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 Review of El Toro @ Six Flags Great Adventure
6 Rating Posted by: hrrytraver on 7/5/2006 8:04:00 PM
muchachitos y muchachitas, este toro tiene cajones grande! i say this both literally and figuratively. the literal version of that phrase refers to senor bulls "huevos", which are in plain view for everyone to see on the bovine statue when they enter the queue. this well endowed bovine also asserts his "sabor picante" by being flanked by hundreds of beautiful little live chile pepper plants kneeling down in the fresh mulch along the gigantic wooden structure. the figurative version of the phrase refers to my impression that el toro the ride himself had some big ones too, and he showed some steam-snorting, nimble, wild-bucking and ingenious character for a brand spanky new ride, and i cant recall anytime in my life when a spanky new ride made such a hit with me. this big honkin timber sonovabi*ch is ready to kick up some dirt, jump the fence and charge at you in order to blow (or gore) your mind. its amazing that the mega-corporation that owns this park actually OKed opening an all wood roller coaster that genuinely kicks mean snarling ass instead of one of those "family-friendly" steel coasters ive heard about popping up around the country over the last season or two. imagine, if you will, a ride on a classic roadhouse mechanical bull set to "high speed" (i.e. "urban cowboy",only in this case you are stapled onto it with a u-bar, thus glued down while moving through one convulsion after the next. thats pretty much what it feels like on el toro, the only differences being youre screaming at 70mph and occasionally shoved face first down into a maze of precarious, twisting planks. many reviews have given the blow by blow of the breathless economics of the brief layout, so instead id like to delve deeper into the overall experience and philosophical ramifications of this fascinating ride. first, im going to borrow an idea from michael moore of all people. there was a chapter title in one of his books - something like, "bill clinton, the best republican president of the last quarter century". so MY version of that idea is - "el toro, the best steel coaster in america." yes, it is entirely constructed from gorgeous timbers. yes indeed its track, though prefabricated overseas, is entirely wooden. but when you put poly-urethane wheels instead of metal ones down onto that funky extra wide steel top-rail, you basically get the same wheel/track marriage as a steelie. its smooth and buttery like a steelie. but the fact that el toro glides like a steelie isnt the big issue in my mind. the big issue is this - where are the steel coasters that have the ridiculous ejection moments, violent banking, and punishing positive g-forces of el toro? why did intamin make their most extreme "hypercoaster" to date out of timber? im not entirely sure, and im certainly not complaining, but i think im beginning to get some interesting ideas about it. i think the wood track and structure threaded with the fancy new train concept and rubber wheels open a new and exciting dimension. its like a new improved "warmer" version of the steel hypercoaster. the wooden structure and track are naturally going to breathe and sway with the wailing trains and changing atmospheres in a way steel doesnt. thus the softer more "organic" qualities that myself and so many others love about wooden coasters are not undermined on el toro, in spite of the obvious technology involved in creating, building and running the ride. the death rattles and herky-jerks of classic wood rides are not present, that is certain, but this new style is bringing the wood genre up-to date with the size, speed and smoothness expecations required for mass-consumption nowadays. i personally like the warmer "feel" of el toro much more than the other very large "airtime" oriented coaster in the park, which happens to be made of steel, and its fantastic to think that el toro is in the same speed and height class as that other one, yet its<

Review Comments

erinys on 7/5/2006 8:42:58 PM said:
Thanks for the review. I was initially surprised when it popped up in your Top 10, thinking with your passion for chaos (not the spinning one) and liking Wildcat more than Lightning Racer this would be too smooth for you to like much. The fact that something so smooth can move you reaffirms to me how good Toro actually is, since its smoothness enabled me to appreciate and grow to love chaotic ejections.
hrrytraver on 7/5/2006 9:00:12 PM said:
erin, i think my issue w/ lightning rcr is that it is simply a bit dull. the bull is smooth, but it has a lot of vital life energy - "chutzpah" - to it. wildcat, although not much airtime and not very speedy, had that vibratory electricity that was exciting. so i guess the magical "chutzpah" can take on various forms, but its presence is necessary to endear me to a ride. hmmmmm, i think i want to explore the concept of "chutzpah" more in some reviews. i was discussing this idea a little with hercules yesterday...
adriahna on 7/5/2006 11:13:28 PM said:
Very nice - as always, a highly enjoyable review.
BobFunland on 7/8/2006 12:41:51 PM said:
I love this review, a little bit of spanish flair throw in for great effect. Its especially cool to have one of you diehard wood fans bless this ride with such a high score and equally sweet comments. :thumbsup:
hrrytraver on 7/10/2006 3:26:34 PM said:
thank you bobf. the bottom line for me is steel, wood, styrofoam or tofu - a coaster that wails so crazily as this one deserves a great score and review.
Hercules on 7/10/2006 3:38:23 PM said:
If there was a coaster made of tofu, I would puke. I hate tofu. Anyway, that is great to here traver. I always thought you were old school.
hrrytraver on 7/10/2006 8:18:03 PM said:
herc- may i assume then that you are currently in the practice of eating steel and wood coasters? if so, i think you are going TOO far out of your way to avoid eating meat.
praxis on 7/10/2006 8:37:19 PM said:
Hey - wood is great stuff if you want a diet thats extremely high in fiber.
Timberman on 7/11/2006 1:12:50 AM said:
This is indeed an interesting turn of events. An Intamin coaster with "a smooth and buttery" ride at a corporate theme park has vaulted in the Top 10 of the estimable hrrytraver. This is the same hrrytraver whose namesake is the patron saint of the wood coaster faithful, all the more so because his rides were as much a dare as an invitation. I have loved wooden roller coasters, and I have loved steel roller coasters, but a part of me cant seem to embrace this marriage of the two. Perhaps thats the worst sort of bigotry, the type that says steel coasters are fine as far as they go, as long as they dont mix with our kind. I hope Im a bigger coaster enthusiast than that. I suppose the only way Ill know for sure is to get down to Great Adventure for some sensitivity training on this brave new world of coaster design.
hrrytraver on 7/11/2006 9:38:17 AM said:
timberman- i almost feel like i should throw you a more vacuous sales pitch, so you can wonder if larry, cyc, bobf, and herc had me brainwashed by a six flags mind control expert while we were back in the boughs of the great adv security compound ------ "timberman, come in from the cold. be like us. look at me...im happier now. look. come on in. stop being a stick in the mud. dont hold out. just accept it and be happy."
adriahna on 7/11/2006 1:34:11 PM said:
Im still staunchly holding on with Timberman. And with an open, honest admittance to my own bigotry... I havent even ridden this thing...
hrrytraver on 7/13/2006 11:48:01 AM said:
please recall adriahna and timberman, that harry t himself used every available technology when building his rides. el toro is a work of art. youll see that for yourself should you decide to brave the queue hooligans at six flags over joisey.
larrygator on 7/14/2006 12:07:43 AM said:
adriahna and Timberman - you guys are soooo close minded. Bigots! hehehe!
adriahna on 7/15/2006 12:31:21 AM said:
Im open-minded, just reserved. And I aint paying to get into that park - thats just a given with me...
larrygator on 7/15/2006 12:37:58 AM said:
^I should have brought you with my free guest pass that needed to be used before June 30th.
Timberman on 7/15/2006 1:52:10 AM said:
Im actually pretty close-minded, plus Im too much of a chisler to pay Great Adventure gate and parking prices, and I get psychotically angry when people cut in front of me in line. Oh, and I have an abiding grudge against all things European because the Clash broke up before I got to see them live, and I never fulfilled my teenage dreams of racing over cobblestones in the Spring Classics. Also, I hate driving on the New Jersey turnpike. Furthermore, the name "El Toro" reminds me of Toro lawn mowers, one of which cut off most of the toes on my right foot when I was in second grade (which were subsequently reattached crooked, meaning I could never again wear Jesus sandals in public without feeling grossly self-conscious). That said, Im trying to maintain a sense of equinamity about this roller coaster. Thats notwithstanding the fact that its "plug-in-play" construction method reminds me of Legos, which my family was too poor to afford, meaning that I had to play with Lincoln Logs from the secondhand store. As I result, I never became an architect and instead have toiled in anonymity at a succession of mostly service, labor, and civil service jobs, while realizing that I may never be able to afford expanded cable, much less own my own pitching machine and ping-pong table. In many respects, I feel that El Toro has ruined my life and destroyed what I onced loved about this country. But, yeah, sure, Im willing to give it a chance.
hrrytraver on 7/15/2006 11:00:41 AM said:
timberman - its time for paxil, dude. tweak those neurochemicals a little and public television will seem like expanded cable and bouncing a 10 cent rubber ball against your basement wall will be as good as a pitching machine.
Timberman on 7/15/2006 4:31:22 PM said:
B&M and Intamin are the Paxil of the masses.
bumprnugit on 7/16/2006 12:13:44 AM said:
Timberman, I feel for ya dude. I was in the same quandary; I really was rooting for Voyage and wanted El Toro to fail. I havent been to "Great Mis-adventure" in about 7 years because there isnt any alcohol in the park (a blessing, I suppose) to allow me to tolerate all of the crap that seems to go on there when I visit. However, there are a lot of favorable reviews from the group whose opinions I value the most, so with some reluctance (and 20 mg of Lexapro later) I will have to make the trek.
hrrytraver on 7/16/2006 12:37:58 AM said:
bumpr- this recent visit was my first in ten years. i wish i could report that its free of the frisky humanity that i noticed in such abundance 10 years ago, but on this occasion i was treated to a full scale fracas which involved TPC members cyclonic, larrygator and some line-cutters. the climax involved a very base and vulgar female hitting larrygator several times and using some very colorful metaphors to describe him. misadventure indeed!
bumprnugit on 7/16/2006 12:57:26 AM said:
I believe I read that in a trip report - pretty entertaining. My last visit involved a rather bizarre encounter with an asian woman (not that that detail really matters, but she could barely speak english) dragging five(!) children to the front of Skull Mountain; Why I was even in line for that ride is another story entirely. Just the overall apathy I have encountered in that park, from patrons and staff alike, has kept me away for these many years. But, this is the park in which I did see security not allow a teen in the park because the chain attached to his prole wallet was too long.
adriahna on 7/16/2006 11:20:58 AM said:
Thats thoughtful of you, Larry - youre a good guy.
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