Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, USA
This was my third trip to Gurnee (from Iowa, it's about 3 hours from my house) this year to try to get the Goliath credit. The first trip was back in May and had been planned long before it became apparent the ride wouldn't open by then. The second trip was back in July and I was there with small children to entertain and couldn't spare the 3 hours to wait in the line.
After the July failure I planned to go back this weekend by myself and get a Platinum pass if necessary to get the Goliath credit. It turned out that my wife and daughter decided they wanted to go as well and we ended up adding a day on and staying the whole weekend in Gurnee.
Saturday: We did some shopping for clothes to keep the girls happy and then headed to Real Urban BBQ in Vernon Hills for an early dinner. It was pretty good. I figured it was the best I could do without going deep into Chicago for BBQ. From there, I dropped the girls off at the Hotel and drove the 10 minutes or so over to Great America. I found a decent parking spot and headed in about 5 pm.
I walked straight to Goliath noticing long lines at Superman and Batman along the way. The sign outside Goliath said 90 minutes. I asked at the front about a single rider line and was told to wait through the overflow queue and then tell the Fastpass guy that I was a single rider. I did this. The line on this thing really does not move! It seemed like it was about 5 minutes between trains. My calculations tell me the operating capacity on this night was somewhere around 400-500 people per hour. OUCH! Anyway, I waited about 35 minutes in the overflow and then got my single rider pass. At that point I got to go straight up to the station.
Unfortunately, 4 of us single riders went up together and while I was first.. they had us line up in such a way that I was the last one to get to ride.. which meant I had another 15 minutes or so of waiting up on the platform. I got placed in a middle row and got to ride.
I then repeated this process with similar results. Total time to ride was again about 40-50 minutes the second time.
I can say that there are some cool moments on the ride. There are some good airtime spots and being upside down on this coaster feels unlike any other coaster I have been on. It is extremely smooth and almost feels non-agressive to me. It doesn't kick your butt like a traditional woodie - thinking Voyage here. I liked the ride alot. But, it is very short. Had it been about twice as long I think I would give it 5/5 for now I ranked it 4/5 on the coasterbuzz rankings here.. I almost clicked 3. Again, I enjoyed the ride but I think I am soured by the low capacity and the shortness of the ride. I probably wouldn't wait more than 30 minutes for this ride again.
After Goliath I wanted to do a couple more rides, but the lines were long and I am spoiled so I tried to find rides with single rider lines. Superman did not have a single rider option so I decided to try Raging Bull. This was a success! The single rider line meant I only waited 1 train for a ride on the Bull. Basically the way it worked was they gave me this wristband and sent me to the station. But noone up there cared that I had the wristband and I just sat wherever I wanted. They were sending trains with 8-10 empty seats repeatedly anyway.
I rode twice with almost no wait. I really like Raging Bull. Hyper coasters are my favorite type of coaster and this one is pretty good. There is nice airtime, it's smooth, it's long... no real ejector air of course but a really good ride. The best in the park for me.
At this point I headed back to the hotel to spend time with the girls.
We got up and headed to the park early. We arrived at 9:45 and waited for the bag check to open. At 10 we were allowed in. The only odd thing was that they were just waving everyone through the metal detectors.. they kept beeping and they kept waving.. I don't know. I guess the appearance of having metal detectors is supposed to be enough to deter guests from bringing unwanted objects in. Anyway, we headed in to the park and took 2 rides on the carousel. From there I walked over to Batman to take my first ride on this version since the Coasterbuzz event here back in 2004? Not sure when that was.
Batman - About like I remembered. I have been on 3 of these Batman clones. Growing up SFSTL was my home park and the Batman there scared me to death for the longest time. The crew here was actually pretty happy and was doing a good job. The ride was pretty decent and seems to be holding up well. I have always enjoyed the intensity of these rides.
Up next I headed to meet up with the girls at Camp Cartoon. Surprisingly I saw them head over to the Little Dipper. My daughter rode this back in May and swore she would never do it again. Apparently she changed her mind.We got right on and 2/3 of us enjoyed the ride. My daughter actually held her hands up for the first 1/4 of the ride but then claimed it was too fast and scary. However, she was smiling after. We are making baby steps here!
My wife suggested I should go do one more ride while lines were short so I headed back to X-Flight. Again, it was a walk-on. I like wing-riders but don't love them. This one is my least favorite so far. (I have been on Gatekeeper and Wild Eagle). I had ridden this back in May for the first time. It is good but like many rides at this park a little too short.
I went back to the girls and rode the little cars with my daughter. This was the longest wait of the day for me. About 15 minutes standing watching these slow little cars go around. But it was fun enough.
After that I headed to American Eagle for a walk-on ride. I hadn't been on this one in about 10 years. Nice airtime on the way out. Square wheels on the way back. Decent ride overall, hopefully they do some track work on it at some point soon.
I met back up with the girls for my daughter's favorite ride.. and her parent's least favorite... Bucaneer Battle. We got wet in every way possible. It was cold and miserable. I really do hate this ride. But, my daughter laughed and had a good time. Worth it I guess.
At this point it was about 12:30 and we were planning to leave the park for lunch, so we headed to ride the Sky Tower. I don't think we had ever been on this before. We rode the one at Cedar Point probably 50 times over the years. The views were alright, I hadn't really seen the park from above before and I like to think about where they could cram more rides in to the limited space here. My daughter loved it. It was really her speed.
Anyway, this was our last trip to the park this year and probably until late next year. Up next for us we have an October trip to the Dells and a trip to Silver Dollar City for the Christmas Event. I will probably post a report from SDC.
Interesting. We had a totally different experience on Labor Day. We arrived at opening and got Goliath right as it opened (tho it was rain delayed) and they were hauling to dispatch. But we want and asked about single rider with a long line and walked right up with our lanyards. Got in in about 15 min. We went to do it close to park closing, but they had shut the single rider line down sow we went to Bats instead.
Goliath is a great ride. Gonna post my TR soon.
I probably would have had better luck on Sunday morning. I also assume that this being the last operating weekend they might have been down some staff around the park which might have affected operations.
I waited about 35 minutes on Sunday morning. I got on fairly quickly once I made it to the single rider spot.
As for Superman, they had a single rider line going, at least in the evening. I got 3 rides in maybe 15 minutes. You want to talk about an amazing crew? We didn't even stack on my first lap. I thought that was impossible on a B&M flyer, let alone one of the shorter ones. ;)
I wish, I wish, I WISH I had known about Raging Bull's single rider line. I absolutely loved that ride.
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