Specific Type: steel, inverted shuttle
It all started out with a 125-foot-tall, 48-mile-per-hour ride; a second generation of the late seventies' shuttle-looping roller coaster. At the beginning, shuttle coasters were known for their simplistic design, defined by their blast-off, loop, and reversal to send riders back through the ride again. Then, 1984 saw a Netherlands-based company known as Vekoma introduce their Boomerang, a slightly more complex shuttle coaster with not only a loop, but also a double-inverting element Vekoma invented that would later become known as the cobra roll. Along with three times the inversions, theBoomerang used an alternative method of energy: two chain lifts towing the train diagonally into the sky either forwards or backwards at each end of the track. Fourteen years after the first Boomerang went in and several dozen Boomerang models later, Vekoma took their concept a step further by inverting the ride, introducing back-to-back seating, and raising the bar to 138 feet and 50 miles per hour. Vekoma called this suped-up model the Invertigo and landed deals with four parks. Yet still, not everyone was satisfied.
Five years later, a train load of rides not only found themselves hanging below a track being towed into the sky, but this time being vertically towed straight up while facing straight down before being let loose through an exaggerated version of what was once known as a Boomerang layout. Now, at 192 feet tall and 66 miles per hour, this ride had evolved into a Super Invertigo/Giant Inverted Boomerang with emphasis on the Super, and thrill-seekers at three Six Flags parks scattered about the United States got the chance to experience this new one-of-a-kind thrill, occasionally, in late 2001. The word 'occasionally' finds itself coming into use due to mechanical problems that constantly plagued the daring new Super Invertigo coasters only after already earning the nickname "De-lay-ja Vu" from their given name Déjà Vu following months of postponed debuts. With locations at Six Flags Great America near Chicago, Six Flags Magic Mountain near Los Angeles, and Six Flags over Georgia near Atlanta, thrill-lovers around the States got their chances to ride the Déjà Vu coasters for the first time on opening dates ranging from August 25th to October 7th in 2001 before experiencing a state of déjà vu as the rides closed and reopened time and again over the next number of months.
At the Chicagoland location, Déjà Vu had risen in all of its bright blue and lime green glory in early 2001. Located across the midway from Demon, where Buccaneer Battlenow resides, its twin lift towers served as beacons to thrill seekers entering the park. This would be the park's 10th coaster, opening in October of the same year that V2 - Vertical Velocity debuted. As guests approach the striking ride, the quickly notice thatDéjà Vu is unlike any ride they have previously encountered. Its two vertical lift towers rising over the X-shaped layout makes a stunning impression as guests flock to the back of the park. Healthy guests fifty-four to seventy-six inches tall can step into line next to the over 100 ft tall cobra roll, hearing the screams from each passing train as they make their way closer to the loading platform.
But the ride would not last at Six Flags Great America forever, and in 2008, the ride was moved across the country to Silverwood Theme Park. It was known the ride would be leaving Six Flags Great America back in 2007, when Six Flags announced that theDéjà Vu coasters at Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Over Georgia would be removed at the end of the 2007 season. In March 2008, it was announced Silverwood would be the lucky recipient of the Great America coaster, and on July 21, 2008, the ride officially opened in its new home at the heart of the parks famed "Roller Coaster Alley" with the name Aftershock.
Meandering through the switchbacks, guests can watch one of a theoretical twenty-seven trains an hour being hauled up the first tower by a cable lift and plunge into the layout that circles around and loops above them. Once the train comes to a stop and the preceding group of riders files out the exit, the next thirty-two passengers walk through the opening air gates and choose their places on the V-shaped rows. With lime green over-the-shoulder restraints latched to safety belts and cable attached to the train, the ride commences. The yellow train moves backwards from the station up a gradual vertical curve to vertical, and riders in the front row get the full, unobstructed view of the ground sinking directly below. Riders become good friends with their shoulder harnesses during the initial trip up, even riders in the back row who soon experience the full eighteen-story heights before coming to a stop. Facing the ground. Stopped midair. And things are about to get even better.
Suddenly, freefall takes hold with gravity yanking the train back down a total of 177 feet to level out in the station at top speeds and begin the first half-loop of the cobra roll. The lime track rockets up 110 feet over the midway below and then twists through a tight uninverting curve to the left for the first half of the double inversion. An identical twist inverts the train again and riders plunge, feet first back down 100 feet to level out. Passengers on the outside rows experience a close call with the blue supports as they fly past at sixty miles per hour before entering the third inversion. Déjà Vu's vertical loop soars up and over 360 degrees for a final taste of action before the second climb towards the sky begins and the cable eventually takes over where momentum left off. This trip up, however, is the exact opposite of the first, with passengers being whisked upwards into the sky facing the clouds. Lying on their backs, the coaster reaches the end of the track and reverses, then it's Déjà Vu all over again.
The wind blowing backwards against the train, the coaster levels out and quickly pulls up into the most intense segment of the ride: the vertical loop in reverse. Riders are swiftly taken over the top of the 102-foot loop to pull a maximum four-and-a-half g's of force. Back down again, the train crosses over the station area and ventures into the cobra roll to sail through the final two flips. The green track speeds away from riders while they watch the scene behind them escape and the world turn upside down twice more. Plunging back down, the train enters the station and is brought to a stop after a minute and thirty-two seconds and 1,204 feet of déjà vu.
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