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Photo TR: Boldikus' Maiden Voyage to SFA 9/14/14


boldikus
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Took a lot of photos so this is going to be less yapping, more pix. Overall the park exceeded expectations on almost every level, though surely it helped going into this trip to have very, very low expectations based on the parks reputation(s). Most of this report is going to compare to SFGAdv, as its my home park and I'm there all the time.

 

Joining me was our captain, my sisters husband aka my brother-in-law Tom. Tom is a mild enthusiast, and always up for anything. We had a pretty epic all-dayer at GAdv earlier this summer so I was looking forward to doing this trip with him. He was coming from Levittown, PA, picked me up in Philly bright and early, right on time at 7:30am as we aimed to get to the park at opening, and we had to make a quick stop off 95 to snatch Tom's brother Matt who lives just outside of Baltimore. We also hit up a Wawa to snag some hoagies for lunch to avoid paying park prices for lunch.

 

Traffic was light and easy the entire seemingly quick ride down to Upper Marlboro, Maryland. We pulled into the lot exactly @ 10:30, with no issues using our GAdv passes for parking and entry, and the lot was surprisingly empty. We parked very close to the gate, and were in the park in a flash. Wow, being a GAdv regular this was very strange to me - I could get used to this, lol. We knew of a sports apparel promo the park was running (wear DC or B-more sports team gear, get in for $19.99) and thought we might have to cave on some Flash Passes, but I don't think we could have gotten them if we tried. The place was empty. Maybe its just early and it hasn't filled in? Well, that never happened.

 

The park itself I thought was very nice! Its no Disney but it could give GAdv a run for their money with a nicer parking lot, some decent landscaping, and the walkways/concrete were in much better shape here at SFA. Lots of Fright Fest decorations up all over the place. I did not once feel like the park looked/seemed run down. Not the look of the place, not the guests, not the employees. I was pleasantly surprised. It was much nicer than I expected. And SMALL. To get from one area to the other takes 3-5 minutes, where at GAdv I feel like its a half hour walk to get from Zumanjaro to Nitro. I know GAdv is a huge park but this place felt tiny.

 

We were able to get a TON of riding in. Not since I was a kid in the 80s doing Morey's all day w/ a bracelet have I done so many freaking rides in one day. 98% of rides we went on were walkons or a one cycle wait. My one main gripe, its hardly worth mentioning but every ride was one train operations. Now, it wasn't at all warranted to have all trains running as the whole park was dead, but still lame to have to wait a whole cycle when there are perfectly good trains sitting there unused. I know, its a silly complaint but glad its one of the only things that bothered me. My personal ride count for the day: TWENTY NINE RIDES. Keep in mind park was open from 10:30-6pm, so we did this all in just 7.5 hours. Here's what I thought:

 

Superman: Ride Of Steel (12x) What a great coaster. I know its not the BEST Intamin hyper but it was my first and now I'm dying to ride the others. My first ride was in the front row (bros were behind me) sitting next to an old crotchety ACEr that liked my Six Flags shirt - he asked me if I was an enthusiast and then proceeded to complain the entire way up the lift that the park only gets Great America's leftovers and that I should go to Canada cause they have great coasters (!?). He was nice but a little out there. Anyways, incredible first drop and that first turn low to the ground is breathtaking. The two big airtime hills are really nice in the front or back of the train but in the middle you don't get much air. The first helix is cool but I wish they ripped these out and put in a bunch of airtime hills. It kinda sucks the energy out of the ride, you are really slowing down in the 2nd helix. But those three airtime hills right at the end are AWESOME! (Pro-tip: if you're sitting in the back, prepare to have your gut/balls smashed right at the bottom of the last bunnyhop when the breaks hit HARD). So nice to not have to wait in lines, was able to do this 12 times all day, the last 4-5 rides back to back right before we left the park without even leaving the station. Most rides were in the back car, but we tried it all over the train. Back is best, though I am a backseat rider on most coasters. Rating: 9/10

 

Jokers Jinx (6x) My first Premier launcher, and I loved this ride. For whatever reason I would just giggle uncontrollably every time we rode. We actually went to ride this only 3 times but on each we got a re-ride due to no one waiting for our row so it was 6 total rides. Loved the faking out/teasing us with the launches. The spaghetti bowl of track layout seems like it would be enough to induce vertigo but it did not bother me, I started to know it well by the last of our rides. I like that the ride started off strong and forceful, kind of settles down a bit for the mid section and then really pick up speed for the low-to-the-ground section at the end. The final corkscrew right before the break run was brutally awesome, and I say this as someone who is not a huge fan of corkscrews. Made for a great finish. Really dug this one. Great, funny, good time ops working it. Same with ROS, they were awesome too. High fives, etc.

Rating: 8/10

 

French Quarter Flyers (1x) Id never ridden one of these flyers before and I had a blast. Nice long cycle. I hate spinning rides but with the swinging high and low of the flyers it didnt bother me. I did a pretty good job of snapping the cables once and actually kind of scared myself for a second but still loved this. Stoked that Wildwood is getting one of these rides next year. We wanted to get back on later but the line had gotten a little too long for us to wait (we were spoiled from all the other walkons all day).

Rating: 8/10

 

Wild One (3x) Who knew a 97 year old woodie could be this good? Airtime like whoa! Its surprising as from the ground it doesn't look like anything special but man this is a great ride. We sat in the back on all three rides. Would have ridden more if we had more time and if S:ROS wasn't so insanely great. The two (or three?) pops where it turns a bit at the tops of the hills and THROWS you into the side of the train were deliciously painful and I'm still waiting for the bruise to show up on my hip. And that helix of death (what we dubbed it) at the end is NUTS! A great finish! I don't have a particularly high credit count for woodies but this is surely close to the top. Great, great ride (but no El Toro lol).

Rating: 8/10

 

Voodoo Drop (2x) Good ride. A year ago you couldn't have gotten me anywhere near a drop ride, but Zumanjaro is changing that. Unfortunately any ride that is not Zumanjaro is just not going to compare.This has a nice, intense drop but just feels so short. But good enough to go for a second ride later in the day.

Rating: 7/10

 

Mind Eraser (1x) I've ridden the SLC (Great Nor'easter) in Wildwood probably 100 times at this point so I knew what I was getting myself into with this. The newer trains/restraints on the Nor'easter give it the advantage obviously but this wasn't that bad. Its a back seat ride for me and knowing the course allowed me to ride defensively and resulted in no headbanging and zero mind erasing. Was neat to see a coaster I know so well in a different setting (the woods as opposed to on the beach) and with a different paint job but wasn't something we wanted to ride again. In fact, we never came back to this area the rest of the day.

Rating: 5/10

 

ROAR (1x) Id heard this was beyond rough but I felt like if I had ridden it a bunch and knew the layout I would have enjoyed it. It wasn't a terrible ride just a bit jarring into some of the turns, which is more or less the entire ride. Some nice airtime pops right near the end of the ride. Another one and done.

Rating: 4/10

 

Apocalypse (1x) The park has all of one B&M and its one of the worst rides in the entire park. Seriously is there a such thing as a good stand-up coaster? Its so gimmicky and not in a good way. Just let me sit, ugh. They did go all out with the themeing on this, but the drop was meh, the course was lame and I got a nice clock to my right ear really good on this one. Could not wait to get off this thing. One and done.

Rating: 3/10

 

Batwing (1x) The only other flyer Ive done is Ultimate Flight and I love that ride. I hated this thing. The restraints are sketchy, I did not feel comfortable in the flimsy vest with essentially a lapbar and ankle restraints holding me in. Going up the lift on your back is so weird and the anti-rollbacks were SO LOUD. And the flip over at the top into the drop was jarring and uncomfortable. It even felt like a Vekoma - weird transitions, not really rough, just not good. And what is a flyer without a pretzel loop? Tom and Matt went back later for a 2nd ride but I headed for more rides on S:ROS. In the time it took them to do BW once, I did ROS three more times.

Rating: 3/10

 

Zydeco Zinger (1x) Growing up they had something similar @ Morey's so we gave this one a shot. The biggest dud of the day for us. Slow, forceless, really short cycle.

Rating: 1/10

 

Ragin Cajun (1x) My first spinning mouse. Ironically this had the longest wait of the day, about 15 minutes. Whoever thought up a spinning coaster was a drunk a$$hole. The three of us hate spinning rides but its technically a credit so we saved this for later so it wouldnt ruin us for the rest of the day. Its like taking a teacup ride and putting it on a coaster track. And its spins so much faster/intensely than any of us expected. I got serious whiplash and we all felt nauseous after getting off. So of course we went to have drinks at Hurricanes lol.

Rating: 2/10

 

Overall it was a great day, felt like we had the place to ourselves. Here's a ton of pix since I know that's what you guys would rather see anyway

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Tom and I on the road bright and early.

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Its a pretty straight shot from Philly.

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Lots of scenic Delaware and Maryland...

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Beautiful morning for a road trip to ride some new coasters.

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Surprise, traffic was very light early on a Sunday morning ;)

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Oh snap...

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We're here!

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Waterpark. Think it was closed but we're not here for that.

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10:30am opening and no crowds? I had a brief moment of panic thinking we were going to have to get all Clark Griswold on a closed park.

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This place is nowhere near as run down as folks make it out to be.

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Main street was a little busy but nothing compared to GAdv at opening.

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Nice fountain

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Where to?

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Fright fest dex are out

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Love that their tea cups are completely wrapped in cobwebs.

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"coaster"

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Oh look there's a B&M and a GCI!

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Let's skip them for the good stuff

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I see you Jokers Jinx!

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First ride of the day! Wait, you guys are still 'testing'?? :(

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OK, first ride of the day is an old launcher? Let's do it!

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Walkons abound.

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Loved this ride.

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Oh snap S:ROS is running, we make a mad dash over and I ride in the front for my first ride with the aforementioned craggly old ACE dude. I am a backseat rider but figured better do the front first as its never going be as good once I do the back.

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And boy was I right! (note the cranky ACE guy by himself in the Superman shirt)

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Killer first drop. Great whip over the drop, feels much steeper than it looks.

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Great bunny hops for the finale.

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If you are sitting in the back, brace yourself and prepare for sudden, painful gut busting breaks right here!

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OK then, we'll come back.

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Ghost town.

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Where is everyone?

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Ahh the flyers! LOVED THIS!

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This train sucks. We didn't ride it (I didn't really see anyone on it) but the thing is constantly running and always cutting off paths we are trying to get across to ride some real rails!

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Time for a drop.

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Thats not how this works, sir.

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Its a a good drop tower, but its no Zumanjaro.

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Whooosh

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This thing kicks so much ass!

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Gotta love it

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Waiting for the back, of course

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Most definitely!

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We considered the Big Easy Speedway, but between the up-charge and the fact the cars didnt seem to have much oompf, we skipped them.

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Pay no attention to the crap flat in front of the fantastic classic woodie

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Another spin? Why not.

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Skycoasters (we skipped, Im scared lol)

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This made me chuckle.

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This thing was running and not running all day. I don't really get it. Is it like rapids on a water slide? Do you get really wet? We didnt go near it.

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Very photogenic coaster.

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This one surprised me by being one of my faves of the day.

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Lets head back now and do Batwing.

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Batwing has some cool themeing through the queue.

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So I'm not trying to blow up this couples spot but we kept seeing them all day and had dubbed them "The Heavy Petters". First time we saw them he had her pushed against a wall making out INTENSELY. Then throughout the day we must have seen them at least 10 more times - and everytime, without fail, they would start making out and feeling each other up. I didn't realize we got this pic til I was going through them this morning and almost spit out my coffee. We sat three rows behind them on ROS at one point and they sucked face the whole time up the lift. My bro says (loudly enough everyone in the train could hear) "Keep your hands, legs, and heavy petting inside the car at all times and enjoy your heavy petting on Superman Ride Of Steel!" LMAO. We just started yelling "heavy petters" at them throughout the day.

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It looks nice, but looks can be deceiving

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Such weird/awful restraints, no wonder the loading sucks.

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Ahhhh back again

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Best drop in the park

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Airtime!

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Of course we popped out to the lot for some tailgating, beers and Wawa hoagies!

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Weirdly awesome.

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Hey I know this ride!

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Its really not that bad if you know what to expect.

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Theres a joke in here somewhere.

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Ghost town.

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Wouldnt be a Six Flags park without turkey legs.

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ROAR isnt the best but it could be worse.

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At least we didnt waste time waiting for it

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Generally nice park. But no one here.

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Ugh

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It looks nice, I'll give it that.

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Everyone else seemed to agree that it sucked, as no one else was riding it. I think there were 4 other people on our train.

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Since when do pirates fly? Oh, Six Flags.

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Yep, a few more spins. No wait, why not?

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Was bummed they weren't running the blue train, would have been nice to see if it was any better/worse.

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So good

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This area looks pretty nice

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And was generally the more crowded area of the park.

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Evil machine.

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But look they covered up the plywood with faux brick!

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No doubt

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Hurricanes is really nice. Its awesome to be able to sit at an actual bar with liquor behind the bar, more than 3 taps and TVs with sports games playing.

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Very nice break, shame this place isnt bigger.

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A few more runs before the park closes! Til next time SFA!

Edited by boldikus
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Your thoughts on the park pretty much parallel mine. I love the place. Im not even a water park guy but enjoy theirs. I think the park is an incredible value and can spend an entire day between the water park and dry side.

 

My opinion on the coasters is totally opposite though. I haven't been in two years so things might have changed on them. I hated SROS and love batwing. I fell Batwing gives me more of a flying sensation than superman's "prepare for insertion" position of riding.

 

ROS on the other hand I find very uncomfortable with strange vibrations, weird track transitions that cause strange shuffling, and little to no air. The first drop and turn though are fantastic.

 

Jokers jinx rules. Wild one is one of my favorite woodies. Ive never ridden mind eraser and never will, as moreys, even with the new trains, is terrible.

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I should have mentioned as much as I loved ROS, I did notice a shuffle, mainly through the helixes and only when riding in the back. I wish we could have tried the other train, just to compare. Other than that it was pretty smooth. Not brand new coaster smooth, but smooth for being 14 years old.

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I should have mentioned as much as I loved ROS, I did notice a shuffle, mainly through the helixes and only when riding in the back. I wish we could have tried the other train, just to compare. Other than that it was pretty smooth. Not brand new coaster smooth, but smooth for being 14 years old.

You are fine riding the red train on S:ROS. I've ridden both trains over a dozen times, and I've found the blue train to shuffle much more and even rattle a good amount in the helices.

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Great review. Did you take in any shows?

 

No shows. The goal was to go and do the eight coasters, and maybe some flats. We didn't expect it to be dead so we took advantage of everything being a walk on and just kept riding what we liked as much as we could. Bummer it closed @ 6, would have liked to have gotten some night rides on SROS and JJ.

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This time of year you have the Ravens and Redskins football most Sundays, not to mention the O's and Nats are in the title hunt so they are packing their stadiums also.........should be great days at the park!!!!!!

 

You are right. Not only is it football season,and the Nats and O's in the playoff hunt, it was the home opener for the Skins @ 1 p.m. Sunday had to be very empty.

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^^^ Its a 2.5 hour drive, I imagine I won't be back really soon, with GADv, Dorney and Hershey so close. Especially knowing what SFA is getting next year (same lame as we are), and on top of that now I basically HAVE to get to SFNE for Bizarro (and obviously WC).

 

Trips for next year might shake out to be easy for me, I have friends in Georgia and Los Angeles now to stay with, so would like to get to SF Over Georgia and Magic Mountain in late 2015. Bro and I've been discussing a road trip to Cedar Point in 2015 as well, maybe spring. Neither of us have ever been. I really need to start playing the lottery more often lmao.

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Yeah I likely would for a park I was traveling so far away for. I can barely deal with GAdv anymore without a FP. Not to mention I'm sure there's more than a few coasters @CP I'd want to get re-rides on.

 

As far as SFOG, my sis just moved to Athens, GA, which I know is still a bit of a hike, but its closer than I am now lol.

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Glad you had a good time at SFA. I was there 2 weeks ago on a Saturday before they started decorating and the place was also dead. One train waits for everything. It's often like that, at least when I've gone. I've found the park to be very tidy in recent years but about 10 years ago it was not that way... trust me.

 

Wild One and S:ROS kick major ass. Everything else is basically terrible, especially Batwing. Dispatches can vary between awesome and atrocious. Regarding the Penguin raft thing, if you didn't like Ragin' Cajun you would NOT want to ride that. You do not get wet, it spins you around in about 250 circles as you are spiraling down the slide and then you gently glide into the water at the bottom. Nice TR!

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The Penguin ride is horrible. They have a waterfall they turn on sometimes and it's the only way you get wet on the ride. Six Flags New England replaced their log flume with one of these ugly pieces of crap which is a real shame... they're completely pointless.

 

My friend told me they removed the Log Flume at SFNE for that horrifying looking thing. Hopefully whoever's idea it was, they were fired shortly after.

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The Penguin ride is horrible. They have a waterfall they turn on sometimes and it's the only way you get wet on the ride. Six Flags New England replaced their log flume with one of these ugly pieces of crap which is a real shame... they're completely pointless.

 

My friend told me they removed the Log Flume at SFNE for that horrifying looking thing. Hopefully whoever's idea it was, they were fired shortly after.

 

When I went to SFNE last year, I was suprised to see they didn't have a log flume but one of these god awful rides. Seriously, what a stupid desicion.

 

Nice TR. SFA may not be the best park in the chain, but it certainly has been imprving lately. Hopefully it stays that way for a while.

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^^ One of my regrets of the day is that we didn't do Wild One more, and in different seats. I did it in the last and 2nd to last row on our 3 rides. It is a great coaster.

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Your story of the ACEr on the ROS lift reminds me of a similar experience. I was at CoasterMania (07 or 08...I can't remember) at Cedar Point waiting in line for the front seat of Millennium Force. The guy behind us kept telling my friend and I how much he LOVED Wacky Worms. He was definitely an extremely strange person, even for an ACEr!

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  • 1 month later...
Great report! I missed this when it was first posted! I feel this park does have so much potential, but the chain just seems to forget about it. Superman, Jokers Jinx, Wild One, Roar - all decent rides!

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