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Guide for Six Flags Great America Theme Park Illinois: Survive the Day

Last Updated on October 21, 2021

Six Flags Great America is a little rough. It is crowded, run down in some areas, and operates at an impressively inefficient pace. You will find things about which to be unhappy, but you can shorten the complaint list with a plan. What things can you use as a guide for Six Flags Great America amusement park to maximize your day?

How Can You Use the Guide for Six Flags Great America to Improve Your Day?

1. Set Your Expectations Low

2. Pick the Best Time to Visit

3. Save Money

4. Arrive Early

5. Eat at an Off Time

6. Dining with Dietary Restrictions

7. Guide for Six Flags Great America Rides

8. Fright Fest Great America

9. Six Flags Great America Holiday in the Park is Optional

10. There Are Characters

11. Six Flags Great America COVID-19 Protocols

12. Six Flags Great America Parking Options

13. Download the App

14. Make a Six Flags Great America Touring Plan

15. The Show Options Change

16. Cash is Not Accepted

17. Combine Six Flags and Great Wolf Lodge

18. No Pets Allowed

19. You Can Come and Go

20. Six Flags Great America Guide to Pack the Essentials

21. FLASH Pass

22. Six Flags Great America Kid Swap

Six Flags Great America Chicago Entrance

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Guide for Six Flags Great America

1. Set Expectations Nice and Low

What should I know before going to Six Flags? First and foremost, you should know that Six Flags Great America is no Disneyland. It is also no Universal, no SeaWorld and no local county fair. Let’s not set ourselves up for failure here. Walk into Six Flags Great America expecting what you will actually find.

There are signs everywhere notifying the guests they are currently in the cleanest theme park in America. I’m not sure where this place called America is located, but there is no way it is anywhere in North America.

On a similar note, a lot of the staff is not overly excited to be there. A lot of them are in pretty cranky moods. In fact, when I encounter one that goes out of his or her way to be friendly, I always find myself relaying this encounter to someone else like it was an event. “Someone just smiled at me! They must have just started here.”

2. Pick the Best Time to Visit

Six Flags Great America Calendar

The park is only open during certain times of the year. Six flags Great America hours vary. Make sure it is open on the day of your visit and check park hours to make sure you can maximize your time.

Check a Six Flags Crowd Calendar

Is It Packed has a Six Flags Gurnee crowd calendar. Spoiler alert, pretty much every single weekend is listed as “Forget About it”, which does not require any additional explanation. If you have the flexibility to go during the week, this website can help you pick a less crowded day.

Visit on a Weekday

The parks are open on weekdays during the summer. The weekends are bananas packed. If you have the luxury of picking the day you visit, seriously consider going during the week.

Check the Six Flags Great America Weather

There are no refunds or rainchecks. If you pay to get in and the rides never open, you are not getting your money back. Check the weather for Six Flags Great America to make sure visiting will be worthwhile.

Six Flags Great America Gurnee IL Pepe

3. Ways to Save

Six Flags Great America admission prices and food costs are stupid expensive, but there are ways to save. Don’t pay full price.

Save on Six Flags Great America Tickets

Individual Tickets to Six Flags Great America

One day tickets for Six Flags Great America are ridiculously expensive and should be avoided whenever possible. The waterpark, Hurricane Harbor, is not included with a general admission ticket. Parking is $25 and is also not included with these tickets.

Pro Six Flags Great America tip: Kids under age three do not need a ticket.

AAA Discounts to Six Flags Great America

AAA members get $5 off Six Flags Great America ticket prices.

Military Six Flags Great America Discounts

Military members get 20% off Six Flags Great America one day tickets.

Coke Cans

Some Coke cans have Six Flags coupons on them. Bring your garbage or stop at a gas station on the way.

Six Flags Great America Jewel Osco Tickets

The grocery store chain, Jewel Osco, sells Six Flags tickets and season passes at a discount.

Read to Succeed

Read to Succeed is a free program that allows kids in elementary school to earn a free ticket by reading.

Note: This program has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Check to see if it is available at the time of your visit.

Groupon for Great America

You can sometimes find deal for Great America on Groupon.

Six Flags Great America Season Passes

Season passes are dirt cheap. The prices vary by the year, but generally, you can cover the cost of the season passes in two visits. The passes also include admission to Six Flags Great America Hurricane Harbor waterpark. They also come with membership rewards that give you discounts on things like merchandise and guest tickets.

As an added bonus, season passes take away the pressure of feeling like we need to stay all day to cram everything in. We go for a few hours and cut out when the crowd is getting to us. If we felt like we had to stay all day, it would be much less enjoyable.

Pro tip: If you don’t care about the extras, season passes are a better choice than membership.

Bonus pro tip: Unlike more popular parks, like Disney, Six Flags season passes have no blockout dates.

Extra bonus pro tip: You can upgrade one day tickets to Great America Gurnee to season passes at guest services.

Extra bonus pro tip: Season passes are usually cheapest when purchased the year before. Six Flags offers a Flash Sale in the fall.

Rooster

Memberships

Six Flags sells memberships that are different from season passes. You can purchase a monthly membership where you get charged year round, or a season membership for a flat fee.

Pro tip: You are allowed to add Six Flags Great America dining passes to memberships.

Monthly Memberships

These memberships come with a monthly charge year round, even when the parks are closed for the season. There are some added perks (mostly fluff). If you will spend a lot of time there, plan to use FLASH Pass, or really care about the extras, this might make sense for you.

Note: You must commit to at least 12 months to have a membership.

As of the time of this writing, your choices are:

Gold Plus

Gold Plus memberships costs $6.99 per month. It includes:

A. Admission to the theme park and Six Flags Great America waterpark

B. Free parking

C. Membership rewards that let you earn points toward free things

D. Admission to other Six Flags properties

E. 20% off candy and merchandise

F. 5% off food and drinks

G. Discounts for Six Flags Great America on other park extras, including FLASH Pass

H. Admission to member only events

Platinum

As of the time of this writing, Platinum membership costs $9.49 per month and includes the following:

A. Admission to the theme park and waterpark

B. Free parking plus one time parking in the preferred lot

C. Membership rewards that let you earn points toward free things

D. Admission to other Six Flags properties

E. 25% off candy and merchandise

F. 15% off food and drinks

G. Discounts on other park extras, including Six Flags Great America FLASH Pass

H. Admission to member only events

I. Unlimited soft drinks

J. One digital ride photo

K. Skip one ride line one time

Diamond

As of the time of this writing, Diamond membership costs $11.99 per month and includes the following:

A. Admission to the theme park and waterpark

B. Free preferred parking

C. Membership rewards that let you earn points toward free things

D. Admission to other Six Flags properties

E. 30% off candy and merchandise

F. 35% off food and drinks

G. Discounts for Great America on other park extras, including FLASH Pass

H. Admission to member only events

I. Unlimited soft drinks

J. Two digital ride photos

K. Skip one ride line every visit

L. Diamond area waterpark access

M. Priority waterpark entrance

N. Free smores at Holiday in the Park Great America

O. Premium seating at shows

Diamond Elite

As of the time of this writing, Diamond Elite membership costs $17.99 per month and includes the following:

A. Admission to the theme park and waterpark

B. Free preferred parking

C. Membership rewards that let you earn points toward free things

D. Admission to other Six Flags properties

E. 50% off candy and merchandise

F. 50% off food and drinks

G. Discounts to Great America on other park extras, including FLASH Pass

H. Admission to member only Six Flags Great America events

I. Unlimited soft drinks

J. Two digital ride photos

K. Skip two ride lines every visit

L. Diamond area waterpark access

M. Priority waterpark entrance

N. Free smores at Holiday in the Park Six Flags Great America

O. Premium seating at shows

P. Double rides on paid attractions

Q. Diamond elite upgrades every visit

Daredevil

Season Memberships

Season memberships are paid one time with a flat fee. As of the time of this writing your options are:

Gold Plus

Gold Plus memberships cost $230 and include:

A. Admission to the park and waterpark

B. Priority member entrance

C. 20% off merchandise

D. Gold Plus parking

E. 25% off season drink bottle

F. 20% off guest tickets

G. Member appreciation days

H. Lanyard

I. In park coupons

Platinum

Platinum memberships cost $275 and include:

A. Admission to the park and waterpark

B. Priority member entrance

C. 25% off merchandise

D. Platinum parking plus one time preferred parking

E. Unlimited soft drinks all season

F. Discount guest tickets

G. Member appreciation days

H. 15% off food

I. One time skip the line ticket

J. In park coupons

Diamond

Diamond memberships cost $350 and include:

A. Admission to the park and waterpark

B. Priority member entrance

C. 35% off merchandise

D. Diamond preferred parking

E. Unlimited soft drinks all season

F. Discount guest tickets

G. Member appreciation days

H. Waterpark Diamond access

I. Skip one ride line every visit

J. In park coupons

K. Premium show seating

Diamond Elite

Diamond Elite memberships cost $490 and include:

A. Admission to the park and waterpark

B. Priority member entrance

C. 50% off merchandise

D. Diamond Elite preferred parking

E. Unlimited soft drinks all season

F. Discount guest tickets

G. Member appreciation days

H. Waterpark Diamond access

I. Skip two ride lines every visit

J. In park coupons

K. Premium show seating

L. Benefits valid at all Six Flags properties

Zoom Jets

Travel with a Group

Six Flags offers group rates for large parties. If you can round up at least ten people, you can get discounted tickets.

Hotel Packages

If you are staying overnight and don’t have hotel points available, you can stay at one of partner hotels near Six Flags Great America and receive discounted tickets.

Pro tip: Don’t do this. If you want to take your trip up a notch, consider a stay at Great Wolf Lodge.

Save on Dining

The official policy is that no outside food or drinks are allowed other than for infants and those with dietary restrictions. Is this enforced? Your mileage may vary, but I have never had anything confiscated.

Pro tip: Eat early. The lines and seating areas are outrageous starting around noon.

Get a Six Flags Great America Meal Plan

A dining plan from Six Flags is at the very tippy top of things I never thought I would purchase, but it is cost effective. The meal plans are relatively cheap and can be used all season. Six Flags Great America prices vary by the season, but you can usually choose from options that include one or two meals per day.

Pro tip: You do not have to purchase a meal plan for your entire family. You can purchase one or two and share.

Bonus pro tip: Check to see if the refillable drink bottle is included in your meal plan when you calculate which is the best Six Flags Great America deal for you.

Buy a Refillable Mug and Popcorn Bucket

Along the same lines, buy a refillable sports bottle. To give credit where credit is due, we used to have to wait in one of those crazy long lines to refill the sports bottle, but they have installed a couple of self serve drink machines. This was a huge improvement. No one has said these drinks have to be consumed by one person. In theory, you could share. In theory.

We also buy a refillable popcorn bucket. Refills are $1 for the whole season. We get a ton of use out of that. The popcorn refills are typically the only thing for which I pay the whole day.

Six Flags Great America Illinois Daffy Duck

4. Arrive Early

Six Flags Great America moves like molasses. Everywhere. The line is always a mile long to get into the park. Arrive thirty minutes before opening. You can usually get through the line relatively quickly at that time. If you wait until after opening on a busy day, plan to hang out in that line for about an hour.

5. Eat Early

Most of the restaurants open around 11:30am. You should try to eat around that time. I often find the food booths manned by one teenager total. Said teenager has to take the order, accept the payment, make the food and deliver it to the customer. By themselves. Slowly. The lines for food are absolutely insane by 1:00 p.m. I cannot understand why they do not employ a second employee in these circumstances, because it seems they could sell double the food which would certainly cover the cost of the extra person, but what do I know?

6. Dining with Dietary Restrictions

The dining options aren’t great in general. They are overpriced. Consider a meal plan to save.

Six Flags isn’t overly impressed with your allergy needs. Cross contamination is probably not on its radar. For gluten free food, there are decent tacos at Macho Nacho in the food court area. You can also get salad, nachos and fries. There is a gluten free only counter service place in the Kidzopolis area, but it is almost never open.

Pro tip: Six Flags has alcohol.

Bonus pro tip: Use mobile ordering on the app. The regular lines move like molasses. You can pay with a dining plan on the app as well.

Goliath

7. Rides at Six Flags Great America

Note: When it comes to Six Flags Great America kid rides, pack your patience in your stroller. The speed at which they load the rides is maddening. They also do not make any attempt to fill the cars. More often that not, one kid is riding around in a car made for four while forty other kids wait. The bigger rides for adults seem to load faster, but there is still room for improvement.

Camp Cartoon

Camp Cartoon is a small, Hanna-Barbera themed section with kids’ rides. It is not being maintained. Two rides have been removed from the section in recent years. Despite this, there are a few tables and benches in the area. It is a good place to decompress with little kids.

Crazy Bus

The Six Flags Great America bus is a small ride that you can find in many other theme parks. It moves slowly in a vertical circle. It is a big hit with young kids.

Six Flags Great America height requirement: 42″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Spacely’s Sprocket Rockets Six Flags

Sprocket Rockets Great America is a small roller coaster. It is relatively smooth, and anyone can ride.

Note: The wait for this ride would make anyone homicidal. Kids pile into the area. There is no attempt to enforce anything resembling a line. The less assertive kids get cut. There is only one line of cars running, so you must wait for the ride to be loaded, completed, and vacated by the person in front of you before you can climb in. Mentally prepare yourself.

Height requirement: 36″

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Yahoo River

Yahoo River Six Flags Great America is a small ride wherein boats move in a circle. The boats have two rows, but only one bell in the front for kids to ring. Six Flags really didn’t think that through.

Height requirement: 54: maximum

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Camp Cartoon

Carousel Plaza

Carousel Plaza is the first section you encounter upon entering. Unless you are dying to ride Maxx Force, veer to the left and head toward the back upon park opening.

Columbia Carousel Six Flags

Columbia Carousel is not that special, except that it has two levels. The line for the bottom half is shorter, but both lines are generally reasonable.

Pro tip: Save this one for the afternoon when the more popular rides have long lines.

Height requirement: 42″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America Maxx Force

Maxx Force is a major roller coaster that goes upside down and reaches almost 80 miles per hour. This one is not for the faint of heart.

Pro tip: If you want to ride this, go to this ride first thing in the morning. The line builds quickly.

Height requirement: 48″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes (Platinum only)

Sky Trek Tower Six Flags

Sky Trek Tower Great America takes you high into the air then turns slowly to give you a view of the park. It is a ride everyone can handle.

Note: This ride is closed quite often. There is a sign in front of the ride with the operating hours. Check its availability upon entering the park so you don’t miss it.

Height requirement: None

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America in Gurnee Illinois Sky Trek Tower

County Fair

County Fair is located directly in the back of the park. You can probably reach it more quickly by veering to the right upon entrance to the park, but you can really pick either direction.

Six Flags Great America American Eagle

Six Flags American Eagle is a large, wooden roller coaster that has been around for 40 years. It is not easy on the spine.

Pro tip: This line is usually fairly short for a roller coaster. You can save it for the afternoon.

American Eagle Six Flags Great America Gurnee IL height requirement: 48″

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Buccaneer Battle Six Flags Great America

Buccaneer Battle is a slow moving water ride that allows its riders to shoot water at others. You can find a similar ride at LEGOLAND Florida. Onlookers can also shoot at the boats.

Pro tip: You will get soaked. Bring a poncho.

Bonus pro tip: This ride is only open during specific hours in the summer. Check the schedule if this is important to you.

Height requirement: 48″ to ride alone, 36″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Dare Devil Dive Six Flags Great America

Dare Devil Dive Great America is an experience that simulates hang gliding. You can find this at a lot of other parks.

Note: This experiences comes with an extra charge.

Dare Devil Dive Six Flags Illinois height requirement: 48″ to ride alone, 42″ with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America Demon Roller Coaster

Six Flags Demon roller coaster goes upside down. It is past its prime. This. Ride. Is. Rough. Your head gets jostled around in the headrest like no other.

Pro tip: Pack headache medication.

Bonus pro tip: This ride almost never has a line. Save it for the afternoon.

Demon Six Flags Great America Gurnee IL height requirement: 42″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Fiddler’s Fling Six Flags Great America

Vomit Central Fiddler’s Fling Great America is a very, very fast spinning ride. It looks fast from the outside. It feels ten times faster when you’re on it. This is not something to ride if you are sensitive to motion.

Pro tip: This line is never long. Save this for the afternoon.

Height requirement: 42″ to ride alone, 36″ with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America Goliath

Six Flags Goliath Great America is a wooden roller coaster that is unique because of its speed at over 70 miles per hour and the fact that it goes upside down. It is not as smooth as some of the other Six Flags Great America coasters.

Six Flags Goliath height requirement: 48″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Six Flags Revolution

Revolution is a Six Flags Great America stand up coaster. It spins and swings its standing occupants at the same time.

Pro tip: There is never much of a line for this one. Visit during the afternoon.

Revolution Six Flags Great America height requirement: 54″, 76″ maximum

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Scenic Railway

Scenic Railway is the Six Flags Great America train ride around the park. It also has a stop in Hometown Square.

Note: This ride seems to be closed more than it is open.

Height requirement: None

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America X Flight

Six Flags X Flight is a smooth roller coaster that gives one the impression he or she will smash into a wall at one point. It is one of the best rides at the park.

Pro tip: This ride is popular, but the line usually moves quickly. Save this one for the afternoon over other roller coasters.

X Flight Six Flags Great America height requirement: 54″, 76″ maximum

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Six Flags Great America images Buccaneer Battle

Hometown Park

Hometown Park is a kids’ section near the Six Flags Great America entrance of the park to the right. It is located inside of Hometown Square.

Pro tip: None of these rides ever have long lines. Save this for the afternoon.

Lady Bugs

Lady Bugs is a slow moving ride in a circle in ladybugs.

Height requirement: 54″ maximum

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Red Baron

The Red Baron has slow moving planes that fly in a circle. You can control the height with a lever in the plane.

Height requirement: 54″ maximum

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Tot’s Livery

Tot’s Livery is a slow moving ride in horse carriages in a circle.

Height requirement: 54″ maximum

FLASH Pass accepted: No

airplane

Hometown Square

Hometown Square is located toward front of the park to the right. Unless you are dying to go on the Whizzer, do not go here first.

Hometown Fun Machine Six Flags Great America

Hometown Fun Machine is basically the Scrambler from a carnival. No, it is exactly the Scrambler. No upgrades were made.

Pro tip: This is always a walk on. No need to arrive early.

Height requirement: 48″ to ride alone, 36″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Lobster

The Lobster Six Flags Great America is a spinning ride you can often find at carnivals. Expect to get dizzy.

Pro tip: This line is usually short. Save this for the afternoon.

Lobster Ride Six Flags height requirement: 42″ to ride alone, 36″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Scenic Railway

Six Flags Great America Scenic Railway is the park’s train that circles the park. There is also a stop in County Fair.

Pro tip: This ride is often closed.

Height requirement: None

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Triple Play

Six Flags Great America Triple Play is a spinning ride that gives one the illusion they will fall face first out of the car.

Pro tip: There is never a wait for this ride. Save it for the afternoon.

Triple Play Ride Six Flags height requirement: 42″ to ride alone, 36″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America Whizzer

The Whizzer Six Flags Great America is a smooth roller coaster that can be tolerated by most. Because most can ride, it is popular. The line builds quickely.

Pro tip: If you are looking for a roller coaster small kids can ride, this is it. Go here first.

Six Flags Whizzer roller coaster height requirement: 42″ to ride alone, 36″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Six Flags Great America pictures Whizzer

Kidzopolis

Kidzopolis is a kids’ section located in the back of the park inside County Fair.

Pro tip: In addition to the rides, there is a play structure and splash pad in this area.

Six Flags Bouncer

Bouncer is a small bench that bounces kids up and down. See what they did there? You can find this type of ride at a lot of other theme parks.

Bouncer Six Flags Great America height requirement: 36″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Krazy Kars Six Flags

Krazy Kars is are four slow moving cars around a small track.

Pro tip: The wait is obscene for what you get. One child is routinely in a car that holds four. It takes forever to load. This ride is not worth any kind of a wait. If you can’t walk on, come back later.

Height requirement: 36″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Krazy Kups

Krazy Kups is a mini teacup ride. If you have to ride, you can control the spinning, assuming you are stronger than your child.

Height requirement: 36″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Up, Up & Away

Up, Up & Away Six Flags lifts kids up in cages shaped like fruit and spins them around in a circle.

Height requirement: 42″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Zoomjets

Zoomjets is a plane ride in a circle. The planes have two rows, but they joystick that controls their motion is only in the front.

Height requirement: 48″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Kidzopolis

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is located on the path to the left when you enter the park. You can save this entire section for the afternoon. You won’t find any long lines here.

Six Flags Big Easy Balloons

Big Easy Balloons is a smooth, spinning ride in hot air balloons. The baskets can comfortably hold four people. It doesn’t move too quickly, and the fresh air makes it tolerable for those sensitive to motion.

Height requirement: 48″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Mardi Gras Hangover

Six Flags Great America Mardi Gras Hangover is basically the Ring of Fire that you find at your local carnival. It looks horribly nauseating. There is never a line. I don’t think that is a coincidence.

Mardi Gras Hangover Six Flags Gurnee height requirement: 48″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Six Flags Roaring Rapids

Six Flags Great America Roaring Rapids is a water ride where you sit in a circular boat and move through rapids. It can be found in many other parks. Bystanders can also shoot water at the boats to add insult to injury. You will get soaked. Bring a poncho.

Note: This ride is only open during the summer, and even then, it is closed often.

Roaring Rapids Six Flags Gurnee height requirement: 42″ to ride alone, 36″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Hangover

Metropolis Plaza

Metropolis Plaza is located toward the back of the park to the right. To reach this area, walk toward the right upon entering the park, then enter the Southwest Territory entrance.

Pro tip: The line for the only ride in Metropolis Plaza builds quickly. It is a good idea to head to this area first.

Six Flags Great America JUSTICE LEAGUE Battle for Metropolis

The Battle for Metropolis Six Flags Great America is the only ride that reminds one of Universal. There is an animatronic visible from the line. You wear 4D glasses and shoot things. It is quite fun.

Pro tip: The line for this Six Flags Great America 4D ride gets long. If it is important to you, go here first.

Note: This ride may be scary for young children.

Battle for Metropolis ride height requirement: 48″ to ride alone, 42″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Justice League

Orleans Place

Orleans Place is the first section you will encounter if you select the path to the left.

Six Flags Condor Ride

The Condor Six Flags Great America is a ride that flies high up into the air and spins quickly. You might have trouble with it if you are sensitive to motion, but the fresh air helps cancel out the spinning.

Pro tip: The line usually isn’t too long. Save this one for the afternoon.

Six Flags Great America Condor height requirement: 48″ to ride alone, 42″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Rue Le Dodge Great America

Rue Le Dodge Six Flags is a bumper car ride.

Pro tip: This ride sucks up a lot of people, so the line is usually reasonable. Save this one for the afternoon.

Height requirement: 54″ to ride alone, 42″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Six Flags Great America SUPERMAN Ultimate Flight

Six Flags Superman ride is an upside down roller coaster where occupants lay facedown, simulating the way Superman himself flew. It is a smooth ride, but not for the nervous.

Six Flags Superman height requirement: 54″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

The Six Flags Great America DARK KNIGHT Coaster

THE DARK KNIGHT Coaster, not to be confused with the much more fun outdoor Batman roller coaster, is indoors. It is creepy, dark, startling to young children, and the line moves like molasses. Even when the sign says it has a 30 minute wait, plan on it taking much, much longer.

Six Flags DARK KNIGHT height requirement: 48″ to ride alone, 42″ to ride with an adult

FLASH PASS accepted: Yes

great america six flags illinois bumper cars

Yankee Harbor

Yankee Harbor is located toward the back of the park on the path that veers to the left. This is a good section to visit first thing in the morning.

Six Flags Great America BATMAN The Ride

The Six Flags BATMAN ride is a smooth roller coaster that most will be able to tolerate. Your legs dangle from the seat, making it more comfortable than most other cars.

Six Flags BATMAN roller coaster height requirement: 54″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

THE JOKER Six Flags Great America Free Fly Coaster

THE JOKER Free Fly Coaster is the most brutal Six Flags Great America roller coaster for those who don’t like spinning. The track runs in a vertical circle. The seats flip upside down in circles at the same time. This will be a hard pass for most people over age 30.

Pro tip: This line moves more slowly than most. If you want to ride, this is a good place to go first.

Six Flags Great America Joker height requirement: 48″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Six Flags Great America Vertical Velocity

Vertical Velocity Six Flags Gurnee is a roller coaster on a track shaped like a U.

Pro tip: The shape of the track lends itself to inefficient ride loading. If this ride is important to you, consider going here first.

Vertical Velocity height requirement: 54″, 80″ maximum

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Whirligig Ride

Whirligig is a swing ride that can be found at a lot of other theme parks. It spins quickly, but you get a nice breeze.

Pro tip: This line is usually short. Save this for the afternoon.

Height requirement: 48″

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America Yankee Clipper

Six Flags Yankee Clipper is like the log ride, but in slightly different boats. You take a smooth ride up high, with a substantial drop at the end.

Pro tip: You will get wet. Bring a poncho.

Bonus pro tip: This ride does not have seatbelts. Hold onto your children.

Note: This ride is only open during the summer.

Yankee Clipper ride at Six Flags height requirement: 42″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Yankee Harbor

Southwest Territory

Southwest Territory is located toward the entrance of the park to the right. You must veer to the right initially, then go right again to enter Southwest Territory.

Pro tip: This is a great section to visit first thing in the morning.

Chubasco

The Chubasco ride has larger teacups you can spin.

Pro tip: This is almost always a walk on.

Bonus pro tip: Six Flags decorates this ride for Holiday in the Park.

Height requirement: 42″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America Giant Drop

This Six Flags Great America drop tower lifts its riders high into the air, then drops them. The name of the ride is quite creative.

Giant Drop Six Flags Great America height requirement: 48″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Six Flags Great America Raging Bull

Six Flags Raging Bull is a smooth roller coaster that is tolerated by most. It is very popular. The line builds quickly.

Six Flags Great America Raging Bull height requirement: 54″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Six Flags Ricochet

Six Flags Great America Ricochet spins you in a circle while moving you up and down. It is intense. You often have to wait to board while the employee cleans up the vomit from the riders before you.

Ricochet Six Flags Great America height requirement: 54″ to ride alone, 42″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags River Rocker

River Rocker Six Flags Great America is a swinging pirate ship that you can find at most carnivals. It isn’t special, but it is guaranteed to make you feel sick.

Height requirement: 48″ to ride alone, 36″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Six Flags Great America Viper

Viper is a Six Flags Great America wooden roller coaster that does not go upside down. It is a rocky ride to say the least.

Six Flags Viper ride height requirement: 48″

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Southwest Territory

Yukon Territory

Yukon Territory is located toward the back of the park to the left. There aren’t any hot ticket rides in this area. You can save this section for the afternoon.

Six Flags Great America Little Dipper

The Six Flags Little Dipper is a mini wooden roller coaster. It is the oldest ride in the park, manufactured in 1950. It shows.

Note: This line is complete torture. Little kids move slowly. When they finally get on the ride, the employees do not make them sit next to others. There is only one row of cars, so you have to wait for the ride to complete its cycle and the person in front of you to get out before you can get in. This ride is not worth the wait. Ever.

The Little Dipper Six Flags height requirement: 42″ to ride alone, 36″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Logger’s Run Great America

Logger’s Run is the Six Flags Great America log ride. You move slowly in a boat on a high track. The ride ends with a substantial drop.

Pro tip: You will get wet. Bring a poncho.

Bonus pro tip: There are no seatbelts on this ride. Hold onto your kids.

Note: This ride is only open during the summer.

Logger’s Run Six Flags Great America height requirement: 42″ to ride alone

FLASH Pass accepted: Yes

Winner’s Circle Go-Karts

Winner’s Circle has Six Flags Great America go karts that you can actually drive. There are both single and double rider cars available.

Note: There is an extra charge to ride this ride.

Pro tip: Save your money. There is plenty of free stuff to ride. You can find go-karts elsewhere.

Six Flags Go Karts height requirement: 58″ to drive, 42″ to ride with an adult

FLASH Pass accepted: No

Little Dipper

8. Six Flags Great America Fright Fest

Six Flags features a Fright Fest in September and October. The park is a virtual ghost town during the day during this time. There is trick or treating and a cute show that has not been updated in at least 20 years. It is worth a visit.

Pro tip: Fright Fest Six Flags Great America has haunted houses and aspiring actors (not going to make it) roaming around as zombies at night. If you don’t want to be there for that, and you shouldn’t with little kids, leave the park by 6:00 p.m.

Note: There isn’t scary stuff going on during the day, but the disgusting decorations are out.

Note: Great America Fright Fest tickets do not include haunted house admission.

Six Flags Great America Halloween

9. Holiday in the Park Six Flags Gurnee

Six Flags Holiday in the Park Gurnee is hit or miss. If the weather in Six Flags Great America is tolerable and it’s not crowded, you can have a decent time. Unfortunately, neither of those things are likely to happen for you.

The park shuts down almost everything during Six Flags Holiday in the Park Illinois. Only a few rides are open and most of the food stands are closed. The few stands that are open have lines that are a mile long. There is a show, but it’s not good. The highlight is supposed to be the Six Flags Great America holiday lights the park set up, but if you are too cold and miserable to make it until dark, you won’t see them anyway.

Pro tip: You can now drive through the park to see the lights. If the Six Flags Great America light show is the main reason you want to visit, this is a much better option.

Bonus pro tip: You can get into the drive through experience with a season pass or membership, but you do need Six Flags Great America reservations.

Holiday in the Park Great America Illinois

10. There Are Characters

Six Flags Great America Looney Tunes characters are routinely parked near the entrance for pictures.

Guide for Six Flags Great America Characters

11. Six Flags Great America Coronavirus Protocols

As of the time of this update, masks are required at all indoor locations. Fortunately, there are almost no indoor locations, so this shouldn’t affect your day too much.

If you are uncomfortable in crowds, you should postpone your visit.

12. Parking for Six Flags Great America

How much is Six Flags Great America parking? It is an outrageous $25 per day for daily parking and $40 for preferred parking. You can prepay if you want.

Pro tip: The parking lot isn’t that crowded when the park opens. Arrive early and you’ll be toward the front. Don’t pay for preferred parking for Great America.

Bonus pro tip: Parking is included with some season passes and Six Flags Great America memberships.

Extra bonus pro tip: The parking lot is huge. Take a picture when you park to avoid having to walk up and down every aisle in the dark to find your car.

13. Download the App

The park has a free app that allows you to mobile order food and check Six Flags Great America queue times, among other things. Don’t forget to download it before you visit.

Pro tip: Six Flags offers free Wi-fi.

Bonus pro tip: Bring a portable cell phone charger. Your battery may not be able to take it all day.

14. Make a Six Flags Touring Plan

Prior to visiting the park, review the Six Flags Great America map. Figure out your priorities and make a plan to visit as many as possible.

Pro tip: When you enter the park, you will need to pick a path to the left or right. Most people go right, so you shouldn’t. People will get distracted by the shiny rides along the way and stop. The rides in the back will have the shortest lines first thing in the morning.

15. Shows

The park sometimes offers shows. The options change by the season. The choices usually aren’t great, but it is a good way to sit down in some air conditioning. There aren’t many other ways to get out of the sun. Check the Six Flags Great America schedule at the time of your visit if you are interested in seeing one.

Grand Music Hall Great America Gurnee Illinois

16. Cash is Not Accepted

This is perhaps the most important of the tips for Six Flags Great America. It no longer accepts cash. You shouldn’t use cash anyway, because points, but this is an annoying policy.

Pro tip: You can convert cash into a debit card at kiosks throughout the park.

17. Combine Your Visit with Great Wolf Lodge

Where is Six Flags Great America located? The address is 1 Great America Parkway in Gurnee, Illinois, less than an hour from Chicago.

Great Wolf Lodge is located within minutes of the park. You can see both properties from the highway. If you want to make a weekend out of it, consider staying at this hotel by Six Flags Great America and visiting the park after you check out.

18. No Pets Allowed

Only service animals are allowed in the park.

19. You Can Come and Go

You are allowed to leave the park and re-enter. If you want to eat off property at one of the restaurants near Six Flags Great America, you have the option.

Note: You must get your hand stamped to come back later, even if you hold season passes to Great America. I once saw a child who could not have been older than 12 walk through the exit with his parents before his hand was stamped. They figured it out immediately, but the staff told them he would not be let in later if he came back even though he was only a few feet from the exit and it happened 30 seconds before.

Hall of Justice

20. Pack the Essentials

You don’t need to bring much to Six Flags. If you don’t have a stroller to hold your junk, you want to go light. Don’t forget to pack:

A. Sunscreen

B. A portable cell phone charger

C. Pain relievers

D. Motion sickness medication

E. A hat or sunglasses

F. Ponchos

G. BAND-AIDs

H. Credit cards

I. Tickets for Great America Gurnee, season passes, or membership cards

J. Refillable sports bottle

K. Six Flags drink bottles and popcorn buckets

L. Cooling towels (only if it’s hot)

Birdcage

21. FLASH Pass

FLASH Pass is Six Flag’s front of the line pass. It allows you to get in a virtual line for one ride while riding another. You can purchase it for one day or the entire season. If you’re only going to visit once, it is worth considering. Lines move incredibly slowly.

Note: Prices vary by the day.

Note: Only the Platinum pass can be used for Maxx Force.

There are several options, some more expensive than others. There isn’t a huge advantage to cutting your wait time because you will be in another line away, so the cheapest option will probably be sufficient. As of the time of this writing, you can purchase:

Bronze

Wait time reduction: 25%

Price: Starts at $60 per person

Gold

Wait time reduction: 60%

Price: Starts at $95 per person

Platinum

Wait time reduction: 90%

Price: Starts at $135 per person

22. Kid Swap Passes

Is your child under 54″ holding you back? Get a Kid Swap Pass. These free passes are located at the Ride Information Center. They allow one adult to ride while the other waits with the short person, then swap without waiting in line a second time.

Final Thoughts – Guide for Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America is like that relative you don’t really like, but with whom you just keep spending time at family gatherings. It can even be fun under the right circumstances. If you plan to go a few times, an investment upfront makes going there throughout the season very affordable. Use this Guide for Six Flags Great America to maximize your day. Visit with your kids and make memories.

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23 thoughts on “Guide for Six Flags Great America Theme Park Illinois: Survive the Day

  1. Do they have a dinosaur ride? Without one, I don‘t think I could face it or even bother trying to face Six Flags – $30 parking is absolutely ridiculous and we wouldn’t go often enough to get a pass. Thanks for the warning!

  2. This was a very good post with many useful tips! I like, when people are writing real things – how it actually was (even if not everything was perfect)! I find it really important! 🙂

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