Six Flags America 6/1/08

Associated parks:

We were kicking around ideas on how to spend our Sunday. We were thinking about going kayaking on the Susquehanna River with relatives. Then we got talking about Dorney's waterpark, and how much fun it is floating in one of their lazy rivers. I just so happened to check my email, and got an email from Six Flags that was a coupon to bring a friend for free on June 1st or June 8th. We figured "What the h*ll we can take my brother in law, sister, and nephew for free."

That was a smart move Six Flags! :) Didn't take much arm twisting for us to load up the car and head to Maryland. I am generally fed up with SF America, and don't really care to visit that park anymore. I haven't been on the waterpark side for 4 or 5 years, so I curious to see what that would be like.

We got to the park around 2pm, and it wasn't horribly busy. We had to go to guest relations to trade the printed email for 3 admissions into the park. Through the metal detectors, and straight into Hurricane Harbor.

We changed into our bathing suits, and rented a $16 locker. That's crazy I know, but we needed to protect our valuables. ;)

We went straight to the Lazy River, or Castaway Creek as they call it. It was just as I had remembered from our previous visits. It was actually pretty gross. I don't know if they filter the water in that or not?

We meandered over to the wavepool(Hurricane Bay,)and hung out there through two cycles of waves. That was a lot of fun for us all. The pool wasn't too crowded, and the waves were just right.

We stopped to get a bucket of fresh cut fries, and a large drink for $13.98(What a bargain.) :) Then we took Bahama Blast for a spin. I like th few seconds of darkness. Decent slide, and our only one of the day. We went to the wavepool again, and changed out of our bathing suits.

Up to this point it had been a pleasant experience until we went to the ride side. It still seems that much needs improved on this side of the park, and I am pretty sure that it'll never happen.

My earlier visit in the season at Great Adventure showed me what great strides Six Flags has made in terms of better atmosphere, ride capacity, and guest satisfaction. At Six Flags America it is the complete opposite. Still the same old slow uninterested attendants, single train operation, and frequent ride closings.

We went straight to Roar. This had 2 trains running, but may as well been running one since they were dispatching a train every 3-4 minutes. A 5 minute wait turned into 15 minutes.

We were going ride the Jokers Jinx, but skipped it due to single train operation. I prefer the indoor version not too far away.

Of course I have to take a lap on Superman. When we got in line we were about 5 feet from the steps into the station. With a 2 train operation it should have been a 10-15 minute wait. That turned into a 45-50 minute wait with them loading every 3rd or 4th train with flash passers.

I noticed that the train wasn't parking in the station right. We had to take a step to the left to board our row. That also added to the confusion of loading the train. What happened to the red train? Coasterguts? It wasn't on the transfer track.

The ride itself was a lot of fun. Ran smoothly, and lots of air. Just how I like it. It's easily the best ride at the park.

We were going to ride Batwing, but after Superman decided that was enough for the day. Batwing dispatches seemed to be every 5-10 minutes, and we didn't want to get caught up in that. :)

On the way out we rode the Teacups. My favorite flat in the park. It's also an indicator of just how hurting they are in the flat ride department. Topspin?

We stopped at the waterpark to get our stuff out of the locker, and hit a few shops on the way out for the kids to get a few souvenirs.

It wasn't a horrible day, but it wasn't a great day either. It was in between. Had I stayed in the park and tried to ride a few more things it could have gotten ugly fast.

I think a lot of the problem with this park is the crowd it draws. They are rude, and generally inconsiderate. When will I be going back? Probably in the Spring next year to get our new season pass. :)

SFA had a never-assembled Top Spin, but it went to Darien Lake instead. The parts sat next to Joker's Jinx. It would have been identical to the one at Great Adventure.

It's sad to read about SFA and what's become of it this year. I went opening weekend and dispatches were taking way too long. I was getting really annoyed and I wasn't enjoying myself. I can't ever remember things being this bad.

The way you describe the crowd that SFA draws could have easily been the same description of the people who went to Great Adventure years ago, except it was a whole lot worse.

I generally think corporate has given up on the park in many aspects. They rarely invest in big-ticket attractions, they've yanked out four flats and not replaced them, and they can't seem to get a decent work force--the one thing that is driving a lot of people away from the park.

How would I solve the problem? Six Flags should dump the park and let someone else run the show. I don't think they'll let that happen though. You know why? Because of the money to be made--whether it be high-priced food, high parking costs, Flashpass, locker rentals etc., They're investing very little, and I'm sure they're making a whole lot back.

When has this park ever been good? Hell I even skipped the season pass deal this year and paid more at another park than deal with that hell hole. Wild One and Superman doesn't make up for being pissed all day.

No I don't have a kid, but I still want to ride!

Sounds like typical SFA yet again. I try and stay away from the place, but I'm going on Sunday to hang out with a friend and get a parking pass (that's good at other SF parks, thank God). We usually walk around and trash-talk the place while were there, which seems to bring us happiness or enjoyment :)

That lazy river they have has got to be the worst one I've ever used. We did get the new Tony Hawk slide, but at the expense of losing 4 other slides. Intamin Fan is right about losing the flats--the ride count just keeps going down and down. If SFI isn't going to care about the park and turn it around, then they should dump it.

Oh yea, I've noticed the parking issue with SROS--it's terrible. You'd think that they could get this fixed, but apparently they've just let it be that way for years. IMO, there isn't much left to redeem this park--for me, it's mainly Wild One, as SROS is in sorry shape from what it used to be.

I could go on and on, but I'll spare you this time :)

coastin' since 1985

Coasterfantom - your trip report is not exactly a ringing edorsement for SFA. My buddy and I were planning on making the trip to SFA this summer. After reading your trip report and the others that have responded to you, I believe that SFA has been cut off of my summer intinerary. I was already planning to dump it when I found out that it was difficult to find discount tickets for under $40. I think I will make a return trip to MiAdventure while I am visiting west Michigan this summer.

We changed into our bathing suits, and rented a $16 locker. That's crazy I know, but we needed to protect our valuables.

Was there a deposit involved with the $16 locker fee? Or is it a flat rate? One other question. Is parking really expensive as well? The Detroit Free Press/News listed parking as $25 in an article for midwest travel.

SFA is running a buy one get one free special online. I believe the Coke Can offer is also buy one get one free. Essentially, two people can go for $25 per person. Parking is $15 for regular and $20 for premium.

*** Edited 6/9/2008 1:26:39 PM UTC by coasterguts***

A day at the park is what you make it!

My son and I went there about 3-4 years ago. The worst park we have ever been too! Lazy lazy employees, garbage everywhere, very slow dispatch times, not to mention alot of roped off seats on trains! You could not pay me $ to ever go there again! We were on a week long trip visiting a few different parks and was planning on staying there for 1.5 days. We stayed about 2 hours and got out of there! On the up side we spent an extra day at Hershey, which is one of my favorite parks. This is the only park I have been to were I did not feel safe riding rides (besides carnivals) and had a bad time.

Pittsburgh, City of Champions!
Steelers + Penguins
2009 What a great year!

Ok, now I have personal verification that the place still sucks. We went by there for a short bit yesterday. Cars were pouring into the place, yet they only had 3 parking attendants. There were a bunch of people lined up for tickets, yet they only had about 2 or so windows open. There were multiple rides closed/down. SROS was still only running blue train with red nowhere in sight. The Tony Hawk slide was put in front of the rainbow slides, which are still there, but no longer in use.

Need I go on?

coastin' since 1985

matt.'s avatar

CoasterMonkey said:
When has this park ever been good?

It was tolerable when I visited in 1999. The 2 woodies were fun, the crazy Typhoon sea coaster log flumey thing was working, and the park was generally inoffensive.

Subsequent visits lead me to think it's pretty much the most dire park I've ever been to, and it sounds like the more who visit the place the more who agree.

I love how all of you say your never going back, but you do. It's still my home park, I still love having it here in Maryland, show me the line and I will buy my 2009 Premium Season Pass today.

Coasterfantom, don't quote me on this, the park has some pretty big upcoming events, I would expect the red train on Superman pretty soon.

*** Edited 6/9/2008 4:36:57 PM UTC by coasterguts***

A day at the park is what you make it!

matt.'s avatar

coasterguts said:
I love how all of you say your never going back, but you do.

Yeah except...we don't. I haven't been since 2002 and I've been within a couple hours of the place several times the past 6 years.

I'd suspect the park gets a good bit of enthusiast traffic just because of it's very centralized location but I mean really, even if it were true, "Everybody hates the park but they keep coming back" isn't really something to gloat about.

I have only been there once and will never go back! There are just way too many better options! And I have been back in the area again 2 times and never gave it a thought of going there again.

Pittsburgh, City of Champions!
Steelers + Penguins
2009 What a great year!

Seriously why go here when BGE, KD, HP, DP, and SFGAdv are all within driving distance? You are not an enthusiast if can not enjoy a day at one of the parks I just listed.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

I have several reasons for going to SFA over those oher parks mentioned:

First, the park is 45 minutes from me vs. 2 1/2 hours at least to any of the other parks.

Second, it doesn't cost me $50 in gas to get to the park like it would any of those other parks.

Third, I despise lines. Which is what I would get at the other parks. At SFA I can ride Superman three times or more in a hour. I would be lucky to get two rides in a hour at the other park. I'm the kind of person that sees the value in flash passes if it saves me time from standing in line.

Fourth, I'm not married to riding roller coasters. I can enjoy a park no matter what the problem might be. If the coasters are having problems, I will eat lunch, ride flats see a show or go to the waterpark.

Fifth, The park isn't perfect and has room for improvement. Since I can have a good time at the park, I'm willing to overlook the imperfection to an extent. Fixing the park isn't going to happen overnight. They are working on it. As long as I see the park working on improvements (for example I understand the shallow end of the wave pool has been resurfaced), I will remain a loyal patron. As I said before, if they were selling season passes for 2009 now, I would buy one.

I will add, I'm an enthusiast and visit all of the above parks at least once or twice a season. *** Edited 6/9/2008 8:15:34 PM UTC by coasterguts***

A day at the park is what you make it!

^I wasnt addressing my comments towards you guts, more about the people who went there, knowing they were probably not going to enjoy it and then complained about it. Likewise, I know I wouldn't enjoy it because I cant stand poor operations at a park. Thus there are the other choices, or more simply: go to a park you know you are going to enjoy, if you go to one you have been to again and didn't like don't then come on a website and whine about how "nothing has changed" when you know full well it wouldn't.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Long story short- my three nephews and 1 niece came to visit the DC area. My wife and I took the kids to SFA knowing what to expect but made the most of it.

We went yesterday (6/10). The park was in sad shape, with many rides down. Superman closed at 12 nooon and never reopened. Only the blue train was running, the red train was on the transfer track with the last two sections of the train in pieces on the ground. Smooth and fast as always.

Jokers Jinx had two train operation, seemed slower this year but it might just be my imagination.

Wild One was giving the best rides in years!! Two car operation.

Two face never opened. Has it been running at all this year?!

What was most frustrating was the lack of "family rides" like flats. The kids are at that weird age where they can;t get on Superman or the big coasters and the kiddie rides are boring for them. Nothing in the middle. SF in general really dropped the ball here, especially if they are trying to attract families.

Waterpark was okay, it was not crouded but there were still unbearable lines for the slides. I would hate to see it on a busy day.

The employees are what they are and as long as you accept this you will have a decent day. I would say "thank you" at concession stands...some of them looked REALLY surprised and were friendly back. Others just ignored me and looked bored and frustrated.

What really annoyed me though was waiting to get my season pass processed. We arrived at 10:30 when the park opened and I was told I had to go back to guest relations after 1PM because the processig center wasn;t open yet. I caould seer through the game- If they have employees start at 1 and the park closes at 7 they don;t need to give lunch breaks or pay them full time as a cost cutting measure. It is transparent and very cheap and only frustrates guests to the park. But I think SFA is past that point...I would not be surprised when real estate increases in value again in the area that SF sells off the land to housing developers.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention a few things we observed that really sums up SFA and also makes you question how the park is run/managed in general:

-Just before the main entrance you pass a sign that says "Six Flags 1/4 mile ahead." A short moment later you pass a sign that says "Six Flags 1/2 mile ahead."

-At the American Cafe by the kiddie ride section they sell cheeseburgers for 8.99, but a bacon cheeseburger is sold for 8.49. Same size everything, but by adding bacon it is 50 cents cheaper. No kidding.

My mother-in-law wants to take an 11 yr. old granddaughter to SFA on Mon. 6/16. She knows I got a SP to SF so she suggested a SF park and this is closer than SFGAdv.

I am not looking forward to this day at all. She's disabled, I don't really know what the granddaughter will ride (I'm told she'll ride anything) and I'm bringing my brother who I told 'you will probably have to go off on your own if you want to get much of anything done'.

I had these concerns BEFORE I read this thread. Now, just not so thrilled about the whole adventure (and I'm sure it will be an adventure!).

phoenixphan :-)'s avatar
I guess we must have just been lucky. A couple of years ago we went to SFA, and although I did not have the best time, it was certainly not the worst thing ever.

As far as the employees, have none of you been to anything else in the DC Metro area? That seems to be the common nature of all low paid customer service employees. Wait, not only in DC, but have you been to McDonald's lately?? You get what you pay, and at a rate just above minimum wage do you expect to attract the best canidates?

The only issue we encountered at the park was how it seemed there was not maintence crew. As the day progressed coasters went down one by one, with just Wild One and the kiddy coaster running by the time we left the park (around 7pm). It is almost like a chain reaction, and there was something being said about the heat, and how the rides tend to go down when it gets hot. Not sure how true that is... but if so I guess rides must go down all the time at parks like BGE and Dollywood, as it get just as hot, if not more so there.

Overall though, I would go in with very low expectations like we did. Don't plan on spending the entire day from open to close either, get in the rides you must do as soon as the park opens, as they will not run all day. Oh, and look for a local fast food joint, as you will probly be leaving around suppertime, save yourself some cash by eating out of the park.

Real men ride wood... coasters that is!
Mr Zero... Use the Six Flags America website to determine what your daughter will be able to ride. It lists the minimum height requirements for each ride. Schools let out this week, so hopefully the staffing issue palwine spoke about should be resolved. See the shows (Freedom, Mega Mix Live, Unspoken Again are good shows, your daughter will probably enjoy Lights, Camera, Action and You in the Saloon. Sit towards the stage and she may be asked to participate)and splash around in the waterpark if all else fails. There is a platter in the saloon, I particularly enjoy that includes Chicken Tenders, two sides and desert for around $13.

I normally recommend people start in the rear of the park with Batwing and work their way forward with the coasters. Doing, Batwing, Superman (it sounds like Supermans red train will be ready this weekend), Joker's Jinx, Wild One, Roar and Mind Eraser (careful of the head banging). You should know, some of the flat rides don't open until 12:00. There is a sign at the entrance to the park that clearly states which ones and there is a sign at the entrance to each of the affected rides.

Rides to watch for:

Skull Mountain is suppose to open around noon. If it is testing, head over to it and ride it as soon as it opens. It is hard to say how long it will stay open, it can be tempermental.

Batwing has been running pretty well this season and I haven't seen alot of down time. However, that could change at anytime so I do recommend you get a ride on it as soon as you can.

I have fun at the park. I can be an optimist and I always try to remember, "A day at the park is what you make it.

A day at the park is what you make it!

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