Is the Six Flags Flash Pass Worth It?

Theme Park Tips

Should You Get a Flash Pass? Are Six Flags Flash Passes Worth It?
Flash Passes are electronic or paper-based Six Flags Flash Pass - Should You Buy One?systems that guests can use to bypass lines at amusement parks and in essence skip to the front of the line. I’ll never forget my last visit to Six Flags Great Adventure. El Toro had just opened and the wait was somewhere around 2 hours. Thanks to my flash pass, I simply made an appointment via the Q-Bot pager-like device and came back in a few minutes. I walked right past the masses waiting in the sweltering heat. At that point, I only had to wait a few minutes in the station and I was sitting comfortably in my #2 coaster of all time. Sure, the picture I’ve painted sounds cool, but Flash Passes and similar ‘skip to the front’ systems cost money. Is a flash pass right for you? Here are a few things to consider that might help you make a decision.

What Do You Do at Theme Parks?
If you’re like me and mainly just ride roller coasters then Flash Passes might be for you. Obviously, coasters are the most popular attractions at amusement parks and have the longest lines. Skipping past these lines so you can ride more roller coasters instead of spending most of the day waiting for them is a no-brainer. But, if you experience everything including drop towers, log flumes, spinning flat rides, and you visit the water park and might take in a show, then you might not mind missing a roller coaster or two because you’ve enjoyed most everything else that the park has to offer.

Are You Likely to Revisit the Theme Park?
If it’s your home park that you visit three or four times a summer then I can’t imagine that you would need a flash pass. Certainly you’ll eventually get a ride even on the coasters with the longest waits. I fall iSix Flag's Q-Bot Flash Passnto the opposite camp and I visit a lot of parks for the first and possibly the only time. After my flight across the country for Six Flags Magic Mountain, you’d better believe that my goal was to ride every roller coaster possible as a return trip definitely wasn’t guaranteed. This made the choice to buy a flash pass for that visit pretty easy.

How Are the Wait Times & Crowds at the Theme Park?
Wait times are an essential factor in the decision to buy a flash pass or not. If you’re going to visit a really popular park like Six Flags Great Adventure or Cedar Point you’re likely to run into some pretty big crowds. The same goes for the day that you’re planning to visit. If you can squeeze in a trip before school’s out or in the fall when crowds are smaller then you may not need the pass in the first place.

My Take
I’m all for flash passes, but I’m not the typical theme park guest. I travel far to parks that I won’t likely return to and I’m there just for the roller coasters. As long as I’m visiting a popular park during peak season, then I’m likely to pay extra to make sure that I ride the coasters that I traveled for. Hopefully, the tips above can help you decide whether these passes are right for your next theme park trip.

Read more at Six Flags Flash Pass page. Also, to see the prices and the list of rides that have Flash Pass, follow one of these links to the participating parks:
AmericaDiscovery Kingdom | Fiesta Texas | Great Adventure | Great America | Kentucky Kingdom |  Magic Mountain | New England | Over Georgia | Over Texas | St. Louis |  The Great Escape |

What’s Your Take?
Do you get flash passes or equivalent skip line passes? How have your experiences been with them? Leave a comment below.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

31 Comments

  1. I'm going to Six Flags America next month. This has been a VERY informative article. Thanks much.

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    • I think these “flash passes” or equivalent are terrible. It rewards the few who have the money to pay for it. as you walk in front of a family of 4 where buddy has his 2 kids on there 1 summer vacation, has saved all year for it, stood in line for 2 hours to get kids on , and you walk past. do you feel no shame ? maybe when were all dead and god has a huge line up into heaven….i wonder if he uses flash passes for the wealthy ? im thinking not. how about we all just pay the price , take a spot in line , wait your turn, and if this isnt acceptable for any reason, spend your time and money elsewhere. That thing we call “free enterprise ” will correct the long lines.

      Reply
      • Respectfully, what an absurd set of logic…

        Through that logic, then, what about all of the poor souls that can’t afford a ticket to EVEN GET IN? Am I supposed to NOT go because I’m going to feel bad that there are many without the money to get in?

        Flashpass is a service. If you can afford that service, you should do so without guilt. This notion that I’m going to feel bad for the family that has to wait 2 hours in line is insane. I worked hard in my life to afford the small pleasures of taking advantage of “perks.” When those perks are available, I consume them.

        Reply
        • I agree Tommyboy14. Your point could be applied to a lot of examples. At its core, flash pass is just a service. There are tons of services that some will be able to afford and others won’t. This doesn’t make you a bad person for using the service.

          Reply
  2. I went to Six Flags New England the weekend of Bizarro reopening with some friends. We were gonna be there all day, and there were 4 of us, so we bought the NORMAL flash pass. It was 70 bucks, so we split it 4 ways. That, combined with the fact that I have a season pass, makes for a GREAT day. It works by that if there is a 2 hour wait for a ride, you can go on that ride in 2 hours.

    However, there is a gold flash pass, which was 150 for 4 people, that you skip any and every line. Now, if you are going to a park like Great Adventure, not New England, where there are a LOT of rides, that is more important to have. However, it does help a lot.

    On a side note, I had heard of some pretty nasty stories of people getting assaulted for skipping lines, and we were yelled at by people as we passed, as long as some pretty nasty glares from people in our raft on the water rides.

    Reply
    • People have gotten assaulted? I got some looks at IOA, but i can't believe that would happen. Do you know where it was?

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  3. CoasterDude, I'm glad that the post helped. Feel free to comment about your experience with it when you get back from SFA.

    Andrew, I've never experienced any disgruntled park guests when I've used flash passes. Although, I might have been oblivious of their dirty looks. When people skip with out a flash pass then they deserve to be given a hard time, but if you pay extra for this service then those folks waiting in line need to buy one themselves or deal with it.

    Thanks for reading.

    Reply
  4. I dont know about the fast pass system. Theme parks are expensive at the best of times and adding (in the UK) £30 extra makes the total cost for a day about £50-60 for a day out which is alot of money, especially for a family. Alton Towers used to do the fast pass system for free, now they see a money grabbing opportunity and charge about £10 just for a fast pass ticket for the 4 biggest rides. I just think in the UK anyway the costs are going abit over the top and people may choose to leave it, or go to parks that are cheaper and adding new rides.

    Its a good idea to reserve the time on the rides, when Alton Towers tried to introduce a fast pass the first time round they didnt have this type of system and in theory you were allowed to cut right to the front of the queue, however so many people brought the passes that they ended up just joining another lengthy queue with fast pass users.

    If they are reasonably priced then its maybe not as hard to swallow but, for the UK fast passes I could go to the theme park twice rather than paying to get into the park and add the fast pass. Obviously you wont have this option in the US as its alot bigger, but I just think the prices, in the Uk anyway are going abit far.

    Reply
  5. I think it kind of depends. My last outing to SFOG there was no line for the mind bender all day. Which is kind of unusual as its a very good steel looper and usually has a bit of a line. Its probably the 5th best coaster in the park in my opinion. So I got a flash pass and just rode it over and over again while waiting to ride another coaster. All the best coasters had at least an hour wait. So instead of sitting around for an hour I just rode the mind bender. I probably rode it at least 30 times that day. I think if your in a situation like that, a flash pass is more than worth it.

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  6. My home park is Six Flags St.Louis, and I visit 3-4 times every year. I never need a flash pass because all of the lines for every ride are only about 10-15 minutes long (except Batman, we usually ride in the very back seat 5 or more times without stepping off the ride). 2 friends and I went during Fright Fest and brought money for a fast-pass, and it was worth it! The lines were ALL hour long or more, and almost no one bought flash passes! Splitting up the price with 3 people was good, and we got the medium flash pass (gold). Our waits were usually 3-6 minutes and we literally would reserve our place for Mr.Freeze with our flash pass while going up the lift hill on Batman! The only thing negative was the constant glares by people in the regular line. It's their choice not to get a flash pass, so there is no point in using the middle-finger. Overall, flash passes are amazing for fright fest and concert dates, but besides that I wouldn't buy one.

    Reply
  7. my class is going to 6 flags this year and we are going with lots of other schools, so its gunna be BUSY!!! i waz wondering if i should get the flash passes.! i am in a 10 person group ((including me))! but only about 4 or 5 of us are willing to pay. so i waz wondering if its worth it, and how much it costs for 5 ppl to get regualr flash passes!! we are going withing the next month so i need replieshere1!! thank YHUH!

    Reply
    • I'm prettey sure that a regular flash pass only works for 1 ride.

      Reply
    • Not sure how much regular flash pass is but it should be on the six flags website. i think with 4 or 5 people splitting the costs it will definitely be worth it. my wife and went to Great Advnt last year and got the gold. Usually I would never spend that much money but we were going for the 1st time and I don't know if we are going back anytime soon. It was busy with school trips that day also. The down side was the park was only open that day for 7 and a half hours and i would have liked to have gone on a day that was open longer. Also the q bot sometimes said a ride was down when it wasn't and wouldn't allow us to reserve a ride. Superman was also down that day so that was like paying extra for a ride we didn't get to ride. Despite the negatives if it is going to be busy and all you want to do is coaster ride as much as possible then yes get the pass.

      Reply
  8. I've had a season pass to Six Flags Magic Mountain two years in a row now and I have the exact route to take to avoid lines. Sure it involves getting to the park about half an hour before they open but it's proven effective every time.

    It helps that my sister and I are of the mind that since we have season passes and tend to go about once a week it's not worth it to stand in a line more than 20-30 minutes long.

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  9. I have never got a flash pass. I think it would be great for a gold one, but a normal one just sounds stupid. Why would i walk over to say el toro and want to ride it only to have to come back when the 2 hour wait is up. If i am at the ride i want to ride when im there. I do not want to backtrack to the ride from some other section of the park. I kind of disagree with you on the topic of roller coaster riders who only ride them should get one. Then what do they do in the 2 hours till u can ride? If you only ride coasters then there is nothing else to do when waiting for your ride. Like I said I never got one, so I don't know if you can reserve a ride on something from wherever or you have to go up to the ride and scan it. If you can reserve a ride on el toro from nitro or something like that then I would defenitely consider getting one. But if you have to scan at a ride, it isn't worth getting one unless its gold. Does anyone know if you can reserve rides from anywhere?

    Reply
    • With the pass that I got at Six Flags Great Adventure, I couldn't reserve from anywhere. I had to walk up to the start of the queue and make my reservation. On my recent trip to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, I got a pass that allowed me to make reservations from where ever I was. Both methods just take a little strategy, but I feel that they can both be worth it if you plan right.

      I get what you're saying about backtracking, but you'd just make your reservation for El Toro and say it tells you that can basically walk on it in 1 hour, so you go head over to Medusa, Rolling Thunder, the mine train etc. Or you have a bite in that same area. It does allow you to multi-task, but you are right it wouldn't be smart to make the reservation and then hike all the way over to Nitro and then hike back. But on second thought, even in that scenario you got on two rides instead of just waiting in line and riding one. Although that'd be a bit of a hassle. In summation, it just takes a little strategy.

      Reply
      • Yeah when I used Flash Pass I basically reserved el toro while i was at Kingda Ka and vice versa. So I basically ran back and forth between the two since they were closer. Then while you are at El Toro reserve Medusa and so forth and so on. It really can work out so you get extra rides.

        Reply
  10. The first time I used one was the first and last time I visited Great Adventure. We used the flash pass to look up the times on all the rides we wanted to get on that day. Then, we would reserve a ride with a longer line, then get in line for one or two with shorter lines (reserving the ride with a 2 hour line, then riding two things with a 30 and perhaps 60 minute line, and getting some drinks). Thus, in the time we would have stood for one, we were able to do all 3. I'm planning on doing the same thing in Busch Gardens Tampa and Islands of Adventure in a few weeks.

    Reply
  11. I just went to SFStL 7/28/11, and had the best time ever! There was hardly anyone there (i'm guessing b/c of the heat) and we were able to ride all the rides 2-3 times each time! I had considered buying 3 flash passes and was so glad I didn't waste my money! I could see on a weekend or event days where one could come in handy, but was glad right now I didn't. Hurricane Harbor was a littlke busy and that's where we stood in line the most, but it was a great day to go! PS thanks for the page and blog entries…. they helped!

    Reply
  12. Being a seasonal worker that makes most my money in the spring and summer I can usually only get a chance to go once to Great Adventures if at all. So this year I decided to go platinum pass and omg was it worth it. For 4 of us it was about $88 a piece. Now SFGA is the type of park that is super busy on week days and crazy busy on week ends, so even going on a week day the passes were worth it. all together i spent like $125 for pass and ticket with coke can and parking. Less then what i would spend at a football or baseball game and about what i would spend on a weekend night out (bar,club ect.).

    What did i get for my $125? heh 10 to 15 minute wait times on all the big coaster , King da ka, nitro, torro ect.. Also the option to Ride again without even getting out of your seat, thats 2 rides for one wait. I felt like I owned the freaking place. I must have gotten on every major ride at least 6 times probably around 40 major rides all together. The year before that without the flash pass i rode probably around 10 rides all day.

    Reply
  13. I went to Six Flags Great Adventure over the 2011 summer

    and before we went there I checked out the website for Six Flags. I noticed the Flash Pass offer, but my dad said that we probably wouldn't purchase the Flash Pass. We flew to the park, went on two rides, and then my dad said,"Come on Pat, let's go get the Flash Pass thing." Without the Flash Pass, we wouldn't have gotten to go on at least half the rides that we did without it. The Flash Pass is expensive, but it's definitely worth it.

    Reply
  14. My take on flash passes have been that the parks are now getting you to pay for rides that are already free with admission. But on the other hand if its your only time at the park then yes they are well worth it. But for example my home park is SFOG and we went this past sunday and the longest line was 20 minutes. And I still saw lots of people with them. we rode everything we wanted to ride in 4 hours. I just felt a flash pass was a waste of money that day. And I laughed at those people all day.

    Reply
    • Our park is Six Flags over Georgia and we went yesterday which was Father's Day and didn't expect it to be crowded but it was so busy! We bought the Platinum pass for 4 and it was 285 dollars! I will say even though it was expensive it was worth every dime. The wait for Superman alone was 3 hours but we rode it 6 times. We had a few dirty looks including a woman that when we raised our hand to ride again ask the workers why we were allowed to stay on and how many times have " we rid it" (no patience and terrible grammar gotta love it) . We rode everything in the park that we wanted to ride several times!! We talked to one family in line at Golith and they ask how much we paid because they had been in lines all day and only got to ride 3 things. We only go to SFOG every few years so it was well worth the money. At Dollywood, they have the Q-bot and it's only around 60 dollars for 5 people but there is a wait involved where Flash Pass Platinum you can go get on the ride as soon as you reserve it.

      Reply
  15. Sounds like the flash passes are worth it, At least the gold and platinum. My question is when reserving your ride and it comes time to board the coaster, are you first to board ? Can you pick your seat such as the first or last car ? And if not then can you switch seats for your second ride if you have the platinum flash pass ?
    Thanks for any info on this,
    Keith

    Reply
    • Parks seem to do this different ways. Even from ride-to-ride. Often, you'll get funneled into a short cut queue, that'll take you right to the station. Once you're there you have to wait through a few cycles until it's your turn. On other rides you enter through the station through a different route than the main queue (like the exit). In both cases there could be other flash passers there ahead of you. And they try to make it so that the flash passers don't just take over a whole train. So you may have to wait a few cycles or you may be able to walk on. It depends.

      I've also seen different parks handle the second ride differently. At Six Flags St. Louis, platinum flash passers rode once in the front car and were then told they had to move for the second ride. At Six Flags Great America, I've seen people stay in their seats. I'm not sure if that wasn't because it wasn't the front seat or not. I would bet that they aren't consistent on the pick your seat thing either. That'd be a good question for the Flash Pass center you buy it at the park you're visiting. Maybe they have a policy, but I haven't seen one.

      Reply
  16. Like you said it depends on how often you plan on going to that park. For a local park you visit often, then there's no point since you'll be wasting money since eventually you'll get to ride all the rides. If you're visiting a park known for crowds for only a day, then it becomes a smart purchase if you really want to experience all that the park has to offer.

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  17. I agree that it depends largely upon when you go. I have been buying Flash Passes on a regular basis and thereby avoiding long lines – although I recently discovered that I spent a lot of money on them needlessly because I could have gotten a disability pass for free. I cannot stand in line for a prolonged period without developing back pain – and when I told this to the folks at Hersheypark they gave me a pass which enabled me to get on the rides without a wait. (Last year I waited 2 1/2 hours to get on Millennium Force and my back hurt me so much that although I was apprehensive about riding a coaster with a 300-foot drop for the first time, I was relieved to get on it just to have an opportunity to sit down and get some much-needed back support.) This doesn't always work, however. Last Saturday there was such a mob scene at Six Flags Great Adventure that I realized it would take about an hour just to get through the queue at Guest Relations, so bought a Gold Flash Pass which I could ill afford, as that seemed to be the only way to get on anything. However, so many people had purchased Flash Passes that day that there was even a long line at the Flash Pass entrances to the rides. My ride on Kingda Ka was timed for 5:49pm but it took about another 25 minutes just to get through the Flash Pass queue and then another wait in the loading area. In 6 hours at the park I managed to get only 5 rides – but without the Flash Pass I probably would have gotten in only 2 or 3, so in this case getting a Flash Pass was the right thing to do. The moral of the story is never go to a park on the last weekend of the roller coaster season. From now on I will choose days on which the park is likely to be less crowded and either not need any pass or go to Guest Relations and get a disability pass.

    Reply
  18. Hello CoasterCritic & fellow thrill seekers! Great blog! We'll be visiting Six Flags Magic Mountain on Saturday 8th June (yes, unfortunately the busiest day of the week!) but as we're coming from Australia & only have that day there we'll be buying Flash Passes (we can do the full 11 hours though as we're staying nearby). My question is what is the difference between the Gold & the Platiinum passes, apart from being able to ride twice? Is there any difference in wait time between the two? Thank you in advance. 🙂

    Reply
    • Platinum Passes have even shorter wait time. A 90% reduction in wait times vs. 75% for the gold. There’s a pretty good explanation here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100

      There’s no way to know if you’ll really need it, but if you’re trying to do the whole park in one day and you’re visiting a popular park like SFMM, I’m sure it will be useful. Personally I’d go all the way and get Platinum since you’re traveling from far away and you’ll get two back-to-back rides and have a better feel for each ride as experiences can sometimes differ. Of course cost is always a concern too. Also, you might want to ask The Coaster Guy. I’ve only been to SFMM once, but that’s his home park: The Coaster Guy Let us know how it goes!

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your response! Have emailed The Coaster Guy re his home park Six Flags Magic Mountain. I think we will get the Platinum Pass as we'll be travelling a long way to visit & the less waiting time the better!

        Reply
  19. I’m just wondering if the platinum is worth it for, say, last day of fright fest @ Great America (Sunday). I am also wondering if the platinum is the ‘reserve from anywhere’ option?

    Reply

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