We went down to GA yesterday to pick up our passes and were pleasantly surprised to see that the Dark Knight coaster was running. I know the new Batman movie doesn't come out till mid July, and I thought the coaster wasn't running until closer to the movie premiere. We found a number of things about the park that the word "disapointing" can't fully convey.
Season tickets are processed near their 3-D ride which last year was a Spongebob Squarepants ride. This year it's 3-D trip to the Moon, which is about some bugs who stow away about a lunar bound nasa space flight. First off the story was very short, and very lame. That aside, the 3-D ddn't work. you saw double images 92% of the movie. I thought maybe it was me or perhaps where we were sitting, and a quick Q&A with some other guests confirmed that everyone had the same problem.
Our second problem was with the guards. They were needlessly aggresive and rude thruout. . I was driving thru the handicapped parking section when a guard stopped me and asked what I was doing. !!!! "Parking" I said wth a touch of confusion. he was polite but it seemed an absurd question. One man was (apparently) ejected by 10 security guards for smoking My wife was screamed at because she was standing pst the blue line which designated the end of the smoking area. The guard at the Dark Knight was screaming at people in line he would throw them out if he caught them sitting on the rails. The guards there need to learn that a polite request is usually enough. If you need to address a crowd, there's a difference between speaking loud enough to be heard over the dinn of the park, and screaming in a nasty voice.
Something also occurred to me. El Toro is the highest and fast wood coaster in the world and it sits next to what i think is the oldest coaster in the park: Rolling Thunder. Why would you need two wooden coasters side by side, especially when one is brand new and one is an aging dinosaur? The answer is you don't. I strongly suspect that Rolling Thunder will be gone within 2-3 years. It takes up a lot of real estate and it's not a big draw any more...
The most disapointing thing about the visit was the Dark Knight coaster. Located near the original Batman ride and the Batman stunt show, it takes the place of Freefall, the movietown water effect and Batman & Robin the Chiller. Now I may be wrong on this. Those rides are in fact gone, but since I visit the theme park so little those rides may have been taken down before this. I am positive freefall was removed to make way for this ride.
I was annoyed at this ride before I even got on because there's a $1 surcharge to ride. Well not exactly. Most rides have a wall of storage racks where guests can store hats, sunglasses, drinks, purses and stuffed animals. Not here. You must stow them in a locker which costs $1.00 otherwise you can't get into the queue. My 9 year old son wasn't going to ride and was going to cross to the exit when we got to the ride and we asked if he could take them. "Nope!" you can't get in line if you have anything with you. What a crock. If you ask me, this is jsut ride design that they can't figure a way to allow guests to stow their stuff while riding right at the end of the line. And I know a thing or two about ride design, I've played Rollercoaster tycoon! :)
Or maybe this is just their way of gouging every nickel they can out of the guests? It's not like they (and every other theme park) don't already do this....
As for the ride, I was really pumped up to see the new Batman movie and the ride, since GA has been promoting the ride in all it's tv spots. I am still itching to see the movie, but take my advise and avoid this turd of a ride. I am not kidding, this ride is a total joke. You wait 90 minutes (or more) for what is essentially a dark ride wild mouse. A dark ride means it's indoors and totally or mostly dark. A wild mouse... well if you don't know, it's typically only found at places like the Meadowlands Fair. here's a picture of a wild mouse.
Now a real wild mouse is a circular car which spins around, often counter to the turns of the track. Some however are little cars that seat 2x2, which is what this ride is. The other Batman ride is well themed, and I have to say this one is too. Apparently the story of the ride is that you're riding a Gotham City Subway when the Joker and Batman duel it out on in and around the train car. Think Spidey vs Doc Ock in S2. So we have all sorts of signage for Gotham, video displays for GCN (Gotham City News) talking about the latest joker attacks and so on.
You get on the ride... and it goes straight, then does a uturn, it goes straight and another u turn. There's these walls that light up as if the joker is attacking. This is lamer then a wild west mine car ride form the 60's. It isn't fast, it's isn't intense, it isn't scary, it has 2-3 "hills" (bunny hops is more like it) and then it's over. This kind of ride would probably be in the top tier at the meadowlands Fair, but this specific one sucks. the ride design is boring and has no thrills or anything to get excited about. When you factor in that this is THE BATMAN ride, and it's in a major theme park you expect better. You deserve better.
Whatever person at GA green lit this kind of ride and thought attatching the Batman name to it should be fired. They already have a ride like this called Skull Mountain. And even though it sucks, it's still better then this. I am absolutely dumbfounded that they thought this was a good idea. Don't believe me? Check out the negative comments about this coaster at the coaster critic. Or the equally negative comments at coaster buzz.
In an interesting turn of events, Six Flags has announced that they are canceling their Dark Knight coaster in Six Flags New England. They cite environmental concerns and probablems with the city... but I find it interesting that it was announced right after the coaster opened here in NJ to extremely harsh criticism. I have to seriously wonder if they looked at the comments and said "we have enough problems already, why should we keep pushing forward on this turd?"
If you still have any doubts about this ride, here's my suggestion: don't get on line, go to the exit. Ask anybody coming off the ride if it was worth it after 90 minutes in line? I will almost guarentee you that unless it's somebody with a 4-8 year old, the answer will be a resounding no. Do yourself a favor, go ride Kingda-ka or Medusa, find yourself a real roller coaster. or if you really want this type of ride go on Skull mountain. The lines will be much shorter and the rides is better.
Just watch out you don't sit on the rails. You don't want to be thrown off the line do ya?