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Six Flags unveils new attractions for every park in 2014

September 03, 2013|By Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times staff writer

Six Flags unveiled its 2014 lineup of new roller coasters, thrill rides and water slides at the amusement park chain's 13 locations.

Photos: New rides coming to Six Flags parks in 2014

Six Flags' 2014 additions include four roller coasters, four thrill rides, five water attractions and a new water park.

Among the highlights:

Six Flags Great America (outside Chicago)
By far the biggest addition at any Six Flags park for 2014 is the Goliath wood-steel hybrid coaster planned for Six Flags Great America in Illinois.

Goliath will be designed and built by Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction, which wowed ride enthusiasts this summer with the triple-inversion Outlaw Run at Missouri’s Silver Dollar City.

Expectations will be high for this one and talk has already begun of Goliath as a contender for best new coaster of 2014.

Goliath is being billed as the world's fastest wooden coaster (72 mph) with the tallest (180 feet) and steepest (85 degrees) drop.

Like the steroid era in baseball, all these "wooden" coaster records come with an asterisk.

Goliath will feature an underground tunnel, a series of over-banked turns and multiple inversions, including a 180-degree zero G-roll twist.

Six Flags Mexico (Mexico City)
South of the border, Rocky Mountain Construction will convert the Medusa wooden coaster in 2014 to a wood-steel hybrid with three inversions.

Over the past couple years, Rocky Mountain converted two old wooden coasters - the 1990 Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas and the 1992 Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas - into wood-steel hybrids that combine a steel track with a wooden structure.

The ongoing relationship with Rocky Mountain portends good things for other parks in the amusement park chain with aging wooden coasters like Six Flags Over Georgia (Great American Scream Machine and Georgia Cyclone), Six Flags St. Louis (Screamin’ Eagle and Boss) and Six Flags Magic Mountain (Colossus).

Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey)
The Zumanjaro Drop of Doom coming to Six Flags Great Adventure in 2014 will be a blast.

The unique 415-foot-tall drop tower will be attached to the side of the 456-foot-tall Kingda Ka, the world's tallest roller coaster and one of the fastest at 128 mph.

The Zumanjaro ride is remarkably simple: After a 30-second ascent and a brief pause at the top, riders will drop at 90 mph in a free-fall descent lasting 10 seconds before an abrupt deceleration.

If the timing is just right, the Kingda Ka train and the Zumanjaro gondola will reach the top of the tower at exactly the same time - and that's when the shaking starts. The gondola seats will rumble violently as the coaster climbs the track, causing the tower to sway several feet.

That was my experience on the similar Lex Luthor Drop of Doom at Six Flags Magic Mountain this past summer - and it's a sensation you won't soon forget. It feels like an earthquake in a skyscraper - only you're strapped to the outside of the building.

The addition of Zumanjaro comes with a couple curious subplots that may offer clues about future plans at Six Flags Great Adventure.

First, the queue for the new ride will pass through a baboon habitat designed to symbolically tie the amusement park to the new Safari Off-Road Adventure at the formerly separate 350-acre animal park next door.

Second, the opening of Zumanjaro is apparently forcing the closure of the 1979 Rolling Thunder racing wooden coaster, clearing space for a potential new attraction in the next few years.

Six Flags Over Georgia (outside Atlanta)
The changes coming to Six Flags Over Georgia in 2014 beg more questions than they answer.

The amusement park in the suburbs west of Atlanta plans to add a Hurricane Harbor water park with a wave pool, tube slide complexes and kiddie play area on land currently occupied by the Southern Star Amphitheater.

While Six Flags water parks typically require a separate admission, Georgia's new Hurricane Harbor will be included with admission to the amusement park. The only problem is Six Flags already has a water park in the Atlanta area: White Water in Marietta, about 20 miles away.

Other theme parks - notably Indiana's Holiday World and Pennsylvania's Hersheypark - have successfully incorporated water parks within a more traditional coaster and thrill ride park.

While Six Flags insists the two Atlanta-area water parks will complement each other, the questions still abound:

Will the new Hurricane Harbor eventually grow into a full water park?
How will Six Flags Over Georgia combine the amusement park and water park experiences?
Does the new Hurricane Harbor reduce the value of a White Water visit?
Will Six Flag sell or close the White Water park?

Six Flags America (outside Washington, D.C.)
The Six Flags park in Maryland will get to brag about a new themed land without the price tag usually associated with such an investment.

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