Tips for Six Flags and your summer memories

Growing up Atlanta, Six Flags was an annual summer event. Our summer camp took us, and it was always the best day. We went in groups of six or so with teenage counselors. The counselors were willing to ride everything, and actually harassed kids into riding scary coasters. We ate crappy food and were sick as dogs by the time we loaded back onto the bus. It was thrilling!

As I got older, Six Flags was all about trying to sit next to a boy you liked and hopefully getting kissed or holding hands. The Monster Plantation, newly remodeled and now called the Monster Mansion, was the main site for make-out action. It was dark so nobody could see what was going on. (See a photo gallery of construction on the ride.)

The Scream Machine was also a good for holding hands – not too scary like the Mind Bender. You really had to concentrate on not falling out on the Mind Bender.  On the Log Jamboree you could try to snuggle up to the guy you liked if you made sure he was directly in front of you in line. (They used to load from the back to the front I believe!)

Plus if you timed everything right you were able to chitchat with the boy you liked in the long line. He could even be one line over and it still worked.

We have yet to take our kids to Six Flags because we didn’t think they were big enough for the roller coasters. But I think they may be ready this year.

I found this really helpful chart on Six Flags’ site. It tells you the height requirement and intensity of each ride.

I haven’t been to Six Flags in probably 10 years so I need your advice on the best rides for kids and the best strategies to navigate the park. Which rides have the longest lines now? Which rides are way too scary? Which rides do your kids like the best?

Also we definitely want to hear your favorite memories of going to Six Flags. Jesse’s Girl started telling us about all her making out last week on the blog but I told her to wait. So I hope she’s around today to share! And we want to hear your stories too.  (I will throw out that after one trip to Six Flags, I had a guy in the Army call me collect for weeks!)

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61 comments Add your comment

m

May 22nd, 2009
8:47 am

While I have no stories like those of JGirl, I do remember the time several of my friends and I went – we had one girl who was somewhat large, with very large ta-tas – she was running down one of the hills after us when she tripped, falling face first on the black asphalt! She was not hurt (her “padding” helped) but she had black tar and soot all over her white blouse, with the chest part sticking out quite provacatively – and she had to go around the part like that for about 6 more hours!

Then, one time we were walking along under the sky buckets, when all of a sudden one of the workers took off after one of the buckets he had just loaded. Evidently he did not get the door closed well, and the next thing you know he is hanging onto the side as the bucket and its occupants start rising up over the park. They got almost to the upper part of the ride before they stopped the thing, with him still dangling over the side. The occupants helped pull him inside, so no harm was incurred.

Then there was the time, about 10 years ago, when I took MY kids to the park with several friends of theirs, only to get to the park to find out that it was the day that that had been set aside for the lesbian and male sexual pride day! As my 13 year old, 10 year old sons said, along with their friends, looks like they were going to have a “gay old time” that day!

JJ

May 22nd, 2009
9:07 am

The very first time I went to Six Flags, we had just moved here from Colorado, back in 1977. I was 18, my brother 16. My parents dropped us off, and we had a blast, just the two of us.

I remember riding the Drunken Barrels…….I remember spinning around so fast, after the ride stopped, we were still spinning. A worker had to come over and stop us. I got off that ride, and had to go sit down for about 30 minutes. My head was spinning. Because of that, I cannot ride anything that goes round and round and round.

I do LOVE all the roller coasters. My daughter and I went one day last year for spring break, and we practically had the entire park to ourselves. We must have ridden the Cyclone 15 times. We rode every roller coaster, except for Goliath, at least 6 times. We never got on Goliath……..

PHR

May 22nd, 2009
9:09 am

I have great memories of Six Flags as well.
They took out one of my favorite rides, Mo Mo the Monster, which was over near the Scream Machine. I remember picking up some boys and riding it over and over. The Monster Plantation was the ride where all of the couples would cuddle and kiss.
I loved roller coasters when I was younger and would ride them over and over and it didn’t matter how long the lines were.
I hated the water rides like Thunder River because I was also soaking wet and had to walk around like that forever.

My son is 7 and went last year for the first time. He loved it. He is actually a thrill seeker and rode every ride that he was tall enough to ride including The Mind Bender and The Scream Machine. My husband and son lucked out last year and went on a day that was not crowded so they didn’t have to wait in many lines at all.

Old School

May 22nd, 2009
9:11 am

Buford Buzzard. His wisecracks were reason enough to shell out the cost of admission. I’m not a fan of contrived entertainment but Buford will always be my #1 favorite attraction. The talking Christmas tree at Rich’s in days of yore runs a close second.

Old School

May 22nd, 2009
9:13 am

Oh yeah, my best tip for any amusement park with smallish children: do the park at their pace. We big people sometimes forget that standing in line might be aggravating for us but exhausting for a little one. Find a bench in the shade and people-watch while the little one naps. So what if you don’t get to ride everything. You’ll have a much better day if you just slow down and really enjoy the day with the little guy.

Jesse's Girl

May 22nd, 2009
9:15 am

Hee-hee!!!! Memories…..I was 16 and working SpalshWater Falls while awaiting word on whether or not I was going to be assigned a show. I had to do something….my parents were making me work to cover insurance:) So I worked the Falls….for like 10 minutes. It was HORRIBLE!!!! The smell was criminal. The “film” on the water was just gnarly and nasty:( BUT…..there was a certain someone that worked the Monster Plantation. He was the asst manager….and he was F.I.N.E.!!!! For the 11 days or so that I worked the ride section…he bought me chicken fingers with honey mustard every lunch break! One night….as Six Flags is wont to do…they let the employees ride after hours. They would turn the lights out and we would ride all the scariest ones…so fun! But we just put the Monster Plantation on “repeat”. We literally rode it for 2 hours!!! Kissing is fun on that ride! They wouln’t turn the lights out for safety reasons…..so we made out like it was the last kiss we’d ever have….in the middle of all the goofy sounds and lights!!! He smelled like Polo cologne!!!! It was awesome!!!! When Jesse and I started dating….I took him on that ride and we did the same thing. Except this time, there was an old Japanese couple sitting in front of us….they weren’t amused:)

When I started singing there….I had a German guy throw his shorts on the stage!! He was freaking out in German…..I had no clue. I thought perhaps he was mental. Turns out, he just really like Pam Tillis (thats what I was singing). After someone translated, I found out he was giving me his undies in hopes I would give him mine. He actually thought I was Pam Tillis. I was super afraid to do my Judds duet after that!!!:)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 22nd, 2009
9:21 am

JG — you are too funny!! and a crazy crazy girl. Mr. Jesse didn’t mind being second on that ride? Michael wouldn’t have liked that!

nurse&mother

May 22nd, 2009
9:23 am

Oh my! I have such fond memories of Six Flags. I have been going since I was old enough (and tall enough) to ride the Mind Bender. From the Mine Train to the Scream Machine and everything in between!

My junior year in hs, some friends and I skipped the Prom and spent all day here. There were several years during hs and college that I got season tickets. Every time I go to the park, I always think of one of my friends who passed away five years ago. He was one of my buddies who went with us during hs. Our tradition was to go to the Waffle House after the park closed. There were about 5-6 of us.

My daughter and I have gotten season tickets for several years now. This is OUR time together! We are both roller coaster/theme park junkies. When my son is old enough to be able to ride most of the rides, he will be welcome to come along too (I’m thinking 5-6 years old).

The only negative thing that we encounter are the teenagers who try to skip the lines. I am a pro at thwarting their efforts. If my arms being casually stuck out doesn’t do it (plus my daughter and I being spaced enough apart -width wise) then my telling park employees usually does. That is the only thing that puts a damper on our day.

Absolutely LOVE Goliath! One of my fave’s.

Jesse's Girl

May 22nd, 2009
9:30 am

Well…I didn’t exactly tell him I made out with the Polo guy!!! I just made my move….he says he fell in love with me on that ride:) I did tell him after the fact about Polo guy. Turns out…they knew eachother. AWKWARD. But it made Jesse feel pretty good…Polo guy told him I was the best kiss he had ever had until he met his wife!! Making out is good…..I honestly believe if married folk did it more often, the divorce rate would plummet!!!!

1911A1

May 22nd, 2009
9:39 am

Oh, the stories I could tell. I worked there the summer of 1978. I worked the Sky Buckets station in the Lickskillet section, by the back gate. Here are a few for starters:

“Signal 30″: Our ride building had the shutoff valve for water hoses to other rides in the vicinity. Whenever a “guest” (all visitors were “guests”, all of us employees were “hosts” and “hostesses”) got a little too much benefit from one of the spin rides like Drunken Barrels or Spindle Top and wound up losing their lunch over it, said ride would call us on the phone with a Signal 30 which indicated we needed to turn on the water so they could hose down the ride.

Every so often, especially on the weekends, a bucket would come into the ride with a load of smug, giggling passengers and absolutely REEKING of wacky weed.

The busloads of “church ladies” – all in their floral print dresses and pillbox hats – were hilarious. For them a skylift was a major thrill ride, and they’d be in adrenaline overload, screaming as if they were on a runaway train.

Most of my time was spent giving directions. People would exit the ride being disoriented (and not just the reefer reekers mentioned above), and if I had a nickel for every time I heard, “where the water logs at?” – well, it would have supplemented my $.25-below-minimum-wage pay very nicely.

Dave

May 22nd, 2009
9:40 am

I had to laugh when I read the one that mentioned the Monster Plantation was the place to make out. I remember going with a group and my little girlfriend and my self must have rode the Monster Plantation ride at least ten times for just that reason. Thanks for sparking some good OLD memories.

Jesse's Girl

May 22nd, 2009
9:44 am

While I never personally smoked weed while I worked there…cause my daddy and vocal coach had out the fear of God in me….I did act as the look-out for my buddies who did it regularly. Nothing was funnier than seeing them stoned while they “ushered” people to their seats in the theater. Our show was constantly getting stellar reviews for customer service:)

Michael Scharff

May 22nd, 2009
9:48 am

I have been going to Six Flags off and on since it first opened. For years, my favorite ride was “Tales of the Okefenokee.” I was very upset and disappointed when they closed it an remodeled it into the Monster Plantation. I have always loved the Dahlonega Mine Train – if memory serves, that was my first real roller coaster ride. I also used to love the cherry ices that had keepsake plastic sticks with characters inside. The riverboat jungle cruise adventure was pretty neat when I was a little kid riding it for the first time. As a person with an aversion to heights, I never did ride the parachute drop. But, they used to have a space needle type ride that was enclosed and had a similar concept, and I did ride that once. You could see that needle ride as the first view of the park for years.

sd

May 22nd, 2009
9:53 am

When I was a kid I had great times at six flags. Now, I just think its gross. People stick gum to the trees and poles and the hand rails always look so dirty.

I guess I just got way to concerned about disease. I need to stop thinking about it and just have fun.

emilyk

May 22nd, 2009
9:55 am

We got season passes last year and took our 4 kids aged (at the time) 12, 9, 6, and 3. I think it’s a better deal to get season passes and then go as many times as you can, that way you get to experience everything but not all on one day. My kids are not thrill-seekers but I was able to ride roller coasters while they did other things. The little ones loved the rides at the Bugs Bunny land, whatever that place is called. They also like the bumper cars, the water park, Hanson cars, log flume, Monster Plantation, and the [former] Highland swings which are now in Gotham city. I managed to get all of the girls on the Dahlonega Mine Train. The little one had big fun on all the little-kid rides in the Bugs Bunny place.

Also, if you get the season passes you get a booklet with coupons in it. One of those coupons is for a Papa John’s family deal. This is the best deal on feeding your family that you could ever imagine at an amusement park. It was $40 for a huge pizza, huge salad to split, yummy warm chocolate chip cookies, 6 cheesy breadsticks, and a gallon of whatever drink you wanted. This deal is unbeatable. We got that for lunch everytime we went, until the coupons ran out!

Be sure to bring water bottles for everyone. Also, the water park is fun for the kids: bring a bathing suit and towel and SUNSCREEN! If you or your child needs a nap, the carousel is the place to go. I totally took a 20-minute snooze in the rocking chair while husband took the kids on the carousel.

Another reason the season passes are better: if you go on a crappy-weather day and the rides end up closing, you haven’t wasted your money. Or if you have to leave early for some other reason, like your kid gets sick. You can just go back another time! And season passes are still cheaper for my family of 6 than one day at Busch Gardens! Ugh!

Former Six Flags Worker

May 22nd, 2009
10:10 am

As a former Six Flags worker I can assure that someone could see EVERYTHING you were doing in Monster Plantation(Mansion). There is a place to your right as you go up the tiny ramp that you can barley see workers sitting there watching security monitors. I got so tired of telling people to keep their hands to themselves and inside the boat! Not to mention to get back INSIDE the boat on occasion! And you can’t imagine how that song gets on your nerves after a few hours of hearing it. Wasn’t all that fond of working that ride but I only did it a few times. I worked mostly on the Hanson Cars when they were at the front gate and then was the person on the back of the train who talked as as it went around the park. Six Flags has changed ALOT since then (early 80s) since the demographics of the area have changed but it was the best job that I’ve ever had!

non-stop

May 22nd, 2009
10:13 am

I love Six Flags! I’ve been going there for years, since I was a little girl. My favorite rides there were the Rocking Ship, which is no longer there :( and Monster Plantation. Everytime I go, still to this day, I refuse to leave until I ride Monster Plantation! But now being older, my favorite roller coster to this day is the Mind Bender / Joker ride. I black out on the newer rides because of not being able to focus, so sorry to Batman and newer. I like the old fashion sit up right roller coster rides! The mind train is one of my favorites too. My son will be going to Six Flags this summer for the first time! I am inteested in seeing what rides he likes the best. I know he will love Splash Water Falls…another classic! :D

OZZFEST

May 22nd, 2009
10:14 am

Six Flags was fun as a kid in the 70’s, but the clientele they attract now is complete trash. Bra-less skanks, jean-short wearin’ mullets, and their 4 overweight children…that is the Six Flags of today.

non-stop

May 22nd, 2009
10:15 am

Also, I remember looking back on the Log Ride and seeing my mom behind me making sure I would fall out…then I happened to look back after the fall on the ride and my mom fell out of the log ride!!! One of the funniest memories I have there. See and her girl friend and all of the kids were cracking up at her!!! My mom is a nut! :D

nurse&mother

May 22nd, 2009
10:18 am

SD, I keep a zip lock baggie full of baby wipes for this reason. I know it’s not as good as old fashioned soap and water. But it will do in a pinch.

Oh one more memory. When I was a child, I loved seeing the park at night. I especially loved the foliage covered walkways (what is that called?) where light up trinkets were sold. Does anyone remember the fruit juice plastic cups shaped like fruit?

Ken L.

May 22nd, 2009
10:21 am

I haven’t been in years because I don’t belong to a gang. Go buy a hat and wear it sideways and then you’ll start to fit in. Otherwise you’ll have a fun time.

RB from Gwinnett

May 22nd, 2009
10:31 am

I love the park and will ride anything and everything there. Last year was the first year I was able to get my youngest, 9 at the time, to ride the Mind Bender. It was her first upside down roller coaster. She loved it so much we rode it 4 times without stopping (it has much shorter lines than most of the newer roller coasters).

One tip for you. Drinks are expensive and necessary if it’s hot at all. They have a plastic cup you can buy for $5 and it is good for 5 years (has a year printed on it). You can fill that cup at any of the foodservice places for $1 or I think $1.50 for slushie. You have to keep up with the cup and remember to take it back to the park with you, but you’ll get for $1 what would cost you $3-4 in their other cups. You might be able to do drinks for the day for $10.

The Acrophobia is the biggest thrill of a ride I’ve been on. Don’t miss that one!

JJ

May 22nd, 2009
10:43 am

Last time my daughter and I went, we made lunch at home, and took a break from the park and dined out at the vehicle. I spent a total of $60 that day (season pass for the kid, and i got in free)……

The prices on food is out the door, and a bottle of water cost me $3.00 at the park. We take our own food and drinks…….

Ove the years, I figured I have ridden every single ride Six Flags has ever had, except Goliath. There’s something about that ride that just scares me. Maybe it’s because you aren’t strapped in…….I didn’t care for the Superman, I don’t like being suspended in mid air……But I’ll ride the Mind Bender, Scream Machine, Ninja, and Cyclone over and over and over and over…….and over again…….I LOVE the mind bender, first car ONLY……

non-stop

May 22nd, 2009
10:48 am

I concour JJ!!!!

We always packed a lunch too and ate at the car. Maybe we would get a drink in the park, but we were so focused on rides, we didn’t care!

I also agree on the rides!

Diane

May 22nd, 2009
10:55 am

Does anyone remember when the Monster Plantation was the Okeefeenokee Swamp? I remember the fruit shaped drinks.

Jesse's Girl

May 22nd, 2009
10:55 am

@ FormerSixFlagsEmployee……is that you Skeeter?

DRM

May 22nd, 2009
11:01 am

Ah, the memories of working at Six Flags as a high school jr and sr back in the early 80’s. Worked The Great Gasp for a year and Thunder River the year it opened. It was definitely a different environment back then from what I see there today – kids coming from Jax State and other small colleges for the summer, renting cheap apts nearby, having parties every Fri/Sat night; off days spent rafting down the river with plenty of booze; Sr. Nights working until 4 am, then crashing with a crowd of folks at the Red Roof Inn across I-20 from the park entrance; employee nights; SF used to do fireworks everynight. I bet I can’t count the number of summer romances amongst employees, but hey, what do you expect with a bunch of college age kids. A great job at the time, looking back on it now, even though it paid less than min wage.

invalidname

May 22nd, 2009
11:15 am

My advice for Six Flags is to go to Lake Winnie outside Chattanooga instead. It’s much more kid-friendly: negligible distance from parking lot to either gate, small and easy to walk, lots of rides for little kids, a playground, really cheap food, etc.

Their website is worse than useless, so just go up I-75 to the first Tennessee exit (1B), go west (up and over the freeway) and follow the billboards (it’s left at like the seventh light or something). You’ll go through some neighborhoods, back into Georgia, and right to the front gate.

Note that they’re closed on some Summer weekdays (Mon-Wed, I think) . Call ahead to make sure.

My Memories

May 22nd, 2009
11:17 am

I remembered when Six Flags was a fun place to go in the summer. They offered face painting (free, of course) for the kids; huge slices of watermelon for sale during the hot days of summer, and unlimited shows so we could cool down from the intense heat. Now, Six Flags has become a day care for the youth and teens with limited security. As a matter of fact, the only security I remember seeing is at the front gate. What a disappointment.

Roy Barnes

May 22nd, 2009
11:26 am

Six Flags Atlanta is not what it use to be. Please remember this- This is not your Dad’s Six Flags. If you can safely make it from the parking lot to the front gate consider this to be a minor miracle. Maybe you remember the story of the poor kid who was severly beaten by the thugs outside the gate a year or two ago? Or the kid who was trying to sneak into the park by hoping the fence and was decapitated by the roller coaster? (Somehow this became the park’s problem and the kid’s parents sued of course)

The employees are horrible. NO CUSTOMER SERVICE. It’s as if you are bothering them. Very rude. The common reply you will often get when you “acts” a question or for directions to a ride will undoubtedly be–”we have maps”. Unless you get free tickets, DO NOT VISIT SIX FLAGS ATLANTA. Save up and go to Carowinds in Charlotte.

Chris

May 22nd, 2009
11:44 am

Well lets see. Tips on Six Flags. Tip number one would be to make sure you wear a bullet proof vest. This will protect you from the gangs all over the park, and outside. Second, I would have some sort of mace for protection as well. Third, earplugs. Nobody likes to hear those loud thugs who are all over the park. Six Flags is yet ANOTHER example of nice/fun places that the thugs have screwed up. You can add that to the list which includes Buckhead, Atlantic Station, The whole city of Atlanta, etc. Very sad.

nurse&mother

May 22nd, 2009
11:45 am

Roy, last year when my daughter and I visited, customer service had improved dramatically since the beating incident. I think they have beefed up security tremendously. I was VERY cautious after the incident, but I was quite impressed. I haven’t visited yet this year, so we shall see if this trend continues.

I will agree with the poster who said SF was like a baby sitting service. My daughter and I still have a lot of fun.

Oh really nice water section. Can’t remember the name. Kids can slide down water slides etc.

pws

May 22nd, 2009
11:59 am

I have to agree with Roy Barnes, Six Flags is not what it used to be. If you haven’t been in the last ten years, Teresa, then you may be disappointed. It used to be that they took pride in the park, and it was spotlessly clean, with a fresh coat of paint on EVERYTHING each winter. Now, they paint hardly anything, and there are no employees that carry the portable bromms, anyone remember those? It’s a place for teenagers, not families with small children. American Adventures is a much better spot for younger kids.

And remember, the whole Six Flags corp is either about to, or already has filed for bankruptcy. The parks reflect that as well.

Andrea

May 22nd, 2009
12:00 pm

I was thinking of taking my 8 year old this year. This will be her first trip to SF. The best trip I had was as an adult. My sisters and I went there for a girls day. We had a blast. We rode all of the rides. We didn’t bring guys so we didn’t have to worry about looking bad after getting off the roller coasters and the water rides.

The best tip I can give you is to plan ahead. I took my now 13 year old when he was 10 & 11 and we had a great time. I took lunch so we didn’t spend alot of money on food. We did buy a funnel cake though! I checked the website beforehand to make sure there weren’t any big groups there on the day we went. I also checked to see if there were any concerts (a big name can wreak havoc on the lines at the park). We did go during the week. Over his protests, I did make him take a mini break. We went to one of the cafe’s and had a beverage of some type and just took some time to cool off and just take a load off. After the mini break, it was like he had a second wind.

My son wants to go back this year with his friends and without me. The answer was a resounding NO. We don’t have to be joined at the hip but he isn’t going without me.

CC

May 22nd, 2009
12:01 pm

It was a treat to go as a kid back in the 80’s because we lived in south Georgia, so Six Flags was a good 4 hour drive. Over the year (especially in the past 10 years or so), it has really gone downhill. I have not been in about 6 years and I live only about an hour away. I do have a few favorite rides: the Mindbender and the Batman ride. I have not been since they added Goliath and I refused to get on Acrophobia. We were able to go to Cedar Point in Ohio about 5 years ago. It was awesome! It was so much cleaner, employees were nicer, and not nearly as many thugs!

Photius

May 22nd, 2009
12:31 pm

It’s too expensive, it’s old, it was dirty and worn out looking the last time I was there…. and it was kinda cheesey.

Steph

May 22nd, 2009
12:38 pm

Save your money and go to Dollywood! It is like the “old” Six Flags. NIce older gentlemen putting you on the rides calling you “honey” and “sugar”. Very clean and family oriented. SOOOO worth it!!!!

fk

May 22nd, 2009
12:45 pm

Never been to Six Flags Atlanta. We moved here in 1990 and all we heard was that area was questionable, even then. Have been to other Six Flags parks and have had a lot of fun. My teenager and his buddies never even talk about going there. When I was in high school, everyone talked about going to Great Adventure (the Six Flags park in neighboring NJ). There was such excitement when the park was under construction. It was quite a drive, at least two hours, but a fun time. We would open the park and close it. Even the road trip was an experience…wound up with a flat tire going over a major suspension bridge. I don’t recall having safety concerns, but when you’re young, you don’t think about stuff like that.

Hmm

May 22nd, 2009
12:47 pm

Wow, all of this has brought back so many memories. I remember going with school, friends and family and always had a blast. I was always a daredevil and rode everything. Now that I am older I haven’t gone in the past few years, just because riding the rides is no longer worth the wait in line like it used to be. It is awesome if you have kids, but as for me I would rather go to the aquarium, stone mountain, etc. I always loved the Monster Plantation (which will always be the Monster PLANTATION to me). The Hanson Cars were my first time behind the wheel. Everyone thought I was crazy when I decided to go on Fearless Freeps Dare Devil Dive. They used to have fun concerts also. I will probably go once this year just to see what they have done with the Monster Plantation, but I think once will be enough.

Nadia

May 22nd, 2009
12:56 pm

I am not from Atlanta. This Six Flags is not as nice as the one I went to as a child. We have only gone once, and we had free tickets. We had fun, but I probably would have been pissed if we had paid for tickets to get in there.

Lori

May 22nd, 2009
1:05 pm

Ah the memories. I miss the Wheelie. On those scorching summer days I used to ride Splash Water Falls and get soaked, then go stand in front of the Wheelie to let the “wind” dry me off.

Six Flags just isn’t the same for me anymore. The rides just aren’t worth the wait. It was never that bad when I was a teen, but now it’s ridiculous. I haven’t been in years because I just don’t enjoy it, and most of the kids there now (without parental supervision) just make the whole day even more miserable. It’s just not clean family fun anymore.

ADL

May 22nd, 2009
1:07 pm

I agree with Steph. Dollywood is much more family friendly.

1911A1

May 22nd, 2009
1:57 pm

The year I worked there was the year that a skylift car came off the cable in the Six Flags park in St. Louis and landed on a character (not pretty; 3 were killed as I recall.) All the skylifts in all Six Flags parks were immediately closed down. The result was that I was rotated among all the other rides around the park as was needed. I got to know a lot more people and experience the park as a whole more than most.

This was also the year the Mind Bender opened, and the hype was unbelievable (the World’s First Triple-Loop Coaster!) Lines were phenomenally long (but well-managed) and it was a kick to see riders actually applauding every time the ride pulled back into the station.

I also have to add a vote in favor of Buford Buzzard: the best insult comic this side of Don Rickles. “How-dy-dooooo!”

JG, if your memories are like mine, there are lots of things we experienced as employees that wouldn’t make it past the blog nanny. But I also recall those nights they’d keep the park open and we could just stay on the Scream Machine for lap after lap after lap.

Questionable

May 22nd, 2009
3:00 pm

I went to Six Flags just after I moved here 10 yrs ago and was really let down. The rides were ok but the way the kids were there just put me off. It was like a stampeding herd of wild animals with no parent/adult in sight. They pushed, ran into you, language worse than I’ve ever heard. I was shocked that park security didn’t do anything about them. I’m not so sure I want to take my kids there if it is still like that or worse.
Do parents really just drop the kids off to do whatever and that is ok with the park?

JJ

May 22nd, 2009
3:19 pm

Well, I have read all the negative “reviews” of six flags, and I have to be honest, I have never seen any of this. I have been going to SF since 1977, and not once have I seen any “Gang” activity, thugs, etc.

What I do see are typical teenagers left to run amok in a park. That’s what we did when we were younger.

Now, I will NEVER go back to Whitewater. I was there about 8 years ago, and I thought that was the rudest crowd I have ever been in. One kid actually ripped my daughter’s life vest right off her when we were in The Little Hooch, he apparently needed it more than she did…….luckily I was right there…..

Stacey

May 22nd, 2009
3:23 pm

I plan to take my 8 year old for his first visit this year. He has earned a free ticket each of the past three years (for reading) but we’ve just never made it. Last year we had planned to go after work on my birthday (because that was the last day to use the free pass) but it rained. My son was disappointed but I was glad since I didn’t really want to go. (My husband teased me and said that my birthday wish came true). I had hoped his day camp would go this summer so I could send him with them but I found out last night that they aren’t. I guess I’m stuck! :-(

Stacey

May 22nd, 2009
4:05 pm

My husband and I (along with some friends our age) bought season tickets not long after I moved here. I think it was the summer of 1994 but I remember that it was the summer that it rained nearly every day. We all worked so we would try to go on the weekends or after work. It was so frustrating to stand in line 30 only to have them shut down the rides because of the rain. Most of the rides stayed open if it was just a rain shower but the all (understandably) shut down at the first sign or thunder or lightning.

I’ve only been twice since then and that was to take my nieces and nephews who were visiting from out of town. I only rode the water rides on those trips because although I LOVED rollercoasters as a kid, I am now terrified of them. If I do take my son this summer I will probably ride the Mine Train with him and the water rides. Daddy will have to ride the rest of them with him!

1911A1

May 22nd, 2009
5:35 pm

Tips:

Go on a weekday if possible. Saturdays & Sundays are insane.

Hydration & sunscreen are your friends, and so is a map of the park.

If you have your heart set on riding certain rides and don’t want to wait in an endless line, get there before the park opens and go straight to that ride/those rides. Lines are shortest in the first and last hours.

Keep in mind that you are sharing real estate with people who left their brains at home…those who had brains to begin with. If you come out of the park with any of your faith in humanity left intact, congratulate yourself.

Watch out for Old Dancing Dude.

Most of all…have fun!

April

May 22nd, 2009
7:11 pm

i agree with those who recommend Dollywood. It is clean, family friendly, and has a good mix of kid and thrill rides. I also recommend the water park at Dollywood ( I can’t remember the name). It is a great, clean, fun place. We really enjoyed our last trip there. They also offer some great ticket deals.

JATL

May 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

I commented on Six Flags a couple of days ago, so I’m happy to see this topic! As I said then, it’s one of my fondest memories of childhood and growing up. My parents would always take me and a friend when I was a kid, and I remember the Dahlonega Mine Train and not being tall enough to ride the Scream Machine for two years! The sweepers skated around on roller skates, which I thought was SO cool, and as I mentioned before I really loved standing in line and gaping at the hippie kids and “trashy kids” in clothes I REALLY wished I was allowed to wear -and they were all groping each other and making out! It was also a really big deal to stay there and stay up until 10 or 11 when they closed and had a fireworks display. It was a big deal to ride certain rides at night (like the log flume), and to this day I simply love the look of outdoor lights shining on summer greenery. I swear I got that from Six Flags! It was a big deal every year to see what new ride they were going to debut, and I always got a souvenier t-shirt with that ride on it. I still have my little kid’s Great Gasp tee. When I got to be older it was like Theresa describes it -going with a church group or camp group and angling to ride rides with your crush or maybe get to hold hands on a roller coaster.

I have heard about some things going downhill and an extra rowdy crowd being at Six Flags these days. The last time I went was probably about 6 or 7 years ago, and it was fine. After getting some tips for taking a 3 year old and checking out the website (which is great to look at for kids rides and activities -looks like there will be TONS of stuff for him to do), we’re planning to go this summer. I’m looking forward to it, and if there are roving bands of thugs screaming curses, I will complain to security and if they’re doing it in front of my kid at a kiddie ride, I have no problem dressing them down myself. I think a lot of the time though (I know I have been guilty of this on occasion), once we get older we just don’t quite remember how we were as teenagers. No, I never broke in line, shoved people out of the way or screamed curse words randomly in public places, but honestly when I’m at places with tons of teenagers (I did go to White Water a few years ago), I find that only a few are doing that type of thing. Most seem to still be interested in trying to get that certain girl or guy’s attention or just look really cool in front of everyone!

I do want to take the kiddies to Dollywood in a year or two. I know my parents would also love to get in on that trip! Are there plenty of things for really little kids to do there?