Welcome to our FIRST Ride Review. What other ride than the world famous X2 could we start of with…
After making the walk past Six Flags Plaza, riders make their way up to the Baja Ridge section of the park. This area houses Revolution, Viper as well as the famous X2. To enter the line you must pass over a bridge that crosses over the walkway that leads up to top section of Baja Ridge, viewing X2 and Viper staring back at you. The first part of the line are switchbacks, that go through a tree covered shaded area, with signs asking if you are type A or type X. After the first set of switchbacks, the trees open up to show Viper’s batwing on the right, and X2’s lift hill on the left. After the second set of switchbacks, you are separated to either the left or right side of the station. The left side has a ramp that leads up to the station, from which you can see some of the park. The right side features a more shaded stairwell that faces out to the valet-parking lot, and the general parking lot entrance. Once riders enter the station, they are greeted by a large screen showing what seems to be a magma covered waste land that X2 has grown from. It also features signs that boast 4 of the rides slogans “Behold the Thunder” “Here You Stand, a Gladiator in the Coliseum of Thrill” “Total Sensory Deformation” and “Closing Your Eyes Won’t Make it Go Away”. Once seated in the 20 ft. wide train, you hear voices whispering the rides name, followed by a louder voice asking if “everybody is in” and then that the “ceremony is about to begin”. The rides seat stabilizers release, and and the seats slowly move until riders are on their backs. Then the ride exits the station to a loud bell noise. Turning a corner from the station towards the lift hill, the classic jazz song “it had to be” you performed by Frank Sinatra. Once heading up the lift hill backwards, the seats rotate more upright and riders get a panoramic view of the park. The original song breaks away and gives way to an instrumental version of enter sandman by Metallica, with lines such as “are you ready” “the truth you can’t handle the truth” from Jack Nicholson’s character in a few good men, and “who’s idea was this”. There is then a countdown followed by go go go go go, then nothing but a heart beat three time. The the music kicks in with lyrics from Aerosmith’s love in an elevator as riders go over the first small hill and then up and over the edge of an 88.5 degree hill flipping the riders’ seats head over heals into a monster Raven Turn. The ride then dives back to earth, passing a camera, then flipping the seats 360’degrees once again while experiencing 0 G’s in a camelback, into an overbank turn. The ride then hits a Lie to Fly turn, flipping the seats from an inverted position to a laying position whilst the track turns upright as well, this is turning riders backwards again to see the rides fire effect coming right at them. The ride then hits another smaller Raven Turn, to end in the station, where it finishes by stating that the ride was “one world crazy insane experience just like jeckyle and hyde you know”.
The ride offers a unique experience that is totally worth the lines the ride normally has. The best time to visit X2 is around 2-4 PM. It seems that most guests have found their way to the other side of the park, and the lines can get really short, even on busy days, to a wait of a bout 20-25 minutes. X2 is crowded and has crazy lines for the first 2-3 hours of operation, and the last 2 hours ofoperation. The first hours of its operation, people try running to X2 first thing, because they want to avoid the lines for this immensly popular ride, this ends up causing long lines, because most guests think the excact same. If you are entering the park 15 min or later after opening we advise you to not even try, and wait until 2-3PM. X2 has long lines in the evening due to the ride’s special effects (mainly the Flame Throwers) being very popular in the dark, and the ride offers a totally different experience at night. When you visit in the winter, lines may seem short, but can be awfully long since Six Flags Magic Mountain often only runs 1 train in the winter while the other trains are getting refurbished.
X2’s pre-drop is a small bump before the actual big drop. This scares many first-timers since they think that it’s the actual drop, but the opposite is true, riders go up, and the seats rotate having all riders face the ground while they are in free fall, until the seats rotate, and you are suddenly laying on your back, sky rocketing upwards into the giant Raven Turn.
In this Raven Turn the riders are on the inside of “Half Loop” looking element, as where at the last Raven Turn they swing on the outside. When riders past the photo cameras they will experience a short period of weightlessness while rotating 360′ degrees backwards to then enjoy the view of the park before swinging around the corner where you will see the massive structure that you will be chasing by next. The Fly to Lie turn is a movement that leaves every one confused. You start hanging with the track above, then you end up on the opposite side with the track below, whilst on the opposite position of the train. Then the last Raven Turn is a little rough, and was designed to be the intense ending, and it definetly is. When seated on the outside of the trains on X2, your ride experience will be a bit more rough, and a little more extreme, as where the inside seats offer a more smooth ride. So we advise first-timers or smaller passengers to ride the inside seats on X2. If you are a larger guest, we advise you to ride in the outside seat since there tends to be more room, for a comfortable ride.
X2, together with Tatsu and Full Throttle, is the park’s most popular rollercoaster, and you shouldnt be surprised that when you leave the park an hour after closing, you’ll still see it run as you drive by. X2 is located on the side where all cars arrive for either drop off or parking, and you can’t do anything but stare at the super structure that delivers thrills for the real thrill seekers. The red and black giant started its life as X, the world’s fist 4D coaster, and closed without warning or announcements in 2007. The park announced it would become X2 for the 2008 season adding all kinds of effects, installing new trains, and a repaint. The Fog-effects are no longer in use, but it doesn’t affect the ride experience much at all.
If you have a chance to ride X2, do not be afraid as it is said to be more of a unique experience rather than ultra-extreme. And these rides are very rare, so unless you travel to Japan or China very often, you won’t experience anything else like it. For the shortest wait and the optimal experience at SFMM, please see the part above describing the lines. X2 is the world’s only 5D coaster (named that way because of effects such as audio and fire), and is definetly a ride YOU need to experience.
Our fourth Throwback Thursday is Zonga.
Zonga started it’s life as Thriller at Gröna Lund. It was originally purchased by German showman Oscar Bruch. It debuted as the Thriller on May 17th, 1986 at the fairground in Freiburg, Germany. For the next 11 years it mostly traveled the German fair circuit before coming to Six Flags AstroWorld. It started operating in SF Astroworld in 1998, and operated for about 2 years. After that, it stood there (SBNO) non-operative for another 2 years. It then got moved to Six Flags Marine World (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom). When the Thriller was moved from Six Flags Astroworld to Six Flags Marine World, some track modifications were made by Premier Rides. The most significant was increasing the elevation of the first two loops. The affect of this change would be reducing the Thriller’s top speed and lowering the g-forces during the first two loops. Zonga is Swahili for “coil” or “loop”. (source rcdb.com)
Zonga started it’s operations in the Vallejo themepark in April of 2003, and operated for about 2 years, it then stood there SBNO for 2 years, until it got removed to make room for the new Tony Hawk’s Big Spin roller coaster. Zonga was then sent to Isla San Marcos Parque Temático. The ride started operating here in 2008 under the name Tsunami.
Zonga was a Schwarzkopf designed by the world famous Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH. Zonga was 115 ft. tall, and had a 98 ft. tall drop with a max. angle of 70’degrees. Zonga had a lenght of 3,675 ft, in which it had 4 inversions, and reached speeds upto 54 MPH. Zonga’s 4 loops, were not all perfect vertical loops, making this ride so unique. The first loop was 91.5 ft tall, the second was 80.6 ft tall, the third was 56 ft tall, and the fourth was 48 ft tall. Zonga had 5 cars per train(riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 20 riders per train), with a max. capacity of 720 riders per hour.
Marriott’s Great America, built by hotel and restaurant operator Marriott Corporation, opened to the public on May 20, 1976. Less than two weeks later on May 29, the company opened a second Marriott’s Great America – later known as Six Flags Great America.
The park, though profitable, was still an earnings disappointment for Marriott, leading the company in 1983 to explore options to sell. An interested party, Caz Development Co., appraised the land value at US$800,000 to $1 million per acre. Marriott also involved the city of Santa Clara in negotiations, which was already leasing 55 acres (22 ha) of parking space for the amusement park. The city eventually acquired the park for $93.5 million from Marriott, which retained 20 acres (8.1 ha) from the sale for development. Caz Development settled and was allowed to build a hotel and office near the park, which the city renamed Great America. Kings Entertainment (Kings Island and Kings Dominion for example) Company, who owned and operated other amusement parks, was hired in 1985 to manage Great America for the city.
Paramount acquired Kings Entertainment, and created Paramount Parks. Viacom, the parent of MTV Networks (including Nickelodeon), then bought Paramount in 1994, allowing Nickelodeon theming and merchandise into the park as well. During the Paramount era, attractions from the Action FX Theatre, Nickelodeon Splat City (later Nickelodeon Central), Drop Zone Stunt Tower, Invertigo, and many more modern thrill ride attractions were added in. In 2000, the park added the first flying coaster in the world to their coaster line-up, Stealth. Stealth was a Vekoma Flying Dutchman, and was extremely popular among guests. The park had to remove the fan-favorite in 2003 to make room for their in-park water park Boomerang Bay. Stealth got moved to Carowinds, also Paramount by that time, and has since recieved a make-over and is currently named Nighthawk.
After Viacom and CBS Corporation split, Paramount Parks became part of CBS. The merger did not last long, as CBS announced plans to sell the theme park division.
In May 2006, it was announced that Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. would be acquiring the entire amusement park division from CBS. The transaction includes licensing agreements with Nickelodeon and Paramount, providing the park the option to retain its Nickelodeon and Paramount theming for several years.
The park seemed to have had a hard time the last couple of years, with removal of Invertigo, and Cedar Fair wanting to sell the park. The last new coaster before Gold Striker opened in 2001, Psycho Mouse, and many were delighted to see the park add a new big ride in 2013. The park seems to be ready for the next couple of years.
Below you’ll find a list with all current rollercoasters the park operates. Click on the name of the ride to get the statistics from RCDB.com .
- Demon is an arrow looper, that started it’s life as ‘Turn of the Century’. The track got altered along the way to add a double loop into it, and got renamed Demon.
- Flight Deck is a unique custom designed B&M inverted coaster. It has a relatively small layout, and is definetly one of the park’s major attractions. It used to be named Top Gun, with the Paramount License still active.
- Gold Striker is the park’s newest addition, and is the longest wooden coaster in nothern CA. It is a GCI that had some noise problems, but these have been solved and the ride is running smooth. It is believed to be CA best wooden rollercoaster.
- Grizzly is the park’s first wooden rollercoaster, and is believed to be rough now-a-days. It is still a fun classic woden coaster ride.
- Psycho Mouse is the park’s wild mouse coaster made by arrow. This is one of the last arrow coasters to be opened.
- Taxi Jam is a coaster for the younger visitors of the park.
- Woodstock’s Express is too.
- Vortex is the 2nd B&M coaster to be built. The ride is similar to Vortex from Carowinds, which opened as 3rd B&M, but has some significant differences in the track layout. Vortex is a stand-up coaster.
The first Space Mountain opened in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida in 1975.
The ride opened as a response to the success ‘The Matterhorn Bobsleds’ had received when they opened at Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 1959. The Matterhorn Bobsleds ride was Disney’s first thrill ride, and they realized that thrill rides brought a wider range of people to their park, so the idea of Space Mountain was born. In 1965, Walt Disney partnered with Arrow Dynamics for the second time, the first being with Matterhorn, to build Space Mountain. Unfortunately, Walt passed away in December of 1966, and the main focus was on completing his Disney World project, so the Space Mountain project was suspended. Disney World had huge success, and planned to build a new thrill ride due to its large population of teenage and young adult visitors in 1971. A new Matterhorn was thought of, but the park in Florida didn’t have enough space, so Disney Imagineers went back to designing Space Mountain. Although the park had enough space to build the ride, they chose to build it off park property and have RCA sponsor the 10 million dollar project. It opened on January 15th, 1975. The ride features many elements that have come from defunct rides in the park, including Epcot’s Horizons and the Submarine Voyage, as well as pieces from the old Disney Lounge at LAX airport. The ride features single file seats, similar to Disneyland’s Matterhorn. This Space Mountain exists out of 2 nearly the same tracks (mirror) that have a height of 90 ft. maximum speed of 27 MPH, and the ride has a duration of 2 mins and 35 seconds.
Due to its large success Disneyland started construction on a second Space Mountain shortly after the first one was completed. After 2 years, Disneyland’s 20 million dollar Space Mountain complex was complete, with a stage/theater, a restaurant, and the Starcade, as well as the coaster. Many famous astronauts such as John Glenn and Alan Shepard attended the opening. The ride featured many high tech updates over the early years, including a moving sidewalk at the entrance of the ride, and, when FedEx became the sponsor of the ride, new scenery were added, such as TV screens with looping safety videos and FedEx robots added for scenery in the loading area. In 1996, the ride added on board music, by composer Aarin Richards and show producer Eddie Sotto, which was explained as a combination of horror, sci fi, and surf music. In 1997, the dome structure holding Space Mountain was repainted green and gold. In 2003, the ride closed for track renovations, due to the tracks instability. It reopened in 2005 for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, with new track, new effects, and a new storyline. Although the track was new, it was the same original layout as its predecessor. The ride was dedicated to Neil Armstrong on its reopening. In 2006, the park added a new on-board soundtrack featuring a remixed version of the 1989 Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s song Higher Ground. During the month of October from 2007-2008, the ride operated as Space Mountain: Nightmare Nebula. Nightmare Nebula was never a large success, so it was change to Ghost Galaxy in 2009. Ghost Galaxy features different lighting and scenery on both the ride and in the queue, and has been a large success. This Space mountain has a ride duration of 2:48 min, has a track length of 3,459 ft. and has a top speed of 32 MPH. Riders will enter the dome and reach height by traveling through tunnels and special effects over 3 lift hills. While in the dome, projected stars will disorient riders as they travel down in repetitive motion, being confused by sudden twists and small drops. Before getting back to the station the ride makes another sudden movement and will slow down in a special effects tunnel.
Space Mountain in Tokyo opened in 1983. The ride is a clone of Disneyland’s Space Mountain, but in 2006, the rides theming was renovated, to make the ride seem more futuristic.
Hong Kong Space Mountain is very similar to Disneyland’s Space Mountain as well. It has some differences though however, such as a different queue, and a hyper speed tunnel.
For our 3rd Tomorrow Tuesday, we are looking at a ride that is very possible in the near future.
The Las Vegas Review Journal is out with some pretty exciting news. A company called U.S. Thrill Rides LLC is planning to build the world’s tallest roller coaster in Las Vegas. The coaster, if completed, will stand a staggering 650 feet high. (Click here for a video of the ride)
That would make it nearly 200 feet taller than the current tallest coaster in the world, Kingda Ka. But, perhaps even more interestingly, the “Polercoaster,” as it’s called, will fit in a tiny amount of real estate. It will be built in a giant pole-like structure with tracks spiraling around the structure.
The tower structure has room for a mall in the top levels, which you can only reach with elevators.
Superman The Escape opened as world’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster. Superman The Escape was the first ride ever to exceed the 100 MPH mark. But what most people don’t know is that there were totally different plans for the ride first. The park had plans to create a ride named ‘Velocetron’. There is not much known about this plan, since the ride was going to be about the same, except for the theming. There are some pictures out there from the ride ideas such as this one.
The ride turned out to become Superman The Escape, which was made by Intamin, and was originally intended to open in 1996. Due to problems, it was never open to the public until the 1997 season. There was a preview for season pass holders in the fall of 1996. Superman The Escape was gray/white and is/was a shuttle coaster. Superman The Escape is/was 1,235 ft long, 415 ft tall, has a 328.1 ft drop, has a max. of 4.5 G’s, and reaches the speed of 100 MPH in less than 7 seconds. Superman The Escape used to reach the top of the tower in the beginning of the operations, but it slowely ended up reaching only half the tower.
Superman The Escape was the fastest rollercoaster in the world until 2001, when Dodonpa opened in Fuyi-Q-highland. Superman The Escape was world’s tallest coaster until 2003, when Top Thrill Dragster Opened in 2003. Superman (now Superman: Escape From Krypton) is still in the top 3 tallest rollercoasters in the world. In 2010, the ride closed without any given reason, and rumors had it that it would get transformed to Bizarro, but that was untrue. For the 2011 season, Superman The Escape was transformed into Superman: Escape from Krypton. The most significant change was positioning riders to face backwards so they now look towards the ground rather than the sky on the vertical track.
Superman: Escape From Krypton has been painted red, blue, and yellow, and now reaches the top of the tower most of the time. The ride ran smooth for about a year, but Superman: Escape from Krypton closed again on February 5, 2012 to prepare for the new 2012 attraction Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom. Two drop towers, also built by Intamin, were integrated into the existing sides of Superman: Escape from Krypton’s structure. The ride reopened when construction was finished on July 7, 2012. The ride’s harnasses for the outsides seats got replaced as well during this time.
At the entrance to the ride, the Superman “S” shield is imprinted and now painted onto the ground. The entrance area and queue are modeled after the Fortress of Solitude, Superman’s headquarters. The station is lit green, modeled as Krypton, the planet that is full of Kryptonite rock that can take away Superman’s powers. Inside is a crystalline-looking environment which recreates Superman’s fortress in the Arctic. If the Velocetron name had been chosen, the queue and station would have had ancient ruins and a giant laser. (as seen in the picture)
Superman: Escape From Krypton offers a unique ride which only takes about 28 seconds, with a perfect mix of G’s and a great amount of weightlessness/airtime. If you happen to be around, or have never been on it before make sure to check it out since it’s a fun ride experience, and lines are mild in the mornings and evenings.
California Coaster Kings went to Hurricane Harbor next to Magic Mountain to give you an update and walkthrough.
The park opened as the first Hurricane Harbor by Six Flags in 1995, and there are currently 7 Six Flags Hurricane Harbors.
Here is a list of all the ‘attractions’ in Hurricane Harbor LA.
(click on any of the names to be re-directed to the official HHLA ride page)
|Black Snake Summit|
|Forgotten Sea Wave Pool|
|Lost Temple Rapids|
For our 3rd Throwback Thursday we have Invertigo.
Invertigo is a suspended Vekoma Boomerang Model (Vertigo) having riders sit with their backs to one another facing the other riders at the same time. Invertigo looks like the regular Boomerang models when looking at the track layout. The only differences are in the train hanging under the track, the height, and the looping exits on the opposite side.
Invertigo was located next to the park’s first woodie, Grizzly, and has had some operational errors making people believe that’s one of the main reasons the ride was closed and left. Invertigo was blue(supports) with yellow(track). The top speed of this machine was 50 MPH, and it stood a 131 ft. tall. The ride went through the Cobraroll and Looping both forwards and backwards (like every other boomerang model similar to this from Vekoma). The coaster is known for being powerful as the train isn’t only suspended but also has a max. amount of G’s of 5. The ride’s duration is about 1:30 minutes.
Since 1934, tourists and locals alike line up for a delicious dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken. The restaurant opened in 1934 as a small five table tea room where Cordelia Knotts did all the cooking and her daughters waited tables. Since its opening, the restaurant has served over 20 million guest.
The meal comes with a quarter fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, a salad, soup, biscuits, your choice of corn or spinach, and for desert, a slice of boysenberry or apple pie, or a scoop of boysenberry sherbet. The restaurant also offers an all you can eat Sunday brunch.