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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread

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Here's the thing.....I don't mind the "announcement" but they need to have like a 20 min loop in the station. Different messages and such. Hearing the same one over and over and over....it's a little much. I'd rather them just get rid of it.

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Sorry it's taken so long for me to post anything on my trip to SFGAm on Tuesday, July 3. Some thoughts:


-I was surprised that the park wasn't THAT crowded. The cars had just barely filled the front parking pens.


-It was HOT HOT HOT. Air temp over 100, dew point of 75, and not a whole lot of breeze. This made a lot of the loading platforms absolutely miserable, especially Viper and Eagle.


-I, however, spent much of the day in the waterpark. By doing this, it actually helped keep myself from getting too overheated.


-Last year's installation, the drop slides, are a winner. The crew springing the trap were a bunch of crackpots. This may sound a bit counter-intuitive for a water slide, but the only drawback of these slides is that once you drop out of the phone booths, there's too much water in the slide. Granted Scorpions Tail at Noahs Ark in Wisconsin Dells has the overbanked turn to get through, but one thing that works very well is that there's only enough water in the tube to grease the floor. At SFGAm, they have the big gushers installed immediately below the phone booth. In the weaving drop slides, this means no matter if you time your breath right and are exhaling the whole time, you WILL get a mouthful of water. Including stuff that comes in your nose and goes all the way through the sinus cavity. I don't want to feel like I'm drowning.


-Oddly enough, the busiest the waterpark got was near the close, during the 5 PM hour, just as I was going for one last soaking before going on to the rest of the park.


-The only drawback with me going to the waterpark was that somehow, both of the balls of my feet got some serious blistering. Was able to treat it, but it was just a pain in the rear end the rest of the day.


-During my periodic forays out of the waterpark during the day, I found Raging Bull and X-Flight to be walkarounds or nearly that. I also found that the operators weren't afraid to break the schpiel, and as such seemed to be having a good time. One such operator at Superman challenged the riders of his train to play a game: DON"T LOOK DOWN. Naturally, he said this just as the seats were flipping over forwards. "Oops. You all lose!"


-Met GayCoasterGuy at dinnertime, and was able to get a bunch of cycles in on both Raging Bull and X-Flight, as well as using his season pass to get some onride pictures. A big thank you!


-After nightfall, I power-rode Viper and Raging Bull as long as I could. Went three rides on Viper without leaving the platform, then five on Raging Bull before I had enough (fatigue and heat had worn on me).


-Overall, the park hadn't changed THAT much since I was there in 2007. Viper was still great at night, Whizzer is still Whizzer, and Demon is still an Arrow looper.


-It's a good thing I didn't have to go far to my hotel. I was DEAD afterwards.

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^Glad you had a good time. I just realized... or came to terms with the fact - that I have NEVER been in the water park at Great America. I've always been too coaster-rabid. Also... the park never seemed appealing, what with having to RENT tubes and such. I've been spoiled by Holiday World/Splashin' Safari. Heck, even the Ohio park water parks may have spoiled me years earlier.


I will do it next year, though. Must loose a little of the old flab first, though!


Viper amazes me more every time I ride it. Even when it's having a sluggish day, it's still light-years more "on the ball" and smooth than most big park woodies I can think of. The *triple thick* structure really worked for this coaster and has stood the test of time. I think the only thing that keeps it OUT of any of the big "top 10" lists is that it doesn't have the hype of bigger rides. Plus, it's a pain to walk to. And from... So I feel like a RCT peep by the time I get back there "I want to leave," etc. Only 2nd worst walk to a coaster next to American Eagle of course. I'm wondering if there can be some sort of record for that, they would win...

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^ You don't have to rent tubes at Hurricane Harbor. If you do, you can keep it with you all day and take it from slide to slide. If you don't you get a tube at the bottom of the slide and then give it up at the end. You have to give it up after one lap in the lazy river as well.

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Just got back from two days at SFGAm. It's been seven years since I visited and thankfully not much has really changed. Just a few notes.


1. Crowds were light. Max waits were 20-25 minutes on Monday, even less on Tuesday. When you get to walk right up to the station on X Flight and Raging Bull then it is a bit empty. Though I did not partake of Hurricane Harbor I did walk through it to see it upclose as it was closed for the season on my last visit. It's a very nice water park with a great variety of slides. It didn't seem packed though the spaciousness of HH might be the reason why. Will have to check it all out on my next visit.


2. Viper was sluggish on Monday, even squealing around the turns. Thought that was quite uncharacteristic of the coaster and a bit disappointing but Tuesday it was running fast and the squealing was gone. It's still a fantastic, under-rated coaster.


3. Both Yankee Clipper and Logger's Run were open on Tuesday and got to ride both. Logger's Run was a soaker of a log flume. Looked like I just got off Roaring Rapids.


4. Dark Knight was as surprise. Majority of the Wild Mice I've ridden are braked to death but Dark Knight was not, giving insane (IMO) rides in the dark. Though I hate how they sacrificed Theater Royale for an indoor queue.


5. I really enjoyed X Flight, only logging six rides in two days (I didn't get to power ride many of my favorites due to the excessive heat). The twist and dive first drop is excellent and is even moreso by sitting in the front seat, left side. I don't understand the "Cedar Point does not need a wing coaster" debate but in the case of SFGAm they have been without a multi-looper since Shockwave and I think X Flight fills that void. I also realize that Demon is a multi-looper but XF does so much more.


6. Thought Buccaneer Battle was a blast even though you tire easily from working the water cannons.


Oh, an someone wanted to see what X Flight looked like from Sky Trek Tower...


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So I spent most of today (well, technically yesterday) at the park, and I noticed X Flight was having a bit of a bad day. Earlier in the afternoon, the ride was stuck on the lift (and when it finally got going, I noticed the train was empty, so I assume people were up there for a while and needed to be evacuated).


Later in the day, we headed over to take a ride, but it was broken down again. I took a spin on Buccaneer Battle, and by then X Flight was open again, so we got in line. As we got to the second set of switchbacks, by the water (which, by the way, was firing as the train went through the keyhole, and only sprayed water about a foot high), the ride broke down for a third time.


Once it was fixed, we went through the rest of the line, (the set of switchbacks near the station were not being used) and finally made it up the the station, on the left side. Unfortunately, it broke down for a FOURTH time, which ended up with the black train being removed from the circuit. After waiting for the back row, and riding, we realized we had waited nearly 2 hours to ride Thankfully, the time passed by quick.


Has X Flight been having frequent breakdowns such as this recently, or did I just catch it on an off day? I was at the park Monday the 9th and it didn't seem to be having any problems. It just seemed odd for the ride to be having so much trouble all of a sudden.

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Good news for SFGAm locals, as they re-assured us that East River Crawler will be back next year (on their Twitter account!) I am glad they are bringing it back because it is my favorite flat ride at the park.




"Look what we found, safe and sound ready for #GreatAmerica2013"



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Not huge news, but just nice to see the park bringing back little details even though it's something only the dorks will understand.


Nice, definitely not something I would expect from a large corporate park. Perhaps next they can turn their attention toward losing this:



...and bringing this back:



Unless the original was somehow hemorrhaging large amounts ($$$) for upkeep (...how?), I'm not sure why they would take the time to get rid of it.

Edited by Ed Farmer
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Yeah, I like Raging Bull's current logo.


Good news for RD (and other Schwarzkopf fans), the American Coaster Enthusiasts are putting their "Landmark" status on Whizzer on August 10.



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Unless the original was somehow hemorrhaging large amounts ($$$) for upkeep (...how?), I'm not sure why they would take the time to get rid of it.


My only assumption to the change is that the sign is bigger now, so the GP notice it a lot better. It's newer, more shiny, etc. SFGAm replaced Viper's and American Eagle's sign (when they moved the entrance) so I guess it's something they do. Changed Condor's sign a while back, as well as Hometown Fun Machine.

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I always thought the old sign looked too cartoony, like it would be a better fit for a family coaster or flat ride, not something that's meant to be a big intimidating coaster.


The ACE "event," you'd think they'd at least want to have ERT on Whizzer, but nope! Besides the landmark dedication they have nothing else planned for the day.


The park posted this picture on Facebook revealing some clues for Fright Fest 2012.






Looks to me like:


- Scare zones/mazes in Roaring Rapids and Hurricane Harbor as said at NCC

- A new meet and greet or band in the Hometown Square pavilion

- Something where Iron Wolf was

- Something on the path underneath Demon or that general area, possibly the return of Southwest Scare-tory in that part of SWT


Edit: Some details have been released! 250 scare actors (last year had 200), no more Studio 13, new haunted house, new haunt in the rapids and the return of the haunted train!


GURNEE — Applicants had to be scary-good to land the job.


Screams, evil cackles, werewolf howls and zombie impressions were part of the job application process at Six Flags Great America.


Tyler Smith, 15, also acted the part of an evil clown and one-armed pirate in hopes of a job at this fall’s Fright Fest.


“I thought it was going to be a normal job interview,” the Winthrop Harbor teen said. “I think it went pretty well. It would be a good first job.”


Six Flags held the first of three Fright Fest job fairs Thursday. They are looking to fill about 250 positions, according to Kristopher Jones of Volo, Great America’s entertainment manager.


Fright Fest runs from Sept. 29 to Oct. 28.


Smith was among between 75 and 100 applicants Thursday, Jones estimated.


Last year, Fright Fest hired about 200 scare actors to perform in its three attractions and on the streets of the theme park. This year, there are five attractions to staff, as well as a need for street performers, Jones said.


Wicked Woods in Mardis Gras is new this year, as well as Deadline, a haunted train attraction. Mausoleum of Terror in Necropolis, Manslaughter Manor in Southwest Territory and Massacre Medical Center in County Fair will be back, although two of the returning attractions are being revamped, Jones said.


Job openings include line handlers, street actors, haunted house actors, wig and make- up artists, and wardrobe personnel.


“You get to scare people, which normally we don’t like our employees to do,” Jones said. “It’s some easy money and a fun experience. You get to be someone else.”


The majority of job applicants find out if they got the job or not when they apply. Job seekers are encouraged to schedule an appointment, but walk-ins are welcome during the job fairs as well, Jones said.


“Come ready to express yourself. Come ready with your best scream,” Jones said, noting Fright Fest is a five-week commitment plus some training.


“We hope we can scare the bejesus out of people,” Jones said.



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Slowpoke (being me) finally got to the park last week to ride X-Flight - last time I had been there was on opening day when I was scorning at the ride's test dummies something furious. I was really concerned that I wouldn't get to ride it at all considering my height - I'm around 6'6" (78") which happens to be the height limit of the new coaster. But to my surprise, no ride attendants took it as a concern and I got two rides on it. (I had read earlier about the restraints being uncomfortably tight, and I believe this is where the height limit comes into play. Near the end of each ride, my collarbone was getting sore from the rubber portion of the harness - not unbearably so, but I probably couldn't do a marathon on this thing.) The lines were moving extremely fast for such a new ride, and I'm sure the dual-loading station had something to do with it. The queue is also physically shorter than other rides in the park (no back and forth zig-zagging) and more enjoyable to go through with plenty of theming and neat areas from which to watch the coaster.


First ride was in the afternoon in the last row, outside right seat. Some of the banked turns where the right side dipped towards the ground were really fun, especially the jet pond that shoots past the early queue area. It was a bit rougher than I would have liked in some of the positive G sections though. Second ride, however, was amazing - and I wish I could get back on it right now. We waited for the first row on the left side at night. All I have to say is that first drop was the best element I've experienced on a coaster in a long time. When I saw the track flip over in front of me and disappear while the entire world turned upside-down 120 feet below my head, I started to second-guess my safety harness. As the train finally began to gain momentum, the harness hugged me tightly and I soared down towards the blackened terrain - so much fun!


I had a wonderful time on the ride, and it is definitely a step in the right direction for Great America. It has been nine years since the park added Superman: Ultimate Flight, and is much more than just a fleeting gimmick with a three-hour wait time. The park has done a lot in creating a comprehensive atmosphere which makes the experience feel like something more than just riding a coaster. I don't want to compare it to a Disney ride because it is far from that, but there were small moments that hinted at the fact that this was an important project for the park. I hope to see more like this soon.


"The queue is more enjoyable to go through with plenty of theming and neat areas from which to watch the coaster."


"The entire world turned upside-down 120 feet below my head"




Waiting an extra period of time for the front left wing is time well-spent.

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I think that crate is a bit too small for a Star Flyer


Is it?





Unfortunately, I don't think we will get another roller coaster for a few years, but I hope they will do something with the Iron Wolf area. Some kind of flat ride.

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I can see them adding a SkyScreamer since that's the hot ride Six Flags has been putting in lately however I'm a bit surprised since I'd figure they'd take a year off after adding a new marquee roller coaster.


Where could they put it? Only spot open is the Iron Wolf spot but I thnk they would have big plans for that location since they kept the former station again.

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^ I think they just kept the former station because it costs money to tear it down. Great America tends to leave things up until they really need to be taken down. Splashwater Falls and Great American Raceway remains stood until the land was cleared was X Flight, and the bottom of Trailblazers pole and its backdrop are still standing. I'm not saying it couldn't be reused, I'm just saying I wouldn't assume thats the only reason why it's still standing.


I don't think we'll be getting a Sky Screamer next year though. Other than many of the other SF parks getting them, I haven't seen much solid evidence to back it up. I've seen much more leaning towards something more kiddie and family oriented.

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