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Trip Report: Six Flags Great America 7-5-08


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First of all, I apologize for my tardiness in getting this trip report out. I’ve been beyond swamped at work and with personal obligations. And second, I had brought my camera with me but it had been left in my hot car all day the previous day and just stopped working all together. So while I don’t have any pictures (again!), I have included two on-ride photos of the day’s adventures. I will use the same format I used for my SFStL trip report (here’s the link). And for some amazing photos of the same day, I recommend checking out this PTR by haux. Hope you enjoy!

 

Superman: Ultimate Escape

This was our first coaster of the day, and while a strong ride, I have to admit I’ve been a bit spoiled by Tatsu. And as much as I love the flying sensation on these B&M wonders, I can’t get over how uncomfortable it is going through the pretzel loop. It’s just this awkward and intense feeling of someone trying to crush the inside of your chest cavity. I’ll still ride these from time to time, but I know I couldn’t marathon one. Still, a good ride if a bit short. 8/10.

 

Vertical Velocity

I absolutely loved this ride. I’m a huge fan of launched coasters, having been on Monty and Xcellerator at Knott’s. The launch up the twisted spike was quick and powerful, and the holding brake on the vertical spike was definitely a rush. This one tied as my favorite ride. 9/10.

 

Yankee Clipper

A good, relaxed (and very wet!) flume ride with a pretty strong drop. Very reminiscent of Jet Stream at SFMM, which happens to be one of my favorite water flumes. And the splashdown was very welcoming in the July heat. 7.5/10.

 

Batman: the Ride

I don’t know if it’s just me (and the rest of my group) but the original Batman seems bumpier than other models I’ve ridden. We got some head banging during the zero-g roll, along the helix and pulling out of the corkscrews. I’ve never experienced this from the one at SFMM, and the one at SFStL delivered an equally strong ride. It wasn’t painful by any means, but it was enough to startle me. Still, one can’t complain too much from a Batman invert. 8.5/10.

 

Ragin’ Cajun

My second spinning coaster (Tony Hawk’s being my first) and it definitely delivered quite a punch. I can honestly say now that these types of spinning coasters are some of my favorite rides. I also know that they can be hit or miss, depending on how much they spin. For me, the more spinning action, the better, and I’ve had the good luck so far of getting a lot of spinning action each time. My only complaint was the slow-loading process, but what can you do with a low-capacity ride. 8/10.

 

Logger’s Run

Another decent log flume. Not as wet as Yankee Clipper, but the double-dip drop was a pleasant surprise. 7.5/10.

 

Iron Wolf

B&M’s first coaster has not aged well at all. The first drop leading into the vertical loop is still amazing, but I found myself bracing my head for the rest of the ride. I never thought I'd walk away with a headache from a B&M. 5.5/10.

 

American Eagle

This 27-year-old woodie definitely delivered. It was a classic, rickety ride with plenty of airtime. The only part I didn’t like is how much the train is slowed down (whether by trims or natural physics I wasn’t sure) right before the final helix. It was such a buzz-kill after an amazing ride. And while shaky, it wasn’t Ghostrider-painful but a pleasant rattle. 8/10.

 

Viper

Another amazing woodie. We missed out on riding Viper when I first visited this park over a decade ago, and it was definitely worth the wait. I just couldn’t believe what a stark contrast this coaster was to Psyclone. It was flying the entire time and had amazing airtime. This one also tied as my favorite ride of the day. While my wooden coaster count is less than stellar at the moment, this one definitely shoots up to my top 5. 9/10.

 

Raging Bull

My second hyper-twister (SFMM’s Goliath being my first) and a solid ride. I can see why this remains the favorite coaster among park-goers. The trims immediately after the first turn-around were a bit annoying but didn’t slow down the train too much. A great ride to end the day with. 9/10.

 

Park Impressions

I had been to SFGAm one other time back in 1997, when Giant Drop was the newest ride. I really enjoyed the park back then but remember the lines being ridiculously long and painfully slow. Since then I had heard a lot of great things about how amazing operations are at this park, so my expectations were high. The park was very clean and well laid-out, and the staff was extremely enthusiastic. I have to admit I was pretty disappointed with operations. I don’t know if it was because of the busy holiday weekend, but there was a lot of stacking on most of their major rides. Raging Bull constantly stacked their three trains during our 20-minute wait in line. The only coasters that didn’t stack were Viper and (for blatantly obvious reasons) V2, all others failed that day. We didn’t even bother with The Dark Knight because it kept breaking down and never dropped below a 2-hour wait. And once again, everyone in our group was under a tight budget, so we couldn’t afford the luxury of Fastlane. And I can’t help but think that while Fastlane may be a blessing for the few that purchase it, it was as if those who didn’t were being punished. Maybe I don’t understand the dynamics of the program all that well, but I really didn’t see the need to hold back the regular line even when no one in Fastlane was coming in. Especially on Superman, V2, and Raging Bull, the line would halt for 10 minutes at a time, while maybe 2-3 people showed up for their ride reservation through Fastlane. It was very annoying. But other than that, the park was a very pleasant experience, and considering that we didn’t have Fastlane and it was the Saturday of 4th of July weekend, the longest wait we experienced was Superman at one hour. I would definitely come back during a less busy time to really take in the park rather than just rush from one major ride to the other. It was a different experience than the one I had at SFStL the previous week. It was bigger, more developed, and definitely louder (visually as well as phonically) and more in your face, while SFStL offered a more quaint, relaxed atmosphere. Two very distinct park experiences, and once again proof that no two Six Flags are alike.

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Airtime goodness on the Bull.

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Logger's Run... always a pleasure.

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what do you mean by 'stacking'?

 

i went there yesterday - i know what you mean about the feeling re the superman loop, but i thought that was awesome - what i would expect to feel when doing a loop the loop! probably my favourite ride there...

 

one ride you didnt mention was the rapids one (think it was called raging rapids?) - sure it isnt a coaster but was fun... you get SO wet - the most wet I have ever been on a ride of that type! Thankfully I had my swimmers on and it was a hot day...

 

re fastlane (i think its called the flash pass now) - its a little overrated i think. I had it yesterday and yes, while it was good, especially if you only have a day in the area (as opposed to a season!), its not very reliable and more often than not, forces you to still queue up a bit before going on the ride (for instance Dark Knight, Batman, V2 - but particularly Batman). Sometimes it would tell you the wait is greater than an hour and when you get there its not even 10mins!

 

oh yeah; you didn't miss anything not going on the Dark Knight ride...

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Blame the locker nazi policy and 'guests of unusually large proportions' for the stacking at Bull. 9 times out of 10, it's one of those two things.

 

I hate the Six Flags locker policy as well. Hard Rock Park in Myrtle beach has a locker policy but the lockers are free for the first 2 hours

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^^^Stacking was pretty much park-wide that day, but it was more apparent at Raging Bull. Still an amazing ride, one which I would gladly wait an hour for. It's just frustrating when you know you don't necessarily have to.

 

^^Stacking is when a train hasn't left the load/unload station and another one that has just finished the ride cycle is forced to wait outside the station. Raging Bull had all three of it's trains do this at least twice while we were in line. As for their rapids ride, while we had the desire to get drenched that day (temp reached into the 90s) it had one of the longest waits in the park, so we skipped it knowing our time was limited.

 

^To be honest, I never bring enough stuff to warrant a locker rental, and I always do my souvenir shopping until the very end. I can imagine how it can get annoying. My sister ended up renting an all-day locker for Gigantaur (her ridiculously huge hand bag) which seemed convenient.

 

Like I said, overall a great park, and I'm hoping the stacking situation isn't an ongoing thing, because other than that we had a great time.

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Stacking - ahh gotcha - makes sense, thanks for that.

 

I found Hurricane Harbour to be annoying - some great rides but SO inefficient. They would send people down the slides without using all the tubes (like two or three people at a time instead of four) and generally just take ages to do anything.

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