Every year early in the season, Six Flags Great Adventure holds the exclusive season passholders night Coasters After Dark, and I'd heard about how it was one of the best nights of the year to avoid long waits for the rides. Since this was my first year with a pass, I made it a point to get back over to the park even though I was just here two weeks ago! My buddy Joey who had come up with me on opening day actually rented a car so we could get up and experience basically having the park to ourselves.
All week leading up to it the forecast called for light rain, but it turned out to be a pretty great night with the rain holding off until just after we left, and really, really light crowds. We pulled into the lot about 6:10pm, got parked settled and hoofed it over to the gate. One complaint I have is the park did not provide the preferred lot for us the for the night. Its really kinda lame to have to walk through a huge, completely empty part of the parking lot right in front of the main gate.
We had a little bit of a hold up at the gate, probably due to under staffing as this night apparently gets very low crowds but once we got in we bee-lined through the arcade near the Tea Cups over to El Toro and walked right on. This was the first time I didn't have to wait at least a few minutes for it so I was suddenly in a state of euphoria and disbelief. We rode it in what I am learning is the "magic seat" - the middle row of the last car. It is known as this because you get all of the extreme forces of sitting in the back of El Toro's very long train, but the middle seat is not a wheel seat so its a smooth as a babies ass. After our first ride we walked around (halfway, kinda jumped over the fence near the steps to get back up, an employee caught us and laughed) and rode once more in this same spot.
Bizarro's Zero-G roll
We tried to get a re-ride on the bull in a different seat but wasn't happening so it was off to Bizarro where we marathoned it three times in a row until on the third ride my stomach decided after the MCBR that I'd had enough. This was the first time in years I felt nausea from a coaster but I guess 21 inversions in 10 minutes might do that. Joey was begging for another ride but I needed a short break.
The rides' signature move - the pretzel loop - is just plain NUTS. You are essentially laying on your stomach on this ride and you go into this loop head over heels. This is easily the strangest sensation I've ever had on a ride. Now I want to ride the more highly ranked flyers like Tatsu!
Superman: Ultimate Flight off-ride footage by CoasterStudios
After this we headed for what is in my opinion the parks crowd jewel: Nitro. On our walk over we felt drizzle. Huge bummer, but Great Adventure has a great rain policy - as long as there is no lightning, they will run all of their rides. No lightning so lets do it!
No wait for the front row on Nitro
At this point it was completely dark and I had yet to do Nitro in the dark. By the time we got up the steps the drizzle stopped. We walked right on and sat in middle. No wait at all. This is a fantastic ride at night. The coaster drops into the woods outside of the park and it's really dark back there!
Nitro's lift at night
When we pulled back in we had some folks waiting for our row, so we walked around for ride two and were able to walked right on to the front row. This was my first time in front and was epic! Delicious wind burn on my face! The station was pretty dead so we took advantage of the parks awesome re-ride policy and jumped into a different seat for our third ride in a row. We then were able to move to my favorite spot on this ride - the back row, and rode it two times without getting up. On that fourth go around I had a tinge of naseua again so I told Joey I was done. But then the operator announced it would be the last train of the night so I soldiered through to make it 5 for 5 on Nitro.
Sky Screamer, Ferris Wheel, and Main Street fountain
Exactly at 9:15pm, just as we were walking out of the main gate, did it start to rain. Perfect timing. I was so happy we didn't let the forecasts deter us and were able to get a great night of riding in a short period of time! I am slightly bummed we didn't get a few more runs on El Toro, but its my only small complaint about the entire fantastic evening.
El Toro 2x