I'm sure you would all agree that my trip reports are nothing if not timely. I take great pride in providing everyone with prompt, highly relevant trip reports. Lightning quick service with a smile. That said, spring is finally here. Flowers are in full bloom, the trees are turning green, birds chirping, bees buzzing, beautiful warm sunny days are here again! Spring has sprung!!!
So on that note, you know what would be awesome? A trip report from the frozen, barren wintry hellscape of Massachusetts. Bundle up, but first a little housekeeping.
If you go to the front page of this thread you'll notice that I linked to a few other reports from Holiday in the Park at Six Flags America and Six Flags Great Adventure. I knew that if I didn't post them when I did they wouldn't be posted until well... now, so I posted them in their respective park threads. That said, the entire world went to Six Flags New England on the same weekend and TPR had an official report as well as a few unofficial reports from the same weekend already so I didn't see the need to add another report to the pile. I put it on my "to do list" where trip reports go to die.
Anyway when Six Flags New England announced that they were adding Holiday in the Park we were pretty much in disbelief. Obviously they've since lowered their dose of crazy pills even more and have now added it in Chicago, but at the time we figured that this was pretty much as far as they could possibly push this concept. We weren't really sure how it would go so we planned to visit on one of the "warmer" weekends of Holiday in the Park in early December. The high that day was a few degrees above 40 and the low by park close was still up in the high 20's. For December in New England that's a heat wave.
It felt surreal pulling into the Six Flags parking lot in December. It still feels weird doing that in New Jersey but it felt so stupid in New England that we couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all.
The park runs slightly shorter hours than Great Adventure and I think we pulled into the lot around 3:00. We were actually sort of wondering how we would fill an evening at Six Flags New England with the only operating coasters being Fireball, Batman, Mind Eraser, Joker, Thunderbolt and (maybe) Flashback so we took our time getting there but it actually turned out that we really underestimated this event.
Who's ready to feel it all around? Well too bad because they don't have that show here. PS: Has anyone else noticed that Great Adventure's tree song is basically "Wishes" from Disney World on a budget?
It seemed like a strange way to start our day but while riding into the park on the shuttle I had pulled up Queue Times and saw that Flashback was operating. Flashback was never actually scheduled to run for the event and wasn't on the park map but early on in the event it had been operating on warmer days. We knew they might close it early so we decided to make that our first stop. Say what you want about Boomerangs. I agree that plenty of them are absolute trash but we always enjoy our rides on this one so we were happy to take it for a spin. Since it wasn't really advertised (and since it's Flashback) it was a complete walk-on and we were treated to another super fun and (somehow) relatively smooth ride on Flashback with no line at all. No pictures, but let's be real... none of you give a sh*t anyway.
Up next was Thunderbolt, the park's classic wood coaster. I absolutely adore this ride. While it doesn't really have any airtime or forces to speak of it's an absolute blast to ride. I've been riding this thing for the better part of 20 years and never once had a single ride on it that wasn't glass smooth and a ton of fun.
There was a lot of talk about this ride when it was announced for Holiday in the Park since apparently it's quite valley prone, so we were sure to ride it early as we knew the temperatures were going to plummet later on.
Welcome to Thunderbolt. This is the strangest coaster on earth because this right here is the wait time. Fright Fest Saturday and Superman has a 2 hour line? This is how long the line for Thunderbolt is. Frigid Holiday in the Park night where every other ride is a walk on? This is how long the line for Thunderbolt is. It's queue length is always the same regardless of the time of year, crowd size or weather. I don't get it. It's like the "Old Faithful" of coasters.
After the customary 20 minute wait that Thunderbolt has all day every day we finally boarded the train. We were the second group allowed through, but the dumb people in front of us opted for row 2 so we hopped in front of them and grabbed the front. A few minutes later we got in, buckled our seat belts and were greeted with a (very welcome) blast of heat.
We were surprised at first but we quickly noticed that the park really went all out on this thing for Holiday in the Park. The park had actually gone out of their way to build an entire sheet metal duct system under the train with vents under the parking location of each wheel. The duct system was connected by a tube to a giant propane heater in the ride's infield so whenever it parked in the station they were absolutely blasting it with heat. Amazed, we sat down, buckled in, the ops checked the train but... we didn't go.
There were way more people in the operator booth than normal, and one of them was staring at a tablet which I can only assume was either tracking the heating system or the cycle times. He instructed the op to hold us for awhile and about 60 seconds later we were given the all clear and on our merry way. Damn, Six Flags put way more effort into this than I would have expected.
The ride was as awesome as always, made even better by the fact that we managed to get a front seat ride which is a bit like hitting the lottery on this thing. I've noticed that I seem to like this ride more than most in the community and that some crazy lunatics even consider it rough but whatever... I think it's great.
After Thunderbolt we decided to head to the "South End", "Coaster Alley", "Gotham City", whatever... area of the park and hit some more rides. It was still in the process of getting dark and we figured that once it did we would want to dedicate a little bit more time to the holiday decorations so we planned to get our fill of rides during the day. We both had our sights set on Batman, but along the way we were greeted with an all too familiar obnoxiously loud revving noise from Buzzsaw.
It had been rumored for awhile, but by then the park had confirmed that Holiday in the Park would be the last hurrah for this New England favorite. We had been coming to this park for years and on each and every visit we made time for this gem of a ride so we couldn't help but make our way over and take it for a spin.
As usual the ride had a bit of a wait so we hung out near the front of the queue and waited for them to load before we hopped in line, guaranteeing ourselves an end seat. I won't lie, it was definitely sad knowing that this would be the last time we ever rode Buzzsaw. It's just a small flat ride, but we always looked forward to it on our visits to the park as it packs a pretty insane punch. As always, the ride delivered some pretty great air and we got off laughing like idiots.
Public Service Announcement: Friend's don't let friends put vertical Christmas light strings on pine trees. WTF? Go AROUND the tree. AROUND... AROUND...
Next on the agenda was Batman, arguably the star ride of the park with Wicked Cyclone and Superman closed. While it's a small floorless, we absolutely love this thing. The loop has excellent hang time and somehow the barrel roll is one of the better ones this side of Busch Gardens Tampa.
Batman was running one train with the other likely in offseason refurb but it's tough to complain about that during Holiday in the Park. It's important to keep these trains moving as much as possible and parked over the heaters whenever they're not moving so having a train sitting in the final brakes probably wouldn't have done anyone any favors anyway.
Brit's ready for Batman and it's boo-wooping goodness.
As usual, Batman delivered the goods. While this is a small little floorless, it packs a punch and we're thrilled to have it so close to home. It never lets up from start to finish and as crazy as it sounds we didn't really feel like we were "missing out" on anything during the event. Sure, we love Wicked Cyclone and Superman, but Batman picked up the slack quite nicely.
Coasters in December in Massachusetts. What a time to be alive!
By the time we got off of Batman the sun was finally starting to set and the lights were really starting to take effect. As always, Oak Island Creative knocked this one out of the park and the park was almost unrecognizable.
Is this really Six Flags??????
Brit had noted that there was a tree lighting ceremony of sorts on our park guide, so after exiting Batman we slowly made our way over to the area in front of Goliath to check it out. I'm not really a "show person" at parks, especially Six Flags... but at Holiday in the Park it seems like the thing to do, so I was all in.
An impressive crowd had gathered for the show which actually made for a pretty cool atmosphere. New Englanders definitely seemed intent on making it 100% clear that they don't give a single sh*t about cold weather.
It turned out that the show was pretty cute. Santa came out to thunderous applause and some character who (as described in the park guide) lives at the north pole and fixes Christmas lights or whatever while (as described by me and NOT by the park guide) looking like her costume was made out of leftover Fright Fest decorations came out and lit the tree.
After the show we continued to make the rounds and check out the lights. We made our way up into Crackaxle Canyon which had been re branded as "Jingle Bell Junction" and came across more great lights. We were sort of wandering around aimlessly, but at the same time as soon as we turned up that path we kind of knew exactly where we were headed (Does that make any sense? No? Ok ).
Welcome to the land of kettle corn, horrible Vekomas and a frisbee that occasionally catches on fire.
You may remember that in Boldikus' report he noted that Tomohawk basically smelled like it was on fire and our ride abruptly came to an end halfway through the cycle as everyone on the ride found themselves coughing up smoke. That was an odd experience, but it's a great little ride so we were looking forward to riding again and having a more normal ride. We got into the queue right as it was stopping so we briskly made our way over, took our seats, started swinging and...
...yeah the same thing happened. Well, almost. This time the park clearly decided that they DNGAF so we completed our cycle and then exited with everyone coughing up smoke. Well that's... odd, but honestly, whatever. We love Tomohawk even if it does try to kill you from smoke inhalation.
We checked the time after our ride and saw that we a few minutes time to kill before the main street light show so we actually hit Rockin' Rodeo really quickly and ended up really enjoying it. We don't get to ride often and it's definitely a borderline kids ride but it's a lot more fun than it has any right to be. We approve! As an added bonus it ended right on time and we made our way over to the light show right as it was about to begin.
The giant net of lights over the midway was a cool touch.
We shot a Facebook live video if anyone cares:
While I'm a fan of Great Adventure's "Holiday Magic (Wishes on a budget)" show, it's nice that each park does something a little different. This one was slightly less tasteful and more "OMFG LIGHTS!!!!!!!!!1111111111111111111111111111" but honestly, we really enjoyed it (despite the fact that I'm pretty sure it gave us both seizures). It was a great place to put it, and the crowd definitely seemed impressed.
As you probably assumed if you for some reason watched that entire thing, the seizures had really impacted our judgement and we decided that the best course of action would be to follow up our seizures with concussions and get our minds erased...
No... not like that. Well... yeah, like that but also...
... no a**hole, not that awesome Cinnamon rum thing. F*cking alcoholic I swear...
Yeah... that kind of Mind Eraser. The sh*tty kind.
I've spent the better part of my life hating this ride, but after riding once with Bolidkus in this new train and somehow not hating it I was kind of excited to try it again. I was skeptical that the new trains would accomplish much, but our last ride was quite good and since only half of the coasters were open it seemed like as good a time as any to try again. I was apprehensive, but sort of excited. Could we have a Christmas miracle on our hands?
Brit's ready for the mind erasing.
As was the case with the other coasters, Mind Eraser was only running one train and had wheel heaters to give it an extra boost. As an added bonus, these are actually set back a little further in the station so if you line up for one of the rows in front of heater you get nice and toasty warm while in line. Mind Eraser likes to make you comfortable before it kills you. I guess it's the same concept as giving death row inmates an amazing last meal before they face the electric chair.
Around this time, Boldikus was living it up in Florida and texted me from the Montu station bragging. Not to be outdone, I snapped this picture to let him know that I too was in line for an invert and that he should be jealous AF. lol (note the heaters on the left).
The line was deceptively long since the ride was running one train, but nothing too awful and we couldn't complain one bit since we were living it up under the heaters. Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end and a few minutes later our train pulled up and we took our seats. Apprehensively we ascended the lift, made our way down the drop, hit the first element and...
... holy sh*t!
THIS IS AWESOME!!!!
It just feels wrong to even say this, but I love Mind Eraser (or whatever). I never realized this before since whenever I rode an SLC in the past I was either bracing for pain, getting the sh*t kicked out of me or (in the case of Wildwood when I was actually riding a good SLC for a change), way too obliterated to analyze much of anything but it turns out this layout is actually super forceful and kind of awesome when you can actually enjoy the thing. These new trains are amazing!
... I still don't think Boldikus was jealous though. I mean... you know, Montu.
Following our amazing Mind Eraser ride we decided to head over to the park's holiday show. According to the park map it was a cirque style show located in the Rockville theater. One unfortunate thing for Six Flags New England is that the Rockville theater is tiny so they had a giant queue set up outside and informed us that we most likely wouldn't get in for the next show. The greeter advised us to try the next one and show up 15-20 minutes early. We thanked him and trusted his judgement on our chances of getting in. This park could really benefit from a larger theater now that they do a Holiday event. They have a huge venue for outdoor shows, but Holiday in the Park really brought to light how inadequate their indoor event space really is. It didn't really impact our experience much, but I would imagine that there were some disappointed people who planned on catching that last show.
We left the theater area and I quickly made a right. Brit didn't really know why (because I knew she wasn't going to like where we were headed) but after awhile I decided to ruin her Christmas by mentioning that we had ridden all of the operating coasters except one (*which was an oversight on my part, sorry Fireball). I was shocked, but she actually decided against her better judgement to come along and give Joker another shot.
Brit's always so serious around Joker clones. Not sure why.
Lucky for us (well... me), Joker didn't have a line so within no time we were directed to a side. Brit had been on this one once before, but no matter how often she rides these things she's never warmed up to them. Personally I think they're awesome so hopefully one day she comes around but I'm not holding my breath.
As was the case with Mind Eraser, Joker's station was also being assaulted by heat lamps and I wasn't complaining about that one bit. Unfortunately in this case we didn't have as much time to enjoy them, but I'm not about to complain about how short the wait was for such a great ride.
The ride went about the way I expected it to. Me cackling like an idiot, Brit hating her life and Brit saying after we got off that it wasn't that bad that time (even though she totally thought it was) followed by a resounding "no" at my suggestion to ride again before I could even finish asking the question. Sounds about right.
As we were making our way back through Gotham City after our Joker ride, we both remarked about how impressed we were with the lights. This sounds weird, but in a way it was sort of cool that the DC area and the area by Wicked Cyclone were closed. At that point the park didn't feel like a Six Flags park. With the lights, small size and fun family atmosphere it honestly felt like a small, charming family park. I felt more like I was at Canobie Lake than Six Flags New England and at the time I was perfectly okay with that.
Great Adventure's Christmas event is amazing but it still feels like you're at Great Adventure. There's nothing wrong with that, but at Six Flags New England you feel like you're at a place that was designed specifically for a Christmas event. I'm aware that that sounds dumb, but we were absolutely loving it. This park really has a great holiday vibe.
The giant ornament was great!
We continued on enjoying the lights and walking by the fire pits where people huddled around keeping warm and/or making Smores. As we walked by, Brit mentioned to me that she's never actually had Smores.
I forget exactly where we were headed, but it suddenly seemed trivial. It was settled. We were getting some f*cking Smores.
Full disclosure: Yeah, Smores are kind of "ehhh". They should be amazing, but generally they're a mess and a combination of 3 things that should never be combined. That said, f*ck all that. We were at Holiday in the Park and we were having Smores. In the end I think Brit sort of had the same opinion that I did, but at the same time felt accomplished that something could be crossed off of the bucket list.
After eating that sticky mess and making a stop in the restroom to wash our hands because we suck at making Smores properly I grabbed another beer and we decided to get in the queue for the show. This time we made it in with ease and while the show had very little to do with the holidays I think we both agreed that the acrobatics were really pretty impressive. By Six Flags standards this was a really great show. I won't spend too much time reviewing it since the event is over and it'll be something else next year but we were impressed.
You know what's not impressive? My phone's zoom feature.
As the show dumped we realized we were pretty short on time. Lucky for us we had already managed to ride basically everything we wanted to ride but there was one thing left to do and we eagerly made our way to the park's train ride.
Six Flags New England has a train ride?
No it doesn't, we come here all the time. there's no train.
Oh sh*t... a train.
Yeah, so I never knew this before but apparently Six Flags has a train. It's up in the old Thomas Town area that I've never set foot in and apparently it's decorated for Christmas. Since I didn't know the thing existed my expectations were low, but I have to admit that it was quite cute. It sort of crosses over itself and it's objectively an atrocious train ride but they did an awesome job on the lights. While it was popular the capacity was great so I highly recommend taking this thing for a spin during Holiday in the Park. The rest of the year? F*ck no.
A train at Six Flags New England. Who knew?
By then we only had about 25 minutes left and while we expected to have a hard time filling an evening the exact opposite turned out to be the case. We were having a blast at Holiday in the Park and we didn't want it to end. While we hated to leave we wanted to end with a bang so we made our way back down to Gotham City for a 29 degree Batman ride (or at least that was the plan).
I'm rarely one to care that much about ride removals (except flumes, don't F*CK with my flumes ). We had the opportunity to go to Great Adventure for closing day of Rolling Thunder and didn't care to even go, we were actually at this park with JJLehto on Cyclone's last day and we all decided at the same time that we didn't give a sh*t about the big party with fireworks or whatever and we all rode Bizarro instead. Seriously, I almost never care. That said, on our way to Batman while looking at the lights we heard the familiar obnoxious revving from Buzzsaw and it sort of stopped us in our tracks.
We knew that if we rode it we might not get to Batman, but we sort of both decided that we didn't care. I never thought we'd be ending a day at Six Flags New England on f*cking Buzzsaw, but there we were.
I get it and I'm not complaining. This ride was probably a mechanical nightmare. It's ridiculously forceful, it sounds like death and the cycle had been shortened like crazy because it was probably ripping itself apart. That said, it was more fun than it ever had any right to be.
We were lucky enough to get the back again and as usual the ride delivered a magnificent combination of airtime and aggressive gut punches depending on which direction you were swinging. We both loved it and while I'm thrilled with the replacement (the Frisbee, not the teacups) it's going to be a shame walking down that midway and not seeing Buzzsaw. We were definitely happy to get one last ride.
When we exited the ride we still had about 3 minutes before park close and while I would have been perfectly content ending our night on Buzzsaw we decided to go for it anyway because I'm greedy like that. We quickly walked over to Batman and (with one minute to spare), entered the queue. Score!
B&Ms cant operate below 40 degrees™
Just for fun I pulled out my phone while waiting for what turned out to be the last train of the night and it was 29 degrees as the last train dispatched. I don't know if it's just me but there's something hilariously fun about riding coasters in such stupid temperatures. The ride was as awesome as always, but riding it while getting an arctic blast in the face with a bunch of other people who are somehow just as insane as you are is really just the best. God I love Holiday in the Park...
Awesome update! It's always so weird to see you w/o a hat. I totally forgot that I was texting you from BGT while you guys were @ SFNE lol. Love that pic of Brit in front of the Batman lift, great shot. Also, RIP Buzzsaw, that ride is awesome.
Great report! I still can't believe Six Flags is open in December now, but it sure beats a visit to Santa's Village. There's nothing wrong with Santa's Village, but it is nice to go to a park with legit coasters and not be asked by other parents where your kids are.
Odd you've gotten those rides on Tomahawk. I don't ride it super often, but I can't recall it ever doing that for me. I think I rode it twice this past year, once during Holiday in the Park.
Great report! The event really was amazing last year, and it exceeded every expectation I had. Think about what HQSS will be like this year! Also, Tomahawk did the same thing to me on the first day of HITP. Weird...
Always worth the wait! It was 84° here today, so this was just what I needed. I hear good things about Six Flags New England. I'm especially impressed by their ability to make an SLC actually good. Less impressed by their ability to decorate a Christmas tree.
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