In 2008 Six Flags Discovery Kingdom finally filled the old ZONGA spot, and placed a family thrill coaster. Pandemonium.
The ride opened as Tony Hawk’s Big Spin in 2008, this was during the period in which Six Flags had the rights to the Tony Hawk brand. There were 4 Gerstlauer spinning coasters with this name, although the one at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was special. Rather than placing permanent footers, the park placed a ride with a base structure on the concrete space it was occupying. The most significant difference between the other 3 and the DK one, was the model. As where Six Flags Over Texas, Fiesta Texas, and St. Louis placed the Gerstlauer Spinning Coaster Model 420/4 (Extended), Discovery Kingdom placed a more compact spinning coaster, with higher speeds. They placed the Gerstlauer Spinning Coaster Model 380/4.
The funny thing is that they used the other model in their promotional video.
The compact model was a huge hit with the public, and received the general theming that all the other ‘Tony Hawk Big Spin’s’ had too. This excluding a skate-board ramp, but including the videos in line, similar station building, and entrance including a jumbotron screen.
Tony Hawk’s Big Spin/ Pandemonium had a length of 1,351 ft, was 53 ft tall, and had a drop of 27 ft. Which is actually the exacts same length as the 3 other TH’s BS’s. But the one at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was 5 ft taller, although also having a 27 ft drop. Due to the compact structure of the DK model, and the many blocks on it, the capacity was almost doubled. DK had a great capacity of about 1,400 guests per hour (same as Scream! at Magic Mountain), which is phenomenal for a ride with 4 person-vehicles. The other models could only rush through 720 passengers per hour. A ride onTHBS/Pandemonium took about 1 minute and 50 seconds, in which multiple drops, helices, and ‘wild-mouse’ like elements were to be found. The ride could operate 8 vehicles at once, which means that with a good crew, 7-8 would be used. Although often only 5-6 trains would be operating.
The line to the ride passed by almost the entire ride structure, before taking a ramp up to the actual station. The line had a little set of switchbacks near the entrance of the line, that was hardly ever filled, part of the line was covered and entertained guests with TV screens. That same part of the line was used for Zonga, and is currently being used for Superman Ultimate Flight. The ride that replaced it, and is now operative in the same spot.
In late 2010, Six Flags began the process of removing licensed theming from attractions. They terminated several licenses including their license with Thomas the Tank Engine and Tony Hawk. Tony Hawk’s Big Spin was renamed and rethemed to Big Spin, then Pandemonium. Thus it operated as Pandemonium in it’s last season at the park. The theming was hardly touched besides the branding of Tony Hawk. Signage and billboards were also changed for the ‘transformation’. When Six Flags Discovery Kingdom announced their new Superman Ultimate Flight in 2011, it became clear that Pandemonium would be scrapped for the 2012 season.
Rumors quickly made clear that in Mexico Six Flags was clearing land already, and was working on some sort of expansion. Although nothing was placed in Six Flags Mexico, and the Pandemonium track was in storage for 2012. In august of 2012 Six Flags finally announced the introduction of The Joker at Six Flags Mexico for the 2013 season. The former Pandemonium would be totally repainted and rethemed, to become one of the most popular rides in the Mexican Six Flags park. The Joker includes tunnels, scenery objects and some pyrotechnic effects, mainly fog. The line is mainly switchbacks, ’til an attendant sends visitors through the ‘Fun House’ with moving walls, twisting tunnels and dark-walkthrough effects, to get to the actual ride station. The opening was celebrated on big scale, and almost a year after opening, some of the park’s longest lines are still to be found at this ride.