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.
Here at the gate, I count Six Flags, seems were in the right place. Waiting to get in the park….
… with everyone else. 😦
As soon as the park opens it’s a mad dash for Goliath.
Everyone still heading in the direction of Goliath.
Looks like a fun little coaster. Sadly I wouldn’t get this credit today. 😦
And here we wait.
The coaster looks beautiful though.
There’s a considerable line forming behind us.
The gates are opened and we start filling the queues.
The thing sure is massive looking.
No line jumping! It’s stated pretty clear throughout the line.
Also to make matters worse these are handed to you when you get in line and must be redeemed in the same order. Good idea to prevent line jumping but seems a bit excessive.
Again NO LINE JUMPING!
Who wins Camaro or Goliath?
Getting closer to the front opportunity for some nerd shots.
Ooh Ahh. This is the underside of the transfer track which actually lowers instead of the traditional side to side motion.
Look at all those bolts.
We’re so close now!
Looking up at the massive lift hill.
A clearer shot, sure is sexy isn’t it?
Close up of the track and anti roll back. Also don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t a wooden roller coaster. See that nice pretty stack of wood under that track? That’s a wood backbone which still classifies it as a wooden roller coaster. Sure it’s got a little more steel reinforced than a traditional wooden coaster, but by definition alone it’s still a wooden coaster. 😛
Riders ready to battle Goliath!
Start the climb!
Almost there! Hands up!
They made it back in one piece. Now it’s our turn!
Front or back?
Goliath crew was pretty efficient today loading quickly and good dispatch times. I hope this is a sign of things to come for the day.
Seats are the same as RMC’s other wooden coaster Outlaw Run.
The lift and supports are very reminiscent of an Intamin coaster. I must say it’s sure impressive to look at.
The signature hang time element of the coaster. Very interesting feeling and arguably the best part of the ride.
The immelmann loop that is located in the massive wooden structure near the queue line. Here’s where the coaster lacked for me, this loop felt more like a slower B&M inversion instead of the powerful, fast, snappy inversions found on RMC’s other coaster Outlaw Run.
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.
The line sure got a lot longer since we entered the line.
The one coaster that wasn’t on our flash pass was American Eagle, so we headed straight for that ride after Goliath.
Oooh X-Flight excited to try another wing rider but that’ll have to wait.
American Eagle’s massive lift. It’s a racing coaster but since this is Six Flags only one side was running so hence no racing. UGH!
They were sending empty blue trains though?
Shameless Blue Man Group ads everywhere around this ride, I thought this was a patriotic themed coaster.
Heads against the headrests.
Ready to roll!
Blue side trains are even Blue Man Group ads all over.
At least the red side has the name of the coaster on it.
It’s hard to get pictures of the ride since it’s in the very back of the park without many access areas but here’s one of the train climbing the lift.
Especially you! Decent coaster, but nothing to ride home about.
Here’s the line for it though due to only one side running.
Still going. That’s at least an hour wait now.
These are popping up in every park I swear.
So who wants to take flight?!?!?
Shall we get in line?
It sure is a busy day in the park, look at that line! Good thing we have flash pass. 🙂
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?!?!?
The employees look a little miserable in those flight suits. Plus it must be very very hot in those.
To make matters worse the ride broke down as we were about to get on. Fellow TPR members Zach and Steven are like get me off this thing.
Waiting to see what the problem was.
After another twenty minute delay we were finally ready to take flight!
Ready for the first drop!
Inversion right at the top!
The first drop is identical to Gatekeeper’s but on a much smaller scale.
The inversions are quicker and snappier on this ride as compared to the larger more graceful Gatekeeper.
The ride is decently themed for a Six Flags coaster with the flight towers and what not.
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.
Spotted Demon an old Arrow looper didn’t get a chance to ride this today due to Six Flags horrible operations.
Figured now was as good a time as any to redeem our two flash pass rides on Goliath.
Love how the immelmann loop towers over the midway.
Paul and Stacy quite enjoyed their front row ride.
Oooh magnetic brakes! These are 100x more awesome to have on a wooden coaster.
Andy and I got a front seat ride! On this coaster, I must say front is better than the back seat.
Hands up! You’re about to hang.
After the first drop the ride has a neat tight turn around section.
After the ride you exit into the gift shop and are treated to tons of Goliath merchandise.
Now I’ve always wanted to try a splash battle but I’ve never had the time or it was never warm enough. Oh well maybe next time.
Entering Southwest Territory!
At first sight is Raging Bull! The massive B&M twisty hyper coaster.
Let’s go for a ride!
Flash pass came in handy again and luckily these operations were much better than X-Flight’s.
I tend to get kinda bored by the prospect of B&M hypers, they all seem to have very similar layouts and none of them provide an experience that is unlike the others until now! The layout is super twisty and not the standard out and back that all their other hypers follow.
Our chariot awaits!
As I said this crew was moving pretty fast one of the high points of the day. The one crew member even commented on our Outlaw Run shirts we were wearing that day and said that he had to get down to Branson to ride it.
The ride had a countdown timer for dispatches similar to Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland but since this is still Six Flags they weren’t making the time, but they didn’t go too long over the clock.
Since it’s an older B&M hyper it has the signature pre drop section.
Another shot looking up the lift.
Coming off the chain.
And here we go!
The ride makes a quick turn around into….
…a brutal trim brake. 😦 This ride probably would’ve made my top ten if it wasn’t for that trim. It literally kills any speed that you had picked up and the rest of the ride takes the twists and turns very slowly.
Awesome twisty layout just the execution is a little lacking. Overall still worth a ride though.
A few more twists and turns.
And we’re back, fun ride but the speed could have been much better.
Spotted this sign by Raging Bull, feel it couldn’t be more appropriate. 😛
Train! We’ll definitely be catching a ride on that later.
Six Flags over Drop Tower. We didn’t catch a ride on this one today but didn’t look like anything too special.
Looks like a nice place to cool off, didn’t know we were in Texas? 😛
Next up was Viper!
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.
The station was a giant cluster mess and it didn’t help that operations were horrible for this ride.
Layout picture of the ride.
Twisty fun, though the ride just wasn’t as enjoyable due to the long wait to ride it even with our flash pass.
Decent woodie but nothing to ride home about.
This is bizarre the water park used to be free for everyone, and now they are charging $5?!?!? Just another way Six Flags is grabbing for money.
Now time for a classic!
The reason why it’s a classic the last remaining “Speedracer” coaster in North America.
The unique aspect of this coaster is the spiral electric lift.
Andy is ready for his ride.
Climbing the spiral lift. Very neat and fun climb I must say.
And you’re off! The Whizzer was great a lot of fun, almost like a mine train coaster but even better.
You go off into the woods so it’s a little hard to photograph but again really fun ride.
And you speed into the final brakes. Still glass smooth after all these years.
Some midway entertainment signing classic songs.
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.
The classic entrance pool!
The double decker carousel. Didn’t catch a ride on it but looked pretty neat and unique.
How about some aerial views?
Fun facts about the tower.
Our cabin is approaching.
First shot…. the packed parking lot haha.
Superman Ultimate Flight, we’ll be riding this in a bit!
Drop capsule slides seem to be all the rage in water parks now and for good reason they’re a heck of a lot of fun!
Appears the water park has a tornado slide. Yawn. What water park doesn’t?
Viper it all its wooden glory.
Wave hello to the tiny people!
The twisty layout of Raging Bull, would have been an amazing ride if it wasn’t for that pesky trim brake.
Whizzer climbing the electric lift.
And the train is off to meander through the woods.
The tight and compact layout of X-Flight.
Batman, V2, and Goliath all in one shot!
The Six Flags guarding the entrance.
Viper close up!
Goliath and the massive first hill.
85 degree first drop!
The midways seemed to be clearing up a little bit.
Flyers taking their ultimate flight!
Raging Bull well raging! Sorry for the blurriness the Sky Tower windows are not the cleanest.
Demon which again sadly I didn’t get to ride, sure I didn’t miss much though.
X-Flight taking the dive.
The iconic carousel from the top.
Exiting the Sky Tower.
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. 😛
Train ride anyone?
This bright orange tape fence just looks lovely doesn’t it?
Waiting for the train to depart we spotted Batman the Ride climbing the lift.
V2 was also on the vertical spike section, but no holding brake! ugh! More on that in a little bit.
And one more ride we spotted before departing was X-Flight.
And we’re off!
The first part of the train ride is heavily wooded but you can see Superman behind the trees back there.
And this big building for the Dark Knight coaster aka Wild Mouse in a box.
The area of the two water rides which seemed to still have quite the line this late in the day.
Who’s ready to get so soaked, and not even come close to drying off?
Wonder why they’re not using that engine for the train today?
The train does give some new perspective views of Goliath. Especially the airtime hump in the middle here. Sadly one of the only times on the ride you get air time, unlike Outlaw Run which had air time all throughout the course.
The track does get low to the ground in paces as you can see.
Oooh ahh, underside of Goliath track. I still see plenty of wood there, definitely a wooden roller coaster in my eyes. ;P
So here’s the crazy thing, they built an overflow queue for Goliath which it definitely needed but choose to build it right in front of the other train station.
So instead of being able to get off here, the train is now a round trip ride this season. Poor poor planning in my eyes, but that’s Six Flags for ya.
They’ve must have finally opened the other side of American Eagle since the line doesn’t look too bad now.
Danger Will Robinson Danger!
As opposed to regular Danger this area is Extreme!
Another look at American Eagle.
I’m sure you’ve got your fill of X-Flight pics already but in case you wanted more…
Old rusty bumpy Arrow track in the foreground, and smooth new hotness B&M track in the background. 😛
Taking the tunnel.
Entrance area to Viper.
The sun is setting on Viper.
And that concludes our ride, here’s our trusty engine for the trip.
A little fun facts about the carousel, but apparently I missed the bottom of the sign. 😦
I will say it’s an impressive sight.
You know what this means?
Time to take flight!
If you don’t have a buddy here’s a sign for you. 😛
In line you get fun little cut outs of Superman characters to read about, fun but we got flash pass. 😛
The big daddy of them all right before the entrance to the station.
Make sure to secure your articles. You will lose them on this ride.
Some lift motor shots while we wait. haha
Who’s ready to take flight? I never quite realized until today that the B&M flyer restraints were the first iteration of new age B&M restraints found on their wing coasters and on their new inverted Banshee.
So you start out sitting normal and then….
….the train reclines back into flying position.
Here we go!
Flyers are not my favorite type of coaster and this one leaves a lot to be desired but they still provide the great opportunity to extend your arms and fly like Superman!
The best part of these rides are the terrified faces.
The worst part of these is the waiting on the brake run in the awkward flying position for the train in front of you to clear the station.
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.
Mouse in a Box time!
To the Trains!
Hey we made it on TV!
Why so serious?
Harvey Dent will take care of the bad guys!
Quite the miserable line to be stuck in, our flash pass only got us so far.
The ride vehicles are a little weird and the ride is a bit bumpy. Plus the theming is cool but the ride moves so fast it’s hard to see it. Oh well it’s a new credit and my first Dark Knight coaster experience. I’m sure I’ll ride the other clones eventually as well.
Hmm something used to be here… I swear it…
Wonder what’s back there?
Oh thats right! Another wild mouse that got sent to Six Flags graveyard aka Six Flags America. Raging Cajun.
This doesn’t appear to be operating today.
Oh come on puhlease, that’s laughable.
How about a real Batman coaster?
The very first Inverted coaster and the very first of many many clones. However this is the one ride that is worthy of multiple clones, a smooth intense and fun experience no matter which iteration you ride.
Always a great element of inverted coasters.
Loop de loop, camera shot of camera shot. 😛
Walk toward the fan!
Bat symbol ceiling!
As we were waiting we noticed one thing, this inverted coaster was missing all it’s wheel covers. It definitely had them as they were all sitting on the brake run, wonder why they took them off?
Who’s ready to get Vertical?
I’m not normally a fan of Intamin Impulse coasters but I do enjoy the straight back spike with the holding brake.
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.
A look at the motors for the ride.
One last look at the midways before heading out of the park for the night.
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.
Battle of Midway display inside Midway airport. Hmm fitting.
The empty hallways of Midway airport.
Up in the air.
Downtown Cleveland from the air, again the window is a little dirty, sorry for the blurriness.
Jacobs Field err Progressive Field and The Q, now home of LeBron James.
Home of Rock and Roll.
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!