Specific Type: Hyper Coaster
In the decade that followed the debut of the first mega-coaster, Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point, the era of these elite 200-foot mammoths swept thrill spots the world over with more than twenty being built by the new millennium, despite equally-mammoth price tags. Yet there still remained empty pockets on the global mega-coaster map; areas devoid of these highly-praised thrills. One of the voids that existed was Central America. But then, there was new hope. In the year 2000, the Six Flags chain expanded their reign outside of the United States, both across the Atlantic and also south into Central America. In the latter region, Six Flags' capital property became the former Reino
Aventura residing in Mexico City. A park that was known before for rides such as the steel junior coasters Tsunami and Roller Skater, the renamed Six Flags Mexico became home to thrills like the Custom Coasters International wooden coaster known as Medusa and Kilahuea S&S Power triple launched freefall tower complex. Clearly, the bar was being raised, and it was about to go up far higher. How high? Try twenty-two stories high.
Six Flags got to work soon after their acquisition to plan out a ride nothing like anything the country had seen before: a coaster that would put all of the rest to shame from Central America south. The new bragging right for Six Flags Mexico would take on the identities of a Morgan mega-coaster as well as popular Six Flags mascot Superman. The road to the superhero heights and faster-than-a-speeding-bullet velocity was paved with nearly three years of struggles from the planned start of construction to the ultimate grand opening, with construction permit difficulties from local government and opposition near the end of construction from environmentalists. But the supports rose, and the track went up, all 3,300 tons, and before the end of the park's 2004 season, a new superhero was ready for takeoff. At last, the new ride took to the skies on November 19th, 2004 to bring the mega-coaster thrills to Mexico City, a decade and a half after the first hypercoaster hit the tracks, and all efforts paid off.
Under the name Superman el Último Escape or Superman: Ultimate Escape in English, the new Mexican record-breaker took riders far above and beyond anything else around: 103 feet higher than the next-tallest coaster in Central America the park's very own Boomerang; twenty miles per hour faster than the second-place Titan at Selva Mágica; and 1,577 feet longer than the silver medalist Montaña Rusa at La Feria Chapultepec Magico. Superman also comes in as a top twenty ride for speed, height, and length on the international chart for seventy-four-point-six-mile-per-hour speeds, 220-foot heights, and 5,576 feet of track. But those are just statistics. Designers of Último Escape also wanted to spoil Six Flags Mexico parkgoers with a completely original layout that differs from most traditional out and back hyper coasters Morgan is known for. Included in well over a mile of track is a high-speed twister section serving as Superman's far turnaround composed of an inclined 495-degree helix into a 270-degree carousel curve from a diving second hill. In addition, Morgan included a pre-lift section of track unique to a hypercoaster. Combine the curves with a first 205-foot drop, second 140-foot camelback hill and final airtime hops, and you get the variety that helps make a winning mega-coaster layout.
The 220-foot ride beckons thrill seekers even before they enter Six Flags Mexico with its shiny blue supports, red track spine and cross-ties, and yellow rails dominating over one side of the property. Traveling to the back of the park, guests enter the line in the park's Hollywood section. The queue line for Superman el Último Escape takes 1,600 future riders per hour past various signage displaying Superman's friends and foes. Finally, guests are taken into the station building and past Superman alter-ego Clark Kent's office, then they get down to business and choose one of eighteen rows to wait for their turn to ride. The traditional-style Morgan-manufactured train pulls up in the station and thirty-six passengers pull their lap bars down securely, then wait for takeoff. Out of the station, the track dips to get the ride rolling around a curve to the right, then a right-hand turnaround, left curve, and straightaway. After another left L-turn, the train finally makes it to the lift hill where it begins the long journey skyward. Superman may have the ability to leap tall buildings, but riders need some momentum before they can earn their wings. Passengers can laugh at the minuscule heights of the invertedBatman: the Ride directly out to the right and all other attractions at Six Flags Mexico for that matter minus Kilahuea. Finally, the chain reaches the top of the 219-foot ten-inch lift and shoves the train over the summit.
Falling at sixty degrees, the train builds up just under seventy-five miles an hour of speed by the time it reaches the base of the pull-out fifteen feet above the ground. The second major element is Superman's camelback hill, with a wide crest designed to serve up floater airtime while the train completes the vertical curve fourteen stories above terra firma. On the way down, the red and yellow track begins banking to the left in a dive that soon transforms into the coaster's helix. At the base of the dive, the track continues curving and heads back up through the remainder of the 495-degree element just shy of a double helix, then finally crosses back under itself and heads out into the next curve. Riders are taken to the right this time for a carousel curve before climbing onto the mid-course block brakes. Superman's speed may be hindered, but he isn't ready to give up yet.
A plunge off of the block brakes takes the course towards the lift hill's support towers, then veers to the right and climbs. Superheroes soon find themselves over a rabbit hop curving to the right and running parallel to the lift hill supports, now that the train is heading back towards the station. Another hill follows, just as fast as the first, with more airtime. After another airtime-generating hill, the Ultimate Escape meanders around the pre-lift track section and finally curves around in a leftward turn into the brake run. Finally, the train is led around a left U-turn back into the station to conclude the three-minute experience.
Mega-coaster thrills have arrived in a new part of the world at last, and Superman: Ultimate Escape has proven itself to be a world-class ride that stands among the greatest of modern steel coasters.
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