As mentioned in the SFGam thread, we took a trip to the park on Saturday, 11/4.
I was excited about our visit, since SFGam was hosting a "Last Call Fall" brew and food tasting event. I've been reading TR's for years of other parks hosting these food and beer events and they always look like a blast. I was excited that one of these events was in reach and our schedules were clear.
With the forecast not looking so good a couple days out, and the mixed responses of the park either being slammed or dead, due to the weather, we decided to make the call and try our best to enjoy our 8 HOUR DAY. When Saturday morning came, we gave our lift off the thumbs up, even despite other warning signs, such as having one of my 'I can't FFFFFFing sleep episodes' leaving me with a couple hours of sleep and having a pretty noticeable bruise on my face from a little casual ice hockey the prior day... The final warning sign came when we both drenched ourselves with our Starbucks (#treatyourselfday) we picked up in Springfield. By drench, I mean coffee soaked in my crotch through my jeans and my base layer long johns I decided to wear. Emily managed to soak her left leg in the same minute. There's no excuse possible, except that it's a bitch being human. WTF is wrong with us??? Luckily a rest stop appeared and I was able to use one of my only spare tee shirts to clean myself when I changed in the back of the car. FML
We got to the park about a half hour prior to opening and the weather plain sucked. It was around 40 degrees with a slow rain/mist. That special form of precipitation that hits you from all angles and sticks to everything. After waiting 15 minutes in this miserable sh** in the security switch backs, we were allowed into the park. We snagged a couple walk-on rides on Joker (first S&S free spin), right off the bat. Man, this thing was fun and we were totally surprised. It makes me a little nervous, which I like.
After that, we grabbed a front seat ride on Goliath. This thing is still great, but Raging Bull still holds favor in this park. Haters will hate...
It still looks great, though.
The gloomy weather made Goliath looks great.
I won't bore you with every ride we took, but we but the weather warmed up, the spitting cold rain stopped, and we were rewarded with walk-on waits throughout the park, which is something I'd never experienced at SFGam. We walked around, took our time, and snapped a few pictures in anticipation of having the park to ourselves for a full eight hour visit.
X-Flight wouldn't open for the day, despite seeing it do a few test runs. It's a fun ride and I put it in the category of riding it once per trip.
The more I visit this park the more I appreciate it. Everything is really packed into SFGam, but the atmosphere isn't claustrophobic.
We 'had' planned on doing this sometime throughout the day. (foreshadowing)
At 130 we noticed that the Fall Festival in the Yukon area not only looked pretty skimpy, but there were almost no employees. We asked an employee when the festival would start. She was nice, but hesitant. She told us that everything would probably start in a half hour and she apologized saying this was their first year with the event. She made a big deal about some employees setting up a tent to enhance the experience... which ended up being a 12x12 tent with no chairs, some soaked tables (as everything was soaked), and a few pumpkins on a hay bail... uh...
And here was the table, along with the taps behind it which never opened up. I'll just sit here (stand) and drink my imaginary beer.
Eventually the festival began and we purchased a booklet for $30 dollars plus tax containing 15 credits. We also got some Over 21 wrist bands, which was nice to bypass the awkward carding issues. We did some quick third grade math to realize that every credit was 2 dollars. Most everything broke even with the actual price point, except samples which were 1 credit of $3... so basically we saved a dollar on samples. Cool, except the samples were about a quarter of a beer can and a 'full' beer was 5 credits, which looked like about a 10 ounce pour. Rapeage. Within about three minutes, including a couple samples and a couple beers, we were left with 3 credits. Lol. Oh well. We'd agreed to try a couple more within an hour or so and switch to JB's. We relaxed and walked around the park, deciding to head to our first rides of the day on Raging Bull and Whizzer.
You can get a pretty good point of view of the vibe in the background. As far as the festival goes, there were a few stations here and there in the Yukon and Southwest area. Some of the offerings were Buffalo Mac and Cheese, Fried Mac and Cheese, BBQ Sliders, Jalapeno Poppers, a Brauwurst that looked really good, one hot spiced wine sampling, and maybe 20-30 different beer selections. The trip wouldn't have been worth it alone at all. Maybe the dreary day killed the vibe, but I think the festival could use some work. As far as the Lumberjack show goes... were we expecting some real SDC type wood carving or something, but when it was a bunch of bearded kids dancing around with plastic axes while one dude sang "You're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man you're a man," we left ASAP. I don't do thespian shows, let alone this one. Of note, the aforementioned singing redundancy was not an exaggeration.
It was around 230 when we approached Whizzer and we heard the announcement. "Ladies and Gentlemen, due to inclimate weather the park will be closing at 4pm today." WTF? Wait... this shit happens? It was probably six-seven degrees warming and everything was drying up. The sky was getting brighter and the wind had come to a stand still. It took us five hours to get here and the park will only be open for four hours despite being a destination park and holding a special event. I don't even remember hearing a "Sorry for the inconvenience" in any announcement for the remainder of our stay.
We made our way to the Southwestern area of the Fall Festival and looked at the beer options. Seeing the 10 ounce pours and with time ticking, I decided to abandon the wimpy pours for the big guns. We headed inside JB'S and got ourselves a couple big daddy Sam Adams Octoberfests and used our last three credits outside for 5 jalapeno poppers covered in beer cheese sauce.
Excuse the dirt on my face - aka no shave vacation week. This is my face of disbelief about the park closing, combined with indifference about the Fall Festival. This truly was supposed to be our 'last call' in a big park this season. Maybe they just wanted us to enjoy the 'last call' even sooner than expected. fml
When we walked under Demon earlier, some girl in her 20's looked down on us and sarcastically said "Have a Six Flags Day..." That tone seemed completely relevant at this point.
That's kind of more like usual.
After our attitude adjustment, consisting of drinking our large beers as fast as possible, I determined we had to make the most of our hour left at the park. We snagged a front seat and a back seat ride on the bull to kick off our final hour. I remember saying on the break run of another awesome ride, "The enthusiasts who can't appreciate this ride are a bunch of FFFFFing pansies." To which Emily replied without hesitation, "You're a pansy." Burn. Seriously though, that first drop kicks ass and the rest of the ride is filled with floater air and good times.
Have a Six Flags Day! (Why the Hell is this thing still on???)
We decided to have one more beer to wrap up the day. Usually we don't drink that quickly, but we had to drink away our sorrows and try to have a good time.
Then, we took a wrong turn and got lost somewhere. We found American Eagle somewhere back there. Only recently have we began to appreciate older wooden coasters. American Eagle is a far cry from Screaming Eagle, but it's still a pretty fun ride. Sadly, it was our last ride of the day. I wanted something where Emily and I could have fun, laugh, and bump into each other a bit.
We took the scenic way out and my beers were catching up with me.
Speaking of catching up, a few more tourist shots were in order.
Me- "Did I get pretty close?" Emily laughing - "Close? You were part of the FFFFing show!"
I took one last picture of our somber exit. Yes, we made the best of our short day, but it could have been so much better.
Our final count:
Raging Bull x3
American Eagle x2
Vertical Velocity x1
Justice League x1
Beer Man x3
Closing early announcement with no apologies x5
Six Flags screwing its customers x1
We safely made our way back to our Hyatt in Deerfield and checked in. Maybe we looked a little bummed out with feelings of confusion, as the staff member checking us in asked us if we wanted two free drink coupons. Does a cat have an ass? Does a bear shit in the woods? Does Six Flags care more about pinching pennies to make a profit trumping guest experience? The obvious answer is YES! We showed our appreciation, went upstairs to change, feeling weird from not being tired out as usual, and made our way to the bar. We had a couple drinks over a couple hours of talking and we made our way to our next adventure and half the reason why we came.
I don't know what I did to deserve the circumstances of the day, but we were seated next to a massive group of obnoxious kids who were loud as FFFFFF! I don't do kids and I don't care for loud. Luckily, we ordered a cold pitcher to again try to use alcohol to pull out of this tail spin. As fate would have it, within 20 minutes the kids were gone! Eventually, we were treated with our award.
Sorry William... I couldn't resist. I mean who gets pizza at Wrigley, anyway???
Also, no, I'm not dying, that the aforementioned hockey bruise. I know Chicago style has mixed reviews. I've had Gino's and Malnati's and I love them both. I'm not too particular when it comes to pizza, except that I don't do large corporate chains. If I'm having a cheat meal, I'm not wasting my time on that crap. This was our second visit to Malnati's this year. We got the classic, which comes with the pie being layered with sausage, then we added pepperoni. The crust was crunchy with hints of butter, the Sausage was tender and delicious, the pepperoni and was very flavorful, the sauce tasted strongly of delicious wine, and there was enough cheese to plug me up for a week. Pictures don't do it justice, this tasted fantastic to me.
The day was filled with mixed feelings, but we did make the best of it. I can't help but to be a little bummed out and a little upset at the level of customer service. I understand a park closing early for inclimate weather. However, SFGam used a little dreary weather as an excuse to close in order to not lose too much money. Yes, I understand this is a business, but we really felt like we got sh*t on.The weather did nothing but improve throughout the day. All coasters except for X-Flight ran throughout the entire day. The weather did nothing but progressively get better throughout the day. By the time we left, it was in the low 50's and completely dry with no wind. It stayed this way throughout the evening.
Either way, we're suckers, so we'll be back next year or so. I've really gained a lot of appreciation for SFSTL in the past year or so and I had started to really gain some appreciation for the chain, but this was definitely a step back. I'm still grateful for our four hours at the park, despite the unfortunate set of circumstances.
For more on the disaster as it unfolded:http://themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=51125&p=1829341#p1829341
(Sorry for any typos. I did this in a hurry and my lazy A$$ did not proof read.)