Surprise! Encore Adventure! October 19th, 2014


After making it up to the park a few Fridays ago for night riding and Fright Fest, I figured it would be the last trip to Great Adventure for me this year, as this is when its tends to be busiest and it's only open on the weekends, not leaving many opportunities for a lot of riding. As season passholders, both my brother-in-law Tom and myself got an email from the park this week advertising an early morning Exclusive Ride Time session on Zumanjaro: Drop Of Doom, so like the addicts we are, even with a full day of other activities planned, we actually went up for just an hour today.

The park was opening @ 11am, and the ERT was from 10:30-11am. I was skeptical we'd get many rides in, being Fright Fest, but we figured what the hell. If we can get one or two without having to wait, it was worth getting out of bed early on a Sunday morning. Hell, since this was my 10th trip to the park this year (and 11th SF park) this wasn't costing me a dime. 

Our only issue: we had to be done, and out of the park and on the road by 11:45am. Crazy, right? Our plan: a few rides on Z:DOD, a long desired front seat ride on Kingda Ka, maybe "a magic seat" ride on El Toro.

 Philadelphia bright and early

Since I knew this was going to be a very brief visit to the park I had my camera in my pocket the entire journey, which since I'm not a licensed driver, is two train rides and then a brief car ride. 

 It's so quiet on Sunday mornings

 A small slice of my neighborhood

Not my 1st train, but one like it

 Early Sunday in the city and no where to get breakfast but Dunkin

 Not my 2nd train, but one like it 

 Some views from my train ride

 Keeping me company

 I take a few different trains regularly and this is one of my favorite lines for the views, even the graffiti

 Through the guts of Philadelphia


  And into the burbs

 Finally link up with Tom and we're on the road into Jersey

 We are way early, but the park is dead on arrival

 Good morning Drop of Doom. Suddenly that coffee has me feeling jittery

 Won't be hard to spot Tom in a crowd today. 

Decent crowd for early ride time, but we're early too! 

 Ready for light-to-moderate winds in 50 degree weather, 41 stories in the sky

 10:30am, gates open, scan cards, skip past the rode drop...

 We have ourselves a nerdy 'light jog' into the Golden Kingdom

 It's a well themed area, sorta. God I love Peanut M&Ms!

Pretty quiet back here this early
 The Bull was having its morning test run

 We made our way back to the Drop of Doom

And got to see Kingda Ka's morning test runs

You gotta love ERT sessions. When we got back to the station there was no wait at all, we got on the 2nd gondola of the day, and were able to hop over the queue gates and ride again right away. We wound up talking to a guy who said it was one of his favorite rides and on a really dead day earlier in the summer he rode it 100 times in one day! Crazy! I love meeting weirdo ride addicts at parks.

Take a ride with Brad Blanks. It looks insane, but trust me it's fun!

After our 2nd ride, the line gotten long enough and it was close enough to 11am that we tried for Kingda Ka, but there was legitimately a good 60-70 people lined up at the entrance already. Kind of insane, we honestly just didn't have the time, so we skipped.

Since the park technically opened at 11 today, I had a feeling El Toro would be quiet, as it usually is the 1/2 hour to hour after the park opens. There is no natural foot traffic pattern to the Plaza Del Carnival area it sits in, from Main Street folks are guided into the Fantasy Forest and into the Boardwalk toward Kingda Ka, Superman, etc or Adventure Alley with its towering Sky Screamer and Giant Wheel.

Eventually they will make their way into Plaza Del Carnival so it's always smart to get some morning rides in before the crowds show up.

Sure enough, we were able to walk right on, up the steps and back to the magic seat. We got on the 2nd train of the day. When we returned, the station was still a ghost town so we stayed seated for second run in a row.

Gorgeous off ride footage shot by Zack Clarke

After that 2nd ride we had to move up a row in order to get a 3rd ride on the same train, as a nice young couple was waiting for our row. While loading and on the lift, we made small talk with them about how great the ride is explained the 'magic seat' to them, and prodded them to try riding Zumanajaro, which they had yet to try.  

Some more great off-ride shots by Themeparkfanatic

On our return we got lucky once again with an empty station and no one in our row so we stayed on for our fourth consecutive ride, all while watching the clock, knowing that we were running out of time.  

With that final fantastic rumble, we bid our new friends adieu, and took off toward the parking lot, but not before stopping to purchase one of the four on-ride photos we just took. If fact, we chose the photo from our very last ride on The Bull of 2014. 

My 27th & final lap on the Bull, 2014.

One thing I will note is how I finally understand all I've heard about El Toro not running well on cold mornings. While amazing, those were four of the slowest rides I've taken all year on it, to the point where there was concern we may valley on the last dip before the break run. Shame we couldn't have stayed til later in the day to feel her really rip but it's going to have to wait until Opening Day 2015.

 Goodbye, for real this time SFGAdv! :) 

Ride Count:
Zumanjaro: Drop Of Doom x2
El Toro x4

1 comment:

  1. aside from all the superior Philly shots, the one of you and T on the ride hamming it up is the Best