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Monday, April 7, 2014

Six Flags America Opening Weekend Sunday April 6th, 2014

Our visit to Six Flags America was very pleasant. The workers were very polite and welcoming. The park was empty and everything was a walk on. I greatly enjoyed this park, much more than I thought I would. We left from north of Kings Dominion on Sunday morning and arrived at Six Flags America at about 11:00AM. After we got our stuff done we headed right in to go through the park's coaster lineup. As soon as we entered we could hear a wonderful band with folks dressed up in Mardi Gras style attire to celebrate the upcoming Mardi Gras addition. We were able to get a sneak peak of the area with the retimed rides and the relocated Ragin' Cajun Zamperla spinning Wild Mouse from Six Flags Great America and the new French Quarter Flyers. The new rides were not quite ready to open. I will show you a glimpse from the preview later on in the trip report.
I was very surprised at the quality of the midway. I feel this is one of the best looking Six Flags entry ways. Great Adventure could use some renovations. I loved the distinct and beautiful theming throughout the midways in the park.

 We were greeted with the sound of a band and entertainers in a Mardi Gras theme.
 Above you can see some of the theming in addition to the very twisted Roar and the second hill of Superman towering over in the background. We decided to ride in order so the Vekoma SLC, Mind Eraser, was first for us. I feel this is one of the better SLCs. It ran relatively smooth comparatively. If Vekoma figured out how to make these rides fully smooth they really would be pretty great. The ride layout is pretty cool. This coaster also had less head banging than Apocalypse. 
 I braced for the worst but I have to say that I enjoyed it. The park was so empty that when we walked up to the station the ride ops had all of the seats open and were simply waiting for folks to come. We sat right in the front seat. This was a common theme throughout the day. Even with one train ops on everything it was still a walk on. You will not see many trains in the photos today because when a train was running we were usually riding it. We waited in shorter waits than if we were there for ERT.
 Next up was Roar. My goodness it was fantastic!
 This twisted beauty was superb. The retracking work over the offseason made this ride super smooth in addition to the fully rehabilitated trains by Tom Rebbie and PTC. He also redid the Wild One trains. Both of the wood coasters shocked me in how well they ran. It is clear that this park really made a great effort this offseason to make their wood coasters run perfectly.

 Apocalypse was ouch. The layout is really good on that, I just wish they would figure out a new type of strap like restraint instead of the head bashing horse collar harnesses. The layout is really fun but the restraints kill it. 
 It is hard not to stare at the twisted layout of Roar. I prefer the PTCs on this ride to the MFs they put onto the similar Hersheypark Wildcat.
 Five coasters in one shot and not one train! It was like the trains were waiting for us like a taxi picking us up at the airport. It felt like we had the park to ourselves. There could not be more than a few hundred people in the park. Good for the guests but not so good for the park. I cannot recall a time in years that I visited a park this empty. 
 More Roar!
 Apocolypse was clearly the longest wait of the day at 5 minutes since you can see that we got all of these shots in the station.

 Wild One and the Joker are both fantastic rides. It was awesome riding both Joker's Jinx and Flight of Fear this weekend. Indoors and outdoors are both a blast on this ride. 
 Aside from the wooden coasters, my favorite in the park was Superman. I think I enjoyed it more than I 305
 The riders having their hands up is a pretty good indicator of how great the ride is. All of the drops on this thing are wild and those giant and high speed helix elements are mindblowingly awesome. The airtime on this beast is unreal. Intamin could do no wrong in 2000.

 More Joker's Jinx. I love this twisted mess of track.

 I forgot how much I enjoy the Vekoma Flyers. They are so disorienting and provide a great thrill. I wish they had caught on better and more layouts were made. Very fun and underrated rides. 

 A whole bunch of airtime shots!

 We saved the best for last! Boy was Wild One awesome! Nearly a century old and this coaster is still humming. The final helix surprised me with how powerful it was. Schmeck was a true master. I know this coaster has been modified a bunch of times, but it is really fantastic. The retracing love the park gave to the coaster really makes it run great in addition to the newly refurbished PTC trains. Wild ride!
 No, the drop tower is not collapsing, I just took a lousy picture. I may have been standing on uneven ground or just took a lousy shot. Either way you can see the changes to their 140 foot Intamin First Generation Drop Tower. It was repainted and named "Voodoo Drop." The new "French Quarter Flyers" were teasing me. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love these rides. I am glad that Larson has brought back the art of making these types of rides. 

 The newly relocated Zamperla Spinning Wild Mouse from Six Flags Great America, the Ragin Cajun. The second coaster in two years to be relocated from Six Flags Great America to Six Flags America. The other coaster that was relocated is the Apocalypse. 
 Now back to the operating star of this area of the park, the nearly century old Wild One. My goodness what a fantastic ride. My other favorite, Superman, is peeking out as well. 
 Boy do I love that helix finale. There is nothing like a great helix on a wood coaster. A sunny day really makes a white wood coaster stand out.

 The freshly rehabbed trains. 

 One last glimpse at Roar (above) and Wild One (below)
With one train ops they still could not fill the train. I could not believe how empty the park was. The hands up on the riders say all there is to say about the Wild One. What a fantastic ride. I think it may have nudged its way into my wooden top ten favorites with just how awesome it rode. All I can say is wow. Roar's twisted layout and floater air were perfect in addition to the smoothness of the ride. This park is a wood coaster lover's destination for these two greats.
 Anyone up for a 10.99 Lettuce rolled burger? I seem to always catch at least one head scratcher on one of our adventures.

Overall I think that Six Flags America is a highly underrated and beautiful park. I think that the placement of the rides is nice and spread out and perfectly arranged in addition to the park's beautiful main midways. I love that the swing ride is centered at the end of the main midway. It makes for a pretty entry way. I would love to see the park add more attractions and help attract tourists from nearby Washington. I think the park could really be a major tourist destination as opposed to more of a regional park. The infrastructure is there and they have a great core of rides. Coupled some big attractions, maybe a hotel, and advertising the close location to the sights of Washington, this park could really be a major player. The family additions this year will be great. I hope to see some large and new rides to bring in a bigger crowd. I highly recommend taking some time to visit this park for the rides are really fun and the crowds are small. 

The final part of this road trip is documented on our other blog Interesting Pennsylvania and Beyond. It is about the solemn tribute to the 9/11 victims at the Flight 93 Memorial. You can see it here.


  1. Just a little correction, the Spinning mouse at SFA is from Reverchon :)

    1. At this point the Reverchon rides were built under the Zamperla masthead. While for all intents and purposes this is identical to a Reverchon design, this ride was built by Zamperla and under their name.