 

As for the Sky Cabin, the trick is to shoot square with the glass and not at an angle. If you do, the image gets really blurry due to how light bends through the plexiglass. I did not pay close enough attention to this myself as I had quite a few that looked quite terrible if I shot at an angle to the glass. Telephoto lenses also help "hide" reflections, scratches and all that on the window as well.

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Cool report. Kinda wish there were captions instead of a constant reminder that Steven Franczek on flickr took all the photos, though.

 

In a few hours all the photos will be updated without that there, so no worries... There will be a temporary "blackout" for 30minutes or so when they are changed. Accidentally left that setting on when exported and I did not plan to.

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I didn't know that Knott's had a Christmas parade.

 

Yea they've had an Xmas parade since 2008. It's not Disney quality but it IS something the guests really enjoy. It fits the park perfectly and they take pride in it.

 

Personally, I prefer Xcelerator to Kinda Ka, but to each his own.

 

I concur.

 

Yeah, Xcelerator looks quite terrible... How often do they repaint it? The supports look fine but the track is almost bubble gum pink.

 

Track hasn't been painted since it opened. Supports were painted in 2010.

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While I'm surprised you didn't care for Xcellerator (I, too, enjoy it far more than Kingda Ka), I completely agree with your review of Silver Bullet. The coaster is way underrated IMO. Sure, it's not the most intense B&M invert out there, but it's one of the most fun for me. The overbanked turns provide a nice flying sensation that I don't feel on other B&M inverts. My favorite sequence of all is the counter-clockwise corkscrew followed by the s-curve thingy (I don't know what it's technically called) followed by the clockwise corkscrew. I actually enjoy the shallowness of the first drop, too. I like the slower way in which the ride picks up speed.

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Well the thing with Xcelerator you must remember is that being 6'6" I had to force myself very uncomfortably in those trains. My knees just would not allow me to sit without turning my body, doing some weird indian-style sitting technique and cramming my size 15 size shoe in awkward positions to fit. I have no problems like this on Dragster, MF or any other Intamin I have been on (well, only the foot area on those), but Xcelerator was very difficult. Once in though, the ride was pretty good. The launch was good and the top hat fun along with the turns... But as far as overall ride fun for me, Dragster is the winner. Kingda Ka was not as fun due to the OTSR's and also that it was quite vibrationy when we rode it, so I would put Storm Runner in right behind Dragster (that I have been on) before KK.

 

But yeah, Silver Bullet is a gem... Like I said, inverts are my favorite style of coaster and it really did not disappoint at all! I do not go crazy for extreme forces and all that, so that did not bother me one bit that it was not as intense as some other rides, although I found that ending helix every bit as good as Raptors final helix... In fact, it felt stronger to me and much more disorientating. I found all the elements just perfectly paced and executed. But that ending sequence really is fantastic! The g-roll right into the helix followed by that flatspin-to-flatspin combo is quite amazing! Nothing beats a B&M flatspin for me on an invert, by far my favorite inversion. It was actually my second favorite coaster of the trip out of all the parks after X2.

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Awesome photos! Xcelerator is definitely pretty tight to get into, but It's my favorite of the Intatmin Accelerator coasters I've ridden.

 

Yeah, Xcelerator looks quite terrible... How often do they repaint it? The supports look fine but the track is almost bubble gum pink.

 

It's funny you say that because I was going to comment on hot the painted supports make it look so much better. Sure the track being painted would be nice, but it was so bad when the supports were faded too. Hopefully the track will get some love in the future and hopefully that love will not be pink. A light blue would look nice with the green supports.

 

I don't hate Silver Bullet, it's a good ride. It just doesn't thrill me like other B&M Inverts in the state. Flight Deck and CGA is much more intense and fun. Batman is more thrilling as well. Silver Bullet is pretty to look at though and by far not a bad ride at all.

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This is one of the best pictures I think I have ever seen:

 

 

Nice work.

 

 

I'm going to Knott's for the first time since 2004 next month, so I'm looking forward to it. I've always loved the layout other than the drop since I first saw it.

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I have to make a comment-those are some of the best Knott's photos I think I have ever seen-great job! I agree with what a few have said in this thread already regarding Silver Bullet, it is IMHO very underrated. Still my favorite of all of the B&M inverted coasters I have been on.

 

I miss living so close to Knott's! It was great to call it my home park for many years. However, I am really enjoying the parks out here.

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Next up, SFMM!

 

 

SFMM has always been a park we had been wanted to get to, and it was great to finally see and experience it! First off, the location of this park is simply amazing. We could not get over the beautiful views from everywhere in the park. Compared to the northeast, it is MUCH different! We loved it.

 

The park was very clean and employees extremely friendly and helpful everywhere we went. Approaching us if we needed directions among other things, it was really shocking (and nice!). Really helped bring up our entire experience. Crews worked quickly and we never saw any slow ops or extremely unmotivated employees. I have seen worse at Cedar Fair parks, for sure. Again, a nice surprise!

 

Ride wise, we had some disappointments and others that exceeded our expectations for sure. Here is a quick summary...

 

-----------------------------

 

 

X2 was by far the best in the park for us. We could not get over the amazing ride experience. Definitely a top ride for both of us. The walk-on waits were an added benefit of the rainy/cold day, total of (7) rides throughout the day.

 

Apocalypse was *slightly* disappointing for me given my love of all the other GCI's I have been on (Roar, Thunderhead, Lightning Racer, Wildcat, Gwazi), but still a great ride. We rode it (3) times throughout the day, our most ridden behind X.

 

Riddlers Revenge was quite disappointing as well... I expected "more" given all the hype I have heard about how good it was compared to others... Good ride (only slightly better than Mantis for me) but I still like Georgia Scorcher best. With standup coasters, I think smaller is better.

 

Green Lantern I was unable to ride due to my height (to tall) but my girlfriend enjoyed it. So I can't really comment on it! Thankfully I only waited all of 5-mins to be turned away.

 

Revolution was quite a shocker for me... We rode in front and had a very enjoyable ride. I thought it was one of the better rides in the park for sure. Totally did not expect that!

 

Batman was solid as usual. I have been on a few others so nothing new.

 

Goliath was good as well... Having ridden Titan prior, again, nothing new experience wise.

 

Drop of Doom was great! Love the views from up top.

 

Scream! was terrible. I think Medusa is decent at SFGadv, but Scream was terrible in comparison. Rough as hell and just really sucked.

 

Colossus was another one we did not expect to like (or at least me). Rode front so maybe that is why, but found it smooth with some decent pops of air here and there. More interesting than I expected.

 

Viper I did not like one bit. I had higher hopes given I generally enjoy the old arrow mega-loopers such as SFOG's, Viper at DL, GASM at Gadv, etc... But this was by far the worst. Gah.

 

Ninja was really good! By far the best suspended coaster we had been on (yes, even over BBW!) and for sure over Iron Dragon and the "Top Guns". Very smooth with a very fun layout and location.

 

Tatsu was quite good... Very smooth and the location was great. Much better than the S:UF's, but in the end we both decided Manta was a better ride overall. They are both very good though and not much different, but Manta leads by a bit for us.

 

 

Overall, we really enjoyed the park very much! We for sure plan to come back again in the future.

 

 

-----------------------------

 

 

Now onto the photos!

 

Note: I did not take my nicer camera in the park due to the one day we had here, the short hours, crappy weather and completely dead park (so we wanted to ride as much as we could!). So we only had the point and shoot we carry around, so these are not nearly as nice or 'artistic' as my Knotts or the other parks I will post later on... So just a little disclaimer that these wont be as interesting as my others... The quality will be back for the rest of my TR's!

 

Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/invertalon/sets/72157632535295398/with/8384737911/

 

 

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