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TPR's Solace Weekend Trip Report and Photos

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Solace Weekend Photos HERE:



Hey everyone!


Solace is over and now it's photo and trip report time!


Overall, the weekend was REALLY good. Knott's was as expected, Magic Mountain actually exceeded my expectations, and Universal was just plain FUN!


Our weekend started on Friday night meeting up with some people from Westcoaster at Buca's. Fun night, good dinner, but we were both pretty tired so we turned in. The highlight of Friday was Joey paying up for his portion of the Europe trip! And it wasn't in huge bags of pennies!!!


The next morning we arrived at Knott's at 8:03. Just three minutes past when free parking expired and the lady in the booth made DAMN SURE we knew that, too. What a great way to start the day!


We arrived to the reception area to find two girls who looked like they had either just come off of a 24 hour bender with Cheech and Chong, or wait...that's just the typical expressions on the faces of the park's guest relations. After looking at our information and seeing the park couldn't even spell the name of their new coaster correctly, this lack of any intelligence greeting guests didn't surprise us in the least!


For some reason they ran out of lanyards and we managed to get the last two. While we were there another guy walked up to get his packet of information and the conversation went something like this:


Random ACEr dude "Hey, I'd like to get my stuff."

Stoned Knott's chicks "We ran out of lanyards."

ACer: "Ok....can you tell me what the schedule is?"

Stoned chicks: "We don't know...read the flyer or something...BTW, do you have any brownies?"



Anyway, off to the park we go. We were both anxious to ride XLR8R since last year it was only running one train and it was a 45 minute wait. There wasn't any Silver Bullet or Ghostrider ERT, so XLR8R was the 'newest' ride in the park open for us, since they didn't have anything like RipTide or Revolution open either. Not a big deal, really...but it does show how Solace really has changed from an "event" from past year's to 'just a couple hours of coasters open before and after the park' now.


Makes sense, though, in the theme of how Knott's has as devolved over the past 5 years, the event has gone from being something REALLY special that almost set the standard for enthusaist events to something that is almost just an afterthought.


Well, XLR8R was traditionally once again running one train. *sigh* At least it wasn't as bad as last year, the wait right when we got there was only about 5 minutes, which was cool, but it flucated between 10 and 20 minutes after that. Not a bad wait, but when you've only got two hours and you're waiting 20 minutes per ride when there is a perfectly good 2nd train sitting on the transfer track, it's just a little bit disappointing.


So after that we made the rounds....one ride on Boomerang, Monty, Timberline Twister, Jaguar, Supreme Scream....now what? We went back to XLR8R towards the end of ERT and got our 2nd ride in.


It was now just 10:00 and some of the people we were with needed to get their Silver Bullet credit, so we wandered over to SB to find them still cycling empty trains and a line that filled 30-40 minutes of the queue area and was coming out of the front. Screw that!


Same thing over at Ghostrider!


If there is one thing Knott's doesn't do well is handle large crowds. And it was clear that today would NOT be a 'light' day, so we went into emergency mode "Quick! This place is screwed! We need to get to a good park! Any suggestions????"


Since some of the guys hadn't gotten their Mummy credit, we were off to Universal!


We had a REALLY good time there! Yeah, it was PACKED, but this is a park that knows how to deal with crowds and push people through the rides.


We did the single rider line for Mummy, which everyone thought was 'fun', but nothing amazing; Jurassic Park, which is still my favorite ride there; Backdraft "Hi, I'm Ron Howard"; We got really bored on the tram tour, but at least the War of the Worlds stuff was worth it; and then Josh just HAD to ride Back to the Future...we nearly killed him for making us do that. We all walked through the Van Helsing or the "insert the Stephen Sommers movie here" maze. All I can say is that if this maze is any kind of idea of what Halloween Horror Nights was like at USH, I can understand why people don't believe us that HHN in Orlando is so good!


It was the perfect way to kill 5 hours before having to head back down to Knott's.


We made it back down to Knott's around 5ish and the line for Silver Bullet was much shorter so we took our ride. Again, it's a fun ride, nothing at all "WOW" about it, and it certainly makes you appreciate the more forceful B&M's like Batman, Dragons, Nemesis, etc.


After Silver Bullet it was time for the meet over at McDonalds. We wandered over and spent the next 2 1/2 hours there chatting with tons of people and just having a good time catching up with friends. For us, this is what the event is all about.


We didn't stay for night ERT partly because we really had no desire and partly because Elissa was coming down with some death flu. We took our "token ride" on Bullet and we'd just been on Ghostrider the week before, so we had our fill of Knott's.


This morning was the Rideworld event at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Elissa stayed home with her death flu, so I was on my own. Now, I'll be the first to admit that SFMM isn't the best run park in the world either, but they ARE improving...a LOT! We've now been to the park 3 weeks in a row, and have seen examples of improvements that we haven't seen in the past 3 years, but I'll get to that later.


As for the event, Goliath, Riddler's, and X were running...all with two trains, and all with crews that seemed to be energetic and hustling to get people on and off the rides.


This made it so that the stations were empty and you could ride as much as you could handle! We ended up getting like 8 rides on Goliath, 3 on Riddler's, 1 on X. And we could have done a lot more had we wanted to, but it was nice to take it at a slower pace.


Around 9:30 we noticed the park was testing a TON of coasters. Batman, Superman, Viper, Revolution, etc were all going. Then heading up the lift hill on Goliath around 9:57 we noticed that people were on Superman! Had the park opened the gates early...AGAIN??!? As we pulled into the brake run we noticed the public had started coming in. ERT was over, and we had gotten more than our fill of rides in.


Josh needed his Batman credit so we headed over there, running two trains, with no wait. Next up was Scream since Carlos needed that credit. Same thing two trains, no wait. Next up was Colossus.....ugh...running one train..WHY?!?! Doesn't this ride have like 10 trains?!? It was only a one-train wait, so that wasn't too bad, but by the time we got off the ride, the station was full.


Yes, that was dissapointing, and unacceptable, but it's good to see the park improving in other areas. I'm hoping that under new management, maybe we'll be able to say the same thing about Knott's with future visits! If SFMM can do, so can Knott's!


We went up the hill for Superman, but the line there was already 30 minutes, so we decided to head out, go to lunch and say goodbye to everyone until next year.


Like I said, overall it was a really fun weekend. It was good to see everyone again, good to get a couple rides on XLR8R, good to have Universal as a great fall-back option to Knott's, and good to see SFMM is getting their act back together.


Anyway, until next Solace....


---thanks for reading!



Edited by robbalvey
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I personally think that in some cases this Coaster Solace was the best of the last three because in 2003 instead of any good ERT in the morning we got those damn boring "behind the scenes tours" and this year around the lines for ERT were a lot shorter than 2004, on FRI night ERT for the Radisson NO one was riding anything! It was a walk on for Ghostrider back seat.


I also have to agree with you that I don't think Knott's are capacity masters by any means especially when compared to Cedar Point (3 trains on corkscrew!) but they seemed a lot more efficient. This year was a vast imporvement over last years, they were spitting out Ghostrider trains faster than I had ever seen before (occasionaly sending the next train out right after the other train would pass the block. And they actually did add the second train to Xcelerator later in the day (around 12 maybe), but I have yet to experience that second train added to Xcelerator make the line go any faster, considering the fact the ride is all of 30 seconds long lol. Even though knott's isn't perfect I think they are getting better at least in comparison to the last couple years......

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We all walked through the Van Helsing or the "insert the Stephen Sommers movie here" maze. All I can say is that if this maze is any kind of idea of what Halloween Horror Nights was like at USH, I can understand why people don't believe us that HHN in Orlando is so good!




USH HHN was quite good, imho. We had been to the Scary Farm two years earlier. I thought the USH HHN was MUCH scarier than the Haunt. ANd actuallly better than USF HHN. The main reason was because of the crowds. It never got too bad, and folks were let into mazes as small groups, so you could actually be scared. I remember Norman Bates coming around a corner jabbing his knife at me in a strobe light that was VERY effective. THe year we went the Mummy maze and Rob Zombie maze were EXCELLENT. Universal always outspends Knott's on set design and construction. Knott's uses plywood, Universal uses movie set designers.


The crowd was not the usual Knott's mixture of gang bangers and general purpose thugs either. I remember my wife thought I was going to be stabbed one night at Knott's because someone thought I cut in front of them, even though we were at the beginning of the line, all merging together.


I thought the Bill and Ted's was not as good as the Hanging, but the absolute best Halloween occurance ever was at our USH HHN visit. We were eating some pizza and saw pretty much every chainsaw wielding guy in the park come marching down, in formation, doing a cadence. THey came to a hault, and paused for about 15 seconds before starting up their saws in unison and running in every direction possible chasing people. It was BRILLIANT! I'd give anything if I had been taping it.


I also liked all of the roamers there. They wouldn't all just chase you, some would ask for brains and such.


I liked the Van Helsing maze too. NOt much talent in there, which is understandable because of the light traffic, but c'mon, they had damn near the entire Frankenstein set from the movie in there that you walked right through. THAT was cool. Plus, the werewolf at the end was very neat too.


I do wish the Marvel Mania restaurant was still there. I only got to see the outside of it.


Good times!


Rastus O'Ginga

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Just got back from my annual cross-country adventure to Solace, and I will also give a nod to SFMM for making some improvements. All the ERTs had 2 trains running and were ready to go when the gates opened. Knott's on the other hand was maybe a step down from last year, and "Sliver" Bullet was kind of disappointing, even though I wasn't expecting much.


I am getting ready to pull the video from the DV cam and hope to get some trip reports ready in the next day or so.


// Sorry I didn't have much time to chat Robb. I think Catrina must have caught something from Elissa.

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I also had a great time at my FIRST solace. All I went to was KBF. It was okay. Except once the park opened. Then people came in like stampeeding buffalo! SB's line was long, but still rode it twice. Didn't ride GR cos line was too long, which was disapointing cos I haven't ridden it for like ever. After we had our free buffet lunch, we rode a couple more coasters, but then left around the four five-ish time. We were really wiped out and did nothing the next day. Woulda went to SFMM but didn't know solace was being held there. Anyway, it was super cool meeting you guys in person. And you might remember me slipping and nearly breaking my head exiting TT! We might go next year, and to SFMM if solace is held there. I dunno. Anyway, until next year!(hopefully)


---Davon "shoulda went to SFMM but didn't know" Dorsey


P.S.XLR8R pic in other fourum talking about KBF's solace.

P.S.S.Hope you feel better Elissa!

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Hey everyone:


I came to California and Solace weekend as a guest of a fellow Minnesota parkie, Jerry Dorf. While I'm a newbie at the coaster enthusiast bit (this was my first bona fide coaster event), I have been reading themeparkreview.com for a while, and thoroughly enjoy the site.


I cannot stress this point enough: Knott's were FANTASTIC hosts for this event. From the great food to the great crews, plus an excuse to escape cold Minnesota, I had an absolute blast.


For all of you who didn't go to the Saturday night ERT on the Bullet, you missed an absolutely fantastic crew who was having as much fun as we were (or so it seemed).


I am writing a LONG trip report for the weekend (Knott's and the Rideworld event at SFMM on Sunday), and if you like, I can post it here. Thanks!



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