Towers on Six Flags Great Adventure’s Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom Nearly Complete, Final Piece Expected Monday
JACKSON, NJ – March 28, 2014 – Only four pieces of track remain on the ground today, the final orange components to Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, the world’s tallest drop ride, opening at Six Flags Great Adventure this Memorial Day weekend. The center of three towers was completed March 27 at 41 dizzying stories, and the final track piece of the right tower, considered the “topping off,” is expected to be set Monday morning, wind and weather permitting.
“Wind is certainly a factor at 415 feet,” said Mike Fatovic, construction supervisor at Six Flags Great Adventure. “It can seem very calm on the ground, and sometimes it is a very different story at the top of the tower.” Due to today’s high winds, no track pieces will be set; however electrical work continues at the construction site.
Following the topping off, the construction, maintenance and engineering teams will focus on adding three gondolas that will whisk riders to the top of the tower, installing the lift mechanism—a winch and cable system--and ride controls, followed by extensive ride testing, inspections and certification before the first passengers board the ride later this spring.
Connected to the iconic Kingda Ka roller coaster—the 456-foot monster that ranks as the world’s tallest coaster and fastest in North America—Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom will hoist riders 41 stories into the sky and rocket them back to Earth at 90 miles per hour while Kingda Ka trains launch right toward them at speeds of up to 128 miles per hour. Riders will pause for a few terrifying moments 41 stories in the air—even higher than London’s Big Ben and twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty—allowing them to catch a glimpse of the skyscrapers in Philadelphia 52 miles to the south before gravity plunges them back to ground level in less than 10 seconds.
We were invited out to Six Flags Magic Mountain on Friday March 21st for a small media event promoting Batman Backwards (or namtaB). We were able to get some reverse POV footage of us making fools of ourselves and we've also compiled some screen shots from the POV and B-roll below.
In addition, the new Jelly Belly store is opening so we'll re-share those pictures of the store from our last update.
Before we get to the pictures, here is our video. It includes our Reverse POV and some great B-Roll provided by the park. Please share!!!!
Below are some of the more hilarious screen captures from the video above.
Below is the full press release along with some other cool captures of the B-Roll footage provided by the park.
BATMAN™ The Ride Backwards Opens for a Spring Exclusive at Six Flags Magic Mountain
VALENCIA, Calif. — March 21, 2014 — Go Big. Go Backwards! For a limited time only, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s popular suspended looping coaster, BATMAN™ The Ride, is more intense than ever as riders dare to take on an all new experience – going backwards!
As the roller coaster climbs the 10-story lift hill, riders will take in the full scope of BATMAN™ The Ride's track as they anticipate the adventure that lies ahead. The train will reach speeds of 50 mph and travel through 2,700 feet of track, all while maneuvering hairpin turns, vertical loops, corkscrews and a zero-g roll … all while going backwards! The excitement is magnified since guests cannot see the twists and turns that await them.
“In honor of BATMAN™ The Ride’s 20th anniversary, we’re offering our guests an entirely different ride experience by going backwards. No matter how many times you have been on BATMAN™ The Ride, nothing compares to the thrill of racing down 10 stories facing the other direction," said Bonnie Rabjohn, Six Flags Magic Mountain park president. "You have no idea what is coming next. This is a tremendous new experience and one guests should take advantage of quickly since it will only be available during the spring."
Celebrating its 20th anniversary on March 26, BATMAN™ The Ride has given close to 32 million thrilling rides and reigns as one of the most popular roller coasters in the world. BATMAN™ The Ride backwards opens to the public on Saturday, March 22.
Also going backwards this spring, trains on the iconic “woodie” Colossus, hit the tracks in reverse. Covering 10 acres of land, with tracks measuring nearly a mile long at 4,325 feet, this classic wooden coaster features drops of more than 100 feet and a total of 14 hills including a climactic triple jump towards the end … backwards! Colossus celebrated its 35th anniversary in June, 2013.
Six Flags Magic Mountain 2014 Season Passes provide unlimited visits for the entire 2014 season and can be purchased online for a low monthly payment through the annual membership program. For a limited time, with the purchase of four or more Season Passes, guests will receive a free upgrade to Combo Season Passes which include with every pass, a free Hurricane Harbor Season Pass. Additional Season Pass perks include free tickets for friends and more. Offer expires April 27, 2014. Season Passes can be purchased at the main gate ticket booths or online.
Six Flags Magic Mountain is located at 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, in Valencia, north of Los Angeles off Interstate 5 at the Magic Mountain Parkway exit. The park opens for daily operation on March 22. For complete operating days and hours, and for more information call (661) 255-4111 or visit us online at www.sixflags.com/magicmountain.
In addition to Batman: The Ride Backwards, Colossus Backwards also opens tomorrow for a limited engagement. (The Pictures Below are from Fright Fest 2013)
Lastly, the Jelly Belly store we reported on last week is also opening tomorrow. Below are the pictures of how the store looked last week. We'll be back up at the park soon to take a tour of the new store.
That's all for this update. Hope you enjoyed this look at Batman: The Ride Backwards. Do yourself a favor and get up to Six Flags Magic Mountain and ride it. It's a unique experience for sure!!!
Move Over, Winter…Here Comes the Bloom
Six Flags Great Adventure’s Landscaping Department Prepares for Spectacular Spring and Summer Displays
* All pictures courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure
JACKSON, NJ – Despite the gloomy, grey skies and frigid temperatures, spring has already sprung in the greenhouses at Six Flags Great Adventure. The landscaping department is hard at work preparing for a vibrant display to celebrate the park’s April 12 opening and have already planted the seeds for a spectacular summer.
Cool spring temperatures are a challenge for delicate flowers, so the landscaping department will plant 14,000 colorful and winter-resistant pansies throughout the park for its spring opening. Despite this massive undertaking, the team of 22 workers plus manager Bill Hettman already have their sights set on summer.
For the park’s summer display, the landscape team will plant 33,000 flowers including begonia, salvia, dusty miller, coleus, vinca, pentas and 3,000 multi-colored New Guinea impatiens. They will hang 550 massive begonia, petunia and geranium baskets (250 of which are created and grown in-house), and place 40 giant, ornamental pots they have arranged using elephant ears, canna lilies and hibiscus throughout the park. Floral wreaths meticulously created by hand will adorn buildings along Main Street and the fences in Fantasy Forest. The landscaping department will complete their designs with 14 signature topiaries they have grown, ranging from notable cartoon characters to oversized animals, like elephants, swans, rhinos and flamingoes. Much of this work is underway or already completed in the park’s three greenhouses.
At Hurricane Harbor, the landscaping department will bring the park’s tropical theme to life with the addition of 70 palm trees, 300 tropical flora, plus an array of ti plants and Chinese fan palms. Everything will be planted by the water park’s opening day, May 24.
“All winter, we have been hard at work plowing snow and spreading sand and salt to manage the ice. We have miles and miles of roadway and sidewalks that our employees use to get to their workplaces and our animals even when the parks are closed,” Hettman said. “But that is behind us now, and we are focused on delivering our most incredible summer display in history.”
During the peak season, the landscape team swells to 40 members who manage everything from spring cleanup to overnight watering, aquatic maintenance of the park’s water fountains and pools, and beautifying the park’s iconic attractions, such as Safari Off Road Adventure, which opened last year, and Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, debuting this spring.
“We have exciting plans for Safari Off Road Adventure’s loading station this year, and we will be one of the finishing touches to the new Zumanjaro area before it opens to the public later this spring,” Hettman said.
Working in the landscaping department is physically strenuous work, but rewarding, he noted. “The experience on our team ranges from newcomers to 40 years,” said Hettman, who has 33 years of Six Flags landscape experience under his belt. “We have a very high rehire rate and loyalty among our team. They are a great group of people who love what they do, and it shows.”
“Every year, Bill and his team create spectacular landscaping displays that have become attractions in themselves,” said Park President John Fitzgerald. “The landscaping team works very hard to enhance the natural beauty of our parks.”
Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari opens for the 2014 season April 12. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com/greatadventure.
Six Flags Landscaping By-the-Numbers
Over the past two weekends Six Flags Magic Mountain held a special preview for Batman Backwards (or namtaB as people like to call it). Part dress rehearsal, part giving time for the 2nd train to be flipped backwards, all indications are that the ride is going to be a hit.
We'll also have some updates on Bugs Bunny World construction, a look at everything else going on around the park and a quick look at the 2014 park maps.
Before we get to the specifics and our review of Batman Backwards, be sure to check out the POV below that has been provided by the park.
I thought about doing this portion of the update in backwards type, but it was annoying to type it out so I figured it would be even more annoying to read. =)
Signs were out in DC Universe letting park guests know that Batman Backwards was only open to Passholders. That didn't stop people from giving the park employees at the front of the ride a hard time when they couldn't get on. It's hard to imagine why anybody who goes to Six Flags parks wouldn't have a Season Pass, two visits and it's paid for. But the front line employees aren't the ones that make the decisions. Giving them a hard time isn't going to do anything except make you look like a jerk.
Another sign is placed just in front of the actual ride.
Before we get to the ride itself, a couple of queue notes. The fountain in the queue has received some TLC. Not sure why this particular fountain always seems to give the park trouble, I'm guessing the people waiting in line aren't too kind to it.
The old photo booth is still here but the park has now put some trees up to give the exit a bit of greenery.
A look at the backwards train getting ready to leave the station.
If you've ridden any of the Batman clones you know what to expect when you ride. I've ridden all of them except 1 or 2 and I've ridden this particular version at least a couple hundred times over the years. Even though I knew what was coming, the sensation of going through the familiar elements backwards was disorienting.
That said, I found the ride to be significantly less intense as far as Negative G-Forces are concerned. I was worried about the backwards elements making me dizzy and I can say without a doubt that riding XLR-8 backwards at Six Flags Astroworld was 10 times worse than this. I was also 10 years younger when I rode that. ;)
During backwards operation the ride has one less row, so 7 instead of 8. The picture below shows the new "Zero Car" ... or would that be the "Eight Car". I'm so confused. =)
Batman Backwards officially opens on April 22nd. I recommend getting to the ride early if you plan on riding especially considering there is one less row per vehicle for backwards operation. The second train looked like it was almost done and the ride should be running 2 trains when it officially opens on Saturday.
Bugs Bunny World and Speedy Gonzales Construction
The past few weeks the park has been concentrating more on the aesthetics of the Bugs Bunny World overhaul which is great to see. Not a whole lot going on at the site of the new coaster however.
Wascal's has received a great new paint scheme that really shines. If this is what Bugs Bunny World is going to look like when they are all done then parents and their children should have a great looking area to spend some time in.
The re-paint extends all the way to the back to the showers and the jail located behind Wascal's.
They have a bit more to do in the Livery Stable but I'm guessing they'll finish the rest when the walls come down for Speedy Gonzales.
I was a bit surprised to see Tweety's wasn't open yet. I'm guessing it will be in time for daily operation which starts on the 22nd.
The Carrot Top Theater has begun it's freshening up and once again, if this is what we can expect for the rest of Bugs Bunny World it's going to look great!!
You can see the before in the background and the new brightness in the foreground.
According to the 2014 Map (that we'll get into a bit below) the new show here will be called "Warner Bros. Kids Club" and will run select days from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The Merrie Melodies Carousel doesn't look too different from our last update.
Looks like the Tea Cups are ready to be set back on Pepe LePew's any day now.
Still a whole lot of dirt at the site of Speedy Gonzales.
The new asphalt around the entrance area has received a nice "High Sierra" looking coat of paint.
Full Throttle Sports Bar and Grill
Work continues on the new Sports Bar that is certainly getting a "Full Throttle" makeover.
Looks like they are saving some space for signage, etc.
The new Sports Bar is on track to open sometime in April.
Around The Park
Lots of little things going on around the rest of the park as it's still the "off-season".
Some rides had a delayed opening on Saturday morning due to a small earthquake in nearby Castaic. We noticed most of the rides didn't open with the park but safety always comes first.
Having a Gold Pass still allowed us to be on the second Full Throttle train at about 10:40am.
The throng of "regular" guests waiting to get into the park as we were in line for Full Throttle.
It was Physics Day in the park which made it quite a bit busier than a normal Saturday in mid-March.
Tidal Wave is back open from it's refurbishment.
Jet Stream is still closed.
The Scrambler is back open after it's complete refurbishment. It looks and runs great. Lots of padding.
The ride op working the ride on Saturday morning was absolutely great. Encouraging riders to have a great time that should be had on a classic flat ride like the Scrambler. It's so awesome to see ride op's who take pride and have fun. One thing that could help this ride though is maybe some music. The ride itself is so quiet now.
Colossus was closed. Not sure if it's for Backwards preparation or due to the earthquake. The employee stationed at the front of the ride did say the ride could open on Sunday (March 16). Can anybody confirm if the ride was open?
The Fountain and the Falls at the front of the park are back open. I can't remember the last time I saw the fountain go so high. Looks great.
Looks like some new landscaping has been done in the area. Wouldn't be surprised to see the park switch to more "succulent" plants as we are in EXTREME drought conditions here in Southern California.
The M&M's store is gone, but don't worry, the store is being converted to a Jelly Belly store!!!
Hopefully they'll have "Belly Flops".
The new scanners are installed at the turnstiles, they aren't using them yet however. Probably waiting until they are all ready to go. In the meantime they are using hand scanners.
No change on the Bonzai Pipelines at Hurricane Harbor. Although I did hear them hard at work on the other side of the fence.
And lastly, a look at the new 2014 park maps. I know the park gets a lot of flack for not having new maps available on January 1st, but honestly it's not that big of a deal. None of the 2014 attractions are open yet, it's only 1 of 2 parks in the entire chain that are even open in January and February and when you compare the 2013 and 2014 maps there is VERY little difference.
* All map pictures property of Six Flags
The inside cover, it's never too early to start thinking about Fright Fest. Can't wait to see what the park has in-store for 2014.
The "Friends and Family" section is back this year and it looks like Full Throttle Nights is coming back starting on Memorial Weekend. July 4th Fest is also making a return in 2014.
Looking at the 2013 Map I don't see anything too different for 2014 on the left side of the map except for the absense of the General Sam Tree.
The right side features Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod racers and the new location for Tweety's Escape.
That's going to wrap it up for this week. Be sure to check out Batman Backwards which opens this weekend along with Colossus Backwards.
This past weekend was one of the first rain-out weekends Southern California parks have had in some time as the area received some much needed rainfall. At least 3 major parks in the area were closed on Saturday March 1st due to the rain.
Sunday saw most parks returning to action including Six Flags Magic Mountain so we headed up to bring you the following update.
Bugs Bunny World / Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers
Considering it had been 2 full weeks since our last update we kind of expected more work to be done on the Bugs Bunny World refurbishment and the new coaster. In fact, only a few things are really different from our last update.
The new sign post in front of Bugs Bunny World is complete although the sign is yet to be added.
There's some asphalt on the outside of the compass cement. Hopefully this is just for the time being and a more permanent concrete walkway will be added soon. This could be because they are re-doing the concrete in this entire area (it could use it).
There really wasn't a whole lot of movement on Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers in the last two weeks. No footers holes have been dug.
Tweety's Escape looks to be completed and I'd expect it to be open soon. It may have opened this weekend if not for the rain.
It's nice to see this popular kids ride get some TLC. It looks great in it's new home.
Pepe Lepew's Tea Party is still closed, in fact it doesn't look like any work has been done on it at all. They did cover up some of the rides mechanism with plastic to protect it from the rain.
The Merrie Melodies Carousel is still having work done.
New Sports Bar
Mooseburger continues it's transformation into a Sports Bar. The outside is losing it's "High Sierra Territory" feel in favor of a more "sports bar" feel.
Some of the wood in front is getting some work done.
A peek inside. There will reportedly be about 20 TV's in the Sports Bar once it's completed.
One of the flashy ad's has been removed from the building. The ad actually fits the Sports Bar theme more than the High Sierra theme. Not sure if a similar ad will come back.
A closer look at the exterior paint being placed on the building.
Bonzai Pipelines (Hurricane Harbor)
The Demon Drop slide has been removed in preparation for the Bonzai Pipelines opening at Hurricane Harbor this summer.
There are supposed to be two new slides, thus doubling the capacity although it will be interesting to see how they deal with the staircase just below.
New Entrance Turnstiles
Six Flags is going to start rolling out Biometric scanners at all of their parks with all domestic parks receiving them sometime in 2014. The Coaster Guy had a great article about the new scanners after meeting with Jay Rasulo, Vice President of Project Management and IT for Six Flags Corp.
If you'd like to read more about the new scanners, I invite you to check out the article here.
A good portion of the old turnstiles have been removed at the front gates.
As a result, before the park opens they are letting guests enter the front entry area and doing a "rope drop" similar to how pretty much every other park (including other Six Flags parks) currently operate. Hopefully they will continue this practice once the new turnstiles are installed. It really helps with the flow of the park and allows people to get Lockers, Flash Passes and maybe do a little shopping before the park opens.
General Admission park guests are held just outside Full Throttle and near the Grand Carousel prior to 10:30am.
Gold Thrill Passholders still get early entry.
Around The Park
Due to the rain the early entry wasn't really necessary since a few popular rides were closed and crowds were very small.
Some of the vinyl on the DC Universe entry is faded or it could be due to the recent rain. We really haven't had any significant rainfall since this area opened.
Scrambler and Swashbuckler are still closed for refurbishment
Some trees near the Swashbuckler were tagged for something. Hopefully not removal as the trees looked pretty healthy to me. Maybe just trimming prior to the ride reopening.
Bonus Points to anybody who recognizes this building that has recently resurfaced due to work being done in Bugs Bunny World.
For our last update we shared that some trees near Jet Stream had been removed for what we hoped was flume work. Turns out it is for a new fence.
It's a standard chain link fence that stretches all the way from where Jet Stream crosses the path all they way to Cyclone Bay.
While separating guest from ride is a necessary thing, something other than a Chain Link fence would be nice. Similar fences are found in backstage area's which is fine, but on-stage, something nicer should be used.
Hopefully this is a temporary solution due to some present need to close off the area and a more permanant solution will present itself soon.
Since there is no gate to go along with the fence I wouldn't anticipate this being addressed anytime soon.
The front entry fountain has been drained for some work. Hopefully more fire effects for Fright Fest!!!
Fright Fest Fire from October, 2013
The Falls have also been turned off during the closure.
One of the Psyclone Backwards trains has been moved to the other track for Colossus. Hopefully this means they'll be running both sides this spring (one forward, one backwards).
We also heard reports that Batman Backwards is testing. Both should be opening sometime in March. We'll keep you updated.
Superman was closed due to the rain. After a slow start, most major coasters were running by the time we left, around noon.
And lastly, the sign in front of Laughing Dragon Pizza Co. has been removed. This location is generally reserved for private events (Media Days) and was used for the Willoughby's Fright Feast the last couple of years. Maybe if the new Sports Bar is successful this will come back as well. It's actually a nice space.
That's going to wrap it up for this week. As Spring Break approaches I'd anticipate receiving some opening dates for both Batman and Colossus Backwards. Not sure if they will be having any kind of media day but we'll certainly be there when they open to bring you lots of pictures.