Six Flags Darien Lake

June 21, 1999

As we head down S.R.77 we soon see it on the left hand side, SUPERMAN gee this coaster sure changes the way the park looks from the road, we note the conveneint "exit" so we did not habe to make a left turn into the park, we pay our $5 parking charge and are soon finding a space in the (not really full( parking lot. Make our way up to the gate, and head over to the "Season Pass Entrance", we like how Darien has a man with a palmpilot there checking in 'out-of-park' season passes. Soon we make our way to the season pass gate, and after the attenedant tries in vain to get our passes to 'swipe' she finally lets us on in.

In the park down the long entrance path, past a few rides on around the bend behind Predator, to our first stop, Superman!

And look at that line :(

Superman is very minimalistic in appearence, the trains have no sides and are almost simple chairs and lap bars nothing more than what is needed, the track appears to have the minimum ampount of bents neaded, the station is very basic in appearance, and the unshaded queue line is placed right in the middle of the ride. We enter the queue and are suprised to find it only 30 minutes long. We are soon sitting in seat 2.2. They only had a single train operation today, but with (almost) no brake run, a short lift approach, and a super fast chain lift, the line still moved pretty steady. (They were running the blue train, the red train had the water dummies strapped into it, all labeled "PKD" its nice to have cross park-chain sharing.) Speaking of cross park sharing Kings Entertainment Company must have made a mint on those "Fun and Safety" guide signs. Seems every park in NY uses those signs. They even have a special version which highlights the NY Rider safety laws. ending in "State law requires us to inform you that your participation in this ride is at your own risk".


Okay enough gibber jabber, time for Superman:Ride of Steel (Coaster #73!)

One word to describe Superman: AIRTIME!

Airtime in every seat, and not that floater-sissy style airtime, I am talking about riding on the underside of the lapbar airtime. I am talking about 'ejector' airtime. Eric used the phrase "It's the steel version of Shivering Timbers" Ok, now the play by play.

YOu sit on one of two 8 car, 4 seat trains. (Two rows of two), Retraints are a lapbelt, and a T-shaped lapbar. (Individual and ratcheting). Don't expect a loose lapbar, seems they have a little guage marked on the side of an index card showing exactly how far the bar can be from your lap. (Fanny packs do wonders here people!) Anyway even though I thought I was stapled pretty good, I STILL got massive amounts of airtime, and my butt still left the seat. (I think I have the lap bar slouch/fanny pack routine mastered now).

Ok, outof the station, quick turnaround to the left, up the superfast lift, down the 70+ degree drop. (It still looks straight down!) with AIRTIME, a ground hugging left turn taken at good speed, up the second hill (the one along the highway), more AIRTIME, down into helix 1 (which also serves as a turnaround), circle good headchopper, hill 3 more AIRTIME, back down around a curve to the right, helix 2 taken at almost ground level , our of helix two hill 4, more AIRTIME, quick right turn and two "not so small" buny hops onto the magnetic brake area. (Did I mention those last two speedbumps convince you that this ride has a new take on two-stop loading? eject the riders out onto the exit ramp!) WOW! What an awesome ride. (What was that hypercoaster that opened 10 years ago's name again? It seems so tame now) Way to go Intamin on your first Mega-Roller-Coaster. (The car even says so!)

Ok, now anyone who knows me knows I am a wood coaster freak, so we make our way over to a walk-on Predator, and wait 3 cycles for the back seat. Also a single train operation today (the red one). Note the unusual looking transfer track. And pretty soon jump into the train for #74! Nice PTC train, no seatbelts, but it does have the high seat backs, dividers and individual rathceting lap bars with a LOT of play in them. I mean you hear the mechanism click, and you can still lift the bar up quite a ways. Dispatch and geez, even the lift approach is rough, up the lift through the Blue Streak style lift decoration, and a left turn off the lift into: a double out and back. A double out and back that rides real rough, the cars track horribly, can you say side-to-side shuffle? Ok, after that jolting ride, it was time to run past a sunglass shop so Eric could get a glass strap, and the to head down to the other end of the park for Viper.

Viper #75 -

Vper is historically imprtant as being the first 5 inversion coaster. Its line started as you enter the station house itself, so the wait was minimal. Also the track is now Alien Green. Gee you can almost touch this coaster in line. Those little shaded areas of the line were not planned for your comfort. A little later and we were in seat 7.1 and out on the course, that dip out of the station, right turnaround to the lift, up the lift turn right, drop right into the first loop, feel those postive G's readjust your shoulder harness (I fear torquelock coming on!) the second loop, the boomerang up into the the block brake, down around the corckscrew, the tunneled helix and back into the station. Not a bad ride, a lot smoother than we though it would be, no torquelock, and soon we were extiing the ride to be deposited in another part of the park! From the lift we saw the doors open for the Batman Stunt Show, so we dashed to the building formerly used for Noightmare (or so we heard) noted they had the turnstiles roped off and had people merely walking around them and soon through the long windy entrance way to the auditorium. A fascinating, entertaining high energy show soon follwed (it sure put Paramount's Kings Island 'stunt show' to shame!) The show soon let out and we noted the exiting crowd pack the lines for the Bumper Cars and Pirat. We headed around towards Ranger. Ranger was a walk on, and my friend Eric ditched me right before going through the turnstile with the words "Enjoy your Pain, oops I mean Ride!!" Ranger was no worse than say a Kamikazee or Super Loop. I now know where Chris Sawyer got his Looping Ship from. Ok, now down to ride Mind Eraser (#76). Sean Flahraty described this ride as being 'worse than T^2', anyway the line started at the top of the station stairs, so we got in line and encountred the wierdest queue system. Ok the three zig zags accross the station house were unpleasant but normal but on zig zag four you have three openings. One right as you make the turnaround. Thats for rows 6-10 but it clogs the queue leaving you to squeeze by them to take the middle opening (rows 2-5) and then people have to push past those people to get to the final opening (row 1). We took the middle opening and headed to row 2, and no sooner had we selected a row "We are not loading this Train", they decide to put the second train on, which takes them about 15 minutes, but luckily we were got train 2, which had not gotten a chance to warm up yet. (thats the teal train, BTW) And we were soon to witness a rare thing for our first three days, multi-train operation. Well I feel like I don't have to give a play-by-play of an SLC, suffice to say the use of misters (hear that Peggy, I said MISTERS along the circuit added a neat special effect. We noted the on-ride photo booth has been converted to a snack bar.

Which reminds me I almost forgot something, Predator and Viper, and Mind Eraser were missing one common station house accesory, queue-gates! Man how not having those gates speeds loading. Train stops and the next riders are walking towards thet train before the previous riders can unfasten their restraints.

Ok, now we needed to walk back and recheck that Superman line, only 15 minutes this time, so we waited for seat 8.2 (The back seat) More ejector air!. I am really taking a liking to this ride. After riding Superman, we diceded to hit our final new coaster of the day, Boomerang Coast to Coaster (#77) Wow another boomerang. Yawn. The trains were of Vekoma's new style, and the ride was more pleasent than my home Boomerang (Vampire). Odd was the lack of automatic shouder harness controls. but still when we got there they had no line and a train waiting for us in the station. Rode Boomerang and left the park. [1]. After re-entering, we decided to hit some flat rides. We looked at the Sleighride (Flying Bobs) and noted that not only were the cars not swinigng out, the riders were just sitting there, no interesting movement. We skipped Sleighride (as we would all subsequent Flying bobs for much the same reason. Run these rides the way they were MEANT to be run, people!) So we hit the Rodeo Round Up, (a ride just like that Swing Around thing at Kennywood), then the UFO I appreciate Hurbetz a little bit more now, and finally make out was to the Raging Seas, this intersting Mack ride which I have no clue as to what its 'trade name'; is. Raging Seas is that ride that looks like a Himalyah with a lot more up and downs, two seat 'boat' shaped cars with seatbelts and lap bar,. The boats can (under operator control) roatate to face forwards, backwards or inwards. Interesting I do not think they ever faced outwards. This is one of those rides that is classed under "Just plain Fun!" I apprecaite the long ride cyle they were giving today.

Time to head over to the Predator, our bodies are calmed down from last time, still a walk on, in fact we walked right onto seat 1.1. As we were sitting down we noted plaques of recogntion from just about every coaster club you can imagine mounted on the operators booth, "Great Wooden Roller Coaster Enthusiasts"????) Yes ACE was represented. Plaques, recognition, for this ride? Well we lowered our lap bars, and prepared to give this ride a second chance. Still rough,, still shuffles but it has a hint of redeaming qualities in the front seat, airtime! Now if they could work on the ride tracking they would have a nice ride here.

Well now it is time to hit Superman 1.1. After about a 30 minute wait, I scored the front seat while Eric opted to invade the picnic grove and take photos. Eric is not much into front seats except on B&M's. Wow that front seat ride is otherworldly. The nose of the car is so small that you feel entirely open and exposed, held in by a mrere lap bar and seatbelt. Up the fast lift catapuleted over the drop (air int he front seat on drop 1??!!! . Another super airtime laden ride wonderful curves and the REAL fear that I was gonna be launched on that final spped bump before the brakes! Through the gift shop, get the T-shirt. Head up towards the main gift shop. Eric gets his goodies, and out to the car.

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