As we left Indiana (for now) and headed on into Missouri, we faced what was billed as the most difficult day of the trip. There had been various flip flops over whether it was worth it, amongst the many different itineraries that had been invented over time. Once 2022 rolled around, the opening of a certain new coaster meant that this was the only way to open a whole world of opportunity.
Also, let’s be honest, it would have sucked to dedicate a whole day to just
Day 5 – Six Flags St. Louis
Nerves were wracked from the very get go as we arrived extra early to be faced with this. We wanted to allow as much time as possible before park opening to go through whatever rigmarole would be required to once more collect our ‘2020’ season passes that they had promised to honour in 2022. Previous experience with Six Flags had shown that it wasn’t even easy to obtain a normal version in normal times.
We sat here in front of the gate for what felt like far too long as a number of cars gradually stacked up behind us, mentally revving our engines and going over the gameplan a million times. A mere 15 minutes before (10:15) the park itself was due to open (10:30), someone appeared and unlocked this gate so that we could wheelspin over to the parking booths.
There was no time to argue the point over season pass collection with a parking attendant so, wallet $30 lighter, we parked as close as physically possible to the entrance without being ‘preferred’, with the car already pointed towards the exit for a quick getaway.
Security weren’t ready for those of us who had now reached this point so there was a little more kerfuffle before we could walk through the scanners. A man at guest services was at least ready for us as we powered over, brandishing out of date tickets and various emails yet again. He seemed cool with it and set to work generating the passes while I could feel myself already burning. “You picked the hottest day of the year for it”, he remarked. Well, that won’t help matters, but gotta run.
It was all for nothing of course, no sooner than were we through the entrance we were then accosted by another member of security who stated that you can’t get into the park proper for another half an hour (11:00). This left us stranded with nothing but a shop, the entrance plaza, and a sliver of shade to stand around in, mentally revving our engines, going over the gameplan a million times and facing down a man with a baton and litter picker.
Because their lineup is pretty trash, ‘members’ of this particular Six Flags gain a whole 10 minutes of early access past these security guards, a policy I first observed in appalling fashion during my debut with the chain when it spited me walk-on Joker at Discovery Kingdom. Several of these members got ahead of us using this method of course, going on the guy’s first whistle, though the joke was on them because why would they want to rush this park?
Gladiators, you will go on my second whistle. We were off.
It was all for nothing of course as we raced over to Mr. Freeze. Even though we had now been at the establishment for 90 minutes, the park didn’t have the rides ready and open for us anyway by gone 11:00. A surly ride host told us to come back later. So that membership is even more useless now I thought to myself as we passed one particular member already collapsed on a bench from heat exhaustion, probably thinking ‘worth it.’
Alright then, Boss? 38°C and sweating profusely, this wasn’t the time to have poor route planning but we needed to hit these rides at a rate of knots if the day was going to work. Same story at the Boss, come back later. Have a Six Flags day. A Mr. Freeze test train hit the spike once more to tease us at this point and we reached the original conclusion that it all had to begin there. Low capacity, high popularity, oh and the added complexity of it being Megalite’s 1000th coaster meant it had to be at least somewhat impressive.
The surly staff member was already gone just 5 minutes later and the queue was now open, so what was the point in wasting all that energy? There was no time to wonder. The outdoor queueline was far too long, but then the sheer bliss of aircon hit us in the building. That’s right #1 Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast, you’d better be damn cold.
I like the station track sliding over to the launch, taking your basket of personal belongings with you. There’s a good ominousness to it. Oh yeah, it’s ‘Reverse Blast’ isn’t it. BACKWARDS!!!
S’alright. Positive Gs and sunlight are my main memories from the experience. The spike itself is a strange sensation and the inverted top hat is pretty cool. Better than that Flight of Fear nonsense from a few days prior.
Soaked up one more brief burst of air-con before we staggered back outside scalded and half blinded onto the spinner, #2 Pandemonium. In our only semi-aware state it had a lot more offer than we gave it credit for, delivering the best spin I’ve ever had on a Gerstlauer and some high speed drops to boot.
#3 Boss then, now open. The outdoor queueline was even longer, and uphill, with stairs, so we were already half dead upon making it to the station. Awful ride sadly, this CCI layout has so much promise (just look at that photo), but instead the Gerstlauer trains rattle themselves around in poor fashion and grind themselves to a halt at every opportunity in what I assume is an attempt to stop the thing from tearing itself apart. Boss became the joke of the trip, in that everything was always better than it.
There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself uncomfortably towards a #4 Boomerang, but this was the fate we had chosen. Could be worse. +1.
The face of the #5 Screamin’ Eagle on the sign for this ride summed up the situation at this point, but the ride was rather decent. Airtime, laterals and just the right amount of shake, rattle and roll. Much like Six Flags America, the surprise best ride in the park is the woodie no one talks about.
The #6 River King Mine Train had way too many lift hills that led to basically nothing, but the tracking was comedically poor to make up for it. Can’t believe this thing was converted to a stand-up at one point. It didn’t end well.
The wrong #7 Ninja was as bad as it looked. “Wwwelcome back riders, how was your ride?” “My head hurts.” “Oh, I’m sorry”.
And we finished the park on the #8 Batman The Ride clone with it’s metal shed station feeling like a furnace. Staff were literally pouring bottles of water over themselves between dispatches to keep themselves going, which wasn’t a great sign.
Ride was running pretty hot itself to be fair and trying to rip my feet right off, which is a great sign.
With that, we had completed the creds in a sliver less than 90 minutes, with the caveat that American Spiter was closed all day. Don’t care, got the clone.
So, Six Flags St. Louis eh? Pretty much what I expected. Some coasters. At least it was quiet.
Having allowed about another hour, which was lost before we started, this put us exactly back on track for a stewing four hour drive to
Worlds of Fun
I like the balloon.
Back to back B&M inverts and the right #9 Patriot held it’s own. It had both grace and force with both unusual floaty sections and tight manoeuvres. Kinda reminded me of a mini Pyrenees, which is high praise indeed as that’s most likely my favourite that they’ll ever make by this point.
Titan Track #10 Timber Wolf was mostly uneventful. Just like I recall from Grizzly at Kings Dominion, those around us were losing their minds over how supposedly rough it was while we were just there, sunglasses on, not caring.
They didn’t let us on Cosmic Coaster sadly, putting it the nice way in that we were ‘too tall’.
And so we entered one of the worst queues of the trip. I’ll say it again – it was too hot. It hadn’t been quite so bad while we were keeping on the move and feeling like we were achieving things. Everything ground to a halt at #11 Mamba, with some pitiful one train ops. They had a crude sprinkler system set up to spray on the final set of brakes, though it was clearly the wrong set of brakes as they were barely putting any work in when compared to all the sets that preceded them.
We also got queue jumped by an overly large group when their youngest member simply walked in front of us, acting all innocent but knowing full well what they were doing. Then, gradually, every single one of the rest of them passed us as if we didn’t even exist. It made no difference by the time the station was reached anyway as it was a total scrum for any and every row, but it was still too much effort to be dealing with that nonsense.
It’s a shame, I liked Mamba, yet there was no way we could have put up with riding it more than once. These medium Morgans all follow pretty much the same formula and the return run of hills here were particularly triangular, delivering a hilarious and satisfying sequence of float and crunch.
#12 Prowler was next, now infamous for being difficult to photograph. I also failed in that regard. A solid GCI, not quite as spectacular as we had been treated to the last few days but still above average for me. It’s more twisty and turny, but there was good variety in there and it ran with that concept better than most. We managed a couple of laps on this one before the heat broke it.
If only to delay the inevitable that we would have to queue for, and ride, a second #13 Boomerang for the day. Even a mere two train wait looked far too unpleasant, but we’d come this far and had to see it through. Eww.
Which only left us with #14 Spinning Dragons, the second Gerstlauer spinner of the day. Gross Worlds of Fun crowds were back again, this time a guy glued to his phone and ignoring his kids for the duration simply cutting straight past us with no explanation. This time it did make a difference, because capacity, and by this point I was already looking forward to the time we could say ‘we’re not in Kansas any more’.
Ride itself was good again, I’m assuming this is the best layout for the model, can’t think of a better one right now.
And so, success, but at what cost? We were battered and burnt by the end of it, though it was probably still the ideal outcome. It simply would have been too much to spend more than half a day at either of these parks anyway, in the weather conditions we were presented with, and though Worlds of Fun in particular had a pretty strong top three, it wasn’t an overly pleasant place to exist in. Regardless, the extra effort was for a worthy cause later in the trip.