Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain is a 262-acre theme park located in the Santa Clarita, neighborhood of Valencia, 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It opened on May 1971, as Magic Mountain, a development of the Newhall Land and Farming Company. In 1979, Six Flags added the name "Six Flags" to the park's title. With 19 roller coasters, Six Flags Magic Mountain holds the world record for most roller coasters in an amusement park. In 2017, the park had an estimated 3.3 million visitors, ranking it sixteenth in attendance in North America. When the park opened, there were 500 employees and 33 attractions, many of which were designed and built by Arrow Development Co. which designed and built many of the original attractions at Disneyland. The admission price in 1971 was $5 for adults, $3.50 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Because the park was in a remote part of Los Angeles County, the Greyhound bus line provided bus service to and from the park and Los Angeles, as well as from Northern California, optionally allowed purchase of park admission at the time the bus ticket was purchased.
At its 1971 opening, the rides and attractions included a steel coaster. There were four transportation rides to the peak: Funicular, a cable railway or funicular renamed Orient Express; the Showcase Theater, was part of the original park and featured Barbra Streisand as the first of many headline performers who would appear at Magic Mountain over the years. In the 1971 season, Magic Mountain obtained permission from Warner Bros. to use Looney Tunes characters. However, they did not continue using the characters after their first year. In 1972, they began using trolls as the park mascots; the trolls King Blop known as King Troll, Bleep and the Wizard became recognizable symbols of Magic Mountain. All King Productions, a contractor, provided the entertainers wearing the costumes until December 31, 1972, when Magic Mountain took on that role; the characters were used until 1985. In 1972, a second flume ride named Jet Stream was added. In 1973 the park added its second roller coaster, the Mountain Express, a compact Schwarzkopf Wildcat model steel coaster.
In 1974 the park installed a new complex of spinning rides in what would be known as Back Street. The new additions consisted of the Himalaya, Electric Rainbow, Tumble Drum. In 1975, the Grand Centennial Railway opened in the Back Street, it took riders on a train journey to back. With the opening of Great American Revolution in 1976, Magic Mountain became the first park in the world to have a modern, 360-degree steel looping coaster; when it was built, there was little in the way of surrounding brush. Now, the tracks are surrounded by trees and bushes, which prevents the riders from knowing the track layout beforehand. Universal filmed a major movie at Magic Mountain with the Revolution as its centerpiece called Rollercoaster in 1977. In 1978, Colossus, at the time the fastest, largest dual-tracked wooden coaster, opened. Following its first season, it was extensively redone; when it reopened, it was a much smoother ride. In 1991, the camel hump before the last, or third, turn was replaced by a block brake.
Though it decreased the speed of the ride after this particular brake, it did allow three trains to run per side at a time increasing capacity. One of the trains sometimes ran backwards for a few years in the mid-80s. However, until the late 1990s this kind of ride was no longer possible due to the newer ride system in place, as well as different trains. During Fright Fest, the park runs one side backwards using a set of trains acquired from the now demolished Psyclone, located on the other side of the park. In 2015, the coaster was re-tracked with steel tracking and several inversions were added to the coaster, it was subsequently rebranded "Twisted Colossus". This renovation was completed by Rocky Mountain Construction. In 1979 the park was sold to Six Flags and became known as Six Flags Magic Mountain in 1980. In 1981, Six Flags Magic Mountain introduced a ride, on the west coast for the first time called Roaring Rapids, it was developed by Intamin in conjunction with the now defunct Six Flags Astroworld, which had opened a similar ride in 1979.
Along with Rapids came the completion of the midway near Spillikin Corners to link with Revolution's area. A complete circuit could be made around the park, it was designed as a dual-sided station, but only one was developed, all that exists of the possible second side is a few supports. It uses large pumps to circulate water, each of the two pumps can circulate 88,500 gallons per minute; the reservoir can hold 1.5 million gallons of water, one of the innovations used on it was the introduction of guide boards to help eliminate jam ups. In 1982 the attraction Freefall was added. Built by Intamin, it was considered a cutting edge drop tower ride, if not a "roller coaster." It ascends the tower and drops down, with the track curving to horizontal, leaving riders on their backs. Others were built for other parks. Today, most of these rides
Outlaw Run is a wooden roller coaster located at the Silver Dollar City amusement park in Branson, Missouri. The ride was the first wooden roller coaster manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction and the first wooden roller coaster with multiple inversions, in which riders are turned upside-down and back upright; the 2,937-foot-long ride features three inversions and a top speed of 68 miles per hour, making Outlaw Run the sixth-fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. The 162-foot-tall first drop of the ride is the fourth steepest in the world among wooden roller coasters, at 81° beyond horizontal. Planning for Outlaw Run began in 2009, three years before its official announcement in August 2012. Rocky Mountain Construction were contracted to manufacture the ride as their proposal best suited Silver Dollar City's available space and budget; the ride's track layout was designed by Alan Schilke. Outlaw Run opened to the public on March 15, 2013, to positive reviews. Planning for a new 2013 attraction in the Silver Dollar City amusement park began in 2009 with the owners, Herschend Family Entertainment, approaching Rocky Mountain Construction and other manufacturers for ideas for "a ride with marketing appeal".
Joel Manby, CEO of Herschend, wanted a "world first", to have a wooden roller coaster that would be "the first to do a double barrel roll", when the train goes twice through a combination of a loop and a roll. In 2011, Rocky Mountain Construction showcased their new steel roller coaster, New Texas Giant, to park executives; this demonstration secured the contract. Marketing began in 2011 when the public were made aware at the 2011 trade show of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions that Rocky Mountain were working on a wooden roller coaster. Following the beginning of construction at the park, Silver Dollar City launched a teaser website for a new attraction to open in 2013; the website featured a public notice indicating that the ride's theme would be stagecoaches and the wild west. The teaser website stated that an announcement would be made on August 9, 2012; as part of its teaser campaign leading to the announcement, the park released two clues. On August 9, 2012, Silver Dollar City announced that Outlaw Run would open in the second quarter of 2013.
At its opening, the ride would be the only wooden roller coaster to feature inversions and would feature the steepest drop on a wooden roller coaster. At a cost of $10 million, the ride would be the most expensive Silver Dollar City attraction in more than a decade. On September 26, 2012, the last piece of track was installed on Outlaw Run; the ride opened to a limited audience on March 2013, with a public opening two days later. Official opening celebrations were held in April. Outlaw Run was Rocky Mountain Construction's first wooden roller coaster, it is the sixth fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, reaching speeds of up to 68 miles per hour. Throughout the course of the 2,937-foot-long ride, riders go through three inversions, including a double heartline roll; the park's existing terrain is used to allow a 107-foot-tall lift hill to be translated into a first drop stretching 162 feet. The 2,937 feet of track is made of layers of laminated wood, with a steel plate located in the upper layers of the track.
The steel plating is known as Topper Track and is found on many roller coasters that Rocky Mountain Construction has renovated. This track style is designed to reduce the maintenance required for a wooden roller coaster and to provide a smoother ride experience. Rocky Mountain Construction spent four years developing technology to allow them to twist beams of wood, that make up the lower layers of the track; this track configuration allows for more dynamic roller coaster elements to be performed on a wooden roller coaster. Outlaw Run consists of each featuring twelve pairs of riders. Riders, who must be 48 inches or taller to ride, are restrained in their individual fiberglass seats with a U-shaped lap bar. Unlike most roller coaster trains, which have polyurethane wheels, Outlaw Run features steel wheels. Outlaw Run features a Western stagecoach theme; the ride's station is themed as a stagecoach depot located in the outskirts of Silver Dollar City. According to the ride's storyline, stagecoaches depart daily heading west, where they are intercepted by outlaws who want to steal the riders' belongings.
Outlaw Run riders are law enforcement personnel tasked with stopping the outlaws. To keep their family-friendly image, Silver Dollar City uses a variety of theming to advertise that the "good guys" will always win; the train ascends the chain lift hill. The track goes through a small pre-drop, similar to that on Bolliger & Mabillard steel roller coasters, before dropping 162 feet at an angle of 81°; the train ascends into the first element, an outside banked turn, where the track is banked over to 153° before rolling back out of the bank. After going around a low-to-the-ground curve, the train enters a 100-foot-tall double down followed by a 70-foot-tall double up. After more turns, the train enters a small air-time hill. Outlaw Run's final two inversions are heartline rolls, turns in which the axis of rotation is at the riders' hearts; the train enters the brake run and returns to the station. A single ride cycle is completed in 1 minute and 27 seconds. Outlaw R
Storm Chaser (roller coaster)
Storm Chaser is a steel roller coaster at Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky. Designed by Alan Schilke and built by Rocky Mountain Construction at an estimated cost of $10 million, the ride opened to the public on April 30, 2016, it features three inversions utilizing Rocky Mountain Construction's patented iBox track technology, a 78-degree drop, a maximum speed of 52 mph. Storm Chaser replaced Twisted Twins, a dueling roller coaster that opened in 1998 as Twisted Sisters; as a budgetary measure, some of the track and supports from Twisted Twins were reused during construction. Storm Chaser was the second new coaster, following T3, to open at Kentucky Kingdom since the park reopened to the public in 2014, it was nominated for "Best New Ride For 2016" – an Amusement Today Golden Ticket Award – and placed second behind Dollywood's Lightning Rod. In September 1997, operation rights for Kentucky Kingdom were sold by Themeparks LLC to Premier Parks for $64 million. Weeks after the deal was finalized in November 1997, the new operators announced plans to build a $5-million dueling roller coaster, called Double Trouble, in time to open during the 1998 season.
The name was changed to Twisted Sisters prior to the ride's opening. Following the purchase of Six Flags by Premier Parks in June 1998, the park was rebranded as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. In 2002, the heavy metal band Twisted Sister threatened the park with legal action regarding the name of the roller coaster. To avoid a lawsuit, the park changed the ride's name to Twisted Twins, it operated under that name until the end of the 2007 season when the park closed the ride indefinitely, the Gerstlauer trains were relocated to Six Flags St. Louis to be used as spare parts for The Boss, another Custom Coasters International ride with Gerstlauer trains. Amid corporate bankruptcy on February 4, 2010, Six Flags announced that the park would cease operations following the rejection of an amended lease by the Kentucky State Fair Board. Former operator of Kentucky Kingdom, Ed Hart, along with several other investors formed the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company with the aim of reopening the park quickly.
However, plans were abandoned after sixteen months of negotiations. On February 23, 2012, the Kentucky Fair Board approved a lease agreement which would see the park operate as Bluegrass Boardwalk; the plans called for the removal of Twisted T2 as a result of safety concerns. On June 27, 2013, Ed Hart's group negotiated an agreement to spend $36 million to reopen the park in May 2014, they announced plans to transform Twisted Twins into "a much superior ride" and hoped to reopen it in 2016. Rocky Mountain Construction was hired to refurbish the roller coaster with their patented IBox track design. In 2015, Kentucky Kingdom announced plans to name the renovated ride Storm Chaser and open it during the 2016 season; the estimated cost for the new ride was $10 million. In its original form, Twisted Twins was a dueling roller coaster, which featured two roller coaster tracks that departed from opposite ends of a single station; the two tracks followed different paths. Despite this, both tracks measured 3,000 feet in length, stood 80 feet tall, featured top speeds of 55 miles per hour.
The ride was the only dueling roller coaster manufactured by Custom Coasters International, was one of only two dual-tracked roller coasters manufactured by the company. The ride was designed by Dennis McNulty and Larry Bill, a duo responsible for many of the company's roller coasters. Construction of Twisted Twins was completed by Vleminckx. A single train, manufactured by Gerstlauer, ran on each of the tracks; these two trains were named respectively. Each train seated 28 riders across seven cars configured in two rows of two; these trains required riders to be of a minimum height of 48 inches. According to park officials, Storm Chaser utilized some components of Twisted Twins' structure as a budgetary feature, but is otherwise a new experience. Storm Chaser utlized Rocky Mountain's IBox steel track system to create a ride experience that has the smoothness of a steel coaster with the faster pace of a wooden coaster; the new track allows the train to perform inversions, something not seen on wooden roller coasters.
The table below illustrates the differences between Storm Chaser. Statistics shown for Twisted Twins are for a single track and are identical for both sides: Storm Chaser departs the station and makes a U-turn to the right to start up its lift hill. After cresting the top of the lift, the train banks left and enters a barrel-roll drop back down to ground level, followed by an airtime hill and an overbanked left-hand turn that leaves the train upside down for a short time. Storm Chaser climbs another hill and banks right before turning to the left and heading back in the opposite direction and rounding an overbanked turn to the right; the train crests another airtime hill before banking right and entering the final inversion, a corkscrew. Exiting the corkscrew and banking to the left, Storm Chaser passes over a series of camelback hills where the banking varies from side to side; the train enters a 270-degree banked helix to the right rises to the left before entering the final brake run and returning to the station.
Kentucky Kingdom's official website Storm Chaser at the Roller Coaster DataBase Media related to Twisted Twins at Wikimedia Commons
A roller coaster is a type of amusement ride that employs a form of elevated railroad track designed with tight turns, steep slopes, sometimes inversions. People ride along the track in open cars, the rides are found in amusement parks and theme parks around the world. LaMarcus Adna Thompson obtained one of the first known patents for a roller coaster design in 1885, related to the Switchback Railway that opened a year earlier at Coney Island; the track in a coaster design does not have to be a complete circuit, as shuttle roller coasters demonstrate. Most roller coasters have multiple cars in which passengers are restrained. Two or more cars hooked together are called a train; some roller coasters, notably wild mouse roller coasters, run with single cars. The oldest roller coasters are believed to have originated from the so-called "Russian Mountains", specially constructed hills of ice located in the area, now Saint Petersburg, Russia. Built in the 17th century, the slides were built to a height of between 21 and 24 m, had a 50-degree drop, were reinforced by wooden supports.
In 1784, Catherine the Great is said to have constructed a sledding hill in the gardens of her palace at Oranienbaum in St. Petersburg; the name Russian Mountains to designate a roller coaster is preserved in many languages, but the Russian term for roller coasters is американские горки, which means "American mountains." The first modern roller coaster, the Promenades Aeriennes, opened in Parc Beaujon in Paris on July 8, 1817. It featured wheeled cars securely locked to the track, guide rails to keep them on course, higher speeds, it spawned half a dozen imitators. However, during the Belle Epoque they returned to fashion. In 1887 French entrepreneur Joseph Oller, co-founder of the Moulin Rouge music hall, constructed the Montagnes Russes de Belleville, "Russian Mountains of Belleville" with 656 feet of track laid out in a double-eight enlarged to four figure-eight-shaped loops. In 1827, a mining company in Summit Hill, Pennsylvania constructed the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, a downhill gravity railroad used to deliver coal to Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania – now known as Jim Thorpe.
By the 1850s, the "Gravity Road" was selling rides to thrill seekers. Railway companies used similar tracks to provide amusement on days. Using this idea as a basis, LaMarcus Adna Thompson began work on a gravity Switchback Railway that opened at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, in 1884. Passengers climbed to the top of a platform and rode a bench-like car down the 600-foot track up to the top of another tower where the vehicle was switched to a return track and the passengers took the return trip; this track design was soon replaced with an oval complete circuit. In 1885, Phillip Hinkle introduced the first full-circuit coaster with a lift hill, the Gravity Pleasure Road, which became the most popular attraction at Coney Island. Not to be outdone, in 1886 Thompson patented his design of roller coaster that included dark tunnels with painted scenery. "Scenic Railways" were soon found in amusement parks across the county. By 1919, the first underfriction roller coaster had been developed by John Miller.
Soon, roller coasters spread to amusement parks all around the world. The best known historical roller coaster, was opened at Coney Island in 1927; the Great Depression marked the end of the golden age of roller coasters, theme parks, in general, went into decline. This lasted until 1972 when the instant success of The Racer at Kings Island began a roller coaster renaissance which has continued to this day. In 1959, Disneyland introduced a design breakthrough with Matterhorn Bobsleds, the first roller coaster to use a tubular steel track. Unlike wooden coaster rails, tubular steel can be bent in any direction, allowing designers to incorporate loops and many other maneuvers into their designs. Most modern roller coasters are made of steel, although wooden coasters and hybrids are still being built. There are several explanations of the name roller coaster, it is said to have originated from an early American design where slides or ramps were fitted with rollers over which a sled would coast. This design was abandoned in favor of fitting the wheels to the sled or other vehicles, but the name endured.
Another explanation is that it originated from a ride located in a roller skating rink in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1887. A toboggan-like sled was raised to the top of a track; this Roller Toboggan took off down rolling hills to the floor. The inventors of this ride, Stephen E. Jackman and Byron B. Floyd, claim that they were the first to use the term "roller coaster"; the term jet coaster is used for roller coasters in Japan, where such amusement park rides are popular. In many languages, the name refers to "Russian mountains". Contrastingly, in Russian, they are called "American mountains". In the Scandinavian languages and German, the roller coaster is referred as "mountain-and-valley railway". German knows the word "Achterbahn", stemming from "Figur-8-Bahn", like Dutch "Achtbaan", relating to the form of the number 8; the cars on a typical roller coaster are not self-powered. Instead, a standard full circuit coaster is pulled up with a chain or cable along the lift hill to the first peak of the coaster track.
The potential energy accumulated by the rise in height is transferred to kinetic energy as the cars race down the first downward slope. Kinetic energy is converted back into potential energy as the train moves up again to the second peak; this hill is necessa
Twisted Colossus is a steel roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. Designed and built by International Amusement Devices, the roller coaster opened as Colossus on June 29, 1978, it was the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world and the first with two drops greater than 100 feet. Colossus became well known after appearances in film and television, including the box-office hit National Lampoon's Vacation and the made-for-TV movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. After more than 36 years in operation, Six Flags announced that Colossus would be closed permanently on August 16, 2014. Within two weeks of its closure, Six Flags announced that the roller coaster would reemerge in 2015 as a steel-tracked roller coaster named Twisted Colossus, it was renovated by Rocky Mountain Construction to feature barrel roll inversions, a near-vertical drop. Twisted Colossus opened on May 23, 2015. For its next attraction to debut in 1978, Magic Mountain wanted a wooden roller coaster for the classic "rumble and sway" experience that they felt was missing from steel coasters.
They hired Ohio-based International Amusement Devices, who began designing Colossus in January 1977. IAD in turn subcontracted Bernard Brothers Construction for the construction of the ride, Continental Consultants for all of the mechanical systems, Lorenz & Williams for the structural engineering and electronic systems. A member of the design team traveled to Mexico City to study Montaña Rusa – the largest wooden roller coaster in the world at the time – in order to help plan for the project; the design was finalized in May 1977, construction began a few months in August. During construction, a tornado caused part of the structure to collapse, but the roller coaster was still completed on schedule. At a final cost of $7 million, Colossus opened to the public on June 29, 1978, it was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world, as well as the first to feature two drops over 100 feet. Colossus underwent a number of changes over the years. In 1979, the ride closed for ten months to remove excessive negative g-forces.
The "speed hill" after the second drop, the double-up element, several of the ride's other hills were reprofiled. The original IAD trains were replaced with trains manufactured by Philadelphia Toboggan Company during this renovation. In 1987, the PTC trains were replaced with trains manufactured by Morgan Manufacturing, the valley within the double-dip element was leveled off and received block brakes in 1991. During the Halloween season, the coaster's web-like structure was accompanied by a giant black spider, the height restriction became 54 inches. On August 29, 2013, Six Flags Magic Mountain announced that they would run Colossus backwards for a limited time during the 2014 season; the train on one side of the track was changed to run backward using the old trains from the now defunct Psyclone roller coaster. During the 2014 season Six Flags Magic Mountain announced that Colossus would close permanently on August 16, 2014. On August 4, 2014, the park held a 36-hour riding marathon event on the roller coaster as a way for the public to say goodbye to one of the park's staples.
Out of 24 participants, six completed the marathon of 328 laps around the track in 45-minute intervals. Less than two weeks after the ride closed, Six Flags announced that Colossus would reopen in 2015 as Twisted Colossus following a renovation by Rocky Mountain Construction; the company added their patented I-Box track technology to the ride known as Iron Horse, which converts the wooden track to steel while retaining some to most of the original wooden structure. Hybrid retrofitting is becoming a popular trend at amusement parks around the world looking to extend the life of aging wooden coasters and its ability to add overbanked turns and inversions; the table below summarizes the differences between Twisted Colossus. With the exception of capacity, the statistics of Colossus represent a single track only; the previous configuration of the roller coaster featured. The ride reached speeds up to 62 miles per hour, its original configuration was noted for numerous and sustained air-time moments, which were toned down or eliminated by reprofiling and/or braking.
The ride begins on the blue track. After dispatch, the ride makes a 90 degree left turn, is sent through a set of "drive tires" to boost the train towards the pre-lift section, makes another left turn. After going through a series of small hills in the "pre-lift", the train makes its way up the lift hill, catching up to the train on the green track. After the lift hill ends, riders are sent down an 80 degree, 128 foot drop; the trains go through a small airtime hill and up another tall hill, crossing under Goliath. The train proceeds to go through a banked turn to the left, goes through a "high-five" element. After this, the blue tracked train drops down and goes under the train on the green track while it does its top gun stall; the blue track goes through an airtime hill, taking riders close to the train in the green track's stall. The blue tracked train does a zero-g roll. After a double up and a quick turn to the left, the blue track turns green and the train hits a brake run, before returning to the second lift hill.
The green track is identical to the blue tracked segment up through the high-five, banked in the opposite direction as to create the "high-five" illusion with the blue track. After the high-five, the green track does a double down and does a top gun stall crossing ov
Kentucky Kingdom is an amusement park in Louisville, Kentucky. The 63-acre park includes a water park named Hurricane Bay; the park reopened to the public on May 24, 2014. Kentucky Kingdom opened on May 23, 1987, leasing 10 acres at the Kentucky Exposition Center property; the park was started by out-of-state Texas investors as an extension of the Kentucky State Fair. One of the original rides was a roller coaster named Starchaser; the park had other rides such as bumper cars and a log flume. However, the 10 acre park filed for bankruptcy after only one season. Most of the contractors and vendors were unpaid and most of the rides were auctioned off to other parks. Only a few rides stayed at the park; the park had four themed areas called "Carousel Plaza," "Old Louisville," "Kentucky Frontier," and "The Enchanted Forest." The latter was a kiddie area which would become "King Louie's Playground" and "Looney Tunes Movie Town." The park remained closed through 1989 after the rights to operate it were purchased by Ed Hart and a group of investors.
Hart's first step was paying the 227 contractors that were unpaid before. Kentucky Kingdom reopened for the 1990 season with the new operators and management team. Despite the Starchaser being sold it had remained on-site at the amusement park allowing Hart to purchase it back. Additionally, new rides were added including Bluebeard's Bounty, The Enterprise, Whirling Dervish, The Vampire roller coaster; the Tin Lizzies antique car ride reused the same track as the former car ride, Pontiac's Tin Lizzy Junction, while new antique cars were added in 1995 which were used at Opryland USA in Tennessee. In 1992, the Kentucky Kingdom made a large expansion and opened the Hurricane Bay water park along with the 150-foot-tall Giant Wheel; the following year a new slide complex opened in Hurricane Bay featuring four different slides. In 1994, the park opened Mile High Falls, the world's tallest shoot-the-chute water ride; the children's roller coaster Roller Skater was added that year. In 1995, T3 was added.
The ride was the first of its kind on the continent and the second only in the world, with the other being Condor at Walibi Holland in the Netherlands. In 1995, Hellevator, a 177-foot-tall Intamin drop tower was added just in time for the park's annual Halloween event. In 1996, the upcharge attraction, Top Eliminator Dragsters opened. In 1997, the park made its biggest investment yet with the addition of Chang, a stand up Bolliger & Mabillard coaster that set the world records for stand up coasters in height, length and number of inversions. Thrill Karts were added this year, but were an upcharge attraction. In late 1997, Ed Hart sold the rights to operate the park to Premier Parks, which would merge and become Six Flags just months later. Ed Hart and Themeparks, LLC, had begun on planning a $5 million dueling wooden roller coaster to be named Double Trouble prior to the sell to Premier Parks. Once Premier took over operations, the decision was made to change the name of the new coaster from Double Trouble to "Twisted Sisters".
Twisted Sisters opened to the public on June 21, 1998. Through the 1990–1998 seasons the park was said to be one of the fastest growing amusement parks in the United States. Rides added to the park during the Ed Hart years include Thunder Run, The Quake, T2, Twisted Twins, Mile High Falls, Top Eliminator Dragsters, Hellevator, Roller Skater Kids coaster and Kingdom Go Carts. At the end of 1997, the rights to operate Kentucky Kingdom were sold to Premier Parks for $64 million. At the time, Kentucky Kingdom was one of the main tourism attractions for Louisville, receiving more visitors than Churchill Downs. On April 1, 1998, Premier Parks purchased Six Flags from Time Warner, as such, on June 21, 1998, Kentucky Kingdom became known as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. On June 21, 1998, Twisted Twins a wooden dueling roller coaster opened to the public. Six Flags transformed King Louie's Playground into Looney Tunes Movie Town and added the Batman Stunt Show Spectacular in 1999, it became the ninth amusement park to use the Six Flags name.
In 1999, Six Flags planned to re-theme one side of the park as Gotham City by renaming and repainting several rides. Chang was to have been rethemed and renamed to Riddler's Revenge, the same name as the stand up coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, T2 was to have been rethemed and renamed to Batman: The Ride, to be more relatable to other Six Flags parks. T2's gift shop began selling Batman: The Ride merchandise and the ride was referred to as such in the 1999 Park Guide; that year, the idea was shelved and the rides retained their original names despite many of them having a different coat of paint. The Penguin's Blizzard River was the only part of the plan. Six Flags had received many pumps and mechanisms for a rapids ride from Premier Parks, which had bought the parts from Opryland USA; the parts were from Grizzly River Rampage, a rapids ride, that closed along with Opryland in 1997. In 1999, the Vampire roller coaster was removed due to several malfunctions that had occurred earlier in the season.
The ride would reopen as Flashback at Six Flags New England in 2000. Six Flags planned for an extensive expansion to the park so it could compete with other rival parks in the area, notably Kings Island in
Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America is an amusement park located in Gurnee, Illinois. The park was created by Marriott Corporation, who operated it as Marriott's Great America from its original opening in 1976 until it was acquired by Six Flags in 1984; the park features ten themed areas and sixteen roller coasters, as well as a 20-acre water park called Hurricane Harbor. Over 3 million guests visited the park in 2017, ranking it among the top 20 amusement parks in North America for attendance. In the early 1970s, the Marriott Corporation, owner of several restaurant chains and Marriott hotels, sought to branch further out into the tourism and vacation industry; the largest of the projects it took on was a chain of state-of-the-art theme parks, each of which would be named "Marriott's Great America" and themed around American history, opening in time for the bicentennial. From the beginning, three parks were planned, as Marriott identified three underserved metropolitan areas that could support a major amusement park: Baltimore–Washington, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago-Milwaukee.
The largest of these, at 850 acres, was announced for Laurel, Maryland in 1972. The proposal was canceled after fierce opposition from local residents convinced officials to deny the park permits, the plans were moved to Manassas, Virginia in 1973, where it faced stronger opposition from local residents and the National Park Service; the planned opening of the flagship park was delayed until Marriott abandoned the idea late in the decade. Meanwhile, the plans for the other two parks proceeded more smoothly; the location in the north of the Chicago metropolitan area was chosen to bring in visitors from Milwaukee and Chicago. Marriott purchased 600 acres of rural land in Gurnee straddling the Tri-State Tollway in August 1972, causing speculation in the Chicago Tribune that an amusement park was planned for the site; the Gurnee park was announced on January 29, 1973, along with a hotel and an industrial park. Marriott received approval from local authorities, but the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority would not approve a proposal for an interchange on the tollway leading directly into the parking lot.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Flag Day, June 14, 1974. Randall Duell was the leader of the design team for the park, who created two nearly identical plans for the Gurnee park and the sister park in Santa Clara, California. Duell was a veteran theme park designer and for the Great America parks he sought to create his greatest design yet. With an overarching Americana theme in mind, Marriott's designers traveled across the country, observing styles and collecting artifacts to help inform an authentic atmosphere; the park was broken up into six original themed areas, which are organized in a "Duell loop" that runs clockwise around the perimeter: Carousel Plaza, the front of the park, centered around the double-decker Columbia Carousel, Hometown Square, based on early 20th century small towns of the Midwest, The Great Midwest Livestock Exposition at County Fair, with its early 20th century rural county fair, Yukon Territory, resembling a logging camp in the Canadian Yukon or Alaska, Yankee Harbor, a 19th-century New England port inspired by Cape Cod and Orleans Place, modeled after the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Each themed area had its own set of costumes for park employees, the design of buildings and restaurants were all unique to each theme. For example, the Klondike Cafe in Yukon Territory served beef dishes in large pans like those used for panning for gold. A seventh area, The Great Southwest, was planned from the beginning as a potential expansion but was not built until 1996, when it opened as Southwest Territory; the park opened on two months after its sister park opened in California. The park was an immediate success due in part to coinciding with the bicentennial. From the beginning, the park made use of the Looney Tunes characters as costumed figures to interact with the park attendees, a tradition that continues today. At its opening in 1976, Great America featured three roller coasters: Willard's Whizzer named after Marriott executive J. Willard Marriott and renamed the "Whizzer", Turn of the Century, now re-themed and renamed Demon and The Gulf Coaster, which lasted only one season due to its unpopularity and a small fire.
The park's other signature attractions during its first season were: The elaborate double-decker Columbia Carousel, which remains one of the tallest carousels in the world, The Sky Whirl, a unique, 110-foot -tall "triple Ferris wheel" custom-designed for Marriott and visible miles away, which operated until 2000. Delta Flyer and Eagle's the two one-way gondola sky car rides. Eagle's Flight was a commercially successful ride and was considered a top 10 ride by Roller Coaster Weekly magazine; the Orleans Orbit, an Enterprise-type ride which operated until 2016. Rue Le Dodge, a bumper car ride which became the world's largest after California's Great America retooled its copy of the ride into a one-way traffic ride in 2005. Rue Le Dodge has a floor area of 51 feet, 9 inches by 124 feet, 9 inches, or 6,455 sq ft. Six Flags Great Adventure's Autobahn is larger, but has not operated since 2008; the park's second season in 1977 saw the installation of several new rides. The 310-foot-tall Sky Trek Tower opened in Carousel Plaza and today is one of the few rides to still operate under its original name.
Sky Trek Tower was built as and still remains, the tallest freestanding structure in Lake County, Illinois. Added was Southern Cross, a third gondola sky car ride which offered a round trip and a much higher view than the other two, whose station replaced the removed Gulf Coaster. A few