SFGAm 7/27/2009

Monday, July 27, 2009 1:25 AM

I am sitting at the computer in the lobby of the Holiday Inn here in Gurnee, IL. We just got back after long day at the park.

First off, I am so glad that we decided on getting the Gold Flash Pass for the day. We got to the parking lot about 9:15 and were in the in the 2nd row from the front of the regular parking area. I don't understand why anyone would spend an extra $10 to save a little walking when your at an amusment park. Isn't that what everyone does all day anyways. So spending extra just doesn't make since to me.

We got into the park with out much of a delay and then made our way to rope drop under the railroad trestle. After the rope drop we headed to the flash pass building. After the short video that you could not hear, I got our little red magic machine. Surprisingly it was less then I expected at $118 (for 3) since we are season pass holders. This is where the day had it's first hick-up.
I had read that American Eagle opens later then the rest of the park. I had asked 5 different people including the supervisor at the FP sales location about this and was told that AE opened at 10:00 with the rest of the park. Since it is not on the FP we wanted to get this out of the way fast. Upon getting to the back of the park we found a few people standing in front of the ride entrance. None of them employees. I snooped around and finally found someone and asked them. They replied that AE didn't open till 11:00am.
So now I am a little pissed. We headed toward Ragin' Cajun and kept coming across rides that were closed and didn't open till 11:00. Once we got to RC the line was about 15 minutes. I guess the ride was fine, but I was still a little steamed that we wasted 45 minutes of morning park time because the staff doesn't even know there own park.

RC was a pretty decent spinning mouse and much better then the one we rode at WDW. 6/10

Next up was Batman. We got a reservation for 3 minutes after we put it in and upon entering had a 2 train wait for the back row (shortest wait). This was a fun little B&M inverted but came no where close to living up to Raptor or Alpengeist. 8/10

By this time it was just after 11:00 so we headed back to AE and got both sides done in short order. This was a decent woodie but as a racer the blue side always wins as the layouts are slightly different on the 2 sides. I prefered the red side. Red 8/10 Blue 7.5/10.

We then started working our way back up to the front of the park hitting all the coasters along the way with the exception of RC. The next one in line was Iron Wolf. This is a B&M stand-up. Again like most of the coasters here this was a decent ride but not best in class by any means. 8/10.

Our next stop was V2. My 10 year old had agreed to do this but was still quite scared of it. She almost chickened out once we got to the station. We sat in the last 2 rows with my 13 year old along side her. After the train had gone backwards up the back spike I could hear a loud "this is AWESOME". While this is not as good IMO as Wicked Twister, it was still a lot of fun. 7/10.

Next up was another quick lap on Batman the ride before heading to The Dark Knight. This was just what I expected so I was neither surprised or disappointed by it. 7/10

Now it was time to do a little flying. We placed our Superman reservation before the preshow of TDK so we were able to head straight on in. My 10 year old didn't want to do this so it was just my older daughter & I. This was our first B&M flyer. We both liked this so much better then the Vekoma ones. While hanging down for the short wait on the brake run was not the greatest, we so much preferred it to being on your back with your head below your heart. The ride itself was great with some incredible Gs in the loop. It was also interesting to see the shiny grass that was littered with coins. There must have been over $100 worth. I guess this is one way to help six flags pay off some debt. 9/10

It was now lunch time so we wanted to head out to the car for a quick bite. According to the video, the GFP could not leave the park and was to be returned to the sales building for them to hold. Since we were going there I put in Wizzer for a quick lap before turning it in and heading out.

Wizzer was an interesting family coaster unlike anything we have ever ridden. I can see why the local fans were upset enough upon the park announcing that they were taking it out to protest strongly enough for them to change there mind. For what the ride is and is meant to be, I would give it a 10, but as to the ride compared to the rest on a trills basis 6.5/10

I then headed over to the FP building to turn it in. Here I was told that if we were just heading to the car for lunch, we didn't need to turn it in. I also spoke to the supervisor that gave me the bad info on AE and told him how disappointed I was in his lack of knowledge about his own park.

We got back after having a nice roast beef sandwich and headed to the Southwest section. Here we hit Viper. This was an OK woodie that had a little air and was reasonably smooth but was nothing special. I also relize that After riding Voyage the week before I was a bit jaded. 8/10

After Viper it was time to ride the Bull. This IMO was the best coaster in the park. While again not nearly as good as other B&M hypers it was quite enjoyable. My only complaint was that most trains were going out with 8-10 empy seats. I saw one train with a full empty row yet the line was half way down the stairs. 9.5/10

With only Demon left we scooted over to get our 13th credit of the day (yes we did ride the sprocket rocket). This Arrow looper was not the best or worse one we have been on. It had some interesting tunnels with lighting in them that added to the ride. 7/10

At this point we started doing re-rides and flats till about 6:00. Since we were in Chicago, I wanted to get some Giordano's and knew that there was a location in Gurnee. We thought about leaving the park for dinner but noticed that they don't allow you to return after 7:00pm with a hand stamp. This IMO is a stupid policy trying to force people to eat in the park. Instead we called them and found out that the last order for a pie had to be placed by 10:30. We opted to get something small and have a real meal after leaving.

This is where the next hick-up happened. We went back to the Southwest for some more laps on RB and went up to get some Chicken strips and fries to split. I placed my order but there was no place to pay. The register on the side that we ordered from was covered up. I gave the woman my credit card and a coupon from our SFA season pass book that was good at all parks. She then took my card and the coupon away and after 5 minutes came back and said I needed to speak to the cashier on the other side. I did this and he said it was for an order over $10 and we were just under. So I told him to add a dessert to it. He then could not figure out how to enter the coupon, and had to call his lead. After another 10 minutes I was getting pretty steamed. His lead never showed up. 5 minutes later he handed me back my card. After a few more minutes he left to help someone else. At this point I had my card, my food (cold now) and he had not run it though. Since he left me, I left him and went to eat.

The rest of the night we spent on the RB. At 9:00 we were waiting for our GFP to allow us another lap when over the loud speakers we could hear them annonce that the people in the train needed to get off and that the ride was closed due to lighting in the area. Just after this there were several distant flashes that didn't look like they would clear out in the hour that the park was open so we decided to turn in our GFP and get some dinner.

Giordano's was great 10/10

Overall we had a great day with a couple of issues that had me ticked. Most of the staff was upbeat and helpfull, the park was clean and the rides were decent.

Now about the GFP, I am so glad we got it. IMO the park was crazy busy with 2 hour wait signs on a number of coasters. While we only got 20 coaster rides and about 10 flats in, I doubt that we would have been able to have gotten in 1 lap on all of the coasters with out it.
I loved using it and am not sorry about it one iota, but if I had been on the other side, I would have been pissed off.

It is now time for bed as we have Indiana Beach on Monday.

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Monday, July 27, 2009 12:59 PM

Glad you had fun and I agree with you about the Flash Pass. On my last 3 trips to SFMM, I have used the Regular FP twice and the GFP once. On all 3 trips the FP greatly increased my ride total. I have also noticed that I have not seen very many other people using FP's. It seems that the effect they have on the regular queue is negligible.

May 27, 10:30-6:00, 20 total rides, used 9 reservations. Regular FP, $19 with Xtreme Play Pass discount.

June 4, 10:30-6:00, 29 total rides, used 12 reservations. Regular FP. $21 with discount.

July 13, 10:30-10:00, 36 total rides, used 18 reservations, Gold FP. $47 with discount, plus $10 to add X2. $10 is a bit steep to go on X2 (or Terminator) one time so I probably won't do that again, but GFP was worth it since the park was packed. Although I feel that a Regular FP would be good enough on most days. The money to pay for the GFP on this trip was a birthday gift so I splurged a bit.

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Monday, July 27, 2009 1:13 PM

DaveStroem said:
I loved using it and am not sorry about it one iota, but if I had been on the other side, I would have been pissed off.

Yes, but as a smart park visitor, you wouldn't be caught dead on the "other side" on a day that a FP was necessary.

So it's a win either way. :)

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Monday, July 27, 2009 1:27 PM

^Or more likely you wouldnt be at the park at all ;).

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009 3:24 AM

I can see where people would be upset if it was a ton of people all the time jumping into seats ahead of them and filling up entire coasters full, or always filling up the front seats that they wanted to ride, etc. However, from what I have noticed Flashpass use IS minimal (at least, at Great Adventure), and most of the time, it doesn't even affect the amount of regular riders in the slightest. For instance, on El Toro, sure the Flashpassers get up to the station first, but the Toro trains still leave the station half empty because no one knows that there are still good seats left further inside the station (the best seat in the house rarely has a line at all). Thus, if no one is sitting in those seats regularly, who cares if I have a pass that sits ME in a seat instead of leaving it empty so NO ONE can enjoy it? The passes that allow people to reserve places in line at Disney are ridiculous and often breed the shorter lines for the people that DID NOT do the fastpass thing, but at Six Flags, these passes really do work without much general line delay.

Plus, when you walk past a 2.5-3.0 hour queue for El Toro with that cute little beeper in hand, you can't feel much more rock star than that. LOL

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009 8:28 AM

Bunky, at SFGAm, there were plenty of people with FPs. At one point in line for V2, there must have been 20+ people in the FP line. On Ragging Bull, there were often that many, but most were waiting for there reservations.

I am glad to hear that SFGAd crowds don't take advantage of the FP as much. This should make it easier for us next month.

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