Thursday, June 12, 2008

Six Flags Great America -- Maybe, three Flags at best

It wasn't even the high point of the season. The place wasn't even packed at all. It was, we thought, the perfect time to go and enjoy Six Flags Great America before the mad rush of people that usually happens in the summer.

What a bummer, with some fun!

First of all, the tickets cost almost $60 a person to get in. The parking costs $25 in the general lot and $15 in a distant out lot. They offer "discounts," which always annoys me because the discounts usually become the rule but so many people don't know it, they get scammed. We got two for one, and $20 off a third adult ticket using a Diet Coke Can -- our son is just above 48 inches tall. So, for the three of us, two parents and one child, it cost us $125 just to get into the park.

The longest ride was the one sitting at the entrance for 45 minutes as the employees tried to process each car as it drove in -- with eight lines, maybe 70 cars deep off the main road. I mean 30 minutes sitting there and crawling up to the gate. They had one employee at each gate taking tickets. It didn't seem to matter whether you paid cash, credit card or in advance on the computer as we did.

Once inside, many of the rides were not opened. The Space Shuttle has never been opened during any of my family trips to Six Flags Great America. And many of the other rides were closed, too.

It's the middle of freaking June!

This isn't about quality. It is all about the money. The only thing that made it worthwhile -- maybe -- is that the park was not filled. So the wait for rides wasn't that bad. I can only imagine how horrible it will get when crowds do come. Yikes!

Now, when you are a parent, and you have a young child, the big focus is on the child, right? He had fun. It wouldn't matter if he were playing in a muddied field or Six Flags Great America, though. He had fun. He even graduated to the middle level exciting rides. We went on the Ragin'Cajun as a family. The good rides, like this one, had about a 30 minute wait.

I bought the photograph, four pictures and two keyt rings for about $19. (Money will start to cash register ring as fast as time passes at Six Flags Great America -- oh, that's a good idea. Six Cash Registers Great America is a better name!)

The brief, 20 minute movie about the Planet Earth was phenomenal. They could have offered a longer film. The theater is huge. I bet it can seat 1,500. (Just a guess.)

There were also many rides in the park you had to pay for. We didn't go to the water park inside, though, which is open to attendees. The lack of cleanliness at the park made me think that the water probably wasn't going to be the best there.

But the absolute WORST part of the entire trip wasn't the difficulty in getting in to the park, or the enormous costs involved in going there and getting in, or the fact that many rides were closed, or that even that many of the rides IN THE PARK are rides you have to pay a surcharge to get on -- the go-carts, for example. No, the absolute worst part of the entire trip was the pathetic quality of the food. In fact, I hate to use the word "quality" to describe the food there.

We went to a "Moose Lodge" inside the park first and ordered the big burder and kids meal. The burger was like a frisbee. And I kept scratching my ankles, like there were fleas in the place or something. WHAT A DUMP!

There were only 10 people in line and it took 20 minutes to get the food. It sat ont he counter while the employees bumped into each other and joked and had fun. People were bitching the whole time. Although, there was one lady inf ront of me who kept saying to her husband, "When we're done. Let's go to the Cracker Barrel to eat."

So I'll rate it. Three Flags, six cash registers and a son who was happy no matter what! No thanks to Great America, in theory, though. He just is a great kid who will make the most of whatever he does. Ah. There's a good slogan for Great America! Come and enjoy our park and make the most of what little you can!

Ray Hanania

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