Specific Type: Spinning Coaster
Who would think that a decrepit-looking man doing an unexpectedly energetic dance would became a pop culture phenomenon? That was exactly the case for Six Flags theme parks in 2004, when a clever national advertising campaign for the United States-based park chain exploded into an unforeseen success for a company facing an uncertain financial future. It began unassumingly as millions of Americans watched on their TV sets: a retro-style bus pulls up at the curb, and an aged man in quirky
formal dress limps out. Without warning, he begins a frenzied dance to the techno beat of the Vengaboys' song We Like to Party and proceeds to invite the overworked on his bus to take a trip to the local Six Flags park. Nicknamed Mr. Six, the old man soon became a familiar and widely talked-about mascot for Six Flags, even if the majority of the country didn't know his name, along with being the company's embodiment for a day of fun. Now it was time to capitalize on this unprecedented success.
What could make better use of the Mr. Six theme than a roller coaster for all ages? This season, Six Flags New England will become the first of the Six Flags theme parks to make use of the Mr. Six name in the title of a ride, joining the familiar Six Flags mascots like the Looney Tunes' Bugs Bunny and DC Comics' Superman, but with the distinction of being a franchise created by Six Flags themselves. Mr. Six's Pandemonium will beckon visitors to the Agawam, Massachusetts park to climb aboard free-spinning four-passenger cars to take off on a minute-and-a-half ride that translates the crazy dance moves into a wild ride experience. Six Flags New England already had a kiddie-sized coaster, Great Chase; and a junior coaster, Poison Ivy's Tangled Train; so the park took the next step up with a steel coaster that could thrill the younger and older riders alike along with all of the ages in between. Sure, the thrill-seeking crowd has the 225-foot drop and airtime hills of 2000's Superman: Ride of Steel or the five inversions and fifty-five-mile-per-hour speeds of the 2002 floorless coaster Batman: the Dark Knight, and for the rest the park has rides like the 1909 Illions Carousel and Colossus ferris wheel, but Six Flags New Englandwanted a ride that would appeal to both types of patrons with 2005's coaster.
Ride manufacturer Gerstlauer was chosen to deliver a Spinning Coaster model akin to the rides that the Cedar Fair chain had ordered in 2003 with Spinning Dragons at Worlds of Fun and the Mall of America-based Camp Snoopy's Timberland Twister. This coaster type's specialty comes from the fact that cars are let loose from the chain lift into a maze of banked dives and curves along with wild mouse-like hairpin maneuvers all while cars are free to rotate as physics demand. Being that the ride's layout was originally designed to fit within the confines of the indoor Camp Snoopy, a compact and twisted layout means that some noticeable forces will be at work as riders complete well over a thousand feet of track, making Mr. Six's Pandemonium a ride that lives up to its name. The compact layout used was also a perfect fit for Six Flags New England as it finds a home on the park midway neighboring Flashback and Cyclone and encompassing the spinning vertical ride Time Warp.
Six Flags New England guests go through the park until they discover the entrance to Mr. Six's Pandemonium behind the park’s Time Warp flat ride. They are greeted by a statue of the commercial icon himself, Mr. Six, and his famous Six Flags bus. Guests go around the queue line's switchbacks before entering the station, then they board the two-row face-to-face freely-spinning cars. Once the lap bars have been checked, the ride operators dispatch the car from the station and through a small hairpin turn to spin the car slightly before it hits the lift. Traveling to the top of the forty-two-foot hill, passengers are able to see the twisted layout of this coaster and on the supports throughout the ride, Mr. Six himself. After the lift on the first turn, riders are greeted by Mr. Six before dipping down toward the first twisting drop.
At the bottom of the initial drop, the track twists sharply into a tight banked turn. A small dip up after the first quick curve, then it's through a hairpin turn to spin the car around again, and yes, riders are greeted by another dancing Mr. Six statue. After the second hairpin turnaround, the ride dips down then dips up again into a downward helix and again while passing by another Mr. Six statue on the support. Spun out yet? Not quite, after the first helix, the layout rises up again and then descends through another twisted helix forming a figure eight element, and yes, another Mr. Six on the support.
Following the figure eight helix element, the coaster goes down another major drop like the first and completes a banked turn while encircling the green and purple Time Warp. In route aroundTime Warp, the track encounters a small airtime bump and bank upwards while turning to the left. A short block brake section hinders the speed slightly just before another drop followed by three bunny hills, one of them diving below the figure eight helix and then under the first two hairpin curves of the ride. Mr. Six's Pandemonium twists through another banked hairpin turn to create more spinning action for the car followed by the final drop and hairpin turn. Finally, thrill seekers hit the brake run after surviving Mr. Six’s Pandemonium and spinning around five Mr. Six's and almost too many twists and turns to count.
Fan of old men dancing to techno music? Fan of fast-paced spinning roller coasters? Then take a wild spin at Six Flags New England, because this year Mr. Six's Pandemonium will have you dancing for more!
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