A client meeting north of Chicago ended early and I pulled into my hotel to see Six Flags Great America across the street. I dropped my briefcase in the room and within half an hour was on The Dark Knight.
I had 5 hours to closing and worked my way roughly from front to back as the back of the park cleared out nearer to closing. I had no time to mess around with anything but the serious roller coasters. Gauging line waits was tricky, the advertised times were not updated, staff were at the front of some lines but were of little help, and some were deceptively short because additional holding areas were closed off.
Two rides broke while waiting, Yankee Clipper, which I mistook for another ride anyway, and X Flight. Most rides had broken seats or rows.
Line management is terrible but can be gamed depending on your comfort level. Staff make no effort to fill in seats. Frequently whole rows depart empty because kids want to depart at the same time as friends in several rows. No singles line. There is a for-pay FLASH Pass system that is enforced and works for those who buy in. I was not going to pay $55 for that.
The gaming I observed, and eventually partook in, is twofold:
- Upon completion of a ride, in the exiting commotion, grabbing a re-ride on empty seats. Since so many seats are empty I did this a few times without big qualms.
- Coming up from the exit to ride. This was practiced less and I was not going to do it until, last coaster of the night, the staff closed the entrance line to Raging Bull just as I was approaching. I felt scummy going up the exit but I admit to doing it. I grabbed an empty seat that help me rationalize.