I have not been active on the forums for quite some time now, I do pop in and read here and there. I used to post really lengthy and detailed trip reports, but due to some circumstances which I will get into in a minute, I haven't been to GA in over 5 years. Or really any theme park for that matter.
So, A little bit of a warning. I don't post just statistics of the rides I rode, or how many times that I rode them. I am wordy, sometimes I run on and on without a point. So if you are looking for a quick little summary, then move on. If you have the time to read a detailed report..then strap yourself in because here we go.
First, a history:
My very first ever roller coaster was way back in 1983. I was seven years old and went to GA for the first time. After wondering if I was going to like rides, and after taking me on some flat rides and paying attention to my level of fearlessness and excitability (Buccaneer was my very first ever ride) y uncle and father decided to up the ante and took me on Lightning Loops. I remember being so little, and complaining about having to walk up so many flights of stairs. Not quite knowing what I was getting into. I just knew that it was very loud, looked to be the fastest thing I've ever seen, and I heard screaming. Lots and lots of screaming. Needless to say, my little seven year old cahones were shriveling up with fright. But I wanted to be brave. I wanted to prove to myself that if all these big kids could do this, that I could as well.
The ride launched (yup, a launch... of all of 35-40 mph), dropped down, looped, went up and leveled out. It was over in a blink. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. I was scared. I thought it was it, and was trying to get out of my harness. My father stopped me, and before I could ask why we were suddenly launching backwards!!! I thought it was broken. I don't know why but I didn't see this happening while I was waiting on line. I thought I was dead. Three family members swiped off the existence of the earth in a flash of yellow, surrounded by screams and hollers. I started to cry. And we were upside down again. "Ok" I thought, this is what we just did. And before I knew it we were leveled off, and back where we began. And thats when it hit me. I loved what I just went through. That excitement of the unknown, the fright of the thought of life ending, the surge of adrenaline.
Needless to say, I was addicted.
My only problem, was that I was basically too short to ride many of the other rides. Rolling Thunder wouldn't happen for me for another year or so. I can't remember if I went on the Runaway Mine Train then or not. All I really remember of my first trip, was the Buccaneer, and Lightning Loops. The rest has merged in a meld of about a thousand more visits.
Flash forward to my adolescence. My father started taking me, at the age of 10, to GA and Dorney Park once a year. I was able to bring a friend with me each time, sometimes two. My father liked the rides as well, so we always had a group of four or, even better, just me and my pops.
I was still short for my age, so there were a lot of the bigger rides that I was unable to ride. I remember after seeing the movie "Big", and not being able to get on some rides that I cried on my way home from the park and wishing on a distant star that I would be "big". Well, it's funny what fate throws on you.
Flash forward to seven years ago.
Up until 2004, I was a member of ACE, Theme Park Review, and a yearly season pass holder of both Dorney and GA. I had, over the years, been to Cedar Point, Kennywood, Busch Gardens in both VA and FL, Kings Dominion, the Leap the Dips park in Altoona (can't remember the name), Disney about 50 times, Universal (both parks), Wet and Wild, Disneyland, Universal CA, Valley Fair in Iowa, Six Flags in NY, Ga, and Ca.
I was a bonafide roller coaster nut.
Then in 2005, on my honeymoon, that little wish that I wished for when I was too little to be "big", came through with devastating results.
We went to IoA, and as always went to "The Hulk" for the first ride of the day. I got in the seat, pulled the harness down, and got the news.....
I was too big to ride. I had to move to the "big boy" chair. The whole train had to lift their harnesses, and I had to sit in between a mother and her, very frightened, daughter, just so my fat butt could ride in the "too fat to ride" char.
I was devastated, embarrassed, upset. I even cried a little. It had finally happened. I knew, one day, I would not be able to ride rides.
I got off the ride, and instead of running back around to ride again (like I always did), or stopping to buy the picture (like I always do), I just walked up to my wife and said, very solemnly, I want to go home. She said "What about Spiderman, and Dueling Dragons? You don't want to go on them, what happened?". I told her, and again, just said I want to leave. Well, we walked around the park, I didn't go on any other rides. We went to Disney the next day, and again, I didn't even attempt to go on any rides. I was broken hearted.
When we came back home to NJ, I cancelled my season pass to GA, and my ACE membership, and stopped logging onto this site to post my TRs and read others.
My roller coaster riding days, were finished.
Then, last year my family went to Hershey Park. I, very reluctantly, said I would go with them. Fully embracing the fact that I was not going to ride anything, nor was I going to embarrass myself by even trying. I would just go to be with my family, and watch my nieces and nephews have fun. Just like my uncle and father did when I was seven. I went just for the kids. Then I noticed something, that I barely percieved before, they have test seats! I tried the test seat out for every ride there, and holy hell.... I JUST made it for every one! I got to go on the new ride that year, Sky Rush (or what we call Sky Vomit) and was able to get on each roller coaster there. Even Storm Runner and Fahrenheit!!!
Maybe, just maybe, I may be able to make it on rides again.
Last Oct, my wife and I made another trip to Disney and Universal. I decided to do the test seats before every ride, and if it was questionable, I would always ask the attendant that I needed to sit in the larger seat (to avoid any unexpected embarassment). It worked. I made it on all the rides. Even Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! I even shed a small tear getting onto that, because I have read that they had "fat scouts" throughout the line that would pull you aside several times for the test seats. I thought, for the whole hour long wait, that I wasn't going to make it. So when I did, I got emotional!
Perhaps my coaster riding days were not finished yet!
Ok, enough history, lets get on with yesterdays trip.
I have tried since last Feb to get my cousins to Six Flags. They are all of coaster riding age and height (11, 11, 12, and 14). I almost got them out of school for a day in June, but that fell through. They were devastated, as was I. So it was with great happiness that two months ago I heard that their parents bought them all tickets to go sometime before October. I explained to them that we did not want to go during the summer, on labor day weekend, or during fright fest. They would be disappointed. They aren't the patient type, so waiting an hour for a ride was way out of the question. So I thought that the sunday after labor day, and before fright fest would be a good idea. I even posted a question last week asking if it was a decent time to go.
The day finally arrived! And what a beautiful day it was. The kids were super excited. They didn't sleep the night before (been there!), and were ready. They had never been on a big roller coaster before. The biggest one they had been on was in Wildwood. So, they watched all the youtube videos, all of Rob Alvey's videos, and planned their day out. Brave little souls wanted to go on everything. I explained that it was a lot different seeing them on a computer screen, than seeing them in person. And that it was totally ok if they backed out. No one was forcing them to go on anything. Little did I know, that I was about to make them coaster nuts just like myself! They decided that Superman would be their first ever big coaster! How brave!
I still had doubts about getting on Kingda Ka, and El Toro. I have heard that ET is very strict when it comes to larger guests. So I thought, well, if I just get to go on Superman at least with the kids for their first ride then my day would already be successful.
There was traffic getting off the exit for GA, I was getting nervous about crowds. We waited in the parking line for about 15-20 minutes. "Great"... it's going to be way crowded. I asked the attendant if it was busy, and she said "No, it really isn't". Ok, great!!!
Pulling up to the parking lot, all I heard was "OH MY GOD...... HOLY CRAP......WOAH.....". The kids were seeing the rides in person for the first time in their little lives. Then I head "NO WAY. I'm not going on that". That was for Kingda Ka. I had to chuckle.
We park, and they watched Superman. They were ready for that. Since we had our tickets already, we bypassed the line. The security line was short, no problems. And there we were, in the park. I had to grab my video camera and film for a little while.
We made our way over to Superman, when they spotted:
They said, oh my god, lets go on that. There was no line. So we all ran over and got on the ride right away.
And, then it happened again.
"Sir, can you push down on your harness anymore"? No, I couldn't. "Can you switch seats and sit on the end?". Sure. Again "Can you push your harness down anymore". I couldn't. I asked "can you help?". Nope, they can't. Against policy. I understand.
Then those words hit me again 'Sir, I have to ask you to get off the ride. I'm sorry, but without your harness going down anymore, I'm afraid your not going to be able to ride" It was the political way of saying "You're too fat to ride".
I felt like Kevin Smith on Southwest.
My older cousin, Louie (12), felt bad so he got off the ride with me. The younger guys (Vincent and John, 11), stayed on. I got great footage of them. They were terrified, excited, and exhilarated all at once. Great, great footage! I'll treasure it always.
When they got off the ride, I said to them "This is whats going to happen the rest of the day. However, if I can't go on the rides, I still want you to. This day is for you guys don't waste it". So, understanding that, we made our way to:
I did the test seat, even though I was pretty sure I would make it on. I was fine, so the four of us ran up. There was about a 10 minute wait. Their faces when they saw the chairs lift into the flying position, was priceless. Of course I had my hands up the whole time, and Vincent was yelling at me to put my hands down. I didn't know if they were in his face, or blocking his view, so I did. I put them down and held on. It was all over and I was honored to be on their first big roller coaster with them. And of all to choose for their first. They were brave kids I tell ya!
When we got off the ride, they were so thrilled and excited. They loved it, and couldn't wait to go on something again. I asked Vincent why he asked me to put my hands down and he said "I didn't want you to fall out!!!" Full of heart this kid!
Vincent and I went over to:
I, obviously, did the test seat and was told I was ok to ride. So we went on. We were told it was a 10 minute wait, which turned out to be about a half hour. I had not been on this before since the last time I was at the park was when Superman was new. So this was a new experience for both Vincent and I.
The last stand up coaster that I was on, was at GA the Shockwave. I remember it being fun, but wholey unremarkable. The same goes for this. It was fun, but I could go without riding it again. Vincent thought the same. His favorite was Superman.
We then decided it was time for lunch, so we headed over to the Boneless "Kickin" Chicken. And, after spending over $100 for 3 park souvenir cups, and 4 chicken meals, was completely disappointed. The wings were cold, fries were soggy. The hot sauce was a tad too hot (and this is coming from someone who loves hot sauce). I probably won't eat there again. Not to mention the amount of flies made it really unappetizing.
We hung for about a 1/2 hour and then decided it was time to ride again. So we headed over to
After being told by everyone in the group that no one was going on this. Just looked to be too much, they weren't ready. Of course I had to check the test seat, and I asked the attendant to help me out. He just looked me over and said, "You're gonna be fine, don't worry". I asked for assurance and he said "Seriously, you'll be fine". And there was a 5 minute wait.
So, happy as a child, I headed over to my first KK ride!
And what a ride that is! HOLY COW. The ride is all about the launch! It was SO much fun. I ran off, and went to go right back on. At this moment, I didn't know that non-riders could walk over to the observation bridge to watch the launch. When I got on the line, which was still about 5 minutes, I heard "Sorry, but Kingda Ka is experiencing minor technical difficulties" They didn't know how long it would take. I decided, since there wasn't a wait, I would wait about 20 minutes. Then I looked over, and saw my cousins on the observation deck with looks of horror on their face, and Vincent mouthed "Are you kidding me? Minor difficultires... get the "F" off!!"
So, head hung low. I decided to walk off. Only because I didn't want to wait. I would head back, now that I know I can make it on, I'll be on it many many times.
With that being done, we decided to head over to:
Safari Off Road Adventure
The sign said a 90 minute wait. I knew the ride was an hour long. No one wanted to wait that long, so we decided to head over to
Runaway Mine Train
I knew from the last time I was there, that it was a tight fit then, and it had a 30 hour wait, so I said I would just wait for them. They got on line, and almost immediately came off. The train got stuck with people on it. So it was closed.
So we decided to head over to:
Like Runaway Mine Train, the last time I was on this, it was tight. But since it was the last time I'd get to ride, I decided to chance it. There was a 45 min wait (I wasn't shocked at this). They didn't want to wait, so we walked back over to the Safari Off Road Adventure and sat in the restaurant there watching the huge turtles in the lake while we discussed the course of action.
Vincent and I wanted to go on El Toro, Louie and Marie wanted to go on Rolling Thunder. Both had a 45 min. wait. We we decided we would split and each go on what we wanted to.
So Vincent and I headed over to:
Now, I knew this ride was notorious for not letting larger riders get on. So I definately wanted to do the test seat. The attendant came over and helped me out and explained that the red light has to go off and the green light has to go on in order for me to ride. Well, without any help, I got the red light to go off. The green light wouldn't come on. I asked if they would help push it down, and she said "Well, normally no but the people up there now, would". So Vincent and I, very happily, walked up to the 30 min wait (happy it was less than the 45 wait from before).
When we got up to the train before ours, I saw a man who was larger than me and I said to Vincent "Well, if he can make it on then I'll be fine". The attendant came over, and asked if she could press down, and she did. She then walked away and I said "Yes, he's on. I'll be fine". I was so happy.
Then she came back over, and told him the bad news. The look on his face was so recognizable. I have been there. I know that equal mixture of anger, understanding, embarrasament, and hatred of yourself. Thankfully the crowd was understanding as well, and no one laughed... which has happened before to make matters worse.
So it was now my turn to get the turn away.
I sat down, got the belt on (which had more slack than the test seat I noticed), and pushed the harness down as far as I could. The lady then walked over and said "Sir, may I push your harness down further". I said yes, and she tried. Then she looked again, about to say what I was going to fear. When I said "The attendant at the test seat said I was right there... that if it got pushed down hard that I would be fine". So she said "Do you mind if I push harder"? I said, absolutely not. Then she chuckled and said "Well, suck it in sir". I did, and she pushed that harness down so far. I couldn't breathe. But I saw the visual thumbs up check, and was so freaking happy that I didn't care.
Now, Vincent was used to seeing the clickity-clack climb of Rolling Thunder, he wasn't expecting the fast smooth climb of ET. Neither was I. He was fine, as soon as it started up the hill he went "Woah.. oh man.. i don't know about this". I said, you'll be fine.. you'll be fine. Just hold on buddy!!
When he saw the drop he went "OH MY GOD" and hooked his arm around mine, and closed his eyes.
And then I experienced what was easiest one of the best rides I have ever been on. That drop! That air time (even being completely stapled in)!! Those almost vertically banked turns!!!! What a smooth, fun. amazing ride!
After it was over Vincent looked over at me, and cracked up laughing. All my junk was shoved up above the harness. It looked like I had a tire around me. It was so funny. I could balance a cup and saucer on that girth!
He loved the ride, and asked me how it compared to KK. I told him intensity wise, they're about equal. If he handled ET, he could handle KK. He needed time to think about it, so we decided to meet back up with Louie and Marie and their parents and see what was going on.
After discussion, and a time limit now being placed on how much longer we were going to be there (only 2 more hours!!), we decided it was time to head over to
I had not been on this since it was Medusa. I never had trouble getting on, so I didn't even bother with the test seat (wasn't even sure if there was one). There was no wait, walk on, so the four of us just walked up. No one wanted to sit on the end, so I got one end and there was some arguing over who was getting the other end and who was gonna sit in the middle. Of course Vincent sat next to me (my new coaster buddy). I pulled the harness down, and low and behold I couldn't get the belt into the buckle as hard as I tried. So when, I will never forget his name, Scotty came over I asked him "Is there a big boy chair"? He chuckled and said, "Dude, I got you, don't worry". And, once again, I got stapled in. He struggled and struggled and eventually I heard "Click". I was so happy, I gave him a high five and said "Scotty, you're the man!".
The other two boys were still arguing. Here Vincent and I are buckled in and waiting and ready, and Louie and John are arguing. They eventually both decided to not ride, and walked off.
So the ride took off, and I enjoyed the new elements (fire, etc). Half way through the ride..... I saw Vincent putting his hands in the air!! He we go!! A coaster enthusiast in the making!!!! I am so proud of him!
We got off the ride, and I wanted to meet up with John and Louie, to make sure they found their parents I completely forgot to stop and get the photo card. I wish I had, to get the photo of Vincent holding his hands up for the first time would be priceless!
We decided it was time to get over to the other side of the park. So the boys and I took the Skyway while their parents and sister walked. We were told they would meet us at the exit of The Dark Night.
After getting off the Skyway, we headed over to
Which was really the only coaster that Louie wanted to go on. I asked the attendant if I would make it on and he said "No problem". So we walked on. We fooled around a bit in the cave, I screamed making the boys jump. We go on the ride, and as soon as it plunged into darkness, I again, make a shrill scream. I heard other people on the train cracking up. I decided it was then I was gonna just have some fun, so I screamed as hard as I could on the entire ride. When I stopped to take a breath, I heard a guy in the back of the train doing the same. When he took a breath, I would then scream. So we had a little screaming match. The boys were cracking up, other people on the train were laughing so hard!
When we got off the ride, the guys in front of us said "You just made that the best ride ever! Thanks".
Time getting short, we decided to head over to:
The Dark Knight
Again, a first for me. I didn't even know what to expect. Again, asked if I would be alright, and was told I would be fine. That was fun little ride. I didn't know it was like a Wild Mouse ride. That had some nice surprise elements in it. I would ride that again.
We met up with their parents, and was told... that was it, it was time to leave. I, just like a child, said "Well, Aunt Diane, we wanted to try to get on Nitro! Just one more ride!! Please!!!". She wasn't having it. I know how far to push, so I knew if I ever wanted to go to Six Flags with them again, to just suck it up and cut my losses!
So with that, head hung low, we headed towards the exit.
I forgot all about my photo cards, so while they went to get the car, I waited on a 1/2 hour line to get my photos! I was glad I got the cards. The pictures are SO MUCH CHEAPER there than at the end of the ride. If you bought them separately, they would cost $15 each! I had four pictures, and got a package deal of 4 for $25!!! I was fully prepared to be spending $60 on these pictures, so to only pay 1/3 of that was a very nice surprise.
I will post those pictures at the end of this report.
I then walked out, so freaking happy. I was able to fit onto every ride that I wanted we got to ride, except Twister and Rolling Thunder (which I didn't even try for RT). Sure, we missed about half the park due to time restraints, but thats ok. I am fully back into my coaster riding past! I just bought a season pass, gold, and renewed my Ace membership!
Get ready guys! Johnnyecks and the 15 page trip reports, has returned!!!
I hope you enjoyed my report. Below are the ride pictures.
Superman. Left to right: Louie (12), the twins John and Vincent (11), and Johnnyecks (37)!
Back row of picture, 3rd and 4th seats, Vincent, and Me
Me, the large one with the huge mouth!
Vincent holding on to me for dear life
This picture is precious!