Alexander: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
The dog days of summer are here!
And nothing says “summer” like the annual ACE Coaster Con! It’s a big one this year, too: Coaster Con XL! (Coaster Con 40). Since everything’s bigger in Texas, what better place to play host than one of North America’s most bustling regional entertainment playgrounds: San Antonio!
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The bulk of Coaster Con XL festivities took place at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This includes both attraction-related festivities and the more technical aspects of the convention, including business meetings, presentations, and the like.
Water park ERT was one of SFFT’s many festivities (but was not documented with the camera. The camera had locker ERT instead). New at the park this year is a new style of water coaster from ProSlide, featuring water-powered uphill launches and sharp flying saucer drops!
Goliath: a Batman: The Ride clone, and only the 3rd tallest coaster in the park despite sporting Six Flag’s go-to moniker of size. And then they followed up with the only Batman: The Ride attraction in the chain that isn’t a Batman clone! This park is silly.
Speaking of which, I hit up Iron Rattler for a few “insurance rides” before the opening ceremony. We call the “insurance rides” because you never know when a park’s star coaster my crap out on you for the rest of a trip!
And now, all the other parks have S&S 4D Free Spins called Joker, but not Fiesta Texas! The original 4D Free Spin is called Batman: The Ride. Confused yet?
At one point I thought my eyeballs were going to explode.
Something that sets Fiesta Texas apart from other Six Flags properties is their dedication to show production. Originally built by the Gaylord Opry Company (of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and Opryland U.S.A. theme park fame), Fiesta Texas has live entertainment in its bloodline.
Perched on the cliff is $5000+ worth of pyrotechnics, and in the foreground, dancing water and fire! Pretty solid production value for something not located in Orlando, Southern California, or overseas.
Hustler, a Morgan Manufacturing teacup-style ride themed to billiards is a unique relic from Fiesta Texas’s opening season, and the centerpiece of the park’s “Rockville” area. With the exception of a few kiddie rides and the 50’s-style car ride Motorama (also Morgan Manufacturing; replaced by Batman), Every attraction from the park’s opening season is still here.
Poltergeist runs substantially better than its indoor counterparts at Kings Island and Kings Dominion. It also has a longer train, lacks a midcourse brake run, and has recently had it’s LIM launch replaced. I rode this one well into the night; a great way to start off Con!
I’m obsessed with the views of Roadrunner Express from here. It’s Arrow Dynamics’ last mine train; the final installment in radiant pedigree of American classics. Its design is more modern than its counterparts — particularly in the area of track style and superstructure execution — but it’s a real deal mine train through and through.
When considered together with other Rocky Mountain Coaster Iron Horse coasters, I’d say Iron Rattler is at least in the top half of the spectrum; it’s not as bombastic as Wicked Cyclone and Twisted Colossus, but to me it has more to offer than Medusa Steel Coaster, Storm Chaser, and New Texas Giant.
Iron Rattler is really all about the first drop. The rest of the ride is excellent (if incredibly short), but this will likely remain RMC’s crowning achievement in the first drop department for the foreseeable future.
Superman Krypton Coaster really has one of the best B&M floorless designs out there — or at least it does on paper. As much as I love the look of the ride, it just doesn’t blow me away like I think it should. It doesn’t feel as forceful or as well-paced to me as other floorlesses.
While the least wet of the park’s water rides, Bugs Bunny’s White Water Rapids is an excellent Hopkins SuperFlume that features a cleverly arranged layout and can almost pass for a roller coaster (see the coaster track in the upper left corner?).
In addition to Iron Rattler and Roadrunner Express, ACErs were treated to a fully-fleshed rendition of Fiesta’s Fright Fest, complete with fog, live scare actors, and both of Crackaxle Canyon’s haunted walk-thrus. A very cool treat for those who love this sort of thing (Read: not me).
Come back soon for Part II of Coaster Con XL featuring Texas’s biggest little amusement park, ZDT’s!
For now check out the follow recent CCK and CCCK reports: