Specific Type: steel, inverted shuttle
It started out 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. Now, 1984 saw a Netherlands-based company known as Vekoma introduce their Boomerang design, 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, the Boomerang design 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 and 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 climbing to new heights of 138 feet and a new top speed of fifty miles per hour. Vekoma called this upgraded 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 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 sixty-six miles an hour, this ride had evolved into a Super Invertigowith 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 Southern California park, Déjà Vu had risen in all of its bright blue and lime green glory in early 2001. Located at the back corner of Six Flags Magic Mountain between the old Roaring Rapids and the new GCI woody, Terminator Salvation: the Ride. This would be the park's 11th coaster as Magic Mountain began its rapid ascent to becoming the King of all Coaster Parks. As guests approach the striking ride, they quickly notice that Déjà 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. .
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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