Thursday, July 20, 2006

Six Flags

Wow. What a day. We went to Six Flags for the day today. The kids had free tickets from a Six Flags promotion - reading 6 hours. We almost ran out of summer before we got a chance to go, but we finally had a day without any appointments. In the last week, we've had 2 apts at the eye dr (D and I) and one at the orthodontist (M).

Anyway, we got our tickets at Publix the day before (actually a better deal than the Coke cans we were planning to use) and saved us waiting in line once we got there. They actually opened the gates early - we were in and heading for Goliath by 9:45 am.

M has decided that roller coasters are good now. He wavered on Goliath, the newest coaster, but finally decided that he would go on it. He now has a love/hate relationship with coasters. After each one, he would declare "I hated it. I want to do it again." He ended up riding 4 major coasters. He says he likes "hang time" better than the G-force feeling.

Coasters he rode:
Goliath - newest coaster
Scream Machine - old wooden coaster
Mind Bender - has 2.5 loops
Cyclone - wooden coaster, bent in on itself

When we got to the park, first we went to Goliath because D and I wanted to ride it and we had heard that it formed big lines fairly quickly. Then we headed over to Thunder River, a big raft water ride. The 4 of us were the only ones in line when we got there, so we got a 10 person boat to ourselves. We made the unfortunate decision to all sit together, so the raft was heavier on that side and we ended up soaked. Well, at the end of that ride, they asked if we wanted to stay on - the kids did - so we did it again. We shifted around a bit and 2 other people joined our boat. Well, we all got soaked again, but this time I really got completely soaked. I got stuck under a waterfall and the force of the water was strong enough that it knocked off my sunglasses - luckily then fell into the boat and not into the "river".

Then since we were already wet, we went to ride another water ride. M wanted to ride in the front so he could get even wetter. A, however, was not tall enough to ride in the front (and D and I felt wet enough already), so we rode in the back. M managed to lose his hat on this ride. Luckily the kid behind him caught it. That kid also lost his hat which his mom, sitting behing him, caught. D and I held on to our hats.

Then we headed to one of our perpetual favorites, the bumper cars. They tend to get very busy later in the day, but as it was only around 11 am by this point, we got on right away. In fact, we waited for them to fill up some more cars. A and I rode together, as last year he had been tall enough to ride, but not really tall enough to drive effectively. This year, he has grown enough, that I only had to help out a bit at the beginning and then he had it. After the ride, we all ran around to ride again. This time, A rode on his own. Then we ran around again and again - 4 times in a row! We all agreed that was enough.

Next the kids wanted to go to Skull Island, sort of a mini water park within Six Flags. We had intially said that we weren't going to do that this year - last year it was horribly overcrowded and impossible to keep up with the kids. This year, though, it was remarkably uncrowded. D and I managed to find seats, so we said that yes, the kids could go on the water slides, not just run around on the ground level. They went on 4 water slides, coming back to check in with us periodically. Meanwhile, I took off my sopping shoes and socks to try to dry them out a bit (only mildly successful) and to un-prune my feet (reasonably successful). It wasn't so fun to put back on damp shoes and socks.

Then we went to the Scream Machine. Both kids rode it last year and said it was ok, but they didn't want to ride it again then. This year, M wanted to ride it, but A decided not to. In fact, M and D rode it twice. Then we went back and rode the bumper cars once more - they were slightly more crowded by now, but in fact we only waited through one ride cycle before we got to ride. In fact, by this point we'd been in the park for about 2.5 hours and there were no crowds to speak of. Amazing. We wondered whether high gas prices were keeping people away???

Next it was on to the Ninja. M decided that he didn't want to do upside down loops. I rather like the Ninja - it doesn't have much hang time, which I no longer really enjoy. D and I rode while the kids waited with our stuff. A got several chances during the day to hold our stuff and watch. He was very good natured about waiting in line for rides he wasn't interested in and holding 3 hats, a couple pairs of glasses and a water bottle.

We all watched M ride the Wheelie.

Then it was on to the Looney Tunes coaster. This is actually a rather tame coaster, minumim height only 36", so there were a bunch of little kids in line. It is unfortunately a very slow moving line, partially because it takes a lot longer to load and unload little kids. It was probably the longest line we stood in all day - it might have been 30 minutes, but felt like forever, as we were all getting hungry by this point.

After that ride was over, we looked for food. Unfortunately, on our way to that ride, we noticed that our normal pizza place had been taken over by Papa John's, with a large price increase. We were near a sit down Papa John's with the same prices, so we thought we might as well get AC with our pizza. Well, this place actually had a better deal. We got a medium pizza (that came with LARGE fries) for less than 4 individual slices. It was still highway robbery, but at least we were full, got to rest in the AC and were able to refill our water bottle with ice water (oh and watch Road Runner cartoons while we ate).

At one point in the day, we passed a show in progress. The kids didn't want to stop, but I wanted to watch for a moment, and very quickly they became entranced. It was a wild west shoot-em-up show, with lots of bad jokes and puns. It was fun. Then after lunch when we saw that there was a show going on in the old dolphin theater, they wanted to see it also. It was cute, pirates threatening each other, with severeal of them ending up in the water. I enjoyed the show and the chance to sit for a few minutes. It reminded me that when i was young, we used to go watch the dolphin show there and once I got picked to go up and feed/pet the dolphin. It was a highlight of that trip for me.

M wanted to ride the flying swings. A was delighted to discover that this year he was tall enough to ride them also. It's a fairly tame ride, giving you a nice view of the park. We rode them before and after Mind Bender. M wasn't sure, but managed to be convinced that if he didn't mind going upside down in Wheelie, that he probably wouldn't mind going upside down in Mind Bender so much. Well, he did like it. Enough that he wanted to go again. Unfortunately quite a line had developed while we were riding it, so we just rode the swings agin.

By this point, we were all getting a bit tires, but there was still more people wanted to see. We went on the final water ride, the log flume. It looked like a long line, but really was only about 15 minutes. Then M and D rode the Cyclone - no lines there. It was actually the least crowded I have seen Six Flags in years. I realize that we didn't ride some of the newer/fancier coasters, but we did hit 5 of the big coasters, with no real line for any of them. Goliath did have a line by the time we finished ridiing it and M didn't get to ride Mind Bender the second time because of the line. But really, it was a good day linewise. We saw/rode more than last year.

All in all, we all enjoyed the day. We decided it was good "practice" for our trip to Disney in October. It definitely made me realize that we will need to pace ourselves there. We can't go all day, for 4 days in row. We were already planning to spend a day in the middle just hanging out. I hope that Disney is equally uncrowded so we can see/do all we want.


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