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Aurora
08-20-2013, 03:16 PM
My sister and I took our kids to Six Flags Great America (outside Chicago) yesterday and all we could do all day long was compare our experience to going to Disney parks. Despite complaints about costs, we still feel like we get a great vacation when we go Disney.

Not so yesterday at Six Flags. In a nutshell, it was the worst time we've had going to Great America, and we've been going since it opened in the 70s.

First, we laughed at signs all over saying it was the "cleanest theme park in America." Maybe near the front gates, but that was it. Tables and bathrooms were especially filthy.

Second, almost every single line was an hour wait or longer. They didn't have enough people working there to load the rides efficiently, so people waited and waited. On one kiddy ride, there was no line control, so once you got to the loading area, people bunched in all over the place and some tried to push their way through to other areas. It was awful. Lines even to fill refillable drinks were up to a half-hour long, no exaggeration.

Third, because they hire mostly high-school and college-aged workers, everyone goes back to school at this time of year. Thus, they close the water park in mid-August on weekdays. Temps were in the upper 80s yesterday and plenty of people would have filtered over to the water park if it had been open. If they would hire older workers, they wouldn't have this problem.

Fourth, rides broke down and people stuck on rides were only offered free FlashPasses (similar to Disney's FastPasses, only you have to pay for them) for the rest of the day, with only a couple of hours of park opening left. One family who was split up said the half who had been waiting for the next roller coaster train weren't offered FlashPasses -- only the ones who were actually on the ride were given them. Not much good when only half your party can use them.

Last, everything just looked bad. The characters' costumes were saggy and looked like the ones you could get at a rental place. The flowers and landscaping was pitiful. Next to the queue of the river raft ride, marks covered the concrete wall and tickets/passes littered the water. In one dying grassy area next to a queue, a metal pipe stuck out straight in the air, attached to nothing.

We paid a little less per person than we would have paid per day for a Disney park hopper. I actually felt scammed.

I wish now that I would have just saved the money we spent there for our next Disney trip. It gave me a new appreciation for everything that Disney does in their parks.

fanofdisney
08-20-2013, 04:11 PM
I completely agree. When my kids earned their tickets through a reading program at school we decided to go. It was such a bad experience my kids don't even want to get the free tickets any more. They do the reading but don't bother with the ticket because it is a terrible way to use a summer day. I will add to the OPs list of reasons not to go and that is the food. It is the worst food ever and costs 2x as much. Also, I was amazed at how they allow their employees to dress, it is nasty! We decided to save our money to put towards our Disney trip too.

vicster
08-20-2013, 04:16 PM
Nothing makes you appreciate Disney more than going to another theme park!!!

cer
08-20-2013, 04:41 PM
On one kiddy ride, there was no line control, so once you got to the loading area, people bunched in all over the place ... It was awful.

Funny- this description reminds me of the Haunted Mansion queue... :hmghost:

CajunDisneyDad
08-20-2013, 04:44 PM
My story is sort of the reverse of the story posted. My first them park was the old Six Flags park in Houston...Astroworld. Well it was HOT!!! It seemed like they took all the cooling elements out of the water founts so you would have to go by the water from the vendors... The park was extrememly dirty... and we stood in line for The Ultra Twister (a coaster) for 2-1/2 hours and didnt get halfway though the que... needless to say I was miserable. Then DW suggested we go to Disneyworld for our honeymoon. Well I was not in favor at first due to my experience at Astroworld... boy was I ever in for a surprise :) Still think it is overpriced, but compaired to what I faced at Astroworld... I dont mind paying extra for all the good stuff Disney world does.

HiHoKermitTheFrogHere
08-20-2013, 04:59 PM
Looks like only people from the Chicago area are responding to this one (so far)! I live in the northern suburbs of Chicago and I, too, have been going to Great America since I was a kid. I was there earlier this summer and have been favorably impressed over the past decade, give-or-take -- they have really cleaned it up and have substantially improved customer service and friendliness. Still, notwithstanding their efforts, there is no comparison to Disney.

The example I most often point out is theming. At Great America, you go on rides. At Disney, you enter a park with themed lands that tells a story from the entrance of the park throughout all of its lands. Each attraction has its own story and is fully themed to that story, including sights, sounds, and sometimes even scents. The queue for each attraction is a themed introduction to the attraction itself. I never feel like I am waiting in line at Disney because I am not -- the queue itself is an important part of each attraction. In fact, although it is nice to be able to skip the queue using FastPass, I always feel like I am missing something when I do so. I would never feel that way at Great America. It would give me pleasure to avoid a dull, boring, and hot line. And even the rides themselves have no theming at Great America -- the roller coasters are large metal structures, nothing more, nothing less. (One is even in the parking lot! We all know that HM and PoTC are outside of the berm at MK, but would you ever notice while on those attractions? While on the roller coaster in the parking lot at Great America, I can see my car!)

MississippiDisneyFreak
08-20-2013, 05:22 PM
I've never been there but I will comment on people complaining about Disney's prices. Yes, its expensive but you pay for what you get. We've found that when you add the individual components up at other places you pay just as much as you would at Disney without half the attractions and fun.:mickey:

disneymom15
08-20-2013, 05:25 PM
Couldn't agree more with all the prevoius posters. I've made those same comments to my husband and daughter. No theming, unclean, horrible and expensive food, boring queues.

scooterca42
08-20-2013, 05:51 PM
See - I agree with much of what's been said, but I do like Canada's Wonderland. It's clean, well maintained and entertaining. Thing is, it's known as a roller coaster park - like HihoKermit says, it's the themeing that makes the difference. Canada's Wonderland is a perfectly fine amusement park. Food is decent, waterpark is a hoot. But for the immersive experience, the sense of stepping into another world and leaving reality behind, the Disney parks can't be beat.

Dulcee
08-20-2013, 06:06 PM
We went to Carowinds in NC a few years back and said all the same things!

People were rude, employees were uninterested, the park was dirty, the rides were thoughtless, the grounds needed work and the "characters" were sad. And the food :sick: good lord don't get me started on the over priced, frozen awful food.

We save our theme park trips for Disney now..

mom2morgan
08-20-2013, 06:19 PM
We went to Disneyland a couple of years ago, and my husband and kids rented a car and ventured over the Six Flags. I had no interest, and hung out with a friend. They DID enjoy the more "exciting" thrill rides, but otherwise gave it a huge thumbs down. Many of the same complaints as you, but what really struck them was that it was a "concrete jungle". It was so hot - and there was NO relief from it - that the soles of my daughter's cheap shoes actually melted right off!! Meanwhile, I was riding Storyland Canal (or whatever they call it) and eating Dole Whip :cloud9:

Aurora
08-20-2013, 06:49 PM
Also, I was amazed at how they allow their employees to dress, it is nasty! We decided to save our money to put towards our Disney trip too.

The employees had on bright green shirts -- looked like it was a uniform update, so no complaints there. But you should have seen the clientele's outfits. My sister pointed out one girl who had a bikini bottom on with her shorts over them but completely unzipped and open. A pregnant woman wore a snug-fitting crop top with no shirt over her well-along belly. Another woman had a backless top with her bra completely showing in back. It was like a giant "what not to wear" festival.

Aurora
08-20-2013, 06:57 PM
Looks like only people from the Chicago area are responding to this one (so far)! I live in the northern suburbs of Chicago and I, too, have been going to Great America since I was a kid. I was there earlier this summer and have been favorably impressed over the past decade, give-or-take -- they have really cleaned it up and have substantially improved customer service and friendliness. Still, notwithstanding their efforts, there is no comparison to Disney.

I had no complaints about the employees -- they were generally friendly and doing their best. In fact I even felt sorry they had to work in that environment. It's the management I blame. I even talked to one of the onsite managers about the situation and he suggested I write a letter to the company, which I intend to do.

Zippy 1
08-20-2013, 07:46 PM
Six Flags in Denver is just as bad. We went once and will never go back. It was just awful!

Opus X
08-20-2013, 09:42 PM
Im very fortunate to live in Ohio...2 of the best non disney theme parks in the USA.
Kings Island, Was actually designed (or helped) by Roy Disney.
The lay out of the park is the hub and wheel...and it has International street with eiffel tower instead of main street and castle. It is no Disney though...but a GREAT park. Very clean.
It always amazes me reading posts on here from all the debbie downers that say Disney isnt what it used to be. It is and better!
WDW/DLR is spotless and we are always amazed at the immense level of cleanliness and landscaping...etc.
But, Kings Island...a great choice for a day or 2 getaway.
Cedar Point is the other..Both Cedar Fair.

Gator
08-20-2013, 09:47 PM
Disney is better, of course! That said, it ought to be better considering I can get into the local Six Flags (with a coupon) for $40. MK costs $90+. At more than double the price, Disney should be more than twice as good. I'd say it's pretty close on whether they achieve that or not.

MrPeetrie
08-20-2013, 10:19 PM
Nothing makes you appreciate Disney more than going to another theme park!!!

Well said!

mcjaco
08-21-2013, 10:20 AM
Looks like only people from the Chicago area are responding to this one (so far)! I live in the northern suburbs of Chicago and I, too, have been going to Great America since I was a kid. I was there earlier this summer and have been favorably impressed over the past decade, give-or-take -- they have really cleaned it up and have substantially improved customer service and friendliness. Still, notwithstanding their efforts, there is no comparison to Disney.

The example I most often point out is theming. At Great America, you go on rides. At Disney, you enter a park with themed lands that tells a story from the entrance of the park throughout all of its lands. Each attraction has its own story and is fully themed to that story, including sights, sounds, and sometimes even scents. The queue for each attraction is a themed introduction to the attraction itself. I never feel like I am waiting in line at Disney because I am not -- the queue itself is an important part of each attraction. In fact, although it is nice to be able to skip the queue using FastPass, I always feel like I am missing something when I do so. I would never feel that way at Great America. It would give me pleasure to avoid a dull, boring, and hot line. And even the rides themselves have no theming at Great America -- the roller coasters are large metal structures, nothing more, nothing less. (One is even in the parking lot! We all know that HM and PoTC are outside of the berm at MK, but would you ever notice while on those attractions? While on the roller coaster in the parking lot at Great America, I can see my car!)

I'm another northshorer. Grew up in Northbrook, in fact! Been going to SFGAm all my life.

I always tell people that you CANNOT compare the parks. They're in two different realms, and offer completely different experiences. Six Flags is for the thrill seeker, although management is trying to make the parks more family oriented.

I've gone to cover a bunch of the media events for SFGAm, and management has always been top notch.

Do I wish it was closer to the Marriott days? Absolutely. But it's still a fun park to spend a day at, and GAm has one of the BEST roller coaster collections in the country.


We went to Disneyland a couple of years ago, and my husband and kids rented a car and ventured over the Six Flags. I had no interest, and hung out with a friend. They DID enjoy the more "exciting" thrill rides, but otherwise gave it a huge thumbs down. Many of the same complaints as you, but what really struck them was that it was a "concrete jungle". It was so hot - and there was NO relief from it - that the soles of my daughter's cheap shoes actually melted right off!! Meanwhile, I was riding Storyland Canal (or whatever they call it) and eating Dole Whip :cloud9:

Magic Mountain is a mess, and has been for years. It had a slight resurgence a few years back, but they moved management around again, and it's slipping again.


As for wardrobe.....I'll be honest, I saw some pretty awful stuff at Disney World last week when we went. Butt cheeks hanging out of shorts, visible bras, pregnant bellies hanging loose, etc. Basically every thing that was listed earlier.

GoBlueLacheta
08-21-2013, 10:27 AM
Im very fortunate to live in Ohio...2 of the best non disney theme parks in the USA.
Kings Island, Was actually designed (or helped) by Roy Disney.
The lay out of the park is the hub and wheel...and it has International street with eiffel tower instead of main street and castle. It is no Disney though...but a GREAT park. Very clean.
It always amazes me reading posts on here from all the debbie downers that say Disney isnt what it used to be. It is and better!
WDW/DLR is spotless and we are always amazed at the immense level of cleanliness and landscaping...etc.
But, Kings Island...a great choice for a day or 2 getaway.
Cedar Point is the other..Both Cedar Fair.

Kings Island, prior to Cedar Fair operation was a little bit better. Son of Beast was a disaster investment, and it has set back development a bit.

As far as the park itself, it tends to be clean, has shaded areas, and is put together the right way. It was one of the theme parks I grew up going to along with Cedar Point and now defunct Georgia Lake(greedy Cedar Fair tragedy). The food is locally inspired at least instead of being generic. The theming is now a bit weird without the Paramount involvement, but is a good alternative for the day.

I think even with a properly run park, these "concrete jungle" types of one day amusement parks will always be that. I think despite it's shortcomings Disney and closely following Universal really do make their best effort to get you there for as long as possible as destination resorts.

yjgirl32
08-21-2013, 10:46 AM
The Six Flags in Jersey is great for coasters if you want to stand in line for 1+ hours. The food is horrible and very expensive. The people are rude and very disrespectful. I know Disney has some of the same people. I liked Cedar Point- went in the off-season so wasn't as crowded. No theme for the park and once again food was bad and very expensive.

We have also been to Busch Gardens which does have a great theme(both) food was once again expensive, but tasted a little better. Love the fact they are trying to help animals in both parks, plus have some good roller coasters too. Also was pretty clean too.

Still love Disney. There is always a choice- don't have to spend your money at certain parks if you don't want to.

Aurora
08-21-2013, 10:54 AM
I always tell people that you CANNOT compare the parks. They're in two different realms, and offer completely different experiences. Six Flags is for the thrill seeker, although management is trying to make the parks more family oriented.

True, they're in different realms. Obviously Six Flags is a thrill park, and you go there for a different reason than a Disney park. And despite complaints, Disney still sets the bar very high.

But cleanliness and well-run rides at a theme park should be priorities. Even if the park isn't "family oriented," every person who walks in the gate should be able to have those expectations. And I absolutely expect to wait in lines. But when no one knows where to go in the ride loading area, when you have to wait 20 minutes to a half-hour each time you want a soda at kiosks that mainly only refill sodas, and people come out of the bathrooms holding their noses (which I actually saw), there's something wrong.

Gauis2001
08-21-2013, 10:56 AM
I've been to thrill ride parks all over the country...NJ, IL, OH, MO...couldn't agree more with the assessment that all pale in comparison to WDW. When my guys were younger and we took our annual trek to Orlando we would always reserve 1 day to visit Universal. We'd finish all the attractions there in less than a day and then feel like we'd all missed a day at the World. One of our favorite things about the Disney park experience, and there are many, is the music piped in everywhere. From the Polynesian music in Adventureland to the New Age music at EC to the Movie Soundtracks at DS....it's all part of the entire experience. Let's face it....Disney is the standard by which all others are judged and most everyone is seriously lagging by that standard. You get what you pay for most of the time. $90+ dollars for a single day seems like a lot of money till you realize what you pay to go to a sporting event or concert that lasts for a few hours. Our favorite World is a pretty good bargain when you consider it can be 12-14 hours of entertainment on a daily basis.:mickey:

#1donaldfan
08-21-2013, 02:19 PM
For me and IMHO, Disney is incredible for what they offer, but they are slowly losing some footing to Universal !! Don't get me wrong, Disney is my favorite for rides, shows and food, but Universal is beginning to gain A LOT of footing with the race for Orlando, and if Disney can't shore up a few inconsistecies they will fall behind. That being said, I feel as though the new DtD will help.....the city walk at Universal is hands down better than DtD, so that will definitely help. :mickey:

joonyer
08-21-2013, 03:57 PM
On the issues of cleanliness, well maintained facilities, and customer service, WDW still outranks most other theme/amusement parks in the U.S. I thick most people with much experience would agree. But for many "Disneyphiles", they compare the current WDW parks to the high standards of the Disney parks themselves from 10-12 years ago (and beyond). That is where a lot of us have concerns; that while WDW is still ahead of most others, it doesn't compare well to itself, from 10 years ago. But maybe its just the magic memories clouding our current judgment.

DonaldDuckUSA
08-21-2013, 06:00 PM
I went there a few years ago. A teenage girl with her parents was sitting on the handrails. She ended up slipping, falling forward, and busting her face on the other set of hand rails in front of her.

She didn't get hurt REALLY bad (from what I saw), but her braces cut up the inside of her lips and she was REALLY REALLY shaken. There was also some blood on the hand rail and the ground. It wasn't GUSHING, but there were SEVERAL mega drops.

Her family was so focused on taking care of her and making sure she had all her teeth still, so we tried to get the attention of staff. It took us FOREVER to get someone's attention and then they had no plan in place to get her a) out of the line and b) to clean up the blood.

The way the queue was set up, we were somewhat caged in. There was no easy exits or rope drops to clip in and out of place to get to her quickly. The staff meant well, but they had no idea what to do. I think we eventually sent her back through the line to a point where she could exit. Its terrible that the whole family and that poor girl had to walk her back through the line when she is shaken and bloody. Honestly, how stressful, embarrassing, and upsetting.

To our knowledge, staff never cleaned up the blood.

Horrible.

jclightchasr
08-21-2013, 06:19 PM
Six Flags over Georgia had changed so much since
I had been there last I could hardly recognize
It. They copied Disney in many aspects but
Never fully delivered. The park was broken
Into different lands. The entrance looked like
A subpar version of Main Street. The food was
Gross but not any higher priced. The flash passes
Cost $17 per person but you didn't have time slots
So you just wAlked on all the rides (if Disney did
Offer this the fast pass lines would be as long
As the regular lines once people caught on).
Cleanliness was not at all like Disney. The Monster mansion dark ride had an animatronic figure that squeeked so bad when she moved that you could hear it from the que area! I laughed so hard once I found out what the noise was!

MrPeetrie
08-22-2013, 11:46 PM
Several years back, a major amusement-park conglomerate purchased Geauga Lake and immediately installed some big-ticket items. That summer, we all decided to try this park out.

It was a saturday in July, with 0 percent chance of rain, so it should have been well staffed. (Common Sense says to expect a large crowd.) We got in line for the Batman rollercoaster and waited approximately 90 minutes. When we finally reached the platform, we realized that despite the rollercoaster being designed to handle three trains at once, only one was running. The other two were not in use. So you can imagine how slow the lines were. If you've ever been to an efficient park, you know its a well-oiled team that keeps the line moving.

After that, we rode something small then went for lunch. Again, the line was out the door at one of the larger fast-food places in the park. But once inside, I saw that despite having four cash registers, only one was being used. In fact, there were only four employees, working. One taking orders; one cooking orders, one expediting the orders; and one cleaning. Unbelievable!

We arrived at open and by 2:00 p.m. we had only ridden two rides and waited more than an hour for hamburgers.

We then decided to spend $64 on a Q-Bot, their version of a FastPass. Q-Bot allowed us to ride some rides, but it was tough to master. Once it notified you your window was up, you had 15 minutes to get in line or you lost your opportunity. Once, it told us we had more than a 2-hour wait. We got in line for something and after only 20 minutes, it notified it was time to report to our ride. We all jumped out of line and ran across the park to ride the other ride.

I tell this story because this was pre-Disney for me and my family. I was -- and I still am -- amazed at how Disney prepares and handles its crowd. If we go to Pecos Bill's, for example, and the line starts to back up, several Cast Members come (from somewhere) and the line goes down. And that happens everywhere. At night, when a park is emptying, if one resort's guests' queue is backing up, several buses will suddenly show up in a row to address the line. Trains seem to run a maximum capacity all the time. Rides are efficient. Cast Members are pleasant. Guests are pleasant (mostly) because they feel special. I'm almost spoiled that I expect this kind of treatment everywhere.

When we go to our local amusement park, we always say, "This ain't Disney."

There's been a lot of "worried" comments posted lately (Me included), but I feel fairly confident that the group that got it right so far will get it right with the upgrade.

azcavalier
08-23-2013, 12:33 PM
I agree with most of what has been posted here. I grew up (and live here again) in Virginia. We used to go to Kings Dominion every year, and we'd hit Busch Gardens Williamsburg every so often. Kings Dominion is a sister park to Kings Island outside of Cincinnati. They have pretty much all of the same stuff...including the Eiffel Tower. I haven't been to Kings Dominion since 1991, but went to Kings Island just a few years ago. It was great. Clean park, well maintained, and didn't have to wait too long for most rides. My only complaint was about the food choices. I'm spoiled by Disney's abundant restaurant choices, and the quality of food at those restaurants.

I have always thought that Busch Gardens ran a great park. Clean, interesting themeing, great rides, etc. But I haven't been to one since Busch sold them, so I have no idea what they're like now.

In any case, all of those theme parks fit their niche very well....they're day parks, not vacation destinations. It's a different clientele that they're aiming for.

DonLefNY
08-23-2013, 02:28 PM
The OP's post reminds me of my last visit to the Six Flags Great Escape park at Lake George, NY. At one ride the teen attendants got into a heated argument about whose turn it was for a break.

mac badger
08-23-2013, 04:20 PM
I went to Holidayworld in Indiana this summer. That is a lovely park, very clean and friendly, great food at the thanksgiving restaurant, water park right in the middle of the park to cool of at. I would recommend it to anyone. But, it is a one day park. And you have to be nearby for it to be worthwhile (we went out of our way to get there, but we were already going to Ohio so it wasnt that much of a detour).
I also really enjoy Busch gardens Tampa, most amazing tiger exhibit Ive ever seen. but its also only a one day park, and there arent enough options for chickens like me-i am not going on some of those rollercoasters. Disney is special, even when they make boneheaded decisions, and dont do all they could with new fantasyland, and constantly raise prices, who am I kidding, i will always go back

TheHD
08-23-2013, 09:39 PM
We went to Disneyland a couple of years ago, and my husband and kids rented a car and ventured over the Six Flags. I had no interest, and hung out with a friend. They DID enjoy the more "exciting" thrill rides, but otherwise gave it a huge thumbs down. Many of the same complaints as you, but what really struck them was that it was a "concrete jungle". It was so hot - and there was NO relief from it - that the soles of my daughter's cheap shoes actually melted right off!! Meanwhile, I was riding Storyland Canal (or whatever they call it) and eating Dole Whip :cloud9:

Yeah, I've had no interest in returning to Magic Mountain since I was a teenager two decades ago. They had a riot there back in the 90s and nowadays, depending on the day, you need to wear a kevlar vest. :gangster:

TheHD
08-23-2013, 09:52 PM
As for wardrobe.....I'll be honest, I saw some pretty awful stuff at Disney World last week when we went. Butt cheeks hanging out of shorts, visible bras, pregnant bellies hanging loose, etc. Basically every thing that was listed earlier.

Yes, but not with the CMs (or Six Flags/Great America employees), which is what the previous poster's were getting at.

bxrluv
08-23-2013, 10:09 PM
We live near Cedar Point so have been there several times. Thank goodness my kids are older now. The oldest has a summer pass and goes with friends. I love coasters but can't stand the boring, hot lines and the food is overpriced and awful!:sick: Much more expensive then Disney for what you get! We always end up comparing it to Disney!:mickey:

texas211
08-24-2013, 08:13 PM
Well, don't forget most parks are amusement parks, not theme parks. I think amusement parks have a different focus, and its not cleanliness and details.

Everytime we go to six flags we regret it. Dirty, horrible attractions. There really isn't a good way to get a disney fix.

jillluvsdisney
08-25-2013, 08:15 PM
When I worked there in high school 25 years ago, each themed area had their own attire. I would go to wardrobe and get a fresh outfit every day and change in the dressing area.

Now all employees wear those ugly yellow/lime green shirts AND they have to pay for them to boot.

donnine
08-25-2013, 09:26 PM
I too echo what the original post said. As a High School Band Director, I would take the band on our "off big trip" year to nearby Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and unlike WDW where I hate for each day to end, I couldn't wait for the day to end at Six Flags. From the time you enter, you can't help but compare the entire experience. I SO APPRECIATE everything about Walt Disney World and don't mind paying for what I get.:mickey:
1983-1992 Off Property
1993-1995 Disney Drought:(
1996 Grovenor (Downtown Disney)
1997 Polynesian(Summer) and All Star Sports (Christmas)
1998 Off property with my HS Band (I was the Band Director)
1998 P.O. Riverside with my family
1999 Off property and P.O. Riverside (Summer and Christmas)
2000 P.O. Riverside
2001 P.O. Riverside
2002 Off property with the Band
2003 P.O. Riverside
2004 P.O. Riverside
2005 Animal Kingdom Lodge
2006 Off property with the Band
2007 P.O. Riverside
2008 P.O. Riverside
2009 P.O. Riverside
2010 P.O. Riverside
2011-present Disney Drought:(

k10
08-26-2013, 10:35 AM
My sister and I took our kids to Six Flags Great America (outside Chicago) yesterday and all we could do all day long was compare our experience to going to Disney parks. Despite complaints about costs, we still feel like we get a great vacation when we go Disney.

Not so yesterday at Six Flags. In a nutshell, it was the worst time we've had going to Great America, and we've been going since it opened in the 70s.

First, we laughed at signs all over saying it was the "cleanest theme park in America." Maybe near the front gates, but that was it. Tables and bathrooms were especially filthy.

Second, almost every single line was an hour wait or longer. They didn't have enough people working there to load the rides efficiently, so people waited and waited. On one kiddy ride, there was no line control, so once you got to the loading area, people bunched in all over the place and some tried to push their way through to other areas. It was awful. Lines even to fill refillable drinks were up to a half-hour long, no exaggeration.

Third, because they hire mostly high-school and college-aged workers, everyone goes back to school at this time of year. Thus, they close the water park in mid-August on weekdays. Temps were in the upper 80s yesterday and plenty of people would have filtered over to the water park if it had been open. If they would hire older workers, they wouldn't have this problem.

Fourth, rides broke down and people stuck on rides were only offered free FlashPasses (similar to Disney's FastPasses, only you have to pay for them) for the rest of the day, with only a couple of hours of park opening left. One family who was split up said the half who had been waiting for the next roller coaster train weren't offered FlashPasses -- only the ones who were actually on the ride were given them. Not much good when only half your party can use them.

Last, everything just looked bad. The characters' costumes were saggy and looked like the ones you could get at a rental place. The flowers and landscaping was pitiful. Next to the queue of the river raft ride, marks covered the concrete wall and tickets/passes littered the water. In one dying grassy area next to a queue, a metal pipe stuck out straight in the air, attached to nothing.

We paid a little less per person than we would have paid per day for a Disney park hopper. I actually felt scammed.

I wish now that I would have just saved the money we spent there for our next Disney trip. It gave me a new appreciation for everything that Disney does in their parks.

Hallelujah! My husband bought us season passes to Six Flags this summer. I never, ever want to go back. All I do is say, "this is NOT even worth it. I want to go to Disney."

The one up here in MA is clean...EXCEPT for the bathrooms. YUCK. And band-aids everywhere. WHY???

Additionally, there are advertisements by sponsers allll over. It was so in-your-face.

Team Disney.

wellsm
08-26-2013, 04:46 PM
I've lived in Virginia all my life, and didn't visit any Disney Parks until the early 90's.

King's Dominion was nice when I was a kid. It used to be clean and well run, and they focus on RIDES! The biggest, baddest new prototype was coming there as something new every year. There was almost no theming, just big big coasters.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg (or Europe, depending on their mood) was... different. We really didn't go regularly there till the 90's, but I have had a season pass for the last few years. It is very nice - well maintained with plenty of attention to detail. They do a much better job with landscaping and theming - not quite Disney, but closer than any other park I've seen. The rides are fewer but really well done.

A few years ago my wife and I took a trip to Mass and set aside a day to go to Six Flags new england. I really wasn't prepared for the disappointment. The park was dirty. The employees obviously didn't want to be there. The park operations was running the bare minimum on the rides - coasters with only one train for instance. (With one train, they would load up and dispatch, then everyone in the station would wait for it to run the course and unload before the next group would load. Very slow, but cheaper on the equipment.) Contrast that with BGW, where they usually run all of the coaster trains even if this means walk-on rides, or Disney where you wouldn't even know if they could remove trains from a ride.


Yes, you pay more, but Disney is the only place where they have the total package. They have great theming and landscaping, they have happy employees, and they have world-class attractions. No where else can you get all of that.

(And I'd even say that WDW is the best example of this, as I had my only trip to DL this past year and was quite disappointed in the contrast.)

ANG
08-26-2013, 09:12 PM
Nothing makes you appreciate Disney more than going to another theme park!!!


Ditto! We haven't been to any theme parks since our first WDW visit. Just seems pointless.

Arielfan98
08-26-2013, 09:56 PM
I understand this! I do not live in Chicago but I have been to Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ and it was a crowded day. I started off by doing the drive-through animal zoo which was probably the only nice part of the park. In order to park even nearly close you had to pay a fortune so we parked far and dealt with the walking (Where are those Disney parking trams when you need them?) and the park was so crowded I only ended up riding 4 rides which 2/4 was the same coaster because the lines for everything was a 2 hour wait :mad:. How often at Disney is every ride in the park 2 hours??? They had very few relaxing rides like the people mover so there wasn't much to do but wait for the coasters. As for the food....DISGUSTING. Fried food or Cold Stone ice cream. I opted for the ice cream and it was....:sick:. Anyway I love Disney because it's a true theme-park. I get the rush of thrill when I go on EE or RnRC. Oh and with Disney I rarely wait 2 hours for anything :thumbsup: and the food options are delicious, fresh. The environment at Disney even going down to the landscape and music makes all the difference. Definitely worth the money. I wasted not only my money at Six Flags, but my time.

Terra
08-27-2013, 06:49 PM
I live in Central Florida, and of course not only have WDW, but Busch Gardens, Sea World, Universal, Legoland...all fairly close.

Legoland is just OK. BG, Universal, SW...I can all leave. I'm not a fan at all. Nothing compares to Disney in my book.

I grew up in Ohio and King's Island was just okay to me too. I never cared for it that much.
I will gladly pay WDW prices any day over any other theme park!

mcjaco
08-28-2013, 11:08 AM
There's one thing I've found over many years posting and lurking on Disney Boards.....nothing ever compares to the wonder of Disney....and then everyone complains about how they've lost touch.

As I said before, you cannot compare Cedar Fair/Six Flag parks to Disney parks. They are completely different animals. I've been going to SFGAm since I was two (and in Marriott ownership), I've been to King's Island, Magic Mountain, Indiana Beach, Little A-Merrick-A, Geauga Lake, Mount Olympus, Valleyfair, among others. They're completely different environments, and you cannot go in thinking in terms of Disney.

I enjoy going to any park for what they are. Some are carny, some are sketchy, some are terrible, some are quaint, some bring the thrills, some are family oriented. At the end of the day, I ask myself, did I get a good value, and more improtantly....did I have fun? 9/10 times the last answer is YES.

DryCreek
08-28-2013, 03:00 PM
I have to agree about being disappointed at other venues. Whenever we go to Six Flags over Texas in Arlington, we are reminded about the difference between an amusement park and a theme park. From what I've noticed over the past few years, Six Flags properties have really suffered since their bankruptcy. Their overall level of service doesn't come near Disney standards, but I don't think that management expects it from their employees.

As for some of the other theme parks I have been to - I must say that I was really, really surprised by our trip to Universal Studios this year. We stayed onsite, and the Unlimited Express Pass spoiled us totally. As far as the level of theming (i.e. background music, sound, building architecture, costuming, etc.) it was very close to a Disney experience. The few things missing were little quibbles such as fewer themed topiaries and some Team Member interactions. The layout of the two parks didn't always lend itself to larger crowds at times though.

We enjoy going to BG-TOG whenever we visit the wife's relatives in Virginia. They do a fairly good job for the most part, but about two years ago they started something new - Christmas Town. When we went, it was a disaster. Too many people and nowhere near enough rides/attractions for the crowds. Since major parts of the park were closed, there throngs of people trying to move in a shoulder to shoulder mass in opposing directions. It was horrible and not at all a pleasant experience.

When I talk about the Disney level of customer service, I include Disneyland Resort too. I think that they easily are on par with WDW.

baldburke
08-28-2013, 08:14 PM
Hershey Park is maybe the most Disney-like non-Disney park that I've ever been too. Hershey is relatively clean, nicely maintained and the employees seem to like it there. They also have a good mix of family and thrill rides. It's a little bit further ride, but I'll take Hershey over Dorney or Six Flags any day!

Mad About Mickey
09-01-2013, 02:27 PM
Living in New England we buy a season pass to Six Flags New England every other year when they run a promotion and it's usually $50 - $60, considerably les than a Disney one day ticket. We usually make a few trips there but really we like the fact that seasons passes to SF are good at all parks. We do a big summer road trip every year and have visited many of the other Six Flags; Georgia, Chicago, NJ, St Louis, Montreal, Lake George NY, Baltimore. They are really good for one thing thrill rides, they have some of the best roller coasters and that is the ultimate reason for going. Older DS & DD love the thrill rides and we all bite our tongues so as not to make the comparison to Disney.

Six Flags is a cheep alternative to Disney so you have to take it as it is, say the comparison of buying a Chevette or a Cadillac, or shopping at Nordstrums vs Walmart.

Yes Six Flags lack theming, cleanliness,and Disney magic but they make up for it in cheep thrills like Kingda Ka, Green Lantern, Superman, Bizzaro, Batman, Nitro, El Toro etc..

This October we are actually going to do a litte comparison shopping. We will do our yearly pilgrimage to six Flags New England for Frightfest, they have the parked decked out for Halloween and do several extra price haunted houses and walks which we really enjoy as a family. We are also headed to WDW for the free dining and this will be our first Halloween trip that we are really excited about!

See you at WDW or a SF soon!

taleasoldastime
09-01-2013, 04:10 PM
Yall haven't seen anything until you have visited six flags Fiesta Texas. I grew up with it down the road and it is a mess. One poster mentioned a coaster in the parking lot at a six flags. Fiesta Texas did the same thing! It isn't even a fun roller coaster on top of that, and its just a generic after thought. Fiesta Texas is filthy and smells bad. Its over run with rude tweens whose parents dropped them off for the day. The water park always has a funky oder. The rides loading is chaotic. Some rides make noises that make me uneasy. Thank god they recreated the rattler because that coaster used to give me the worst headache ever. Also, you're constantly having to ignore the workers at the game stands harassing you.
So even though I grew up a couple miles from Fiesta Texas, we hardly ever went and just went to WDW every year. Fiesta Texas just stresses me out.

MrPeetrie
09-09-2013, 07:55 AM
We just booked a weekend at Cedar Point for their Halloweekends package. We spent an additional $80 apiece for their Fast Lane pass, their version of Disney's FastPass. (We needed two!) Makes you appreciate Disney offering their version for free.

joonyer
09-09-2013, 12:46 PM
We just booked a weekend at Cedar Point for their Halloweekends package. We spent an additional $80 apiece for their Fast Lane pass, their version of Disney's FastPass. (We needed two!) Makes you appreciate Disney offering their version for free.

I know that Cedar Point is not the MK, but it is still one of the best thrill-ride parks in the world for adrenaline junkies. In that sense, it leaves MK in the dust.
And a one day admission ticket to Cedar Point is $44.95. A one day ticket to MK is more than $100.00 with tax. Different parks, to be sure, but for the top thrill-rides in the world, Cedar Point is still a pretty good deal, even with the Fast Lane passes, which allow you to bypass stand-by on EVERY ride, as many times as you like.

MrPeetrie
09-09-2013, 09:17 PM
I'll agree that Cedar Point is an amazing amusement park. It is my absolute favorite thrill park. And this year, my daughter can ride all but two rides, so that's why I purchased the Fast Lane. I wanted her to experience as much of the park as she can.

After getting FastPass for free all these years, I was just caught off-guard with the $80 fee. I paid it for her sake. And I like their Halloweekends so it's all good. If Disney starts to charge, I'll probably pay that, too.