2012 Opening Weekend Trip Report - Gurnee

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2012 Opening Weekend Trip Report - Gurnee

Post by marcos »

Saturday-Sunday, May 5-6, 2012

I arrived via Washington Street at 9:28 AM. The (alternate) parking lot entrance was starting to get a little backed up…maybe 8 cars deep and not really moving. A couple minutes later, they opened a second lane, and I was soon on my way.

I got a primo parking spot up front. I didn’t have to wait to get in the park; being a brand new Discover Card holder, I got to go in the promotional express line. This was nice.

I was there in time to see Hank Salemi (park president) talk about nothing, and see the ceremonial switch flipped in front of the Columbia at a few minutes before 10.

I checked out the new GR*EA*T A*MER*ICA* quasi-retro merchandise in Carousel Gifts…man, there is some gorgeous new stuff, with a nod to the old…looks like my input last year actually mattered…and that the Director I talked to at the very end of the 2011 season came through on his “promise” to me! More on this in another post.

To start off the day and season, I attempted to hit up the three original Marriott coasters.

I waited about 20 minutes for Whizzer to open while the trains were being tested/cooked. I was pleased to see two trains running, unlike on OD last year! Man, was it running well…seemed quick for a cool morning ride!

I then hit Demon…there was no wait…only the red train was running, but later red and yellow were; the trains looked sharp!

I tried to ride American Eagle, but the line was closed. An empty blue train was stuck just before the crest of the lift hill. Other than this supposedly being a short delay, there was no ETA, of course. I waited around 20 minutes, taking pictures of X-Flight and the grounds crew. I finally gave up and kept walking.

I stopped at Mooseburger Lodge (Klondike Cafe) and talked to the Supervisor regarding items on the new Season Dining Pass menu.

By this time, it was almost 11:30, so I decided to check out Logger’s Run. It was open all right, but there were literally no guests there. I was enthusiastically beckoned over by the ride crew. The turntable wasn’t even operating, since no one was riding! I then had my choice of any log, they engaged the turntable, and away I went.

I noticed Buzzy Bees operating where East River Crawler (Lobster) normally is; the space is too huge for this ride! (Crawler is undergoing a complete rehab for 2013, so I hear.)

I had hoped to hit Batman for its 20th anniversary, but the line was already very long.

I looked at Vertical Velocity, but passed, as the line was moderately long.

I decided to check out the menu at Angelo’s (Captain Morgan's) for the Dining Pass.

I hit up Roaring Rapids (White Water Rampage)…there were a few others riding it. Man, I got drenched! It was kind of cold, too! But the water looked clean for a change, heh.

A few minutes after 12, I snuck into the Pictorium to see the old Screams and Dreams already in progress…thought I could warm up/dry out a bit. There is either a new lamp or new projector…the picture was brighter and less washed out. I love Screams and Dreams, as the 2011 film is all about the Marriott era...but the lack of *anything* IMAX there these days really is an underuse of a magnificent building.

I made it over to Eagle again. This time it was running…and running two blue and one red. I had to wait about 20 minutes to ride blue. After four rides on it over the weekend, I can honestly say Eagle is running the best I have ever experienced it. (I was too young to ride it in the early-mid 1980's.) I didn’t notice the usual trim brakes just before entering the helix/barrel, nor just after leaving it; it was smokin' fast!

The Great America Raceway (Barney Oldfield Speedway) cars are *still* there, all parked along what’s left of the track. (The attraction last operated in September 2010. X-Flight has take over the majority of Raceway's course.)

By that time, it was about 1:45, and I headed to the parking lot to meet my mom and niece and nephew.

There is too much more to list here, but I spent the rest of the day until closing at 8 with them.

It was truly a GR*EA*T day!

I came back for a few hours on Sunday after some heavy rain and thunderstorms.

The park was fairly crowded both days, despite it being cool, rainy, and overcast, perhaps thanks to $20 online admission.


jimmy gimbels
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Re: 2012 Opening Weekend Trip Report - Gurnee

Post by jimmy gimbels »

Thanks for the report on opening day. Great photos too. My thoughts:

1. Andres will always mean french fried to me! Remember how they were served in a paper cup...and plenty of salt?

2. Food prices are still insane at SFGA. Corn dog and fries for $9.99!! Chicken strips and fries for $10.99! Lareg coke at $3.99. Seriously?

3. Buzzy Bees do look strange in that large space. Much better scaled in the old Bugs Bunny National Park area. Interesting how SFGA had to take out those kid's rides because they were worn out and no longer safe. Yet, there it is. I have the pleasure of operating that ride...lots of load noices and jerky motion. You could have fit both the buzzy bees and the Lonney Tooter railway in the same area.

4. Note the load buildings for the Whizzer...the Demon...American Eagle...even Iron Wolf. Marriott did a great job on them. Now look at that sad, cheesy load building for X Flight. Really SGFA? That is the bet you could do? Now about the tarp nailed to the top of the Demon building...why not fix it right?
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Re: 2012 Opening Weekend Trip Report - Gurnee

Post by OldSchoolGAFan »

Forgive the bump up of this thread but I just joined the fourms not too long ago.

It's good to see the retro themed merchandise. It gives the park a bit of uniqueness that it's been lacking for some time.

I do agree that Buzzy Bees looks very bizarre in the Lobster place. Thankfully this will only be temporary or so we hope.

I guess what I'm most dissapointed in is the nailed on tarp at the Demon queue house which looks very unaplealing. I'm hoping this was only a quick fix for the weekend and the issue will be resolved before too long.
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Re: 2012 Opening Weekend Trip Report - Gurnee

Post by WhizzerSFGAm »

Regarding Demon's station, the entire roof and most of the walls were completely rebuilt this spring. It appears to be finished now, but on opening day, there was still a lot of work to do.
It's Whizzer time!
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