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^ I definitely went there a few times. I couldn't decide if I preferred the bacon wrapped asparagus or steak. Both were delicious!

 

You can't go wrong with meat on a stick--or a Monte Cristo sammich.

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Disney California Adventure

 

Disney California Adventure is a park of E-tickets for me. I much prefer the original Disneyland for the quantity and charm, but the top end attractions at this park rival any Disney park in my opinion.

 

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This is one of the most iconic views of any theme park. And for good reason!

 

Take Guardians of the Galaxy for example. This may be an unpopular opinion, but this is my favorite drop tower in the world. Yes, that means that I'll take this over the Tower of Terrors in Orlando and Tokyo.

 

I agree that it isn't quite as strong thematically, but the Guardians theme is still very well done and this ride is just pure fun. I love the ride sequence on this version. It's action-packed from start-to-finish and the different songs add quite a bit of reridability in my opinion. 10 out of 10

 

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Guardians may be an eyesore by day, but the building comes alive at night.

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An Alien Encounter reference! X-S Tech.

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Look at Slinky get some serious airtime!

 

But I think the crowd favorite is Radiator Springs Racers, which is one of the best dark rides in the world. The Cars Land in general is the park's best area. The amount of detail here is stunning and there's a reason it's considered one of the best themed lands in the world. And this coming from someone who wasn't a big fan of the Cars films.

 

As for Radiator Springs Racers, I'm always left in awe at the scale of the exterior rockwork and interior animatronics. And that visual amazement is accompanied by a high-speed, racing finale that may not have the speed of Test Track, but it has a few coaster-like drops. 10 out of 10

 

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If you have a fetish for rocks, you'll cream yourself at Cars Land.

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Twisted Colossus looks on with jealousy as it sees a ride successfully race.

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Like a good neighbor, Mater is there!

 

Lines like that are why I dislike the Cars franchise.

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Sometimes you just need to let the dog stick his head out the window.

 

One of the most iconic rides at the park is the Incredicoaster, which is one of the longest roller coasters in the world. This may be underthemed relative to most Disney coasters, but the ride is a nice change-of-pace from the highly themed experiences you get elsewhere on the resort. It's just an overall solid roller coaster with a decent launch, some airtime, and a forceful vertical loop. 8 out of 10

 

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Pixar Pier's lighting is gorgeous.

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I'd say I got lucky with timing on the Pixar Pal-Around, but Incredicoaster dispatches trains so quickly it would have been more noteworthy if I caught no trains.

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Incredicoaster says hello to all those parking at Downtown Disney.

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Mr. Incredble decided to try on my Slinky hat.

 

Buried underneath the structure of the Incredicoaster is Toy Story Mania, my favorite shooting dark ride in the world. The shooting system is super addictive. And by riding this several times over the course of a week, I was able to find all a few hidden targets to really up my score (and destroy my biceps). 10 out of 10

 

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Slinky looks at himself in admiration.

 

I was also able to see the original World of Color after having not seen this version of the show in years. It had either been down for maintenance or running a holiday overlay. And while the show is enjoyable, I much prefer Fantasmic at the other park.

 

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Classic Disney songs are never a bad thing!

 

My visit also coincided with the Food and Wine Festival. This had two pluses to the park. The first was the return of Soarin' Over California. And I'm torn which version of Soarin' I prefer. Both versions have their pros and cons, but both have some visually stunning scenes.

 

The festival also had a ton of "quick" service stands added throughout the park. I say "quick" lightly since the queues to place an order at these stands were massive. Because of this, I only sampled two items.

 

The first was the most Californian dish ever- deep fried avocado drizzled in guacamole. And it was fantastic. I love avocados, so I was in heaven. And the carne asada added to the dish gave it some variety.

 

The second was a chicken and waffle sandwich. And I'm sad to say it was terrible. It was as unappetizing as it looked. The chicken was dry and the waffle wasn't even as good as an Eggo waffle.

 

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I loved this dish so much, I got it two additional times.

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I hated this dish so much I tried to burn it out of my mind.

 

Disney California Adventure has undergone quite the facelift since it originally opened. And these changes have elevated the park into a very enjoyable park. And that will only continue with the opening of the Marvel themed land later this year (hopefully) when this pandemic subsides.

 

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Slinky is definitely an award winning wiener.

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Either Disney has the most accurate way to estimate the line for Goofy's Sky School or the app glitched.

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I'm going with a glitch since Grizzly's queue was posted as this:

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Six Flags Magic Mountain

 

West Coast Racers. New for 2019 or new for 2020? On one hand, it technically did open at the very end of 2019...for members only. On the other hand, it didn't open to everyone until 2020.

 

There's no right answer. It's like asking yourself if Nick Cage is a good or bad actor.

 

But most people who ride West Coast Racers are in agreement that this is an incredibly fun coaster. Me included.

 

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2020 was already one of the best years for new coasters. Magic Mountain went above and beyond our wildest expectations make this a new-for-2020 coaster.

 

West Coast Racers is part of a whole new area called the Underground. The back section by Apocalypse was always one of the park's ugliest and most lifeless areas, but now it has a vibrant atmosphere. The freshly painted buildings and kinetic energy of West Coast Racers revitalized the back corner of the park.

 

This is also among the better themed rides Six Flags has ever created. It's not Disney level, but the queue line is on the level with Six Flags Mexico, the chain's undisputed king of well-themed queue lines. You pass through an auto shop with a beautiful model car and panels showing the mechanics at work.

 

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Six Flags has evolved. This isn't a parking lot coaster. This is a street coaster.

 

In terms of seats, I tried West Coast Racers in both the front and back. When I visited, they were assigning seats, but they were granting requests so long as the queue for an individual row wasn't too backed up. But it didn't matter too much in my opinion since it rode pretty similarly in every row.

 

I also thought both halves rode pretty similarly. All 4 launches lacked a good initial kick, but each one had a decent punch by the end. All 4 inversions were of the floaty variety with some great hangtime. The helices on both sides both had spots where they piled on the GS. And there were also several pops of airtime scattered throughout. In general, the airtime was fairly weak except for one shining moment- the high five.

 

This element is incredible. It's as wild as the best RMC wave turn. You get some powerful sideways ejector airtime. And the best part is that you get to experience this element twice!

 

The last thing I want to touch on was the controversial pit stop. Unlike Twisted Colossus where your duel is at the mercy of the operators, West Coast Racers forces a duel. As a themed element, the pit stop is just ok. But I am 100% in favor of its inclusion. If the alternative is plowing through the whole layout and then stacking on the final brake run, I'll happily wait an extra minute to get a duel. Because it's what makes West Coast Racers special.

 

West Coast Racers isn't the world's most intense coaster, but I enjoyed it more than I expected. It's an incredibly fun ride thanks to the interactive dueling. Plus it's a long ride with a diverse mix of elements. It's probably my fourth favorite ride at Magic Mountain after Twisted Colossus, X2, and Tatsu. 8.5 out of 10

 

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This is what happens if you have a pit stop.

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No pit stop.

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Give me the pit stop.

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Rumor has it, Universal has a heart attack if you show them this photo.

 

And one of the more underrated things about the Underground area was that Apocalypse was retracked. It was running just as smoothly as my December visit, but the airtime didn't feel as strong. The usual quick ejector pops characteristic of a GCI were replaced by milder floater airtime. 7 out of 10

 

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This ride's theme sure is fitting in light of current world events.

 

Every time I visit Magic Mountain, Twisted Colossus is running less and less trains.

 

2016- 4 trains

2018- 3 trains

2019- 2 trains

2020- 1 train

 

Needless to say, I didn't exactly get a duel on this visit.

 

And in case you were wondering, the second lift still crawls even if Twisted Colossus is running one train. The lift is programmed to wait for the other train under all circumstances it seems. It just put salt in the wound and killed the throughput. Thankfully the park was dead so it never built up a sizable wait.

 

The dueling doesn't make or break Twisted Colossus for me; it's just gravy. This is one of my favorite RMCs. It may be fair to call Twisted Colossus two coasters spliced together, but I don't care one bit since both halves have some powerful ejector airtime, a great inversion, and no dead spots. 10 out of 10

 

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Duel or no duel, Twisted Colossus is an incredible coaster. One of RMC's best!

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At this rate, Twisted Colossus will be running 0 trains on my next visit.

 

The park was so dead that even Full Throttle was almost a walk-on. That never happens! As a result, I got a few rides on the park's original Premier coaster. I know it's easy to mock Full Throttle for its premature ending, but I love the elements it includes.

 

The launches are solid; the vertical loop has some terrifying hangtime; the dive loop going forwards is whippy; the dive loop backwards stall has some great hangtime; and the airtime over the top hat is fantastic in any row. In the grand scheme of things, isn't that more elements than a lot of launch coasters? 8 out of 10

 

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You know what would make this loop better? An interlocking Larson Loop.

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Half Throttle.

 

The longest wait by far was for Tatsu. It was a perfect storm at Tatsu- one train ops, slow dispatches, and a passenger had a nosebleed. Magic Mountain didn't immediately take Tatsu down. Instead, they just ran the ride at even further reduced capacity and blocked off the two blood-splattered rows.

 

And I'm willing to bet the pretzel loop was the culprit. That inversion is downright insane. It's arguably the most intense inversion in the world. The pretzel loops on the Superman clones already feel like an endurance test and the one on Tatsu is twice as large. Tatsu's pretzel loop does some unnatural things to your body. It feels like your head will explode, your chest will cave in, and your pants will be ripped off. But I love its primal intensity.

 

The rest of the ride is graceful, but that isn't a bad thing. Tatsu's setting atop the hill allows for some memorable barrel rolls and overbanks. That's especially true since you can admire Magic Mountain's impressive skyline from many unique vantage points. 9 out of 10

 

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Tatsu's pretzel loop turns men into boys. And boys into dust. Thanos would be proud.

 

Since Emily wasn't with me on this trip, I felt no guilt marathoning X2. If you remember my last trip report, Emily said that was her least favorite coaster of all time. She literally thought she was going to slip out of the harness and die.

 

As for me, I love the sheer insanity of X2. Yes it's a bit bouncy, but in a way it feeds into the ridiculousness of the ride. You have a Falcon's Fury-esque dive towards the ground with a flip mixed with one demented flip after another. The final raven turn and inline twist in particular standout because of their compactness and snappiness.

 

The biggest flaw for me is that far turnaround that does absolutely nothing and the fact that I know Eejanaika exists and corrected that flaw. 9.5 out of 10

 

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Alan Schilke- I want a vertical drop.

Arrow Engineers- We've never done that before.

Alan Schilke- Oh ok. Let's have the seats flip too then.

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Eejanaika translates to "What the Hell"? That's an apt description for any 4D coaster. Including the recently removed Green Lantern. Except it isn't a term of endearment there...

 

I also made sure to pay my respects to the park's older Arrows. These rides may not have the best transitions, but Viper packs in positive Gs during the first half and awkward hangtime in the second half (6 out of 10). Meanwhile, Gold Rusher (5 out of 10) and Ninja (6 out of 10) use the park's mountain terrain to perfection.

 

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Only five flags? Six Flags is slacking.

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I never noticed before this visit that Ninja's queue stands atop an old turntable. Samurai Summit is just littered with remnants of deceased attractions.

 

As for the park's older B&Ms, I only rode Riddler's Revenge. Batman is a fantastic ride, but I tend to skip it at Magic Mountain since I ride the crap out of Great Adventure's during Holiday in the Park. As for Scream, I choose not to ride it since Great Adventure has the superior Bizarro...which I rarely ride since I can't pull myself off El Toro.

 

Riddler's Revenge is the king of stand-up coasters. As long as you get your head above the restraint and that bike seat below your loins, you're in for a treat. Riddler's Revenge pulls some serious Gs and just keeps going on and on. I think that last point may be why Riddler's is a love it-hate it ride. If you ride it wrong, you're in for a bad time. 8 out of 10

 

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This view may look different next year with the rumored Raptor slapped in front of it.

 

Meanwhile, Goliath is the weenie of hyper coasters. While that drop looks impressive off-ride, it's a ride of wasted potential. I wish that speed was used for airtime as opposed to gargantuan, positive G heavy helices. 6 out of 10

 

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Arguably the best thing about Goliath is that iconic sign.

 

It was also a nice surprise to see Superman running. Most of my visits seem to take place during Holiday in the Park when the Man of Steel is down. For that reason, I snagged a few rides on the last remaining reverse freefall coaster. And this launch was better than I remembered. It has a decent initial kick and you just keep getting faster and faster. And that view atop the tower is breathtaking. Superman may be a one-trick pony, but I like its trick. 7 out of 10

 

I was also able to get back on Lex Luthor, which is always temperamental for me. I've come to realize the drop on Lex Luthor isn't as intense as other drop towers, but the sheer height and threat of Superman swaying the tower makes this one of the scariest rides in the world. 9 out of 10

 

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Six Flags Magic Mountain is one of the jewels of the Six Flags chain. That coaster lineup carries the park, but they have incrementally been improving each section of the park as they add a new coaster.

 

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Goodnight Wally World.

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Great report, loved hearing all the ride reviews.

 

Twisted Colossus running 1 train is insane; I get it probably wasn't super busy but for such a long ride that's crazy.

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Thanks! I agree it's a super long ride anyway with the double lift hills, but it was torture having the train crawl for a second train that was never going to come.

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Knott's Berry Farm

 

My past few visits to Knott's Berry Farm have been abridged. I'd shoehorn in an hour or two after touching down at LAX or stop en route to LAX. And that's not fair to Knott's, as it's one of Cedar Fair's strongest parks.

 

This visit coincided with the final weekend of the Peanuts Celebration, a winter festival with special food, photo ops, and ride overlays.

 

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Most statues of people are commemorated in bronze or gold. Birds are commemorated in berries. Where's the equality?

 

The most notable overlay was the Grand Sierra Railroad being converted into Beagle Bonanza. Snoopy and his siblings decided to throw a fair called (you guessed it) the Beagle Bonanza. The ride has some cute cardboard cutouts along the course and special audio narration. My only gripe was that every car had the same narration and it was only truly synched with the caboose.

 

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I'm sad to report, the Beagle Bonanza had no coaster credits.

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But there was a fun house.

 

In my last visit, I noted that Knott's had a crappy rain policy. Basically the whole park shut down except for the water rides. And there was a half hour stretch where it sprinkled in the evening. But one coaster ran in the rain. Can you guess which one?

 

If you said Xcelerator, you'd be correct.

 

I thought the accelerator coasters were automatic closures in rain to prevent rollbacks and rider discomfort, but Xcelerator was rocketing down the track. It appeared Knott's was content running the ride in a light drizzle to empty out the station, but they weren't allowing new riders into the queue.

 

But i didn't mind because this emptied out the dreaded front row queue. Once Xcelerator reopened, the front was a walk-on for the remainder of the day. That never happens. And I love feeling the full force of the launch up there.

 

Plus, I think Xcelerator has the best top hat of the accelerator coasters because of the strong ejector you get cresting it due to the speed. Top Thrill Dragster always seems to teeter on the edge of a rollback, but Xcelerator seems to have plenty of speed to spare. 8 out of 10

 

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Dear rain, thank you for gracing SoCal with your rare presence to clear out this queue.

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I remember when Xcelerator was red instead of Pepto Bismol colored.

 

For the past few visits, I've found HangTime to be my second favorite coaster in the park. But now I'm not so sure. I might prefer Xcelerator now. As for HangTime, it still has an epic drop and some other decent elements. But it has developed a very noticeable shuffle in the corkscrew. 8 out of 10

 

One other note about HangTime is that it received new seatbelts sometime between my last ride on it in December 2018 and my visit earlier this year. The old seat-belts were counter-intuitive and required you to push them inwards before they'd release. It felt like skilled labor to get those things to unlock! But now HangTime has standard seat-belts.

 

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Is this a dive coaster? Is Orion a giga? Enthusiasts will always debate.

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I don't care what you call it, HangTime is great!

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Only low point was this corkscrew being quite rattly.

 

Another highlight for me was finally being able to reride my white whale...er brown pony- the Pony Express. For one reason or another (rehab, technical issues, rain), this ride is never open for me. But I finally rerode the ponies.

 

And now I understand why people mock this ride. I get Knott's didn't have much space, but this coaster has a high height restriction compared to its intensity level. The launch is fun, but the rest of the layout doesn't really do anything. 3 out of 10

 

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After years of failure, I finally rerode my white whale.

 

Back to the good steel coasters, I took several laps on Silver Bullet. I know a lot of people call this the worst B&M invert, but in general it's an enjoyable ride. It has some solid inversions and that helix finale is among the most forceful elements out there. It's up there with the intensity of a Batman the Ride.

 

The only thing Silver Bullet can (and should) be mocked for is that embarrassment of a first drop. Calling it a drop is offensive to the other drops out there. I'd refer to it as an ADA-compliant ramp. 8 out of 10

 

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You'd think a coaster called Silver Bullet would actually have some silver on it, but it surprisingly doesn't.

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But the trains are rainbow colored. I never noticed that until this visit.

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I know Silver Bullet gets a lot of flack, but I enjoy it outside of that embarrassment of a first drop.

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And it's incredibly photogenic.

 

But the highlight for me was of course GhostRider, one of my favorite wooden coasters. On this visit, I found a newfound appreciation for the front row. I still prefer the back, namely for the drop into the second half, but only by a slim margin.

 

The front had ejector pops on a few of the other bunny hills while the back only has floater airtime on the bunny hills. But wherever you sit, you're going to get some insane laterals and this is one of the best paced coasters out there. 9 out of 10

 

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GhostRider is easier to photograph from outside the park, but I was up for a challenge.

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GhostRider has great pacing, strong laterals, and some good airtime too.

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GhostRider at night is legendary...unlike the Nick Cage movie.

 

I also took quick laps on Sierra Sidewinder and Montezooma's Revenge. Sierra Sidewinder is a very underrated spinning coaster with some good Gs (7.5 out of 10) and Montezooma's Revenge is fun, but I don't appreciate it as much as I should since I can walk another few minutes up the midway and ride Xcelerator. 6 out of 10

 

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Mack spinners are the best spinners.

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Still one of my favorite coaster names.

 

Oh and I rerode Timberline Twister. I wasn't credit whoring; I actually had this credit from a past visit. I just had delusions this coaster was something it wasn't. For some reason I remember getting some great airtime on this when I rode it years ago.

 

Needless to say, it didn't have that airtime. I guess I misremembered it?

 

This time I was stunned just how difficult it was to fit in the dang vehicle. For reference, I'm right at the maximum height and I completely understand why that's in place. I was almost walk-of-shamed! 2 out of 10

 

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Snoopy keeps an eye on credit whores.

 

One of the areas where Knott's really shines compared to the other Cedar Fair parks is in the non-coaster lineup. The star is of course the Timber Mountain Log Ride, one of the best themed log flumes in the world. While the drops are just ok, the theming on this ride is enough to carry it. 9.5 out of 10

 

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My favorite part of this ride is that it inspired Splash Mountain.

 

I also gained a greater appreciation for the Calico River Rapids. When I rode it last year, I had set my expectations too high. I guess I was expecting a dark ride similar to what Movie Park Germany did with their Excalibur river rapids.

 

With tempered expectations, I realized the animatronics and sound effects along the route were nice pluses. And while no one element will soak you, there are about a dozen or so that will get you quite wet including a generally turbulent river. 8 out of 10

 

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What's scarier? The bear?

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Or the geysers?

 

Voyage to the Iron Reef was closed for its upgrade to Knott's Beary Tales, but I was able to ride the Calico Mine Ride. This ride has grand setpieces, a few in which you pass multiple points at different vantage points. It has a different feel than a lot of other dark rides, but I sort of like its uniqueness. 7 out of 10

 

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It's not a mirage. It's an actual dark ride at a Cedar Fair park not called Boo Blasters.

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This is one of the park's boulder attractions.

 

Last but not least, I hit some of the park's most thrilling flats. The one I was most excited to ride was Sol Spin, the park's top scan. I keep wishing I can find one stateside that runs as well as the one I rode at Oktoberfest, but I need to just accept the fact it's a pipe dream. Sol Spin only inverted 2 or 3 times, but it had plenty of violent rocks. 7 out of 10

 

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I know it's called Sol Spin, but it looks way better at night.

 

I also got a nice long cycle on La Revolucion (7 out of 10) and enjoyed the sheer size of Supreme Scream, even if the latter isn't as forceful as some of the other drop towers out there. 7 out of 10

 

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Fun fact, this was once the world's tallest drop tower beating Pitt Fall by 1 foot.

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Even funner fact, the record was broken a few months later by Dreamworld's Giant Drop, which was over 120 feet taller.

 

And no visit to Knott's would be complete without that famous fried chicken. I didn't allocate time to dine in, but I made sure to grab some chicken to go and I wolfed that down like a ravaged animal.

 

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KFC has nothing on Knott's.

 

By giving myself another full day at Knott's, I realized just how well-rounded and unique this park is. While I do still prefer Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knott's isn't a park that should be forgotten on a SoCal trip.

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Cool stuff! I can't wait to ride GhostRider and Montezooma (never been on a Schwarzkopf shuttle before) when I eventually get out there. And I've subscribed to your YouTube channel!

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I agree, you need more than a couple hours to enjoy Knott's, but if all you have is a couple hours, then a couple hours at Knott's is better than a couple hours not at Knott's! Glad you got enough time for a good visit this time though.

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Cool stuff! I can't wait to ride GhostRider and Montezooma (never been on a Schwarzkopf shuttle before) when I eventually get out there. And I've subscribed to your YouTube channel!

 

Thanks! I'm glad I've gotten a chance to ride a few shuttle loops since they're a fun, but dying breed.

 

I agree, you need more than a couple hours to enjoy Knott's, but if all you have is a couple hours, then a couple hours at Knott's is better than a couple hours not at Knott's! Glad you got enough time for a good visit this time though.

 

What can I say, Mickey and his friends have me on a leash when I'm in SoCal.

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Absolutely LOVE this park! We went for Christmas this year and I was able to do 2 nights of Knott's Scary Farm.

Cannot WAIT for all of this quarantine to be over so I can go back and have some of that awesome fried chicken!

Thanks for the TR and pics!

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Knott's Berry Farm

Last but not least, I hit some of the park's most thrilling flats. The one I was most excited to ride was Sol Spin, the park's top scan. I keep wishing I can find one stateside that runs as well as the one I rode at Oktoberfest, but I need to just accept the fact it's a pipe dream. Sol Spin only inverted 2 or 3 times, but it had plenty of violent rocks. 7 out of 10

 

I'd recommend trying Samurai at Lagoon, I was excited to try Sol Spin when I attend WCB and walked away disappointed because it only rotates in one direction. Samurai rotates forwards and backwards and if you get the right arm you get a super wild ride. There have been plenty of moments where I felt like I was going to be flung from my seat.

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Posted (edited)

SeaWorld San Diego

 

SeaWorld San Diego is probably the chain's worst park from a coaster perspective, but it's arguably the chain's best park from an appearance standpoint. This is a gorgeous park.

 

But SeaWorld San Diego has been on a coaster kick like the entire chain. In 2018, they added Electric Eel. In 2019, they added...something. This year they're adding a shiny new B&M dive coaster. And next year, they're rumored to be adding something else.

 

But alas, there were zero new credits for me. Emperor wasn't quite ready (totally expected) and Tidal Twister was being its usual unreliable POS self (not surprising).

 

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At least Manta was open unlike last year. That was my top priority.

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And I also needed to process my platinum pass that was way cheaper here than SeaWorld Orlando or Busch Gardens.

 

The day I visited SeaWorld was supposed to be Tidal Twister's first day after its winter rehab, but it had a crane positioned over it. I considered it mercy. Discovery Kingdom's Harley Quinn was brutally rough and by all accounts, Tidal Twister tracks just as poorly.

 

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How did Skyline manage to make RMC track ride so rough?

 

But I bet Emperor tracks quite well. Every B&M dive machine I've ridden has been smooth as glass and Emperor seems to have a unique, inversion-focused layout. I'm definitely looking forward to trying it on a future visit.

 

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Emperor's drop is almost as impressive as SeaWorld's stock drop when the pandemic struck.

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But in all seriousness, it will fill the niche as the park's looper quite nicely.

 

The best views of Emperor could be had from the queue of Journey to Atlantis. The park's original coaster was closed during my visit last year for an extended rehab. I was hopeful the ride would receive some theming, but the beautiful facade is still as empty as a fortune cookie on the inside. The ride simply got a fresh coat of paint.

 

As for the ride itself, it's disappointing. It lacks the charm of a log flume, but the lack of theming makes it a naked shell of its Orlando brother. I honestly think I prefer the San Antonio version since it skips the fluff and goes straight to the drop. 4 out of 10

 

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New look.

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Same empty Journey to Atlantis.

 

And that's also the reason I like Electric Eel. It may be a clone, but it's non-stop action from start to finish. Solid launches, great hangtime on the barrel roll, and strong ejector airtime cresting and descending the tower. I just wish the ride was pointed towards Mission Bay since the view would be incredible. 7.5 out of 10

 

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Clones aren't necessarily bad. It's just that most clones are bad. Sky Rocket II's are not bad.

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Look at those beautiful comfort collars.

 

Case and point, here's the view from the Bayside Skyride. An upcharge for non-passholders, annual passholders are able to ride this scenic attraction for free. As opposed to most sky rides that travel across the park, this one takes you beyond park boundries alongside Mission Bay.

 

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Enthusiasts probably prefer this view to the bay.

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And in case of a ride stoppage, each cabin includes an emergency kit!

 

But the highlight of the whole visit was getting 15 rides on Manta. I hadn't ridden the coaster in 6 years, but I remembered it packing quite a punch for its size. And that's still the case! Manta is the best coaster in the world no taller than 30 feet. Even the Gravity Group woodies are taller than Manta.

 

I think the most shocking thing about Manta are the launches. The launches themselves are decent. What shocks me is that these launches have some semblance of force to them while Mack's larger coasters like Helix and Copperhead Strike- that are supposed to be bonafide thrill rides- are bested by this family coaster.

 

In total, Manta has two launches are two distinct halves. The first half has some nice pops of airtime, but the second half is where Manta really shines. It has two wicked s-hills with a crazy combination of ejector airtime and laterals. And the helices have some force to them as well. This coaster is super reridable and extremely underrated. 8.5 out of 10

 

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Manta is one of those coasters that is just pure fun.

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It's glass smooth, surprisingly forceful at spots, and well-landscaped.

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Ride the ray!

 

I also rode the Riptide Rescue flat hoping it would run as fast as the version at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Unfortunately, it did not. That being said, it was still a decent flat, albeit one with a brutally short cycle. 6 out of 10

 

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I only had about 30 seconds to take this photo. That's how short the ride cycle is.

 

And no visit to SeaWorld would be complete without the animals. So I made sure to visit as many exhibits and shows as possible between my coaster rides. Below is a compilation of the animal shows and exhibits from both this trip and past trips.

 

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SeaWorld San Diego is often overshadowed. It's overshadowed by both its chain and the SoCal market. But it really is a nice park with an improving ride lineup and more animal attractions than most zoos.

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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Looks like you had a fun time. Manta looks like what I like in a coaster. Quick transitions and laterals and airtime

 

Absolutely! Manta is way better than its stats would suggest.

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But the highlight of the whole visit was getting 15 rides on Manta. I hadn't ridden the coaster in almost 15 years

 

The coaster is 8 years old though?

 

Loved your report!

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Belmont Park

 

Sometimes coaster enthusiasts can cram a few too many parks into a single day. I myself have been guilty of that in the past, but combining SeaWorld San Diego and Belmont Park into one day is a cinch.

 

The parks are roughly a mile apart, but couldn't be more different. SeaWorld San Diego is a massive chain park with flashy steel coasters, lush landscaping, and animal exhibits galore. Meanwhile, Belmont Park is a small, classic, no frills, seaside park with a historic wooden coaster. And that difference in styles allows them to flawlessly coexist.

 

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The Giant Dipper is Belmont Park.

 

The park is among the smallest in the country and most of that space is dedicated to the Giant Dipper. The Giant Dipper oozes history. And it looks stunning at night with the chaser lights and picturesque fan turns. But I have to be honest, the Giant Dipper is more of a looker than a rider.

 

Every hill felt 10-15 feet too tall. There was only one tiny spot of airtime and many moments where I thought the train would valley. But if that wasn't enough, the coaster also has some brutally rough valleys. Really the only redeeming quality are the turnarounds that offer some solid laterals. 3 out of 10

 

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If only it rode as good as it looked.

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Because this coaster is gorgeous with those curves and chaser lights.

 

I'd argue the best ride by far at Belmont Park is Control Freak, this rare flat that is best described as a rider-controlled top spin. I loved this ride back in 2014, but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance.

 

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Does anyone know who manufacturers this ride?

 

Some of the park's other notable rides are a tilt-a-whirl themed to ice cream cones, a frisbee with a solid cycle, and a Chance unicoaster. I took a lap on each of these attractions, but it took a while since the park was rotating ride operators since it was a quiet weeknight in the offseason.

 

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This ride was sweet.

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Beach Blaster was a blast.

 

Belmont Park is far from the world's best park, but the Giant Dipper is a rite of passage for wooden coaster fans and its an easy stop for anyone going to SeaWorld San Diego.

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