Thursday, August 27, 2009

Less Flags, Less Fun

In Part 2 of my Six Flags Adventure, I explore the thrill rides I don't care for. A few of them I think are fine coasters, I just don't like them. And one of them is probably the worst ride I have ever encountered. I'm looking at you, The Dark Knight.

But I'm saving the worst for last. Here are some others:

Superman: Ultimate Flight. Not exactly gravity-defying. I know, some people really enjoy this one, but it's not for me. The GA website says, "Lie face down and soar head-first through a twisted steel track, diving into highly banked curves, spirals and a jaw-dropping, pretzel-shaped inverted loop." The problem with this ride for me is the hanging. The restraints never feel comfortable as you're just hanging there at the beginning and end of this ride. I do like the loops, but if the ride breaks down you can wind up dangling there for a really long time, as i did two or three years ago. Now I just avoid this ride and I find I don't miss it. But to each his own. 3 Flags.

The Great American Scream Machine. You scream because you're in pain! The GA Website says, "With a 15.5 - story drop, seven monstrous loops, one corkscrew and two boomerang loops, your vocal chords are guaranteed to get a workout." Let's cut to the chase: depending on how tall you are, the shoulder harness is gonna beat the crap out of you on the corkscrews and boomerangs. The ride itself is exciting and is a classic, but almost every time I've been on it, I've seen people complain about getting banged up. You should go on it once, if you never have, but it will probably once it probably enough. 3 Flags.

Rolling Thunder. This ride is older than I am! The GA website says "This classic, dual-track wooden roller coaster features an 85-foot drop and 10 great hills to cruise. " This is one that I've been on, enjoyed, but don't feel the need to revisit. Unlike El Toro, it certainly feels like a wooden coaster, with the shaking and the feeling that the ride could splinter apart at any second under the force of the train car. Not for me, but I acknowledge it's iconic status in the park. 3 Stars.

Skull Mountain. More like a Molehill. The GA website says Skull Mountain, "is a steel, enclosed roller coaster that takes riders on an indoor, in-the-dark trip through hidden tunnels and unexpected twists." I GUESS. This ride is short and kinda boring. It's certainly no Space Mountain or Rockin' Roller coaster which are PRIME examples of how you design an exciting indoor roller coaster. You can't rely on the dark to make your ride exciting. The ride still has to deliver some dips and some speed. This ride falls short on both. Very very forgettable, but it does have the basic components of a roller coaster, so kids will probably like it. 2 Flags.

The Dark Knight Coaster. The WORST!!! The GA website says riders "can only guess at what awaits them as they speed through six 180-degree hairpin turns, climb unseen hills, plunge into pitch darkness and dip into unforeseen danger." All of this is technically true, but very misleading. The reason you can only guess what awaits you is that nothing actually does. Nothing happens! It's just you moving along a track and then turning around. There's a category of coasters that fit this description called Wild Mouse Coasters. They have one at the children's amusement park in Central Park. The Dark Knight is less exciting than that one and is a bigger disappointment because it tries to hide what it is by naming itself after a very exciting movie and then hiding its shameful nature in the dark. Last year, people waited two hours to get on this ride that lasts less than a minute and is no fun. I don't know what I would've done if I'd wasted so much time on line before going on this ride. I remember walking by one rider last year who gave me the classic line "The Dark Knight?... more like DARK CRAP!" Luckily word spread fast that this thing stunk, and this year the wait wasn't long, so BFF decided to see what all the non-fuss was about.

You cannot call it a coaster. You can barely call it a ride. It's just a big room where people go in to be disappointed. When we were climbing in to our rinky-dink little carnival car before the ride started, there were these two guys in the row behind us and one guy asked the ride attendant if his sunglasses would be safe hanging around his neck on the ride. The girl gave him a half-smile and said "Oh, you obviously haven't been on this ride before, have you?" Of course the answer was "no" because who would go back for seconds? But we didn't know that yet. Then the ride attendant points at BFF and the guy behind her and says "You and you have the worst seats." And with that we were off on the most pointless unfun minute of a ride there is to experience at Six Flags Great Adventure. It is a colossal failure of imagination and ride engineering. It's totally disingenuous to promote it as anything other than a kid's ride and even then I bet most kids would have the good sense to know this was not worth their time. A cameo appearance by Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent in a pre-ride video (which actually lasts longer than the ride itself) can't even bring any value to this experience. When we got off the ride, we were so astonished by it's crapitude we immediately ran over to Skull Mountain - the previous title holder of Lamest Ride In The Park. There was no contest. Skull Mountain might as well be El Toro compared to Dark Knight. They need to tear it down and salt the earth where it once stood. They won't do this though, because the whole point of Wild Mouse Coasters is that they are cheap to maintain and up the coaster count at the park. But spread the word! This ride stinks! Zero flags.

So that's my account of all the thrill rides in the park. I would like to have a moment of silence for The Swings, which were taken down this year. I always enjoy the Swings and wandered all over the park looking for them until I came to the circular cement area where they ought to be, but no longer were. If the people at Great Adventure are looking for a new location for the swings, they might want to look at the area in movie town which is currently housing the crappiest ride on the planet. Just a thought. I'd give the swings a solid 3 flags. And as you know, more flags, more fun.

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