May 31, 2017

Time Traveler (SDC)

Today's update is courtesy of sdcfans88.  These photos were taken from the back-porch of the Culinary Arts School.  It looks like the crane is busy over in the area where they've already installed some track pieces.

Zooming in and peeking through the trees you can see that they have now installed track on that taller support that we saw in our last update.  We can now assume that there are at least 3 pieces in place on what looks like a banked curve.

Over at the station, they continue to work on the siding and closing up the building.

The most interesting development since last weekend is this HUGE slab of concrete with rebar footers sticking up from it.  We'll have to keep an eye on this to see what happens.

The Joker (SFGAM)

Today we are going to take a closer look at Six Flags Great America's newest addition - The Joker Free Fly Coaster.

The queue line enters under a big top where the Joker greets you on his Joker Cam screens.  Upon entering the tent you have the option to enter the general public line, the Flash Pass line or the Single Rider line.  The Single Rider line will really shave time off your wait.

This is the 3rd (or 4th) installation of the S&S Free Fly Coaster.  It starts with a vertical lift out of the station to the top level of the track.

Each cart can seat 8 passengers at a time - 8 on each side of the track.

As the cart navigates the track, the seats have the capability of flipping upside down and going 360 degrees either way.

There are magnetic fins and several small hills that help convince the seats to rotate.

Much like the other Free Fly Coasters already in service, this one is proving to be quite popular with the park patrons.  The line at one point was close to a 2 hour wait and I can only imagine how long it will be during peak season.  This is definitely a "winner" for the park.

Six Flags Great America

Welcome to Six Flags Great America near Chicago in Gurnee, Illinois.

The park has a couple of slow loading coasters, so I wanted to get them out of the way first.  The first is Superman Ultimate Flight, a B&M Prone (Flying) Coaster.

This is a great concept, but for some reason the loading procedures for this style of ride always create long lines - though that might be because most flying coasters are in Six Flags parks.

The other coaster that you want to hit early is The Dark Knight Coaster.  It is also prone to long lines mainly because it has a very low PPH thanks to its design of being a mouse coaster.

I headed to Batman the Ride next.  This B&M inverted coaster is the original and is still one of the best out there.

The heavy forces created in this design still surprise me every time I ride it.

One of my guilty pleasures is Intamin Impulse Coasters.  So I had to ride Vertical Velocity.

Also in this area is the new Joker Free Fly Coaster.  This 4D coaster built by S&S/RMC has a great color scheme that really pops in this section of the park.

This is the 2nd installation of this style of coaster I have been able to ride (should have been the 3rd but SFoT's was not open yet) and I have to admit that I really enjoy them and can see them popping up at all of the remaining Six Flags parks eventually.

I know I have said it before, but I am so glad that the Little Dipper is at this park.

When I head Playland was closing I thought the worst case scenario for this little guy,

Thankfully it was saved and brought here so I can continue to enjoy riding it.

Goliath was my next destination.

This RMC built wooden hybrid coaster is still trying to win me over.

I personally feel that it is one of the weaker RMC installations out there.

Is it possible that they tried to do too much with this coaster and instead came away with an inferior design?  Don't get me wrong, it is enjoyable - but not something that forces a re-ride.

American Eagle is looking great with its bright white wooden structure.  It was only running the red side today which was disappointing.

X-Flight is a B&M built Wing Coaster and remains the only one of its type in the chain.

Honestly I am surprised that more of these have not appeared in other parks - especially the bigger parks in the chain.  It's a fun ride.

I rode Demon and immediately regretted it.  I think a lot has to do with the fact I am a tall guy and I really do not fit comfortably in the trains of the older style loopers.

I finally got to ride a 2nd generation Justice League ride.  I really enjoyed the upgrades they made between the version they have in St. Louis and this one.  I crushed the others in my cart with my final score.  I figure if I took a few more laps it would have been even higher.

This section has to be my favorite looking one in the entire park.  Didn't have a chance to ride Giant Drop today, but I have in the past and have always enjoyed my rides.

I instead got 3 laps on Raging Bull - a B&M built mega coaster.

I have always enjoyed this coaster, but I cannot help but think back to the days when the trim (which you can see here) wasn't on so heavy.  It really kills the middle part of the ride.

Viper is the 3rd wooden coaster in the park

I chose to ride on a "non wheel seat" and it was still pretty rough.  I can only imagine how bad a wheel seat was.  I don't remember it being this bad during my last visit.

Whizzer is a Schwarzkopf built Jumbo Jet coaster and the oldest in the park.  I have to ride this one every time I visit because it reminds me so much of the Zambezi Zinger that was once at Worlds of Fun - which was my favorite coaster as a child.

I seriously always have a great time at this park.  I wish it was closer to home.

May 29, 2017

Beachside BBQ Construction (SFSTL)

Beachside BBQ is nearing completion, but was not ready for opening weekend at Hurricane Harbor.

May 28, 2017

Time Traveler Construction (SDC)

We have a huge update for you today on the new attraction being built at SDC for the 2018 season.  First off let's take a look from the Culinary School back porch.

The one thing we noticed is that they are STILL creating new large foundations.  We find it amazing that this far into the project, we still don't have all of the foundations poured yet.

Moving over to the ThuNderaTion (TNT) queue line now.

Progress continues on the framing of the main portion of the building.  The topper is now pretty much assimilated into the building and they are really working on the siding up there now.

Siding treatment under the two openings is about halfway up the wall now.

All right, we are going to concede that this probably going to be the maintenance bay.

But we are still having a hard time figuring out how they are going to fit transfer track in here as there are no footers lining up with the openings.

Since our last visit the old TNT switchbacks have been torn up and new footers now litter the hillside all the way down to the new station.

They are literally everywhere.

While we do not have the blueprints in front of us, we feel that there will be a major bridge from the exit of the ride to handle the ADA riders access point and that the main queue line will enter a lower level of the building and then transverse stairs up to the main load level.

One thing that is very obvious is Poke Salad Mary's is history and we are not too sure if the TNT arch will survive either.  The footers do not line up at all with that arch.

Moving on further into the TNT queue you can get a better look at one of the square footers, which I am predicting will hold the bridge.  They are just beefer than the other queue line footers.

I keep hearing two launches for this coaster, I am wonder if this new cement foundation will house the "guts" for one of those launches as I think this is near the midcourse of the ride.

Here is a better look at the foundation.  It is very obvious this going to be a building of some sort.

Earlier I mentioned that there was no footers that aligned with the openings of the supposed maintenance bays and here you can see what I mean.  The footers create a perfect arc around this area to meet up with the opening of the load station.

My guess is there might be a swivel track of some sort that would connect with the openings.  I just don't see how else this is going to work.

Again, they are still building footers and such.  You'd think that part of the project would be done by now - but every time we visit there are new ones being formed.

The view from the first row's queue in the TNT station.  You can get a good glimpse at how far up the siding has progressed on the south side of the building.  You can see the scaffolding they are using is in the down position right now.

Pretty sure they are using this cherry picker to lift supplies up to the load level of the station.

One last look at the station before we move on.

We had been warned that they had put up a privacy fence to block views on the train so we were not expecting to see much today... we were wrong.

First off there are some very long supports visible.

But the money shot from the train today is catching several pieces of track being staged.

Echo Hollow finally opened so let's go down and take a look.  Here you can see some of the better details of the north side of the station.

You honestly cannot appreciate the size of this thing until you are standing right under it.

A look at the footers from this side of the fence.  You can see they have dug out another hole there.

The arc approach back to the station.

Now for the big news.  We officially have track in the air.

There are several charcoal gray supports in place and at least one piece of black track hung.

Here you can see the first piece of track has been hung.

Several more supports are around it meaning track should go up quickly in this area.

Panning left we can see another piece of track waiting to go up.

You can see even more supports up in this photo.

There is a pretty tall support up in the middle of this shot.

One last shot of the new track in the air.  Things should be getting a lot more interesting on this construction site in the next few months.