Six Flags Magic Mountain 2012

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December 17, 2012
Valencia CA

I left Knott’s Berry Farm at 12:30 PM. I should have stopped and gotten something to eat, but not knowing how L.A. traffic would be midday on a Monday, and not knowing exactly how long the ride would be, I waited till I got to Six Flags, which was a mistake I’ll get into in a bit. Overall, it to me about an hour and six minutes to make the drive from Knott’s to Six Flags. Not bad, from what I can tell, in moderate traffic. Who says driving in L.A. is hard?

It went from beautiful to partly cloudy, to pretty dreary by the time I got to Magic Mountain. Why was it always dreary when I go to Magic Mountain? I was, however, excited when I arrived and saw things that made me happy. First, X2 was running.  Second, there was only 1 open car lane in to the park, which I hoped meant that it was about as busy as Knott’s. Third, getting into the parking lot, seeing a couple hundred cars, and parking right behind the handicapped spaces. Fourth, only one gate into the park was open, followed by empty midways. There were more employees at Magic Mountain than guests.

Already, I was in a better mood than my first miserable experience, but then I was just heading in to the park. Would the park be clean? Would the rides be opened? I figured without pressing my luck too much, I would head to my favorite coaster in California thus far…

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Knott’s Berry Farm 2012

12KBFBanner.jpgKnott’s Berry Farm | Photos | Videos


December 17, 2012
Buena Park CA

I had gone back and forth on what day I wanted to drive out to L.A. and visit some parks. After checking on line everyone said that it would be a busy week, especially the weekend. I was going to go on Sunday and meet up with someone, but they weren’t feeling well, so I pushed it back to Monday hoping it wouldn’t be as busy. I woke up and headed out from Vegas around 6 AM. I stopped for gas and a Red Bull and actually made it to Knott’s Berry Farm around 10:30 AM, and that was with traffic. I also passed by 2 overturned vehicles and two tire blowouts on the way.

Going in to the parking lot I flashed my Platinum Pass at the gate to park and headed to the front entrance. It didn’t look to be too busy at this point and I was only planning on staying at Knott’s for about 2 hours. Unfortunately, my pass wouldn’t scan at the front gate so I had to get a comp ticket, but that didn’t take very long. Once inside, I was reminded of how much I loved Knott’s Berry Farm. It’s such a charming, clean, and beautiful park. I headed over to my first credit. At this point, the midways were all but abandoned. There were people there, but not a lot.

Sierra SidewinderI wasn’t really looking at this as more than a quick credit. Both trains were running, but they were only loading one, and the wait was maybe 6 or 7 minutes. I sat facing backwards in the front car by myself, with 2 larger guys sitting in the same car facing forward. I REALLY liked this ride! I was surprised at how well I liked it. The first curved drop was great and it has some fun laterals, a bit of airtime, and great spinning action. Everyone on the ride seemed to enjoy it as well. I went in not expecting much, but this was actually a really fun ride, and a great way to start my day.

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Las Vegas 2012

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December 14-17, 2012
Las Vegas NV

December 14
Photo Album

I hadn’t been on a ‘real’ vacation in some time. I’d been on plenty of extended weekend trips, but to actually go on vacation was something I hadn’t really done since my cruise in 2009. I wanted to take at least one more trip before the year ended, and had considered Chicago in October, but that didn’t happen due to a host of different reasons.

Some time around October I decided to go to Las Vegas. I love Las Vegas, and figured I’d also visit a couple of parks in the L.A. area whilst out there. So on Friday, December 14, my brother took me to CLT to catch my flight out west. I got thru security fairly easily and headed to Starbucks for breakfast. Around 11 AM my flight was off, with a stop in Cleveland. Eventually, I ended up on Pacific time, and arrived in Vegas around 2 PM.

I had used Orbitz to reserve a rental car. I got an insane deal with EZ Rental Car, but every review online was not good. So I took the bus over to the new McCarran rental car center, and within just a couple of minutes, I was walking out to my little red not Corvette Chevy. I had no complains, save for the fact that I didn’t realize they put a $200 hold on your account, but whatever. For $68, I got a great rate and no issues with the car.

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Six Flags Over Georgia 2012

12SFOGBanner.jpgSix Flags over Georgia | Photos | Videos


July 14, 2012
Austell & Atlanta GA

My last visit to this park was the spring of my first year living in North Carolina, and I went during opening weekend  I hadn’t been back since, and I lived so much closer now.  Something always seemed to come up. So I decided on an impromptu trip to Atlanta in the middle of July since I hadn’t been to the park during the summer yet. Besides, I needed a coaster break. I left work at 4:30 PM on Friday the 13th. Traffic wasn’t bad for the most part, and I actually made it into Atlanta and down to Austell by 9:00 PM. I’d gotten a room close to the park. Normally I’d have stayed at the Hilton in Midtown, but they were full, as were the rest of the nicer hotels down town so I figured why not stay close to the park as that was the reason for the trip.

On Saturday morning I got up and headed over to the park a little after 10:00 AM. The forecast was for thunderstorms all day and it had rained the evening prior, but that morning I woke up to beautiful skies and hot temperatures. I was hoping the park wouldn’t be packed and that the chance for rain would keep people away. I don’t know if it worked or not, but even though the park was far from dead, wait times and crowds weren’t unbearable. My first stop in the park was my only new credit.

Dare Devil DiveI headed over to Dare Devil Dive first because I was afraid the line would get too long. Thankfully it was maybe a 20 minute wait. First off, Kudos to the ride ops. The announcer was funny and engaging, and the girls working the train were fast and efficient.  I really liked the new train design with only lap bars.  That was much better than Mystery Mine’s OTSRs. The first drop was a beyond vertical drop and it was fun. I was surprised at how smooth the ride was. And how fun it was, too! The first inversion was smooth, there was some nice slightly floaty airtime on the course.  And the final inversion was slow and fun. Overall I was far more impressed than I expected to be. Now if they’d only put these restraints on all the other Eurofighters.

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Kings Island 2012

12KIBanner.jpgKings Island | Photos | Videos


June 3, 2012
Kings Mills OH

My first visit to Kings Island was in 1994 on a disastrous school trip that caused me to miss riding both The Beast and Vortex. My 2nd visit was a decade later. While it was much better, I walked away that evening in pain because I’d walked and stood so much.  I’d tried to get back to Kings Island a couple of times, once on a trip in which I ended up in the hospital in Columbus due to kidney stones and a bruised kidney (thanks Magnum).  Since I was going to Holiwood Nights I figured this would be the closest I’d be to the park for a while, so why not?

Sunday morning I woke up after everyone else and got ready. Since we all drove separately I left 2nd and was about 30 minutes behind Rob. Thankfully Rob called and texted me and the others about parts of I71 North being closed off for construction. I was able to tell him the detour and a couple of hours later we met up at a park and ride near the park, since Rob didn’t have a Platinum Pass and I did, so that no one had to pay for parking.

The parking lot was quite full and people were pouring in by the minute. I asked the gate attendant where season pass parking was and she told me to go left and I would see it.  Eventually I saw the preferred parking lot, so I pulled in and asked if my pass covered that and the gentleman at the gate let me in. We were just a few steps from the entrance.  I love Platinum Passes, especially the last 2 weeks with Kings Dominion and Kings Island letting me park so close.

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Holiday World 2012

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June 2, 2012
HoliWood Nights
Santa Claus IN

Day 1

I tended to go to Holiwood Nites about ever other year. I’d went in 2008 for Timberliners debut, but that obviously never happened. But that’s okay. In fact, it was really okay in 2012. This was the best Holiwood Nites ever! For the 2008 and 2010 events weather was an issue. It was so hot. Miserably hot. In fact so hot that I spent most of the day on Saturday both years in the water park and then taking a nap before dinner. None of that this time, though!

With my job I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go so I never made rooming or flying arrangements since the skilled nursing facility I worked at was in the window for it’s yearly state survey, and I am not allowed to be off during that time. Instead I decided that if I go I would drive, and come up with sleeping arrangements later. The week before the event I messaged Bryan Bird to ask if I could potentially sleep in my car at his cabin and use the shower there, which he was fine with since I knew mostly everyone in the cabin already.

Since there was no survey the week of the event I left from my job on Thursday evening to my parent’s house for the nite. I left later than I had wanted to on Friday morning because I stopped by my old job and was there for quite a bit talking, but when I did leave it was raining outside and I had hoped that this wouldn’t cause me any major delays.

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Kings Dominion 2012

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May 26, 2012
Doswell VA

I’d been trying to get to Kings Dominion for I305 since it opened but no such luck. Since I was in the area, though, I couldn’t pass a trip up since I was so close. I got up slightly later than I’d planned, but was hoping for light crowds on a Sunday. After arriving at the park and finding the season pass/preferred lot right near the front gate, I snapped some photos and walked on in. The park was already opened and the rides were running. I hadn’t been to the park since 2007, so I walked around the newer area around Dominator, and thru the Peanuts area, then back to Intimidator 305.

Intimidator 305The drop was great and the first hill hill was absolutely insane. I greyed out on the first turn. The ride was very intense, and delivered major airtime on the hills. After the second hill there are some very quick turns with major lateral forces in the infield of the ride. The lateral forces were kind of rough with the restraints, but not totally unbearable. Then you hit the 2 bunny hops near the end of the ride. The trim was definitely noticeable, but didn’t kill the end of the ride, which consisted for a couple of more tight turns and a turn/hop up to the final brake run that gave major airtime.

The ride delivered. I didn’t get a chance to re-ride, but I definitely enjoyed my one ride with hopes to ride it again soon. Next up was the closest coaster to me, Flight of Fear. There was no one in the queue inside the building until you got to just outside the station.
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Dollywood 2012

12DWBanner.jpgDollywood | Photos | Videos


March 23, 2012
Pigeon Forge TN

It had been about 3 and a half years since my last trip to one of my favorite theme parks in the Smokeys. In that time the park had changed quite a lot, with Adventure Mountain, Dueling Daredevils, and of course, 2012’s new attraction, Wild Eagle, America’s first wing coaster all being added. The offer of a new major credit was too good to pass up, so I planned a trip for opening day 2012.

I woke up around 5:30 AM on Saturday, got ready, and headed north-west to Pigeon Forge. I’d never driven this way before since this was the first trip to Dollywood since I’d moved to NC. It was actually quicker than going from WV, since you didn’t have to go thru Sevierville & Pigeon Forge. If you could go thru the national forests at a speed faster than the 35 MPH posted limit, I could get there in about 3.5 hours.

I mistakenly thought the park opened at 10 AM when in fact it opened at 9 AM, but that’s okay. I had all day. And I had decided to get a Q-Bot before I even went to help with lines. So, around 10:20 AM that morning, I was pulling into the parking lot. You can clearly see the top of the lift & loop on the new coaster from the parking lot. It looked impressive up on the mountain. I got in line behind the slowest family on this earth trying to get a one day pass. I’m so impatient. I was really looking forward to getting the Q-Bot.

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