This is my review of one of the best parks in the Six Flags chain. Here in the US, Six Flags is known for being heavy on thrills with exciting roller coasters and thrill rides, a good selection of children’s rides, not many shows and rides for the family, and employees that for the most part, treat it as a “job”. Well, I can tell you that this park completely defies that description. The park is well maintained, has a great assortment of roller coasters for every age, lots of shows, lots of kids play areas, and a good amount of family rides. Couple that with great customer service and great employee attitudes and that makes for a great experience and an enjoyable visit so much that I would definitely come back here again.
This park originally opened on April 29, 1976 as Marriott’s Great America along with its sister park in Santa Clara, California, USA which also is called Marriott’s Great America. Both parks were owned and operated by the Marriott company that still owns and operates world-class hotels across the globe. Marriott then sold the parks to Six Flags and Paramount in 1984 with Paramount acquiring the Santa Clara park and Six Flags acquiring this park in Gurnee, Illinois, USA. Here’s a scale model table that was made to represent the park in 1978 during the Marriott era.
Here’s a 6mm video of what Marriott’s Great America looked like in 1978 as well.
This park is where Six Flags also acquired the theme park rights to the Looney Tunes characters as the Great America parks opened with the rights to use those characters already in place. It proved so beneficial to the park, that Six Flags renewed and amended the contract with Warner Bros. Studios so they could use them at all their parks.
Now that you know the basic history of the park, let’s head to the main gate but here are some important things you need to know before we proceed.
First off, there are no day kennels for your pet while you’re inside the park. Pets, except seeing eye dogs, are not allowed in the park and you absolutely CAN NOT keep your pet in your car or chained to anything. You can and will be arrested and have your pet taken away from you and your family.
Secondly, line jumping WILL NOT be tolerated. There are signs like this one all over the park that encourage you to call if you see someone jumping the line. If you leave the line for what ever reason, you must then start at the back regardless if your group is still in line.
Third, you must secure ALL loose articles and absolutely NO videos may be taken while riding the thrill rides without the parks permission. You could be removed from the park without refund. DO NOT attempt to jump the fence or go into restricted areas to retrieve articles that were lost while riding as you risk you life and the lives of those riding the ride. Kindly inform the ride operators or security and they’ll help you from that point.
Fourth, Six Flags Great America prides itself on being the “Cleanest Park in America” and you can help maintain that image by placing trash and recycling where it belongs.
Lastly, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with where the designated smoking areas are. Smoking is not allowed in the park which includes in the lines (queues) and while riding. The only exception is in the designated smoking sections which are clearly marked in your park map.
Now that you know some basic rules and guidelines, lets head into the park for some fun.
Once you get to this point, you’ll need to look to your right to see the open/closed board that tells you which rides are open, which may open “later”, and which rides will remain closed today with the “not available” tag.
As you can see, Goliath, one of the parks star roller coasters was marked with a “not available” tag. But, through their perseverance and hard work, they got the ride open later in the day.
Next, you’ll need to go through a security check which includes metal detectors which are in use at almost all amusement and theme parks in North America so be prepared to preset you bag for inspection and empty you pockets before you go through the metal detectors.
Now that we’re through that and our tickets have been scanned you’ll see this beautiful sight.
This is the Columbia Carousel and it is the centerpiece of Carousel Plaza. There really are only two rides and a IMAX Theater in this area as it primarily is the entrance to the park. There are two gift shops called Carousel Plaza Gifts and Flags, one food stand called Cotton Candy Factory, and the Guest Relations/Lost and Found/Lost Parents and locker rentals and restrooms at the main gate.
The Columbia Carousel is listed as being the tallest carousel in the world as the carousel building is over 40 stories tall. This Double Decker carousel was built by Chance Rides in 1976 and features fiberglass replicas of carousel animals from many different famous carvers such as the Chariots and horses from PTC (Philadelphia Toboggan & Coasters), the Lion and Giraffe from William H Dentzel on the lower level, and the patriotic horses from Allan Herschel on the upper level. The rounding boards that circle the top of the upper level were carved by Bradley & Kaye.
Here are some photos of the menagerie on both levels. A menagerie is used to describe a carousels population when it has more than just horses. As you can see, there are 4 Cats, 1 Deer, 1 Giraffe, 1 Lion, 4 Ostriches, 4 Pigs, 4 Hares (Rabbits), 1 Tiger, and 1 Zebra to go along with 3 chariots and 88 horses.
You may also see what appears to be a band organ in the center of the carousel on the lower level. Unfortunately this is a faux (fake) organ and never operated at all.
Here’s my off ride view of both levels.
Next up is something you really don’t see being built anymore and that is a Gyro Observation tower. This one is called the Sky Trek Tower and it is a Gyro 1200 model from Intamin that opened here in 1977.
This tower is 330 feet (100 m) tall and you can see the Chicago skyline about 40 miles away on a clear day from its rotating, air-conditioned capsule. Here’s my on ride video of this attraction. There is an on ride narration that plays during the ride but the riders tend to drown out the audio with their own conversations.
Next up is the IMAX Theatre called the Pictorium.
This theater opened in 1979 and was said to have had the world’s largest screen at 64.5 feet by 88.25 feet. In 1991, the theater was upgraded so it could show 3-D IMAX films and the seating capacity was increased to 650 seats. The current movie that is being shown now is Screams and Dreams Vol. 3 2001-2012.
We can now go right and go into Hometown Square or go left in to Orleans Place. The flip of the coin says that we’ll go right and head into our next area.
This area includes several rides, restaurants and food stands, a sweets shop, a Three Point Shoot Out game, an indoor performance theatre, the annual pass activation center, and the Flash Pass center. The Annual Pass Activation center is where you’d go if you purchased an annual pass at the front gate. It is located next to the Primo’s Pizzeria restaurant on the left side between the Hometown Train Station and the Grand Music Hall. You would only need to go here once to register and activate you annual pass, you do not need to go here if you just bought a single day ticket. The Flash Pass center is located just to the right of the Grand Music Hall and it is a way for you to bypass the lines on select rides and roller coasters for an additional charge. There are different levels of the Flash Pass ranging from a one time Flash Pass per ride to the unlimited Flash Passes. I do recommend this if you’re going for just one day, especially if that day happens to be on a very busy day and keep in mind the this park I between Milwaukee and Chicago and they’re two major population centers that are each less than an hours drive from their respective downtowns.
The three food stands are Hometown Funnel Cake where you can buy Funnel Cake Sundaes, Ice Cream, and Coffee, 6 Below that serves a variety of Frozen Yogurt flavors and toppings, and Trolley Treats where you can buy nachos, soft pretzels, and Slurpee’s. The Funnel Cake Sundaes are a very popular item, especially late in the day at this Hometown Square location as this is where the closing show and nightly parade kick off from so get here early so you can get in line as this is what you’ll likely be waiting in the closer it gets to show-time. There are also two restroom locations here as well.
That is a Funnel Cake Sunday and they are huge. I ordered this one called the 40th Anniversary Funnel Cake Sunday as the park was celebrating their 40th year and I could only finish about half of it so make sure you can finish it or that you have someone to share it with you. The other two restaurants that are air-conditioned are Primo’s Pizzeria that serves Famiglia Pizza, fries, and salad and Aunt Martha’s Boarding House that serves “fried chicken & all the fixins”
Here is the parks 40th Anniversary Floral Cake.
There are also two shows here, one is in the Gazebo in the square and one is inside the air-conditioned Grand Music Hall and there is also a first aid station behind the Grand Music Hall, between the Three Point Shoot Out game and Hometown Park.
The show inside the Grand Music Hall is a pretty good show called the Peking Acrobats and they’re a troupe of Chinese Acrobats that perfume several stunts. It really is incredible to see just how flexible and disciplined they are.
Here are some photo’s I took of the area.
Hometown Square also has six rides plus a kids themed sub area called Hometown Park that includes three kiddie rides.
The first ride is the parks train ride called the Scenic Railway which is about a 20-30 minute round trip ride with a stop at the Fairgrounds Junction station in the County Fair section.
Here is my on ride round trip video of the ride.
Next up is the Triple Play. This ride is a Troika model from HUSS that opened here in 1976.
The next one is a classic spinning ride called the Hometown Fun Machine
This is a classic Scrambler attraction from the Eli Bridge Co. It originally opened here in 1976 as the Saskatchewan Scrambler in the Yukon Territory but was moved to this location and given its current name in 1977.
Next up is truly a classic coaster called the Whizzer.
This coaster is from the legendary Anton Schwarzkopf Co and originally opened as Willard’s Whizzer in 1976. It was named after Willard J Marriott, the owner of Marriott’s Great America at the time. It operated under that name until 1980 when it renamed Whizzer to this day except in 1993 when it briefly operated under the original name for that year. It was designated an ACE Coaster Landmark on August 10, 2012 as it is the last custom-built “Speedracer” model in North America. ACE (American Coaster Enthusiast) is the worlds oldest and largest roller coaster enthusiast club. The Whizzer is unique in that the train ascends the spiral 70 foot lift hill by using electric motors that are built into each toboggan car that seats only one person per row. In 2002 Six Flags Great America announced that 2002 would be the last operational year for one of the parks more popular rides but then the park reversed its decision when the public began a huge successful letter writing campaign to convince the park to keep this cherished roller coaster. It worked brilliantly and the park decided to close Shockwave from Arrow Dynamics, the world’s tallest megalooper and the first coaster to have seven inversions, instead and move the Superman: Ultimate Flight coaster, which was to replace the Whizzer, to that spot.
According to RCDB.com, the Whizzer is 3,100 feet long, 70 feet high, has a top speed of about 42 mph, and a total ride time of about two minutes. Here’s my off ride video of the Whizzer.
Next up is the kids area called Hometown Park.
This area contains three kids rides called the Lady Bugs, Red Baron, and Tot’s Livery. All of these rides were here when the park originally opened in 1976 but were removed at some point in time and then reinstalled here for the parks 40th anniversary celebration.
Next up is the last ride in the area called the Orbit which originally opened here in Orleans Place as the Orleans Orbit. This is one of the few Enterprise rides that was built by the Anton Schwarzkopf Co. Most of these Enterprise rides were built by HUSS and the easiest way to tell that is the ride gondolas and the rides pivot point. Schwarzkopf’s Enterprise rides have more of a bucket type of gondola where you have to step into the gondola and their pivot point is a few feet above ground as seen in the photo on the right. Enterprise rides that are made by HUSS have gondolas that you can step into by sliding the door open and their pivot points are at or below ground level. This ride was moved to this spot in 1984 to make way for the Roaring Rapids (formerly the White Water Rampage) water ride and took the place of the Bottoms Up ride which was retired.
Unfortunately, this ride was not operating when I was there but I do have an off ride video of the Enterprise at Fun Spot America in Orlando that was also made by Schwarzkopf.
Now its time to mosey into our next area.
This new western themed area opened in 1996 but it has roots going back to 1976 when it was one of the original planned expansions. This area has several food stands and an indoor air-conditioned restaurant called JB’s Barbeque & Sports Bar where you can get pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, and beer as well as restrooms.
The other food stands are the Fiesta Fries Cantina where you can get chicken strips and loaded fries, Waterin’ Hole where you can get pizza from Famiglia, chicken strips, and fries, Cold Stone Creamery where you can get Ice Cream with an assortment of ingredients mixed in, the Oasis where you can get nachos, pretzels, churros, and Slurpees, and Tacos El Diablo where you can steak and carnitas, chips, salsa, and yes, tacos.
There are several show locations here as well with the Mission Stage being where local bands play live music, the Southwest Territory Amphitheater which was empty at the time I was there and originally hosted the Batman live action show when it opened here in 1993. It currently houses the summer concert series. The last one is really a hybrid stage show and street performance as it has a dedicated set but is performed on the street in the Southwest Courtyard Stage. The photos below are of that show.
There’s also a midway games area called Southwest Games and a gift shop called El Mercado where you can buy a mix of sports team apparel and Six Flags merchandise. You’ll also find the Entrance to the Hurricane Harbor, the parks water park, here as well unfortunately I did not go in here as I’m not a fan of water parks.
Next up are the rides.
Ricochet Originally opened here in 1977 as the Big Top in the County Fair section where the Dare Devil Dive up charge attraction now sits.
This is a Swing Around model from HUSS and basically swings riders to a point where they’re horizontal to the ground while rotating around a central axis.
Here’s my off ride video of Ricochet.
Chubasco (Spanish for shower) is another ride that opened here in 1996.
It basically is a Spinning Tea Cup ride from Zamperla that is located inside a building that resembles an old Spanish mission.
This next ride is the Giant Drop that was installed here in 1997 and is one heck of a drop tower. It is from Intamin and is their second generation drop tower model called a Giant Drop and it has multiple Gondolas. The gondolas will take riders up 227 feet and drop them after a brief pause to the ground with rare earth magnets stopping their free fall. Here’s my off ride video of the Giant Drop.
The last flat ride in this area is called the River Rocker.
It’s your basic swing ship ride that swings back and forth and does not go upside down. It is from Zamperla and was installed here in 1996.
Now on to the first of two roller coasters and this one is the Viper.
This coaster is themed to an abandoned “snake oil” warehouse.
This coaster is one of the many clones of the original Coney Island Cyclone in New York City and it opened here on April 29, 1995.
It was built by the Stand Company and is 3,458 feet long, 100 feet high with an 80 foot drop, has a top speed of about 50 mph, and a ride time of about one minute and forty seconds according to RCDB.com. This coaster really isn’t too bad and isn’t as rough as some people make it out to be. Here’s my off ride view of Viper.
The last coaster in this area is a really good one and the best in the park in my opinion and it is called Raging Bull.
It would be a good idea to stow your loose articles so they don’t end up in displays like this one.
This is a Hyper Coaster model from Bollinger & Mabillard and it opened here on May 1, 1999 to rave reviews and it still continues to thrill riders, including me, to this day. A Hyper coaster is any roller coaster that has a hill or drop between 200 and 299 feet high. This coaster also has simple “T” type lap bar system and doesn’t have any over-the-shoulder restraints since there are no inversions on this coaster which really adds to the thrill factor.
One thing this coaster does have is lots of “air-time” and lots of high banking turns which is what we coaster enthusiasts absolutely crave. Raging Bull is 5,057 feet long, 202 feet high with a 208 foot first drop into a tunnel, a top speed of about 73 mph, and a ride time of two minutes and thirty seconds.
Now without further delay, let’s get in our seat, pull down our lap bars, throw your hands towards the sky, and get ready to “Ride the Bull” by watching my off ride video.
Now that we’ve challenged the bull and won, it’s time to head on over and have some fun in the County Fair section.
This is by far, the largest section of the park with five roller coasters, six thrill rides with Kidzopolis containing five more rides, four gift shops, a games area, live entertainment performance, and seventeen food stands and restaurants. There is a Primo’s Restaurant (serving Famiglia Pizza, hot sandwiches, and cold beer), a Johnny Rockets restaurant (serving burgers, shakes, onion rings, fries, and kids meals), the Funnel Cake Foundry (serving Funnel Cake sundaes, ice cream, and coffee) Demons Funnel Cake & Snacks (serving Funnel Cake sundaes and snacks), the Cotton Candy Factory (serving flavored popcorn and Slurpees), and the Sticky Fingers (serving frozen lemonade, cotton candy, pretzels, and Slurpees).
The County Fair Food Court has several locations inside it with an a covered, open air dinning area. Those restaurants include Primo’s Pizza (serving Famiglia Pizza, fries, and salad), o Fresh Café (serving salads, grilled & flatbread sandwiches, and turkey and veggie burgers), County Fair Grill (serving burgers, fries, and kids meals), JB’s Barbeque Express (serving BBQ sandwiches and loaded fries), Taphouse (serving cold beer and loaded nachos), Andre’ Hand Dipped Corn Dogs (serving corn dogs and chicken strips), Cold Stone Creamery (serving ice cream). Blue Ribbon Turkey Legs (serving turkey legs, pretzels, and Slurpees), and Chop Stix (serving Asian cuisine).
There are three gift stores in this area with the X Gear store selling trendy and pop culture articles, Thrillseekers selling all coaster related articles, S.F. Kidz selling kids clothes and gifts, and Leather Xcessories selling personalized items. There is one games area here called County Fair Games Gallery and one live performance stage at the Kidzopolis Stage and several restrooms in this area.
Now, onto the rides and the first one is a Splash Battle ride from Mack called Buccaneer Battle which opened here in 2009.
This is a slow-moving family ride that allows riders to spray targets and passers by by using manual water sprayers but watch out, those land lubbers can spray you back.
This ride occupies the former site of Deja Vu which operated here from October 7, 2001 to October 28, 2007. That ride replace the attraction called the Sky Whirl. Here’s an off ride video of Deja Vu from Coasterimage.com’s YouTube Channel.
It was a Giant Inverted Boomerang coaster from Vekoma that was 1,204 feet long, 191.6 feet tall with a 177 foot drop, had three inversions, a top speed of about 65.6 mph, and a ride time of about one minute and thirty-two seconds. I had the chance to ride one of these at Six Flags Magic Mountain in southern California and it was quite fun but not worth waiting more than an hour for.
Here’s a great off ride view of the Sky Whirl at what once was their sister park now called California’s Great America in Santa Clara, California. The best way to describe this attraction is that it is three Ferris Wheels in one with one on the ground loading and unloading while the other two are in the air. That attraction operated here from 1976 to 2000 and was brokered by Intamin and was believed to have been manufactured by Waagner-Biro. The Sky Whirl at California’s Great America closed in 1997.
Next is a Frisbee ride from Huss called Revolution.
This is your basic spinning swing ride that doesn’t go upside down with riders sitting facing inwards on this ride. It was moved here from Six Flags Great Adventure and opened here in 2004.
Next is a sub area of County Fair.
This area first opened in 2007 under the name Wiggles World after the popular Wiggles kids cartoon series. That theming was dropped in 2007 and was renamed Kidzopolis. There are seven attractions here with five of them coming from Zamperla. The other two are the Splish Splash Zone formerly known as Henry’s Splish Splash (a kids water play area) and the Pirates Play Ship formerly known as SS. Feathersword (an interactive kids play area and climbing structure).
This attraction is called the ZoomJets and is a Aero Top Jet model that opened as Big Red Planes in 2007.
Next is a Samba Tower model called Up, Up and Away that was originally called Yummy Yummy Fruit Salad.
Then there’s the Krazy Kars that were originally called Big Red Cars, the Krazy Kups originally called Dorothy’s Rosy Tea Cups, and the Bouncer originally called Bouncin’ With Wags. All of those, plus the Kidzopolis Stage is located inside this outdoor covered structure.
Now that our kids have worn themselves out, we’ll head on to our last adult thrill ride in this area called Fiddler’s Fling.
This is a Calypso 3 model from Anton Schwarzkopf and was installed here in 1976.
Now it’s on to the roller coasters and the first one is a classic called the Demon
This coaster actually opened in a different configuration and under a different name when it opened on May 29, 1976. It originally was called Turn of the Century and had only two corkscrews and two air time hills where the loops are now and was painted white. The coaster was closed in 1980 and the coaster was reconfigured by replacing the two air time hills with two loops, adding a tunnel, increasing the height of the lift hill, painting the track black, and adding theming in the form of rock-work around the coaster tracks.
Here’s a video from Six Flags Great America’s YouTube channel showing both coasters.
The Demon was built by Arrow Dynamics and has four inversions with two loops and two corkscrews, and is 2,130 feet long.
Demon has a top speed of 50 mph, is 103.7 feet tall with a 90 foot drop, and a ride time of about one minute and forty-five seconds according to RCDB.com
Here’s my off ride video of Demon.
The next coaster on our list is a unique one called X Flight.
X Flight is a Wingrider coaster from B&M and it is a coaster where riders sit to the left and right of the track instead of above or below the track. This allows for some unique experiences like doing a half roll directly into a Dive Loop at the top of the lift hill or going through the three keyhole elements.
This coaster opened here on May 16, 2012 on the site that was previously occupied by the Splashwater Falls and part of the Great America Raceway car attraction.
X Flight is 3,000 feet long, about 100 feet high, has five inversions, a top speed of about 55 mph, and a total ride time of about one minute and fifteen seconds. This was the second Wingrider coaster to be built in North America as Eagles Flight in Dollywood had opened about a month prior to this one opening. Oh, it might also be a good idea to stow your loose articles, otherwise they might end up broken and in see through boxes like this one.
Here’s my off ride video of X Flight.
The next coaster we come to is actually a twin racing wooden roller coaster called The American Eagle.
This coaster was the tallest at 127 feet with a 147 foot first drop, and fastest at 66 mph roller coaster in the world when it opened on May 23, 1981.
Those records have since been passed but it still remains the tallest and fastest wooden racing roller coaster in the world. Here’s a video of the construction of this coaster with some nice aerial shots as well from Six Flags Great America’s YouTube Channel.
The American Eagle was built by Intamin AG and both sides are 4,650 feet long, 127 feet high with a 147 foot first drop, has a total ride time of about two minutes and twenty-three seconds, and a to speed of about 66 mph. Here’s my off ride video of the coaster that still packs quite a wallop with some nice moments of air time.
Up next is our last coaster in this area called Goliath.
This wooden roller coaster is without a doubt one of the two best coasters in the park and the only wooden roller coaster I’ve been on that inverts riders. This coaster was built by RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) and is really smooth.
Goliath is the tallest at 165 feet with a 180 foot first drop, fastest at 72 mph, and steepest at 85 degrees, wooden roller coaster in the world. It also has two inversions with a Dive Loop and a Zero-G Stall that provide an incredible amount of air time. The only drawback to the coaster is its length at 3,100 feet. It is situated on a narrow piece of land that used to be occupied by Iron Wolf which was one of the first stand up roller coasters that was built by B&M. It would be the best coaster in the park if it were just a bit longer but that doesn’t take away how awesome this coaster is as it is now. Iron Wolf now operates as Apocalypse at Six Flags America near Washington DC.
Here is an off ride video of Iron Wolf from Coasterforce’s YouTube channel.
Here’s my off ride video of Goliath.
Well, that’s it for the County Fair area, so we’ll head north of the border and walk to our next area.
This area is really pretty small and only has a handful of attractions, dinning options, restrooms, and entertainment choices. The only indoor air-conditioned restaurant here is the Mooseburger Lodge which serves burgers, BBQ, chicken, and kids meals.
There also is the Maw & Paw Trail Grub that serves hot dogs, chicken strips, and turkey legs and the Claimjumpers Chicken that serves chicken strips, loaded nachos, and Slurpee’s. There are two show stages which are the Wilderness Theatre that is a large outdoor stage behind the Camp Cartoon area. The other one is an indoor stage show called the Snowshoe Saloon that is in the same building as the Mooseburger Lodge Restaurant.
There is a souvenir shop called the Cartoon Cabin Looney Tunes that sells superhero, dragon & fairy apparel & gifts.
There are a total of eight attractions with half of them being for the kiddies in a sub area called Camp Cartoon.
This area is basically another kiddie area that was created in 1998 and formerly known as Camp Cartoon Network. The Cartoon Network theme was dropped and that’s when the Warner Bros characters moved in. The first ride in this area is Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine that is a Crazy Bus model from Zamperla. Then there’s the Yogi’s Yahoo River which is a Kiddie Boat Ride from the Allen Herschell Co. Next is the Bedrock Boulder Roller which is a kiddie ferris wheel ride from Zamperla. Then comes the Flintstones Rocky Road Rescue Service which came from Hampton Rides.
Lastly, is the Spacely’s Sprocket Rockets which is a Junior Roller Coaster model from Vekoma.
This coaster, as with all the other rides in Camp Cartoon, opened in 1998. This one is 679.2 feet long, 27.9 feet tall, has a top speed of about 21.7 mph, and a ride time of about forty-four seconds according to RCDB.com. Here’s my off ride video of this coaster.
There is a upcharge ride in this area called Winners Circle Go-Karts.
There is a log ride here from Arrow Dynamics called Logger’s Run and you do get pretty wet on this ride. It features a double dip last drop where you get soaked at the bottom.
Last but not least is a classic and has a long history in the Chicago area.
The Little Dipper originally opened at Kiddieland Park in nearby Melrose Park, Illinois, USA in 1950 and it operated there until the park closed on September 27, 2009. It was then put up on the auction block and Six Flags was the winning bidder at $33,000. Many Chicagoland residents have very fond memories of them going to Kiddieland and getting their first roller coaster rides on this coaster. Some of those kids grew up and took their children and grandchildren to this park until it closed. Lots of people were happy to see Six Flags buy this coaster and keep it as original as possible including the old loudspeaker on top of the station.
As you can see, Six Flags has a proud tradition of rescuing, rehabilitating, and preserving antique rides. They have several boards in the queue of this coaster that talks about the history of Kiddieland and ix Flags Great America.
This coaster was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan & Coasters (PTC) and designed by the famous Herbert Paul Schmeck with Frank F. Hoover as the construction supervisor.
The Little Dipper opened here on May 27, 2010 and is 700 feet long, 28 feet high, and has a top speed of between 20 and 30 mph, with a ride time of about fifty seconds according to RCDB.com.
Here’s my off ride video of this classic coaster.
There are also a few character meet and greet locations here where you can meet different Looney Tunes characters at different times of the day. Wylie Coyote and Porky Pig where there when I walked through.
Next up is another fairly small area called Yankee Harbor.
This area was themed around a harbor with the five thrill rides, two gift shops, restrooms, and three eating establishments/food stands. There’s the Funnel Cakes Express where you can buy funnel cakes, sundaes, and ice cream and then there’s the Jack’s Snacks where you can buy loaded nachos, pretzels, and popcorn. There is a indoor air-conditioned restaurant called Angelo’s Pasta & Pizza where you can buy pasta meals ad pizza and eat in an air-conditioned dinning room.
Now, on to the rides.
There are five total rides here with two of them being roller coasters, two others being flat rides, and the last is a log flume. The log flume ride is called the Yankee Clipper and is basically the same thing as the Loggers Run in the Yukon Territory. It was built by Arrow Dynamics and uses boat themed logs instead of the more traditional log themed boats.
The two flat rides are the Whirligig and the East River Crawler. The Whirligig is a chain swing “Wave Swinger” ride from Zamperla that has been here since the opening day of the park in 1976.
This ride has done some traveling in this corner of the park. It once sat on the site that became part of the Iron Wolf and latter, the Goliath roller coasters. It then was moved to the site where Vertical Velocity is today and then move to its present site.
The last flat ride in this area is called the East River Crawler and is a Monster III model from Anton Schwarzkopf.
This ride also has moved a few times but its previous locations are unknown to m at this time. It originally opened as the Lobster in 1976 but was renamed, and repainted in 1992 to better blend with the new ride called Batman: The Ride that opened in that same year. It was removed in 2012 for an extensive refurbishment and returned on July 5, 2013.
The two roller coasters are very unique and offer completely different ride experiences. The first one is the world’s first Inverted looping steel roller coaster called Batman The Ride.
This coaster was designated an ACE (American Coaster Enthusiast) Coaster Landmark on June 20th, 2005 during ACE’s Coaster Con(vention) XXVIII that was held at the park during those couple of days. It was given this prestigious honor as this was the world’s first Inverted roller coaster when it opened on May 9, 1992. It proved to be so popular, that it became the most popular roller coaster type that B&M has in their inventory to this day. This coaster was also copied several times at many Six Flags parks across the continent and installed at other theme and amusement parks around the world.
Batman The Ride originally opened with black track and supports but was repainted with black supports and yellow track in time for the 2004 season. The ride itself is 100 feet tall, 2,700 feet long, has five inversions with two loops, a Zero-G roll, and two corkscrews. Batman has a top speed of about 50 mph and a total ride time of about two minutes. If you should lose an article on the ride, please DO NOT jump the fence and try to retrieve it yourself. You are risking your own life and the lives of the riders as well and you WILL BE ARRESTED. Please let the staff or security know and they will help you out. It isn’t worth risking your life for a hat, sunglasses, camera, or other loose articles that you should have secured before riding.
Here’s my off ride view of this incredible coaster.
The next one is another unique experience called Vertical Velocity, also known as V2.
This is a Twisted Impulse Coaster model from Intamin AG and it opened here on May 18, 2001 and was the tallest and fastest shuttle coaster when it opened. That record has since been broken by Cedar Point’s Wicked Twister and it still holds that record to this day. It is an inverted shuttle coaster which means the coaster train hangs below the track and the coaster itself does not make a complete circuit. It starts by launching riders out of the station and half way up the forward spike then the coaster comes back into the station for a reversing speed boost 3/4 of the way up the rear spike, then another speed boost trip back through the station up the forward spike with a twist that turns the train nearly 180 degrees as it goes up the spike. Then it goes back through the station and up the rear spike that is straight but has a set of magnetic brakes that holds the train for a brief second before being released to go back through the station again before the brakes apply to slow the train down to a stop after its last trip through the forward spike.
V2 is 630 feet long, 185 feet tall, and has a top speed of about 70 mph. It is also launched using the LIM system (Linear Induction Motor) which basically creates a magnetic wave that the train rides on each time it passes through the magnets. I recommend riding in the front row as you really get to see the earth spin as you ascend the forward spike.
Here is my off ride video of V2: Vertical Velocity.
That’s it for this area so we’ll move on to party in our next area.
This area was created in 2004 and took over half of the Orleans Place and has four thrill rides, two dinning locations, one games area, one stage show, restrooms, no roller coasters, and the parks only ride information station where I’m guessing you can get measured to see which rides you can get on and the information on those rides.
The two dinning locations are a Johnny Rockets with outdoor seating where you can get burgers, shakes, onion rings, fries, and kids meals. The other location is called Hurricane Jane’s where you can get nachos, pretzels, and Slurpees.
The Games area is called Mari Gras Games and the live entertainment is a kids show at the Mardi Gras Stage/
There used to be a spinning wild mouse roller coaster from Zamperla called Ragin’ Cajun. It opened here on May 28, 2004 and operated here until October 27, 2013 when it was moved to Six Flags America and operates under the same name. Here’s an on ride video from Coasterforce’s YouTube channel.
The four other attractions that are still here are three flat rides and a River Raft ride from Intamin called Roaring Rapids.
This was the last ride that was added during the Marriott era and it originally opened as White Water Rampage in 1984 and was renamed Roaring Rapids sometime after Six Flags acquired the park in 1984. According to Wikipedia, this ride took over several ride locations including Davey Jones’ Dinghies, a children’s bumper car ride called Le Bump, a motorized car ride called Le Traffique Jam, and the original location of the Orleans Orbit that was moved to the Hometown Square area and now operates as The Orbit. This ride basically simulates a white water rafting trip with several obstacles and water features that douse riders getting them absolutely soaked.
There are several water cannons that those “land lubbers” can drop quarters into to get riders extra wet.
The next ride is the Big Easy Balloons ride and is a Balloon Race model from Zamperla which opened here in 2004 and is a very family friendly ride (mostly for the kiddies though).
The second flat ride is a kiddie ride called The Jester’s Wild Ride and is a Rockin’ Tug model from Zamperla.
It opened here in 2004 and it basically rocks back and forth while spinning.
The headlining ride here is Called King Chaos and it takes the place of two rides that operated here. The first of which was called the Edge. The Edge was a First Generation Freefall tower from Intamin that opened here in 1983. Unfortunately, there was an accident on this ride that sent three teenagers to the hospital and the ride never regained its popularity since then even though the ride was shut down for a long time to add several safety features. The ride was eventually sold to Geauga Lake in Aurora, Ohio, USA in 1986. Here’s an off ride video of the Demon Drop that once operated at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, USA from Sean Flaherty’s YouTube channel. The Demon Drop was moved to Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA and is the last remaining First Generation Freefall ride in North America.
A looping Starship ride from Intamin called the Power Dive was installed there in 1987 and operated there until in was removed in 2003 when King Chaos replaced it in 2004.
This ride is a Top Spin model from HUSS and is not for the weak of heart as it rotates forwards and backwards and spins riders head over heels several times.
Here’s my off ride video of King Chaos.
Unfortunately it’s time to leave this area now that we’ve been soaked and relatively spun dry several times so we’ll head into our next area that carries the French theme quite well.
this area has four attractions with two roller coasters, restrooms, three gift shops, three dinning locations, and a wheelchair and stroller rental location. The three dinning locations are Primo’s Pizzeria where you can get Famiglia Pizza, chicken strips, salad, and cold beer. Antoine’s where you can buy funnel cake sundaes, and Go Fresh Café where you can buy specialty coffees, deli sandwiches, wraps, and salads. The gift shops are Heroes where you can get DC Comics collectibles for all ages, Sweet Treats where you can get apparel, candies, and gifts all related to the world-famous Jelly Belly jelly beans, and the Bugs Bunny & Co store where you can buy anything related to the Looney Tunes cartoon series. The stroller and wheelchair rental as well as the package pick up location is located right next to Antoine’s Funnel Cake shop.
There’s also a traveling show that utilizes the old trolley tracks and stops here for a brief show.
Now on to the attractions. The two flat rides are the Condor and Rue Le Dodge. The Rue Le Dodge is a Bumper Cars ride from Soli that has one of, if not the, world’s largest bumper car floor.
The other ride is a rare one called the Condor which opened here in 1991. It was built by HUSS Rides and moved here from Six Flags Great Adventure and opened in 1991.
I was looking forward to riding this as there’s nothing like this in the Southeastern United States but it was broken down for all three days I was there. Here’s an off ride video from tonnie koolhof’s YouTube channel of the Condor ride at Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen, Germany, about 65 miles south of Hamburg.
Now onto the roller coasters and the first one is an indoor wild mouse coaster called The Dark Knight coaster.
This coaster is indoors and is heavily themed to the new Batman series and is set in the subways of Gotham City where the Joker, Batman’s nemesis, attacks you at every turn. The only photos I have are of the external building and the queue which contains a video screen that can put a Joker face over those that are on the screen.
It was built by Mack and opened here on May 21, 2008 and is 1,213 feet long, 45.9 feet tall, and has a top speed of about 28 mph. Here’s an on ride video from Coasterforce’s YouTube channel.
Here’s a onride video from a similar wild mouse coaster from the same manufacturer. This one is from my own YouTube channel and is of the Sand Serpent (old Cheetah Chase) at Busch Gardens Tampa just to give you an idea of what it is like.
The last coaster at the park is a Flying Coaster from B&M called Superman: Ultimate Flight.
This coaster is one of the many clones of the original at Six Flags over Georgia near Atlanta. Riding a flying coaster is a unique experience as you board the train in a seating position and then the cars are lifted up into the flying position after riders are secured so you are looking down. Then you ascend the lift hill and literally fly like Superman until your train comes back into the station when the cars on the train are lowered to allow riders to disembark. This coaster opened here on May 3, 2003 and replaced the Shockwave roller coaster from Arrow Dynamics. That coaster was the world’s tallest and fastest coaster and was the first to feature seven inversions. Shockwave operated here from June 3, 1998 to the end of the 2002 operating season and was 170 feet tall with a top speed of 65 mph. Here’s an on ride video from VideofromGeorge’s YouTube Channel.
It’s virtually the same thing as the former Great American Scream Machine that used to operate at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. Here’s my off ride video of that coaster.
Superman: Ultimate Flight was originally supposed to replace the Whizzer but there was a huge public outcry when the announcement was made and Six Flags quickly decided to keep the Whizzer and replace the Shockwave instead which was a very good decision in my opinion. According to RCDB.com it is 3,900 feet long, 170 feet tall with a 155 foot first drop, has seven inversions, a top speed of about 65 mph, and a ride time of about two minutes and twenty seconds.
Here’s my off ride video of Superman.
Well, that just about does it for the park but we’re not heading for the turnstiles just yet. We’re going through Carousel Plaza to the square in Hometown Square to see the nightly closing show and parade called the Grand Finale.
What a perfect way to put the final touches on a perfect day, or days, at the park. Not man parks outside of Florida or California cap off the day by offering a closing show and parade and it’s nice to see this park continue the tradition that started since the opening of Great America in 1976.
I hope you enjoyed reading this rather lengthy review and learned, as I have, a few things about this park and like Porky Pig says “That’s All Folks!”
From CenaTV’s YouTube Channel.