Friday, July 25, 2008

Six Flags Great Adventure - Superman: Ultimate Flight

This is the first ride you see as you walk up to the entrance of Great Adventure - it is practically in the parking lot, with nothing but a fence separating the lot from the ride. That's probably intentional, and I think there's always been some kind of roller coaster there - I seem to remember the Sarajevo Bobsled (one of my favorite rides ever) being on this spot in the 1980's. It's supposed to generate excitement as you get close to the park.

There are apparently three of these at different Six Flags parks, just another example of the corporate bullshit taking over theme parks in this country these days. Someday, every park's gonna be the same, all cookie cutter crap. The pictures on this page are actually from Six Flags Over Georgia (I wonder if Georgians actually just call it "Over Georgia") and were taken by a guy who goes by Coasterman1234. But it looks identical to the one at Great Adventure.

This is a really boring roller coaster, quite honestly. It has one hook, which is this:

When you're locked in, the seats flip back 90 degrees so you're facing the ground, with nothing under you. It's supposed to make you feel like you're flying as the coaster zips around.

There are a couple problems. First, it's weird. No getting around that. You're not actually Superman, you know, so gravity's still trying to pull you down. The restraints are obviously very restrictive and they basically hold your entire body in place, including your ankles. It's actually quite claustrophobic, which is the opposite of what it's supposed to feel like.

It's also a little scary, even for a guy who loves roller coasters. I mean if your restraint fails at any point on the ride, you're dead. There's no stopping the ride and sending a rescue team out. There's no holding on. It's just, "poof!" into the ground.

There was a point at the top of the lift on our ride when our train jerked to a stop. I felt adrenaline rushing through me as I imagined our train just releasing itself from the track and all of us doing a faceplant into the grass below with the full weight of our train on top of us. I've seen videos of this ride so I know that stop wasn't normal. Luckily, it wasn't nearly as fatal as I'd feared - we started up again after a minute or two.

The best part of the ride is the "pretzel loop". There's only one loop and this is it (there's another barrel roll inversion that I'd honestly forgotten about). But it's the one part of the ride where the novelty of "flying" really comes into play. It's basically a reverse loop. You start at the top and go down below ground level on the "loop", then come back up. At the bottom of the loop, you're on your back. Kinda wild!

The rest of the ride is just pretty basic - it's like a roller coaster from 20 years ago if it didn't have the 90 degree inversion. It was strange how silent the people on our train were, no screams or anything. I didn't even do my trademark involuntary "whooooooooaaaa!"s that I normally can't control on roller coasters.

I have a feeling the designers were worried people would get sick from the novelty of the seating position combined with any further heavy maneuvers and speed, and the funny thing is it seems they would probably have been right. Coming back to the station, there's a point where you ride over a metal platform that's long enough for two trains to stop while waiting for another to clear the station. Since you're looking straight down, it was pretty clear how many people had recently thrown up there. I counted at least ten!

At least we didn't have to wait long - despite being one of the newer coasters at Great Adventure (2003), we walked right up to the ride and got on. No line whatsoever! Obviously, the word of mouth on this thing isn't very good.

Here's an offride video of the ride at Great Adventure - you can see how slow it is:

After El Toro and Nitro, this thing was a huge disappointment.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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