Sunday, August 05, 2007

Six Flags Thursday

Ever been so tired that your eyelids stick together? Seriously, no joke, driving on Thursday night, everytime I blinked it was a struggle because my top eyelids were actually sticking together and I had to make a goofy stretch-face expression to unstick my eyelids.

The night before, the Lovely Steph Leann had come home from three days at Calloway Gardens in Georgia, where she had been for a business trip. And on Thursday morning, she was flying out at 515am to Minneapolis, MN, for a Creative Memories Conference, with she being a Creative Memories Consultant and all. So, I get back from Financal Peace University, she's packing, we're both up late, neither one really sleeps well, and all in all, I got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep. Up at 330am, out the door around 4am, go out and pick up Steph Leann's cousin who is going with her, and to the airport by 5.

Well, I could go home and sleep for... 2 hours, having to be at the church at 730, or I could pass the time until then. I decide to go to Waffle House for breakfast, then go to Starbucks because I have a few things to take care of before Monday, even though I am on five days vacation.

Finally, at 710, I'm out the door and headed to Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship). Where are we going, you ask?

Six Flags Over Georgia

I had signed up to be a chaperone for the middle school group going... why can't we say Junior High? You have High School, and Junior High School, and thats it, why do this "Middle School" thing? Where was I?

Because we aren't a loaded church, it was decided not to rent any sort of charter bus of any kind, so we were taking cars... and I was a driver. Kathy Compton, the middle school assistant, put out a sheet with everyone's name on it, letting the kids sign up for the car they wanted.

And wouldn't you know it... in my car... Jessica Heckman, Emily Griner, Kayleigh Parvin and Jenny Combs. All girls. And not just all girls, but Jessica, Emily and Kayleigh are three of the loudest, most hyper 13 to 14 year olds you'll ever meet. Kayleigh is actually the younger sister of a friend of mine, Christy... it's one of those "you know you are getting older" moments when you realize that a friend's little sister is suddenly not so little anymore.

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Two of my passengers that kept me awake

So we're humming down the road, headed to the ATL, and the girls are all arguing over which music to listen to... I give in to Fergilicious, but ban Justin, Britney, Christina and Pink from the car, just for the inappropriateness, then ban the Backstreet Boys just on principal. Seriously, I felt like Chris Hansen was going to pull me over. "Have a seat right there. What are you doing with four 14 year old girls in your car?"

It was actually reasonable mild outside... it was hot, because, well its the South + August = Muggy and Humid, but it still wasn't too bad. When we got there, I managed to attach myself to a couple of the guys that I know from WalkAbout, Grant, Jacob (who is called Pinky), Connor and Aaron, and we end up walking from coaster to coaster most of the day.

Because the day really isn't that remarkable, or at least, other than the usual day at Six Flags--lines, high prices for anything, gum all over the signs in every ride queue--I won't go into great detail.

I will say, though, Six Flags is apparently trying to set themselves up as more than a stop for roller coasters... numerous Warner Brothers characters were throughout the park, as were DC characters. I saw everyone from Sylvester the Cat to the Green Lantern standing around, and the Q-Bot thingy rented to get through the lines faster is now called the "Flash Pass", with the Flash as the mascot.

They even had a stinkin' parade, with the WB and DC icons all riding floats or walking in it. I'm thinking its a little much, because with Disney, you go not just for the rides, but the experience. Every ride and attraction is an atmosphere, its a story, nay, its an adventure! At Six Flags, you go to ride roller coasters. Plain and simple. With Disney you have breakfasts with Stitch, and marvel over Cinderella's castle and collect pins and yeah, enjoy Space Mountain, but with Six Flags, I just want to be tossed to and fro by some metal beast. In fact, stop paying the characters and build me another coaster--or fix the stinkin' Deja Vu.

It reminds me of the attempt of Las Vegas to set themselves up as a more family oriented place, several years ago. They ran a huge ad campaign, letting people know they weren't just dancers and stripper and casinos and gambling, but they were in fact family friendly, so hey, bring the kids. Apparently, that didn't work, and the Las Vegas Tourist guys sat around a table and said "Screw this family crap. Everyone thinks we are Sin City... lets embrace that. If you can't beat 'em, at least get 'em to come here".

So they tossed out the family friendly thought, embraced who they were, or at least, who everyone thought they were, and thus, the highly successful "What happens here stays here" ad was born. This is what Six Flags should do. "Screw this Bugs Bunny crap. Let's use that money to keep the park cleaner, and build, like, four more monster coasters!" That's what I would do, anyway. I should be an amusement park director.

They've also added names to the park sections... not just one or two easy names, but names like "Cotton States", "British Section", "Confederate Section" (which you'd think would be the same as Cotton States...), again trying to be like Disney or Busch Gardens.

Oh, and another thing... you're sitting on a coaster, and suddenly you remember you've got a hat on, or you're carrying a small bag or something... what do you do? You just toss it onto the platform, where you'll get it later, right? Oh, nay nay.

Not only do they have lockers before a few of the newer rides, with big signs saying "Put your crap in here, cause you ain't leaving it on the platform", they are now coming down hard on people who do toss their stuff. Several times I'd see a hat hit the platform, then have Shequetha the "Ride Entertainer" say "Whoever threw that hat, raise your hand!" A few seconds later, you'd see the hand of some unknowning little kid, and she'd say "Pick it up and put it away". The whole ride would be held up for this little kid to unbuckle, grab his hat and either sit on it, or put it in the shelves they have.

My guess is, the rides have been put through the ringer this year... not only did the Deja Vu stop, start, stop and start again, the Superman ride was shut down for an hour or so, the Georgia Scorcher stopped midway up the hill, and the Batman ride stopped while we were two people from boarding. In that one, the harnesses wouldn't come unlocked, which is good for the people riding, but bad for the ones about to get off... and even worse when it happened at Superman because you are literally facing the ground, hanging by the harness.

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You never want your ride to stop and see a worker climb beside you. Not good times, bad times.

So, in order, the coasters at Six Flags:

10. The Ninja... the most uncomfortable ride ever. Your head is smacking the headrest, its jerky, its violent. Just not well thought out. I don't know a single person who likes this ride. I'm betting this ride goes away in the next few years for another coaster.

9. The Great American Scream Machine... kinda boring, but I love wooden coasters, so it has its moments. The hills are great, but it just doesn't do much... but its got one of the best roller coaster names ever.

8. The Dahlonega Mine Train... almost a kiddie coaster, its still fun in the back, just for the amount of shaking. Unlike the Ninja, its a fun jerky violence.

7. The Mindbender... I remember back, before Batman (which brought in the DC connection) when this coaster was an ugly brown and by itself over here in the corner. When they made Batman Forever, with the Riddler, they built the Batman ride, then painted this one green with question marks all over it... the ?? are gone, but the ride is still classic.

6. Deja Vu... this has the potential to rank much, much higher, except for two things... number one, it takes then almost ten minutes to load and unload passengers. I actually timed it several rides, and it was unbearably long. Number two, its always broken. Steph Leann and I rode it when it first opened, and in the couple of times I've been back, its not worked. We stood in line for about 30 minutes, a line we only joined because it had just reopened and we figured not a ton of people would be there. We decided to leave, because it just was taking too long, and on our way out, we saw other people leaving, and we heard they had shut it down again.

5. The Georgia Scorcher... one of those standing coasters where, you get into the seat and you have to position yourself before they lock the seats in place. Too high and guys have problems. Too low and you're bent awkwardly for 90 seconds. Its a great ride, though. Loud and whipping, and 4Gs can't be wrong.

4. Superman Ultimate Flight... the appeal of this is that you get strapped in, they strap your feet in execution style, then your seat goes horizontal, with you facing the ground. So as you ride, it feels like you're flying... and you keep a mental image of how far you'd go if the harnesses broke.

3. Batman: The Ride... probably the best feet-dangly ride I've been on. Its just a lot of fun, really, though they really should shorten the queue... you have to walk about 1/4 of a mile just to get to the line.

2. The Georgia Cyclone... I love wooden coasters, and this one is awesome. Modeled after the Coney Island Cyclone, the coolest thing about 2005, its just rip roaring shaking whippin' tossin' fun. Especially if you're in the back. In fact, the Cyclone is the basis of my theory that every coaster should be ridden in the front and in the back. NYCJenny, insert jokes here.

1. The Goliath... the newest coaster at Six Flags, it is AWESOME. Worth the price of admission alone is the 200 foot drop, one that doesnt look nearly as tall until you are in the car ascending the hill. And the drop is massive. 70+ miles per hour, the thing runs through half the park... the Free Fall and Parachutes are both gone. It really is the smoothest coaster I've ever been on. And actually comfortable too.

I also managed to get video footage of the Batman, the Scorcher and the Cyclone, all from the front row... if my computer wasn't so slow, and if I knew how, I'd post it.

Anyway, the boys and I decided against eating for the afternoon, because we had only gotten on 2 rides before 3pm, and we were leaving a 7 for dinner, so we just kept ourselves hydrated (we found a concession stand that sold $6 funnel cakes, but gave out free water...). When we did leave, we stopped at the Arbor Place Mall Food Court, where I devoured Sbarros in about a minute.

And needless to say, I was tired. Very tired. But... it was a good time, and that's whats important.

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