Welcome, all my fans and friends, to my official year in review! For my year in review, I’m going to include all my favorite and least favorite rides, and experiences, of the year. In short, I must thank everyone I know for making this a great year. My family, my friends, even people I don’t know too well. You helped shaped what 2017 was for me. 365 days of greatness. If you have any experiences from this year you’d love to tell me, go ahead and post them below in the comments. I’ll read them; it’s New Years! While 2017 was great, as I mentioned, I have some big plans for 2018 that I’m dying to tell you, so look forward to that sometime in early-to-mid January. I know I posted my first video in October last year, but if you remember, I posted a few update videos. This time, I’m trying to shorten that, and for that reason, our family still needs a bit of time to finalize some plans. Anyways, let’s get started!
January was a great kick-off month. Just a few days before New Year’s, I made a trip down to Six Flags St. Louis for Holiday In The Park, and that kept me busy giving you guys great videos for the park. Early on in January, during that first week, we had already heard some news that Space World was closing, and the rides were put up for sale, and it was already way back then that we found out a park had bought Kanonen. I had a lot of fun covering that with Adam, or better known as Rolly Coaster.
Soon after, I attended my first ever No Coaster Con with ACE. What a great day that was. I met up with a lot of friends, made a lot of new friends, and met my first park CEOs. That day, I met Don Helbig from Kings Island, Tony Clark from Cedar Point, Damien Nelson, Tess Clausen, Abbey Bobzin, and Allison Maliweg from Six Flags Great America, Rob House and Michael Moore from Kentucky Kingdom (who I sat at a table with), Pete Owens from Dollywood, Jeff Filicko and Jeffery Siebert from Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Randy Witt and Brad Donati from Raging Waves (a water park in Illinois). I know I seriously enjoyed myself, and I’m more than excited to attend my second ever No Coaster Con just a little under two weeks from now. I even plan to livestream each park representative during the conference for you guys.
I’m skipping February, because nothing more happened than school and new videos. March was the first truly big month however, which should more than make up for no February.
March was the month where rumors and announcements seriously started to rise. The rumor of Vertical Velocity being relocated, the announcement of Boomerang at Knotts’ closure, I had fun covering it. However, while that was fun, it had absolutely nothing on my Spring Break trip…
During my Spring Break, our family spent 5 days vacationing in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area. Wow… I had so much fun. I had some fun appreciating the nature of the Smoky Mountains with my family, riding two of the alpine coasters, seeing entertaining shows, and most of all, Dollywood. While there, I was impressed with all they had to offer; from 7 surprising credits, including the excellent Lightning Rod which truly blew me away and gave me three great rides, some great theming, amazing operations, super satisfying food, and overall a phenomenal time which made Dollywood my new favorite amusement park. Did Dollywood maintain that honor throughout the year? Find out this week when I upload my Top 10 Amusement Parks!
Once again, I’m skipping over a month, just purely due to nothing interesting happening aside from school and some new videos, mostly surrounding Dollywood. May is where things got kicked up a notch.
Early-to-mid May is when I took my first visit to Six Flags Great America, my home park, of the year. This was a great time; I met up with a group of friends, and we got on every roller coaster that day, albeit not filming all of them. Nonetheless, it was great to get my first taste of all my favorites, such as Goliath, American Eagle, Batman The Ride, and Viper. As I finished up school, everybody started to announce their plans for the season, as I started them. Once I finished school on the last Friday of the month, we began our next major trip the next day.
On that next day, we went to Kentucky Kingdom, a trip that took a strange turn of events when we had arrived. After picking up the Lightning Run credit, a fun ride for sure, the storms came in, preventing us from getting any more rides in that day. Throughout the evening, we just walked around the park, saw the Sea Lion Splash show, and got a surprising backstage Storm Chaser tour in the station from some of the ops who saw my ACE shirt on. They even gave us free tickets for the next day. So instead of driving straight to Holiday World, we spent the first 45 minutes the park was open that day, picked up the other three credits. Storm Chaser is insane and in my Top 5, Thunder Run is a decent wooden coaster, and T3 was my first SLC (not something to be excited about). Then we drove over to Holiday World, for an amazing time. Three incredible coasters, one of which is my current #1, fantastic operations and hospitality, Plymouth Rock Café (the Thanksgiving area alone is worth the price), and just a great place to be. I’m excited that I have the possibility of attending Holiwood Nights this June!
This was my favorite month of the year. We did so much during this month, and it all happened during our California trip. The first couple days were just driving and views, but the third day, when we arrived in San Diego, I rode the historic Giant Dipper which surprised me in a good way. After some fun days of California culture, I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain. My, oh my... what a day. To start, I got 15 credits that day. Most of them were fine, albeit Green Lantern, which you will see low on my Top 10 Worst list which will be posted in the coming weeks, but Tatsu was an absolute surprise, Twisted Colossus was my 100th credit, and X2 became and still is my favorite steel coaster. Those three just absolutely blew me away. The park overall was great, so that helped as well. After that, the next two days were spent at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. It was interesting to see what I thought of the California version of Disneyland, after having visited Disney World two years before, and I enjoyed the park, despite our touring plan randomly updating on us making for a chaotic day. We rode each of the four coasters, and enjoyed them all (yes, even Gadget’s Go Coaster). Disney California Adventure is the one I preferred of the two. GOTG was my favorite ride at the resort, California Screamin’ a super good Intamin coaster, Goofy’s Sky School, ehh, and the operations are the best I’ve ever seen, with such a clean, fantastic atmosphere. And I’m not even going to get started on how amazed I was by Cars Land. So that was the big road trip of the year.
I’m skipping July, since the most that happened was I got the Joker credit at GAm. I didn’t really visit any other parks, and I took a bit of an uploading break.
On August 5, I made my way to Monticello, Indiana and visited Indiana Beach for the first time to attend the Hawg Wild ACE Event. It was great having morning ERT; we got every credit before the park even opened, marathoned our favorites, and knew which ones we wanted to re-ride. Plus, the chance to hang out with old friends I’d not seen in a while was great, along with a chance to check out everything else the park had to offer; their flat ride collection which had some rides crazier than anything Six Flags could add, because none of them were neutered, and a taco lunch. Oh my gosh; if anything is worth the admission price to Indiana Beach besides the coasters, IT’S THE TACOS! THESE TACOS ARE ONE OF THE ABSOLUTE BEST THEME PARK FOODS! So yeah. I’d highly recommend spending a day here, albeit the not-so-good operations.
Beyond Indiana Beach, the only visits I made were to Six Flags Great America. But that doesn’t stop the fact that I had so many great times and made so many memories! These times will stay with me until I take my final breath. 2017 will be known to me as the year I hit 100 coasters, and took that next step in my coaster enthusiasm.
Before I say my final words, I’d like to note my favorite and least favorite experiences this year. My favorites hands down go to my rides in the back two rows of Voyage way back on Memorial Day Weekend Sunday. After a couple rides towards the front and middle, I wanted to see how the back rows ran. I was treated so the experiences that truly blew me away more than anything else in my life. More than Maverick, Lightning Rod, and Storm Chaser. The airtime, speed, and relentless intensity truly pushed the coaster straight up to my #1 spot in my rankings, and if I go to Holiwood Nights, that night ERT might push everything back a spot. I’d rank normal Voyage and Holiwood Nights Voyage separately.
Now that we got the good out of the way, let’s finish up on my least favorite experience of the year. Green Lantern: First Flight at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Say you’re like me, first time at the park, move past it in the DC Universe area and enjoy Batman, Riddler’s Revenge, or anything else in the park. Whatever you do, don’t ride Green Lantern. It’s quite literally in a painful league of its own. It may not have headbanging like T3 or original Ninja at SFOG, but the way it just assaulted my whole body gives me absolutely nothing remotely positive to say for the experience itself. Clearly, park officials have felt the same way, as the ride has been SBNO since August. If it’s removed from the park website and map, I’ll probably throw a party.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I gotta personally thank each member of my family for supporting my dreams as a coaster enthusiast. My mom, for planning out each and every trip to all our family’s preferences, and for capturing all those moments, my dad, for always being there with me to ride the good and the bad and to help give me ideas for YouTube, and my sister, for just being there and being interested in all my coaster chatter.
Thank you everyone for this year; I’m excited for all the surprises 2018 brings, good and bad.