Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Is It Worth Braving the Cold for Six Flags Holiday in the Park?
- Six Flags Holiday in the Park: Taking It In
- Superman: Ultimate Flight
- Covid Protocols at Six Flags Great Adventure
- Ain’t We Got Indoor Fun: “Frost,” The Live Performance
- Holiday Craze Mirror Maze
- Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice
- Our Meal at Six Flags Holiday in the Park
- What Made Six Flags Holiday in the Park All Worth It
- Six Flags Holiday in the Park: Other Ways, Other Locations
Nothing says holidays like a theme park! Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey is all dressed up for the holidays. Yes, it will be cold. But is that enough to make a hearty family stay home? Travel along as this TravelingDad and his family marvel at the lights, the rides, the tiny crowds and the breathtaking Skyway ride over it all at Six Flags Holiday in the Park.
The writer was hosted.
Only 10 minutes have passed since we pulled into the Daffy Duck section of the parking lot at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. We’ll spend the next 4 ½ hours sizing up the festive attractions of Six Flags Holiday in the Park.
As we walk to the park entrance my daughter Maya, 19, asks, “Did you know two of the Sister Wives divorced Cody?” She asks this question of her sister Libby, 22, and brother Felix, 15.
I know that Maya is hungry, because she follows her non sequitur with other hyper-enthusiastic comments having to do with food. She is not hangry. Maya is the equivalent of whatever hangry is for a happy person. She wants funnel cake, Chinese food, hot chocolate, and other delicacies, all of which, not coincidentally, you can get here at Six Flags Great Adventure.
Food will come later, though, because of the cardinal theme park rule: Thrill rides first, food second. And in keeping with Eisenberg Six Flags Tradition, our first ride will be Superman.
Is It Worth Braving the Cold for Six Flags Holiday in the Park?
As we walk to Superman, I ask out loud, “Is it worth braving the cold for this so far?” But only my wife Toby hears me as our three children power walk 20 feet ahead of us. They tend to do this whenever they’re together. This dynamic differs from when I visited Six Flags Great Adventure in June and it was just me and my two girls. We stuck together and had some nice father-daughter laughs.
But this dynamic is just fine. Toby and I will have several chances throughout the day to chat with our children out of earshot. Plus, we have long been fond of the actual sight of our kids walking ahead of us, together in the distance, without us.
As we watch this trio in front of us, I have a thought I imagine many other mortal parents have: Please let these kids stay friends after we’re gone.
My far less deep thoughts have to do with my question, which Toby is kind enough to answer. Yes, she says, it is worth braving the cold today because there are so few people here. The park has only been open for half an hour – on this Saturday and other selected winter days the park is open from 1 to 9pm. And over the next few hours here, we will seldom have to wait in line.
And at least for now, it is not cold. It is crisp. We have all dressed sensibly in layers, with hats and gloves at the ready if we want them. And we will want them.
Six Flags Holiday in the Park: Taking It In
Six Flags Holiday in the Park is available on select dates November 13 through January 2. The park gets a heavy overlay of holiday lights. It adorns many of its existing attractions with more light displays and garland and other festive décor. And the park deposits oversized holiday ornaments here and there, making for fun photo opportunities.
During Six Flags Holiday in the Park, Six Flags Great Adventure also gives different regions of the park seasonal names. And as you might expect, most of these regions have non-seasonal names the rest of the year.
So during the holiday season, Superman, ordinarily identified by its Boardwalk location, is in the Deck the Halls region. And the location during non-seasonal times known as the Lakefront is during the holidays home to Polar Point, Poinsettia Peak and the North Pole. You get the idea.
The Six Flags Holiday in the Park version of the park map identifies all the seasonal regions of this winter wonderland.
Along with the park’s existing roller coasters, eateries and shops, the park map also identifies seasonal attractions and holiday events. So when we arrive at Deck the Halls, where Superman is, we have the opportunity for a meet and greet with the Winter Wizard, which we decline. We can also take in a merry magic show. Decline.
We are that Superman focused.
We’ll avail ourselves later of some of the Six Flags Holiday in the Park seasonal entertainment. For now we’re enjoying our brisk walk in the crispy air that has an undercurrent of wood smoke from fire pits situated throughout the park.
“That smell reminds me of the sweet incense they burned in the clay ovens when mom and I were in New Mexico. That was before your time,” I say wistfully.
“It smells like the laser cutter at school,” Maya says, less wistfully.
Superman: Ultimate Flight
When we get to Superman, Maya wheels around to underscore the aforementioned benefit of visiting Six Flags Great Adventure on a crisp November day: “There’s NO line.”
And indeed, the only issue prior to boarding is that this is Felix’s first time on the ride and he’s a little freaked out. But he’d rather suck it up than disappoint either of his sisters.
We wait to board the ride – the three kids queued up for one row, us parents in the row next to theirs. “Make sure you’re each buckled in,” Toby says to them. I feel like this is a very mom thing to say. Similarly, Toby’s diligence about their safety extends to her passing her bottle of hand sanitizer to everyone after we touch anything.
Covid Protocols at Six Flags Great Adventure
Toby’s modest little bottle of hand sanitizer, like a miraculous Chanukah candle from ancient times, lasted all of us the full 4½ hours of our day at Six Flags. But had it run out, Six Flags is also diligent about having hand sanitizer stations throughout the park. The mask mandate today is the same as it was when we visited in June. As noted on the Six Flags website: “Face coverings are not mandatory during your visit but are recommended for unvaccinated individuals.”
And, as during our previous visit, most park-goers were maskless indoors and out, though a percentage, including my crew, remained masked indoors and when we encountered pockets of congestion outdoors.
In short, between my family’s personal precautions and the park’s wide-open, uncrowded spaces, we felt safe.
Ain’t We Got Indoor Fun: “Frost,” The Live Performance
You probably won’t be astonished to learn that it got colder as the day went on. And believe it not, at the very moment the air turned from brisk to frosty, we found ourselves in the festively dubbed Holiday Heroes region of the park, standing before a theater showing a Six Flags Holiday in the Park special attraction, “Frost.”
It’s nice and warm in the theater, just as the festively-dressed door attendants promised. And we’re pleased that there were many empty rows to pick from.
The 25-minute show is packed, the announcer says, with “astounding feats of acrobatic artistry.”
The acrobatic artists in “Frost” included this dude:
And don’t let the goofy green hats fool you. These two are serious about being limber.
Holiday Craze Mirror Maze
Our next stop was the Holiday Craze Mirror Maze ($6 per person, $5 for members and passholders), which sounds like a seasonally-themed episode of “Succession” but is in actuality a Holiday in the Park indoor attraction nestled within the park’s North Pole region.
If you like the idea of an experience with darling animated displays of Santa Claus that somewhat randomly includes a mini dance party led by a live elf, this is your maze. The experience is so kid friendly that we were happy to let a 2-year old girl and her family walk ahead of us and lead us through.
My wife appreciated that all maze participants were required to wear disposable rubber gloves. And I appreciated that Snowflake and Plum gamely took time away from their maze-guarding duties to appear in this photo.
Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice
As the mercury dipped further we availed ourselves of two indoor thrill rides, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis and Skull Mountain, which according to the Six Flags Holiday in the Park map, may be found respectively in the Holiday Heroes and Poinsettia Peak regions of the park.
The thrill level Six Flags assigns to Justice League is moderate, and that’s accurate: Equipped with 3D glasses and a laser blaster, you shoot at targets presented by immersive videos.
What I found more memorable than the ride was the Hall of Justice itself, both the exterior:
And the interior.
Halls of justice everywhere should display these banners, in my opinion.
I rode Skull Mountain for the first time in June. It still feels like “being strapped to a park bench while being propelled along a track.” The dude next to me – I always get to sit with the stranger if there’s an uneven number in our group – elevated my enjoyment of the ride by turning back to his friends and yelling “Keep your eyes shut no matter what. No matter WHAT,” advice that’s largely unnecessary because it’s quite dark inside this rickety mountain.
Our Meal at Six Flags Holiday in the Park
Beyond the existing dining spots in the park, the region seasonally named Merry Marketplace has a dining tent. You can avail yourself of Holiday Spirits — spiked hot chocolate or wine for $10.99 or seasonal beer ($11.99) or the Holiday Feast meal. We partook of the latter. For $17.99, this includes your choice of turkey, ham or lamb. You also get several sides. And, of course, because what would the festive season be without it, you get a pickle on a stick.
The mashed potatoes were a highlight of this plate. We appreciated that you could actually taste the red potatoes and get just the right amount of their texture. My daughters said it reminded them of the turkey and fixings served up by their colleges. This isn’t as backhanded a compliment as it sounds, as the festive meals at school were a cut above the usual fare.
If I look through the lens of, this is a theme park with theme park prices and add the additional lens of, it’s cold, we’re hungry, and our plates are loaded, this is a solid meal for 18 bucks.
Later on we skip that classic seasonal treat, s’mores. Though it was tempting to linger over one of the fire pits to roast some. We opt instead for funnel cake. It’s as enjoyable as ever, especially when it’s still warm, especially when you’re at an outdoor café table in November.
What Made Six Flags Holiday in the Park All Worth It
Both during our June visit and today, the only attraction with a significant line was the cable car ride, Skyway. You board this ride in the Lakefront area, aka Poinsettia Peak.
As we waited on the cable car line – which maybe lasted all of 15 minutes – I pondered that throughout the day we had passed from region to region, seeing the park’s attractions festooned with seasonal flair and trees adorned with holiday lights. And it was nice. “Festive without being too gaudy,” as Toby put it.
But as we head skyward in our cable car for the 8-minute round trip ride, I realize something. Throughout the day, I literally wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees. At ground level, we could certainly appreciate the different parts of the park and its many decorations and tree lights.
But when it gets dark and you’re 104 feet off the ground, the Holiday in the Park lights look quite different.
Because from up here, you CAN see the forest for the trees. You can see it all. Toby is a Jersey girl and grew up visiting this park. She noted that other times of year if you ride Skyway at night, it’s nice to see the lights of the thrill rides. But you don’t see these dazzling lights.
Would we visit Six Flags Holiday in the Park again? Yes, especially if we again arrive in early afternoon to take advantage of the relative warmth and light crowds. Especially if we bring warmer coats. And we would definitely stay until sundown and do Skyway again.
After Skyway, I loitered in the cold while my family scoured one of the shops. I was transfixed by a Christmas tree seemingly doing a mini light show just for me.
As the twinkling lights cycled from one color to the next I became aware of Sarah Evans on the sound system, who at that moment happened to be singing that “nothing is better than all of us together at Christmas.”
Even when it isn’t Christmas or the park isn’t Holiday in the Park, I take her point.
Six Flags Holiday in the Park: Other Ways, Other Locations
Does exploring a theme park on foot in the cold not pack appeal? Then you can have the Six Flags Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience from the comfort of your vehicle at Six Flags Great Adventure and in other chilly places like Chicago’s Six Flags Great America.
Does exploring a thrill park in the the cold pack zero appeal by foot or car? The warmer climes of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles and Six Flags Over Texas in Dallas also offer Holiday in the Park. Visit sixflags.com to see which ones offer the annual holiday experience.
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