Arrr! Six Flags Great America gets into the game with Buccaneer Battle
By Anthony MurphyTuesday Park Visit: While Disney has Buzz Lightyear and Universal has Men in Black, Six Flags now offers its own shooter attraction. However, instead of using electronic guns, Six Flags has gone to something simpler and more reliable: Water!
Published: May 12, 2009 at 4:42 PM
Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois today debuted its newest attraction, Buccaneer Battle, to the media. In seafaring tradition, Mr. Six (the chain's bald dancing guy) Christened the ride by breaking a bottle against the hull of one of the ships.
Basically, the attraction is a pirate themed water ride in which each guest is armed with a water gun which can be used to squirt targets, other boats, and even “landlubbers” who are just passing by the attraction or shooting back at you with their own water cannons. Each boat holds eight people, with four on each side, and each side has 4 to 5 different targets which guests can shoot at with their water guns.
One of the easiest and fun targets is a crab that shoots jets of water back at you! There are various opportunities, especially when turning corners in the pool, to shoot at other boats and individuals who are standing on shore near the front of the attraction. Of course, those landlubbers have their very own (and free to use) water cannons to return fire, often getting people on the ride absolutely soaked. At the end, if you are unlucky enough, there is a giant water pail that dumps water on guests exiting the ride.
Afterwards, I was able to speak to two people who worked on the ride: Robert Dean of Mack Rides and Bill Scmell of Six Flags Design. This attraction's basic "Splash Battle" design is also at other parks such as Alton Towers, Legoland and Dollywood. However, Great America's is the largest and longest version of this ride, at 450 feet. Dean mentioned that the idea for this ride is not a new concept; rather the innovation came from combining old ideas to create a new one.
Something different from many water shooters is all the guns on Buccaneer Battle are manually operated, meaning that instead of using electricity and pulling a trigger, guests need to turn a crank to get the water squirting. The ride also runs in "creek mode," meaning it never stops, which allows the attraction to get 1000-1200 riders per hour, which they hope will keep the lines down for this attraction.
Schmell talked about how Six Flags, especially Great America, has dived into theming on their new attractions, starting with the Dark Knight Coaster and now with Buccaneer Battle. He mentioned that Great America will be getting a new attraction in the next two years, as well as a celebration in 2011 for Six Flags’ 50th Anniversary and Great America’s 40th Anniversary.
For the most part, Buccaneer Battle is just simple fun. Probably one of the best way to describe it is one of those Disney water rides (It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) with water guns (oh, the possibilities!). As with other shooter rides, its re-rideablity is huge since it’s a lot more fun to shoot at the people than the targets after awhile. The only downsides to the attraction were that the guns were manual; making it very tiresome after awhile, as well as a relatively short ride. Still, I high recommend everybody get their eye patches and pirate hats and meet me at Six Flags Great America to battle to the wet pirate death on Buccaneer Battle. It’s all good clean fun!
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