Sunday, July 15, 2007

Six Flags St. Louis

We went to Six Flags St. Louis on a 90°F July Sunday.

We got there at 9:30am, though the park opens at 10:30. There were about 20 cars ahead of us at the gate, and by the time they opened the gate to let us in the parking lot, there were at least 100 cars waiting. We parked, showed our Internet tickets to the cashier, and then waited until 10:15 at the entrance turnstyles. We made our way toward the first ride of the day, only to be stopped by park security. They held everyone back from the attractions until 10:30.

My take: either open, or don't open. Don't do it halfway. I guess it's their business, though.

While waiting for security to stop their tyranny and allow us to ride the rides, we developed a plan. Security had deputized a couple of pre-teen kids, signified with adhesive label badges. We decided that unless word came soon that we could go into the rest of the park, we would point to the ground and say "Look! A toy!", dash past the distracted kids, and quickly take over the park, allowing us to be the first to ride the rides that day. While demponstrating that move, I didn't realize that an older boy was watching me. He looked for the toy. This could work!

But while we were still laughing at the older kid for actually falling for the trick, the guards relented from their oppression, and we dashed to the first ride.

Mr. Freeze: thrilling, but too short. On the other hand, I could sit and watch the takeoff and landing for hours. We rode it twice.

Batman: Good coaster, but even though you're upside down a lot, there's no weightlessness. The line is always too long.

Ninja: Great coaster. No line, so we went through about 6 times. We found it physically tiring, because this older coaster beats you up. Still, there's lots of air time.

Screamin' Eagle
: I was surprised at how much I liked this 30+ year old wooden relic. Once the biggest wooden coaster in the world, this thing is still great. The first time though, a dad was telling his 6- or 7-year-old that the boy was brave enough to ride the Screamin' Eagle. The boy wasn't sure, and whined about Mom not riding. Dad encouraged, saying "You've already been on Ninja and Batman, you can do this one!" I said if he'd been on those, this one would be a piece of cake. I turned to my own son and whispered that I was a big liar, that this was going to kill him. Buuaaa-haah-haah. Especially at the back, you get a lot of floating air time, and the 4000-foot ride is long enough to enjoy. Since it's old, it's not as popular as the newer ones, so we got to go through several times.

(The dad and kid behind us both loved it.)

The Boss: line too long, didn't ride it. Really long wooden coaster, people said it was pretty good.

Tidal Wave: This is a short little water-car ride, the entire object of which is to make a big splash. Yes, you get wet, no matter where you sit. To get really soaked, stand on the bridge overlooking the car as it splashes into the tidal pool. I wrapped my wallet in a little park map, and it stayed dry in my pocket. Wish I'd brought a Zip-lock baggie.

A word about prices: they suck. At Six Flags, everything costs way too much. $7.50 for a turkey thigh seemed like a bargain compared to the $3 bottled water, the $10 32oz sports bottle, and the other overpriced fare. And except for the turkey thigh, which I recommend, the rest of the food was crappy.

We took a bit of a tour of their water park area. Lines, crowds, and everything is $10. Rent an inner tube (required for some attractions) for $10, a locker for $10. At Holiday World / Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana, the inner tubes are free.

At Holiday World, the rides are maintained better, the staff is friendlier, and there is free soda all day, every day. It makes for a nicer experience.

Overall, Six Flags has some nice roller coasters, but Holiday World does, too. Given the overall suckiness of Six Flags and their attitude about grabbing every last dime you have, I'll go to Holiday World next time.

(No one paid me to write this, and I'm not affiliated with any theme park or similar competitor)

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