Story By: Vikki La Cerva
Photos By: Mark J. Bartlett
To many denizens of the desert, summer signals the start of pool and barbecue season. And while that’s all fine and dandy, we here at Sin City Press know that to many Las Vegans, summer also ushers in a very special season: the annual amusement park rush.
An oasis in Southern California for rollercoaster lovers who can’t get enough of the rides, the food and the entertainment, Six Flags Magic Mountain offers the perfect getaway for anyone from any place looking to reach new heights and have an absurd amount of fun while doing it.
The folks of Sin City Press have previously brought you into the park to show you what is new and what is fun. This time, we ventured through the park to get a feel for what is still great and where you can kick back. Here’s what we found:
Before anything else can be done, we insisted on pregaming at Full Throttle Sports Bar, a popular hangout with a cool vibe that debuted in 2014. While downing a chilled Modelo Especial at the bar named after the eponymous ride (we’ll get to that in a bit) isn’t exactly a common rollercoaster rider ritual, we’re adventurers with strong stomachs who are also always sure to hydrate with plenty of H2O. We suggest you do the same. The service is quick and super friendly. With lots of TVs for sports and food options, it reminds me of a pizza shop back home in New Jersey run by a guy named Nicky — an adult refuge along the boardwalk.
After our pit stop, we kick things off by visiting what we’ve dubbed “superhero park,” the area of Six Flags Magic Mountain dedicated to the DC Universe. Batman the Ride, an oldie but goodie that debuted in 1994, is our first stop. Creeping to a start and quickly launching into a 360-turn, the steel-inverted rollercoaster evolves into a series of twists and turns that leave us slightly dizzy from every one of the 4Gs but mainly keeps us buzzed and ready for the next pick.
From there, we journey to Flash: Speed Force. Yes, we know it’s not a rollercoaster, but this centrifugal ride with a format that is a staple at most theme parks deserves an honorable mention. Not even piping hot metal seats in the dead of summer could keep us from raising our arms and screaming as the ride carried us around and around.
To Marquis Harmon, a park-goer and father of two, the area is a great place for families with young children to explore while also not an unbearable experience for their parents.
“It’s very cool. I’ve been here once before, but it’s different now, and I like how all the rides are organized and tell interesting stories about the characters,” said the comic book super fan who plans to return for the debut of the “Justice League: Battle For Metropolis” ride.
He added that he “almost forgot” his goal was to entertain the boys — his two-year-old son Mike and four-year-old Edwin. “I’m entertained for sure,” he laughed.
While we’re also bummed that we just missed out on the Justice League ride, we were excited to venture to Twisted Colossus. A longtime favorite wooden rollercoaster, The Colossus was closed in 2014 and reopened in 2015 as a hybrid attraction with barrel inversions and other bells and whistles dubbed the Twisted Colossus. A worthy successor to the original, this new version ushers Six Flags Magic Mountain even more so into the new era of theme parks with a 116-foot drop that is as stomach-churning as it is enthralling.
We met Alexander, a supremely knowledgeable worker, who discussed the impact of high heat on rides and also gave us some insight into the quiet but vital work of ride operators. Next time you stop by the park, give these ladies and gentlemen a round of applause.
We also journeyed to a ride that is best described by the question: Would you enjoy rocketing backward at 92 miles an hour? If your answer is anything like ours (hell yes!), then you’re exactly the type of person who would appreciate Superman: Escape from Krypton. A steel shuttle roller coaster estimated to have cost $20 million and opened in 1997, this invigorating piece of machinery stretches 415 feet in the air. Riders board and shoot all the way to the top of a tower before falling suddenly and rapidly backward, making us wonder if Superman ever carries a pack of Pampers. The ride’s website boasts that the speed is due to a “cutting-edge electromagnetic motor.” We’re not sure exactly how it works, but it’s phenomenal.
From there, our review team tried to board Full Throttle, the $6 million steel rollercoaster that debuted in 2013, but the ride wasn’t in operation during our trip to the park. Despite that heartbreaking fact, the park’s amenities more than made up for it. The great band Velocity didn’t mind that the ride was deadlined and played anyway on its spot atop the Full Throttle stage. Are we sad we didn’t get to rocket three separate times up to 70 miles per hour on a coaster with major loop action? Of course. But a charismatic and fun band was a pretty good trade-off. Check out some of their work here.
As we departed, I stopped a few park visitors to ask them how they enjoyed the park experience. Park visitor Casey, a smoke shop employee from Utah, said summer days at the park are a staple for his family and have been for years.
“Every possible summer, we bring the kids out here to enjoy the rides, and we’ll do some barbecue and smoking at some parks near the beach,” he said. “It’s kind of the perfect summer road trip.”