Anthony Murphy

Published: July 20, 2010 at 11:05 PM

Fantastic report on the "home park" of mine.

It looks like you hit the nail right on the head with the Dark Knight and food. I will give the Dark Knight a bit of leeway due to some of my family and friends not being big coasters fan.

Raging Bull is desert themed (like SW Territory) so I do not know about scenery. Also, the views of the highway and the rest of the park are supposed to be the scenery (yeah, I know, whoop de doo).

The only item I kinda disagree with you on is the overcharging that they do. Don''t get me wrong, they do it massively and, especially for what you get, badly. However, I do not think its as grim as you put it out to be. Remember, it was less than $40 to get into the park. Thats less than half what you pay at the FL parks. They need to make up for the money another way. You spend about as much as you would at a Disney park too. The question it worth it? As a season pass holder with parking, I spent $130. So, pretty much, I save if I go at least twice a year and once for fright fest.

How is Magic Mountain compared to SFGA and what did you think of the theming and other rides (American Eagle, Little Dipper, Buccaneer Battle, etc)

James Rao

Published: July 21, 2010 at 6:55 AM

It is good to hear from you, Robert! Thanks for the first of several reports.

A couple questions for you:

1) How were the crowds? (Did you use a Flashpass?)
2) What ride did your kids like best?
3) Where did you stay during your visit, and did you just stay one day?
4) Your thoughts on the Glow in the Park parade?
5) Is SFGA a vacation destination for a family of five looking for something a step or two above Six Flags Saint Louis, or is the place a one (day) and done amusement park?

Have fun!

Robert Niles

Published: July 21, 2010 at 8:02 AM

I can't compare crowds to other days at this park, since this was my only time here in ages. But I found the crowd to be a typical summer weekday crowd when compared with other parks, with mid-day wait times ranging from 20-60 minutes.

Natalie liked Raging Bull best. Brian liked the extra-fee Sky Trail, which doesn't appear on the park map, BTW. Laurie went along with Brian, and was terrified, but Brian took to this sort-of vertical obstacle course like a monkey to a tree.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn across the street, which was a pleasant, but well-worn hotel with the worst mattress we've encountered all trip.

We bailed before the parade, but the kids also enjoyed the Big Easy Balloons and the Rue le Dodge (bumper cars). Natalie and I also rode Viper, Batman and Superman, which we enjoyed but though SeaWorld's Manta provided better visuals. I don't remember Manta's headrest forcing my head down, keeping me from looking forward, the way that Superman's did.

I'll have more to say after visiting Cedar Point, but if I had to pick a midwest park as a destination visit, I'd lean toward Holiday World at this point. I'll get more into that with a post next week.

Anthony Murphy

Published: July 21, 2010 at 8:41 AM

If I could answer your question James, I think a day or two is the only thing you can get out of Great America. However, it would be worth the trip if taking a little vacation to Chicago.

The other great find in Gurnee is the Gurnee Mills Mall which is a ridicoulsy huge mall. It has a ton of stores, resturants, and an ice rink. Still, the span between downtown Chicago and SFGA is about 1.5 hours tops. There is a Botanical Gardens, Lamb's Farm, Ravinia, and many other great finds on the Edens Expressway!

And yes, Robert, Superman has very uninspiring visuals to go around. They were a little quick to put that one up! Did you check out the Whizzer? Its an oldie, but one of my favorites at the park.

Also, did your hotel have any special deals on tickets or transportation? One of these days, I am going to try and go up during a weekend and stay at Key Lime Cove which has a partnership with SFGA on tickets and free transportaton to and from the park.

Oh, and I was curious about Holiday World. 6 hours away? Too far for one park for me!

Ryan S

Published: July 21, 2010 at 9:08 AM

Glad to see you enjoyed SFGam (I liked it too), When you go to cedar point (I assume you are staying on property), use your early entrance to ride maverick and millennium force, after that check the line for TTD, if it is over 30-40 minutes, wait until later, the line will die down. When I went to CP, we came back to the park after dinner that night(to avoid another meal in the park) to do night rides on many rides, you will find that the park is dead near closing, in the heat of the day do disaster transport as the queue is air conditioned.
Joshua Counsil

Published: July 21, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Great report, Robert. I enjoyed your comment about Six Flags' tendency to evacuate people. I never picked up on that.

I'm interested to see your perspective on Cedar Point. It frequently is awarded the best theme and/or amusement park in the country/world by critics and fans alike. True, it had an amazing array of coasters, but even after spending two days there I somehow felt that something was missing. I didn't leave the park with the satisfaction that I normally experience after a great park. Normally, I would blame the less-than-optimal experience on the poor food, lack of theming, and other factors typical of amusement parks, but even my "local" amusement park, Canada's Wonderland, leaves me grinning and satisfied at the end of the day. I think it may have to do with a general dreariness associated with Lake Erie.

Russell Meyer

Published: July 21, 2010 at 5:53 PM

One of these days we'll make it to this park. I've been wanting to ride Raging Bull for years, and my annual pass to SFA with parking would get us in for free, if we're ever in the Chicago area.

Here here on the food at Six Flags. I would say, though that there are some deals to be found in some of the Six Flags parks. SFGAdv and SFA both have a few restaurants that offer single entrees below $10 that are big enough for two to share, and I do recall the all-you-can-eat buffet at SFMM a decent deal (if it's still there--we haven't been since 2008). However, I have definitely noticed the food prices in SF parks slowly creeping up the ridiculous scale. They're really to the point where it does start making sense for you to leave, drive across the street, and eat lunch somewhere else.

To me, the parking should just be part of the admission, because it's not like guests are really paying for anything at Six Flags. A few of the SF parks run trams (SFNE, SFA on busy days, SFDK, and SFMM), but all guests are paying for at most of their parks is a long walk to the front gate. Guests would probably feel like they were getting a better deal if parking was free and the daily admission was $15 more per person (the park would make more money that way too since the parking is per car, not per person).

Published: July 21, 2010 at 8:02 PM

THey are nothing but money hungry people. It als ocomes with the Nmae jonneyrockets is somtimes a bit pricey themselves.
Erin B

Published: July 21, 2010 at 11:06 PM

Great review, Robert.

I look forward to & am interested in hearing about your visit to my home park, Cedar Point. When will you be there [or when were you there]? I'll be dropping in tomorrow & Friday night for some Magnomnomnom rides & Maverick ERT :)

And it may be too late, but here's a tip for the best Magnum ride -- seats 5-1 or 6-1, & try to avoid being stapled into your seat.

Anthony Murphy

Published: July 22, 2010 at 7:27 AM

For some reason, SFGA just has never had great food and I am not exactly sure why!

They do make up for it in the sweets department offering popcorn/Cotton Candy Tubs that are refilable, pop cups with free refills for the day, funnel cake, fudge, dippin dots, cookies, coffee, and roasted nuts.

So yes, they do very well on junk food!

Erin B

Published: July 22, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Anthony -- I saw you mentioned 6 hours being too far for you to consider checking out Holiday World. I think you should reconsider. My friends & I have about a seven hour drive to the park & it's worth every minute of that drive. The park is absolutely amazing with friendly staff, great food at a good value, amazing coasters, family rides, and it's well-maintained.
Will Chilcote

Published: July 22, 2010 at 1:49 PM

I've said this before but, I'm not a fan of Six Flags. I have been to several of their parks and the only one I really like is Great Adventure in New Jersey. I'm not surprised at all of the way u felt "nickel and dime" about everything.
Rhys Evans

Published: July 22, 2010 at 6:24 PM

I agree with Erin. Holiday World is most definitely worth a six hour drive... Just watch out for that wacky time zone change if you're coming from the east or north. The coasters are simply phenomenal (two of my top five and three of my top ten).
Joshua Counsil

Published: July 22, 2010 at 8:20 PM

6 hours is nothing. My closest parks are 4 hours away and they're certainly not Holiday World quality.
Lynda Beam

Published: July 23, 2010 at 10:31 AM

The nickel and diming is precisely why we go all the way to Cedar Point and haven't been to Six Flags in over 5 years ... and we live about 35 minutes away from Six Flags :-/

Published: July 23, 2010 at 11:00 AM

You can save some $$ in the food line by exiting and crossing the street to the entrance (walk or drive). There's several fast food restaurants right there. Most locals do that, or tailgate from their cooler in the parking lot. Then head back to the water park for stretch. Then a few more coasters in the evening.