I had heard Six Flags Great America was one of the best Six Flags parks and I wasn't disappointed. I had been in Chicago once before, but it was during December before the Holiday in the Park era so Six Flags was unfortunately closed. This time it was open and it was definitely packed. When I pulled into the lot 15 minutes before opening and saw the huge line to get in, I knew a Flash Pass would be needed. It probably took me about 45 minutes to get in the park, but after that I grabbed my Flash Pass and didn't have any waits the rest of the day.
I could immediately see the parallels to California's Great America. The entry plaza was nearly identical minus the roar of Gold Striker and the park was very well maintained for a Six Flags park. There were also areas that felt unique to the park such as the Jetsons kiddie area.
My plan was to hit Joker first since I was too cheap to buy a platinum Flash Pass. Well it was a windy day in the Windy City so Joker couldn't run. This seems like a match made in heaven. Hopefully I just went on an absurdly windy day since the two I've ridden are really fun coasters and I don't mind that they are being cloned. However, they seem to always be down when I visit the parks.
Outside of the coasters (which I'll review below), the park seemed to have a nice flat collection though I skipped all of them. I wanted to try Giant Drop but that wasn't happening with the capacity hit from the VR. I did ride one of the park's two flumes (coasterbill take note, this park has two flumes). I rode the hydroflume one (Yankee Clipper). It was a great ride but boy did it get me wet. I thought I'd escape relatively dry until a jet of water at the bottom of the drop doused me from head to toe. I also tried Justice League which surpassed my expectations. The ride felt like a Universal attraction and did a great job mixing screens with practical sets.
Goliath- This coaster lived up to everything that I had heard. The ride was fast, intense, and way too short. The first drop was as great as the drops on the other RMCs I've been on, but this time it was a tad longer. The highlight for sure was the crazy zero-G stall. I'm glad my pockets were empty since the hang-time in this element was ridiculous. If the ride had another bunny hill or two, it would have easily been a 10. 9 out of 10
Raging Bull- I rode Raging Bull first in the front seat. I came off underwhelmed. The layout was different, but I only had one or two pops of air thanks to that meddling trim brake. However, I gave Raging Bull a second chance in the back and was much more impressed. The first drop gave great air and absolutely yanked the train into the tunnel. The layout had 4-5 other hills that had good air as well. There is no place to ride Raging Bull other than the back after that ride. 9 out of 10
Superman- Ultimate Flight- I wish Great Adventure's Superman had a setting this nice. The pretzel loop is still one of the most insane elements on any coaster and the rest of the ride is smooth and graceful. I still prefer Georgia's Superman but this one is right behind it. 9 out of 10
Batman the Ride- The invert that started them all is still a great ride after all these years. My fifth Batman clone provided the usual forceful and smooth ride. I could definitely see how this was the original based on the trees around the coaster. 9 out of 10
X-Flight- This is probably the worst of the wing coasters I've been on, but it's still a really good ride. I love the inversions on this coaster. In particular the wing over drop and iconic twist through the control tower stand out. However, this wing coaster wasn't quite as intense as the others I've been on. 8 out of 10
American Eagle- Wow this coaster was a lot bigger than I expected. The queue line was also a lot bigger than I expected. While the Eagle didn't race, both sides were solid rides. The ride was reasonably smooth and had some decent air-time on the smaller hills. 7 out of 10
Whizzer- An ACE classic, Whizzer is the perfect family coaster and a relaxing coaster. The ride's layout is fantastic and it's just a ton of fun diving around. It's a shame more of these coasters aren't left standing since they're more exciting than mine trains and fill the same niche in a park's lineup. 7 out of 10
Viper- I had always heard good things about Viper but was a little underwhelmed. It was fun and surprisingly smooth, but I was expecting air on most of the hills. Instead I only got 3 or so weak pops of air. I only had one ride in the back though, so if it's a front seat ride I apologize but I wasn't waiting an extra half hour for that seat. 7 out of 10
Vertical Velocity- In this park, I kind of forgot about the impulse coaster, but it's still a fun ride. The launches are fast and have kick to them. Unfortunately the holding brake wasn't in use. 7 out of 10
Demon- A clone of the California namesake, Six Flag's Demon seemed smoother. The first drop gave good air in the back and the two vertical loops were pretty forceful. Most importantly, the corkscrews weren't total head-beaters. Oh and the Demon song is awesome (look it up if you don't know what I am talking about). 7 out of 10
Dark Knight- Did Six Flags overhype the ride? Yes. But if you look past it, Dark Knight is arguably the best steel wild mouse out there. The ride does have some theming and has minimal braking. 7 out of 10
Spacely's Sprocket Rockets- I openly admit to being a credit whore. As far as roller skaters go, this was probably the worst of them but it's still good by junior coaster standards.3 out of 10
Little Dipper- What a cute little wooden coaster. As a coaster enthusiast, I was pretty bored by the layout. However, it seemed to be really popular among families and I'm glad the park was able to preserve it.2 out of 10
Hello Six Flags Great America. What a beautiful sight!
This sight wasn't so beautiful. It took me almost an hour to get in the park. The Flash Pass was a lifesaver once I got in.
I could immediately see the parallels with California's Great America.
Same layout, same name, but one major difference...
This one had the awesome Demon theme song!
Also I am very jealous that the height requirement for this was only 42". I would have loved to have a looper with a height requirement that low growing up.
Joker was closed due to high winds. Seems like a perfect fit for a park in the Windy City.
Lightning Rod should have been my first RMC woodie. Due to the reliability of that ride being worse than the Joker, looks like Goliath was my first.
Hope these riders have empty pockets. Actually they should thanks to the $25 parking fee.
Goliath is one sexy looking coaster.
The zero-G stall was the best part of the ride. So weird to be suspended upside down for a sustained period of time like that.
Goliath was short in length, but the ride was relentless from start to finish.
American Eagle was looking great. The coaster wasn't racing that often, but it was reasonably smooth with some decent air at points.
Six Flags Great America may be the best looking Six Flags park I've been to.
Ok maybe not world's cleanest park good. Seriously who on earth gave them this award?
Raging Bull highlights the park's impressive B&M selection.
Raging Bull is 100% unequivocally a back seat ride. Front seat had maybe 1-2 pops of air. The back had good air on 5-6 drops.
Country does not rock, but Raging Bull sure does.
If only if only there wasn't that trim brake. Maybe then front seat rides would be great.
Raging Bull's twister layout was refreshing but as an air-time junkie, I still prefer the standard hyper layout.
It still baffles me why drop towers need VR. I'd think a view from 200 ft up is scarier than a phone screen 2 inches from your face.
For a Six Flags wooden coaster, Viper was remarkably smooth. It was a decent ride, but not as good as the park's two other major woodies.
Viper was better than this woodie. Thank goodness I rode this first thing since it had a full queue later in the day.
B&M's first invert is still arguably their most intense.
I could definitely see how this one was the original based on the area the ride occupied.
Ah bad Batman. While over-marketed, Dark Knight is the best wild mouse coaster. Minimal braking and I mean there is some theming...even if it inexplicably doesn't include Batman.
Georgia's Superman is still the best, but this one's setting was almost as good. Meanwhile Great Adventure's is in a big grassy field.
Call newer B&Ms forceless all you want, but you'd be hard pressed to name a more intense element out there.
Justice League didn't feel like a ride at Six Flags, which is a compliment. I'm happy they're cloning this dark ride since the mix of screens and practical sets is very well done.
X-Flight was the worst B&M at the park, but it's still a really fun ride.
I love wing over drops.
Definitely a crowd pleaser. Enthusiast pleaser? Nothing is unless it's an Intamin, RMC, or at Knoebels.
I'm glad the park has kept Whizzer (still an awesome name) around. The ride has a great setting and is a perfect family coaster.
I saw the holding brake, but it wasn't being used. Dorney's still is the best for that reason.
That holding brake would have prevented this train from crashing into the Wave Swinger. Take note Six Flags.
Where are the Looney Tunes and why do I see the Jetsons?
I didn't get a chance to ride the observation tower, but I imagine it would give some great views of the park.
The park looked to have a nice flat collection but I skipped them all due to time constraints.
Nope I'm not boarding that boat.
Great America has not one, but two flumes. I rode the other one and I would have been dry if it weren't for that jet of water at the bottom of the drop.
So it sounds as if operations/management have picked up at this park for the better?
I remember a year or two ago, TPR's visit did not make me want to rush right out there to check this park off of my bucket list. SFOT seemed like another park that could use a boost in their overall operations and park management.
Hopefully both have resolved those issues so that customer visits are more pleasant to these two parks.
^ I had a Flash Pass but overall the operators seemed to be trying to push trains out quickly. I ran into a few employees (particularly the American Eagle and Justice League crews) that were going out of their way to interact with guests as well.
Goliath, Raging Bull, X-Flight, and Whizzer all had unique layouts so when combined with the clones (most of which are good ones), the park is still very much worth visiting as a seasoned enthusiast in my opinion. The only gripe I had heard about the park was bad operations, particularly on the last TPR trip there, but I had no problems there.
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