A Recap of My 2009 Season

This was surely one of my biggest surprise seasons of all time. In February I was looking at visiting two parks at the most but by the end of October I’ve been to a total of four parks and one fair, quite more than I was originally anticipating.


The season started of in early June with a trip to Busch Gardens Tampa. The park just so happens to be the home of my favorite coaster of all time, Sheikra. I remember vividly entering the park and running towards the ride only to encounter the “roadblock”, the one that kept a large part of the park closed for thirty minutes after the park opened. That thirty minutes seemed to go for hours, but luckily the kind Busch Gardens employees let us take off a few minutes before the thirty minute mark passed. It was a great feeling to be on Sheikra’s first train out of the day. Having not been able to experience the floorless trains last time I rode Sheikra, the floorless dimension definitely brought a whole new aspect to the table. The day overall was a success – our group was privileged with all-you-can-eat wristbands, something that I used to my advantage (after riding the coasters, of course). I was able to ride all of the coasters in the park multiple times, thankfully the Tampa schools had not let out for the summer yet.

Fast forward a week or two and I found myself at Dollywood. While the park hadn’t added anything new since my last visit, it’s always a joy to visit the park. The park introduced a unique zip line ride to the park’s lineup this year which seemed to be a huge hit with the guests. Though I was not able to take a ride on it this time around, I hope to do so on my next visit to the park. I spent two days at the park and got to ride nearly everything in the park (worth riding). I had the opportunity to speak with one of the employees about possible future plans that owners might have in store for the park. Though Dollywood might not have the biggest or baddest rides, it’s hard  to leave the park unhappy.

                               Later in the summer I had the chance to visit Six Flags Great America for a couple of days. It was my first time being in the park during the Shapiro era of management so there were many things to take in. The Dark Knight was constructed, Deja Vu was gone were among the things I noticed. I would say the park had improved drastically since the last time visiting. Though prices seemed to have skyrocketed, I had two very  fun days at the park. I think Six Flags Great America has a great future ahead.

My final park of the season was a bit further south: Six Flags over Georgia! I hadn’t been to the park in over a decade so there were obviously several rides I had to conquer. Naturally, I headed to Goliath first. With temperatures steadily dropping into the 40’s, it was quite a brisk ride. Nevertheless, it was an incredible B&M hyper. I was pleasantly surprised by Mindbender. Never having been on a Schwarzkopf, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Acrophobia was also a scream… literally. The park’s Fright Fest wasn’t very impressive compared to others that I had been to, but I had a great day besides that.

Overall I would say it’s been a successful season – I look forward to seeing what comes next year.

John Stevenson