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Park wait time rants

Talk about anything that has to do with Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor here.
Postby American Eagle 1981 on July 28th, 2017, 2:52 pm
My very least favorite thing about Great America is how AWFUL wait times are. It's not like this at any other park in the country other than Disney/Universal. For instance,right now Coaster Queue lists ride times as 70 minutes for Goliath, V2, X-Flight, and Viper. Raging Bull and Demon have 55 minute waits, and everything else is over 20 minutes. Sure it's a peak crowd time at almost 3 on a Friday but wait times for other parks are no where near as bad. Banshee is only a 5 minute wait right now, it seems like I can never get that short of a wait on anything at GAm other than at opening or closing. Can anyone tell me why this is? Operations have been good this season so why are wait times still so bad???
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Postby sfgam1976 on July 28th, 2017, 2:58 pm
Wait times on the app are hardly ever accurate. Eagle is a walk on right now
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Postby CoasterRiderSC on July 28th, 2017, 3:15 pm
^ THey also don't change the signs out in front of the rides very often either. A ride operator told me that and I've observed it firsthand. The signs in front usually overstate the wait time and then you're pleasantly surprised when you get on much sooner.
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With Platinum Flash Pass - 51 rides 7/15/2016

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Postby Ilovthevu' on July 28th, 2017, 3:23 pm
It's cooler, and a lot of people are probably staying out of the waterpark today / water rides. 76 high, and up to 20 mph wind.

So, than add the train and the tower not operating during Fright Fest, and you know why it FEELS more packed during Fright Fest. Fright Fest is packed, but usually around this time at the park, it's also really packed though it doesn't feel as packed because of all these other rides open now. Less stuff open during Fright Fest. Every year during Fright Fest it always seems like they shut down one other ride. Last year it was Orbit. The year before that, it probably was a refurb on the East River Crawler or something.
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Back to the waits though, that doesn't seem right. Batman (outdoors) has the same wait as the black Arrow coaster? Something is really wrong there.. Viper 70 minutes? What???
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Postby Guy_With_A_Stick on July 28th, 2017, 5:15 pm
Yeah, never trust the app. Like Scott said, they overestimate the wait on purpose so the actual wait ends up being shorter, making people more pleased in the end. Restaurants do the exact same thing- they tell you a 25-30 minute wait when it's actually 15.

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Postby American Eagle 1981 on July 28th, 2017, 7:33 pm
Aside from the app, wait times are busier than most parks right? Every other park I've ever visited just has more reasonable wait times. Is it a layout of the park thing? Are people in the area just more compelled to ride the rides rather than do anything else in the park? Great America is certainly the most chaotic in terms of crowds I've experienced. Plenty of other parks have highlight attractions where wait times can get down to 15 minutes or less. I never am pleasantly surprised to find Bull or Goliath with such a small wait during the day.
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Postby Ilovthevu' on July 28th, 2017, 8:03 pm
^Just curious as to what other parks do you visit? You take Dollywood for instance, and I think that has a lot of older people coming that just come for everything but the rides. You look at a park like Kentucky Kingdom and St. Louis, and their attendance is nowhere near Great America's. Magic Mountain supposedly gets around the same attendance as Great America (just a little better), but yet it's open every single month - though a lot of weekends. So, it's open more. Knott's Berry Farm gets more attendance than Magic Mountain I think, but if you look at September, October, November, and December, it's almost open every single day or night. In September, Great America is mostly weekends only.

Discovery Kingdom has a lot of animal exhibits along with Busch Gardens Tampa. Busch Gardens Tampa has shows also. Wild Adventures, I doubt a ton of people go to. Cedar Point was crowded when I went for years. Fiesta Texas is definitely a show park, and during the summer expect the waterpark to be mobbed because of how hot it is. It's 98 degrees in San Antonio today. lol Over Texas and hot weather probably keeps the crowds down also.

People always say Dorney Park is an empty park, and people just go to the waterpark. Six Flags America was empty when I went.

The MOST attendance list for North America parks other than Disney / Universal / Sea World, you have Great Adventure, Kings Island, Hersheypark, Cedar Point, Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm, and probably Busch Gardens is on that list. I don't know anything about Hersheypark, and I don't know how Great Adventure is.
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Postby batmanfan80 on July 29th, 2017, 2:22 am
Lines have been a lot better this year. There is always some coaster with a wait time less than 40 minutes. I don't know that attendance changed much, but Joker is soaking up a lot of people(even though the single rider line is always a walk up). Plus the operations are a ton better. It's easy to have horrendous lines when operations are lacking. Based on what I've seen on coaster-queue and queue-times over the last two weeks, there's been mostly reasonable wait times. Just haven't been able to get over there. The previous 3 seasons were so bad that I don't think I got to do much after the 2nd weekend in July on any of them. It will be interesting to see if Fright Fest has 3 hour waits for everything again. Maybe we'll get lucky and find out that millions of people satisfied their Goliath curiousity and aren't planning to return for another decade.

It would be great if they could put more things in the park for people to do. They're sorta doing that with the Susan Rosen shows and the mini-shows scattered about. We'll see how stuff turns out, this is kinda uncharted territory.
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Postby American Eagle 1981 on July 29th, 2017, 12:31 pm
Ilovthevu' wrote:^Just curious as to what other parks do you visit? You take Dollywood for instance, and I think that has a lot of older people coming that just come for everything but the rides. You look at a park like Kentucky Kingdom and St. Louis, and their attendance is nowhere near Great America's. Magic Mountain supposedly gets around the same attendance as Great America (just a little better), but yet it's open every single month - though a lot of weekends. So, it's open more. Knott's Berry Farm gets more attendance than Magic Mountain I think, but if you look at September, October, November, and December, it's almost open every single day or night. In September, Great America is mostly weekends only.

Discovery Kingdom has a lot of animal exhibits along with Busch Gardens Tampa. Busch Gardens Tampa has shows also. Wild Adventures, I doubt a ton of people go to. Cedar Point was crowded when I went for years. Fiesta Texas is definitely a show park, and during the summer expect the waterpark to be mobbed because of how hot it is. It's 98 degrees in San Antonio today. lol Over Texas and hot weather probably keeps the crowds down also.

People always say Dorney Park is an empty park, and people just go to the waterpark. Six Flags America was empty when I went.

The MOST attendance list for North America parks other than Disney / Universal / Sea World, you have Great Adventure, Kings Island, Hersheypark, Cedar Point, Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm, and probably Busch Gardens is on that list. I don't know anything about Hersheypark, and I don't know how Great Adventure is.

That's interesting. I've been to all Disney parks in America, Cedar Point, Kings Island, Valleyfair, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags Great America, Six Flags St. Louis, Indiana Beach, Mt.Olympus, Busch Gardens Tampa, and Hersheypark. Most recent was Hershey. When I was there the Hotel Hershey workers said it was beginning peak crowd season and that the hotel was out of vacancy. Yet the longest line I waited in was no more than 30 minutes for Laff Trakk. It seems like the water park gets very crowded there but crowds were very spread out and rides were never busy. A lot of the parks I've been to are smaller and not as busy, that makes sense that they'd have shorter lines. Even larger parks where they get more attendance, lines seem to be more in control. I definitely understand what you're saying though. It makes sense, Gam doesn't have animals, popular shows, good resteraunts, or anything other than rides really that's a draw. Thanks for bringing that Point up.
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Postby CoasterRiderSC on August 4th, 2017, 12:38 pm
Does anyone else think they should revise or even do away with ADA passes? My wife brought up a great point: if someone can't wait in the line for a medical reason should they even be going on the ride at all?

Also, I've actually seen people who came up with ADA pass RUN and JUMP to get onto the ride! They didn't seem disabled or have any "medical condition" to me! One teen girl had a neoprene knee brace. She looked perfectly fine to me. I joked to my friend, also in his 40's, that we both probably had worse knees (ie. arthritis) than her! And what conditions should "qualify" for an ADA pass? Personally I think they should just eliminate them altogether.

I'm also wondering about the Flash Pass. I do know that the park makes $$ on it, but at the same time many guests who don't/can't buy it are angered when all the flash pass people pass them at the junction where they join the line.

Could/should Six Flags do like Disney and give everyone a few rides that they can reserve?? They could still keep the Flash Pass system as it is if they wanted.
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Without Flash Pass - 41 rides 8/19/2016 (Coasters After Dark)

With Platinum Flash Pass - 51 rides 7/15/2016

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Postby ThemeParkFan07 on August 4th, 2017, 5:36 pm
I would say that there's something to the idea that waits are longer at SFGAm than at other parks. In general, I have found that to be true.

One factor contributing to this is the layout: because it is a circle, the crowds of each end will meet up with each other fairly quickly whereas other parks have more open layouts and do not have one prescribed path that more or less everyone will have to take.

The other big factor is that SFGAm's coaster capacity is low relative to the metro area it draws from. Raging Bull is the only roller coaster with efficient 3-train operation (Demon and Whizzer's 3rd trains are negligible in their benefit) and American Eagle can move a lot of people when both sides are open, but otherwise the coasters have at-best two train operation. Whereas parks like Cedar Point and Magic Mountain have more coasters that allow for three train operation and can process more people more quickly. So the capacity of the park is low relative to the area it serves, leading to longer lines.
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Postby anewman35 on August 4th, 2017, 8:46 pm
CoasterRiderSC wrote:Does anyone else think they should revise or even do away with ADA passes? My wife brought up a great point: if someone can't wait in the line for a medical reason should they even be going on the ride at all?

Also, I've actually seen people who came up with ADA pass RUN and JUMP to get onto the ride! They didn't seem disabled or have any "medical condition" to me! One teen girl had a neoprene knee brace. She looked perfectly fine to me. I joked to my friend, also in his 40's, that we both probably had worse knees (ie. arthritis) than her! And what conditions should "qualify" for an ADA pass? Personally I think they should just eliminate them altogether.

I'm also wondering about the Flash Pass. I do know that the park makes $$ on it, but at the same time many guests who don't/can't buy it are angered when all the flash pass people pass them at the junction where they join the line.

Could/should Six Flags do like Disney and give everyone a few rides that they can reserve?? They could still keep the Flash Pass system as it is if they wanted.


Just because somebody can't stand in a line doesn't mean they can't go on a ride, or that it's somehow harmful for them. I'm sure there is a lot of fake stuff, so I'd be fine with them cracking down a bit, and it would be great if a person using one didn't make the whole loading process slow down so much (because the one employee has to have a whole conversation instead of loading people), but I can't imagine they'd ever do away with them (and I'd bet legally they couldn't - that's sort of the whole point of the ADA)
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Postby sfgam1976 on August 5th, 2017, 2:28 am
ThemeParkFan07 wrote:I would say that there's something to the idea that waits are longer at SFGAm than at other parks. In general, I have found that to be true.

One factor contributing to this is the layout: because it is a circle, the crowds of each end will meet up with each other fairly quickly whereas other parks have more open layouts and do not have one prescribed path that more or less everyone will have to take.

The other big factor is that SFGAm's coaster capacity is low relative to the metro area it draws from. Raging Bull is the only roller coaster with efficient 3-train operation (Demon and Whizzer's 3rd trains are negligible in their benefit) and American Eagle can move a lot of people when both sides are open, but otherwise the coasters have at-best two train operation. Whereas parks like Cedar Point and Magic Mountain have more coasters that allow for three train operation and can process more people more quickly. So the capacity of the park is low relative to the area it serves, leading to longer lines.
I would disagree that great America has a low capacity coaster selection. Demons third train is not negligible when it is being operated properly. Obviously Cedar Point is on another level but does Magic Mountain ever run 3 trains on their 3 train coasters? I haven't heard of X2, ninja, or tatsu running 3 trains in recent history the only ones I've heard them running all 3 on is Viper and TC (but even then still not that great capacity). Batman (700-1400) and X-flight (700-1400+) can get as many riders in an hour as Bull with 3 trains (1000-1500+) , viper can get 1000+ at maximum operation, superman (700-900+), Demon is high capacity, Eagle (1000-1400 combined), the flumes (1000-2000+), fling (500-700), the Carousel, rapids, etc.

Great America has the highest average daily attendance of any SF park. A normal day (20K+) at great America is a busy day at most other six flags. If magic mountain and Great America had the same operating season this park would double magic mountain's attendance. The waits are usually long because there are a lot of people in the park!
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Postby Wisco Woody on August 5th, 2017, 8:36 am
sfgam1976 wrote:I would disagree that great America has a low capacity coaster selection. Demons third train is not negligible when it is being operated properly. Obviously Cedar Point is on another level but does Magic Mountain ever run 3 trains on their 3 train coasters? I haven't heard of X2, ninja, or tatsu running 3 trains in recent history the only ones I've heard them running all 3 on is Viper and TC (but even then still not that great capacity). Batman (700-1400) and X-flight (700-1400+) can get as many riders in an hour as Bull with 3 trains (1000-1500+) , viper can get 1000+ at maximum operation, superman (700-900+), Demon is high capacity, Eagle (1000-1400 combined), the flumes (1000-2000+), fling (500-700), the Carousel, rapids, etc.

Great America has the highest average daily attendance of any SF park. A normal day (20K+) at great America is a busy day at most other six flags. If magic mountain and Great America had the same operating season this park would double magic mountain's attendance. The waits are usually long because there are a lot of people in the park!


X-Flight or Batman getting as many riders as Bull with 3 trains? X-Flight has probably never hit 1000 people per hour, as the sad truth is the only coasters at the park that can move over 1000 per hour are Bull and Eagle with both sides running, and possibly Batman with the crew working at great speed and efficiency. Nearly every other major coaster stacks on the brake run every time with only 2 trains, so even on Demon, Whizzer, and Viper a 3rd train does almost nothing to help capacity.

At Magic Mountain, each of Tatsu, X2, TC, Goliath, and Viper can and do run 3 trains; the latter 3 due to sheer length, while Tatsu has 2 loading stations, and X2 has music while on the brake run and a massive slow moving lift hill. Your idea of our coasters having better capacity than Magic Mountain is foolish as A. You can't trust the theoretical max capacity numbers given on Wikipedia to be accurate, and B. Without the use of mandatory lockers, which I'm glad Great America doesn't use, our coasters, outside of Bull and Eagle, will never match the highest capacities hit by Cedar Point, Magic Mountain, and Great Adventure.
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Postby sfgam1976 on August 5th, 2017, 9:15 am
Like I said, when has magic mountain last run 3 trains on those coasters? I've only ever seen 2 on Goliath, X2 has an unused loading station, tatsu rarely uses both sides and when they do it's usually with 2 trains. I'm not sure if we just visit a different great America park but I was there yesterday and witnessed Batman running with 6 people on the platform and when I rode I did not even stop in the brake run because the station train was already dispatching, which is the proper interval. Just sitting in like I saw a train enter the lift hill within 30 seconds of the other train finishing the ride course regularly. X-Flight regularly gets over 1000 riders per hour, it largly depends on whose working because I've also seen them operate the ride terribly. Magic Mountain is one of the worst six flags in terms of operation so I'm not sure why you think they get such greater capacity. I'm not trusting the "Wikipedia" numbers it's called go into the park and count the cycles while you're in line and multiply them to make it to 60 minutes and then multiply by number of seats. Or just ask the crew how many riders they had last hour and they will tell you.
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Postby ThemeParkFan07 on August 5th, 2017, 10:37 am
^You are fixating on Magic Mountain and missing my point that for the metro area it serves, Great America has low coaster capacity. Is the capacity terrible in general?[i][/i] No. But is it optimal for the size of the market? Absolutely not. If Great America had taken after Cedar Point or other larger parks and built more rides that can run three trains, we might not even be having this discussion. But no matter how efficiently a crew moves and dispatches a train, a coaster that can only run two trains will not be more efficient than a coaster that can run three.

Speaking of three trains, I agree that they should be able to dispatch Demon quickly with three trains, but they don't. Usually that third train is sitting waiting to come into the station for a decent amount of time.

I will say that on my visit this year operations were pretty good, but even great operations will not solve the problem that Great America does not have enough coaster capacity for the attendance that it gets. To me that is self-evident, based on more than a decade of visiting not only Great America but several other parks in and outside of the Six Flags chain.
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Postby American Eagle 1981 on August 5th, 2017, 7:34 pm
sfgam1976 wrote:
ThemeParkFan07 wrote:I would say that there's something to the idea that waits are longer at SFGAm than at other parks. In general, I have found that to be true.

One factor contributing to this is the layout: because it is a circle, the crowds of each end will meet up with each other fairly quickly whereas other parks have more open layouts and do not have one prescribed path that more or less everyone will have to take.

The other big factor is that SFGAm's coaster capacity is low relative to the metro area it draws from. Raging Bull is the only roller coaster with efficient 3-train operation (Demon and Whizzer's 3rd trains are negligible in their benefit) and American Eagle can move a lot of people when both sides are open, but otherwise the coasters have at-best two train operation. Whereas parks like Cedar Point and Magic Mountain have more coasters that allow for three train operation and can process more people more quickly. So the capacity of the park is low relative to the area it serves, leading to longer lines.
I would disagree that great America has a low capacity coaster selection. Demons third train is not negligible when it is being operated properly. Obviously Cedar Point is on another level but does Magic Mountain ever run 3 trains on their 3 train coasters? I haven't heard of X2, ninja, or tatsu running 3 trains in recent history the only ones I've heard them running all 3 on is Viper and TC (but even then still not that great capacity). Batman (700-1400) and X-flight (700-1400+) can get as many riders in an hour as Bull with 3 trains (1000-1500+) , viper can get 1000+ at maximum operation, superman (700-900+), Demon is high capacity, Eagle (1000-1400 combined), the flumes (1000-2000+), fling (500-700), the Carousel, rapids, etc.

Great America has the highest average daily attendance of any SF park. A normal day (20K+) at great America is a busy day at most other six flags. If magic mountain and Great America had the same operating season this park would double magic mountain's attendance. The waits are usually long because there are a lot of people in the park!

Where did you get the 20K+ visitors a day statistic? I've never seen that but certainly believe it. Also what are the other leading SF parks average attendance?
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Postby Dan The Coaster Man on August 5th, 2017, 11:19 pm
Understanding the park serves both Milwaukee and Chicago I think any wait is justified. I never use apps, they are horribly wrong in my opinion.
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Postby staticshadows on August 5th, 2017, 11:35 pm
American Eagle 1981 wrote:
sfgam1976 wrote:
ThemeParkFan07 wrote:Great America has the highest average daily attendance of any SF park. A normal day (20K+) at great America is a busy day at most other six flags. If magic mountain and Great America had the same operating season this park would double magic mountain's attendance. The waits are usually long because there are a lot of people in the park!

Where did you get the 20K+ visitors a day statistic? I've never seen that but certainly believe it. Also what are the other leading SF parks average attendance?

I haven't bothered to count the total number of operating days for the year or to check the math. I assume he took the park attendance from the TEA/AECOM report and divided by the total number of operating days. Since the park is the third SF park in total attendance and has one of the shortest operating seasons, it would seem plausible to have the highest average attendance per day.
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Postby CoasterDemon on August 6th, 2017, 1:08 pm
CoasterRiderSC wrote:Does anyone else think they should revise or even do away with ADA passes? My wife brought up a great point: if someone can't wait in the line for a medical reason should they even be going on the ride at all?


There are plenty of conditions that you cannot see. If someone obtains the pass correctly, they have to have a doctor's note stating they need the pass per ADA; that means they are "disabled" formally. Of course, there might be a way around some of that, the pass is not outright abused like it was before Six Flags started requiring doctor notes.

I don't think a doctor would be willing to fake a note in any sense. That would put them in a liable situation, they could loose their license, etc.

Just please remember. You cannot see all disabilities.

Someone who is physically fit and looks average and healthy could have debilitating PTSD, for example. There are many conditions that are not easily detectable.

ADA lines had gotten out of control before they started the new policy. It's a blessing they now require a note; I guess they let first timers who don't know the rule "slide" one time, but the park keeps track now.
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Postby MrsTaxi on August 6th, 2017, 4:52 pm
CoasterDemon wrote:
CoasterRiderSC wrote:Does anyone else think they should revise or even do away with ADA passes? My wife brought up a great point: if someone can't wait in the line for a medical reason should they even be going on the ride at all?


There are plenty of conditions that you cannot see. If someone obtains the pass correctly, they have to have a doctor's note stating they need the pass per ADA; that means they are "disabled" formally. Of course, there might be a way around some of that, the pass is not outright abused like it was before Six Flags started requiring doctor notes.

I don't think a doctor would be willing to fake a note in any sense. That would put them in a liable situation, they could loose their license, etc.

Just please remember. You cannot see all disabilities.

Someone who is physically fit and looks average and healthy could have debilitating PTSD, for example. There are many conditions that are not easily detectable.

ADA lines had gotten out of control before they started the new policy. It's a blessing they now require a note; I guess they let first timers who don't know the rule "slide" one time, but the park keeps track now.


100% agreed. Thank you for posting this.
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Postby maxwellt on August 6th, 2017, 5:36 pm
I am going to the park tomorrow. Any long waits to worry about?

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Postby greatamerica on August 6th, 2017, 9:05 pm
How about some real data? You don't have to watch the video unless you want to see for yourself, but here's some footage that is 10 minutes 15 seconds. At the pace the operations were going at this point in time, if you take how many dispatches were had in this 10:15 window and multiply it by 5.85, we can get some real hourly data.

https://youtu.be/4BOyL7kFeM8

Raging Bull: 8 Cycles → 46 Hourly → 1656 Riders/Hr
Batman: 5 Cycles → 29 Hourly → 928 Riders/Hr
Demon: 6 Cycles → 35 Hourly → 840 Riders/Hr
X-Flight: 4 Cycles → 23 Hourly → 736 Riders/Hr
Goliath: 4 Cycles → 23 Hourly → 552 Riders/Hr

As you can see, Raging Bull was hitting the 75 second dispatch interval perfectly. Millennium Force has a theoretical of 1300/Hr so it is almost certain that Bull beat Millennium this hour. Of course we all know it is not like this all day every day but I've seen Raging Bull's operation vastly improve this year. X-Flight, Batman, and Goliath weren't doing as great as Raging Bull was but I've seen days where those coasters are dispatching on interval for a good period of time. I've got another one of these from another day if this is interesting.
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Postby Necropolis on August 7th, 2017, 1:34 am
maxwellt wrote:I am going to the park tomorrow. Any long waits to worry about?

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Since kiddies (at least in my area) go back to school in a week or two, kids may want to try and get to the park before summer is "over". At least personally, that's what I would be worried about.
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Postby CoasterRiderSC on August 7th, 2017, 11:00 am
CoasterDemon wrote:
CoasterRiderSC wrote:Does anyone else think they should revise or even do away with ADA passes? My wife brought up a great point: if someone can't wait in the line for a medical reason should they even be going on the ride at all?


There are plenty of conditions that you cannot see. If someone obtains the pass correctly, they have to have a doctor's note stating they need the pass per ADA; that means they are "disabled" formally. Of course, there might be a way around some of that, the pass is not outright abused like it was before Six Flags started requiring doctor notes.

I don't think a doctor would be willing to fake a note in any sense. That would put them in a liable situation, they could loose their license, etc.

Just please remember. You cannot see all disabilities.

Someone who is physically fit and looks average and healthy could have debilitating PTSD, for example. There are many conditions that are not easily detectable.

ADA lines had gotten out of control before they started the new policy. It's a blessing they now require a note; I guess they let first timers who don't know the rule "slide" one time, but the park keeps track now.


CD, Thanks for explaining this. Hopefully the system is not abused. Please see my comments about people running and jumping to get on the ride, as well as the teen girl with the neoprene knee brace. Those are the folks that I'm talking about, possibly abusing the system.
Single Day Ride Count Records

Without Flash Pass - 41 rides 8/19/2016 (Coasters After Dark)

With Platinum Flash Pass - 51 rides 7/15/2016

Giant Drop - last day 9/09/2019 - you heard it here first!!!
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