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
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.
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 ClarkeAfter 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.
Goodbye, for real this time SFGAdv! :)
Zumanjaro: Drop Of Doom x2
El Toro x4