May 08, 2008
Continuing my series of trips to various amusement parks to hit roller coasters, JH and I went to Six Flags New England. We flew into Hartford via Southwest, which worked out well for a short flight. It's great for once to not have to take a plane flight alone :-)
We got into Hartford, and then got our rental car, we decided to spring for the GPS since we were both in very unfamiliar territory, and the previously printed Google maps were just not making sense at the moment. JH and I were pleasantly surprised at how close Six Flags was from the airport; about 10 miles via a back road.
We got to the park and the first thing we did was go over a purchase a Flash Pass. The Flash Pass is an item you can buy so that you're not standing around waiting in line. You set the pass for a ride, and it provides a reservation time. When it's your time, you go to the Flash Pass line, and they let you in. The limitation is that you can only do this for one ride at a time. If you get the basic Flash Pass, you'll have a reservation time that is far enough ahead of time as if you were waiting in line. If you spend the extra cash and get the Gold Flash Pass, your reservation waiting time is much much shorter. Neither of us had used the new Flash Pass system, but we decided to spring for a gold one. The biggest reason for that was because for Superman: Ride of Steel, the trip reports from other visitors had been that they were only running one train at a time. Considering it's one of the most popular coasters, why put ourselves through waiting for 2-3 hours?
I have got to say that overall by the end of the day, the Gold Flash Pass was worth every penny because it meant we were able to ride every single rollercoaster at least once on Saturday. As soon as we would get into the waiting station to get on the ride, JH would reserve the next ride, and the wait time would be approximately 10 minutes away, so by the time we finished our current coaster ride and walked to the one we had reserved, it was already our reservation time. Also, if certain rides happen to be delayed or closed that day, you'll know on the screen. If you had a reservation and they have temporarily closed the ride, it will push your time back until the ride opens up again.
Getting back to the park, once again we managed to show up on a weekend where there was a cheerleading competition! Third park, third competition; WTF is up with that? Next year I'm checking the calendar of a park before we a trip to it during the spring. So we got to deal with cheerleaders running all over the place, there was no stage mom drama to report this time around. However, there was that moment where some of the more naive girls rode on the raging rapids ride, and they had not even performed yet, so they were freaking out about getting wet and of course they got wet. Girls, this is why you don't listen to your little brother when he tells you that you won't get wet. Littler brothers like to mess with you, haven't you figured that out yet?
So the first ride was on Superman: Ride of Steel. This coaster has been voted as the number 1 coaster in the world so we went into it expecting great things. The ride elements were good and the coaster was fast, but it didn't give the airtime that I was expecting. It wasn't until we rode in the very front later that weekend that the ride got good, so my recommendation is to wait for the very front of the coaster.
Next ride was on the Mind Eraser, which is the same layout as the Mind Eraser at Six Flags America. It was a pretty standard hanging ride, nothing too wild to report there. At first I didn't recognize it because this one still has its original color scheme of teal and red, whereas the one at America has orange and yellow.
Moving onward to Batman: The Ride, this one is different in that it is a floorless coaster rather than an inverted coaster. I have to admit it can be hard to keep all of these coasters straight when they use the same name. Thank god when I was setting up my credits list, I could locate pictures of coasters to figure out if I ever rode them. The ride was better than other Batman coasters in that it didn't feel like I was gypped on the length of the ride.
Thunderbolt is a wooden coaster that's based on a design from the 1939 World's Fair, it has the feel of the Cyclone at Coney Island, but in this case, I didn't end up breaking my ass while riding! Flashback was the next ride, and this one I like because you basically are pulled back up the hill, you fly back down, go through a cobra roll and loop, come up the other hill where you stop...and then go back through the loop and the cobra roll backwards! This was my second time riding one as I did take one ride on Two-Face at SFA last year before it was basically broken for the rest of the summer.
Pandemonium introduces a newer concept to roller coasters that I would like to see on a bigger scale and in a closer park. Not only are you going up and down hills and around bends on the track, the car is able to spin freely as you're doing so. It makes for a fun experience as you basically change positions. We rode that one three or four times that weekend and no two rides were exactly the same. That one would be a good one to take kids on since it's not too scary for them.
After that it was over to Houdini's House. How this ride works is that while you're strapped down to these benches, you feel like you're being raised up while the room is spinning around. JH explained to me that they pull you back and forth at only a 15 degree angle, but because you're surrounded by what is essentially a spinning cylinder, it disorients you and makes you think you're being raised up much more. Next was Tomahawk, which is what is known as a frisbee ride. This one spins while swinging back and forth. I must be gaining a tolerance for these kinds of rides because I didn't feel sick like I used to in the past.
We moved on to ride Cyclone, which was this big wooden coaster in the park. That one was a blast, especially because of the amazing amount of airtime we got on while riding. After the ride, they closed the ride for a few minutes so they could load a second car onto the track. Neither one of us had ever witnessed this being done, so we stood at the exit ramp and watched. Basically they unlock a section of the track, slide it over in front of the garage, roll the new train onto the track, then slide the track back into place. Once it's secured, the car then rolls to the first lift hill and goes through the coaster. It was pretty neat to watch.
After a few more rides, we decided to head out of the park and go to our hotel. This hotel was pretty nice and comfortable. We headed out to dinner at an Italian place that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of. We watched some TV and then crashed.
The next morning we tried to figure out what we wanted to do, we could go to the park, but I was more in the mood to go exploring the area and see what we could find. We figured we'd head north on the highway towards Vermont and would see where that would take us. Our Sunday drive took us up to Vermont, over to New Hampshire, and then back down to Springfield. It was a good way to see the sights, and hey, it meant more states that we got to visit! We did go back to the park, and since there was no competition going on and it was cloudy, there was very little crowding, so we were able to get some rides in without a problem. As the day came to an end, we returned to Hartford to fly back to Baltimore.
The trip was a great one, I would do it again in a heartbeat...or at least when another $49 fare from Southwest comes along :-)