Six Flags is coasting its way to the lead
When you think of Six Flags, chances are you think of thrills. That’s because the amusement park chain has built its reputation on scaring the bejeezus out of anyone who dares to brave its roller coasters and other rides. For 2019, Six Flags will burnish its reputation with another batch of scream-inducing, crazy contraptions.
Starting a few years ago, the company committed to opening something new at every park each season. Not all of the attractions debuting in 2019 will be headliners. But there are plenty of rides coming to the midways that will get thrill-seekers’ pulses racing.
Once again, coasters will hog the spotlight at the parks. Perhaps the most anticipated ride will be West Coast Racers, a launched racing coaster coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. Instead of relying on a traditional chain lift hill and gravity to get up to speed, the ride will use electromagnetic propulsion to scream out of the station and hit 55 mph on a straightaway.
The park is billing the attraction as the world’s first quadruple-launch, twin-lap racing coaster. It will feature two trains that will navigate the course alongside one another. Halfway through the ride, passengers will experience a virtual “pit stop” themed to West Coast Customs, the shop known for tricking out celebrities’ cars. After the brief respite, riders will repeat the course on the opposite track.
Magic Mountain already holds the world record for the most number of coasters. West Coast Racers, which will be thrill machine No. 20, will extend the park’s bragging rights.
Six Flags Great America near Chicago is pitching its new ride, Maxx Force, as the world’s fastest launch coaster. At 78 mph, it will be plenty fast, but there are many launched coasters at Six Flags locations and elsewhere that hit much higher speeds. By “fastest,” the park means that it will rev up to top speed in less than two seconds. Yowza! Instead of electromagnetic propulsion, Maxx Force will use compressed air for its record-breaking acceleration. The ride also will feature five inversions, including one that riders will experience at more than 60 mph.
A number of Six Flags parks have introduced “4D Free Fly Coasters,” which feature cars that independently spin and flip 360 degrees forward and backward on the outside “wings” of an undulating ribbon of track. In 2019, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, will open Batman: The Ride, its version of the unusual attraction. The coaster will include “raven turns,” elements that will send its trains falling over the edge and heading 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
There used to be more stand-up coasters, in which passengers mount adjustable, bicycle-like seats and stand for the duration of the ride, but a number of parks have been either scrapping or converting the notoriously uncomfortable attractions. Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is opting for the latter. It will replace the trains on the former Apocalypse with floorless models in which passengers will sit above the track with their feet dangling. The modified ride, which will be renamed Firebird, will climb 100 feet, hit 55 mph, and include two inversions.
Since it won’t actually coast, Lone Star Revolution, the ride coming to Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, won’t technically be a coaster. Still, the park is touting the 100-foot-tall, motor-propelled ride as the world’s largest loop coaster. The train will circumnavigate the attraction’s giant loop a few times in each direction.
Three pendulum rides, in which passengers sit facing outward on a rotating platform that swings back and forth, are on their way next year. The Joker Wild Card at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, each will soar 17 stories into the air, while Pandemonium at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell will climb a slightly smaller 15 stories. All three will hit top speeds of at least 70 mph.
Darien Lake in New York, which used to be a Six Flags park, is back under the chain’s umbrella. It also will go tall in 2019 with SkyScreamer, a swing ride that will climb 242 feet as passengers spin around on precarious, open-air seats.
Two spinning “flat” rides, Supergirl at Six Flags St. Louis in Missouri and Cyborg at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts, will pour on the thrills. Cyborg will be placed inside a darkened building and include special effects.
Six Flags Frontier City in Oklahoma City, another park that is back in the company’s fold, will welcome four rides for young children in its new Timber Town land. The water park at The Great Escape in Queensbury, New York, will get a new name, Hurricane Harbor, and expand with additional attractions, including Bucket Blasters. Passengers will be armed with water soakers on the interactive ride.
Maxx Force at Six Flags Great America near Chicago will use compressed air for record-breaking acceleration. The ride will also feature five inversions, including one at more than 60 mph.