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Your captions and thoughts from the trip were perfect. Namely this one

 

Owl 1: "Hey, did you know that there are some pussy enthusiasts who think Thunderhead is rough?"

Owl 2: "I'll believe anything! One time I did PCP and I thought I was having a conversation with an owl!"

 

When I hear people complain about Thunderhead I scratch my head. It's my favorite GCI and manages to do everything that LR doesn't do. It's an amazing wooden coaster 1-2 punch.

 

But I'd say that Lightning Rod is a very close #2 by a hair to El Toro for me

 

After I rode LR, I thought it was my clear #1 wooden if I were to ~rank them~ but after doing a marathon session on El Toro this year it's hard to say. El Toro has some of the best sustained airtime on a coaster... but the airtime onslaught on LR after the 90 degree outside banked top hat through the quad down is truly coaster perfection. It doesn't really matter though cause rankings don't matter and both make it into my GOD TIER of coasters.

 

Thanks for the laughs!

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^^My thoughts exactly on the Econo Lodge. I paid something like $89 a night there. Now, full disclosure, the interior of the actual rooms were definitely Econo Lodge level. Bathroom fan that sounds like a lawnmower, carpeting from 1973, etc. But since they went this hard on the exterior, a quick remodel of the rooms themselves could make this place seriously competitive.

 

Nice report! I live a few hours away from Pigeon Forge. I actually remember when the hotel was built. Surprisingly opened as a Econo Lodge. The demand for hotels in town is really high or low, which results in the wacky prices. I always time my trips right and can stay at one of the nicer Wyndham properties for less than $50

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It doesn't really matter though cause rankings don't matter and both make it into my GOD TIER of coasters.

 

I'll take "things Kanye West would say if he was a coaster enthusiast" for $2000, Alex.

 

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Owl 1: "Hey, did you know that there are some pussy enthusiasts who think Thunderhead is rough?"

Owl 2: "I'll believe anything! One time I did PCP and I thought I was having a conversation with an owl!"

 

Completely spot on in every way! Glad to hear you finally got some rides on LR. It is so very different from El Toro and both are world class coasters.

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So when I visited Dollywood in the last post, it was actually part of a drive all the way to upstate New York to visit family. Who in their right mind would drive the haul from Orlando to upstate New York? Me. I find long road trips to be a great way to clear my mind, take a nice solo trip, stop at random places, etc.

 

I actually hit Great Adventure the day after Dollywood, primarily for El Toro and just to marathon the other coasters that I like there. I realized that I forgot to take any photos, sorry bout it. It was actually a super short day, with rain and lightning in the area inhibiting both the beginning and end of my visit. I got 2-3 rides on Nitro, a spin on Green Lantern, then probably 5-10 rides on El Toro, which was running really great and super smooth this year. I think I rode Kingda Ka once. Honestly, the park is slipping back into it's questionable days. Operations were inconsistent, some areas were good and some were bad. Really bizarre was that they used the line-ticket system on Green Lantern when there was literally zero line. Weird. Nitro's trains looked totally disgusting, with brown sweat stains caked into all the headrests, all the foam peeled off the restraints, etc, you know the look. Two trains, one corner station operations on Ka with the longest line in the park (still only 15 minutes or so). Come on, Six Flags, you're better than this.

 

So, the original plan for the drive back down a week later was to spend the better part of a day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. However, instead of driving down to the lower mid-Atlantic for the night before, I ended up re-connecting with an old friend in New York City, and after a long night of drinking and f*cking (am I allowed to say that on TPR?), I got a super late start and it would not have made any sense to go to BGW for the last 2 hours they were open, so instead I had to scour my mind and the map while sitting in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike. I hatched a plan after verifying park hours. I was going to hit two parks that afternoon and evening, starting with, ohhh yeah...

 

 

Six Flags America

 

I'm going to say something super crazy. I'd rather go to SFA than Universal Orlando. I had something totally mind-boggling happen to me here. I had an iced tea in my hand when I was walking through the metal detector. The person at the gate said, "Sir, I'm sorry but you have to finish that before you can go in. We only allow water or something hydrating like gatorade in". I replied that it was an un-sweetened tea, the purpose of which I'd bought to hydrate myself in the 95-degree heat. The employee said, "Oh alright, yeah I guess that makes sense", then he let me through with it. At this time, I imagined myself standing at the anal cavity search at the entrance to CityWalk. If this exact same situation had happened there, they would have told me to go f*ck myself.

 

That's right, Six Flags America has better service than Universal Orlando. Imagine if I told you that 10 years ago, you would have had me committed. Two week ban. Endless trolling. While on this subject, I also just want to point out that Six Flags America had an old B&M re-built on their property after being shipped from the brutal winters of Chicago. Universal Orlando has sent three B&M coasters to the scrap yard now. Three.

 

I don't really think SFA is a whole lot worse than some of the other Six Flags parks, but where some of the Six Flags parks can get by on their natural setting with hills, trees, etc, SFA is kind of set up for failure by being essentially an empty field, and that's what makes the otherwise normal Six Flags lack of theming that much more blaring.

 

Anyway, sorry about all my paragraphs, here are some things to look at.

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Did you read the forum rules? All SFA reports MUST include a picture of this helix and a comment about it being un-banked and having high lateral forces as a result. Check and check.

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Since the last time I visited back in 2012 or so, Six Flags Great America grabbed one of those fancy new flat-rate UPS boxes and gifted SFA with their wild mouse. These boxes are great, even the sign fit in!

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lol this is cute.

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This is what SFA looks like. A bit of blacktop, a couple of random dead ends, and a train ride through the crabgrass.

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"Hey, IOA, look what we did with an old B&M!"

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Why did they RMC the California one?

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I tried to ride this a few times but it kept going down. Cute how they kept the theming from the old Skull Mountain water ride or whatever it was called.

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IT'S F*CKING THEMING. YOU ASKED, WE ADDED IT.

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Hahahahahaha f*ck no, I have the credit.

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After spending a couple of minutes in the Superman brake run, I got bored and started taking pictures of my face.

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Actually really good airtime hills. This bit of Superman is every bit as good as this part of Expedition GeForce.

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Outdoor Flight of Fear and a new or new-ish Star Flyer.

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As you can see, crowds were just unbearable that day.

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The front car on the older Intamin hypers actually tends to deliver stronger airtime, especially on those bunny hills.

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I will take an Intamin hyper in a field over a field without an Intamin hyper 365/365.

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Did I make the long walk back to Batwing? No, I just didn't feel like it that day.

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Weeee

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This one time when I was a kid, I was on a swingset and one of the chains broke when I was swinging super high, and I fell, smashed my face on the ground, and subsequently cried like a little b*tch.

 

Will I let the same thing happen to me on a 200 foot tower? Hellllllllllllll no.

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Such a chode-y little Skycoaster you have, Six Flags.

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Apocalypse started running again, and since I didn't have the credit, I made my way over there, knowing what I was probably getting myself into.

 

Yeah, it smacked me around the head a lot and I swore many, many times. Can you guys do the thing at Cedar Fair has been doing and floorless the ones that suck?

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I was going to ride in row 1, but after I waited several minutes as they gave no f*cks about getting the train out of the station any time soon, I moved to row 2 just so I could get myself out of there.

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lol, Fright Fest be like

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People always say this, too, but it's true that the entrance area of SFA is really pretty, then the end of this midway is where the theming budget well ran dry.

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"Sorry guys, we spent all the money on the sign"

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As I said in the last post, I actually went to two parks that day. I left SFA in time to get to Doswell, VA 2 hours before Kings Dominion was scheduled to close at 10PM, giving myself an extra hour just in case I-95 decided not to be my friend that day. It was, so I even had time to stop and take my time enjoying some dinner, before arriving at...

 

Kings Dominion

 

I really like this park quite a bit. I always thought it was by far the better "Kings" park, but in the past few years, Cedar Fair has really cranked a lot into the 'Island and has sort of given KD a run for it's money. Now, before everyone goes and yells at me, I know that i305 single-handedly bests every single thing at Kings Island, but I think the totality of that park's line-up feels very complete now, making Kings Dominion seem just a bit lacking. So I'm glad that RMC is coming in for next year, because I think Twisted Timbers is absolutely what the doctor ordered, in addition to balancing the park map away from being so left-side-heavy. If I had to play mental RollerCoaster Tycoon, I'd really love for this park to get something like a GCI woodie or maybe a B&M Invert in the future, but again, that's just what I'd love to see and is based on no knowledge of the park's financials.

 

This was my first time here since 2011, but having most of the credits already and 2.5 hours on the clock, you know what I was here for.

 

Intimidator305 is so awesome. I can think of a lot worse ways to spend an evening than riding Superman at SFA then going and riding i305. But something about this coaster seems to have changed since the last time I rode it. Maybe I was just the proper amount of hydrated or ate the right meal that evening, but back then I had a hard time riding it more than 3 times in a row. I spent over an hour and a half of my visit marathoning it. Back row, front row, middle of the train, just everywhere. It was running so smooth and I loved every second of it. Sure, I still blacked out every single time and it was still every bit intense as I remember it, but it just seems so much more tolerable now. This was one of the best marathon sessions I've ever had, with one train waits or less despite only one train being on the track. This is definitely right in the top few steel coasters I've been on. This ride is totally nuts in the best ways. It's terrifying.

 

Very few pictures from this visit, but still, here you go.

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The Dominion. I would like to see Cedar Fair modernize this sort-of retro entrance plaza here, but without tearing it down. It has tons of character. Just throw up a few screens around it, dig a trench for a big B&M Invert to dive underneath it, Fury-style. Voila!

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I always thoroughly enjoy being Dominated. It's the B&M Floorless that thinks it's supposed to be a hypercoaster!

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About to get on towards the back of the train. This one really packs a punch and does NOT ride like it's a B&M floorless. It's probably the best of them for that reason.

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Blurry af photo, sorry. I didn't have this credit at the time I took this photo and I still don't have it now. Someday I'll get it, but credits aren't that huge a deal to me.

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Volcano, the closed coaster. While I was hoping it would be open, this ride is awesome for the launches, first turn, and inversion, then it kind of does nothing.

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This. Maybe the best steel coaster in the US?

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Anaconda, lol no.

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Some angular magnetic brake magic.

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More magnetic brakes with the twisted layout in the background.

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One train on the track, but that was no problem! Crowds were non-existant and the back row was a one-train wait at best. All the same people just kept going around over and over. From this point on, I spent the next hour and a half or so marathoning the crap out of this incredible coaster.

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Eiffel Tower at night in a slightly blurry photo. I've actually never been up this one.

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And I leave you with a photo of the pretty fountain lights at night. I had a great short visit to KD, I can't wait to come back next year for the new RMC hotness!

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As a bonus, the next day, I got up "early" (for me) and drove the rest of the way home to Orlando to meet a friend who also hadn't yet been on Mine Blower since it had opened about two weeks prior.

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Lots of twisty track here.

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Flying along at warp speed in the comfortable Timberliners!

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Banking like crazy! I realized I didn't get a picture of the inversion, I was too busy snapchatting it!

 

One thing I found just a little bit odd about Mine Blower...it seemed just a tiny bit "rough" for such a new coaster. I'm very careful about how I use that word. At no point did it beat me up or leave me with any sort of spine alterations or anything of that sort. It's not a rough coaster. But it kind of seemed to grind along the track in a way that you might expect a coaster with a few years under it's belt to...not sure if they used a different type of wheel here or what. But this definitely wasn't the case with Switchback last year nor was it the case with Wooden Warrior, even when I rode it a few seasons in. But all the same, a fun coaster and another HUUUGE win for Fun Spot after they added White Lightning a couple of years back. If you're in the Orlando area, please come and give Fun Spot your money so that they can continue to grow!

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^True

 

Thanks for the report. It's been great seeing your summer adventures.

 

When I rode Mineblower right after it opened it felt a little grindy/shuffly to me as well. I went a couple of weeks ago with some friends for night rides and it was riding much much better.

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Well, some time passed between the parks of the last visit and the pretty park-packed trip that I'm about to report on. A couple of months prior, my friends and I were sitting in a bar in Ybor City in Tampa (which I highly recommend by the way), and they invited me to come along on their Chicago trip so that we could all go to Six Flags Great America, club in Boys Town, and eat what would later be revealed to be the most disgusting pizza ever. Under heavy influence of alcohol, I whipped out my credit card and immediately purchased the flight for the same day as my friends in late July and that was that.

 

Since they had planned quite a long weekend with just a few events, and all of us being of the theme park persuasion, I suggested that we add on another park and either go north to Wisconsin Dells or east to Michigan's Adventure. Since we all had Cedar Fair passes already, we decided to hit up good old MIA. So here it is,

 

 

Michigan's Adventure

 

This park is very pretty but definitely has the "old Cedar Fair" feel in a lot of areas as well. It seems like all at the same time, this park, Dorney, and Valleyfair got super corporatized and Cedar Fair poured a sh*t ton of concrete, bought some colorful fences, and had some big signs made. Don't get me wrong, it looks crisp and clean, but it just looks really generic and devoid of charm. However, there are a lot of very pretty and scenic aspects of this park as well, as you'll see in the photos below.

 

Shivering Timbers is a solid above-average woodie. Nothing super amazing, but this is absolutely the star of the park. There's some good pops of floater air in some spots and there's definitely some jarring moments in the back row, especially on (I think) the second hill. The pacing gets a little interrupted by the slow turnaround, and I can definitely say that after a long day where I didn't get much sleep the night before due to an early flight, I started getting sea sick over all the repeated hills from it at the end of the day, so I sat it out for a bit while my friends finished out our day marathoning.

 

There's another woodie, Wolverine Wildcat, which I guess is supposed to be some kind of attempt at a Phoenix clone? Idk, it wasn't very good and honestly didn't even remind me all that much of Phoenix. So maybe a Phoenix clone if all you've seen is a few blurry photos of it. A third woodie for the kids that has a few pops of air and some quick drops.

 

They have a train ride where they literally yell at you for taking photos, which is weird. But we rode it toward the end of the day and I can be a little c*nty if I didn't get enough sleep, so I just snapped back at the lady to kick me out if she wants to stop me from doing so. She didn't.

 

Operations at the park weren't very good but they didn't need to be. The place was pretty much empty and everything was always a walk on, which is a nice break from standing in line half the day to get on Expedition Everest or something. BUT, when the water park cleared out, Shivering Timbers did get about a 5-6 train wait.

 

The park has an SLC that is below-average on pain level, a good thing. They have an old Arrow wild mouse that was f*cking bonkers and I think we rode it about as many times as we did Shivering Timbers. I remember one or two of the hills at the end having almost-ejector air. Even better, they have you hold onto your belongings, so I kept playing "let my bag get airtime" because I'm a stupid b*tch, but it was fun. If they've since changed the policy after seeing me do this, sorrieeee. Quick, to the photos!

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Welcome to Michigan's Adventure! I'm sure the dog told you that you're at a Cedar Fair park that was remodeled in the early 2000s!

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Merry Christmas!

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We actually rode the kiddie woodie first because it was close to the front. Fun and as a bonus, the mini-PTC trains have lap bars that give you a lot of freedom, just be careful if you slam up into it because it's literally just a metal bar.

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My friends who grew up riding Python at Busch Gardens Tampa had a moment with this.

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View out the back of the station shows you some more of Michigan's Adventure's offerings, pretty much all of which are situated close to this pretty lake.

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Shiver Me Timbers. It's really cool that Cedar Fair made this kind of investment into this park, even if it was a very long time ago. The park definitely treats it as their crown jewel, keeping the flowers along the queue walkway in tip-top shape and they even hired the RCT guy to mow the lawn.

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Swing to the right

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Swing to the left

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B*tch train lady was NOT stopping me from taking photos of Shivering Timbers

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Pretty scenery in what is still largely an un-touched part of the country. It's really quaint up here and people are super nice and polite. Except for the train lady. She's not from here.

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Has pain ever been so beautiful? Good thing this one wasn't so bad.

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At this point, we noticed that there was a sign advertising a "beer garden" that we couldn't see anywhere. After walking down a random path, we found what was more of a "beer patio" on the lake, and sat down in some nice Adirondack chairs and chilled for a bit. I didn't get a photo of the beer patio but I did get one of the lake!

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And one of the not-anything-like-Phoenix coaster

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We went on the log flume, which I also didn't get a photo of. But I did get this photo of Shivering Timbers from it!

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Land of Lincoln

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And with that, we left for the day, then drove to the end of the parking lot to get some Shivering Timbers photos

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Gorgeous sunset in what is an absolutely stunning part of the country. I know the park is kind of whatever if we're being honest with ourselves, but the drive up here is nice and it's just a good break to take the park at a leisurely pace and ride what you want, when you want.

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And with that, here's a sh*tty panoramic photo taken with my sh*tty phone. I'm going to be first in line to pre-order the new iPhone on Friday, I swear. I've been holding out for it.

 

Thanks for reading!

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Great TR you've been posting here.

 

I still don't understand why you'd be told, NOT to take photos, from a train ride. I mean....WTF???

Did they have a "secret project" that you might snap a pic of? No? Strange people....

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Great TR you've been posting here.

 

I still don't understand why you'd be told, NOT to take photos, from a train ride. I mean....WTF???

Did they have a "secret project" that you might snap a pic of? No? Strange people....

 

I've had exactly that happen to me there before. "No picture taking on rides." I was asked to produce my Sim card after going on the train and I walked away.

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Six Flags Great America

 

The Six Flags Park that thinks it's a Cedar Fair park. Wow, we were really blown away by this park. We visited during a super-busy Saturday in July and they really had their act together. They got everybody through security pretty quickly when we arrived soon after park opening, with smiling, friendly employees. We then walked in, not with the thought of "let's see if we need Flash Pass today", but "which Flash Pass are we going to get today?" on our minds. We decided to walk in just a bit, see how lines were shaping up, and go from there. As we stood by Joker, which was still completing it's morning tests and about to open, the absolutely huge line forming finalized our decision to go for the Platinum level.

 

Just as I was saying the words, "Alright, let's go find the Flash Pass center", I hear "Hey, you guys need Flash Passes?", from behind me. An Accesso-uniformed employee was walking up with a plastic tub full of Flash Passes, another employee at her side. This was a brilliant idea that she told me they were testing at their park, and I hope they expand this practice. There was a slight glitch in getting my credit card processed, as I think they were out of range or something, but the other employee ran to process it quickly, while she stood with us and we all chatted for a minute. She was really upbeat and friendly, a theme we'd see from pretty much everyone on this day.

 

I'll mostly let my photos do the talking, but please, Six Flags, use this park's operations as a model. The park was clean and looked great, employees seemed well-trained and friendly, operations ran smoothly and efficiently. My group and I all came away thinking this is probably the best Six Flags park or close to it, but it was easily the best Six Flags experience.

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I didn't realize we were turning into the park until the last second, so I snapped the sign photo quick.

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Kind of Great Adventure-esque in the way that you walk up to the entrance by walking around the Superman flyer clone to your left. Also Great Adventure-esque in the way that both parks removed the same huge old Arrow loopers in their front corners, albeit at different times.

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Walking in from the main entrance, where Joker was still in it's morning testing phase and sporting an enormous line. This was a beautiful Saturday in July, so of course it was going to be slammed today.

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After snagging our awesome Platinum Flash Passes, we weren't waiting around for Joker to finish testing. Oh no, we headed straight back to RMC land.

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I actually had super low expectations for Goliath, based on things that people say. You can't always believe what you read on the internet. Yes, it has kind of a short layout, but the first drop is every bit as good as the ones on Outlaw Run or Lightning Rod, then you get an action-packed twisty layout with sweeeeet moments like the insane dive through head chopper heaven, the awesome sustained hangtime through the roll, and even a moment or two of airtime. Goliath absolutely delivers and we immediately re-reserved it and took 2-3 laps.

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Fun, themed Splash Battle in the middle of a Six Flags park? Definitely a win and we saw a lot of people having fun here throughout the day on and off the ride.

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Okay, there had to be something Six Flags-y about the park, right? I give you this dis-assembled flat ride just kind of sitting there in the open.

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Yeah, if you could not get stuck upside down, that would be great.

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Off to the Southwest Territory. This was a really nicely-done area, again, top notch for Six Flags.

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I took some photos of Raging Bull before we actually went and rode it. But I'll tell you about it now. It's too bad that more of the pre-drop B&M hypers didn't happen. The pre-drop on Raging Bull and Apollo's Chariot really makes these drops the best on this type of coaster. If you're sitting in the back row, get ready for a great kick into that drop!

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Bull's turn-around. While it's nothing super crazy, Raging Bull really was a breath of fresh air compared to the "Nitro copy and paste" B&M hyper layouts. It had some fun, swoopy turns in the beginning, followed by a second half that's full of laterals and fun little moments. It's kind of disorienting, but a fun way to fly around in a B&M hyper train. Overall, a solid ride.

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No, we weren't headed for the drop tower, we were headed for the excellent JB's Smokehouse. If you read coasterbill's report, you'll hear him rave about this place and he's 100% right. It's a shame I didn't get any photos inside, but they did a good job of creating a sports bar atmosphere with TV screens, booths to sit at, and tables in the middle. The menu featured great barbecue, definitely way above theme park standards. I got some kind of pulled pork or pulled chicken or something, but it was really good and they hit the barbecue sauce recipe just right. What's more, they had a good bar/beer selection and it was a chill space to hang out and take a break from the park for a little bit. Six Flags really got it right on this and I hope they expand these to more parks.

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Okay, this was the point where we actually went and rode Raging Bull for real. Note the 45 minute wait. That's with them cranking out trains running either 2 or 3.

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It's hard not to be impressed by this. What a massive wall of wood.

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Speaking of wood, we went on the weird scavenger hunt to find the Flash Pass entrance for Viper next. It's definitely a good "Cyclone clone" but it seems this coaster has seen better days. It seemed slowed down in a few spots where it could have run faster and a little bit of shuffling. It would be nice for Six Flags to return this to what it's capable of being.

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There's definitely a lot of head choppers in this park.

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Next we went and rode the classic Schwarzopf, Whizzer. Things like this are why we found Great America to be one of the best, if not the best Six Flags. What a nice coaster the whole family can ride, where you can just fly through the trees in a train with minimalist restraints.

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Some more of the beauty of this coaster. I hope this coaster stays in place for more decades to come.

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It wouldn't be a "big four" Six Flags park without the staple, Batman The Ride

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I thought it was kind of strange for this to be an Intamin Impulse with a straight spike lacking a holding brake. Regardless, these coasters pack a big punch with their alarming launches. Just mind the magnetic slow down at the end of the ride, I feel like I'm about to puke every time that happens.

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Nothing but sky and coaster

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X Flight is still super popular at this park. Note how far back we were, even in the Flash Pass line.

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Next, we'd begin the long walk back to American Eagle. It's really tucked away in a far-flung corner of the park. American Eagle was fun but could use a little bit of love in terms of maintenance, which seems to be the case with the traditional woodies here. Some jackhammering in hills was definitely present.

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You randomly end up on the Skycoaster platform while walking back to American Eagle, which was odd but cool.

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I wanted to keep this update to one post, so I leave you with a photo I took from the upper deck of the park's iconic carousel. What a great day at this park, definitely one of the best days I've ever had at a Six Flags. I'll absolutely be coming back here, keep this trend going!

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This is a fun report to read since we pretty much just did this trip

 

Great report. I agree completely about Great America. It seemed way too nice and well run to be a Six Flags park.

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I'm really happy to see glowing reviews from the park this year, since this was the first year living in Chicago I did not buy a pass due to subpar visits every other time in 2015/2016. Anti-jinx???

 

JB's is really solid and their Long Island "Goliath" drink that comes with tapioca style mango juice balls is delicious and intoxicating.

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