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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Gillian's Wonderland Pier- The calm before the Gale Force

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Kemah Boardwalk

 

Kemah Boardwalk is an excellent example how friendly, outgoing employees can make a difference in one's experience. After visiting the sister park in Galveston, I arrived hoping to marathon Boardwalk Bullet for an hour before heading to Fiesta Texas. However, it quickly became apparent that marathoning would not be possible.

 

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Welcome to the Kemah Beerwalk.

 

Like the Galveston Pleasure Pier, Kemah Boardwalk has a spectacular location right on the pier. But unlike the Galveston Pier, Kemah Boardwalk was bursting at the seam with people. Why? Beer. Lots and lots of beer. It was a beer festival so people came out in droves.

 

I hoped the majority of the people would be enjoying their beverages on the pier instead of riding the attractions. The queue was surprisingly long in terms of footprint, but I was greeted with just a station wait so it seemed the beer was working. However, the one train operations and glacial dispatches ensured a lengthier wait than expected. I chose the front and had just two trains ahead of me, but the wait took 20 minutes.

 

The loading procedure was incredibly inefficient. The attendant would go one by one down each gate instructing people with glasses and hats to place them in a loose article bin. After the gates opened, they'd walk the train verifying all items were properly stored. Then they redefined what stapling means for me. They would pull the belt tight with all their might and then try to get the lap bar to the lowest possible position. After requesting me to remove my camera and phone, they succeeded in getting that final click.

 

With no room to breathe I wasn't expecting any air, but Boardwalk Bullet still managed to deliver. The layout is a crazy compact twister and it's impossible to memorize that layout. The first drop is very steep and the rest of the ride is a blitzkrieg of hills, each providing airtime ranging from a small pop to something stronger and more sustained. I particularly enjoyed the two surprisingly tall drops hidden in the middle of the ride that dove below the boardwalk.

 

I was also particularly impressed by Boardwalk Bullet’s length. There were at least 3 times I thought the coaster was slowing down to enter into the brake run, but everytime it would add another hill or turnaround. I was also amazed how smooth the coaster was. With such an aggressive layout, I expected a rougher ride but a good chunk of the layout was freshly retracked. Outside loading proceedure taking longer than it takes to read War and Peace, Boardwalk Bullet was a very good wooden coaster. 9 out of 10

 

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Even before their Timberliners, Gravity Group could still cram an awesome coaster in a compact space.

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It's not quite faster than a speeding bullet, but it does offer plenty of airtime.

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And it's right by the water too.

 

I thought about riding Boardwalk Bullet again (turned out to be a mistake), but wanted to put off that loading procedure for a bit so I explored the rest of the park. Unfortunately the observation tower was closed and the Larson loop had valleyed (I mean why else would it be closed), so the only other ride I had any interest in riding was Drop Zone, one of those terrifyingly awesome Larson towers.

 

After a 2 cycle wait, I was seated on the side facing Boardwalk Bullet. The view of the twisted wooden layout and ocean was spectacular, but it was difficult to focus on with the impending drop. After the tell, the drop occurred and as expected, we dropped like a rock. I still don't know how these Larson towers provide ejector air the whole way down, but they do and that's why I love them. 10 out of 10

 

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One Larson ride was operational.

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Another had valleyed.

 

I planned to grab another two rides on the Bullet before heading out, but saw people angrily walking away.

 

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That employee wasn't there earlier...

 

I heard a few mumbling that the ride was closed since the line had gotten too long. When I reached the entrance, I was told the ride would receive a routine maintenance check after the current line had cleared out. Morey’s does the same thing on their major coasters, but they have the times the rides will be down in plain sight by the entrance so you can plan around it. Not here. They just closed their marquee attraction without any warning on a busy Saturday.

 

At this point, I was a bit frustrated, but fortunately the ride attendants manning the entrance were in bright spirits. One of them was actually a fellow coaster enthusiast so we were chatting about the Bullet, the nearby Galveston park, and RMCs. I think the delay lasted almost 45 minutes, but I was glad I waited it out since a lengthy queue had developed behind me.

 

Upon the ride's reopening, I grabbed the second from the back and was treated to another awesome ride. Not quite as good as the front, but the first drop and two sub-boardwalk drops provided excellent air. I wanted one last ride in the front, but the queue now filled the whole station and extended down the ramp. With those dispatches, I shuddered to think how long that would take, so I departed for Fiesta Texas.

 

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The coaster crosses over itself more times than I could count. Every time I thought it would end, there was another airtime hill.

 

Despite how Boardwalk Bullet is operated, I do recommend visiting the park since it is a very good wooden coaster. I know the employees are just following procedure, but it was frustrating. Thankfully the employees are cheerful and really nice, and that combined with my two good rides on the Bullet yielded an overall solid visit.

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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The Boardwalk Bullet has always been an interesting coaster to me, I love the compact layout and placement on the pier and I've heard reviews of it ranging from top 10 to bottom 5 haha. Always wanted to get down there and ride that thing.

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The Boardwalk Bullet has always been an interesting coaster to me, I love the compact layout and placement on the pier and I've heard reviews of it ranging from top 10 to bottom 5 haha. Always wanted to get down there and ride that thing.

 

Because of its compact nature, the coaster has a very aggressive layout. Without TLC, it has the potential to be a pretty rough ride. Fortunately, I'd say that half the coaster appeared was just retracked so it looks like they're doing their part. Maybe some of those lower reviews was just before a retracking?

 

I also have a propensity to enjoy coasters others may consider rough like Boulder Dash or Voyage.

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I first became aware of this coaster on one of the earlier TPR DVDs and its always stood out as looking incredibly awesome. I just watched a POV after reading this and yep, still looks like a really awesome woodie. Thanks for the report, shame about the operations, and my condolences that you didn't get to ride the parks other roller coaster.

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Yeah I'm sure those "bottom five" rankings were at times when it was really rough and desperately in need of retracking (and honestly I may have partially made up the bottom 5 part but I know I've seen it poorly reviewed). I also tend to not be bothered by rides some people consider rough so as long as this thing thing is reasonably comfortable I'm sure I'd really enjoy it.

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I first became aware of this coaster on one of the earlier TPR DVDs and its always stood out as looking incredibly awesome. I just watched a POV after reading this and yep, still looks like a really awesome woodie. Thanks for the report, shame about the operations, and my condolences that you didn't get to ride the parks other roller coaster.

 

Thanks! I'm not sure how many enthusiasts typically make it out to Houston since they've been without a major park for years, but Boardwalk Bullet delivers. It's just a shame I couldn't get more rides on it. Maybe if their other coaster were open, there would have been less people in line.

 

Yeah I'm sure those "bottom five" rankings were at times when it was really rough and desperately in need of retracking (and honestly I may have partially made up the bottom 5 part but I know I've seen it poorly reviewed). I also tend to not be bothered by rides some people consider rough so as long as this thing thing is reasonably comfortable I'm sure I'd really enjoy it.

 

Going in, I honestly expected Boardwalk Bullet to be on the rougher side. But nope, it was pretty dang smooth, which is impressive considering the layout and PTC trains.

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Good to know Bullet is still getting some rave reviews. Always wanted to ride it. I've been looking for opportunities to go back to Texas this year so this sounds encouraging despite the bad ops.

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Glad you enjoyed Boardwalk Bullet.

 

yeah, it's a bit rough, but when we pass Kemah while taking my Dad to Galveston, we often try to stop in for a ride or two (about all I can handle on it).

 

LOL. . operations are more often than not, that bad, but as you note, the employees are all very friendly.

and the food at the Landry's there, tho expensive, is good.

 

(makes sense, since they own the dang place)

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Good to know Bullet is still getting some rave reviews. Always wanted to ride it. I've been looking for opportunities to go back to Texas this year so this sounds encouraging despite the bad ops.

 

I feel like the RMCs are the primary reason to come to Texas, but Boardwalk Bullet is within driving distance and reminds the state that good wooden coasters can exist.

 

Glad you enjoyed Boardwalk Bullet.

 

yeah, it's a bit rough, but when we pass Kemah while taking my Dad to Galveston, we often try to stop in for a ride or two (about all I can handle on it).

 

LOL. . operations are more often than not, that bad, but as you note, the employees are all very friendly.

and the food at the Landry's there, tho expensive, is good.

 

(makes sense, since they own the dang place)

 

I didn't find Boardwalk Bullet rough at all. If I drove by the place, I'd definitely stop in for a ride too since it's a really good coaster. In fact, I think that's what makes the operations all the more frustrating. It's a bummer what I experienced is the norm for the park, but they seemed to be doing quite well for themselves based on the crowds.

 

I didn't consider eating at Landry's. I ended up at a Subway somewhere between Houston and San Antonio. Not ideal, but I had a gift card to use.

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Great trip reports!

 

I visited Kemah for the first time in March of 2017. I had heard/read various reports about Boardwalk Bullet before visiting so I wasn't sure what to expect. Ultimately, I just went in with low expectations. By the time I got to Kemah, it was in the evening after a light rain. I was a bit worried, but I ended up having some insanely crazy/fun rides on BB! I rode it several times (at least once in the front and once in the back), and I loved every ride. It was very aggressive, but it didn't cross the line into the "rough category" for me. Maybe it was because of my low expectations plus those (nighttime-after-a-light-rain) conditions, but BB surprised the hell out of me in the best possible way. I've read that Kemah has been slowly re-tracking BB over the past years. After your recent report, it sounds like Kemah is continuing to keep BB in good shape! Note: If you thought the layout of BB was disorienting during the day, try it at night!

 

In related news: I rode Pleasure Pier's Iron Shark while I was in the area. It was a fun ride, but my rides on BB were superior. I also rode ZDT's Switchback. That's another good one, but I still preferred BB. Then again, some of favorite Texas coasters are at SFFT and SFoT!

 

Canobie, I look forward to reading your further adventures!

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Boardwalk Bullet has one of my all-time favorite layouts. Obviously it's up there in the setting department, too. I've had more good rides on it than bad, and I've been consistently impressed in recent memory--looks like it's my #24 wood.

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I haven't heard the name Boardwalk Bullet in so long, what a flashback! Was very curious to see what you'd think of it and I'm glad you had a positive experience. It's a pretty great wooden coaster! You're just crushing these ARM towers, love it! Rack 'em up.

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Great trip reports!

 

I visited Kemah for the first time in March of 2017. I had heard/read various reports about Boardwalk Bullet before visiting so I wasn't sure what to expect. Ultimately, I just went in with low expectations. By the time I got to Kemah, it was in the evening after a light rain. I was a bit worried, but I ended up having some insanely crazy/fun rides on BB! I rode it several times (at least once in the front and once in the back), and I loved every ride. It was very aggressive, but it didn't cross the line into the "rough category" for me. Maybe it was because of my low expectations plus those (nighttime-after-a-light-rain) conditions, but BB surprised the hell out of me in the best possible way. I've read that Kemah has been slowly re-tracking BB over the past years. After your recent report, it sounds like Kemah is continuing to keep BB in good shape! Note: If you thought the layout of BB was disorienting during the day, try it at night!

 

In related news: I rode Pleasure Pier's Iron Shark while I was in the area. It was a fun ride, but my rides on BB were superior. I also rode ZDT's Switchback. That's another good one, but I still preferred BB. Then again, some of favorite Texas coasters are at SFFT and SFoT!

 

Canobie, I look forward to reading your further adventures!

 

Thanks!

 

Iron Shark is a fun ride, but it can't compete with a well done wooden coaster. Switchback is really close to Boardwalk Bullet in terms of quality (and equally as impressive in terms of footprint), but I give the edge to the Bullet for the longer ride and more expansive layout. And if they keep retracking it like they have, I don't see that changing. I can definitely see how that layout would be crazy at night; I couldn't even keep track of it during the day!

 

Boardwalk Bullet has one of my all-time favorite layouts. Obviously it's up there in the setting department, too. I've had more good rides on it than bad, and I've been consistently impressed in recent memory--looks like it's my #24 wood.

 

I'm a sucker for wooden boardwalk coasters. Most of them are pretty typical out-and-backs, so that's one of the big things that separates Boardwalk Bullet. I value a ride that I can't memorize the layout since it keeps me on my toes.

 

I haven't heard the name Boardwalk Bullet in so long, what a flashback! Was very curious to see what you'd think of it and I'm glad you had a positive experience. It's a pretty great wooden coaster! You're just crushing these ARM towers, love it! Rack 'em up.

 

The coaster is definitely worth riding and it definitely helps having one of those Larson/ARM towers there as well. I'm honestly shocked I don't hear more about Boardwalk Bullet since it's not like it's in the middle of nowhere; it's near one of the most populated cities in the US.

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It sounds like I got lucky on my visit back in March 2017 since there was no wait for Boardwalk Bullet. It must have been the time of year combined with the rainy weather (and a lack of a Beer-Fest)!?!

 

I'm hoping to make it back out to TX later this year so I can visit some of my favorite coasters: New Texas Giant, Iron Rattler, Mr. Freeze, and Boardwalk Bullet. Well...a classic B&M Batman inverted is hard to beat as well! I didn't get to ride the S&S Free-Spins last year, but hopefully that will happen later this year? Additionally, I REALLY want to try out Wonder Woman's Lasso coaster!

 

PS: My favorite Texas coaster of all time just might be Phoenix!

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^ Texas really is an amazing state for coasters. And I'd probably take the relocated alum over any of the state's coasters, though Iron Rattler and Wonder Woman do put up a very strong fight.

 

I know Saturdays are always the busiest day of the week and as a smaller park, there was a decent chance there'd be one train operations. I just figured they'd be able to send out more than 6-8 trains per hour. So you definitely lucked out!

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This 1930s-40s Triple Racing Coaster in Dallas looks like it could have been a ton of fun! I'd love to see more about this coaster (along with using a time machine to go back and actually ride it)! A complete on-ride/POV would be awesome, but we're just lucky to have any of this coaster caught on film:

 

Dang, I just now learned about the Comet! Apparently, Comet was the successor to the Triple Racing Coaster at the State Fair of Texas. Comet operated until 1985. DAGNABBIT...my family had great friends in the Dallas-area which we visited many times back in the early-80s. UGH, (if only) I had known about Comet back then and rode it before it closed!

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This 1930s-40s Triple Racing Coaster in Dallas looks like it could have been a ton of fun!

Yup. That triple racing layout just looks cool. And Comet looks like wild classic fun.

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Six Flags Fiesta Texas

 

What do you consider the flagship park of Six Flags? Do you like Magic Mountain’s never-ending supply of roller coasters? Do you side with Great Adventure’s mix of wild rides and wild animals? Or maybe you prefer the original, Six Flags Over Texas? While those three parks are all fantastic parks, they are not the chain’s best park. That honor is deserved for Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

 

I mean this as a complete compliment when I say this, but in many ways Fiesta Texas does not feel like a Six Flags park. Sure you have some advertising, familiar IPs, and the roller coasters, but the quality of the operations from top to bottom blow all other Six Flags parks out of the water except maybe Six Flags Mexico. Stacking? A rare occurrence. Long food lines? Not if you have 4-5 windows open. Service with a smile? That describes most employees. I really do not have anything bad to say about this park.

 

The park’s setting is absolutely gorgeous. Housed inside a huge rock quarry, if you capture a shot without any rides, people may think you’re at a national park rather than a Six Flags. It was especially picturesque on my first night since I arrived during sunset.

 

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This looks more like a national park than a theme park.

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But then you see this around the corner. All this for a stupid rubber ducky?

 

After visiting Galveston Pleasure Pier and Kemah Boardwalk earlier in the day, I only had 2.5 hours at Fiesta Texas my first day. That’s not nearly enough time to hit everything the park offers, which is why I also gave myself the better part of the following day as well. My first night was also a Saturday and it showed. The park was packed!

 

Fortunately my first stop wouldn’t be impacted by crowds- Wonder Woman. After a delayed opening, I was expecting to miss out on the first RMC Raptor, but then the stars aligned and Wonder Woman had a preview weekend when I was scheduled to be there. However, it was exclusive to membership holders. I mean, how many people would have a membership?

 

Until a week before my visit, I was one of those people without a membership. Whenever I visit parks more than a short drive away, I always budget for a skip-the-line pass. If I’m unsure when I’ll return, you can bet I want to do everything I can to maximize the rides during my visit. In this instance, I was fully prepared to buy a redundant membership just to allow myself to ride Wonder Woman.

 

Turns out Six Flags New England was offering an option to upgrade to a season pass. They couldn’t offer a full refund, but what they could do was provide me with a membership, nullify my season pass, and convert the amount I originally spent on the season pass into “Bugs Bucks”. The only catch was that I had to process it at Six Flags New England and the park wasn’t going to open prior to my visit to Fiesta Texas.

 

I called Fiesta Texas in advance to verify whether or not an email receipt verifying I was a member would be sufficient and they confirmed it would. I kind of suspected something would go wrong when I got to Wonder Woman, but to my amazement they glanced over my printout and let me in the queue. Something else did go wrong, technical issues. Right as I entered the queue, the line was cleared out. Hopefully it'd be back up and running later.

 

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These RMC raptors really are quite striking to see in person. They don't even look real.

 

As a consolation prize, I had another RMC waiting for me across the park in Iron Rattler. The line was packed. However, I breezed right by it. How? I noticed on my Six Flags Season Pass benefits that I had a one-time Flash Pass to redeem. I grabbed my golden ticket and the prize was better than the tour of a booby trapped chocolate factory.

 

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My golden ticket.

 

Impulsively I went to enter the queue for the back row, but then I realized it was blocked off on one train. An inconvenience for sure, but I’d rather have a train running at 5/6 capacity rather than being without the train entirely. As a result, I was able to sneak onto the 2nd to back row in just a few trains.

 

Maybe Steel Vengeance will change my opinion, but Iron Rattler is the crown jewel of steel RMCs. That first drop is absolutely insane. I cannot believe a drop that tall and steep manages to have an s-curve to it. As the drop completely ejects you, Iron Rattler contorts your body side-to-side like a marionette. That sounds uncomfortable, but it isn’t the least bit. It’s just a thrill and one of the best drops on the planet.

 

Everyone always talks about Iron Rattler’s first drop and quarry drop (basically the ride’s equivalent of the El Toro Rolling Thunder hill), but the rest of the coaster is incredible too. The second hill has some sustained ejector air. The trademark RMC wave turn somehow provides airtime and then there’s a wild zero-G roll. And then even the section above the quarry is excellent too.

 

Most of the complaints towards Iron Rattler focus on this section. Yes it’s notably slower than the rest of the coaster, but it is no less intense. There are some strong airtime hills here. Actually the slower speed may help prolong the airtime on some hills, particularly the sideways ones. Oh and I almost forgot, even the hill into the brake run provides an unexpected mix of ejector air and laterals. This really is an exceptional coaster. 10 out of 10

 

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It's hard for me not to think of that cruddy Disney movie Blank Check even time I see this entrance.

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While I sort of wish I could have experienced the original Rattler's first drop, I think this will suffice.

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Any coaster interacting with a quarry wall becomes memorable. But when it's a RMC, it's near perfection.

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I love Iron Rattler's sprawling layout. It's a nice change from relatively contained RMCs.

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SFTT's answer to El Toro's Rolling Thunder hill.

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Even the entry into the brake run has stronger air than most coasters.

 

I figured I’d hit Road Runner Express, but unfortunately it was down for the entire weekend. Instead I took advantage of the fact that Texans thought that 75 degrees was cold and rode Bugs’ White Water Rapids, the park’s unique flume. Last year, the 105 degree heat had this line spilling out into the midway, but on this day, I only had a 10-15 minute wait.

 

Rather than the inline seating of most flumes, this is one of those super flumes a la Magic Kingdom’s Splash Mountain. It even includes a wonky first drop with a pseudo double down and an uphill section afterwards. But that’s just an appetizer for the final plunge. It’s steep enough that it produces a nice pop of air, always a thrill on a flume.

 

The drops barely got me wet, yet I came off just a smidge below soaked. After the first drop, there’s a dragon that shoots a steady jet of water like a Super Soaker wielded by your younger brother. That got me pretty wet, but the real soaker were the turns. The turns? Yes, the turns. They look innocent, but several sent a wall of water over the side of the boat. I guess that’s why it’s called Bugs’ White Water Rapids instead of Bugs’ Log Flume. 9 out of 10

 

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Theming beyond just a cardboard cutout? A+ for you Six Flags Fiesta Texas!

 

I got in line for my favorite floorless coaster in Superman, an exciting prospect on its own. But by the time I reached the station, I saw a Wonder Woman train poking above the treeline. I debated abandoning ship right then and there, but decided to get my front seat ride on Superman then and there.

 

Anyone who criticizes B&Ms for being repetitive and formulaic should ride Superman. The interaction with the quarry wall really elevates this coaster. The twisting first drop off the quarry is a real treat and the drop’s profile is reminiscent of Alpengeist. But one quarry drop isn’t enough, as there’s a second after this funky elevated turnaround situated above the quarry wall. And there’s also some airtime to be had leading up to the MCBR and final brake run.

 

The coaster does have a standard arsenal of inversions- vertical loop, zero-G roll, cobra roll, corkscrews- but they’re executed incredibly well. This reminds me of Montu where the elements are massive yet still forceful. You’d think a loop as massive as Superman’s would be all about hangtime, but the Man of Steel yanks you through it. You’d be hard pressed to find a better floorless than Superman, but if there is one, please let me know because that has to be one heck of a ride. 9.5 out of 10

 

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Like Iron Rattler, an already great coaster is made special through its use of the rock quarry.

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What a backdrop for a coaster.

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Still is and will forever be B&M's best inversion.

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The inversions aren't Kumba intense, but they aren't too far behind.

 

I planned to make a beeline to Wonder Woman, but I was thwarted by something completely unprecedented for a Six Flags park- a full blown parade. I’m going to be perfectly honest and say that I was too distracted by the prospect of a new RMC that I couldn’t pay too much attention to the parade. The parade lasted maybe 10 minutes and after its conclusion, I anxiously wove my way through the crowd to Wonder Woman.

 

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I was sausage blocked from Wonder Woman by this parade.

 

The coaster was sending out trains with the efficiency of an assembly line. One by one, guests were individually loaded into the inline trains and I can’t recall a single instance where the trains needed to stop. With a completely empty queue, I eagerly hopped into the back for my first ride. Anyone who has ridden a RMC knew Wonder Woman would be great. I mean look at their pedigree. But I still wasn’t prepared for what was about to unfold.

 

Off-ride the coaster doesn’t even look real. On-ride, it looks more like something from my dreams. I cannot believe just how narrow the track is. And then the first drop hits. The drop felt incredibly similar to El Toro’s. The crazy airtime is amplified even further by the restraints. Rather than the rigid OSTRs of an Intamin, these ratcheting shoulder restraints have some give in them, so it’s quite the feeling as you hit the restraints and still continue to rise further.

 

The dive loop is lunacy. I didn’t think that element would provide any airtime, but boy was I wrong. It not only provides sustained ejector air, but it also throws in some abrupt laterals. Honestly it doesn’t even feel like an inversion. You’re levitating one second and then next second you’re already back on ground level. The subsequent S-hill is another concoction of sustained ejector air and laterals. It wasn’t uncommon for my arm to slip out of the shoulder restraint at this point from the intensity of the airtime.

 

You then rocket into that raised slalom turnaround. It’s incredibly disorienting from the breakneck speed it’s navigated at combined with the fact that it caused me to grey out on each ride. I forgot to mention it earlier, but the pullout from the first drop also had me seeing some grey too. This was another thing that completely caught me off-guard about Wonder Woman.

 

A steep, ejector airtime filled plunge kicks off the finale. The cutback happens so fast that it barely registers. The following corkscrew is more drawn out and throws in some hangtime. Then there’s another intense turn before flying into the brake run, which in typical RMC fashion provides some ejector air. I immediately grabbed two follow-up rides, including one in the front. The front was great as well, but this is truly a back seat coaster because of that initial plunge.

 

I had high expectations when the Raptor was announced. Those expectations were raised even higher once the test run footage was released. But even still, Wonder Woman managed to surpass all my expectations. The entire ride is a blur. Really the coaster should be themed to the Flash for that reason. There isn’t a single dead spot on this coaster. How good was it? I’d honestly rank it above rides like El Toro and Skyrush. Yes, it’s that good. 10 out of 10

 

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The coaster is an absolute blur of airtime, laterals, & Gs.

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I came off speechless. There isn't a dead spot anywhere on this coaster. It flows so perfectly.

 

I tried to grab a fourth ride, but the park closed off Wonder Woman’s queue 5 minutes before closing. No bother, Batman the Ride is nearby. Darn, that line was closed too. As I made my way towards the gate, I saw the queues for Hustler and Scream closed off too. All hope of a final ride seemed lost until I spotted Poltergeist, whose line hadn’t been closed yet.

 

Unlike the park’s other coasters, Poltergeist was only running one train. But in about 10 minutes I was seated in the second to back. I had ridden Joker’s Jinx the weekend before, but Poltergeist felt noticeably faster. Every turn in the second half had a ferocious whip to it and that was punctuated by the incredibly snappy corkscrew. 8.5 out of 10

 

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Trust me, you don't want to see how bad my night shot was of Poltergeist.

 

Fast forward 14 hours. After a speed run of SeaWorld’s coasters, I was back at Fiesta Texas. Actually, I was at White Water Bay technically. Usually I skip water parks, but I do make time if they include a unique water coaster. And Thunder Rapids certainly fit the bill. When Thunder Rapids was first announced, I questioned just how noticeable of an impact those saucer turns would have on the experience. Then the initial reviews trickled in and had a favorable opinion of Thunder Rapids.

 

However, I am sorry to say that I was not a fan. I expect large drops and airtime inducing climbs on water coasters. That’s what makes them unique. Thunder Rapids offered neither. There are uphill segments, but by the time you reach the apex of each hill, they don’t have enough power to provide any air. They just send a cascade of water into the laps of riders. Then the saucer turns may have been faster than your average turn, but it was barely noticeable.

 

I think I’m definitely in the minority with this opinion, but I was not impressed by Thunder Rapids. Compared to other tube slides, it’s pretty average. Compared to other water coasters, this is without a doubt at the bottom for me. 3 out of 10

 

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I guess it maintains it speed better on the saucer turns, but it doesn't really do anything with that speed.

 

Since I was already in my bathing suit, it would have been a waste not to sample some of the other slides since queues had yet to form. I started with the Bahama Blaster, the park’s drop pod slides. After water coasters, these drop pod slides are my favorite slide type out there. Few rides give me that uneasy feeling prior to boarding, but these slides still manage to.

 

I thought I’d prefer the straight down slide, but I actually preferred the twisted one. Not only was it a bit smoother on my back, but the turns felt completely out of control. Plus it’s also priceless watching the terrified faces of other riders while waiting for your turn. 9 out of 10

 

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Trap door slides are always an adrenaline rush.

 

I considered hitting the park’s older body slides, Paradise Plunge and Typhoon Twister, but both were closed. Not surprised since Bahama Blaster makes them sort of redundant. Instead I hit the nearby Bermuda Triangle tube slide. As far as tube slides go, it was middle-of-the-pack. It was entirely enclosed and had a few decent drops scattered about but it couldn’t maintain its speed. 6 out of 10

 

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Bermuda Triangle was your average tube slide and I think I honestly did prefer it over Thunder Rapids.

 

Crowds had started to pick up, so I decided to change and return to the dry park. I decided to retain my locker rather than lugging my soggy bathing suit around for the day, but since the park doesn’t enforce mandatory lockers, there would have been no financial penalty for doing so. This is yet another example of Fiesta Texas being awesome.

 

My dining plan was only valid at Six Flags New England, but my tummy was rumbling and it was peak lunch hour. I was dreading the prototypical half hour food line of any other Six Flags park, but to my amazement I had my chicken and fries in less than 5 minutes since they had 4 windows open. I wish more Six Flags parks did the same!

 

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Also I know it's hard to tell from this photo, but their cups of water aren't that usually little shot glass size. They're the size of red Solo cups.

 

Since Iron Rattler was right around the corner, it would have been a shame not to ride it. Unlike the day before when all the switchback ramps and garden were filled, the queue was mostly empty. I didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes. The back car was still blocked off on one train, but I was able to sneak in the second to back on most rides. Wonder Woman may be the new hotness, but Iron Rattler is still the king of the park.

 

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This is seriously one of the best first drops out there.

 

I regretfully missed Sky Screamer on my visit last year, so I made amends by hitting it this time. This isn’t one of the jumbo sized ones, but its proximity to the quarry wall looked too good to pass up for a second time. It was a two cycle wait which took 20 minutes thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the attendants. Multiple people in the queue audibly groaned as the operator slowly snacked on his granola bar instead of loading the ride.

 

Eventually I did board and was paired up with another rider because of a wind advisory. I barely noticed any wind at ground level, but the swings were definitely dancing once we reached our maximum altitude. As expected, the view was quite good. Coaster enthusiasts could drool over the park’s impressive coaster collection and nature affectionados should bring along a box of tissues to admire the quarry. 9 out of 10

 

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An opportunity to view the rock quarry from above? Yes please.

 

After two more rides on Superman, I passed the Screamin’ Eagle zipline upcharge. I had previously ridden one of these ziplines at Fun Spot Georgia (or whatever they call themselves these days), but I’ve since learned it was from a different manufacturer. Plus it’s not built on a freaking rock quarry. With a season pass, it was $10.

 

The ascent was the most memorable part. Beyond the views, the slight but unnerving tilt downwards was an unexpected thrill thanks to the simply seatbelt restraint. The main drop offered a good breeze, but the thrill was capped by an autobrake akin to what I’ve experienced on mountain coasters. I probably wouldn’t pay to ride it again, but it was enjoyable and I’m glad I tried it. 7 out of 10

 

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Happy customers are more likely to spend more. Case in point.

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Poor little Superman is about to be knocked off his loop.

 

I then hit the prototype free fly coaster in Batman the Ride. Last time, I had a Flash Pass so I bypassed the main queue. While I have no regrets about skipping last year’s sizable queue, as a Batman fan it was a treat to see the level of theming in the main queue.

 

I don’t know why this free fly is so much better than the others, but it’s far wilder. On SFNE’s Joker, I get a wild but predictable ride. I know exactly where each of the flips will occur. That isn’t the case on Batman. I rode in the same seat for my two rides, but there was no rhyme or reason when the flips would occur. What was certain was that the flips would be plentiful and intense, particularly those on the raven turns. 9 out of 10

 

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It makes sense Batman is superior to the Joker clones since good triumphs over evil.

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As a superhero fan, I was pleased with Batman's queue.

 

I then pulled a Steve Trevor and rode Wonder Woman. I entered into the queue and noticed the moving platform was still. At first I thought nothing of it, but it turns out Wonder Woman was in the midst of another breakdown. Since it was a technical rehearsal, that wasn’t entirely unexpected. Fortunately they got the ride back online in just 5 minutes and I was treated to another fantastic ride.

 

I was hopeful I could snag another reride before the masses arrived, but the overflow queue was already in use. As a single rider, I was able to skip a majority of the queue. I did spot a few trains with empty seats, but about 20 minutes later I was assigned the back row. I really hope more of these Raptors pop up because they’re exceptional coasters.

 

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Wonder Woman should be proud she's honored with such an excellent coaster.

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The violence of the air in the back is very reminiscent of El Toro.

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Ejector airtime with crazy laterals is quite the combo.

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Wonder Woman also has some outstanding inversions.

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These reactions on camera should be priceless.

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A train of happy riders.

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I'd say the guy in the front has had his breath taken away.

 

As a fan of manually controlled spinning rides, I gave the Hustler a whirl. I absolutely love the unique theme on this set of tea cups, but what I didn’t love was the fact that some vehicles were duds. I boarded expecting a dizzying experience, but not even Hulk Hogan would have had enough strength to get the cup to budge. I immediately got back in line and got something more to my liking. 7 out of 10

 

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I was much better at spinning these vehicles than I am at pool.

 

I wanted to cool off, so I decided to give Bugs’ White Water Rapids another whirl. 10 minutes later, I was given the front row. Yesterday’s ride in the back got me pretty darn wet. My ride in row 1 got me absolutely drenched. After cresting the second lift, water entered the boat from all angles and I got positively Journey to Atlantis-ed.

 

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PSA- Don't ride in row 1 unless you want to be soaked from head to toe.

 

After getting unexpectedly drenched, I had nothing else to lose so I decided to ride Gully Washer again. Kings Island’s Bat and Great America’s American Eagle are often mentioned for unnecessarily long queues. Gully Washer is another one I’d like to nominate. I can’t imagine that queue ever being filled even on a day eclipsing 100 degrees. On the bright side, the queue afforded the best photo ops of Iron Rattler in the park.

 

The course was essentially a jumbo loop, but it was extremely well shaded and included a strong mix of all elements. I managed to escape the rapids and geysers, but the final waterfall nailed me. 7 out of 10

 

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After the flume, I really didn't care at that point.

 

I had one last coaster I had any intention of hitting and that was Goliath. I already had ridden Great White earlier in the day, but I still wanted to ride the Batman the Ride clone called Goliath even though it isn’t even the park’s largest coaster. Even more baffling than the ride’s name may be its location adjacent to the park’s entrance.

 

Having been relocated twice, it’d be understandable if Goliath were rough. But as a B&M, it doesn’t have more than a mild vibration. Beyond that, it’s every bit as intense and enjoyable as the other Batman the Ride clones out there. 8.5 out of 10

 

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Two Batman clones on one day not called Batman? That's San Antonio for you.

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Goliath towers over the parking lot, but not much else in this park.

 

With an hour and a half before closing, I needed to decide how to parse my time between the two RMCs (I mean, was I really going to finish with anything else). Ultimately I decided to finish exclusively with Iron Rattler rather than wasting precious time navigating the park. I was able to get 5 more rides on Iron Rattler, all in the back two cars.

 

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Hard to say no to this airtime.

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Especially when the queue looks something like this.

 

I love Fiesta Texas and I wish more Six Flags parks would take a page out of their book. The emphasis placed on customer satisfaction rises above that of the other Six Flags parks. Then when you add in two world-class RMCs, it really makes Six Flags Fiesta Texas one of the best parks in the world.

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Great report!!! I loved SFFT in 2008 when I went (even with my ride of The Rattler!). Can't wait to make a return trip hopefully in December. It really is an underrated park for sure. I think I might prefer it to SFOT (which I went there in 2012 and it closed after 2 hours because of rain).

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Second SFFT report from you that's had me immediately looking at flights to Texas. How much are they paying you under the table?

 

Yeah, the park is that great and the collection of coasters has really improved in the past 5 years. Interesting take on the new water coaster, but I'm not surprised. I don't think I've really read an opinion on one but it took a double take for me to realize that the model pretty much trades drops for the sweeping down turns.

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Great report!!! I loved SFFT in 2008 when I went (even with my ride of The Rattler!). Can't wait to make a return trip hopefully in December. It really is an underrated park for sure. I think I might prefer it to SFOT (which I went there in 2012 and it closed after 2 hours because of rain).

 

Thanks! SFOT is a great park and easily one of the chain's best, but SFFT is the one I definitely prefer. I had time to fit one of SFFT or SFOT into my trip. Even without Wonder Woman, I would have picked SFFT without thinking twice.

 

Second SFFT report from you that's had me immediately looking at flights to Texas. How much are they paying you under the table?

 

Yeah, the park is that great and the collection of coasters has really improved in the past 5 years. Interesting take on the new water coaster, but I'm not surprised. I don't think I've really read an opinion on one but it took a double take for me to realize that the model pretty much trades drops for the sweeping down turns.

 

You're welcome. Airfare to San Antonio is always high (from Boston at least), but fortunately Dallas and Houston are massive airports so airfare is usually pretty reasonable.

 

That's why I'm really intrigued by Hershey's new water coaster. It adds in a few saucer turns while still retaining the drops that makes water coasters my favorite style of water slide.

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Killer report, Michael. SFFT was one heck of a park when I visited mid-April, and it sounds as if Wonder Woman has only added to an already amazing lineup. I agree, it's very picturesque, and the one thing that really struck me about SFFT compared to the rest of the parks in the chain I've visited is the level of thought and theming that went into each unique area. All the sections definitely had their own distinct feel, from the wild west to 50's Americana to an oceanside boardwalk to a Mexican fiesta. That's something that sadly gets lost in most of the parks but not at SFFT.

 

I'm definitely hoping I can bring the family out that way at some point in the future; if not everyone, at least my son, who I'm sure would appreciate all they have to offer -- especially now with two RMCs, since he seems to be turning into a full-on RMC fanboy at the ripe young age of six.

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