SFOG trip report 12/15/18

Edited: December 24, 2018, 10:23 AM

The park opened at 2 but they started letting people in at 1:40 and we immediately walked to Twisted Cyclone, and it actually opened right away at 1:40. One thing I’ve noticed about SFOG over the years is they are consistently great at having their rides open early, I remember in 2010 going a few times and they would drop the rope fifteen minutes to prior to the posted opening. Of all the parks I’ve been to SFOG is the only park that has consistently done this, so if you’re going to this park make sure to be there at opening for a nice surprise.

We got on the first train of the day in the back and had a great ride. Like all the other RMC’s the drop is extremely steep and the hills and turns provide some great ejector airtime. I will say of the four RMC’s I’ve ridden this year Twisted Cyclone was my least favorite, though that wasn’t a surprise because it is the smallest and has the shortest duration. It was still a damn good ride and a huge improvement over what was there before. Of the four RMC’s I’ve ridden I’d say my favorite is probably Twisted Timbers, followed by Wicked Cyclone, Steel Vengeance, and Twisted Cyclone.

After our back row ride we went around and rode again in the front as the ride was a walk on. I liked the back better, since it’s a pretty small drop you don’t really get nearly as much airtime (the front is halfway down the drop by the time the back is pulled over) but it was good to be able to easily ride it twice to start the day.

After that we stood at the rope drop for a few minutes and waited for the park to officially open and from there went on the first ride of Acrophobia. Even though drop towers are usually pretty boring to me, Acrophobia is easily one of my favorite rides in the park, I love how it tilts out and gives a great view of the park and surrounding area. I’ve ridden Falcon’s Fury a hand full of times but for some reason I still like Acrophobia better and not quite sure why, it just seems more intense to me. Regardless after a great ride on Acrophobia we figured take a lap on the Arrow Mine Train since it was an empty station and why not. Yea it’s a terrible mine train, poorly designed and very rough, not much else to say (and I’m certainly not against Arrow Mine trains I like most of them I have ridden, for some reason this one is just really bad).

Next we went to ride the coaster in the Looney Tunes area but it was closed so we rode the Wonder Woman Flyers and got a picture with Tweety and made our way over to Superman Plaza which was totally empty. And when I say totally empty I mean we rode the Justice League dark ride and Superman and no one was in the area. Literally NO ONE was in the area, we were the only one on Superman and it was running 1 train. No one in the queue, no one in the station, no else on the train, no one in the plaza in front of the ride. It was really bizarre being in a theme park at 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday, with the weather being relatively nice, and not seeing anyone in the vicinity of one of the parks major B&M coasters, especially since the DC Super Friends area that we were in before had a good amount of people in it (our ride on Wonder Woman had a full load). Anyway here is a picture to show I’m not making this up.

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Great American Scream Machine was closed and looked like it was down for the count for the year (there was a fence blocking off the entrance), so after Justice League and SUF we rode the Antique Cars which was a walk on. For whatever reason I had never bothered to do this before so it was nice to finally get on, being a Floridian it was cool to drive around a wooded area of a park and see the fall colors (though its winter haha).

After that we rode the Carousel which sadly is in horrendous shape. It badly needs a repaint, the animals need to be rehabbed, and lots of lightbulbs were out. That brings me to my main observation of SFOG. I really like it as a park: it’s wooded, beautiful, the employees are generally pretty friendly, the Christmas decorations are really great, and it has a pretty good collection of rides especially now with the RMC. Sadly upkeep and maintenance has always been its downfall. The Carousel being a perfect example, yea it is still operating but there’s no hiding it’s not in very good shape. Also Georgia Scorcherer’s paint job is absolutely horrendous which is particularly alarming considering its right at the front of the park and it’s like the first thing people see as they enter. Also sadly I think it has been painted relatively recently but they must’ve used the budget paint or didn’t do it right because it’s easily one of the worst looking coasters I’ve ever seen. Goliath, also right over the front of the park, badly needs a repaint as well. Also the walkways especially over by Goliath and Daredevil Dive need to be resurfaced badly.

On that topic another thing but I’ve noticed SFOG’s Superman it seems like the past few years every time I have ridden it they have had to use what are called the “kitchen tools” to unlock my seat. I know that’s definitely not normal for that type of ride. The seats are supposed to unlock like any other ride and the fact that so many had to be manually unlocked meant many of the seats are broken and probably have been for a long time. Now this doesn’t surprise me because, well it’s Six Flags, but the park is closed during the week and the rides running 1 train, the fact that they still have so many seats that aren’t functioning properly is pretty sad. I know parts for B&M flyers are expensive but I mean this is the second year in a row I rode and they had to manually unlock like half of the train.

One other observation on the topic of maintenance and upkeep, there was a big lake in the middle of Batman’s line and there was no way around it other than to prop up and walk along the molding of the handrail fences. I don’t know why that puddle was even there it hadn’t rained all day, which was also kind of sad.

I’ll link to some pictures of what I’m talking about

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Anyway gripes about the upkeep aside I paid $55 for a season pass that I used to many different parks over the span of two seasons so I’m not really in a position to complain. We rode Goliath in the back row which had a station wait and was great as usual. After that we rode the Skyride which was a one station operation (not sure if its always like that) but when we got to the other station we just did a circle and went straight back to where we started. I really enjoy sky rides and though SFOG’s is short and doesn’t do much I’m glad it’s still around. After that we headed over to Gotham and Mindbender was down so we rode Batman which was a walk on and it was running super-fast. It must have been running nylon wheels because even in the cold weather it was like getting punched in the face, old school B&M no nonsense positive G machine. As we left Batman we saw Mindbender was up so we got in line, but it went down again after we entered the queue.

The sun started going down and it was getting cold so we walked to the front and rode Scorcher which was a 10 minute wait and then dedicated our remaining time to walking around and enjoying the Christmas lights. We watched the caroler show, tree lighting ceremony, then rode the train. I really like the Holiday in the Park event I think Six Flags does a good job, I’m sure they hire another company to do all the decorations because there’s no way they do that in house, but it’s really well done. December is a great time to be in Atlanta as it’s cold but not freezing and certainly preferable to being there in summer or fall when it’s blazing hot. I really like how they do their train as well where it drops you off at the “north pole” aka the area of the park where lots of trees are wrapped with white lights. It’s corny but it’s cute. Overall we had a really fun day and even though the park got busy when the sun went down the park was so dead during the day that we easily rode everything we wanted to.

Replies (4)

December 26, 2018, 9:08 AM

Enjoyed your trip report. Always interesting to read reports on our home park from 1st time visitors. Alot of your points about SFOG's shortcomings are certainly valid. But some of the abnormalities are attributable to Holiday in the Park. Most, but not all of the park is open and the ride offerings are still much greater in number than other parks Christmas events. The skybucket ride is normally one-way, unloading in the Lickskillet section. But Lickskillet is the only major section that is closed during HITP. When riding skybuckets at night, the appeal is being able to see nearly all of the holiday lights. The puddle/lake you encountered in the Batman line is unprecedented. I have never encountered that before, but we have had the rainiest year in history.

But I digress. Not trying to make excuses for SFOG. Unfortunately, their business model depends on selling large numbers of season and dining passes and making money off additional guest spending in the park. But you are right about maint and upkeep being neglected. I wish it could be better, but I can't complain about an annual pass that includes parking AND nearby water park (White Water) for under $60. IMHO, the key to enjoying SFOG is avoiding the crowded and/or hot days. But I would be willing to pay more for a season pass for park improvements. Unfortunately, a majority of their current season pass holders like things the way they are. When I discuss SFOG with Atlanta area residents who are middle to upper middle class, I usually get negative opinions or unfair comparisons to the Orlando Parks. Different pricing levels=different experiences. I wish SFOG could at least upgrade to a "Cedar Fair" level, but not likely under current ownership and circumstances. Glad you liked Twisted Cyclone in spite of its short length. We also like it, especially when compared to its unride-able previous version.

December 26, 2018, 10:14 AM

I've actually been to SFOG many many times, it's been my home SF park for 10 years (though its 7 hours away) :)

December 26, 2018, 10:04 PM

oh... My apologies for the incorrect assumption. Appreciated what your report had to say, nonetheless. Kudos for making 7 hour drives to SFOG many times in the past. We live only 45 mins away, but don't think I would go there too often if it were more than 3 or 4 hours away. We sometimes drive 5 hours up to Charlotte for Carowinds or 4 hours to Dollywood. But the Orlando parks are the ones we like best.

December 27, 2018, 11:10 AM

I can't speak for the current operation, but I worked at the park during its original two seasons of Holiday in the Park back in the 90s. All of the holiday decorations were done in house. I was a Supervisor in Park Operations at the time. We started putting lights in the park at Labor day and continued so through the opening day. Our Entertainment department designed all the decorations. I'm sure lots of it was bought from outside vendors, but we did the install. One of the things I'll never forget was all the presents we wrapped. We used just about every cardboard box that came into the park starting on Labor day and all of them were wrapped using waterproof floral paper. The kind of stuff you see potted plants wrapped in at Christmas. We used hot glue guns to secure the wrapping and then added floral ribbons - again securing everything with hot glue. All of us had blisters on our fingers and hands from the hot glue.
The Monster Plantation was transformed into Holiday in the Marsh and all the monsters costumes and sets were transformed into Holiday displays. The Marsh was changed from a frighting place into a sort of celestial heaven like zone ending with a huge nativity scene.
The performer who did Bufford the Buzzard changed up his show to be an Ebeneezer Scrooge character and it was hilarious!
We also produced huge stage shows in both the Crystal Pistol and Contemporary Theaters. I'd love to be able to see them on video take today.
We had a real ice skating rink built in the reservoir for the Log Flume ride and there was a massive snow hill that kids could slide down. There was also a ski jumping show built among the games in the old Gasp area.
Speaking of The Great Gasp, it was strung with Christmas lights making it look like a huge Christmas tree.
On New Years Eve, we had a custom built massive Georgia Peach that slowly descended to make the New Year.
The original run of HIP only lasted two years. The first year was (at the time) the coldest December in Georgia history. The second year was the wettest. It was a great effort, but because of the bad weather the community just didn't take to it.
The lights and decorations were beautiful and the event was a lot of fun to work.
I'm glad to know it has become a successful event at SFOG as well as many other seasonal parks.

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