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7/30 SFMM Trip Report

08/03/15 at 03:10pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report (Latest Edit: 08/03/15 at 03:50pm by UncleDuncan.)
Post: #1
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Hot damn, I don't even know how to start this report. A man wise beyond his years (b.mac) once told me, never review your home park. Those are good words to live by I've come to realize because I'm finding it hard to put last week's trip into words - and keep in mind this is me we're talking about. I have diarrhea of the yap.

Anyhow, I suppose I should start with the beginning, or some paraphrased version of my typical rollercoaster junkie preamble: Magic Mountain is my park much like how BGW is (probably) your park. I've been going here since I was 7 years old. I remember a time when the Mountain only had a handful of coasters (the pinnacle being Revolution), a gazillion flat rides, and every area of the park was themed. There were shows, an arboretum, specialty shops (glass blowing and candle dipping included), and not a DC super hero was to be found. I've watched it grow, change, adapt, falter, and conquer. Despite all the changes, the bad decisions, the years of gang violence, the licensed characters, and piss poor management I have no problem saying the following:

Magic Mountain is still the best theme park in the country and quite possibly the world.

Wanna know why? Glad you asked! Read on...

Background
I got to the park around 10:30 and it was moderately packed. Our party of four decided to buy a Platinum Flash Pass. It's expensive but worth it when dealing with crowds. Plus, it may take me another 10 years to return so I wanted to make the most of my day. We also splurged and bought the Flash Pass upgrade to include a single ride on X. Again, also worth it. The Flash Pass is very simple to operate and takes all the stress of lines off your back. However, many rides (Superman, Full Throttle, Twisted Colossus) are only afforded a single ride. Also, Ninja is not included for no good reason.

The weather was hot at 96 degrees. But as they say, it was a dry heat. I packed sun protection and I did end up buying a souvenir cup I constantly refilled with water. I bring this up because unlike most local parks in the Mid Atlantic region, you really do need to plan for the heat in the high desert. Later in the day, I watched a girl fall out in line due to heat stroke. It's a real issue; always plan ahead.

I cannot stress enough this is not your average theme park. There really isn't much going on the way of themes. I'd wager to say SFA does a better job in the themed area department. If pretending you're in Neverland is that important to you, skip going to Magic Mountain. It's not for you. That being said, the park is beautiful. It has some of the most memorable natural beauty going for it. And it really is a mountain so you will be hiking a lot (not too dissimilar from BGW, actually).

General Thoughts
My, how this park has changed. The once mighty Revolution is dwarfed by the newer additions littered about the landscape. Notably Tatsu takes up the entire top ridge of the front mountain face, with Full Throttle demanding attention just to the off to the right. To the South (where cars enter), X dominates the view (another similarity to BGW/Apollos Chariot) with Viper looming in the background. To the North, where the parking lot sits, the mighty Goliath looms over the newly christened Twisted Colossus and Scream. Regardless of the vantage point, Superman is just monolithic - rising above all else. From the entrance alone, my eyes spotted at least 8 or 9 of the 19 coasters the mountain provides. Reminding me, again, this is not the same park I remember. Six Flags has definitely invested in an area of the park that was left untouched for many, many years of my youth.

The backside of the park is where you find less action, these days. Apocalypse sits where Psyclone once resided (and Shockwave before that). Deja Vu has been removed. Ninja, Goldrusher, Batman, and Riddlers Revenge are all still where they're supposed to be along with the new addition of Green Lantern which, if nothing else, looks interesting. The upcharge attractions (giant swing, go carts) are still there to my dismay. The Action Theater has all but been abandoned looking as if construction on something had been started but never completed. Notably, Spin Out, one my favorite flat rides, has been removed. Bummer.

All in all, the park looks good or as good as it ever has in modern times. The theater could probably use some help considering it looks like it's been half-dismantled and the moat has been drained. It's definitely the biggest eye-sore in the whole joint. Also, I hope they end up doing something with Deja Vu's real estate. But hey, I came here for rides. Let's talk about those!

Twisted Colossus
First ride of the day and wow. I mean, "motherfucking holy shit this is amazing you can take my first born" wow. If you're debating going to Magic Mountain because of this ride, stop what you're doing right now and book your ticket. It's worth it. Here's the real bitch: it's nearly impossible to describe. The air time is incredible as is the force. And the inversions. THE INVERSIONS!!!! At one point the train rides upside down for a good second, if not more. Oh, and the ride itself is 4 minutes long. It's... perfect. Only since Helix have I been this impressed with a ride and I would have a hard time figuring out which one I like better.

I do have some bad news: the capacity is crap. The wait time for the average ride was 90 minutes. However, the caring folks at Six Flags did something I wish was far more prevalent on rides with bad throughput: they gave us a single rider line. After using our Flash Pass, I was able to ride again in roughly 20 minutes. Not bad.

I also have to commend Six Flags on SAVING this ride. I mean, there are valid arguments against Six Flags (as a company) and/or RMC rehabs on woodies. But if this is any type of proof of concept with regards to the future, I'm all for it. They saved a beloved ride and it's better than ever.

Scream
I've never been on Scream before. Sadly, this is the most uninspired B&M I've ever been on despite it's large footprint suggesting otherwise. Man, what a disappointment. If I were to describe Scream with one word, it'd be "floaty." Smooth, yes, but what good is a smooth ride if there are no thrills to be had? At all times, it feels like Scream is holding back. Which makes no sense since it's a massive coaster. Ugh, I didn't ride it again and of all the coasters at SFMM, I recommend this one the least.

Goliath
Now we're talking. I forget who makes this (I think they went under) but it's a treasure and I think there's only one other similar coaster in Texas? Anyhow, this ride is just plain thrilling. It's important to note there are no inversions - this thing was built for speed. The first drop is a real showstopper and sets the tone for the rest of the trip. So good. Highly recommended and worth repeated trips through the turnstyle.

Superman
I remember when Superman opened back in the 90s. You go up, you go down. Yeehaw... Yawn. During those days, it definitely felt like Superman was built to beat a world record (which it did) and little else. Fast forward to present times and again, I have to tip my hat to Six Flags. Instead of shit canning an otherwise mediocre ride, they went back to the drawing board and re-engineered the train (you now sit backwards) and the launch system. The result is something totally unexpected and wonderful. All I can say is, this ride is now totally badass. Unfortunately, I only got one ride in since the launch system broke down halfway through the day. But man, am I glad I to experience the one ride I got. Good job, Six Flags. Your stock is rising.

Batman
I don't care if this is a clone, it's still better than almost any suspended coaster I've been on.

Green Lantern
Alright, I don't know whether to hate or love this yo-yo of a beast. Imagine, if you can, a wild mouse coaster but instead of the thrills being horizontal, they're now vertical, up and down jolts. All while spinning freely in a cart. So bizarre. Even now, I don't know what to make of it. I will say this, of all the rides at SFMM this one had me genuinely afraid. I actually feared for my life and was relieved to get off.

Another thing: it feels temporary. I have a hard time seeing this ride standing in 10 years. I could be wrong but to me, it has a Flashback quality to it. Off topic: all you people bemoaning Tempesto never experienced the bullshit that was Flashback so quit bitching.

Goldrusher
A classic Arrow worth raving about. It beautifully hugs the terrain on the back of the mountain and despite being an opening day attraction, still rocks faces and crotches. Nimble and smooth, definitely worth a ride or two.

Jet Streamer
A beautiful Arrow flume that surprisingly doesn't soak you from head to toe. During the ride, one can experience some really terrific views of the backside of the park. And in the end, only get a moderate misting of water to the face. Very pleasant on a hot day.

Tatsu
The best flying coaster I've ever been on. Hands down. There's no comparison. Rode it multiple times and the front row is where it's at. The only bad thing I have to say is it might need a new coat of paint.

Apocalypse
Traditional woodie fans, rejoice! This is the wooden coaster you've been waiting for. Jolty but not abrasive, and quick with an ample amount of beautifully engineered banks. Apocalypse has definitely reserved a top spot in my head on the list for favorite wooden coaster. It's definitely a worthy successor to Psyclone.

Full Throttle
I like Premier rides. They're my favorite state-side developer. But man, does this ride miss the mark. It's not that the ride is bad, it's just not that good. It has all the things I love about Premiers: a launch, some tight turns, and a surprise or two (I won't give out any spoilers). But in the end, it feels like a ride built to break a record, not invoke any particular thrills. And it's a little bit of a shame this ride sits where the Log Jammer once lived - a much better attraction in my opinion. Much like Green Lantern, this ride feels very temporary as well.

X2
I saved this ride for last as it is the crown jewel at SFMM. A definite one of a kind that does not disappoint and sadly a swan song from Arrow, their last coaster to go into production. And X is a mindfuck like no other. X is so difficult to describe because, as is the case with '4th dimension' rides, you just have to see it to believe it (or better yet, ride it for yourself). It's nuts on so many different levels. You will spin one way and drop the other. Noises come from everywhere and blowtorches blow fire at you while you flip upside down. Nothing feels off limits and in that nether region of 'OMG' is where X resides. If you're like me, you'll be smiling the whole time.

When I think about it, I kind of have a hard time believing only one example exists in the States. I mean, this ride was built nearly 15 years ago and it commands a 2 plus hour wait, daily. Sure, the capacity is kind of crappy. But I can't think of any other ride that would keep the public's interest for such a long period of time... And X doesn't show any signs of slowing down. People line up in droves to get on this beast. And let me tell you something: until you see the trains with your own eyes, nothing can prepare you. The loading station is roughly half the size of a football field. And no, I'm not exaggerating. The trains themselves appear to be something out of a Michael Bay movie. I had to remind myself that I was getting on a ride, not a science experiment.

Conclusion
Thus, X ended my day at SFMM. I didn't ride Ninja (45 minute wait in the heat), nor did I ride Riddler's Revenge since I swore off standing coasters (and I rode it before some 10 years ago). Viper was also out of commission as was the Lex Luther Drop Tower (not that I give a shit about Viper since it's basically like KDs Anaconda and needs to be removed immediately). And, per usual, I refuse to go on any water ride I'm going to get soaked on. So that was it - a day full of coasters, most of which I rode at least twice.

The brass tax: SFMM did not disappoint. Unlike the bad years before, I see huge improvements all over SFMM. In particular, it was nice to see that the gang activity was nonexistent since this was a major problem in prior years I had visited. The park was pleasant, clean, and naturally stunning. They're obviously making good decisions in all facets of the park's operation. In fact, as weird as it is to type this, I think other parks need to take some notes from SFMM rehab efforts. Superman and Colossus are inspiring and if Six Flags can pull it off, I can't see why other parks can't put forth the same amount of effort in their dynasty attractions.

I'll post some pics when I pull them off my phone.

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08/03/15 at 03:38pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
Post: #2
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Wow! I totally want to get myself out there now.

Thanks for the amazing report!

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
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08/03/15 at 04:06pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
Post: #3
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Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Top Image - former entrance to the Log Jammer
Second Image - banks of Apocalypse
Third Image - Superman
Fourth Image - apparently SFMM has a dog park?
Last Image - Coaster Collage

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08/04/15 at 01:50pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
Post: #4
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I went to SFMM in 2009 and agree with you mostly. I loved Viper, its a great old Arrow in my opinion. I also wish there were more examples of Arrow's 4th Dimension Coaster in the states, it really is an amazing and unique coaster like nothing else. Other than new additions the only thing I didn't get to ride was Superman as it was in the process of getting converted to its current iteration when I was there. I'd love to go back!

Waking up fresh every mornin'; Openin' up for you; Waitin' for your laughter; With so much new to do! Busch—Gardens! Busch—Gardens! Come to Busch Gardens and come to life! Come to Busch Gardens and come—to life!
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08/04/15 at 01:55pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
Post: #5
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Dude...
Dude.

I remember SFMM losing it's magic back in the late 90s/early aughts. It's firing on all cylinders now.

With regards to Viper, it needs a rehaul like Revolution got back in the early 90s. When Viper opened, it was THE ride to ride. Time has not been kind to it. When I rode it back in 02/03 I wrote it off. The OTSR combined with how poorly the track has aged is just too much for my large frame to handle. And Anaconda is really no different in that regard. There's a pain in my back these Arrows inflict on me that lasts for days.

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08/04/15 at 05:14pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
Post: #6
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Giovanola built Goliath. B&M used to work there before they started their own company.
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08/04/15 at 05:19pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
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(08/04/15 05:14pm)Unagi Wrote:  Giovanola built Goliath. B&M used to work there before they started their own company.

You're right. I Googled it after I wrote the trip report. I prefer to refrain from Googling facts when I'm writing an impression piece. At any rate, Goliath is definitely it's own thing (as are many rides at SFMM).

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08/04/15 at 09:55pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
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(08/04/15 05:19pm)ReggaeInMyJeggae Wrote:  You're right. I Googled it after I wrote the trip report. I prefer to refrain from Googling facts when I'm writing an impression piece. At any rate, Goliath is definitely it's own thing (as are many rides at SFMM).

I like Goliath (and its sibling at SFoT) but I feel these coasters are lacking in the airtime department. The helices are intense and the vehicles track really well throughout the course but for a hyper coaster, it seriously lacks the negative g's for me to give it a stellar review. I also hate the near stop on the blocks but it's needed or else everyone riding would black out on the helix right after.
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08/27/15 at 12:40pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
Post: #9
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Sounds like a good trip! it was kinda shocking to hear you say SFA was better in the theme department lol. I have never been but taking your opinion into account SFMM seems like a place id like to go...

"Its as much fun to scare as it is to be scared."--Vincent Price..

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09/01/15 at 10:37pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
Post: #10
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I'm glad you did not get killed by gang violence.

Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate! - William of Occam
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09/01/15 at 11:03pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
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(09/01/15 10:37pm)Zimmy Wrote:  I'm glad you did not get killed by gang violence.
Shots fired... Literally.

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09/02/15 at 09:48am in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report (Latest Edit: 09/02/15 at 11:17am by UncleDuncan.)
Post: #12
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I'm from East Oceanside/Vista. It wouldn't be anything new for me.

They should have named this piece, "Have Fun Walking to School."

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09/03/15 at 10:41pm in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
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I've heard Green Lantern is incredibly painful, true?

“Nothing stresses me out. Except having to seek the approval of my inferiors.” - Dwight Schrute

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09/04/15 at 09:23am in 7/30 SFMM Trip Report
Post: #14
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(09/03/15 10:41pm)Ben Wrote:  I've heard Green Lantern is incredibly painful, true?

Here's my understanding: every ride is different since the trains spin freely. The one ride I had was 'medium' in the pain department, and 'high' in the fear department.

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