Photo TR: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

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Photo TR: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:26 pm

Day 1: Westward Ho!

First of all, I have to say a big thank you to Robb, Elissa, and everyone at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm who helped to put on this event. I know you all worked so hard, and I want you to know that your efforts translated into results. I had such an amazing time over the weekend.

Now on to the description of the trip itself. I’ve been reading the reports from the last couple of West Coast Bashes, and the event looked so fun. Once I saw Robb’s announcement video, I decided I must go this year. Originally this was intended to be a trip with my son, as he has made so much progress with his autism, and he hit 48” this year. Roller coasters are his favourite thing, and it’s been a real point of bonding for us. However, as we got into the summer, I didn’t feel that he was quite ready for a trip by airplane, so this ended up being a solo trip for me. Those of you who have kids with autism or love someone with autism, you understand.

I only had a few days that I could take off work, so the schedule went as follows:

Friday 9/9 – fly to LA, Pacific Park
Saturday 9/10 – Six Flags Magic Mountain
Sunday 9/11 – Knott’s Berry Farm
Monday 9/12 – Disneyland & Disney California Adventure
Tuesday 9/13 – Universal Studios Hollywood
Wednesday 9/14 – fly home

I would have loved to have had more time in LA, especially for Disneyland, but that’s all the time I could get off work, and I wanted to visit all those places, so that’s how the week went.

I decided to fly Spirit—it’s the first time that I’ve flown with them—because they are the only airline that has a direct flight from MCI to LAX. The week would already be a big time crunch, and I didn’t want layovers to eat into that time.

I had to work a half day on Friday, but after that, I took off for Kansas City. It’s a very well designed airport, and I was able to get in and through security quickly. I was able to get a window seat on the exit row, so the trip was quite pleasant. This is the first time I’ve been west of the Rockies (though I have been to Denver, Colorado Springs, and Albuquerque), and I enjoyed seeing the desert landscapes below us. Skies were clear for much of the flight, so I was able to see a lot.

I arrived at LAX around 5:00, caught the shuttle to the Alamo rental car lot, and headed to my first destination: In ‘N’ Out Burger in Westchester. This is simply the best fast food burger I’ve ever had. There are quite a number of transplanted Californians in Missouri, and they all praise In ‘N’ Out very highly. I must say it totally lives up to the hype. Their menu is extremely limited, but that doesn’t matter. It’s amazing.

With that ticked off the list, I proceeded to Santa Monica. The GPS directed me to the freeway, so I had my first taste of L.A. traffic. This may amaze some of you who live there, but I loved it! The L.A. freeways are simply the best I’ve ever driven on. For the most part, people know where they’re going and pay attention. I never had to guess what someone intended to do, and I never had anyone tailing me or doing anything else dangerous. It was such a relief from the typical Missouri traffic, where drivers routinely tail me, honk, flash their lights, anything to change my driving—instead of using the perfectly good, totally clear passing lane to the left. Missouri drivers have an attitude that was conspicuously absent in California drivers. Every commute I had on the freeways was totally relaxing.

I arrived in Santa Monica and parked in the lot just north of the pier. I had, thanks to TPR’s access to Tickets at Work, a combo ticket for Universal and Pacific Park for about $80, compared with $120 for Universal and $18 for Pacific Park through their websites. Club TPR pays off yet again!

I rode the West Coaster twice and the Ferris wheel once. That was all I cared to do as far as rides were concerned. My main interest in the pier was to visit the Pacific Ocean. I’ve never been there before (but been to the Gulf twice and the Atlantic twice). It was very, very cold, and I didn’t wade out very far. I didn’t go swimming at all. Still, it was fun to be on the beach.

This was a Friday night, and they had a DJ. Most of the time I just walked the pier and played Pokémon Go. All the Pokéstops were lit up with lures, and there were a number of them. I got several Pokémon that were new to me: Sandshrew, Sandslash, Diglett, Graveler, Onix, Primeape, and Kabuto! The pier was by far the best Pokémon place of the whole trip.

I headed out about 11:00 (which felt like 1:00 AM to me, being used to Central Time) to get some sleep in preparation for the first day of West Coast Bash!

Theming: It looks amazingly like a pier!

Food: No experience with food on the pier.

Service: The ride ops were a little unsure of what to do with me as a single rider. Still, I eventually got to ride the Ferris wheel and the coaster. The wristband distribution was quick and easy, though. Well done on that aspect.

Flat: The only one I rode was the Ferris wheel, which offered great views of the ocean, the beach, and the Santa Monica skyline. Very fun!

Coaster: If you want to ride a coaster here, you want to ride West Coaster, because that’s the one they have. It was an okay ride. If it were in a cornfield, I’d say it’s terrible. But the location by the ocean really added to the atmosphere.
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I'm in L.A., or as it's commonly known, the City of Our Lady, the Queen of Angels, on the River Porciuncula!
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First things first. In 'N' Out Burger!
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I got to sit outside in the cool California breeze and smell the sea air and jet fuel.
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Wwwwwhat are you doing? Wwwwell, I took the 405 to the 10 and got off on 3rd street in Santa Monica.
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I arrived just in time to see the sun setting over the ocean and the mountains.
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Eventually I was persuaded to peel myself away from the sunset and head toward West Coaster.
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Oh hell no.
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They had a good number of standard flats, including this scrambler....
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...and this drop tower.
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This was the actual background for your Ferris wheel photo. Congratulations, Pacific Park, you win.
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The beautiful Santa Monica beach.
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There are no single riders on the Ferris wheel, so I was placed with a Japanese family who were kind enough to take my photo.
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They had a pirate ship that had an odd shield on one side. Not sure what that's about.
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West Coaster is themed to ladders.
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After dark, the Ferris wheel was lit up with a great light package.
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Springfield, Missouri, where I'm from, is the birthplace of Route 66. I've been to one end of it, Grant Park in Chicago, several times, so it was very special getting to see the western end of the Mother Road.
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End of the trail, and end of the night! Next up is West Coast Bash!
Last edited by ytterbiumanalyst on Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:41 am.
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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby robbalvey » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:38 pm

I will never understand the hype for In-N-Out. It's an "ok" burger at best. The fries are terrible, but they do make a pretty good shake. And don't even get me started on the creepy-as-hell bible versus hidden on their cups and wrappers.

I'm not sure if people love it because they actually like or so many people say how good it is and it's already planted in their brain that it's awesome. I really don't know. I just know that, while I don't "dislike" In-N-Out, it has never, ever lived up to the hype for me.

Personally, I'll take Five Guys, Shake Shack, The Counter, Burger Fi, even Carl's Jr. over In-N-Out any day. It's an "ok" burger, maybe even a "decent" burger, but as someone who was born & raised in SoCal, it just never grew on me and I'll never get why people like it so much.

Great start to the report! Looking forward to the rest.

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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby SixFlagsAstroworld » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:42 pm

Great report! Looking forward for more!
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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:50 pm

robbalvey wrote:I will never understand the hype for In-N-Out. It's an "ok" burger at best. The fries are terrible, but they do make a pretty good shake. And don't even get me started on the creepy-as-hell bible versus hidden on their cups and wrappers.

I'm not sure if people love it because they actually like or so many people say how good it is and it's already planted in their brain that it's awesome. I really don't know. I just know that, while I don't "dislike" In-N-Out, it has never, ever lived up to the hype for me.

Personally, I'll take Five Guys, Shake Shack, The Counter, Burger Fi, even Carl's Jr. over In-N-Out any day. It's an "ok" burger, maybe even a "decent" burger, but as someone who was born & raised in SoCal, it just never grew on me and I'll never get why people like it so much.

Great start to the report! Looking forward to the rest.

We have Five Guys and Carl's Jr. here (though we call the latter Hardee's), and they're both really good. I've not had the privilege of eating at Shake Shack, but I hear very good things. Maybe it's different if you grow up in SoCal, but as a visitor, I was pleased. Go ahead and call me an ignorant tourist, because that's very much what I was. :)
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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby grsupercity » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:51 pm

robbalvey wrote:I will never understand the hype for In-N-Out. It's an "ok" burger at best. The fries are terrible, but they do make a pretty good shake. And don't even get me started on the creepy-as-hell bible versus hidden on their cups and wrappers.

I'm not sure if people love it because they actually like or so many people say how good it is and it's already planted in their brain that it's awesome. I really don't know. I just know that, while I don't "dislike" In-N-Out, it has never, ever lived up to the hype for me.

Personally, I'll take Five Guys, Shake Shack, The Counter, Burger Fi, even Carl's Jr. over In-N-Out any day. It's an "ok" burger, maybe even a "decent" burger, but as someone who was born & raised in SoCal, it just never grew on me and I'll never get why people like it so much.

Great start to the report! Looking forward to the rest.


Five guys is wayyyy over priced for the decent burger and fries you get.
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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby coasterlvr » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:54 pm

i rarely eat in and out. but, i'm no burger expert. Houston's restaurant is my favorite, but i'm not sure that's really a fair comparison. i do want whataburger since so many claim it's greatness. but i'm afraid it will be how so many claim in and out's greatness as well.

anyway, great report so far!!
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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby coasterlvr » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:57 pm

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:We have Five Guys and Carl's Jr. here (though we call the latter Hardee's), and they're both really good. I've not had the privilege of eating at Shake Shack, but I hear very good things. Maybe it's different if you grow up in SoCal, but as a visitor, I was pleased. Go ahead and call me an ignorant tourist, because that's very much what I was. :)


my brother in law can't get enough of in and out when they visit. he's from Pennsylvania and they live in North Carolina. also, since they just opened the first shake shack nearby in west hollywood, it's been a madhouse anytime i've been near. so haven't had it. and never had it vegas when i'm there. some day.
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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby cfc » Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:01 pm

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:
robbalvey wrote:I will never understand the hype for In-N-Out. It's an "ok" burger at best. The fries are terrible, but they do make a pretty good shake. And don't even get me started on the creepy-as-hell bible versus hidden on their cups and wrappers.

I'm not sure if people love it because they actually like or so many people say how good it is and it's already planted in their brain that it's awesome. I really don't know. I just know that, while I don't "dislike" In-N-Out, it has never, ever lived up to the hype for me.

Personally, I'll take Five Guys, Shake Shack, The Counter, Burger Fi, even Carl's Jr. over In-N-Out any day. It's an "ok" burger, maybe even a "decent" burger, but as someone who was born & raised in SoCal, it just never grew on me and I'll never get why people like it so much.

Great start to the report! Looking forward to the rest.

We have Five Guys and Carl's Jr. here (though we call the latter Hardee's), and they're both really good. I've not had the privilege of eating at Shake Shack, but I hear very good things. Maybe it's different if you grow up in SoCal, but as a visitor, I was pleased. Go ahead and call me an ignorant tourist, because that's very much what I was. :)


My biggest objection to In 'n' Out (and I grew up in California) is their use of 1,000 Island Dressing. This foul glop belongs nowhere near my burger!

That being said, I get my In 'n' Out burger with mustard, and I admit to liking the fries. I've since become more of a Five Guys fan.

Your report is off to a great start, nonetheless. ;)
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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby x2isawesome » Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:12 pm

I actually think fatburger is superior to in n out too. In n out is always kind of a hassle to get too since they are always so busy. Cool tr looking forwArd to more.
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Re: To West Coast Bash--and Beyond!

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:35 pm

Day 2: Six Flags Magic Mountain

I got up early the next day and proceeded north to the most magical of mountains. I got there very early, as I wasn’t sure what traffic was going to be like. I parked at Marie Callender’s and went for a walk to pass the time. Once they opened at 7, I went in for a great breakfast. I know TPR was providing donuts and muffins, but I have chronic low blood sugar, so I need protein in the morning. Marie Callender’s was great, and I had more than I could possibly eat. Highly recommended as a great start to your day at Magic Mountain.

Around 7:30 I headed out and proceeded to the mountain. They provided us with free parking, which is very much appreciated. I parked and walked in, and proceeded up to the table which Robb and Elissa were manning. This was my first opportunity to meet you, and you guys are celebrities to me.

Once registered, I got to meet Bill and Bryan. It’s a little weird introducing myself to people I know from trip reports on the Internet, but they were really cool. Bill spoke highly of X2, which I was really nervous about, but this gave me the courage to try it out. Robb came out and pumped us up to enter Magic Mountain, and then they let us in!

I went straight to New Revolution as planned, since I understand the VR really slows down the line. I was able to get on the last row of the first train of the day. David and Spears were in the row ahead of me, and they’re really cool people.

I enjoyed the VR, especially in the loop. I was impressed with how much the VR took over the experience and really made the coaster even more than it is already. I absolutely adore Schwarzkopfs, and the VR really added to this one. Winner!

Next I went to YOLOcoaster, then on to Twisted Colossus. I ended up riding it eight times in the morning and two in the evening. Absolutely amazing coaster, and far and away the best ride at Magic Mountain. Thanks for the ERT—I would never have been able to ride it that much otherwise!

I then got a muffin and coffee at the breakfast bar, and went back to X2 . This was the coaster I was most nervous about—I’m not typically a fan of flipping rides, especially Top Spins, so I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this one. I rode the back row, inside seat, as I understand that’s the smoothest one, and I had a great time! Thanks so much to Bill (Nrthwnd), who convinced me to go!

After that, I proceeded around the park, to Viper, and then Roaring Rapids. I was lucky enough to catch Tatsu and Superman when they were just re-opening after being down, and then went on to Apocalypse, Jet Stream, and Gold Rusher, before heading on to lunch.

After lunch I did the backlot. Riddler’s Revenge was great, as was Batman. In fact, the Batman here is the best one I’ve been on so far, due to the air conditioning in the tunnel. :)

I skipped Tidal Wave, as its line was about 45 minutes, and it’s the same as the one in St. Louis. I rode Goliath, which was incredible. It was my first Giovanola coaster, and bigger than anything we have in Missouri. In fact, it was the only one I re-rode other than Twisted Colossus.

In all, I got to ride everything I wanted at Magic Mountain, thanks to ERT. I appreciate the great effort put forth by everyone who made this happen, as otherwise I wouldn’t have experienced all I wanted to. Thank you so much for a great day at Six Flags Magic Mountain!


Theming: Typical Six Flags. Good in some areas, very minimal in others.

Food: The buffet we got for lunch was good. I didn’t buy any other food that day.

Service: Merely okay. I thought the New Revolution crew was very good at helping us through the myriad technical difficulties of the headsets, and the Twisted Colossus crew was excellent. Other than that, met expectations, but didn’t exceed them at all.

Water rides: I have never up until this point ridden a bad log flume. Jet Stream changed all that. Constant slamming into the sides and bottom, lackluster drop. It was not good. At all.

Roaring Rapids was pretty good. I didn’t really get wet at all, but the people across from me very much did. I had fun.

Flat ride: Lex Luthor’s Drop of Doom was the only one I rode. It was great, best drop tower I had been on up to that point (though it would be demolished by Tower of Terror just 2 days later…).

Coasters:

Apocalypse: This is better than its reputation would indicate. I enjoyed it a lot, especially since it told a story of survivors taking on their machine overlords. Way above your average Six Flags ride.

Batman: This is the best Batman. It has air conditioning in the tunnel. Would that they all have that.

YOLOcoaster: For a coaster that’s basically just a loop, it’s great. The queue looks pretty cheap, and I’m not sure what the theme is (adrenaline?), but the ride delivers.

Gold Rusher: Possibly the worst mine train I’ve been on. And I love this ride type.

Goliath: The only ride other than Twisted Colossus worthy of re-rides. I loved it. It’s fast, very forceful at the bottom of the first and second drops and the helix, and a lot of fun.

Ninja: This is possibly the best suspended coaster I’ve been on. Not sure if this or Kings Island’s Bat is better. And that’s a very good problem to have.

Scream: I love B&M floorless coasters, and this one is no exception. I loved that there was no line during evening ERT.

Superman: It’s all right. The backward launch wasn’t as good as Mr. Freeze or Powder Keg. It was fast, but I didn’t get the same sense of speed that I had on Top Thrill Dragster. It was fun, but not especially memorable.

Tatsu: Other than Twisted Colossus, probably the best coaster at Magic Mountain. The pretzel loop is so forceful that I couldn’t even breathe. Amazing ride.

The New Revolution: The VR was interesting, but I don’t think I’d do it again. It took a long time to load, but that had more to do with the equipment than the crew. They were working quite hard on making sure we all had working phones and knew how to use them.

The Riddler’s Revenge: This was my first stand-up coaster, and I enjoyed it! I bent my knees being fitted for the bicycle seat, and I stood up for the ride instead of being near the seat. It wasn’t painful at all, and was a lot of fun.

Twisted Colossus: Far and away the best coaster in the park, and next to Ghostrider, the best coaster of the entire trip. I loved it and rode it ten times: eight on morning ERT and two on evening ERT.

Viper: It was okay, but I wouldn’t mind if it were replaced. It was great through the three loops, but as soon as the inversions changed direction, it was hell. I love Arrows, and am a big fan of Demon at SFGAm and Vortex at Kings Island, but this one simply wasn’t good.

X2: Thanks to Bill (Nrthwnd) for convincing me to go on this! I rode in the back row on the inside to minimize roughness, and I had fun! I’m not a fan of flipping rides at all, but this one was controlled flipping and predictable. Sitting in a smooth row, I actually had a good time.
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X2 and Viper! What a way to wake up!
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La Chupacabra is coming to get you!
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The observation tower. Closed all day....
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New Revolution, through the creepy tree!
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Tatsu!
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Several people lined up for when it re-opened.
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It's a bird! It's a plane!
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I loved the Japanese garden on Samurai Summit.
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Sneaky sneaky.
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The views from the mountain are amazing.
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Don't bring kryptonite on this ride!
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This is the absolute worst log flume.
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Go karts. I didn't ride these.
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Observation tower, sadly closed the entire day.
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A little taste of home! O'Reilly Automotive is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri!
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Apocalypse!
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Theming.
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More theming.
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This appeared to be a former log flume station platform that isn't used anymore.
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Gold Rusher was possibly the worst mine train I've ever been on.
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Riddler's Revenge was my first stand-up coaster. It was really fun!
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I wanted to ride Tidal Wave, but the line was too long.
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Superman was quite visible from all over the park.
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This is the sort of food line we didn't have to wait in. Thanks, TPR!
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That's us!
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After lunch, I headed over to Goliath. I loved it! Second best ride in the park, after Twisted Colossus!
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I loved all the shady plant life in the queue. Really helps to make the wait better.
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This is the best ride entrance.
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Next was Riddler's Revenge.
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This was a new ride type for me, and I used the advice I've read here, keep your legs bent while fitting the bicycle seat, so you can stand above it. It worked, and the ride was very fun!
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Ninja was very fun. The log flume? Not so much.
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Some decent theming in the DC area.
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Oh hell no.
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This is the best Batman. It has an air conditioned tunnel!
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I don't think the suit is quite ready for prime time. Probably need two arms.
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Scream! With no wait. Thanks, ERT!
Last edited by ytterbiumanalyst on Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:04 am.
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