While a major thrill ride may or may not be heading to your local Six Flags, you can be sure that something will await you in 2012. The company says it is committed to reinvesting and bringing new attractions to each of its parks. But it is a bit liberal in its use of the term, "new." As has been the case recently, the chain will be shuffling rides around amongst its parks. In some cases, the "new" attractions will really be relocated older rides that will be getting different names, fresh coats of paint, and new leases on life.
Among the highlights are a few attractions that may inspire ride warriors to book long-distance trips. California's Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, for example, will be getting an intriguing new Superman coaster that will use a novel layout and ride system to approximate a flying experience. The world's tallest vertical drop ride is on its way to Six Flags Magic Mountain, also in California. And Six Flags Great America in Illinois will be spreading its wings with a wild take on a new(ish) coaster concept. These and other developments are detailed below. You may want to start getting your knuckles in shape for the thrills ahead.
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In addition to all of the Six Flags goodness, there are many other plans underway at a host of parks. To see what's happening during this especially exciting time, go to What's New at Theme Parks and Amusement Parks.
THE SIX FLAGS 2012 RIDE GUIDE
The guide is arranged alphabetically by US state. Canada's La Ronde and Six Flags Mexico follow at the end of the list.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Vallejo (near San Francisco), CA
Superman Ultimate Flight
The unique launched coaster will send passengers soaring up, up, and a way up a 150-foot-tall loop. Instead of a more traditional coaster experience, in which gravity would then take over, the new Superman thriller will instead hold riders for a few tentative moments and then blast them into a second inversion down the opposite side of the loop. Sound confusing (but nonetheless tantalizing)? Perhaps this video will help explain it better:
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom
When it debuted, Superman: Escape from Krypton was the tallest coaster in the world. It's since been eclipsed, but it's still pretty dang tall. By attaching a drop ride to the back of the coaster's tower, Six Flags will now be able to boast that it will have the world's tallest (and scariest?) freefall ride. Read more about Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom.
GEORGIASix Flags Over Georgia
Austell (near Atlanta), GA
OK. So maybe Six Flags cheated a bit, when it said that it would introduce major new attractions at all of its parks. The promise of six new shows probably won't get the turnstiles spinning madly at the Georgia park. But, 2012 will be the park's 45th anniversary, and one of its shows will feature its celebrated history. Also, since Six Flags introduced Dare Devil Dive, a "Euro-Fighter" coaster that sends riders straight up and beyond straight down a 95-foot top-hat tower, in 2011, perhaps we should cut it some slack in 2012.
Six Flags White Water
Marietta (near Atlanta), GA
Nothing new announced to date for the water park in 2012.
ILLINOISSix Flags Great America
The wing coaster, one of two debuting in 2012 (the other one will be at Dollywood in Tennessee), will bring a new style of seating to the ride experience. You can read more about the wacky thrills in store at my X-Flight overview.
MARYLANDSix Flags America
Mitchellville, MD (near Washington, D.C.)
Although it sounds fashionably ominous (2012 is the year of the much-prophesized end of the world as we know it, after all), the new coaster coming to Maryland is actually an old standup coaster that has been giving wedgies to riders at Six Flags Great America in Illinois since 1990.
MASSACHUSETTSSix Flags New England
Agawam, MA (near Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT)
Another transplant (this one was originally at Six Flags Magic Mountain where it was known, coincidentally, as Deja Vu), Goliath will be a shuttle coaster. Unlike the more typical shuttle boomerang coaster, Flashback, that is already at the Massachusetts park, however, this ride will be considerably taller and faster and will feature an inverted train that will hang beneath the track.
MISSOURISix Flags St. Louis
Eureka, near (...come on, you know what city it's near)
Hurricane Harbor, the adjacent water park that is included with admission to Six Flags St. Louis, will be getting an Aqua Loop water slide that will nearly send riders upside down as they soar at speeds up to 40 mph through its clear acrylic tube.
NEW JERSEYSix Flags Great Adventure
A spinning swing ride, SkyScreamer will rise 240 scream-inducing feet into the air and reach speeds of 40 mph. The park will also be getting new bumper cars and a Scrambler spinning ride.
NEW YORKThe Great Escape
Queensbury (near Lake George), New York
Splashwater Kingdom, the water park that is included with admission to the park, will be getting two new rides: Alpine Freefalls will feature a nerve-wracking speed slide that riders will start by entering a "Skybox" capsule with a trap door. The slide complex will also offer a four-lane mat racing slide.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
San Antonio, TX
Another one of the spinning swing rides coming to Six Flags parks, the Fiesta Texas version will rise about 200 feet into the air and reach speeds of 40 mph.
Six Flags Over Texas
Arlington (near Dallas), TX
Another one of the chain's parks (like Six Flags Over Georgia), that won't be getting anything truly major in 2012. At the time this article was written, the best the park could come up with is that it would be getting a new live show. Then again, like the Georgia park, Six Flags Over Texas debuted a well-received ride in 2011, the "new" Texas Giant, and perhaps should be forgiven for keeping it modest in the coming year.
A swinging tower ride that will soar about 150 feet will open this season.
MEXICOSix Flags Mexico
Nothing new announced at the time this article was written. Sheesh Six Flags! You did promise that you would be introducing some major new feature at all parks, si?