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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14]

TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14]

CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile

8/15/14 at
5:55:05 PM

TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14]

Summer is beginning to wind down, and though it looks like I'll have one more upcoming coaster trip (to Silverwood in Idaho as a side trip while I'm in the state on business) this was one that I'd been wanting to get to for some time because of the new RMC installation, Goliath.

The weather was stunningly perfect for mid-summer in Chicago. Mid-70s with a few patchy clouds here and there. No rain anywhere in the area. Beautiful!

We opted for Platinum line cutting mainly because we wanted free bonus rides on Goliath and SF is currently offering 2 with it. We were able to sneak in 4 rides on Goliath because of it (one the night prior, one when it first opened, 2 with the cutter) and I'm glad I opted for it. The re-ride ability is great when ops are slow and it makes it easier to jam in more rides on a shorter, 10 hour operating day. The fact that you can buy discounted gold and then upgrade Platinum to about the same cost as the gold is for the normal park guest makes it an easy decision when bonuses like Goliath rides are available!

Though I've been to the park several times prior, as it's close to my home in western MI, I'll give a ride-by-ride as it's been ages since I went there.

As usual, in somewhat climatic order:

Superman: Ultimate Flight
I know that many people don't care for these, and they're far from my favourites, but I will say a couple of things. First, I do like the pretzel loop and the element of flying on these. Second, did you ever ride Shockwave? This is 10X better. If they had taken out Whizzer for it, as they originally intended, I'd hate it. Third, have you ever ridden the terrible Vekoma Flying Dutchman design? Again, 10X better! They aren't real thrill rides, but they are good at what they do and they don't subject you to lying feet up, staring into the sun for 5 minutes like their predecessors.

(We didn't ride Batman as we had Bat burnout from the TX trip)

Dark Knight
I generally like Mack designs, but these Dark Knights are a little too high on the brutal turn to drop ratios. The ride time also feels a bit on the short side to me, though I don't think they are really all that much shorter than normal mice, if at all. Definitely not worth waiting in a normal line for.

Vertical Velocity
I still have a soft spot for these Intamin Impulse rides. I rode the heck out of Superman: Ultimate Escape when it was put in in Cleveland, and this is identical in design. Front seat only rides for me on this model, but I love the feeling of free-falling in a reverse spiral. Still a fun design.

A strange semi-sleeper family classic. The Whizzer doesn't have big drops, but it's a classic design that is built into the landscape beautifully and it offers plenty of fun, low-slung turns. Great for taking your kids or gf on and just enjoying the ride. A truly unique gem that I'm glad SF still has on their roster. I'll be heart-broken if they ever remove this.

is still just a basic loop-screw, but it's hard for me not to love the tunnels, hokey song, and general ambiance of this ride. One of the few rides in its style that I always ride when I visit its park.

Giant Drop
Or whatever it's called. Intamin 2nd generation towers are my favourite type of drop. They aren't as entertaining intimidating as the 1st gens were with their steel cars and towers, but they are much taller and still offer the fun of true free-fall. I like these much better than roto drops (not sure why, possibly just positive associations from early in my coastering career) and miles more than the forced air S&S drops that feel...inauthentic in their drop. Obligatory rides for me when I run into them.

I can't help but think of the terrible Vekoma flying coaster that's currently operating as Firehawk at KI when I hear this name, but the SF Wing Coaster was only my second, and for my money, much better than the larger but less...wingy...example at CP. X-Flight showcases the weird flipping powers of the style more effectively to me with the slow barrel roll through the command tower being particularly tight and well-done. Solid ride.

Raging Bull
There was a time when I dogged this ride as being unspectacular, but every time I ride it it continues to grow on me. I think part of it has to do with the rather unique twistery style that it has that B&M, for some reason, has not opted to do again. It has nice air moments sprinkled throughout and a tremendous twistery finale. The only real thing that annoys me is the fact that it can be like pulling teeth to get the ride ops to let you queue for the back seat as it has been an assigned seat ride ever since it opened due to the tiny station. Just outside of my steel top 10 right now.

is still a tremendous wood coaster. It doesn't have the kind of maintenance that I would ideally like, as it does washboard a bit in sections, but man, this ride has air and twists, and then more air. It has no dead hills, and plenty of sideways-on-your-butt hills too. Non-stop fun, air, and, for me, tremendously under-appreciated. With some more TLC and heavier greasing it could be top 15 for me.

For the record let me say that the two RMC re-tracks in Texas are in my top 10 steel, that short rides are no detriment to me, and that I don't require air. That out of the way, this is a very good rides with some fun elements, but it is not even close to a top 10 woodie for me.

First, the good stuff. This ride has a sick first drop that yanks you hard on the first drop. It has a lot of very nastily over-banked turns high on the layout that show off some of RMC's better design concepts, and it has a crazy middle of the layout section that holds you upside down for what feels like forever before twisting you back hard to the right and diving into a tunnel.

These are all good things, what don't I like about it? Well, basically two major things. First, it only has one really good middle of the layout hill, and that feels like it should have dropped deeper toward the ground (i.e.: you rise into the hill and anticipate a big drop, it starts to deliver that, but then the hill is over about 30 feet early). Second, it is just over way, way too fast. I know it's practically the same length as the other RMC rides, but it just feels shorter, and I think part of that is that it doesn't have a narrative or sequencing the same way that the Texas rides do to me. It really is just doing turns and inversions, and I wanted hills, show me the yank-you-out-of-your-seat sort of stuff that the Texas rides have!

Ultimately, I don't think it's a bad ride, but I also think it's more difficult for a ride like this to impress me than the steel examples in TX because it has a different sort of nemesis to crack my rankings. My top wood all have either insane air, insane laterals, length, or generally, some combination of 2-3 of those. I don't think Goliath has any of those three. It has solid air, but nothing spectacular. The snap out of the long inversion has laterals, but one lateral spot is not enough. And it's very short.

I'd gladly ride it multiple times on any visit, as it's definitely amongst the best rides in the park, but for my money it's beaten handily by Viper for the title of best woodie in the park.

All in all we had a very good time though. My gf loved Raging Bull most of all, I'm still on the fence about the RB vs. Viper thing, but it's a good issue to have. SF Chicago continues to be one of the better parks in the chain, and though I'm not crazy about Goliath, it's definitely a unique, big ride that I'll ride on any visit, likely a few times once the Flashpass allows for that, as it does offer up a good ride experience and is fun for what it is.

Thanks for reading!

Michael W.
399: 92 (28 CCI/GG) / 307
Re: TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14] by frontrow frontrow Profile at 8/15/14 9:24:43 PM
Great TR. If all the stars align I'll be leaving Wednesday for SF Great America. That's disappointing to hear about Goliath. I loved Outlaw Run, and was hoping Goliath was just as good. Nonetheless, I still want to want to ride it, its my most wanted coaster in North America. How long was the regular wait time for Goliath? I won't be able to afford flash passes. If I do have extra money, I'll run up to Bay Beach and Little Amerricka on Friday.
Re: TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14] by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 8/16/14 2:47:48 AM
Thanks for the TR CB. I agree with what frontrow said on loving Outlaw Run, and hoping that Goliath(SFGAm) would be killer too. Although I'm not wild about Supe:UF, I agree with you on liking the pretzel loop, as it's my favorite part.

It seems like those Vekoma Dutchman age very horribly. I rode the BORG at Carowinds in 2007 and it was smooth; I rode it again in 2012 as Nighthawk, and it was rough. I rode Batwing this year and it was pretty rough. I can't wait to finally ride a wing coaster.

Re: TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14] by drachen drachen Profile at 8/16/14 11:05:40 AM
I enjoyed the read. I happened to really like Goliath, despite only getting one ride. That hanging inversion was flawlessly executed - at least it felt that way in the back row. I wish I could have ridden it more, but the line was north of 2 hours.

I've been to Great America three times now. The first time the crowds were minimal, and I absolutely loved the place.

The last two times, the place was very crowded, and I was able to see this park's true colors. They suck at operating the park and really don't care about your experience once they have your money.

I've come to realize that at most Six Flags parks, unless you are armed with a Platinum Flash Pass, you're in for a frustrating day.

It's a shame too, because Great America is a fantastic park in every other way. Great rides, great layout, great food options.

No American Eagle? I really like that ride - terrified that they'll RMC it in a few years...

Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.94 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.56 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14] by CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile at 8/16/14 12:43:04 PM
Forgot that I did indeed do American Eagle, which I still enjoy, though not nearly as much as when they used to run it backwards. I do agree it'd be a shame to see it re-tracked, though only because of its classic status. It was also weird to see the queue moved out of the old pavilion; I imagine that was done ages ago now though, yeah?

The general points made on ops are something that I have leveled at SF for years. The difference being that now I can actually go to the park in the Summer and have fun whereas I used to only visit them in the very early and very late season. Chicago's ops aren't bad across the board, and in some cases, they're pretty good, but in many spots SF tends to understaff, and when you combine that with lazy ops you can end up with really bad situations, like the lethargic Viper staff at SFGAm or the abysmal situation I encountered at SFoT where virtually all of the rides had molasses speed ops.

I have good and bad experiences at pretty much every one of their parks I go to. For example, on this trip the person queuing people at Raging Bull for their rows was nothing but attitude to me about wanting to sit in the back. The guy at Goliath was not only friendly about it, but actively chatty. I find most people are agreeable enough, but that for the most part, speedy, efficient ops are not encouraged enough; especially vis a vis market competitor Cedar Point, which is justifiably renown for its excellent ops.

On an aside, as Goliath goes, if you're interested in the ride and discouraged by my post; don't be. If it looks like your kind of ride, it very well might be. Most of the riders were much more enthusiastic about it than I was; and I have a rather particular notion about a wood coaster should do to make my top 10. The main thing I can say in retrospect on Goliath is that it's a woodie that is too focused on inversions to the detriment of the rest of the ride experience as a lot of the actual track length is chewed up by the big diving inversion and the long middle one.

In some regards Goliath sort of reminds me of Millennium Force, a ride that I've always lightly dogged for being just a speed ride. I just don't care that much about speed rides, just like I just don't care THAT much about inversions. The second Goliath one is neat, but a great inversion is nowhere near enough to make a top 10 woodie list for me.

* This post was modified at 8/16/14 12:44:32 PM *

Michael W.
399: 92 (28 CCI/GG) / 307
Re: TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14] by frontrow frontrow Profile at 8/21/14 12:11:22 AM
CortexBomb, Goliath is exactly how you described it.
Re: TR: Six Flags Chicago [14.8.14] by CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile at 8/21/14 9:34:31 AM
I will say this for Goliath, it's easily the best record-breaking inverting wood coaster that I've ever been on! ;-)

I still hold out some hope for Outlaw Run as well; though going out there might be delayed again for me as I was originally intending to do it next year but the ACE UK Trip is probably going to chew up my Summer vacation time for 2015.

* This post was modified at 8/21/14 9:36:29 AM *

Michael W.
399: 92 (28 CCI/GG) / 307