First of all, this was the first time ever this event was held on a Saturday. Usually it's held on a Friday, which makes it easier for the park to host the private event. Being that it was a Saturday, and a beautiful one at that, the park was open to the public for the day and to our thingy after 8 p.m. We were given bracelets to wear for identification and the rest of the guests were, um, kicked out at 8. At first we weren't sure how it would work out, but I have to say, by the time the event had begun, the park had indeed emptied out to a manageable level and the lines to the rides became thankfully much shorter.
Also, this was the first time ever that Rich and I had company on our little excursion to our 'home' park, some of the guys from our bowling league. Joining us to ride the rides was Gary, Eric, Sean and Kyle and having six of us, all willing and enthusiastic riders, together, was awesome!
Riding the Rides
As I always like to do, we started off on Kingda Ka, the king of all coasters. I like to do that one first, as it always makes me jittery and once I ride that one, everything else is a piece of cake. Like every time I've ever ridden it, the coaster did not fail to live up to expectation. (Click the link on the coaster's name to read about what it's like to experience this ultimate of thrill rides.)
I tell ya, that ride never fails to make me nervous. When the train moves out towards its launching point, the anticipation is enough to make you have a heart attack. Then, all of a sudden you can feel the train loosen from its holding position and before ya know it, you're going from 0 to 128 mph in just a couple of seconds, and then up and over that giant hill. What a ride!
R.I.P. Rolling Thunder
Today is the very last day the Rolling Thunder will be operating, and we all got one last chance to ride it last night. The twin racing coaster, which opened in 1979, lost a lot of its ridership to the newer, bigger rides, and so the park decided to dismantle the coaster to make room for the queue to next year's Zumanjaro Drop of Doom. It's funny, but what once was one of the tallest structures in the park is now dwarfed by the likes of El Toro and Kingda Ka, two of its closest neighbors.
Normally there is no wait for the old thrill ride, but yesterday, probably because of its impending demolition and partly because the park was closing some of the major rides to empty out the daytrippers, we waited about an hour to ride the thing one last time. Now I've never really been a big fan of Rolling Thunder. Its ride is decidedly rough, like most older woodies, but I have to say I really enjoyed this last ride. It's going to be weird not to see Rolling Thunder in Great Adventure's lineup, but at least I'm glad we got to ride it one more time!
The rest of the evening was an absolute scream, both figuratively and literally. We rode El Toro and Bizarro, Nitro, Green Lantern and Superman, and had a lot of laughs along the way.