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Everything posted by gad198

  1. Your whole post was enlightening and I wanted to follow up on this portion of it. Do you know what specific measures this outfit recommended and/or implemented? Were they the ones who recommended the addition of seatbelts on Diamondback? After digging around on their website I didn't see anything that specifically mentions exactly what they do or specific examples as to how they have actually helped their clients. I'm very curious to find out more about this.
  2. KI may never switch Banshee and Diamondback on Fast Lane/Fast Lane Plus due to financial reasons, but if they want to back up the rhetoric about minimizing the Fast Lane effect on standby lines they need to strongly consider this as an option. I'm guessing that I've seen 3 to 4 times more Fast Lane guests going through the Diamondback queue versus the Banshee queue. The key reason for this IMO is that the list of attractions on regular Fast Lane - outside of Diamondback - is just OK. What's the next best ride on the regular Fast Lane after Diamondback? Delirium? Backlot? Invertigo? None of those other rides are nearly as popular as Diamondback, ergo, it draws the most Fast Lane guests. Switching Banshee and Diamondback on the Fast Lane system will divert a decent number of those Fast Lane guests to a ride that's better equipped to handle more guests, both Fast Laners and standby. I agree with everything here. Interesting points about the operating procedures. I was at Six Flags Great America in Chicago twice during the past week. We got there before opening on Wednesday and booked it straight back to Goliath. We were given a ticket with a number (similar to the numbers you receive if you're waiting at a deli) that had to be turned in order to ride. We were given 108 and 109, so we were the 108th and 109th people to enter the line that day. We were out on the 8th train and it took us 25 minutes. That's 3 minutes per dispatch!! The reason for the super-long dispatch times is due to the asinine procedures the ride ops had to follow. The ride ops had to wait until each rider had their seat belt buckled, at which point they would walk down the train to check the seatbelts only. Only then could the lap bars be lowered. The ride ops would then walk down the train to check lap bars, at which point the train was dispatched. The ride only holds 24 riders, so you're talking maybe 500-600 people an hour capacity. Ugh. It does put the issues at Diamondback somewhat in perspective though!
  3. Everything that's been said and will be said about Diamondback and its operations really starts with this. Banshee has a couple of things working against it right now: While both rides are world-class, most parkgoers that I've talked to prefer Diamondback over Banshee (including yours truly). Diamondback is just an easier ride to re-ride for most guests and it appeals to a wider audience because there are no inversions. Banshee's location at the front of the park means that it's very popular early in the day, but once the majority of the crowds move to other areas many people don't run back to the front of the park until later on. This certainly isn't a negative, but Banshee moves through a ton more people per hour than Diamondback right now (more on this later) I'll stop for a day or two a week and time the dispatches on Diamondback for 20-30 minutes at a time at various times on different days of the week. I've done this for the last two months. Just a few things to clarify before I lay out the results: Diamondback's theoretical capacity is listed 1600 people per hour (pph), or 50 trains an hour. To the best of my knowledge the hourly record is somewhere just below that, so it's very difficult if not impossible to hit the maximum number. Diamondback technically "stacks" at 1:35, or 95 seconds. My definition of "stack" means that when the train out on the course comes in to the final set of brakes that it has to hold there while it waits for the train in front of it to fully enter the station. With that out of the way, my findings show that the average dispatch time is just under 2 minutes (1:54 or 114 seconds). That 114 second average dispatch time translates to sending out 31.58 trains an hour, or about 1,010 pph. This verifies what many of us are seeing with our own eyes - that the train in the station, on average, is just being dispatched when the train out on the course is already in the final set of brakes. If Diamondback could be run "stack-free" (95 seconds per average dispatch) we'd see a capacity increase of 200 people an hour and an immediate 20-25% reduction in wait times. The average dispatch time varies crew to crew. I saw a terrific crew one day early in June that was cranking out trains at an average of 90 seconds. That crew was definitely the exception, as most others have not been nearly as efficient. How do we fix the line and operations issues? I'm glad you asked! Here are a few things I would do to help speed things up a bit: Limit the number of Fast Lane guests to a maximum of 8-10 people per train, all the time. Some of us have been warning for a long time that a high Fast Lane-to-standby guest allocation would lead to longer wait times, and Diamondback is falling victim to that right now. You can't create shorter wait times for some without creating longer wait times for others. Ironically enough Banshee has not had this same issue as there have been far fewer Fast Lane guests there. Interesting. Make Diamondback a Fast Lane Plus ride only. Specifically, I would simply move Banshee over to regular Fast Lane and move Diamondback to Fast Lane Plus. Banshee has a high enough capacity that it can absorb a lot more Fast Laners than Diamondback can. Just switch the rides around on the system. This works best for everyone as you'd get fewer Fast Lane guests in the Diamondback line, which means shorter Fast Lane waits AND shorter standby waits. Done and done. Adopt the Banshee/Firehawk model and remove the loose article bins. The Interpreter has made mention of this over the last few years and he's absolutely right about this. I'd like to see this item addressed first because this is an issue every day. You have to wear your shoes/flip flops on Diamondback, so doing removing the bins eliminates every and all possible causes of slow dispatch times. Just make it to where all guests can do is sit down in the seat and strap in. This would require them to build a locker station somewhere nearby, but the trade-off is worth it IMO. To the fine folks at Kings Island reading this - I'm making this post only to provide constructive criticism. The dramatic decline in Diamondback ridership from 2013 to 2014 wasn't an accident. Quicker lines on your most popular attraction benefit everyone. Thank you for your consideration into finding solutions to what many feel is a issue that needs to be addressed.
  4. This is a really nice trip report. Thank you for posting! I highlighted the statements above because they showcase perfectly why building coasters expressly to satisfy the hardcore coaster enthusiast - without taking the general public into account - is a bad idea. I go to KD a couple times a year, and have ever since I305 opened. I305 nearly always has a very short line, even when there's one train running (which there frequently is). In all my visits my longest wait has been 15 minutes. When you talk with locals about the coaster many of them like it, but most of them then add "it's too intense", "I only ride it once a visit", "I gray out every time I ride" or some variation of those. How much fun can a coaster be when it requires you to use the fighter pilot technique to ward off grayouts? There are a lot of enthusiasts out there that have I305 ranked as their #1 coaster. I respect anyone who holds that opinion; however, many of those same people will also claim that I305 is a very popular coaster at the park. Those people are off-base. There's very rarely a sizeable line for the coaster, and most parkgoers are not riding it more than once a visit. Dominator and Volcano are much more popular with the vast majority of KD parkgoers than I305 because they're much more re-rideable. There's a reason why Cedar Fair went with B&M for their next two gigas.
  5. gad198


    Nice trip report! Renegade is one of the best wooden coasters in the Cedar Fair chain and was actually in my top-10 wood for a long time. I would love to see a ride like this at KI at some point, as it's one of the few rides that are fun for enthusiasts but also family-friendly enough to get the 48-inch riders on. They've gone a long time without a new coaster, so it'll be interesting to see when and what their next large addition comes along.
  6. I noticed that Celtic Fyre was rated #1 in theme park shows. Anyone who visits Busch Gardens Williamsburg and doesn't take the time to see this show is doing themselves a huge disservice. I haven't been there to see the show this year but the last couple of years this show has been really good. It's the best show going at any seasonal theme park I've been to in the recent past.
  7. The ride looks like fun! It'll be interesting to see reviews from the well-traveled folks who end up riding this. The one thing that would worry me is the capacity. It looks like from the POV posted that you would probably have anywhere from 60-90 second dispatches. Each train only holds 12 passengers (3 rows of 4 seats), so you're looking anywhere from 480 pph (at 90 seconds interval) to 720 pph (at 60 seconds interval). That's Backlot Stunt Coaster-ish capacity and pretty low for a headline attraction.
  8. There's a lot of interesting stuff here! On topic, I just got a call from someone at the park. They said that both Banshee and Diamondback both have full queues. I sincerely doubt any attendance records will be broken today but anyone expecting short lines today is going to be disappointed.
  9. I don't know what's actually coming to Cedar Point next year. Having said that - the fact that they've relocated other rides, cleared a large amount of land already, put up temporary fences around the perimeter and started a "coaster" timeline indicates that something large is likely on the way. I definitely wouldn't dismiss the dive coaster rumor. Here are a few things I believe are pertinent: Dive coaster installations usually take up much less room than many other B&M coaster types. The Sandusky Register piece indicated that this new addition would feature multiple inversions. The only dive coasters that have done inversions (other than an Immelmann) opened this year. One of these new dive machines opened up at Gardaland, the same park that debuted the wing coaster shortly before Gatekeeper came on board. On a related note, the Register leak indicated that the new ride would feature 24-seat trains (3 rows of 8 passengers). Most assumed that the trains would be more like Griffon for capacity reasons (30-seat, 3 rows of 10), but closer study would show that it would be easier for an 8-seat wide train to roll through a tighter inversion - a zero-g roll for instance - than it would be for a 10-person train. Cedar Fair has shown recently - especially under Ouimet - that they like to debut taller, faster, longer versions of coasters that already exist someplace else versus being the guinea pig for brand new coaster types. Cedar Fair large coaster additions in the recent past have all been extremely high capacity. Dive coasters can actually have two trains on the lift at the same time, so if the station and blocks are set up properly they should be able to get 1200-1300 pph consistently if not more. I'm not saying that all of this points to a dive coaster, but as goodyellowkorn182 pointed out dive coasters are a ton of fun, they're incredibly re-rideable and unlike any other coaster that Cedar Point has in their lineup right now. I'd like to see another wooden coaster and/or an RMC Mean Streak conversion eventually, but a dive coaster would be a nice addition if that's what this turns out to be.
  10. I really hate seeing items like this, and I hope that everyone involved is OK. On a sidenote - those enthusiasts who question why parks continue to buy B&M coasters now have one of their answers.
  11. The dry side of Carowinds isn't usually that busy mid-week at any time of year, but particularly during the Summer as most of the crowds are in the waterpark. I can't envision a scenario where you'll have too much trouble getting on what you want so I'd wait on any decisions to purchase Fast Lane until you arrive at the park. If you're splitting up your visit over portions of two days as you mentioned you'll probably want to wait and ride Nighthawk first thing in the morning on day 2. I believe that Carowinds has ERT for Gold/Platinum passholders on Fury 325 30 minutes before opening when you're visiting. I would make sure and get a ride (or 2) on Fury during ERT but be absolutely sure to be in the Nighthawk line by the time 10 rolls around. It could mean the difference between you waiting 10 minutes instead of an hour.
  12. This is a key point that I haven't seen mentioned. Cheetah Hunt - Sea World/Busch's last big coaster installation in Florida and an Intamin creation - is a nice ride that is very popular with the public. Falcons Fury just opened at BGT. It would have been very easy for Sea World to go back to Intamin having already done recent work with them, and they chose not to. Cheetah Hunt has had problems with reliability since it opened. Falcons Fury opened months late and missed nearly the entirety of the busy Summer season. Sea World couldn't afford to take the chance that either of those problems came with this new addition. This is an interesting point. I decided to take a look at Orlando's visitor demographics, and I came across this 2013 article from the Orlando Sentinel. Here's what it says: The article says that approximately 55 million visitors came through Orlando in 2011. If that's true, that's over 30 million visitors that came either from other parts of Florida or overseas (50% Floridians and 7% international travelers). I realize that not all of those travelers are thrill-seekers, but the reality is that the overwhelming majority of people visiting Orlando do not live near an area where there's a coaster like this, nor have they probably ridden one unless they've been to one of the other big parks in other parts of the US. I have a difficult time believing that Sea World isn't going to find a way to capitalize on building the area's tallest and fastest attraction by advertising on everything both in Orlando and on Orlando-related print materials. This won't be Harry Potter-ish as far as grabbing attention for sure, but anyone who would have probably passed visiting Sea World while in Orlando prior to this addition now likely will have this on their radar now. If this coaster pushes people to spend even one day there instead of Disney or Universal then it's a success. You also have the added bonus of the ride being really fun. B&M hypers at regional parks are huge draws, so just imagine one in the Orlando area with way more visitors that likely have never ridden a coaster that tall.
  13. Orlando finally gets its speed coaster! I couldn't be more happy to see this addition. There have been some comments posted here and elsewhere that believe that this won't draw visitors away from the other major parks in Orlando. Please keep in mind that this will be the tallest, longest and fastest coaster in the largest theme park mecca in the country! I might understand that viewpoint if Sea World markets this like they did with Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (i.e., pretty much not at all), but that seems VERY unlikely to happen given how large of an addition this is. This coaster will absolutely - at the very least - prompt people to think about portioning off one of their days at the other parks and going here instead. There are literally no other coasters like this in that area, and the general public is going to absolutely love this coaster. You know it's going to open on time and will be extremely re-ridable. How exactly is this not a good investment?
  14. I think a B&M flyer somewhere in the back of the park (either via Hurler demolition or placement nearby) would be an amazing addition. I'd rather it be like Sky Scrapper in China than say, Manta or Tatsu. My only gripe with the B&M flyers is that the pacing is a little weird because of the time it takes to go from one element to another, but Sky Scrapper looks like it solves that issue. I love this picture of that ride - http://rcdb.com/8983.htm?p=53170 You could make the case that Kings Dominion already has enough inversions. With that in mind I also think that a B&M mega would work here. In this case I would actually prefer a junior-sized B&M mega along the lines of Hollywood Dream or either of the North American Goliath B&M megas. Kings Dominion, IMO, could really use another large steel ride that the general public will want to re-ride. Volcano and Dominator are still the most popular rides in that park with the GP because they're just fun. I think Cedar Fair brass thought that I305 would be a major hit with the public, but every time I've gone to the park since it opened it's had the shortest line amongst the major steel coasters there, even with one-train operation. The general public likes the ride but very few are interested in re-rides because of the intensity. The back part of the park near Hurler & Rebel Yell could really use some more foot traffic, and installing a re-rideable B&M airtime machine would absolutely re-route some people back there.
  15. Rode these for a second time last night. I think after the ride yesterday I have a handle on why this set just doesn't have the same oomph as the ones at Carowinds. When you're at the top of the swing on KI's set and you swing the handle quickly to the right, the flyer doesn't actually start swinging to the left right away. There's a more noticeable delay on this set. It's almost like the flyer has to think about it for a second...and then it responds. The Carowinds set starts turning really quickly after you change the direction of the sail and that provides a quicker trip down. The quicker trip down means that the rider has a chance to get the cables to go slack which in turn causes the snap. I've seen novice riders snap the set at Carowinds. I've seen empty gliders snap at Carowinds. I've yet to see anyone snap KI's set in person, and I haven't heard the awesome "ker-chunk" sound after a snap on the KI set (although the video that BB1 posted does show someone snapping, so I retract my earlier comment about the snappability). As upstop mentioned, the short ride cycle doesn't really allow you to get going, but perhaps they'll address that later on down the line.
  16. I really enjoyed the video that Joncars05 posted. There was a lot of good information there and had some great footage. Well done video all around. As far as the ride goes...it's a really nice coaster and a perfect fit for the park. The launch is fun and is a nice start. There were four things about the coaster that really caught me by surprise: (1) The horseshoe turns. Those elements looked very non-descript in the animation, but they carry a lot more speed through them than I was anticipating, particularly at the bottom of the turns. I understand now why B&M put them in the design. (2) The zero-g roll. This might be the best zero-g roll on any B&M built in the US since Kraken opened in 2000. The train moves through the roll much more quickly than the other inverts and wingriders built recently so it provides that snap that I always love. It is a nice reminder as to why I believe they're the best element on inverting coasters. (3) The S-curve. That thing has a really nice pop of airtime! (4) The capacity. I believe the capacity was originally stated to be in the neighborhood of 1,100 people an hour, and I'm betting they were very close to that figure. I was very pleasantly surprised as to how well the line moves despite the 20-passenger trains. If I had a choice as to which of the wingriders I like best it would probably be Thunderbird by just a smidge over Gatekeeper. Thunderbird has a lot of that old B&M sitdown/floorless coaster punch but with the benefit of the winged seats for the enhanced view. It's a really good addition and I hope that this isn't Holiday World's last B&M.
  17. I got a chance to ride the new flyer set at Kings Island this past Friday. The new set is actually quite fun. You can get some really nice swinging going which definitely surprised me. It's very much on par with the old set in that regard. Having said that, this new set is NOT snappable in my opinion. All you need to do is watch the ride from the ground and take a look at the cables. The cables remain taught all the way through the ride no matter what position the cars are in, which eliminates almost any possibility of snapping. I overheard one woman with her kid even say "this was fun but I miss our old ones." I'm not saying that two people represent the opinion of everyone, and I'd argue that - ignoring the snapping element - the new set is good, but it's not the same as the set now at Carowinds. If someone out there can get a video of someone being able to snap KI's current set of flyers, I'd love to see it posted here and be proved wrong in the process.
  18. ^ It was a nice time last year. The only thing drawback about the ride night last year is that the Banshee ride line was actually longer during the event than it was during the public operating hours. Everyone still there was concentrated in that section of the park. We ended up with two rides during that night - one with just shy of a half hour wait and the next about 20 minutes wait, when the wait before that had been no longer than 10-15 minutes. I'm not saying it will be like that this year but just be aware that situation is a possibility.
  19. Just wanted to add one suggestion. If you're a cupcake fan you'll want to stop at Tara Jean's in Sevierville. It's off the main parkway in Sevierville just north of Wilderness in the Smokies. They have the best cupcakes that I've tasted anywhere in the US right now, and what's better is that they'll stay fresh for 3 or 4 days so they'll still taste good when you get home. They also sell their own ice cream and other baked goods which I haven't tried but looked amazing. There are various deals for them (Yelp, Groupon, etc.) that will make it even more affordable, and I'd strongly suggest that you make a stop there. http://tarajeanstn.com/
  20. Disney really opened up Pandora's box when they introduced FastPass. FastPass allows you to trade waiting less for a small number of rides for longer waits on your other rides via the standby queue. This is an important point - all FastPass (and the other quick cut-the-line options) does is re-allocate who is waiting and for how long. FastPass didn't suddenly add capacity to actually cut down wait times. It simply lets some people wait less while others (those in the standby lines) wait longer. All FastPass is doing is changing the perception of how you feel about waiting by giving you some small rewards in the form of a few FastPass opportunities. There are only three ways to cut down on average line times in parks - reduced attendance (which clearly is not at work here), improving the capacity of existing rides, or by adding net new attractions (new attractions minus attractions that are retired). In fairness, there's not much Disney can do to improve the capacity of the existing rides as they are already high capacity. However, Disney has actually made things worse in that their net new attractions have not kept pace with their growing attendance numbers. In some ways Disney is a victim of its own high standards in this regard because new Disney attractions cost a ton more than attractions installed at other parks, and as such they can't install them as often. Disney knows that the long line issue does need to be addressed, which is why they're expanding the Toy Story Mania and Soarin' rides. Disney wisely is adding capacity to help alleviate the issues. On the flip side, Disney is now allowing guests to pre-plan their FastPass times way in advance. How exactly does that solve the long line issues? You still are only allowed a few FastPass reservations, and the system will initially give you FastPasses that you may not want or need. You can manipulate your FastPasses to get what you want, but the times may suck. You're still going to be subject to the long standby lines everywhere else. The whole system there is so intricate and complex that in order to feel like you're not "missing out on anything" that you need to study the system like it's a college course. How is that fun? Disney's introduction of FastPass opened the door to a lot of other parks offering their own paid skip-the-line systems. Unfortunately, there's only been one large park I've seen that's been able to successfully integrate a paid skip-the-line option and that's Universal. Universal's offering works because they change the amount they charge for the Express pass based on the season and raise the price substantially when the park is supposed to be busy. That's the way you do it. A $105 Fast Lane Plus price on peak July Saturdays at Cedar Point is still going to leave you sitting in a long line, whether you buy the Fast Lane or not. Why would anyone pony up the additional funds only to still have wait in a long line?
  21. The weather this evening looks absolutely amazing. I hope everyone going this evening has a fabulous time! Tomorrow on the other hand is going to be absolutely insane. There were three public days for opening weekend last year; there's only one this year. The weather is going to be fantastic. The Reds aren't in town. It'll be interesting to hear the reports from parkgoers there tomorrow!
  22. It's incredibly smart IF this primarily an indoor attraction. They really don't have any rides there currently that can operate in inclement weather, and it would be a nice way to be able to get out of the blazing sun, heat and humidity during the summer months. This - to me - is probably the park that could use a dark ride/indoor attraction the most just due to the weather conditions that this park has to deal with. I think the actual attraction/ride in this case is secondary to the fact that it may be indoors.
  23. I got a chance to come in from Cincinnati to ride this over the last two days. When I initially saw the animation I posted here that I thought that this coaster announcement was the biggest since Millennium Force. As it turns out it's actually much better than that! I got six rides over the visit, two rides in each of rows 1, 3, and 8. I actually prefer the front on this coaster but I don't really believe that there's a lot of difference between any of the rows. It's a great ride in all seats. Everything that other reviewers have mentioned is spot on; there are unexpected pops of air all over the place, it keeps its speed all the way through and is very smooth. It literally has anything you want in a coaster of this size. I went in thinking it would contend for my #1 coaster spot, and I still underestimated how good this ride is! This coaster is absolutely sensational and took my #1 spot with ease. By way of comparison - of the steel coasters located in Canada or the US ranked in the Golden Tickets last year (40 total) I've ridden all but 5 and every one in the ranked in the top 25. This is a destination coaster by any measure. Kudos to B&M and Carowinds for creating a masterpiece!
  24. This is the last portion of this report! We spent Thursday traveling from San Antonio to Fayetteville, AR. We made a quick pit stop at Six Flags Over Texas for some more New Texas Giant rides. Everything I needed to cover at SFOT is covered earlier in the report. We stopped at a burger joint called Hopdaddy that was really nice (sorry, no pictures). The parmesan truffle fries and shakes here were excellent. It's about on par with Flipdaddy's. We stopped in Fayetteville, AR and then went to Silver Dollar City on Friday morning. The drive between the two destinations is only about 60 miles as the crow flies, but the roads to the park are extremely windy, so it took about two hours. It is, however, a really pretty drive. Silver Dollar City Many of the comparisons to Dollywood are definitely valid. The park definitely has a very rustic feel to it and it is immaculately maintained, right down to the new wooden fence posts along the pathways made of freshly cut oak. The place smelled amazing! There are two major differences - to me - between Silver Dollar City and Dollywood. It seems as though many more SDC patrons were interested in riding the rides. Dollywood very rarely gets long (>30 minute) ride lines but we encountered a number of lines that were longer than we were anticipating. The other major difference is that Silver Dollar City is EXTREMELY difficult to navigate your first time there. Dollywood is essentially is in a big circle. Silver Dollar City is a series of paths that ultimately dead end. Dave and I ended up trying to find each other after briefly going on different rides and it took us nearly 20 minutes to find each other. If you're a first timer visiting this park, make sure you get real familiar with the park map! Ride Reviews Fire in the Hole - Silver Dollar City's version of Blazing Fury. This one does have an additional drop and still has the splashdown, so it's a little more interesting. Grade: C Powder Keg - an S&S family launcher. This has a 42" height requirement so the line here gets the longest the quickest. This ride would have been the surprise of the trip if it weren't for the coaster right next door. The launch is solid and is much faster than I was anticipating. It's got a decent ride time and is re-rideable. I'm not sure what they were thinking putting a lift hill and big drop so near to the end of the ride, but this just a fun coaster. Make sure you hit this coaster first on any visit due to the capacity and its location in the park. Grade: B Wildfire - this - not Outlaw Run - was the surprise coaster of the trip. Really nice first drop. A nice, fun, unique layout. Very smooth in typical B&M fashion. Absolutely beautiful setting. I like Tennessee Tornado but I'd trade Wildfire for it in approximately 0.03 seconds. It's unfortunate that most parks already had an Arrow multi-looper when B&M came in to the coaster game, because all of the B&M sitdowns are really good. The only reason this doesn't get an "A" grade is because there's no zero-g. Grade: B+ Outlaw Run - the park's Rocky Mountain Coaster creation. The setting is excellent. The station theming is excellent. The ride trains look cool. As far as the ride goes, it's very good. The first drop, while steep, is merely good but not great. The weird "inversion-but-not-really-an-inversion" is probably the most interesting part of the ride and is really quite a treat. There's a series of miscellaneous airtime hills that range from "interesting" to "excellent!" that follow. There are a couple of barrel rolls at the end. We did front and back rides and I thought the front was a little better. I have mixed feelings about this ride. The layout screams top-5 ride. The ride delivers some really lovely moments; the aforementioned inversion and a couple of the airtime hills. The barrel rolls, however, were completely unnecessary. They are taken at a a very slow pace and it's very out of character with the rest of the ride. It's a neat gimmick but the ride would have been better served by having an additional airtime hill or two to round out the experience better. The other thing I didn't care for were the trains. The trains on the other RMCs we were rode were very accommodating. The trains on Outlaw Run (and presumably Goliath since they use the same trains) really hinder the experience. I'm an average size guy and even I had very little freedom in the trains. All of that said, we both thought that the ride is fun but I think we set our expectations too high. Grade: B+ in the back/A- up front View of Wildfire from the parking lot Outlaw Run through the trees An idea of the crowds Theme Wildfire life & drop Wildfire & setting New area of the park Beautiful setting Rocky Mountain coasters overview Dave and I both felt that New Texas Giant was the best RMC on the trip. Part of that has to do with the longer ride time compared to Iron Rattler and Outlaw Run, but most of it has to do with the more natural progression of elements on Giant. RMC coaster design seems to focus on what cool elements they want to integrate in their rides and building a layout trying to fit them in. The problem is that there's often a sense of random placement of things on their rides - the barrel rolls on Outlaw being one example. They really need to evaluate their wood coaster trains to see if there's a way to make them just as safe without feeling as constraining. The other side of the RMC coin is that they do airtime really well, and their layouts keep you interested throughout the ride. They are all fun and it would be nice if one of the Ohio parks end up with one. Having said that, I'd MUCH rather them RMC Mean Streak then build a new RMC wood. There's a ton of potential there in that big structure that RMC could use to make a top-5 worthy ride if given the leeway. The ride would be longer than a comparable wood creation and would also take advantage of the roomier and more comfortable trains. This ends the trip report. Thank you for reading!
  25. Trip report continued... Wednesday We'll get to the Six Flags Fiesta Texas report in just a bit, but I wanted to review a couple of the restaurants we went to in San Antonio first. Cappy's This is a restaurant focusing in on American dishes with some Southern and French influences. Think Teller's in Hyde Park for a comparison. Dave had the Gulf Shrimp Nachos and I had the daily special - short ribs and scallops with risotto and some seasonal vegetables. Both dishes were very tasty - the short ribs and scallops were cooked perfectly. Dessert was sticky toffee pudding with a butterscotch brandy sauce. I would definitely stop here again if I come back in to town. Grade: A- Short ribs and scallops daily special Pancake Joe's We stopped here for breakfast before we went to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The namesake pancakes were good, probably a "B", but they had an item here that made this stop memorable - the hash browns. These are - by far - the best hash browns I've ever tasted. Think Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream potato chips in a hash brown iteration. The hash browns were a separate menu item, and despite that every table that had food still on it had a plate of these hash browns on them. These hash browns are seriously amazeballs. Grade: B+ overall but the hash browns were an A+++++++ Pecan pancakes and hash browns Pollos Asados Los Norteños We discovered this Tex Mex spot through Yelp. It's the highest rated spot on both Yelp and Urbanspoon in San Antonio. We ended up getting their signature chicken and also tried some steak fajitas. The chicken is marinated in spices and then grilled. It's very tender, moist, and very flavorful. The steak fajitas and the rice were also tasty but the chicken is the reason you'll come here. Grade: B+ Six Flags Fiesta Texas This is one of the newer Six Flags-branded parks, coming into the fold in the mid-90s. The park is in a really nice location, set amongst the cliffs about 20 minutes to the west of downtown San Antonio. It's a mid-size park about the size of Dorney Park; there are 8 coasters with one currently under construction. It's probably the second prettiest Six Flags park from an aesthetic standpoint (the trees at Six Flags Over Georgia push it over the top for me). Front Gate Goliath at front entrance Theme Waterfalls Wider Angle The S&S 4D under construction. Much larger than I thought! Ride Reviews Goliath/Batman clone - see my review in the Six Flags Over Texas section Poltergeist - the Premier spaghetti bowl coaster. The outdoor versions (this one and Joker's Jinx at SFA) are superior to the indoor versions IMO due to the lack of a mid-course brake. Going through the second half of the course at the intended full speed makes these much more interesting. The trains are the exact same as the ones on Flight of Fear, so they are VERY tight to get in to. This knocks the experience down a couple of notches, but the ride is still fun. Grade: B Superman - Krypton Coaster - a really nice B&M floorless. The ride utilizes the adjacent cliffs really nicely early in the layout. The first drop and zero-g roll are very good and the ride time is nice and long. I still think Kraken is the king of the floorless coasters but this one is still very, very good. Grade: B+ Iron Rattler - the second RMC of the trip. The setting of the ride is stunning. The first drop is one of the best in the US. The barrel roll in the middle section of the ride actually feels organic, and you flow through it very easily. The last drop into the tunnel is very good. The only downside to the ride is that the portion of the ride up on the cliffs is pretty ho-hum. There's not a ton of space up there and, in fairness, RMC probably did the best they could under the circumstances. The ride overall is a lot of fun but leaves you wanting just a little bit more. Grade: B+ Iron Rattler lift hill Iron Rattler course Superman: Krypton Coaster through the trees The last portion of this report is next. Stay tuned!
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