As previously mentioned, we had a suspiciously* grand old time at Great Adventure but there were two big ass highlights which we will now discuss at length.
*(Any grand old time at a Six Flags park is suspicious. And curious.)
There’s this dark ride-ish / attraction at Great Adventure called Houdini’s Something or Other that we never got around to doing on our other visits, but this time, there appeared to be no line so we walked through the queue with the utmost confidence like we knew exactly what we were getting into. But as soon as we got to the end of the queue, a line attendant roped us off and said, “I’ll get you into the next cycle,” and we were like, “Oh, OK” all knowingly as though we were seasoned vets at this thing.
Meanwhile, more people had joined us in line, most notably, a family with a baby who was SUPER FUCKING BAD AND RUNNING AMOK AND SCREAMING.
Luckily, we only had to stand out there for about 5 or so minutes, before the doors to the building opened and we were all ushered into a “haunted library”-esque holding room, where a fairly lengthy pre-show played for us and I honestly am not too sure what was happening, but we reacted with over-the-top shock and let out super embellished gasps of surprise as Houdini’s ghost started making lights flicker, etc. This part alone was wildly entertaining for all the wrong reasons, but OH WAIT THERE’S MORE…
When the pre-show ended, a set of doors opened to a long room with three long, room-length benches on each side. It was set up like a haunted banquet hall, I guess? It’s been nearly a month & three amusement parks later at this point, I can’t remember! I just know that once everyone was seated, the ride attendant – a very bored and unenthused girl who was definitely sick of her job – kept repeating in an indoor voice that could barely be heard to please put all belongings in the bin on the other side of the doorway. A few people got up and did so, but most people continued to sit with giant stuffed animals and backpacks in their lap. She kept slowly cruising the room, eye-balling all of the benches, repeating her demands, so I hissed, “Put my bag out there!” to Chooch, who was like, “It’s a fanny pack, I don’t think she cares about that” and I was like, “JUST DO IT SHE’S MAKING ME NERVOUS” so he ripped it out of my hands with a huff and practically punted it onto the loose item shelf near the exit.
Meanwhile, Henry kept asking, “What does this ride do that no one can be holding anything??? Should That Baby be here?” and I kept brushing him off because I kind of knew what it was but not totally?!
That Baby was over there somewhere crying and screaming, so I whispered, “They should have to take that baby out, too” because NO ONE WANTED IT IN THERE, IT WAS SO FUCKING ANNOYING. There was a group of teenaged girls behind me who clearly felt the same, because one them cough-screamed, “SHUT YOUR BABY UP” and then “TAKE THE BABY OUT” and us COOL KIDS were fucking dying over this. Henry was frowning, but I could tell he wanted to laugh and join the Babyhaters Club because that baby was seriously the worst.
When I say that we sat in this room doing fuck all for a good ten minutes while the ride attendant slowly scanned the benches for loose articles, and then DISAPPEARED FOR LIKE 3 MINUTES, I am not even embellishing a little bit. It was the most surreal experience, sitting there, not knowing what the ride even was, while people walked back and forth to the loose article bin. One guy across from me left the room entirely and then some lady in his group went to go find him I guess and they both eventually came back and sat down, but why was this allowed to happen?? So much was going on and the ride hadn’t even begun!
Finally, the Loose Article Cop was satisfied and the ride started with no warning other than the lights shutting off. Basically, this was one of those “mystery house” type of rides where you’re essentially sitting on a giant swing, and while you’re slowly swinging, the room rotates around you so it appears that you’re going upside down but you’re not. It was actually super chaotic and kind of rough to be honest, so the girls behind us started screaming, “BUT THE BABY! WHAT ABOUT THE BABY!” and I was fucking losing my mind over this. I guess you could file this under HAD TO BE THERE but it was sincerely hurting my sides, I was in hysterics over this. Perhaps it was lack of sleep from all the traveling and action, but even Chooch and Henry could no longer stifle their mirth and actually appeared to also be sort of laughing a little maybe.
My laughs were more like JOYFUL BELLOWS though. I was into it. Bigly.
What a fucking weird experience.
Also – how did they manage to sneak That Baby on the ride?!!? It appeared to be maybe 2ish – able to walk/run as evidenced when it escaped its parents outside in line and ran into a cordoned-off area and the mom was frantically trying to capture it. I mean the ride didn’t actually go upside down and it was docile enough that there were no seatbelts or restraints on the benches, but was That Baby actually sitting on its own throughout that?! Because the rules say NO LAP CHILDREN. And That Baby seemed like a LAP CHILD to me.
EL TORO AT EL NIGHTO
Our first ride on El Toro earlier that day was good. I *thought* that I understood the hype. Maybe? It was a bit more painful than I anticipated, but there was no way I was leaving that night without a night ride.
It was around 8:30 by then, and the park was set to close at 9, so we were treated to a station wait which could have been a walk-on if we weren’t such back row sluts.
I will spare you the nitty gritty, but let’s just say that a night ride on El Toro felt borderline spiritual. First of all, 90% of the people riding it with us were psychopathic coaster enthusiasts. The ride ops were INSANELY hyper. People were screaming OLE each time a train left the station. The dispatches were PHENOMENAL.
This is one of the most aptly-named coasters I have ever had the pleasure (horror?) of being flung around on because you legit feel like you are clinging for dear life onto the back of a murderous bull. It’s the only way to describe it. The drops alone are heart-stopping, but there is a twister section near the end of the course that made my breath hitch every single time, it is so forceful and relentless, and it honest to god feels like you’re going to derail which isn’t really funny to say since it actually did partially derail last summer, but I digress.
Henry had gotten on the train before ours for some reason, I can’t remember why, so he was waiting for us at the entrance but little did he know that Chooch and I schmoozed the line attendant who was standing at the halfway point to check fast passes – there was a garbage can blocking an opening between the exit ramp and the queue line and NO ONE WAS IN LINE so we were like, “Can we please cut through??” rather than having to continue all the way through the exit and then get back in line. He granted us passage but made us walk like zombies as our penance, lol.
I love the El Toro crew!!
Chooch and I got back in line and decided to wait for the second to the last row because we would have a better chance of getting a reride if we weren’t in the back. While we were waiting, a girl screamed VOYAGE!!!!! to Chooch, who was wearing a Voyage shirt, and pointed to a Voyage tattoo on her arm. Then our favorite ride op ran past while checking restraints, stopped in front of us, and whined, “I WANT TO RIDE VOYAGE!” while stomping her feet in a fake-tantrum. It was so adorable and I really felt like I was with my people. Finally! Like, you have to be a crazy person to willingly get back in line for El Toro. When I say that it felt like my organs were shifted on our last go-around, I swear I’m not exaggerating!
Third ride on El Toro – excellent!
When our train came back to the station, we were like CAN WE STAY ON not realizing that someone was in line for our row, but NO ONE WAS IN LINE FOR THE BACK ROW and the people who were behind us on our ride had exited so the ride op was like, “Yeah, just grab an empty seat!” and we quickly slipped into the back row. Meanwhile, guess who had come crawling back into the station looking for us after we literally never left the El Toro area? HAHAHAHENRY. We waved to him from the back row and he shook his head and gave us the “You fuckers,” smirk.
Anyway, fourth ride was super memorable because as soon as we got to the top of the lift hill, it came to a complete stop. Everyone was like, “WTFFFFFF” and I was panicking because that lift hill is high AF and I was NOT trying to walk down it in the dark. Chooch made some dumb roll-back joke and I fucking swear to god right after he said that, the train WENT BACKWARDS for a click or two. We were all fucking screaming!
Then the main ride op who reminded me of Taylor from Coaster Studios because my eyes are bad came on over the speaker at the top of the lift hill and said, “Enjoy your 176 foot drop into total darkness” and the cable lift started back up and we were on our way but HOLY SHIT. What an experience. I think this was the ride where I whacked my elbow REALLY hard and literally thought I chipped the bone but then it turned out that the pain was from the bruise that instantly appeared. I sported that bitch like a badge of honor for days afterward.
OK this is where it got super chaotic. The train came back and the station was nearly empty so the ride ops were like IF YOU CAN FIND AN EMPTY ROW YOU CAN RIDE AGAIN. This was going to be the LAST RIDE OF THE NIGHT so people were ready to tackle each other for a seat. Chooch and I got split up – I ended up sitting with an older man enthusiast who Chooch saw later that night at our hotel, and Chooch got to sit with his Voyage girlfriend who I found afterward on Insta because she’s a huge El Toro groupie and is friends with a lot of the coaster vloggers I follow so you better believe I’m now following her as well, which Chooch thinks is cringey.
The stipulation was that since this was the last ride of the night, if anyone came into the station before the gates shut, whoever was sitting in that row would have to leave. So of course at the last minute, a few people came and out of all the rows, two of them picked the one that Chooch and the Voyage girl were sitting in which was just some random row toward the back. So they had to get out but the ride attendants were screaming, “EMPTY SEAT! EMPTY SEAT!” and Voyage girl ran and snatched it. Chooch ended up leaving and I was like NOOOOO because our Voyage-loving ride attendant girl friend found one more empty seat and was trying to call him back but he had already left and it was actually heart-breaking, you guys.
Like, he should have been on that train with me.
Then I remembered how he had the best fucking night rides of his life on FUCKING STEEL VENGEANCE at Cedar Point last May without me and I didn’t feel so bad anymore, lololol.
Holy shit, though. Ride #5 on this fucking demon, hoo boy. The shared adrenaline between everyone riding it was AMAZING. It was an enthusiast’s delight. Everyone was roaring LET’S GOOOOOO and it really felt like being a part of something insanely intense that is impossible to explain.
Then as our train was on the brake run, we watched them SEND ANOTHER TRAIN AFTER US, ARE YOU KIDDING? We were all crying, “You lied to us!” I guess the assholes that were on the train right before us cajoled them into sending them for one last cycle so THEY got to be the last ride of the night, which made Chooch feel better, lol. But he was still glowering at me when I finally left the El Toro station and returned to him and Henry, both standing outside of the El Toro entrance with their arms crossed, shaking their heads at me.
“It wasn’t even the last ride of the night, nice try,” Chooch said, clearly still jealous though lol.
And then a week later, several people got hurt on El Toro when it allegedly hit a pot hole at the bottom of one of the hills and now the ride is closed again, under investigation. Enthusiasts are coming out left and right talking about how they really felt like it had been running exceptionally rough over the last several weeks so um, that would explain my bruises (some of which were probably internal too!).
I’m glad that no one was seriously injured and I hope that Six Flags does everything and more to ensure that this ride can safely reopen at some point, because it is truly amazing and I’m sorry that it took me so long to get out to Great Adventure and ride it.
(Got this picture from Wiki – would you just look at it.)