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Favourite Ride

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  1. SeaWorld San Diego 25/11/23 ( Quite a few photos here https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/seaworld-san-diego ) Sea World San Diego is a place I haven’t visited since about 2007, and back then the ride lineup then consisted of Journey to Atlantis, Shipwreck Rapids and a rubbish simulator named Wild Arctic. But now they have COASTERS™ (Though I missed Tidal Twister by a few months, the memory lives on at one of the press a penny machines) And I've always been intrigued by Manta…. A one day ticket doesn't come out cheap since you get hit with a high admission price and a full whack for parking, but tbh I didn't mind, it's a decently decent park. I started off one with I was low key excited for…Arctic Rescue. Aside from one of them, all of these Intamin straddle coasters are all pretty decent. And the one in San Diego has three launches. The station was shoehorned into a bit of the building that previously held the simulators, and they have just installed platforms etc straight in. Thought it looked a little rough. The trains totally aren't Jet Skis that have had little wheels added to make them look like snowmobiles. But the coaster, pretty good! It's not the outright intensity of Juvelen/Yukon Quad, its perhaps more on par with Namazu, but still enjoyable quick transitions and pops of airtime...Imagine a longer version of Jet Rescue with a few more elevated hills. There is some Arctic base theming scattered around the ride, like a helicopter, a few dome roofed buildings, rocks, and patches of grey and white gravel on the ground to give the impression of snow. The ride itself is all in its own compound so non riders basically can't watch it. I got the following pics from the skytower and from out the opening of the load station. Nearby is Emperor , a B&M Dive Coaster. There's really no theming to speak of on here. Just truckloads of gravel under the ride, and even things like the pathway fences and the station platform look like it was all just 'hardware store' type construction rather than something themed around diving penguins. They were only running a single 18 person train too. But with the bad out of the way lets get to the good. It's a solid layout up there with the best, and seems a lot more inversion focused than the other ones, and no slow points breaking up the ride...3 inversions, almost 4 actually. The vertical first drop leads into your standard Immelmann, then a tall overbanked turn that borderlines on a cutback. From there is an unusual element that is sort of like a roll meets incline loop. The closest comparison I can think of is the knot element on Flug der Damonen. From there its one last corkscrew and into the brakes. Action packed from start to finish, with that tall first drop with the holding break providing enough intimidation factor. The park also has Electric Eel...Another Premier Skyrocket. You can go read my Busch Gardens trip report for my thoughts on this. Great coaster, and at least this one had some effort put into the presentation. It was on the way to I took a ride on Sky Tower. These things never seem to be open at the SeaWorld parks, and they charge extra for some reason🤑. It was a good overlook over the park, but who thought it was a good idea to put contravision film on the windows. It was like being on a bus, and it meant your photos come out really murky (and it disrupts the view in general), kind of defeating the purpose. And finally Manta. You can tell this was more of an old school Busch attraction, because the theming was very detailed, and a lot of effort was put into the landscaping, with a large area of the ride actually sunken into the ground. The coaster more or less plays out like the middle bit of DC Rivals, with small hills, quick twists and helices, so firmly a family thrill coaster. The first launch is interesting. The ride pulls out of the station into a darkened room, with a tube of scrim surrounding the track, with projections of manta rays swimming around and dramatic music. The train actually rolls back and forth a couple of meters each way a few times, in sync with the screens, creating a sort of sensation that ocean currents are moving you about. Doors open, and it actually accelerates with a bit of a jerk down the first launch. The first bit of the ride dives and weaves around the queue area, with a good head chopper under the bridge too. At this point, I dont think Mack had perfected the rolling launch, so halfway through the ride you slow for a MCBR, only to get launched back to full speed again, which certainly felt awkward. The final half had more twists and hills, and was out in the open, surrounded by the flamingo exhibit. The other ride I was interested in was Bayside Skyride , another upcharge. This one actually just runs outside of the park, giving you views of the marina and Fiesta Island. Most of the other rides are for kids, and they are all pretty cute, though how many rides need to have "rescue" in the name lol? In particular I thought the teacups looked pretty well done. And a Jellyfish themed wave swinger! It seems so obvious yet nobody has done one before to my knowledge. I did check out some of the animal exhibits too, and they are well done, but didn't devote a whole lot of time to them given I had other plans for the evening I was there. As is it was, doing a couple of laps on each coaster took me through to late afternoon. In particular I liked the Sea Turtles. And I thought the entrance area was well done too with elaborate giant coral structures, and touch pools. But what is wild is that literally in the past few weeks they have demolished all that, even though it only went in a few years ago! (Reddit) Overall thoughts on the park, still pretty good, but I think the two newest coasters could have had more effort put into the presentation. The ride lineup is well balanced, maybe a dark ride. I'd also say they should round out the kids area with a proper kids coaster, but in park they were heavily promoting Sesame Place, so it seems like they are encouraging families with young kids to go there for that. Put this park on your Californian itinerary if you like launch coasters or want to try a dive coaster!
  2. Six Flags Magic Mountain https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/six-flags-magic-mountain Flight schedules from LA to Australia usually have you leaving in the evening, so it's somewhat of a tradition for me to do one of the parks there for a last hurrah before jumping on a plane back to Aus. I hadn't been here since 2019, and my last visit was kind of shit because my wallet was stolen. This visit was much better, with cool autumn weather making for a quiet park where most rides had short waits. The rides are good, but man they know how to be irritating. Parking at the park now costs a whopping $40 USD, which is just taking the piss. As has been publicised, the park has several ride closures at the moment. Superman, Ninja, X2 all closed and Scream didn't open in the time I was there. I wasn't too miffed since I was here to ride the new stuff and wasn't going to be at the park long enough to do everything anyhow, but still, wouldn't have minded doing Superman before it goes the way of TOT2. The new stuff I was interested in was West Coast Racers, which missed its 2019 opening date last time I was there, and then proceeded to be further delayed by Covid. There's also Wonder Woman Flight of Courage, which to be honest was the main reason I was visiting because I was really keen to get on one of these Raptor coasters and all the others are less convenient to visit..... Got there at opening and headed to Wonder Woman. Closed for technical difficulties with a guy out the front, so it was off to West Coast Racers instead. The queue line is supposed to look like the Workshop of West Coast Customs but I think maybe the theming was too light on, so you lost that vibe of a bustling workshop, but the ride certainly makes up for it. Once you contort yourself into the Premier trains, a launch sends you into a high 5 element, which was surprisingly snappy and maybe borderline uncomfortable. You then bank around into a zero g stall, with the other track doing a little hump underneath. For the best views of these dueling moments, definitley sit in the back. There's another launch following the stall, where you do an enormous corkscrew in parallel with the the other track. The next section of the ride is probably the most true to theme, with two helices in a figure 8 configuration allowing you to look across at the other train. The tracks cross over from outside to inside, so you get to see the other train seemingly pull ahead then fall behind. A couple more turns and the track goes back into the ride building, where you stop for a moment while they dick around and load the other train. There's a screen next to you where a guy says "we are just doing some adjustments to your car right now" , with associated sound effects of rattle guns and tools coming from below. The train then launches, and its the same layout again, though right at the end you do one extra corkscrew over the other track. Overall, it's a great ride. Well paced, interesting elements, very good dueling, and at leas you are guarunteed to get it unlike on Twisted Collossus, where it really comes down to the speed of the crews. At that point Wonder Woman still wasn't open, so I went around and rode a few other favourites, some of which I haven't done in years since it seems every visit I do to SFMM is only a part day. Apocalypse was running very well, having clearly been retracked in many sections. A real beast of a wooden coaster, and decently long too. The layout ducks and weaves constantly, giving it a real elment of surprise. Tatsu is as good and intense as ever, but the less said about the new colour scheme the better. Haven't done Riddlers Revenge in a while, and yeah the old stand up seats are nothing on the new surf coaster seats, but that all said, I forgot how bloody long this coaster was. After the mid course brakes its just endless turns, and quite a bit of track between the two corkscrews. Still a solid ride, and the station music is "unforgettable" Batman surprisingly felt less intense than usual. Cold weather? Kept checking back on Wonder Woman. You could see maintenance staff working on the transfer track, so at least it was looking like it would open at some point. Justice League has 2d on the screens now instead of 3d, so 3d glasses are no longer given out. A double edged sword since it means everything is a bit brighter and easier to see, but a shame they couldn't keep the 3d going. During my run it kind of crapped out halfway through the cycle and stopped, so a couple of scenes were just frozen with the car wiggling away, but it did get itself back in sync for the final scene. Also did Lex Luthor Drop of Doom. The lap bar type harnesses make this one feel a little more exposed than GD. Finally, trains started cycling on Wonder Woman, so I parked myself near the ride. In a true Six Flags moment, they wouldn't let people form a line outside the ride, they would tell people "oh you cant wait here", so instead it became a bit of a rabble of people just waiting everywhere, which of course became a bit of a stampede when it finally did open. Why on earth was this preferable for them? The queue is themed like a museum about the Amazonians. Had to laugh at the random kangaroos on the map of Thermyscira Fortunately I got on quite quickly first time around and ended up in the very back seat. First impressions, solid coaster, but perhaps lacks the "WTF holy crap this is wild" sensation you get on the flagship RMCs. It was a bit more intense than Big Dipper but not that much moreso. I would put it on par with something like a good Gerst Infinity coaster. Less shaky than Big Dipper too, but it still shakes a bit, so it must be an unavoidable aspect of these little single person car coasters. The first drop genuinley kicks ass, as does that cool dive loop element with a twist at the top. (Reminded me a bit of the way you are flicked around on the non inverting loop on Rivals) The rest of the ride is stuff like zero g rolls and airtime hills all in a long line, which sounds good on paper, but perhaps lacks a little personality since its a bit formulatic and you can see it all coming up in a row. The elevated turnaround was something I had been wondering about since it looks crazy fast on videos and I was thinking you'd be thrown around like a ragdoll, but it was perfectly comfortable. I went around for a 2nd lap, and by that point the queue had expanded to an hour, so waited it out and got a seat in row 4. Up front the first drop isn't as good but the other elements seem to work bettter, so swings and roundabouts. Final impressions, decent ride, but imo the visual appearance of the ride is it's gimmick and the ride experience was really no better/worse than an equivalent coaster of similar size. Perhaps the linear layout doesn't really give the ride a chance to shine....If my experience on Big Dipper taught me anything, it is that weaving and quick transitions is what makes these single rail things most interesting I would be interested to try RailBlazer or the Wonder Woman at SF Fiesta Texas since apparently the prototype raptors are more intense.
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