One Day at Six Flags

Spending the day at Six Flags Great Adventure is a day of fun and thrills, good old irreflective joy that is best and most naturally enjoyed by children. The thrill is foremost generated by the battery of rollercoasters that exist in the park, fastest and tallest of them all: Kingda Ka. Now, I should start off by admitting that I am a Stoic, that is I am disinterested in thrills, I am hard to get thrilled, but if I am, it bores me. It is possible that there is a deeply rooted subconscious fear for the understood irrationality of a thrill that prevents me from experiencing the direct sensation of physical shocks. So while everyone else ventured to enjoy the rides, I sauntered through the park observing the archetypical American specimen indulging in fast rides and fast food.

Six Flags is not the kind of entertainment park I envied as a child growing up in the Netherlands. My impression of an entertainment park is based on my childhood memory of The Efteling, a theme park based on Dutch artist Anton Pieck, whose drawings are best compared to Walt Disney’s in the Anglo-Saxon context, but are much more romantic and close to East-European animation tradition. So it was to be expected that I would be a little disappointed in the low scale high thrill adventure park Six Flags. One of the things that goes unseen by the eyes of a child, is how cheap some of the decoration of an entertainment park is build. Only exception to the rule is perhaps the Houdini’s Great Escape, an attraction gravely dismissed by true thrill seekers. But I found it more imaginative and appealing, because of its visual effects that disturb your sense of orientation, in contrast to the more simple and straightforward thrill of fast and wild rides on the rollercoasters.

At arrival and passing the initial parking gates, you drive over a gigantic asphalt lot, which sheer size is so monumental that it is hard to imagine the massive appeal of the park. The entrance gates are constructed in an efficient and practical fashion, leading to the Looney Tunes lane, basically the exit instead of the entrance, designed to lure the souvenir haunting guests on their way out. Here Looney Tune characters like Bugs Bunny, Tweetie Pie and Sylvester in costume will pose with you for a picture… for money, obviously. Alas, you see, this is where my socialist education ruins my childish sense for naive fun, I see the scavenging Official Six Flags Photographers not the Tweetie, I see the chasing souvenir salesperson not Sylvester.

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