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Literally Everything Breaks But The S&S:// Six Flags Great America July 2019


Most Obnoxious Member 2016
Weird crap happening on trips has become the norm to the point that I shouldn't even have to say this, but here's yet another one of my crazy trip reports. I've been cutting down on my trip reporting this year, only doing it for new noteworthy rides, but the antics haven't slowed down one bit! This season alone we've been drenched in Kentucky Derby parking, trapped behind an overturned semi on the way to Carowinds, ridden a sketchy Kings Island water slide that time forgot, experienced the aftermath of a Six Flags St. Louis power outage, and recently stayed at /that/ Holiday World hotel again by mistake...sort of. Well the tides of adventure have brought us back to both return to Six Flags Great America, me after two years and Kaylee after thirteen, to experience the loose cannon of 2019 known as Maxx Force!

When Maxx Force was announced on 2018's Six Flags day, I think most of the coaster community was a bit shocked to a degree. I was personally certain it would be an RMC Raptor clone exactly like Wonder Woman, there were others that weren't so convinced, but I doubt anyone saw Six Flags going with a manufacturer with S&S's track record, and certainly not for something as complex as an air launch coaster. However, I thought it looked extremely solid, packing an incredibly intense launch, an airtime hill, two unique inversions, and a Maverick-esque high-speed barrel roll in an extremely short, compact layout. I knew something that unique was definitely worth making the trip for, so we put it on the 2019 trip plans.

Day 0
As with most other Jarrett trips, it started the second work ended. I got off work, headed home, hopped in the shower, changed out of my nasty work clothes, and headed west! The plan was to stop for the night in Indianapolis at Kaylee's place to see her parents for a special occasion and then head to Chicago from there. The drive out was fairly mellow up until Indianapolis's lovely 465 outerbelt, which left us in a bit of a jam behind a few smashed up cars...as usual.

When we got there, first order of business was to celebrate Kaylee's dad's birthday! She said he loves a home-cooked meal so I made all of us some of my Jagerschnitzel and served it with red cabbage and potato salad.

Dessert was a key lime pie that didn't set properly for some reason, having reduced it to a greenish-yellow gloop that could have been poured into a glass. A bit frustrating considering how this is the only time it's not come out the way it should but it was delicious nonetheless.

Afterwards I had some stuff I found cleaning my room when I moved out that I wanted to burn, so Kaylee and I went out back and watched a few toxic moments of my past go up in flames. When her parents saw we were having a bonfire they threw three full bags of old papers at us to burn so we enjoyed throwing paper into the fire and seeing how certain things burned.

Watching it burn was actually really therapeutic, both visually and symbolically.

After us grown adults got done playing with fire, Kaylee and I headed in, fast-forwarded through this week's Battlebots, and hit the hay. We knew we had to be early the next day to gate crash Maxx Force after a 3.5 hour drive!

Day 1
I was up at the crack of dawn as always, Kaylee didn't want to get up as always, so I got her pupper Floof to go help wake her and she perked right up. From there we threw our crap in the Versa and headed for the Windy City!

Traffic there was a bit of a pain but nothing we couldn't manage, but once we got into Chicago the drivers got pretty aggressive. Regardless, we got there and headed into the gates!

Apparently some of Chicago had the same idea we did gate crashing Maxx Force, the line was stretched all the way back to the Flash Pass building! Seeing that as our guide, we went in to use our Diamond line skippies on Maxx Force. Well not only is that only for Diamond Elite right now, but they couldn't process membership stuff anyway because the servers went down! So we decided to just stick it out and wait it out.

Maxx Force demands quite the presence from the parking lot, but once you're behind the gates it's kind of shoved back behind everything else, virtually invisible unless you're on a ride. It's the poster child for coasters crammed into places they barely fit, and having half your park's facades covering it up is definitely the price you pay to do it.

BOOM!!!!! If there was a Golden Ticket Award for "Sickest Launch Noise," it would go to Maxx Force easily. While it can't easily be seen, every time it launches it sounds like a cannon going off in Hometown Square, something I don't recall hearing on Powder Keg when I rode it. But it's there and it's loud, I actually flinched the first few times I heard it.

While Maxx Force's line was spilling out onto the Hometown Square midway, they were barely using any of its cattlepen. Most of it is still under construction and I hope it's far from completion. That cattlepen is literally the poster child for the "concrete switchbacks" stereotype we joke about. And in the July heat, it's pretty brutal. Kind of a shame too, the small plaza they built for it (think a small alley next to the souvenir shop with a few garden plants and pergolas) is kind of cute.

No shade = good photo ops, I would assume they'd add some before they're done so get those pics while you can!

Maxx Force was only running one train but the sixteen-second ride mitigated the negative effects it has on ops. For what it is, the line moves pretty steadily. And it's awesome they threw that fourth car on the trains because you only take like three steps forward each train.

But eventually after about a 90-minute wait, Kaylee and I got assigned the second row to the back! It was finally our chance to ride Maxx Force!

And it's a winner for sure! A winner for Six Flags and for S&S!

Ride starts with a terrifying Dragster-esque launch buildup that takes up probably a majority of the duration of the ride time. You creep out onto that launch pad, hear the catch car engage, and feel that ominous backwards rolling. Eventually the siren alerts you that the launch is happening and the next thing you know you're speeding along at 80 mph! It's literally a blink and you miss it thing, it packs significantly more power than Dragster or Powder Keg and throws your head back against that wide seatback beautifully. From there it goes into that airtime hop right out of the launch which, sadly, lacks any airtime at all but it's taken so fast you barely even notice it. From there, it climbs up into that banana roll which not only provides some great visuals but is full of floater as well! Once it dives down from the world's tallest double inversion, it hangs a right through this beautifully-paced sweeping turn into the world's fastest inversion. That barrel roll is taken with a ton of speed and has some wonderful snap through it. After that, it glides back up into that strange Lagoon roll/dive loop thing, again with more floater, before beginning to brake in the loop. It's a short ride but a sweet one. It definitely feels a bit like Goliath with the length and focus on floaty inversions, and that isn't a bad thing at all. All in all, it's a great coaster that did so much with so little and I'd love to see Six Flags clone it a few times.

We went to get food after Maxx Force but lo and behold, the park's registers were STILL down, so we had to go onward. I was getting concerned about my girlfriend in the heat without food like that but there was nothing they could do except get us water. Later on in the day they started giving us souvenir bottle refills for free without scanning anything.

With Maxx Force knocked out, Kaylee and I made our way to Southwest Territory for some good wooden coaster action on Viper! I loved this coaster when I went in 2017 but sadly, it seems to have mellowed out. The pops of ejector I remember just weren't there at all this time around. I hate to say it, especially since this has been in my wooden top ten in the past, but #RMCitorWreckit.

Looking for a taste of something bigger, better, and steel-er, we headed down to Raging Bull! Controversially my favorite B&M hyper, Kaylee was also excited despite all the heat this one gets. After a speedy ten-minute wait of ride ops just crushing it on the platform, we got our back row ride on it and I can safely say it deserves its spot! Still that lovely mix of twisting elements and relatively strong airtime for a B&M hyper, not a bad thing to say about this wonderful machine at all!

X-Flight was next, which we did up front and got an awesome ride on. Again, Kaylee agrees that this B&M is one of the better ones of its type and ranked it at #2 in her complete B&M wing coaster set below Thunderbird. From there, we got thrown for a loop on Demon, one of my favorite Arrow loopers and now complete with even more extra theming from the Marriott era. With those credits packed away, Kaylee was sitting pretty at 99, time for 100! But first...lunch!

Oops! The park's broken computer system might have booted back up but in line for Macho Nacho but I broke a computing device of my own. While waiting, my phone slipped out of my hand, hit the concrete, shattered against said concrete, and sent glass shards all over the food court. When I picked it back up my phone was still showing stuff, but my battery percentage started fluctuating like crazy. It had been at about 80% but was now at 4, but the second we plugged it back in it shot back up to 48. So something was seriously wrong with my phone, it kept restarting for no reason with random battery percentages, and was basically useless to me for the remainder of the trip.

From there, we got our authentic tacos and sat down...yikes! In line, we had heard a lady come up to the counter and yell at the employees because her salsa was too spicy. We thought she was just being a Karen until we took a bite of the salsa and chips they had served us...good god! Easily the hottest salsa I've ever had, which is unfortunate because it partially drowned out the wonderful taste of the awesome tacos they had served us. We ate the tacos and cautiously picked at the chips and salsa until both of us gave up. From there, I won't get into detail about the tribute to Volcano: The Blast Coaster that went down but long story short, that salsa did NOT sit well with me...

Onward to Kaylee's 100th credit, we headed from the food court towards mighty Goliath, Kaylee's fourth RMC and more importantly, her 100th unique coaster!

We single rider lined it (awww, just like how we met at Mystic Timbers during Winterfest!) and practically bypassed a 30 minute wait, AND got to ride together!

Both of us loved it! To me it's still a lower tier RMC simply because it's so short and lacks airtime moments, but what moments are there are just as good as standard RMC airtime, plus the unique inversions help out! One thing I'll say has changed, however, is that it has gotten more rugged, and that's to be expected. I noticed it with Lightning Rod and I noticed it with Goliath, Topper Track does get kind of bumpy with age and does start to feel like a traditional wooden coaster, which isn't a bad thing at all. As long as this doesn't get out of control and make something unrideable (Gwazi, Predator, Son of Beast, ect.) I see no excuse to hate on this ride system or dismiss it as not being wood.

Had to snag a few more photos of the RMC after. :p

After Goliath, we headed down to Yankee Harbor for some V2 action...and it was down. So we took our loss and headed down to Batman: The Ride, which is my favorite clone of this layout. Wait was like 20 minutes, but it felt like forever because some stupid lady decided to send her VERY VERY VERY ANNOYING seven year-old in line unattended to bother the hell out of the strangers stuck with him in a hot indoor hallway with no air conditioning. Fortunately Kaylee had worked with kids at a previous job of hers and knew how to deal with him. I was personally going to let a ride op know he was alone to ensure nothing happened to him (and maybe even get the mom in trouble for just turning him loose in a crowd like that) but Kaylee had a better idea and just adopted him so we could make sure he didn't do anything unsafe while loading or unloading, and fortunately the ride went like clockwork. Still holds its pace the best of the bunch, love how it weaves through the overgrowth, all in all a solid package. My only gripe is I think Kaylee was far too nice to the kid's mom after we made sure they got reunited. :p

Joker was next on the plate, which we single ridered and didn't get to ride together on but that was okay. I enjoyed it, with these being some of my favorite clones out there, but Kaylee hated spinning as usual and wasn't a fan. She's already dreading Batman on #Cali2019 next month because of it.

And with that...V2 was back up! We got there just as they fixed it so there was minimal wait, and it was enjoyable as always! I still think it's the weakest of the impulses lacking its rear spike brake but Kaylee thought it was better than Wicked Twister for some reason.

After that we went over to Whizzer before dinner, one of my favorite coasters at Great America! Line wasn't too hateful and we got the front, which really improves the mechanics of the ride but sadly we didn't ride at night. Provides some great Maxx Force views though! Dinner was after at Strutter's, which had a long line that was prevented from moving for like ten minutes by some dude that was more aware of fight night on the TV than his own surroundings. But it was good, I liked the chicken strips and fries I had but Kaylee didn't care for her salad. It's ripoff Chick-fil-A and considering how we don't eat there anymore, it was refreshing. Only gripe was the speed of service and cleanliness of our table but hey, we had the dining plan so it's free.

From there we nabbed our Diamond flash passes and headed to Kaylee's only reride from when she was there 13 years ago, Superman! Dispatches were taking a good 4-5 minutes with only two ride ops on the platform so it was a wise choice, skipping an hour wait for a Superman clone. We waited for the front and it was definitely a good choice, it's so liberating up there flying around at sunset! Only gripe I have is that the pretzel loop was so intense it knocked the wind out of me and I got off coughing my lungs out, but I was honestly more impressed than anything.

It was getting late, it was starting to drizzle a bit, a rainbow was cast over Irvine Ondrey Engineering's Mardi Gras Hangover, we had made great work of the park, and we were both tired, so Kaylee and I elected to snag a few twilight photos and leave. We also needed to go to Walmart to obtain the toiletries she forgot like an idiot and the pajamas I forgot like an idiot.

I love the way Maxx Force towers over the parking lot, especially at the end of the day like this. And for such a tall, dominating coaster, it's virtually invisible from the midways inside the park. Visually it's pretty strange that something so big can't be seen around the park, either dominating high overhead or looming ominously in the distance, but it certainly has the impact from the Diamond lot!

I snagged this with my point and shoot and it sort of reminded me of those vintage 70s historic photos you see on RCDB with the out and back whitewashed wooden coaster and Arrow looper, so when I edited it I just rolled with it! It looks just like a retro coaster photo...bar the high tech air launch in the foreground.

From there we went to Walmart, snagged what we needed, and got to our hotel. A creepy guy started approaching us in the parking lot so we ran inside and told the desk clerk who stated that "if he's on property he's about to not be," we checked in, got our room, and hit the hay. But apparently our room was being used as a staging area to hold the Kyles for the impending raid on Area 51 judging by the wall.

Day 2

Kaylee and I got up early to gate crash the park for Maxx Force again...turns out the rest of Chicago did as well. We had another line to wait in but it wasn't nearly as bad. Plus two train ops!

This is like the only element actually worth photographing without going somewhere unrelated to the ride but hey, it's probably the best photo op on the ride so...

Okay, there's this too. I'll take this as well.

There was a Koaster Kids day that day so we ended up waiting with a kid from Koaster Kids and his mom. They were nice, but the kid WOULD NOT SHUT UP.

When the time came to actually ride, the kid really wanted the front but the mom was hesitant, and with me being uncomfortable around kids, Kaylee and the kid took the front seat and mom and I took the second row. I'd have preferred the front but honestly, I doubt there was much of a difference. The ride is much better up front anyway, the speed you get through that roll is nuts!

And would you look at that? I even snagged a video so we can all see just how fast that launch really is from the queue!

The trip basically ended there. Line for Flash Pass was too long so we elected to just go nab whatever side of Eagle was open (ended up being blue) and leave, with Kaylee missing Eagle Red and Dark Knight. We hopped in the car, drove back to Noblesville, said hi to her parents, stopped at Bru Burger for dinner (her favorite restaurant), and headed back to a rainy, humid Dayton.

What a great trip! Maxx Force alone was worth the return to one of my favorite Six Flags parks, and while I still prefer Goliath the two compliment each other so nicely. Both are short, both have some of the best inversions ever, but while one is rugged and violent, the other is fast and sleek. If Holiday World is about wooden coasters can still be awesome and Kentucky Kingdom is about height short coasters can still be awesome, Six Flags Great America is about how length short coasters can still be awesome. Can't wait to return here someday, hopefully in the next year or two!

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Great report, @Jarrett! Seems like the two of you had quite a nice trip, and send my congratulations to Kaylee on her 100th coaster milestone!


Staff member
Social Media Team
Good work getting the cred - I'm really intrigued by Maxx Force and you're yet another person who reckons it's pretty great. Hopefully not too long 'til I'm back in the Chicago area for a go myself. :D