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Six Flags Magic Mountain - thoughts afterward

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Looking to visit SFMM while staying in LA. Anyone know if it's better to go from 12:00 to closing on a Friday or the full day on Saturday if I'm interested in going on most of the main rides (X2, Tatsu, Goliath etc...)? The weekend in question is 7/27 (Friday) and 7/28 (Saturday). Any tips on how to get through the rides are also appreciated.


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I have no experience with SFMM itself, but generally speaking, Terpy is right. That Saturday is right in the middle of peak vacation season and is likely to be a super-busy day for most, if not all, amusement parks.

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Having visited Magic Mountain a few times now, I too would recommend visiting on a Friday rather than a Saturday.

As far as ride strategies go, I would highly recommend heading straight to X2 at opening if you decide to go on Saturday. It is a spectacular ride and my all time favorite. Most visitors agree with me, and therefore the ride gets long waits very quickly.

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Thanks for the feedback. It seems like Friday from noon on is a better plan. If I do plan on going Friday, should X2 still be my first destination, or will it not matter as much?

Also, I didn't ask before, but I'm assuming that SFMM is the best overall choice for an amusement park near LA, right?

Thanks again.

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Depends what you're looking for.

Disneyland? Disney California Adventure? Especially now, I'd take a day at the latter over a day at most any other domestic park. Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland is worth the price of admission in and of itself if you ask me. World of Color, Tower of Terror, California Screamin', Ariel's Undersea Adventure, Soarin' Over California, Radiator Springs Racers... And across the way, Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain, Submarine Voyage, Haunted Mansion...

Knott's Berry Farm is a legacy Cedar Fair park with terrific history and a sense of rooted identity that many of their other parks feel jumbled about. A few great coasters, but also historic dark rides, authentic shopping, a legendary chicken restaurant, etc.

Universal in Hollywood is a fantastic park, too, and the new Transformers ride is absolutely stunning. There's also a Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic Park: The Ride there and some really awesome simulators, especially if you've never been to the Florida park.

If you're into roller coasters and on a budget, your nearest Six Flags will always welcome you with open arms. But is it the best choice? In my experience, rarely... Especially with Disney, Universal, and Knott's competing. Word on the street is that that particular Six Flags park falls farther and farther down in customer service, appearance, cleanliness, clientele, etc. but again, if you want roller coasters and adrenaline, that is definitely the place to go. I've never been myself, so don't take my word or my hearsay for it.

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And that's the EXACT attitude I was talking about. That bias against that Six Flags park existed back 15 years ago, except back then it was Great Adventure.

You haven't been to Magic Mountain,, yet, since your trendy, in friends diss it, you try to dissuade others from going.


I love Disneyland, California Adventure and Universal Hollywood...but I also love Magic Mountain. You have no idea what you are missing.

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Magic Mountain is a great park. In fact, if you asked me if I had to spend one and only one day at any park in the country I've already visited I'd probably pick Magic Mountain. My only real knock against Magic Mountain is their (at times) spotty operations, but the variety of coasters and overall quality of those coasters is unmatched anywhere in the US IMO. Add to that the wonderful views and you've got a great place. There are also two In-N-Outs within five miles so it's hard to go wrong.

Most people who go to the park will work their way around clockwise starting with X2, then Tatsu, then Apocalypse or Ninja, particularly now that the buzz with Green Lantern has worn off.

If you go on Friday then I would recommend going exactly the opposite way and start with stuff at the back. Personally I'd try and get on Green Lantern and Riddlers Revenge (in that order) first as those two coasters generally have the slowest moving lines in that part of the park. Goliath, Scream, Batman and (to a lesser extent) Apocalypse all have pretty fast moving lines so I'd get those as you're going by them. The lines for X2 and Tatsu will generally die down in the last two hours before closing time so I'd pick those up in that timeframe.

If you go on Saturday then I would get there early (i.e., be at the front gate a half hour early). Discover card members usually get in a few minutes early (and the line is MUCH shorter to get in) so if you have a Discover card then absolutely take advantage of that line. While you're standing out there take a look at X2 and see if it's running, because if you don't see trains testing early then it probably won't open on time. If that occurs simply skip X2 for the moment, go up the hill to Tatsu and then work your way around to Superman: EFK and Drop of Doom if you're so inclined (as those lines will be SLOW).

A quick note about the Riddlers Revenge station. The station queues are at an angle, so for the shortest line stay as far to the left as possible. Have an enjoyable visit!

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I'm assuming that SFMM is the best overall choice for an amusement park near LA, right?

If you go to ride coasters, then overwhelmingly SFMM is the best choice.

I've only gone in winter, so I won't advise about lines. I will say that Green Lantern is the second biggest disappointment to me in any amusement park ever (second to the Potato Patch at Kennywood).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, well I decided to go on the Friday, 7/27, and these are some thoughts I have.

Got to the park at 1:30 (haha), and set out to ride as many rides as possible. Original plan was to get there at noon, but that didn't work out.

Went straight for X2 and decided to wait out the line. It said 90 min wait, but I didn't want to miss out on riding it, since I've heard so many good things about it. After what turned out to be just over an hour, I finally got on. It was a great ride, but after the first drop and loop around, much of it was a blur. Definitely a unique experience though.

Decided to go on Viper next since it was right there. Basically no wait, and I was really surprised until after riding it myself. Not much to say about it, didn't enjoy it too much.

Next, I scouted out the line for Tatsu and thought it was too long, so I went back to Apocalypse. I expected just another wooden coaster, but this was way beyond my expectations. You would think with so many sharp drops and turns on a woody, it would be a bumpy ride, but it was really smooth, comparable to many steel coasters. Probably one of my favorites in the park.

Riddler's Revenge was next. Line wasn't too bad and this was going to be my first stand-up coaster, so I didn't know what to expect. On the ride, I got the weirdest sensation, like all the blood was rushing to my calves and feet, to the extent that it became a little uncomfortable especially during the inversions. I don't know why that happened, and if it was just me... haha. Overall a cool ride though.

By now, it was almost 5, and knowing that the park closes at 9, I had to hurry. Checked out the line for Lex Luthor, and decided it was too long, so went to Batman. Nothing spectacular, but a decent ride.

Checked back at Lex and the line was shorter, but not by too much. I decided to wait anyways, and turned out to be a little over 30 min, much less than the 60 minutes it predicted. Wow! On drop zone, you barely have time to react before you feel the brakes coming on, but for this, I actually had time to register that I was in fact free falling, and enjoy the experience a bit. Got a little nervous on the way up, especially since each time the Superman car went up, the whole structure shakes a bit. Fun ride.

Went to Goliath next. Diamondback is soo much better. I felt the line was too long for how fun the ride was. The helix at the end was nice though. Brakes right before (the helix) brought the train to a complete stop.

Colossus. Terrible ride. Only one side was running, and the wait was about 20-30 minutes. Bumpiest ride ever. Couldn't enjoy the ride at all. Overall waste of time.

It was 7:30 now, and I decided to check out Scream as long as the wait wasn't too bad. No line. I wondered to myself how the Colossus had a line and this didn't. I enjoyed it.

It was getting late, and I still needed to ride Tatsu, so I rushed over and saw that the wait was still 90 minutes. Probably going to be my last ride then. The sky was getting dark, and by the time I got on, it was dark and all the lights around the park were on. Tatsu at night is breathtaking. I don't know what it's like during the day, but this flying coaster felt so much more exciting than Firehawk. I've heard people talking about the pretzel loop at the end, and add me to the list of people who think it's amazing. Definitely worth the wait time.

Well, by now I had gone on 10 rides since 1:30, and I was feeling quite accomplished. It was 8:56 now, and I thought maybe I could get to Superman in time. So I ran all the way there, and I was able to just get in line. Good thing they keep lines open until 9, and as long as you're in line, they can't kick you. I was literally the last one or two rides on Superman that day. The horizontal acceleration went on for much longer than it looked, and it was awesome to see the station with lights fading away into more darkness and then finally shooting up.

11 rides total from 1:30 in the afternoon to closing. No time to ride any flats, and I was basically constantly going from one ride to the next. I got on all of the rides I really wanted to, missed some rides like Ninja and Revolution, but it was really great. If I ever get another chance, I definitely want to ride X2 again to try and understand what was happening, haha.

One thing I noticed, all rides seemed to have much more interesting themeing, especially during the lines. Much more so than KI. Six Flags seemed to have put a lot of thought into making a more immersive experience.

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I'm delighted you had a good time at one of my very favorite parks. Magic Mountain often gets tarred with a cynical brush it doesn't deserve. I consider every one of my trips there a great adventure.

Agreed, Terpy! I have always had AWESOME visits to SFMM and have never understood the bad reputation that it gets from enthusiasts. In fact, most of my Six Flags experiences have been very good. Over the past 3 years or so, my Six Flags experiences have been far superior to the experiences that I've had at Cedar Fair parks. I don't even want to get started on the visits I've taken to Worlds of Fun, Dorney and Kings Dominion lately.

- Todd, who can't wait for another visit to SFMM in September!

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