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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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Was at Great America a couple weekends ago and Six Flags Over Texas last weekend. GA was pretty empty due to the weather. Rode Pretzelman, Batman twice, and the Crawler. Food lines were fine. Everything was basically a walk up. The cold weather makes the rides a lot less enjoyable/comfortable for whatever reason. SFOT is interesting. Saturday was a nightmare worse than any GA Fright Fest. Hordes of people just kept pouring in, wave after wave with no signs of stopping. Their parking lot is a lot bigger. The amount of people there seemed to be almost double whatever GA's record-breaking fright fest crowds have been. Lines to get a drink were 30 min minimum. Food lines were all long and barely moved. Never got to see the ride lines because all the coasters broke. Just about all of them, literally. No one was scanning passes or anything. Lines to get in are abysmal but at least they have a tram for their mammoth parking lot.

 

SFOT is very sneaky. If you call to try and get info about crowds or rides, they refuse to say anything. Someone taught their employees to do a bait and switch so people will go under circumstances where they normally wouldn't. We gambled and while the place probably had a regular FF level crowd, lines were pretty short. Maybe about 15-20 minutes except Shockwave, which took forever because of the virtual reality headsets. The wife rode Mr Freeze and loved it. Skyscreamer was down due to wind and we didn't bother with Judge Roy Scream since the sign said 30 min. Batman was basically the same, but it's a lot better in warm weather. New Texas Giant is what Goliath should be, but we never really cared for it, so we weren't high on this one either. Wife compared it to riding one of those mechanical bulls and feeling like she's about to fly outta the ride. Shockwave was a real bust. The VR headsets are a stupid gimmick. They don't fit well and the graphics on the cell phones are hardly impressive. You can shoot lasers for seemingly no reason. Train dispatches were some of the slowest we've ever seen due to all the headset problems. At least 5 min per train minimum. Ride seems a tad rough, wife said it also felt like she was about to be tossed out. We didn't ride Titan since neither of us thought we'd enjoy it much. The Great America Raceway was ok, kinda dull scenery. Justice League was down. Wife liked Superman Tower of Power. Says it's like the one at Cedar Point.

 

Park is much bigger than GA and does not go in a circle. Think this is why the lines are shorter. It takes a lot more effort to get from ride to ride than at GA. It'd be like if each thrill ride section at Great America was as far apart as Pretzelman and Eagle. The Dole fruit things we got were the best dining pass snacks ever. Lots of flat rides, but mainly all looked like little kid stuff. Overall the park reminds me more of Cedar Point than GA. Also seemed more family-oriented with a lot of people preferring not to go on the thrill rides. The raceway had as long a line as texas giant. HH is also not on the same physical property. Overall, I think GA is easily the better park.

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I'm hopefully visiting this Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll hear to Goliath first no matter what but anyone have an idea of what crowds should be like?

 

Lines can range from nonexistent to packed in, depending on what day you visit and what ride it is. In the five times I went last summer, Dark Knight generally has horrendous operations so if you want it, ride it in the morning. By afternoon it will have a full queue. Goliath right away will have a the first major switchback area full but that's it, and Superman always extremely close to spilling out on the walkways. X-Flight gets big lines as well because it's a wing coaster. Raging Bull can get long lines, but I have yet to see a line longer than 30-ish minutes. I'm sure it happens though. Later in the day, the lines can absolutely horrific even during the week and probably approached about an hour or more. The rest of the lines were pretty evenly crowded, with Superman of course taking the lead.

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I really have to shake my head at operations sometimes......Today they dropped the chain on the Raging Bull line about 10:35, everyone went through the line, up the stairs, into the station and started forming lines at the boarding rows. Three trains testing. After a few minutes, some ride op came up the exit ramp grabbed the microphone and told everyone to clear out of the station, back down the steps and to wait by the Flash Pass entrance. The rest of the ride ops looked confused. Two minutes later they waved everyone back up and started loading trains. The ride op that was making the fuss was no where to be found.

 

The first two trains out were over 2 minute 30 second dispatch times. Total confusion amongst the ride ops. I was on the third train out and when the ride was over there were still two trains stacked in the station. I know it's early in the season but they should be figuring things out by now.

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I'm heading over to the park on July 6th for the first time as part of my three week graduation trip, and I'll be there the whole day. If I want to ride all the coasters and re-rides on the better ones, would it be advisable to get a flash pass? If so, would it be feasible to do what I want with just a gold flash pass, or is that really only possible with a platinum?

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I'm heading over to the park on July 6th for the first time as part of my three week graduation trip, and I'll be there the whole day. If I want to ride all the coasters and re-rides on the better ones, would it be advisable to get a flash pass? If so, would it be feasible to do what I want with just a gold flash pass, or is that really only possible with a platinum?

A Gold will get the job done with some strategy. Platinum will allow you to freestyle the day. The price difference would be something you would need to put a value on and make that decision on your own. Being a Wednesday, you may be ok without one. I'm a regular and don't buy FP, but I also pick my days.

 

Justice League just opened, so we don't have a feel for how that line will play out. I'd imagine that draws most people at opening. That should leave Goliath & X-Flight with minimal lines at open compared to the last two seasons. Conversely, with Justice League just down the block, I think the AM marathon sessions on Raging Bull are done for the time being.

 

What would your priorities be? Are you solo or with a group? I've come up with several different itineraries that have worked for friends, so just let me know what you want and I'll be happy to provide insight. Hopefully I'll be able to make the park tomorrow, so I can see how Justice League works throughout the day. That's the wildcard...

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^I'm going with one other person, who's joining for the entirety of the trip (another TPR member, actually.) As I said, I'd prefer to get on all the coasters, and re-rides on the better ones. I usually stick to front and/or back seat, sometimes I do second row from the front or back if the line is significantly shorter. I'll also want to hit up Giant Drop, the train and observation tower for the sake of photography (a huge hobby of mine) and I might do the enterprise, Troika and Top Spin. I generally avoid water parks because there is often not a lot of variety from park to park. I also bought a season pass as it's more economical (we're also going to SFSTL, SFOT and SFFT.)

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^I'm going with one other person, who's joining for the entirety of the trip (another TPR member, actually.) As I said, I'd prefer to get on all the coasters, and re-rides on the better ones. I usually stick to front and/or back seat, sometimes I do second row from the front or back if the line is significantly shorter. I'll also want to hit up Giant Drop, the train and observation tower for the sake of photography (a huge hobby of mine) and I might do the enterprise, Troika and Top Spin. I generally avoid water parks because there is often not a lot of variety from park to park. I also bought a season pass as it's more economical (we're also going to SFSTL, SFOT and SFFT.)

Okie dokie.

 

For starters, plan n getting to the park early. 9:30 - 9:45am will work for a 10:30am opening. You'll be able to enter Carousel Plaza before rope drop. From here you have two options: You can go right if you want Justice League (JL) or you can go left for Goliath. In both cases, you can proceed to the railroad bridge. That is where the rope drop will occur. Like I said earlier, I'm not sure how the GP is moving with JL open now. Personally, I think that you're stuck with a 60-90 minute line with either one after the opening rush, so pick your poison. If you go left, I've been able to knock out Goliath, X-Flight, and American Eagle within 30-40 minutes. I don't think that is possible with the JL, Raging Bull, Giant Drop cluster since the GP will be heavier on that block. Also, Eagle is NOT on Flash Pass, so consider this.

 

After this, you can get your FP if you're gonna get one. I wouldn't buy in advance. Just base it on the crowd. If you went left you can start heading towards the front of the park. Walking towards the front from Goliath will take you past Batman, Vertical Velocity, both Log Flumes & Roaring Rapids (water rides if it's hot), and King Chaos (Top Spin).

 

If you've made it this far w/o a FP, this is where you need to make your choice on getting one. This can be done on a moderate day by 1pm-2pm. Raging bull should be 45-75 minutes at this point and won't back down. Superman would be 60-90 as well, but does offer a Single Rider Line. The SRL can be as quick as a 1-3 train wait depending on operators ability to utilize it. Personally I've never had issue with it in Summer, but others have horror stories (like a lot of things with this park it seems). Justice League is probably 90+ minutes.

 

From here you freestyle your day with a flash pass. JL and Goliath are platinum only, so expect to dedicate 3 hours to cover JL and a re-ride. With gold, just select Bull or Supes and then go wait in a shorter line like Demon, Viper, or Giant Drop. All of those should be 40 minutes or less... Then rinse and repeat till close.

 

Anything you were looking for that I missed? These are my strategies. Your mileage may vary.

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Race boarder,

 

I may be going to the park for the first time this Thurs or Fri. What would you expect the lines to be on those days since I'm sure it'll he different than 2 days after July 4th? Thanks!

 

 

Overall the strategies outlined would remain the same. Thursday should be lighter. JL will probably be 60-90 minutes throughout the day since it's the new hotbeds. Superman will probably be 45-75 min. and Bull will be 30-45. I'd probably skip out on a Flash Pass on Thursday. Friday should have more people.

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If you go during the week, attendance will depend on how many groups are there. If been to Great America six times this season. Four of these visits have been midweek visits. One of them was pretty busy. The area of the parking lot used for cars wasn't very full. The area used for buses was packed.

On its opening day, JL had a 55 to 110 minute wait all day. Raging Bull can get up to an hour, because they don't always run three trains during the week. They usually only run two. Superman and Goliath seem to go from 20 to 60 minutes. It will go up and down.

The Six Flags app now has wait times listed. I use it to decide which ride to go to next. If Goliath says 55 minutes, I go ride something else. It might be back down to 25 minutes a little later on. The real wait time is often less than what the Six Flags app has listed.

Last Friday, I was able to ride Goliath 5 times throughout the day. My longest wait was 25 minutes. That was my longest wait for any ride that day. I didn't ride Superman or JL, because the wait was too long.

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Geez those would be the wait times on Thurs and worse Fri? Im surprised they'd be that bad on a Thurs. I was hoping everything would be a half hour or less!

That's what I'd plan on... If it's better, more power to ya... 30 min or less is a pipe dream on Bull, Goliath, Superman, and Justice League. You may find it on Batman, Whizzer, X-Flight, and V2 under the right conditions. Viper & Eagle are the only coasters that would guarantee 30 min or less.

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Would it be better to go this Thursday without a flash pass or go in July/early august on a Saturday, but using a gold flash pass?

I would think Thursday without a flash pass might be your best bet. Some schools might still be in session or graduations might still be going on.

 

A platinum flash pass on a Saturday in July/August is the best way to go unless you want to go on a total of 3-4 rides. I've gone almost every day during the week in June/July/August - - almost each visit was crazy busy except for early June. We got the gold flash pass one time and still had 30-40 minute wait at times because it was so packed. I won't even attempt to go on a weekend in the summer. I'm really starting to re-think my season pass to SFGAm, the wait times are only getting worse whenever we go.

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Race boarder,

Would it be better to go this Thursday without a flash pass or go in July/early august on a Saturday, but using a gold flash pass?

I'd go this Thursday. Saturdays in the back half of Summer are a train wreck at this park. Bad weather can be a savior, but obviously something that is an impulse decision.

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You waited 30 min with a gold pass on a weekday!!??

 

I'd believe it. I sound like a grumpy old man but operations at SFGAm just ain't what they used to be.

 

Don't forget to budget a solid hour to stand in line for your slice of pizza as you battle all the dining pass holders as well!

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Trip report time! This was from the trip on first of June

 

Being the planner that I am, I got to the park around 8:30 which resulted in a parking space front and center when they opened the parking gate to let us in.

 

 

 

Once I left my car, I went immediately to the gold pass entrance. For a while, this is what I saw and I thought the park would end up being empty. However, this soon changed as bus after bus started showing up and offloading school trip after school trip onto the entrance turnstiles. Also, more people started to show up after the weather went from rain to clear skies and HOT in a matter of fifteen minutes. Ah, the beauty of crazy midwest weather.

 

After entering the park and running to the flash pass building to pick up one of my little red friends, I ran immediately to Justice League per my usual routine at park opening. I was surprised to find a rather short line before I got there. It appeared that Raging Bull had soaked up much of the school crowds. The 10:30 opening time came and went and we still weren’t allowed to ride. It was revealed around 10:45 that, much to everyone’s dismay, several effects had not been cooperating resulting in an extended delay of its opening.

 

 

After that disappointment, I used my first flash pass reservation on Raging Bull which ended up having not so long of a line as it was still morning. Shortly after I rode, however, the line started to grow. I then went to Viper which was relatively empty which allowed me to re-ride the coaster by taking a seat in an unclaimed row. Both Raging Bull and Viper were running really well as they were traveling at a faster average pace than usual and Raging Bull seemed to have less of that nasty “B&M” rattle than usual. I am still annoyed with the trim brake on Raging Bull’s first parabola airtime hill as it saps airtime and ruins the rest of the first half of the ride.

 

 

 

After exiting the southwest territory, I used another flash pass reservation on Whizzer and then reserved X flight while I rode Demon. Demon was another ride which was somewhat empty allowing me to re-ride it. It also was running really well as it didn’t bash my head apart pretty much at all. As usual, the back row delivered amazing ejector airtime on the first drop which actually makes it one of my favorite coasters there. While on the slope up to the MCBR, I looked over to the nearby Justice League which still had its gates closed.

 

I then used my first of two reservations on X-Flight which had a short but slow-moving line thanks to understaffing that day. My usual plan is to ride the coaster around meal times. First I ride one wing while, directly after redeeming my reservation at the flash pass entrance, immediately reserving the ride again. After getting off the ride, I would eat lunch at the nearby food court while awaiting the time for my second reservation. After finishing lunch I would redeem my reservation and reserve V2 while riding X-Flight in the other wing.

 

Today, however, I discovered during my first ride on X-flight, I looked over at Justice League to see that it had just opened. Some high school friends greeted me on the way to X-Flight’s photo booth but i had to brush them off and tell them I would meet with them later. So, I grabbed a delicious Orange Chicken with Lo-Mein meal from Chop Six and, while it wasn’t easy, I ate it on the way to Justice League. I ended up having to wolf it down as fast as I could because, unlike other rides, Justice League does not allow any food or drinks (aside from what is in your sports bottle) in its queue and I did not feel like waiting that long for this ride.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to my urgency, I only waited about fifteen minutes before entering the single rider line which is situated near the end of the queue and was an almost instant ride once I entered it. I loved the ride and still love it even after riding it a total of about fifteen times to date. I was all set to beat my high score of 221706 and had 201000 heading into the subway station scene. However, much to my disappointment, the scene wasn’t working properly and all we got was a flashing screen (although the movements still worked.) I still had fun but man, was I disappointed.

 

After riding X-Flight a second time on the other wing and reserving V2, I went to ride American Eagle which is sporting a shiny new coat of paint which runs from the final brake run all the way through the first half of the lift hill for both sides as well as the storage track. Out of all the coasters that were running unusually well, Eagle by far had the biggest improvement from its usual self. The coaster wasn’t jackhammering as much as it usually did, delivered a lot more airtime than usual as it was running faster, and, most importantly, didn’t try to kill me on the spiral at the end of the ride. It was also fairly empty allowing me to re-ride it not once but twice.

 

After riding American Eagle, It was then time to ride my absolutely favorite coaster at SFGAM and second favorite coaster in the world behind Great Adventure’s El Toro, Goliath. Apart from the excessively overused name and short layout, Goliath is a fairly “overpowered” RMC wooden prefab with two inversions and three moments where the coaster has the potential to deliver extreme ejector airtime. However, there is one thing that sometimes keeps me from riding it: my size. I am a big guy and am not always sure I’ll fit. However, some seats on either train have seatbelts that seem to be an inch longer than the others (although I am still able to fasten all of the seat belts.) That is only half the battle as the lap bar has to be low enough for the computer to deem the train ready to leave. In the past, the procedure for loading was to manual check the seat belt and then allowing the lap bar to be pulled down by the riders. That sadly came with a no-staple policy which means the ops cannot use “excessive force” to push the lap bar needed to be pushed down further resulting in a few walks of shame for me.

 

This was changed about a week and a half ago. and the coaster now uses the Six Flags Magic Mountain procedures albeit much more efficiently. What this means is that they push down your lap bar for you. As an added bonus, with these procedural changes came the removal of the no-staple policy. Not only will they give their best effort to staple you in, but they will use more than one person if they have to. Still, if you are a large rider, I recommend sitting as far back in the seat as possible, pushing all the items in your pockets to the sides, and, when it comes time to push down the harness, pull your feet as far back as possible (although be careful to avoid causing a delay because of a painful and embarrassing calf cramp) and lean back as far as you can. This should push your thighs down and allow the bar to be pushed down lower increasing your chances of success. I was able to enjoy three rides as the single rider line was fairly short.

 

After my third ride, I met up with the friends from before and we rode Goliath used the regular queue which still only ended up being fifteen minutes. Since the lines were short, I decided to give my little red friend a break and travel with them. We then rode V2: Vertical Velocity. V2 is a good ride. However, it’s not a great one. It still bugs me that the park will not repair the holding brake (the lack of which makes V2 my least favorite of the three Impulse coasters I have ridden, the other two of which are Cedar Point’s Wicked Twister and Dorney Park’s Possessed.) In addition to that, this is another ride I have struggled to fit on and have been walked off of. I figured out a trick, however. Before riding, compare the seatbelts and take the one that appears longer (they are all different lengths.) When you sit in the train, don’t sit all the way back rather sit forward a little bit such that you can lean back slightly. This puts your body at an angle pushing your chest back which allows the harness to come down further making it easier for the ops to staple you in. I went on to ride Batman, the original inverted coaster, with this group of friends before I had to part ways with them as they had to leave. The ride was a walk-on and we could have gotten a re-ride if it hadn’t been for the slow operations and hard stacking.

 

After parting ways with them, I returned to my regular scheduled flashpassing. Pro tip: Batman and Superman have Single Rider lines. If you have a flash pass, when you get to V2 (provided you are circling the park counter-clockwise,) Take the reservation for that and reserve Dark Knight. Ride Batman using Single Rider during the wait for your Dark Knight reservation. Once you take the Dark Knight reservation, reserve Dark Knight again while riding nearby Superman using its Single Rider line. Ride Dark Knight the second time and reserve V2. Ride Batman during the waiting period for V2 using the Single Rider line. Then take V2 while reserving the next ride you want to ride. With this trick, you turn back in the direction you came while riding seven rides in relatively quick succession in the process. I call this process the boomerang trick and it will work well even if the park is crowded.

 

 

At around 4:45, the school groups started clearing out resulting in wait times decreasing significantly. Superman had no wait for single rider and only a fifteen minute wait in the regular queue. Dark Knight was a ten minute wait the first time and a walk-on the second time making my little red friend useless. Batman was a walk-on both times and V2 was a fifteen minute wait the first time while being a walk-on the second. At the tail end of my Boomerang, Batman ended up being so empty, I was able to get three re-rides on it. I then rode V2 again and was able to get a re-ride. I have another treat for larger riders. I discovered during these last two rides, I discovered that, in row 10, the left-handed seat farthest from the air gates has a seat belt which is significantly longer than all the others and it is the only row in which I am able to fasten the belt without any assistance at all from the ops.

 

With 45 minutes left in the operating day and Goliath at a near walk-on (soak it in because it is never happening again,) I decided to ride it three more times before riding American Eagle for my final ride. I had an amazing day. I ended up hitting 31 rides including seven on the ever-elusive Goliath (I say that as it routinely has wait times of an hour or more). The park did get fairly crowded thanks to the high schools but all wait times managed to stay under 45 minutes. So, while the park isn’t walk-on city during the first few weeks of daily operation, It is certainly worth going to Six Flags Great America during that time as it is usually far more crowded on the weekends.

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