Six Flags America | Photos |
September 6, 2009
For 2009 I had gotten a Six Flags season pass, and since I already had a trip planned up north for Labor Day weekend, I decided to take a side trip to Six Flags America. In fact, 2009 was the first year I can ever remember that I went on a coaster trip both Memorial Day weekend to start the summer off, and Labor Day weekend to end the summer. After waking up Sunday morning and having breakfast with friends I headed east to the D.C. metro area. I hadn’t been to Six Flags America since 2007, but since nothing new had been added I had no real plans for how I wanted to hit the park, other than to ride the rides I liked and skip the rides I didn’t while hoping that it wouldn’t be busy all day.
After a little over 2 hours of driving time I finally arrived at the front gate. It took a while to find a parking spot and I ended up in a far away lot I didn’t even know existed. The park looked packed, and people were heading to the front gate in droves. This was not what I wanted to see at all. The ticket booths had long lines, but thankfully all I had to do was present my season pass at the front turnstiles, show my wallet, keys, phone, and camera to security, and head in. I grabbed a park map and headed back to the back of the park.
I snapped pictures all along the way, and there were people everywhere. Once I got into the Gotham City area of the park, which was by far the worst of the themed Gotham Cities I’d seen due to lack of themeing, I noticed that Joker’s Jinx had a very small line. This was great, so I headed there first.
Joker’s Jinx–I took a back seat ride because the line was so short. The launch was slightly more powerful than it was on my last visit, but still not nearly as great of a launch as the Flight of Fear twins. This was first summer riding launch coasters after having LAZIK surgery, so I could clearly see the entire course while sitting in the train waiting to launch. The first half was pretty quick, rolling thru 3 inversions and around the top of the twisted layout, but once the middle half started after the straight section of track, it kind of crept around until it got to the bottom innards of the track’s layout. The speed did pickup at the bottom turns and the corkscrew. All in all, it was a good ride, and a nice way to start the day.
Afterward I wandered thru Gotham City and headed back towards Superman Ride of Steel and Batwing. I had no intentions of riding Batwing but Superman was screaming my name at the top of his lungs, so I needed to get back there. I hoped I wouldn’t have a hard time fitting in like I did for my first try on my last visit and because of that I was really hoping that the line wouldn’t be too long. Thankfully when I arrived, the line was in the station. There were tons of people here, but it looked like they were all in the kid’s section and at the water park, so good for me.
The ride ops were doing a terrible job of getting trains dispatched, and because of the Flash Pass people hitting up the exit every few minutes, operations for this coaster were terrible. Six Flags still hadn’t figured out the best way to implement these skip the line/virtual queue systems in a way that wasn’t a cluster. The operations made the lines go as slow possible and that was a problem that management could fix.
Superman Ride of Steel–I rode in the back seat. I swear it took each train at least 5 minutes to dispatch. When I did finally ride we were up the lift in no time. I always forget how great the first drop on this ride is. The turn into the 2nd hill was a little shaky, but the 2nd hill had it’s usually dose of mild floater air. The far helix was more powerful than I remembered it being 2 years ago, but was really great. And the third hill was powerful and heavy on airtime. On my last visit it wasn’t giving much airtime, but today it was throwing you up against the lap bar. After the 2nd helix I was pleasantly surprised at the last three hills and the amount of ejector air on them. I still loved this coaster, but the restraints they were using at that time were terrible.
After taking a few more pictures around Superman I headed over to one of my other favorite coaster at Six Flags, Wild One. Would it be as good as my last ride? And how would the lines be for a ride closer to the front of the park?
Wild One–The station was mostly empty and I headed for the back row. This was another coaster where I often forget how great the first drop is. And the 2nd hill here was amazing with ejector air. The double up and double down were both doing well, but not quite as good as I’d remembered, but the run back towards the station was insane and quite good. The helix on this is kind of odd, but I really liked it. Wild One gave amazing airtime everywhere it went. If this coaster was better before they re-profiled the track as many say it was, then I can only imagine how great it must have been.
I wondered towards the front of the park and then over to the Coyote Creek Territory section to get some pictures and a ride on Mind Eraser. I should have taken one from the midway to get a layout shot, but forgot and never went back to get the shot. Mind Eraser is in a small canyon in the park off to one end and it’s very shaded in that area. The line wasn’t long, but the ride ops once again made for a long wait.
Mind Eraser–This was my first SLC when I rode it in 2001. Since my last ride 8 years ago it had gotten a nice new paint job and was actually running very well. Yes it was jerky, but I didn’t have any head banging issues. The first drop was actually smooth and fun, and the sea serpent inversion wasn’t bad at all. In fact, none of the ride was what I would consider ‘rough’ even though it did rattle through the course a bit. The shoulder harnesses were uncomfortable, and because of poor operations I sat on the brake run longer than I should ever have had to, but overall it was a decent ride.
The theme of the day so far was poor operations. If all of the crews to this point had been better people wouldn’t be waiting long to ride. With the way they were running the park they could have almost had 1 train on everything and the capacity wouldn’t have taken a big hit. It was annoying and unnecessary, but I digress. I walked back through the western themed section and over to ROAR.
The park was playing the Cha Cha Slide (I hate that song), followed by the Macarena, followed promptly by the Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide over the loud speakers and people were randomly dancing. The park had potential for great atmosphere as everyone else was enjoying singing along and even dancing. Everything up to Gotham City was nicely landscaped and well done, but after that everything needs painted and landscaped and filled in. I was in line for ROAR snapping pictures and waiting for my turn in the back. One train ops on a coaster with a small line is usually okay, but 5 minute dispatches still aren’t.
ROAR!-On my last trip I took 2 rides on ROAR with the 2nd being great and the first being poor. I only took one ride today, but I sat in the back and it was amazing. The first hill was superb, and the rest of the track, while a little rough, was wonderful. I like GCI coasters with PTC trains better. Every hill had airtime, every turn had laterals. When the ride was over, I wanted more, but knew I wasn’t up for waiting in that line again.
I toyed with riding the Typhoon Sea Coaster or Skull Mountain, or whatever it was called then, but it was down for mid day maintenance and I never got back around to riding, which means I never got to ride as it was removed a few seasons later. I did end up stopping and getting some French fries and onion rings from the Johnny Rocket’s stand, though. And that’s another thing this park lacked, a nice sit down family restaurant. So I headed back to Gotham City for another ride on Superman. But first I stopped to get some water and ended up waiting in line forever. Even the food stalls had terrible capacity at this park.
I waited a lot longer this time to ride Superman because I kept getting bumped for Flash Passes in the back of the train. Some Emo bands were playing there that evening, and they bumped me from riding as well. I’d never heard of either one of them, so I wasn’t impressed or happy, but eventually I got on for my 2nd spectacular ride on Superman. Once the ride was over, though, I sat on the brake run for a good 7 minutes before they dispatched the other train. I looked over towards Batwing and contemplated a ride, but with one train and a long line I said forget it. Once I was off Superman, though, I did go over and snap some pictures.
I headed back towards Wild One but Joker’s Jinx must have shut down briefly, and the line had just opened back up as I passed, so I went to get a ride in the front. This one was better than the first ride because it seems like the whole ride was more out of control, and the 2nd half was amazingly fast.
I walked again towards the front of the park and then over in the Looney Tunes section where the Tunes were singing and dancing on stage. The kid’s area was very nice. I toyed with riding the kiddy coaster but the line was too long. I walked around and then out into the plaza where Two Face once was. I stopped for some cold water and waited in a long line yet again. After cooling down for a hot second I got in line for the back of Wild One for a 2nd glorious ride. I swear, this coaster is underrated, and I had to bump it up a few spots in my coaster rankings.
I toyed with another ride on Supes, and then another ride on ROAR, but didn’t. I wanted to ride the Falling Star and the train, but I didn’t want to wait for either. I was tired and it was hot so I decided to leave. I drove back to Moorefield by going thru the middle of D.C. this time and made a couple of stops, one for gas when another coaster geek called from Kings Island.
I actually had a nice time, but couldn’t imagine being back in this park on a day where lines were actually long. I don’t understand why they didn’t get it together with operations. Capacity was a major issue. I could forgive the barren back of the park, the lack of paint on coasters and buildings, the fact that the park hadn’t gotten anything spectacular since 2001, and has even removed a major coaster. But the lethargic nature of the employees make me not want to spend money for those lockers they keep pushing. No one was rude at all but, then, no one really cared enough to be rude.