If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, Six Flags Magic Mountain® in Valencia just outside of Los Angeles is famous for its extreme roller coasters and thrill rides. Coaster fanatics consider it one of the world’s best amusement parks – it holds the world record for the most roller coasters in a single park, and is home to rides that are the tallest, fastest, and first of their type.
That said, the theme park also adds new rides and attractions fairly regularly, and there’s still plenty to do if you’re not a fan of hair-raising coasters. Here’s what you need to know to have an amazing time:
TIP: I’ve written extensively about how to get discount Six Flags Magic Mountain tickets. Check out my post to read about all of the ways you can save money when buying your tickets.
Tips for Visiting Six Flags Magic Mountain
Check Six Flags Magic Mountain Ride Heights
This park is a must-visit if you’re into speed or love to scream, and most visitors are in their midteens or older. Rest assured that there are areas of Six Flags Magic Mountain for the younger crowd.
Bugs Bunny World offers a handful of rides for kids under 48” tall. Some rides in this area also have maximum heights and heights that allow kids to ride without adults.
It’s a little bit easier when visiting with kids who are around the same age as they can enjoy rides together in a group rather than having to split up. The roller coasters and thrill rides have height minimums of 48,” 52″ or 54.”
Manage kids’ expectations by taking a few minutes to check the ride height chart in advance.
Choose Dates Strategically
Do you hate crowds? Summer is Six Flags Magic Mountain’s busiest season and holidays get busy, too, though the crowds tend to be slightly smaller on weekdays.
Fewer people visit in the winter season (especially when school is in session), but be sure you check opening dates and hours before planning your trip because the park may have closure dates and limited hours of operation.
Plan Your Visit Around Special Events
If you’re not concerned about crowds and want to make your visit extra special, be aware that there is an evening parade and fireworks show on select days between mid-March and early September.
There’s also Fright Fest® in October, and concerts and other special events throughout the year. Check the park’s special events page to find out what’s on the calendar during the dates you’re considering.
Buy Six Flags Magic Mountain Tickets in Advance
The ticket lines can get long at this park, so you’ll save a lot of time if you buy your Six Flags Magic Mountain tickets ahead of time. You can also save money. You’ll get some of the best ticket prices if you buy through either aRes Travel® or the Go Los Angeles® Card.
aRes Travel is an authorized ticket seller that offers discounted Six Flags Magic Mountain tickets and bundled ticket combo deals for other major California attractions.
The Go Los Angeles Card lets you bundle and save on admission into 35 attractions in and around Los Angeles – including Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios Hollywood®, and LEGOLAND® California. These passes are available in 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7-day options, each at different prices, and you can build your own pass including only the attractions you’d like to visit.
Prep for the Heat
Even if you plan your visit during the winter months, know that it can be twenty degrees hotter at Six Flags Magic Mountain than it is at the nearest beach.
Inside the park, there’s a lot of asphalt and very little shade, so wear a hat and breathable clothing (light colors are best), pack waterproof sunscreen, and bring an insulated bottle of ice water.
Do not forget to reapply sunscreen. We’re not kidding about the sun here.
Dress Appropriately and Leave Your Big Bag at home
Bags aren’t allowed on most of the rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain, so if you’re carrying a purse or backpack around the park, you’ll have to either leave it in a cubby (risking theft) or pay for a locker whenever you go on a ride.
Six Flags Magic Mountain also maintains a family-friendly atmosphere via a dress code that requires guests to avoid wearing clothes or accessories with offensive language or graphics. Bathings suits can only be worn in the Hurricane Harbor water park.
Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Note that some rides will make you remove shoes so be sure that they are easy to take on and off.
You will also get wet on the water rides. Bring or buy a small poncho to avoid this but don’t forget extra socks so that your wet socks aren’t sloshing around your shoes for the rest of the day.
If you get to the park when it opens, don’t expect to hop on your first coaster right away – just getting into the park takes time. To maximize your ride time, get there about a half-hour before the park opens to give yourself time to drive through the entrance plaza, park, and get through the front gate.
Head to the Back of the Park First
Want to ride twice as many rides? A lot of people who are first-time Six Flags Magic Mountain visitors will head to whatever ride they see first, which means those rides tend to have the longest wait times.
Starting at the back of the park right away means the lines will be shorter and you’ll be closer to the front gate at the end of your visit.
Hit the Water Rides Early
The water rides – Tidal Wave, Roaring Rapids, and Jet Stream – tend to have the longest lines during the hottest part of the day (early afternoon) and the shortest lines before lunch.
Make a point of visiting these rides before lunch, and you’ll get through the lines faster and still be pleasantly cool from your early splash when temperatures soar.
Don’t Skip the Less Popular Rides
The newest and biggest coasters and rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain will almost always have the longest lines. If you’re not a die-hard mega coaster fan, you can get more ride time and plenty of thrills on old school attractions like Viper, Ninja, and The New Revolution.
Make Time for These 4 Must-Ride Coasters
If you’re looking for an extreme adrenaline rush, you have to plan. Hit these pulse-pounding rides as soon as you arrive at the park in the morning, when lines will be shortest: Tatsu (the world’s tallest and fastest flying coaster); Goliath (which has one of the longest and fastest opening drops in the world); LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom (one of the tallest drop tower rides anywhere); and X2 (the world’s first 4D roller coaster).
Pay for the Flash Pass®
The only way to get ahead of the sometimes long lines at Six Flags Magic Mountain is to buy a Flash Pass. Like the FastPass® at Disneyland®, the basic Flash Pass lets you reserve a time to go on more than a dozen of the most popular rides.
There are also two upper tier Flash Pass options – Gold, which lets you reserve earlier time slots, and Platinum, which almost eliminates wait times.
Eat During Non-meal Times
Plan to eat lunch and dinner a bit earlier or a bit later to avoid the rush. The other benefit to eating at nontraditional times is that the lines for coasters and other rides tend to be somewhat shorter during mealtimes.
Six Flags Magic Mountain has its share of standard amusement park fare, and I’m happy to say that a lot of it is better than you might expect, but one treat that stands out is the wonton taco at Chop Six.
Get Your Funnel Cake First Thing
The World Famous Funnel Cake Factory (formerly Suzette’s Bakery) is worth a stop for the fantastic flavors, but the lines aren’t short — especially as the day gets later. If you’re a funnel cake fan, it’s a good idea to eat dessert first.
Don’t Forget Where You Parked
It’s not uncommon for guests to forget where their car is. The Six Flags Magic Mountain parking lot is quite large so find a pole or recognizable object (row number works) and take a digital photo of it.
Have you visited Six Flags Magic Mountain recently? What tips would you add to this list?