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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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Anyone think this weekend will be crazy busy? The last time I went in October was the Sunday before Columbus Day and NEVER AGAIN. Rides were 3 hrs or more. Tomorrow it's open until midnight. But wondering if it would be less crowded on Sunday. I don't want to be tempted to get a flash pass.....

Sunday is supposed to be sunny and in the mid 60's... I'd venture to say that there will be a healthy amount of people at the park... Not sure if it'll approach what it was back on Columbus Day since there is school on Monday however...

On top of the good weather, the Bears and Packers both aren't playing this Sunday. I get the feeling that the typically more tolerable crowds on Sundays (as opposed to Saturdays) are at least partially due to people watching the Bears or Packers play. That's a bummer for anyone planning on this coming Sunday that both happen to have their bye weeks.

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Anyone think this weekend will be crazy busy? The last time I went in October was the Sunday before Columbus Day and NEVER AGAIN. Rides were 3 hrs or more. Tomorrow it's open until midnight. But wondering if it would be less crowded on Sunday. I don't want to be tempted to get a flash pass.....

Sunday is supposed to be sunny and in the mid 60's... I'd venture to say that there will be a healthy amount of people at the park... Not sure if it'll approach what it was back on Columbus Day since there is school on Monday however...

On top of the good weather, the Bears and Packers both aren't playing this Sunday. I get the feeling that the typically more tolerable crowds on Sundays (as opposed to Saturdays) are at least partially due to people watching the Bears or Packers play. That's a bummer for anyone planning on this coming Sunday that both happen to have their bye weeks.

Good call on the NFL angle... That is a factor that will add a few people as well... Didn't think about that...

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Was there last weekend. Good to see Condor back up and running. Lines for the flats were pretty normal, although Triple Play's was way out of the structure. Just ended up watching the shows along with Condor, East River, and the Balloons. I can't justify waiting in these lines anymore. Every coaster had a completely full or overflowing queue. Without extreme amounts of flash passers those are all at least 60 min waits. But the FP line was overflowing too. So I'm sure the shortest coaster wait was probably Demon at 90 minutes. Coulda been longer. Pretzelman was probably close to 3 hours. I could just about fly to Orlando and ride the much better Manta in that time span. Great America cannot handle crowds this size. Food lines were awful once you got past 6 pm. People were pouring in constantly when we left around 9 something. To both the regular car lines and the pick up/drop off spots. The whole back lot was full. Why people are so willing to get in these lines is beyond me. Makes me wonder if their power is out or something. You'd think with lines like these that we had a lineup of Millennium Force, Montu, Tatsu, El Toro, Kingda Ka, and every other majorly hyped coaster out there.

 

One Yelp review talked about the misleading advertising for Goliath. It would not surprise me if 90% of the people at Great America really thought it was the "tallest, fastest, steepest" coaster in existence. Unfortunately, it is also one of the shortest too. Something like 29 seconds of ride time after reaching the top of the lift. If X-Flight had been hyped like this, it would have had a similar effect.

 

I made another trip to Busch Gardens last month. This time Montu seemed to knock the life out of me on one try before lunch. Still an awesome ride. They've somehow managed to import half of Brazil here, so lines were a lot longer than last year at the same time. Montu and Kumba ended up being like 25 min waits with one train running. It doesn't feel like they dispatch trains any faster at BG. Liked Kumba a lot more this time. The second time I rode it I was able to avoid the ear touching by bracing a certain way. it was a lot easier than avoiding whiplash on Demon. First time I rode Kumba I didn't care for it at all, so it's always good for people to give coasters another try unless they really beat you up like Mean Streak or Magnum. Great America really needs a good 7 looper or at least a B&M floorless type coaster with a dive loop and cobra roll. Everything at our park is so short aside from Raging Trimbrake/Eagle/Viper. I just find it difficult to get a real satisfying ride experience off of individual coasters here. Great America only seems to really work for me if I can ride most everything in a reasonable time frame. Unfortunately it looks like June, the first two weeks of July, and the last week of Fright Fest are the only times that is gonna happen. Maybe sometimes in May if they have their act together. Looks like the first two weeks of Fright Fest were good this year after being horribly bad last year.

 

If last year is any indication, the final weekend should be good. But last year we lucked out with almost every coaster breaking down, people leaving the lines, and then it re-opening about 10-15 min later. Maybe I'm off base here, but I think these theme parks should do everything to give a great guest experience every time. That means Great America should not try to flood itself with 50,000 people every chance they get while selling tons of flash passes and running substandard operations and BG should run two trains at least considering people travel hundreds or thousands of miles to go there. Come to think of it, people often drive hundreds of miles to our park as well. BG should fix their cruddy lockers too, the time spent messing with those cost me a ride on something. Great America at least has the locker thing down better. But nothing beats Universal's working and free lockers.

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I haven't ridden it yet myself, but Goliath seems to rate lower than the rest of the RMCs just based on length. There isn't a bad RMC yet in the world, but the rest just have more texture and length. Judging from the povs, Goliath seems like a Wicked Cyclone-like ride because it doesn't let up, it's pure intensity.

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I may have been overwhelmed by the dread of that line, but I didn't see the go Mets sign.

 

Trip report:

 

It was packed. We pulled in by noon, front lot was full (except for season pass lot) and the back lot was filling fast. I only ended up riding Goliath and Demon. Some wait times I saw:

 

Goliath 120min

demon 60

Viper 75

superman 120 (they said the single rider line was the same)

Bull 120

 

I kept telling my friends this wasn't going to be a good time to go. We needed to get our 2016 passes by nov 1 to get the gold package we got on a deal. It was just sooo crowded. Lines for every ride, food, everything were really long. This park needs to be twice the size. Days like this are no fun and my group was disheartened as soon as we walked in. We rode Goliath, then Demon. My group didn't want to do spinning rides, so we didn't even ride any flats. We left at 4 and people were still pouring in. I have no idea where all those people were parking, the lot must have been full by then. It was a beautiful fall day though, perfect.

 

So from what I'm reading, next weekend might be ok? Is it possible Sat or Sun might not be that bad?

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Food service at the park was a joke today.... Took over an hour to get a slice of pizza at the stand in the corner by Dark Knight... Lines had the same amount of people at every other stand we saw... Not sure about the wait times at other stands... Normally I'd just go to a fast food joint outside the park for lunch, but decided stay in given how many people were at the park... The parking lot was probably 80% full when we tried to eat around 2pm.... Never again

 

Guess this sums up a typical Halloween experience at a park this weekend I guess... Sucks that this was the only day my buddy could process his pass for 2016... Knew it was gonna be a bitch, but went anyway....

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I know there are tons of cities with no 'big' parks (at all), but I've always wondered what it would look like if there were another Great America-sized park on either the west or south side of Chicagoland? It certainly seems like the interest (from the public, in going to an amusement park) is there.....I guess, at this point, it'd have to be Cedar Fair who'd have to be interested in a Chicago area park...right? And, yes, I know it's unheard of for a major chain to build from the ground up (as of late), but the crazy attendance at this park (and it's inability to truly do a major expansion) makes me wonder.

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I know there are tons of cities with no 'big' parks (at all), but I've always wondered what it would look like if there were another Great America-sized park on either the west or south side of Chicagoland? It certainly seems like the interest (from the public, in going to an amusement park) is there.....I guess, at this point, it'd have to be Cedar Fair who'd have to be interested in a Chicago area park...right? And, yes, I know it's unheard of for a major chain to build from the ground up (as of late), but the crazy attendance at this park (and it's inability to truly do a major expansion) makes me wonder.

 

These crowds are very typical for the 3rd and 4th weeks of Fright Fest. The park has been doing these numbers for years now, and the attendance in peak summer really isn't much higher than what was typical in the 90s and 2000s. The difference to guest satisfaction and lines is decreased staffing (which leads to decreased engagement because their shifts are a living hell) in F&B joints and increased use of Flash Pass and EAP. 10 years ago (when Flash Pass existed) Bull could clear a full queue house in 45 minutes, full queue in an hour and 15. I bet over the weekend some people waited over 2 1/2 for a ride. Don't even get me started on Goliath, that station can become a disaster, especially when they make those poor people in wheel chairs cram along the side of Iron Wolf's tiny exit ramp. Needless to say, poor Operations are a bigger deal than increased crowds.

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^This. The park feels so much busier all the time. There aren't more people coming in, it is the operations. And I feel like it is only getting worse. And that scares me. This being my home park, but 2.5 hours away makes it difficult. I want to go as much as I can, but I can't make ab150 minute trip to wait in lines all day.

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I know there are tons of cities with no 'big' parks (at all), but I've always wondered what it would look like if there were another Great America-sized park on either the west or south side of Chicagoland? It certainly seems like the interest (from the public, in going to an amusement park) is there.....I guess, at this point, it'd have to be Cedar Fair who'd have to be interested in a Chicago area park...right? And, yes, I know it's unheard of for a major chain to build from the ground up (as of late), but the crazy attendance at this park (and it's inability to truly do a major expansion) makes me wonder.

 

I've thought for years that a second park in the Joliet area or a little closer to the city would be great for the area. Great America is too small to pull from this large of a market (Chicago, Milwaukee, NW Indiana, Springfield, Iowa, etc). A second park in the area could easily be supported by the tourism and size of the Chicago market. I don't even think the new park would have to start out full size. Something like Holiday World where you have great operations and 3 to 4 marquee attractions could easily attract some good crowds in this market and then be able to grow into a true SFGAm competitor.

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My teenage son and I ended up going later on Saturday. I thought that we might get lucky and the crowds wouldn't be bad since it had been raining/off most of the morning, but as we pulled in around 2 pm, I realized that was stupid thinking. Tons of cars waiting to get in, we parked in the back lot all the way towards the back. Decided to splurge on platinum fast pass and waited in line for 1 hr for that. They had one register for us regular folk and two to three registers for Discover cardholders. Then we stood in line for food for an hour at Aunt Martha's. Finally started going on rides about two and a half hours later. Most lines were 2 hrs or more. I also think they definitely sold too many fast passes, as even some of the rides had lines for fast pass riders. And I wonder if they didn't sell them at all, would the lines move faster? Probably. It is just absurd that to be able to ride more than a couple rides you would need a fast pass. I don't always get one as I think they're such a ripoff, but I'm glad I did this time.

 

Not as many scary characters walking around as I've seen in years prior either. While standing in line for 40 minutes for a mediocre pretzel around 8 pm, there was a makeup demonstration and the girl said they have over 400 characters in the park. Not sure how the haunted houses were, my son isn't a fan of them unfortunately. We were in line for V2 around 1130 or so and it got stuck on it's return to station for about 5-10 minutes. A lot of people left the line when that happened and my son didn't want to go on, as we were the next ones in line. He's ridden every ride at Great America (except V2) and Cedar Point, but for some reason V2 freaks him out.

 

They need to hire more people for Fright Fest. It shouldn't take an hour to get popcorn or pizza. It's just ridiculous. It is pure greed? I felt bad for the workers as I know they were crazed. I wonder how Cedar Point is this time of year, if they have enough workers or is this just standard for fall seasons. Is there a capacity GA has to abide by or they just let how ever many they want in? With the amount of money I spent, I feel like Cedar Point is almost a better value that Great America. Which is sad since I'm only a little over an hour away from GA.

 

As far as next weekend, I thought the last weekend was the worst for Fright Fest? Not sure where I heard that though.

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I'm planning to go to Great America this Saturday 10/31. Does anyone know if they still do early entry for Gold season pass holders? Park opens at 11:00 am but if I recall correctly gold pass holders can enter an hour early to ride Goliath, but I'm not sure if they're still doing it for Fright Fest.

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Went on Sunday. It was an absolutely perfect day...and combined with the 2016 passes on sale that get you for free the rest of the 2015 season, it was one of the most crowded days I've experienced.

 

So out of my 6 visits this year, I'd say 5 were on par with every ride having a full/overflowing queue. One visit there were a few rides that had manageable 30 minute waits for half the rides. Every visit to the park I see massive lines for food/drinks. This park is all about getting as many people in as possible so they can profit off of food/drinks and force guests with extra money to buy the fast pass. I don't see this changing next year, and it seems like to enjoy this park and get one more than 4 or 5 coasters, you need a flash pass. Honestly...you could probably ride Goliath and X Flight from 10AM-Noon, then wait an hour for Batman, maybe 45 for Demon or Whizzer...then 90 for Raging Bull and a couple flats, most of your time is gone. There are some great rides at this park, but I'm not going to wait 90-120 minutes for Bull, Batman, Am Eagle, V2, Superman, or even Goliath. I really don't want to wait 60+ minutes for Dark Knight, Giant Drop, Demon or Whizzer either. Viper is the only manageable wait simply because its full queue is about a 30 minute wait. This park just isn't enjoyable in all aspects - wait times, food quality and service, operations (most of the time), rude guests, difficulty to get free water, parking, and I guess the environment is meh. For 65 bucks I'll get a pass since it's the only park near me. But I'm struggling, here!

 

Single rider lines were being used at Superman - 2 hour wait. Line down the stairs and tucked up to the side against the flash pass/exit pathway. Goliath's SRL was apparently open for a moment but quickly closed as the wait was 2.5 hours shortly after 1PM.

 

I'll say this again - I've never ridden Goliath after 12PM. Why? Because you have to get to the park at opening to ride it! Unless you want to wait 120-150 minutes, haha. I'm all for paying extra for the fast pass...but I wish I didn't have to use it each visit to have a good time! Looking forward to spending most of my time in the water park next year...

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^This. The park feels so much busier all the time. There aren't more people coming in, it is the operations. And I feel like it is only getting worse. And that scares me. This being my home park, but 2.5 hours away makes it difficult. I want to go as much as I can, but I can't make ab150 minute trip to wait in lines all day.

 

Missing the days when Demon, Whizzer and Eagle had a train dispatch every minute. True story. As poor as the operations are (see the single register in Angelo's? There used to be 4 there), I think we still have the best Six Flags park. I try to keep my visits on weekdays before school lets out, and summer/fall nights after 8pm.

Edited by AirMBTB
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^This. The park feels so much busier all the time. There aren't more people coming in, it is the operations. And I feel like it is only getting worse. And that scares me. This being my home park, but 2.5 hours away makes it difficult. I want to go as much as I can, but I can't make ab150 minute trip to wait in lines all day.

 

Missing the days when Demon, Whizzer and Eagle had a train dispatch every minute. True story. As poor as the operations are (see the single register in Angelo's? There used to be 4 there), I think we still have the best Six Flags park I'll stick to weekdays before school lets out... mostly.

This park has been the best park in the chain for quite a while now. Not even 5-10 years ago their (ride) operations were pretty much on par with CP and CF parks.

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This park has been the best park in the chain for quite a while now. Not even 5-10 years ago their (ride) operations were pretty much on par with CP and CF parks.

 

That might be stretching it a bit, do you think? I mean, SFGAm capacity was once great, but... As it is now, they get about 1/2 the capacity of comparable rides at CP. Just watch the dispatch times.

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This park has been the best park in the chain for quite a while now. Not even 5-10 years ago their (ride) operations were pretty much on par with CP and CF parks.

 

That might be stretching it a bit, do you think? I mean, SFGAm capacity was once great, but... As it is now, they get about 1/2 the capacity of comparable rides at CP. Just watch the dispatch times.

Sorry, thats what I was saying. That their operations used to be pretty much on par with CP. And that they are nowhere close anymore, but they are still the best in the chain. Which at this point is like being the skinniest kid at fat camp, because their numbers are pretty abysmal these days. Which just means that the other parks are doing even worse than this one.

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