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Raleigh, North Carolina
January 27, 2006
From journal 21st B-Day in LA
August 28, 2005
This coaster boasts a 200-foot first drop down, which you soar at 76mph. Those two features by themselves would make for an adrenaline-filled ride, but that's only the beginning. The train itself has a unique shape. The individual cars stick way out from the center of the train, and each car SPINS INDEPENDENTLY of both the train AND of all the other cars! Thus, not only are you dropping and zooming on this ride, but spinning forwards or backwards at the same time! (Which way you spin at any given moment depends on gravity, as you ascend, plunge, veer right, or hang left.) As I photographed X, the riders screamed nonstop throughout the whole length of the ride! I'm so envious of them. SOMEDAY I'm going to get the courage to board this mean machine!
The other coasters in Baja Ridge are wild, but do-able. There's the Viper, which came to the park in 1990. Its green-and-orange trains loop and corkscrew around a steel track, traveling at 70mph. That one, I enjoyed. Its attractive entry building fits in well with the Mexican-Baja California theme of this "land." The third coaster in Baja Ridge is Revolution, which was actually the first looping coaster ever built, the park claims. It's 113 feet tall and travels at 5mph. Personally, I won't be going on this ride again. It just doesn't give a smooth ride. I like to dip and plunge, but I hate to bang and bash! But, try it--YOU might like it!
If you're hungry while in Baja Ridge, you can eat at a branch of the chain restaurant, Panda Express. Now, as you might know, that's a Chinese restaurant, so what it's doing in Mexican-themed Baja Ridge, I'm not sure! But the food is good, just like the food served at any other Panda Express in town.
From journal Six Flags Magic Mountain--A Photo Tour
The star attraction of this "land"--actually, the ONLY ride--is Roaring Rapids, a raft ride. You'll journey along a beautiful, woodsy white-water course in round 12-person rafts. This was the first raft ride to be built in the western USA. Of course, now these rides are common. In Southern California alone, three other theme parks have raft rides: Knott's Berry Farm, Disney's California Adventure, and Sea World of San Diego. But, since the free-floating sensation you'll feel while in the rafts is always a pleasure, I recommend going on this one, too.
Once you board your raft, you'll meander downstream, where the crosscurrents will splash water at you from the side and tall jets of water will rain upon you from above. In other words, you'll get soaked! The crowds love this, though, especially on hot days. Thus, on sultry summer afternoons, you'll find the longest lines for this attraction, so you can plan around visiting during these busy times if you don't want to have a wait. Otherwise, the line for this ride isn't too long.
After leaving Roaring Rapids, you may wish to play a few arcade games (which are the only other things to do in Rapids Camp Crossing.) A nice place to eat is Katy's Kettle, a fast-food restaurant housed in an attractive rustic-style building and surrounded by tall pines. You can order burgers or, like I did, the chicken strip meal. I think it cost around $7 or so for the chicken strips, fries, and a drink. You'll dine at a table under the shady trees. And when you're done, you'll get a special treat! As you continue on from Katy's Kettle Restaurant, the pathway will start to head DOWNHILL!
Well, this is another one I wasn't brave enough to try! It's so TALL! The "dead end" towers soar 200 feet above the ground! Plus, there's a 90-degree first drop! Not for me, I don't think! But many people LOVE this ride. It loops around the track at 65mph, the riders hanging in suspended cars. Whoa! I DO enjoy it as a piece of eye candy. What a fun ride to photograph!
There's another roller coaster in Cyclone Bay that I HAVE been on, the traditional-looking wooden coaster, the Psyclone. I screamed going down the first hill, after which the rest seemed tame. I will say, though, that this ride has a drawback. It's very bumpy and jostly. Kids over 54 inches tall may ride it.
There's a water ride in Cyclone Bay, too--the Arrowhead Splashdown. If you try it, you'll climb into a "jet boat," ascend up the Samurai Summit hillside, and then wind around on that scenic hill. At the end, you'll take a 57-foot plunge--and just might get splashed!
At Cyclone Bay, the 6 Flags people hope you'll spend some more of your hard-earned cash, as evidenced by all the extra-fee attractions in that area! Coming into Cyclone Bay from the Movie District, you'll pass through a section of carnival games. You can toss a ball, throw a dart, etc., to try to win a prize. (They have some cute stuffed animals as prizes that your kids--or your girlfriend--will love.) If you're feeling wealthy AND adventuresome, you can try the expensive "Dive Devil," where you'll plop down over $25 to enjoy a skydiving-type experience. (The exact per-person price varies on how many people in your group will be going on the ride. You can ride alone or have up to two other people with you.) You'll get into a harness at the top of a tall structure, then jump out into thin air, where you'll have a free-fall experience--traveling around 60mph as all four limbs wave in the breeze! Still haven't spent enough? Try the Cyclone Bay 500, a go-cart ride. Actually, though, the fee for this falls into the "reasonable" range at $6, though that's only for one set of laps.
For now, let's say that you've chosen to climb to Samurai Summit. Good choice! Why? Because Samurai Summit is now heavily under construction (with a new ride coming for summer 2006!) All paths onto the hill have been closed, except ONE, the path near The Movie District's Goldrusher mine train ride. In fact, it appears that the Samurai Summit's name might be changed when the new ride opens. That's not "for sure," but the oriental gardens have been removed, and if the theme will remain the same, then why did they remove them? The Sky Tower is closed. (That's the tall tower you saw back in my "Six Flags Plaza" photos, and which you'll also see in the photos below. It housed a slow, elevator-to-the-top ride and provided stunning view opportunities.) It's still standing, though, and, personally, I hope it's not torn down. It's such a landmark--a building that just SHOUTS, "You're at Magic Mountain now!"
Two rides DO remain open on the summit, "Superman the Escape" and the "Ninja" roller coaster. Superman the Escape is a HUGE 41-story tower that's a whopping 415 feet tall! It's ridden in a 15-passenger car that shoots out from the base station, going from 0 to 100mph in just 7 seconds! The ride ascends the tower, hangs at the top briefly, and then drops back down to the ground way below, giving riders a feeling of weightlessness. Confession time: I've never had the nerve to try this ride: it's just TOO tall and TOO scary-looking! But, there is a tamer, but not TOO tame, coaster at Samurai Summit, and that's the Ninja. It's a suspended coaster (the passengers ride BELOW the track) that travels at speeds up to 55mph. I thought it was a fun ride. It was thrilling without making me feel like death was an imminent possibility!
Of course, Magic Mountain is most famous for its coasters, and the Movie District has a great one. It's "Riddler's Revenge," a roller coaster that you ride standing up. You'll experience a 156-foot first drop and make six inversions throughout the course of the ride, while traveling at speeds up to 65mph. To me, standing up during a coaster ride doesn't make much difference in the ride experience (as compared to sitting down.) But, anyway, this is a great coaster! The minimum height for this ride is 54 inches.
But teens and adults aren't the only ones who can enjoy the Movie District. The other rides in this section admit younger children. For families, there's the Scrambler, which is the same familiar scrambler ride that you'd see anywhere else. It admits kids only 36 inches tall, as does the Spin Out, another familiar old ride where you stand against the wall of a barrel, the barrel spins, you "stick" to its walls, and then the floor drops out from under you to emphasize the fact that you're REALLY stuck! Kids of 42 inches can ride the popular Tidal Wave, a short--but wet!--ride in which you board a boat, climb a hill, and then plunge down, soaking yourself as you land in the pool beneath. Kids 42 inches tall may also ride in the "Sandblasters" (bumper cars), although they can't DRIVE the car unless they're 54 inches tall. Finally, for families with children 48 inches tall and over, there's the Goldrusher, a mine-train ride that's a 1971 original to the park. It climbs a hill, then zips around a mountain through the trees at 35mph. Plus, there's only a short wait for this ride! For the adventurous, there's a rock-climbing wall, which has been themed to the movies by calling it the Kruger Apartments! There's an extra fee for this attraction. (Note: The Free Fall, a 10-story tower rise-and-drop ride, is now closed.)
There are two other rides in Gotham City Backlot. Atom Smashers is a flat ride in which a train of cars goes around a circle faster and faster until the car's occupants feel like they're smashing into the car's outer wall. Grinder Gearworks is a ride that has one big ride "car" that you'll stand in, facing all the other riders. As the ride spins, you'll start to feel plastered to the wall behind you. Then, the whole ride lifts up to spin at a 45-degree angle. Both of these last two rides actually pre-date Gotham City Backlot. In 1994, when the Batman coaster was added, the whole area was re-themed to the Gotham City look, and the two older rides got face-lifts and new names. Also, for shopping-lovers, there's a store in Gotham City Backlot that specializes in selling Batman-related merchandise. It's fun to browse through these novelty items.
The other fast coaster is Magic Mountain's newest coaster, Scream, which opened in 2003. This was the park's 16th coaster, which was actually a major event here. With this ride, Magic Mountain "tied" with Cedar Point (in Ohio) for the amusement park with the greatest number of roller coasters! (Up until 2003, Cedar Point had always been THE definitive park for coaster-lovers.) This coaster features floorless trains, which gives the passenger the feeling of moving in a "flying chair." It zips along at 65mph. The first drop is only 150 feet, so speed and the "feeling of flying," rather than height, are its strongest points.
Tamer things to do in Colossus County fair include catching the Hot Ice Show (an ice-skating revue) at the Magic Moments Theater, or riding several older, carnival-style rides. There's the Buccaneer swinging pirate ship, a pendulum-type ride. You can try the Swashbuckler, which is a typical "swinging chair" ride. (Chairs suspended on long chains lift into the air and circle, in unison, a central hub. It gives the rider a mild "flying" sensation.) Or, you can go on the Circus Wheel, which is a new name for that old standby, the Tilt-a-Whirl. Kids need to be at least 42 inches tall for all of these three rides.
Let's talk about the tamer rides first. There's Elmer's Weather Balloons, where your kids will board colorful hot-air-balloon-type, ride cars, and circle around a central hub. They will go up and down, but won't be able to regulate that action independently. There's Daffy's Adventure Tours, where your children can hop aboard a "bus" that rises into the air and comes back down again in a circular motion--first several times going forwards, and then traveling backwards. Taz's Lumber Co. is a truck ride where your kids will enjoy traveling around a scenic, shady track. (See photo below.) On the Tweety's Escape ride, your tyke will enter what looks like a very large bird cage. Then, the cage will circle around a central hub, simulating a gentle "flying" feeling. Also tame are the Merrie Melodies mini carousel and the Foghorn Leghorn's Barn and Railway.
Getting a little wilder, there's Sylvester's Pounce & Bounce, a ride that takes the children up into the air on a straight tower, drops them down quickly, and bounces up and down several times. Pepe Le Pew's Tea Party is a spinning ride similar to the Mad Tea Party ride at Disneyland. There are two junior roller coasters to try. The Canyon Blaster is a mini-coaster that allows parents to board, while the Goliath Jr. coaster admits children only. Yet, even wilder than the coasters is Yosemite Sam's Sierra Falls, a water slide (which you ride in your street clothes, but you DO get wet!). You and your child (42 inches and above) can ride down one of two twisting, turning, and plunging slides while riding on a two-person ride mat. You may congratulate yourself on staying fairly dry as you're sliding downwards, but at the end, you'll land in a shallow pool of water (to stop your momentum). Now, THAT'S where you'll get wet! Getting up and getting off the ride is the tricky part!
A good place to remember for later on when you're hungry is the Mooseburger Lodge. The name doesn't sound very appealing to me, but the restaurant is cute on the outside and even cuter on the inside. As the name implies, its theme is one of a Western lodge like you might find in one of the national parks. They have perhaps the best food in the park (although I think it's only open during the busy season.) It's a buffet featuring ribs, barbeque beef, roasted chicken, pasta, vegetables, and breads. It's a one-price buffet, and I can't remember exactly what I paid, but it was in the $12 to $15 range. On one hand, that's more than I wanted to pay in an amusement park, and I wouldn't have spent that much if I hadn't been alone and paying for only one person! On the other hand, an entrée at Denny's is getting to be almost that high nowadays!
There's a kid’s menu available as well. Past the restaurant, as you walk along farther into High Sierra Territory, you'll come to a tall, tall (fake) tree. On it will be a sign adorned with the faces of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and several other Looney Tunes characters, and there will be a large "tunnel" through the bottom of the tree. Follow that tunnel, and then you'll be in Bugs Bunny World, the children's section of the park.