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Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (SFDK) Discussion Thread


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August, 2018 TR: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

About a month ago, my GF and I were invited to a wedding up in NorCal and decided to squeeze in some coasters while we were up there. I hadn't yet visited any of the NorCal parks (or any other Six Flags parks besides Magic Mountain), so I was excited to check this place out.

On a Thursday morning in mid-August, we hopped a plane from Burbank up to San Jose, rented a car, and took off to ride some coasters. We planned on visiting SFDK and CGA on this trip; since only SFDK was open on that Thursday, it was easy to decide which park to visit that day.

We arrived at the park around noon, and the first thing we noticed was how clean and well-organized the parking lot is. SFMM's parking lot is a mess of potholes, trash, and people driving the wrong way down one-way streets to try and grab a good parking spot. SFDK's lot was wide open, clean, and well-maintained. Like SFMM, this park also had shuttles running between the lot and the park, but with it being a sunny, 75-degree day, we decided to walk... which led to the second thing we noticed - how long it takes to walk from the lot to the park. I believe it took around 20 minutes to walk from our parking spot to the park, but we did stop to take a few pictures of the lake. Still, it's odd that they have you walk around a lake and half of the park to reach the entrance.

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This walkway sure has a pretty view.

The inside of the park was really clean, as well. This cool fountain greets guests as they enter the main plaza.

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Penguins!

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After checking out the front of the park, we grabbed some lunch - at which point we realized that the only food items this park offers are burgers, chicken nuggets, fries, and hot dogs, though the chili dog and chicken nuggets we had were pretty tasty. They make up with this with the fact that there's NO BEER JAIL. Yes, you're allowed to buy a beer and walk around the park with it! That's unheard of at SFMM.

 

After lunch, we headed over to the east side of the park to check out the coasters. The premier ride of the trip was the park's Premier Ride - Superman Ultimate Flight (which I just realized I neglected to take a picture of). This was my first Sky Rocket II, and I have to say it blew me away. It didn't look like much in the POV, but it's more intimidating in person. Since we visited this park on a Thursday while school was in session, we walked right on.

The ride ops are quite pushy at this park - which I didn't mind, because it really sped up operations. After we quickly grabbed seats in the back row, the ride ops ran down the line and checked restraints for all 5 people on the train.

The first launch was the scariest part of the ride, IMO. It takes you about 1/3 of the way up the front spike, where you start to wonder how the train will even make it to the very top. But before you finish that thought, you're launched backward up a dive loop - which gives some great hangtime on the way up. Finally, you're blasted all the way up the front spike; this part is really super, man. Front-seat riders get a decent dose of ejector airtime at the top. After a slow roll, you're dropped and twisted around a couple of times before being dropped back into the station.

Overall, I really enjoyed this ride and am glad to see more parks installing these. 9/10

 

Next, we headed over to the park's star attraction - The Joker.

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Har dee harr harr harrrrrr.

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This was the only ride that had more than a 1-train wait that day, but the line was still contained inside the station. Still, with the park's stellar operations, we were quickly on the train and out of the station. After a 180-degree left turn and hopping over a few of RMC's signature pre-lift bunny hills, we were headed up the lift. As many of you know, this coaster has an odd, curved drop. It doesn't offer the same ejector as RMC's typical straight drops, but the steep angle of the top half of the drop still gives a good snap over the top of the lift hill for those sitting in the back. This coaster's layout is basically a spaghetti bowl - it's like several helixes, spiced up with inversions and bunny hills. Its first inversion was a top gun stall, which is one of my favorite moments on Twisted Colossus. After that is a circular airtime buffet.

Out of the 3 RMCs I've ridden (the other two being Twisted Colossus and Steel Vengeance), I'd rank this one third - but that's not to say I didn't like it. Its pacing felt like TC, but given the lack of racing and weaker first drop, I prefer TC. SV is in a category of its own, but that's another TR (that I started writing about 2 months ago and never finished). 8/10

I have an All-Season Picture Pass from Magic Mountain, but discovered that it doesn't work here. Apparently, SFDK and SFMM use two different companies for their on-ride cameras, and the picture passes from the two parks are incompatible. So, I only left here with one on-ride photo from the day.

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After riding these two fantastic coasters, we glanced over at Harley Quinn, which was down. We decided to skip it and possibly come back to it later (spoiler: we didn't).

We started heading west, when we passed V2, which was unfortunately down. I rode Wicked Twister at Cedar Point last June and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to trying this unique version.

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Dead as a doornail.

I stopped by the park's giant frisbee, Wonder Woman. With CraZanity opening at SFMM this year and quickly becoming my favorite flat ride, I got in line to try this one out. The ride ops were cleaning up a protein spill off of one of the seats. After waiting in line for 10 minutes or so, I decided to skip it and go check out the west side of the park.

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Before hitting the coasters, I decided to swing by SkyScreamer. I'd ridden two Windseekers, but no SkyScreamers at this point. The fact that the chairs are suspended by chains instead of steel rods was slightly nerve-wracking, but its max height of 150' made it a little lackluster. It still gives a great view of the park and the surrounding neighborhoods.

I took 1-1/2 rides on this, as some woman pulled out her phone about halfway up, and the ride op stopped the ride and kicked her off.

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After SkyScreamer, we were ready to get back on some coasters, so we walked across the midway and jumped on this one.

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This ride was controlled by a ride op with a joystick, thus giving a different ride every time.... therefore, each ride counts as a separate credit, right?

Ugh... what a terrible ride. Typically, I love vertical loops on coasters - especially loops that give some hangtime. The hangtime here was fun at first, but the ride op left us hanging at the top of the loop for 5-10 seconds at a time, every go-round; we came off the ride with splitting headaches. If this park ever decides to dismantle this ride, I'll volunteer to operate the bulldozer. 2/10

Speaking of headaches, the SLC here was closed. I have yet to ride an SLC and was hoping to ride it to see how bad it really is, but some work was being done on the lift hill.

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Before heading up the hill, we took a spin on the floorless coaster, Medusa. Ho-ly cow, what a ride. The pre-drop, followed by a straight first drop, gives some great ejector air in the back. It goes through a variety of fast, forceful elements - though the experience is oddly quiet, as this coaster doesn't have the typical old-school B&M roar, due to there being houses a 1/4-mile away. Though I typically prefer floorless coasters in the front, this one is definitely a back-seat ride and my new favorite floorless. 10/10

 

We then headed up the hill to check out a few more rides and the animals. The pathway leading up the hill feels like a weird combination of a zoo and Six Flags. There's plenty of shady trees, animal enclosures, and jungle music, but there are still ads everywhere you look - the M&M staircase, the ad with a picture of Goliath at SFMM going upside down, the talking ice cream bars, etc.

The only coaster on the hill is Boomerang - which seems to be staple of smaller Six Flags parks. The only other Boomerang I'd ridden was the one at Knott's, but since my GF had never ridden one before, we took a spin on it. I'm not sure if this one was rougher than the one at Knott's, or if it just seemed that way because my head was simultaneously pounding and spinning from my ride on the Super Loop. Either way, it was a one-and-done for me. 5/10

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Headache: The Ride

 

By that point, the park was about an hour away from closing, so after taking a quick spin on the swinging ship, we walked around and looked at animals the rest of the day.

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Hold it, tiger!

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What a cool, cool bear.

 

After grabbing another round of chicken nuggets on the way out, it was time to hit the road. I really enjoyed this park, and hope to make it back again soon.

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Later, SFDK!

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Glad you enjoyed the trip. I've only been there once, and it was five years ago, but I was extremely impressed with the park. I wish the day had been longer as I wanted to explore the animal areas more, but I was very much impressed with the park as a whole. Whenever I get back to the bay area, I'm hoping to make the journey back out there to try out some of the newer stuff.

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Great report--it was like being there without actually being there. You managed to bring a bit of the magic back since I was starting to feel a bit blase about the park despite my last visits being perfectly fine. I agree with you on most of the rides and I'm always glad to see another Medusa fan. That back row is fantastic.

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Nice report. I really didn't like Dare Devil either. The operator kept my sister and I hanging upside down for a solid 10-12 seconds, and it was horrible.

 

I'm a huge fan of Superman as well. It's amazing how fast it runs (I swear we were going to go over the non-inverting loop on the backwards launch), and the operators were pumping out trains every 30 seconds it seemed.

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Thanks, everybody. It definitely was refreshing to see good operations at a Six Flags park. I wouldn't go as far as to say they were CP-quality, but they were definitely better than SFMM and KBF.

 

Side note: I'm a little disappointed I didn't trigger anyone by calling Dare Devil a coaster.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for the double post, though my last post was over a month ago...

 

The ride lineup for Holiday in the Park has been posted. I'm thinking about driving up here in December to check out HITP and check out the animals I missed on my last trip, but it sounds like the top of the hill will be closed off. I'm somewhat surprised they don't open the whole park like SFMM does, considering they don't have any issues with temperatures being too low to run certain rides. Is this just a cost-cutting measure, or is there some other reason they don't open the hill?

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Sorry for the double post, though my last post was over a month ago...

 

The ride lineup for Holiday in the Park has been posted. I'm thinking about driving up here in December to check out HITP and check out the animals I missed on my last trip, but it sounds like the top of the hill will be closed off. I'm somewhat surprised they don't open the whole park like SFMM does, considering they don't have any issues with temperatures being too low to run certain rides. Is this just a cost-cutting measure, or is there some other reason they don't open the hill?

 

Considering the only major roller coaster not operating will be Boomerang, I don't think that's much of a loss. Joker, Superman, Medusa, and even V2, plus the other kiddie coasters and rides will all be open. However it does seem like Wonder Woman will be closed.

 

Obviously no park will operate as many coasters and rides during HITP as SFMM does, given their sheer volume of coasters and good weather conditions, but Discovery Kingdom is by no means "pulling a Cedar Fair." They're operating nearly everything.

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These websites are all still under construction.

 

This park is open year-round. Everything will be open unless it's undergoing scheduled maintenance. All year-round parks in the chain will obviously be fully open (again, barring maintenance or construction).

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Sorry for the double post, though my last post was over a month ago...

 

The ride lineup for Holiday in the Park has been posted. I'm thinking about driving up here in December to check out HITP and check out the animals I missed on my last trip, but it sounds like the top of the hill will be closed off. I'm somewhat surprised they don't open the whole park like SFMM does, considering they don't have any issues with temperatures being too low to run certain rides. Is this just a cost-cutting measure, or is there some other reason they don't open the hill?

 

Considering the only major roller coaster not operating will be Boomerang, I don't think that's much of a loss. Joker, Superman, Medusa, and even V2, plus the other kiddie coasters and rides will all be open. However it does seem like Wonder Woman will be closed.

 

Obviously no park will operate as many coasters and rides during HITP as SFMM does, given their sheer volume of coasters and good weather conditions, but Discovery Kingdom is by no means "pulling a Cedar Fair." They're operating nearly everything.

Yeah, I honestly wouldn't care if Boomerang was closed; I mainly wanted to see the rest of the animals. As long as Medusa, Superman, and Joker are open, I'll be happy as far as coasters go.

 

These websites are all still under construction.

 

This park is open year-round. Everything will be open unless it's undergoing scheduled maintenance. All year-round parks in the chain will obviously be fully open (again, barring maintenance or construction).

The park has been open in its entirety for all of the past HITP I've been attending (7 years now). I don't see why this year would be any different.

Cool, I'm glad to hear that. Thanks, guys!

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Sad news as the park's animal instagram mentioned that Leo the lion has died at 15, which apparently is pretty old for a male lion.

 

I also saw a few weeks ago that the walrus was sent to Seaworld. That makes another animal habitat aging out of the park

 

I don't think the dolphins or sea lions are going anywhere any time soon and probably not the tigers and a number of other animals, so I still don't agree with the people who think that SFDK will get rid of their animals entirely.

 

It is sad however to hear that another major animal habitat (walrus) is presumably empty (can anyone confirm?) and the lions might not be too far from going away if they send the females somewhere else now that Leo is gone.

 

I do wonder what, if anything, will happen with the spaces. The elephant habitat was still disused the last time I visited the park. I should be there again in a couple weeks for my yearly visit, so maybe I'll try to see what some of the animal care specialists say.

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Aside from the more recently updated Tiger section, the rest of the animal enclosures were pretty depressing. I'm sure Six Flags takes good care of the animals, but the enclosures themselves felt like the epitome of why people complain about zoo's. They appeared small and not even close to a natural habitat.

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I stopped by the park last night and of course had to give Harley Quinn a try. Based on lackluster reviews, I went in with low expectations. But it still failed to meet them. It was like a Super Loop that tracked as well as Mean Streak in the back row.

 

On the bright side, Joker is awesome and definitely not the worst RMC. That ride's first drop and stall were amazing.

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I stopped by the park last night and of course had to give Harley Quinn a try. Based on lackluster reviews, I went in with low expectations. But it still failed to meet them. It was like a Super Loop that tracked as well as Mean Streak in the back row.

 

On the bright side, Joker is awesome and definitely not the worst RMC. That ride's first drop and stall were amazing.

 

 

"Worst RMC" seems like an oxymoron to me. Perhaps "less spectacular than Steel Vengeance" is a better description.

 

Joker is great. I like that every element is airtime, inversion or overbanked curve.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got to visit the park this year! It was a very short visit, less than two hours, but there were no long lines so we still got to ride a lot of rides, including the new Harley Quinn coaster.

 

I'm not sure how I feel about it. It feels like a ride that has been around for a while and gotten rough, but it's brand new. Even if they fix that (which I hope they do, it's not "never again" rough but it's certainly not comfortable), I'm not sure I would really be apt to ride it every time anyway. It doesn't really feel like a coaster to me.

 

Also, I got an interesting survey recently. It mentioned the park thinking about a new orangutan exhibit, sloth exhibit, and dolphin demonstration. I wonder how much it was hypothetical, just to see how people felt about bringing in new zoo animals, but I think it would be great to have new animal exhibits! And as far a I recall, they have never had a large ape exhibit so orangs would definitely be new and unique for the park.

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  • 1 month later...

^Great news. Since they're pressure washing down the paint, I assume they're going with a new color. Good. That maroon and purple was one of the ugliest coaster color schemes IMO.

 

I guess this also puts to bed any rumors that the park is going to remove the ride soon...

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^Great news. Since they're pressure washing down the paint, I assume they're going with a new color. Good. That maroon and purple was one of the ugliest coaster color schemes IMO.

 

I guess this also puts to bed any rumors that the park is going to remove the ride soon...

 

I've heard they are going for a brighter red to standout more.

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In case people were wondering and too lazy to click the above link:

coaster.labs

*****BREAKING NEWS ON V2 REPAINT/FLASH RETHEME*****

Well folks, there she is. V2 is indeed getting painted and yellow and maroon paint chips are everywhere. Are you can see the track will not be yellow, but a cherry red and supports presumably yellow (maybe a combo of the 2 for the track). Anonymous people said that the name will be "The Flash: Vertical Velocity". Not sure how I feel about that, but that would allow the park to keep most signage for the ride. Let me know your thoughts on the color scheme, name and more.

 

Part of me kind of likes the idea of keeping Vertical Velocity in the name. I've always liked that name. Now, will people still call it V2 or will we call it The Flash? I still call the park Marine World sometimes, to certain audiences who know it better that way.

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