I kept putting off recapping our Six Flags Great Adventure visit a few weeks ago and now the timing is super awkward because El Toro has recently been closed indefinitely by the park so that sucks. But we’ll get to that another time!
Our experience at Great Adventure has been sketchy. The first time we went, it was part of my roller coaster birthday extravaganza last summer, and the sole purpose of going was to finally ride El Toro (OK and also the brand new at the time RMC raptor) but then a few weeks before the trip, one of the trains of El Toro had a partial derailment and the coaster was immediately closed for inspection, investigation, and repairs.
Luckily, no one was hurt!
But the coaster community was SHOOK because this coaster is beloved. It’s been on my bucket list ever since I rode T-Express at Everland in South Korea, because that’s El Toro’s sister coaster (they’re both Intamin pre-fab woodies) and T-Express is the coaster that turned me into an enthusiast. Before that, I leaned heavily toward dark rides when deciding which amusement park to travel to and I still am a huge dark ride dork! But T-Express opened my eyes to the world of these newer wooden coasters because I had no idea prior to that than anything this insane could be possible. It’s kind of backward that my intro to this would be in Korea and then El Toro would sit stagnant on my bucket list for like, 5 years, when it’s only 6 hours away from me!
Anyway, El Toro was retracked and deemed safe to open for the 2022 season (OR IS IT, dun dun dunnn). So, since the Coastin’ by the Ocean event ended at 2pm that Sunday, I suggested that we leave afterward and hit up Great Adventure, which is only about 90 minutes away. Henry mumbled a half-hearted agreement and it actually ended up being the best idea because THE PARK WAS NOT CROWDED. Were we finally going to have a fantastic time at Great Adventure?! Fine, I’ll just tell you – YES. We had a great effin’ time!
It was also the last day of their Summer Festival thing so there were some fun photo op areas set up like this valley of dancing air guys which was impossible to enjoy because parents were too busy letting their children abuse the things.
Our mission was to get our asses on El Toro ASAP but first we had to get lost in the park because even with three visits under our belts in less than a year, this park still renders us with no sense of direction. This pinwheel tunnel was cool to get lost in though.
*wipes slobber off chin with back of Henry’s hand*
*slow hip gyra—-I MEAN WHAT OK*
OK I don’t even know where to start with this and you don’t care so I will try to keep this brief, but our first experience is AS FOLLOWS:
- waited in line for around 20 minutes, maybe less;
- entered the station, which was SIZZLIN’ with energy, and went straight to the back;
- the ride ops were INSANE and SUPER HYPE, which only added to the experience;
- they scream OLE! when they dispatch you!
- the cable lift hill!!! T-Express vibes! I was like exploding with anticipation!
- THE FIRST DROP!!!!!!! IT WAS LIKE “WHERE IS THE BOTTOM?? IS THERE A BOTTOM??” IT FEELS BOTTOMLESS. BOTTOM. BOTTOMBOTTOMBOTTOM. Does not look right to me.
- PAIN. OH LORDIE THE PAIN.
As we three staggered toward the exit after our inaugural ride on the bull, I had thoughts, the most reoccurring being HOW IS THAT SAFE.
And I mean that in the best, most complimentary way possible.
I did feel as though it was rough, maybe even excessively so, to the point where I was scared to put my hands up at times because I felt the need to hold on for dear life ESPECIALLY toward the end when the laterals (lol it took me forever to understand this) actually make you feel like the train is going to fly off the track.
While I agree that El Toro is deserving of the hype, I still – IN MY HEART OF HEARTS whatever the fuck that even means – love T-Express more. Look, I only rode the thing twice and it was in 2018 when my basis of comparison was probably only, I dunno, the time I rode the Beast in 2005, but I just remember T-Express taking me by absolute surprise and tossing me around like a rag doll in the jaws of a German Shepherd, man.
I knew that I would need to get at least one more ride on El Toro before we left, preferably at night, but we had some other coaster creds to FINALLY get first.
Like Nitro! I really liked this B&M hyper! It was not my favorite hyper by a long shot, but I thought it was definitely worth the wait – it was closed on our first visit, and our second visit was during Fright Fest and the line for it snaked all the way out into the concourse. This time? It was practically a station wait both times we rode it!
The first time, we had just made it back to the brake run when Chooch was like, “OMG look!” and started waving to some people on the rapids ride. I didn’t understand what the big deal was at first, but then I realized that the raft had somehow entered an area that wasn’t part of the ride?! It was the big overflow pool thing, and it looked like the gate to that area had somehow opened and allowed a raft with people on it to cruise on in. Maintenance was there with a rope trying to get them out wtf?! I mean, it was harmless, no one was injured, but this happened RIGHT AFTER Chooch made some weird comment in line alluding to a rapid ride incident.
Oh, another redemption? JERSEY DEVIL. We rode it 4 or 5 times, I can’t remember, because it was an absolute walk-on and the ops were insanely efficient, and I realized that HOLY SHIT, this is actually a fun ride. I know it’s so annoying to hear enthusiasts say things like, “It hasn’t warmed up yet” or “it’s running really slow” because before I started learning about coasters, I never knew that ride experiences could vary! (I mean, aside from front vs back row.) But I really think that this was the case when Chooch and I rode it last October – it was a chilly fall day and clearly it wasn’t running to its full potential because this bitch was FLYING in August.
I also appreciated that one of the ride ops asked me, “How do you want it?” before pressing down on my restraints. “Just a little bit,” I answered, so he TAPPED IT and moved on. THAT IS GOOD SERVICE.
I realize that that whole last section sounds obnoxiously sexual.
Chooch got his Lil Devil cred:
And we also finally got the Superman Ultimate Flight cred after the line was like 2 hours long the first two times we visited. This time? 10 minutes, boy. The ride ops on this one too were cruising! They were definitely timing themselves / racing each other and it was really entertaining to watch.
Flying coasters aren’t my faves, but this one was actually pretty enjoyable. I still would say that Manta at Sea World Orlando is the best, but this one is up there. Probably wouldn’t feel the same if I had to wait 2 hours to ride it though!
Do you remember last October when I imprinted on Bizarro? Well, it was rethemed (themed back to?) to Medusa. This was the original name of the coaster so OG fans of Great Adventure were really stoked for this. All I cared about was if it was going to keep the flames and other effects. It did! However, the fire wasn’t happening the day we were there. I’m pretty sure it’s still there though because I feel like I saw it on some coaster vlogs (like I don’t even care that I’m a fucking nerd over this anymore, lol).
Anyway, even without the flames, it was still a fun-ass ride! The ride ops were super sarcastic, the first drop sent me on a giggle spree, the smoke effects made me scream YEAAAAAH like a frat boy, and then Chooch randomly started talking about how he wants to be a serial killer when he grows up and I was just like, “Why wait?”
It was delirious ride experience, and I loved every second.
This basically sums up our quick visit to Great Adventure, minus THE TWO BIGGEST HIGHLIGHTS which I will post about separately because this bitch is nearly 1500 words and I’m running out of stamina.