I'm a bit late with this but whatever. So my cousin came to NJ for the weekend and we made plans to go to the park for the day. We didn't leave until 9:30. On the way, it started to rain, though the forecast called for it pass within the hour. We decided to grab some WaWa subs and get on property. We finished eating and the rain stopped. Unfortunately, the rain did not scare anyone, it was pretty packed in the lot at around 11:30 when we finally got out and walked in.
I had to process my pass first, so we made our way over to the process center. I had a pass last year and went twice. This year, I got an email with a deal from the park for a pass with parking, Fright Fest, and Hurricane Harbor for 53.99. I couldn't let the deal pass. While there, we saw GL's line only a bit after the front switchback, which is rather long.
Right after we processed my pass, which took 5 minutes, we headed over to Zumanjaro. My cousin went earlier this year but Zumanjaro didn't open yet. I knew the line would be pretty long, considering the type of day it was going to be and simply because Zumanjaro is the newest attraction. The line was right at the overhead shelter. At the time, I had no clue how long it would actually be. We waited not even 5 minutes, not realizing the single rider lane (right in front of us) was much emptier. The security guard on the line suggested people to hop over and ride single rider. We both went single rider. Realistically, the line we were on had to be roughly 2 hours. I think we waited 45 on single rider, which is not amazing when it is single rider, but sure as hell was better than the previous wait. I was on the inside end of car 1 (to my left would be car 2).
Listen, I'm not a big drop tower guy. I've been on a couple, but I don't know, they just really are not my thing. I have a slight fear of heights, more specifically when I'm not standing on a floor and when I'm not in harness or something like that. Going on Zumanjaro may have reassured my fear of heights. It is a long way up, even when the lift speeds up. You really get a great view of the park and beyond, but it is ungodly frightening hanging up there for a while. When you reach the top, it is kind of a relief, until the cars lock in and give you a fake drop feel. The wait for the drop wasn't too bad, but the drop may have been the scariest thing I ever experienced. Intense to say the least. It was powerful and I did not expect it.
I told myself not to judge the ride until I got an experience. The ride itself is incredible and the park made a great move with their choice. The whole problem is Kingda Ka. I totally understand that Kingda Ka and Zumanjaro cannot work at the same time for safety issues (falling objects), but it really slows things down on both ends. Zumanjaro could probably churn out an extra 100 riders an hour if it did not have to wait. Kingda Ka could actually run dual stations, or even four trains on one side, which was an evident problem during our visit, but more of that later. As for the queue, it is long to say the least. I mean, I see that there were very little things the park could do about that, but nevertheless its a journey both to and from the tower. I just hope the front half of the queue, with the fences, could be removed if the park decides to expand out that way (which I really hope does happen, hopefully connecting Golden Kingdom back with Plaza Del Carnival and perhaps further, towards Bizarro).
We got off Zumanjaro and the line was roughly the same. Kingda Ka, however, was outside of the entrance. We skipped over KK and went towards El Toro. We saw the line right at El Toro's sign, but before we could even process the projected wait time, one of the attendants on the speakers said El Toro is temporarily down for blah blah blah. We headed over Bizarro instead. Station wait for second row. Bizarro was somewhat smooth, a little rough through and out of the cobra roll, but still Bizarro nonetheless. No effects were on; no fire, no shield lights or mist, no auger mist.
Next we headed over to Log Flume. Surprisingly, with the sun shining and the temperature in the high 80s, the line was near the stairs. Too good to be true though, because we reached half way up the stairs for yet another announcement that the ride was down for blah blah blah (I think at this point you understand that minor technical difficulties is just the default substitute for any problem). We did check the line later in the day and it was outside of the switchback. We walked off and headed down the middle of the park.
We saw Houdini with a rather longer line, Skyscreamer with easily a half hour wait, even Fender's Benders with a solid wait. We did get on Buccaneer for a two cycle wait. We then headed over towards Movietown. We stopped by Cold Stone and got a souvenir cup for the day. We ended up refilling about 7 times throughout the day.
Nitro's line was outside of the sign, something I have never really seen. Batman was outside the sewer tunnel and near the fountain, something I have seen plenty of times. TDK was about half a switchback full, but we took the chance. Two preshow wait, but we were towards the beginning of our preshow. TDK had no AC which was not pleasant. However, many, if not all, of the effects were working; the lift lights were dim but working, the post-lift dip arrow was on, the tunnel was working, the clowns and the buildings were on, even the horn at the end worked. Glad to see the effects are back, but personally a little AC would be nice on a hot summer day.
We headed back the other way and stopped by Skull Mountain. Although the line was in the tunnels, we waited. The line moved fluently, waited roughly 25-30 minutes for front row. Surprisingly front row was the shortest wait, mainly because ignorant visitors sit right at the turnstile and do not realize you can move up and sit elsewhere.
We headed back to Nitro, who's line was in one switchback. It was three trains so I knew the wait wouldn't be all that bad. I overheard the attendant telling the people behind us the wait was 2 hours. Really, it was (max) 50 minutes. Third row. Nitro is still Nitro. I did not feel the trims this time around, which is great. I forgot the helix was pretty powerful. My cousin said he blacked out on it.
We headed towards Boardwalk from there. Lines throughout the park were staying the same, but we got to GL, who's line was just before the vending machines this time around. We waited for it, but took the single rider lane when we were about to get there. It was probably 15-20 to the single rider stairs then 5-10 minutes to actually get on. The switchback wait was probably 30-40 minutes to the stairs, plus station wait. I got front row, my cousin got 4th row same train. GL still gives me some pain with the incline loop. And I had a minor grey out, nothing to extensive, right before the MCBR.
From GL, I saw S:UF's line in the second switchback, which is easily over an hour. Next, we went back over to El Toro. The line was half way through the front switchback. The wait was about 45 minutes for the 3rd to last row. Always a good thrill with El Toro. It is a bit different without Rolling Thunder in the second half of the ride (less headchoppers). The view of El Toro from Golden Kingdom, without RT, looks sick, specifically the banked turn during the twister section.
We checked Kingda Ka and Zumanjaro again. Kingda Ka's line used the queue that extends out before going into the switchback. Zumanjaro was about the same wait both regular and single rider, however the Flash Pass line was almost up to the single rider lane, which meant Flash Pass would get one first and the wait would be much longer.
We headed to the other side of the park. We stopped at Yum Yum Cafe for a little dinner. We had one of the season pass coupons for buy one half off. We made our way back towards Movietown. Nitro's line was still long so we went over to BTR. The line was inside, so we went through the gates. The girl in front of us turned around, saw the two of us and asked "Are you to going on?" We nodded and she said that she had two extra Flash Passes for BTR. So we went with her and her three other friends, went straight through Flash Pass and waited 2 trains for second to last row.
We decided to move on towards the other side again and headed for Kingda Ka again. The line was the same as before, so we made the decision to come back for the last ride of the night. We headed over to S:UF, where the furthest switchback was full. Usually I stray away from that line since S:UF loads slowly, but we bit the bullet. I thought the wait would be at least over 45 minutes. It was 35 for 5th row. I haven't rode S:UF since 2012, kinda forget how forceful the Pretzel loop is.
It was getting late so we made the move to Kingda Ka. The line was just at the switchbacks. It was 9:45, so we decided to wait it out. The line moved incredibly slow because of the system they run. They were running three trains, but it ran unbelievably slow. It would launch two trains every 3 minutes. Some instances only one train launched in between Zumanjaro cycles. We did not get out of the switchbacks until 10:30. They also closed the line at 10:15 (or no one walked on line for a whole 15 minutes, which I doubt). As we were waiting in the straight away before getting sent to the station, I did notice Zumanjaro sending one or two empty cycles, followed by one cycle with people, then another empty cycle. It seemed weird, but it sort of looked like a white flag signal to the guys in the operating booth at KK that Zumanjaro was done. Though I noticed after we got into the station that the operators were hustling through and they were loading trains and sending them out without even stacking a train, which is impressive. It really shows the difference between KK with and without Zumanjaro.
We got 4th row on one of the last trains for the night. I never rode Kingda Ka at night, but damn is it sick. The launch into pure darkness got me. Either I blacked out for a second being ascending or it was that dark and I couldn't process where I was. The view of the top at night is cool and the plunge down is sick with the parking lot lights down below. After we got off, the guy on the mic said they were planning to send only about 5 more trains and urged guests to get in open lines instead of waiting for the front row.
Walking out of the station at 10:50, I noticed that nothing, literally nothing else was operating late. Skyscreamer's lights were off, the Big Wheel was dark, even GL's in ground lights were partially off. We finally got out and went on our way home. All in all, a good day, but I was surprised how packed it was. I guess its a good thing to see the park that packed, especially on a weekend. Hopefully I can get one more visit before I leave for college, but I'm glad I got to get a round this summer and I got to ride Zumanjaro.
El Toro 1x
Kingda Ka 1x
Thanks for reading!