By Mark Jacob Bartlett
June 26, 2015- With all apologies to Cedar Point in Ohio, which features some fabulous coaster concoctions in its own right, walk into Six Flags Magic Mountain and you’re in the middle of the “coaster capital of the world”. What follows is a snapshot of an adrenaline-laced 26th of June, 2015, along with a sample selection of our favorite thrills, the best-of-the-best, if you will, that Magic Mountain has to offer:
1st stop: Full Throttle: billed as the world’s tallest looping rollercoaster, this one is quite easy to summarize. Picture the relationship the bow has to the arrow, and for a few exhilarating seconds, YOU get to be the arrow. The rider is quite surprised; shot out of the starting position by the ride attendant, who apparently relishes the power of suspense and sudden shock. Reaching speeds up to 70 miles per hour, and getting there mighty quickly, Full Throttle is an espresso sized shot of adrenaline which will not disappoint the most jaded amusement enthusiast. After rocketing the rider through a jaw dropping, heart wrenching drop and huge loop, Full Throttle jars you to a standstill, then rockets you through the course again-Backwards! Hop on drowsy and dismount invigorated, this attraction encourages its riders to approach fun at one speed and one speed only: Full Throttle!
X2: When the ride attendant advises you to store your valuables, wallets and cellphones in the locker prior to boarding, we strongly suggest you follow their good advice. Unless you are prepared to be “out of communication” for the rest of your day, and take a trip to your mobile phone provider’s local retail location, leave your goodies where they belong-on the ground!
Perhaps more than any other thrill attraction in the Six Flags franchise, X2 has the uncanny ability of separating the rider from what they carry in their pockets. Take our word for it. When asked for comment, a nearby security official agreed with our contention: “Yep. This one keeps our lost and found department real busy.” Upon joining this thrill ride, you are strapped in a single seat comfy chair, gently escalated up a gradual incline to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the entire park, JUST before your life flashes by your eyes and you are thrusted into what seems an eternity of twists, turns, merciless loops and disorienting dips. About the only thing you will remember after a ride on the X2 is HOPEFULLY you kept your head placed firmly on the neckrest, and you had a lot of fun! Well worth the wait time and 1 dollar locker rental that we cannot recommend strongly enough, be sure to make X2 part of your Magic Mountain itinerary!
Viper: Hailing from a bygone age, this classic coaster combines the smooth, breathtaking speeds of the modern mega coaster with the gritty, rough-riding amusements of days gone by. Strap in to a classically-styled coaster car on the Viper and hang on tight….the menacing, monotonously slow approach up the first incline is followed by a rough rocket ride through a quarter corkscrew and, relentlessly, the Viper is just getting started. Somewhat longer in duration than most of its sister coasters, we recommend you brave the lines and hold out for a seat in the lead car. Regardless of where you end up, the Viper offers the type of thrills that are sure to delight!
Tantalizing its takers to “Fly at the speed of fear”, Tatsu does not disappoint on its delivery of such a proud boast. Rider, here is your chance to find out what a bird feels like-that is, a bird flying very very fast through dips, drops, corkscrews, sideways half-banks and breath-taking straightaways.
A significant departure from reclining in a seat on the X2, Tatsu reclines the rider forward. The result is a high speed view of the ground…then the sky, and the ground again, and the parking lot, then…well, by the end of this ride, it will be your sensibilities that have taken flight. The very best of its kind folks, take our words for it!
Final Stop: Twisted Colossus!
…And 8:00 PM may have marked the end of our visit to Six Flags, but we saved the best for last. Gaining some degree of infamy already in the Amusement world, this 2015 update to a 1978 wooden wonder is destined to wow park goers for many seasons to come. Somehow amalgamating metal and wood in a way that defies logic, engineers have achieved a visually impressive structure, which more resembles a work of art than an amusement ride.
And people were talking. All over the park, enthusiasts were chatting animatedly about the ride, speculating upon the level of thrills all the hype had promised to deliver. Forgoing our Flash Pass and standing in line with the crowd for this final foray, we had the opportunity to speak to several guests. Zina Auckland from Palo Alto, California, expressed her overall satisfaction from her day at Magic Mountain: “I swear this park is one of my favorite places. Every time I’ve ever been here, every time I look around, I see smiles and joy. it’s hard to find a place these days that makes everyone happy.” Her brother Pele concurred, adding ” I can’t believe how bizarre this is! I actually fell asleep in line for this ride! We drove most of the night to get here. You will NOT fall asleep ON the ride though. This will be my second (time riding) Just awesome!”
Bobby Hazard, an electrician from the northeast who is vacationing in L.A., spoke of the happy nostalgia the park awakens in both the young and not-so-young: “we used to come here every year in late June, and haven’t in quite some time. Being back on these grounds, really brings back a few things …”
Marion Campagnone and husband Richie, who were in line for their first taste of the Twisted Colossus, embarrassingly admitted “…it took me a while to get used to it (the park), I’m not as young as I used to be.” Marion admits, “I got sick on the Superman ride earlier today, but I’ve been fine, and had a lot of fun, ever since!”
Among the first-time riders, there was a mixture of excitement and trepidation, although some hid it better than others. Sheri Bergeron, a vacationing attorney, looked calm as can be. Holding hands with her young child Keith, she humbly admitted to us, ” merely a brilliant disguise. I’m absolutely terrified!”
And then finally, after an hours’ stewing in anticipation, it was our turn. And if you REALLY want to know what this ride is all about, you’re just gonna have to see for yourself. We can tell you about the sensational dips and accelerating through hairpin turns within the maze of this mechanical wonder, or the exhilaration you will feel as you speed to what will surely be a head-on collision with the other train of coaster cars, only to be whisked safely away at the last second, but our words just won’t do justice. The perfect blend of classical coaster meets this new age of amusement, Twisted Colossus is a fitting flagship attraction for Magic Mountain. Like a day at the park itself, a ride on Twisted Colossus can’t be described, it must be experienced!
From all of us to all of you, have a happy and safe summer full of amusement and thrill-seeking!