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Busch Gardens vs Six Flags

Six Flags Great America: Advice on either one.

From r bolanos
Posted March 19, 2007 at 8:27 AM
We will be traveling to DC this summer. We are torn between Busch Gardens in Williamsburg or Six Flags in DC. Cost is not an issue. We are not big roller coaster fans, but will ride moderate ones. Our Children are 11 and 12.

We will also have our 12 yr older turning 13 while in DC. Would any of the parks do anything special or have character type meals available?

Thank you.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From David Kirby
Posted March 19, 2007 at 9:01 AM
I have never been to the Six Flags in Maryland but I can say from experience that Busch Gardens is an amazing park. They have great rides and an amazing and beautiful atmosphere. And if it's any help, Busch Gardens was also the top theme park on this site in 2006.

From Kelly Smith
Posted March 19, 2007 at 3:43 PM
With the disclaimer that I have never been to SF, go to BGE. It is an amazing park. My family had season's passes from when I was 12 to 15, and I loved it to pieces. I'm 23 and I still do. NOT to be missed.

From Jason Jackson
Posted March 19, 2007 at 5:01 PM
Oh definitely go to BGE. I haven't been to Six Flags America, but I have friends who have and they say that BGE is much more of a family park and the park is simply amazing and beautiful. Service is excellent!

From Dustin Kern
Posted March 20, 2007 at 9:01 AM
I've been to both and you said that you all don't ride extreme coasters so I would suggest going to BGE. While their coasters are larger than the ones at Six Flags, their entire park isn't based totally on coasters. BGE has more for everyone so I think you all would enjoy BGE way more. BGE is more show focused and family friendly rides then trying to keep up with the roller coaster chase.

Just so you don't think that I'm biased like everyone else on here against Six Flags, I absolutely love roller coasters and if I had to make a choice between the two I would go to Six Flags for the day just for the coasters.

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted March 20, 2007 at 3:25 PM
BGE Definitly!! Although ea SF park is slightly different, they're basically the same. BGE not only is one, if not THE, most beautiful theme park (that I've been to anyway) but to reiterate the other posters, BGE is definitly family oriented. There's something for everyone. Plus it's shady & it's just neat all over. Plus, the tree house for the kids is totally awesome! The park just has a refreshing, leisurely feel to it. It makes you wanna take your time & look at everything. It's definitly my fave park!

From Jake Countiss
Posted March 21, 2007 at 5:15 PM
The Six Flags in D.C. is the worst out of every Six Flags in the country. The best rides are always closed down and the service is horrible. Go to BGE and have fun.

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted March 22, 2007 at 10:00 AM
That's disappointing to hear. I was hoping to visit SFA some time. Thanx for the warning.

From Dustin Kern
Posted March 22, 2007 at 7:41 PM
SFA is a good park to visit once in a while. It's a good change of pace and they have a decent collection of coasters. I would rather go to KD because it's closer and they try and have everything open. If you want to SFA, you really need to keep an eye on what's open and how often stuff is closed down.

From John Stempin
Posted March 22, 2007 at 11:33 PM
As a season pass holder to both (formerly 6FA and now BGE) I don't find a clear choice.

BGE surprised me for having as few rides as they do. BGE by my estimation is more of a "destination." Aside from the rides they have a few shows, a number of 4D attractions lots of places to shop (for things you wouldn't expect to find in an amusement park like Waterford Crystal) and maybe the best food you'll ever eat sitting near a roller coaster (the chocolate cake is killer). The staff, many of them foreigners working in the US for the summer, is wonderfully friendly at all times.

The cons are these: Southeastern VA is even hotter and more humid than DC (and most of the DC area is situated in a former swamp). There are a couple of water rides but if you need to really cool down you have to get in the car to go to the water park (why they don't operate a shuttle between the two parks is beyond me). The BGE campus is *enormous* by comparison to 6FA. Be prepared to walk a lot. And while not a BGE issue directly, many of the hotels in the area (including some of the biggest names) suffer from mold and mildew problems in their rooms owing to the climate.

6FA is best for pure rides. Their sit and spin collection is bigger and a lot better. They have two excellent wood coasters that won't kill you. They also have more live shows (some of which are quite good) and a water park that's included in the admission and is easy to walk to.

6FA cons are these: staff is ugly and surly most of the time. If it's a busy day there will be garbage everywhere. At any one time about a third of the rides (typically the most expensive to operate) aren't functioning and usually without explanation. 6FA lacks in tree cover and you're likely to get a serious burn in the summer if you're not careful. Food is forgettable and more expensive than BGE. Beer is there but very hard to find.

6FA safety is something of a concern. There have been gang issues reported off and on through the years. The only bad incident I ever witnessed in 3 years of pretty regular attendence was a late night brawl in the parking lot around Halloween. Guns were involved. 6FA's take was it-wasn't-in-the-park-there-was-nothing-we-could-do.

(To their credit, 6FA does operate metal detectors at the gate, BGE does not. I believe this is a short coming at BGE given the location of both parks to major military and government installations.)

6FA seems to scrimp on ride operators using 1 where most other parks use 2 or 2 were most other parks are using 3. Together with a third of the rides being shut down most of the time and the general ratty nature of the park's upkeep, it makes me wonder about the overall maintenance on the things you can't see.

From Daniel Williams
Posted March 23, 2007 at 11:34 AM
John: They don't run a shuttle between the properties because there's not enough interest. Numbers have always shown that there aren't a lot of cross over guests.

I've always wondered about that... I HATE getting wet at a dry park, and don't understand those that go to a wet park and dry park in the same day.

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted March 23, 2007 at 4:32 PM
I beg to differ on BGE not using metal detectors, they had them when we went. So yes, they do have metal detectors. We had to hand over our stuff & let the security ppl look thru our bags just like the other parks as well.

From Jason Jackson
Posted March 23, 2007 at 6:56 PM
Not sure when the last time you were at BGE, but they haven't used Metal Detectors since 2001. They do bag checks though.

From David Kirby
Posted March 24, 2007 at 12:31 PM
It wouldn't make sense to have a tram between the two parks because in order to get to one of the parks, you must drive there anyway since there is no shuttle service from the surrounding hotels. It wouldn't make sense to park at Water Country and then take a tram to Busch because you would have to take the tram back to Water Country anyway and that is rather inconvient. Fortunately though, if you do hop parks, you only have to pay for parking once. Also, my family and I have hopped between the 2 parks. Usually when we got to Water Country, we'll stay there til about 5 or 6 then go over to Busch for a couple hours to do the wate related attractions.

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted March 25, 2007 at 5:08 PM
We went March 2004. Perhaps I'll call the park to verify.

From Daniel Williams
Posted March 26, 2007 at 9:41 AM
Adrienne: The Park(s) did add metal detectors from Sept 12th 2001 through the end of the season. They also use them when the National Terrorist Alert level reaches a certain point, but they are not standard.

From Kathryn Long
Posted March 26, 2007 at 9:11 AM
Busch Gardens. It's not even a question. Six Flags Great America is a disgusting park and since I grew up with the place you'd think I would have some sort of an allegiance to the place. It's not in a very good area, the staff is awful (rude and not at all helpful), the food isn't very good especially for the price, and the place is dirty.

Just an example of the terrible service at 6FGA:
I took my little brother and one of our cousins to 6 Flags for the day a few years back when my brother and I both had season passes and my brother played a game where he won a huge stuffed animal as a prize, but the staff just handed him one, they didn't let him pick. He left and came over to the game my cousin and I were playing and told me he wanted a different one so we went over to exchange it and they told him that he couldn't exchange it because he had walked away from the stand with it. I asked to speak to a supervisor and got no where with it. I finally had to go all the way to the other side of the park where guest services is and make a huge stink to get them to exchange the prize.

From Jacob Palmer
Posted March 26, 2007 at 11:08 PM
There is no comparison here. Busch Gardens is a wonderful park, and the DC area sixflags is just another sixflags. Not only that, despite Busch Gardens having some big coasters, you will find plenty of other things to do (although I highly recommend riding all the coasters). I realize that i have said pretty much the same thing everyone else has...but I just had to voice an opinion here, because there is simply no comparison. Have a great trip!

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted March 27, 2007 at 3:48 PM
Ok Daniel thanx for the info, perhaps it was just my imagination or I was dreaming it.

From Daniel Williams
Posted March 30, 2007 at 1:38 PM
No, there's a good chance that there was a terrorism alert during that time. I specifically remember one that year.

From John Melillo
Posted April 11, 2007 at 4:57 PM
Definitely BuschGardens Europe. SixFlags only has 1 theme and BuschGardens has over 10. SixFlags over America is built in the middle of nowhere. I was on Superman Ride of Steel there and at the top of the 250 ft hill all I saw was the highway and patches of desert like sand.

From Justin Spisto
Posted August 30, 2007 at 1:47 PM
This is a No brainer. Busch, its my favorite park. Im not being baised but seriously Busch or Six flags D.C. is that even a serious question.

From robert miller
Posted August 30, 2007 at 4:39 PM
Agree, not even close. Go to Busch Gardens. I think I would go to King's Dominion before six flags.

From Tyler W.
Posted August 30, 2007 at 5:35 PM
BGE, not even close.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted August 31, 2007 at 6:33 AM
BGE, its probably the best park outside of FL or CA

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