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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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On 1/30/2022 at 9:07 PM, CedarFlags said:

I might be taking a trip to Chicago this spring.  The calendar on the website is totally blank right now, anyone know when the park tends to announce opening day?

Still no announcement, but the first event is Physics day on April 28th. That indicates opening day will be towards the end of the month if that helps. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Officially headed to the park during the first week of May for my first visit.  Any advice for a first timer?

Also... any Cadvice / recommendations for the area in general?  Not opposed to driving an hour or so to see something cool.

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It can be chilly in May especially if it's windy so bring a sweatshirt or light jacket. Use the Washington St entrance to get in the park faster. You can also exit that way at the end of the day. Get Maxx Force, Goliath, and Joker out of the way first. They have the longest lines due to lower capacity and frequent periods of down time. Ride the other coasters and flats in whatever order you please. Half the coasters are clones so that may help you prioritize. 

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7 hours ago, CedarFlags said:

Officially headed to the park during the first week of May for my first visit.  Any advice for a first timer?

Also... any Cadvice / recommendations for the area in general?  Not opposed to driving an hour or so to see something cool.

@IntaminLove covered the bases pretty well. I like eating at Strutters. If you want to get in the Chicago spirit you could go to Big Lou's for Italian beef.

Chicago is within an hour, but obviously requires a hefty time commitment, there's so much to do. Maybe see if the Cubs are in town!

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21 hours ago, IntaminLove said:

It can be chilly in May especially if it's windy so bring a sweatshirt or light jacket. Use the Washington St entrance to get in the park faster. You can also exit that way at the end of the day. Get Maxx Force, Goliath, and Joker out of the way first. They have the longest lines due to lower capacity and frequent periods of down time. Ride the other coasters and flats in whatever order you please. Half the coasters are clones so that may help you prioritize. 

Thanks!  I'm planning on springing for a Flash Pass and I also have half a day I could use to go back in case it's totally slammed or stuff is down.  The clone I'm looking forward to is Batman, lol.

 

19 hours ago, Dan the Coaster Man said:

@IntaminLove covered the bases pretty well. I like eating at Strutters. If you want to get in the Chicago spirit you could go to Big Lou's for Italian beef.

Chicago is within an hour, but obviously requires a hefty time commitment, there's so much to do. Maybe see if the Cubs are in town!

I'm going to be in Chicago for a day and a half with only a very loose itinerary, so hit me with the recommends.  Bonus points for anything spooky, gay, or just unusual.  Also planning on driving up to Milwaukee for a night since it's not that far from Gurnee.

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You shouldn't need a Flash Pass since it's early in the season. The park should have lower attendance unless we get a random hot day. 

The only things I would recommend to do in Chicago are museums or an architecture tour. I love the Field Museum and can spend the whole day there. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Trip Report from last weekend.  TL:DR - First visit, very impressed.  Visually beautiful, great coaster collection, solid operations.  This park is extremely slept on.

And the coasters... they ALL slap.  This was the shocker for me.  My home Six Flags park is Magic Mountain, and even though it has 20 coasters, it doesn't have 20 good coasters.  I skip half the park every time I visit.  There are NO skips at Great America.  The closest thing to a skip for me would be Demon, but that's literally it.  Everything else is so good.   Missed out on Maxx Force, Joker, and the red side of American Eagle.

Ride Highlights:

Batman - My dearest love.  The OG.  Loved experiencing it over real landscaping instead of gravel and asphalt.  Also the ride ops were KILLING.  I've never seen another Batman clone ever dispatch without stacking.  I didn't even think it was possible.

Raging Bull - I have to admit, I was a hater based just on videos and my general "meh" ideas on B&M hypers.  But this is a good one.  It's not god-tier for me, but it's definitely solid and fun.  Getting absolutely YEETED off the first drop from the back row... amazing.  Also blazing fast ride ops and dispatches on this, so the line moved very consistently.  Magic Mountain could NEVER.

Goliath - It's funky but I liked it.  I definitely understand why RMC aficionados don't rank this higher, but it's one of those situations where... even a low-tier RMC is still objectively a great coaster.

X-Flight - Surprise hit of the trip for me.  I've only been on one other B&M wing coaster (Gatekeeper) and I didn't care for it.  But X-Flight seemed much less rattly and the pacing is also waaay quicker.  The turns above the water and the roll through the building are great.  Downside was one-train ops.  That line was pretty slow.

American Eagle - Only got to ride Blue, I've heard that Red is the crazier side.  But even still, super fun.  I love the feeling of gaining more speed as you go down the helix and it starts to feel more out of control.  And it's not really all that rough.

Viper - Absolutely slaps, especially in the front.  Definitely a sleeper hit.

Whizzer - Being inches away from the ground on those turns was super exciting.

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Yeah, I rode Raging Bull last summer for the first time in almost 20 years, and while I didn't enjoy the overall ride as much as I did in my teens, that first drop is still amazing in the back row. The bottom of the train just dropping out from under you is so much fun!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all-hoping the group can help me out here. I haven't been to Six Flags Great America in a few years now, but would like to take my 4.5-year old daughter next week in celebration of being done with pre-school. I am aiming for Thursday, June 2nd. Assuming the weather is good, are kids rides (i.e., Little Dipper, Kidzopolis, Camp Cartoon) reliably open even if there's a light crowd? Or would it be safer to go on Friday or even a weekend sometime? Any other advice regarding operations on kid rides (which I have never frequented before)?

The drive to the park is about an hour each way for us, and obviously I don't want to hype it up and then get there and have her be disappointed by rides being closed.

Thank you in advance!

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Little Dipper has been open!  I'm not sure about the other kiddie rides, but these folks at Six Flags Great America Junkies on facebook might be your best source https://www.facebook.com/groups/2328379897405728 

 

This past Tuesday, lots of everything was closed, including 4 coasters.  Staffing is low because high school is still in.  Upon exiting the Raging Bull queue, there was a group of young people starting in with eachother, and then it got LOUD and physical.  They were blocking the exit of RB near the on-ride photo booth.  I was there with 2 friends and it took us a bit of hanging back and strategy just to get out of the mess.  Then it nearly followed us, bad times.  I'm a 6-1 grown adult man, and I was scared.  On a side note, everything has a fresh coat of paint, and is running like new, tight and in top condition.

 

Have you considered Santa's Villiage?  It's VERY clean, safe, pretty and fun... they have lots of great rides (including a terrifying drop tower that puts the BIG corporate park towers to shame - not that your daughter would be ready for that.)  Also, Little Amerricka in Marshall, Wisconsin (about another hour north, then west) is a hidden gem.  It's a showcase of 50's rides that all run like new, with a 20 or 30 minute long miniature train ride through the farms - with animals, including a zebra.  Frankly, I often have more fun there than at Great America.  Their Little Dipper called "Meteor" runs all-manual, and you "go round" anywhere from 2-5 times.  Just thought I'd through that in, but if your daugher has her heart set on Great America... then it's gotta be Great America.  I remember waiting to go for the first time as a kid, and it meant everything.  Hope it all works out in your favor and congrats on your daughter's graduation!

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25 minutes ago, JT325 said:

Little Dipper has been open!  I'm not sure about the other kiddie rides, but these folks at Six Flags Great America Junkies on facebook might be your best source https://www.facebook.com/groups/2328379897405728 

 

This past Tuesday, lots of everything was closed, including 4 coasters.  Staffing is low because high school is still in.  Upon exiting the Raging Bull queue, there was a group of young people starting in with eachother, and then it got LOUD and physical.  They were blocking the exit of RB near the on-ride photo booth.  I was there with 2 friends and it took us a bit of hanging back and strategy just to get out of the mess.  Then it nearly followed us, bad times.  I'm a 6-1 grown adult man, and I was scared.  On a side note, everything has a fresh coat of paint, and is running like new, tight and in top condition.

 

Have you considered Santa's Villiage?  It's VERY clean, safe, pretty and fun... they have lots of great rides (including a terrifying drop tower that puts the BIG corporate park towers to shame - not that your daughter would be ready for that.)  Also, Little Amerricka in Marshall, Wisconsin (about another hour north, then west) is a hidden gem.  It's a showcase of 50's rides that all run like new, with a 20 or 30 minute long miniature train ride through the farms - with animals, including a zebra.  Frankly, I often have more fun there than at Great America.  Their Little Dipper called "Meteor" runs all-manual, and you "go round" anywhere from 2-5 times.  Just thought I'd through that in, but if your daugher has her heart set on Great America... then it's gotta be Great America.  I remember waiting to go for the first time as a kid, and it meant everything.  Hope it all works out in your favor and congrats on your daughter's graduation!

Thank you for the thorough response! I have lots of fond memories of going to Six Flags as a kid-the progression to bigger and bigger rides was great. A shame to hear there are fighting issues at the park-I probably ignored that when I was child-less. Will join the Facebook group as well and keep tabs on how things go at Six Flags-would still like to make it out there this year. If I could be guaranteed everything is open, it'd be great-I just can't roll the dice with a 4-year old.

But I really appreciate the information about Santa's Village! It looks like a more appropriate theme park introduction for a 4-year old, and it's closer to boot. Will probably aim to go next Saturday then, weather permitting. My daughter has been promised Six Flags but is too young to really know the difference, I think Santa's Village will look more appealing to her anyways. Little Amerricka also looks great, but that drive would be too much-perhaps if we're passing through that way someday.

 

Thank you!

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^Sure thing.  Driving into the park when I was little... couldn't contain myself in the car!  Rides zipping everywhere (now we play the "is the park open?" game when driving up to any Six Flags; you can often go for what seems like a long time and see NO coasters moving).  I don't think there were many fights when I was little (early 80s).  I so remember people being helpful and friendly, and having fun.  But lines moved FAST, plus it was long before social media and pay-to-cut

Hope you guys enjoy Santa's Villiage!  I'm bound to get out there this summer - even us big kids love it!  Don't miss the tree house slide.  YOU can go down it too!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does Maxx Force still have an operating curfew due to the noise issue? I know it was 8pm for a while. 
 

Haven’t heard anything this year… but did the new rocks and hill they added solve the problem?

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On 5/26/2022 at 6:25 AM, JT325 said:

Upon exiting the Raging Bull queue, there was a group of young people starting in with eachother, and then it got LOUD and physical.  They were blocking the exit of RB near the on-ride photo booth.  I was there with 2 friends and it took us a bit of hanging back and strategy just to get out of the mess.  Then it nearly followed us, bad times.  I'm a 6-1 grown adult man, and I was scared.

How did you enjoy the new corporate premium experience?

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^I think they are doing a great job on the park this year, much better than the past few.  And I typically think Six Flags' parks do everything wrong, so it feels good to say the opposite.  Plus, Great America continues to take immaculate care of our classic coasters and rides, leaps and bounds over the other SF parks.  Down to Whizzer's perfectly upholstered green seats and padding, awesome to see.

A park cannot control all guest behavior.  If they hadn't designed their queues and stations overwhelmingly frustrating*, these things would happen less.  Personally, I'm fine with paying more for a nicer experience.

*Single turnstyle on the exit side of stations - turnstyles belong at station fronts, and there should be multiple station exits.  Six Flags loves super-long exit pathways (keep the guests busy, work up appetite and thirst; this also extends the ride experience (not in a good way).  There are a few things they can do about all that poor design now, but going forward it would be nice to design stuff for crowd flow (see most other parks, including other large non-SF coaster parks).

The Joker coaster was designed with a HUGE back-and-forth queue.  When there is no line, you still are required to walk back and forth a bunch of times; there are no open/close pass-through gates (those typically found at every other amusement park).  This sets up a situation where teenage employees have to stand there annoyingly (including to themselves) and repeat "go around/walk all the way around/don't jump over/don't jump the rails."  Of course people will try to jump over or under, it's absurd to walk back and forth through and empty queue that many times.  Design a system where you don't have to constantly correct your guests.

Six Flags just doesn't have the good daily-working relationship with guests that many other places have.  Hopefully stuff continues to change. 

I got a bit away from your question, but anyway ✌️ think I made some good points.

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On 6/15/2022 at 11:48 AM, JT325 said:

The Joker coaster was designed with a HUGE back-and-forth queue.  When there is no line, you still are required to walk back and forth a bunch of times; there are no open/close pass-through gates (those typically found at every other amusement park).  This sets up a situation where teenage employees have to stand there annoyingly (including to themselves) and repeat "go around/walk all the way around/don't jump over/don't jump the rails."  Of course people will try to jump over or under, it's absurd to walk back and forth through and empty queue that many times.  Design a system where you don't have to constantly correct your guests.

When The Joker at Great Adventure opened, it had the same sort of extended funhouse queue as the one out here. Same sort of issue. The line never got long enough for people to need to utilize it, and there was no quick passthrough, so it frequently involved a lot of people hopping or ducking over rails.

I believe it was during its sophomore season that they ended up removing a set of rails along the left hand side to allow people to more easily cut through the funhouse section. I'm honestly surprised they haven't done the same at other installations of this ride by this point.

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