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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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Sorry to rain on your parade,

but many people think tearing down shockwave was a mistake, I certainly do. Superman ultimate flight is great, but I you're tearing down a former worlds fastest, tallest, most inversion mega looper, you shouldn't replace it with a clone! Plus they should have added terrain, obstacles, and other features around suf to make it stand out, but they did nothing! It just flys you around in a way that was designed for other terrain, taking away lots of flying appeal (heck it hardly pulls any Gs and gives zero airtime). If shockwave had a problem and was unsafe, fine then they did the right thing, but suf needs more atmosphere!

 

Tdk.... Ok so you want a family dark ride.... Cool you got a dull coaster that is a starter coaster for hundreds of small theme parks. The theme rocks, but the coaster has no appeal if you've been on it before, even less if there is a line. It's not even a good first coaster, and I think that was the idea. 7.5 million? Maybe worth that if it was a one of a kind, assuming they had to pay 2-3 mil for character rights. Since it's a clone, and they didn't pay that much for theme rights, it's worth about 4 mil... and it has zero resale value. They could have at least used a few other turn types, and differen layout from all wild mouse rides!

 

BB I have not seen in person, but I don't touch the water park (where this belongs) Wisconsin dells is closer, and better, and cheaper! Why drive 4 hours to get wet...? If it was a huge hit I could see it being a good investment, but I hear it was. Ghost town... People do not drove hours to go to bb, they did for Deja vu.... Why didn't they take that 5 mil and fix Deja vu, or replace it with something else. I'm sick of losing coasters for weaker ones, or other rides. It's cheaper and smarter to keep old mega coasters than it is to tear them down an replace them with high dollar less interesting rides... What did they get for shockwave and vu combined? One mil... That's it! What did they spend on tdk suf and bb? Want to tell me how that makes business sense? For that cash they could have added one new signature coaster, and one REAL family coaster, and we'd still have shockwave and vu!

 

I honestly think you guys forget this and mt Olympus are the only real theme parks within the area... I know many people that talk about going every year, but don't because the only coasters that have changed since 03 are deja vu and tdk... Just because someone is local and spends more days at the water park doesn't make them a better customer than someone who drives hours a few times a year to go there, lots of people only go every few years but still spend more than many frequent customers!

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This is life in Illinois. We're everything that's wrong with California, without the view.

Not even funny, man, not even funny.

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^ I wouldn't drive hours to ride some Inverted Vekoma boomerang that was rarely open. I mean really, I actually think the park is better off with BB. It is way more fun in my opinion and it is actually something I would like to see at other parks.

 

Also...

Shockwave had terrible ridership and since when does Six Flags care about history? If a ride is starting to suck they will take it out.

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themeparkman, i totally understand your need to respectfully disagree. I'm just upset with how SFI is handling our park. I want something that makes people think about SFGAm when they talk about the top 10 roller coasters in the nation. I mean sure Whizzer is a living legend in my books but not too many non coaster enthusiasts would agree with me. Demon will always be my most favorite ride there for the fact its a balls to the walls style arrow looper. It doesn't try to apologize for being rough and tumble, it says "Listen, you wanted to challenge the Demon, so come on lets challenge". Plus everyone just sits on a ride and expects to not have to do anything. The Demon actually makes you think about when and how to brace your head.

 

Sorry, I'm a tangent professional.

 

Let me clarify my stance a bit more though.

 

The park is the cleanest it has ever been. There's nothing on the midway. I've seen absolutely everyone picking up trash even with their own bare hands.

The park is the best value its been in years. Sure people would complain if parking was 5 bucks and the entry was 10. You got to remember though think of how much everything costs. You're not just paying for a parking spot, you're paying for everyones salary with that 15/25 bucks. With that said, season passes are cheaper, day passes only cost if you buy them at the gate.

The buffets on special weekends is the greatest thing anyone could have ever invented. I remember reading about Cedar Point doing that and I was like ZOMG THE CP IZ SO MUCH BETTA!!!111!!1!1 Sure enough though Six Flags came through and satisfied both of my desires (coasters and food).

The ride ops are the friendliest they've been in years. They acutally seem to enjoy their job. I'll never forget riding Raging Bull late one night and the ride op was gettin the crowd so pumped up. You would have sworn it was for a concert. He was makin the riders scream, yelling out random facts, getting everyones adrenaline pumping inside the ride queue. The anticipation to ride the ride I've been riding since 2003 was killing me. Now that takes talent.

More franchises inside the park. I know that may sound like a negative but to me it's a great thing. It generates revenue, and shows that companies are willing to invest in Six Flags, speaking of which.

Leasing their name out to foreign parks was the smartest thing ever. I'd love to have someone pay me to use my name and I don't have to anything.

 

The problem I have with SFI is SFGAm has so much potential. You got like what 11M people in the Chicago suburbs. I have no idea how many people are in/near Milwaukee/Racine/Kenosha but I'd venture to guess about 4 million. Don't forget about North West Indiana and pretty much everything along 80/90 and 65 and south western Michigan. SFGAm is great in the community; their board loves them. I mean it's like they could do no wrong at this point... except just keep doing minimal investments in the park while MM gets totally rehabbed (I know, it needed it but still ya know).

 

I mean if you look at all we got going for it, it should be a no brainer that SFGAm should get a major installation soon. I know the rumors of Chang but I've heard some pretty gnarly stuff against the rumors too. It doesn't even need to be a dive machine or a 700 foot giga coaster that also dispenses free beer and tv's. Just something to compliment what we already got going for us. Even if they made the place more themed or brought back some of the Marriott era things (live demonstrations, the costumes). I mean SFGAm was built as the "Disneyland of the Midwest".

 

@Rizash, you forgot about one park, Indiana Beach. Yes I know their not a major park but give it 10 years, they are trying to be. They already got the name and "street cred" to do it. They are already offering season passes and have a very unique steel coaster. It use to just be a fun place to go to on the weekends or if your passing through but they want to become the destination of everything from Chicago to Fort Wayne to Indianapolis. Just wait and see.

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^Hmmm. I respectfully disagree. There is no way an almost billion dollar company does not have a plan for its park. Saying that they don't have a park by park plan is simply absurd.

 

You'd be surprised. I'll agree that from what I'm hearing they don't really have a plan.

 

 

Excuse the typos in my previous post, posted from my phone and I can't correct them.

 

And for my Mod duty for today, rizash, you can use the Edit button to correct any mistakes. No need to double post.

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^Hmmm. I respectfully disagree. There is no way an almost billion dollar company does not have a plan for its park. Saying that they don't have a park by park plan is simply absurd.

 

You'd be surprised. I'll agree that from what I'm hearing they don't really have a plan.

 

Remember we are talking about a company that is deep in debt and in bankruptcy protection right now. You don't get that way having a awesome plan.

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Sorry to rain on your parade,

but many people think tearing down shockwave was a mistake, I certainly do. Superman ultimate flight is great, but I you're tearing down a former worlds fastest, tallest, most inversion mega looper, you shouldn't replace it with a clone!

It was either Shockwave or Whizzer. An Arrow multi-looper that you can ride just about anywhere, and chances are that people would complain about it in the future due to roughness or a classic ride that's one of only two left in the world, opened with the park, and is an excellent family coaster. Take your pick.

 

Tdk.... Ok so you want a family dark ride.... Cool you got a dull coaster that is a starter coaster for hundreds of small theme parks. The theme rocks, but the coaster has no appeal if you've been on it before, even less if there is a line. It's not even a good first coaster, and I think that was the idea. 7.5 million?

Its a family ride, therefore it doesn't appeal to you. It appeals to the family crowd, which is something SF is trying to chase after.

 

BB I have not seen in person, but I don't touch the water park (where this belongs) Wisconsin dells is closer, and better, and cheaper! Why drive 4 hours to get wet...? If it was a huge hit I could see it being a good investment, but I hear it was. Ghost town... People do not drove hours to go to bb, they did for Deja vu....

Now I haven't been on BB, but the ride itself looks awesome! On top of that, its a water ride, like Yankee Clipper/Loggers Run. I've heard noting but good about the ride in generall. It looks like a nice family ride investment considering the fact that many parks are opting for a Splash Battle-type ride to appeal to families. And on top of that, families drive 4 hours to ride BB and all the other rides. It's not meant to be a Intimidator-sized attraction that people will solely drive 4 hours to ride. You can say that families drive 4 hours to ride BB, the other three (or is it four) water rides/other flat rides, see the shows, visit the water park, and (in general) spend time together.

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I went for my yearly trip back in October, and Buccaneer Battle was easily the highlight of the day, and that included a ride on all of the coasters, most of the flats and the skycoaster. Buccaneer Battle is just a generally fun ride, and even on a cold October day there was a line for it. Buccaneer Battle appeals to families, and while it's not something that people "drove hours" for, it's something that will keep them coming back, which is what Six Flags.

 

I've spent three years working in amusement parks (about to start year four), and I can tell you, without a doubt, that water rides are a big draw for any park, even with their often high capacities. Of my three years, I've worked a water ride every year (Snake River Falls at Cedar Point for part of year one, Adventure Falls and Logger's Run at Michigan's Adventure for years two and three), and I've seen more people go through the turnstiles at my rides than some of the big coasters.

 

Sure, I might drive the 9 hours this year to check out Voyage's new trains at Holiday World, but I also plan on going back to Great America this year... because of Buccaneer Battle.

 

My two cents.

 

Jon "the water ride operator" Roost

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and even on a cold October day there was a line for it.

 

Buccaneer Battle with a line? In October? Wow, I went ten times last summer and it was ALWAYS a walk-on!

 

Same. I rode it 15 times in a row without getting off. It's just that the ride has such a high capacity, that it makes the line short or go by really fast. Did you see all the queue switchbacks they built in case of a 2 hours line?!

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Many people think tearing down shockwave was a mistake, I certainly do. Superman ultimate flight is great, but they should have added terrain, obstacles, and other features around suf to make it stand out, but they did nothing! If shockwave had a problem and was unsafe, fine then they did the right thing, but suf needs more atmosphere!

Shockwave was plagued with operational issues throughout its lifetime. Due to the speed and stress of the first vertical loop a track fracture developed and needed attention on a regular basis in order to remain safe for operation. The wheels for the ride were quite expensive and, according to some ride operators, wore out quickly which required a vigilant crew and frequent closures for a period of ten to fifteen minutes for maintenance staff to be dispatched to change them out. And as for S:UF, they have added lots of trees, hills, and other shrubbery to the once dirt land. Sure, a tunnel would be cool, but they have made improvements and I think it looks great. Although you might not like the clone, many people i've talked to love that flying sensation.

Tdk.... Ok so you want a family dark ride....

As someone mentioned before, it's a family ride and won't appeal to you. I still see plenty of lines for that ride during the summer.

BB I have not seen in person, but I don't touch the water park (where this belongs)

I rode Buccaneer Battle and thought it was a great interactive water ride. We lost Splash Water falls and got another water attraction with great capacity and theming. It's because of that capacity you never see a long line for it, but you always see people manning the water guns on the midway.

People do not drove hours to go to bb, they did for Deja vu.... Why didn't they take that 5 mil and fix Deja vu, or replace it with something else.

Deja Vu was also plagued with problems. Because of this, I was never able to ride it during its entire operation. It is much smarter to invest in something that will actually work for a long time then pour tons of cash into a capacity and problem nightmare.

I mean sure Whizzer is a living legend in my books but not too many non coaster enthusiasts would agree with me. Demon will always be my most favorite ride there for the fact its a balls to the walls style arrow looper.

I, like many, love Whizzer. It is a classic and many people and families would be sad to see it go. And Demon is one of the best Arrow loopers still around. it isn't terribly tough, plus many of my younger cousins love that ride. It is still popular.

 

While Six Flags Great America hasn't had a major thrill attraction in a couple years, they have added lots of family and kiddie attractions which the park has lacked. I think it is great to see that they are rounding off the park and focusing on everyone. I'm sure we'll continue to see those improvements and larger ones in the coming seasons.

 

\End Rant

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and even on a cold October day there was a line for it.

 

Buccaneer Battle with a line? In October? Wow, I went ten times last summer and it was ALWAYS a walk-on!

 

Did you see all the queue switchbacks they built in case of a 2 hours line?!

 

I NEVER saw those full! They looked mice, with TV's and shade, but they were just never used.

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Regarding BB, has anyone thought about how the weather may have had an impact on the ride? Last summer was one of the coolest summers we've had in awhile. Now we did have some high temps and muggy days, but nothing like we normally do. If we constantly had high temps and muggy days, I'm sure BB would have been packed and the queue house would have been used.

 

BB is a great ride, it's themed very well and it will be here for awhile.

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and even on a cold October day there was a line for it.

 

Buccaneer Battle with a line? In October? Wow, I went ten times last summer and it was ALWAYS a walk-on!

Saturdays in October the park is usually extremely packed. Granted, the line only took about 15-20 min, but for a ride with a high capacity like Buccaneer Battle and being around 60 degrees out, I really wasn't expecting a line at all.

 

The ride is a great ride, even if people on here don't think so. Six Flags's target market isn't aimed at coaster enthusiasts and teens anymore, it's aimed at families with kids. And people are telling me a ride the entire family can ride and have fun on is a failure? Where in the universe do Family Ride + Family Target Market = Failure?

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^Family Ride + Family Target Market - All the families you thought would show up but didn't = Failure.

I'm all for appealing to families and what hae yous, but why does everyone seem so heelbent on appealing to solely one group? It's either families or teens? It's either kids or adults? If an attraction appeals to "everyone" then said attraction would hae a little something in it for everyone. Take a movie like Shrek for example. It's great for kids, but has jokes and non sequiters that adults would find funny. Most Chuck E. Cheeses' I've been to serve beer.

I know that parks need water rides, and BB fits a nice bill and appeals to a wide range of people, and it's because of that I think it can be a success for a long time. However, I'm not in the mass majority that a kiddie coaster that adults can fit in qualifies it as a "family" coaster. Saying that these type of coasters aren't for the "thrill seekers" or "enthusiasts" is just a cheap cop out. If you use that as a rubric to rate rides, one can never say a ride is "boring", because the counterattack is always going to be "well it wasn't designed for you".

I agree that there are other family friendly coasters in the market today than a mouse-in-a-box. Sierra Sidewinder comes to mind. A custom Tony Hawk comes to mind. A Vekoma mine train comes to mind. It's bold for all of us here to speak of the behalf of families who "love the ride" so much. None of us here either have or can disclose ridership numbers. So we're all just assuming it does well. I've been on the one at GAdv. and I could've gone without riding it. There's nothing that's spectaclar about it. And sure, you can say that it wasn't designed for me to like, but if it were a good ride, I'd ride it anyway, would I not?

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I'm all for appealing to families and what hae yous, but why does everyone seem so heelbent on appealing to solely one group?
The appealed to one group for how many years? In my opinion, that's all they marketed to from 1985 - 2005. Look at the additions then:

1985 - Z Force

1986 - Splashwater Falls

1987 - No additions

1988 - Shockwave

1989 - Rolling Thunder

1990 - Iron Wolf

1991 - Condor

1992 - Batman the Ride

1993 - No additions

1994 - Space Shuttle America

1995 - Viper

1996 - Southwest Territory

1997 - Giant Drop, Skycoaster

1998 - Bugs Bunny National Park, Camp Cartoon Network

1999 - Raging Bull

2000 - No additions

2001 - V2, Deja Vu, Go-Karts

2002 - Turbo Bungy

2003 - Superman: Ultimate Flight

2004 - Mardi Gras, Revolution

2005 - Hurricane Harbor

 

Now, of those years, how many of them was the focus on teens vs. families? Of the 21 seasons I pointed out, 13 of them were EASILY pointed towards teens/enthusiasts, and only 5 were for families. Heaven forbid they try and round out their ride collection by giving families something to do. Put it this way, what group is going to spend more money, the teenagers or the family of four? Where would you spend your money?

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I'm all for appealing to families and what hae yous, but why does everyone seem so heelbent on appealing to solely one group? It's either families or teens? It's either kids or adults? If an attraction appeals to "everyone" then said attraction would hae a little something in it for everyone. Take a movie like Shrek for example. It's great for kids, but has jokes and non sequiters that adults would find funny. Most Chuck E. Cheeses' I've been to serve beer.

 

Let's put this into consideration...

1. Families make up a large portion of the people who visit theme parks. While teens and enthusiasts visit in large numbers, teens don't spend much on merchandise/games and enthusiasts make up a very small portion of the park-visiting population.

2. Look at the success of the family theme park...

- Dollywood

- Silver Dollar City

- all the Disney parks

- all the Busch/Sea World parks

They have huge roller coasters and family/kids attractions and they're hugely successful compared to the SF/CF parks which spent a good deal of time building record breaking B&Ms, Intamins, and prototype coasters.

3. By buildingb rides like Buccaneer Battle, SF is trying to appeal to the audience they left behind starting around the late-80s to the early 2000s. Adding multiple big-budget attractions is also bound to put a company like SF into deep debt. By bringing families with huge checkbooks, SF has a chance to get out of that debt.

4. Look at Cedar Fair! They're been adding big-budget attractions to the former Paramount Parks and yet, they're still in enough debt to be sold to a new corporation.

 

Splash battles are becoming very popular anyway so I'm not surprised by this business decision.

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I agree that Buccaneer Battle looks like a very nicely themed ride, and a good addition to the park...but the only equation I have yet to understand is, who came up with the idea that water = instant family attraction?

 

While I personally love visiting Dollywood, and obviously, MANY people do, I often hear people deciding not to go to the park, complaining that "all Dollywood has are water rides." Granted, this isn't quite true, but when you think about it, the majority of attractions at that park do involve water. Sure, most of them are rides for the family to enjoy together...but the fact is, a large portion of Dollywood's core audience do not like getting wet and having to walk around in soaking clothes all day. Therefore, if avoiding water attractions, there are very few family rides for visitors to experience.

 

 

(So after re-reading this post, I realize it really has nothing to do with Great America...it was just on my mind and I thought I'd throw it out there when the opportunity was provided. Oh well.)

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We lost Splashwater Falls (a water ride) and got Buccaneer Battle (another water ride). To me it just seems like we're filling in the gaps that we made. My little cousin went on it last year and loved it so Bucky appeals to a wide range of people.

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While I personally love visiting Dollywood, and obviously, MANY people do, I often hear people deciding not to go to the park, complaining that "all Dollywood has are water rides." Granted, this isn't quite true, but when you think about it, the majority of attractions at that park do involve water. Sure, most of them are rides for the family to enjoy together...but the fact is, a large portion of Dollywood's core audience do not like getting wet and having to walk around in soaking clothes all day. Therefore, if avoiding water attractions, there are very few family rides for visitors to experience.

This also seems to be very true of BB. You don't just get a little wet on BB, you are soaked head to toe. Mix that in with the very cool weather in 2009 and the ride was destined to have a bad first year.

 

My biggest problem with the ride is just the location. It is almost halfway between the parks other water rides and the water park. In theory it seemed like a grand idea, but it might have made more seance to do the ride like the huge flume at Holiday World who's name is escaping me. Half water park and half dry park. But oh well, the ride is still fun and great that it is always a walk-on.

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^ Personally I really like the rides location. I think water rides should be spread out so then on really hot day people who are visting the park dont have to keep walking from one side of the park to another when they go from rides to a water ride.

 

Btw its called Pilgrims Plunge.

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I really don't get this whole family park vs "hardXcore tpr acer i have a vekoma in my pants" rider mentality.

 

It's like when people complain that the wii is "just for kids and not for the hard core gamer" where as 360/ps3 is for the "hardXcore pwnin n00bs frag master" type person.

 

I feel like everyones missing the real meaning of theme parks. Fun! Who cares what other parks get? Who cares if our b&m is only XXX feet while YYY park is ZZZZ tall. I mean seriously people, is that all we can do anymore is just keep comparing ourselves to other parks and bash what we got? I know a majority of the people though genuinly do love theme parks and don't care if its a 70's arrow or a 2010 B&M hyper super mega twister deluxe sp and for that i applaud you.

 

Everyone bashing BB, have you even sat on it? Have you even experienced the ride at all? Have you seen the kids on the midway smiling from ear to ear as they blast people on the ride? Have you not noticed the kids coming off the ride with even bigger smiles? Me personally, I haven't sat on it (always forget to bring my bathin suit) but just the theming alone shows that SFI has some interest in this park. I know some of you guys are totally thrill seekers and that's great. I also know some of you just like the whole experience of the park and that's just dandy as well. My one friend who can barely ride TDK without feeling sick just loves to walk around the park and go on a few flats. I actually applaud him for that and he applauds the park for having stuff just to look at (the shows, the rides themselves, the flats he does like).

 

All in all, we like to think that Great America was built just for us and we all have an opinion of what she should look like. All in all though, she was just built because they thought it would be a solid business adventure. The good news is it was back then, it is now and with how it's run now it will be in the future.

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