Six Flags Great America
Infobox Amusement park
name = Six Flags Great America
caption = Sign at the entrance of Six Flags Great America
location = flagicon|USA USA
address = 542 N. Route 21
phone_numbers = 1-847-249-1776 1-847-249-2390
homepage = [http://www.sixflags.com/greatAmerica/ SixFlags.com]
owner = Six Flags, Inc.
opened = 1976
previous_names = "Marriott's Great America" - 1976 to 1984 "Six Flags Great America" - 1985 to Present
season = Closing November 2nd; opening spring 2009
area = convert|123|acre|km2
rides = 50
coasters = 12
water_rides = 3
Six Flags Great America is the Chicago metropolitan area's
Six Flags theme parklocated in Gurnee, Illinois. It first opened in 1976 as Marriott's Great America. Six Flagspurchased the park from the Marriott Corporationin 1984 making it the seventh park in the chain. Today, the park boasts eight themed sections, a 13 acre water park, three specially themed children's areas, and various other forms of entertainment. Sister of park California's Great America.
Marriott Corporationbegan construction on the park in 1974 and opened it on May 29, 1976, as "Marriott's Great America" (a sister park, with almost identical layout and attractions, opened in Northern California around the same time). The park was an immediate success due in part to its Americanathemes and grand opening during the American Bicentennial. It originally consisted of six themed areas: Carousel Plaza, the first section beyond the main gates; small-town-themed Hometown Square; The Great Midwest Livestock Exposition At County Fair with its Turn of the Century rural-fair theme; Yankee Harbor, inspired by a 19th century New Englandport; Yukon Territory, resembling a Canadian/ Alaskan loggingcamp; and the French Quarter-modeled Orleans Place. A seventh area, The Great Southwest, was planned but was not built until 1996, when it opened as Southwest Territory.
Each themed area had its own staff costumes, and the design of buildings, shops, and restaurants were also all unique to each theme. For example, the Klondike Cafe in Yukon Territory served beef dishes in large pans like those used for panning for gold.
Customers were referred to as "guests." Staff members had a strict code for personal appearance and upkeep of the required costume, as well as a trademark send-off of all ride operators: "Thank you for riding, and we hope you enjoy the rest of your day here at Marriott's Great America."
Chronology of the Rides and Attractions
Originally the park included three
roller coasters: Willard's Whizzer, the Turn of the Century, and the Gulf Coaster, with the Tidal Wave being added two years later. The Gulf Coaster lasted only one season, due to a small fire and its unpopularity. (Willard's Whizzer, named for Marriott executive J. Willard Marriott, was later renamed "The Whizzer.") The park's other signature attractions were the elaborate double-decker Columbia Carousel; the Sky Whirl, a unique, convert|110|ft|m|sing=on-tall "triple Ferris wheel" custom designed for Marriott and visible from the adjacent Tri-State Tollwayas well as from miles away; and the two one-way gondolasky car rides, Delta Flyer and Eagle's Flight. Eagle's Flight was a very commercially successful ride and was considered a top 10 ride by "Roller Coaster Weekly" magazine.Verify source|date=July 2007. Since the removal of the Sky Whirl in 2001, Great America is one of the few amusement parks in the United States to operate without a Ferris wheel.
An original 1976 Marriott's Great America ride, the
Orleans Orbit, still spins today at the park. While resembling a Ferris wheel, it delivers a far different ride experience. The entire wheel rests flat, just above ground level, to allow simultaneous loading and unloading of all passenger cabins. Once riders are locked in, the wheel begins to rotate. The spinning wheel picks up speed and is lifted on an arm to a nearly vertical position, sending riders upside-down as they go over the highest point. "Enterprise" is the common industry name for such a ride.
Originally installed in Orleans Place, the ride has since been relocated to Hometown Square, occupying the former home of the Bottoms Up ride. It made way for White Water Rampage, now known as Roaring Rapids. The Orleans Orbit is now known simply as The Orbit.
Another original 1976 Marriott's Great America ride, Rue Le Dodge is known as the World's Largest
bumper carfloor. An exact copy of the ride under the same name stands at California's Great Americain Santa Clara, California. In 2005, however, the bumper car floor became a one way traffic ride (as most bumper car floors have started doing). To determine the flow of traffic a concrete island was added to the center of the floor, removing floor space. This left Rue Le Dodge at Six Flags Great America as the largest in the world. The floor currently sits at 51’9” X 124’9” or convert|6455|sqft|m2|abbr=on.
1977 saw the installation of several new rides. The convert|330|ft|m|sing=on-tall Sky Trek Tower--one of the few rides to survive today with its original name--opened in Carousel Plaza, while a few new spinning rides were added such as Big Top, Davy Jones' Dinghies, and Hay Bailer. The Southern Cross, a third gondola skyride--much taller and round-trip--also made its debut in 1977, with its station located where the Gulf Coaster stood. The park's first kids section, dubbed Fort Fun, opened in Yukon Territory, which caused the Saskatchewan Scrambler to be relocated to Hometown Square and renamed Hometown Fun Machine.
The Tidal Wave, Great America's first new roller coaster, was added in 1978. It consisted of a single vertical loop and was located in Yankee Harbor, where now stands.
Pictorium, an IMAXtheatre, opened in 1979 and claimed to have the world's largest screen, at 64.5 x 88.25 feet (19.6 x 26.9 meters).
The Turn of the Century roller coaster closed and took on a new look in 1980. Two loops were added, along with three tunnels, and the "new" ride was re-themed and renamed the Demon.
In the summer of 1980, the park broke ground for a massive new wooden roller coaster that would come to be known as
The American Eagle. Today this twin-track "racing" roller coaster stands at 127 feet (38 m) tall and reaches speeds of 66 mph (105 km/h). The bottom of the first drop is built convert|20|ft|m below ground level, bringing the height of the first drop to just over convert|147|ft|m. The Eagle debuted in 1981 as the world's tallest and fastest racing wooden roller coaster. For a few years, beginning in 2002, the Blue side of the American Eagle was run backwards. However after a few years it was switched back due to unfortunate side effects on the structure. [http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/coasters/records/wood_records.shtml] .
The Southern Cross Skyride was removed in 1980.
No new rides were added in 1982. In fact, several were removed. In 1983, The Edge, an
Intamin AGfirst-generation freefall ride, was added to much fanfare. However, after an accident in 1984 which resulted in the hospitalization of four teenage riders, the ride was shut down while safety mechanisms were installed. The Edge never regained popularity, however, and it was removed in 1986, and eventually sent to the Six Flags Worlds of Adventure Park, aka Geauga Lake. Bottoms Up and Traffique Jam were removed at the end of the season in 1983.
Marriott's final ride added to the park was White Water Rampage, an Intamin-built rapids ride. This ride took over the spot occupied by several rides, including the Davy Jones' Dinghies, Le Bump (a children's
bumper carride), Traffique Jam, and the original Orleans Orbit (although it would re-open the next season in the Hometown Square area simply as The Orbit). Later renamed Roaring Rapids, it remains the park's most popular water ride.
Bally's Six Flags Era
Marriott sold the park to
Six Flags, then owned by Bally Manufacturing, in 1984. Thus the "Bally's Six Flags Great America" era began. It started darkly when a software failure caused the car for the Edge to be stalled at the top of the lift shaft before moving forward into its drop position. The car was stuck in this position for a short period of time before the car dropped back down the lift shaft, causing serious injuries to all three occupants. Despite many attempts to reopen the Edge with installation of anti-rollback devices by Intamin, the ride was never able to escape the stigma of its 1984 accident. The ride was removed in 1986 and sold to Rocky Point Amusement Park before reaching its last location at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure(which was under new ownership and known as Geauga Lakebefore the park closed in 2007) as Mr. Hyde's Nasty Fall. The ride was dismantled and scrapped over the off season in 2005.
In 1985, Six Flags added Z Force, a one-of-a-kind
Intaminspace diver roller coaster followed by Splash Water Falls in 1986 in the County Fair area.
Power Divewas added in 1987 to take over the spot where the Edge stood. Power Dive was an Intamin Looping Starshipride; it swung back and forth before eventually rotating a complete 360 degrees a few times. Z Force was relocated to Six Flags Over Georgiaas part of Six Flags' (now discontinued) Ride Rotation Program. At the end of 1991, the ride went to Six Flags Magic Mountainwhere it operated as Flashback before being dismantled in 2007.
Wesray Six Flags Era
Many programs and quick acquisitions attempted in the mid-80s were a failure and Bally looked to sell the company. In 1987 the company was purchased by Wesray Capital and a group of Six Flags managers. Several acquisitions were re-sold or closed while a focus was returned to attractions. This ushered in an era of new major attractions at the park and a transformation of focus from the park's themes to its roller coasters.
Most of the original themed staff costumes began to be retired at this point in favor of more modern unisex garments more akin to uniforms -- basic short sleeve shirts with slacks or walking shorts during the warmer months. Some of the costumes survived longer than others with the "Yankee Harbor" striped crew shirts and clamdiggers pants being retired last. Also the restaurants became more aligned and offered basic
fast foodcuisine and lost the dishes that were unique to individual themed areas. While a few specialty restaurants survived, almost all were abandoned in favor of cheaper mass-produced food items. Similarly, merchandise throughout the park became homogenized at this point as well.
1988 saw the first of the new coasters with the addition of the massive roller coaster Shock Wave, an
Arrow Dynamicsmega-looper, added to the Orleans Place section of the park on June 3, 1988. Shockwave was the park's tallest roller coaster and featured seven inversions. White Water Rampage was renamed Roaring Rapids.
Rolling Thunder, an Intamin bobsled coaster, was added for 1989 after having been relocated from
Six Flags Great Adventure(where it operated as Sarajevo Bobsled from 1984 to 1988). It was built between the Demon and the Whizzer. Rolling Thunder was taken down prior to building Southwest Territory. The ride was stored in the back parking lot (between The American Eagleand Washington Street) from 1996 to 1997 before being relocated to The Great Escape in New Yorknow operating at the Alpine Bobsled. Iron Wolfopened April 28, 1990, and was Bolliger & Mabillard's first-ever roller coaster. The company has since gone on to become the premier in roller coaster manufacturing, creating three other rides for Great America, as well as such well-known rides as The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure, Sheikra at Busch Gardens, and more. Iron Wolf was a very compact steel stand-up roller coasterthat took over Z-Force's spot in County Fair. The Condortook to the skies in 1991 in Orleans Place next to Shockwave. The IMAX screen in the Pictorium was upgraded to allow 650 people to view 3D movies. People said goodbye to their beloved Tidal Wave at the end of the season. Tidal Wave currently operates as Greezed Lightnin' at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdomin Louisville, Kentucky.
Time-Warner Six Flags Era
The major attractions did not come without their cost, and by 1991 Six Flags was close to bankruptcy.
Time-Warner, a major influence at Great America since the beginning with the featuring of Looney Tunescharacters, and a minority owner in the company, purchased an additional share of the company for a controlling interest of 50 percent. With the purchase came additional prominence of Time-Warner properties.
The first of these was the historic ride built in 1992 --
Batman the Ride, a first-of-its-kind B&M inverted roller coaster to replace Tidal Wave. Batman was unlike any other roller coaster. It was a very tightly squeezed ride but was so popular that lines stretched past East River Crawler (formerly The Lobster, the new name in accordance with a re-theming of the area around Batman), through the bridge to Yankee Harbor and all the way to the bridge near Power Dive (across from Shockwave).
June 20, 2005, Batman was awarded landmark status by the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) at their annual convention, Coaster Con XXVIII.
The Batman Stunt Show opened in 1993 in a brand new theater located past the Demon, the amphitheatre currently houses the Sunday Night Concert series.
Space Shuttle America, a motion simulatorride was built in 1994 near the Sky Trek Tower. "Shuttle" re-created the inter-planetary escapade provided via "Space Shuttle America". Since its introduction, Space Shuttle America has been home to four different films: "Space Shuttle America", "Escape from Dino Island 2- 3:D", "Stargate- SG:3000", and "Superstition", during the yearly Fright Fest Event. The original Space Shuttle America film returned for the 2006 season.
In 1995, Viper, a wooden roller coaster based on the
Coney Island Cyclone, was built next to Rolling Thunder, which was removed later that year. Although significantly smaller in stature than the American Eagle, this ride features many more instances of negative gravity or "airtime" moments during the ride.
In September 1995, Rolling Thunder was removed to make way for the new theme area "Southwest Territory" which opened in 1996. The new western-themed area was originally proposed in 1976 but took nearly twenty years to resurface. Ironically the sky ride, "Southern Cross" which was specifically designed to transport guests to this area had long since been removed by the time this section of the park was developed. Three new rides were added (River Rocker, Chubasco, and TrailBlazer) while Big Top was moved in from County Fair and renamed Ricochet. It opened for 1996. The Rolling Thunder Roller Coaster currently operates at Great Escape in New York as
Alpine Bobsled. Viper's entrance was moved from Hometown Square to Southwest Territory. Also in this year, the Batman Stunt Show was replaced with a stunt show following the Southwest theme.
The Giant Drop, an Intamin second-generation drop tower, and Dare Devil Dive, a skycoaster, were added in 1997. The Giant Drop is located on the Southwest side of Southwest Territory and Dare Devil was added in the Big Top's former location in County Fair. In August 1997, a hitch bar connecting the third and fourth cars on the blue side of the American Eagle rollercoaster separated as the ride was braking, causing the rear two cars to slam into the front three cars. Several people were injured and sent to local area hospitals. The ride re-opened in time for Fright Fest.
Premier Parks Six Flags Era (1998-2005)
Time-Warner sold its stake in Six Flags in 1995, and in 1998
Premier Parkshad its IPO and became the parent company of Six Flags. Premier Parks opted to follow the trend set by Bally's and began acquiring more properties.
1998 was a big year for children's attractions. Yukon Territory welcomed Camp Cartoon Network, with five new rides, including Spacely's Sprocket Rockets (Vekoma Roller Skater),
Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine, Yogi's Yahoo River, Rocky Road's Rescue Service, and Bedrock Boulder Roller. Bugs BunnyLand was re-named Looney TunesNational Park and included the Looney Tooter Choo Choo Train, the Waddaview Charter, Porky's Buzzy Beez, Petunia's Lady Bugz, Looney Tunes Lodge Foam Ball Factory, Pepe Le Pew's Peak, and the Nature Trail. An accident occurred on the Demon, stranding 23 passengers upside-down on the black train for nearly three hours.
1999 saw the rise of the Raging Bull, a B&M hyper-twister roller coaster. This convert|202|ft|m|sing=on-high, convert|73|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on, and convert|5057|ft|m|sing=on-long monster immediately changed the Great America skyline forever, quickly becoming the most popular attraction at the park.
Great America celebrated its Silver Season (25th Anniversary) in 2000. This was the last year for the much-loved
Sky Whirlas well as the Hay Bailer ride. An accident involving a guest occurred on the Cajun Cliffhangerride, which caused its eventual removal.
In 2001, Great America added two new roller coasters. First was an Intamin impulse coaster named Vertical Velocity. Riders are launched at speeds over 55 mph (88 km/h) up a twisted vertical tower, then fall backwards and climb up another straight tower. The ride repeats, but on the second time up the back tower, riders are held facing straight down for a moment before being released. The park's second ride for 2001 was Déjà Vu, a
VekomaGiant Inverted Boomerang ride to replace Sky Whirland "Hay Bailer". On Déjà Vu, the riders are pulled backwards up a vertical tower and are dropped into a cobra roll inversion, followed by a loop over the station and up another vertical tower. The ride then repeats the course, only backwards. The ride did not debut until October 7that year due to unfortunate circumstances, causing a public relations nightmare for Six Flags, including being threatened with lawsuits regarding false advertisement of the opening date of the ride. Déjà Vu continued to be problematic maintenance-wise, with guests frequently finding it closed. Due to increasing operating costs, Six Flags announced in 2007 that the Déjà Vu coasters in their Illinoisand Georgia parks were going to be removed for the 2008 season.
2002 was a quiet year for the park. The highlight was the announcement that the American Eagle would once again run the blue side backwards. (The configuration of Forwards Red and Backwards Blue would stay put until the end of the 2005 season.) The park's original
Imaxfilm "To Fly" was once again shown in the Pictorium. In June and July, rumors that the park was planning to remove Whizzer surfaced. This proved to be true as the park put a banner on the ride's entrance sign informing guests that the final ride would be on Sunday, August 11. However, on August 3, the park announced that due to public outcry, they would keep the Whizzer. August 3was also the last day Shock Wave was open. Also, among major additions to the entertainment department included brand new parade floats. Power Divewas removed due to maintenance problems, and the roller coaster Shock Wave was removed in October for a new attraction. Superman: Ultimate Flight took to the skies in 2003 in Shock Wave's place and was the Midwest's first flying roller coaster. While the layout of the ride was not original, the unique flying position continues to be a hit amongst guests. The parking lot on which Shock Wave had stood was replaced with a more lush, landscaped look for Superman's grounds. The historic Ameri-Go-Roundwas removed at the end of the season.
The area where the
Power Diveand Cajun Cliffhangerstood was transformed into Mardi Gras for 2004. A wild-mouse roller coasterRagin' Cajun was added along with a HUSS Top-Spin named King Chaos; ZamperlaRockin' Tug named Jester's Wild Ride; and a Zamperla Balloon Race named Big Easy Balloons. Also, a HUSS "Frisbee" named "Revolution" was taken from Six Flags Great Adventureand opened in County Fair, replacing Ameri-Go-Round.
After sitting (and rusting) on a hill unused since 2002, Shock Wave was finally scrapped at the end of the 2004 season.
In 2005, Six Flags Great America got its own
Hurricane Harborwater park. The new thirteen acre waterpark features attractions such as Hurricane Bay, the 500,000 gallon wave pool, Bahama Mama, and Bubba Tubba, two family slides, and more. The new water park was a success and boosted attendance by 24% in 2005. In 2006, a new "Tornado" water slide was opened, although to some scandal, as reports surfaced of rider injuries early in the 2006 season.
Great America celebrated its 30th season on
May 29, 2006.
In December 2005, stockholders approved a plan offered by
Daniel Snyderto take over management of the Six Flags chain, who appointed former ESPNemployee Mark Shapiro as CEOof Six Flags. Shapiro began to change the parks to give them a more family-friendly environment. These changes were very visible in the 2006 season.
The classic Triple Play ride was dismantled prior to the start of the season because
Six Flags over Texashad received a similar HUSS Troika that was damaged during the hasty demolition of AstroWorld and needed a part from the Great America ride. Triple Play did, in fact, return for 2007.
Space Shuttle Americareturned in 2006. The previous film, Stargate SG-3000, had its last showings in September 2005, when the contract with MGM expired. Superstition returned for Fright Fest 2005, followed by Space Shuttle Americain Spring 2006.
In June 2006, the
Tony HawkBoomBoom Huckjam skateboardtour came to Great America for two days. It was a very popular event and returned in June 2007.
September 14, 2006, Six Flags announced it would replace its sign that sits along I-94. The sign, which had been standing since the park opened in 1976, was replaced with a smaller one featuring a liquid crystal display. The new sign went up within a week after the old one was taken down in December 2006. The new sign uses the old sign's post.
Revolution sat dormant for most of the season. It reopened on
October 20after being down the whole season due to maintenance problems with rides of similar types at other parks.
In November 2006, Six Flags announced a new stunt show for 2007, "Operation SpyGirl", a new original live action adventure show from the creators of Fox's Hit television Show 24. Operation SpyGirl opened in May 2007. Reception was subdued, but after tweaking it the entire season, crowds got larger and larger until it closed for the year in August. Operation SpyGirl marked several new ventures for Six Flags, including pre-show entertainment in the waiting area, setting the storyline up that the Evil Arch Villain Max Condor had stolen the "Super Viper Rocket" from the Agency that Spygirl works for, as well as a merchandise cart outside selling "SpyGirl" themed merchandise. Spygirl did not return for the 2008 season.
In January 2007, it was announced that
the American Eagletent area would be converted into "Wiggles World", a third children's area themed after the kid sensation the Wiggles. Wiggles World features five new rides, Henry's Splash Fountain, the USS Feathersword Play Area, the Yummy Yummy Cafe, and the Get Ready to Wiggle Stage show. The area was a revolution for the back of the park, converting the musty dark tent area into an explosion of color. Wiggles world was considered a success almost immediately.
Also in 2007, the FlashPass system switched from the card format to the electronic Lo-Q format. Though it is more expensive, the new integration was considered successful.
The American Eagle's entrance was relocated to the right of the tent utilizing part of the entrance building for the adjacent Dare Devil Dive skycoaster, to accommodate the Wiggles area. The Trailblazer ride in Southwest Territory was also removed.
As part of the new focus on entertainment, several new shows debuted in 2007. "Spirit of America" is similar to the shows preceding the nighttime parades. Positioned near the reflection pond, Spirit of America is a musical welcome to the park. "Show Stoppin'" debuted in the Grand Music Hall as the first fully in-house production in years, utilizing the "Six Flags Great America Singers and Dancers" as they presented pop hits including "Hit me up", "Listen", "Candyman", and many more. "Show Stoppin'" highlighted six featured singers: Allison Rule, Brandon Wright, Whitney Rollins, Chance Phoebus, Avilla Martin, and Allison Simms. In association with the local "Serpent Safari" reptile zoo, a new reptile show opened on the dormant Mission Stage in Southwest Territory. Also two "Pop-up" shows were placed in the midways. Each featuring four singer/dancer teams, Country Rocks in Southwest Territory featured a mix of contemporary and Golden country tunes, and Reflections: Sounds of the 80s lit up County Fair. Also, some of the themed sections of the park had streetmosphere, roaming entertainers, coming in the form of Jesters for Mardi Gras and Orleans Place, Canadian Mounties for Yukon Territory, and Scarecrows for County Fair, which were later changed to Clowns near the end of the season. Each character, unique to the park, would walk the sections and interact with park guests, performing a variety of different acts, skills, and general comedic performances, making each section a fun and unique experience for park guests.
In August 2007 Splashwater Falls closed early for the season. It was removed in early 2008 and
Space Shuttle America, which closed after the 2007 season, will be removed in the future. On August 13, 2008, a sign was discovered next to Space Shuttle America's entrance reading "Future Site for New Attraction", which seals the fate of Space Shuttle America
September 27, 2007, Six Flags announced the addition of "The Dark Knight,", A Mack Wild Mouse roller coaster. The ride is located indoors, mostly in the dark, and themed with Batmanand The Joker scenery. The ride was constructed in promotion of The Dark Knight. The ride's preshow features Aaron Eckhartreprising his role as Harvey Dent from the film.
Other 2008 improvements included the addition of a second Johnny Rockets (replacing the Bayou Grill in
Mardi Gras), and a second Cold Stone Creameryacross from Crazy Buffalo Saloon in Southwest Territory. Crazy Buffalo Saloon became Crazy Buffet-lo. Raging Bull was repainted the same colors. There are mandatory lockers at Superman- Ultimate Flight, The Dark Knight Coaster, Batman: The Ride, Iron Wolf, American Eagle, and Raging Bull. A new ticket system was also added to Raging Bull, Batman: the Ride, and Superman- Ultimate Flight, likely due to problems with line jumpers. New queue televisions were placed in the lines of nearly all the roller coasters to entertain guests in line. They play ads and mini shows. In the Grand Music Hall, Show Stoppin' is returning, but only showing in the evening. During the day, Grand Music Hall will feature Dick Clark videos.
For 2009, Six Flags announced the addition of Buccaneer Battle, a MACK Rides Interactive Freeflow Boat Ride. The ride will be located in County Fair on the former site of Deja Vu. The ride will consist of 10 eight passenger boats navigating a 450ft channel. During the ride, there will be numerous interactive water elements.
The Flash Pass
The Flash Pass, named appropriately after the
Justice Leaguecharacter, is a virtual queuing system. Using the Q-Bot, you wait in a virtual line. The Q-Bot will beep when it is nearing your Ride Time. While you are in the virtual line, you can do anything you want, even get in the actual line for another ride. You get a Q-Bot which you can use at the following rides: Superman: Ultimate Flight, Roaring Rapids, Batman: The Ride, Vertical Velocity, Loggers Run, Iron Wolf, Whizzer, Raging Bull, and Giant Drop. The Flash Pass sales center is in Hometown Square, across from the Whizzer and next to the Grand Music Hall.
There are two types of Flash passes offered at Six Flags Great America. The basic reservation-based Flash pass does not reduce your wait significantly but allows you to do other activities while virtually queuing in the line of your choice. With the basic Flash pass you are waiting approximately the same wait time as the actual line. The other option is the Gold Flash pass which often costs a bit more but significantly reduces your wait up to 75% less than the actual wait time in line. So for example if Raging Bull was an hour wait with the Gold Flash pass you will only wait a maximum of fifteen minutes.
Purchasing the Flash pass program can be done online at sixflags.com or done in the park in Hometown Square at the Flash pass distribution center next to Grand Music Hall and across from the Whizzer.
Line management was introduced at Great America in 2001 called "FastLane", where it was a punch card, then switched off from punch card to rip-tickets. In 2005, electronic scanners were installed, but they ended up never being used. The name was changed from "FastLane" to "The Flash Pass" for 2006 when CEO Mark Shapiro introduced the
Justice Leagueto Six Flags entertainment.
After 7 years of using the punch card/rip-tickets, the Flashpass switched to
Lo-Qsystem in 2007.
Current Park Management
* Owner Six Flags Inc. (Chief Executive Officer - Mark Shapiro)
* Park President Hank Salemi
* General Manager John Curty
* Aquatics Operations Manager Amy Marti and Andrea Grossman
* Director of Park Operations Dameon Nelson
* Park Operations Manager Mike Foley
* Rides Manager Kathy Thompson
* Security Manager Rich Thomas
Rides and Attractions
Current Roller Coasters
Past Roller Coasters
Current Flat Rides
-!Ride!Year Opened!Make / Model!Description
Chance RidesDouble Decker Carousel, Horses by Bradley & Kaye
Columbia Carousel opened in 1976. located in Carousel Plaza.
Rue Le Dodge
Now the World's Largest bumper car floor!
Sky Trek Tower
IntaminGyro Tower 1200
opened in 1977; located in Carousel Plaza.
opened in 1976; located in Hometown Square (ride was temporarily removed for the 2006 season.)
Scenic Railway Hometown Station
Custom Fabricators, Inc. Train
opened in 1976; located in Hometown Square.
Hometown Fun Machine
Eli Bridge Company Scrambler
opened in 1976 as Saskatchewan Scrambler in Yukon Territory. Relocated to Hometown Square as Hometown Fun Machine circa 1977 (when Fort Fun was added to Yukon Territory)
opened in 1976 as Orleans Orbit in Orleans Place; Now located in Hometown Square on the site of the removed Bottom's Up ride. Former location is now occupied by Roaring Rapids.
opened in 1996; located in Southwest Territory
Huss RidesSwing Around
opened in 1977; located in Southwest Territory; originally named Big Top and located in County Fair until moved in 1996. Former location is currently Dare Devil Dive.
Intamin convert|227|ft|m|abbr=on. tall 2nd Generation Freefall
opened in 1997; located in Southwest Territory.
opened in 1996; located in Southwest Territory.
Great America Raceway
Arrow Dynamics antique cars
opened in 1976; originally named Barney Oldfield Motor Speedway; located in County Fair.
opened in 2004; located in County Fair; moved from Six Flags Great Adventure.
Scenic Railway Fairgrounds Junction
Custom Fabricators, Inc. Train
opened in 1976; located in County Fair.
Schwarzkopf Calypso 3
opened in 1976; located in County Fair.
Log Flumewith 2 different sides
opened in 1976; located in Yukon Territory.
Arrow Dynamics Hydroflume with 2 different sides
opened in 1976; located in Yankee Harbor.
Zierer Wave Swinger
opened in 1976 located in Yankee Harbor. Original location in County Fair where covered portion of Iron Wolf queue line stands today.
East River Crawler
opened in 1976; located in Yankee Harbor. Original name was "The Lobster".
IntaminRapids water ride
opened in 1984 as White Water Rampage; located in Mardi Gras.
The Jester's Wild Ride
Zamperlathemed Rockin’ Tug
opened in 2004; located in Mardi Gras.
Big Easy Balloons
opened in 2004; located in Mardi Gras on footprint of both removed rides The Edge and Powerdive.
Huss RidesTop Spin
opened in 2004; located in Mardi Gras.
MACK Rides Interactive Freeflow Boat Ride
Located on the former site of Deja Vu, 10 8 passenger boats will navigate a 450ft channel
opened in 1991; located in Orleans Place.
Current Kiddie Rides
Located in Camp Cartoon (formerly "Camp Cartoon Network", section new in 1998):
*Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine (
ZamperlaCrazy Bus) - opened in 1998
*Bedrock Boulder Roller (
Zamperlakiddie Ferris wheel) - opened in 1998 -Formerly located at the now defunct Six Flags Astroworld.
*Flinstones - Rocky Road Rescue Service (Hampton Rides kiddie ride) - opened in 1998
*Yogi's Yahoo River (Herschell kiddie ride) - opened in 1998
Located in Bugs Bunny National Park:
*Yosemite Sam's National Park Tour (
ZamperlaRio Grande – kiddie train ride)
*Looney Tunes Lodge (SCS Interactive kiddie foam ball play area)
*Pepe Le Pew's Peak (kiddie playground/slides area)
*Waddaview National Park Charter Service (Herschell kiddie ride)
*Porky's Buzzy Beez (kiddie ride)
*Petunia's Lady Bugz (kiddie ride)
Located in Wiggle's World (section added new in the 2007 season):
*Big Red Plane Ride (Zamperla Telecombat)
*Big Red Car Ride (Zamperla Convoy)
*Bouncin' With Wags (Zamperla Jumpin' Star)
*Dorothy's Rosy Tea Cups (Zamperla Mini Tea Cup)
*Yummy Yummy Fruit Salad Tower Ride (Zamperla Samba Tower)
*Dorothy's Racing to the Rainbow (Zamperla Samba Balloons)
*Henry's Splash Fountain
*S.S. Feathersword Pirate Ship
Past Flat Rides
Power Dive( Intamin Looping Starshipthrill ride) - opened in 1987; located in Orleans Place-Closed in 2001
*Cajun Cliffhanger (
Chance Rides Rotorspinning ride) - opened in 1976; located in Orleans Place-Closed in 2000
*Sky Whirl (
IntaminTriple Wheel) - opened in 1976; located in County Fair-Closed 2000
*Eagles Flight / Delta Flyer (
Von Roll Sky Ride) - opened in 1976; stations in County Fair and Orleans Place-Closed in 198?
*Southern Cross (
Von Roll Sky Ride) - opened in 1977; located in Orleans Place-Closed in 1982
*Traffique Jam (
Arrow DevelopmentAntique Cars) - opened in 1976; located in Orleans Place-Closed in 1983 to make room for Roaring Rapids raft ride.
*The Edge (
Intamin1st Generation Freefall) - opened in 1983; located in Orleans Place-Closed in 1986
Mack Matterhorn (ride)- opened in 1977; located in County Fair-Removed in 2000
*Bottoms Up (
Chance Rides Trabant) - opened in 1976; located in Hometown Square-Closed in 1983
*Davy Jones Dinghies (
IntaminFlying Dutchman) - opened in 1977; located in Yankee Harbor-Closed in 1982
*Yukon Yahoo (
SchwarzkopfBayern-Kurve) - opened in 1976; located in Yukon Territory, later Orleans Place as Delta Flyer-Closed in 1990
*Various Children's Rides - in the early days of the park, there were several small kiddie rides scattered throughout the park, notably in Hometown Square and in County Fair. The County Fair kiddie rides were removed over time, and Hometown Square removed their kids area (named Hometown Park) in 2001.
ZamperlaJoker) - Opened in 1996 with Southwest Territory. Removed in 2006 due to safety issues with other rides of this type.
*Spinnaker - (Hrubetz
Roundup) - Opened in 1976 and removed two years later when "Tidal Wave" was built.
Space Shuttle America(I-Werks Motion Simulator Ride) - opened in 1994; located in Carousel Plaza (has shown several other movies) Closed after the 2007 season.
*Splashwater Falls (O.D.
HopkinsShoot The Chutes) - opened in 1987; located in County Fair. Closed in August 2007.
*Hilltoper Most Likely a "Himalaya" style ride - Opened in 1976 as Hilltoper next to Turn Of The Century's lift; moved closer to the midway not long after and renamed Industrial Revolution(**NOTE - This is not the same ride that was relocated to Orleans Place; that particular ride was the Yukon Yahoo. Industrial Revolution and Yukon Yahoo were similar rides that existed in the park at the same time.)
*Ferris wheel Little is known about this ride, such as when it was added; It can be seen in pictures from the 1984 season. It looks to be an Eli Bridge version. It was sandwiched between the Fairgrounds Junction train station, and the Eagle's Flight skyride station; removed after the 1984 season, when Fairgrounds Junction train station was moved over to accommodate Z-Force; located in County Fair.
*Ameri-Go-Round (P.T.C. Antique Carousel) - originally built in the 1910s, opened at Great America in the County Fair area; removed after the 2003 season, replaced by Revolution.
Current extra charge attractions
*Winner's Circle Go-Karting (go-karts) - opened in 2000; located in Carousel Plaza
*The Wall (rock climbing wall) - opened in 2001; located in County Fair
*Dare Devil Dive (
Skycoaster) - opened in 1997; located in County Fair
Hurricane Harbor (water park)
*Skull Island (SCS Interactive Discovery Treehouse/WaterColors with slides from Proslide Technology Inc.) - opened in 2005
*Hurricane Mountain (Proslide Technology Inc. “Pipeline” - 4 tube slides) - opened in 2005
*Wahoo Racer (Proslide Technology Inc. 6 lane "OctopusRacer") - opened in 2005
*Buccaneer Bay (kiddie area) - opened in 2005
*Castaway Creek (lazy river) - opened in 2005
*Bahama Mama and Bubba Tubba (2 separate Proslide Technology Inc. “Mammoths” - family raft rides) - opened in 2005
*Hurricane Bay (Aquatic Development Group Inc. WaveTek wave pool) - opened in 2005
*Vortex and Typhoon (2 separate Proslide Technology Inc. "CannonBowls") - opened in 2005
*Paradise Plunge and Riptide (2 separate Proslide Technology Inc. "Turbo Tunnels" - speed slides) - opened in 2005
*Hammerhead and Barracuda (2 separate Proslide Technology Inc. "Atomic Coasters" - tube slides) - opened in 2005
*Tornado (Proslide Technology Inc. Tornado “Rattler” - funnel shaped tube slide that uses four person “cloverleaf” - opened in 2006
Marriott also opened a sister park in 1976 in Santa Clara,
Californiawith nearly identical attractions and layout. The Santa Clara park was purchased by the Paramount Park Group and was known as Paramount's Great Americauntil in 2007, when Paramount Entertainment decided to sell its amusement parks, wherein the Santa Clara park became the property of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. The park is now called just California's Great America.
This same park was featured in the movie
Beverly Hills Cop III, with its recognizable Carousel.
* [http://www.sixflags.com Six Flags]
* [http://www.sixflags.com/greatAmerica/index.aspx Six Flags Great America]
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