Discover more from Arthur's About Theme Parks
Six Flags’ flashy new coaster
Super Boomerang on its way to New Jersey along with safari resort
Last chance! The unofficial end of summer arrives this weekend. Act now to take advantage of my end-of-the-season About Theme Parks special offer. Until Labor Day, get 25% off an annual paid subscription. That’s $45, or less than the cost of admission to most parks, for a whole year of About Theme Parks. That comes out to $3.75 per month, less than the price of a churro or a cup of Dippin’ Dots. Get bonus content, and support quality journalism (ahem, that’s me) by subscribing now. Thanks for your consideration!
Paid subscribers (if you are not a part of this wonderful group, see above), join the conversation tomorrow, Friday, September 1, for our monthly, exclusive What’s the Attraction? discussion thread. The topic: With the 2023 season winding down, what has been your favorite (or worst, craziest, wackiest–whatever) park experience thus far this year? Start pulling your thoughts together and hit us up tomorrow.
Also, paid subscribers can listen to my audio narration of this article. ART Talks audio: Six Flags’ flashy new coaster
One of Six Flags’, um, flagship parks, Great Adventure in New Jersey, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024, and it just announced some, er, wild additions. Expanding the park’s impressive attraction lineup, it will debut The Flash: Vertical Velocity, a Super Boomerang shuttle coaster from Dutch ride manufacturer, Vekoma, next season.
“With our largest park investment in almost two decades, we are excited to offer guests of all ages compelling new experiences that make Six Flags Great Adventure the most popular theme park experience in the Northeast,” says Brian Bacica, SFGAdv president. “We will debut our 15th roller coaster, the first-of-its-kind in the Western Hemisphere.”
Following Cloud Shuttle, which opened in July at Fantawild in China, Flash will be Vekoma’s second Super Boomerang. Interestingly, with its yellow track and red tower, the Chinese ride also sports the DC superhero’s trademark colors.
Here’s the deal on the ride experience: A magnetic launch will blast the train out of the station and partially up a hill. It will roll back into the multi-pass launch for a second kaboom that will catapult it backwards up a 164-foot-tall vertical, dead-end tower where it will stall out. The train and its passengers will then free fall forward for a third launch that will accelerate to Flash’s top speed of 59 mph. That will be enough juice to nudge it over the hill and into what appears to resemble a zero-G stall (in which the train inverts and remains upside down for a giddy few seconds).
The train will meander through some elements, including a 180-degree twisted drop. Another magnetic jolt will help goose the train up the other side of the tower, where it will come to a momentary halt. It will then roll backwards, giving riders a second journey through the course, but this time in reverse. Experiencing that zero-G stall-ish section going backwards should be exhilarating.
The first generation of Vekoma’s Boomerang coasters, such as The Bat, which opened at Canada’s Wonderland in 1987, were never all that smooth. The ubiquitous rides have generally not aged well and can often be fairly brutal. The company’s next iterations of shuttle coasters, including Flash and Family Boomerangs like Good Gravy! coming next year to Holiday World, appear to be considerably smoother.
With its multiple launches, two trips up a vertical spike, four inversions, and likely potent pops of positive Gs and airtime, the new Six Flags coaster will pack a lot into its 1,400 feet of track. If it follows the lead of Fantawild and only has one 24-passenger train, capacity and wait times could be an issue for Flash.
I’m not sure why, but the park is describing the fairly extreme ride (it’s not Kingda Ka, but still) as a “family” roller coaster. The minimum height is 48 inches, which could include children as young as six years old. I don’t know about your family, but most first graders would probably want to steer clear of a beast like this.
Here is a video of the Chinese coaster, which should be virtually identical to what guests can expect on the SFGAdv ride.
The coaster sounds like it will be a wonderful addition to the midway. But what has me even more intrigued is Six Flags’ other major announcement for next year’s anniversary season: the Savannah Sunset Resort & Spa. Set inside the park’s 350-acre safari, it will include “ultra-luxurious glamping accommodations and fine dining” according to SFGAdv. I’ve experienced upscale glamping (glamorous camping) at Under Canvas, which has locations near many U.S. national parks, and it can be wonderful.
With Disney World’s delightful Animal Kingdom Lodge, this wouldn’t be the first time a theme park offered accommodations at which giraffes cavort just outside your room. With the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and the Lodge at the Lake at Six Flags Darien Lake, both in New York, this also wouldn’t be the first time that the park chain offers lodging at its properties. But the resort and spa coming to New Jersey would seem to be a decided step up from the company’s other hotels, and the animal component adds a mighty compelling feature.
The safari itself, which has been a drive-through experience, will be transformed into an “off-road adventure” next year with guides offering narrated tours. The park did not reveal many details about the new resort. Stay tuned, ATPers. I’m on it.
What’s your take on the Super Boomerang? Have you been on Vekoma Boomerangs? Would you want to glamp among animals at SFGAdv?