Six Flags Magic Mountain recently announced an unexpected and exciting addition for 2012. The park was already able to boast the most roller coasters of any theme park in the World this year and now it looks to claim another record next year. Magic Mountain has unveiled plans for LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom. At over 400 feet (40 stories) tall it will be the World’s tallest drop ride.
The park’s Superman: Escape from Krypton roller coaster features two twin 415-foot tall towers. Roller coaster cars are launched from zero to 100 mph down the twin tracks and then up these two spires. Those two skyscraping towers are going to be used as the structure for the LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom where riders will drop 400 feet at an unreal 85 mph. After falling for five seconds, which will probably feel like an eterntity, the riders will come to a halt just a few feet from the ground.
To put this insane drop in context, the tallest drop rides in the United States are around 300 feet tall. The view from 400-feet up should be beyond breath-taking. I have to imagine that the wait will be ridiculously long with only two eight-person wide gondolas, but I’m betting that many will gladly wait hours for such an experience. Read more about this new ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom page and watch the preview video below.
Based on my experiences and the general opinions and buzz from other roller coaster enthusiasts, here’s a list of what I consider to be America’s most intense roller coasters.
The Voyage at Holiday World Holiday World’sThe Voyage is one of the largest and fastest wooden roller coasters in the World. The out and back terrain coaster provides an intense 2 minute and 45 second marathon of thrills. After leaving the station, The Voyage delivers an onslaught of large hills, five underground tunnels, three ridiculously banked 90-degree turns, and a record-setting 24 seconds of air time as riders are lifted out of their seats throughout the adventure. Each time I got off of The Voyage I was physically exhausted, but also excited to get back in line and take the trip again. The Voyage is a rare wooden roller coaster in that it’s intense and a tad rough, but still fun and completely re-rideable.
X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain Six Flags Magic Mountain’sX2 has an insane riding position. It places riders on either side of the track instead of on top or below it. In turn, exposing riders and giving them virtually no place to hide. Not only is the seating position off-putting and intimidating, but the seats rotate riders 360-degrees forward and backward. If that wasn’t enough, the ride’s opening dive sends you plummeting head first towards the ground. X2 was so intense that it made the middle-aged mom that I rode with see her life pass before her eyes.
Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure and Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point
Six Flags Great Adventure’sKingda Ka and Cedar Point’sTop Thrill Dragster are two very similar roller coasters that boast staggering stats. At over 40 stories tall, they’re literally skyscrapers earning them the rare distinction of strata coasters. While the climb to that lofty altitude and subsequent plunge are both very memorable moments, the rides’ launches are a 10 out of 10 on the intensity scale. Kingda Ka and Top Thrill Dragster accelerate their passengers from 0 to speeds of 128 mph and 120 mph respectively in about four seconds. Overall, I wouldn’t call them the best all-around roller coasters, but the feeling of that sheer power and acceleration is something that has to be experienced. As my cheeks flapped in the wind I wondered, “How much faster can this thing go?”
Clearly there are other intense roller coasters, but for me these are the most extreme. Which roller coasters would you consider the most intense? [Photo Credit: Flickr user - Intamin 10]
With theme parks around the country set to open soon, here’s my take on the most anticipated new roller coasters opening in the United States this year. I’ll start with my top pick.
Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa (Tampa, Florida) Busch Gardens Tampa’s Cheetah Hunt is by far my most anticipated new roller coaster. The multi-launch coaster looks to be an adventure that will rocket riders from 0 to 60 mph. Launch coasters are nothing new, but one with such a diverse layout is. At times the coaster will climb up 100 feet into a unique figure eight element, then dive down below the ground as it charges through a trench. Add to that a corkscrew and an airtime hill and you’ve got an action-packed journey with Busch Gardens Tampa’s Serengeti-themed area as the backdrop. The park has a history of well-themed, well-executed thrilling roller coasters and Cheetah Hunt looks to be no different.
Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas (Dallas, Texas)
Six Flags Over Texas is completing a potentially ground-breaking $10 million upgrade of the Texas Giant. The twenty year old wooden coaster has been re-tracked with steel rails in order to provide a smoother and more exciting ride. Thanks to the new rails, constructed by Rocky Mountain Construction, Six Flags claims the Texas Giant will achieve two World records for a wooden coaster. It will have the steepest drop at 79 degrees and the steepest banking at 95 degrees. I argue that the ‘Giant is now technically a steel coaster, but either way the redesigned Texas Giant could be an amazing ride that encourages similar transformations in the future.
Dare Devil Dive at Six Flags Over Georgia (Atlanta, Georgia)
Six Flags Over Georgia will be opening their 11th roller coaster in the ultra-steep Dare Devil Dive. The ride will boast a vertical lift hill followed by a beyond vertical 95 degree drop. Then, the rocket-themed cars will traverse a thrilling course with three loops, a zero gravity hill, and a tunnel. Dare Devil Dive follows the removal of the park’s Deja Vu roller coaster in 2007. This should be an excellent replacement as a similar roller coaster, Dollywood’s Mystery Mine, was well-received.
Green Lantern at Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, New Jersey)
Six Flags has a history of reusing themes and ride names at a number of their parks. So, it’s no surprise that there will be two Green Lantern roller coasters to tie in with the forthcoming film. Six Flags Great Adventures’ Green Lantern coaster is a stand-up coaster that was previously at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. One of the largest of its kind, it features five loops and a 144 foot first drop. The 14-year old coaster is getting a paint job and may also receive new trains and special effects. While it’s not a completely new roller coaster, it should still be one of the best to open this year. It’s easily one of my favorite stand-up coasters and I really enjoyed it when it was Chang at Kentucky Kingdom.
Green Lantern: First Flight at Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, California) Six Flags Magic Mountain is set for a big year. Not only will Magic Mountain reclaim the title of the theme park with the most roller coasters (surpassing Cedar Point) with 18, the park will be adding two new roller coasters. The most noteworthy of which is Green Lantern: First Flight. Similar to the park’s extremely intense X2, this new ride will be a 4th dimension roller coaster where riders are positioned in spinning seats on either side of the track rather than on top or below it. While First Flight will be a much smaller coaster than X2, it should still deliver an exciting and disorienting ride.
The Tony Hawk Big Spin ride at Six Flags St. Louis, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Six Flags Over Texas will be rethemed as the Big Spin, without the famous skateboarder’s name or likeness.
At Six Flags St. Louis, a wooden coaster named the Evil Knievel will renamed American Thunder.
Thomas the Tank Engine will disappear from Thomas Town kiddie lands at Six Flags America (which just opened its Thomas Town this June), Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags New England and Six Flags Over Georgia.
The Wiggles will no longer sing at the Wiggles World children’s areas at Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Great America, Great Escape, Six Flags New England and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, where five rides have already been stripped of the kid’s band theming.
Despite the re-themed rides, characters from the Looney Tunes, DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera will remain at the parks.
Six Flags Magic Mountain will add two roller coasters and alter an existing coaster in 2011, bringing the park’s total to 18. That gives the Valencia, California, theme park the most roller coasters of any theme park in the world, dethroning Ohio’s Cedar Point, which has 17.
The first addition is the Green Lantern, is a spinning coaster on a vertical track. It’s the first of its kind in the United States, though the builder, Intamin, has a similar model called the Comet Express at Lotte World in Seoul, South Korea.
The Green Lantern’s cars can spin on a vertical axis. The ride starts with a 107-foot lifthill, after which riders will zig-zag through more than 800 feet of track on the way back down. Check out the video at the bottom of this post to see a rendering of the Green Lantern in action. Six Flags says the new roller coaster will debut in the spring.
The second 2011 coaster addition at Six Flags Magic Mountain is an as-yet-unnamed kid’s coaster that will be adjacent to the theme park’s Bugs Bunny World children’s area. It will be 679 feet long with a 28-foot lifthill and top speeds of 21 miles per hour.
Finally, the theme park’s Superman: The Escape roller coaster will get its name changed to Superman: Escape from Krypton, along with a pretty major makeover. New cars will allow riders to shoot up the 41-story tower at 100 miles per hour backwards.
The Superman coaster has two tracks. Six Flags says following the ride’s alterations, both tracks will operate with the backward-facing cars at first. After a few months, one of the cars will be turned around, allowing riders to choose whether they want to ride forwards or backwards.
Superman’s new ride cars will also have lower sides for a more exposed feeling, and new over-the-shoulder harness restraints. Six Flags says the Superman alterations will be completed early next year.