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Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports Land

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Kumba is so awesome. I love how the brake run doesn't seem to slow it down whatsoever and you're completely thrown into the corkscrews. I have also heard Tampa/Central Florida natives refer to it as rough, and I just tell them they're spoiled and that we can take a trip to an Arrow looper any time they'd like.


Awesome report, I need to use my pass again one of these days.

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Love this, as always. I, too, am of the Kumba is AMAZING school. That zero gee roll in the magic seat is just bliss.


I also love that little hump headed into the Cobra Roll. I don't know why, but it makes me happy.

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Also, whenever I visit this thread I'm constantly reminded of my failure to post what could be great TRs from my summer trips

Same here.


In all seriousness though, DO IT!


Awesome as usual! Glad your mom had a good day. 10-5 is really, really short, but QQ certainly helps there.


Our local zoo has cheetahs, and I have only once in my life ever seen them active. They are the laziest SOBs.


They really are


Great report! I'll definitely need to check out the train next time. At least I didn't miss the Sky Ride though.


At least you have your priorities straight.


Kumba is so awesome. I love how the brake run doesn't seem to slow it down whatsoever and you're completely thrown into the corkscrews. I have also heard Tampa/Central Florida natives refer to it as rough, and I just tell them they're spoiled and that we can take a trip to an Arrow looper any time they'd like.


Awesome report, I need to use my pass again one of these days.


Agreed! And yes you do.


Love this, as always. I, too, am of the Kumba is AMAZING school. That zero gee roll in the magic seat is just bliss.


I also love that little hump headed into the Cobra Roll. I don't know why, but it makes me happy.




As always, Bill, great reports. Cribbing a ton from these for mental notes when we finally hit Florida later this year (maybe).


Kumba = Back row far side, Montu = Back row closest to the airgates. There will be a quiz later.


Wow those up close animal encounters are really special! That cheetah was sippin that milk like a boss.

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I should start out by saying that we're pretty good at finding flight deals on our own, but sometimes we DO get a little outside help.


I was at work one day, minding my own business when I saw a post on Facebook from "The Points Guy", advertising insane deals cross country. We had already booked upcoming trips to Minneapolis and Texas (spoiler alert, those reports are coming eventually), so I wasn't really planning on taking any additional trips but I saw flights from Newark to Sacramento for $53 each way per person and I just don't have the will power necessary to turn something like that down.


I didn't even tell Brit, I just made my way to the airline's website as fast as possible and booked it before the deals went away. It was only after the fact that I told her about it. She was excited at least. She expects this kind of sh*t by now.


Normally we fly awful airlines like Frontier and Allegiant, but the best part of this deal may have been that (in addition to being so cheap), this was actually on a "REAL" airline. I guess after accidentally sending a dog to Japan, forcibly dragging a surgeon off of a plane and killing a dog by putting it in the overhead bin, United's demand was down a bit and we were more than happy to pounce and "fly the friendly skies" to Sacramento.


So... what's the catch (because there's ALWAYS a catch)? Well... the flight times...



LOL!!! And yes, we were going straight to our 9-5 jobs from Newark Airport after getting absolutely no sleep. JRice would be proud.

For obvious reasons, our plan was to drive to Newark on Friday night and get a hotel as close to the airport as possible so that we could maximize what little sleep time we had. I totally caved and stayed at some Wyndham thing (that doesn't have a wake up calls... because yeah, why would a f*cking airport hotel have guests that need to get up at very specific times?) , dropping the car at the adjacent offsite lot the night before so all we had to worry about in the "morning" was getting up, checking out and taking the shuttle to the airport.


We got to the hotel around 8:00, grabbed some dinner from the hotel and then tried our best to get some sleep, knowing that we had to be up WAY too early.



Rise and shine! lol

Shout-out to Frontier... for all the hate that they get they're really not any worse than flying United Economy. It was nice to have TV and Wifi available for purchase, but that was the most cramped and awful flight ever. Part of it may have been a case of expectations (when I fly an ultra low cost carrier, I know that I'm in no position to bitch) but honestly I think you actually get more leg room on Frontier and it's generally a newer plane.


Thankfully there was relief in sight in the form of our Denver connection. We hit the ground in plenty of time to make our connection and immediately found ourselves in (as usual) an airport that makes all of our horrific New York airports look like complete dumpster fire hellholes. We grabbed a bite to eat, threw some water on our faces to try to wake up and then (with trepidation) made our way over to some tiny United Express regional jet with 2x2 seating. Shockingly, it turned out that it was a pretty awesome plane with an insane amount of leg room AND a complimentary stroopwafel! United sucks, but "United Express" which isn't even really United gets a big thumbs up.



Greetings from Sacramento! Oh my god! Best plane ever!

While we had been up for 10 hours, the reality of the situation was that it was really only 10am local time when we landed in Sacramento and we had a full day of Sacramento fun planned! We immediately rented the car and made our way to downtown Sacramento to check out all of the awesome Sacramento things such as the Sacramento museum of Sacramentoness, the statue of Jevedian Sacramento who famously founded Sacramento after the great Sacramento war and all of the other culturally exciting things in the super amazing and exciting city of Sacra...


... just kidding, nobody cares about Sacramento. We went to San Francisco. I mean... come on.


We used you Sacramento, the only thing about Sacramento that we had any interest in was the fact that it was 2 hours from San Francisco. We sincerely apologize, but I feel like deep down you understand.


While sitting in Denver when it became apparent that we were going to make our connection (it was a tight one), I hopped onto the Giants website and bought tickets for the Dodgers and Giants game (which is a big rivalry for you non-baseball fans) at 1:30. Located right on the bay, AT&T Park has always been a bucket list ballpark of mine and the fact that we'd be able to visit for a rivalry game against the Dodgers made the whole thing even more exciting.


I had been to San Francisco once before, but it had been almost 20 years. Brit had never been, and I remember it being (possibly) the coolest city in America and I was really excited to go back and to take her there for the first time. The GPS was taking us over the Bay Bridge to the stadium, but as we approached Vallejo and I realized we were making great time I decided to quietly re-route us and introduce Brit to San Francisco properly.



Now THAT'S more like it...

There are plenty of touristy things in America that you "have to do" when you visit a certain city but they don't live up to the hype (maybe I'm jaded since I live in New York but cough: TIMES SQUARE). The Golden Gate bridge is not one of those things. The Golden Gate Bridge is stunning. Pictures will never do it justice. When you first see it sticking up over the hill it doesn't even look real.



Hello from the city by the bay!

After taking some photos of the bridge and watching the saves crash onto the cliffs, we hopped back into the car and made our way into the city.



Arriving in San Francisco in style! Shocking Development: It's foggy!

I didn't remember this from last time, but apparently you sort of get dumped onto Lombard Street when you get over the bridge, so obviously we drove down the weird twisty bit though for whatever reason we don't have any pictures. Honestly, it's cooler to look at it than to actually drive down it but I mean... you just sort of have to do it.


Despite all of our pit stops we actually managed to get to the ballpark in the 1st inning. We didn't think we would have missed much, but when we got to our seats in the middle of the first it became clear that the Dodgers weren't planning on taking any sh*t that day from San Francisco.



This may sound weird, but I always liked sitting in the upper deck when visiting new ballparks. Sure, if you sat on the main level you would be closer to the players and that new, annoying net but look at this view!



The game was getting ugly, but the stadium was far from it.



Since the Dodgers were dishing out a massive kick in the d*ck to the Giants, we decided to take a break from the game and check out the ballpark a little more... the view of the Bay Bridge from the left field ramp is amazing!



Unlike the Giants, we decided to show up for the game today! I was repping my Hudson Valley Renegades gear since (former Renegade) Evan Longoria is a Giant, but he didn't play. By the looks of things, he probably should have because DAMN did they ever suck

Around the 8th inning, we were surprised to see that the stadium hadn't really cleared out much despite the lopsided score. We had a great time at AT&T park, but truth be told we didn't really have a dog in the fight and we had places to go and things to do so we decided to be "that guy" and leave a little early to beat the traffic since there was no way in hell the Giants were going to make a ballgame out of this anyway.



Leaving AT&T Park. This is absolutely one of the best stadiums we've ever been to!

At that point we had been up for about 16 hours and were operating on very little sleep but somehow we didn't feel tired at all. I assumed that eventually we might hit a wall, so I booked a hotel in Santa Clara next to our next stop of the day.


========== Coaster dorks, it's safe to start reading now =====================



We should probably go to sleep or something but.... lol


There seemed to be an event at the the stadium, but since it was so late in the day we still managed to find a nice spot pretty close to the park entrance. This would be the first ever trip to California's Great America for either of us, and while it was a shame we had to rush it, it seemed like a moderately sized park that was conducive to that sort of thing.


The first thing that struck me about this park was that the park's entry plaza was flat out gorgeous. The carousel and gardens are amazing and they're framed beautifully by Gold Striker and Sky Tower. Up ahead, we saw Railblazer teasing us. It wasn't open yet, but we were at peace with that. It wasn't the reason for the trip and we know that we'll be back.


There wasn't much doubt about what our first stop would be, but when we entered the Gold Striker queue we encountered a ton of people and a wait time of about 30-40 minutes. That's not unbearable, but we had been up for way too many hours for that kind of bullsh*t so we decided to immediately correct the issue...



Muuuuuuuuuuch better!

Fastlane is very reasonable at Great America, I think it was less than $100 total for both of us. We didn't really want to stay until 10 PM (since it would have felt like 1 AM with the time change on almost no sleep), so this was a no brainer.



First stop! We felt awake but I LOOK like a walking zombie. lol

I'd been hearing great things about Gold Striker since it opened, but I was always skeptical that it was just the "new GCI hype" that always seems to happen when one of these opens. It never subsided with Gold Striker, and in the back of my head I thought it might just be because people like to hype up rides that are sort of annoying to get to or because there wasn't anything in the region to compare it to. We waited a few extra cycles for the front, got strapped in and prepared to find out if the ride lived up to the hype.



Yeah no, this ride is actually great

Wow! This ride is insane, totally out of control, has tons of airtime pops and walks that fine line of being "crazy" and throwing you around a little without being rough that GCIs tend to walk so well. Honestly, it's probably the best GCI I've ever ridden and I can confidently say that the hype for this ride was totally legitimate. Brit wholeheartedly agreed, and we decided that we'd absolutely find our way back for another ride later on.


I was tempted to hit Flight Deck next, but curiosity got the best of me and we decided instead to head over to Patriot. We ended up backtracking a bit since it's almost impossible to find the Fastlane entrance to this thing, but eventually we found it (I think we walked through an arcade or something) and made our way to the station, realizing we didn't need Fastlane anyway.



The color scheme on this thing is amazing

I'm a big fan of Rougarou, and while I knew that this ride was a little smaller and I assumed that it would be far less exciting I was looking forward to riding it. Despite the complaints, I feel like Rougarou is amazingly smooth compared to Mantis, and I assumed that this would likely be the case here with the ride's only downside being the short duration.



Nope... this ride f*cking sucks

What is this piece of shit? Unlike Rougarou, this thing straight up pummels you. The entire ride consists of neck chop after neck chop. Truth be told, it's not like it's unbearably rough but when you combine the constant headbanging with the fact that it's just not a very interesting layout anyway this ride really comes off like quite the turd. I never rode it as a standup, but I can't imagine that this is much of an improvement and if it is... Jesus. This was easily the biggest disappointment in the park, but hey... the new paint job looks cool at least.



Enough of that crap, let's cleanse our palate with a good B&M

Flight Deck is one of those rare coasters that seems to be universally praised by everyone. While Gold Striker has stolen some of the attention (and I assume that Railblazer will do the same), I was really excited to ride this thing. When we walked up, we saw a massive sea of humanity that was apparently about an hour wait. Thankfully, Fastlane dumped us right into the station (which seemed to be a common theme at this park).



Northern California! Where the weather is so perfect every minute of every day that we don't even bother putting roofs over our stations

The first thing that I noticed about this ride was that the restraints were REALLY tight. It's definitely the smallest B&M invert train I had seen and there were more than a few walks of shame so it took awhile to get those trains out. Eventually though, we found ourselves in the front row getting the all clear and ascending the lift.



What a great setting...

I knew this ride was good, but I didn't know HOW good. The ride is short, but it's intense... really, really intense. The drop and loop were great, but I knew we were in for a treat when we whipped through that rising turn following the loop. It sent all the blood rushing to our feet and basically took that foot tingling you get on Batman clones but turned it up to 11. Before you have a chance to recover, you positively haul ass through an insane zero g roll before diving down, whipping through a corkscrew and then performing another turn that's just as crazy as that rising turn after the loop but this time only a few feet above the water.


Oh. My. God. I feel like Montu might still be my favorite invert because this one IS short, but it's been unseated as the most intense (in my mind). This thing is bad a**, and it's totally relentless from the second it drops off the lift until the time it hits the brakes. We knew it would be good but it left us speechless.


WOW! Northern California has a winner here, and between this and Railblazer the intensity junkies will have a field day at Great America.


At that point we had knocked out everything in the front half of the park and needed to make our way to the back. The park had a cool collection of flat rides, but since it was so late (or at least it felt late), we decided to mostly stick to coasters since we had ridden them all elsewhere. That said, there was still a particular non coaster ride that needed riding Please try to contain the shock over which one...



I mean... come on

Eagles Flight / Delta Flyer / Whatever was sporting a huge wait (I mean... duh, people know greatness when they see it) but obviously this wasn't a deterrent. It became even less of a deterrent when we realized that for once, a park actually put it's Sky Ride on Fastlane. Holy crap! This wristband was a hell of an investment.



This was a really nice Sky Ride



The mountains were absolutely gorgeous, but admittedly the pictures don't really do them justice


When we touched back down from Eagles Flight, errrr Delta Flyer (whatever) we found ourselves over at the park's Arrow mouse. In true mouse fashion, the ride had a bit of a line but in true CGA fashion, Fastlane pretty much dumped you on immediately.




We had tried and failed to ride an Arrow mouse at Michigan's Adventure, so this actually ended up being our first. It was a really fun ride (as is the case with any wild mouse), but I don't really notice a difference between this and it's counterparts other than the absurdly huge supports and the odd random banking which was sort of quirky and fun.


We continued around the loop a bit doing some people-watching and enjoying the sheer terror on the faces of the people riding the drop tower and eventually found our way over to Grizzly.


I've always been intrigued by this ride because of the sheer amount of venom it receives from pretty much everyone. I believe at one point it was voted the worst wood coaster in the world and it always comes up in the "worst wood coaster" conversation once people stop foaming at the mouth talking about how THEY rode Son of Beast "WITH THE LOOP" (ps: Me too, it wasn't THAT bad, chill).



Well at least it looks pretty

You have to sort of go inside the structure to find the queue, but once we did we were surprised to see that it was quite sizeable. That's weird... why would so many people be in line for the world's worst wood coaster?


We bypassed the line and immediately found the problem. The park has those dumb Morgan trains that make loading and unloading a nightmare. I don't remember the exact loading process but I do remember it being pretty dumb and requiring way more seatbelts than necessary. None of that would impact the ride experience, but it killed load times. We didn't care since we had Fastlane, but I'm sure it made for a brutal stand-by line.



No one knows what it's liiiiiiike...To be haaaaaaaaaaaaaated...

Eventually they locked and checked all 37 restraints on every seat and we were ready to go. We rolled out of the station, up the lift and began our descent bracing for the worst.


Alright... what's everyone whining about? Don't get me wrong, the ride just meanders around aimlessly. There's no airtime, no forces of any kind and I don't really get it, but it's fine. It's smooth and it's a great starter coaster for kids I'm sure. I can definitely say that I enjoyed it. It's a pretty mundane ride for sure, but I don't think the park ever tried to play it off as anything more than that.



But my dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeams They aren't as empty As my conscience seeeeeeeeeeeems to be (okay I'll stop, but people hate this ride... like a lot). it's a very sad grizzly.

We were down to our last coaster at that point and we didn't exactly save the best for last. Demon was a total walk-on and it seemed like that was for good reason. I actually remember enjoying the Six Flags version, but this one seemed like it was a little worse off. None of the effects worked, and the ride in general seemed a bit rougher. Maybe we just caught it on a bad day, or maybe since we had been up for way too many hours we just subconsciously had no tolerance for Arrow's bullsh*t. The world may never know...



Well aren't you just a tease?


We were totally at peace with not riding it but did you REALLY have to go and test it just to screw with us? lol

The sun was starting to set, and while we still weren't all that tired we realized that we really needed to go and get some sleep. We wanted to end the night with a bang though, and not the Demon kind so we decided to put our Fastlane to use one more time and hit Gold Striker on the way out which was (again), totally amazing.



This park has such a cool vibe to it

After a quick stop at the gift shop we got in our car and made our way over to the hotel. It didn't hit me until I got in the car but I was exhausted. We grabbed some takeout, made our way to the hotel just a few miles away and prepared to crash. I returned to the car after checking in (to a hotel that actually wasn't a dump for once) and Brit frantically pointed at a sign on the door that said that the hotel was known by the state of California to cause cancer.


Brit demanded that I go back inside and get a refund, but I pretty much stated that I wouldn't have cared if there were spent fuel rods in the bathtub taking an asbestos bubble bath, I was too tired to care and I'd worry about it in the morning. Much to Brit's chagrin, we decided to stay there anyway and when we got to the room I pulled up Google and found that California slaps that sign on pretty much every building and business in the entire state. WTF is wrong with this state? It was hilariously fitting that our first night in California ended with an argument about a sign that turned out to be the most "California" thing ever.



What an awesome day!


Up next: Still not Sacramento!

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Great exhausting day there, at CGA. I remember that end part of Flight Deck,

preceded by that zero-g roll (?) over the entry queue to the coaster. Best two

parts (to me) of that coaster. And I too, was surprised at how many other rides

etc. you got with that Fastlane! That's cool of them to include the Sky Ride, too!


I'll remember that if and when I ever get back down there.


Thanks for the current TR. Now go get some (virtual) sleep! ha ha

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Awesome! Getting to see a team's big rival is always a treat. Hence why I made sure to see the Mets while I was in Philly (Jacob DeGrom kicked ass). AT&T may have the best view of any stadium, though PNC would rival it. I say that without having physically been to either...yet...but my Cardinals have played at both often enough I've seen those on TV quite a lot.


Those signs are hilarious. All it takes to get the phrase "known to the State of California to cause cancer" on something is a bunch of people who know nothing about science voting on it. We ought to, you know, consult scientists, but the current state of the country, not gonna happen.


Oh yeah, the park looked cool, too, I guess.

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Great report!


AT&T Stadium really is a beautiful park. It's the only stadium that beats Fenway in my opinion (and yes I admit my opinion is 100% biased as a Red Sox fan). The seats you had were definitely my favorites when I was there for a summer.


I'm glad they finally let you wait for the front on Gold Striker. They had assigned seating back in 2014, so I lucked into the front only once when I went for Early Entry. It really is one of the best paced wooden coasters out there. Great America really has an incredible top 3 now with Flight Deck, Gold Striker, and RailBlazer.

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Glad to hear that Goldstriker is still running well. I've seen a few reports on here that it was beginning to get rough. Should have known better.


We rode once in the front and once in the back, anyone who thinks this ride is rough is legitimately insane.


Great exhausting day there, at CGA. I remember that end part of Flight Deck,

preceded by that zero-g roll (?) over the entry queue to the coaster. Best two

parts (to me) of that coaster. And I too, was surprised at how many other rides

etc. you got with that Fastlane! That's cool of them to include the Sky Ride, too!


I'll remember that if and when I ever get back down there.


Thanks for the current TR. Now go get some (virtual) sleep! ha ha



Enjoyed the report- glad you guys had fun. As someone who has been going to SFGAm basically my whole life, this park is right at the top of my to do list. I imagine it'll be a weird, but awesome experience.


Thanks! We visited Six Flags last year so the front entry plaza was sort of a bizarro world experience. Aside from that the parks are nothing alike though (aside from Demon).


Awesome! Getting to see a team's big rival is always a treat. Hence why I made sure to see the Mets while I was in Philly (Jacob DeGrom kicked A$$). AT&T may have the best view of any stadium, though PNC would rival it. I say that without having physically been to either...yet...but my Cardinals have played at both often enough I've seen those on TV quite a lot.


Those signs are hilarious. All it takes to get the phrase "known to the State of California to cause cancer" on something is a bunch of people who know nothing about science voting on it. We ought to, you know, consult scientists, but the current state of the country, not gonna happen.


Oh yeah, the park looked cool, too, I guess.




I'm looking forward to getting to PNC finally. I think the new Kennywood coaster might finally give us the kick in the ass we need. Kennywood is definately our #1 "Why the f*ck haven't you been there yet?" park.


AT&T Stadium really is a beautiful park. It's the only stadium that beats Fenway in my opinion


... alright, let's not get crazy.


Wonderful report! I think I'll wait till 2020 when the new hyper shows up.


Sounds like a plan. Railblazer already takes this park to the next level, once you throw in a hyper it's going to be amazing.

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San Fran is such a great city with so many beautiful sights. Glad you checked out AT&T park, it's a work of art!


Great America definitely has some alluring coasters! Looks like Cedar Fair is doing a good job maintaining the ambiance of the park. I was not able to pry myself from the city to make the trek down there when I visited but I really want to next time.

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Glad to hear you had a good time at my home park.


Yeah, even though I'm almost done with my trip, Flight Deck is still my favorite B&M Invert over rides like Afterburn and Banshee. I'll be riding Raptor in a couple days, however, so we'll see then.

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Loving all the recent updates!




San Fran is such a great city with so many beautiful sights. Glad you checked out AT&T park, it's a work of art!


Great America definitely has some alluring coasters! Looks like Cedar Fair is doing a good job maintaining the ambiance of the park. I was not able to pry myself from the city to make the trek down there when I visited but I really want to next time.


It was tough to spend so much time outside of the city but I kept telling myself that we only had a weekend and while not ideal, it's better than not going to San Francisco at all. Truth be told, I could spend a month there and not get bored. It's awesome and everything around it is awesome too.


Glad to hear you had a good time at my home park.


Yeah, even though I'm almost done with my trip, Flight Deck is still my favorite B&M Invert over rides like Afterburn and Banshee. I'll be riding Raptor in a couple days, however, so we'll see then.


I can see why! I love Raptor, but Afterburn can go toe to toe with anything.

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I'm going to start this next trip report with a quick public service announcement. Don't say I don't care about the children...



This is your brain


This is your brain on meth

Got it? Good. Let's go on a journey to "SeaWorld on a budget" in Vallejo, CA.


Alright, alright... that's not nice. I'm sorry. We actually really liked this park, but remember when people were like "Six Flags should buy Busch / SeaWorld. It can't get any worse right?"


No they should not. F*ck you.


Anyway, I guess I should back up. I totally crashed the night before. It wasn't like... "Steel Vengeance on opening day" crash. It was like... "Pinfari invert when it sees a nearby kiddy ride" crash. I think Brit hopped in the shower the night before and I was sitting up on the other bed waiting for her to get out so I could go, and the next thing I knew it was like 5 in the morning (which felt like 8, so I was up) and I was still sitting on the other bed in all of my clothes in the upright position.


I knew Brit could sleep for awhile longer and clearly there was absolutely no rush, so I hopped online for a bit, made myself some hotel room coffee and took the shower that I meant to take about 8 hours ago, checking myself over for tumors in the process.


After awhile, the non jet-lagged world around us started to come to life and after helping ourselves to the continental breakfast downstairs we hopped in the car on the way to Discovery Kingdom. It took awhile to get going in the right direction because ironically, Silicon Valley has horrible horrible data coverage. It was certainty weird driving by the Google building, the Verizon building, the Yahoo building and the Amazon building wondering who we needed to blow to get on the internet and get some directions but... there we were.


After finally connecting to the maps app which led us on an absolutely gorgeous drive (I love the Northern California mountains), we arrived at crackhead SeaWorld. This park is super weird in that the parking lot is absolutely nowhere near the park, and there's a super narrow strip of road that you need to follow to get to the main gate. They had a shuttle bus, but we were a little early thanks to the jet lag so we opted to walk.



Good morning from Discovery Kingdom!

I know nothing about the history of this park but... let me guess. The park used to be owned by someone who wasn't Six Flags and it was super nice and basically a zoo. Then, Six Flags bought it and was like "We need to add a massive sh*t ton of rides". They were all excited until they eventually realized that they had no room to add rides without being creative and working around things which was way too much work for them because they're Six Flags so they decided... "eh, f*ck it", let's just build ALL THE RIDES on the old parking lot and then make everyone park super far away but let's not move the main gate because it's too much work".


How did I do? What do I win?



We're here!

When the park opened we immediately entered and made our way over to the left towards Joker. We weren't exactly sure where we were going, but luckily a lot of other people were doing the same thing so we sort of followed the herd. Along the way, we passed an old thing that was probably a Stingray touch pool but now looks more like a mosquito breeding ground and a cool African penguin exhibit on the other side. That was sort of the tone for the park. Lot's of great, SeaWorld style stuff but lots of budget cut, eyesore stadiums and exhibits throughout the park too. It wasn't particularly bad it was just weird.



Hey buddy!

Eventually we made our way to Joker but saw that it wasn't running. We opted to stick it out for awhile since V2 wasn't running either, nor was the new frisbee ride. Actually, none of the rides on this side of the park were running aside from Superman.



And now we wait...

After about 20-30 minutes we realized that none of those rides were showing any signs of life so we hopped over to Superman. Due to the nearby construction of their figure 8 coaster, Superman was open but you didn't go in through the regular entrance. They sort of rerouted it so that you entered further down in the queue and then entered and exited on the same side of the platform back through the queue gates. While it was convoluted, I was really appreciative of the fact that they didn't take the easy way out and simply close the ride during the construction process.


As for the ride, it was a blast. It has a 2 car train and I always preferred those to the Busch 3 car model. It seems like these have a bit more speed at the top of the hill and deliver way more airtime.



This thing is a twisted mess


Superman gets a thumbs up from us!

There was still absolutely no sign of life from anything else in the area, so eventually we bailed and made our way over to the other side of the park that was absolutely bustling. Apparently we should have gone over there first, lesson learned.


Medusa was tempting us but we figured it was more sensible to get the sh*t out of the way first so instead of making a good decision and heading right, we took the blue pill and headed left.



Why do we do the things that we do?

Kong was a complete walk-on, though they seemed to have enough queue space for the entire state of California if they all randomly decided one day that they love awful coasters and wanted to go and ride Kong at the exact same time.


I don't remember much about this ride other than the fact that it was ugly and it sucked. Maybe I'm trying to subconsciously put it out of my mind.



So Brit, what did you think of Kong?

Up next was Medusa, which I was really excited to ride so that it could restore my faith in floorless coasters after Patriot. You don't really hear much about this ride, but that's really true of every coaster in Northern California. Going in, I simply assumed that that was due to the fact that (like most floorless coasters) it was a really good ride, but nothing mind blowing. Either way, there's no such thing as a bad floorless (well... I wouldn't have thought so until the previous night) so I knew that we were in for a treat.



I won't lie, the Medusa color scheme and name definitely filled my nostalgia quota for the day since we started going to Great Adventure back when Medusa was all the rage.

The ride station is very nice, as is the queue area. While this is a "parking lot coaster", it's no longer all that apparent when riding it and it's not apparent at all from the ground. By B&M standards, it's a quirky ride. It starts out in a familiar way with a loop, dive loop and barrel roll but then it goes nuts. The cobra roll is replaced with a weird thing that sends the train flying in the same direction it came from which is pretty different and a nice change of pace, then the ride flies up into the brakes and (in my opinion) that's where Medusa really gets going which is the exact opposite of what I'd say for the other floorless coasters.



Unlike most floorless coasters, Medusa features a straight drop.

The brake run barely kicks on at all, and the ride absolutely divebombs off of the midcourse with insane speed. You're immediately launched into a high speed corkscrew under the brake run before diving right back down, pretty much at ground level and whipping into another corkscrew. At that point, most floorless coasters would just pussyfoot around and hop back to the station in totally uninteresting ways, but Medusa whips you through a really tight, forceful and fun turn (which is one of my favorite things on the whole ride) before banking left and flying into the brakes.



The high speed corkscrew right after the crazy dive off of the midcourse

This is my new favorite floorless and it's not close. The view from the lift is magnificent, the first half is great, I like the fact that it mixes things up with that weird element before the brake run, the dive off the midcourse is probably my favorite thing on the ride and the second half is (by B&M floorless standards) highly aggressive but the ride is totally smooth throughout. I won't lie, I rarely get "annoyed" at parks but we were a little irritated between the fact that the RMC was showing no signs of life and neither was half the park and we had just taken a massive beating from Kong, but Medusa instantly put us both in a great mood. What a phenomenal coaster. It blew our expectations away.


We exited the ride, planning to knock out the Boomerang or family coaster next but as we glanced across the park we could see the wheel spinning atop Joker which (pathetic as it is) was exciting progress so we made our way over. We expected to find a huge line and a closed ride still going through test runs, but when we got back near the entrance we saw a loaded train ascending the lift. Awesome!



It lives!

We were prepared to buy Flash Pass since it was so cheap, but honestly it just wasn't warranted. I don't think we saw a single line for any ride all day that was beyond the merge point and thankfully Joker was in that same boat.



Hopping to the lift hill

As RMCs go, I have a hard time thinking of one that gets less attention than Joker. Again, it could be it's location and yes it may not be the flashiest RMC out there but make no mistake, this is a GREAT ride.


This ride is pretty unique as RMCs go because it actually starts out by following the course of the original ride. Sure, it probably adds in some height and tightens up the transitions, but aside from a few random barrel rolls (because they can't help themselves) it feels like a super smooth GCI with swooping turns and banked drops. Eventually though, RMC couldn't behave any more and they decided to do what they do best ad just go bullsh*t. The ride has an awesome stall (which is probably my favorite part of the ride) which is really their way of telling you that from there on out you're in for some crazy sh*t. From then on, it's just a sea of outward banks, barrel rolls, overbanks and violent airtime hills.


I loved it, and (despite the fact that it lacked the "oh sh*t" handles she loves so much) I was happy to find that Brit did too. We excitedly exited the ride, ready to go straight back around but stopped in our tracks when a loaded V2 train rocketed out of the station.


Going in, I really didn't think we'd get to ride this thing and I was at peace with that. Apparently it had spent the better part of a year standing but not operating and it's just absurdly unreliable all around. When we walked by in the morning the gates were far away from the queue entrance, blocking the entire ride area and there was no sign of the ride crew so we had no hope of the ride opening knowing it's track record. Knowing all of this, we booked it over there and took the next available row. Beggars can't be choosers, just get us on it before it breaks.


The ride was really cool, and while I don't know if I prefer the weird angled twisting thing to the standard vertical twist I do know that it was cool to ride something a little different. One thing I did like was that no matter where you sat, you got through the whole twist so this might actually be the only impulse coaster that I would consider a back seat ride. That said, I never got the opportunity to ride it in the front so that statement doesn't really hold much water.


As we came to a stop, we noticed after awhile that the restraints weren't planning to pop up. We probably sat there for a solid 20 minutes before we were manually released, and I don't believe the ride opened again for the remainder of the day (though we did see some empty test runs). We walked off feeling really fortunate that we managed to get that ride in.



This picture is sort of washed out so I planned on taking a better one later on. Sadly, this was one of like 3 cycles it managed to run that day and we were on one of them so this is the best you're going to get.

After we were finally free from our restraints we decided to hit the one remaining adult coaster before switching gears and doing some animal stuff (which was music to Brit's ears). Unfortunately for us, the one remaining coaster wasn't exactly a good one.



Oh joy


The Skull Mountain gods of intensity are going to punish you for this sacrilegious sh*t, you know that right?

Not much to report here. The ride sucked and we were the only ones on the entire train because literally everyone else seems to hate it as much as we do. I actually do enjoy some Boomerangs and when they're smooth they can be a lot of fun but this one was trash.


After facing the Boom-tensity, it was time for something I had been absolutely giddy about since the moment it was announced. Every once in awhile parks do things that don't seem to make any sense from their perspective, but you feel like you need to sit there, not question your good fortune and just happily take it. It doesn't happen often (I feel like Cedar Fair paying to relocate Demon Drop may have been the last time), but when it does it's awesome. I'm so happy this exists. I don't get it, but I love it...




We used to LOVE riding Escape from Dino Island at Great Adventure. At this point, it's objectively highly dated sh*t but f*ck your objectivity because it's fantastic. This was pretty much the only ride we had to wait for all day (thanks to a few breakdowns it was about 40 minutes) but some things in life are worth waiting for. We weren't about to leave. If we left, Tony would have died. That will never happen under my watch.



Almost to the pre-show. Tony's excited. Tony's gonna party like it's 1999

Brit had never ridden this brilliance before but I sort of figured she'd end up liking it by default just because there were dinosaurs and my assumption turned out to be right. I would have been thrilled just to ride the thing, but when I saw that they were even running the terrible pre-show my excitement level went through the roof.


I won't bother reviewing this experience because I wouldn't be objective anyway. I can't be. It's Dino island. Dino... F*cking... Island. In 2018... WTF?


While in line for Dino Island, we had pulled out a show schedule and noticed that (unlike CERTAIN Six Flags parks), the park still had a tiger show. We couldn't turn that down, but the frequent dino island breakdowns forced us to cut if close so after we heroically saved Tony from Dino Island we booked it over to the tiger show with only a minute or two to spare.





The show was actually really entertaining. They had the tigers leap between boxes, dive into the water and leap up on the fences, showcasing their amazing power.


It was a great show, though the fence doesn't make it the most conducive to photos.

As the show dumped, it sort of led you into another show starting about 10 minutes later in the theater nextdoor. This one was geared towards kids, but still entertaining. The park showcased a great collection of smaller animals as well as some cool bird species. It reminded me a lot of the predator show at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.



The show featured plenty of large birds of prey and scavengers


As well as some other familiar favorites

The park has an animal trail of sorts that runs from near that theater back around the far side of the park. As we started to follow it, we were quickly reminded that we were in a Six Flags park. "What's supposed to be in here?" and "Well, I guess the <> isn't here" were the operative phrases of the day, but to be fair there were still some cool things to check out.



Like this dude...


And thisssssssssssssssssssss dude (lol)


Gotta love that iPhone zoom...

This is going to sound weird, but I think my favorite thing along the trail was actually the butterfly garden. I know that sounds really f*cking dumb, but we've been to a good deal of zoos and aquariums and it's rare to find one of these. Even when you do, they rarely have THIS MANY butterflies. They were everywhere, some of them were huge and the Six Flags patrons were generally respectful of them which probably wouldn't have been the case at Great Adventure.



LOL, is anyone still reading?


Or are you just scrolling by waiting for the next coaster picture so you can stop looking at butterflies?


Okay fine, here's a construction picture of the weird new thing just to get you to stop zoning out. No more butterflies, I promise.


LOL, I fooled you


Hehe! Or as they say at Discovery Kingdom...


As we exited the butterfly garden, we realized we hadn't eaten since breakfast and we were starving. A quick check of the map showed that there was a JB's just ahead, so we decided to press on and stay on the path by the lake.


It turned out that the JB's was COMPLETE trash, but the nearby Macho Nacho actually looked decent and they had a great outdoor seating area by the lake. Passing up a JB's for a Macho f*cking Nacho? What's wrong with me?



Damn Six Flags, I'm impressed. Then again, you had me at "Summer Shandy on Draft"


Unfortunately our day was starting to grow short and we were down to our last few hours but the good news was that we had pretty much done everything we wanted to do so we started to focus on re-rides. Along the way, we stopped to take in some of the scenery and atmosphere near the park's main entrance and hub area which was really, really nice.



Brit made a friend


The park's central fountain is great


You can't help but love these colorful animal sculptures

Our plan for the rest of the day was pretty staightforward... ride the crap out of Medusa, see the park's dolphin show and then spend the last 30 or so minutes riding the crap out of Joker. It seemed simple enough, but it became a bit more complicated when we passed the park's "Cobra" coaster on the way to Medusa.


Cobra is basically a Harley Quinn or Poison Ivy clone which is kind of walking the line between a family coaster and a kiddy ride. We really don't ride kids rides, but Brit's actually ridden Harley Quinn for fun without even needing the credit at Great Adventure so after some debate we deemed it acceptable. Despite the fact that the train was 75,000 cars long (what is with these things? lol) it had a bit of a line so we ended up waiting a few cycles. Of note, the Cobra ride op was awesome and probably the best ride op we've ever seen at a Six Flags park (except Ryan obviously, I mean... come on).


We had a fun little ride on Cobra, and thankfully we found ourselves with plenty of time for a few Medusa rides before we had to catch the dolphin show. The park has a Great Adventure style re-ride policy where you can stay on if there's nobody in your row and seat jumping to empty rows is also allowed so we ended up getting like 4 or 5 rides in in the back 2 rows without having to leave the station.



Skull Mountain has competition. This ride is bringing the intensity on the west coast.

I couldn't believe it, but this thing was somehow running even better than it was in the morning. That whip off of the midcourse is everything.



We loved Medusa!


Unlike most floorless coasters, Medusa features a straight drop.


We rode Medusa over and over, loving every minute of it until we finally realized it was time to head over to the park's main theater for what seemed to be their "big" show, "Drench".


It definitely felt like a Six-Flags-ified SeaWorld show.



psssssssssssssssssst, Six Flags.


See those orange things? Yeah... you're supposed to hang canvas backgrounds from them so the whole backstage area and back pool area isn't just exposed like that being super ugly.


... that's why those are there

Maybe it's just me but outside of SeaWorld Orlando I just feel like bottlenose dolphin shows usually drag. They have some great moments and they're very acrobatic animals but I feel like they always start out great, end great and they realize that they just don't know what to do for that middle 10 minutes of the show so they just sort of have the dolphins swimming around doing nothing.


Luckily, the show ended with a bang. The dolphins soaked everyone and performed some cool behaviors so overall despite our critiques we left with a really favorable opinion of the show and would absolutely recommend it.



The stars of the show!

When the show ended we found ourselves with about 40 more minutes to kill and we knew exactly where we planned to kill it. Brit did want to make a quick pit-stop at the Frisbee though which I was all for. Unfortunately as soon as we got there it went down mechanical but neither of us cared all that much as it just meant more Joker rides. Woe is us.



We weren't about to stand in this queue waiting for maintenance when we could be riding that awesome beast of a ride in the background...

We ended the night with 3 or 4 Joker rides since (as was the case with Medusa), there wasn't much of a line. After what we thought was our last ride of the night one of the employees decided that she wanted to ride, so the ops told everyone that they could stay in their seats and ride again as she jumped in an empty row. I'm pretty sure that despite the fact that she was a ride op on the ride she had never actually been on it since she was absolutely f*cking terrified. Oh well, she may be scarred for life but we had fun.



What a GREAT coaster! Well... I mean, not like... anymore. Like it's a Great coaster but not a "Great coasters" coaster. Well, it was. But when it was a Great Coaster it was just good and now it's Great.


... you know what I'm trying to say

Our Medusa and Joker marathons (along with a dolphin show intermission) were the perfect way to end an excellent day at the park. While not without it's flaws, Discovery Kingdom was a really great place to spend the day and they have some really solid rides. Medusa is a major sleeper hit and to an extent I think Joker is too because NOBODY talks about it. Throw in the great setting, nice selection of animals and lack of beer jail and you have yourselves a really nice theme park!



Bye Giraffe dude!

We opted to walk again on the way out rather than waiting for the tram, and on the way out we got to witness tons of employees and guests using the Chaos coaster track (which was literally just sitting in the parking lot with no fences around it at all) as a bench to wait for the bus. Occasionally a tram would come by and the driver would yell at them to get off the track, at which time they would until the tram left when they would sit back down and wait for the next tram driver to yell at them again.


It was hilarious, and a perfect way to conclude the day and sort of sum up the park as a whole. Sometimes you walk around feeling like you're at a SeaWorld park and then occasionally you get slapped in the face with a reminder that it's a Six Flags park in the six-flagsiest way possible. With the right mindset that's not a bad thing. It's actually pretty funny when it happens and you just look at eachother like "oh yeah", and laugh.


Up next: The not so dramatic conclusion of our California weekend!


And the award for most under-appreciated ride in California goes to...

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Great report! Perfect description of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom; it really is one part SeaWorld on a budget and then you turn the corner and see your usual Six Flags atmosphere.


I need to make it back there to try Joker, but Medusa really is awesome. I love that long, straight drop in the back. I wish more B&Ms had them.

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Excellent report, as usual. I'm glad you enjoyed our humble little park. Yep, it's flawed and unique, and a great way to spend your day. I agree that Medusa is fantastic, my favorite of the B&M floorless models. I'm amazed at how smooth it has remained after nearly two decades. The Joker is also an underrated gem. It's certainly the weakest of the RMC's, but the worst RMC is typically the best coaster in its respective park. Kong and Boomerang, not so much. I have only ridden Boomerang once. I rarely ride Kong. I typically only ride it when I visit the park with Rawkin_coaster, and it's because she's a masochist and doesn't want to wallow in her masochism on her own.

Again, excellent TR. I always enjoy seeing my home park through different eyes. Looking forward to the final installment. I can't imagine what else you crammed into your whirlwind, sleep-deprived weekend.

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Enjoyed the last few reports as usual Bill. My aunt lives about 15 minutes from Great America. She's not a coaster person so she's never been and especially doesn't want to go now because she's afraid of the cluster f*** that the area might be since they put the new football stadium in.


That being said, I'm in the middle of planning a trip to stay with her and do CGA, SFDK, and maybe catch a San Jose Sharks game if I plan in the trip in the spring or fall.

Thanks for great looks at these parks to give me an idea of what I'm in for! Can't wait for the next updates!

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