Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hints and Tips For Navigating Six Flags New England

In my head, it seemed like a good plan to venture with 3 children to Six Flags New England.  And then reality set in.  How would I navigate the rides with 3 children, all different sizes, and one (MIDDLE) who looooves the scary coasters, but needs an adult to ride with him?

Obviously, I couldn't do it alone.

So I enlisted the help of my next-door neighbor/regular babysitter and her younger sister, ages 17 and 14.  Perfecto!

Hence, on a warm sunny Sunday in June, the 6 of us set off for the amusement park.  Me, the two girls, Middle, Baby, and Middle's friend (we were celebrating Middle's 8th birthday).

TIP NUMBER 1:  Parking at Six Flags costs $20.

I'm not sure why there is a fee for this, especially when ticket prices alone are around $40 per person with a promotion.  (Canobie Lake Park doesn't charge for parking.)  Once parked, you are shuttled directly to the steps leading into Six Flags.  Be forewarned, the park is huDge.

TIP NUMBER 2:  Wear comfortable walking shoes.  You will be shlepping.  A lot.

We looked at a map and decided which rides we wanted to go on first.  It helped that Middle had studied the website at home and knew which rides he wanted to tackle.

TIP NUMBER 3:  Measure your children at home so you know their height. 

Six Flags has different height restrictions for each ride.  Most of the moderate rides (but not kiddie rides) have a minimum height requirement of 48 inches.  Then other rides jump up to 52" (Middle was an inch short for all these and was HIGHLY disappointed) and some are even 54".  It helps knowing this ahead of time so you can simply avoid the rides that are too big for your child/ren.

So Middle is my daredevil.  He wanted to ride allll the big rides (that he was tall enough for).  Thankfully, this is where my 2 girl helpers came in.  They were able to ride with him on the spinny, scary rides while I took Baby and Middle's friend (who both wanted NO part of anything even moderately fast) on some tamer attractions.

And then it was time for lunch.

TIP NUMBER 4:  Bring lots o' money if you plan on eating in the park.

It's ridiculously overpriced (think $9 for one "kids meal" consisting of 2 small chicken tenders, some pudding, applesauce and fruit snacks...and at least $3 for a REGULAR BOTTLE OF WATER) but they do have online meal deals (which are still expensive, in my opinion).

TIP NUMBER 5:  Or pack your own lunch (and drinks!) in a cooler and hike back out to your car for snack/meal breaks.

Six Flags allows you to leave and re-enter the park - you just need to get a stamp on your hand when you exit, and then when you re-enter, you go through a special Re-entry Only line.  This is pretty convenient.

After lunch, we tried to hit the rest of the rides that the Birthday Boy wanted to go on.  One of them was Flashback, a high speed twisty, loopy and upside down roller coaster that goes around twice - once forward, once in reverse.  Blech.  Neither of my two helper girls wanted to attempt this after lunch.  But Middle did!  And it was his birthday!  And so what else could I do but take one for the team?!

 Here we are about to get on the ride of death roller coaster.  Can someone please just hand me my Mother of the Year trophy RIGHT NOW?

It actually wasn't bad but that's because I scrunched way down in my seat and kept my eyes closed the entire time and screamed my head off. and Middle loved it.  And I earned Cool Mom Points for braving it with him.

Thankfully, on this particular Sunday in June, the lines for rides weren't that long.  I think the most we waited was about 15 minutes.  The lines are shaded and bearable.  However, Six Flags does offer Flash Pass options as well.   Again, I think these are too expensive and not worth it.  I'm not sure why Six Flags doesn't model Disney's FastPass and include it in the price of each ticket...because to me, it seems like not many people are using Flash Passes.

By this time it was early afternoon and hot hot hot.  We were ready for the waterpark!

TIP NUMBER 6:  Pack all your waterpark gear separately and hike back out to your car to change (in the parking lot.  Yes, yes we did.)  Be forewarned that the waterpark is the farthest point from the parking lot.  So lots of walking is involved.

 Middle and Friend waterpark-ready.  And both in desperate need of cheeseburgers.

Yes, they do have locker rentals available in the waterpark.  But again, totally expensive (and crowded in those areas)!

THIS is where my 2 helper girls came in REALLY handy:  I didn't have to do any sort of waterpark activities!  Yay me!  I simply found an empty spot and guarded all our gear and totally judged people-watched while the 3 boys were in their capable hands.

And then?  We were done.  Finished.  Fried.  Famished.

Time to head Home Sweet Home

So do you and your family want to experience the thrills of Six Flags New England this summer??? Yeah, you do!  Simply leave a comment below (with a valid e-mail address for me to contact you if you win) and a winner will be chosen at random on Monday, June 25th to receive a FREE FAMILY 4-PACK OF PARK TICKETS!

I was given free park passes to facilitate this review and giveaway.  As always, any opinions expressed herein are mine, all mine.



Unknown said...

ah, the when are we going to Six Flags has started in my house. I am weary just thinking about it. I would rather go midweek with fewer crowds and bringing a teenager or two is a good idea!

beenomom said...

We love Six Flags too and you are so right about all your evaluations and tips! A four pack of tickets though, that's awesome! Fingers crossed!

booksandcandy said...

ha ha we took a field trip to Six Flags last year I think we took 25 kids. I didn't sleep the night before because I was so stressed about taking so many kids to an amusement park and I don't do rides at all (motion sickness) and my co teacher couldn't do rides because she was 7 months pregnant. AWESOME thank god. You are right about the food so overpriced even with vouchers.
I was so happy when our district vp told us we couldn't go to the park again this year although I played it up that I was a little disappointed.

Charlene @CharChronicles said...

Never been to Six Flags so it would be a fun time! Great tips!

Emily Stephens said...

I've never been to Six Flags, but I'm dying to try it out! We were annual pass holders of Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure when we lived in FL-I miss the roller coasters!

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Anonymous said...

My kids have been begging to go to 6 flags! And school has only been our for less than 1 week! I'm hesitant to agree to bring to them because of all the associated costs that you had mentioned...parking, food, lockers, water, it is crazy! And i wouldn't mind the extra cost so much if you got a "Disney like" experience out of it....but you don't.
Brenda. Ehultgren9910@sbcglobal.net

Lucilia said...

My girls and husband would LOVE a trip to Six Flags! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

Jeff said...

Thanks for all the tips! Would love a chance to be able to use them on a trip to Six Flags!

Becky Padula said...

Sarah I Plan to attempt this next week with my boys. I couldn't stop laughing while reading this.

Katrina said...

I LOVE that you actually gave your honest opinions in this post!! I've given up reading so many blogs lately caue it all just seems to be getting really fake, thanks for being honest! And I totally agree with all your advice. That being said, I'd love to try and brave six flags with my 3 little guy! Thanks

This Mama Knows said...

Sounds like you had a long day, but had fun! I haven't been to Six Flags in years, I remember when it used to be Riverside (yes, I just aged myself). Thanks!
rachelhaleco at hotmail dot com

Heather said...

So you know how I feel about Six Flags. But that being said I wouldn't turn 4 free tickets away.

And next time Middle needs a ride date tell him to call my Tween. She will ride anything and then turn around and ride it again and again and again.

Bobbie said...

We're only about 20 minutes from Six Flags! I can remember my first trip there (35 years ago when it was Riverside?). The first ride we went on was that clickety-clackety roller coaster. I was sick for the rest of the day!


Jackie said...

I agree 100% with the bring-your-own food. Good for you for trekking back out to the parking lot. I bring it all in a soft cooler and schlep it until lunch. Then I fold the cooler up.

Last time I went to six flags, the speed pass or whatever it was called then, was free (like in Disney). That was a few years ago, though. Bummer.

Marcie A. said...

Your review was hysterical! "Both in desperate need of cheeseburgers." Cracking up! Fingers crossed I win.

Sarah said...

This sounds too cool! Never been to six flags but I'm dying to go!


kjmaje said...

Our family LOVES Six Flags New England. My 8 year old daughter is old enough for the bog coasters now, and my twin 4 year old sons love the (former) Wiggles area! We all love Hurricane Harbor! Thanks for the chance to win free tickets!


Deb McD said...

I grew up going to Six Flags in NJ every summer. I went to Six Flags New England last year for the first time. My boys are 6 years apart so my husband took off with my 12 year old and I hung with my 6year old. I love the advice you gave and have jotted some of it down. I have to say my favorite part was the waterpark. I must have gone around the lazy river over a dozen times! I can't wait to go back but agree with you that it is expensive for a family of 4!


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