Good things come to those who wait, right? Obviously, that’s not guaranteed, but judging from what I’ve witnessed, it’s often proven true. Things I’ve only dreamed of as a kid have materialized. I’ve flexed with Hulk Hogan and I live in a world where there’s a Wonder Woman feature film. Life is good. In many respects, it keeps getting better. How’s that, you ask? Read on! Continue reading Battling For Metropolis…In My Backyard!
Ever since I was in my teens I had a season pass to Six Flags Great Adventure. I can’t say that every friend of mine was as hell bent on constantly spending their summer days incessantly riding some batshit crazy roller coaster of fury, but there always seemed to be a select few who were brave enough. Brave enough not only for the thrill rides, but also to voluntarily take the trip with me. Some of my friends still tell stories about our trips there ’til this day.
Maybe they reminisce about those crazy times because life was pretty simple then. Aside from the shore and malls, there wasn’t a ton of stuff to do in suburbia. We went swimming in our pools, hung out playing board games, went to the movies, all the standard fare. Compared to that stuff, not living too far away from Great Adventure was like holding a key to an action packed alternate dimension. I’ve written about Great Adventure plenty of times here at The Sexy Armpit, and if you’re from the Tri-State area, you know all about its allure, especially when you’re a teenager. Even if you had to get a little crew of friends together and get dropped off by someone’s parents, the whole experience still made me feel like a wild, reckless adult. A trip with me to Six Flags never lacked controversy, that’s for sure.
A season pass to G.A was like having a VIP laminate to a concert. Once I got my license, that season pass got used anywhere from 10-15 times in a season. That was back when having fun and filling up my summer days with cool shit was basically my job. With the ability to drive my friends and I down there came the opportunity to elevate these excursions to Ferris Bueller levels. I blasted music in the car, exceeded the speed limit by at least…9 miles per hour, and maybe we didn’t eat pancreas, but we inhaled Quick Check subs and chugged Mountain Dew in the parking lot (right before nausea inducing rolling coasters.) It was a tradition for me to get us into a few scrapes on the way down there, and there was usually the inevitable “disagreement” with a line cutter or some other miscreant.
Some people reminisce about high school. Me? I’ve been reflecting on all the years I’ve been going to G.A. and it’s incredible how many memories I have at this place. Comparatively, I’m proud of what I accomplished in high school, but I wasn’t a fan of it at all. I always wanted to be somewhere else. I knew I was going through the motions. A testament to that is the fact that I met most of my closest friends that I still talk to way before high school. A ton of people go to high school reunions, some gossip about people they graduated with, and some never really let go of that period of their lives. To me, those 4 years can’t hold even the tiniest birthday candle to the immense amount of time I spent through the years at Six Flags Great Adventure. It might sound preposterous, but it’s been part of my entire life. It served as a backdrop for long summer hangouts with friends, and as the pinnacle of romance for a 17 year old kid with a driver’s license and a bring a friend free pass. If you can’t relate to that, I guess you’ve never tried to impress a girl by taking her on The Skyway? Now that’s class! Sure you could tell a girl you were picking her up in an actual CAR, a licensed road vehicle, but when you offer the opportunity to take a leisurely flying wicker seat ride, that gained you a day or two of her adoration. That is, at least until she revealed that she secretly had eyes for a guy on the intramural football team who laughs at all your jokes in 5th period, plus she didn’t really want to hear you gush about what kind of impact A Lonely Place of Dying had on your life. But that’s a whole other 19 paragraph post, isn’t it?
Do you remember the names of all your teachers from high school? I don’t, save for a select few. Did you have a moment from your prom that still gives you the butterflies? I don’t. But, I can tell you that I get choked up just thinking about how I’ll never get to ride The Great American Scream Machine ever again. Of course, I should be more than satisfied that I’ve ridden it literally hundreds of times in its entire 20 year existence. Now that Nitro has turned 15, I’m already worrying that I won’t know how to cope if it ever leaves us. Scream Machine and Nitro are my favorite coasters of all time and I’ve probably spent more time on them than I’ve spent with most of my relatives and that’s saying something since they each last a little over 2 minutes.
Mind you, it wasn’t all “More Flags, More Fun.” A lot of it, the parts we ignore for posterity, kind of sucked – and still do! Take for instance, the often blistering heat, sunburn, sweat, agitation, fatigue, and hunger. Long ride lines were never a good scene, but they usually indicated that the ride was worthwhile. A big chunk of time was spent hanging on the steel railing and saying dumb things with your friends or trying to make our with your then-love interest. It’s easy to suck up those negatives to be enthralled by repeated whip-lashings for 35 seconds, but damn, each one of those seconds makes us feel like all life as we know it could stop instantly and we’d all have abnormally huge smiles with rippling cheeks permanently plastered on our faces. What could be more fun? It makes some people drool. Others vomit. Come to think of it, those peeps probably don’t revere all this nonsense as highly as I do.
By now, you’ve gathered what Great Adventure symbolizes to me. My affinity for the park hasn’t changed, but my trips to Great Adventure have. They aren’t as dangerous. They don’t involve near death experiences on the New Jersey Turnpike (well, most of the time) and they’re a heck of a lot shorter. As an example, I’ll leave you with a summary of our latest Great Adventure excursion.
Miss Sexy Armpit and I made our way down to Jackson, NJ after work one night last week. Considering they close at 9pm, that didn’t leave us much time. By the time we got down there we had a solid 2 hours and we didn’t plan on wasting it. Traditionally, as long as we get to ride Nitro, we’re happy campers, but this time we rode their newest roller coaster, The Joker! At first, it seemed like it wasn’t running. This was a possibility since the ride broke down shortly after it opened and many riders got stuck. I assumed it was just stopped for repairs, but as we got closer, the ride was indeed operating, so we were in luck. I had every intention of riding it, although Miss Sexy Armpit needed a bit of coercing. She wasn’t fond of the idea that the coaster cars themselves spin around while the coaster was running. This could be extremely vomit inducing for some people. She relented and we hopped right on. The ride turned out to be pretty tame – almost more of a wild Ferris wheel gone haywire. I laughed maniacally the entire time like Cesar Romero, so I can see why they named it, The Joker. We were glad we rode it, although, much like The Dark Knight Coaster, it’s not on my must-ride list.
Number one on my absolute must-ride list is Nitro. The lines were pretty much non-existent this late in the day, so we got right on without a long wait. After that, I convinced Miss Sexy Armpit to stay on for one more ride. Even though we technically only went on 2 rides, we accomplished our mission.
Then, as always, I checked the DC Hall of Justice store. I’ve mentioned this place before, but to reiterate, this is the ultimate gem of a store that DC Comics fans might want to consider buying admission to the park just to gain access to this shop. It’s not a gigantic store by any means, but it’s about the closest answer to the DC Super Hero section of the old Warner Brothers store in the mall that we may ever have. I didn’t pick anything up this time, mostly because I had something else in mind that I was hoping to find on the way out.
Last stop was the Main Street Market. For regulars, this is the first shop you see after you make your way through the metal detectors (yes the park has excellent security.) I was asked if I needed help finding anything and in my best Lando Calrissian voice I said, “As a matter of fact you can…” Then, I explained that I had heard about a few Great Adventure t-shirts that had just been released with the vintage logo on them. He had no clue what I was talking about. The poor kid looked at me like I just posed him a question that Einstein couldn’t figure out. Finally, Miss Sexy Armpit dumbed it down for him, “it has like…a rainbow with stars…” “OHHH YEAHHH!” then it dawned on him that we weren’t complete psycho nutjobs after all and actually perfectly normal customers towing the Great Adventure retro t-shirt line.
Before we even got to the park, I had it in the back of my head that I absolutely HAD to get this shirt. Thanks to Miss Sexy Armpit for getting it for me. I’ve always had a major soft spot for the old Great Adventure logo, and years back, I even made a Sexy Armpit parody of it. (Below you can save the Sexy Armpit/Great Adventure iPhone Wallpaper) Perhaps even more coincidentally, I’ve been scoping out actual vintage Great Adventure tees on eBay for such a long time: Check out this ridiculous old post.
What does this all mean? I really don’t know, but maybe it’s just my way of telling you that you should get out of your house and go to your nearest amusement park this summer and maximize your fun! Thanks for reading!
In their own Hanna-Barbera cartoon show, the gang fought crime and they even had their own little Batcave-type headquarters. I tried to jog my own memory by watching an episode on YouTube called The Big Foot Incident. Memories started rushing back, but I didn’t remember much about the cool set of villains who resembled bumbling versions of the Universal Monsters. The ring leader (Mesmo? Not very original) could’ve been a horror host and his lair was basically a haunted mansion that was constantly being showered with frequent lighting bolts (awesome). This all seemed very uncharacteristic for a bunch of furry and lovable little creatures who were created to sell Hallmark cards.
If you were to associate cartoon characters with Six Flags Great Adventure here in New Jersey, Looney Tunes would immediately come to mind, but there’s proof right here that there was a brief time when The Shirt Tales reigned at Six Flags! According to the Great Adventure History site, in 1984, the kiddie kingdom area was renamed Shirt Tales Land and the characters would come out and greet kids. This only last for one season until getting taken over by the Looney Tunes.
The above photo is from the exact period of time when the Shirt Tales were popular in the early ’80s. Back then, they incorporated all their locations onto one t-shirt so they didn’t have to print up separate shirts for each location, so that explains why Great Adventure is listed at the bottom. Fortunately though, it stands out the most since it’s highlighted in yellow.
This is ’80s nostalgia at its best. Why do I say that? Well, I actually scanned this photo in myself and it’s of my best friend who I’ve known since I was in pre-school. I had the photo because not too long ago, I made a slideshow for his birthday of old photos that his mom was nice enough to gather up for me. These included some real classics and I scanned them all in. I kept this one on the hard drive because I knew that somewhere down the line I would want to bring it up here at The Sexy Armpit. It was a double whammy!
In the past several years I felt that the characters that get licensed out for use in marketing and merch for Six Flags G.A should be capitalized on more. I hate seeing the DC Universe and the Looney Tunes not being exploited to their fullest, but it probably has a lot to do with the fact that the park is no longer owned and operated by Warner Brothers, which it was at one time.
I obviously have a huge affinity for Six Flags nostalgia, but it’s merely a coincidence that the last installment of T-Shirt Tuesday featured a Six Flags tee as well. Hell, I’m not opposed to doing more either, so if you know of any vintage Six Flags tees/or you have old photos of you wearing one, let me know about them!
Fright Fest is an annual thing for us, but we usually wind up getting on one ride if we’re lucky. The lines are super insane during Fright Fest, and the park is probably even more packed than it would be in the middle of the summer. Difference is, that it’s nicer to wait in lines and get on rides when it’s not a sweltering 97 degrees in the shade and over one hundred percent humidity.
Weather-wise, Saturday night was perfect. I was with a bunch of great people and even though we only made it on one ride, we had a blast. I’m sure it would’ve been more fun if the lines for the actual Fright Fest attractions weren’t as long. Even the average wait time for a roller coaster was an hour. While waiting in excruciatingly long lines, it helps to cling to the hope that the ride actually doesn’t break down before you make it to the last section of the line queue.
Fortunately, the ride we did decide to wait for went smoothly. Skull Mountain didn’t take that long to get through the line, probably because it’s one of the tamer rides, so we were patient. It fit into the Fright Fest theme as well. For an older, less face melting type of ride, this one still holds up after all these years. Think of it as Six Flag’s answer to Space Mountain only with a theme on the exterior that brings to mind The Goonies, King Kong, or a pirate movie.
We were required to buy separate tickets for the haunted attractions, so we did that online at home to save a couple of bucks. Next we had to wait on another long line just to show them our print-outs to get a wristband for the haunts. This was just becoming an abysmal LINE FEST. Then we would have to wait on more laughable lines for each individual haunt. Fed up by this point, I started asking the lady a few questions about the attractions.
I was disappointed to learn that all of the attractions were walk through trails featuring live actors. I wasn’t hoping for dead actors, I was just hoping for a good old fashioned haunted house or dark ride type situation. They should mix it up and offer half walk throughs and at least one or two haunted houses that remind you of an old dark ride. I can’t tell you how many times Six Flags has sent me e-mails asking for feedback regarding my last visit to Fright Fest and I wrote them a hundred times that Fright Fest needs a good old fashioned, boardwalk style haunted house. It shouldn’t only be for Fright Fest either, it should be open year round for all of us psychos to enjoy.
In the late ’70s, Great Adventure’s Haunted Castle was the type of attraction we needed until arsonists supposedly burned it down in ’84, killing eight teenagers trapped inside. Maybe they feel like it’s a curse if they build another one? I can’t say for sure, but maybe they fell that they aren’t experts at subtly, they prefer spending millions to create the fastest, most cheek rippling coasters the world has ever seen. Nothing wrong with that. The thing is, Great Adventure is already fully stocked with thrill rides and there’s a new one on the way for next season. Another thrill ride is superfluous, again, we need a damn haunted DARK RIDE. Attention to detail is preferred.
Keeping with the resoundingly positive note I am on, the graphic on this year’s Six Flags Great Adventure Fright Fest shirts and hoodies are AWESOME. They did get this part of the celebration correct. Apparel graphics are always a big part of the experience. You must be able to properly commemorate your visit and this year Six Flags came up with a couple of really cool looking designs. I couldn’t exit the park without snapping a few shots. America loves zombies…and paying lots of money to wait on never-ending lines apparently.
When you’ve gone on completely insane rides and coasters, it’s hard to top them. Last season, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson NJ added the brand new Green Lantern coaster, and in comparison, it makes the new for 2012 SkyScreamer look like a kiddie ride. It may look like tame at first, but here I’ll bring up a few points why SkyScreamer may become a new classic at the park.
What SkyScreamer has going for it is that it’s like an old fashioned amusement park ride on steroids. This amped up classic will spin you around at 40 mph, 24 stories up in the air. Plus, adding a ride like SkyScreamer will switch up the pace a little bit. Your brain becomes like pudding after going on Green Lantern, Bizarro, and then El Toro consecutively. SkyScreamer will be like the sorbet that clears your palette before your time in the park gets even more crazy.
It’s a necessity to have rides that are accessible to everyone, even those who don’t go to Great Adventure for the coasters, wait…are there any of those people? Actually, a lot of people I know don’t like rides at all, but they may be coerced to go on a ride that’s less berserk than some of the coasters. The ride will reside in Fantasy Forest, so that might make it a ride the entire family will want to go on together. We already have our season passes so I can’t wait to give it a spin. You can take a whirl around on SkyScreamer for yourself when Great Adventure opens for the season on April 5th!
Amusement parks are generally associated with summer, but for me they are more of a fall tradition. The crisp, cool air in October makes it a perfect time for rides and roller coasters while strolling leisurely around the park with your special someone. What’s also good is that you won’t get swamp ass or heat stroke from walking around in mid summer in the blazing Jersey heat. But those aren’t the only reasons of course, the main attraction for many of us in New Jersey is FRIGHT FEST at Six Flags Great Adventure.
Fright Fest is celebrating it’s 20th year and as old as it makes me sound, I’ve been going there way longer than Fright Fest existed! So I’m not a kid anymore, but as I was saying, amusement parks, especially haunted ones, have always been a part of Halloween time for me. Nothing beats the ability to go on thrill rides on a cool, starry autumn night. Six Flags Great Adventure’s Fright Fest captures this feeling perfectly thanks to their team of actors adorned with amazing masks, makeup, and costumes who go lurking around the park creeping everyone out. While this sounds like a blast to me, it’s not for everyone. It’s simple, if you don’t like being scared then don’t go. For families worried about their kids being scared there are plenty of Ghoul-Free zones designated for the faint of heart.
We kicked off October with a trip to Fright Fest. Miss Sexy Armpit gets scared when I start clapping abruptly when the Giants score, so naturally she wouldn’t be able to handle actual scares in something called a TERROR TRAIL. “Which hayride do you want to go on?” I asked her. Of course she replied with “the least scary one.” She got her wish because we wound up on Haunted Wagon Tales, the children’s haunted hayride, listening to songs like “The Addams Family” and “The Flying Purple People Eater,” while waving like dorks to friendly versions of Frankenstein, Dracula, and a so not scary swamp monster. When we answered riddles correctly such as “Who did Frankenstein take to the prom? His GHOUL friend,” then our hayride guide tossed us free candy. Would I have preferred to walk through one of the scarier terror trails? Yes, but it was one of those October nights that I love so much that it didn’t even bother me.
This year’s Fright Fest attractions include terror trails, haunted hayrides, and live shows. Here’s the list: The Haunted Heist, Project XI Mortuary Manor, The Demented Forest, Dead Man’s Party, Escape from the Asylum, Hypnosteria, Fright Fest Freakshow, and The Ghoulmaster’s Ghosts and more. One of the coolest and possibly most underrated part of Fright Fest is the Dead and Local Music Showcase where local rock bands take the stage throughout the night. A couple of years back we had the chance to see an awesome KISS tribute band, and last year Sludgey’s favorite band SCARLET CARSON played as well!
The iconic fountain that you see when you first walk into the park is spraying red water indicating that you’ll have a bloody good time. If you’re planning your Halloween related events, then make sure you round up your friends or significant other and feel the thrills and chills of Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure!
Here’s a Six Flags Great Adventure coupon book from 2008 that I scanned to show you. It combines 2 of my favorites: Batman and Six Flags Great Adventure. Of course, animation is also one of my obsessions as well and that’s also represented with Six Flags occasional mascot, Bugs Bunny. I prefer Bugs over the bald, dancing, “more flags, more fun” guy.
Forgiving Great Adventure for killing The Great American Scream Machine won’t be easy. I figured that if The Green Lantern Coaster blew me away that I’d have an easy time forgetting about one of my favorite coasters of my youth, but no matter how insane the rides get I’ll always have a thing for The Great American Scream Machine. When I was a kid that was the coaster that got major hype, and rightfully so. As the ride started to decline in popularity I would go on it 6 or 7 times per visit. Good luck pulling that off on the new Green Lantern Coaster, even if you have a Flash Pass! Is the new Green Lantern coaster worth waiting on the long lines for? Slip on your power ring and continue reading to find out!
Now, situated to the right of Superman Ultimate Flight, there’s an enormous power lantern near the entrance. A schnazzy graphic of Green Lantern towers above the beginning of the line. Since this was a season pass only preview there were a lot of pissed off people hanging around this area. I thought this was the long line for the ride, but it was mostly people who didn’t have season passes and were walking away disgruntled. Our wait was less than a mere half hour. While on the line I was pleased to see that similar to Superman Ultimate Flight, there are large comic book panels posted around the ride queue familiarizing those on line with the Green Lantern mythos. It makes me happy anytime the DC Universe is properly represented in a theme park.
After the wait, we were ready to strap ourselves in. The engineer emphasizes that everyone needs to stand up straight and that they can’t sit down on the annoying crotch piece that protrudes from between your legs. This intruding part of the harness is shoved right up under your crotch! Right off the bat I wasn’t a big fan of it because it was uncomfortable. If you’re a guy and plan on riding this, I recommend opting for boxer briefs the day you plan on riding they’ll keep everything nice and secure. Aside from that minor gripe, the ride was pretty damn exciting.
The GL Coaster is innovative and utilizes the most up to date technology to make for an intense experience. As we made our slow ascent, there was audio from the GL characters pumped through the speakers. From there, it epitomizes the term thrill ride. It’s a full throttle and packed with stomach tickling excitement. The speed of the ride is really what left the biggest impression on me. You’ll be tearing through the air at 63 mph. Obviously stay away if you’re not a roller coaster person, but even if you are, this one is not for the amateurs.
Great Adventure History is a treasure trove of New Jersey theme park goodness. If you are fan of Six Flags G.A and have been going there since you were a kid, this site offers so much park history and ephemera that you might not be aware of. Block out some time on your schedule though because I wound up reading it for solid couple of hours.