I wasn’t sure whether I would share this or not, but I finally decided to. I figure, if nothing else, writing out everything is practice for my big WDW trip report coming in November. And perhaps someone out there will read this and get something out of it, so here it is. Since the WDW category is by far the most active, I’m sharing it here. If these kinds of reports are of future interest, I think we should ask the powers-that-be to create a new forum “category” to organize them. I started the conversation about this on a previous thread here: https://forum.touringplans.com/t/non-disney-category/63624/21
The other day I did something extremely unusual, for me at least: I went to Six Flags Over Texas. Solo. Not only was the solo part unusual, but the last time I was inside a theme park was well over 10 years ago, maybe even 15 years ago. I got the idea the day before when returning home to Dallas from visiting the Fort Worth zoo with the family. We drove by Six Flags, and I commented to DW that I really wanted to go there. She replied, “Why don’t you?” I thought she was just making a snide remark, but I asked her about it later and she said I should do it. I looked into pricing and it turned out they were offering 2019/2020 season pass combos for only $60 while 1-day tickets were going for $50 and parking (included with season pass) was $20. So, I actually ended up getting a season pass.
I wanted to go to the park for several reasons. Primarily to get a “mini-break” from life that has been grinding me up lately. I also wanted to check out the park by myself to see if it was worth the cost to bring DS4 and DS3 (not too many rides they can go on yet). Finally, and perhaps most importantly now that I’m thinking about it, I wanted to go for nostalgia. I grew up in Austin (about 3 hour drive) and we didn’t have a lot of money. My fondest vacation memories are the 2 or 3 times we drove up to Dallas to go to Six Flags (and made side trips to the Wax Museum, and something else I’m sure). There were several moments while I was there the other day when I recognized something, even a minor detail in some cases, and it took me back to my childhood. Such a strange phenomenon. I’m not even sure if I was recalling actual memories or just photos from our family albums. But the sensation was real, almost dizzying if that makes sense.
Well, that’s enough rambling about personal stuff. On to the trip report. But first a note: I had planned to take a bunch of photos but I failed miserably. Sorry for the lack of visuals. I will do better next time.
I arrived at the entrance to the parking lot around 9:45 with about 20 cars ahead of me, but it moved pretty quickly. I showed them my printed season pass voucher and they waved me through. I’m not sure they even looked at it. I parked around 9:55 , put on sunscreen and walked over to join the mass of people waiting in front of security. I joined the bagless entry line (had my cargo shorts on), behind about 100-150 people. Around 10:15 they started letting people through and at 10:24 I was inside the park. Seemed pretty efficient to me.
Since this was a spur-of-the-moment visit, I didn’t really do any research or tour planning. Didn’t even look at a park map until I arrived. The only thing I cared about was “seeing” the entire park and riding some of the bigger rides I know my kids can’t ride yet.
The first ride on my list was The Titan, the “tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in Texas.” I decided to Rope Drop that. It took me a while to find it – the park is not easy to navigate. This was a problem for me the entire time and was made worse by the fact that I did not have a plan. I criss-crossed the park several times during the day. As I was walking to The Titan, I was struck by how empty the park was. There was practically no one around. Everyone must have been going towards the newer rides (Titan is older, maybe 20 years?). I was held at the Titan’s queue entrance along with a few other people, and we waited about 10 minutes before they let us up onto the platform. They ran 4 or 5 trains before letting us board. It was fun, and I nearly blacked out going around the first helical turn. A little scary, but I remembered this from when I rode it before so I expected it.
At 10:59 I was off Titan and walking next door to the Texas Giant, which I was riding at 11:13 . This was my first “big” coaster when I was a kid, and I remember it rattled and shook me like a rag doll. It gave me a headache and I hated it. They updated it at some point since then, it’s actually called the “New Texas Giant”, and it was a much smoother ride. Fun. No headache.
After my first two rides I was a bit nauseous (am I really too old for this? I mean, I’m only 33 dangit!) So, I took a short bathroom and water break, and walked along the north side of the park, taking in the scenery like the Oil Derrick, which is just a big observation tower.
I thought about riding Runaway Mine Train (my first coaster as a kid), but decided I would wait and ride that with my kids whenever I come back with them. I had intended to ride my favorite coaster, Mr Freeze, but I took a wrong turn and ended up at the new Justice League: Battle for Metropolis ride. This is a 3D shoot-em-up interactive dark ride I was planning to do later in the afternoon when it was hot. The line was pretty long, but I noticed they had a single-rider line which was empty. I jumped in. The ride was a lot of fun, I scored in the all-time 99th percentile, but the 3D effects were pretty crappy. The screens were really blurry and the ride vehicle spun around quite a bit. All this made me even more nauseous.
By now it was 11:40 and it was already in the mid-90s (35C). I thought maybe I was getting dehydrated so I got a Powerade at Metropolis Snacks and walked through Bugs Bunny Boomtown while I gulped it down. Here are 8-10 kid rides modeled after the bigger rides, including a small coaster, a swing, a drop tower, spinning cups, etc. This would be the focus if DS4 and DS3 came. I’m on the fence about whether it’s worth bringing them. Perhaps if it’s coupled with a bigger event like “Holiday in the Park”.
At 11:55 I got in line for Mr Freeze, and waited about 20 minutes. This is my favorite coaster here because you start off in reverse, launching from 0 to 70 mph (113 kmh) in like 4 seconds, travel through some loops and then go straight up a vertical track until stopping, then reverse back. It’s a fun, short ride. I also like this one because the queue area is actually themed: it is an abandoned cold-storage facility which is the hideout for Mr Freeze (Batman antagonist).
After this, I was feeling nauseous again so I walked around the rest of the east side of the park, which is DC comics land (Joker, Riddler, Batman, etc.), but I didn’t ride anything. There was a local rock band playing on a stage which I listened to for a few minutes. I started to think my nausea was compounded by hunger, so I decided to find somewhere to eat inside. Unfortunately, there were not many options. I am so looking forward to WDW in this respect. The only place that had indoor seating (except Johnny Rockets which was packed like sardines, and some American Diner place which had a line 50 people long), was JB’s Smokehouse. This was about 12:30 . There was a long line, but they had touch-screen kiosks where you could order, and NOBODY was using them. WHY? I ordered and had my food within 5 minutes, and I’m guessing I would have been in line at least 15-20 minutes by the look of it.
In a few weeks Six Flags starts their Fright Fest season, when they convert some of their spaces to haunted houses. While I was eating my burger and fries, I watched some HR reps interviewing people that wanted to be “scare actors”. They were on a stage and were having to do weird stuff like pretend to be a sumo wrestler fighting a samurai warrior in super slow motion. It wasn’t really that entertaining, but it was better than watching random people walk by.
After lunch, I walked over to the Texas Justice show, which is like a cowboys-and-robbers shootout, but decided I didn’t want to wait 20 minutes for it to start. I realized that I had passed by the Shock Wave coaster earlier, and that was on my short list. Another case where the park layout screwed me up. So, at 1:34 I was on Shock Wave, which is special to me because it was my first upside-down coaster. I rode it with my Dad when I was a kid. Ah, fond memories.
After that I backtracked again through an area I had been probably 4 times already (darn you crappy park layout), to ride Runaway Mountain. This is an indoor, completely dark coaster. The line was super long so I decided to skip it. It was getting really hot by now, and I wasn’t feeling too well. I had knocked off the top few rides on my list, and since I had an AP and could come back for the others, I figured I’d go ahead and call it a day. Get back to the wife and kids before dinner. But first I needed to get some souvenirs for the kiddos. I had told them if they behaved well for DW I would get them something. On my way to the Looney Tunes Mall, I ran into Tweety Bird!
At 2:02 I was outside the gate. A short visit, but a good one. I will say that Six Flags is clearly a step down from Disney in just about every regard. This visit made me even more excited for my family’s first trip to the World this Halloween. But, at $65 for an AP, and considering its only 30 minutes from my house, I will be going back at least 2 or 3 times in the next year.
Thanks for reading.
$130 spent ($80 AP, $20 lunch, $13 souvenirs, $10 cotton candy, $6 Powerade)
4 hours in park
1 character meet-and-greet