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Photo TR: Magic Mountain, Knott's and SD Giant Dipper

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(Very late to finish and post this, but here goes!)


Part 1: Magic Mountain, July 16 & 17, 2017.


My first time at Magic Mountain since 1999! I was very excited for this, especially with my long obsession of Schwarzkopf coasters including a detailed history (which I won't go into here and now) with Revolution. I've been on 9 out of the 19 coasters at MM. 10 would be new to me and 1 (Magic Flyer) I'm not sure if I ever rode and wasn't permitted to ride this time per park rules.


This was a "big family" trip which included 8 of us; myself, my 2 parents, my aunt (whom is more like a sister being only 2 years older than me), her husband and 3 teenage boys (more like nephews to me, as I was already an adult when they were born). The 'vacation' was to Carlsbad/San Diego, but I planned way ahead to spend time away (smartly!) and get back to Magic Mountain. The family isn't as into parks and coasters as I am, but they wanted to spend at least one day at a park. I explained to them that Knott's would be the best choice - in every way - for our family day. My cousins wanted to go to Magic Mountain with me, but their mother had other plans for them.


I picked up my rent-a-car on Sunday, July 16th and made my way across Orange County (where I was born, but raised mostly in Chicagoland), and through LA. I had spent time in LA in the 90s during and after college with intentions of moving there. LA could be a scary place for a 22 gay guy who just came out in the 90s. Totally different culture than Chicago. The move never happened, however I did spend a good amount of time at Magic Mountain. I always loved that drive leaving the LA/Valley area up to Magic Mountain. So nice to return now; familiar territory, just a little different.


After 1999, I didn't have any real draw to go back to the park. Of course, new things are nice, but nothing I wanted to go out of my way for. Until fall 2015 when the park announced New Revolution.


Both days I got to the park in the early afternoon, which served me well. It was around 103 degrees, very hot! I took the long walk to the gate and headed straight for Revolution. It's weird but awesome not being in a place for 18 years and then returning to take the same familiar walk. I was praying to the coaster gods that the heat would shut down VR operations on Revolution.




I'll spare the details on my history with Revolution by just saying I'm a big Schwarzkopf fan, Mind Bender at Six Flags Over Georgia being my #1 steel coaster. That spot was taken over by Superman at Six Flags New England for a while, but the changes that ride went through moved it down my list. Hey, I'm a guy who likes comfort! Needless to say, I was totally psyched about Revolution finally running without shoulder bars again. Everyone said "it will never happen!" including park staff and representatives. With all the excitement of getting back to Magic Mountain after so long, Revolution was of course my focus. This was the coaster news of the decade for me. A breath of fresh optimistic air. So many of us Anton fans finally got what we wanted, how could it go wrong?


When I arrived at the ride, I was greeted by 2 employees telling me the ride is NOT running VR due to the heat. SCORE! In the 2 days I was at the park, the VR was down most of the time. I never rode VR and had no desire to after doing it at other parks.


I'll skip all the "leave it up to Six Flags..." and ignore the VR operations and issues and just review what I rode, good old Revolution. I knew from seeing pictures that the trains were definitely not classic Schwarzkopf copies. The chassis looked great, spot-on, but the bodies were a bit mutant. No worries, right!? I mean, the shoulder bars are gone, how could one complain?


First issue, the seats are sort of bucket-y. One of the best things about classic Schwarzkopf trains (see Mind Bender at SFOG and Shock Wave at SFOT) is - although very dated looking and seemingly simple, that specific design makes for comfort while still enabling riders to feel the forces of a classic roller coaster. Those seats are almost flat and non-grippy; one gets to slide laterally in the seat on curves while still staying safe under an individual but non-restrictive lap bar. The seat backs and head rests are straight up and comfortable on those other Schwarzkopf trains, including Montezooma's Revenge at Knott's an hour away.


These new Revolution trains have thin headrests with a recline. It's awkward to lean back like that, so most riders don't. The interior of the bucket seat have a sort of painted-on bumpy material, watch your elbow! It seems they took the mutant Revolution seats from the 90s trains and re-created them here. What would have been ideal is simply re-manufacture parts/seats the way other parks do (including SFOT and SFOG, Knott's) and use them. These seats and train shells are closer to what you find on an RMC. The chassis feel great, but the "shells" and seats are not.


These new shells have 3D decorations on them which were completely filled with dirt and dust. They were heavily scratched up all over, especially on the headrest in front of each rear seat; this is where VR head sets are slamming forward going into the loop... if there were soft and straight up headrests (like most classic Schwarzkopf looping trains), this wouldn't happen. This scratching is in addition to all the defacing/graffiti/tagging/etc. this park sees. The shells just feel and look cheap.


Revolution's younger and smaller cousin at Hersheypark, Sooperdooperlooper (properly: sooperdooperLooper) got a deluxe rehab a few years ago which included new trains from Premier. These were sooperdooperLooper's 3rd set of trains; the 2nd set were exact copies of the original while these new orange ones were close but not exact. Still, MUCH better and user-friendly than what we have here at Magic Mountain. Six Flags probably couldn't go with Premier, but they still could have done much better with this "new" design.


Despite the poor design of the seats/headrests/train shells, I was still able to enjoy Revolution immensely. There are 2 trims on the ride; before the ramp into the loop and immediately after the tunnel. They still grab hard, but not as hard as they did in the "New Revolution" promotional videos. The devices opening and closing at the top of most of the hills are block brakes as Revolution once had 6 trains. I'm not sure if they ran 6 at a time, but they definitely ran 5. I've always loved the layout, it just seems so perfect. Thrilling in spots, but Revo is more of a family coaster or "joyride." Coming out of the tunnel, heading towards the loop... it's on the downside of the hill so your height is increasing as you move forward. That vista going through there is awesome. It's such a simple but perfect ride to me. Hopefully it will stay around for a few more years. Perhaps even get a proper makeover with nicer train bodies (current chassis are fine!) and some nice magnetic brakes. Oh yeah, and loose the trims of course. Trims or not, I love Revolution and it's now in my top 10 steel coasters. Over the 2 days I probably had 15-20 rides.



I ran up into the empty-looking building and ran up the stairs to be greeted by a crowd at the top. Everything is silent and they are only loading one train. Someone had puked in the 2nd operating train and they were cycling it. Holy cow were these dispatches slow. I finally got on and Viper is just as great as I remember. Rattly Arrow goodness, but still as fun as a bag of snakes. Loved it! This bad boy used to run 3 trains with a 4th in waiting. Looks like there are only 2 trains now. I went to the ride once each day and got 2 or 3 in a row the 2nd night. Such a great night ride, way up there on the hill.



Loved it then, love it now. Such a cool station; you don't see many steel coasters with a curve in the station (the only station curve on a steelie I can think of off the top of my head would be the Vekoma portable "Whirlwind" Corkscrew model, any others?) One thing that really brought back memories was getting up that hill to Samauri Summit! In the 90s I could run up there with no problem, but not any more! Good motivation to be in better shape. My goal is to be able to run up that hill next time I'm at Magic Mountain! I love Ninja and hope they keep it around for a long time. One trip to Ninja each day, and scored 2 or 3 re-rides each time.



I remember riding this when it was new-ish, on a cool October night when the park was empty. It was with good friends and we had a bunch of rides with no waits. One of those special park/coaster memories for me. Fast forward to now, this was my first experience on the ride going backwards. I only rode once on one side and however fun - the view going up backwards was totally awesome. Thumbs down for the shoulder bars with the nasty what is crawling around and or caked and dripping inside of here arm-shield thing. Did they really need to add shoulder bars? I'm having a Deja Vu moment. I'm sure there is some Dippin Dots-esque excuse about brakes?



Skipped it both days. I rode the heck out of this thing years ago as well as the many clones. Great ride, but I got other stuff to focus on while I'm here!



Loved this ride in the 90s. Not a fan of the new paint scheme, but whatever. Also, I miss Freefall being in there. I walked up to the single rider line and got right on. It was pretty shaky, and just not much fun for me. The layout is awesome and unique, but the ride wasn't as good as I remembered. One ride and done for me. Good thing is, lots of folks seemed to love it!



Just as awesome as I remember! Quirky and jerky Arrow transitions, all lines and circles. "Lines and circles" is a point of contention with some coaster fans, as much of the newer coasters have very complex force-based designs, complete with plenty of "heart-lining." Older coasters have "circle and line" designs which make them slam into corners and such more, which can be seen as "rough" or just plain "old." I tend to love the older designs, they have more character to me. But it's nice to have both, isn't it!? The careful, complex/force-based designs work very well for large coasters, especially those 200/300 foot tall B&M designs.


I'm glad this ride is still at the park, love the feel; the loose seats and the jerky-but-not-painful ride. And of course, it's a terrain coaster! Rode it a couple times each day.



From everything I heard about X2, I was going to love it or hate it. Going in with a good attitude I hoped to like it. When I finally arrived at the station, I spotted a single rider in the last row (last to leave the station). I asked if I could ride with them and the station attendant said sure. It's always nice to cut a couple minutes off a wait, even though the queue wasn't long to begin with.


As the train pulled out of the station, I could already feel the forward/back jogging that the ride is known for. Heck I been on nearly 500 coasters, I can handle all kinds of jerk and roughness, right!? Up the lift - and I am definitely a lift guy - an incredible panorama of the park and mountains comes into view. The Frank Sinatra song turns to a lame, pseudo bad-ass generic Metallica song. Really, if they wanted to go badass, pick some old school Misfits or Gwar, but I understand the reasons for the mainstream stuff. Keeping the Sinatra song all the way up the lift would have been more interesting and great contrast to the impending screams. Just my 2 cents.


Other than the annoying badassery of an overplayed Metallica song, this is definitely one of the best lifts I've ever been on. The view can't be bested and the ascent was a nice pace; not too fast. You don't get to take in the view when the lift is too fast or steep (from the point of view of a lift hill enthusiast, anyway). Over the top (at this point I'm bracing for slams from all angles) we're dumped forward looking at the ground 200 feet up. I can't remember ever involuntarily swearing on a coaster, but out came "OH SH*T!" from my mouth. It was incredible! Rushing down that drop and then getting flipped over at the bottom... back up and looking down from high up again. I was really loving this ride! The rest of the ride was great too, especially that backwards twist (does it have an official name?). At the end, going up into the brake run I finally got a real hard *KICK* to the back of my legs. Or was it my butt and back? I dunno, but it was a good bomp. No big deal, it was all worth it.


When I got off the ride and started heading out of the station, I spotted another single rider. I kindly asked the ride op if I could jump in with that guy, she said sure and off I went for a bonus round. That is one policy of Six Flags that I love. You usually cannot do that at Cedar Fair parks, for example. Six Flags is usually cool with it, I've even seen them encouraging re-rides. The 2nd day I went out to X2 twice, the first time scoring a double ride. The 2nd time was at night, and I asked to get back in an empty seat and I was told "No. We don't allow re-rides." Fair enough, I can't complain after all the re-rides I had.


X2 is definitely a new favorite of mine. Probably top 5 if I think about it too much.



I'm one of the probably 3 people that loved the old Colossus. Those squeeky Morgan trains working their way along those drawn-out curves, loved it. RMC trains and I just don't get along. I'm not a fan of being held down super-tight and having my top half jerked around like a rag doll. Don't get me wrong, I find some fun in it in low doses. I'd rather be thrown around in a looser seat with real air time where my butt actually leaves the seat. I know enough to understand that RMC coasters must have tight restraints and seats for what they do, I get that. That's their thing and I'm happy people love it, just not a big fan myself. I'll also note the couple times and RMC seat got me real good in the tenders. That obnoxious hard plastic horn coming up the middle of the seat? Ouch. Ok, I got all that out of the way.


I walked over to Twisted Colossus with the right attitude. I've done this before ... 'my good old classic woodie is gone, get over it' to myself. Got it. I'll do my best to enjoy the new ride.


Luckily, I'm very good with spotting single riders from a distance. Partly from being a park/coaster goer for so long, but also from working at parks. There was a single rider getting in the back seat on the next train. I asked the ride op if it was ok, and I got to skip ahead a couple trains. Out of the station and up the lift we went. Up the lift... the old Colossus lift, what a strange feeling. I was determined to LOVE this new Twisted Colossus as all my friends insisted it was awesome. Down the first drop ... up into the old turn-around area. Holy cow, was this thing in over-drive? Was the heat doing something to the friction and making it faster than I had seen in videos? Where the cold weather wheels on? Does RMC even have cold weather wheels! Whatever was the case, this thing was cartoon fast. As good as that might sound, the jerking and the snapping on the ends/turn-arounds were totally my limit.


I love getting slammed around; VOYAGE at Holiday World is one of my favorite rides and I never understand the complaints about it... but THIS was different. It's the speed at how fast transitions come here, but even more so it's being held down from the waist down and jerked around like a rag doll, as I mentioned before. It was also super-hot. I felt that acid-vomity feeling inside. Uck! I've never gotten sick on a ride.


Returning to the station, I did what only a super coaster nerd would do, even feeling the way I did. I spotted another single rider, near the front of the train this time! On again... As nutso as it may be to do that twice in a row while feeling like that, I figured I'd be fine with all the coasters/rides and marathons I've done. And I was fine... especially enjoying the middle sections of Twisted Colossus - and the lifts, of course! - but the turnaround areas were too much rag-doll action for me. Over the 2 days, I had 4 or 5 rides on Twisted Colossus. At least 2 of those were dueling rides; I really liked the heartline/cork-thingy during the duel.



On the way into the queue, I thought "good, shade! I'm sure they have the A/C on in this queue!" Nope, no A/C. But no biggie, it was a walk straight into the station and to the back seat, with no wait. Why is a dead and probably empty sound box where seat 12 should be? Another ho-hum about restraints: I'm not the biggest GCI fan partly because of those lap bars. They tend to ratchet down an extra click and *pin* me in unless I hold the lap bar up with one hand. The coaster rode VERY fast. Must have been that heat! The ride had just been back from a major overhaul (which I saw in pictures here on TPR last year), and seemed to tear up the course. There was a subtle off-feel, a rumble. You could tell GCI didn't do the work. More than anything, I think that low-frequency bouncing came from the hot and dry climate/super-dry wood. Might just be the feel of dried out track. Still a fun ride! I did enjoy it, but only rode once.



I'm pretty sure I went through the single rider line on this one. There were kids around age 13, and me with my 6-1/220lb body. Up the lift and slam-over: it seemed I was held face down (or head-down?) the entire ride, with very strong accelerations directed straight up through my head. At the very end of the ride, it almost felt as if my eye balls were going to pop out and my head was going to explode. If it wasn't so uncomfortable and near-frightening (in a bad way), it would have been hilarious. But it was all bad. Never again. I guess that was a so-called unbalanced load? A fluke? Whatever it was, never again. Besides, the S&S version at my home park (SFGAmerica) is WAY awesome and totally rideable. This is the only coaster I have nothing good to say about, boo-hoo! F-U Green Lantern!



My first ride was in the front seat. I started to remember how awkward these Premier trains can be while getting in, and where to put my feet. No real biggie and it's comfy once I got in. The ride was great! Loved it... except that "scream down a huge drop directly into brakes" part. I know I know... Six Flags nowadays builds short, test-track type coasters, but darn... the energy that thing has. Remember (say it with me): "it's not an issue of space. It's an issue of cost and the Six Flags business model."

During my 3 or 4 rides on FT over the 2 days, I kept thinking how cool it would be to run in a different mode. Forward as it does now, but no braking in the tunnel; let it roll up the top-hat as far as it will go, then free-fall backwards through the tunnel; up the spiral-loop-thing a bit, then finally a huge boost coming back through the tunnel forwards. I think that would be a blast. Just a different experience, the one that is there is good too. Nice to have options!



Having ridden the clone/original in New Jersey and not being a big fan of that one, knew this would be a "credit" for me. And it was. Rode in front with 3 scared/excited/screaming teenage girls, which was the funnest part of my ride. The ride looks outstanding with it's newly painted structure and track, but runs very shaky. One and done.



This was the only coaster with a notable wait, but still not bad on these super-hot days. As geeky as it sounds, my favorite part of the ride might be going up the lift. The angle is perfect while riding in that position. The view is excellent and proximity to the tower was a world-class move/design feature. The first drop was great, and the run before the giant loop was longer than I expected. I thought we were ready for the loop then it was another flip-over and curve. The giant loop was fun, but for some reason didn't give the tummy-tickling feel I've had on the smaller B&M flying coasters. Still, very intense and fast. I know from riding coasters for so long that bigger/steeper/faster/jerkier (hi RMC) doesn't always mean more fun, at least in my book. But what that loop lacked in tummy-tickle it made up for with an incredible view. The "oh sh*t" I spat out on my first X2 ride happened here when I saw how high up we were. Breathtaking is a good word, huh!? Such a great view of Revolution, too. Over the 2 days I rode Tatsu 4 times, 2 of which were double rides as it was very easy to find plenty of empty single (and double!) seats after my first ride was done.


GOLIATH I was always impressed with the ball & socket joints I had seen in pictures of Goliath (and Titan at SFOT). Movable joints on steel coasters absorb so much vibration. This is one of the reasons my all-time favorite steel designs - Schwarzkopf - stay so smooth over time. Notice even B&M has ball & sockets on every other track/structure connection, but these big Giovanola coasters have them at every support. More moving joints, less rattle and vibration. The ride was comfortable and fun, about what I expected. It was nice to sample a different manufacturer's take on the hyper coaster. The design lacks a bit: there is so much energy going into the block and again going into the final brakes. The spaghetti-bowl is fun but a couple small hills/speed bumps breaking up would have made the design much more solid. I walked to the ride once each day, and got multiple rides each time as there were plenty of empty seats for re-rides.



As an equal opportunity super coaster nerd, I'm always happy to make myself look like a total dweeb and ride all the kiddie coasters, get all the "credits" as they say. Here we have CANYON BLASTER, SPEEDY GONZALES, ROAD RUNNER EXPRESS and MAGIC FLYER. I could have sworn I rode what is now Magic Flyer in whatever configuration it was in the 90s. I was told that adults cannot ride now, understood. So, I'm not sure if I ever got that coaster. Out of the other 3 others, 2 were surprisingly fun while the third was on the jerky side. Of course, it's not designed for adults over 6 feet, I get it. Still fun! Always good to see young thrill seekers screaming and laughing. Such simple times!



Magic Moutain has so much potential. It was sad to walk up to Ninja and see garbage thrown over the fence all over. So much of the park is just so worn down and neglected. The operations were... well, no need to go there. Having worked at Cedar Point for a few years in college, it's hard to NOT see all the things we would never let slide. And cleanliness could be last on that list. I also spent one summer as an intern at SFOT and one day at SFMM (long story). The differences were stark even in the 90s, and much worse now.


The crowds seemed better behaved than other Six Flags parks, but perhaps it was due to the heat. I only spotted one teenager in a skull hat. People were friendly in general as I always at least say hi when I jump in with a single rider. I told a few people about my geeky love for Revolution, and most of them said they prefer it without the 'headset'. The only person who didn't agree with me on that point was the one upper manager I talked to for a bit.


Six Flags and your purposely long entry and exit walks to rides. Yes, I got hungry and thirsty doing all that walking in your passive-aggressively designed queues. But I still didn't buy your food. Ok, I took a break from fountain water and had one cold pop (soda for you guys out west) each day. They even let me use a "free drink" ticket from my home park Six Flags Great America, that was cool. I would only eat in a Six Flags park out of desperation due to the operations. Plenty of free water will do, except at the fountain nearest to Revolution as it didn't work. Both days. In record heat.


The HUGE PLUS is that Six Flags parks almost always allow re-rides when slow, many parks do not allow that. Like many parks in the chain, I often imagine what they would look like and how they would run if under different ownership. Of course Cedar Fair comes to mind. Six Flags simply has a different business plan that doesn't include the level of operations/training, etc. that Cedar Fair (and a bunch of other corporations and independent parks) have. I accept it, but it's hard not to think how great the park could be. Magic Mountain has such an incredible setting and so much potential, it deserves much better. It's a shell of a dream park waiting for love.


I'm so happy Revolution is running with out those wretched shoulder bars despite the sloppy designed seats and train shells. The whole "VR thing" completely squashed what could have been a proper re-introduction to a classic. Maybe next rehab!


Log Jammer. Not a space issue. Ok I'll shut up now.


On the way to Ninja both days, I couldn't wait to ride Jet Stream but it was closed both times I went by. I saw it operating from a distance but I didn't move fast enough. Bummer. Hope it stays for a long time.


I still had a great time at Magic Mountain, and next time I will be in good enough shape to RUN up Samauri Summit!


All these years later, I still love Viper. If people think this is rough, you should have rode the 2 deceased step sisters... or many other Arrows for that matter. I thought Viper was running great!


LOVED this ride! It completely freaked me out and quickly earned a spot in my unorganized and not-that-important-to-anyone-but-me top 10 steel coasters.


So happy the park still has Ninja, love it. Didn't the columns used to be grey or tan?


My obsession on this visit!


A unique station with a curve! Reusing the old Dragon lift ride gave Ninja this unique design feature (hey, it's a feature in my coaster geek book!). Great view. Looks hot out there. And it was!


Almost everything except Tatsu and X2 was a walk-on. Ah, the benefits of sleeping in.


Loved this view of Goliath. Great ride, but they could have done a little more with the layout.


If you watch old footage, the train would fly over this hill into the helix. The whole layout after the loop was taken much faster as they didn't brake it hard back then. Still, the layout is so perfect and unique.


Schwarzkopf track segments flex between structure connection points, this keeps them smooth all the time. For this "New Revolution" freshening up, they slapped on a quick layer of paint. There was no refurbishing/sandblasting or that fancy stuff that other parks will do from time to time. It was a quick job, and you can hear those cheap train shells shaking over these deep paint cracks and lumps. Not to be confused with the heavenly thumping a classic Schwarzkopf train makes as it rolls over the train joints. That's happening too, of course. I remember SFOT and SFOG (in 2007 I believe) giving their Schwarzkopf classics an in-depth spa treatment, but not poor Revolution.


Thank you 103 degrees for making VR impossible on my visit. You can see these train shells are already tore up with scratches. The chassis and lap bars on these trains are GREAT and near-original, but those seats/headrest and outer shells are a hot mess.


Going up the 3rd hill, classic shot. I once had a Six Flags Great America shirt with this view and Bugs Bunny. True story. Some stuff shouldn't be donated! This hill leads to the 3rd and largest drop on Revolution.


What a world-class lead-up/courtyard to a world-class design! A new top 10 steel coaster for me, even with my critical review of the train bodies and seats. The layout is just so damn regal, spread-out and awesome.


Tatsu is like a monster over Revolution. I enjoyed Tatsu, but spent much more time on the classic.




Scream looks GREAT in this sundown shot, and in full sunlight with it's new paint job. Unfortunately for me, it was just another one-and-done credit.


Great view, as much as I miss the old Colossus with it's panoramic flat turns. I tried hard to *LOVE* Twisted Colossus, but in the end I'm fine with "it's fun for a couple spins."


When I saw the new of the park painting Superman, I was confused as that money could have been spent somewhere else. Oh well, I'm not in charge.


Goodbye Magic Mountain! I still love, but I feel your pain. You want more love, TLC, proper training and an all-around world-class operation... you will have to wait for now, but let's hope for the future.


LOVED X2! Even with the couple punches it gave me. I took this shot before getting on the freeway to head to Knott's. I had the option to stay at Magic Mountain another another day, but I was ready to go to Knott's.

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Nice report.. you get as detailed as I do


Some really good pics too. Never been to SFMM, it's on my bucket list for some day. . maybe if I can ever convince the spouse to go back to California (the one time I got him to go, we did Disney/Knotts. . so there's a LOT more to explore there).


thanks for sharing!

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Very nice overview; it sounds like you had a good visit! We certainly share some opinions (love of the older, more vintage style rides — especially anything Schwarzkopf) I do like Twisted Colossus, although I wish they'd done more with the layout. I'm also not a huge fan of some of RMC's attempts to out-extreme their designs with back-to-back assaults (careful pacing is a thing!). They're a fascinating company to watch right now, but I'd love to see them diversify a bit more in terms of what they can offer (more floater air, for example). If, given the choice between TC and preserving the original, I'd probably opt for preserving the original — even though a racing ride on TC is a fantastic experience.

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Thanks for the kind words guys I'll get around to finishing the Knott's/Giant Dipper portion soon.


They're a fascinating company to watch right now, but I'd love to see them diversify a bit more in terms of what they can offer (more floater air, for example).


I was all about RMC a couple years ago, and I've tried on several occasions to really like their stuff (including on my home home park SFGAmerica's Goliath), but oh well. It's still fun, and I enjoy it with good friends but wouldn't go out of my way for one. I'd rather hit the true classics a little more while we still have them! The MOST fun I've had on an RMC was watching a friend (who doesn't ride coasters like us) freak out looking for something to hold onto going up the lift of Goliath. AND I'll have to say for some reason Wicked Cyclone at SFNEngland I enjoyed the most. Even thought I *LOVED* the old wooden Cyclone/Riverside Cyclone a million times more.


If, given the choice between TC and preserving the original, I'd probably opt for preserving the original — even though a racing ride on TC is a fantastic experience.

Just imagine the Colossus that re-opened in 1979 with PTC buzz bar trains. THAT is the Colossus that was all over top 10 lists in the 80s. I was especially suprised when Twisted Colossus was announced as I distinctly remember hearing or reading that SFMM Park President (at the time) Bonnie said "Colossus is OFF LIMITS!" when the first 2 RMC wood-to-steel conversions took place. Oh well.


maybe if I can ever convince the spouse to go back to California (the one time I got him to go, we did Disney/Knotts. . so there's a LOT more to explore there).


You guys GOT to go! SoCal has SO much to do... so much stuff I've never done the umpteen times I've been out there. Watt's Towers comes to mind, and so many little parks around too.

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Even more excited for Superduperlooper after reading your review!


Just remember that sooperdooperLooper is a very family-oriented, mild ride. More so than Revolution and perhaps even Whizzer. It's very mild... and EXCELLENT! I had to warn you though as I remember a friend was so excited to ride it after riding Mind Bender at SFOG, then wondered why the ride was a "dud." Both Schwarzkopf coasters and both top notch, just very different levels of intensity.


Wait so Superman has what restraints? I am confused.


There is a cover over the side of the end shoulder bar(s). I thought it was a hard shell, but maybe not. Green Lantern had a similar obstruction.


Picture from tpr showing Superman restraints. I enjoyed it backwards, but miss the lap bars it used to have.

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Fantastic report. I also enjoy the jerkiness of old Arrows and Vekomas. It helps that I'm tall enough to not have my head smacked around by the horse collar restraints, too.


Wait so Superman has what restraints? I am confused.


There is a cover over the side of the end shoulder bar(s). I thought it was a hard shell, but maybe not. Green Lantern had a similar obstruction.

It is a hard shell. I'm not a fan of it at all, and honestly don't see the point of having it. The back row (with only two seats) doesn't have the hard shells; I usually try to ride back there so I have room to move my arms. I don't remember ever seeing the soft cover in that picture; the park must've changed them out.

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Even more excited for Superduperlooper after reading your review!

I think you have to really love Schwarzkopf to dig this one, though. It's built into a weird hilly section of the park, so it's as if the designer had to take some liberties to make it fit. As the result, it's a fairly meandering ride after the loop.


Wait so Superman has what restraints? I am confused.

They're awful. They're just on the side seats, but they restrain one of your arms completely. There must be some clearance issue at some point in the ride. I'd say Lex Luthor, but I seem to recall the shells being there before that ride showed up.

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And I have no regrets whatsoever, for having NOT tried the VR on Revolution.

It's ridiculous IMhO. Not interested in it used this way, at - all.


I couldn't believe the height of this thing! West Coast Bash ~ Sat.Sept.10, 2016.

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^It's amazing that a 140' drop (X-Scream at Waldameer Park) could be MUCH more intense than a 400' drop. Those smaller towers (Santa's Villiage and Knoebels have them, both terrifying) seem to have the "dead weight drop" feeling that I love so much. Similar to the old Intamin Freefalls. Perhaps even better!


And I have no regrets whatsoever, for having NOT tried the VR on Revolution.

It's ridiculous IMhO. Not interested in it used this way, at - all.


The manager I spoke to (don't remember his name, but he had a nice business shirt on and seemed to be "someone of some importance") insisted that doing VR was the only way Revolution would get attention with their market. I respectfully disagreed with him. If done right (with proper seats and train shells) it could have been a HUGE hit. It's just not in this parks blood unfortunately. I've heard Mind Bender at SFOG and Shock Wave at SFOT have gotten special attention over the years... something about the original Six Flags owners are involved? I'm very grateful my home park SFGAm takes especially excellent care of our classic Schwarzkopf coaster, Whizzer. They have the original 5 trains and are always swapping them out for rehab. There are 3 trains on the track every summer. Even the seat pads look brand new, all the time.


When VR was not functioning (most of my visit), there were 2 employees to greet you at the Revolution entrance and were all "so sorry, VR headsets are down, it's just the ride by itself." I mean, they were presenting it as a bummer... if you present your ride that way, what do you expect? But like I said in my long ass trip report, most people I talked to about Revolution prefer it with out the headset, including employees.

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Great report, Billy! I've always loved hearing about your passion/obsession for the Schwarzkopf coasters. lol


I personally don't think Revolution is forceful enough to enjoy as a VR experience. What makes the coaster great is it's long, sprawling layout through the trees and relationship with the terrain. When you take away those visuals, the sensations are muted. It becomes more like watching a movie in the back seat of a car.

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^Thanks my friend! Ironically, the loop entrance to the Revolution loop is very forceful and sudden, so the VR headsets are flying forward marking up the back of the headrest in front of them. Can't be comfortable for those who don't know that's coming. It's all a bad idea.


At one point during my visit when they did have VR running, they were only loading one of the two trains. Both trains were on the track but they were only loading one with VR and the other train was sent out empty. Out of the one train that had VR, they had 16 headsets available. I was told the empty seats are not being used right now. I got that, there are limited VR sets, but what about people that want to ride with out VR? Oh, what a mess. The Cedar Point training that will forever be cemented in my head wanted to take over the entire operation. We were trained to have healthy communication with eachother and guests, and make practical decisions. That is not in Six Flags DNA. It's very basic stuff. I don't blame the ride ops, it's a deeper issue.

Edited by JT325
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The Cedar Point training that will forever be cemented in my head wanted to take over the entire operation. We were trained to have healthy communication with eachother and out guests, and make practical decisions.

Not to tell Cedar Point how to run their park, but I don't think they should be outing guests. That's best left to the guests to decide for themselves the best time to come out.

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^Ooops! Haha. Misprint on my part, I fixed in the post above. That would be crazy, huh?! Speaking of outing, Cedar Point was a great place to come out when working there in the 90s. I had my first boyfriend my last summer there. College is a good time to figure that stuff out, but good thing kids feel OK doing it earlier these days too.

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I was told the empty seats are not being used right now. I got that, there are limited VR sets, but what about people that want to ride with out VR? Oh, what a mess.


Well, in their defense, when the ride first opened with VR they were pretty accommodating to those who wanted to ride without the headset. They even had a single-rider option where you could just walk up to the entrance under the lift and jump straight onto the front seat. The park discontinued this option soon after, resulting in 8-minute train dispatches with multiple empty seats. My only guess as to why they discontinued it is because too many people preferred to ride without a janky cell phone on their face which let the air out of their "new hi-tech attraction" a bit too much.

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Great report! I didn't realize that Magic Mountain allowed single riders to grab rerides on empty seats. That's definitely something I'll keep in mind the next time I visit. I'm used to SFNE's no reride policy where you have to walk around even if no one is queuing for your row or if the station is 100% empty.

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^Ooops! Haha. Misprint on my part, I fixed in the post above. That would be crazy, huh?! Speaking of outing, Cedar Point was a great place to come out when working there in the 90s. I had my first boyfriend my last summer there. College is a good time to figure that stuff out, but good thing kids feel OK doing it earlier these days too.

Agreed. For all the craziness in the world, that's one aspect where the kids are way ahead of us. Gives me hope that as long as they can keep from doing fatally stupid things, the future might be ok after all.

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Great report! I didn't realize that Magic Mountain allowed single riders to grab rerides on empty seats. That's definitely something I'll keep in mind the next time I visit. I'm used to SFNE's no reride policy where you have to walk around even if no one is queuing for your row or if the station is 100% empty.

I'm so used to SFMM's reride policy that I forgot other parks DON'T do that. When I visited Knott's early last year, I was shocked when the ride ops weren't allowing any rerides on Boomerang, even though the station was empty.

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Nice TR! For the record, the hard shell arm restraints on Superman are there because the new trains are wider than the old ones, therefore exceeding the envelope for the brief tunnel when you leave the building. Now, if they had any money to spare I'd suggest they fix that problem in order to remove those shields as I got stuck in that seat on my one ride and don't want to ride it again exclusively because of that reason. I absolutely hated that restriction.

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  • 2 months later...

Maybe I should wait until July to finish this report, you know... why not make it a full year late? Oh well, here is the 2nd half of my very late trip report: Knott's Berry Farm and Belmont Giant Dipper.


Knott's Berry Farm, July 18 (solo) and July 20 (with family), 2017


This was my first time at Knott's since 1999(!!!?) I could have stayed up at Magic Mountain for another day, but I decided to leave early and stop in Knott's before I returned to where the rest of the family was staying in Carlsbad. We would go to Knott's as a family two days later, but I felt it would be better for me to go get my ya-ya's out solo, so we could focus on family time when we went as a group.


The park was very different than I remember, very full of coasters everywhere! Once again proving the tired "not enough room" argument doesn't hold water. Everything was functioning like a Cedar Fair offshoot should be by this point: great ride operations, very clean, functional bathrooms and water fountains, plenty of seating, everything looks very well maintained... and it only takes a few seconds to obtain and pay for a pop (I'm teasing Six Flags right here.) Speaking of Six Flags, as much as I love the rides at Magic Mountain (and in-love with the potential that park has) walking into Knott's was like walking into heaven, comparatively. Cedar Fair has a knack for making people feel at home and taken care of in such a big crowded place. They do a big thrill park "right." It's not "eat or be eaten."


My family loved the place! My 3 little cousins (aged 12, 13.5 and 15) loved everything especially Silver Bullet, GhostRider, Montezooma's and Sol Spin. And the log flume! I forgot about that surprise in the dark. Excellent and classic.



If you read my Magic Mountain review, you know I'm a huge Schwarzkopf guy. Walking up into the station and seeing that original train (or replacement/parts) sitting there looking so pretty... I longed for that train to be on Revolution (well... 5 cars, not the 7 of Monte). All the seat pads and padding were like brand new; no bucket seats here, thank you! Just the way Schwarzkopf intended it. The launch seems different than it once was. The train moves forward a couple inches, then takes off. It must be some tweaking they have done to the launch system to make it run better and or last longer. It's perfect either way! The lights in the station at night... how geeky cool. What class.



When I last rode this, it was brand new. And holy cow, what a ride it was! I knew that GCI did a bunch of work on the ride, and in my experience that isn't a good thing for my own personal coaster likes and preferences. Also, never been of fan of their trains once the lap bar falls an pins me in. BUT! It turned out great. Sure, GCI did their signature move and removed any small *snap* going over the first drop, but the rest of the ride was unlike any GCI anything I've ever experienced. At night, with those awesome orange track lights, the ride was like a bat out of hell after where the mid-course block used to be.


Speaking of the mid-course block, I found it strange that people (and the park?!) promoted removal of trim brakes when in fact that was originally a block brake when the ride ran 3 trains. Either way, it's a stellar ride. Not the ride it was when new, but still top-notch by today's standards.



When I rode this years ago, my taste was for anything and everything intense... almost exclusively. If it wasn't badass, it wasn't cool (sound familiar?) Family rides just didn't do it for me back then. But now I've ridden a bunch more coasters and appreciate the ones that have uniqueness more than anything. A fine point of enjoyment with Jaguar is those flat seats. Much like classic Schwarzkopf seats and other old rides, you get to slide back and forth in the seat on the curves. It gives it a classic feel. It's just more fun to me to be able to do that a little over being held tightly on one side. Of course, many new rides couldn't allow for such movement... which makes this all the more rare and special.


Love the layout and the long ride time. I would have never thought "back in the day" that such an unassuming "family ride" would be one of my favorites at the park.



Probably my favorite B&M inverted coaster, based on uniqueness alone. Intensity is fun, but it isn't everything to me (as it once was, so I understand for those who still feel that way!). The short flat track at the top of the lift - love the view! You get a couple seconds to take in the views before slowly building up speed on that long ramp. MUCH more fun than the standard steep twisting dive. The rest of the ride was great, especially bobbing and flying over the main park area. The opposing direction corkscrews, split with a curved semi-fan curve was great! What a combo there. Probably knocks Great Bear out of my favorite inverted position, another ride that is super-unique (in this category, anyway).



Both fun rides, but seem a little short. Great placement!



Looks fantastic, especially the station! Intense launch and drop.



There have been plenty of complaints about the restraint modifications to this ride, and yeah... it was bad. I don't know how I got my 6 foot 1 body in there. If I remember correctly, I kind of had to pull my knees up and take my feet off the floor until the bar locked. Strange. The good thing is that the kids seemed to love it and it looks GREAT where it is, the strand lights, etc.






A beautiful Schwarzkopf train in pristine condition. Same old school retro flat seats, all simple and comfy. Revolution is so jealous ...


Everything looks so clean! Knott's (and Cedar Fair in general) takes especially good care of everything.


So nice to see this monster in action all these years later! Still in primo operation, just like the ride itself.


I last rode Montezooma's when it was all yellow. Then it was yellow and aqua/lime/seafoam green - I didn't get to ride it in those years. Now it's orange and an avocado-green... looks great and rides better than ever!


Ball and socket joints, even on a simple ride. Schwarzkopf knew what he was doing. Those points absorb vibration so the riders don't have to. You won't get this level of smoothness on any other ride. Even B&M coasters only have occasional ball joints. Expensive, yes.


Another moving joint! Yay for classic Schwarzkopfs.



Back through the portal! I didn't remember this in the old days... the station lights dim and these colored lights come on. Very nice! We had the very similar Tidal Wave Schwarzkopf shuttle loop at my home park (SF) Great America. That ride had a nautical warning light that went off in the station when the train came back through. I miss that ride so much! This is our last remaining Schwarzkopf shuttle loop in the country; I believe we had about 7 of them at one point? Such a simple but awesome ride.


"There's not enough room!" "Where would they put it!?" This is beauty!


The new ride was a LOT of fun!


More of the same.. plenty of room for anything you want to build!


This is where I ate that first night at the park. Outside on the patio I heard some new wave 80s music but with a twist. My main memory is hearing Bananarama's "Robert DeNiro's waiting" immediately followed by their "Love, Truth and Honesty." Having lived through the 80s, it's very cool for me to hear the NON-standard songs by certain bands. The minor hits age better! More music played, don't remember who, but the same idea. Not the default hits. Very nice!


Wow what a huge wooden coaster!


A ride sign with class!


Looks great, doesn't it!?


This is about as fancy, artsy-farsty as I get with my iphone camera. I just rotated the camera while I took the picture.


No thanks ladies, I play for the other team.


Such great use of lighting...


Ghostrider awesomeness.




This is the Fiesta Village area of the park, very nice! Knott's should be proud at how well they take care of their park. Not one light was out!


Patriotic train over at Xcelerator. This ride could have benefited from an unload area like Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. It could have been done, but they probably didn't plan for it... wasn't this ride a prototype?


Simple use of lighting while still be high quality and classy.


Belmont Giant Dipper, (approx.) July 22


Loved this coaster in the 1990s, love it now! Coaster fans played the main role in saving this ride back in the 80s and 90s. I got my wrist band for unlimited rides and off I went. Such a nice classic station that is being maintained impeccably. The Morgan train isn't the best option, but it will do until an original-style train can be used. Wouldn't that be cool!? Never say never. I rode the coaster, then went in the ocean. Back to the coaster... back to the ocean and back and forth. Not many places were one can do that! The train jostles as you would think a Morgan would on such a twisted ride, but works out ok in the end. A lot of fun! Had to leave around 5pm to join up with the rest of the family, but would have loved some night rides on this beauty! I will be back!



Original lead car. One day... maybe if they added a simple locking lap bar, similar to the Coaster at the Playland in Vancouver? Could happen!


Are the rainbow flags always there? Nice touch!


Pepto Bismal track. Looks great though... Anyone remember when Shock Wave at Six Flags Over Texas had it's loop interiors painted this color? It didn't work so well over there. This ride has been repainted with fire engine red track! Can't wait to get back.



Beautiful station.


I haven't seen this view before, a nice profile of the first hill. In addition to the coaster, I spent a lot of the day in the salty ocean! Something we don't have here in Chicago.

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Great report! I really do wish Xcelerator and GhostRider had better capacities. Along with not having a separate unload area, the launch directly from the station is a major killer as well. I've actually never seen Xcelerator run with two trains and I'm not even sure how much of a difference it would make.

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