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Great stories, especially Log Jammer and American Eagle. Glad you liked the double-down; the other flume, Yankee Clipper, is a single drop, but it does have cool New England fishing boats rather than logs. American Eagle is way the hell out there, but totally worth the walk when it's racing. I love too, that Six Flags thinks, "We could fix Viper, or we could just market how bad it is" and of course they went with the latter.

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Some quick thoughts:

 

- I think Goliath is my favorite RMC so far thanks to those elements you so eloquently described better than I ever could (granted my lightning rod ride doesn't count because it was all a wtfjusthappenedblur and I never really fully got to take it all in) ... ahead of wicked cyclone and storm chaser (while a cool ride and should be amazing in theory, it was just too uncomfortable for my body type towards the end)

 

- lol at the American Eagle queue adventure! Legendary!

 

- Sucks that viper sucked. I liked it a LOT (forwards) --- I'll give it a shot in October if it's still running backwards and report back.

 

- Raging Bull is a GREAT ride and I'm glad you're not a RagingBill about it. (See what I did there? I'm sorry.)

 

- Fantastic report and great writing as usual. Keep it up man, I love these reports so much.

 

It's such a great park and I'm excited to go back on a Friday Night in October. With the limited time, I might forgo the haunts and just ride Goliath as much as I can 8) (Amanda might actually let us skip the haunts for once because: a. She will finally see what a six flags fright fest is like when we go to California -- b. She has told me several times Goliath is the best ride she had ever been on so she will want reride after reride ---- but they have such a great selection of other rides I need to ride, too. First world problems.

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Great report, and nice to see another Raging Bull fan. It's probably my favorite first drop on a steel coaster, and when you throw in the unique layout- it's a winner. SFGAm really is a solid park. It's my home park, so there is something to be said about familiarity dampening the experience to an extent- but I really do appreciate what we've got going on here. It's as well rounded a Six Flags park as Georgia's.

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Sounds like perhaps SFGAm may have possibly made some strides to improving customer service and overall operations within the past couple of years?

 

I know that a lot of parks can be hit or miss in those departments depending on weather (in particular, oppressive heat), large crowds and employees having to deal with almost non-stop idiocracy, which can then cause a negative experience for the rule abiding, polite guests. I haven't read of quite as many people complaining about this park or SFOT as much this year (other than food lines and lines at rope drop), so maybe (hopefully) they took those negative complaints and worked on addressing them.

 

Great report on yet another park that has been on my radar for a while. They do have a great looking line-up of coasters and rides and I would like to make it out there one day - hopefully when they get Viper running properly again.

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Sounded like you had a really comparable time to my first visit to Great America, Bill, right to the random downpour out of nowhere in the middle of the day. Only thing was, in my case, the rain happened right as we were walking to American Eagle. "Oh, it'll be fine," I told my kiddo, "we'll be in the station momentarily."

 

How f*cking wrong I was.

 

I'm still amazed that you had such a different opinion of Viper Backwards. We ended up riding it twice, once in the front/back row, and once in the back/front row (okay, well, second from the back/front, because they had the actual front row of the train roped off due to broken seat restraints). And my kid's usually pretty critical of any ride that beats him up. Last year's visit to Cedar Point, his roller coaster adventure ended early after a particularly rough ride on Mean Streak where he didn't want to ride any more roller coasters for the rest of the day, and this year at Cedar Point he ended up being one and done on Corkscrew, immediately swearing it off with a vehement "I'm never going to ever, never, never EVER ride that Corkscrew EEEEEVER AGAIN!". And yet he came back for seconds on Viper. Personally, I thought it was fine, not great nor terrible, I just thought it was interesting to go through the familiar Cyclone layout backwards for once (okay, twice in this case).

 

It's crazy how much Goliath gets crapped upon by enthusiasts for its length. Would I like it to be a bit longer? Yeah, sure, who wouldn't? But as far as what was built and what we got, it's still a stupid amount of fun. That zero-G stall is absolutely amazing and unlike anything else I've ever experienced. If Six Flags ever cloned a RMC I wouldn't mind seeing one of those down the turnpike at Great Adventure, haters be damned.

 

Oh yeah, and Whizzer is awesome. I can't believe they were actually legitimately considering tearing it down.

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I just devoured both parts of your SFGAm report and absolutely loved it. Haven't been since 2012 when X Flight was new so now your report has me thinking about possibly making it there next year. Despite having Steel Vengeance close to home I need to check out Goliath.

 

Personally I think X Flight is better than Gatekeeper. For some reason the coaster's smaller, more compact layout seems to have a better flow to it than drawn out elements on GK (though I do like GK's turnaround after the keyholes).

 

I don't know why I was surprised but I was happy that you loved Raging Bull. I don't understand the hate for it either. It's still my number one steel even though there have been a few coasters that almost dethroned it. After a long day at the park I would marathon that ride for the last hour or so before park closing.

 

Was Dark Knight running without brakes? I remember the first time I rode it I couldn't believe how wicked that ride was as it wasn't heavily braked at all like most mouse coasters I've been on.

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Great reports as always, I've never really paid any attention to Great America just because I haven't had the time to get out that way for a trip but reading that you think Raging Bull is way better than Nitro has me really curious and wanting to plan a trip now just because I love Nitro so damn much. I've also loved every B&M hyper that I've ever been on though so maybe I'm just not that picky lol

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I've been meaning to comment for a while, but time always seems to get away from me. Your reports are fantastic! I've enjoyed every one of them. Thanks for taking the time to put them together.

 

I'm also glad to hear you enjoyed Great America. It's my home park and I love it most of the time. I've always thought Raging Bull is usually underrated by most. The pre-drop makes the first drop spectacular in the back row, and it's my favorite drop in the park. Your experience on the log flume was quite entertaining.

 

Again, thanks for sharing your stories!

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Aw yeah, finally all caught up. I had a seen a few preview posts and knew you had a good time at the park, and your report details it well. I feel like each visit it's a toss up between Eagle and Viper on which ride is going to rough you up a bit.

 

Couldn't agree more on the explanation of the zero g stall. It really does feel like time stops for a moment. And yeah that airtime hill is pretty stellar.

 

Welcome to the Raging Bull fanclub. One of the best drops and that twister section is awesome! I'll never forget the ERT session at midwest bash which firmly cemented my praise for this ride.

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I find it hilarious for a guy that never used to write reports, and even starts this thread by saying that, that this has turned into this massive report fest, each one better than the last. Your words are forever entertaining to read, Bill.

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Something that I really love about your perspective is that you go in expecting to have a good time and don't give a damn about what "enthusiasts" say about a ride or park.

 

So often, you read about someone's visit to a park and want to ask if there was anything enjoyable or worthwhile about a park,l as all they have done is bitched and nit-picked the place to death. I know that you will always find the things to enjoy, and if a ride is crap - you will say it is crap, but seem to have a good time coming up with words to describe just how crappy it was!

 

Thanks again for the reports and pictures!

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Wow! Thanks for all the comments guys! It's awesome reading your feedback (even if I don't respond to everything since that would be a never-ending megapost for this one). I know I keep saying this but I'm still amazed that anyone gives a sh*t so thanks a ton!!!

 

I'm also glad the closeted Raging Bull fan club is coming out of the woodwork.

 

I find it hilarious for a guy that never used to write reports, and even starts this thread by saying that, that this has turned into this massive report fest, each one better than the last. Your words are forever entertaining to read, Bill.

 

Yeah I can't believe it either. Thanks dude!

 

Anyway, on to the next one (which I wrote a few days ago on a flight to Orlando).

================================================================================

 

Greetings again from Allegiant Airlines. This is where all my best trip report writing happens since there's no wifi and absolutely nothing better to do. I am double fisting Mich Ultras though and that's a necessary part of my trip report writing process.

 

Also, this has nothing to do with my trip report or anything but there's a kid behind us who keeps kicking the seat and screaming and I just want to say once again how happy I am that we're never having kids. If Brit ever catches a case of baby fever (not likely), I'm booking a $30 flight to Disney World immediately. Holy sh*t. Thank god for Beer.

 

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Please make this kid shut up...

Anyway, moving on from that, here's the next installment of our Chicago Road Trip trip report. It's nice to reminisce about simpler times where we were traveling by car and if someone was sitting behind me kicking the seat I could pull over and throw them out of the car in Hammond with a GoPro and we could watch the hunger games unfold in real time.

 

Okay sorry, sorry. I'll stop.

 

Anyway, after spending 2 days at theme parks we figured Sunday would be a great day to see what else Chicago had to offer. Initially our plan was to park somewhere downtown, visit the Shedd Aquarium in the morning, hit the Cubs game in the afternoon and then finally check out either the Willis (Sears) Tower or John Hancock Tower observation deck before getting a head start on our drive home. We did end up having to change that plan a little, but I think it worked out for the better. More on that in the next installment...

 

Since our internal clocks were still on Eastern Time we had no trouble getting into the city bright and early, parking the car, loading up some subway cards and getting to the aquarium in time for a 9:00 AM (central) opening. The drive in was really exciting as we got some awesome views of the skyline so by the time we parked the car we were definitely pretty hyped up for our day in Chicago.

 

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Good Morning from the Windy City, which surprisingly enough is NOT Sandusky, Ohio. The more you know...

One cool thing about the Shedd Aquarium (and there are a LOT of cool things about the Shedd Aquarium) is that it's located on a Peninsula in Lake Michigan so you're treated to some amazing views of the skyline. Honestly, it's probably one of the best spots to view the skyline in the whole city (though I'm no authority on that).

 

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Brit wasn't impressed with the skyline. She grew up in the middle of nowhere, North Carolina but after spending less than a decade in New York she's now become the perfect little arrogant New Yorker. Lol

 

Personally I thought it was awesome.

 

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Taken outside the aquarium. DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Bears

Anyway, as you know we're big fans of zoos and aquariums and as aquariums go, this was quite possibly the best we've ever seen.

 

This place had all of the usual suspects... Sea Lions, a sh*t ton of fish that nobody cares about, touch pools (though this one did feature a cool Lake Erie deathfish that was ugly as sh*t, like god damn), and some really cool jellyfish but it also featured some really unique animals like Beluga whales, Pacific White Sided Dolphins and a f*cking Anaconda.

 

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I tried to hold things up to the glass to get him to take a more photogenic pose but he didn't want none.

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Unlike SeaWorld, this place lets you look at the penguins WITHOUT freezing your balls off.

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Please make this kid shut up...

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Please make this kid shut up...

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Much to my dismay, they didn't offer cups of butter and crab crackers at the gift shop.

After walking around the aquarium for a few hours and checking out all of the exhibits, we decided to end our visit by checking out their aquatic presentation.

 

The aquatic presentation is really cool as it takes place all the way in the back of the aquarium with a giant glass window in the back that creates a sort of infinity pool effect with Lake Michigan. Right before the show, a canvas closes in front of it that they're able to project images onto. It's an awesome effect and a brilliant idea.

 

The dolphins were the stars of the show but there were a bunch of cool cameos from other animals too, including a penguin that walks right by the front row (so get there early and sit up front) and even a dog that was rescued by the aquarium. While it's a total ripoff of One Ocean at SeaWorld, it's a great presentation and it was a great way to end our time at the aquarium.

 

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Please make this kid shut up...

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... seriously, this is some Michael Jackson sh*t (but not the creepy Michael Jackson sh*t, just the cool Michael Jackson sh*t

Going in I was kind of worried we would be rushed at the aquarium but I actually felt like we spent the perfect amount of time there. I highly recommend this place but it's absolutely worth getting there early. When we left there was an enormous line of people waiting to come in. We definitely got there at the perfect time and overall we absolutely loved it.

 

After a 15 minute walk back to the red line (which conveniently would be the only subway line we needed that day), we scanned our cards and (still reminiscing about how much we loved that aquarium) boarded an uptown train to Addison. The aquarium was cool, but we had some bucket list stuff to take care of.

 

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Wrigley Field!!!

Brit and I have always been big baseball fans, and we always love checking out new ballparks (both minor league and major league) but as any baseball fan knows there are two ballparks that really stand alone as can't miss destinations.

 

One of those is Fenway, a century old classic in Boston which we had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago) and the other is Wrigley, the oldest ballpark in America. It's an undeniable classic and it absolutely lived up to the hype.

 

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I loved the catwalks up to the upper deck.

For someone who spends way too much time at the abomination of a ballpark in the Bronx that replaced Yankee Stadium, visiting a true classic like this is really a treat. While old ballparks do suffer from things like obstructed view seats, small concourses and lack of modern amenities, they more than make up for it by offering a personality and charm that can't be duplicated. The Cubs were playing the Braves, and since we didn't have a dog in the fight we opted to cheer for the Cubs but the game was really secondary. Wrigley was the star.

 

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The Cubs got killed, but honestly who cares?

Around the 5th inning, I saw someone walking around with a box of pizza from Giordano's which (according to most review sites) was one of the best, if not THE best places for deep dish pizza in the city.

 

We knew we wanted to get some deep dish while we were in Chicago so this is something we were seriously hyped up for.

 

Initially I assumed that getting pizza in the stadium might not be the same as getting it elsewhere (which we planned to do) but after doing a little Googling I saw that everyone raved about the amazing pizza at Wrigley and how it was just as great as it was at their full locations so we happily got in line and ponied up the cash for two genuine personal deep dish pies.

 

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.. Chicago, we need to talk

WTF is this sh*t? Now I know I'm about to get some responses from people saying that it's moderately better at their full service location which I don't doubt or that I should have gone to some other place instead but honestly... nah.

 

I promise you if I went to the second, third, fourth or even 50th best pizza places in New York it would still be one of the greatest things I've ever tasted. We went to some pizza place in Montreal that was ranked 18th or something and it was f*cking orgasmic. This sh*t is a joke and a complete embarrassment to pizza. It was freshly made and the cheese was clearly fresh, high quality and awesome but overall it was a greasy sh*t pizza soup in a bread bowl. I've got to say, deep dish is a mess. Living an hour from New York City there were a lot of things I was admiring about Chicago (like a much better subway system and awesome lakefront park area) but what even is that pizza? Score one for the Empire State. Lol

 

Anyway, while the pizza was a letdown, Wrigley absolutely wasn't. We had an absolute blast and actually being there was almost a surreal experience. I'll admit that I did commit a bit of a sports fan sin and when it became clear that the Cubs were six degrees of f*cked we did bail with a half inning left to beat the crowds to the subway but we didn't REALLY have a dog in the fight and we had things to do and places to see. I'm really glad we got to go to Wrigley though and I'm happy we can cross that one off the bucket list. It absolutely lives up to the hype.

 

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Riding the rails again.

As you may remember from earlier, our final stop in Chicago was supposed to be either the Willis Tower or the similar John Hancock Tower which by all accounts generally has a shorter line.

 

We had actually parked near the tower with the intentions of doing that on the way out, so we took the subway back to the tower, planning to check it out real quick and then head right out from there.

 

On the way from the subway to the tower though, something caught my eye. Right next to the tower is another tower... though admittedly much less impressive. I have no idea why I even knew this, but I pointed to it and said something along the lines of "hey Brit, I think this thing's famous... I don't know why but I think it has to do with the Great Chicago fire".

 

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As it turned out, my instincts were right and I was surprised to learn that I actually retained some random, useless factoid from American History class. Go me!

 

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Do I get a sticker?

We spent about 10 minutes walking around the water tower, admiring the impressive architecture and basking in the glory of actually remembering something from history class before we finally decided to head over to our final destination of the day, the John Hancock Tower.

 

Unfortunately for us, we quickly realized we might be in trouble. We entered the lobby and couldn't help but notice the absolute sea of humanity. As we walked a little further were greeted by a sign that said there was a 3 hour wait to get up in the building and then a 45 minute wait to get back down. Part of me wanted to wait since I'm sure it would have been great, but that's really just a little bit too insane.

 

We were torn, but the thing that really caused us to bail was that while the original plan was to leave Chicago that night, drive a few hours and then finish driving the next day and (hopefully) stop at Cedar Point for one or two rides if we had time since it's on the way home, we realized that if we didn't do the tower we could stay in Sandusky that night, make it for early entry and spend the majority of the day at America's Roller Coast. We agreed that Cedar Point was a heck of a consolation prize so we bailed on the tower, walked to the car, began our trek home and made it to Sandusky right around midnight, all set for an awesome day at the park.

 

As for Chicago, we loved it and we barely scratched the surface when it comes to checking out the great stuff the city has to offer. We WILL be back, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

 

Up next: Cedar Point!

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The Pacific White Sided Dolphins were great. It's really awesome to see an aquarium with dolphins, let alone a unique species like this.

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Go home Dolphins, you're drunk.

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These dolphins are awesome.

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Anyway, as you know we're big fans of zoos and aquariums and as aquariums go, this was quite possibly the best we've ever seen.

 

I think Wildwood sounds better because of how insanely cruel and twisted that goldfish feeding exhibit is.

 

Glad you took time to explore Chicago! I was there on a cold winter day for software training and took the opportunity to go atop the Willis Tower. The queue for the building was massive, but I think the weather kept everyone away as it was a walk-on and I had the entire top deck to myself. Those glass Skywalk booths were really terrifying and awesome. The views even on a slightly overcast day were breathtaking.

 

I didn't try Giordano's. I've had Lou Malnati's every time and it's the best pizza I have ever had. It's definitely heavy, but I don't remember it being exceptionally greasy.

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I've had Lou Malnati's every time and it's the best pizza I have ever had.

 

Yeah we were going to go there, but Giordano's was much more convenient and since there was a hot debate about which was better we just went with that one. Even if one is marginally better, we thought the whole thing was sh*t. I'm probably good on Chicago style pizza for the rest of my life. I'll stick to real pizza like the stuff in New York, Montreal and Elysburg, PA

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Oh my god I could not agree more about the deep dish pizza. When I was in Chicago about a month ago, my friends and I went to the Giordano's downtown location, waited an hour and a half (45 minutes for our table, 45 for our pizzas to be made), and then had to eat the huge disappointment that is deep dish pizza.

 

It's like if somebody made a giant cinnamon bun but put pizza sauce and cheese on it instead of cinnamon and frosting. It's just too doughy and so wrong.

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Woof, a Giordanos at Wrigley? You're brave, haha. I can't imagine how they re-heat/make them to serve at the park. No way in hell that could have been good. Sox stadium is known for food but outside of dogs and popcorn Wrigley isn't trusted.

 

Those lines to visit the Signature Room/Hancock or Skydeck/Sears can be insane. Don't feel too bad about missing out. Just go to the Signature Room next time where the admission price is buying a drink at the bar vs paying whatever they charge tourists to stand and dodge selfies literally one floor up.

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I'm going to throw out a recommendation for Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder. You'll probably have to wait for a bit, the options are kinda limited, and they only take cash. It's somewhat different, cooked in a bowl with the bread on top, then they flip it over to make a bread bowl kinda deal when they serve it to you. Damn is it good.

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