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bert goes to Texas Theme Parks (mega thread)

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interrupting my Japan report for an update to the Texas thread:


so Friday was chilly and nasty in Texas (low 40's and light rain/mist all day).


it was also a day I had already put in for Vacation, to make use of my last "use it or lose it" day before year end several weeks back.


I had talked Nick into also taking the 20th off, and decided we'd go to San Antonio for the day.


SFFT didn't open up until 5pm, but since had never actually gotten to go to the San Antonio Zoo (opening at noon) together -- despite multiple tries over the past 16 years. . something *always* happened and we didn't make the trip.


So I was annoyed at the weather, that was showing heavy rain, and just plain nastiness hitting the area on Friday.


but I had told Nick that regardless, I wanted to go, and likely would even if he didn't (he *HATES* cold weather). Tho had agreed if it was pouring, that likely would blow off the zoo and maybe I'd just head down in the evening - not that I wanted to deal with afternoon traffic on a Friday, in poor conditions, just before a Holiday week.


but I *really* wanted to see the Holiday lights up at Fiesta Texas. (and I love zoos, and hadn't been to the San Antonio one, even by myself, in over a decade).


upon waking up on Friday morning and checking the weather? yes, it looked like it was going to be chilly and drizzly, but all the heavy rain was going to slide to our East, more towards Houston. . . so with my superpower of "Jewish Guilt"?


was able to convince Nick to bundle up, and we hopped in the car for the ~2 1/2 hour drive to San Antonio (traffic was still pretty slow due to conditions, and we pulled off to grab a bite to eat in New Braunfels around 12:30, so that added 45 minutes to the drive).


but soon enough, we pulled into the San Antonio Zoo.


Wasn't quite sure where to park, as it had been a really long time since I had been there.


we passed a few lots, and a large parking garage up the hill from the Zoo entrance. I had insisted Nick bring his cane, but was a little worried about the steep hill coming down from the garage. . so I drove down to the Zoo entrance and rolled down the window to ask the employees out front where we should park (there was nobody at the booths, so they were just hanging out chatting at the ticket booths).


they pointed us to just around the corner in front of the train station (which wasn't running due to weather). I asked how much it was, and they said free parking!


So we parked literally right next to the zoo entrance (maybe a 2 minute walk) and it was free? the lot was pretty empty due to the weather. . maybe 20 cars total?


I wondered if many of the animals would be out and about, but still, would much rather be here on a quiet day, even if it was cold and moist.


even better? when we got to the booth, and I mentioned that I had stupidly forgotten to purchase our tickets online - which I had even talked about then just didn't do, since it would have saved us a few bucks? She gave Nick the Senior discount (which saved a nice chunk of $$).


and with that, into the zoo we went!


they are doing an evening thing called "Zoo lights" and the entire zoo was just covered with lighting, and diorama areas that mostly looked fantastic during the day. I can imagine how great they would look at night.


we weren't going to be staying until it got really dark, planning to head out around 5 - since we still had to get over to Fiesta, and we knew we'd be dealing with SA rush hour traffic. . . but since it was so overcast, we got to enjoy a lot of the lights anyways.



my worries about some animals not being out in the enclosures, were put to rest upon walking in. . as the bears were all out frolicking in the cooler weather.


oh, there were some animals that were hanging out only in the burrows, or deep behind logs. . but at least one of most animals were out in the enclosure.


the zoo was pretty deserted. . us and one other couple (who had parked next to us and walked in with us) were the only ones over here. The bears seemed excited to see people looking at them :)


turns out the zoo has several "inside" areas. . which made Nick super happy, as they were warm inside.


and with the zoo pretty empty? we were really the only ones inside, and were able to take our time and get great looks at the animals on display.


1st stop like this you come upon when entering the zoo? the Aquarium building.


here's a turtle.


and a stingray



and some jellyfish




almost all the food & souvenier stands were closed today. . there just wasn't the crowd, and it was too cold.


as it was getting darker tho the stands selling the blinking lights started to open up. . the zoo was open until 10, so I'm sure they got an evening crowd to see the lights, despite the nasty weather.


these frozen bananas made me laugh tho.


this cool guy, was just hanging out stalking anyone who dared come to the zoo today.


then it was time to head into the next "indoor" building. .the warm Reptile house. Again, only ones in here, so could get up really close to the enclosures, without tons of folks tapping on the glass bothering the reptiles.


Texas Rattlesnake.


this guy was super interesting. . a rattlesnake without a rattle.



ah. . now HERE'S a rattle.


this geko was just hanging out (literally) on the glass at the front of the enclosure



this is a King Cobra.


yes, it's yawning!


I had no idea snakes yawn. . .the handler in the building told us that they do, but it's rare, and how great that I was able to catch it in a picture!


(I'm a photo ninja. . LOL)


these old skool machines are all over the zoo, and the smell of the wax brought back so many memories.


these two didn't offer plastic animals tho. . unless you consider a Christmas Tree


and a Santa Claus as an animal. . .


on the "great lawn" area, some of the animal lights display for the Zoo Lights promotion.


a photo op display board?


why yes, thank you!


back out in the cold areas, but first into a separate enclosure to take a look at the Giant Anaconda, just handing out in the water inside it's huge space.


think this was a Condor? it was cleaning it's wings, and was "posing" for me.


tons of art around this zoo, including in the trees above (this is near the Fruit bat/armadillo exhibit). .and how amazing it was to be in that small building getting to see these creatures, without a ton of folks around!


more art, tho not sure why the Hippo area was the North Pole.


it looked so great once it got a bit darker all lit up.


only one other couple in this building with us, and the Hippos were having a grand ol time playing and romping in the water.




coming up for air.


the enclosure is a large one, so you can get views under the water, and above them.


this guy went into the corner, and took a gigantic poop. . while looking at the other hippo playing.


he then quickly left the water, once he fouled it (can you blame him?). . . .just thought it was funny, but no, I did NOT take a picture of the pooping.


but did catch him quickly getting out of the water once he was done.


I pitty the fool who messes with this gineua fowl.


none of the Elephants were out (I think we just caught them during feeding, as the Giraffes and Rhinos were eating when we went by, although we could still see those guys even when eating). The elephants weren't in the enclosure tho. . but it's a really big one with lots of stuff for them to interact with.


LOVE this Rhino sculpture.


Zebra was just hanging out. . in the back area, so an odd angle, but was still lovely to see.


Tiger just chillin watching me watching him


Kangaroos were all back in the hovel area eating. . but was still able to view them and get a decent pic


heading over to the "older" side of the zoo, there are a bunch of dis-used enclosures.


not sure what used to be in this particular one, but love that the zoo simply decided to utilize it for the tree


including with an information sign at the front of it. . . LOL


the older section is mainly enclosures featuring birds/waterfowl and fish / turtle type animals.


I didn't take too many pics over here, but thought this guy - who I believe is an endangered crane from Africa - was very Goth looking.


still not dark enough to really appreciate, but here is a look at one end of the "bird" corridor (those are all separate cages with different birds in them behind all that pink garland).


this particular area was just covered in pink lights.


and in the central hub of the zoo?


the Carousel - which most zoos have these days.


San Antonio Zoo actually has two carousels now (will get to the other one in a moment), but this one is more of a standard Zoo Carousel: Lots of really well done animals to choose from for a ride, and even a birds nest (lower right of this pic), which I *think* you can spin when riding.


it is only $3 a ride, which is reasonable.


you'll be shocked to hear that I actually did NOT take a ride on this one here.


the weather was just a little bit too miserable for Nick to be willing to ride, so he was a pass - but I knew he'd ride with me on the one at Fiesta. so I knew I'd get my carousel fix there anyways later tonight. As it was getting late, I just decided to skip this on this trip, and will catch it another time.


it's a lovely carousel tho.



some really nice animals on this Carousel tho. . .including a truly impressive Eagle (the actual Bald Eagle was in an enclosure near the Carousel and I'm always in awe of seeing these birds live. .this one was no exception).


that lizard/geko thing tho. . .LOL. . if I had ridden? I would have ridden that!


a Hippo, an Alpaca, a Seal, and. . . . a Chicken????


better shot of the Eagle coming around. . . really nicely done by the sculptor. That huge wingspan is great.


cutting back across the "great lawn" to the sloths (not out tho, too cold for them), and amphibian houses. ..the lights in the trees are starting to show up a little.


really nicely done by the zoo to draw folks in.


and they even put up mini photo ops.


like this Mistletoe stop.. (and yes, we did take one doing kissie-face. . . but this picture just came out better) :p


but surprisingly, the zoo doesn't seem to have one.

(at least not in any display/enclosure that we came across or saw the park map).


so here, the giant Coke inflatables, are the San Antonio Zoo's Polar Bear exhibit !


there were several signs featuring Polar Bears, including this one that had a height chart.


looking down from the trail inside the zoo near the reptile house, there's a train, an old skool plane, a very retro kiddie merry-go-round, and there was also a circular boat ride, and what looked like a miniature whip.


I'm not the audience for this section of the zoo/park. .it's obviously targeting very young kids.


but yeah, this merry-go-round seemed a bit too ghetto for even me (no organ music playing, or even organ visible). . so didn't even check to see if I COULD go in to ride it - tho I'd assume they would have let me.


Again, I think it's a good concept, and just needs to "fill in" a bit more. . . but as noted, I'm not the target audience here.


a fairly new section was a slab (it's the only way I can describe it), of concrete with some sad old-school rides plopped down on it.


I love the design work on the signage, as well as on the main gates to get into the area (you can get there from either inside the zoo, or from the outside entrance, without paying zoo admission).


It's a great idea, that just doesn't look great at this time. . only sad.


but the idea in concept is good, and hopefully some foliage will grow in, and help make it look less depressing.


(since the signs are saying "now open". . I'm guessing this is a really recent addition).


the entrance to the kiddie park from outside the main gates.


we headed to the car around 5:15pm, checked google maps, and saw that if I just hopped back on 281 to loop 1604, we'd be at SFFT in no time.


and sure enough, even with rush hour traffic, just before a Holiday week, we were pulling into SFFT's lot by ~5:40.


they were NOT busy, but they were open. We were able to pull all the way up to row 12, and were thru security check and in the park in minutes. (and it turned out that it was Bring a Friend Free day for passholders too). . but the weather really worked in our favor.


it was deserted - after checking to see if they were handing out tickets for the Majesty of Christmas - the big Nativity show they do, with live animals (it turned out they were not, at least for the early show, they told us just join the line), we headed to the left, and I grabbed a walk on ride on Goliath.


Back row on left side. . only one on back end of coaster. . great ride.


Here's the main entrance way, before we cut left over to Goliath.


it was only ~5:50, and they didn't open the theater for the 6:30 Magestry of Christmas for another 10 minutes, so we wandered up to the central plaza to look closer at the lights/photo ops, and I found Tweety and Taz posing.


so yep, I stopped.


the walk thru ornament is from last year, but I think the light up presents might be new this year?


so pretty, and with the ground all wet, they reflected beautifully.




and I found one other couple who was looking around for someone to take pictures (for some reason, although there were some professional park photogs out? they weren't in the central plaza. .they were further up towards the gate - I got one of them to do a Tweety/Taz for me. . but here? we were on our own, so "Traded' taking pics of folks, who then took pics for us.


that's how we both got in this pic.


and in this one, inside the giant ornament.


So pretty. . . looking back towards the main entrance from the central plaza.


the people lining up on the right are waiting for the gates to open so they could go inside to the theater for the Nativity show.


Gates opened, so we headed to the theater, but not before snapping a pic as we walked back.


Boomerang *was* open. . actually *all* coasters were open, but they weren't cycling much, since there were no lines.


We went into the theater about 20 minutes before the show started, and ended up sitting about 4 rows back on the aisle (which is used during the production for animals, and singers to come down).


Nick didn't mind, since it was warm in here, and we had cushioned seats (this is the big theater that has the individual seats, not benches).


I posted this pic on my FB while sitting here and commenting that "I'm SUCH a good Jew"


to which my Brother responded with a pic of him dressed as Santa Claus with my Sister-in-Law on his lap. . . saying it was HIS Chanukah costume.




inside sitting. . . in a mostly empty theater.


tho i think they may have gotten ~150 people for the 1st showing (and the 2nd showing later that night seemed to have at least 500).


the voices were, for the most part, really good.


in particular the lead narrator, and the male Angel. Broadway level talent in this show here.


and neither the donkey nor the camel pooped on stage during the 30 minute show. . . so that's a win, right?


the Male angel, who I noted had a good voice dropped down from the ceiling to sing


and he was joined by two female angels who swung out on leads from the sides of the stage over the audience.


really well done production values. . . it was good for a "standard" show. . but for a theme park show?


really impressive.


and when the 3 kings came down the central aisle. . one of whom on a large camel?


wow moment.


and the animal was so well behaved on the stage!


here is where it got a bit funny, and Nick and I both giggled a bit. . . as it turned into a Saturday Night Live skit.


the two angels came back out from the sides of the stage, and I suppose are supposed to gently float back and forth.


whomever was controlling the rigs? had them doing FULL swings from side to side, over the audience.


the ladies had big smiles plastered on their faces, but they were starting to turn a little bit green as they continued the violent swings.


maybe the regular operator was out sick, and a child had grabbed the joystick controller?


they got some big swings in tho. . .


we enjoyed the show, and then continued our way around the park.


in the alleyway across from Sangerfest Halle - over by where the entrance to Bugs' Whitewater Rapids is, were all the Holiday food offerings, set up in tents - including Bread Bowls full of Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Tortilla Soup, or Chili; Hot apple cider, Bacon wrapped meatballs, cobbler in a cone (blueberry, cherry, apple), and several different drink options.


Neither of us were really hungry, but we had Snack options to use on our dining pass (which was good for most of the Holiday snacks), and I still have a full meal voucher (from the Joker commercial shoot) which had to be used by end of 2019


And since we were right across from Sangerfest Halle, we could get the food, and go in there (where it was warmer) to sit and eat.


so I got the Broccoli Cheedar Bread Bowl (Snack), Nick got the Apple Cobbler cone (snack), and for the meal voucher, we got the turkey leg and a soda. . and we sat down in here to nibble. . .and it turned out there was a show starting in here at 7:30, so we hung out and waited for it while we ate.


Nick with his Apple Cobbler cone.


Here's the show that was in Sangerfest Halle: "Happy Holidays" - new for 2019


from the Holiday in the Park page:

Contemporary winter classics like “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” resonate in Sangerfest Halle during this updated version of Happy Holidays!


we stayed for about 15 minutes of it. . they were um. . . .very energetic.


decent voices (tho not as good as the ones in the Nativity show), but they came out into the center of the hall and did some songs "in the round". . so they got pretty close to where we were sitting. . which made "someone" I was with a little uncomfortable. LOL


(I told him we couldn't leave while they were so close, it was rude. . but the moment the mike stands made it back up to the main stage? we booked it and went next door for the Carousel).


on a Carousel. . so big smiles, even tho he was miserable with how chilly it was.


the Carousel organ seemed to be refreshed and back, and was playing versions of Christmas tunes. quite lovely.


Didn't get my bunny, as this ride actually did have a lot of kiddos on it, and one of them went directly to White Rabbit.


So instead I rode an ostrich.


what was interested, is that there were TWO benches on the carousel, not just the standard one, that this particular one has always had. (or that I would swear always had).


so either SFFT got enough requests to add another bench for those that wanted to ride with the kiddos, but can't do animals and need to sit? or, they are rotating out rows of animals to keep them maintained, and dropping in the bench where needed to replace the missing row.


either way, it's great to have two benches now, for those that wish to sit,and not have to climb onto anything.


the organ, and the back of one of the benches.


the nasty weather was playing havoc with some of the lights. . . a chunk of the big tree in Rockville was out (but otherwise the tree still was lovely).


the "snow" (ie: foam) was still blowing like crazy from the rooftops thruout our visit tho. .and you can see remnants of it on the ground in this pic.


we were headed to Wonder Woman tho. . . even tho Nick was DONE at this point, not even wanting to ride the train. (Holiday Express). . . but he was willing to wait for me, which I said I was going to ride if it was a short line.


no one was in line.


I seriously walked right onto a train in the station, and directly into the back seat (only the 1st two seats were taken).


whee. . and as usual. . this sucker was FLYING when the track was wet.


see? here's a side view of the station when we walked over to the boardwalk to check things out (dead over there too, but since Nick was done riding, we skipped Pandemonium, wave runner, spinsanity, the Disc-o, and Pirates).


Wonder Woman line is non-existant. . directly into the station, and onto the train.


we missed the Singing Saps (trees with animated mouths/eyes that sing carols. . we saw them, but it was between "shows" so they were just regular trees when we passed them).


but we did catch a couple of songs by the TinselTones in Rockville, as we passed by coming back from the Boardwalk.


they are a very good acappella group, and they do Christmas Carols.


a little blurry, but looking back down the main street of Rockville (soon to be DCU??). . you can see that the weather took out not only some lights in the main tree? but also the lights in the trees on the right side of the street.


we saw something similar in CrackAxle, where the left side of the street, all the trees were out.


we got stopped by the Holiday Express going by, so got a chance to snap some pics of Joker/Supervillain Swing at night.


both rides look incredible at night.







wheeeee!! that sucker REALLY gets up there.


I hadn't planned to ride Joker, but told Nick that if the line was short, I'll hop on it.


yes, it's cold, and this ride - being all about the velocity of the swing - would probably really be cold. . but if there was a short line? I wanted to take advantage.


it was less than a 2 minute wait to get into the funhouse (and after that, another 2 minutes to get on the ride. . so I got in line and he waited for me).


pic from the queue.


Joker really is incredible at night.


a handful of pics to close out this TR continued in next post!

Edited by bert425
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12/20 trip continued


about to get on Joker


oh. .I forgot to mention, the Wonder Woman statue in front of golden lasso coaster is MIA (maybe having work done?). .but finally, the Superman statue has shown up across from the entrance to Krypton Coaster.


looks great!


new ride signs are up all over the park.


Personally, I think people are going to be afraid to ride it, so hopefully the line will stay rather short.


no fireworks tonight. . not sure they even do any during holiday in the park. . but it was way too wet for them to do any regardless.


but the waterfalls really look incredible at night, reflecting back the Holiday lights.


Looking back at the bright ring of white, that Joker provides at the apex of it's swing.


another new for 2019 "show" we caught:





yeah.. . it's like if World Of Color mechanicals were sourced by the Dollar Store.


or if the Bellagio Fountains were in front of Circus Circus.


it wasn't "bad". . let's just say that we've seen way better, and it was a little underwhelming.


but the music was enjoyable, and the lights and movement WAS synchronized pretty well.



the Launch towers have been moved over to the boardwalk, and they have begun working on the ride area for "DareDevil Dive". . in the ride pad spot over near Rattler where Wagon Wheel used to be way back when.


no one working tonight, of course. . .but the equipment is there.


this is going to be a stunning picture spot once the new ride is in place!


Ratter was almost a walk on, but I could tell from Nick's disapproving look when I noted that "the line wasn't even on the ramps" that he was DONE. So I will just ride it on my next visit (when it's back to 2 train ops), and we continued on towards the main gates.


this is a new section for 2019, between CrackAxle and Santa's workshop. . .called "CandyCane Lane"


it really is well done, and the colors look fantastic! (even, again, with some lights victim to the weather)


a peek at Scream down the train tracks


me and candy canes. . .Yummy!


Nick yelling at me that he's cold and I stopped to take another picture. . .LOL


we popped into Santa's Workshop, since there was absolutely no line.


I would have done a picture with Santa, but then realized it was professional pics they are selling for ~$20, so I was happy just to get a peek inside the building.


very well done, with some nice Christmas trees.


unfortunately, this lady stepped right in front of Santa when I snapped this pic, so you can only kinda see him. .but he's there, with a kiddo on his lap. (yeah, only line 5 people here, and she got in my picture. . LOL. . oh well).


the Cast Members working out front of the workshop were in a great mood, even tho it was cold!


and were happy to be in a pic with me.



it was maybe 8:45 at this point, as we headed back to the main plaza (i had to get my pics from earlier). . so lovely.


and even better with the reflections, since there was no crowd about.


not great for the park, I suppose, but great for pictures!


SO pretty.


I'm a purple Prezzie


and Nick is Blue


yeah, we're leaving when there are no lines, and I could ride things more. .but OK, I've had a great time.


besides, look what I just spotted up front, with NO line for pics.


yep, all of em out, in Holiday garb!


i knew there was no way we'd be hanging around long enough to get the Professional Photog pic, but his assistant happily took my phone to snap some pics for us too (it was the lady that marched with the baton in the Mardi Gras parade back in Feb, and she was flattered I remembered her!).


but that's why Nick is not looking at my camera, but instead is staring straight ahead at the professional pic taker.


(note tho that most of the character actors realized that we were headed out and that MY camera would be the one to look at).


love Babs' pose :)


here is the professional pic from earlier


and a few of me on Wonder Woman.


Pretty much an empty train. . love this pic


and with Holiday Border



and Wonder Woman border


and here's Goliath with Holiday border.


worth it to pick up the cheap annual photo pass option, just for pics like these :)


Hope you enjoyed!


Goliath standard boarder

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Great report!


Fiesta Texas's holiday show looks quite a bit different than the ones at New England and Great Adventure. The one up here is a combination of music and dancing and stunts.




as to the "big" show. . . as I always say, Texans love their "Church". . . even with the small audience, the crowd actually applauded when Mary gave 'birth' and they announced Jesus was born.


a little strange, since we're not all that religious. . but as noted, the voices were mostly excellent. So it was well worth seeing

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  • 1 month later...

So. . yesterday was my Mom's Yahrzeit (the anniversary of her Death).


it's been 3 years, but is still a really tough day for me.


So instead of just sitting at home and staring at the candle i lit in her memory (and being depressed), I hopped in the car, and headed to Fiesta Texas - Spouse didn't come with, as we're having some work done at the house, and he wanted to stay here to monitor



as I put it on Facebook: "think I'm gonna drive down to Fiesta Texas for a couple of hours and ride a roller coaster, instead of being depressed."



they were only open from 10:30- 6pm (but were hosting some Membership benefit from 6-7), so figured I'd stay 3-4 hours, and try some of the Mardi Gras food offerings, since on dining plan.


Ended up being the perfect day to go. . . not only the typically dead Sunday mornings (pre-church), but it never did get busy (if members were coming out for the ERT, they waited until late afternoon to show up), and as the weather was absolutely GORGEOUS - 1st nice day this year. . . folks apparently did other things rather than go to a theme park.


petty much everything was walk on (I rode WW 4X and twice didn't even have to get out of my seat to walk around, since no one was in line). . . Iron Rattler twice (sadly, they are still running only 1 train, so even station wait took a good 15 minutes. .it was nuts!. . .but when I got back and the guy I was sharing with got out, I asked if I could stay in the seat since no one was waiting in my row - 3rd from back - so got two rides in a row).


Joker was almost walk on too, tho it went down a few times while I was there, and I ended up waiting ~15 minutes for them to reset and cycle a few times. People will NEVER learn not to pull down on the restraint, even tho they announce that over and over.


Superman, Poltergeist, Skyscreamer.. pretty much EVERYTHING was walk on.


the only rides that were down? Gully Washer (rapids), and the Train.


did a lap of the park, riding things. . . ate lunch, met Sylvester and Tweety, and then headed out by 3:30 pm.


all in all, I left my house at 10:15 am, got to park at 11:45. . . left park at 3:30, and pulled into the house right at 5pm.

And got a good amount of rides in.


checked out the construction for the new Daredevil Dive "air-race" type ride - foundation is poured, and checked out the refurbs they have been doing on Bug's Whitewater Rapids (all animatronics on the flume working, and the new queue looks GREAT) as well as Pirates of the Deep Sea (all targets working, new guns - tho hard to aim, at least they are period appropriate - and repainted cars that look fantastic).


on to the pics:


I'm here. . selfie sent home to let spouse I made it OK


(he was worried about me driving on this day)


parking lot was pretty empty


since the park is year round now, they are celebrating Mardi Gras from 1/18-early March


the signage/decorations look great


looking puffy. .which is nuts, since i haven't eaten yet today. I blame the camera angle :p


look how dead the park is behind me! they had been open almost an hour and 1/2 at this point.


the Cajun Croc statue is up again in front of the main plaza.


there were a ton of photo-ops set up thruout the park, but no park photographers to take pics! Since I was solo, didn't stop to get really any of em, as I didn't want to hand my phone to a stranger for a solo pic.


I did get a handler with Sylvester and Tweety later to take a pic of me, and I mentioned the lack of Photogs, and he admitted he didnt' know what was up, since they are "supposed to be out"


as I was leaving, I did see a few roaming around the main plaza. . but since wasn't gonna hang around for an hour for the digital pic to download to the photo-stand? still didn't get any.


in line for Iron Rattler


Sadly, still running 1 train ops (i was shocked to see this). .and due to "holding the line" prior to flash pass merge, was on a ramp, even tho it was really a station wait.


looking down at Iron Rattler's empty queue.


holding the phone up over the construction walls to get some pics of the new ride going in.


you can see the placement of it (over where the old Wagon Wheel Enterprise used to be).


this is gonna visually be stunning when they start to go vertical.


but the foundations are poured already.


here's a better shot of the poured foundation for the central "stalk" that will support the ride


a walk on to Skyscreamer (that NEVER happens), and the Hawks were out too. . so cool to be swinging above the hawks - followed by a walk on to Superman.


Here's Skyscreamer from Superman's queue. surprising to see empty seats.


oh. . how full was Superman's queue?




PERFECT day to go, wish you were here with me.


event tho dead, they were running 2 trains.


So got this pic of the 2nd train in the loop, as was going down exit ramp from my ride.


I had seen from the brake run that Joker had NO line as well.


so headed there.


got stuck in this spot, since the ride went down for ~10 minutes as i walked up. But I just waited for it.

I mean, it's due to the restraints, and I was in the shade anyways :)


ok. . cycling (3-4 times) after every downtime. . that's what makes the wait on this ride lengthy sometimes.


Looking up from my spot in line, as it cycled for the 3rd time. . just before they sent us thru the funhouse.


but still got a fantastic ride on it after a short wait.


I bypassed Batman since wasn't in a "flipping" mood so soon after Joker, and instead was really shocked to see THIS was the queue for Wonder Woman.


I mean. . I knew the park was pretty dead, but I've never (outside of ERT) seen the Wonder Woman queue like this.


they weren't even batching riders, and as noted, got to ride it 4 times in a row, twice without having to get out of my seat, since there was no one in line when my train got back!


ended up with Jambalaya/cornbread - which is counted as a "snack" on the meal plan!


it was ok, but not nearly spicy enough. And I loved interacting with the folks working the food booths. They were kinda bored since it was so quiet, but we had a lot of fun chatting while they were making up my food. Even they commented they wished it was spicer - but I realize they have to "dull it down" for the masses.


and to be honest? it did kinda give me the craps later last night. but it was good at the time :)


the Mardi Gras street performers seemed to outnumber the guests in some parts of the Park.


but all were in a great mood, and seemed to be having a good time interacting with everyone.


i'm guessing the beautiful day helped.


took a walk over to the Boardwalk for a ride on Pirates of the Deep Sea.


they've done some quiet refurb on it, as all targets are now working, the cars all have the same "pirate-style" guns, and the cars have been repainted and look great!


didn't want to ride any of the spinning rides on the boardwalk, so headed over for a ride on Bug's Whitewater Rapids flume.


along the way, passed Mardi Gras Tweety & Sylvester out - with a handler who KNOWS how to frame a pic, so got this fantastic pic in front of Sangerfest Halle


Bug's still has the sign in front noting "pardon our dust". . it's been over a year!


but they actually are doing a ton of work on the queue.


the figures are still mostly missing, but the scenes that are there, are looking fantastic.


the empty sad throne, now is lit with LED diamonds, and a sparkling LED curtain behind.


it really looks fantastic!


they've varnished and painted all of the poles in the queue, and hung a lot of new, and touched up shields thruout.


again, looks great


Sam is back and sleeping. . and a bunch of new, fancily adorned, jousting equipment is next to him.


Dragon is still sleeping. .and blowing smoke as he snores.


interestingly, none of the TVs in the queue were on, or even noticeable.


but it doesn't seem as if they are moving away from "the Singing Sword" cartoon theming.


oh. .these are new - they have re-routed some of the inside rooms, taking the queue a slightly different direction.


and have installed Medieval Stocks as part of the queue divider. This is great!


another re-done room. . now opened up so you can see thru into the room next door, and hear the splashing water from the flume (since the load station is just back there).


and what are those up along the top? air blowers! thank goodness, this queue was always very dank and humid. HUGE difference today, and I can imagine that will help with the summer days too.


Logs are still 2 across seating.


and you only really get soaked in the front seat (tho the spitting dragon will get the whole boat on that 1st turn after the mini-drop).


speaking of Dragon.. they now have Sam on Dragon really well lit as you pull out of the station.


and Sam crushed by the drawbridge on the other side of the station, as you return from your ride :)


hard to see, but Joker swinging by thru the trees, as I sat and ate my meal credit before heading out.


yep. . got the Apple Cinnamon Caramel Funnel Cake Sundae - which is considered a "snack". . but I used my meal credit for it.


was still really sweet, but I was able to eat more of it than I had of the strawberry one that I tried in Sept (that was way too sweet).


and I drank water with it. . gotta even out the calories.


Wouldn't be a trip to Fiesta without a ride on the Carousel. . or on my (different colored eyes) Bowie-Bunny.


it was a really long cycle (if I had to guess? he ran a double cycle), and the operator waited maybe 7 minutes before starting it to fill up as many seats as he could.


trying not to think about Mom, and instead focus on having fun.


oh.. they're painting Boomerang (tho it was running today).


looks like a dark orange, and dark teal.


you can see the new colors on the spikes, and the new teal on the Batwing element closest to us - tho they haven't painted these supports yet.


headed out, but stopped for a moment to watch the stilt walkers dancing with kiddos to the brass band in the central plaza.


they put on a good show, with lots of energy, despite the lacking crowd.


on to some ride pics.




and hysterically, since was in the back seat? it cuts off my arms. . LOL


I like the 2020 themed border options tho.


from my 2nd ride on Iron Rattler, after my seatmate left, but they let me ride again since no one was in the queue.



back seat on Wonder Woman, as usual.


back row on Superman too .. no wait, walk on.


without the frame, you catch Poltergeist in the background. never noticed that!

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Nice report! Sorry to hear about your mom.


That was not the section of the park I expected the air race. I was expecting it to be over by the boardwalk for some reason.




I'm thrilled they are putting it there, since Crackaxle has been in desperate need of flats for a long, long time.

to be even clearer, they are in desperate need of "family" flats - since the only non-coasters on that side of the park, are the two kiddie rides in front of Iron Rattler, Gully Washer Rapids (that is often down in "winter" months) and the Train Station.


so DareDevil Dive still doesn't address that problem.


I've been saying (in park surveys that I get after every visit) for YEARS now - CrackAxle needs a family ride, why not put a next gen Trabant in the space where that radio station building is over by the entranct to Diamond Lil's? It would easily fit, and the park hasn't had a Trabant since they removed the one from Boardwalk in the 2010 timeframe. . .(or maybe it was sooner than that). Theme it to a Wagon Wheel. .presto, fits right into the area.



but yeah, they moved Slingshot over to the Fiesta Bay Boardwalk (back where it used to be, funnily enough), and are putting DareDevil Dive on the old Enterprise ride pad, over in CrackAxle.


So even tho it's not a "family" flat? I'm glad to have a new flat on that side of the park.

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  • 6 months later...

So. . 1st time back in the park since end of January! (1st time in ANY park, really, since Covid).


wow. . really can see the difference in the pics in prior update for DareDevil Dive and the complete ride from yesterday (8/22).. can likely also see the difference in me, since I'm 43 lbs lighter now. LOL. . but the mask hides my slimmer face


anyways, some quick take aways before the pics:



- of COURSE for the 1st time in months, central Texas got heavy rain today in the morning - so the park was way more crowded than I had hoped for, since no one really went into the waterpark until after the afternoon sun heated things up ~3pm. So yeah, there were some pretty long lines resulting in my bypassing some coasters (Goliath, Superman), and some flats (Joker).


-- the Halloween Decorations are already up in the main plaza (in August!)


- everything other than the mini-teacups, Pirates of Deep Sea, and Supervillain Swings was operating (the swings were up and down thruout the day, and they were *trying* to get it running. . but something mechanical going on. I happened to Notice Park President Jeffery Siebert looking at it while I was in the Joker line earlier in the day (before bailing) and waved him over to say hello, compliment him on how great the new ride looks, and ask about Supervillain Swings, and he told me they were working on getting it up). But it went down again while I was in line for it.


-- the park is doing a fantastic job in terms of Covid steps: -Hand Sanitizer stations *everywhere* .

-Flats sprayed down every hour with sanitizer spray (then cycled to dry off)

-Several areas set up to remove masks if needed for a short time.

-Extra outdoor seating set up near restaurants that have indoor dining rooms.

-Announcements on rides, reminding people they must wear masks at all times, including DURING the ride, and please maintain distance in line.


of course, they can't police selfish guests - so there were many (MANY) walking around with masks off (sipping beer or soda - to get around the mask loophole of "not needed while eating or drinking"). And just as many wearing mask below their nose - despite every announcement saying "mask must cover mouth AND nose".


So yeah. . did my best to avoid these morons, tho hard to do in a ride line.


-- Speaking of Covid precautions - the distancing on rides is *really* impacting capacity. Even with many coasters running 2 trains - with every other row blocked? the lines move slow.

-Wonder Woman only has 2 trains right now(the 3rd is being refurbed) - and any group of 3 or more get their own train. it's painful to watch 5 empty seats go out, when there's a long line

- some flats also impacted: Joker (which seats 40 I think) was cycling with 12 or less riders - depending on how the groups were coming in (that's why I ditched the line and went to WW instead). The Disc-O had a similar issue (tho I waited and rode that anyways, as the line was pretty short).


-- so yeah. If it's a rare opportunity to visit SFFT? I'd recommend spend the $$ for FlashPass


-- the new ride looks AMAZING. And completely ready to go. I won't be surprised if it opens in the next few weeks (quietly). Fantastic theming - even if I still say Steampunk is weird for CrackAxle area. Even the sign is automated - the Propeller Spins. a bunch of pics of it below.


my Reservation was for 11 (the park opened at 10:30), and tho I pulled into the lot ~11:10 - drizzle most of the ride, combined with heavier storms once I hit loop 1604 in San Antonio delayed me a little bit - I was shocked to see how full the parking lot was.


turned out that every other spot (double spots) were blocked with cones. . so tho it LOOKED really full, it wasn't too busy.


at least it stopped heavy rain, and was just a light drizzle.


I didn't HAVE to park this far back, by the way. I just always park pretty far back (near the security stand) for the steps.


the "new entrance" - where they direct the crowd thru these tents for the temperature screen before you get to the main entrance/metal detectors - and then onto the main gates.


going into the Temperature Check tent. . . you don't even stop, just walk thru and they scan you from a little kiosk at the end. So all in all, took less than 10 seconds, and I was onto the main entrance.


where there is a touch free, no-stop/no-empty pockets Metal detector. Again, took less than 5 seconds.


I really liked this, and hope they KEEP this technology even when Covid is under control.


the whole time there are recorded messages and signs telling folks to wear masks at all times, covering Mouth & Nose. All guests over the age of 2.


Since nothing really operated until ~12:15 (once the storms cleared out and things dried off). . I wandered and took some pics in the overcast early day.


huh. .it appears the have Halloween stuff up already.


Yup. . they have the FrightFest stuff up.


the new paintjob on Boomerang does look good, but no, I didn't bother riding it today.


so weird. . LOL


Even tho the rain had gone to just a light drizzle? people were acting like it was a huge downpour, huddling under umbrellas and wearing ponchos.


they had opened up the kiddie rides here in CrackAxle - as the heavy rain stopped, but everything else was still closed.


lots of folks hiding under shop overhangs.. leaving lots of open space in the pathways. . . so I decided to wander down thru CrackAxle to take a look at the progress for the new ride.




the ride is DONE.


theming is Done

Lighting packages are Done (this thing is going to look AMAZING at night, with tons of red & purple LEDs not only around the ride, but also in the trees around the entrance pointing to it).


it looks like it could be open right now. I expect the only reason it's not? is because they want to hold off advertising till after Covid calms down so they can really promote it.


but yeah. .this ride is completely ready to go.


The Gear in the sign spins, with the propeller attached to it, so the propeller spins too.



Test seat ready to go.


I still don't really "get" the Steampunk theming, and I really don't think it "fits" well here in CrackAxle - but who knows, maybe they are going to increase the Steampunk feel thruout this section? I mean, Iron Rattler trains are kinda/sorta Steampunk, so it would only be a light overlay to make it all fit better together.


but this ride looks absolutely fantastic. The colors, the attention to detail. . . I wish I could have seen it testing while I was there, but yeah. .it's ready to go.



and the attention to detail in the Queue.


1st SFFT impressed me with the Pirates of the Deep Sea queue.

then they blew me away with the funhouse in the Joker queue.

and now this queue looks pretty amazing as well! Couldn't really tell what is "hidden" in the covered portion, but Mr. Siebert did say it was "interactive". . so there must be doo-dads to touch/play with (a big no-no right now, so that also might be factoring into holding off official opening right now).


so well done


the covered portion of the queue - it goes back and forth between these displays, that LOOK like the gears are going to be moving (otherwise, why enclose them in plexiglass - to protect fingers). Can't wait to see this queue in action.



even the electrical boxes are "hidden" behind themed elements.


Really good job SFFT. . .


looking down behind the covered portion of the queue to note some "signage" on the walls around the ride, as they did in the Iron Rattler queue as well.


views in this location is wonderful, giving those who aren't riding, something to watch.


Since the covered queue used to be the covered seating for Chop Six, there are now more outdoor tables here for that restaurant (pic from the Chop Six deck).


more theming


glare, and my reflection. . but trying to get a better look at the gears, in the covered portion of the queue.


I had heard Iron Rattler and Roadrunner starting to test, and at this point, I caught one of Rattler's trains zooming by, so I headed back towards the entrance to see if they had opened the line yet.


Nope - tho really, this wasn't much of a line as they hadn't opened the queue, so I went ahead and got in line.

it took about 20 minutes (and lots of cycles) before they opened up the queue entrance - and meanwhile right behind us, Roadrunner Express was doing the same thing.


Result was that this area of the path got really crowded - no social distancing possible. . for a good 20 minutes (which was a real shame, as they were TRYING to keep folks separated once you got INTO the queue, but prior to that? One big jam packed section).


I almost got out of line and left, to keep myself "safe". . but as you can see, with one glaring exception - not right next to me - everyone was wearing masks. . so just stayed where I was, and tried not to get too close to anyone even if they were right on top of me. more like 2 feet (or less) apart than 6 tho.


it was hard to tell how they were handling the seating, since the trains were all running empty till this point. . but they WERE running two trains on IR.


Eventually they chain dropped, and let us into the queue proper tho.


they were holding the line at the Flash Pass entrance, and only allowing into the station enough to fill each train at a time. as you can see in this pic, they have every other row blocked off.


so even with two trains running, and me being there at the ride open, it still took about 25 minutes to get my ride. all in all tho, not TOO bad.


the *do* let you pick your own row, tho if the row you want already has someone in it? you will be directed to fill an empty row (remember, they are filling the station only for the next train each time - so you can't wait in the station for the next train to get the row you want if it's already full).


I ended up in row 3 (the 2nd usable row), since the rows towards the back were already full.


after getting the pic stuff as resolved as possible while in the park, I decided to head to Aztek Nacho to grab lunch.


turned out it wasn't open - I would guess it was because the Superman line was ALL THE WAY out into the walkway and snaking past the Aztek Nacho stand. (that was because the Superman line absolutely was observing social distancing of 5-6 feet between groups, so it made that line long). Also, again, because no one had yet gone into the waterpark - it was still overcast. So the "dry" parts of the park had some pretty long lines.


Joker didn't seem to have too long of a line, and it was really spaced out - also keeping the 5-6 feet between groups - tho they WERE using the funhouse.


I questioned the guy placing more queue stanchions outside the main ride, that I was surprised they were using the indoor portion, instead of just routing folks around it? And he said they only let one group thru at a time, so since I'm alone? I should expect to go thru alone.


oooo-kay then.


so got in line.


and barely moved for a couple of cycles.


I couldn't figure out what was going on, then realized that for every few cycles, they were sanitizing, then cycling the ride to dry it off.


ok, that seems smart enough, no big deal.


while waiting, I noticed that Supervillain Swing was chained off, and I saw someone who looked like Park President Jeffery Siebert (hard to tell with mask from across the way) heading into the ride, and talking with someone at the main stalk


when he came back out the entrance, I waved him over - and he came over right away (he's just that nice and personable), and his name tag confirmed it was him.


I asked him about the ride, and he told me they were trying to get it up. and I complimented him on how great DDD looked (I think he really appreciated I didn't ask when it was going to open. . LOL), and how much I was loving the Covid precautions, even tho I know it impacts capacity pretty bad.


He thanked me for my comments, told me it was nice seeing me again (not sure if he remembers me from 6 months ago. . but probably, he's that good with Customers) and wished me "a Six Flags Day". . .LOL



at this point, I had gotten to the main entrance of the ride (till now had been in the overflow stanchions) and noticed that they were cycling Joker with only 10-12 people on the ride.


the lady behind me said. . that's weird, must be only for this ride. But from where we were, I could see how they were loading standby for the next cycle - and again was only 4-6 people on the side nearest us.


quickly doing the math, I realized it was going to be at least an hour until I made it to the ride, so bailed and instead headed to Batman - which only took maybe 5 minute wait to get a ride.


then continued on to Wonder Woman.


which looked to not have much of a line at all.


especially since the WW queue was truly enforcing the 6 ft between groups.


I ended up waiting about 20 minutes for Wonder Woman, because it turned out (as noted in the opening comments), they are only running 2 trains. And due to Covid? any group of 3 or more? get their own train.


so yeah. . capacity is terrible at the moment for this, and if you want to ride it? I'd budget for Flash Pass, unless you don't mind standing in line for a bit.


it's worth waiting for.


at this point, I was hungry, so headed over to Sangerfest Halle to grab lunch with the meal plan.


I was worried maybe I had made a mistake coming to SFFT today (due to Covid and wanting to keep my Spouse - who's high risk - safe). . but I knew 100% I made a mistake here with my choice for lunch:


Chimichanga with Chilli & Cheese, guac & Sour Cream.


not only not healthy? but sheesh. . . so many "runs" to the toilet last night! LOL


oh well, at least when it goes thru ya that fast, no calories can stick :p



No trays or open plates at the moment - everything comes in to-go containers, and you have to ask for a sealed silverware/napkin pack at the register)


inside Sangerfest Halle - they removed a few tables, spread out those still there (including taking over where the seating would have been for the shows, if they had been doing them). .and took out benches from every other table, to ensure distancing.


yes, it was inside, but it was pretty open (they keep the doors open too), and I felt safe enough to remove my mask in here to relax and eat something.


this is how they are handling the drinks - at the side of the Sangerfest Halle opposite the food service: You give the counter lady your order, and she gets the drink for you, be it beer, soda, or water.


once I had eaten (badly), of COURSE I was going right next door to ride my beloved Carousel.


They didn't have any animals marked as "off limits" but they WERE spraying down the entire Carousel every hour on the hour, then cycling it to dry off. (I asked the operator while we were waiting for the disinfecting spraydown - since of COURSE i timed it that I got there right at the top of the hour).


funny tho, I happened to be at the perfect angle to catch the disinfector spraying down "my" white Rabbit.


and I got to ride him, since I was at the front of the line, so went directly to him.


you can "See" the smile, even thru the mask.


I had knocked off Rattler, Batman, and Wonder Woman off my list today, so the next coaster I wanted to hit was Poltergeist.


they were only running 1 train, and with every other row blocked off, I knew this would be a 30-40 minute wait. . . but I wanted to let the food settle anyways, so just got in line.


(I was off just a little - it took ~28 minutes total).


Scream from Poltergeist line. (I was headed towards the boardwalk after, so would hit this next)


Poltergeist was only running 1 train. . . so I was used to this line taking a long time. Tho wish they had both on,since with 1/2 the seats empty, they could easily cycle both trains (the reason they don't seems to be the loading time is so long due to the weird restraints. .so the 2nd train ends up sitting on the brake run in the sun).


but oh well..I'm just happy I get to ride it. I've missed this ride.



and man. . was it hauling!


i dont' know if it's because the train was lighter with half the seats empty (so the launch felt faster?). . but it was the fastest I've ever felt this coaster go.


I rode towards the back, and there is definitely a rattle towards the back of the train. Not terrible, and maybe it too, because the train was 1/2 empty.


but great ride.


after a stop at Scream (10 minute wait), I made it to the boardwalk, and JUST MISSED Wave Runner . . she ran it with 3 cars (4 people). . even tho a few of us walked up before she had finished checking the cars, and could have added us.


not a big deal. . but while it was running? one of the disinfect folks came up the exit. . and yep. . . he then took 10 minutes to disinfect every car, and then they cycled it to dry before we could ride.


don't get me wrong. . it's great they are doing this. . just venting frustration.


by this time of day, the sun had absolutely come out, it had started to get hot, and the Boardwalk was pretty dead. . everyone had started to go into the waterpark it seemed.


I killed time waiting for the disinfect cycle by playing on my phone and taking pics.


as I noted, Pirates of the Deep Sea (as an indoor ride) was closed. . and I forgot that Crows Nest Ferris Wheel was closed too - this one I suspect due to the rules they have that no single riders allowed. And since can't pair up strangers? it just wasn't worth the grief to have to argue with folks who wanted to ride. So easier just to close it.. .at least I suspect that.


yay. . finally on Wave Runner


this one too was absolutely HAULING. . ever since it came back from refurb last year (it was down for a long time), this has been running a hell of a great cycle.


So if you're at SFFT, I recommend not to pass this ride up.


I was going to head over to Spinsanity (next gen tilt a whirl), but as I exited Wave Swinger, I saw the disinfectant guy heading up the exit ramp there . . so instead went over to Hurricane Force 5 (outward facing Disc-O). I'm not a fan of these rides, but since the boardwalk was dead, it was a walk-on, so grabbed a ride.


he was still spraying down Spinsanity, so I went and grabbed a solo ride on Pandemonium (LOTS of spinning, when I'm the only one in the car) - that took 10 minutes, and only because a larger guest a couple of cars in front of me was having trouble getting the restraint to click "green". . so the operator stopped the loading until they could manage to get it down far enough (it involved moving them around within their car, and a 'two operator press' to get it to click, but she did get to ride).


by this time, Spinsanity was up and running again, so I made it onto the next cycle there, and spun so much, I actually felt myself turning green. LOL


but that didnt' stop me from a ride on Fireball - the 10 minute wait gave my stomach a chance to calm down. Not the smartest move, since it still involved inversions.


it "hinked" me up enough that I decided to skip Hustler this trip.


as I passed the funnel cake place across from Batman, I figured "oh well. . I have to use my snack credit even tho I'm not hungry.. .and in for a penny with that Chimichanga earlier. . . . . "


so here ya go: Cinnamon Apple funnel cake sundae.


at least I didn't eat all of it!



I continued around the outside of the park - stopping to ride Zoom Jets (love this ride, and it never has a line. . yes, it's basically Dumbo, but it's fun!). Superman line was now zig-zagging back and forth in the queue - even with 2 trains, so skipped it.


Checking the Skyscreamer line? it was really long, and with them only loading every other seat? yeah, skippedi t this trip too. So instead, I headed over to see if the Iron Rattler line had shortened (it hadn't).


I wasn't quite ready to go home yet, so a 20 minute wait for Roadrunner Express was a good back up plan.


I had planned to ride the train, but just missed it.. so instead walked back over towards Skyscreamer, cut thru to the German section and grabbed on more ride on Poltergeist (this time a 15 minute wait).


I headed to the front, dealt with the Photo Booth (and get the print out of my Iron Rattler pic), and tho took a peek at Goliath? decided the line was simply too long.


it was about 5:45, and I'd been in the park for just over 6 hours. . so with that? I headed home, after a fun day.


it was more crowded that I expected - with Covid restrictions - but again, think that was mainly because of the rain in the morning keeping the waterpark section empty for a good chuck of my day there.


I got a bunch of rides in, tho no re-rides, other than Poltergeist.


can't wait to go back again in the next few weeks. . if things calm down maybe can even get spouse to come with.




mask on, hands up.


(this is a picture of the hard pic - so sorry if blurry). I was having issues with my photo pass: every time I tried to scan a picture, it would throw an error saying my card was invalid. Even tho it is.


I went up to the photo counter at the front and spoke to a manager who showed me that the pics WERE on the card, so even tho the system said they were not on there? they were.


I stopped on my way out to confirm the pics I had gotten thruout the day were on my card, and tho they DID show up when they scanned the card? it also threw the same error saying the card was invalid.


the manager told me several folks were having the same problem, and not to worry about it. He also gave me his email to contact him if I had issues when I got home.


not that I didn't trust him, but to ensure I at least got the Iron Rattler pic, I used my 1-a-month free pic, to get a print out of that shot (choosing IR over WonderWoman). . so that's what this pic of a pic is.


oh, and of course, when I got home? the system doesn't recognize my card, and won't log me in. I reported it to Six Flags, and also emailed the Manager.. we shall see if I ever get those pics.


even tho it's extremely difficult to social distance in the Iron Rattler queue itself, just due to the "narrow hallway" layout.


we're maybe 4 feet apart while in this queue. Most with masks on tho. and it IS all outside (although covered).


I made a conscious effort not to lean on any handrails, or touch anything (keeping my hands folded in front of me) while in the queue. Something (amazing to me) that others did NOT do - everyone was leaning on the rails that the folks in front of them had also leaned on. so strange.


but I felt safe enough.


the spacing was enough that even tho there weren't that many folks in front of me? It filled up 4 entire ramps.

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  • 1 month later...

It’s been a bit since I got out of the house – doing our best to stay as safe as possible during these crazy times.

but when an acquaintance from TPR, Condor, messaged me that he and his Dad were swinging thru Texas on a quick Theme Park trip and was I interested in joining them for a day?   I jumped at the chance and said, Yes! And booked my reservation for Yesterday.

I knew it was going to be crowded – FrightFest always is – and recommended that yes, it was a good idea to purchase Flash Pass.   I never buy Flash Pass, since SFFT is my home park, but said that if he does purchase, I’m totally in (it’s cheaper the more people, and we’d likely need it).

How correct I was on that!   I’ve not seen the park so packed in years.    Knew it would be bad from the moment we walked in, but the crowds got bigger and bigger as the day went on, and by the time the fog machines kicked in all over the park (~6pm), forget social distancing.  There were just way too many people to even attempt that (despite the many signs, and security guards holding signs all thruout the park.  

By 7pm, the lines for food/drinks – which had been long-ish thruout the day – became unbearable (hour + waits). .and it’s not that many places were closed.  They were mostly all open. . there were just a LOT of people in the park.


I’m sure that factoring in that Gov. Abbott just this past week relaxed restrictions that included Theme Parks – allowing to operate at 75% capacity – had a lot to do with how crowded it was.  But mainly I suspect that it’s simply closer to Halloween, and people just really want to get out and have some fun regardless of Covid.         At least pretty much everyone WAS wearing face coverings/masks everywhere.    Still lots of hand sanitizer avail everywhere too. . . so felt safe enough, even without really any social distancing happening.

I had a fantastic day, and very much enjoyed the company (another of Condor’s friends from Austin also drove to meet up for a while).

I’ll have comments among the pictures – but just a couple of quick notes:


  •  “FrightFest” is not the branding in 2020 for SFFT at least.  They are calling it “Hallowfest” – and just know there are no actual “haunts” available.   None of them even appeared to have been set up.   Tho there is tons of fantastic theming thruout the park, and they are making liberal use of Fog-machines thruout several areas.  

    there are also no Scare-actors roaming the park – instead, they have put them behind fenced areas (or scenes), and so there is socially distanced interaction with the Scare Actors.     

    Honestly?  I *greatly* prefer this way.   LOVED this – even tho in areas like by the waterfalls, having “scenes” on both sides of the path, made for a huge crush of folks all crammed in tightly together.

    I guess to make up for the lack of haunts, SFFT brought in what they are calling the "Freaky Car Show" - which had 10 or so "freaky" cars, to see.   Majority were together in a queued off area in Los Festivales, but a few others were sprinkled thruout the park.     Most were recreations, but the "moderator" did tell me that 3 are "real" - the Flash Gorden skimmer, the Men in Black car, and the Batcycle.       Kinda cool.

    in addition, there were horror actors coming in every weekend to do meet & greets and have panel discussions thruout the day.  (the ones yesterday were Ray Park (Darth Maul!), and a few from the Resident Evil films (tho I didn't really recognize them).

  • They are now operating most coasters at full capacity, having installed plastic “guards” between the row queues.  (the exception being Wonder Woman, which is still only loading a handful of seats per train – and is only operating two trains while the 3rd is being refurbed).   The real downside of this, is that they have removed WW from Flashpass because capacity is so limited now.  So if you go, don’t expect to be able to use FP for this ride – stand by only, and with literally ~8 seats available across two trains. . . even a shortish line is going to take ~25 minutes.

    Even the flats (such as Disc-o, Joker, the swings), are back to operating at almost full capacity.   Maybe 2 seats open between patrons, instead of what they had been doing on my visit a month ago – were they were loading less than ½ the ride to enforce lots of space between folks.

    in addition, the Indoor and enclosed attractions are back to operating as well:   Pirates of the Deep Sea (indoor Shooter) was operating (and we would have ridden it if it hadn’t broken down while we were in line), and the Ferris Wheel (with the small mostly enclosed pods) was operating too.


  • The shows are back – at least in the outdoor theaters.    We passed a Dia De Los Muertos band performing in Los Festivales theater, as well as a Horror Themed Cover band performing in the big amphitheater over in CrackAxle.     Both shows had really good crowds watching every time we passed them.

  • The park has gone “cashless” – if you want to purchase anything in a store, you either have to charge it, or use a card that you get from converting your cash at several locations thruout the park.     This didn’t impact me at all, and actually helped use my “snack” credit on the dining plan, since the lines in the actual stores (as opposed to food service places) were pretty much non-existant.  

    Speaking of food service. . . they are heavily promoting Online Ordering for food (tho as noted above, many folks were waiting in the walk up lines as well as in the online ordering)

It really was crowded tho - even with 4 of us on the Flash Pass?  In total we only got in 10 rides using Flash pass (and 15 rides total in a 10 hour + day). . frightening to think how bad the day would have been *without* Flash Pass:

Goliath x2
Iron Rattler x2
Superman x2
Poltergeist X1
Pandemonium x1
Batman x1 (standby line)
Skyscreamer x1
Wonder Woman x2 (not on Flashpass)
Bugs Whitewater Rapids (flume) x1
Supervillain Swings x1 (standby line while waiting for Iron Rattler flash pass time)
Train x1 (full lap of park, since only CrackAxle station is operating)

k. . on to pictures!


I'm here!  Tho it's not "FrightFest" this year. . rather it's "Hallowfest". . hmmmmm. . . . wonder what the differences are?  guess I'll find out.

I should mention here, the mask I'm wearing today, was a surprise in the mail gift from @Nrthwnd  (thanks Bill!   it's an awesome mask, and very appropriate for "Hallowfest")

my reservation was at 11 - made weeks ago, to meet up with Condor.    
Tho the park didn't open until Noon today - weird, tho I had checked with SF customer service, and they told me that they open the gates an hour early to help with Social Distancing.

So I didn't worry about it, and sure enough, when I arrived slightly after 11, the lot was open (and already getting pretty full!).   They also had the entire front part of the park, Los Festivales area, open, and were operating both rides there:  Goliath (Batman clone) and Boomerang.


Condor and his Dad had already headed over to the Flash Pass booth, and picked up the "watch", and I met up with them there, and we noted that Wonder Woman wasn't on the Flash Pass.
We went back over to the booth, and asked - to be told that due to the limited capacity on the ride, they weren't offering WW on Flash Pass at this time.   Which is a shame, as Condor really wanted to get multiple rides on it.

We decided that we'd "rope drop" WW, once that was let loose at Noon, but since we still had over 40 minutes before that, we'd head over to Goliath and make use of the Flash Pass for the 1st time to get a ride.     This early, it didn't really save us more than 10 minutes, but hey. . it left enough time for me to go fix the issue that was going on with my photo-pass (which had stopped working on my prior trip in late August, and still get to be near the front of the Rope drop by the Spassburg Train Station, so we could head to WW).



the photo booth wasn't operating at Goliath (I guess because the park wasn't officially open yet, before Noon), but since we headed to fix my Photo-pass right after we got off of it - they "fixed" it by giving me a new card/account. . which really is what they should have done 6 weeks ago so I didn't lose *those* pics -  I knew that I could ask them to find the Goliath pics, as the camera had flashed.

I must say, I *LOVE* the filter options available for Frightfest online.   Multiple for most all rides that have a photo op, in addition to the "standard" ride photo!






Since I had my photopass fixed now, as we headed to rope-drop area, we stopped to pose for an official photo by some of the decorations that were up.

I was surprised when the photog told us we could, and should, remove our masks for the picture if we wanted.   

There was no one near us this early, so went for it.

so yes, the maskless pics (the only ones of the day) were taken here, by an official SF Photographer who told us we could :)




Rope Drop happened, and we bee-lined it to Wonder Woman, and got on in ~10 minutes for our 1st ride.





As we were getting off, Condor's friend texted that he arrived, and so he headed to meet up with him at the front gate, while his Dad and I got back in line (which had lengthened, but was still not too bad yet).   Remember, no Flash Pass, so we wanted to get in at least 2 rides now before the line filled in (later it was running easily a 3 hour queue).

Condor and his friend came back, and with a few excuse me's - came down and met us where we were in the line.     This time we had waited ~35 minutes. . still, not terrible when capacity is ~8 seats for every two trains!    Nobody had issue with them joining us, since the two of us would have ended up in 1 train anyways, so ended up as 4 didn't change the wait time for anyone.

So we got rides in the very back, and in the very front - so Condor & his Dad could experience the different rides you get depending where you sit.

then we headed over towards Superman (which had been down, but came up while we were in line), Skyscreamer, and over to Iron Rattler - making use of the Flash Pass.
which by this point (just after 12:30 was extremely obvious was needed - we had to "excuse me" thru probably 150 people to get thru the Iron Rattler line, to get to the point in the queue were you can take the path to get to Flash Pass queue!   really! ).    I think the Flash Pass time was ~40 minute wait here, tho later, it would be 1:45 and we had to kill that time before we could get in line (where again, we had to "excuse me" our way thru the back end of a full queue to get to the Flash Pass entrance).




Some of the decorations up in CrackAxle.   They didn't have the train station shut down, which implied to me that there was not going to be a zombie horde pouring out of the train as Fright-Fests always has.    So I suspected no Roaming Fright actors later (which was correct).

these decorations are awesome tho. . most of them belched smoke and some fire, too.




from when we passed Iron Rattler on our way to get some food (while killing time before our Flash Pass pinged we were ready).   Shortly after I took this pic?  the line spilled out of the entrance, and around the corner on the right!


the 4 of us In line to get food - at Totally Kickin Chicken.     Was a good choice, as usual, the food was very good (in particular for a theme park).    The wait wasn't fun - 20-30 minutes, I think. . but later on, the lines all increased exponentially.


Showing off our Godzilla shirts. . that's how we knew we'd get along and decided to hang out at the park. .  we both love the Big G 
(and no, we didn't coordinate, we just both happened to show up in Godzilla shirts    LOL)



From the Kickin Chicken ordering line.  

THIS IS THE LINE for Roadrunner Express !!    Well out of the queue and down the walk way.
(this ride does offer Flash Pass, but when Condor looked, it was almost a 2 hour Flash Pass wait, so instead we decided we'd use our next avail. booking for Poltergeist once we ate and rode Rattler, since that one was a much more reasonable 20 minutes or so, giving us time to eat).


the show going on at the theater behind us while we waited in line.   Mainly 80's coversongs. . . but they were decent (and the guitar player was wearing a KISS shirt).

they had a decent crowd - and way more watching a later show when we came by.  Loved they were all performing in facemasks.

yes, LOL, they are called "Wicked Mixx"  (that's TWO "xxes" in Mixx).


hmm. . .theme park friendly?       HAHAHA. . just "sexy" enough to be entertianing!


After our Rattler ride, we headed towards Poltergeist.

THIS is the Flash Pass Retail spot, as we passed by it.   Yes, the line goes all the way outside the queue, and wraps around!
Folks saw the lines and immediately went to Flash Pass to purchase it - and it doesn't appear they were limiting either, based on how many folks we saw wearing the "watches" as the afternoon went on.
(and they had raised the price too. . when Condor picked it up at 11, it was ~$80 per person - it was $95 per person when we passed here).

and to be clear - none of these folks are in line to pick up the Membership Skip the Line passes per visit - there is a separate table for that up near the front gates.   These are all folks getting Flash Pass




over by Poltergeist. . love what they did with the open space in front of the queue!



after Poltergiest, we used the Flash Pass to get an almost Walk On on Bugs - the line was huge, so not sure why this let us book and get on right away. . but it did.

the Spitting Dragon was really drenching everyone, but what really got us were the kids manning the "spray hoses" near the end of the ride - in particular one hit that landed *right* in the crotch of our 4th team member - he kept saying he looked like he pissed himself (which it kinda did). .but was funny as hell.

love the photo "wrap" option, even if it cuts me off in the back row.
(the grouper was going to put us in our own log, but with the line so long - and us skipping said line - I offered to just take the back two rows of the log passing).


this one is better tho.




Condor's friend hadn't been with us when we rode Goliath earlier, so we made a trip back to the front of the park to grab a reride on it.

Since B&M, we went for Back Row, left side - and it really had warmed up from earlier in the day.     It's running great, and is supper snappy.  

I think the only Batman clone that runs better is the one at SFOG (and Condor agreed with on that).

In regards to choosing seats - I do want to mention, we had no issue getting to sit where we requested, on any coaster where they were assigning seats.   A polite request was always met with "sure"
(*the only exception was a reride on Superman. . where the grouper insisted on sending us to row 7, instead of row 8 when we asked for the back (B&M coaster). . . but after they cycled thru all the trains fpr disinfecting - they were running all 3, and the line was still insane! (thank goodness for Flashpass, even tho we had to wait for our time) - row 8 was still empty, so we just moved back to to last row when we boarded.



enjoying the decorations around the park as we roamed.  

no we didn't bother with Boomerang, even tho it IS the scary season!


A pic of the separating screens they've installed in most of the coaster stations (this one is Goliath).
with these "separators" installed, they are filling every row in the coasters now.



a pic of the Parking Lot from Goliath's station.    

yes, even tho a lot of spots are blocked with cones?   there are still a LOT of people here!


SPOOKY on ride from Superman

which was running fantastic, and the night ride was well worth the wait.



it was around 6:30 here, and the scare actors were starting to come out.   And the smoke machines started going into overdrive around the park.

it wouldn't be dark for about another hour, but took advantage of the light to get some pics showcasing how they are set up for frights.

Fenced off "scenes" with the scare actors roaming within these enclosed areas.


and yes, they DID interact with the park guests. . coming up behind to hover in selfies, and "attacking" those who got close to the fence.




we roamed around enjoying the sites, while waiting for our time to come ready for Iron Rattler (a dusk ride):



the queue time on our Gold Flash Pass was over 1:30, so since the Gold is supposed to reduce time by 1/2?  that meant standard was a 3 hour queue.   
From where we entered with the Flash Pass, and looking down?  Yep, they are using the ENTIRE queue - and tho there is some social distancing attempted in this pic?  that's still a LOT of people.



the Iron Rattler Station showing off the plexiglass shields between rows.

they were running both trains, fully loaded.  (and it still had that long of a line)


we had booked another ride on Superman, but it was going to over an hour wait, so decided we'd take a lap on the train (only running one engine, so it took two cycles).

it was close to 7 here, I think. . you can see the smoke starting, and some of the CrackAxle decorations from our place in the Train line.



Daredevil Dive is looking great. . . . so wish it was open already :(


ooooo. . they added Fire effects to it! 

at first I thought it was just for Hallowfest, but the gas attachments appear to be Steampunk themed -  AND tehy are thruout the ride in multiple pipes.  

I think this ride is going to have fire effects!


on the train - they are loading every row - with plexiglass installed between each row.    

Really cuts capacity tho, as many rows are actually two benches facing each other - and with Covid, if someone is in a row?   that means it's "full" regardless of how many are sitting on one bench.

Sun was setting fast, and you can see from the train pics, how dark it got while we were on our loop around the park:


blurry, since train was moving. . but the back side of one of the Scenes.    I liked how the scare actor came over to the back fence to threaten the train passengers as we went by.


so much beautiful track!


don't be fooled by this apparent lack of line at Joker - it was pulling 2 hour plus lines all day, so we skipped it.
(we did ride the blue swings tho!. .that was about a 25 minute wait)


DareDevil Dive from the train. .   this is going to look amazing when running and the train passes it
(and you can see some of the fire effects in that "venting pipe" on the right.


exiting the train - fire effect from a different "Venting pipe"


see?  all around the ride.  . .these Fire effect really look to be part of the lighting/theming package!


the ones on the main sign, did this every 20 seconds or so. . giant fireballs!



it was time for our night ride on Superman, but the ride had gone down.   It's B&M, so rather than cancel our booking and get in a long queue for something else, we decided to wait it out for about 30 minutes. . . but we wanted to get off our feet for a while.   So decided to head to Sangerfest Halle to grab a bench (every other bench/table we passed was occupied since so busy).  Turned out Sangerfest Halle was pretty packed too, but we did eventually find a bench to sit on for 20 minutes until we got a notice Superman was back up and headed that way.

this is a shot of one of the scenes in the area by Bug's WhiteWater Rapids - again, the scare actors contained behind barriers, but messing with folks who got near enough to mess with.



The area really does look quite spectacular!

once we got back to Superman, Condor immediately booked us a night ride for Iron Rattler.    

Only to have the park do something insanely shitty:   They had announced that several of the rides would close early for the big fireworks at 10:30 (it was only ~8:30 now), and that included the Train, Iron Rattler, Wonder Woman, and Superman.   In fact, by the time we got to Superman for our ride, they had closed off the Standby line (to allow them to drain the crowd before the fireworks).  But we were able to use Flash Pass line to get our reservation, since the ride had been down.

but when we got off Superman, Condor got a notice on the Flash Pass that Iron Rattler was now closed - and our reservation had been deleted.

We headed over that way to ask - and along the way, I saw a senior supervisor and stopped to query her why they would cancel reservations?  I understand closing the line off to future bookings, but since the reservations were booked for it on the Flash Pass, they need to honor those if the ride is still cycling (ie: not down for mechanical). . she agreed, and said go see what they tell us at Iron Rattler, and then if not satisfied go talk to Flash Pass office.

we got to Iron Rattler, and sure enough, lots of folks still in queue, and the ride cycling. . . .   The Flash Pass folks just happened to be coming out the entrance, so Condor talked to them and we basically got the "im sorry, we werent' sure when we needed to close" and "we're not sure why it deleted reservations, but go talk to Flash Pass office" -   because honestly, they had come to the park for night rides on Iron Rattler, and tho we had gotten a "dusk" ride, we had a night reservation locked in - it's not right they cancelled it.

as we were starting to walk to the Flash Pass booth, I heard a ride op say to the Flash Pass folks - your Supervisor is not gonna be thilled with y'all!    So I stopped and asked if a lot of people had the same issue we did, and they said yes - and were sending them all to Flash Pass to deal with it.

Not gonna go into the whole thing. . but will just say that we ended up in the Flash Pass queue behind a Hispanic family that was complaining (and since I understand Spanish - hey, I grew up in Texas - I piped in and said - are y'all specifically referring to an Iron Rattler reservation being cancelled?   And they enthusiastically agreed (they had been waiting almost 2 hours only for their reservation to disappear). . so with a big group now (5 of them, 3 of us), the counter guy went to get a Supervisor to talk to us.           

not thrilled with how it went down - terrible that they cancelled reservations from those who had them (and couldn't offer Skip the Line passes for Wonder Woman, since the Flash Pass queue wasn't being used today) - *but*. . . very pleased with the customer service the Supervisor provided, and I think it was a better solution than I could have hoped for.  

I believe Condor was happy to accept the resolution too, even tho We really wanted a true night ride on Iron Rattler.

so just heads up for anyone going. . the park was "open" till 10, with fireworks at 10:30, but two big rides (Superman & Iron Rattler), lock the queue much earlier than that.

once resolution happened, it was ~9:15 and we were near the front of the park anyways. . . (and Condor and his Dad had big day today heading to Dallas - and I had an hour 1/2 drive to get home still). . so we said our goodbyes and they headed out.    Had a great time meeting and hanging with them, and really glad he had reached out to tell me he was gonna be at SFFT so I could drive down to meet em.

was a great day, even with ending issues, and the gigantic crowd.

I decided I'd wander thru the "Freaky Car Show" - since there was no line at this point (and I had taken a few pics around the park earlier in the day of the cars).
so here's the "Freaky" cars that were on display.





the big "Soul Harvest" scare zone at the front of the park - again, surrounded by fence, with the scare actors within)



the Stilt performers probably appreciate not having to keep an eye out for little ones running beneath them!



dark, but he nodded "ok" when I asked if I could use flash (ALWAYS ASK. . don't want to blind the performers)



and with that, I headed out.

way, way too busy, but had a wonderful time, and as noted at the start?  I actually greatly prefer the scare actors being in scenes instead of running around freely.






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got a survey from Six Flags thanking me for my visit, and asking how things went.

was honest in regards to the Flash Pass issue (and that was very pleased with the resolution), and that the lines for any food service were terrible once the park got crowded, but not sure what they could do about it, since it appeared the food service spots were staffed fully.

got a response from them asking if they could contact me further in regards to my "issues"

I haven't gotten back to them yet, but really, the Supervisor on Sat more than exceeded any expectation I had for what they could do to make things better. . so they already had me leaving the park with very good opinion (I only answered the survey honestly, because they asked about the visit).

so will say, once again, SFFT is run the best of any of the Six Flags Parks.    

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1 hour ago, Condor said:

Great photos and recap, Bert! Glad we got to meet up. You were an awesome tour guide. I'll get started on my TR this week!


thanks!  I had a great time meeting up with y'all as well.

can't wait to see your TR, as I'm curious how SFOT went (and read about SeaWorld San Antonio).

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Great report!  The return times with the Flash Pass at Great Adventure this past weekend were equally as crazy.  But I would much rather be strolling around the midway rather than packed into a bunch of switchbacks with others right now.

That's a bummer Wonder Woman was taken off the Flash Pass, but that does make sense with the reduced capacity.

I always find it awkward trying to get to Flash Pass merge points that are inside the main queue.  I had a similar issue at Dollywood earlier this year trying to get to the Timesaver entrance for Lightning Rod when the queue spilled onto the midway.

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5 hours ago, Canobie Coaster said:

Great report!  The return times with the Flash Pass at Great Adventure this past weekend were equally as crazy.


It's strange, right?

I guess folks are so desperate to get out and have some fun, that everyone is coming out, resulting in the crowds.

Covid doesn't seem to be on many folks minds - in particular, the lack of social distancing as the crowds got larger thruout the day (not that really anything could be done about that - if you're letting that many people in?  you're letting that many people in).


5 hours ago, Canobie Coaster said:

But I would much rather be strolling around the midway rather than packed into a bunch of switchbacks with others right now.

Agreed 100%    

heck, we even took a 25 minute break to wait in standby for SuperVillain Swings (W-I-D-E standby line) while waiting for our Iron Rattler FP time.    But yes, wandering thru the scare zones, and sitting down in Sangerfest Halle and people watching while waiting for Superman to come back up (so we could use the FP) was *way* better than standing in the line there with the hundreds of folks right on top of us.

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6 hours ago, CaptainUnknown said:

Eesh, seeing how little you got done even with gold FP, makes me glad I'm budgeting for platinum when I come down next month. Even if there was that deal with the Freaky car show. I'm glad you had fun, but I want more flats and rerides.

there are a few Flats on Flash Pass at Fiesta (not many, but a handful).

but even those like Joker had minimum 45-1 hour wait on Gold.     Granted if you go Platinum, that will cut way down on that, but I believe the only Flats with FlashPass are:

Joker (giant Pendulum)
Bugs' Rapids (Flume)
Scream (Drop Tower)
Skyscreamer (Starflyer)
Hurricane Force 5 (Disc-O)
Pirates of Deep Sea (Dark Ride/Shooter)
Gully Washer (whitewater rafts)

so yeah. .

All the coasters but Wonder Woman have it tho!

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Did the Flash Pass return times shoot up like a rocket once 6 pm hit?  At Great Adventure, 6 pm is the time the evening Halloween activities officially start.  The Flash Pass return times were under 10-15 minutes before 6 pm, but after 6 pm most became 45-60 minutes.

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4 hours ago, Canobie Coaster said:

Did the Flash Pass return times shoot up like a rocket once 6 pm hit?  At Great Adventure, 6 pm is the time the evening Halloween activities officially start.  The Flash Pass return times were under 10-15 minutes before 6 pm, but after 6 pm most became 45-60 minutes.

hmm. . . earlier in the Afternoon,  Poltergeist was less than 10 minutes, as was Bugs' Whitewater Rapids.  and I think Skyscreamer was in the 10 minute range too.

but I think even early, Superman was in the 30 minute range, and Iron Rattler was ~45.

the wait times absolutely did double & triple the later it got tho. . . our dusk ride on Iron Rattler had an 1 1/2 hour wait time, as did the evening ride on Superman.

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  • 4 months later...

3rd time's the charm!  (or is it 4th?)

so, TeacherKim and her son were supposed to be coming down to Texas / San Antonio area to hit the parks - this was a rescheduled trip, from 2020, when the parks closed for Covid (literally a week before she was supposed to fly in).    I had planned to drive to San Antonio and spend the day with them - even tho it was going to be on Valentine's day (but my Spouse was ok with that), as I had really enjoyed hanging out with Kim when we went o SFStL a couple of years ago.   So was excited to show her around my "home park"

and then the ice storm hit, followed by SnowPockalypse Texas! 

So she had to cancel AGAIN, but it was ok, as there was an ACE event the next Saturday (the 20th), and she invited me along for that. .so she just pushed out her flights/hotels for a week.

I knew that Bill and Brit had been planning to come to Texas on the 27th, but told them I wasn't sure that I'd be able to meet up with them, as it was going to be 2 weeks in a row leaving Spouse at home.

well, the universe stepped in, and literally the day before the ACE event at SFFT on the 20th, the park announced it would not be opening on Saturday due to remaining ice and power issues.   
(seriously, the universe is just conspiring against Kim ever making it to Texas. . LOL), so she had to cancel again.. which meant that it wouldn't be multiple weeks in a row going, and I could now meet up with Bill & Brit guilt free!     There were still some power issues, and the park had warned a few things wouldn't be open (Park President Jeffrey Siebert had noted on FB in the days before they arrived that Poltergiest, DareDevil Dive, and Batman would not be open due to still occurring power issues, but everything else should not be affected).     So they were still coming, and I confirmed I'd meet them in the park!  

Turned out they actually flew into Austin, and offered me an "out" from driving if I just wanted to meet up for dinner here.  But due to my Spouse being SO high risk, I just couldn't chance an indoor dining (even tho they kindly offered eat outdoors if I wanted). . but Outside all day at Fiesta (me double masking) would be OK. . so I pointed them to one of my favorite Tex Mex places for them to try out, and made plans to meet up with them at the Park in San Antonio the next morning.

I knew it would be either *really* packed (it was last weekend of Mardi Gras festival,  the last weekend of Bring-a-Friend for $9, and the first weekend open after being shut down for 2 weeks due to ice/power issues). . . OR it was gonna be *really* dead (because the forecast was for overcast and off-and-on drizzle).    But I offered to buy into Flash Pass with em if it looked like was going to be needed, and they had multiple skip the lines with their memberships anyways.

- as to Kim. . .gonna try a 4th time, since there's an "event" planned at the park on April 10, and she's made plans to come in for THAT. . . so hopefully will get to do Fiesta with Kim and Son in April :)


I got up Saturday morning and noticed right away how foggy it was - meant my drive was gonna suck - and sure enough, ended up taking me closer to 1:45 minutes to get to the parking lot.
What's truly funny, is as I passed the Buccee's just outside of New Braunfels - and I realized I was gonna be at least 25 minutes late, I got a ping from Bill that they were running late. . . . because they had stopped and shopped at Buccee's.

LOL. . so we did end up arriving within 10 minutes of each other at the park - still 30 minutes prior to the 10:30 opening.

pulling into the SFFT parking lot, it was drizzling. .and tho there was a line of cars, a *lot* of them didn't seem to be going into the actual parking lot, but staying to the right. . .hmmm. . wonder what's up?


Ghetto Parking Lot Animatronic Dinosaur drivethru.

no. . . really:


and there were quite a few cars (full of kids) doing it too!    I asked at the front gate, and apparently, this has been the "draw" during the week, when the park itself hasn't been open.
So I guess this is a "success" ? 

i mean, there WERE quite a few folks going thru it on this Saturday morning before the park officially opened.

as to how crowded was the actual parking lot for the park itself?  :


(I always park about 1/2 way back under a specific light pole, so I can easily find my car later, and so it's easy to get into the Exit lane I want - the one that turns and lets me get back on the loop (only one of them does at Park close, the force the other lanes to go a different direction).


Yup. . even tho early?  I could tell at the least it was gonna start out being a pretty dead day.  (yay!)


On my way to the front gate. . really me, and maybe 12 other people.


I expect if the overcast burns off, they will be making full use of this queue (this is past the Temperature station check) but just before going thru the hands free/no touch metal detectors).

but about 1/2 hour prior to open?  not many here yet.



didn't stop them from getting all the decorations fixed. . you'd never know there was ANY damage from ice/snow the other week, as all the decorations still looked to be in great shape.



the photogs were out, even with the light crowd, so I stopped for a pic.


still almost 1/2 hour until rope drop, but Goliath has started testing  (Boomerang had too. .but who cares, right? :p)



I wasn't sure when they'd arrive, so I wandered up towards the main square to snap some pics.

it was getting a little more crowded, but I could tell, it was gonna be a mostly dead day, as most were staying away to see if the weather would clear.




because they can't really do the parades (thanks Covid), instead the park set up the Floats as stages, in different areas of the park.

the cast members who usually would be marching in the parades or on the floats, came out and danced and performed in front of these floats in the cordoned off area several times a day.

It's a great compromise, and I enjoyed seeing the floats - which looked great once it got darker later and they lit up.


Lots of these character/standees and photo ops sprinkled thruout the Lost Festivales & Rockville ares. . so great opportunities to get fun pics.

tho for some reason the official Six Flags photogs weren't at THIS one. . . . so a selfie.



they WERE standing near one of my favorites tho, and so stopped for a pic there.
(and the photographer directed me to remove my mask if I wanted to for the pic)


and AS she's snapping my picture, who do I see walking by - headed towards Flash Pass office, to pick up the skip the lines passes?  

why Bill & Brit (who I'm thrilled I got to meet in person, after interacting with here on the boards in person (Brit too). . and they are just as great in person as I suspected they were gonna be)!
I know this because they were immediately willing to pose for  a pic with the standee. . .and y'all who know me, KNOW how much i love a photo op with a weird creature.

I'm talking the Alligator, not Bill.  . .




We headed into the Flash Pass building to get the Skip the line passes, and discussed if we should even bother with Flash Pass. . . based on crowd (or lack thereof) it didn't make sense, but if it changed, we were gonna keep that option open.    Bill ended up getting all his Skip the Lines for Iron Rattler - since it was confirmed for me that Wonder Woman still is not on Flash Pass *or* usable for Skip the Line.

So that gave us a plan of attack for the start of the day:

Head towards Wonder Woman 1st - since there was no way to get a shorter line other than 1st of the day. . but on the way we'd pick up timed passes for the new (for this year's Mardi Gras) "Houngan's House of Voodoo" walk thru.   It's an overlay of one of the Hallowfest Haunts.  Free, but timed passes needed.

So rope drop happened, and we headed towards Wonder Woman. . but upon stopping at the entrance to Houngan's. .there was no line.     
only 3 people in front of us in total.     So we looked at each other, and decided - let's just do this now!  

No pictures allowed inside (as I was politely told - in character- by the greeter out front). . but man, did they do an INCREDIBLE job with this overlay.   Bill kept saying - "no way is this a Six Flags". .and I think I heard him mumblng a few times how "Great Adventure would never do this!".

a fantastic haunt, and a long one too. . and there were ~6 scare actors in the house.    

really really well done, and highly recommended if they bring it back next year.

here's some pics from the Courtyard out front - which they also overlayed to make it "New Orleans-y" . . complete with Saxophonist performing for those waiting in line (which this morning was just us)






the house - which again, is a fairly long one - dumps you out in the main corridor of Spassburg (across from the sadly, closed Bugs Bunny WhiteWater Rapids (sorry Bill, I didn't realize both it and the Gully Washer would be down. . gotta wonder if it's for refurb or remnants of the freeze that may have damaged some of the water pipes in the water rides). . so it made the most sense to take the right towards Superman, and just get to Wonder Woman that way.

what that meant was, that we'd pass right in front of Joker.

and the line for that was less than 10 people.      

I said to them - this is the newest ride that's opened in the park (since DareDevil Dive opening got pushed out to next week). . this ride will end up with an insane line - even if the park is not busy
(they are only loading 12 seats per side on each cycle, and most cycles don't even get that many people as the Funhouse Queue has really small groups going thru to get to the ride - instead of groups of 8-10 thanks to Covid).  

So I said - I know we want to get to Wondy, but I really suggest riding this now, as there's no line.  And if the Haunt just impressed you?  wait until you see this funhouse queue.

I think they were impressed, since expressions of "how can this be a Six Flags??" kept getting mentioned.

I noticed while we were waiting for the cycle before us to finish, that SuperVillian Swings across the way seemed to be down - but it came back up a couple of hours later.  Something we saw thruout the day - things would go down, but the maintenance folks were able to quickly get things back up and running.   

also, Batman had started testing.   We didn't ride it, but how cool that a ride that had been announced as being down (for power issues), came up anyways?

I love this park!

oh, and by the time we got off Joker, the queue had already gotten at least 6 times longer than it had been when we got on, and got longer thruout the day. . so we mad the correct call.




we finished our ride on Joker - with it's insane floater air, and hang time (it really is NOT about the spinning, and that chassis rotates very slow. . it may look like a Frisbee, but it doesn't spin like one), we headed to Wonder Woman.

it had been at least 30 minutes from Rope Drop and we had stopped a couple of times on our way over here.. . I hope the line isn't too bad.



Wonder Woman was literally a walk on.






when it's like this?  you GOTTA take advantage. . so we got off and immediately got back on for another ride.




No on ride pics tho, sadly, as the weather had done something to the camera, so everyone was coming out blurry - fitting, as I had mentioned to Bill, in weather like this (moist and light drizzle) the ride just FLIES.   and it did.

but they weren't selling the pics, even tho we could look at them. .

so what next?  why, it was time for a Hurricane, of course.

Bill and I both got alcohol versions, and Brit got a virgin one (which they made no problem, and just charged as if it were a bottled water.. I thought that was a great thing for the park to do)

Also FYI. . the Texas Six Flags parks *will* give you a large cup of water, free, if you ask at any stand.    Many folks don't know that. 
Even tho it wasn't "hot" on Saturday, we still made use of this perk getting cups of water instead of paying for bottled water, to keep ourselves hydrated.



we were by Wonder Woman. . but we had drinks. . so what else to do but pose for pics with them:


the Iron Rattler skip the lines, weren't until 2-3 and then 4-5, but we had drinks now, so we decided to walk over towards CrackAxle (now sorta re-themed to "ScreamPunk CrackAxle" - shoulda gotten a pic of the new sign greeting folks to the area from the Gully Washer side) and take a look at the New DareDevil Dive.

yup. no power over here. . sign not spinning, fire effects not working, and sing out front noting that official Grand Opening is now next Saturday.

but the Dragon on top of the Chop Six sign, was working, and blowing it's smoke from it's nostrils. . .even that bit of theming seemed to be impressive for a Six Flags  (but I told them the food is crap, the best thing about ChopSix is that sign. . .LOL)

the line for Iron Rattler was only a few ramps, so even tho we had skip the lines for later, we went ahead and got in line, figuring we'd finish our drinks by the time we got to the Station.
I think this was the longest line for a ride we actually waited in all day:  ~20 minutes. . if you don't count the train (more on that later)




no pic of me onride, as I rode with a single woman a few seats up. . so only grabbed the pics for Bill/Brit.
Shoulda gotten one of the later rides, as we rode together in the back car. . didn't think of it. . oh well.

but here we are on the exit ramp - waving to Nick who texted to ask if my friends had met up?


Since we were RIGHT next door, and it was a new credit for them, we went ahead and took a spin on Roadrunner Express -  we walked longer in that massive queue to get up to the station, than we waited for our ride.

Can't wait to ride it once all the figures are back.   It's still a fun family Mine Train tho.



Beep-Beep. . I got Roadrunner ass in my face!


this really did come out as a great picture tho!   Even if we're all hanging on for dear life - on a Mine Train. . . . BWAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAA!


After our coasters, it was time for another drink. . we peeked into the Bar over here in CrackAxle, but decided that we'd head over to the Superman area and see how the line was. . it looked long enough that we could drink while waiting in line.

we weren't hungry just yet, and it was surprising to realize it was only ~12:45, since we had done so much already today, but we figured we'd check out some of the food stands to decide what we'd get after Superman.

This guy was hanging out near one of the Mardi Gras stages - where they drew a bit of a crowd every time they had a performance - singing/dancing group.



Drinks in Hand, we got in the Superman Queue, only to discover that it only LOOKED long, because they were holding it back by the photo booth/flash pass entrance.  
So after less than 5 minutes, we were good to go. . but we still had drinks.   

What to do? 


and a young man (I would guess 14) complimented Bill on his Chugging Ability. . . HA!!!

a B&M floorless, and no one wanted the back row?   more Gs for us, whee!


tho I WAS disappointed when I saw this pic, and realized the 3 idiots in front of us had all lowered their masks for the picture. (clearly they knew where the camera was).   I mean I'm glad we have ours on. . but we're sitting DIRECTLY behind them, on a moving coaster. . germs directly at us . .  idiotas!




better. . can't see them in THIS wrap.


Pics purchased, it was time to eat lunch:

offerings over by Spassburg:





I got the Bacon Wrapped Boudin Balls (so did Brit) and Bill got the Crab Cakes.

all were really good.



by the time we were done eating, and relaxing a bit, it was almost time for our 1st skip the line on Iron Rattler, so we headed back over to CrackAxle. . there was quite a bit of "streetmosphere" despite it not being a jam packed crowd today.




had another amazing ride on Iron Rattler - back car. . this is a back seat coaster all day!

we had been talking about the custom dark shooter, Pirates of the Deep Sea over on the Boardwalk.  Since were in CrackAxle, and that section of the train goes thru the tunnel. . we decided to get on the train to take it to Spassburg and walk to the Boardwalk from there.

So we got to the station, and waited for the train. . and it came, and the line moved, and we got all the way to the VERY front, and weren't able to board, as the train was full.
(due to covid, they have placed plexiglass between each row. . so each row of double benches - facing each other - only gets one group. . .   and when you have solo people riding the train?  yeah. .  the rows fill up fast).    So they closed the gate on us, told us the next train will be back in ~10 minutes. . and the train took off.

so we're waiting. . and waiting.. .  and after about 20 minutes I'm thinking, this is weird, the loop doesn't take that long. . so maybe they stopped to disinfect at Spassburg station?    Eventually an employee comes into the station (from another ride! LOL), and gets on the loud speaker and announces that the train is experiencing mechanical issues, and they are not sure how long it will be down, but those of us in the station are welcome to continue waiting.

we gave it an additional 5 minutes while everyone else bailed (hey, they were showing cartoons in the station, and we were talking anyways, so not like we were bored) and Bill wondered out loud:

"how does one break a train?"

the answer of course is:

"Six Flags!"

(it's a wonderful park, but at the end of the day, SFFT *is* still a Six Flags).

So we decided to just walk over to the boardwalk to get a ride on Pirates - after all, the park isn't that huge regardless.

Theming by the Train Station in CrackAxle.


De-powered Daredevil Dive from the Train Station (and the Dragon over the ChopSix Sign that blows smoke)


So we get to boardwalk, and we head to Pirates, which has no line (it rarely does. . folks just really don't seem to know it's here).

and after a few moments, they make an announcement that the ride is down.  
Holy. . thought we used up our "ride is down" chip on the train. . LOL. . and what's funny is when I was last here in October, meeting up with Connor and his Dad?  Pirates broke down while we were in line then too!

we gave it a few moments, and then decided to check out the rest of the boardwalk.  the Crows Nest ferris wheel, and Pandemonium were down at this point too, but everything else was up and running.

even tho it's a Batman clone, decision was made to head to Goliath at the front of the park, as that seemed like a fun thing to do next. . . . as we were passing by the Spassburg Train station, the train was there. . . so a quick decision was made to run up the stairs to try to get on it as there was lots of room now.   BUT we got there just after the engine blew it's whistle, and even tho the Castmember working the station (and who rides on the back of the train) remembered us from 50 minutes earlier - telling us we'd get on next train.. he wasn't allowed to open the gate to let us on - no allowed after the whistle blows.    LOL.. I'm totally NOT complaining.  I get it.. just think it's funny as hell how it wasn't meant to be!   no train for us!

So we continued on to Goliath. . which was a total walk on.    I even asked the lady working fast lane if the ride had been down and just came back up?  and she said "nope, it's been like this all day"

so a hike to get to the station, but then immediately on the next train.

a shot of the parking lot while going up the ramps.   (looks more full than it is, since every other spot is blocked by cones)

and a shot of one of the poor dead palm trees, that the winter storm killed the other week. . .







Even for a Batman clone, this ride pulls some serious G's.        it's a mirror, but still 2nd to last row near the back are the magic seats.

so intense Bill's nose came out to play!



I was on the other end of this row.




we headed back to CrackAxle for another ride on Iron Rattler. . but the intensity of Goliath was starting to do me in..and I claimed "old man" pass, so i could sit on a bench, remove mask, and hydrate, while Bill & Brit went for a front row ride on Iron Rattler.

A pic I snapped of the "Cash exchange" kiosk outside of the Saloon in CrackAxle - since SFFT has gone Cash free. . if you only have cash, you need to exchange it for a Visa Card at one of these machines to buy anything in the park.


We debated taking the train, but again, looked like we were gonna miss it, so decided to head towards Rockville and grab some dinner from the Mardi Gras options there.   
They both got the Gumbo (or maybe it was the Crawfish Etouffee?) with cornbread.

I had been texting with Kim about how fun the park was today, and she told me if I sent a picture of a Beignet then we were no longer friends. . heh, so instead I got Cheescake with Pecan drizzle for my evening meal - tho ended up not eating it anyways.

at this point I wasn't really hungry (headache started from not hydrating enough all day. . so TOTALLY my fault), and I had stopped pulling my camera out for pics.    But I think we may have ridden a few other things (sadly Hustler seemed to be down too.. as that Pool Table themed Teacups ride is so fun).

I did see Jeffrey walk by tho, and pointed him out to them - I knew we'd see him in the park today!

After resting, and eating, we headed over the Boardwalk again, and Pirates was back up - and almost a walk on.

if you haven't been on this ride?  the queue is AMAZING.      It's an old Skool shooting dark ride.

The ride itself?  is needing a little TLC (most of the "doors" between rooms are a bit broken and don't completely close anymore.  and the pirate animatronic from the queue (who somehow looks like he's drunk AND melting at the same time) is missing at the moment - I would assume being refurbed).. but still. . for an inhouse build?  it's way better than any other Six Flags Dark ride, except for maybe Monster Mansion.     Pirates is a shooter tho, so that comparison isn't fair - it's mostly it's a combination of wood cutouts, projections, and physical props.   Really really love this ride tho.  And yes, I like it better than Justice League.

I was fading pretty fast at this point (and still had a drive back to Austin. .I think it was close to 6:20pm), so I said my goodbyes, and how great it was to meet them - they are great people.

and so while they took off to ride Wonder Woman, and Superman again, I headed to the front gates - of COURSE stopping to ride my bunny on the Carousel (and once again seeing Jeffrey passing by, tho this time stopping him to say what a wonderful day we'd had at the park today.  That's how I know it was close to 6:20, since when  I mentioned I was headed out by my friends went to get "last rides' he said "last rides?  they still have 40 minutes to ride!" 

such a great park.

I also stopped to make sure the "professional" pics we took on the way in, were loaded on my photopass (they actually had all the photo windows open, so that was nice) and a quick selfie with Mardi Gras Bugs - who was Covid Safe behind barriers, but he was out!



and then it was time for a drive, with a headache (from bright headlights). . yay OLD! . . .   

I had a great day, and was so glad I went and got to meet up with such great folks.    TPR folks really are, for the most part, the best folks on the Internets.
So good day, good drinks, good food, and great company.

oh, and I got home and was in bed by 9pm, and slept thru until after 10:20 the next day. . LOL. . so yep, I guess I needed the sleep from "partay-ing". .    

I'm for sure back on 4/10 to meet up with Kim, but likely back at some point in March too!



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Great report of a great day! It was really nice to meet you! We had a blast!

Getting complimented by a Texan on my beer chugging ability was the highlight of my life, the fact that he was probably 14 is a minor technicality. 

This picture is my favorite thing:


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46 minutes ago, coasterbill said:

Getting complimented by a Texan on my beer chugging ability was the highlight of my life, the fact that he was probably 14 is a minor technicality. 


Jake Gyllenhaal Reaction GIF

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