I’ll admit that I used to frequent Six Flags New England every year on opening day. Lines and overall experience have generally kept me away from this park, but as it is one of the few local parks open this early in the season, I decided to give it another try.
Date of Visit: Thursday April 21, 2016
The weather was beautiful and unseasonably warm, with temperatures exceeding 80 degrees in mid-afternoon. We got up early and decided to hit a park. This trip included a ten year old roller coaster enthusiast (my step-daughter) and a 6 month old future coaster enthusiast (my son). We opted for season passes. If you intend to visit any Six Flags park more than once the season pass is well worth the investment. It includes admission to every Six Flags in the country. I also opted for the Gold Pass in order to cover parking (which normally costs $25). I was able to use the “Bring a Friend Free” option to cover my step-daughter’s admission- so far so good.
As we pulled in to the parking lot, we knew that the park would be busy. In truth, it was packed! Over the years since Six Flags took over the more quaint Riverside Park and transformed it into the Roller Coaster Capital of New England, many flat rides have been removed. Although some still stand, most notably the 1909 Illions Carousel, they don’t have much appeal. Everyone goes to the park for the coasters. Along with the Illions carousel, the wooden Thunderbolt, an ACE roller coaster landmark and a personal favorite of mine, nods to the park’s history and may feel antiquated to some riders, but overall the coasters are fresh, fast, and rank up there with some of the best I have ridden. The notable exception is the Mind Eraser which has not aged well and doesn’t provide as smooth of a ride as some of its newer counterparts. My husband went straight for the Wicked Cyclone, a hybrid re-imagining of its predecessor, the wooden Cyclone. We hoped to all ride but since the employee at the entrance could not tell us where we could leave our stroller in order to participate in the ride swap that the park promotes on the website (we were met with a shrug of the shoulders and dismissed), I opted to walk around while my husband and step-daughter rode. Being a lover of wooden coasters, my husband was somewhat skeptical of the “improvements.” After riding, he described it as overall a fun coaster, but lamented the lack of air time. Having said that, refreshing the coaster, which might have felt dated to some, probably makes sense for Six Flags, a park which focuses on thrills over nostalgia.
Meanwhile, while they were waiting (the wait time slightly exceeded one hour), I was walking. Generally, I love to walk around parks and take in the atmosphere. Six Flags is the exception. The music (contemporary pop) blared from the speakers, drowning out the sounds of the park. This was particularly unfortunate near the carousel where the band organ was drowned out by the music even from a few feet away. It was also difficult to walk around because food lines had grown so long that they were blocking pedestrian access. Queue lines would be an easy fix for this problem. It seems that Six Flags is aware of this since some of the dining locations are equipped with stanchions for this purpose. However, others are not. Opening more of the eating locations would also help to disperse the crowds, but it seems as though Six Flags wasn’t expecting such a large turn out.
Overall, the trip was somewhat disappointing. The key to enjoying Six Flags is to catch it on a day when the crowds are minimal. However, the reasonably priced Season Pass is a double edged sword, often resulting in high traffic. Since admission is reasonable with the Season Pass, considering the Fast Pass is a possibility if you are willing and able to shell out the extra cash. The coasters are great. Superman has returned to its original theming and looks sharp in red! Six Flags will be adding virtual reality to this coaster in June, so we will make a return trip just for that! However, we may opt to leave the baby home, since it isn’t really a family friendly park. If you are looking for thrills in the Northeast Six Flags is the best place to be, but it seems to cater most specifically to teens and loses some ambiance in the process.