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 is......is 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)
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?
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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!