A summer tradition for many Wisconsinites is set to make its return this week. Six Flags Great America, located in our neighboring state to the south, is opening for the season Friday with "the largest array of improvements in over 15 years," according to a Wednesday news release from the amusement park.
“As we kick off the 2022 season, our focus is on improving the guest experience through technology, park enhancements and innovation,” John Krajnak, park president, said in the news release.
The park, at 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on opening day, 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 16 and noon to 6 p.m. April 17.
The park's hours and schedule can be found at sixflags.com/greatamerica/plan-your-visit/park-hours. If no park hours are listed for a certain date, the park is closed.
Here's some of what's new and what's changed since the last time you visited.
Roaring Rapids returns
After a two-year hiatus and "extensive" refurbishment, the 3-acre Roaring Rapids whitewater rafting adventure will be back. And yes, riders will still get drenched.
Single rider lines for some rides
The park has installed single rider lines for Justice League, Battle for Metropolis, Maxx Force, The Dark Knight Coaster and The Joker Free Fly Coaster. This was implemented to help fill every available seat on these rides, and thus, shorten wait times, the news release said.
More seating, photo ops
"In 2022, more emphasis will be placed on creating 'Wow' moments through fun and memorable guest interactions, beautiful landscaping views, additional seating for relaxation," the news release said.
More than 65 new benches and over 50 new picnic tables have been added. There will also be more shade structures.
New photo opportunities have been created as well.
Now offering a three-tiered Pass Program
Six Flags will now be offering a three-tiered Pass Program. According to the park's website:
The Thrill Seeker Pass ($79.99) includes access to Six Flags Great America, Hurricane Harbor Chicago and Hurricane Harbor Rockford on select dates; general parking; one single-use Skip the Line Pass in the theme park for a weekday visit; and two "specialty rate" tickets for friends and family.
The Extreme Pass ($169.99) includes unlimited access to all Six Flags outdoor parks; general parking; two junior passes for guests under 42 inches for the whole season; 35% off most merchandise; 20% off most food items; two single-use Skip the Line Passes in the theme park during a weekday visit; one one-day dining deal; and five "specialty rate" tickets for friends and family. This pass also offers a flexible pay option to make four payments of $42.52.
The Ultimate Pass ($299.99) includes unlimited visits to all Six Flags outdoor parks; preferred parking (reservation required); two junior passes for guests under 42-inches for the whole season; 35% off most merchandise; 20% off most food items; 50% off The Flash Pass all season; five single-use Skip the Line Passes in the theme park only during any visit; a 10-meal dining plan; $25 in merchandise credit; and 10 "specialty rate" tickets for friends and family. This pass also offers a flexible pay option to make six payments of $50.04.
One-day tickets are still available, with pricing dependent on the date. For more information on ticket options and add-ons, visit sixflags.com/greatamerica/store/tickets.
What's new with dining?
The new Captain Cold Ice Cream will serve up Dole Whip.
Bourbon Street Cafe will have freshly-brewed coffee creations featuring Starbucks.
Waterin’ Hole will offer three mac and cheese options.
DC Universe coming later this spring
Making its debut later this spring is the DC Universe, where guests can "immerse themselves inside a DC comic book-inspired world," according to the news release.
This newly themed section of the park will feature three "reimagined" attractions, the news release said:
The Flash: Vertical Velocity, a high-speed launch coaster
Aquaman Splashdown, a winding flume ride with a watery plunge
DC Super-Villains Swing, a spinning attraction that twirls guests in a 360-degree orbit
The area will also be home to Batman: The Ride and The Joker Free-Fly Coaster.
The rethemed Steelworks Pub, which is also located in this area, will reopen with an outdoor beer garden and patio, the news release said.
Six Flags is also hiring for the season
Yes, the park is currently hiring for the 2022 season.
Those interested in applying can text "FUN" to 224-335-9600 or complete an application at https://www.sixflags.com/jobs.
Applicants must be at least 15 years old.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Illinois Six Flags Great America to open for 2022 season this week