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Six Flags St. Louis (SFStL) Discussion Thread

p. 550 - Hallowfest trip report!

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Also came across this recently posted video on youtube of someone's father's photography collection all around St. Louis in 1972, great stuff. This was my personal fave, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MrIlixPPdA

 

Those are fantastic finds. The video was particularly interesting. I always though the old park looked very "70's".

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Didnt go into any of the haunted houses, considering that it cost extra and it was really busy(and that Im planning on doing scarefest). Riding the roller coasters at night with a cool breeze is much better than in the middle of summer. Only annoyance was a lot of teenagers.

The part with the headless horseman looked really neat.

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Any Fright Fest reviews/reports yet? Would love to hear how Wreckers Salvage and Camp Killamore are, and if they improved the existing houses at all.

I know that Insanity Alley & Blind Fury were both improved in some ways and will be improved even more in the future. I worked giving/checking employee wristbands out front for most of the preview night, but I did have a chance to go through Blind Fury and Camp Killamore.

 

Spoiler Alert: The below description talks about the route and general description of the Camp Killamore attraction. If you don't want to know details until you experience it for yourself, do not continue reading this post.

 

Plainly stated, Camp Killamore is something unlike anything the park has ever done before. It's like a mashup of a traditional haunted house, a haunted hayride, and a flashlight-led hike through a shut down waterpark at night. The queue and exit are located in the regular HH entrance/exit pathways, except for the queue takes up the usual exit path and vice versa. The queue isn't too themed, as expected, but it had some fun stuff like a plethora of directional signs saying things like "Lemp Mansion 30mi", "'Gnawlins Hollow 0.25mi", and "Stanley Hotel 902mi" (for those who don't know, which included myself, the Stanley Hotel was the hotel from the horror classic, The Shining.)

 

Before you get to the bridge that is part of the regular harbor entrance/exit, you go off of the concrete path. You'll encounter a few sand or mulch paths at Fright Fest, which are made usable for heavy traffic by putting gravel down first. Then you enter a tent for the pre-show/introduction (I had to take the ADA route so my route differed in the couple spots that included going off road).

 

Next, you exit the back of the tent and hike up (and then down the backside of) a fairly steep hill on a mulch path before encountering the first building: The Showers. You are warned by a camper who franticly tells you to turn back before circling around the building (the HH shower building is set up with the showers, some with the curtains open and some closed, in the the center of the building. There is a really cool projection effect that you see while passing the back wall. As you leave the building, you see that the girl who warned you is now dead.

 

Next you visit the camp's archery range, and it is immediately obvious that someone got bored using just the regular targets. The actress in this scene is one of my favorites. Moving on, you continue your hike through the waterpark where you pass through large, hornet nest-filled & buzzing arbors, and past the half-drained pool at the bottom of the tube slides. You can wave to a kayaking camper in the pool, but he probably won't wave back it seems like he's been dead for a while.

 

While in the summer it is a nice, open bridge over the lazy river, at Camp Killamore, it is a disorienting maze of 5x5ft cages made with wood & chicken wire (those who went through Blind Fury sometime in the past couple years will recognize them, as they used to be in Blind Fury before Blind Fury got enhanced). Basically, all of the walls look the same, and your group is just stuck pressing on them until you find the one that is the door. Including the door you came in, there are eight candidates unless you are on the side of the bridge and obviously won't be exiting into the lazy river below. (My favorite cages are the ones who's entrance doors block/cover their exit doors, forcing your whole group into the cage before being able to get out.)

 

Once free, you continue your hike through the dark and eventually pass the dark tug-boat-topped food service location that is used during the summer. However, at Camp Killamore, they have turned the big Hurricane Harbor gift shop into their 'Mess Hall'. Even though the store, Monsoon Marge's, is usually very open, it is boarded/fenced up besides a narrow entrance and exit passage. While inside, you first will notice the cannibalistic nature of the camp's chefs when you see the glass-doored fridge and other props, but don't stare too long because the dining staff comes out to greet you shortly after arriving.

 

If you've made it past them with all of the limbs you had at the start of the tour, you get to finally enjoy what is a nice peaceful walk, headed back towards the park. You pass the wave pool, entrance to the Bonzai Pipelines (which I didn't even notice), and cross the bridge, around which point you bid farewell to your guide, as you walk up the concrete path towards the gates & park. (The guides/campers are dressed in all black with some cool face make-up suggesting they sustained some significant injuries recently.)

 

Even with some tropical-themed items still barely visible in the dark (like the huge fake shark that is used as a spot to pose for pictures during the summer), I don't think any of it detracted from the experience. When I said one of the things it was a mashup of was the haunted hayride, I meant that things are really spread out. In a regular haunted house, the designs are fairly tight and use all of the available space. You also enter & exit the haunted houses from a bustling park midway. With Camp Killamore, you are removed from the regular park environment by the queue and three minute walk back to the park from the Mess Hall, which is the last scene. Hurricane Harbors lends itself perfectly as a haunted camp, and even the huge "Camp Killamore" sign above the gates really set the mood. I'm really excited to see what they do with this haunt in the coming years. Also, I want to note that the showers, archery range, and mess hall are not the only areas with scare actors. They startled me pretty good a few times along the way, which isn't normal for me. There are two cabins (like the one in the picture I posted a while back) along the route which do a great job of blocking wide pathways at turning points during your hike. Walking at a normal speed during the day, without any of the scare actors or cage mazes, I was told that the course is at least ten minutes, which leads to an experience that was probably about 15-20 minutes doing the ADA route (which may have some scenes in different orders compared to the regular path).

 

 

 

Holy crap that was a lot of typing, but I hope there aren't too many typos, and I hope it gave you a good idea of the attraction's set up. Finally, I've included a pretty blurry picture of the sign out front in case you were interested:

737049337_ScreenShot2015-10-05at6_09_47PM.png.17b598c78e89f3780560e0ed0c3011fe.png

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I just finished visiting SFStL for the first time in over 5 years and fright fest was an interesting experience and overall a great time, but there were several issues that I was not expecting that were different from the last time I was there.

 

First of all I did not go through any of the additional fee Fright fest mazes/attractions. I did see most of the shows though. The food was pretty good for an amusement park and the Dining pass makes it so much better! The lines for the resturaunts were crazy though with several of them closed...

 

I was surprised by the amount of employees that did not know the park. Asking for directions sometimes was next to impossable. I spent a lot of time just talking to the employees, a lot of them were fantastic! But you could easily tell who was new and who was a veteran employee but that is the same at every park.

 

The "scare zones" were not scary... I only got scared once the whole weekend and that was one of them jumping up behind me at the end of boomerangs exit. It does not seem like six flags is doing as much as it used too at past fright fests.

 

Love at first Fright was OK, but it could have been much better. The vocal levels were way off and you could barely hear what the female lead was singing exceptforn the climaxes of the songs, and the lights that they used during the show were awful! They pointed them at the back of the audience (where I was sitting) and they moved back and forth blinding me about every ten seconds. Also the show in front of the palace theatre had way too much Bass... you could hear it from NINJA, and when you were standing up near the train station it felt like the concrete ground was vibrating. I felt sorry for the people at the front of the show.

 

Steve Daleys Hypnosis show was REALLY GOOD! I don't believe it was staged but it was hilarious! I went in expecting it to be dull and boring but I was blown away. He had all of the people on stage (approx. 15) forget their first name, and he switched two of the guys names for a female name of there choice. This guy who could pass for a member of a gang firmly believed his name was Jasmine he could not be convinced otherwise! His family cracked up! Also Steve got the same guy to come up to the stage, put on a blond wig and he danced to Taylor Swifts shake it off. I seen the guy after the show and his family was trying to convince him what happened was real he did not remember any of it. I don't even care if the show was fake it was THAT GOOD!

 

The sideshow was just meh... I have seen a lot better, and it is outside with 0 seating. People were sitting on grass, on que fences even on the blacktop... Six flags should have found a better spot for this... They were not even using the HUGE theatre in front of screaming eagle for anything! so much wasted space, I am not saying put the sideshow there but they should use it for something.

 

 

As far as the rides though it was hit or miss. I am basically the opposite of a normal coaster inthusiast and I love the old Arrow and Velkoma Coasters. I also hate all of the B&Ms and they hate me too! (I can not get the restraints to lock on any of their Coasters that I have tried) So batman was out and I knew Mr. Freeze was not gonna happen. I loved all of the flat rides that I rode. Colossus was cool, and I thought I would hate the enterprise but it was actually fun. Also I loved the train, carousel and a bunch of the other small rides.

 

Ninja

Ninja was running well it only had one glitch that I knew of Saturday morning and they had it running again in less than 10 minutes. It was actually smoother than I remember, which was the only coaster that was like that, and I love that it NEVER has a line when I am there! As long as you sit in the front seat and hold your head back it is a really fun ride!

 

Boomerang

Believe it or not I have never rode one of these and I had always wanted to try one. The first time I rode it I loved it! The Front is the best, but I learned quickly not to sit in the back! I ended up riding it around 8 times. But my only problem with it is that it LOVES to fault! It faulted out at least 6 times while I was there once when I was on the train. It kept either over shooting or undershooting the station... It does NOT like to park itself and each time it took maintenance over 15 minutes to manually push the train into the correct position and lower the catch car. Fun ride but I know maintenance has to hate it... Plus why design a station with the gates to close to the train then afterwards put in a infrared laser system to make sure that no one gets too close. Also the gates for the operators and the station exit are magnetically locked. So when it faults the enable operator has to jump over a fence to talk to a guest because they can't unlock it. Also even though each car can easily be manually released the exit is also magnetically locked so when it faults the guests have to sit there in the station until maintenence can reset it, because the operators don't want guests jumping the gate... The whole station just shouts awful planning. Still an awesome ride though!

 

Mine Train

The mine train was fun, on Saturday during the day the line was almost an hour long so I skipped it. Ended up getting a Zen ride about an hour before the park closed. They were just cycling 2 trains almost empty. It's a fun ride as long as there is no line. It has aged pretty well and I hope they do not change it.

 

Screaming Eagle

This was AWFUL!!!!!! I can't believe people ride this for fun! It just kept getting worse as it went. I made the mistake of sitting in the back seat as there was no line for the back and there was a 4 train wait for the front but I see why now... It was the most painful coaster I have ever been on! It was nothing like I Remember it being like, I used to love it! In 2009 I rode it over 20 times in a row without getting off on a slow day. In 2015 after riding it at 3:00 my head hurt until after the park closed... NEEDS RETRACKING!!!

 

The Boss

I really wanted to ride this... But I am glad that it was closed pretty much all of Saturday and I rode screaming eagle first. I had several guests and employees tell me that it was running worse than the screaming eagle... How is that possible? I decided that my head could not take it and I did not ride it during the few hours that it was open. I had several employees tell me that it will not run when it is below 60 degrees outside... The reason that was given was that the trains will valley... Also just to test it in the mornings they have to load each train with over 2 tons of lead weight just so they will make a complete circut... This ride needs help...

 

I never got around to riding Pandemonium the line was either too long or I was heading to something when I went by.

 

And finally Justice League...

On Saturday it always had crazy lines always almost to the centennial park gate every time I looked. On Sunday I got there early for the gold pass opportunity to get in line early... It never opened... waited until 1:00 and it never had opened and gave up. A ride on even told me that they missed scooby... Apparently it finally opened around 2:30-3:00 and I got in line to ride it at 6:45 and it had an hour wait. The que line was OK I liked the TV monitors with the Preshow, but there was a lot of wasted space in the que line. The cyborg and joker animations were cool but that's what I was expecting through the ride, not an mobile IWORKS show... it was not worth the wait at all.

 

All in all I did have a good time, it's just kinda the bad stuff that stays with you when you leave the park but I will be back! It was a fun trip and it was pretty much what I was expecting... I just can't believe that people hate on ninja compared to the painful woodies in the back.

Edited by Floydsheating
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^He heralds boomerang, ninja, and mine train as the best coasters in the park and Justice League as too much wasted space.

 

Btw, it says at the bottom of his post that he was a Holiday World Halloween ride op in the past. If the Screaming Eagle is "AWFUL", then he should be criminally charged for inflicting people with worse-than-awful pain from the Legend.

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This Screamin' Eagle hatred is harsh this year. It still is my favorite classic. What's with all the hate?

We always ride in the first or second car and it is not rough at all. Last time we rode in the very front it was as smooth as I remember when it first opened nearly 40 years ago.

 

Mike

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^He heralds boomerang, ninja, and mine train as the best coasters in the park and Justice League as too much wasted space.

 

Btw, it says at the bottom of his post that he was a Holiday World Halloween ride op in the past. If the Screaming Eagle is "AWFUL", then he should be criminally charged for inflicting people with worse-than-awful pain from the Legend.

 

I was a legend ride operator, but I never liked the ride, also I have not rode it since the year i worked there, due to how maintenence took care of the ride. The Raven was my favorite Coaster to run at Holiday World.

 

I rode the Screaming Eagle once and that was enough a ride should not be spent wondering how much longer until it ends. Bleh... I don't know if I put it in my earlier post but I used to LOVE the Screaming Eagle! Back in 2009-2010 I would ride it 20+ times in a row without getting off.

 

Also the mine train is nowhere close to being the best coaster in the park that would probably fall on batman or mr. Freeze but since I cannot ride them I won't review them. It's just a cool little old ride nothing special, just fun in its own way, like Blazing Fury at Dollywood.

 

Justice League the ride itself is not wasted space, but in my opinion it is not worth the lines that it is pulling... When it has 2-3 times the wait of all of the Coasters in the park it's just not worth it. I would not mind waiting 15-30 minutes for it, just not 1 or 2 hours. I did not read up on the ride as I wanted to experience it for myself, I saw pictures of the cool joker animatronic before and that was what I was kinda expecting throughout. I guess I was just had high hopes for the ride.

 

The wasted space that I was referring to is the abundance of extra space in the que line. On the inside of the building there is a bunch of extra room for cool props and other effects that they could add to make the que more interesting, but instead until you get to Cyborg/the station all you have are some pillars with rope light and some flags. There is so much potential.

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There are reasons that Boomerang's station is setup the way it is. Let's start with the entrance. The loading gates are from when the ride was Flashback at SFOT. The gates are low enough that you can lean over and attempt to reach for the train. Moving the gates back restricts space on the entrance causing congestion and by pushing them farther back you increase walk time for people which increases loading time by a couple of seconds which decreases overall capacity. I believe the main reason for the photo eyes is for insurance purposes. The only other option would have been 7ft. tall gates, which in my personal opinion look terrible. The locking operator gates prevent operators from leaving their safety square until the cycle is complete thus eliminating the possibility that an operator can get near the train as it goes through the the station at speed. (Freeze does the same thing with the remote enable panel) The exit (I don't get how you don't get this one) prevents guest from walking onto the exit dock to retrieve items they left behind. It happens all the time at other rides and the operators have to stop the train from advancing in or out of the station. Which is difficult to do when said train is flying through at 50mph. The gates remain locked until the system is reset or the ride is locked out. Unloading from any ride requires the ride to be locked out and maintenance approval as turning off the disconnect can cause the fault that caused the initial stop to be lost leaving maintenance with nothing to troubleshoot.

 

Every time that the ride would fault the enable operator had to jump their gate so they could talk to the guests.

 

The Velkoma trains have a manual release at the back of each car, I saw the operators use it several times and it unlocks the 4 restraints that are in the cars. When it faults it is in the station just a little bit out of position. Each time of the 6 times that I saw it happen the guests had to remain in the cars until maintenence adjusted the train and moved it about 4-12 inches.

 

When I asked the operators why they cannot go on and unload the guests the reason given was that the exit was magnetically locked and they did not want guests jumping over the fence. Maintenence would not loose a fault code by the ride ops manually evacuating a train. It just does not make since to me that they do not have control of their own station.

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If the Boomerang train is parking short, that usually means the station brakes are too loose thus having the train not be trimmed enough when it comes backwards through the station at the end of the cycle.

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Per policy if a train is in any position other than park position (not overparked or underparked) it can not be unloaded unless the ride is locked out which only can happen with maintenance and supervisor approval. Once the ride is locked out the systems HMI turns off until the ride is renergized at which point new faults pertaining to the rides start up immediately pushes the initial fault that caused the ride to go down to the bottom of the fault history log at which point all you can do is guess what the problem was.

 

If it's policy I understand that. I just thought it would make more sense to go on and unload the guests verses having them sit there. All I know is that the ride ops did not explain it like that, they said it was because they could unload the guests but they could not open the exit. So there would be nowhere for the guests to go.

 

I do not see why pushing 7 footswitches, and unlocking the exit would shut the rides PLC down and reset the fault codes, they must have it interconnected in some weird way.

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Per policy if a train is in any position other than park position (not overparked or underparked) it can not be unloaded unless the ride is locked out which only can happen with maintenance and supervisor approval. Once the ride is locked out the systems HMI turns off until the ride is renergized at which point new faults pertaining to the rides start up immediately pushes the initial fault that caused the ride to go down to the bottom of the fault history log at which point all you can do is guess what the problem was.

 

If it's policy I understand that. I just thought it would make more sense to go on and unload the guests verses having them sit there. All I know is that the ride ops did not explain it like that, they said it was because they could unload the guests but they could not open the exit. So there would be nowhere for the guests to go.

 

I do not see why pushing 7 footswitches, and unlocking the exit would shut the rides PLC down and reset the fault codes, they must have it interconnected in some weird way.

 

A lockout/tagout switch cuts power to the rides control system.

 

Below is what they normally look like.

 

lockout.jpg.f2684926772376cf7bbcad84add94823.jpg

 

Once switched into the "off" position, the PLC is shut off. Most newer rides can pull up fault codes while and after being powered down but some older coasters that use relay logic PLCs (Most Boomerangs built prior to 2000 use this type of PLC) lose all data once power is removed. Once powered back up, previous fault codes are lost.

 

So with that said, It seems like it is SFStL's policy to not EVAC a ride vehicle unless lockout-tagout procedures are implemented with supervision and maintenance approval.

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I will not say the Eagle is show rough or unrideable, but I felt it was signifigantly rougher this year than past seasons. I can certainly see what this dude is saying, and everyone has different preffereces and tolerances. I feel the Eagle is nearing the end of its life, but we all love it too much to admit it.

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I will not say the Eagle is show rough or unrideable, but I felt it was signifigantly rougher this year than past seasons. I can certainly see what this dude is saying, and everyone has different preffereces and tolerances. I feel the Eagle is nearing the end of its life, but we all love it too much to admit it.

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Eagle HAS had its off years. You have to remember that in the past 10 years, Eagle had a lot of retracking, but most of it was a few years back and hasn't seen much in the past few... So the past few years were better, but as we know with all wood, after a few years, its starts warping making the ride rougher. It definitely was rougher this year, but I wouldn't call it bad, painful, or unbearable. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being a brand new wood feel and 10 being the Boss on a bad day, I would give Eagle a 4, maybe a 5 for this year. Compared to other coasters around the same age, IMO I consider Eagle as pretty "smooth". Yes, Eagle has always been my fav at SFSTL, but I won't deny it definitely needs some TLC here and there... but I also think some of the roughness gives even more of that nostalgic feel. If they ever revamped or RMCed the Eagle in anyway except topper track, all hope would be lost in my mind for SFSTL.

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Eagle HAS had its off years. You have to remember that in the past 10 years, Eagle had a lot of retracking, but most of it was a few years back and hasn't seen much in the past few... So the past few years were better, but as we know with all wood, after a few years, its starts warping making the ride rougher. It definitely was rougher this year, but I wouldn't call it bad, painful, or unbearable. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being a brand new wood feel and 10 being the Boss on a bad day, I would give Eagle a 4, maybe a 5 for this year. Compared to other coasters around the same age, IMO I consider Eagle as pretty "smooth". Yes, Eagle has always been my fav at SFSTL, but I won't deny it definitely needs some TLC here and there... but I also think some of the roughness gives even more of that nostalgic feel. If they ever revamped or RMCed the Eagle in anyway except topper track, all hope would be lost in my mind for SFSTL.

This. I agree completely. Coaster is doing just fine, only needs a bit of work, and anything more than a simple retrack (even with topper) would make me boycott the park.

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