Six Flags Great America, 5/25/08

Associated parks:
None

Saturday, May 31, 2008 9:48 AM
Six Flags Great America, Sun, May 25

I had never visited a Six Flags park other than SF Kentucky Kingdom this past fall after going to the Fall Affair at Holiday World so I was excited to visit one of the biggest parks in their chain. I pulled into the park’s access road and chose to walk a few more steps to park in the “value” lots for $15 instead of $25. Talk about gouging you for parking although I guess for the amount of time I spent in the park, it’s still better than paying the same amount for a three hour concert.

I entered the park with my “Everybody Pays Kid’s Price” ticket for $30 and walked right in after getting through the security checkpoint. These checkpoints seem odd, at least to me, since my two home parks, Michigan’s Adventure and Cedar Point, don’t utilize them for some reason and it was somewhat irritating having to wait in another line to get in the park. After this was completed, I walked to the Flash Pass office where a line had already developed since the cashiers weren’t ready yet. So, after waiting in line for a half hour and paying $10 more for a Gold Flash Pass in-park instead of pre-purchasing online for just $40, I was ready to start riding coasters.

I went around the park several times that day and rode almost all of the coasters (I don’t think I missed much with Ragin Cajun) and I’ll just give my review of each of them.

Batman: The Ride

I’m a huge fan of Raptor at CP so I was looking forward to this coaster in particular especially for its theming and historical value. While the theming was kind of cool, I can’t say I liked Batman a whole lot. Call me a wussy but the ride was very intense to the point of not being fun anymore, at least to me. On some of the tight turns, I was fuzzing out and I felt the ride was also a little on the short side in length. I much prefer Raptor’s more spread out pacing and longer overall length. *** out of 5

Iron Wolf

B&M’s first coaster ever and, boy, could I tell. The coaster was not pleasant at all to ride or even look at for that matter with the rust-colored supports and track obscured by the overgrown, unkept trees. I only rode this for the credit and moved on. *

V2

I’m a big fan of Wicked Twister at the Point so I figured I’d like this ride too. I noticed that the ride ops don’t give a countdown or anything of that nature when launching the ride. The launch isn’t as powerful as the one on WT but that makes sense due to its smaller size. The straight back spike was cool except for when the ride’s stop brake activates on the 2nd backwards launch. Talk about slamming into your restraints for no good reason. The ride was enjoyable overall and unique with being somewhat over water so it gets a ***1/2 from me.

American Eagle

This coaster has a cool appearance except the ride experience is anything but. I don’t think this ride has been retracked in a while or at least whatever side was running when I was there. But even if the ride was retracked, I don’t think it would be much more enjoyable since the layout just kind of meanders after the first big hill. The big turnaround helix is very slow and completely wastes a lot of wood that could have been better used for more bunny hills in my opinion. The very slow ops on this ride combine with the ride quality itself for a **.

Raging Bull

This coaster was the one that I was most looking forward to riding during my visit to SFGAm since I had never ridden a B&M hyper. The ride looked really cool in terms of both design/architecture and paint job. Bull’s ride was very smooth overall and the restraints were quite comfortable, almost feeling like sitting in a recliner chair. I did feel a few pops of airtime on the ride but the ride really didn’t have much in the way of thrills other than the big drop into the earth. I rode this ride the most with my Flash Pass and I guess it was my favorite coaster of the park. I still prefer Magnum and MF over this one. ****

Viper

This ride had a good reputation with the internet community and I have to say, the reputation is well-founded. It was very smooth for a woodie and had quite a few airtime moments especially involving overhead supports making for cool head-chopper effects. With Raging Bull right next door, I went back and forth between these two for quite a while. ***1/2

Whizzer

I put off riding this coaster until later in the day and I kind of wish I didn’t. This ride is definitely NOT thrilling but it certainly is very fun and enjoyable nonetheless. I loved the toboggan-style cars and the fact that a parent/child, kid/kid, or any other type of combo of people could fit in one sled spot. The ride actually moves pretty quickly once it gets going and has a great “wind in your hair” quality to it. I especially liked how the ride travels really close to the trees and the low to the ground turns it makes at fast speed. I seriously think a contemporary designer needs to rebuild more of these style of coasters since people from all age groups seemed to enjoy their rides on Whizzer that day as did I. Hopefully, CP can build a ride of this fashion in the future which I’m sure would be a hit with families. ***1/2

The Dark Knight

This was about the only ride where I really needed my Flash Pass in order to cut to the front of the pre-show room line before the video room. I’m personally excited for this movie to come out and found the ride overall to be OK. It was a little annoying to have to wait another 20-25 minutes before getting to the loading station but I can see why with all of theming in the queue to “enjoy.” People had mixed reactions coming off of the ride and I would have to say the ride was fun overall so it receives **1/2.

Superman: Ult Flight

I had never rode a flying coaster before so this was another coaster that I was excited to try out. After Flash Passing into the station, I waited only a few minutes before I got to sit down and get placed into a prone position which for me was not very pleasant. The pretzel loop right after the first drop was very intense, much more than I expected. Otherwise though, the ride featured gentle, smooth dips to the ground and a long wait while being stacked to get off the ride. This was especially uncomfortable when laying right on your stomach while feeling a little queasy. The ride definitely appeared to be popular (if a bit overhyped) based by the line length. ***

Demon

This ride was smoother than I thought it’d be and I liked the tunnel’s lighting effects after the vertical loops along with the faux rock formations built around the ride. It was still kind of rough like all Arrows are, but a decent ride nonetheless. ***

Overall Observations

I noticed (in the morning anyway) that a lot of the employees seem to be very friendly overall and were trying to create a welcoming environment which, for the most part, is what I experienced. I only caught one or two employees texting on their cell phones during the day so I suppose that is pretty good especially from the stories of other SF parks operations I’ve read about in other trip reports.

There were a lot of advertisements plastered all over the place inside the park. On the rotating poster board signs, billboards on coasters, in-line TV ads, mens bathroom stalls, park maps, you name it. I know I come off as a CF fanboy but I can’t recall being bombarded by that much advertising in their parks. At least both chains have those friendly people from BlueGreen trying to sell me timeshares.

Prices were once again outrageous but that is not any different from CP so I can’t say I didn’t expect it. I only bought a plate of Chinese food from Panda Express for $9 with a tap water but that’s about it.

The park had a lot of trees although I’m not sure it was worth having the narrow midways throughout the park especially if the park has the huge attendance I’ve read about sometimes. The theming with the different sections of the park was nice although not absolutely necessary since the park overall doesn’t really have a theme anyway. Oh, and why do they use blacktop asphalt instead of white concrete for their midways? That must be awful on sunny hot summer days.

Attendance was surprisingly low on this past sunny warm Sunday of Memorial Day weekend so my purchase of a Gold Flash Pass was probably unnecessary but I knew if I visited this park, I’d want to have the Flash Pass to at least achieve a good ride count since this would probably be my only time at the park this year.

Six Flags Great America struck me as being a nice-enough park but the quality of their coasters was hit or miss at least to me. The fact that they have 4 B&M’s sounds impressive but I only rode one of them multiple times (guess which one). My favorites of the park were Raging Bull, Viper, and Whizzer. The overall corporateness of the park was not all that appreciated by me nor the drive from MI which entailed driving through the dense urban construction zone known as metro Chicago.

The park was very family friendly it seemed to me and it looks like it will be around for many years to come. I didn’t end up buying a SF season pass because I really don’t have any interest of coming back to SFGAm when I’m just as close to CP and I simply like CP more. I may visit another SF park in the future, who knows. My next TR features my first visit to Indiana Beach on Memorial Day Monday. *** Edited 5/31/2008 1:49:24 PM UTC by arw84***

+0
Monday, June 2, 2008 12:15 AM
Nice trip report. As you noted they have really increased the amount of advertising in the park over the past two seasons. It's getting hard to look in any direction and not see an ad for something.

For those planning to visit this year I'll echo what you said about road construction. There's always construction but the 94/294 construction really, really slows things up going North. On top of that I take 88 across from Iowa and that's under construction after Aurora as well. It's going to be a rough couple years getting to the park.

+0
Monday, June 2, 2008 1:35 AM


American Eagle

This coaster has a cool appearance except the ride experience is anything but. I don’t think this ride has been retracked in a while or at least whatever side was running when I was there. But even if the ride was retracked, I don’t think it would be much more enjoyable since the layout just kind of meanders after the first big hill. The big turnaround helix is very slow and completely wastes a lot of wood that could have been better used for more bunny hills in my opinion. The very slow ops on this ride combine with the ride quality itself for a **.



Parts of the American Eagle are retracked every year. This past offseason they retracked from the drop out of the station to the lift on the blue and red sides. Blue side still tends to be more rough than red side.

A great ride experience on American Eagle really depends on where you sit. The front row and the very last row really give a better ride experience. The red side is also a bit more wilder than the blue side due to an added hill after the big helix. *** Edited 6/2/2008 5:39:01 AM UTC by [jonrev]***

+0
Monday, June 2, 2008 10:57 AM

arw84 said:
I entered the park with my “Everybody Pays Kid’s Price” ticket for $30 and walked right in after getting through the security checkpoint. These checkpoints seem odd, at least to me, since my two home parks, Michigan’s Adventure and Cedar Point, don’t utilize them for some reason and it was somewhat irritating having to wait in another line to get in the park.


So, let me get this right. They have the security before the park entry? That is different from previous years and something I have been wanting them to do all along. It works so well at the Disney parks.


arw84 said:
Batman: The Ride

I’m a huge fan of Raptor at CP so I was looking forward to this coaster in particular especially for its theming and historical value. While the theming was kind of cool, I can’t say I liked Batman a whole lot. Call me a wussy but the ride was very intense to the point of not being fun anymore, at least to me. On some of the tight turns, I was fuzzing out and I felt the ride was also a little on the short side in length. I much prefer Raptor’s more spread out pacing and longer overall length. *** out of 5



Funny, it's the fuzzing out on Batman that makes me prefer it over Raptor ;) Then again, my wife likes the more mundane pace of Raptor over Batman. I love how on the ending helices on Batman how your legs feel like they are a thousand pounds.


arw84 said:
Iron Wolf

B&M’s first coaster ever and, boy, could I tell. The coaster was not pleasant at all to ride or even look at for that matter with the rust-colored supports and track obscured by the overgrown, unkept trees. I only rode this for the credit and moved on. *



Iron Wolf has needed some serious lovin for a long time now. I ride this once every few years, usually when I am with someone that is at the park for their first time.


arw84 said:
V2

The straight back spike was cool except for when the ride’s stop brake activates on the 2nd backwards launch. Talk about slamming into your restraints for no good reason.



Again, this is why I love V2. The brake on the back spike makes this ride. Not to say that I didn't love Wicked Twister's twisted back spike, too. I love both equally as much.


arw84 said:
Raging Bull

I did feel a few pops of airtime on the ride but the ride really didn’t have much in the way of thrills other than the big drop into the earth.



Did you score a ride in the back seat? That is the money seat. You get several good pops of airtime, including nice ejector air on the first drop.


arw84 said:
Viper

This ride had a good reputation with the internet community and I have to say, the reputation is well-founded. It was very smooth for a woodie and had quite a few airtime moments especially involving overhead supports making for cool head-chopper effects. With Raging Bull right next door, I went back and forth between these two for quite a while. ***1/2



QFT


arw84 said:
Superman: Ult Flight

The ride definitely appeared to be popular (if a bit overhyped) based by the line length.



I honestly do not understand the popularity of this ride. It always has the longest waits in the park and is mediocre at best.


arw84 said:
The theming with the different sections of the park was nice although not absolutely necessary since the park overall doesn’t really have a theme anyway.


The theming, for the most part, is all left over from the Marriott days. Six Flags has added very little to the theming, except for Southwest Territory, which is pretty darned good.


arw84 said:
Attendance was surprisingly low on this past sunny warm Sunday of Memorial Day weekend so my purchase of a Gold Flash Pass was probably unnecessary but I knew if I visited this park, I’d want to have the Flash Pass to at least achieve a good ride count since this would probably be my only time at the park this year.


For some reason, Memorial Day weekend seems to be one of the best weekends of the year to visit the park as it is almost never busy. I have visited on Sundays before Memorial Day in the past and I have always been blown away with how dead the park is.
+0
Monday, June 2, 2008 11:06 AM
Seriously, what's so wrong with most advertising? To me, it gives me something to look at rather just nothing. It also can be funny like my other car on the bumper cars has Geico insurance. I mean, that is stupid funny. Yes, the commercials for Six Flags on the tv's are playing too much, but that's life.

The only advertising that's really annoying is the guy all over the park in the speakers that says to get a season pass for only blah, blah. I guess it's overkill, but you can easily ignore it.

+0
Monday, June 2, 2008 11:09 AM
If Six Flags wants to get rid of any advertising, they should get rid of the annoying guy in the commercials that keeps shouting all the time.

"One Flag....Six Flags! More Flags! More Fun!"

Ugh. Lame.

+0
Monday, June 2, 2008 8:27 PM
Security and the metal detectors are still in the same place-After the turnstiles.
+0
Monday, June 2, 2008 11:34 PM
Dark Night good ride grueling wait, just say no. BatMan much more intense point for point then Raptor. Iron Wolf horrible new restrainst a head banger but, what a great layout. Eagle always retracked every season better then Mean Squeek. V2 I'll take a shorter as fast straight back to a twisted one, both good rides. Whizzer is a classic and still runs as good as when it opened. Demon well, it's the Demon what did you expect, Shockwave? Viper every park should be blessed with such a great ride, loads of airtime. I wish Great america had anything other then Bull. However I deal and go to Cedar Point for thrills. Overall Great america has lot's going for it but it's missing a Kickass Coaster. Has been for years.
+0
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 12:52 AM
I think you hit it on the head, Ronman. Great America has a lot of good coasters but no great ones. To be entirely honest; and I know this is a very unpopular view; but I think SFGAm's kick ass coaster is now being assembled in Silverwood. Vu was kick-ass when it was running.
+0
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 8:23 AM
^^Regrettably many parks are like this!! Canada's Wonderland used to be like that (until Behemoth), and Kings Island used to be like that as well until their new B&M hyper opens next year...but it's really a shame that RB has all those trims or else that could be somewhat signature!
+0
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 4:49 PM
I agree "Kick" - Deja Vu was the best coaster at Great America - I must have been one of the lucky ones because I got on it almost every time I went (which is usually at least twice a month)
+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2018, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...