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Slithering in the States #1 - Part 13: Six Flags Magic Mountagain


Active Member
Is everybody in?

It's that question I find myself asking each year - where can I get some creds in January? I've managed 660 odd without disturbing the shores of America, but the time is right.

Day 0 - Travel stuff

So here we are. LAX. Faffiest airport in the world? The border was nothing like the stories I always here. No guns or being shouted at. But they've got those dumb DIY photo and fingerprint machines with no Japanese women to guide you. And then they don't work. Then they want you to fill in the customs form. And then they don't want to take it off you. 'Wassup my man?' Now I'm in.

The phrase 9 terminals was thrown around on signs. I thought wow, that's huge. But it isn't. They aren't separate entities like other airports, just a big U shape of small 'sections' with a road running round it all. A gridlocked road.
There's no car hire on site, they're all shuttled. The shuttle bus cant get to you because of the road. The shuttle bus cant get you out because of the road. Took a good couple of hours to leave.

Got to the car hire place. Use the machines to avoid the queue. The machines don't work. Queue it is.
They're a sleazy bunch here. I'd paid everything up front so was dead set on the bill being a swift 0.
This car you've booked, it's a bit small.
I'm shown a picture of this.

That'll do.
You won't get any luggage in there.
I'm sure I'll manage.
How far are you going?
Quite far.
I can upgrade you to a 'medium sized car' for 25 dollars a day.
Sounds like a lot for 2 weeks, I'm good.
It's higher up.
I'm good.
It's lower to the ground.
I'm good.
More comfortable.
I'm good.
The luggage won't have to go on the seats.
I'm sure I'll manage.
Tshh-something about winter insurance and the 'rainy season'.
Right. I'm good.
Tshh-here's your papers. Follow the signs.

Well this is new to me. I'm used to being given a key, but you get to stumble outside into the car park and find the section of 'eligible cars' for what you've booked. The keys are all in the cars, take your pick. My section was filled with 7 of what I'd call 'medium sized cars'.

6 the same (4 white, 2 black), 1 different. Damn, the different one already has someone in it. The decision has been made for me then. Luggage in the boot. Away we go.
Luckily I hadn't planned anything for the day.

Day 1 - California's Great America

I had to hit the San Francisco area first as the parks there aren't truely open year round, they just do Christmassy events until the end of December. CGA's was an evening only job, from 5pm to 10pm, so that suited the 5 hour journey it took to get there.

It wasn't a particularly pleasant journey up 'the 5', once you end up on dual carriageway and it says 240 miles of go straight. The traffic was just heavy enough to never settle down and use cruise control with either endless slow lorry overtakes or too many people frothing in the outside lane resulting in constant undertakes.
And then the tumbleweed. First time it was cute - aww, tumbleweed. It's actually just plain dangerous. It may look soft from a distance but it's half a car sized ball of nasty wood that you'd better not hit.
Now it's hours of constant traffic swerving and e-stopping every couple of minutes, twigs flying everywhere. Ugh.

Checked into the hotel that was conveniently 2 minutes from the park and headed in. Getting there for rope drop turned out to be rather essential. It ended up being way busier at a lot of places than I was expecting and the website I has used to plan around crowds was just completely wrong.

Chose to power walk straight to Railblazer. Start the trip on a different high to the usual. I had often forgotten this thing was a thing and first impressions on seeing it in person is 'what the actual f*ck is this thing?'.
I then said this to myself at least ten times watching it test, walking through the queue, getting on the ride, during the ride, getting off the ride and walking away from the ride.

From off-ride it looks like it's running at a million miles an hour and it's ridiculous to the point of laughter.

I absolutely loved it. It's rare that experiences are totally unique to me now and this was just so unlike anything else. Why am I straddling the track? Why is it shuffling out of the station on wooden decking with the quality of a Hebei Zhongye Metallurgical Equipment Manufacturing Co., Ltd lift hill? Why am I shaking?

I somehow only ever rode it in back row and the airtime when it hits is rather insane. You've got the first drop obviously, the crazy twisted hill which throws you in several directions, but in particular the sudden drop after it just starts doing unbanked turns in the middle (which I also love). Proper 'I'm gonna fall out of this this thing' ejector.

Picky points: It's too short to compete with the best of the best. The cutback(?) did absolutely nothing for me and the final couple of moments after that aren't amazing.

Shoulder straps didn't bother me in the slightest. Had good operations with that big TV screen in the station showing countdown timers and restraint lock status, desperately trying to make up for the poor capacity. Great stuff.

Headed backwards through the park now, which may not have been the smartest idea. Patriot was almost walk on, but then it broke down one train in front of me. Spite. Come back later.

Gold Striker was now queuing outside the entrance. Well I've gotta get stuff done. Took about an hour from there.

This thing looks good from the outside. It feels well thought out with the big drop giving a thunderous roar that scares everyone in the early stages of the queueline, the not quite station fly through that goes past the bottom of the stairs with a thunderous roar that scares everyone in the late stages of the queueline. The big sexy curves from the outside.

The ride itself? Eh.
My first go had a slightly off rattle that gave me a minor headache, but aside from that, GCI what's going on?

They just dont seem to do anything after Python changed the game. They're all very forgettable in the middle of the pack and thats the problem. I can't think of a single standout moment on half of them, including this one. All I can remember thinking for this one is it's all corners, where's the airtime?

Flight Deck struck me as another case of good placement. The zero-g slithering over the entrance isn't exactly unique, but with little else in view it's not just massive B&M in a field that happens to have that feature (sorry Pyrenees) and the meandering bit working its way directly above the queueline.
It sadly ends in weirdly off theming that was probably better off not being there - a couple of yellow barrels, the stars and stripes and what I assume is a scene from an aircraft carrier but could just as eaily be a submarine, followed by an ugly uncovered station. Another massive B&M in a field comes back to me (sorry Monster).

Anyway. It's good. The layout is refreshingly non standard after the standard drop and loop. The following upwards turn gives you the classic everyone shouting 'ahhhh' from positive Gs moment. The aforementioned weird but amusing mincing section. Then 'what the hell is it doing' lurching down into a ridiculously snappy corkscrew with a brilliantly off transition and another decently sharp turn over the water, oh it's over.
Character and individuality is its strength.

More good placement. I like the way these bits of Patriot stick out from the trees and then they frame it with plants and stuff below.

Patriot was back, but now a painfully slow queue with 1 train.
It was a thing. Probably would have preferred to try the old stand-up cos floorless just makes the simple layout feel a bit safe and boring.

Now things get ugly. Everything was getting stupidly busy. Queued 90 minutes for the stupid mouse thing which was just being run so awfully and was the beginning of my ongoing experience of this country not caring about empty seats that felt like it wasted so much of my life.
But hey, my first Arrow Mouse.

This had driven me to the point where I couldn't be arsed to queue with a million families for the final cred (Woodstock Express) and went back to Railblazer instead to finish the day on another 90 minute queue.

Hmm. Place started good but got rather fed up with it in the end. Not completely the parks fault though. Christmas obviously draws the crowds and that wasn't helped by the limited lineup. Can't really complain as it gave me this magnificent thing at this time of year.

Up next - some flags.


Active Member
Day 2 - Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

First impressions of this place was laughing at the parking cost. $30?! Well thats my season pass already paid off.

The views on the long walk around the outside of the park from the car park gave me slight Aussie Warner vibes with all those rides and superhero logos so visible from the outside, just a little more... desolate.

Talking of season passes. After they were so helpful and keen over email to let me buy one remotely and claimed that they 'had to print it on the day of purchase', it was a bit of a shambles on the day. I asked for the place to go and collect it and got bounced between 4 different places both outside and inside the park, each stating that they weren't the right place and in the end they just printed another one.
Such a stupidly good deal, even though I paid more than if I had just got it on the day. Risk.

Another rope drop scenario with a weird looking reindeer gyrating in front of some kids. Another power walk to an RMC.
I was one of the first to arrive but got a big f*ck you as my first inside impression of Six Flags. This ride is currently only open to membership holders. Spite.

Superman it is then. I really struggled to enjoy my last Sky Rocket as the shin bars dug into my legs so painfully hard that I've never wanted to get off a ride so quickly before it even started.
This was fine, they didn't touch as much and they're squidgy.
Also this was the first one so what's your deal Holiday Park?

They're quite fun. Triple launch is always a blast and the elements themselves are actually kinda cool. Just something about it... is it simply the lack of corners that makes it still feel a little inferior to an actual coaster? Once was enough anyway.

That weird Skywarp thing I wanted to judge was closed...

Impulse thing caught me off guard. Never come across one before and thought they were all had vertical spikes at both ends. Guess not. Thats a plus.
I also got myself overly worried about it from seeing it go once before me. From a distance, it looked like the front half of the train was hanging upside down for a good 10 seconds at the top of the angled spike, something I'd despise.
When I was on it, it didn't, so that was clever.

It sucks though. Rattled quite badly throughout and 2 gimmicky rides in a row didn't really help.

Joker was still off limits so headed out of the area to see what else was cooking.

Roadrunner Express. Fun fact: some of these things are 20 years old now. +1.

Happened to walk past a Dolphin show as it was starting, so gave it a go. It had some very cringey rhyming Christmas narration and dance remixes of Christmas songs.
Dolphins were cool. Double backflip.

Leaving this was poorly timed as all the families spilled into the Cobra queue with us. Queued a stupid amount of time for it, but wanted to clear the path of creds for 'that wooden one'.

Tivoli large. Whatcha gonna do.

That dumb Loop thing I wanted to judge was closed...

SLC was spiting. Shame.

They had broken Medusa, but were sending empty trains constantly. Staff guy wasn't helpful. Camped it out for half an hour. Gave up.

I can't stands no more, Joker time. Queue looked reasonable, until it barely moved the whole time. Hang on, is this thing only on one train? Yes, yes it is.
So reasonable turned into 90 minutes, made all the worse by the fact that they'd stopped me from walking straight onto it earlier.

It was good. Didn't blow me away with any particular sensations like the previous day, but a very solid ride with an interesting sequence of events. I particularly liked the double hump thing that catches you off guard in the back, ending more abruptly than a traditional hill and then throwing you into another. The little stall thing was a bit underwhelming unless you were further towards the middle of the train, but that's Wildfire's fault.

Medusa now had people on it, so back to the other side of the park. Queue was short, but had about 200 people in the station faffing, cos they weren't bothering to batch.

Well this did absolutely nothing for me. The first drop is a dumb shape with that corner and doesn't give you any surprise airtime like the Spanish one. The rest of it was just there, same old sequence of elements that is getting kinda boring, with no interesting forces to speak of.
Oh no, am I turning into one of those people that calls B&Ms forceless? Send help please.

'Just like a Boomerang, I'll catch you guys later'. I smiled a little.

So this place has animals as well as rides. That's new. Spent a while ticking them all off.

Each of the food groups represented.

Time to suffer another 90 minute queue. Look at that dormant train.

And another 90 minute queue. So much awful queue. At least it made it get dark.

Hmm. Place started good bad but got rather fed up with it in the end. Not completely the parks fault though. Christmas obviously draws the crowds and that wasn't helped by the limited lineup one train operation. Can't really complain as but it got me Railblazer Joker at this time of year.
Cedar Fair 1 - Six Flags 0



Active Member
Day 3 – San Francisco

Time for a brief respite from queuing on foot.

Queued in the car instead by driving into the city to see some stuff.

Had enough coinage here for 14 minutes of parking. That’s my kinda sightseeing.

Close enough.

This was rather nice though.

I like completion. There’s one of these I frequently visit in Singapore, not because I’m that way inclined, just because the food is surprisingly good.
So I’ve now visited every establishment of theirs in the world, including 2 that closed down. Yay.

Talking of completion, memories of CGA were eating away at me all day. Missed a cred and wasn’t satisfied with a single lap on the GCI. They were doing another 5pm to 10pm.

California’s Great America (Round 2)

So here we are again. Knew how to play it smart this time. Rope drop, straight in to Gold Striker, ahead of the masses.

It didn’t give me a headache this time and was marginally better. Satisfied.

Kept heading swiftly towards the back, but it would be rude to pass on this. Railblazer was ridiculous as always.

Beat those kids to Woodstock Express, never mind the squeeze into the car. It’s much more significant a ride than I imagined, thought it was going to be Zamperla 80STD #2 or something.
Bit of a Jet coaster vibe with the layout and just look at that massive lift. Satisfied.


Better off on Flight Deck instead. Doesn’t seem to hold the queues like the rest.

I assume because it was a Saturday, everything else had got even more ridiculous than the previous visit by now, so slithered out again very early.
A much more efficient run. Love this season pass flexibility.


Staff member
Good work. Was that all the time you spent in San Francisco? One of the better 'big' US cities, I think.

Good work getting back to CGA though - sounds like wisdom from the first time paid off.


Active Member
Was that all the time you spent in San Francisco?
Most of that day was spent there, which was enough for me really. Would have stayed a bit closer and maybe done a bit more if the hotels weren't double the price within the peninsula. Stayed a long way outside (San Jose and Vallejo-ish, for the parks) and it was a bit of an arse to get into and around SF by car.

Day 4 – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Spited myself on the lack of coinage from the previous day, having nothing to pay for a meter along the road from this place. All day parking @ $10 will have to do. Can spend a while here right?

Wrong. Once again crowd prediction is a little off as it was hideously busy on a glorious sunny weekend. A sign was up listing the attractions available. I had 6 things on my list (3 creds and some dark ride stuff). 1 of them was open. Spent more on parking than I did on rides.

Oh well, at least it’s the star attraction. It had a big queue so once was enough.

Starting tunnel was a laugh, not being able to see or knowing what to expect and the main portion was a bit of fun.

There’s always that unpredictability of roughness with these old things, but there was no particular unpleasantness on this occasion except for the low part of the plastic bucket between seats digging in a little on high lateral corners. Good old modern features.

There’s the beach.

There's the sea.

Well that was quick. What else have we got?

Gilroy Gardens

More season pass fun, although you don’t get free parking here, just entry.

Seemed busy in the car park, but the creds weren’t. Walked onto Timber Twister.

Tivoli Medium. Whatcha gonna do.

Powered over to the other side of the park for Quicksilver Express.

Thought this had a little more to it in terms of theming so was mildly excited. There's a mince through a shed at the end. Nothing happened.
First half of the ride was amusingly pointless, but then the second lift disappears over the top of the hill and there’s a surprisingly exhilarating drop to be found, followed by lots of twisty hills. Racking up that Morgan count.

Job done. Think that was even quicker than the Boardwalk. Seems like a nice place to spend the day if you're a normal person.

Passed through this place on the way out, with a well timed sunset.

Settled in for another long drive back down ‘the 5’. In the dark. Wasn’t as bad thankfully. Tumbleweed sleeps at night.

Up next – more flags.


Active Member

This weather doesn't look good for rides, spite incoming.

Nah, should be fine. What goes up must come down.

Deckchairs out lads, here's the spot.

Day 5 - Six Flags Magic Mountain

Apologies in advance for lack of pictures. I could stitch something together from another day, but I like the chronology (spot the 1 cheat). I'll focus more on the rides this time and should have some more thorough visuals later on in the report.

I've never tackled one of these monster parks before and wasn't sure how full cred mode was going to pan out. I knew I was coming back for at least one more day on the trip so wasn't massively anxious, but there's always that voice in the back of your mind... what if I don't get it today and it's not running next time?

Yet another case of poor crowd prediction. Arrival at the car park showed they had decided to extend opening by 2 hours.
Highlight: more time.
Lowlight: more queues.

Decided while waiting for the gates to open to opt for the clockwise approach, though worryingly X2 wasn't showing any signs of life (is everybody in?).

It was broke, so Tatsuuuuuuuuuuuw.

Loved the setting of this the most. Being so damn high up on top of the mountain with those views of the park and the disorientating changes of direction is rather special, along with how the pretzel loop comes so unnaturally late in the layout and is so far below the rest of the track.
It's very good, but the similarity in the other inversions didn't do a lot for me - RCDB is very generous in calling them diferent things. It didn't get stupidly intense at any point which is a shame, as that's the main appeal of these rides for me. Might just be the sheer size of it.

Thanks for riding, make sure to check out........... Ninja.
These things are hard to come by aren't they. Another ride aided by setting. I liked the odd unnatural swinging moment and repeatedly intense helices down by the water. Lift hill at the end. Classic.

Superman eh? It's not just Dreamworld then. Intamin have got a knack for making 100Mph and 300ft seem really uneventful.

Gold Rusher was a laugh. Another short and pointless first section like on the previous day, followed by a bit of a kick through the woods.

Apocalypse was spiting because they're building West Coast Racers out that way and the whole area was closed off. Shame, I wanted to assess the mixed reviews for myself. Also still holding out for that next 'Great' coaster international.

The lone dark ride while we're here then. Ugh, the preshows go on so long and are rather obnoxious with Joker waffling on. Even Lex gives a few glances to the camera as if to say 'I wish he'd shut up too', so I admire that attention to detail.

Had low expections and was reasonably impressed on the whole. There's a lot of legit stuff going on - fire and smoke, decent physical sets.
The shooting is too much of a distraction early on, then it goes stupidly blurry when you start flying underground with trains and stuff and I couldn't really tell what went on after that.

Now things get ugly.
Riddler's Revenge was just sending empties all morning.

Green Lantern was also spiting. Well if there's one ride I'm happy to miss, it would be that.

Batman was on 1 train. First big queue of the day then. 90 minutes gets thrown around a lot these last few days, so lets go with that. At least I liked the Six Flags trivia on the queueline TVs, sprinkled with a few Looney Tunes cartoons.
It's a Batman. On a scale of La Fuga to Diavlo, it placed squarely in the middle - not 'ripping my feet off and screaming' intense, not run twice a day with 4 people on it.

Scream! was spiting just because.

Twisted Colossus was claiming 3 hours. Whaaaa? Where did all these people come from. I'll have to settle in for that later. Let's scout.

Drop tower 1 hour. Skip.

Goliath 2 hours. Skip.

Kiddie creds. Took a fair amount of self-control to keep on walking.

Full Throttle 90 minutes. Maybe.

New Revolution 2 hours. Skip.

X2 still broke. Spite.

Viper has single rider. Boom.
They don't know how to run it. You end up on the stairs with Flash Pass people who get all confused and are waiting for their slot as you slither past.
Nod at the staff and say single rider. Staff nod back, open the gate immediately and let me into the station to roam free, regardless of available space.

All sorts of chaos was going on, some rows packed, some rows empty, people kicking off about being their row being spited 4 times consecutively by people with exit passes. Staff shrugging and saying that's the assigned row, whatcha gonna do? I was tempted to say move to one of these empty rows, but I'll let humanity do its thing. Batched myself into an empty row and had an empty seat next to me. The system works.

I guess this thing was significant at some point, but it's just another rough and ready looping thing now. It crawls over the top of the lift and stops dead on the MCBR, I assume that's mercy.
The huge entry to the ugly-looking high-up first loop is so weeeird that I liked it and the little drop around the station at the end is kinda fun. It's fine.

Well I'm gonna have to suck up some big queues for the more important stuff now then. Like Full Throttle.

This sums up how I was by the end of leaving the portion of queue in front of the big screen in the queue line going on about YOLO stuff while we stand still for a few hours.

Didn't help that the thing broke down at some point and they never announced it or gave guidance. I've got that Fuji-Q feeling again. So many big names, so little time, what should I do?
I stuck it out. Just keep watching the screen. Needs more footage.

It was a pleasant surprise though. That pause in the loop is pretty glorious, seemed to think it felt more significant than one like Flash due to the shorter train.
I'm still good at not spoilering myself too much for new rides so didn't know know what happens in the tunnel. It's fun and adds a bit of ride length to a short track. Back seat is good here for one of your reverse spike type sensations and I'm a sucker for any rolling launch.
That air time over the loop is pretty glorious-nnnnnnnnnnnnnn-brakes. Solid.

Well it's dark now. Settled in for a Goliath wait. Pretty excruciating, endlessly looking up at a train on the brake run and observing the poor throughput as the other train doesn't dispatch. It's a very long ride cycle, but it still takes them longer to load every time.

Expected nothing from this. Giovawho? Ride without prejudice.
It has 2 good moments. Whatever they've done with that first drop gives a nice extra long sensation (in the back) that I always expect and rarely seem to get from 'big' rides and then the speed hill thing was really good. I'll say something triggering here like better than Shambhala.
The rest is corners and stuff. Not much going on. Good little sit down. S'alright.

Too much standing still meant I had energy to burn, and it was getting cold up on this mountain, so I started running around like a madman. I think Riddler's Revenge is actually open now. Where's that single rider queue?

Straight on the ride past a massive queue, batched properly, now we're cooking.

Been saying for a while that I need one of these B&M Stand-ups. A dying breed and one of the few types I've not experienced.

It's more like perch than stand from where I'm sitting. Doesn't give you that real 'what the actual f*ck is this thing?' feeling from Railbla-I mean Togo Stand-ups.

Then it gave my ears a bit of an unavoidable knobbling due to awkward restraint placement. Like one of those SLCs where they've padded it so much it permanently touches you, just with better tracking.

Never mind. Joy awaits. I wasn't sure how, but Twisted Colossus was down to claiming an hour. Soon learnt how in that it's the only ride they run with any sort of hustle. Got the alien concept of 3 trains to handle, as standard, to make the ride run as it should. Got the operator constantly mithering the attendants with restraint check figures and how much they have to get their arse in gear to 'race blue (or orange((or purple)))'. Got little pouchies built into the ride to reduce phone key wallet faff.

I thought I had found love with Railblazer, but this thing took it to the next level. Again, I'm a no spoiler man, all I know is 2 lifts and a Dauling Dragon bit.
So at night, duelling/racing(?), not knowing what's coming, the intensity and hilarity of that layout, well up there with one of my best rides ever.
Standing air time in the big drops and so much contrast from positives to negatives it almost hurt my neck.
A wildly out of control bit after that high five and I didn't think it could get weirder than Wildfire's stall, but there's another train of people waving and getting their legs crushed directly below you.
Hobby defining stuff.

Noticed Scream! had finally decided to show its face. It was walk on because it turns out they don't bother to run it for 90% of most days and no one notices.

I like the way the cobra roll is framed from the station and you can watch the other train take it while waiting for dispatch.
I don't like the way they've gone and obscured that view with an ugly shoehorned steampunk banner.
It certainly did more to me than Medusa. They can battle it out for number of car park spaces, but there was more snap and general interest to it.

Back to a speed of 3cph (Wallace: that's creds per hour). Things are starting to pick up again after that dry patch.
Never mind that though, there's 30 minutes left. Another TC please.

10 minutes left. You know what? I'm gonna put the run back into cred run for the final time in 2018.

Well that hurt. A fresh reminder of how unfit I am. New Revolution. It was quite cool at night. A discount Lisebergbanan is probably the nicest way to put it.
Glad they sorted the trains out. Someone asked me what they had done to the VR, seeming disappointed that it had gone. I'm not the man to ask, but I can assure you that's a good thing.

Well even with that final burst, the park with the most rollercoasters in the world didn't manage to beat a day in France for most creds acquired (13). I'm still very mixed feelings about the place. So much limited availability and generally poor operations gave the day quite a 'rollercoaster' of emotions.
I got everything that was physically available (bar the kiddie stuff), so it felt like I had played my part properly at least.

I'll be back.

Edward M

Well-Known Member
Your visit sounds eerily similar to mine, though I had a Flash Pass that helped me. It was in winter with consistent one-train operations despite the 90-180+ minute waits at everything. Glad to hear you got a good ride on Twisted Colossus! Mine was pretty meh but perhaps I just caught it on a bad day.


Active Member
Time for a change of pace.

Day 6 - Disney California Adventure

According to research, there was a huge difference in number of attractions between this park and the main park, so opted to spend what should have been the busier day here, then give it a week to calm down. This ended up being the first case of crowd control that worked better than anticipated.

As we learnt in Japan, we like to wing a Disney. None of this planning years in advance, paying more money to book fastpass on an app business. Just stroll up with a list of attractions, don't learn the layout, see how it goes.
The main thing is just to get there for opening, especially when they have weird and obscure early hours like 8:30am. Assume normal people won't cope with that.

Grabbed a fastpass for Soarin' and discovered the rapids wasn't running yet.

Ended up at Little Mermaid. Not seen one of these before. (That architecture looks familiar though).

Omnimover with physical sets is like a mid-tier Disney dark ride. Not speeding through glorified cardboard cutouts, not blowing your mind. A standard retelling of the tale in a couple of minutes, but got some classic songs featuring decent animatronics. Enjoyed.

Walked onto Incredicoaster. Didn't know this was a thing that happened until I looked it up a couple of months prior and thought what happened to California Screamin? Apparently they've loosely chucked a theme on an old ride, but Violet had the balls to acknowledge this in one of the queueline TV sequences. (The stuff on the TVs is probably the best bit about the change).

The ride itself is interesting, if not very good. The first launch loses all momentum in the first tunnel and there's a lot of high up corners of not much. There's an odd lift hill with quite a cool drop, the loop is weirdly jarring and doesn't behave like the rest of the track. The hills towards the end are OK at best and they should have got rid of OTSRs when snazzing up the trains.

There's cardboard cutouts of the main characters spread throughout the tunnels and on board audio that doesn't particularly set the scene, in fact it gets quite obnoxious towards the end even on a first go, taking a very long helix while 4 or 5 characters individually just shout the name Jack Jack between long pauses. I guess it's a decent attempt to theme a coaster of that scale, but it can obviously never work too well as an after thought.

Grabbed a fastpass for Cars, walked onto Soarin'.

Missed this in Shanghai cos they're so desperately in love with these rides over there. I've done too many 'inspired' ones before the real thing so I don't really care any more and to be honest, it's not significantly better like I expected to be. Only noticing an improvement in the smells. It is quite funny to see just how 'inspired' some the other ones are though, complete with the ending over the park and fireworks going off.
It was nice to sit there thinking I've been to a lot of these places (Paris aside). And there's the Great Wall. I miss China now.

Walked onto the rapids feeling a little underprepared. No idea what this does, what's the worst that could happen? I like that on these really. A ton more fun when there's a bit of jeopardy involved.

Great stuff. Decent pace and nearly constant threat. There's a proper wtf almost vertical drop in there somewhere, not quite Hafema crazy but still amazing. Then the big drop clamps you at the top and initiates a spin on the boat as you go down, which was pretty radical. Wanted the geyser bit at the end to be a bit more active.

Had the best character interaction ever cos I usually avoid like the plague but there was no escaping a lone Pluto on a desolate path in the middle of nowhere. Never spoke a word but got a full photoshoot out of it. That's my style.

Not a clone Monsters Inc. ride? I'm all for that. The queue was almost as good as the ride here, really detailed and clever with lots of in-world signage and some hilarious monster based adverts on the TVs.
It's got the hanging off doors bit I recall from the film, but the premise was getting into taxis for a tour of the city so I guess it's not a retelling, just inspired scenes. There was one signature bit of Disney magic with the chameleon bloke in there somewhere too. Enjoyed.

Only queue with any length in the day goes to Guardians, which is cool. It's the 'new' one I guess.
And it's stupidly fantastic. Might be a smidge of IP bias as I'm a lot more into this Marvel stuff than your vanilla Disney things.

I spoke about shoehorning themes earlier, but this works far better than I had considered (I hadn't considered it at all. I've paid no attention to this place). They've come up with a decent plot to make it all work and really thought it through to the point where the stuff about scanning your hands while just waiting to go into the preshow is tied into the story and gives you reason to be a part of it.

Ahhhhhhhh. That raccoon animatronic is INSANE.
It isn't one. They've paid the real Rocket to staff this ride.
I just spoke about in-world details and there's SO much Marvel stuff going on in the pre-show room, I probably missed 90% of it but hey there's a Walkman there on that shelf. Sure enough it gets stolen by a furry hand in plain sight as you leave the room. It's so subtle you don't even realise how magic it is. What?

Ahhhhhhhh. That lift loading area. It looks so mesmerising and understated at the same time. It just triggered that Disney 'wow' I last felt in the queue of Journey.

So there's still that one thing that lacks on these since Paris and that's the interaction of the staff. They're just there to give instructions and put you on a ride a this point. Which is kinda lame.
The French were being creepy bastards and all the better for it.
The Japanese are far too cute.
Not sure what should have happened here, but I'm sure they could have come up with something.

What doesn't lack is the POWER of the ride. I was worried after Tokyo that I'd been desensitized to this type of thing because it was so weak. You're dead to me Shinjuku Ubuntu.
Ahhhhhhhhh. That airtime. EXACTLY how I remember it from so long ago. Everyone just laughing their heads off with sheer pleasure and joy to the sounds and sights of Guardians just doing their stuff. Perfection. It just triggered that 'getting emotional just describing a ride' I last felt with Dragon Gliders.

Bought a Groot and then immediately grabbed a fastpass for another go.

Went for some lunch while waiting for Cars 1.
Was gonna do pizza but they only had slices.
How much for a whole one mate?
42 pounds.
Laughed in their face.

Did the wheel with the swinging cars for the novelty. Looked far more intense offride with people screaming and it violently tipping than it actually ended up being.

Had a dodgy mesh to hinder pictures as well. This came out quite nice though. Matterhorn. Real mountain.

I'm not a Cars 2 man but this area is very well done.
Our time has finally come, why is this thing so popular? Didn't really know what Radiator Springs Racers was. Always imagined mincing around some track and not being interesting because... Cars 3.
Fortunately it has a ton of dark ride stuff and it's amazing. The sheer scale, flexibility and believability of the moving and talking car characters blew my mind and there's another magic trick in a mirror where your car gets suped up for a race. Soon another car full of actual people appears out of nowhere waving and you have a bit of a fun racing jaunt. I'll say something triggering here like better than Disneysea.

This isn't in the park. Or is it?

And that was about it really. I was right in thinking it was a very limited line up and surprisingly ended up as only a half a day park as we absolutely killed it on time management.
They weren't running any sort of evening show, which is quite a major downfall for me (although better than waiting all day for that disgrace of a Tokyo one), but a couple of these rides are amongst my all time favourite Disney stuff so it's hard to judge it against others.

Never imagined I'd be doing this. Time for a cred run after Disney.

Adventure City
is a few miles down the road, in the middle of a housing estate. Weird.
I like the place though. Upon striding up and asking are the rollercoasters open? I'm immediately judged as one of those blokes with a weird hobby.
As this isn't the UK, this doesn't also mean I'm a paedophile, but rather an ACE member.
Well no, I'm not one of them either, but I am into that stuff.
Then you get a discount! Sweet.

So straight to one of an obscure set I'd rather like to complete. The Gerst junior boomerang as I like to call it/family shuttle as Gerst like to call it.
I assumed they were clones, but they're completey different. Sadly it ain't no Gipfelsturmer. It doesnt have the flat top and the resultant back row kick.
A surprising amount of effort went into it for this style of park though. They made a home video of a bloke in a garage giving it back story.

The smaller cred was my first E&F Miler, and proud. Intense little thing that feels like anyone could have thrown together. Got some up and coming competition for the League of Goons here as one kid had clearly been on it all day with his Dad pleading that this HAS to be the last go.

In and out in 10 minutes. It's like they knew.
I respect that.


Active Member
Time for another change of pace.

Day 7 - San Diego

Sauntered down to San Diego for a spot of sightseeing.

Balboa Park was the starting point. Buildings. Museums. All that fun stuff.
Highlight: Riding a shuttle bus with highly sexualised smooth jazz.
Lowlight: 6 pounds for Dippin' Dots.

Not to be confused with Belmont Park. Creds. +1s. All that fun stuff.

Expected a similar affair to Santa Cruz, but it was significantly smaller and quieter. Only had 1 thing on the list and that 1 thing was open. Success!

There's a nice little museum bit in the ticket office, showing a bit more respect for their history as well, rather than just painting a few facts on a cheap queueline wall.

Another fun tunnel start. They like this stuff dont they?
Ride was a bit weaker. Really crawling over those hills and crunching in those dips. S'alright though.

There's the beach and sea. 2 in 1.

Then it was on to Point Loma. Wanted to go a bit further down to the end of the peninsula, but it was closed off due to a 'government shutdown'. Assume Trump was up to something.

So this meant the most accessible part was a load of military gravestones.

Giving the views over the city and the pacific a bit more of a sombre touch.

Up next - fish.


Active Member
Day 8 - Sea World San Diego

Turning up to this place felt like a real chore rather than something to look forward to due to the stupidly extortionate price and knowing I was in for a spite. Just can't say no to Mack (or more specifically achieving the full set of their launch coaster layouts, for a few months). Had a better time than expected thankfully, even if this report won't show it.

They half-arsed the rope drop leaving some people to get cut in half while surging forward. Essential cleaning needed.

Electric Eel was the main chore, not gonna put up with queuing for another one of these.

It's so obnoxiously worse than the original. The 'comfort collars' are just so impractical you can't even get into the train properly. I don't see the point in them and they pretty much ruin a semi-decent ride. Well done to the world for finding multiple ways of doing that.

On to better things.

Sigh... lockers. Mack make a great little baggage holder don't you know? But of course that would take away a source of revenue that makes your customers feel more ripped off.

Back at home in the best trains in the world. Let's see what you've got Manta.
I don't know how this is normally, but the launch section is under a poor projection screen with a few snowflakes on it and Santa is saying 'ho-ho-ho lets slow this ride down for Christmas.' Someone replies 'we can't slow it down.' And off you go. Quality.

I wasn't expecting a huge amount from this and came off equal parts pleased and disappointed. It does have good moments and it is a fun ride, but whose idea was it to trim directly before the 2nd launch? It's like when I couldn't build multi launches properly in RCT2, only someone commissioned this as a final product. Well done to the world for ruining that sensation.

Let's have another Mack track porn session then.

Nope, stop, the flamingos have killed it.

Never done an Orca show before, so slithered in for that. To answer the question - no.
But I know more now.

Not 100% on how the line goes. Jump Free Willy?

Journey spiting. Expected.

Rapids spiting. Unexpected. These guys were in the same place just staring both times I looked, about 4 hours apart, so it's obviously f*cked.

Did most of the other animal stuff.

There was a weird simulator thing before the arctic exhibits, it didn't make much sense. I appreciate the way it was themed to taking you to the exhibit as if it was on location, but fairly sure they said we were in a helicopter, a helicopter that crashes underwater during the journey and comes out of it alright. Huh.

I like the way this staff member has been working with penguins so long that they now stand like one.

I'd rather climb into and lie down in the 'touch the shark' exhibit than pay this place upcharge for rides like the observation tower so time here soon drew to a close.

Knott Sea World

It was time to drive back up to LA and there were a few spare hours in the evening so had some more season pass fun and popped into Knott's for a preview.

Glad I did this as it took a lot of pressure off the main day by ticking off all the big boys bar Xcelerator, which was doing an Intamin. It was also the only time Ghostrider was spontaneously running a single rider queue, if only for a few brief minutes.

Hello #700.


Staff member
700 - nice!

Never bothered with SeaWorld when I went to San Diego (had better ideas to do with Arizona), but they have added some more stuff since then so I'd possibly give it a go if I was back in the area. I rather liked the city, so wouldn't be the worst place to go back to, I suppose! :)

Definitely also had Manta and Jet Rescue swapped round in my head (thought Manta was the one down-unda), so I learn something too! :p


Active Member
Definitely also had Manta and Jet Rescue swapped round in my head (thought Manta was the one down-unda), so I learn something too!
Glad to impart such vital knowledge. Jet Rescue is a bit better though, punchier layout and proper rolling launch.

Day 9 – Knott’s Berry Farm

@davidm I’ve done it again. (I’ll count that as a rhyme).
Just like I never got DisneySea, I never clocked that this place was a Berry Farm until the station audio said Knott’s… Berry Farm. I’ve been saying it Knotts-berry Farm all my life.

Thanks to the late night preview, I had some sort of a plan for the following morning.
Hit that mouse first. Don’t want another CGA situation.

Well this was terrible. The local obsession with shin bars has made its way to one of these and the result is rather uncomfortable, to the point where a guy in front of me said nah f*ck this as soon as they put the bars down and got them to let him out. You haven’t thought this one through have you boys?
It’s that Legoland layout as well – crap.

Xcelerator was still doing an Intamin, so jumped back on Hangtime while it was still quiet at this end.

I like this thing. They’re not trying to be the best thing ever, but coming out with some good solid compact layouts now with proper trains.

The hang on the holding brake with so little area of contact between yourself and the restraint is just fantastic for those who appreciate that kinda stuff and probably quite terrifying for your average guest.

Other than that it’s like half of Smiler (which I enjoy) with proper trains, including the crazy speed hill between inversions. Disorientating fun.

Obviously the night rides were better. The lighting package they have inside the track that syncs up with music in the station was a real spectacle to behold. Not that it isn’t pretty in the day.

They fixed it.
I once sat next to a random guy on Stealth who loved it but said it was short. “It would be better if it did up and down and woop de woop” (gesturing other manoeuvres with his hands).
“They have those in other parks” I said, agreeing that it would probably be an improvement.

This one isn’t. The corners do nothing and you sacrifice the fun hill-nnnnnnnnnn-brakes moment.
So what’s up with half the rides at this place not having enough air gates for the number of rows? Got spited several times by some terrible batching/guests and staff not understanding the concept. Only 2 of 4 people have moved forward into these 4 seats, but I won’t search behind that gate for a 1 or 2, I’ll start calling for people at the other end of the train.
Highlight of the ride was helping out some Korean girls who were confused by the front row queue system.

+1ed Montezooma’s Revenge the previous night and never went back for it. I like the way the lights go out half a second before the launch. Makes a satisfying set of noises. Other than that, Shuttle Loop.

Jaguar time. The rare custom Tivoli. Nice to try a unique layout and the interaction with other rides was fun. Imagine that indoor queue can get pretty grim.

Only Pony Express was left cred-wise (not true, but that can wait). It broke down as we got to the station. Nothing major, camped it out for completion and after everyone else had left, it re-opened. Didn’t even need testing.

Ugh, Motocoasters? Seating position seemed slightly less offensive as a horse. Layout was very short and didn’t do a whole lot, but probably a better simulation of what you’re supposed to be doing than that standard Zamperla/Golden Horse motorbike one.

Dark ride time. I like the fact that this was trying to link itself to the park in the storyline but it soon got massively confusing and suffered from that issue where shooting distracts from storytelling. The fact the guns shot ice and it built up on things over time was kinda different and cool.

Better dark ride time. The website sold it as something special and it actually is. Actual train ride though the mine - what a great idea. Loads of detail and interesting scenes, effects, smells too (who knew dynamite smelt so nice?). Only complaint would be sitting awkwardly sideways dodging other people’s legs and hurting your neck to see some things.

Log flume was nearby and only down as a maybe, but that was a mistake. Didn’t expect more lengthy and intense dark ride scenes akin to a cowboy Splash Mountain. Definitely not one to miss.

Did the train cos it looked nice. Route and views left a little to be desired around the back of the park, when you just run the perimeter fence and either stare out at the road or the back of sheds. Appreciate the live actors doing a little comedy train robbery scene.

The big coasters were all holding their queues, so couldn’t really be bothered for any more goes on this day. Jumped on the observation tower for some views and then headed out early.

Guess I’ll talk the rest now.

It was a pleasant surprise to see GCI trains on Ghostrider. I only knew that it had had some work done on the track. If it was bad before, it’s definitely paid off.

Its got a weirdly mixed layout that makes for a great ride. A couple of huge air time filled drops, questionable flat turnarounds, joyful bouncy twisty sections that appear out of nowhere (my absolute favourite thing on woodies) and the hilariously intense lateral section through the structure. Also just goes on and on. Really solid stuff, favourite wood of the trip.

Silver Bullet is weak. Think that first drop has somewhat of a reputation and it is definitely a bit of a joke when you’re on it. It had a dodgy shuffle (probably from not taking anything fast enough) and had none of the signature strong positives or snappy transitions that make an invert special. If a back row at night can’t sell you on one of these, you’ve done something wrong.

Shame, looks nice.

Sierra Sidewinder was unfortunate. Never got a decent spin on it. I loved it as the Spiderman incarnation and this still had the overly intense helices (better than the invert) but otherwise fell a little short.

Another place of mixed feelings really. It took me 4 separate visits to get everything I wanted out of it (popped back in another couple of times after this) so it was always too busy to get a real judge of the place. Quite often the operations didn’t help that, the single rider idea only existing on 1 ride for 1 hour on 1 day was a bit of a tease and some other stuff just plain sucked.
It has a couple of nice areas and unique attractions, but none of the creds are amazing enough to provide much pull for the future.

Coaster Hipster

Active Member
Xcelerator was still doing an Intamin
Sad but true. Still love a good Intamin any day tho <3

Actually enjoyed the turning around parts of Xcelerator, although I agree they don't do much. It's quite unfortunate Intamin retired Hydrolic launches (unless a customer really wants one?), I'd be happy to have a new one with a fab launch and an actually good layout with the amazing new elements Intamin is now daring. I mean, imagine Wave Turns, Outward Banked Turnarounds and other Twist-n-Dive goodness after a snappy launch!

In any event, great read as always. Especially liked the bit about Ghostrider :)


Active Member
Not much to report here. Spent some time in Koreatown checking out the local music shop scene cos it’s my thing, then moved onto here:

Day 10 – Pacific Park

Driving on the wood of the pier was fun. Parking was at a premium and other drivers would seem to have preferred if I run some pedestrians down over spending any precious seconds giving way.

Storm clouds rolled in to greet us just as I got to the ticket window. Got the standard story about stopping in rain – no refunds, but the card is good any time. Not too much to lose then.

They were seriously thinking about it, but it didn’t rain too hard. Got a couple of wet laps.
Uninspired layout of course with the double ended helices of doom. The couple of humps in the middle are decent enough in the back. Job done.

There’s the beach. I believe it’s usually a little busier.

And there’s the sea.

The rain continued into the evening and I thought I’d chance another quick stint at Knott’s - 1 lap on the woodie in 2 days had left me wanting more.
It was quiet and not particularly wet, but almost everything was closed. Got a very rude response to an enquiry at the entrance of Ghostrider.

Hangtime was the only thing running so spent some more time getting acquainted with those nightlight rides.
It was suffering as the work horse. Broke down twice in an hour, once with me on it.
Got to see some engineers scratch their heads and play with the manual block releases while the station roof dripped on my leg for half an hour.

Up next - more not much.


Active Member
Nice storm clouds. Makes for good pictures!
Ominous looking aren't they.

As promised - not much:

Day 11 - More Knott's

4th and final visit came in the form of attempting to beat the morning rush. They spited me by changing the designated car park on this day and making me walk further. They also must have been spiting me with some sort of ERT on GhostRider because it ALWAYS has a queue - 30 minutes at park opening.
Got my back row ride at last with a guy from King's Island who was disappointingly unphased by my knowledge of his park. I guess 'What's in the shed?' really did make national news.

Slithered over to Timberline Twister (the real reason for the visit?). Until now it had always had too much of a queue to face being turned down for height reasons.
I generally don't try my luck if there is a physical sign saying 'we actually have a written rule here, so not a chance, you strange person', but after a bit of quick maths this maximum 69" is almost achievable. I think I'm 70.
Managed to get on by trying to look both small and casual at the same time. It was easier to climb into than both Coast Rider and Electric Eel.
My first Bradley & Kaye and proud. Park complete.

Goodbye Knott's. I'll leave on that happy note.

Time for some sightseeing.

Some sign. Don't see the fuss.

City looks quite nice though.

Some star. Don't see the fuss.

Chinese Theatre looks quite nice though.

Captain America texting behind his shield & the bloke from the Hangover loitering with Pennywise. Don't see the fuss.

That thing looks quite nice though.

Ended up in a Home Depot after this for reasons I forget.
Could have just seen the Hollywood sign from their car park.

Up next - Disney the Revenge


Active Member
Day 12 - Disneyland

So here we are, back on resort. Another unnatural 8:30 start at a theme park to beat those crowds, let's kill it again. This was looking to be a very different task to the other gate as I cannot deny the impressive number of attractions I had on my list for the main park, which sounds even better when most stuff I've done in other resorts wasn't included.

Powered to Space Mountain where I got another confirmation that something at Tokyo was actually wrong and it wasn't just me.
This one runs properly and it's amazing.
Music? Check.
Effects working? Check.
So dark you can't see the track? Check.
Hauling arse and actually a decent ride? Check.
Sad it stayed busy and never got back on it.

Not a fan of this. The way it's presented makes it quite clear that they've slapped another IP on an older ride and not really done much with it other than a few screens and some obnoxious movie quotes. Easy win for 20,000 Leagues.

This looks exciting though. Until it broke down. Turns out it's a tad temperamental.
Grabbed a fastpass while they fixed it and then got stuck outside Toon Town.
Didn't know they did staggered openings, but this area was roped off for a few more minutes.

The few minutes was worth it, allowing us to get the +1 with maximum efficiency.

Didn't particularly need Roger Rabbit. Went to have a look. Also broken.

The Bobs are back and they're good fun. The yeti thing slithering out at various moments was rather amusing, as was the tracking of the ride and the way it manouevred itself downwards in a clunky fashion. Had to ride a bit defensively with a bag in tow but that added to the enjoyment.
Didn't expect the splashdown at the end. Ahead of it's time.

This was new to me. Old school style crashing through cardboard cutouts at a million miles an hour. Not sure why it was in London, he lives in the countryside doesn't he?
Had a good moment of recklessly driving down a pier which reminded me of Santa Monica the other day.

Couldn't find the entrance to Alice and the park was starting to get faffy with a million pushchairs in the way at every turn. That's enough Fantasyland for now.

Ol' Big Thunder. Can't go wrong with them really.
Good effects on lift 3, good interaction with other trains and lots of other little details. Still tamer than Paris.
Grabbed a fast pass for Indy before moving on.

Christmas strikes again. Gives me a sub-par ride cos it was the first week in SEPTEMBER... and now this one is closed so they can get rid of Christmas.
Annoying. I want to ride an actual Haunted Mansion.

Well I've not come across a Pooh that starts outside. This could be different. It has the hilarious Twilight Zone effect when he falls alseep while I wasn't paying attention.
But not a patch on the trackless one. Better than the copy paste one?

Splash Mountain is sponsored by Ziploc and I got a ton of free themed bags (for the crate). Ride wasn't as fun as I remembered and then the boats were all stacking really early at the end, repeatedly crashing into each other, hard.

Another Disney another Pirates. Looks like I've stopped taking pictures of them. Almost identical to the last, just the bonus Jack animatronic was on the left rather than the right. Obnoxious locals spent the whole ride talking loudly and making dinner plans. It's fun what you remember.

Jungle Cruise again lacks the spectacle of Hong Kong, but also now the acting talent of the Japanese. At least the non-stop jokes were kinda funny.

Indy was disappointingly not as good as I remember either. Having only done each one once I couldn't say how different they are or what was off about it other than lack of the hilarious smoke blowing bloke and the ending not getting me at all like it should have.

Found the entrance for Alice. Can this be as good as Blackpool? It's a hard comparsion, but the charm of playing the wrong music and having crude characters ride in the car with you cannot be denied. S'alright.

Storybook boat thing was a thing. You get a live guide, but with little to no enthusiasm.

Think that was everything ticked off except the other side of Matterhorn (+1). Got to the same place as the first time we tried and it broke down again. This was a more severe one as they instantly cleared the 90 minute queue and gave everyone a free re-entry thing on their ticket. I admire that efficiency.

Time killing time then. Waited a ridiculously long amount of time for the low capacity monorail that was only running 1 train and they don't force people to use as actual transportation (so they don't get off) meaning hardly any seats are ever available. I don't admire that efficiency.

Downtown Disney still haunts me. Had an Earl of Sandwich cos I remember it being one of the best things about Paris and knew it wouldn't give me MERS. Didn't disappoint.

Back on the monorail. Waiting got so bad that there was some form of incident kicking off and staff had to 'escort' a guest somewhere. Coulda walked it, but when in Rome.

Bobs was back. Had to be that strange person and request the other side, but it worked. Yeti on screens on the lift featured more than I remembered and the track was even clunkier.

Fastpassed some other random stuff for a laugh. Had absolutely killed it again, Monorail being by far the longest wait, everything else being too easy.

Thought this was the same but then Darth Vader rocked up and tried to choke us and Boba Fett was chilling in orbit where his dad died. Don't remember that before.
I have now learnt that there's loads of sequence combinations you can get including some really new stuff, so it's always worth a shot if you're a fan.
Crait! I want it now. Might actually get me excited about the ride.

Thought this was the same but then it was.

Baby castle.

Baby castle by night. Not projecting on that are we?

Previously on my trip reports:
Normally these shows are pretty special right? A magical moment to end the day, a world class spectacle, lots of big tunes and tears. Disney at it's finest.
What followed was hilarious, but quite possibly the death of Disney.
They've got the usual song tying it all together about magic and dreams come true and life is a party and all that, but it came across as way too far up its own arse when it's so specific to a day at this theme park and not just the brand in general.
Mickey is titting about as always but the highlights were, in no particular order: low resolution footage direct from the Star Wars simulator, a celebration of the paddle steamer(I lost it hard at this point) and some flat rides no one cares about.
The actual highlight? Probably saying 'Yay, the Pirates of the Carribbean theme', because it reminded me of Shanghai.
No, it was the paddle steamer, that was the defining moment. The moment it couldn't recover from.
There were no fireworks, very few special effects, a couple of pyros and zero interesting graphics which were also steppy and of poor quality.
It ended to absolute silence.
And then everyone left, probably all thinking 'where was Let It Go?'

So this was the stage for the evening show that I was becoming skeptical about. Tokyo's was such a massive disappointment and this looks... different. The staff were claiming it didn't contain fireworks and the viewing areas (if you hadn't got a fastpass, for a show? eww) were complicated and restricted at best.
Camped out what looked like the best spot for peasants. They did the forcing to stand thing nearer the time, but had staff around doing Disney trivia questions (not nearly international enough for my liking) and giving out stickers so that made the time pass much less painfully. It really was the prime peasant spot until some Mexican kid tried to barge through and nullify our 2 hour patience. The sun's getting real low.

Well they've done it. Words cannot describe how good this was. Not being at the castle allows for a lot more physical stuff so you've got a stage show with hugely elaborate props and sets.
The theme here was imagination, and I've got one hell of an imagination, so I can relate this time.
There's also the water in front so lots of awesome water projection an-OH MY GOD THERE'S A 200FT PIRATE SHIP sailing in out of the smoke with 50 actors on it doing crazy stunts.
It's got Rapunzel with actual boat and song (I'm allowed to have a favourite princess).
It's got a massive physical dragon and tons of fire.
It's got fireworks (so they knew all their trivia, but didn't know that).
It's got the damn steamboat we were meant to be 'celebrating' and there's 100 characters on it dancing. I'll celebrate it here.
And I've got goosebumps thinking about it now. Best ending show by a significant margin. Faith restored.

Strategically had a Big Thunder booked for just after the show to let the crowds disperse and have a fun little night ride. I like the way this little town bit lit up at night, but the camera didn't.

Strategy worked and that was that. Just need Florida now. How basic.


Active Member
Day 13 - Six Flags Magic Mountain (Round 2)

I said I'd be back, so here we are. An attempt at a more relaxed day at Magic Mountain.
Priorities: Still need X2 and the kids creds, TC til I bleed.

All started very familiar. The long walk, the security scan, the staring intently at X2 not running while waiting for the gates to open.

Took exactly the same route to find it still wasn't running. But 'it should be open later'. Ok.

Tatsu while we're up here then? Nope, not open.

Oh good, Ninja again then. S'alright.

Superman is closed for the 'weather'.
Well isn't this a strong start. Yes it was a lot quieter, but what good is that when nothing is running?

Gold Rusher - Closed.

Riddler's - Closed. Well I've achieved nothing but leg pain in the first hour, let's get some +1s.



Canyon Blaster - Closed.

Tried my luck on Magic Flyer - Denied.

Scream! - Closed.

Had a couple of laps on the magnificent beast to lighten the mood.

Was equal parts pleasant and depressing to walk onto Goliath after that 2 hour queue last time. Only ever sat near the back for that drop, think it's best to keep it that way.

And Full Throttle completes my mostly unsuccessful lap of the park.
Wait a minute. I see a 4D going up the lift while I'm stuck on the brake run. Yes!
Let's go let's go.

Ran all the way back up the damn hill to hear on approaching the entrance: 'X2 is currently experiencing a delay in operations, not sure how long but we recommend you stick around'.

What a tease. Joined the queue anyway, waiting about half an hour at the splitting point with a handful of others who all eventually gave up. It could have been some sort of incident rather than technical stuff because people came out of the station much much later, one girl in tears and being consoled. Then the queue (just me) was cleared - come back later. Not the best of signs.

Tatsuuuuuuuuuw was open now and seemed more intense in the front, so that's a plus.

This was better on a middle seat and knowing how to prepare a little. Still not great, though I admire the scale of it and how long it goes on for.

Preshows were no better knowing how to prepare a little. Stand closed to the door? Everyone else was doing that as well. They clearly all feel the same way.

After that little detour X2 was now open. Again.

Is everybody in? I'm going to stop saying that now. I'd built up that soundtrack way too much in my head and instead the station was in complete silence with zero atmosphere.
All I got was confused. Where can I put my glasses? Oh too late now I'm sitting in it. Well that's worrying. Bloke next to me has them on too:
'You sure about that?'
'I just bend them round ma head'
'Yeah but these are like the most intense rides ever'
No reply.

To be kind - it's not very good. The glasses stayed on fine. It lacks the sheer insanity of the others somehow.

Never thought there'd be a deadspot on one of these but it really crawls through that corner over the station, in the upright position with no rotation, giving you time to think. And I'm not comfortable with that.
The best thing about them usually is having absolutely no idea what's happening to you from the moment you hit the bottom of the first drop until the brake run. What else in the world can do that to you? And if this can't, what's the point?

It's rough in a different way to what I'd experienced before, repeatedly slamming your calves into the seat towards the end (legs are taking such a battering in this place), instead of throwing you up and out of it in a playful/terrifying manner.
The back row of one of the trains was completely closed off, with engineers and perhaps even someone who had been externally called in, scratching their heads and lingering between the brake run and the station, taking the brief window of opportunity to have a quick look at the seats and play with the restraints (which were taped down) between despatches.
I said it wasn't a good sign.

The fire is cool. Can't help but think it would have been nicer to turn the layout around and have something like that as a spectator moment, rather than in the middle of nowhere.
Shame, but set complete.



No no no.

There we go.

Spent the rest of the day seeing how much more bruising my legs could handle. Only downside to this thing is lack of picture opportunities.

And so ends the trip really. Was gonna do Universal but ran out of steam by the last day and couldn't justify the cost of ~£110 per head for a whopping TWO 'new to me' attractions and nothing else exciting.
There's always next time. Cheers for reading.