Coaster enthusiasts tend to debate anything and everything coaster-related. One of the most popular “arguments” in the coaster community happens to be which Six Flags park is the best in the chain. We recently released our own article ranking the Six Flags parks from worst to best, but even we had some disagreements amongst ourselves about where to place certain parks. Logan Rogers, the primary writer for the ranking article, placed Six Flags Great Adventure at the number one spot. While I understand and respect his decision to place the park there….I strongly disagree.
Six Flags Great Adventure has constantly been placed on a pedestal of greatness for the past few years. To me, this seems to be a product of Taylor Bybee from Coaster Studios placing the park at his number one spot in his Top 13 Six Flags Parks in the World video back in 2015. The video has garnered almost 140k views, which means it has reached a LOT of people (and possibly influenced their opinions). I’m not saying that Taylor’s opinion isn’t credible…just that I disagree with it. After all, Taylor hadn’t visited half the parks on that list when he made the video. For all we know, his favorite Six Flags park is now Magic Mountain or Fiesta Texas.
I have never actually visited Great Adventure, so I cannot say that my opinion is any more credible than his was at the time of the video’s release. That said, not visiting the park actually gives me a different kind of benefit: I don’t have any biased opinions on crowd levels at visit, personal ride experiences, or different environmental changes such as weather or rides being down. This article will be purely from an outsider’s point of view. Think about it like I am planning a trip to ANY Six Flags park, and this post is stating why Great Adventure is NOT my first choice.
And don’t get me wrong, Great Adventure is a good Six Flags park. It’s just not the best Six Flags park. Here’s why:
1. Mediocre Coaster Lineup
I always see people raving about Great Adventure’s coaster line-up, and I just don’t understand why. The only outstanding roller coaster at the park is El Toro. Sure, it is constantly praised as the number one wooden coaster in the world, but it’s still only one coaster.
Besides El Toro, the only other coasters that seem to be talked about are Nitro and Kingda Ka. The general consensus for Nitro tends to be mixed, with some enthusiasts praising it and others calling in average. Kingda Ka receives the same criticism, with some people being blown away and others saying it is overrated and has a rattle.
Other than those three, what else does the park really have to offer as far as coasters go? Well, they have five cloned rides…which I guess isn’t terrible but it isn’t unique either. They also have two indoor family coasters (repetitive), three more family/kiddie coasters (boring), and a stand-up coaster (ouch). Also, the park hasn’t even received a new coaster since 2015 (a 4D Free-Fly Clone). Finally, Great Adventure doesn’t even have an RMC yet, which is a Six Flags staple! I mean, when Fiesta Texas has two RMC’s and Great Adventure doesn’t have any, can the park really be that good? Overall, I wouldn’t say their coaster line-up is anything to write home about.
2. The Flat Ride Collection is Just Barely Better than Other Six Flags Parks’
So many people rave about Great Adventure’s flat ride collection. While I will admit that it is impressive, it’s not that much better than the likes of Magic Mountain, New England, or Great America.
To do a quick comparison, let’s look at how the flat rides at Great Adventure match up to Magic Mountain, the flagship Six Flags Park.
- Drop Tower of 400+ Feet
- Skydiving attraction (Daredevil Dive)
- A swinging, pirate-ship ride
- A pendulum ride (Great Adventure’s opens in 2019)
- Justice League Dark Ride
- Slingshot ride
- Bumper Cars
- Log Flume
- Rapids Ride
- Meteor Ride
ONLY AT GREAT ADVENTURE
- Cyborg Tourbillion ride
- Top Spin
- Vekoma Madhouse
- Parachute Ride
- Tango – another spinning ride
ONLY AT MAGIC MOUNTAIN
- Swinging Chair Ride
- Himalaya Ride
- Giant splash boat/flume
As you can see, Great Adventure really only has two more flat rides than Great Adventure. I didn’t count each park’s Kids Rides, but even then you could still say that Magic Mountain holds its own in that department too (plus it offers FOUR kiddie coasters). I get that Great Adventure has a nice flat ride collection, but it REALLY isn’t much better than Magic Mountain, which is constantly berated for having a less-than-stellar flat ride collection.
Also, I predict that the gap in flat rides in the Six Flags chain will only continue to close in the future. The chain has done a very good job at equally distributing different flat rides to their parks in recent years, and I can see them continuing to do so for many years to come. Plus, Magic Mountain just received their 20th roller coaster in 2019, so I believe that the park will take a longer break to focus on adding more non-coaster additions. Not saying that Magic Mountain will have a huge coaster-drought or anything, but I do expect them to get nothing but flat rides for the next 2 to 3 years. By then, I think Magic Mountain will have an undoubtedly BETTER flat ride collection.
3. Awkward Park Layout
This one might not be a huge issue, but it is still worth pointing out. Below is a picture of Great Adventure’s park map. Take a look:
Notice anything annoying about this layout? For me, it’s how thin the park is spread. The park is a long, thin strip of land that stretches far away from the entrance on both sides. In my opinion, this makes for a terrible park layout because it forces park guests to walk back and forth for a long distance to access different parts of the park. If you want to ride Nitro immediately after riding Bizzaro, you’re in for a long walk. I don’t have anything against exercise, but there’s a difference a nice walk and a tedious one.
To make matters worse, the park places its’ two most popular attractions (El Toro and Kingda Ka) incredibly close to each other. Again, I’ve never been to the park, but I would assume that this results in a lot of pathway congestion. This is just an assumption though.
4. Too Much DC
This final point is a small one and it’s definitely more of an opinion, but I still feel like I should touch on it. All Six Flags parks have a considerable amount of DC Comics themed rides, and that’s understandable. After all, it’s arguably Six Flags’ most recognizable IP. That said, I feel like DC is WAY to prevalent in Great Adventure. Almost all of their coasters have DC names, and that’s not even counting their flat rides. Again, I get that it’s a smart business decision on Six Flags’ end, but I still would’ve liked to see more creativity at the end of the day.
So, if Six Flags Great Adventure isn’t the best Six Flags park, then what is? I think I’d have to give it to Magic Mountain. I guess that’s a bit of a cop-out, as it’s often labeled as the flagship park and is an easy pick, but I think it still has the best to offer in both quality and quantity. I’d rather ride a lot of the coasters at Magic Mountain before I ride any of the ones at Great Adventure (excluding El Toro). Overall, it’s just my personal preference. Let me know down in the comments what Six Flags park you’d place at number one, whether you agree with me or not!
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