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Flea

KBF & SFMM Photo TR

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So now that I've got some kind of free time I figured I'd write up a little Photo TR of my visits to KBF & SFMM in February this year.

This was my 3rd visit to the states but seeing as all of the trips have been for work I've had little time to no time to visit the parks. This year however I was given the opportunity to do a mini theme park trip after the conference in Vegas. I stayed at Four Points LAX -- I figured it would be a good choice seeing as: 1. The location is central to KBF & SFMM. 2. Relatively cheap rates as compared to hotels in Hollywood/downtown LAX. It ended up being a terrible choice because: 1. The area surrounding LAX is bad borderline scary. 2. There is nowhere to eat apart from Burger King/disgusting hotel room service. 3. The bus I took to the parks (Starline Tours) would pickup from LAX hotels first (EARLY in the morning) and dropoff at LAX hotels last (LATE at night) 4. The "deluxe" renovated room I paid for, albeit new, sucked and looked as if it were designed in the early 90's. Anyway onto KBF. The bus arrived at my hotel at around 7am. After doing all of the pickups the bus heads to Hollywood for processing/ticket collection, where you then jump on another bus that goes directly to the park. I arrived at the park a little after 10am. It was cold and wet so the park was empty. How empty?

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I wanted to start off slow and build up to the bigger coasters so off to Pony Express I went. Thankfully only one train was operating and the paint on the brakes had dried so my chance of dying on this thing was slim

;) Painfully slow launch and a relatively boring layout, was an absolute hit with the 9 kids that were at the park that day though.

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Xcelerator and it's surrounding area were still closed at this point so I walked over to Ghostrider. Yes it's rough as s**t and yes you completely stop on the MCBR, but it doesn't detract from the fact that it's an insane coaster. The only wooden coasters I've been on were those at Wonderland so maybe I'm giving it a little more praise than it actually deserves, but it just seemed to keep going on and on. Love it.

I saw a train crest the tophat of Xcelerator so naturally I picked up my walking pace and headed over. Literally a walk on with the air gates already open. The launch is incredible. SO much more forceful than Superman, it really honestly takes your breath away every time. The tophat is fantastic but IMO the overbanks were a little lacking. I still prefer Superman but that launch, WOW.

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Silver Bullet was closed as the lake was drained for the repositioning/addition of a support so I gave Montezooma's Revenge a go. The loop has to be the most intense thing I've ever experienced, good fun. Sierra Sidewinder was also a nice surprise, ended up being a lot more fun than I had expected it to be.

Supreme Scream was only running one tower so this was the only ride I had to wait a couple of cycles for. I love the initial drop, it really yanks you down as opposed to the gravity driven drop rides.

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As my tolerance for spinny rides has weakened over the past few years, the rest of the day was spent re-riding the coasters as much as possible. I ended up getting about 11 runs on Xcelerator, including the last train of the day when the crew decided to launch us again after a quick recheck of restraints. They could've easily shut down the ride and kicked us off but they were more than happy to send us around again, awesome operations.

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On the way back we were stuck in traffic for a good hour. The bus was full as it had picked up everyone from Disney as well, so it took around 3 hours for me to get back to my hotel. The driver was fantastic though -- after dropping the others off we had a nice chat and even stopped for me at In n' Out to pick up a meal and eat on the way back. Genuinely a nice guy so I tipped a little more than what I usually would.

Up stupidly early the next day for what I was really waiting for - SFMM! Hunger pains set in when I woke up at 5:30 so I ordered the hotel's "mega" breakfast. Tasted nothing short of ass so I left a note informing them so (which thankfully the hotel acknowledged and didn't charge me for).

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This is what you pass as you drive up to the park's entrance. This is also where I realised I'm a huge nerd after I began to shake in excitement.

We arrived at the park well before opening so I grabbed a nice spot in line ready for the dash to X2. By the time the gates opened there were only 100 or so people waiting (another really cold day - it even started snowing for 5 minutes!) so I ended up casually walking to X2. It's easily my favourite ride -- the first drop is ridiculous. I really think the American's whinge too much re: coaster roughness. Yeah it shakes you around a little but definitely not enough to yell and curse Arrow/S&S/whoever. Every time I rode it my mind was too busy trying to process WTF was happening.

After X2 was Viper, another walk on. Surprisingly smooth but not something I'd ride over and over. Tatsu was near but I wanted to leave that til later on as I didn't want to knock out the park's two star attractions in less than half an hour and be disappointed with the rest of the park's coasters...

So I headed in the opposite direction over to Scream. It sucked. Sat in the front row, the whole floorless thing is a huge gimmick IMO and adds nothing to the ride, it'd do just as well if not better with a standard sitdown train. For a relatively new B&M I was expecting a smooth ride, but it's comparable to Lethal Weapon. Huge disappointment so needless to say I didn't reride.

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Batman was next, such a great blur of intense fun. Sat in the back row as the front was closed when I rode (guessing because of the rain).

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Riddler's was right next door so I raced over. Great ride, definitely in my top 5. It just feels so unnatural to not be sitting down a coaster.

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Deja Vu was closed (apparently it doesn't operate during winter). Bit of a shame really as I've heard it's fantastic. Not to worry though as Apocalypse was running. To be entirely honest I didn't know what to think of it... yes it's twisty and forceful but no real OMG moments. I loved the out of control feeling of Ghostrider -- this just felt like a mediocre steel coaster. Although I actually liked the preshow rooms (again something that's constantly bashed by the locals), theming adds so much to a ride and it's great that a decent effort was made.

The weekend I visited SFMM had planned a "soft opening" of Superman: Escape from Krypton for their Facebook friends. Unfortunately the snow/occasional light drizzle kept the track wet and hence closed. Would've been nice as they actually run this at full speed!

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While I was up on the mountain I gave Ninja a go. Another nice surprise, I really like the free swinging of the cars -- definitely an underrated ride in the park so I stayed on for a couple of more cycles.

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Finally Tatsu was up, not much to say other than it's such a brilliant/graceful/forceful/fun coaster. The pretzel loop is ridiculous.

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I headed back toward the front of the park for Goliath & Revolution. Goliath is fun although all I really remember is squinting the entire time... ice cold air + speed hurts. Revolution is another coaster that I found hardly rough, the first couple of drops were great.

By this point it was only 1:30 so I did another lap of the park before heading back to the hotel. All in all a great park, really thankful that the park was dead empty. So empty infact that their management decided to shut at 6pm instead of the scheduled 8pm.

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For a relatively new B&M I was expecting a smooth ride, but it's comparable to Lethal Weapon. Huge disappointment so needless to say I didn't reride.

I woudn't say it was bad as Lethal Weapon, but I did find it hillarious that the ride managed to whack the back of my head when it hit the final brakes, like as if it jerked forward or something.

The launch is incredible. SO much more forceful than Superman, it really honestly takes your breath away every time.

Don't you reckon that moment between the final light going off and the green light on the launch turning on is the longest second in your life?

so I walked over to Ghostrider. Yes it's rough as s**t and yes you completely stop on the MCBR, but it doesn't detract from the fact that it's an insane coaster.

Totally agree with this, it goes beyond being 'painfully rough' to being 'hillariously rough'. And besides, its not possible to headbang, so the ride is a win for me. Anyway, great TR, summed it all up much more concisely then I could ever hope too....What's next, a trip to Orlando ;) ? Edited by Gazza

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Loved the report... gotta admit I'm a little jealous you got to do this... so far I've been to San Francisco for a week and the majority of time I was there at the uni and didn't get much free time!! But I'm planning a trip next year hopefully so I plan to finally do the park... plus some other Hollywood touristy things... wouldn't mind going to the taping of one of those late night shows :D

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Yeah I loved X2. Tatsu was pretty cool but kind of rough when I went on it. Because I'm an idiot, I went on Ghostrider twice and sat in the back both times. My spine compressed about 6 inches each ride. SO rough.

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The pony express is the reason why I don't say Mick doohans motocoaster is bad.

I rode the Motocoaster for the first time last month and actually enjoyed it. The pacing was fine. Only downside were the dreadful trains and what they do to your knees... not good.

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I rode the Motocoaster for the first time last month and actually enjoyed it. The pacing was fine. Only downside were the dreadful trains and what they do to your knees... not good.

The trains are good for me, I fit in perfectly.

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The one time I rode Mick Doohan I had to take my shoes off in order to get the bike to close, my legs were too long.

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