Specific Type: Wooden, out & back / twister
New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure theme park has been one of the largest parks on the East Coast with a wide array of unique and revolutionary thrills. With the world's tallest coaster,Kingda Ka; the East Coast's first inverted coaster, Batman & Robin:the Chiller; and the uniquely-designed Nitro, one thrill was lacking at the park. For years, Great Adventure fans have been wishing for one thing, a new wooden coaster. The park's only wooden coaster is the twin-tracked racing wooden coaster,Rolling Thunder, made by William Cobb. Rolling Thunder has been operating at the park since 1978 and has been the park's lone wooden coaster since. But that wish will finally be granted to please the Great Adventure fans in 2006.
The story of this wooden coaster began back in early 2005, when a Six Flags Great Adventure representative leaked at the American Coaster Enthusiasts East-coaster event that Viper would be removed. Viper was the park's Togo looping coaster that has been considered one of the worst and most brutal coasters around. The ride opened in 1995 as the first coaster in the United States to go through a 360-degree barrel roll. Throughout the early part of the park's 2005 season, Viper was being taken down and demolished. The track was intentionally beat up and soon enough, Viper was getting melted down. Demolition crews then went away with no remnants of the ride, except for the station and theming. Also in the early part of 2005, a Swiss newspaper leaked out info of a wooden coaster heading out to Six Flags Great Adventure during an interview with Intamin. All seemed confirmed now: a new wooden coaster was heading to the park next season as a part of the park's two-ride deal with Intamin AG of Switzerland.
Months later, in late August, track segments for this new wooden coaster started to arrive from overseas. The announcement seemed close and the enthusiast community was excited for America’s first Intamin wooden coaster. September 28th, 2005 came around and the announcement was made. Alongside an announcement of the park’s new kids' section, Bugs Bunny’s National Park, El Toro and the re-themed Plaza del Festival section was announced. The response of the announcement from enthusiasts was positive, making Great Adventure an even greater adventure.
As brave matadors make their way to the newly themed Plaza del Carnival area, there lies the Goliath wooden structure. Brave matadors then board the eighteen-row, two-across trains and pull down their lap bars, preparing for insane airtime and the forces that El Toro packs. Riders are then dispatched out of the station after the all clear signal is given by the ops. The bull takes riders through a left-hand curve to the base of the first hill. Riders then begin their journey up the 181-foot-tall lift as they slowly rise into the sky. After the lift, they brace themselves for the first drop ahead as the train slowly makes a U-turn to the left. The first drop comes, and the bull is ready to charge, sending riders down the large 176-foot drop with the steepness of the steepest drop found on a wooden coaster at seventy-six degrees.
The bull rages on the intense speed of seventy miles per hour before encountering the first camelback hill. After the second drop, the bull then heads up a 112-foot-high hill for airtime. Heading back down again, the bull charges for more speed again and then heads up a second camelback hill. The second camelback then takes riders to a height of one hundred feet. Next comes the twisted turnaround as riders then head back
toward the station. At a height of eighty-two feet, riders then head down another hill and turn into two bunny hops for serious ejector airtime. Following the bunny hops comes the twisted rise into the twister segment of the ride.
The twister segment takes riders through some of the wooded area Rolling Thunder resides in. Riders drop back down after soaring over the bottom of Rolling Thunder’s first drop. A few quick twists, turns, and twisted airtime hills later, the bull begins to lose its steam and then slows down into the brake run. Riders then give themselves breath after the intense airtime El Toro has to offer on one of America’s biggest wooden thrills.
After matadors conquered El Toro, riders after their experience could go get authentic Mexican cuisine at La Cocina. Shoppers can also browse the open-air marketplace and families can ride a new family ride being built in the newly-themed area as well, or ride Rolling Thunder, the park's original wooden coaster.
If you want to become a brave conquistador, take the bull by the horns. Next spring, El Toro takes the riders by the horns.
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