29th May to 13th June 2002

Travel, San Francisco
Six Flags Marine World
Day off with optional tour of Alcatraz
Paramount’s Great America
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Travel, Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Universal Studios Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier
Knott’s Berry Farm, Adventure City
Disneyland
Disney’s California Adventure
Legoland, Mission Beach, Scandia
Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Wedding
Las Vegas, Speed, Stratosphere Tower, Hoover Dam
Las Vegas, Travel home

 

Justin Garvanovic
We had, of course, always had plans for a US trip – we do in fact have plans for a second, but that’s a few years off yet. Our first trip Stateside was to the west coast.

We talked to a lot of people about the trip, and took on a lot of advice. One thing that we did hear from a lot of people was that we had to make sure there was time away from parks. As mad as it sounds, doing a trip that is park after park would be just too much. To this end we added one day in San Francisco and some time in Las Vegas. Actually, we thought of Las Vegas as a theme park!

The first park of the trip was Six Flags Marine World, and we were fortunate because the park manager, Joe Meck is a friend of the Club from his time in Europe where he managed at Warner Bros. in Germany. To this end we started with two ERSs, on Medusa and Roar, both fantastic rides, especially Roar which was my favourite “surprise ride” of the trip.

Paramount’s Great America was outstanding, and provided us with ERSs, a superb behind the scenes tour and an extended stay at the park due to a private party booking. Fantastic.

Other highlights included a beach party at Santa Cruz, and their Giant Dipper – my favourite ride of the trip. A great time at Knott’s Berry Farm, although watching Xcelerator being tested was heart breaking. Disney, as expected, was stunning, and I really enjoyed DCA, although it needs some more rides. And I don’t care what Mark Riley says; Soarin’ over California is just incredible. Bring it to Europe! Las Vegas was mind blowing, especially if you’d never been before, and the Space Shot atop the Stratosphere Tower was scarier than you can imagine.

The one low point was Six Flags Magic Mountain. I had been in touch with the park for months before the trip, and they would just not do anything for us – their arrogance knew no bounds. They wouldn’t even let us in five minutes early to get in the queue for X. Then they tried to con us with the entry price – thank God Tony Pycroft spotted their sneaky move. Then to rub salt into the wound, I found a brochure for Six Flags Elitch Gardens in the park that used one of my photos on the cover! I never charged them to use it. God how I wish I did. I’ve been working with amusement parks for over 16 years, and NEVER have I experienced a park like it. A real shame, as for many on the trip, it was the park they were most looking forward to.

 

Day by Day Reports

Day 1 – Travel, San Francisco

Justin Garvanovic
Well, we’re here. A quick report, it’s late, both locally, and based on jet lag. In fact, based on jet lag, it’s early!!!

Firstly, it’s hot, very hot. Lots of red faces all ready – Tony Pycroft looks like a red panda bear! :)

Did a bit of SF (San Francisco, not Six Flags) on first night – hung off “cable car” (the trolley bus thing you see in all those films) – great fun. Took boat ride around bay and under bridge – also great fun. Did I mention hanging off “cable car”?

 

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Day 2 – Six Flags Marine World

Justin Garvanovic
Six Flags Marine World is a great park, with a coaster that has had me adjusting my favourite coaster list… Medusa is as you would expect from B&M, smooth, fast and fun. It seems ironic that it sits next to a Vekoma SLC (Kong)…

V2 won’t be running for another week. If we were still in the area then, I’d change the schedule. It looks fantastic.

Had a great buffet lunch hosted by Joe Meck. I had heard lots about Mr. Meck – he managed both WBMW in Germany, and then in Madrid. All I had heard was correct, he is a top man, and one of the nicest people I have met in my “enthusiast travels”. And to see him later operating the Rapids during the staff lunch hour was just incredible. I have never seen a park boss doing that. He has my complete and utter respect.

After lunch it was water ride take over time, and it appeared I was the only one who took a plastic cup with me – oh well. Everyone got wet, some more than others! :> Not that it is a problem here though.

For some reason they have life jackets on the water rides – and not for a joke! We, of course, had to make use of them, and I hope I can find a picture of us to put here…

More followed, before a great ERS on Roar. It is a stunningly good ride. Next to no airtime, but as fast as a rocket, and it never lets up. It really reminds me of the second half of the Texas Giant, which is good, but even more so. It’s in my top 10 wooden coasters. The back seat is pure magic.

Tom Marshall
Well, a superb start to the trip in all respects – great weather, an excellent park with some great rides – and the Giant Splash which served well keeping a few of us cool every few hours!

Lorna Cromarty
Roar was great, Kong was rough. Having a great time. Medusa was fast, park was fun, brilliant weather.

Adrian Dade
Excellent park, Roar was very fast but I still enjoyed it. Good fun day out.

Gijs Maarse
We had an official (!) ride takeover on the Zamperla kiddie-coaster Road Runner Express. This is really the most painful coaster I’ve ever been on and it’s really small. Off course the rest of the park is heaven.

Derek Cromarty
We rode Roar, it’s alright. Highlight of the day was riding Cobra and Roadrunner. (ED: I think Derek may have heat stroke!)

Florian Kragl
Medusa and Roar – two diamonds in a unique Six-Flags-Park.

Marco Schmidt
Nice Park for sure … typical Six Flags Park. Great Rides , no theming. All-in-all a wonderful day out in the Californian sun.

Malcolm Marr
Funniest moment. Everyone wearing life jackets on the giant splash.

Steve Fagin
Great trams in San Francisco

Stephen Knight
Medusa is a great, smooth ride. Roar was one of the best woodies I have ridden. Amazingly intense ride.

Pjotr Everts
FOR THE DUTCH READERS: Vandaag zaten we in SF Marine World. Dit is best een leuk park voor een SF park! Medusa is een zeer goede baan, maar Roar (de woodie) is echt extreem goed, non-stop actie! Morgen gaan we San Francisco in.

The Crazy Vikings: Medusa was amazing, a great start for this trip! Lots of twists and turns to kick it off! Roar was as good as its reputation. (Til Mona, hvis du leser dette: Kjaeresten din var vill og heftig, men ble kortere og korter for hver gang ;o) ) And for those who didn’t know; the Crazy Vikings are: Eirik, Jonas, Torbjoern and Cecilie.

Peter Davies
What a wonderful day at a great park, the staff were friendly which really added to the atmosphere. Medusa was nice and smooth but the real highlight was Roar which was absolutely amazing…

Chris and Claire McFarlane
A nice day at a nice park, with some good coasters. Medusa was good especially at the front which for us seemed the only place where the floorless concept seemed to come into its own. As for Roar, it reminded us of the Texas Giant from 1995, which was a well paced coaster and great fun to ride.

Paul Worts
The most fun I’ve had with my clothes on! Medusa: you beauty! Roar: you animal! Both coasters were the dogs… (fill in the blank)

Adrian Whitcombe
Cheers John – missing you already

Ian Booth
First ECC trip, great day, great coasters, great crowd!

Paul Greenwood
What words can I use to describe Roar? Speed, twisted, airtime, laterals……Heaven!

Mark Riley
What a way to start!!! Medusa and Roar are two amazing coasters in a park that was small enough not to be too taxing for our first day. Weather today seemed scorching although it’s set to get much hotter. We could be in trouble! Very impressed to see the big boss of the park operating the rapids! Managed to upset some of the locals during a waterfight on the Monsoon Falls (Intamin Giant Splash)… that’ll teach them to gatecrash our boat…

Keith and Judi Turnbull
A fabulous start to the trip – a special thanks to Justin for giving us a solo first ride on Medusa (well, it is our honeymoon!)

Martin Valt
Great day, great weather, great park, great coasters – all overshadowed by Tony “Naomi Campbell” Pycroft’s debut as a poster boy…

Mick Fryer-Kelsey
Miss you Liz and Crystal. Medusa is a fantastic ride. Roar is high on my list of woodies. Park was very good for Six Flags, otherwise all is fine. I enjoyed the park.

Phil & Helen Coates
Weather unbelievably hot. Medusa OK. Roar out of this world. nice park. a great day.

Chris Hull
An excellent start to the trip. Medusa and Roar lived up to expectations. Road Runner Express takeover was a great laugh – OUCH! Great weather!

Andew “Viper” Barrett
Lovely park – Medusa and Roar definitely two superb coasters. Lovely weather!

David Ellis and Susan Roberts
A pretty park, hot weather. Medusa was excellent. Roar is a definite top five coaster. A lovely start to our holiday. San Francisco tomorrow!

Jeff Graham (US Member)
Very impressed with SFMW, nice employees, fun animal shows. Roar and Medusa are better than their Eastern counterparts.

Leslie Graham
WOW: what a surprise to have such a fabulous first day at Six Flags Marine World! Thanks John for planning!

 

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Day 3 – Day off with optional tour of Alcatraz

Justin Garvanovic
We all did our own thing in San Francisco – a great day with boats, Alcatraz and the famous sights of the city.

 

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Day 4 – Paramount’s Great America

Justin Garvanovic
So on to Paramount’s Great America. My first time here with the rides open, and what a day we had. Stealth ERS – I found the ride to be much better than I expected – I prefer it to Air because of its bigger drops. Nowhere near as uncomfortable as I’d been led to believe. Top Gun probably best ride in park, but Arrow Mouse absolutely superb. Grizzly is a travesty. Managed to stay in park for extra two hours tonight with a private party, so plenty of rides had by all. :>

The backstage tour was simply incredible. Enough said.

Final word has to be about Derek Hanna, the one of the park’s PR guys, and an absolute solid gold hero. He went well beyond the call of duty, and made a great day into one that will be talked about for years to come.

MANY THANKS DEREK.

Lorna Cromarty
Excellent day at Paramount’s Great America, Stealth was different, Psycho Mouse was smooth, Grizzly was fast (ED: What!!!), backstage tour was superb, a spectacular day.

Adrian Dade
Grizzly was excellent so I had two goes. Superb park, behind the scenes tour was excellent, with good views of all the rides.

Derek Cromarty
Stealth was interesting. Top Gun was noisy, Grizzly was rough, Invertigo gave me a headache. Backstage tour was good.

Marco Schmidt
Nice park with short but good coasters, except Grizzly which was almost rotten. One of the smoothest and best Wild Mice i’ve ever been on.

Tom Marshall
An excellent park, whose hospitality seemed endless – a great collection of coasters, and a woodie… Top Gun and the Invertigo were firm favourites, and the Schwarzkopf shuttle loop brought back some memories of ‘ol Thunder’!

Gijs Maarse
That Arrow Wild Mouse really surprised me. Probably the only smooth Arrow out there. Top Gun is just amazing and Nemesis-like intense. Stealth is also very good, but not as good as AIR.

Stephen Knight
I feel sick.

Steve Fagin
Felt like an extra in Boyz in the Hood. Otherwise, a good day. Nice Boomerang thing and the lie-down Stealth.

Lucien Rutte
Just had a great day in a good park. The top ride was Top Gun.

Ton Kramer
This park is amazingly large. Stealth is a great coaster but takes a long time loading. Top Gun is very very good. I didn’t like Grizzly. The unexpected two hours extra and the behind the scenes tour were the highlights of the day.

Jonas, Torbjoern, Eirik and Cecilie
We had a wonderful day in PGA, and the ERS on Stealth was great. The backstage tour we had was very good – lots of good Kodak spots :-) Psycho Mouse was a nice (mice) surprise.

Pjotr Everts
FOR THE DUTCH READERS
Vandaag was Great America aan de beurt. Het is niet echt een supernet en creatief park, maar de PR manager was een supergozer en het was een geweldige dag. Top Gun is de beste attractie in het park. Stealth viel me wat tegen.

Darren Smith
The River Rapids ride gave no chance to remain dry. A great day.

Chris and Claire McFarlane
What a good day at Paramount’s Great America, nice park with a good selection of rides. Top Gun was an excellent coaster and probably my new favourite steel coaster.

And the parks recording studio was submitted to some terrible noise that I (Chris) and they hope never to hear again – Claire’s singing not once but twice. I pity them and my ears when I get back home.

Adrian Whitcombe
One of those (very) rare days when the park goes out of its way to make our visit on of the most memorable ever. Great guys and thanks a lot.

Ian Booth
Fantastic day, treated like royalty, couldn’t have been better, still on a high, pure quality !!

Paul Greenwood
The most amazing coaster day I think I’ve ever had! Beautiful park, great coasters, terrific staff, ERS on Stealth, backstage tour and a special invite to their late night private opening. Is it legal to be this happy?

andycoasterboy
here giving a big thumbs up to PGA :) and we have a fab new boy band in tow!!!!

Mark Riley
Whenever I (or Ian Mansfield, for that matter) have a really amazing coaster moment we refer to it as a Religious Moment. Well, this evening on Top Gun was most certainly the first of the tour. Like most mystical events, a Religious Moment defies description so I won’t go into detail here apart from saying the ride kicked ass.

Terry Jarvis
Fantastic day. Words can’t describe the fun we’ve had. The highlight for me was the half an hour on the classic Schwarzkopf shuttle coaster, Greezed Lightning. Awesome.

Keith and Judi Turnbull
A highlight of a day, a day of highlights … the ERS, the tour, the extra time. Being in ECC really can open doors.

Martin Valt
A fantastic welcome at a superb park. Jewel in the crown was Top Gun – a B&M inverter almost as intense and well-paced as Nemesis.

Chris Hull
A superb day with that extra added bonus that can occur on club visits. Wonderful weather, great coasters, good staff (Dave on Top Gun for example!). Thanks to PGA for pulling out the stops for a great day!

David Ellis and Susan Roberts
An excellent day made even more special by the superb hospitality by the park. A 150 minute tour around all the major coasters to film and take photos, and then to join in with a 2 hour extra riding session after the park had shut to the public. Excellent.

 

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Day 5 – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Justin Garvanovic
This was the park I was most looking forward to. I have seen the Giant Dipper on TV untold amount of times, and have yearned to visit since I first saw it. It didn’t let me down, and lived up to everything I had hoped it would. The Giant Dipper is quite simply a classic. I know it’s a term used a lot, probably too much, but in this case it’s warranted. I now have another US park I like as much as Knoebels – and that’s high praise indeed. How many parks can you play beach volleyball at? I rest my case.

Malcolm Marr
When I got to the beach I saw a man with a metal detector walking the beach.  If he was looking for treasure he could have done no worse than point it towards the promenade. A great woody and magnificent old style carousel amongst other rides. A totally different park to Paramount the day before but still as entertaining.

Tony Pycroft
What an absolutely fantastic park. Both the rides and staff are excellent. Highlights have to include the carousal as well as of course the Giant Dipper. This is easily the best day so far.  Even the staff were whooping with joy when we were on the ‘Dipper. Simply the best.

Jeff Graham
Fun morning ERS followed by a great day… how could you not have a wonderful day at this place

Gijs Maarse
Best personel so far. Great Classic Rides; especially enjoyed junior free fall (froghopper).  I even managed to throw a ring into the clowns mouth at the carousel. We also started a new tradition at the Giant Dipper – high fives when the train returns to the station…..great fun!

Chris Hull
What a park!! The rides, staff and weather were just excellent. Carousal ride and Giant Dipper being two major highlights of the day. Throw in a great lunch, a few beers,  sunshine and volleyball and you have a fantastic day. However the finale just had to be the ride takeover in the evening on the Giant Dipper.  At first bemused faces from the rest of the public but then ending in everyone (including the ride ops!) cheering, clapping and joining in the fun that just happens to come from a group of ECC members! What a day!

Stephen Knight
Excellent day, excellent rides and good staff!  Giant Dipper is a great ride but unfortunately marred by awful trains.  The kiddie Moser Freefall ride is a good fun ride along with the Ghost Blasters.

Martin Valt
Superb traditional boardwalk with an awesome 1924 woodie. We had the best ride takeover in living memory! Great beach barbeque – alcohol included – followed by the ECC re-enactment of Baywatch-The Ride (look at the photographs!). Hi to Erica.

Chris & Claire McFarlane
Had a great day at a great park, made a change riding a wooden coaster with Morgan trains that was great fun!  Good atmosphere and good staff, good rides which added to a most enjoyable day.  It’s good to visit a park that wants everyone to have a good day compared to a park that just wants to get people through the gates.  Definitely a park worth visiting if you visit California.

Cecilie, Jonas, Torbjoern and Eirik
Giant Dipper was the highlight of the day, a great coaster with loads of airtime. The beach BBQ was a pleasant break from the rides, and the beach volleyball was great fun (for those who participated at least). The other rides were also fun and we really enjoyed the dark rides, carousel and the fun house. In other words, a perfect day! En stor hilsen til alle kjente der hjemme som leser dette paa en graa regnvaersdag :)

Mark Riley
What a top day.  The barbecue was a really great social event for the group but the last hour on the Giant Dipper was electric with the public and the operators joining us in what can only be described as a party.  The swimming pool in the hotel afterwards rounded off the day nicely (read: crazy pool party!).  Just off down the pub.  But before I go (drum roll please) its Quote of the Day!!!  Justin to Me… “Mark, do you need the strap on?”

Mick Fryer-Kelsey
Hi Liz. Hi Crystal. And anyone else. Fantastic day. The Boardwalk was brilliant – I saw a lot of lost boys! The staff and the park were fantastic. I couldn’t have wanted for a better backdrop for a roller coaster trip.

Terry Jarvis
Tomorrow’s local headline should read, “European Coaster Club creates hysteria with public on Giant Dipper.” An absolutely awesome day.

Andrew “Viper” Barrett
Well what can I say… What a lovely resort. The Giant Dipper is one of the finest woodies I have ever ridden. The BBQ was delicious, especially the lettuce. The atmosphere on the Giant Dipper at the end of the day, with the public, was out of this world. And the hotel’s pool after was the icing on the cake.

Tom Marshall
A great day – the Giant Dipper is a superb ride – and this was a day with many highlights – the ERS, the Barbeque, and the atmosphere on the Giant Dipper at the end of the day, with everyone in sight getting in on the fun – lots of cheering, lots of hand-slapping and plenty of enthusiasm.

 

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Day 6 – Travel, Six Flags Magic Mountain

(Six Flags Magic Mountain reports all appear tomorrow)

 

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Day 7 – Six Flags Magic Mountain

Justin Garvanovic
Phew. This is a two day review that has left me exhausted. Yesterday started off with the seven hour drive down from Santa Cruz to Six Flags Magic Mountain – amazing landscapes, but not a lot else.

Nothing organised at park, but not for want of trying. It was a real shame that the most anticipated park of the trip couldn’t even let us in early to get at the head of the queue for X. Fortunately, all the previous parks had done us proud, but it was a major shame. It will now get better though.

The park itself was generally hellishly busy, we had supposedly picked a quiet time to visit, but it was packed with school kids, that fortunately all left at around 4pm. This left the entire park empty, with just about all coasters being walk-ons, except one. X.

For a laugh, at 7pm I went to check the queue length – it was two and half hours… The park was due to shut at 8pm… Oh, and this was the shortest it had been all day. Suffice to say, on day one no one from the group rode it. We also timed the gap between trains and figured out it had a capacity of around 280 riders per hour.

Oh, and one more thing – the park trying to stitch us up for nearly $1,200… Basically they wanted to charge us for 2 days at a group rate of $29 per day. What they neglected to say was that if we went in on the first day, we could add a second day for $7. A saving of $22 per person, or $1,166 in total! It does now mean we can have some more colour pages in the trip report – I know what park won’t be featured on those pages…

The next morning started early, we wanted to be at the head of the queue. If SFMM weren’t going to help us, we were going to help ourselves. So, after the gates opened, off we dashed, ran, jogged, sped and crawled our way to X, and with a few movements of the public, we had us all together. :)

So onto the ride. The reason for the delay is that the unloading / loading set up really needs 2 trains to operate well, but they only had one. I won’t describe the ride as I don’t need to, but I found it OK. The first drop is great, but I am not convinced about the second half. And as I think I mentioned when I first wrote about it, there is a “judder” in the car due to direct connection nature of the track to the seat position. Overall though a good ride, but not the park’s best.

Here’s my run down of those I remember.
Viper – awful.
Psyclone – awful.
Riddler’s Revenge – superb.
Batman – extreme.
Déjà Vu – surprisingly good.
Revolution – a travesty. Anton would have been ashamed to see it like this.
Colossus – dull.
Ninja – pretty good.
Superman – fun.
Goliath – still the park’s best coaster. Non stop action. From loads of airtime, to loads of “landtime” – the opposite of “airtime”!!! I don’t think I can fault it.

For those who think I’ve missed Flashback, well it’s there, but it doesn’t operate, well not on my two recent visits anyway. This does make it hard for SFMM to claim 15 coasters.

The rest of the park adheres to the usual Six Flags pattern, and you can take from that what you will… But I am sure you know what I mean.

I am glad it’s finished with now. The trip can carry on in earnest now.

Phil Coates
Six Flags Magic Mountain a fantastic park. Coasters, coasters, and more coasters. The park’s skyline has to be seen to be believed.

Tom Marshall
Well, Six Flags Magic Mountain (SFMM) was probably the park I was looking forward to the most…  and in many ways I was disappointed, but in many others was surprised.  Firstly, the good, “X” is superb, a totally unique ride – I hope we see more of these soon.  Déjà Vu – A smooth Vekoma(!) – especially the freefall drops at each end.  Goliath – amazing, 3G helix….  Now for the bad points, Revolution has been mangled beyond recognition – this should be a classic Schwarzkopf coaster- smooth swooping drops and great twists.  SFMM have added awful restraints and overbraked this ride to the point where it literally trundles over the crest…  and you bash your shoulders on the restraints which have been added. Viper was simply terrible…  a typical Arrow looper, but again braked so much it destroys the speed of the ride…  Superman isn’t getting to 100MPH, despite what the advertising said, and the less said about Psyclone, the better…   The weather was if anything, too hot (98F in the shade at around 4pm) – as a result the day was very tiring… but it was worth it just for that one ride on X.  Finally, a quick “Hello” to my parents and sister who I know are reading this!

Gijs Maarse
I had a great day at the rollercoaster capital of the world. Déjà Vu was the biggest surprise. You’re floating in your seat all the way down the vertical towers. X wasn’t as disorientating as I thought it would be, but still amazing (never screamed that hard in my life). Riddler’s Revenge is superb and probably the best stand-up in the world. Batman (my first) is nice and nasty. Superman is fast but not very exciting. Goliath is high and speedy and the helix is a killer, but I like the one in Holland better. It’s a shame the park has got rude personnel and really bad service, because it has got the greatest selection of thrill-rides in the world.

Malcolm Marr
Six Flags Wally World (because there is no magic there) has some great rides (Riddler’s Revenge, Goliath), some good rides (Batman, X) and some downright appalling rides (Psyclone, Revolution). Having queued for an hour for Déjà Vu for it to break down as I got to the gate then for it to break down a second time when I tried later in the day, I now know why this ride is so called. The attitude of the staff leaves a lot to be desired too. I was offered a fast pass to any ride, including those that weren’t running but I couldn’t get one for the ride I was queuing for. All in all a park with some great rides but no magic.

Superman is quiet enough and short enough to fit at Alton Towers – I’m surprised they’ve not considered getting one  :-)

Ton Kramer
Strange park. Airtime on a boomerang, completely busted woody, a bad Arrow looper and silly operators. Great rides though. I REALLY like X. The backseat is interesting because you see the tracks in some of the positions.

Pjotr Everts
FOR THE DUTCH READERS
Vandaag waren we in SFMM. Wat een gigantisch slecht park is dit!!! Attracties, shops, restuarants etc. waren veelal gesloten en 8 attracties deden het niet! En het ziet er allemaal ook erg goedkoop uit. Veel van de achtbanen hirer zijn ook ronduit slecht. X was wel erg leuk, maar ik verwachtte er toch net iets meer van. Morgen gaan we naar de Universal Studios, hopelijk eindelijk eens een goede int door attractie doen…

Mark Riley
Having been caught in the bar until 2am, this morning was a bit of a struggle first thing.  But after watching X go throughout it’s motions only moments before trying the crazy ride out for myself, I quickly recovered.  The quiet park and amazing coasters certainly created an incredible day.  Goliath, X, Superman and Batman are all wonderful in my book (but what would I know?)

Terry Jarvis
For twenty years I’ve been wanting to visit this park and finally the dream has become a reality.  This park has an amazing array of roller coasters.  X with its insane flipping motion; Superman for its acceleration and freefall.  But for me Goliath tops them all for its insane lengthy G-force.

Jonas and Torbjoern
We had a great, hot day in the sun at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Déjà Vu was by far the most scary one, Goliath our favourite and X somewhat weird, but not as exciting as we had hoped it to be. But still – a brilliant day at SFMM. :)
FOR THE NORWEGIAN READERS:
Vel, da var vi ferdig med SFMM – en legendarisk park med naermere 15 berg- og dalbaner. Haaper alle dere hjemme misunner oss skikkelig. Hihi. >:)

Steve Fagin
Well, what can I say? My first visit to Six Flags MM was like getting to heaven only to find out that Basil Fawlty runs the gaff. But the rides were terrific and queues very short. Goliath just about beats the rest for me.

Chris & Claire McFarlane
Another good day at a good park, plenty off coasters, highlights being X, Déjà Vu, Riddlers Revenge and Goliath all very good rides.  I had wanted to ride the Revolution for about 20 years since seeing the movie “Rollercoaster”. Sadly we found the ride very disappointing.  I am sure that the ride should and has been such good fun, but it has been ruined by the awful overheads (Schwarzkopf lap bar restraints have been proved to work!) and the two brake sections around the ride that bring it to a virtual stop so it crawls around the next section, very sad.

Florian Kragl
Riddler’s Revenge – high, fast and smooth, but my second ride was horrible: The guy in the row in front of me vomited and his lunch spread over my left side.

Marco Schmidt
It’s definitely one of the best Parks in the world, although it’s pretty rotten down and the staff is horrible.

Tony Pycroft
Lots of rides at the park, unfortunately the operations of most of them leaves a lot to be desired – especially the operation of Déjà Vu, Colossus and Superman – all excellent rides if they were run properly.  Apart from that, Goliath is fantastic, X is amazing, and these two make the park worth visiting.

Andrew “Viper” Barrett
Well, I couldn’t have voted for a better day at Magic Mountain, the rides had no queues, it wasn’t busy like we thought it would be, I’ve only ridden Viper three times, but no one believes me (Ed: we know he’s ridden every seat really :) ) The hype has worn off it now, because of the new coasters they’ve got there now.  Goliath was just amazing, X was way over my expectations as well, I find it a very friendly park, staff and members of the public.  I’d love to visit the park again in the future.

Paul Orsmond
Park is amazing. X is absolutely outstanding – smooth and fast.  Other great rides – Riddler’s Revenge, Superman, Goliath, Déjà Vu & Batman.  Just a shame we never got an ERS on anything.  Overall, a superb day.

Martin Valt
Just driving past Pasadena as I type this. It’s difficult to concentrate with Beach Boys songs in your head. Returning from a day-and-a-half at the Mountain. Highlight was the entire group running for the front of the X line as soon as the park opened. Amazingly we made it. X is an astonishing coaster providing a genuinely unique ride experience. As for the other coasters – briefly – Goliath, Riddler and Batman are world class. Déjà Vu is surprisingly intimidating. Psyclone is the worst woodie in the world. Hi to Erica, Nige, Steve, Martian, John L and the Rathe clan.

Chris Hull
Having  visited SFMM before it’s a shame to see that this park has continued to attract the crowds whilst still leaving many of  their rides in disrepair.  However that said a few comments. Batman is still intense and enjoyable, Riddler is a fantastic stand-up, Deja Vu is surprisingly enjoyable and Goliath is the pick of the bunch. X is showing signs of roughness even since my visit in January.  Still a very interesting ride but with an appaling loading cycle.  This detracts from having the chance to ever re-ride during the rest of the day.    It is also a real shame to see what they have done to rides like Collosus and Revelution.  Two top class rides in their day that have been “modified” (for some reason or another) and have been totally transformed from their former glory.  If only they could have the chance to rise again? Come on Six Flags – You can do better!

David Ellis & Susan Roberts
Despite being run by Six Flags we had a good day in the park. It was a bit too hot to be comfortable (mid 90s) but most of the queues were short. Goliath was terrific, with plenty of speed, weightlessness and so smooth. X was very unusual but exciting. Colossus was OK but in a poor state of repair. Riddler’s Revenge is the best stand-up coaster around. All in all a great park – shame about the management!

Jeff and Leslie Graham (USA)
Although the park failed to acknowledge our existence, we managed to have a good time nonetheless. We thought Goliath was a snore and we had mixed reviews of Déjà Vu (she liked it, I didn’t). I loved Superman and thought it was a ton of fun. Riddler is a brilliant design, just too bad it is a stand up. One ride on X was certainly not enough!! Except for X, the lines on all the other coasters were very short. Shout out to Mike and Doug at Zoom.

Peter Davies
Another great day.  X is amazing words cannot describe the sensations on the ride (Ed: well, there are, but we can’t put them on a family website!).  Goliath is awesome, the helix ending is intense.  The two woodies were not that good, as they were overbraked.  On the whole, a nice park but badly run.  Thanks John!

Paul Worts
Magic Mountain, the Mecca of theme parks! Ruined Alton Towers forever for me. Shame about the lack of recognition (or ERS) and a surprisingly small number of coasters. I thought they had more than that?

Jeff Holmes
This was my fourth time here and the place gets better and better but the two woodies unfortunately get worse and worse still you cant have everything!!!

Adrian W
Idiot! – Wrote all this last night and Justin the ‘computer expert’ lost it all – ah well – here we go again. MM is just fantastic – one of those parks you have to (and always wanted to) visit. Strange staff / ride operation policies but still a great day and a half. X is just FUN. Deja Vu scared the pants off me (a rare thing these days) and Goliath is ssmmmooooth.

Ian Booth
Great day apart from the heat. X, Superman, Deja Vu, Colossus, Riddlers Revenge all great but the other coasters were too braked for comfort. Would certainly come here again.

Andycoasterboy
An olympic sprint up the hill to X for the first ride of the day :) and then 10 continuous rides on Goliath :) – and I’m sure I’ve done Deja Vu before !!

Paul Greenwood
Going to Magic Mountain was like a dream – riding those coasters that you’ve seen on TV for years and thought you’d never get to do. To top it off, getting to ride X was amazing and Deja Vu scared the pants off me! This was one terrific day.

Eirik ERStad
Six Flags Magic Mountain… goal accomplished. The park has probably some of the best and the worst coasters of America, that is Goliath vs. Psyclone and Viper. A day filled with fun and laughter :)

Keith and Judi Turnbull
X the Xtreme. Great ride, great merchandising, great photos, but a very exclusive club to be a member of! Not the scariest ride, in my opinion, more a pussycat with attitude!

Elaine Harper
Great couple of days. SFMM has some great rides – noticeably Goliath – excellent :-) X was pretty good but I wish it had been longer. Deja Vu I’m afraid was too scary for me (wimp that I am).

Mick Fryer-Kelsey
Had a lovely day at Six Flags. X is an amazing coaster.

 

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Day 8 – Universal Studios Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier

Tony Pycroft
Great Day, No Coasters but lots and lots of fun. The back lot tour is excellent full of film history including the sets of spartacus, gladiator, austin powers and Frankenstein etc. The shows were great including Terminator 2 3D, Waterworld, Animal Planet, and Spiderman. Overall a great day. Typing whilst we make our way to Santa Monica Pier for another coaster (its the one that Mr Bean went to in the film) Once Again thanks john for yet another top day!!!!!!

Lorna Cromarty
Fabulous day, Plenty of shows to see, went on Back to the Future & ET we also went on the tour and nearly missed lunch !!another excellent day.

Adrian Dade
Excellent day, watched the Spiderman show he fell halfway through and the rest of the show was cancelled, went on ET, the back lot tour was excellent

Marco Schmidt
Wow, very nice, although a little smaller than Orlando. Six Flags should visit this Park to learn something about Service and to see how toilets are supposed to look like. Wonderful absolutely worth a visit.

Malcolm Marr
A great little park with some stunning shows. Waterworld has now taken the title of “Best Stunt Show”. Sorry Terry, but your gravel trip has been relegated to second place (Marine World’s diving show still in last place). A special mention should be given to the extremely friendly park staff who could leave you smiling even when telling you that the show you’ve been queuing for has been cancelled because Spiderman took a bump in his previous performance. Terminator 2 is just superb and very cleverly done.

Gijs Maarse
I enjoyed every second in this park. They have the best studio tour (Disney eat your heart out), the best splash ride – Jurassic Park, one of the best dark rides (E.T., who couldn’t pronounce my name), a great simulator (Back to the Future) and a stunning 3D movie (T2). The Waterworld stunt show is also the best park show I’ve ever seen and can be very wet. This park is well worth a visit and I will visit it again in the future, if possible)

Stephen Knight
Universal Studio’s is a great park, and has certainly cheered me up after two days at Six Flags (not very) Magic Mountain. Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, The Mummy returns, the Studio Tour were fantastic. Even the older rides such as ET and Back to the Future were great rides. The excellent Waterworld show, and the Nickelodeon Blast Zone water play area were good ways to cool off on a very hot day. The park was well run, with fast moving queues (although the queue line displays were very wrong), and friendly and efficient staff. A very nice change from Six Flags.

Steve Fagin
Hit of The Day: The Waterworld show, with spectacular real-time stunts, pyrotechnics and even rainbows.

Shit of The Day: Building up to dessert at lunch in the Hard Rock Cafe, which was called ‘Chef’s Choice’ on the menu … only to find that the chef had chosen chocolate chip cookies for everyone. Can’t win ’em all…

Ton Kramer
A very nice day in a VERY nice amusement park. Didn’t even have time to go for shopping for souvenirs. Theming Works !!! Got soaked on Jurassic Parc, dried on ET, got soaked again at Waterworld and partially dried at Spiderman Rock (which IMHO didn’t) Theme of the day:…. SUPER!!!!!!

Mark Riley
A day of Jurassic proportions made all the more enjoyable by the professional and cheerful staff (and have you ever seen free lockers anywhere else?)  Highlight of the day for me was easily the T2-3D show which simply blew me away.  Missing out the Earthquake stage during the Back lot Tour was not so super.  Back to the future, we’re now heading towards Santa Monica for a bonus side trip.

Peter Davies
A day with no coasters at Universal, but still a good one. Has some good show rides and some of the views off the escalator are breathtaking. Terminater 3d was SUPER!

Pjotr Everts
FOR THE DUTCH READERS
Wat een contrast met gisteren. SFMM is qua park echt crap en USH is echt heel goed! Alle attracties die we in USH gedaan hebben waren ook allemaal perfect behalve Spiderman Rocks, want die zuigt. Morgen naar Knott’s: GHOSTRIDER!

Darren Smith
Amazing day –  the day my mum went on a coaster , and she rode it before me .

Chris & Claire McFarlane
This was our first Universal Studios park and was a great day there.  T2-3D was an amazing experience a must do if you ever get the chance. Jurassic Park was a good water ride as well. It was also good to get the chance to visit the nearby(ish) Pacific Pier to ride the West Coaster.

Tom Marshall
USH was great – I really enjoyed the Studio Tour and Terminator Two in 3D was absolutely “super” :-)
The second stop was at Santa Monica – a distinctly mediocre steelie, but a superb little proper American diner just behind the beach – jukebox on the counter and excellent food – very much the America you don’t see…

Paul Worts
Got to see Norman Bates’s house at last! Must ring home and tell mother…

Jeff Holmes
Universal – Jurassic Park and Terminator 3D were the highlights of this park which were fantastic

Adrian W
Today Universal – and a surprise trip to Santa Monica (we hope – actually typing this on the bus on the way and we have 85 minutes before it closes and only 22 minutes to do – but this is LA!

Ian Booth
Universal – more relaxed day and T2-3D was simply superb !!

Andycoasterboy
ET outstanding and the Waterworld Show was better than the film!! On the bus now heading to Santa Monica – to ride West Coaster -the first ever Morgan. I’ll keep you posted in my next bulletin.

Paul Greenwood
There are some incredible attractions at Universal, the highlights for me being Terminator 2 and ET. And I’ve never seen as many escalators in my life!

Torbjoern & Jonas
Universal Studios was a positive change in the park visits, as it was generally thoroughly themed. We had a hard time getting between each attraction, as the park’s elevation made it difficult to go somewhere fast. Also the different rides were more like shows, and lasted longer than most other attractions. But all in all – “Supeeeeer!”…

Eirik ERStad
Universal Studios Hollywood is a beautifully themed park with great attractions. E.T.’s my absolute favourite! The staff though… needs improvement! Lots of line cutting, but staff (or cast members) did nothing about it. Complaining did not help either. Lunch at Hard Rock Cafe was very nice, tasty cookies! :-) Okey dokey….

Elaine Harper
Universal was good as you’d expect (even if ET managed to forget my name between the start and end of the ride). Nice lunch at Hard Rock but the highlight of the day for me was finally getting to Santa Monica Pier to ride the coaster. I’m a very happy person now :-)

Martin Valt
Universal Studios today. Hmmmm, mixed views on this one. Jurassic Park well-themed, very wet and good fun but a bit short. ET cute and Backdraft impressive. Back to the Future seemed surprisingly dated. I never like stunt shows but Waterworld was very well done. As for T2-3D the pre-show was amusing but IMHO the attraction itself was dull noisy rubbish – much like the film really. This evening’s “surprise” visit to Santa Monica Pier (of Baywatch fame) was excellent. A nice smallish Morgan steelie finished the day off really well. Erica – say hi to Dale. Sorry I missed lunch everyone, but when you’ve seen one Hard Rock……

Mick Fryer-Kelsey
Today was an amazing trip, the rides are not extreme but are themed well. The special effects are brilliant. My love to Liz and Crystal. Regards to everyone.

Phil Coates
No coasters here today, but still an enjoyable park. The effects in T2 are absolutely brilliant, and also waterworld was a good show.

Chris Hull
What was expected to be a coaster free day was still very enjoyable. Jurassic was as wet as ever bring relief to those feeling the heat! T2 still a really “SUPER” show and lucky to see Waterworld with all effects working. Good lunch at Hard Rock with an evening in Santa Monica finished off an enjoyable day.

Andrew Barrett
A unique park although no coasters but I really enjoyed it. A very hot day but Jurassic Park certainly cooled me down. T2 twice ‘cos I really enjoyed it being the best attraction there. I really enjoyed the food in Hard Rock. Santa Monica was well worth the visit.

David Ellis and Susan Roberts
Had a great day at Universal Studios. The attractions were really good, a combination of simulators, 3D theatres and rides…but no coasters. Jurassic Park was great albeit very wet! Terminator 2 3D was really good. The day was rounded off nicely with a flying visit to Santa Monica to ride the Morgan steel coaster on Pacific Pier.

Jeff & Leslie Graham
Santa Monica Pier is a gem of a park, the only amusement pier on the west coast. Special thanks to our driver Roberto Herrera for the add-on fun. Roberto rules! West coaster is a scenic steelie with a great view and a surprise pop of airtime on its only drop. It was a treat to see Mary and Adrian ride a coaster too.

Adrian Dade
Excellent evening. Front row seat on West Coaster. Nice coaster, for someone not here to ride coasters… Can’t wait for Ghost Rider

Justin Garvanovic
I’ll try to keep it brief tonight – want to be in bed by midnight! (Tom: So do I!)

Great day, with nearly no coasters. It was worrying to do a park with no coasters (Universal Studios), but I think everyone enjoyed themselves, so the day is a success in my book.

Top rides – T2 and Jurassic Park. I think Back to the Future is getting a little too old now.

Made a special stop at Santa Monica Pier for West Coaster, a fun little Morgan coaster.

That’s it for now. But it was another scorcher.

 

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Day 9 – Knott’s Berry Farm, Adventure City

Justin Garvanovic
Another top day. What better way is there to start a day, than by having a one hour ERS on Ghost Rider. Although slow to hit its groove, when it did, we knew it. And then, in the evening, impossibly faster still. It retains the position of my top US coaster. Some call it rough, but that would be wrong I think. It is powerful.

The rest of the park was top notch, but watching Xcelerator test all day was just torture.  It’s just amazing, and if I can find the holiday time, I’ll be back to ride it ASAP.

There is a black mark though, and it’s Perilous Plunge. One of the most fun rides I have ever experienced has been destroyed with the addition of a four point restraint system. The reason behind it is a good one, but the implementation of them is bad, with loading times being just abysmal. I can’t believe that a better system could not be figured out.

But all in all, a top day at a top park, topped off with some Ghost Rider rides in the back seat that are very hard to beat anywhere.

A quick note about the short side trip we did to Adventure Land, a small park just up the road from Knott’s.  It was a great little park, with some superb staff (as was the case at Knott’s), and some fun rides. If you’re going to Knott’s, you’d be mad not to pay it a visit as it’s just a few miles away if that.

Stephen Knight
Said “put whatever, I’ll be in the Jacuzzi”

Malcolm Marr
Another great park, excellently themed. Perilous Plunge was as suspected, a very wet ride but surprisingly not as wet as Tidal Wave at Thorpe Park (Ed: The ride has been substantially tamed down). I still can’t understand why Oakwood has got one of these rides. I didn’t like Ghostrider all that much even though I had high expectations of it. After five rides I could take no more and waited downstairs, missing the group shot for the day. Took a detour to a small kiddie park where I experienced my first single seater mouse ride. A funny quote from Viper on the return journey to the hotel. “Deva Ju, see I said it properly”. I doubt he ever will manage to call that ride by its correct name.

Peter Davies
Another wonderful park, great theming. Ghostrider is wild, fun but slightly rough in the base of the drops. Perilous Plunge is insanely wet, Montezooma’s  Revenge is run how it should be as in no brakes on the return run! :) Was a shame we couldn’t get to ride Xcelerator but it was testing all day to show how mad the ride is.

Jeff and Leslie Graham
At Knott’s, we were actually more impressed with Jaguar than Ghostrider.  Surprise of the day was the side trip to Adventure City.  Cute park, cool coasters, and ultra-friendly employees.

Steve Fagin
Seemed there were mixed opinions about this park among the group, but I got a good deal. Lots of rides on the super-fast shuttle coaster and the drop tower. Not a lot in the park but what there was, was good. Took all day to dry out from Perilous Plunge. Good ‘back garden’ coaster in Adventure City.

Tony Pycroft
A great day with the best coaster so far. GhostRider is fantastic, a very powerful ride that quite simply does not let go of you! It’s airtime heaven especially at the end of the day. Another highlight was when a bunch of us were having lunch we got deserts provided by Dick Kinzell who is the CEO of Cedar Fair owners of Knott’s Berry, Cedar Point etc. Dick is a very nice guy who spent time chatting with us, even apologising that we could not ride Xcelerator. GhostRider is right up there which ThunderCoaster, whatever you do make sure you get out here to ride it!!!!

Tom Marshall
Well, Knott’s Berry Farm – a great day – although many had gotten their hopes up about Xcelerator – I wasn’t expecting it to be running for us – so wasn’t very upset that it hadn’t. Perilous Plunge was a lot of fun, Ghostrider was very good, but isn’t quite good enough to knock Zeus off my number one spot.

Mark Riley
Although Knott’s was excellent, especially the insane Montezooma’s Revenge, the side trip to Adventure City was a very nice surprise. The Miler Mouse was a really fun little coaster – a backyard coaster if ever there was one. Even the kiddie coaster was a great laugh. Ending the evening on Montezooma’s with my American friends (Mike and Kammy) as well as the hyper-Viper was a tops way to end.

Viper
What a lovely Westerly themed park. Ghostrider – a superb woodie. Montuvoodoo Revenge (sic) is the best Schwarzkopf shuttle loop I’ve ever been on. Supreme Scream is definitely a scary ride every time I did it. And the real treat was today going to the little coaster at Adventure City, as well as something very unexpected happening… was getting bit by a rabbit.

Gijs Maarse
Ghostrider is the wildest woodie I know (a bit too wild maybe), but a very long and superb ride. Surprise of the day was Jaguar. The best Zierer I know and we went through Montezooma’s  loop just as the train passed by – great visuals! Perilous Plunge is basically ruined by the four point restraints and the ridiculous loading procedures, but still the best splash out there (and the wettest).

Lorna Cromarty & Adrian Dade
Loved Ghostrider, very rough on the back seat, Perilous Plunge was very wet, The Boomerang was a head banger, rapids was very wet, log flume was fun, the kiddie coaster was rough, Adrian’s number one coaster is Ghostrider, Brought loads of merchandise, but was not silly enough to buy the block of wood !!

Excellent Park another fantastic day.

Chris & Claire Mcfarlane
Had a good day at Knott’s, Ghostrider is a very fast-hard coaster especially in the back seat. Montezooma’s  Revenge was a surprise, Perilous Plunge was good apart from the very slow boarding of putting on the four part seat belt lap bar, good selection of rides otherwise.

Martin Valt
Quick few words today as a pizza is calling my name. Loved Knott’s. The perfect one day park in my opinion. Shame about Xcelerator – it looked amazing during testing. I may have to pop back over in a few weeks (any excuse). Ghostrider was brilliant especially after it had warmed up by late afternoon. Back seat too wild for words. If MegaFobia is better, it’s by the narrowest of margins. PP was a bit over-hyped in my view, bloody wet though. Should be fabulous in South Wales in October! Hi Erica.

David Ellis and Susan Roberts
Had a great day at Knott’s Berry Farm. Xcelerator looked fantastic…shame we couldn’t ride it. Perilous Plunge wasn’t as wet as I expected but was good fun. The operators did their best to spoil the fun by being total “jobsworths”. Montezooma’s Revenge was an excellent ride. Ghostrider was really fast albeit slightly too rough for many re-rides. Weather was nice. A small excursion to nearby Adventure City to ride a great mouse coaster rounded the day off nicely.

Chris Hull
An enjoyable day at Knott’s with Ghostrider, Montezooma’s Revenge and Perilous Plunge being the highlights. Ghostrider proving to be very much a back seat ride with a wild ride that got wilder as the day progressed. An interesting approach by the ride ops insisting that all bags etc were taken on the ride with you! Perilous Plunge was enjoyable but actually not as wet as I’d expected it to be. God only knows what we’ll face in Wales! Montezooma’s also showed just how a shuttle loop should be run – fast acceleration and late braking. However it proved to be just a little too exciting for a girl in queue in front of us. Back seat with a quick exit and a “wet” seat. And she hadn’t been riding the rapids. I think she had got a little too excited and not been able to make it to the nearest restroom! Hardest part of the day was seeing that empty train going around Xcelerator‘s track every few minutes. So near and yet so far!

Andycoasterboy
Here and reporting a fantastic day at Knott’s – Ghost Rider ERS in the morning was great but watching Xcelerator being tested was a real shame – but a great day

 

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Day 10 – Disneyland

Justin Garvanovic
Disneyland is still my favourite Disney park, even though it was very full on Friday. Fast Pass means that you really don’t have to queue for any of the major rides – so why people do I really can’t figure out.

Top rides included Space Mountain (this ride is just amazing on so many levels, and I hope to get an article about it soon) and Indiana Jones. I think the DisneySea version is slightly better, but not by much. I still love this ride to death, although Spiderman is better in my opinion.

Martin Valt
This was my first visit to the original Disneyland. Pleasantly surprised by Matterhorn Bobsleds and Space Mountain – both seem to have stood the test of time very well. Thunder Mountain was not as good as the other two I’ve ridden. Honourable mentions to Honey I’ve Shrunk the Audience which blows terminator at Universal out of the water and also to Indiana Jones’ Adventure which is the best non-coaster/dark ride attraction I’ve ever seen. Fly to California immediately and ride it! Park was the busiest one we’ve encountered so far, but most of the ride ops seemed to think it was a fairly average attendance day.

Elaine Harper
Disneyland was pretty good although the crowds were a bit much. I do like this park but it tends to get very crowded very quickly. Best ride – Indiana Jones!

Stephen Knight
Disneyland was a great park. I really enjoyed all of the dark rides, as well as the excellent family orientated roller coasters. The theming was great, and the attitude of the staff amazing. Unfortunately due to ill health I had to be taken to hospital for 5 hours. Disney organised free transport to and from the hospital, all Disney guests are seen by the doctor immediately, and was even given two fast passes upon returning to the park. If you ever fall ill in a park, make sure that it is Disney!

Gijs Maarse
The cast members were really friendly and the rides Disney-fantastic. Indiana Jones is an amazing dark ride and Fantasmic is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Mark Riley
Disneyland was a really wonderful experience. The unique magic of the park shone through even though the park was packed. By using the fastpass and the single riders queues we managed to do all the rides multiple times. Everything you’ve heard about the place is true. It’s a very special place.

Jeff Graham
Very crowded day at DL. Used Fast Pass all day and got three rides on Indiana Jones, which I think is the best ride in the park and even better than Spiderman. Took “Walking in Walt’s Footsteps” tour and learned a few things about the park. Since it has a Fast Pass, I finally got to ride Autopia for the first time in 8 visits. Yea!

Mick Fryer-Kelsey
Hi Liz and Crystal. Staff are brilliant. Rides amazing. Certainly very different. Indiana Jones is an amazing ride, it chucks you about all over the place, especially in the back seat. We’re over half way through, and time is running out fast. :<

Steve Fagin

Nice free salad

Malcolm Marr
The California Adventure Park shows how dated the original park is. I have never seen so many obese people driving in electric buggies than I have seen at these parks. Highlights of the first day were the thorough soaking on Splash Mountain, the great ride that was Indiana Jones, and the synchronisation of light, music and fireworks at the end of day shows.

Chris Hull
Disneyland proved to be a little busier than expected (2hr queues for Splash Mountain!) but Fastpass came in useful on most of the rides when they were up and running. Indiana Jones still the highlight of the park although a little temperamental in it’s operation still. An enjoyable day although in a park that at times seemed to struggle a little more than some with the busy crowds.

andycoasterboy
Here again- have not been able to mention the zillion people at Disneyland which spoilt the day for me – did everything I wanted to and went out to see Spiderman and have cocktails.

Adrian W
Disneyland was much better than I expected – Indiana is a MUST DO – almost on par with Spiderman at Islands Of Adventure. Very busy but the fastpass works well (when the rides do!). Great to finally do the Matterhorn – it still rates much higher than many of today’s ‘contenders’.

 

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Day 11 – Disney’s California Adventure

Justin Garvanovic
Disney’s California Adventure was new to me, and I found myself very impressed. The parks looks just great, with some superb rides on show. It does though need some more, and fast.

Top rides included California Screamin’ – a fabulous steel coaster from “you know who in Germany!” that is perfect for the park. The top ride though has to be Soarin’ over California, a stunningly impressive piece of machinery. Disney Studios in Paris needs this ride NOW!

Special thanks to US member Chris Murray who helped us during our stay at Disney, and pointed out all the best ways to get extra fast passes. :)

Martin Valt
California Adventure was fairly sparsely populated – thank you God. Multiple rides were easy today. California Screamin’ is visually an almost perfect reproduction of a boardwalk woodie. Smooth and fun, it’s a strange ride. It’s an LIM-launched but not a thrill ride; it’s a family ride but with a vertical loop. If it had lapbars instead of OTSRs it would be even better. I think Intamin and Disney have achieved exactly what they set out to achieve with this one. Soarin’ Over California simply redefines the term “film show”. As for the park as a whole it’s very small, in fact not much larger than one of the “lands” in Disneyland. Same entrance fee too. It looks fantastic but definitely needs the forthcoming Tower of Terror and… Thanks for listening.

Darren Smith
Wanted his own ERS on California Screamin’ (and pretty much got one by all accounts!)

Elaine Harper
Disney’s California Adventure was nicely themed but not enough to do in my opinion. But this gave a nice chance to wander round Downtown Disney for some shopping!! Not much else to say except my feet are killing me :-( Oh yeah – Soarin’ Over California was really good :-)

Florian Kragel
Disney’s California Adventure is one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever seen, especially the Paradise Pier area in the evening. Soarin’ Over California is not a coaster, is not fast and has no sharp turns, but it is absolutely fantastic to ride. You can just sit down, relax, and enjoy the flight over California. I did it 5 times.

Stephen Knight
California Adventure is also a fantastic park. California Screamin’ is an excellent coaster, very smooth with a very long ride. Other rides, particularly the Sun Wheel, Soarin’ Over California, and Grizzly River Rapids (very wet) were also excellent.

Gijs Maarse
Disney’s California Adventure was a big surprise. I didn’t expect much, but found a great park with a friendly atmosphere and some great rides like California Screamin’, Soarin’ Over California and It’s Tough to be a Bug. I also was on top of the list of Who Wants to be a Millionaire when the show ended! When I lost one of my pins, they gave me a new one, that’s how great Disney is. Also the Blast show got a standing ovation from me.

Mark Riley
And so, with great expectation, I arrived at California Adventure. What a disappointment. I know most will disagree with me but I found the park lacking in atmosphere and the sparkle Disneyland had. I walked into the park bright eyed and raring to go but within a couple of hours I had lost all of my former excitement. And to top it all, Soarin’ over California was a huge let down. It’s just a screen and a set of tilting chairs. Sorry.

Jeff Graham
I was very impressed with DCA today. It is much better than its reputation. Although it was a Saturday, the crowd was very light and the day was much more enjoyable than the day at DL. I was absolutely blown away by Soarin’ over California. Incredible attraction. California Screamin’ could possibly be the smoothest coaster in existence. Family ride, but tons of fun. The ride had special significance to me as it was my 600th all time coaster ridden. Justin organized it so we filled up a whole train and the ride was very special to me. Thanx a lot guys! I loved the park so much, I wished we had another day at this wonderful park.

Ton Kramer
2 days of Disney fun. These operators are great. The cleaning people are great. The attractions are, most of the time – great. I liked Indiana Jones A LOT. In Disney CA I really liked Soarin’ Over California. The 3D shows (Muppets and Its hard to be a bug) are great too. Total fun.

Adrian Dade
Excellent two days at Disney thoroughly enjoyed Space Mountain, Grizzly Mountain rapids & the best ride has to be California Screamin’ !! My first time upside down and had three goes.

Malcolm Marr
Highlights were the Floating Over California experience and the Bugs Life Show 4D show. Special mention should go to the park for having a fast pass system that worked and staff that went out of their way to ensure everyone had an enjoyable experience. Other parks should take note!!

Tony Pycroft
What a great couple of days, its easy to see why USA Disney parks lead the world with regard to staff training. both parks are fantastic and when you ask the staff if you can have the front seat or whatever they never have a problem!!! Park Managers should visit these parks to learn how good staff can really make the difference to a day. As for the rides, Soarin’ over California is outstanding and one should be built in the UK as it would be better than another water ride given our climate.

Chris Hull
California Adventure offered a restful day with a fewer selection of rides.  Souring Over California and California Screamin’ were excellent examples of how Disney can take a ride and make it their own.  Although good to do the Bug’s show – the kids always have such a scare on that one!  All in all an enjoyable day.

Chris & Claire Mcfarlane
What a brilliant day we had at Disneyland California on Friday such a compact park. Disney California Adventure was quite good but does not have the Disney feel to it.

andycoasterboy
California Adventure was a much better Park than Disneyland and I was glad Disneyland for the moment takes ALL the crowds Bugs Life 4D was a great attraction.

Adrian W
Disney’s California Adventure was like a dream park – complete with very fun Wonder Wheel (as per Coney’s) and quite good coasters. Rapids had surprise drops (and I mean drops!) plus we all played Who Wants to be a Millionaire in a full size TV set.

 

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Day 12 – Legoland, Mission Beach, Scandia

Tom Marshall
Another great day – Legoland was a lot of fun – and we could have used a couple more hours at Scandia…  Great steel coaster, and a few other rides.  Mission Beach – with the restored coaster – wasn’t really all that good – and we had far too much time there…

This will be our last trip update, as it’s going to be almost impossible to do any more from Las Vegas due to the very open itinerary.  Highlights of the next few days will include an ERS on Speed and the lights of Vegas.  Watch out for more photos to come on the website once we get back .

Tony Pycroft
Another Excellent Day. We were really looked after by Legoland. The park have a great water ride which allows you to use water cannons against riders, needless to say people got very wet and much fun was had. Belmont Park followed this. This was fun and allowed time to spend on the beach with the waters of the pacific ocean feet , away. Finally Scandia, what a park. The staff are excellent and rally enjoy there jobs, maybe this is because they are older… park take note. Overall another excellent day Thanks John

Malcolm Marr
A mixed day today. Legoland was very welcoming and it was great to be a kid for the day whilst there. Found the fairytale boat ride hilarious. They had Prince Charming carrying a mobile phone, Ali Baba had roller blades and the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel was carrying an electric food blender. Then we went to Mission Beach which was not as much fun as the wooden coaster was a tad brutal for the majority of us (Darren managed 10 rides, no idea how he lasted that long!!). Finally we went to Scandia Park which was a nice, well run park with friendly staff. Rode continually on a Gravitron machine, the first one I’ve seen since the one at Alton Towers years ago. I think Legoland has given us the friendliest reception yet. Who was that clown that joined us at lunch?

Martin Valt
Q. What’s the difference between Legoland California and Lightwater Valley?

A. The Batflyer at Legoland was running!

Giant Dipper at Mission Beach, San Diego very brutal. Harry Traver alive and well at the bottom of the second and third drops. Fun in a strange sort of way but give me the Santa Cruz version anytime. Scandia was a strange place but a bit of a gem. Screamer was very unexpected to say the least. Last night in LA tonight. Heading for Vegas (you should be coming out Erica) tomorrow and Desperado at Buffalo Bill’s is  running. Next instament from the top of the Stratosphere. (Ed: no – it won’t be – no more updates now)

Eirik Erstad
There are quite a few parks that could learn a thing or two from Legoland California. It is an amazing park. Nice variety of rides, beautiful scenery, very good food (at least the one we had!)  and excellent staff. Needless to say, an enjoyable park for everyone. Giant Dipper was way too rough, Screamer delivered a nice, smooth ride with lots of airtime. In the front that is.
The days at Disneyland went something like this:
Disneyland – *sigh* Ooooo….. aaaaaaah……
Disney’s California Adventure:
Soarin’ over California – Wow!
The Power of Blast – Woooow!
Disney Animation – Oh, my God!!
I am a Disney fanatic by the way, and this was my first visit to Disney’s California Adventure. I liked it very much, except for the cast members, who seemed to be the ones who did not make it at the Disneyland audition…

Elaine Parker
Just been to Legoland – really nice park with friendly atmosphere. We were treated really well (unlike some other parks I won’t mention!)

Keith Turnbull
Legoland – Very friendly park who treated us exceptionally well.

Mission Beach was an animal of a coaster that had not had lunch. Scandia well worth the visit – a pity about the confusion re monies, but as this was the first glitch of any significance in what (I think) was the 13th facility we have visited, we would be very picky to complain. And a well executed recovery plan has surely resolved any gripes. As this is the last report of the trip, I would like to place on record our thanks to Justin for his efforts on the coach and in easing our way day by day, and to Justin and Tom for getting the website updates done every night. I have a daily diary which is about a page of A6 a day, and has not been done for 4 days… yet these guys get the job done every night. Thanks again, it has been an unforgettable honeymoon (for many reasons!) And some day, we might even tell Justin about what they have laws about in California.

Steve Fagin
Highlight: Haul-yourself-up ‘freefall’ ride, a magnificent 3-feet high
Lowlight: ‘Wild’ mouse which was braked into submission every few seconds
Limelight: Random Lego character who visited us during lunch and became star of our show.

Marco Schmidt
Wonderful nice and lovely Family Park suitable for all ages. Well organized and friendly ERS with a heartly welcome.

Adrian Dade
Excellent few hours, very friendly park, great hospitality from the park.

Lorna Cromarty
Great family themed park, good boat ride, miniland was great, excellent meal.

Chris Hull
Legoland  – What a great and very clean family park – good selection of “kiddie” rides that provided a lot of enjoyment for the club. The Aquazone seemed to be a significant hit both for Club riders and “bombers”! Very friendly welcome by the staff and a great meal. An enjoyable start to the day.  Mission Beach proved to be a little disappointing – Giant Dipper proved to be a very rough coaster that tested most of the members. Darren deserves a medal for riding it as often as he did!  However an enjoyable evening in Scandia with the surprisingly good Scandia Screamer, a mini Gravitron ERS and an enjoyable round of mini-golf.

Leslie Graham (usa)
Incredible. I never thought there’d be any reason to visit this park except for coasters. Now I’ve seen that the coasters are the least of the fun at this park. Thank you so much for including this park on the itinerary. Best meal yet! Do yourself a favour, go to this park, but plan for at least one full, if not two, days here.

Jeff Graham (usa)
WOW!!! What a park. The coasters are the least interesting aspect of this park. The attraction here is “Miniland” The lego skyline of the various cities is amazing enough, but when you see all the little moving parts, it blows you mind. The builders must have had a lot of fun putting them all together. Thank you very much to park for the nice meal and the ride sessions. I wish we had all day at this park!!!

Chris & Claire Mcfarlane
Legoland is a nice park quite different to the one in Windsor London. The Giant Dipper at San Diego was OK but did not live up to our expectations after Santa Cruz. Scandi was a nice little park with some good attractions. The Giant Dipper had some good highlights to it. A good day overall cannot wait for Las Vegas!!!

Peter Davies
Well what a surprise, the hospitality the park gave us was tremendous. An ERS and lunch you could not ask for more! The wave racers is such good fun and after 4 goes and being picked on every time I got soaked! But do I care? I don’t think so! :)

Mark Riley
After having visited Legoland Windsor – I was very much looking forward to the Californian version. Unlike Soarin’ Over California, I was not disappointed. The park is simply fun with loads of interactive attractions and rides. The park extended a very high level of hospitality to us and certainly showed some of the larger parks how to look after their guests. Wave Racers was a riot!

Onto Mission Beach and the Giant Dipper. I quite enjoyed the coaster even though it was rough and very much a second to Santa Cruz. The nice atmosphere and great setting only helped make the hours fly by. And at six o’clock, I think I’m finally over my hangover…

andycoasterboy
Legoland this morning – we were greeted with very warm and welcoming hospitality – not just a number at Disney. The rides are kiddie but enjoyable – Aquazone was really fun. Mission Beach – Giant Dipper – I had a quick look whilst coming off the the ride to find it had square wheels! Darren on the trip endured 10 rides – a true hero.

Adrian W
Legoland was the cleanest park so far with by far the most welcoming staff – chance for the other parks to take note here if they want to regain the customer service they are so clearly lacking.

San Diego was a bit of a disappointment but worth doing just for the count.

Darren Smith
I enjoyed Legoland, friendly helpful staff and a good meal. Family restrooms are good – and the only park to have these, and they are important to me and my mum. What a great but tiring day.

(Note: Darren is autistic, and has learning difficulties, but is an amazing bloke. He can’t read, but knows more about coasters than most of us. When told the next stop would be Six Flags Magic Mountain, he sign languaged immediately, “the orange and green coasters.” He was of course talking about X and Riddler’s Revenge. I feel pretty safe in saying he rode more coasters than anyone else on the trip. His enjoyment is clear for all to see. It’s seeing Darren ride a coaster that makes all the blood sweat and tears that go into organising a trip worthwhile. Toop! )

Pjotr Everts
FOR THE DUTCH READERS
Vandaag drie parken gedaaan. De eerste was Legoland. Legoland heeft drie leuke achtbanen waarvan twee van Nederlandse makelij. The Dragon is een Vekoma Rollerskater met een leuk begin. Het begint namelijk met een stukje indoor ride. Spellbreaker is een CariPro Batflyer die erg kort is, maar wel ‘racing’.
Nummer twee was Belmont Park met de Giant Dipper. AUCH! Wat is deze baan ruw! Maar het schijnt dat ‘ie vlak voor de re-tracking in de jaren ’90 wel soepel was.
Het laatste park was Scandia. Dit is een klein park met een Miler achtbaan, die best veel airtime heeft en een kiddie coaster.
Morgen gaan we naar Vegas!

 

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Day 14 – Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Wedding

Mark Riley
June 11th was a great day. Not only were we on the California Screaming Tour during the Las Vegas leg, but I was currently standing within the Grand Canyon.

It’s an incredible place – all your preconceptions are totally blown apart when you see this wonderful work of Mother Nature for yourself. But how on Earth do you follow the Grand Canyon? Well, you fly via helicopter to a friend’s wedding.

Dave Ellis and Susan Roberts were to marry during the Club Trip! A number of trip-goers were able to attend the ceremony and to help mark this very special occasion. In fact it was nice to see everyone looking rather dapper for a change, instead of all the sweaty coaster T-shirts!

The ceremony took place at the Little Chapel of the Flowers, very close to the Stratosphere Tower. David’s mum, Margaret and Susan’s sister Christine had flown over for the wedding. It was a very special moment.

Their first adventure as a married couple was picnic lunch on the floor of the Grand Canyon! Following the sunset they enjoyed a night time flight over the Las Vegas Strip before settling down with a glass of Champagne back at the Casino!

Congratulations!

 

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Day 15 – Las Vegas, Speed, Stratosphere Tower, Hoover Dam

Paul Worts
Like a colossal neon oasis, Las Vegas beckoned us from the Arizona wilderness and the brutal roughness of Desperado. We gladly succumbed to its charms. Speed: The Ride launched our coastering (literally!) along the strip, and what a launch it is! Breathtaking acceleration followed by a swooping dive under the sidewalk and then a lovely loop. Further acceleration and straight up the 90 degree track before falling backwards and repeating all that had gone before it. Smooth fast and intense (particularly during an ERS in the blazing morning heat!). Then we headed up the Stratosphere Tower for the High Roller. Of course it’s not a record-breaker in its own right, but come on, what a location! I re-rode it and topped up my tan at the same time – hurrah! Then I bottled out of the Spaceshot above the High Roller, due in part to Viper’s constant goading about “…how high it will look when you’re up there!”, and partly due to the strawberry daiquiri’s consumed at the bar up there!

Canyon Blaster was a pretty decent Arrow double loop, double corkscrew. Quite intense, and housed within our own hotel, Circus, Circus, now that’s what I call location!

 

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