Sunday, September 11, 2011

Six Flags Over Georgia On My Mind - Part 1

It seems with me the older the Six Flags park, the more I would love to visit it.  Thankfully I'm able to cross many of these parks off my to-visit list, but Six Flags Over George had geographically eluded me for some time now.

Finally my recent road trip afforded me the opportunity to stop at the park, which is the second park to use the Six Flags name, having opened in 1967.  That's given the park almost 45 seasons to grow in, and be filled with rides and attractions throughout its many themed areas.

The entrance plaza was totally rebuilt some time ago, and serves as a great welcome to the park.  I liked how the area directly in front of the entrance is actually accessible from neighboring roads - not only via the park's parking lot.  That felt quite different than many other parks, giving it a more urban feel (though venturing out into the area around the park felt decidedly industrial, not urban).

Plus, the entrance has all kinds of rides going over it, next to it - really just framing it wonderfully.  Goliath sits atop all, with the Georgia Scorcher on the left and the Georgia Cyclone on the right.  Once you enter the park you arrive at some pretty fountains but then are forced to choose left or right, as straight ahead is a dead end.

Much like Dollywood, this allowed me to see which way the crowds went, and go the opposite.  So to the right it was, and to the first coaster of the park.

Thank goodness I'm able to look past first impressions, or my thoughts on Six Flags Over Georgia wouldn't be too hot with the Georgia Cyclone as my first ride.  Like many Cyclone clones, the ride is intense, but in this instance just really riding rough.  The years haven't been kind to this one, but if you're looking for a bone jarring, wild ride then it just might be perfect for you.

I mean hey, the kid in the train behind me was on his 6th straight ride!  After riding I realized just how impressive that is.

I love how I'm in a brand new park (to me), with 11 coasters, wooden, flying, vertical dive, all sorts of impressive features - yet I found myself elated to get to ride the Dahlonega Mine Train.  Why, you ask?  Because it's a mine train!

This coaster was Arrow's second mine train, opening with the park in 1967, and boy oh boy can you tell that they were still climbing up that old learning curve in the process.  The ride has three lifts, and some track segments with the absolute least comfortable transitions that I've seen anywhere.  That might sound like a negative, but that's what I love about these old rides - they're just from a different time and there's something about sharp turns, odd elevation changes, and finally a wicked drop into a dark tunnel that I love.

The only downside?  The ride is extremely difficult to photograph, and with our limited time schedule I couldn't hunt for good spots as much as I'd have liked.

Some of the older theme parks have these fantastic covered walkways, and I vote to have them installed at parks everywhere.  In a world of "going green" how better to cool off parks guests than with plants!  But in this instance, watch out for flying dinosaurs - they seem to be attracted to the lower temperatures.

When a freefall isn't exciting enough, what is a park to do?  How about tilt the seats downward when the carriage gets to the top to make riders look at the ground they're about to plunge toward?  Sure!

That's Acrophobia for you, stripped down to the basics.  The 200 ft. tall ride features 30 floorless, tilting seats, the combination of which is probably enough to drive some folks' nuts.  The tilt downward is only 15 degrees, but up top that feels something more like 40 - just that little change in angle is quite unnerving.

I often skip children's coasters while at parks mostly because standing in line without a child makes me feel... weird.  But, Six Flags Over Georgia's Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster is a fairly unique custom designed family coaster by Chance Rides, basically a big custom version of their Big Dipper model, so an exception was made.

The ride is also built into, and on top of, the park's historical Spanish Fort, giving the ride plenty of things to interact with - including an elevated walkway adjacent to it.  The ride's station is followed by a tire-driven lift, but the ride is also slowed at the end by one, which is a unique combination.  For a family ride, the helix on this one is pretty intense!

One of my favorite things that the last set of Six Flags management did was to invest in the park's dark ride, Monster Mansion.  (previously Monster Plantation, and before that Tales of the Okefenokee)  The attraction, which has a great history with the park, is looking great and was actually the longest lines of the day for us - and not just because of capacity or anything, but because it is really popular!

The area around The Monster Mansion is prime example of why I like the older Six Flags parks - it's fully grown in and rather beautiful.  Areas like this tend to set a park apart from others in my memory - and all that shade helps on a hot Georgia day!

Another highlight of the park for me was the Great America Scream Machine.  Due to my proximity to Great Adventure I associate that coaster name with the former Arrow mega looper - but the similarities between these two end in the name.

GASM, as the ride is often called, is a classic out-and-back wooden ride.  Simple in design, but a heck of a lot of fun to ride!

On top of that, how great does she look with her paint job up to date!  A wonderfully patriotic coaster.  As with most coasters at the park on the day of my visit (a Sunday), two train operation with quick dispatches made lines a breeze.

Superman: Ultimate Flight was the original B&M flying ride, later copied at several parks, sans the duel loading station.  I'd seen that the ride took advantage of the landscape under it, but I honestly had no idea how much until riding it.  I really think that the fact that it sits on a hill adds so much to the coaster over the versions sitting on an even surface!

This is a good place to pause - we'll look at the rest of the park - including the new Dare Devil Dive - soon.