Six Flags over Texas
Location: Arlington, TX
Many people came to see Walt's dream, Disneyland. One of those was Angus G. Wynne, a real estate developer from Texas. When a man has an idea, another comes along to make it better and bigger. If you're from Texas, how else would you think? Without Mr.Wynne, the face of the industry would change forever.
Let's go back in time to the 1960's. This was way before there were tweets, the internet, and before Kristen shot J.R. Ewing. There were big dreams and bigger ideas and only ones mind would be a factor. Wynne had a spot and a name for his park. Arlington, Texas was the spot and the name was Six Flags Over Texas. At first he wanted to call it Texas Under Six Flags, but thankfully was talked into changing it. The park was named after the six flags that have flown throughout the history of Texas: France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, U.S.A. and the Confederate States of America. After a soft opening between July and August, the park finally had its grand opening on August 5, 1961.
A park of many firsts, Six Flags Over Texas was themed to help keep it on the cutting edge. The pay-one-price admission and Broadway style shows are a huge selling point, but we all know it's the coasters and rides that we mostly care about. The park opened the Runaway Mine Train in 1966 which was the world's first mine train ride built by Arrow Dynamics.The usual three lifts, quick turns, and high speeds all started here at Six Flags Over Texas. The first log flume El Aserradero, the first free fall ride, Texas Cliffhanger, along with many other flat rides also opened. The 1960s would end with a kids sized mine ride called Mimi Mine Train also built by Arrow. The sale of the park to a man in Dallas named Jack Knox in the 70's brought new management aboard. The Penn Central Railroad came along in 1971 along with two coasters came along during this same decade. It just happened that one came in and quickly left, but the other stayed and became an iconic piece of park history. Big Bend opened in 1971. It was a Jumbo Jet style coaster that went around and thrilled everyone around until it was torn down in 1979. Shock Wave, a Schwarzkopf masterpiece, opened in 1978. With only two back-to-back loops, the layout has proven that even a simple idea can last for decades. Judge Roy Scream came onto the scene in 1980, and was built by William Cobb & Associates. The out and back wooden coaster was a first for the park, but it is also located outside the park across from the entry gate. As with some wooden coasters, the ride can turn rough without proper treatment. This ride is no exception. Hopefully, with proper treatment, this classic wood coaster can be saved. 1989 brought in a Vekoma Boomerang, Flashback. Flashback now lives in a flashback of its own as Boomerang at Six Flags St.Louis where it recently opened in 2013. La Vibora came in as a result of the now defunct ride rotation program, when it was brought in from Six Flags Magic Mountain. The Intamin Bobsled is probably more known for the snake like paint scheme than the ride experience itself, but still manages to be a family favorite. The park later added two holiday events to keep the season going longer. Fright Fest is held annually in October and Holiday in the Park is held late November through early January, much to the delight of many Texans.
Time Warner Entertainment took over control of Six Flags in the 90s which became one hell of a ride for the park. A new wooden creation came from the heavens with The Texas Giant. The ride opened to strong reviews and many screams when it opened in 1990. The coaster team of Dinn And Summers brought this monster to life. The coaster was the tallest wooden coaster when it opened. The twisting style of track brought out of control thrills, but it wouldn't last forever. As Bugs Bunny and his friends played around the park, management was hard at work to bringing something very cool to the park. With a flash and a blast, Mr. Freeze was here at last in 1998. This new type of shuttle coaster coaster was designed and built by Premier Rides, using LIM technology to blast riders through its one-of-a-kind top hat inversion. A change came to the ride in 2012 that took away the breath of many guests which gave them a new way to scream. Mr. Freeze: Reverse Blast proves that old rides can learn new tricks. The Runaway Mountain was also built by Premier Rides and opened in 1996. This steel coaster is housed inside of a man-made mountain, and completely inclosed in the dark for a unique ride experience.
The Caped Crusader came along to duel with his arch enemy Mr. Freeze when Batman: The Ride opened in 1999. Batman is a clone of the inverted coaster that had been popping up at other Six Flags locations since it debut at Six Flags Great America. Without wanting to be left out in the dust, his pal Superman came along to play in 2003 in the form a triple drop tower. Superman Tower of a Power was built by S&S and stands at 325ft which makes it the tallest free fall combo tower in the world. You've heard everything is bigger in Texas? When it comes to Titan, it certainly is. Titan is the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in the state of Texas. Unleashed in 2001 by Giovanola, this hyper coaster quickly put the park in a new league.
Tony Hawk wanted to come and play with the big boys with a Big Spin in 2008. Big Spin is a spinning coaster brought to you by the good people of Gerstlauer. The individual cars would spin as it went through the track providing a unique ride experience every time. By 2010 Pandemonium quickly filled the park due to a name change of the ride. The fun times ended for the Texas Giant at the end of 2009. It wasn't torn down, but revisited for improvements. After a year-long refurbishment by Rocky Mountain Construction in 2011, The New Texas Giant was unveiled. The ride was morphed from a wood coaster into a steel coaster with a higher first drop, and over banked turns. This facelift quickly brought new life to the coaster thanks to the I-box beams put in by RMC. In 2013 Superman had to look up into the sky to see something higher than he was. The Texas Sky Screamer, the world's tallest Sky Screamer ride was built and changed the park's skyline forever.
Unlike most parks in the Six Flags chain Six Flags doesn't actually own this one, it is only managed by them. As with Six Flags over Georgia, they are owned by limited group of people, some heirs of Angus G. Wynne. They call themselves Texas Flags. Ltd. As we look back at the park that started it all for Six Flags, we see that the sky is no longer the limit. It is a continuing vision of making family fun for one and all. Is Six Flags more fun than a hullabaloo? All I can say for certain is, it's fun for everyone, so come on y'all, and visit Six Flags Over Texas.
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