Yesterday I got to go to Six Flags America (Maryland) for $5 including food and parking. It was pretty awesome. The deal was through Lockheed Martin (I have a friend who works there that scored a bunch of tickets). They did a family day and bought out the park for the day so it was closed to the public. With very few exceptions, we were able to walk right on the rides we wanted to go on with no lines.
Being raised in New Jersey with Six Flags Great Adventure less than an hour away, I never ventured to any of their other parks. I was very pleasantly surprised and with having been to Great Adventure just one week prior, comparison is easy. Overall, the park seems smaller in land area than the Jersey one, but they pack stuff much closer together. It doesn’t seem like Six Flags America is quite as well kept as Great Adventure with things seeming slightly more run down and dirtier. Instead of there being cable cars to take visitors across the park, there is a train which is quite annoying if you’re on foot and have to wait for it to pass. Where Six Flags America beats Great Adventure is where it really counts, the rides themselves. Each roller coaster was very unique in what it offered instead of being the same thing as the last one you were on. At Great Adventure there isn’t really a lot of diversity among the coasters, they all kind of do the same or very similar things.
However, the coasters and attendants are much more painful at Six Flags America. I presume that many of the female attendants had recently been dumped by their boyfriends. When they walk by to check the restraints, they often used both hands to push down as hard as they can, as if giving CPR, and thus shattering the rider’s pelvic region.
We started the day off with the Mind Eraser. It’s a pretty decent coaster that flips you upside down five times and has a few corkscrewy things as well. It also has a pretty neat heart shaped thing going on with the track that you can see in the picture to the left.
When I got on the ride, the first thing that I noticed was the huge pads for your head on the shoulder restraints. Once the ride started I quickly found out why the pads were so huge. The method used to erase your mind is simply slamming your head side to side repeatedly for the entire length of the ride.
Roar was second for the day. This was one of two wooden coasters at the park. It also was the roughest coaster that I think I’ve ever been on and nearly compacted my spine. Riding this directly after the Mind Eraser left us all feeling like we had just been beaten up…a few times. The ride looked and felt like it was a few decades old and had suffered the normal warping that occurs with wooden coasters, but apparently the ride was only built in 1998. Overall, it was not all that impressive though I did see some very positive reviews for it online. There is a 200′ roofed section of the ride that is less like a tunnel and more like going through a shed.
The Wild One
After we ate, we went on The Wild One which we figured would be a nice way to start again after just eating. This ride actually has a very long history and originally opened in 1917. Despite being very old and having been moved from another park, it was quite smooth and very impressive. It felt extremely fast and towards the end there is a 450° helix which was one of the best parts of any coaster I’ve ever been on. The speed and g-force around it is pretty incredible. This helix is replicated to a degree on the Superman ride which we later went on.
This ride was made even better by the guy sitting in front of us. He was wearing a Gilligan hat and definitely was not too bright. Just as the coaster started down the initial drop, it started to blow off of his head. He reached up to grab it, but instead of taking it off and holding it in his hand for the rest of the ride, he just held the hat on his head. Part of the time, he had one hand on his head and the other up in the air and part of the time, he was holding both sides of the hat down. It was absolutely hilarious. We instantly burst into side splitting laughter that lasted well through the whole ride and popped up at various other times throughout the day.
Two-Face: The Flip Side
This was one of the most innovative coasters I’ve ever been on. Each car seats the rows back to back so the riders are facing the riders in front of them. This adds an amazing element of being able to see the faces of other riders throughout the ride.
The ride starts out by pulling you up the incline and then letting you go back down the way you came and through the loading area. Then you go up through some loops, back up another incline, and then down again through the whole thing in the other direction. Half the riders go backwards on the first pass and forwards on the way back while the other half are the other way around. It’s very neat.
When I rode it, we weren’t fortunate enough to have anyone facing us so that element was out. We went backwards first which was super intense. When the coaster went up the incline on the other side, we were left hanging facing straight down at the ground. That was probably the scariest part for me.
This coaster was just a mess to look at. The entire coaster is completely compacted on itself and looks as if the blueprints for building it were really just a bowl of spaghetti. The entire half mile of track only takes up about as much space as my bedroom. Looking at the ride is a complete mindfuck.
The ride starts you off with a 0-60 in ~3 seconds linear induction launch and then you get jumbled through the mess of track. Unfortunately, the launch and fear of decapitation are really the only good parts of the ride. Most of the time the train moves pretty slowly though everything then leaves you cooking in the sun for a few minutes while they load up the other train with riders.
Superman: Ride of Steel
This ride was pretty simple, but a whole lot of fun. It starts off with a big climb with a decent drop then goes into a couple humpbacks before
sending you through two opposing helices and then back through another couple humpbacks. The ride feels extremely fast, applies a nice amount of g-force through the helices, and the humpbacks hit you with that nice ejector-seat feeling.
The landscaping around the ride is a bit barren though. The ride is in the back of the park and feels like it’s just in someone’s backyard. There is absolutely nothing around it other than the Batwing which is even further back behind it, but at least near some trees.
The real gripe with this ride is the design of the restraints. The lapbar has a pole that comes between your legs and as man, this is very much less than ideal. Not only does the attendant destroy your chances of being a father when they check the bar, but the pressure against your crotch the entire time is very uncomfortable.
This was the last ride that we went on for the day. It also was the only ride with a significant wait. We were in line over an hour for it and had considered giving up. It wasn’t so much that there were a lot of people in line, but it was that they were only using one train at a time and the loading process for each one took five to ten minutes.
The wait was well worth it though. It’s a flying style coaster much like Superman at Six Flags Great Adventure. I had never been on one before so I can’t compare it, but many of the reviews I’ve read say that it’s one of the best, if not the best, of this style. The coaster starts you off laying on your back and carries you up the incline like this with you staring up at the sky. Once you get to the top, it flips you over so you are hanging underneath with your stomach to the ground. You are whipped around some loops and curves and many times it feels like you’re going to fly off face first into the ground. It’s a very intense ride and was well worth the wait.