One of the most anticipated times of year for coaster enthusiasts young and old comes at the tail end of summer, when amusement parks all over break the news for what they'll be adding for the following season. Most parks make their announcements independently from other parks, with the exception of the Six Flags chain. All 13 North American Six Flags parks simultaneously unveil their new additions before the summer comes to a close. These additions come in the form of roller coasters, family rides, shows, restaurants, or general park enhancements.
What makes the company unique is their commitment to adding something new at each park, year after year. Some theme parks will go years without something new, yet Six Flags brings something new to the table year after year.
Well my friends, that day has come once again, and on September 1st, 2016, Six Flags unveiled their new for 2017 attractions. As usual, the big announcement has come as single video, only this time, the chain has a new CEO, which means John Duffey will be doing all the talking instead of Jim Reid Anderson.
Now, they breezed through that pretty fast, so lets take a look at this a bit closer, and dive into each park individually.
Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA): After a large clearing showed up Six Flags' flagship park near Riddler's Revenge, immediately speculation began to make its way around. The most popular rumor was that it would be a Justice League: Battle for Metropolis dark ride, and they were absolutely right!
Battle for Metropolis is an interactive shooting ride where riders are enlisted by the Justice League to take down Lex Luther and the Joker. The ride takes place inside a large building with a beautiful Justice League facade. This is one of three Justice Leauges coming to the Six Flags chain next season, and will be one of seven once all of them are open. From what I've been told, this will a bit of an upgraded version and will feature Harley Quinn and a different ending.
Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL): The first of three 4D coasters to make its way into the chain will be coming to Illinois. Named 'The Joker,' this will be a free spin coaster by S&S. Riders board in two across seating on either side of the track and ascend vertically 120 feet into the air, before flipping head over heels up to six times. That being said, the amount of times you flip depends on the weight in your car, so each ride will be a little different.
The Joker is expected to be located at the spot where the Ragin Cajun roller coaster once stood. The strip of land it will sit on is very small, which will not be a problem for The Joker. Because these 4D coasters are built up, and not out, it will be able to fit in even the smallest of land plots.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, TX): The one park that really kept coaster enthusiasts guessing was Fiesta Texas. Much teasing was done, but finally our questions were answered. #SFFT2017 is a water coaster, called Thunder Falls!
Now this wasn't what a lot of people were expecting, but this is by far the most unique attraction coming to the chain next year. This will be one of the few water coasters in the chain, as well as the first ProSlide RocketBlast FlyingSaucer installation in the US! This means it combines water coaster with a traditional bowl slide.
Having ridden two water coasters before, I can testify that water coasters are excellent additions to any water park. I personally would not have a problem if Six Flags decides to one day clone Thunder Falls, and send it to every Six Flags park. More water parks need a water coaster!
On top of the new Hurricane Harbor addition, Fiesta Texas will be debut a new Mardi Gras festival.
Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ): The next Justice League will be going to this fan favorite Six Flags park, which has been lacking in non-coaster thrills. Luckily this is certain to diversify the park!
The expected location for this attraction will be in the Movie Town section of the park, near Batman: The Ride and The Dark Knight Coaster, where a large clearing opened up this past year. The ride itself, simply put, is amazing. I've had the privilege of experiencing the original two rides, which came to Six Flags Over Texas and St. Louis. The animatronics are amazing, and the ride is guaranteed to spark some competition between you and the five other riders in your vehicle.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Vallejo, CA): After just receiving a new roller coaster this past year, it isn't surprising that they decided to go with a smaller investment for next season. Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth is a Zamperla Giant Discovery, or as many of us like to call them, a frisbee.
I personally have experienced these attractions and am a big fan of them- not only are they long rides, but really send you up out of your seat. Wonder Woman is said to swing 40 riders at 70 mph back and forth, eventually reaching a height of 147 feet. Now Discovery Kingdom is currently home to a similar ride called Tazmanian Devil, however what will make Wonder Woman different is its outside facing seats and higher arc angle.
Six Flags Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico): The only Six Flags park in Mexico will be bring in virtual reality technology to Medusa: Steel Coaster, in the form of The New Revolution. Riders 13 and older can choose to wear Samsung Gear Virtual Reality Headsets during the ride experience, which will strap them into a fighter jet flying through a collapsing city, taking down aliens. While the virtual reality does increase wait times significantly, the VR is very cool for riders who have yet to experience anything like it.
In addition to the VR, Six Flags Mexico will add Mardi Gras to their line up of festivals and shows. And not too far away from the park, Hurricane Harbor Oaxtepec will make its debut!
Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX): The 2nd Free Spin coming to Six Flags this year will also be the 2nd free spin in Texas. The ride too will share the name of "The Joker." The other free spin in the state can be found 4 hours south at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. That one, named after The Joker's nemesis, was added in 2014, and has been a big hit with the public. After all, if the ride wasn't a success, why would they build more of them?
This particular Joker will, appropriately, be a part of the Gotham City section of Over Texas. You will be able to find The Joker next to his fellow villains that invaded last year: Catwoman Whip, Harley Quinn Spinsanity, and Riddler Revenge. In my opinion, this specific 4D coaster makes the most sense to be named "The Joker," as it will fit right in with its surroundings!
Six Flags Over Georgia (Austell, GA): The 3rd and final Justice League: Battle for Metropolis dark ride will be making its way to Six Flags Over Georgia. This will act as a replacement for the parks bumper cars, which were removed earlier this year, opening up the land for this ginormous attraction. From what we can tell, this will feature the same ride experience as the other Justice Leagues currently in existence.
Six Flags St. Louis (Eureka, MO): Though this park is in much need of a new stand out roller coaster, they will not be getting it this year. Instead, Spinsanity will swing riders back and forth while the ride vehicle rotates 360 degrees. You can find similar rides at parks such as Dollywood or Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Six Flags America (Upper Marlboro, MD): The 2nd Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth is coming to the DC area, only this one is not a frisbee! Wonder Woman will be the only Funtime Starflyer attraction coming to the chain next year, and will be an absolute stellar fit for this park! I myself have long been saying how Six Flags America needs a SkyScreamer, so I'm glad it's actually happening.
Wonder Woman will swing passengers in a circular motion up a 242 foot tall tower, giving them a spectacular view of the surrounding area. Lasso of Truth will also take its place as the tallest ride in the park, dwarfing Superman: Ride of Steel by 45 feet.
Six Flags New England (Agawam, MA): And last but not least is the final 4D coaster in the Six Flags chain. Can anyone take a guess of what this one will be named? If you guessed the Joker, then you're absolutely right. Not one, not two, but THREE coasters next year will be named "The Joker." All of which, have the exact same layout. My hunch for why Six Flags would reuse the same name over and over again would be because they have the name trademarked, so they might as well use it as many times as they can. Overall, this will be the 6th roller coaster in existence to be named "The Joker," and one of 8 coasters to have a Joker theme.
Unlike the other free spins making their way to Six Flags next year, this Joker will be replacing an existing attraction. Splashwater Falls will be departing, freeing up a narrow strip of land that the ride can sit on. While Splashwater Falls was a solid ride, it was always a little odd that a water ride was located next to the water park, but wasn't actually in the water park. Nonetheless, this too will be a good location for a Joker themed attraction, as you you'll be able to find Batman: The Dark Knight right next door.
La Ronde (Montreal, Quebec, Canada): 'Titan' will be the 2nd frisbee attraction coming to Six Flags next year, and 3rd in the Six Flags chain. Like Discovery Kingdom, La Ronde already has a similar attraction to this called Manitou, however the seats are facing inward, and it will not swing as high as Titan. So it may be a bit of an unusual choice, but nonetheless will be a great addition to their flat ride line up, joining rides like The Demon, Orbite, Vol Ultime, and Vertigo.
Now one thing I find interesting is how Six Flags gives the same name to all of these duplicate attractions, and comes out with two rides named Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth, but gives one of the names to a frisbee, and the other to a Funtime Starflyer. Interesting how they didn't give the name to the two frisbees, and name the Starflyer 'Titan.'
The Great Escape (Lake George, NY): One of the smaller parks in the chain will be making upgrades to their water park this year, with the new attraction 'Bonzai Pipelines.'
Unlike the other Bonzai Pipeline attractions you'll find in the chain, these slides will not drop the floor out from underneath you. Instead, Bonzai Pipelines is made up of two twin body slides.
So there you have it! These are all of the new rides you can expect at Six Flags next year. Now thing you'll notice is how many of the rides are copies. Clones. This is not something new to Six Flags: at every Six Flags park, you'll find at least one coaster that you can ride at another park. Whether you're a fan of this strategy or not, what usually makes up for it is the unique attractions that'll get unveiled as well. However what makes this year a bit different is there aren't any original coasters being added. While this is disappointing, a coaster is a coaster, and something is better than nothing.
If you ask me, it sounds like Six Flags has discovered which rides 'work' and which ones don't. The ones we're seeing this year are the ones that have achieved positive results, which means they're bound to be a hit with visitors. Though many rides may be the same, not too many guests will have the opportunity to visit each park that has one of these attractions, so if anything this is giving the public the option to ride a ride closer to them. That way they won't have to travel far away to experience something.
Going back to the original announcement video, John Duffey stated that 2017 will be the best year ever for Six Flags. Do I agree with him? No, I do not. But having said that, all of the attractions coming next year will be great additions to the parks they're going to. So if you're like me, then you can't wait to get out and ride them!
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