The sight of the snow on the ground underneath Nitro, especially back in the woods with the ground/lake/trees covered in white was just amazing.
Here's a little report! Some photos are by Bill, most are mine.
So as mentioned I recently renewed my season pass, this time going for the "membership" and in order to get the Gold upgrade (free parking, etc), I needed to stop over the park before December 31st. I had not been making a visit to Holiday In the Park a point lately as I'd been preoccupied with our Florida trip in early December but now that that was out of the way, I wanted to get over Great Adventure before the madness of the holidays whips my life into a frenzy. As you all know the area got snow last weekend and the park never opened at all Saturday and Sunday much to my dismay. After trying to get together for a couple months now, I had planned to head over with my buddy Poop who was in town (and whom you may all remember from our trips earlier this season) and when they closed Sunday we pushed our plans back a week to Saturday instead. Coasterbill and I were texting each other about possibly meeting up as well.
Cue this past weekend and we got the same weather scenario, resulting in the park closing Friday night and with Saturday hanging in the balance. Knowing there was an ACE event happening (Winter Adventure) I totally staked out their event page Saturday morning since the park, to the surprise of absolutely no one, wasn't bothering to announce anything. Early on I saw that their morning events (presentations, breakfast etc) were going ahead but even they weren't sure the park would open, but I could see posts from ACE members showing that the park was hard at work plowing the parking lot and midways to attempt to open. Around 11:30 they posted the message that there would be a 2 hour delayed opening. I texted Poop and Bill to see if everyone was in, Bill responded that he and Brit were on their way down, and Poop that he was on his way to grab some six-packs and then me before we headed up to Jackson, NJ.
I was curious to know what the park would look like once we got there as some of the ACE photos I spotted on Facebook showed a good amount of snow in some areas with all hands on deck trying to get it moved. Also, while I figured they'd have the indoor rides running, I was curious if they would in fact have any of the large B&Ms open.
We took the long way up, stopping @ Wawa in Philly for some sandwiches and got to Jackson around 2:30. There was a little hold up at the tolls but we did spot Green Lantern running. While I hate the thing, that was a good sign the others would be open. We were soon in and parked as close as we could get and we decided to tailgate a bit, enjoying a few brews in the parking lot before we walked over to the gate, and at this point we spotted Nitro running. Just as we were next to get through security Poop realized he left his wallet and therefore season pass in the car, and reminded me I had also forgotten my voucher so we walked back to the car and decided to chug another beer. LOL!
By now the small crowd at the entrance had fizzled and we got through both gates without a wait, I got my new pass and in we headed. I was thinking of adding on the cheaper dining plan where you only get 1 meal and snack each day, and no sports bottle. I had literally only used the sports bottle once this year and don't typically get both meals (though I have on occasion), so I didn't see the point of spending twice the money for 2018. We stopped in at GA Cafe and the woman basically talked me out of adding the dining pass at that time because she explained I still had two meals and a snack and that would be cancelled out if I added the cheaper plan right then. She also informed me it would be even cheaper online and that I should just add it later. I was surprised a Six Flags employee was talking me out of spending money in the park, but she had a point. I decided to wait on doing this.
We got a text from Bill stating they were at the entrance but he had to process his Moms pass for her since she couldn't make it down today, so we told him to meet us @ Nitro and Poop and I headed that way, getting distracted by Batman and we headed into the empty queue and waited one train for the front row.
Batman didn't feel up to its HITP-rip-your-face-off potential, but we knew it was early in the day. Riding with the ground around/under the ride covered in snow was a real treat and a first for me, and throughout the ride our faces were pelted with snow falling off the track above us. Don't take that as a complaint, it was actually kinda neat.
* video by Coasterbill
We headed to Nitro next and spotted none other than Bill and Brit in the queue, said our hellos and headed up to another empty station, Mortal Kombat theme blasting away, and jumped in the second row from the back. Nitro had one train running (Batman had both on) with one in the shed, the other nowhere that I could see.
Nitro was running quite well considering the cold, half full train and decently heavy wind gusts. Again, the snow covering the ground under the ride through the woods was super cool and a highlight of all of my coasting. I was particularly stoked to come back for a night ride.
Since Bill and Brit hadn't hit Batman with us they went to do that while Poop and I stopped over at the firepits/beer stand near Macho Nacho. I couldn't help but notice they were serving up those delicious spiked apple ciders we've gotten the last two years so I ordered two for us - Poop with whiskey, mine with rum.
Needless to say we were feeling A-OK at this point. Bill and Brit joined us, grabbing some beers and a pack of marshmallows to roast upon the fire, and Poop and I had another round of ciders. Yum!
After we finished our drinks we headed over the Justice League to check out the scene and found a 40 minute wait and decided to see how fast the line would move, and lucky for us move it did. It probably took just about that time but it felt much shorter after those drinks.
This was only my second time on Justice League and just like the first time I enjoyed it. Last time the ride broke down for a second but this time no issues that I could tell. Poop had the highest score in the car with me right behind him, unfortunately only my elbow showed up in the on-ride photo so I got a picture of Poop in action.
Still feeling great, we wandered through the normally closed path back out to Adventure Alley checking out the holiday displays.
That is of course until we realized we had resisted the magnetism of what might be the best moment of airtime in the park during HITP. It was time to take a ride on the legendary, totally underrated, life-alteringly amazing Skull Moun... err I mean Pointsettia Peak!
Walking up to another empty station we hopped in the back two rows of course and were stoked to find the death metal was still cranked and all is well and good in the world. And would you look at that - no one is waiting for our row, so around again we go! We actually wound up re-riding three times as any true cult member would do.
All of us were starving so I suggested Grannys nearby but as we approached we noticed it was a shitshow. Not in the mood for Italian we passed Primos (Mamas) and wound up at Main Street Pub. The beer selection here was terrible so Poop got wine while I got a Mike's Hard Lemonade. I normally think those things are godawful but I was so lit I honestly didn't care. I tried the "Harvest Bowl" which is a smaller serving of turkey, mashed potatoes, corn and gravy with a side of cranberry sauce. It was all surprisingly edible and in fact really good! (Although maybe thats just booze talking)
We sat outside on the patio to eat as it wasn't bitter cold and this way we could check out the tree show featuring our favorite HITP earworm. (Sidenote since I'm talking about music: we were ecstatic to notice the park actually licensed at least another five songs for their holiday repertoire so that its now around ten of the same songs on repeat. By the end of the day its still unbearable but one might not quite reach stab-your-ears-out level like the last two season.)
Naturally, the best idea after stuffing yourself with a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner and foul malt liquor is to take a ride on Six Flags most flippingest coaster, the one and only Joker. Another walkon, Britt sat this one out since she hates it and Bill, Poop and I took a spin. I absolutely love these rides and as always it did not disappoint, though Poop, who has ridden before, decided he is not a fan.
Poop had never ridden Harley Quinn so after scooping up Britt, for sh*ts and giggles we all hopped on the crazy train. Especially funny was watching Bill and Britt together squeeze into one of those tiny seats a few rows ahead of us. HQ had probably the most hyped up ride-op of the day, everyone else everywhere seemed almost frozen in place, not too much of a surprise.
We agreed that since we hadn't made it over to the Boardwalk we should head that way and get us a ride with the Man of Steel. To no surprise we took the long was through Merry Marketplace where we smelled delicious foods and spotted a bar serving spiked hot apple ciders!
We almost didn't get these as the bartenders register comically froze halfway through our transaction but she smacked it a few times and we were back in business.
Every year during HITP the B&Ms get noticeably cranky towards the end of the event, and so far we'd had good luck today with no rides down. We made our way around to Superman, through the mile-long completely empty queue and up into a mostly empty station. With one train on the circuit, row 1 had a short wait so I suggested row 2 which was empty. Poop had never ridden Superman due to the fact that it always has a line so Bill suggested we wait for the front. That's important to remember, as none of what followed would have happened had we listened to him.
After waiting for two trains to go around the course, we finally boarded, were locked/checked, and dispatched into the flying position when something made a strange sound and they lowered us back down. We sat strapped in while the 3-4 members of the crew huddled around the control panel pointing at random things and looking hella confused. After 5+ minutes maintenance homie showed up pushed a bunch of buttons, and as expected made us get off and wait for them to send a test train around. Board again, same thing happens. We're eventually told there is too much weight in the front row and if two of our party can move back. Bill and Britt move behind so Poop could get the front row. Finally we're headed up the lift, and Poop, a newcomer to any flying coaster is sh*tting bricks. If I could only describe the sounds he was making as we went through the pretzel loop. We got off and he promptly declared he did NOT care for Superman. Oh no! Two for two for Poop and not digging rides. I will say after riding Manta a couple weeks ago Superman is pretty damn weak.
As this point it was about 8pm so we had an hour to kill and decided our plan should be a quick pit stop at Houdini, then off for some Nitro night rides, closing our night with a night on the Sky Way (come on, this report features Bill so you all knew this was coming).
Passing Houdini we balked at the sight of most of the switchbacks right outside the entrance filled with guests, a 20 minute or so wait so we nixed that. Onward to Nitro.
Nitro had an empty station once again and we first rode in the back and then played musical chairs to get another lap w/o walking around. I cannot express how cool it was to be headed up the lift and to look around and everything is covered in snow. And then heading up that big camel back in the woods and coming over it to see the lake and woods were covered in white as well.
Poop pointed out how quiet it was save for the noise from the train. Completely and totally surreal coaster riding experience. They were still running one train but by now it was nice and warmed up and we were tearing through the woods on both of our rides on this. Phenomenal.
When unloading we noticed the ops saying the park would now close in 10 minutes so we booked it over to Skyway to find a five minute wait, with them still letting guests in line. We couldn't spend a day with Bill @ a park with a skyride and not ride. Naturally I took a crapton of photos from the SkyWay, enjoy.
We had a really great day. Poop and I had planned to leave by 6 and never once got bored and stayed all the way til closing time. Plenty of rides to hit, food to eat, cider to drink, and people to watch. The park does a fantastic event with Holiday In The Park and I hope it continues. The crowds were decently busy until about 7/8pm when the whole place cleared out but they kept everything running til 9 to the best of my knowledge.
I was hoping to snag a hot chocolate and get one of those cool mugs they are selling this year but all of the food places were closed. Instead we hit Main Street market where I grabbed some ornament for a tree we still haven't put up, and Poop had to get a light-up Xmas tree Poop hat.
Definitely hitting the park up once more in the new few weeks (TPR closing day meet up on New Years Day - whose in!?) and plan to take care of that dining pass business and finally get summa dat dang hot chocolate!
Skull Mountain 3x
Spiked Apple Ciders 3x
Thanks for reading. And remember kids - comments are cool!