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Six Flags Over Skynet

Preview of Terminator: The Coaster debuting at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2009

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Six Flags Over Skynet

Despite its high-concept theme, Terminator: The Coaster will be a fairly standard woodie.

Six Flags 2008. Used with permission.
Updated January 09, 2013
For its 16th roller coaster, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California turns to the Terminator movie franchise that famously features the monosyllabic performance of the state's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Pegged to the spring 2009 release of the fourth film of the series, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins (which may or may not include an appearance by the Governator), the wooden coaster is scheduled to open around Memorial Day of 2009.

Apart from some unspecified onboard audio, the themed Terminator elements will mostly take place before passengers board the trains. The ride, which is being built by the acclaimed Great Coasters International (GCI), should be wonderful (and will certainly be far better than the deplorable Psyclone wooden coaster that used to occupy the spot Terminator will take).

Terminator: The Coaster Stats

  • Type: Wooden
  • Height: 100 feet
  • Top speed: 55 mph
  • Track length: 2,850 feet
  • Height Restriction: Minimum 48 inches
  • Ride duration: 3 minutes

See The Terminator Coaster

Six Flags Terminator Coaster Preview Video

Escape Skynet...on a Wooden Coaster?

According to Six Flags Magic Mountain President Jay Thomas, integrated video modules and other effects in the queue and loading station will be used to "recruit" guests to join the resistance against the demonic overlords of Skynet. The Terminator films and TV program pit the robots-gone-bad Skynet against the reluctant liberator of the human race, John Connor, and his ragtag band of resistance fighters. Riders will board the coaster, Thomas says, to "escape Skynet."

It's a curious marriage between the ride and its purported theme. Subtracting the likely costs of the unadorned coaster, Terminator's announced $10-million budget doesn't give its designers a lot of bucks to develop many snazzy effects. Besides, wooden coasters, in general, don't lend themselves well to high-concept themes. Six Flags St. Louis introduced the Evel Knievel wooden coaster in 2008. Rather than using steel coaster technology to capitalize on the flamboyant stunt driver and incorporate motorcycles and death-defying jumps into the ride experience, Evel Knievel is a fairly standard coaster (albeit a well-regarded one). It appears the new Magic Mountain ride will be a relatively typical woodie as well.

And, it's curious that Skynet is already being blown to smithereens on a daily basis a few miles away from the Valencia, California park at Universal Studio Hollywood's wonderful Terminator 2:3-D. To help distinguish the rival cyborg-themed attractions, Six Flags' Thomas points out that the Magic Mountain coaster will concentrate on the new Terminator Salvation film.

Will Terminator be a Salvation for Six Flags?

The incongruous Terminator theme notwithstanding, there's every reason to believe the coaster ride itself will be great. GCI, which also built Evel Kneivel as well as top-ranking coasters Thunderhead at Dollywood in Tennessee and Renegade at Valleyfair in Minnesota, is undoubtedly planning to bring the same kind of modern-day wooden coaster excitement to Six Flags Magic Mountain. The twister-style coaster will include five airtime-inducing drops and six inclined banking turns. Terminator will also provide quite a sight for passengers waiting in the queue, as its trains will fly through an upper level of the loading station during their three-minute run.

With its lack of inversions and relatively low speed, height, and 48-inch height requirement, Thomas says that Terminator will be a "a great addition for the park and phenomenal for younger guests and families." Surely the Six Flags Magic Mountain president is hoping that past guests will be lured by the new coaster enough to plan a visit in 2009 and declare, "I'll be back."

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