Rock n Roller 16: The Moon and Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America is in Northwest Chicago, closer to Wisconsin than Michigan Avenue. We headed out early for the almost hour drive to the park. It was very busy as we entered the parking lot. We had a bit of an issue to deal with before we entered the park. Michele had lost, rather actually mailed out, her Six Flags card when we mailed a package home. So we had to visit guest services and hopefully get a new card and allow her to get in. We got the run around and had to go back and forth between offices talking through those stupid speakers through bullet-proof glass. Who would rob one of these places, especially the offices that don’t take any money? We were told that since Six Flags St. Louis was our “home park” (remember that?) we would have to go back there to get a new card. Are you F’ing serious! Not only was St. Louis, what 600 miles away but we would not be going back to that park on this tour. After pitching a fit and a few choice words and even a “let me speak to your supervisor” threat, the 20 year old ticket puncher let us in “just this once.”

When you enter this park the first thing you notice is the huge fountain with a double decker merry-go-round at the back. How cool is that! Michele and I love carousels and we would ride a bunch of them on this tour but I have never ridden a double decker! We would save it for our last ride as we headed out of the park.

This park has a lot of coasters. We once again chose the Flash Pass but this one was different. This park gave you this little pager type device that forced you to ride a coaster at one time or another depending on how busy the ride was. It also didn’t allow you the first class type treatment at parks like Hershey or even some of the other Six Flags but it also didn’t include some of the most popular coasters like Goliath!

We worked our way around the park riding a couple cool coasters, One of my favorites was X-Flight. From the SixFlags website:

Experience the Shock and Awe of one of America’s First Wing Roller Coasters!

Experience the ultimate sensation of flight as you soar on this one-of-a-kind wing coaster. As the dramatic music blares, you’ll feel your adrenaline pumping more and more, especially when you realize that there is no track above your head or below your dangling feet!

Slice through the sky on 3,000 feet of twisted steel, including extreme drops, insane loops, and intense fly-throughs unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. X Flight is one of the first of its kind in the world, featuring state-of-the-art technology to guarantee you’ll have a high-flying good time. Almost immediately after take-off, X Flight launches you up a 120-foot hill and plunges into a heart-pounding, high speed, dive drop. As you descend at 55 miles per hour, the train rotates 180 degrees and swoops into an upside down position, and while you’re hanging, you’ll fly into a gravity-defying roll through a cloud of fog.

After a sharp left turn, you enter an intense loop followed by another zero-gravity roll and then an incline twist – during which the train careens on a 90-degree angle towards a control tower!  The tower is directly in your path, and just as you are about to slam into the structure, you make a last-second vertical flip and zoom right through a narrow keyhole opening!  This signature extreme fly-through is just one adrenaline-pumping element that makes X Flight so cutting-edge and spectacular.  All in all, you’ll fly along the 3,000-foot-long twisted steel track, compete with intense drops, five inversions, a barrel roll, and a zero-g roll.

Brave pilots on X Flight can be a part of history as one who soared on one of the most revolutionary coasters in the world.

Fun Facts about X Flight 

  1. Each train holds 32 passengers. Riders sit in pairs, suspended on either side of the track with their feet dangling.
  2. Nearly 3,000 feet of twisted steel with 5 inversions, including a zero-G roll, in-line roll and barrel roll.
  3. Immediately after the lift hill, riders are turned upside down and dive into a half loop called a dive drop.
  4. Zero-G roll gives riders the feeling of weightlessness.
  5. Track includes an extreme fly-through where the coaster speeds straight toward a structure, before making a last-minute vertical flip to fit through a keyhole cut-out.
  6. Designed by acclaimed manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard, who also designed Six Flags Great America favorites: Raging Bull, SUPERMAN: Ultimate Flight and BATMAN: The Ride.
  7. The ride opened as the fourth Wing Coaster in the world and the second in the United States on May 16, 2012
  8. It replaced the Splashwater Falls water ride and the Great American Raceway car ride.
  9. X-Flight was the first announced wing coaster in North America
  10. X-flight was featured on the Travel Channel show, Insane Coaster Wars in 2012.

After, I rode Batman the Ride, a coaster that is the same one as the one in St. Louis. Michele chose not to ride this one. Remember our pact? Then we rode a woodie called Viper which was awesome and then we headed over to Goliath. This is one that was not available on the Flash Pass so we stood in line for an hour and a half. The longest we stood in line for any coaster on the entire tour. It was well worth the wait!

Goliath is the new technology of coasters where wood meets steel to provide a smooth and unforgettable ride. With this gliding technology from Rocky Mountain Construction it feels more like a steel coaster than a bump and grind woodie. This one was one of my favorites on the whole trip! From the Six Flags website:

Conquer the Giant!

Goliath is the most extreme coaster of its kind, providing an adrenaline rush like no other. Elevate up to touch the sky atop the 165-foot lift hill then whip over the peak and conquer the world’s tallest and steepest heart-racing drop. Speed to the bottom of this gut-wrenching slope before you even have time to scream. Thunder around surprising curves and outrageous turns then flip head-over-heels through wild twists.

This giant new beast features impressive heights, astonishing speeds and stomach-tightening inversions:

Three world’s records:

  • World’s fastest wooden coaster at 72 mph
  • World’s tallest drop for a wooden coaster at 180 feet
  • World’s steepest drop for a wooden coaster at a near-vertical 85 degrees

Key Features

  • Three over-banked turns
  • A 180-degree zero G-roll twist
  • Two wild inversions
  • A spiraling inverted zero G stall

We finished the day riding; Demon, American Eagle, Raging Bull which is the tallest and fastest coaster in the park, Justice League which is what they are calling a 4D interactive thrill ride, and finally the double decker carousel. Of course we waited until we could ride on the top level and it was a cool way to finish the day. This park by far was one of the busiest, being it closest to one of the largest cities in the country and it was also a weekend. We were out of the park by 4:30 and headed back into the city to have dinner with our friend.

We spent the evening with our friend Pat Moon at a little bistro in his neighborhood. I met Pat several years ago when he was up in Alaska to run sled dogs in a race with our mutual friend Hugh. The company was very enjoyable. He shared stories of working at O’Hare and about living in this huge metropolis. The food was excellent. I had some sort of seafood gumbo with octopus. That was the first time I have ever had that and it was very good.

We headed back to the hotel relatively early as Michele would have to be up early in the morning to catch her flight back home. It has been a great couple of weeks on the road together and I would spend most of the next week  traveling south to Texas to meet up with her again. It would be a bittersweet good bye but hey one of us has to work for a living right? At least until I can get paid enough to write this blog!

Tomorrow: Michele Leaves and Holiday World 

Coasters to date on the tour: 68

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