Six Flags Great America Chicago

I just got back from SFGA for the first time. My brother and I are roller coaster enthusiast over the last 3 years going to different parks across the USA 2 times a year. At SFGA ....we arrived at 10:15am to a large crowd waiting outside the gate on July 5th a Friday. We already bought our tickets and a gold flash pass online earlier. Once we got into the was a little confusing as to where the Flash Pass Q-Bots could be picked up. Once I got passed getting in the wrong line...we finally got the Q-Bots 30 minutes later. Our goal was to ride
American Eagle first as it was at the opposite end of the park and was NOT on the Flash Pass list. We walked to the coaster and got on almost immediately after walking the longest through the turn styes to the ride that I can remember at any park....WOW. We sat in the back row of the train. Only one of the trains were running so there was no racing side by side here. The coaster was rough and gave little airtime for us IMHO. We rode this coaster 1 time. I would give this coaster a 7.5 on my scale. Next was Raging Bull. We had a 20 minute wait on Flash Pass. We sat again in the rear seat of the train. Awesome coaster with great airtime and length. I would give it a solid 8.5 on our scale from 1-10. Our third coaster was Viper. This coaster was an "unadvertised" backward running coaster. We took the back seats again and was very surprised as I never rode a backwards switched coaster before. We rode this coaster 2 times and this was our favorite of the day. I would give this one a solid 9 on my scale. It was beyond awesome. The third coaster was Demon as double looping steel monster. We took the backseats again and I got off this coaster dizzy as my head was still spinning while arriving back to the station. We rode this one one and I would give it a 8.5 on my scale. We then went to Superman after waiting for 55 minutes on Flash Pass. We got right up to the boarding area when the ride suddenly went down. We were disappointed and somewhat pissed. I deleted it off my Flash Pass and entered The Dark Knight right next to it. A 50 minute wait was announced on the Q-Bot.....Grrrrrr. We sat in the shade and got a bottled water to pass the time. Once we got on the Dark was about 55 minutes. Dark Night was a pretty good ride for being indoors. I would rate it a solid 8 from a 1-10 scale. We had only "1" terrible experience in the park for the day on "V2". We waited 55 minutes + about 30 more minutes in the line to get to the ride to board. Guess what??? My brother was to large to fit in the seat. There was NOOOOOO test seat outside the ride as we looked. We wasted 1.5 hours of our time waiting for free as only to take the "walk of shame" at the end. We were pissed but did not let this ruin our day. This completed our day. We were pretty happy even with the 2 bad experiences. The park was extremely clean as well. The park was very busy IMHO. Has anyone had a similar experience here ????????? Thanks for reading.

Last edited by talon1189,
Jarrod L.Thorne's avatar

My son and I were there on the 2nd, it was pretty busy and clean.It rained off and on most of the day,but we had a good time.You guys didn't take a spin on X-Flight?My son liked it better than Gatekeeper, he's only 8. I liked it better than Wild Eagle,but not more than Gatekeeper.


WildStangAlex's avatar

Vertical Velocity definitely has a small restraint, and there used to be a test chair, I'm not sure what happened to it... Anyway, it sounds like they moved Viper backwards early, which is pretty cool. Does anybody know how long Namtab will be down while it transforms back to Batman?

I'm thinking about visiting the park again in a couple weeks, and maybe doing the water park for the whole day with the exception of riding X-Flight and Repiv. I agree, the park is very clean, but who nominated them Cleanest Theme Park in the World? They have a lot of signs saying that...

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."
-Joseph Campbell

Timber-Rider's avatar

Wow. You waited that long for the rides with flash pass? What were the actual lines like? I have been to the park many times, and rarely waited more than an hour for most coasters. Though Batman once had a 2 hour and 45 minute line. But it was fairly new.

I had hoped that the water park would greatly thin out the ride lines, as it does at Michigan's Adventure. Though I would have skipped American Eagle, as the only good part is the run out to the helix. After that, it's pretty dull. Though I would not mind riding Viper backwards. That seems like it would be quite a ride.

My favorite ride there is still Batman, but I have not been on X-flight, or the mouse coasters. Raging Bull would be my next favorite followed by Superman. I like Verticle Velocity. But Wicked Twister at Cedar Point is better.

I hope to go to Great America this year. But, will have to hold off until next year. Maybe they'll get another new coaster. Though riding Viper and Batman backwards will be like getting two new coasters anyways, if they decide to continue running them that way.

I didn't do it! I swear!!

At Six Flags the device only holds a place in line for you without making you stand there. I don't think they promise you'll get on any faster.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Depends on which level you buy.

I believe it goes:

Regular: Holds place in line ($55)

Gold: 75% reduction in wait ($80)

Platinum: 75%-90% reduction in wait and double rides. ($115)

Great Adventure changed it from being a 75% reduction to "up to 50% less." I wonder if other SF parks also made that change too.

Last edited by YoshiFan,
Lord Gonchar's avatar

That's interesting.

I'd bet they all have changed it.

I was assuming that the wait times described by Talon indicated they had purchased the basic level Bot, but I was also unaware that SF had changed their pitch. We all know how nuts busy the park can be, so even at 50% the wait times mentioned might be accurate.

My only experience with the system was at SFOT and it was years ago so only there was no option, only the "hold the place" version. I liked it- at least we could take advantage of the time and spend it elsewhere while we waited for the alert. We noticed that the actual wait time was often slightly shorter than the stand-by line and that was ok with us too. It was a spring break Friday and the park, sadly, was near capacity.

As a side note, here's a story that I've been waiting for an opportunity to bring up. Last Sunday our German Village Garten Club hosted it's 54th annual Haus und Garten Tour (yes, really). It's a very busy day down here and people from all over Columbus show up to see the lovely homes and gardens. Anyway, new this year they offered the "THE GERMAN VILLAGE AUTOBAHN! (like Disney's FastPass system)". I about died laughing, and thought of our endless discussions here. (I wonder if garden club message boards everywhere lit up with debate.) I walked (briskly) to the gym that morning, and on the way I stopped by the ticket tent. The tour was 25 bucks and fastpass was 50. Looks like everyone's jumping on the pay-to-cut bandwagon...

This Six Flags Flash Pass sounds awful compared to the Cedar Fair Fastlane.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Tyler Boes said:

This Six Flags Flash Pass sounds awful compared to the Cedar Fair Fastlane.

I actually prefer Q-bot.

Mostly because it's not tied to specific people like CF's wristband is. If I'm there with the family we can just buy in for two people and any two of us can use it on any given ride. You can walk that grey area to save a chunk of change.

Plus, I appreciate the technology. It's truly more of a queue management system than a 'dumb' FOL wristband.

sirloindude's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Mostly because it's not tied to specific people like CF's wristband is. If I'm there with the family we can just buy in for two people and any two of us can use it on any given ride. You can walk that grey area to save a chunk of change.

Forgive my quoting of the post right above mine, but I would like to note a rare moment of Gonch-style frugality. ;)

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

Lord Gonchar's avatar

The whole thing lands in a weird 'in-between' zone for me.

I hate lines. I simply will not stand in a long line. 30 minutes tops for something that's among my favorites, new or I really want to ride.

On the other end of the spectrum, no ride is worth dropping $300-$400 for my family to ride.

I'd as soon just not visit the park if my options are long lines or high dollars. You can pay for your ride in time or money and once you get over 30 minutes or the $1xx dollars range, the rides simply aren't worth the investment.

Q-bot for two lands right in the sweet spot.


On a side note, I think that because I say things are priced too low or someone is leaving money on the table or whatever that everyone thinks I'm the type to drop big cash on parks trips. Far from it. Just because I observe and maybe even understand the business realities, doesn't mean it's because I spend like that. Quite the opposite. Which, I think, makes my opinion pretty valid most of the time. I have no agenda. I'm don't expect everything to be cheaper to accomodate me, nor am I suggesting they be more expensive to accomodate me. It's simply commentary from a business perspective. I think people are confused by the ability to separate the business realities from my personal needs. I can easily argue that something is priced right or needs to be priced higher or you get what you pay for while at the same time having no incentive or desire to pay those prices myself. I'm pretty damn good at being objective.

I guess the reason why I think fast-lane is better is because of various reasons:

  • Unlimited
  • Less confusing
  • Easier to use
  • Cheaper

The unlimited part of fast-lane is what is draws me the most. I'm the type of person who aims to get about 25 rides per day without ERT or cut the line stuff. If the park is slow, I could get 50 rides in, but I've never had a situation where that'd make sense. All my "no lines" days have came at either Michigan Adventure (where I leave after 4 hours if it's slow), or in a multi days at one park trip (where I also leave after 4-6 hours and watch baseball or something at the hotel). If I had fast-lane, I would ride so many rides!

Obviously, I don't get cut the line passes because my family goes to parks a lot. If there's long lines, we tough it out and think, "there's always next time." If we only went once a year, we'd probably get them.

IMO, the best cut the line system is Disney's Fast-pass. Everyone is equal at Disney World. Everyone gets one Fast-pass per few hours. It's also share-able. If you have a non-aggressive rider in your group, they can give you their Fast-pass. Also, many people do not know how to use Fast-pass, so the Fast-pass lines aren't that long. This system would obviously not work at Cedar Point or SFGAM because there are way more aggressive riders, and the Fast-pass lines would be still long, but at Disney it's genius.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Tyler Boes said:

Everyone is equal at Disney World.

Which is exactly what they want you to believe.

Sorry, Gonch, but I don't really understand what you mean by that.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

It's means it's not as simple as everyone has access to FastPass so we're all equal.

And it's really going to get more broken up with the NextGen stuff.

What Disney does better than anyone is make it appear that everyone is equal.

Ahhh, ok. Thanks for the explanation.

I sense this sorta Karate Kid/Mr. Miyagi dynamic in the above posts.

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Wax on. Wax off.

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