Time for a visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain, as the park has debuted all of its new 2011 coasters. Magic Mountain now of course has "the park with the most coasters on the planet" claim to fame (18 of them). This post is going to focus exclusively on the roller coasters of Six Flags Magic Mountain, as it is a pretty huge park and there are so many coasters. I'll save the park's water rides (four of them), flat rides (only about a half dozen very standard flats), and whatever goodies the park has in store for next year for a later post.
I've actually been to SFMM several times so far this summer, but have been saving everything for one large post. I must say that I have been very impressed with operations. All of the coasters, water rides, and flat rides have been operational on every visit. There have only been a few minor things I've noticed. Green Lantern and Superman seem to have regular bouts of downtime, though they are brief and I suppose expected with new rides (it is a little aggravating to be stuck in line for Superman on the side that breaks down, while the other side continues to run, but what are you going to do?). The audio on X2 has been mostly silent. Tatsu is running two trains, which sounds like it should be fine, but the ride is really designed for three. Because they are still using both load stations, with one train servicing each, once you get to your station it bascially is one-train operation, and it takes FOREVER. However, these are very minor points. For the most part operations have been pretty much perfect.
Here we are. We'll be focusing on Magic Mountain today, specifically on the park's 18 roller coasters.
It seems appropriate to begin with the park's newest coaster, Green Lantern: First Flight.
Green Lantern is of course the first Intamin vertical spin coaster in the U.S. Here you can see the eight-person train ascending the lift.
The first half of the ride is pretty mild. The seats mostly just rock back and forth a bit during the first couple of straightaways and drops.
However, the trains then reach the midcourse brakes, and everything changes from there.
The second half of the ride was honestly the most intense coaster experience I've ever had. I actually don't know if we were flipping repeatedly or just suspended in an upside down position, but the positive g-forces and pressure on my head were unlike anything I've ever experienced. This final up-and-down stretch back to the station is pretty much insane. It was all pretty brief, but probably thankfully so.
Now a look from the other side.
Pretty calm here.
Pretty hardcore here.
And now a couple of pictures I got from the park's Sky Tower. That's Tidal Wave in front of Green Lantern (behind it, actually, as this is the back of the coaster).
I've only gotten one ride in on Green Lantern, so I'm not really in a position yet to give my final take on it. Watching it run, it doesn't look like much. I mean, it looks cool and unique and all, but it doesn't look very intense. I really think I saw some trains not flip at all, which would probably result in a very brief, disappointing ride. However, as there is complete freedom of movement here (unlike with X2), if you do get a flippy car you'll be grateful the ride is brief. That's why I need to ride again before I can say anything for sure. If I got an exceptionally wild ride, then the intensity is appropriate. If, however, I got one of the milder rides, then I'm actually a little scared to go on again.
Time for the park's next new-for-2011 coaster, Superman: Escape from Krypton.
I know Superman isn't technically a new coaster, but it sure feels brand new. It's got a bright new paint job of red, blue, and yellow, as opposed to the drab gray that it used to be.
Oh, and have I mentioned yet that it runs backwards?
Superman backwards is SO MUCH MORE FUN than Superman forwards was. The backwards launch is awesome, and the forward drop is incredible. On how many other rides do you get to experience a backward launch at 100+ mph and a 400 foot straight-down drop? Not too many that I can think of.
Plus let's not ignore the fact that it is actually going 100 mph again like it's supposed to (they actually claim that it goes 108 mph). This therefore takes the cars to the top of the tower like they should, far higher than anything we've seen for a long time with the old Superman. Plus both sides are operational again. Like I said, it feels like a new experience, and it is a GREAT improvement.
The seating configuration is a little different than before, plus the new trains look way cool. They're not so bulky and restricting to your view like they used to be. Don't worry at all about the arm shields on the sides of the trains. I didn't even notice them while riding in the outside seats.
A full view of the ride from the Sky Tower. Despite its impressive stats and intimidating look, I actually think Superman is an appropriate ride for everyone. I rode with a seven-year-old nephew who was just tall enough to make the 48" height requirement, and he loved it. If you are looking for a ride that is simply pure fun, I think you could do no better than Superman: Escape from Krypton.
The third and final new coaster for 2011 is Road Runner Express. This is of course a standard Vekoma roller skater (the exact same ride you can find, incidentally, at nearby Disneyland and Castle Park). While I was a little bummed to lose the Sierra Falls "dry" waterslides that used to be in this spot, I suppose it is important to have a selection of coasters for the younger folk in addition to the bigger folk.
The ride is fun enough for what it is. Located between Bugs Bunny World and Whistlestop Park (the former Thomas Town), there has never been much of a line for this. They could therefore probably let it go around twice, but they don't. What I liked most about the ride was the theming. I actually think they did a really good job in that department.
Time to explore the park's many other coasters, starting with my very favorite, X2.
One of the best first drops you'll find on any coaster. You do a 180-degree front flip while dropping, so though you begin the drop looking straight down, you end it looking straight up!
You then go into this loop which, because of the way the seats rotate, never actually inverts you. Instead, it provides a great feeling of soaring and swooping.
On the opposite end of the coaster is this turnaround, which is the calmest part of the ride. However, it sets you up for...
...the craziest part of the ride. This funky turn-loop (which they call a raven turn) is followed by another non-inverting loop and a final raven turn. All three elements are incredibly intense and want to eject your body from the seats. Be grateful for your restraints here! By the way, the train does an awesome 360-degree back flip while traveling through that hill next to the raven turn.
What makes X2 different from the previous X? A better paint scheme, new trains (a very similar fourth dimensional design though), an audio track, and fire!
I'll admit that X2 is a little rough. It never bangs my head side-to-side though. Instead, it has a tendency to bang the back of my head against the headrest. However, I don't even care about that, as the ride is totally worth it. The whole thing feels so massive and powerful and performs maneuvers that you just can't experience anywhere else. (No sexual innuendo intended with that last sentence.) X2 isn't just my favorite coaster at Magic Mountain. It's my favorite coaster ANYWHERE. I absolutely love it.
Right next to X2 is Viper.
Curvy first drop.
The very tall first loop.
It's not necessarily a large loop; the train just has to travel pretty high up to get to it.
Back-to-back vertical loops and corkscrews must mean we're on an Arrow coaster.
The contorted boomerang loops also give that fact away.
The final dip of the ride.
Viper was a world-class coaster when it opened in 1990. Today it wouldn't even quite crack my top 10 list at SFMM. However, I do enjoy it. I also very much appreciate that it is still here. With Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Great Adventure losing their Arrow megaloopers, I hope that the same fate is not in store for Six Flags Magic Mountain's.
From the Sky Tower. I told you X2 and Viper were right next to each other. I would still to this day classify Arrow megaloopers as some of the most photogenic coasters, and this sure is an attractive view.
Speaking of rides leaving parks, let's head over to Deja Vu.
While I don't think it's been confirmed yet by Magic Mountain that this coaster is on its way out, it sounds like it's been confirmed by Six Flags New England that it's on its way in, which doesn't leave much guesswork.
This news is disappointing to me. I know some out there are not fans of Deja Vu (giant inverted boomerangs in general), but I love this ride. In fact, it's my second favorite at the park (after X2). Everyone says that it's not reliable and it's never open. I disagree. It has actually been running perfectly well all summer. They tend to keep it closed during the off-season, but if that's what it takes to make it run well during the crowded periods, I'm fine with that. The only consolation that I have is that the ride is being moved and not scrapped, plus this could mean a new coaster is on the way to take its spot. After all, they'll lose their coveted coaster crown if they don't replace it. It's going to be hard to beat Deja Vu in my opinion though.
Next door to Deja Vu is Apocalypse.
Apocalypse is of course the GCI wooden coaster that opened in 2009 as Terminator, replacing Psyclone. It has since lost the Terminator name, but the apocalyptic theming remains essentially unchanged. Hence the new name Apocalypse.
I'm in the very tiny minority of people who actually kind of liked Psyclone, but I'll be the first to admit that Apocalypse is far superior. It begins with a twisty GCI first drop.
In fact, pretty much the entire ride is twisty or hilly. In typical GCI fashion, with the exception of the station fly-through, there is very little straight track to be found anywhere.
There's also fire. And the ride's infamous tunnels.
Also worth noting is that this coaster seriously flies through the course. At night especially, it just tears its way through. An absolute blast!
From the Sky Tower, you can see that Deja Vu and Apocalypse are neighbors. You can also somewhat make out Apocalypse's layout, though it's not entirely apparent. If I have one MINOR complaint about Apocalypse (no, it's not the preshow videos, which I actually don't mind), it's that it's just a tad too short. Especially since it moves so fast, it does tend to end a little too quickly.
Enjoy your ride.
Deja Vu's vertical loop awesomeness. Along with most people, I'm not a huge fan of standard boomerangs. However, giant inverted boomerangs don't belong anywhere near the same category. The hang time, the staight-down drops, the enormous loops, the forwards and backwards. I love it all.
A great corner of the park that is going to become far less great unless an equally great replacement shows up.
Turning toward the opposite end of the park, we find another steel coaster / wood coaster combo. Note that you can also make out Road Runner Express in the bottom right corner of this picture.
Goliath is the park's hypercoaster. Even the ride's name is huge.
Some claim that the first drop isn't steep enough. It sure looks and feels steep while riding though.
From this view you can observe the height of the ride, as well as the positive g-force helix twistiness that makes up the coaster's second half.
From this angle the drop sure looks steep. And still tall, even with Superman towering over it. The smaller (but still large) hill next to the big drop provides very nice airtime. You can also see a Colossus train peaking over its lift.
Goliath's sweeping turnaround, connecting the first drop to the airtime hill.
Colossus' first drop. While still very entertaining, it's hard to believe that this was once one of the world's most spectacular coasters.
I guess it still looks reasonably impressive. And don't get me wrong. It's still lots of fun.
A nice view showing off the layout of both coasters, as well their location next to Superman and Scream (to the left). Goliath ranks in my top 5 at SFMM. Colossus is (like Viper) just outside of my top 10. I'm not sure how I feel about a potential re-tracking of Colossus. I think it's already been tampered with enough, but if the re-tracking could return Colossus to its original glory, then it would be worth it.
Let's head next to Tatsu, the park's B&M flyer.
The coaster's soaring first drop. It's hard to tell from this picture, but you are very high above the ground at this point. You are also of course lying face-down toward it.
After the first drop you twist and turn around the Sky Tower.
Then there's this fun and unique turn (not really a loop).
Believe it or not, everything up to this point has been sort of peaceful and relaxing. That all changes once you arive at the coaster's signature element, the pretzel loop.
The pretzel loop ranks higher than Goliath's helix in the intensity department, but it's now been beat out by Green Lantern's intensity.
A zoomed-out view of most of Tatsu's layout. I've been on a couple of other B&M flyers (Superman at SFGAd and SFOG) plus one Vekoma flyer (Batwing at SFA), and I can say that Tatsu is my favorite.
Much of Tatsu occupies the front of the park, along with SFMM's classic Revolution coaster.
Tatsu sure changes the appearance of the park's famous entrance fountains and waterfalls.
Revolution is a Schwarzkopf coaster, but not your typical compact Schwarzkopf. It's actually sprawled out over a good portion of the front of the park. The coaster with the most comparable layout would probably be Hersheypark's Sooperdooperlooper.
One of Revolution's drops.
Navigating the world's first vertical loop.
The spiral that ends the ride, with Tatsu's pretzel loop looming in the background.
A look from the Sky Tower at both coasters doing their thing. While Revolution is by no means a huge or incredibly thrilling coaster by today's standards (plus it has unnecessary over-the-shoulder restraints that cause a decent amount of headbanging), it gains points for its historic status and for being a classic icon.
In addition to Tatsu, SFMM has a few other B&M's. Batman is the park's B&M inverted coaster.
The first drop and vertical loop.
The zero-g roll, the most intense part of the ride.
The second vertical loop plus a corkscrew in the foreground.
Navigating said corkscrew.
A look at the entire second half of the ride (after the drop, first vertical loop, and zero-g roll). While Batman represents an early compact B&M inverted design, it is a very intense and still very good one.
The Riddler's Revenge is the park's B&M stand-up. Notice how the lift hill actually travels through the coaster's enormous vertical loop.
At the top of the lift, ready to dive back down into that massive loop.
I think I can, I think I can...
A couple of dive loops follow.
Through the dive loop.
Through the oblique loop, which is like a vertical loop sort of tilted on its side.
Oblique loop. So much looping and twisting goodness everywhere on this ride.
See, more looping and twisting goodness.
And you do it all while standing up.
From the Sky Tower, you can see that Batman and Riddler hang out next to each other (though I thought they were enemies). Riddler was my favorite ride in the park when it opened in 1998. It is a very long ride that used to be uber smooth. Though it rattles a little more these days than it did back then, I still think I like it slightly better than Batman, mainly due to its length and variety of elements.
Zooming out a bit, you can also see how Green Lantern fits in. It's kind of weird having two green tracks right next to each other, but I know that both coasters obviously need to be green. Speaking of colors, Batman's new blue coloration looks a lot nicer than its former dark gray color scheme.
And one final B&M, Scream, this time a floorless coaster. Down the curvy first drop. (What is it with B&M and their curvy first drops?)
Through the vertical loop.
Like Riddler, Scream has a gigantic vertical loop.
Also like Riddler, Scream has a dive loop. It's pretty funny to look at people's legs sticking out on floorless coasters. Check out the front row.
A couple of elements are unique to Scream. Here you can see the cobra roll plus the preceding zero-g roll, which is quite different from Batman's and actually my favorite inversion on the ride.
And yes, Scream is SFMM's infamous parking lot coaster.
After the midcourse brakes there is some twistiness, followed by...
...interlocking corkscrews. Scream is definitely a fun ride, but it's never proven very popular. Probably because it is constucted over the parking lot and is so similar in its elements to Riddler, it might come across as a "second rate" ride. Only at Six Flags Magic Mountain could a seven-inversion floorless megacoaster be considered second rate. I do have a few more pictures left to go, but I'll put them in a separate post since I've reached my max here. Coming right up...
Last edited by biosciking on Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:24 pm.
The roller coasters of Six Flags Magic Mountain continued...
Ninja is the park's Arrow suspended coaster.
The swinging turns are what this type of ride is all about.
Ninja is built on and around the park's Samurai Summit hillside.
From the Sky Tower you can follow most of Ninja's path along the mountain, traveling through the trees and weaving in and out of the Jet Stream flume ride. For the record, I liked Big Bad Wolf much better than Ninja, but I like Ninja better than any of the other Arrow suspendeds that I've been on (which isn't too many - Iron Dragon and XLR-8).
The park's oldest coaster is Gold Rusher, an Arrow mine train.
Like most mine trains, Gold Rusher has a couple of lifts and moderately sized drops. It ends with a fun spiraling helix. Though it stretches out through the middle of the park, there aren't too many places to get pictures of it, so this is it. (If you scroll up to the shot of Superman from the Sky Tower, you can see a bit of Gold Rusher's track crossing under the start of Superman's track.)
To be complete, I've got a couple of pictures of the park's kiddie coasters. Canyon Blaster is located in Bugs Bunny World and is actually kind of fun. I couldn't get a shot of the entire ride, but there are a couple of small jolting drops and a turnaround before reaching these lurching bunny hops. For an adult it mostly provides whiplash, but for whatever reason I was amused and entertained by the whole thing.
And finally the REALLY kiddie coaster, Magic Flyer. This one is located in Whistlestop Park and is exclusively for those under 54" tall. It's therefore the only SFMM coaster that I haven't been able to ride. Actually, this ride has been around since the park first opened, going through various themes (Clown Coaster, Wile E. Coyote Coaster, Goliath Jr., Percy's Railway, and now the Magic Flyer). So I suppose I could have ridden it as a kid, but I honestly don't remember.
There you have it. A look at the 18 roller coasters located at Six Flags Magic Mountain. I'll leave you with this shot from the 5 freeway just north of the park. If that view doesn't get your adrenaline pumping as you approach, you must be lacking adrenal glands. How many roller coasters do you see in this photo? I count seven. Pretty impressive to think that this skyline doesn't even contain half of the park's coasters!
Last edited by biosciking on Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:25 pm.
WOW!! Thanks for such an extensive photo tour through SFMM's awesome-looking coaster collection! Your photos are spectacular by the way! I have to say, of all the parks on my "I must go there" list, SFMM sits at #1, without question.
I would rather be off riding coasters!
Steel Top 5 - (1) Steel Vengeance (2) Skyrush (3) Fury 325 (4) Millennium Force (5-tie) Phantom's Revenge (5-tie) Maverick Wood Top 5 - (1) El Toro (2) Phoenix (3) Voyage (4) Ravine Flyer II (5) Shivering Timbers
With the summer season winding down (yet the temperatures still scorching in So Cal), I figured I'd hit up one more waterpark before they start closing for the year. I decided to visit Pharaoh's Adventure Park, which contains a waterpark that I've actually never been to before.
Located in Redlands, Pharaoh's used to be called Pharaoh's Lost Kingdom. It contained a waterpark, a family fun center, plus rides (a galaxi coaster, a powered kiddie coaster, and about half a dozen flats). I visited the park once during that time to ride the rides. About five years ago the park closed and the rides were removed.
Last year the park reopened as Pharaoh's Adventure Park, with the Splash Kindgom waterpark now serving as the headliner attraction. As I didn't visit the waterpark during my previous visit, I don't know if it changed much, but I don't think so. The family fun center part is also still here, though with not quite as many attractions. It operates year-round.
You have to pay to enter the waterpark ($24.99), though the fun center attractions are pay-as-you-go (there are of course unlimited options for them too). Also unique to Pharaoh's is their buffet, which you have to pay to even enter ($9.99). You're given a wristband and can then I believe come and go from it all day, eating as much as you want, which is a pretty good deal.
The welcome sign that hasn't been replaced since the days of Pharaoh's Lost Kingdom. Notice the black tape that's covering up "Lost Kingdom." Also notice the waterslide, roller coaster, and ferris wheel on the sign.
The main entrance. The Egyptian theming is used throughout the park, including in the Splash Kingdom waterpark. It's a little hit-or-miss everywhere. In some of the pools the theming is done decently well. On the slides, the theming is really just in the names.
Speaking of the waterpark and slides, let's head there first. All of the park's major waterslides (eight of them) are built on a single large tower. On this side you can see five. Their names are Ramses' Rocket and Pharaoh's Falls (the two white slides), the Anileator (pink slide), Wrath of Ra (black slide), and Pharaoh's Revenge (yellow slide).
Ramses' Rocket is the one that dips a couple of times on the way down. Pharaoh's Falls is the one with the straight drop. I actually think Ramses' Rocket is a little more fun, as you get some lift going over each hill, though most people seem to be more intimidated by Pharaoh's Falls. And speaking of intimidating, the Anileator is claimed by the park to be the world's tallest enclosed waterslide (90 feet high). They also claim you can reach speeds of 50 mph while riding. Whether or not I hit that speed I don't know, but it certainly did feel fast, thanks to the dropping first curve that really gets you going right from the beginning.
Another look at Ramses' Rocket and Pharaoh's Falls. Plus you can make out someone splashing out of the Anileator.
Wrath of Ra is a tube slide that is enclosed during its first half but open during its second half. Pharaoh's Revenge is a tube slide that is open during its entire course. They both ride pretty similarly, though I would give the edge to Wrath of Ra due to its larger final drop.
One thing I like about the park is that you can ride any of the tube slides in single or double tubes. They also advertise that you can ride them in triple tubes, though I'm not sure how, as I never saw a triple tube in the entire park.
On the other side of the tower are the three remaining slides, all of which empty into a common pool. From left to right, they are Tut's Tomb (an enclosed body slide), Sphinx Express (an open tube slide), and Dark Chamber (an enclosed tube slide). Tut's Tomb is probably the most thrilling of the three, though all of these are considered the "smaller" of the park's eight waterslides.
A closer look at Sphinx Express and Dark Chamber.
In addition to slides, Pharaoh's also features other typical waterpark fare. They have this relatively large activity play area for older kids. There's another one of comparable size for younger kids elsewhere in the park.
The Nile River is the park's lazy river.
Interestingly, the park does not have a wave pool. Instead, they have a flow rider wave machine. It's not an upcharge attraction, which is nice.
The flow rider is called Riptide. The sign behind it for the Flusher is for a separate waterslide that wraps around the Riptide and ultimately connects to the Nile River. You have to be riding a tube and it only slopes at a very gradual angle, but it's a fun way to enter the lazy river.
That's it for the waterpark. Let's briefly check out what the fun center has to offer. The bumper boats are themed pretty well, and the water jets on each boat are certainly appreciated on a hot day.
Pretty standard go-karts. They actually have three separate tracks, but I'm pretty sure this is the only one that still operates. The other two looked kind of deserted. Also SBNO on site is a sky coaster, another remnant of the park's former days that has never been removed.
I think the park's theming is best displayed in its miniature golf courses. There are four separate nine-hole courses.
Pretty good Egyptian theming. It would be even better if the pools and fountains were operating, but it still looks nice without them.
While still interesting-looking, I'm not sure what a dragon, a medieval tower, and a spaceship have to do with Egyptian theming. Anyway, the park also has an arcade and several large inflatable slides and play structures for kids. Overall it was an enjoyable visit and I definitely won't wait over five years to visit again.
Last edited by biosciking on Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:26 pm.
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