Six Flags Great Adventure- Holiday in the Park
Twas three nights before Christmas, when most other parks
Not a coaster was stirring, not even a mouse.
At Six Flags the coasters were open with care,
In hopes that families soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of coasters danced in enthusiasts’ heads.
And my friend in his jacket, and I in my cap,
Had just driven down to Jersey for HITP.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my car to see what was the matter.
Twas Bugs Bunny, some B&Ms, and the Flash,
Six Flags opened the gate in hopes for some cash.
…and that’s about the extent of my creative ability. I’m an engineer, not a poet.
Originally my buddy and I were planning on visiting Six Flags New England. Now I love that SFNE is open for HITP, but it’s such a tease seeing both Superman and Wicked Cyclone sitting idle. I jokingly said we should drive the extra 3 hours to Jersey and he was in full support.
And it ended up being a very wise decision. Here’s a screenshot of Six Flags New England’s coasters on the day we went to Great Adventure.
Meanwhile at Six Flags Great Adventure, I didn’t see a single ride go down all day. That’s a borderline Christmas miracle for HITP. Granted, the temperature was a “balmy” 35-45 degrees. I guess the rides are conditioned by now for sub-freezing temperatures.
Those “warm” temperatures led to this being the busiest HITP visit I’ve ever had. This was no Fright Fest crowd, but Nitro and Batman actually needed their second trains to prevent a queue from building up. And now I know the Six Flags app isn’t the most reliable for wait times, but Justice League was posting a 100 minute wait in the afternoon!
For that reason, we’re glad we hit Justice League first when it was still a walk-on. This ride is something I never thought would exist at a Six Flags park and it’s a nice change of pace from the coasters. 8.5 out of 10
Nearby Justice League are two flats with some of the most visually stunning light packages out there- Wonder Woman and Cyborg.
This was actually my first time riding Wonder Woman. And I thought the same thing after riding CraZanity at Six Flags Magic Mountain, but I think the cycles on the smaller ones are a bit better.
Wonder Woman is still a ton of fun and the airtime on the max swings is fantastic, but most of the ride is spent building up to those 3-4 max swings. Meanwhile the slightly smaller Harley Quinn (which feels just as tall) has twice as many max swings. 8 out of 10
This may be another hot take, but I actually prefer Cyborg to Wonder Woman.
…get your head out of the gutter. I’m talking about the rides.
…the amusement rides.
I know Cyborg gets a lot of flak for doing nothing, but I got non-stop inverting on both my rides. It’s not forceful, but the hangtime and near-misses are incredible. Both times, my buddy and I were the only two on the ride. So maybe less weight is how to avoid the rocking purgatory? 8 out of 10
Great Adventure has two indoor coasters in Dark Knight and Skull Mountain. While we rode both once, we were more interested in contracting frostbite on the big B&Ms.
Maybe “big B&M” isn’t the correct way to describe Batman. It’s incredibly compact. And that’s why it’s one of the most forceful inverts out there. 8 out of 10
Superman is another B&M that isn’t the biggest. It shows it has a set of balls during the pretzel loop, but Superman immediate castrates himself afterwards. In the summer, I find the overbanks pretty dull, but they’re mesmerizing during HITP with the brisk air and holiday lights. 7.5 out of 10
One B&M that is one of the biggest is Green Lantern. I know this is one of the park’s more hated rides. And I used to be on the hate train. I used to hate this coaster more than the Green Lantern movie that is even hated by its leading actor. No seriously, just watch the Deadpool 2 post-credits scene.
But ever since I learned to adjust the stand-up restraints down to my shoulders, I now love B&M stand-ups. There is zero headbanging and the forces are incredible. My legs feel like jelly by the time we hit the brake run. This is up there with Riddler as the best stand-up and it isn’t close. 8 out of 10
However, the star of HITP is Nitro. Maybe that’ll change next year with Jersey Devil, but until then, Nitro is the coaster I always marathon. I always hit the brake run with tears running down my face. And those tears have usually froze by the time we return to the station.
Compared to a lot of other B&M hypers, Nitro’s airtime is a bit weaker. That’s especially true towards the front of the train. But it does have some sort of airtime on every hill and there’s just something magical riding this thing around Christmas. It feels unnatural. 8.5 out of 10
We also took a few laps on Joker. I almost forgot since I don’t have any direct pictures of it since my loose articles were safely tucked away in a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo.
At SFNE, Joker is the star of HITP. And while Great Adventure’s Joker is every bit as wild and unpredictable, it’s only the fifth best coaster at this park during HITP. 7.5 out of 10
Beyond the coasters, we also made sure to hit Houdini and SkyScreamer.
I’ve never actually been on Great Adventure’s Houdini, so I was interested to compare it to New England’s. In terms of the props and ride cycle, they’re identical. However, I do slightly prefer Great Adventure’s since it has narration from start to finish. 8 out of 10
SkyScreamer was unequivocally the most frigid ride of the night. I forgot how the one at Great Adventure does that pause mid-ride before accelerating to its top speed. But our shivering was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the park’s lights. 8 out of 10
In terms of food, we sampled some of the holiday offerings. Special thanks to coasterbill for recommending the bacon wrapped pork kabobs, as those things were scrumptious. I didn’t know Six Flags could cook meat that well.
We also grabbed a chicken comfort bowl. The warmth was definitely comforting and it was way better than the usual chicken and fries if you ask me.
With an hour before closing, there was only one logical stop for us- Nitro. I was surprised to find a full train, but it was a pleasant surprise since the park only opened the back if all other rows were filled.
However, slowly but surely, the crowds faded. Maybe it was the cold. Or maybe it was the fact some people had to work the following day. But eventually we got a (fro)zen ride on Nitro.
I know Nitro had been running all-day, but it felt like it was going to valley. The train absolutely crawled over the camelbacks. And the ride sensed it too. We braced ourselves for the usual slowdown on the mid-course, but we rocketed through it untouched.
This resulted in some serious airtime during the finale. We’re not talking El Toro levels of airtime, but the strength of this airtime was just below Fury 325’s bunny hills. I didn’t know Nitro had it in itself to do that. It was without a doubt the best ride I’ve ever had on Nitro.
Holiday in the Park just may be my favorite time of year to visit Great Adventure. That’s almost a ridiculous statement since one of the world’s best coasters is closed, but the sheer ridiculousness of riding coasters (with no lines) in these conditions makes it special.
And assuming Jersey Devil is at least as good as the original Raptors, this event will only get better.