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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures


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Six Flags Great Adventure

 

My visits to Six Flags Great Adventure typically fall into two categories.

 

1) I visit when it isn't Holiday in the Park for a few hours. I'll ride Kingda Ka, Nitro, and Zumajaro once. And then I'll marathon El Toro.

 

2) I visit when it's Holiday in the Park and marathon the B&Ms.

 

This visit was textbook category 1.

 

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One of the most famous amusement park skylines.

 

The day started with an El Toro marathon. The ride opened a few minutes late, but I rode it nonstop for the first hour in the back car. Several times I was able to stay onboard without getting out of my seat.

 

El Toro is an uneven coaster in my opinion. The ride's four best moments are as good as any coaster. The sustained ejector airtime on the first drop, two camelbacks, and Rolling Thunder Hill are matched by very few coasters.

 

But I don't love the middle section of the ride. El Toro has a lot of speed, but the turnaround and speed hill don't do much for me. And then the twister section at the end is decent, but it just can't rival the insanity that precedes it.

 

In terms of smoothness, El Toro was still running quite smoothly. There was one bad jolt at the bottom of the turnaround, but Six Flags has done a good job addressing these so I expect this bit to be retracked this offseason. 9 out of 10

 

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I can feel the airtime just looking at this photo.

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El Toro is a really interesting looking ride with the slender first half and spread out finale.

 

Getting on Kingda Ka and Zumanjaro were ordeals. The rides kept opening and closing throughout the day. It seemed like every time I'd make the hike over to Golden Kingdom, one or both rides were closed.

 

When Kingda Ka opened, I used my skip-the-line pass. It may have been a walk-on, but I didn't care. Even if I skipped 2 people, that very well could have been the difference between avoiding a breakdown. The park was allowing you to wait for the front, so I took the gamble Kingda Ka wouldn't go down and was rewarded with one of the best adrenaline rushes of any coaster. The force of that launch is incredible, the sense of speed is unreal, and the top hat is fantastic for the view and pop of airtime. 8.5 out of 10

 

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I can't believe this area used to be a parking lot. Six Flags actually made the area look really nice!

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As fast as this cheetah runs, I had a date with a coaster 2X faster.

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No I did not take my phone with me. I went up the exit ramp afterwards to get this photo.

 

Zumanjaro kept getting stuck halfway up the tower, but I was able to catch it when it reopened. And I was rewarded with a walk-on. Granted, I've never seen this drop tower have a line because of how obnoxiously long the queue is. The walk to Zumanjaro is good training for a 5K.

 

The height and view on Zumanjaro is as good as any drop tower, but the drop felt a bit weaker than past years. It was ridiculously long, but it lacked the stomach dropping sensation the other Intamin drop towers typically provide. 8 out of 10

 

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I don't have any photos of Zumanjaro since it kept breaking down, so here's another picture of Kingda Ka.

 

In my non-Holiday in the Park visits, I typically avoid the B&Ms anyway. But the crowds made the decision easy for me. When I visited, Six Flags was skipping every other row and loading one party per row. This transformed the 4 across B&Ms into the least efficient coasters in the park.

 

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This was the one B&M looper I wanted to ride since it's not open for HITP, but it had a 90 minute wait. No thanks!

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I wasn't going to stand for a 2 hour line. Get it?

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Superman was also posting a 2 hour wait. And this was on a weekday.

 

I used my second skip-the-line pass on Nitro. That was the one B&M I was not willing to skip. I was able to request the back row, which is my favorite seat and I can't always get that at HITP when they need to front load the train (understandably).

 

And Nitro was running far faster than I remember. I think I'm just used to this thing crawling along in sub-freezing temperatures. The airtime was stronger than I remember. However, the ride was rattling badly in the valleys in the first half. Maybe it was a bad train, but I'm hoping it runs smoother for HITP. 8 out of 10

 

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Six Flags's most explosive coaster.

 

When I returned to El Toro in the early afternoon, the entire queue was filled and it had a posted 90 minute wait. Thankfully, I had one last skip-the-line pass that allowed me to bypass that wait. This made me extremely glad I marathoned the ride early in the day.

 

That was especially true when I discovered the park was now assigning seats on El Toro and you couldn't request a specific row, even if it was free. That was a bit disappointing, but I realize El Toro's station is so narrow it's near impossible to social distance and it's not something the park does in normal years. But even in the middle row, the ride's signature four elements still delivered boatloads of airtime.

 

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One of the best drops in the world.

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So much sustained ejector airtime.

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But the middle section is a bit dull.

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Thankfully, El Toro has one last hurrah with the Rolling Thunder hill.

 

The only other ride I rode was Runaway Mine Train. I caught it after a breakdown, so it was a walk-on. The ride was as janky as you'd expect an old Arrow mine train to be, but the final bunny hill delivers a powerful pop of airtime. That moment is why I rode the coaster and it did not disappoint. 5.5 out of 10

 

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Six Flags doesn't put out "No Swimming" signs. They just have the water look like this and it's a natural deterrent.

 

When I visited, construction had ceased on Jersey Devil, but I could see it popping above the kids area. I can't wait for this coaster to open next year and if it rides anything like the other Raptors, I think it will become the new best ride in the park (for me at least).

 

I'm hoping to make it back to Great Adventure before HITP for some more El Toro rides, but I'll definitely be back for Holiday in the Park as long as the park remains open.

 

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Raptors always look super cool in person with that narrow track gauge.

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Great report. I really miss Six Flags Great Adventure. I visited for the first time back in July 2016 and haven't been since. El Toro and Nitro are spectacular, and I enjoyed Kingda Ka much more than I anticipated.

 

Fingers crossed I'll be able to visit next year!

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Just curious but what's your take on Kingda Ka vs Dragster? I've only been on Dragster and I can't imagine the two experiences to be that much different but some people seem to really prefer one to the other, so just wondered where you stood on it.

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I prefer Top Thrill Dragster by a slim margin.

 

Launch- I think Kingda Ka's launch is technically stronger, but Top Thrill Dragster's launch feels identical to me. The one pro Kingda Ka has is that there isn't a countdown.

 

Top Hat- The airtime over the top is comparable on both. I prefer the top hat on Dragster for the view of Cedar Point/Lake Erie. It's quite a bit better than the New Jersey woods.

 

Comfort- This is where Top Thrill Dragster has the major edge. If you ride up front, both rides are equally as smooth. But Kingda Ka gets rough if you ride towards the back. I almost always ride up front, so this doesn't really impact me. Top Thrill Dragster also has the lap bars so it feels way more free.

 

 

However, I prefer Red Force to both. The launch doesn't have the same initial kick, but it feels just as crazy by the end of the launch. The view is similar to Dragster, but I prefer the straight drop since the airtime is far more pronounced. Plus Red Force has a surprising pop of airtime going into the brake run that Dragster or Ka don't have.

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I prefer Top Thrill Dragster by a slim margin.

 

Launch- I think Kingda Ka's launch is technically stronger, but Top Thrill Dragster's launch feels identical to me. The one pro Kingda Ka has is that there isn't a countdown.

 

Top Hat- The airtime over the top is comparable on both. I prefer the top hat on Dragster for the view of Cedar Point/Lake Erie. It's quite a bit better than the New Jersey woods.

 

Comfort- This is where Top Thrill Dragster has the major edge. If you ride up front, both rides are equally as smooth. But Kingda Ka gets rough if you ride towards the back. I almost always ride up front, so this doesn't really impact me. Top Thrill Dragster also has the lap bars so it feels way more free.

 

 

However, I prefer Red Force to both. The launch doesn't have the same initial kick, but it feels just as crazy by the end of the launch. The view is similar to Dragster, but I prefer the straight drop since the airtime is far more pronounced. Plus Red Force has a surprising pop of airtime going into the brake run that Dragster or Ka don't have.

 

Ah, that makes sense. I kind of forgot about Red Force. Wonder if the reliability of the LSMs on that have been better than the launch system on Dragster/Ka. Thanks for the insights.

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I actually prefer Red Force over KK and TTD as well. The launch is slightly less forceful, but as Canobie said, the airtime going over the top hat is much better since the track doesn't twist on the way down. Plus, the new Intamin restraints on Red Force are very comfortable.

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I prefer Top Thrill Dragster by a slim margin.

 

Launch- I think Kingda Ka's launch is technically stronger, but Top Thrill Dragster's launch feels identical to me. The one pro Kingda Ka has is that there isn't a countdown.

 

Top Hat- The airtime over the top is comparable on both. I prefer the top hat on Dragster for the view of Cedar Point/Lake Erie. It's quite a bit better than the New Jersey woods.

 

Comfort- This is where Top Thrill Dragster has the major edge. If you ride up front, both rides are equally as smooth. But Kingda Ka gets rough if you ride towards the back. I almost always ride up front, so this doesn't really impact me. Top Thrill Dragster also has the lap bars so it feels way more free.

 

 

However, I prefer Red Force to both. The launch doesn't have the same initial kick, but it feels just as crazy by the end of the launch. The view is similar to Dragster, but I prefer the straight drop since the airtime is far more pronounced. Plus Red Force has a surprising pop of airtime going into the brake run that Dragster or Ka don't have.

 

Ah, that makes sense. I kind of forgot about Red Force. Wonder if the reliability of the LSMs on that have been better than the launch system on Dragster/Ka. Thanks for the insights.

 

I was at PortAventura for two days and not once did Red Force go down. I don't think I've ever had a day at Six Flags Great Adventure or Cedar Point where Kingda Ka or Top Thrill Dragster didn't breakdown at least once.

 

I actually prefer Red Force over KK and TTD as well. The launch is slightly less forceful, but as Canobie said, the airtime going over the top hat is much better since the track doesn't twist on the way down. Plus, the new Intamin restraints on Red Force are very comfortable.

 

Those new Intamin lap bars are just as good as the T-bars in my opinion. The only issue with the ones on Red Force is when they violently release in the station.

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I only rode it once with Flash Pass. I think they were only running two trains the day I visited but they weren't stacking them. They were also only loading every other row when I was there, but I believe they're loading every row now.

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Waldameer

 

Waldameer is one of my favorite small parks. I fell in love with the park after they opened in a massive downpour a few years ago when every other park in the region closed and stayed open most of the day even though I was one of 10 guests in the park.

 

While my subsequent visits have been busier, crowds have never been oppressive here. That gives me the chance to get a ton of rerides and appreicate the relaxed atmosphere of the park. It also helps Waldameer's staff is super friendly and the park is gorgeous.

 

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Waldameer's main entrance isn't anything special, so I prefer to think this hand-carved wood sign is the main entrance.

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Or the creepy clown!

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The park is filled with gardens, fountains, and statues. It's really beautiful!

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Assume the position!

 

The star attraction is Ravine Flyer II. The ride took years to get approved, but the ride's unique setting really pays dividends. The ride has one of the best first drops of any coaster. In fact, I think it's my favorite first drop on any traditional wood coaster. The views of Lake Erie are stunning and it offers some sustained ejector airtime the whole way down.

 

The rest of the first half is one of the best first halves of any coaster. The four small bunny hills give some major sustained floater airtime and the ride feels very fast. The one dead spot in the first half is when the train slowly crawls over the top of the turnaround, but it does offer another chance to take in Lake Erie and when the ride is warmed up, the drop gives some decent floater in the back.

 

The second half isn't quite as good. You lose a ton of speed climbing up the ravine. And I realize Gravity Group had no choice to do this or end the ride prematurely. While the second half isn't fast, it's smooth and does offer some pops of airtime up front. Towards the back, the ride needs to be warmed up to get airtime in the second half.

 

That first half carries the ride though. The airtime combined with the unique setting makes the ride. Plus, Waldameer does an incredible job caring for this coaster. With such an aggressive layout, this ride would definitely be rough without all the TLC it receives. 9 out of 10

 

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Best billboard ever!

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Did I mention this ride has a bridge that crosses over a 4 lane road?

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The best shots of Ravine Flyer II are actually from outside the park.

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While Ravine Flyer II loses a ton of speed atop the turnaround, it essentially functions as a second "first" drop.

 

Waldameer is also one of the rare parks to now be home to two spinning coasters. You have Steel Dragon, which was spinning quite a bit since the park was only loading one party per row. I still prefer the Gerstlauer spinners over the standard Maurer spinner layout, but Steel Dragon is a fairly smooth ride...unless you enter the brake run sideways. 5 out of 10

 

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Steel Dragon (not 2000)

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I prefer the outward facing seats of the Maurer spinners since it's a lot more disorienting.

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The one party per car rule led to some great spinning.

 

And you also have the brand new SBF Visa spinner in Whirlwind. While it seemed to be a big hit among kids and it's impressive the park squeezed it in, I'm not a fan of its appearance. It looks very temporary. I'm hoping the park can beautify it in the off-season since many of Waldameer's off-the-shelf rides are surrounded by fountains or gardens.

 

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Whirlwind sticks out like a sore thumb compared to how beautiful the rest of Waldameer is.

 

The last coaster I rode (on this visit) was Comet, the park's junior wood coaster. It's basically a clone of the Woodstock Express coasters at the Cedar Fair parks, but Comet has a much better setting with all the trees around it. 5 out of 10

 

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I wish I had a junior wood coaster near me growing up.

 

Even the non-coasters at Waldameer are notable. Many of the flats run super long programs. One of the best examples of this is Chaos, the inverting frisbee. While this one wasn't quite as good as the one at the American Dream Mall, the ride had plenty of hangtime and some forceful downswings. 7 out of 10

 

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It's rare I get to ride a flat ride named Chaos.

 

My favorite flat at the park is X-Scream, the park's ARM drop tower. These drop towers are the most intense models out there. The drop packs a mighty punch. No other drop tower causes me to lose my stomach like this one and the airtime is terrifying the whole way down. Plus, this one gives an amazing view of Lake Erie. 10 out of 10

 

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This may be my favorite drop tower outside of the Tower of Terrors and stand-up, floorless Intamin ones.

 

The park also has a great log flume in Thunder River. I was skeptical the ride would open when it was closed for the first 6.5 hours of the day, but much to my amazement, Waldameer got it running for the last 1.5 hours. And I was very much appreciative since this one has two solid drops and a long tunnel. I also love how the park times it such that logs are going down both the big and small drops at the same time. 9 out of 10

 

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What's in the shed?

 

Last but not least, I love Whacky Shack, the classic dark ride. It's a mix of simple visual gags and corny statues, but the whole package just works. Especially since the end has a bit of speed and laterals as you careen around those hairpin turns. 9 out of 10

 

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I never realized until this visit that the house had eyes.

 

I really wish Waldameer was one of my home parks since it is such a pleasant park to be in and the park has a top notch coaster plus some great non-coasters.

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The star attraction is Ravine Flyer II. The ride took years to get approved, but the ride's unique setting really pays dividends. The ride has one of the best first drops of any coaster. In fact, I think it's my favorite first drop on any traditional wood coaster. The views of Lake Erie are stunning and it offers some sustained ejector airtime the whole way down.

 

Couldn't agree more. It actually took me 2 tries to get a ride on Ravine Flyer II this year due to an unexpected power outage that shut down half the park for an entire day (lol), but that first drop in the back row alone was worth the cost of the second visit. What a rush, definitely one of my favorite drops as well.

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I love Ravine Flyer. Such a good ride. So fast and glass smooth. When we went to Waldameer we spent 15 minutes trying to find the wooden sign and never found it weirdly enough. Glad to hear you enjoyed the park again

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^ Maybe the sign wasn't there? It's to the left of the Paratrooper in front of what I believe is a bathroom.

 

We always take pictures in front of park signs. I had seen that sign in a trip report before our trip. We even asked a worker and we could not find it. So no idea

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Never been to Waldameer but Ravine Flyer II has always been a really interesting coaster to. Funky layout, seems to mostly be well reviewed and rated, but I've always wondered what the story was for that blue looking netting on the bridge over the highway? I'm sure there's a reason but it's always just looked to strange to me.

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Waldameer is definitely worth a visit for Ravine Flyer II, the Wacky Shack, and Pirate's Cove. Comet's a pretty good little ride, too.

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^ Maybe the sign wasn't there? It's to the left of the Paratrooper in front of what I believe is a bathroom.

 

We always take pictures in front of park signs. I had seen that sign in a trip report before our trip. We even asked a worker and we could not find it. So no idea

 

Did you visit early in the season?

 

Never been to Waldameer but Ravine Flyer II has always been a really interesting coaster to. Funky layout, seems to mostly be well reviewed and rated, but I've always wondered what the story was for that blue looking netting on the bridge over the highway? I'm sure there's a reason but it's always just looked to strange to me.

 

I have two theories. The original Ravine Flyer also crossed that road and one day it valleyed. One of the riders panicked, got out of the train, and fell onto the roadway. The netting could be to appease insurance companies if they're privy to that accident.

 

The other is to prevent loose articles from falling onto cars. I suspect this is the more likely and logical scenario.

 

Waldameer is definitely worth a visit for Ravine Flyer II, the Wacky Shack, and Pirate's Cove. Comet's a pretty good little ride, too.

 

Unfortunately, Pirate's Cove was closed in 2020 due to covid, but I really enjoyed that walkthrough back in 2017.

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I have two theories. The original Ravine Flyer also crossed that road and one day it valleyed. One of the riders panicked, got out of the train, and fell onto the roadway. The netting could be to appease insurance companies if they're privy to that accident.

 

The other is to prevent loose articles from falling onto cars. I suspect this is the more likely and logical scenario.

 

I'm sure it has something to do with loose articles but it's just so strange looking with the blueish mesh, why not just make it full fledged tunnel like the one it comes out of just before crossing the bridge? Hell if anything you'd think they'd plaster an advertisement all over the thing.

 

I always wondered if there was some kind of DOT requirement for visibility of the underpass or something along those lines. Either way super cool looking park and coaster, I'd love to get up there someday on a road trip between Knoebels and Cedar Point maybe.

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Waldameer is definitely worth a visit for Ravine Flyer II, the Wacky Shack, and Pirate's Cove. Comet's a pretty good little ride, too.

 

Unfortunately, Pirate's Cove was closed in 2020 due to covid, but I really enjoyed that walkthrough back in 2017.

 

Yep--unfortunate, but understandable.

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