Inside the Beltway, politicians are fond of using roller coasters as an analogy for everything from the state of the economy to the fate of candidates' campaigns. Just outside the Beltway, Six Flags America offers some real roller coasters to help beleaguered citizens escape the Washington doublespeak.
And what great coasters! Towering above the others, the 200-foot Superman: Ride of Steel hypercoaster features an adrenaline-pumping 198-foot first drop. Curiously, the park's sleek, smooth flying coaster, which places riders in a superhero-like flying position, is called Batwing and is themed to Superman's non-flying buddy, Batman.
Two of the Caped Crusader's archenemies have their own Six Flags America thrill machines. The Joker's Jinx is a magnetically launched coaster that accelerates riders from 0 to 60 mph in a straight shoot out of the station. Resembling a bowl of spaghetti, the demented track layout sends riders flip-flopping more than a congressman's policy position. After the wild launch however, The Joker's Jinx feels muted as it meanders through its tangle of track.
Two-Face: The Flip Side takes the standard boomerang coaster concept and adds some interesting features. Instead of riding above the track, it uses ski lift-style inverted trains that leave riders' feet dangling. And the rows of seats face one another. Passengers navigate the course forwards or backwards depending on their seat orientation, then go in the opposite direction as the coaster retraces its route. All the while, riders can look into the eyes of the passengers seated directly across from them and either display nerves of steel or share a scream with reckless abandon.
Amidst all of these high-tech coasters, the transplanted, circa-1917 The Wild One out and back wood coaster more than holds its own. It is a nostalgic delight that remains surprisingly potent. However, the park's modern-day wood coaster, Roar, is surprisingly tame. With highly banked turns and hardly a straight line in its 3200 feet of track, the ride is more about lateral (side-to-side) Gs than out-of-your-seat airtime.
While the front of Six Flags America has some decent landscaping and a nice layout, the back of the park is fairly barren. Some of the newer coasters appear to have been dropped into place almost haphazardly. Batwing, for example, is tucked into a dead end behind the Superman coaster.
Food is not the park's strong point. It is bland, overpriced, and stripped of any local color. (Where are the crab cakes, for example?) But, if it's coasters you're after, Six Flags America has a tasty menu of thrills.
- Location: Mitchellville, MD (near Washington, D.C.)
- Phone: (301) 249-1500
- Reduced price for children (under 54"). 3 and under are free. Discounted tickets are often available online. Season pass tickets include admission to all Six Flags parks.
- For an additional fee, the park offers the Flash Pass go-to-the-front-of-the-lines program. VIP tours available for an extra fee (which is quite high).
- Includes admission to the adjacent Hurricane Harbor.
- Six Flags Fright Fest Overview
It's all about the coasters:
- Superman: Ride of Steel hypercoaster
- Batwing flying coaster
- The Wild One classic wood coaster
- The Joker's Jinx LIM launched coaster
- Two-Face: The Flip Side inverted boomerang coaster
- Halloween event: Fright Fest Info
- Hurricane Harbor water park
- Food: Typical park fare (as in limited, boring, and overpriced)
New for 2014
The spinning Wild Mouse-style coaster will be new to the park, but it is an older ride that is being relocated from another Six Flags park.
New for 2013
Six new water slides with 360-degree drops and launch chambers are coming to the water park.
New for 2012
It'll be new for the Maryland park, but the standup coaster is recycled from the Six Flags park near Chicago, where it had been operating since 1990.