Monday, March 19, 2012

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Opens for 2012

On St. Patrick’s Day the 2012 Season officially began in Northern California! Six Flags Discovery Kingdom opened its gates to a modest crowd despite gloomy weather, and officially kicked off their season.

Pandemonium Gone, but Not Forgotten

We’ll start out our update with Pandemonium, which has been completely disassembled, but is still hanging out at the park. Despite rumors of moving to Six Flags Mexico, there doesn’t seem to be a rush on getting it out of the area. Personally, I hope that the ride doesn’t become the next Greased Lightning, which sat in the upper lot for years before it was finally scrapped.

Down at the ride’s former location, view of the concrete pad is almost completely obstructed by work walls. In the 14 years that the park has had rides, this is the first time I can recall where they blocked off all view of a construction site like this. From Roar you could see that there are still some Pandemonium track pieces on site as well as all 6 cars. Out of respect of park policies I did not take any pictures from the ride.

From the entrance that area, you could still see the big screen from Tony Hawk’s original entrance as well as the old gift shop/arcade. Zonga’s former station is also still there and will act as Superman’s overflow queue and PLC room, just as it did for Tony Hawk.

Inside the park, directional signs throughout the park still directed guests to the ride. I didn’t hear any guests looking for the ride, but I have to assume this will cause confusion among the general public.

Fresh Timber

Although there is still some room for improvement, the park looks overall well maintained, especially when it comes to wood. Roar has received some needed track work at the base of the first and second drops. These are the spots known to get the most out of shape and rough. It’s good to see the park identifying these issues and addressing them.

Also, it seemed like that was a large effort to address old decaying fencing throughout the park. The pathway along Lake Chabot has had hundreds of boards replaced on the fencing.

Rides in Looney Tunes Seaport also had fencing replaced around them as well as Wave Jumper near Roar, which had its entire perimeter fence replaced.

And while we are on the subject of fencing, we’ll continue in the Land section of the park where the former cheetah exhibit, which has always been pretty run down compared to the rest of the animal areas, is getting a new fence installed, and hopefully a but of a face lift.

Over in Sea, as you exit the Shark Experience, which below you will see is looking very nice, there is a new wall surrounding what used to be the Shark Shallows. It’s now home to a Fright Fest maze, which appears to have still been in place as props were clearly visible over the wall.

What Makes This Park Special

It’s great to see improvement to infrastructure around the park, but what really makes this a standout Six Flags park is its animals. They were out in full view today and looking great. The tigers were very active in front of Temple of the Tiger, showing off for guests.

The Lions were a little less active, taking some naps but still very visible fore guests.

For baseball fans out there, last year the park named it’s baby giraffe after San Francisco Giants rookie Brandon Belt (who’s nickname is “Baby Giraffe”). The park has a sign up advertising Brandon and the story behind his name.

Brandon was out with his mom and other stable mates enjoying some grass and watching people.

Over in Sea, the Shark Experience was looking great. This has always been one of my favorite attractions at the park.

The attraction felt very clean and well maintaine. It seemed like there were more fish in the tanks then I have seen for quite a few years.

The displays were also looking very nice, adding to feeling of nice upkeep around the park.


And lets not forget the rides! All of the park’s coasters were up and running today(Except Superman of course). Medusa was running two trains, while Roar and Kong had one. It appeared that both of those rides still had a train in rehab as I didn’t spot one on the storage track at either attraction. I've seen some complaints online about one train ops, but what needs to be kept in mind is that these rides are kept running through Holiday in the Park. With a very short off season to maintenance 45+ rides, I think it's great the park was able to get everything ready for opening day in some capacity.

Vertical Velocity was also up and running. It’s always nice to see this thing up on opening day because for the first 4 or 5 years, it had a tendency to not open with the park.

The park’s newest attraction, SkyScreamer, was not open with the park. It looked like maintenance was working on it and it could very well have opened after I left at about 2pm. I want to point out this was a typical unscheduled downtime that all rides sometimes experience, it's closure wasn't due to the park not having the ride ready for opening day.

Even Monsoon Falls was open despite the cold and gloomy weather and people were riding it too! People all around the park seemed to be satisfied with the parks offerings and generally very happy to be back for 2012.

Something we haven’t seen at the park for a while is ride related merchandise. The park this year has some pretty cool looking shirts for their top rides. Oddly enough the statistic that they all seem to show off is ride speed, which I’ve always thought was the least impressive stat of the park’s rides.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is now open weekends through Memorial Day, and will be open daily March 31st through April 15th for Spring Break.