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Six Flags Great America PhotoTR


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Rebekah and I visited Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois this past Saturday. The visit showed some promise, as we would be riding two attractions that were new experiences for both of us - one being Dark Knight, the new indoor roller coaster that is receiving quite a bit of press. Unfortunately, as I'll describe later, Dark Knight did nothing but disappoint all that mistakenly made their way through its entrance after a 2+ hour wait. But, that's not to say that there were some good surprises along the way too.

 

So, off to the pictures we go.....

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So.... the ride pretty much sucked like a 10 gallon ShopVac. The show scenes were lackluster, animation and effects seemed non-existent, and the ride was just Rajun Cajun in the dark. Boo, Six Flags, boo. Our recommendation: if the wait is anymore than 5 minutes, don't bother... it's not worth it.

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Facial recognition screen that turns guests into Joker's henchmen.

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Hallway between the movie preshow and the load platform.

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Preshow movie featuring Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent... they spent a lot of money on this... why doesn't the rest of the attraction match in quality?

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The inside queue, which is housed in the old Theatre Royale. The theming in this area was pretty minimal and wasn't doing much to bolster my confidence in the ride. Also, remember that 120 minute wait sign? The aforementioned lockers are cleaned out every 2 hrs... so if you're experience takes 130 minutes for some reason, too bad... hope you didn't put anything valuable in there.

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Let me attempt to describe the insanity that was occurring when I took this photo. The door host is telling people with loose articles (every 3rd person or so) that due to the new Six Flags policy, the articles must be placed in a locker that costs $1 before they can ride. While these people jump out of line to go and rent a locker, the rest of the line gets held and waits for those people to return and get back in line. This means the line was stopping every minute to wait for someone to return. Rebekah and I were told that we both had to go and stow our 'loose articles' which were a small camera case that clipped onto my belt and her small purse which tied around her waist. After convincing him that they weren't coming off, he just waved us on through to the inside queue. The expression on everyone's face illustrates the story pretty well.

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Soooo.... here starts our miserable experience that is 'Waiting for people with loose articles' Note the 120 minute wait sign on the left.

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At least the front facade looks nice... better than the one in NJ, in my opinion.

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The Dark Knight entrance sits right next to the Superman entrance.

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There's a long line weaving all through the park... I can only assume it's for Dark Knight.

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"Yeah, we know there are like 3,000 people behind you in line for these... but we're only going to open 2 registers"

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You WILL watch this tutorial.... and you WILL like it.

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Luckily, we were within the first 50 people at the FlashPass pickup.

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FlashPass building.... prepare to be slammed.

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While waiting for the chains to drop, Rebekah scopes out the map to find the FlashPass building.

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What a beautiful day! I think those meteorologists were crazy when they said it was going to rain today.

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Rebekah prepares her pre-printed admissions.

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We see the Dark Knight show building behind Superman from another angle here.

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We thought we had found a fast exit parking spot, but they changed the exit routing at the end of the night, so we just got hosed. BTW... the back overflow lot [where we were] is now $15. What used to be the regular parking lot is now $25. Is it just me, or is this a huge ripoff?

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The Dark Knight show building hides behind Superman as we enter the parking lot.

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Rebekah has her pre-printed parking pass ready to go.

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After 2 hours of driving, we're finally there.

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Hello Sears Tower, we see you.

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It's early Saturday morning, and we're ready to make the 2hr drive towards Gurnee, IL.

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If you get the chance to see one, the Cirque tent tours are a lot of fun!

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On Friday, we stopped at the United Center to see KOOZA, the latest touring production from Cirque Du Soleil.

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Our favorite billboard of the trip.

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On our dinner break, Rebekah decided to pick up some Indiana Jones Legos and, of course, can't wait to put them together.

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Chicago, here we come. St. Louis and Memphis... you'll have to wait.

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We left Kansas City Thursday afternoon.

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Part 2 of our Six Flags Great America visit:

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But I still feel the need to take a cliche picture as we pass by.

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As we were still a bit banged up from Iron Wolf, we passed up Demon's Arrowness for a while...

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I was suckered into thinking that this ICEE stand would have Coke flavored ICEEs... alas, it did not.

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I'm not sure why this train looks so bored out of their minds... as all of our RB rides on this visit were fantastic.

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The new paint job looked shiny and beautiful!

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Now onto another highlight of the day... Raging Bull.

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Lot's of promotion for Disney/Pixar's Wall-E... We're in Six Flags, right?

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Not only did we both walk off with raging head and ear aches, but my ability to have children later in life is now in question. If you value your bits-n-pieces, think twice before riding.

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Next is an ill-fated visit to the Iron Wolf... I'm convinced that it's impossible for a guy not to look perverted while getting into the restraints.... see guy in Khaki shorts for example.

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Rebekah buys a new hat to take home and add to her collection.

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In case you can't tell... we greatly enjoyed it!

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We ended up riding 3 times that day... all in the front.

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Rebekah is a big Superman fan, in case you hadn't noticed... she would have given the big symbol a smooch, had it not also been a Six Flags walkway.

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BTW... this is the first time for both of us on a genuine flying coaster.

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We need something to boost our mood after the Dark Knight debacle. Rebekah has the right idea....

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Although I'll agree it's not the greatest ride of all time, I wouldn't slam it like you have here. There's always positives in every ride. It certainly is not Rajun Cajun. It doesn't even spin.

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Part 3:

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Finally, the parking lot exit..... we sat in this same spot for close to an hour without moving.

 

I'll take this last moment to wish everyone a fun and safe 4th of July holiday!

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We headed over to Superman for one last flight, even if the clouds do look like impending doom.

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Who needs a water park? Apparently not these two...

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Even with the lightning, Batman is still running.

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That doesn't look good...

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All of a sudden, a thunderstorm passes over and would stick around for 2 hours.

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It's such a fun, relaxing ride through the woods.

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I grew up with the sibling of this ride, Zambezi Zinger. The ZZ was my first and favorite ride as a child, until they ran into part replacement problems and sent it to Brazil.

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This was a big highlight for me...

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It surprises me how much I like Vertical Velocity... it doesn't look like it should be that fun.

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I'm not sure that Karaoke is a good idea unless there's a bar nearby...

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Up next was a very predictable ride on American Eagle... it seems that Red always wins. Still a fun ride, though.

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Rebekah poses with a very tall Marvin the Martian

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Regarding my review of the Dark Knight coaster...

I acknowledge that all rides have strong points and weak points... In my opinion, the weak points of this particular ride overpowered the strong. I simply felt that the theming and story elements disappeared after the preshow movie ended, which I did like very much. We also felt that the actual ride itself, outside of theming, wasn't as new and thrilling as SF marketing led people to believe. I know for sure that we weren't the only ones to feel this way. In fact, I would say that over 75% of the people exiting the ride had the exact same comments that we did.

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Good report. Those lines kind of scare me. My friend persuaded me to come with him to the park on Saturday. I've never been, so I'm going because I want a new experience. But it's a holiday weekend. I'm afraid I won't be able to visit every coaster. So I'll try to prioritize and maybe miss Dark Knight. That doesn't sound too great from your review.

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Regarding my review of the Dark Knight coaster...

I acknowledge that all rides have strong points and weak points... In my opinion, the weak points of this particular ride overpowered the strong. I simply felt that the theming and story elements disappeared after the preshow movie ended, which I did like very much. We also felt that the actual ride itself, outside of theming, wasn't as new and thrilling as SF marketing led people to believe. I know for sure that we weren't the only ones to feel this way. In fact, I would say that over 75% of the people exiting the ride had the exact same comments that we did.

 

I would never say that there's always more positives than negatives. Some coasters are just bad. I have to give Six Flags props for at least attempting to make something a bit different, although as I said in my Media Day PTR, I felt is was missing something especially towards the end. If it weren't for the Media Day, I'd be pissed to have bought a Season Pass this year. This will probably be the first time in a long time that I just don't go to the park.

 

^ As for this weekend. Good luck, and get a Flashpass. It'll be the best money you ever spend. Just hit up RC, The Dark Knight, Viper and Demon first.

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Haux:

 

I wouldn't want you to not ride Dark Knight just because we didn't enjoy it. I do think it's important to always give attractions a chance, as everyone's opinions and tastes differ. It just wasn't our cup of tea, and in the words of Sly and the Family Stone "Different strokes for different folks"...

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Well, I'm going to ride everything I can. I'm not going to skip a coaster even if people say it's not that good. But I'll put it low on my priorities because I'd rather get the big coasters out of the way first.

 

I'll see if my friend is up for getting Flash Passes. It's his home park, so he might have strategies to getting around.

 

How is American Eagle running? I've never been on an Intamin woodie (plug 'n' play or normal like this).

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Well don't bash it too much. You shouldn't have been expecting perfection.

 

I don't think anyone was expecting perfection.

 

But when the theming doesn't even cut it for a Six Flags park, I think people have every right to be disappointed. From what I've heard and seen, this ride blows.

 

I think most Batman Inverts have better theming in their queues line then this one has on the actual ride.

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Regarding my review of the Dark Knight coaster...

I acknowledge that all rides have strong points and weak points... In my opinion, the weak points of this particular ride overpowered the strong. I simply felt that the theming and story elements disappeared after the preshow movie ended, which I did like very much. We also felt that the actual ride itself, outside of theming, wasn't as new and thrilling as SF marketing led people to believe. I know for sure that we weren't the only ones to feel this way. In fact, I would say that over 75% of the people exiting the ride had the exact same comments that we did.

 

What do you want Six Flags marketers to do? Market the ride less, because it isn't a new top-ten coaster?

 

I'm not sure how similar the one is at Great Adventure to this one, but I think the tehmeing actually was better after that preshow, which was, IMO, very boring. The themeing on the ride portion itself was decent. I don't know what more people can expect from a WILD MOUSE. The one at SFGAd didn't have much braking either. The darkness enhances the speed and makes directional and even elevation changes very hard to see coming.

 

I would agree though, that I like BTR's themeing better than BDK's.

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What do you want Six Flags marketers to do? Market the ride less, because it isn't a new top-ten coaster?

 

Pretty much how I feel at all the comments of 'it didn't live up to the hype of the six flags commercials'. Honestly I didn't see any of the ads say come ride our new thrilling machine the dark night. They just say "Come ride the new dark coaster!" which is pretty much what it is.

 

I rather liked it and think it's worth at least a 20 minute wait but not beyond that. It's certainly fun and if the lines weren't so long I would ride it more than once a trip. I do wish they dimmed the lights a bit more and added some more effects but it's still a cool dark wild mouse.

 

P.S. I've ridden the one a GrAdv and they seem pretty much the same from the pictures.

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Cool report! Looks like a very similiar experience to my trip to SFOG, right down to the 2 hour thunderstorm, but they closed EVERYTHING during the thunderstorm, even the Carousal, and we only had one cashier on the Flashpass register!

 

(Can anyone explain the reason parks close all rides during thunderstorms as I just don't get it... I can understand closing coasters and outdoor rides, but carousals too?)

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I think I'm just going to have to run to TDK first thing in the morning after seeing those lines and hearing mediocre reviews. I still want to ride it for myself to see how I like it though...

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Hey Good TR, I'm heading to SFGrAm on the 10th. I'm wondering is the Flass Pass worth getting if your just tryin to hit the coasters and leaving as soon as you can (gotta try and get back to Pittsburgh soon after our visit). Also how does it work cause I've never bothered to shell out the money for the flash pass?

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Great TR! I really enjoy seeing parks I can't get to, being stuck down here in Orlando.

 

No worries about bashing the coaster, it happens. If you build a coaster and hype it, it better live up to the hype, just from the pictures of the coaster, it looks to be a let down.

 

One question, did the watering hole there serve the good stuff (AKA BEER)?

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I think I'm just going to have to run to TDK first thing in the morning after seeing those lines and hearing mediocre reviews....

Would be a good idea especially considering it normally opens early (between 9:30-9:45)

 

The big problem with TDK is the line, it just gets way too long. Give it a year or two the line wont be as long once people ride it and actually find out what it is. Yeah a lot of people come off yelling "It sucked, dont waste your time!" but Six Flags knew this was going to happen and dont really care. The only thing SF cares about with this ride is that families with kids like it because when the kids like it the parents spend.

 

 

 

As said before, Six Flags isnt seeing a noticeable profit off of the lockers/doesnt really care about profiting off the lockers they have the rental fee in place because they do not want to eat the increased cost of having the extra staff in place as well as not wanting people to put their items in a ride locker for free all day instead of renting an all day locker. The program appears to not be going over very well, there are complaints daily to guest relations as well as a lot of very upset guests at the rides entrances, but the lockers wont be going anywhere as they are adding more on most rides right now. The reason they put them in the first place was to increase capacity/prevent stolen items, has nothing to do with safety. The lockers actually really help capacity as long as the greeter is catching everything and nobody is sneaking stuff by him. If someone does sneak something by it screws everything up bigtime though.

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I can imagine responses would be bad for TDK after a 2 hour wait. At Great Adventure even when the wait is around 20 - 30 minutes, people still come through the exit saying how horrible it is and not to waste time waiting.

 

I can't imagine waiting longer than that for it and won't wait longer than 15 minutes for it now (I try to ride just before closing to get an under 10 minute wait).

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I feel like the money spent on building The Dark Knight coaster could have been much better spent re-theming the original Batman the Ride's at both SFGADV and SFGA. These two parks play host to the two oldest Batman the Ride's in existence, and both of them look ridiculous in yellow and midnight blue compared to the original all black paint scheme. When SFGADV repainted their Batman in 2004, they returned the Batman '89 Batmobile to the circle but cleaned up the rest of the ride's theming to a bare minimal nothing.

 

The $7.5 million spent on constructing the ride could've been spent on totally refurbing the trains, getting a shell (non-operating) Tumbler to replace the older Batmobile, getting a legit replica costume of the new Batsuit for the station, and redoing the rest of the rides theming to match the new Chris Nolan movies instead of the older Tim Burton ones. A new paint job, like black with gold supports and unpainted rails would look so much better than the current look...and probably would've been a better draw and have had a better public response.

 

A 16 year old coaster (15 years old in the case of GADV) could've used a new shot of life like this to really bring the lines back to it...as the Batman inverts never seem to disappoint anyone.

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