USA 06/22 – Six Flags Great Adventure, Casino Pier, Playland’s Castaway Cove, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier + Morey’s Piers
We had finally received an email from Six Flags St. Louis by the time we came to visit their last park of the trip. For the sake of ease on both parties it came down to a simple case of abandoning the pass and receiving a refund on the whole thing (still waiting on a cheque in the post). Which basically boiled down to our first two visits being free, before the other two on the spot ticket costs made it slightly more expensive anyway overall. You win some, you lose some.
Day 18 – Six Flags Great Adventure
Except it wasn’t quite that easy, as unlike Great America they didn’t want to sell us tickets on the door and the web page was full of all kinds of minor clerical issues like not letting you put personal details in the right format so that your bank then rejects you for being suspicious.
We so nearly cheesed our way in when a friendly staff member approached at speed and offered to get us through for free on his ‘bring a friend pass’, while we standing around the entrance looking confused and frustated at a phone. It wasn’t to be however, as he was then informed at the gate that ‘it doesn’t work on a day you’re working’. Nice try though.
After far too long we were in the hard way, with only one ride on our mind.
The #1 Jersey Devil Coaster. This thing amuses me, still feels like it came out of nowhere and the face on the train is so silly. I had a good feeling about it as we walked straight onto the platform with no queue and hopped on the highly efficient conveyor system they’ve developed to sort out the capacity issues of the original.
So it’s a shame it’s nothing like the originals in any other aspect either. I take issue with the fact that it rides really poorly across most of the seats I sampled. Unlike Railblazer clattering around in the station and then being butter smooth on track, the Devil clangs around on every joint and it just feels bizarre and unnecessary. What did they do wrong?
I take issue with the restraint design, where I didn’t before. There was no happy medium, it was either biting into my shoulders and restricting movement, or loose to the point of continually slipping off one side with me having to focus on putting it back in place rather than on the ride experience itself. I also don’t remember the straddle situation being quite so jarring in the way that it’s a slightly awkward leg position for receiving the best of the forces the ride has to offer.
I also take issue with the layout having lost the spirit of the ride type. By stretching everything out it loses that sheer ridiculousness factor of it whipping around the track at a million miles an hour to the point where I think it’s not real. This could easily have just been any old two-rail RMC and I can almost taste the world’s longest, tallest, fastest of it’s kind marketing wearing through the very design.
All that being said it’s still really good, obviously, it’s an RMC. There are some cracking airtime moments in there and the inversions are at least 50% graceful, in the right seat. Back row served me best, as always and it’s an easy top 3 in the park for me at least, which makes it no slouch.
So let’s knock out that top 3 one more time. Nitro was still full of the good stuff, when we finally found the entrance, reminding me that it’s still the best one around this particular part of the world. It’s really long, but less tiresome in the elements somehow and with a wider than usual range of forces throughout.
It’s all about the bull though, so glad they managed to get El Toro back in action after it had such an immense attempt at tearing itself apart. That says it all about this ride really, aggression by the bucket load. If it makes it 90% of the way around the course whilst destroying track in the process, you know there’s no holding back here.
That airtime. That airtime again. And again. It’s unearthly until that middle section and then it just hits you with purposeful speed and rumble before trying to do damage once more. The rolling thunder is back and better than ever, with extra bonus crunch at the bottom of the dip, just to bring you down to size after some of the most severe ejection around. The bronco adds so much flavour to the finale and yup, it’s the best prefab. Still got it.
We stayed with El Toro until the heat got the better of us, honouring it with the back to back laps it deserved, but couldn’t have, on our last visit due to such terrible operations. It brought back all the classic memories of this part of the park though. ‘It used to be my favourite ride’ and ‘I don’t like riiiiides’ are still some of the greatest lines ever spoken by park guests.
Time to hit the shores.
The main draw of Hydrus, if you can call it that, was spiting for no good reason, so this park became a pure tick box exercise.
Starting with the unpainted one in the middle, #2 Hot Tamales, which was a thing. Ignore the big green track in the background, just like we did at the last park.
Then the SBF spinner, #3 Xolo Loca, that isn’t a figure of eight for a change. A real highlight.
And no, I’m not doing one of those hamster wheels.
Finishing up with the jank machine that is #4 Pirates Hideaway. The inside holds no secrets, but it’s humorous to behold.
Playland’s Castaway Cove
The biggest incentive for doing all of these was the crazy looking GaleForce which had always given off the aura of a bit of a sleeper hit to me. Wild, compact, S&S multi launch goodness eh?
Oh, how wrong I was. We had some let downs this trip but #5 GaleForce was in a league of it’s own. It was nothing short of awful. The lumpy, awkward forces of a Sky Rocket II combined with riding like a Eurofighter from 2004. Sprinkle in some disgusting restraints and you’ve got yourself an endurance-fest.
The unpainted one in the middle, #6 Wild Waves, was better. E&F Miler showing up the big boys.
#7 Whirlwind also took us back to the SBF spinners of old here with the classic and familiar layout.
And the park ended in style with yet more Miler, this time with #8 Pirates Gold Rush trying to remove my kneecap. Better than Galeforce though.
All in all, just a hot, sweaty and overcrowded day at the office.
5 minutes up the road there was a #9 Wacky Worm. A pricey one too.
I rescued a man’s pass that had fallen into a road from a Larson Loop and then we had some meter jeopardy by running out of quarters and having to put up with a whole two train wait for the coaster.
But nothing had prepared us (including researching the exact cost several times) for how pricey the last place on the coast was. Our quarter crisis was averted by doing laps around the town and then sneaking into an arcade for a change machine, which was explicitly stated to be against the rules. Needs must.
We parked nearest to the pier with the woodie and the realisation hit hard when we quickly learnt that one lap on #10 Great White was $15+tax.
Being a big and unique CCI this wasn’t a problem. There was quite a queue for it and it was eventually dark by the time we boarded. It had all the makings of a classic, the wild tunnel start and some nice big powerful drops. The stacked turnarounds were pretty cool, the back to back hill section was a highlight and the setting was great fun.
It had dawned on us in the queue however that this was by far the standout ride of ‘the park’, staring over at yet another Boomerang on the next pier in the distance. Every other ride here is a clone, and a poor one at that. Awful coasters we had ridden multiple times throughout the trip would cost the same as the woodie and even the kid’s stuff was priced well over the odds. The only conceivable way of ‘saving’ money on any of the rest of it was a pass costing in excess of $200. Queues were busy, time was pressing on, the fatigue of the coaster counting had truly set in for one day.