Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Belmont Park

Today I went down to Belmont Park to surprise Big Mike! I figured since he was in my backyard (San Diego) I might as well come say "Hi." The Big Mike Road Show was at Sea World San Diego for the most of the day, but scheduled to make an appearance at Belmont Park at 5 P.M. I thought the chances of Big Mike finishing Sea World earlier than expect were high, so I showed up at the park around 3:30. I wore my West Coast Bash T-shirt to stand out, and I'm glad I did because I met a group from Ohio in town. (Please Email me your names! telerockerlft@herzeleid.net) They were here for Knott's Berry Farm's Winter Coaster Solace, West Coast Bash, and to visit other California parks.

We did a couple runs on the Giant Dipper, talked about West Coast Bash, California, and Ohio coasters for a bit. I'm glad to here that they were very impressed with Six Flags Magic Mountain and the management team. It also makes me happy to hear that they really enjoyed coasters like X2 and Tatsu. I'm proud of our coasters in California (Hence the name Calicoasters) and I trust someone from Ohio would have a good taste in coasters.

Despite how often I've been running and walking I still barely fit on the Giant Dipper. Once again I ended up with bruises on my "Thunder Thighs." Some rides were easier than others, but those others were almost unbearable. I especially had a hard time when on one run they let us go twice in a row. I did a little bit of riding with a boy name Jager from the Ohio group. I think it is cool that he is half my age and has more than three times my credits (Me: 44, Jager: 155?) He told me he wished he lived in California... I told him I wish we could trade places! I would love to go to Kings Island and Cedar Point, as well as many other Mid-West parks.

The Giant Dipper was really good today, it was a bit more forceful than my last visit and wasn't really rough at all. I have been slacking on my exercise ever since West Coast Bash, but I'm sure one day my legs will be small enough to fit comfortably on this ride again. I definitely need to keep trying, I had a hard time with the Grizzly at California's Great America and decided it wasn't even worth the struggle and then again on V2: Vertical Velocity at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom wouldn't be the same if the next time I visit the park I couldn't ride V2: Vertical Velocity. I don't think I can grow anymore Vertically, but I need to work on horizontally before I really can't ride coasters anymore.

Well it was getting late, and I had a Birthday Party to get to, but still no sign of Big Mike! I waited until just after 6:00 and I couldn't wait for him anymore. It turns out, I only missed him by a few minutes! Well... It's Big Mike, he doesn't seem to take a break, so I'm sure I will see him again someday! Too my friends from Ohio, I hope you have safe travels back home, and I'm glad you enjoyed our "Calicoasters."

Thanks for reading and have fun!


Yeah so we are not going to Texas this year as planned. We still have been locally active this year:

Knott's Berry Farm 1/11
Six Flags Magic Mountain 1/17
Knott's Berry Farm 1/18
Belmont Park 2/15
Six Flags Magic Mountain & Knott's Berry Farm 3/01
Knott's Berry Farm 3/10
Six Flags Magic Mountain (West Coast Bash) 3/22
Belmont Park 3/24

What's next? We might return to Knott's Berry Farm in the next two weeks if Xcelerator is still running. Unfortunately because we are moving we probably won't be at Six Flags Magic Mountain until Media Day 5/21. In June we might be in Las Vegas to Tie... something :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

West Coast Bash - Six Flags Magic Mountain

WEST COAST BASH 2009! - Today was amazing! The journey started at 4:50 this morning when I woke Sarah up and told her it was time to get ready. We left the house about 5:20 and began our 130 mile (estimate) drive to Six Flags Magic Mountain. We stopped to get some coffee (Sarah), water (Me), donuts, and Chex Mix. We arrived at the park and got to the registration table sometime before 8 o' clock.

Now we just had to wait for the event to start while the rain was pouring down on us. At this point we were wondering if X2 ERT (Exclusive Ride Time) and other coaster ERT was going to be available. I think around 8:15 Neal Thurman gave us a speech welcoming us to not the new, but the here to stay Six Flags Magic Mountain! Neal also had some surprise coasters added to the morning ERT, but then explained which coasters were rideable in this wet cold weather.

The ERT we were expecting was from 8:30 to 10:30 and included Revolution, X2, Viper, Tatsu, Sky Tower, Superman, & Ninja.

The ERT Six Flags Magic Mountain wanted us to experience added Déjà Vu and Goliath

The ERT the weather permitted us to have was Revolution, X2, Viper, Tatsu, and Goliath. (Please correct me if I'm wrong... I want to be right!)

The way the weather looked, I'm surprised we got any of it at all! After Neal's introduction they openend the gates a couple minutes early and we rushed in to get our lanyards containing our schedule for the event. Sarah and I went to the lockers to store all of our event paper work and our backpack. This is the first time I've used an all day locker at the park and I have to admitt I paid a few dollars more for it than I wanted to. I did however like the payment and retrieval system they had installed for the lockers, it was fast and real easy to use.

Now that we were ready to ride we headed towards X2. It seemed like we were going to get away with a good ride on X2 without any real wait at all, until trouble came. The load in front of us was having some trouble, and maintenance couldn't figure it out at first. One of the riders restraints were reading unsecure, so staff was adjusting his restraints to see if that would do the trick. Well after a couple minutes of that they un-boarded all passengers back into the line. After taking off a access plate behind the troubled seat the found that water was on the safety sensor lense (unofficial name) confusing the computer into thinking that the rider wasn't secure. The passengers were then reboarded and sent off for the ride of their lives! When it was our turn to board the same problem arised at several different seats, one of them was mine. Eventually we too were sent off for the ride of our lifes and it was amazing! X2 is was extremely smooth in the cold morning air, and the fire was more intense as it burned away the cold atmosphere!

Our next ride for ERT was Tatsu! My Flashpass discount has changed in a way I have yet to learn, but I'm not looking forward to waiting in a long line to ride Tatsu any time soon. Some day I will visit the new Flashpass center to figure out what the damage would be for Sarah and I to rent the new Q-Bot for a day. Today's rides on Tatsu were the best I've ever had from this coaster. We got off the ride and ran back around to the entry for a second ride on this flying beast!

We wanted to get the most out of our ERT as regulars to the park, so we headed back to X2. There was still almost no line for this ride, but this time there was nothing in it's way! This time we were somewhere in the center of the train, still a great ride but nothing could top my favorite (the back) row #7! I noticed one train was skipping it's fire effect for some time, I'm glad we got fire on both rides and I fell sorry to those especially those out of town who didn't experience the effect.

By now the rain was long gone, but so was ERT. We headed over to the Terminator Salvation: The Ride tour, but we missed the tour by only a couple minutes. The park was now just opening for the general public so we rushed over to Goliath to get a quick ride in. We waited for front row which was pretty even with the rest of the rows. Goliath proved to me a few times today why it's my favorite coaster at the park with it's amazing first drop and great use of both positive and negative G forces. After that we headed back over to the Terminator Salvation: The Ride Tour and waited for the second tour to begin. There Tim Burkhart explained the rides features, stats, and gave us an good idea of what we can expect this coaster experience to be. He also made a crack at my GhostRider sweatshirt and at the ride itself. Sorry, but Knott's Berry Farm sweatshirts don't shrink 3 sizes after one wash :) I currently own 3 Six Flags Magic Mountain Sweatshirts and 1 Six Flags Discovery Kingdom sweatshirt, and after 1 wash they all became property of Sarah. While GhostRider is an extremely abusive coaster, I still thing it has an amazing layout and I consider it the best wooden coaster in California. I can only hope that Tim Burkhart's Terminator Salvation: The Ride will change my mind and the park will have a good looking sweatshirt that represents the ride so I can buy it, wear it once, and give it to my girlfriend!

I must say, I'm looking forward to riding this bad boy the day it opens to the public! I was excited when I first heard the park was getting a GCI wooden coaster because it was exactly what I wanted the park's next coaster to be. Now if they can just convince me that a movie featuring robots from the future relates to a wooden coaster then that would be perfect! After that we headed up the mountain to get some lunch. On the way the over there the clouds rolled in and it started to hail. The weather change was very dramatic today because when we got on the Orient Express it was hailing, and when we got off it was almost sunny again.

When we made it to lunch the sun was back out and working at full force. Lunch was held at the Paradise Picnic Pavilion at the Hurricane Harbor water park. I actually really enjoyed the lunch prepared for us, we had Fried Chicken, BBQ Beef, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Rolls, Ice Cream, and of coarse Soda to wash it all away. Everything was great except for the Fried Chicken, the Patato Salad was by far the best part to me. During Lunch we got to meet a famous and amazing coaster enthusiast Big Mike! Big Mike was crowded with supporters and fans trying to get a picture, not only because it's Big Mike, but because he had prizes for those lucky enough to recieve a winning card from him. We also met another "coaster celebrity" and a huge driving force behind this event Robb Alvey. I'm sure I said it there, but I will say it again (and again, and again) Thank you for such an amazing event!

After lunch we had plenty of free time to kill, so headed over to Viper. I've never had this happen to me before... we rode Viper and then forgot about it! It wasn't until I recalled someone yelling "it's so smooth" on it, that I remember we rode it. I'm guessing we had fun on it, and it wasn't too rough.

While on Viper, we noticed X2's massive line was filled and that we probably wouldn't get to ride it until after the park closed. Up the hill, Tatsu had almost no line to it, but we skipped it and headed up farther to Ninja. Ninja was fun and we probably would have stayed for re-rides, but there were a lot of people in the station when we returned.

After that we headed down the mountain to Gold Rusher. Gold Rusher was great, but a group of people were tossing a stuffed animal back and forth during the ride. Like I predicited, one of them threw it too far and I ended up catching it. I told them they need to knock it off before something bad happens, and then I gave it back to them. Sarah said I was like a strict father, the group was silent the rest of the ride.

Our next ride was a personal favorite of mine Riddler's Revenge. I was shocked to see the green question mark lights were back! Hopefully they will move around the room a little bit like they used to. The wait was only a couple minutes, the ride itself was amazing as usual!

We skipped Batman The Ride because it makes Sarah sick and headed over to Colossus. Colossus had a long line and was only running a single train so we went on Scream! My last several rides on Scream! had all been unpleasant, but today's ride was great! The ride had a little bit of vibrations, but no rough spots at all. It almost reminded me of the Scream! I used to love! We would have rode it again, but when we returned to the station the line was filling in.

After that we went on the Buccaneer. I always thought most swinging ships were exactly the same, but Buccaneer is no where near as forcefull as Dragon Swing at Knott's Berry Farm. Buccaneer felt like a waste of time. After that we went on Thomas The Tank Engine. I felt like I needed to pay my respects to what got me into rollercoasters... trains! I remember being a little kid loving trains, especially Thomas, and the book "The Little Engine That Could." I grew up with a collection of Brio wooden train sets, and as I got olded I made large hills that resembled Rollercoasters with my track pieces. I was expecting more of a layout from the ride, but I still see it as tons of fun for children.

As we wondered into the deep of Bugs Bunny World we came across a rollercoaster that had yet to be ridden by us. Canyon Blaster is a small kid friendly coaster that Sarah and I have skipped for years! A lot of coaster enthusiast count the coasters they've ridden and keep them as "credit." While both Sarah and I do count coasters, we have always believed in quality over quantity. Riding Canyon Blaster today doesn't mean we've officialy crossed over to the "Dark Side" yet. We simply dipped our feet into that pool and decided it wasn't for us. Sarah and I only count the coasters we've been on since we've been dating, and after just over two years my count is 44, and Sarah's is 43.

After that we went back to serious riding and hit Goliath up twice in a row. Though I've never had a bad ride on Goliath, today's rides had a little something extra special. It might have been due to the weather, it have been because we were so excited at the event, but Goliath was by far the best ride of the day.

Now we headed over to Magic Moments Theater for the Park Management Presentation, and Theme Park Review DVD preview. First thing we did was line up for a big group photo with all West Coast Bash participant's that were in the area at the time.

Inside the theater a lot was said, but the best experience of the entire day was the Q&A session with the park's management team. Before the presentation was over we got to see a preview of Theme Parks Review's next DVD. I'm glad I went to the bathroom right before it, because if I didn't I would have peed my pants because the video was so funny! I'm looking forward this DVD release!

After the presentation we were given a piece of wood scraps from the Terminator Salvation: The Ride construction site. We were getting hungry, and Sarah wanted Denny's so we left the park.

When we returned to the park Sarah had a stomach ache! So we ended up cutting our Night ERT in half. Night ERT included all of the park's coasters except for Percy's Railway. But then due to wind X2 was also removed from the ERT as well. The park was still open but the lines were dead so we went on Tatsu. Tatsu was a great night ride and to me one of the best rides of the day.

After that I met and talked to Chris Godsey of www.rideworld.com, another driving force behind this event. He told me that they are already thinking about what to do for next year's Bash, and that the park wants there to be over a thousand of us at next year's event. I registered at Rideworld (3/25) but I still haven't recieved a conformation yet. Our next ride was Ninja. Ninja is one of the best night rides because of it's dark disorienting terrain. By this point of the night we were both pretty exhausted, and it caused me to make an awkward introduction to Theme Park Review member Crazy4Coasters. I already appologized for it, and hopefully we can have a redo soon.

Our next ride was Riddler's Revenge. I have to say, as much as I love this coaster during the day, nothing changes at night. We still had a great time riding Riddler's Revenge, but we don't think it offers a different experience from the day.

After that we headed over to Colossus where a Racoon was preventing us from entire the line. I tried to take pictures of it without the flash on because I didn't want to scare it. Sarah wouldn't go near the ride until it was gone, but even then I had to hold her hand. We rode Colossus in the front row with Mr. Six and Chris Godsey behind us. I'm glad we got to ride Colossus today because it is constantly climbing the ladder to be one of my top 10 coasters. Infact I'm sure that if backwards ever became a year round ride it would be my favorite coaster.

Our next ride would be our last of the day. We were just so tired and Sarah wasn't feeling good from the Denny's we ate before, so we ended with the best ride of the day Goliath. Goliath is an amazing night ride, the lack of light makes this fast coaster seem even faster, and the cold air makes the ride even smoother. We walked back towards the front of the park and met up with Big Mike again to get an update on X2. He told us that the person at the gate said it would be closed for the rest of the night. We walked out the park and Sarah said she will be in better shape for next years event! Maybe next year we will eat at the Mooseburger Lodge like I suggested! We had an incredible day, Thank you to Theme Park Review, Ride World, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and everyone else who made this event as fun as it was! We will see you again next year!. Thanks for reading, and have fun!

Today's Ride/Events Rankings

15. Buccaneer
14. Thomas The Tank Engine
13. Orient Express
12. Canyon Blaster
11. Gold Rusher
10. Viper
09. Ninja
08. Riddler's Revenge
07. Colossus
06. Scream!
05. X2
04. Terminator Salvation: The Ride Tour
03. Tatsu
02. Goliath
01. Magic Moments Theater

Found Coins: 2 Quarters and 3 Pennies.