September 3, 2010
As I’d started a new job since moving I didn’t have much vacation time, so I was trying to use all of my extra days off that summer, as much as possible, to go on a couple of coaster trips. I had considered Chicago, then Ohio for Labor Day weekend, but then Matt suggested I come up for SFNE & Lake Compounce. That sounded tempting, so after a few weeks of planning I was almost set. I purchased my plane tickets a few weeks prior to the trip, and on Friday afternoon I left work at 4 PM bound for Greensboro for my flight. I was worried that I would get stuck in traffic, but I was in the terminal 25 minutes after I left work, and my flight wasn’t until 5:50 PM.
The flight to Charlotte was quick and easy and my layover in Charlotte was quick as well. Then the flight to Hartford/Springfield was much faster than I’d though it would be. In fact, we were at the airport about 20 minutes early, which was good because Matt was there waiting for me. We made our way to the La Quinta near the airport, which was pretty nice compared to the last La Quinta I’d stayed in. We settled in and I dealt with a stomach ache for the rest of the evening before finally drifting off to sleep after 1 AM.
On Saturday morning we got up and headed down for a quick bite to eat and then we headed out to our first park, a place I’d wanted to visit for a very long time, Six Flags New England. The weather was beautiful, and Weather.com was calling for some clouds and blustery winds, which is what we got and it was fantastic.
This was my first time in New England in 16 years, and I don’t know why, but the atmosphere and everything just felt so different up there. We parked and took a tram over to the gate. Even just arriving at the front gate, the park looked very nice. I was snapping pictures everywhere. Sadly, the first 60 or so pictures I took were blurry because I didn’t realize that I’d smeared sunscreen on the lens. I didn’t notice because my Oakleys were smeared too, so I couldn’t tell when looking thru the viewfinder.
We headed into the park and started back towards Bizarro, the reason I was there, but Matt said maybe we should do Pandemonium first, since the line could get very long and we didn’t know how busy the park would get on a Saturday before a holiday. Walking thru the park was an experience in itself, because there was so much theming in many of the areas, and the park looked fantastic. We headed over and walked right on to Pandemonium.
Pandemonium–This was the same layout as the one in St. Louis, which I really liked. We got some good spinning throughout the ride, and the placement of the ride in the park was good. I was surprised at the trench work around parts of the layout. I like the Gerstlauer spinning rides a lot, and this one didn’t disappoint. Plus I didn’t get queasy like I did in St. Louis, so this was a bonus. I think the lack of spinning on the brake run helped.
We walked up to the entrance of Cyclone and Catapult, but the rides weren’t opening until later, so we headed back down. This whole section of the park was dead. I do like that they had 3 different kids sections. We headed over to the kiddy coaster that was in the Looney Toons section so I could ride it.
Great Chase–I headed up the queue to the station to find no one there but the ride op. I asked if they let adults ride, and she said sure so I got a ride to myself. It was a quaint little coaster, with a nice hill after the drop, and a fun layout. I actually like kiddy coasters, but I won’t wait in line to ride them so this one was a quick credit.
We headed over to Flashback next. Matt didn’t need to ride, so I headed up to the station. Matt was taking tons of pictures, but again they were all a bit blurry. Oh well. I was very careful to make sure the lens was clean the rest of the weekend.
Flashback–A standard Vekoma Boomerang coaster, and my first one of the weekend. This was the first time I’d been on one with these particular trains. I sat near the back. The drop off the back spike is great, the inversions are okay, but the drop off the second spike, backwards, is a lot of fun. No need to ride again, though.
Finally, we headed over to Bizarro. This was the one coaster of the trip I was most looking forward to riding. It’s notorious for being a great ride, but some have said it’s no longer a good ride due to the changes made when switching it from Superman to Bizarro. Would I like it?
Well, I didn’t get to find out at that point. We got in line and the ride had just broken down. When we were walking over, it was running, though the trains looked to be going a bit slow thru the course. We waited for about 20-30 minutes before they emptied the queue. I panicked because I didn’t know if I’d even get to ride at this point, and this was the only ride in the park I really wanted to ride. The theming in the section was rather nice, though. So we headed over to Catwoman’s Whip instead.
Catwoman’s Whip–I’d ridden Beaverland Mine Ride at Geauga Lake, so I knew what to expect. These are fun coasters with huge trains, and our train was mostly filled. I wonder why the changed from a Poison Ivy to a Catwoman theme on here, because the trees and plants around the ride are much more suited to Poison Ivy, but oh well, it was a fun ride and another credit down.
Next we headed over towards Batman and Mind Eraser. We debated which ride to hit first, with Batman winning out. Walking over, I was still amazed at how nice the park was. We walked thru Wiggles World, and it was very well done. The midway between the floorless and the SLC was kind of big and sparse, but still nice. We toyed with going to the water park, but it was just too cool out. The line for Batman wasn’t very long, but the wait was about 30-40 minutes due to the subpar ride operations we encountered around the park.
Batman The Dark Knight–This was a short floorless coaster, both in terms of height and length, but it packed a punch. The first drop was fun, and the loop was really nice and smooth. The zero G roll gave a nice pop of airtime before heading into the dive loop. The overbanked turn heads out to the corkscrew section, and though I usually don’t care for them, the interlocking corkscrews were fun, and we hopped back up into the final brake run. This was a nice little floorless coaster, too bad it had a long wait.
We headed over to Mind Eraser next to get our quick ride. It was about a 20 minute wait with two trains running, and we ended up riding towards the back.
Mind Eraser–This is a standard Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster. It wasn’t overly rough, but I hate the way the over the shoulder restraints are shaped, because they’re really uncomfortable. Drop, inversion, hill, inversion, turn inversions, drop, brake, done. And so was I.
I had been looking to see if Bizarro was running, and it wasn’t. I was panicking at this point, as we had planned to go to Boston that evening, though that could be scrapped if Bizarro came up. We also discussed coming back quickly the next morning to get the credit before Lake Compounce. As we walked by, we saw the Magic Carpet ride, named Buzzsaw and themed as such, so we decided to hop on.
Buzzsaw-Matt said the last time he rode, it didn’t go all the way around, but this time it ran a decent program. Not quite as good as the one at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, but a lot of fun with some good airtime on a few revolutions. The ride did make me a little queasy, though.
Heading back down towards the front of the park we then made our way to the unique sky ride, which we rode across the park after about a 30 minute wait. The first thing we planned to ride over here was Cyclone, which I’d been told by numerous people can be very good, or very bad. Honestly, I was more worried as to whether Bizarro would open. We waited another 35 minutes for a back row ride.
Cyclone–It didn’t look like much, but the ride was very good. The first drop/turn was really awesome, and the hills and turns after were great. In fact, the entire ride was running well up until you hit the 2 trim brake towards the end, which kind of kill the ending, but it was made up for with the rest of the ride being so good. I’d love to have had another ride, but the line was moving so slow.
We toyed with riding Catapult, but Matt already had, and I was afraid I’d get sick. Instead we headed to Panda Express for some food and to wait out some time and see if Bizarro would open. It was around 1:30, and even though we’d gotten a few things done early, the park was steady busy, and the lines were long due to the slow operations.
After eating, we headed over to see if Bizarro was running and as soon as we saw a train go up the lift hill with people in it, we booked it over to the ride. The line was rather long, but I was willing to wait for my ride since I’d waited this long for it to open. There was this really REALLY annoying kid in front of us that kept butting in to our conversation to talk about comics and what not. Matt was short with his answers and I was trying to ignore him after about 45 minutes, but he just didn’t get the hint. We got away from him when we finally got into the station and headed for a back seat ride. Now the only worry was would we fit? The test seats said we were fine, but that didn’t mean the train would.
Bizarro–Yep, we fit. Easily, in fact. Pretty soon we were heading out of the station and up the hill, and I was excited. The first drop is really amazing as you get pulled over the top. The hill after was much like the hill after the first drop on Six Flags America’s Superman. Then there was the overbank and track leading up to two amazing hills with lots of ejector air. The next hill had nice floater air before heading into a great helix, which lead into the wonderfully airtime filled twisted hill that goes into another helix, then up into a hill, down into a turn, and then into the final 3 bunny hops. Bizarro did not disappoint!
Finally, I’d ridden Bizarro. It wasn’t my new number one , but it was really great. I would love to have ridden again, but the line was even longer now and we had other stuff to do. I wanted to ride Houdini’s Great Escape and we still had another coaster to ride, so we headed across the park, stopping at the last coaster of the day, Thunderbolt.
Thunderbolt–It looks like it was going to be a fun, classic ride. We waited about 30 minutes and got in the back of the train. Unfortunately, I was not a fan. It started off smooth, but we hit a rough patch that made the lap bar punch me in the ribs, and it hurt. Bad.
I wanted to ride Scream, but the line was too long. We walked up and headed to Houdini next. The storyline inside was rather disjointed, but the ride itself was cool. I won’t go into details, and I’d ridden a Vekoma Madhouse before and would be riding the other Houdini in a couple days. This one was just okay.
After that I rode Tomahawk, a Huss Frisbee, as Matt watched. I got a little nauseated on this, but it was a fun ride. Once I got off, however, I asked Matt if he wanted to do anything else. We debated, but eventually decided to leave and head to Boston for the evening. The park was really nice, the weather was beautiful, and they have some great rides, but operations were definitely lacking.