Great Escape is the oddest Six Flags park. To start, it’s the only one whose target demographic isn’t basketball dribbling teenagers. Rather this one targets the families that flock to the Lake George region. For that reason, the park has an undeniable charm in places. But then around the corner you’re have a cruel reminder that you’re at a Six Flags park. But you can rest assured knowing you’re at one of the self-proclaimed cleanest and friendliest parks in the area.
From a coaster perspective, the Comet is the park’s only elite coaster, but it absolutely delivers. And conveniently enough, it’s also the coaster with the shortest wait since it’s the only one that runs multiple trains. It also could be the fact that the Comet is cut-off from the rest of the ride park, as you have to pass through the water park to access the park’s star attraction.
Once you hit the first turnaround, every single hill offers airtime. The airtime isn’t the most forceful, but there are 14-15 moments of floater air. Then when you mix in the powerful laterals on the first and final turnarounds, you have a classic coaster that delivers the whole package. It’s truly astounding how well Six Flags maintains this coaster. 9 out of 10
Maybe they funnel all of their maintenance budget to Comet since they had five attractions down on a Sunday in July. The Alpine Bobsled is having a contest with SFNE’s Goliath to see who can run for less days this year. Desperado Plunge and Condor took the Ghost Town theme a little too close to heart and showed no signs of life. Flying Trapeze appeared to be having some work done on the base. And the Extreme Supernova had a cherry picker set up next to the attraction.
Their new for 2018 attraction was Pandemonium, a Chance Freestyle that replaced the park’s Trabant. It broke down the first two times I tried riding, but the third time was a success. I rode the SBF’s take on the attraction at Quassy and found Reverse Time to be intense, but a serious ball buster. Pandemonium was considerably more comfortable.
Pandemonium only reached its maximum speed when fully inclined, which made the laterals far more comfortable. If the ride was a hair faster, it probably would have offered some solid airtime. The ride cycle was short, but probably warranted by the sizable queue. Run properly, I think the Freestyles have the potential to be better than the Wipeouts. 7 out of 10
I’m really intrigued to see what SFNE does with Cyborg considering it appears to be the same type of ride. I imagine this means the end for Kryptonite, but then again, SFNE is the park that runs two boomerangs right next to each other.
The park’s best flat is their indoor scrambler, Blizzard. This was originally an awesome indoor scrambler called the Magical Mystery Tour, but Six Flags inexplicably moved it outside for a decade before realizing their mistake and moving it back inside. I’m not sure why they ditched the Magical Mystery Tour name (especially since they play the song during loading), but it’s fun nonetheless.
Now I’m spoiled by Funtown’s Astrosphere, so the show sequence of random strobes and lights wasn’t all that impressive. However, the operating speed sure was. This may be the fastest operated scrambler out there. I also couldn’t help but laugh at the operator who was awkwardly fist pumping like he was in a club during the ride. 9 out of 10
One of the most charming attractions at the park is Alice in Wonderland. The walkthrough has clearly seen better days and is in dire need of a paint job. However, this is one of those attractions that makes the Great Escape unique. You will not find something like this at any other Six Flags park. 5 out of 10
Raging River should be one of the nicest rapids rides around. It has an excellent setting in the woods. However, the effects can be best described as crude. These include a punctured hose, random pipes, and sprinklers. They’re easy to mock, but these effects were far more effective than the rapids. There was also a waterfall, but it hugs the wall so tightly that a raft would be hard pressed to hit it directly. Still it’s impossible to not come off this attraction without a smile considering how unrefined it is. 7 out of 10
I had never ridden the Sky Ride and was intrigued to see how it was modified after the girl fell last year. I’m pretty sure the same people who designed the effects for Raging River engineered this modification. The park literally fastened a hollow tube to the lap bar. The park offered some really nice views of the Storybook section of the park, but you’ll have to ride it yourself since the park restricts all photography on the attraction. 6 out of 10
We also took a spin on the Thunder Alley car ride and the ride basically runs itself. Riders have no gas pedal and the steering wheel doesn’t do much of anything. The only thing riders can control is the horn, but the button only worked 20% of the time. Despite this, I do really enjoy the layout. 6 out of 10
Due to poor planning, we ended up finishing by Canyon Blaster. This is the park’s newest major coaster (EDIT- Forgot the Larson Loop
). It’s incredible how jerky this coaster is considering how little it actually does. The first half probably has a top speed of 10 mph. The second half has a massive downward helix, but the Arrow coathanger transitions are strong with this one. As I write this, I realized this was the only coaster I rode besides Comet. That says a lot about this park’s coaster collection. 2 out of 10
We just barely boarded before close. Upon returning to the station, we were asked how we enjoyed the last ride of the night. I was confused since there was still 15-20 minutes worth of people in the queue. Were they really not going to let those in line board? That’s only something I’ve seen at Indiana Beach. Everyone in line held their ground and after a brief delay they started loading the train again. Oh Six Flags!
As we were walking down the exit ramp, I noticed the Bumper Cars were still accepting riders despite being 5-10 minutes after closing. I was shocked, but I wasn’t going to question it. The park used to have their bumper car arena over in the Fest Area, but a few years ago they moved it into an old arcade in Ghost Town. I absolutely love the ride’s placement in a faux saloon.
The odd placement results in one of the weirdest arenas out there. Usually it’s either wide open or has a center divider. This one has 4 random pillars for structural support scattered about the arena. The cars themselves actually hit decently hard, but the cycle was over in a flash. 6 out of 10
I figured we were on the last ride of the night, but the queue was still open! Even Canyon Blaster’s queue was still open. At this point I got greedy and decided to see if Steamin’ Demon’s queue was still open. There was no chain or barrel blocking the entrance, so we walked right up to the ride platform. There was only one problem. There was no operator in sight. I guess the Steamin’ Demon crew knew closing was at 7 pm. We decided to backtrack to the Bumper Cars hoping they were still miraculously open, but a supervisor was standing guard at the queue.
I also spent some time at Splashwater Kingdom. I put this at the end since I know not everyone is a water park fan. Truth be told, my favorite thing at Great Escape outside of Comet is the water park. It’s very underrated. The layout is certainly wonky as it contains 3 separate dead ends with a central hub in the amusement section, but the mix of slides is outstanding. Several of the slides have pretty sizable drops.
One of those slides (Banshee Plunge) was unfortunately closed. It’s a deceptive slide since it shares the same platform as two of the slowest and most boring tube slides out there. Meanwhile Banshee Plunge completely forgoes turns and has a massive, steep plunge down the hill. It was a bummer to see it closed, but drops on Tornado and Mega Wedgie (bowl slide) made up for it.
Probably the best slide complex is also the newest, the Alpine Freefall tower. Cliffhanger is a drop pod slide with a steeper drop than most; Twisted Racer is a speedy set of mat racers that I almost performed a barrel roll on; and Bonzai Pipelines are two great body slides that manage to be perfectly smooth on the back while executing a series of fast-paced turns.
But the water park action didn’t stop there. Because we booked the trip so last minute, all my usual budget hotels were either booked or charging ridiculously high rates (on principal I refuse to pay $200 or even half that for a Motel 6). When pricing everything out, the best option turned out to be the Six Flags owned and operated Great Escape Lodge.
Hearing about a Six Flags hotel probably sends shivers down your spine. But it’s actually a really nice hotel on par with a Great Escape Lodge. The rooms are huge and the service is far superior to what you receive in the park. Really the only downside is the food. The on-site Johnny Rockets took an hour to get us our food despite there only being one other group there and I’ll never return to the Tall Tales Tavern after they served me cold pizza a few years ago.
The primary benefit is the water park. It’s definitely smaller than the Kalahari and Great Wolf Lodge water parks, but it never gets too crowded. I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait more than 5-10 minutes for any slide. The family raft slide and tube slides each have 2-3 tiny dips in complete darkness that give the faintest pops of air. Then the lazy river has some nice rockwork alongside of it.
I strongly recommend the Great Escape Lodge if you’re in the Lake George area. I still can’t believe how well operated this hotel is considering the chain’s pedigree.