austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

So dim down the light

With the milestone --- we believed --- done the rest of the day was one of just enjoying a new amusement park. We hadn't done much research about the park, as we're more interested in being surprised and delighted these days. But we knew some of the basics: the first Six Flags park, originally with sections themed to the six (Western) nations that claimed sovereignty over Texas soil, if you count France as somehow having a claim and if you count the Confederacy as anything but the slaveholding traitors they were. Those themes, those sections, are still present, but they haven't really grown with the park. The French section, for example, looks to be just a theater and restaurant and some history-of-the-park plaques hung in the smoking section. Meanwhile as with all Six Flags park a mock Gotham City is threatening to take over the world. Such happens. The park did feel more strongly themed than Great Adventure; not that there aren't definite areas to Great Adventure, but there are fewer of them (Western, Bicentennial Americana, Gotham City, and No-Longer-Drive-Through Safari).

Six Flags parks have a reputation for lousy operations, for running rides as little and as slowly as possible. The conspiratorial amusement park enthusiast says that's so they can boost sales of line-cutting passes. While it's not unheard-of for big companies to go in for making the customer's experience not-quite-intolerable --- that's what makes airlines so beloved --- I don't believe it in this case. I think it's just the normal modern-capitalist state in which nobody ever has quite the resources they need to do a job right.

Anyway, our early impressions of the park were that operations were pretty good. Even at the start of the day, for example, Judge Roy Scream was already running two trains, staying ahead of ride demand, and loading and unloading without any major wait on the dispatched train. On our next roller coaster, the extremely busy spinning wild mouse Pandemonium ride operators were piping people into and out of cars just as fast as the passengers could move. There was a wait, but it was a steadily moving one, and it's hard to see how they could have done better except to have fewer people in the park.

Things went similarly well on Mister Freeze Reverse Blast. We'd gone into the Gotham City area to ride Six Flags Over Texas's newest roller coaster, Joker, only to learn that it was so new it was still under construction; it's slated to open around the 19th of May. Mister Freeze Reverse Blast caught my interest because of the scenery: there were these old-looking buildings that looked like soft-serve ice cream, reminding me of the older buildings at Great Adventure. We investigated and found, first, that the Gotham City area was well-built; stuff had that mix of styles which real cities enjoy. Second, the old-looking building were made to represent an abandoned Gotham City ice cream factory, one that hosted a shuttle coaster inside. It was attractively built. The indoor ride queue included graffitied walls and I pondered the making of that graffiti. Also whether this was an area of the park where people adding their own graffiti was, at least morally, just fine.

Also the ride queue had a bunch of monitors, mostly showing Looney Tunes cartoons. We couldn't hear them, but that's all right; it turns out I have the soundtrack for pretty much everything they did, 1938 - 1959, memorized.

Mister Freeze Reverse Blast is a shuttle coaster, so that it goes out and back without quite completing a circuit. It also, as the keyword ``revere'' suggests, goes backwards its first half. This is uncommon and unsettling and rather frightfully exciting. And it gave us an approximation to what a rollback on Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster must be like.

Then, after a pause for some soda --- Dallas is hot --- and cheese fries we went to the Runaway Mine Train. It turns out it's of historic import, as the first of the popular Mine Train style roller coaster. It was the backup choice for roller coaster 200, in case Judge Roy Scream were down. It would serve as thematic dual to the Cedar Creek Mine Ride at Cedar Point. It's a good ride; it particularly passes through a western-themed house, slowing down so we can take in the diorama. I don't know if it ever had moving figures, but it would have made sense to. It was attractive and delightful, especially in a patch running close to lake level.

And it was my 175th roller coaster.

According to my best counts, with all the qualifications about how difficult it is to count something like that. It's a lesser milestone than bunny_hugger's, and I don't figure to submit it to the American Coaster Enthusiasts, but it is still something to note.

Trivia: The first stereoscopic photographs in the United States were made in 1859 by E Anthony of New York. Source: Wondrous Contrivances: Technology at the Threshold, Merritt Ierley.

Currently Reading: Shipping Container, Craig Martin.

Tags: amusement parks, dallas, six flags over texas
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