As noted above, took a drive down to Six Flags Fiesta Texas yesterday.
the main reason I wanted to go, was to get a ride on/look at the new Dark Ride: Pirates of the Deep Sea (the complete re-do of the Scooby Doo dark ride, which had been planned for 2018, but officially opened in early Jan of 2019).
The outside was looking great, and I had heard great things about what had been done inside (including Park President telling me on my last visit when I complimented him on the outside queue saying, “just wait until you see the inside”). So I was itching to get a look.
the other big reason I wanted to go? Yesterday was my Mom’s Yartzheit (the 2nd year anniversary of her passing). I lit the memorial candle and said a prayer for her when I got up, but I did not want to just sit around the house all day. . . .feeling. so instead I was determined to get out, even if the day ended up being busy.
I suspected it would not be busy, since it was *very* overcast, with a 20% chance of rain (it had been 40% for Sat the evening before). It also was predicted to stay in the low-mid 60’s all day, which is cold for most Texans. It was cold enough that my Spouse didn’t want to be out in the “cold”. . so I went by myself.
I had made plans to meet up with a friend in San Antonio at the park to ride coasters, so even if Nick had come I would have a coaster buddy to ride everything Nick cant/wont. . but I told Nick I fully expected him to flake and not show up (since our meeting time moved from Noon, to 1, to just after 1, to then closer to 3). So I wasn’t expecting him to show, and spoiler- he didn’t. But that’s ok, if I don’t expect it? I’m not surprised
anyways, the drive down was smooth and just about 1 ½ hours after pulling out of our driveway, I was pulling into SFFT parking lot at 1pm. I knew right away it wasn’t gonna be a busy day, since the parking lot wasn’t even a 1/4th full.
But I parked pretty far back anyways (more walking is what I need these days), and headed into the park – which I had forgotten I had been told that Mardi Gras celebration would be starting in Jan, since SFFT is year round now. They had the big signs up, and lots of decorations about, tho mainly focused on Rockville (where the main stage and food options mostly are). . .although there is a stage and a small snack food with Mardi Gras options in the main festivals plaza too. But majority of the “Mardi Gras” theming is in the Rockville area.
I headed towards the boardwalk for the new Dark Ride – that was gonna be my 1st stop, since I was gonna ride that no matter how long the wait.
Walking past the train tracks near Poltergeist, it looked like it was closed. . .no visible line at all in the queue. But then I saw a few people coming up the exit lanes (maybe getting turned away?), and so I asked them, and they said “no, it’s open, we just got off”.. so I got in the line, which was so short it was not even to the station – seriously, there were only like 3 people inside the station. A few more folks joined the queue while we were waiting, as even with only ~5 people on the train that was loading when I walked up? They were having issues getting someone to fit, so they spent a few minutes trying to get them in (eventually they had to walk of shame. .. Poltergeist’s trains really are VERY unforgiving).
But the park was running both trains, and once the train took off, I was on the very next ride.
I realized that if Poltergeist didn’t even have queue outside the station, then likely everything else would be very short/non-existent today, so once off, went back around and took a 2nd ride on Poltergeist before heading towards he boardwalk, stopping along the way to take pics with Looney Tunes characters who were out and about in Mardi Gras costuming.
have to give the park Huge props (and told them so in the guest survey they just sent me) – even tho the crowds were not out yesterday? More characters, and costumed cast roaming around and interacting with the public than I have ever seen at SFFT. Several had beads, or performing with batons, heck even the boardwalk had roving bands of Pirates, and a Shark (left Shark) to help promote the new rides. It was great, and I had a wonderful time interacting with them and posing for pics.
When I got to Fiesta Bay Boardwalk, sure enough there was no visible line for the Pirates. I worried for a moment that maybe it wasn’t open? But nope, doors were open and a costumed pirate at the main entrance ushered me inside the queue.
If you’re familiar with the old Scooby Doo queue? It’s NOTHING like that..the only thing they have in common is how dark it is in the queue. Like seriously dark. . give your eyes some time to adjust dark (or like I saw a woman do on my 3rd ride, use your cellphone flashlight to see where you are going). It is no longer a straight back and forth queue, as you now navigate a “cave/town” to get to the loading platform. . . the path brings you past rooms full of treasure, an old timey street at the docks, a working waterfall !, animatronic pirate who explains some stuff (whom I had a hard time following, but if there IS a queue, I’m sure you have time to listen to him tell the whole tale), and some really impressive, almost Disney Level immersion. Bravo to Six Flags for this queue. Easily the best queue line I’ve ever seen at any Six Flags branded park. The Animatronics aren’t as impressive as Justice league, but the full on immersion? Pirates of the Deep Sea wins best queue.
The re-do of the Mystery Machine vehicles is also really well done – if you didn’t know the ride used to be Scooby Doo? You’d never know these “ships” are just repainted Mystery Machines. It doesn’t really work as a “ship”. .but it works well enough to go along with the stunning (I was super impressed) “guns” that we now use – old fashioned pistols!
Note: they LOOK great, but are super hard to aim. I scored in the top tier on one of my rides, but honestly, I couldn’t really tell where I was shooting. It’s hard to aim, so it’s all guessing and occasionally you hit a target that triggers something. I had just as good a time NOT shooting, and just watching the sets, since a lot of the stuff seems to trigger automatically anyways (likely for the younger set so they don’t get frustrated if they don’t hit anything.. because who can tell if they did hit something if it goes off anyways?).
Other than the difficulty in aiming/shooting, the only real negative I can give is that the ride itself doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the queue.
I said yesterday, the Queue is almost at Disney level, but the ride it purely Six Flags. A very elevated Six Flags, but yeah, lots of use of Painted wooden cut outs, with only a couple of animatronics inside the ride (the standout one to me being the ghost-pirate playing the giant organ in one or the rooms).
It appears that very little (if any) of the old ride’s sets were re-used – tho some of the bookshelves in the library rooms looked a tad familiar. For the most part appears to be mainly new construction, with a few surprises thrown in – hint, in the mermaid room, don’t focus on the wood cutout mermaids.. look behind you for the projected underwater menace on the screen.
I rode 3 times, the 1st time taking pictures, then since no line, cast members let me stay in the vehicle and ride back thru to play. I then got of the ride and went back thru the queue once more and rode a final time playing and taking pics. Posted them all below in my photos (unfortunately since the vehicle is moving, and I can’t figure out how to get a still from the “live” feature of my stupid upgraded new iPhone, some are blurry).
I say again, Good Job SFFT. Very above average dark ride for a SF park, and I’d say even better than Ghostblasters ride one finds at a few CF parks.
It was time to eat, and I’ll give another Kudos to Six Flags (not sure if it’s specific to Fiesta only or not), that the special Mardi Gras food offerings are almost all included as part of the Meal Plans. So if you have a Six Flags Meal Plan? You can get a main, and a snack, just using the plan. They also sell a very reasonable sample pack offer for those without meal plans, that seems to be a nice savings from buying individual portions.
I tried the Gumbo this trip, and it was very good. But the Muffaleta, and the PoBoys looked decent too, but since this runs thru Spring Break in March? My next visit will be the Etouffee, or the Jambalaya.
For snack options? The Boudin Bites looked really tasty, as did the Beignets, the King Crunch Donut, and the Fried Green Tomatoes. Can’t wait to go back to try them all over the next 6 weeks.
there is also a special Drinks tent, serving Hurricanes, Mint Juleps, and Southern Comfort Tom Collins’
Although I’m not sure I’d be affected by a Six Flags pre-mixed drink (a Security Guard I was chatting with said the Hurricanes are “potent”), wasn’t gonna chance it knowing I had to drive back to Austin later. But next time I’m in park with someone? Yep, will be trying one
after eating something, I was right there by WonderWoman, so peeked at the line and saw . . not even full station wait! So I hopped on that (likely not a smart thing to do right after eating, but oh well, LOL). Ended up riding 5 times back to back, since there was no wait. After 4 rides of being placed in the back seat (not that I minded), I asked the “place-setter” if I could ride in the front for my last ride, and she put me in front row of the train after. This is the only ride I actually had a 1 train wait. For Wonder Woman! Yeah, it was *that* dead.
You’d never know from the employees that they were upset about the lack of crowd, as everyone I interacted with was not only cheerful and happy, but also super-efficient.
and helping move the lines along? Everything other than RoadRunner (which was running only 1 train) and Boomerang (also only 1 train : p) was running multiple trains. WonderWoman was cycling all 3, Iron Rattler/Poltergeist/Superman/Goliath all cycling 2, and Pandemonium was cycling 5.
Batman was down all day, not really sure why, but it *could* be because they have started working on the re-theme for Whirlygig, and had it in pieces, with the main chassis sitting over in the queue for Batman (I noticed that from the train). So maybe they are just worried about having guests too close to something they could get into. . . or maybe Batman was just having issues yesterday?
Across from Whirlygig they have now cleared out all the remaining foundation from the old Top Spin, and the ground looks ready for them to start installing the Joker pendulum ride – tho no sign of any work on that as of yesterday. The site appears ready to go now tho.
I made such good time getting thru lines, I actually went on things I have not been on in years (hello Boomerang). It was a walk on, so I did it. I think last time I rode this one was in 2015? Maybe even 2013. I’ll give it credit that there was no headbanging. Like at all. So that was nice, but at the end of the day, it’s still a Boomerang.
So likely will be another 5 years before I ride it again. . . LOL
Gully Washer is still drained, but other than that, Batman, and the kiddie teacups, everything else seemed to be staffed and running yesterday.
Even Bugs Bunny WhiteWater rapids – which has gotten even MORE ghetto, if you can believe it. I guess all the love that went into Pirates of the Deep Sea queue line, came out of Bugs’ queue line. Still almost all figures missing from the queue, although now the Yosemite Sam sleeping knight figure appears to be broken in half, with his legs leaning one direction, and the top half just propped against the wall in the other direction (if my phone hadn’t been safely put away in a plastic bag, I woulda taken a picture!). At least the sleeping dragon is still there, and the Dragon/Sam figure on the loading dock too. . but otherwise? Still bare and sad.
I got a log to myself, as there were very few folks wanting to ride today. The figures ON the ride are still there (unlike on Roadrunner Express), but the spitting Dragon wasn’t working on my ride – I asked and the operator told me they turned it off due to the colder weather. So the flume ride is still open, but they turned off a feature that can get a rider wet? Hmmm. . ok, Six Flags, now you’re working to my expectations. The camera during the drop didn’t flash, so I just assumed it didn’t work. . but that’s not the case! Apparently the flash simply doesn’t work. . .but they were selling the photos! LOL, so yeah, I got the worst, grainiest, picture because . . well, I have a photopass (she tried to lighten it up so you can actually, you know . . see me, but it just made it a little grainier).
Oh well. At least the Bug’s picture has a ride-unique frame available (as do WW, Superman, and RoadRunner. . Iron Rattler for some reason didn’t have that option when I downloaded the onride photos today)
I did take the opportunity to ask her if Six Flags had relaxed the rules about allowing people to take photos of the photos, and she said they are still supposed to ask people not to (but I did note the signs advising people not to were no longer there on this ride, or on Superman photo area). So make of that what you will.
After circling the park a couple of times, riding the train, and another stop at the carousel – which is back to playing classic carousel music, tho with a German tint, as it’s now in the German section, I was ready to head out. It was just after 5pm, so I had been in park for about 4 ½ hours, and ridden a LOT.
My friend had flaked, so no reason to stay to close at 8. So I headed back to the Rockville Mardi Gras area to get my Snack from dining plan - 3 foot long Cotton Candy (in Mardi Gras colors).
I saw them setting up the barriers for the parade, and noted that started at 6. I decided even tho it would be fun to see, it likely would just be the performers I had seen thruout the day anyways and headed to the front gates. Where I got stuck in a line (two people deep!) for over 20 mintues, so I could get scanned the “professional” pics onto my photopass.
A manager even apologized to me and the folks behind me in line. . . as he realized this was idiotic – tho note: he didn’t open up a 2nd window! LOL. . . ending on a very Six Flags Day.
once I finally got my photos scanned onto my card, it was about 5:40. . so I called Nick and told him that since I was still here, I was just going to go toss my cotton candy into the car (along with the six *full size* bags of Maltesers that were being handed out at the exit – it was funny, I guess she just had to work until they were gone, so everyone was getting handed multiple bags of the candy as they walked by), and then go back into the park to watch the parade.
I ended up being close, as I had parked way back in the lot, and by the time I did that and got back into the park (by this point they had closed all metal detectors other than 1, and only had one entry gate open. . .I don’t blame them, it was a slow day, but of course was behind someone who had to go thru the detector 3 times, and THEN had an issue getting their brand new pass processed at the gate.. LOL.. always something). . but I made it back in, and over to Rockville before they completely closed off the walkways for the parade route.
The parade starts in Rockville, and snakes thru the back of the park, ending by the Waterpark. And I again give the park credit for laying out clear markings where the parade route is, so folks can stay behind the barriers / painted lines, and enjoy. I’m sure it’s a huge help during crowded days.
Again, it worked in my favor that it was such a light day, as even tho I got there just before the start, was easily able to cross the route, and secure a great spot at the 1st turn. Just in time too, as moments after settling in? the brass band fired up and the parade started.
I was correct in that the parade featured pretty much every costumed character I had seen thruout the day (including both bands that had been playing on the Rockville and Los Festivales stages). . but the parade also included multiple floats, a couple of them really well designed, pulled along and carrying people tossing out THOUSANDS of Mardi Gras beads.
Just look how many beads I got, and remember I was near the very front of the route. Can you imagine how many beads they go thru each parade?
I noticed some signs near the front gate noting a guest can sign up to be a VIP guest and ride a float (wonder how much that costs), but it certainly did look like most of the people on the floats were not Castmembers. . but they all *did* look like they were having a ball.
very glad I stayed to watch, as it was more impressive than I had expected, and some of the floats have moving parts and were of a much better quality than I would have thought. Worth it to stay to watch if you get a chance to come out during the Mardi Gras festival.
after the parade passed (about 20 minutes long), they opened back up the walkways, and I – along with about ½ the guests still in the park, headed out to the parking lot.
The drive home wasn’t bad, although I did hit some rain in Kyle (and people don’t know how to drive in rain) so it took me closer to 2 hours to get home.
All in all tho, had a fantastic, and distracting day (didn’t think about Mom the whole day). Seriously, even with the hiccup at the photo-pass line, it was still the best day I think I’ve ever had at SFFT.
And I plan to be back again several times during the Mardi Gras celebration.
Now. . on to pics!