November 2017 Update: Six Flags is primarily open on weekends during the winter season, however, they are open during the week closer to Christmas. Check their operating schedule here for current hours of operation.
Our family went to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California on July 2, 2017. Here is what families of kids 12 and under need to know before visiting Six Flags Discovery Kingdom:
You can save up to $20 on a single day General Admission ticket to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom when you purchase online, in advance, for a specific day. We purchased our tickets two-days in advance and still got the savings. It helped us avoid the ticket line on the day we visited. Note that a General Admission ticket is for anyone 48″ and up and a children’s ticket is for kids 48″ and under. With the savings, however; our General Admission tickets were the same price as children’s tickets. Children 2 & under are free.
THE FLASH Pass
Unlike Disneyland, were the FAST PASS is free, at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, you have to pay for THE FLASH Pass. It is very confusing because there are three levels of FLASH passes and it is not really clear what the practical differences are between the levels. THE FLASH Pass essentially allows you to come back to the ride at a certain time. You board from THE FLASH Pass and avoid waiting in the general line.
I almost bought one for my husband and younger daughter because she wanted to go on the roller coasters, but I’m glad I didn’t. She was still too short for 5 of the 8 rides Thrill Rides and didn’t want to go on some of the other ones. The ones she did go on didn’t have much of a line (less than 30 minutes). We definitely didn’t need it for the Entertainment Venues, because even though it was the July 4th weekend, the park was far from being full. I recommend taking a pass on THE FLASH pass.
When ordering tickets in advance, you can also pay for parking in advance and save $5. The key thing to know is that the parking lot is a 3/4 mile walk from the entrance to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. There are buses, but you’ll have to wait in line for those as they will fill up quickly. On the day we were there we wanted to take the bus back to the parking lot, but the buses weren’t operating due to some sort of incident. It’s better to be prepared to make the walk.
Strollers are available to rent just past the Entrance to the park. Lockers are also available to rent at a number of locations throughout the park, but none of the lockers are located in the Kids areas (Looney Tunes Seaport, Seaside Junction, Tava’s Jungleland). Consult the Park Map for specific locker locations.
Unlike Disneyland, you are not allowed to bring outside food into Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. This is a policy I’d like to see changed to make the park more family friendly. I found it difficult to find healthy choices for my kids. The Six Flags Discovery Kingdom website recommends eating at non-traditional hours, which we did. We still had to wait 40 minutes to order and by the time we did, all the milk was sold out. We had seen an advertisement in the park about fruit cups being included in kids meals, but this was not the case at the Johnny Rockets Express, the only restaurant near Tava’s Jungleland (a kids area). There is a vendor that sells fruit spears, but it’s cash only and he roams throughout the park. Some snack stands were not even open when we were there – again, on the July 4th weekend!
You can buy meal deals in advance to save money, but it won’t save you waiting in line. The meal deals do not include Kids Meals, so it only works if everyone wants the same meal. For a complete list of food and snack options at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, click here.
Even though the park opens at 10:30, some areas, like Tava’s Jungleland, don’t open until 12. This was really surprising to us considering it’s an area for younger kids and younger kids are more likely to be at the park earlier in the day than later. The ACME Fun Factory was also closed the day we visited. Then, around 6pm, my husband and daughter went to go on the White Water Safari, but it was already closed. There is nothing on the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom website, app or park map that indicates which rides open later / close earlier, so it’s hard to really plan your visit.
Also note that two rides have additional fees: The SkyCoaster and the Thunder Road Speedway Go-Karts. I didn’t note the cost for the SkyCoaster, but for the Go-Karts, it’s $10 for a driver and $5 for a passenger.
The Six Flags Discovery Kingdom website, app and map lists the height minimum and maximum for rides. The highest minimum is 54″ for Medusa and V2: Vertical Velocity. A few of the Kids rides have a maximum of 54″ which my eldest discovered she was above when she tried to get on Tava’s Elephant Parade. An era has passed when your kids are too big for the kids rides!
The term Kid Swap is really a misnomer as what Six Flags is really talking about is keeping a family together when not everyone wants to go on a ride. The whole family waits in line and then one parent goes on the ride while the other parent stays with a child who doesn’t go on the ride. When the ride is over, the parents immediately switch spots instead of going back in the line. This service is not well advertised and we were unaware of it at the time of our visit, so we just split up. Splitting up worked out better for us though because then my one daughter could visit the animals while the other one was going on the rides.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was a good mix for our family, because my eldest liked the animal attractions, encounters and shows and my younger one wanted to go the rollercoasters and spinning rides. When we found out Tava’s Jungleland wasn’t open until 12, we spent the time looking at the animals. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom no longer has its elephant. There is a mix of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles.
You’ll find the hours for some of the animal exhibits listed on the Entertainment Schedule, available at the park entrance.
We saw a few of the animal shows, which my girls liked, but did not see the LOONEY TUNES performance or the live music shows. My daughters don’t even know who the LOONEY TUNES are. My eldest saw Elmer Fudd, but didn’t know who he was so did not want a picture with him. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom may want to update their characters. The theaters are sizable and we didn’t have to worry about getting seats. Some have no protection from the sun, but some are in the shade. We could hear the presenters well at all the shows. Show times are listed on the Entertainment Schedule, available at the park entrance. The earliest show starts at 12PM and the latest show is at 6PM. Due to the timing of the shows, it will not be possible to see them all in one day.
I try to avoid shopping too much at amusement parks, but there is usually one iconic thing that the kids will want. At Disneyland, it’s the Mickey Mouse ears. At Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, it’s a cape with either the Superman or Wonder Women logo on the back. My youngest went for the teal Wonder Women cape. My eldest ended up picking out a number of things from the Butterfly Shoppe, for her upcoming birthday. This was at the beginning of the day when we were waiting for Tava’s Jungleland to open. Luckily, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has a package pick-up service. I didn’t have to carry the bags around with me all day. I just picked them up at The Kingdom Market, near the Exit, at the end of the day. This is a great service as long as you don’t forget to pick your package up!
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has a good mix of rides and other attractions. It was easy to find something that everyone in the family liked. The biggest drawback from a family perspective is not being able to bring in outside food. Overall, though, I would say it’s good value for money. I recommend Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for a fun family day out.