- March 13, 2005
- Valencia CA
- West Coast Bash
- Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Photo Album
Some time in 2004 some kid on Coasterbuzz sent a private message telling me I wasn’t much of an enthusiast because I had been to neither Cedar Point nor Six Flags Magic Mountain. That, at the time, was untrue as I had in fact been to Cedar Point, but I had let my membership for Cbuzz Club expire, thus I wasn’t able to update my track record from the 51 coasters at that time it had shown I’d ridden. Surprisingly, this was not the first time I had gotten some random email telling me something similar. To the kid that sent me that message, you can sleep better now, because I’ve been to both Six Flags Magic Mountain and Cedar Point. Multiple times.
Like I care.
This is a story about the worst day I’d ever had at an amusement park. This is also the day I had the biggest case of anticipointment I’d ever had. Its not filled with twists and turns, but happens in a rather linear fashion. It wasn’t just because I was at Six Flags Magic Mountain, a notoriously hard park to like, that the cause of my bad day.
Winter Coaster Solace a great event. Great food, fun rides, and lots of friends. This would be my second event. I didn’t want to arrive too late since they were only offering ERT for 2 hours. But we had plans for the evening, so we weren’t going to be at the park until it closing time as we had for most other parks.
Since it was Sunday we were told that traffic wouldn’t be terrible going to Magic Mountain, but we’d need to leave at least an hour before we expected to be there. ACE SoCal and Ride World were holding West Coast Bash from 8-10 AM and I wanted to hit X as much as possible. So at about 7 AM the alarm went off and I called up to Tim Danner’s room to let him know we were up and getting ready to leave in just a few minutes.
We were off shortly, greeted outside by Tim. We were also greeted by lower temperatures and cloudy skies. There was definitely a Sunday morning feeling in the air. We loaded into the car, got a bit turned around which knocked about 20 minutes off of our ERT, and then headed in the right direction. We were going fine until Jamaal’s bladder filled up…so we stopped off on some exit trying to find a restroom. We drove a few miles up the road and finally found a laundromat. Jamaal had to pay to use the bathroom as Tim & I sat in the car. That was another ten minutes knocked off of ERT. We were back en route to Valencia in just a few minutes. After driving for quite a while, we saw the tall vertical spike on Superman and knew we were close. “Welcome to Valencia, CA, Home of Six Flags Magic Mountain”. We found the exit and headed up the driveway to Six Flags California.
Our parking spot was not far from the gate. I wish, however, that I had had enough sense to take my jacket with me instead of leaving it in the car. It was going to go back to the 80 degrees we had had all week, wasn’t it? I’d learn from that mistake a little later in the day. But enough about the journey there, lets get into the story. We headed up to the gate and picked up our tickets and lanyards for the event. Once inside the park we headed over towards one of the reasons I came to California, X.
We headed over to Baja Ridge, passing by Revolution, Viper, and other rides. Tim pointed out the bridge that led to X and across we went. We only had about an hour of ERT left, and I would have loved to have spent an hour over there, but I didn’t know how crowds would be since there was another event there that day. But it wasn’t going to be crowded on a Sunday in March, was it? There was no line for X. We went under the station to the right side and got in line. This was such a massive station. To say I was excited was an understatement, as I’d watched the construction of this first of it’s kind roller coaster for months.
I still don’t know what to make of this coaster. I know I liked it. I know I wanted more. I know I hoped to ride the one heading over to Japan the following year. And I know that I could come back to California for this reason alone. I had promised Rob Jones on the phone 2 weeks before that I would take my first ride in the outer front seat, and that was a promise I intended to keep. We could have hopped right on the middle, but I wanted a front row ride. Upon getting into the station, we ran into Jodi again, said our hellos, and got in line for the front.
X–They were running two trains for ERT. Tim sat on the inside as Jamaal waited for the next train and rode with a very nice lady in line that was just as excited about our first time as we were. Soon Tim, myself, and a few dozen other enthusiasts were off. I wish I had put my stuff in a locker because I would have enjoyed the ride much more had I not had my camera, wallet, etc. in my pocket while trying to keep it all in my pocket during the ride. After cresting the top of the lift we spun so that we were facing straight down from 200 feet in the air. This was intense! The drop is great and then you flip upside down then up into the raven turn. The ride was truly magnificent, and I loved how disorienting it was with the seats flipping as the train is doing a half roll. Very disorienting. When it was over I was speechless.
After the first ride was over Tim and I put our stuff beside the lockers and walked right over to the second seat for another ride. I ended up in the front outside seat again with a very nice older gentleman for my second ride. This was slightly more enjoyable since I didn’t have all the stuff in my pocket to worry about. Yet another wonderful ride on this masterpiece.
Whew! Jamaal also took another ride, then we all got off and they took some pictures. This was already quite a ways into our only hour of ERT, but the boys wanted to take pictures. So we headed over towards Goliath. More picture taking ensued. Eventually, we made it over to the entrance just as Superman was starting to test. I was really looking forward to that later. We took a stroll down Goliath’s queue and ran into Tina, who was by herself. The park was nearly open now, but we still had 2 coasters for ERT to ride. The line for Goliath, along with the huge sign, was really nice.
Goliath–Another hyper coaster, yay! People say this is forceless save for the helix. Huh? Jamaal and I rode in the front of this one, with maybe a one-train wait. Up the lift we went and into the first drop. The drop was really good and the turnaround afforded just a small bit of air, but the hop after the turnaround had me totally ejected out of my seat. Say what you want, I really thought this was great. I was hoping for a gray out on the helix since I had experienced one on Face/Off the previous summer, but no such luck. Silver Bullet’s helix is just slightly less intense than this one.
Two down, one more to go on ERT as we headed over to Riddler’s Revenge. We got lost in Gotham Backlot but quickly found our way to the entrance. I really don’t like stand-ups and would rather have had Déjà Vu on the rooster like originally planned but oh well.
Riddler’s Revenge–We waited for the front row. The station needed dusting, but I really did like the music I had heard so much about online. This was the first B&M I’d ridden that had a loop around the lift hill. It didn’t do anything for me, really. While Riddler’s isn’t at all bad, in fact it was quite good for a stand up, I still liked King Cobra and Chang Better. Nice order of inversions, decent layout, but only good for me for one ride per visit.
At this point the park had opened and guests were flooding in. I was so worried that Superman would be down when I finally made it to California, since it had spent so much down time during the previous year. I almost ran up the hill to Supes once the park opened. Heck, this was the ride I had seen when it first opened and marveled about it for years since. Would it live up to the hype I had for it?
Superman The Escape–After huffing it up the mountain we got in line for the ride. Since there were only 3 of us we should have gotten in the front as it only had 3 seats, but opted for the second row instead. After a couple trains wait the doors opened and we went inside. I was anxious for this one. We were strapped in and a second later launched out of the ‘Fortress of Solitude’. That was a launch? Uh. Hmmm. Okay, so the launch was weak, but we’re gonna go about 300 feet up a spike and fall back. That ought to be cool, right? Nope. Nadda. It barely went half way up. This was the worst case of anticipointment I’d ever encountered. I couldn’t believe it. Even the kick back on the spike and falling a couple hundred feet backwards was not very thrilling. Perhaps this was a better coaster when it used to use all of it’s potential, but I was not impressed. Just goes to show you that record breakers do not equal quality roller coasters.
Okay, next please. On our way up the hill we saw Ed, Craig, Frank, Rob, and part of the gang. They were going to get Rob’s credit on Psyclone so we told them we’d meet them there. That was our next destination, since I wanted to get the ride out of the way. On our way there, right under Déjà Vu, we spotted the group so we took a group pic right in between Psyclone and Déjà Vu. Then Jamaal, Tim and myself headed up to the station as Craig snapped pictures of a dead mouse in line (Craig is weird, guys, he’s just weird). As the group walked off Ed hollered back and told us Harold needed to ride, so he sent Harold with us.
Psyclone–We waited longer than I wanted to, but they were only running one train. How can they mess this up, after building Viper? This was one of the worst woodies I’d ever been on, and I really don’t like the trains either. This could probably have been fixed to be a decent ride, but it was barely ride-able. Painful first drop, turn around, then just a mess of uncomfortable hills and turns. I’m at least glad I got the credit.
It was time for another ‘credit coaster’, but at least this one didn’t really hurt. We had picked up Harold permanently at this point, which was fine since we needed a fourth rider.
Gold Rusher–The line was longer than I expected, but it was mostly kids there for Physics Day, and they’ll ride anything. This was a typical mine train coaster by Arrow, which used the terrain nicely. Mine Trains just really don’t do anything for me, though, and this was no exception. It was another credit, however, so at least it didn’t really fall into the ‘sucky’ category. Not great, but next.
Jamaal was getting hungry and we were getting cold. I wanted to wait for Panda Express, but Jamaal’s sugar was getting low so we were going to ride one more ride and then take him to eat. The one thing I missed at my previous visit to Cedar Point was the first generation Intamin drop machine. I figured I’d just ride the one at Geauga Lake the next day but it was closed. But Magic Mountain has one and it was open.
Stuntman’s Freefall-They only running 2 cars making the line very long. Eventually we made it to the front and got in. A tip for all you tall people out there: never sit on the outside seat of this thing; it will hurt your shoulders. All pain aside, this was one of the better and more thrilling drop rides I’d ridden. Too bad the line was long; I’d have rode it again.
We headed to a Mexican restaurant to feed Jamaal before he passed out. The service was kind of slow, there was an annoying little girl who was way too skinny to be wearing ‘JUICY’ socks that kept making things worse by bugging the workers. After he ate and we sat a spell the next closest credit was Batman. I was anxious to see if I remembered what a ride on one of these was like.
I like the paint scheme on this one better than all black. The first and only other Batman I’d ridden was the original at Great America. I liked it, but compared to Top Gun at Carowinds which I had just ridden, I wasn’t that impressed. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good coaster, but I liked Top Gun better. Would I still be underwhelmed? Perhaps I shouldn’t ride any other inverted coasters for at least a month before I ride another Batman? The line was much like I remembered, with just a few changes. The line at Great America seemed darker inside as well, and all the effects were working then, unlike here.
Batman The Ride–I still like how the station is themed to the Batcave. This is a well themed queue. But having just ridden Silver Bullet the day before, I was still somewhat underwhelmed. Again, Batman isn’t a bad coaster at all, but I liked Silver Bullet better. After the first drop you enter a fast paces succession of loop/inversion/loop/twists/more inversions. The G forces are strong, and the ride is fun.
While in line for Batman, someone called my cell. I thought it was someone in the group, but they said they had found a cell phone, and that this was the last number dialed. After a second or 2 of searching, we discovered Tim had lost his cell phone, so I gave the phone to Tim. He told the person on the other line that we’d walk back over to Stuntman, where it was found to pick it up right after getting off Batman. Since we were finished, I grabbed Jamaal to go out and get our coats, as Tim and Harold went back to get Tim’s phone. We agreed to meet at Panda Express for lunch.
As we left the park we walked by Flashback, which had been closed for some time. We could have walked to the car but my legs hurt, so we took a tram instead. I threw some of Tim’s stuff in the car and grabbed our jackets as Jamaal got his. A few minutes and a tram ride later, we were back in the park. On our way up to Panda Express we saw Tim and Harold at Guest Relations. Apparently Tim had a bad experience trying to get his phone, which wasn’t there when he got to Stuntman’s Freefall and he was filling out a report. I headed up to Panda Express with Harold catching up, and ordered my food. Jamaal and Tim eventually came as well.
After eating I noticed Viper’s line was fairly short, so we headed there next. The queue was confusing, but I didn’t care where I sat. I’m not a huge inversion fan, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about this rude, and I hadn’t been on a bad Arrow yet that day.
Viper–We rode in the middle of the train. Trains were stacking coming into the station like crazy, but after a 40-ish minute wait we were on. The initial drop was nice, and the order of inversions, though cookie cutter, was well paced. This was a smoother Arrow with no head-banging. The ride was just the right size, and gave just the right amount of thrill.
The day was getting late. We ran into Dawn and Danny while we were eating, and saw Kristin and Jeff around the park as well. The next close credit was Revolution.
Revolution–The station was unnecessarily massive. What pains me about this coaster is that I could see and feel the potential. Trims and over the shoulder restraints totally butcher what could really be a shining star. Why mess with perfection in the first place? A unique layout that uses the terrain, Revolution has so much potential that is totally lost. This would and could have been a surprise hit for me, if they just hadn’t messed this one up. The drops are rampy, but I like that. The loop is smooth, and the interaction with terrain, as well as tunnels add to the atmosphere around the ride.
After a quick ride on Bathroom: The Experience, and an argument about unisex bathrooms (I think they’re mostly a bad idea, Jamaal & Tim disagree), we headed back towards Scream! Since Deja Vu, Flashback and a kiddy coaster were out of the running, and Ninja closed for a while without us getting a ride we needed to get our last 2 tangible adult credits, skip the other kiddie coaster, and head to Playa Del Rey. So off to Scream! it was.
Scream!–I don’t know why, but this ride had the worst line jumping in the park. I didn’t do anything about it because Tim and Jamaal seemed embarrassed that I’d actually do stop the line jumpers. This is a problem spot in the park. After a wait that was too long, we were on the ride in the middle. I don’t understand the distaste for this ride. Perhaps we just caught it on a really good run, but it was smooth like a B&M should be. I really liked Scream! The first drop is good with a succession of inversions. This was also the first time I’d experienced a Zero G roll sitting above the tracks. Now I really see why people like Zero G rolls so much. Something is lost on them when you’re on an invert.
After riding and snapping a few shots of Scream!, we headed over to Colossus, where we met Kyle and Tammy. This was the longest line of the day. Ugh! Why?!? They were only running one train on one side of a coaster coaster with 2 tracks and capable of running 4-6 trains. The wait was terrible. The unused side looked bad as well, with loads of rust and weeds growing up thru the tracks. This was such an icon at one time for the park. It’s current state made me sad.
After waiting an eternity, Jamaal and Harold get on the ride as Kyle, Tammy, Tim, and myself get passed up on a seat. The ride ops let a whole load of Fast Lane kids get on before us. Now, to me, if you’re only going to run one train and have a 75-minute line, Fast Land should not be an option on this coaster. Even if it is, you shouldn’t let half the trains fill up with Fast Lane people. I have no problem with Fast Lane/Fast Pass/Freeway type systems, but use some common sense! I started running my mouth, and I think I scared the kid that got in our seat. Tammy and Kyle were laughing hysterically at this. I was mad, but I got over it quickly after the terrified kid got back in the station only to see me still standing there. Oh well.
Colossus-Again, this is another butchered classic that I saw potential in. There were a lot of trim brakes on the ride, and a lot of the wooden track was replaced with steel i-beams. After the first drop the ride shuffles and rattles up and around the far turn around, then drops and dips, all while shuffling, before hitting the midcourse brake run, and finally finishing up being very meh.
After this we said goodbye again to Kyle and Tammy, then to Harold. Our day at the park was over and Jamaal had left his insulin shot at our hotel, so we had to drive all the way back to pick it up then drive to Matthew’s for a party. We left the park, and I called to get directions from Buena Park to Matthew’s house.
Six Flags Magic Mountain could be much better. The park looks run down, with rides and buildings sorely needing painted, landscaping that looks, for lack of a better word, rotted, and poor customer service. Out of 16 roller coasters that were available at Cedar Point I was able to ride 14 on my first visit there. At Wally World, out of a possible 16 coasters, we rode 11 only skipping one coaster, with the others either being closed, or no adults allowed.
We could have arrived at the motel quickly, changed, and went on our way. But we got lost, and that caused another major argument on the way back, so we were looking at another hour passing before we were going to get to the party. After yelling at each other in the car and eventually getting to Days Inn, we officially inducted Tim as a friend, because 15 minutes after we were all yelling at each other, we were fine, and discussing how Tim is not a metrosexual when it comes to dress, but Jamaal totally is.
We were later to Matthew’s party than we had wanted to be, but oh well. Playa Del Rey, which is right behind LAX, and beside Marina Del Rey, was very nice. The party was dwindling once we made our fashionably late entrance, but there was still cake (yay!). I mingled for a minute then followed Jeff, Kristin, Danny, and Dawn down to the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. Matthew lives right by the ocean, and it was beautiful. We talked with friends, made sure Tina didn’t set Matthew’s yard on fire, and eventually said our goodbyes to the gang. Matthew gave us directions to LAX for the morning, and were told we needed to leave around 5 AM if we wanted to miss rush hour and catch our flight. The drive back to Buena Park was peaceful as we were all tired.
The next morning, we were up and out by 5:30. The traffic wasn’t bad at all, but we still had to find Alamo to return our car. This proved a little tricky, but we did find it, turned our car in, and caught our shuttle back to LAX. Our plane was leaving at 8:35 bound for Dulles.
We had to deal with an annoying lady in line for the TSA, yelling and cursing at everyone. Eventually we found out she was on our flight as well. Thankfully she calmed down once we were in the air.
After breakfast I went to the bathroom. Then Jamaal said he needed to run to the bathroom before we board. He didn’t realize there was a restroom across the hall from us, so he went down the hall to the next restroom. I’m waiting and waiting. Our flight starts boarding, but no Jamaal. Then they start paging the two of us. I didn’t know he wasn’t in the close bathroom, so I went in to get him. No Jamaal. I told the flight attendants he would be coming, but I was starting to worry. That’s when he came running down the hall, and to the gate. He just made it.
Late that evening we landed in Dulles. We took the shuttle to the main building, got confused, but eventually found my vehicle. We then called my other friend Jon to see if he wanted to meet for dinner at Hardees. We told him all about the trip before eventually heading out. We had a 6 hour drive home, after a 5 hour flight back.
The drive was long and boring. We talked, listened to music, and what not. Eventually, I dropped Jamaal off and headed to my house for a well-deserved nite in my own bed.