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Photo TR: Mini New Hotness/East Coast Trip


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I've only been to Indiana Beach once but I didn't like the park as much as I was expecting. It was nice, had a solid collection of coasters but the feel of place was just kind of weird to me. Almost like they had too much going on in too small of a space. Cornball Express was a fun little coasters, and I'd love to go back and try Steel Hawg, but hopefully the management will get the place turned around in the near future.

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^The park is definitely a "work in progress," but I think the current management is committed to improving it. I wonder how much longer LOCO SUMO will be around, though. The ride has always had issues, and they seem to be whittling away at. It's down to one train, the talking skeleton by the elevator lift doesn't work anymore, and the infamous bear is gone.

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It was in their upstairs dining room, and it was pretty good variety of food (including this nice lemon-chicken concoction). The restaurant is open to the public, too (we just had reserved tables). I think everybody found something to their liking.

 

They're not quite at the level of Knoebels when it comes to "park food," but they have some good stuff (like their tacos, redneck biscuits, and elephant ears).

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For Indiana Tacos they really are Worlds Best quality!

 

The best tacos in Indiana (and all of Chicagoland, for that matter) are in Hammond:

 

 

No joke... Taco Real is a mile off the skyway, and totally worth it. Whenever I would take a Chicago friend to Indiana Beach, we would always stop by; it makes a good pit stop for the common path between IB and Great America.

 

Good to see people are having fun at Indiana Beach. After the last few years of dwindling operations, broken rides, etc., I haven't had the heart to visit. Maybe they're on an upswing? I gotta get back before Tig'ger goes away :/

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^As for "redneck," I have no idea. But I can tell you that it's a deep-fried biscuit. You just can't question the logic of "fair food."

 

Moving right along . . .

 

Day 6: A True "Six Flags Day" at Great America

 

Back in 2010, Six Flags Great America lived up to the third word in its name. The park welcomed TPR with open arms, plenty of ERT, and some nice backstage tours. Everybody had a great time.

 

What a difference four years makes. No tours. No ERT. Slow operations. The park seemed to be suffering from some sort of malaise. For example, Viper was amazing back in 2010 and made my top-ten wooden coasters list; this year, it just sort of meandered through its course, following a majestic four-or-five-minute dispatch time per train. For me, a once great woodie had become, at best, mediocre. (Our ERT on Viper in 2010 was excellent.)

 

But lest I be accused of focusing on the negative, Goliath is a very good coaster that any park would be happy to have. While it's not on the level of New Texas Giant (very few coasters are), it's definitely a top ride. I particularly like the "hang time" in the inversions and the crazy initial drop. I haven't been on Outlaw Run, by the way.

 

X-Flight, the park's B&M Wing coaster, was OK, at best. I do prefer it to Gatekeeper at Cedar Point, but I still think Dollywood's Wild Eagle is the best of these rides in the U.S.

 

Robb and Elissa made sure that everybody had Q-bots so they could get the best out of a very busy park that day. And with the operations here, Q-Bots are a must.

 

Here's a look at our "Six Flags Day."

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"OK, where's that David punk? After I suqash him, we are gonna partay like Philistines in Jerusalem tonight!"

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If this were sponsored by the Rolling Stones, it would be perfect. It also sums up the reactions of many enthusiasts to the announcement of any RMC ride.

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Russell Crowe had to follow the exact same rules in "Gladiator."

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Those who attempt to board out of order forfeit all honor and will be fed to the lions. They left that rule out.

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Stay classy.

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Bah! Real gladiators would return stained by the blood of their enemies!

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Seriously, folks, this is a very good ride.

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This is RMC's patented "Relieve Riders of Loose Change" element.

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X-Flight does look good--I'll grant it that. But it just sort of "meanders," when it should "soar."

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Better than Gatekeeper, not as much fun as Wild Eagle.

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If it's neither beer nor booze, what's the point?

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Looks like the Minions are playing group "pocket pool."

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Be sure to "Six Flags" your nachos by springing for the cheese. Or maybe the cheese meant is for the pretzel. The sign is a bit vague.

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Hey, let's ride Ragin' Cajun . . . oops! Well, Great America's loss is Six Flags America's, er, gain?

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Yeah, a sign about "pain." Definitely something I want to see at a theme park.

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"See your dentist, folks! Look at what happened to us! Another message from Universal Dental Clinics."

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Sheesh! Why is Great America so hung up on teeth?

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Raging Bull does have a nicely themed setting. It's one of the best-looking areas in any Six Flags park.

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If only it wasn't braked to death.

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Thanks to all the neutering, they should change the name to "Wandering Steer."

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Whizzer is still fun, anyway.

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Yep--it's a good family coaster.

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I admit to being a bit of a fan of these "Wild Mouse in a Box" coasters.

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Like Raging Bull, Whizzer was a really nice setting.

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Watch out for that tree!

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Let's see . . . 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 flags.

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It's a shame that Viper was so, well, sluggish.

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I do like Raging Bull's layout.

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But the park's real star is over there (no, not Batman or Vertical Velocity).

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And, thus, our Six Flags Day came to an end. Next up will be the Mini East Coast Trip.

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Btw, is this the first time TPR has visited a park without ERT and tours?

 

No. For example, Japanese parks, as a rule, don't offer ERT and backstage tours.

Edited by cfc
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Those basically remind me of those little fried balls of dough or biscuits that you find in many asian buffets, deep fried and coated in sugar I believe.

 

They're called Chinese Donuts.

 

Fried dough is fried dough, all the same thing really, just fry it up and put something on it lol

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Day 7: IT'S THE MILK CHOCOLATE! Hersheypark

 

There's a lot to love about Hersheypark. The smell of chocolate in the air. Lightning Racer. The fact that Troegs Brewery is just around the corner. We had a great evening and day there, after everyone was picked up at Harrisburg INTERNATIONAL (as Dave Thomas reminded us) Airport.

 

We started off with a great evening ERT session on Fahrenheit and Storm Runner. I wasn't a big fan of the bizarrely named Fahrenheit when I first rode it a few years ago. It was a bit on the rough and rattly side (this seems to be the way with Intamin multi-inversion coasters), and the name just didn't make any sense to me (I guess the vertical list is supposed to suggest a thermometer). But it went up a few notches on this trip, as it seemed to be running much better. What I thought would be a "one and done" turned into multiple rides. And what can you say about Storm Runner after dark other than "Yeehaw!" What a great launched coaster.

 

But I know there's a burning question on all your minds concerning one of the park's newer coasters. So, let's answer that one right now. No, I did not ride Cocoa Cruiser. It was just too much bother to get that wee little lapbar down over my pudgy, middle-aged thighs.

 

But there was this other ride that made up for it. What was it called . . . Skyrush? That sounds right.

 

Skyrush is one of the best, and most frightening, coasters I've ever ridden. When it comes to airtime, Intamin outdid themselves, and everybody else. This ride is completely, utterly insane from beginning to end. I'm not surprised that they staple you into it, as Skyrush is like a particularly unruly bronco trying to buck you off at each turn. I think the only thing that keeps it from being my #1 steel coaster is the somewhat uncomfortable restraint system, but that's more of a problem with my thighs than the ride. We rode during the park's passholder ERT session in the morning, and I think I took seven spins around the park's pond then (and a few more later in the day).

 

But what about the rest of the day at Hersheypark? Here's a look.

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This is the only photo I took of the nighttime ERT session (with my phone, as I decided not to lug the camera round that night). Good times all around!

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Oh, boy! Will we meet Willy Wonka? Will his Oompa Loompas sing valuable life lessons to us?

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Is this where we meet Mr. Wonka?

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You're not Willy Wonka! We have been deceived!

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Our group, bitter at the realization that we won't be meeting Willy Wonka or hearing the soothing tones of the Oompa Loompas, plods into what used to be "Comet Hollow." Now it is simply "Hollow."

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Wait! Who needs some creepy guy in a purple, crushed-velvet jacket?

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All is forgiven, Milton Hershey.

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Skyrush can run, but it can't hide.

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By this point, you're holding on for dear life.

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"For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful!"

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This is the most insane coaster I've ever ridden--and I've ridden Insane!

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Skyrush is so terrifying that you can't help but grin all the way through it--probably because you've lost all semblance of sanity and have been reduced to a drooling maniac!

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I do agree that the restraints can be a bit uncomfortable, but it's definitely worth it.

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I think these smiling faces agree with me.

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Well, tell Intamin you want an "airtime machine" . . .

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. . . and, by god, you get an AIRTIME MACHINE.

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But let's not forget good ol' Comet.

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It's no Skyrush, but it does provide some nice, old-fashioned fun.

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Speaking of insane Intamin creations . . .

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Storm Runner is as crazy as it ever was.

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Still the best of its kind, along with Xcelerator at Knott's. More to come.

Edited by cfc
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One more look back at a great day at Hersheypark.

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Hersheypark also has this . . . thing--which I first rode a number of years ago and never have to ride again. ;)

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I didn't care much for Fahrenheit when I first rode it a few years ago.

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But it moved up a few notches this year. I guess it's grown on me.

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Welcome to Wildcat--with the new "Revenge of Angus McNasty" overlay!

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OK, so the special effects are a bit "low rent."

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"That's OK, KT! Mommy got your soul back from the crazy kitty!"

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Man does not live by coasters alone, so Derek took some of us over to Troegs brewery. Damn, that's good beer. Their popcorn and pork bellies are pretty tasty, too.

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Chocolate, like beer, is also essential to our survival.

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Better crank up your insulin pump, Dan.

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"Where's Dan?"

"I think all this chocolate made him explode."

"Too bad. I'll miss him."

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Welcome to Hersheypark's version of an old-school Epcot ride.

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"Sell them to me! Sell me your children!"

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Thank you, West Africa.

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What's this?

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"IT'S THE MILK CHOCOLATE!" (Aghh! Get out of my mind!)

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One of these Hershey products does not require "THE MILK CHOCOLATE!"

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Thus, milk-chocolate-fueled orgasms exploded all over creation, and Milton Hershey saw that this was good.

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Well, just about time to go. But before we leave, . . .

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. . . let's say goodbye to Skyrush, one of the most insane rides ever!

Edited by cfc
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Great report, Chuck!

 

Skyrush felt so overdriven to me that it was difficult to enjoy; it was more like an endurance test than a thrilling coaster, but I feel that way about a number of the more extreme rides out there. I still rode it around 15 times to make sure the experience was burned into memory. Fahrenheit, on the other hand, was excellent.

 

As far as Goliath goes at Six Flags, I've yet to ride an RMC (looking forward to trying them at some point), but this is the only one that doesn't have me pricing out plane tickets to the area whereas the others all look so appealing. The layout seems a bit bland and perhaps a tad gimmicky. However, it looks great in the pictures you've provided here—a very ominous structure in the park.

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Speaking of drooling maniacs and Skyrush.....I have only ridden front wing once. When we got back to the station I was pretty wet from the mouth all the way back to my ear and hair.....LMAO. It was kinda weird and my son could do nothing but shake his head and laugh. I have never experienced anything like that before and I feel kind of awkward talking about it.......but oh well, the ride is really that good!

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Hershey Park is the paradise of Intamin

True. And two of them are my 2nd and 3rd favourite rides!

^Skyrush is "borderline" when it comes to intensity until the last third of the ride, when it finally lets up.

I've been hearing this year (especially from this trip) that the last bit of skyrush was not as intense as the rest but when I rode it last year that last airtime hill was just as insane as the others. Also, I'm like you. The only thing that keeps it from being my favourite coaster are the restraints.

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