Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Flags, More Fun

Wednesday, BFF and I went on our annual trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. It was so much fun. There was no intense humidity or random thundershowers as in past years. It was a beautiful sunny late-summer day which makes for great coaster-riding conditions.

Great Adventure is always a strange place to me. It has none of the magic or prestige of Disney World, and you can tell it really wishes that it did. Despite having some awesome rides, there's always a strange sense of desparation in the air... or maybe that just comes with being in Jersey. OHH BURN, NJ!!!! In any event, magic atmosphere or no, there's still a lot of fun to be had.

There are tons of thrill rides, but not all of them are created equal. In case it's been a few years since your last GA visit, let me break them down for you, so you know which ones to ride and which ones to avoid. In honor or Mister Six, I will rate them from 0 to 6 Flags. And also link a POV video for each that I found on youtube.

El Toro - My personal favorite. The GA website says "El Toro features the steepest drop of any wooden roller coaster in the country at a record-breaking 76 degrees. This imposing thrill ride combines all the best features of wooden coasters with the smooth speed of their steel counterparts." F-yeah it does! I've ridden El Toro previously, but this when I started comparing the coaster to Raphael Nadal, I realized I had made an emotional connection with this ride. The drops, twists and speed are really exhilirating and there's no uncomfortably shaking that accompanies many other wooden coasters. It's also really beautiful to look at, the engineering is so impressive. 6 Flags.

Nitro - The Master of Suspsense. The GA website says "Nitro blasts you off an unbelievable 230 feet in the air with a 215-foot dive back down to earth at speeds approaching 80 mph. This... colossal mega-coaster has a mile-long track lined with countless thrills." What the website doesn't tell you is that Nitro takes it's damn sweet time to climb that 230 feet in the air. It feels like an eternity which is partly why it's such a nerve-wracking ride. The aniticipation just builds and builds and when you get to the top you and can finally look down, you hang there for a second and then screeeeeeeam as you plummet back down. It's a very very smooth ride and all of the hills are quite a rush. It's really a delight and should not be missed. 6 Flags.

Kingda Ka - Blink and you'll miss it. The GA website says "This remarkable thrill ride breaks all world records for coaster speed and height, zooming from 0 to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds and catapulting you 45 stories into the sky." This is all very true, but it's also over in an instant. You barely have time to register how high you are, or even to scream before the ride is over. It's a unique experience, and I recommend taking the ride, but I think when you are moving at 128 miles per hour, it's so disorienting that you could be 500 feet in the air or 5 feet off the ground and not really be able to tell the difference. This ride also tends to shut down a lot if it's windy or rainy, or if the trains just breakdown (as they often do) so prepare to stand in line for awhile. 5 Flags.

Batman, The Ride. Classic hanging loop-de-loop. The GA website says "Soar over Gotham City with the track and sky above, and nothing but air below your dangling feet. This suspended outside-looping roller coaster includes five head-over-heels experiences and a zero-gravity roll. " They really don't try to oversell it in the description, but I guess they figure they don't have to. This ride has been around since the original Tim Burton movie came out back when I was in Junior High. It has seen many lesser rollercoasters come and go during that time, but it remains because of it's great design and smooth ride. For some reason, the line on this coaster always takes forever. 5 Flags.

Bizarro. Medusa gets a makeover. The GA website says "Something bizarre has taken place at Six Flags Great Adventure. The transformed Medusa has become Bizarro, a multi-sensory ride experience that will take you to another dimension of thrill." Well at least the website admits it - the commercials and the park employees insist on calling it "all-new" even though it's an old ride with new paint and some added "effects." I guess this is what counts as a new attraction from a theme park company in bankruptcy. It's fine, because Medusa is a great ride and there was no need to take it down. But it's weird because the added effects don't add much, except that now another ride in the park is named after a DC comics character. The "multi-sensory" aspects they are talking about have to do with the occasion fire cannon and mist spray on the ride along as well as some gobbledy-gook audio that is piped into your seat during the coaster. The audio is a mess. It's just a bunch of screaming and random sounds, which is what you'd normally here on a coaster anyway. BFF at one point heard it say "i feel like i've been taking CRAZY PILLS!" and at the end I heard it say "well, that happened!" What does any of that have to do with Bizarro? Nothing. And then at the end there's some dance mix song where they keep chanting "Bizarro! Bizarro! Bizzaro!" It's not good, but it's laughable enough. The ride itself is cool, I have to take a flag off it's final grade for the park's strange retooling efforts. 4 Flags.

Runaway Mine Train. An old favorite. The GA website says to climb on board "for a pulse-pounding jaunt through the woods and over the water. This classic ride features a tubular steel track design and is guaranteed to thrill coaster-lovers young and old." There's nothing particularly intense about this ride, other than the fact that it's been around since the 70's and it's a little beat up - so it brings that "maybe this time the ride will just fall apart" vibe to it. The train moves at a brisk pace and it's got a great view of the grounds, including Kingda Ka, El Toro and Medu-er... Bizarro. So as you circle around you can take in all the stuff that's around you that you might miss on the other faster rides. Plus the ride operator says "Choo! Choo!" as he or she starts the ride and it's fun to give a "choo! choo!" reply back. 3.5 flags

More to come in Part 2 featuring the rides I don't care for! Woohoo!

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