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Jersey Shore Big Day Pt 1: SFGAdv / Playland Castaway Cove

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When I was planning my trip to the US, I set aside a day, hopeful that Nickelodeon Universe at American Dream mall in NJ would be open/
But as everyone has seen, it only just opened a few days much for that plan.
This meant I had a whole extra day with a hire car, with the only requirement being returning to Newark airport early the next morning.
Originally I considered going to Coney Island, but I figured it would be a waste given I’ll probably return to NYC one day in the future.
I opted to make the most of my wheels, and drive down to the Jersey Shore instead, but also stop in at Six Flags Great Adventure to try a couple of new rides I was interested in.

I’ve already been to SFGAdv a few years ago, so didn’t really need to do the whole park again, just favourites/new stuff.
Opressive heat due to a heatwave in that part of the country meant the park was dead so no waits.
In an act of silliness last time, I did two rides on my previous visit, but got distracted and did them both in the front instead of one front and one back.
I took the opportunity to right that wrong.

Cyborg Cyber Spin
A heavy motivation for this visit was to try a Tourbillon, a ride that resembles a gyroscope, and one we all probably dreamed up as a kid.
So how is it? A little repetitive feeling to be honest, like if you are on doomsday but spinning around. The seats basically loop in one direction, with the outer rings also rotating at a fairly steady pace, so it’s a sensation of continuously looping and corkscrewing. Im not sure if this has the potential to run a more varied program with directional changes and so forth, that would really make it interesting.
The most impressive thing was the structure rotating around you…It was like being in Mr Manhattans machine in Watchmen.





Justice League Battle for Metropolis
 Still one of the most polished attractions SF have done, and it’s good to know they have a decent calibre dark ride in most of their parks now. For those of you unfamilar, Joker and Lex Luthor have kidnapped members of the Justice League, so you have to race around the city and into Lexcorp HQ to free them. The ride vehicles can spin and tilt, so that alone adds a lot of enjoyment. The sets are well done as well, but the grand finale chase sequence (viewed on a curved screen) feels a little fast and chaotic so you lose some immersion. Plenty of good practical effects throughout the ride, such as oil drums tumbling towards you, fire effects, smoke etc. I was the only one onboard, so i just sat back and didn’t really shoot to take it all in.





I opted to skip over Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth



 My 2nd time trying one of the S&S Freespins (I rode the original one at Fiesta Texas, but despite riding twice, didn’t get much flipping)
This one was much better, with several unexpected full somersaults along the course which really catch you off guard. I had a few goes, trying a both the backwards and fowards sides.
The ride has a strict no loose items policy, but its very annoying how the locker area only has a single console. I was waiting ages for the person ahead of me to discuss every rental option with their group. Meanwhile, I was done with the transaction in like 20 secs.
Ferris Wheel
 Had a spin on this one, playing the “im an Aussie tourist” card to get around the fact the ride doesnt allow single riders (Apparently New Jersey doesn’t allow single riders on ferris wheels due to incidents of singles jumping off and killing themselves) 
Got some nice pics of Nitro anyhow.
Sky Ride
 More or less did this one to quickly get to the other side of the park and grab a few more aerial pics.




This one was closed on my last visit, so I was finally able to take a ride on the worlds tallest drop tower. How is it? I reckon both GD and Lex Luthor at SFMM are much better. This one has you walking ages to the end of the Kingda Ka launch track to get to the actual boarding area, and the queue area is ugly AF, and they seem to have these odd mechanical canopy type things that sit over the station and tilt up when the ride needs to run...Are they there to protect people in the boarding area from falling objects from Kingda Ka?
The drop i felt wasn’t as good because you are kind of enveloped a bit by the Kingda Ka structure and track either side...less exposed basically.
Still, a good few seconds of weightlessness!




Kingda Ka
Man, what a shadow of its former self. It was running ONE train, which thankfully wasnt too bad due to the lack of crowds, but I’d hate to come on a moderately busy day! They also cant run it when Zumanjaro is running, which further cuts capacity. The launch is spectacular and its very rough now. A stark contrast to Top Thrill Dragsters smoothness and well tuned operations from just a few days ago.


El Toro
I concluded my visit with El Toro, which is always a thrill due to it’s out of control airtime. A bit rougher than last time, but still a spectacular ride.




I jumped in the car for the 90 min drive across New Jersey to Ocean City for Playlands Castaway Cove.



It’s a compact park bung right on the boardwalk and surrounded by holiday resort complexes and apartment buildings. Easy enough to get a metered spot on the street for a couple of hours.



The park has 4 coasters crammed in, plus a bunch of flat rides. The one flat ride I was interested in (Squadron 33....A Technical Park Aerobat) wasn’t ready yet, and the others I have done before, so I just purchased enough tickets for the coasters.



GaleForce is of course the main reason for visiting. It’s a compact launch coaster that looks like something you’d design when pushing the boundaries in No Limits, with a 12 seater train (like Green Lantern with an extra row) negotiating some ridiculously tight turns. If it were any slower it wouldn’t clear a couple of them. If it were any faster you’d likely be launched into orbit.
I guess to keep running costs low they’ll only cycle it every 15 min or so if its part loaded, but i think thats counter productive because it makes people think its not open.
I took a front row seat. A first sudden launch gets you partway up the first incline, a 2nd launch propels you back the way you came and partially up a half loop, and the one final launch really kicks and gets you up onto this crazy looking top hat thing with an apex that is just like abyss, leading into a beyond vertical drop. Coming off that is this wierd upwards twist that leads into an outward banked drop, then comes a non inverted immelmann and a non inverted dive loop back into the station. You shoot through the station, go partially back up the first hill, then stall and are slowed down as you reverse back into the station.
This thing was crazy and had me holding one, and half wondering if it might derail!




I went back later for a ride in the back row.



Next i did Wild Waves , which evokes memories of Thrillseeker at SW. This one loops around gale force a couple of times and was built by Miller, so not the most finnessed coaster out there. It felt a bit RCT, with a small lift out of the station, turn, then another lift.
The ride itself felt a lot like a galaxi coaster, with family sized straight drops and wide turns.




The other two coasters were Pirates Gold Rush, a simple oval shape kiddy coaster….


...And Whirwind, one of those figure 8 spinning coasters like Speedy Beetle at LPM


I circled the park for a few pics.







Then I ducked a few hundred meters up the boardwalk to ride the Wacky Worm coaster at Gillians Wonderland (A competitor park), and then headed back to my car for the final target of the day.





Edited by Gazza
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