12.31.2018

Thrills by the Bay 2018 Year in Review

The year 2018 was a heavy hitter over here at Thrills by the Bay and in the bay area with so many things happening, from new attractions opening to going on some "first time" adventures. We wanted to take a look back at 2018 and showcase our  highlights throughout the theme park season (in no particular order).

• RailBlazer construction tour





We had attended a construction tour of California's Great America's RailBlazer coaster which included not only being able to see the near complete structure but getting to plant our butts into one of the seats of RailBlazer!

• Flight Deck 25th Anniversary








Coming in next was Flight Deck's big 25 as Great America opened for 2018. Festivities included commemorative Flight Deck dog tags, screenings of Top Gun inside of Theatre Royale, and the return of some of the original theming for the weekend such as the fog and ride uniforms inspired by the ones used in the mid 90s.

• Hanging 10 on Hangtime down at Knott's Scary Farm





One of my friends and I took a trip down south to Knott's Berry Farm for Scary Farm and were able to check out the park's newest coaster "Hangtime" - a Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster that replaced the aging and rough Boomerang. Hangtime was a worthy replacement and was very enjoyable. Not to mention, this ride looked gorgeous at night. A welcome addition to KBF's Boardwalk area

• Elevation Extreme Show



Great America has had an amazing season when it comes to live entertainment, with a plethora of shows for everyone to enjoy. Non riders could actually make it a nice relaxing day watching the park's shows. One in particular that stood out to me was Elevation Extreme - a show put on by All Wheel Sports. Coinciding with BMX, Scooter, and Rollerblade stunts was a bunch of technology - projection mapping that filled the entire theater to give the audience a much more immersive feeling. Oh, and the smell of pine being pumped into the house!

• Riding RailBlazer!





I doubt this really needs an explanation, unless you've been living under a (RailBlazer) rock. For those why may be under that rock, RailBlazer is an innovative new coaster type, being 1 of the only 2 "modern" single rail coasters capable of doing inversions. The benefits of a single rail and the single file seating is the perfect heartlining that can be done, giving riders a lower center of gravity as they straddle the 15-inch-wide track. It is also capable of tighter than normal maneuvers. Rocky Mountain Construction knocked it out of the park with this model. If only capacity was better, as everyone wants to ride this...

• Beautification of Great America






A good theme park isn't just about the rides. It's a little bit of everything, right down to aesthetics/atmosphere. One of the biggest changes in the park this year (which covers about 1/3 of the park so far) is the resurfacing the aging and cracking asphalt that would have to get recoated every year. Hometown Square's charm has been restored with some nice brick pavers, and much of the midways are a lot brighter and cleaner feeling.

• Seasonal Events



The park has offered a lot of seasonal events this year, kicking off with the new Backyard Bands and BBQ during early season, followed by Red, White and Brews and Taste of Orleans during the summer. Nearing the end of the season, the park has continued to upgrade their Halloween Haunt event with this year receiving a brand new maze - Tooth Fairy (replacing Toy Factory, RIP). Ending the season at CGA was everyone's favorite event, WinterFest! Biggest change this year was having the entire park layout open with a decent selection of coasters running (including the star coaster of this season)!

• Cedar Point Visit - a new adventure awaits!






Cedar Point has been on my bucket list for the past 18 years and finally the dream became a reality back in July. Visiting CP felt like a rite of passage, a milestone. The park is massive too! Of course the coaster that stole 2018 was Steel Vengeance - yet another Rocky Mountain Construction masterpiece. It was like riding RailBlazer (intensity-wise) back at home but on a much larger scale. To this day I still will have dreams of this place from time to time. Yes, it's left an impact.

2018 was a big year for me and probably one of my favorite seasons thus far. Sure there were some flops (looking at you, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and some of the ongoing operational issues that's been happening, hoping that park can iron these kinks out) and some attractions that were a miss for me (Harley Quinn was a missed/not well polished experience) but the good outweighs the duds. Here's to a brand new season coming up with new adventures around the corner!