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Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:57 pm

June 27th - SFDK (see below)
June 28th - California Great America
June 28th - Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
June 29th - Travel Day Amtrak
June 30th - KBF
July 1st/2nd - SFMM
July 1st - Dodgers Stadium
July 4th - SeaWorld

The school year ended for NYC teachers last Tuesday afternoon, June 26th, so of course I'm off to visit amusement parks the next day. I tried to keep this trip on a budget so I did things a little different. I have season passes for SF, CF and SEAS, so those are the main parks. I had originally planned to include Disney with the last day of an old 10 day hopper, but DL no longer honors the Florida hoppers.

For this trip, I flew into SF and spent 2 days at parks. Then I took Amtrak to LA and stayed 3 nights before moving further south. I'm also using Air BnB for the first time on this trip.

On June 27th, I stopped at two small parks on the way to SF Discovery Kingdom. I did not take pictures at Pixieland or Sonoma Train Town, but I do recommend visiting the latter.

My ears usually take some time to recover from flying, so I did not plan to ride much at SFDK, just pick up some new credits since my last visit about 8 years ago. In the past I have always enjoyed the diversity of the rides at SFDK and the inclusion of the animals, but this time it was just about getting new credits.

V2 was down and Harley Quinn was still waiting to open. Those are the only two rides I want to try that I missed, but I did add to my credit count with Superman and Joker. I found Superman far superior in terms of comfort (and theming) to Tempest and while I enjoyed Joker, I found it to be the weakest RMC. Operation were also horrendous, with close to a 5 minute average between dispatches.
Harley Quinn is there to greet you.
But you will have to wait.
The entrance is engulfed by Wonder Woman and coasters that are front loaded in this park.
It was a cool evening and was surprised to see a bunch of kids start riding this as the sun was setting.
I found Superman much more comfortable (and therefore more enjoyable) than Tempesto
Fun ride, but the weakest of the RMCs I have ridden
Nope still not running yet
I actually took a roller coaster photo and included it in my Photo TR
I've only seen Big Belly Burgers in the DC Comics universe, including ads the the subway station at the end of Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. Then I saw this sign. 5 days later I saw a an open Big Belly Burger at SFMM. I like this development.
Last edited by larrygator on Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:25 pm.

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:18 pm

Glad to hear you (have?) had a good time here in California! I'll be waiting to hear more about why you recommend Sonoma Train Town, since I'm probably not too far away but haven't heard of it :?:

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:05 pm

Nice update! I'm still shocked Harley Quinn hasn't opened yet, but at least they had a RMC waiting for you. Even the worst RMC has to be a good coaster.

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:24 pm

The49er wrote:Glad to hear you (have?) had a good time here in California! I'll be waiting to hear more about why you recommend Sonoma Train Town, since I'm probably not too far away but haven't heard of it :?:

You are right, it is probably not for everyone, but I love history and trains.

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:47 am

I had a nearly identical experience there last year - it was a rush trip to pick up those two new credits, and I also thought Joker was the weakest RMC I'd ridden.

Excited for the rest, thanks for writing!

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:12 am

We visited the San Francisco area last year with family, I wanted to check out Traintown but was vetoed and we went to Hess Winery/museum instead. The winery was cool, but I still want to see the darned trains!

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:09 pm

Amtrak and AirBnB? Adventurous. I remember Pixieland being adorable (coaster was a bit sketch), and TrainTown wasn't one of my better "amusement park visits," but it's always been a great stop for train lovers.

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:14 pm

Bummer to hear about more poor operations at SFDK. You're the second person to go in the last month to report this kind of crap operations. It's a shame as this used to be one of the best 'Six Flags' parks that acted more like a Busch park!

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:51 pm

The next park on the trip was one on my most anticipated for two reasons. First, it inches my closer to riding all the wooden coasters in the US. Second, their is new coaster that I really thought was getting too much hype when announced that appears to deserve the hype. That coaster is Railblazer and the park in California Great America.

My previous visit to CGA was a 50 minute stroll through the park to get the credits during a free hour I had in the middle of a softball tournament. On my previous visit, I don't recall any fun coasters outside of Top Gun (Flight Deck) and was sort of glad to be done in 50 minutes. But this time I had more time staying from opening to 3PM, before heading to SCBB for the evening.

All in all the park was more impressive than I remember, although the coaster department is still lacking. However, Rail Blazer is easily my favorite coaster in Northern California. If I heard to use one word to describe the coaster it is ZIPPY. When RMC announced the single rail concept it was a head scratcher for me, I couldn't understand the reason, besides maybe saving some space, but it delivers unique movements. Now if only I had known that the Fast Lane also served a dual purpose as a single rider line it would have made me day and allowed me more than two rides. As luck would have it my rides were in row 2 and row 8, and enjoyed each ride equally, which row 2 providing more hang time but row being zippier. I was disappointed in Gold Striker, it just wasn't very exciting and was bumpy at times. Patriot is much better as a sit down, but extremely boring for a sit down. Flight Deck stills delivers though.

This visit I was able to experience quite a few of the flats and love the old school ones still in use like the Calypso (Centifuge), Breakdance (Peanuts Pirates) and Beserker (Bayern Kurve). I even rode the SkyRide.

Food - I really enjoyed the layout of the Food Festival and kiosks really seemed to minimize the wait time for food preparation. As if I'm not mistaken their was one bathroom at the park that had individual hand dryers directly next to each sink, which I thought was brilliant.
Still one of my favorite sights at the front of a park, the double decker carousel.
A love the amount of shade the park provides in the games area with overhead tarps.
My first stop, I just I had gotten to the park right at opening (stupid Bay Area traffic)
Having more than one train running would have helped the situation.
But the other trains sat there all day
Then three days later, Jewy tells me that when he visited the next day single riders could use the Fast Lane line.
Most of the lines were very manageable so I got on a few flats, I love a good Calypso
I though this BreakDance ran a decent cycle, but later that day at SCBB I was reminded what a great BreakDance cycle feels like.
Not as intense as others, but always a bonus to find one operating.
The centralized ordering at kiosks seemed to help each restaurant deliver food to customers quicker.
Gold Striker did disappoint, but it was my 200th wooden roller coaster.
Levis Stadium
Single Rail Track = thumbs up in my book

RMC, you have proven me wrong.

Re: Photo TR - larrygator's CaliforniVacation

Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:56 pm

I'm planning a Southern coaster road trip this fall and have added California's Great America just because of Railblazer, the ride looks like a kick!
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