(Read the review at In Jenn's Bag: Six Flags America)
Thanks to U.S. Family Guide and Six Flags America, we had the opportunity to enjoy a day at Six Flags America. We picked last Friday — August 16th, 2013 — which coincidentally was our thirteen year anniversary! Exactly thirteen years ago, my husband Daniel and I went on our first date to Six Flags Great Adventure. It was nice to celebrate our thirteen year “togetherversary” at a Six Flags amusement park! As it turned out, Friday was a perfect day to go. The temperature didn’t go above 80°, the sun was shining, and oddly enough, the park wasn’t very crowded, despite the gorgeous weather!
Six Flags America is located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, which is about a two hour drive from us. We arrived shortly before 2:00pm, had a quick lunch in the car (we “tailgate” at amusement parks and other venues in order to have more money for souvenirs and games, but I will say that the majority of the food and drinks in Six Flags America were reasonably priced), and then headed in. I will admit that the presence of metal detectors was a little off-putting, but when you think about it, it’s just an extra step in security. Every park I’ve been to does bag searches, and Six Flags America was no exception – after walking through the metal detector (and setting it off with my grommeted belt — oops!) and having my bag checked, we were ready!
Our first stop inside the park was at Guest Relations. My husband has Fibromyalgia, and is unable to do extensive walking or standing without experiencing severe, debilitating pain in his back, legs, and feet. And our seven year old son, Ryan, has autism. He gets very anxious about and overwhelmed by social situations, large crowds, and instances where he doesn’t have an exact answer (for instance, how many minutes it will be from the time we enter a line to the time he’ll actually get on the ride). All amusement parks provide special accommodations for disabled guests, and Six Flags America was no exception. For my husband, Guest Relations provided a special boarding pass, which he used to enter rides from the exit/handicapped area. In some cases he was boarded immediately; other times he was given a time to come back. For my son, Guest Relations provided an Immediate Access bracelet. He used the bracelet to enter rides from the exit/handicapped area, and was able to board immediately. Both types of disabled passes allowed my husband and son to bring up to two more guests with them. Since I am currently unable to ride anything (I have a still-healing concussion and neck muscle strain from a roller coaster I rode on August 4th), this worked out perfectly.
We spent about seven hours in the park. With the guidance of a large map, and large, easy-to-spot signs, we made our way around the entire park, starting with the Flying Carousel, continuing to the right so we could check out LOONEY TUNES Movie Town, the park’s section for younger children (besides kiddie rides, Movie Town is also apparently called home by blue skinks! We saw quite a few of them!). Both Alyssa and Ryan enjoyed The Great Chase, a small coaster that whizzes you around a curvy but not-too-hilly track, before moving on to LOONEY TUNES PROPS WAREHOUSE, which is essentially Chuck E. Cheese on crack and steroids. In the PROPS WAREHOUSE there are multiple levels of climbing platforms, elevated platforms, and slides; but what really makes the playhouse extra fun is the presence of literally thousands of soft, foam balls, and dozens of tubes, chutes, and cannons to launch them out of. Balls literally fell from the sky.
After leaving Movie Town, Dan and the kids made a beeline for the Tea Cups, a true classic that should be in every amusement park. We made our way to the back of the park, where Dan and Alyssa rode the Wild One. Alyssa then went for a spin (literally) on Riddle Me This, while Dan, Ryan, and I marveled at the daredevils who rode the Skycoaster. The rest of the day was spent checking out all of the roller coasters — Dan rode all but one, and Alyssa rode the ones she was tall enough for (she’s just about 52″, so unfortunately she wasn’t able to ride super-thrilling coasters like Apocalypse and SUPERMAN: Ride of Steel). We also spent quite a bit of time in Whistletop Park, where smaller, more slower-paced rides were located. Ryan really loved the Sky Jumper (a slowly-dropping free-fall type of ride that is only 30′ tall), and both kids enjoyed the splash & play park (Whistletop Park Playground).
We finished our day with Coyote Creek Crazy Cars (bumper cars), Shipwreck Falls (a turbo-charged log flume ride on which you will get drenched from head to toe), and a quick spin on the Cyclone (also known as the Scrambler).
Our very last stop in Six Flags America was at a gift shop near the entrance, where there were lots of nifty, fun, and useful souvenirs and gift items, most with fairly reasonable prices. Alyssa found a 5′ long pink and black colored snake, and Ryan picked out a magnetic vanity license plate with his name on it.
Closing thoughts on Six Flags America: it’s a clean, safe, and happy amusement park. The presence of security guards was reassuring, since even at family-oriented places like amusement parks there can still be situations where they might be needed. All of the park employees were easy to identify (ride employees in particular were easy to spot, thanks to their neon yellow shirts!), and every single ride employee we encountered was nothing but gracious, accommodating, and super-friendly to us. When it came to boarding rides, they made sure that Dan and Ryan were able to board comfortably and safely, and they even took the time to announce — and apologize — to the guests waiting in line that there would be a slight delay while other guests (Dan and/or Ryan and Alyssa) boarded. The lines were great, and everything was very well organized — rides were well-marked, various areas of the park were easy to navigate, and the map and information guide helped us make the most of our day. The restrooms and water fountains were both plentiful and clean — always appreciated on a hot day when you need to stay hydrated and comfortable!
Six Flags America was a lot of fun, and we hope to be able to go again! Visit Six Flags America – Tickets for prices and to purchase tickets online. And be sure to check out the Flash Pass — perfect if you want to avoid the lines and get right onto rides!