USA 'East Coast' Road Trip 2018

Discussion in 'Your Trip Reports and Plans' started by Rob, 21st Aug 2018.

  1. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Well they were definitely working at Kings Dominion in 2011!

    Ah, well that's slightly better. The one at Kings Dominion still stops but absolutely nothing happens which is rather pointless.

    :)
     
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  2. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Day 20 - Hersheypark

    So my final new park of the trip, Hersheypark, home of the very well regarded Skyrush as well as all things chocolate. I'm reliably informed that Herhey chocolate isn't actually that nice but do not know myself thanks to pesky allergies. But anyway, on to the park.

    You arrive at what can only be described as a massive multi-venue complex. There the theme park, a stadium, an indoor arena, chocolate world attraction and one big ass car park. The park had been a victim of the heavy rain earlier in the summer which had led to closures but thankfully water levels in Spring Creek were much lower for our visit and the whole park was open.

    After a fair walk from our parking space to the park entrance we entered in to the quaint little entrance street, Founders Way, which is made up of numerous shops and eateries. This winds up to a slightly more expansive space where the park's carousel is the centrepiece. This of course will be all change in a couple of years once their brand new entrance area is complete.

    It looked set to be quite a busy day and we had opted not to get any sort of fastrack; they are rather expensive at Hersheypark. So we decided to head over to Laff Trakk first and get this lower capacity family coaster out of the way. It was new in 2015 and is still popular with families who do visit. It's actually located right on the other side of the park from the entrance, and walking to it made me realise just how big Hershey is, something I had not realised at all beforehand! After a 45 minute wait for Laff Trakk I could not help feel disappointed; it's a standard SC2000 layout but the theming and effects were poorer than expected. However there was air condition in the building which was welcomed!

    Seeing as we were at the back of the park we did the other coasters in this area, starting with Wildcat. This is the first ever GCI woodie that was built and to be honest you can tell, it is not the smoothest. Not a bad layout though. And then was Wild Mouse, a Mack Wild Mouse (shock horror) which had no queue but was surprisingly good fun thanks to a lack of trimming!

    The other coaster in this area of the park is Lightning Racer, well it's actually 2 coasters. These are duelling GCI wooden coasters that opened in 2000 and are much smoother than Wildcat. I forget which side was better but they are both good fun and some of the duelling and near misses are well done.

    Fahrenheit was next as we made our way back through the park. This is an Imtamin Blitz style coaster but with a Eurofighter style vertical lift and beyond vertical drop. It's fairly long and has a good mix of elements with 6 inversions, a couple of tight bends and an airtime hill. It really should be a brilliant coaster, and don't get me wrong it is good, but it just felt a bit bland. You did not have any of the forces that you really expect from an Intamin. It was slightly better later in the day once it had warmed up but still not what I hoped it might be.

    After a spot of lunch it was time to head to Skyrush although it seemed to be suffering from a case of Intaminitus and was closed. However they had let people who were already in the queue stay there if they wanted to, so we hung around the entrance waiting for it to re-open. Thankfully it wasn't long until they sent an empty train round and it was back up and running again. It was however on one train all day and I am assuming that this is because of technical problems.

    My first ever ride on Skyrush was the back row in an outside seat, perfect for the most intense riding experience! It's actually a little nerve wracking sitting in the station awaiting your first ride, and boy is that lift hill fast! It slows slightly as you approach the top, and then you are flung over experiencing some serious ejector airtime. Ejector airtime is the name of the game on Skrush and it makes no mistake in ensuring that you get plenty. You are thrusted in to turns and transitions at great speed then inbetween these are hills that push you in to your lap restraint the the lap restraint in to you. The restraints are not ideal, the contact point with your thigh is quite narrow which does cause them to really dig in and they can be painful on the airtime hills.

    My first couple of rides on Skyrush were really great but maybe not as phenomenal as I'd hoped. But when we came back to Skyrush later in the day it really did become a wild beast. The fantastic airtime of before was just mental to the extent that you wondered if it was safe. You wonder how it is possible on a coaster. Skyrush really is one of Intamin's special coasters and one that everyone should try and ride at some point.

    A couple of other coasters located down in The Hollow with Skyrush are Superdooperlooper and Comet. The former is a disappointing Schwarzkopf single loop coaster which doesn't really do much and the latter is a surprisingly good wooden coaster which opened in 1946 and has some nice pops of airtime.

    A couple of other average coasters at the park are Trailblazer, an Arrow Mine Train and Sidewinder, a Vekoma Boomerang (although this does have new trains with Vekoma's vest restraints and a magnetic braking system). There's really not much to say about either.

    There is something to say about the next coaster; Storm Runner. This really was the park's flagship coaster before Skyrush and it features an impressive launch of 0-70mph is 2 seconds. It's quite a simple layout that looks like a slightly deformed square from above but the interesting range of elements make for a great and punchy ride. I really did enjoy Storm Runner and it is easily the second best coaster at the park for me.

    Great Bear is the park's B&M Invert coaster which does have somewhat of an unusual layout. From top of the lift hill you have a small drop in to a 360 degree turn and then the main drop down to a vertical loop. Some expected B&M Invert elements follow before it dives down to run over Spring Creek all the way to a corkscrew, and then it slowly winds its way back to the station. It is a B&M Invert so of course it is good, however the ending is weak.

    The other coaster I did was Cocoa Cruiser which is a standard Zamperla kids coaster, I did far too many of these on this trip!

    Hersheypark does not have a rapids however it does have a slightly unusual log flume. At the bottom of the drop the boats skim across the water, something I have never seen on a log flume ride before! The park also recently invested in 3 tower rides from S&S. These are located next to each other with the 2 smallest towers being shot towers and the biggest tower being a shot/drop tower. I did the biggest tower and the medium towers, and the airtime at the top of the medium tower was quite brilliant!

    We also rode the park's dark ride, Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge, which has since closed and is being re-theme for next season. It was an interactive dark ride and to be honest it wasn't that great. Hershey does have a traditional Whip, something I had never experience before, so that was quite novel.

    Overall Hersheypark did not leave a great impression on me; maybe that's because it was towards the end of the trip or because it was busy. It seemed a bit like a glorified amusement park which had some nice areas but didn't seem like a place you can come for a more of a relaxed day out. Having said that it is worth visiting for Skyrush alone!

    In terms of the food, it was your usual theme park offerings which was perfectly fine. They do however sell huge refreshing lemonades which are made to order in many different flavours, perfect on a hot day.

    So after a long day on park it was time to leave and head to our hotel for the night. The next day would be our last park of the trip - Six Flags Great Adventure.

    :)
     
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  3. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Day 21 - Six Flags Great Adventure

    So here we are at last, nearly 3 months after my Day 1 report we come to the final day at Six Flags Great Adventure. As previously stated this is a park that I went to back in 2011, and you can read my original trip report over on TowersTimes.

    You'll see that I really enjoyed the park on my previous visit so needless to say that I was looking forward to returning. We had pre-booked Gold level Flash Pass to avoid the worst of the queues and seeing as this was the last day of a long trip at a park we had all been to before we were able to take it at a more relaxed pace (i.e. able to use up our remaining dollars on beer).

    First up was the only new coater since my last visit, The Joker. This is a standard S&S 4D Freespin like at Six Flags Great America (any many other Six Flags parks) and rides as such. Good fun and at least each ride is somewhat unique due to the free spinning.

    We went over to El Toro next which before riding Steel Vengeance was my number 1 coaster in the world. It's always a bit nerve wracking when it comes to riding one of your favourite coasters again after such a long time. Will it be as good as you remember? How will it have aged? Has what I enjoy in a coaster changed? We got off to a good start at El Toro walk on at the back of the station despite being on one train. I'd only even ridden previously in the back row so took my seat there once again and off we went.

    For a wooden coaster the lift hill is fast. It's then a quick turn in to the huge first drop where on the back row you are thrown out of your seat. The 2 airtime hills that follow result in the same ejector airtime, excellent! A turnaround follows before a couple more slightly civilised hills, then the train takes a left turn and out of nowhere enters one of the craziest airtime hills known to man as the coaster passes over some of the structure from the late Rolling Thunder. Those famous high speed ground hugging banked turns follow which in to a couple of more sedate hills back in to the brakes. Phew!

    Was El Toro as good as I remember is being? To be honest after this first ride I was not too sure. It did feel slightly rougher than back in 2011 and the airtime wasn't quite as I'd remember it, but was this because of the likes of SteVe, Storm Chaser and Skyrush? Anyway, I'll be coming back to El Toro later in my report.

    Bizarro, the park's B&M Floorless coaster, remains a good solid coaster and one of the better Floorless coasters out there. I was pleased to see that the fire and mist effects still worked however there was no onboard audio. I was surprised to see 3 trains running despite no queue!

    I was not a fan of Green Lantern in 2011 and I'm still not. It's a good layout and is forceful but I just do not like the standing position on a coaster. As for Superman, we gave this a miss as it's a bit crap, we'd all done it before and we'd just done the clone at Great America.

    Batman is a B&M Invert Batman clone, the third of the trip, so I'll say no more. Nitro was a firm favourite on my last visit and that has not changed. A fantastic B&M Hyper which has a very intense upwards helix in to the MCBR. Riding in the pitch black towards the end of the day was also brilliant.

    I was blown away when I rode Kingda Ka for the first time, the speed and height were just phenomenal. But to say I was disappointed with it this time would be an understatement. Sure it's still fast, and despite it being taller than Top Thrill Dragster you have less appreciation of just how high you are due to not being around any other structures. The main problem with Ka this time was with how rough and shaky it has become, it was just not comfortable at all. I do not recall is being like this before and it is a real pity. Operations on Ka are also a joke now that they have installed Zumanjaro on to the main structure. There are 2 dispatches whilst Zumanjaro loads, then everything has to stop and wait for Zumanjaro to do its thing before another 2 dispatches can take place. Such a pity, but hey, this is Six Flags so they don't care!

    I do have a soft spot for Dark Knight at Great Adventure. This enclosed Mack Wild Mouse is better than the equivalent at Great America with better theming and effects, plus a pre-show! Skull Mountain was more substantial than I remember is being but it's nothing special, and neither is the park's Arrow Mine Train (Runaway Mine Train).

    Zumanjaro, the world's tallest drop tower, is new since my last visit. The first thing to note about it is the huge trek required to actually reach the loading area, the walk in the length of Kingda Ka's launch. I don't often get nervous for rides but this was an exception because the thing is bloody tall. The ascent to the top was fairly swift but felt longer than it actually took, and you can try and admire the views back across the park. Then down you go, praying that this device from Intamin works and the brakes bring you to a nice stop rather than crashing you in to the ground. The drop is long, it's not the best I've experience on a drop tower but it is good. Well worth a ride!

    2 more new rides since my last visit are both in the same area of the park. The first is the Justice League dark ride which can be found at most Six Flags parks these days although they do tend to be ever so slightly different. The other was the new flat ride for this year, Cyborg Cyber Spin. This is one of those crazy looking Tourbillons from abc rides. Well at least they look crazy off-ride; the on-ride experience was actually quite tame and forceless. I'm not sure if this is just the way Six Flags have it configured or whether it is just the limitions of this ride model.

    I still love the log flume at Great Adventure, it is an Arrow and really quite unique with a series of small drops after the first lift and the main larger drop after the second lift. You still can't beat a good log flume as a fun ride for the whole family, Alton Towers take note.

    Food at the park isn't great, it's your typical theme park stuff but at high Six Flags prices. I opted for a Johnny Rockets burger for lunch which to be fair was very nice. There was however a beer festival on at the park for our visit which meant craft beer options and live music, again, Alton Towers take note. This was most enjoyable!

    One little rant that I do need to have. Six Flags Great Adventure can be a busy park hence we had pre-booked Gold Flash Pass quite a way in advance. However the park was pretty much dead and we only ended up skipping one queue of about 15 people during our entire day. I raised this with them when returning the Flash Pass device and despite a lengthy discussion and being told that I could not speak to a manager because "she was busy in the back" (i.e. she couldn't care less) nothing was done. They really should not be giving them out when the park is so quiet and issue refunds at the start of the day.

    Anyway, I said I would return to El Toro and this is where I am going to end the report. After returning the Flash Pass we headed over to El Toro for the final hour of the day. It was running on 2 trains now and was walk on with most bays being empty when the train returned to the station. This meant that I got 10 rides in a row on this beast without even leaving the station, all in the dark! And had it warmed up? You bet it had! And I now have a new favourite seat to ride El Toro in, the front row! The first drop may not be as good but the airtime elsewhere is even better, plus it's smoother. This really is one special coaster!

    And with that perfect end to our final day it was time to leave for our last hotel of the trip.

    -------------------

    What a 3 weeks it was! I can't imagine I'll ever do a trip quite like it again with so many new parks and coasters. Thanks to @Dan , @AstroDan , @John , @Mattmash and @Joelio for such a fantastic time.

    :)
     
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  4. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks for a brilliant set of trip reports, Rob! Really enjoyed reading them!

    Out of interest, what would you say your favourite park of the trip was?
     
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  5. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Erm, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Silver Dollar City and Cedar Point all for different reasons!
     
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  6. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Brilliant! Thanks @Rob; they're all on my bucket list for different reasons!
     

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