Six Flags Great America Fright Fest 2016
With Halloween less than a week away, Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest 2016 is approaching its final weekend. I visited the park on Saturday to check out the scares the park has cooked up for its 25th annual iteration of the event, and the park didn’t skimp on the ghoulish offerings.
As cool as the giant gorilla atop Sky Trek Tower looks from afar, I hate that the tower itself is closed. I’d love to see the park from above, especially at night once the true frights begin.
The park is relatively kid-friendly during the day. But once 6 p.m. arrives, the scareactors emerge and all bets are off for a fright-free evening.
If you’re a haunted house fanatic, buying a wristband for access to all six houses is your best bet.
The haunts that require an extra fee (or the wristband) are:
- Big Top Terror
- Gates of Hell
- Manslaughter Manor: Sadie’s Revenge
- Massacre Medical Center
The greeter at Gates of Hell, one of the six upcharge haunts, isn’t having the best of days.
The park’s various areas assume their own themes for Fright Fest. This radioactive area is quite the nuclear wasteland.
On a less scary note, the fall foliage beginning to appear throughout the park made for some beautiful views.
As the day progressed, the lines lengthened. Batman’s growing line called for the use of the coaster’s rarely seen extended overflow queue. I love the coaster, but I’m not sure I’d ever wait more than an hour to ride it.
Overall, the ride operations were impressive. The park has begun including “this train is leaving the station in 30 seconds” (or some variation of that) on the ride spiels. In theory, this will help get guests moving a bit quicker.
Change is in the air in between the Mardi Gras and Yankee Harbor areas of the park as space is cleared for the new-for-2017 Joker 4D coaster. See a detailed construction report here.
This path leading into the Mardi Gras area will be rerouted next season to make way for the coaster.
The skeleton crew (or band) stage show in the Mardi Gras area wasn’t drawing a huge crowd, but it was fun to watch.
Raging Bull was running all three trains, which is a necessity for Fright Fest season.
But I’d love for the park to do away with the trim brake on the first camelback hill. Hey, a guy can dream.
By far my favorite Fright Fest attraction was the “Six Saints Cemetery,” a graveyard paying tribute to former Six Flags Great America attractions.
Nearly every former Six Flags Great America attraction had a tombstone — many including a clever pun.
Some even had artifacts from the ride itself:
…like a Southern Cross bucket.
There were some attractions that I was unaware of, such as the Yukon Yahoo “Bayern-Kurve” flat ride.
This kids ride appeared to be fully intact.
I didn’t realize how many attractions have left the park over the years.
Some of the tombstones featured (what I believe) were longtime employees who were no longer employed at the park. Please correct me in the comments section below if I’m mistaken.
Even very recently closed riders were featured in the walkthrough, such as the Orbit enterprise attraction.
Jester’s Wild Ride, closed to make room for Joker, also had a sizable presence in the exhibit.
The former Splashwater Falls (located where X-Flight stands today) was represented by one of its own boats.
East River Crawler will come back from the dead next season when it reopens in Orbit’s former spot…
…and returns to its original “Lobster” name.
A few Great America Raceway cars were also on display. The ride, which encircled Splashwater Falls, closed to make room for X-Flight.
Turn of the Century, which was transformed into Demon for the 1980 season, received a nod.
Speak of the devil…err…Demon.
The walkthrough became significantly more crowded as the day progressed, so I recommend visiting early — especially if you want to take your time reading all the gravestones.
Buccaneer Battle looks rather strange sans water.
The County Fair area is appropriately taken over by clowns, which are very relevant this year with the clown sightings across the nation.
Food lines were nearly as long as ride lines (ok, maybe not as long). It’s a shame this guy couldn’t help out.
I’ve always said the park could use a ferris wheel. But this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.
X-Flight is still one of my favorite coasters at Six Flags Great America.
Perhaps it’s the compact layout or the interaction with the park (and keyhole element). But regardless, it’s a fun ride.
It’s a shame Six Flags hasn’t built wing coasters at other parks.
But I’m totally fine with Six Flags Great America having a unique-to-Six-Flags coaster.
Goliath of course kept a long line for most of the day. Even the single-rider line was long. And it moved incredibly slowly — I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just as long of a wait as the normal queue.
Two Six Flags Great America classics in one shot.
I didn’t have the chance to ride Battle for Metropolis, but I doubt it’s changed much since I rode it in July. It’s a stellar attraction, especially for a Six Flags park.
Raging Bull is still the most popular ride in the park (sorry, Goliath). Its wait was as high as 3 1/2 hours after the sun set:
Would you wait 3.5 hours for Raging Bull? pic.twitter.com/UhcROrJ11y
— Coaster101.com (@Coaster101) October 23, 2016
I love Raging Bull — but not that much. Thankfully the wait was much shorter early in the day.
As the sun faded, so did my camera’s ability to take halfway decent photographs.
Demon sign looks great! pic.twitter.com/s5DXlyGEy8
— Coaster101.com (@Coaster101) October 22, 2016
I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to try the VR-ified Demon (Rage of the Gargoyles), but it seemed to be well received. Hopefully it’s still around next time I visit.
— Coaster101.com (@Coaster101) October 23, 2016
Even with the crowds, I had an enjoyable day at Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest. I’m always impressed by the scareactors’ commitment and the extent of the decor throughout the park.
Your last chance to visit Six Flags Great America Fright Fest is this Friday (Oct. 28) through Halloween (Monday, Oct. 31). For hours and more information, visit the Six Flags Great America Fright Fest website.
And don’t miss our Joker construction update. Site clearing is well underway for the park’s new-for-2017 4D coaster.
Have you visited a Six Flags park for Fright Fest this year? Share your experience in the comments section below.