Alexander: It’s that time of year again!
Following the relatively disappointing 2017 announcements, Six Flags has returned to form with a series of interesting and unexpected announcements for next year.
Now that we’ve all had a week to process, let’s take a closer look at the Six Flags 2018 announcements.
Six Flags Over Georgia
Following an impressive string of six RMC Iron Horse conversions in six years, the absence of such a project in 2017 was noticeable; some even theorized that Six Flags had exhausted their catalogue of applicable wooden coasters. With the August departure of Six Flags Over Georgia’s polarizing Georgia Cyclone, however, it was plain to see that an RMC conversion was at least a possibility.
Twisted Cyclone will help insure that 2018 is “The Year of the RMC”, with a total of seven high-profile projects in North America alone. The smallest of next year’s Iron Horse conversions, any national fanfare reserved Twisted Cyclone was already exhausted by Cedar Fair’s announcements for the Steel Vengeance hyper RMC conversion of Cedar Point’s Mean Streak, and the surprisingly-potent looking Twisted Timbers conversion of Kings Dominion’s Hurler (we can only hope the future of Carwoinds Hurler is along these lines). Additionally, preceding announcements for prototype RMC Raptor coasters at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and California’s Great America were nothing if not a reduction of the Twisted Cyclone announcement to “oh, ok.” status.
Still, the ex-Georgia Cyclone proves to have lent itself to RMC-ification more than most had theorized; an impressive slurry of signature Rocky Mountain acrobatics will manifest themselves despite the soon-to-be-shortest-Iron-Horse-coaster being reduced in length by 30% compared to its original wooden state (a better conversion rate than Iron Rattler or Twisted Colossus, both of which were closer to 50%). As for its place in Six Flags Over Georgia, this is a welcome and virtually-unanimously applauded change for local park fans. With no new coaster since 2011, Twisted Cyclone will no-doubt satiate the famished thrillseekers of the greater Atlanta region. To their credit, Six Flags Over Georgia is one of the only parks to receive an RMC Iron Horse conversion while still offering guests a great wooden coaster experience, in the form of the meticulously-preserved, ACE Coaster Landmark Great American Scream Machine (though meager wooden coaster offerings like Apocalypse and Six Flags New England’s Thunderbolt are still better than Six Flags Mexico, Fiesta Texas, and Discovery Kingdom’s lack thereof).
World’s Largest Loop Coaster
Six Flags Great America
The award for 2018’s biggest head-scratcher probably goes to Six Flags Great America, for a number of reasons; Coaster enthusiasts’ collective exhaustion of these rides pales in comparison to the general public’s confusion over Six Flags’ tiresome efforts to market them as roller coasters. It doesn’t take an enthusiast to call out the ride’s basic movements as nothing more than a looping pendulum ride without the pendulum (especially at parks like Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, where several pendulums of the looping and non-looping variety operate along side their Dare Devil Chaos “Coaster”).
Six Flags parks of a smaller stature can pass these rides off as a decent mid-teir investment (even at parks on the larger end of the spectrum, like Six Flags Over Georgia and Fiesta Texas, where the rides were integrated into “area refreshment” packages that include other new rides.); tacking a mere 30ft to the concept in an attempt to make it appropriate for the audiences of one of Six Flags’ “Big 3” shows that they’re just as out of touch as they’ve ever been.
The icing on the cake is the name: it serves as both a glaringly hasty replacement for the ride’s intended name (rumored to have been Hurricane Force Five; removed out of respect for Hurricane Harvey victims) and an unrelenting reminder of the ride’s supposed “coaster” status. The loss of the King Chaos Huss Top Spin will surely be in vain.
Harley Quinn Spinsanity & Cyborg Cyberspin
Six Flags Over Texas & Six Flags Great Adventure
Perhaps the most out-of-left-field Six Flags announcements this year is their pair of “Tourbillon” rides; one for the flatride-flush Six Flags Over Texas and the flatride-famished Six Flags Great Adventure. The ride itself is a dazzling display that went viral when footage of the prototype model hit the internet last year; internet fame will certainly help these rides achieve levels of near-rollercoaster success despite being a budget conscious investment.
Six Flags Over Texas’s will serve as a fitting neighbor to their Joker 4D Free Spin inside the park’s already flatride-heavy Gotham City area, despite the park’s Huss Troika currently sporting the Harley Quinn Spinsanity name (a low profile rebranding of the ride to a less prominent DC Comics villain is imminent). Six Flags Great Adventure’s Cyborg Cyberspin will serve as the second phase of the parks budding Metropolis area (a repurposed wing of the park that hadn’t been open to the general public in 10 years, currently only home to this year’s new Justice League: Battle for Metropolis – located on the former site of the iconic and troubled Batman and Robin: The Chiller dueling launch coaster). The ride’s unique name (for now, at least) is a welcome addition to the Six Flags trademark lexicon and is a smart tie-in to the Justice League ride, in which Cyborg plays a pivotal role.
The Great Escape
A fitting replacement for the park’s long-retired Chance Trabant, Pandemonium is a Chance “Freestyle”, the next generation of the Trabant/Wipeout ride with the nauseating addition of outward-facing seats. A park like The Great Escape can always use a new flat ride, and one as unique as this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
CraZanity, Boardwalk, & 365 Daily Operation
Six Flags Magic Mountain
The last few years have been full of surprises for Six Flags’ crown jewel; things thought we’d never see (like shoulder harnesses coming off Revolution and a Universal Studios-quality dark ride) have become the new normal for the north LA park. 2018 is no exception, with the addition of the CraZanity Zamperla Giant Discover, the park’s first new flat ride since Condor in 1988. Though unfortunately monikered, CraZanity is a sorely needed non-coaster that still manages to impress with its record-breaking, rollercoaster-like statistics (world’s tallest (172′) and fastest (75mph) pendulum ride, slightly higher and taller than standard Giant Discovery stats).
Like CraZanity, the remodel of the former Colossus County Fair into “Boardwalk” is as shocking as it is necessary; as the bridge between the new Metropolis area and the impressive DC Comics and Screampunk areas, the tired-out midway of carnival games now looks especially rough compared to the polish of its surrounding areas. Fresh paint for Jonny Rockets and the games pavilion will go a long way, and the replacement of the rotting Metro station with CraZanity is one of the park’s most welcome infrastructural changes yet this century. Enhancements coming to the park’s Sandblasters bumper cars (one of the park’s few remaining original rides) and 1973-built Scrambler will join Tidal Wave (whose queue was rerouted away fromMetropolis in 2017) as CraZanity‘s companion attractions for Boardwalk’s 2018 ride lineup.
The future is bright for Magic Mountain; annual infrastructural developments like these are all steps in the right direction for the park to support all-year daily operation come January 1st 2018. Hopefully a larger budget for more beautification projects and a resort are on the horizon for 2019!
Wonder Woman Coaster
Six Flags Mexico
A dubious name and an overly-abundant production model won’t stop Wonder Woman Coaster from being an enormous success at Six Flags Mexico, a park where the public has very little exposure to the theme park industry-at-large. Most every addition to the ex-Reino Aventura park is met with widespread acclaim for being unique to the country, and Mexico’s first 4D coaster will be no exception. The paint job is nice, too; purple and green are starting to feel a little played out.
Carnival en Folie
The designated “stepchild” park of the Six Flags chain will lose more than it gains between 2017 and 2018: this year’s Titan Zamperla Giant Discovery and next year’s new carnival-themed area (home to a new Tilt-A-Whirl, Scrambler, and a Ferris Wheel that’s smaller than the one they already have) cannot compensate for the loss of the vintage La Pitoune Arrow Log Flume and the Intamin Cobra Stand Up coaster. Perhaps the rumored RMC conversion of the park’s problematic Monstre dueling woodie for 2019 will help the park absolve its shortcomings.
Harley Quinn Spinsanity
Six Flags New England
The wide gap left by the ex-Riverside park’s once-iconic giant Ferris Wheel will now finally have a replacement worthy of its departure; Six Flags’ fascination with Zamperla Giant Discovery rides will receieve no qualms from us, and neither will an abundance of Harley Quinn-themed marquee rides – you can never have too much Harley Quinn.
Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Six Flags’s most buzzworthy 2018 expenditure announcement was already old news by August 31st (an early announcement aimed at undercutting California’s Great America’s announcement of the same ride), but it’s still worth mentioning here. While not the terrain or water-oriented attraction many had hoped for, Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster is hard to complain about (that is, until you’ve fallen victim to the ride’s risky nonstop dispatch method. I think we’re all curious to see how that pans out).
Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
No doubt the most controversial Six Flags announcement this year is for Skyline Attraction’s first-ever Skywharp attraction; a ride that aims to further muddy the waters on what does or does not constitute a roller coaster. Larson Loop rides (like the one calling Discovery Kingdom home) can’t fool even the most inept patron, but the Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster, with its impressive figure-8 shaped approach to the concept is a bit of a harder read. A single “train” composed of two large rider components separated by a lengthy articulated segment of wheel assemblies will navigate through a pair of partially tire-driven immelmann/diveloops in a convincing-enough way that it may warrant a second look from many coaster cred purists. Its use of RMC Raptor track will only further complicate the issue; in any case, it looks to be a fun…erm…whatever it is. And another eye-catching addition to Discovery Kingdom’s growing skyline.
Six Flags was kind enough to bestow a much-needed 2018 investment upon their newest property. This responsible, family-friendly addition of kiddy slides and water activities is a smart first move, but perhaps a larger, signature ride may be on the table in the next few years.
Six Flags St. Louis
A clone of Six Flags Over Georgia’s Tsunami Surge will make an impressive splash at Hurricane Harbor St. Louis. It’s combination of Proslide’s Behemoth Bowl & Tornado Wave concepts make for a solid attraction that feels like more than “just another waterslide”. The rumor that a clone of Fiesta Texas’s Thunder Rapids Watercoaster was coming may make Typhoon Twister seem like a disappointment, but honestly Thunder Rapids ended up being a blasé, mechanically frustrating attraction; Typhoon Twister is the better ride, no contest.
Six Flags America
The winner for “most-budgetary attraction” will go to Six Flags America’s updated Wahoo River. The plan is to convert their basic lazy river into an “action river”, and I guess time will tell if it goes over as a success. Six Flags has been hitting plenty of homeruns with re-imagined roller coasters, so maybe updated lazy rivers will be the next big thing (but probably not).
Three new coasters, large impressive flat rides, and some wonderful water park additions is what Six Flags will bring us in 2018. We’re very excited for Six Flags Magic Mountain’s major move into the resort direction with their new 365-days calendar and are hoping for large investments in the next few years! Overall, the 2018 Six Flags lineup is much stronger and more exciting than the 2017 lineup and we’re thrilled to see what’s ahead.