Thursday, July 30, 2015

Flags Day

Our first full day in San Antonio was spent mostly at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. There's a lot to do there, though we kept mainly to roller coasters as we worked our way around the park.

Batman: The Ride. This is the park's newest roller coaster, and the ride we went straight to first in hopes of avoiding a long line. It's billed (in non-clarifying fashion) as a "4D Free Spin" roller coaster. What that means in practice is that as you roll along the track, your seat spins you in forward and backward somersaults. It's a rather short ride, but probably about the right length for this much uncontrolled motion.

Superman: Krypton Coaster. A really fun ride, of the "floorless coaster" variety. This Six Flags is located in a quarry, and this ride in particular is wedged right up against the quarry wall. As you zoom down hills and through loops, the proximity to the wall works to give you a great sense of speed. After riding a few coasters in Orlando with speakers built into the headrests, I could have asked for that on this ride too. Still, my brain helpfully filled in John Williams' Superman march as I cruised along.

Iron Rattler. Best coaster in the park; any coaster fan is sure to love it. It's a new steel track coaster built in part on top of the wooden track of a previously existing ride. The first hill drops over 150 feet at more than an 80 degree angle, which feels intense when riding it and seems questionably safe when watching it from the ground. There's also a corkscrew inversion. But what makes these thrills truly impressive is that the ride still has a definite old-time feel -- lap bar only; no shoulder harness.

Road Runner Express. A family-friendly coaster than feels extra tame for being right next to the Iron Rattler. You can ride it without waiting, so there's that. It's worth noting that just after this ride, we stopped for a junky amusement park lunch. I had a foot-long hot dog. (If you've already figured out that this isn't the only appearance of this hot dog in my story, congratulations.)

The Gully Washer. After the first round of coasters, we changed into swim trunks to hit the three water rides. You ride this one facing in a circle, bobbing along some rapids and definitely getting wet. Not bad, but nothing I haven't seen at several other amusement parks.

Power Surge. Not much to this one. Ride up a hill, splash down on the other side. Good for cooling off quick in blazing hot San Antonio, but not much of a thrill.

Bugs' White Water Rapids. This "log ride" is loosely themed with Bugs Bunny. It's the most coaster-like of the log rides, but the wettest you get is on your feet, when water in the log sloshes back and forth as you go up and down hills.

Goliath. With the water rides done, we changed back out of swim trunks and went back to other rides. This coaster is of the "hang below the track" variety, and feels a lot like the Mind Eraser at Elitch Gardens or Alpengeist at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. Decent, but you can surely ride one like it closer to your home.

Boomerang: Coast to Coaster. This might be exactly the same as a ride at Elitch Gardens -- a holdover from the days when it too was a Six Flags park. You ride a double-loop forward, and then backward.

Fish! Not a ride, but a bunch of neat looking fish near a bridge. Very big because they're very well fed from the nearby dispenser... which we also gave a quarter to.

Poltergeist. In my opinion, the most intense of this park's coasters -- a relentless knot of turns and twists at what feels like an incredibly high speed. It also has one of my favorite roller coaster gimmicks, the "fast start" (as opposed to an initial uphill slow crank). Ride operators seem to have fun with that gimmick too.

Scooby-Doo Ghostblasters. We took things down a notch with this blacklit carnival style ride. Like the Men in Black ride at Universal Studios, you shoot at targets with a gun and try to beat the scores of all your friends. Oddly, we had to wait longer for this ride than anything else in the park... possibly because said wait was entirely indoors and thus offered a chance to escape the ridiculous San Antonio summer sun.

Frisbee. Here was my big mistake. This is a classic "spinny ride." 40 people are strapped to a wall in a circle. They spin around and around as an arm rocks the whole disc back and forth. This is pure vomit material, and I totally knew that. But my boyfriend convinced me to ride it with him. I made it through with lunch intact, but I was one twist away from disaster.

Pandemonium. Which makes the next ride decision obviously suspect to say the least. Up to four riders in a single car (pairs facing each other) spin around in free circles as they weave and invert along a coaster track. I knew about halfway through this ride that I should have taken a longer break. But as it ended and we were pulling into the loading station, I thought maybe I'd survived with dignity and lunch intact. Then, after a slight pause, I turned my head and gracelessly attempted to puke over the side of the ride. Half in, half out. Bits of hot dog instead landed in the ride, leading them to officially condemn that car from any future riders.

Thus, the amusement park day came to a slightly premature and ignominious end. It's the first time I've ever barfed from an amusement park ride. But at least two lessons were learned: never, ever, ever ride those spinny rides; and (according to my boyfriend) I really ought to chew my food a little more before swallowing. Plus, I did apparently have the maximum amount of fun I could have on this day. (Or maybe "maximum plus a little more.") So... good times, I suppose.

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