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Photo TR: TPR's Texas/Midwest Trip 2013


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This is the start of my photo trip report of TPR's Texas/Midwest Trip 2013. As always these trips are the highlight of the year for me. Let us first start with Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The last Time I visited this park was during TPR's 2009 Texas trip. I always thought this was one of the better Six Flags park in the chain. While none of the coasters are top ten material (I can't say how Iron Rattler is, since it was closed for our visit), it makes up for it's scenic location. With that said I think that some areas of the park could use some sprucing up and fresh paint. We did have two great ERT sessions at the park. Thank you Robb and Elissa for that. Anyways onward to some photos.

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What do we see in the background?

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Going to be a hot one!

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We meet again, Fiesta Texas! Eric, you should be smiling!

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Awwwwwww.....

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We had an awesome ERT session on this great floorless coaster.

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Heading up to the station.

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Everyone was able to get in many rides before the park opened.

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At one time, this was the largest loop on a coaster.

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It is Superman!

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We also had ERT on my favorite coaster in the park, Poltergeist!

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Lots of rides for happy TPR riders.

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It is my favorite of the, "Flight of Fear" Premier coasters.

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Baking on the brake run.

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TPR takeover!!

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"Run for you lives!!!"

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Something new has been added.

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This is the Sky Screamer that is not named after Texas.

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While a lot smaller than Texas Sky Screamer, this one had a much better cycle.

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Just follow the sign for an awesome air conditioned lunch.

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Yay! Iron Rattler!

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Awwww.....

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I like the new logo.

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The front area of the ride looked nice.

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Nice detail.

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So close... I am sure I will make it back in some near future.

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Train!

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It does look a lot better than the old busted wooden one.

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We still managed to get an iRat walk back tour.

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The final drop.

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Into the tunnel!

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Twisty!

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Group shot with iRat.

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We got to go up to the top of the cliff.

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I love how crazy this looks.

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Lots of crazy overbanks.

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Backwards view of the inversion.

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The top of the final hill.

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The other side of the hill.

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I do not think I have ridden the train before.

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Falling water.

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Purdy!

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Hi, Superman.

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These rides are fun. This one was pretty good.

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Good ride, I always like Batman/Clone coasters.

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It was certainly more forceful than it was in 2009.

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Some of us escaped the heat to the Cheesecake Factory outside the park. This was my salad.

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The S'mores cheesecake was amazing.

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Evening Sky Screamer rides was the best!

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The sun was starting to set.

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The, "Texas is better than everything else show" is still the best Six Flags nighttime show.

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Though I think the version in 2009, was better. (They shortened it and removed Zeus).

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Still it is not to be missed.

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More ERT!!! At night!

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Sky Screamer at night was really cool.

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Say goodnight to the sleeping dragon.

Edited by Erik Johnson
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The following day was Sea World San Antonio. This park was pretty much unchanged since my last visit in 2009. Sea World has two really great coasters. Great White, which is a fantastic Batman clone, and Steel Eel, which in my opinion one of the most underrated coasters in the country. Onward to the photos!

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Good morning, Sea World.

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Shamu lives here.

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To start things off, we had a wet ERT session of Journey.

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While it is certainly a lot less elaborate than the one in Orlando, it is still a fun ride.

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Testing the boats.

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Ready to get wet?

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Up they go!

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Another group of suckers...I mean riders.

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Steel Eel ERT? Yes Please!!

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I think it is one of the most underrated coasters in the country. Great fun, and lots of airtime.

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Front of the train.

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There were a few hardcore TPR members who took full advantage of the ERT session.

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A train full of super happy riders!

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Still the best coaster sign ever!

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Sure it is a Batman clone, but they are awesome.

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Good and forceful!

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Run away from the shark!

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No long waits for this version.

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I still have not done the new version in Orlando, but it is nice that you can simply walk in to see penguins.

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A Lemur joined us for lunch.

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The penguin turned my hat around, honest! It is also time to retire those shorts.

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Ski show!

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Pretty sure this was the first time I had seen one of these in person.

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We also checked out the new Pets Ahoy show.

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It really looked insanely packed, so I decided not to venture into the newly themed waterpark.

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Friends.

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Feeding time!

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Shark! Shark! Shark!

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This is actually a cool Sea World shirt.

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Time to head on out.

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A TPR tradition! Time to trade snacks from all around the world.

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This brought me back. I had not eaten one of these since High School.

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I've always been intrigued by Six Flags Fiesta Texas because of its setting--the most unusual looking Six Flags park. The water dripping from the snake's fangs like venom is a nice touch at the Iron Rattler entrance.

 

Must . . have . . . Smores . . . cheesecake . . .

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Thank you very much for those wonderful pics. For some obscure reason, all of my pictures from the day at Sea World turned up blurry. Probably I switched to an inadequate shooting mode. Thanks to people with more skills (like you !) I can relive some of those moments.

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Ok, let us head on over to Six Flags Over Texas. This was going to be my third visit to the park. The first time was in 2009. The second time was for TPR's Texas Giant Bash in 2011 which was a simply wonderful event. After that visit I ranked SFoT just after Six Flags Great Adventure as my favorite Six Flags park in the chain. Boy, have things really fallen far. Sure we already knew that the two best coasters in the park were going to be closed (New Texas Giant and Shockwave), but you would have thought that the park would have been a tiny bit hospitable to a group of 100 (with many international and first time visitors). The answer was a big, NO! As much as Robb and Elissa tried, the park said no to any ERT, backstage tours, or even a simple hello from management. Mind you, this was planned before the Texas Giant accident. It also did not help that operations were quite abysmal even with a Qbot. It was pretty obvious that the park needs to spend more time training employees. It pretty much became a, "Screw You, Six Flags Day!" I am sure that I will make it back in a few years, but they really need to do a shake up with the upper management of the park.

 

With that said, not everything was a total loss. Robb and Elissa had a surprisingly awesome alternative side trip planned for later in the day. We ended up heading over to Summer Adventures. Summer Adventures is a small, temporary park that is located at the State of Texas Fairgrounds. This year they wanted to test out a concept to open up some of the fair attractions in the summer. It was an amazing opportunity because I doubt I would have ever made it out to the State of Texas Fair. Ok, do you want some photos?

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Texas Sky Screamer is really tall. 400 feet tall!

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New for 2013!

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Awww...Stupid Six Flags.

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First ride of the day.

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Rules of the ride.

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It was a fun ride, but I thought the ride cycle was a bit short. Also, operations were simply dreadful.

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As much as I like Mr. Freeze, I did not even bother with it this visit.

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Just when you could not think Six Flags would sink any lower.

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Stupid Six Flags.

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I should say the New Texas Giant is my #1 steel coaster.

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The station was all covered up.

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I think that they should move the school to a park that I like....ummm maybe Silver Dollar City.

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After a few hours I bailed to go to Humperdinks.

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Let us head on down to Dallas.

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Summer Adventures >>>>>>>> Six Flags Over Texas

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Good to know.

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So that is what a 500 foot pole looks like.

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Intamin's newest ride is a 500 foot tall observation tower. It just opened in June.

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Close up of some mechanical things.

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I spy a kiddie credit.

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It just towers over the big wheel.

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Nice view of Dallas.

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Cotton Bowl.

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Many buildings which will be full for the State Fair of Texas in Sept.

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They have a skycoaster.

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I see another coaster.

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Intamin Shadow

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Yes, this would be the third and final coaster in the park.

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They have a Windstorm here.

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The water tunnel was amazing!

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This has to be the most wacked out, super intense one-of-a-kind kiddie coaster on the planet.

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It looks innocent enough, but it really spins. I sure hope Robb posts a onride video of it soon.

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Photos do not do it justice.

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Single rider!

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Wacky Mouse!

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TPR take over!

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Weeeeeee...

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Close up of the front of the train.

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Let us check out this puppy.

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Go this way.

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History of the ride.

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Rules of the ride.

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Just relaxing on the big wheel.

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One crazy flat ride.

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Up and over.

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This should have been renamed Sauna of Death: The Ride

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You do get a nice view of the area.

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Cotton Bowl.

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Checkers anyone?

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Oooooo.....

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I always ride these things.

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This one is an older one.

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Here is some history about the ride.

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The dark ride was fantastic!! Bill Tracy designed this one. He was the best.

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I loved this room.

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Does it count as a credit?

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It had some descent theming on the outside as well.

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Paul survived.

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Log Flume!

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Random Indian.

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Into the tunnel of doom!

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For a fair log ride, this one was not too shabby.

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Uh oh!

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Aaaaaahhhhh! Evil Tree!

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Evil....Mushroom?

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The big drop.

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The fun house facade was pretty fancy.

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Oh, yeah, we also had an hour of ERT on the Flow Rider with dinner and alcohol after the fair closed! It was an amazing evening!

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And we leave you with a scary clown robot.

Edited by robbalvey
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you would have thought that the park would have been a tiny bit hospitable to a group of 100 (with many international and first time visitors). The answer was a big, NO! As much as Robb and Elissa tried, the park said no to any ERT, backstage tours, or even a simple hello from management. Mind you, this was planned before the Texas Giant accident. It also did not help that operations were quite abysmal even with a Qbot. It was pretty obvious that the park needs to spend more time training employees. It pretty much became a, "Screw You, Six Flags Day!" I am sure that I will make it back in a few years, but they really need to do a shake up with the upper management of the park.

We did end up getting an early walk-back to Mr. Freeze, but that was after having to go over the heads of the group sales people at SFOT and speak with corporate. I thank them for at least walking back our group a few minutes before the park opened and getting us on Freeze, but it was nothing compared to the hospitality we were shown from all the other Six Flags parks on the tour, or even from SFOT in years past.

 

Honestly, from a customer service or group sales standpoint, our visit to SFOT was unacceptable, but at least the Texas State Fair made up for it. Six Flags Over Texas could certainly learn a few things from the wonderful crew that made our fair visit so amazing!

 

And thankfully the other Six Flags properties on the trip helped show the people in our group whom have had very little exposure to Six Flags prior that not all of the parks are as un-hospitable as their peers in Arlington.

 

--Robb "St. Louis, Fiesta Texas, & Great America - Go teach 'em how it's done!" Alvey

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200% agreed with the other SF parks' hospitality, especially St Louis. But thepark that impressed me most on this topic, was doubtlessly SDC. I swear my roomie and I were looking at the park map, and a park employee literally crossed the alley and jump on us to ask us if we needed help / directions ! Every single operator started conversations with us and wanted to know what we thought of their jewel. They really did a great job at making feel us at home and giving us the best possible day out. oh, andthe operator at METEOR (little Amerricka was FANTASTIC too)

Now, SFOT... mini Mine Train crew... is it compulsory to wait for AT LEAST five minutes discussing together with your finger on the dispatch button, and everything have been checked 100 times ? At least, there was Titan (my first Giovannola hyper) to save the day (and Reverse Blast was very good too... even if I found the St Louis version a tad bit more intense)

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I was blown away by Summer Adventures. I had only read negative stuff about the park online and was very skeptical, but as soon as we called them and told them we no longer needed a full day at SFoT and would like to do something nice for our Trip Participants they worked with us and were fabulous!

 

The ops were great, rides were surprising, and even the food was great!

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Ugh, these reports are making me so mad at myself for skipping the Summer Adventures park. Hopefully I can find a way to make it back down there in a few years. Looks like it be a great place to spend an evening after a day in the city, but it's current hours don't really allow that.

 

It's a shame SFOT was so bad. You'd think after the whole NTAG accident they'd be going out of their way to provide good service and get some good publicity. Sounds like my visit which was rife with problems and annoyances was actually a good day for the park. What a shame.

 

Looking forward to the rest of your report, especially the SFGAm day. Hopefully they were able to make up for how bad opening day was!

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I was blown away by Summer Adventures. I had only read negative stuff about the park online and was very skeptical, but as soon as we called them and told them we no longer needed a full day at SFoT and would like to do something nice for our Trip Participants they worked with us and were fabulous!

 

The ops were great, rides were surprising, and even the food was great!

 

and the BEER Elissa, do not forget the BEER !

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The Bubble House at the fair park was completely amazing! Good on them for having us on such short notice. Pretty much echoing everyone else's thoughts on SFOT. I was not impressed. All three other Six Flags parks we visited were much more hospitable. Just because your world class coaster is down, doesn't mean you have to be crappy hosts. Fiesta Texas was much more hospitable to us. Free beer at lunch and projecting the TPR logo on the quarry wall at the start of the Lone Star Nights show were both really awesome touches.

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I can't help but wonder if SFOT would have been more hospitable had that accident not happened. It seems to me that the park has been devastated by this tragedy. During my earlier visits to the park this year everything seemed to be ok. Operations were fine and the park itself seemed to be running smoothly.

 

Since SFOT is my home park, I can't help but feel terrible about the bad treatment TPR received. Here's hoping that SFOT manages to overcome all this and return to it's former glory.

Edited by Sportsdude360
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