This past Sunday I managed to make it back over to Great Adventure with my old buddy Ed and between some sort of pre-teen Dancefest thing and a Catholic Youth Rally the park was PACKED. We didn't manage to get all that much in and gave up a little after 3pm. Unfortunately I've been spoiled by the lighter crowds of opening day and then basically having the park to ourselves for Coasters After Dark.
Stopping at the Wawa on Monmouth Road outside the park has always been a good gauge of how crowded inside the park is going to be. Today, the Wawa parking lot and store were overflowing with cars and people. Upon navigating the entrance road just after 10am, we could already see how unexpectedly full the parking lot was. We got to the gate at 10:20am and it was a total shitshow.
Ed had purchased a ticket online (and therefore used a separate line as me) managed to get past the gate in a matter of seconds. I had to wait in the 'Activated Season Pass Holder' line which were horrendous. They honestly must have had the two oldest employees at the park operating the brand new biometric scanners, one of the newest pieces of technology the park has in operation. Slow. As. Molasses. I didn't get into the park for another 20 minutes, at least. This definitely started the day off on the wrong foot, and I was already cranky. Once we finally made it in, we bee-line it through the arcade shortcut to where else?
El Toro of course. It's really the only thing I've thought about the past few days leading up to this morning so I was determined to get at least one ride in before the lines got too long. And lucky for us, we succeeded. This early in the day it was pretty much a walk on, and we sat in the magic seat (2nd to last row). Ed had never rode the bull before and he was blown away. Without hesitation he agreed for a second spin so we walked around to the ride entrance and back through the empty queue, right up into the station and right onto the next train pulling into the station - this time in car 4, middle seat.
Needless to say I was in a much better mood. But it was then I made my 2nd mistake of the day which was not going for a third spin since the queue was still a ghost town (my 1st mistake was going to the park at all). However, it was bathroom break and while we're over here - why not a spin on Bizarro?
Bizarro POV provided by DeathByIllusion
We then made a fast dash to the Skyway, also a walk-on at this point also, to hop over to the east side of the park to hit up Nitro.
El Toro, Kingda Ka & Zumanjaro from the SkyWay
At this point I was feeling confident that the park wasn't in fact that all that crowded and my experience at the gate gave me the wrong impression. That feeling was quickly squashed as the line for Nitro was through both sets of switchbacks almost to ride sign at the front.
Nitro's station and lift
Under Nitro's carriage
If there was one thing worth waiting for besides El Toro, it is Nitro. Besides, Nitro is a people eater and I was hoping they were running all three trains. Turned out the wait was about 30 minutes total. We sat in the back as you get insane floater airtime over the first drop when in the back of this train. It's insane, but never gets old.
Nitro POV by FrontSeatCoasters
While we queued for Nitro, we watched Batman next door cycling trains very fast so we gave it a shot. The line was out to the front of the ride and seemed to be wrapping around the Batmobile. Nope.
Batman in action
From there we headed to the boardwalk area to check out the lines for Green Lantern and Superman: Ultimate Flight. I knew what was coming. Enormous! These are not rides I felt like waiting an hour or more for, so we were back to check on El Toro. The line was through both sets of switchbacks and almost at the entrance/sign. We'll break for lunch and try back.
I usually pack a cooler with hoagies from the Wawa, and pop out to the car for lunch but this time we did not, so we wandered around and finally settled on the Main Street Pub. I really wish this park had an actual pub where I could sit and hold a menu and be waited on. The food here was overpriced as expected but was actually really good. Nachos Grande with a Red's Apple Ale that went down really easy. I'm used to living in center city Philly and the food prices here but $20 for one beer and nachos? Robbery! Still, it was good. We got a table outside overlooking the fountain and sat for a while and talked about nothing and enjoyed the weather and people watching. This was one of the highlights of the day, really.
Superman vs. Green Lantern
After we finished, we headed back through the boardwalk to Superman & Green Lantern. The park midways were noticeably crowded at this point. We gave Superman a shot but the line was almost out into the tent portion of the queue. Skip! Green Lantern? The line is long but Ed wanted to do this one so we decided to see how fast it moved.
It moved... slowly. We noticed a giant menacing cloud overhead and as we are entering the final area of the queue just before the steps to the station, it starts to drizzle. We had waited at least 45 minutes at that point. This is one of my least favorite rides at the park, so why are we waiting again? Also, line jumpers. Many. Totally cranky at this point. Just get me on this thing already. Surprisingly, this ran great today.
Green Lantern in action
We were waiting a while so I got a bunch of pics
We decided to give El Toro one last shot for the hell of it, and agreed that if the line was worse than the last time we checked that we would just throw in the towel and head home. And after seeing the line now wrapped around the back of the coaster toward the bridge heading toward Bizarro, we just laughed at each other and started walking toward the main gate.
Upon leaving, the parking lot seemed to be completely filled. Have to say weather was great. Cloudy/overcast with periods of sun, in the upper 60's/low 70's. The clouds and blue sky made for some nice pictures. Got a little sunburn. Being that I got not one but two rides on El Toro first thing this morning without waiting, I can't complain. That's all I really wanted. I guess I just got a little greedy.
El Toro 2x
Green Lantern 1x