Sign in or Join the Community!

Theme Park Insider YouTubeFacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+Email Newsletter
Home Park guides Hotel reviews Saving money Travel tips Community

Six Flags Great America

Kevin Lynch

Photo of Six Flags Great America

See all photos | Submit Photo

Published: August 8, 2014

Built in 1976 by Marriott and later purchased by Six Flags, Six Flags Great America boasts having some of the largest variety of coasters in the world with the first inverted and first hyper coaster. This park also has a Hurricane Harbor water park connected to it.

Location: Six Flags Great America is located in Gurnee, Illinois, off Interstate 94 north of Chicago. You can find driving directions and a satellite view of the park on our Google Map.

Hours: Six Flags Great America is a seasonal park, opening in spring and closing in the fall. Daily operating hours are available on Six Flags' website.

Strategy:

Arrive at the park before opening. Especially during summer days, they will often let people in before the official opening to soften the early morning rush. If you really want to go to Hurricane Harbor, its best to go right when it opens, but it usually opens two hours after the park so make sure you know when Hurricane Harbor Opens. The earlier you go, the less people will be in there. However, since you can do some rides before going to Hurricane Harbor, go straight to the Dark Knight Coaster, assuming you want to ride it. Otherwise, hit Superman: Ultimate Flight right next door. After Superman, proceed to Batman The Ride. When you get off of Batman, V2 (Vertical Velocity) will be directly accross from the exit. Ride it.

Now that you have hit some of the most popular rides with the lowest capacity, you can slow down and ride some of the minor rides if you wish. V2 is right next to all the water rides, so if you don't mind getting wet relatively early, you can ride them before the middle of the day when lines are longest. If you do not want to ride the water/flat rides, walk towards American Eagle at the back of the park. Along the way you will pass by the brand new Goliath, which will likely have a ridiculously long line when you reach it. If you don't mind long waits (between 1.5-3 hours), you can ride it now. Otherwise, you can skip it for now and go straight to American Eagle. Not too far past American Eagle is X-Flight. Both are very popular coasters. I recommend riding X-Flight first, then backtracking and riding Eagle. X-Flight probably has a line already, but it will only get longer as the day passes. Eagle, on the other hand, rarely has a line, so we recommend waiting for the front row, especially if you don't like rough coasters.

Since it will probably be the middle of the day by now, feel free to rest; not only will it be hot but this is when lines are longest, so it is a good time to cool off. If you are not planning on staying all day, hit the rides in Southwest Territory now (Raging Bull, Viper, Giant Drop) and Goliath (if you haven't yet). The lines will appear very long but due to the high loading speed will be shorter than Superman and Batman at the other end of the park. If you did not do it in the morning, hit Hurricane Harbor nearby, but don't expect to get on too many rides. Rather, use it to relax before going back into the coaster part of the park.

Assuming you are staying for nighttime, wait for the crowds to thin out and then ride Goliath (if you haven't yet), Raging Bull, Viper, and Giant Drop. The lines will be significantly shorter and most of these rides are better experienced at night anyways. Check the park map for closing time and try to beat the nighttime traffic rush by leaving 20 or 30 minutes before closing.

New at Great America for 2014 is Goliath: an RMC wooden coaster that breaks three wooden coaster records (speed, drop height, and drop steepness). If you follow our strategy through the park. You should be able be able to ride Goliath and all of the other popular rides at the park.