Jun 19

Six Flags Saves the Day

Honestly, after the miserable donut morning and the psychotic hotel switch the night before, I wasn’t even in the mood to go to an amusement park. Yeah, me, being ambivalent toward the promise of roller coasters. That’s when you know my seasonal depression is visiting (it hits me in June nearly every year for some reason and I truly don’t understand it). But Henry was like, “No. We are here and we are going” and I was FULLY PREPARED to have a shitty day, to be bumping elbows with surly crowds, to endure 60+ minute wait times.

But you guys. Six Flags America was fucking presh. I mean, I’m still operating under the impression that Six Flags is essentially the Wal-Mart of amusement parks, (change my mind in July, Six Flags Great Adventure) but I will say that compared to that shitty one in Darien Lake, NY, this one in Maryland was a HUGE step up. And hilariously, this is the one that usually gets the most hate from the coaster community!

Basically, the park is only “beautiful” in the entrance area. I thought their little main street was so cute! The rest of the park was OK, much nicer than Darien Lakes, but it’s that damn DC comics branding that turns me off.

Still, it felt more like being at an amusement park than Six Flags Darien Lake. And nearly every single roller coaster was a walk-on or station wait! This was perfect because we were only there to ride the coasters, so we didn’t have to stay all day, which had Henry making prayer hands because he didn’t want to be driving home in the middle of the night.

I don’t really have too much to say about it because we were only there from around 11:30 – 3:00 and didn’t eat or really stop at all to rest. It was constant running from one coaster to the next. I did stop once to pee and am happy to report that the restroom was clean and there was a very pleasant attendant in there keeping things sanitized and we had a friendly convo about the weather while I washed my hands and avoided looking at my frizzy hair in the mirror.  The weather that day was only in the high 70s/low 80s but it had that air of MIGHT STORM SOON all day.

Also, we didn’t eat there because true to most theme parks, the food was $$$ and none of it seemed exceptional. I mean, $12 for one slice of pizza? Hard pass. Even the soft pretzels were like $7 so made the mutual decision to get all the riding done and then eat outside the park at a restaurant (A RESTAURANT!!! IT FEELS SO GOOD TO SAY THAT AGAIN!).

Here are the coasters Chooch and I rode that day (managed to get all the credits because unlike Darien Lake, everything was running!!!):

  • Firebird – a B&M floorless. This was apparently the very first B&M coaster and was originally a stand-up coaster, but was converted to a floorless in 2019, so this is relatively new! It was also nearly a walk-on for us. It was OK but after hate-eating all those donuts, probably wasn’t the best first ride? Still, pretty cool history! (You can see it in the picture above.)

  • Joker’s Jinx: HOLY FUCK this was wild. I knew going in that it’s basically just a clone of the Flight of Fear coasters at King’s Island and King’s Dominion, except that those are indoor. I liked both of those versions well enough, but Henry and Chooch don’t, so I thought for sure Chooch wasn’t going to like this one much either. But WOW did this one feel different! First of all, the launch was so intense that it nearly made me drop my bowels. I expected the launch but it still somehow caught me off guard! Oh man, we laughed and laughed through this whole ride. So good, definitely a favorite of the day!
  • Superman: Ride of Steel: Six Flags is notorious for cloning their rides, so the mirror image of this one is also at Darien Lake (it’s actually the one that some guy was ejected from several years ago, which is another reason why Darien Lakes leaves a bad taste in my mouth). We didn’t get to ride the one at Darien Lake anyway though because the line was consistently a 90-minute wait, running one train, and continuously breaking down. But here at Six Flags America, it was A WALK-ON, two trains were running, and ops were efficient AF. Anyway, this coaster was great and I actually would have liked to ride it a few more times, but we had to hustle. THIS WAS NOT A DAY OF LEISURE. Oh yeah, this was one of two rides that Henry actually rode that day, and this was even after we ditched him while he was in the gift shop next to the entrance, looking for eyeglass straps. Just to illustrate how empty the queue was – he was able to piss around in the gift shop and STILL make it into the station queue with us since. “Wow, thanks for waiting, assholes,” he said, shaking his head dejectedly.

  • Roar: Wow, this woodie sucked. It’s crazy how many REALLY GOOD WOODEN COASTERS we’ve ridden, and how it makes the lesser-thans super apparent. This ride was weird in general because there was a security guard who was like, miming to us which seats to go to and I was like, “But can we go to the back?” and he just looked at me and I was like, “If you are saying something to me from behind your mask, I sincerely cannot tell” and finally I was like, “I don’t fucking know what this guy is saying, let’s just take the back row” so we did but Henry allowed him to assign him a seat because HE COWERS BEFORE AUTHORITY. Hilariously, when Henry climbed across the seats to put his man purse in the cubby, two kids decided to change seats and took his, but by that point, the lap bar had come down so Henry was trapped on the other side of the platform and literally every single ride attendant was ignoring him until finally they unreleased the lap bars so he could get a new seat RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME AND CHOOCH, like we told him to do from the get-go but he was too worried about disappointing the Blank Security Guard. Seriously, this was the only weird/negative experience we had all day. The attendants on this ride were so emotionally distant.

  • Mind Eraser: Ughhhh I was dreading this one. Every coaster enthusiast HATES these Vekoma SLCs (suspended looping coaster) because they’re head-bangers but I honestly hate them because they terrify me. I hate that dangling feeling! But Chooch needed the credit so in line we went. We had a fun interaction with this one couple whose young son was FLIPPING OUT about not wanting to ride and they were just an adorable family, TBH, and even let us go ahead of them WHICH ENDED UP BEING BAD because our train STOPPED ON THE LIFT HILL. This is a fucking SUSPENDED COASTER, YO, so we were just up there dangling like the devil’s dingleberries and I began to panic IMMEDIATELY, like, how would they get us down from here?? A normal coaster would have you climbing out and walking down the steps at the side of the lift hill, but how would we do that?? Would we need to be rescued like Annie, grabbing on to Punjab’s unraveled turban?! But then after 15 seconds (felt like 15 minutes), the lift hill chain powered back on and we finished our ascent. And then….the ride was absolute terror. I hate these rides! I always feel like my feet are going to bang off the support beams! When our train returned to the station, the crew was totally taunting us and asking, “SO DID YOU HAVE FUN WERE YOU SCARED OMG” and Chooch and I are fairly certain that they made our train stop at the top on purpose because so many people on it were crying about being scared when we were still in the station, and if that’s the case, OMFG that’s fucked but also kind of hilarious to be trolled that mercilessly? That crew was pretty awesome. It was a party atmosphere for sure on that ride.
  • The Wild One: Ugh another rough wooden coaster. This one was even worse than the other.  Nothing to report aside from the fact that there was a large family (number-wise, not weight) who was all split up in line, and the patriarch was so maniacal about getting to the front of the line, it was actually concerning. The line was not long AT ALL but he was being so impatient. Chooch and I got to skip the line because the ride attendant was looking for a group of two and as we walked down the station to get in the cue for the second-to-last row, the crazy dad LIFTED HIS SON OVER THE RAILING so he could ride with whatever lady family member was waiting to get on the same ride as us. I was like, “Dude, you need to calm the fuck down.” I can’t believe no one called him out for doing that – I mean granted, it didn’t affect much because the lady was going to be a single rider otherwise, but still, you can’t just drop-kick your kid over a railing like that!? Anyway, we ended up getting the back row after all because we were splitting up the lady from two other family members and they understandably wanted to ride in a group so she asked if we could switch and I was like, “This is the best day ever” because you know Chooch and I love that back seat vibe. Then!! And this is the best part! Before they let us go, one of the ride attendants asked the kid who was punted over the railing to get out of the train so that he could be measured AND HE WAS TOO SHORT! And do you know the lady family member who was with him was like, “Oh well, bye” and didn’t even get off with him! So this smol child had to go stand by the exit alone and wait for his entire 247382347 member family to finish riding this dumb coaster. And now crazy dad was screaming from the line, “WHAT HAPPENED?! CAN’T YOU JUST LET HIM RIDE IT ANYWAY?” and Six Flags was like, “No sir we cannot do that, that is how the dude got ejected & killed at Darien Lake because the ride attendants were like SURE MAN WITH NO LEGS THE SIGNS SAY YOU CANNOT RIDE THIS BUT SINCE YOU ARE SAYING  YOU CAN, ALL ABOARD!” So then crazy dad was like, “CAN I TAKE HIS PLACE?!” and they were like, “No you cannot, we are sending this train now, wait for the next one bitch.” It was intense. Actually, there was more action in that line than on the actual ride, which actually injured Chooch because it was so rough and he banged his elbow or something I can’t remember since it didn’t happen to me.

  • Batwing: We tried to ride this one earlier, after Ride of Steel, but it was down. I was worried that it would be down for the day, and of course, Six Flags’ app is worthless and doesn’t tell you ride statuses or wait times on their app!! WTF. I imagine the bigger ones probably do?! This would end up being one of only two legit lines we had to stand in all day, and it was still only about a 20-minute wait, which must have been unusual because I heard some girl say, “I literally cannot believe we’re standing in this line it’s so long it’s never like this.” But WOW were ops efficient on this one! They were REALLY doing the most and apparently that particular crew had won awards (THEY HAD BANNERS SAYING SO!). First of all, you can’t even go up to the station until an attendant assigns you a number, and then you have to tell the attendant at the top of the steps what that number is and they will show you to your row. I was so nervous that I would forget the number when it was our turn, but it was literally #1. Chooch was like, “I mean, if you screw this up….” and don’t worry I still almost screwed it up because I kept walking past the first row even after the lady was like “here is your row” and it was very clearly marked with the NUMBER ONE.  ANYWAY, this ride was terrifying. It’s a Vekoma Flying Dutchman, so after you get in, the seats fall all the way back so you’re facing upward, and that’s how you climb the lift hill – literally looking up into the sky and having no idea how much farther you have to go and I was FUCKING SCREAMING. Then as you start to go down, the train flips over so you’re facing the ground like you’re legit flying and it is…not really what I was trying to experience. I felt so helpless and like we were going to slam into the ground. I also had major deja vu feelings and afterward realized that this is a replica of a ride that Henry and I rode YEARS AGO when Henry I went to Six Flags / Geauga Lake in Ohio – it was called X-Flight then and eventually moved to King’s Island and renamed Firehawk, but ultimately was closed in 2018. Chooch loved it and I will admit that it was relatively exhilarating but I am learning that I prefer REALLY GOOD woodies (like anything RMC touches, Intamin prefabs, those fucking animals at Holiday World, The Beast in King’s Island, etc)
  • Ragin’ Cajun: OMG this was so annoying because it was literally the last credit Chooch needed (we skipped the kiddie coaster) and of course the first time we tried to ride it, it had broken down. I wanted to still get in line because the maintenance men were there and they were sending test cars, but the young man guarding the entrance would NOT let us even though there was a small line leftover from the people who had already been in line and opted to stay even after the thing broke down. I was like, “WHO ARE YOU TO  TELL ME HOW TO SPEND MY TIME, SIR” but really I only said that in my head because I was exhausted from all the other raging I had down that weekend. (OMG I JUST REALIZED THAT THIS RIDE IS RAGIN‘ CAJUN HOW APROPROS LOL). When we came back later though it was working again but the line was stupidly long – I would say we waited for about 45 minutes which seems SO FUCKING EXCESSIVE for what is essentially a Crazy Mouse but I am here to tell you that this version of it spun way faster than ANY Crazy Mouse I have ever ridden. I remember someone saying that in a YouTube video about this park and I was like, “OK it’s probably not that crazy though” but HOLY SHIT it was out of control! Chooch said he actually thought it was malfunctioning. I couldn’t get my eyeballs to stop ping-ponging afterward, it was fucking insane. And when we got back to the station, it was that MEAN KID again who wouldn’t let us wait in line when it was broken down and he said something to me but I couldn’t hear him because he was wearing a mask but I’m pretty sure he was chastising me for unbuckling my seatbelt before the car was fully back to the platform and you know what, fuck off SIR.

Anyway, I think this was Chooch’s 145th coaster!! Wow, truly one to remember.

Oh! Not ride-related but the Maryland/Virginia area is having a huge cicada infestation (I kept calling them Jon Secadas and Chooch would say, “Huh?” and then Henry would mumble, “He doesn’t know who that is, Erin” and instead of explaining it, I just kept right on calling them that) and I mean, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE. My friend Jiyong had told me about this when I saw her last month because she had recently visited her friends in Maryland and I was like, “It can’t be that bad” but WOW OH WOW. Luckily, they’re harmless and they don’t particularly creep me out, but the possibility of one slamming into our face while riding coasters was a very real concern. Outside of our first hotel that I hated, there were so many Jon Secada shells on the ground that it actually sounded like we were stepping on autumn leaves. NOPE. JUST CICADA EXOSKELETONS.

Then we left and ate a late lunch/early dinner at Silver Diner which boasted a FLEXITARIAN MENU and I actually wanted to cry. Usually if we go to any kind of diner or standard American cuisine restaurant, we consider ourselves lucky if they even have a veggie burger option on the menu. Usually, I have to be grateful for a fucking veggie wrap. But this place had SO MANY Veg/Vegan options mixed in with meat foods for Other People, that it was actually hard to choose.

I ended up getting this cauliflower sandwich which was OUT OF CONTROL. It also felt good to treat my body to real food since all any of us had to eat that day were ANGRY DONUTS. And we had a very nice waiter! The whole vibe of that place was super mellow and the food was fantastic – it was really such a great way to end a successful Six Flags adventure and I’m super glad we didn’t end up going home that morning because my bi-polar inner voice was talking for me.

TO SUMMARIZE: Would I go back to this particular Six Flags? OK real talk: Only if they had a new coaster. But I did enjoy my time there! Most of the rides were mediocre but I could have ridden Joker’s Jinx and Ride of Steel many more times and I would have liked to hit up some flat rides too if we weren’t on a time crunch. This wasn’t the kind of park where I could see myself being “leisurely” at, you know what I mean? There really wasn’t any place to sit on a bench and enjoy the scenery.

The next Six Flags we have lined up (and the original one we planned on going to this summer) is Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ and I’m really interested to see if this one is more aesthetically pleasing than the other two. I have a feeling it might be, and it’s definitely larger PLUS IT’S THE HOME TO EL TORO which I have been desperate to ride ever since riding T-Express in South Korea, which was the ride that reignited my love for coasters in the first place, and El Toro is built by the same manufacturer! SORRY, I WILL GO DORK OUT ABOUT THIS ON MY OWN TIME NOW.

But first:

(Fun Fact: when I was a kid and this song first came out, I thought he was saying “every time we eat together” for the longest time.)

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