Six Flags Darien Lake
My girlfriend hates Six Flags. And I think that’s partially my fault. I always seem to take her to the worst of the worst- Great Escape (oddly that one is her favorite), Discovery Kingdom, etc.
But I could sell her on Darien Lake. Tim Horton’s alone was probably enough, but she lit up when I described the greatness of Moose on the Loose.
It took about 10 minutes to enter the park. For most parks, that’s due to a security line, but oddly Darien Lake didn’t have metal detectors. Rather we were stuck behind a single family who kept retaking their season pass photos. I hate to break it to them, but no one is ever going to look at that photo.
We only had 1.5 hours, so we had to prioritize. Naturally we started with Moose on the Loose. This didn’t exist in my last visit to the park. The ride is a best described as an adorable WTF with effects so cheap and simple that it becomes a masterpiece.
The ride was pulling the longest wait in the park. Since it takes a while to properly mount a moose, it took us a half hour with only ~ 30 people ahead of us in line. But every minute was worth it to finally experience this legendary attraction.
I felt one with the moose as he rocked back and forth. It’s like that feeling you get on Flight of Passage, but next level. Now unfortunately, my moose had laryngitis so I didn’t get the full Moose on the Loose experience.
Emily got the full experience and loved every second of it. I contemplated getting back in line, but figured I’d lose my coaster enthusiast card if I missed out on the park’s coasters in favor of a little moose ride.
At least I have something to look forward to next visit.
Up next was Tantrum, or the EuroFighter themed to the Darien Lake Discussion Thread. We ended up waiting ~ 20 minutes and it was well worth it. I rode Iron Shark last year and enjoyed it. This one was identical minus the waterfront setting.
The first drop had some killer airtime and the Gs on the Immelmann had me seeing grey. The rest of the ride includes a sneaky s-hill with air and lats, a forceful inclined loop, and a pop of air into the brake run. It’s short, but the lap bar only trains are oh so sweet. 7 out of 10
We hoped to hit Viper, but bailed when we saw the wait. In typical Darien Lake fashion, they were only running one train and each row was at least 6-7 groups deep. We couldn’t risk missing Ride of Steel. We told ourselves we wouldn’t get distracted and then we saw what we thought was a mirage.
I have no clue how this is still at a major corporate park and why it still only costs 25 cents a game, but we weren’t going to question this gift from Jim Reid Anderson. We played two games, losing both of course.
We made one more pit stop at member services so I could grab my skip-the-line passes for Ride of Steel. The process was seamless and I was in for a treat. Usually each it’s one pass per person, but at Darien Lake, each pass lets you bring up to four guests.
Ride of Steel didn’t have a designated line for the Flash Pass
Go Fast Pass, so we were instructed to board via the exit. We figured we’d ask for the front row, but we were told there was no choice seating and were shuttled to the center. Eh, it was worth a shot.
Thankfully, Ride of Steel is awesome in any row. The first drop has some great airtime and the first giant camelback has some delicious floater air. Then comes a helix, but not before a quick pop of air I always forget about.
After that comes the ride’s signature moment, the third hill. This hill is what Intamin does best, sustained ejector air. There’s another helix and then Ride of Steel kicks it into overdrive for the finale. There are three hills back to back with very strong ejector air.
I know people dislike the helices and straight track on Ride of Steel. And to be frank, I’m not the biggest fan of them either. But everything else is fantastic. And as icing on the cake, Ride of Steel still has the original T-bar restraints. Oh how I wish SFNE still had those. 8.5 out of 10
We contemplated one last ride on Ride of Steel in the standby queue, but I had a much stupider idea. I remembered hating Predator; however, I’m pretty sure I rode it in a wheel seat like a moron. I sort of wanted to give it another ride to see if it’s as bad as everyone says.
We were lucky enough to score the last ride of the night in the front row. I told Emily to brace for impact, but something odd happened. Predator didn’t kill us. In fact, we both really liked it.
Almost every hill offered some type of airtime. Most hills offered the floater variety, but the turnarounds all offered pops of ejector. And it was reasonably smooth too. Now the couple behind me told the operators the ride broke their backs and needed to be condemned, so I’m just going to stick with the front row.
Maybe this will be RMCed someday. It’s entirely possible with Six Flags now at the helm. But as it stands, Predator is quite good in the front row. I cannot emphasize that last part enough. 8 out of 10
Due to time constraints, I had to cut out the park's two newest tower rides. I never even made it back to Sky Screamer and Blast Off was still in pieces as of Memorial Day.
While we had an abridged visit, I’m excited to see what Six Flags does with Darien Lake. I’m well aware that’ll probably consist of a flat ride every year, but that’s perfectly fine for this park. Their current coaster lineup is pretty well-rounded and they have a clear star, Moose on the Loose.