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X 4th Dimension Coaster

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia California

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

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roller coaster

X marks the spot at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Six Flags. Used with permission.
SPECIAL NOTE: X closed in late 2007, got new trains and effects, and reopened as X2, the "5th dimension" coaster in spring 2008. The following review is of the original X coaster.

With its radical coaster design, it's difficult to explain X's concept. Think of a hybrid Ferris wheel/roller coaster in which the ride's seats can pivot 360 degrees forwards and backwards, as the train navigates the track. It's a wild innovation, and X offers a wild ride. By adding the "4th dimension" of rotating seats into the mix, the Six Flags Magic Mountain coaster throws riders for a loop. Without any way to gauge what's coming next, X is utterly disorienting -- and utterly fun.

Up-front Info

  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 9
    Rotating, exposed seats, inversions, "flying" position
  • Coaster type: 4th dimension
  • Height: 175 feet
  • Drop: 215 feet
  • Top speed: 76 mph
  • Height restriction: 48 inches
  • Note: X is "xtremely" popular and slow-loading; be prepared for a long wait.
Everything about X is unique, beginning with the loading station. The covered building is impressively wide and long to accommodate two of the ride's massive trains. Because loading and unloading the cumbersome seats and restraint systems takes far longer than an average coaster, passengers can disembark one train while another one is loading.

X doesn't include any coaster cars, per se. The train sits on top of the track, but each row of four seats is divided into two seats on either side of the track. There is no track, no car--no nothing--above or below riders. The queue divides passengers into two groups to board both sides of the track.

To keep passengers tethered into its topsy-turvy seats, X uses a butterfly harness. Be careful not to strap yourself in too tight (although you certainly wouldn't want to allow much wiggle room either). I clamped down a bit too much and had a hard time breathing -- and screaming! -- during the ride. Once everyone is secured, motors tilt the seats back into a semi-reclining position, and the train leaves the station with riders facing backwards.

Taking Riders for a Spin

At the top of the lift hill, the track flips the train over and the seats rotate into "flying" position. Riders' feet are above them as they dive head first down a 215-foot drop. From there, it's a blur of befuddling moves.

The track includes a number of twisting and flipping elements that, on a traditional coaster, would provide plenty of thrills. But X ups the ante with its whirling seats. Undulations in special rails along the track spin the seats at prescribed moments throughout the ride.

If X was a traditional coaster, riders would also be able to partially anticipate the elements by looking at the track ahead. But X is no traditional coaster. By adding the pivoting seats, which spin independent of the train's movement along the track, there's no way to determine what's coming next, and no rhyme or reason for the zany acrobatic maneuvers that X delivers. It's best to just give in to the coaster's 4th-dimension wackiness and go along for the ride.

Rated X for Extremely Busy

X straddles the road leading to Six Flags Magic Mountain's toll plaza and is among the first coasters visitors see as they pull in to the park. By the end of the day, they've probably spent a good deal of time looking at it as they wait in its excruciating line. While some of Six Flag's other signature coasters can get quite crowded, X typically has the longest lines.

A sign in its queue lists some of the coaster's stats, including its theoretical throughput (the number of passengers it can accommodate at peak capacity) at 1680 riders per hour. The realistic throughput is a heckuva lot lower. Painfully lower. Watching-paint-dry lower. To minimize the wait, the best advice is to arrive before the park opens and make a beeline for X. Otherwise, expect to wait for a looooong time.

If you think you might be able to beat the crowds by waiting until the park's closing time, think again. Six Flags Magic Mountain closes the queue to X well before the park closes to give the inevitable throngs of people still in line the chance to ride. And if you think you can buy your way to the front of the line by purchasing a Flash Pass, wrong again. Six Flags Magic Mountain doesn't include X in its Flash Pass program.

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