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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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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.

 

Actually Whizzer is not the last of its kind. There’s one in Columbia that was relocated from WOF. But I absolutely agree that Whizzer should never be removed. I’m indifferent when it comes to American Eagle though. Part of me wants to see the park RMC it and the other half doesn’t.

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Whizzer is so much fun. I do miss Zambezi Zinger. There really wasn't a good reason to remove it, but that was one of the very first things Cedar Fair did when they took over in the mid 90s. Great America does a much better job of understanding its history. That whole Hometown Square area is great.

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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!

 

Their rain policy is fairly liberal. They will drop trains for rain, but there aren't any major rides that will completely shut down with the 1st drop of rain.

 

As far as shutting the park down, I'd say that it is unlikely. It's happened before, but further along in the season and in cases where there wasn't a crowd to start the day.

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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?

Even if Six Flags ever got a Giga Coaster, they would most likely won't have it open until probably late in the year or possibly the next year since Six Flags always starts building their ride extremely late. While in Cedar Fair parks, most of their new coasters always open around opening day.

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I'm sure they could handle that giant helix just like they handled the ones on Rattler and White Cyclone. I still think RMC-ing American Eagle is unlikely, but RMC has proven by now that they can work with literally any wooden coaster layout.

 

Classic cyclone layout? Done. Re-work a GCI? Done. Large woodies with helices and super boring straight sections? Done. A coaster that literally only turned right? Done. Dueling coaster? Done.

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So, I planned our (my kids and I) big trip to SFGAm to activate our SF Memberships for this weekend, based on the fantastic weather forecast a week ago, and boy, did that ever change! It's now looking like wall to wall rain and thunderstorms Friday night when we'd be going, and the more rain in the evening Saturday with more potential thunderstorms, as well as more rain Sunday. So basically, all three days we're planning on being there, it's supposed to be pretty wet. Hopefully the weather changes before the actual weekend arrives, but if not, at least this should keep crowds a little lower than they normally are! Gotta' look for the silver lining, right?

 

Assuming the weather cooperates, and we're able to get some good time at the park, I'm definitely looking forward to our time there, as it's been a few years for me and my oldest, and my younger two kids have never been! One thing I was wondering, as I prepare for the trip, is how forgiving are the various coasters' restraints for guests with a little extra weight to them? I know I couldn't get on Wicked Twister last year, and I've gotten bigger since then, so I'm sure Vertical Velocity is out. But are there any other coasters I should be aware of being tight fits? Maxx Force, for instance?

 

Another question I had was regarding the Skip the Line Passes that we are getting with our Memberships since we got them during the Flash Sale. How do they work, and where do you pick them up? Do you actually skip the entire line, or do you just go through the Flash Pass queue? Are there certain coasters that you're not allowed to use them on? Thanks for any info on this, as it's something I'm curious about, and hoping we can use to skip a long line on either Maxx Force (if they allow it), or Goliath!

 

One last thing... I know most of the people reading this probably have SF Passes or Memberships, but if anybody from here would be interested in going to SFGAm free of charge, we will have 4 Golden Tickets for FREE entry, thanks again to signing up during the Flash Sale, and I was not able to find anybody to use them from my social circle. So if you don't have a Pass already, and would be interested in meeting up with us at the beginning of the day Saturday (or Sunday), and getting in Free, just post below, or PM me, and we can work out the details! I'd hate to have these go to waste, but I don't envision coming to GAm again this year, after this weekend. Plus, it's always fun for us to meet up with other fellow enthusiasts, or just people who enjoy riding coasters!

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I was just at Great America this past Saturday and it was a fairly rainy day, so I can share what I saw about the "rain policy" with rides. First, I was pleasantly surprised how little "typical" rain affected ride operations (see below about the thunderstorm, however). Despite some pretty steady rain, every coaster was running in the rain, and the only one I saw with limited capacity was Raging Bull (two train vs. three) and Eagle (one side). The ONLY exception was MaxxForce, it was testing and ran a bit off and on in the rain, so it didn't appear that rain was a limiting factor, but rather mechanical(?) -- but I don't know for sure. As a side note, I had my best ride ever on Raging Bull, nighttime in the rain: more airtime in the back seat than I can ever recall!

 

Now, a massive thunderstorm moved in and pretty much every coaster shut down as you would expect because of lightning concerns. But they got everything back up and running within less than an hour or so. I was actually impressed with park operations (although some of the dispatches, like on Goliath, remain terrible).

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^Did you find that the park was not very crowded due to the rain? Or was it still pretty busy? I know the year X-Flight was new, I went on an overcast day, that did have a downpour of rain, and in spite of being the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, it wasn't very crowded.

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When I went on a mid-July Friday trip to SFGAm in 2018, there was scattered thunderstorms forecasted for nearly a week in avance for that day, but when I actually got there, there was only overcast weather and a bit of drizzling, and the park was absolutely dead. Not sure if that's normal, but that's my experience.

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I just wanted to bring these questions up again, as I think they may have gotten lost in the rest of my lengthy post, especially since the weather discussion gained the most traction. Thanks again in advance!

 

One thing I was wondering, as I prepare for the trip, is how forgiving are the various coasters' restraints for guests with a little extra weight to them? I know I couldn't get on Wicked Twister last year, and I've gotten bigger since then, so I'm sure Vertical Velocity is out. But are there any other coasters I should be aware of being tight fits? Maxx Force, for instance?

 

Another question I had was regarding the Skip the Line Passes that we are getting with our Memberships since we got them during the Flash Sale. How do they work, and where do you pick them up? Do you actually skip the entire line, or do you just go through the Flash Pass queue? Are there certain coasters that you're not allowed to use them on? Thanks for any info on this, as it's something I'm curious about, and hoping we can use to skip a long line on either Maxx Force (if they allow it), or Goliath!

 

Also, the invite to join us there on either Saturday or Sunday, and get in free if you don't have a SF Pass or Membership already, is still open!

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I had to do the "walk of shame" on Goliath, although my friend thinks it was actually him triggering the "not ready" light or whatever it is that tells them to check restraints. I was able to fit on Twisted Cyclone at SF Over Georgia, though it was easier in the morning than it was in the afternoon just after eating a funnel cake. Then again, RMC coasters have always been a tighter fit.

 

I had to do the walk of shame on X-Flight as well, but that was because my stupid boobs are too big for those over-the-shoulder restraints. If you've got a flatter chest, you'll probably be fine.

 

Sadly, I can't report on Maxx Force because it was down for hours both days we were there and we just couldn't fathom waiting in line for 3 hours for it.

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I'm also going to the park with DILinator. It's been 5 years since I've been there. Goliath was open that year and it was my first RMC. I've since been on many others and Goliath has fallen down to the bottom of my list, but maybe a reride will remind me how much I liked it. I missed some coasters last time and of course the rides built in the last 5 years, so I'm excited to complete my Coasterdex for SFGAm (minus kiddie coasters). Can't wait to ride Maxx Force!

 

Also, as always, say hi if you see us! I still have orange hair and I'm sure at least one, if not all, of us will be wearing coaster clothing so I'm sure we wont be hard to miss!

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For anyone interested, here is my trip report from our visit. I didn't participate in the Fright Fest stuff, but I did get some pictures of the theming and the park at night!

 

Also, has Raging Bull removed trims since 2014? I remember my one or two 2014 rides on it being way more trimmed than our rides last weekend.

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For anyone interested, here is my trip report from our visit. I didn't participate in the Fright Fest stuff, but I did get some pictures of the theming and the park at night!

 

Also, has Raging Bull removed trims since 2014? I remember my one or two 2014 rides on it being way more trimmed than our rides last weekend.

 

Nope. It's just the technical side of it. Colder weather = train moves slower = trims don't have to brake as hard to keep the train's speed in check.

 

Some people will **rave** about getting trimless rides on Diamondback but in reality it was a morning ride with a half empty train and the trims don't have to activate because the train is already going at the speed it was designed to be going at. Which sometimes can result in a little bit more airtime, but in general it's all the same. You just won't notice the sound or pull.

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^ I got several trimless rides on Diamondback last October. I think even rode the Beast without the trim. Now I was there on a very windy day though which was probably why I got the trimless rides. But I n all my years going to my home park I don’t think I’ve ever got a trimless ride on Bull.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Heading to SFGAM for HITP 12/27. I believe this is the second year for HITP. I was trying to find out what rides/attractions would be open, but the website does not have the info. I'm thinking Max Force will be open but anybody have any idea what else may be running? What did they have open last year? Looking forward to another visit at one of my favorite Six Flags Parks!

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Batman the Ride, Dark Knight, Joker, Raging Bull, Sprocket Rockets, Superman, V2 and X Flight were open for the event last year. I’m interested to see if Maxx Force runs too. Remember that Whizzer was closed for Maxx Force construction so it may be a wildcard as well.

Edited by coasterbill
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^ I got several trimless rides on Diamondback last October. I think even rode the Beast without the trim. Now I was there on a very windy day though which was probably why I got the trimless rides. But I n all my years going to my home park I don’t think I’ve ever got a trimless ride on Bull.

 

Unless you rode the Beast the first few weeks it was open, you did not get a trimless ride. There were always skid brake trims that didn't turn off which were replaced with magnetic brakes that do not turn off a few years back. Just sayin'.

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Its possible that the train was already traveling less fast already heading into it, thus you wouldn't see as much slowdown. The magnetic brakes the ride has installed now slow the train to speed X, not reduce speed by a set amount, so if it's already traveling at or below X, they don't do anything.

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Unless you rode the Beast the first few weeks it was open, you did not get a trimless ride. There were always skid brake trims that didn't turn off which were replaced with magnetic brakes that do not turn off a few years back. Just sayin'.

 

Either way, I had a few frighteningly fast rides on the Beast 1987-1989 (including during the Beast 10th anniversary party in March of '89... in the rain and snow!)

 

People argue endlessly about how the Beast used to be (which usually includes the 1979 POV of the ride, fresh and tight, running very slow during a test run).

 

The discussion is usually ... "well, you were young and you just remember if faster!" No. It was definitely faster on a regular basis. If you got a brakeless Beast ride back then, you knew it. If it went past half-way up the 2nd lift, you got what was (back then) considered a brakeless or near-brakeless ride.

 

1989 was my last fast ride on Beast. By 1992 (we would drive over from Cedar Point on days off), it seemed Beast lost all it's bite. Forward to the 2000s, and another big step-down in speed.

 

Still fun, and will always be special to me, but not but a shade of what it used to be. Bummer to me, but it's life.

 

Since we are in the Great America thread... there is the case of a brakeless American Eagle! What a treat that was. When the track is in top condition AND the brakes are off, I call that "Voyage meets Phoenix." True magic. You could get a taste of that around 2009-2010 when Shapiro was in charge. Eagle was his favorite coaster in the chain, and made sure it was kept in good condition and ran fast, albeit for a short period. It's back to it's usual self, but I still love it. Late 80s was horrible as the wooden track on the out run made it nearly un-rideable. Then they added the hybrid track; it's got that vibration, but it still runs fairly well.

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Unless you rode the Beast the first few weeks it was open, you did not get a trimless ride. There were always skid brake trims that didn't turn off which were replaced with magnetic brakes that do not turn off a few years back. Just sayin'.

 

Either way, I had a few frighteningly fast rides on the Beast 1987-1989 (including during the Beast 10th anniversary party in March of '89... in the rain and snow!)

 

People argue endlessly about how the Beast used to be (which usually includes the 1979 POV of the ride, fresh and tight, running very slow during a test run).

 

The discussion is usually ... "well, you were young and you just remember if faster!" No. It was definitely faster on a regular basis. If you got a brakeless Beast ride back then, you knew it. If it went past half-way up the 2nd lift, you got what was (back then) considered a brakeless or near-brakeless ride.

 

1989 was my last fast ride on Beast. By 1992 (we would drive over from Cedar Point on days off), it seemed Beast lost all it's bite. Forward to the 2000s, and another big step-down in speed.

 

Still fun, and will always be special to me, but not but a shade of what it used to be. Bummer to me, but it's life.

 

Since we are in the Great America thread... there is the case of a brakeless American Eagle! What a treat that was. When the track is in top condition AND the brakes are off, I call that "Voyage meets Phoenix." True magic. You could get a taste of that around 2009-2010 when Shapiro was in charge. Eagle was his favorite coaster in the chain, and made sure it was kept in good condition and ran fast, albeit for a short period. It's back to it's usual self, but I still love it. Late 80s was horrible as the wooden track on the out run made it nearly un-rideable. Then they added the hybrid track; it's got that vibration, but it still runs fairly well.

It's kinda impressive how wrong every paragraph is.

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