Eat.Enjoy.Live.: First row for all 13 Six Flags rollercoasters

8/3/2017 | Craig Harris

Category: August 2017

Speed, twists, turns, inversions, corkscrews, and vertical drops are all part of Six Flag New England’s roller coaster experience. On July 11, I rode in the front seat of the Agawam amusement park’s 13 roller coasters. The adrenaline continues to fuel me. A roller coaster ride takes 30 seconds to two minutes but its effect lasts long afterwards.

With marketing director Jennifer McGrath escorting me, I started the morning with 200-foot high Goliath, the world’s tallest inverted boomerang roller coaster. Traveling at turbo speed, I climbed to the top of a tower before dropping at 65 mph, rolling into a 102-foot vertical loop and 110-foot butterfly, and climbing a second nineteen-story tower. Then, it did it in reverse. Whew!

A month ago, the Wicked Cyclone defeated me. Attending the new Joker 4D Free Flying Coaster’s launching, in June, I had taken a break from coasting to partake of the buffet lunch provided to the press. The salad, chicken wings, and rolls tasted great but they left me in no shape to continue riding. Once my companion and I reached the Wicked Cyclone, and I saw its demented twists, I thought it best saved for another day. Now, I was ready.

Reassembled in steel, in 2015, from the Riverside Cyclone, a wooden coaster modeled on Coney Island’s famed 1929 attraction, the Wicked Cyclone’s 3,300-foot track includes a ten-story drop at 55 mph, two Zero G rolls, a 200 degree stall, and the world’s first double-reversing bank airtime hill. It certainly deserves its “wicked” sobriquet.

Relocated from Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom (where it had been the Vampire) in 2000, Flashback’s 108-second ride includes a pair of vertical loops and 360-degree turns and operates in both directions.

Six Flags New England’s oldest roller coaster, and an ACE coaster landmark, Thunderbolt, has thrilled riders since Edward Carroll, Sr. purchased it, and other rides, from the NY World’s Fair, in 1941, and moved it to what was then Riverside Park. Despite the limitations of wood as opposed to computer-designed steel, its 2,600-foot track more than compensates with drops and sharp turns at 40 mph.

Taking a reprieve from the high-intensity rides, I rode the park’s child-friendly coasters. A 30 second ride traveling at 12 mph, Great Chase reached a peak height of only 13 feet but its drops and turns made it the perfect introduction for a child to the world of roller coasters. It reminded me of my first rides at New York’s Rockaway Playland in the 1960s. Catwoman’s Whip traveled its 1,200-foot, figure-eight track at a faster 22 mph.

Not all coasters were traditional trains. A four-person car ride, Pandemonium spun as it traveled on a quarter-mile track marked by hairpin turns and spirals. Gotham City Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum was my least favorite ride. Traveling its 1,213-foot track in a four-person car, I bounced uncomfortably with each sharp turn and vertical drop.

Batman the Dark Knight and Mind Eraser were floorless roller coasters. On the latter, I sat in the front row of the seven-car train with three other riders. After the floor broke away and left us suspended below the 2,600-foot track, we spent 140 seconds speeding through interlocking corkscrews, 360-degree rolls, and five inversions.

Mind Eraser was even more intense. No longer featuring the intergalactic virtual reality component of spring 2017, it nevertheless remains extremely formidable with a brain-scrambling array of 360 and 90-degree rolls, twists, corkscrews, hairline turns, scrambles, and a half loop, half corkscrew, nearly vertical drop called a sidewinder.

There are few experiences rivaling Superman: The Ride. Since its debut in 2000, the multiple Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award winner went through transformation as Bizarro and Superman: Man of Steel. The virtual reality component that brought riders into the comic book world, last year, is gone but the ride’s 90-seconds continue to provide some of the greatest adrenaline rushes a coaster enthusiast can experience. Traveling 77 seventy-seven mph, it climbed a steep, 208-foot lift hill, with a spectacular view of the Connecticut River on the left and the rest of the park on the right, before plunging at faster-than-a-speeding-bullet speed into a mile-long track of spins, turns, and twists.  

Launched in June 2017, The Joker 4D Free Fly Coaster is Six Flags New England’s newest ride. Sitting in crafted plastic seats, two abreast, in pairs of four, we ascended a 120-foot hill before flipping and tumbling at thirty-eight mph on a 1,019-foot track that included two beyond-vertical drops.

My thirteenth roller coaster of the day, Fireball, used gravity and acceleration to send a train around a seven-story circular track, rocking back and forth and building enough inertia to complete 360-degree loops in 10 revolutions per minute or six seconds, and then reversing.

After a morning of inverting and twisting, I was ready to refresh in the waters of Six Flag New England’s Hurricane Harbor. I would return to do it all again (for charity) two days later.

Share this: