Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, USA
With cooler temps in the forecast (high 60's mid 70's), made the last minute decision to go to GA.
Thursday was the best day for crowds I have experienced at this park with short lines. Parking lot was about 1/2 full. The fog rolled in at sunset, which was cool to see the high rides with fog around them. Friday was more crowded, but still tolerable.
THE GOOD - This park has one of the best collections of rides IMO of any thrill park. A great lineup of various coaster types, all smooth and re-rideable. Also a strong flat ride selection with Huss & Schwarzkopf rides leading that list. This is actually my favorite park for rides and has more of my favorite coasters in on place than anywhere else.
Park has LOTs of security visable everywhere. Metal detectors at the gate, security checking bags, security at the rides with long lines. At Goliath & Raging Bull, they give you a numbered ticket at the entrance to give back as you get on the ride, to prevent line jumping. There smoking policy is enforced as i saw nobody smoking outside of the designated areas during 2 days. They also make announcements about park ejection for violating this policy. King's Island being the closest park to me makes me appreciated these two things about GA. King's Island has virtually no security and people are smoking throughout the park these days.
The food is good for a theme park, and prices are reasonable when you factor in how cheap a Six Flags season pass with parking is this year. The park is clean, especially the rest rooms, something else that KI lacks.
THE BAD - they must have laid off most of the landscaping staff as landscaping is virtually non-existant outside of the flowers around the reflecting pool. Most of the landscaping has becoming out of control, weeded. non-mulched and even dead trees. Also a lot of flaking peeling paint.
Each time i visit this park, they seem to do something to mess up the atmosphere even more. Last time, it was slapping a barren go-kart track in the middle of the park in Yukon Territorry, making it feel like you are in the parking lot. This time, the gazebo area of Hometown Square has been concreted over for their dance party. There is a homemade looking stage blocking the train station and the area. This also has a parking lot feel.
The train was not running because Goliath's overflow line is blocking the train station and even running through it. This park has a strong collection fo thrill rides, but lacks in chill rides. The train being one of them.
AMERICAN EAGLE (about 20 times) - I have different opinions on coasters, but his coaster is #1 on my list when it is racing. Which the ride ops were racing it the best I have ever experienced on this trip. There is an excitement about the speed and having another train right beside you that increases that feeling.
It was definitely racing on this trip with even dispatches and both sides winning. The racing aspect was different than most coasters, but it works and the trains ran side by side through the helix in most rides. The blue side seemed to hang on top of the lift hill longer, but then surged ahead after the first helix brakes. Red then would take over going through the helix and the winner was determined after the final uneven helixes.
I am thankful that they left this classic alone and built a new Rocky Mt. coaster instead. AE rides great for a 33 year old former world record holder, and is a capacity dream with virtually no wait all day long once they open both sides at noon.
RAGING BULL (3 times) Would have ridden more, but it was down Friday night. My favorite hyper coaster. The twisting layout is so much more intersting than the typical out-and-back. The flat part before the first drop seems to add to the airtime. It's a shame they have quit doing that on the newer B & Ms (probably to save a few bucks in the structure).
VIPER (4 times) Rode it in the morning and it was a walk-on. Great twister coaster. Smooth. Great headchoppers and oddly banked turns. One of the best wooden coasters out there IMO.
WHIZZER (4 times) One of a kind in this country now, it is a great ride for everyone. Super smooth. It's such a shame Schwarzkopf is no more considering how well designed the coasters are and how well they age. This ride is down to 2 trains now, which increased the wait time. However, they were constantly stacking with only two trains. I noticed one of the trains is number 5, so it had 5 trains in its glory days. Wonder how much longer these trains will run, but MACK could probably provide new trains and convert the lift to a tire drive. It is a very popular family coaster that they should take all effort to keep.
X FLIGHT (4 times) my favorite wing coaster compared to Wild Eagle & Gatekeeper. The layout is more interesting than the out-and-back layouts of the other two and there is pacing through the final inversions. The in-line roll is a great effect through the keyhold and over the bar. This is the only one i have seen with a maximum height. I am 6 ft 3.5 and ended up getting measuered AFTER i got off the ride lol. I can see where there can be clearance issues throughout the ride though.
GOLIATH (1 time) Waited until the end of the night Thursday to ride, and waited 35 mintues. The coaster rides great, but is way too short and not worth more than a 30 some minute wait IMO. If Son of Beast was a gimmick coaster, this one definitely is with its inversions as they really don't add anything to the ride. The overbanked turn is the best part of the ride IMO because you can feel it more than the inversions. They probably could have built a better coaster in the space with more of a longer, Balder-type layout, more overbanked turns and air time, and left out the inversions. That being said, it is still a good coaster and makes their lineup stronger.
Did not ride V2 on this trip since i had just been to Cedar Point and ridden wicked twister, but IMO V2 is their 7th strong coaster experience at this park with the 6 above.
DARK KNIGHT (1 time) the roughest coaster in the park. Standard wild mouse with low quality dark ride theming.
Skipped Superman (not a fan of rides that hand you by restraint, Batman (virtually same ride at all 6 flags), and Demon.
Including the great flat rides, Sky Trek Tower, and the wonderful carrousel, I was able to get in over 50 rides in 2 days. Only purchased Flash Pass the 2nd day and used it 6 times to gain about 3 hours of park time.
Also saw the Reflections show in the Grand Music Hall. Well dine 60s themed show worth seeing.
Overall a great time. This park could be the best seasonal park in the nation if they would maintain the landscaping again, get ride of the barren concrete areas (go karts & hometown square gazebo area) and get a few more rides that everyone could ride (family friendly dark rides, antique cars, etc.). Hopefully the train will return as it is one of those few rides like that in the park.Last edited by super7*, Sunday, June 29, 2014 1:29 PM
I was at the park on Friday the 27th. Crowds where not bad however Goliath is a pure nightmare. Waiting two hours at opening with 5 minute dispatches between trains worse then De Ja Vu dispatches of the past. All they need to do is tell guests buckle your seat belt (these are the kind that adjusts and doesn't retract, huge design error.) Then the yelling don't pull your lap bar down over and over...really? But the worst is the ride operators pushing that bar so far down if your a male your testicles are in extreme pain. In short I agree the gimmicks where not worth the price paid in unending waits and horrible loading. Add to that that seat cushions love to fly off and wheels shred, it's just sad. I wanted to love this ride, sorry epic failure. No more RMC ever please.
Super7, hit on all the lack of care I have been pointing out for years.
Chipping paint everywhere from Columbia, to all buildings and major coasters. Paint to Great America is spelled PAIN for them.
The theme of the park is being lost however if well done I can except this. Don't get me started on burned out light all over Columbia's Spire and now Major Front Columns Marriott so carefully built. At CA. Great America they have restored everything even the wooden floor. Let's face it Six Flags makes more money then Cedar Fair. So riddle me this why do they not only leave Great America but all their parks looking shabby?
I also love the Whizzer, did they loose the third train on that and The Demon?
X-Flight a truly great ride which rarely has any waits. This is our go to ride on any visit.
Batman, V2, just incredible even fresh off 25 rides on Banshee which is #1 now.
Viper is the best wooden coaster in the park hands down. Wait, this also goes for The Little Dipper.
The American Eagle still running good but it needs paint, paint, paint, and track work please not RMC.
Superman haven't been on it in six years B@M can build a boring painful coaster. The sooner it leaves the better.
I agree also the Great America has a wonderful collection of flat rides. Fresh off a Kings Island trip that point is driven home.
T.L.C. please that's all we ask. Or better sell it to Cedar Fair they understand what keeping their parks up is all about.
Final thought the train needs to go. There is nothing Scenic about it. With no thought going into Goliaths queue the County Fair Train Station needs to remain queuing for the ride.Last edited by Ron Witrzek, Sunday, June 29, 2014 11:07 PM
Ron Witrzek said:
I wanted to love this ride, sorry epic failure. No more RMC ever please.
My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.
Ron Witrzek said:
So riddle me this why do they not only leave Great America but all their parks looking shabby?
Why do you return again and again to a shabby park?
They leave their parks looking shabby because people go to their shabby parks and spend money.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx
No park runs 100% smoothly all the time or does 100% right. Six Flags might have been a little shabby, yes, and I can certainly attest to that happening at Six Flags Just Regular America, but good lord, man! No park is perfect. Dorney Park's parking lot is one of the stupidest, most illogical things I've ever seen. Except for Hershey's layout (although I strangely like Hershey's layout). Disney likes to book rooms for people when they know damn well they're building timeshares out of those rooms and can't accommodate people in that area due to construction. Dorney has too few smoking areas, and they're all in the sun. Kings Dominion has too MANY smoking areas. This stuff just happens. Parks have flaws in management, logistics, landscaping, design, merchandise, etc.
Do we notice it more maybe because we're enthusi-asses? Probably. Is it bad enough Six Flags should clean it up? Also probably. I can honestly say I think they're working on it. Sometimes it takes awhile to get change implemented across the entire chain.Last edited by bunky666, Sunday, July 6, 2014 10:12 AM
"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band
If Son of Beast was a gimmick coaster, this one definitely is with its inversions as they really don't add anything to the ride. The overbanked turn is the best part of the ride IMO because you can feel it more than the inversions.
You didn't feel the inversions? Are you kidding me? You hang by the lap bar on both inversions.
Final thought the train needs to go. There is nothing Scenic about it.
So the Scenic Railway isn't Scenic enough for you and needs to go?? Wow, that sounds like very rational thinking. I guess you were expecting a view of Hawaii instead?Last edited by CoasterDude316, Sunday, July 6, 2014 1:04 PM
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