Undaunted by the headaches it endured trying to keep its new, record-breaking coaster, Kingda Ka, in operation during the 2005 season, Six Flags Great Adventure will be rolling out yet another monster coaster, El Toro, in 2006. Forsaking the cutting-edge technology that both rocketed Kingda Ka into the record books and caused its considerable downtime, the new coaster will be a tried-and-true woodie. That doesn't mean the old-school El Toro won't boast some impressive new-age numbers, however.
El Toro Stats
- Type of coaster: Wood out-and-back
- Height: 181 feet (second tallest wood coaster in the U.S. in 2006, third tallest in the world)
- First drop: 176 feet (second longest drop for a wood coaster in the U.S. in 2006, third longest drop in the world)
- Top speed: 70 mph (second fastest wood coaster in the U.S. in 2006, third fastest in the world)
- First drop angle: 76 degrees (steepest drop for a wood coaster in the world)
Six Flags bullish on El ToroThe sleek coaster will add a classic touch to the coaster lineup at Six Flags Great Adventure. Instead of stomach-churning inversions, a sophisticated launch system, or other thrill machine gimmicks, El Toro will focus on height, speed, and the holy grail for coaster lovers: airtime. According to Six Flags, the ride will deliver nine moments of weightless nirvana. The ride begins with four huge, successive drops. It finishes with some highly banked moments and some devilish, twisting elements that look wild.
Classic in appearance, El Toro will have some unique characteristics. Instead of building the track onsite, as is typical with wood coasters, whole sections of it will be pre-fabricated to exact standards. This should allow the woodie to behave with the fluidity of a steel coaster. Also, El Toro will substitute a steel cable and a catch car for a more traditional lift chain system.
Although it will be an enormously tall coaster and occupy a relatively huge footprint with its out-and-back configuration, ride time on El Toro will clock in at a fairly puny 1 minute and 42 seconds. With the momentum it will build from its 181-foot climb, I imagine it will tear into its final brake run begging for some more track. By comparison, another highly anticipated wood coaster for 2006, The Voyage at Holiday World in Indiana, will include 1.2 miles of track for a 2-minute, 45-second ride--over a minute longer than El Toro. The Six Flags coaster, however, will have a slight edge in height, speed, and angle of descent over The Voyage.
El Toro will dwarf the adjacent Rolling Thunder, Great Adventure's other wood coaster. At 82 feet, the fourth drop on El Toro will be nearly the same size as the 85-foot first drop on Rolling Thunder. A dual-track racing coaster, Rolling Thunder hasn't operated both sides for a few years. The circa-1979 ride desperately needs some TLC. Since the older coaster will be incorporated, along with El Toro, into a newly themed area of the park called Plaza del Carnaval, here's hoping that Six Flags shows it some love and gets it racing in style once again.
Plaza del Carnaval will also include a Mexican restaurant and other new attractions. Another new themed land, Bugs Bunny National Park, debuts in 2006 as well. Sporting a wilderness-meets-Loony Tunes theme, the area will feature an interactive water attraction with gizmos and gadgets to keep everyone soaked, some new kiddie-centric rides, and a performance stage.