19 July 2008

Recap: Our Trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain

Its been nearly 2 weeks since Ashley & I spent our weekend in Valencia, CA going to Six Flags for 2 days in a row. We both had a fantastic time there, and despite the fact that we had so much fun, at the end of it all, we were exhausted! I have to admit, the initial plan to go on a Friday was made well before the day we went, but the decision and idea to stay at a nearby hotel didn't occur until the week before our expedition, and that is what allowed us to go on more than one day. Almost the first time we've ever gone to Six Flags with each other alone, it was quite an experience and one that will live in my memory forever as one of the most enjoyable mini-vacations that I've ever taken. Hopefully it would not be our last and that we would have other very memorable vacations together in the future.
Day 1 - Friday, July 11th, 2008
On the first day, Ashley & I woke up at a really early time of the morning - a time that we both didn't know existed until that point: 4AM. Normally, you would believe that you would be awfully tired being up that early, having gone to bed the night before at 10PM, but surprisingly, we were both ready for the day ahead. We woke up, got dressed and ready, and began loading the car for the long drive ahead. Departing Ashley's abode at 6AM, we began our trek through Riverside, Orange, and into Los Angeles Counties, pushing our way through L.A. traffic and hitting a checkpoint (remembering to post my first Tweet to log our progress through our trip - a way so I can actually remember what happened, without which I would have forgotten some of the, er, quirks of our trip... more on that in a little bit) in Burbank just shy of 8AM. For a Friday morning, we were making some great time. By around 8:30AM, we were 3rd in line waiting to purchase parking passes - waiting since the parking windows didn't open until at least an hour before the park did at 10:30AM. By 9:20, they opened a few more lines, to which I quickly moved my car to be first in another window. What a mistake that was. 9:30: they began selling parking passes, but unfortunately, the teller at our window was having computer problems and was unable to print us a parking pass; we sat in disbelief as other cars around us quickly passed through without a hitch and beat us despite our earlier arrival. Finally the tell gave us the pass after I had suggested she ring us on another computer while they fixed this one, and we parked within the first row of cars that arrived. We took the tram (which didn't leave for another 10 minutes, *grumble*), and arrived at the Six Flags front gates with plenty of time to spare.
Having survived the annoying "pre-park opening show" the gates opened at 10:30AM, and Ashley & I ran to the ride everyone else was heading to - the ride that, if we didn't get to it within the next 15 minutes, we would be waiting in a line that would be at least 2 and a half hours long: X2. Having tried to run up the gruelling hill, which I will now dub "The Dealbreaker" (since all bets are off when you try to run from the front gate and up it), we waited for only an hour. We were amazed by the huge TV screen that they had inside playing the awesome animation/commercial they had for the X2, and marvelled at how they added speakers and a small level of creepiness to the ride. We were about to board when a problem with people in the row in front of us (they assigned seating) caused us to voluntarily surrender our place to allow the person to ride. Long story, but we were happy to accommodate the person after the commotion prior.
X2 was awesome. Heck, X was awesome, but the added flame towers, funny music in the beginning, and the increased smoothness of the ride perfected the already incredible ride. We had so much fun on it, we walked away from it grinning from ear to ear about just how amazing that engineering marvel really was. On our way our, a wave of "we are so lucky" came over us as we walked through a humongous line waiting to ride the second installment of the X - it had to be at least 4 hours long. It was amazing, I can't stress that enough.
We immediately proceeded to Tatsu, one of the other rides that we were especially looking forward to, uh, experiencing. Having ridden it before, I have to say that it is one of the best ones, among a small handful of others. The line was a quite longer for Tatsu since we were not there first thing (X2 had priority since it was the "new" ride), but it was not a horribly long wait - only about an hour. Thoroughly impressed once again, the ride proved to me just how worth waking up at 4AM really was. Ashley too was excited not only going on the ride but off it as well, as adrenaline pumped through both of our bodies and were thirsty for more.
We progressed through Deja Vu, Riddler's Revenge, Batman, Colossus, Scream, Goliath and finally Ninja (Ashley got sprayed in the face by water that leaked from Jet Stream's track as the train moved along its track). We would have gone to Viper and Superman, but Viper had been offline almost all day (and by the time we swung by to see the line, the line was longer than we were willing to wait), and Superman had "technical difficulties" just as we were walking up to it - go figure. By 6pm, we were exhausted and decided we should probably head out, check into our hotel room and find somewhere to eat. Once we ate, we laid down and immediately fell asleep, exhausted but incredibly satisfied with the day and each other's company.
Day 2 - Saturday, July 12, 2008
6:30am, Ashley's alarm on her phone goes off. Sore, we both sat up in the hotel bed, incredibly exhausted, but still ready for more. We prepared ourselves for the day, and like the day before, arrived at the park entrance early. While waiting for the 10AM gate opening, we met 2 men vacationing from Arizona who, like us, were anxious to get into the park and onto X2 like we were. Both Ashley and I thoroughly enjoyed the additional enthusiasm that these gentlemen added to our already excited demeanor, pleased to know that at least there still were some enthusiastic people (the day before did not have a lot of very excited people - it felt a little like we were the only ones having so much fun).
10AM - we quickly scanned our season passes and made a mad dash for X2. And when I mean mad dash, I mean I sprinted alongside the first of the 2 gentlemen up "The Dealbreaker." Once again, the stupid hill beat me and I sputtered to a halt almost half way up the hill as Ashley quickly caught up with me and died out too. We struggled up the rest of the hill and into the queue for X2, and ended up with only a 15 minute wait. Still much better than before, and though sweat now poured down our foreheads, we were excited to ride the read and charcoal grey behemoth once again.
After X2, our day progressed nearly exactly as it had the day before, skipping Deja Vu for its incredibly long line, and moving on to the other rides. We even had the chance to ride Ninja again (this time I was the one that got wet), and Superman and Viper! While we were tiring out (and before we walked to Viper at the end of the day, which was about 6PM for us again), we decided to take a break and go to the Skytower, which had been transformed into a make-shift Six Flags museum, and we were able to see the entire park view and all the cool little artifacts from history of the nearly 40-year-old park. Apparently the elevators for the Skytower were having some issues, and the attraction was closed the day before, but today we were able to reach the top - and almost had to take the stairs down. The elevator that we had taken to the top of the Skytower had gotten stuck (after having been broken for nearly 20 minutes just before, and having allowed a group of people up and down shortly before that), leaving us stuck in the Skytower. An "emergency" elevator with a Six Flags technician came up to pick us up and we left the technician in the Skytower trying to make the elevator cooperate. After we had gotten off, the attraction was closed until the elevators were more consistently cooperative.
We ended up leaving the park at about 7pm, an hour later than we had the day before, but sore and exhausted, we thought it would be a good idea to leave now so we had enough time to go to Subway and chow down on a great (and cheap) sandwich. After arriving at the hotel room, we ate and watched "The Marine" on the free HBO the room included (which we recommend nobody watch that movie - its horrible), and fell asleep shortly after.
Day 3 - Sunday, July 13th, 2008
We ended up wrapping up our vacation by waking up at about 10 the following morning and driving to the nearest IHOP to have breakfast. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday morning, and if you've ever tried to go to a breakfast restaurant on a Sunday morning, you too would know the mass amounts of people that would be there. Nevertheless, we ate and shortly after left to return home, ending our mini-vacation to Six Flags - for now...

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