Monday, June 14, 2010

Introducing Thomas Town at Six Flags America!

"I want to visit the Island of Sodor!" And in the car we went, off to sunny Maryland to visit Six Flags America's brand new Thomas Town area. Alright, perhaps that's not exactly how the story went, but I get a little excited sometimes.

Six Flags America invited NewsPlusNotes to come check out the Nation's largest Thomas Town to date, and also the park's biggest expansion in over a decade. Celebrating it's 12th season as a Six Flags branded property, the park is now home to the 5th Six Flags Thomas Town area, and quite proud of that fact. Six Flags America's Thomas Town is not the largest by any small measure, the area includes some eight rides and attractions, as well as a new retail location, all set on 3.5 acres of land.

The park utilized a strip of land that sat between the Joker's Jinx and Superman roller coasters, and was able to connect the new area to the existing park at both ends. Needless to say, it fills in that area very nicely. Plus, it allows for some great coaster shots that you couldn't get before!

Many of the rides and attractions in the area are brand new, and a couple of them were moved from elsewhere in the park and re-themed. A wonderful job was done on all of them - the theming is really complete on all the attractions. Children's rides have long allowed for unique theming at parks, and the Thomas brand works wonderfully in this setting.

The inhabitants of Sodor Island are represented throughout the area, above we see Bertie the Bus taking some guests for a ride. Harold the Helicopter greets visitors as they enter the area, beckoning them to take a spin.

Cranky the Crane may be a bit on the moody side, but his riders seem to have a lot of fun. Here's the first of many rides that are unique to Six Flags America's Thomas Town. Cranky has appeared in other parks, but you'll have to head 'over the pond' to England to find another Cranky like this.

Probably the most thrilling ride in the area, Cranky the Crane lets families travel up 30 ft. and fall back to the ground. It's a bouncing good time!

Diesel Derby lets the little ones take a spin out around Thomas Town in these wonderfully themed trains. Most parks have a "Convoy" kiddie ride, but few have one themed so nicely. With Iron'arry, Iron Bert, Salty, Mavis, Diesel, and Derek driving, a good time is sure to be had.

The great aerial photos of Thomas Town I got were provided by the Sodor Carnival Ferris Wheel, seen above. The ride was moved from another part of the park, totally refurbished and given a spiffy new look. Each of the cars has a different Thomas character on it. Be sure to quiz the ride operator on which one is which! (really, I dare you to learn them all - there's more than you think!)

Another unique aspect to Six Flags America's Thomas Town is that you can take photos at the railway roundhouse with the trains parked there. At the other parks' Thomas areas the roundhouse is usually located along the tracks, not accessible to guests. It was a smart move to allow guests to interact with it, and provides tons of great photo opportunities.

On a hot day to an amusement park it's only natural to want to take a break and splash around in the water a bit. Kids can burn off some of their endless energy in the pop-jet fountain seen above, and then take a slide in the elaborate play structure located here, too.

Did I mention you can get great coaster shots from inside Thomas Town? Here we see the path of the Diesel Derby, as well as the pop-jet fountain and play structure in the shadows of the Wild One. You can also spy the gazebo that's used when the Director of the Railway, Sir Topham Hatt comes out to greet guests.

You're probably wondering how I've gotten this far into the article without actually revealing Thomas himself. Well, I did that on purpose - you know - save the best for last! Thankfully the day we visited tickets to ride were free! I have a good feeling they'll still be free when you visit, too.

Guests board at Knapford Station to depart on their journey around the Island. The building doubles as the retail location, where you can pick up your favorite Thomas items. Pretty much everything under the sun having to do with Thomas is in that store!

Once Thomas arrives, guests board and they're off! The station is bright and very airy, a great way to start your adventure. The park's original train ride, Capital Railways, also runs past Thomas' station, providing some neat 'choo choo' interaction.

Six Flags America also benefited from being able to run Thomas' tracks around the entire area, another first for a Six Flags Park. Guests get to see every part of Island Sodor, and pick out which attraction to sample next. Several characters and decorations line the tracks as well, completing the theme.

Always a smile on his face, that's Thomas the Tank Engine! He strives to be very useful, and he certainly achieves that at the park.

Many thanks to Six Flags America for allowing us to come check out their new land! It's going to be a big hit with families this summer. I'm sure it has already become the premier Thomas location in the country.

If you want to visit Six Flags America to see Thomas yourself, be sure to plan ahead by visiting the park's official website.


BigDorneyFan said...

Why can't Great Adventure do something like this in the now closed off Old Country section of the park? It would fit in nicely and would provide a much needed train ride at the park.