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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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Guess I'll be going to Great America's water park the next time I visit! I do hope this one has more standard drops than the one Fiesta Texas added a few years ago since that one really only had the saucer turns for the downhill bits.

 

Out of curiosity, what was the previous record holder for the tallest water coaster?

 

Massiv is 82feet tall

It’s at Schlitterbahn in Texas

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again, SFGam regulars! I got SF Memberships for myself and my kids for next year, during the Flash Sale, and need to go activate them, and take advantage of the goodies this season. So I've targeted October 4th and 5th for my trip to SFGAm, as it's before the blackout dates in October, but far enough away I can budget for it. I know that Fright Fest will be going, and it's a Saturday, so it will likely be crowded. Still, I wondered what kind of crowds to expect, as this would be my first time going to GAm during the Halloween season. Do the Haunted Houses (which we won't be doing) take people away from the coaster lines much? Or do they have negligible effect, since they're an upcharge.

 

I also have questions regarding the Flash Pass at SFGam. I've never used a Flash Pass before, but understand the basics of how it works. However, what I was wondering is whether the Regular Flash Pass where you wait the length of whatever the line currently is, is worth it? Or should I get either Gold or Platinum to make it worth getting? I can't afford the Platinum regardless, but I could perhaps see doing the Gold, if it had a noticeably tangible effect on wait times throughout the day, greatly enhancing our experience on a very crowded day. I know that Maxx Force isn't on the Gold or Regular FP, but is any coaster or ride really affected by the FP, other than Goliath? Because if that's the only coaster we'd really need to FP on, I'm not sure if it's worth it.

 

With our Membership purchase during the Flash Sale, we also got the one free skip the line pass per person (and I got an extra one for getting a Platinum Membership), so I was wondering how those worked. Do you just go through the FP entrance and get right on the coaster? Is there still a wait? Are all coasters included? These were just some of the things I was curious about in advance.

 

Would it be advisable, in anybody's opinion, to wait until the beginning of November to go instead, in order to avoid bigger crowds? Or would they still be pretty substantial? I went a few years ago around that time, and found the crowds manageable, though the food stands were so busy all day long, we couldn't get anything to eat, and got hangry, and left the park early.

 

One last question, and thanks in advance for any and all answers to my questions! I just like to be prepared in advance when I go on trips, especially when my kids are involved. Regarding Maxx Force, would it work to get to the park a half hour before open on the Saturday (whether in October or November), and go directly to the coaster, which is not far from the front gate. and get on pretty quickly? I was just curious how that type of strategy has worked out for anybody who's tried it this year. Additionally, with regard to the Golden Tickets, that get a friend in free, do you have to go to the ticket sales with the friend, before entering the lines for the park, in order to redeem those? It's a small distinction, but one that could definitely add some time to the beginning of the day, and scuttle any plans to get on Maxx Force quickly at park's open. Thanks again for the help, as I look forward to making another trip out to this fun Six Flags park!

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I can't speak to crowds or strategy, but Flash Pass at SF parks differs greatly from Fast Lane at CF parks. At SF parks:

 

1. You are issued an electronic key fob/watch (depending on park) for your group.

2. You choose which ride you want to ride that's on the plan.

3. The device gives you a return time, which will be your time to ride.*

4. At the designated time, you go through the Flash Pass entrance and meet an employee who scans you device and "checks you in."

5. You then proceed to the station, or in the case of some rides like X-Flight, a merge point before going up the stairs to the station.

 

*The return time given varies based on what level of Flash Pass you have.

Regular = your return time will be approximately the wait of the standby queue.

Gold = your return time will be approximately 50% of the standby queue length.

Platinum = your return time will be approximately 10% of the standby queue length.

 

Yes, I think it's stupid and overly complicated compared to CF's system too, but what're you gonna do?

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Don't bother with the regular Flash Pass. Gold should be fine. What you do is that as soon as the employee checks you into the ride, go and reserve another one. You'll probably have about a 10 minute wait from the check in point, so that time is spent "waiting" for your next ride. A lot of times a 30-40 minute real world wait will be zero by using this system, because of the time spent queueing in the station and walking to the next ride.

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^,^^ Thanks for the FP info! That's kind of what I was wondering, what the actual experience was like, how to best strategically use it, and whether the Regular was worth it (it didn't seem like it would be, so thanks for confirming that.) So, I take it that there will still likely be some people in the FP line, who also had set their FP time similarly? That's what I'm getting from the 10 minute wait comment. It actually seems like a pretty efficient system, if you can time it right, and make it work for you!

 

If anybody can give any insight into any of the crowd questions, or the best way to do Maxx Force (since that's not going to be a FP ride anyway), that'd be great! Thanks again!

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I went over 4th of July and most of the coasters where the pass is beneficial have merge points such that you're going to have to wait for 15 minutes or so. As Andrew said, just make sure you select your next ride as soon as you've been scanned in, and by the time you're done waiting from the merge point, riding, and walking to your next ride, it will be ready. I would agree that the platinum is not worth the cost...i got it and wished I had gotten gold.

 

It ended up storming when we left the park for dinner before having gotten on maxx force(it wasn't even on platinum on our visit), so we went back the next day and it was late to open, the queue seemed to be about 50 minutes consistently and I would say it was moderately crowded when we were there. None of the switchbacks were finished yet, so it was a straight shot from the station to maybe 30 feet past the actual entrance onto the path outside the ride. I know that doesnt answer your opening question, but hopefully gives some insight to how long the line will take.

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Early October crowds will be significant, especially with weather being nice. As mentioned, the Flash Pass will allow you to "keep moving" but it won't eliminate all waiting. I would go a step further and mention that you are probably looking at 15-40 minutes in real time from when you enter the Flash Pass entrance to when you are walking down the exit ramp. This works quite well with Gold since Platinum FP has the same wait in real time.

 

For Maxx Force, your strategy sounds solid. It's one of those deals where you will just have to bite the bullet and wait 60-90 minutes. Also of note, you might want to head to American Eagle right after Maxx since Eagle doesn't have a Flash Pass lane. With expected crowds, it WILL get a line, possibly over 60 minutes.

 

Since you are traveling with kids, you are going to want to plan your meal strategy in advance. Food service at this park is putrid. During Fright Fest, it's common for food queues to be 60+ minutes. Usually you can leave the park, hit a fast food spot (most major chains are within 10 min of the park), and return in the same amount of time that you would spend inside. Food is almost guaranteed to be higher quality going this route as well. You also have nicer, sit-down options if you want to add an additional 20-30 minutes and relax a bit. Your bill may still come out ahead with the sit-down options. Packing a cooler is also a viable option, as you will see tailgaters here for the above reasons.

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Why SFGAm will need to do something with American Eagle. RMC?

 

American Eagle will be 40 on May 23, 2021 … What should Great America Do? We know the ride is showing its age. The trains are original and ride control systems have not been updated since the fin breaks, the individual lapbars were added in 1985. From Rumors circulating the trains useful life span is over and are in need of replacement. The lap bars are custom and uncomfortable, and the buss bar unlock mech is painful and slow. The entrance to the ride is now an afterthought and the queue is strait line.

 

American Eagle takes up a large plot of land and at one point was the parks signature attraction. The entrance to the queue was grand the queue house was enormous and ride was amazing. While the ride is still fun, it takes up much too much land to remain as is in the condition it’s in, what are the options?

 

1 – DO nothing, again takes up too much land to and is in need of lots of TLC costing lots of money.

 

2- Do cheap updates, repurpose trains from Texas Giant or just buy new trains and replace the breaks and control systems/ Ride experience remains the same.

 

3- Refurbish the coaster. Have GCI come in and re-track the coaster, add new trains and updated control system. While I like this idea, it’s a lot of money to re-add an attraction you already have. The ride experience would not change too much and while it was a great ride in its time- will that get the park the ROI it would need from such a large project and high cost.

 

4- Tear it down, install a Giga in its place. – Its SF, doubtful that will happen, plus it’s still a loved ride much like whizzer and there would be a backlash to its total demise. Plus it has good bones and looks wonderful on the skyline.

 

5.- Tear it down and add nothing- Its SF that could happen!

 

6- RMC it.. Ok yes there is RMC just 200 feet away entrance to entrance however American Steel, Steel Eagle, Screaming Eagle, or whatever name the RMC conversion would add to it, would not be anything like Goliath and more like AE just bigger, taller and faster and more amazing. Goliath is wood, has no lateral reverse turns, no duel or racing, and is much shorter, more compact and different style ride than the New American Eagle would (could) be.

 

Here is what it could be.

• RMC eagle would be done for the 40th to be opened on Sunday May 23, 2021.

• Height would be increased to 180 feet, with a 200 foot drop. Drop would be near or over 90 degree ( Bigger and steeper than Goliath)

• Would be racing/Dueling coaster not a double loop.

• Would be steel I-Box ( Not wood like Goliath)

• Would feature NO inversions ( Goliath has 2)

• Built for massive first drop – speed, change of direction, dueling and racing, a hyper racing hybrid. Also Goliath is not as twisted as all the other RMCs are.

• Would be as long as Eagle is now, about 5000 feet per side.

• The Barrel helix would be more twisted and feature more change in direction, a high-five element and be more dueling then racing.

• The return run would feature more side to side banking, higher hills with more air and end with a faster last helix that would be at 90 degree banking.

• The ride profile would look very similar to what it is now, and remain white with blue track and red hand rails.

 

What’s the take away? You have a signature, unique, one of kind RMC that will never be done again. It would only add RMC features to the park and the only duplication from Goliath would be the first drop. Nothing else of the two rides will be the same, and since Goliath lacks much of what makes other RMC conversions so great, nothing is lost in the conversion. It would dominate the southern skyline of the park and would be more impressive from outside the park and visible for miles.

Great America is land locked, and has limited space to expand. With the coaster count at 15 we are at the point where each new coaster will likely see one go at the same time. American eagle becoming a new version of itself makes a lot of sense. What other coasters will go to make room for new ones. I see American Eagle, Demon, Superman, X-Flight, V2 and even Whizzer all leaving in favor of something new in the next 20 years. … Any comments to this?

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American Eagle was perfectly fine when I rode it back in 2017. I have a hard time believing that it's deteriorated to an "unrideable" status in just two years. You're over thinking it.

 

Besides, this is Six Flags. Great America just got Maxx Force. You won't be seeing another multi-million dollar investment for quite a while. Take your giant frisbee and enjoy it.

 

EDIT: We all said the same thing I just said the last two times you brought this up.

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Hello again, SFGam regulars! I got SF Memberships for myself and my kids for next year, during the Flash Sale, and need to go activate them, and take advantage of the goodies this season. So I've targeted October 4th and 5th for my trip to SFGAm, as it's before the blackout dates in October, but far enough away I can budget for it. I know that Fright Fest will be going, and it's a Saturday, so it will likely be crowded. Still, I wondered what kind of crowds to expect, as this would be my first time going to GAm during the Halloween season. Do the Haunted Houses (which we won't be doing) take people away from the coaster lines much? Or do they have negligible effect, since they're an upcharge.

 

I also have questions regarding the Flash Pass at SFGam. I've never used a Flash Pass before, but understand the basics of how it works. However, what I was wondering is whether the Regular Flash Pass where you wait the length of whatever the line currently is, is worth it? Or should I get either Gold or Platinum to make it worth getting? I can't afford the Platinum regardless, but I could perhaps see doing the Gold, if it had a noticeably tangible effect on wait times throughout the day, greatly enhancing our experience on a very crowded day. I know that Maxx Force isn't on the Gold or Regular FP, but is any coaster or ride really affected by the FP, other than Goliath? Because if that's the only coaster we'd really need to FP on, I'm not sure if it's worth it.

 

With our Membership purchase during the Flash Sale, we also got the one free skip the line pass per person (and I got an extra one for getting a Platinum Membership), so I was wondering how those worked. Do you just go through the FP entrance and get right on the coaster? Is there still a wait? Are all coasters included? These were just some of the things I was curious about in advance.

 

Would it be advisable, in anybody's opinion, to wait until the beginning of November to go instead, in order to avoid bigger crowds? Or would they still be pretty substantial? I went a few years ago around that time, and found the crowds manageable, though the food stands were so busy all day long, we couldn't get anything to eat, and got hangry, and left the park early.

 

One last question, and thanks in advance for any and all answers to my questions! I just like to be prepared in advance when I go on trips, especially when my kids are involved. Regarding Maxx Force, would it work to get to the park a half hour before open on the Saturday (whether in October or November), and go directly to the coaster, which is not far from the front gate. and get on pretty quickly? I was just curious how that type of strategy has worked out for anybody who's tried it this year. Additionally, with regard to the Golden Tickets, that get a friend in free, do you have to go to the ticket sales with the friend, before entering the lines for the park, in order to redeem those? It's a small distinction, but one that could definitely add some time to the beginning of the day, and scuttle any plans to get on Maxx Force quickly at park's open. Thanks again for the help, as I look forward to making another trip out to this fun Six Flags park!

 

Regarding Maxx Force, yes, I would go right to it upon entry. I would get to the park earlier than 30 minutes though. Forty-five minutes to an hour would be better, as the lines outside will be long. We usually arrive 45 minutes early. Security lines usually open 30 minutes early, and the park either opens 15 minutes early to queue up at rides before they open at 10:30, or they let you in right at 10:30. It varies for some reason.

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Thanks to everybody who replied with info about my questions regarding SFGAm! It's definitely given me a lot of food for thought, as I try to plan out this upcoming trip, and make it the best time I can for my kiddos!

 

One thought I've had, especially given how busy the Fright Night weekends get, is whether it would actually be more advisable to wait, and go the first weekend of November. That's when I went to the park last, back in 2016, and while it was busy, it wasn't too bad. Certainly not nightmare level. An additional thing I noticed with that weekend, is that it's a Member Appreciation Day that Sunday, and I noticed that they have ERT on Maxx Force this month's Member Appreciation Day. Has anybody been to those this year, and if so, is Maxx Force always available for ERT, or do the coasters change? I'm definitely open to waiting and going that weekend, if it'd make for a more enjoyable visit, so if anybody has any further thoughts on postponing until November, or what the Member Appreciation Days, please feel free to share! Thanks!

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I don't understand why GCI would need to come in and retrack American Eagle. The park can do track repair in house and I'm sure it's done pretty frequently. Six Flags can allot more funds for it on an off season if it gets to the point where it really needs it. I doubt the trains are at the end of their life cycle. Parts aren't very hard to find. Kennywood's Thunderbolt trains weren't near the end of their life cycle at 40 years old...

 

I also wasn't aware the lap bars were uncomfortable and that it would be that much of a problem to keep them. That, and I don't understand why all of a sudden the queue is a problem when it's been like that for a long time. Why spend the money to change it?

 

 

American Eagle was perfectly fine when I rode it back in 2017. I have a hard time believing that it's deteriorated to an "unrideable" status in just two years. You're over thinking it.

 

Besides, this is Six Flags. Great America just got Maxx Force. You won't be seeing another multi-million dollar investment for quite a while. Take your giant frisbee and enjoy it.

 

EDIT: We all said the same thing I just said the last two times you brought this up.

 

He just wanted to take the opportunity to tell you all about his RMC dream. You can't even make mention of a traditional wooden coaster anymore without someone saying it should get the RMC treatment and telling you all about their fantasy layout.

 

I see American Eagle, Demon, Superman, X-Flight, V2 and even Whizzer all leaving in favor of something new in the next 20 years. … Any comments to this?

Looks like Batman is here to stay.

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Thanks to everybody who replied with info about my questions regarding SFGAm! It's definitely given me a lot of food for thought, as I try to plan out this upcoming trip, and make it the best time I can for my kiddos!

 

One thought I've had, especially given how busy the Fright Night weekends get, is whether it would actually be more advisable to wait, and go the first weekend of November. That's when I went to the park last, back in 2016, and while it was busy, it wasn't too bad. Certainly not nightmare level. An additional thing I noticed with that weekend, is that it's a Member Appreciation Day that Sunday, and I noticed that they have ERT on Maxx Force this month's Member Appreciation Day. Has anybody been to those this year, and if so, is Maxx Force always available for ERT, or do the coasters change? I'm definitely open to waiting and going that weekend, if it'd make for a more enjoyable visit, so if anybody has any further thoughts on postponing until November, or what the Member Appreciation Days, please feel free to share! Thanks!

 

I don’t know if you had a target weekend or not, but opening weekend (this weekend) is usually not that bad, but October in particular is pretty busy, and warm days get very busy in October. Cooler days are good days to go, but it is generally busy overall due to the waterpark being closed. Arriving at park open will give you a couple good hours to get on rides quickly. The last weekend will probably be busy too. Up to you if you want the ERT.

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Friday nights are usually pretty good, crowd-wise as well. And if you don't care about the fright fest stuff, Colombus Day is dead.

 

Columbus Day hasn’t been dead in years. No shows or anything going on so people that are there are there for the rides. Last time I went on Columbus Day it was terrible.

 

 

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Thanks to all for the info and advice about when the best times to visit SFGAm this Fall are, and what to expect in terms of crowds! One thing I haven't seen anybody mention yet are the Member Appreciation Days, and what to expect from them, if you've been to one. Or are they something new, only in the Fall? I'm just curious, because I'm now leaning towards going to SFGAm the 1st and 2nd of November, in hopes crowds are better. Of course, that IS the last weekend of Fright Fest, and the actual Halloween weekend, so maybe that's a bad idea! At any rate, that Sunday the 3rd is a Member Appreciation Day, and if the ERT is Maxx Force, like it is during the upcoming September Member Appreciation, it would certainly help in making that weekend worth going. At any rate, anybody with insight into any of this, thank for the input!

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SFGAm has done well with those Nov. weekends, pending weather. Two years ago saw moderate waits for most rides with temps in the 30's, but sunny conditions. I was honestly surprised at the amount of people that came out. (Random Pro Tip: Ski Goggles work wonders for coasters with temps <40*F )

 

The Member Appreciation deal is something new for 2019, so not sure if that will bring in more people. They will advertise it to many people so if the weather is decent, I'd expect moderate crowds.

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On the subject of Six Flags Great America roller coaster called "American Eagle" - I think the coaster is just fine where it is. The only criticism I have is that coaster could use a fresh coat of paint to make it pop. As long as that coaster attracts long lines of people willing to ride it and ride it again, but on the other side, that ride should stay where it is.

 

One more statement to make - The Whizzer is the last coaster of its kind and that park should fight to keep that fine coaster from going anywhere, and we the riders and amusement park flyers would protest loudly if Six Flags should ever consider this verboten act.

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Friday nights are usually pretty good, crowd-wise as well. And if you don't care about the fright fest stuff, Colombus Day is dead.

 

Columbus Day hasn’t been dead in years. No shows or anything going on so people that are there are there for the rides. Last time I went on Columbus Day it was terrible.

 

 

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Wow well good for them, maybe turning a profit. When I worked Columbus day it was so dead staff got cut due to lack of guests.

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What is SFGAm's rain and thunderstorm policy like? I am thinking of going this weekend, but there are "strong thunderstorms" in the forecast for Saturday late afternoon and evening. I know coasters won't run in thunderstorms if there's lightning present, but how are they about shutting things down in the rain? Also, do they ever just close the park early due to weather? Thanks again for any input!

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