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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Let's talk about this new coaster

Last weekend we had our third visit of the season to Six Flags St. Louis, and after a long wait I finally got to ride Boomerang, which opened earlier this month to no small amount of hype and fanfare. But was it worthy of all the attention?

This abbreviated coaster with its twisted green and orange track sits arrogantly where the beloved Water Street Cab Company bumper cars attraction had been for so many years. I have waited in line every time I have wanted to ride those bumper cars. They were a piece of Americana that should have been renovated, in my opinion. The attraction was too darkly lit. New visitors to the park could have--and probably regularly did--overlooked it on the way up that hill to the Screaming Eagle. If Six Flags had been smart, they would have used their budget to completely overhaul the bumper cars rather than purchase a nearly 25-year-old coaster from another park.
Yeah, that's right. Boomerang was known as Flashback in its former life at Six Flags Over Texas. It was originally built in 1989, and no amount of flashy paint job can hide that fact when you ride it.
Boomerang is a short, jerky, un-smooth ride that, though mildly entertaining, I will probably not ride again. It's just not that fun. It's a cross between the Ninja, Vertical Velocity and Mr. Freeze, but nowhere near as good as any of them. And that's coming from a guy who thinks it's time to retire the Ninja.
Boomerang consists of a backwards chain lift, then a release to a cobra roll and vertical loop at 47 MPH. At this point the train goes up to another chain lift and is subsequently released to go through the course in reverse. Big whoop.
The biggest problem is that second chain lift. There's a huge gap between where your momentum runs out going up that hill and where the chain grabs you. Result: a painful head slam against the back of the seat as you are jerked by the chain. Ouch. The rest of the track is not as jerky as the Ninja, but not as smooth as any coaster built in the last five to ten years.
When folks see a new coaster going up they expect it to be new, not a quarter-century old. Disassembling it, changing the color from pink and aqua to orange and green, then reassembling it elsewhere shouldn't fool anybody. I know it's a common practice in the industry, but I question why the St. Louis park would do it in this case. It's a subpar coaster. They should have held out for an opportunity for an impressive new coaster, like SFGA's X-Flight--which I was also a bit underwhelmed by, but at least it's innovative and truly new.
All in all, Boomerang served its purpose as my 66th coaster, but I repeat that I will not likely be excited to ride it on future visits. It really puts the "Boo" in "Boomerang."

The real news of our visit? The park finally reopened Tidal Wave, the large boat, single-splash ride. I can't tell you how long it's been since that ride has been open. We've not ridden it in at least five years. My daughter had never ridden anything like it unless the Log Flume counts. She rode Tidal Wave four times this visit and was literally soaked from head to toe by the second round. What a blast that was. Thank you, Six Flags, for resurrecting that ride! Nothing cools you off better on a hot summer day.