Six Flags Strikes Back

Last year when Jeb and I went to Six Flags we were able to ride most of the rides with fairly short lines until after lunch, but we still got in everything we wanted and maybe then some. This year Bob, Andrew, and David wanted to go. Figuring that it wouldn’t be as crowded during the week, they picked Wednesday. I bought tickets online with Bob’s credit card and printed them out and then met at one of my work’s branch offices out that way so I wouldn’t have to pay parking and they wouldn’t have to come pick me up. The plan was to meet at 10:00 and we met that within a few minutes, which means Bob did a great job of getting the boys moving first thing in the morning. We got to the park and in the front gate at about 10:20, which was fine since the park wouldn’t even open officially until 10:30. As we sweltered in the sun waiting to get entrance to the rest of the park, I said “Man, it’s going to be hot today.” I eventually said this so many times that Bob had to tell me “You’re not helping.” Everybody already had sunscreen on and I had drunk a big cup of water on the way out, so our first ride we took was to the bathroom (no line!).

Andrew and David debated whether it would be good to do the biggest and best roller coaster, Goliath, first or do some others first. They were worried that once we went on that ride, all the others would seem inferior. But I figured we should ride it first while the lines were at their shortest and we got through the line in maybe 15 minutes. I had ridden it before, but that ride is just fantastic. Bob really liked the zero g’s as we went over the hills.

Next we walked towards the Batman ride, but Mindbender was on the way, so we stopped there. The line wasn’t very long and while Andrew and I waited for the back seat (which I learned last time is supposed to be the best one), Bob and David got on in the middle before us. This is when things started going not so well. They went out a couple of hundred feet and had just started up the hill. Meanwhile the second train pulled almost into the station. Then everything stopped. The person running the ride said that there would be a delay for an undetermined amount of time and if people wanted to leave they could go out the entrance. Some of the people in the main line left, but most of the people ready to get on the next train stayed. After about 10 minutes and another announcement some more people left. Then the people in front of us for the back seat left. We weren’t going to leave because Bob and David wouldn’t know where we were (the Droid stayed home so it wouldn’t get beat up or wet, so we couldn’t even talk to them). After a total of 20 minutes or so they sounded the track alarms and Bob and David were on their way back up the hill. The train that was in the station pulled all the way in, but then they kept it empty so they could do a test circuit (though Bob and David were living test dummies going around at the time). Once they got back into the station, they decided to ride again with Andrew and me and nobody was waiting yet. It’s a good ride. In the back seat I think you pull more g’s as you come out of the loops.

Next we went to the Batman Ride. We were able to walk pretty quickly through the first part of the line but pretty much came to a dead stop when we go to a big sewer drain they have you walk through to give the sense of entering the grimy underworld of Gotham. But unlike most pipes, this one is in the sun and inside the pipe it is incredibly hot, which Bob pointed out more than once (and it didn’t help). After that we bypassed a room of back-and-forths that seemed to be air conditioned which didn’t seem to make much sense. Why bake people in the sewer pipe when there was a whole room available?

Anyway, after maybe 45 minutes we were up to the front of the line. Batman is a really good ride, but David said it was just like Busch Gardens’ Montu (he’s right: both were made by the same company one year apart).

After Batman and just a few minutes before noon, we decided to eat lunch, so we got hamburgers and fries (begrudgingly, since they had all eaten hamburgers for the last few days). Expensive. I think Jeb and I did better bringing our lunch and going out to the car, but this was quicker and let us enjoy some air conditioning. Plus I had gotten the tickets for $6 less than I thought they would be, so maybe paying $10 for a pretty average hamburger wasn’t so bad.

Not wanting to lose our lunches, we went to the log flume next. In October it was pretty chilly, but a little water at this point seemed like a good thing. Unfortunately the lines were pretty long and the log flume line went out past its entrance. Worse, most of the line was in the direct sun. A little girl in the family behind us was about to pass out so her Mom skipped ahead to a shady spot and a Six Flags worker brought them some cold water. As we were leaving the ride, I saw the log her family was on and she was up front and smiling. Like a sea monkey, she came back to life when she got wet. The log flume was decent but Andrew didn’t steer all that well. We got a little wet, but not bad. While we were in line, David was thinking about what kind of amusement park he would make if he ran things and we figured that a good thing would be to wait in one line and get a seat in a moving stream of chairs that would take you to each ride and then become part of the ride. You’d go through all of the rides in your chair and never have to walk anywhere or wait in any lines.

Next we headed back across the entrance to try out Acrophobia which drops you and then uses magnets to slow you down at the bottom. However some workers were crawling around on it with ladders and the three guys who worked that ride were just hanging around the front looking at women and told us it was closed, but they didn’t know for how long. They thought it would re-open at some point.

The train was waiting in a nearby station, so we got on that and went to its next stop which was back near Goliath again. From there we got in line for Thunder River, another water ride and one that can get you substantially more wet than the tamer flume ride. Watching people as they left the ride it looked like a third to a half of the people were soaked pretty good and others were only a little wet. It was another long line, but it was mostly in the shade. Still, one of the girls in front of us was feeling woozy or something and had to go find a cooler place to sit until her friend got closer to the front. This ride has round boats that seat maybe 10 people around the edge facing inwards. A woman across from Bob and I said we looked like we would be getting the wettest. It’s a funny ride, sometimes very calm and leisurely but then sometimes it gets the feeling of really being on a river raft. Because you might not get all that wet, they throw in a waterfall. So I got kind of dumped on by that but we were moving quickly as we went under it. Then we went by a corner where people at the park can shoot you with a fire hose. It isn’t high pressure like a fire hose, but it has about as much flow and Bob and I got the worst of it, completely soaking wet. Towards the end we went into a water divot and water came pouring over the edge of the boat between me and Andrew and I got soaked again, but at that point I couldn’t get any wetter. At least I had Tevas on. But the others had tennis shoes. As we neared the exit ramp, I stepped on the top of Andrew’s shoe and water came gushing out of the shoelaces part like in a cartoon. David probably was the driest. But one good thing is I really wasn’t nearly as hot for a while. I had my cellphone in a ziplock baggie, but had forgotten to put my wallet in there, so it was soaked, but no damage.

Bob still wasn’t feeling like a roller coaster, so Andrew, David, and I went to the Scream Machine. Andrew didn’t know what the Scream Machine was, so I told him it was a machine that you put your hand in and it squeezed your hand until you screamed. He said he didn’t want to do the Scream Machine, but he knew it was really a roller coaster so we went anyway. The line moved particularly slowly because they were only loading 3 of the 4 cars in a train and leaving the last car empty. Plus they have people that have paid for Flash Passes that get to go to the front of the line which means everyone else waits that much longer. They only let a certain number of Flash Pass people ride at a time, but if that’s another carload of people, now they are down to half a load. This is part of the reason all of the lines were slow. I didn’t even want to think about trying to stand in line for the Superman ride, especially since most of that line is in the direct sun and we had enough sun already.

Anyway, as we got to the front Andrew and David got to a car before me, so I had to wait for the next one. The guy in front of me was by himself too so we sat together. I’m not sure if movie theater etiquette applied and I wasn’t supposed to sit right next to another guy, but I didn’t want to wait for another coaster either. The ride up the hill was pretty smooth, but even the first drop was incredibly rough, like going down a bumpy hill in a wagon. And it just got worse. It is amazing how much a wooden coaster shakes. It was pretty miserable, rougher than I ever remember. I may have to swear it off like I have the other wooden coaster there, the Georgia Cyclone which is even worse because it throws you around side-to-side too. After I got back I asked David and Andrew what they thought and they said it was terrible and now they had headaches. Andrew said he would rather have put his hand in a machine until it made him scream. Plus the line would probably be shorter. I don’t know, though: Even the kind of lame rides had long lines.

It was maybe around 3:00 and we were pretty pooped, but we decided to take the sky bucket over towards Acrophobia and see if it was back open again. The sky bucket line was maybe 30 minutes long, but it was a nice ride across the park. Of course Acrophobia was still closed, so we headed on out. As we left I told Bob: “It is just as hot as I thought it would be!”

So we missed out on a couple of the big rides like Superman and didn’t get to ride anything twice (well, Bob and David rode the Mindbender twice), but we still got a lot in:

  • Goliath
  • Mindbender
  • Batman Ride
  • Log Flume
  • Train
  • Thunder River
  • Scream Machine
  • Sky Buckets

Happy Birthday, Mom!

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