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xVekomax

Six Flags Great America 9-13-09

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I was just given a pair of free tickets to Six Flags Great America today and they are valid thru the 13th of September. I'm actually pretty excited because for one, Ive never set foot inside of a Six Flags park, ive actually always wanted to go there because theyve got some cool coasters and coaster firsts ( like the first B+M inverted looping coaster..the first of the "Batman the Rides" ) and it will just be an adventure. I currently have found someone to go with me and hopefully he sticks to his guns, but if not ive got another person on standby who said they will go if he backs out. Its going to be a bit of a drive there and back but oh well it should be worth it. Itll be exciting to compare an earlier B+M hyper to our glorious Diamondback. I am sure Raging Bull will be fun but its funny to see the old train style. I think i am going to hold out the appreciation for Diamondbacks and Behemoth's V-style seating. haha. I also can't wait to try out Superman: Ultimate Flight and compare the B+M flying coaster experience to our Vekoma Flying Dutchman, Firehawk. Needless to say I am excited. A new experience in a new park. It won't be my last park trip for the year though. I have at least two more trips to KI planned, one FOR SURE ( going the last day its open ) but i wanna try and make it out to the haunt too. Oh well one visit at a time eh? lol Anyways, I plan on taking lots of pictures/videos and such so this will be updated when the appropriate time comes.

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I can tell you that SFGAm has some great rides. I grew up with that as my home park, although it has been almost 10 years since i've been there. I havn't ridden Superman, but I've heard great things. The original Batman ride is great. The whole queue used to have great themeing, which hopefully hasn't changed. I liked the old colors the track was painted (black) as opposed to its current yellow color. Iron Wolf is a solid stand-up and B&Ms first coaster as an independent company, although I have heard that time hasn't been too good to it lately. Raging Bull is much different than Diamondback from what I remember, but I only rode it a few times. The first drop is great, especially in the front seat. You can't see the track because it drops straight into a tunnel. I could go on about how much I love that park, or at least how it used to be. I was really disappointed when I found out that they added mandatory lockers to every ride in the park for this season. Keep that in mind when planning your trip.

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Six Flags Great America is one of my all-time favorite parks. Haven't been there in a few years but I've always had a wonderful time there. Just a few things to get you ready for your trip.

 

Superman has the better ride as far as you're in the flying postion the entire time but the Vekoma's like Firehawk has the better layout. Be forewarned that the pretzel loop is a bit intense.

 

Raging Bull, IMO, is pure bliss. Best rides are in the back seat - great airtime. There is a trim on the third hill, which crosses over the first drop, which you may think detracts from the ride but sitting in the back you don't feel it as much as you do towards the front of the train.

 

Iron Wolf is a bit headbangy but it is quite a compact coaster. Have to forgive B&M on this one as it was their first.

 

Be sure to ride Whizzer, the last of its kind in America, for some Schwarzkopf goodness.

 

Finally, the park has a relatively large collection of flat rides to choose from.

 

Have a great time.

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thank you :) i am really looking forward to going!!! so far the person im going with hasnt said anything about backing out so hopefully it all goes smoothly. im ready to check out a new park!

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Okay so I am going to do my trip report kind of different here. I am going to compare my very familiar home park rides at Kings Island to the things I got to experience at Great America. :)

 

Atmosphere/Landscaping/ETC

Winner: Great America

 

Okay so seriously, this park has it down pat when it comes to beauty. Not saying that Kings Island is dull. I love the beauty in my own park like no other but Great America is just gorgeous. Lots of trees, landscaping, fountains, just ATMOSPHERE. its an amusement park with style. this is what Kings Island used to have when Paramount owned it. it made you feel like you were at a premier place and now that Cedar Fair has killed all the theming within KI, it just felt great to see such a place within the Midwest that still "has it". I loved how there were plenty of shady areas from the trees and just how warm the place felt. I felt like there was more nature than concrete, if that makes any sense. They had music cranked up through the whole park. Although I do love my music loud, they could have maybe had it down just a little so you weren't yelling at your ride buddy while in line lol Still not a big deal. Great energy :) I also have to note I was impressed with the sight of a double decker carousel at the front of the park with a little pool in front of it. definitely something ive never seen before.

 

Theming

Winner: Great America

 

This is a no brainier. We all know KI has lost its theming as a "theme park" and is now just an amusement park with great rides but no more enhancements. Every ride at Great America had WORKING theming. Even the smallest rides had some kind of theme going on. I didn't see one ride that didnt have working theming. It was all kept up very well and it just added to the excitement to the rides. I enjoyed the feeling I got walking up to them and the energy that surrounded even the simplest rides. I give them major props because its definitely something that makes the ride not just a ride, but an EXPERIENCE.

 

Staff

Winner: Kings Island

 

I was very disappointed with the way the staff were at Great America. they were very inconsiderate and rude. there were maybe only three employees that were decent but everyone else was very oblivious to the patrons and just didnt seem to take their job too seriously. it made me realize that the one or two bad employees i ran into at KI cannot compare to the bad experience with the staff of Great America. they didn't check our restraints on half the rides, they almost hit my friend with one of the restraints when they DID check, and they just didnt seem to care. i always feel like the staff at KI ( and even the other two Cedar Fair owned parks ive been to ) seem to pay good attention to their guests and make for an exciting departure when you take off for your ride. they get you pumped before the ride and ask you how it was after the ride. it just makes you feel like youre more than a guest, but a really welcomed member of the park. there was not one such experience at Great America. just made me appreciate KI even more for that aspect.

 

Now for the 5 coasters I got to ride.

 

Raging Bull vs. Diamondback

Winner: Diamondback

 

I already had a feeling this would be the case for me, because its going to be tough for any coaster to match up to Diamondback, but Raging Bull was in no way a bad coaster or a disappointment. Raging Bull is a 10 year old B+M hyper with more than just hills, its got some SERIOUS horseshoe turns that take you almost completely sideways and its got a great layout but it just wasnt as forceful or fast as Diamondback. I rode it twice while we were there. Once in the middle ( extremely boring and dull ) and then the amazing backseat ride. It was much better back there because it really pulls you around, must like Diamondback. Still not better than a backseat ride on Diamondback though. The airtime wasn't nearly as good either. Diamondback is chock full of generous airtime and Raging Bull just didn't have the airtime where you would expect it to be. It's still a great coaster and I did enjoy it. I just know that Diamondback still holds the key to my heart :lol:

 

Superman Ultimate Flight vs. Firehawk

Winner:Tie

 

Other than the fact that S:UF is larger and is really the "true" flying coaster of the two, I think I like Firehawk a little better because Firehawk has a much more exciting layout. There is more going on and even though I have ridden it many many times, I like how I still in some ways am never sure what is going to happen next. S:UF was pretty predictable and kind of boring. The only exciting part was the big half loop that you dive into head first. Its VERY forceful and feels really good but after that the rest is kind of a snooze. Its a cool coaster though by all means. The trains are really a mechanical marvel and I like how it sweeps you off your feet into the flying position, but i would much rather be laying on my back because hanging in the flying position can get kind of uncomfortable after awhile. Still a great coaster though. I like bits and pieces of both coasters so its hard for me to really say which I like better.

 

Demon vs. Vortex

Winner: Tie

 

So it might seem a little silly to compare a "mega looper" to an early Arrow looper but essentially they are the same except one is taller, faster with two more inversions. I have to say though, Demon is one of the most beautifully themed coasters I've ever seen, not to mention for how old it is. Its definitely quite a surprising little coaster. For one, i really liked the OTSR's WAY better than Vortex's. Theyre not riding up on your neck as much, theyre softer and theyre ORANGE!!! lol the grip handles are also large and comfortable too. The trains definitely looked better cared for than our Vortex trains, sad to say. Now the layout doesnt seem to exciting but I was pleasantly surprised. After it ascends the lift and you turn into the drop, there is a pretty decent pop of airtime where you come right out of your seat ( must like Vortex ) but I definitely did not expect it from this little coaster. The two vertical loops were pretty intense and the transitions were just smooth and thats rare to say for an Arrow, esp an older Arrow but you can tell they have really taken great care of Demon. even the corkscrews were pretty smooth. MUCH smoother than CP's corkscrew!!!! The theming was extremely well kept up too. I was impressed to say the least. Great to see them take care of a classic. Vortex is still a more exciting ride, but Demon is not by any means boring!

 

Now here are the coasters I can't compare to anything at KI

 

Batman the Ride

 

I was extremely excited to ride this coaster because it is the original and first B+M inverted coaster circa 1992. Lets just say I was blown away, again by the upkeep of the theming. You can easily tell its the same theming from its opening year and it doesnt look worn out or tired at all. The station was impressive and made a BIG impression on anyone waiting in line. the neon lights, the HUGE Batman logo on the ceiling that was illuminated, and the blaring techno music really got you excited to ride. The ride itself was definitely intense and didnt feel like a 17 year old coaster. It still holds its own among its clones and even the bigger inverts like Raptor etc. I truly enjoyed my ride on Batman and I am just glad I can now say I got to ride the world's first inverted coaster. Seeing as its still an amazing and intense ride today, I can only imagine how people felt in its opening year. I'm sure people felt it was unreal. I love nostalgia :)

 

 

The Dark Knight

 

This was a pretty cute little way to spiff up a wild mouse coaster. Again, top notch theming and the whole "before ride" experience. It had a really cool pre-show ( which made me sad and miss that type of stuff at KI-aka Tomb Raider ) you got into these cute little single "subway trains" that take four passengers. My friend and i were in the front of the car. The lift hill really gets you up there pretty fast and in all good wild mouse fun, it really tosses you around from side to side in the dark. The lighting/sound effects were really cool and the little drops were fun and unexpected. There was this one part at the end where they spray a little bit of water on you THEN take your picture while youre in shock of what just happened. Needless to say it was a pretty fun little coaster. The theming around it is what made it fun.

 

We didnt get to do anything else seeing as we were very limited on time. My friend had to get home at a decent hour since she had school today and its a four hour drive from Indy, so we rode what we could. I was going to ride Iron Wolf seeing as its kinda cool how it was in the movie Ritchie Rich and it was one of the first big stand ups built but it was down by the time we got over to it. I wish I could have ridden everything at least once but I'm just glad I at least got to go. I hope to make a trip back up there next year and ride more despite the crappy staff. I enjoyed the atmosphere. Can't go too wrong with a park full of beauty, great variety of coasters and most of them being B+M's :)

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Sounds like you had a great trip. I have always love the Demon. Its layout is nearly identical (if not identical) to Corkscrew at CP, but they changed the first hill after the drop into a loop and i feel like they have kept it up much better. The corkscrews near the Demon head are great and for their Halloween event they used to dye the water red. I am glad to hear that Batman the Ride's queue themeing has been kept up. I remember when the ride first opened and I was amazed at how great the themeing was. I do miss walking into SFGAm and seeing the double decker carousel over the reflecting pond. The reflecting pond used to get dyed red for halloween as well and they put torches on the water. I'm looking forward to going to Halloween Haunt this year and comparing the theming to what I remember from SFGAm's Halloween event.

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Glad to hear you had a great time at Great America. You pretty much hit the majors as far as coasters go. Too bad you didn't hit Viper, a very good under-rated wood coaster that was built in-house.

 

You can thank Marriott for the theming of the park and thank Six Flags for not destroying it unlike what was done at the California park. They were identical parks at one time and other than the Columbia Carousel (the double-deck carousel you saw when you walked in), the California park has lost majority of its original theming. You can thank KECO for that.

 

Demon has a surprisingly steep first drop for its size and in the back you get a nice dose of airtime, like Vortex. My favorite part is the light tunnel after the second loop.

 

You are the first person to actually like Dark Knight as it, as well as Great Adventure's, are pretty much hated on most forums. Personally I never understood why they did that since they have Ragin' Cajun, the Reverchon spinning mouse nearby.

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As with Geauga Dog, I am a little surprised to hear that you liked TDK. Although I haven't been on one of them yet, pretty much all I hear is bad about it - particularly that people seem to think the theming looks to have been done quickly and cheaply. The queue looks pretty good from what I've seen of it, but as for the ride itself, I can't really say for myself from experience.

 

Regarding the flying coasters, what I would really like to eventually see is somewhat of a mix between the B&M and Vekoma designs. Have B&M build it (as their model seems to be quite a bit more reliable and capacity-conscientious than Vekoma's), and include elements from both the Flying Dutchman and B&M flyers. I really like the lie-to-fly elements on Firehawk, and would love to see another B&M model with them (they haven't had an on-your-back section since their first flyer installation over in the UK a while back). Include the pretzel loop, inside vertical loop, outside corkscrews, inline rolls, etc. with a few lie-to-flys and fly-to-lies, and I think it would be a great layout.

 

All in all looks like you had a great time. oh, and Jstb, I believe they still do dye and decorate the reflecting pool red for the Halloween event - at least it was dyed and decorated in the pictures I've seen from last year or the year before.

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