Six Flags Great America - Friday, August 1, 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014 11:38 AM

This is my second visit to Great America. I arrived at the park at 9:15 for a 10:30 opening -- I (correctly) assumed there'd be an unpredictable opening procedure. Google Maps again routed me to a back entrance, which let me avoid the long line of cars waiting at the main parking booths. They started letting people in at 9:45 (!) so people could queue for Goliath. Heading back your eyes are looking right at the first drop -- genuinely thought "holy crap that's steep". They opened the ride entrance at 10:10, and I was on the first train of the day at 10:25, towards the back. Yep, glad I got here early. After ascending the steep chain lift hill (45 degrees), away we go....

My overall impression is similar to others I've read: definitely overhyped, but a very good ride that falls just short of being excellent. The track is incredibly smooth -- having only been operating a few weeks, will be interesting to see how it breaks in. The first drop is solid but not as intense as claimed. The overbanks are graceful, you get nice floater air on the airtime hill, and the dive loop works well. The signature element, the zero-G stall, is awesome -- great hangtime and a visual treat. One more overbank, and that's it. Short.

The line had ballooned to a full 2 1/2 hours, and there was no sign of the rumored single rider entrance (more on that later) so I ventured elsewhere for now. X-Flight wasn't testing, so on to Raging Bull, short 10 minute wait with 3 trains (albeit stacking). Not a total airtime machine like the other B&M hypers, the twister layout is a welcomed change up. The MCBR doesn't kill the second half as much as I feared. Re-rode once. I walked back to American Eagle, about 30 minutes, the blue side was testing and was loading by the time I got on red side. I forgot how long this ride is! Still running pretty well, an enjoyable woodie. Rerode this one too.

Saw X-Flight was running, the wait ended up being almost an hour due to a mechanical delay. This was my first wing rider, two years ago my thought was "meh". Not so this time. Again paired for a front row seat, left side, there is tons of airtime -- more than I've had on Wild Eagle or GateKeeper. Swooping over the pond is cool. Still smooth with no vibrations. The "flight mission control" is my favorite theming of the three, but methinks that'll change next year....

I went back to Goliath, about 90 minutes, by now it was mid-afternoon. I asked about the single rider entrance, it does exist! After going through the temporary overflow queue portion (20-30 minutes when half full), you get a pass and go right up to the station. Rode two more times....and both times ended up in the same row as my first ride. Oh well, at least I actually got multiple rides. High-fived Bugs Bunny wearing a gladiator costume at the exit.

My feet grew weary and winds felt like a storm might be coming, so I started to head out, hitting up Raging Bull one more time, the attendant here pointed out this had a singles entrance too, that was nice. I wanted to ride Viper and especially Whizzer, but lines were pushing 1 hour for each.

Flat ride ridden: A noteworthy one, the upper level of Columbia Carousel. Most fun ride ops of the day. "Do not break your animal's heart by switching animals during the ride!"

I'm taking a needed break from parks for a couple days -- staying in Chicago until Monday and doing some sightseeing. And eating.

Hotel mini-review: Something completely different. I'm actually staying in a hostel a couple blocks from Wrigley Field (too bad the Cubs aren't in town this weekend). Dorm-style accommodations, but a) it's an affordable way to stay in the city, even adding parking costs it's about the same as the other motels I've been staying in. And b) you get a great opportunity to meet people from all over, sightsee together, etc. It's been a BLAST so far.

Last edited by VTFanatic330, Sunday, August 3, 2014 11:42 AM
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Sunday, August 3, 2014 11:47 AM

Do yourself a favor and head to Kuma's Too, a short trek from Wrigleyville. It's the biggest, and best, burger you'll ever have.

The address is 666 W. Diversey pkwy. Stay away if you're offended by loud metal, tattoos, and a generally "dark" atmosphere. :)

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Sunday, August 3, 2014 3:46 PM

And try one of the Chicago Style deep dish pizzas. They're like nothing else, and you can really only get them in Chicago, despite what "Uno's Chicago Grill" in other cities might tell you. (Okay, you can get Giordano's in Orlando too)

Oh, and a Combo Sandwitch. (dipped) Another of my favorites and unique to Chicago. There are plenty of Italian beef places around your location, I'm sure. Portillo's is the most well known.

Also, you can still tour Wrigley Field when the Cubs are away. http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/ballpark/tours/index.jsp

Last edited by Tommytheduck, Sunday, August 3, 2014 3:48 PM
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Sunday, August 3, 2014 8:09 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'd already devoured the trifecta of hot dogs, pizza, and Italian beef. Raven -- that burger was freaking fantastic. Led Zeppelin: bacon, cheddar, pulled pork. The house chips were great too.

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Monday, August 4, 2014 11:42 AM

Tommytheduck said:

And try one of the Chicago Style deep dish pizzas. They're like nothing else, and you can really only get them in Chicago, despite what "Uno's Chicago Grill" in other cities might tell you. (Okay, you can get Giordano's in Orlando too)



Lou Malnati's is always the one you'll keep hearing about, but Giordano's is otherworldly.

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Monday, August 4, 2014 2:56 PM

VTFanatic330 said:

Raven -- that burger was freaking fantastic. Led Zeppelin: bacon, cheddar, pulled pork. The house chips were great too.

Hey, no problem. I'm glad you enjoyed it. That's my "spot" to eat when I'm in Chicago.

Good thing you didn't go for the Slayer!

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Monday, August 4, 2014 10:48 PM

Walk-Off HBP said:

Lou Malnati's is always the one you'll keep hearing about, but Giordano's is otherworldly.

Hah... actually, Lou's is my least favorite of the big 4. But a lot of people like it, so. Just one person's opinion. The one I find truly unique is Gino's East. You can get regular sausage (chunks, like on a normal pizza) or you can get one rolled out sausage "patty" that covers the entire pizza. The sauce is the top layer, so it doesn't look gross or anything.

In reality, there is so much good and unique food in Chicago, that with even the smallest bit of research (like CB'ers suggestions) you really can't go wrong.

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