Six Flags Great Adventure: Fright Fest Oct. 10

Park: Six Flags Great Adventure
Where: Jackson, NJ
Date: 10/10/08

Doesn't look too bad, but my lane was backed up going into the exit.

Doesn’t look too bad, but my lane was backed up going into the exit.

It’s almost hard to believe that I hadn’t set foot in Six flags Great Adventure since opening day of 2008. Geez, what kind of theme park fan am I? On Friday the 10th, I decided to head down to Great Adventure to get in some Fright Fest action. They opened up at 5pm that night, and of course I started off on the right foot by running late. After stopping at the bank, the trek officially began at 4:40pm. Now if there was no traffic and if all of the state troopers were at a convention and if the planets and stars were aligned just right, then I could make it there just in time to be 20 minutes late. But of course the NJ roads had other plans.

I first slopped through secondary roads until finally getting to the Garden State Parkway. The parkway traffic was somewhere between ‘sort of suck’ and ‘ah dammit.’ The roads opened up once I hopped on the Turnpike, but that never lasts. I was cruising nicely until I passed under the lighted sign that displays traffic conditions ahead; it read “congestion ahead.” Five minutes later I was stuck in stop and go traffic while 6 lanes funnel down into 3 some 10 miles ahead at the stupid ass Turnpike Mega Merge from Hell.

I pulled into the SF parking lot at 6:30pm. Damn it all.

I flashed my season parking pass and parked in Marvin Martian row 1. While walking in I saw Superman: Ultimate Flight’s train stuck in the brakes with an air horn honking intermittently. After I walked by the air horn started to blare on and off in one second intervals. Well, that must have sucked for the people trapped in the brakes. I handed over my season pass, emptied my pockets, metal detected, re-equipped, and marched over to Dark Knight. Really, I marched with high kicks and shit.

The line for Dark Knight was pretty small; at the time I didn’t really know though. I saw ‘a’ line, sighed a bit, and queued up. The line waited maybe 10 minutes before we were allowed to enter the pre-show. I wasn’t exactly expecting much out of this pre-show and it held up to my notion of mediocrity. Next I waited 10 or so minutes more and hopped in a car with two other riders.

Dark Knight is basically a themed wild mouse coaster, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. For one it was pretty damn fast with some turns taken at a very brisk speed. Some were so fast that I couldn’t help but to think a quick “oh crap” before being flung around the corner while tire screeching sound effects accented the maneuver. The ride also had a few good drops that the car suddenly plunged into.

However I thought that Dark Knight’s themeing was sub-par; at least it could have been executed better. I didn’t exactly get too much time to take in the prop as the car zoomed by, but I guess I’d rather have a faster ride than a slower one where I could see the props well. It would have been nice if they built them up a bit more though, maybe have some elements that came over the track and such. The ride should use strobes as well; after seeing how the camera flash momentarily blinded me, I think it would have been cool to use a quick blinding flash to hide a drop or something.

Next I strolled right across the walkway and into line for Batman: The Ride. I was greeted with minimal lines and waited for one trainload. As the train ascended the lift I peered out from the behind the harness at Nitro’s line. It started near the switchbacks, so I decided that I would save the time and head right over to Skull Mountain afterwards. Batman was fun as always with lots of g-force (g-force on a B&M?) and snap rolls.

Onto Skull Mountain! People were bunched up in the station and after a couple of trains I was able to get into the line for the backseat. Two trains before getting on, the ride broke down! The ride op put on a little reflective vest and trekked up the lift to do whatever. They then sent out an empty train and upon a successful return to the brakes they opened the ride again. The ride wasn’t completely dark thanks to a big lighted pumpkin sitting in the helix. Although I did get to see Skull Mountains unfinished wall sections thanks to it! They also had some strobes at the end that triggered at the slowest part of the ride…that really heightened the excitement…

After exiting I heard music over by the Big Wheel; the Dead Man’s Party show was going on. I stopped by, greeted by metal music being played; aw hell yeah. I stayed for two songs before heading back to the Lakefront. I contemplated a spin on Fantasy Fling, but continued to walk by instead. At the Lakefront stage a band called ‘End of an Era’ was playing. They seemed to have a little fanbase considering all of the screaming teens with End of an Era shirts on. I didn’t hear all that much but they seemed like your typical ‘emo’ band. Next I ventured through the graveyard section they had set up. There were several ghouls walking around, but not as much as previous years. They didn’t have any fog either; at least I don’t remember any. It was always fun to suddenly see a zombie dude with a shovel emerge from the fog.

Once I ventured through one spooky zone, I ventured right into another on my way to Medusa. They convert Frontier Adventures into Bone Butcher Territory during Fright Fest. There weren’t many ghoulswalking around here this time around, but at least they did have fog! One older looking ghoul had a long beard, balding head, was dressing in bloodied overalls, and had a shovel…he looked like a stereotypical Piney of Weird NJ lore. That dude was actually kind of scary since there really are crazy Pineys living in the Pine Barrens of NJ!

Medusa, seemingly untouched for Fright Fest, commanded a 15 minute wait that started in the last switchback. I was stuck behind a group of teens with two annoying guys that were trying way too hard to be cool. I people watched them until the station where I lined up for the back row; one of my favorite spots on Medusa. The ride was pretty good, although Medusa has seemed to dull over time, at least I think so. There aren’t many forceful elements to it as everything is oversized, like many B&M loopers. While waiting in line I noticed that the trainloads of people waiting in the final brake block would click their seatbelt clips and it carried over to my train as well; oh those impressionable kids. Haha.

I exited and started down the path to cross the bridge before seeing it blocked off; I forgot that they closed it. I walked all the way around and entered the line for El Toro. The line occupied the entire second switchback; it looks like a long wait but really isn’t. Once in the station I headed for the back and settled into a line for the third seat from the back. I was joined by a single rider who was part of a group; he was a first time rider. I always like how first time riders seem to blow off El Toro as “just a wooden coaster” which is what these kids were doing. One of them said “let’s do a ride that’s scary after this.” Of course I did my part in luring them into false security by saying that El Toro “isn’t too bad” and that “it’s fun.” It’s true what I’m saying, but the way I said it made it seem like the ride would be a nice little coaster.

It’s usually around mid-lift where their original expectations and my ruse end. Once first time riders see the disgustingly pitched first drop, they start to panic and I evilly laugh inside. El Toro, as always, delivered the goods with its insano airtime and extremely fast turns. By the end of the ride the group vowed to get right back into line.

Next I walked out of dead end two where El Toro resides (Medusa was one), into dead end three where Kingda Ka is. About half of the final switchback was full and they opened the other side while I was in line which cut the wait time. I waited about 20 minutes in total before I got into the train. Kingda Ka is one of the few coasters now where I’ll get a bit of anxiety while waiting for the launch. In turn the launch is one of the few places where I’ll get a stomach dropping sensation. I don’t exactly know why that happens during a launch though.

After Kingda Ka I headed over to the Boardwalk section and into line for Great American Scream Machine. As I walked down the queue, I noticed that they were taking one of the trains off and just running one. I sat in the back car and got ready for some old school looping. I got bumped around pretty well but that’s partly because I had one hand making sure that my camera wasn’t going to fly out of my pocket. You can’t fully ride defensively with one hand! I didn’t get pummeled though and it was an enjoyable ride. The two girls sitting in back of me didn’t know the art of defensive riding however, as evident by the quotes of “oh my head!” and “is it over?” I wonder if Vekoma trains would be able to run on GASM; those trains make Boomerangs ice smooth, maybe the same could be true for Scream Machine.

Check out this lot of characters!

Check out this lot of characters!

I don’t like Superman: Ultimate Flight, so I passed. Twister, the park’s Top Spin ride, was loading but I decided against it considering the long loading and extremely poor, over braked cycle. Instead I walked over to Batman in hopes of a short line. My hopes were realized when it was basically a walk on. This time I closed my eyes during the ride in an attempt to heighten the fun. It really does feel like your flying when you close your eyes. However before shutting my eyes I once again peered over at Nitro’s line to see that it began near that covered portion under the track. I again decided to pass, but the Demented Forest terror trail did look inviting.

So after Batman I strolled over to the Demented Forest only to see that it had a $5 admission fee. Aw, come on! First the lockers, now the terror trails; the nickel and diming of SF evolves. Next we’ll have to pay for bathrooms, or at least they’ll have those cleaning attendants with bowl for tips.

Before leaving I walked over to Fantasy Fling and took a spin. Before starting the ride the operator said something like “are you guys ready?!” He was met with a few groans and mumbles of “yes.” He then asked again and a louder groan emanated from the riders. It was getting a bit cold at this point and many of the people riding made it known that they were in fact cold. While spinning the ride op got on the mic and said “it’s not cold guys…it’s freezing!” I noticed that the ride op stopped the platform on the opposite side of where it started. Everyone walked to the door on the other side while the ride op opened the other door and sort of looked around with a “what the hell?” expression.

I exited the park at around 10:40pm. I’ll probably be back the next Friday considering that the lines were very acceptable. Hopefully my luck can continue for the upcoming Fridays.

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