Six Flags Great Adventure

(Apologies in advance - normally I select my favorite pictures of my shooting session and embed them here but I was too busy riding today to take any pictures at all! So instead I’ve selected some of my favorite Instagram pictures from #ridingofthebull2019 and embedded them here! Great shooting by all of the photographers mentioned here and they’re defniitely worth a follow if you don’t already.)

Six Flags Great Adventure has been at the top of my “parks to get to list” for almost a year now. Not only did I used to love playing the scenario in Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (Great American Scream Machine was the first ride I “rode” in RCT3 when I heard you could get a virtual POV) but my favorite fan site when I was just getting into roller coasters was Great Adventure Online. I would spend hours on that site reading about El Toro, Kingda Ka, Nitro and the park in general. I remember the construction of the Dark Knight coaster and Chang getting relocated. I’ve never had the means or ability to get to the park due to lack of a job when I was younger or college or trying to run my own business. But now that I’m a little more stable in the Bay Area I saw that ACE was having an event at SFGAdv and couldn’t resist. I found a cheap flight that took me out after work on Friday (was my first red eye flight and I think I understand why people hate them…) and got me back on Sunday night.

So naturally to start my trip off, my flight was delayed for about an hour which put me into EWR well later than I thought I’d get in. Unfortunately that meant I’d miss being at the park at the beginning of trip registration. So I rolled into the parking lot at 9:30 or so which put me here just at the start of Nitro ERT.

Nitro x4 - 87/100

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A not so common view of Nitro . I enjoyed the behind the scenes tour. @sfgradventure . Also I was a little surprised but happy to see that Nitro made to top 10 list of steel coasters for the golden ticket awards. . I didn't get to stay all day at Riding of the Bull but it was cool to be there anyway. . #nitro #bolligerandmabillard #ilovebmrides #bandm #bandmhyper #hypercoaster #rollercoasters #coasterenthusiast #coasterenthusiasts #rollercoaster #themepark #amusementpark #thrillride #fear #love #fast #speed #tall #behindthescenes #ridingofthebull #sixflags #sixflagsday #sixflagsgreatadventure #nj #newjersey

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This ride always feels really overlooked. I guess that’s to be expected given that one of the best coasters in the world lives just across the park but I still didn’t have a ton of expectations for it even after following this park for 10 years. We had an hour or ERT and lines were minimal with a sizeable line for the front and the back but the middle rows were empty. Middle back was where I took my first ride and I was pretty blown away. The first drop was just like I remember Diamondback’s with that amazing fleeting of floating. The hills after the drop provides the same amazing airtime that I remember from DB. The helix was shockingly intense and the overall setting over the woods makes the entire thing that much better! My next ride was second from the front row. Normally I’m a back row rider but this ride is definitely better in the front in my opinion! Although the drop isn’t as great I think the airtime is so much stronger throughout the course that it makes up for it. My favorite part of the ride sitting in the front absolutely has to be the first airtime hill/90* turn. I found that you end up getting jerked forward and upward fairly violently as you make your turn. And it’s smooth too even though it’s about 20 years old. These things are masterpieces! Please CGA, get one soon and I’ll never leave that ride!

After 4 rides in ERT, I headed to the front of the park where I waited for a group of friends I was meeting for the day. After a minor ticket snafu, they ended up getting into the park around 15-20 minutes after opening. At that point we headed to where we thought the lines would be longest later: Kingda Ka!

Kingda Ka - 73 / 100

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Riding of The Bull is one of the greatest coaster events! I had so much fun hanging out with @maddy_the_reporter @coaster__chris @twstedcoasters @zavian_v @official_stalker_michael @beyond_the_coaster @sky_coaster_ @samrzrzrz and many more cool people! I also talked with @airtime_myke and @themepark_crazy , who are both really nice! The tours are amazing, I got to take some awesome footages and photos! #sixflagsgreatadventure #sixflags #americancoasterenthusiast #ridewithace #ridingofthebull #kingdaka #bizarro #nitro #batmantheride

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So naturally, as someone that has been to Cedar Point a lot, this ride gets comparisons with TTD. And it deserves it since they’re really similar rides. But even with that being said, these rides are different enough to be different experiences. So my only ride of Ka was in the middle of train. I’d heard that you need to go front seat to avoid the dreaded rattle but it was a significantly longer ride so I figured that I’d rather get all of the credits done and then come back and worry about second rides. And the rattle was not that bad! I thought it’d be most pronounced during the lift but it was much worse on the tower up. But it definitely was not nearly as bad as I’d heard. And the launch managed to be completely different as well! Whereas Dragster feels like a punch in the gut in an awesome way, Ka instead was a much more drawn out acceleration. I think I prefer Dragster but they’re very different! There was also some airtime on the hill after the top hat which was unexpected too! Overall a really fun ride and it’s cool to say that I’ve ridden the world’s tallest coaster just a few months before I ride the world’s fastest one!

Zumanjaro x2 - 7/10

Lex Luthor Drop of Doom was one of my favorite rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Although the drop was disappointing, I enjoyed the view, the themeing and the shaking of the tower that Superman: Escape From Krypton provides. What happens when you get rid of two of those three but keep the disappointing drop? Zumanjaro. It was a fun ride, don’t get my wrong, obviously, I did it twice in a row, but I was a little underwhelmed. Give me a Intamin 2nd gen drop tower or a gyro drop anyday! But the view was gorgeous so it wasn’t all bad! The weirdest part of it had to be that queue. I can’t imagine it ever snaking back to Ka, that would be a huge line!

El Toro - 85/100

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My vid from #ridingofthebull is up. Go check it out! #rollercoasters #sfgadv #sixflags #sixflagsgreatadventure

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After Zumanjaro it was time for the main reason I flew out from CA for the day, El Toro! We walked into yet another empty station (it’s a Saturday, why is the park so empty??) and chose the middle row of the back car since I’d heard that was the place to be. So I wasactually a little underwhelmed byt this ride. The airtime on the first drop was incredible but the airtime on the subsequent hills was just “very good” and not “absolutely insane”. My favorite part of this ridethrough was definitely that first drop and the fun headchoppers you get throughout the course but the most surprising part has to be the quick turnarounds in the back half of the ride. It felt a ton like Maverick. I was also surprised by how smooth the ride is. I’d heard lots of talk throughout the years of how the ride is getting rough and to that I say: if you think Toro is rough have you ever ridden a wooden coaster? Toro is crazy smooth compared to even well maintained coasters! So even though I was a little disappointed, I knew I’d be back to give this another chance during ERT that night.

Bizarro - 56/100

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Bizarro number o n e! - ❓ - What’s your favorite floorless coaster? 📸 - Me (Canon EOS M3 70-200mm) - #instattw #instaacn #instatpr #madetothrill #rollercoaster #ridethewicked #savagecoasters #teamcanon #RPSrepost #TPIrepost #coasterfans #coastercrazy1 #teamcanon #canonusa #thrillridesphotography #airtimethrills #accessairtime #canonusa #canon #adrenalinethrills #thrillexplorer #canonglobal #photography #coasterjunkee #ace #ridingofthebull #americancoasterenthusiasts #sixflagsgreatadventure #ilovebmrides #bolligerandmabillard @bolligerandmabillard @canonusa

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I just am not a big B&M sitdown looper fan I think. As far as they go, this one was pretty decent and I did really enjoy the effects, especially the fire effect but other than that, I think the ride is just OK. It was smooth and I think I’d give it the slight edge of Scream at SFMM because of them but otherwise I still wouldn’t wait for than 5 or 10 minutes for this ride.

Superman: Ultimate Flight - 63/100

One of the most underrated parts of SFGAdv is how diverse their coaster lineup is. You have nearly every model B&M makes minus a wing and a floor sit down coaster. And Superman is the much cloned flyer at the park. This is the second Superman clone I’ve ridden with the other being at Great America. And they defnitely were extremely similar. I’ve heard that Over Georgia’s uses the terrain much better but GAdv’s and GAm’s felt nearly identical. The pretzel loop is just as intense as it is elsewhere, it always knocks the breath out of me! The other thing of note in my ride is that after the air gates opened and we headed into our rows, we were herded back out and told that the ride was broken. After waiting 5 or 10 minutes they cycled the trains and just reopened. The poor people on the train before us ended hanging on the brake run and you could see the exhaustion in their faces when we got back into the station. Glad that wasn’t me!

Green Lantern - 40/100

Stand up coasters have never been my favorite. I’ve ridden 4 (Mantis, Vortex x2 and Riddler’s) and I’ve enjoyed only one of them (Riddler’s) and actively hated one of them (Mantis). Couple that with the reputation that Green Lantern is one of the worst ones and from the second we left the station, I was feeling like I had made a bad decision. Well, I was definitely right. Green Lantern took the part I hated about Mantis (the incredible forces it puts on your legs) and combined it with a rough ride. I got off with my legs hurting and completely disoriented and vowing to never do it again. Not a fan!

Batman - 58/100

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I had such a fun day at Riding of the Bull with @maddy_the_reporter @zavian_v @twstedcoasters @beyond_the_coaster @dr.hersheyphd @official_stalker_michael @samrzrzrz and @sky_coaster_ ! This was the best event I’ve been to and I ended the night with a total of 11 rides on El Toro! (There’s only shots of Batman because my phone died before Nitro) #eltoro #ridingofthebull #rotb #batman #nitro #batmantheride #koasterkids #sixflags #sixflagsgreatadventure #bolligerandmabillard #invertedvoaster #hypercoaster

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What can I say at this point that hasn’t already been said about Batman clones? They’re fast, intense and snappy. And Great Adventure’s is no different. I’m not entirely sure why but I didn’t like it’s position in the park nearly as much as I do at Over Texas, Magic Mountain or Great America. I realize I’m being picky but having Nitro so close makes Batman feel small (yes I know that Mr Freeze is right next to B:TR @ Over Texas but it just feels different, alright?). The small amount of themeing that Six Flags puts in does make a difference so keep it up Six Flags, we notice!

Nitro x2 - 87/100

Same deal here. I think my favorite part of the ride is the restraints. There are no other restraint systems in the biz that feel so free and open as these ones. Even I sometimes feel the need to grab down at my restraints since I feel so exposed! Again, plz CGA, get one of these.

Joker - 68/100

This is my 5th Joker clone and wow, it’s be far the best one!! Unlike some of the other ones I’ve ridden, it would be easier to measure this ride on the seconds you weren’t flipping instead of the seconds that you were. Specifically there was a moment at the final elevation change that had the car flip, almost flip the other way and then flip again. It honestly reminded me a ton of X2, the utter out of control-ness of it and I loved every second of it! This is a top 4 coaster at this park without a doubt!

Houdini - 9/10

This was the ride I was the most curious about. I don’t think I ever watched a POV or even had the plot or ride experience described to me so I was going in completely fresh for this one. All I knew was that it was a Vekoma Madhouse. The preshow room was interesting but definitely felt like a Six Flags dark ride in the sense that the effects were fairly basic, the ones that were working at least. Then we were led into the main room where the ride op very unenthusiastically and slowly got us loaded onto the ride. And then the weirdness started. We started tilting back and forth until we tilted what felt like we were upside down, but since that wasn’t possible, the room must’ve been spinning too. The room ended up spinning quite a few more times until it eventually unloaded us. This was probably the most disorienting dark ride I’ve ever experienced and my friends and I came off trying to figure out how much of the motion was the ride vehicles tilting and how much was the room spinning around us. Next time I think I’ll try to keep my eyes closed for at least part of it and try to see if it’s easier to tell the amount of motion without getting confused by the room!

Justice League - 8/10

So this is fourth Justice League dark ride so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect: a fun shooter ride where your experience is really governed by how many of the effects are working and whether the guns work as they’re supposed to (except for Magic Mountain’s which has a couple of extra interesting animatronics that really do make a huge difference in the ride experience). And Great Adventure’s is no different! In this case, we were lucky enough to have most of the effects working so it was a great ride through! My score was around 130k if I remember correctly which is not that great for me but to be fair, my gun felt a little off.

Dark Knight - 65/100

So I’m a little weird about these rides. The Dark Knight is probably my favorite movie of all time which makes these rides mean what they do to me. I also love the themeing and the effort that Six Flags put into these rides rather than just slapping down a generic wild mouse and giving it some generic Batman theme with cardboard cutouts (coughSFNEcough). And Great Adventure’s was just as good as Great America’s in that regard. My oonly complaint was that the Joker mask effect was broken in the queue but that’s a small gripe and I enjoyed the rest of the ride!

Nitro - 87/100

Skull Mountain - 45/100

Skull Mountain is also weirdly important to me since it was one of the rides to be featured in RCT2 and is the sister coaster to Runaway Mountain at SFOT which I remember riding before my enthusiast days. And just like Runaway Mountain this ride was always way more crowded than it deserved to be. And don’t ask me why since capacity was fairly good and the crew was sending trains quickly. But regardless, it had the longest line we waited in all day! The ride itself was good, not quite as good as Runaway Mountain but solid nevertheless!

Nitro - 87/100

My last ride of Nitro was in the pitch black and IT WAS SO AMAZING! I loved loved loved heading out into the woods and not being able to see anything as you hurtle through the trees, it made it feel that much faster! Objectively this ride is probably better than Diamondback even if my heart still likes DB more.

Harley Quinn Crazy Train - 35/100

This is just a step above a normal kiddy coaster in that there was some whip around the turns but other than that it was a normal Zierer Tivoli: crazy long trains and a solid family coaster!

At this point the park had closed and we still had one more credit to get and then it was onto El Toro night rides!

Runaway Mine Train - 55/100

I love ERT. Not only was this ride a walk on but I think there were 2 or 3 other people on the train and we were able to walk right onto the front row. The best part of this ride was definitely the views it gave. The first section of the ride gave the best views of Bizarro whereas the rest of the ride gave amazing views of Ka and El Toro. The ride itself was not my favorite at all. It was rough and the transitions were particularly bad, with many of them feeling like the proverbial Ron Toomer coathanger designed ones. But as we rolled into the station, I was glad to be done with all of the credits at SFGAdv that were open that day (the kiddy coaster was closed for construction of Jersey Devil).

El Toro x? - 96/100

So this second batch of rides was during ERT where we had El Toro from park close at 10 until midnight. So I got to experience a lot of different places on the train and wow. Just one word: wow. So like I mentioned, I wasn’t the most impressed with this ride before. I thought the airtime was very good but wasn’t the world class, insane airtime that you hear about. My first ride of this second session, I ended up near the front of the train on a non-wheel seat. Like Nitro, this time around the first drop didn’t have quite the same amount of crazy out of your seat airtime but like Nitro the subsequent hills more than made up for it. When you go over the first few airtime hills you are violently thrown into your restraints. I think it’s the most aggresive airtime I’ve ever felt. That train wants you off of the back of it and your lap bars are just trying to keep you in. And that airtime is sustained from the top of the hill to the bottom of the next valley. Other than Steel Vengeance I’ve never experienced a more insane, dynamic ride experience. ERT was so quiet that I was able to stay on the train for 3 or 4 rides and I lost track of how many times I rode the ride, it was that good!

After 5 or 6 rides, I figured I should probably head to my hotel and get some sleep considering I got my 2 or 3 hours on the flight the night before. So I headed out around 11 and after dropping my friend off at his apartment, I headed to a good halfway point between Jackson and Allentown and got ready for Dorney the next day.

All in all, it was an amazing day at Six Flags Great Adventure and one I couldn’t have asked a whole lot more from. Between the amazing rides, short lines and great friends this day was my favorite day at a park I’ve ever had and I don’t think anything is going to be beating it anytime soon. Jersey Devil is going to make this park incredible. At the moment I think they have the 3rd best lineup of a Six Flags park behind SFMM and SFGAm but with Jersey Devil I think they go to #2 just behind SFGAm. I’ll definitely be back for Riding of the Bull and Jersey Devil next year!