Six Flags Fiesta Texas & ZDT's
A month or two ago a friend of mine from high school hit me up and asked if I’d be interested in meeting him and some of his friends in Austin TX for the weekend. Another good friend of mine lives in Austin so the ability to see high school and college friends made it a no brainer. And then I realized that there was an RMC and Gravity Group coaster that I needed to ride in the area as well so it was an even easier decision.
On Saturday morning while the rest of my group did the rational thing and slept after a long night, I got up at 8am and headed out the door to drive from Austin to San Antonio to rope drop SFFT. I ended up giving myself about 30 minutes too much time so I had plenty of time to stop at my local favorite Whataburger for a delicious Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit before I finished my drive to the park.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
So even with my Whata detour, I got to the park around 15 minutes before opening and after the rope dropped immediately rushed back to Wonder Woman. To my dismay, not only was the “This Ride is Temporarily Closed” sign blocking the entrance but there was no activity or even a train in the station. After waiting around for a few minutes I ran across some workers who told me that the ride will probably open later in the day. So I headed out to get the few credits that I did need.
And the first one was the most shameful: the kid’s coaster! It was a kid’s coaster, nothing new here.
And now for the credit that I desperately wish I had ridden the last time I was here so I didn’t have to ride it this time. Well, it wasn’t great for sure but it also wasn’t awful. Like the Boomerang at SFNE, there was actually some pretty good airtime down the first drop back into the station. The inversions were disorienting and there was definitely some headbanging but overall, it could’ve been so much worse!
So while I was riding these couple of coasters, I was keeping my eye on Wonder Woman to see if there was any activity but I hadn’t seen anything so I figured that I had the time to take the long way back to Wonder Woman and see if IRat was open. Well, almost an hour after the park opened and it still wasn’t open (or even doing much testing) so I just kept on moving. It’s funny, I’d heard from a couple of higher profile enthusiasts that they’d had a bad experience at SFFT with late ride openings but I disregarded it since my experience in 2017 was so good. But maybe they were right!
Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster
But after getting back to Wonder Woman, I was greeted with the sight of ride ops standing in front of the ride telling people that it will definitely open today just at an uncertain time. That was a good sign and since with IRat closed there wasn’t really anything else in the park that I was dying to ride, I decided to take a seat at a bench near WW and wait it out. Well after probably 30 or so minutes of waiting, I finally started to see some action in the station and even trains starting to run. At this point, I had moved from the bench to immediately in front of the entrance and other people started to line up behind me. Another 10 ir 20 minutes and we got let into the line!
I walked immediately to the front row (thought about the back but figured the front row on the first ride of the day was a little cooler) and got on the ride. The ride itself was about what I expected which isn’t shocking considering that it’s a mirror image of a ride that I know extremely well (Railblazer). Similarly, the ride is intense with a crazy amount of whip over the drops and some wild airtime moments. Just like Railblazer, I walked off entertained and a little disoriented. Since the park was both not crowded to begin with but also because the ride had been closed all morning and people hadn’t gotten back around yet, the line was still a walk on after I left but I decided not to go around again due to a lack of time. Besides there was one more ride I wanted to get on before I left the park.
Iron Rattler x2
And naturally, that ride was Iron Rattler. The last time I went to SFFT I enjoyed it but thought that it suffered so much from the canyon section. Well after riding a couple more RMCs - 6 more to be exact - I wondered if my opinion would be any different. Luckily the ride was open and a walk on after I walked back to it and I immediately hopped into the back seat.
Well, my opinion didn’t change much at all. The ride starts off with an excellent drop and a great airtime hill and overbank over the canyon wall. But then you go back up on the canyon wall and do an inversion or two with a couple of wave turn type manuevers before you drop off the cliff again. These elements are taken at such slow speed that it really provides a place to catch your breath in the middle of the ride which is so unlike most RMCs. Even though the good sections of IRat are among the best of any RMC I’ve ridden, the slow sections are some of the worst which makes this one of my least favorite RMCs.
So at this point it was around 12:30 or 1pm. I had intended to leave an hour or so earlier but sometimes things happen and I didn’t mind leaving so late. Fiesta Texas remains one of my favorite Six Flags parks. It features a great 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup with IRat and Wonder Woman and has a really strong second tier of coasters. In another few years I’d really like to see a coaster from GCI or The Gravity Group since a great woody is what the lineup seems to be missing.
Speaking of Gravity Group coasters, it was time for me to hit park #2 of the day: ZDT’s amusement park which was just a little bit out of the way heading back home to Austin.
ZDT’s Amusement Park
I knew that this was a small park but pulling up I didn’t realize just how small it was. I mean, it has a decently long wooden coaster, it has to be at least reasonably sized, right? Nope, this place is compact and Switchback weaves in and out of the entire place! I was also impressed with how much you got with your wristband purchase. So unlimited rides on Switchabck and all of their other rides (one of the mini swinging, spinning pendulums and a drop tower), go karts, arcade games and some indoor attractions. But I was here for one reason only!
Last weekend I had the fortune of riding a Gravity Group coaster that is one of my favorites - Mine Blower at Fun Spot Kissimmee - so I was so pumped to get onto another TGG and one of their strangest creations - the first modern wooden shuttle coaster. Like I mentioned, the ride snakes its way throughout the park which gives it some really interesting angles to get shots of. So lets talk about the ride itself. In a vacuum it certainly seems to fit the GG mold: unique and aggressive. Like its brothers, it is certainly an aggressive wooden coaster. I wouldn’t call it a rough ride but it certainly isn’t smooth so I like to use the term “aggressive” since I think it fits best. The ride starts with a solid drop and couple of airtime hills mixed in with some 90* turns (remember when 90* turns on a wooden coaster was a massive deal? I do!) until you get to the back spike and do the whole thing again.
After raving about the airtime on Mine Blower, I had high expectations for Switchback but it unfortunately failed to deliver which I think was mostly a function of the short trains. Hard to get the whip you need for great airtime with 4 row trains. The shuttle aspect was interesting but felt more like a gimmick since you burn off so much speed going forward to where the reverse leg is too slow to be interesting much. But overall, it was an interesting coaster that I am glad I got the chance to ride and I look forward that much more to riding my next TGG coaster: The Voyage!
And at this point I was running late to rendezvous-ing with my friends in Austin so I took a quick lap around the park to get some pictures before I headed out. The park was definitely impressive to me. For a reasonable price you got access to a coaster, a couple of rides, go karts and arcade games. So if you’re ever in the area or visiting SFFT, please do yourself a favor and head to ZDT’s as well!