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Thursday, March 19, 2015

More coasters coming!

As Six Flags season approaches yet again, I'm gearing up with some genuine excitement because of two impending additions to my coaster conquest compendium:

Six Flags St. Louis opens, as always, on Good Friday. And, as we have done many times in the past, we will be there to secure our season passes. However, the passes will have to wait, as I want to be on the first official go-round of the new Justice League 4D dark ride once the park has opened for the season.
Justice League Battle for Metropolis 4D is billed as the first ride of its kind in North America. It's a "dark ride," similar to the Scooby Doo Ghostblasters boat ride that previously occupied the same space in the park, save for the boat part; this one rides on rails... I think. Either that, or it maybe doesn't move at all, but rather is a more "virtual" experience.

It's also similar to Scooby Doo in that the ride involves offing baddies and various other targets with laser guns attached to the conveyance. But that is where the similarities end.

Battle for Metropolis boasts the best, most high-tech animatronic characters this side of Disney World. In addition, it somehow incorporates "4D glasses." Not sure how that works exactly, but I can tell you with certainty that those glasses are going to be in the best shape of their lives on opening day. By midsummer you'll be lucky to see anything out of them. Unless maybe they're disposables? I don't know. There's an air of mystery about them as yet.

Oh, and Six Flags says this ride has 600+ shooting targets (!) compared to Scooby Doo's pitiful 115. In addition, we know that the ride incorporates five enormous screens, special effects, custom music and top-notch voice acting. JLBFM was designed by Sally Corp. (of Ghostblasters fame) and Oceaneering provides the motion-controlled ride vehicles.

I'm pretty stoked for this one. If it doesn't ride on rails, I'll still be super-excited to ride it on opening weekend, despite not being able to add it to my coaster tally. I'm confident that we'll be riding this one as a family at least two or three times Easter weekend.

The following month, we are planning a trip to Chicago, where I'll be taking in a Laibach concert. Our plan is, as long as we're there, to hit Six Flags Great America the following day (or two). This has me even more excited than I am for the concert, and I've been a Laibach fan for over 20 years, never having been to a show before, The reason this trip has me prematurely creaming my jeans is, of course, the coaster that was new for 2014 but we didn't go last year to ride it - GOLIATH!

Shattering records as the world's tallest, fastest and steepest wooden coaster, this behemoth is the one I've been waiting all my life to ride:

  • An initial 85-degree, 180-foot drop
  • 72 MPH top speed
  • Two overbanked inversions
  • 180-degree zer-G roll twist
  • Inverted zero-G stall
I'm just floored when a wooden coaster goes upside down. This baby does it several times. I cannot wait to board this sucker. I'm hoping the lines will be OK since it's a year old now.

I can't tell you how much I adore the Great America park north of Chicago. It was always my day-trip vacation destination of choice when I was a youngster, and it continues to be. The only pain in my ass now that I'm the dad is all the damn tolls along the way. That's where St. Louis takes an advantage over Great America. Actually, if you want me to be honest, the ONLY way in which Great America is better than St. Louis is in the number and quality of its rides. St. Louis has Great America beat on all other counts, including food, ticket/season pass price, weather, crowding, and the fact that there are a few rides that I'd miss if I had to only go to Chicago instead.

The Boss, American Thunder, and Screaming Eagle are the unique coasters in St. Louis that I enjoy most. Along with Screaming Eagle, the park's other iconic amusement ride is its giant Ferris Wheel, Colossus. We make a point to ride it every trip. It's a great way to decompress after a long day in the sun and on your feet.

But I digress. Obviously I'm excited to be heading to Six Flags once again. I was beginning to feel like an old fart because I haven't ridden a roller coaster in a couple years, and I literally can't remember the last time I flew from the seat of a playground swing. Thank goodness spring has arrived in Central Illinois. I need to get my ass to the playground with my kids, stat. No getting old for me just yet.

Stay tuned for more after Easter. I can't wait to tell you about the Justice League ride.