For those of you that frequent the Barracks, you know I'm pretty much always on NG. Whether I'm passively on it doing the occasional B/P on the Portal, or posting on the BBS, I'm around. However, I was not around yesterday. I was not sad, either. You see, Six Flags makes you happy. I mean, the Asian guy that yells "SIX FLAG" on those commercials said so. Therefore, I had to go.
This trip was quite premeditated, considering my wife practically planned it a year ago (she was all gung-ho coming home from the last trip). So my wife, her brother, his roommate, and I went off to Six Flags Great Adventure and boy did we have a blast!
Great Adventure, I'm glad to say, is a friggin' awesome theme park, as it has one too many great roller coasters. While it'll never hold a candle to the atmosphere that Walt Disney World provides, it will ram WDW in the ass in the "awesome thrill ride" category. I'll give a rundown of the rides later, as well as my personal take.
I was hoping for a small turnout at the park, considering last year, at Fright Fest, the lines were HORRIFIC. I mean, we got on 4 or 5 rides total, taking HOURS on line. The "Flash Pass" we got wasn't the greatest, either. The lines were about 2-5 hours long per ride (!), so the Flash Pass was only so efficient. Needless to say, we didn't have the greatest of times at Fright Fest.
This year, however, was nothing more than a slam-dunk. First off, it was cloudy as hell in the morning and looked like it would rain. This deterred people from coming in. Second off, the kiddies in school couldn't come, because it was a Friday. There was very few people in the park (considering), so we got TONS of rides in. We got to ride some rides twice, or even three times! Here's the rundown of the rides we did, as well as my take on the ride:
Nitro: Rode 3x, Score: 10/10
Nitro has to be one of the best coasters ever made. It consistently scores top marks from different coaster enthusiast groups, and has gotten the "Golden Ticket" award for being one of the top 10 steel coasters in the world since its debut in 2001. Nitro is ridiculously fast (80mph), super high (230ft), and lasts over TWO MINUTES long! No inversions, but you don't miss 'em.
This is my second favorite coaster in the park now, specifically due to its ridiculous amount of air time and super high g-forces in the double-helix curve towards the end. The g-forces are so high on this thing it causes my wife to black out momentarily during the double-helix. However, she still goes on. That's how awesome it is.
The Great American Scream Machine: Score: 8/10
This ride is special to me, in that it used to be my favorite coaster. I am a patriotic guy, so your average "American" crap will make me happy. However, I enjoy this coaster time and time again, simply because it is a looping coaster, and it is a good one at that. This ride is almost 20 years old, and it shows its age. There are signs along the wait line that show pics of the other coasters at Six Flags parks across the country. Years ago, they were color photos with text on them. Now, they're just big blurs of nothingness. Sad, but funny.
The coaster has gotten a "refresh" lately, as it has been made to ride much smoother than it used to. They must have renovated the coaster or something, as there is definite improvement. I give this coaster top marks simply because it holds true to being a great coaster after so long, and it has ridiculously short lines. Also, loop #3 on this coaster has a ridiculous amount of g-forces. Caused both my wife's brother and his roommate to black out for a second or two.
Superman: Ultimate Flight: Score: 7/10
Another great coaster, just by the nature of how you are "sitting." It is a flying coaster, so you board the ride like any inverted roller coaster (hanging feet, track above you, pull-down restraint). Then the raise your ass in the air and you're in flying position. Rather, you're retardedly sitting in a chair that's facing down with your body in a rubbery sling, while your feet are in an awkward position. if you picture yourself looking cool sticking your hands out in front of you, you don't. Instead, you look like Superman's retarded cousin.
However, don't let this detract from the good points of the coaster. The first drop is nice and powerful, while the second puts you in a rather tight pretzel roll. You go from flying forward to pointing down, banking down until you are upside down, then you keep curving as you fly back up in the air and eventually right yourself and start banking to the next adventure. The rest of the ride, while fun, isn't nearly as fun as that pretzel loop, but it still deserves a good score.
Skull Mountain: Score: 5/10
This ride, granted, is more of a kiddie-coaster than anything else. The height restriction is only 44", so a lot of kids can ride it. It isn't particularly scary or anything, but the theming is nice. When you enter the queue for the ride, it's going into the mountain itself, and starts to get sort-of eerie. This ride, laughably, had NO wait. I mean, none. We decided to go in the back of the coaster (no line), and went on the ride. The back is quite rough compared to the middle or front, despite its slow speed and minimal drops. Therefore, it's worth the few minutes it takes to get on it, if that. When we got back to the station, there was nobody waiting for our coaster spots, so we could've gone on again right away, but we declined.
Batman: The Ride: Score: 9/10
Now this is a real coaster. First off, since Batman rules, this ride gets a boost. The Batman logo appears no less than 20,000 times on the ride, as it is EVERYWHERE. It is so funny to see it sometimes, as it reminds me of the classic Batman series where there was a "Bat" everything, including a friggin' BAT LADDER. Anyway, back to the coaster...
Even though it's older, and not too high (only 110ft...it gets completely eclipsed by Nitro which is right next to it), but it has no less than 7 inversions, and a crazy amount of lateral g's. This coaster whips you around so much you can barely keep track of which way is up. It has gotten rougher over the years, too, which is actually a boost. This thing knocks your brains out every time, and really packs a huge punch for such a small coaster. This ride is my wife's favorite, and what can I say? She has good taste. :-)
The Dark Knight Coaster: Score: 2/10
I was pretty harsh with my score, but I think it's about just. There are three reasons it deserves such a low score: the ride is just a boring standard-issue "wild mouse" coaster inside a building, Six Flags advertised and pushed this coaster way too hard for its own good, and it was intended to be a heavily-themed coaster, which Six Flags just isn't good at. I mean, you go to Six Flags for the rides, not the "atmosphere." While the queue line was nicely themed, the inside of the ride looked horrible. It looked about as sophisticated as a backyard haunted house that your friend did for Halloween. While I give the coaster credit in that it is a classic style coaster and that it has to compete with heavy-hitters like Nitro, El Toro, and Kingda Ka, it still sucks for the three reasons I said. I'm just happy I used the Flash Pass to get on it and didn't actually stand in line for it.
Medusa: Score: 8/10
Medusa is a great roller-coaster, as it is loop-city, and a fun ride. Medusa is "floorless," which means it's basically an inverted coaster, except the track is below you. Basically, your feet dangle free, but your head is clear to see where you are going. This ride is not punishing nor difficult to handle, as it is relatively tame, yet quite thrilling. You certainly won't be bored riding this thing, and it was a top coaster when it came out. Nowadays, it has faded a bit to take a second-runner spot compared to Great Adventure's greater attractions.
Rolling Thunder: Score: 7/10
Rolling Thunder is a classic wooden coaster that has been around since 1979. Since it's almost 40 years old, the coaster is quite bumpy, difficult to ride, and punishing on your back, head, and, well, the rest of you. It's only for those that really really really like classic coasters, like me. Also, the back of the coaster is a guaranteed headache-inducer. However, the fact that it uses the older-style restraint (only one lockable position), so airtime is good considering its rather meager drops and top speed. Another great part of Rolling Thunder is that it is a "racing" roller coaster, meaning there are two tracks next to each other, where the coasters will race each other to the finish line. Unfortunately, since no one rides the damn thing anymore, we never get a chance to "race" on it.
El Toro: Rode 2x, once in front, Score: 10/10
This coaster is a winner, through and through. Currently my favorite, as it is a wooden coaster, but has huge heights and drops that dwarf many steel coasters. The drops are also sickly sharp (76 degrees!) and the air time is just plain phenomenal. There is not ONE PART of this coaster that is slow. Seriously. To add insult to injury, the traditional end part of the coaster (where camel-humps will give you a bit of extra fun) is ridiculously pummeling, thanks to the huge banked-turns, lack of any form of brakes, and just plain silly speeds at the end. I was quite happy to get on this ride twice, and going in the front is just plain NUTS. Of course, if you can get on the back too, I recommend it, as you feel air time the WHOLE WAY DOWN the drops. Ah, El Toro...how do I love thee...
Kingda Ka: Rode 2x, once in front: Score: 10/10
I save the most note-worthy coaster for last. Kingda Ka is the tallest and fastest coaster on Earth. You get to go 128mph and go as high as 456 feet. Crazy. And let me tell you, the coaster does not do it lightly, either. You get to that 128mph in, oh, 3.5 seconds. You don't even get time to think about how fast you are going, since by the time your mind catches up with the fact that you're going that fast, you're already slowing down, going straight up that huge-ass hill. The coaster is amazing, and definitely the most intimidating in the park. My wife rode it last year, but ended up coming off the ride crying and sobbing in my arms. And no, I don't blame her. It's scary, especially front-row, since your face is basically getting ripped off by the wind. Jen's brother lost a contact-lens riding front, and I almost did the same.
Despite this awesomeness, though, this coaster will never be a favorite in my eyes, for one reason: TOO FUCKING SHORT. One launch and one hill takes about 15 seconds. Then you're already slowing down and going back to the station. Lame. Now, what they need to do is make a normal steel coaster like Nitro, and simply have it launch like Kingda Ka. THAT would be insane. Really insane. But one can hope.
Well, that's all the rides. There are others I didn't go on, but there's nothing special to note (like Runaway Mine Train...ooh...). The park was quite enjoyable, as there were minimal assholes in the park too...except for one group. Some '08 graduation class was there, and they were just complete assholes. They liked cutting in front of people and yelling out obscenities while on rides...ugh. Morons.
Despite that, though, the day was great, and I had one of the best Six Flags visits ever. To punctuate how much fun it was, I'll leave you off with a funny pic, and an explanation:
Towards the end of the day, Jen's brother, his roommate, and I decided that since we were going on rides more than once, we might as well have some fun with it. We decided to try to make the best faces when the camera took our picture on the ride. We were doing rather good, too. Jen's brother looked like he was throwing up on El Toro, while I looked like I was bored. Even the guy in the camera booth said, "you must have practiced that one," since we were very convincing with our expressions.
The best expressions, however, came at the end of the night, when we rode Kingda Ka for our last ride. We decided to wait it out and go for the front row, for the extra-awesome effect. Since Kingda Ka only seats two in the front, we split up: Jen's brother went first, while I went with his roommate second. Jen's brother's attempt failed, since he got scared shitless on the front. That was also when he lost his contact lens. His roommate and I, though, had a plan. Since everyone was getting all scared on Kingda Ka (especially on the front), we had to make this count. We decided to be as convincing as possible and look like we were sleeping. Since the ride is so friggin fast and so hard to even stand still, it wouldn't be easy. They take the first picture right when you're almost done accelerating. You're going, oh, 120mph, and oh, accelerating at the speed of at least 30mph/s. Basically, you're hitting 5 g's in your face.
Yet, we managed to pull it off! It made the first 2-3 seconds of the ride a bit less enjoyable, as I wasn't seeing the acceleration, but hey, I opened my eyes right away afterwards and enjoyed the rest of the ride. Of course, Kingda Ka has a second camera shot at the end, as you're slowing down from the end of the ride. It's hidden behind the small hill that you go on, so it catches many people off guard. Not me.
So this pic is the best fruit of our labors that night in playing around with the roller-coaster cameras. The pic quality isn't the greatest, since I had to take them as fast as possible with my iPhone while it was on the display. The one on the left was the one taken at launch, while the second was afterwards slowing down.
If you enjoy these photos as much as I did making them...you really need to get to Six Flags. :-)