Six Flags Over Texas

28th May 2013

We had high hopes for our second Six Flags park in as many days, but our expectations were quickly dashed by corporate theme park reality. We arrived in mid-morning to find at least half a dozen attractions closed due to high winds, including the much anticipated Sky Screamer, the Oil Derrick, Superman, Pandemonium, and both of the credits my girlfriend wanted to tick off, namely Judge Roy Scream and Shockwave. There were also guests bouncing basketballs in the park, providing a continous thumping noise guaranteed to cause headaches, and an inexplicably locked gate forcing guests to walk through a paid game area rather than directly towards their intended rides. One might have hoped that the large number of closed rides would have encouraged park management to run their remaining attractions to capacity, but it wasn't to be.

Six Flags Over Texas

We had to wait a little over two hours to ride New Texas Giant (#1907) – on a weekday during school term – because the ride was only operating one train, which the staff were dispatching around once every four minutes. We were approaching the front of the line when the decision was taken to load the second train, and this caused a thirty minute halt to operations. When we finally reached the ride station, we chose not to wait for a specific seat, instead taking the shortest wait time towards the back of the train.

As a regular park visitor, I firmly believe that all available trains should be loaded onto each and every roller coaster prior to park opening each day. If mechanical issues prevent this from happening, then a sign should be put up in front of the ride queueing area warning of increased wait times, and paid line jumping on that ride using the Flash Pass or similar should be suspended. Otherwise, guests can only conclude that the park is deliberately running their rides below capacity in order to increase flash pass sales, with an additional benefit of reduced maintenance costs.

New Texas Giant was the first wood coaster to be converted to steel by Rocky Mountain Construction, and, while a good ride, it lacks the wow factor of Iron Rattler. The layout starts and ends well, with some fantastic moments, but the middle of the course is a definite dead spot, the ride lacks the relentless pacing and energy of its brother. The conversion is still a massive improvement over the original ride, but the overall experience wasn't impressive enough for us to consider queueing a second time even if the wait time had been sensible.

Price gouging was very much in evidence today, with the park charging an extortionate ten dollars for an ordinary looking hot dog. Rather than hand over yet more money, we headed to Titan, a ride that remains one of my favourite steel coasters. Two trains were in use today, and the third was nowhere in sight, its space in the maintenance shed empty. Fortunately the wait time was still fairly short, allowing us to take the second row of the front car in just fifteen minutes.

Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast was our next, and as it turned out, final stop. The last time I rode this ride, I was able to enjoy the layout facing forwards, then backwards. The changed ride allows you to enjoy the ride facing backwards, then forwards. This is, of course, completely different, right? Oddly enough, it seemed to be; the experience of being launched backwards at seventy miles per hour managed to startle this jaded enthusiast, and it was quite surreal to slam into a brake run with the physical end of the track in sight. Both of us liked the experience a lot, though in my case a few points came off from the restraint tightening while out on course.

 

Carnival Americana

28th May 2013

An unexpected bonus credit, even a pathetic one, is always guaranteed to cheer up a coaster counting enthusiast after a Six Flags Day. We spotted a ferris wheel and drop tower while driving up the Interstate towards Oklahoma, and closer inspection revealed the presence of a tiny Orient Express (#1908). The vast majority of Orient Expresses have a station building reminiscent of a Chinese temple, but this one featured a unique hand painted facade that was designed to look like graffiti on a brick wall. Appearances aside, the ride was about what one would expect from a five foot high coaster with a single oval; we ticked off our credit then made a rapid exit.

Bonus Credit!