Six Flags Magic Mountain

This hilly thrillseeking oasis in the Northern outskirts of Los Angeles has been a magnet for riders and film crews. Yes, this was Walley World in National Lampoon's Vacation. It was also during the grand opening of its Revolution roller coaster that it became the final setting in the Roller Coaster suspense thriller. Of course, a lot has changed in the decades since those flicks were filmed. The thrills have been ramped up. Some truly unique ride experiences await -- if you dare.

Contesting Cedar Point for the crowd of most coasters, the downside here is that you will be hard-pressed to find all of the park's coasters running on any given day. From the finicky operation of its newest rides to the perpetually refurbishing state of its older rides, you will still get to experience plenty of the country's finest coasters but don't count on checking them all off your list in one visit.

Pros? If you want to ride a 4D coaster, this is the only place you can ride X. Other unique scream machines like Superman the Escape and the low-capacity Déjà vu can only be found here. You also have plenty of flat rides and a large Looney Toons kiddie ride area.

Cons? The hills can wear on you. The popular morning stamped to X is a workout in of itself. You will often be swearing under your breath to find that the long lines could be significantly shorter if they were running more trains on the coasters and were loaded more efficiently.

3 Tips

-- This is a park for the locals who have outgrown the milder thrills of Disneyland, so the crowds will be their worst on Saturdays and during the summer. If you have to be there then, arrive a half-hour before the official park opening time to make sure you are near the front of the turnstile and make the stampede to X before the line grows into an hours-long affair.

-- While the park does not offer a free FastPass system like Disney World it has something better if you are willing to pay up for it. You can buy 4 front-of-the-line passes which are good at many of the attractions (unfortunately, no, not on X). Because the locals aren't prone to paying up you will have no problem bypassing the long lines on a few rides by buying the Q-Passes.

-- Want to save some money? Consider applying for the Six Flags MasterCard. With it you will save 10% at the park's stores and food concessions while building reward dollars good towards free park passes.

- Reviewed by Rick Munarriz

Official Park Link - Six Flags

Unofficial Park Link -

Nearest Hotels with online booking discounts:
 -- Hyatt Valencia - 1 mile from the park
 -- Best Value Inn - 5 miles from the park
 -- Comfort Inn - 5 miles from the park

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