If you and your family are excited to spend money on a theme park, you really want to get the best bang for your buck. And when it comes to amusement parks, two huge names in the industry are Six Flags and Disney World. So in this Six Flags vs Disney World comparison, I’m going to lay out all of the similarities and differences these two vacation destinations have when it comes to price, rides, and entertainment options!
Six Flags vs Disney World
If you love rides that have great storytelling elements, and you enjoy a theme park experience that features memorable parades and kid-friendly costumed characters, Disney World is a better theme park over Six Flags. But, if you covet thrill rides and care most about saving money, then Six Flags is the better option.
The first very obvious difference is size. At one point, Six Flags Great Adventure Safari in New Jersey was the largest theme park property, second only to the Animal Kingdom park in Disney World. Six Flags parks are by no means small parks, and compare in size to each of the Disney World Parks.
Disney World, however, has not one but four different mammoth parks on property, making it easily the largest theme park in America, coming in at over 27,000 acres.
The second difference is price. We all love a Disney vacation, but these days, a week-long vacation for a family of four will easily run you into the thousands, while Six Flags vacations will fall within a more modest budget. If you’re looking for a no frills good time, Six Flags has several excellent options, and while it may not be the tried and true nostalgic Disney experience, it’s still a great way to treat your family to a nice vacation.
I’m a diehard Disney fan, but my nephews are at an age where when it comes to roller coasters, they could care less if we’re at Disney World or the small town carnival.
The final difference, in my opinion, are ride experiences. It depends on the type of experience your family is looking for. If you’re traveling with a group of thrill seekers looking to hop on the fastest roller coaster around, you’re probably going to find that at a Six Flags park, and not Disney World.
If you’re looking for a more mild experience and appreciate story based attractions and theming, Disney World is your best bet. Both brands bring something different to the table. Which leads me to my next point. So let’s say you love all things Disney, but you’re looking for something comparable at more affordable rates. Let’s talk about the things you love about Disney, and where you can find comparable Six Flag options.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, TX)
If you’ve visited a Disney park, you’ve gotten to experience first hand the magic that Disney Imagineers dream up by creating immersive, themed experiences or lands throughout all of their parks. I can’t say that I feel like there’s any Six Flags park that matches the magic of Disney, but having living in San Antonio, TX for a good amount of time, Six Flags Fiesta Texas did a decent job of filling the Disney void.
This park is home to a variety of themed “sections” or lands, including Los Festivales, Fiesta Bay Boardwalk, Thrill Seeker Park and DC Universe which, you guessed it, is home to some of our favorite DC characters.
While Disney milks Star Wars and Marvel, Six Flags celebrates some of our other favorite super heroes (and super villains) and you’ll find some of your favorites here, from Superman to Batman to Wonder Woman. This park also pays an impressive homage to our favorite super villains as well.
If you’re a fan of Pixar Pier at Disney’s California Adventure or Disney’s Boardwalk at Epcot at Disney World, the Fiesta Bay Boardwalk is a fun alternative, mimicking what you’d expect to find on the pier of a coastal attraction, packed with carnival rides and games. It’s a good time in the heart of Texas, and will instantly transport you to the boardwalk.
Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson Township, NJ)
El Toro Ride vs Big Thunder Mountain
Let’s say you have a soft spot for a good wooden roller coaster. They’re a classic staple to the traditional theme park experience, and if you grew up visiting Disney parks in the United States, you’re no stranger to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If you’re afraid of missing your favorite staples, this park has you covered.
“El Toro” consistently tops the charts as one of the best wooden roller coasters in the United States. While Big Thunder Mountain Railroad describes itself as one of the wildest rides in the wilderness, let’s talk facts. El Toro boasts a smooth ride, hitting exhilarating speeds of over 70mph and a drop of over 170 ft. You’ll have no trouble getting your wooden coaster fix at this park, and it’s one of many high speed coasters.
Six Flags or Disney World for Ride Drops
Let’s say your favorite Disney attractions offer the biggest thrills, from Splash Mountain (soon to be Tiana’s new adventure attraction) to Space Mountain, Everest to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, you’re probably wondering if any of the Six Flags parks offers similar experiences? I can confidently say yes. In fact, Six Flags boasts far more high thrill coasters than any Disney properties, and not only this, it’s what they specialize in.
Six Flags isn’t as well known for their themed park decor or entertainment, but they’re an industry leader when it comes to delivering top of the line thrilling theme park experiences and terrifying coasters, and boy do they deliver.
If coasters are your end game, let’s talk about a few standouts. Six Flags in Arlington, TX is home to the Titan, a high speed coaster that accelerates you up a steep incline before plummeting you back towards land.
X-Flight is another high thrill coaster at Six Flags Great America in IL, that will prompt you to assume the position of a pilot in a jet, preparing for takeoff. Let’s not forget about El Diablo at Six Flags in Arlington, TX. For a moment it held the title for the world’s largest loop coaster, and highly sought after suspended ride vehicle.
It’s safe to say that Six Flags monopolizes on thrills, and if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s a great alternative to Disney World, and could still make for an excellent (and thrilling) vacation. But let’s say that rides aren’t your thing, and you’re looking for standout food and drink options. Let’s explore how the parks differ.
Six Flags Dining vs Disney World Dining
Disney is known for its world class dining, from quick service pick me ups to character dining experiences. While Disney World is home to a massive variety of dining options, from quick service grabs to full service character dining, preferred entertainment seating and family style affairs, let’s talk about how Six Flags parks compete.
I’ll be upfront in saying that Six Flags is not known for its culinary expertise, and if that’s changed in the recent past, as a regular paying visitor, it’s not something that I’m aware of yet. It’s hard to compete with Disney’s dining options, but if food isn’t your number one priority (or even if it is) let’s talk about a few comparable options.
Like Disney, Six Flags offers a dining plan comparable to that of Disney (at a lower cost of course). I’ll start out by saying that dining options aren’t enough to sway me one way or another in regards to a theme park experience.
While I consider myself a self proclaimed dole whip enthusiast, food and beverage offerings will not necessarily sway me one way or another when it comes to booking a vacation. But let’s get into it. Disney World understandably has a lot of options available. But if food & beverage offerings aren’t a deterrent, Six Flags does a decent job as well.
A majority of Six Flags parks offer Blue Ribbon Food, from turkey legs to chicken fingers and more. Let me say that I’m a huge fan of this brand, and thrilled that it’s an option in the parks. Maybe you’re chosen Disney because of their fine dining options. A variety of locally owned restaurants also call Six Flags properties home, and you can dine in full service restaurants in nearly every Six Flags theme park.
Six Flags or Disney World?
We’ve talked about themes, attractions and food and beverage offerings, and I think it’s fair to say that both are somewhat comparable when it comes to planning your vacation. Remember that it depends on the party you’re traveling with, and the end experience you’re looking for. Disney World is the best in the business, but it’s quite expensive.
So this begs the question – is Six Flags worth the compromise? Can you still have a great time at a Six Flags theme park? The answer, in my opinion, is yes. It just depends on the type of experience you hope to gain.
If you’re looking for classic nostalgia, and you have the budget to spare, I will always recommend Disney World. But if you’re seeking an alternative where your friends and family can also enjoy themselves at a reasonable price, I stand behind my recommendation of Six Flags amusement parks.
When it comes to Six Flags vs. Disney World, it’s hard to determine which reigns supreme because it really depends on the traveler and their party. Keep in mind that both parks offer different experiences, and at the end of the day, it depends on the type of experience you’re looking to turn into a memory.
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