Thursday, April 3, 2008

Six Flags Magic Mountain: West Coast Bash

California Trip Report Part 3

It was another early wake up and get on the road for the hour drive from Anaheim up to Six Flags Magic Mountain in the hills north of LA. This is really pretty country and the drive was a blast in the warm weather and scenic locale. I got to Six Flags around 8ish and was treated to free parking (which was sweet and one of the many things the park did to make sure the people at the event had a great time).

West Coast Bash kicked off with a speach by Jay the park president welcoming everyone. Morning ERT was 1.5 hours on Superman, Tatsu, Revolution & Viper. I (and most of the crowd) bolted for Tatsu. This was the only thing at Magic Mountain that was new to me and I was completely blown away. Tatsu is soooooo much greater then any other flying coaster its not even funny. Its location on the mountain provides some of the greatest views on any ride, the look straight down from the lift hill feels like its about 300 feet up and is quite frightening, the pretzel loop is huge and incredibly forceful/insane and the finale that overlooks the entrance and fountain area is breathtaking. Tatsu was worth the price of admission alone.

The rest of the coaster open for ERT I found generally unimpressive. Superman for a ride that claims to be 100 mph and 400 feet tall (both of which i question cause the ride doesn't 'feel' like its goin a hundo and doesn't make it anywhere close to the top of the tower). My one and only ride on Viper was rough and un-enjoyable. I rode the historic Revolution a few times, my two rides in the front seat were fun, but any other seat was banging my neck around.

The park opened up at 10 and I had around an hour and a half to see all Magic Mounatin had to offer. I grabbed a great front seat ride on Goliath which I think is a generally underrated coaster (and it was 'Aquaman: The Ride' on Entourage so its cool in my book). Next up was a ride on Scream! which was fun. I really don't care that the ride is in the parking lot, just doesn't bother me or take away from the ride experiance. The ride at some jank looking outdoor speakers set up at certain points of the course, but you really couldn't hear it at all on the ride. I got a lap on Collosus in next.

SFMM gotham city area is pretty well done as far as theme goes, its got a few flat rides (something this park is hurting for big time). I rode Batman & Goldrusher before it was time for lunch. I got on all the major coasters in the park in the 3 hours I had there except for Riddlers Revenge (Deja Vu wasn't working).

Lunch was next and was the same Buffet style feeding trough meal that all coaster events seem to have. One thing I found funny was that this was a TPR event, and over on the TPR forums it is 'fashionable' to bash ACE for their buffet lunches at events and how many of the members are sterotyped as nerdy or overweight. While at the first BIG TPR event guess what, they feature the same all you can eat buffet style meal they enjoy bashing ACE for. The crowd was also the same collection of Nerds-Regular People-Fatties & Weirdos that you'd find at any ACE event.

After lunch it was time for behind the scenes tours. I could only stay for half of them and got to see the SFMM boneyard area with old coaster cars and attraction vehicles. But then unfortunately I had to dart off towards LAX. I am sad that i missed the Q&A with the park president who really seems to enjoy what he does and of course the nighttime ERT on all the coasters. The event was a lot of fun and if I am in the same situation next year, I will be back.

A lot has been made about SFMM being 'completely changed' and has 'turned the corner'. Personally I am a little skeptical on the situation. I mean the SFMM team has gotten the backing of a large portion of the enthusiast community and I think this is because they have been friendly to them more so then what they have done. I mean would people on the net be claiming SFMM is so much better if they didn't put on this elaborate enthuiast event, or the park president just hanging out with fanboys during the day, but mostly I think its because SFMM has Robb Alvey on their side and singing their praises on the net. I mean Robb is probably the most influential/popular person in the online coaster community, and being nice to him, getting him interviews with the CEO, getting his fans a great event is a good way to turn around the opinion of a park has been a punching bag park for reviews.

Do I think the park has made improvements? Probably, but I don't go to the park enough (first visit in five years) to be a good source on the topic. But I know if they put on events like this, I will be back.

Ride Count
Superman - The Escape (2x)
Tatsu (2x)
Gold Rusher
Revolution (3x)
Batman: The Ride

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