Six Flags Over Texas26th May 2008
Not a lot has changed in the original Six Flags park since my last visit almost five years ago, to the point that it was for the most part possible to navigate without a park map. The only two obvious changes both involved coasters; Mr. Freeze has changed colour, and Tony Hawk's Big Spin (#1166) has been added. Any brand new coaster is liable to acquire ridiculous queues, and so it was here. However, no other guests had spotted the cunningly hidden single rider line, which had us on board in less than five minutes. One Gerstlauer Model 420/4 spinning coaster is the same as any other, which is a rather roundabout way of saying that this one did not disappoint.
The same could not be said for the Texas Giant, which is now in a sorry state. We were badly beaten by our one ride, taken about half way back in the train. Our car bounced up and down on the rails in a fashion which would hurt at twenty miles per hour, let alone over sixty. It wasn't quite the worst wooden coaster experience on our roster (Anaconda still earns that accolade) but it wasn't far off. This ride should be closed immediately for repairs before it causes serious injury. The weird part is that the park clearly does know how to maintain a wooden coaster, as Judge Roy Scream was riding well today. Go figure.
The only non-coaster ride of the day was taken on Superman Tower of Power, currently the tallest set of S&S combo towers in the world. Our tower felt below average during the launch cycle, as there was no airtime to speak of at the top, but the drop section was predictably excellent. It was interesting that the ride operators asked us not to throw any coins from the top; one cursory glance at the webbing over the queue line shows how many visitors have disregarded that particular instruction. One can only wonder how many people would be hurt were the webbing not present.
One quick semi-blackout on Shockwave brought us over to the two Arrow coasters, the Mine Train and Mini Mine Train. Both were running well. For some reason I actually prefer the latter; it may be short, but it doesn't have its pacing interrupted by three separate lift hills. In reality the height differential on this ride is not all that different to its larger brother, making it difficult to judge who the target audience was.
On my last visit I was very positive about Runaway Mountain. The ride itself is surprisingly thrilling for an indoor coaster, and I'm still very fond of it. It loses a few points however for the lap bar design, which is quite challenging for taller people to get into, which is unforgiveable on an adult coaster such as this. The same problem was evident also on Mr Freeze. As people get taller (not to mention wider) it might be worth reviewing these restraints to see if they can be made a little more forgiving.
We finished up our day with a single lap on Titan, still one of the greatest coaster experiences on the planet. Though other similar designs are taller this one manages somehow to be more intense and more fun. It's a pity that Giovanola only built three of their own coasters.