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Coaster Friday!

August 1, 2015

And we continue!  Part 2 of my SFMM coaster extravaganza! 

Tatsu

This ride had one of the longest lines in the park, and it’s not hard to see why. For me, however, it was something even more extra special.

Years ago, after a great day at Canada’s Wonderland, I fantasized about a coaster that you would ride “Superman Style” in a prone “flying” position.   The idea captivated me, and I even drew up schematics and sketched ideas. And Tatsu is exactly that, a flying coaster, using even pretty much the same idea for loading as I envisioned some 25 years ago. (Though I think I had imagined something more complex overall with it being a suspended coaster rather than just an inverted coaster…)

IMG_20150720_152053687

flying coaster position: activate!

And was it ever worth the wait.

I lucked out and got a front row “seat” for my first ride, and what a rush it is. For one, hanging as you are during the lift hill climb, you get one of the best views of the park and the mountains beyond, making it one of the most amazing lift hill experiences of all time. For two, you are freakin’ flying. Everything seems new and fun from that position, and with all that open space beneath you and your vantage point the track almost seems to disappear. Tatsu holds the distinction of the is the tallest, longest, and the fastest flying coaster, along with a wicked pretzel loop is something super weird to experience, essentially riding in that moment on your back.

But it’s that perspective that just makes this so much fun. It’s fast, its furious, and you’re flying.

Wonderful.

Ninja

I love suspended coasters. Or, more correctly, I should say I love the Vortex at Canada’s Wonderland, since (until Ninja) that was the only suspended coaster I’d ever ridden (though the twisty village run of the Big Bad Wolf (while it still existed, sniff) intrigued me to no end!). The “whippiness” of the cars (as they are free to swing) as you enter a turn can lead to some intense moments, especially if there are obstacles near (again, RIP Big Bad Wolf!). So I was very excited to ride Ninja.

And, unfortunately, I came away so very disappointed. By comparison to Vortex, Ninja feels very slow, criminally does not whip the cars around much, and despite being on a hill and thus ostensibly a terrain coaster (it’s interesting in that leaving the station, you do a small lift hill, then do a second lift hill to return to the station) it has almost no terrain features or collisions.

Sorry Ninja. Something just didn’t work out in your favour here with your design.

X2

The world’s first 4-th dimension coaster. Speakers onboard. And an insane ride experience.

There’s only one way to describe this: X2 is pretty damn boss.

It’s hard to describe the experience of this sucker as the track goes one way while your seat rotates pitches around, leading to no predictable path and no predictable sensations. It’s all crazy, all the time. You may face straight down. You may face backwards. You may get a normal ride around an element. Or not. Your limbs hang out in space, floating from the forces. It’s fantastic. It also features the second best lift hill view of the park, as you ride facing “backwards”, leaving you to see everything uninterrupted by rails or other riders. It’s a short ride, but what a ride it is.

Wicked, wicked fun. A definite highlight.

Full Throttle

My first launched coaster ride, and I am even more of a “convert” than I was before. There’s something really really really fun about going from zero to fast (albeit, hilariously, probably at less G-acceleration than the new Tesla Ludicrous editions…) to hit a monster loop (the tallest in the world) where you end up hanging out of your seat at the top. And then, thrillingly, near the end of the ride the coaster stops in a tunnel, spits you out backwards for a bit, then shoots you forward as you enter the tunnel again to go OVER that big honkin loop, a top-hat element of sorts. Also a short ride, but very fun.

And the employees at the booth (who, by the way, on the whole were all excellent at every ride, with good energy on the microphone) were playing around a lot with the riders. “Ok, would you like a countdown before I launch you, or would you prefer a surprise?” <<launch without waiting for an answer>> “Five, four, Thre”<<launch>> or the classic speedy “Threetwoone”<<launch>>

(Superman: Escape from Krypton was closed the day I was at the park, so I didn’t get to ride that launched coaster…)

Scream

This was my first ride of the day, and it was a great way to start the day. Scream is a floorless coaster, which leave your feet dangling as you ride through its tight roster of nifty elements, including a dive loop, a cobra roll, two interlocking corkscrews, and a lovely helix right at ground level that you swear you could drag your fingers on the ground. There’s also a few good airtime moments.

A solid coaster, though harmed by its complete lack of theming and being built on a parking lot. (Yes, a parking lot, with the asphalt the lines still painted there! At least park some cars there that you dive in and amongst and provide some headchopper moments!)

Batman: The Ride

Ok Six Flags, what’s up with the “The ride” monikers? They don’t make much sense to me… but I digress. These Batman rides (they’re at a bunch of Six Flags parks) were the world’s first inverted coasters, so I got to ride some history (sort of)!  It’s tight, twisty, and plenty of inversions and banks make for a good ride.  For a first in kind, it’s a good one!  Well worth riding.

(Interestingly, while Batman features more elements than Flight Deck at California’s Great Adventure, overall I may well prefer by a smidge the experience on Flight Deck, though probably due mostly to the experience of that helix over the water…)

Green Lantern: First Flight

This one, however, I will call kinda bad. It’s not much of a coaster, it’s a weird twisty track thing with 4-dimensional seat pivoting. It’s very short, and really the only excitement for me came at the end dropping into the station facing straight down (for which the people seated behind me (back to back) would’ve been facing the sky, not exciting at all). Skip!

Riddler’s Revenge

Ahh, a stand up coaster. Or, in my case on this ride, a tip-toe coaster, as the seat wasn’t adjusted properly. But I still enjoyed it! It’s well built so that the headrests aren’t face mashers, and there’s a nice loop around the lift hill, and plenty of elements and twisting and turning along its long length. Solid stuff.

Viper

Old school steel coaster action! Lots of loops! A batwing! And a classic double corkscrew! All with a nice roughness to it (not woodie rough, but still rough enough – I like the rough!).

And there we have it. The coasters I rode twice to make my 19 rides: Viper, Scream, Twisted Colossus, Full Throttle, X2, Tatsu, Goliath.

Themeing in the park is a bit of a mixed bag, with most areas not seeming all that themed (with the exception of DC Town), and the coasters had from no theme or kinda weird theme (full throttle, I’m looking at you) through the gamut to full themeing. Of course, two days later I would go to the masters of themeing, at Disneyland, so…

“They’ll have to drag me off the coasters and out of the park!” I told friends of my trip to SFMM, and, pretty much, that’s what happened. I rode my final coaster at the point they were announcing the park closing. Clearly, I had a lot of fun. And am still ready for more coaster action.

So… where to next?

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