Specific Type: Inverted Coaster
What ride is a staple of Six Flags parks around the world? None other than Batman: The Ride, which enthusiasts dub “Batman: The Clone” since the ride has been replicated at nearly every Six Flags park. 2003 came around, and the latest Batman: The Ride clone was installed at the newly revamped Six Flags New Orleans. But, this Batman clone has a long story and has traveled half way around the world.
The ride’s life started out in Japan as Gambit at Thrill Valley Park. Being one of Japan’s first inverted coasters, Gambit pulled in guests to the park. But on May 6th, 2002, Thrill Valley Park closed down for good, with many perfectly good rides left abandoned. Some of the rides were bought by Six Flags parks, including Gambit. Throughout 2002, ride pieces would venture across the Pacific to the western hemisphere on to the shores of America, where Six Flags would install the rides amongst their parks.
Oddly enough, back when Six Flags New Orleans was known as Jazzland, the park would have received a Vekoma SLC, another compact inverted coaster much like B&M's Batman: The Ridefor the 2002 season, but the park didn’t build it due to financial troubles and the coaster moved to nearby Magic Springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas and opened in 2004 as Gauntlet. Later on in 2002, Six Flags purchased the troubled New Orleans theme park, Jazzland, and converted it into Six Flags New Orleans. Like practically all parks in the Six Flags chain, the park had to have a Batman: The Ride clone. To save Six Flags money, what was once Gambit at Thrill Valley became Six Flags New Orleans’ Batman: The Ride. But, this Batman is an oddity, like Six Flags St. Louis’, the ride’s first drop swoops down to the right, unlike the other coasters in the chain, which curve to the left. Therefore, it was a mirror image of the normal models.
As black pieces with yellow painted spines started rising, Batman: The Ride became the star addition to the park for the Six Flags conversion. On April 12th, 2003, Batman: The Ride took its first riders through high speed inverted thrills. With heights over 100 feet and speeds over fifty miles per hour, Batman: The Ride packs an intense punch.
Two years later, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the park was forced to close. Luckily, Batman stood strong through the raging flood waters and was salvageable, surviving a cross-country road trip to Six Flags' San Antonio, Texas park: Six Flags Fiesta Texas. In 2008, it opened as Goliath with a new yellow-and-blue color scheme. After braving two relocations and one of the worst hurricanes in United States history, this steel coaster lives on.
The theming outside of the ride was different from the other Batman clones. While older Batman clones had an entrance through Gotham City park, then through warehouses and sewer lines, this ride lacks the detailed theming the other clones had. But, soon to be riders encounter a replica of one of the most famous cars around, the Batmobile, and enter under a marquee with two Gothic statues and the Batman logo.
Going throughout the queue area, you are greeted by wooden signs and cutouts of various allies and foes in the Batman universe, telling soon to be riders their persona and biography. You then enter the station, which looks like an ordinary station with a cutout of Batman and a Batman: The Ride marquee, which pales in comparison to the Batcave theme of the other clones. Riders then board four across inverted coaster trains that carry thirty two passengers each. Before you know it, the operators give the thumbs up and riders are flying like the Dark Knight himself. The train ventures up the lift until riders’ feet are dangling 105 feet above the ground. After the lift, riders then swoop down rightward near the shore of the lake that borders the park. Riders then drop eighty feet back toward the ground and following the drop comes the ride’s first inversion, a vertical loop. After the first vertical loop, riders then soar and rise up to the next inversion, a zero-g roll. Riders then dip back down toward the ground and venture through a second vertical loop. After the second loop, riders then rise up, curving 300 degrees around and down again through another curve in the opposite direction. Following the turn comes the first Corkscrew of the element, the interlocking corkscrew. The train then turns around again and encounters another corkscrew, completing the interlocking corkscrew element. After the final corkscrew, riders then turn around back toward the station and hit the brakes, surviving Batman’s flight.
The last Batman: The Ride built at a Six Flags park and the most different. Batman: The Ride at Six Flags New Orleans had a long history behind it and still thrills riders, whether it was the thrill seekers in Japan when it was Gambit, to its current location as Batman: The Ride in America. If you want to glide like the Dark Knight, then ride Batman: The Ride at Six Flags New Orleans.
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