Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Coasterville Con '04 - Six Flags Over Georgia

Trip Report
Coasterville Con ' 04 - Day 3
Marietta, GA -> Greenville, SC

Six Flags over Georgia

Day 3 started with breakfast at Cracker Barrel then the short drive to Six Flags over Georgia. I'll be quite honest when I say that my expectations from SFoG from an operational standpoint were quite low. After all, Six Flags in general has received a bad reputation in the forums for not operating to capacity and having generally non-caring associates. They also have lots of big rides, and with perfect weater and a holiday weekend, I went in expecting to have to really stuggle to do everything.

We pulled off the Six Flags exit and were overwhelemed by the number of parking options. You see, in addition to the $12 Premium Parking, and the $10 "Value" Parking, you also have the $5 un-official parking lot. We opted to go into the $10 "Value" lot, particularly since we could get a space right by a tram stop. SFoG still operates parking trams, so a space near a tram stop is the next best thing to being able to park by the gate. At the same time I used a coupon thoughfully provided by a well-respected RRC contributor to gain discount admission. I know I am probably in the 2% or less of the coaster enthusiast community that does not have a Six Flags Pass.

Aa a travel tip, the welcome station on I-75 as you enter Georgia from Tennessee has stacks of 2-for-1 coupons to SFoG. According to my ticket stub, our admissions wound up costing $22.57 each, not bad for a big corporate theme park. We soon entered the park pasing both the ticket taker and the metal detector, to head into the shopping distict at the front of the park. We turned from Georiga and headed into Britain. As you enter Britain you pass the Lo-Q, FastLane rental center. We stayed true to our morals and decided NOT to participate in a classist upcharge virtual queue program. Lo-Q should die an early death for other reasons as well, not the least of which is at the reservation desk, they have kisosk where Lo-Q users can reserve times on top-tier rides from the comfort of the front of the park.

Around the next turn we came to the Georgia Cyclone. We entered the non-queue for the Georgia Cyclone and walked right into the station. We held out a couple trains to get the very back seat. So I proceeded to take my first ever ride on the Georgia Cyclone in the back seat of the train. We went up the first lift, and started down the first drop and "WOW!", insane airtime on the first drop, followed by a twisted layout based on the Coney Island Cyclone except with even more insane airtime and more insane laterals. Sure the ride loses some points for having some of the least comfortable PTC trains I have ever sat in (worse than PKI's even), as well as having some Dinn shuffle. But overall the ride is a big winner with a classic layout and abundant airtime and laterals. In fact, this ride runs so good, I wondered if I were really in a Six Flags park.

We proceeded around the loop and came next to Viagraphobia, oops, I meant Acrophobia. We walked up to the station and found a 1 cycle wait. Not bad at all, and soon I was positioning myself onto the ride and was suprised I could easily fasten the belt and pull at least an inch worth of strap through. Then the ride lifted, the ride hung at the top for a few seconds, the operators taunted the riders, the ride vehicle dropped. Wow, that was't much more than your garden variety drop ride. I mean where is this big discomfort I am supposed to be feeling about now?

Having survived my ride of Acrophobia with no ill effects, we next headed to the Dahlonega Mine Ride. We rode in the back seat of Dahlonega with no wait, and were soon off on this early Arrow mine ride with three lifts. It's typical for an early mine ride, a lot of ground hugging turns and gentle dips, except for one somewhat major dip at the very end. Reminded me a lot of Thunder Express that used to be at Dollywood.

We next went to visit the monsters at the mansion at Monster Plantation. The line was just back past the stile over the waterway with one loading area open. I'm sort of surprised they offer Lo-Q on a ride like this (as well as the bumper cars and the Scrambler) With minimal wait we were soon off on this float through dark ride. You first float through a flooded mansion and are warned not to go to the Marsh. Well, guess where you are headed. Its a neat old dark ride that is really taken care of. It's kind of heartwarming to see Six Flags spending the money to take care of an old dark ride like this.

We left Monster Plantation, and headed down past a closed Deja Vu, what a surprise. We didn't really expect to get a ride on Deja Vu, that would have just been a bonus. I mean the ride is closed and it looks like they weren't even trying to get it back up. I think SFoG just got a real expensive lawn ornament,

We started heading towards Superman, where we first stopped off for a no-wait Ninja ride in the back seat. Ninja is a multi-element with a wonderful setting over the lake. It's layout suggest your typical multi element headbanging festival of horror. We boarded the back seat, pulled down the oversize "Don't sit on me" shoulder bars, and were soon off. Ninja is surprisingly smooth with very little headbanging and instead offers great visuals of several headchoppers. Its a wonderful multi elelment coaster.

Next up was Great American Scream Machine. I have to wonder if the big marquee that is now used for the Skycoaster was once the entrance way for Great American Scream Machine. The line for this patriotic themed wooden coaster in this patriotic themed corner of the park was just to the top of the ramp down to the station from the queue maze. With a short manageable wait, we were off on a back seat ride. Same trains as on Cyclone, except with old style drop down lap bars. This out and back, looks beautiful, has a well maintained paint job, and the lakeside setting. These positive features don't hide the fact that it isn't tracking very well, offing a lot of jackhammering, and honestly very little action.

From Great American Scream Machine, we joined a queue that was advertised as 30 minutes for Superman Ultimate Flight. There was one minor spot of downtime just as we were passing the switch track on the windy queue path. All in all 40 minutes later we were boarding row 5 of Superman. Not bad at all for the parks feature coaster. I sat down, pulled the lapbar down where it easily engaged the locks on both sides of the seat. The shoulder vest part of the arangement is merely rubber straps, and once the big lapbar bolster is locked you can forget moving or getting in your pockets. Next two flaps close to lock your ankles into place.

A few moments later the chair is swinging back to hang you in your newly assumed Superman positon. I must say I live hanging down better than lying on my back, and soon you are on your way up the lift. Due to the terrain, the first part of the lift is build over a concrete stairway, then its out over nothing. No safety net, just thin air below. Superman's first drop leads into the most impresive set of inversions I have seen in a while. The first two inversions in particular are especially noteworthy. With the dual loading station, and the two train operation today, Superman also features no mid-course brakes, which means you get all the Superman you have coming to you, with no interuptions. Awesome coaster, I really like it.

Soon we were back in the station where the chairs relower to the more traditional position so that you can safely exit the ride. We exited the ride and I looked in the games area. Particularly my eyes were drawn to the $2 Skee-Ball machines. $2, they have GOT to be kidding, I noted no body playing Skee-Ball. I also noticed the soft drinks vending machines in the area are adorned in a superman motif, including a listing of the entire Superman family of fine rides. Yes, they still include Superman Ultimate Escape at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. I looked at my watch and noted that we had completed that entire half of the park by 1pm. Luck seems to be on our side so far.

To slow the pace down a bit, we took a walk around a rather rustic looking area overlooking Superman. The rustic area includes the parks antique car ride, and a ride that is appaarently on the National Register of Historic Places: The Riverview Carousel. Not much may remain of the legendary park, but you can still ride its carousel, if you don't mind a little drive down to Atlanta. We paused to look at the carousel, then we noted the walkway to the carousel is lined with two of the parks new family rides. It seems this year the park is focussing on their family ride selection with includes 5 new family rides, 4 of those being flat rides.

On one side of the trail was the Baloon Race, on the other side is that hot new Zamperla product, the Rockin' Tug. Seeing nobody in line for the Rockin' Tug, we stopped and took a ride. Neat new ride, it should do very well. We came down from the sceneic overlook to walk besides the shoot the chutes rides, where we say the profile of the new family coaster. I won't call it a kiddie coaster as one must be at least 36" to ride, no exceptions. Wile E. Coyotee's Canyon Blaster features a layout with curvey turns, tunnels, and most notably the big hill at the end of the ride. Its a steep hill up into the station, so steep the train can't clear it on its own power and the use of kicker tires is employeed. Very interesting. We looked at the line for Canyon Blaster and decided to try back later.

We cut across the back of the park, and stopped at the Great Gasp. Unfortunately, the parachute tower ride was taking the day off. We looked at the USA section which is in actuality the parks 1950's section, paused to take in a couple moments of the show at the Drive-In, noticed the line for the new indoor scrambler, and headed to Gotham City.

On the way into Gotham City we passed the 5th of the new rides, the new Crimewave, a Wave Swinger. Just beyond the Crimewave is Mindbender. The line for Mindbender would have been on the order of 20-30 minutes, but just as we were about to make the last turn into the station, the ride took some time off. We laughed at the themed downtime message, and were pleasantly surprised when the anticipated 30 minute shutdown only took about 15. Due to riders bailing out of line we were able to station ourselves in the back seat queue.

I just love Mindbender. The lapbar only trains, the Swarzkopf ride, the way the foliage just blends in with the ride so well, the unusual layout. Its quite simply a wonderful old ride. Going on from Mindbender, we got to Batman: The Ride.

Batman: The Ride, a ride just like many others. This would be my third Batman: The Ride. The queue stretched almost all the way back onto the midway, but luckily there were not using the entire indoor queue in the Power Station. That is fortunate, because the park does not bother to air condition the tightly packed in, sheet metal walled queue maze. How hot did it get? Hot enough that we saw a fellow park guest pass out from heat exhaustian. I find the parks lack of response to that incident, disturbing. We finally get up to the station nearly an hour later, and here is where Lo-Q needs to GO. I don't mind so much when they merge Lo-Q riders in before seat selection, but on Batman The Ride, they reserve the back two rows of the train for Lo-Q. Since one of my favorite spots on a B&M Inverted is the back left seat, I was highly disturbed. Things have gotten to the point where they have built a queue for Lo-Q on the unload side of the station.

So the train leaves the station with me in Row 6, and the normal Batman The Ride experience ensues. It's not a bad ride, but its a standard design coaster, I like to see some originality now.

We left Batman The Ride, and headed towards the front of the park. We decided the line for the Intamin 1st Generation freefall ride (That has a number but no description in the park guide) had too long of a line. Next to Freefall they have a walk through hanted house ($6). We declined the upcharge haunted house. By the Haunted House they have the motion simulator theatre, we did not inquire as to the price, but the park guide told us this was also an upcharge. Did I mention I don't particularly care for upcharge attractions after paying for a POP admission?

We walked through the arbor, where we came to the last of the parks major coasters, Georgia Scorcher. The line for Georiga Scorcher was backed up into, and completely filled the sheltered queue area, but did not extend beyond the sheltered queue area. Did I mention this sheltered queue area, is filled with strong powered air nozzles that are hooked up to an air conditioner? Why couldn't they have done this with Batman? As with all stand up coasters, we enduring the slow moving line and then I took a front row upgrade. Georgia Scorcher, well its smoother than Chang or Mantis, but it's not as intense as Riddler's Revenge (which I also find to be smoother than Chang or Mantis) It's not a bad coaster, but it just didn't do anything for me.

We exited Georgia Scorcher, and realized that we just completed a lap of the park, on a holiday weekend, without resorting to Lo-Q. I feel satisfyed already.

But now for some more rides. the queue for Gerogia Cyclone was only through one switchback in the indoor queue area (which also has the air conditioner nozzles, BTW), and soon enough we found ourselves on a back seat ride through wood coaster nirvana.

We then came around to Canyon Blaster. The line almost but not compltel filled the upstairs queue maze, and for some reason, mainly we were interested in the unique layout we waited it out. It may seem foolish but we waited for darn near an hour to ride Canyon Blaster. I know that's sad, we stooped to a new low. So we get in the seat, I pull down the T-bar, and uhoh. I can't get the bar to lock, the very helpful ride op can't get the bar to lock. I thrust down on the bar with all my might, and somehow *click*. It's not very comfortable but its locked.

The ride starts with a ride around a castle turret, then up the short lift hill, then through a tunnel filled figure 8ish set of constant curves, finally ending in the steep final hill that seems to also serve as the rides main lift hill. Wierd! I noticed the tunnels to be big and spacious, and the castle turret beginning is also large enough to make me wonder if they just didn't get around to the ride's theming yet. By the time we exited the ride, the queue was down the stairs and into the arcade. I do think its neat they also managed to fit a kiddie ride inside the arcade,.

We look at our watches, and decide to take one final spin on Superman before heading out. The line was posted at 90 minutes, and ya know what, those Sx Flags line estimators are good, they even factor in the rides downtime. For the second downtime we somehow got stuck right next tothe loudest speaker in the queue, right before you walk past the back brake. We stayed not only to get our ride, but also because the way the ride stopped the train did not stopped all the way up on the back brake, insted the last few rows were hanging out over thin air. What are they going to do now.

Luckily they were able to get the ride re-started and it headed into the worlds most elaborate evacuation area. I mean it looks just like a second ride station, complete with seat queues and everything. It was neat watching the track switch though. All in good time, we were on our way up to the station. We requested and were granted permission to sit in the back row. This seemed to lead to more platofrm cunfusion than was necessary but it worked out. Superman also follows the B&M Back-Left rule. I really do think these rides are designed around the person sitting the back left seat.

We start to make our way out of the park, seemingly taking the longest way possible to get to the shopping disctric at the front gate. We walked into the gift shop and nothing took our eye as the must have souvenir, though I did see shirt patterns that look suspciously like they use the same souvenir designers as Paramount Parks. I grabbed a couple park maps. SFoG's park maps are horrible, you need a high powered magnifying glass to really see it cause its printed so small. Soon we were on a parking tram ride to claim our car. We then headed to Greenivlle, SC for overngiht accomodations, with a stop past a cajun seafood restaurant whose name I just know I'm going to slaughter. Papa Dueaux??? Fired aligator, thats right, All-I-Ga-Tor for the apetizer and a whole host of seafood for dinner in generous quantity and exceptional quality. Great place.

Anyway, we soon found ourselves in a Red Roof Inn that actually still used mechanical locks on the guest room doors. That's almost a novelty these days!

See you for the conclusion in Coasterville Con '04 - Day 4
Paramount's Carowinds


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