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  1. One more point i forgot to mention, even though 6pm was when they closed down Greece for the fright zone, they had mini fright zones running all day. One ride would be shut down for a couple of hours and it would be a small one that even kids could do. I did not go to the big pay one, not my bag baby. Hot dogs have different toppings that I am used to They actually want the guests to dress up. This shop sold the colored contacts, and others sold onesies to wear. They have special eateries for Halloween Cool little art is everywhere Wodan pics Zip tie? I have Never seen a 1 minute wait time. Spanish hotel in the distance Random decorations Covered stroller parking Spider in England Random Ghoul Skelton Band French Bon Bons? Goal! Da vinci's ride Gourds What’s in there landscaping Kids will be kids Deer! Random Pumpkins
  2. Not having something to do on a Sunday I decided to try Halloween (Horror nights) at Europa Park in Rust Germany. In 2010 I visited for the first time and did a PTR here for those of you who were around at that time. EP has experienced a huge growth in attendance, adding new lands and on site hotels, but I figured a cold November Sunday would keep the crowds down. I hopped on the A5 headed south and saw the best road sign in the world. A white circle with three diagonal slashes across (end of speed limit!) So I put the hammer down. Unfortunately I was driving a old beat up company van so I was blown away by many others They have done a nice job of updating the roads with reversible lanes on entry/exit. A few overpasses and double lane round a bouts and I was there. They do not charge you when you arrive at the parking lot, you pay later. This is a very efficient way to get into the park (hint hint US theme park management). I was impressed that they directed two rows of parking at one time. (German efficiency?) The lot was nearly full since I arrived one hour after opening, but the walk up to the gates was nice. Covered path right next to a coaster with moving sidewalks! I went to the gate and bought my ticket. At this time you also pay for parking. Last time they gave me a coin that I had to save, but now it is a barcode on a small piece of paper. Into the wallet so I can get out tonight! Little decorations for Halloween They seem to like putting pumpkins everywhere I headed straight for Wodan the newest wooden coaster there. It is pretty far back from the entrance. Taking note of show times on the way. Hey there is a show going on. I hear Weird Al's Amish paradise 'Weird for sure'. Walking through Italy, I was reminded that E.P. has no problem copying things from other places and parks. That basically means "Little shop of Horrors" They really like pumpkins. This is normally a golf ball like the one at Epcot. Skipping the 3d Ride I have Wodan on the mind. Walking through Greece land I saw that they shut it down at night for a Haunt. More on the Haunts later. It’s not just pumpkins, they like gourds of any type. In fact the whole park, except for Iceland and Greece were just covered with pumpkins/gourds. The must have been hundreds of thousands. Water coaster in Greece.... No thanks too cold. Another side note I talked about last time, Dogs are allowed in the park. There were many many more there this fall than in the summer time. Thankfully they even have dog water bowls to keep them hydrated Finally I made it to Iceland and get my first look at Wodan Nice Station Into line I go. The display showed 90 minute wait, but they had a single rider line. Score! So i thought. The single rider line actually took longer than 90 since so many people tried it. One more unique thing is an automatic gate to let you into the station in the single rider line. Since the park is a Frisbee throw from France and is visited by people all over Europe, the ride ops are phenomenal with directing people with only hand gestures. The station includes a fly through and automatic storage lockers for your Stuff. I road towards the front (where a single spot was.) The ride was fast paced with lots of twists and turns. It was very re-ride able. My only complaint was every time i expected a pop of airtime, it was lacking. This could be due to the 50 degree weather (F). Next off to Blue Fire, which was my favorite from the last trip. No Water battle for me! Blue Fire is a launched coaster sponsored by Gasprom (Russian natural gas company). These guys are smart they name the coasters without a copyrighted name but still get them sponsored by companies. Wait was 60 minutes so I decided to try the single rider line again. Score this time only 10 minutes. The handles on the front of the seats are hooked up to a pulse meter so that you can see your pulse during the ride. I was up to 120 right before the launch. The resort hotel entrance to the park is way in the back in Spain land. Next I went to see the black knight show. This is typical knights jousting show (see medieval times ) and has been reworked since my last visit. There were multiple times that knights went up into the stands and walked around. Also a female knight was added. They had the same preshow as last time which would never work in the US, but works really well without using words. I almost forgot the Spanish trick riding. Note that every land there is super themed even down to the restrooms Next i saw the Supr'ice Ice show. It also had a great pre show bringing people up onto the ice. It was themed to Halloween and went really well. Very enjoyable but short. By the way, "Hallo" is Hello in German, so there were many many jokes about Hallo ... ween. I walked through the Arthur and the Incredibles kids area and all I can say is Wow is this cool. If I had small kids they would love it. Next was a stage show that had the theatre packed. It included a variety of acts including a laser show similar to the one that was out in California (developed by the mouse) and a great magician that performed in German/English and French. Song and dance routines were included. The whole thing was gathered up as a virus giving windows error with the different programs Now i always giggled at this sign... Off to the parade. It feels like a Disney one. The music is “Monsters in the park” repeated over and over again, but the floats worked with it. Music wise, all day the park was limited to a few songs but they loved the Harry potter songs. Sorry for the poor pictures here it was getting very foggy Now I feel like it is time to go off to another coaster. Silver Star is calling me. This is the parking lot coaster. What was really unnerving about today’s ride was that in the second row, I could not see the top of lift hill. Good B&M out and back ride as usual Hey Stig when did you get there (picture taken earlier in the day) Next a portion near the front of the park opened up for the night party Mysteria. They gave me a wristband on the way in... what is this for, oh well Pretzel and a Beer time. This show was actually my favorite even though i was really cold. Stage show with live band, singers that sing the song live, fireworks, and Circ de sole style acrobatics. Surprise, my wristband lit up to colors in coordination with the music. I had never heard "Walk this way" played by a girl on a electric Violin. For the last number, they announced 40 years ago when E.P. was started, one of the best songs ever was penned. In knew right away Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. They even used video of the performers singing with the same style as the original music video. I took a video of that, but the pictures turned out terrible. Next I boogied over to an indoor theatre and got to watch spook me the musical. Being a musical, it was all sung in German. Thankfully they had English subtitles on one screen, and French on another. The story was all about a ghost dying because his son ghost is in love with a human. I bought some souvenirs on the way out. Interestingly with horror nights, unless you are in a scare zone, they do not try to frighten you. The scare actors pose for pictures with everyone They try to wring every cent out of you, by selling stuff right in front of the parking lot Later tonight or tomorrow, I will add some more pictures since the park is just so well themed and gorgeous.
  3. Don't forget that Six Flags St Louis renamed a coaster to Cubs Thunder a week ago. https://www.sixflags.com/stlouis/attractions/american-thunder
  4. In general, the older population refers to SFGam as Great America, and the younger refers to it as "Six Flags"
  5. Thanks for the trip report. It has been a while since we have been there, but I remember two things that you pointed out. Goliath's entrance rocks, and there are many many empty concrete pads where flat rides used to be.
  6. What a small world it is. I was just talking to a guy in Ann Arbor about a bagpipe band his wife likes and that we saw in Wisconsin a week ago.
  7. Mr Six is long gone. We actually saw him (her in this case) in february 2009? at Magic Mountain for the first reveal of the in park character. @ the other 4th trippers, looks like we all passed in the night. What a great week weather wise for a trip
  8. Day 7 Hersheypark The park Hershey is an older park located far away from the turnpike, so was difficult to get to. I am surprised the signage was so poor. But thanks Bill for the current effectiveness of free GPS! We ended up parking at chocolate world which is like the preferred parking since you can walk it instead of riding the tram. There is like a mini villiage before you even get to the gates for the park. One nice thing was the inclusion of old pictures of the park on posts around the park. Since this was a Friday, it was a bit crowded. Hershey has a great app for their park which shows us current ride times. Unfortuantely it drained the smartphone batteries. The rides Fahrenheit - Coaster with a huge 97 degree drop. A long wait, but well worth it. The lift hill is completely vertical like Mystery Mine at Dollywood. There are two separate chains with separate drives. The drop is over way too fast, but the rest of the ride is entertaining Skyrush - Hypercoaster. One of the best there. The forces are quite high but good. Great Bear - B&M suspended. Quite a fun ride. The first drop only goes half way down, you have to wait to the second drop to hit the deck Sidewinder - Standard boomerang, was my daughters favorite Suerdooperlooper - This older looper was enjoyable Storm Runner - Launched coaster, that has quite a kick at the beginning but the launch is shorter Wild Mouse - Standard wild mouse Wildcat - Looking at this I had high hopes, but it was way to rough and uninteresting Lightning Racer - Our second woodie here was much better than wildcat. It is a racing coaster, but the two tracks cross and interact with each other. Smooth and lots of directional changes coal cracker - Log Flume that did not get us very wet. flying falcon - Enjoyed by the kids merry derry dip fun slides - A good old fashioned sack slide. There are actually two slides with three lanes each side by side. I dont know why one was a permanent installation and the other one was on a trailer like a carnival ride monorail - The girls enjoyed riding this Reeses xtreme cup - This is a shoot them up ride, where you compete as teams against other cars You are either peanut butter or chocolate (Reeses!) The claw - Unfortunately this was down for the day Whip - Classic ride that I like. It appears to have been located several places Waterpark - The waterpark is very integrated into the rest of the park. Since it was completely packed with people we skipped. Can't miss the scrambler The shows Piano Duel - I have been to severl dueling piano bars, so we were interrested in this one. There are 3 pianists that had a good time playing great songs Zoo America - The zoo is included in your hershey park admission. It is centered on north american critters, and seemed on the small side Chocolate world - Is basically a big store with a Epcot like ride explaining how chocolate is made Roving park - Several groups were running around the park entertaining guests. Very interactive and cool. Final thoughts we went to the Hershey sit down resteraunt which is just outside the gates to hersheypark. It was well themed to rides in the park and had good food. There was a lot of walking up and down hill. I had not had any feet problems during the trip until this day. Don't forget all the good sweets available in the park. We had peanut butter cup s'mores with chocolate chip cookies instead of the graham. The rides were well run and the lines moved pretty fast. Dueling popcorn carts with plinko in the background Day 8 Kennywood The park Our final park was the classic kennywood. Finding the park was OK following the little yellow arrows. Their parking lot is not very well signed, but half of it is free. Another strange thing was that the park opened at 10:30 but no rides opened till 11, and some waited till 12. The ride ops, while happy and fast seemed less polished an trained than the other parks The rides Black widow - familiar spinny ride but with a lower height limit Aero 360 - This upside down looping ride has the nice Kennywood Arrows built in Thunderbolt - This classic woodie was great. Single position lap bars and the drop immediately out of the station make it unique. Why is this old gal smoother than many of the more modern woodies? Garfield's Nightmare - Signs indicated that this ride was the old mill house and the panama canal in previous lives. It is a boat ride through a bunch of 3d Garfield scenes, but the line was very very slow. Ghostwood estates - This is another shoot them up dark ride, but with a twist. The cars are trackless. The pre-show is well done. Phantoms Revenge - I guess this is a rebuild of a previous ride. The second drop is a 200+ foot one that was great. I am not sure about the trains they were running, but the were really roomy on the leg side. Those restraints are also unique. They consist of a seat belt and a single bar that rotates down from the side of the car. Skinny little girl was not restrained very well, but had a blast, Mom did not. RAcer - A classic 20's coaster. The racing sides actually switch when returning. Why is this old coaster so smooth. The line took a while due to the wierd loading procedure. When the trains get back in the station they both exit in the middle. Then the people in a singe que walk into the middle of the loading area and fill up those seats. No rows per train, just one big open area inbetween. One ride op went on a break and we only had one checking all the restraints for both trains Sky Rocket - Launch coaster. Pretty entertaining. Cosmic Chaos - Think Dizzy Disk at Dollywood. My son mentioned that the three aliens on the ride were all different species The exterminator - We were not sure what this ride was originally. The queue had what i think is an old steel mill control panel. It gave off the old factory vibe. We go around the corner and see that it is a spinny wild mouse ride similar to dark night. Auto Race - A long driving ride for the kids that is apparently one of the older rides at the park. It has power rails and photoeyes sequencing the cars, so I think it has been a little modified. Kangaroo - Another last one of a kind ride. This little carnival ride was really fun to ride Noahs Ark - I would describe this fun house as one that could never be built today. Throwing you down the stairs? WE went through twice. Again last of its kind. Paratrooper- Another classic carnival ride Turtle - We had to ride this classic Whip - This was a very old whip too. It was a little bigger than the Hersheypark one and provided a bit of a better ride. Give me a Greasy Rack, pinion and cable! The shows The band - I can't remember the name of the band, but they were pretty good while we were eating our kettle corn Pirate Stunt show - This stunt show was not quite as advanced as the one at Six Flags America, but was entertaining. Two of the pirates were members of the band. Final Thoughts Even with a nice Saturday, the lines were not too long. I loved the old classic feel to the place. The park was well signed and laid out, so finding your way was easy. What's that number????
  9. Day 4 Six Flags America (close to Washington DC) The park Overall this was our least favorite park. This would be the only one we don't care if we never visit again. Good thing it was free. I am glad we had the gps to find the park as it was not marked very well and had little visibility from the road. It is a bit away from the highway again. Our first thought was the parking lot is tiny. However it had many trees. We parked with the plan of afternoon shade. The entryway is very pretty, but all people had to stand outside the main avenue until it opened at 10:30. We noticed the line on the far left was being let in. "Gold pass line" so we ran over to that side. Thanks for the poor signage. The day was very hot and humid. HI Foghorn The rides First ride was Apocolypse, a B&M Standup. Not my fav, but a entertaining ride. The ride ops were high fiving and cheering us on. Mind Eraser - Vekoma inverted coaster. Took a while to get the coaster going. I thought it was ok, but rest thought it was a head banger Batwing - Flying coaster like Firehawk Ragin Cajun - This is the relocated ride from my closest park SFGam. It is a spinning mouse ride. Roar - Nice wooden coaster, but a little rough Superman ride of steel - hypercoaster. The line took forever even with the few people Jokers Jinx - I think this was Flight of Fear but outside. Nice ride. The second half seemed faster than fear, like the mid course brakes are lighter. Penguins Blizzard river - A unique raft ride that spins you around. I dont understand the placement of this ride. It should be in the waterpark, but is in the dry section. The bottom is so full of water that our shoes all got wet. Waterpark - There was no seperate entrance to the waterpark, several pathways. Only a blue line diferentiated the dry from the wet park. even in the wet area, it seemed like a midway. This was very confusing. It seemed small and crowded, but had some nice rides The shows These were the highlight of the part. Legends of the Arena - This was billed as a comedy stunt show. The show was interactive, funny and full of action. We even got the gladiator "Gigantor" to eat some of our bacon ranch fries. Two bad things are that the theater only opened up 15 minutes before the show. We got food early but had to wait to get in. The other problem was that the stage was obviously a wild west stunt show, but now they threw a couple of nets and signs in to make it roman period... LOL - An Improv comedy show in the big theater in the center of the park. As we like Improv, this was good. A funny part is that the 4 improv people were gladiators in the stunt show before. How do you advertise for that job? Stunt person with improv skill? If you go to a later LOL show you may have others joking and commenting about the cross entertainment which just adds to the fun! Final Thoughts The park layout was horrible. they seemed to have added rides farther and farther out. the deeper you get into gotham city, the less there was, but more walking. And why is superman there? The signage was also lacking, and the crowd was a little on the white trash side. The ride operators were enthusiastic high flying us, but they moved the speed of molasses in January. The park closes at 8pm, and we left early due to a line of thunderstorms coming through. Day 5 DC Spent a very hot and humid day in DC and at the relatives pool Hold up that monument Day 6 SFGad (New Jersey) The Park The drive from DC to this park was a long one. Stupid NJ doesn't let you pump your own gas. There was good directions leading you to the park, but the park is so far back from the entrance you don't see that much as you drive up. We arrived half hour after opening, but had a fairly good parking spot. The area the park takes up is huge, so you dont see much from the highway. Their waterpark is a separate gate (and parking lot) that you pass up on the way to the main parks lot. Several things are similar to our local SFGam, including the "Security" Litter Getters. The rides Bizzaro - Big B&M Looping coaster. This was my son and I's favorite ride. It is located in a back corner and had no wait whatsoever. The ride is fast smooth and has lots of scenerey that you travel around during the ride. El Toro - wooden coaster. Big drop and fairly smooth. The negative G's where too quick and intense for my taste. Skull Mountain - family coaster inside of a big building with a fake rock front. Fun little ride, but the queue was very hot Zumanjaro - This 400ft Drop Tower has only been open a week, is built in the middle of their top thrill dragster (kingda Ka). While I am not a huge drop ride fan, this one got two thumbs up. The first thing we noticed was a movable roof above the load platform. We were thinking it is nice to have some sun shade. Later we found out that it is to protect the people from things falling off Kingda Ka. There are three towers with seats on one side. It appears that a single motor runs three connected drums and their respective cables, so I don't think they can shut down one of the towers. There was also a single rider line but not many true single riders. In fact, one family in front of us jumped over just to have us pass them up in the end. Sky Screamer- similar to WindSeeker but the seats are held by chains instead of fixed arms. This is a beautiful ride at night in the middle of the park. The ride operator will send you on another half cycle if you scream loud enough from the ride Parachute Training Center - This nice classic ride "drops" you. Entertaining up and down with a short line Houdinis great escape - This is a fun ride that tricks your senses. We rode a similar one in the Wisconsin Dells. Nitro - good ride Skyway - this is a nice way to get from one side of the park to the other. It is a double, but they were only running one side, so the lines were quite long Kingda Ka - unfortunately was down most of the day and when open had really long lines We skipped Batman the ride, superman great escape, and the dark night since they were duplicates of ones we have ridden before. The shows Safari off road - This was the highlight of the day. This was actually one of the only rides with a wait time sign out front. The line closes early evening, so we had to hoof it to get there in time. The experience takes a minimum of 45 minutes, so be prepared. Similar to the safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the animals are free roaming (mostly) and can influence the ride time. In the middle you can get off at the discovery center. Here are some reptiles, birds, smaller / younger critters. It also includes an up charge zip line and giraffe feeding. Six Flags Dance party - as with most of the parks, there was a dance party style with some singing and getting the kids up dancing at the end of the day Final Thoughts The mix of the safari and high quality rides made this a great day. The park layout was confusing with many spokes leading of to dead end areas, and poor signage, lead us to back track many times. Several spots where you think you should be able to walk through are blocked by buildings. The boardwalk area is very hot during the daytime, but at night it is a beautiful sea of lights.
  10. Its been many years since my last PTR mainly because of all the work involved, but here it goes. Last week we took advantage of the 4th of July holiday, and started our East Coaster trip. Our crew included My wife, Teenage Son and Tween daughter. I did not take as many pictures as usual, since we were trying to hit as much as possible Day 1 July 5 Busch Gardens Williamsburg The Park The day was great, sunny and not too hot. The parking lot was a little strange where you had to cross the incoming traffic to get to the park entrance. The entryway was gorgeous, as is the whole park. Lots of mature trees and shade. We went through England, took a left and headed immediately to Festa Italia for the first coaster of the trip The fun begins here The rides Apollos Chariot. B&M hypercoaster was a very fun ride. Son's favorite. Unlike Diamondback it has a 52 inch height limit. Alpengeist. B%M Inverted. This was a good ride too. Skis were built into the supports on the back of the seats, like they were ment to be there. In addition a G-meter was placed on the seat in front of us which added to the effect. Curse of Darkastle. Not surprisingly a Dark ride. Cool effects, but the line got really long towards the end of the day. Verbolten. Great launch coaster. Favorite in the park with an interesting effect in the middle of the ride. The ride stopped for 10 minutes at one point, and with half the people looking at their phones. After it started, A guy ended up dropping his Iphone at the brake run. Lochness monster. This older looping coaster was a head banger. Griffon, dive coaster. Similar to the one at BGT Escape from Pompeii is a big wave water ride. Unfortunately the fire effect inside the ride heated you up more than the splash at the end. We also enjoyed Le Scoot, Europe In The Air (simulator), and Mach Tower(Drop Tower). The shows Our usual M.O. was to hit the shows during the heat of the day before returning to the rides. The shows at busch gardens were the best of the trip. Mix it Up. This is a chef themed percussion and marching band show that was really really well done. More Pet Shenanigans. Similar to any rescue pet show like the one at the Columbus zoo. This is Oktoberfest. This was a German dance/ music show in their Festhaus (which actually serves good German food) and encouraged audience participation which included embarrassing our too cool teenage son. Final thoughts IN the afternoon, the park got super crowded. Even with the crowds, the food service was quick, and the rides ops kept things moving. No major downtime either. People were staking out their location for the big fireworks show. the bridges to and from Italy had marked standing and moving areas. We watched the fireworks from the parking lot, which actually had a great picnic area. Day 2 Colonial Williamsburg My youngest just finished a unit on williamsburg, so we had to do this. If you are a history buff (like me), this is for you. To walk around the town is free, but if you want to see some of the re-enactors, you have to buy a pass. I really liked the fact that the did not shy away from the slavery issue. Be warned that there are not to many snack options in the area, and the re-enactors are done by 5pm. One great thing they did was to hide all the vending machines in barns and other small buildings with just period signs directing you. Day 3 Kings Dominion The park Sister park to the Island, you come right off the highway to see the Eiffel Tower. I had been there once a few years ago, but my fam had not. The park is half well shaded, but has a more confusing layout. We took the preferred parking where you scan your receipt to open the automatic gate. This was actually a waste since the park was dead this day. We had a lot of sun, but it was not too hot. Love this eatery name The rides Dominator, a Big Looping B&M coaster. A smooth and big fun coaster. This was the son's favorite. Intimidator 305. Similar to Millennium Force. When I rode it last, there were brakes on the first drop. Since then the turn at the bottom was re-profiled. Now we all got tunnel vision before that first high speed turn is done. This is my best of the park. The ride ops were fast, but not very attentive to height checks. Volcano - launched suspended coaster. great ride launching out of the volcano. Even with the park being empty, there was a wait. I think they need to look at the loading sequence. Woodstock express Similar to The Beastie Shockwave - Togo standup similar but different from the King. Not a comfortable ride Avalanche - Toboggan coaster. I liked this ride and it was my girl's favorite. WindSeeker-Like the one at Kings Island. We got a kick out of the choice of music as we were riding-The theme to Star Trek: the Next Generation. The Crypt - Smaller than the one you may be familiar with, but still running outside with fire and water effects. Ricochet - wild mouse Rebel Yell - Classic similar to The Racer Grizzley - Their classic woodie. Who decide to hide the entry to the queue behind the Dino's Alive gift shop. I never saw a sign to go through that shop. Berserker - a swinging ship that goes upside down. Thumbs up from the son Backlot Stunt Coaster - You know this one Anaconda - Head banging arrow looper, not liked by any of us. Waterworks - Overall the waterpark seems small with few rides and a poor streached out layout. And that bridge is REALLY hot on the feet. Boo Blasters - Same ride as at KI, but the ride vehicals are completely different. YOu have two rows of two seats like the typical shoot them up ride. The vehicle absolutely looks like a van with the initials MM. The "SD" on the spare tire in front is replaced by a "BB" avalanche with volcano Snoopy has a nice driving school The shows All wheel sports show - This stunt show is almost the same as the one we saw at Cedar Point a couple of years ago. Including the surprise. Dominion at Dusk - I was expecting a Ignight type show, but instead it was just some singers with some pop hits and a little dancing in front of the tower Singing Mushrooms - we had to see the short show since it was advertised so many times in the que line TV It runs every 15 minutes or so. Final thoughts Overall great rides, good employees. Just seems to need a little polish. I remembered the food was not too good last time, but we were surprised at the quality. (Shrimp Po boy at Outer Hanks. Yum Yum) We watched the fireworks from the parking lot.
  11. And the spare tire is in the engine compartment to keep it warm?
  12. Magic Mountain - Gardaland spring of 1986 Prior to that I had a fear of inversions
  13. The employee attitude and apparently training on the dry side of Mt Olympus have been, how should I say, less than impressive.
  14. There's a "How it's Made" or "How Do They Do That" episode about this place that shows some of the background workings.
  15. Nice TR. Glad you had a good time. Venice is much better in the spring and fall than during the summer. I used to be able to walk all the back ways from the train station or the parking decks to St Marks, hitting all those cool little things along the way.
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