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Photo TR: Back to West Coast Bash--and More!

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The Six Flags Day: Getting Twisted at Magic Mountain


I missed traveling with TPR this year. Due to family commitments, I had to back out of the Japan Trip and, thus, missed out on the insane fun, good friends, early mornings and late nights, and miles of walking to which I had become accustomed since my first TPR Trip back in 2006. Call it my "TPR Workout Regimen."


How to recapture the magic? I know--an intense five days in southern California hitting Disney, West Coast Bash, and SeaWorld in San Diego! Perfect!


So, after visiting my family in Sacramento for a few days, with a side trip to Ashland, Oregon, I flew down to Orange County, met up with Eric Wilson at the airport, and checked into our base camp at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel for some great days of extreme park hopping from Valencia to San Diego. Somewhat exhausting, but a hell of a lot of fun.


Technically, we started at Disney on Friday, Sept. 11, but I'll save that stuff for a later post. Let's kick things off at the first day of TPR's annual West Coast Bash at Six Flags Magic Mountain, where it's all about . . . do I have to say its name? I repeat: Do I have to say its name? Well, I will anyway.


Twisted Colossus!


Let's get this out of the way right off--this is a damn good coaster. Much better than the pile of rotting wood it replaced. Insane speeds, crazy airtime, and great "twisty" moments. This ride is very good when it doesn't duel. When it does duel, it becomes remarkable--particularly from the back row. The experience of looking down (or up) at the other train as you pass it is the best coaster moment I've experienced since the "High Five" element on Dualing Dragon in China. And there are some great "oh crap" moments in the front seat (particularly on the two big drops).


Is it the best RMC? Well, that double lift hill, while true to the tradition of the original Colossus, does hurt the momentum halfway through; however, when it duels, it's fun to urge the second train on as you climb. I've ridden three RMCs and rank them as follows: New Texas Giant, Twisted Colossus, and Goliath. Twisted Colossus may not be the best, but it's unique and will probably make my top ten.


It's tough to beat day and night ERT on Twisted Colossus, but I liked Full Throttle, as well. I' m a fan of the Premier coasters, and this one featured nice, intense launches. The only mild disappointment was the lack of airtime on the return hill over the loop at the end. Still, a solid ride.


I enjoyed Lex Luthor's Drop of Doom quite a bit, too--particularly the little speech from Superman's chrome-domed nemesis right before the plunge.


Here's a look at the first day of West Coast Bash.


The multitudes arrive and demand entry! And donuts!


It's quiet now, but looks can be deceiving. After all, "Fear the Walking Dead" is set in LA, and zombies could make their way up to Valencia at any time! In fact, many coaster enthusiasts resemble zombies until they've had donuts. Then they become ravening wolves!


First stop, morning ERT on the RIDE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME!


Erik is ready to go "yoloing." Brad is considering whether "yoloing" is the direction his life should take. It is a rather large commitment--to yolo or not to yolo. Yes, Shakeapeare pondered this choice in his first draft of "Hamlet."


But a-yoloing he did, indeed, go.


Hi ho the merry oh, a-yoloing we did go! The launch into the loop is great.


Then it whips through this curve, does some other stuff, makes it to a tunnel, and briefly becomes Tempesto only with loud music and flashing lights.


Would've liked a bit of air on this hill, but it's still a fun drop--and the view from the front seat is amazing.


And they're back, after a fun, if somewhat eccentric, ride.


Sheesh! You'd think Halloween was coming or something--or is that when they put up the Christmas decorations?


A ride on Goliath while we make our way to Twisted Colossus? Why not? I like that ride.


Hey, wait a minute! No one said anything about fighting any freakin' monsters on Goliath!


What? We gotta camp out and kill and cook our own food? When did they do this to Goliath?


Ah ha! So it's all about selling "monster-slaying implements," eh? Are these available in the ride gift shop?


Er, OK . . .


No sign of any Gore Megala or Pokemons or Ninja Turtles here.


I guess someone got that pesky Gore Magala before I rode. Never laid eyes on it.


Relieved that the Gore Magala didn't shed our blood, we made the trek to the park's new Screampunk District.


And here's the main reason, next to seeing old friends, for my pilgrimage to Magic Mountain.


Hmm--is this the steampunk form of Viagra?


If twistiness persists for more than four hours, consult your physician.


Look at all that polite, Victorian-like applause for Twisted Colossus.


"I say, it was, indeed, a rather exhilarating experience that does proper honor to her Majesty, the Queen without provoking excessive naughtiness."


"I concur. I was able to gather together my humors after only a mild application of smelling salts while still feeling proper, ladylike exhilaration."


I missed out on the backstage tours, so I apologize for not having better pictures of the ride.


That being said, go out west and ride this--you won't be sorry. More to come.

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More from WCB's Six Flags Day at Magic Mountain, wherein Lex Luthor taunts me, the park talks about Revolution's new trains, Daffy Duck wins a prize, and Eric and I spend an entire evening on Twisted Colossus before returning to Buena Park.


The Drop of Doom queue is very enticing for two reasons. First, it's air conditioned.


Second, it has this cool "Power Armor," which I imagine is also air conditioned.


Aw, why so worried, guys? If you can't trust Lex Luthor, Superman's arch enemy, who can you trust?


Another look at my favorite part of YOLOcoaster. This huge loop is really cool.


But, remember, this park is all about the pistachios!


Time for lunch and a TPR prize drawing. Cups, pieces of the old Colossus, and backstage tour tickets were on the line, and Sylvester and Daffy weren't about to miss out on the action.


Hmm--for whom should I root here?


"I've written a haiku to describe the new Revolution trains:

Revolution's trains

Gave riders painful headaches

The new trains will not.


Thank you.


Never before have coaster enthusiasts had so much wood.


Daffy wins a cup, but mistakes it for a hat.


Sorry, Sylvester! I was pulling for you, buddy!


Can one "yodel" while "yoloing"?


These people do not appear to be yodeling.


"Gimme more donuts!"


And as the sun sets on Yolocoaster . . .


. . . we amble down to the bizarrely illuminated Screampunk sign to await night rides on Twisted Colossus--and to experience dueling!


That's all for the Six Flags day of WCB. My thanks to Robb and Elissa and Magic Mountain for a great time! And, no, I did not buy this hat. Next up will be Knott's Berry Farm.

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Great time at Magic Mountain. There was enough ERT on a number of different coasters both morning and night we could pretty much kick back during the day. TPR has spoiled me, I don't like to wait in lines.


I know what you mean--that was what I did during the SFMM day, too, apart from a ride on the Orient Express and Ninja.

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Great time at Magic Mountain. There was enough ERT on a number of different coasters both morning and night we could pretty much kick back during the day. TPR has spoiled me, I don't like to wait in lines.

Last year's WCB was a bit different for me because it was my first. I went around the park trying to get all the credits. This year it was just bide my time between ERT sessions

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Sweet! TC was excellent.

I'm going to say this real quick, then scamper away...


I like Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Don't feel bad. I like magic mountain too.


No one reading this TR needs to feel bad.


Thank you.

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Sweet! TC was excellent.

I'm going to say this real quick, then scamper away...


I like Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Don't feel bad. I like magic mountain too.


No one reading this TR needs to feel bad.


Thank you.


No one's feeling bad (except for my aching feet over the course of that weekend). I was just stating that for all the hate SFMM gets, I actually have enjoyed my two visits. It is what it is, a huge coaster park.

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Poor KidTums, looks like she got a little too twisted lol. Good report Chuckster!


That may have something to do with Twisted Colossus combined with jet lag.



No one's feeling bad (except for my aching feet over the course of that weekend). I was just stating that for all the hate SFMM gets, I actually have enjoyed my two visits. It is what it is, a huge coaster park.


My feet agree with your feet. Magic Mountain has a number of things to recommend it: Twisted Colossus, YOLOcoaster, Goliath, Batman, Drop of Doom, Superman. Ninja is fun, and I think Viper is OK, too.

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I'm glad people are enjoying this report so far--'cause we got a ways to go yet.


The Cedar Fair Day: Checking Out Ghostrider and a Crab the Size of a Cow at Knott's Berry Farm


Knott's and TPR always pull out the stop for West Coast Bash, and this year's version held true to form: early morning tours of two coasters; morning ERT on Xcelerator, Silver Bullet, Voyage to the Iron Reef, and other rides; a great fried-chicken lunch, complete with boysenberry pie, goofy gunslingers, and a wild game of TPR Quest; another hilarious Q&A session hosted by Jeff Tucker, the park's entertainment director, in the Charles Schultz Theater; a behind-the-scenes preview of Knott's Scary Farm's Voodoo maze; and nighttime ERT on the Timber Mountain Log Ride (still the best ride at the park), Coast Rider, and other attractions.


So, what really stood out?


Voyage to the Iron Reef--This is the park's new dark ride, which is in the same building as the old Knott's Beary Tales and Kingdom of the Dinosaurs rides from long ago. This ride has garnered a lot of criticism online, especially from southern California locals, but I can't understand why. It's a very entertaining shooting dark ride with a unique premise--Knott's has been attacked by an undersea creature's mechanical army, and your job is to take them out. Granted, much of the ride consists of digital 3D projections, but it's some of the best 3D effects I've ever seen at any park, and the action is really well paced. Besides, what other ride features an encounter with "a crab the the size of a cow"? Well done! Cedar Fair has announced plans to introduce similar rides at other parks, and I hope Kings Dominion gets something as good as Iron Reef.


Calico Mine Train ("version 2.0"): I last rode Knott's classic mine train back in 2013, just before it was shutdown for some much-needed TLC. They spruced the whole ride up beautifully, and the new animatronics enhance the ride's classic scenes--particularly the big finale. It's good to see Knott's and Cedar Fair recognizing the need for and quality of one of the park's original attractions and giving it such a nice upgrade.


It's also good to see Ghostrider getting a long overdue, extensive overhaul. I never had the chance to ride this coaster when it was in its prime and everyone loved it--only years later, after it beat and shook itself half to death and became rough and painful. We had a behind-the-scenes look at Ghostrider that morning and, of course, there were many questions, such as "Are you getting new trains?" and "Is this a total rebuild?" The stock answer: "You'll know in November." I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.


We had an interesting tour of Sierra Sidewinder's maintenance barn, too, which uses an an elevator-lift section under the station due to a lack of space for a transfer track and a separate barn. Voodoo is the most elaborate looking "haunt" maze I've seen outside of Universal Studios; it even includes a section filled with fog and water to simulate a swamp.


And, yes, Montezooma's Revenge still packs a punch.


Come with us into Knott's.


Bright and early at Knott's on Sunday morning. At least it was just a short walk from our hotel, rather than an hour-long drive to Valencia.


Behind the scenes at the TPR check-in table as the masses arrive.


Erik Johnson shows off the nice t shirt Knott's provided for this year's event.


Good old Charles Schultz--first time I ever noticed this little plaque.


OK, who's ready for a little "geeking out"?


I think Eric is still recovering from the drive on Saturday night.


Wheels! Wheels beyond any coaster enthusiast's wildest dreams of wheels! If people do dream of coaster wheels . . . sad, really.


They couldn't demonstrate the elevator lift with anyone in the barn, because sometimes one of the lifters jams--and that would be bad. Still, it's an interesting solution to a small-space problem.


Here's one of the coaster's restraint mechanisms. It's on the left. That's a technician in the right, not a mechanism. Just thought I'd clarify that.


Another look at the lift.


How many of you have stood at the chain link fences surrounding roller coasters, yearning to climb over then. I hope you haven't actually acted on this urge, as that would be foolish and wrong.


In the belly of the beast.


NERDS . . . wait a minute. I'm in here, too. Never mind.


As you can see, the dismantling has, indeed, begun.


Looking up through the structure. Nothing fell on me, which is good.


Even Ghostrider itself is anxious to be worked on.


This has always been an impressive looking ride; let's hope it can be a good ride once again.


Let's leave Jeff Johnson to ask the questions for which the answer is "you'll know in November."


Yes, "Chicken Togo"--the lunch that shakes you to death, rattles your brains, and leaves you with a headache. (My thanks to Eric Wilson for pointing this sign out.)


"Hello, sailor!"


OK, that's enough touring--time for some riding.


Bob is ready to go!


I'm not a huge fan of Silver Bullet, but it was running very well that morning.


Hey, let's ride Wind . . . er . . . Cart Seeker?


Jaguar has the most elaborate queue I've ever seen for an oversized "kiddie" coaster.


Cue the Indiana Jones music!


"Here, Dr. Jones, you see the sorry fate of those who failed to keep their hands inside of the ride at all times!"


Xcelerator is still one of the best rides in California--especially at night.


"As God is my witness, Garbels will fit on Xcelerator!"


Here was the biggest surprise at Knott's.


"I saw a crab the size of a cow! A cow, I tell you! Well, maybe the size of a St. Bernard, but that's still one big freakin' crab, I tell you what!" More to come.

Edited by cfc
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More photos from WCB at KBF! Abbreviations rule!


A classic made better. This ride used to help folks to kill time while waiting for a chicken dinner. (I guess it can still fill that role.)


Hot, boiling, blurry mud--right in my face!


Look! A mermaid! Perhaps we'll see a crab the size of a cow, too!


If they'd actually had caverns like this at the real Calico Ghost Town, they would've found a real gold mine--tourist dollars!


It's good to see some real men working so hard in their Glory Hole.


Nice view of Calico Square from what they used to call this "rickety, wobbly old trestle."


"Ya know, I'm still waiting for that trestle to collapse so that we can dine on some nice carrion."

"Yeah--maybe we should just kill something on our own."


In case you hadn't heard, they're holding something called "Scary Farm." Consider yourselves informed.


As you can tell by the presence of the BIG DOG himself, it's group-photo time.


"Quick! Dogpile on the . . . dog?"


A Canadian vampire! In the daylight!


"OK, guys, we're taking an authentic daguerreotype photo this year. We'll need you to stand absolutely still in the hot blazing sun for another, oh, 15 minutes or so. Thanks!"


"OK, does anyone else want to know if we're a'gettin' new trains fer Ghostrider? Anyone at all? Good! You'll know in November!"


Garbels limbers up for TPR Quest. I'm impressed that he can stretch this much.


And the bedlam begins!


Yeah, this will end well.


"If I give you my baby, will you give me a hunk of Intamin cable? Please, I'd even accept a Vekoma wheel! Take my baby, damn you!"


No one choked to death during the "boysenberry-pie-eating-contest" portion of TPR Quest, although some in the audience may have puked.


Are you sure you weren't shot? You didn't ask about the Ghostrider trains, did you?


"Create the ultimate coaster nerd" was another part of TPR Quest. I forget who won this segment, but I remember it was a tough choice.


"So, just to save some time here, panel, what is your answer regarding the final outcome of Ghostrider refurbishment project?"


"Thank you. Now I'd like to show you A CRAB THE SIZE OF A COW!"

Kidding aside, the Q&A session was great.


"Howdy, pardner. Y'all might be wondering how I got here. Well, it's a very interesting story. You see, it all started when . . ."


". . . oh. You have a tour now? OK. I understand. I just get so lonely . . ."


Unless I miss my guess, Watson, someone has been performing arcane voodoo rituals here!


"You're in my chair."


"Er, sorry sir."


"He's not kiddin'! I was the last guy who sat in his chair!"


Wow! On a clear day, you can see Philadelphia from the Sky Tower!


Night falls on Knott's--almost time for more ERT!


Unfortunately, we missed out on the Flyers--but don't they look pretty?


I remember when the old Parachute Sky Jump was part of this tower, too.


ERT + New Credit = WIN!


Finish our night on Xcelerator? Well, why not, indeed! That's all for now--Disney is next. My thanks to Robb, Elissa, and Knott's for such a great day!

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