Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, USA
We finally after years of talking about going, we made it to Great America. We planned on it two years ago when X-Flight opened, but then Gatekeeper came along… Now with Goliath opening, we are glad we had waited. The park was also throwing an “enthusiast day”, which includes a walk back for first ride on Goliath for the day followed by ERT on Raging Bull and Viper, a walk-back tour and lunch. Unfortunately, on Friday we got notice that the event was practically cancelled… Great… But they still would do the walk back to Goliath for first ride and we would get (2) exit passes instead (for any ride but Goliath…) along with the lunch and behind the scenes tour. A bit of a bummer, but what can you do? I would estimate around 30-40 people showed up, which was more than I expected given they cancelled it. At the Dollywood event weeks ago, I think there was less people and they still did all the ERT that morning and night… On Wild Eagle, there was maybe two or three people on a train… So I think Six Flags opting out of ERT was a bit lame.
The drive is only around six hours, which was not bad at all. Stayed overnight about twenty minutes away from the park and arrived around 9:30am. Nobody had a clue where to go/stand, and half the employees had no clue of anything going on. Eventually someone came and got us and we went back to Goliath. We walked on the backseat for my first ever RMC ride…
Goliath was quite a stunning ride. Amazing airtime on the first drop, pops of air into the turnaround and the camelback that follows. The twisted dive loop was neat, but the star of the ride was the zero-g-stall. Such a wild element! After that point, the ride is practically done and overall the ride feels short. Everyone comments on how incredible the ride is, but many also note how short it is (not just the enthusiast crowd). Overall, the ride is amazing… But it did not blow me away to the point it instantly became a #1 ride for me. Maybe a ride later on in the day would change that? If I had to give a 0 to 10 rating, it would get 8/10.
Getting off Goliath (we only were allowed a single ride), we were given our two exit passes and it was time to enjoy the park. We somewhat lucked out, as the forecast looked really terrible for today. High chance of storms all day, radar looked like a mess, etc… But we lucked out somehow and it only drizzled at times and never really stormed until right at closing time… This kept crowds very low for a Saturday… So much so, we never even used our exit passes (a good problem to have!).
After Goliath, we went right to X-Flight… I simply love these rides, with Gatekeeper and Wild Eagle both favorites of mine. But X-Flight is probably the best of the three which I did not expect. We waited a single train for front seat, left side. The first drop I liked better than Gatekeeper, as similar as they are. There is more hangtime on the vest as the train kind of rolls slower during the flip than on Gatekeeper. The roll and immelman that follow are both great, and I love the low turn along the water up to the second zero-g-roll. However, the next element is what really blows me away on this ride… That long inline twist thru the air traffic tower and those supports! If you have ridden Banshee, the rolls feel somewhat similar, but throw in some insane headchoppers. I seriously thought my head was coming off, probably the most effective headchopper on any ride I have been on! The final helix is quite intense and the ride finishes strong. Absolutely loved it! Got right back in “line” and grabbed another walk-on, this time in the back seat of the opposite side. Overall, the left side is better but the right has an even more incredible visual through the last inline twist. Rating would be 9/10 (yes, I think I preferred this over Goliath).
Following X-Flight, we headed to Raging Bull which was yet to open… So we detoured to Viper. Much like Georgia Cyclone at SFoG, this ride was fantastic. Smooth, some great air moments and laterals with a very good layout. We walked right on this as well. Overall, 7/10
Demon was next which was a standard arrow looper. Enjoyed the rave tunnel, but that was about it. 2/10
American Eagle was one of the longest waits of the day, about 10-15 minutes. They only had one side running at this point, but the ride was pretty fun. Had some crazy weird vibrations going on, but the layout was decent. Enjoyed the huge long helix in the turnaround. 5/10.
Raging Bull was testing as we got off, so we went right back to wait it out. After about ten minutes, it opened. Walked right on the backseat for one of the first trains of the day. Having been on all the other B&M speed coasters in the US aside from Intimidator at Carowinds, I was really excited. I enjoy these B&M’s quite a bit, and Raging Bull has been on my want-to-ride list for a long long time. Was glad to finally be on it!
As expected, the first drop was amazing. Probably one of the best anywhere with serious ejector air. The turnaround was fun and the trim on the following hill was sadly on heavily (as expected). Still got some decent floater down the hill, which led into the two turn elements. These were OK, taken at a slower pace due to the evil trim prior. Next was the MCBR which delivered some more intense air in the backseat, followed by another great pop over the camelback. The ending sequence after was great fun, with another moment or two of air mixed in with some fun turns in the figure-8. One of the best endings on a B&M hyper, I think. Compared to the others I have ridden, it is in the top two or three next to Leviathan, Nitro and Behemoth.
Following the back seat ride, we ran around and waited three trains for the front. While still a great ride, this is most definitely a back seat ride… Our other three laps throughout the day were all in the back. In total, rode five times including a night ride which was really amazing. 9/10.
Next up was the original Batman… I am not exactly a fan of the BTR clones, even though I am an invert fanatic. The endless positive G’s are just not my cup of tea. They are also my lowest ranked among all the B&M inverts I have ridden. This was our longest wait for the day, around 25mins. The ride was exactly as expected, nothing special. 5/10
Afterward, we went and grabbed the camera and took a lap around the park. Left afterward for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes (our favorite place we frequent often in Orlando… Excited to see they had locations in Chicago) and once we made it back the park, spent a little more time getting photos and joined the group for the walk-back tour of Goliath and some of the maintenance facilities. Enjoyed the double-decker carousel at the front of the park and the space needle as well.
Placed the gear back into the car and had the last three hours of the night just to enjoy the rides. Found out Goliath was doing the single-rider line, so we took advantage of that. Waited about 10 minutes and was assigned to the backseat again. Again, extremely fun ride. It appeared it had “warmed up” a bit, and had even more air and intensity. Such a fun ride all around, but I don’t think it surpassed Bull or X-Flight for me overall. We tried to ride it again, but they had then “shut down” the single rider line, which was really stupid to me. The line was still probably 45mins standard line, but they claimed it was too short to keep the single rider line open… OK, yeah… That makes perfect sense.
Enjoyed a few more rides on Raging Bull and X-Flight and made it over to Whizzer finally… Unfortunately, it rained as we were next to get on and they closed it down. I guess the track has to be dry for operation. Being 8:30pm or so, they said they hope to reopen but it may not depending on the rain. I really wanted to ride this, so we hoped for the best. Thankfully after riding a few more things we saw it running again. Got back to the ride and waited one train for front seat. This ride was a BLAST. I can’t believe they had planned on taking it out! Such a gem of a ride. It was pitch black outside, so going through the dense wooded areas was a lot of fun. After our ride, went right back for another ride in the back this time. A solid 7/10 from me, and I believe also was my #200 “credit”. I could probably have far more under my coaster belt, but I tend to avoid pointless rides at any park such as boomerangs, SLC’s, kiddy rides, etc… Far from a credit whore. So it is a fairly good achievement for me!
By this time, it was around 9:20ish or so and lightning was starting to happen more frequently in the area. We got over to X-Flight by around 9:30 and planned on riding it once or twice and heading to Goliath to end the night. Walked on X-Flight and enjoyed back-to-back re-rides without getting off, and the crew kept insisting we stay to ride over and over again (one perk I miss with Six Flags parks…). With it starting to rain pretty heavily and lightning getting even worse in the area, we figured it was best to just stick it out on X-Flight and not risk waiting for Goliath for it only to be shut down by the time we got on. We ended up with 5 rides in a row and at 10pm it shut down due to the storm. The crew was fantastic though and really made for a great end of the night. We couldn’t believe the crazy weather had held out all day long though until exactly at closing time, talk about perfect.
Overall, we ended up with 2x Goliath, 10x X-Flight, 5x Raging Bull, 2x Whizzer, 2x Viper and single rides on Demon, American Eagle and Batman. We skipped V2 and Superman (I have ridden Superman at GL enough to be honest and don’t care for it, and Superman at other parks as well… So not exactly high priority for us). We had a blast at the park aside from the relatively poor excuse of a coaster event with terrible organization. But otherwise, the weather made for an epic day and one of my favorite parks now. The park has a very solid lineup of rides and was very clean and beautiful. So happy I finally made it to this park!
I will have my photos from our visit up in a day or two… I will post the link when they are uploaded.
I'm sorry to hear that they messed up the event. I've read a dozen or so reviews on Goliath recently and yours is the most informative. They all kind of sound the same though: Great, short ride with good airtime. The only real difference that I've noticed is that some people aren't as fond of the zero-g-stall as you are. I happen to love the pretzel loop on Superman. It seems that there a lot of people that don't like being in a prone position. To each his own I guess.
I think I may be one of the few enthusiast that enjoy Raging Bull as much as you, despite what might be one of the worlds most notorious trim breaks. It's still a great ride regardless, IMO.
I haven't been to that park since 2007. I absolutely loved the variety of rides. It appears to be the most well rounded of the Six Flags parks. It's definitely time to plan another trip.
Nice TR, looking forward to Goliath someday myself. Will finally get to ride a Wingrider tonight at CP... *fingerscrossed*.
I finally got on Goliath yesterday, too. Shortly after running into you guys. I'm guessing you have me in some of your Goliath photos. :)
I think we all agreed the zero-g-stall was the highlight of the ride. Its extremely well executed, with a nice float sensation throughout. I also like the entry/exit to the element.
I also think wingriders are some of the most fun rides being built today. If you are after extreme forces and stuff, they will disappoint... But they are just FUN rides, with each seat being drastically different. It is probably one of the most seat-dependent rides as well. Front will feel very different from the back, left from the right, middle seats, etc... On Gatekeeper, I am partial to front right and back left. I just like the sensations you get while riding wingcoasters in general, especially during the zero-g type rolls. X-Flight had a bit more uniqueness to the elements than Gatekeeper, which is why it became my top wingcoaster, but they are all excellent IMO. Hope you enjoy GK rollergator!
The trim brake on Bull was a bit disappointing as you can only imagine how much more amazing that hill and the two turns would be without it... But like you said, it still remains an incredible ride. Far different from the other out and back hypers, which I appreciated.
I also agree on the quality of the lineup... I think it may easily be the best Six Flags park in that regard. SFMM was great and all, but aside from X2, Tatsu and Apocalypse the rest of the park is filled with rides I could skip if I went back and not really care. Many of the other SF parks only have one or two really breakthrough rides. SFGAm had 5 rides (Goliath, Bull, XF, Whizzer and Viper) that I would not want to miss if I went back. CP really only has 5 rides in comparison that I really care to ride (Raptor, GK, MF, Dragster and Maverick) so in my eyes, both parks are equally as impressive in ride offerings.
I am really looking forward to going back though... Next year, I would not be surprised if we bought a SF pass and took multiple trips out there.
As a side note, I will probably have some "samples" posted to my photography page tonight... www.facebook.com/invertalonLast edited by SteveWoA, Monday, July 14, 2014 5:59 PM
He, uh, looka like a man.
Well yes, I would hope so!... I talked with quite a few people during the day so I did not know if it was someone I ran into. I found out who it was though, I just was unaware of the screen name... hahaLast edited by SteveWoA, Monday, July 14, 2014 6:00 PM
Glad you had a great time. This being my former homepark, I miss it alot. The coaster lineup is well rounded, and they have quite a few flat selections. The one thing they are lacking these days is the show selection.
It is definitely the best SF park out of all the ones I have visited.
Did you erase your note to "Phile"? You're killing my joke.
Yeah, once I found out who it was! Lol
I am so glad to hear you enjoyed Great America. X-Flight is my go to ride never does this ride let me down and at night just amazing. Goliath now with faster loading is wonderful. The Zero-G stall the best element on any coaster. Some think it's too short but running as fast as it does 3100ft. of track fly by. You didn't mention V2 a wonderful Impulse Coaster. Batman for all of us regulars still is great after 23 seasons. Oh Banshee is best for it's size and layout, same is true for Batman. Viper to me wooden coaster perfection in a theme park.
I'm looking froward to another visit Sunday. Maybe we can be as lucky as you and have a forecast for bad weather, a crowd killer in Gurnee.
X-Flight really is incredible! So glad we were able to ride it 10 times throughout the evening! I wouldn't mind to swap it with Gatekeeper...!
V2 we skipped, as I lived 20mins away from SFWoA/GL and have ridden Superman (V2 clone) hundreds of times... Was not exactly a priority to ride, especially with the holding brake off (best part!). I don't care for Wicked Twister at all, either.
We were surprised on how perfect the crowds were... We expected the worst but thankfully had a nice surprise! Especially given we had one day and did not plan on buying fastpass. Worked out very well!
We actually had the same luck with our single day attempt at SFMM last year where even X2 was walkon and allowed us to lap the ride 7 or 8 times (unheard of!)... It was cooler and they called for rain but it never came... Kept everyone away. The same thing with Canada's Wonderland as well, with walk-on Behemoth and Leviathan all day/night during the Haunt. Not bad considering these are some of the busiest parks in the country!Last edited by SteveWoA, Tuesday, July 15, 2014 7:15 AM
I think you are who I think you are, I think. :)
I'm Josh - I was there with my girlfriend and a little 3 year old. I was wearing my 4th of July DMB shirt with a red, white and blue bomb pop on it.
Yes! I remember... I just was not aware of your online alias :)
What did you think of Goliath?
I loved it! It's tons of fun, and that drop in the back seat is killer.
I, too, am a huge fan of the stall. I kind of wish more coasters had them. The airtime is so strange because you're floating, but you're upside down. You don't feel like you're falling out of the seat, but your butt isn't plastered into it either. It's the closest thing I think I've felt to 0g on a ride.
Pictures are up!
First off, outstanding photos. Second, why does that B-TR operate without the wheel covers?
I think maybe because they had the train reversed not too long ago for a short period of time? All of the covers were laying in the brake run / service bay area all laid out.
Great TR and pix! Having been to SFGAM within the past 2 weeks and posted my own report, I find your impressions of the rides interesting. We are in agreement about X-Flight, the coaster I rode the most during my visit. The fact that I liked it so much was contrary to everything I expected, as it really isn't my type of ride. I felt the same way in that the right side was more visually intense than the left when going through the keyhole element. Funny, but I don't recall seeing a single rider line for Goliath while I was there. I love what RMC did with this ride but prefer Outlaw Run b/c it's not in a similarly compact space and I thought it was great to be racing across an open field on the latter. As to Raging Bull, I felt that the trim brakes greatly diminished the ride experience.
The single rider "line" isn't always in use and isn't very well known. I think it is one of those things that depends on who is running the Flash Pass area, which is who will give you a tag that allows you to go up to the station as a single rider and once up there they will direct you.
Also, if the main line stretches into the over flow queue area, you must wait out that portion of the line before being able to move on to the single rider line.Last edited by JulieSFO, Wednesday, July 16, 2014 5:59 PM
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