4D Interactive Thrill Ride JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis Coming in 2017 to Six Flags Over Georgia The Ride Voted “Best New Product in the World” to Debut for Park’s 50th Anniversary
AUSTELL, Ga. — September 1, 2016 — Six Flags Over Georgia — in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment — today announces the next generation of interactive thrills with the all-new 4D interactive thrill ride, JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis, coming in 2017. The amazing thrill ride was recently named by USA Today readers as one of the Top Ten New Amusement Park Attractions of the year and was most recently awarded the Brass Ring for “Best New Product in the World” by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
“2017 will be an exciting year, as the park will be looking back at its 50 year history and debuting one of the world’s best innovative and interactive attractions, as the park looks toward the future,” said Six Flags Atlanta Properties Park President Dale Kaetzel. “The entire family can now join the JUSTICE LEAGUE Reserve Team and battle the iconic DC Super-Villains together.”
Engaging in a full-sensory journey on JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis, guests will tag alongside BATMAN™, SUPERMAN™, WONDER WOMAN, THE FLASH and GREEN LANTERN against Lex Luthor, The Joker and his henchmen. The interactive attraction features:
Construction is already underway and JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis is scheduled to open in the spring of 2017. For more information on other Six Flags attractions for 2017, visit www.sixflags.com/newfor2017.
Six Flags Over Georgia is also announcing the start of 2017 Season Pass sales with its special Flash Sale through Labor Day Weekend, featuring the best deal of the year – a savings of up to 70% off on 2017 Passes! September 1 through September 5, guests will receive a free upgrade to a Gold Season Pass with every Pass purchased. Gold Season Passes include admission to both Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags White Water, and any other Six Flags theme park, as well as free parking and special admission for friends. 2017 Season Passes provide unlimited visits to Fright Fest® and Holiday in the Park® in 2016 and all of 2017.
Passholders may also purchase a Premium Season Dining Pass, which includes a lunch, dinner, and snack during every park visit, plus they will receive a 2017 All Season Sport Bottle for unlimited drink refills. Premium Season Dining Passes may be used at any Six Flags theme park.
About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with $1.3 billion in revenue and 18 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 55 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com. About Warner Bros. Consumer Products Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.
About DC Entertainment
DC Entertainment, home to iconic brands DC (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, etc.), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables, etc.) and MAD, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating its content across Warner Bros. Entertainment and Time Warner. DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment and interactive games. Publishing thousands of comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Entertainment is one of the largest English language publisher of comics in the world.
BATMAN and all related characters and elements © & ™ DC Comics.
Six Flags Corporation announced their 2017 expansion plans for all of their parks today. Despite some leaks we are very excited for a few of the announcements, kind of perplexed by a few, but overall happy that some parks are choosing to not just focus on new rides but overall park improvements.
Hopefully with the new rides will also come general park improvements around those rides. As always we'll start on the West Coast and work our way east.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth
Click here for the full press release
Swinging higher and higher, while rotating counterclockwise are the hallmarks of this extreme, gigantic pendulum. Experience a sensation of weighlessness as you spin and swing simultaneously, reaching heights of up to 147 feet in the air.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Justice League: Battle For Metropolis
Click here for the full press release
Six Flags Magic Mountain — in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC Entertainment — today announced the newest innovation in immersive thrills, JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis — Ride. Play. Triumph. The next generation of the award-winning Six Flags ride will now feature a spectacular new finale, new game targets and the introduction of one of DC’s hottest SuperVillains, Harley Quinn.
Six Flags Mexico
Mardis Gras Festival and The New Revolution
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
An incredible 942-ft. long and 3-story tall water coaster. Guests will experience lightning-fast uphill speeds and adrenaline pumping drops.
Six Flags Over Texas
The Joker 4D Coaster
After being lifted straight up a 12-story, 90-degree hill, the freestyle-coaster will wreak havoc as riders flip head-over-heels at least six times along the weightless journey. Thrill seekers will experience exhilarating leaps and dives along a horizontal plane, along with unexpected drops as they tumble from one level to the next. The wing seats amp up the pandemonium since riders will experience all of this chaos with no track above or below─ just the sky, ground and plenty of sinister thrills.
Six Flags St Louis
Spinsanity brings a different thrill to the park as the massive disc rotates first one direction and then another while spinning from side to side. Forty guests sit on motorcycle-style seats facing outward as the disc flies along the 51-foot high half-pipe track all while whirling around at 14 revolutions per minute.
Six Flags Great America
The Joker Free Fly Coaster
Click here for full press release
After being lifted straight up a 12-story, 90-degree hill, the free-fly coaster will wreak havoc as riders flip head-over-heels at least six times along the weightless journey. Thrill seekers will experience exhilarating leaps and dives along a horizontal plane with unexpected drops as they tumble from one level to the next. The wing seats amp up the pandemonium since riders will experience this wild adventure with no track above or below ─ just the sky, ground and plenty of sinister thrills.
Six Flags Over Georgia
Justice League: Battle For Metropolis
Click here for the full press release
Engaging in a full-sensory journey on JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis, guests will tag alongside BATMAN™, SUPERMAN™, WONDER WOMAN, THE FLASH and GREEN LANTERN against Lex Luthor, The Joker and his henchmen
Six Flags America
Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth
NEW in 2017 WONDER WOMAN Lasso of Truth will join the amazing line up Super Hero rides. This new attraction is an extreme swing ride that spins guests in a 98-foot circle at speeds of 40 miles per hour atop a 24-story tower. With a capacity of thirty-two riders, guests will climb to the top of the tower while spinning round and round, offering an breathtaking view while soaring high above the beautiful Maryland and D.C. landscape.
Going up to 45 meters in the air, you will fly in a giant pendulum ride at speeds of 112 Km/h. Titan will propel you into a spinning tour over the park, sending you higher and higher in the air until you experience a feeling of weightlessness.
Six Flags Great Adventure
Justice League: Battle For Metropolis
Click here for the full press release
In a high-stakes clash between good and evil, guests will become members of the Justice League Reserve team and engage in a full-sensory journey to save the city of Metropolis as they battle alongside Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Supergirl and Cyborg against Super Villains Lex Luthor and The Joker.
The Great Escape
You’ll blast out of the gate shoot down a crazy winding slope to create one epic splashing finish. These new body slides are the first of their kind at The Great Escape. Standing 30 feet in the air with only one goal: deliver endless adrenaline.
Six Flags New England
The Joker Free Fly Coaster
THE JOKER 4D Free Fly Coaster allows you to soar outside the confines of the track for an all-new coaster riding experience. Begin your journey by traveling straight up a 120-foot hill, before being released for your highly unusual journey. Face your fears as you flip head-over-heels from four to eight times along the weightless, tumbling journey.
So what do you think of these announcements? Be sure to let us know in the comments and vote in our poll.
Also be sure to join our Facebook Live Chat tonight at 7:00pm Pacific as we discuss all of the 2017 additions.
This week Randy from Metro Atlanta Coaster Club headed out to Six Flags Over Georgia to check out the all new "Blue Hawk".
Out of all of the new or improved coasters for 2016 this was one that really made everybody curious to see if they could actually make the ride good (again or for the first time). Check out Randy's review, it may surprise you!!
Written by Randy Dewberry
When Ninja was installed at Six Flags Over Georgia for the 1992 season, after spending its first 2-3 years on the Jersey shore as “Kamikaze”, it was the tallest continuous-circuit roller coaster in the park. It would hold that title for almost 15 years, only being beaten by Goliath in 2006; in point of fact, the spikes on both of Six Flags’ shuttle coasters, Viper and Déjà Vu, were also taller, at 138ft and 195ft, respectively. During that time, the ride developed something of a reputation. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good one, which usually led to its one saving grace among coaster fans – it almost always was walk-on regardless of the day you visited.
Six Flags has tried to improve things. First there was a new paintjob in 2006 that changed its supports from white to black and freshened up the red track. Then there were the train swapouts about 4-5 years ago, as the park took delivery of the trains from the demolished Arrow megaloopers at sister parks Great America (Shockwave) and Great Adventure (the other Great American Scream Machine). That helped a bit, but it soon reverted to type: NinjOUCH. As coaster rumors came and went for the park, the rumor almost always involved the removal of Ninja, either actively or in the form of wishful thinking. In 2015, the coaster ran a single train almost all season, leading people to believe the rumors may finally become reality.
With the arrival of the 2016 season, sharp-eyed readers noticed the park map had Ninja as “all-new” and opening later in the year, and that it was now shown blue in color. The intrigue continued as park officials stated that Ninja indeed was getting some work done and would possibly even ditch the old name for something newer. Throughout March and April, the coaster traded red and black for blue and gray (track and supports, respectively). In May, the name change became official as the park announced an election – as if we needed another one in 2016 – where guests could vote on one of three new names for the ride: American Eagle, Blue Hawk and Air Commander. Over 6,000 votes were cast by the time the polls closed, with as more than 50% chose “Blue Hawk” for the ride’s new name, thus negating the need for a runoff (which Georgia law would require to be run in July).
Fortunately, the name would be the finishing touch to the already significant changes to the ride. Equally fortunate was the park understanding and full-on embracing the fact they had a problem child. In the discussions I’ve had with park officials, they’ve all acknowledged Ninja’s reputation, and that all this work was intended to fix as much of that was humanly possible. Vekoma provided a lot of assistance, from inspecting and making any needed adjustments to the entire run of track (it’s not known if any sections were outright replaced instead of being finessed) to providing two new trainsets for it. Said new trains would sport Vekoma’s new vest-style restraint system that had already improved the experience on the nearby Carolina Cobra (well, as much as a Boomerang experience can be improved). Then there was the theme switch, from Japanese assassins to the American military. The station colors match those of the ride itself, and the former “pagodas” along the queue line are now festooned with red, white and blue pennants.
Six Flags could not have picked a better day to launch the renovated attraction. Warm but not oppressive, low humidity – a “Chamber of Commerce day”. As invited guests awaited the new ride, they were treated to a duo of bagpipers and a local falconer who had brought along a European Buzzard (it sure looks like a hawk, but that’s its name, according to its handler). After a rousing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” from a lovely team member with tremendous pipes and some appropriate words from park brass, the first train was sent on its way, filled with 28 active-duty military and their families. Moments later, your intrepid reporter was aboard and kicking the tires.
The seats are fitted with black rubber inserts that were rather grippy and comfortable. The harnesses are hydraulic in nature, with an infinite number of lock points, meaning it’ll be secure and comfortable for any rider. While not my first experience with the Vekoma vests, I still treated them as if they were brand new to me, analyzing them and checking their comfort. The rubber vests are secured by seat belts at the back, and when the harness is closed, there’s a bit of slack in it so it’s not squeezing into you (riders of Wild Eagle at Dollywood will be thankful), yet it’s still quite secure. Final checks complete and the train was on its way.
Even in the first few moments leading to the lift, the ride felt different. The 122-foot lift felt a bit slower than the previous version, but as soon as it drops off the chain, that’s where the fun really begins. The entry and exit for the butterfly are still a bit rough in points, but (1) it’s much less than before and (2) there’s no horsecollar to bang one’s head into. The entry into the reverse sidewinder, as well as the element itself, were light-years beyond Ninja and quite smooth. The final dual corkscrew is one of the best components of the ride now, and everyone returned truly happy with the experience. I was definitely happy with it, so happy I rode it again in multiple locations, to see if there were seats to seek out and/or seats to avoid.
Riders will be eager to learn that based on my sampling, there is not a bad seat in the bunch. In fact, the best seat may well shock you. My initial run was in my “happy seat” on Arrow/Vekoma loopers, which is the front seat of the rear car … “happy” in the sense that it’s generally the least painful of the various experiences. Since science suggests you try different methods, I took three more trips: in the very front row, in the very back row, and one smack dab in the middle of the train (specifically, back seat of car 4). NOT A ONE was rough, so any seat will be a good ride. Surprisingly, the very back row gives a smooth and speedy experience, and arguably was my favorite of the group.
If there’s any bad news to be had, it’s that the ride is still only operating a single train. Park officials stated that having both trains aboard would have led to another 1-2 week wait on the opening. The second train is on the way and is expected on by the middle of the month. Until then, be prepared for a bit of a wait … unless you yourself are active-duty military and visiting the park in July. Park president Dale Kaetzel announced that they were eligible for front-of-the-line access simply by showing their military ID at the ride entrance any operating day next month.
In conclusion, I do have to confess something: I actually kinda liked Ninja. It wasn’t a good ride, but it wasn’t that bad of a ride either, again thanks to the happy seat. So I’m sure people would assume I’d say the ride was better by default. Well it is certainly better, but I was honestly prepared for it to be just slightly better, enough to be different, but still “Ninja 2.0”, as it were. But it really is better, enough to where Ninja should be purged from one’s memory and replaced by what is actually a very good coaster for the park. It’s not going to enter anyone’s top 10, but it may well leave someone’s bottom 10. In the long term, it’s going to do what it set out to do – improve its reputation – but I also am hoping that there’s an ulterior, yet benevolent, motive at work.
As a reminder, next year is the park’s 50th anniversary, and all signs are pointing to a new coaster on the horizon, and hopefully it’ll be something with some size to it. Whatever it may be, the park seems to be preparing in advance for it, by providing an improved mid-tier ride to absorb the influx of riders to the park who want to experience the new toy(s) for 2017. If that is indeed its true mandate, Blue Hawk will rise to the challenge, and I do encourage all enthusiasts to give this ride a fair shake and a second chance. While you never get a second chance to make a first impression, people (and coasters) can change, and they deserve the chance to show that.
Ninja is dead. Long live Blue Hawk!
This morning Randy from Metro Atlanta Coaster Club got the great opportunity to head out to Six Flags Over Georgia and check out their new VR coaster, and also ask a few questions to Thomas Wagner who represents the German company who developed the VR coaster.
We'll start off with some awesome video that shows the VR and reverse POV of the ride and then Randy's review including some quotes from Thomas Wagner from VR Coasters.
Lastly, some great pictures showing off the actual VR tech.
SFOG goes VR … WTF or WTG?
In early March 2016, Six Flags surprised park fans by announcing it was rolling out a virtual reality experience at several of its parks for the coming season. We’d been hearing about Cedar Fair testing VR on Thunder Run at Canada’s Wonderland, and Alton Towers is transforming its B&M Flyer, Air, into Galactica, complete with a wired VR experience. But what Six Flags is doing is rather unprecedented, and was kept remarkably quiet until about 10 days before the first parks receive it. Nine different parks on nine completely different coasters … will the big gamble have a big payoff?
Before we begin, we need to flash back to IAAPA. VR Coasters, the German company behind The New Revolution VR Coaster program, showcased its product aboard Freedom Flyer, the Vekoma Family Suspended Coaster at Orlando’s Fun Spot America. The reaction from the various Six Flags park presidents in attendance was pretty unanimous: let’s do this! Most importantly, they did it very silently, so it came across as a great bonus way to start off the season. By virtue of the calendar, Six Flags Over Georgia will be the first park of the nine to launch The New Revolution VR Coaster, and does so aboard its now five-year-old Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter, Dare Devil Dive.
The ride already has a huge sign announcing the arrival, and the ride platform has had some features added to get it ready for this new experience. A work area has been set up at the back off-load side of the platform, where the virtual-reality headsets can be kept charged and will be cleaned after each use. There’s plenty of tech available to keep things moving. Park officials also insured that there will be additional staff on the platform to help get riders ready and to keep the lines from getting extraordinarily long. It debuts exclusively to Season passholders for opening weekend, so it will be a good test run. (Incidentally, the ride will be open to all this weekend, but only passholders can experience the VR version; all riders can access it starting March 19.)
Thomas Wagner, the co-founder of VR Coasters, was on-hand to describe the technology. The headset itself, aside from the various securing straps, is very stock. It uses Samsung’s GearVR goggles with a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone for the visuals. The eyepiece and straps are covered in an anti-microbial leather material similar to that used on airplane seats, which will be wiped down between uses. Each of Dare Devil Dive’s four cars will have a small box mounted to it, between the rear seats. This box controls the on-screen action that’s sent to the goggles using two sensors; one looks for specific sections of track so it knows where it is (such as the station), while the other counts rotations of one of the rear wheels. This sets the speed of the experience, ensuring the film tracks precisely to the, well, track, regardless of its speed. Also, in the event of a mechanical failure on the ride (such as getting held in the mid-course brakes), the experience will hold at that point and resume after the car gets moving again.
Riders will take their seats on the ride and then mount the headgear. It’s not difficult, and the prototype straps in place for this media preview were comfortable. It’ll be powered up as soon as you put it on, and will show you inside a fighter-jet parked inside a hangar. Look around, and you’ll see other activity in the hangar. You’ll also notice a rather formidable dual-barrel gun tracking wherever you look. Touching the right side of the visor will fire those guns, even! After the restraints are secured, the car leaves the station – er, the fighter begins to taxi around the hangar. It approaches a door and holds for a moment, but when the door opens, there’s nothing in front of you. Oh well, the only way to go is up, and up you go as Dare Devil Dive climbs its vertical lift hill and your fighter heads toward the (thankfully) open roof.
As soon as you reach the top, you emerge into a raging battle. In the distance, a looming alien mother-ship is menacing a port city. Alien ships to the left and right! Hopefully you can take one out, but another one will take out your guns, leaving you to hang on for dear life as your pilot dives straight down to street level and winds through the city streets chasing the invaders. So many buildings! Let’s hope you don’t hit one, but no such luck. You do, and it slows you down … at exactly the same time you hit Dare Devil Dive’s mid-course brakes, coincidentally. It’s that attention to detail that makes the experience that much more believable. We now swing around a loading crane by the port, pursuing more invaders, ducking between falling buildings and spiraling through that crane again, heading towards a waiting aircraft carrier. We touch down (DDD hits the final brake run) and see the mother-ship falling out of the skies, engulfed in flames and explosions. Victory is ours … until the next batch of riders boards!
Sam Rhodes, Six Flags’ Director of Design, explained that the basic theme is similar across six of the nine rides, but synced up to that particular ride’s profile. Since Shock Wave at Six Flags Over Texas is different from Dare Devil Dive, it has a completely different VR experience. The three Superman-themed rides that will have this overlay – Krypton Coaster at SF Fiesta Texas, The Ride at SF New England and Ride of Steel at SF America – will indeed feature the Man of Steel battling arch nemesis Lex Luthor. Again, real-world components of the ride are masked in a way that makes sense in the general story. For example, for the Superman coasters, riders will be taking a pleasure flight and will have just taken off from the airport when Lex Luthor appears, pursued naturally by Superman. Lex attacks your plane, sending it hurtling to the ground before Superman collects you and pulls you back into the sky … I’m sure you can tell me what REALLY just happened.
Both Rhodes and Wagner said this may just be the beginning of this experience at the park. The VR overlay is described as “limited-time”, but that’s being purposefully vague. SFOG does pay attention to its visitors; it kept namtaB (Batman Backwards) for several more weeks last season by popular demand. So you may be battling aliens all year, or just until daily ops begin this May. Or, it may relocate to another attraction … or it may be given a Halloween or Christmas theme during those two end-of-year events at the park. All it takes is the ride profile, a bit of math and a lot of creativity, and the sky is VIRTUALLY the limit!
Having ridden Dare Devil Dive since its debut five years ago, I knew the ride layout by memory, making the VR easier to adapt to. I spent much of the first ride matching everything up in my head … but that was unfair. I blocked that out on my second run, trying to experience it as if I was a first-time rider. The VR really does plus it up in a fun, but unobtrusive way. It all makes sense, with no dialogue or explanation … which is mainly because it has no sound component. Adding audio would make everything heavier and harder to wear, to say nothing about adding even more to the concerns about guests’ personal hygiene. Also, and this is really being nitpicky, the graphics are good, but hardly cutting edge compared to today’s movies and video games. But in the end, it’s the experience that overweighs all that. It’s still fun, and still worth some effort to experience.
The New Revolution VR Coaster is just one of the new experiences Six Flags Over Georgia has in store for 2016, its 50th operating season. The first of the two announced kids’ areas, Bugs Bunny Boomtown, will open with the park on Saturday, March 12 with all but one ride, the Yosemite Sam Wacky Wagons Ferris wheel (that will open soon). Work is slowly getting underway on the second area, DC Super Friends, which will be the first-ever use of this kid-friendly variant of the comic heroes. It’s still on target for a late spring opening. Another new feature, JB’s Sports Bar and Grill, replaces Big Mo’s in the French section and will open by the end of the month.
For you coaster fans, the rest of the park’s arsenal looks to be ready for the season, with some notable exceptions. Goliath will open with just one train; the second unit is being rebuilt from the bogies up and will be added later this spring (the operating train has already undergone this overhaul). Cyclone may debut with one train at first, as well, but everything else will have standard load-outs starting Saturday. Two coasters will not debut with the park. Canyon Blaster is busy being rethemed into The Joker’s Funhouse, and should re-open with DC Super Friends later in the spring. And then there’s the red-tracked stepchild in Cotton States, Ninja.
Sharp-eyed readers observed the park’s 2016 map on its website and noticed two things: that Ninja was now blue in color and was labeled “all-new” and opening later in the season. Park President Dale Kaetzel said that Vekoma was on site and working to improve the ride experience with some track work and some improvements to the trains. Kaetzel did mention it would sport the new vest-type harnesses found on Vekoma’s Boomerang coasters (such as Carolina Cobra at nearby Carowinds), but was coy about whether it would be on new trains or on the existing vehicles. I’m wagering it’ll be the former. Kaetzel also mentioned that the name “Ninja” may not be on it when it does re-open, but nothing was set yet.
And lastly, while this is the 50th operating season, next year is the big 5-0 itself. Big anniversaries usually mean big presents, and needless to say, Mr. Kaetzel wasn’t forthcoming with what may be planned for 2017, but he did say that I would be pleased with the plans. He knows I’m a coaster fan, so I’m pretty sure he knew the message was received and understood.
Randy is a member of Metro Atlanta Coaster Club (MACC), which will celebrate its 7th anniversary this summer. MACC calls the Atlanta area home when it’s not traveling around the United States trying out other new attractions, but it has members and followers throughout the country. You can find their site at http://www.metroatlantacoasterclub.com or on Facebook under “Metro Atlanta Coaster Club” or on Twitter at @MACC_Coasters.]
The tech is impressive!
The headset ... all stock. Samsung GearVR with a Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone. The surfaces that touch your face are made with an anti-microbial leather similar to that used in airplane seats, and will be wiped down after EVERY use. It's very secure and lightweight.
The brains. This small box feeds the headsets wirelessly with the data they need to run the experience. You can look around and see the "world" around you, so it's not like Star Tours.
These sensors tell the VR system where the train is. The vertical sensor sees that strip near the wheel and tells the system it's in the station. The horizontal sensor counts wheel rotations to know where the train is on the ride. So the action you see is timed to the ride experience perfectly, regardless of the train's speed or unexpected stops (like on the lift or mid-course).
Another group of riders about to take off!
Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Thomas Wagner, from VR Coasters, the German company behind this great experience
Thanks again to Randy for covering the event for us, looks like a great time. Be sure to check out Metro Atlanta Coaster Clubs Events Page for all the latest on their upcoming trips including trips to Dollywood at the end of this month and their big Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky trip in May.
This last Friday was media night for Holiday In The Park at Six Flags Over Georgia and Richard from Metro Atlanta Coaster Club was nice enough to cover the event for us. Be sure to give their page a like if you haven't already as they have some amazing trips planned for 2016.
Thanks to Randy from MACC for the great pics and write-up below
Click on any of the pictures below for a larger version
In 2014, Six Flags Over Georgia expanded its schedule into November, December and January with the return of Holiday In The Park. This marked the first time in nearly a quarter century that SFOG had celebrated the Christmas holidays; the previous attempts in the late 1980s and early 1990s were marked by incredibly cold weather and very little of the park to actually enjoy. The 2014 run fixed those problems both actively and passively; the former by opening up much more of the park, and the latter by having more attractions in the areas that had already been used. Guests responded very positively, so much so that Six Flags announced earlier this year that Holiday In The Park was now a permanent part of the operating schedule.
For 2015, Six Flags made relatively few changes, preferring to take an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. Despite a larger number of rides open - including five of the park’s 11 roller coasters - lines were still extensive for some of them during the 2014 edition, which prompted opening individual attractions in formerly closed areas (for example, Superman Ultimate Flight in Cotton States, or Crime Wave in Gotham City) to alleviate overcrowding. 2015 adds all of Gotham City to the roster with its five attractions - two more coasters, the park’s two new rides for the season and the aforementioned Crime Wave. Aside from that, Holiday In The Park 2015 stays the course, which is a very good thing.
Guests enter the park through Main Street Christmas (the Promenade), illuminated by a canopy of some 100,000 LED lights, to say nothing of the lights lining the windows and rooftops. At the end of the street stands the park’s main Christmas tree, which is lit nightly in a brief ceremony. From here, almost all of the park is yours to explore. To the right is S’mores Village (British), home to Georgia Cyclone and several fire pits where guests can make their own s’mores (kits are sold in the nearby Piccadilly Sweets candy store) or just get a touch of warmth if the temperature drops a bit.
Passing through a color-changing tunnel of lights brings visitors to Rejoice! (Peachtree Square). Along with a stained-glass Nativity scene, guests can enjoy the ride that finds most guests calling out to a higher power (the Acrophobia drop tower) or take one of two delightful trips through the park. The Sky Buckets will provide a more gentle overhead view of the park’s illuminations with a round-trip journey to the otherwise-closed Lickskillet section, while the North Pole Express (Six Flags Railroad) takes guests through colorfully-lit trees on the way to the North Pole (French) and a meeting with Santa Claus.
Guests proceeding on foot will enter Georgia Christmas, covered almost completely in peach-colored lights. The Crystal Pistol Music Hall, already dressed to the 9s in holiday splendor, hosts a worthy detour, the charming musical show “Because It’s Christmas”. The plot revolves around two kids who want to send a letter to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve asking him to bring home their military father for the holidays. A chance encounter with one Jack Frost and some industrious elves attracts the Big Guy’s attention. The ending is rather predictable, but like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street”, everyone knows the ending to those classic holiday films yet watches them every year, just the same. If someone’s heart is two sizes too small, the cast of this show, performed multiple times each night, will work wonders for them.
Now fully in the holiday mood, it’s time to continue exploring the park. Monster Mansion, the park’s venerable dark ride, received a decor upgrade that saw last year’s unusual glow-sticks in the attraction’s front yard (dubbed by some wags as the “Jedi graveyard”) relocated and replaced by giant sprigs of mistletoe, complete with a new nickname, Mistletoe Mansion. The ride itself has again been given a modest Christmas overlay, with some of the monsters wearing their holiday best. From here, it’s a short walk toward Carousel Hill, passing over a tree-lined bridge en route to the Candlelight Carousel, surrounded by dozens of illuminated trees. Continuing around the park’s main loop brings guests to the North Pole, where every tree (and the Rabun Gap station) is covered in beautiful ice-blue lighting.
Just ahead is Retro Christmas USA, where the 50s theme of the area has been enhanced with 50s-style holiday decor, from oversized ornaments and picture postcards to a blow-up snow globe where you can get a fun photograph taken. Thrill-seekers will be glad to know that Goliath and Dare Devil Dive stand ready to welcome visitors; Dare Devil Dive is the more festive of the two, with a garland Christmas Tree extending down from the top of its vertical lift hill. The adjacent Dare Devil Dive Stage hosts musical performances throughout the day.
Last year, guests had to look longingly into the darkened Gotham City, but this year their path is lit by GloHill (the new home of the glow-sticks) on the way into the new Holiday City. Befitting the residents of the area, the decorations here are purple and green, with garland along the supports and a string-light tree atop the Gotham City Eatery. In place of the Batmobile stands a purple and green Christmas tree festooned with Batman ornaments. Another group of fire pits provide warmth when needed, and after a trip through the chilly air aboard Batman The Ride or the Mind Bender, it will be needed.
Returning back to Retro Christmas USA, it’s only a short walk to the long Georgia Arbor, which heads toward the front of the park. For 2015, the arbor has been decorated with nearly 10,000 dancing lights. Dubbed “Magic of the Season”, the lights perform continually to both classic holiday tunes and arrangements made specially for the show. The sequence restarts roughly every 30 minutes. After enjoying the show for a bit, you can head into Peppermint Plaza (Georgia), whose trees have been transformed into candy canes and where the Georgia Scorcher stand-up coaster continues to put its riders’ feet to the fire.
As if the decorations weren’t enough, the park is filled with live entertainment, including carolers complete in Victorian attire, stilt-walking toy soldiers and, from time to time, Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes friends. Holiday music is played throughout the park, with many tunes fitting the traditional themes of their areas (classic rock in Retro Christmas USA, country/Georgia bands in Georgia Christmas). Apple cider and hot cocoa are available at many restaurants and snack stands; a souvenir mug is available that can be refilled at no charge on the night of purchase and for about $2 afterwards. One restaurant is even offering a holiday dinner option with turkey, dressing and veggies, making it a far cry from traditional park fare. Guests looking for unusual holiday gifts (tacky Christmas sweater with the Superfriends, anyone?) will find plenty of options all over the park.
Back in the late 1980s, the park encountered problems when the limited rides in the park were not capable of running as temperatures dipped. Even in recent seasons during Fright Fest, when October got cooler than normal, attractions like Goliath and Dare Devil Dive started misbehaving. For Holiday, many of the rides have been properly winterized, allowing for successful operations at lower temperatures. Needless to say, Goliath’s 70mph wind chill can be a bit much when temps enter the 40s, as they did in 2014, but the ride itself was still performing admirably. Speaking of temperatures, the park had gas heaters at various locations in 2014, and appear to have installed them in more locations for this coming year, and the Crystal Pistol still offers a huge heated space, perfect for warming up.
As good as Holiday In The Park is, there is room for improvement. The decor can be exceptional in some areas, but sparse in others, notably the overlay for Monster Mansion. The 2014 run started light, but more decorations were added as the holiday season continued. 2015, as seen during a media preview prior to the grand opening for the general public, may be starting on the same foot, with very little actually overlaid. Hopefully future viewings will be more festive, but that raises the question as to why they aren’t starting with it more fully prepared. Even in their new location, the glow-sticks still don’t make much sense (who decorates like this in real life?), but it’s not as jarring as it was when they were in front of Monster Mansion. One area with a bit less going on this year is Bugs Bunny World, although its transformation into Bugs Bunny Boomtown for 2016 is the main culprit here.
On the plus side, the park employees are very friendly and keep attractions moving at a good pace. The decor that is in place is beautiful, and gives the park a very unique look that is perfect for photography. The teams running the rides appear to have learned from last year’s mistakes and already have the more popular coasters running at greater capacities, but since maintenance still has to be done, don’t be surprised if certain rides still just have a single train on the track. Therefore, if riding attractions is a primary goal, be sure to arrive at the start of the event and ride first, then enjoy the festivities after sundown. Hours have been modified for 2015, with post-Christmas hours from 2pm-10pm instead of last year’s noon-8pm (pre-Christmas continues 4pm-10pm). If it were me, I’d love to see a 12:30am closing on December 31 become a thing, especially with the Peach Drop potentially entering its final year (if it runs for 2015/16 at all). Imagine the Acrophobia Drop instead …
Just as Six Flags’ Fright Fest finds itself being compared against SCarowinds, Holiday In The Park invariably finds itself compared against a similar park with a well-regarded holiday event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. In both cases, Six Flags is still the underdog, but with Fright Fest continuing to improve and Holiday In The Park off to a very good start, the future is beginning to look brighter as Six Flags prepares to enter its second half-century of operation. Hopefully its popularity will increase, benefitting Corporate’s 4th Quarter reporting and maybe prompting the park to add either Cotton States or Lickskillet to the available roster for 2016.