While I’m not a huge fan of theme parks – Mother Nature offers far more exciting opportunities for adventure than anything man-made, in my book – I’m a sucker for a great roller coaster. And, though 2013 is still a ways off, theme park giant Six Flags recently unveiled a lineup of seriously scary new and revamped coasters and thrill rides, several of which will claim to be the biggest, tallest, and fastest of their kinds in the world.
Topping the list of adrenaline-pumpers: the aptly named Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California, which will boast the world’s tallest loop at a whopping 160 feet and speeds of up to 70 mph. Also in the lineup are the world’s tallest swing ride, reaching 400 feet in the theme park chain's Arlington, Texas location, and an enclosed five-story drop on a new water slide at Six Flags White Water, in Georgia. Six Flags also is making headlines with the recent announcement that its Great Adventure park in New Jersey will become the world’s largest theme park in 2013, when it will unveil the combination of its animal safari and its amusement park as a single 510-acre attraction, besting Disney's Animal Kingdom by 10 acres.
Here are some highlights of the new offerings from across the United States. And a few words of advice: You might want to have lunch after enjoying these rides!
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Southern California: In addition to boasting the world’s tallest vertical loop, the Full Throttle coaster, which will be the park’s eighteenth, will also feature speeds up to 70 mph and three separate launches, one backward, with riders traversing the loop twice – once on the inside and again on the outside over a top hat element (that’s coaster-speak for a scary-steep loop).
Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington: When in Texas, you gotta go big, and this park will do just that with another record-setter with the introduction of a 400-foot giant swing – the tallest in the world. Called the Texas SkyScreamer, the ride will lift two dozen riders, sitting two across in open-air swings, 400 feet above the ground, and spin them at speeds up to 35 mph in a 124-foot circle.
Six Flags Over Georgia, Atlanta: The new Typhoon Twister slide at the White Water water park will send brave riders, in four-passenger tubes, barreling down an enclosed five-story drop before shooting out into a 67-foot bowl (good thing people will be wearing swimsuits, as I imagine they’ll be plenty of pants-wetting for that one). Also at SFoG, the 240-foot-tall SkyScreamer swing tower will make its Georgia debut. SkyScreamer will be the tallest attraction in the park’s 45-year history, towering four stories higher than the park’s mega coaster, Goliath.
(Offbeat tip: If you plan to head to Six Flags Over Georgia on Labor Day – and get a haircut between now and then – you can snag a $10 admission ticket with the purchase of a cut at any metro Atlanta Great Clips.)
Six Flags Mexico, Mexico City: Heads-up, Halloween junkies: For the first time, the park will introduce the popular scare-centric Fright Fest, with five haunted mazes and the name Festival del Terror. (Prices for Fright Fest are included with Six Flags general admission, but some parks charge additional fees for haunted mazes and houses. As of this posting, there was no info available for 2012 Fright Fest offerings.)