Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Update - December 12th, 2020
Holiday in the Park Lights 2020
I feel like I've said this in every update I've made lately but this year has blown by. In my head we're still in March or maybe April but time marches on and we find ourself in December. Normally in the world of NorCal parks this means Winterfest at CGA and Holiday in the Park at SFDK. With CGA not opening this year and SFDK not having any rides open, Holiday in the Park was modified in the same spirit as Boo! to focus on new animal shows and general park atmosphere, in this case with the addition of lots of lights.
Like usual, SFDK did a great job making the most of a bad situation. The animal shows were great and the park atmosphere was both safe and festive. The park seemed a lot more crowded than my last handful of trips to the park which bodes well for the park financially. But enough about that, let's take a closer look at what's changed in the park.
Just like Boo!, the park has changed in two main categories, limited time show overlays and general park atmosphere. So let's go through each of these!
Taking the place of Drench! is Wanted: Santa's Helper. In this show, Santa is holding tryouts for the dolphin that will lead his aquatic sleigh. Two dolphins compete in several activities to find out who will win the part!
The Seals, Sea Lions & Otter show becomes A Very Merry Christmas. This show features several of the same animals trying to outsmart a renegade elf and make sure that Christmas happens as planned this year.
Discover Our Ocean Friends is replaced with A Dolphin Holiday. This show has the least amount of a frame story with only a small introduction by a cast member reading a story about a sprite from a book which the dolphins then emulate. But you can expect the same high flying dolphin acrobatics and trainer interaction from the regular show!
The final show is Six Flags Dazzle. Taking place in the front plaza, this show happens hourly and features the front plaza lights illuminated and set to music.
Santa's Merry Marketplace is back
It features some Smores pits, a shop selling light up items...
A sugar cookie store...
A distanced Santa meet & greet...
A photo opportunity...
And some other stands decorated for Christmas
There was also a Smores pit up front
There were several characters around the park to take photos with
This guy was my favorite
When the Dazzle show wasn't happening there was live music in the plaza
And back from last year, there as an opportunity to get your picture taken with a penguin
And here's the real reason the park is special, the lights and atmosphere! Six Flags did a great job this year (especially with the lights around Boomerang)!
As to be expected, the entrance sign was decorated for the event
Even the stores that weren't open were decorated
Decorations were up all throughout the park
One of the kids trains made one of my favorite decorations of the year
This tree illuminated the food court area
And snowflakes were projected on the ground
Like I mentioned, the area around Boomerang was the best
Since the ride wasn't running they could put the lights directly on the rails
And the station looked great as well
The nearby Ark swinging ship featured this awesome "water" lighting
I was also a big fan of these crocs
Toyland was open again from last year. It is again located on the path to Medusa but unlike last year, the path cuts off early this year since Medusa and Kong are not open
Continuing my monthly (or so) trend of checking up on what is/was the construction site for Sidewinder Safari, let's see what's changed. TL;DR: not much. I'm starting to get a little nervous about this ride for 2021. There's been reports that the track was shipped to the area and is sitting in a parking lot near the park so I don't think it's likely that the entire project is cancelled (although that's always a possibility) but especially with the news that SFOT's Mack water coaster is delayed to 2022 there's a distinct possibility that SS got pushed to 2022. Since SS isn't a massive coaster, the ride doesn't take a long time to erect but on the other hand Aquaman was already mostly built so I don't think the timeline is the issue with it, instead financial/ROI optimization. On the other hand there's speculation that Aquaman is being modified to add a turntable, something that wouldn't happen to SS so maybe we'll be fine and it'll open in Spring/Summer 2021. So at the end of the day, we'll have to wait and see what happens with the ride. In the meantime, stay tuned to this site for continued updates!
Still no signage
And the area looks relatively identical to in October
I don't remember this red sign before. I do really like the new security systems and hope they stick around
Speaking of new signs, this one was new to me as well!
Like I mentioned earlier, the stadiums were actually pretty full all things considered
Some of the Boo! snack stands sit unused near the entrance to the old ski show stadium
As to be expected with the latest COVID guidelines, the aquarium was closed
Interestingly enough, the back half of the park was closed just in front of the SS site in the evening
As well as closed near Boomerang and here in front of the butterfly exhibit
DC Universe might not be open but it looks good at least
I spotted this bird just outside of the park and couldn't resisting getting a shot of him
The giraffes were being fed when I walked by
Giraffe tongues are strange!
The lions were active
And playing with their keepers and some toys
This cougar was right next to the path and actually loudly meowing. Kinda funny seeing it act like a big house cat!
So there you have it, another update from SFDK. Tonight was the second to last night of HitP: Lights and the park transitions into a drive through starting on Monday (presumably to get ahead of the impending stay at home order - Solano county is not affected by the preemptive one set forth by some Bay Area counties but would be subject to the state ordered one if ICU capacity drops below 15%). I plan on visiting this experience sometime around Christmas and will report on how well it goes! Expect continued coverage of the park when it reopens to foot traffic next year!