So here we are, we reached the final park of the TPR New Hotness Tour. This is the park that I signed up for the tour for, well this and Holiday World, but since at the time Six Flags was building a Rocky Mountain Construction Coaster I had to go. Rocky Mountain Construction sprung onto the scene in 2011 and ever since I saw the Texas Giant got it’s RMC makeover I wanted to ride a RMC badly. Problem was most of them were far away in places like Texas and middle of nowhere Branson, MO. So this was the closet one to me and still is to this day a mere 6 hours away. So when signing up I thought Goliath would be my first RMC but it wasn’t since we came up with the Missouri trip that we took just a little over a week earlier. The neat thing is Outlaw Run (The RMC at Silver Dollar City) and Goliath are the only two RMC’s that use a system called Topper Track. It’s a new style that RMC has developed which maintains the feel of a wooden roller coaster but allows it to do crazy twists and turns and inversions. The track is reinforced with steel to allow limited maintenance and longevity to the coaster. The other RMC coaster’s such as New Texas Giant and Iron Rattler in Texas use an I-Box system which is completely steel and no wood used in the track system. I have yet to ride one of these creations.
So anyway enough about RMC how is Six Flags Great America and Goliath? Well the problem is, I was really excited for this park, everyone was, they had arguably the best new coaster of 2014 on paper at least. Unfortunately before our trip even began we ran into problems with this park. You saw how every other park on this tour pulled out the red carpet for us, really made us feel welcome, even the smaller parks like Beech Bend. So it was shocking before the trip even began that Six Flags Great America was refusing to give us ERT or even let us in a few minutes early. Now ERT doesn’t come free, TPR arranges a price and they pay it so it was crazy the park didn’t want the opportunity for extra cash. Robb even proposed an idea for a Bash event similar to what Kings Island did for us earlier in the trip that would have brought in more people probably around 300. The park also turned this down. So going into it we knew we were going to the park with everyone else when they opened and leaving when they closed which is still fun, but the reason for these tours is all the neat extra stuff you get to do. There was none of that at Six Flags. At least we weren’t the only ones a few weeks before our stop at Six Flags, they had an ACE (another coaster club) event scheduled. Well turns out they canceled the event the night before, after people were already in town. How rude of them, the consolation is they gave them front of the line passes for a few rides and the tickets to get in, but none of the planned events took place that day. Now I don’t mean to sound entitled but most parks (especially Cedar Point) understand that the enthusiast’s are your most die hard audience and your greatest marketers. We have an amazing experience at a park and we rave about it, then other people might try out that park. I’ll even share the email that Robb shared with us before coming to the park.
I am sorry you feel like riding Goliath with and an otherwise typical experience in our park wouldn’t be a great day for your guests. We have hundreds of groups that book events at Six Flags Great America. Most all of them bring more than 50 in their party; some of them even thousands. Many of them purchase flash passes and other in-park items. We simply can’t give all of them exclusive ride time on Goliath or other rides.
I hope your group has a great time during their visit but I am sorry we will have to deny your request for exclusive ride time.
Six Flags Great America
So in summary, while Kings Island and the other parks on the tour gave us a bunch of ERT and tours, Six Flag’s response was go buy a flash pass. Classy real classy.
It’s a shame because I had heard this was one of the nicer Six Flags parks in the chain and they definitely do not seem to be that anymore. So how was our experience at Six Flags Great America, did it get any better after walking through the gates? Spoiler: It got worse.
So how was the ride? Well it’s still a very very good coaster but it almost didn’t meet my high expectations. Outlaw Run blew my mind, and that ride was an instant top ten coaster for me, now Goliath was good but not top ten material. Don’t get me wrong it’s still better than 98% of wooden roller coasters out there but it’s nowhere near the quality of a ride as Outlaw Run. I had the luxury of riding Goliath the night before in the very back row and I didn’t feel the extreme ejector air time that you got on Outlaw Run’s first drop. Still good but not amazing. The one redeeming aspect of our day at Six Flags was Goliath and the fast pass company Accesso working with us and loading two rides on Goliath instead of the usual one ride. So while Goliath was a very good ride, I’d have to say the best coaster of the tour and the best new ride for 2014 is Lightning Run at Kentucky Kingdom. Well let’s see what else Six Flags Great America has before more Goliath rides.
Here’s the first of many unacceptable things about this park. So our flash pass took us right to the merge part of the ride where you choose right or left side, on Gatekeeper the other wing-rider I’ve ridden once you get to this part it’s at most five minutes and you’re on the ride. Well don’t forget we’re at Six Flags so it was thirty minutes here, and this is with flash pass?!?!?
After another twenty minute delay we were finally ready to take flight!
So X-Flight was a good coaster, I’d rank it higher than Gatekeeper, while it’s certainly smaller and more compact it uses those aspects to it’s strength. While Gatekeeper is large and graceful it’s also pretty slow, this ride however zips through it’s course and has quick snappy inversions. While neither one has made me a huge fan of the wing-rider concept this coaster surely does it better than Gatekeeper at Cedar Point.
On another note I mentioned the delays, with flash pass in hand we didn’t ride until 50 minutes after getting in line and we jumped to the front of the line to begin with! Completely unacceptable and just more evidence of Six Flag’s horrible ride operations.
This was one of the mainly downers of the park today, the ride was alright nothing wrong with the coaster just the crew and operations of it. They were incredibly slow on this ride and also Robb had an issue with this crew that he brought to the attention of his Facebook follows. I’m sure that didn’t look good for the park. Apparently their daughter Kristin was denied access to Viper that she wasn’t tall enough even though she had been on other coasters that were 48 in that day and the entire trip. The crew wouldn’t let her ride and the whole delay caused guests to boo her that were still in line making Kristin cry. Just another example of the classy crowd that Six Flags draws. The whole situation was sort of fixed later when Kristin went to guest relations where they measured her gave her a wristband saying she was over 48 in and was allowed to ride Viper later in the day not without an attitude from the crew who denied her access earlier in the day though. This crew was by far the worst of the day not only in speed but also in attitude apparently.
Since Six Flags Great America did not do anything for us Robb didn’t want to give them any additional business so we had dinner outside the park at Outback Steakhouse. Yum! Anyway this was the point where a lot of people in our group did not return to the park after dinner. I wanted to still ride some of the coasters I hadn’t been on yet so Andy and I returned to the park. Others went back to the hotel to rest up for the early morning trips to the airport.
So here’s where things got a little interesting, apparently the Sky Tower employee must be trained to up-sell other items of the park to people over the speaker as you are exiting the ride. Normally this is no big deal but either this employee took it way too seriously or was having fun with it either way it was quite hilarious. She started on the regular spiel and then proceeded into almost shouting “DO NOT LEAVE THE PARK TODAY WITHOUT HAVING A FAMOUS SIX FLAGS FUNNEL CAKE” then lowered her voice back down to normal levels and said have a nice rest of the day. It was probably the most aggressive up-sell I’d ever seen or heard, quite funny. Didn’t work though, we didn’t get a funnel cake that day. 😛
B&M flyers were an interesting concept and much better than the Vekoma ones, it’s a shame no new flyers have been built in the USA recently but hey it was a long time between the last B&M inverted and Banshee so hopefully we’ll see a new take on the concept in a few years. When the concept is done right as in Tatsu and Manta it’s amazing but these Superman flyer clones don’t do too much for me. Still a fun ride either way though.
Problem is, is that the holding brake wasn’t on! The best part of the ride, is that brief moment when you are held in the air for just a second and they don’t even have it on. That’s why I’m not the biggest fan of Wicked Twister and I’d rather ride the earlier Impulse coaster because of the holding brake. Silly Six Flags. To make matters worse they announced over the speaker as we’re sitting in the train ready to the launch that due to incoming weather the ride may shut down in a little bit. That’s understandable but the thing I didn’t get was they were totally dragging their feet on launching us. Wouldn’t you think with weather coming in you’d want to get as many dispatches in before you had to shut down so more people could ride. Yeah that makes sense, but again let me remind you this is Six Flags. I’m pretty sure at this moment as Andy and I were sitting on the train for a good five minutes waiting to launch that I said to him “I hate this park”. And that’s how we ended our “Six Flags” day.
Since the incoming storm was approaching we didn’t stay till closing due to a walk back to the hotel. There was only an hour left anyway. With my trusty meteorologist Andy with walked back to the hotel. It was quite eye opening as he looked at his phone and told me when the wind would be hitting us and the rain and what not. Everything he said was dead on, and we made it back to the hotel just in time with only a few minutes to spare before the downpour. Granted it wouldn’t have been so close had V2s dispatches been a little quicker but oh well what are you going to do.
So in summary how was Six Flags Great America, well it’s a mixed bag based on experience alone I’d say awful. The redeeming qualities are Goliath the ride and operations of it and X-Flight the ride only. So there were a few bright spots but the majority of it was not good. I had heard somewhere the saying that the rides of a park will bring you there, but the experience, customer service, will bring you back. This couldn’t be more true for this park, I was so excited to go to ride Goliath, and while I’d love to go back and ride Goliath again, I’m not quite sure I’d want to do anything else besides get the credits I missed. Either way I’m in no hurry to get back to this park, I’m sure I’ll return at some point and hopefully the experience will have improved by then but until then I’ll take my business elsewhere.
So after all that 8 parks in 6 days our TPR New Hotness Tour would come to a close. It was an incredible experience and I have so many memories some good some bad, but overall it’s a trip I’ll never forget. I made so many new friends and got to see some old ones again, and overall we all had a blast. Yeah a TPR trip is exhausting, it’s go go go, but you get to do so much and so many unique things that it’s totally worth the experience of it. Just make sure you have a few days to recover after you get back.
Home sweet home after almost two weeks on the road between Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio. It was a long fun journey and got to see tons of new parks I’d never been to before. Next up a few local parks and then off to California for sunshine and more parks!